I have noticed a pattern in three articles I have read in the past two days. The first concerns Qatar:
Saudi Arabia has given Qatar 48 hours to meet a list of 13 demands.
From the article: "....there’s a whole lot of stuff in there that has nothing to do with
terrorism — and everything to do with stomping out Qatar’s regional
aspirations and forcing it to fall in line with Saudi Arabia’s preferred
policies." Of particular interest are demands 3 and 4:
" Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, and Middle East Eye."
And by now everyone has heard of Donald Trump's fake wrestling video targeting CNN:
Of course Trump spins it as a joke.
The third article is one I unfortunately can't link to, from Pacific Standard Magazine, July 2017. You can access previous issues, but not the current one. The title is Editor in Exile, concerning Zaheena Rasheed, Editor in Chief of the Maldives Independent.
From the article: "While the Maldives slipped away from democracy throughout the latter half of 2016, journalists around the country had faced escalating legal and physical threats." Rasheed ended up fleeing her home in the Maldives for Sri Lanka, because of death and kidnapping threats. She said, "I was just incredibly paranoid. That's what dictatorships thrive on, uncertainty. Fear keeps people in line. Fear is so much more important (than actual violence), because it keeps you wondering."
Rasheed's visa in Sri Lanka is running out, and at the time the magazine went to press, she had accepted a job with Al Jazeera in Qatar. Hopefully with current developments, she didn't end up going there. She had the following words of warning: "People were "very quick to dismiss what we write as alarmist, but- in many ways we weren't alarmist enough. This is something American journalists will have to keep in mind."
The common theme linking these three articles are attacks on the freedom of the press, both here and abroad. On the eve of the holiday celebrating our liberty, we would do well to consider the erosion of one of our most important freedoms.