Squid Game: the real debt crisis shaking South Korea that inspired the hit TV show by Sarah A. Son for the Conversation, 10/11/21
In this biting commentary on life in South Korea today, viewers are presented with a twisting, technicolour story of violence, betrayal and desperation. All of this is set around a series of macabre games in which players literally fight to the death. Despite its brutal content, the show has captivated audiences globally, becoming Netflix’s top show in at least 90 countries.
Squid Game adds to other recent South Korean screen productions, most notably the 2020 Oscar-winning film Parasite, in providing a sharp critique of the socio-economic inequality that plagues the lives of many in South Korea. More specifically, it speaks to the deepening household debt crisis affecting the lower and middle classes.
Household debt in South Korea has risen sharply in recent years to over 100% of its GDP – the highest in Asia. The top 20% of earners in the country have a net worth 166 times that of the bottom 20%, a disparity which has increased by half since 2017.
New Report Shows Black Media's Critical Role in Covering Issues Affecting Black Communities by Center for Community Media, 10/11/21
As protests against police violence and racial injustice swept the country and a pandemic disproportionately claimed Black lives, Black‐owned media covered these events earlier, in more depth, and with more Black voices than their mainstream counterparts. That's the essence of a groundbreaking content analysis released today by the Black Media Initiative of the Center for Community Media at CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.
“Many people speak of the importance of Black media in the context of history,” Black Media Initiative Director Cheryl Thompson-Morton said of the sector, which has been vibrant in communities across the country since the early 19th century. “This research shows why Black media is critical today. It provides data and backing of what Black media publishers have been telling us for years. My hope is that this report spurs more support and investment in the sector.”
The report, “Why Black Media Matters Now,” analyzed the coverage of nearly 100 Black-owned news outlets over 15 momentous months between March 2020 and May 2021. In general, it found that Black media publishes as much as six times more coverage than mainstream outlets on issues of importance to Black communities, including racism, health disparities, and voting access.
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Cooperating over shared water in West Africa by Michelle Langrand, GS, 10/03/2021
In northern Senegal, the town of Podor sits on the southern bank of the Senegal River. Its inhabitants only have to look over to the opposite side of the watercourse to get a view of the valley stretching North into Mauritania.
Baaba Maal, today a world‐renowned singer, was born in that small town of farmers and fishers, right where the two West African countries meet. “When I was a kid, we would cross over to the other side of the river to cultivate the land. For us, there was no border,” the Senegalese artist reminisces in conversation with Geneva Solutions.
From the Fouta Djallon highlands in Central Guinea, the Senegal River flows north towards the Malian border, then turns west, slithering between Mauritania and Senegal, to end its 1,086km journey in the Atlantic Ocean.
Nobel Peace Prize for journalists reminds us freedom of the press is under threat from strongmen and social media by Kathy Kiely, 10/17/2021
Nothing underscores how far we have come from that moment of irrational exuberance than the powerful warning the Nobel Prize Committee felt compelled to issue on Oct. 8, 2021 in awarding its coveted Peace Prize to two reporters.
“They are representative for all journalists,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said in announcing the award to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, “in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.”
The honor for Muratov, the co-founder of Russia's Novaya Gazeta, and Ressa, the CEO of the Philippine news site Rappler, is enormously important. In part that's because of the protection that global attention may afford two journalists under imminent and relentless threat from the strongmen who run their respective countries. “The world is watching,” Reiss‐Andersen pointedly noted in an interview after making the announcement.
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