Tuesday, February 8, 2011

International Media

Who are the Media?

IN these great United States The First Amendment protects the freedom of the press, a right for media to exist in whatever outrageous form it might be manifest in.

For the average American, this freedom is taken for granted but in places around the world, it is much more difficult and dangerous to attempt to Free the Press.

According to the French NGO Reporters Without Borders the United States ranks 20th in their annual "Press Freedom Index" behind Germany, Japan, Austria, Lithuania, the UK, and all of Scandinavia. Aside from being middle-of-the-pack among industrialized nations, many key US allies around the world are embarrassingly low on the French RSF's index, such as Yemen in 170th, Tunisia in 164th, Pakistan in 151st, Mexico in 136th, Israel in 132nd, Iraq in 130th, and Egypt in 127th.

As you might have learned from the link above, an Egyptian journalist was shot while covering the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo. In fact, in addition to this singular tragedy, journalists across Egypt covering the weeks of youth-ignited rallies were under fire from the military as well as Mubarak's executive security forces.

Notably, American CNN Journalist Anderson Cooper was attacked by violent Pro-Mubarak protesters, probably hired by the same people responsible for this.

Let us not forget that our government was deep in bed with Mubarak's 30 year regime, offering them $1.3 billion in aid annually, second only in US aid to Israel. More recently President Obama has come out in favor of the throngs of Egyptians camping out in Tahrir Square, demanding their basic human rights, including the freedom of press. The irony is that we spent literally billions of dollars over the last 30 years oppressing these very same people. Pardon my French, but what balls Obama has to step up and pretend to support these people.

In fact the United States has been perpetrating this same foreign policy feint for decades. Supporting oppressive regimes that benefit us economically while ignoring their human rights violations on the one hand, and deposing other autocrats or "dangerous powers" in advantageous situations with impunity on the other.

Probably this is a tiny, distant idea to you. There seems to be almost no one who will admit this openly, on television, in print, in any media in this country. The exception is of course the internet, as well as Dr. Noam Chomsky, who has been trying to prove and popularize this viewpoint for decades.

The question I began this post with "Who are the Media ?" has unequivocally not been answered, but its led me to observe and critique some pre-received ideas about how free our press is.

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