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Chute, Union students earn high honors at SEJC
JACKSON, Tenn. (Union University)--Union University journalism professor Michael Chute was named Journalism Educator of the Year and Union journalism students captured 14 awards in the "Best of the South" competition at this year's Southeast Journalism Conference.
The conference was held Feb. 9-11 at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
SEJC includes 68 member universities from eight states from North Carolina to Arkansas. The 14 awards from Union University students were the highest total of any school in the competition. The university with the second highest number of awards was East Carolina with nine, followed by Ole Miss and the University of Alabama with eight each.
"It is quite an achievement to win 14 awards, and it is truly a testimony to the outstanding work of our students and to the strength of our journalism program," Chute said. "Of course, I am proud of our students whether they win awards or not, but winning these awards is validation of their hard work, dedication and outstanding achievement."
Union's student newspaper, the Cardinal & Cream, won third in the "Best College Newspaper" category, behind Auburn and East Carolina, after winning first place last year. Chute said no school has ever repeated as winner in that category. The Cardinal & Cream also won fourth place in the "Best College Website" category.
Two Union students - Margaret Brinson and Alex Brown - ranked third and fifth, respectively, in the "College Journalist of the Year" category. Chute said no other school had two students rank in that category, and that in his years of association with SEJC, no school has ever had two students rank in the category. Brinson received $250 in prize money for her third place showing.
Other Union winners in the "Best of the South" competition included:
-- Katlyn Moncada, ranked No. 1 in the "Best Multimedia Journalist" category.
-- Katherine Pullen, Ebbie Davis and Brinson, No. 1 in the "Best Public Service Journalism" category.
-- Pullen, No. 1 for "Best Journalism Research Paper."
-- Davis, No. 2 for "Best Press Photographer."
In addition to the "Best of the South" competition, Union students also performed well in SEJC's on-site competition, finishing second overall in the team rankings behind Ole Miss. It was Union's highest ranking ever.
Individual awards in the on-site competition included Brown, who finished first in "News Writing": Brinson, second in "Copy Editing"; Grace Ferrell, second in "Current Events"; Summerlin, honorable mention in "Sports Writing"; and Pullen, honorable mention in "Feature Writing."
The Journalism Educator of the Year award is given annually by the SEJC to an outstanding journalism faculty member who has been devoted to the field. A selection committee consisting of the past five winners of the award determines the recipient.
"It's quite an honor for someone to be given this award, and Michael Chute is so deserving," said Jeff Spurlock, past president of the SEJC and associate director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Troy University. "He's been the vice president of SEJC for a number of years. He's now the president. He has 35 years of journalism experience. I don't think there was anybody more deserving to receive this award than Michael."
Chute, who was also elected SEJC president for the next year at the meeting, said it was difficult to put into words what the award meant to him.
"It is such an honor to me, personally, to be selected for this award by my colleagues whom I respect so much for their contribution to good journalism in programs throughout the South," Chute said. "I'm just humbled by that recognition as so many other journalism educators are definitely worthy of that honor, as well as the tremendous group of individuals who have been honored by this recognition in years past."
Bluefield College Students Style Soles for Needy Kids
By Angi Highlander
BLUEFIELD, Va. (Bluefield College)--Students at Bluefield College rallied together, February 9, to "style soles" and to provide new shoes for children in need.
As part of the Bluefield College mission to be a caring campus community in service to God and others, BC students participate often in mission and ministry projects, but none with more customization and style than the TOMS Shoes ministry called "Style Your Sole."
TOMS Shoes launched its ministry in 2006 when American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and discovered they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes as a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. By the end of that year, the "One for One" program had provided news shoes to 10,000 needy children. Today, the company has given away more than one million pairs of shoes.
Determined to add to that number, Bluefield College students responded en masse to the "Style Your Sole" event on campus. With genuine hearts and unique design plans, they quickly filled the Student Activity Center on campus with paint, fabric, glitter, chatter, and music. They each started with a blank white pair of canvas shoes, but finished with a unique self-expression.
"It's so awesome to be able to express myself," said student Brittany Walters, who bought her very first pair of TOMS Shoes specifically for the BC event, "and at the same time be able to help somebody."
Scripture seemed to be one of the more popular themes for the shoes. Jeremy Bartlett was all about the love as he created a I Corinthians 13 pair of TOMS for his fiancé, Jackie Boyer, who could not attend. Classmate Erin Darnell chose a similar theme.
"I wanted to buy a pair for a long time," said Darnell, a Teacher Education major whose inspiration came from the scripture "to love the least of these" and from the secondary school students she befriended during student teaching this semester. "I see my students and their need for shoes right here in the community, and I love the thought of doing this for my students and kids just like them around the world."
David Somerville focused on Jeremiah 29:11. "It means a lot to be able to give back," Somerville said passionately, "because so many people have given to me, and it made a world of difference in my life. So, if I have the chance to give back some of God's love, then it is worth it."
Amanda Heller, who said TOMS is her favorite charitable organization, styled her sole with bright positive colors. She said, "Being able to provide for kids around the world is the coolest feeling. I love it! I hope I am able to help take away some the pain of diseases or cuts by giving them shoes."
As Summer Eggers created a pair of pink and purple TOMS, she shared her thoughts on the impact the BC "Style Your Sole" project will have on children's lives, as well as the opportunity the event provided for the campus to unite for a common good.
"I am so happy to see the campus involved in this event," Eggers said.
Some students hired "artists" to help them style their shoes. Lacey Atwood hired her friend, Jawaugn Arnold, to make her shoes shine like Wonder Woman. Atwood said, "This event is cool, because we get to give something back through this normal everyday thing."
Celia Jones, an artist in her own right, went with spray paint and a splatter effect. "The more color, the better," Jones said. "This event combines the best of both worlds. It is a good cause and a lot of fun.
More than 40 people bought shoes for the event, according to Jeremy Hardy, BC's director of student activities, who said he hopes to make "Style Your Sole" an annual venture at Bluefield College.
TURKEY: "DENIGRATING RELIGIOUS VALUES" -- A WAY TO SILENCE CRITICS OF RELIGION?
By Mine Yildirim, Forum 18/Åbo Akademi University
FINLAND (Forum 18)--The prosecution of -- among others -- a cartoonist, a contributor to a website and the publisher of a diary have raised concerns in Turkey about how the complementary human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief can be exercised, including the religious freedom right not to believe. The common element is that all these cases relate to the prosecution of questioning or criticism of all religions, or Islam specifically, from an atheist perspective. Also, in all these cases Article
216 (3) of the Turkish Criminal Code ("Denigrating the religious values of a group") has been used as the legal basis of prosecution. A close look at this provision and its application is therefore necessary to understand the developing intersection of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief in Turkey.
These cases are taking place in the context of public debate on drafting a new constitution. This has opened up discussion in Turkey of a wide range of issues to do with freedom of religion or belief (see F18News 30 November
The fundamental human right to freedom of religion or belief "protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief", as General Comment 22 on Article 18 ("Freedom of thought, conscience and religion") of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) puts it. Article 19 ("Freedoms of opinion and expression") of the ICCPR complements freedom of religion or belief with the statement: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". As General Comment 34 on this Article puts it: "All forms of opinion are protected, including opinions of a (..) moral or religious nature".
Under the ICCPR, permitted freedom of expression restrictions "shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals".
Article 20 of the ICCPR requires that states must by law prohibit "any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence". However, General Comment 34 notes that it is incompatible with Article 19 "to criminalize the holding of an opinion".
The Turkish Criminal Code's Article 216 (3) states: "Any person who openly denigrates the religious beliefs of a group shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to one year if the act is conducive to a breach of the public peace". The interpretation and application of this Article should be brought into line in every case with Turkey's international obligations.
Court cases based on "denigrating religious values"
Cartoonist Bahadir Baruter is facing a maximum possible imprisonment of one year, following the publication of a cartoon he drew in Penguen magazine on 10 February 2011. The cartoon showed the slogan "There is no God, religion is a lie" written on the wall of a mosque. The Presidency of Religious Affairs Foundation's Officers' Union and a number of citizens complained about Baruter. The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office then brought a prosecution against him under Criminal Code Article 216 (3), and demanded the maximum sentence. The second hearing is scheduled to take place on 29 March 2012. Baruter's prosecution has been both strongly defended and attacked in some parts of the Turkish media.
A website user called A.M.S. contributed to the Eksi Sözlük (Sour Dictionary) collaborative website a comment entitled "Absurdity of Religion" on 10 August 2010. He too was prosecuted under Article 216 (3), this time by Istanbul's Prosecutor for Media Cases, Nurten Altinok.
Prosecutor Altinok argued that A.M.S. went beyond legally permissible freedom of thought and criticism, and denigrated the Islamic religion and the belief that God created the universe. For this violation of Article 216 (3), Altinok asks that A.M.S. be jailed for between six months and one year. Article 218 states that if this crime is committed through the media the sentence will be increased by a half.
Today's Zaman newspaper reported on 27 December 2012 that A.M.S. said in his statement to the Police Information Unit that he did not intend to commit any crime and that he did not target a certain person or anyone in general. On these grounds he does not think he has broken Article 216 (3).
The case continues.
An older case deals with the Illallah Diary published by Metis Publications in 2010. The Diary's foreword stated that the right to believe was protected by organised religion, state budgets, police and military forces.
It then comments: "We, who have prepared this Diary, respect the right to believe. But we have to say that we have a bit more respect for the right not to believe." The case against Metis was opened on 26 November 2010 on grounds of "denigrating religious values" under - once again - Criminal Code Article 216 (3).
The Director of Metis, Semih Sökmen, and the Editors who prepared the Diary for publication - Müge Sökmen, Özge Çelik, Tuncay Birkan, Özde Duygu Gürkan, Graphic Designer Emine Bora, and Proofreader Eylem Can - are all being prosecuted in this case. In the third hearing, which took place on 30 November 2011, Semih Sökmen said that he bore responsibility for the Diary.
However he added that in the Diary there was not one sentence that was written by the accused, as the quotations used in the Diary were statements made by prominent persons of world literature and philosophy. These included George Bernard Shaw, Umberto Eco, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, James Joyce, Albert Einstein, and Galileo Galilei. Sökmen stated that this case "should never have been opened", and that other than criticising religion and religious ideology they had no intention of denigrating the religious values of people. The case continues.
The Turkish translation of the book The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, has also been the subject of prosecution, when its publisher Kuzey Publications was accused under Article 216. In April 2008 a court ruled that the action of Kuzey's owner Erol Karaaslan did not include the components necessary to commit the claimed crime. He was therefore acquitted.
Article 216 (3)
Article 216 of the Criminal Code punishes "Offences against public peace".
Paragraph 1 punishes incitement to hatred and hostility against a group in society based on "class, race, religion, denomination or geographical region". Paragraph 2 punishes acts that "openly denigrate a segment of society based on social class, race, religion, denomination, gender, or geographic region". These are legislative provisions related to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which obligates states parties to "declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin (..)" as well as Article 20 of the ICCPR. Continued...