ICE blogs

May 23, 2017

Surveillance – and the general election

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 9:50 am

Concerns over the growing powers of the surveillance state significantly secure no mention in either the Conservative or Labour Party manifestos in the run-up to the general election on 8 June.

Recently, a leak from the Home Office revealed that the government aimed to be able to access anyone’s communications within 24 hours under the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) of December 2016 and halt people’s ability to encrypt messages. The Act was condemned by the Open Democracy group as the ‘most sweeping surveillance powers ever seen, not just in the UK, but in any Western European nation or in the United States’.

Under the new plans, companies would be legally required to introduce a backdoor to their systems so that authorities could read all communications if required. And in a section of the Conservative manifesto headed ‘Strengthening the police and security services’, the party says: ‘We will continue to invest in our world-leading security services and maintain and develop our counter-terrorism strategy to protect us from terrorism at home and abroad.’

The Labour Party makes no mention of surveillance or the powers of intelligence and the secret state in their manifesto: the party offered only token opposition to the IPA, dubbed, the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to end the ‘Orwellian nightmare’ of mass surveillance. The party’s manifesto also commits to opposing Tory attempts to erode citizens’ powers of encryption.

One of the Lib Dems’ nine MPs, Alistair Carmichael, told the website, the Register, that the IPA prepared the way for a ‘full frontal assault’ on privacy and civil liberties. ‘The security services need to be able to keep people safe, but these powers are straight out of an Orwellian nightmare. They have no place in an open and democratic society, will cost billions of taxpayers’ money and simply will not work. Instead of spying on the entire population’s web histories and undermining the encryption that, for example, allows us to bank online safely, Liberal Democrats would put money back into community policing and concentrate on intelligence-led, targeted surveillance.’

• See https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/15/lib_dems_manifesto_pledge_to_end_snooping/; and http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/20/encr-m20.html

Richard Lance Keeble

May 22, 2017

Whistleblower Manning finally released

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 12:11 pm

Chelsea Manning, the military intelligence analyst turned whistleblower who revealed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, was released from military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 17 May after completing over seven years in jail.

She was arrested by the army in 2010 after providing WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of internal army ‘incident logs’ and about 250,000 diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world. In August 2013, she was jailed for 35 years, a sentence 10 times longer than any previous punishment imposed on a federal employee, military or civilian, for leaking classified information.

Among the crimes exposed by Manning was the American helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad that killed 16 people, including two Reuters journalists. Other documents published by WikiLeaks proved that civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were far higher than officially reported while dossiers on Guantanamo Bay prisoners suggested that many of them had no significant role in terrorist operations.

As Genevieve Leigh comments: ‘Despite the massive evidence provided, not a single person was jailed, arrested, or even charged for any of the documented crimes. Instead, the military brass together with the Obama administration ruthlessly persecuted Manning for what is a far greater “crime” in the eyes of the ruling class: exposing the murderous nature of the US war machine.’

Following the revelations, Manning was held in an outdoor cage in a bid to break her psychologically. From July 2010 to April 2011, she was held in Virginia, much of the time stripped naked as a ‘security’ measure. As Leigh continues: ‘All told, she spent almost a year-and-a-half in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day, a form of detention classified as torture by human rights groups.’

In prison, Manning made two attempts to take her own life, for which she faced even more severe treatment.

President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to just over seven years, in one of his final actions before leaving office in January. Yet her sentence under the Espionage Act remains in force. A fundraising drive to help Manning maintain her appeal has been launched by the Courage Foundation with the German branch of Reporters Without Borders and the Wau Holland Foundation.

Moreover, Obama and Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, in particular, led moves to muzzle Manning and other whistleblowers. In fact, more whistleblowers were prosecuted during the Obama years than in all other administrations combined.

The Trump administration is currently stepping up the campaign against whistleblowers, US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said recently that the arrest of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ founder, was a ‘priority’ for the US.

After being sentenced to jail, Manning (previously known as Bradley) announced she was transgendered and took the name Chelsea. She later began hormone therapy and requested gender reassignment surgery, which the army repeatedly denied.

• See http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/17/mann-m17.html

Richard Lance Keeble, joint editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics.

April 21, 2017

Moab: How the media humanise the horror

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 1:59 pm

One of the main functions of the dominant media is to naturalise and humanise the horror of contemporary warfare. As Edward Herman comments: ‘Doing terrible things in an organised and systematic way rests on “normalisation”. This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as “the way things are done”. … It is the function of the defense intellectuals and other experts and the mainstream media to normalise the unthinkable for the general public.’

This process was particularly evident in the recent coverage of the deployment by the US military of its most powerful, non-nuclear bomb against IS fighters in Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Significantly, the missile (the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast) was dubbed ‘the Mother of All Bombs’ and the acronym ‘Moab’ quickly – and unproblematically – entered the lexicon of media/military jargon.

The nickname, Moab, clearly appropriates and updates the rhetoric of Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, who called the 1991 Desert Storm conflict ‘the Mother of All Battles’. In the end, up to 250,000 Iraqis were to be slaughtered by the US-led forces during those 42 days in which one massacre followed another.

But the application of the word ‘Mother’ draws on a long tradition in which the language of domesticity serves to strangely humanise the horrific. Horror, in this way, becomes a familiar part of our normal everyday lives. Mothers are normally associated with love, compassion and the creation of life. Here, the bomb delivers death and destruction. In the same way, the Hiroshima bomb was called ‘Little Boy’, the plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki ‘Fat Man’. Edward Teller is known as the ‘father’ of the H-Bomb.

Brian Easlea, in his seminal, feminist history Fathering the unthinkable, of 1983, highlights the creation of nuclear weapons in the context of the masculinity of science. He sees the development of science as a process of domination over both nature and women. According to Easlea, men create science and weapons to compensate for their lack of the ‘magical power’ of mothering. In other words, the distorted psyche at the heart of masculinity and the ‘technical, phallic rationality’ it promotes gives birth not to life but death. Easlea quotes a note slipped to Truman at the Potsdam conference on 17 July 1945 after a successful test of the plutonium bomb that said simply: ‘Babies successfully born.’ And the President knew precisely what it meant.

In an exultant profile of the B52 bombers during the Gulf conflict of 1991 in the Sun of 24 January, a Major Cole is quoted as saying: ‘The devastation underneath these babies is incredible.’ In other words, the mass deaths to be inflicted by these bombers is to be a source of celebration, wonder even. Men again have given birth to massacres. A major general is quoted: ‘The B52 has a mystique about it. Because of its destructive power it has a sense of awesomeness.’

Following Hiroshima and Nagasaki, later generations (note that word) of nuclear weapons were given military status and a patriotic role. They were called ‘Corporal’ and ‘Sergeant’. ‘Honest John’ appeared later in the European theatre (another ‘humanising’ term). The devastating ‘Minuteman’ missile drew on the name of the heroic militiamen of the American revolutionary war who were trained to turn out at a minute’s notice. So in this way the missile takes its proud place in national folklore. Or they have been given names of classical gods: such as Polaris, Skybolt, Jupiter, Titan, Poseidon, Trident. In these various ways weapons of mass destruction have been assimilated into our culture to appear ‘natural’ and ‘civilised’.

During the Cold War, Paul Chilton (1983), drawing on George Orwell’s notion of newspeak, coined the term nukespeak. In this way, he was making three main claims. Firstly, there existed a specialised vocabulary for talking about nuclear weapons together with habitual metaphors. Secondly, that this variety of English was neither neutral nor purely descriptive but ideologically loaded in favour of the nuclear culture. And finally, that nukespeak was massively important since it affected how people thought about the subject and largely determined the ideas they exchanged about it.

But there was no massive conspiracy to inject this vocabulary into the culture: there were no Orwellian grammarians munching their sandwiches at the Ministry of Truth and rewriting the English language. The atomic bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were, indeed, weapons of mass destruction. Their deployment represented, according to Chilton, a revolutionary jump in military strategy. And inevitably it heralded a new order of experience in science, politics and the everyday. Chilton commented: ‘The language used to talk about the new weapons of mass extermination was partly an attempt to slot the new reality into the old paradigms of our culture. It was also no doubt a language that served the purpose of those who were concerned to perpetuate nuclear weapons development and deployment.’

Nukespeak then, as a specific linguistic register, drew on deep patterns of symbolic thought, on myths, religious beliefs, symbols, stereotypes and metaphors which we use to organise and normalise our everyday experiences. In August 1945, politicians together with the mainstream press spoke of the bomb mainly in terms of religious awe. For instance, while Truman was meeting Churchill and Stalin at Potsdam, an official report on the Hiroshima explosion was rushed to him. It said: ‘It was the beauty the great poets dream about. … Then came the strong, sustained, awesome roar which warned of doomsday and made us feel that we puny things were blasphemous to dare to tamper with the forces heretofore reserved to the Almighty.’. The Times reported eye-witnesses: ‘The whole thing was tremendous and awe-inspiring,’ said a Captain Parsons of the US Navy.

Central to the manufacture of the myth of ‘humanitarian’ warfare over recent decades has been the constant propaganda focus on precise, clean weapons. War is a civilised, humanitarian business – that’s the essential message. Significantly, to justify the use of the GBU-43/B, on 13 April 2017, the American military afterwards said 94 IS militants had been killed in the ‘precise’ strike. There were no civilian casualties, they claimed.

- Richard Lance Keeble is Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln and Visiting Professor at Liverpool Hope University, His analysis of war coverage since 1945, Covering Conflict: The Making and Unmaking of New Militarism, is shortly to be published by Abramis, of Bury St Edmunds.

March 17, 2017

Ethical Space special issue: Call for Papers

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 11:51 am

How do you feel? Ethical challenges in media treatment and representation of vulnerable people

Media reporting of vulnerable people is not a recent phenomenon but it is one that is increasingly dominating the 24/7 news cycle. The tensions involved in covering mass human migration, the Syrian refugee crisis, disasters and trauma, terrorist executions and acts of carnage all pose challenges to the journalist trying to report accurately, sensitively and ethically in extreme circumstances. In addition the use and misuse of social media, the evolving understanding of mental health and the growing acknowledgement of the rights of those involved in stories to have their say all suggest a more equitable and participatory journalism is necessary when reporting on ‘victims’ and the vulnerable.

These emotional and ethical challenges come as the media landscape is changing irrevocably. Traditional news outlets are under pressure to the extent that, although the vulnerable are the subject of stories, their involvement in the process can be minimal. Instead, some journalists are turning to ready-made content generated by citizens on social media. Is this ethical? Is this the way in which journalists should record the lives of vulnerable people? Social media also has had a significant effect on coverage of suicide. The death of actor Robin Williams resulted in some appalling coverage that revealed tensions between control of the media through regulatory systems and professional guidelines and the unregulated world of social media where the audience can access content that the media, when contemplating publication, are required to consider with extreme caution for fear of inciting copycat behaviour amongst vulnerable people.

What exactly do we mean by ‘vulnerable people’? Definitions vary according to different disciplines but one that is apt for media coverage is the Australian Government’s description of vulnerable adults: an individual aged 18 years and above who is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or is unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation by reason of age, illness, trauma or disability, or any other reason.

Ethics is about taking the right action in difficult circumstances so thinking about vulnerability in ethical terms we should concern ourselves with the concepts of minimizing harm; fair and honest representation; truth and trust; accountability to those in the story, to the audience and to news employers, and independence of action.

We invite journalism scholars and practitioners to present articles that have a theoretical, analytical, critical, methodological and empirical approach which provide significant insights and understandings about the ethical challenges and potential benefits of media reporting of vulnerable people.

Topics authors might want to consider, but should not be limited to, include:
• Hearing the voices of the marginalised
• Approaches to interviewing/not interviewing vulnerable people
• Mental illness, access to the media and the issue of consent.
• Intrusion into grief/privacy versus fair representation
• Media representations of grief, bereavement, mental illness, suicide, disability, ethnic minorities, faith or sexual orientation.
• Using innovative practices to tell vulnerable people’s stories
• The influence of social media
• Engaging the audience in death, trauma and personal vulnerability e.g. overcoming compassion fatigue, including user generated content or offering audience interactivity
• Teaching ethics relating to media reporting of vulnerable people

Submission instructions
Send 200-word abstracts to the guest editors (addresses below) by 1 May 2017. Papers of around 6,000 words will be needed by 1 July. They will then be sent out for peer review. This process should be completed quickly – so final copy should go to the publishers by early August. The issue should appear in mid-September 2017.

Editorial information:
• Guest editor: Sallyanne Duncan, University of Strathclyde, sallyanne.duncan@strath.ac.uk
• Guest editor: Jackie Newton, Liverpool John Moores University, J.Newton1@ljmu.ac.uk

The Legacy of Mata Hari: Women and Transgression

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, conferences — news_editor @ 11:05 am

A one-day symposium at City, University of London, 28 October 2017

In October 1917, the woman known throughout the globe as Mata Hari was executed on espionage charges by a firing squad at Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris. Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (1876) in Leeuwarden, Holland, in 1905, she reinvented herself as the exotic dancer Mata Hari, trading on the fascination with colonial cultures in the fin de siècle. Although history has provided little evidence of her spying, Mata Hari’s French prosecutors condemned her as ‘the greatest female spy the world has ever known’, a vamp, a courtesan and a divorcee who had caused the deaths of 50,000 allied combatants.

On the centenary of her death, this symposium hosted by City, University of London acknowledges Mata Hari’s significance as an icon of feminine seduction, political betrayal and female transgression into male spheres of influence. This multi-national, cross-disciplinary event drawing from history, politics, cultural studies, literary journalism, the visual and performing arts, museum studies, translation studies and feminist studies will bring together biographers, academics, novelists, performers and curators from the Fries Museum. Contributors will address the cultural multiplicity of the anxieties about women in the public sphere that Mata Hari symbolised both during the First World War and as enduring concerns. Speakers will discuss Mata Hari’s legacy in the identification of transgressive women today, especially those in the political sphere and those involved in global or domestic conflicts. Presentations from cultural historians on Mata Hari’s historic influence on dance, cinema and representation of the female body are also welcome.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers or for conference panels on any aspect of Mata Hari and her legacy. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Mata Hari’s significance as a female icon during the First World War
• Representations of Mata Hari and female agents in theatre and film from the early 20th century
• Fictional and journalistic representations of female espionage agents
• Literary, cinematic, artistic and journalistic representations of transgressive women
• Representations of the female vamp and the performance of femininities
• The queer transgression of Mata Hari
• Post-colonialism and female erotic performance in the early twentieth century
• Women, war and espionage
• The creation and significance of female icons in the fin de siècle and beyond
• Female transgression and museum studies
• Cultural anxieties about female representation in political and domestic spheres

A publication based on the symposium is envisaged.

Please send proposals (300 words max. plus biographical paragraph of 200 words max.) to Dr Julie Wheelwright (julie.wheelwright.1@city.ac.uk) and Dr Minna Vuohelainen (minna.vuohelainen@city.ac.uk) no later than 30 May, 2017.

March 2, 2017

Sports Journalism: ethical vacuum or ethical minefield?

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 9:17 am

Institute of Communication Ethics Annual Conference

27 October 2017, Frontline Club, London W2 1QJ

CALL FOR PAPERS

Sports content is a crucial aspect of many media organisations’ output. But while the ethical issues surrounding news journalism are closely scrutinised, the ethical dilemmas facing sports journalism are often neglected, or even unacknowledged. Issues of media regulation remain highly contentious in the UK, but how does sports output and the conduct of sports journalism departments fit into this debate? Is the balance of power between sports journalists and sports media relations executives shifting decisively in favour of the latter? How have sports journalists responded to the issues arising from the digital revolution?

The conference aims to provide a space for analysis and discussion on the varied ethical issues confronting sports journalists. Topics might then include:

* Too cosy a relationship? Sports journalists and sports PR managers

* Does sports journalism need a separate industry code?

* Taking the (click)bait: are website visitor targets undermining high-quality sports journalism?

* Covering diversity in sports – issues of representation in sports coverage

* Using social media as a sports journalist: the ethical issues

* Sports journalism and ‘entrapment’: the ethical issues involved in an undercover investigation

* Branded content – is it in danger of killing independent sports journalism?

* “Fans with typewriters”. How prepared are sports journalists to cover ‘hard’ news on top of the regular diet of press conferences and matches?

* How should ethics and regulation be taught to sports journalists, both in industry and on training courses?

* Fan sites: when citizen sports journos challenge the news values of corporate media’s sports coverage

* Sports celebrities – and the ‘human interest’ bias of the media

* Local sports coverage – the necessary manufacture of ‘imagined communities’?

These issues – and more – will be of interest to academics, journalists, sports media relations practitioners and students working in the field of sports communications.

Please send 200-word abstracts to Dr Daragh Minogue (daragh.minogue@stmarys.ac.uk) and Tom Bradshaw (tbradshaw@glos.ac.uk) by 1 July 2017.

Whistleblowers ‘face increasing threats in digital era’

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 9:14 am

Journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to safeguard the anonymity of their sources due to the increasing surveillance of online and phone conversations, according to a major new study by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) at London University.

The report, Protecting sources and whistleblowers in a digital age, by Dr Judith Townend and Dr Richard Danbury, says whistleblowers need better legal protection since they are far easier to identify in the digital era and successive laws have undermined their status.

Earlier this month, a Law Commission review of the Official Secrets Acts proposed increased prison sentences for leaking official information and rejected the idea of providing a public interest defence.

The National Union of Journalists’ code of conduct stresses the importance of protecting the anonymity of confidential sources – and reporters have risked jail rather than reveal who gave them information for stories on matters of public interest. Following lobbying by the NUJ, the recently reformed clause 37 of the Digital Economy Bill allows a defence for publication in the public interest. The IALS report, however, suggests that it is uncertain how this defence will be interpreted by the courts.

The findings of the report (which is supported by the Guardian) are based on discussions with 25 investigative journalists, representatives from relevant NGOs and media organisations, media lawyers and specialist researchers.

A government spokesperson said: ‘Far from weakening protections for sources as this report suggests, this government has strengthened safeguards through the Investigatory Powers Act. Now any public body seeking to use communications data to identify a journalist’s source must first gain approval from a senior judge. We believe in the freedom of the press, and would never do anything to undermine legitimate whistleblowing or investigative journalism – it’s not government policy and never will be.’

* See https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/feb/22/whistleblowers-need-greater-protection-digital-age-media-lawyers-say and http://infolawcentre.blogs.sas.ac.uk/source-protection-report-2017/

February 20, 2017

A show about watching

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 2:41 pm

Veillance, an immersive, audio-visual artwork about data surveillance and mutual watching by Ronan Devlin, is to be exhibited at Bangor University, beginning 24 February. The work, which takes the internet as its medium, self-generates in real time in response to audience browsing activity, some of which is projected (creatively) on to the walls for all to see.

The work was commissioned by the Space and supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Arloesi Pontio Innovation, and made in collaboration with Vian Bakir, Ant Dickinson, Carwyn Edwards, Michael Flückiger, Gillian Jein and Andy McStay.

For further information check out the website www.veillance.info and follow the project on Twitter @veillanceinfo.

February 17, 2017

Media Against Hate

A campaign to counter hate speech and discrimination in the media has been launched by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). Together with a range of partners, including Article 19, the Croatian Journalists’ Association, the Community Media Institute, Community Media Forum Europe and the Media Diversity Institute, the EFJ is planning a series of training workshops for media professionals and representatives of civil society organisations and media regulators across Europe ‘to exchange best practice and promote mutual learning’.

A website, www.mediaagainsthate.org, aims to gather relevant news items relating to ethical standards, freedom of expression issues and media diversity. The Media Diversity Institute commented: ‘The media and journalists play a crucial role in influencing both policy-making and societal opinion on migration and refugees. As hate speech and stereotypes targeting migrants and refugees proliferate across Europe, balanced and fair media reporting is needed more than ever.’

• See http://www.media-diversity.org/

February 14, 2017

Jailed Palestinian journalist on hunger strike

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, conflict, human rights — news_editor @ 3:43 pm

Mohammed al-Qeeq, one of more than 20 journalists currently in Israeli prisons, has declared an open hunger strike following his re-arrest by occupation forces at Beit El checkpoint north of Ramallah. He began his strike immediately upon his arrest.

Al-Qeeq, 35, drew international support last year when he engaged in a 94-day hunger strike against his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, winning his release in May 2016. Since his release, he has been active in prisoner support campaigns and was arrested returning from a demonstration in Bethlehem calling for the release of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces.

Omar Nazzal, a member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, is being held without charge or trial after being seized by occupation forces on 23 April 2016 attempting to travel to Sarajevo for a conference of the European Federation of Journalists.

Philippe Leruth, president of the International Federation of Journalists, said: ‘This Israeli policy of administrative detention is a violation of human rights, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. We are extremely concerned that the Israeli authorities are extending this policy and that they are allowed to do so ad infinitum.’

Also held under administrative detention is Adib al-Atrash, imprisoned since 20 June 2016 after he returned from studying at Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus, where he had just received his Masters degree in media studies.

Palestinian writer Walid Hodali, director of the Jerusalem Literary Office and a member of the Palestinian Writers Union, was also seized by occupation forces amid a large number of arrests in the Ramallah area. He previously spent 15 years in Israeli prisons.

• See http://samidoun.net/2017/01/imprisoned-palestinian-journalist-mohammed-al-qeeq-on-hunger-strike-demanding-release/
and http://alternativenews.org/index.php/headlines/344-palestinian-journalist-mohammad-al-qeeq-declares-open-hunger-strike

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress