"Hailed as a major success of five years of democracy-building, media freedom in Afghanistan is under increasing pressures," writes Alisa Tang. A spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said, "We've moved from an open media environment to a state-controlled media environment." A proposed law would increase government power over media outlets and make reporting "humiliating and offensive" news a criminal offense.
The European Commission has backed the introduction of a voluntary register for lobbyists seeking to influence European Union officials. "All these groups or bodies are invited to register publicly whom they represent and what their objectives are. They are invited to declare funding sources and major clients," the commission stated.
Capitol Hill was on center stage this past week, as Congress took on a number of high-profile issues. This week, as usual, we turn to Robert McElroy's TheWeekInCongress for a thorough look at the bills debated and passed since Monday. Follow the headlines below to the Congresspedia articles covering the respective issues, which in turn link to and heavily rely on McElroy's analyses.
- The House narrowly passed a $124 billion supplemental appropriations bill which would require President Bush to remove U.S. combat troops from Iraq by September 1, 2008.
- The Senate approved a measure stripping the executive branch of its authority to appoint U.S. attorneys without the need for Senate confirmation. The right to do so had been granted through a provision in last year's reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.
- The House debated a bill to provide the District of Columbia with a voting member in the House, though it was stalled after Republicans attempted to attach a provision repealing the city’s handgun ban.
- The House passed several bills increasing benefits for military veterans.
- The House passed a bill directing federal funds to housing projects in areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina and its aftereffects.
In February the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) hired BKSH & Associates, Burson-Marsteller and the polling company Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, to promote the need for "free, open and transparent elections in Pakistan in 2007." The contract, which runs to June 2007, could be worth as much as $250,000.
"Overseas political groups are increasingly seeking to raise their legitimacy and sell their agendas in their home countries through communications outreach to US politicians, media, think tanks, and other influential audiences," writes PR Week.
This past week was a busy one on Capitol Hill, as both the House and Senate were in session all five days. To summarize the items which were debated and considered on the floor, we will turn to TheWeekInCongress.