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Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

  • The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was held on September 13. Sadly, no one at the meeting addressed the persecution of journalists in Turkey — not José Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group, nor Béla Szombati, who represented the European Union, nor any other participant.
  • Amnesty International recently tagged Turkey the “world’s largest prison for journalists.”
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council, if it wishes to change its image from that of a laughing stock, should put at the top of its agenda calling Ankara to task. Meanwhile, however, Erdoğan’s violations of freedom of speech need to be exposed daily and loudly condemned — not only by members of the UN and the media, but by any and all allies of Turkey — and freedom of expression — in the West.

International human-rights and press-freedom organizations recently appealed to the United Nations to take action against the ongoing abuse of journalists by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on September 3, eighteen organizations — led by the group ARTICLE 19, which promotes freedom of expression — called on “all Member and Observer States committed to media freedom, democracy and the rule of law” to “speak out and address the Turkish government’s repressive campaign against freedom of expression” in the forum of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention during the UNHRC’s 42nd regular session.

The letter reads, in part:

“The right to hold and express dissenting opinions and to access information has been systematically undermined by the Turkish government in an intensive crackdown on journalists and independent media, academics, civil society, oppositional voices and the judiciary. Since 2016, the human rights situation in Turkey has steeply declined, facilitated by the misuse of sweeping emergency powers and the concentration of executive power.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange

Julian Assange feature photo

Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange

The same media that has spent years dragging Assange’s name through the mud is now engaging in a blackout on his treatment. If you are waiting for corporate media pundits to defend freedom of the press, you’re going to be disappointed.

The role of journalism in a democracy is publishing information that holds the powerful to account — the kind of information that empowers the public to become more engaged citizens in their communities so that we can vote in representatives that work in the interest of “we the people.” 

There is perhaps no better example of watchdog journalism that holds the powerful to account and exposes their corruption than that of WikiLeaks, which exposed to the world evidence of widespread war crimes the U.S. military was committing in Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists; showed that the U.S. government and large corporations were using private intelligence agencies to spy on activists and protesters; and revealed how the military hid tortured Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Red Cross inspectors. 

It’s this kind of real journalism that our First Amendment was meant to protect but engaging in it has instead made WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange the target of a massive smear campaign for the last several years — including false claims that Assange is working with Vladimir Putin and the Russians and hackers, as well as open calls by corporate media pundits for him to be assassinated. 

The allegations that Assange conspired with Putin to undermine the 2016 election and American democracy as a whole fell completely flat earlier this month when a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed this case as “factually implausible,” with the judge noting that at no point does the prosecution’s “threadbare” argument show “any facts” at all, and concluding that the idea that Assange conspired with Russia against the Democratic Party or America is “entirely divorced from the facts.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism

Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism

Piet Mondriaan Self portrait 1918

Guardian columnist Owen Jones, a self-described left activist and socialist, was attacked in the streets of London at 2 am Saturday morning in what he himself describes as “a blatant premeditated assault” by a bunch of guys. He says he was kicked, punched, but then saved by the friends he was with, and nothing really happened to him. Or he would have taken photos and published them. Owen was fine, before and after. But his pride was not.

No pictures of black eyes or anything, but a brick load of indignation. No matter that in Britain, people are attacked all the time, certainly at that hour, in bar fights, in knife fights, people die every weekend. But for some reason Owen Jones thinks his role in this is special. That the incident happened because of his political views, and because the far right is getting more aggressive.

From Jones’s own Guardian:

Owen Jones Attacked Outside London Pub

The Guardian columnist and activist Owen Jones has been physically assaulted in London while celebrating his 35th birthday with friends. In an attack he called “a blatant premeditated assault”, Jones said he was kicked, punched and thrown to the ground by a group of men in the early hours of Saturday morning. He said that he and his friends went to a pub and left at 3am. 

“We were about 30 metres away, saying goodbye to each other, when four men charged directly towards me: one of them karate kicked my back, threw me to the ground, started kicking me in the head and back, while my friends tried to drag them off, and were punched trying to defend me. “It was clearly a premeditated attack and I was their target. They all attacked me and only assaulted my friends when they tried to defend me.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

The ridiculous corporate media freakout over Senator Bernie Sanders’ entirely legitimate accusations of pro-establishment bias continues today, with shrill, absurd new headlines like “Sanders campaign continues attacks on journalists” and “Bernie Sanders isn’t sorry” featuring hysterical MSM drama queens rending their garments over the suggestion that plutocrat-owned media outlets could be favorable to the plutocrat-owned establishment.

In response to this cartoonish display of billionaire-sponsored performance art, The Hill‘s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjati aired a segment on their online show Rising which is as damning an exposé on the dynamics of mass media empire propaganda as we are ever likely to witness. With startling frankness and honesty, the pair disclose their experience with the way anyone who is critical of the establishment consensus is excluded from mainstream media platforms, as well as the way access journalism, financial incentives, prestige incentives and peer pressure are used to herd mainstream reporters into toeing the establishment line once they’re in.

I strongly urge you to watch the eight-minute segment for yourself, but I’ll be transcribing parts of it as well for those who prefer reading, as well as for posterity, because it really is that historically significant. I will surely be referring back to this segment in my arguments about plutocratic media bias for years to come, because it confirms and validates everything that analysts like Noam Chomsky have been saying about mass media propaganda like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Status quo propaganda is the underlying root of all our problems, and Ball and Enjati have gifted us with an invaluable tool for understanding and attacking it.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Vancouver Sun’s Op-ed Denying a Climate Crisis a Symbol of Wider Journalistic Malpractice

The Vancouver Sun’s Op-ed Denying a Climate Crisis a Symbol of Wider Journalistic Malpractice

A journalist’s role is to seek truth, especially in the face of an emergency. But the media is not doing its job.

BC wildfire
‘By publishing op-eds such as this, their newspaper isn’t serving the truth. It is polluting the public square by propagating what the best science tells us are untruths about the most pressing problem of our age.’ Photo BC Wildfire Service.

So I was disappointed when that misery coincided with the Vancouver Sun’s publication of an op-ed column by University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick claiming we only have a “vague inkling” that we “might” be in a climate emergency a “decade from now.”

That comment may surprise some readers of the Sun, which has a storied past and was the most-read newspaper in Western Canada according to the most recent report from News Media Canada. After all, many of them have already experienced that emergency as a result of the climate change-fuelled wildfires which devastated British Columbia in 2017 and 2018, cloaking the Lower Mainland in smoke. It may also surprise readers who have seen this summer’s satellite images of the Arctic on fire.

And it would almost certainly surprise the scientists who authored three major peer-reviewed studies on climate change that were published a day after McKitrick’s column. Commenting on those studies for the CBC, climatologist Gavin Schmidt said they underline the fact the global heating we are seeing is “unusual in a multi-centennial context” and that we are to blame for it.

In fact, we have much more than a “vague inkling” that there is a climate emergency given the voluminous scientific research and observable evidence supporting that conclusion. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dear Journalists of Canada: Start Reporting Climate Change as an Emergency

Dear Journalists of Canada: Start Reporting Climate Change as an Emergency

A five-point plan for mainstream media to cover fewer Royal babies and a lot more of our unfolding global catastrophe.

Gustafson-Fire.jpg
Few media stories mentioned the demonstrable connection between the climate crisis and increasing wildfire activity in BC last summer, even though it was one of the major reasons why that season was the worst on record. Photo via the BC Wildfire Service.

To:
Karyn Pugliese, president, Canadian Association of Journalists
Martin O’Hanlon, president, CWA Canada
Fiona Conway, president, Radio Television Digital News Association
John Hinds, president and chief executive officer, News Media Canada
Jerry Dias, national president, Unifor

Cc:
Canada’s editors, news directors, publishers and station managers

On May 6, the United Nations released a scientific report warning that around a million species are threatened with extinction due to human activity, including climate change. But, according to an analysis by Media Matters for America, on the day of that release, the nightly newscasts of ABC and NBC felt it was more important that their audiences learned about the birth of the newest Royal baby — someone who will likely never have any say over their day-to-day lives. And I’ve found most of Canada’s 15 most-read English language daily broadsheets felt the same way.

Between May 6 and 7, 13 of those newspapers failed to front stories about the United Nations’ devastating finding. Instead, the National Post ran a story about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, with 10 others teasing that birth on their front pages. Eight of the teasers were placed above-the-fold, next to a photograph, or both — drawing reader attention to pictures of Harry, Meghan and their beaming well-wishers.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Professional Assange Smearers Finally Realize His Fate Is Tied To Theirs

Professional Assange Smearers Finally Realize His Fate Is Tied To Theirs

Rachel Maddow has aired a segment condemning the new indictment against Julian Assange for 17 alleged violations of the Espionage Act.

Yes, that Rachel Maddow.

MSNBC’s top host began the segment after it was introduced by Chris Hayes, agreeing with her colleague that it’s surprising that more news outlets aren’t giving this story more “wall to wall” coverage, given its immense significance. She recapped Assange’s various legal struggles up until this point, then accurately described Assange’s new Espionage Act charges for publishing secret documents.

“And these new charges are not about stealing classified information or outsmarting computer systems in order to illegally obtain classified information,” Maddow said. “It’s not about that. These new charges are trying to prosecute Assange for publishing that stolen, secret material which was obtained by somebody else. And that is a whole different kettle of fish then what he was initially charged with.”

“By charging Assange for publishing that stuff that was taken by Manning, by issuing these charges today, the Justice Department has just done something you might have otherwise thought was impossible,” Maddow added after explaining the unprecedented nature of this case. “The Justice Department today, the Trump administration today, just put every journalistic institution in this country on Julian Assange’s side of the ledger. On his side of the fight. Which, I know, is unimaginable. But that is because the government is now trying to assert this brand new right to criminally prosecute people for publishing secret stuff, and newspapers and magazines and investigative journalists and all sorts of different entities publish secret stuff all the time. That is the bread and butter of what we do.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Prosecution Of Julian Assange Is Infinitely Bigger Than Assange

The Prosecution Of Julian Assange Is Infinitely Bigger Than Assange

Julian Assange’s mother reported yesterday that the WikiLeaks founder has not been permitted any visitors during his detention in Belmarsh Prison, including from doctors and his lawyers. Doctors who visited Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy have attested that he urgently needs medical care. Belmarsh is a maximum security prison sometimes referred to as “the UK’s Guantanamo Bay“.

And yet we’re asked to believe that this has something to do with an alleged bail violation and a US extradition request for alleged computer crimes carrying a maximum sentence of five years. If you zoom out and listen to the less-informed chatter of the overt propagandists and the brainwashed rank-and-file western mass media consumers, you will also see that people believe this has something to do with Russia and rape allegations as well.

Actually, none of these things are true. Assange is being imprisoned under draconian conditions for journalism, and for journalism only. The Obama administration declined to prosecute him after WikiLeaks’ publication of the Manning leaks out of concern that doing so would endanger press freedoms, and the Obama administration didn’t have any more evidence at its disposal than the Trump administration has now. The “crime” Assange is accused of consists of nothing other than standard journalistic practices that investigative journalists engage in all the time, including source protection and encouraging the source to obtain more material. The only thing that has changed is an increased willingness in the White House to prosecute journalists for practicing journalism, and there are an abundance of reasons to believe that he will be hit with far more serious charges once extradited to US soil. They’re not going to all this trouble for a bail violation and a five-year maximum sentence.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s official: the collapse of the mainstream media’s credibility is now complete

It’s official: the collapse of the mainstream media’s credibility is now complete

Image: It’s official: the collapse of the mainstream media’s credibility is now complete

(Natural News) Attorney General William Barr held a press conference this morning to address the contents of the Mueller report, just as he promised to do. Not long after, Barr delivered the full Mueller report to the public with necessary redactions, also as promised. And yet the mainstream media, which demanded all of these things and has now received them, still isn’t happy.

In fact, most fake news media pundits are now foaming at the mouth, questioning Barr’s loyalties and accusing him of colluding with President Donald Trump to convey the “spun” message that he’s innocent – which it would seem as though no amount of evidence will ever convince those with Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is actually true.

In a nutshell, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whom Leftist Democrats have been hailing for the past two years as their savior and hero who was going to take down Trump, didn’t end up procuring what these Trump haters were wishfully thinking he would. And in response, Trump haters everywhere are reeling with more anger than ever, demanding that Mueller be burned at the stake for failing to prove their deranged conspiracy theories.

CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta about had a coronary in response to Barr’s press conference, accusing Barr of “clearly laying out a sympathetic presentation” of what’s supposedly in the Mueller report. Twenty-twenty presidential hopeful and Leftist Democrat Cory Booker similarly accused Barr of “undermining the independence of this entire process” for his speaking publicly about the Mueller report prior to releasing it.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Delegitimising Journalism: The Effort to Relabel Julian Assange

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

“Your honour, I represent the United States government”.  The Westminster Magistrates Court had been left with little doubt by the opening words of the legal team marshalled against the face of WikiLeaks.  Julian Assange was being targeted by the imperium itself, an effort now only garnished by the issue of skipping bail in 2012. Would the case on his extradition to the US centre on the matter of free speech and the vital scrutinising role of the press?

Thomas Jefferson, who had his moments of venomous tetchiness against the press outlets of his day, was clear about the role of the fourth estate.  A government with newspapers rather than without, he argued to Edward Carrington in 1787, was fundamental so long as “every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”  To Thomas Cooper, he would write in November 1802 reflecting that the press was “the only tocsin of a nation.  [When it] is completely silenced… all means of a general effort [are] taken away.”  The press provided the greatest of counterweights against oppressive tendencies, being the “only security” available.

Not so, now.  The fourth estate has been subjected to a withering.  The State has become canny about the nature of the hack profession, providing incentives, attempting to obtain favourable coverage, and, above all, avoiding dramatic reforms where necessary.  An outfit like WikiLeaks is a rebuke to such efforts, to the hypocrisy of decent appearances, as it is to those in a profession long in tooth and, often, short in substance.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Martyrdom of Julian Assange

The Martyrdom of Julian Assange

Matt Dunham / AP

The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.

Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy—diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory—to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States?

I am sure government attorneys are skillfully doing what has become de rigueur for the corporate state, using specious legal arguments to eviscerate enshrined rights by judicial fiat. This is how we have the right to privacy with no privacy. This is how we have “free” elections funded by corporate money, covered by a compliant corporate media and under iron corporate control.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”

“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.

“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Over and over again that phrase showed up to be unquestioningly re-bleated by the human livestock known as the British press in all their reporting on the Assange case: No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. Something tells me they really want people to know that, with regard to Julian Assange, no one is above the law.

But what is “the law” in this particular case? What they are constantly referring to as “the law” with regard to Assange is in fact nothing more than a combination of ridiculous bureaucratic technicalities which can be (and have been) interpreted very differently, but are now instead being interpreted in a way which just so happens to lead to a truth-telling journalist being locked in a cage, awaiting extradition to the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Assange Is Not A Journalist!” Yes He Is, Idiot.

“Assange Is Not A Journalist!” Yes He Is, Idiot.

As we discussed yesterday, whenever Assange is in the news and people are defending him you always see a bunch of hyper-emotional empire loyalists running around online trying to manage the narrative about him. One of the most common talking points which comes up is that Assange is “not a journalist”.

The reason this talking point comes up, of course, is because the WikiLeaks founder is besieged by powerful forces who are attempting to imprison him for publishing inconvenient facts about them, and his defenders often voice their concerns about what this means for the future of press freedoms. The completely baseless claim that Assange is “not a journalist” is used in an attempt to defuse the argument that his prosecution by the US government could lead to the same fate for any news media outlet which publishes leaks on the US government anywhere in the world. If he’s not a journalist, then his prosecution sets no precedent for real journalists.

This argument, if you can call it that, is fallacious for a number of reasons. For starters, as The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald explained last year, there’s not any legal distinction in the US Constitution between news media outlets like the New York Times and an outlet which solely focuses on publishing leaks. If you set the precedent with any publisher, you’re necessarily setting it for all of them. Greenwald writes the following:

To begin with, the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment isn’t confined to “legitimate news outlets” – whatever that might mean. The First Amendment isn’t available only to a certain class of people licensed as “journalists.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Has Everything Turned Sour? Is it the Press? Or is the Press Part of the Cycle?

Why Has Everything Turned Sour? Is it the Press? Or is the Press Part of the Cycle? 

QUESTION: Hello Mr. Armstrong,
I´d like your opinion on this,
During 7 Decades in which our lives got better, longer, richer, safer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful and more stimulating. Even World poverty has decreased in a rate never seen before, still, news coverage got increasingly negative

What explanation could there be for this? Is it excessive competition for attention as media sources multiply or an excessive any deeper reasons? I compare it to Markets, seems to be similar like trading on news, which is impossible because when the news is the worst, usually its the low and when everything and everyone is optimistic its the high.
regards

ESVideo Player00:0000:54

ANSWER: Coming out of World War II, society really advanced in many ways from technology to medicine. This is the part of the societal cycle that is best to live in. Then what happens is corruption. The news becomes corrupt in sync with politics. I believe this becomes the case because news becomes institutionalized as it is owned by big firms who then direct the news to slant to their personal benefit. This is a funny skit on British News. It is so true here in the States as well. The Democrats love CNN and the Republicans love Fox. The news gravitates to a political slant and is no longer about news – it is always about selling more ads and pushing their propaganda like some religion handing out flowers in airports.

Yellow journalism was created by the battle between Pulitzer and Hearst. They created the Spanish American War to sell papers. Pulitzer’s name was worthless. To rehabilitate it he donated money to create the Pulitzer Prize for good journalism, which he never practiced.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Throwing Money at Media Won’t Fix Canada’s News Deficit

Throwing Money at Media Won’t Fix Canada’s News Deficit

We need to reform government so citizens have a reason to care, and slash secrecy that prevents journalists from doing their jobs.

ManReadingNewspaperBW.jpg
More Canadians knew the last name of Russia’s prime minister than knew the name of their own premier. Does that sound like an audience clamouring for more news? Photo by Nicolas Alejandro, Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.

But as one of this country’s digital journalism pioneers (I founded a popular online investigative news site called Public Eye before such ventures became fashionable), I believe those woes may have as much to do with whether Canadians actually want news about their own country, and whether newsrooms have not just the resources, but also the willingness, to produce such stories. 

And unless we treat those afflictions, no amount of money will turn our news industry around.

In fairness to the politicians and bureaucrats who decided to dole out $595 million over five years to support Canadian journalism, many of their potential beneficiaries are also convinced that the bottom line in solving the country’s news media crisis can be found in their own bottom lines.

For example, two years ago, Public Policy Forum president Edward Greenspon, the former editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail, released a government-contracted study called The Shattered Mirror.

It stated that “journalism’s economic model has collapsed, profoundly and structurally.” As a result, it recommended government measures to “strengthen the economic sustainability” of the news media and “promote civic-function journalism and digital innovations.” 

That’s fine, as far as it goes.

But there often seems to be an assumption that Canadians actually want public interest news about our country, in other words news about economic, environmental, health, political and social issues taking place within its borders.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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