SUDAN WATCH: Hey Google News: Quit mixing in activism with news

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hey Google News: Quit mixing in activism with news

Activists are making my blood boil. Here is a snapshot from this afternoon's newsreel at Google news. Note that the 'Breaking News' from Amnesty International (copy here below) is merely a statement of opinion from their website.

Darfur / UNAMID Daily Media Brief
Organisation de la Presse Africaine (Communiqué de presse) - ‎43 minutes ago‎
UNAMID conducted 19 confidence-building patrols, 11 escort patrols and one night patrol covering 21 villages/IDP camps within two of Darfur’s three states. ...

BBC News
Nubia: Lost civilisation of Egypt
BBC News - ‎44 minutes ago‎
Fifty years ago this year Egypt and Sudan asked for international help to save ancient sites threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. ...

Breaking News: al-Bashir visit to Egypt is a missed opportunity to ...
Amnesty International - ‎51 minutes ago‎
They should apply a similar standard to crimes committed in Sudan". Amnesty International is calling on all members of the international community to ensure ...

Voice of America
Bashir in Egypt, Defying ICC Arrest Warrant
Voice of America - ‎52 minutes ago‎
Sudan says the death toll is around 10000. Mr. Bashir has said that despite the arrest warrant, he plans to attend an Arab summit in Qatar next week. ...

Amnesty International's so called 'breaking news' leads to a statement on their website as follows:

BREAKING NEWS: AL-BASHIR VISIT TO EGYPT IS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO ENFORCE JUSTICE
25 March 2009
"Egypt and other members of the League of Arab States should not shield President al-Bashir from international justice", said Irene Khan, Amnesty International's Secretary General. “His presence in Egypt today should have been an opportunity to enforce the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.”

"By declaring that President al-Bashir has immunity from the arrest warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Arab League has undermined international law which provides no such immunity for anyone, even a serving head of state, for such grave crimes.

"The Arab League was right to demand international justice for war crimes and other serious violations of international law committed during the recent conflict in Gaza. They should apply a similar standard to crimes committed in Sudan".

Amnesty International is calling on all members of the international community to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law committed in Sudan, Gaza and wherever else they occur.
Shame on Amnesty International for issuing such a useless statement that does nothing to help educate readers at such a sensitive time when millions of lives are at stake. Aside from their pompous self promotion, what was the point of issuing such a statement? And they have the cheek to class it as "breaking news." I object to such press releases turning up in Google's newsreel, mixed in with mainstream media, without it being labelled as a press release. It is misleading to readers who may not be aware that Amnesty International's website is purely opinion and self promotion, not professional journalism or hard news.

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