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The Bush administration’s record spending promises on combating Aids in Africa have pleased liberals and conservatives alike. But a closer look reveals that these programmes have less to do with a new era in US foreign aid but rather a strategic interest in diversifying its oil resources.

Aids in russia

Ignorance, exclusion and denial

Along with India and China, Russia has the fastest growing HIV infection rate in the world. Yet there is no sex education in schools, no HIV/AIDS awareness programme and a profound reluctance to admit to the problem at official levels.

Triumph of evil

Portrait of a war criminal

Radislav Krstic, General of the Republika Srpska army and Deputy Commander of Drina Corps, was the first war criminal sentenced for genocide by the ICTY. He was sentenced to 46 years of prison for ordering the deaths of over seven thousand Muslim men were executed, in the UN safe area of Srebrenica, between 13 and 19 July 1995, while 30,000 people were forcibly deported. Slavenka Drakulic witnessed the trial and traces Krstic’s biography.

The reason of borders or a border reason?

Translation as a metaphor for our times

The field of translation studies has come a long way in the past two decades from the margins of the linguistics department to today’s central position in the field of cultural studies and critical theory. António Sousa Ribeiro traces how translation has become a fundamental and dominant metaphor for our time and how the act of translation has wider repercussions on our notions of multiculturalism, identity, and cultural practices. On the basis of this, Ribeiro sketches out how translation can provide for “mutual intelligibility without sacrificing difference in the interest of blind assimilation”.

Most democracies today apply double standards concerning democratic principles – such as the rule of law and the respect for human rights – in domestic and in foreign politics; US being the prime example of such double standards. Daniele Archibugi looks at the case of the Iraq war and asks if the world’s democracies have a mission to “democratize” other countries.

A New Europe

Romano Prodi talks to Truls Øra

Romano Prodi speaks his mind in a candid interview on the great topics that affect the European Union, its political and economical future, its current member states and internal politics today.

The consolidation of the European project and the enlargement are one of the most important projects for the years to come, he argues, but Europe must also ensure strict borders and decide on its future relations with Russia, Turkey and the Balkans. How will Europe co-ordinate the new member states and how will it consolidate its emigration and agricultural policies?
Prodi also comments on the split between Europe and the USA and the widespread opposition against the Iraq war amongst the European public as well as outlining the military, economic and political challenges ahead for the transatlantic partnership.

Culture and gender in neo-conservative America

Richard Goldstein talks to Knut Olav Åmås

How far has America really come when it comes to gay rights and gender equality? Richard Goldstein, editor of the influential Village Voice believes that a social backlash in neo-Conservative America is forcing women back into traditional notions of feminity and is provoking new forms of accepted homophobia.

On freedom *

A discussion between Svetlana Boym and Boris Groys

Boym and Groys discuss philosophical concepts on freedom to assess how the term is used in its various dimensions – on the state level, in people’s private lives and relating to economic aspects.
Is there such a thing as societal freedom where the state governs and rules most aspects of people’s lives? Are humans, as Sartre proclaimed “doomed to be free”? Does freedom entail an escape from the economic determinism that rules Western civilisations or is it economic activity that sets us free in the first place? Svetlana Boym and Boris Groys discuss.

Media Policy in Slovenia in the 1990s

Regulation, privatization, concentration and commercialization of the media

During the 1990s the Slovene media were significantly affected by political changes. The events that most influenced the media world of the nineties were the introduction of the new media law (arguments and discussions about the media law in Slovenia have again become topical ten years later), the privatization of the media, liberalization of the print media market and superficial regulation of the broadcasting market, media monopolization and commercialization. These events are the subject of the analysis in this essay.
The Slovene media market is small, so relatively modest financial resources suffice to establish control over it (especially in comparison with the sums involved in the takeovers and acquisitions in other European countries). Before the process of media privatization got underway, the Slovene state expected the invasion of large European and American corporations, similar to what has happened in some other countries in transition. One decade later it is possible to conclude instead that a small number of local owners with stakes in numerous affiliated companies control the major part of the Slovene media market. The concentration is still in progress, while cross-ownership ties remain unchanged. It is obvious that the state, or rather its supervising institutions, do not have any mechanism (and no interest) to introduce order into this field.

Moreover, the legislative body has overlooked another important fact, namely that privatization has nothing to do with the ethics of the media operation, and even less so with the accountability of the media to the public. The democratic and plural media, which were expected to be secured through the Mass Media Act of 1994, proved to have a high price. In democratic societies the prevention of media monopolization is the responsibility of the state. However, in a system which is subject to voluntary steps by the state, market and new owners, that is to say, in which there are no legal and financial conditions for plurality of the media, it is not possible to talk of media freedom.
The story of introducing firstly the Mass Media Act that came into force in 1994 and then the Mass Media Act of 2001 brings to light the state’s attitude towards the media deregulation. In the beginning of the 1990s, the basic dilemmas revolved around the questions of whether a law on the media was needed at all, and what kind of law it should be. Once in force, the law proved to be deficient. Insufficient supervision of the implementation of the deficient law thus resulted in a non-transparent concentration of media ownership and numerous violations of the law for which, unfortunately, there were no sanctions.

The first changes to the Mass Media Act of 1994 were proposed in 1997 followed by four years of debate before the Mass Media Act, which replaced former law, came into force. It treats certain areas (for example, the interests of the state) in minute detail, while others (for example the interests of citizens) are dealt with only loosely. On the other hand, the fundamental question posed over the past decade remains unchanged and, more importantly, unanswered. This question is: What kind of the media policy does the state actually support?

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