Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Why no action from Coalition on Libya State TV?

Following on from this letter, I have just written again to my MP, John Penrose (WSM, Con)  on the subject of Libya State TV.  I would ask everyone who wishes to see a swift end to Gaddafi's regime to copy, customise and send to their own MP. Use www.writethem.com  if you do not have th eMP's direct email address. 

Dear John

I am writing to express my astonishment and frustration that Gol Gaddafi's Libya State TV propaganda machine is still spreading his distorted view of reality across Libya.

A week has passed since the following exchange was recorded in Hansard:

Duncan Hames (Chippenham) (LD):
It is not just tanks and planes that Gaddafi uses against his own people but the poisonous propaganda on Libyan state TV carried on NileSat, which threatens to undermine hopes for future peace in that country. What can be done to ensure that all Libyans, especially those in Tripoli, can access independent media on which to base their understanding of current events?
The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman makes a vitally important point. We want to do everything we can to try to make sure that people can access independent media, which have had a huge impact on these events. But also, frankly, we should take a tougher approach to Libyan state television, which, as far as I can see, is actually working on behalf of the regime that is terrorising and brutalising its own civilians. The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point that we should pursue urgently.
A week later, nothing has happened. How urgent is urgent?

We can be sure that if Churchill had been offered the chance of stopping Goebbel's propaganda it would have happened the next day.

Everyone is feeling anxiety and doubt about our involvement in Libya. Journalists are obsessing about the exit strategy. The fact is that the exit strategy is implicit in the success of the campaign. Blocking Libya State TV is an effective, cost-free, non-violent means of assisting this success. It is extraordinary that the thorny question of arming the rebels is under discussion while the matter of shutting down Gaddafi's propaganda machine is on the back burner, as indeed are other diplomatic means. There is the question of countries who are sending  mercenaries, and also now we learn that Chadian regulars are in the country. Has anyone taken this up with Chad in any way?

I have heard no substantive arguments against this line of action, though I imagine there may be some kind of gentleman’s agreement among governments along the lines of “I will not jam your signal if you will not jam mine”. Clearly this convention no longer holds now that Ghaddafi is subject to a UN R2P action and no longer seen as a legitimate ruler. 

Could it be that the Government is unwilling to transgress into the liberty of Nilesat to make a profit?  If so, this reason should be tested in the court of public opinion. The people might take a different view of the balance of private profit and the importance of defeating Gaddafi.

Please take this matter up with  the PM, the Defence Secretary and the Foreign Secretary as a matter of urgency.


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