Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Journalists' union endorses war on press

I'm not sure if I should chalk this up to Great Britain's vastly overinflated reputation for dry and ironic humor - I certainly hope so.

Great Britain and Ireland's leading journalists' trade union, the National Union of Journalists, passed a "near unanimous" vote to "build solidarity" with Hugo Chávez's "Bolivarian revolution" at their 2007 annual conference in Birmingham. The irony, of course, is that Chávez is one of the hemisphere's greatest opponents of press freedom - an issue that the NUJ pays token lip service to on their website.

Chávez has declared war on the Venezuelan press, and passed draconian laws restricting press freedom to aid him in his struggle with newspapers and television networks deemed unfriendly to his regime. Venezuelan journalists have been thrown in jail and even beaten, leading one to wonder what sort of press climate it would take for the NUJ to distance itself from the "revolution" that has made this treatment of reporters possible. A cynic might observe that this is another case of rich westerners sympathizing with an authoritarian regime that they wouldn't put up with at home. There's always been a tendency in the Western leftist lunatic fringe to sympathize with repression, as long as the ostensible goals of the tyrant in question are judged to be romantic enough to suit their tastes.

Which leads me to ask: was Malcolm Caldwell a member of the National Union of Journalists?

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