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PostWorld Press View (Ronald Hilton, USA, 01/25/04 9:33 am)
I do not like media barons and I detest the noise of television, but I protest vigorously against blanket condemnations of the printed press by people who simply want the press to express their own ideas and prejudices. Print journalists around the world perform a professional job, often in dangerous circumstances. They enlighten their own people and provide us with windows into the thinking of other countries on world affairs. Unfortunately, the shutters of alien languages prevent our seeing through those windows. World Press Review performs the invaluable service by opening the shutters and allowing us to see the printed press in English translation.
The March 2004 issue features a section on "Europe's Furor Over Faith". On the cover is the face of a Muslim girl in head scarf. with the French tricolore and "Liberté, Egalité" painted on her face. Missing is "Fraternité", and that is the essence of the French government's argument. The ban in head scarfs and other religious symbols is intended to promote national solidarity, the word which has replaced fraternity. There is an article from the Frankfurter Rundschau titled "The Trouble with the Head Scarf", An article on Iraq has a portrait of Saddam Hussein with rats on his shoulders. Why does Mickey Mouse idealize mice while big brother rat has not benefited from a similar public relations campaign?As usual, the most enjoyable section is the two pages of cartoons. The US has the nuclear bomb,but many small countries have excellent cartoonists, capable of reducing complex political situations to a simple drawing. A good cartoon can have the power of a nuclear bomb. The section "Eye on the United States" lets Americans see their own country through foreign eyes. "Jewish Women Wage a Holy War" tells of the ban on Jewish women wailing at the wall. Often these religious fights have little to do with the essence of religion, which is the struggle to make sense of the world.
We are thankful not only to World Press Review but also to the Stanley Foundation, which sponsors it.
It is ironic that I posted my enthusiastic commendation of the World Press Review only to receive this message from the editor, Alice Chasan, which makes me weep: "Thank you for sharing this message with me. However, your praise is particularly bittersweet, coming at this moment. I write to convey the sad news that the Stanley Foundation, which has owned and published WPR for 30 years, has decided to cease WPR's publication after we complete the May 2004 issue, which is the magazine's 30th anniversary issue. On behalf of the editorial staff and our international corps of correspondents, I wish to express my thanks to you and the hundreds of thousands of like-minded individuals who have joined the international conversation by reading World Press Review and our Web site, worldpress.org, for so many years. I sorely regret that WPR will no longer be there for all of you".
RH: For those who think there is nothing wrong with our system, ponder this. It reminds me of the foolishness of the Stanford administration which led to the demise of the HispanicAmerican Report. I have no idea about what motivated the Stanley Foundation. Often a new administrator comes in, and, in order to prove that he is doing something, simply destroys the creations of a previous administrator. Meanwhile, the junk and the pornography proliferate. Something is wrong.