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The long anticipated review of U.S. hostage policy has led to an announcement yesterday of changes to the existing guidelines for securing release of kidnap victims. What follows are partial and unverified transcripts from the President's announcement on June 24th. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. While the changes are welcome and much needed, questions linger as noted in this excerpt from RSF's response to the announcement. The new policy constitutes significant progress but could go much further. It will be evaluated in six months' time and a report will be drafted after it has been in effect for a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2015 at killing the messenger
UN Security Council adopts Resolution 2222. Through the resolution, the Council expressed deep concern at the growing threat to journalists and associated media personnel, including killings, kidnapping and hostage-taking by terrorist groups... Through the text, the Council affirmed that journalists and associated professionals were civilians — providing they took no actions adversely affecting that status — and emphasized that all international human rights law protecting civilians during conflict applied to them, as well as did the more focused Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions. It also affirmed the importance of a free and impartial media for the protection of civilians.... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2015 at killing the messenger
Proud to announce that "Killing The Messenger: The Deadly Cost of News", as broadcast by Al Jazeera America Presents, won a National Headliner Award for broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators documentary or series of reports on the same subject. Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2015 at killing the messenger
Via Bruce Sterling's Tumblr Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2015 at killing the messenger
CPJ reports on the necessary, but apparently slightly uncomfortable conference convened in Washington DC yesterday to discuss the increasing dangers faced by journalists. From the CPJ piece, these links to John Kerry's remarks as well as the blog post of the man who called the meeting, Douglas Frantz. Excerpts: Doug Frantz spent more than three decades in the journalistic trenches covering wars, overseeing investigative reporting, and directing national security coverage. He did stints at The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. Today Frantz works for the State Department, serving as Assistant Secretary of State for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at killing the messenger
We lose our ability to imagine political solutions when we stop thinking critically, when we let emotional identifications sweep us into factitious substitutes for solidarity and action. We lose our ability to respond to atrocity when we start seeing people not as individuals, but as symbols. Changing avatars on social media is a pathetic distraction from changing realities in society. To combat violence you must look unflinchingly at the concrete inequities and practices that breed it. You won’t stop it with acts of self-styled courage on your computer screen that neither risk nor alter anything. To protect expression that’s endangered... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2015 at killing the messenger
Josh Stearns has an elequent and timely post on Medium today - Je Suis Charlie: Defending Freedom of Expression Depends on All of Us. "Today we need to understand that the rights of the press are our rights. Attacks on the press are attacks on us. They are attacks on our right to create, to critique, to cover our communities. Attacks on the press are also attacks on our right to know, to understand, to debate." At his urging, we've excerpted the pull-quote from the film that he cites in the piece. #NousSommesCharlie Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at killing the messenger
Josh Stearns has written a kick-ass piece for Medium, "What If Journalism Was Built For Inclusive Community Participation". Indeed, what if? Of course, Stearns provides insight, answers, links to other's thoughts and wisdom, and two well considered challenges at the end. Read. This. Piece. "There can be no trickle down journalism. We’re only going to win if we can get concrete, if we can see each other as human, and if we can keep our eyes on the long term." Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at killing the messenger
Thanks to the amazing Kael Alford, there will be a roundtable discussion on threats faced by journalists TOMORROW (Thurs.) so if you are in Dallas, please support at The Common Desk 2919 Commerce St Dallas, TX 75226 at 8:30PM local time. - AND- The film will screen at DallasVideoFest27 on Oct.9th at 9:30pm in the amazing Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - ticket and location info at THIS LINK. Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2014 at killing the messenger
Great piece in CJR about using the medium of comics to present news stories. (excerpt:) “I’ve written a whole lot of crime stories, you know. People would usually give it like 20 seconds to scan it,” Holliday says. “But package it up with the comics, and it’s like you’ve never heard it before. The same people will read the story all the way to the end. It can become that bridge.” Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at killing the messenger
From CJR: excerpt: "...Southern European journalists are reporting more physical violations and threats. Perhaps because of that, most journalists self-censor, fearing they will lose their job or face financial or physical consequences. Meanwhile, Western reporters appear to have more diverse problems. ...In Eastern Germany, a small but feisty local paper has been vandalized twice for reporting on the rise of neo-Nazi groups. And post after post record layoffs and closings of media outlets, which NGO staffers argue could be problematic in keeping government, especially local ones, in check. ...The mapping highlights new problems, too, like cyberbullying, hacking, and denial of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at killing the messenger
After some heated, reactive arguing with people imploring them not to post the Foley murder images, as noted in the previous post - here's some further thoughts. I had a rather spirited email exchange with one major on-line publication's editor, who I had taken to task for linking to the Foley video, (notably with all suitable warnings included in the article itself). As he calmly wrote me back, and I'll paraphrase for brevity - the audience should be able to choose for themselves what to watch or not watch - to choose for them is censorship. In our own documentary,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at killing the messenger
Shared via Twitter by esteemed colleague and journo protection advocate Hannah Storm at INSI. Would also add, from personal experience, that violent images of murder, torture and execution - which we sadly bore witness to repeatedly in the course of making the documentary - can lead to symptoms of PTSD and serve no one but the person who made the video, a person who likely had the direct intention of instilling terror, horror and fear in the viewer. And if all that isn't enough, here's James' family, imploring you not to post or share. Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at killing the messenger
I have mixed feelings about images like this and the one in the previous post. While provocative, the message can be easily muddled by the viewer. If we don't want to be targetted for committing acts of journalism, shouldn't we consider the use of 'weaponized' imagery as potentially increasing the misconception of information/journalism as a threat? Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at killing the messenger
From CPJ: “Those at home insist, “Don’t go out. We don’t want another loss.” I miss my son and my daughter, but I must write and tell these stories. For we are stories, not just numbers.” — - journalist and colleague of media worker, Hamid Shihab, who was killed by an IDF airstrike. Al-Monitor Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at killing the messenger
Why was Ayman Mohyeldin pulled off the air by NBC? Glenn Greenwald and others weigh in. Here's an excerpt from TV Newser: "NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and his crew witnessed the Israeli airstrike that killed four children at a Gaza port earlier today. But hours later, it was chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel who reported the story for “Nightly News... We’re hearing the decision to have Engel report the story for “Nightly” instead of Mohyeldin angered some NBC News staffers. NBC News declined to comment to TVNewser on its editorial decision." And here's Scott Whitlock's analysis for NewsBusters... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at killing the messenger
America made the Top 10! Too bad it's a list no country should be on - Reporters Without Borders very well designed (maps, graphics, essays) Enemies of The Internet 2014 report puts the US at #2. (excerpt): "The Obama administration has shown itself to be willing to interpret the protection of national security in a broad and abusive manner, at the expense of freedom of information. A witch-hunt was launched against journalists’ sources who disclosed confidential information about the powers of the state." Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at killing the messenger
It was a great pleasure to participate in this year's International Journalism Festival. I participated in the global testimony pannel along with Hannah Storm from INSI, Lirio Abbate, Yavuz Baydar, Laura Cappon and Diego Enrique Orsorno. Thank you to all of my colleagues, to the great audience and to all journalists and media workers who continue to take great risks in order to bring stories out of the world's challenging and conflicted regions. Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at killing the messenger
The Sydney Morning Herald has a tick-tock of Heartbleed's discovery and reveal, which is, err, revealing. The timeline begins in mid-March, well before the security flaw was made public. Of note, this entry from earlier this month: "Wednesday, April 9 - Facebook and Microsoft donate $US15,000 to Neel Mehta via the Internet Bug Bounty program for finding the OpenSSL bug. Mehta gives the funds to the Freedom of the Press Foundation." The potential endangerment of sources, information, accounts and data posed by Heartbleed is of particular concern in the journalism community. Neiman Labs' Source blog, in collaboration with ProPublica, has... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2014 at killing the messenger
CPJ's annual report on impunity is out. (excerpt): "For this year’s edition of the Impunity Index, which calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country’s population, CPJ examined journalist murders in every nation in the world for the years 2004 through 2013. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index... ...In a positive development, convictions took place in four countries on the Index—yet in only one case were those who ordered the crime apprehended or tried, reflecting a global... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2014 at killing the messenger
From our Canadian friends at CJFE, this piece on the state of journalism in Syria today is worth reading. (excerpt): "With the Assad regime and extremist rebel factions showing complete disregard for the safety of journalists, the only alternative to help many of these daring freelancers is to urge news agencies purchasing their work to offer them a greater degree of protection." Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at killing the messenger
Annunciation House, in El Paso Texas, is giving this year's Voice To The Voiceless Award to Anabel Hernandez. Hernandez is the investigative journo who penned this rather incendiary Guardian piece last year and has continuously, even under threat, produced exemplary journalism from Mexico. In late December, her home was invaded by unkown, heavily armed professionals. There has been no investigation. (excerpt): "On Dec. 21, about a dozen individuals armed with AK-47 rifles and handguns shut off the street where Hernández lives, entering a number of other residences to ask for the journalist’s home. They de-activated the security cameras in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at killing the messenger
From EFF (excerpt): "Ultimately, the government’s prosecution of Mr. Brown continues to threaten not only journalists and the press, but the public at large. We rely on the media to report on government and corporate impropriety—even when that reporting requires a journalist to review and share illegally obtained records. However, if journalists fear they could be charged with a crime for newsgathering and reporting (even if the charges are later dropped), they may think twice about whether the publication is really worth the risk. This case threatens the public in another way. Just like journalists, we all regularly share links... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at killing the messenger
From Bill Moyers' site, some handy tips on how to protect your privacy on-line. (excerpt): "One of the easiest and simplest things you can do to protect your privacy is to be a smarter Web browser. This is surprisingly difficult because most popular Web browsing software is set up to allow users to be tracked by default. The reason is simple economics – you don’t pay for Web browsing software, so the companies that make it have to find other ways to make money." Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at killing the messenger
CPJ has moved most of their infographics and data imagery to Tumblr - follow them. Another great resource on Tumblr is Future Journalism Project. And, a number of radio interviews that we've conducted over the past few months are archived on our press page - click the highlighted links to listen here. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at killing the messenger