Freedom of Speech / Press
You there are times when you have to think, “I’m glad that I live in America” or at least in a country/province in which I have freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Especially now. Today, I was reading several NYTimes articles on the censor-ship of coverage of all the protests and turmoil going on in Iran. (I’m not going to get into the political nature of the dispute between the parties.) And if you haven’t been keeping up with the news it basically boils down to there was an election last week and the group already in office proclaimed a landslide victory, despite a lot of public criticism prior to the election of the people in office. Now, those who have voted for the opposition party are taking to the streets in protest and calling for a recount. But the people in office are trying to suppress the protests by removing their means to coordinate and organize, such as text messaging, cell phones, even Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The article said, “Already, text-messaging, Web sites, mobile phones, social networking services and other possible avenues of outside agitation have been rendered sporadic by government interference.”
How is this related to photography?… International journalists and photographers are not allowed to report on the protests. And if they do, they face severe punishment.
In a related NYTimes article, it said “On Tuesday, the government revoked press credentials for foreign journalists and ordered journalists not to report from the streets. On Wednesday, government officials telephoned or sent faxes to reporters in Tehran working for foreign news organizations ordering them not to venture outside to cover events being held without an official permit. That included rallies by supporters of Mr. Moussavi and news conferences or other public events held without the government’s approval, reporters in Tehran said. At least one newspaper has stopped printing.”
A BBC Article said, “Heavy restrictions have been placed on the BBC and other foreign news organisations. Reporters are not allowed to cover unauthorised gatherings or move around freely in Tehran – but there are no controls over what they can write or say.” So at least these international news agencies can say something with little first hand accounts.
Here’s another interesting NYTimes article on the subject.
Again… I’m glad I have the freedom to photograph nearly anything (within reason) that I choose.