Archive for the ‘free press’ Category

China, After Delay, Reports Shoe Thrown at Premier

February 3, 2009

It hesitated for hours over the sensitive footage of a British protester shouting “dictator” and throwing a shoe at Premier Wen Jiabao. But finally, China‘s carefully controlled state broadcaster ran it Tuesday.

The move was a remarkable display of openness — but the footage already was leaking into China via satellite television and the Internet. Critics said it showed the increasing power of such media to erode strict information controls.

By HENRY SANDERSON, Associated Press Writer

“It is impossible for a country to shut out a piece of news,” said Shao Peiren, head of Zhejiang University’s communications research institute in eastern China.

The broadcast might also help the government by appealing to Chinese patriotism. Wen is the leadership’s most popular figure, and he emerged as the hero after last year’s devastating earthquake, calling himself “Grandpa Wen.” The nickname was embraced by some enthusiastic Chinese.

Still, incidents that could be seen as unflattering or insulting to the Chinese leadership have long been treated with the greatest sensitivity. The first Chinese reports on the protest during Wen’s visit to Britain’s Cambridge University left out key details, including that a shoe had been thrown.

But the China Central Television broadcast had it all. The evening news showed the footage among the first stories of its half-hour broadcast, leading into it with a report on Wen’s speech itself and his return to Beijing.

Then the shoe-throwing footage was shown, with no commentary from the anchors, just a simple news setup.

The camera was fixed on Wen, but later cut to the whistle-blowing protester being removed from the hall, while the audience shouted “Get out.”

“How can this university prostitute itself with this dictator here? How can you listen … to him unchallenged?” the man — who has yet to be identified — could be heard shouting.

The sound of the shoe hitting the stage, away from Wen, could be heard as well.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090203
/ap_on_re_as/as_china_britain_shoe

Related:
Man Charged With Public Disorder for Shoe Throwing At Chinese Premier

Free Press: Shoe Thrown At China’s Wen Not The Mega Media Event Bush’s Shoe Seemed

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Free Press: Shoe Thrown At China’s Wen Not The Mega Media Event Bush’s Shoe Seemed

February 3, 2009

China has a nice way of dealing with criticism.  They ignore it.

Rather, they make it go away.

In the state controlled Chinese media the shoe thrown at China’s Premier Wen this week in London never happened.

Oh, something happened.  The Chinese just can’t say what.

Mr. Wen was also not accosted by a pro-Tibet freedom group in London….

You can’t buy loyalty like this with a free press….And China knows it.

The shoe landed several meters from Wen Jiabao.

The shoe landed several meters from Wen Jiabao. It landed a million miles from the Chinese media…

A pro-Tibet protester runs past a police cordon outside the Chinese Embassy in London.

Protest in Wen’s face: a pro-Tibet protester runs past a police cordon outside the Chinese Embassy in London on Sunday.

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By HENRY SANDERSON, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry and media on Tuesday denounced a man who hurled his shoe at the country’s premier and called him a dictator on a visit to Britain — all while avoiding explicit descriptions of the protest itself.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called the disruption of Premier Wen Jiabao’s speech “despicable” during a press conference but said it would not “stem the tide of friendly relations between China and Britain.” She didn’t mention shoes.

Unlike the now-famous incident when an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at former President George W. Bush in December, covered widely not only in China but around the world, state-run newspapers and Web sites in China carried stories on Wen’s speech but did not directly mention the shoe-throwing.

China’s state-run CCTV network reported Foreign Ministry comments, which acknowledged a “disturbance” during the speech, but made no mention a shoe had been thrown at Wen.

The official Xinhua News Agency issued a story saying that Britain apologized for an incident and that China had “expressed its strong feelings against the occurrence of the incident.” However, it did not say what the incident was.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090203
/ap_on_re_as/as_china_britain_shoe_4

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/e
urope/02/02/china.uk.shoe.protest/i
ndex.html

Free, Unbiased Media Under Fire: U.N. Chief Boycots Network

January 28, 2009

Free speech and free press and media are cornerstone of any well functioning free and democratic society.  In China and Vietnam, two remaining communists nation, these basic human rights don’t exist; and efforts to promote free media and free press often come under fire.

But the media can be persuaded and pressured too; and this is a much more subtle destruction of the media right to preserve its own unbiased view…..

The BBC is currently under fire for electing not to air a charity plea to help people in Gaza.  The BBC says the video uses the same images used by the network to depict the news.  The BBC also says the video is not impartial and has a clear bias — that the BBC would like to keep at arms length.  The result has been huge protests in London, the closing by Iran of BBC’s Persian network, and now a top U.N. official has cancelled his scheduled interviews on BBC….

BBC director general Mark Thompson had said airing the appeal would compromise the BBC’s impartiality.

Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is ... 
Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is facing more pressure to broadcast a charity appeal for funds for people in Gaza, as the Archbishop of Canterbury joins the row and more than 50 MPs sign a motion condemning the move.(AFP/Frantzesco Kangaris)

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The head of the UN atomic watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, has cancelled planned interviews with the BBC in protest at the British broadcaster’s refusal to air a Gaza charity appeal, the IAEA said Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the “director general has cancelled his scheduled BBC World Service TV and radio interviews because of the BBC management’s refusal to broadcast the DEC’s (Disasters Emergency Committee) humanitarian appeal for Gaza.”

“He believes this decision violates the rules of basic human decency which are there to help vulnerable people irrespective of who is right or wrong,” said spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

Both the BBC and Sky News refused to air the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of 13 charities including Oxfam and the British Red Cross, which kicks in with coordinated fundraising after disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

ITV, Channel 4 and Five, Britain’s three other terrestrial television broadcasters beside the BBC, have all aired the appeal.

And top Church of England archbishops, government ministers, opposition spokesmen, more than 11,000 viewers and 50 lawmakers have called for the BBC to reconsider its decision.

But BBC director-general Mark Thompson insists that the corporation will not change its mind.

Egyptian-born ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work at the IAEA, is scheduled to step down in November after three terms as the UN nuclear watchdog’s chief.

–AFP

Related:
 Gaza Fight Thunders Across Middle East, Britain, France, Media

Sky News joins BBC in not broadcasting Gaza aid appeal

BBC Insists It Is Not The “Barack Broadcasting Channel”

BBC In Hot Water; Accused Of Not Helping Victims

Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?

Media Censorship, Criminalization of Free Press In Vietnam Needs Action

http://bernielatham.wordpress.com/2009/0
1/28/bbcsky-refusal-to-air-appeal-for-gaza-st
ill-causing-anger-and-debate/

China says Internet crackdown to be “long-lasting”

January 23, 2009

If you thought even for a second that China might relax Internet restrictions and move closer to free media and free press, forget about it!

During the same week that China censored President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, the government said its Internet crackdown would be a long one….

China has closed down 1,250 Web sites in its latest crackdown for what it calls ” online pornography”….

 

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China sought Friday to portray its Internet crackdown as a campaign to protect youth from filth and nothing to do with stifling political dissent, with an official promising long-lasting action against “vulgarity.”

China has already detained 41 people as part of the crackdown, but the government’s move was in reality no different from laws in the United States and Europe which also aim to keep children from harmful sites, said Liu Zhengrong, deputy director of the State Council Information Office’s Internet Bureau.

“The purpose of this campaign is very clear,” he told a small group of invited reporters. “It’s aimed at creating a healthy Internet environment for all young people and making the Internet in China safer and more reliable.”

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 

Above: China closely monitors the habits of its 300 million Internet users.  Over 40 people have been detained for disseminating porn on the Internet, and over 3 million “items of online information” have been deleted.

The Internet crackdown has been described by analysts as another step in the Communist Party‘s battle to stifle dissent in a year of sensitive anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests.

“The Internet remains where the battle for information lies and the fact that the government is devoting so much effort at reining it in, in itself indicates how much of a threat they perceive it to be,” said Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch.

China polices the Internet intensely, quickly removing any content deemed subversive or overly critical of the Party.

The government has closed over 1,200 websites, including a popular blog site, but with an estimated 3,000 new sites appearing daily, the battle to maintain control of the online world is never-ending.

VULGAR WEBSITES

We fully realize that the crackdown on vulgar websites will be long-lasting, complicated and difficult,” said Liu. “We will not abandon efforts to clean up the Internet environment under any circumstances.”

Zhang-ziyi
China reeled last year with postings and photos of young Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi cavorting on a beach in the Caribbean with her fiancé.

One of the websites closed in the campaign, which began this month, was bullog.cn, a popular site for Chinese bloggers. Some of the bloggers it hosted had been signatories of Charter 08, a manifesto released in December that called for greater civil freedoms and elections in China.

But Li Jiaming, director of the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center, said the government did not have a political motive.

The crackdown had “achieved clear results,” with more than 3.3 million pornographic or vulgar items already identified and deleted, Liu said.

Internet pornography and vulgar content seriously threaten the mental and physical health of youth and threaten to damage the healthy development of the Internet in China,” Liu said, adding that more than 35 percent of web surfers in China were under 19.

“I can tell you very candidly, our work does not have anything to do with political content. People are extremely supportive of this campaign.”

China had looked at similar Internet laws in other countries, including in the United States and Britain, and found common ground, he added.

“We discovered a common goal of all these governments is to ensure that Internet users feel safe when they go online.”

(Additional reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie and David Fox)

 Tianasquare.jpg
Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Related:
 China Extends War on Free Speech Hidden by Fight Against Porn into Cell Phones
.
Chinese censor parts of Obama speech dealing with dissent, communism
.
 China has close to 300 million Internet users
.
 Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?
.
http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090123
/ap_on_hi_te/as_china_pornography_5

Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas

January 21, 2009

Iran has decided that the BBC’s Persian service is illegal.  Iranians cannot work for BBC Persian and the network is basically shut down with no broadcasting while talks ensue.

Iran says the BBC Persian is “illegal,” and little else.

BBC says the news it broadcasts on the channel is gathered from abroad, using sources within Iran.

BBC says the news it broadcasts on the channel is gathered from abroad, using sources within Iran.

But the shutdown came just after the BBC featured stories of Hamas cowardice during the war with Israel.  The BBC World Service wondered where all the Hamas fighters went while Israel”s troops and tanks moved across Gaza.

Hamas boasted about how few men it lost in the fighting.  The BBC wondered why more fighters weren’t lost to Israeli fire or even seen by the Israelis.

The BBC also wondered why a Hamas rally in Gaza on Wednesday only drew a few hundred Gazan supporters.  Such rallies in the past would include thousands of Gazans….

In Jerusalem, the Post ran news stories further linking Hamas and Iran.  The Jerusalem Post said the Hamas war plan was basically written by Iranians.  The newspaper quoted Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials who said Israel beat Hamas and Iran in Gaza….

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meas
t/01/21/iran.bbc.persian/index.html

China Censors Obama Speech, Iran Kills BBC TV: Free Speech Under Attack

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

China TV Accused of Brainwashing Public

January 12, 2009

Chinese intellectuals have signed an open letter calling for a boycott of state television news programmes.

The letter says China’s Central Television (CCTV) has turned its news and historical drama series into propaganda to brainwash its audience.

The author of the damning letter told the BBC that the action should at least serve as a health warning to the susceptible public.

BBC

Woman looks at TV screens on Chinese street

Critics say state news puts a positive spin on domestic stories

The authorities have been alarmed by the latest development.

They tend to accuse the Western media of biased coverage of China.

But this open letter accuses CCTV of systematic bias in its news coverage.

‘Whitewash’

The letter – signed by more than 20 academics and lawyers – lists six broad categories of bias and brainwashing.

It says the state TV monopoly has ignored many stories of social unrest and riots, and whitewashed serious events like the recent milk contamination scandal.

The letter’s author, Ling Cangzhou, told the BBC that its signatories were fed up with the positive spin on domestic news from the central TV station and the negative tone on international events.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-p
acific/7824255.stm

Internet Limits on Sex, Porn Used to Mask Limits on Freedom, Human Rights?

January 10, 2009

The government of China has recently launched a major crackdown on Internet sites and search engines that it does not condone.

China says it “decided to launch a nationwide campaign to clean up a vulgar current on the Internet and named and exposed a large number of violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of youth and young people.”

But China has, in the past, revoked the rights of  Internet providers to serve the public in China, or has restricted content, for politicial reasons often seen as a violation of free speech.

Related:
Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?

Activists say China and Vietnam, in particular, hide corruption, human rights abuses and pro-democracy information from the public — using anti-porn as a justification.  These actvisits say the government actions are blatant censorship and violations of free speech.

In the recent crackdown in China, Google, MSN, Baidu and dozens of search engines and providers were forced to delete content and apologize to the Chinese government.

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 

The action comes in a year of social turmoil due to the economy, mass migration of the unemployed, fear of economic unrest and several anniversaries that may spark unrest within China.

This is the 20th year since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Analysts see this year as a potential trouble point for China’s Communist government.

But Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices, an assistant professor of journalism at Hong Kong University, a former CNN correspondent and an observer of China and the Internet, recently discussed with CNN the move by Beijing.  She believes the Internet trend in China is part of a larger global move….

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Tianasquare.jpg
Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Read the CNN report:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asia
pcf/01/10/china.internet/index.html

Related:
China widens “vulgar” online crackdown
.
Google, Baidu Other Internet Companies Apologize to China To Regain Business

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The Associated Press reported on January 9, 2009:

China on Friday expanded its Internet cleanup campaign, which had ostensibly been aimed at cracking down on pornography, to shut down a blog-hosting site popular with activists, www.bullog.cn. The site’s founder, Luo Yonghao, said he was notified by the Beijing Communications Administration that the site “contained harmful comments on current affairs and therefore will be closed.”

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Tim Johnson of the McClatchy Newspapers reported on this on January 9, 2009:

Zhang-ziyi
For one thing, the internet is abuzz with postings and photos of young Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi cavorting on a beach in the Caribbean with her fiancé. (Sorry, I’ll offer no links, just the photo you see of her here.) China Daily this morning calls the hubbub over the photos “an instant online carnival of voyeurism.”

Zhang, who was in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was voted China’s most beautiful actress last month.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcb_china/20090109/wl_m
cb_china/china200901crackingdown
oninternetlewdnesshtml

EdisonChen.JPG
Chinese Boy Toy Edison Chen

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Psst: People, as noted by China and Vietnam, waste a lot of time on the Internet:
China: Porn King Almost Got The Best Of Barack Obama

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Other nations have also taken actions against a totally free Internet recently.  The Associated Press reported on December 27, 2008:

A proposed Internet filter dubbed the “Great Aussie Firewall” is promising to make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among democratic countries.

Consumers, civil-rights activists, engineers, Internet providers and politicians from opposition parties are among the critics of a mandatory Internet filter that would block at least 1,300 Web sites prohibited by the government — mostly child pornography, excessive violence, instructions in crime or drug use and advocacy of terrorism.

Hundreds protested in state capitals earlier this month.

“This is obviously censorship,” said Justin Pearson Smith, 29, organizer of protests in Melbourne and an officer of one of a dozen Facebook groups against the filter.

Read the rest:
 Australia Moves to Censor Internet

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Vietnam has for a long time tried to rein in the Internet and bloggers.  On December 24, The Associated Press reported:

Vietnam has approved new regulations banning bloggers from discussing subjects the government deems sensitive or inappropriate and requiring them to limit their writings to personal issues.

The rules ban any posts that undermine national security, incite violence or crime, disclose state secrets, or include inaccurate information that could damage the reputation of individuals and organizations, according to a copy of the regulations obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Read the rest:
Vietnam imposes new blogging restrictions

Related:
 Vietnam: Editors of Leading Anti-Corruption Newspapers Removed
.
 Media Censorship, Criminalization of Free Press In Vietnam Needs Action

South Korean Arrested, Used Internet to Criticize Government

Anti-Freedom?, Anti-Porn, Baidu, Chinese, Google, Internet, Le Hoang, MSN, Nguyen Cong Khe, Nguyen Van Hai, Nguyen Viet Chien, Thanh Nien, Tiananmen Square, Tuoi Tre, Vietnam, Vietnamese, activists, anti-corruption, australia, censorship, china, corruption, free media, free press, free speech, freedom, human rights, news, politics, porn, pornagraphy, pro-democracy, sex, sexual

Media Censorship, Criminalization of Free Press In Vietnam Needs Action

January 9, 2009

US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Friday on the World Bank and donor nations to Vietnam to press the communist government to stop criminalising journalists and allow a free media.

The group pointed to the recent jailings of reporters and bloggers and the dismissals of two newspaper editors as the latest examples in “a series of measures by the Vietnamese government to stifle criticism and dissent.”

AFP

A newspaper vendor in Hanoi. US-based group Human Rights Watch ... 
A newspaper vendor in Hanoi. US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Friday on the World Bank and donor nations to Vietnam to press the communist government to stop criminalising journalists and allow a free media(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

“Vietnam is one of the few countries where people can be locked up on charges of ‘abusing democratic freedoms’,” said HRW Asia director Brad Adams.

“Vietnam’s donors should continue to insist that the government stop its criminalization of peaceful expression.”

Authorities have targeted the Thanh Nien (Young People) and Tuoi Tre (Youth) dailies, which helped uncover a major graft scandal in which officials squandered money from projects partially financed by Japan and the World Bank.

“The World Bank and Japan should come to the defence of these investigative reporters and their editors,” said Adams.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090109/wl_asia_af
p/vietnammediarightshrwworldbank_newsmlmmd

Google, Baidu Other Internet Companies Apologize to China To Regain Business

January 7, 2009

Google and other major Internet sites apologised on Wednesday after the Chinese government accused them of failing to police links on their web pages that could lead to pornographic material.
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Google said it had deleted all links to vulgar material from its search indexes, “which may have had a negative effect on web users”, in an apology posted in the company blog on its Chinese site. 

“Search engines link to a sea of materials and our plan is to conquer mountains of technical difficulties and do all we can to reduce the amount of vulgar material,” Google said in the statement.

“Google is willing to be a law-abiding citizen in China,” it said.

Google was among 19 Internet companies singled out by the government on Monday, including China’s most popular search engine Baidu.

The sites were accused of spreading pornography and other material that could corrupt the young.

China’s Ministry of Public Security and six other government agencies announced a crackdown on companies that ignore government warnings and threatened to close down sites that did not comply.

Baidu and other targeted sites posted similarly worded apologies.

“We feel deep regret about (the government accusation) and we took immediate action to delete the relevant vulgar contents and links,” Baidu wrote.

China has the world’s largest online population at more that 250 million, according to official figures, and it is growing rapidly as computer use rises along with income levels.

China blocks ‘New York Times’ website

December 20, 2008

China has blocked access to the New York Times website, the newspaper said Saturday, days after the central government defended its right to censor online content it deems illegal.

Computer users who logged on in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou received a message that the site was not available when they tried to connect on Friday morning, the paper said. Some users were cut of as early as Thursday evening, it said.

The website remained inaccessible from Beijing Saturday.

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said they do not deal with websites. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates the Internet, could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao defended China’s right to censor websites that have material deemed illegal by the government, saying that other countries regulate their Internet usage too.

Read the rest from the Associated Press:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/worl
d/2008-12-20-china-newyorktimes_N.htm?csp=34