In related news, Nick Mills is also concerned about the integrity of the press.
In 2003, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I went to Baghdad as a potential contractor to assess the needs of the Iraqi media. With other contractors hopeful of landing a fat U.S. government contract, I visited radio and television stations and newspaper offices. At the office of one newspaper editor, we were shown into a back room. The editor pointed to a large hook protruding from the ceiling. “That,” he said, “is where Uday [Saddam Hussein’s eldest son] would hang us up by the wrists and lecture us on what we had published.”
A free press is the target of dictators, despots and demagogues all over the world. It is possible to be a journalist in a country without a free press, but it’s a dangerous profession. It is not possible for a country without a free press to be a democracy.