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The British government will review its libel laws after two environmental campaigners who were sued by McDonald's won a legal judgment. The European court of human rights ruled "that their rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression were violated when they were denied legal aid," reports Clare Dyer. "McLibel" defendants Helen Steel and David Morris were sued by the fast-food chain for passing out leaflets that accused McDonalds of selling unhealthy food and damaging the environment.
A study analyzing 4,000 local newscasts in 11 major markets found that, "in the month leading up to last year's presidential election, local television stations in big cities devoted eight times as much air time to car crashes and other accidents than to campaigns for the House of Representatives, state senate, city hall and other local offices." Eight percent of news shows reported on local races, while more than half
When Paul Biya, "the strongman who has ruled the West African country of Cameroon for more than 20 years swept to another election victory last fall, a number of observers quickly questioned the process." But not the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, who said, "This is what democracy is about." Their delegation was organized by "a lobbyist for Biya's government," who "served as the mission's chief staffer and billed Cameroon for his work.
At a recent conference, the publisher of South Korea's OhmyNews described "the collaboration between Korean citizens and the online newspaper. ... Eight hours before the start of voting, another candidate who had been supporting [reform candidate Roh Moo Myun], withdrew from the campaign. The conservative newspaper ...
"White House allies are launching a market-research project to figure out how to sell" privatizing Social Security, while "Republican marketing and public-relations gurus are building teams of consultants," reports the Washington Post.
The American Society of Newspaper Editors and other media organizations are organizing "Sunshine Week" in mid-March, to encourage print, broadcast and online media outlets "to address the issue of a more open government through news coverage, editorials, commentaries, and editorial cartoons." The organizations are "alarmed by a trend toward secrecy at all levels of government." A similar effort, OpenTheGovernment.org, has been launched by dozens of organizations "to advance the