LEADERS of the United States of America and citizens of American states have always bragged that America is the leader of the free world. Free world means the place where democracy, freedom of belief, freedom of expression and other freedoms are practiced according to elite constitutions starting with the principles of the French Revolution, British Magna Carta and American Constitution.
Freedom of expression has become a bitter issue especially after the spread of social media. At the beginning, only the youths used social media but it spread widely, to the extent that we now see presidents using this type of media including American President Donald Trump. Even media figures including television commentators working in international broadcasting agencies like the CNN and others are using social media.
I was really shocked when I read a report stating that freedom of expression in America was hit in a deadly manner recently. Jeffrey Lord is a senior conservative commentator at CNN TV. He was dismissed because of a tweet when he responded to a friend’s greeting using the Nazi greeting ‘Heil Hitler’. This tweet opened hell’s gate before Lord in the form of accusations such as ‘anti-Semitism’. Lord did not apologize for his tweet. Moreover, the number of his followers increased by thousands each day. Lord took advantage of the incident not only to defend himself, but also to share the opinions of his defenders.
The issue went beyond CNN as it also reached the giant company Google which dismissed a senior employee accusing him of racialism when he shared a tweet about women saying, “The genes of women are different from men’s. Thus, it is not easy to make them equal with men in the fields of technology, science, leadership and financial advantages.”
If this occurs in America where freedom of expression is guaranteed, then we should not blame our relatively backward societies where the Public Prosecution, courts and jails are full of those involved in social media opinion lawsuits. However, our Constitution and our laws stipulate respect for freedom of expression. Nevertheless, it seems that as soon as freedom meets reality, whether on advanced or backward ground, we discover that freedom of expression is just theoretical.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil