A Daily "Thought"

8/20/2014

On The Right To Know, Freedom of the Press & Other Thoughts

It has been a terrible week for journalism around the World.     The horrific report out of Iraq about the execution of James Foley was the most extreme and horrible example of the challenges Journalists face all around the World.    Although I did not know this man personally, from the accounts I read of him and the interviews with his friends,  he was shown to be one of  those selfless souls who dedicated his life to educate the World on the perils of the war in Libya, Syria and Iraq.   May his soul Rest in Peace, grant his courageous family the solace to deal with this tragic loss and may we all see the day that the killers who did this in what they perceive to be their twisted sense of faith be brought to justice.     

As the World has come to grips with the tragic death of Mr. Foley,   there is also what has happened to the New York Times' Matthew Rosenberg.  I read with great interest his gripping and truthful account of the profound political challenges in Afghanistan.    The Afghan Attorney General apparently did not like it--and brought him in for Questioning.    One point on Twitter made said it all:  his only crime was to expose the truth.    The reality on the ground is that the Taliban are ever so emboldened as the Obama Administration reaffirmed its' commitment to the Withdrawal of all forces.     It is quite a dilemma especially as Iraq withers away as a Nation as the Islamic State Thugs continue the rampage throughout Iraq and Syria.     What is so ironic is how these thugs want to create their "state" and want to impose a per-medieval condition on that part of the World while employing the most sophisticated P/R effort out there today to spread their messages of hate.     

Meanwhile, back in the United States, there is also the continued persecution of Journalists and whistle-blowers.   Although President Obama came out reaffirming people's peaceful right to protest and for the information to be disseminated, the reality has in fact been different.   This is as there is an increased militarization of Police Departments.     I remain hopeful that just as Snowden brought the very essence of transparency and accountability to bear with his actions, Ferguson also serves to be a pivotal  moment for America so that such is avoided:

Officer appears to threaten cameraman covering chaos in FergusonAn officer appears to have threatened Mustafa Hussein of Argus Radio, a member of the media livestreaming the chaos in Ferguson last night. "Get the f--- out of here and keep that light off or you're getting shelled with this," video shows -- although the audio is somewhat garbled. Last week, police arrested Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly as they were reporting on the unrest in the St. Louis suburb following the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

I was online commenting and monitoring these live feeds and the scenes were absolutely horrific--and I salute  Mustafa and all who put themselves in Harms' Way.     


It is also fitting to remember all Journalists who continue to languish on in Prisons.    Jason Rezayian of the Washington Post and his wife continue to be detained and I have not received reports of them being released.    Al Jazeera Journalists continue to be languishing in Egyptian Dungeons.   It has been a pleasure for me to add my voice to call for the Al Jazeera staff to be released because Journalism is not a crime.   


The need to fight for transparency and accountability is ever so critical if we insure a more viable future.    The challenge is to sustain that sense of courage to do it.


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