So this is freedom

After the first of May, the third, which is World Press Freedom Day. To mark the occasion, Freedom House has issued its 2007 press freedom survey, and its press releases today include a number of regional reports on press freedom this year. The report categorizes the press in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia as "partly free," noting the types of pressure and attacks that have been discussed here and on other Balkan blogs, as well as a lot of other places.

Among the failed regional events scheduled to celebrate the day, the Union of Journalists of Serbia (UNS -- not to be confused with the Independent Union of Journalists of Serbia, NUNS) was to deliver an award to Denis Latin, editor and host of the popular TV program Latinica. Latin refused the award, telling Index:
"my moral principles and human conscience will not allow me to accept this award from the hands of the leadership of the Union of Journalists of Serbia who not so long ago showed themselves to be celebrators of crime, destruction, and the occupation of Vukovar. They may have had good intentions, and the award may have some some point. However, the problem is with the leading figures of that Union which played a quite infamous role at the time of the destruction and occupation of Vukovar. I am simply not comfortable accepting the award."
The same article from Index quoted above has some interesting explanation and self-justification from UNS president Nino Brajović about his own role at the time (it is cited to Slobodna Evropa, but I have not found the original). None of which prevented him from writing a letter to Latin in which he laments:
"Sadly, the situation is such that that it is still impossible to carry on a strictly professional discussion, without politicizing and malicious pressures."
But in that regard, he is probably speaking for himself (despite writing as the head of a professional association).


Чип said...

you do know that May 1 in the US is now, officially "Loyalty Day", don't you? Loyalty Day, 2007 -- A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America.

Eric Gordy said...

I am waiting for "royalty day," when publishers everywhere are honored.

Yakima_Gulag said...

Well it's darn near Royalty Day today, the Queen of England is visiting Jamestown! :) (May 3 is when I posted this reply)

I didn't forget May Day, but our friend over at Jugoslavija did it RIGHT! :)!

The whole Loyalty Day thing was a Cold War thing, interesting to see it being 'revived'. We used to have a parade for 'Loyalty Day' in the Yakima Gulag, but it stopped due to lack of interest.

Anonymous said...

Just in time for World Press Freedom Day -- from Columbia Journalism Review's Paul McLeary:

It looks like it's official: the United States Army thinks that American reporters are a threat to national security. Thanks to some great sleuthing by Wired's "Danger Room" blogger Noah Shachtman, the Army's new operational security guidelines (OPSEC) hit the Web in a big way yesterday, and the implications they have for reporters -- who are grouped in with drug cartels and Al Qaeda as security threats to be beaten back -- are staggering.

Make no mistake, this is a very big deal, and every American citizen, not just reporters and soldiers, needs to understand the implications of the Army's strict new policy, because it directly affects how citizens receive information about their armed forces: information that it has every right to get.

Shachtman reproduces a slide from the new "OPSEC in the Blogosphere," document, which lists and ranks "Categories of Threat." Under "traditional domestic threats" we find hackers and militia groups, while "non-traditional" threats include drug cartels, and -- yes -- the media. Just to put that into some perspective, the foreign "non-traditional threats" are listed as warlords, and Al Qaeda. In other words, the Army has figuratively and literally put the media in the same box as Al Qaeda, warlords, and drug cartels.

Eric Gordy said...

Anonymous: You don't think that maybe this is just an ordinary caution to be careful with journalists which the writer has blown out of proportion?