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An Interview with Hugh Williamson

CABAR.asia: Recently, the authorities of the Central Asian countries have been actively regulating online activities, adopting various laws that help them control the internet. How are things going with the freedom of the internet, with internet…
Uzbekistan’s media landscape, made up of independent, state-sponsored, and international Uzbek and Russian language media outlets, is in a period of growth and change, as journalists test the boundaries of respect for free expression.
News

Discrimination Will Affect the Country’s Fight Against the Pandemic

As the number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 10,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on April 14 to announce an extension of the nationwide lockdown until May 3. He acknowledged the hardship, particularly for…
Men wait for a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India, March 31, 2020.
News

Government Continues to Clamp Down on Criticism

The fable of the emperor with no clothes is telling in these times of scared silence. Hans Christian Andersen never did say what happened to the boy that shouted the truth. But in India, today, we know that the boy would have been…
Students march to the Parliament House to demand the release of fellow students arrested for sedition, New Delhi, India, March 15, 2016.
News

Draconian Laws Are Used to Harass Dissidents

On February 2, the Maharashtra police arrested activist and academic Anand Teltumbde at the Mumbai airport in spite of the Supreme Court’s January 14 order granting him four weeks to apply for anticipatory bail. The police allege…
Graffiti art that calls for respecting freedom of expression in India.
News
After researcher Lois Sofia was arrested in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, on Monday, for shouting slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, the BJP’s state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan explained that she filed a…
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in a cricket stadium in Srinagar, November 7, 2015.
News
When Major Leetul Gogoi was recently detained in Srinagar after a brawl involving civilians, the army chief vowed “exemplary punishment.” “If anyone in the Indian Army, at any rank, does any wrong and it comes to our notice then strict action will…
An Indian police officer walks past a burning tire during a protest after Friday prayers in Srinagar, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Ismail
News

This is only the latest expression of concern over the Indian government’s targeting of activist groups

“Those who have worked for the most marginalised and disempowered sections of society, while holding the government to account, are being persecuted,” read a joint statement by Indian activists after over two dozen groups were denied license to receive…
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in a cricket stadium in Srinagar, November 7, 2015.
News
Police across the country continue to use the law to book people for making offensive comments on social media, blissfully unaware of its deletion from the IT Act. Last November, police in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh arrested 25-year-old Sattar Khan for…
Graffiti art that calls for respecting freedom of expression in India.
News

Citizens should no longer have to worry about being 'punished by the process' of being subjected to bad laws and the whims of poorly trained police.

In 2012, political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was charged with sedition for uploading some of his sketches that were critical of the government. “I found a lawyer who fought my case for free,” he said, adding that fighting a criminal case can prove too…
Graffiti art that calls for respecting freedom of expression in India.
News
While on a recent speaking engagement at the University of California, Berkeley, I visited the Free Speech Movement café, homage to the 1960s student protests that changed forever the boundaries of political speech on campuses in the US and elsewhere. It…
JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar addresses students at the JNU campus in New Delhi, India on March 3, 2016.
News
Congress, or at least parts of it, is getting restless with the White House approach to human rights abuses in Central Asia. A recent hearing by the House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on the region’s terrible human rights record…
News
Five years ago this month I was in Osh documenting cases of arbitrary arrest, ill treatment and torture in the aftermath of the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. The deep bruises on the body of one man I spoke with are still imprinted on my mind. He…
News
“It cannot be over-emphasized that when it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance.” With these words, India’s Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment on March 24, struck down Section 66A…
News
The horrific January 7 attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has led to a raging debate worldwide on the limits to freedom of expression and opinion. In India, a country of many religions and faiths, where tolerance and free…
News
This week I had expected to be writing about a defamation case brought by Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee against an independent journalist in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan. To my surprise, the committee withdrew its complaint, and the court…
News
“It is not actually snooping.” This was the Indian foreign minister’s response to the U.S. mass surveillance programs that also targeted India. One year ago, Edward Snowden released data revealing that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the…
News
Strange things happen in Bishkek, the Kyrgyzstan capital. One morning this autumn the sounds of loud protests outside parliament almost drowned out conversation in our meeting  nearby. That wouldn’t stand out in cities where street protests are common.…