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.

February 9, 2009

Filipino journalists fear for their safety

Filed under: News, Headlines, journalism, conflict, human rights — news_editor @ 8:59 pm

A fairly grim BBC report on the targeting of journalists in the Philippines, which independent journalists there blame on the failure of democratic institutions. The journalist deaths are, it seems, part of a larger pattern of killings of those who challenge powerful interests at various levels.

November 24, 2008

suicide video in the public interest?

Filed under: News, Headlines, media policy, journalism, conflict, human rights — news_editor @ 9:10 pm

A judge has barred an Argentine cable television station from airing footage of a former police commander shooting himself on camera to avoid arrest on human rights violations. Judge Martha de Gomez Alsina banned Cronica TV from replaying the image - which it had already aired - after the Federal Broadcasting Committee requested the order, the state news agency Telem reported Sunday. Mario Ferreyra, 63, killed himself on Friday as police arrived at his home to arrest him on charges arising from the disappearance, torture and death of dissidents during Argentina’s 1976-83 dictatorship. The suicide was captured by a TV crew that had just finished interviewing Ferreyra. The images caused initial shock among viewers but little lasting debate in a country where graphic violence is common on television. But the broadcasting committee said the transmission constituted ’serious misconduct’ under Argentine laws against disseminating extremely violent or sordid images. (AP via ABC News)

June 5, 2008

US killing of journalists during Iraq invasion ‘not an accident’

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, conflict — news_editor @ 1:11 am

A media rights group has called for a full investigation into a 2003 US shelling that killed two foreign journalists at a Baghdad hotel, claiming that new evidence showed the incident was not an accident. The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the United States should ‘tell the whole truth’ about the incident at the Palestine Hotel on 8 April, 2003, just a day before Baghdad fell to US invading forces.

The IFJ said a former US army sergeant had reported seeing secret US documents that listed the hotel as a possible target, a statement which it said ‘exposed as a cover-up’ the US claim that the shelling was an accident. ‘Slowly the awful truth about the events of that day are emerging,’ Aidan White, general secretary of the Brussels-based IFJ, said in a statement. ‘This latest information adds to our concern that the failure to properly investigate and report on this attack is covering up the reality that the US was recklessly putting media lives at risk.’

Spanish cameraman Jose Couso, who worked for the private television station Telecinco, and Ukraine-born Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk were killed at the hotel, which was home to about 150 journalists and media staff at the time. A Spanish court threw out murder charges against three US soldiers over the Couso killing, saying there was insufficient evidence indicating an ‘intentional desire’ by them to target civilians in the hotel.

Iraq remains the most dangerous country to report from. According to Journalism Freedom Observatory, a group monitoring and defending the rights of Iraq journalists, 232 media employees — including 22 foreigners — have been killed since the 2003 US led-invasion. Of these, 179 of them were killed while working and the remainder were killed for sectarian reasons or in random acts of violence. At least 14 journalists are also being held hostage by various groups, according to the media watchdog.

Reed drops links to arms trade after journalists protest

Journalists at Reed Elsevier, publishers of more than 2,000 medical and scientific journals, have helped persuade the company to drop its ties to the arms trade. It represents a major victory for collective action to promote principled, ethical journalism. The company said on 29 May 2008 that it had sold the DSEi, ITEC and LAAD defence exhibitions to Britain’s largest independent exhibitions group, Clarion Events, for an undisclosed sum.

Reed’s decision to stop organizing defence shows followed a long campaign of protest by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and by many of its staff. In particular, staff on Reed’s top medical title, the Lancet, claimed the journal could not be linked in any way to the arms industry. In a September 2005 editorial, it commented: ‘On behalf of our readers and contributors, we respectfully ask Reed Elsevier to divest itself of all business interests that threaten human, and especially civilian, health and well-being. Values of harm reduction and science-based decision making are the core of public-health practice.’

In addition, a group of internationally acclaimed writers including J.M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan and Arabella Weir, joined the protest, writing a public letter to coincide with the London Book Fair, a Reed-organised event. They were appalled their trade was ‘commercially connected to one which exacerbates insecurity and repression’. Shareholders also reduced their stakes in Reed promising not to re-invest until it cut all links with the defence exhibitions.


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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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.

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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