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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Police State, anyone?

As Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, comes under increasing Chinese terror, murder and genocide, it is always useful to suspend thoughts like 'It couldn't happen here' and question the nature of the freedoms we hold dear.

One of the problems in Tibet, as in Burma, is that when the ruling junta own the media, there is little possibility of the truth of their appalling atrocities reaching the outside world. And without media coverage to remind us, the rest of us, cosy in our Western democracies, go back to sleep or turn on some more enlightening reality shows instead.

After all, who's in uproar about Burma now? Nobody is who. And without support in the West, Tibetans will be equally crushed. They will be crushed because they can be crushed and no one will know because no one will hear about it.

The silencing of independent media is where a police state begins.

Now, here's a story, fresh today that should raise concerns. Four BBC journalists have been arrested by Gardai while making a programme about dissident Republicanism.

No doubt, as we still have a semblance of an independent media here and in Britain, the facts of this case will emerge over the forthcoming days. What is already clear is that the BBC are standing by their reporters and have stated that they were on duty, working on a programme for the network.

It will be interesting to see what charges, if any, the Gardai seek to press against them. It will be interesting to see what programme, if any, is eventually aired on television.

In the meantime, let us all hope that this isn't the start of something sinister.

I mean, it's not like the Gardai in Donegal to invent evidence, fit people up for crimes that didn't happen and generally behave like amoral criminals themselves, is it?


V said...

A certain sensibility there Mr. Skinner, bravo!

Conan Drumm said...

I'm reassured to hear the journalists were on active service for the BBC and not off on some freelance malarky.

JC Skinner said...

The hacks have been released, after a lengthy interrogation.
And the silence for now has descended, as predicted.
What sort of freelance malarky (one of them was freelancing for the Beeb, incidentally) did you think they might have been doing, Conan?

Conan Drumm said...

The sort of malarky that - if it isn't conducted with sound and objective editorial principles - ends up being irresponsible propaganda with glamourpuss shots of big men/women in balaclavas toting Aks, M16s or RPGs.

JC Skinner said...

Not the BBC's type of thing, I'd have thought. Not anyone in the Irish or British media's thing, to be honest.

Charles H. Harpole said...

Journalist go into closed nations the wrong way. Go in as a tourist...they love tourist $$$$... with a tiny, tourist-looking camera. No crew, no lights. Be goofy in your demeanor; mimic Michael Moore.
This way is easy to get real stories behind closed media walls. China and Burma want your tourist money. Help them out by being a tourist, but get the true stories while you are there.
CNN said, during the recent killing of marchers, that they could not get in to Tibet to get the story. HA, CNN HAS A MAJOR OFFICE IN CHINA. Take the new train! But, then CNN has to be good China residents, good boys and girls. Don't look to CNN for China truth. CNN has already bought into China, like America and all the other silent, cowed dogs.