Hämeen Sanomat - Finland | 30/07/2014

Finland's PM twitters too much on sport

The new Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb is an enthusiastic Twitterer and also uses the platform to comment on his sport activities. He is now under fire for sending more tweets about his participation in a triathlon than about the plane crash in eastern Ukraine. Stubb needs to work on his political skills, the liberal daily Hämeen Sanomat advises: "To claim that twittering is taking up too much of the time Stubb should be dedicating to his real tasks is populist and doesn't tally with the facts. ... Yet Stubb's public image increasingly seems to be that of someone who takes a greater interest in his athletic activities than in the daily concerns of his citizens and international crises. ... Stubb should reflect on what he wants to be reported about his sports activities. If he keeps on twittering as he has done so far he will be handing his political opponents ammunition on a silver platter." (30/07/2014)

Le Quotidien - Luxembourg | 23/07/2014

Twitter a formidable propaganda machine

Since the escalation in the Gaza conflict, Hamas's al-Qassam brigades and the Israeli army have been spreading their own versions of events via Twitter. Social networks are a wonderful achievement for press and media freedom but they also aid war propaganda, the liberal daily Le Quotidien complains: "Everyone can be connected, follow or communicate with people they know - or not, as the case may be. Information circulates at an unimaginable speed, with tools that can be considered the ultimate embodiment of a free world where no limits are set on people's ability to inform and express themselves. These tools remain an expression of the free world. The proof is that the social networks are censured in overtly authoritarian countries. However they have also become a formidable propaganda tool for the parties engaged in these hazy conflicts. But it must be clear to everyone that they have likewise become indispensable for the protagonists of wars, be they psychological, diplomatic, economic or military." (23/07/2014)

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 21/07/2014

Don't post images of dead children on Twitter

Images of dead children in the Gaza Strip are currently being spread through Twitter. But such pictures aren't necessary to make clear the horrors of the Israeli military intervention, columnist Suzanne Moore writes in the left-liberal daily The Guardian, complaining that they create a pseudo-indignation and show a lack of respect: "We are told that to understand war we need to see the slaughter of civilians. The awful reality is that all wars look much the same. We need not just to see but to imagine. Those who cannot imagine the suffering of others are those who continue to justify it. I don't need to see any more images of dead children to want a ceasefire, a political settlement. I don't need you to tweet them to show me you care. A small corpse is not a symbol for public consumption. It is for some parent somewhere the loss of a precious person. To make these images common devalues the currency of shared humanity. We do not respect those living in awful conflict by disrespecting their dead." (21/07/2014)

Club Z - Bulgaria | 18/07/2014

Bulgaria's newspapers as campaign pamphlets?

Bulgaria's Socialists have proposed a new law under which the media would only be allowed to publish information that had received the official approval of the parties ahead of elections. Web portal Club Z is appalled: "This is like destroying the media. Because with all due respect, who is interested in the official fairy tales of [the leader of the Socialists] Sergei Stanishev or [Turkish party leader] Lütfi Mestan - particularly during the election campaign? Their statements are nothing but a waterfall of rehearsed clichés and empty phrases. If the media were only allowed to use them, there would be no need for censorship. ... Thank God the days of this parliament are counted so that there will hardly be time to vote on this proposal. But it just goes to show that our politicians have learned nothing from the past, and clearly don't have any intention of doing so" (18/07/2014)

MK Latvija - Latvia | 17/07/2014

Baltic states doing Soviet-style propaganda

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia want to establish a joint television station in Russian. The decision was taken after Lithuania and Latvia blocked the transmission of two Russian-language stations for three months on the grounds that their coverage of the Ukraine crisis was biased. Columnist Alexander Nosovics ridicules the new project in the Russian-language daily MKLatvija: "The joint TV station will broadcast the 'right information', as an alternative to Russian propaganda. ... The politicians in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are now pursuing the methods dear to the erstwhile Communist Party secretaries and heads of propaganda. ... The BBC and Voice of America were banned for thirty years, and now it's the Russian stations NTV and RTR. ... The best thing would be for the new station's reports to be produced by representatives of the parties in power in the three Baltic states who are at least 50 years old. Because they know best what Soviet-style propaganda should look like." (17/07/2014)

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