Democracy

In these days of growing media concentration, Green Left Weekly is a vital voice committed to human and civil rights, global peace and environmental sustainability, democracy and equality. By printing the news and ideas the mainstream media won't, GLW exposes the lies and distortions of the power brokers and helps us understand the world around us. In the words of multi-award-winning investigative journalist John Pilger, "Without GLW, freedom of press and public truth-telling in Australia would be gravely ill."
In the seemingly endless wave of disgusting prejudice that flows out of the sewer pipe that is the mainstream media, sometimes it can be pleasantly surprising how things turn out. On May 20, Australian Football League (AFL) star Jason Akermanis said in a Herald Sun column that the football world was not ready for openly gay players, and that those thinking about outing themselves should stay in the closet. On the same day, David Campbell resigned as NSW minister for transport after being outed by Channel 7 News, who filmed him exiting an all-male sex club.
The president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced on May 24 that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on November 28, the constitutionally prescribed date. “The CEP is up to the task of organising general elections in the country”, said Gaillot Dorsinvil, who is also the handicapped sector’s representative on the nine-member council, handpicked by President Rene Preval. But tens of thousands of Haitians don’t agree and have been demonstrating in the streets in recent weeks to demand a new CEP — and Preval’s resignation.
Human rights organisations have reported that, almost a year after the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, repression by security forces had left the country “more dangerous than Colombia”. An Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) delegation confirmed that the murder, harassment and intimidation of opposition supporters, journalists and peasant and worker organisers had continued “with impunity” since the coup regime handed power to President Porfirio Lobo in January.
On June 11, South Africans will start partying like no time since liberation in April 1994. It is a huge honour for our young democracy to host the most important sporting spectacle short of the Olympics. The ordinary people who have worked hard in preparation deserve gratitude and support — especially the construction workers, cleaners, municipal staff, health-care givers and volunteers who will not receive due recognition. But balancing psychological benefits against vast socioeconomic and political costs is vital.
Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai socialist in exile in Britain after being charged with lese majeste (insulting the monarch). He is a member of Left Turn Thailand. Ji Ungpakorn’s blog, Wdpress.blog.co.uk, covers the struggle for democracy in Thailand, and the brutal repression meted out by the military backed regime. On May 25, the blog listed the names of all the pro-democracy Red Shirt protesters being hunted down by the regime — 66 arrest warrants had been issued and 21 people were already in custody.
On May 25, 70 people protested outside the Thai embassy in Jakarta in solidarity with the pro-democracy Red Shirts in Thailand. The protest was jointly called by the Working Peoples Association (PRP), the People’s Democratic Party (PRD), the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance (Konfederasi KASBI); the Indonesian Nasional Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI); the National Student League for Democracy (LMND)
Authoritarian governments hate sex, and it seems the Australian government is no exception. The current target is the adult porn industry, with a focused attempt to roll back access to adult and consensual pornography. Money and resources are thus diverted from real evils, such as the physical and sexual abuse of children. On May 21, the Fairfax press announced that incoming passenger cards for those arriving in Australia had been changed so individuals would now be obliged to declare whether or not they had pornography in their possession.
Sergio Arriasis is the head of the office of strategic development for Vision Venezuela Television (ViVe), a government-funded channel inaugurated in 2003. Arriasis is in charge of future planning and development of its communications. Coral Wynter, a Green Left Weekly journalist based in Caracas, spoke with Arriasis about the struggle to counter the private corporate media in Venezuela, and create a radical alternative. How is ViVe different from other TV channels?
The 74-day long mobilisation for democracy that shut down the centre of Bangkok ended when the leaders of the Red Shirts movement surrendered on May 20. The surrender came after the Thai army launched an armoured assault on the capital. The military used bulldozers and tanks to destroy the Red Shirts’ four-metre high bamboo and tyre barricades. More than 75 protesters and two soldiers have been killed since the protests began in March. At least one of the soldiers was shot accidentally by another soldier.

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