Sunday, April 29, 2007

On Hate Media

My job consists mostly of researching training opportunities for journalists in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Sometimes I come upon opportunities that-- for me anyway-- raise ethical issues in regards to who I'm really helping (or hurting). There was a case last week, for example, in which I helped promote a journalism awards contest sponsored by the largest distiller and seller of booze in Africa... it's great that they sponsor journalism activities, but they're definitely not contributing to the social fabric there.

But that had nothing on what I found yesterday.

An innocuous email describing a routine seminar course for young TV jouranlists in Azerbaijan came to my inbox, and I quickly wrote an article promoting the opportunity. Right before I sent it to my editor, I visited the organizer's Web site to see what kind of group they were.

Oh . My. God

I knew, intellectually, that these kind of media organizations existed, but there's still no way to wrap your mind around actually reading one.

Under an article titled "Democracy = Terrorism?"

Democracy is the way of life of the Kuffaar (disbelievers) in which they believe, live their life by and are willing to die for... Hence, these nations deem it necessary to convey their democratic way of life to the rest of the world so that they are able to further sustain their dominance and ensure that any threat to their civilisation is made impotent... They kill, murder, bomb, destroy, rape and pillage to achieve their aims and to subjugate the people into becoming subservient to their demands.
In a long, scholarly article that examines the concept of jihad, the author claims:

The verses of the Qur'an... are overflowing with all these noble ideals and they summon people in general... to jihad, to warfare, to the armed forces, and all means of land and sea fighting.

The article closes with:

My brothers! The ummah that knows how to die a noble and honourable death is granted an exalted life in this world and eternal felicity in the next. Degradation and dishonour are the results of the love of this world and the fear of death. Therefore prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death.

So this falls pretty safely in the "hate-media" column. This media website-- which is published in five languages-- denounces non-Muslims as murderers and encourages true believers to wage war on them unto death. After all, the article points out, "we should all ask ourselves, is there a quicker way to heaven?"

Anyway, my job is help this media group recruit the next generation of TV producers to help "spread the word."

And the ironic thing is, we all firmly believe that strengthening independent media is the surest way to gaurd democracy, tolerance, and plurality in developing societies.

Looks like the jokes on us.

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