"The political battle over the Bush administration's planned war in Iraq is filtering down to impact the U.S. media and advertising industry. A growing number of groups opposed to the war allege cable networks are censoring citizens' political views by refusing to accept placements of their anti-war TV ads. Some peace groups are thwarting the networks' rejection by buying local time in major cities for the same anti-war ads.
Where's the money in Argentina? What does U.S. oil cost in Colombia? The Resource Center of the Americas has prepared a list of 10 "important stories about Latin America that major news media distorted or ignored in 2002."
One sequel that's not receiving much media attention is the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," a follow up to the "USA Patriot Act of 2001." The Center for Public Integrity obtained a copy of the draft legislation that had been secretly prepared by the Justice Department.
The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press has established a weblog to cover freedom of information and other issues related to the new Department of Homeland Security, which came into existence officially on Jan. 24. "Behind the Homefront" is a "daily chronicle of news in homeland security and military operations affecting newsgathering, access to information and the public's right to know."
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 has given corporations increased power to censor speech that they don't like. It severely curtails the "fair use" doctrine which allows artists, writers and scholars to use fragments of copyrighted works without permission for the purposes of education, criticism and parody.
During the first war in the Persian Gulf, U.S. citizens saw mostly sanitized images of smart bombs hitting non-human targets. Images of death and suffering were kept to a minimum, thanks in part to the military's pool system which controlled the movements and activities of most journalists. Photographer Peter Turnley refused to participate in the pool system and managed to get pictures that few people have seen. "Many people have asked the question 'how many people died' during the war with Iraq and the question has never been well answered," he writes.
Front page attention in the New York Times is priceless publicity. Heavy-handed censorship at UC Berkeley has backfired, landing a fundraising appeal by the school's Emma Goldman Papers Project on the Times front page. "Goldman died in 1940, more than two decades after being
deported to Russia with other anarchists in the United
States who opposed World War I. Now her words are the
source of deep consternation once again, this time at the
University of California, which has housed Goldman's papers
"The Bush administration has put a much tighter lid than recent presidents on government proceedings and the public release of information, exhibiting a penchant for secrecy that has been striking to historians, legal experts and lawmakers of both parties," writes Adam Clymer in a detailed report on the administration's new and wide-ranging secrecy policies.
"The administration's fight to keep a tight hold over government information is far from over," reports Vanessa Blum. "Watchdog groups continue attempts to penetrate the inner sanctum of the executive branch using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other open government laws." Numerous FOIA fights are currently underway against the White House and Justice Department. "It's absolute trench warfare," says Georgetown University Law Center professor David Vladeck.
"The United States edited out more than 8,000 crucial pages of Iraq's 11,800-page dossier on weapons, before passing on a sanitized version to the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations security council," reports the UK's Sunday Herald. Apparently the report includes embarrassing evidence of U.S. and European culpability in aiding the Iraqi weapons programs, dating back to before the Gulf War, but covering the period of Saddam Hussein's rise and his worst crimes.