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A new report finds 53% of financial services executives say ethical standards inhibit career progression.
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Mexico's notoriously violent drug barons have turned to mining to both expand and diversify their sources of revenue.
Mexican drug lords get firm grip on country’s mines
The Obama administration has announced another setback for the Obamacare web site, a one-year delay for small businesses to sign up online for insurance policies.
Obamacare debacle intensifies - World Socialist Web Site
As war rages on, more refugees are risking a journey across the Mediterranean in hopes of new lives in Europe. Instead, many find uncertainty and frustration.
As war rages on, more refugees are risking a journey to what they hope will be prosperous new lives.
Thanksgiving fight at walmart
Shoppers got more than they bargained for beginning Thursday evening as retail outlets across the United States opened their doors early for annual Black Friday deal seekers, predictably prompting an array of violent episodes from city to city.
A government minister has confirmed plans, mentioned recently by the prime minister in a poorly reported parliamentary exchange, to force ISPs to censor access to “extremist” online material. But that term is open to interpretation.
JERUSALEM — An Israeli rabbinic court has fined a woman hundreds of dollars for refusing to circumcise her baby son, officials said Thursday, in a landmark case that has sparked…
House Intelligence Committee member Michelle Bachmann said that Iran’s nuclear facilities “must be bombed.” In a speech at a Zionist Organization of America gala on Sunday night, Bachmann said that the Geneva deal reached between Iran and world...
#folleàlier Bachmann: Iran Nuclear Facilities 'Must be Bombed'', Geneva Deal Obama's 'Biggest Cudgel' to Prevent Israel Self-Defense
The newly formed Islamic Front alliance of seven large militias and movements active in the Syria war issued its political manifesto this week, situating it squarely as an anti-secular and anti-democracy grouping that seeks to establish an Islamic...
Hidden Interests | George Monbiot #lobbycratie #bbc
The BBC’s disgraceful failure to reveal who its contributors are speaking for.
By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website 29th November 2013
Do the BBC’s editorial guidelines count for anything? I ask because it disregards them every day, by failing to reveal the commercial interests of its contributors.
Let me give you an example. Yesterday the Today programme covered the plain packaging of cigarettes. It interviewed Mark Littlewood, director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, an organisation which calls itself a thinktank.
Mishal Husain introduced Mark Littlewood as “the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, and a smoker himself”.
Fine. But should we not also have been informed that the Institute of Economic Affairs receives funding from tobacco companies?
It’s bad enough when the BBC interviews people about issues of great importance to corporations when it has no idea whether or not they are funded by those companies, and makes no effort to find out.
It’s even worse when those interests have already been exposed, yet the BBC still fails to mention them.
Both the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute have for years been funded by tobacco firms. The IEA has been funded by British American Tobacco since 1963, and is also paid by Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International. It has never come clean about this funding, and still refuses to say which other corporations sponsor it.
Yet, as you can see from the IEA’s lists, the institute’s spokespeople appear all over the media, arguing against the regulations tobacco companies don’t like, without ever being obliged to reveal that tobacco companies help pay their wages.
Most of the so-called thinktanks flatly refuse to reveal their interests.
I see the IEA, the Adam Smith Institute and other “thinktanks” which refuse to say who funds them as indistinguishable from corporate lobbyists. I see them as doing the dirty work of corporations which won’t put their own heads above the parapet, because of the likely reputational damage.
I’m not the only one who sees them in this light. David Frum was formerly a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Drawing on his own experience, he explained that such groups“increasingly function as public-relations agencies.”
The veteran corporate lobbyist Jeff Judson explained why thinktanks are so useful to corporations:
“Lobbyists often work for specific clients who operate at the mercy of a regulator or lawmaker, making them vulnerable to retribution for daring to criticize or speak out. Think tanks are virtually immune to retribution. … Donors are confidential. The identity of donors to think tanks is protected from involuntary disclosure.”*
*Judson’s confessions used to be available here. They have since been removed.
Here’s what Mark Littlewood said on the Today programme yesterday:
“The evidence out of Australia, who, in their extreme unwisdom in my view, have offered to be the guinea pigs for planet earth on whether this policy works, having had plain packaging or standardised packaging in place for a year over there, the early evidence suggests no change at all on smoking prevalence. And, lo and behold, the black market in cigarettes has jumped markedly.”
Mishal Husain then remarked, “Well that’s one view, in a moment we’ll hear that of the public health minister …”
Yes, it is one view. The view of someone being paid by Big Tobacco. Should we not have known that?
Here’s what the BBC’s editorial guidelines say about such matters:
3.4.7: “We should make checks to establish the credentials of our contributors and to avoid being “hoaxed”.”
3.4.12: “We should normally identify on-air and online sources of information and significant contributors, and provide their credentials, so that our audiences can judge their status.”
4.4.14: “We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.”
Every day people from thinktanks are interviewed by the BBC’s news and current affairs programmes, without any such safeguards being applied.
There is no effort to establish their credentials, in order to avoid being hoaxed into promoting corporate lobbyists as independent thinkers.
There is no effort to identify on whose behalf they are speaking, “so that our audiences can judge their status.”
There is no attempt to make it clear to the audience that contributors are funded by the companies whose products they are discussing.
I would have no problem with the BBC interviewing people from these thinktanks, if their interests are disclosed. If these organisations refuse to say who funds them, they should not be allowed on air. Their financial interests in the issue under discussion should be mentioned by the presenter when they are introduced.
I’ve been banging on about this for years, with no result at all. It seems that the only thing the BBC responds to is formal complaints. So please complain. Here are three things you can do:
a. use the corporation’s online complaints form.
b. take the issue to the BBC Trust.
c. Complain to Feedback on Radio 4.
Otherwise, expect our bastion of editorial values to keep collaborating in the time-honoured tradition of hoaxing us on behalf of corporate money.
New report about corporate spying on nonprofits should remind us of importance of the jailed hacktivist's work
Cameron’s witch-hunt against immigrants is part of a broader effort by European governments to whip up racism and xenophobia as a means of dividing the working class.
British PM Cameron’s attack on immigrants - World Socialist Web Site
Thousands of Wal-Mart workers and their union supporters are staging protests across the United States against the company’s practice of keeping its employees poor. - 2013/11/29
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Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden succeeded where President Barack Obama couldn’t -- getting Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. to upgrade computer security against hackers.
More than 50 public figures including Antony Gormley and Brian Eno put names to letter opposing expulsion from historic land
Both Ankara and Tehran are floating the idea of a much-needed ceasefire between all parties
A wave of violence Friday killed 52 people in Iraq, most of whom were kidnapped and shot dead with their…