Is Journalism Being Criminalised?

Jeremy Scahill

Journalism is the activity, or product, of journalists or others engaged in the preparation of written, visual, or audio material intended for dissemination through public media with reference to factual, ongoing events of public concern. It is intended to inform society about itself and to make events public that would otherwise remain private.”(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The  catchword of “freedom” in the western democratic world has lost its crystal ringing . . . drowning all aspects of privacy, human rights & civil liberties. Big corporations, money & power rule at the expense of human lives so preciously enshrined constitutionally & propagated. All sense of human values is turned topsy turvy & disregarded under the guise of national security. This is so profoundly pursued in the recent “Snowden” surveillance whistle-blowing phenomenon. There appears to be new sets of law of convenience & interpretation to meet the objectives of Obama Administration, as they did previously with Bush-Cheney Programs.

In the following video interview, Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars author & journalist, simply and plainly describes what is happening to the privacy and freedoms of all human beings on planet Earth under the Obama Administration.

He says, “Unless we, as a society make it our business to address the root cause of the problem, which is that corporations are running the the show in the United States, then I don’t have any faith that [any] bill passed by Congress . . . is going to have any meaningful impact . . .”

“One of the fundamentals of a democratic society is a free and vibrant press and the role of journalists in a free and democratic society should be to hold those in power accountable . . . to give a voice to the voiceless, to fill in parts of the story that aren’t being covered by those in power, and to provide information the people can use to make decisions about what policies to support or oppose. 

“What is happening under Obama – and was certainly happening under Bush, is that journalism is being criminalized.

“If you are cutting too close the heart of the National Security State – we have whistle-blowers that are being prosecuted in record numbers by the [so-called] ‘Constitutional Law Expert’ – President, you have journalists that are having their phone records seized, that are being surveilled, are having their discussions intruded upon – the end result of this is an attempt to chill whistle-blowers and to stop . . . people from talking to journalists.

“When you have a White House such as we have right now . . . that engages in official leaks . . . they will leak Classified information or stories that make them look like the great defenders of peace, freedom and democracy around the world. [However,] almost everything they leaked in the immediate aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden raid turned out to be false – but they were managing the story.

“If journalists only have access to the official leaks and the pronouncements of the PR people, spinning for the White House, the Pentagon or the CIA, that’s not a democratic press. That’s not independently-verifiable information.

 “What that is, is propaganda.”

US Democracy is but a name . . . 

Video (6:27 mins)

http://youtu.be/5XhHvZ11O60

Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction

By P Chong                   Thurs 1 April 2010


With the storming news of Da Vinci Code and other controversial religious writings, it is timely to take a look at the above topic.

Believe it or not. Fact is often stranger than fiction. Fiction is composed through human imagination without any relevance to happenings in real life. It’s often wild and unbelievable. Fact, however, is truth, with its basis on actual happenings in life. Yet, often we choose not to believe a fact if it’s strange and mysterious and are led astray to believe as fiction instead.

The Bible is full of mysteries and intrigues. They are strange but true. But do we choose to believe? Whatever we believe and whatever justification or rationalization we may have for not believing, a fact is a fact. It stands tested through the passage of time without change or camouflage or gimmick in order to attract attention to it. A fact needs not be proved. It stands supreme and at times exists without human understanding, for the simple reason our human wisdom is limited by our finite mind. God however is infinite and almighty.

A point of fact must however be stressed here. We human being tend to accord more credibility to what we read in the daily newspaper than the Bible. It does not stand to reason to believe all the garbage that is often dished out to the reading public with its fill of sensationalism! Hot gossips and sensation sell papers and therefore it’s good for business as far as the world of journalism is concerned. Publicity, free or otherwise, is good for the bottom line in the business account. Is human life so boring that we need to seek after escapism in the thrills and spills of sensationalism in the world of make-believe?

Neither consideration nor responsibility is accorded to the moral question of good or bad. By and large in the business world, what counts is the bank account. Excitement is the key upon which is based the premise of advertisement. Excitement creates happenings, and so be it!

All miracles are astounding and fascinating. But the miracles Jesus performed were not supernatural sideshows. They were intended to confirm God’s faithfulness among his people. Moreover, those who were healed or delivered from oppression often had to display faith. With disbelieving audiences, no miracle is possible. Faith is the catalyst that brings about possibility out of impossibility.

In John 2:1-11, we read of the miracle during the marriage feast at Cana in Galilee when Jesus turned water to wine, symbolizing the beginning of His ministry.

It’s a known fact that good wine mellows with age. But one hot day in the little dusty town of Cana, the wedding host ran out of wine even before the party had run its course. Indeed it was a serious indictment and blunder. Jesus and His mother Mary were among the invited merry guests. With a maternal concern for the host, she entreated Jesus to do something.

What could Jesus do? In fact, He protested to His mother that His time has not yet come- which statement in itself is mysterious. What added to the mystery is the fact that Jesus simply told the house servants to fill six stone jars with fresh cool water. That was all. The water turned out to be the best wine ever!

Yet more exciting stories can be found in the Bible. Utterly amazed and perplexed, three thousand coverts were added to their number on the day of Pentecost. The violent wind, the tongues of fire and the languages were all mystifying. Such was the power of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Such an awesome display got the attention of the 3,000 that day who joined the little movement and marked the birth of the church, which today claims the one billion mark throughout the world.

Yes, the Bible has more than its fair share of excitement. Yet, like the doubting Thomases that we are, we choose not to believe. Its great spiritual treasures of amazing stories, astonishing miracles and intriguing facts have endured through the test of time. Till today, modern scholars and scientists have not been able to provide any logical and natural explanation for the happenings contained therein.

Believe it or not. It’s true. You need to summon every iota of faith to believe and trust in God. That is the only way.

Why Do I Blog?

By P Chong                                                                                            Saturday, 9 January 2010

To me, blogging is undoubtedly the purest form of journalism. With due respect to all the news media, how much of what we read is believable or is questionable.

Blogging provides me an avenue to have my printed word, not mere verbal convention, for all to read freely without restraint. I could blog just about anything with the freedom of content.

Why People Blog?

It’s an ideal place, without any external imposition & with complete freedom to work out my feeling about different things, be it political, economical, social or any other.

Blogging affords me the opportunity to be a part not only of the community in which I live but also the world at large. Electronically speaking, the world indeed is a small place. Talk about globalisation . . . blog enables me to achieve that.

I write & speak without restraint to a faceless audience, who may know me increasingly if they have been following my blog, and as I said in my blog:

With a lifetime of experiences to share with the world at large, I am electronically transferring all my thoughts & philosophy onto the blogosphere – to be accessed by one & all globally. Interestingly & provokingly, readers will have both the leisure & pleasure of savouring a wide range of subjects in:

love & romance

arts & science

facts & fiction

reminiscences & presence

greed & creed

economics & politics

fancy & reality

nature & venture

spiritual & secular

life & travel

poems

Remember to leave behind a line or two of your comments that I may know of your coming & going. It’s like signing my Guest Book which I would eternally treasure.

Having lived a greater part of my adult life in a pathetic country like Malaysia, and now living joyously in the “Lucky Country” of Australia, the concept of “All men are created equal” takes on a better perspective & understanding.

The Scale of Equilibrium in justice & fairness must prevail.

Corruption, cronyism & nepotism not to assail.

Please circulate & share my blogosphere with one & all.

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent

An Australian by Consent

(Dedicated to God for Guidance, Power & Strength)