Wednesday, August 3

DIFFERENT METHODS, BUT SAME RESULT -- SUPPRESSION OF JOURNALISM

Steven Vincent, an American freelance journalist on assignment in Iraq and writing stories for the "Christian Science Monitor" and the "New York Times," was kidnapped and executed by gunmen in Basra and that slaying is thought to be a response to a published story he had written about the infiltration of Basra's police force by Shia militants.

Back home here in the States, in northern Ohio's Cuyahoga County to be exact, another story of freedom of expression and journalistic rights being snuffed out is unfolding, but with much less coverage and only paltry outrage. A former attorney, Elsebeth Baumgartner, and a website editor, Bryan DuBois, have been incarcerated for allegedly intimidating a retired judge with published charges of political corruption. Both have been charged via a secret indictment with multiple felonies, including use of a "criminal tool" (i.e., a computer!). Spousal access has been denied. Even "The Empire Journal" has been unable to see the pair to interview them, despite a formal request to do so.

To his credit, a fellow blogger, Frank Laughter, has been all over the story with multiple posts, including this one published today. But the story doesn't appear to be gaining legs in the blogosphere and particularly among those blogger-journalists wielding big readerships and serious clout.

All the facts are not known about this pair in Ohio (how could they be with the press being held at bay?), but if you read through Frank's postings and his links, you begin to smell something happening to suppress freedom of expression that may well smack of prosecutorial misconduct.

Have Baumgartner and DuBois become tantamount to political prisoners?

Riddling a journalist with bullets in Iraq is an outrage; but so too may be the solitary confinement of this hapless pair in Ohio who neither spouses nor journalists can gain access to! Suppression comes in many guises. But either form of suppression demands the civilized world's eyes and ears.

Where's the MSM; where's the blogosphere?

Keep after it Mr. Laughter! I'm reading you!

SOURCES: "BBC"; "Common Sense Junction"; and, "The Empire Journal"

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