Saturday, June 2, 2007

Weekend News Roundup

Just a bit too much censorship going on this past week. I actually had to practice some "editing" and "edit" out articles I deemed unworthy. I think that's called "censorship." Yes, folks we all do it. I guess that makes me something of a hypocrite, but I just think some of these articles are more relevant to my readership. If you disagree, just let me know.

Crappy hair day. (Chocolate festival in California.)

Strange, but True: Poland: Tinky Winky Flip-Flop

Ewa Sowinska, the conservative government’s watchdog for children’s rights, said she no longer suspected the television series “Teletubbies” and its purple, bag-carrying character, Tinky Winky, of promoting homosexuality. After widespread criticism and ridicule, even from her own party, she said her fears had been allayed by “the opinion of a leading sexologist.”.
Al Gore Speaks of a Nation in Danger, New York Times Book Review, Books of The Times
Al Gore has decided to lay it all on the line with a blistering assessment of the Bush administration.
The former vice president contends that the fiasco in Iraq stems from President Bush’s use of “a counterfeit combination of misdirected vengeance and misguided dogma to dominate the national discussion, bypass reason, silence dissent and intimidate those who questioned his logic both inside and outside the administration.”
.Echoing many reporters and former administration insiders, Mr. Gore says that the administration tends to ignore expert advice (be it on troop levels, global warming or the deficit), to circumvent the usual policy-making machinery of analysis and debate, and frequently to suppress or disdain the best evidence available on a given subject so it can promote predetermined, ideologically driven policies.
Moreover, Mr. Gore contends, the administration’s penchant for secrecy (keeping everything from the details of its coercive interrogation policy to its National Security Agency surveillance program under wraps) has dismantled the principle of accountability, even as what he calls its “unprecedented and sustained campaign of mass deception” on matters like Iraq has made “true deliberation and meaningful debate by the people virtually impossible.”
Is Chavez Stifling the Media?

Mexico's Journalists Feel Heavy Hand of Violence
MONTERREY, Mexico --
Gamaliel López Candanosa seemed an unlikely candidate to join the ranks of disappeared or murdered reporters in Mexico, now the second deadliest country in the world for journalists after Iraq.
Vietnam's War on Dissent Goes Public
About a dozen dissidents have been arrested or exiled in what human rights grups call Vietnam's harshest political crackdown in 20 years. Of these, at least four have endured public humiliation ceremonies. "They want to frighten us," Dai explains. "They use the people and our neighbors to try to shame us, so they don't have to use the courts." Not that the courts are off-limits. Soon after sitting down for a mid-February interview with TIME to describe his denunciation session, Dai was arrested; on May 11, after a one-day trial, he was sentenced to five years in prison for "spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic."

Meanwhile, state media have published lengthy articles criticizing multi-party "Western-style" democracy as messy and debilitating, while trumpeting the "Vietnamese style" of one-party rule as a guarantor of wealth and peace.
Pakistan: 3 Journalists Receive Bullet Threats
Unaddressed envelopes, each containing a bullet, were left on or in the cars of three Pakistani journalists in Karachi working for Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press. Journalists groups reacted quickly, describing the act as an attempt to intimidate the press and linking it to a shady group with ties to the Muttahida Quami Movement, the party that controls Karachi and is allied with the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. According to news reports, the group recently issued a list naming a dozen journalists as “enemies,” including two who received the bullets.

Yemen censors two opposition news websites

Morocco: YouTube is Blocked, and the Blogoma is Not Happy

U.N. tribunal offers chance for justice in Lebanese journalist attacks
The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the U.N. Security Council’s establishment of an international criminal tribunal empowered to prosecute individuals responsible for a series of deadly attacks against Lebanese journalists in 2005.
”By empowering this tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators of egregious attacks on the press, the Security Council has sent a strong message that the international community will not tolerate impunity for those who ruthlessly target journalists for death,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The Lebanese government and the United Nations should vigorously pursue their investigations into these attacks on our colleagues and ensure that those responsible are identified and fairly tried.”

After al-Hariri’s death, three journalists were among those targeted by unknown assailants in a chilling string of attacks. The cases remain unsolved.
Lebanon: Army imposes restrictions on coverage of northern clashes
Journalists told CPJ that they suspected the army was also attempting to hinder coverage of the humanitarian crisis inside the camp where, according to news reports, more than a dozen civilians were killed and 12,000 refugees forced to flee the camp.

Attacks against journalists were also reported. Al-Akhbar photographer Wael al-Ladifi, Al-Balad photographer Asad Ahmad, Agence France-Presse photographer Ramzy Haidar, and Al-Alam cameraman Ali Tahimi said they were beaten by members of the Lebanese Army on Thursday.

Egypt 'intensifies arrests' of Muslim Brotherhood
CAIRO -- The Egyptian government has intensified arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members ahead of elections to the upper house of parliament, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
It cited lawyers for the Brotherhood - Egypt's largest banned but largely tolerated opposition - as saying that between May 12 and May 19 security forces arrested 87 members.

Radio Farda journalist charged, barred from leaving Iran
Iranian authorities confiscated Azima’s Iranian passport upon her arrival at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on a trip to see her ailing mother, effectively barring her from leaving the country. During the past several months, Revolutionary Court officials had repeatedly summoned Azima for interrogation, although she has not been detained.
Bloggers dissect Sheehan, , things get ugly, Columbia Journalism Review
Apparently, "a full 48 hours since antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan publicly announced that she was leaving the Democratic Party due to Thursday's bipartisan agreement on an Iraq war funding bill," not a single "major media outlet has covered her announcement." Sheppard follows this fact with a question: "Does this suggest that the media's antiwar proclivities are only important when they shed a negative light on the Administration and Republicans, but not when events such as this speak poorly about Democrats?"

Calling Uncle Sam,
How government can and should support a free press, Columbia Journalism Review
Colleagues Honor Slain Russian Journalist With a Book and Demand Justice
The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta began sales of a collection of articles and commentary by a correspondent who was killed last year.

Aidan White, general secretary of the international federation, left the congress briefly in the afternoon to lend support to the calls for progress in the investigation of Ms. Politkovskaya’s killing. “Unfortunately this is a country that appears to have a culture of impunity” with respect to crimes against journalists, he said.

He added that he had heard from Russians this week that every attack against a journalist “is fully investigated until it has come to a successful dead end.”

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