TWO VIEWS OF GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP

Two governments are cracking down on freedom of the press, condemning unauthorized disclosures of information that officials prefer to keep secret from the public – and calling for the prosecution of journalists.

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Two governments are cracking down on freedom of the press, condemning unauthorized disclosures of information that officials prefer to keep secret from the public – and calling for the prosecution of journalists.

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The first government is China, which is proposing to fine any news media for reporting on strikes, riots, natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, or other “sudden events” without prior authorization from the government. This censorship is not unexpected in China, which is ruled by a repressive regime that actually owns the country’s media outlets, has an agency for the “Protection of State Secrets,” and has a long history of news blackouts.

The other government, however, is the BushCheney Regime here in the good ol’ USofA – a nation that proudly puts “freedom of the press” right up front in our sacred First Amendment. The Bushites are on a tirade against the New York Times for its reporting on Bush’s classified program of snooping into millions of private banking transactions by U.S. citizens and others.

Even though this spy program had previously been reported and even had been touted by George himself shortly after 9/11, Bush & Company apparently saw the Times as an ideal whipping boy in this election year. So, they’ve launched a major political campaign against the paper, hoping to rally their right-wing base and to chill other journalists who might dare think of reporting on such insidious spying.

George led the charge, calling this exercise of press freedom “disgraceful.” His toadies in congress then rose on their hind legs to call for the criminal prosecution of the Times for violating the antiquated and sinister Espionage Act.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Ironically, while lawmakers here in our “Land of the Free” are howling for media repression, lawmakers in repressive China are rebelling against the latest censorship there, calling for greater media freedom – and more democracy.

Sources:
“Beijing Official Says Curbs Apply to Foreign Journalists,” The New York Times, July 4, 2006.
“China Weighs Fines for Reports on “Sudden Events,” The New York Times, June 26, 2006.
“Outcry greets new Chinese bid to muzzle media,” The Globe and Mall, June 28, 2006.
“Chinese Media Law Would Require Consent to Report on Emergencies,” The Washington Post, June 27, 2006.
“Censors tighten grip on bearers of bad tidings,” The Times, June 27, 2006.
“Bush Says Report on Bank Data Was Disgraceful,” The New York Times, June 27, 2006.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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