the daily grind of small acts

Reconciliation and retribution. The ability to forgive. How should a victim behave when faced with their torturer? And what are the points on intersection between vengeance and justice?… With World Press Freedom Day, it seems to serve as a promotion for the newspaper industry, an ostensible free press that is inextricably linked with democracy. Yet the press, even in the Western economies are biased skillful practitioners of “yellow” journalism and problematic as well in that they reflect and reinforce what could be termed the “tyranny of the majority” which results in a standardization of opinion and a limiting of discussion which is contrary to “world press freedom”. …

Jay Rosen:In the age of mass media, the press was able to define the sphere of legitimate debate with relative ease because the people on the receiving end were atomized– connected “up” to Big Media but not across to each other. And now that authority is eroding. I will try to explain why.

It’s easily the most useful diagram I’ve found for understanding the practice of journalism in the United States, and the hidden politics of that practice. You can draw it by hand right now. Take a sheet of paper and make a big circle in the middle. In the center of that circle draw a smaller one to create a doughnut shape. Label the doughnut hole “sphere of consensus.” Call the middle region “sphere of legitimate debate,” and the outer region “sphere of deviance.” …

Rosen:Here the two-party system reigns, and the news agenda is what the people in power are likely to have on their agenda. Perhaps the purest expression of this sphere is Washington Week on PBS, where journalists discuss what the two-party system defines as “the issues.” Objectivity and balance are “the supreme journalistic virtues” for the panelists on Washington Week because when there is legitimate debate it’s hard to know where the truth lies. There are risks in saying that truth lies with one faction in the debate, as against another— even when it does. He said, she said journalism is like the bad seed of this sphere, but also a logical outcome of it. Read More:

That’s the entire model. Now you have a way to understand why it’s so unproductive to argue with journalists about the deep politics of their work. …Anyone whose views lie within the sphere of deviance—as defined by journalists—will experience the press as an opponent in the struggle for recognition. If you don’t think separation of church and state is such a good idea; if you do think a single payer system is the way to go; if you dissent from the “lockstep behavior of both major American political parties when it comes to Israel” (Glenn Greenwald) chances are you will never find your views reflected in the news. It’s not that there’s a one-sided debate; there’s no debate. Read More:

Trionfi:We have talked about violence against journalists, which certainly has great repercussions on press freedom and independent reporting. 1) Targeted murders and violence against journalists by state or non-state actors with the aim of silencing their reporting 102 journalists were killed in 2010 because of their profession, the second highest number in the past ten years. The systematic violence against journalists leads to high levels of self-censorship about issues of public concern and the consequent loss of information by a society. Many journalists get killed either reporting from a dangerous environment, a conflict, or while investigating illegal activities. In some cases, the murderers even leave messages next to the body of the journalist, aiming at discouraging anybody else from reporting on a given issue. “Stop cooperating with Los Zetas,” - a drug cartel in Mexico - was the message left next to the dead body of Mexican journalist José Luis Cerda Meléndez in March 2011. “If you don’t stop publishing news, you will die.” Was a note found next to the body of Indian journalist Umesh Rajput earlier this year. Read More:

In addition, the advertisements are actually fairly violent at a graphic level. If these taped and gagged mouths may actually encourage a limiting of dialogue, in fact serve to condone free expression. The advertisement  with MLK is the most mysterious, given that the red and black has occult significance as a death color…”The colors RED, WHITE, and BLACK date back not only to Ancient Egypt, but to their origins in the Far East. Egypt was known as the “Black and Red Land” and was the center of Alchemy.”

Alexis de Tocqueville:America is perhaps, at this moment, the country of the whole world which contains the fewest germs of revolution; but the press is not less destructive in its principles than in France, and it displays the same violence without the same reasons for indignation. In America, as in France, it constitutes a singular power, so strangely composed of mingled good and evil that it is at the same time indispensable to the existence of freedom, and nearly incompatible with the maintenance of public order….A single glance upon a French and an American newspaper is sufficient to show the difference which exists between the two nations on this head. In France the space allotted to commercial advertisements is very limited, and the intelligence is not considerable, but the most essential part of the journal is that which contains the discussion of the politics of the day. In America three-quarters of the enormous sheet which is set before the reader are filled with advertisements, and the remainder is frequently occupied by political intelligence or trivial anecdotes: it is only from time to time that one finds a corner devoted to passionate discussions like those with which the journalists of France are wont to indulge their readers.Read More:

I avow that I do not hold that complete and instantaneous love for the freedom of the press that one accords to things whose nature is unqualifiedly good. I love it out of consideration for the evils it presents much more than for the good it does…In the matter of the press there is therefore really no middle between servitude and license. To get the inestimable good that freedom of the press assures one must know how to submit to the inevitable evil it gives rise to….When a large number of organs of the press come to advance along the same track, their influence becomes almost irresistible in the long term, and public opinion, struck always from the same side, ends by yielding under their blows…. Read More:


Ariel Dorfman:After all, if ever there was a situation where violence could be justified, it would have been against the junta in Chile. Pinochet and his generals had overthrown a constitutional government and were killing and persecuting citizens whose radical sin had been to imagine a world where you do not need to massacre your opponents in order to allow the waters of justice to flow. And yet, very wisely, almost instinctively, the Chilean resistance embraced a different route: to slowly, resolutely, dangerously, take over the surface of the country, isolate the dictatorship inside and outside our nation, and make Chile ungovernable through civil disobedience. Not entirely different from the strateg

at the civil rights movement had espoused in the United States. And indeed, I never felt closer to Martin Luther King than during the seventeen years it took us to free Chile of its dictatorship. His words to the militants who thronged to Washington, D.C., in 1963, demanding that they not lose faith, resonated with me, comforted my sad heart….

---Anton Chekhov is credited with establishing the rule that if you introduce a gun in the first act, it must go off in the third. So abides Ariel Dorfman, who, in Death and the Maiden, introduces a gun in the first minute and keeps you wondering...Dorfman's play, which won the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play in 1992, is taut and morally ambiguous, probing whether a victim has the right to become an aggressor or is compelled to acknowledge the buried sins of the past. Roberto's guilt is constantly in question, as is Paulina's sanity. The story invites no clear-cut solution to this conundrum, instead leaving the characters searching for a solution they can live with. The material draws heavily from Dorfman's background in Chile during the 17-year Pinochet regime and feels relevant in today's nervous political climate portended by mobile, decentralized terrorist groups.Read More:

He was speaking prophetically to me, to us, when he said, “I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells.” Speaking to us, Dr. King, speaking to me, when he thundered: “Some of you come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering.” He understood that more difficult than going to your first protest, was to awaken the next day and go to the next protest and then the next one, the daily grind of small acts that can lead to large and lethal consequences….

---The United Nations General Assembly declared 3 May to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights... Read More:

…The dogs and sheriffs of Alabama and Mississippi were alive and well in the streets of Santiago and Valparaiso, and so was the spirit that had encouraged defenseless men and women and children to be mowed down, beaten, bombed, harassed, and yet continue confronting their oppressors with the only weapons available to them: the suffering of their bodies and the conviction that nothing could make them turn back…

---Barbara Trionfi:Or take Russia, where ever since the brutal murder of journalist Anna Politkowskaya was broadly reported in the world’s news, many have expressed concern about violence against journalists in the country. And rightly so! But what few people know is that a similar number of journalists were killed in the past 5-10 years in India or in Brazil. And yet why is the press freedom situation in Russia far more alarming that the one in India, or in Brazil? Because so many other elements of the Russian media landscape contribute to an information that is nether free nor independent. It’s not only the fear of violence that affects journalists working in Russia. It’s the economic pressure exerted by an elite that control the economy and is close to those in power. It’s a culture of secrecy brought about by antidemocratic laws, harassment of journalists, fear, and an entire system that makes any form of investigative journalism impossible. Read More:

…And just like the blacks in the United States, so in Chile we also sang in the streets of the cities that had been stolen from us. Not spirituals, for every land has its own songs. In Chile we sang, over and over, the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the hope that a day would come when all men would be brothers. Read More:

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The British political philosopher John Stuart Mill took this principle further. In his essay On Liberty he wrote, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others.” Mill’s “no harm principle” aims to prevent government from becoming a vehicle for the “tyranny of the majority,” which he viewed as not just a political but also a social tyranny that stifled minority voices and imposed a regimentation of thought and values. Mill’s views became the basis for much of liberal political philosophy since, whether it is free market or economic liberalism or social liberalism….

---The commercial titled Woman was done by Expression, UAE advertising agency for for World press freedom day in United Arab Emirates. It was released in the May 2011. Business sector is Public awareness messages. --- Read More:

…How do majority rule and the protection of minority rights function in practice? Clearly, the two can easily collide when the assertion of Madisonian rights and Millian liberalism confront an unmovable democratic majority. Read More:

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