Indian Parliament Speaker addresses UN on freedom of expression
Mentioning that in India we have a robust participatory democracy and a vibrant multiparty system where the hopes and aspirations of the citizens find expression through the elected representatives, Indian Parliament Speaker Om Birla said that all members enjoy the freedom to express their views and thoughts in Lok Sabha.
Birla was sharing his thoughts on the subject "Promoting peaceful co-existence and inclusive societies: Fight against intolerance" at the General Debate during 146th Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union. He referred to the unhindered right of Members to express their views in Parliament. This statement from the Lok Sabha Speaker comes after Rahul Gandhi in his address at the Cambridge alleged that the Opposition's voice was being stifled in parliament.
"Everybody knows and it's been in the news a lot that Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack. I am an Opposition leader in India, we are navigating that (Opposition) space. The institutional framework which is required for a democracy -- Parliament, free press, the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation, moving around -- all are getting constrained. So, we are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy," the Congress MP alleged.
Reiterating India's longstanding view that all global issues should be resolved peacefully through dialogue, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla informed that the Parliament of India has always held extensive and meaningful debate and deliberations on contemporary global challenges such as climate change, gender equality, sustainable development and covid-19 pandemic. He emphasized that global institutions propagating peace, harmony and justice are crucial for peace, prosperity, sustainability and just world order.
Highlighting India's readiness to fulfil its global obligations, Birla invited attention to the fact that India has carried out the world's largest vaccination programme against COVID-19 for its citizens and at the same time helped other nations in their respective fights against the pandemic by providing medical equipment and vaccines under Vaccine Maitri. Similarly, Birla was happy to note that India is leading the world in the articulation of the Global Climate Action Plan to combat the issue of climate change.
Observing that India has always given the message of peace and harmony to the entire world, Birla reiterated India's belief that building an inclusive and tolerant society is only possible through peaceful coexistence, mutual discussions and dialogue. He mentioned that our Parliaments have a decisive role to play in this regard.