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October 2008
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Crude Propaganda

Dan Gardner slams the UNODC

This failure has many causes but a key one is the simple fact that the primary source of information about the drug trade is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
For the UNODC, the criminal prohibition of drugs is not merely a tool of public policy. It is a cause, a crusade, a faith. One does not question a faith. One promotes it.
And that’s what the UNODC does every year when it releases its World Drug Report.
For journalists and politicians the world over, the WDR is the definitive source of information about drugs and drug policy. Any time you read a news story or political statement about drugs in Afghanistan or elsewhere, there’s a good chance the WDR was used as a source.
To an extent, that’s fine. The WDR has lots of solid data in it.
But the report is primarily an instrument of propaganda. Its purpose is to praise the status quo, bury evidence of failure, and frame the discussion so serious scrutiny of the War on Drugs never happens. […]
Don’t be fooled by the UN imprimatur. The World Drug Report is crude propaganda.
Journalists and politicians who take it at face value contribute to the manipulation of public opinion and the stifling of meaningful debate. And that is unacceptable at a time when Canadian soldiers are fighting and dying in the War on Drugs.

Well done, Dan.

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