Today the American media celebrated the release of journalist Roxana Saberi from an Iranian prison and congratulated itself on standing up for democratic principles. I mean, what kind of crazy government jails journalists? Well, we do, for one. Funny, the press never mentioned that. Of course, there is a big difference between Ms. Saberi’s case and that of journalists “detained” by the U.S. as part of its War on Terror: at least Saberi received some semblance of a trial, an appeal and a lot of media coverage– and she was released after only three months.
Since 9-11 our government has jailed dozens of journalists without charges and without trial. Although most have been released, Sami al-Haj, an Al-Jazeera cameraman, was held in Guantanamo for six years. When it quickly became clear that he was only a cameraman, instead of being set free, he was interrogated over and over about Al-Jazeera and even asked if he would be willing to spy for the U.S. on the Arab news agency.
Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was “detained” in Iraq for two years after taking photographs that seemed to be at odds with the official Bush Administration claim about progress in Anbar Province. His case is not unusual. To this day U.S. forces still refuse to release Ibrahim Jassam, a freelance photographer for Reuters, even though an Iraqi court demanded his release after finding no evidence against him.
So you see, crazy, tyrannical governments are in the eyes of the beholder. Where’s the American media? It seems they have the same problem as their Iranian counterparts getting the truth out.
For more info, see Glenn Greenwald’s May 11 blog: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/ Greenwald, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting, is an excellent source of independent thinking on the issues of the day.
Also, tired of the jingoistic reporting of corporate-sponsored media? Try Democracy Now’s daily War & Peace Report, the largest public media collaboration for independent news journalism, hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Goodman.