Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What is acceptable journalism?

The head of NBC News stated on the Oprah Winfrey Show that the decision to air images, writings and video of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho was “good journalism”. NBC received a package from Cho with pictures, video, and writing, but only aired a fraction of the received content. This raises the issue of what is acceptable to air to the public. Is in news companies duties to report all the news, or should it controversial content be censored? There were reports that Virginia Tech students wanted the media to leave them alone. Some students even viewed the media as ‘vultures’ a negative term to describe the media’s fascination with death. In light of this and—to a much lesser degree—the Imus situation, what is acceptable on public media? Does freedom of speech only apply to private citizens? I just wondering about this.

Police: Gunmen line up, execute 23 Kurds in Mosul

A gun man stops a buss and separates the passengers up into two groups and shoots 23 Kurds. Is it just me or has the whole world gone mad. The 30 Virginia Students getting shot and now I read about another pure execution of people. Has this brutality always been in front of my eyes and I have yet to truly understand it or what.

U.S. Builds Wall to Separate Factions in Baghdad

This is a little old but I just saw a fox news report on tv about the 3 mile wall “ to protect a Sunni Arab enclave surrounded by Shiite neighborhoods in a Baghdad area "trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation," the military said. The wall will be 12 feet high and will enable US soldiers to monitor everyone entering and leaving the Azamlyah to prevent death squads from entering. For weird reason this wall reminds me of the Berlin wall and ghettos formed during the Nazi gathering of the Jews. I really have a bad feeling about this wall. And how will a wall prevent death squads from killing people. I have fallen off taller ladders before.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Human Rights and the UN

A LOT of optimism attended the birth of the UN Human Rights Council, created last year by a 170-4 vote of the General Assembly. Whereas the United States kept on the sidelines (and confirmed this month it would stay away), many Western states saw the new body as an improvement on the discredited Human Rights Commission it replaced. I was wondering if anyone knew why the United States would not want to be involved with this new body. Why would we shy away from a International Human Rights Commission? I am Stumped?

Suspects talk after Iraqi soldiers do dirty work

A shocking story about how Iraqi soldiers "prepared" three soldiers to talk for the Americans. The images are as shocking as the report itself. Something that particularly struck me were the following statements, "We know how to make them talk. We know their back streets. We beat them. I don’t beat them that much, but enough so he feels the pain and it makes him desperate.” Such things always make me think about how true the confessions are that come out of such acts of torture. By their own admission, these men were made desperate. Could they not then be made to say just about anything, even if it is a false confession?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Torture on the rise in Russia

A study by Russian sociologists and human rights activists shows that ill-treatment and torture are endemic in the country's detention facilities. According to a new study published on March 28 by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Committee Against Torture, a Russian human rights organization, every 25th person in Russia is tortured, beaten, or harassed by law enforcement officials each year. Russia is one of the allies of the United States in the War against Terrorism, what do you think the U.S. position should be on the growing violations of Human Rights in Russian detention facilities? To what extent will the U.S. ability to criticise Russian authorities be undermined by the fact that the U.S. itself has held captives at Guantanamo?