Thank goodness we live in a country where they can’t imprison you for speaking out. Too many governments just throw people in jail when they don’t like what they say. Fortunately, with new technologies like the Internet, it may be getting harder and harder to shut people up.
But governments still try. Even in communist China a lot of independent journalism has sprung up lately, helped by the advent of the Internet. But as you might expect, many of the stories make government officials uncomfortable, as freelance journalist Gao Qinrong discovered when he published a story about a fraudulent irrigation scheme. Now he’s serving a 12-year sentence.
Same thing in Cuba, where two visitors from the Czech Republic recently found themselves cooped up in a Cuban jail for almost a month. The government feared they would spread tales of how the Czech people rebelled against tyranny. The Czechs say they were told again and again, “What happened in Central Europe will not succeed here.” Yeah, right. Something tells me that if throwing off the shackles of tyranny couldn’t possibly happen in Cuba, you wouldn’t need to lock people up to prevent it.
Thank goodness in America they don’t throw you in jail for saying the wrong thing. But there is that debate on the Senate floor on the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Bill that would prevent people from mentioning the name of any congressman in any advertisement during the last 60 days before an election. Hmmmm. What’s that all about?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.