“AfroMaidan” and other foreign media perspectives on Ferguson

Screenshot of Svobodnaya Pressa article calling Ferguson protests "Afromaidan." Article date: Aug. 13, 2014. Screenshot Nov. 25, 2014.
Screenshot of Svobodnaya Pressa article calling Ferguson protests “Afromaidan.” Article date: Aug. 13, 2014. Screenshot Nov. 25, 2014.

It’s always fascinating to see a foreign perspective on domestic news, and Ferguson is no exception. A number of news outlets have collected observations, some recent and some from August, on how the press outside of the US is covering the events that have unfolded since Michael Brown’s killing by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Predictably, some Russian state media have taken an opportunity to skewer the US, saying the protests are a sign of a coming race war. In August, for instance, Svobodnaya Pressa called the protests “AfroMaidan” (a reference to Euromaidan) with a subhed saying that the events are lesson for the world in American-style democracy (screenshot above). Max Seddon, writing for Buzzfeed and who you should follow on twitter if you’re interested in Russia, has another good roundup of Russian coverage of Ferguson, including translations of Russian memes and online jokes about the events.

Buzzfeed translation of Russian nationalist joke about Ferguson protests.
Buzzfeed translation of Russian nationalist joke about Ferguson protests.

According to the Washington Post, British publications have sent their war correspondents to cover Ferguson and they’ve drawn comparison to police response after 2011 riots in London (wiki). And the LA Times and Hollywood Reporter look at coverage from China, England, Russia, Japan, and Germany, though the Washington Post has better links to original reporting from those countries. In addition to the countries already mentioned, Al Jazeera shows what the media in Turkey, India, and elsewhere, have said about Ferguson.

Foreign Policy’s coverage of how Ferguson is covered from afar should not be missed, also. The piece offers a historical perspective, looking at how worldwide media, including the African press, covered early civil rights protests in Birmingham, Alabama.

Slate has a short piece on China and Iran’s coverage (here are English versions of heavy Iran coverage), which linked to the Wall Street Journal’s look at how China’s government has commented on Ferguson.

Related: Here’s Vox’s take on how US media might cover Ferguson if it happened in another country. The piece is in the same vein as Slate’s excellent “If It Happened There” series, which has a new entry today: America’s Annual Festival Pilgrimage Begins. Another photographer has been arrested while covering the news in Ferguson. And be sure to check out my previous posts on Ferguson: Court orders Ferguson police not to interfere with photographers and Ferguson: a fascinating and troubling study of visual politics, race, the police, and the media.

ISIS has killed 17 Iraqi journalists over past 10 months

Mohanad al-Aqidi (left), who is said to have been shot, and Raad Mohamed al-Azaoui, who was publicly beheaded. Photograph: Journalists Without Borders
Mohanad al-Aqidi (left), who is said to have been shot, and Raad Mohamed al-Azaoui, who was publicly beheaded. Photograph: Journalists Without Borders

Much attention was given to the recent killings of Steven Sotloff and James Foley by the hands of ISIS, and deservedly so. Their executions are a chilling reminder of the risks faced by journalists covering the world’s most dangerous places. But little has been written about the many other non-western journalists who have been kidnapped and killed by ISIS over the past year. In the past 10 months, the Guardian reports, as many as 17 Iraqi journalists have been executed by ISIS, sometimes in public beheadings.

Reporters Without Borders remains one of the best sources for information about the dangers to journalists working in ISIS territory and around the world. Here are some reports on killings of local journalists by ISIS militants over the past year:

  • Confusion About Iraqi Journalist’s Reported Death In Mosul
  • ISIS – Major Threat To Media Freedom In Both Iraq And Syria
  • Three Citizen-journalists Among Hostages Executed By ISIS
  • Islamic State Publicly Executes Iraqi Cameraman In Samarra
  • Jihadi Group Kills Iraqi Cameraman In Northern Syria
  • ISIS Threatening To Execute Iraqi Journalists (one of these journalists was reported killed last week)
  • First Media Victims Of ISIS Offensive
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists, another great source for this sort of information, reports that at least 80 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria since 2011, and about 20, mostly Syrian, journalists remain in captivity there. While ISIS has been in its current state only since about 2013, many of the journalists kidnapped in Syria between 2011 and 2013, including James Foley, ended up in ISIS’ hands.

    US Forest Service may require photography permits for journalists in wilderness areas

    A sign posted by the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management indicates the start of public land north of Ingomar, Montana. - © M. Scott Brauer
    A BLM sign marks the edge of public land north of Ingomar, Montana. – © M. Scott Brauer

    UPDATE (25 Sept. 2014): The US Forest Service has extended the comment period and delayed the rules regarding photography permits amid growing public outcry.

    Original post: The US Forest Service seems to have taken a page from so-called Ag-Gag laws around the country; rules will be finalized this November requiring reporters to apply and pay for a permit to shoot video or photos in designated federal wilderness areas. According to this OregonLive report, permits may cost up to $1,500, though, oddly, the penalty for taking photos without a permit will only go up to $1,000. The acting director of the US Forest Service told OregonLive that the policies, which have been “temporarily” in place for 4 years, are part of the organizations efforts to protect wilderness areas from being commercially exploited as designated under the Wilderness Act of 1964.

    The International Business Times also has coverage of the proposed rules, including thoughts from NPPA general counsel Mickey Osterreicher. I join with Osterreicher and other free press advocates in thinking that these rules are a substantial restriction on constitutional rights and should be abandoned. While I can understand a need to regulate, for instance, large-scale film crews using federal land for Hollywood productions, it’s ridiculous to require journalists to apply and pay for permission to take pictures on wilderness land.

    The Bureau of Land Management, some of whose land appears in my photograph above, does not require permits for photography.

    You can comment on the proposed rules regarding permits for stills and video until November 3, 2014.

    Related: A Kitsap Sun reporter had odd restrictions placed on him while covering efforts to save a historic building in Olympic National Park. He was prevented from speaking to people involved in the story, held back from the scene, and otherwise hassled during what should have been a pretty straightforward and non-confrontational reporting assignment. You can read Tristan Baurick’s final piece on the effort here.

    (via friends on facebook)