Democracy in Peril

Ironically, Joe Biden’s “Summit for Democracy” coincides with Washington’s efforts to have Julian Assange extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States in order to be tried and imprisoned for leaking information about America’s wars to the public. The question is how can a “Summit for Democracy” be seen as credible and legitimate when a journalist is being prosecuted for exercising a basic human right, namely, press freedom and freedom of speech.

Amidst all of this, the Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Nobel Prize to two journalists – Maria Ressa and Dmitri Muratov – for exercising their right to press freedom and freedom of speech in countries that are inhospitable to the free exercise of such rights. Democracy and freedom are perhaps the biggest issues of our time, as Joe Biden put it. But the United States has joined ranks with countries that have endangered press freedom. Two years ago, ‘Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) ranked the United States 48th out of 180 countries when it came to press freedom, in turn bringing the United States three places lower than the previous year. In addition to calling out former president Donald Trump for his hostility towards the free press, the report also highlighted Barack Obama’s use of the ‘1917 Espionage Act’ to prosecute more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined.

The report also argued that only 24 percent of the 180 countries that are part of RSF’s assessments are safe for journalism. Coincidentally, this report was highlighted by NPR, who along with CNN and Axios, is an outlet that has blocked my articles and blog from reaching its journalists. Peter Beinart is another journalist who was too paranoid to receive my articles and blog posts, despite posing as a bold and straightforward journalist.

However, some American outlets have highlighted the anxiety and paranoia that American journalists have to cope with because of the fact that America is gradually becoming an environment that is more and more inhospitable towards free speech. “The Atlantic” magazine published an article by Walter Kirn in November 2015 titled “If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy,” in which Kirn highlights how government agencies and tech companies are becoming more and more intrusive when it comes to watching people and influencing people. In turn, Kirn asks how it is even possible to live a free life in such an environment.

Thus, when we take these realities into account, one can conclude that democracy and freedom are in a precarious state virtually everywhere, including in the United States. Democracy and freedom rely on truth in order to sustain themselves. But the United States is in a “post-truth” environment as suggested by the aforementioned facts. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer may lobby for bills in Congress that call out China for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims. But Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer never highlighted the fact that America has killed, displaced, and tortured millions of Muslims over the course of the last two decades. Moreover, a journalist who called out Washington for these aforementioned human rights abuses against Muslims is about to be extradited from London and thrown into an American prison for God knows how long. Perhaps American leaders should look themselves in the mirror before provoking other countries for their flaws.

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