Splainer

Friday, June 4 2021


Dive In

For me personally, how I deal with that was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can, and never will. So, no matter what you say, or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me. So that’s how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently.

So here’s what Venus Williams said when asked about Naomi Osaka’s decision to quit press conferences. Also: This is what her sister Serena said about the same subject: “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it's like. I've been in those positions." Hmm, who said it better?

Big Story

A big win for free press and Vinod Dua

The TLDR: The popular journalist has been the target of multiple cases filed by BJP leaders and sympathisers. He was charged with sedition for an episode of his YouTube show which criticised the handling of the pandemic. The Supreme finally ruled in his favour—and of the freedom of the press. Here’s a quick explainer on the judgement.

 

Remind me about Dua

Vinod Dua is a widely respected and well-known Hindi journalist—and has a hugely popular YouTube show. Last summer, he was charged in multiple FIRs across the country as a surprising number of people decided to take great offense to his journalism—almost all at the same time. The most prominent among them were the following:

 

The Delhi case: In early June, he was charged with being a public nuisance, creating public mischief, creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes. All this based on a single complaint by BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar who took objection to Dua’s commentary on the Delhi violence—on a YouTube episode that aired on March 11! The Delhi High court issued a stay on the FIR, “noting that the steps taken so far by the police in the case do not appear to be in consonance with the law and ‘do not inspire much confidence.’”

 

The Himachal case: Within days—yes, days—of the stay, the Himachal Pradesh police arrived on Dua’s doorstep. This time, he was charged with sedition and told to appear at the Kumarsain police station—where someone called Ajay Shyam Vill had filed the complaint. Don’t know where Kumarsain is? Likely neither did Dua. No one knows who Vill is either (though he claims to be a BJP leader). 

 

But the charge of sedition has stuck. This time, Dua was on the hook for a March 30, 2020 episode that focuses on the government’s handling of the pandemic. The Solicitor General and Vill’s lawyer variously argued that Dua: 

  • Incited migrant workers to panic during the lockdown; 
  • Claimed that “Narendra Modi has used deaths and terror attacks to garner votes;” 
  • And created panic by “spreading false information that the government does not have enough testing facilities” for Covid-19. 

 

Ok, what happened at the Supreme Court

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Twitter launches paid service
  • Myanmar protests: A quick update
  • The global Booker prize goes to…
  • A new ‘family’ Aadhaar
  • Ok, this is more crazy than an NFT

 

Weekend Advisory

  • An exclusive interview with the Central Vista project architect
  • An excellent piece on the science of pleasure
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