Today, on World Press Freedom Day, I recall the vivid experience of walking down a street in Rangoon, Burma’s largest city, and watching freedom of expression flower before my eyes. At that time, in November 2015, the country was gradually emerging from decades under one of the world’s harshest and most insular dictatorships. Burma’s long-suffering reporters were happy to seize the opportunity, and I was seeing the results: Street vendors were offering a dizzying array of newspapers and magazines where once only the gray prose of the state-run propaganda outlets had reigned.
I was visiting Burma, which is also known as Myanmar, to report on its first free election in a generation — one that predictably yielded a victory for Aung San Suu Kyi, the revered leader of the opposition to military rule.… Seguir leyendo »
A big reckoning is coming for Facebook. The revelation that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica covertly accessed data from 50 million Facebook accounts to help the Trump campaign in 2016 is just the latest in a series of damaging stories about the platform. Now U.S. regulators and lawmakers are sharpening their knives. Two Democratic senators, Mark R. Warner (Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), have said that it’s time for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress.
It’s understandable that Washington politicians should be concerned primarily about the possible damage inflicted upon U.S. citizens by Facebook policies (or its laxness in enforcing them, which may well be the issue in the Cambridge Analytica case).… Seguir leyendo »
Iranians are taking to the streets on a scale that hasn’t been seen in nearly a decade. Over the past six days, demonstrations have taken place in more than two dozen towns and cities, from the Shiite seminary town of Mashhad (Iran’s second-largest) to remote provincial centers and the working-class neighborhoods of Tehran. So far at least 20 people have been killed.
We have no way of knowing how this is going to end. The new generation of protesters – some of whom have torn down posters of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and staged attacks on police stations — appears to be fiercely determined.… Seguir leyendo »
The Weinstein Effect is rippling out across the globe. It’s no longer just women in the United States who are speaking up about sexual harassment — their counterparts in many other countries are, too. And we’re once again seeing confirmation of a truth that is often overlooked in discussions of sexual misconduct or assault: These stories are often more about power than they are about sex. Specifically, for men in positions of power, it’s often about demonstrating the extent of their control over the vulnerable.
The same principle applies — albeit in more extreme form — when sexual violence is used as a weapon of war.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry released video footage proving that American forces in Syria have been allowing Islamic State fighters to escape from besieged cities.
Or that, at least, is what the Russians claimed. It took a few days for fact-checkers at Conflict Intelligence Team and Bellingcat, private organizations devoted to debunking disinformation, to figure out that the alleged evidence was completely fake. Among their findings: Some of the images had been lifted from a two-year-old video game trailer. Others came from 2015 footage issued by the Iraqi Defense Ministry.
Caught in the act, the Russian ministry has since admitted that it used fake evidence — and then repeated the allegations using new video material.… Seguir leyendo »
South Korea is in an uproar. Crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands have been surging through the streets of Seoul, the capital city. Some of the marchers are celebrating a ruling Friday by the Constitutional Court, which has upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Others who support the president have been angrily denouncing the court, leading to clashes with police that have resulted in the deaths of two protesters.
All of this turmoil is taking place against the backdrop of ominous gestures from North Korea, which fired off a salvo of four medium-range missiles in a test Monday. The distance traveled by the missiles would have enabled them to hit a U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
Men are beating their wives. All over the world. In rich countries and poor ones. In democracies and dictatorships.
You’d have to be astonishingly clueless to think that this is an entirely new phenomenon. For years we’ve been hearing about the individual tragedies, the studies, the surveys. Yet something does seem to be changing. Domestic violence is now working its way into the global headlines in ways that seem entirely unprecedented — if not always for the reasons one would hope.
In India, a women’s advocacy group reports that calls to its abuse hotline soared in the wake of a chaotic government currency reform last fall.… Seguir leyendo »
What does it mean when the man chosen to run the State Department has no experience in government but ample experience doing business with dictators of every stripe? Ever since ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was picked by Donald Trump to be the country’s top diplomat, critics have focused on his work in Russia—and his close relationship to members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, including Rosneft chief Igor Sechin, at times in open defiance of sanctions. These ties also took up much of the questioning during Tillerson’s confirmation hearing Wednesday.
As it happens, though, Putin and Sechin are far from the only strongmen that Tillerson has dealt with in the course of his career.… Seguir leyendo »