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Reporters Sans Limites?

Reporters Without Borders denies reports that it was “excluded” from UNESCO during this UN body’s most recent executive council session for a supposed “lack of ethics.” False reports to this effect have been circulated by certain media, especially in Latin America, without any attempt at verification.

Rogério  Christofoletti of objEthos, writing in the Observatório da Imprensa, is among the commentators assessing the reputational blow suffered by Reporters Without Borders recently — even as it was touting its award-winning governance — when UNESCO reportedly decertified it as a partner in media development programs. RSF denies the charge. I translate.

Historically speaking, many — though not all — «worldwide champions of freedom of expression» commanded by media management are loath to submit murky episode involving them to the light of day: Internal turmoil; the excessive influence of advertisers; partnerships with figures from other areas of the economy who gain a seat on boards; political, economic and ideological pressures.

The removal of Reporters Without Borders broadens this debate, however. Who will investigate the journalist? Who will investigate private media firms which benefit from deals with governments or other centers of power, including the military-industrial complex?

Should an organization like the RSF, which prepares rankings on violence, crime and censorship against reporters the world over, be financed by the U.S. Department of State , which is to say, the  CIA?

Of course not. Demanding, but not practicing, transparency; defining countries as anti-civil liberties while passing over cases of censorship … and persecution of journalists, as happens in the U.S., where radio stations are closed, articles spked, and the very legitimacy of journalistic information and the identity of the profession are called into question.

Where business interests intersect with the public interest, it is all too easy to claim that everyone can be a journalist or that the profession is on its last legs. The NGO Repórteres Sem Fronteiras has contributed to the undermining of the profession and damage the credibility of press freedom rankings the world over.

Gianni Carta of the Incredible Army of Blogoleone adds,

It comes as no surprise that UNESCO delisted Repórteres Sem Fronteiras (RSF) on March 8.

The agency found RSF’s methods incompatible with the professional ethics of journalism.

It is also not worth the trouble of feigning shock at the fact that the yellow press has preferred not to report on a topic that was covered thoroughly by the European press.


Because RSF, since its founded by French “journalist” Robert Ménard in 1985, is financed, among others by the U.S. State Department.

It has been the job of RSF, headquartered in Paris, to produce propaganda, mainly targeting progressive governments in Latin America.

The CIA, obviously, is among the agencies that have infiltrated RSF, as CartaCapital reported  in an article by me entitled “The Cash Stash of  the NGOs”. …

I do not know how self-evident it is, but it does seem clear that USAID, State and the National Endowment for Democracy continue to tag team on projects such as CIMA@NED’s PROMEDIA program — media policy lobbying in the guise of «democracy promotion».

As to the «delisting», it seems that what occurred was a failure to qualify for an increase in status.

We keenly regret that we were not promoted to the rank of ‘associate NGO’ because of the ill will that certain delegations have long felt towards us. We will continue to actively work with UNESCO on behalf of freedom of information.”

Yes, but absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, as Rumsfeld was wont to say.  You can still get pretty far, down South American way, on invoking the faceless men who man the Farm.

If I were to put on my paranoid thinking cap, I might say that sub rosa lobbying and not affairs of state is where the counter-intelligence work is the principle line of work, although in the instance of public-private partnerships it is hard to divorce foreign policy from private shareholder value.

All those spooks left out in the cold by Clinton’s budget cuts have found their private-sector niche, much as the post-dictatorship ABIN in Brazil apparently has.

The blogging-industrial think-tank complex fare poorly at overcoming this unfavorable impression. When Egypt’s generals began looking for an excuse to shut down pro-democracy rallies, they found plenty of verisimilitude in the role played by the National Endowment for Democracy and its «nonpartisan» offshoots IRI, NDI, CIMA and Solidarity.

Relative to the biconnected component of a Web crawl seeded with democracy exporters on the Web, Dem Digest is the champion in terms of frequency of  citation.

Globo Global Voices Online has proven itself to be an enduring source of churnalistic factoid flow in support of various advocacy projects in concert with the Knight and Gates Foundations, Soros, and others.

The publication has the profile what I describe as a «newsstand» or «content brokerage» role — an impressively comprehensive out-degree, a mash-up of content from ideological fellow-travelers. A Christian Science reading room. A gallimaufry, as my Scottish ancestors called it.

A centrality analysis of its strong component strongly suggests that all roads lead to K Street — …

New —  to me — auxiliary VOs and VTs — virtual organizations and teams, found while crawling the alphabet soup:

  1. GMFUS — German Marshall Foundation
  2. ICRW — International Center for Research on Women
  3. ICNL — International Center for Non-Profit Law
  4. FPRI — Foreign Policy Research Institute
  6. SERVIR.NET — «Monitoreo de Mesoamérica»
  7. FSNAU — Food Security, Somalia
  8. NYUDRI — New York University Development Research
  9. AZADFIKIR — «Free Thought» University, Azerbaijan
  10. CDRSEE — «Democracy and Reconiliation in Southern Europe»
  11. Kabul Innovation Lab

A focused analysis of SERVIR.NET turns up a cohesive Linked In network along with a roster of activist centered on the Web site iRevolution, maintained by Patrick Maier,

… an internationally recognized thought leader on the application of new technologies for crisis early warning, humanitarian response, human rights and civil resistance. He currently serves as Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and previously co-directed Harvard’s Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning.

UShAhaAIDi is an open source content management system with geodata mapping capabilities. (Drupal has similar capabilities, I mapped mapped some of my favorite beaches once on a Drupal site I was playing around with.)