Media

Unembedded in Iraq

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When a journalist decides to "embed" they can only report on the unit they are with. They see what the unit sees, and limit themselves to what the military decides they will see.

In many instances they sign forms granting the military the right to censor their work. It is impossible for such "embedded" journalists to report accurately on how Iraqis are being affected by the occupation.

My type of reportage, like other independent journalists, focuses instead on the Iraqi perspective. I have focused my stories on how rampant unemployment, lack of water and electricity, the US-backed segregation of Baghdad, and the horrible security situation had an impact on Iraqis.

Obstacles to truth

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In his new book, Flat Earth News, award-winning journalist Nick Davies argues that the main threat to truth-telling journalism has moved from propagandist proprietors such as Lord Beaverbrook to the corporations and their commercial interests exemplified by business magnate Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch is a highly successful businessman, a moderately competent journalist in his own right, and a brutal and unscrupulous bully. His interventions tend to come in three forms. First, and most important, he uses his media outlets to build alliances with politicians who, in return, will help him with his business. In his highly revealing biography, The Murdoch Archipelago, the former Sunday Times journalist Bruce Page goes back to January 1968 to provide an early and vivid example of how the man works.

Whose lines are they anyway?

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Striking screenwriter Howard Rodman spoke to Socialist Review about challenging the studios over royalties from the "new media".

I believe that the development of "new media" is a technological shift comparable to the advent of TV and home video. But "new media" is a misnomer. I would cite one of my favourite picket line photos: a baby in a stroller with a sign which reads, "It's old media to me." Anyone who has studied this, or lives in a house with a teenager, already knows this. As William Gibson famously said, "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed."

Identikit Hot

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How the media uses technology to create unrealistic images of women


"Our interest is in the appearance of sexiness, not the existence of sexual pleasure, passion isn't the point... Hotness has become our cultural currency, and a lot of people spend a lot of time and a lot of regular, green currency trying to acquire it. Hotness is not the same thing as beauty... Hot can mean popular. Hot can mean talked about. But when it pertains to women, hot means two things in particular: fuckable and saleable."

Media: Shooting the Messengers

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The terrorising of independent media in Iraq continues, writes Liv Lewitschnik.

Media coverage of the US attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November came exclusively from reporters embedded with US coalition forces because Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arab television station, had been banned indefinitely from reporting in Iraq.

Iraq: The BBC at War

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The resignations at the BBC following the Hutton report caused a storm. Colin Sparks looks at the role of public broadcasting in a time of crisis.

The struggle between the BBC and the government is evidence of the deep divisions inside the ruling class over the war in Iraq and the wider issues of strategy that lie behind it. The publication of the Hutton report and the subsequent resignations of the chairman of the board of governors, Gavyn Davies, and the director general, Greg Dyke, should have been a victory for the government.

Media Ownership: The Sky's the Limit for Broadcasters

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'Culture' minister Tessa Jowell's new media bill, released last month, lets the market rip through the television industry, with Rupert Murdoch set to benefit.

Jowell launched the bill just as her previous free market prescription for our screens, digital television, collapsed, leaving behind bad debts, and the bad memory of Johnny Vegas and his monkey.

Jowell's new bill is trumpeted as 'a significant deregulation in media ownership to promote competition'. The deregulation lets Rupert Murdoch bid for a free to viewer television station, Channel 5, to add to his satellite and newspaper empire. It also allows regional television firms like Granada and Carlton to merge.

Tales from the Tabloids

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Can we rely on press reports of the war in Afghanistan?

There is another battle going on that is a long way from the bombings and fighting on the frontline. This is the fight to dictate public opinion through the control and manipulation of the media. We are all familiar with the terms and phrases used by government ministers and defence officials who try to sanitise some of the horrific effects of war. In order for the government to keep the public on board and support for the war high, it has to make sure the right message gets out and any critical comment is kept to a minimum.

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