Tag Archives: freedom press

Freedom Of Press Under Attack In Israel!

Terrorism is the modern version of wrapping oneself in a flag and shouting that anyone who opposes your ideas is against the nation. An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam, goes on trial in the coming weeks on charges of while in the military service she copied secret documents and gave them to the newspaper, Haaretz. Her material led to a series entitled, “License to Kill” which described how the Israel Defense Force(IDF) had been carrying out assassinations of Palestinian militants in the West Bank even though a high court had ruled before use of force every effort should be made to first arrest suspected militants rather than killing them. One story described how senior Israel generals discussed a mission to assassinate Ziad Subahi Mahmad Malaisha, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Malaisha was killed in June.

The issue, as always, deals with “national security.” This is the same excuse used by President Obama to justify keeping in place Bush rules about not allowing the world to know when the American government violates the law. It is quite clear the Israel army does not wish its dirty laundry to be washed in public.

Dov Alfon, editor of Haaretz, stated what any believer in democracy thinks: “Israel is still a democracy and therefore we intend to continue to publish whatever public interest demands and our reporters can reveal.”

PM Erdogan-Freedom Of Press In Turkey To Praise Me!

Turkish Prime Miinister Recep Erdogan unleashed a storm of protest from the media when he made clear of his dissatisfaction with the writings of those who dared question his policies or behavior. Erdogan reached over the heads of members of the press and addressed their bosses: “now, I am addressing the bosses of these newspapers” and argued bosses could not say their employees had a right of free speech. According to Erdogan, “nobody has the right to create tension in this country, (to) create tension in the economy. We will not tolerate that.” Of course he went on to say anyone could criticize him, but, then again, “there are certain things that are established.”

The Justice and Development Party has begun a campaign against members of the armed forces who represent forces of secularism. Erdogan has the right to insist military leaders can not plot against his rule, but the reverse also applies. He cannot plot against those who oppose his policies. If Erdogan continues his policy of suppressing freedom of the press i will guarantee Turkey will never enter the European Union.

Israel Now Home Of Censorship!!

Throughout the past few hundred years Jews could be found among those fighting for the rights of people who were oppressed. Three Jews were among the ten people who founded the NAACP a hundred years ago, including a rabbi. A recent report by Reporters Without Borders(RSF) revealed Israel now ranks 93 out of 175 nations in the area of freedom of the press! The drop of 40 places is the result of stringent press regulations by the Israel government to prevent free reporting of what has happened in Gaza as a result of its invasion by the Israel Defense Force. According to RSF, “around 20 journalists in the g/aza Strip were injured by the Israel military forces and three were killed wh ile covering the offense.”

It is difficult for anyone who is Jewish to handle the reality of Israel becoming a nation which denies the right of freedom of the press. Surely, founders of the state of Israel who envisioned the new nation as a beacon of freedom in the Middle East will be turning over in their graves to learn what has happened because Israelis lost their moral compass due to fear of “national security.” Unfortunately, every modern dictatorship utters the expression, “national security” to cover up human rights abuses.

Gorbachev Blasts Lack Of Press Freedom In Russia

In an interview with the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, former Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev expressed concern regarding the state of freedom of the press in his country. He was particularly dismayed at the murder of four journalists who worked for Novaya Gazeta, a publication that frequently has been critical of the policies of Prime Minister Vladmir Putin. Gorbachev gave the newspaper money to purchase computers, “some of them were stolen and destroyed in an attempt to get rid of the sensitive information on the hard drives.” Gorbachev expressed hope the investigations into the murder of reporters, but was pleased President Medvedev recently granted an interview to the newspaper.

Gorbachev believes the interview reflects a desire on the part of President Medvedev to restore a semblance of freedom of the press and to warn those who attack reporters. Gorbachev expressed his belief that freedom of the press will continue its progress and Russia is “moving in the right direction” on this issue.

Are Letters To Editor Protected Under Press Freedom?

An interesting case has arisen in Indonesia over the issue as to whether a letter to the editor is protected under provisions of freedom of the press. The Indonesian Press Council wants clarification regarding what is the status of freedom of the press as it pertains to letters written to the editor about issues of concern to citizens. Four people wrote letters to the editor complaining about a company’s fraudulent behavior. The company sued for defamation of character under criminal law provisions. In April, 2008, one court found Pan Ester guilty of defamation while another court found him innocent on grounds his letter was covered by freedom of the press. A government official, Leo Batubara, noted: “It shows how law enforcers do not embrace the same legal standard when handling similar press-related cases.”

This is clearly an important issue about freedom of the press. Does a letter to the editor automatically fall under provisions of what newspapers are allowed to print? Should newspapers have disclaimers in their letter to the editor section? This is probably an are of freedom of the press that must be carefully examined.

Justice –Afghanistan Style!

The decision to invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban from its dictatorial rule was made in hope the liberated nation could achieve a new birth of freedom. President Bush proclaimed the need to drive from power a group of medieval minded clerics who had crushed all forces of secularism. In an interview with a reporter from England’s The Independent, Pervez Kambaksh, described the farce of a so-called judicial process conducted by medieval minded clerics. “There was no question of me getting a lawyer to present me in the case, in fact I was not even able to speak on my own defence.” The 23 year-old student who was sentenced to death for the crime of downloding material from the Internet dealing with women rights now sits in a jail awaiting his fate.

The four minute hearing has resulted in a four month jailing where he is in a 10 by 12 metre cell with 34 others, including murderers, robbers and terrorists. Nearly 360 prisoners are packed into a facility designed to handle 200. Among the inmates are 22 women conicted of dserting their husbands and adultery. The Independent took up his case and so far has gathered over 90,000 signatures on a petition to free him. Its campaign also resulted in an international furor over the incident. Mr. Kambaksh was charged with writing the aritcle but no proof was given for the accusation. He describes going to a court where three judges and the prosecutor declared the death sentence.

The issue is not whether or not he wrote an article since writing an article should never be a crime. The issue is what has happened to the effort to create freedom and democracy in Afghanistan. Why are women imprisoned for leaving husbands or for adultery? Are any Afghan males imprisoned for leaving wives or adultery? Why are NATO and American forces risking their lives to protect a group of bigoted clerics? In which way are those we defend different from those we oppose? The Bush Afghanistan policy has failed in the same manner as his policy in Iraq. Nearly four thousand Americans have died so women can be oppressed and bigotry rule unchecked.

Freedom Of Press Challenged In Turkey

The Turkish publisher of the best-selling book by Richard Dawkins may wind up in court for daring to publish a book written by an atheist. The prosecutor is investigating whether to charge publisher Erol Karaasian with getting out a book that supposedly incites religious hatred and insults religious values because Dawkins questions the existence of a God. As of this date, the book has sold about 6,000 copies in Turkey.

It is actions such as these which endanger the possibility that Turkey will be accepted into the European Union. The assumption of the Turkish prosecutor is that it is forbidden to insult religion, but perfectly legal to insult those who are atheists. As far as it is know, no Muslim author of leaflets and publications which preach hatred toward Jews or advocate suicide bombing which results in the death of innocent Muslim men, women, and children, has ever been threatened with inciting hatred or violating religious values. One assumes killing children is not justified under any ground in the Muslim religion. This incident also makes one wonder if the Turkish government has better things to do than pester a book publisher who sold 6,000 copies in a nation of millions. If Turkey does not accept European Union standards of freedom of speech and the press they will never be admitted. So, which is it–worry about a book selling 6,000 copies or get into the EU?

A Reporter’s Life In Iraq– Intimidation Or Death

Safa al-Mansoor, writing from Basra describes the lives of reporters as one in which intimidation or death are constant companions. Majid al-Brekan, who works for Radio Sawa, funded by America, has been shot at, threatened and told his life would soon be over. “We are fearful and cautious about our work,” he says, “we can’t report the fully story in detail because no one protect us.” Several reporters have fled Basra because of death threats and three have been killed in the past few years. Last year, a website of an unknown militant group posted a hit list of 17 Basra journalist. Some of them immediately left the city. Journalists say any criticism of political parties or militias is a red line that should not be crossed if one wants to live. This lack of reporting allows corruption and killing to go unreported. Journalists also indicated no one dares write about Iran’s role in formenting terrorism.

The goal of George Bush was establishing a democratic Iraq. His policies have led to creation of terrorist groups that hamper freedom of speech, the press or religion. Perhaps, it is ironic, that Bush has always obtained the exact opposite result of whatever he does in foreign policy. The tragedy is people suffer due to his incompetence.

Russian Journalists Fight For Freedom Of The Press

Russian journalists in the Saratov region sent an open letter to President Putin urging him to protect freedom of the press which is under assault by the president’s political party, United Russia. A local paper reported that State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin accidentally had shot a woman with a speargun and was immediately charged with libel by state prosecutors. This incident comes after a paper printed a satirical cartoon of Putin and faces the prospect of not being able to publish any longer. The reporters believe United Russia is engaged in a full scale effort to crush freedom of the press in Russia and will not allow any criticism, however minor, to be printed in newspapers.

Russia is facing a crisis regarding freedom of speech and the press. Continued economic progress had made the average Russian less interested in their basic right of free speech. Putin employs subtle methods of silencing opposition to his rule.