Thursday, June 6, 2019

ABC raid over Afghan Files atrocities allegations 'chilling' for freedom of press

The Afghan Files ... How the ABC reported a "Defence leak exposing deadly secrets of Australia’s
special forces" in 2017. Image: Screen shot of ABC/PMC
By Pacific Media Watch

AN Australian police raid on public broadcaster ABC this week risks having a chilling effect on freedom of the press, its editorial director says.

Police officers left the ABC’s Sydney headquarters more than eight hours after a raid began over allegations it had published classified material.

It related to a series of 2017 stories known as The Afghan Files about alleged misconduct by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

READ MORE: Why the raids on Australian media present a clear threat to democracy

ABC editorial director Craig McMurtrie told RNZ Morning Report the message the raids sent to sources and whistleblowers who wanted to reveal things in the public interest was concerning.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Eric Tapakau, a skilful communicator who loved Bougainville

Eric Tapakau ... a trusted and respected voice and skilful communicator whose advocacy
and ability to connect with local people will be sorely missed. Image: BCL
By Denika Seeto, communications manager of Bougainville Copper Ltd

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) lost both a dear friend and esteemed colleague with the untimely passing of Eric Tapakau on May 19 after a brief illness.

Tapakau, 44, was a highly regarded member of our Bougainville team having joined the company in September 2017 as media and communications adviser.

As a testament to his capabilities and leadership, he was quickly promoted to a senior project officer position just four months later.

One of Eric’s great qualities was his natural affinity with people and his ability to effectively engage with those at all levels of the community.

He was deeply committed to the betterment of Bougainville and its people and had earned widespread respect.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Pacific media freedom and news ‘black holes’ worsen for World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day coverage on the Pacific Media Centre's Asia Pacific Report. Image: PMC screenshot
 By David Robie 

While Pacific countries have got off rather lightly in a major global media freedom report last month with most named countries apparently “improving”, the reality on World Press Freedom Day is that politicians are becoming more intolerant and belligerent towards news media and information “black holes” are growing.

The Pacific is at the milder end on the scale of media freedom violations – there are no assassinations, murders, gaggings, torture and disappearances.

But the global trend of “hatred of journalists [degenerating] into violence, contributing to an increase of fear” warned about by the Paris-based global watchdog Reporters Without Borders is being reflected in our region.

READ MORE: Pacific countries score well in media freedom index, but reality is far worse

Lack of safety for journalists is a growing concern for media organisations around a world where 80 journalists were killed last year, with 348 being jailed and 60 held hostage.

Friday, May 3, 2019

How a US-backed coup attempt failed in Venezuela

How A US-Backed Coup Attempt Failed In Venezuela from Rising Up With Sonali on Vimeo.
The Rising Up video on Venezuela.

By Rising Up with Sonali

A US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela has failed. On Tuesday April 30th, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has simply declared himself President, gathered in front of supporters along with another leader Leopoldo Lopez, and claimed that military generals were defecting from President Nicolás Maduro.

Tens of thousands of protesters were gathered in Caracas hoping for a downfall of Maduro’s government as US leaders like Vice President Mike Pence, and former Vice President Joe Biden, were tweeting their ardent support for the opposition.

There have been violent clashes with government security forces.

But Maduro declared that the attempt to sway military generals had failed. Mass protests in support of his regime took place elsewhere in Caracas.

In addition to the violence on the streets there is an information war taking place around Venezuela.

Rising Up talks to Lucas Koerner of Venezuela Analysis for an assessment of the crisis.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Assange arrest - a warning from history for journalists

Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London ... an emblem of the times.
Image: John.Pilger.com

 By John Pilger in London

THE GLIMPSE of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage.

Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for "democratic" societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump's Washington, in league with Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair's "paramount crime" is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange's crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Don’t despair about Notre Dame - a rebuilt cathedral could be just as wonderful

The moment the spire collapses while flames are burning the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Image: AG Photographs via Flickr
By Claire Smith and Jordan Ralph
 

A wonderful icon has been largely destroyed by fire. However, we should not despair.

Part of the reason this loss is so upsetting is because we are immersed in a Western way of thinking that equates authenticity with preserving the original materials used to create an object or building.

But not all societies think like this. Some have quite different notions of what is authentic.

Iconic buildings such as the Catherine Palace in Russia and Japan’s historic monuments of Ancient Nara have been successfully restored, sometimes after great damage, and are today appreciated by millions of people.

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