What is the Digital Patrakar Defence Clinic?
The Digital Patrakar Defence Clinic or the DPDC is a one-of-its-kind pro bono legal clinic for journalists in India. DPDC was instituted by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), keeping in mind the rising threat to freedom of speech and journalistic expression in India. Our goal is to make freedom of speech and expression an inalienable right for journalists, as legal support to fight censorship and systemic silencing is often expensive and out of reach for many.
What kind of legal aid does the Clinic offer?
The Clinic provides pro bono legal aid in the form of legal representation, pre-publication guidance, second opinions, drafting and research assistance, and reference to our network of lawyers to journalists.
What is the fee for availing the services of this Clinic?
The Clinic charges no legal fee for the pro bono legal aid provided by it.
Is this a webinar?
No, DPDC holds one-on-one sessions with lawyers to provide legal aid to journalists. Journalists from across India can attend the Clinic (on Zoom) and seek free legal support from our partner lawyers, who are experts on freedom of the press, criminal law, digital rights and free speech.
Who are the people behind the Digital Patrakar Defence Clinic?
The lawyers behind the Clinic are Apar Gupta, Vrinda Bhandari, Abhinav Sekhri, Tanmay Singh, Sanjana Srikumar, Anandita Mishra and Krishnesh Bapat. The weekly consultations are conducted by Abhinav Sekhri and Sanjana Srikumar.
Mr. Sekhri graduated from NLSIU, Bangalore and completed his masters in law from Harvard Law School with Inlaks and Tata Scholarships. At present, he predominantly works in the field of criminal law and procedure. His experience spans a vast array of criminal litigation, including several cases at the intersection of free speech and criminal law.
Ms. Srikumar graduated from National Law University, Jodhpur and is currently an LLM candidate at Columbia University. She is an advocate practicing at the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India, with her work focussing on issues of human rights and civil liberties.
If your work is pro bono, how are the lawyers at the Clinic compensated?
We are publicly-funded by the people of India and have also received support from UNESCO.
Who is eligible for Legal Aid?
Anyone who does critical commentary on current issues is eligible for legal aid at the Clinic. Based on this broad definition, the Clinic defends the rights of reporters, multimedia journalists, all media workers and support staff, community media workers, bloggers, cartoonists, and citizen journalists.
How do I register for the Clinic?
You can register for the Clinic by completing this form that will allow us to understand your legal issue and help us assist you better during the one-on-one session.
I am a lawyer. How can I become a part of this initiative?
We have a network of the best experts in the fields of criminal law, free speech, press freedom, and digital rights. You can offer your time and services to become a part of our stellar legal network. Reach out to us at [email protected] if you are a lawyer looking to volunteer your services.
I head a media organisation. Can all my members avail legal aid at the Clinic?
Yes. The process is the same. Your members can register by completing this form or writing to us at [email protected]. We conduct special sessions and provide preference to members of our partner organisations. You can write to us at [email protected] to partner with us.
I am a sponsor/donor/grantor. How do I support the Clinic?
If you as an individual or an organisation are looking to become a champion of constitutional freedoms and liberties by making them accessible for every journalist in the country, then you may consider supporting DPDC to sustain the Clinical legal aid work. Reach out to us at [email protected] if you are an individual or an organisation who can sponsor DPDC’s efforts. Alternatively, you can also become an IFF member or make a one time donation here.