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Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
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Letters To The Editor

Friday’s letters: I’ve lived in countries lacking a free press; you wouldn’t want to

Striving to keep truth flowing
for democracy | Editorial, Aug. 16

Iíve lived in places lacking free press

More than half my adult life Iíve lived, worked or studied in countries governed by dictators or authoritarian rulers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Russia and Cuba. I grew up in a family where a newspaper arrived daily and a news magazine weekly. I studied Russian in college and in 1999, I attended graduate school in St. Petersburg, Russia, just as Vladimir Putin came to power. I watched the hopes of a more open consultative government be destroyed by systematic attacks on the fledgling post-Soviet free press.

Putinís family and friends were placed in strategic positions to steal government assets. Any investigative journalist was threatened or killed. In Zimbabwe, the early hopes of a free press following independence were suppressed by Robert Mugabe. In the Ukraine, when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in 1986, it was the Swedish free press that forced the Soviets to admit to the catastrophe.

Working with Ukrainian children suffering from leukemias and lymphomas in 1991 and 1996, I spoke Russian to the parents of the terminally ill children. They told me, "No one told us about the dangers. It was never on TV or in the papers."

Eight Republican senators spent the Independence Day holiday in Moscow, and Sen. Rand Paul recently returned from a trip there. I wonder if any of them picked up a local paper to be translated for them back home, just to compare the Putin-controlled press with the American free press. I doubt it.

The free press, with all of its faults, is not the "enemy of the people." The enemy is ignorance and corruption.

Wendy Mutunhu, Tampa

Bashing the president

Why do you think your newspaper and the media are considered by myself and many others "as the enemy of the American people"?

Your editorial announced your newspaper was joining forces with 200 other newspapers across the nation for a consolidated response to President Donald Trumpís effort to discredit journalists. This action is nothing more than another way to bash our president.

Chuck Walls, Apollo Beach

Flushed with pride

If ever there is a right to be protected and held dear for what it means to be an American, it is freedom of the press.

I read your editorial "Striving to keep truth flowing for democracy," and the line "The Tampa Bay Times joins more than 200 newspapers across the countryÖ" made me flush with pride in our newspaper, in your commitment to truth in journalism, in excellent writing, in strength in numbers as newspapers across the country today reinforce the historic ideals of the role of the free press in a democracy.

Julie Miller, Tampa

Mayor role goes on ballot | Aug. 16

Clearwater is working fine

I have lived in Clearwater for 17 years. It is clean, safe, beautiful, provides public parks and recreation, has a wonderful library, and even the old downtown area is coming back to life.

Seems like the city manager system is working very well. So, why the need to change from a city manager system to a strong mayor?

Sandy Ericson, Clearwater

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