• Freedom of the Press Fail in Iraq

    January 27, 2012

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq

    The goal of a democratic Iraq propelled the US through almost nine years of occupation, and still serves as part of the hilarious justification for maintaining the World’s Largest Most Expensive Embassy (c) there. Thank you, soldiers, for your service.

    Democracy has many moving parts; an earlier blog post showed that implementing the rule of law in Iraq has fallen apart faster than a Chinese-made Rolex. Bought in West Africa. In the rain. And the guy selling it gives you a special friendship price. And you drop it. In that rain, so it gets rusty.

    Family Guy asides aside, a key pillar of democracy is freedom of the press, the right to air different opinions, criticize the government, even say rude shit about Thomas Jefferson if you want, that kind of thing. As it is said, “The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom. Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them.”

    The nice people at Reporters Without Borders track the way different countries implement this freedom, or not, and produce yearly rankings.

    Sadly, the US comes in at number 47. Iraq, however, trolls the pathetic mid-ranks at 152, having fallen 22 places as the US war of terror packed up and left the country. That places freedom of the press in Iraq below that of such inviting democratic hot spots as Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Venezuela. Quite an accomplishment given the resources the US poured into establishing new media as part of the reconstruction of Iraq.

    Here’s some specifics on press freedom in Iraq from Reporters Without Borders:

    The threat to Iraqi media staff today comes above all from the authorities or political figures that block them from gaining access to certain areas. Abusive measures and legal proceedings against newspapers for “defamation” have become commonplace. Even media that are considered to be pro-government cannot escape this pressure.

    Alongside court proceedings and the resulting heaving fines, there has been an upsurge in threats to the safety and physical wellbeing of some independent journalists. Armed groups, but also Iraqi police and the authorities responsible for law and order have all threatened or committed acts of violence against them.

    Though possessing only at best a tenuous grasp of the concept of irony, I could not find any comments from the World’s Most Expensive Embassy (c) on Reporters Without Borders’ announcement.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Lisa said...


      The U.S. — bastion of and enforcer of freedom ™ — only makes a paltry 47. And what is that gives us the right to teach freedom to our resistant fellows?

      And Iraq, that “welcome them with roses” country @ 152, no surprise. “Quite an accomplishment” (NOT), indeed. Sadly, mission not accomplished.

      01/27/12 9:49 PM | Comment Link

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