In August 2019 the Indian government under Narendra Modi, leader of the the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution. The article had granted the state of Jammu and Kashmir the autonomy to write their own constitution and make their own laws. Since the article was revoked, residents of Jammu and Kashmir have been subjected to the world’s longest internet shutdown, a serious breach of their right to free expression and to access information. As the ban on high-speed internet continues, Index looks back on the history of freedom of expression in India, from the years following The Emergency, to the present.
In 1975 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was convicted of election malpractice conducted during her 1971 campaign. Despite this, she clung onto power and declared a state of emergency which lasted for 19 months, known as The Emergency. During this time, members of the political opposition were imprisoned and the press heavily censored. In this article written in 1980, the year Gandhi was re-elected, Michael Henderson questions if Indian journalists have a long enough memory and a robust enough spirit to stand up to a prime minister with a clear and recent track record of control of the press.
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