Cartoonist & Champion of Indian free Speech Aseem Trivedi to address at India Leadership Conclave 2015
Award Winning Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi known for tough stand & independent depiction of real India will also be conferred Indian Affairs Indian of the Year in Cartooning
India as a nation has seen many historic moments since its inception in 1947 & over the last 58 years, we have also seen emergence of disruptive forces trying to silence the freedom of expression & speech whenever we have raised voices against the corrupt fabrics of the society. We have been subjected to many atrocities against the mighty of the rich & powerful but one thing that has not changed in india, that of our abilities to stay unafraid & voice our opinions says Satya Brahma, Chairman & Editor-In-Chief of Network 7 Media Group on the announcement of Aseem Trivedi as a Keynote Speaker at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2015. Aseem is known for his independent political cartooning, activism & a great human being. While the other misconstrued india tried to prosecute the talented cartoonist, Aseem stood out as a voice that millions of India associated with, a force that defied all odds & a catastrophe that took the political class by storm for vividly portraying the arrogance & abuse of power. Aseem’s presentation on Activism & Cartooning will be the most awaited presentation at the annual affairs which is running on a theme India@58, added Satya. The Network 7 Board Jury Members also were unanimous in selection of the emerging & talented Youngman of India as Indian Affairs Indian of the Year in Cartooning.
The much awaited & Asia’s biggest meeting point for thought leadership conclave organized by Network 7 Media Group’s initiative from the nation’s most widely acclaimed news media India Affairs will host its 6th edition under the theme “India @ 58” : Learning Lessons From The Past And Restrategizing For The Future” at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 in Mumbai, India on Friday, the 21st August 2015 where top leaders from the various sections of the society will assemble to make an analysis of India’s journey from independence & the important milestones that the country has achieved since last 58 years & the areas where India has remained silent & unmoved & has given a big miss.
Aseem Trivedi (born 17 February 1987) is a controversial Indian political cartoonist and activist, best known for his anti corruption campaign Cartoons Against Corruption. He is a founder member of Save Your Voice, a movement against internet censorship in India. The website of his anti corruption campaign Cartoons Against Corruption was banned by Mumbai Police in Dec, 2011.
— Indian Affairs (@Indian_Affairs) July 3, 2015
He was arrested in Mumbai on 9 September 2012 on charges of sedition, related to the content of his work. 10 September 2012, Chairman Justice Markandey Katju of the Press Council of India, who is also a former Judge of Supreme Court of India defended Aseem Trivedi saying that “he did nothing illegal” and in a statement, he maintained that arresting a cartoonist or any other person who has not committed a crime, is itself a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as it is a wrongful arrest and wrongful confinement.
He has been announced as the 2012 recipient of the “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award” of Virginia based Cartoonists Rights Network International. He is sharing the award with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who was abducted and badly beaten in August, 2011 amid the Syrian regime’s crackdown. Ali Ferzat is in the Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He was also nominated for the Freedom of Expression Awards 2013 by free speech organization Index on Censorship.
Striking down of section 66 A of Information technology act 2000 by supreme court is great victory of free speech. Although free speech was available as fundamental right since 1950 with the adoption of Indian constitution. But this opportunity was not available for common man , it was practiced only by professionals. Specially traditional media was controlled by big houses and vested interests. It is social media which gave opportunity of free speech to common man. That is why there was stringent laws and strong actions against free speakers. Since last three years there were number of arrests under section 66A of IT ACT. And those arrests were made either for no reason or for very small reasons . But one thing was common in all those arrests that all of them were politically motivated. Not only in my case where I was booked during Anna Hazzare Agitation in Mumbai, most of arrests were made due to political vendetta.
Just after my arrest in September 2012 Shaheen and one of her friend was booked because they protested the Mumbai Band on the funeral of Bala Saheb thakre ,on their facebook. Then came the case of Ambikesh Mahapatra , an Associate Professor in Jadavpur University. Ambikesh has forwarded a caricature of Mamta Banerjee on facebook. He was also arrested and recently in an important judgment Calcutta high court not acquitted Mahapatra but also awarded compensation for wrongful arrest.Air India employees Mayank Sharma and KB Rrao was arrested for posting comments critical to leaders on facebook. In Uttar Pradesh several persons including one famous dalit writer were arrested for criticizing a cabinet minister.
When civil right activists and netizens protested the blatant misuse of 66A , Govt came out with guidelines where officer of DIG rank were given powers to decide on violations of 66A. UPA Govt assured that misuse will be curtailed through this. But this remained only empty promise and the politically motivated arrests went on.Even the leaders of NDA who were protesting against this section they went back when they came in power and started defending the draconian section in the name of national security . Thanks to Supreme Court that free speech got a Great victory and citizens can now express themselves without fear. In my case Bombay High court has rejected charge of sedition and cancelled imposition of section 124A of IPC upon me . But still there are charges under National Emblem Act 1971 and 66a of IT act. After struck down of 66A not only me but so many persons can feel free on social media and the space can be used with dignity.As far as I think one should not fear from right of free speech being misused after this decision. There are multiple provisions in IT Act which can handle any provocative and defamatory post. Now once again we feel assured about our democratic freedom since its custodian Supreme Court is there. Long live Independence of Judiciary.