by Andrew Walden
The Honolulu Community Media Council (HCMC) is working with Georgetown University attorneys from the so-called "Institute for Public Representation" to challenge the Raycom Media deal linking the news operations of KGMB, KHNL and KFVE.
(UPDATE: HCMC has now changed its name to "Media Council Hawaii")
According the the HCMC, the Raycom deal is "nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to avoid regulatory scrutiny by the FCC and that Raycom will exercise control over all three stations in defiance of the FCC ownership rules."
But the Honolulu Community Media Council has its own decades-long history of "thinly veiled attempt(s)" to "exercise control" over the media. HCMC Chair Chris Conybeare, a faculty member at UH West Oahu, is also Secretary-General of the World Association of Press Councils (WAPC). In his report to the WAPC General Assembly and Executive Council Meeting July 8-10, 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey, Conybeare admits:
"The typical American attitude toward media councils was recently expressed in a meeting I had with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It was indicated that while media councils are often very helpful to CPJ’s mission of documenting abuse of journalists, there is also a lingering mistrust of organizations that purport to regulate (even 'self regulate') the press.
"This general mistrust and the fact that several WAPC members are governmental bodies are reasons why I have not been successful in finding money in the US to aid our organization’s development." (emphasis added)
In 2000 the Australian Press Council resigned from WAPC stating that many of the 20 remaining member organizations “are councils which are in whole or part dependent on government support or patronage, and some have a direct or indirect role in the control of the press.”
Today, Conybeare's WAPC website bitterly complains that "unscrupulous Journalists" are failing to "respect (the) jurisdiction" of the WAPC-affiliated "Bangladesh Press Council". Established by the parliament of Bangladesh in 1974 Council functions include: "To censor, warn, admonish and other related apparatus for public consumption." The report also complains that the Bangladeshi censors were not provided with any funding by the government.
In the U.S., Media Councils exist only in Honolulu, Seattle, and Minneapolis. According to the HCMC website, the editor of the Honolulu Advertiser resigned from the HCMC in the late 1980s when HCMC shifted towards attempting to critique and shape media coverage instead of just being an advocate for press freedom.
In 1999, American Society of Newspaper Editors President Edward Seaton called on WAPC to scrap plans for a so-called “International Code of Ethics for Journalists.” Seaton said: “We have profound reservations about any kind of an agreement at the international level. Not only would it be used against our press in our courts, it could become mandatory under international law. It would be an open invitation to authorities in other countries to inhibit our press.”
Back in Honolulu, Conybeare is also a board member of the Hawaii Peoples Fund which doles out grants to dozens of left-wing activist groups statewide that HPF says are considered, “too small, too new, or too controversial by traditional funding agencies.” Recipients include Hui Pu which physically attacked a Statehood celebration in 2006, and the Global Hope Club, a 9-11 truther group at UH Hilo. Before Conybeare joined its board, the Hawaii Peoples Fund helped fund travel and honoraria for a speech at UH by 9-11 truther University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill.
Churchill was invited to speak at UH by numerous professors from the UH Ethnic Studies Department after revelation of his remarks infamously comparing the people killed in the World Trade Center on 9-11 to “little Eichmanns.” Speaking at UH, Churchill was greeted as a hero by a standing-room-only crowd. A few months later, academic freedom advocate David Horowitz was only able to speak over interruptions from hostile leftists at UH with the presence of a half-dozen campus security personnel.
Conybeare also played an early role in attempting to defeat investigations into the Hawaii background of then-Presidential-candidate Barack Obama and his relationship with the late Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis. This writer analyzes and demolishes Conybeare's discredited claims here: The Frank Marshall Davis Network in Hawaii. Shortly after this article was published, the Obama campaign acknowledged the relationship between Barack Obama and Frank Marshall Davis. Conybeare was never heard from again on the subject nor were his allies on the UH faculty.
CONYBEARE: HCMC Condemns Shoddy Journalism and Smear Tactics
DEMOLISHED: The Frank Marshall Davis Network in Hawaii
HCMC: Media Council Hawaii Will Challenge the Illegal Raycom Media Deal Involving Stations KHNL, KGMB, and KFVE at the FCC