May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. It reminds governments of their obligation to support it. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
On May 2, a State Department Fact Sheet addressed world press freedom. It did so disingenuously. Washington goes all-out to suppress it.
“On World Press Freedom Day, the United States pays special honor to the importance of media freedom – a crucial element of freedom of expression – at home and abroad.”
“A diverse and independent press is crucial to holding governments accountable and promoting democracy around the world.”
Washington deplores press freedom. It does so at home and abroad. It wants its message alone disseminated. It wants dissenting views buried.
The State Department lied claiming “(t)he US Government…brought media freedom issues to the fore at the UN and in regional multilateral forums.”
Truth is the best disinfectant. Revealing it exposes America’s dark side. It’s evident in Ukraine.
On Friday, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf addressed ongoing events.
Fantasy substituted for reality. She was asked about Kiev arresting hundreds of journalists.
“More than 500 have been harassed, beaten, abducted, and (one) killed,” she said.
She pointed fingers the wrong way. She blamed ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. She turned truth on its head doing so.
Kiev putschists banned Russian TV channels. They shut down independent Ukrainian ones.
The OSCE’s media watchdog criticized its actions. It voiced strong concerns. Its media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic said:
“Banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship. National security concerns should not be used at the expense of media freedom.”
“While I deplore any kind of state propaganda and hate speech as part of the current information war, everyone has the right to receive information from as many sources as he or she wishes.”
“Switching off and banning channels is not the way to address these problems. Any potentially problematic speech should be countered with arguments and more speech.”
At least 5 Russian channels were blocked. They include Vesti, Russia 24, Channel One (worldwide), RTR ‘Planeta.’ and NTV-World.
Over half of Ukrainians speak Russian. Around one-third call it their native language.
According to Crimea’s Information Minister Dmitry Polonsky:
“From the moral point of view, all Ukrainian TV channels were rigidly censored by Kiev’s illegitimate authorities.”
They did so “(i)n violation of fundamental principles. They broadcast only one point of view.”
They harass, beat, and terrorize independent journalists. Ukrainian media freedom is fantasy.
Challenging Kiev putschists risks brutalizing, arrests and death. Police states operate this way. Harf pretended otherwise.
Putin “has a choice to make now,” she said.
“He can de-escalate the situation, pull back from the brink, or if he chooses to continue moving forward, we will impose additional costs, including sectoral sanctions that will make very clear to the Russian people that President Putin is more concerned with chest – beating in the region than actually giving his people the economic opportunities they deserve.”
“We’ll keep imposing additional costs, and Russia will become increasingly isolated, their people will become isolated, their economy will become isolated.”
“All the work they did in terms of the WTO, the G8, which is now the G7, all of that will go down the drain and they will become increasingly isolated, which will really, really, severely hurt their economy.”
“And it’s up to President Putin whether he wants those costs.”
She ignored his geopolitical leadership. She turned a blind eye to his forthrightness. He prioritizes diplomatic conflict resolution.
Obama supports violence against Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. So does Kerry. Harf didn’t explain. Lies substituted for truth.
On April 28, an Office of the White House Press Secretary statement on Ukraine said in part:
“The United States has taken further action today in response to Russia’s continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine’s democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
“At the contact group meeting in Geneva on April 17, 2014, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union decided on a number of steps to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including refraining from further violence or provocative acts.”
“Since April 17, Russia has done nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and in fact has further escalated the crisis.”
“Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable.”
Fact: Washington bears full responsibility for “threaten(ing) (Ukraine’s) peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
Fact: Putin forthrightly supports it.
Fact: He’s gone all-out to resolve things diplomatically.
Fact: Washington systematically subverts his best efforts.
Fact: America’s “involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable.”
Fact: Blaming Russia doesn’t wash. Repetition doesn’t transform Big Lies into Truths.
“The international community has been unified in its position that Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine,” the statement continued.
“The United States, working closely with its partners, remains prepared to impose still greater costs on Russia if the Russian leadership continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation, consistent with its Geneva commitments.”
Fact: Sanctions have no legitimacy.
Fact: They have no legal standing.
Fact: It bears repeating. Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.
Fact: Russia continues going all-out to resolve them forthrightly.
Don’t expect State Department officials to explain. Or spokespersons paid to lie.
Expect Big Lies to substitute. It’s longstanding US policy. It’s the American way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected].
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity“
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.