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George Ayittey: ‘Freedom of expression was not invented by the West’

On a recent BBC World Service programme ‘The Forum’, Ghanaian-American economist George Ayittey shared his 60 second idea to change the world – part of the show at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0048s8s (September 20, 2009). He is @ayittey on Twitter.

“[T]he UN should expel those countries that do not respect freedom of expression, which is Article 19 of the UN Human Rights charter.”

The Committee to Protect Bloggers have supplied this full transcript:

“I would like everyone to write the following on postcards and send to governments around the world.

“Freedom of expression and of thought was not invented by the West.  It has existed in traditional societies – even primitive ones – for centuries. Human progress would not have been possible without it.

“I’m saying this as a black African from Ghana because today around the world, we have ‘educated’ barbarians who want to suppress this freedom by arresting and jailing dissidents, writers, journalists and those they disagree with. In fact, the UN should expel those countries that do not respect freedom of expression, which is Article 19 of the UN Human Rights charter.

“When everyone has written this thought on postcards and sent them, they should also put them on POSTERS and hang them up in market places, in windows, on the sides of buildings everywhere. So that around the world will be the unmistakable visual reminder of the freedom everywhere.”


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