Casualty of War

Casualty of War

by David Dadge
     
 

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In an era of terrorism national security has understandably moved to the forefront of public concern. But with this new emphasis on safety, the press—both here and abroad—has begun to feel the repressive hand of government attempting to limit its role of uncovering and publishing newsworthy information. In its global campaign to fight terrorism is the

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Overview

In an era of terrorism national security has understandably moved to the forefront of public concern. But with this new emphasis on safety, the press—both here and abroad—has begun to feel the repressive hand of government attempting to limit its role of uncovering and publishing newsworthy information. In its global campaign to fight terrorism is the Bush administration trying to muzzle freedom of speech?
David Dadge, editor at the International Press Institute, documents a number of disturbing incidents of attempted press censorship in this interesting perspective on the rising tensions between powerful government interests and independent journalists. Among the alarming developments after September 11, Dadge highlights the Bush administration’s hasty attempts to impose constraints on the reporting of the Voice of America and on Al-Jazeera, its creation of the short-lived Office of Strategic Influence, and its public criticism of journalists who appeared to be out of step with the general patriotic fervor. Fears that the long-cherished right of free expression would be sacrificed were further exacerbated when media executives from major broadcasting networks started censoring output. At the same time, journalists who failed to articulate the prevailing view were vilified or, in some cases, removed from their jobs. In this climate, many other journalists have felt the need to affirm their patriotism (or else).
In some ways even more disturbing, Dadge describes the effects that such actions have had on the governments of other countries. Following the lead of the current U.S. administration, several governments elsewhere have sought to justify repressive measures by pointing to the example of America, the self-professed world champion of freedom. The danger exists, as Dadge clearly shows, that the War on Terror will become a cloak for justifying all sorts of abuses.
Dadge concludes by arguing that rather than suppressing the media, political and military institutions would be better off in the end by actually increasing existing freedoms. This carefully researched and well-argued discussion of free expression under siege should be of great interest and concern to all who care about one of our most important liberties.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
… David Dadge, the editor of the World Press Freedom Review, who in Casualty of War asserts that following 9/11 the Bush administration launched a campaign that muzzled the news media both here and abroad by insisting that national security concerns trump those of the exchange of information. He quite rightly points to harassment of Al Jazeera and the Voice of America. But Dadge's most persuasive allegations involve the way countries like Benin, Egypt and Uganda use the war on terror as an excuse to suppress their media.— Ethan Bronner
Publishers Weekly
Not all of the post-9/11 threats to American democracy come from terrorism, argues International Press Institute editor Dadge, and some of the more profound dangers stem from what he says is the government's tendency to place security concerns before guarantees of liberty. Particularly, Dadge is concerned about the Bush administration's attempts to stifle press freedoms at home and abroad. In this well-documented accounting of what Dadge sees as the White House's knee-jerk response to a free and sometimes critical press, he weaves together some of the disparate statements and actions of the administration into an almost prosecutorial litany of the ways in which both the American and foreign press are less free as a result of what he contends are attempts by the White House to spin, control and influence the flow of information. With analyses of the State Department's strong-arming of the Voice of America after it aired an interview with former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, descriptions of U.S. efforts to tone down Qatar-based news broadcast station Al-Jazeera and looks at more domestic (and successful) efforts to weaken the Freedom of Information Act, the book makes a strong case that the Bush administration has displayed a notable lack of respect for a free press. While at times light on specifics and frustrating in its omission of some highly publicized Bush administration attacks on the press, the book provides a good starting point for a much-needed discussion. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this well-documented and compelling account, Dadge (editor, Intl. Press Inst.) provides an indictment of U.S. media and information policies adopted since 9/11. Each step away from American standards leads to regression by other countries, he argues, so that while the United States has been a model for freedom of information, freedom of speech, and political freedom, each restrictive move in this country inevitably leads to modeling of those actions in other countries. Dadge even provides disturbing examples of cases where political leaders specifically cite the actions of the United States as a template for their behavior. According to Dadge, the result is the restriction of journalists, incarceration of dissidents, and treatment of dissidents as terrorists in countries like China, Zimbabwe, and Uzbekistan. In addition, the current focus on security is costly as campaigns for human rights in many countries are abandoned, or social programs are postponed in favor of paramilitary or military spending. The solution? Dadge proposes that instead of repressing the media, our government should increase their freedoms. A timely study of an important topic, this is recommended for all libraries.-Necia Parker-Gibson, Mullins Lib., Fayetteville, AR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591021476
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
01/25/2004
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.93(d)

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