23 November 2008

Pieveriet savas pākstis!

The image at left -- of the "father of the dainas" as he appears on the LVL 100 banknote, altered -- is from Latvijas Avīze. Like other media here, the paper is discussing the latest antics of the ruling gang (oops Government) and its security services -- attempts to muzzle an academic and a musician for rumor-mongering with regard to the grave economic situation and its possible effects on our national currency. Today's Diena headline was "A joke or criticism of the Government can land you in jail" -- the Ventspils lecturer actually ended up in the cooler for a couple of days.

Juris Kaža has started a new blog -- Free Speech Emergency in Latvia. Aleks at All About Latvia has two posts -- "Devaluation Pronouncements" and "D-word can cost you." Veiko Spolītis provides a brief history of the Government's official pronouncements. Edward Hugh's Latvia Economy Watch continues to offer in-depth articles on the crisis.

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Blogger jams o donnell said...

What is with your government Peteris? THen again a senior opposition politician was arrested here last week is idiotic circumstances

30 November, 2008 14:34  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Hi Jams. You mean Damian Green? I've been buried under a shifting mountain of work and haven't been able to follow that. But, if I ever crawl out from under said mountain, I hope to try to reflect a bit on different perspectives; Juris' is libertarian and American (here's an interesting debate/brawl on free speech between some anonymous readers of his new blog. Britain, with its bizarre libel laws, strange national security legislation, etc., is not like the US in terms of freedom of expression (and a case for American exceptionalism can be made here, too).

Latvia is again different because of its history of totalitarian censorship (both under occupation and during the Ulmanis regime that preceded it). It is easier to intimidate people when they have strong memories of such intimidation (and I will add that there are things Juris hasn't touched on yet; the blockading of flats to prevent the far right from mounting non-violent demonstrations on March 16th, the fact that writing that cannabis should be legalized could possibly get you into deep trouble for "glorifying drugs," the selective application of "hate speech" and Holocaust denial laws, etc.

As to what's with our govt. -- one thing I think most of us agree on is that this gang (an epithet the coalition detests, but the best descriptor) has authoritarian desires in the marrow of its mindset. Call it "managed democracy" au Putin. That's constantly evident in the moralische Überwachungsstaat model they work from.

Then again, a perusal of Heresy Corner might make one wonder whether Britain isn't even worse. And according to Reporters Without Borders, with regard to freedom of the press -- it is.

30 November, 2008 15:31  

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