Spreading Democracy, for Shah

"The Bush administration is expanding efforts to influence Iran's internal politics," including increasing aid to exile groups and airing "longer broadcasts criticizing the Iranian government" on Voice of America satellite TV programs. Under secretary of state for political affairs R.


From Britain, with Love - and Focus Groups

The Iranian presidential campaign of Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, "a conservative former revolutionary guard air force commander whose candidacy has the blessing of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei," is patterned after that of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reports the Guardian.


KFC Tries Silencing More Than The Chickens

Two members of the animal welfare committee of Yum Brands Inc, KFC's parent company, resigned after being asked to sign a confidentiality agreement which would have required them to refer all media inquiries to KFC's corporate headquarters. Over the last three years Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University and Dr. Ian Duncan of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, have advised KFC on improving animal welfare standards. Both objected to the proposed agreement as amounting to censorship.


The Free Press and the Fake Press

On World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty International celebrates "the mighty blog" as having "profound implications for press freedom and human rights." The organization states, "People in Iran and China have used blogs to expose violations by their governments and provide the outside world w


Democracy's Great, but the Elections Are Boring

In the lead-up to Thursday's UK national election, the Christian Science Monitor reports on "the growing insinuation of spin and professional marketing into British politics." The Independent publishes a wide-ranging interview with Sir Timothy Bell, the influential owner of


Only You Can Prevent Media Liars

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Late Victory for McLibel Defendants

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.


Leading with Bleeding (Don't Mind the Elections)

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


Not What Democracy Looks Like

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.



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