Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/13/2008

The GoV newsboyNot many tips again tonight. I think our tipsters take weekends off.

  • Mideast Issues See Light at Mediterranean Summit
  • Pakistanis Slam Threats by Extremists to Daily Aaj Kal
  • BBC Muslim Beheading Irks Christians

Thanks to TB for all these tips. Details are below the fold.
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Mideast issues see light at Mediterranean Summit

Sarkozy hosts Olmert, Abbas; Erdogan hosts Assad, Olmert

France urged a 43-nation Union for the Mediterranean to tackle 21st century challenges including the array of Middle East issues, which remained a hot topic of discussion at a launch summit on Sunday.

On the sidelines, French President Nicolas Sarkozy hosted talks with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas, after which Olmert said the two sides had never been so close to a peace accord.

“The goal of this summit for the Mediterranean, of this Union for the Mediterranean, is that we learn to love each other instead of continuing to hate each other and wage war,” Sarkozy told a joint news conference with Olmert and Abbas.

“The fact that everyone will be in the same room for the same meeting is in itself an historic event,” he said.

Pakistanis slam threats by extremists to Daily Aaj Kal

PFUJ condemns threats

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has slammed threats to Urdu daily, “Aaj Kal” as an attempt to silence dissent and expressed concern over the rising trend of violence from non-state actors against the media. “Everyone has a right to disagree with the policy of any newspaper but we consider threats, whether from the government or non-state actors, as attacks on the freedom of the press,” the PFUJ said in a statement. According to Aaj Kal’s management, the threats from Lal Masjid elements were directed at the editorial policy of the newspaper which is against religious extremism and violence and speeches were made against the newspaper on Friday by activists outside Lal Masjid. The staff of the paper also received threatening calls in their offices in Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad.

BBC Muslim Beheading Irks Christians

The BBC defended decision to show the decapitation as “carefully considered,” and “central to the story line.”

A BBC’s new drama series showing a moderate Muslim beheaded by an extremist Christian is sparking furor in Britain, with viewers and media critics blasting the decapitation as demonizing and ridiculing Christianity, the Mail on Sunday reported on July 13.


Charlemagne said...

Great piece on libel tourism in the WSJ today by Joe Lieberman and Arlen Specter. They discuss the Rachel Ehrenfield case.
Need ALL Americans to make sure that when the bill comes to the floor that their member of Congress and Senators are on board and if they are not, they are called to account.

For those that do not receive the WSJ below is the article:

Foreign Courts Take Aim at Our Free Speech
July 14, 2008

Our Constitution is one of our greatest assets in the fight against terrorism. A free-flowing marketplace of ideas, protected by the First Amendment, enables the ideals of democracy to defeat the totalitarian vision of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

That free marketplace faces a threat. Individuals with alleged connections to terrorist activity are filing libel suits and winning judgments in foreign courts against American researchers who publish on these matters. These suits intimidate and even silence writers and publishers.

Under American law, a libel plaintiff must prove that defamatory material is false. In England, the burden is reversed. Disputed statements are presumed to be false unless proven otherwise. And the loser in the case must pay the winner's legal fees.

Consequently, English courts have become a popular destination for libel suits against American authors. In 2003, U.S. scholar Rachel Ehrenfeld asserted in her book, "Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It," that Saudi banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz helped fund Osama bin Laden. The book was published in the U.S. by a U.S. company. But 23 copies were bought online by English residents, so English courts permitted the Saudi to file a libel suit there.

Ms. Ehrenfeld did not appear in court, so Mr. Bin Mahfouz won a $250,000 default judgment against her. He has filed or threatened to file at least 30 other suits in England.

Fear of a similar lawsuit forced Random House U.K. in 2004 to cancel publication of "House of Bush, House of Saud," a best seller in the U.S. that was written by an American author. In 2007, the threat of a lawsuit compelled Cambridge University Press to apologize and destroy all available copies of "Alms for Jihad," a book on terrorism funding by American authors. The publisher even sent letters to libraries demanding that they destroy their copies, though some refused to do so.

To counter this lawsuit trend, we have introduced the Free Speech Protection Act of 2008, a Senate companion to a House bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete King (R., N.Y.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.). This legislation builds on New York State's "Libel Terrorism Protection Act," signed into law by Gov. David Paterson on May 1.

Our bill bars U.S. courts from enforcing libel judgments issued in foreign courts against U.S. residents, if the speech would not be libelous under American law. The bill also permits American authors and publishers to countersue if the material is protected by the First Amendment. If a jury finds that the foreign suit is part of a scheme to suppress free speech rights, it may award treble damages.

First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams argues that "the values of free speech and individual reputation are both significant, and it is not surprising that different nations would place different emphasis on each." We agree. But it is not in our interest to permit the balance struck in America to be upset or circumvented by foreign courts. Our legislation would not shield those who recklessly or maliciously print false information. It would ensure that Americans are held to and protected by American standards. No more. No less.

We have seen this type of libel suit before. The 1964 Supreme Court decision in New York Times v. Sullivan established that journalists must be free to report on newsworthy events unless they recklessly or maliciously publish falsehoods. At that time, opponents of civil rights were filing libel suits to silence news organizations that exposed state officials' refusal to enforce federal civil rights laws.

Now we are engaged in another great struggle -- this time against Islamist terror -- and again the enemies of freedom seek to silence free speech. Our legislation will help ensure that they do not succeed.

Mr. Specter is a Republican senator from Pennsylvania. Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut.

no2liberals said...

B-HO Must Be Asking...With Friends Like These.

Brazentide said...

Seriously...Radical Christians BEHEADING Muslims???

Perhaps next week they could show a Jewish radical that detonates his bomb vest in a pakistani embassy in response a disrespectful cartoon of Moses.

It would have to air after the show about a fanatical Buddhist that kills a Muslim elementary school teacher for simply instructing girls in math.

Stay tuned as Catholics crash airplanes into Mecca, while a Hindu mob stones a pair of homosexuals to death.

The reality inversion at the BBC must certainly be near it's absolute threshold.

sidenote: Christians in the UK should consider invoking the 'Racial and Religious Hatred Act' for this one. I have no doubt the Muslims would had the roles been reversed.