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Iraq: Is the media telling the real story?

5 April 2006

Reuters will flex some heavy-duty tech-muscles tonight, when it webcasts a live panel debate with seven panelists (ahem, all male), alongside an IRC chat, and live-blogging from Iraq, Bahrain the UK and United States. It's a new experiment born of the Global Voices/Reuters partnership. Tune in at 6pm EST.

I wonder how openDemocracy's coverage would fare with such a tough group of judges? Here are our latest contributions to the ether, on the third anniversary of the invasion, from Zaid Salah and five Iraqis with different views, including award-winning female blogger Riverbend.

In the run up to the war in 2002 our forums exploded with discussion and we were proud to say we were among the only media outlets to run thoughtful debates between Iraqis on what to do (or not do) about Saddam. Three years later, the aggressive stances people took have deflated and it invariably feels like everyone has thrown their hands up and are just waiting for the next (bad) thing to happen.

Can we blame the media for general lack of sustained interest? Not entirely. By ignoring the millions of people who hit the streets protesting the war, the governments who make up the "Coalition of the Willing" have played an important part in making people feel like it doesn't matter what they think anyway. We know so much about the lies and deceit that went into cooking this war thanks to the media, but who's responsibility is it to take that information and say it's totally unacceptable?

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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