PULSE: 20 Top Global Media Figures of 2009

After we published our list of 20 Top Global Thinkers, we thought we would be remiss if we did not also honor those who bring these voices to us in the first place. With the goal of recognizing those individuals and institutions responsible for exemplary reportage and awareness-raising in 2009, we asked our editors and writers to name their choices for the top 20 media figures, be they journalists, publications or publishers.  We aggregated these nominations into the following list. Like our 20 Top Global Thinkers, our criteria for choosing media figures included individuals/publications/publishers who have shown a commitment to challenging power, holding it to account, highlighting issues pertaining to social justice and producing output that bucks conventional wisdom and encourages critical thinking.

Amy Goodman

A media institution in her own right, Amy Goodman has shown the true potential of independent media over the past 12 years by turning Democracy Now! into the largest public media collaboration in the US and around the world. Free of corporate sponsorship, DN’s hard-hitting daily broadcast rejects the soundbite format of mainstream media to provide in-depth coverage of the world’s most important issues. Unlike the MSM, Democracy Now! gives less emphasis to official voices than to those affected by the abuses of their offices. Goodman relentlessly pursues her stories, and often follows them long after the mainstream media has moved on to chase new headlines. Iraq and Afghanistan have therefore remained part of DN’s coverage for all the years that they were absent in the MSM. Policy-makers may have lost interest in the story, but for Goodman, the people on the receiving end continue to live the story. Her interviewees include voices that the MSM frequently excludes, including scholars, activists, heads of states out of favor with the United States, opposition leaders, and organizers. Through her journalism, writings and lectures, Goodman continues to set the bar for what every journalist should be aspiring to.

Sherine Tadros/Ayman Mohyeldin

Al Jazeera has long set the bar for war reporting; Sherine Tadros and Ayman Mohyeldin have raised it even higher with their coverage of the conflict in Gaza in 2008- 2009. Tadros and Mohyeldin were the only two journalists working for an international English-language television network reporting from inside Gaza. They braved the dangers of Israel’s indiscriminate assault to bring hour-by-hour reporting the tragedy as it unfolded. Their courage was matched by the quality of their journalism. In 2009, Tadros continued to report from the region, covering the creeping ethnic cleansing of occupied Palestine.  Mohyeldin, likewise, continues to report on issues such as the network of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza which are vital for the transfer of food, medicine and fuel supplies into Gaza.

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An Afghan’s Lament

The Times reports that a team of US-Nato special forces descended on a village in Kunar and apprehended 10 Afghans, including 8 schoolchildren — grades six, nine and ten — and executed them in cold blood. Seven of the children belonged to a single family, and many were handcuffed before being shot. Following is the lament of an Afghan poet who has endured enough of the freedom brought him by the so-called Operation Enduring Freedom.

(I am unable to translate this right now, maybe later. But the pictures speak for themselves).

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How Egypt does Israel’s bidding

Here are the thuggish Egyptian police harassing senior citizens and children on Israel’s behalf. It appears Egyptians are better at fighting for Israel than they were fighting against it.

Video clip from Thursday morning demonstration in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptians and internationals in the Gaza Freedom March assembled to protest Egypts crackdown on their freedom of movement. Police attempted to blockade some activists in their hotels, and allowed only a small number to travel to the border with Gaza. Video by Kayvan Farchadi with Sam Husseini.

More at http://husseini.posterous.com/

Richard Falk on Gaza

One year after Israel’s war on Gaza, Al Jazeera talks to the UN special rapporteur Professor Richard Falk on Palestine and asks him about his views on that war, the impact of the Obama presidency and the future of the peace process.

Let’s Talk about Gaza

On the 27th of December, I joined 24 other Israeli activists and with them tried to directly breech the siege on the Gaza strip, by marching south from Zikim beach. From the Anarchists Against the Wall website:

A high ranking officer present told the demonstrators that he could not promise that he and his men will avoid opening fire at them if they proceed. Challenging the legality of the siege, activists tried to cross the line of soldiers, and some even got into the sea, trying to swim around the barrier. The activists were soon stopped by the police, using motored water vessels and horses. 16 were arrested in suspicion of violating a military order, later to be released at the Sderot police station, but barred from returning to the area near Gaza for two weeks.

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Mark Regev and the BBC: It’s a love story

Mark Regev in one of his frequent BBC appearances

Revolted by the BBC’s frequently obsequious attitude toward the Israeli spokesman Mark Regev, Anne Key, a friend of PULSE, sent the following letter of complaint. We encourage readers to also register their complaints (Please copy us in at editor@pulsemedia.org when you write).

Dear Sir, Madam,

I am writing to complain about the BBC’s persistently subservient attitude when interviewing Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli government.

Marking the first-year anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”), in which 1,417  Palestinians were killed (including 313 children and 116 women), Mr Regev was once again given free reign to “explain” Israel’s motives for Operation Cast Lead. The interviewer barely challenged Mr Regev throughout the interview.

Contrary to what Mr Regev asserts, the Israeli Army did not attack “key Hamas targets”. Conducting an estimated 2,300 air strikes, Israel indiscriminately targeted schools (including a school run by the UN), homes, hospitals, mosques and even flourmills. 8,000 homes were completely destroyed, 33,767 families had their houses damaged, 200,000 people were displaced, among them 112,000 children.

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Gaza Freedom March Updates

Sam Husseini speaks to Paul Jay of the Real News from Cairo. He is also liveblogging here.

Also check out Kirstie and Angus MacLean’s updates and the always excellent coverage by our good friends at Mondoweiss. Ali Abunimah is also liveblogging from Cairo. Stephen Walt has written about the absence of coverage in the US media (here and here). This is what presumably prompted the New York Times to give some coverage today (albeit on page A8). Democracy Now, as always, has the best coverage of all.

Fragments: Indexing Memory

A collection of ‘fragments’ on memory, history and mourning in commemoration of Gaza

And the dead –
What time are they due back?  

– Joe Bolton, In Search of the Other World

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Roger Waters in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March

Roger Waters is an outspoken critic of Israel's apartheid wall

UPDATE: A video message by Waters added below.

27 December 2009 — My name is Roger Waters. I am an English musician living in the USA. I am writing to express my great admiration for and solidarity with the 1360 men and women from 42 different countries around the World who are gathering in Egypt, preparing for The Gaza Freedom March. We all watched, aghast, the vicious attack made a year ago on the people of Gaza by Israeli armed forces and the ongoing illegal siege. The suffering wrought on the population of Gaza by both the invasion and the siege is unimaginable to us outside the walls. The aim of The Freedom March is to focus world attention on the plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza in the hope that the scales will fall from the eyes of all, ordinary, decent people round the world, that they may see the enormity of the crimes that have been committed, and demand that their governments bring all possible pressure to bear on Israel to lift the siege.

I use the word ‘crimes’ advisedly, as both the siege and the invasion have been declared unlawful by United Nations bodies and leading human rights organizations. If we do not all observe international law, if some governments think themselves above it, it is but a few short, dark, steps to barbarism and anarchy.

Continue reading “Roger Waters in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March”

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