Anti-Defamation Law

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Date: 1988

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism , Public Art



Confronting Bodies: Independent Press and Indian Prime Minister Rajiu Gandhi

Dates of Action: August-September 1988

Location: India

Description: Any "writers or speakers who knowingly harm others' reputations." (Though directly defined no further, 'reputation' is oriented politically).

The Incident: In August 1988, Prime Minister Rajiu Gandhi passed the above mentioned law, punishable by mandatory jail terms. "In the Independent Indian Express of New Delhi, Arun Shourie (World Press Review International Editor of the Year in 1982) had urged the press to disregard the bill and continue reporting on government corruption. Comparing Gandhi's move to his mother Indira Gandhi's 1975 Emergency Decree, the independent Statesman of New Delhi asserted that Gandhi had imposed the bill 'because his governments' right to perpetuate colossal frauds on the people of India has been questioned.' The independent Times of India of New Delhi found 'some merit in the argument that a section of the press has tended to misuse its freedom to malign reputation' but adds 'It is not as if there were no internal checks and balances in the media.'"

Results of Incident: Law was revoked one month later, in September, 1988.

Source: World Press Review