Monday, May 17, 2010

Making a List, Checking It Twice

Speaking of the BBC, their site also reports that President Obama signed a new law, the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, named for the American journalist who was beheaded by Islamic militants in 2002.

The new law will require
the US state department to compile a public list of foreign governments that violate press freedom.

Mr Obama said the measure would send a strong message that Washington was paying attention to the way governments elsewhere in the world treat the media....

He said the law - named the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act - would show countries that repressed freedom of speech that they could not operate against the media with impunity.

"The loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world's imagination because it reminded us how valuable a free press is," Mr Obama said.

"This legislation, in a very modest way, puts us clearly on the side of journalistic freedom."

In a very modest way, yes. Obama was talking about governments elsewhere in the world, remember. (Except maybe for this government.) The US is free to kill journalists, bomb TV stations, and otherwise violate press freedom at whim. (To say nothing of other atrocities.) No one will be watching us -- why don't we do it in the road?