Our world has become littered with oppressive governments that continue to support and participate in human rights violations. As United States citizens and so-called children of the free, our assumption is that we not only are not included within the ranks of these oppressive governments but we stand against such tyranny as leaders of the free world. Although this belief is widely held, unfortunately it is far from the truth. Our leaders maintain that our country’s intentions foreign and domestic are rooted in furthering and maintaining freedom for people the world over. Though their words are captivating and hopeful it is our governments actions which tell a different story, this is a story that has been concealed by our leaders and has been spun by mainstream media news fabricators for quite some time. Fortunately a new era of journalism and information dissemination which no longer is dependent on corporate and government funding is flourishing across the planet.
Three time Emmy award-winning former CNN investigative journalist and documentarian Amber Lyon has been recently outspoken about the ills of our media and her personal experience with United States propaganda and media manipulation. Her disenchantment with her former employer CNN’s journalistic integrity stems from a documentary that Lyon had created for CNN, iRevolution, which documented human rights violations by the government of Bahrain. The violations included the continual tear gassing of neighborhoods, torturing of protesters, doctors and nurses, as well as the deaths of many protestors at the hands of Bahrain security forces. In addition, Lyon and her crew during the filming of iRevolution had been violently detained and held at gunpoint by the governments security forces. Due to the brazen and violent activities of the Bahraini government against its people, Amber Lyon and her crew felt it was imperative that the world see what was going on in Bahrain.
Much to their surprise CNN international refused to air the award-winning documentary, a confused Lyon attempted to appeal to the network but to no avail. Her requests were met with threats by the network and ultimately the loss of her job which the network maintains was due to the closing of their documentary department. But, the most important aspect of this story is that apparently a department of the Bahrain government was and still is a paying customer of CNN’s. In other words, a foreign government is paying one of the largest news houses in the United States to perpetuate propaganda across its airwaves to international viewers. What about national viewers? We can only assume that the purchasing of favorable content is a standard practice for the network.
So where does the United States government play into all of this? Why are we not more outspoken about the human rights violations going on in Bahrain? Why is it that the United States government continues to support and have close ties to a government which seems to stand for the exact opposite of American values and principles? Well, it just so happens that we have a strategic military naval base which plays a pivotal role in our dealings with Iran. If the people of Bahrain succeed in overthrowing the current government then it could affect our naval presence in the region. So the question remains, is our government truly interested in the protecting and furthering of human freedoms? What about the people of Bahrain who are interested in their freedom from an oppressive government?
There was a time when our leaders stood for freedom, not just for some people but for all people. Let us not forget that “All men are created equal” and all of us have “inalienable rights”. These are the American values that set us apart, and it is these values that should serve as our guide in our actions foreign and domestic. Let us not succumb to the temptations of tyranny and ultimately become that which we despise. Journalists and whistle blowers like Amber Lyon are heroes, great disseminators of information, but it is what we do with that information that is of the utmost importance. If there is an ill within the fabric of our society, it is our responsibility to cure it. We should be interested in the betterment of society in all of our endeavors, not just those which serve to benefit us. Each of us plays a role in the future of our global community and it is our responsibility to fight for all humans rights the world over.
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