Imagine that this is the result of an EMAIL from the son of the Union minister. In India even in very serious cases involving common people such as Murder, Arson, Rape etc the police always make a show of waiting for a WRITTEN compliant before they can even start investigation. The politicians cynically abuse the Police force to openly stifle dissent and hassle the common man - India is descending into a Banana republic at an alarming speed - very sad.
To be fair, India is rising up from it; used to be a lot worse.
Such cases happen even in USA, where certain people are charged for misdemeanor's which are not uniformly enforced across the population. An example I can think of is the Eliot Spitzer-Call Girl in DC scandal.
(I read your wording as implying Spitzer was subjected to harsher treatment than normal, so thought the clarification was helpful.)
That doesn't fit in with the nature of gov't corruption or politics.
These actions usually have hidden agendas that are instigated and planned at the party level. At the risk of oversimplifying, while one member sees the law made, another one acts on it.
But more and more it seems that countries that have nominally vibrant democracies are making certain types of speech criminal - I wonder if there'll be a groundswell of activism to get free speech retroactively enshrined as a right in countries where such a thing never really seemed needed before.
I also like to point out that in the very next term the Supreme Court struck down California's violent video game law, which was widely lauded by liberals even though had Citizens United gone the other way, Rockstar Games would have no free speech rights to raise in that case.
Free speech really is the real deal here, and I find it upsetting how much flak the Supreme Court has gotten for staying true to their line of decisions. This is a Supreme Court that in the midst of Vietnam protected a protestor who said that if the government ever made him carry a rifle (to go to war), the first person in his sights would be President Johnson.
The idea that foreign governments can secretly fund a massive Presidential campaign does not strike me as the intention of the First Amendment.
Re: secret funding of campaigns, it seems to me the real problem isn't that people can freely run political ads. The real problem is $1bn+ corporations. People should be lobbying to get rid of corporate limited liability, which would make it impossible for corporations to get so large and powerful in the first place.
My understanding is that SCOTUS could have OK'ed the particular instance (the film "Hillary") without broadly declaring money == speech and providing cover for PACs and super-PACs to keep their list of contributors secret.
I tried to find some links to backup/illuminate this, but I could not, and I may be wrong in my understanding of the actual details of the ruling.
Regarding corporations: My problem is not their size, but that money yields such political influence.
I loath the idea of limiting speech (modulo falsely yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, etc.) but when I read that the best predictor of election outcomes is looking at who spent the most money, I despair.
The best way I can come to terms with one possible solution is to consider that accepting democracy means you're already accepting assorted restrictions on your behavior. The idea of having to make your donors public in political speech, while distasteful, seems a reasonable way to help combat (or reduce) the influence of big money.
Given the nature of mass media and how people get information it's hard to have a properly functioning democracy when people are bombarded with propaganda, and attempts to counter that propaganda (even with other propaganda) require vast finances.
At the very least let people spend as much as they want on political ads but make the source of that money is public.
There is no way to shoe-horn "Hilary: The Movie" into the "just a commercial" mold. Here are a list of other movies produced by Citizens United: "ACLU: At War with America" (this one is ironic); "Broken Promises: The UN at 60"; "Rediscovering God in America." Now, you might not like the organization's political message, but I don't see a principled way to distinguish them from some of my Sierra Club favorites like "Coal Country" and "Oil on Ice."
What is "paid speech" even supposed to mean? What movies don't cost money to make? Or for that matter books or pamphlets or newspapers? Both Citizens United and the Sierra Club are not-for-profit corporations. They are created for the express purpose of getting out a particular message, and that costs money. Their message should not be taken out of the protection of the First Amendment just because of that fact.
It should be noted that Grand Theft Auto not only cost money, but it was a for-profit product...
These are basic things that need to be made obvious.
Buy all the ads you want, it's fine with me. As long as I know you are the one buying the ads.
There's a difference and you know it.
If I have a statement: "hats are on sale 50% off tomorrow" that is commercial speech. I can tell on it's face that it's commercial, without knowing anything about who spoke it.
If I have a statement: "Hilary Clinton is a terrible candidate for such and such reasons" that is not commercial speech. It does not, on it's face, propose a commercial transaction. Now, someone might have commercial reasons for disliking Hilary Clinton, but the motivation behind speech is irrelevant to whether it is considered to be within the "commercial speech" exception.
This is why music, movies, and video games are all fully protected despite the fact that they are for-profit commerical products. It's the content of the speech, not the motivations for speaking that define speech as commercial or not.
As a European, it's hard NOT to appreciate America's guarantees of free speech, especially as limits on it only seem to have negative effects like silencing criticism of government and powerful public figures, quelling reports of corruption, and penalising beliefs unpopular among current political elite.
Their guarantees include not just the fifth amendment but also little bits like truth being an absolute defence against libel, and courts unwilling to chase the smallest slip-ups in their race to convict for libel. And as much as American seem to get offended over what other people say, their government is not imprisoning historians telling wacky stories, or chasing memorabilia.
In particular the libel laws here are utterly crazy, frequently you'll see two Americans, or two Russians, suing each other in UK courts over things printed or put up on the internet in their respective countries. Nothing to do with the UK really, but because there is no 1st amendment, and the courts consider it their jurisdiction if the material was ever available over here, they go for it.
And because most countries have agreements on collecting money owed due to lawsuits, a judgement in the UK (where it's easy to get one) can affect the defendant wherever they are. I believe that this sort of things is starting to be recognised and the US (possibly Obama himself) have put an exception on their legal reciprocity - UK libel judgements don't count in the US any more.
It is by now a demonstrable fact that free speech restrictions are a slippery slope. You start with the laws that prohibit "bad" speech or political speech by "bad" people - and voila, in short time you get bloggers arrested and filmmakers jailed because somebody powerful didn't like what they said. The law is always written against "bad" people, but whoever gets to enforce it may have very different definitions of "bad" than you do.
Section 66-A deals with messages sent via computer or communication devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience.” For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years.
If you cause "annoyance" or "inconvenience" to someone, you can be fined or jailed up to three years!
Edit - He has also clarified that he has just cited media reports and not made any new revelation. He just has 16 followers on Twitter. His arrest has got more to do with his involvement with IAC(India against Corruption) than anything else.
This doesn't even begin to describe ridiculous. Ever heard of IPC 498a?
For those who don't what it is- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowry_law_in_India
The law is such, you might even repent being a born a boy in India.
(a) Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive
the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life,
limb or health whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing
her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any
property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any
person related to her meet such demand.
Women are heavily abusing this law for money. Its like marry a guy, slap a 498a case. Get his family members behind bars(Often happens after bribing the policemen). In India its highly devastating to a persons morale, self respect and social status for him to go to jail or see female members of the family go to jail. Then what follows is a black mail and guy is forced to pay up.
The law has been abused by the police and some women so much. From what I've heard, the judges look at every case like it might be fake. Read the Wikipedia link for details.
Some more links on this.
IPC 304B assumes that if an accidental death of a wife happens within seven years of marriage, it is to be assumed to be murder unless the husband can prove his innocence.
There have been cases of dowry death, where women have been burned alive for not bringing in dowry. Couple by general backwardness and other kind of torture. This draconian law was passed.
Of course their intention was good. But the law has be abused so badly, now even the true victims of dowry are suffering due to it.
Only if you do it via electronic communication. Books, leaflets, etc have no corresponding laws.
Sounds similar to the laws we have here in the UK. Section 127(2) of the Communications Act 2003  states:
(2)A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—
(a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,
(b)causes such a message to be sent; or
(c)persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.
The act allows for imprisonment for up to six months, or a fine. It was the legal basis for the "Twitter Joke" trial . In my opinion it is worryingly broad in its scope.
By contrast, given what the UK has done in the past around Internet speech, the Indian case does not look unreasonable!
I have lived in India for the last 3 years and at first I was angry, then disgusted, but now it's just sadness.
To see a country with so much potential throw themselves into such a quagmire of ridiculousness stirs my soul to mutiny!
There is a culture of corruption, and this article just highlights one of thousands of daily acts of corruption that happen on macro and micro scales.
India needs a cultural revolution, someone to suck the apathy out of the people and make them demand responsibility from their leaders.
The problem is that it's difficult to have a good democracy when you have low levels of human development. When 25% of the population is illiterate, a good number more lack a basic education, and half the children are malnourished, it's very difficult to get your average person on the street to care enough to make the right decision when election time rolls around.
The litmus test will be, how much interest it can get from people beyond big cities.
But some how they couldn't hold on and fire died soon. Last year the fever was really high.
*All citizens shall have the right* —
to freedom of speech and expression;
to assemble peaceably and without arms;
to form associations or unions;
to move freely throughout the territory of India;
to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
*These rights are limited so as not to effect*:
The integrity of India
The security of the State
Friendly relations with foreign States
Decency or morality
Contempt of court
Defamation or incitement to an offence
By that way, they get to 'teach him the lesson' and 'make him example' to deter others from doing it.
I think it's going to back fire as it has done in the recent past.
"I'm reading every negative post on Facebook that speaks ill of the government and writing down names. Names are being written down."
What horseshit! Scary thought; North Americans seem to take their free-speech for granted, as an inalienable right when in fact many countries in the world don't have such a thing. Enjoy it while you can.
Great article on the topic by Amit Varma.
Don't Insult Pasta: http://indiauncut.com/iublog/article/dont-insult-pasta/
One of the most impressing thing about USA is that they have true freedom of speech and majority of people defend it furiously. I can't help but think but this is one of the major factor America is one of the leading nations in the world.
Most of the peoples always try to not to go to judiciary in whole life, because it will take your whole life time to get the results and you have to pour all your income, time in visiting dates of trial. No one -common people- believe the law and are realized it and get used to it.
There are millions of cased pending in courts which are more than 70 60 yrs old and I feel the British rule was much better than this.
may i get punished to say all this, though this is the case with everyone and anything can happen with anyone.
And here's an example of an organization fighting for justice against state crimes:
Other such tweets reportedly made references to Mr. P. Chidambaram.
The fact that the tweet is about an even more low profile guy (although he IS the son of said finance minister) makes this even worse.
According to the article, he had 16 followers as of Wednesday evening. Now he has 869 and growing.
Great work, Mr. Politico, you would get along fabulously with Barbra Streisand.