How Can the International Community Advance Freedom of Expression?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 4, 2010
Journalists Tries To Interview Man in Police Van in Lahore

The world recognizes May 3 as Press Freedom Day. Secretary Clinton said, "The United States is committed to working in partnership with members of the media, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other concerned governments to defend freedom of expression and the brave journalists who are persecuted for exercising it."How can the international community advance freedom of expression?

Comments

Comments

Donna B.
|
California, USA
May 3, 2010

Donna B. in California writes:

Keeping the doors of communications open, holds firm with security, the walls for the freedom of expresion.

Our International Network of Social Ambassadors whether on Facebook, Google, etc. in merging together their humanitarian interests and dedicated work, are bringing together the Advancement for the Freedom of Expression.

Terence L.
|
California, USA
May 4, 2010

Capt. Terence L. in California writes:

I think the media favors bias leadership. The democrats haven't won over texas in over 20 years. One of the most violent, biggest state for immigrant importation, has republican leadership that favors false advertisement. Meaning all these favors republicans promise only go to the rich. Thats why the rich stay rich and the poor is forgotten about.

Bryan
|
China
May 4, 2010

Bryan in Hong Kong writes:

To my mind, both economic sanction and condemnation are not good means to solve the problem. Because they are not always useful and usually the pain will only be transferred to the commoners only, which is very inhumane.

The best way to solve the problem is holding international summits. Through the summits, the nations with mature freedom can guide and assist those less freedom states to enhance the freedom of express step by step. You know, this topic is quite complicated and absolutely impossible to get solved in a close future. By providing aids and guidance, I assume it is possible to improve the freedom worldwide, although it may take a long time to do so.

Second, for those less developed nations with less freedom, the US can provide financial aid in order to require them to improve the freedom. It is not a bad way too.

William F.
|
New York, USA
May 4, 2010

William F. in New York writes:

This is, I regret to say, what we call hogwash in the Southern US. Secretary Clinton did zippo when the American Disability Association sought her assistance in helping our published filmmaker, H. Patricio Burbano V., an disabled Ecuadorian who assisted us tremendously in Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador studying disability and poverty obtain a visa ... See Moreto enter the United States. After the first visa application was denied, I traveled to the US Embassy in Quito to request reasonable accommodations for the disabled filmmaker. He did NOT receive ANY reasonable accommodation at the embassy and I was abused by not being allowed to return to my car in handicap parking at the US Embassy Quito. It might help if the Secretary would practice as she preaches. She does not.

charge56
May 4, 2010

C writes:

Charging :

FREEDOM DAY...

LIBERTE'EUGUALITE'FRATERNITE'

THATS HOW TO GAIN FREEDOM

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 4, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Put an Afghan rock band on tour with U2, and do the final leg of the world tour in Afghanistan with the Rolling Stones, along with anyone who is anyone in rock and roll that has a band, to hold a musical "peace jirga" to raise money to help Afghans plant trees , get rid of landmines, and rebuild an environment disabled by war and poverty.

In the end even the tribal elders may agree, "It's only Rock and Roll, but I like it."

Or we could be less ambitious and simply start every state dept briefing with Jimi Hendrix's version of the "Star Spangled Banner" ringing in PJ's ears as he steps up to the podium and says, "Welcome to the Dept of State...."???(grin) In my dreams...

Attitude is everything.

Anna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
May 5, 2010

Anna in Washington, DC writes:

Make sure the internet is available to all worldwide. I'm glad Secretary Clinton is making this a priority, because it is in the interest of journalists and the public. I applaud Google, too, for its brave steps in China.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
May 5, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Ditto what Anna said.

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 5, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

I wish there were small scale, non biased news organizations not owned by powerful, wealthy interests. I'd also like to hear the unabashed truth not Republican/Democrat spin.

Also, statistics are used to sway public opinion. We need un-doctored statistics so that people get a true and accurate picture of what's being presented. They can start with immigration statistics. 10 million undocumented Mexicans? They mistakenly left a zero off.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 5, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ OC in USA,

Welcome to Dipnote OC, all the news about what your country is doing around the world that never gets reported by the media in general.

And the inside story on what does.

"I wish there were small scale, non biased news organizations not owned by powerful, wealthy interests. I'd also like to hear the unabashed truth not Republican/Democrat spin."
-OC in USA

There's a caveat to truth OC, it's called one's viewpoint.

Being a student of the human condition, I can sympathize with human error, human foibles, and human suffering, but 24/7/365 coverage is only a reflection of what people are focused upon...the more sensational the better the ratings get. Thus even terrorists have become media savy.

I have no symathy for the comercialization or manipulation of distasters... Pat Robertson comes to mind...and how much air time did mainstream media give that fool's remarks after the earthquake? When the public of Haiti would have been better served having a 24 hour worldwide telethon put on by MSNBC.

And who takes the time to watch an entire congressional hearing, if they even have the time? Or watch a press briefing?

Be lucky if it was devoted a 4 second soundbite in passing...and that's what most get by way of understanding.

It's hard to go to the source all the time and stay current, but it's worth it.

And thanks to C-span the public has a more accountable government through a better informed public.

Speaking from the end user viewpoint...

Beth M.
|
United States
May 5, 2010

Beth M. in U.S.A. writes:

I agree with Ana. If you set the goal as everyone is on the internet, then many other things would be accomplished along the way.

Everyone would have an education, and enough wealth to have access to a computer. Social networks would be there to share ideas, and a wealth of information would be there to build ideas on.

Michael K.
|
Australia
May 5, 2010

Michael K. in Australia writes:

Freedom of Expression?

A few days ago I tried publishing a mere science article in Indymedia known from ages as an accessible forum for independent publishing -- and none but a few American pages allowed it technically, the rest had been disconnected immediately after typing in, even of the UK locations reached from the Australian internet addresses still not filtered as supposed in the nearest future officially.

Abraham J.
|
India
May 6, 2010

Abraham J. in India writes:

Without doubt USA is the single most desired location of every other country men in the world to come and spend life. It is the place where life is supposed to be full. Human effort is well accepted and rewarded, irrespective of your skin, religion or nationality. Individual dignity and liberty is the most treasured virtue that USA’s socio-political system uphold.

But is it the predominant image of the USA that its government is projecting before the world? No. Certainly not. Its prominent image in the world is that of the most powerful country in its military as well as industry meaning.

The unparallel wisdom and sobriety of its founding fathers in establishing a nation based on certain hereto unheard principles of individual liberty and personal dignity was sidelined and ignored in the course of its progress. USA’s emergence as a symbol of liberty and man’s free spirit was indeed a great milestone in mankind’s history.

America could have set best example for other nations to follow its path for achieving human excellence in all fields.

The great example set in history by USA is mostly unknown to common man in the other parts of world. Hence world today is some what orphaned for want of a clear cut path that nations should adopt to lead nations to all around success, especially the emancipated spirit of their men. It is the absence of this emancipated spirit of man that nations by and large turn into functional anarchies but with the stamp of DEMOCRACY affixed on their letter heads!

America is attempting to install only the hollow symbols of Democracy in troubled countries in the world, but its foundational principles that was instrumental in creating their own great nation always ignored or not emphasized. This lead these pseudo democratic countries to indulge in self deception with the great principles of Democracy.

The passion of USA’s founding fathers about freedom and liberty, and their success in converting these virtues into national character of a people and a new nation was un-parallel in human history.

Alexis Tocqueville had observed many vital signs of US that every country must emulate:

“In America the lowest classes have conceived a very high notion of political rights, because they exercise those rights; and refrain from attacking the rights of others in order to that their own may not be violated.”

“To the European, a public officer is represents a superior force; to an American, he represents a RIGHT. In America, then, it may be said that no one renders obedience to man, but to justice and law.”

Leave the French man and listen to what your own Ayn Rand says what America should have taught the world:

”The system they (the founding fathers) established was not based on unlimited majority rule, but on its opposite: on individual right, which were not to be alienated by majority vote or minority plotting. The individual was not left at the mercy of his neighbours or his leaders: the constitutional system of checks and balances was scientifically devised to protect him from both.”

“THIS WAS THE GREAT AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT - AND IF CONCERN FOR ACTUAL WELFARE OF OTHER NATIONS WERE OUR PRESENT LEADERS’ MOTIVE, THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN TEACHING THE WORLD”

Those beautiful foundational principles are virtually died for the world, including perhaps, at least partially, in USA itself.

If people were real participants by head and heart in the country making and country running in the past, they more or less have become blindly applauding dump crowd these days – -like in the case of multitudes of other fake democracies in the world.! The original principles are at the verge of disappearing totally from the minds of people.

Emergence of USA in the political scene with its principles deep rooted ideas of inalienable freedom and dignity of man was the best thing that could happened to mankind ever! It was a miracle, but unfortunately short lived as we have seen in paragraphs above. Hence USA was compelled to intervene militarily and diplomatically at various destinations of the world to restore democracy. A symbol does not mean anything without its foundational principles no where in picture. Hence what America should attempt now is to sell its foundational principles in the troubled countries, instead of installing democratic figure heads.

In such fake democracies, the game is that of musical chair for capturing Royal chairs once abandoned by old time Kings and Foreign rulers! Real concepts like genuine human freedom is dumped underneath, under the smart rhetoric of the media as well as the class of political leaders.

Abraham J.

Susan C.
|
Florida, USA
May 6, 2010

Susan C. in Florida writes:

To advance freedom of expression/freedom of the press and internet, we must not allow corporations, or money alone, to dictate what is being reported or expressed. In recent years the news media has been "bought", on so many levels, by corporations and "big" money. We now receive their edited viewpoints and what they want us to hear and read. I have turned to any and all public radio and television in the pursuit of SOME freedom of information. Without a free press/media/internet, we will become no different than so many nations around the world. Heaven help us!! Freedom of expression is essential if we, or any other nation, are going to be truly free.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 6, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Folks may have raised an eyebrow at the thought of an Afghan rock band in my original post on this thread, let alone the idea I figured might advance freedom of expression, but there actually is one, called..."Kabul Dreams".

Mind you they are just fresh out of the "garage" and putting out their first CD, but represent the cutting edge of the cultural renassance taking place after years of repression of the arts under the Taliban.

afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/05/afghanistans-dreams-of-rock/

So if it's no conflict of interest, perhaps it would be worth it fopr the State dept to give Bob Geldolf and Bono a call and talk possibilities-a-la; "Put an Afghan rock band on tour with U2, and do the final leg of the world tour in Afghanistan with the Rolling Stones, along with anyone who is anyone in rock and roll that has a band, to hold a musical "peace jirga" to raise money to help Afghans plant trees , get rid of landmines, and rebuild an environment disabled by war and poverty."

I'd like to test a theory...that,

(In the end even the tribal elders may agree, "It's only Rock and Roll, but I like it.")

Well, all this is premised on the fact that diplomacy in practice is in the "art of the possible."

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 7, 2010

O.C. in USA writes:

I agree about the soundbite thing. Also, the government could do a much better job of advertizing the good things being done in Afghanistan. I saw a fascinating show that showed American soldiers getting Afghani's to bring their cows and animals in for veterinarian care. These are great stories that we never hear about. I wish we could see the new schools being built and watch the children coming on the first day. These are heart warming stories that let Americans know where and how their tax dollars are being spent but these stories are never part of mainstream news on a consistent basis.

Maybe the State Department should have a development news channel. As Americans we do a lot of good things and the recent idea of high impact development is welcome news but how that translates into real projects that affects people's everyday lives is missing. This website is another example. It should be the happening place like the BBC. It could be the one stop shop for what's going on in the world but it sort of fizzles. If the State Department joined forces with the BBC ie. interviews with Hillary, special development correspondents etc. this website might become the happening place. They'd get a lot more bloggers not just O.C. and Eric from Arizona. Not that we aren't interesting.

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 7, 2010

O.C. in USA writes:

One suggestion I made for Afghanistan was to outfit trucks as mobile computer libraries that could be brought into remote villages to teach the internet to the villagers. Or you could set up various online courses then give diplomas upon completion. You could start with construction. Once x numbers of villagers get their diploma you could have them start using their new knowledge on building a study center. If this project is built within the time schedule the village earns free computers, software, desks and chairs. A simple but adequate study center could allow more villagers to take online classes which should range from practical skills ie. plumbing 1,2,3,4, advanced plumbing projects, major sewer projects, construction, concrete, road building, surveying. Through this process, villagers will start to build their villages. Then the curriculum could be business, selling to foreign markets etc. Eventually, villagers could have a whole range of educational courses and skills that could be used all over Afghanistan to help with building up the country. If villagers are constantly kept busy learning and moving forward they'll become interested in their own lives and the Taliban influence should decrease.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 7, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ OC, A little geography lesson for ya!...New Mexico isn't Arizona (chuckle).

---

Abraham in India,

The great challenge democracy poses is in the choosing of it, and creating it in a nation's own image, with the building materials they have to work with.

All we can do is lend blueprints that have a proven structural integrity.

---

Susan C.,

Indeed, it is a sad day when journalists become lobyists for special interests.

---

Anyone here see the sci-fi movie "Contact" starring Jody Foster?

I think this was where the idea of universal uplinked internet educational capability was originally fielded.

Well, we have our Dick Tracy I-phones now, so why not?

Stranger things have happened.

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 7, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

Eric,

Oh Yeah! I knew it involved cactuses somehow.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 10, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ O.C.:

You know OC...there's a reason George Bush would apologize profusely for the "Texas invasion" every time he'd come visit our state.

Look up the "Gettysburg of the West" sometime.

We put the "wild" in wild West.

Billy the kid, Wyatt Earp, Kit Carson, Geronimo, Judge Roy Bean and a host of minor celebrities, foreign agents, spies, "the SantaFe Ring"...

And three separate cultures all living in peace.

Home of the atomic bomb, were we to split off from the union we'd automatically become a ranking world nuclear super power.

Thing about "Cowboy diplomacy" OC is that the job description involves mending fences and leading the herd to greener pastures.

As well as dealing with the occasional rustlers, coyotes and outlaws.

We have prickly things, poisonous things, chile so hot it will blow the steam out your ears while you breath fire and quench it with Margaritas.

What do you want for freedom anyway, a dull moment?

(chuckle)

Cerita M.
May 10, 2010

Cerita M. writes:

Great Information, thanks...This very helpful..

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
May 10, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Ranked number forty three on the per capita individual income scale among all fifty states too! (evil grin)

Ah, we kid because we love. I was taught about the "War of Northern Aggression" in Virginia's public school system just thirty years ago.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 10, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Flavius:

With the economy the way it is I think the rankings have probably changed somewhat.

We had a "sick" ski season this year which helped.

Not that it helped in your neck of the woods when you'all got the leftovers...

You know, we did to the Texans what the Afghans did to the British about the same time period and folks are still apologizing for their defeat all these years later...

Like, "get over it already."

(chuckle)

js
|
United States
May 11, 2010

J.S. in United States writes:

I like the idea someone mentioned of a 'development news channel.' But perhaps it could be used to showcase the work of journalists and citizens living under oppressive conditions.

(Not cutting aid to civil-society org's or condoning imprisonment of journalists would also be nice.)

ilia
|
Puerto Rico
May 11, 2010

Ilia in Puerto Rico writes:

In this age of computer technology there are no longer barriers anywhere for nations that lie close or everywhere in the world. A person can accesss information and then deploy it: freedom of expression. It has it good and bad consequences.

Under a free government any person has the talent and potential to grow in many directions as long he or she does not infringes upon the rights of others. Individualism. Not restrained by tyrannical restrictions of government. That is what is meant by democracy.

Yet there are those so called democratic countries that still surpressed freedom of speech and press.

Thruth is the only censor there is. Anything expressed in malice or false, therefore is not right.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
May 12, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

The United States can advance freedom of expression by withdrawing support from Hosni Mubarek if he does not lift the "state of emergency" he has imposed on Egypt since 1981 (and just extended for another two years).

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 13, 2010

O.C. in USA writes:

There is a beautiful little 12 year old Serbian boy receiving death threats for his pro American, democratic principles. His name is Rastko Pocesta. He loves America and he's even decorated his room with American flags. There's an article about him on the BBC. Can the State Department offer him a free trip to America this summer and give him the grand tour? Maybe one day he'll be Serbia's future leader. Can you please make a young boy's dream come true? This is one way to advance freedom of expression.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 14, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

In terms of defining freedom of expression...

The diplomatic challenge of any President or world leader is that someone will inevitably "make your day".

Just ask the man on the street...

(BBC News item)

"Diner Luann Haley stopped Mr Obama in his tracks with her comment: "You're a hottie with a smokin' little body."

The president hugged the 45-year-old but warned that First Lady Michelle Obama would be watching.

With a glance at the TV cameras, Ms Haley said: "That's all right. Hi, Michelle - eat your heart out!"

The spicy lunchtime encounter took place in New York state at Duff's Famous Wings, an eatery known for its Buffalo wings, a popular local chicken dish.

Mr Obama was later to deliver a speech on the economy in the hard-hit industrial city of Buffalo."

---

You gotta wonder sometimes if in international relations, meeting up, that folks are like the rest of us "commoners" and swap "war stories" behind closed doors for grins and giggles..."A funny thing happened on the way to this forum"...as so it goes along speculative lines...(chuckle).

I don't think this is an "American only- thing"

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