In a recent development, the Indian government through legislation has scrapped the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) with immediate effect leading to rising fear among the film fraternity over increased censorship in coming times. Similarly, the New IT Rules, 2021 also gave rise to fear among media of content censorship. This has brought back the focus on the censorship issue in India. Censorship in media is not a new concept in India. Since the British Rule, there have been issues regarding press freedom. News and broadcasting media have been under watch on the grounds of several laws and regulations. There has always been a tussle between those who are in power and the media on several issues. Censorship in the media has been counterproductive on various grounds and has constitutional limitations as well. Therefore, there is a need to look into the various aspects of censorship and how it works in India.
Recently, the Haryana government announced its policy of reserving 75 per cent of the State’s jobs in the private sector for candidates who are domiciled in the State. This is not a new case as the Andhra Pradesh government had passed similar legislation in 2019 and many States in India are in the line to enact such legislation to ensure employment to its unemployed population. The recent trend of ‘the locals first’ policy in job is more about fulfilling poll promises than ensuring job to the unemployed and it has several implications for the State, and the country as a whole. It not only acts as a hurdle to the hopes of the inter-state migratory population but also brings into question some of the constitutional dimensions which grant certain rights to all the citizens of India.
Recently, the Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in the wake of growing concern around transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media. The rules aim to regulate social media, digital media, and OTT (Over The Top) platforms. The Rules provide broad powers to the government to regulate and monitor social media intermediaries including online news media. The Rules have been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011. The Rules are considered to be an instrument of a “soft-touch” oversight mechanism. The Part-II of these Rules shall be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology and Part-III will be administered by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting.
Almost a decade since the democratic transition, Myanmar came back under the control of the military junta in February 2021. Since independence, this Southeast nation has struggled with military rule, civil strifes and international isolation due to internal instability. The recent coup came after allegations regarding election discrepancies, quashing all hopes of democratic progress in the near future.
As the Government passes the new labor laws and when the sudden loss of employment of thousands of laborers during the Covid 19 pandemic captures the limelight, the question of the right to work has become a focus of many. The ‘’right to work’’ is an essential part of human life. One must work to earn and fulfill the basic needs of one’s life. It is considered to be one of the foundations for the realization of other human rights. But time and again this right has come into question. It thus becomes important to understand this issue and see its various aspects to come to a legitimate conclusion.
In recent times, freedom in India and its various aspects have come into question many a time. Such an aspect of freedom that comes into question time and again is academic freedom in India. Many scholars, researchers, and academicians complain about their diminishing rights to express what they consider needs to be heard and known. India’s score in the Academic Freedom Index(AFI), 2020 was abysmally low and its scores were close to countries like Saudi Arabia and Libya. Similarly, the Scholars at Risk network in its Free to Think Report,2020 showed a dismal condition of academic freedom in India. In such a situation, academic freedom in India and its various aspects need to be studied deeply to find a way out of this crisis and pave the way for a healthy academic environment in India.
With the rise in the use of Internet facilities and India trying to become a digital nation promoting digitization at all levels, the need for data protection has become an important issue. The Indian IT sector has a major contribution to the Indian economy and they provide services to a large number of people all over the world. With the rise of the telecom sector in India and the number of people using it, it has become evident that data protection has to be considered a necessity in India.
The pandemic-led health and socio-economic crisis have hit women and girls in a disproportionate fashion, leading to increased feminisation of poverty, domestic work, work burden as well as a spike in domestic violence. At the same time, it has also caused a boost in the feminisation of agriculture, making rural women play a critical role in providing household income. This presents an unmissable opportunity for the economic empowerment of women, which has the potential to remove all structural barriers hampering gender equality within India.
Anti-conversion laws enacted in various states are under scrutiny for their ambiguity and the lack of valid justifications for their existence. Vague terms used in them pose significant challenges to the fundamental rights provided by the Indian constitution. In this backdrop, the Supreme Court has recently agreed to examine the constitutional validity of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand anti-conversion laws. However, it refused to stay these controversial legislations.