The SMH and those dodgy gift cards. The Sydney Morning Herald today published this story about the link between money laundering and gift cards…

…and extended their special subscription deal where you get (wait for it) a gift card!

End of an era at RSF. The founder of media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Robert Menard, has announced his resignation as head of the group, saying he wanted to do something else. “I remain an RSF activist, but I am going to find another way of continuing the struggle I have been carrying out for human rights,” he told AFP. The 55-year-old said he had wanted step down as secretary general of the group “once the campaign in China during the Olympic Games was finished”. — The Age

Harvey Norman announces advertising cuts. Harvey Norman flags a 20 per cent cut in advertising spending. The companiy’s profit downgrade won’t ease concerns about the advertising market. The retailer is the country’s fourth-largest advertiser. Gerry Harvey told Xchange he would have to cut his advertising spending by “at least 20 per cent”, which spells hard times for media companies already suffering from the slowdown. The pullback suggested a “material deterioration in the advertising environment is emerging”, Goldman Sachs JBWere warned last night. It said media most exposed to retail spending were regional newspapers and television, but it also accounts for sizeable chunks in radio, metropolitan newspapers and TV. — SMH

Marxism in the media. “The Wall Street ‘bailout’ has been the subject of more one-sided media coverage than Barack Obama’s campaign,” Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid said today. “The media love Obama and they love this ‘bailout.’ What they have in common is a desire to massively increase federal government involvement in the economy. But our media won’t label it for what it is — socialism.” — Wall Street Journal

Censorship vs. Tolerance. The firebomb attack this weekend on the publishing house Gibson Square in London was an assault on one of the bravest publishers in the business. Three men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on Saturday morning, suspected of attempting to set fire to the premises. Martin Rynja, who runs Gibson Square, is due to publish Sherry Jones’s novel about Mohammed’s wife Aisha, The Jewel of Medina, next month. Random House had pulled out of publishing the novel in August, stating that it had been advised that “the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community” and that “it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment”. — The Guardian

Arnie doing his bit for Journalists. Last weekend, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into a law a bill that protects journalism educators from being disciplined or fired based on the decisions of student-publication editors. Senate Bill 1370 is a welcome addition in the Golden State, where several journalism teachers were run out of the profession because they supported student free-press rights. No longer will any adviser be found insubordinate because he or she did not act as a censor. — Indystar

Peter Fray

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