Tag Archive: associated press
“The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.” -unnamed source from North Korea, quoted by Daily NK
I knew there was something suspicious behind all of those images and video of North Koreans mourning the death of Kim Jong Il, and now come reports that harsh punishments awaited those who didn’t mourn authentically enough. Reports state that those who did not fully and genuinely participate in the widespread organized mourning have been sent to re-education camps and labor camps.
Bear in mind, the only source for this information is a North Korea-focused newspaper in South Korea (hardly unbiased), but MSNBC and Business Insider have published similar stories. CNN reports that North Korea has denied any such punishments relating to the mourning. The CNN report says that North Korean officials “attributed the allegations [of punishments] to ‘reptile media under the control’ of a group of ‘traitors’ that it said were connected to President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.”
As with any report from North Korea, truth is hard to mete out, and reality is likely much different from what we see.
Related news: We previously mentioned that the Associated Press planned to open a full-time bureau in North Korea. In spite of what must be a very uncertain time in the country, this week the AP finally opened its North Korea bureau. From the AP’s own coverage, “AP writers and photojournalists will also be allowed to work in North Korea on a regular basis. [...] The AP bureau will be staffed by reporter Pak Won Il and photographer Kim Kwang Hyon, both natives of North Korea who have done some reporting for AP in recent weeks on Kim’s funeral and the mass public mourning on the streets of Pyongyang. The bureau will be supervised by Korea Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee and Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder, who will make frequent trips to Pyongyang to manage the office, train the local journalists and conduct their own reporting. Lee and Guttenfelder, both Americans, are longtime AP journalists with broad international experience.” It will be very interesting to watch the AP’s North Korea coverage over the coming months.
“Under one memo of understanding work begins immediately on discussions aimed at opening an AP bureau in Pyongyang. It would be the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital. Five years ago, AP Television News, headquartered in London, became the first Western news organization to establish an office in North Korea.” -AP Press release 29 June 2011
This is a month old, but I didn’t see it reported much. A Associated Press press release published on the Poynter website announces plans for the AP to open a photo and text bureau in North Korea. According to NPR, AP Television News already has an office in the country, but this would be the first text and video reporting bureau operated by a Western news organization. There are, of course, concerns about limits placed on anyone working at the bureau, but the AP’s chief executive Tom Curley sees the move as another step toward opening the country to the world. Part of the agreement to open the bureau includes provisions for cooperation with North Korea’s government news agency, Korea Central News Agency, to distribute KCNA’s historical materials, host a joint photo exhibition in New York, and coordinate on photo and video technology issues.
In recent related photo news, the AP withdrew a KCNA photo from distribution because of photo manipulation. People had been added to a photo showing residents of Pyongyang walking through floodwaters.
“Should the event happen on Saturday, the AP will not distribute images or audio that specifically show Qurans being burned, and will not provide detailed text descriptions of the burning. With the exception of these specific images and descriptions, we expect to cover the Gainesville event, in all media, placing the actions of this group of about 50 people in a clear and balanced context.
AP policy is not to provide coverage of events that are gratuitously manufactured to provoke and offend.” -Tom Kent in memo sent to AP staff
The AP has announced it will not distribute images of burning Korans in its coverage of the proposed International Burn a Koran Day in Gainesville, Florida. It’s an interesting move. On the one hand, I’m happy a news organization will not give attention to something that seems deliberately designed to get attention. On the other, I’m not happy to see news organizations stifle coverage due to the dictates of a religion. South Park was censored earlier this year due to similar concerns, and it feels like a loss on the battleground of free speech. On the other other hand, the “church” and the pastor behind International Burn a Koran Day are completely creepy and insane.
And while we’re on the subject, take a look at Chip Litherland’s photos of Rev. Terry Jones, the man behind all of this.
Just hitting the airwaves, the Noorderlicht Photography Festival, one of the great photojournalism events of the year, has been forced to remove an essay curated by Magnum’s Stuart Franklin. The festival’s press release (warning: pdf) states, in part,
The Associated Press does not object to the exhibition as such, but to the content of Franklin’s accompanying essay. This essay acknowledged that criminal acts were committed by both sides [Palestinian and Israeli], but assigned the principle responsibility for the extent of the bloodshed to Israel. Both Franklin and Noorderlicht believe this conclusion is justified by the critical reports [regarding the matter] from Amnesty International and the United Nations…”
The AP believed Franklin’s text expressed a political statement, and further that having AP photos in the exhibition, the essay associated a political statement with AP’s photos, which violates Associated Press guidelines. Whatever the case, this is the first time in Noorderlicht’s twenty years that an essay has been removed due to potential legal threats.
The Associated Press has lately taken to strictly enforcing its copyrights and licenses, as it should, especially as regards search engines and news aggregators (the AP insists it isn’t going after bloggers…). The implementation, on the other hand, has been laughable. The latest development, the so-called “Protect, Point, Pay” DRM licensing system, has been given a brutal and deserved parody treatment. This comes as other institutions, including the New York Times, struggle to maintain cash flow to continue (profitable) news operations. David Simon, former Baltimore Sun writer and creator of The Wire, a vocal player in recent news industry ruminations, concludes that a paywall is the best chance for major newspapers’ survival. Rupert Murdoch agrees. Newspaper executives lately have been holding secret meetings trying to figure out how to maintain operational budgets, though always with a careful eye turned toward anti-trust and price-fixing laws. Newspapers want an anti-trust law exemption, which US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi supports but which the Obama administration opposes. Perhaps the news business should be one of those industries to which Bill Maher’s new rule apply: not everything in America must turn a profit.
In the meantime, the Associated Press has also rolled out their quotation licensing software, to hilarious results. One must pay the AP when quoting as little as 5 words from a story. Worse still, perhaps, James Grimmelmann of the Laboratorium, found the AP’s automated licensing software is braindead enough to accept money and grant a license to words not written or owned by the Associated Press. The AP revoked the license and issued a statement (“It is an automated form, thus explaining how one blogger got it to charge him for the words of a former president.”), to which Grimmelmann replies. Of course, Grimmelmann’s just trolling for attention and the AP did well to refund his money for an invalid license, but the organization’s tactics are drawing too much bad publicity.
The Associated Press’s motivations are well-founded. News costs money to produce, and there are numerous outlets using the AP’s reports without paying appropriate licensing fees. Worse, these aggregators receive money for ads placed alongside this content, thus making money off of the illegal/improper/infringing distribution of the AP’s copyrighted materials. But finding an elegant solution to this dilemma has proven quite difficult, and the Associated Press’s recent attempts have only exacerbated the problem.