The International Federation of Journalists is releasing its annual report on China today at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong.
Banned topic include the expected any discussion of the Tiananmen Square massacre but also include any public protests against the government and photos of actresses topless on a beach.
In a statement released with the document IFJ General Secreatry Aidan White said:
“We further call on the international community to take a principled stand to oppose all forms of restrictions on the rights of journalists to do their work in China, including the steady stream of official bans as well as new rules in 2009 which make it virtually impossible for local journalists who work in traditional or online media to receive the accreditation they need in order to conduct their profession.”
The story continues that flights have been halted and no one is saying why.
US Halts Airlifts Of Haiti Patients, Citing Space
And I heard this morning on NPR that the flights were not stopped. According to this story, Miami authorities (who?) asked that victims from Haiti be sent elsewhere to allow the Miami hospitals enough space to handle the crowd that will be attending the Super Bowl.
I still wonder why this issue and this story is coming out now. Why weren’t local reporters looking at the flood of people from Haiti coming into local hospitals?
Thanks to Marc Lynch for writing about a meeting of the information ministers of Arab League countries rejecting a Congressional resolution calling for sanctions against Arab satellite television stations that allegedly incite terrorism or promote anti-Americanism.
Arabs reject U.S. crackdown on Arab satellite TV
It would be pretty pathetic that the Arab League — the Arab League!! — is taking a stronger position in favor of media freedoms than the U.S. Congress. But don’t worry — leading Arab states still seem quite keen to find their own Arab ways to repress and control the media.
The Congressional resolution (H.R.2278), which passed 395-3 in December (and hopefully will die in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) is a perfect example of mindless grandstanding which pleases domestic audiences while hurting American interests in the Arab world.
The resolution complains of anti-American incitement on Arab TV, specifically mentioning Hezbollah’s al-Manar, Hamas’s al-Aqsa, and the Iraqi al-Zawra. It calls for the Obama administration to produce a country-by-country list of Arab TV stations which incite violence and to urge official and private sanctions against those deemed to be carrying out such incitement. Who in the U.S. Congress is going to speak out or vote against complaining about al-Manar or al-Aqsa?
I have no great love for most of the Arab media or their tactics. The countries complaining about the U.S. action are hardly bastions of liberal media policies.
That said, it is a sad state of affairs that a brand of the U.S. government should advocate establishing some sort of punishment for news organizations that are just doing their jobs. Reporting the news is not supporting terrorism.
Perhaps instead of lashing out with statements like this, the U.S. Congress might want to think about providing more money for organizations that work to improve the quality of journalism around the world. (Think about the National Endowment for Democracy for one.) It can also provide more money to host more foreign journalists through embassy driven programs. And expanding the Fulbright program wouldn’t hurt.
But words are cheap and serious action takes time, money and thinking.
Other coverage of this issue:
Radio Netherlands: Arab ministers slam US congress satellite decision
The New York Times has a piece by Shaila Dewan that describes the chaos that takes place during and following a major natural disaster. In this case, it is who pays for the medical treatment in the U.S. of the Haitians hurt in the recent earthquake.
Cost Dispute Halts Airlift of Injured Haiti Quake Victims
Let’s assume that nowhere in the emergency planning was there a provision for treatment of a large number of wounded from a foreign natural disaster. And I can understand this. The plan probably calls for all treatment to take place on hospital ships.
But once that first planeload of wounded started heading for the States, don’t you think somewhere in the disaster relief system someone would have asked who was paying for the care?
From the side of journalism, where were the local reporters?
Think about it.
Victims from an event that dominated the world’s news for a week were sent to U.S. hospitals. Local reporters could have had stories about the earthquake and local contributions to the relief effort without having to fly to Haiti. Even it was just a “feel good” story about what the local community is doing to help.
Did such stories happen? I didn’t see any but then not every small town paper is fully on the Internet.
But if you think about it, what would one of the first questions have been in this story? How about: “Who is paying for this?”
Local reporters could have nailed down this issue and could have had the relief agencies looking more closely at this issue BEFORE the stream of wounded became a flood. This story could have been part of the larger issue of disaster relief while it was taking place and it would not require anyone traveling.
Now, halting the humanitarian flights IS the story. It has the potential to push out the various reconstruction plans and projects.
The folks at Boing-Boing call this a world map, but it is really just a map of China.
Still, it is pretty cool. And a good graphic that displays the words and phrases the Great Firewall of China blocks.