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Across The Media Universe

"Bloggers and website owners can all breathe a very big sigh of relief." That's Gregory Herbert, an Orlando lawyer who specializes in First Amendment issues, talking to USA Today about a ruling by the California Supreme Court that the groups "cannot be sued for posting libelous or defamatory comments written by third parties." Not breathing a sigh of relief? Nancy Grace, her producers, and CNN Headline News, which have been sued by the relatives of Melinda Duckett. Duckett killed herself following aggressive questioning from Grace concerning the disappearance of Duckett's son. Family members are arguing that the interview caused Duckett severe emotional distress and led to her suicide.

It's been a week since Al Jazeera English went on the air, and the reviews are starting to come in. "…delivering updates on an Israeli missile strike against Hamas officials in Gaza, the channel kept returning to images of two children wounded in the attack," writes Troy Stevens. "Others might have detected something propagandistic in the way the camera lingered on their blood-splattered faces, but it just looked liked old-fashioned tabloid style to me. The last couple days of Al Jazeera English suggest that its main bias is the universal one in favor of juicy drama."

And this week on PBS, Democracy on Deadline is looking at the role journalists play around the world – and the challenges they face. "The Global Struggle for an Independent Press follows teams of journalists into some of the most dangerous and secretive corners of the world to show how they obtain their stories in the face of suppression, lies, imprisonment and threat of physical harm," notes the program's Web site. Related: Today is Jailed Journalists' Support Day. Notes the Christian Science Monitor:

Reporters Without Borders says that 130 journalists worldwide are currently imprisoned for reporting the news or expressing their views in print or on the air. The nation with the most jailed journalists? China (32). It's followed by Cuba (24), Ethiopia (21), Eritrea (13), and Burma (7). Those in prison include Sudanese national Sami al-Haj, assistant cameraman with Al Jazeera TV, who has spent four years at Guantánamo, Cuba; and Eritrean poet Fessehaye Yohannes, who is considered a "threat to national security" for forming a labor union for journalists.
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