Thursday, September 3, 2009
2 FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
On the 4the August 209 I filed a complaint against the Christchurch Press with the NZ Press Council on the grounds of the editor withholding information from letters published in the letter pages. Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) sub 2 states"
"Everyone should have the right of freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally,
in writing or in print , in the form of art or through any other media of his choice."
The complaint was not upheld by the New Zealand Press Council on the grounds that "freedom of expression" relates only to the relation between a "citizen and his Government". So: Freedom of Expression is a LIMITED right; there ARE FRONTIERS !
I do fully recognise the editor's right to reject, abridge or edit letters for linguistic, spelling, style and other literary error, which surely is what "editing" is about.
However, deliberately and consistently removing essential background references to books and other literature and sources of information from letters could not simply be explained by just "editing". It amounts to CENSORSHIP which I feel impinges on a person's right to freely express himself and impart information to the general public.
I regard "freedom of expression" and freely imparting information via the media as an integral and inalienable part of the democratic process.
The traditional corporate news media should NOT control and hold a monopoly in what readers may or may not hear. To-day we have an increasingly well informed educated core of people deriving their information from a broad spectrum of sources. Information disseminated to the general public via our mainstream local and national media is only "the tip of the iceberg" so to speak which in addition is also very often politically one-sided orientated. Hence members of the public commenting and contributing to the "letters of the editor" pages are providing a democratically healthy "counterweight", which should not be adversely interfered with in such a profoundly undemocratic manner.
This blogsite is the result of a personal very disappointing experience with our local newspaper The Christchurch Press. For many years I have contributed to the letter pages of The Press, mainly on the Middle East conflict. However the editors consistently removed all relevant references to sources of information from my letters. Also numerous efforts I made by referring to this blogsite were deleted from letters. So the question remains is this editing or is this censorship ?
You may have noticed that reports, information and letters to the editor relating to Israel, unlike Iraq at the time, are extremely scarce an sketchy, such in spite of the fact that events in the Middle East with its huge oil reserves and an ever increasing threat of escalating into a far more serious war with Iran, is also of paramount importance to our own very way of life and standard of living.
I am sure there must have been scores of letters to the editor that have been withheld from publication. When the editor was asked about this, the answer was: "We are currently not debating Israel".
We have watched on TV and read something about the Israeli onslaught on GAZA and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land and although all very sketchy and biased reporting the public is supposed to form an opinion, without having any notion about the historical events that have lead up to one of the most shocking humanitarian disasters of our times. This complete absence of background information does manifest itself in the very shallowness of the very few debates on the conflict in our daily newspapers.
It is with this in mind and the refusal of the news media to inform the public adequately and responsibly that I had decided to launch this blogsite in the hope to give some open minded people a little insight into the history of the creation of Israel, one of the most suppressed stories by our western, pro-Israel news media.
This blogsite does not purport to cover everything that has happened over the last sixty/seventy years in that part of the world. That would surely be a quite impossible task. But I do hope that it might encourage some readers to do their own research. Our city libraries have some excellent literature on the subject. However in time I will add and revise where necessary and refer to books, websites and other material when it comes to hand. I would also be very grateful for corrections, information and other comments from readers if they wish to contribute and improve the quality of the information.
News concerning the Middle East and in particular relating to the Israel/Palestinian question is largely dominated and tainted by the hugely financially powerful American Zionist lobby AIPAC(American Israel and Jewish Affair Committee) and in our part of the world the AIJAC (Australian/Israel and Jewish Affair Council). These Zionist lobby groups constantly exert intense pressure on Governments and our news media, amongst others Fairfax to which the New Zealand news media are affiliated and have great influence on the appointments of board of directors and the subsequent selection of editors. The Australian Jew Antoni Loewenstein in his book "My Israel Question" has gone to great length exposing these behind the scene activities of these organisations. The eminent British historian the late George Antonius warned us already many years before Loewenstein that: (quote)
"Zionist propaganda is active, well organised and widespread at any rate in the democracies of the West, is largely amenable to it, it commands many of the channels for the dissemination of news, and more particular those in the English speaking world"
Antonius continues: "Arab propaganda is, in comparison, primitive and infinitely less successful: Arabs have little of the skill, polyglottic ubiquity or financial resources which make Jewish propaganda so effective. The result is, that fore a score of years or so, the world has been looking at the Palestine mainly through Zionist spectacles and has unconsciously acquired the habit of reasoning on Zionist premises."