Recently in Media & Foreign Affairs Category

Nouri al-Maliki Threatens to Ban Al Arabiya

Al Arabiya News reported June 14, 2014, that “The Iraqi government threatened on Saturday (June 14,2014) to close the Baghdad office of Al Arabiya News Channel and ban correspondents of both Al Arabiya and sister news channel, Al Hadath, from reporting in the country.”

The news outlet said, “The warning from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki comes as a growing number of political figures in the country have been urging the Iraqi leader to resign and form a transitional government.”

Please see “Maliki threatens to ban Al Arabiya News in Iraq” for Al Arabiya’s response to al-Maliki’s threat.

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Peter Maass’ revealing and thought-provoking profile of documentary filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras (in photo below), which was published in the August 13, 2013, edition of The New York Times magazine under the headline “How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets,” should be required reading Laura_Poitras_at_PopTech_2010in all journalism classes. In fact, all editors should required their reporters to read it. It’s a great story of how investigative journalism must be done in the digital age, especially that dealing with national security issues, such as the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive, global collection of all internet and telephone communications, including that of Americans.

Mr. Maas’ article is about how Ms. Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer and a columnist for The Guardian, a London-based publication with offices in the U.S., brought to light how they became the journalist former CIA agent Edward Snowden, a former system administrator at Booz Allen Hamilton, an NSA subcontractor, contacted about the NSA’s global spying operation. Mr. Maas concludes, and I concur, that:

Poitras and Greenwald are an especially dramatic example of what outsider reporting looks like in 2013. They do not work in a newsroom, and they personally want to be in control of what gets published and when. When The Guardian didn’t move as quickly as they wanted with the first article on Verizon, Greenwald discussed taking it elsewhere, sending an encrypted draft to a colleague at another publication. He also considered creating a Web site on which they would publish everything, which he planned to call NSADisclosures.
Mr. Maas said, “In the end, The Guardian moved ahead with their articles. But Poitras and Greenwald have created their own publishing network as well, placing articles with other outlets in Germany and Brazil and planning more for the future. They have not shared the full set of documents with anyone.

Conclusion: In the 1970’s, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein inspired a generation of aspiring journalists with their reporting on the Watergate Scandal, which forced President Richard M. Nixon to resign. Now, in 2013, it’s Poitras and Greenwald. Hopefully, young journalist will follow their lead. 

Note: Laura Poitras photo by Kris Krug . Licensed under Creative Commons share and share alike.

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Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explains that, “there was no legal duty on Russia's part to turn (National Security Agency whistleblower Edward) Snowden over to American authorities for criminal prosecution, and a moral and political duty not to do so, especially in the circumstances surrounding the controversy over Snowden.” Mr. Snowden has been granted a one-year visa.

Mr. Falk, “the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights,” writing in an August 5, 2013, post at Al Jazeera English, opines:

The most influential media in the United States has lived up to its pro-government bias in the Snowden Affair in three major ways: firstly, by consistently referring to Snowden by the demeaning designation of 'leaker' rather than as 'whistleblower' or 'surveillance dissident,' both more respectful and accurate.

Secondly, they are completely ignoring the degree to which Russia's grant of temporary refugee status to Snowden for one year was in full accord with the normal level of protection to be given to anyone accused of nonviolent political crimes in a foreign country, and pursued diplomatically and legally by the government that is seeking to indict and prosecute. In effect, for Russia to have turned Snowden over to the United States under these conditions would have been morally and politically scandalous considering the nature of his alleged crimes.

Thirdly, the media's refusal to point out that espionage, the main accusation against Snowden, is the quintessential 'political offense' in international law, and as such is routinely excluded from any list of extraditable offenses. That is, even if there had been an extradition treaty between the United States and Russia, it should have been made clear that there was no legal duty on Russia's part to turn Snowden over to American authorities for criminal prosecution, and a moral and political duty not to do so, especially in the circumstances surrounding the controversy over Snowden.

Mr. Falk said, “If these elements had been clearly articulated, the United States government would have seemed ridiculous if it complained about the willingness of some foreign governments to give Snowden asylum.”

To read the entire post, please see “Snowden's Asylum: 'It's the law, stupid.'”

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Salon.Com’s Q&A With Glenn Greenwald

Falguni A. Sheth, a professor of philosophy and political theory at Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts who writes about politics, race, and feminism at, has posted an interview with Guardian Columnist Glenn Greenwald at that I highly recommend. It’s refreshing to read a post in which the interviewee’s comments aren’t filtered or the journalist feels obligated to criticize the subject to show how patriotic he or she is.

To read the Q&A, please see “Q&A with Glenn Greenwald: Americans’ reaction “surprising and gratifying”

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The Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review

David Judson, editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, a 48-year old Turkish newspaper, said “the indelible memories of the year [2009] will be of the 50 or so remarkable young journalists who come to work each day at this very Turkish newspaper that just happens to be produced in the English language.” See “The year of the Daily News reporter.” He adds:

They positioned themselves in Baku, Kars and Yerevan to bring the world the details of a high-drama image diplomatic deal between Turkey and Armenia. Hours after a mass murder in Mardin, our reporter was there to chronicle the pain of survivors. On another wet and miserable morning in the town of Silivri, we were in the courthouse for another round in the Ergenekon tribunal that has transfixed the nation. We were inside Parliament for the first debate of the “Kurdish initiative” and later we spent a week in the dusty villages of Dalbudak and Sivritepe to examine what it meant on the ground. And so much more.

Judson said, “Internationally, just a few staff-made datelines that come to mind include Washington, San Francisco, Brussels, Helsinki, Paris, Ramallah, Tel Aviv, Khartoum, Moscow, Tokyo, Riga, Bratislava, Budapest and Lisbon. Just how the hell did we get to all those places?”

It’s a great post about American editor running and English language newspaper in Turkey under a Turkish boss. I wonder how many other American journalists can find work abroad.

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The British Foreign Secretary’s May 13 Session With U.S. Bloggers

Adele Stan, a columnist for The American Prospect Online, had a May 13, 2009, column at the Guardian’s informative Comment is Free America blog headlined “David Miliband meets the bloggers.”

“It was billed as a newfangled sort of event: a news conference between US bloggers and Britain's blogging foreign secretary at the New America Foundation, a Washington DC think tank,” she wrote.

It was a nice blend of gossip, reportage, technology and politics. The kind of post I find quite appealing.

Note: This post is cross-posted at The Blogging Journalist and The Opinion Post.

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