Controversy over Kerala Police Act amendment!
The amendment to the Kerala Police Act "will in no way be used against free speech or impartial journalism", Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. "It has been withdrawn," the chief minister added. after facing an avalanche of criticism against a "draconian" ordinance the opposition alleges could be used to muzzle free speech, target the media and silence critics of the government.
The ordinance, signed by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday, punishes those guilty of spreading content by any means (including social media) that is said to be derogatory or defamatory. Punishments include three years jail time, a fine of ₹ 10,000 or both.
Vijayan said the state had a duty to protect individuals' liberty and dignity, but that no action would be taken against the media or critics who stay "within the limits of the Constitution".
Cartoonist: Satish Acharya