Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Less on the Iraq inquiry.

I've done a piece for Indy Minds about this, with Downing Street refusing to say when the Iraq Inquiry will take place. My conclusion is that it's all about news management.

It is interesting to wonder why none of the journalists who went on the trip with Brown seem to have asked him about the inquiry. By inviting hacks to take part in a headline-grabbing surprise visit, Brown controls the agenda, even if he is only confirming something that was leaked last week.

Obviously the type of journalists who go on these trips have to promise to behave well and not leak or throw shoes. The case of Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, who probably shouldn't have done it, represents a test for Iraq's "democracy" and "freedom of speech".

If the Iraqi government wants to prosecute him for throwing shoes, that's fine, but not for "insulting" politicians . Neither should they beat him up. With allegations being made that al-Zaidi has been quite seriously injured in custody, it will be telling how quickly he is released.

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