Saturday, February 02, 2002
This is just low. Iain Murray blames the liberal media for the possible death of journalist Daniel Pearl. And why is this? Well its those darned Brits reporting on Guantanamo Bay.

Now I'm not a fan of the liberal media (and I don't think the bay of brigs is a Limey's business) but they need to be defended. Let's be clear here, Guatanamo Bay raises a lot of questions. To me the legal innovation of "unlawful combatants" is a worrying development (see Alan Bock for a more detailed exposition of the doubts on this front). To others the conditions of the American penal system seem somewhat horrific. The American press are not asking these questions, as you would naturally expect from a country on a war footing. This is not a criticism on the American press, if the roles were reversed - as they are on Northern Ireland - the British press would not be a bastion of critical detachment.

So questions are asked, as is the job of a free media, and sometimes the answers they suggest are wrong. We've all been astounded by the (right wing) Daily Mail's allegations of "Torture" and we should be astounded by Mark Steyn's equally witless idea that this is just a summer camp with wire mesh. So does this mean that the British press is culpable, and by extension should be submitted to some control in (America's) national interests.

The one bit of evidence that is offered is a report of a line in an e-mail that "said Pearl would be held in the same “inhuman” conditions as the Guantanamo prisoners". Did this e-mail say that it had read the Mirror (who along with the BBC is credited with Daniel Pearl's kidnap), or that they were listening to BBC? Well, that's not the point is it? The very idea that America's conduct could be questioned has put the life of this journalist at risk, according to Iain.

What rubbish. An American national was kidnapped in Pakistan in retaliation for an American attack on a neighbouring country. His treatment was as wretched as other hostages kidnapped by similar groups. Isn't that far more likely than being inflamed by foreign press reports?

Whatever the lessons of Daniel Pearl's kidnapping are, the urgent need for press censorship is not one of them.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive