Mass Media Promotes Democracy the

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(21) In Bangladesh government supporters seized hundreds of copies of the national newspaper, Janakantha because it had exposed a local officials involvement in drug smuggling.

After the American invasion of Iraq, a hotel housing media personnel was bombed critically wounding an American journalist. The Bangladeshi government also arrested a local journalist accusing him of having contacts with Israel, a country that Bangladesh does not have any diplomatic relations with.

Chinas efforts to reform and trim down its state newspapers entered a critical phase when the ruling party suspended 673 party and government newspapers. The countrys media has also widely criticized a bill passed in the Taiwanese parliament making possible referendums on issues such as independence and changes to the countrys name. In Venezuela President Hugo Chavez warned the countrys news media that he would take over the airwaves if they did not begin broadcasting pro-government political advertisements. He accused the opposition media outlets of conspiring against him and his revolution for the countrys majority poor.

Zimbabwes independent Daily News, a fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe, was shut down by armed police in September 2003 after the Supreme Court ruled that it was operating illegally by not registering with the state-appointed media Commission. In Sudan, the government suspended the Khartoum Monitor, an English-language daily that wrote about slavery and questioned the independence of the judiciary, also expecting a peace agreement between the government and southern rebels.

The United States, that prides itself on having a free and liberal press, has indulged in silencing television channels such as the Arab Television Channel Al-Arabiya on the pretext that the channel was inciting murder. The Coalition forces in Iraq raided the channels offices, banned its broadcasts and threatened to imprison its journalists. The media watchdog Reporters without Borders, said that the action called into question the future of a free press in Iraq. In another incident a man who claimed to represent the movement of terrorists was detained and led away from a Coalition press conference. He had come to negotiate with the Coalition but instead was silenced. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has tried threatening the Al-Jazzera and Al-Arabiya channels in Iraq, accusing them of cooperating with Iraqi militants by taping attacks on coalition troops.

A similar case of intimidation took place in the Palestinian territories when the occupying Israeli forces forcibly entered the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera offices in Ramallah, broke computers, pointed guns at the journalists, threatening to shoot and temporarily shut down the offices. A Reuters photojournalist was cruelly shot, point blank by an Israeli army soldier when he tried to reason with the driver of a bulldozer that had minutes before crushed to death a volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement that lead a peaceful resistance against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Journalists working for the Christian Science Monitor and even CNN in the Palestinian territories have been told to stop shooting the destruction of houses with daunting actions by the Israeli army, such as firing bullets that whiz past their ear or putting guns to the temple with a threat of pulling the trigger.

In Germany, a growing practice of censoring interviews is being carried out by politicians and industry chiefs. Nine newspapers in the country have all printed articles and comments protesting against the censorship practice. The leftist Tageszeitung printed a censored version on its front page of a transcript of an interview with Olaf Scholz, general secretary of the ruling Social Democrats and one of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeders key allies. The censored version had every question left in and every answer blacked out. Another newspaper had refused to let the interview be published saying that it was an example of a bad practice that was widening, of nothing to appear in the press without being first approved and corrected. When questioned the governments spokesmen said that there was a need for a sensible debate between the press and the government.

However, there have been seen some welcome signs where the media has promoted democracy and even peace ties between countries. A rare political satire acted out by actors of a leading opposition group, on a makeshift stage in Bahrain poked fun at the royal family and politicians. The show was watched by 3000 Bahrainis despite a government ban on watching the show. In Georgia, the opposition group demanding a resignation from President Shevardnadze, took the government television channel off air, that greatly aided their victory. A Pakistani theater group was warmly welcomed in India after the troop crossed into India on foot, signally a step towards normalizing ties between the two warring nations. China has released three young cyber dissidents after detaining her for more than a year for criticizing the government. The dissidents write political satire about the ruling Communist Party and posted messages in Internet chat rooms calling for the release of online dissidents.

In the West, in the beginning of the twenty-first century, the catchword is still global media (21) While in the East in the beginning of the twenty-first century, the catchword is democracy. The irony of this thought is that the West has acquired the infrastructure of a powerful media and the practice of democracy almost instantaneous.

Endnotes

Bayley, 1981

Warner, 1968

Ginsburg, 1986

Smith, 1985

Anderson, 1983

Dyan & Kat, 1992

McGerr, 1986

Schudson, 1978

Entman, 1989

Didion, 1992

Dionne, Jr., 1991

Whitney, 1985

Halberstam, 1983

Alger 1989

Friedrich. 1968

Albright, 1983

Walter, 1990

Mallette, 1990

Lippman, 1990

Feigenbaum, 1995

Hiebert & Gibbons, 2000

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