The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2012

for each country: Leadership, How Censorship Works and Lowlights. It pinpoints those in charge of state cen- sorship, their methods and the corrup- tion that accompanies their tactics. For instance, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency controls all media-related activity. Burma declines visa applications for major interna- tional reporters, while Saudi Arabia re- quires registration for “electronic journalism” practitioners. Iran, Cuba and Belarus all imprison reporters, and the Syrian government is linked to the murder of at least six journalists. Many of these govern- ments also employ filters to block all external Web sites and software to im- pede access to search engines in an at- tempt to black out media coverage. Commenting on the report , Equa- torial Guinean government spokesman Jeronimo Ecoro asserts that i t shows “a biased opinion of the situation in the country.” In fact, the report painstak- ingly documents the full extent of the threat from censorship. As CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon comments, “Because the Inter- net and trade have made information global, domestic censorship affects people everywhere.” The presence of Syria, Iran and North Korea on the list is particularly worrisome given the im- plications of their tight restrictions on information for geopolitical and nu- clear stability. —EvaM.A. Moss, Editorial Intern Speaking of Dictators … In early May the Journal received a curious invitation in the mail. Pur- portedly sent on behalf of Zimbab- wean President Robert Mugabe by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Art and Culture, it invited us to the presidential residence in Harare for the May 12 premiere of a new movie. The hand- some invitation, carefully labeled non- transferable, instructed the bearer to present it at the southwest entrance of the residence on the appointed night. Alas, Washington Post columnist Al Kamen revealed in his May 9 “In the Loop” column that the invitation, which went to hundreds of recipients all over Washington, D.C., was a hoax to promote Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie, “The Dictator” ( www.repub ). In it, the come- dian portrays a despot who used to rule over the fictional African nation of Wadiya before being ousted and forced to start a new life in America. Despite clever marketing, the film received generally poor reviews and tanked at the box office. But if nothing else, the prank is a salutary reminder that after nearly a quarter-century as president, the 88-year-old Mugabe re- mains firmly entrenched in power and intends to run for re-election this fall. In the meantime, the Guardian ( ) re ports that the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization ( ) ha s just appointed Mugabe a “Global Leader for Tourism.” He and a politi- cal ally, Zambian President Michael Sata, signed an agreement to that ef- fect with UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at their shared border at Victoria Falls on May 29. The two will also co-host the next UNWTO Gen- eral Assembly in August 2013. Critics were quick to note the irony of the appointment: Mugabe remains subject to comprehensive European and American sanctions that include travel bans, making it rather difficult for him to promote tourism effectively. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. — Steven Alan Honley, Editor ■ J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 13 C Y B E R N O T E S WWW.AFSA.ORG When contacting an advertiser, kindly mention the Foreign Service Journal. AFSA Insurance Plans AFSA Scholarship PlannedGiving.aspx AKA Hotel residences Churchill Corporate Services, Inc. Clements Worldwide McGrath Real Estate Services Tetratech Vinson Hall WJD