A bedtime story about blog freedom

Calvin is being tucked into bed by his mother.

“Mom, can you tell me a new bedtime story? None of your Jataka tales about monkeys and crocodiles. I want a modern story.”

“Okay, how about this one? Across the world, there is a land with tigers and elephants in its forests, and very peaceful people in its towns and cities.”

“This is not a tiger story, is it?  Hobbes doesn’t like the ones with bad tigers.”

“No, it’s not.  So in this land, one day some bad guys attacked the peaceful people in hotels and hospitals, and train stations and other public places.”

“Did they have bombs?”

“Yes, and grenades and lots of guns. ”

“I hope you aren’t going to tell me a violent story now… did they show the explosions on TV?”

“The attacks were covered by the TV channels non-stop, and there were reporters in front of every hotel the bad guys were in, talking about how many people were possibly inside the hotel, and how the bad guys were taking them hostage, and so on.”

“Then did the commandos come in?”

“Yes, they did, and the TV channels also showed footage of the commandos around the buildings and so on.”

“Gosh! Didn’t the hotel  have television sets in every room? Didn’t the bad guys have cellphones? ”

“Yes, the hotel had television sets, and the bad guys probably had cell phones.  Their hostages certainly must have had cell phones.”

“Wow.  Mom, what were the reporters thinking?  Did nobody protest about what they were doing?”

“Many people did.  One blogger wrote about it,  criticizing the reporters and the reporting, but the TV channel brought out their lawyers and made him apologize and withdraw his post unconditionally.”

“What?  A news channel made someone apologize for voicing his opinion?”

“Yes.”

“And they made him delete.. isn’t that like suppression of free speech?”

“Well, they didn’t like the criticism.  They probably thought it was libelous.”

“Mom, tell me, is all criticism libelous?  When news channels criticize politicians, is that also libelous? What about news analysis, which is opinion mixed with fact – is that libelous too?”

“No, it is just freedom of speech. ”

“But Mom, individuals also have freedom of speech!  Does a free press mean the press should not be criticized?”

“No Calvin, that is not what a free press means.”

“Did the blogger have references?”

“He quoted Wikipedia, and what he saw on television.”

“Shouldn’t he counter-sue?”

“He probably doesn’t have the time to fight it out in court.  I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to him.”

“Did you read his blog?”

“Yes, I read the withdrawal, and had also read the original post.”

“Mom, it sounds like that David and Goliath story you told me the other day.  Except, this time David lost.”

“Okay, off you go to sleep now.”

“But Mom, shouldn’t other bloggers also protest?  And then, if I were an advertiser on that channel, I would pull out in protest.  What they did was very wrong, Mom.  Everyone has a right to his opinion, Mom, even if others don’t like to hear it.”

“You are right, Calvin, everyone should be able to voice their opinion.  Yes, other bloggers should protest.”

“Mom, that was a very sad story.  It also makes me very angry.”

“Yes, Calvin, it is very sad.  And I am angry too.”

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60 Comments

  1. barkha dutt has done with the national spririt not knowing its consiquencies but the blogger should be taken in the same spirit and appreciate his concern for future reporting. let us learn a lesson.

  2. Loved the way the article has been written…..i was busy away from virtual world when all this happened and just came across it by mistake.
    Having grown up in a small town called Belgaum with CKunte the author of the blog i was curious to know what happened.Read a lot of blogs articles.
    i loved the way this bedtime story has been written and wanted to salute the author on it.

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