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The Internet Manifesto translated by its critics

The German Internet Manifesto, initiated by Sascha Lobo, Mario Sixtus, and Thomas Knuewer and supported by 12 named others – including the Guardian’s Mercedes Bunz – lays out 17 commandments for ‘how journalism works today’ (translated into several languages via http://www.internet-manifesto.org/).

However it has its critics, as well as its fans.

Take Stephen Moss, Guardian journalist (G2 thinker-in-residence, or  naturalist?) for example. Writing under his colleague Mercedes Bunz’s report he leaves a comment in response to Boombox:

boombox 09 Sep 09, 2:06pm:

“It’s funny how the people keenest on “journalism manifestos” never actually do any.”

stephenmoss 09 Sep 09, 4:59pm:

“That’s so unfair boombox. Sascha Lobo has been doing remarkable reportage from Kabul, Mario Sixtus has penetrated the tribal areas in Pakistan and filed a 200,000-word report on how Al-Qaida operates on his blog, and Thomas Knuewer is no doubt even now exposing commercial exploitation in the developing world, local government corruption in Dusseldorf and banking scandals across Europe. This is absolutely not just navel-gazing German theorising.”

Patricio Robles, technology reporter at Econsultancy also raises some interesting issues:

“While it does contain some succinct pearls of wisdom, it’s not exactly the Magna Carta for 21st-century journalism.”

He points out that it includes little discussion of journalistic ethics, and criticises its ‘PowerPoint marketing-speak’.

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British journalist rescued from Taliban but interpreter died; reports suggest British soldier also killed

September 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Press freedom and ethics

Stephen Farrell, a British-Irish journalist working for the New York Times, was rescued from Taliban captivity on Wednesday morning, according to global news reports.

His Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi, was killed during the operation, the Telegraph reports.

According to as yet unconfirmed reports by the Associated Press, a British commando was also killed during the raid.

The Guardian reports:

“Military officials in Kabul told the Associated Press a British soldier was killed in the raid. The Ministry of Defence was unable to confirm the reports this morning.”


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Social and mainstream media join forces to cover Afghanistan election

Rivals currently claim to both be on track for victory in the Afghan elections, in a race watched closely by the world’s media – mainstream, citizen and social.

The Guardian, for example, reports that ‘President Karzai’s staff said he has taken a majority of votes, making a second round run-off unnecessary,’ while Abdullah’s spokesman, Sayyid Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki, said the former foreign minister ‘was ahead with 62 per cent of the vote,’ even though preliminary results are not yet expected.

But publicity hasn’t always been courted by the government: critics the world over were shocked by the Afghan foreign ministry’s demand for a media blackout. On Wednesday, the government ordered all journalists not to report acts of violence during its elections, as a last minute attempt to boost voter turn out.

Both the foreign and domestic media said they intended to ignore the ban. Rahimullah Samander, head of the Independent Journalist Association of Afghanistan said that they would ‘not obey this order’. “We are going to continue with our normal reporting and broadcasting of news,” he told the Associated Press.

Both domestic and foreign reporters turned out in force to cover yesterday’s election.  Although the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that there have been reports of at least three foreign journalists and several local journalists detained and other acts of aggression towards the media, it is believed that no one was seriously injured.

As with the Iranian election protests, yesterday highlighted the pivotal role social media and citizen journalists now play within mainstream news. Here are a few examples:

  • Alive in Afghanistan introduced a new system during yesterday’s elections allowing citizens to ‘report disturbances, defamation and vote tampering, or incidents where everything ‘went well’ via text message. BBC report at this link.
  • Demotix, the citizen-journalism and photography agency which saw its profile rise during the Iranian election protests, was also instrumental in documenting the day’s events. Follow Afghanistan photographs and stories at this link. “We’ve had reports from Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar and most other provinces during yesterday’s election and the preceding weeks. As well as the political campaigns, our reporters covered the fierce violence including last week’s Taliban attack on a NATO convoy,” said commissioning editor Andy Heath.
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IFJ calls on Afghanistan government to protect journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has asked the government of Afghanistan ‘to set model standards for democracy if it wants upcoming elections in the country to be fair’, the organisation states in a release.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White spoke at  the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association national assembly in Kabul at the weekend. He said:

“The political community and the government in particular must demonstrate a commitment to democracy by setting model standards when it comes to treatment of media. We need less pressure, more useful information and a wider recognition that pluralism bolstered by a free media system is key to helping citizens exercise their right to vote at election time.”

Full release at this link…

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Rebekah Wade’s first public speech in full

January 27th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism, Newspapers

If the Wordle and other coverage isn’t enough, here’s the Hugh Cudlipp speech by the editor of the Sun, Rebekah Wade, in full [note: may have differed very slightly in actual delivery]:

The challenging future of national and regional newspapers is now the staple diet of media commentators.

If you have been reading the press writing about the press you’d all be forgiven for questioning your choice of career.

I’m not denying we’re in a tough place – we are.

But I don’t want to use this speech to make grand statements on the future of our industry.

I want to talk to you about journalism.

More »

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