Friday, January 19, 2007

The Dangers of Keeping them honest

The Armenian - American, Hrant Dink, who had received death threats from nationalists for questioning Turkey's denial of an Armenian genocide, was shot in the head and killed today in front of his office in Turkey.

Last October, Russian Anna Politkovskaya, a leading investigative journalist and critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot, contract-style, in her Moscow apartment building.


“When an internationally renowned reporter can be gunned down in her own apartment building and the perpetrators walk away free, it has a devastating effect on the press. Fewer tough questions are asked, fewer risky stories are covered, Her case shows why impunity is such a serious threat to press freedom, not only in Russia but in nations such as the Philippines, Colombia, Mexico, and Pakistan.”

Large corporations and powerful groups would do anything to just keep their dirt under their rugs. Could you imagine any media outlet daring to expose the real contracts and conditions of a powerhouse like Halliburton while Cheney is still the VP?

Paul Klebnikov, Forbes Russia
July 9, 2004
Moscow
Klebnikov, 41, editor of Forbes Magazine who exposed the workings of the country's shadowy billionaire tycoons, was killed outside his Moscow office. An American of Russian descent, he was struck several times by shots fired from a passing car.

Over the years, experience has demonstrated, that the attacks are done where the journalists are more vulnerable: their homes or office. Their families are often victims of hostilities, harassment and even abduction. Journalists are not celebrities. The more exposed they are in that matter, the more vulnerable and less capable they are to do their job without the added burden.

Many might be thinking, that doesn't´t happen in the USA. WRONG. More journalist are jailed here, companies threatened with losing their licenses or simply denying access to information. Something Rumsfield, Cheney and González have never doubt of doing and force.

After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf states on August 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency urged news organizations not to photograph dead bodies. Numerous bodies were left in public areas for days after the hurricane amid a government recovery effort that was widely criticized for being slow and ineffective. The Washington Post reported that in at least one instance state authorities echoed the demand not to photograph the dead.


New Orleans police adopted an aggressive stance in several reported cases. On September 1, city police ripped a camera from the neck of Lucas Oleniuk of the Toronto Star and removed the camera's memory cards, robbing the photographer of more than 350 images. The seized images included "officers delivering a fierce beating to two suspects," the Toronto Star reported. The same day, Gordon Russell of the New Orleans–based Times-Picayune wrote that he and another photographer were slammed against a wall and had their gear thrown to the ground by police. On September 7, NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported that he and his crew were ordered to stop filming a National Guard unit securing a downtown store. "I have searched my mind for some justification for why I can't be reporting in a calm and heavily defended American city and cannot find one," Williams told The Washington Post.


On October 18, a New Orleans police officer was caught on film harassing an Associated Press Television News producer whose crew was filming two other officers beating a man suspected of public intoxication. Two of the officers were fired and one was suspended.

Maybe the pressure of the US government towards the media outlets is the main reason the international press call US Media "soft wimps", that have left the hard questioning to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. And with the added disadvantage of the celebrity cult that persists in the USA, where TV journalists draw attention to the verge of invasion of privacy or simple good old stalking.

So please keep in mind, that the next time you come across of an image of Anderson Cooper´s apartment, his home address, his family´s whereabouts, his personal life, you are not only enjoying a piece of entertainment gossip, you are supporting his vulnerability and mining his capability to access information, and by that silencing one of the few voices that ¨keeps them honest¨.

8 comentarios:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comment of respecting a journalist's privacy(not just Anderson's, but all of them) they have a job to do and by seeking out their private lives and making it public is making them a target as well as preventing them from doing their job.

eliza said...

I'm not trying to start anything here, but I'm curious as to why you give credit and link to some of your sources, but not others. Forgive me if I missed it, but I see no reference to cpj.org. I just sometimes find it confusing to distinguish between your (and I might be talking about more than one person here since I don't always look at the poster name) words and the words of others. Again, I'm not trying to start anything and I thought it was a good post. And I agree Anderson's privacy should be respected.

courtney01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
courtney01 said...

Damn typos! ;-)

It all comes down to control and how the government wants to control citizens. Control what they know, what they read, and by extension, what they think.

We could also discuss how the US government refuses to allow images of fallen soldiers' caskets to be shown on television--more propaganda for the numb public, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Journalists may not be celebrities, but Anderson has in the past sort of put himself out there as one, with his appearances in magazines like Maxim, People, Blender, InStyle and Vanity Fair--some of these appearances were long before he began promoting "Dispatches". He's marketed a little differently than other news people I've seen and he does have a large fan base who almost view him as a heartthrob. CNN has pastel colored t-shirts that feature the AC360 logo shaped into a heart! I'm not sure if Charles Gibson or Brian Williams have similar items their viewers can purchase. Some people may be able to watch 360 just for the news and have absolutely no interest in Anderson or his personal life, but I don't think those who are should be faulted for their interest because some of it was fostered by Anderson himself. I'm not saying we should know EVERYTHING about him but I think it's a little unrealistic to think that people aren't going to be interested. It appears that Anderson has cut back on interviews or other sorts of publicity and is now just focusing on his work as a reporter.

ivy said...

@anon 7:33 wheather you consider AC a celebrity and the desire of a part of his audience to know everything about him a natural thing, tell me one good reason for his home adress (and some other private life details ) be on blogs and known to anybody who has any intersest in him. It's all entertaining till some crazy war vet who has a gun and knows how to use google will be upset at the next sniper video... just a thought. Not talking about undermining his ability to cover stories or the way to cover them

Anonymous said...

Ivy and anon 7:33 make some good points. Part of the problem has little to do with the methods AC has allowed CNN to exploit him as a celeb vs. a journalist. Communication has backfired. While there are many ways we can keep in touch, there are just as many ways we can "touch" total strangers. It's a dangerous world out there and the internet doesn't make matters any better. Already there are sleezy venues using CNN and photoshopped AC photos online. Not everyone would know that the pic is bogus.

anon 7:33 said...

@ Ivy, Of course I didn't mean to imply that Anderson's home address should be plastered all over the internet, but people in the public eye, including some journalists, have to expect that some of their viewers may want to know more about them. They are not obligated to disclose what they don't want out in the public arena, but they have to deal with the fact that some things about their lives might become public knowledge whether they want it or not. It's another price of fame as we all know.

MANIFESTO

Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!

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