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Freedom of speech a myth in the West

Developing countries are not known for press freedom, and that's one of the reasons why they are developing countries.



I think Julian Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London not because of Ecuador's record on press freedom, but because of calculations of where his stake in not being extradited to the US was the best.

The Nation recently printed a Miami Herald article telling us that President Correa is closing broadcast outlets and newspapers. Yes, the Herald is right; governments do that in developing countries. But do you expect the same kind of government interference in the developed world? If not, what about the US and Wikileaks?

In the developed world we brag that governments don't censor the media. What actually happens is that the media, most corporate, censor themselves - like owners firing you if they don't like your views.

When politicians reduce press freedom and freedom of speech, we all see it clearly and make protests. But when corporate media reduce the very same freedoms, people in general don't see it, because it is done in more subtle ways.

Both systems are bad when they don't allow opponents to have a public say. With a wide range of views, you avoid indoctrination and manipulation. So, there is no reason to criticise Assange for choosing Ecuador despite its poor record on press freedom and on freedom on speech when the lack of press freedom and lack of freedom of speech in the West is what forced him to seek shelter in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Doesn't the WikiLeaks case show us that a developed country doesn't always make it better than a poor undeveloped country when it comes to press freedom?

Nordic Mind

Bangkok


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