Sometimes it breaks through; sometimes it's overwhelmed in the tide of celebrity drivel.
A couple of real journalists have received awards in Canada:
2008 International Press Freedom Award Winners Al Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj was released from Guantànamo Bay on May 1, 2008 where he was held for six years. Al-Haj was never formally charged or brought to trial but he was ordered to become an informant against Al Jazeera in exchange for a U.S. passport and release from Guantànamo Bay. Al-Haj refused and instead launched a yearlong hunger strike. The US finally released him to Sudan where he is now Al Jazeera's news producer for liberties and human rights affairs.
A reporter for the Zimbabwe Independent and a stringer for the Globe and Mail, Shakeman Mugari has openly criticized the Zimbabwe government for abuse of power and failure to improve conditions for the over 80 per cent of Zimbabweans living in poverty. Mugari continues to report on a multitude of human rights abuses plaguing the country. In a report published in The Washington Post in April 2008, he exposed a military junta at work in Zimbabwe, cracking down on opposition parties in order to assist Robert Mugabe in maintaining control of the country.
Funnily enough instead of writing about Lily Allen's bum they decided to write about more trivial matters, including bent elections, corruption, torture and human rights abuses. You want real journalism? That's taking on the powers in Zimbabwe. That's turning down the spooks in Guantanamo.
Obsolete reports on the shoulder-shrugging towards the people of Diego Garcia, who had their homeland stolen by the British and handed over to the Americans. It's a story that journalists like John Pilger have covered in detail for some time; but even the 'quality' press couldn't be bothered to give it more than a few paragraphs this week:
Why then is it that even the Guardian dumped yesterday's House of Lords decision, overturning the Court of Appeal's verdict that the islanders must be repatriated, back on the 20th page? The BBC News at 10 last night did not so much as mention it, and as for the tabloids, a Google search suggests that only the Mirror ran anything about them. The result itself was even a surprise: almost everyone thought that the House of Lords could not possibly rule in the government's favour, and in the event, the decision was by a majority of just one.
Humanzee panic has got the usual suspects (e.g. Dorries) in a tizzy about teh 3vilz, as Jamie parodies over at the Quail. The other big panic is about the economy, with most brilliant and wise economist in the world ever Alan Greenspan admitting a little oopsy over at the Graun:
The former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, has conceded that the global financial crisis has exposed a "mistake" in the free market ideology which guided his 18-year stewardship of US monetary policy.
A long-time cheerleader for deregulation, Greenspan admitted to a congressional committee yesterday that he had been "partially wrong" in his hands-off approach towards the banking industry and that the credit crunch had left him in a state of shocked disbelief. "I have found a flaw," said Greenspan, referring to his economic philosophy. "I don't know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact."
It was the first time the man hailed for masterminding the world's longest postwar boom has accepted any culpability for the crisis that has engulfed the global banking system.
Meanwhile, Chris over at Stumbling and Mumbling offers a crumb of comfort (or a 'quantum of solace' if you like) as we enter into dark times.
Recessions are not extraordinary events. Since 1955, quarterly GDP growth has averaged 0.6%, with standard deviation of 0.96. So a fall in GDP is a less than one standard deviation event (though they‘re not normally distributed).
A lot of the excitement this downturn is generating is, therefore, simply because we’ve become accustomed to years of stability. But in the longer historical context, it's these years that were unusual, not the regular experience of recession.
And as a final bit of journalism, one-time war supporter Johann Hari writes about the torture and abuse of Muslim women - by their abusive partners. And how those who claim to wage war for the purpose of liberating such victims are hypocritical to say the least:
Our governments are equally hobbled from supporting Muslim women – for a very different reason. They claim to oppose the Taliban or the Iranian Mullahs because they abuse women. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, they declare the just-as-vile regime “our close friend” and lavish cash on it. Why?
It's not altogether surprising to learn that the reason why is black, sticky and makes cars go.
- Friday links 20/3/9
- Friday links 29/5/09 – get it right
- Friday links 24/7/09
- Friday links 25/9/09
- Friday links 12/3/10