Monthly Archives: December 2009

LA Times looks at threat to Mexican journalists

Nice job by the Los Angeles Times in today’s paper. (MEXICO UNDER SIEGE: Crime reporters face deadly perils)

It would be nice if other newspapers would pick up this story. It shows a side to the drug war along the Mexico-US border that many don’t see. Too often the stories about the battles along the border are short and simplistic, i.e X dead in drug related shoot out.

This story looks into the impact the intimidation by the cartels and the government has on the area media. And how that affects what the people in the area are able to see and hear in the news.

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Filed under International News Coverage, Killings

Peshawar Press Club attacked by suicide bomber

The National Press Club joined with other journalism groups in condemning the attack on the press club in Peshawar, Pakistan.

From the CPJ statement:

Pakistan ranks as the fourth deadliest country in the world for journalists this year—behind the Philippines, Somalia, and Iraq, according to CPJ research.

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Filed under Middle East

Terrorism and the Arab media

Marc Lynch, who runs the blog Abu Aardvark, has an interesting piece on how the Arab press reacted to the attempted bombing of a U.S. jetliner on Christmas Day.

Links and discussion at the SPJ International Journalism blog.

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Filed under International News Coverage, Middle East

When will dictators learn that you can’t stop info getting out?

Repressive regimes keep trying to control media outlets from good old analog print to the Internet.

And keep failing.

The latest example is Iran.

Foreign journalists were ordered to stay inside. This, the government figured would keep any crackdown against anti-government demonstrators out of the international news. But protesters just started running their mobile phones in video mode and the word got out.

Looking to block Twitter and other Internet sites, the Iranian government even took a page out of the Chinese book on monitoring the Internet by hiring thousands of people to watch what is being said. But that still did not stop the mobile phones.

The Chinese faced a similar problem after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The Chinese government did let in foreign journalists just after the earthquake so that the world could see how fast the government reacted to the disaster. But what the government tried to block were the subsequent demonstrations by grieving families who wanted to hold corrupt local and provincial officials accountable for the shoddy workmanship in the public schools.

Word of the demonstrations got out by mobile phone. The government tried to cut off the texting portion of the mobile network but to no avail.

Here are some reports about how technology played a role in Iran in not only helping people protest against their government but also in getting the news out.

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Filed under Censorship, China, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

Translate into Chinese or Spanish, it’s all the same meaning

The  Liu Xiaobo case is heating up the wires among China watchers. Liu got 11 years for the “subversive” act of calling for change in China’s political system.

One of the most telling lines was offered by one Old China Hand:

Mao’s definition of democratic rights was essentially, “You have the right to hold full and free democratic discussions of why my policies are correct, and how they might be better implemented or improved. Discussion of why my policies are wrong would not be democracy — that would be counter-revolution.”

To my mind that sounds just like what Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are saying.

Now, maybe people will understand why some of us have major concerns about Chavez and his followers in Latin America.

This is an issue to journalism groups because Liu, and other dissidents, used the Internet in the same way a pamphleteer would have 300 years ago. Or even today. The issue is freedom of speech and press is tightly woven into this case.

We see constant efforts by those with no love of dissent to limit or control all forms of media. Sometimes the efforts are as direct as jailing an outspoken person or forcing a radio station or newspaper to shut down. And sometimes the efforts are subtle such as waging a campaign accusing an editor or reporter with corruption.

The bottom line is the same, shut down alternative voices to the government.

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Filed under Censorship, South America