Monday - February 5, 2018

Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio.

(Kosovo's Majlinda Kelmendi. © AP)For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have 8 athletes competing; and a good shot for a medal in women's judo: Majlinda Kelmendi is considered a favorite. She's ranked first in the world in her weight class.

(South Sudan's James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel & coach Joe Domongole, © AFP) South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, will have three runners competing in the country's first Olympic Games.

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus


(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)



Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler



CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au)


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Entries in ABC News (3)


US Broadcasters Honour Industry Giants (NEWS BRIEF)

Christiane Amanpour of ABC News with Library of American Broadcasting Foundation head Don West. CREDIT: Saarah Al-Mahdi (HN, October 14, 2011) - Renowned television journalist Christian Amanpour is among recipients of an annual US broadcasting awards ceremony held today in New York City.

Lauded as a leader of a new generation of TV correspondents, Amanpour was described by the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation as being fearless and passionate in her reporting.

"In a time when many critics say Americans don't care enough about foreign news and news organizations are castigated for not covering stories far from our shores, Christiane Amanpour has been working hard for almost 30 years to bring home just those kind of stories," the organization said at today's Giants of Broadcasting event.

In a passionate acceptance speech, Amanpour, a former CNN chief international correspondent who jumped to ABC News in 2010 to anchor This Week With Christian Amanpour and provide other network coverage and analysis, said she would like to see more women in journalism - including in top TV network management. "I'd also like to see a female president," she said.

Also awarded for journalistic excellence was NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who inherited the anchor chair in 2004 from Tom Brokaw at just age 43, and is known for cutting edge coverage of the Katrina crisis in New Orleans and the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The organization said of Williams, a former volunteer firefighter: "Being a broadcast network news anchor is to join a select club. And being able to balance the gravitas and earnestness necessary to report on horrific natural disasters and wars, while maintaining a widely appreciated sense of humour, is rarer still. Brian Williams is in a class almost by himself."

In February 2011, when he reported on the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt, his Nightly News broadcast enjoyed its highest ratings in six years.

Williams, true to form, accepted the award with an off-the-cuff speech that suggested he reached the prized anchor chair almost by chance - pointing out, for example, that he is a college drop-out who started his career in media by answering telephones.

Speakers at the foundation event acknowledged rapid technological change and shifting audience habits as challenges to the industry, but added that core journalistic values will remain.

Also honoured today were: CBS Sunday Morning and Brian Lamb, the founder of C-SPAN.

- HUMNEWS staff


Deployment of Solo TV News Crews to Foreign Conflict Zones Problematic (REPORT)

TV news crews are frequently finding themselves as targets: news crew near Tahrir Square in Feb 2011. M Bociurkiw/HUMN(HN, April 16, 2011) - With foreign journalists under siege in many parts of the world, especially in ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, news agencies may need to think twice before deploying solo video journalists to conflict zones.

The issue of precautions for so-called all-platform journalists or multi-media journalists came up a a panel at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) this week in Las Vegas.

Also called 'backpack journalism' (BPJ), the trend of downsizing news teams is emerging in more TV markets, both big and small. Smaller cameras and ubiquitous connectivity - as well as budget slashing at news operations - are making media proprietors far more keen on the all-platform journalist model.

While the trend has worked fairly well in developed economies, such as the US and Canada, it is still too early to tell whether conditions allow for mass deployment of one-man videographer teams in danger zones overseas.

"When it comes to folks working by themselves you don't have someone watching your back," said Kevin Benz, a broadcast journalism veteran and award-winning news photographer. "When you are staring down that lens you are in complete tunnel vision and you don't have anyone watching for you."

Benz said that in conflict zones, larger crews may be more conspicuous but they allow for more protection.

"If you go off to dangerous places - whether it's in our cities or in other countries - by yourself there should be significant ethical consideration in our newsrooms that we make sure that we are keeping our journalists safe. If we know that we are sending them into something that is dangerous that we are sending them with support. That's being smart about being safe," said Benz.

On the other hand, there are benefits to a lean deployment to the field. The "intimidation factor" of interviewing subjects drops dramatically with smaller equipment, said Stacey Woelfel, an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and the news director for KOMU-TV, the University of Missouri-owned NBC affiliate for central Missouri.

"Smaller equipment does lend some stealth to the operation that we didn't have before," said Woelfel. "There is a trade-off there as our journalists will be able to work more secretly."

The issue of the safety and security of journalists has become more prominent in recent weeks as protests have rocked numerous countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Earlier this month a team from The New York Times was detained for several days by pro-Gadaffi elements in Libya. And in February, CBS News '60 Minutes' correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted in Cairo while covering the uprising in and around Tahrir Square.

CNN correspondents Anderson Cooper and Hala Gorani, and CBS News anchor Katie Couric were shown on-air being pushed around while covering the uprisings in Tahrir Square. All were accompanied by at least one crew member when they became the target of unruly crowds.

As news gathering drifts into a task done by many - including freelancers and citizen journalists - sufficient vetting of user-generated content streaming into newsrooms needs to be a major consideration. One panelist said that with more new sources sending stories and tweets into newsrooms from far-off locations, fact verification has to be part of the news work flow. "You want to be sure these people are legitimate."

Benz cited the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) as an institution that has pioneered fact verification in often difficult circumstances. The service uses contributors in country where freedom of information is severly restricted. "They have developed very, very strong systems to verify information."

Benz said whether at home or abroad, leaner news operations means that "fewer people are working faster" to gather the news. "Give journalists time to verify the facts," he said.

- Reporting by Michael Bociurkiw in Las Vegas


Authorities in Bahrain, Elsewhere Intensify Crackdown on Foreign Journalists (UPDATED FEB 19 1255GMT)

(HN, February 19, 2011) --- Across the Middle East and North Africa - journalists continue to find themselves in the line of fire.

Just yesterday in the Bahraini capital, Manama, Michael Slackman and Sean Patrick Farrell of The New York Times were recording video when a helicopter began firing in their direction. The two were amoing the few foreign journalists allowed into the tiny Gulf kingdom -  more than a dozen were detained for hours upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport.

Commenting on the targeting of his colleagues in Bahrain, Times colunist Nicholas Kristof said: "It was another example of Bahrain targeting journalists, as King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa attempts to intimidate or keep out witnesses to his repression."


Nancy Yousseff, a journalist with McClatchy news agency has been held at least 15 hours at Bahrain's airport. Other detained journalists are said to be from Reuters, Time, BBC, France 24 and several Japanese news outlets.

The crackdown on journalists in recent weeks in countries in the Middle East and North Africa ranging from Egypt to Lybia to Syria underscores a growing risk being faced by working journalists covering widening street protests in the region, says the New York-based watchdog group Committee to Protect Journalists (see report below).

In Yemen, where protests are also gaining momentum - according to a HUMNEWS correspondent on the scene - the CPJ says at least four photojournalists were attacked, beaten, and had their cameras confiscated.

A CBS News crew arrived in Bahrain on Friday morning but some members were held at the airport by security officials, along with as many as 15 other foreign journalists, according to the Associated Press and other sources.

(The HUMNEWS correspondent reported at 1130GMT today that snipers have been stationed in the centre of Sana'a and that Skype has been blocked).

Also this afternoon, as Bahrani authorities were moving for a second time against protesters with live fire, Al Jazeera reported a journalist for the Daily Telegraph has also been shot.

In Iraq, Hemin Latif, a journalist working for the Sulaimaniya-based Destur news website (بینیتز ) was shot and injured yesterday while covering anti-government protests against unemployment and corruption, the CPJ says.

"Governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa cannot deny their citizens coverage of these momentous events across the region," Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator said today. "Local and international media must be allowed to cover the news."

In the CPJ report released yesterday, Attacks on the Press 2010, street protests were identified as a growing risk for journalists.

"Deaths in combat-related crossfire and in dangerous assignments such as street protests constituted a larger portion of the 2010 toll than usual," the report said.

In the street protests in Cairo, Egypt this month at least one journalist was killed and several injured and detained.

The CPJ report cites Bahrain as a country where "authorities have used harassment, threats, and restrictions on movement to limit independent coverage on sensitive issues."

It added: "The effect has been to conceal controversial activities and flawed policies, suppress political opposition, and settle scored with critics."

The CPJ says authorities in Bahrain have used the excuse of anti-terrorism to arrest hundreds of people - including at least two journalistic bloggers "who has been critical of government policies that marginalize the country's Shiite majority."

---HUMNEWS staff