Free Speech Under Attack Again in India

Indian authorities are really embracing the censorship thing. This week the Central Board of Film Certification blocked the release of a documentary about Nepalese politics on the grounds that it glorified Maoism, saying:

In the opinion of the examining committee, any justification or romanticisation of the ideology of extremism or of violence, coercion, intimidation in achieving its objectives would not be in the public interest, particularly keeping in view the recent Maoist violence in some parts of the country.

This is part of a wider trend of attempting to control the public discourse on Maoism in India. Earlier this year, the police charge-sheet against Kobad Ghandy, an arrested Maoist leader, included a list of civil rights groups  accused of providing support to the movement. On 6 May, Home Minister P Chidambaram released a statement saying: “It has come to the notice of the government that some Maoist leaders have been directly contacting certain NGOs and intellectuals to propagate their ideology and persuade them to take steps which would provide support to the CPI (Maoist) ideology.” Officials have warned these groups they face up to 10 years in prison just for  speaking to Maoists. Human Rights Watch was unimpressed.

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