Friday, 20 February 2009

Freedom of speech you say....

I consider blogs to be pretty much private property – or maybe private intellectual property is a better term? But also that we are responsible for the consequences of what we say in the public domain whether it’s in a blog or in our living rooms.

The increase in questionable coverage of the Middle East is becoming tiresome and I am in full agreement with much of what Boss man Alex says in his excellent blog entry on freedom of speech (FoS). Maybe this is a product of the suspicious times that live in but – rather cynically – I think the very concept of ‘freedom of speech’ is often a bit of woolly marketing talk.

Now hear me out – I do think FoS is incredibly important and that it is a privilege to have. However, with so many people offering their (often unsolicited) opinion of freedom of speech in the Middle East I’ve decided I’m ready to offer my (also unsolicited) opinion of freedom of speech in the West. HAHA I say….

There’s many ways the media is put under pressure to print the ‘right’ kinds of stories and not question the status quo. Really who wants to be accused of ‘jeopardizing national security’? The US government is notorious for manipulating the news cycle and keeping journalists in line by sulking and cutting their access to information and spokespeople.

Even on a day-to-day level, we’ve all seen the BBC mired in controversy time and time again for the more colourful commentary of its presenters.

So, there you have it. I agree we have a way to go with freedom of speech but frankly – who doesn’t? And crucially, cultures evolve as per their surroundings and societal need. This isn’t fashion or some sort of business based best practice and no one’s ‘way’ is necessarily better than others.

While we’re on the topic - Muntadar al-Zaidi facing up to 15 years in jail for expressing himself at George Bush is shameful. This is a spectacular fail for the US and Iraqi governments and a travesty of the legal process.

Over and out…

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