We heard horrific stories of American female journalists being attacked during the Egyptian revolution in 2011. There are many other cases we did not hear about because the victims are not Western. They don’t have the same access and publicity; they may not be as comfortable talking openly about an issue that’s considered private and sensitive in some cultures, or they may worry that any frank discussion could portray them as weak and incapable of braving the dangers of field journalism.
I couldn’t work for another newspaper. I can only work for a paper where I can write objectively. I can’t write that in the last 20 years, it’s all been so wonderful in our country because I know it’s not true. Saying everything’s just great. Kissing officials’ backsides. I won’t do that, not so I can earn $500 or $600 a month. I’d rather earn less but tell the truth.
Journalist Zhanara Kasymbekova in The Fight to Publish, a film about Kazakhstan’s only mass-produced opposition paper.
(via Al Jazeera)
After Kazakhstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, a system of double standards was created. To the outside world, the language of democracy is used to attract foreign investors. On the inside, journalists must navigate the dangerous realities of imprisonment, fines, interrogations by secret police, and raids of editorial offices. In two decades of independence, not a single murdered journalist’s case has been solved. Ostrovsky’s film follows journalist Zhanara, Staff reporter as the Golos Respubliki newspaper, as she covers stories from her base in Almaty - and when breaking news of the riots in Zhanaozen takes her to the aftermath of the bloodiest day in Kazakhstan’s modern history.
The Respublika newspaper did not come out of this frightening period unscathed. The editorial staff were threatened when the beheaded corpse of a dog was hung outside the newspaper’s window. It turned out that this was only a prelude to the arson of our editorial office, which was burned to the ground. At the same time, our editor-in-chief, Irina Petrushova, was charged with tax evasion and forced to flee the country. By 2009, the newspaper had been forced to shut down by one of its creditors, the government-controlled BTA bank. But despite all the pressure, the newspaper reopened under the new name it uses today: Golos Respubliki.
FJP: A wake-up call to the realities faced by journalists around the world. Zhanara has to fight to cover news objectively, risking her life in the process.
Watch the film. 25 minutes, worth it.
Al Jazeera English continues with their special series, the Mainstream Media’s Dictionary.
caliphate. n. Future involving Ayman Al-Zawahiri sitting on a throne watching bearded footballers in long shorts contesting the Islamic Cup final in Seville.
catastrophe. n. Good way to describe an earthquake or tsunami. Add “of biblical proportions” to increase viewership.
caucasian. adj. Let’s leave the suspect’s race out of this, it’s not relevant.
cheerleader. n. See journalist.
Moving on to selections for the letter ‘D’:
darling. n. Last known positive description, after ally, to describe third world leader before we start using strongman, dictator.
dead. n. See newsworthy.
defiant. adj. Use this word to describe any speech by dictator. Content needn’t be noted.
dehumanising. v. tr. Effects of militia attack that killed the child, not exacerbated by the journalists who require the grieving eyewitness mother to describe the ordeal (preferably with tears) in a thirty second soundbite. If it’s over thirty seconds, get her to do it again until she gets it right.
disaster. n. Conflict and catastrophe-free 24 hour news cycle.
disinformation. n. The other channel.