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for each country: Leadership, How
Censorship Works and Lowlights. It
pinpoints those in charge of state cen-
sorship, their methods and the corrup-
tion that accompanies their tactics.
For instance, North Korea’s Korean
Central News Agency controls all
media-related activity. Burma declines
visa applications for major interna-
tional reporters, while Saudi Arabia re-
quires registration for “electronic
journalism” practitioners.
Iran, Cuba and Belarus all imprison
reporters, and the Syrian government
is linked to the murder of at least six
journalists. Many of these govern-
ments also employ filters to block all
external Web sites and software to im-
pede access to search engines in an at-
tempt to black out media coverage.
Commenting on the report
, Equa-
torial Guinean government spokesman
Jeronimo Ecoro asserts that i
t shows “a
biased opinion of the situation in the
country.” In fact, the report painstak-
ingly documents the full extent of the
threat from censorship.
As CPJ Executive Director Joel
Simon comments, “Because the Inter-
net and trade have made information
global, domestic censorship affects
people everywhere.” The presence of
Syria, Iran and North Korea on the list
is particularly worrisome given the im-
plications of their tight restrictions on
information for geopolitical and nu-
clear stability.
—EvaM.A. Moss, Editorial Intern
Speaking of Dictators …
In early May the
Journal
received a
curious invitation in the mail. Pur-
portedly sent on behalf of Zimbab-
wean President Robert Mugabe by the
Ministry of Education, Sport, Art and
Culture, it invited us to the presidential
residence in Harare for the May 12
premiere of a new movie. The hand-
some invitation, carefully labeled non-
transferable, instructed the bearer to
present it at the southwest entrance of
the residence on the appointed night.
Alas,
Washington Post
columnist Al
Kamen revealed in his May 9 “In the
Loop” column that the invitation,
which went to hundreds of recipients
all over Washington, D.C., was a hoax
to promote Sacha Baron Cohen’s new
movie, “The Dictator”
(
www.repub
licofwadiya.com
). In
it, the come-
dian portrays a despot who used to rule
over the fictional African nation of
Wadiya before being ousted and
forced to start a new life in America.
Despite clever marketing, the film
received generally poor reviews and
tanked at the box office. But if nothing
else, the prank is a salutary reminder
that after nearly a quarter-century as
president, the 88-year-old Mugabe re-
mains firmly entrenched in power and
intends to run for re-election this fall.
In the meantime, the
Guardian
(
www.guardian.co.uk
) re
ports that
the United Nations’ World Tourism
Organization
(
www.unwto.org
) ha
s
just appointed Mugabe a “Global
Leader for Tourism.” He and a politi-
cal ally, Zambian President Michael
Sata, signed an agreement to that ef-
fect with UNWTO Secretary General
Taleb Rifai at their shared border at
Victoria Falls on May 29. The two will
also co-host the next UNWTO Gen-
eral Assembly in August 2013.
Critics were quick to note the irony
of the appointment: Mugabe remains
subject to comprehensive European
and American sanctions that include
travel bans, making it rather difficult
for him to promote tourism effectively.
Sometimes truth really is stranger
than fiction.
— Steven Alan Honley, Editor
J U LY - A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
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