Tag Archives: Media Issues

‘Deeply Sinister’: Emails Reveal Big Pharma Pushed Twitter to Silence Vaccine Equity Voices

“At a time when online mobilizations were one of the few forms of protest available to the public, Twitter was seemingly asked to shield the powerful from criticism,” said one campaigner. “That should worry all those who care about accountability.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-16-2023 by Common Dreams

lobal Justice Now and The People’s Vaccine projection campaigning for global vaccine equality in London on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Jess Hurd/Global Justice Now via Flickr)

Drugmaker BioNTech and the German government pushed Twitter to “hide” posts by activists calling on Big Pharma to temporarily lift patents on Covid-19 vaccines—a move which would have given people the Global South greater access to the lifesaving inoculations, a report published Monday by The Intercept revealed.

Twitter lobbyist Nina Morschhaeuser “flagged the corporate accounts of Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca for her colleagues to monitor and shield from activists,” according to The Intercept‘s Lee Fang. An email from Morschhaeuser said the German Federal Office for Information Security also contacted Twitter on behalf of BioNTech, whose spokesperson, Jasmina Alatovic, asked the social media giant to “hide” activist tweets targeting her company’s account for two days. Continue reading

Share Button

Concerns Over Disinformation Grow After Musk Relaxes Twitter Ban on Political Ads

Critics expressed concern about the social media giant serving as “a major new forum for massive amounts of money to be spent to influence politics.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-4-2023 by Common Dreams

As advertisers depart Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s recent takeover, the billionaire owner continues to shake up the social media platform, which on Tuesday relaxed a ban on political and issue-based advertising put in place for over three years.

When then-CEO Jack Dorsey announced the ban in October 2019, he explained that “this isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.” Continue reading

Share Button

West Virginia Journalist Fired in Alleged Retaliation Over Reporting on Abuse in State Facilities

Amelia Knisely’s reporting allegedly sparked threats from the state health department.

By Julia Conley.  Published 12-29-2022 by Common Dreams

The William Sharpe Jr. Hospital is shown in Weston, West Virginia.
(Photo: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services)

A journalist at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the state’s public television and radio news network, was fired from her position after reporting on abuses taking place at state-run psychiatric facilities—reporting that allegedly sparked threats from state health officials and pressure on the network to change its coverage of the state government.

Amelia Knisely published a report on November 3 about abuses suffered by people with disabilities at William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital and other facilities run by the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), and a call by state Senate President Craig Blair, a Republican, for GOP Gov. Jim Justice’s administration to investigate the hospital. Continue reading

Share Button

‘I Did Not Believe It For One Second,’ Hannity Says of Trump’s Big Lie While Under Oath

One public policy expert called sworn depositions from Sean Hannity and other Fox personnel the “strongest evidence yet to emerge publicly that some Fox employees knew that what they were broadcasting was false.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 12-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Sean Hannity speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Sean Hannity, the Fox News opinion host and erstwhile purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” did not believe the disgraced former president’s 2020 election fraud claims “for one second,” details from a sworn deposition revealed Wednesday.

Hannity, who was deposed as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, was asked under oath if he believed claims by conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell, amplified on his show, that the Colorado-based company was part of a plot to rig its voting machines to switch large numbers of votes from Trump to President Joe Biden. Continue reading

Share Button

Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of ‘Game-Changing’ PRESS Act

“The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs,” explained one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: AFGE/flickr/CC

Free press advocates this week urged people to contact Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office and ask the New York Democrat to pass legislation protecting journalists from government abuses during the closing days of the current Congress.

“The time between an election and the inauguration of a new Congress—or the lame-duck, as it is affectionately known—is ironically a time when things can happen on the Hill, in part because departing members don’t have to worry about reelection,” Emily Hockett, a Technology Press Freedom Project fellow, wrote for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Continue reading

Share Button

Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

Share Button

Trump Reportedly Seeking Tips for Imprisoning Journalists If Reelected in 2024

“We’ve become used to this sort of thing from him, but we shouldn’t,” said one critic of the former president.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Amid speculation that former U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 run next week, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday that the Republican leader has sought advice about how he could ramp up his war with the news media by jailing journalists if he regains control of the White House.

Trump’s first presidential campaign and four years in office featured constant attacks on reporters, outlets, and the industry in general, from his frequent declarations of “fake news” to going after journalists for reporting on leaked information. Continue reading

Share Button

Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut ‘Foundational’ Digital Rights Law

“Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Rights advocates warn weakening Section 230 would disproportionately silence and endanger “marginalized communities including LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown folks, sex workers, journalists, and human rights activists around the world.” Photo: Public domain

Digital rights advocates responded with alarm to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision to take up a case that could enable right-wing justices to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Section 230 is a foundational and widely misunderstood law that protects human rights and free expression online,” said Fight for the Future director Evan Greer in a statement late Monday. Continue reading

Share Button

Fears Mount Bolsonaro Will Turn Brazilian Bicentennial Into ‘Violence in the Streets’

“No one can hold Bolsonaro back,” said a presidential campaign insider.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Bolsonaro (second from left) Photo: Força Aérea Brasileira CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Brazil is preparing for potential violence that could resemble last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol as far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro plans a pair of Wednesday events to mark the nation’s bicentennial.

“In the capital Brasília, security officials are bracing for a crowd of 500,000 people on the central mall, which Bolsonaro will address after overseeing the traditional military parade marking 200 years of Brazil’s independence from Portugal,” Reuters reported Tuesday. Continue reading

Share Button

The UN must act now to stop the crackdown in Russia

New amendments have been added to the ‘undesirables law’ as Putin looks to intimidate, silence and quash dissent

By Damelya Aitkhozhina  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Andrey Pivovarov, former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement | Image: Facebook / Andrey Pivovarov

For months, Russian authorities have regularly unleashed repressive announcements on Fridays. 15 July was no different.

That day, a court in the city of Krasnodar sentenced Andrey Pivovarov, the former executive director of the now-defunct pro-democracy Open Russia Civic Movement, to four years in prison on charges of leading an ‘undesirable organisation’. Continue reading

Share Button