Your rights as an online journalist: what will 2007 bring?

With a new year and a newly Democratic Congress, the atmosphere of American political discourse is thick with auguries of change. What might those changes mean for online journalists? We queried experts in constitutional law, copyright and ethics for a forecast for online journalists in 2007.

Some of the experts we spoke to registered their strongest concerns about the Bush administration’s aggressive stance toward journalists. “George Bush is exceedingly bad news for this country on almost every front, and one of those fronts is his contempt for the press,” said David Rubin, Dean and Professor of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. “He and his Justice Department, prosecutors, and the whole tone that he has set – are more than willing to use the subpoena power to get sources and get confidential information and basically, in his view, put journalists in their place.”

However, John Hartman, a journalism professor at Central Michigan University, predicted that in 2007, “The Bush Administration will be forced to back off on and drop its investigations and intimidations of journalists and news organizations as it is forced to spend time defending itself from various Congressional investigations, including those that might be preludes to impeachment.” Indeed, there are news reports saying that the President is beefing up his legal team in anticipation of Congressional investigations.

As critical as he is of the President Bush’s actions, Rubin doesn’t share Hartman’s expectation of change; “I don’t think anything changes him.” Rubin said it would not surprise him to see more journalists jailed in 2007: “Not only ultimately jailed, but more subpoenas for information, more subpoenas of phone records – whatever tactics [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales and the Justice Department can come up with, they will.”

Hartman said a Congress led by Democrats will generally be more supportive of press freedom, and may even be open to passing a federal shield law, such as the Free Flow of Information Act sponsored by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). Hearings were held on the bill last September, but “Congress might pass a federal shield law, but Bush would veto it under present circumstances,” Hartman wrote. “If he decides to govern from the middle and try to repair his public opinion ratings, Bush might allow it.”

But Rubin disagreed, noting, “[T]his is an issue that the Senate and the House have considered regularly since 1972, since the Branzburg case. So that’s almost 35 years ago, they haven’t done it yet. The situation is now far more complex than it was in 1972, now that you have online journalists and bloggers, which raise definitional issues. The mood of the country is not nearly as supportive of journalists as it was back then. The Congress has so much else on its plate this year, and it’s likely to be a highly contentious place that I just don’t think this is going to rise to the surface as an issue to consider. For all of those reasons, I would be shocked if a federal shield law was passed next year.”

In fact, according to a blog entry by CBS News legal consultant Andrew Shelton, Lugar’s bill died in committee last year precisely because Justice Department lawyers wanted to be able to compel reporters’ testimony in the forthcoming trial of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the illegal disclosure of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

In the area of copyright law, while big changes are not expected, there are still “many issues, both in terms of journalists reproducing content from copyrighted sources and, more significantly, having their work reproduced without permission,” said Jon Garon, Dean and Professor of Law at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Those issues range from common internet practices that can expose journalists and bloggers to charges of copyright infringement to steps that online media producers may need to take to protect their work.

For example, bloggers frequently embed video or audio from sites such as YouTube or Odeo. But Garon said that even when the original source of the content is acknowledged, those bloggers may still be subject to charges of copyright infringement. While portal sites such as Google Video require that people uploading video to their site attest to their rights to the content they post, Google can’t guarantee that the posters are telling the truth. Someone who republishes that content without a demonstrable effort to prevent infringement can still be sued, Garon said.

Of course, most journalists use copyrighted material under the “fair use” provisions of U.S. copyright law. Those provisions allow for the republication of small portions of a copyrighted work for such purposes as news reporting, comment or criticism, or classroom teaching. The fair use doctrine has a long and venerable legal history, but Garon warned “the parameters of fair use are inherently fact-specific.” Further, as OJR reported last February, some experts are concerned that the improper use of cease-and-desist letters by copyright holders has caused online content to be removed.

According to Garon, one copyright issue that caused some controversy in 2006 will likely be ignored in 2007. That’s the law governing “orphan” works – works published before 1923 for which there’s no apparent copyright holder. Under current law, these orphan works are still under copyright – and anyone who uses them risks a lawsuit. In 109th Congress, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), then chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the House of Representatives, introduced the Orphan Works Act of 2006, which would permit their use when it can be demonstrated that a good-faith effort has been made to contact the copyright holder. Under fire from organizations representing professional photographers and others, Smith ultimately withdrew the bill from consideration, despite support from the American Library Association and others.

As to ownership issues, according to Hartman, “deregulation that would result in the lifting of cross-ownership restrictions is less likely to happen as Democrats are less comfortable with media conglomerates. Yet Democrats might support legislation that would make it easier for newspapers to survive and allow cross-ownership in circumstances where the newspaper would fail otherwise.”

Bloggers faced new legal challenges in 2006, both in the United States and internationally. Josh Wolf landed in federal prison for refusing to turn over unpublished video of a demonstration to a California grand jury. Hao Wu, who was imprisoned for five months by the Chinese government, apparently in connection with video that he was shooting for a documentary about underground churches in that country. Libel suits against bloggers are on the rise. And in December, an Australian court ruled that linking to copyrighted sound recordings can be illegal if it makes it easier to gain improper access to that material.

For Robert Cox of the Media Bloggers Association, these developments illustrate that many bloggers perform the same newsgathering functions as professional journalists, and thus require the same level of education, access and legal protection. His organization has spearheaded a training and certification program that would ensure that bloggers understand and adhere to high legal and ethical standards. MBA has negotiated agreements that will allow certified bloggers to obtain press credentials to cover such events as government press conferences and briefings.

Finally, “there’s something that’s extremely important in all of this, and it almost never gets talked about, Cox said. “Let’s start with this: Freedom isn’t free. If you’re going to publish – and bloggers are publishers – and you can’t back up what you’re writing with lawyers and resources to pay for all of that, you’re not going to last very long.” That’s why, Cox said, the MBA is negotiating with the insurance industry to offer liability insurance that bloggers can tap in the event of a legal fight. “As blogging and citizen journalism develops over time, you need to have access to this kind of support.”

Governments jailing more Internet journalists

A new report from the Committee to Project Journalists finds that increasingly, online journalists are being imprisoned for their work, causing an increase in the number of incarcerated journalists for the second straight year. CPJ said that as of December 1, 49 of 134 imprisoned journalists worldwide work via the Internet — the highest number in that category since CPJ began keeping records in 1997. Print journalists remain the largest category of imprisoned journalists; 67 print reporters, editors and photographers are behind bars, CPJ said.

China, Eritrea and Cuba top the list of governments responsible for jailing journalists, but the United States is responsible for incarcerating two journalists without charges, as part of the War on Terror. Bilal Hussein, a free-lance photographer for the Associated Press, has been held by US Security forces since April 12, 2006. Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj was arrested December 15, 2001 by US forces in Afghanistan; he is currently held at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the 2006 Press Freedom Index compiled by another journalists’-rights group, Reporters Without Borders, the United States’ treatment of journalists placed it at 53rd on its press freedom list, tied with Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. China, Cuba and Eritrea ranked 163, 165 and 166 on the list, making them the countries with third, fifth and sixth most repressive records in the area of free expression. When the RSF began producing its list five years ago, the US rank was at 17.

Abi Wright, CPJ’s communications director, spoke to OJR about the new study of jailed journalists:

Wright: I think the rise in the number of Internet journalists on our prison list this year is startling, and reflective of trends that we’ve been following since 1997, when we documented the first jailing of an Internet writer. I think there’s two things going on. First of all, there are more people writing and doing journalism online. Secondly, the perennial offenders, China and Cuba , in particular, are just saying an increasing, or ever-present, I should say, intolerance towards reporting and dissent in any form, and online in particular.

OJR: You’ve pointed out that one in three of the journalists now in jail is an Internet blogger, web-based editor, or online reporter, and a large number of these people are not necessarily paid journalists, but citizen journalists?

Wright: Exactly. The nature varies from country to country. In countries like China, access to work as a journalist is very restricted. There’s party membership and all kinds of memberships required and it’s highly regulated and restricted. Writers and citizens have found the Internet to be one way that they can get information and transfer information. In Cuba, which is a slightly different example, a lot of journalists whose work ends up online, they actually telephone or transmit the information through different means, but it ends up being published online because they have no other way of just doing journalism there through official routes. So it’s reflective of the media environments in all of those countries.

OJR: Many of the people you are talking about are being held in secret locations and without charges. How do you get information about what’s happened to them?

Wright: Well, that is another sort of regrettable trend that we have documented, that 20 of the journalists on our imprisoned list this year, or 15 percent, are being held without charge. We have sources in countries like Eritrea, where we are able to verify information about journalists there. But it’s very difficult. We have reports that [several journalists held in Eritrea] may have been killed or may have died since they’ve been in prison. So, it’s challenging to get information about them, but it’s a real priority for us, absolutely. Journalists like [AP] photographer Bilal Hussein, and the cameraman for al-Jazeera, Sami al-Haj, we work closely with news organizations who have had employees detained to get information. And we also appeal directly to the US government about these cases.

OJR: Have international human rights organizations, the Red Cross, the UN or similar organizations been able to get to these people to verify their well-being?

Wright: In the case of Sami al-Haj, I know his lawyer has been in touch. He has a lawyer who is in communications with him. Communication with Bilal Hussein has been more problematic. He’s been held since April. We have called repeatedly on US authorities to make public the information that they allegedly have on these individuals and to either charge them, or release them. Different officials have assured us that they have evidence of some activity that could be seen as criminal, but we just don’t know what that is.

OJR: Leaders of the new Congress that will take office in January have promised new investigations into various aspects of the conduct of the War on Terror. Do you know whether the treatment of journalists will be part of that investigation?

Wright: I don’t know whether the treatment of journalists or international press freedom will be an issue for them, but I can tell you that during the confirmation hearings for [newly-confirmed US Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates, Senator Warner of Virginia specifically asked about journalists’ safety, and mentioned CPJ. So we know that it is on lawmakers’ minds. And we are certainly doing everything we can to make sure that the situation for journalists, especially imprisoned journalists, in countries like China, Cuba, Eritrea, and also of course, those in US custody — that these cases are brought to the attention of lawmakers.

OJR: One case that CPJ has expressed concern about is the murder of Brad Will, an independent journalist who was gunned down October 27 while filming a protest by striking teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico . Some have called for the US to get involved in the investigation. What’s CPJ’s position?

Wright: My understanding is that the most recent development in that case has been very disturbing — the individuals who were arrested and charged with his murder have been set free.

OJR: Right.

Wright: We’ve been very active in Mexico, where there has been a string of murders, especially along the [US-Mexican] border area, where there’s known drug trafficking. We called on Mexico to appoint a special prosecutor for crimes against journalists. Under Pres. Vicente Fox, such a prosecutor was appointed, and I know that there is momentum to bring these crimes to a federal level, which would help expedite the prosecution of these cases. So from CPJ’s standpoint, we are pressuring Mexican authorities to bring those responsible for the murder of Brad Will to justice.

OJR: Any final thoughts that you hope readers will take away from this report.

Wright: I think it reflects a real change in the journalism landscape, when you have the second category of journalists behind bars being online journalists that shows a tremendous growth over the last decade. I think there’s no question. I think there’s no question, especially in Western democracies, but also in these other growing developing countries, that the Internet is a major conduit for information, and it will continue to be so. We will be fighting government attempts to crackdown on this as much as we can.

When the Internet was formed, the idea behind it was that it would be impossible to control and to censor. These governments are challenging that notion. I think it’s important for groups like CPJ and other members of the online community to remain vigilant in publicizing these attacks on journalists.

The free press in not-so-free nations: Q&A with Adrien Wing

In late October, Reporters Without Borders released its annual global survey of press freedom, identifying such countries as North Korea, Turkmenistan and Eritrea as major violators’ of the right to free expression. Paradoxically, many of the countries that habitually appear on the human rights’ group list of worst violators have constitutions that guarantee the right to freedom of speech and association. To understand this paradox, we consulted Professor Adrien Wing, a professor of comparative constitutional law at the University of Iowa College of Law. Professor Wing’s expertise in constitutional law comes from practical experience, not just study: she advised the “founding fathers and mothers” responsible for crafting the constitutions of post-apartheid South Africa, the Palestinian Territory and post-genocide Rwanda. She also blogs on human rights issues at

OJR: I noticed that a lot of the countries where we hear about repression of free speech have in their constitutions varying degrees of protection of free speech. So is there a different concept of free speech and a free press in these countries? Can you help me understand that?

AW: Yes, well, almost every constitution in the world is going to have some type of a clause that says that the country supports free speech or free association, et cetera. And they’ll be pretty much the same. In other words, what we call the legal rule is pretty much the same in terms of the words.

However, what we call the legal penetration of the rule or the enforcement of the rule is different in every country. Now, maybe in our media, you know they will focus on countries that our media believes are backward or primitive or cruel or whatever; but you have these issues of differences in legal penetration even in countries that are our closest allies, whether it’s in Canada or in England or France or Germany, much less any of the developing world countries. In every country, no matter how they define it on paper, in terms of freedom of speech and expression, there will be limitations on that expression.

Some of those limitations may be in the actual constitution, or either in that clause or in some clause at the very beginning or end of the human rights section. It’ll say ‘this section is limited according to the law’ or some other phrase that means basically if the government decides to limit speech in some way for some reason, it’s going to be allowed to do so.

Now, in some constitutions, there’s not any limitation that you can see in the words, but in the actual penetration of the section through different statutes that have been adopted. In the case of countries that are commonwealth countries like the US and Great Britain and all of the former colonies of Great Britain, the case law, you know, the courts will interpret that freedom of speech clause very differently with limitations.

So for instance, in the US, one of the well known examples is you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, even though normally you’d think ‘well, what does it matter what I yell?’ Well, because people know it’s a stampede and the courts will uphold that you just can’t say whatever you want. You can’t, when you go up to a security counter in the airport, joke about the president or bombs or anything like that and those are just easy-to- understand examples in our country.

So in every country, either through case law or through statutes that have been passed pursuant to the constitution there will be limits. There will be very great limits perhaps. Especially, every country, when there is war or times of rebellion or whatever they consider are national security concerns, they will generally not abide by the same principles that they do when there is no war or no uprising.

OJR: So basically, you’re talking about restrictions that have to do with the maintenance of public safety and stability.

AW: Yes, you could have those sorts of restrictions. You could have time, place, and manner restrictions. So in other words, you can march, but you can’t march early in the morning or late at night or in front of the abortion clinic within so many feet. But there can also be restrictions that have nothing to do with these sorts of issues, but have to do with issues that are unique for that culture. So, for example, in Germany there’s a freedom of speech clause, but in Germany they do not permit advocating returning to Nazism. In South Africa, there’s a freedom of speech clause, but you cannot advocate for Apartheid, the return of legal segregation. So those have to do with unique historical aspects of those countries.

And the fear, the very real fear in those countries that those who would spout such things of the past are still around and might come to power and they don’t want the populace getting riled up by people advocating these sorts of ‘-isms’, which in the case of Nazism led to a whole world war that left millions of people dead all over the world.

OJR: The kinds of restrictions that tend to worry a lot of journalists and human rights activists are the restrictions that are seen as having the intent of crushing legitimate dissent.

AW: Yes, that’s true, and that is one of the big problems. Our government will say whatever that journalist is saying or that blogger, it could be a blogger, that these are things that threaten the security of the nation. And so [they]’ll arrest people who they’ve caught on the Internet even, accessing certain types of websites or doing their own little personal blog, much less a journalist for a newspaper, reporter, or author or something like that.

The Internet is new area in which we’re seeing a lot of restrictions by many governments. I took this as an example, for instance, in France, you cannot buy Nazi paraphernalia. So they restrict their websites that comes in and out of their country involving that topic. And you would think ‘oh, France, why are they worrying? They’re a great democracy’, well, they were also under Nazism. They were occupied.

Now, a human rights activist who favors the broader understanding of freedom of speech might see the repression of someone who has a blog that talks about repression or corruption as a free speech issue. Yet governments around the world, whether they call themselves democracies, monarchies, dictatorships may determine that those same words or that same blog is somehow a threat to the security of their nation and then round up a whole bunch of people. Only a few of those people will be brought to international attention.

OJR: Why is that countries such as South Africa have press systems that resemble our own while others such as Zimbabwe are notoriously repressive? Are the differences constitutional, political, or cultural?

AW: I really think the differences have to do with leadership. Just as the example of the difference between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Zimbabwe, I was involved in that movement to help get Zimbabwe independence when it was Rhodesia, and we were all very hopeful that Robert Mugabe, the head of one of the movements, ZANU was going to be a great leader, a great socialist. Well, he’s been in power since 1980, right? So he’s basically a president for life and he’s turned into a very repressive person, who doesn’t believe in freedom of speech, who imprisons people all the time, terrorizes people, throws journalists in jail, believes homosexuality is a sin, et cetera, and arrests people who exhibit any talk about homosexuality. And so there you have a kind of classic example of someone who started out, what many people thought he would be good, thought he would be in favor of human rights and freedom of speech, especially since he had been victimized by the British, by the white Rhodesians in the liberation struggle.

On the other hand, Nelson Mandela, who spent all those years in jail, he became the first president of a democratic South Africa and he only stayed in one term, one five year term, and he was a very conciliatory individual, where he did not retaliate militarily against those who had been in favor of Apartheid. And so that whole culture, legal culture we call it, that developed in South Africa under his leadership was totally different from the legal culture that developed in Zimbabwe under 30 years almost of dictatorship by Robert Mugabe.

As a result, the realities of the two countries are totally different and yet could have turned out the same if maybe Mandela stayed in two or three terms and then became dictatorial or get other members of the party, the [African National Congress] party, to be very dictatorial. But those are two good examples where the countries are next to each other and have some overlap in terms of what ethnic groups are there and their history, and yet their realities are different. Some would say that South Africa is unique, that there are many more countries like Zimbabwe that have had dictatorial leadership, no matter how nicely they started out.

Some would say the same about Cuba: it started out well, the revolution was great, but hey if you’ve been in power 40 years there’s no way you can attempt to say what you’re doing is appropriate including repression of freedom of speech. In Cuba, people feel Fidel has been in too long or that his government now led by his brother, temporarily or permanently, has been very dictatorial in terms of these human rights issues, even though it’s been great on other human rights issues like provision of healthcare and education and race discrimination. Is that the price you have to pay? You know, give up the freedom of speech or criticism of the government in order to have advances in these other areas.

OJR: In some countries, websites are banned and communications are monitored and people are in prison for disseminating banned material online. Has international law tried to grapple with these issues at all?

AW: International human rights law looks at these kinds of issues, but basically international human rights law is kind of has to be culturally specific. So there is not one answer. If you are what we call a cultural relativist of some type, meaning that you believe that human rights need to be seen in cultural context, then you have to have a more nuanced view on an issue like freedom of speech. And if you are what we call a universalist, meaning that in its most extreme form, everybody everywhere around the world should treat freedom of speech the same way.

I lean more towards cultural relativism. In other words, I believe that the reality in Germany and South Africa about what they might permit for freedom of speech is not going to be the same as for the United States, which was never in jeopardy from being taken over by Nazis. And so we in the US could not just say ‘well, Germany you’re just wrong if you decide freedom of speech will not permit Nazis to march through Berlin.’ So I kind of lean that way.

Human rights organizations and activists will be all along the spectrum. And that spectrum can be both in terms, it can be in terms of country, what they think countries should do, or it can be an issue. People may say ‘yeah, we need to permit as much freedom of speech as possible, but it could differ from country to country.’

But when we talk about a right against torture, we should not say that the right against torture should be different in Zimbabwe than in France. You know there should be some universal standard on the right against torture, that means I don’t care where you are, you should not hang up people by their nipples and use electric prods on them.

OJR: On that topic, are you concerned about some of the measures that the United States has been taking as part of this anti-terrorist efforts? For example, our government has detained people without charges, including one journalist who works for an American news organization.

AW: I haven’t even heard about this. Who does this person work for?

OJR: There is an AP photographer [Bilal Hussein], working in Iraq, whose been detained without charge for the last several of months. The Associated Press has been trying to get the United States to either charge him or release him.

AW: It doesn’t surprise me because under the USA Patriot Act, a lot of rights we thought we had, we don’t. So the U.S. government has felt free to round up mainly foreigners, but also some U.S. people and you know some of the cases have made it to the Supreme Court and many others haven’t. But it’s not very surprising.

And yes, I’m very concerned that since we in the United States hold ourselves up as a democracy and we are the only global superpower, that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard in terms of our conduct when maybe some other countries are going to be under. I don’t expect one of the poorest developing countries in the world to necessarily have the ability to give human rights protection to offer citizens, where they can go to court and have lawyers and do certain things if you have a very, very poor country.
I hold my own country to the highest standards because we do have resources at our disposal, more so than almost any other country in the world. And especially, if we’re going to be a so-called global leader, then we should set a standard for the application of human rights like freedom of speech.

OJR: I don’t know whether you are familiar with this, but Rep. Chris Smith has sponsored a bill that would make it illegal for Internet companies such as Google to accede to the demands of governments for private information on Internet users or for the censorship of websites. It would also require Internet companies to turn over information on banned search terms and sites and queries to an office of global internet freedom that would be created. And it would also give individuals the right to sue if privacy was violated. Critics say that this bill would unfairly restrict the ability of U.S. Internet firms to compete in international markets. I wonder what you think of a measure like this from an international law perspective.

AW: Well, to me, this is like, the U.S. can pass a statute that bans the sale of cattle prods for torturing animals and so some company that makes prods can say ‘but look we can’t compete globally.’ Well, there’s certain areas of competition we don’t need to be in. If it’s something that’s so heinous, the product, or if it’s going to directly support blatant dictatorships like China, well then Google doesn’t need to be in that market. Yeah, I know it’s a big market. There was a big market for slavery. So does that mean we still need to have it today? There could be certain things that morally we would say ‘I’m not going to be permitted or not be encouraged even if that means a company loses its profit.’

Profiteering should not be the standard by which we would judge the provison of internationally human rights. And yeah, that would mean some other Chinese company will be more than happy to invent a mechanism that its government can use to censor as they do the words and the searches of all the people here.

In my travels to various countries, I have had experiences browsing the internet where I’m doing something that seems very innocuous to me, but all of a sudden some site won’t work, at all or some little sign will come up about restricted access or unavailable. This is from all kinds of countries. The fact that somebody must be monitoring every website that I was trying to go to, you know, is a pretty scary thing.

OJR: As you look at the evolving situation in terms of press freedom, especially online, are there things that cause you particular concern or give you particular reason for optimism?

AW: I’m not optimistic at all because I think the ongoing war on terror, is only going to get worse. The more we do these actions, the more future terror we create, and so then the more desire or need the governments will feel to repress those people. So I think we’re going to see even harsher standards of censorship than what we see now. We may very well get to a total Big Brother situation where all of our email and all of our mail and phones calls are just monitored electronically on a regular basis.

These little GPS devices that not only are in cars, but now are in the cell phones, people can track you where ever you are. It’s nice if you’re lost and your car goes in a ditch, but we get really toward a science fiction nightmare. We all could be tracked at every minute where ever we are, that there’d be no privacy. I’m not in favor of terrorism, whether terrorism is done by government bombing villages or terrorism that is done by an individual suicide bomber. I’m not in favor of that, but I’m also not in favor of a total loss of all kinds of freedom of speech, an assembly, an association.

OJR: And what do you think then that citizens and particularly journalists can do? And do you think journalists have an obligation in this or an opportunity in this situation?

AW: Well, I think all of us, regardless of profession, have an obligation. I know there are several prominent national and international journalists’ groups that advocate for human rights and blow up the cases of journalists all around the world who are victimized by governments or private individuals. So I think those organizations, which already exist, need to be supported to a greater degree even by not only journalists, but by the public, so that the word can get out. Because the only way we know what’s going on in a lot of countries is because of brave journalists, who dare to speak out or who dare to go into horrible situations and risk their lives and report out. If those journalists are removed then the rest of us will have no idea what is going on in a lot of countries.

And I realize a lot of journalists will be self-editing on a lot of issues. Whenever you do a story you have to decide what’s important and not important, what’s going to sidetrack you, and what is going to be some kind of problem. So I think it’s important, for the public, to support responsible journalism that will help us see how human rights, including human rights for journalists who are reporting, are being restricted.

OJR: Any final thoughts, particularly from a constitutional lawyer’s perspectives?

AW: No, I just think that it’s important for people to realize that words on paper in any constitution, including the U.S., are only a starting point. It really takes very careful study of cases or statutes or other parts of an entire culture to get a good grip on whether or not very bold or noble statements about human rights have any basis in the day-to-day reality in a particular country. So I hope this is the beginning of everyone deciding that they want to get more involved in trying to understand how do rights actually operate.