December 1, 2005

“No Photos, No Stories”

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 13, 2005 @ 2:15 pm
Filed under: Free Press

Despite the Bush Administration’s promise not to censor stories or photos of the devestation left by Hurricane Katrina (and by the government’s molasses-response), armed military representatives are threatening reporters trying to do their jobs.

From the SF Chronicle:

Outside one house on Kentucky Street, a member of the Army 82nd Airborne Division summoned a reporter and photographer standing nearby and told them that if they took pictures or wrote a story about the body recovery process, he would take away their press credentials and kick them out of the state.

“No photos. No stories,” said the man, wearing camouflage fatigues and a red beret.

On Saturday, after being challenged in court by CNN, the Bush administration agreed not to prevent the news media from following the effort to recover the bodies of Hurricane Katrina victims.

But on Monday, in the Bywater district, that assurance wasn’t being followed. The 82nd Airborne soldier told reporters the Army had a policy that requires media to be 300 meters — more than three football fields in length — away from the scene of body recoveries in New Orleans. If reporters wrote stories or took pictures of body recoveries, they would be reported and face consequences, he said, including a loss of access for up-close coverage of certain military operations.

Dean Nugent, of the Louisiana State Coroner’s Department, who accompanied the soldier, added that it wasn’t safe to be in Bywater. “They’ll kill you out here,” he said, referring to the few residents who have continued to defy mandatory evacuation orders and remain in their homes.”

“The cockroaches come out at night,” he said of the residents. “This is one of the worst places in the country. You should not be here. Especially you,” he told a female reporter.

Nugent, who is white, acknowledged he wasn’t personally familiar with the poor, black neighborhood, saying he only knew of it by reputation.

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Poverty “Too Political” for Brit TV

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 13, 2005 @ 11:41 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

A public service campaign asking Brits to “Make Poverty History” is, well, history.

Britain’s communications regulatory agency, Ofcom, has banned the campaign from TV and radio, saying it’s too political for the airwaves.

Make Poverty History is a conglomeration of 530 charities and aid groups that is part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.

The campaign, which includes an array of stars snapping their fingers to underscore the fact that a child dies of preventable poverty every three seconds and a signature white bracelet, was created with the goal of persuading the governments of the Group of Eight industrialized countries to write off billions of dollars in debt owed by the poorest of the world’s countries. British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised the campaign, saying it was successful in convincing the G8 to write off more than $40 billion in debt.

But advertising watchdog Ofcom said the goals of the campaign were political and therefore outlawed.

Good news for the comfortable: Poverty and its icky political component will be kept in the shadows. You get another reprieve from dealing with it.

From Media Planner Buyer, et al.

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Santa Cruz Station of “Air America Radio” Lacks Sponsors

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 13, 2005 @ 9:15 am
Filed under: Media Watch

On the one hand, the Santa Cruz, California station of progressive talk radio AAR has so few advertisers that…

… station owner Michael Zwerling went on the air recently with an ad of his own threatening the future of progressive shows on KOMY.

“For liberal programming to continue … you need to support it,” his ad said.

Zwerling said his ad was designed to “get in people’s face” and remind listeners that radio is a commercial business, and if ad space is available, they need to know about it.

On the other hand, station General Manager Michael Olson notes:

Advertisers…plan budgets many months in advance and Air America has been playing on KOMY less than two months.

Olson said it’s too soon to rush to judgment, though he believes Air America will one day hold its own.