Congratulations Dr. Allawi, another briliant step towards a free Iraq!

Shutting down the independent press… brilliant, couldn’t have done better myself.

http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=9265F43E-F87D-4CA0-AF9D3C0CDA357D85

They’ve pissed off a lot of Americans, a lot of Middle Eastern governments, and they really annoyed the living hell out of Saddam. They’re a real, hard-working, risk-taking independent news source. They must be stopped. Good for Dr. Allawi.

Now the people will have to get their news from al-Hawza:

Combative newspaper reopens in Baghdad

I just don’t understand this decision. In the first place, what the interim government and the US seem to be objecting to is Al-Jazeera’s screening footage of kidnappings and hostages from videos provided by resistance and terror groups.

I sure don’t want to watch such footage, and I agree that it could inflame sadistic glee in violent opponents to the current regime, but isn’t that outweighed by its undeniable status as news? AJ’s showing footage of dead US soldiers during the (earlier part of the) war was also decried for the same reasons. In the last analysis, though, if such things are happening and we have documentation of them, isn’t the public ultimately entitled to know about it, even if it is admittedly violent and sensationalistic and encouraging to violent elements?

I mean, here in the US we don’t shut down media outlets for, say, devoting lots of coverage to mass murders and serial killings, even though all the publicity inspires “copycat” crimes. We didn’t shut them down for showing images of the Abu Ghraib tortures either, even though they’re admittedly violent and sensationalistic, and violent people who want to abuse Muslims would find them encouraging.

Surely, if such things are going on, it’s legitimate for a news agency to reveal them, even though there are undeniable downsides to broadcasting news about violence and lawlessness and murder.

In the second place: if the Iraqi interim government is really committed (mistakenly, IMO) to squelching media exposure of this type of thing, what’s the point of shutting down AJ for only one month? How much of a deterrent will that realistically be? STM that it will just annoy us civil-liberties types and make the interim government look less democratic and more like a US puppet, and AJ will just keep on doing the same sort of thing when they resume broadcasting next month. Or does the governing council imagine that in one month they’ll resolve all the hostage-taking issues so there won’t be any more such appalling footage to show? Dream on.

Hey, if they aren’t with us, they are against us…er…uh… or some such :confused:

Well.

Has anyone over there explained the concept of “democratic freedom” to this man yet? He seems to be unclear on a few points.

A few points:

People in Iraq will still be able to view Al Jazeera;

The closing is only for a month;

The network does give a lot of time to insurgents, often with little in the way of rebuttal, giving hours of airtime to people inciting violence in Iraq;

He still seems to have the support of most of the Iraqi people, who want to see a restoration of order before any other attempts at reform;

Allawi sees his constituency as the people of Iraq, not Westerners;

Allawi never has claimed to be a great democratizer, and probably sees the concept as foreign in many ways to Iraqi society;

Sovereignty means he doesn’t have to answer to the US or Europe.

What’s the problem? He’s providing more freedoms for the Iraqi people: freedom from diversity, freedom from heresy, freedom from decision-making… all stress-reducing freedoms.

Iraq is not now free, nor will it be free in the foreseeable future.

Given the circumstances, the best they can hope for is a reasonably benevolent police state.

Again, Allawi does not hold the same view of freedom that Western democracies do, nor do the Iraqi people.

Let me tell you, at this point the base case scenario is that Iraq doesn’t devolve into a failed state. I believe (seeing it first hand) that anything more than that is wishful thinking.

As has been pointed out, the United States has closed plenty of news outlets in Iraq and encouraged closers in other countries, and will continue to do so.

Iraq’s just taking their lead from Western democracy in this matter. :rolleyes:

You’ll get no argument from me that the US has been undemocratic in its policies, but Allawi, a career Baathist official, didn’t need any lessons from the West in the supression of media.

Give the guy a break, when the stability of the country is at stake I think its appropiate to curtail some of the media outlets which can inflame violence or give out the message that ‘terrorism works’ besides if he’s banning free opinion, shouldn’t he be getting rid of all those free newspapers that express their opinion too?

No, just the ones he doesn’t like.

I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do either, but then, I never bought into the idea that we were freeing Iraq.

You mean like Margaret Thatcher banning Sinn Féin representatives from being heard on any media in the UK? (And thus giving a lot of work to really crap Northern Irish voice-over artistes). Very democratic. What was this “war of liberation” again…?

AJ is independent, unlike 99% of the other media available to the Iraqis. Sure they’re biased, and sure, the neocons fear them.

Yeah, but when they try to kill the Prime Minister at Brighton Hotel, or when they kill off parts of the Royal Family, I think you’d be pretty pissed in letting them have a free voice don’t you?

Face it, it might be a democracy, but it isn’t right to just let dangerous terrorists who threaten national stabilty to have a free reign to talk about how they can ‘stick it’ to the law and do whatever they want. Try asking the average Iraqi what they want first, a program which shows how terrorists threaten death with hostages, or a person who will actually deal with them and hand out justice to them. For now, am sticking with Allawi, but if he abuses his power and fucks things up, then I’ll be in the other camp. But please its been 18 months, Iraq has two states where people are secretly supporting the terror campaign, plus its national infrasture is non existant, its people bombed, starved and angry at all sides. Give them time to adjust. This defeatist attitude is getting on my nerves.