Sunday, February 1, 2009

UNESCO & its problem with a Free Press

Abdul Waheed Khan
Assistant Director-General for
Communication and Information (CIF)

01 February 2009

Dear Assistant Director-General:

I have your news release dated 30 January 2009 regarding the cowardly “grenade attack” against the Anhanguera Communication Network headquarters in the city of Campinas, São Paulo Brazil. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Nevertheless, we agree with UNESCO Representative in Brazil, Vincent Defourny, when he states that the attack “displays a willful disrespect against the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and the right to information, nonnegotiable principles of democracy [and] draws attention to the fact that threats against press freedom are real, even in democracies [and] reinforces the international perception that a careful monitoring and enhancement of mechanisms to protect the practice of journalism should be a constant concern to public authorities and society as a whole.”

What are we to make of the fact that you, Mr. Khan, are unwilling to protest the fact that in “democracies” such as France, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and others it is illegal to question in the press the existence of German homicidal gas chambers during World War II, and that if you do pose such questions you will be prosecuted and imprisoned?

Are we to take it, Mr. Khan, that UNESCO’s ideals, and yours, with regard to “freedom of expression and freedom of the press” are meant for some democracies, but not for all?

Your frank response will be very much appreciated.

Bradley R. Smith, Founder
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro, Ca. 92143


NOTE: I will copy this letter to your colleagues at CIF, and to offices in the UNESCO international Field Network so that we are all on the same page.

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