A British student, studying Economics in London, posted a series of epic tweets calling out world leaders for their hypocrisy for outwardly appearing to support free speech, while at the same time, suppressing free speech at home, Slate is reporting.
As a million or more people marched in Paris on Sunday in a show of unity with the 17 people murdered by Islamist extremists last week, various heads-of-state and other world leaders from some 40 nations joined the protesters at the front of the line. However, many of those leaders hail from nations with less-than-exemplary records on free speech — a fact pointed out rather tellingly by university student Daniel Wickham, who is co-president of the London School for Economics Middle East Society, according to Quartz.
Some of the most notable, and most surprising, of the tweets are highlighted below.
In this tweet, Daniel cites a 2013 Guardian report mentioning Turkey’s abysmal record on freedom of speech, which points out that, at the time, Turkey had some 50 journalists imprisoned for promoting outlawed political parties. As of this post, seven of those journalists are still in jail.
In August of last year, two Washington Post journalists covering the protests following the police shooting death of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown were accosted by police in full military combat gear and ordered to leave a McDonald’s.
Ireland has had a blasphemy law on the books since 2009, although as of this post, it is unclear if anyone has been prosecuted under it. Technically, the French cartoonists whose Mohammed cartoons cost them their lives would have been guilty of breaking this law, had they published the cartoons in Ireland. Further, at least one Irish Muslim has threatened to use the law to take legal action against any Irish publication that reprints Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed cartoons, according to The Irish Examiner.
Mr. Wickham’s series of tweets not only points out the hypocrisy of politicians from nations that oppress free speech appearing at a rally to support free speech, it also highlights the sad state of free speech in the world in general, particularly in developed nations (such as the U.S. or U.K.), where free speech is ostensibly enshrined but is, in actuality, sometimes suppressed. For example, the Press Freedom Index, published annually by Reporters Without Borders, places the United States at 44th in terms of press freedom, behind such places as Ghana and Suriname. Do you believe it was hypocritical of Eric Holder to attend the #jesuischarlie march in Paris, considering the U.S.’s disappointing free speech record? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: World Mic]