Iran, Cuba Tops at Exiling Journalists
Monday, June 20, 2011
Emilio Gutiérrez Soto with his teenage son Friday at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention near Orlando. A newspaper reporter in the small Mexican town of Ascension, Chihuahua, Gutiérrez claims that Mexican army officials targeted him for death and is seeking asylum in the United States. He received the NAHJ President's Award. (Credit: Julian Esquer/Latino Reporter Digital)
"Nearly 70 journalists were forced into exile over the past 12 months, with more than half coming from Iran and Cuba, two of the world's most repressive nations, a new survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found," Elisabeth Witchel, a consultant for the committee, reported Monday. She is former coordinator of CPJ's journalist assistance program.
"Iran, which has waged a massive, two-year-long crackdown on the independent press, and Cuba, which freed journalists from prison only to force them to leave their homeland, each sent 18 journalists into exile."
When figures are totaled back to Aug. 1, 2001, Africa had the highest number of journalists who fled, 336, and Ethiopia was the country with the most, 79.
" 'I feel unstable because there is nothing for us here,' said Cuban reporter Victor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, 59, who served more than seven years in prison on baseless charges before being freed last September and forced into exile in Spain. There, he has experienced significant professional and economic challenges, a common experience among the 67 journalists forced into exile worldwide in the past 12 months. 'We don't even have our professional titles,' Arroyo Carmona said. 'We live in limbo.'
"Imprisonment, or the threat being jailed, was the leading cause of journalists leaving their home countries during the period examined by CPJ — June 1, 2010, to May 31, 2011 — accounting for 82 percent of cases. Another 15 percent fled following physical attacks or threats of violence. Prolonged harassment such as frequent interrogations or surveillance drove 3 percent of journalists in the survey to leave their countries.
"At least 649 journalists facing violence, imprisonment, and harassment have gone into exile worldwide since 2001, when CPJ launched its journalist assistance program and began keeping detailed exile records. The large majority, about 91 percent, have not been able to return home. Five countries — Ethiopia, Iran, Somalia, Iraq and Zimbabwe — account for nearly half the total number of journalists driven out of their countries over the past decade. CPJ's survey is based solely on cases it has documented, from which it derives global trends. Other groups using different criteria cite higher numbers of journalists in exile.
". . . For hundreds of journalists, legal hurdles, language differences, and the challenges of finding work in a new country can be professionally devastating. CPJ's long-term research shows that only about 22 percent of journalists who have remained in exile are engaged in media-related work today; a total of 461 journalists have had to look for work outside their profession.
- Committee to Protect Journalists: Prominent Mexican columnist, wife, son shot to death
- Committee to Protect Journalists: In Kenya, hospital staff said to attack journalist
- Reporters Without Borders: Two more journalists to be tried by court martial over story about army
- Reporters Without Borders: [In Sudan,] ten journalists hounded and prosecuted for covering human rights violations
Contrary to the alarms sounded in some quarters, no great increase in immigration to the United States took place in the last few years, a demographer said on Monday. In fact, said Dowell Myers, director of the University of Southern California's Population Dynamics Research Group, immigration has leveled off nationally after an increase in the first years of the new century.
That is not to say that there has not been a large increase in certain states, such as Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina, Myers told journalists and others attending a USC Communications and Public Policy Forum Monday in Washington.
Myers attacked what he called another myth: that increasing immigration by Latinos will lead to a growing percentage of Spanish speakers. Actually, he said, "upward mobility is pervasive," and in this country that means learning English. "They will be more assimilated."
Myers titled his presentation "Immigrants and Boomers: Forging a New Social Contract for the Future of America." Responding to another issue, whether immigrant children should receive public services, Myers pointed to the "baby boom tsunami" heading toward retirement and said, "It's not about immigrants — it's about everybody else." Retiring baby boomers will need replacements in the workforce and buyers for their homes. He said he hoped the result of this confluence would be a "rediscovery of neglected minority youth," as older generations realize the nation can't afford to waste them.
Myers was joined by Roberto Suro, professor at the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development, a former reporter for the Washington Post and New York Times who went on to head the Pew Hispanic Center.
Suro said a battle between the federal government and the states over who would lead in enforcing immigration laws in the workplace had "finally been settled" by courts in favor of the states. This has meant outcomes ranging from a "business death penalty" in some localities to "new forms of sanctuary" in states such as Massachusetts. National business organizations, seeking uniformity, can be expected to push for a greater federal role, he predicted.
Suro also noted that the depths of the recession did not drive immigrants away, contrary to the expectations of some, demonstrating the depth of their resolve to stay. Given the nation's changing needs, policymakers might be prompted to further favor highly skilled immigrants in deciding which groups to admit, he said.
Suro estimated the percentage of illegal immigrants at 28 percent, lower than many think. The intensity of opinion has largely been on the anti-immigration side, he said, giving that position the edge in media coverage.
"The framing of illegality is the dominant narrative," Suro said, "due to the really deep-seated frameworks in journalism. Man bites dog" is always a good story, he said, "but if man has committed a crime, it's even better."
With measures to address a financial crisis front and center, including a layoff of nearly all of the staff, members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists had nothing to say publicly on Friday when Michele Salcedo, the NAHJ president, said that to fill a vacancy, she was appointing the board's chief financial officer to hold a second position, vice president for print.
Russell Contreras "has agreed to step forward and hold both of those seats," Salcedo said at the organization's business meeting. Members later ratified the choice by write-in in balloting for board positions.
[Update: The NAHJ bylaws allow one person to hold several positions. Article X, Section 1 says, "Any number of offices may be held by the same person, except that neither the secretary nor the financial officer may serve concurrently as the president, and all disbursements shall be authorized by at least two officers."]
Journal-isms asked other journalist of color associations whether one person could hold two positions simultaneously in their organizations.
"That's a great question..." messaged Tonju Francois, parliamentarian for the National Association of Black Journalists. Her first inclination was no, but she would check, she said.
Kathy Chow, executive director of the Asian American Journalists Association, also at first said no, then replied, "It would be difficult for us to answer that question since this is not a situation we have encountered. I don't think AAJA can speculate on a situation that it has never [experienced.] We would need to know what circumstances would lead to this situation."
Later, Francois reported back. "Our bylaws do not address it. . . . so it falls to Robert's Rules of Order. "Robert's says that in 'most societies' someone can only serve in one office. If elected to two offices, the person chooses one office."
Erin Ailworth, NAHJ's elections committee chair and board secretary, was asked whether someone had ever held two positions on NAHJ's executive committee and whether the elections committee had determined that anything in the bylaws spoke to the issue.
Ailworth said that only Salcedo was authorized to speak, and Salcedo did not respond.
- Veronica Villafañe, Media Moves: NAHJ convention summary
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists held its convention at Walt Disney World outside of Orlando, but the Orlando media, while participating as individuals, chose not to cover it.
The Associated Press ran a story in both Spanish and English about three journalists facing death threats in Mexico who wanted the U.S. government to speed approval of their asylum petitions.
Bob Jordan, news director of WFTV, the ABC affiliate, told Journal-isms, "This is next to Las Vegas the No. 2 convention town in the country. We don't cover conventions, hardly any of them. Our viewers want local news."
The status of Latino journalists or their observations? "I'm afraid if we started doing stories about journalists, our viewers will think we're self-serving," Jordan said.
"Last week the First Husband and First Daddy, better known as President Obama, was asked if losing next year’s election would devastate him," Juan Williams wrote on Father's Day for the Fox News website.
'I’m sure there are days when I say one term is enough,' he told 'The Today Show'. 'Michelle and the kids are wonderful in that if I said "You know what guys I want to do something different," they would be fine. They are not invested in Daddy being president or my husband being president.'
"He also indicated that he believes there is a bigger job than being President — one job that has to be done before he can be a good leader for America.
" 'If family is doing well and Michelle is still putting up with me then I’ve got enough energy to keep doing the work I’m doing,”' said the president.
"Whatever one’s political disagreements with President Obama may be, Republicans, Independents and Democrats — all Americans — can take pride in the fact that they have a President who is a devoted husband and loving father. As a dad he is a national treasure, a visual icon to remind us of the importance of fatherhood and family.
"This President stands as a defiant daily contrast to the pop culture message that wealthy, strong, successful men are unattached to families. He is also a father who puts the lie to the image of fathers as dummies — the bumbling, barely tolerated dads all over TV from Peter Griffin in ‘Family Guy’ to Homer Simpson.
"Even if you can’t stand his policies, President Obama has consistently offered the nation the image of an intelligent, successful man who puts being a good husband and father first.
"And the fact that he is a good father who leads a black family is even more important because the rate of absentee fathers in the black and Hispanic community amounts to a national crisis."
Abdul Ali, theRoot.com: Millennial Fathers: Will the Reality Be Televised?
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Remembrances of My Father
- Mary C. Curtis, Women's Voices for Change: A Strong and Doting Father for a Daddy’s Girl
- John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: Going to Alabama to find a father
- Wil LaVeist, Urban Faith: Single Moms Are Not Fathers
- R. L’Heureux Lewis, theGrio.com: Do 'strong black men' make the best fathers?
- Dwight Lewis, Nashville Tennessean: Too many fathers live apart from their children
- Bryan Llenas, Fox News Latino: Father's Day: Young Latinos Learn to Be Better Dads
- Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Boys need fathers to teach them how to become men
- Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News: He's still hunting his dad's assassin, this Father's Day — and every Father's Day
- Barry Sanders, Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer: Two hats for President Obama
- Michael Saul, New York Daily News: President Obama writes on fatherhood in essay for Parade magazine
- Dara Sharif, theRoot.com: Black Fathers Say They Get a Bad Rap
- Vi Waln, indianz.com: An appreciation for all the fathers in Indian Country
- Armstrong Williams blog: Enduring Lessons of my Father
Charles Osgood reported on CBS-TV's "Sunday Morning" that the political scandal involving Rep. Anthony Weiner provided the latest opportunity for New York's tabloids to produce brash headlines and pun-filled headlines. (Video)
"What do Congressional representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL), and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have in common? Each of them has taken time to comment on the predicament of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, but none of them has mentioned the fact that the average unemployed person has now (as of May) been out of work for a whopping 40 weeks," Julianne Malveaux wrote Thursday in her weekly column for the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
"Somehow, our Democratic leaders have allowed themselves to get caught up in the minutiae of the misadventures of their clearly disturbed colleague, without referencing the economic disturbances that too many Americans are living through. Should they have said nothing and risk the ire of Republicans? Probably not. But I'd have liked to hear Congressional leaders say that Mr. Weiner's problems are simply not the nation's most pressing problems.
"As Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) mentioned, Weiner's actions, however reprehensible, are not law breaking. But there ought to be a law against fiddling while Rome burns, running our economy to the ground and doing absolutely nothing about it."
[Democrats, including Pelosi, have been pounding the Republicans over the lack of a jobs bill. "We want to put people back to work. We want to do so as we put our fiscal house in order," Pelosi said on June 16. "We will not do it on the backs of our children, our seniors, or the great middle class. Democrats are focused on creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, preserving Social Security, and responsibly reducing the debt."]
- Michel Martin, "Tell Me More," NPR: When Running A Campaign, Don't Use The Race Card
- Phillip Morris, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Parents beware; there are a lot of cyber Weiners out there on the prowl
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: It's the Lying That's the Issue
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Life after Weinergate? It happens
- Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: No escaping the obvious: Weiner had to go
- Elmer Smith, Philadelphia Daily News: Weiner resigns, but only after an appalled porn star spoke up
- "Adriana Vargas, currently the spokeswoman for President Juan Manuel Santos, is leaving Colombia to become an anchor at the Univision station in New York," Veronica Villafañe reported Sunday for her Media Moves site. "The Spanish-language network has yet to make the official announcement, but several publications in Colombia have already reported she’s leaving her current job effective August 8 to anchor the 6:00 and 11 pm newscasts in the Big Apple."
- "Tiki Barber . . . says failures off the field after his retirement from football in 2006 led to a year-long bout with depression," the Associated Press reported. "The 36-year-old Barber, the New York Giants' career leading rusher, acknowledged in an HBO report to be aired Tuesday that he now needs football more than it needs him. . . . The report recounts the downward spiral Barber's life took shortly after his retirement. What started as a promising career as an NBC football analyst ended in his firing. His marriage to his college sweetheart collapsed. And his relationship with a 23-year-old NBC intern which continues today soiled a well-honed, family man image."
- Cindy E. Rodriguez, former reporter at the Detroit News and former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists who moved on to academia, "has agreed to be a Journalist in Residence at Emerson College, beginning in the Fall term," Doug Struck, associate chair of the Journalism Department, said on Monday. "Obviously, we are pleased to have Ms. Rodriguez bring her diverse talents and experience to the Emerson Journalism program, where we prepare students to practice their craft with a large toolbox of media skills. Cindy will play a valuable role in that."
- "Africa needs a medium to tell its story," John Dramani Mahama, vice president of Ghana, told host Michel Martin Monday on NPR's "Tell Me More." "We don't have an Al Jazeera yet but I think that the media institutions [are] developing in Sub-Saharan Africa. That potentially could achieve that kind of status." When Martin asked why there isn't an African-produced Al Jazeera-style network, Mahama said, "I think it should be private sector-driven and then the African private sector with the kind of communications we had on the continent was not yet ready, but since the deregulation of the telecom sector, we have dedicated satellites over Africa and I think the time has come for that."
- "CNN is launching its new 5 AM program anchored by Ali Velshi next week," Alex Weprin wrote Sunday for TVNewser. "Called 'Wake up Call,' the show will run from 5-6 AM ET Monday-Friday starting June 27. CNN has committed to the program through September 23."
- "KCET-TV, the public broadcaster that quit carrying PBS programming on Jan. 1 to avoid paying dues, began broadcasting Al Jazeera English on its main channel on Feb. 1 . . . .. Even as Al Jazeera English continues its battle for broader cable distribution in the United States, it is reaping a growing audience in Los Angeles on a broadcast channel," Elizabeth Jensen reported Sunday for the New York Times.
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
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