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Related Categories: Haiti | International
Reporters Without Borders received funding from NED
by Salim Lamrani, translated by Dana Lubow
Sunday May 29th, 2005 2:26 PM
After long denying it, Paris-based "Reporters Without Borders" finally admitted they receive payment from the US government's regime-change financing arm, National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
[Reporters Without Borders has long recycled anti-Lavalas propaganda used to lessen opposition to anti-Aristide coup

Rebelión

05-05-2005

The strong suspicions that have surrounded the dubious and tendentious
activities of Reporters without Borders (RSF) have not been without merit.
For many years, various critics have denounced the largely political
propagandistic actions of the Parisian entity, particularly with regards to
Cuba and Venezuela. The RSF's positions against the governments of Havana
and Caracas coincide perfectly with the political and media war that
Washington carries out against the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Finally the truth has come to light. Mr. Robert Ménard, secretary general of
the RSF for twenty years, has confessed to receiving financing from the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization that depends on the
U.S. Department of State, whose principal role is to promote the agenda of
the White House for the entire world. Ménard was clear: ³We indeed receive
money from the NED. And that hasn¹t posed any problem.² (1)

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan created the National Endowment for
Democracy (NED) in 1983, during a period in which military violence replaced
traditional diplomacy in resolving international matters. The NED¹s goal of
weakening governments that would oppose Washington's foreign hegemonic power
is aided by its powerful ability to penetrate foreign economies. (2) In
Latin America, the two targets are Cuba and Venezuela.

For example, the NED financed and continues financing the Venezuelan
opposition, responsible for the coup d¹état against President Chávez, April
2002. Since then,with Washington's help, the Venezuelan oligarchy has
organized several unsuccessful destabilization attempts. Since the failure
of the recall referendum, Mr. Chávez' popular legitimacy has only been
reinforced. In 2004, thirteen groups opposed to the Bolivarian government
received 874,384 dollars from the NED. In 2003, 15 splinter groups opposed
to the Venezuelan presidents benefited from subsidies from the NED for a
total of 1,046,323 dollars. (3)

The RSF regularly verbally flogs the government of Mr. Chávez. For example,
it accuses him of threatening press freedom in a report criticizing a law
reform proposal about the broadcast media. (4) This reform proposes criminal
punishment against broadcast media guilty of criminal activities such as the
initiation of an armed uprising or subversion. This new legislation is an
answer to the role of private capital in the media. It make their real
outrages, such as the role played by those who operated the private
information media during the fascist coupe of 2002 against the Venezuelan
president, a criminal offense. Outrages that the RSF refrains from
denouncing.

But the enemy par excellence for RSF continues being Cuba. Mr. Ménard's
almost obsessive propaganda campaign against the island is designed to cause
harm to its tourism industry. (5) It's actions should be seen in the context
of the Bush Plan against Cuba, which allocates a budget of five million
dollars for the NGO¹s who carry out activities seeking methods to discourage
tourists from visiting Cuba. The Bush Plan specifically lists Reporters
without Borders as an example follow. (6)

Additionally, RSF admits providing economic help in Cuba to the families of
thirty jailed [counterrevolutionary] "journalists", to "help make up for the
loss of income caused by the arrest of their family members". If the
ideological rhetoric of this sentence is suppressed, it reads that the RSF
remunerates the families of the jailed people by receiving a salary from the
Bush government, seriously threatening the integrity of the Cuban nation by
abetting the economic sanctions the US caries out against Cuba. Given that
Mr. Ménard received substantial economic assistance from the United States
government, it is the same as saying that Washington, not only directly
financed these subversive activities from afar, but that it also does
through indirectly through the RSF. This of course constitutes a serious
violation of Cuban law. (7)

According to the 2004 annual report from the RSF, ³at least 53 information
professionals lost their lives in the practice of their jobs or for
expressing their opinions [in various parts of the world].² Iraq is,
according to this report, the most dangerous country for journalists, with
19 reporters murdered. The U.S. Army, which has occupied Iraq since 2003, is
responsible for these murders, since it controls the country. However, the
RSF, far from accusing the U.S. authorities, limits itself to once again
echoing Washington's official statement by describing the shots which caused
the deaths of the various journalists as ³accidental.² However, Iraq is not
a priority for Mr. Ménard. (8)

On the American continent, according to the RSF, ³twelve journalists lost
their lives² in Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. Nevertheless, the target of the
Parisian organization is again Cuba where it has to be emphasized that not
one journalist has been murdered since 1959. Venezuela is also found in the
line of sight while no journalist there has lost their life. There are those
who have established a relationship between the targets of the RSF and those
from Washington, pointing out their strange coincidence. (9) Secretary of
State Condoleeza Rice's reprimands have been specifically aimed at Mr.
Castro and Mr. Chavez, whose growing closeness is of great concern to the
United States.(10) Of course it's not just a matter of personalities (Fidel
and Chavez), its the Cuban and Venezuelan societies' programs in favor of
the poor that are being attacked.

"Likewise, it is well-known that Mr. Ménard frequently visits the extreme
Cuban right in Miami with which he has signed agreements relative to the
media war carried out against the Cuban Revolution. (11)

The financing of the RSF also raises some important questions. How can an
organization that depends economically on the FNAC, the CFAO, Hewlett
Packard Foundation from France, the Hachette Foundation, the EDF Foundation,
the Bank of Deposits and Consignments (la Caja de Depósitos y
Consignaciones), the Open Society Institution, the Royal Foundation Network,
Sanofi-Synthelavo (now Sanofi-Aventis), Atlas Publications, Color Club,
Globenet, and Cadena Ser be independent? How can an organization financed by
the French state act impartially? It is impossible, and RSF¹s positions
supporting the coup d¹état against president Aristide of Haiti shows it very
clearly. (12) How can an organization that pretends to defend journalists
rejoice at the overthrow of a democratically elected president?

The budget for RSF for 2003 was up to 3,472,122 euros. According to annual
accounts the revenue came from: 11% from the State, 12% from patrons, 4%
from contributions and donations, 15% from the European Commission, 10% from
operations, and 48% from the organization¹s publications. This last figure
is surprising for its importance. The sum of 1,984,853 euros supposedly came
from the sale of calendars! (13) The calendar costs 8 euros, which is the
same as saying that the RSF manages to sell more then 249,106 calendars per
year, or 680 calendars every day! This figure is much too excessive to be
credible.

When expenses are looked at for 2003, the accounts show that only 7% of the
budget is allocated to direct help for journalists with problems.(14) What
happens with the remaining 93% of the budget? It is devoted to the job of
propaganda and disinformation at the service of the interests of those who
finance Reporters without Borders, namely the French state, and the large
economic and financial groups, the extreme Cuban right from Florida and the
U.S. Department of State.

³Defense of freedom of the press² is only a facade. Reporters without
Borders is at the service of governments and the powerful economic and
financial interests. It is the reason why the main threat to freedom of the
press, the concentration of the means of information, has never been
denounced by Mr. Ménard¹s organization. It is the reason why the RSF, among
others, never has been interested in the fate of Mr. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the U.
S. journalist jailed for over twenty years for his writings and his
political positions. Unfortunately, the collusion between Mr. Ménard, the
large press, and financial capital hinders citizens from discovering the
real objectives that they hide behind a humanitarian smokescreen.

Notes

(1) Robert Ménard, « Forum de discussion avec Robert Ménard », Le Nouvel
Observateur, 18 de abril de 2005.
http://www.nouvelobs.com/forum/archives/forum_284.html
<http://www.nouvelobs.com/forum/archives/forum_284.html> (sitio consultado
el 22 de
abril de 2005).

(2) National Endowment for Democracy, « About Us ».
http://www.ned.org/about/about.html <http://www.ned.org/about/about.html> (sitio
consultado el 27 de abril de 2005).

(3) National Endowment for Democracy, « NED Venezuela Programs ».
http://www.ned.org/grants/venezuelaFacts.html
<http://www.ned.org/grants/venezuelaFacts.html> (sitio consultado el 27 de
abril de
2005).

(4) Reporters sans frontières, « Reporters sans frontières dénonce une
régression de la liberté de la presse », 26 de noviembre de 2004.

http://www.rsf.org/article.php3id_article=12968
<http://www.rsf.org/article.php3id_article=12968> (sitio consultado el 27
de abril de
2005).
(5) Reporters sans frontières, « Deux ans après le « printemps noir » :
urgence humanitaire pour 21 journalistes emprisonnés », 16 mars 2005.
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12882
<http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12882> (sitio consultado el 27
de abril
de 2005).

(6) Colin L. Powell, Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, (Washington:
United States Department of State, mayo de 2004).
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/32334.pdf
<http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/32334.pdf> (sitio consultado
el 7 de
mayo de 2004), p. 20.

(7) Reporters sans frontières, « Aides apportées aux journalistes
emprisonnés et aux médias en difficulté », 2004.
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=7581
<http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=7581> (sitio consultado el 23
de abril de
2005).

(8) Reporters sans frontières, « Bilan 2004. L¹année la plus meurtrière
depuis dix ans : 53 journalistes tués », 2005.
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12232
<http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12232> (sitio consultado el 23
de abril
de 2005).

(9) Ibid.

(10) El Nuevo Herald, « Castro y Chávez llaman a una alianza contra EEUU »,
30 de abril de 2005.

(11) Salim Lamrani, Cuba face à l¹Empire : Propagande, guerre économique et
terrorisme d¹Etat (Outremont, Lanctôt, 2005), capítulo VI.

(12) Reporters sans frontières, « La liberté de la presse retrouvée : un
espoir à entretenir », julio de 2004.
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10888
<http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10888> (sitio consultado el 23
de abril
de 2005).

(13) Reporters sans frontières, « Comptes de Reporters sans frontières
2003 », 2004.
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10589
<http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10589> (sitio consultado el 27
de abril
de 2005).

(14) Ibid.
*****************************
Youmight also want to look at this:
(Reporters without Morals must be sore about this year's funding level
from the CIA - they have just rated US occupied Iraq as "the most
dangerous country in the world for journalists". But for the
International Federation of Journalists to state that "civil liberties
are being torn to shreds [in the USA], even in states with a reputation
for tolerance and pluralism," is indeed a worrying development for the
Bush administration. Such impertinence.)



***********************************************
Journalist killings up last year with 53 deaths

The Irish Times, Wed, May 04, 05
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/world/2005/0504/1020146264FR04HACKS.htm
l


Journalism is becoming an increasingly dangerous profession, claiming 53
victims last year compared with 40 killed in the line of work in 2003,
media watchdog Reporters without Borders (RsF) said yesterday.

In a report for World Press Freedom Day, the Paris-based body said last
year's death toll was the highest since 1995.

"It may never have been as dangerous to inform people," RsF said in a
statement. "Freedom of the press is far from being assured around the
world."

RsF listed Iraq as the most dangerous country in the world for
journalists, with 19 killed in 2004 and more than 15 taken hostage.

A total of 56 journalists and their assistants have been killed in two
years in Iraq, making it more dangerous than the 1991-1995 fighting in
former Yugoslavia, during which 49 journalists were killed, it said.

Separately, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said there
had been an alarming erosion of civil liberties and freedom of
expression in and the United States since the attacks on the World Trade
Center on September 11th, 2001.

"An atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is being created and civil
liberties are being torn to shreds, even in states with a reputation for
tolerance and pluralism," said IFJ general secretary Aidan White in a
statement released in Brussels.

RsF said that in Vietnam, the worst war for journalists, a total of 63
journalists were killed, but that was over a 20-year period from 1955 to
1975. Asia was not far behind Iraq in 2004, with 16 killed.

"Almost all of them were killed because they expressed their opinions.
Denouncing the corruption of elected officials or investigating crime
turned out to be fatal for journalists in Bangladesh, Philippines and
Sri Lanka."

The fact that the Philippines had more press freedom than almost any
other Asian country did not help the six journalists slain by killers
hired by corrupt local politicians, it added. - (Reuters)


© The Irish Times





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