‘Free press’ NGOs censor South Sudanese radio station


Media money to South Sudan

This picture shows the financing of supposedly independent media in South Sudan. On the left, the governments of the USA and the Netherlands. In the middle, the non(?)-governmental organisations Internews and Free Press Unlimited. On the right, the South Sudanese radio stations Eye Radio and Radio Tamazuj.

This week, there is a report by Maite Vermeulen on Dutch Internet site De Correspondent.

It says (translated):

Free Press Unlimited supports independent media worldwide. But when their South Sudanese radio station was critical about a sponsor, Free Press Unlimited clamped down. “Do not try to bite the hand which feeds you.”

The Dutch aid organization Free Press Unlimited censored their own journalists.

It’s early in the morning, December 2, 2016. Somewhere in East Africa, the editors of Radio Tamazuj start up their computers. One of the journalists types automatically his password to complete the first news reports on the website. ‘Sorry, unrecognized username or password. Have you forgotten your password?’

He tries again, letter after letter. No, the password is not recognized.

“I can not log in …” he hears a colleague next to him.

No-one on Radio Tamazuj’s editorial board can log in on the morning of December 2, 2016. Because the Dutch aid organisation Free Press Unlimited, which founded and used to support Radio Tamazuj, has changed their passwords.

Free Press Unlimited – an organization which fights for press freedom worldwide – censors its own radio station. The reason: money. Radio Tamazuj had a critical message about Internews, a sponsor of Free Press Unlimited.

The budget of Free Press Unlimited is paid overwhelmingly by the Dutch government; NATO military allies of the United States government. Meanwhile, USAID, that is, the United States government, pays some 75 million dollars to a project of the United States non(?)-governmental organisation Internews called i-STREAM: Strengthening Free and Independent Media in South Sudan. 1,5 million dollars of that goes to Free Press Unlimited.

There is bloody war in South Sudan between several militias. There are foreign soldiers, from the USA, Japan and elsewhere, attracted by South Sudanese oil. Civilians are massacred. Human rights are violated.

Radio Tamazuj reports about that. However, they find out that Eye Radio, paid by the United States government through Internews, practices self-censorship on atrocities and parrots government propaganda. Radio Tamazuj reports on that self-censorship on their Internet site.

And then the Free Press Unlimited bosses in the Netherlands clamped down on Radio Tamazuj, because they said Radio Tamazuj endangered their getting United States government money by way of Internews.

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Trump administration wants censorship of their media critics


This video from the USA says about itself:

Sarah Huckabee scrambles after reporter asks why Trump thinks ‘very fine people’ march with racists

25 August 2017

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say why President Donald Trump thought there were some “very fine people” who protested alongside neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

At a press briefing on Friday, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked if Trump had spoken to his economic adviser Gary Cohn about his recent comments. Cohn said the president needed to do more to condemn hatred and bigotry.

“The president has been very outspoken in his condemnation of racism of bigotry, of hate of all forms,” Sanders replied. …

“What did the president mean”, Karl began to ask, before being cut off.

“Sorry, we are really short on time,” Sanders said.

By Chris D’Angelo in the USA today:

Updated 28 minutes ago

ESPN Host Committed ‘Fireable Offense’ With Trump ‘White Supremacist’ Tweet: White House Aide

″I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

WASHINGTON — ESPN should consider firing host Jemele Hill for calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist”, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says.

“I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” Sanders said during Wednesday’s press briefing.

So, the Trump administration demands censorship of someone who is not a government employee for criticizing Donald Trump. Welcome to Big Brother’s 1984.

Did Sarah Huckabee Sanders Break the Law When She Attacked a Black ESPN Reporter? Certain government employees are prohibited from influencing the employment decisions of private entities: here.

Asked by The Washington Post’s David Nakamura why an influential African American sportscaster might make such a comment, Sanders said, “I’m not going to speak for that individual, but I know that the president has met, again, with people like Senator [Tim] Scott, who are highly respected leaders in the African-American community.”

Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, met with Trump Wednesday at the White House, in part to discuss the president’s controversial comments following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month that sparked deadly violence. After Trump at a news conference said there was “blame of both sides” for the violence, Scott told Vice News that the president’s “moral authority” had been “compromised.”

ESPN’s Jemele Hill is not backing down from her Trump comments.

The White House continues its war on ESPN’s Jemele Hill. A black woman criticized the president and the White House is very upset: here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

12 September 2017

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R[epublican]) reversed course on pursuing allegations made against Trump University, a month after the Trump charitable foundation paid $25,000 to a group supporting Bondi’s campaign, and now Bondi has accepted a role in the Trump administration.

THAT TIME TREASURY SECRETARY STEVE MNUCHIN ASKED TO USE A GOVERNMENT PLANE FOR HIS EUROPEAN HONEYMOON Which would have cost taxpayers $25,000 per hour to operate. [HuffPost]

Dutch photographer arrested for photographing violent United States soldier


This 10 January 2006 Dutch TV video is about a demonstration of people from Schinveld village in Limburg province in the Netherlands. The demonstration was against cutting down the nature reserve Schinveld forest for NATO AWACS military aircraft based in Germany which make much noise.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

NRC photographer in prison cell because he refused to give up photos

Today, 09:13

A photographer from NRC Handelsblad daily was jailed on Sunday for two hours because he refused to give footage to the police. The NRC is angry about it and has referred the case to the College of Attorneys General, the daily administration of the Public Prosecution Service.

Freelancer Chris Keulen was working with a NRC reporter near Brunssum.

In Dutch Limburg province. Where there is a NATO military headquarters.

They made a story about noise pollution by NATO reconnaissance aircraft.

These are AWACS aircraft, which are illegal in the USA because of their noise problems. People in Limburg have been waging massive actions for many years against the AWACS noise.

According to NRC, a fight between an activist and a US soldier in civilian clothes occurred during the report. The activist got a swollen face, stretched knee bands and bloodshed.

Keulen made pictures of the incident. When he reported to the police station for a witness statement, he was asked to give up the photos. He refused that. He was then arrested and, according to Keulen, there was an “intimidating and unpleasant” atmosphere. Eventually his camera was seized.

No permission

The NRC says police and justice department have violated their own rules because no permission had been requested from a judge. …

What is the reason for the police action? He does not know. “Maybe because it was a US American.” He calls the actions of the soldier excessive.

‘A matter of concern’

The College of Attorneys General is now investigating the matter. Chief editor Peter Vandermeersch has already asked the public prosecution service to cancel the case against Keulen and to destroy the seized photographs. “It is a matter of concern that the police and the judiciary seem to be unfamiliar with their own rules on seizure”, he says.

UPDATE: the Public Prosecution Service has admitted they were wrong: here.

London solidarity with murdered Indian journalist


This video from India says about herself:

Prakash Raj Talks About His Friend Gauri Lankesh’s Murder

6 September 2017

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

India: Londoners protest in solidarity with murdered reporter

Saturday 9th September 2017

DEMONSTRATORS gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London yesterday to protest against the murder of a prominent Indian journalist who fiercely challenged the country’s right-wing government.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bangalore in India on Tuesday night, sparking protests in Mumbai and Delhi against her violent death and the shocking rise in hate crimes across the country.

Ms Lankesh was the editor of weekly paper Gauri Lankesh Patrike and was known as an independent and outspoken journalist and activist.

She campaigned against right-wing Hindu nationalism and was highly critical of India’s ruling BJP party, which made her a target for death threats, abuse and hate mail. Her family said she was “killed for her views.”

India is becoming increasingly polarised with Indian National Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi claiming that those who speak out against the BJP are attacked or even killed.

However the BJP dismissed the accusations and condemned the “dastardly killing” of Ms Lankesh.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said 27 reporters have been murdered “with complete impunity” in India since 1992.

Organisers of the London demonstration said in a statement: “The media world is shaken by this cold blooded murder. Gauri was a fearless journalist who bravely exposed injustice that the darker forces did not like.

“So they have silenced her. But they don’t know that they have killed a person not what she stood for. We all will continue the fight Gauri was closely involved in.

“We must not let dark forces win.”

Gauri Lankesh, a 55-year old former Times of India journalist and the publisher/editor of a Kannada-language weekly named Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was assassinated Tuesday night as she was entering her home in Bengaluru (Bangalore). Two motorcycle-borne assailants, aided by a third who was waiting near her house, reportedly shot seven bullets at Lankesh, three of which struck her head, neck and chest: here.

London Grenfell Tower disaster and corporate media


This video from London, England says about itself:

Grenfell Tower Residents Speaking about Tragedy

15 June 2017

Residents from Grenfell Tower express anger at the authorities following the tragic fire which occured in West London.

By Keith Flett in Britain:

The mob: the mother of tyrants or democracy?

Wednesday 23rd August 2017

Equating Grenfell protesters with rioters reveals just how far removed the media is from reality, writes KEITH FLETT

THE tragic and quite possibly criminal events at Grenfell Tower in Kensington brought a predictable reaction from the gutter press.

The Sun reportedly sent a reporter to pose as a relative of a victim to gain access to a hospital ward. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, claimed to have identified the man whose fridge it suggested had started the fire.

It wasn’t long, however, before more serious questions arose well beyond yellow journalism.

As anger rose at the lack of government response to the tragedy, both at national and local levels, protest marches were organised both in central London and in Kensington itself.

The march in Kensington in particular attracted media attention. It was reported that protesters had “stormed” Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall with a series of demands that they wanted the local council to respond to.

In reality, as one of the protesters pointed out on social media, the Town Hall is a public building and they had gained entry to it by the usual method of opening the door. No storming had been required.

As the protest continued, media commentary started to focus on whether or not there would be a riot and what a bad idea riots are. Clearly these commentators actually believed the Kaiser Chiefs song that riots can be predicted. They cannot.

What can be predicted is that on most occasions, which appear to those in authority and those not involved as being likely to conclude in a riot, they do not.

This is because while the gathering of people who may potentially riot is mostly spontaneous, on most occasions there is a core of organised political direction present.

The fact that the media often reports riots as being mystifying events simply reflects that they are too far away from reality to understand who and what is behind them.

The classic riot, dating to the pre-democratic period of the 18th century was over the price of basic foodstuffs or their quality.

As the historian and socialist EP Thompson noted, here the strategy was clear. The aim was precisely not to riot but to give the appearance that unless the demands of protesters were met then a riot might occur. It was a very successful way of winning concessions.

Another related question occurs. The protesters who were at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall were mostly described as just that but several commentators suggested that what was involved was the “mob.”

The use of the term “mob” has a long history dating back to the conservative writer Edmund Burke who used it to describe those who made the French Revolution in 1789.

In Burke’s usage the associations are essentially with criminality and conspiracy. In more recent times that has provoked considerable historical literature.

George Rudé identified the use of “mob” as being reactionary and suggested that a much less loaded word to describe those who engage in protests is “crowd.” His book The Crowd in History details his approach.

Despite being a chronicler of riots EP Thompson was slightly less sure, pointing out that while crowds often gathered for progressive ends, this did not by any means rule out more reactionary gatherings.

He had a point. Its difficult to think that the Sun and the Daily Mail would be anything less than enthusiastic about 18th century “Church and King” protesters for example.

That of course is not what is happening after the Grenfell fire and it is important to underline that those who are protesting are not a “mob” but rather they are making a point democratically where democratic processes have fallen short.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun daily nazi-style hatemongering


This video from England says about itself:

Liverpool’s Boycott Of [Rupert Murdoch‘s] The S*n: As Relevant Now As In 1989

13 April 2017

It’s 28 years since Kelvin MacKenzie presented a press agency report sourced from senior members of South Yorkshire Police and Tory MP Irvine Patnick on the front page of The S*n as ‘The Truth’ of what happened at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989.

The newspaper has been boycotted in Liverpool ever since.

In more recent times, newer campaigns ­– Total Eclipse Of The S*n and Shun The S*n – have pushed for retailers in the city not to sell The S*n, while in February of this year Liverpool FC announced S*n journalists are not welcome in Anfield’s press box or at the Melwood training ground.

Earlier this month, Roger Alton argued in [Conservative weekly] The Spectator that the club’s ban is wrong. Here Gareth Roberts argues the opposite, and says the ban, and the boycott, are as relevant as ever.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Corbyn slams ‘nazi-like’ Islamophobia in the Sun

Thursday 17th August 2017

Labour leader among 108 MPs condemning article on the ‘Muslim problem’

JEREMY CORBYN joined more than 100 MPs in condemning the “nazi-like language” used in a hate-filled Sun newspaper column that called for a “solution” to the “Muslim problem.”

The Labour leader said recent stories published by the right-wing tabloid “incite Islamophobia and stigmatise entire communities,” which is “wrong and dangerous and must be condemned … in the clearest possible terms.”

He was speaking out after Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh suggested it was “acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.”

Writing about recent sex gang convictions, Mr Kavanagh claimed that “the common denominator is Islam.”

And he concluded his venomous tirade by asking: “What will we do about the Muslim problem then?”

Mr Corbyn said: “With hate crimes against Muslims on the rise in Britain and neonazis inciting violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, we must stand in solidarity and unity with all our communities and not let hate divide us.”

A letter initiated by Labour MP Naz Shah and signed by 107 of her parliamentary colleagues called for Sun editor Tony Gallagher to “not only retract the article” but to “strongly consider whether Mr Kavanagh’s brand of bigotry fits with your vision for the paper.”

The letter said there was “little doubt” that Mr Kavanagh was comparing Muslims to the supposed “Jewish problem” — which led to the genocide of six million people in the nazis’ “Final Solution.”

Before Kavanagh, his ex-Murdoch media colleague, professional racist Katie Hopkins, had already demanded a “final solution” of the “Muslim problem”.

Press freedom campaigners said the publication of the column exposed the toothlessness of print media regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), which replaced the Press Complaints Commission in 2014.

Jewish and Muslim groups have complained to the regulator, but they fear it is powerless because the editors’ code offers religious and ethnic groups no protection against discrimination.

Mediawise spokesman Mike Jempson told the Star: “Public shaming of Trevor Kavanagh’s dog whistling in Murdoch’s Sun may be the only way to demonstrate abhorrence of his views.

“He explained that a comment column counts as “freedom of expression” falling outside the terms of the editors’ code, monitored by Ipso.

While it allows individuals who have been identified in news articles to complain about discrimination, there is no protection against generalised comments.

“In other words, complaints about much of the content of Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer [a nazi newspaper] would not be upheld by Ipso if it were being published today.”

Ipso confirmed that it had received 227 complaints about the column.

The National Union of Journalists called on the press watchdog to carry out an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred being espoused in British newspapers following Mr Kavanagh’s article.