Talking Points: 12 May

_45735860_007223698-1 sabShould journalists have the freedom to report anywhere?  Three UK journalists have been kicked out of Sri Lanka for reporting on the plight of civilians in a Tamil refugee camp.  You can read the lead reporter’s account of what happened here.  This got the World Have Your Say team talking yesterday about the rights of journalists to work freely and whether or not governments should control how the media in their country report.

We’ve also heard, yesterday, about the release of the US – Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi who was arrested in Iran on charges of ‘spying’ four months ago.  The Iranian authorities have said they released Saberi because she had shown ‘remorse’ for her actions, but does she have anything to apologise for?  This commentator says that examples of journalists, writes and bloggers being imprisoned for their work is common in Iran and needs to be stopped. 

Does the media have freedom to report in your country?  Do you think that journalists should have more rights to report the truth?  Or should there be limits on how reporters can behave in warzones and trouble spots?


Another story which has had a big impact here in the UK has been the abuse of  MP’s expenses.  It’s caused fury amongst the media and the public, but this columnist thinks public outrage has been blown out of proportion.

How is this story been reported in your country?  Are you interested in it?  Are your politicians guilty of similar abuses of power?  I’ve noticed this story about Indian politicians getting richer whilst in office, in one of the UK papers,  do you have more examples?


Finally, do men do worse in a recession? This article suggests that males are having a tougher time of it during the credit crunch than women.  But then again this article from Australia argues the opposite. What do you make of this?  Does does your gender have any impact to the way that you cope in a recession?

31 Responses to “Talking Points: 12 May”

  1. May 12, 2009 at 12:36

    Saberi Case Underlines Blatant Breaches of Press Freedom in Iran!
    TEHRAN – The arrest and release of Roxana Saberi brought relief to Iranian politicians, but also revealed flagrant flaws in the Iranian Judiciary. Gross lapses of judgment at the Judiciary on the one hand, and heavy handed treatment of journalists by the Iranian Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Propagation have led to the arrest, torture, and imprisonment of the best journalists in Iran.
    The local media was shocked at the arrest and imprisonment of a young, unsuspecting and somewhat naïve young girl, but what could they do? The better part of the Syndicate of Iranian Journalists was dissolved a couple of years ago and replaced by a government-sponsored organization.
    Thirty years after the Revolution, the Guidance Ministry, working closely with security and intelligence people, in close collusion with the Judiciary, keep an iron fist control of everything that is said or printed in the country.

  2. May 12, 2009 at 13:11

    Yes the media have freedom to report the truth here in Liberia. Infact, Journalists should have more rights for reporting the truth in as much they are formally accredited by their various agencies to their assigned territory, but there should be limitations to their functions in warzones because they might as well be targeted by war mongers who see them as anti for reporting the truth.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  3. 3 Madhav
    May 12, 2009 at 13:15

    I personally thinks that journalists reporting on the incidents does tell only the events as it occurs but not necessarily provides background information on it, why and how it lead to this event. So it is important to provide report with background information to all the events reported for better understanding of the situation. This will probably help listner not to lead to wrong conclusion or impression on the event reported.

  4. 4 John in Germany
    May 12, 2009 at 13:20

    Jounalists and the right to report.

    Lets just for example take the Middle East. Put Three reporters in a Jeep. Take them to an ongoing fight. One is a Jew, One a Christian, and one a Muslim. Gather the reports together without allowing them to see each others work. Read.

    There’s your answer.

    Have a nice Evening
    John in Germany.

  5. 5 Dinka Aliap Chawul,Kampala
    May 12, 2009 at 13:26

    I think Journalists have every rights to reports any stories/histories to their audiences wherever,whenever and whatever its convenience to them but freedom of expressions should first depends on how the very “government stands” on freedoms of its citizens of that country before the journals.When you climb the tree the first safety measure is to check around whether there`s a log around the tree that you climbing onto.

  6. 6 John in Salem
    May 12, 2009 at 14:03

    I was very happy to hear of Ms Saberi’s release. Her arrest and “trial” was an embarrasment to my Iranian friends who say that it was more likely orchestrated by the religious elite than the elected government.
    Reporters who understand the risks should be allowed to cover news anywhere, but I am curious to know what the statistics are on casualty/imprisonment rates of network vs freelance journalists. There seem to be a lot of idiots out there getting themselves into bad spots and needing rescuing.

    I have to admit amusement at the MP story – in the U.S. the excesses of our politicians fuels an entire industry of muckrakers. Hubris is big business here.

    Do men do worse in a recession? My gut feeling is that women, who on average earn less than men in the same work, are more used to getting by on less. Also, men tend to define themselves more by what they do than women so the loss of a job takes more of an emotional toll.

  7. 7 Rob (UK)
    May 12, 2009 at 14:09

    The recession-sex-difference story is interesting.

    There is a lot of biological evidence that when times are good, animals produce more male offspring. Humans also invest more in their male children. This is because men’s reproductive output is variable (they can potentially have no offspring, or hundreds). If the environment is good, there is more chance they will be able to have lots. Women’s reproductive output, meanwhile, is more stable. Women can only (!) have around 10 children, so a good/bad environment impacts less upon their output.

    This obviously isn’t the sort of thing that can have an impact within a few months, so I’m probably getting excited over nothing!

  8. 8 globalcomedy
    May 12, 2009 at 14:17

    in the States, reporters still have some freedoms. But sadly, very few of them actually do their job anymore.

    Instead, it’s all about becoming a “news star” instead of a reporter. Your agent, your contract, being driven to work, who has the biggest perks. It’s corporate show biz. Would any U.S. journalist actually risk their career for a principal? No.

  9. May 12, 2009 at 14:18

    No, journalist’s don’t have that much of freedom of journalism as they have in their home “mother country”. Journalists can not be given full freedom to report as and what ever they like, it could be treated as trespass into ones own home. They must accept the host’s rules, and restrictions.

  10. 10 Ewewale
    May 12, 2009 at 14:32

    But some journalists could be spies or may run propaganda that is why the well meaning ones get kicked out by terrible governments under these pretexts..

  11. May 12, 2009 at 14:32

    A good journalist should be allowed to report anywhere on anything. However, this will never happen. Most major news corporations will report on what they want you to know, Not what you need to know. The same is true for ALL governments. We are supposed to have freedom of press yet our government only allows the public to know certain things.

  12. 12 Patti in Cape Coral
    May 12, 2009 at 15:25

    Journalists should have the freedom to report anywhere, but they never will. I think sometimes there are good reasons to keep journalists out of an area, such as for their own safety, but more often than not it’s about having too much to hide. I think Iran was particularly careful with Ms. Saberi due to diplomatic considerations, but I’m sure how they treat their own must be dreadful.

  13. 13 Anthony
    May 12, 2009 at 15:35

    Should they, yes, would it be likely to, no. Until all of earth is one country, then it will never be that way.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  14. 14 Gary Paudler
    May 12, 2009 at 15:38

    Your day’s topics mesh well: Here in the US we have broad freedoms which we take for granted. The media is pretty thoroughly co-opted by huge corporations which have a low tolerance for any reporting that might be counter to their narrow interests. Newspapers are going away and reporters are losing their jobs; job insecurity isn’t going to motivate a journalist to stand-up to authority.
    In the US we’re used to our politicians prospering while in office and I don’t think that an eyebrow would be raised at a story like your MPs’ petty fraud. Petty though it may be, we should be able to expect a higher standard of integrity from our leaders. Regarding gender-specific responses to the recession; though there is a lot of emulation by the less- socially entitled, men often derive more emotional validation from material indications of “success”. Since the recession hits us in those indicators, it makes sense that the more entitled among us, that’s us men, would have a harder time adapting to a new financial reality.

  15. May 12, 2009 at 15:51

    Journalists should be allowed to report and present stories anywhere as long as their actions or activities do not undermine the security of the country where they reside or report from.
    We must all understand that the press is indeed powerful in influencing public opinion.

  16. 16 ecotopian
    May 12, 2009 at 15:53

    “Finally, do men do worse in a recession?”

    Do a google search of “gender and job losses”. This topic has been generating articles since at least January in the NY Times, that’s where the phrase came from (http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/gender-and-job-losses/). This blog entry gose on to talk about it and at the bottom there are links to other articles talking about this issue. Give it a read along with the others and it may give some more information and help answer the question.

  17. 17 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    May 12, 2009 at 15:59

    With mobile phones and cameras practically ubiquitous these days, it shouldn’t be all that long before governments that want to suppress the news will simply be unable to do so (excepting only those totally aberrant places like North Korea.)

    With Everyman out there gathering the news, the journalists, analysts and pundits can edit and re-present the news that flows in from the safety of their news rooms, where ever on earth those news rooms are.

    I can’t wait!

  18. 18 emmanuel
    May 12, 2009 at 16:07

    Yes indeed, journalists should have the freedom to report from any where, and about anything on ground so long as its objective and factual. That is why they are societies ears and eyes, and just as one cannot entirely choose what to listen to and what not to, they should also be allowed to give facts as theyare and leave it to the audience to discern the sense in it. Bravo to the Roxana Saberi’s out there, your efforts are admired. Emmanuel Ngugi in Makerere University Business School, Uganda

  19. May 12, 2009 at 16:49

    Journalists should be free to operate in their countries.

  20. 20 Peter sc
    May 12, 2009 at 16:49

    Foreign journalist reporting for who? If they are reporting for their country’s News , why not . When the try to influence the readers or listeners of the country they are reporting on ie subversion. Like BBC and VoA.

  21. 21 Luci Smith
    May 12, 2009 at 18:07

    As a memeber of the Journalists’s Union, I believe that journalists should be free to report from everywhere.
    On the other hand, they have to respect the laws and customs whereever they are. I have always gotten a lot out of BBC reports from Zimbawe, even when the reporters had to go in undercover, because they were not allowed into Zimbabwe.
    And my Union will try to help the reporter who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, because he got caught up in the heat of the moment. If Ms. Saberi was arrested for?while buying wine, she probably ought to have refrained from doing anything illegal while in Iran. I would never want to try to operate in a country where they just look for an excuse to harrass me, but I would have found that exciting when I was younger. I like being responsible nowadays and that is why I like going to London, where people act civilized.

  22. 22 Luci Smith
    May 12, 2009 at 18:17

    I think that age has more affect on how I weather a recession than gender. Being the child of people who were young during the depression, I have always expected that periods with financial catastrophes would come along and been on the lookout when the first signs appeared. I finished University at a time in the late 1980’s when it was really tough to get a job and I know a lot of people who finished at the same time as I did, who never really got good jobs, compared to people who were 10 years older or younger.
    I just hope that people who are affected try to realize that it is not their fault and that money really is not so important. If President Obama gets some kind of Universal Health Care System up in the US, it will mean that a lot of people do not have to be as worried about losing their jobs.
    Recessions are part of Capitalism, but the people who suffer the most are the ones who cannot afford to and one’s health care should not be tied to one’s job, I don’t think. It makes me sad to see all of the people who are homeless and need (mental) heath services.

  23. 23 Richard Austin
    May 12, 2009 at 18:20

    Richard Austin

    The release of Ms. Saberi proves that freedom of the press is an international value and requires international support. It may be that democracy will grow more readily out of communication and diligence than conflict.

  24. 24 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 12, 2009 at 19:24

    I think Journalism suppose to be free, responsible, analytic, creative & submissive with society, culture, rules & regulation of state.
    We have to understand real practical problem in serving quality journalism in multi cultural & ethenic societies as real world is not tiny like European countries.

  25. 25 Roberto
    May 12, 2009 at 22:27

    RE “” The Iranian authorities have said they released Saberi because she had shown ‘remorse’ for her actions, but does she have anything to apologise for? “”

    ————- It was reported she was initially arrested for buying illegal alcohol.

    Obviously Iran used her to score political points and are now seen as graciously releasing her when in fact the naive young lady has served her purpose for them.

    Think of the extraordinary resources and attention given this case, and understand most in her position never get much of any help, attention, or resources thrown their way. This was a 15 minute of fame spot for the young lady whom one hopes will exercise more discretion in the future. She needlessly worried many and her cause wasted much resource and attention that could be devoted to more worthy causes.

  26. 26 Dennis Junior
    May 13, 2009 at 05:59

    Should journalists have the freedom to report anywhere? [Yes, the journalists should have the right to report from anywhere…..]

    ~Dennis Junior~

    • 27 Dennis Junior
      May 15, 2009 at 01:32


      Does the media have freedom to report in your country? [Yes]

      Do you think that journalists should have more rights to report the truth? [Yes….]

      Or should there be limits on how reporters can behave in warzones and trouble spots? [No limits, but acceptable protocols on requirements on accepted behaviour….]

      ~Dennis Junior~

  27. May 13, 2009 at 08:53

    Party Rivalry in Britain Takes Fun Out of Politics!
    Party rivalry has outlived its usefulness in Britain. The country can run itself with a little help form city, and county councilors. Let Brussels and Strasbourg do the rest.
    Every member should speak three languages, and attend Parliament ten days a year, spend a minimum of $200,000 –/ per annum and devote the rest of time traveling and generating wealth. There is so much money around, if only they knew where to look.
    Elect a monarch every four years and reduce the Lords to a dozen men and a couple of women. Set them up on a farm somewhere in Sussex near London! Ration them to two to ten pints of beer and a couple of tins of baked beans a day. Let them take on the tasks of NATO, UN, and Security Council, rolled in one.

  28. 29 viola
    May 15, 2009 at 18:26

    The only limits reporters, bloggers, etc. should have are whatever laws there are against slandering others. Can whole countries, vs. individuals, be slandered? I doubt it, since there is no world government that can legislate and enforce laws against it. Should there be a world government that could enforce world laws against slandering countries? I don’t know.

    However, Saberi wasn’t jailed for slander while fulfilling her job as a reporter. She was accused of spying. If she was innocent of spying, why should she express remorse? If she was guilty of spying, why didn’t they keep her in jail? Strange judicial system (?) they have in Iran. I’m glad they turned her loose, but a little honesty with regard to reasons would be nice.

    Here in Canada, former prime minister Brian Mulroney is still trying to clear himself of charges of corruption for accepting money from (hope I get the name right) Karl Heinz Schreiber, a lobbyist, I believe, for Airbus. Great Britain is not alone with respect to the problem of bribery or inappropriate enrichment by public officials.

    Do men handle economic downturns with less skill than women do? I suspect it depends on the man. There is a belief that men are likelier than women to turn to violence in response to any kind of stress in their lives. Again, it depends on the man. Are people of black African descent likely to have lower scores on intelligence tests, as is claimed? I suspect it depends on the person of black African descent. It’s the same bogus argument that ends up insulting everyone, from individuals, to whole groups, for little insight.

  29. May 16, 2009 at 11:13

    Of course they should. Publish and be damned.

  30. 31 T
    May 25, 2009 at 02:48

    The MSM in the States refuses to do it’s job. Why? Because of corporate ownership. Instead of actual reporters, it’s all about ratings and profit, Now, presenters are called “news stars”. Complete with agents, managers, personal assistants, groupies, etc.

    Can you name one MSM newsperson that would actually risk all of that and actually do their job? Or, risk it all for a principle? I can’t.

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