The right to free speech is in the news again: because people face threats of jail for pointing out that sewage water is not holy; because Mamata Banerjee really cannot help herself; because cartoonists in this country can now be arrested for speaking their minds; because the State in our country has no qualms about snooping on its own citizens.
And now because a badly made internet movie called “Innocence of Muslims” has caused another round of orchestrated outrage in the Arab world, leading to American embassies in Egypt and Libya getting ransacked.
The Onion have an article that sums up all this better than anybody else can. I posted a link to this on my facebook in response to a friend’s comments about Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly where he denounced religious intolerance but refused to budge on free speech. That this is itself ironic is true, coming from the president of the country that has the Patriot Act for a law and ‘free-speech zones’ for, well, free speech.
But what broke my irony meter is that a day after I posted the link to the The Onion article, I was locked out of my facebook account, having to go through a security check (“Pick out which friend of yours is in these pictures.”) in order to get back in. I found this:
We removed content you posted
We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
Sayash Kumar, Obama should’ve simply linked to this in his speech. Much better than waking up Jefferson and company from their graves.
Violence is not an answer to offence–real or manufactured. Censorship of an article whose only purpose is to point out that people should learn that in a free world, people have no right against being offended–now that’s irony.
This makes me wonder if Mamata Banerjee has taken over control of Facebook’s content filters.
[Edit: 28/9/2012, late at night:] A fellow on my facebook list says he reported the post and that was why Facebook took the post down. And he says that this was to prove a point. I’m still murky on what the point was, but that may just be me. More comments and responses in the next post.