We read about censorship in China, but how different is Britain? Tony Blair and his henchmen certainly have gags in place to control an unruly media. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has threatened to use the Official Secrets Act against newspapers after a secret memo was leaked about a disagreement between Blair and Bush when they met in April last year, reported the Guardian.
Bush at that time threatened to take "military action" against the Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera for its coverage of the fighting in the Iraqi city of Falluja, but Blair said that would cause big problems, reported the Daily Mirror, citing the secret memo. And that prompted Lord Goldsmith to "read the riot act" to the media, said the Guardian. The government feared the damage such revelations could cause to "Downing Street’s intimate relationship with the White House", it added.
I love America and think Blair rightly values his close relationship with Washington, but the USA does not muzzle the media like Britain. US troops have been blogging from Iraq. There is open debate in the USA about Iraq, the treatment of militants, alleged atrocities are quickly reported in the media and the Internet. And what does Britain’s Attorney General do? Threaten to use the Official Secrets Act. Not all that different from Beijing. The only difference is the leak and the threat would have never seen the light of day in Beijing. But Beijing is not given to lecturing others about freedom and democracy.