Free speech in India 2013

From three in 2011 and five in 2012, there have been 8 deaths of journalists in 2013. The rise in the number of instances of censorship this year and increasing surveillance, bode ill for free speech in India.

 Highlights of 'Free Speech in India 2013: A report from The Free Speech Hub of the Hoot' are available at The complete report can be downloaded at 

Deaths : eight deaths in 2013

The number of journalists killed has risen in the last three years. From three in 2011 and five in 2012, there have been eight deaths of journalists in 2013, of whom six are from Uttar Pradesh and two from Chhattisgarh. No arrests have been made in connection with any of their deaths. Maoist groups are suspected to have killed both journalists from Chhattisgarh. With the exception of one, the rest were stringers. 

Censorship : 94 instances in 2013

The number of instances of censorship this year rose from 74 in 2012 to 94 in 2013. As in the previous year, the single biggest category of instances was Internet related. (31). In 2012 the figure was 41. The second largest category was film related as at least 19 commercial films saw problems over content, titles, songs and dialogues. Attacks : 19 instances in 2013

Attacks : 19 instances in 2013

The brutal acid attack on a journalist in Parbhani, Maharashtra, and the attempt to burn alive another journalist in Kolkata, West Bengal are part of the 19 instances of attacks on journalists and other citizens in 2013. Of these, four attacks came from political parties while in seven instances, the media was targeted while covering protests.


The increasing surveillance of citizens, by both state and private bodies, aided by technology as well as official policy, is a matter of grave concern. These forebodings were flagged in the very first Free Speech Report of 2010. Now, ‘official’ mechanisms are being put in place to conduct surveillance with little or no scrutiny – be it the Central Monitoring System, the threat to privacy inherent in the Aadhar card scheme, the interception of electronic communication by officially appointed agencies or the social media labs and cyber cells of police forces.