April 16, 2004 by  
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Following on from the last post…on the Reporters Sans Frontieres (reporters without borders) website there is a story, and a 30 page report in the form of a PDF document on the US Army’s firing on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, April 8, 2003.

For all my Singaporean journalism friends, there’s also a little bit on Predators of Press Freedom, of which your Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is listed as one!

April 16, 2004 by  
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Well, it turns out I am spending more time designing the blog than actually writing in it. Not only that, but also more time than studying… I’ve already designed a new template that I’m in the process of fine-tuning, but you can link to it here to see what’s going on, or from the ‘other blogs’ links… I like it so far, and the front page headline will be a self-fulfilling prophesy if I don’t give up this nonsense of designing pages.. it IS addictive though. I have an assignment (2 actually) due Monday so I should probably give this up for the weekend and focus on those…

But anyway, I was going to write about last week’s ‘Editor’ section.

Last Thursday was the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan massacre. Anyone who has any interest in international relations or news would know this and know the issues relating to it. However, there were two particular points in the editorial that drew my attention – both are quotes (pg22WeekendAustralian10/4/04):

Samantha Power of the Los Angeles Times
“editorial writers at the major newspapers who pushed for intervention in Bosnia made no such appeals on behalf of the Rwandans”.
Joshua Hammer in The New York Republic
‘Self denial continues to this day among the perpetrators…”After a decade of self-delusion and historical amnesia, most Rwandan Hutu still insist that no genocide took place.” Instead, Hammer wrote, they believe “Hutu and Tutsi were killed in equal numbers in a civil war”.

1. When you start to talk about advocacy journalism, do you ‘pull’ for the argument you agree with, support, are sympathetic to? Of course, you wouldn’t ‘advocate’ it if you didn’t see the merit of doing so. But there are thousands of stories/issues out there that deserve to be told, even if the media doesn’t want to tell them, and especially if their reasoning is a lack of personal zeal for the issue.

I’ve just started this blog, so I can tell you who don’t know that I’d like to work as a foreign correspondent at some point. As Bruce says, “Dave wants to go to bodgy countries.” It’s not that I necessarily want to put my life on the line, dodge bullets or get kidnapped, burnt or mutilated, but there are stories to be told that people need to know about. I can only pray I work at that time for an organisation/agency that feels the same way about telling those stories. What made me think this a little more was seeing a documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey. Some of the images were, really, the type you just don’t want to look at, don’t want to think about. I can tell people now I don’t want to be a foreign correspondent in ‘bodgy places’ because I enjoy seeing the carnage, or for the excitement or thrill… I really don’t want to see those things, but someone has to if it’s going to be reported…

2. The second quote is a scary reality, of not so much people refusing to accept responsibility, but of actually believing nothing untoward has taken place. This is applicable also to the feeling of a vast majority of Serbs in their feelings towards Kosovo and what happened in ’98/99…

This by David Brown (2000:167) –

“Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo were fully trapped within these two hegemonic ideologies…To each side, the behaviour of the other side was inhuman. The ideological myths of each side seemed to be merely common sense. That is the tragedy of nationalistic conflict.”

And I agree it’s not just Serbs. Kosovar Albanians are equally at fault if they believe all KLA actions are acceptable, especially those undertaken against Kosovar Serb civilians after NATO bombing drove Serb forces out of the region. Both sides have committed atrocities… I was actually told by a Serb, “what you are presented as ‘Serbian crimes’ by the…media merely comes in consequence of centuries long hatred of both nations”…as if that makes it acceptable…?!

“When will people get over it?”, I ask in my comfort zone of never having gone through a war or large-scale loss as a result. The media, given their huge influence on what people think to be the truth of what is ‘happening’ or the issues surrounding an event, should play one of the most prominent roles in promoting good will between people and breaking down barriers of mistrust and prejudice. Unfortunately the Serb I quoted works for a media organisation in Belgrade…and there seems to still be large support for radical/nationalist parties in Serbia.

So I’m back to where I started…advocacy journalism. If you write/broadcast for the issues which are close to your heart, you leave yourself open to becoming too subjective – even to the point of departure from the truth, God forbid. May we all expose ourselves to enough facts to not be bogged down by one argument, to not be too parochial… That’s not just a statement for journalists either, but everyone. So journalists – print the facts aye? We all rely on them to make informed decisions.

Just a few stats from ‘Iraq Inquest’, a story (The Australian April 8 pg 20) based on extracts from Peter Wilson’s book ‘Long Drive Through A Short War. There’s another extract online as well if you’re interested. The stats are about journalists deaths in Iraq.

  • in the space of six hours US forces hit every foreign media building in Baghdad – Al Jazeera Arabic TV, Abu Dhabi offices and the Palestine Hotel, where foreign media not embedded with US army units were housed
  • Of the 14 journalists who died between March 20 and April 9, 2003, only four were ’embeds’
  • 16 of the 21 media workers killed by the end of 2003 were unilaterals and only five were embeds
  • of the 14 Western journalists killed during the war (in 2003), just two were killed by Saddam’s forces, five from “neutral causes” and seven by the coalition.

This is enough for now…It’s very late, or rather very early… hmmmm, so much to talk about…some day some day. my apologies for the rambling, disjointed discourse and possible lack of a point….

April 15, 2004 by  
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I’ve just spent…who knows how much time…cleaning my keyboard. Yes, that’s right, I took off every key on the keyboard, cleaned them to remove any of those sweat&dirt-smudge buildups, and put them back on.

Slightly obsessive compuslive, I realise, but I noticed some ‘dust’ under the keys and what I noticed was fairly significant. Once I had finished popping off the keys and chasing them across the floor, the piles of hair, dead skin cells, bits of food and unidentified objects was quite impressive, I really should have taken a picture of it.

The fun part is when I tell you that this is a second hand keyboard from the newspaper where I did work experience in Jan/Feb, where it spent an unknown number of years collecting lunch scraps, hairs and trace elements of all the nasty things people touch… and not just any nasty people, but journalists… I shudder at the thought. haha, no offence Charlesworth! :)

Today I went and sat in the courts to get my journalism story that I have to write by next Monday. Great action! Not really, but the drug-addled defendant had an amusing ramble about ‘thanks for letting me off lightly’ while the judge was trying to explain his probation and community service order to him.

Actually, I’ve noticed in my court visits the judges are quite sympathetic to offenders when sentencing them, commenting that the harshest sentence would likely do more harm than good… kudos to you Judges who are looking for the best in people.

I’m actually going to write something related to media as well!! go figure.

I love The Australian’s ‘Editor’ section on the weekend, which covers editorial pieces from all over the globe and editorial cartoons (from Israel, Canada, Jordan and France last week). Although I don’t think they put any of this stuff specifically up on their website, so no direct link for you.

Another good part of the site is a whole raft of links for those interested in international news. Some of the links don’t work (like Kuwait Times) but it doesn’t take too much to figure it out. My link there is the ‘fixed’ one.

Anyway, enough of that, there was actually some stuff written in last week’s Editor that I was interested in talking about some-some. I’ll put that in a new post.

April 10, 2004 by  
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up till 7.30 am, in front of the computer from noon until now again… so the day has wasted, wasted, wasted away. My blog ‘view’ is taking shape, but being inside all day is unhealthy, so away I must…

Because spending all day sitting at a desk in front of a computer is really bad (but enjoyable), I’m going outside for some exercise.

Also getting a video and pizza tonight, so exercising will help me enjoy all that fat and grease even more!

hurrah for the blog, now I have to work on my geocities website. You can link to it if you want from two places on here, but you need to think laterally if you want to link to any of my actual pages yet. :)

April 9, 2004 by  
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old man speaks words of wisdom
in other words, Milton says some asian mystical crap (his words)

And so it begins, my blog. Of course, I had to start off with IT’S OFFICIAL because good ol’ DB hates news headlines or stories that start with it. Fight the powers that be, I say.

A good day to write about. I stayed up most of last night to finish an assignment due at noon. Wasn’t done at noon. Stayed at the library till 5.15 writing it, wasn’t done… so now we hit the long weekend and I’ll hand it in Tuesday. Not a good start to ‘assignment lane’, as they’ll be coming on thick and fast over the next month or two.

I would write more, but I need to be up and singing in 6 hours so till next time, Happy Easter, think long and hard about veritas… what is truth? will you know it when you see it? In the meantime I will learn about some HTML gee-whiz stuff and put pictures in here or something.

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