Business Standard

Freedom and the big freeze

When it becomes clear that criticism is difficult without trouble, the circle of one's freedom of expression shrinks


Illustration: Binay Sinha

Aakar Patel
Two terms that keep creeping into civil society reports on the India of our times are “chilling effect” and “shrinking civic space”.

Chilling effect is defined as the deterring of free speech through government laws and actions that appear to target free expression. The term goes back to the 1960s and to jurisprudence in the United States, which was coming out of what was called McCarthyism. This was a phase in which individuals were labelled as traitors by elements in the State in a similar fashion to what is happening here today.

“Civic space” is, apart from freedom of expression, the freedom
Disclaimer: These are personal views of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or the Business Standard newspaper

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Feb 16 2023 | 10:02 PM IST

Explore News

To read the full story, subscribe to BS Premium now, at just Rs 249/ month.

Key stories on are available only to BS Premium subscribers.

Register to