Since February of this year, journalists in Ukraine have complained of censorship pressures from the government. Reporters Without Borders issued a report in April that included:
“Many TV news reporters say they have been censored. Either their reports have been suppressed outright, or they have been changed substantially, always in such a way as to favor people of influence. They cite new formats or editorial directives that interfere in their reporting.”
Independent journalists report being targeted by police and security agents and even physically assaulted.
Blogger Oleh Shynkarenko criticized the president in July and the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) interrogated him for allegedly threatening the president’s life and insulting him. In September Artyom Furmanyuk, a journalist in the Eastern city of Donetsk, said he was severely beaten by police in an incident outside his home just hours after Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ran his article on local government corruption.
It is beginning to look as if Ukraine is moving back to the bad old days of the Soviet empire. This is really something we need to keep our eyes on. (And that includes pressuring the U.S. government and the European Union to speak out.)
Last week a Brazilian news anchor resigned on air because of pressure by a state governor to prevent the news organization from interviewing a political rival. And I posted a blog about that case and the larger issue of press freedom in Brazil: Brazil: Elections and censorship
I didn’t think much of it at the time. But…
Today in O Globo,Ricardo Norblat dedicated his blog to my posting.
Norblat read my posting from the SPJ International Journalism Committee blog site. (I often cross post here.)
Control of the media journalists in Brazil worries U.S.
Responsible for Code of Ethics of American journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists has published in its blog network an article criticizing the proposal for social control of the media in Brazil.
Released on the blog “journalism around the world”, the words “Brazilian anchor resigns under pressure from the governor of censorship” displays the video in which journalist Paul Behring resigns during his TV program in Central Brazil, Goias issuing government, citing pressure to not interviewing the PSDB candidate for governor Marconi Perillo, to remind the proposed creation of social control of the media and criticism of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the press.
“The Brazilian journalists have been feeling quite proud of their freedom and independence,” writes Dan Kubiske, a journalist living in Brazil and member of SPJ. “But some politicians have not gotten the message.”
Kubiske argues that the discussion on control of the press must be followed in the United States, because of the weight of Brazil in the international arena, making it important for other countries learn about the internal situation, for stories that are not controlled.
He repeats the editorial section of the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo “which says that social control of the media is a” euphemism for tying the free flow of information “to the government.
“What happens in Brazil affects the U.S. economy, and in some cases, domestic affairs,” argues Kubiske. “For the common man, which is the country of origin of the owner of Budweiser? Yes, Brazil,” quotes the columnist. “And for government planners in Florida, specifically Orlando, which country currently sends more visitors to the area? Yes, Brazil.”
In a way, each national report is accurate and yet not accurate.
PAKISTAN: The Tea Party is an Islam-bashing political front
GERMANY: The Tea Party is about fear of American decline
CHINA: The Tea Party will lead to U.S.-China conflict
FRANCE: The Tea Party is a movement of conspiracy theorists, reactionaries, and anti-elitists
SPANISH-SPEAKING WORLD: An ultra-radical right-wing movement in the mold of authoritarians of another era
Many thanks to Foreign Policy for posting this. Even with the Internet and access to media from around the world, it still takes time to review all that material. And it is interesting to see how each media outlet sees the Tea Party movement with the prejudices, biases or domestic agenda of their readers/viewers/listeners.
I would expect howls of complaints from the TP crowd — if they cared about how folks overseas see them. But would they see that maybe the news from the rest of the world as written by American journalists might also have a cultural bias? (And not just the “liberal, lame-stream media” bias the claim on domestic affairs.)
Maybe it is time for SPJ chapters to reach out to foreign correspondents in their areas and run some programs that let those correspondents discuss how they explain American culture, society and politics to their home audiences.
We did that many years ago in DC in an informal News Schmooze in the back room of a bar. The event was well attended and the foreign correspondents and American pariticpants all walked out with a better understanding of each other.
Sorry, I missed an accompanying article by Kate Zernike who has spent a lot of time investigating the Tea Party and who spent lots of time explaining it — as best she could — to the foreign press.
When readers/viewers/listeners can easily snag online the basic facts to any even, it is important for professional journalists to provide insight and interpretation. Or, to use a term I hammered into my J students, context.
This kind of journalism has three pillars, Schlesinger said: journalistic excellence, presentation and utility to the client.
Schlesinger’s remarks to the JMSC crowd reinforces the idea that readers/viewers/listeners are now seen as “clients” and “users.” Professional journalism is no longer about sending information to a passive audience.
Journalists must continue to report breaking news, Schlesinger said, but that alone will not make it. Journalists, he added, need to produce stories that have an impact and address an audience’s interests and habits. Obviously, he said, this will be more difficult for a wire service such as Reuters.
For individual journalists, however, it offers an opportunity. Schlesinger said modern journalists need to think of themselves as individual brands.
“You’re nothing without your own brand. You have to establish yourself, what you stand for, your expertise.”
Besides knowing how to use social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, modern journalists need to be serious about knowing a subject inside out.
Knowing a second language doesn’t hurt either.
“Take some risks as well. It’s the new angles and the new stories that will help distinguish you.”
Again, this is something I have been arguing for some time. Except the risk in U.S. journalism is often making a connection between local and global events.
The local reporter who can see the global links in a local event or a local connection to an international story will provide more than just information to his/her local audience. Context and connections — or as Schlesinger said, “utility to the client” — will help the reader/listener/viewer better understand why a story is important.
Publishers and station owners who chant “Local! Local! Local!” as if that alone will save cash-strapped media organizations fail to see that while news consumers want news about their local areas, they also want context. And maybe more Americans will start paying attention to international news — other than wars, riots and disasters — if they see there is a link to their local community.
And the links exist. It just takes a journalist willing to “take risks” and an editor with some smarts.
The New York Times reports that the paper rejected any calls for political reform. People’s Daily published a front-page commentary that said changes in China’s political system should not follow Western ideas but rather should “consolidate the party’s leadership so that the party commands the overall situation.”
To be honest I was waiting for the battle to become more public between the reformers and the hardliners who control the propaganda arm of the CCP.
In an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, Wen stated clearly that China could not progress unless it loosened its censorship rules.
In a bit of bad timing — from a PR perspective — one week after Wen made this dramatic statement, the Nobel Prize committee awarded its Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Lu Xiabo for arguing exactly the same thing.
But it is one thing when the premier says it and another when a “convict” says it.
And now the party’s paper is attacking the party leadership.
“The idea that China’s political reform is seriously lagging behind its remarkable economic development is not only contrary to the law of objectivity but also to the objective facts,” it stated.
It later added: “In promoting political reform, we shouldn’t copy the Western political system model; shouldn’t engage in something like multiparty coalition government or separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. We should stick to our own way.”
And I guess “our own way” is “shut up or be jailed.”
Wonder how long Wen will last. Or is he a slick enough politician to out maneuver the hardliners?
And the list confirms that the relationship between countries with high levels of corruption and lack of a free press.
Transparency Intl. 2009
Transparency Intl. 2010
RSF Bottom 10
The countries with numbers in red indicate “membership” in the bottom 10 of their respective indexes. A number of countries can be “tied” in their position in the list, such as Turkmenistan and Burma in the 2010 Transparency list.
For the United States, the rankings aren’t so hot. Seems the USA dropped out of the top 20 for honesty.
Nancy Boswell, president of TI in the United States, said lending practices in the subprime crisis, the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and rows over political funding had all rattled public faith about prevailing ethics in America. “We’re not talking about corruption in the sense of breaking the law,” she said.
“We’re talking about a sense that the system is corrupted by these practices. There’s an integrity deficit.”
At least in the States that “integrity deficit” can be openly discussed. In China or Iran or Venezuela discussing such a deficit gets you tossed in jail.
FYI: The three countries that tied for least corrupt are Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore. And the bottom three were Somalia (178) Myanmar (176) and Afghanistan (176).
The stipend is $5,000 – $25,000 to allow American journalists to report and write stories illuminating how religion crosses geographic, temporal and ideological borders.
From the USC Annenberg site:
Applicants should consider what these dynamics reveal about personal identity, political power, the search for meaning, the nature of conflict and the construction of community. Their stories can explore how religion, religious institutions and religious people (1) effect change in on-the-ground social, political, and economic conditions; (2) circulate ideas and ideologies among home and diaspora communities; and (3) promote or inhibit religious and political coexistence and cooperation. Stories must be reported outside the U.S., although they may include an American context for contrast or comparison.
Successful applicants are required to do at least three stories for multiple delivery platforms: print, radio, TV, online. All work is to be completed within six months of getting the award and must be finished by December 31, 2011.
Several fellows will be invited to spend three days in residence at the University of Southern California once all the projects are done. Those invited to USC will conduct master classes for journalism students, present their work in seminars, and deliver public lectures for the USC community.
The Anneberg office stresses that this is a program for working journalists, not journalism students or journalism educators.
Fortunately for many of us, freelancers or self-employed journalists individuals who regularly publish, post and/or broadcast online, in print or over the airwaves are eligible. Applications must include either a letter of recommendation from an editor/manager of an organization that regularly posts, publishes or broadcasts the applicants work or by an experienced journalist who can speak to the applicants work in convincing detail.
No advanced degree or specialized training in religion is required.
Click HERE to contact the USC Annenberg office for more information.
The newspaper noted the country’s historically low ranking (138 out of 175 this year, down from 122 in last year’s results).
According to the news report, “47 members of the press in Turkey are under arrest and being tried, while more than 700 criminal and civil cases involving journalists are ongoing. The Turkish Penal Code contains 27 articles that limit press freedom, as do two articles in the Anti-Terror Law.”
Earlier in the month, William Horsley, the head of the Association of European Journalists’ Media/Press Freedom Committee, told a group of journalists that Turkey needs to change its laws to stop hampering the work of reporters.