Fri 30 Oct 2015 10:16AM

Pirate Media and Journalistic Protection

PV Pirate Vik Public Seen by 236

Some of us are discussing creating videos and using other media to get our message out. We have also had some discussion around the creation of a news website.

Can we and how do we go about affording journalistic protection for our work under Indian Law?


Pirate Vik Fri 30 Oct 2015 10:16AM

@praveenarimbrathod @vidyut @shirish Do you guys have knowledge around this point or know people who may be able to help?


Pirate Vik Fri 30 Oct 2015 10:17AM

Also, do we have any lawyers here?


Vidyut Fri 30 Oct 2015 10:54AM

Indian media is politically free but imprisoned by profit. ~ P. Sainath

To a large extent, this is true even in today's rising intolerance.

I have been blogging for 10 years, and am convinced that if you want to support causes, rather than starting your own news site, it would be better to leverage other news sites. A new site requires a lot of energy to build to reach any level of visibility that means impact. This needs funding, because not even the most generous souls can sustain the level of content creation it would take to get into Google news.

On the other hand, it is relatively easy to submit content to other websites that are already established and need a steady stream of content.

If your goal is to get visibility for causes, it is better to have a team creating content and submitting it to various sites. That way, you can have 4 upcoming news sites covering excellent content on the subject rather than one struggling to be seen site speaking alone on something no one else is noticing. This also helps create a perception among readers that more sites talking about it means more important issue. Additionally, they pay writers, so you will be able to devote more time to the work without worrying about where to earn from.

I'd recommend a strategy of taking an issue, creating several interesting articles around it, ideally from different angles, and submitting to various news sites. Your cause will get instant visibility and you will get paid. If they don't accept, try a second rung of sites that have visibility, but don't pay. Many of these robustly support causes and activism even if they don't pay and have audiences already interested in such subjects. Even if you don't get paid, your cause will get good visibility from multiple sources. My blog, is one. Another is There are many more.

It makes no sense to start a website unless it aims to address something that other sites won't cover.

No idea who is a lawyer, but writing in itself is not going to get you into trouble unless it is a really high risk subject - which you will probably have to discuss on case by case basis. No idea over here, but there are several lawyers and organizations happy to support individual voices facing silencing, not to mention internetizens who will raise holy hell in protest on social media, blogs and other platforms. In case of emergency, I could probably help you connect with someone.


Pirate Vik Fri 30 Oct 2015 11:05AM

@vidyut Thanks - it's helpful to have your insight. There is a particular scenario that I am trying to cover relating to content.
There is a discussion going on about producing a video to depict a certain point. The video is in the style of cassetteboy Can you post this type of content on your blog and afford journalistic protection?
I am looking to see how we can protect people doing work like this - or if we need to do that at all?
Do you think Indian news sites will carry this sort of content or do you think they will be afraid of legal action? I think there are some laws around defamation of politicians in India - but not sure. In the UK they don't get that sort of protection!


Vidyut Fri 30 Oct 2015 11:22AM

Sure. I'd publish it. If it was satire, it fits better on, which is also 100% transparently me. What sort of protection do you anticipate needing? I am a blogger, and my means are limited, but I can guarantee it won't silently vanish, ever unless the whole blog goes down at which point all bets are off, but the consolation is, I'll still be a higher value target than an individual content creator. Blog is ssl, so chances of being hacked /intercepted are low. A friend also very helpfully tries to find vulnerabilities every once in a while. So far, clean. But you don't need me for this. A youtube channel will do the trick on its own. This stuff is not something that needs to fear censorship.

Many Indian news sites would happily carry it too. For the riskier stuff, there are foreign news sites that will happily carry it too ;)


Vidyut Fri 30 Oct 2015 11:30AM

Defamation is more a silencing technique. it is very tough to get a judge to convict a journalist for defamation. Similar rules apply to other content creators. Silencing, if any is more likely to happen as an organized troll attack, slander or other targetted bullying or such. At worst I'll need a better server. Not end of world.


Pirate Vik Fri 30 Oct 2015 12:18PM

@vidyut That's great - I had no idea about Fek le! That looks like the perfect medium for this video. Yes, it should be considered political satire - and if you have protection as a journalist then I guess we're good to go.


Raju Devidas Fri 30 Oct 2015 1:45PM

@vik also check