All 4 entries tagged New York Times

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April 10, 2007

NY Times outdoing the broadcasters at their own game?

In a piece of video-journalism entitled ‘Anatomy of a Firefight’ C.J. Chivers of the New York Times shows up the typical 2007 television news bulletin for what it is: Froth.

Alastair Leithead, the BBC’s correspondent based in Kabul, has occasionally been given free rein to show what the war in Afghanistan is really about, most notably in a brilliant Panorama programme. But not regularly. And not properly within one of the BBC’s main news bulletins. These programmes, with the infrequent exception of the 10 O’clock News, only really treat Afghanistan as a news story when it affects the fortunes of British politicians and troops.

And yet on a daily basis there are fascinating stories coming out of the country, such as this day-in-the-life piece done by a newspaper journalist for the New York Times. I’ve seen C.J. Chivers’ work before, and it’s really good, both as a video and a written feature. It’s the sort of thing which television viewers should see much more often in Britain, but won’t while the bulletins remain so formulaic, nervous and ‘safe’.

By Tyler Hicks of the NY Times. Members of an Afghan squad and a Dutch platoon took fire from the Taliban insurgents in Uruzgan Province, an isolated area of Afghanistan.

October 08, 2006

In the States, religion is above the law.

There’s a fascinating article in today’s New York Times. Diana Henriques reports on the growing trend for U.S. legislation to have exemption clauses which benefit religious groups over others. For instance, in Alabama, day care centres are subject to rigourous inspections to ensure that children are not being abused. But for no especially good reason, religious-based day care centres are not.

In Boulder County, Colo., the Rocky Mountain Christian Church is using a new federal law to fight a county decision preventing it from expanding on land designated for open space.

In some places, religious organisations are not subject to planning restrictions, meaning they can build in locations that others can not.

The Inland Revenue aggressively investigates all businesses in the U.S. to ensure they are paying their taxes correctly. But not religious organisations, even those that aim to make huge profits. The I.R.S’s ability to investigate these investigations has been limited by legislation.

Religious organizations defend the exemptions as a way to recognize the benefits religious groups have provided operating schools, orphanages, old-age homes and hospitals long before social welfare and education were widely seen as the responsibility of government. But while ministries that run soup kitchens and homeless shelters benefit from these exemptions, secular nonprofits serving the same needy people often do not. And rather than just rewarding charitable works that benefit society, these breaks are equally available to religious organizations that provide no charitable services to anyone.

It’s a brilliant article, and while long, well worth reading to understand who governs the world’s most influential nation.

August 30, 2006

The globalisation of media law?

At present I think I probably know naff all about media law. That’s supposed to change over the next year as I enjoy myself (ha ha ha) studying it. But something that looks set to be an interesting new topic is whether media law can possibly respect national boundaries given the internet.

This story’s come about because of an investigative piece in the New York Times yesterday which revealed far more about the current British terror inquiry than U.K. newspapers would be allowed to print, for fear of prejudicing the suspects’ trial.

The New York Times took the unusual step of putting an IP address filter on users trying to access the story, but of course it doesn’t take a genius to find a way around it. The story Details Emerge in British Terror Case will lead many British users to a page explaining the legal reasons for blocking the page. But… some British users will find their internet is routed from abroad and will be able to see the page with no problems. And other, more inquisitive souls (Would I?!) can just go and use a proxy server to get around the block.

Even better, other newspapers have actually reprinted the article in full on their website, but without even attempting to block the content from British eyes.

So surely the answer is to create an agreement between countries that journalism which could prejudice a trial abroad would be prevented from going online.


It wouldn’t work. Can you honestly see the American First Amendment lobby really getting bothered about whether their newspapers might say something that inadvertantly makes a foreign juror better informed about the case they might have to deliberate on? Not a chance. And even then, if the prosecution do their job properly then they should inform the jury far better than a foreign newspaper could ever manage.

So while the global harmonisation of media laws might seem a good idea on the surface (and I’m sure the EU will catch on to it if they haven’t already), in reality they’re a waste of time. Juries will simply have to be selected more carefully if the legal system is worried about jurors having seen or heard too much about the case in advance, as attempting to fence in internet content on a territorial basis is doomed to fail. It simply wasn’t built with territorial laws in mind, and can’t be bent to fit a flawed system.

June 11, 2006

Ah the Yanks and their 'soccer'!

You gotta love those damn Americans. From the New York Times (about yesterday's game):

A terrible game, really. Beckham clearly the man of the match, but few others did anything of note.

Beckham the best player in the game? He wasn't even the best player on England's right flank!

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