Press freedom not a US custom

The Swedish Journalist Association (SJF) has sent a letter to the US Secretary of State Colin Powell in protest of the US Immigration Authorities’ treatment of foreign journalists. SJF claims that journalists have been treated as criminals, been imprisoned and denied contact with their countries’ embassies.

That reminds me of something I read in Dan Gillmor’s outline to his book Making the News.

The biggest governmental threats are outside the United States, of course, where governments and other powerful players routinely intimidate journalists, or worse. In addition, governments elsewhere are much more likely to control cyberspace. We’ll ask whether Making the News has a prayer of working in places where the First Amendment is viewed as a crazy American notion. (I’m optimistic.)

It’s easy to make fun of Americans’ ignorance about the world outside their own continent, but for anyone, even us who are not journalists, it becomes painfully obvious that we are all viewed upon as possible terrorists when we enter the US customs having to leave fingerprints and get our mug shots taken. Kudos to Brazil who had the guts to protest.

Sponsor regrets Big Brother-sponsorship

Bed manufacturer Hästens sponsored the reality show Big Brother in Sweden and supplied the show with beds, but after several scandals including live broadcasting of sexual intercourse, the company now regrets participating because the company “has high ethics and moral”.

Makes you wonder what they expected people to do in their beds, in a show casted with ex-strippers equipped with loads of boose.

New book about Bush PR strategies

Here’s a book that I want to read. Spinsanity will publish a book this fall called All the President’s Spin: George W. Bush, the Media and the Truth.

All the President’s Spin will provide the definitive non-partisan account of the Bush administration’s unrelenting dishonesty about public policy. The book will demonstrate how the White House has broken new ground in using misleading sales tactics to promote its policies and manipulate the media.”

Slime Time

Mother Jones has a good analysis about how media with different political agendas react to the “sex rumours” about John Kerry.

“What’s a respectable media outlet to do when a story too juicy to ignore — but sleazy and unverified, and from a discredited, though occasionally accurate, source — starts making the rounds? Ignore it and miss the story? Pile on and look like scumbags when it turns out to be bogus?”