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Online Media Representatives Face Jail

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the glad-i-don't-post-about-real-news dept.

The Media 27

OSDNBoss writes "According to the US Watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists a total of 134 journalists were in jail on December 1, 49 of which were Internet journalists. China leads the way with the highest number in jail. I'm sure the censors have already blocked Slashdot and other news and opinion sites in the countries mentioned. It begs the question, however, as the blogosphere grows are online journalists and editors more or less protected than their print and TV counterparts?" From the article: "China is challenging the notion that the Internet is impossible to control or censor, and if it succeeds there will be far-ranging implications, not only for the medium but for press freedom all over the world."

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Criteria for traditional journalism (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17161232)

What criteria must one meet to be considered a traditional journalist, entitled to the same protections as, say, a reporter for a big newspaper?

If I, as an online journalist or blogger, print my missives on dead trees and distribute them in some manner, does that count?

Re:Criteria for traditional journalism (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17161282)

If I, as an online journalist or blogger, print my missives on dead trees and distribute them in some manner, does that count?

It helps.

Helps even more if you have more than one person responsible for the publication. Larger circulation is also a factor. Not quite sure why this sort of thing should matter but the reality is that it seems to.

Re:Criteria for traditional journalism (2, Interesting)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17161604)

Writing under your real name is also a criteria, in my opinion, and is what sets traditional newsmedia apart from the vast majority of bloggers.

Readers (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165866)

As a traditional journalist on paper and now on the Internet, I would say that you're a journalist if you have readers.

I started an informal email newsletter, and whenever I had to establish my bona fides, I would say, "I have 600 readers in your field." That got me into press conferences and got people to spend time with me for interviews.

It's a lot more impressive to have a million readers or listeners, but at the time of the American revolution, there were a lot of newspapers with 600 readers. I used to write for business newsletters with a readership of 600 industry executives.

But if you talk about rights of freedom of expression, I think that anybody who writes anything has the same rights that I do. That's true in the U.S. under the Constitution. If you write a letter to a friend denouncing the President, you still have those rights under the Constitution. If you write rants that you hang up on trees and nobody reads, you still have those rights under the Constitution.

A big newspaper like the New York Times has a big legal department to fight libel suits and subpoenas. They also have a publisher and board members with connections to politically influential people. They have the power to enforce those rights. They also get special favors, like admission to White House press conferences. But those are privileges (perhaps unfair) that go beyond rights. Those are the perks you get with a $1 billion a year business.

Dont think it matters.. (2, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17161384)

All the jailed journalists from countries without free speech or freedom of the press would have been jailed for what they did reguardless of the medium (classical newspaper journalist, televised, or internet)

Our media are SO much better (2, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17161388)

NOT ...

See :
http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/11/ap-is-bu sted-uses-bogus-source-for.html [blogspot.com]

Do you think something like this stops them from falsifying news ?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061129/ap_on_re_mi_ea /iraq_revenge_attacks [yahoo.com]

Think again. Obviously looking at an actual live video feed in the iraqi capital will reveal a quite normal life, with markets, loads of people ... Doesn't sound like a civil war at _all_ actually.

http://www.foxnews.com/video2/bagCam.html [foxnews.com]

hmmmmm ....

Re:Our media are SO much better (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162906)

>Obviously looking at an actual live video feed in the iraqi capital will reveal a quite normal life

People are resilient, but check what is happening at the city morgue, Riverbend's blog, or even the official statistics on violent incidents.

Re:Our media are SO much better (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163374)

I have to agree that there *is* a problem. However, look at our newspapers.

You'd say it's a full-scale battlefield (especially "sadr city") with corpses everywhere, no functioning city etc.

In reality ... you'd find public transportation is operational.

Re:Our media are SO much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163718)

hmmmmm

Oh yes, obviously Fox News went there and carried a camera around, and you completely trust them because they're ABOVE such lies as repeatedly labeling Foley as a Democrat, oh wait...

Re:Our media are SO much better (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164260)

This is a webcam ... making it lie would be kinda hard (VERY hard), even for a journalist.

mod parent up - Further Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164196)

Very interesting.

Due diligence: Why did AP news service fail to do even the most elementary due diligence and verification on "Capt. Hussein" that would have quickly revealed him to be a completely unreliable source who was feeding them with totally false stories in the press.

Verification: Why did AP use the same unverified source for over five months in 2006 providing 10 completely false stories which were widely taken up and published by the US and international news media?

No retraction: Why has AP not issued retractions yet for any of these false stories over 3 weeks since they were told that there was a credibility problem with their source?

Who is Capt Hussein? Is there any independently verifiable evidence that "Capt. Hussein" actually exists?

Re:Our media are SO much better (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164612)

Conservative figures at iraqbodycount.net.

If you refuse to believe the results of the Johns Hopkins survey, check this out from their methodology section: "... many roads were not under the control of the Government of Iraq or coalition forces".

But that was 2004, you might argue, and doesn't take into account progress since then.

Savor, then, the implications of the fact that the head of government there met President Bush in *Jordan*. Needing to move to a foreign country to host a visiting dignitary is not "normal".

To keep the numbers in perspective, divide them into Iraq's population, CIA estimate 26 million. 300 dead in Iraq is the same fraction of population there that 9/11 was in the US. They've had 200 killed in a single incident, and the minimum figure from iraqbodycount.net is 49,642: 15 9/lls in absolute terms and 150 proportionally.

May you and all you care about be spared such normalcy.

Co-operation will be beat censorship. (2, Interesting)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17161456)

Here's a modest proposal. Publish lists of censored sites and then encourage many many blogs/entertainment/poker/pr0n/history/shopping sites to set links and mirroring to slip past the blocked IP addresses. Then when you go to even not very popular sites, there are links to redirects to the blocked sites and blocked information.

It would be unstoppable if a suffient number of sites provided links.

A 'non-icon' possibly a greyed out 'f' which otherwise was just a normal part of the text could open a list of links. Leave the code choices up to each site to prevent easy blocking.

I did much the same thing when the war on Iraq was gearing up, posting to multiple sites that had nothing to do with politics or war or civics, as the censorship of messages agianst the war was all pervasive. Even those were roundly attacked, snipped and derided.

Posting censored material is really our duty.

Re:Co-operation will be beat censorship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166084)

"I did much the same thing when the war on Iraq was gearing up, posting to multiple sites that had nothing to do with politics or war or civics, as the censorship of messages agianst the war was all pervasive. Even those were roundly attacked, snipped and derided."

I wouldn't be surprised if you found 95% of your messages caught by the all-pervasive censorship cadre, provided that 95% of your messages were injected into places where people did not wish to read them. I probably deleted some of them myself.

Structured conversation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17162122)

Getting some things out of the way...

* Slashdot is a news source?
* Thats not a proper use of "begs the question"!
* Is anyone else tired of seeing the word blogosphere? whats wrong with "blogging community"?

Re:Structured conversation (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162174)

I feel your pain. Why is it that nobody these days can use the phrase 'begs the question' appropriately?

Re:Structured conversation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17162738)

Is an ironic situation created when someone trying to sound smart uses incorrectly "begs the question" instead of phrasing involving words such as "invites", "inspires", "prompts"?

Re:Structured conversation (2, Informative)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162716)

Must we do this every time someone uses the phrase "begs the question"?

"More recently, "begs the question" has been used as a synonym for "invites the question" or "raises the question", or to indicate that "the question really ought to be addressed". In this usage, "the question" is stated in the next phrase." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question #Modern_usage [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Structured conversation (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165060)

I think the problem people have with misused words/phrases is that as the language evolves to accept the distorted meaning, it reduces our ability to make nuanced distinctions. Reduced granularity if you will.

Taken far enough, you end up with Newspeak [wikipedia.org]

In all honesty, you don't want your language to descend to the level of the lowest common denominators.

Re:Structured conversation (1)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167796)

I think the problem people have with misused words/phrases is that as the language evolves to accept the distorted meaning, it reduces our ability to make nuanced distinctions. Reduced granularity if you will.

Not true. Languages do lose distinctions over time, some *much* more significant than this one. However, we invent new ones at about the same rate. There is *always* a way to say what you want to say unambiguously. Worst case, you invent a phrase yourself, and if the language needs it, it will catch on.

Re:Structured conversation (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164568)

Is anyone else tired of seeing the word blogosphere? whats wrong with "blogging community"?
It still contains a variant of the 'word' "blog"?

Blocking slashdot? (2, Informative)

malkavian (9512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162492)

Last time I was in China (admittedly 11 months ago), I could access Slashdot just fine from China (and that was mainland china; Beijing, Shanghai and Xian, as well as Hong Kong)..

Re:Blocking slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164782)

Try it again from any of the downtown internet cafes in Beijing or Shanghai and you will find it blocked as are lots of other websites like Google and the BBC.

Learning curve (3, Interesting)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162988)

China is on a steep learning curve. They are trying to transition from a massivly centralized controlled society where everyone works for the government. To a society where indivuals are allowed to make business decisions. The old guard allows no questioning or criticism of any authority. The new world will be far different from that. The old timers are trying to hold on to their power, and the only tool they have left is censorship of dissent.

Will censoring stop the transition? No, it will slow down the transition, and probably cause a softer and safer transition (Compared to Iraq where the opressive government suddenly ceased to exist, and sponsored anarchists are trying to take over).

The Chinese "Old Guard" are trying to form a Facist economy (where government works in partnership with business, kind of like the US social services), and that will likely happen, I think the free economy will eventually prevail and squeeze out that Facist one. The history of Socalism/Communism is of a political machine fully funding every inefficiency to the ruin of society. The newer leaders educated in the scientific method will make decisions based on wether things work, not strictly following sanctified procedure based on the musings of a 19th century economic idealist.

Søren Kierkegaard (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165254)

Anytime I think of heroic journalists, I'm reminded of a Kierkegaard line from his journal:


[I]f there is any suggestion of shooting people down, then let it be the journalists for the way in which they have used and profited by the simple classes. God knows I am not bloodthirsty...but nevertheless, I should be ready to take the responsibility upon me, in Gods name, of giving the order to fire if I could first of all make absolutely and conscientiously sure that there was not a single man standing in front of the rifles, not a single creature, who was not--a journalist. That is said of the class as a whole.

Everyman a journalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17169516)

As a 20-year veteran reporter for a newspaper, I worry about any attempt to define who is a journalist and who isn't.

First, consider the implications of the government, or some licensing body, being able to license journalists. Sure, it would (or might) help ensure some basic level of professional standards, and allow for an enforceable code of ethics, but it would also be subject to political pressure in way other licensing bodies aren't.

More importantly, I fear any such definition would end up granting special privilege to reporters -- for example, state and federal "sunshine laws" (Freedom of Information Act, Open Records Act, etc) granting special access to reporters -- but not the general public. The government is there to serve the people -- not to provide the news media with information it can turn around and sell. I try to avoid being singled out when attending, say a city commission meeting (I sit with the regular people, not at the designated "press" table. In part, I think that table, usually at the front of the room, and with a "press" placard in the same style as the ones that say "mayor," etc., sort of implies we're part of that power structure.

We've tussled with this question of "who's a journalist" locally. A reporter a couple of years ago was interviewing a person about an upcoming politcal race, and shot off his mouth more than was wise concerning one of the candidates. His tirade appeared later in the day on the person's widely-read blog. The reporter was livid; I pointed out he was talking to a journalist -- and when you talk to a journalist, you'd better expect to be quoted. He argued, first, this person wasn't a reporter, because they didn't work for a newspaper. I pointed out that neither did Dan Rather. He threw out a few more obviously flawed definitions, and I suggested a "real news organization" is one that's indexed by Lexis Nexis (ours isn't) before he just gave up.

Before you start throwing stones at China, et. al. (2, Informative)

BatMacumba (990248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173202)

From the article:

'The committee said the United States imprisoned two journalists without charge or trial -- Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, now held for eight months in Iraq, and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj, jailed for five years and now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Joshua Wolf, a freelance blogger who refused to turn over video of a 2005 protest to a U.S. federal grand jury, was also in jail.'

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