Preserve Media Freedom
Good Friday morning. I found Robin Koerner’s piece “To Be or Not to Be: American Freedom, Exceptionalism and Identity” in the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner/to-be-or-not-to-be-americ_b_865143.html?view=print quite interesting, notably his statements that “most foreign articles that broach the topics of freedom and the USA mistakenly assume that American freedom is qualitatively the same thing as freedom elsewhere. They assume that whereas the USA may be more explicit about ideas of freedom, and may to some even symbolize individual liberty, American liberty is not philosophically different from liberty anywhere else.”
Another good read is Rahim Kanani’s blogpost “A New Narrative of Empathy for the West and the Arab World?” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rahim-kanani/a-new-narrative-of-empath_b_867270.html that finds common ground between the West and the Arabs.
These two paragraphs are quite telling:
These tools of globalization have enabled the process of humanizing the other. People are recognizing they share ideals with people they do not know and have never met. For example, watching Egyptian Google executive and hero-protestor Wael Ghonim being interviewed on CNN about the revolution and pleading for Egypt’s freedom with raw emotion struck a chord in the hearts of many Westerners. These very distant but intimate snapshots, fed to us via live television, can open the gates to further dialogue about a host of issues between “us” and “them”.
Tolerance begins with understanding. Understanding begins with dialogue. Dialogue begins with engagement. And engagement begins with exposure. With the advent of the Internet and the global communications revolution, the distance between tolerance and exposure is decreasing faster than before. This intellectual and emotional experience, of ordinary people identifying with individuals halfway around the world, people with whom many of us believed we shared nothing in common, is an important milestone on the journey towards accepting and understanding one another.
We should build on that understanding, dialogue, engagement and exposure by insisting on media freedom and the free flow of information.