When former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was briefly deposed in a 2002 coup, the country's press reacted with unbridled enthusiasm. The daily newspaper El Nacional welcomed the day's events with the headline "One step forward." But that wasn't particularly surprising: Never in the history of Latin America had the media played quite so prominent a role in facilitating the overthrow of a democratically elected government. Gustavo Cisneros, Venezuela's answer to Rupert Murdoch, played a direct role in planning and funding the coup. At the time of the putsch, he owned Venevisión, a private TV channel that ran biased, even manipulated, coverage to incite support for the coup.
International Women's Day was once a staple holiday of Eastern European communism, a day when bosses would give red flowers to their female employees. Ostensibly, it was a day to celebrate the achievements of women workers. But in practice, it was a propaganda exercise to highlight socialism's alleged commitment to equality between the sexes.
The photo of the two monks above looks innocent enough. One of the men presents the other with a birthday present. It's difficult to make out, but it looks to be some sort of gold figurine on a red velvet base. In fact, the photo would be totally uninteresting if it weren't for the fact that these men are two of the world's most important leaders of a dangerously radical brand of Buddhism.
The new head of Japan's public broadcasting company, NHK, has some unusual ideas. Since assuming his position in January, Katsuto Momii has defended Japan's wartime practice of sexual slavery by arguing that all nations have done it during times of conflict. He's argued that media coverage of Japan's territorial disputes should conform to the government line. And he believes that NHK, in spite of being one of the most trusted and influential news sources in the country, should not "say ‘left,' when the government says ‘right.'"
North Korea is holding parliamentary elections. Well, sort of.
Three days ahead of Sunday's vote, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland looks set to complete yet another clean sweep of the 687-seat Supreme People's Assembly. But maintaining their unanimous hold on parliament shouldn't be challenging: There are no opposition parties on the ballot. The Democratic Front, the governing coalition led by Kim Jong Un's ruling Workers' Party, has handpicked one -- and only one -- candidate for each district.