Friday, April 10, 2009

Haiku 041009

freezing rain
on pine needles


Recently, we read the following:
International Press Institute: "Malaysia Arrests Bloggers, Bans Newspapers in Fresh Assaults on Expression"

“The International Press Institute (IPI) today expressed concern about recent arrests of bloggers, restrictions on news organisations and other breaches of free expression in Malaysia. In the past month, the authorities arrested six bloggers, denied several news organisations access to the dominant political party’s general assembly, and banned two opposition newspapers, according to IPI sources in Malaysia. These actions came as the ruling National Front, which is dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), faced rising public concern over the economy and as Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi prepared to hand over power to his deputy, Najib Razak….

"Malaysia, a nation of 25 million, keeps a tight rein on the media through the use of national security laws and media licensing regulations. The government has also been intolerant of opposition bloggers and has ordered Internet service providers to block critical blogs. Reporters covering political rallies or other events often face harassment from security forces….”

Publisher’s Note: Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

And we thought:
….Free expression, including the deliberate needling of subjects, may be a pesky beast. (Recall Sarah Palin's press coverage.) But it is a basic human right. Those in public governance need to just develop thick skin and be ready to be teased or criticized.
Or, to preclude being put in harsh light, they could just be decent and do their jobs as public servants. A responsible free press and public exchanges of public information, after all, keep government honest. Well, perhaps, not all the time, which is why we have to keep working at it.
And, perhaps, the Malaysian government holds itself to a different standard -- which would be another story….

1 comment:

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