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Media Bits and Bytes – April 18, 2023

Striking writers take on The Industry, and more news from tech and media

Writers Guild members have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The vote was approved by nearly 98% of the eligible voting members. Credit, Getty
  1. Internet Access a Basic Human Right
  2. Writers Strike
  3. The Last Nuremburg Prosecutor — Censored Posthumously
  4. AI in the Working World
  5. Is NPR “State-Affiliated”?
  6. Getting It Wrong on Palestine
  7. Bitcoin: The Tulip of Tech
  8. Media Buzz Around the World
  9. When News is a ChatGPT Creation
  10. The Next Battle Over FCC Leadership


Internet Access a Basic Human Right

By Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service

A new University of Birmingham study has proposed that internet and online access be declared a human right. “People around the globe are so dependent on the internet to exercise socio-economic human rights such as education, healthcare, work, and housing that online access must now be considered a basic human right”, says the study.

Writers Strike

By Kristin Toussaint
Fast Company

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The WGA’s contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers—a trade association that represents more than 350 Hollywood film- and TV-production companies, including Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, and Apple+—expires on May 1. The union has been negotiating for big changes, primarily to the pay structure for writers, in line with the rise of streaming.

Shutting Up the Last Nuremburg Prosecutor

By Jon Schwarz
The Intercept

Benjamin Ferencz died last week at the age of 103. Ferencz was the last surviving member of the team of prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials after World War II. He also had strong opinions about the Iraq War. But no mention of them in his obituaries.

AI in the Working World

  • Pro   By Rani Molla, Vox
  • Con   By Nathan J. Robinson, Jacobin

Is NPR “State-Affiliated”?

By Bill Chappell

Twitter added a "state-affiliated media" tag to NPR's main account on Tuesday, applying the same label to the nonprofit media company that Twitter uses to designate official state mouthpieces and propaganda outlets in countries such as Russia and China. NPR officials have asked Twitter to remove the label. 

Getting It Wrong on the Al-Aqsa Raids

By Abdul Rahman
Peoples Dispatch

Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti called the Times reporting on the Al-Aqsa violence as “biased to Israel, adopting Israeli narrative unconditionally, and trying to provide Israel with impunity.” Another report by the BBC also invited strong reactions from Palestinians. Slanted reporting on the Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa and its subsequent airstrikes in Gaza is a routine practice and nothing new.

Bitcoin: The Tulip of the Tech Age

By Fabio De Masi
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, while exciting, is also inefficient compared to banks or Visa’s financial technology, and the benefits are unclear. After the 2007–8 financial crisis, crypto hype reached the financial market and sold itself as an alternative to banks creating new money (out of thin air) not backed by gold or other assets (so-called “fiat money”) with the push of a button on their computers.

Media Buzz Around the World

  • Uganda   263Chat
  • Peru   By Brunella Tipismana, NACLA Report
  • Taiwan   By Lorenzo Lamperti, il manifesto Global
  • Hungary   By Lucy Martirosyan, openDemocracy
  • Egypt   By Bahar Makooi, France 24

When News is a ChatGPT Creation

By Chris Moran
The Guardian

A researcher had carried out research using ChatGPT. In response to being asked about articles on this subject, the AI had simply made some up. Its fluency, and the vast training data it is built on, meant that the existence of the invented piece even seemed believable to the named reporter, who absolutely hadn’t written it.

The Next Battle Over FCC Leadership

By Craig Aaron
Free Press

They’re celebrating at Comcast and Fox, where their lobbyists deserve most of the credit for concocting lies to derail Gigi Sohn’s nomination. They falsely portrayed her as radical and divisive, even though her years of experience tell a different story — about a highly regarded expert who has reached across political divides to support communications policies that help people.