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Since I've been in Honduras, I've been hearing a constant refrain about the "medios golpistas," which is to say the pro-coup media. I avoided the papers for a while, preferring to listen to the radio, read online, and talk to Hondurans about the situation in the country (I generally do the same at home anyways).
That said, I caved and bought the paper today, and even though I was planning to spend the day transcribing, I feel compelled to write a post about flipping through La Prensa this morning over coffee.
"Government proposes break with ALBA" screams the headline on A1, with another story below on the assassination of the daughter of a pro-coup journalist.
The next three pages of the paper are dedicated to "The Keys of 2009," an ongoing series of unsigned opinion pieces presented as factual, objective reporting on the events that defined 2009.
Second of today's 12 "Keys" is a blurb titled "External aid pulled, commerce closed because of political crisis." I'm going to translate part of it here in an effort to get across the editorial perspective (again, masquerading as fact) in the paper.
The substitution of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales was like a bucket of icy water for the depressed national economy... The Internaional Monetary Fund - with who Zelaya had broken relations and had negated to sign a new memorandum of understanding with, was one of the first to distance itself from Honduras after June 28.
Not only is this a Non Sequitur, it's not true.
A trailer for Oliver Stone's new movie, South of the Border.
Media makers in Montréal, take note... The first session of the Alternative Media Open House launched successfully last night at Nelson Mandela Park.
There are two more sessions, one on Friday and the next on Sunday.
"We are hoping to make connections with people in the communities we are doing the open houses in and to recruit a few new volunteers who may not have otherwise known these opportunities were open to them," says Courtney Kirkby, a radio producer at CKUT who's helping to organize the events.
The events offer free food, and are really about people getting to know each other.
"This is a unique chance to actually meet a wide range of media-makers in the city and find out what goes into a story and how independent, alternative journalism and news collectives can work," says Kirkby.
Event details are below... Enjoy!
Interested in community journalism?
CKUT 90.3FM & the Dominion present ALTERNATIVE MEDIA OPEN HOUSE in Côte-des-Neiges, Point St. Charles and the Plateau
LOCATION: Saint Columba House
(2365, Grand Trunk @ rue Ropery)
DATE: FRIDAY, July 24th
*Free food provided by Midnight Kitchen
LOCATION: Maison de l'Amitié
(120 avenue Duluth Est, @ ave. Coloniale)
DATE: SUNDAY, July 26th
A chance to meet alternative, independent journalist, producers and editors. Find out how to get involved and how to gain media-making skills.
Contact: Courtney Kirkby, firstname.lastname@example.org or 514.448.4041x6788
Le journalisme communautaire vous interesses?
Political upheaval continues in Honduras, after liberal leader Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup in late June. It is a battle that has played out not only in the streets of Honduras, but also on television screens and over radio waves across the world.
Some, including U.S. President Barack Obama and the Organization of American States, have condemned the ouster of the democratically-elected president, saying it was unconstitutional, illegal and a threat to democracy.
Others point out that Zelaya was pushing ahead with a referendum on term limits that Honduras’ Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional, and consider his removal the result of healthy checks and balances.
The Honduran military has clamped down on pro-Zelaya channels in the country and blocked the signal of Telesur, a left-leaning television network based in Venezuela. Other state-run media across Latin America have broadcast programs in support of Zelaya.
Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show on explored the coup in Honduras and how Latin America’s media industry — from state-run stations to independent websites — has become a political battleground.
Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosts the following panel of guests:
Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada. Sandra has reported from Latin America for several years and is the Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org.
"Whenever Somalis get together and talk about pirates, the pirate scenario, we talk about them as if they're coast guards of the country."
The CBC's board of directors have approved a budget that will result in deep cuts.
"[CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix] has said that selling assets, increasing advertising and cutting jobs and programs could help bridge part of the budget shortfall. Media reports circulating this week indicated the broadcaster was looking at 600 to 1,200 job cuts, although this has not been confirmed."
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer - the 12th most read newspaper in the US - printed its last newspaper.
"The crisis in the US newspaper industry has accelerated in the past few weeks. The collapse in advertising revenue, along with the longer-term problem of declining readership, is the major reason."
As previously reported, both the New York Times and CanWest Global have been facing steep economic challenges recently.
The Times has been thrown a lifeline by Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican Communications Billionaire who's loaning them $250 million to help them cope with the $l.1 billion in debts they already have.
Things however, seem to have gotten a whole lot worse for CanWest. David Beers, editor-in-chief at the Tyee, managed to get an internal memo from CanWest about 'cost containment'.
It's seems everything is being cut at the chain including:
A freeze on all hiring,
A freeze on salaries,
A freeze on meals, catering and entertainment expenses,
Ceasing engagements with external consultants,
A freeze on conference/seminar attendance,
Equipment expense and capital purchase delays,
Limiting the use of mobile devices by 20-25%,
Reducing energy usage.
According to the Tyee, both Canada Post and Telus have been censoring Youtube.
The story claims that video's by angry union members have been at the centre of attempts by both censor the free video uploader.
Telus 'cleansed' 23 video's in 2007, while Canada Post took a strong exception to CEO Moya Greene being portrayed as The Greench Who Stole Xmas" in late 2008.
Guess she never saw this video.
What's surprising is that these massive employers seem to be using a well-known loophole to remove the material:
"The case highlights a common occurrence under U.S. law, which allows copyright owners to file complaints with web hosts such as YouTube if they believe that the site is hosting infringing content. Under the law, the web host avoids liability if it immediately removes the content. No court or independent third party reviews the infringement claim since nothing more than a complaint that meets certain criteria is needed."
Also reported here in the Guardian on November 5th:
A four-month ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy today after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.
Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured. The violence represented the most serious break in a ceasefire agreed in mid-June, yet both sides suggested they wanted to return to atmosphere of calm.
It seems the New York Times could no longer be in circulation as soon as May. According to The Atlantic:
Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400 million in debt. With more than $1billion in debt already on the books, only $46million in cash reserves as of October, and no clear way to tap into the capital markets (the company’s debt was recently reduced to junk status), the paper’s future doesn’t look good.
Things are not much better for Canwest, which Jen & Fitz report has a:
High debt load of $3.6 billion, falling ad revenues for Canadian newspapers and broadcasters, and precipitously falling value of Australian TV stations it might try to sell to raise cash.
Could be ripe timing for some other kind of alternative media giant to emerge...
A couple of new pieces up recently by the North American Congress on Latin America shine a necessary light on political happenings in Colombia and Venezuela.
Colombia and Venezuela: Testing the Propaganda Model looks at the two countries vis-a-vis coverage in the NY Times and Washington Post, and effectively advances the hypothesis put forth by Chomsky and Herman in their classic Manufacturing Consent.
In Free Trade, the Good Cop, and Other Myths, Pablo Vivanco examines the Canada - Colombia Free Trade Agreement through a critical lens.
Finally, NACLA has published the full text of an excellent open letter to Human Rights Watch criticizing HRW's recent report on Venezuela. "By publishing such a grossly flawed report, and acknowledging a political motivation in doing so, [Jose Miguel Vivanco, the lead author of the report] has undermined the credibility of an important human rights organization," reads the letter.
Image: "Parodia de propaganda militar en la novela de ficción 1984" by Jaume d'Urgell.
For those, not up to speed in politico-speak, a "message box" is a carefully crafted set of talking points which political parties and others use to get a specific message out in the media.
While the Canadian press found out in March "that the Conservatives Party was scripting call-in responses for supporters to read out on the air," the Globe and Mail has learned through a leaked e-mail that Conservatives are doing it again.
A press release issued by the Carleton Free Press, less than a year after the small paper began circulation in northern New Brunswick:
Carleton Free Press suspends publication
Citing the downturn in the economy and inability to compete with a chain that has cut its advertising and subscription prices to the bone for the next year, the Carleton FreePress today announced it is suspending publication.
Today’s paper will be the last.
“We have tried everything,” said publisher Ken Langdon. “Our staff has been heroic, right down to the last person. We’ve got a good paper. We’ve earned a place in the fabric of Carleton County, but in the end we simply cannot compete with Irvings’ financial power.
“Brunswick News can afford to drop a few million dollars here to get the Bugle-Observer’s monopoly back and the Irving chain’s manager is willing to do what it takes here to discourage any others who might take heart from our success to compete in other New Brunswick markets,”
Langdon said three factors converged in the last few weeks to create insurmountable problems for the paper. One was the market crash and the fallout on the local economy. The other was the cost of adding a second paper on Fridays, which the FreePress felt it had to do to compete. The third was a Bugle-Observer announcement that it was cutting its ad prices in half for the next year and it’s per issue price from $1.25 to 25 cents. (This week it offered a year-long special buy at 29 per cent of its regular ad rate.)
“The last few weeks have been harrowing,” said Langdon. “We have wracked our brains to find a way to save the paper but we can’t alter the numbers.
“Big bucks have prevailed.”
Dominion readers in Vancouver are invited to come to State of the Media, a discussion about alternative media, with folks from Coop Radio Vancouver, the Dominion, rabble.ca, Warrior Publications and AliveinMexico.
The event is on Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m., at 706 Clark Drive (at Georgia St).
There will also be food & music (& probably dancing too).
See you there!
Photo by Dawn.
Bolivia on edge after martial law declared screams a headline in today's Toronto Star. The Reuters piece blasts President Evo Morales for "banning protests," obscuring the cause of the violence inside of Bolivia almost completely.
Manuel Rozental, Colombian surgeon and activist, stated this morning that right wing groups [led by opposition regional governors] in Bolivia are hoping to pull off a "mediatic coup."
"Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong, the truth, the official truth will only come from the Government and popular organizations and their guidance must be sought," he wrote.
In a separate story, Reuters reported today that "Officials said at least 15 people -- mostly pro-government peasant farmers -- had been killed in clashes on Thursday with backers of the opposition regional governor."
Olivia Burlingame Goumbri wrote in Alternet that "Despite the fact that [Morales] represents the majority of Bolivians, refusals to recognize President Morales and his legitimate policy initiatives since he was first elected in 2005 have been a growing problem, and one that reflects racism."
Refusals to recognize Morales don't stop with the Bolivian elite, but reverberate through western government policies and the media.
TRNN journalists charged with unlawful assembly
Documentary report by Real News team arrested along with 818 people during the RNC
The right to assembly
Coverage by Fox News of the protests outside the Democratic National Convention. The chanting that begins around 2:20 is particularly humorous...
Check it in comparison with Democracy Now's coverage of the same event yesterday!
Is New Brunswick finally getting tired of having one company own all of its newspapers?
Burma (aka Myanmar) has been on the front page of the Globe and Mail twice this week, and has been featured by many other publications and media outlets, as monks and pro-democracy protesters are mercilessly killed on the orders of the military junta that rules the country.
This has spawned a whole outpouring of solidarity and concern in various forms, as should be expected.
But the media coverage has been truly bizarre, and it seriously compromises the aims of that solidarity. The massive coverage given to the Burmese crackdown raises two very serious questions, the premises of which are somewhat contradictory:
1. Where was the the media outrage when this was happening in Haiti?
His delivery of the closing line is pretty great.
Here's the Globe and Mail's headline for Simon Houpt's "report" today:
Iranian President gets rough welcome
Leader's speech avoids incendiary comments about Israel's destruction and denials of the Holocaust
I'd like to propose some other suitable headlines for things that were avoided today:
While I expressed hope that Ahmadinejad's real, on the record comments would allow reporters to move on to criticize him for things he has actually said, this move shows that a) the Globe's editors are aware that the claims are erroneous and b) have decided to keep the claims alive despite the fact that they know that they are false. Pretty grim stuff.
In other news, I emailed Margaret Wente to ask for a source for her talk of "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust ever happened and seems quite happy at the thought of unleashing nukes against the Jews."
She responded with an excerpt from this 2005 BBC report. Does it provide enough evidence to back up her claim? (Does it say anything relevant to her claim?) You decide.
And with that, no more Ahmadiblogging for me.
Michael Ignatieff has published an apology for his apologia for the US invaston of Iraq.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.