The Blanket

Censorship that has reached the US
A letter to the Washington Post
Donna Farley

 

Mr Kurtz, I would like to present you with a case of political and media censorship that needs to be addressed in Northern Ireland and has now stepped over to effect periodicals in the US. My knowledge and history has shown me all too often that people who covet power often try to remove or destroy the messengers of truth. By being addressed one wonders if it puts people's lives in safety or in danger. It can only be surmised they have entered into their roles to try and ensure free speech so they know the risks. There are two issues: one is the censorship and harassment of writers (one in particular) in Belfast, his censorship by a newspaper there to the point of not even being able to respond in letters to the editor on attacks they make on him in print; his house being picketed, harassment and threats.

Now we are not talking some light headed ignorant person. Anthony McIntyre is an intelligent, well versed and an informed writer.

The second issue is that it seems the matter has now stepped over to the US where a columnist Eamon Lynch from NY has just resigned from a periodical called the Irish Echo due to a column he wrote there. The Echo has decided to publish and support a rebuttal by the Andersonstown News adding a statement that Mr. Lynch found unacceptable in the light of a free press.

In Northern Ireland there is a person(s) who have started a free speech on-line magazine called "The Blanket". Their policy is this: "The Blanket project exists as a commitment to freedom of speech. Its purpose is to facilitate analysis, debate and discussion, to resist censorship, and to create the space for a diversity of views." The Blanket started off small and aimed to give a place for free speech and debate, just as stated above.

Now when something becomes known and respected it begins to shake the status quo. Unless you know the history of all the groups in Northern Ireland this part can become confusing quickly. One supposes from where one stands in this arena who the dissidents are. Now I do not need to agree with many, some, any or all of the writers who contribute. But more so it is about free speech and if we tolerate this situation we are in essence saying it is all right, I cannot stand by and be party to that. This is about people who have lived their lives in a country whose history has been oppression and who attempt to keep people honest and who are now caught up in collective power and control. I realize the world has much going on in many places. Yet I also feel this is reflective of the type of thing that is prevelant in Northern Ireland. The tactics of some political groups and media have created an atmosphere that puts people at risk not only in their right to express, but I personally fear for their safety.



 

 

 

 

 

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Letters of interest to local and international media, as well as letters sent to the webmaster of The Blanket will be posted here.
The Blanket welcomes your opinions, letters to the editor, and other contributions. All submissions must include your name, address, and a phone number for verification; anonymous submissions will not be accepted. Pseudonyms are discouraged but will be considered if necessary or for satirical purposes. The author bears sole responsibility for the opinion he or she expresses.
 

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert H. Humphrey

 

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