Monday, June 23, 2008

Great moments in free speech

Here is further proof, should further proof be needed, that just because someone makes you a university professor it does not necessarily mean you are smarter than the average bear.

I give you Peter Phillips, described as a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University in the United States and director of a grand academic project going by the name of Project Censored.

Professor Phillips recently returned from a five day tour of Cuba where he was studying media censorship - an important issue, given the many negative reports published about media freedom on the island by such groups as Amnesty International, PEN, Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch, etc.

So far, so good.

Except that it seems the professor was in Cuba as an “invited guest” of the Cuban journalists’ union, which he should know as well as we do, is not really a trade union but an arm of the Communist Party.

And sure enough, the intrepid Professor Phillips finds that all that stuff you read in the capitalist media about censorship and harassment of journalists by the Castro regime is, well, absolute rubbish.

In an article published by the Cuban official media under the give-away headline, “Cuba supports press freedoms”, he reveals that he interviewed dozens of Cuban journalists, all of whom told him that "they have complete freedom to write or broadcast any stories they choose”.

In fact, he found that Cuban journalists "strongly value freedom of the press and there was no evidence of overt restriction or government control", which is "a far cry from the Stalinist media system so often depicted by US interests.”

See? All is OK.


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