Repression Benefits Multinational Corporations

Article excerpt

Thousands of undercover news stories screened

For 24 years, Project Censored has been compiling a list of the top 25 undercovered news stories in the United States. 1999 was an international year for the United States and for Project Censored. The most under-covered "Censored" news stories for 1999 have a strong international flavor, with an emphasis on untold stories of Kosovo, foreign policy and international corporate power abuse. Emerging this year are a number of stories on the mainstream media itself. With the advancement of spin techniques, mainstream media now tends to place emphasis on particular perspectives of news stories to enhance their entertainment value. In some cases, today's media may also be deliberately spinning stories for their own political/commercial purposes. Many of our old favorites are present as well, including stories on the environment, race issues, labor, US military, and health concerns.

Project Censored students and staff screened several thousand stories from 1999, and selected some 500 to be evaluated by faculty and community experts. The top ranked 200 stories were then researched for national mainstream coverage by the Media Censorship class in the Fall. A final collective vote of all students, staff and faculty occurred in early November, and finally, the top 25 stories were ranked by our national judges.

Dr. Peter Phillips is the director of Project Censored located at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, CA. The national judges are: Ben Bagdikan, Richard Barnet, Susan Faludi, Dr. George Gerbner, Juan Gonzales, Aileen C. Hemandez, Dr. Carl Jensen, Sut Jhally, Nicholas Johnson, Rhoda H. Karpatkin, Charles L. Klotzer, Judith Krug, Frances Moore lappe, William Lutz, Julianne Malveaux, Jack L. Nelson, Michael Parenti, Herbert I. Schiller, Barbara Seaman, Sheila Rabb Weidenfeld.

Corporations profit from international brutality

In the name of commerce, huge multinational corporations collaborate with repressive governments, and in the process, support significant human rights violations. Corporations often argue that their presence and investment will improve human rights. This practice is referred to as "constructive engagement".

Major international energy corporations collaborate with repressive governments, and in the process, support significant human rights violations. Corporations often argue that their presence and investment will improve human rights. This practice is referred to as "constructive engagement."

The myth of "constructive engagement" has failed to improve human rights, and yet has been endorsed by international corporations and the U.S. government. Since the release of this information, BP Amoco and Statoil have taken positive steps toward addressing human rights issues. Programs are being developed in the U.S. and abroad to deal with the conduct of energy companies globally.

For more information contact author: Arvind Ganesan, Human rights Watch, 1630 connecticut Ave., NW Suite 500, Washington DC 20009 Tel: (202) 612-4329, Fax: (212) 612-4333, Email: ganessa@hrw.org.

(Source: Dollars and Sense, May/June 1999)

Pharmaceutical companies put profits before need

Multinational pharmaceutical companies focus their research and development on high profile, profit-making drugs like Viagra instead of developing cures for life-threatening diseases in poorer countries. Viagra earned more than one billion dollars in its first year, for instance. Though representatives of the PHarmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America claim that some funds are directed toward eliminating tropical diseases, neither they nor individual firms are willing to provide statistics.

Research into Third World tropical diseases is not being extensively considered or produced. A recent and effective medicine for African sleeping sickness was pulled from production, while older remedies are no longer available because they are not needed in the US. …