Free press

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A free press was considered, during the Enlightenment era, and in the English civil tradition, an essential cornerstone of democracy. There are signs however that the Bush administration views it differently, perhaps as a cyber threat of sorts, threatening the critical infrastructure of media that represents world public opinion of the US military-industrial complex.

Evidence for this new view is the pressure on the Emir of Qatar to get him to shut down Al Jazeera, the only Arabic satellite news network, during the Coalition invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The press corps headquarters ina Baghdad hotel was shelled by the US Army during that invasion, killing some Al Jazeera reporters. During the subsequent coalition occupation of Iraq there were more incidents that indicated that the US considered some journalists to be a threat to its dominance, mostly notably at the briefing center in Doha, Qatar. Also there were efforts to shut down Al Jazeera's web service which kept English speaking readers from reading its version of the news until the war was over.

Interestingly, Al Jazeera did not report on the US presence in Doha during the war, which might have inflamed Arab opinion against the Emir.