Regarding the Dec. 19 article “China, India snag emissions deal“: In the Readers’ Form of Dec. 13 I commended The Japan Times for standing up for freedom of expression in the case of a Buddhist monk whose rights had been trampled on by the police and Supreme Court. I also suggested that people are apathetic about such repression because the media rarely convey the messages of citizens involved in social movements.
Regrettably, The Japan Times is itself guilty, as in its lack of coverage on repression and censorship directed at credentialed nongovernment organizations and activists by the Danish police and U.N. officials at the just-ended Copenhagen Conference on climate change.
Journalist Amy Goodman (DemocracyNow.org) reports that dozens of delegates, angry at developed countries’ lack of commitment to combating global warming, were refused re-entry after expressing dissent inside and outside the conference. This includes Nnimmo Bassey, the Nigerian chair of the Friends of the Earth International. Moreover, Danish police used sweeping powers to preemptively detain people who they feared would “disturb the peace,” including Tadzio Mueller of Climate Justice Action and nearly 2,000 others. Very few of the arrested were violent.
Why were they silenced? The Japan Times offers no clues — just photos of demonstrators alongside stories that reported only what government officials said. Left out were charges by banned civil society activists that the United States is blackmailing developing countries to commit to targets that would not be binding on the U.S. and would actually hasten the pace of global warming. No wonder people are apathetic when the real news goes uncovered and under-reported.