Armin Medosch on Tue, 26 Nov 96 15:31 MET


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Re: nettime: report from belgrad


Hello nettimers,

I am really glad about this report from Belgrade, especially since the
big german newspapers donęt write about it. 

Today in "Sueddeutsche Zeitung", which is the biggest "quality"
newspaper in Germany there was only a ten line article. Titled "Biggest
demonstrations against Milosevic since 1991" it writes in a very vague
way about the whole thing, letting it look like some students
demonstrations. Also the manipulation of election results by the
government are not reported as fact but as "said to be". On the same
page there is a rather big article about former Turkish President Ylmaz
being beaten on his nose in Hungary. For me this shows that "Western
Democratic Media" are not really that democratic or that free, but
rather selective. Disinformation can also be created by focusing on some
topics and on others not. I donęt understand, why big Western media like
Sueddeutsche Zeitung donęt report in big style about the struggle of
Serbian people against anit-democrat powers, but probably they have some
reason. Also the media in Germany didnęt complain much about Tudjman
ignoring/suppressing the results of the Zagreb elections.
So maybe the reason is that the Germans want the Serbians always look
like the bad guys. A self-conscious peopleęs revolt doesnęt fit into
that picture maybe. Or there are any strange deals with Milosevic behind
the scene. 

The same journal Sueddeutsche Zeitung also didnęt report any background
information about the riots in Indonesia that summer. All you got to
know was, that there is an opposition and ther was some fighting, how
many people were injured or killed and taken to prison and that most of
them (?!?) were released from jail a few days later. But it was never
told that the father of the opposition leader was a democratically
elected President who was overthrown by a military coup by the now still
governing dictator and that this action was supported by the CIA and
could happen while the world was fixated on the war in Palaestina in 67
(source: Noam Chomsky, Power and Economy). Without this background
nobody could know how bad it was for the opposition that the daughter of
the former president can now not be a candidate for the elections next
year in Indonesia because she was removed from the head of the only
opposition party through this government intervention. At the same time
Indonesia is considered a "very interesting market" and German companies
like Telekom and Siemens are doing very good business there. The German
state itself sold between 20 and 30 military landing boats (from former
East German Navy) to Indonesia. These boats are ideally fitting for
invasions of Islands like East-Timor (but this is not the only
suppressed region in Indonesia) because they can call at sandy beaches
and spit out light tanks and armed troops trhough a front hatch. Also
these boats are extremely fast, making 60 knots. When the German
Government was attacked by (not too many) journalists about the sale of
these boats they defended themselves by saying that all weapons were
dismantled from the boats. Anyway its easy to install new weapons and
better ones then the outdated east german/russian rocket throwers. 

So what Chomsky says in "Power and Economy", that bringing democracy to
the world is not really the goal of the West, can be found true in the
case of Indonesia. It seems to be more interesting for the West to have
a strange kind of "stability" even if this means to support totalitarian
regimes, because this stability - which is often a stability of
graveyards - protects Western investments. The role of media - and not
just the real cheap mass media but also the so called quality newspapers
- seems to be to find excuses for the acting of governments and
multinationals and to spread disinformation by leading the attention of
people in the own country to other topics at a given moment.         

These are examples for information controll, not totalitarian controll
but self controll of capitalist newspapers (or is there a state
influence that we cant see). It is something that makes me very angry
for a long time also because it is so hard to proof how these things are
done purposely. Without well recherched backgrounds it often stays very
nebulous what is really going on. So I have no clue why German mass
media are not reporting about what happens in Serbia right now. Maybe
somebody can help me.  

Armin Medosch
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