Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Truly Mediocre Media: Korean Censorship

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We in the West tend to criticize the mainstream media for often being biased, having an agenda, and so on. When you consider the media situation elsewhere, though, you can't help but feel lucky on the whole to live in such a free society. Story by the AP, fyi from Editor and Publisher, and the Society for Print Journalism. North Korea is the (unsurprising) winner of the world's least desirable media prize...
Here's an excerpt from the AP's story:

NEW YORK North Korea's media praises "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il every day but never reported the country's famine in the 1990s. Myanmar bans anti-government sentiment in the media. Turkmenistan's dictator approves the front pages of major newspapers — and they always include a photo of him.

The three nations topped the list of "10 Most Censored Countries" issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists on the eve of World Press Freedom Day. The other countries were Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Eritrea, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Syria and Belarus.

"People in these countries are virtually isolated from the rest of the world," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said Tuesday. "They're kept uninformed by authoritarian rulers who muzzle the media and keep a chokehold on information through restrictive laws, fear and intimidation."

"We call on the leaders of these most censored countries to join the free world by abandoning their restrictive actions and allowing journalists to independently report the news and inform their citizens," she said.

The list is the first on censorship issued by the committee. Its regional staff, which researches press freedom abuses around the world, rated the degree of censorship according to 17 different benchmarks, including censorship regulations, jamming of foreign news broadcasts, imprisonment and harassment of journalists and the degree of state control of media.

The report noted that Equatorial Guinea's state-run radio has described the president as "the country's God," and its only private broadcaster is owned by his son.

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