Thursday, June 05, 2003

Freedom of the press, part II

And while we're on the topic, the US occupation authority is trying to impose a "code of conduct" on the newly freed Iraqi media. For their own good, of course:

Coalition officials say the code is not intended to censor the media, only to stifle intemperate speech that could incite violence and hinder efforts to build a civil society. The country is just too fragile for a journalistic free-for-all, they say.

"There's no room for hateful and destabilizing messages that will destroy the emerging Iraqi democracy," Mike Furlong, a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, told The Associated Press. "All media outlets must be responsible."

Just like they are in America, right?

Any Iraqi with a half-decent education (or an internet connection) can see the hypocrisy here. The US media is protected by the First Amendment, and can say whatever the hell they like. Yet the Americans - who claim to be bringing "freedom" to Iraq, remember - are denying that same right to the Iraqis. It's a perfect case of the unstated American axiom that there is one law for them, and another for subject peoples.

Fortunately there are plenty of educated Iraqis, and they are already raising a stink about it.