Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Can we be as supportive of a free press as Kim Jong-Il?

Great news from yesterday in the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee. Like many Americans, I watched live as their plane landed in L.A. and they got off the plane to be reunited with their families. It was pretty hard not to be moved by the sight.

So whose turn is it now? For a country that counts freedom of the press as one of the cornerstones of our valued, the United States has shown a remarkable hostility to those who actually dare to practice journalism. Glenn Greenwald has catalogued journalists who have been captured and held prisoner by U.S. forces, with no effective review, until we felt like releasing them.

One of these journalists, Ibrahim Jassam, has been held in U.S. custody in Iraq since September 3, 2008. An Iraqi court says there is no evidence against Reuters photojournalist Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed and has ordered him released from U.S. military custody. The United States, however, continues to hold him, claiming that he is some kind of security risk.

Americans love to talk about our devotion to freedom of the press, and our commitment to the rule of law. The facts, however, appear to be somewhat different.

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