Athens sees red

David Iduate

Diduate6@uga.edu

Story: crime statistics report

Headline: Athens sees red

ATHENS –- A 40% increase of murder since last year leaves an alarming number of citizens with grief of losing their loved ones.

Only time will tell if the people of Athens are willing to improve their ethics. According to the Bureau of Investigation, someone commits assault every 41 minutes, and homicide occurs about every 63 hours.

“The increase in violent crime reflects a greater social problem that can’t be solved by police alone.” states Mike Stiers, division chief of the Investigation bureau.

Only so much law enforcement can protect us before our freedom as citizens also becomes jeopardized. Fellow Athenians must find, as in all things, a better relationship within their community,

“People need to realize this.  They need to demand of their legislators, both state and municipal, that they don’t want to live like this.” Stiers states, in an attempt to encourage locals to strive for betterness in the years to come.


British Journalists Compromise News

The Times in Britain are changing, as journalists for Rupert Murdoch‘s newspaper are being convicted under suspicions of hacking into private phone-lines. In addition to the 32 reporters arrested so far, Police detained six more journalists last week in efforts to protect private conversations by famous individuals. Phone lines of celebrities, politicians, sports figures, and even the British royal family were targeted and breached for the sake of making headline news out of scandal. Mike Darcy, chief executive of News International, describes these heinous incidents as a “huge burden on journalists in the daily challenge of producing Britain’s most popular news.” Police are also investigating further allegations, such as bribing of public officials and computer hackers, in order to prevent further obstructions from the media. This is a huge setback for public journalists everywhere as it compromises the relationship of its viewers, and confuses the public when deciding what issues are actually important to the paper.

Especially in these modern times, a proper journalist must stay loyal to all its citizens by avoiding methods to illegally exploit and unofficially document others. Papers need only to provide news that is relevant so that citizens can make democratic decisions and, in turn, govern themselves. In an ironic sense, the muckrakers compromised their own standing once they used dishonest methods of finding the truth. These journalists must be detained and questioned by police as a way to assure the reader’s trust, as well as the integrity of all newspapers. For if people should ever begin to doubt the validity or ethics of their newspaper, its citizens will stop reading, and the public circulation as we know it will fall to corruption. Daily news would rely solely on how the government wants to inform the governed, rather than a source such as a public journalist or reliable reporter. Papers need only to provide news that is usable to its citizens, not gossip, so that they can make democratic decisions to freely govern themselves. Although there have been few similar cases of this happening in the past, in 2006 and in  2007, Murdoch’s reputation and of his paper are relatively clean; allowing readers some time between scandals to build trust with public reporters.

Do you believe the British government was fair to arrest these reporters? Would you publish a story that was deemed true although the methods of finding it were dishonest? Are journalists conflicted between demands for better news, and the lengths they should go to beat technological media?

Source:

Burns, John F. “Six More Journalists Held in British Hacking Case.” The New York Times 14 Feb. 2013, International News. sec.: n. pag. Print.


Government Battles Truth in Somali

Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim, journalist, was wrongly convicted and jailed this year after insulting the Somali government as well as allegedly reporting false news about a local rape victim, Lul Ali Osman. Osman was also charged and sentenced to jail after a having her interview with Ibrahim in her own restaurant; they were arrested on sight. According to the NUSOJ Secretary General, The Somali government conducted unfair trials on both parties by intimidating the defendant, and violating each of their defense rights during the trials. “Charging a journalist under penal code for doing his journalism work means criminalizing journalistic work,” the General said, “We are against trying a journalist under penal code.” What is especially ironic and corrupt about the arrest is that both Ibrahim and Osman were arrested for a report that had not yet been written or published. Nevertheless, the Somalian journalist was criminally charged for “defamation” and “spreading false news”, which are terms used loosely in the courts of the Somalian government. This type of corruption highly discourages any upcoming journalist solely dedicated to reporting the truth. Without “free press” available to inform citizens, Somalians will have less protection, and therefore withhold a framed perspective on what is actually happening within the country.

It was shocking to me when I stumbled across this article. I did not expect for such a federal attack against journalists to exist in the modern days. Basic freedom rights, which seem obvious to me as an American, are not fairly distributed with most nations. Indeed, there are foreign government powers which intend to rule its nation without any regard for the public interest. For a brighter future, Somalians must stay loyal to their reporters, and continue to delegate the press as public leaders and government watchdogs.   Ibrahim and Osman have been sentenced to a full year in prison for their unfair charges. The NUSOJ Secretary General, and many others, are fighting to right this wrong and reinstate justice in the court systems. In what ways is our US government different from Somalian rule? Is our government corrupt, or at least susceptible to arresting our own journalists for lame charges? What are some ways American journalists protect themselves to prevent their risk of federal punishment?


Journalists Targeted in Political Controversy

Diing Chan Awuol, journalist for the Sudan Tribune, was shot dead in South Sudan on early January, this year. His relatives claimed he was killed for “calling for improvement in relations with former enemies in Khartoum[,Sudan].” Although Awuol demonstrated loyalty by protecting the governed and the rights of his fellow citizens, his life was put at risk for distributing any potentially lethal information he found. Awuol, like many other U.S journalists., received few death threats due to his profession. If Awuol had retired from his reporting career earlier, would he still be alive today? What laws have the United States made to protect it’s journalists and the first amendment?

In 2009, the Obama administration opposed “legislation that could protect reporters from being imprisoned if they refuse to disclose confidential sources who leak material about national security,” What this means for Journalists is that we are forced to report any new information that we find, especially if the information threatens national security and most likely themselves. Refusing to comply with the government in order to protect their source places that journalist into his or her own jail cell. With this corrupt logic, Journalists are  punished from all sides, with nothing but the truth to shield themselves with. Journalists are being treated as “snitches” rather than the 4th estate of government (the branch which broadly represents the power of the governed citizens).

Back in 2005, Judith Miller, a journalist for the New York Times was sentenced to jail because she refused to disclose one of her confidential sources. Her refusal to speak out was viewed as “civil disobedience”, and her only other option was to reveal her confidential source to the grand jury of the Supreme court. “Ms. Miller’s actions are faithful to the Constitution. She is defending the right of Americans to get vital information from news organizations that need not fear government retaliation.” Today, Journalists from all around the world are struggling to protect both themselves and the sanctity of the press. As college student with a Public Affairs Journalism major, I fear that my job may one day put my life and my family at risk; and that the government will do very little to protect me. How do you think the United States should handle this problem to prevent any more freedom fighters from being killed or imprisoned? Is it the government belief that journalists are expendable because they choose to share loyalty with the United people? Do I have to die or go to jail in order to become a great journalist?


Invested Journalist Talks Coffee

A Seattle based chain of ‘Starbucks’ coffee underwent a financial struggle that had set the company’s plans for development back by five years. An Investigative reporter finds the truth on the matter based off early hunches.

Melissa Allison, journalist of the Seattle Times, was given permission by her newspaper to go investigate overseas in order to search for reasons why ‘Starbucks’  franchise had been unable to build new coffee shops in India. Local ‘Starbucks’ representatives had promised new coffee houses in 2006, but the first ‘Starbucks’ was not built until October of last year. “At the time, there was all this speculation that their application with the Indian government had fallen through,” Allison claimed, “or they had a partner they didn’t like.” Allison began her research in India by interviewing the local coffee growers and workers there. She asked them questions about their living conditions, in order to gain insight on farm production and the overall demand for coffee in India. Since the majority of American coffee comes from Latin America, Allison suspected that ‘Starbucks’ must have found difficulties while pursuing their project due to the Indian plantation’s poverty, and lack of coffee bean imports. Allison also made calls to Indian Plantation owners, and it was around that time that she realized the problem arrived not from the plantation’s poverty, but the poverty from the franchise itself. ” Now we know that it’s because they hit a financial speed bump and they pulled back on their US stores.” said Allison. Allison was also given a 15,000 grant from the International Foundation of Seattle for her story on the ‘Starbucks’ chain. which not only paid for Allison’s trip, but also allowed the ‘Times’ to add new columns such as “The Seattle Globalist”. Jim Simon, assistant managing editor for the Seattle Times, stated “This is the first time we ever received a grant for a broad area of coverage,” then added, “They give us very broad parameters for the types of stories we want to run.”

Allison’s story was a great achievement for her local newspaper as well as newpapers everywhere, but what if Allison never found her story? Would it be worth the risk for a journalist to make expenses in order to pursue international and better news? How far would you have gone compared to Allison’s investigative reporting, and would you have gone to the same places?