Mat Ward

Ecuador's granting of asylum to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has thrown a spotlight on the country's media policy.

In 2008, Ecuadorians voted overwhelmingly for a new constitution. Among other things, it sought to democratise the media and ban bankers from having business interests in the media industry.

See also:
Ecuador: Correa pushes free speech, challenges ‘media dictatorship’

History Will Absolve Us
Marcel Cartier and Agent Of Change
Beat Knowledge
Released August 20

"Misogyny is a huge problem in hip-hop," says radical rapper Marcel Cartier. "Even 'progressive' artists often fall victim to being perpetrators of sexist lyrics."

The empathetic emcee hits chauvinists where it hurts on his new album, History Will Absolve Us. On the plaintive, piano-driven "Never The Answer" he raps:

One in four women face domestic violence

Smokey’s Haunt
Urthboy
Elefant Traks
Out October 12
Touring from August 30

Has the internet turned activists into "slacktivists"? It's just one of the questions posed on Smokey’s Haunt, the new album by the persistently provocative Urthboy.

"Kony 2012 is a perfect example," the Australian hip hop pioneer tells Green Left. The online Kony campaign was seen by millions, but has so far failed in its goal to arrest Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony.

Go Back To Where You Came From
Series Two
SBS One
From Tuesday, August 28, at 8.30pm

Catherine Deveny wasn’t quite sure what she would be in for when she agreed to appear in the second series of SBS’s hit refugee reality TV show, Go Back To Where You Came From.

But it seems everyone on the show, which makes Australians re-trace the steps of asylum seekers fleeing war zones, was equally wary of her.

It was only when the left-wing author, comic and Green Left fundraiser turned up for filming that she found out who her co-stars were.

Eskape Reality
Eskatology
July 25, 2012
Bandcamp

What's in a name? Everything, for Aboriginal rapper Eskatology. His music has his name written all over it.

Eskatology, also known as 26-year-old South Australian Jonathan Stier, first came across the term "eschatology" through studying religion.

"Religion does play a part in my life, and I was doing a bit of religious studying and came across this word and it intrigued me," he tells Green Left Weekly.

Why Are We The Good Guys?
David Cromwell
Zero Books
Out September 28, 2012
www.zero-books.net

As a child, David Cromwell got an invaluable insight into the way the corporate media skews the news.

Scattered around his family's Scottish home were "mainstream" newspapers like the Daily Record and Glasgow Herald. But among them was also the non-corporate Daily Worker, later to become the Morning Star, which his father not only bought, but sold.

Pee Records
PO Box 238, Marden,
South Australia 5070
www.peerecords.com

"Pretty much all of our bands write songs about social, political and personal issues," says Pete Harding, the founder of South Australian hardcore punk label Pee Records.

"With 16 or 17 active bands on the label, we have a lot of different acts covering different issues.

Fraudcast News
Patrick Chalmers
Released February 2012
http://fraudcastnews.net/

Reading this former Reuters reporter's analysis of the news industry is like watching an episode of detective series Columbo unfold.

Like the seemingly innocent inspector Columbo, Patrick Chalmers at first comes across as disconcertingly naive. But, just like the deceptive detective, his eye for detail and dedicated approach become clear only late in the storyline.

A Breath Of Stale Air
Local Resident Failure
Pee Records
Released June, 2012
peerecords.com

Newcastle punks Local Resident Failure are heavier than Clive Palmer, tighter than Gina Rinehart and have just dropped a motherlode of a debut album.

But the analogies with Australia's mining fat cats end there. A Breath Of Stale Air spits gobfuls of bile at right-wingers, from the mainstream media to racist rednecks - not least on "Every Day's A Holiday On Christmas Island", the band's scathing condemnation of xenophobia.

A Rough Guide To The Dark Side
Daniel Simpson
Zero Books
Release date: August 31
www.roughguidedarkside.com

Most mainstream media journalists would kill to get one of their stories on the front page of The New York Times. But when that happened to the newspaper's Balkans correspondent in 2003, he was less than thrilled.

Daniel Simpson had already resigned in disgust at the paper's support for starting wars, and was serving out his notice. He had reached what he calls "a mirrored ceiling" in his career.

Pages

Subscribe to Mat Ward