Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Khadija Ismayilova: Truth Seeker

Khadija Ismayilova is a real rarity in our odd 21st century which employs more Public Relations spin doctors than truth seekers ...

George Orwell had it right with his "Ministry of Truth," which functioned, of course, as the Ministry of Lies.
Yes, the name "World Press Freedom Day” has a stirring ring to it. But the truth is much of the world does not have press freedom.
There can be no democracy without a free press, and no free press without democracy.

Katka aka Khadija spent her 516th day in prison for filing a story the government didn't like. 

Jailed Azerbaijani investigative Khadija Ismayilova has been awarded the 2016 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Ismayilova, a freelance journalist and frequent contributor to RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, was arrested in December 2014.
In September 2015, she was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on tax-evasion and embezzlement charges that have been widely denounced as retaliation for her reporting, which linked members of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's family to allegedly corrupt business practices

Guillermo Cano was killed on December 17, 1986, in front of his paper's office. (Cano was a victim of drug-trafficking mafias, which he fearlessly denounced and about whose harmful effects on Colombian society he cautioned). In all of his work, he refused to compromise and sought justice.
As the recipient of the 2016 prize, I want to take this opportunity tonight, to present you with Mr. Cano's career and accomplishments, not as a cause for celebration, but as a call to action. His legacy remains profoundly incomplete. For all of us here tonight, there is much work that remains to be done...
Azerbaijan Ismayilova cano press freedom award speech

Lisa Laflamme for much of the world press freedom is a distant dream  ...

Icon? Excuse me, but ICON? An icon is a thing revered, embodying our highest and truest values, a thing sacred. Are we seriously saying that a 72-storey gambling joint is an icon but an entire avenue of century-old Anzac fig trees, or a precinct of treasured Federation houses, is not? This isn't just a tower, a few old trees and some pretty buildings. This is a defining moment for Sydney. What, if anything, do we hold sacred. It was near midnight on Monday when they took the chainsaw to the Anzac figs. Gradually, over hours, the police arrived, the chipping trucks, the arc lights, the fences. They selected a great, muscular, impossibly cantilevered limb. Then, despite a hundred picketers and a continuous ribbon of honking traffic, two fluoro monkeys rode the cherry-picker, revved the chainsaw and – to cries of "shame", "remember Bjelke" – began hacking it to death Sydney's soul is at stake in battle over icons
Voices in Danger, A platform for stories of journalists killed, kidnapped, jailed or threatened just for doing their jobs
See also Journalists in the line of fire
and Reporters Without Borders – Help defend freedom of information every day

JOURNALISM: Paper That Couldn’t Be Bothered To Report On Local Police Misconduct Fires Off Editorial Insulting Writer Who Actually Did

THEY’RE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO BE NERDS, AND IT’S NOT A PROM: The Hill:It’s Time To End “Nerd Prom.” “In theory, the purpose of the dinner is to celebrate the value of a free and fearless White House press corps by setting aside one evening when those who cover the White House can sit down and break bread with the president, as reporters first did with President Calvin Coolidge in 1924, plus hand out a few scholarships. But today’s dinner is little more than an opportunity for out-of-town celebrities to strut their stuff.”
It does provide an instructive window into the Hunger Games-like culture of America’s capital though, and the participants are unself-conscious enough to let that really show.

One more reason Wall Street bankers privately wink and grin at these seemingly huge punishments is that even paying the full $5 billion would only be relatively painful. Crime Does Pay