Tag Archives: media

Syria. It’s not just what’s in all the media.

Let’s play a little game. You have less than 3 seconds to think about the answer to the following question. Be honest. What are the first 5 words that come to your mind when I say: Syria?

Now, does any one of those words that came to your mind relate to: revolution, civil war, killing civilians, protests?

When overwhelmed by the media, sometimes art helps to counterbalance all of the misery you hear about in the world. Sometimes, videographers show you the other side. Ruslan Fedotow does just that.

I discovered him by chance on Vimeo. Ruslan Fedotow is a Belarussian student at Academy of Arts who has had the occasion to visit Syria, twice for a couple of months altogether in the past year. Expert in Cinematography, he teamed up with Editor Artem Yakimov to make “Syria. The Other Side”, a video showcasing Syria’s ancient landscapes, age-old traditions, and unique culture along with an inspiring soundtrack.

Click on the link to watch “Syria. The Other Side” on Vimeo (sorry, I couldn’t post the video here due to restrictions).

Below is another work by Fedotow introducing the bright side of Syrian life:

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2012: why not think positive?

2012 is approaching. Visions of the end of the world, catastrophic events, or the apocalyptic doom may immediatly come to your mind when the year 2012 is mentionned. But 2012: A time for change is a documentary that will give you a different vision of the year that is coming.

Nostradamus, the Mayan prophecy, the Free Masons, and a number of infamous astrologers all point to 2012 as a defining moment of change. If the 90’s were characterized by a rising fear of the year 2000, the world has witnessed a rising fear of the date of December 21st, 2012. With the help of the “doomsday theories”, the media has been quite successful at dramatizing our future.

2012 – the hype about how the end is near?

Early in 2007, an article titled “Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?” was published in USA Today. In it G. Jeffrey MacDonald wrote: “Since November, at least three new books on 2012 have arrived in mainstream bookstores. A fourth is due this fall.” Not only many websites have been created for the occasion but a great many videos on Youtube have been dedicated to these quite pessimistic predictions. Many movies have also been inspired by the theories. 2012 and I am Legend are just a couple of famous examples. Documentary series on The History Channel as well as on Discovery Channel have given a focus on this same issue: Decoding the Past (2005), End of days (2006), Seven Signs of the Apocalypse (2007), and  2012 Apocalypse (2009) [click on the links to view parts of these documentaries].

In reaction to this phenomenon and to calm people down, articles have been written about how largely over hyped the whole issue has been [read this MSNBC article for example]. However, as journalist Benjamin Radford wrote in an article published on FoxNews.com, “while many authors and 2012 ‘experts’ are playing up the doomsday scenario, others believe that the year will bring not disaster but a new era of global harmon”.

Think again, what if 2012 wasn’t what you’re always being told?

Indeed, behind this big wave of gloomy narratives being presented to us, hides a few who are trying to convey a more optimistic message. This was the subject of a book by author Daniel Pinchbeck who wrote  2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, published in spring 2006. Pinchbeck then collaborated with New york-based director João Amorim to turn this book into a Documentary Film titled 2012: A Time for Change, which is due to be released in festivals and selected venues throughout 2011.

I don’t mean to advocate that the views expressed in 2012: A Time for Change are completely original. As movie critic John Hartl wrote in The Seattle Times, it is indeed “a thought-provoking examination of some of the same issues explored in ‘Avatar’, ‘Crude’ and Hollywood’s bigger-budget 2009 disaster epic, ‘2012’. But while the negative theories about 2012  have largely populated our screens, 2012: A Time for Change does offer a refreshing take on what may (or may not) be coming to us.

Instead of scaring its audience, in his review of the film, Sander Hicks explains how 2012: A Time for Change offers “a vision that asserts that human creativity, scientific innovation and a new vision of spirituality are powerful forces creating a huge paradigm shift,  here and now, taking us off the path of death, into new life.” Emmy-award nominee João Amorim provides his audience with a lot of optimism for 2012.

Why not think positive for a change?

Neil Genzlinger gave a rather negative review of the film, which he published in the New York Times. He accused it of being naive and proclaimed that the interviewees, which included celebrities like Sting and David Lynch, don’t “seem to acknowledge that the planet has almost seven billion people on it or have room in their worldview for annoying facts of life like brutal dictators, ethnic hatred, entrenched poverty and plain old greed”.

I don’t totally disagree with this view but it seems to me that, in our modern societies, we are confronted with these “facts of life” in our everyday life through the news and other media that I have mentionned above. Instead of pointing out to all the problems in the world, 2012: A Time for Change offers a different perspective that provides a window to the viewer that is overwhelmed with doom.

See the trailer here. If you want to host a screening, buy the DVD or  see when the film is going to be screened in a theatre near you, go to the 2012: A Time for Change website.

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French media accuse Nicolas Sarkozy of ruling Television

Telerama Magazine presents Nicolas Sarkozy as “president of France Television” on a shocking cover to be released in next week’s edition.

Mr Fabrice Pierrot, a French journalist working for CAPA TV, released the news of this cover on Twitter today.

It shows Sarkozy’s in his presidential  posture next to a flag bearing the logos of 3 of the most important public TV stations. Check it out –>

If you look closely, the date of publication of the Magazine will be in the week from April 24th to April 30th. So will it really be published? We’ll have to wait and see to confirm.

Sarkozy vs. the media

This would come amongst rising complaints about Sarkozy’s possible stronghold on the media.

Right from his election campaign and even more after the PPDA scandal, journalists and critics have been worrying about Sarkozy’s close relationships with owners of the media like Martin Bouygues (TF1…) and Arnaud Lagardère (Hachette, Paris Match…).

What’s behind Telerama’s future cover?

Telerama monitors and provides information about all the programs that are to air on French television.  So what’s in store for this new edition of Telerama?

The article behind the cover should be interesting.

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Ricky Martin reveals he is gay. But why do we care about his sexuality?

The media are loving it. Latin lover Ricky Martin is getting out of the closet. But why do we care?

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Here is a man who has conquered the world with his charm and his voice. A man who has commited himself to promoting human rights. And yet a man who has lived 38 years of his life hiding from the world who he truly was.

Ricky Martin has finally decided to come out of the closet. “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” Martin revealed on his website today. Convinced by his entourage that it would destroy his carreer, it took him time but he is now ready to confirm “I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Ricky Martin hid his sexual orientation to maintain his sex appeal

Throughout the 1990’s Ricky Martin has reached the status of sex symbol. Adored by thousands of young girls who swore by his sex appeal, Martin didn’t want to disapoint and feared loosing his fans.

But questions arose in my mind as I thought about this. Why would his sexual orientation change his sex appeal? Can’t a woman appreciate a gay man’s sex appeal? Don’t men ever find lesbians sexy? The online magazine AskMen informs that “surveys reveal that the majority of men […] enjoy watching two women engage in a passionate interlude”.

So nowadays, why should any artist be scared of loosing his fans because of his sexual orientation? I’m letting you answer this question…

The media reacts to Ricky Martin’s coming out

As decades pass by, more celebrities reveal their homosexuality. In western countries, we have come a long way from the times when homosexuality was seen as a crime (fyi: homosexuality remains illegal in more than 80 countries throughout the world). But homosexuality continues to shock.

It is that shock value that puts Ricky Martin back on the front page of People magazine today. The word “shock” also comes back in a number of articles throughout the web.

But others reacted quite positively to Martin’s announcements. In addition to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) who congratulated him, the british entertainment magazine Heat also applauded his declaration. The notorious Perez Hilton also expressed his happiness for Ricky on his blog.

But no matter what your response is to Ricky Martin’s sexuality, I still have so many questions regarding this affair. Why do you even care? Why do you mind who he loves most? How does who he sleeps with matter to his art and skills?

And, really, why do we even write about it as journalists? In the end, could we even consider publishing such stories ethical?

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An ordinary american family just fooled the world’s media

The Heene family has duped the entire world through the media with the story of their son Falcon flying up in the air in a balloon.

What an amazing story these journalists reported last Friday.

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Breaking the news – What happened to the balloon boy?

As a science experiment, a happy family from Colorado constructed an air balloon and it actually inadvertently took off with one of their kids in it! For some time the balloon flew thousands of feet up in the sky at 25 miles per hour and the authorities were incapable of stopping it. Airplanes were delayed, and the whole world (from France to Saudi Arabia) turned its attention to the media covering the event live.

Programs on TV completly changed their schedule. The flight of the balloon was not just shown in live on CNN, or Fox News, but also on international TV channels like Al Jazeera.  No other news seemed to matter anymore. People immediatly started commenting on their blogs and on Twitter. More than a 100 groups and fan clubs were instantly created on Facebook.

Falcon Heene, the Balloon Boy got his moment of fame.

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When fiction makes the news

This was all made up by a family in desperate need of attention. This was a wonderful hoax and everyone online seems mad because we have all been fooled.

We have to admit though, the Heene family did put on a good show. They captivated us and they allowed us some entertainment during a weekend full of killings in Pakistan.

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Maybe now it’s time for the media to get back to reality and deliver some important news.

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Did you know? China held a World Media Summit last week.

Didn’t know? Well, neither did I!

I am currently doing a course in which more than 20 different nationalities are represented. Our main subject being journalism, it is not uncommon for us to discuss the divergences found between the media in our different countries of origin. Today, I was talking to a chinese student.

Freedom of the press is a fascinating topic when it comes to China. The biggest and fastest developping country in the world is currently depriving its entire population from some of the world’s most important news. Don’t go looking for an objective article about all the foreigners’ support for an independant Tibet in the China Daily. What matters in the chinese media industry is what the chinese government thinks and says.

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The chinese government thinks facebook and twitter are harmful sites for their nation. So Facebook and Twitter are not available in China. On the other side, we learn that these online platforms are extensively used by journalists in Western countries. So where has freedom of speech gone for chinese people?

Ironically, as this same chinese student informed me today, a World Media Summit was held last Thursday in Beijing. Anyone actually heard about it? The organisation of this summit came from a proposition made to China after the Olympic Games by some of the biggest international news organisations like News Corporations, The Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC, Turner Broadcasting System and even Google.

Both the BBC and CNN seem to have discarded this news. Sky News only mentions Murdoch and Curley’s statements in a small article. From all the reports I have read, none mentions that any comment was made by any participants of the summit concerning China’s government strong hold on the media. Why are the international media so reticent in exposing the facts? I only found one exceptionnal article written by Agence France-Presse (AFP) for Taiwan News which addresses the issue.

The World Media Summit happened over 3 days last week in Beijing and was very positive according to chinese records. All this while all we heard was that Carla Bruni was lauching her new website, McDonald’s planned to open a franchise in the Louvre, and Cirque du Soleil’s founder clowned around in Space.

Wake up.

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