The Corner

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‘Freedom of the Press Is Priceless’

French president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace in Paris (Philippe Wojazer / Reuters)

We speak of “the defense of the West.” What does that mean? Freedom of the press, for one thing. What does “the West” mean? It is in part a geographical term; but mainly it is a political term. (Think about Israel, Japan, etc.)

In France, a magazine called “Le Point” put the Turkish strongman, Erdogan, on its cover. The cover said, “The Dictator: How Far Will Erdogan Go?” Copies of the magazine appeared at news kiosks around the country. Accompanying the magazine were promotional posters, showing the cover.

Some Turks living in France didn’t like this. They threatened workers at the kiosks and demanded the removal of the posters. Some workers complied, understandably. Why risk life and limb for a poster? In at least one instance, Le Point requested that its poster be restored. It was. Police then surveilled that kiosk, as it has others.

The French president, Macron, had something to say. On Twitter, he wrote, “It is totally unacceptable for @LePoint’s posters to be removed from kiosks, just because they displease the enemies of freedom, whether in France or abroad. Freedom of the press is priceless. Without it, there is dictatorship.”

The response in Turkey? Fury, at least from the dictatorship. Erdogan and his men were mightily displeased with the president of France, and with France itself.

Macron is standing for an important principle and teaching an important lesson. If people in France or other democracies don’t like freedom of the press — and we are all annoyed by the press from time to time, or daily — there are a helluva lot of countries for them to retreat to. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt.

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