Monday, August 24, 2009

Protect Freedom of the Press

It's time once again to remind ALL that freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of opinion IS freedom to think. It is time once againt to scold ALL who would deny any one of us the right to read any and everything we wish, to report whatever we may find worthy of reporting.
Indeed, this may mean that falsehoods are reported. Have YOU never ever not even once told a lie, not even a white lie? And you know what happens? You get found out. Because, and only because, everyone else can also say what they think about the situation, and thus, since we can all read it all, we can, if we wish, think about it and decide who is telling the truth, if anyone.
The current "crisis" relates to the following article published in a Swedish newspaper.

kultur - Publicerad: 2009-08-17
”Våra söner plundras på sina organ”Palestinier anklagar Israels armé för att stjäla kroppsdelar från sina offer.
Här berättar Donald Boström om den internationella transplantationsskandalen – och hur han själv blev vittne till övergrepp på en 19-årig pojke.
It concerns claims that Israeli troops transport the bodies of Palestinians killed in military actions back to Israel for their organs to be removed, i.e. stolen, for use in transplants there. Netanyahu labels it a lie and goes so far as to claim it proves Sweden is antisemitic and demands a "condemnation" of the piece by the Swedish government.
They, quite rightly, refuse to do so, reminding Israel, correctly, of the primal importance of freedom of the press.
Should Israel have evidence to disprove the claims of the rather dubious reporter for the rather dubious Swedish newspaper, then they should give this information to the press, which will certainly investigate and report further on the subject.
Just as in the case of the Mohammed caricatures, NO GOVERNMENT has the right to censor what newspapers print, nor what publishers distribute.
Freedom of speech is ONLY freedom of speech when someone can say something that YOU do not like!
Accusation of Organ Theft Stokes Ire in Israel
As the furor in Israel over the article gathered into a diplomatic storm revolving around questions of
anti-Semitism and freedom of speech, Mr. Netanyahu told ministers at a cabinet meeting on Sunday that the article, published in the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet, was “outrageous” and compared it to a “blood libel,” referring to medieval anti-Semitic accusations that Jews ritually killed gentile children and collected their blood. ...
Some have raised questions about whether Israel’s reaction has been counterproductive. Lena Posner, a leader of the Jewish community in Stockholm, told the Israeli news Web site Ynet that Israel had caused a “mess” by drawing undue attention to the original article and turning the debate in Sweden into one about the need to protect freedom of expression.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports today:
Im Büro Netanjahus wurde am Sonntag ein Eintrag Bildts in dessen Internet-Blog als positiv gewertet. In dem Blog schreibt Bildt, dass Artikel wie jener über den angeblichen Organhandel Verbrechen auslösen könnten, die antisemitische Motive hätten. Die Vorsitzende der jüdischen Gemeinde in Stockholm, Lena Posner, kritisierte am Sonntag die Reaktion der israelischen Regierung. Es sei bekannt, dass der Autor des Artikels Israel feindlich gesinnt sei. Der Artikel sei "versteckt" im Kulturteil des Blattes erschienen und habe bis zu den wütenden Reaktionen Israels "kein Aufsehen" erregt.
The Washington Post reported Friday:
Bildt said in a blog posted late Thursday that he would not condemn an article in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that suggested Israeli troops had harvested the organs of dead Palestinians. He said freedom of expression is part of the Swedish constitution.
"Freedom of expression and press freedom are very strong in our constitution by tradition. And that strong protection has served our democracy and our country well," Bildt wrote. "If I were engaged in editing all strange debate contributions in different media I probably wouldn't have time to do much else."
Bildt said he understood why the article stirred strong emotions in Israel, but said basic values in society are best protected by free discussion.
The article, published Monday, implied without evidence that there was a link between charges of organ theft from Palestinians and the recent arrest in the United States of an American Jew suspected of illicit organ trafficking. The writer, Donald Bostrom, based the story on accounts from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and his own experience of seeing a dead Palestinian man returned to his family with surgical stitches running the length of his torso. The article quoted an Israeli military spokesman who denied the charges and said that Palestinians killed by Israeli forces are routinely subjected to autopsies. ...
In his blog Thursday, Bildt rejected claims that Sweden harbors anti-Semitic feelings, adding that the condemnation of anti-Semitism was the only issue in which he has been involved where there has ever been complete unity in the Swedish Parliament.
He also drew a parallel between the current debate and the outrage triggered by the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in 2005.
"When we had an agitated discussion about what many people saw as official defamation of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, I think we gained an understanding that it is through openness that we best build the tolerance and the understanding that is so important in our society," Bildt wrote. "That is my belief in this case too."
The only solution is for ALL to have access to ALL and be allowed freely to think and form their own opinions.

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