Head over to The Gabbler (now also on Medium!) to read Lisa DeBenedictis’s exclusive interview with two of history’s greatest rivals.
The greatest threat to the freedom of the press and expression doesn’t come from extremists — it comes from government itself.
Leaders and dignitaries from across the world convened in Paris on Sunday in a show of unity following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Unfortunately, many of the governments represented have atrocious records dealing with the press and freedom of expression in their own countries. To mention a few:
- Britain’s government did it’s best to hamper the Guardian’s ability to report on state surveillance revelations from the Edward Snowden documents.
- Turkey’s government just arrested the editor in chief of a leading newspaper and is constantly prosecuting cartoonists for drawing-related crimes.
- In a highly-flawed trial, Egypt’s government jailed 3 Al Jazeera journalists for aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.
- The U.S. government — and the Obama administration in particular — has aggressively pursued and jailed whistleblowers that speak to journalists. The only CIA employee to face jail time for the torture program at the agency was John Kiriakou, who tried to expose it.
The brutal deaths of the cartoonists, editors and journalists at Charlie Hebdo are a tragic loss.
As eloquently put by Joe Randazzo, a former Onion editor, “This is a loss for all of humanity. The victims, people who believed with passion and intellect that humankind can be better, were struck down in the birthplace of the Enlightenment, the movement from which the modern world emanates.”
At the heart of this story is the contrast between the peaceful freedom of expression and violence.
My focus fell on the bravery of continuing to work and maintain a sense of humor, while under the threat of imminent violence — even death.