FREEDOM: FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION vs THE PARADOX OF THE WESTERN PRESS


FREEDOM: FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION vs THE PARADOX OF THE WESTERN PRESS

 

by Syarif Hidayat

THE WESTERN MEDIA CIRCUS DOUBLE STANDARDS POLICY:

The American mainstream media apply a policy of controlled news reporting on the domestic problems and at the same time they apply the biased news reporting on Islam, the Muslim World, the Middle East Conflict and international terrorism.

 

The old Indonesian saying says: “They could see clearly the ants across the oceans, but they could not be able to see the elephants very close to their own eyes!!!”

When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.” – John Adams

 

“Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense — the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.” – William E. Borah, quotes about Independence

 

“Those who have ever valued liberty for its own sake believed that to be free to choose, and not to be chosen for, is an unalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human.” – Isaiah Berlin, quotes about Independence

 

“Philosophy means the complete liberty of the mind, and therefore independence of all social, political or religious prejudice… It loves one thing only… truth.” – Henri Frederic Amiel, quotes about Independence

 

 

“Who then is free? The one who wisely is lord of themselves, who neither poverty, death or captivity terrify, who is strong to resist his appetites and shun honors, and is complete in themselves smooth and round like a globe.”

”Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself.” – Horace

”We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.” – H. L. Mencken

”Whatever the price, identify it now. What will you have to go through to get where you want to be? There is a price you can pay to be free of the situation once and for all. It may be a fantastic price or a tiny one — but there is a price.” – Harry Browne

The Paradox OF THE WESTERN PRESS:

 

“The current state of the news media is partially to blame for the public’s general lack of information vital for responsible citizenship in a democracy. The news media has become an aspect of show business, offering merely infotainment. It has evolved into an entity that tends to function as a public relations agency for wealthy and powerful multinational corporations, members of Congress, the current Presidential Administration including the administrations that preceded it. The news media is being utilized as a political tool of suppression and propaganda by those in power, and propaganda is psychological in nature. Full of half-truths and utter misinformation, it’s an arrogant and very commercial strategy that is implemented because it appeals to emotions, fear being the main one relentless talk of national security, personal and community safety, can trigger childhood insecurities and indoctrinated views of authority.”  – Teresa Stover

 

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” – Bertrand Russell.

 

The western Media circus’ biased news reporting are terrorizing people with unbalanced news that create fear and xenophobia. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people.  It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that.

 

The Zionist-controlled Western Media circus‘ biased news reporting on Islam, the Muslim world, the Middle East conflict and international terrorism create fear and xenophobia. This situation leads to more xenophobia including Islamophobia in the US and other Western Countries that influence not only the general public but also the government officials in the individual western countries.

Meanwhile in Indonesia, I feel some of the big media: TVs as well as print media here merely tend to dance to the tunes of the Zionists-controlled Western media, consciously or unconsciously especially in their news reporting on TERRORISM, Muslim world and the Middle East. They could not perform as the media of Indonesia – the Muslim majority country. The unfair treatment of western media towards Islam and Muslims is not new to many people!Islam is a religion of peace and love

 

Islam is a religion of peace and love. The root of the word Islam, silm, refers to “making peace, being in a mutually peaceful environment, greetings, rescue, safety, being secure, finding peace, reaching salvation and well being or being far from danger, attaining goodness, comfort and favor, keeping away from troubles and disasters, submitting the self and obeying, respect, being far from wrong.”

 

The “submitting the self and obeying” here means “submitting to justice and righteousness in order to reach peace and safety and being in a peaceful environment by one’s free will.” In fact, salaam and salaamat, mean “to reach salvation,” and their rubai form (with four radical letters) aslama means “submitted, became Muslim, and made peace.” “Islam” as either a noun or a verb with these meanings is mentioned in many verses in the Qur’an.

 

“Truly love it branches connecting to God Almighty. Any person who is connecting, then God will connect him with affection. And those who decide, then God will decide his love to her. “(Prophet Muhammad PBUH said as narrated by Bukhari)

 

“The Merciful is kind to those who are merciful. If you show compassion to your fellow creatures in this world, then those in heaven shall be compassionate toward you.” – The Prophet Muhammad, as narrated by Abd’Allah bin Amr

 

Islam recommends a united and mutually helpful society, and this vision does not only refer to the level of nation, but includes international relations, too. In this sense, from an Islamic perspective, international law should take the establishment of peace as a foundation.

 

In order to be able portray a fair image of Islam, we have to consider its divinely inspired purposes, which yield, as a result, a just worldly order. By applying preventive measures to ensure security of wealth, life, mind, religion, and reproduction, Islam aims to build a society in peace, serenity, friendship, collaboration, altruism, justice, and virtue.

 

According to the Qur’an, all Muslims are brothers and sisters to each other and if a disagreement appears among them they make peace and correct it (Qur’an, 49:10).

They help each other to avoid what God forbids and to observe their religious awareness at every stage in their life (Qur’an, 5:2); they carry out important tasks after shura, that is, consultation (Qur’an, 3:159; 42:38); and they always witness truthfully and are just even if it is against their close relatives (Qur’an, 4:135).

 

Again, as mentioned in the Qur’an, a true Muslim follows the straight path. That means that he or she is faithful, honest, and just, is calm, lives to perfectly observe his or her religion and in guidance of reason. Pursuing the straight path can be understood as being absolutely truthful and honest in all circumstances, as well as embracing a moderate way of life that encourages good relations with everyone.

 

The Holy Qur’an emphasizes peace and reconciliation as basic to all social and even international relations. As mentioned in the Qur’an, Paradise, which is the reward for the pious, is a place of serenity.  One of the ninety-nine names of God is Salaam, which means peace. Throughout history, Muslims have made every effort to establish peace and serenity everywhere in all divergent fields, only taking military measures when their enemies tried to hinder these efforts for humankind.

 

Prophet Muhammad PBUH commanded us to maintain social solidarity and cooperation, to open our hearts to our fellows, and to help one another at all times. He said, “Do not cut relations between each other! Do not turn your backs on each other! Do not grow hatred between each other! O God’s servants! Become brothers and sisters!”

 

Over the course of history, the general approach of Muslims has been supportive of maintaining peace, spreading an environment of serenity and trust, and constructing a civilization of love, compassion, and mercy to share with other people in peace.

 

Stereotypes and Misconceptions ABOUT ISLAM

 

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Nevertheless, the West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to: the media, Prejudice, and Ignorance. Islam is often looked upon as a “extremist”, “terrorist”, or “fundamental” religion. Many people hate Islam and do not want to acknowledge its true teachings.

 

In many cases, the media’s reports about Islam are incorrect due to ignorance. This is one of the reasons why the West often hates Islam.  In contrast to what many Westerners think of Islam, Islam is a peaceful religion, which does not promote any injustice or crime. Stereotypes about Islam are not new to Western culture. Problems can be traced back 1400 years. At that time, Islam and Christianity were involved in the Crusades in the 1100’s and in the Ottoman and Moorish control in Europe. Islam spread quickly to the West, and started to threaten the position of the Christian Church and the ruling class.

 

The Western elites, mainly the governments and the churches, then became highly involved in seeing that negative images were presented about Islam. As a result, not only were battles fought against Islam, but also a war of words was initiated to make sure that Islam would not have any converts or sympathizers in the West. These kinds of actions and feelings that the West had long ago still seem to be the case in the West today.

 

The unfair treatment of western media towards Islam and Muslims

 

But the tragic events such as the attack on the twin towers in New York, the bombings of Bali, Madrid and London are assumed to be justified by Islam in the minds of some people. This idea has been fueled further by many media channels which defame Islam by portraying these bombers as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’, as though they were sanctioned by Islam, or had any legitimate spokemenship on behalf of Muslims.

 

The unfair treatment of western media towards Islam and Muslims is not new to many people. The biased reporting, stereotype stories and hidden hate towards Muslims of the world are facts of western journalism. These champions of the free world who claim that their reporting standards are very high, they are honest and feel responsible to provide correct information to their audiences are in fact, have dual standards of reporting. They intentionally dramatize a situation in order to market their programs and increase their market share at any cost. They are not honest when a news item or a story involves a practicing Muslim or religion of Islam.

 

The Muslims of North America, Europe and Australia have been under a constant threat from these media organizations. These media organizations including all TV network, most of the Radio stations and all-major newspapers of North America, Europe and Australia have been controlled / influenced by special interest groups. These special interest groups through the western media are not only misleading the people of North America, Europe and Australia but also trying to build walls between Islam and the people of other faiths such as Christians and Jews.

 

These media organizations are purposely creating a very wrong image of Islam and Muslims. The main objective of these media organizations is to create, through their own judgments, such a horrible image of Islamic teachings that the people in the west not only consider Islam as a threat towards western cultures but also feel threatened by the Muslims. A common person who is very busy to fulfill his / her economic and social needs and does not have time to investigate the situation, heavily depends upon the media reporting. If TV, Radio and the Newspapers are not honest in their reporting then the listeners or the readers of western media will not be able to get the truth.

 

Rather, it creates misunderstanding among the various religious and ethnic groups, which creates animosity, hate and intolerance for each other. The Muslim minority of North America, Europe and Australia has been suffering from this unfair and very biased treatment of the media for a long time.  Every time when an incident of terrorism happens anywhere in the world the Muslims living in Western World especially in North America gets terrorized by the horrors of the news media.

 

The way newscasters on radio and TV broadcast and print media prints the news, it’s always very clear that all these newscasters and reporters not only try very hard to find a Muslim name to be associated with the incident. These journalists who portray themselves as the champions of humanity and professionalism become so unprofessional and inhuman that sometime they do not realize the outcome of their hurried and rushed reporting. (HSH)

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