ICE blogs

February 12, 2009

Fiji and parachute journalism

Filed under: News, Headlines, journalism, politics, conflict, human rights — news_editor @ 11:08 pm

Those in the northern hemisphere won’t have heard much about the latest coup in Fiji and the complex racialised politics involved. What you will hear most of, though, is the interim (i.e. military) government’s crackdown on journalists. This week there was a rare, good discussion of the whiteness of the lenses through which the issue is seen in the west on TVNZ. Summary and analysis of it on the Pacific Media Centre blog by Thakur Ranjit Singh.

October 1, 2008

Whistleblowers and mischief-makers: ICE annual conference

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, politics, conferences — news_editor @ 12:14 am

You’re warmly invited to the ICE annual conference, to be held in London on 21 November. The theme is the ethics of scandal, and major speakers already confirmed are Guardian investigative reporter David Leigh, Karen Sanders (author of books on media ethics and political scandal), the BBC’s Michael Ford, and PR scholar Simon Goldsworthy. Conference flyer attached. Conference Flyer

June 5, 2008

Al-Jazeera cameraman finally released from ‘worst prison mankind has ever seen’

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, politics, conflict, human rights — news_editor @ 12:57 am

Associated Press reports that An Al-Jazeera cameraman released from the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention centre in April 2008 described it as the worst prison mankind has ever seen. Sami al-Haj, a Sudanese citizen, told a cheering crowd in Khartoum: ‘After 2,340 days spent in the most heinous prison mankind has ever known, we are honored to be here. Thank you, and thank all those defended us and of our right in freedom.’

Al-Haj was the only journalist from a major international news organization held at Guantanamo and many of his supporters saw his detention as punishment for an Arabic television channel whose broadcasts angered US officials. But his imprisonment received very little coverage in the mainstream Western media.

Al-Haj, who was supported while in Guantanamo by the human rights charity Reprieve, said: ‘I was subjected to 130 (interrogation) sessions, more than 35 about Al-Jazeera, and they wanted me to be a spy against Al-Jazeera.’ As a faithful Muslim, he rejected the offer.

Though able to walk a short distance at the event, al-Haj was still weak after a 16-month hunger strike at Guantanamo. His attorney, Zachary Katznelson, who met with al-Haj at the US base April 11, said he was emaciated because of the hunger strike. He said al-Haj had been having problems with his liver and kidneys and had blood in his urine.
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June 4, 2008

Washington Post says NASA’s climate scientists censored

Filed under: ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, politics — news_editor @ 11:42 pm

The Washington Post reports:

An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency’s public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers’ findings about climate change for at least two years, the inspector general’s office said yesterday.
The probe came at the request of 14 senators after The Washington Post and other news outlets reported in 2006 that Bush administration officials had monitored and impeded communications between NASA climate scientists and reporters.
James E. Hansen, who directs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has campaigned publicly for more stringent limits on greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, told The Post and the New York Times in September 2006 that he had been censored by NASA press officers, and several other agency climate scientists reported similar experiences. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are two of the government’s lead agencies on climate change issues.
From the fall of 2004 through 2006, the report said, NASA’s public affairs office “managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public.” It noted elsewhere that “news releases in the areas of climate change suffered from inaccuracy, factual insufficiency, and scientific dilution.”
Officials of the Office of Public Affairs told investigators that they regulated communication by NASA scientists for technical rather than political reasons, but the report found “by a preponderance of the evidence, that the claims of inappropriate political interference made by the climate change scientists and career public affairs officers were more persuasive than the arguments of the senior public affairs officials that their actions were due to the volume and poor quality of the draft news releases.”
The political interference did not extend to the research itself or its dissemination through scientific journals and conferences, the investigators said. “We found no evidence indicating NASA blocked or interfered with the actual research activities of its climate scientists,” the report said, but as a result of the actions of the political appointees, “trust was lost, at least temporarily, between the agency and some of its key employees and perhaps the public it serves.”

April 1, 2008

conference on human rights and peace

Filed under: ethical space editors blog, Headlines, politics, conflict, conferences, human rights — news_editor @ 9:58 pm

Activating Human Rights and Peace

An International Conference
1-4 July 2008
Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre,
Byron Bay NSW, Australia

“I welcome the conference on Activating Human Rights and Peace that the Centre for Peace and Social Justice of Southern Cross University is hosting between 1-4 July 2008. It is easy to talk about human rights and peace. Forests of trees are destroyed in the documentation dealing with these subjects. However, activating them and translating aspirations into reality is the real challenge for our species and our world. A meeting devoted to translating ideas into action will be well timed in mid-2008. I hope that there will be a strong attendance with many notions to challenge the mind and to inspire action.”
- Justice Michael Kirby, Patron, Centre for Peace and Social Justice.

Confirmed Keynotes:

Aruna Gopinath
Dr, Head, Dept of Politics & International Relations, HELP University College, Malaysia

Judy Atkinson,
Professor, Gnibi the College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University, Australia

Dede Oetomo
Dr, Airlangga University and Founder, Gaya Nusantara, Indonesia

Mutassim Abu El Hawa
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Kibbutz Ketura, Israel

Ilana Meallem
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Kibbutz Ketura, Israel

Graham Innes
Human Rights Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Australia

Adrien Wing
Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law, University of Iowa Law School, USA

Ranbir Singh
Professor and Vice-Chancellor, Nalsar University of Law, India

Kevin Clements
Professor and Director, Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Queensland, Australia

Bee Chen Goh
Professor, Head of School of Law and Justice, Southern Cross University

Please send proposals for 20-25 minute papers, with a 200-word
abstract by 26 February 2008 (Late submissions will be considered). Please see website for details.

Send to:

The conference will have a mix of plenary sessions with invited papers, and panel sessions. The conference organisers welcome papers from scholars, researchers, postgraduates, activists, community groups and policy makers.

See the book Activating Human Rights, edited by Elisabeth Porter and Baden Offord (Peter Lang, Oxford, 2006).
This conference is hosted by the Centre for Peace and Social Justice, Southern Cross University; in collaboration with the Hawke Research Institute’s Centre for Peace, Conflict & Mediation, University of South Australia; the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Queensland, and NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India, and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Australia.

March 12, 2008

Promoting new forms of ethical reflection

Communication Ethics Now, which draws together articles from Volume 2 (2005) of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics, is to be published on 15 July 2008. In a foreword, Cees Hamelink, Professor Emeritus of International Communication at the University of Amsterdam, comments: ‘Ethical inquiry needs to be more creative and deconstruct situations that look like dilemmas into configurations of a wide variety of moral options and challenges. We are very fortunate to have such important platforms as Communication Ethics Now for this exercise in new forms of reflection!’

He adds: ‘This book convincingly demonstrates how lively and relevant today’s ethical reflections on communication can be. The chapters of the book cover such an exciting and broad range of topics.’

Edited by Richard Keeble, joint editor of Ethical Space, the 25 chapters are divided into five sections. In the first, which focuses journalism ethics, John Tulloch examines the British press’s coverage of the CIA torture flights (better known as ‘extraordinary rendition’) while Julie-ann Davies reports on the media’s increasing use of anonymous sources. Jane Taylor takes a particularly unusual look at the media’s obsession with celebrity focusing on the coverage of Carole Chaplin, Cherie Blair’s ’style guru’ and broadcaster, novelist and columnist Libby Purves expresses outrage at the media’s daily diet of ‘unkind intrusions and falsifications’.

In an international section, leading Nigerian academic Kate Azuka Omenugha explores the representation of Africanness in the British press, Susanne Fengler and Stephan Russ-Mohl express concern over the slump in media standards in Germany while Angelika W. Wyka focuses on journalistic standards and democratization of the mass media in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

In a section that takes a historical perspective on journalism ethics, Jane Chapman’s chapter looks at ‘Republican Citizenship, Ethics and the French Revolutionary Press 1789-92′ while Martin Conboy’s focuses on Wooler’s Black Dwarf, a radical journal of the early 19th century.

Another section on communication ethics and pedagogy draws on papers at the 2005 annual conference of the Institute of Communication Ethics with contributions from Raphael Cohen-Almagor, John Strain, Brian Hoey, Brian Morris, Simon Goldsworthy and Anne Gregory. The philosophical dimensions of communication ethics are explored by Karen Sanders, Hallvard Johannes Fossheim (in an interview with Kristine Lowe) Robert Beckett, Moira Carroll-Mayer and Bernd Carsten Stahl. In the final section on business and communication ethics, Kristine Lowe interviews Paul Jackson, of Manchester Business School.

Editor Richard Keeble, in an introduction, says: ‘The Institute of Communication Ethics (ICE) stresses in its mission statement: “Communication ethics is the founding philosophy for human interaction that defines issues according to their impact on human well-being and relationships.” And it is this caring for people - the desperately poor, the inarticulate, the oppressed - along with a sense that honesty, integrity, clarity, respect for difference and diversity are some of the core principles underlying human interaction and, ultimately, communication ethics that drive the many writings in this volume.’

  • Communication Ethics Now is published by Troubador, Leicester, for £12.99. It follows the success of Communication Ethics Today, also published by Troubador, which drew on articles in the first volume of Ethical Space.

March 10, 2008

Conference on moving Australia towards a cosmopolitan society

Filed under: Uncategorized, News, Headlines, media policy, politics, conferences, human rights — news_editor @ 2:36 am

The 4Rs conference, to be held in Sydney on Sept 30 - Oct 2, frames Australia’s future as a cosmopolitan civil society. Focused on the themes of rights. responsibilities, reconciliation and respect, it explores the internal debates and the relationships between crucial social, political and cultural questions, with their relevance to public policy, community development and societal cohesion.
The conference is organised by the Centre for Cosmopolitan Civil Societies, University of Technology Sydney , SAVE Australia Inc, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and the Institute for Cultural Diversity at a critical time for Australia, when the opportunities and desire for change abound, yet older fears still persist.
The conference is designed around the four themes and their interaction- human rights, Indigenous advancement, inter-communal relations, and active citizenship.


Australia remains the only Western democracy without a national human rights framework, yet it is a society in which the struggle for rights has been a central part of history - for Indigenous people, women, ethnic and religious minorities, people with disabilities and those involved in same-sex relationships. The Rights stream (R1) invites contributions that discuss global, national and local concerns across the full range of human rights issues, from the initial engagement with political rights, through social and cultural rights, to the most recent questions raised by action on disability and indigenous rights. It encourages philosophical as well as political and legal approaches. It explores the practical politics of achieving a national human rights framework within the international community.


Wherever colonial powers have settled their populations on the lands of indigenous peoples there have been ongoing crises and conflicts. Reconciliation (R2) seeks to understand the truth of those histories and devise ways through which people from both indigenous and immigrant origins can work and live together in a shared society. Australia has faced a particularly difficult period as it has struggled with both symbolic and practical forms through which reconciliation should be advanced.

The reconciliation stream invites contributions that explore the challenges, success and failures in reconciliation across the world, and the specific dimensions of reconciliation in Australia. It welcomes community presentations, and joint presentations between scholars, policy groups and Indigenous activists. It particularly looks towards younger people and their perspectives on future directions for reconciliation.


In the often-heated conversations about relations between ethno-religious communities in pluralist societies, in the past framed by ideas about multiculturalism and tolerance, a key concept is that of respect. Respect (R3) requires recognition of the validity of different approaches to everyday life, and a desire to understand those differences. Respect is multi-directional; it calls on all members of a society to recognise the value of all other communities. In democratic societies it also points to the critical role of respect for individual human rights even though at times this may strain inter-group relations. Australia has experienced serious challenges to the place of respect in societal discussions about diversity, as have many other western societies.

The respect stream invites contributions that explore the tensions around the idea of respect, its representation, and its presence or absence in the discourse of difference globally and in Australia. It welcomes collaborative presentations that explore either comparative cases or innovations in community, arts and other practices in which respect is mobilised as a positive value.


Societies are made up of reciprocal relationships of responsibilities, in which various benefits are received and various obligations incurred. Citizenship, both political and cultural, provides the context in which debates about responsibilities most often occur. This Responsibilities theme (R4) addresses the debates about citizenship and how these have been affected by the transformations in world society in the current generation. Citizenship has been considered as a purely political question, relating to the legal status of individuals in their relations to nation states. It has also reflected broader concerns with social citizenship, active citizenship and cultural citizenship, where the broad range of human rights are considered to be part of the dynamics of citizenship. It explores the responsibilities citizens have for each other, for the well-being and protection of the state, and the responsibilities the state has for the well-being and freedoms of its citizens.

The responsibilities theme invites contributions that explore these multiple meanings of citizenship, and that can expose connections to the other themes of the conference. In particular it invites debates regarding the imposition of various tests for citizenship and what they reveal about the status of the citizen in the contemporary world.

Cross Theme proposals

This track supports innovative approaches to issues that bridge more than one theme, and involve participants from differing backgrounds and perspectives. It can also provide a location for arts-based presentations, performances and workshops.

Andrew Jakubowicz
Conference Convenor
Maqsood Alshams
Conference Secretary


February 6, 2008

Bush and aides lied 935 times in run-up to Iraq invasion

Filed under: Headlines, journalism, politics, conflict — news_editor @ 8:53 pm

President Bush and his top aides publicly made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following 11 September 2001, according to a major new study. The study, by the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism, concluded: ‘In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on 19 March 2003.’

Bush and seven top officials - including Vice-President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice - made 935 false statements about Iraq during those two years. The study says Bush made 232 false statements about Iraq and former leader Saddam Hussein’s possessing weapons of mass destruction, and 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.

The study suggests that Powell had the second-highest number of false statements, with 244 about weapons and 10 about Iraq and al Qaeda. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer each made 109 false statements. ‘It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al Qaeda,’ the report reads.

The authors of the report accuse the media of failing to investigate adequately the truth of the claims. ‘Some journalists - indeed, even some entire news organizations - have since acknowledged that their coverage during those pre-war months was far too deferential and uncritical.’

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