Democracy

PR's "Deleterious Impact on the Democratic Process"

"Every organisation that interacts with other agencies may be said to engage in public relations. Organisations by and large wish to project as good an image as they can, and often wish to communicate a particular message," Corporate Watch UK writes in the introduction to their new online report on the PR industry. "There is nothing essentially wrong in wanting to present one's own case in as effective manner as possible. However, in spite of frequent protestations to the contrary from the PR world, this is only a part of what modern PR does.

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Anti-War Reporting Banned in UK Papers

"Sir Ray Tindle, the editor in chief of over 100 weekly newspapers across
Britain has informed all his editors that they can no longer report any
anti-war stories in their newspapers," reports Andy Rowell. Jeremy Dear of the UK's National Union of Journalists, condemned the move: " So much for the right to know, free speech and all those other rights which our forefathers fought to establish and which Sir Ray Tindle seeks to demolish at the stroke of a pen," Dear stated.

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Homefront Confidential

The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press has issued an updated report showing "how the war on terrorism affects access to information and the public's right to know." The report includes sections on "covering the war," "military tribunals," "domestic coverage," and "the USA PATRIOT Act." The World Press Institute has just issued a similar report.

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Media Banned from Free Speech Award

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia banned broadcast media from his speech on March 19 at an appearance where he received an award for supporting free speech. "That was one of the criteria that he had for acceptance," said James Foster, executive director of Cleveland's City Club, which gave Scalia its "Citadel of Free Speech Award."

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Korea Web Paper Strikes a Blow for Media Democracy

"For years, people will be debating
what made [South Korea] go from conservative to liberal,
from gerontocracy to youth culture and from staunchly
pro-American to a deeply ambivalent ally - all seemingly
overnight. ... But for many observers, the
most important agent of change has been the Internet. ... In the last year, as the elections were
approaching, more and more people were getting their
information and political analysis from spunky news
services on the Internet instead of from the country's

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Mass Arrests of the Innocent

During recent protests in Washington against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, police deliberately used mass arrests to round up protesters who had committed no crime, writes law professor Jonathan Turley. "All the students were arrested while trying to comply with the law," he writes. "The D.C. and National Park Service police had used the same technique in each instance: Surround the crowd. Tell its members to disperse or face arrest. And then, as people try to disperse, block their escape with rows of officers in riot gear and arrest them. ...

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War Against Arab Media

"The Lebanese government is prosecuting the news director of a major television station," reports MSNBC, "setting the stage for a broader crackdown on press freedoms in a country once admired as the only bastion of free press remaining in the Arab world. ... Rumors are the true currency of political discussion on the streets and in the cafes of the Arab world, where media outlets are either owned by the government or privately owned by political leaders and under the constant threat of sanction and closure."

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