In a previous post The dark side of the web I mentioned the plight of Parwez Kambakhsh, an Afghan journalism student, who was sentenced to death “for asking questions in class about women’s rights” and downloading related material from the web. Thankfully he has just had his sentence commuted to 20 years in prison.
The question I asked before still stands: Why is the Australian Government propping up a regime that approves of this kind of incomprehensible sentencing with billions of Australian taxpayers dollars and the lives of our soldiers?
If a journalism student is treated in this manner, imagine the penalties that would be meted out to acquisition librarians for attempting to develop a balanced collection.
One of IFLA’s core values is:
- We support and promote the principles of freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Afghanistan voted in favour of the Declaration in 1948. Perhaps when Mr Rudd visits the country he could point this out and make adherence to its principles a condition for any future assistance.