WHILE the world celebrates the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the developed West must pledge to stop using the term freedom of expression as a shield to safeguard its interests and to victimize developing countries.
This selective approach and disparity leads to altering the definition of freedom of expression for one’s own objectives.
For example, in less developed countries, threatening state security or blackmailing state institutions is termed as freedom of expression by the developed countries while doing same in the developed countries is a crime.
The US government had recently launched an appeal against a British judge’s decision to block the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Washington, which is seeking to bring Assange to the US to face trial for publishing military secrets, must be condemned for violating Assange’s right to freedom of expression.
On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released leaked video from a US helicopter showing an air raid that killed civilians in Baghdad, Iraq, including two Reuters news agency staff.
In October 2010 WikiLeaks released 400,000 classified military files chronicling the Iraq war.
The next month, it released thousands of US diplomatic cables, including candid views of foreign leaders and blunt assessments of security threats.
An opinion published in DW highlights that while some laws in Germany though help uphold Germany’s democratic values, however, same laws are used by the government to put activists and journalists in a tight spot presumably on account of security considerations.
Recently a rising trend has been noticed in European media against Muslim countries in general and Pakistan in particular related to curbs on “Freedom of Speech” and journalists. The media group like DW is playing in the hands of dissidents and projecting false reports.
According to Article 19 of Universal Declaration of HR “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”.
However, every country of the world though guarantees freedom of expression but not absolutely.
Hence while commemorating this international day, international community/ organizations must apply same standards of freedom of expression for every state which will help improve the Journalists Impunity Index while making the world safer for all journalists.
On this 2 Nov, while the world pledge to seek impunity for crimes against journalists it must also vow to restrict media being owned
by investors using them as mouthpieces of power. It must be projected that free speech has been one of the great powers’ cultural bonds; birth right for some and cruel mockery for others.
Freedom of expression everywhere has its own limitations for instance National Socialism is constitutionally ban in Germany as it does not go along well with the state interest. Every state of the world must be allowed to apply this rule in its own jurisdiction.
If it was banned or illegal and punishable offence to talk about Holocaust, display of Swastika or trivializing of Nazi atrocities then other state-governments must also be respected for preserving their national security and integrity as per their own laws. —APP