Redline reader to Press editor on freedom of the press and terrorism hysteria

Posted: October 15, 2014 by Admin in Capitalist ideology, Censorship and free speech, Imperialism and anti-imperialism, Iraq, Middle East, New Zealand politics, Saudi Arabia, State repression, State terrorism, Syria, Turkey, United States, United States - politics

Public beheadings are common in Saudi Arabia; in August, for instance, four men were beheaded for smuggling marijuana into the country. At one point, however, due to a shortage of swordsmen, regional governors were given the power to use firing squads to carry out death sentences. Interestingly, we never hear about these executions – and certainly not in the Christchurch Press – but, then, Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s key allies.

The following is a letter to the editor of the Christchurch Press, sent by a regular Redline reader

You recently chaired a session on Freedom of Speech at the Christchurch Writers Festival – I wonder how this can be consistent with the Press‘ support for John Key’s move to drag NZ into fear and anxiety using dubious claims of impending terrorism? The Press has given up the opportunity to ask basic questions and make basic points in a nation where at least these press freedoms still exist.

So, says the Prime Minister, we should be afraid of the extremism and brutality of ISIS?  I wonder why these standards of human rights were seldom applied by Western media to Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein or Turkey when it mattered?  Saudi Arabia’s religious extremism makes Iran look friendly.

Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds and terrorised his own people with impunity when it suited the US.  And Turkey murdered tens of thousands of Kurds with US hardware and support.  Now we find the same media reporting that the Kurds are allies in the struggle of civilised nations against ISIS extremism and terror?   And ISIS being a product of cynical US alliances with extremism – again – when it suited them.

Please! This is ridiculous on any level of professional journalism you choose.

If the Press is going to stand for any sort of freedom then at least pay more than lip-service to it.  If, instead, the Press chooses to be an uncritical mouthpiece for right-wing propaganda then at least be sophisticated about it.


Andrew M. Welch
  1. Siobhán says:

    I see the Press has printed your letter Andrew.

    Writers festivals attract liberals and people who like to think of themselves as liberal/progressive, or at least open-minded.

    Then they go back to their day-job, like as editor of a capitalist paper, and it’s a totally different story.

    Compartmentalised lives and compartmentalised consciousnesses.

    Participating in stuff like Writers Festival is necessary so they can maintain fictions about themselves, the kind of fictions which are necessary to their self-image, like how liberal and open-minded they are.