Against the present day backdrop of media content in the context of the Snowden episode, it is the common refrain that the US is the villain of the scenario by the revelations of American activism by prying into the privacy of the global netizens.
It has to be remembered that the US Constitution is the longest functioning written Constitution of the world and therefore, it has proved itself the most viable and dynamic of all world Constitutions. Such is the case because the American Constitution has enshrined and overseen enforcement of cherished principles of upholding the individual's inviolate rights when in conflict with the might of state authority. It embodies the philosophy of John Locke. Such ideals are the inspiration and impetus of freethinking persons worldwide, who advocate and practice individual rights and liberties.
The media has impliedly indulged in US-bashing in the context of this Snowden episode. The state of America has been made out to be monster-like in this context. The media has not noticed that the state is protecting the security of its citizens. The US has acted on the right of self defence only. The US had traditionally been aloof of Global Complex in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine.
However, the US has increasingly being drawn into global conflicts in which Washington had no intention of participation. The main land of USA had been inviolate and the rights of inhabitants of the US were also immune to violation by state authorities. Such liberties of the individual including media liberty were surreptitiously misused and abused by nefarious minded terrorists. This over cautiousness of the US authorities and the paranoia generated by media reportage has resulted in mutual suspicion within the inhabitants of the country.
And the global citizens and netizens have embarked on a mission of self destruction of the cherished liberties that have been inculcated and imbibed over the years. This mutual suspicion and media mistrust is the cause of the electric excitement over the Snowden affair.
The media must appreciate that the US administration is duty bound to uphold the preamble of the US Constitution which reads: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the General Welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the USA."
Preamble is followed by Article I Section 8 Sub section 10 to define and punish piracies and Felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations. Sub section (15) goes on to enjoying the administration to "suppress insurrections and repeal invasions".
I think that the media ought to appreciate and publicise the cause of the US administration as the other side of the coin to strike a balance with the reportage of the Edward Snowden episode in the light of prying of privacy. The media must realise that the American security guarantees global security.
The Russians apparently have given de facto asylum to Snowden. The other participants in the drama, including the Equador administration, have scaled down by importance of the issue.
The US and Ecuador said they believed Snowden was still in Russia, where he fled after weeks of hiding out in Hong Kong following his disclosure of the board scope of two highly classified counter-terror surveillance programmes to two newspapers. The programmes collect vast amounts of Americans' phone and worldwide online records in the name of national security.
Russia says it has only found out about Snowden's flight from Hong Kong from media reports. "We have no relation to Mr Snowden, his relations with the American Justice or his travel around the world. He chooses his route himself, and we have learned about it from the media," Russian Foreign Minister said.
Snowden booked a seat on a Havana-bound flight from Moscow last week enroute to Venezuela and then possible asylum in Ecuador, but he didn’t show up on the plane. Russian news reports said he has remained at a transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, but he has not been seen there by the media.
The US whistleblower's extended stay in Moscow has prompted comparisons with the Tom Hanks' hit film 'The Terminal' about a man living at an airport, while the British gambling website William Hill has opened betting on his final destination.
"Cancelling Snowden's passport and bullying intermediary countries may keep Snowden permanently in Russia," Wikleaks said in a statement on Twitter.
Interestingly, the Indian Supreme Court has said it cannot pass any order against the US Government and its agencies for snooping on internet data from India as it has no jurisdiction over them.
"Our jurisdiction is not over the entire world. American people and government is not covered under Article 21," a bench of justices AK Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi recently said.
The bench, however, said it would hear the PIL seeking to initiate action against internet companies for allowing a foreign agency to access information, if the petitioner convinced the court that the Fundamental Rights of the people have been violated.
It asked the petitioner, a former Dean of Law Faculty of Delhi University, Professor SN Singh, to come prepared on the aspect violation of Fundamental Rights when his PIL will be taken up.
In his plea, Prof Singh has alleged that such large-scale spying by the US authorities is detrimental to national security and urged the apex court to intervene in the matter. He claimed that internet companies were sharing information with the foreign authority in "breach of contract and violation if right to privacy".
"As per reports, nine US-based internet companies operating in India through agreements signed with Indian users, shared 6.3 billion information with National Security Agency of USA without express consent of Indian users. Such large scale spying by the US authorities, besides being against the privacy norms, in also detrimental to national security," said the petition filed through advocate Virag Gupta.
Prof Singh has submitted that it is a breach of national security as the government's official communications have come under the US surveillance as services of private internet firms are being used by them.
The USA and global media are now at peace with each other!
The author is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of exchange4media Group