Newscoop Footnotes: February 18, 2019

Welcome to Newscoop Footnotes —

the weekly review of important news no one’s talking about.

Hi, I’m Zoe Licata.

More threats this week to press freedom around the world.

In the Philippines, protests erupted in Manila following the February 13th arrest of award-winning Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. Ressa is CEO of the online news site Rappler, one of the few independent news outlets in the Philippines. Rappler has been highly critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, in particular of his extrajudicial killings of drug users.

Source: NPR, Rappler

Next, concerning developments in the tech space.

First, Chinese tech giant Tencent is reportedly investing $150 million in the popular social news-sharing website Reddit. That news sent a shudder through the Reddit community, spreading fears of censorship, as the platform has long been viewed as a place for near total free expression across all topics. China, on the other hand, is notorious for censoring content. Currently, Reddit cannot be accessed inside China, as it’s blocked by China’s internet firewall.

You may remember that Reddit was co-founded by the brilliant young programmer and internet hacktivist, Aaron Schwartz — who was dedicated to making information freely available to all.

Source:  BBC

Meanwhile, the government of Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced its plans to test a fully independent domestic internet, cut off from the global web. Initially, the Russian domestic internet will be temporary, purportedly to test the country’s own cyberdefense capabilities. But many see it as a big move closer to something like China’s Great Firewall, blocking content the government sees as threatening its ability to control the conversation.

Source:  Guardian, RBC, Wired  

And now, the latest on the U.S./Iran tug o’ war.

Since Donald Trump has been U.S. president, we’ve watched the development of what can only be called his determined animosity toward Iran. But as Trump’s negative obsession with Iran gathers steam, the obstacles he encounters also seem to multiply:

  • In October 2018, The UN International Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. must lift its sanctions against Iran that impede the flow of humanitarian goods.
  • And on February 13th, the UN court ruled that Iran is entitled to reclaim the $2 billion in assets the U.S. had frozen.
  • Then earlier this month, Germany, France and Britain announced they had developed a financial system to allow their companies to continue trading with Iran without incurring the penalties that would come from violating U.S. sanctions.
  • And finally, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented that “we have nothing against the American people.” He said that Iran’s infamous “Death to America” chant referred only to the “malicious” U.S. leaders Trump, Pompeo and national security advisor Bolton.

A quick reminder: The people of Iran recently marked the 65 year anniversary of the U.S. and British coup against Iran’s democratically-elected and much-beloved Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. After Britain’s decades-long control of Iran’s oil, Mossadegh decided in the early 1950s to nationalize his country’s oil industry. In response, the CIA organized his overthrow, paving the way for the next 25 years of Iran’s rule by the Shah — until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Source: Al Jazeera


This has been the latest edition of Newscoop’s Footnotes – 

                                 important events getting too little attention.


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