UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: July 23rd, 301 AP.

Zeitgeist publishes provocative assessment of Rovens

The cover story article of this week's Zeitgeist Magazine has outraged the
teetering Rovens government as well as Utania's diplomats, with a series of
scathing assessments on the future of the country.

This one magazine article, the cover story for this week's Zeitgeist magazine,
describes Rovens as "a country with problems", says President K'yonte should
resign, that the Rovens police cannot be trusted to investigate the
assassination of Rhosei Penyassa, questions whether Rovens should remain united,
and ends the article with "maybe Utania is the only hope of the region".

It has the government of Rovens seething, so much so that they have recalled
their ambassador even before he settles into the Utanian embassy. They have
accused Utania of undermining the fledgeling nation from the start, and
continuing to do so even now. They have also openly questioned whether Utania
isn't master-minding the disorder in the country. It is indeed the lowest point
in Rovens-Utanian relations.

Not that the magazine didn't already know that. Today, the magazine's editor in
chief, Marius Allende, has had phone calls from the Minister for Diplomatic
Relations -- twice -- the Minister for Business and Trade, and finally the
Prime Minister. He describes the day as "one of the worst ones", but remains
defiantly supportive of the four journalists and analysts responsible for the

In line with company policy, they are never named, and Allende refused to do so
with any of his callers. "The magazine", he says, "is alone responsible for the
articles." This makes Zeitgeist Magazine one of the country's most independent
magazines. Journalists and analysts can write in complete anonymity, protected
from reprisals, making them fearless in the topics they address. Such was the
design by magazine founder Miguel van der Ham, who spent many a month in prison
as an editor protecting his writers.

Still, the magazine admits it had help from the Rovens Independent Media in
producing the article, a semi-independent adjunct to Zeitgeist magazine itself.
It is a collective of freelance editors, analysts and writers who formed the
"Rovens Institute" when the country formed, but were forced to flee Rovens in
March because "the country is no longer safe for free-thinking, democratically-
committed journalism". They signed a multi-million pund deal with the Zeitgeist
Corporation, and haven't looked back since.

Article upon article have been published through RIM, and much to the
increasingly annoyed government, they have been insightful but sometimes
scathing assessments. This article is the second time RIM have had the
Zeitgeist Magazine cover, but it is, to date, the most pessimistic assessment
of Rovens. Consequently, the Rovens government is more than just annoyed.

Still, there is little anyone can do. Allende admits that every phone call he
has received from the Utanian government has been supportive of independent
journalism, a strong tenet of the Okarvits Presidency. And, for his part,
Allende refuses to rule out other such scathing exposes of Rovens, or Utania
for that matter. "It is good journalism", he says.

So, while the Rovens government may not like it, that is the price of free
speech. Thank Cruis we have such things in Utania.

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©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)