Published On: Mon, Jan 12th, 2015

Freedom of What? One Tweeter Names Anti-Free Speech Goons Leading Paris Rally, Hits Bibi, Too

paris march + Wickham

London School for Economics Middle East Society co-president Daniel Wickham on Sunday released 21 consecutive tweets where he pointed out the abysmal free speech record of so many of the world leaders who were marching in Paris to support the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.

We’ll cite them here in order of appearance (he hit Netanyahu third, and we feel he was unfair, because while it’s true that the Gaza journalists were killed in a war which Israel was carrying out, they were not killed for something they said, just for being close to the bombing):

So here are some of the staunch defenders of the free press attending the solidarity rally in Paris today…

1) King Abdullah of Jordan, which last year sentenced a Palestinian journalist to 15 years in prison with hard labor

2) Prime Minister of Davutoglu of Turkey, which imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world

3) Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, whose forced killed 7 journalists in Gaza last yr (second highest after Syria)

4) Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt, which as well as AJ staff has detained journalist Shawkan for around 500 days

5) Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia, which last year jailed a journalist for “insulting a government servant”

6) Foreign Minister Lamamra of Algeria, which has detained journalist Abdessami Abdelhai for 15 months without charge

7) The Foreign Minister of the UAE, which in 2013 held a journo incommunicado for a month on suspicion of MB links

8) Prime Minister Jomaa of Tunisia, which recently jailed blogger Yassine Ayan for 3 years for “defaming the army”

9) The PMs of Georgia and Bulgaria, both of whom have a record of attacking & beating journos

10) The Attorney General of the US, where police in Ferguson have recently detained and assaulted WashPost reporters

11) Prime Minister Samaras of Greece, where riot police beat & injured two journalists at a protest in June last year

12) Sec-Gen of NATO, who are yet to be held to account for deliberately bombing and killing 16 Serbian journos in ’99

13) President Keita of Mali, where journalists are expelled for covering human rights abuses

14) The Foreign Minister of Bahrain, 2nd biggest jailer of journos in the world per capita (they also torture them)

15) Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, which jailed a man for 15 ys for writing the Jasmine poem

16) Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who had several journalists jailed for insulting him in 2013

17) Prime Minister Cerar of Slovenia, which sentenced a blogger to six months in prison for “defamation” in 2013

18) Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland, where “blasphemy” is considered a criminal offense

19) Prime Minister Kopacz of Poland, which raided a magazine to seize recordings embarrassing for the ruling party

20) PM Cameron of the UK, where authorities destroyed documents obtained by The Guardian and threatened prosecution

21) Saudi ambassador to France. The Saudis publicly flogged blogger @raif_badawi for “insulting Islam” on Friday

Of copurse, Daniel Wickham wasn’t alone in his outrage. Reporters Without Borders issued a highly miffed press release, which yelled out (you just know they were yelling it from the tone):

On what grounds are representatives of regimes that are predators of press freedom coming to Paris to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo, a publication that has always defended the most radical concept of freedom of expression?

Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the presence of leaders from countries where journalists and bloggers are systematically persecuted such as Egypt (which is ranked 159th out of 180 countries in RWB’s press freedom index), Russia (148th), Turkey (154th) and United Arab Emirates (118th).

Incidentally, we checked the RWB press freedom index for Israel and it came out “satisfactory.” So lumping Netanyahu with those other asshats was not nice. Still, we report it like we see it.

A chap named Marc Lynch tweeted yesterday: “Glad so many world leaders could take time off jailing and torturing journalists and dissidents to march for free expression in France.”

Can’t top that.

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