Courtesy Reuters

Reporting from the Third World

A popular melody has joined the reggae rhythms in Jamaican nightclubs; it is a song called, "The Foreign Press." In rich island dialect, the song accuses correspondents of besmirching Jamaica's good name with false reports throughout the world. It says that, between dispatches, reporters manage to frolic on the beach and in the nightspots, adding: "Why don't they write about that in the foreign press?"

It is no light-hearted calypso spoof. The wife of a prominent Jamaican cabinet minister told an American correspondent, with no trace of mirth: "You [reporters] don't know how you make us suffer with all your lies about communism and violence . . . and if you keep it up, the day will come that you will not be able to come here any more or you'll have your throat cut." Already Jamaica, like scores of developing countries, is loath to grant entry to foreign correspondents.

Leaders in the Third World, with new and growing confidence, are translating into action their frustration with international news coverage. Government criticism of the press is hardly new, but only recently have leaders acted so harshly on such a large scale. Reporters are banned, jailed, and, in some instances, tortured or shot. Dispatches are censored, and news sources are stringently muzzled. International news agency reports are controlled and foreign publications are seized. India, which prided itself on having a free press in the world's largest democracy, expelled five Americans and two British correspondents as part of a series of press restrictions which began in June 1975 and did not end until Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was voted out of office in March 1977. In Nigeria, where newsmen worked with relative freedom during the Biafra war, the only Western reporter still residing in the country is a cautious correspondent for Agence France-Presse. The last Reuters correspondent was put in a dugout canoe, without his passport, and headed toward neighboring Benin. The Ethiopian government recently expelled all three Western correspondents based in Addis Ababa, accusing them of "bias

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