Monthly Archives: January 2015

Toilets and Justice

I just love stories that link absctract concepts such as human rights and freedom with concrete, real-life problems.

A report on access to basic sanitation highlighted by the Open Society Foundations showed how the lack of functioning toilets and other basic sanitation facilities, results in poor health and unsafe living conditions

The Link Between Functioning Toilets and Justice

“Some residents are left to use open fields and bushes and become most vulnerable to criminal attacks, especially at night.”

No one should have to fear assault, rape, or murder while going to the toilet, yet this is an everyday reality for many South Africans and the world’s poor.

The report was done by a collaboration of the Social Justice Coalition and Ndifuna Ukwazi (Dare to Know), with technical assistance from the International Budget Partnership (IBP).

The bottom line is that there is more than just good health at stake. Safety issues and personal well being are at risk when there is no place to have a few private moments to one’s self.

People can talk all they want about the need for better health and safety among the world’s poor. Yet too few of us can really understand just how bad things can be. Breaking down the issue to one of the most basic and common functions of living creatures helps put the issue of poverty and health into a perspective most people can understand.

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Filed under Connections, Story Ideas

New jobs in Venezuela thanks to econ policy

Nothing like a story that graphically shows how lousy economic policies have an impact on everyday life.

In shortages-hit Venezuela, lining up becomes a profession

This kind of story helps show — without lots of numbers — how the economic policies of the Maduro government affects the daily lives of people in Venezuela.

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Filed under South America

China: Not exactly a rule of law place

ANGELA KÖCKRITZ, a correspondent for Die Zeit describes the hell she and her Chinese assistant were put through by Chinese authorities. None of it should suprise anyone, except those who think things really have changed in the way the Chinese government operates.

How my assistant got into trouble with Beijing’s security apparatus and I got to know the Chinese authorities 

This is the really scary part of the story: “Zhang Miao is a completely normal Chinese citizen. And we will treat her like we deal with Chinese citizens.”

Believe me, that is not something to make one feel comfortable.

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Filed under Censorship, China, Harassment, Press Freedom

Freedom House: Where the attacks are

Once again Freedom House does a great job of putting things into perpective with thos nasty things called FACTS:
Democracy Is the Best Defense Against Terrorism

Just off the top of my head I can see a handful of useful articles that tie in domestic and international issues.

  • What are the conditions that lead to this conclusion? (If poverty is a major contributing factor — and in many cases it is — then maybe development aid programs and greater diplomatic involvement are a more cost-effective way to address terrorism and security. That means a closer look at the non-military international affairs budget.)
  • Why are there fewer attacks in democracies? (I would argue becuase there are fewer domestic terrorists. People have a legitimate way to fight back against the government.)
  • How do adherence to human rights and civil rights affect violence and terrorist acts? (Again, if a society offers decent treatment to its people in a fair and equitable manner, there are fewer reasons to engage in terrorism or any acts of violence against society.)
  • How are free and independent media operations important to democracy and limiting home-grown terrorism? (Access to information not slanted for poltical or governmental purposes goes a long way to easing tensions.)

I am sure there are more, but I am still groggy after a 10-hour drive back home.

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Filed under Censorship, Freedom of access, Freedom of Information, International News Coverage, Press Freedom, Story Ideas, Trade

House and work of Hong Kong pro-democracy firebombed

Two attacks took place against Jimmy Lai, owner of Next Media in Hong Kong.

The attackers tossed Molotov cocktails at Lai’s house and office.

Lai is a well-known supporter of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and a vocal critic of Beijing.

Here are some stories about the attack:

 

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Filed under Harassment, Hong Kong, Press Freedom