Starsuckers is a feature documentary about the celebrity obsessed media, that uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it. Made completely independently over 2 years in secret, the film journeys through the dark underbelly of the modern media. Using a combination of never before seen footage, undercover reporting, stunts and animation, the film reveals the toxic effect the media is having on us all and especially our children. Chris Atkins presents Starsuckers as a series of five lessons on fame in the modern world: how children are persuaded that fame is something they want, how television and the media reinforces the importance of celebrity and the efforts to attain it, how the mind and body reinforces our need to follow the activities of well-known people and strive to join their number, how the press became addicted to celebrity coverage, and how the art of promoting fame has led to celebrities and their handlers controlling the press instead of the press having say. Along the way, Atkins demonstrates how celebrity news with no basis in fact gets into print, why newspapers will run press releases almost verbatim, how parents will eagerly sign away the image rights to their kids, how certain mass scale charity events end up helping the performers far more than the causes they designed to support, and how publicists keep accurate but unflattering stories out of the news.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Freedom of the press declines in every region in 2008

By Joe Byrne

Published: May 3, 2009
Updated 8 hours ago

Freedom House' annual 'freedom of the press report' analyzed the state of the news media in 195 countries; advocates found that the freedom of the press declined in every region for the first time since the annual report was published.

The report, which can be found at the Freedom House website, recorded the seventh straight year in overall declines in freedom of the press worldwide.

The report categorized countries in one of three groupings: free, partly free, and not free. 36% of countries were 'free' for the media, 31% were 'partly free,' and 33% were 'not free,' according to Freedom House. Myanmar, Cuba, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea and Turkmenistan were the countries with the worst rating for freedom of the press.

Other important changes to media freedom in the past year include the demotion of Israel to 'partly free' status, due to travel restrictions on reporters, attempts to influence media coverage, and "greater self-censorship and biased reporting, particularly during the outbreak of open war in late December." Israel was once the only state in the Middle East and North Africa to have 'free' status; now there is none.

News media based in Hong Kong and countries within the former Soviet Union also suffered from authoritarian governmental control in the past year.

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