Freedom of speech only good in the US

According to a Wall Street Journal report, a US army major was relieved of her duties and removed from the base when she argued that the order contravened principles of free speech. After all, these are principles guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which every US soldier must “solemnly swear” to “support and defend”.

But these contradictions fly everywhere. Having invested $20 million dollars over three months in the rebuilding of Iraqi state TV & radio, renamed the Iraqi Media Network (IMN), the US officials in charge of the contract began balking at the new network’s news output immediately it went on air.

Managers were told to drop the readings from the Koran, the ‘vox-pop’ man-in-the-street interviews (usually critical of the US invasion) and even to run their content past the wife of a US-friendly Iraqi Kurdish leader for a pre-broadcast check. The station rejected the demands and dug in their heels. “As journalists we will not submit to censorship,” Dan North, a Canadian documentary maker training Iraqis at the station, told Reuters.

US civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer III, in charge of the occupying powers’ Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), was said to be infuriated by the conflicting strategies in place at the IMN, which has two TV stations, a brace of local and national radio stations and two newspapers under development.

Index for Free Expression


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