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Protecting Freedom Of Press, Printing —Cagle

February 2008
AT PRESS time, the nation was gripped with caucus fever. It was still anyone’s game for both parties, with Barack Obama getting traction early for the Dems, and John McCain and Mitt Romney jockeying for position for the Republicans.

Each candidate is seeking to be viewed as an agent for change. It’s tough to differentiate between them, and the gloves have yet to completely come off. That will have to happen, sooner or later, in order to create a sound bite that can be the cornerstone of each platform. For example: Obama will say “Hillary Clinton wants us to look back, but we can’t live in the past. It’s time to start thinking about tomorrow.” Sure, it sounds deeply profound, but it’s a hollow statement—means nothing. After all, anyone with half a brain has his/her eye on tomorrow.

The sound bite is, of course, an option in lieu of judging candidates on the basis of issues. Sure, some people will bother to do their homework, but many citizens will rely on TV’s talking heads to sway their thinking. The only reason the early primaries are important is that people tend to follow the leader.

The whole point of this isn’t that the U.S. election process stinks. Some feel it is flawed. But it is what we make of it, for better or worse, and there are times we need to sit back and appreciate our electoral system and the many freedoms we enjoy (get Lee Greenwood and cue up “Proud to Be an American”).

Take Malaysia, for example. Never been...I’m sure it’s lovely...but their church and state are less than separate. Its government is threatening to pull a Catholic newspaper’s printing permit for its use of the word “Allah.”

In late ’07, the government decided that the word “Allah” could be used only by Muslims to avoid confusion. It wasn’t revealed in what form that confusion could manifest itself in, but OK. Non-Muslims were directed to use “God,” or “Tuhan” in Malay language, despite the fact that “Allah” has been used in Malay-language bibles for centuries, presumably without confusion.

The newspaper in question, The Herald, has filed a suit in protest over the edict, according to AFP. It should be very interesting to see how this drama plays out in a country where religion and language are extremely touchy subjects.
 

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