BBG Media Highlights - May 1, 2013
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European outlets report journalists missing in Syria- Committee to Protect Journalists, April 30, 2013

At least 21 local and international journalists were abducted in 2012 by various sides of the conflict, including government or pro-government militias; rebel or rebel-affiliated groups; and non-Syrian Islamic extremist groups, according to CPJ research. Most have been released, but several remain missing, including Al-Hurra reporter Bashar Fahmi and freelancers Austin Tice and James Foley.

 

Head of US Radio Liberty's Russian service resigns - Interfax (Russian-language publication), April 30, 2013 The head of the Russian service of the US government-funded radio station Radio Liberty has announced that she is stepping down from the post, the privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 30 April. "I am no longer the director of Radio Liberty," Masha Gessen told Interfax. "It's my decision." Asked to explain why she was leaving the station, she said that she was planning to write a book, and had signed a contract with a publisher the previous day.

Also mentioned by BBC Russian

Citations of BBG Broadcasters

China's new mental health law to make it harder for authorities to silence petitioners- South China Morning Post, May 1, 2013

In Xinjiang, authorities have not been able to provide adquate resources to deal with the increasing number of people living with mental disorders. Xu told the Yaxin portal in 2011 that the number of mentally ill patients had increased by 20 to 30 per cent annually over the last years. In Monday's report, he said less than 5 per cent of the two million mentally ill could receive treatment because of a lack of resources and trained staff. Two years earlier, the regional government had reported plans to build 15 new mental hospitals and to expand current ones. Until now, only one additional hospital in Kashgar has been completed, the Yaxin report said. In March, a gruesome murder of a seven-year-old Uygur boy by a Chinese man has caused tensions among ethnic communities in the Turpan prefecture east of Urumqi. The man had been declared mentally ill to prevent ethnic revenge attacks, locals told Radio Free Asia.

 

Iran Continues Crackdown on Sufis- Huffington Post, April 30, 2013

The International Organization for the Preservation of Human Rights in Iran (IOPHRI) has tried to draw the attention of the world to the official cruelties perpetrated against the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufis. The campaign of brutalization against the contemplative Muslims began in earnest with the ascent to power of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. In 2006, as reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a Sufi meeting house in the theological center of Qom was leveled by the political militia known as the Basij. In that incident, some 1,200 Sufis were arrested after fighting to defend the structure. The next year saw the burning down of a Sufi building in the western Iranian town of Boroujerd, followed by obliteration of the ruins using bulldozers.

 

Here Is Pussy Riot Member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's Parole Hearing Speech. She Was Denied.- Pacific Standard, April 30, 2013

Four days ago, a court in the impossibly-named Russian region of Mordovia-recently famous for wooing French actor/tax fugitive Gerard Depardieu-refused parole for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, better-known as one of three members of Russian punk protest outfit Pussy Riot. Tolokonnikova received a two-year sentence for her participation in a protest in Moscow's main Orthodox church last year. (We spoke at the time to a Russia expert, who gave us some context around the Pussy Riot phenomenon. Read the interview here.) Apparently Tolokonnikova had drafted a statement before the court, but was not allowed to read it. A Russian language radio service, Radio Svoboda, did get hold of what it claims is the text of the statement (Russian). The Russian Reader, a website on Russian affairs, has published the text in English. Below, some excerpts.

 

Mount Everest Brawl: Why Did A Mob Of Angry Sherpas With Axes Attack Climbers?- International Science Times, April, 30, 2013

Over the weekend, three European climbers - one from Britain, one from Italy and a third from Switzerland - were mobbed by angry Sherpa guides on the slopes of Mount Everest  after a confrontation between the two groups broke out. ABC News reports that Jon Griffith, Simone Moro and Ueli Steck were on their way up the mountain when, around 24,500 feet, they were approached in their tent by close to 100 angry Sherpas who threw rocks, kicked and punched them. One even began waving banging his ice ax around "erratically," according to one of the climbers. The brawl between climbers and Sherpas on Mount Everest was sparked after the guide accused the European climbers of knocking ice onto one of the mountain guides below and injuring him. Voice of America reports that the Sherpas had asked the climbers to hold back for a moment while they fixed some ropes. The Europeans, however, continued climbing.

 

From the foreign-language press

 

Morocco does not need lessons in democracy-  Alkhabar (Moroccan daily newspaper), April 30, 2013

Alkhabar newspaper cited Alhurra for its interview with the Moroccan Delegate Minister for Foreign Affairs Youssef Amrani regarding the function of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Amrani stated "Morocco is a democratic state open to the world.  Morocco is a free state that listens to other's opinions and has its own approaches regarding human rights."  He added that the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) is a peace keeping mission and any alterations to its mandate will jeopardize the political solution among all parties.  "The relations between the United States and Morocco are strategic. We are the only Arab country that has strategic dialogue with the United States," Amrani stressed.
Also cited in the following sites: Slab News, Bouzy Press, Maghress, Sahara Question, iNews, and Bnisidal
Of Interest

Arab Media Use Study- Northwestern University in Qatar, 2013

The site contains findings from a comprehensive study conducted by Northwestern University inQatar in early 2013, to better understand the media of Qatar and provide a snapshot of media usein the Arab world. The survey was administered to around 10,000 respondents in Egypt, Tunisia,Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Why You Should Care About The Safety of Journalists- Huffington Post, April 30, 2013

The abuses of civil liberties and denial of human rights for journalists varies dramatically from country to country. Everyone in the world is impacted each time a reporter is imprisoned or a blogger is censored. As countries restrict news, they restrict information that is important to all. Freedom of expression is not just about the people who cover the news; it's about all of us.

 

How We Internet: Finding the right news among too many options - Medium, April 29, 2013

Whenever I meet someone new, I ask them a personal question. I find a way to casually slip it in so they don't think I'm rude or gauche for inquiring about something that involves daily, deliberate choice and is often done in private. "How do you get your news?"

 

Speed Kills- New Yorker, April 30, 2013

And journalists, the ones who do it for a living, will continue to have their faith in the profession shaken, as they panic and let their own standards slip in order not to be embarrassed by Reddit at 2:43 in the morning. But unlike high-frequency traders, Internet entrepreneurs, and online vigilantes, journalists have a stake in those standards, which are the only reason for having professionals do the job. When people are fighting for survival they can forget the long-term interests that are its only guarantee. Perhaps the triumphs and debacles of Boston, and the Syrian Electronic Army prank on the stock market, will serve to remind journalists of how badly they're still needed, as long as they exercise their best qualities, which include, among other things, self-restraint.

 

Whither Moral Courage?- New York Times, April 27, 2013

It's a vexing time for those of us who believe in the right of artists, intellectuals and ordinary, affronted citizens to push boundaries and take risks and so, at times, to change the way we see the world. There's nothing to be done but to go on restating the importance of this kind of courage, and to try to make sure that these oppressed individuals - Ai Weiwei, the members of Pussy Riot, Hamza Kashgari - are seen for what they are: men and women standing on the front line of liberty. How to do this? Sign the petitions against their treatment, join the protests. Speak up. Every little bit counts.

About Us
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 175 million in 100 countries. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).