Tuesday, October 21, 2003

UN Human Development Report
Not too much new here. Bleak Arab Progress Report.

But critics say the report, like its predecessor last year, contains nothing Arabs don't know about their region: the absence of political freedoms, cultural stagnation, poor education, the failure to empower women, and submissive media.

The second report, released Monday in Amman, Jordan, focuses on the poor quality of knowledge in the Arab world - education, media, culture, and research and development. Arab countries, it states, have fewer computers and newspapers compared with the world average.

Moreover, many of the existing media operate "in an environment that sharply restricts freedom of the press and freedom of expression and opinion."
"Like the first report, it lacks the courage to question individual rulers and their apparatus of repression. The greatest change in the region, the collapse of Saddam Hussein, is not addressed even though it represents the first governmental change [in the Arab world] in 20 years," [Chibli Mallat] says.

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