Following the terrorist Charlie Hebdo attack, more than 40 world leaders came together for the unity rally in Paris, France. However, a lot of those politicians belong to countries with poor records on human rights and the free press in their home countries.
London School for Economics Middle East Society co-president Daniel Wickham was the first one to point these hypocritical “staunch defenders” of freedom of speech.
Here, we have ranked the top 10 from his (long) list, based on how “liberal” the country purports to be in general.
Here are the usual suspects:
#10: Saudi Ambassador To France
Despite being one of the worst countries for free speech, Saudi Arabia is still the least hypocritical because it doesn’t champion human rights. It’s quite open about its strict stance on what should be published and what shouldn’t be.
#9: Foreign Minister Shaikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahrain
Up next we have Bahrain, an American ally and one of the top five worst places for journalists.
Bahrain has struggled with sectarian conflict within the country for a very long time now. The Shi’ite community in the country demands equal rights and the government is adamant that there is no discrimination against them. Ever since Feb. 14, 2011, there have been protests and demonstrations against the ruling royal family.
#8: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey
Just last month, in what was called its latest assault on freedom of speech, the Turkish government proposed a bill that would make Internet censorship a lot worse for its people.
The law under consideration would grant the prime minister and communication minister powers to block any site that is considered a threat to “national security and public order” without an immediate court order.
#7: Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt
#8: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia
With an entire system in place to quell free speech when need be, it was indeed a shock to see the Russian foreign minister mourning the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
Let’s now come towards the “liberal” end of the world.
#5: Prime Minister Kopacz, Poland
Last June, Polish law enforcement officials searched the offices of Wprost magazine twice to reportedly seize transcripts that, if released, could’ve been harmful to the reputation of the ruling party.
#4: Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel
In December, Israel’s government agreed to pass a bill that includes sweeping hard line measures which could potentially strip Arab-Israelis of some of their basic rights.
Read More: Is Israel Committing A Democratic Suicide?
#3: Secretary-General of NATO:
To quote Amnesty International:
“Ten years on, no-one has been held to account for the NATO attack on the Serbian state radio and television building that left 16 civilians dead. Sixteen civilians were also injured during the air attack on 23 April 1999 on the headquarters and studios of Radio Televizija Srbije (RTS) in central Belgrade.”
#2: Prime Minister David Cameron, United Kingdom
Remember how British government officials destroyed The Guardian offices following the Snowden leaks? Yeah, that happened under David Cameron’s supervision.
#1: Attorney General Eric Holder, United States
Most recently, the police in Ferguson, Missouri detained and assaulted Washington Post reporters. So much for being the self-proclaimed champion of human rights in the world.