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Posts Tagged ‘Journalists

Over In Syria And More.

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Khaled Abu Toameh has had some thoughts on Syria:

“Just as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Seif ul Islam, was once praised as the new, liberal and democratic hope of Libya, so Bashar was projected eleven years ago as representing a new generation of Arab leaders willing to break away from a dark and dictatorial past.

But the events of the last few days in Syria, which have seen unarmed demonstrators gunned down by government forces, prove conclusively that when push comes to shove, Bashar is actually not all that different from his late father. As some of his critic comment, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

His handling of pro-democracy protests that have erupted in several Syrian cities since March 15 is a reminder that Bashar is a dictator who, like Colonel Gaddafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, will not surrender power gracefully.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal several weeks ago, Bashar boasted that the Tunisian and Egyptian models did not apply to his country and that there was no fear for the survival of his regime. He was right in the first part of his analysis: both neither the Egyptian nor Tunisian presidents chose to fight their people to the last drop of their blood.

But the second part of his analysis is faulty: Syria is far from immune from the political tsunami of popular uprisings currently sweeping through the Arab world.

Syrian human rights organizations have expressed deep concern over the Syrian authorities’ ruthless and brutal crackdown. They note how in many instances children under the ages of 15 were arrested by the notorious “mukhabarat” secret service for allegedly painting anti-government graffiti on city walls.

In another incident that took place in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, Bashar unleashed his commandos against peaceful worshippers who were staging a sit-in strike in a mosque; he killed dozens and wounded many others.

Syrians are asking: Will the son go as far as his father in stamping down on all protests? The public has not forgotten the terrible events of 20 years ago in the city of Hama, when government forces using artillery and air power killed an estimated 20,000 civilians. “

Reuters’ live coverage on the Middle East is useful.

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Just Citizens?

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Just Journalism has an informed piece, Citizen journalism and the crisis in Iran:

“The restrictions on journalists

Since 13 June, thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest against an election perceived to be fraudulent. The resulting restrictions on foreign journalists are intended to prevent the protesters from disseminating information inside Iran that will reach global audiences. While there have be no attempts to censor the words of reporters, they have been banned from attending the ‘unofficial’ demonstrations.

These limitations have been felt in several ways. Channel 4’s Lindsey Hilsum reported as early as 13 June for Channel 4’s ‘Snowmail’ blog, that journalists were being prevented from leaving their hotels. The BBC’s John Simpson was briefly arrested, Tim Marshall reporting for Sky News had his Press Card revoked, and the BBC’S John Leynes was ordered to leave the country.

Another form of blocking the international media soon emerged, as the flow of information became obstructed in both directions. Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC’s World Service explained the disruption experienced by BBC viewers as being caused by “heavy electronic jamming of one of the satellites the BBC uses in the Middle East to broadcast the BBC Persian TV signal to Iran. Satellite technicians have traced that interference and it is coming from Iran”. It is clear that the Iranian government was doing all it could to prevent foreign journalists from covering the election protests for the outside world.

The result of these limitations has been that the information being presented to audiences in the UK has come largely from Iranian citizens themselves, who have been documenting events as they happen with the technology available to them. This reliance on ‘citizen journalism’ has implications for the way news is read and viewed by UK audiences.”

Written by modernityblog

24/06/2009 at 17:42

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