Stiletto by Max Kolbe – January, 2007

A Gong for Beijing & Pyongyang as a Friend Passes Away

Stiletto by Max Kolbe – January, 2007

First up a hearty congratulations to dear leader Kim Jong Il who has been awarded the titles of honorary professor and “Master of Journalists” and the education merit medal from Guayaquil University of Ecuador on the occasion of his birthday.

The Korean Central Newsagency reports carved in the medal are words reading “To the great leader Kim Jong Il” and “In high praise of feats performed for university education. January 15, 2007.”

An awarding ceremony took place on the spot on January 15.

Present were Salomon Quintero, vice-president of the university, Hector Chavez, dean of the Social Communication Faculty, Alba Chavez, secretary general of the Latin American Institute of the Juche Idea who is director of the Doctoral Institute of the Social Communication Faculty of the university, personages of the academic circle, teachers and students.

Alva Chavez, speaking at the ceremony, praised Kim Jong Il as the great politician, thinker and theoretician and strategist publicly recognized in the present era.

The vice-president of the university in a speech said that it is a high pride and fortune of all the teachers and students to have decided to hold in high esteem Kim Jong Il as an honorary professor and award the title of “Master of Journalists” and the education merit medal to him.

Further south, in Phnom Penh and is with much saddened this column notes the death of Ly Kim-Song, the office manager for Agence France-Press, and had helped many a journalist and photographer in Cambodia.

Mr Song, as he was known to everyone, died suddenly on Sunday, January 14, after a period of illness. He was 64, and leaves behind his wife, Tat Kim Huoy.

They had three sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Diminutive in stature — he described himself as “svelte and sexy” — Song worked his heart out. He translated, spotted errors in news stories, controlled the accounts, sorted satellite dishes and phone lines, massaged egos, launched and nursed many a hangover, dealt with belligerent authorities and dilettante journalists, and knew who could be counted on and who could not.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh is warning anyone caught breaking new media imposed under emergency rule faces five years in jail.

The caretaker government has announced that freedom of speech and assembly will be restricted when it imposed a state of emergency to defuse a crisis over staging elections.

The government, which is widely seen as being backed by the military, can “restrict publication or broadcast of any anti-government” articles, cartoons or discussion in print or electronic media under the rules, the notice said.

And in Australia, the advertising watchdog has struck a blow for the “whingeing Pom” by upholding British complaints about a beer commercial.

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) blocked a Tooheys New Super Cold radio promotion after ruling use of the popular Australian stereotype was demeaning to the English.

Apparently the commercial included British men singing the tune of “Land of Hope and Glory” with the lyrics replaced by synonyms of the word whinge — including whine, moan, slag and complain.

The advert ended with a voice-over saying “Introducing Tooheys New Super Cold, served so cold it’s a Pom’s worst nightmare”.

In Beijing China has also scored a gong, winning praise from Reporters Without Borders for a relaxation on some media curbs.

The Paris-based press freedom advocate, said it was lifting its call for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in response to China’s efforts on press freedom. Like a ban was going to happen.

In a statement, Reporters Without Borders acknowledged there were “signs of change on the eve of next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.”

Chinese President Hu Jintao then announced a new drive to control the Internet, while government censors said they were planning to step up monitoring of prime time TV.

Marvellous stuff. Broadcasting authorities in China will only allow television stations to air “ethically inspiring” programs in prime time.

“The country’s satellite TV stations should only screen ethically inspiring TV series during prime time, which reflect the reality of China in a positive way,” Xinhua news agency quoted Wang Weiping, vice director of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT), as saying.

About Webmaster 857 Articles
Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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