Truth or death? – The harsh reality of journalism

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been declared dead but without a body and without facts, one question I want to know is, how many journalists need to die in the name of freedom of speech?  

October 2, 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. As his fiancée waited outside, the journalist stepped into the building, never heard from again.

After his fiancée raised the alarm, Turkish forces began an investigation, finding evidence of torture, prompting several reports of Khashoggi’s fingers and head being cut off.

Khashoggi, by all accounts, was a courageous journalist, fuelled by a desire to see a modern progression of the Saudi regime. Deliberately choosing self-imposed exile he continued his dedication to change, through the Washington Post.

Eagerly awaiting his return, fellow journalist Karen Attiah recounts how colleagues at the Post had hoped Khashoggi would be able to submit his weekly column, which she said “captures his passion and commitment to freedom of speech in the Arab world.”

“This is the last piece of his I will edit for the Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world” – Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor, Washington Post

Sadly, Khashoggi would never return.

So far, Saudi have officially “plead the fifth” recounting a botched fist-fight, while maintaining Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is innocent. Whether this is to be believed from a country who still indulges in medieval punishment, is out for jury.

According to data collected from Committee to Protect Journalists, 48 reporters have died this year with, 47 in 2017 and a total of 1,323 since 1992. In 2017, 262 were also imprisoned, with most of these being in Arab countries.

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1,323 journalists have been killed since 1992.

The evasive and global response from governments, sheds light on the perceived value of a journalist’s honour to the truth. The disposal of journalists seems like a more viable option for corrupt governments and organisations than to deal with the publication of facts.

“Those who rule by fear, and fear to explain their rule, fear questions. They kill messengers.” – Jamal Khashoggi

The topic of a journalist’s safety is rarely addressed by public figures, instead dismissed as part of the job.  U.S President Donald Trump was recently cited praising congressman Greg Gianforte as “his guy” for an attack on a Guardian journalist, further highlighting the divide between the media and the state.

Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new. Even with the threat of vast media coverage the immediate threat to a journalist’s freedom is still very much active. After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, is the hatred towards journalists accepted as the new normal?

 

Sport Paper Review, Tuesday 9th October

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Today’s back pages (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

David Ronney is joined by Fraser Munro to discuss today’s big sporting stories from the back pages of the daily newspapers.

Analysis: Edinburgh Council Budget Plans for 2018/19

Music tuition and public toilets may face the axe.

Image: Ross Cowper-Fraser

Bruntsfield Primary may have its music tuition funding halved

The City of Edinburgh Council has been tasked with the difficult job of trying to save £28 million in the 2018/19 budget.

Over the past week a series of articles have been released by Edinburgh publications detailing potential plans for how the council will handle the budget.

Documents shown to Ian Swanson at the Edinburgh Evening News have revealed controversial proposals such as cutting funding in schools, music tuition and public libraries.

Edinburgh Council have dismissed the Evening News’ findings, saying that there is a good chance nothing will come from them.

Even still, as Ian Swanson discussed today, does the public not have the right to know ‘where the axe may fall?’

Finance Convener Alasdair Rankin believes that the public shouldn’t be concerned with cuts that may not happen, but perhaps transparency is the best policy when discussing the lives of Edinburgh’s citizens.

The council are currently running a scheme to canvas opinion on how to handle the budget, so if they are involving the public to some degree, perhaps the public should know more about what is being considered.

Schools

Last year, in another leak to the Evening News, it was revealed that there were proposals to close the world renowned Edinburgh School of Music. When this leak was revealed, a campaign was launched to save the music school, which was supported by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The threat was lifted, and the council have made clear that the school will not be affected by the proposal to halve the budget for music education in Edinburgh.

The options the council could consider for the proposed cut is to either halve the number of full-time music teachers, potentially reducing the amount of pupils learning instruments from around 5084 to 2542, or charging pupils for lessons, with the exemption of those studying for SQA exams and those who receive free school meals.

In an opinion piece in the Edinburgh Evening News, Ex-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has heavily criticised the proposal to cut music education, saying that “cuts to schools must be a red line.”

Scottish schools, and Edinburgh schools in particular, have been facing difficulties in acquiring staff, as well as attainment in national exams now being lower than it was with standard grades.

With the proposed closure of music school last year, and the proposed cuts this year, it appears that music tuition is on the bottom of the list of education services in Edinburgh.

Public Toilets

Public toilets are also under threat of closures, with the council hoping to save £250,000.

Councillor Rankin has stated that at this stage, the proposal has only been drawn up by council officials and has not been approved by the SNP-Labour administration.

The council will be hoping to balance the closures through their Community Toilet Scheme, in which the council pays business owners £500 a year to allow customers to use their toilets without having to make a purchase. The scheme was launched in 2014 but currently only nine businesses are signed up.

After speaking to a few businesses in Bruntsfield, it became apparent that not enough know about the Community Toilet Scheme, although they all thought it was a good idea.

Image: Ross Cowper-Fraser

Montpeliers in Bruntsfield is one of the establishments which may take advantage of the Community Toilet Scheme

 

This proposal has been met with criticism, due to public toilets being an essential part of any city, especially for those with conditions meaning they need to go to the toilet more frequently, as well as young children.

As of now, there is no way of knowing how effective a replacement the Toilet Scheme could be for public toilets, it all depends on how strong an incentive the £500 a year is for business owners.

Councillor Rankin has said to the Edinburgh Evening News that closing the toilets may not be the final solution, and they might end up with an amended version of what the officers are suggesting.

Adam, Bar Supervisor of Montpeliers in Bruntsfield: “I haven’t heard of [The Community Toilet Scheme] before, but it sounds a good idea, and I’d definitely go for it. We have a lot of people coming in and using the toilet anyway, we even have homeless people coming in and cleaning themselves in the sink. I don’t know if [getting rid of public toilets] would bring in more people, though.”

Marco, Owner of Tempo Perso in Bruntsfield: “We have over ten people a day coming in asking to use the toilet. I haven’t heard of it before but if I turn away people I don’t want, I would sign up.”

Tourist Tax

The tax, which has been voted through by Edinburgh council and is facing consultation today, hopes to generate £11 million a year.

It is unknown if the tourist tax will help towards the budget for 2018/19.

It has been described by Councillor Ian White, the leader of the Tory group as “a dog’s breakfast of a policy [that] should be ditched at this point.”

Council leader Adam McVey told the Scotsman that the charge would “help to fund the things we pay for to make Edinburgh such a vibrant city”.

He said: “It would be an understatement to say this has been a long time coming. This goes to the heart of the kind of city we want to be.”

If perhaps some of an approved tourist tax would go towards helping the council’s budget, it wouldn’t have to consider cutting services such as music tuition and public toilets.

The writer’s comment;

The City of Edinburgh Council are clearly in a difficult position. One on side, they need to save a great deal of money, and no matter what they cut, there will be a backlash. On the other, they should be careful in their consideration of making more cuts to schools, as this goes against Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘defining mission’ to raise attainment in Scottish classrooms. The Edinburgh Evening News have put even more pressure on the council by releasing these potential plans, which have already received backlash from the public. Nothing is official about the plans, but as Ian Swanson said, the public do have the right to know what may happen to their city.

By Liam Mackay

 

 

Comment: “It is imperative that we learn how to have an adult conversation about sex, gender and appropriate behaviour without it blowing up into a political or cultural shouting match.” Gregor Thomson

Amid the recent cultural shift of men in power paying the price for their unforgivable and disgraceful acts in a wide array of different sectors, most notably Hollywood, it’s important to regroup and figure out where we are now.

It is abundantly clear that men and women do not know how to work effectively alongside each other appropriately or even communicate properly. This could be down to us not knowing the rules in which to conduct ourselves.

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#MeToo movemnet

Yes, many media corporations have altered their workplace rules in accordance with the #Metoo movement however, the lines of what is ‘acceptable’ behaviour between men and women is still a hazy topic. So, it is imperative that we learn how to have an adult conversation about sex, gender and appropriate behaviour without it blowing up into a political or cultural shouting match.

But first, let’s figure out where we are at the moment. The smorgasbord of sexual allegations that have blown up in the past year has had a positive impact on teaching the disgusting men and some women that rape, touching someone in the privates and exposing themselves without consent is not appropriate behaviour, although you’d think these people would’ve known that already.

I’m all for the Me-too movement however, I’m not a fan of the far left failing to distinguish between the degrees of bad behaviour. We are in danger of putting rape in the same category as a shoulder rub, these are both inappropriate behaviours that should be stopped but let’s not pretend that we wouldn’t be able to choose which we would rather.

Why can’t we all agree that sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour is not ok but also say that one is worse? Are we not capable of having two conversations at once? Even whilst the Me-too movement is still is full swing, we still do not know how to have a rational conversation about men and women. So, let’s start drawing some lines in the sand.

In a recent interview, Jordan Peterson, a recently trendy to watch Clinical Psychologist posed the question, “Is it ok for women to wear makeup in the workplace?” Yes, I realise you’re probably shocked that he’d even pose such a ridiculous question. He makes the point that women wear makeup to sexualise themselves.

Peterson asks, “Why do you make your lips red? Because they turn red during sexual arousal…Why do you put rouge on your cheeks? Same reason.” He goes on to say he thinks women should have the freedom to wear makeup in the workplace but that you’re naive if you think it doesn’t have anything to do with sexuality. He fails to take it account, however all the other possible reasons for women to wear makeup.

Also, Jordan Peterson states that makeup contributes to sexual harassment in the workplace. I would agree but I don’t believe that just because a woman is wearing makeup in the workplace, this shows a certain complicitness with being sexually harassed. So, that’s one line drawn. Women should be able to wear makeup in the workplace.

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Jordan Peterson

Is a workplace relationship acceptable or is flirting in the workplace appropriate?

Now this is a tricky one as flirting is extremely subjective so picking and choosing what is acceptable flirting is difficult. Flirting should be allowed in the workplace however, you have to know what it is you’re doing, know that it could be messy and to be careful.

What surprised me the most however is that men are struggling to tell if offering to buy a woman a drink is inappropriate. A recent YouGov poll showed that when it came to asking a woman out for a drink, about one in four young males and about 12.5% of young females said it would “always” or “usually” be a form of sexual harassment. What? Have we now gotten to the stage where a man cannot flirt with a woman or vice versa for fear of allegations and trial by public opinion?

Columnist for the New York Times, Bari Weiss states that “Well if that’s (buying a woman a drink) sexual harassment then touching someone’s arm is sexual assault and an unsolicited kiss is rape, we’ve lost. It’s over.”

Of course, it should be ok for a man to buy a woman a drink and vice versa just don’t slip something in the drink. Complimenting a woman is fine, just don’t follow her home screaming it. Hugging someone is fine, just don’t touch their butt. This should all be self-evident but unfortunately, on one side, we have the sexual deviants who expose themselves and grab other people in the privates but on the other side, we have ‘liberals’ failing to differentiate between the degrees of bad behaviour and failing to know when someone is flirting and when someone is being offensive.

In this article, I’ve discussed very few different encounters and rules for communication between men and women and this should be an indicator of just how difficult and complicated this conversation can get.

Bari Weiss goes on to say, “the conversation between our sexual culture is about consent and pain, what ever happened to intimacy and love and romance? Wouldn’t it be amazing that was our conversation?”

This speaks volumes as we are entering a world now in which we, as humans barely make physical contact anymore and we need this to feel happy and be mindful. However, if the far left keep having this influence we may enter into a police state and become heartless, tragic beings of solitude.

How ‘I, Tonya’ shines the spotlight on the pressures of international circuit figure skaters

An ex figure skater’s initial reaction to hearing about the release of a film depicting one of figure skating’s biggest scandals is naturally going to be excitement.

A film depicting the life of Tonya Harding, the redneck Olympian pushing the boundaries in every way imaginable, would undoubtedly bring back memories of controversy for even non – enthusiasts.

Film titles for I,Tonya

Revolving around an attack on Nancy Kerrigan orchestrated partly by Harding’s ex-husband, the story shows their battle with the media in preparation for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympic games and leaves questions about how the sport has changed since – if at all.

Within the last year, the competitive figure skating circuit has seen two of its top skaters step down from competing. Gracie Gold and Julia Lipnitskaya both made shock exits from the figure skating scene in 2017, prompting a lot of questions about what skaters are dealing with behind the closed doors of an ice rink.

But the truth of the matter is – they rarely have such a thing as privacy in their new roles as their countries’ ‘sweethearts’. Gracie Gold, aptly named US Figure Skating’s ‘Golden Girl’ withdrew with a multitude of issues including anxiety and an eating disorder and is yet to return.

 

Julia Lipnitskaya shot to fame in the 2014 Olympics after winning the Gold medal for Russia in the team event at only 15 years old. She retired in August last year with anorexia, age 19. Both girls had become overnight sensations; Gracie due to her strong social media following and Julia making headlines in Russia because of her young age and a much reported hug from President Vladimir Putin at the 2014 Olympics. Only a couple of months after her triumphs there she confessed she felt “constant stress” and that she was trapped, unable to live up to the expectations of her following.

Canadian pairs skater and Olympian Kirsten Moore-Towers thinks that the media definitely play a part in a skater’s mindset going into competition;

“I think media coverage is very important for our sport, but I think it depends on the type of skater that you are on how you handle it. Some people really struggle with the mental aspect of competition. For me, it’s a healthy mix of both.”

Elizabeth Ryan, Master Practitioner of Figure Skating Psychology, also thinks it depends on the personality of a person, but believes that privacy is also important;

“It really depends on how they deal with the coverage and if they are comfortable with it or not, but I do think it adds to the pressure. It can have a negative impact on a skater’s performance when a camera is on them and a microphone thrust at them immediately before a skate or just after they’ve skated badly. But the sport is a ‘performance’ one and that necessarily means an audience and wider interest from the media as they start to become better known on the international circuit.”

So then maybe figure skating hasn’t changed; although the media are no longer flattening the tyres of the skaters in question like in the case of Harding to get a new picture of her, the press still continue to hound the stars of the sport – regardless of their personality and ability to deal with fame. Tonya’s world collapsed around her, albeit partly from her own doing – but the media’s headlines of “Few Tears, No Blood as Snow White Beats Poison Dwarf,” (Irish Times), and “Beauty crushes the Beast,” (Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet) left even the opposition with a bad taste in their mouths.

Julia Lipnitskaya performing her Olympic medal winning programme to ‘Schindler’s List’

Now over twenty years later the careers of two girls are lost as the media once again circled and piled on the pressure; but just like Tonya’s life after her figure skating career as she fought in a boxing ring, Lipnitskaya and  Gold both vowed to fight back – the latter planning to return to competitive skating.

With figure skating on the back burner for most organisations once again after the Winter Olympics, the media frenzy has shifted. As the lights in the cinema rise, the spotlight on the troubles facing the golden girls of figure skating once again fades.


Keep up to date with all the latest news and features from EN4NEWS


Add a little magic to your week with the Harry Potter pop up bar

Edinburgh’s latest pop up bar ‘Perilous Potions’ from the Pop Up Geeks, welcomes wizards, witches and muggles to enter a magical world of potion making.

The Pop Up Geeks are a small independent team using their passions to create unique drinking experiences inspired by their favourite entertainment works. Previous pop ups include, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and The Walking Dead.

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One of the many potion cocktails available.

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Harry Potter comes to life in the bar.

The latest Harry Potter themed bar hosts drinks inspired by the wizarding world. Open seven days a week fans can visit the bar and create and improvise their own potions, using a variety of different magical mixers and spells. 

This is the new permanent residence for the ‘Geeks’ in the capital and the attention to detail in the decor is incredible. Flying keys and letters overhead are accompanied by broomsticks on the walls and all your favourite Harry Potter tunes playing.

The highlight is, of course, the drinks menu. Concoctions that change colour, smoke or bubble can be created following detailed potions recipes, or fans are welcomed to sit back and have their very own drink made for them.

With Harry Potter’s history in the city, the bar is perfectly located for tourists and fans of the books and film series. Edinburgh is the birthplace of the famous boy wizard, with much of the first book written by author J.K Rowling written in local cafe The Elephant House, and finished at luxury hotel The Balmoral.

The ‘Geeks’ have transformed their own passions into an enjoyable experience for others in the capital’s social scene, and now they have their own permanent residence it’s interesting to see what’s next..

So what will it be? A Glacio Ardetium, a bubbling beverage to soothe any ailment, or a forbidden  Draught of Delirium to length your life? Or, alternatively, order a ButterBeer and relax and enjoy the ambiance.


Keep up to date with all the latest news and features from EN4NEWS


The Generation of Outrage

Is this generation too easily offended? Gregor Thomson discusses freedom of speech in the ‘post Weinstein world’.

In the last couple of months, it has been stated that many universities in the UK have restricted free speech with the creation of lists of restricted ‘trigger’ words and the removal of controversial books in libraries. Student unions in the UK also attempted to stop high profile speakers such as former UKIP leader, Nigel Farrage. Although many university spokespeople deny these claims, it still boils up a rising issue in politics and our society itself if the right of free speech is being threatened.

We are suddenly moving into a society of outrage and sensitivity towards offence. This dramatically threatens student’s opportunity for true and critical debate for fear of dangerous thoughts. It’s gotten to the point where universities are banning fancy dress and clapping. Yes, clapping. It’s okay to disagree with what someone has said or dislike the person who said it but we shouldn’t be trying to stop it from being said. This censorious approach to how we interact with one another can only end in the abolition of free speech. Of course, I’m not speaking about anti-Semitic, homophobic, victimised remarks or the generalisation of a certain group of people; however when you ban clapping in safe spaces to avoid people feeling nervous, you know we’ve got a problem. If we restrict people from voicing their true opinions, we could be impeding some important contributions to society, “some of the greatest ideas in human history have caused great offence” says Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Activist.

However, these restrictions have been bubbling to the surface for a long time, the so called, Social Justice Warriors have been harassing people by making allegations of sexual harassment. If I could remind you of an extreme example below.

A couple of years on and this leads me onto what Matt Damon was raged at for late last year, as seen below.

In the interview, Damon, says:

“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?”

“Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated, without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Now, what exactly has Damon said that’s so wrong? He states that child molestation and touching someone’s butt are different. Now, who could possibly disagree? He is not saying any of these assaults are acceptable, or tolerable. However, many took to Twitter to voice their predictable outrage at Damon’s ‘tone deaf’ statements.

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Source : Twitter

Milano started the #MeToo movement in October, urging people to share their stories of sexual harassment on social media.

Others voiced their outrage towards those offended by Damon’s remarks.

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Source : Twitter

Just last week, Phil Neville was scrutinised for a couple of tweets he posted over 6 years ago.  He tweeted on 1 July 2011:

“Relax I’m back chilled – just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!!!”

He later claimed that he was referring to a table tennis game. It’s a silly mistake to make but it’s just that, a mistake. Another read:

“Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day!”

When asked why he failed to mention women, Neville replied:

“When I said morning men I thought the women would have been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds – sorry morning women!”

Phil Neville was appointed England Women’s Head Coach in January. Image : Daily Star

These are clearly ironic, if you took those tweets seriously or were offended by them, fair enough. But, it’s good to remember this took place on Twitter, as Noel Gallagher would put it, ‘the playground of idiots.’ If you’re offended by something on Twitter, you shouldn’t be on Twitter, it’s full of offensive, controversial posts and outrage.

But this age of outrage and offensiveness is also part of something bigger. With the many brave women who came forward to speak truth about those in power, the disgusting, frankly weird acts some of these Hollywood moguls conducted, something that is rarely discussed is the effect these allegations have on young men in the western world. I’d just like to take the time to reiterate what I said before: I condemn any acts of sexual assault.  But some allegations can have damning effects on the careers of well-established men as well as those who are just starting to make it on the mainstream light.

Although, I’m positive many of the allegations made against those in power in Hollywood are true, I’m afraid we have to face the fact that people lie and SOME of these allegations may not be true, consequently damaging someone’s career and psyche. I think we need to be careful about who we condemn before we have all the information or hard evidence. An example of this comes from allegations that were made and spread by Twitter accusing Rob Damiani-the singer of rock band Don Broco-of inappropriate sexual behaviour with a female after a gig. Damiani spoke out to strongly deny the allegations. The alleged victim has fully retracted her claims, and the band are now looking to ‘draw a line under this whole matter’. The question to be asked is: what if this allegation wasn’t retracted? It is likely that a lot of people would’ve condemned Damiani’s alleged behaviour and his reputation would’ve been tarnished.

Don Broco was falsely denied of sexual assault. Image : NME.com

It becomes dangerous when we assume all men accused are guilty. As Jordan Peterson, Canadian Clinical Psychologist, said in an interview with the BBC:

“…we’re alienating young men- we’re telling them that they’re patriarchal oppressors and denizens of rape culture, and tyrants in waiting and we’ve failed to discriminate between their competence and it’s just awful and it’s so unnecessary.”

So why has this happened? Peterson argues it comes down to resentment:

“it’s people saying instead of looking at the part they play in making the world a dark and terrible place they blame something like the patriarchy and then assume that all the men who compose it are somehow malevolent tyrants…”

It’s alarming when we live in a patriarchal society and blame this on the men of that society and aim the sexual misconduct and assault others have committed on the young men of the western world. We are discriminating against men due to factors (gender) outside their control. Disenfranchised men are being left behind in this modern world. Although these views are perhaps controversial and an argument against the mainstream narrative, the power of free speech should allows us to be able to; listen to this alternative narrative, make an informed decision on how they view this argument, and debate it constructively and civilly.

If this assumption of men continues, we may well have male children growing up with no clue of where they stand in the world, their responsibility and how to work properly in the modern world. If we continue to restrict and threaten free speech, we are edging ever closer to a dystopian Armageddon.

NFL Chat

Football chat from across the pond now. With the first weekend of Play-off action behind us, Ryan Maher is joined by Cameron Storer to discuss all the juicy topics. Is this the beginning of the end for the New England Patriots?

 

The Football Chat Returns

Cameron Storer is joined by Ryan Maher as our sports reporters reflect on a classic cup tie at the Etihad last night. The duo also discuss the managerial situation at Stoke City and the January Transfer market.

Entertainment Podcast @ 4pm

Today EN4News discusses the effects of the sexual allegations on Kevin Spacey’s career.

Cameron Storer is joined by Jamie McDonald and Jamie Taylor as they discuss their views and opinions on how damaging the allegations could be on Spacey and our society.

Source: Rolling Stone

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