Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for the ‘press freedom’ Category

Trump’s Threats over Jerusalem Backfire

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 21st December, 2017

73DED4EB-9FA8-41BE-A18A-5810B588398D.jpegToday, the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Donald Trump’s declared intention to move the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, by 128 votes to 9 (and 35 abstentions). I am pleased to say that the United Kingdom, the former mandatory power over the whole of historic Palestine, voted in favour of the motion, as did almost all the other EU member states; none opposed. The nine nay-sayers were the United States and Israel, naturally, plus Guatemala, Honduras, Togo and four micro-states in the Pacific — all poor, developing countries heavily dependent on foreign aid. That latter point is important, because the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, made clear in no uncertain terms that the Trump administration would note who opposed the motion and deal with them accordingly — an outrageous threat in the sovereign body of the UN, confirming that the acid-tongued Ms Haley is indeed the Donald’s loyal handmaiden. However, not all countries were cowed by the menace of financial or trading retribution. On past performance, Canada could have been expected to back the US line on Israel’s capital, but Ottawa was reportedly so incensed by Trump’s threats that Canada abstained instead. So all in all, this was a good day for all those who believe that the final status of Jerusalem must be negotiated between sovereign Israeli and Palestinian states. But Mr Trump, like a cornered bear, is alas likely to bite back.

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Posted in Israel, Palestine, press freedom, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stand up for Press Freedom!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 14th December, 2014

imageEarlier this week, I was asked by the Turkish newspaper Daily Zaman for a comment on credible rumours that a host of media professionals in Turkey were about to be arrested. Alas, this prediction has proved to be true and several high-profile journalists and broadcasters have been taken into custody, notably people connected with media linked to the Gulen Movement. This is a disturbing development and gives Turkey the dubious distinction of once more being the country with the most journalists in jail. It is sad (to say the least) that President Erdoğan and the AKP government think it is worthwhile joining the company of Egypt and other repressive regimes in trying to stifle dissent. They just don’t seem to understand that a free media is part and parcel of a healthy democracy and that free expression is a fundamental human right — even if they have signed up to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. So standing up for press freedom is standing up for our own freedom as human beings. Accordingly, just as I have been campaigning for the release of Peter Greste and other Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned on trumped-up charges in Egypt so I shall campaign for the release of those media figures being held in Turkey. I have long considered myself a friend of Turkey and it saddens me beyond words that it is moving backwards on press freedom and in several other ways.

Posted in AKP, Al Jazeera, Daily Zaman, Egypt, Gulen Movement, Peter Greste, press freedom, Turkey | Leave a Comment »