Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Zooming In

June 12, 2007

Product Placement Goes Global

Gelf highlights overlooked coverage from local media around the world. In this edition: South Africa limits the definition of rape; Malaysia clamps down on tinted windows; Welsh drinking problems; and more.

Adam Conner-Simons

Some of the most insightful writing from outside the U.S. comes from local media. In this occasional feature, Gelf identifies noteworthy stories that haven't gotten much attention outside local borders.

Graphic created by Paul Antonson
"Even if you were to close all the pubs in Wales, it would just go underground."—Dave Parry of the Welsh Ambulance Services on his country's drinking problem

Graphic created by Paul Antonson


Almost a million Welsh adults have drinking problems, according to new government statistics. A Welsh Assembly Government study reviewed by the newspaper Wales on Sunday showed that 932,841 people—or nearly 41 percent of the adult population—drink more than recommended on nights out, with the limit defined as four drinks for men and three for women. "But what can you do?" says Dave Parry, who runs clinical operations for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust. "Even if you were to close all the pubs in Wales it would just go underground. And that would make our lives even more difficult, because people would not be in one place, as they are now when they go out in town centres."


Hundreds of activists—including many politicians and journalists—conducted a sit-in last Tuesday in front of the Yemeni cabinet building to protest the recent government blocking of short-message service (SMS) news services. Civil-rights leader Ahmed Saif Hashed says that the state is trying to block these alternative media forms and make the Yemeni Ministry of Information the sole news outlet. According to the Yemen Times, the sit-ins will occur every Tuesday until the Yemeni government lets companies such as Nass Mobile and Without Chains Mobile operate their SMS news services again.


The EU has approved a "TV without frontiers" directive that will legalize product placement and allow for more commercial breaks. According to the EU Observer, product placement has been illegal in most EU member nations, and the new reforms will allow the practice provided that viewers are informed about each case at the beginning and end of the programming. Ross Biggam, director of Europe’s Association of Commercial Television, tells the Financial Times that the new directive "should help European media business remain competitive in the digital era."


Rappers, sports stars, and visiting dignitaries, take note: According to The Star, Malaysia is going to start cracking down hard on cars with tinted windows. As soon as a new amendment passes, the Road Transport Department will begin using specialized light meters to make sure that windshields aren't too opaque, issuing fines of about $85 for each offense. "Heavily-tinted windscreens and windows can pose a hazard to other road-users, especially during rainy days or at night," Road Transport Department director-general Datuk Ahmad Mustapha Abdul Rashid said.

South Africa

The Constitutional Court of South Africa has officially limited the definition of rape to apply only to women. Among other things, Judge Bess Nkabinde said that, given that women are the principal victims of rape, maintaining the current law would reinforce that rape is more often than not a brutal "[exercise of] male supremacy." She also said that the case of male rape should be left to legislative bodies. A Mail & Guardian commentary, however, found such claims disingenuous, argued that the decision "reveals a disturbing level of newfound deference to the legislature."

Adam Conner-Simons

Adam Conner-Simons is a freelance journalist in Boston.

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Article by Adam Conner-Simons

Adam Conner-Simons is a freelance journalist in Boston.

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