Democracy

Lawyers, Drugs and Ad Money

West Virginia's Pharmaceutical Cost Management Council unanimously approved "a financial disclosure form that would require pharmaceutical companies to reveal how much they spend on advertising and promotion of brand-name drugs" in the state, as well as any "gifts, grants or payments to physicians" in excess of $25.

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E-voting Not Yet Ready for Prime Time

"Questions about the security and accuracy of electronic voting systems are likely to continue into the 2006 national elections, because the U.S. government has not yet completed work on electronic voting guidelines," according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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Preventing Embarrassing Information Becoming Public

Guidelines issued by the Australian government's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet advise public servants on how to avoid personal notebook comments being disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Philippine President's Lobbying Contract Revealed

In a report for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Malou Mangahas reveals that in late July 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo entered into a $75,000 per month contract for lobbying services with Venable, a Washington D.C. law firm.

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Yahoo Serious Trouble

After notifying "foreign Web sites that his newspaper colleagues had been instructed not to commemorate the then-pending 15th anniversary of China's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy activists," Chinese journalist Shi Tao received a 10-year prison sentence. According to Reporters Without Borders, the court that sentenced Mr. Shi "relied partly on evidence provided by a Hong Kong subsidiary of Internet company Yahoo Inc." The government of President Hu Jintao has repeatedly targeted the media.

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Fleishman-Hillard Hired By Japanese Opposition Leader

Katsuya Okada, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan and the main rival to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, has hired PR firm Fleishman-Hillard to help buff his image ahead of the September 11 national election.

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Chinese Reporters Fight Pay to Praise Plan

Chinese moneyA leading state-run newspaper in China has scrapped a controversial appraisal system in which reporters would get paid more if they pleased the Communist Party's central propaganda department. The plan prompted a rebellion by the paper's reporters, one of whom posted an open letter condemning it on the Internet.

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