Another Era

This is somewhat ironic:

The East German secret police went to extraordinary lengths to track down people who wrote letters to the BBC during the Cold War. One of those arrested and jailed was a teenager who longed to express himself freely – and paid a high price.

Today the BBC is the last place you’ll find people expressing themselves freely, and the employees these days would make the Stasi’s job a lot easier by dobbing him in at the first opportunity.

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8 thoughts on “Another Era

  1. “the employees these days would make the Stasi’s job a lot easier by dobbing him in at the first opportunity”: it probably happened back then too. I was very struck by a visiting Czech academic I knew in the 70s. He was careful about where in the university he would speak freely: he knew that lefties were quite likely to inform on him. I was stunned: in my innocence I’d never considered that.

  2. He was careful about where in the university he would speak freely: he knew that lefties were quite likely to inform on him.

    Well, your institution doesn’t have the greatest track record on ensuring its students are fighting for the right side…

  3. “the employees these days would make the Stasi’s job a lot easier by dobbing him in at the first opportunity.”

    Why the need to pose a hypothetical? Is there some paucity of leftist dictatorships nowadays? Or just can’t come up with an example of the BBC aiding dictatorships off the top of your head?

  4. I can only think of two communist dictatorships: Cuba and North Korea (although Venezuela is fast heading in that direction). I can’t believe citizens from either country would be stupid enough to write letters to the BBC in these modern times. Perhaps that’s why the BBC needed an example from a few decades ago.

    As for the whether the BBC would aid a dictatorship. Well, I watched their coverage of the Iraq War, particularly the reporting of Rageh Omar, and it was quite obvious whose side they were on. In any case, I said BBC emoloyeees not the BBC itself. If you were a dissident somewhere you might perhaps trust the BBC itself not to dob you in, but the employees?

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