Thursday, June 15, 2006

European Media and doctored photographs

The blog Brussels Journal has an interesting post called Seeing Is Believing?, which deals with altered photographs in the European Media. Some examples:

There are even more people duplicated than the circled ones. And this next picture, from when King Albert and Queen Paola visted Flanders, is hilarious:

It seems the Belgian Royal family is not popular in Dutch-speaking Flanders, so the media "filled out" the crowd; but they didn't realise (or didn't care) that they had duplicated the queen from a different angle, making Queen Paola Twice a Queen. There is a whole crowd in the background is turned toward the 2nd queen; there is even a micrphone boom aimed towards her. Did the publisher really think nobody would notice that?

Here is a photo of the Spanish Royal Family:

It would seem that the King is missing a leg:

Royal Leg Gone Astray.

I find it amazing that any publication would try to pass off fakes like this. While I'm sure many people might not look closely and notice, some people certainly will. And what do these doctored photos say to the readership of the publications they appear in? Something like: "We are publishing these fakes, because we believe our readers are too STUPID to even notice". Showing contempt for your readers is hardly a good way to market magazines or newspapers, IMO.

The Brussels Journal is one of my favorite sources for European news, so I am adding a link to it in my sidebar.

The blog's editor, Paul Belien, is currently being threatened with prosecution over homeschooling his children. Here is an excerpt from a blogpost by his wife, Alexandra Colen:

...My husband, a lawyer by training, and I, a former university lecturer, have homeschooled four of our five children through high school. These four have meanwhile moved on to university. Our youngest child is also being homeschooled, but she has yet to obtain her high school certificate, for which she is currently taking exams. Like her four siblings she takes these exams before the Central Examination Board (CEB), an institution run by the Ministry of Education. The Belgian Constitution, written in 1831, allows parents to homeschool. The CEB exists to enable people who have not attended or who have failed school to obtain an official high school certificate.

Since we started homeschooling in the 1990s the homeschooling movement in Belgium has been growing. The number of homeschoolers is small, comprising only 202 children in primary school and 311 children in high school. Nevertheless the figure has quadrupled in the past five years, as parents are seceding from the official schools where drugs and violence are rampant and pupils are indoctrinated with political correctness and socialism.

The fact that a growing group of children seems to be escaping from the government’s influence clearly bothers the authorities.
Three years ago a new school bill was introduced. The new bill refers to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and it obliges homeschooling parents to fill out a questionaire and sign an official “declaration of homeschooling” in which they agree to school their children “respecting the respect [sic] for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”

The declaration does not specify what “respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others” means. It states, however, that government inspectors decide about this and adds – and here is the crux of the matter – that if the parents receive two negative reports from the inspectors they will have to send their child to an official government recognized school.

My husband and I have refused to sign this statement since we are unwilling to put our signature under a document that forces us to send our children to government controlled schools if two state inspectors decide on the basis of arbitrary criteria that we are not “respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”

According to the Ministry of Education we have violated the law. The judiciary asked the police to take down my husband’s statement, but he refused to sign any document. He was informed that he might soon be taken to court.

Last month Michael Farris, the chairman of the American Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), warned that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child could make homeschooling illegal in the U.S., even though the US Senate has never ratified this Convention.

According to some activist judges the UN Convention is “customary international law. [...] The fact that virtually every other nation in the world has adopted it has made it part of customary international law, and it means that it should be considered part of American jurisprudence.” ...

(bold emphasis mine) This is pretty scary stuff. The creepy UN is spreading it's tentacles.

You can read the whole thing, with embedded links, HERE.


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