As Chinese journalists, poets and intellectuals take risks and face punishment for exercising freedom of expression, Western news producers, who have it all, dumb down the news, letting even the incentive for free expression go to seed. A sad irony.
In China From the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ):
New York, March 1, 2005 - Authorities in Shanghai have suspended the law license of Guo Guoting, defense attorney for three jailed [Chinese] journalists as well as a number of other dissidents and members of a religious sect.
...Guo told CPJ that he believed he has been punished for taking up controversial cases involving freedom of expression and religion. City and district authorities have regularly warned Guo to stop his advocacy of political prisoners such as the imprisoned writers, he said.
"Journalists Shi Tao, Zhang Lin and Huang Jinqiu are in jail today because they wrote or distributed essays that offended the political leadership," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said today. "The suspension of their defense attorney's license, apparently for related reasons, points again to the failure of the Chinese government to accommodate criticism or to ensure adequate legal protection for those who express dissent."
In Canada From the Toronto Star In a speech to university students, bemoaning the "Dumbing Down of News" in the west,
Branding it "rooftop ventriloquism," he [BBC elder-statesman journalist Michael Buerk]attacked news networks that don't dispatch reporters to where the action is, to bring back eyewitness accounts of what is going on.
"It is little wonder that stories are sometimes reported by men and women who may be in the right country but, because they spend their days and nights on some hotel roof with a camera and a satellite link, may have no more first hand knowledge about what is going on than you do.They call them `dish monkeys' in the trade; the women are called `dish bitches.'
"...today's corporate media are not interested in serious and significant news, said Buerk. Instead, they're churning out "childish" news, dumbed down for numbed out audiences.A lot of thought seems to be going into making it thoughtless. It seems to be getting both thick and thin.
...A flawed media, I suggest, leads to a flawed democracy. Ill informed citizens cannot make proper judgments about their leaders' actions, about the actions that take place in their names, about the laws that govern them."
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