Friday, October 2, 2009

The Book Ban debate has been raging in the media last month. Arguments range from an outright freedom to write whatever one likes in the name of creative freedom to an unabashed right for the government to effect bans as and when felt necessary in the name of maintaining public order. Both arguments seem faulty. There cannot be an absolute freedom to write, to express oneself, and there have to be reasonable restrictions as in case of other fundamental rights. At the same time, nobody can argu that there be a right to ban especially as this right is usually exercised for political reasons.

In my opinion, the right to ban must exist but it is important that this right be exercised with restraint and on rational grounds. Government of the day may not be the right agency for the purpose as all its actions would either be or will be perceived as politically motivated. A better option would be to have a Group of publishers and writers that self-regulate themselves. The Government of the day may refer the matter of a book ban to this Group or the latter suo motto may take action.

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