This may surprise you, but Mohammed Fahmy, the imprisoned Al Jazeera English journalist who on Friday was awarded the World Press Freedom Award, is actually kind of a dick.
And I’m sure he feels the same way about me.
... He said he wanted to write a story about it, and asked for quotes from us. I declined ... I asked him as a favor to please not make a big deal about it, and if he did feel that he had to write something, to please just leave our names out of it.
He ran the story, names and all, which pissed me off. We traded shitty BBMs back and forth, and I came away thinking of him as a pushy, bull-headed bastard who cared more about getting a story out than for the people who that story was about.
In other words, a damn good journalist.
That the belligerent actions of journalists are met with an equal and opposite reaction is understandable. Why would you make it easy for someone to make your life more difficult? But it’s the overreaction to journalism—censorship, imprisonment, and violence — that reveal a country’s true colors. We need to start asking if governments that aren’t grown up enough to be able to handle a little bad press ought to be allowed to play with guns. Or rather, allowed to receive generous military aid.
Right now, rather than pushing for the release of Fahmy and the other Al Jazeera journalists, the Obama administration is pushing for the release of $650 million in military aid to the Egyptian government. The same government that has imprisoned Fahmy, Greste, and Mohamed since December 2013, and today — on World Press Freedom Day —denied them bail.
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