Free Speech

by Timothy Geigner

Filed Under:
free speech, russia, ukraine

Hey, Ukraine, How'd Tamping Down Free Speech Work Out For You?

from the we-already-know-the-answer dept

As you may remember, we've taken a bit of an interest in Ukraine lately. Frankly, it's not all that common that you get to see a popular revolution take place right there on your television/computer screen. So, as you're probably somewhat aware, the Ukrainian people have dismissed the creepy Orwellian threats of the former government, discarded the false promises they made, and have taken the first step to establishing a new government.

The Parliament voted to oust Yanukovych, a key demand of protesters. It appointed seasoned lawmaker Oleksandr Turchinov as a new speaker who will take on Yanukovych's duties until new elections in May. Turchinov, a longtime ally of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, has promised a new interim government by Tuesday.

"We have a legitimate source of authority in Kiev, which is the democratically elected Parliament and a democratically, constitutionally elected speaker of parliament, who is acting president," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who helped broker a peace deal between the government and the opposition, said on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Now, it should be noted that this might not be completely over yet. First, Viktor Yanukovych, the now-ousted President of Ukraine, still claims he is the rightful leader of the country, though he does so from hiding. In addition, essentially the entire nation of Ukraine is casting Russia a wary eye, waiting for Vladimir Putin to gallop in shirtless on his steed and sweep all of this change away. Those fears will eventually be cast aside as well, however, just as were those of the old Ukraine government.

This is how we concluded our last post on the false concessions made by the government to protestors after absolutely violating their freedom of speech.
This, I fear, won't be enough to send the protesters back to their homes. A new government with the same President is only "new" as a method for parody and derision. An attempt to turn on the free speech of a people isn't going to be forgiven in exchange for lesser resignations.
That probably goes for Russia at this point as well. This entire fight has been over trading with the West or remaining beholden to Russia's promise of foreign cash injections: the way Ukraine has been pulled for decades. Fortunately, in this time, the people of Ukraine not only had the will to change their government, they had the ability to organize and export their story to the world via the internet, ubiquitous camera phones, and a citizen press. In other words, twenty years ago, this might not have been possible. Now it's eminently so.

Other nations looking to tamp down on free speech and a free internet may want to take note of the consequences.

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  1. identicon
    zip, 27 Feb 2014 @ 2:33am

    Techdirt and US-financed revolutions

    One of the main reasons I like reading Techdirt is because of writers like Mike Masnick, Tim Cushing, and now, Karl Bode, who display not only a keen interest, but much in-depth knowledge of the subjects they cover. And perhaps most importantly, a perspective that's often woefully lacking in the corporate mass-market news industry.

    That said, I've always believed that opinion writers should try to avoid topics that they know little about.

    Ukrainian politics is far more complicated than the dumbed-down, one-sided, highly-propagandized version shown on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. The same goes for most wars and revolutions, particularly US-sponsored ones (as this one most definitely is).

    If Techdirt is going to cover the Ukrainian "revolution" -- how about starting with how the US mainstream media is 'getting it wrong' - and the key facts and perspectives these news corporations (almost meticulously) fail to mention?

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