Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, August 04, 2006

Vietnam Measure Facing Difficult Path

As reported by nationaljournal.com, the 18-0 vote this week in the Senate Finance Committee for normalizing trade relations with Vietnam signaled that achieving PNTR was likely. However, as an amendable trade bill, it now must face the uncertain process of moving through the Senate, despite having almost full support. Lobbyists and congressional aides say that the path to congressional approval for Vietnam permanent normal trade relations legislation in September will be a difficult one.

Business supporters will try to push the bill through the Senate in the first couple of weeks of the September session, followed by House action, which is where the difficulties lie. House leaders feel uneasy about any trade votes before the election.

Senate Finance ranking member Max Baucus, D-Mont., along with other leaders are working to prevent amendments that are not directly to the Vietnam measure. However, Senate leaders will have to deal with amendments from Republicans in two areas: textiles and apparel and concerns about religious freedom and human rights.

Senators Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. want to see currentquotas on Vietnamese apparel extended, or a strengthened ability for U.S. domestic textile producers to use antidumping laws against Vietnamese imports. An amendment allowing that would help keep those companies viable in the face of Asian imports that are assembled with fabric from China and elsewhere outside the United States.

However, sources said any amendments offered would not likely succeed in the Senate. Senators Gordon Smith, R-Ore., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Jim Bunning, R-Ky., are among senators who have said they want further assurances before voting on thetrade bill regarding the issue of religious freedom and human rights.

"I'm very concerned that once the pressure is off, Vietnam would forget about human rights and religious freedom," Brownback said.

"The business community is really focused on getting this agreement done but is growing very anxious about the conflicting signals the administration is sending to the Hill about how important it is to get this agreement done before the president goes to Vietnam," said one GOP trade lobbyist.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

U.S. risks backlash in Mideast

As detailed in the Washington Post, the Israeli bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana revealed the enormous risks for Washington in the current Middle East crisis.

The United States has strongly defended the military assaults as a reasonable response to Hezbollah rocket attacks, which allies see as an overreaction. Analysts think that a continued war could leave the United States more isolated than at any time since the Iraq invasion three years ago and hindered in its foreign policy goals.

"The arrows are all pointing in the wrong direction," said Richard N. Haass, who was President Bush's first-term State Department policy planning director. "The biggest danger in the short run is it just increases frustration and alienation from the United States in the Arab world. Not just the Arab world, but in Europe and around the world. People will get a daily drumbeat of suffering in Lebanon and this will just drive up anti-Americanism to new heights."

The White House recognizes the danger but views this as a chance to finally break out of the stalemate of Middle East geopolitics. Bush and his advisers hope the conflict can destroy or at least cripple Hezbollah and strike a blow against Iran, while pressuring the region to move toward final settlement of the conflict with Israel. "He wants a resolution that will solve the problem," White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters yesterday. "Not only do we feel sorrow for what happened in Qana, but also a determination that it is really important to remove the conditions that led to that."

"This moment of conflict in the Middle East is painful and tragic," Bush said in his radio address Saturday. "Yet it is also a moment of opportunity for broader change in the region. Transforming countries that have suffered decades of tyranny and violence is difficult, and it will take time to achieve. But the consequences will be profound for our country and the world." Many foreign policy veterans in Washington are pessimistic, especially as leaders of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda start calling for followers to take the fight to the enemy. Analysts predict a complicated outcome, with Hezbollah surviving Israel's airstrikes and strained relations between the U.S. and its allies.

The White House recognizes the dangers of stirring up anti-Americanism. "There may be times when people say that they're unhappy with whatever methods we pursue," Snow said last week. "We are confident that in the long run, people are going to be much happier living in freedom and democracy than, for instance, in nations that are occupied by terrorist organizations that try to hijack a democracy in its formative stages."

For the complete article, click here. (last article on page.)

PACE urges more cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) encouraged Turkey to further extend the cultural rights of its Kurdish citizens by adopting a comprehensive approach.

The draft resolution and report is entitled "The Cultural Situation of the Kurds," and was prepared by British PACE member Lord Russell-Johnston. It was submitted to members of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education and will be voted on in October.

The Parliamentary Assembly encourages Turkey, as well as Iran, Iraq and Syria, to acknowledge that Kurdish language and culture are part of the heritage of their countries. It stresses that they are treasures worth preserving and shouldn't be viewed as a threat.

The report praised recent reforms and the status of Kurds in Turkey as compared to those living in other countries but it also highlighted the need for more reports.

According to the report, the assembly recommends that Turkey takes certain measures, including protection of the major Kurdish languages, encouraging university courses on Kurdish language ad literature, ending the high administrative hurdles faced by Kurds in their cultural activities, and enabling the development of written press, radio, and TV.

The problem of "honor killings" which are still prevalent in Kurdish communities was also addressed in the draft PACE report.

The report also stressed the negative impact of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on the modernization of southeastern Turkey. "The surge of PKK terrorism in the southeast part of Turkey in 1984 and its combat by the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] has made the situation much worse. From a cultural point of view, for instance, literacy rates in the region have decreased dramatically in the last 15 years, in particular those for women," the report said.

For the full article, click here.

NIH Director Joins Call For Mideast Ceasefire

As reported by the Washington Post, the head of the National Institutes of Health has joined a public campaign demanding an "immediate cease-fire" in the Middle East, a position which contradicts Bush administration policy.

Elias A. Zerhouni, appointed as the director of the NIH in 2002, had his name in an ad in the Washington Post which called for "all those in power to stop the violence" through a cease-fire so that "reconciliation and reconstruction" efforts can begin. Zerhoni’s name appeared along with the names of 36 prominent Arab Americans. His title as NIH director did not appear with it. "He put it in as a private citizen," said John T. Burklow, an NIH spokesman.

"We reclaim our American values of justice and mercy and compassion, values that abhor oppression and racism," the ad reads in part. "American leadership in the political and humanitarian challenges ahead is a sacred duty."

The Bush administration has rejected Arab and European calls for an immediate cease-fire without being part of a broader agreement.

Some supporters of Israel and U.S. policy find it unusual that a high-ranking administration official would publicly oppose the president on foreign policy, even without mention of his title.

William L. Bransford, general counsel for the Senior Executives Association, said Zerhouni had not crossed any ethical or legal lines -- only political ones.

For the full Washington Post article, click here.

Afghanistan To Deport Korean Evangelicals

Over 1,000 Koreans who went to Afghanistan to participate in a “peace festival” will be deported under the orders of President Hamid Karzai, an Afghan official said Wednesday.

The evangelists will be expelled "soonest possible because we cannot guarantee their safety here," the high-ranking official said. He said that although the South Koreans were warned not to "preach religion" while in the country, they have been seen trying to evangelize Muslims in some regions. "This can be terribly provocative and can create problems for Afghan government," he said. He said the Afghan government has made this decision in coordination with the South Korean embassy in Kabul.

According to a source with the Institute of Asian Culture and Development, who organized the event, a few Koreans were injured when Afghan police tried to subdue them, but that claim was disputed by a staffer who was present.

Choi Han-woo, the head of the IACD, claimed Afghan local authorities and people were “cooperating greatly.”

For the full article, click here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Schools Shut Down on Taliban Orders

As reported by the Inter Press Service News Agency, a “lack of infrastructure and lawlessness have forced thousands of children out of schools in Afghanistan this year.” The report says that “a number of districts in southern Uruzgan have no schools at all.” There are no students because of a “shortage of teachers, teaching material or fear of the anti-government Taliban.”

Haj Gul Ahmad, a resident of Khas Uruzgan, said that “while there was a school in the district, parents have pulled their children out after the Taliban warned both teachers and students to stay away.”

The report says that “the warnings have been issued in what are called ‘night letters’, leaflets pasted on village walls, urging people to send children to mosque schools for a religious education instead.” Hakimullah, a villager, quoted from one of the letters: “Impart religious education to your children instead of the modern teachings; otherwise all of you will be killed,” the report says.

The provincial public education director, Mohammad Raza, said that “he could not do anything to stop the schools from closing because the teachers had walked out over poor salary levels,” says the report. “In the western Herat province, education department officials have blamed the poor school enrollment on the failure of reconstruction plans.”

To read this article in full click here.

Afghanistan and Colombians Host Counter Narcotics Forum

According to Radio Free Europe, “Colombian counter narcotics officials met with their Afghan government counterparts in Kabul on August 1 to share tips on how to stem the illegal drug trade.” According to the report, “Afghanistan is the world’s leading producer of opium, while most of the world’s cocaine comes from Colombia.” Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Daud said that, “we discussed the Afghan government’s counter narcotics efforts, the capacity built so far in the past three years, and also shared their experience regarding counter narcotics,” RFE reports. Colombian counter narcotics head Oscar Atehortua says that, “counter narcotics efforts are about more than just the drug trade, it is also to fight against terrorist groups.” The report says that Colombia “can offer Afghanistan advice on controlling drug growth in the country.”

To read more from RFE click here.

An Afghan History Lesson

Sarah Chayes, a blogger for The New York Times, writes about the symbolism and poetry that reflects the “legendary – and to a large degree – unconquerability of the region that is now southern and eastern Afghanistan.” Chayes says that this poetry is “as vital to Persian civilization as Homer’s poetry is to Greece.”

Chayes writes:

“The ‘Shahnameh’ cycle celebrates a dynasty of mythic heroes, whose fiefdom is Zabulistan and whose exploits glorified the kingdom of Iran and protected it from its northern enemies. But the poetry is studded with examples of the champion’s testy independence, even when performing great feats in the service of their kings. In one of the most celebrated episodes, Rustam, the chief hero, kills the crown prince rather than be carried to court in fetters.”

“Eventually (in the mid-900’s), a local fellow – a brigand and son of a coppersmith from a village 200 miles west of Kandahar – opened Zabulistan to Islam. At a victory feast one night, the court poet began singing his praises, in Arabic as usual. ‘Why should I have to listen to this stuff I can’t even understand?’ the conqueror supposedly interrupted, ordering up verses in his native Persian, which until then had been only a vernacular.”

“Although Afghanistan almost brought the Muslim conquest to a standstill; although it maintained, in the 19th century, a difficult independence from both Russia and imperial Britain; and although, a century later, it staved off the Soviet Red Army, the country has been conquered. Indeed, devastating, earth-gutting conquest – as much as Afghanistan’s legendary independence – defines the country’s character, too.”

“This dogged determination to rise from the ashes, this stubborn cleaving to life and beauty and imagination, gives me hope for Afghanistan even now.”

This article is available by subscription only.

Women’s Rights on Decline in Iraq

As reported by News Blaze, “women in Iraq’s Parliament say they were heartened by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s pledge in a speech before the U.S. Congress last week to improve women’s rights.” However, the “women warn that women’s rights have declined as the country’s security situation has worsened and the influence of fundamentalist Islamists increases,” the report says.

According to the report, “30 of the Parliament’s 275 members have signed a declaration calling for legislators to clarify the rights of women. The legislation was submitted in June, but has yet to be voted on.” The report says that “the signers believe this is not just about women’s rights, but about how much control religious leaders will have over their government.”

To read this article in full click here.

Iraqi Minister: “Unemployment at 50 Percent’

In an article reported by Radio Free Europe, “Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih has said that the number of unemployed Iraqis has reached 50 percent.” RFE reports that “some 70 percent of Iraqi women are unemployed,” and that local NGO’s have reported that growing numbers of female professionals are taking jobs as domestic servants in order to provide for their families.” Mayada Zuhair, vice president of the Women’s Rights Association of Iraq says, “You can find doctors working as hairdressers, dentists working as chefs, and engineers working in Laundromats. They’re desperate, and with poverty increasing, the situation could get much worse,” RFP reports.

To read more from RFE click here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

UN Population Fund Finances Reproductive Health Project

As reported by Vietnam Net, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has funded a reproductive health project launched by the Women’s Union at a workshop in Hanoi. The report states that “with the project, the union aims to raise awareness in the community, especially among women, about reproductive and sexual health care and domestic violence by publishing documents and leaflets.”

According to the report, the project, entitled “Strengthening the Ability of the National Committee for Population, Family and Children, and Relevant Offices to Implement the Second Phase of the 2001-10 Population Strategy,” will focus on “investing in technical assistance and improving the skills of grassroots medical and population workers and collaborators.”

The long-term goal is to “improve the living conditions of Vietnamese through improving the equality of an approach to health care services, and the speed up the implementation of policies and programs on population, hunger eradication, poverty elimination and reproductive health care.”

Part of the $3.8 million project budget will be invested in the Kon Tum province, located in the Central Highlands.

To read this article in full click here.

Sheikh Abdullah Calls for the ‘Betterment of Human Life for all Syrians’

Nir Boms wrote in a Washington Times editorial that “a well-known and respected Sufi scholar from Syria, Sheikh Abdullah, stepped off a plane in Washington and publicly called for the ousting of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.”

Mr. Abdullah broke the “thousand-year-old Sufi tradition of refraining from politics,” when he spoke out. Boms says that when he asked Mr. Abdullah if he expected consequences for him and his family back in Syria, “he sadly replied, ‘If I sacrifice my life for my people God will reward me.’”

Boms says that “neither sacrifice nor death” is what Mr. Abdullah ultimately seeks; rather he “yearns for a different future for his homeland.” Mr. Abdullah explained to Boms that “there are 2 million eligible young women who are not married mainly due to the fact that their peers, 2 million eligible young men, are too poor to support a future family.”

Boms reports that “Sufi leaders across the world have always seen themselves as bridges between the people and their respective governments. They try to work with their governments to ensure the protection of the people and they encourage their followers to remain loyal to their governments.” Boms says that “Mr. Abdullah, however, has lost his confidence in the Assad government to protect and provide hope to the people of Syria, and he believes that it is now his responsibility to take a different action.”

“Mr. Abdullah is the latest public figure to join the growing ranks of the Syrian opposition,” Boms reports. “In a twist of faith and at great personal risk he is calling for the betterment of human life for all Syrians and for the pursuit of a better and brighter future.”

To read this piece in full click here.

New Chief Justice Approved by Afghan Parliament

According to Radio Free Europe, “legislators in the Afghan National Assembly approved President Hamid Karzai’s proposed nominee for a new chief justice on July 31”. The report says that “Abdul Salam Azimi, a U.S.-educated technocrat, will replace a religious conservative as Afghanistan’s top judge.” RFE reports that “Azimi, known for wearing a tie among political figures who tend to favor robes and turbans, was previously a professor at the University of Arizona.” Azimi “was previously Karzai’s legal adviser, and served for a time as education minister.”

To read more from Radio Free Europe click here.

Monday, July 31, 2006

US and Egypt Recommence Strategic Dialogue

The Egyptian delegation took part in a series of strategic dialogue meetings with US officials last week, at the request of Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. According to the official statement, both Washington and Cairo thought it was time to rekindle dialogue in order to identify their positions over recent political and economic developments in the region. They agreed to meet annually, alternating between Washington and Cairo, and established three committees to deal with joint political, economic, and security issues.

The Egyptian delegation included Rachid Mohamed Rachid, minister of trade and industry, Fayza Abul-Naga, minister of state for international cooperation, and Omar Suleiman, the chief of General Intelligence, along with participation from Nabil Fahmi, Egypt’s ambassador in Washington, and Francis Ricciardone, the US ambassador in Cairo.

The meeting was said to be productive, but with several areas of disagreement in the areas of foreign policy, political reform and economic reform and trade. Foreign policy issues were the most prominent, due to Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon during the delegation’s visit.

Washington and Cairo’s differences regarding Lebanon continue. However, Mohamed Bassiouni, Egypt’s former ambassador to Israel, and now chair of the Shura Council’s Foreign and Arab Relations Committee, believes they are not “dramatic.”

The most sensitive topic on the meetings’ agenda was probably political reform in Egypt. Harvey Sicherman, president of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, feels that American policymakers agree that Egypt is not moving towards democratization fast enough, which has caused the US administration a lot of embarrassment in Congress. "As a result," he says, "there is resistance in Congress to concluding a free trade agreement with Egypt, while several members have tried to cut annual aid to Egypt and set aside large amounts to fund pro-reform civil society organizations."

"Many believe Egypt's steps towards democratization in 2005 were little more than a sham, a tactic aimed at deflecting American pressure," he said.

Also significant in last week’s agenda were economic issues, with Washington approving of Egypt’s economic liberalization policies, and issues such as investment technology transfer, qualified industrial zones, and intellectual property rights.

For the full article, click here.

NATO Takes over in Southern Afghanistan

As reported by Fisnik Abrashi for The Washington Post, “NATO troops assumed command Monday of military operations in volatile southern Afghanistan from the U.S.-led coalition in the latest bid to crush resurgent Taliban forces behind a deadly spike in bloodshed.”

“Today’s transfer of authority demonstrates to the Afghan people that there is a strong commitment on the part of the international community to further extend security into the southern region’s provinces,” says Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, commander of U.S.-led coalition forces.

Abrashi reports that “the mission is considered the most dangerous and challenging in the Western alliance’s 57-year history.” He says that “it coincides with the deadliest upsurge in fighting in Afghanistan since late 2001 that has killed hundreds of people—mostly militants—since May.”

“The NATO alliance’s 8,000-strong deployment in the south includes some U.S. troops and will be under the command of British Lt. Gen. David Richards. Officials said Richards effectively becomes the first non-U.S. general to command American forces in combat operations,” Abrashi reports.

The report says that NATO “hopes to bring a new strategy to dealing with the Taliban rebellion: establishing bases rather than chasing militants. It also wants to win the support of locals by creating secure zones where development can take place,” reports Abrashi.

To read this article in full click here.

Turks Cite Israel’s Lebanon War as Precedent against Kurds; The Iraq We Haven’t Seen; Kurds Promote Kurdistan in America.

As reported by Oliver Poole for The New York Sun, “Turkey has said that Israel’s action in Lebanon to stop Hezbollah attacks meant it should be allowed to take similar steps against Kurdish guerillas operating from Northern Iraq against its forces.”

Poole reports that “it has long been a concern in Turkey that the growth of Kurdish nationalism in northern Iraq, where the country’s instability has permitted a Kurdish semiautonomous state to assume near independence, would inflame Kurdish radicals inside Turkey’s borders.” Poole says the “intervention plans are reported to range from limited artillery barrage and air strikes to attacks by commando forces.”

To read this article in full click here.

As reported by Al Kamen for The Washington Post, “the Kurdistan regional government is rolling out a national media blitz, calling it ‘Kurdistan: The Other Iraq,’ complete with cable television ads, print ads and a national tour by the head of its development office to attract investment and tourism to its northern Iraq region.”

Kamen reports that the ad campaign, designed by “veteran Republican public relations firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers,” is supposed to “report on the ‘good news on Operation Iraqi Freedom you’re not hearing from the old-line media,’ including the positive developments and successes they are achieving.”

To read this article in full click here.

Vladimir van Wilgenburg writes in his online blog that “the Kurdistan Development Corporation has just launched a public relations and advertising campaign – thanking the United States and Coalition Partners for the military effort that liberated the people of South-Kurdistan from Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

Van Wilgenburg reports that “the Kurdistan Development Corporation hopes to build stronger binds between the people of the United States and Iraqi Kurdistan to encourage greater levels of trade and commerce.”

Release of Killer Incites Fear among Women

As reported by Azeez Mahmood for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, “women’s groups in the Kurdish north of Iraq have expressed outrage that a convicted killer may be released after paying blood money to the family of his female victim.” Mahmood reports that Salih Muzali, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Mahabad Abdullah in 1999, recently paid “$170,000 to the family of the dead woman, and could be released if he is granted amnesty by the Kurdistan region’s top official.”

According to Mahmood, Najeeba Mahmood, a member of the women’s rights group Halwest, explained why her group was so concerned about this case. “Women are afraid that tribal mentality will overcome the power of the law, especially when it comes to women’s issues. This will pave the way for other people to abuse women and get away with the crime through tribal agreements. That is a serious threat to women.”

Mahmood reports that Halwest is appealing to Masood Barzani, the region’s president, who “has the power to grant amnesty to the convicted criminal.” Halwest has also “written to the Kurdistan regional parliament condemning the agreement reached by the two families,” Mahmood says.

To read this article in full click here.

Artist Rally in Support of Hezbollah

Chanting slogans in support of Hezbollah and against the United States and the United Nations, a group of reform activists who call themselves the ‘Artists for Change’ rallied on Monday in front of the UN offices in Cairo.

The artists demanded the resignation of secretary general Kofi Annan, and in a letter to him, articulated their "strong condemnation of Israeli actions which have caused innocent victims in Lebanon" and criticized "the powerlessness of the United Nations and the Security Council to stop such atrocities."

Among the demonstrators were several famous Arab actors, including Ezzat el Alaily, Hussein Fahmy, Yehia el Fakharani, Mohammed Henidy, Fardus Abdel Hamid, Khaled Saleh, Hasan Kamy, Gamal Ismail, Liqa Suedan and Madlein Taber.

Hussein Fahmy, one of the most famous demonstrators present, announced that he was resigning as UN goodwill ambassador because "there is no reason to hope anymore for an active and independent role of the UN in the world."

For the full article, click here.

Internet Giants Pressured to Stop Facilitating Foreign Censorship

Through a new Amnesty International campaign and complementary legislation introduced in Congress, the pressure is on three major internet companies to stop facilitating internet censorship in China.

In a report concerning business deals with China, Amnesty charges that Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft “directly and admittedly contradicted their values and stated policies” by restricting access to information and limiting free expression in China. China has developed one of the most sophisticated internet filtering systems in the world, which, with the help of U.S. companies, blocks access to a large amount of political information.

Amnesty has launched a campaign around the world, urging internet users to post information censored by China, Vietnam, Iran, Syria, and other countries, push for the release of those jailed, and lobby governments and companies to revise existing policies.

“We have to guard against the creation of two Internets: one for expression and one for repression,” Larry Cox, the executive director of Amnesty’s U.S. office, said.

A bill introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J. called the Global Online Freedom Act, aims to stop U.S. companies from aiding countries that restrict the internet use of their citizens by requiring companies to disclose their agreements with these countries. It would also prohibit blocking access to U.S. government websites and turning over personal data to foreign governments.

“The impact of embarrassment could have a curative effect on these companies,” Smith said. “We’re trying to reach their consciences. Information is crucial, because human-rights abuses flourish when there’s ignorance or indifference.”

For the full article, click here.

The Working Group on Indigenous Populations will hold its 24th session in Geneva on 31 July-4 August 2006

The Working Group on Indigenous Populations is holding its 24th session in Geneva on 31 July-4 August 2006. The Working Group consists of independent experts and members of the Sub-Commission – one from each of the geopolitical regions of the world. It is open to all representatives of indigenous peoples and their communities and organizations. The Working Group has a two-fold mandate:

1. To review developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, and
2. To give attention to the evolution on international standards concerning indigenous rights.

In its 24th session, the Working Group’s main theme is: “Utilization of indigenous peoples’ land by non-indigenous authorities, groups or individuals for military purposes.”

To read more about the Working Group click here.

US-Egypt Friendship Society Hosts Discussion on the Paradox of Egyptian Press

USEF hosted a discussion Wednesday on the paradoxes of Egyptian press. Tarek Atia, editor of Al Ahram Weekly, Adel Iskandar, author of Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism, and Howard Schneider, a Middle East Journalist for The Washington Post were on the panel for the discussion.

Adel Iskandar believes that Arabs are experiencing media schizophrenia. This means that the events that they are witnessing on the streets are not what is being reported by the satellite media, and this is confusing for them. He says that there is a vital dimension to Egyptian media: steadfastness, meaning they will not take advice or objectives from abroad. He believes that a well informed populace is the best way to make sure tyranny does not take control. Iskandar also expressed what he sees as the vital points for Egyptian Press. They are:
1. The importance of assuring press laws are not anti-climactic
2. The objectivity of the press/principles of the press
3. The impact of external forces: having an audience that can differentiate between conspiracies.
4. Encourage a slow diminishing of media schizophrenia
5. The agenda of press openness will be driven by the press, not others—it will grow out of the press syndicate.
6. The idea of the observer phenomenon: the idea that Egypt is being watched – a desire for accountability.

Tarek Atia discussed his views on where Egyptian media is headed and where he believes it should be headed. Atia admits that the market is skewed in favor of publishers who are aligned with the government, but he believes that it is getting better. Atia also mentioned how the influence of the internet is changing the face of Egyptian media. Bloggers have become a ‘watchdog’ for the press, encouraging the media to report on the political issues that people are reading about on daily blogs. However, Atia is not sure how effective this will be in the long run, since the internet can be hard to find, and in most cases can only be reached by the elite.

This is where Atia says the media is going:
1. Media as a business: editors and administrators are forced to look at what their public wants. People require more from media than they used to.
2. Journalists are not prepared to give up the rights they have earned in the last several years, so do not expect them to.
This is where Atia believes the media should go:
1. There should be an emphasis on identity politics – talking about what it means to be a modern day Egyptian.
2. More investigative reporting.
3. Generate more literary journalism – in depth stories that delve into the minute details of normal people, not the rich and famous. This will force people to think of others.

Howard Schneider discussed what he believes to be the two main paradox’s of Egyptian press. They are:
1. Egypt is a society that has free press, but it does not have any public information laws (like the Freedom of Information Act in the U.S.).
2. One can see an acknowledgement that disclosure is necessary, but there is a line drawn and it does not show everything.
Schneider says that there is no template to say whether or not government officials are acting in the public’s best interest, or their own. Egypt receives a lot of military aid and journalists should be asking how much of that money goes towards the salaries of the top 10 ranking military officials. He says that without public information laws, one can not have a real, effective democracy.