06 Mar 2011 @ 3:49 PM 

A lot is said these days of citizen journalism and the rise of social media replacing old media institutions that don’t move with the times. While this year has seen a groundswell of change in the Middle East, in part assisted by these new Internet based methods of organisation and information dissemination, let us not forget the need that still exists for the profession of journalism and the impact of the failure this profession has had on society in the last decade.

 

The main case in evidence that I refer to is the case made for the regime change in Iraq. Certainly no one can rationally state that there was not evil and corruption present within that country and that something needed to be done. However, the reasons that were given for the action taken in 2003 and the lack of detailed analysis and coverage did not do honour to the individuals involved who sacrificed so much.

 

But this has happened and much has been claimed, discussed, refuted and the like over the rights and wrongs of the event. Little could be said in this posting that hasn’t already been covered in far greater detail elsewhere.

 

The one thing that does concern me that seems to have had little to no coverage is the fact little has changed with the media and journalistic institutions since then. The example that illustrates this is the lack of coverage given to an article in the UK Guardian of an interview with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi. Codenamed “Curveball”, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi provided evidence ultimately used by Colin Powell in his speech to the UN on the case for war with Iraq. The recent article in the Guardian is an interview in which Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi admits that these were lies told with the purpose of helping to prompt the action that we saw taken in 2003.

 

Why is this not receiving more coverage? It could be easily argued that the ramifications of this lie has had impact (both negative and positive) to thousands of lives across many countries. Doesn’t it deserve a few more “column inches” that what we are seeing? Shouldn’t the media organisations who in 2002 blindly accepted the corporate line have the courage to admit their errors and pledge in future to do their jobs in helping to maintain a free and truthful press?

 

A transparent and accurate media is one of the most important tools in maintaining freedom. Let’s not let it disappear

 

 

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2011 @ 07:15 AM

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 28 Mar 2010 @ 9:38 PM 

After a little bit of sabre rattling it would appear they have finally done it, or at least moved their services outside of the Chinese government control safely in Hong Kong (!) for the moment at least.

A leaked document from the Chinese government demonstrates the level of control that their media is put under:

All chief editors and managers:

Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the China market. This is a high-impact incident. It has triggered netizens’ discussions which are not limited to a commercial level. Therefore please pay strict attention to the following content requirements during this period:

A. News Section

1. Only use Central Government main media (website) content; do not use content from other sources
2. Reposting must not change title
3. News recommendations should refer to Central government main media websites
4. Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussion sessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting;
5. Online programs with experts and scholars on this matter must apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated program production is strictly forbidden.
6. Carefully manage the commentary posts under news items.

B. Forums, blogs and other interactive media sections:

1. It is not permitted to hold discussions or investigations on the Google topic
2. Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do not place this topic and related comments at the top
3. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies with the excuse of this event.
4. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay, cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy
5. On topics related to Google, carefully manage the information in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions
6. Chief managers in different regions please assign specific manpower to monitor Google-related information; if there is information about mass incidents, please report it in a timely manner.

We ask the Monitoring and Control Group to immediately follow up monitoring and control actions along the above directions; once any problems are discovered, please communicate with respected sessions in a timely manner.

Addition guidelines:

– Do not participate in and report Google’s information/press releases
– Do not report about Google exerting pressure on our country via people or events
– Related reports need to put [our story/perspective/information] in the center, do not provide materials for Google to attack relavent policies of our country
– Use talking points about Google withdrawing from China published by relevant departments

I don’t think the content of the above would be of any real surprise. It seems along the lines of a PR department directive to company employees after a negative public event surrounding the company….with the exception of course it covers a country of billions of people.

Reference: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/03/the-latest-directives-from-the-ministry-of-truth-032310/

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 28 Mar 2010 @ 09:38 PM

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