Press Freedoms Threatened Worldwide

In the aftermath of September 11, Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) has tracked blows against press freedom in numerous countries: reporters in Afghanistan have been arrested; journalists in Pakistan have been detained and beaten; the Palestinian Authority has pressured reporters and banned interviews with Palestinians; and the United States has tried to pressure both domestic and overseas media outlets.


US puts squeeze on Israel amid fears over propaganda battle

The UK Guardian reports, "Only five days after the bombing of Afghanistan began, Mr Blair made the extraordinary admission that the west was in danger of losing the propaganda war in Muslim states. He said: 'One thing becoming increasingly clear to me is the need to upgrade our media and public opinion operations in the Arab and Muslim world. There is a need for us to communicate effectively.'"


Saudi Arabia Picks Burson-Marsteller For PR

Saudi Arabia hired PR giant Burson-Marsteller on September 14 according to O'Dwyer's PR Daily. B-M will place ads and provide "issues counseling and crisis management" the Saudi government. Craig Veith, chairman of B-M's media practice in Washington, D.C., said B-M has placed ads for the Saudis in The New York Times expressing support for the U.S. in its time of crisis.


State Department Mulls Book Burning

The U.S. Department of State is under growing pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency to destroy its inventory of an official history of U.S. relations with Greece during the 1960s and to replace it with a new, sanitized version. The book, titled "Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1964-1968, volume XVI," has already been printed but has drawn last-minute objections from the CIA because it includes a handful of documents that allude to CIA intervention in the electoral process in Greece some 35 years ago.


Ignore Rumors of Faked Palestinian Footage

Rumors continue to circulate through the internet and other sources that CNN used old footage to fake images of "Palestinians dancing in the street" after the terrorist attack on the USA. These rumors have been debunked by numerous sources, including the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC). In an action alert, the ADC says it is "convinced that there is no basis for this allegation," which it characterizes as an "internet hoax." A small group of Palestinian in the village of Nablus really did celebrate the bombing.


Pakistan Hires Former Congressman

Pakistan hired former Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, to advise the country on matters regarding its national security. According to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, Wilson is receiving $30,000 a month for his work. As head of the Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Wilson traveled 14 times to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s, and sponsored secret U.S. appropriations for the Afghan rebel forces in 1982.


Explaining Israel's Position

"Since the onset of unrestrained Arab violence almost one year ago, no expression has been heard more often than the word, 'hasbara' (explaining Israel's position, or positive public relations)," says pro-Israel media advocate Michael Friedson. Friedson says Israel's spokespersons should stop feeling "compelled to begin briefings with apologies ... for loss of life and property" and should "seize the rage. ...


The Middle East's War of Words

"In war, words are a weapon, we all know that," observes Sam Kiley in this essay explaining his reason for quitting his job as a reporter in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. In the battle between Israel and the Palestinians, "Both sides manipulate the use and meaning of language. ... But in the war of words, no newspaper has been more happy to hand the keys of the armoury over to one side than The Times, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch


Rabin's Daughter Recruited for Israel's PR Campaign

Dalia Rabin-Pelossof will head a $12 million public relations offensive to argue Israel's case amid fears that Palestinians are winning the propaganda war. Her father, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by a Jewish extremist in retaliation for signing the 1993 peace accords. PR advisors to Israel include Gideon Meir, Israel's deputy minister of public affairs, and the New York-based PR firm of Rubenstein & Associates.



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