I had a similar reaction this morning as NPR took up the cause of press freedom. The focus was on - guess what country? - Venezuela...what a surprise! The shadowy Juan Forero was reporting on Chavez government's plans to shut down a major opposition television channel, RCTV. I have to agree that I strongly oppose such a move - it seems dangerously arbitrary (see this report from Reporters without Borders).
In Forero's report he talked to Carlos Lauria, an Argentine journalist and representative of the respected organization, the Committee to Protect Journalists that has criticized the moves of the Chavez government. And this is where my concerns with NPR's coverage come in. Why focus on Venezuela? Is is just because it is the enemy de jour of the Bush administration? Will NPR give as much coverage to other serious press issues that the Committe to Protect Journalists has raised such as US actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the actions of US allies such as Pakistan or Israel? I'm not holding my breath, besides covering those stories wouldn't allow Forero the chance to air such a "substantive" quote as this one from Chavez opponent, Americo Martin:
- "We can’t say that Chavez is a Hitler, that would be an exaggeration, but we’re headed that way....this regime…it’s on the way to becoming a totalitarian system."