Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What passes for today's journalism

A couple of days ago the Iranian governement organized a Holocaust conference which featured more or less the usual suspects of holocaust denial. One of them, however, was elevated to a prominent status of an academic and not by Iranian media but by Reuters. Here is the paragraph in question written by Parisa Hafezi(hat tip to Little Green Footballs):

Among the participants was U.S. academic David Duke, a former Louisiana Republican Representative. He praised Iran for hosting the event.

“There must be freedom of speech, it is scandalous that the Holocaust cannot be discussed freely,” Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader told Reuters. “It makes people turn a blind eye to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Ever hear of doing some homework on the subject, Ms.Hafezi? And we wonder why there's only rubbish written in today's mainstream publications.

I would like to add some of my personal views related to the subject. I strongly dislike, to say the least, being even in partial agreement with the likes of Duke, but I'm afraid I can not help it this time. IMO, laws prohibiting holocaust denial are not only nonsense, they are detrimental to the cause they claim to be protecting. If you place an official ban on discussion of a topic an uneasy feeling that you have something to hide is created whether you like it or not. What do these laws hope to accomplish? The defense of historical truth? It doesn't need such laws. Preventing the rise of nazism? The US and the UK have no laws on holocaust denial, I don't see the SA marching there, at least not in any significant numbers. By instututing such laws people on which they are applied can present themselves as fighters for freedom of expression instead of what they are: apologists for Hitler and nazism.

I say, bring it on! Let them have their say and present their arguments. They are in fact easy to refute even with the basic knowledge, we have facts on our side. And I'm not alone in this opinion.

Putting restrictions on speech and expression, no matter what the objectives and topics are, is always a double-edged sword. And it usually comes back to hurt those who use it first.

PS Just for the record, I believe the law recently passed in France which criminalizes denial of the Armenian genocide is equally preposterous.

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