Censored but not Silenced: Part 1/5

I think I have been a victim of censorship. Am I wrong?

As much as we may claim to value the freedom to express our opinions, censorship in Western democracies does exist in one form or another. For example, it exists in the private/corporate sector; it exists in the public schools, and it exists among citizens who host Websites and Blogs, etc.

Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 ranked Finland as number one for freedom of expression compared to 179 countries.

The United States, billed by many of its citizens as the land-of-the-free and a country that prides its freedom of expression while criticizing other countries such as China, is ranked 47th, and the U.S. has more people in prison than any country on the planet. In some parts of the United States, you can actually go to prison for life if you only steal a piece of candy or swipe a slice of pizza.

Reporters Without Borders says, “The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”

In fact, there is a long history of censorship in the United States. For one example of several, Civil Liberties says that in 1798, President John Adams made it illegal to criticize a government official without backing up one’s criticisms in court. Twenty-five people were arrested under that law.

Civil Liberties says, “The right to free speech is a longstanding U.S. tradition, but actually respecting the right to free speech is not.”

“A recent report from Google indicates that even western democracies have been trying to censor politically conflicting websites. Countries like Spain, Poland and even Canada have all submitted requests for the removal of content from the search engine.” Source: Business Insider

Back to the comment where I alleged that I was censored on another Blog that has a link to a nonprofit political organization with an alleged hidden political agenda.

I can only guess that I may have been allegedly censored because my position on the issue being discussed was stronger than the host’s opinion. Julie Lenarz, the host, specializes in Foreign and Security Policy and holds a BA in European Politics and an MA in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics.

She is also an adviser on Foreign and Security Policy, a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy and current affairs blogger.

The Commentator.com says: “Julia Lenarz is author of the popular blog, Julie’s Think Tank.”

Of course, the claim that Julie’s Think Tank is a popular Blog is questionable, because its Alexa rank was almost 5.5 million with only 38 sites linked in (on February 22, 2013).  There was no data for traffic rank in the UK or US.

But what is popular to one individual may not be popular to another and everyone has a right to an opinion even if he or she may be wrong.

This we do know—there is big benefit to censor the opposition, because then you control the conversation and may advance your own political agenda.

In the post in question on Julie’s Think Tank, Lenarz’s position on the Iraq War was clear: She supported the war in the beginning and still feels it was moral and just to oust Saddam and his brutal regime. I left several comments for this post, and then wrote about this issue in a three-part series on one of my Blogs in a post titled The Noble Nightmare.

Before I share my reasons why I think Lenarz allegedly censored one of my comments, I want to focus on what it means to be a fellow in a political, nonprofit organization.

A fellow can be a participant in a professional development program run by a nonprofit. This type of fellowship is usually a short-term work opportunity (1–2 years) for professionals who already possess some level of academic or professional expertise that will serve the nonprofit’s mission. Fellows are often given a stipend as well as professional experience and leadership training.

A key phrase to remember from that description is: “that will serve the nonprofit’s mission”, and after some research, I now question what the real mission is for the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, but more on that later.

Continued on March 4, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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