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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Banning Press TV, an Act of War Against Ideas

It's O.K. for the EU criminals to trumpet the rights of murderers to run "Innocence of Muslims" under the banner of "freedom of speech" but when it comes to pesky truth-tellers like Press TV they get the axe:  The 5th Estate will continue to carry Press TV as long as it is available as a counterweight against the lying shitbags of the so-called Western "mainstream media"   

PRESS TV
By Danny Schechter
10/15/2012
 
Back in the 1960’s, A British poet, Adrian Mitchell, one of the great bards wrote a poem that went on to become a Stage show in the West End of London, It was called “To Whom It May Concern:” Tell Me Lies about Vietnam and represented one voice among millions in the world then opposing that War.


It began with words that were its refrain:

“I was run over by the truth one day?

Ever since the accident I've walked this way ?

So stick my legs in plaster?

Tell me lies about Vietnam”

Years later, before his death, (and I was at the memorial service in London) he kept rewriting the last paragraph into what he called a remix. The poem took on a more global statement.

That verse was a play on a children’s song:

“You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out
You take the human being, and you twist it all about."

And then this line:


“Tell me lies about - Iraq? Burma? Afghanistan? BAE Systems? Israel? Iran.”

He understood well that Iran was one of the countries his country and others in the West (and their sycophantic media) are telling lies about. 

This poem came to mind in the days after the Nobel Prize Committee, for reasons best only known to themselves, decided to sully their Peace Prize by giving it to The European Union, an entity that is very much cheering on the pre-war against Iran with its own draconian sanctions.

These were the same people who for equally incomprehensible reasons gave the prize to Barack Obama in the hope it would put him on the path of the peaceful. It didn’t.

A day later, as more thoughtful minds puzzled over the choice of a bloc of nations that has inspired region-wide protests for its brutal austerity programs, the EU took its first step as a peace maker.

It blocked Iran’s ability to communicate with its own people, even as anyone knows anything about how peace is made knows that two way communications is essential. All parties to a conflict need to know what they other is thinking, need to know how they view the world.

Despite the fact that western media is available in Iran, and western journalists frequently report, or as many Iranians believe, distort the news from there, the West now wants to seal off more that Iranian oil. They want to sanction Iranian ideas and keep their own people from hearing and seeing what Iranian TV channels consider important. In short, they just want to hear their own voices. This is the very essence of a propaganda system posing as a commitment to free press.

Iran’s Press TV has earlier been kicked off British Television where it had built an audience, on the barest of pretences, and now with the connivance, no doubt of Her Majesty’s government is being barred, along with other Iranian channels from access to European satellites

Here’s the edict:

“European satellite company Eutelsat says it's pulled the plug on several Iranian satellite channels following an order by the European Commission.

Eutelsat told Press TV that it asked media services company-- Arqiva, to take Iranian satellite channels off one of its Hot Bird frequencies on Monday. Arqiva said in a separate statement emailed to Press TV that the decision was made by the EU Council. The channels include Press TV, al-Alam, Jaam-e-Jam One and Two, Sahar One and Two, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Qur'an TV, and al-Kawthar. European satellite firms had been jamming the Iranian channels for months before the decision was announced. Iran's Arabic-language news channel, al-Alam, has been jammed on a daily basis while airing a program on Bahrain.

Technical experts say the jamming was carried out by British technicians. Observers are saying the jamming and now the ban show the European Union does not respect freedom of speech and is trying to silence the voice of alternative media.”

So when jamming is not enough by countries who are the first to yell the loudest when their signals are blocked, they resort to outright suppression by, in effect, using their power over the “switch” to turn it off, and not let their own people see it.

Thinking about this affront to global communications, one is reminded of the war Adrian Mitchell first wrote about. In those days, it was Radio Hanoi that was blocked.

When I was in Vietnam, in 1974, I interviewed a radio broadcaster there who was constantly being denounced for calling on American soldiers to resist the war--perhaps because so many did. She was ridiculed as Hanoi Hannah.”

She, in turn, interviewed me. American spy satellites monitored the broadcast which was about cultural issues, and I was later called into the American Embassy in what was then Saigon and roundly denounced for talking to the “enemy.”

Years later, it was the American government that was talking to the enemy and suing for peace. The Nobel Peace Prize people then gave their treasured token to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Vietnam’s negotiator in chief, Le Duc Tho.

Le Duc Tho was outraged at this “balance” between the victim and the victimizer and turned it down! He stood by his truths.(I met him too!)

Today the US and Vietnam are uneasy allies and trading partners.

Banning Press TV is an act of war against ideas, a misplaced step that will not resolve any conflicts, will not promote peace or lead to more respect for Western ideas of “free speech and press.”

Quite the contrary, it will foster more polarization and tension and charges of hypocrisy.

The question is: will journalists in the West join me in denouncing this latest “sanction” against values that the West says it upholds.

Let’s give the last word to the late Adrian Mitchell:

“Where were you at the time of the crime?
Stuff my nose with garlic?
Coat my eyes with butter?
Fill my ears with silver?
Stick my legs in plaster?
Tell me lies about Vietnam”

And, may we add, Tell Me Lies about Iran and ourselves?

DS/JR

News Dissector and filmmaker Danny Schechter blogs at newsdissector.net. His latest books are Blogothon and Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street (Cosimo Books). Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org.  More articles by Danny Schechter


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