Leave it to the United Nations to observe World Press Freedom Day with an act of . . . censorship.
Every May 3 since 1993, the world body has hosted events to support an unfettered Fourth Estate. But this year the UN Alliance of Civilizations “postponed” a panel discussion because one participant, the News Literacy Project, refused to alter a video presentation that singled out specific countries’ abuses — flagging “severe restrictions” on press freedom in Turkey, Egypt and Mexico.
At first, an Alliance official asked News Literacy to delete the references to Turkey.
Why protect Turkey, especially? Well, that nation’s dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was a co-founder of the UN Alliance. Then again, his government has completely muzzled Turkey’s once-free press and become the world’s leading jailer of journalists.
Next came a more formal charge that the videos were “unbalanced” and a demand for the News Literary Project to “either make a comprehensive presentation of all countries where press freedom is limited, or to remove reference to specific countries.”
The group’s chief executive, Alan C. Miller, responded that he “could not permit this censorship of our presentation due to the stated concern that it would offend one or more countries engaged in repression and violence against journalists.”
The latest list by the Committee to Protect Journalists counts 262 members of the news media imprisoned around the world — the highest number it has ever recorded. But the United Nations keeps setting new records when it comes to hypocrisy.
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