Sunday, June 22, 2008

Duck and Cover!

When it Comes to Al-Dura, Journalists Are Against Free Speech, writes John Rosenthal in Pajamas Media. French journalists falsifies story. French media supports liar, sues party trying to keep them honest. First court rules in favor of the best connected.

It is this insight — an insight that one would expect to be entirely banal in a democratic society — that underlies the higher court’s ruling. The court did not find that the fraudulence of the Al-Dura report had been “proven,” but it found that Karsenty offered sufficient and sufficiently serious grounds for the claim of fraudulence to make it a legitimate matter of public debate.

To have ruled otherwise — as the lower court did in its original ruling — would be, in effect, to institute a sort of crime of lèse majesté protecting journalists and news organizations from criticism: placing them above society and the mere “lay persons” who are then supposed to accept the claims of the “news professionals” without question. Le Nouvel Observateur’s “Appeal for Charles Enderlin” positively exudes such a sense of corporate privilege, as Richard Landes and his commentators on Augean Stables were quick to point out.
And of free speech:
It is on account of this massive funding by France and the European institutions that I have suggested that RSF be referred to not as a “non-governmental organization” (NGO), but rather as a “para-governmental organization”: a “PGO” whose supposedly objective assessments of the situation of press freedoms around the world are in fact largely and obviously influenced by the political agendas of its principal state sponsors. (See part II of my exposé here.)

Robert Ménard’s attitude to the Al-Dura affair is just further confirmation of the “PGO” status of Reporters Without Borders. By breaking his silence and signing the Nouvel Observateur “Appeal,” Ménard has now explicitly come out in favor of suppressing Philippe Karsenty’s right to criticize Enderlin and France 2. He has thereby pulled off the remarkable feat of outing himself and the “press freedoms” organization he heads as, in effect, enemies of free speech.
It’s just another day in paradise.

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