Archive for September, 2010

Economist: Banned and censored

First published at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Nice little piece in the Economist on the 21st about how and why its issues get censored or banned around the world.

As the article points out, at first it looks as if India is the #1 baddie when it comes to censorship. But it appears that the main concern is how the Economist depicts Kashmir.

Now our friends in China are a real piece of work.

China is more proscriptive. Distributors destroy copies or remove articles that contain contentious political content, and maps of Taiwan are usually blacked out.

I remember when Chinese would come up to me in Beijing and Shanghai and ask me to buy them a copy of TIME or the ECONOMIST in the Western hotels. Seems those were the only places such “subversive” publications were available.

Now more items are available but not always.

And is anyone surprised that four Arab Gulf countries are on this list?

Or that Sri Lanka and Libya are near the top?

What is surprising to me is that Venezuela is not on the list. Or Cuba.

Once I looked over the comments on the article I got depressed. While there were a few enlightened comments such as one from Russell_B who wrote:

Freedomhouse reported in its ‘worst of the worst-2010′ that there is a U-turn in the global human rights conditions after 30 years.

But others showed their “national pride” by criticizing the Economist for their report. Shetz wrote:

Is it not ironical that none of the rich nations figure in this list. All the countries listed are Asian. Is Economist all about Asia bashing?

I am happy that India respects it’s territorial rights.

The bottom line is that ANY form of censorship is wrong. Whether it is a stamp saying the government doesn’t agree with the maps drawn by the publication (India and China), the removal of articles that are “too sensitive” (China) or the outright confiscation of issues before they get to the newsstands. (Way too many.)

As Russell_B pointed out, the annual Freedom House reports on political freedom and press freedom show a depressing trend downward.


More Perspective on the Recent Afghan Journalist Arrests

Vanessa Gezari writes for Untold Stories, a blog from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

In her latest post, she shares some of her discussions that provide some insight into the military’s perspective of journalism. Coalition forces recently arrested the three journalists because of their suspected ties to the Taliban.

Thanks to for bringing the blog to my attention.

By the way, the three Afghan journalists have been released.


Getting news in Cuba — Or not

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Generation Y blogger Yoani Sanchez has a great piece on why she can’t use her new radio. (Interference)

It all has to do with the steps taken by the Cuban government to block “subversive” broadcasts. (That is, anything NOT by the Cuban government.)


Afghanistan’s President Asks for Journalists’ Release

Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, is asking for three Afghan journalists to be released from custody.

NPR has posted an AP report that the three journalists were arrested during the past week.

NATO officials say two of them have links to Taliban networks. Critics, however, argue that many journalists in Afghanistan “have developed close connections to both insurgents and government officials in order to cover all sides of a war.”

According to the report, the group Reporters Without Borders asked President Karzai to intervene on the journalists’ behalf.


Families of Jailed Bloggers Appeal to Obama

According to Azeri Report, the families of two jailed Azerbaijani bloggers are asking President Obama to push for the men’s release during Friday’s expected talk with Azerbaijan leader Ilham Aliyev.

Obama and Aliyev plan to meet in New York during the UN General Assembly gathering.

Azeri Report reports that families of Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli, who have been in jail since last year,  have asked Obama to come “to the defense of free speech and fairness.”


Haitian artists helped by local (US) store

Seems Macy’s is once again showing that companies can help people affected by disaster and make a profit.

And it provides an opportunity for LOCAL reporters to do a story with a GLOBAL hook.

The Globe and Mail of Toronto had a story yesterday about how Macy’s will be selling the work of Haitian artists. (Haitian artisans strike deal to sell work at Macy’s)

See rest of story at: Local-Global: Macy’s helps Haitian Artists


Bloggers in repressive countries, who is paying attention to them?

Late last week Thomas L. Friedman has a great piece on China, nationalism and the state of Chinese media.

Power to the (Blogging) People

Friedman’s point — after dealing with the nationalism issue that is a growing problem in China is that the Internet continues to be a major problem for the Chinese government because it is difficult to control and it gives individuals access to information and a forum to speak out.

“China for the first time has a public sphere to discuss everything affecting Chinese citizens,” explained Hu Yong, a blogosphere expert at Peking University. “Under traditional media, only elite people had a voice, but the Internet changed that.”

The power of the Internet is, perhaps, more strongly felt in countries whose governments spend outrageous amounts of money and manpower trying to censor the information their people get.

For sure the Internet is powerful in the United States. How else could the “9/11 Was and Inside Job” conspiracy freaks, Birthers and Intelligent Designers get so much publicity? But for intelligent people, the claims of these whack jobs are seen as the frauds they are. Because there is a strong tradition of free and independent media that allows for the exposure of all ideas. No matter how wacky.

But in China, Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as in many (too many) other countries, the only access to non-government approved information is on the Internet. The problem is that in such societies EVERYTHING seen on the Internet is seen as being factual.



Today’s SAR efforts learn from the past

1985 Mexican Earthquake and today’s disasters

Thanks to I was reminded that yesterday (9/19) was the anniversary of the devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico.

Working a disaster of that magnitude is not easily forgotten. (Especially the smell of rotting human flesh.)

But what I think is significant is the connection between that disaster and the current state of disaster rescue. Those saved in Haiti and Chile owe a lot to what we did — FOR THE FIRST TIME — in Mexico 25 years ago.

Rest of story.


Journalists Hope to Overcome Challenges in Vietnam

The Viet Nam Journalists’ Association met last month to celebrate journalism’s role in shaping the country and to develop strategies to improve journalism there.

Viet Nam News reported that the VJA’s 9th congress approved a resolution that focuses on seven tasks, including “increasing journalists’ socio-political knowledge and professional skills [and] protecting journalists’ legal rights….”

VJA Chairman Dinh The Huynh also said the group will study ways to improve newspapers’ slipping ad revenues, which he blamed on the global economic crisis.


Study Shows Newspapers Doing Better in Asia

The Manila Times (Philippines) carried a story from Agence France-Presse this past week that suggests newspapers throughout Asia are weathering the digital revolution better than those in other parts of the world.

A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2010 to 2014,” suggests that “Asia’s newspaper advertising is expected to rise 3.1 percent annually through 2014.”

The news report states that newspapers remain popular throughout Asia and the “trend toward online news has been slower.”


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