Democracy Up, America Down

Throughout the world, including Muslim countries, people place a high value on freedom of expression, freedom of the press, multi-party systems and equal treatment under the law, reports a 44-nation survey of world opinion conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Support for the United States, however, is another matter. "The speed of the war in Iraq and the prevailing belief that the Iraqi people are better off as a result have modestly improved the image of America," states the survey summary. "But in most countries, opinions of the U.S.


Thought Crime in New Mexico

Several high school teachers in New Mexico have been suspended or fired after refusing to enforce pro-war views in their classrooms. Geoff Barrett, a teacher at Albuquerque's Highland High School, was suspended after refusing to remove student-made artwork expressing views on the recent U.S. war against Iraq.


24-Hour Mideast TV To Promote "Freedom & Democracy"

The White House expects congressional funding to the tune of $64 million for the first-ever, 24-hour Arabic-language satellite television network. "The aim is to provide the Middle East's tens of millions of viewers with an alternative to their usual viewing diet of unremediated anti-American propaganda," the Hill's Melissa Seckora reports.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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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