Top Underreported Stories of 2000 Expose Mass Media Censorship

Article excerpt

Whether you call them the "best censored" or the "most underreported" stories of 2000, the message is the same: the mass media have failed to report on these issues and only readers of the alternative media may have gained some knowledge of the issues involved.

For 25 year, "Project Censored" located at Sonoma State University, has culled underreported stories from sources, usually alternative media, throughout the country. They receive several thousand stories each year and a crew of faculty, students and expert evaluators, through a multi-step process, select the final 25 nominations. Obviously, as "Project Censored" admits, that is a "subjective process" but the history of past selections shows that the nominations as a whole are more than justified.

Past records also indicate that about one-third of the overlooked stories are "rediscovered" by the mass media in years to come and then become a topic of national interest. The shortcomings are not due to the editors or reporters on the frontline, but the limited interest of corporate media and their system, as Project Censored calls it, "of information suppression in the name of corporate profits."

1. Monsanto's billion-dollar water monopoly plans

The crisis of pollution and the depletion of global water resources is viewed as a business opportunity by Monsanto. Their logic is that population growth and economic development will apply increasing pressure on natural resource markets, making them increasingly profitable. Over the past few years, Monsanto has gained control over seeds, the first link in the food chain. Now Monsanto wants to control the very basis of life, water.

Multinational corporations are trying to monopolize water systems across the globe. San Francisco's Bechtel Enterprises now owns the water system in Cochabamba, Bolivia. When Bechtel pushed the price of water up, the entire city went on a general strike. The military killed a seventeen-year-old boy, arrested the water rights leader, and censored the media to support Bechtel.

Monsanto plans to realize revenues of $420 million and a net income of $63 million by 2008 from its water business in India and Mexico. By 2010, about 2.5 billion people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking water. At least 30 percent of the population in China, India, Mexico and the United States is expected to face severe water stress.

Monsanto is trying to establish control over water and plans to start a new water business with India and Mexico, since the two countries are facing water shortages. Also, Monsanto is exploring nonconventional financing (NGOs, World Bank, USDA, etc.) that could lower their investment risk.

Corporations such as Monsanto, Bechtel and Societe d' Amenagement Urbain et Rural (SAUR), the French multinational company who has taken over the water and waste water services for the next 30 years in the town of Ballito, South Africa, are striving to monopolize the water rights in search of increased revenue.

Sources: International Forum on Globalization: Special Report, June 1999 from PRIME, July 10, 2000. "The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World's Water Supply" by Maude Barlow. / This, July/Aug 2000, "Just Add Water" by Jim Shultz / In These Times, May 15, 2000, "Water Fallout: Bolivians Battle Globalization" by Jim Shultz / Canadian Dimension Feb. 2000, "Monsanto's Billion-Dollar Water Monopoly Plans" by Vandana Shiva and "Water Fallout" by Jim Shultz / San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 31, 2000, "Trouble on Tap" by Daniel Zoll; also May 31, 2000, "The Earth Wrecker" by Pratap Chatterjee / Corporate News Coverage: Toronto Globe end Mail, May 11, 2000.

2. OSHA fails to protect U.S. workers

Each year more than six million work-related injuries and illnesses occur on the job and about 6,000 workers die from accidents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is not up to the task of overseeing workplaces. …