No society has absolute freedom of speech but criticising Western liberal societies is lazy journalism
COMMENT | JACK PINTO | Refer to: “The illusion of free speech: How the war in Ukraine demonstrates the poverty of freedom of the press and speech in Western liberal democracies” (The Independent Oct.11).
It is interesting how Mwenda loves writing about the West and pooping its democracy but avoids writing about Uganda his home and all the shenanigans going on in that country. As he was writing this article his hero, President Yoweri Museveni, was about to sign into law the `Nsereko Bill’ which squeezes more the little freedom of speech poor and oppressed Ugandans are still remaining with.
In my limited intelligence, I would write a bit criticising this lazy and misleading article.
Mwenda knows in his deeper true self, after doing his post graduate studies in journalism in the West that any semblance of free speech is found there. Is it absolute? No. No Society has absolute freedom of speech.
With Freedom of speech one finds recognition of the rule of law, human rights, and liberal democracy. Values that the West propagates and truly practices. Again I say those values are not practiced to perfection.
For instance, people can freely demonstrates against the government in power and its policies without fear of being killed even when those demonstrations become violent. Ruling from courts of law are respected. There is a clear independence of the different arms of the government. Journalists can write anything any how against the ruling government; the policies, ways they are conducting affairs etc. The opposite is true for the country Mwenda now loves – Russia. And same goes for Uganda all African Countries except South Africa.
In this war – the Ukraine war, Russia closed all independent media houses. Russian citizens were were told that the army was conducting a `Special Military Operation’ since Putin Expected to overrun Ukraine in a week or so and install a Russian Puppet on the people. Anyone who referred to what was and still going on in Ukraine as a “war” was to be arrested and tried in the Russian Kangaroo courts for treason.
The media allowed to operate was that which supported the Kremlin and produced news that was vetted by the Kremlin. Those in the know about the war and atrocities Russia was and is still committing in Ukraine cannot demonstrate or voice any opposition.
Even after invading Ukraine, a week later Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister stood on the United Nations Floor and denied that there was a military invasion. Social media channels were all closed down so that people do not get the news from outside Russia.
In those circumstances, the Western governments decided to shut down the Russian propaganda media houses because of the spurious news that the Kremlin was feeding the world while the latter was /still is under threat of burning. In addition, the banning of Russian media houses was also part and parcel of the overall sanctions against Russia.
I want to follow the news but I do not want to be lied to. Lies ruin lives and societies. Who likes to be lied to? Maybe Mwenda; as long as it comes from President Museveni and the Russians, whom he now dearly loves.
Russians came to know the real truth when the war came knocking on their doors when Putin declared mobilisation to get 300,000 civilians to go and fight in Ukraine where he was losing the battle. Their reaction was to run to Europe, Turkey and Georgia.
Another issue Mwenda brings up in his article is that the West is portraying Russia as evil and Ukraine as victims. Seriously Mwenda! A big violent fight-hardened bully 35 years old with machetes and any weapons he can lay his hands, kicks down the simple home of a small and weak 18 year old and begins by smashing all his furniture; the little that the small man has. He then proceeds to kill his children with the aim of exterminating the whole family and occupy their land and property. So a passer-by who knows the whole story says that bully is the victim? That leaves one to wonder whether that passer-by was sane.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is evil. He was evil even before invading Ukraine and inflicting the damage that he has – destroying all her infrastructure; attacking, killing and torturing Ukraine’s civilians and all other atrocities, he is committing there.
Since you are a Journalist and you want the world to know the truth, why don’t you travel to Ukraine and Russia and broadcast the Russian victories to them. But I am very sure that the Western media has written and broadcast all Russian gains in the small country they invaded.
The map is there for anyone to see what Russia’s gain are. You lie when you say that Western media do not highlight Russian gains and victories. But all that Western media discussions have been that Russia is being spanked in Ukraine based on who Russia is (a so– called World Power and failing to overcome a small country- in population; wealth; size of the army and weapons they have etc.)
Lastly, you hate the West so much (from what you write in your articles) and love Russia; why don;t you tell your man Museveni to go begging in Russia next time he has a deficit in his budget.
Many thanks for publishing this, Mr Mwenda! It takes a special kind of person to do this. And thanks for being the best source of most (and most well-written) news in the country.