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Rolling Stone to be sued for retracted rape story

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Rolling Stone to be sued for retracted rape story | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Rolling Stone to be sued for retracted rape story
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The University of Virginia fraternity at the center of Rolling Stone’s retracted article “A Rape on Campus” said on Monday it planned to sue the magazine for what it called “reckless” reporting that hurt its reputation.

Phi Kappa Psi’s announcement came a day after a team from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism concluded in a report that the magazine had failed to follow basic journalistic safeguards.

The 9,000-word story described how a student identified by her real first name, Jackie, said she endured a gang rape at the fraternity in 2012. The allegations sent shockwaves through the campus about 70 miles (113 km) from Richmond, Virginia’s capital. After the article was published in November, students demonstrated on campus and in front of the fraternity house, which was vandalized.

“Clearly our fraternity and its members have been defamed, but more importantly we fear this entire episode may prompt some victims to remain in the shadows, fearful to confront their attackers,” Stephen Scipione, president of the fraternity in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a statement.

Fraternity chapter spokesman Brian Ellis said he did not know what would be in the lawsuit, or when the fraternity’s lawyers would file it. The fraternity said on Monday that images of its house continue to be used by news organizations as a symbol of campus sexual assault.

Rolling Stone declined to comment. The magazine is owned by Jann Wenner, who founded it in 1967 primarily to cover music and culture. The privately held company, Wenner Media LLC, also publishes the magazines Us Weekly and Men’s Journal.

PROVING RECKLESSNESS

To prevail in a defamation lawsuit, the fraternity would need to first show the accusations against it in the story were false and that it suffered damages as a result, such as fewer applicants or reduced donations from alumni, said Rebecca Tushnet, a Georgetown University law professor.

Then it would need to show that Rolling Stone was negligent in its reporting. If a court finds that the fraternity was a public figure, it would have to prove the magazine was reckless or acted with actual malice.

“It seems to me this will very much turn on recklessness,” said Tushnet. “Did they have a little voice in the back of their heads, saying, ‘You might have a problem here,’ and ignore that voice?”

Individual fraternity members could sue, she said, but the members face an additional burden of showing harm because the average reader likely could not have identified them from reading the article written by contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

Because it is a government entity, the University of Virginia likely could not sue for defamation, Tushnet said.

An investigation by Charlottesville police found no evidence that Jackie had been gang raped.

In December, after questions about the story’s veracity, Rolling Stone apologized for “discrepancies” in the account and admitted that it never sought comment from seven men accused of the alleged rape.

On Sunday, Columbia’s report, commissioned by Rolling Stone, cited the magazine for reporting and editing lapses, including the failure to verify Jackie’s story with three of her friends and for not confronting the fraternity with details of the story before publication. The report was written by Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia journalism school; Derek Kravitz, a postgraduate research scholar at the school; and Sheila Coronel, academic dean at the journalism school.

A ‘HUMBLING’ EXPERIENCE

Rolling Stone is represented by Davis Wright Tremaine, a law firm with a large practice defending media organizations. Elizabeth McNamara, a partner at the firm, referred questions to the magazine.

The magazine said in a statement on Sunday that it would commit itself to a series of recommendations made in the Columbia University review. Rolling Stone owner Wenner, though, told the New York Times on Sunday that the editors of the article, Will Dana and Sean Woods, would not lose their jobs and that Erdely would continue to write for the magazine.

Erdely also apologized in a statement published by the New York Times on Sunday, saying “the Columbia account of the mistakes and misjudgments in my reporting was a brutal and humbling experience.”

The decision not to fire anyone involved led to criticism of the magazine by CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and other American media. Slate columnist Hanna Rosin said Rolling Stone’s editors appeared indifferent, while USA Today columnist Rem Rieder called on Wenner to rethink his response.

During a news conference on Monday, two of the three authors of the Columbia University review said it was not up to them to recommend if people should be fired over what they called an avoidable journalistic failure.

“We pointed out systemic and institutional problems and we are leaving it up to Rolling Stone to decide how to deal with these problems,” said academic dean Coronel.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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ASEAN

Human hair trade exploits ASEAN women

Greeley Pulitzer

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Human hair trade exploits ASEAN women | The Thaiger

Hair extensions have become an essential part of the multi-billion-dollar hair industry, with estimated annual sales of 250 million to over 1 billion USD. Based on a 2018 Research and Markets report, the global hair, wigs and extension market is expected to surpass 10 billion USD by 2023.

Raw human hair has significant commercial value: it’s a coveted commodity to be processed into hair extensions and wigs. According to a report by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), the global value for human hair exports in 2017 was 126 million USD. Asia exported 72.4 million USD, accounting for 58 percent of the global trade.

In India, the Tirupati Balaji temple earns 10 percent of its income through auctioning hair donated by devotees, raking in a profit of 25 million to 40 million USD annually.

There are three categories for collected hair: Remy, non-Remy and virgin hair. Remy is usually obtained from temple donations and is of the highest grade. Non-Remy hair is a lower grade, collected from individuals, and is typically broken or short. Virgin hairhas never been chemically treated.

In Southeast Asia, long hair is esteemed as a mark of beauty with deep religious and social meaning, especially in Buddhist countries. While most brands opt to acquire hair from India where it’s donated for religious reasons, in Southeast Asia, traders target impoverished areas to buy hair from desperately poor people whose poverty makes them easy prey. Hair extensions in the US can cost 500 to 2000 USD, but the owner of the hair usually receives only a fraction of that. For example, Nguyen Thi Thuy of Vietnam says the highest she has ever been offered for her hair is 70,000 Vietnamese dong, or 3 USD. Pheng Sreyvy from Cambodia fared slightly better at 15 USD for her locks.

According to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, women don’t know how to bargain over the price of hair. “They decided to sell their hair because they are poor, and they don’t know where to sell their hair for international market price,” a spokeswoman said.

The high value of human hair has made hair-theft muggings a recurrent problem in some countries, and some companies have resorted to chemical processing or a mixture of human and goat hair.

Increased awareness of exploitation has prompted many companies to collect hair from more transparent and ethical sources. While the human hair trade has provided many communities with income and opportunities, practices that exploit and deprive women of opportunities continue.

SOURCE: theaseanpost.com

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Crime

Thai women in Japan drug bust

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai women in Japan drug bust | The Thaiger

Japanese Police and Customs Officials at Fukuoka Airport reported the arrest of seven Thai women who smuggled in drugs weighing more than a kilogram into Japan. The women separated the drugs into tiny bags and hid them in random places on their bodies.

The women purchased tour tickets and tried to blend in as Thai tourists. When caught with the evidence, they admitted smuggling the drugs for foreigners living in Japan, alleging that they received orders from tourists to bring in the drugs.

Another recent arrest Thai women smuggling cocaine has prompted Japanese officials to consider tightening entry requirements for Thai tourists to protect against drug smuggling.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com

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World

The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote

The Thaiger

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The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote | The Thaiger

Call it Super Saturday, call it Deal or No Deal, call it the most important day in recent UK history. Today (Saturday) the UK House of Commons will gather on a Saturday, the first time for decades. Golf games have been postponed, polo sticks will have to gather dust and the cleaner’s been told to come back on Sunday.

Earlier this week, British PM Boris Johnson did the near impossible and secured a new Brexit deal from the EU. The EU shocked everyone by throwing out the controversial Irish border backstop and replacing it with an alternative plan, after months of saying that Theresa May’s deal could not be changed. Moreover, the EU leaders seem happy with the deal and have been waxing lyrical about the scruffy British PM they all dreaded negotiating with.

But it’s not going to be easy. Some PMs have already tabled amendments that could make Johnson’s run of success fall short of a finish line. Opposition MPs will put forward proposals to scrap Brexit or schedule a second referendum.

So how is the crucial, and historic vote, going to roll?

It’s far too close to call. PM Johnson doesn’t have a majority in Parliament and his Northern Irish allies, the DUP, who he needed to pass legislation, have already said that they won’t back the new plan. Meanwhile, his opposition MPs are lining up to criticise the deal. And there’s serious concern that the arch-Brexiteers in his own Conservative party will vote against the deal too.

Bottomline, if MPs don’t vote for this deal then they can’t be certain that Brexit will be delayed, despite the fact that Johnson is legally obliged to request a Brexit extension if no deal has been agreed by 11 pm on Saturday night. Last month, opposition MPs passed legislation that binds the British to this commitment. Mr. Johnson says he will comply with the law but reminds his opponents that this decision relies on the EU still having to unanimously agree to it.

But, if the deal passes, the UK finally leaves the EU. Johnson would probably hope to capitalise on his success and call for a general election soon after. His poll ratings are good at the moment, and you’d think they would improve after delivering Brexit.

If the deal goes down, Johnson requests the extension and it’s approved, then we get into the nasty election where both sides will tear each other apart, adding more to a polarised community that may take decades to recover from this folly.

And if the EU refuses an extension, then all hell breaks loose.

Has it all been worth it?

Anyway, bring on Super Saturday as the deliberations continue.

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