Friday, 30 November 2012

No more Page 3,thank you

Campaigners let their opinions be known outside The Sun offices (pic from
Just as the conclusions of  Leveson inquiry are published, a campaign targeting  the British newspaper The Sun and its daily publication of what is infamously known as Page 3  is gathering pace.If you are not acquainted with what Page 3 means, you should know that it is a daily photograph of a topless young female model that has been published since the 70s. In the words of Dominic Mohe, The Sun editor, this is 'an innocuous British institution'.This makes me wonder what is the concept of institution that Mr Mohan has, though  in any case it seems to differ a lot from my own.
Not for the first time, a campaign is trying to get rid of what many people consider a blatant example of sexism in the media; in the past,  former Labour MP Claire Short  had to endure nasty comments coming from the newspaper itself when back in 1986,she raised this issue in the Commons-'fat, jealous Clare' were the words used then by the newspaper. This shows the ethics and class, once again, of the people behind this newspaper: when confronted with criticism their way is to respond with insults.
Many people object to this campaign on freedom of expression grounds and that old and tiring mantra 'if you don't like it, don't buy it'. However, and whilst fully acknowledging the need for freedom of the press, that argument misses the point as campaigners stress that their aim isn't to ban Page 3 but rather to raise awareness amongst newspaper editors -and more particularly The Sun's- to exert their influence and power more responsibly. Page 3, unfortunately, is not what you should expect from a national newspaper; the damaging effects, particularly on its male readers, help perpetuate the image of women as sexual, casual objects.
On top of all that, and  if we consider how women and their achievements are underrepresented on other fronts of the media (almost inexistent in some cases) then we have an explosive cocktail that may help explain  how sexism is still rife in the 21st century.
Perhaps Lord Leveson's proposal calling for statutory regulation of the press may not be a bad idea after all.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Excuse me sir but you're under arrest

'Smart' speaker with blood on his hands
'Tony Blair, I am making a citizen's arrest for your war crimes,' were the words uttered  by Kate O'Sullivan in 2010 at a book signing event in Dublin, before being taken away by security staff. It has become a sort of familiar scene, whenever an individual manages to approach former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and makes an attempt at arresting him on the grounds of international war crimes.Wherever he goes, there will be people following him and remind the world of  what he is responsible of.
This is part of a campaign -Arrest Blair - which seeks Blair's arrest for his involvement in  launching a deadly war on Iraq, causing thousands of deaths. The campaign stresses that any attempt to arrest him must be done peacefully and a financial reward is offered to people who successfully manage to perform an attempt.
The campaign acts as reminder of the fact that justice has not been done yet and that  Bush and Blair, both ultimately responsible for the Iraq's war, should be held accountable for what has been a politically and economically-motivated war based on a massive lie.
The people behind this campaign are driven by a desire to restore some sense of justice or, at least, expose  Blair and remind the world that he is still at large, living a very comfortable life full of well-remunerated events in which he is asked to speak (presumably to spread and share his 'wisdom').
 All my respect and admiration goes to these people who so bravely go out of their way and  risk their own safety in order to perform a completely logical act: ask Tony Blair to face justice for crimes against peace.
Bush and Aznar should face the same public exposure.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

New Internationalist: independent and ethical journalism

Worth reading and supporting
Not a day goes by without hearing dreadful news concerning journalism (and journalists): newspapers closing down or drastically reducing their size, journalists working in dire conditions, being victims of either censorship or political and commercial pressure, publicity revenues dropping...the list goes on. It seems clear that this most noble profession is undergoing a painful process with an uncertain ending for now, though it is safe to assume that it somehow will have to reinvent itself.Theories and opinions on the future of journalism are widely available so we won't discuss the matter here.
I am more interested in focusing on positive, inspirational examples that defy the odds in  difficult -some would say almost impossible- times for the publishing industry.
The good news is that there are still professional, interesting, reputable publications out there that are worth reading and supporting. One of them is the monthly magazine New Internationalist (, a workers' co-operative that focuses on 'people, ideas and action for global justice'. Both its print and digital  editions are an excellent way of accessing well-researched,thought-provoking articles and reports that you will rarely find in the mainstream media. Despite being published in the UK, it provides a refreshingly non-Euroccentric viewpoint and approach, tackling issues affecting the Majority World, as they call it. Covering a range of topics (social, environment, political, cultural...), New Internationalist sets an example of how a critical, independent, ethical and radical magazine can compete and find its own public in the 21st century, far from the media circus and the fat cats that control and dictate the mainstream publishing world. Buy it, read it, share it and cherish it.It is a more than recommendable read, it is a necessary one.