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Journalism under national security
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-07-28 07:33:34
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To say that the Watergate scandal marked American history is an underestimation of the real effect it had in international history and how much it changed the role journalism with those two tiredly connected. The two reporters who made the scandal public, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward never got the status of heroes but they became the journalism myth and role models to generations of journalist still to come.

The Watergate scandal came out in the pick of the cold war giving unbelievable propaganda ammunition to the other side who enjoyed the western corruption and brought trebles to all the allies especially the NATO allies and all that while the Vietnam war and the problems in south Asia continued and the American society was still trying to recover of the assassination of one of the most popular presidents in US history. Still nobody talked about national security.

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward motivated or better awoke journalists all around the world including a lot who lived under dictatorial regimes and some who lost their lives during their research for the truth. Because in the end is all about the truth, is about democracy and the obligation of every democratic state to inform its citizens for everything; this is called transparency, very popular euphemism nowadays.

But Bernstein and Woodward are not the only ones and journalism has long lists of names of journalists that sacrificed even their lives for the information, for democracy. Actually the research for the truth is an obligation for every journalist and the truth is never under the state’s announcements or the PR offices. However national security was never an issue.

No, I’m wrong. National security was an issue for Stalin. That’s why there were only two newspapers in the Soviet Union and the only thing you could find in there was what the Politic Bureau was thinking, national security issues regarding the media there are nowadays in Iran and North Korea. But in these regimes paranoia goes hand in hand with national security. The rest of us …enjoy free press, free journalism that guarantees the freedom of speech and transparency, journalism that is there to defend our right to information but most of all our right to the truth.

So, what happened with the latest leak to the Wikileaks site? Why suddenly instead of talking the scandalous reality that is hidden not only from the American people but from the entire world since we are all involved in the Afghan mess, we are talking about national security? And most dangerously, since when the media are more interest on what the state says about national security than the truth and transparency?

So, what’s going on? Since when all the media making headlines that the saying the truth is endangering national security instead of searching further the scandal, because the files that leaked in Wikileaks are hiding a major scandal with uncontrollable results. Didn’t everybody know that the Iranian and the Pakistani governments are supporting and often arm the Taleban? It’s just that now is out there in black and white. So it is not the national security in danger but the monopoly of information and in extent the control of information.

The last two decades the major news agencies seem to control every single aspect of information, sometimes even provocatively. Still nobody has publicly asked why CNN was the only media source in Kuwait during the invasion and what was the exchange to Saddam – the other side profited as well so there is an exchange in both sides - for all the monopoly it earned, just to mention one example of suspicious control of information.

The more I write the more questions rising but what really bothers me, troubles me is what the role of the media today? Are they happy to cover the truth under the national security and in true to protect their financial interests against a enemy that brakes their monopoly, are they happy to kill democracy in the name of profit because that’s what it is, profit money. And that’s about the owners, the media moguls, what about the journalists? Have they become puppets in the name of national security? And if today the leak of the files about Afghanistan is a national security threat, then what will be tomorrow?

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