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“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.

The Initiative News Enlightenment in Germany: Uses Censored Yearbooks as Model for Assessment of Major Neglected News

The Initiative News Enlightenment is a non-governmental organization that informs the German-speaking public on topics and news that are neglected by the German mass media, but which are, nonetheless, particularly important for democratic opinion formation.

Even highly important issues are often neglected due to a variety of factors, including, for example: journalistic self-censorship; the danger of legal battles against financially superior opponents; the time needed to inquire into long-term important issues; and work intensification and faster production cycles in many newsrooms. By contrast, the budgets of lobbyists and interest-led public relations firms increase far beyond those of journalism. In addition, certain social classes and milieus are over-represented among journalists and media company owners or shareholders (and others, of course, are under-represented), which affects how they perceive news relevance for the public.

New information and communication technologies transform journalism. Algorithms for the acquisition, archiving, analysis and narration of predictable patterns in large data sets re-prioritize journalistic perceptions; those topics, which cannot be calculated are deleted from easily available data sets. Computer programmers usually model social relationships without any professional knowledge of journalistic or civil practice.

Short-term horizons dominate in many areas. Many stock exchange companies focus on the next shareholders’ meeting, on production and marketing cycles of a few years. Politicians usually act within the framework of election periods. These short-term horizons threaten sustainable economic, ecological, or cultural responsibilities.

Peter Ludes founded the German Initiative News Enlightenment at the University of Siegen in 1997. Our criteria for the specification of neglected news have been based on the Project Censored model. Particular conditions of the media and publics in Germany are, however, taken into account.

In Germany, we cooperated for several years with the most important network of investigative journalists, Netzwerk Recherche. Several of its members, including Hans Leyendecker, Christoph Maria Froehder, and Thomas Leif, were our jury members for years. Recent jury members like the widely respected investigative journalist and book author Guenter Wallraff or Petra Sorge from the news magazine Cicero enhance our Initiative, which in 2014 has been registered as the non-profit association Initiative Nachrichtenaufklaerung.  (The Initiative’s chairman is Professor Hektor Haarkoetter, and its board members include C. Solmecke, J.-U. Nieland, M. Welker, and M. Heck.)

Since 2015, our initiative has been cooperating with the major German public service radio station Deutschlandradio. It is now situated at the University of Media, Communication and Economics (HMKW) in Cologne, which annually organizes the Cologne “Forum for a Critique of Journalism.”  The Initiative also awards the €6,000 Guenter-Wallraff Prize. Donors are the jury member Wallraff, the television station RTL, and the Cologne media law firm Wilde, Beuger, and Solmecke. The first winners in 2015 were Sebastian Pertsch and Udo Stiehl for their project “Cloud of Flowery Phrases.”

We use Censored yearbooks as a model for our assessment of the major neglected news in our research seminars and jury meetings. We also benefit from critical media observers in Germany, other European societies and the United States, check proposals submitted via our website, in research seminars, by former or current members, as well as particularly relevant topics from Project Censored.  Our seminars at several German universities generate comprehensive reports on these proposals:

* The more people are affected, the more important a proposal is, taking into account the extent, duration and intensity of direct and indirect social (dis-)advantages.
* Although we focus on the previous year, we select only topics relevant for a longer period of time.
* Checking various databases, our research seminars and jury determine whether a proposed topic has been covered adequately in national, publicly accessible, widespread mass and network media.
* We inquire how such topics are related to other neglected subjects.
* We try to promote critical investigative journalism and corresponding NGOs.
* Thus we want to support the Global Critical Media Literacy Project.
Since January 1998, we have published our selection of the most neglected news or topics. Over the past years, our Number 1 stories have included:

1997: The Democracy of 3.8 percent of party members
1998: Digital telephones as a means of surveillance
1999: The role of NATO in Kosovo: On the edge of World War III?
2000: The HAARP project: New military technology from the United States
2001: Monopolizing the drinking water supply
2002: Forgotten Wars
2003: Corruption: German companies abroad
2004: From Germany deported – and then?
2005: The UN Battle against corruption – no support from Germany
2006: Missing therapy places for addicts of medical drugs
2007: Illegal agreements between German mobile phone companies
2008: Too many criminals in psychiatric custody
2009: Emergency in hospitals: the nursing staff is left alone
2010: No publication (due to shift of time frame)
2011: Gigantic rescue sums for banks without any effective parliamentary control
2012: No pension for working prisoners
2013: Judges can distribute the income from financial punishments without external control
2014: No publication (due to shift of time frame)
2015: Mass media sell Internet links for advertisers and erode their own credibility
2016: Non-Transparent financing of nuclear weapons

From 1997 to 2002 our Initiative was organized at the University of Siegen (by Prof. Ludes), from 2002 to 2014 at the University of Dortmund (by Prof. Horst Poettker and Dr. Tobias Eberwein), since 2014 at the University of Media, Communication and Economy in Cologne (by Prof. Hektor Haarkoetter). Student seminars were organized inter alia by Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti, Joerg-Uwe Nieland, Rita Vock, Miriam Bunjes, Edith Dietrich, and Ulrike Spree.We thank them and all the jury members, especially the founding members Imme de Haen, Ingrid Kolb, Hermann Meyn, Georg Schuette as well as many active students, e.g., Judith Merkelt and Lina Lindner.

Peter Ludes, Jacobs University Bremen,
Petra Sorge, Cicero News Magazine, and Rita Vock, German Radio
Initiative News Enlightenment
HMKW (School of Media, Communication and Economy)
Hoeninger Weg 139
50969 Cologne
Germany

www.nachrichtenaufklaerung.de
info@nachrichtenaufklaerung.de
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