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European Citizens Call for the Protection of Media Pluralism

For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and 'like' the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

Website: MediaInitiative.eu. For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and ‘like’ the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.

The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative – a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:

Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.

A short video presents the campaign:

Parallels Between Religious and Copyright Wars

Rick Falkvinge, the founder of Pirate Party, reinterprets the wars of religion that devastated Western Europe in the XVI and XVII centuries in terms of the current struggle to control information through overbearing legislation related to copyright and freedom of expression:

The religious wars were never about religion as such. They were about who held the power of interpretation, about who controlled the knowledge and culture available to the masses. It was a war of gatekeepers of information.

Palestine: Swedish Ship Attempting to Break the Blockade Sails to Gaza

Scandinavian ship SV Estella will attempt to sail to Gaza in an attempt to break the blockade on the Palestinian enclave. The ship sailed from Oslo on August 7, 2012, and is backed by mostly Swedish and Norwegian groups. Organizers hope that other ships will join them before they reach Gaza in October. for updates, follow the mission's Twitter account @ShiptoGazaSE.

Europe: EU and LGBT Rights

Katerina Todorovska wrote [MKD] on the Macedonia in the European Union blog about EU's imperfect record on LGBT rights and its positive influence in relation to starting the debate and improving tolerance in the Western Balkans, as Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia strive to join this supranational structure.

Worldwide: Demonstrations for Palestine

Roba from Jordan published pictures from different demonstrations world wide against Israel's last attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in Holland, Greece, Egypt, United Kingdom, Lebanon, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sweden, France, Turkey, India, Italy, Canada, Spain, Belgium, United States, Bulgaria and Austria.

Finland: The Language Issue

Nordic Voices writes about Finland's “language issue.”

Russia-Sweden: Wallenberg case as family tragedy

LaurenceJarvikOnline comments on a Wall Street Journal story on how the family of Swedish World War II diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg, suffered from the uncertainty of his destiny in soviet captivity.

Russia: Vegetarian Borscht

Russian Blog shares a vegetarian borscht recipe.

Europe: “Who Needs the Euro?”

Andrei Tuch of AnTyx writes at Th!nk About It: “So, for the eleven member states who still use their own currencies – and especially the more developed ones, whose economies might have some chance of standing on their own without leaning on the European Central Bank – the question is: do we want to join the Euro?”

Sweden: Immigration

Certain Ideas of Europe writes: “Not all of those Polish plumbers leaving Britain and Ireland as the economies slow are necessarily going straight home. Sweden has seen immigration surge to record levels this year.”

Underwear Bombardment on North Korea?

A Swedish underwear brand launched a ridiculous Ad campaign entitled ‘Weapons of the Mass Seduction’ that pledges to drop 450 pairs of free underwear to the country voted the most in the poll on Oct 31 by an airdrop. North Korea, so far, was placed on top by garnering over 5,500 votes and news has generated many comments in South Korean online venues.

France: Unexpected Parallel Between Assange and Strauss-Kahn

The blog de Casimira highlights some similarities [fr] between the timing of the charges and the ensuing judicial battles facing  J. Assange and D. Strauss-Kahn.  She also clarifies the peculiarities of the charge, “sex by surprise” [fr], for which the founder of WikilLeaks is being sued. This charge, which applies when the person refuses to wear a condom, is allegedly specific to Sweden and is punishable by a fine.

Baltics-Sweden: Twenty Years of Independence

Albatros of Litauen blog reports about [ger] Swedish celebrations of 20 years of independence for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and how Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, apologised to his Baltic colleagues for recognizing soviet annexation during World War II.

Azerbaijan: Journalists to visit Sweden ahead of November vote

Gulara Azimzadeh's blog reports that seven journalists from Azerbaijan will visit Stockholm to see how the media covered the 2010 elections in Sweden. The journalists were selected after a competition held by the Azerbaijan Media Center as the country prepares for its own parliamentary vote this November and recounts the reaction from one of the fortunate winners.

Baltics: Any need for Baltic Sea cooperation

Litauen writes about [GER] the Council of the Baltic Sea states and how this organization is becoming increasingly superfluous as basis for Baltic Sea cooperation.

MENA: Introducing, “The Circumventer”

Alexandra Sandels, from MENASSAT, writes her interview with Walid Al-Saqaf, a Sweden-based Yemeni Internet expert, regarding the launch of his new program Al-Kasir (means the circumventer in Arabic) – during a summit on blogging in Cairo which was entitled “Blogging for the Future“.
Al-Kasir, which is currently available in its Beta test version, is a new software aiming to circumvent web censorship in the Middle East and beyond, where it allows Internet users to access blocked websites.
You can also read Esra'a's post on Mideast Youth on why Al-Kasir is different from other similar tools, and how it’s beneficial to users in the Middle East.

Russia, EU: “Policy-Media Interaction” and Blogging

Vilhelm Konnander posts his reflections on Russia-focused blogging and “policy-media interaction”: “So, by the end of the day, there is little room for deviance as the public policy-media discourse evolves. When one, to the contrary, gets one's message across, there is no saying how it will be processed by its recipients, given the fundamental predisposition to interpret Russia in very simplified terms. […] At least, blogs give each and everyone the opportunity to have his or her say, even though alternative facts and hypotheses risk getting lost in cyberspace.”

Palestine: Shoe thrown at Israel's ambassador to Sweden

Palestinian Laila El Haddad links to a video and story showing protesters throwing a shoe at Israel's Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan, during a talk at Stockholm University.

Europe: Entropa

Belatedly, links to some posts on Entropa: Margarete of The Foreigner's Guide to Living in Slovakia believes “it should be taken down”; Kosmopolito thinks that “the debate around the project is also part of the installation”; BBC's Mark Mardell writes that “the fact that it is a hoax does not mean that the art itself is bad”; Blue, Black and White Alert doesn't think Entropa is “that incendiary”; A Fistful of Euros considers Entropa “an ugly but really funny piece of work.”

Jordan: An Encounter with a Bisexual in Iran

Jordanian Rami Abdelrahman, who lives in Sweden, posts this fascinating post by a Swedish friend who travelled to Iran on a study visit and his encounter with a ‘bisexual’ tour guide.

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