The right of speech and opinion is regarded as one the greatest rights of the human being. But this is precisely what the Prime Minister Modi-led Union BJP is boldly seeking to forestall, in the name of national security.
A group of opposition MPs have demanded that security in the Parliament be tightened up and action taken against an official from BJP who gave permission to all those entering.
The BJP has already suspended them pending internal investigations and approval by parliamentary jurisdictions committee. History has a place for the government. Under these circumstances, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has introduced the amendment to the Telecommunications Act that had been in effect for 138 years.
There has been no opposition to the Telecommunication Amendment Bill, which was tabled in Parliament at a time when all opposition members have not even yet returned.
It has also inserted a provision that it is the Union government's right to close down whichever media reports those news stories, if such publication endangers national security.
This is being denounced by the opposition parties as an absolute abrogation of media freedom. It also says that the telecommunication company can report to the government what messages to people have shared if necessary.
The Union Government can simply use this law to listen in on someone without having tools of espionage. Although it is said that right belongs to the state government also, as telecoms are under Union Government control--in which area full say solely goes to it.
Therefore, with this bill everything from telecom services and equipment to infrastructure, network etc. will all have to be approved by the Union Government first.
Through this the right to expression is cut off. But there can be no question that attempting to regulate the media, which picks every day happenings at sources it finds most useful from all over and everywhere and then pours down information on readers of newspapers around world, it is going to prove a great test for national openness.