In response to my piece “Censorship on the Internet“, a friend from Mumbai emailed me two questions: “How should we look at issues like pornography. Is it okay to let people say/show what they want to and let children and other vulnerable groups see/listen to all that ?” and “How can India move in the direction of First amendment?”
Let’s take the issue of pornography. Different societies have different standards about what’s acceptable in all aspects of living — what to eat, how to dress, how to worship, sing, dance, make music, make art, etc. These evolve with time and technology. Whether we like it or not, the moral code too evolves.
What’s considered obscene also differs among societies, and the standards change with time in the same society. There was a time, for example, when the sentence “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” was considered too vulgar to be uttered in a movie. (Gone with the Wind, 1939.) Now you can say WTF to that and no one would bat an eyelid. Continue reading