A month of Sun days
I am going to a quiz this evening, and have been trying to polish up my general knowledge in readiness. My specialist subjects ought to be international affairs and the media. As a (probably avid and devoted) reader of this blog, so should yours. But let’s see how you get on with this starter for six… fill in the country and the name of the paper in the following sentence:
Police in xxxxxxx raided the daily newspaper xxxxxxx and searched the home of its journalists in a search for information they claim was acquired illegally.
You didn’t go for London and the Sun did you? Admittedly recent events over at Britain’s best-selling newspaper have smacked of the kind of story more typically heard of in countries where freedom of the press is curtailed. With journalists arrested, questioned and forced to hand over details of their sources to officials against their will. But in fact that is where the similarity ends. The story above is actually about a raid on the Newsday newspaper in Trinidad. According to the Guardian:
“It concerns a report published by the paper in December about an alleged conflict within the country's integrity commission.
The newspaper and its journalist, Andre Bagoo, have refused to hand over the material and argue the story is of major public interest.”
The Guardian also mentions a previous raid on a television station there. Worrying if this is the start of a trend of raids and of research material being confiscated. Press freedoms are so often a barometer of the state of a country’s human rights more broadly.
Yet despite the dawn raids and scrutiny of source material, it seems that speculation over the Sun folding (!) was pre-emptive. So Rupert Murdoch has swept in to announce the end to the suspension of the arrested journalists and also to add a Sunday to the days when you can get your daily fix of the Sun. Every 24 hours it will go to print without fail. Just when you thought it was sinking, the Sun rises again.
In other journalism news, poignant tributes have poured in for the New York Times’ Anthony Shadid, who died working in Syria this week, after an asthma attack. The Pulitzer prize winning journalist was an exemplary example of journalists who risk so much to convey the human stories of war and resistance. It puts me in mind of Amnesty’s media awards – it’s now just two weeks before the deadline for entries on 1 March.
Shadid is also in the running for this year’s Pulitzer, which will be announced in April.
In its citation accompanying the nomination, the New York Times wrote of him:
"Steeped in Arab political history but also in its culture, Shadid recognized early on that along with the despots, old habits of fear, passivity and despair were being toppled. He brought a poet's voice, a deep empathy for the ordinary person and an unmatched authority to his passionate dispatches."
That’s the kind of journalism that comes around only every so often, but that you want to read every day of the week.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.