social media – The Backwaters Press http://thebackwaterspress.org/ Sat, 26 Mar 2022 06:41:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://thebackwaterspress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-34.png social media – The Backwaters Press http://thebackwaterspress.org/ 32 32 3 Questions: Women’s Rights and Growing Threats to Press Freedom Around the World | MIT News https://thebackwaterspress.org/3-questions-womens-rights-and-growing-threats-to-press-freedom-around-the-world-mit-news/ Wed, 02 Feb 2022 19:55:00 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/3-questions-womens-rights-and-growing-threats-to-press-freedom-around-the-world-mit-news/ For Ada Petriczko, being born a woman can be a matter of life and death. Originally from Poland, she reports on sexual violence and gender injustice around the world. As a human rights journalist, her mission is to amplify the voices of women who have been systematically silenced by their communities and governments. Their stories […]]]>

For Ada Petriczko, being born a woman can be a matter of life and death. Originally from Poland, she reports on sexual violence and gender injustice around the world. As a human rights journalist, her mission is to amplify the voices of women who have been systematically silenced by their communities and governments. Their stories must be heard, she argues, in order to reshape our societies. This includes reporting from her home country, where democratic stability and women’s rights are increasingly under threat.

Petriczko joined the MIT Center for International Studies (CIS) last fall as its Elizabeth Neuffer Scholar. The scholarship is awarded annually by The International Women’s Media Foundation and provides its recipient with research opportunities at MIT and further training at The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

Recently, she sat down to discuss her guiding principles as a journalist, the challenges facing her profession, and the rewarding experiences of this fellowship. It also weighs on the rise of autocracy in Central and Eastern Europe. On February 3, she will explore this subject and its impact on free media during a IEC Starr Forum Event with experts from Poland, Hungary and Russia.

Q: One of your areas of interest is journalism ethics. What does it mean to you to be an ethical journalist? And what are some of the challenges facing ethical journalism today?

A: I don’t believe in objectivity, but I do believe in fairness. Ethical journalism is about being fair to the facts and to the people you write about. Aidan White, an esteemed journalist who founded the Ethical Journalism Network, told me in an interview that there are about 400 different codes of conduct for journalism around the world, but if you look at them carefully, they all boil down to the same five basic principles: accuracy, independence, impartiality, humanity and responsibility. I try to play by these rules.

I report on sexual violence and other human rights violations within vulnerable communities and have been in situations where people don’t want to share their experiences. I always respect their requests and back down, even though I’ve traveled far for the story. This can be a game changer in today’s extremely fast-paced and demanding news landscape. Ethical journalism requires more time and thought. But I found ways to talk about taboos without violating them. And it’s often even more powerful.

We are facing a moment of transition in the information ecosystem. The rise of social media and outdated media financial models have had a negative impact on ethical journalism. It takes time and money to support in-depth reporting, which is becoming increasingly limited.

The global rise of autocracy, of course, also challenges democratic institutions, including freedom of press and speech. And the Covid-19 pandemic has provided crumbling democracies with the perfect excuse to do just that.

In Poland, for example, we are facing a humanitarian crisis on the Belarusian border where thousands of migrants are seeking refuge from horrific situations. Shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak, the Polish government banned journalists from entering the border region to cover the crisis. This is unprecedented in the history of post-war Europe.

NGO [nongovernmental organizations] and multinational organizations around the world are beginning to see these issues as real threats. Maria Ressawho received the Nobel Peace Prize for Journalism and whom I recently interviewed for The Boston Globe, defends an international fund for journalists. So that gives me an element of hope.

Q: You have teamed up with journalists from other countries for certain projects, in particular Witch hunt. Tell us more about this style of work – called cross-border journalism – and why it’s important.

A: In the cross-border method, journalists work as partners on a story but stay within their respective countries, cultures and ethnicities. This type of reporting allows a reporter to bring a unique perspective and expertise to the story without having to travel hundreds or thousands of miles. The Panama Papers are probably the most famous example of this type of reporting; a global team worked together to expose the corruption of the offshore financial industry.

Cross-border journalism offers a cheaper, more culturally sensitive and environmentally conscious alternative to conventional foreign journalism. That said, the traditional model has many advantages. There are stories in which an outsider’s perspective is simply invaluable. I’ve spent most of my career on assignments in India and South America, and while I enjoy working there, I’ve come to realize over the years that this type of reporting is becoming unsustainable. The climate crisis and other threats I spoke of earlier will make the traditional style of foreign reporting increasingly difficult and rare.

In addition, the cross-border model offers the possibility of hearing journalists who are not part of the mainstream media, generally Anglo-Saxon. We all read the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Atlanticand the boston globe, which are amazing outlets with long traditions and high journalistic standards. But there’s also an inherent bias to the work there. Even though English is today’s lingua franca, a journalist who is not a native speaker has very little chance of being hired as an employee in one of these major media.

Q: What did you work on during your internship?

A: I use the fellowship to delve deeper into topics I have reported on for the past three years. For example, I am taking a course on the history of India, which has helped me better understand the impact that colonialism and partition had on women’s rights and violence in this region. It will provide invaluable context to my most important project – a non-fiction book about the 45 million women that India’s population misses due to widespread sexual selection. As part of my research in Boston, I interviewed Amartya Sen (forthcoming in The Boston Globe), Nobel laureate in economics, who was the first person to calculate that more than 100 million women are missing from the world’s population. In my book, I try to understand the implications of this phenomenon. How do communities deal with such an absence of women? Why does this scarcity breed even more violence against women? What impact does this have on the future of families in these communities?

At MIT, I also explored free speech in my part of the world – the Central European region – where we have seen a rise in autocracy.

AT The Boston Globe, I was a member of the editorial board, which was a remarkable experience. And, in addition to interviewing two Nobel laureates, I’ve written opinion pieces and editorials on abortion rights in texas and the humanitarian crisis in Poland. Now I am preparing my residency at The New York Times.

The greatest value for me is the opportunity to train under the mentorship of the best publishers and scholars in the world. It has boosted my confidence as a journalist and will hopefully make me a valuable voice in public debate in my country, which is at the crossroads between democracy and autocracy. Being in the United States, where democratic institutions are still strong, helped me remember my values.

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Press freedom in Pakistan deteriorated in 2021: Report https://thebackwaterspress.org/press-freedom-in-pakistan-deteriorated-in-2021-report/ Mon, 31 Jan 2022 05:00:02 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/press-freedom-in-pakistan-deteriorated-in-2021-report/ The Council of Pakistani Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has released a report to highlight how much press freedom has deteriorated in 2021 compared to the previous two years. In the report titled “Pakistan Media Freedom Report – 2021”, CPNE on Sunday expressed concern over tactics aimed at stifling media freedom, freedom of expression and access to […]]]>

The Council of Pakistani Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has released a report to highlight how much press freedom has deteriorated in 2021 compared to the previous two years.

In the report titled “Pakistan Media Freedom Report – 2021”, CPNE on Sunday expressed concern over tactics aimed at stifling media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information, reports The Express Tribune.

In 2021 alone, the report revealed that five journalists were killed in the line of duty, including Karachi-based social media activist and community journalist Nazim Jokhio, who was abducted and mercilessly killed.

At least nine journalists have lost their lives to the coronavirus pandemic, while two journalists have taken their own lives due to persistent unemployment, he added.

He said that after 2020, the year 2021 has become an extremely difficult year for journalists, media workers and media organizations in Pakistan as press freedom and freedom of expression remain under pressure.

He went on to say that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, not only have several journalists lost their lives, but it has also plunged media houses into deep financial crises.

The report adds that different institutions continually try to keep the journalist community under pressure through direct and indirect tactics.

The CPNE also noted that the number of journalists who were harassed, tortured and killed in the line of duty last year could be higher, according to the report.

The report pointed out that many journalists have faced attempted murder, threats, lawsuits and phone calls from “unknown numbers”, in addition to online harassment on various occasions, The Express Tribune reported.

The family members of the journalists concerned were also subjected to physical and mental torture, he added.

The CPNE also mentioned that state institutions had filed lawsuits against several journalists in 2021 and explained how the government had applied a controversial media law to control the media “by hook or by crook”.

Speaking of finances, the CPNE mentioned that the financial difficulties of the press companies predate the pandemic, which has only aggravated the crisis even further.

Sadly, the report laments, Pakistan is one of the countries where violence against journalists is on the rise and no murderers have been brought to justice.

Over the past year, she has observed that journalists and media outlets have repeatedly been subject to censorship and restraint.

He then mentioned notable journalists who were harassed or tortured in 2021.

The report also mentions the government’s attempts to stifle social media, including blocking 19,000 accounts and repeated bans on TikTok, according to the report.

20220131-101203

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‘Systematic fear’: How India undermined press freedom in Kashmir | Press Freedom News https://thebackwaterspress.org/systematic-fear-how-india-undermined-press-freedom-in-kashmir-press-freedom-news/ Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:38:31 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/systematic-fear-how-india-undermined-press-freedom-in-kashmir-press-freedom-news/ For five years, Sajad Gul has written about the conflict ravaging his homeland of Indian-administered Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory where armed rebellion and brutal Indian repression have raged for more than three decades. That changed on a snowy Wednesday night this month with a knock on his door. Gul found himself surrounded by Indian […]]]>

For five years, Sajad Gul has written about the conflict ravaging his homeland of Indian-administered Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory where armed rebellion and brutal Indian repression have raged for more than three decades.

That changed on a snowy Wednesday night this month with a knock on his door.

Gul found himself surrounded by Indian soldiers wielding automatic rifles who loaded him into a vehicle and fled, winding their way down the snow-covered trail to Hajin, a quiet village about 32 km (20 miles) from Srinagar, the main town. of the area, said his mother. , Gulshana, which uses only one name.

Journalists have long faced various threats in Indian-administered Kashmir and found themselves caught between warring parties. But their situation has worsened considerably since India revoked the region’s semi-autonomy in 2019, placing it under a severe security and communications lockdown and the media in a black hole.

A year later, the government’s new media policy aimed to more effectively control the press to censor independent reporting. Dozens of people have been arrested, interrogated and investigated under tough anti-terrorism laws.

Fear of reprisals caused the local press to wither under pressure.

“Indian authorities seem determined to prevent journalists from doing their job,” said Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator for the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Kashmiri journalists work during a surprise search of pedestrians by security forces in Srinagar [Dar Yasin/AP]

Gul’s arrest, which CPJ condemned, underscored the rapid erosion of press freedom and the criminalization of journalists in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Police told Gul’s family that he was arrested for inciting people to “use violence and disturb public order”. A police statement later described him as “habitual of spreading misinformation” and “false narratives” on social media.

He was detained days after his single tweet linked to a video clip of a protest against Indian rule, following the killing of a Kashmiri rebel. He spent 11 days locked up before a local court granted him bail.

Instead of releasing Gul, authorities charged him in a new case under the strict Public Security Law, which allows authorities to jail anyone for up to two years without trial.

“My son is not a criminal,” Gulshana said. “He was just writing. »

“Direct attack on free media”

The media has always been tightly controlled in Indian-administered Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority region. Arm twisting and fear have been widely used to intimidate the press since 1989, when rebels began fighting Indian soldiers in a bid to establish an independent Kashmir or a union with Pakistan.

Pakistan controls the other part of Kashmir and both counties fiercely claim the entire territory.

The fighting left tens of thousands dead. Yet the various media outlets in Indian-administered Kashmir have thrived despite relentless pressure from Indian authorities and rebel groups.

That changed in 2019, when authorities began bringing criminal charges against some journalists. Several of them were forced to reveal their sources, while others were physically assaulted.

“The authorities have created systematic fear and launched a direct attack on free media. There is complete intolerance of even a single critical word,” said Anuradha Bhasin, editor of the Kashmir Times, a leading English daily established in 1954.

Journalist Aasif Sultan handcuffed as he surrendered to police custodyKashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan handcuffed after his 2018 arrest [File: Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Bhasin was among the few to petition India’s Supreme Court, resulting in a partial restoration of communications services after the 2019 power outage, which the government said was needed to block anti-protests. Indian.

But she soon found herself in the crosshairs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Bhasin’s legacy newspaper office in Srinagar, operating out of a rented government building, was sealed off by authorities without notice. His staff were not allowed to take out equipment.

“They are killing local media except those who are willing to become government reporters,” Bhasin said.

Under Modi, press freedom in India has steadily declined since its first election in 2014. Last year, India was ranked 142nd in the World Press Freedom Index by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders behind Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

Nowhere has this fall been more flagrant than in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Authorities pressured newspapers by reprimanding editors and depriving them of advertising funds, their main source of income, to cool aggressive reporting.

“We have just tried to stay afloat and have barely been able to do proper journalism for various reasons, one being that we mainly depend on government advertisements,” said Sajjad Haider, editor of Kashmir Observer. .

For the most part, the newspapers appear to have cooperated and self-censored the stories, fearing they would be branded anti-national by a government that equates criticism with secessionism.

There have been press crackdowns in the region before, especially during times of mass public uprisings. But the ongoing crackdown is significantly worse.

Closure of the Kashmir Press Club

Last week, a few pro-Indian government journalists, with the help of armed police, took control of the Kashmir Press Club, the only independent press club in the valley. Authorities shut it down a day later, drawing heavy criticism from journalistic organizations.

A sealed lock hangs on the door of the closed Kashmir Press ClubA sealed lock hangs from the door of the closed Kashmir Press Club building in Srinagar [Dar Yasin/AP Photo]

The Editors Guild of India accused the government of being “brazenly complicit” and called it an “armed takeover”. Reporters Without Borders called it an “undeclared coup” and said the region is “gradually turning into a black hole for news and information”.

The Press Club is the latest civil society group in the region to face growing government repression. For the past two years, authorities have prevented the Kashmir High Court Bar Association and the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce from holding internal elections.

The government defended its decision citing “a potential public order situation” and “the safety of bona fide journalists”. He said the club had failed to register under a new law and hold elections for a new governing body.

The club said a new registration was granted by authorities after “six months of rigorous police checks” at the end of December, but was “on hold” a day later for unknown reasons.

The government’s decision contrasts sharply with its policies in the Hindu-dominated city of Jammu, where another press club continues to operate without having held an election for nearly five years.

Majid Maqbool, a local journalist, said the club has extended its institutional support to journalists working in difficult conditions. “It was like a second home for us,” he said.

Kashmiri Journalists Discuss Kashmir Press Club Shutdown Kashmiri journalists attend a meeting to discuss the closure of the Kashmir Press Club [Dar Yasin/AP]

Kashmir’s local journalists were often the only eyes on the ground for global audiences, especially after New Delhi banned foreign journalists from the region – unless they had official approval – a few years ago. years. Most of the reporting has focused on the Kashmir conflict and government crackdowns.

Authorities are now seeking to control any narrative seen as opposing the broad consensus in India that the region is an integral part of the country.

In this battle of stories, journalists have been reprimanded by authorities for not using the term “terrorists” to refer to separatist rebels. Government statements appear mostly on the front page, and statements by pro-India Kashmiri groups critical of Modi’s policies are rarely published.

Newspaper editorials reflecting the conflict are largely absent. Rare reporting on rights abuses is often dismissed as politically motivated fabrications, emboldening the region’s authoritarian military and police to muzzle the press.

Some journalists have been subjected to grueling hours of police questioning, a tactic condemned by the United Nations last year.

Aakash Hassan, a Kashmiri freelance journalist who writes mainly for the international press, said he has been summoned by Indian authorities at least seven times in the past two years.

Hassan said sometimes officers questioned his motives for reporting and “told me how to do journalism the right way.”

“It’s a way of deterring us from pressing charges,” he said, adding that police also questioned his parents several times and probed their finances.

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth being a journalist in Kashmir,” Hassan said. “But I know, silence doesn’t help.”

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Charges dropped against handcuffed activist at DeSantis press conference https://thebackwaterspress.org/charges-dropped-against-handcuffed-activist-at-desantis-press-conference/ Tue, 25 Jan 2022 18:09:15 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/charges-dropped-against-handcuffed-activist-at-desantis-press-conference/ JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Trespassing charges have been dropped against Jacksonville civil rights activist Ben Frazier, according to his attorney John M. Phillips. “We are pleased to announce that trespassing charges against respected civil rights activist Ben Frazier were dropped on Friday, January 21,” Phillips said. “It was apparently in response to my email on Thursday. […]]]>

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Trespassing charges have been dropped against Jacksonville civil rights activist Ben Frazier, according to his attorney John M. Phillips.

“We are pleased to announce that trespassing charges against respected civil rights activist Ben Frazier were dropped on Friday, January 21,” Phillips said. “It was apparently in response to my email on Thursday. There is no need for a hearing, and there was, in fact, no need for an arrest. They knew it. Improper arrest and restriction freedom of expression.”

Frazier was among a group of citizens who attended a scheduled press conference at the Duval County Health Department in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD were scheduled to speak on January 4.

Band members were asked to submit press letters or leave the building.

“This governor is the enemy of the people,” Frazier said as someone from the governor’s office tried to speak to him at the event. “Is the governor afraid to meet people? We are his constituents,” he continued as officers moved forward to handcuff him.

Frazier released the following statement after having the charges dropped:

Free speech is as important today as it was when the Bill of Rights was first drafted. Thank you to everyone who has supported us on and off social media. It should be duly noted by all that Governor DeSantis is not above the US Constitution. We invite him to fulfill his office’s promise of a meeting for the purpose of discussing the cares and concerns of poor and black Floridians.”

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Biden is only carrying on the legacy of ever-deteriorating press freedom through his actions https://thebackwaterspress.org/biden-is-only-carrying-on-the-legacy-of-ever-deteriorating-press-freedom-through-his-actions/ Tue, 25 Jan 2022 15:36:00 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/biden-is-only-carrying-on-the-legacy-of-ever-deteriorating-press-freedom-through-his-actions/ US President Joe Biden’s latest abusive remarks to a Fox News reporter have sparked controversy and raised questions about his administration’s stance on free speech. In his first year in office, President Biden signed a number of executive orders that are expected to have an impact on free speech. In times to come, it will […]]]>

US President Joe Biden’s latest abusive remarks to a Fox News reporter have sparked controversy and raised questions about his administration’s stance on free speech. In his first year in office, President Biden signed a number of executive orders that are expected to have an impact on free speech. In times to come, it will be clear how the 46th President of the United States will be remembered in terms of defending free speech. But so far, he doesn’t seem to be any different from his predecessor Donald Trump in terms of attacking the media. Restoring respect for a free press was one of many items on President Biden’s to-do list, but it appears the Democratic leader has no intention of completing it.

Gross lack of leadership in supporting democratic values ​​in the United States

Ahead of the 2020 election, Joe Biden had launched a fierce attack on his rival and former President Trump for his continued attack on the media as well as introducing laws restricting a range of freedoms. Earlier under the Trump regime, outgoing US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke out against the treatment of the press.

There has been a distinct lack of leadership in supporting democratic values, such as press freedom and the right to dissent, over the past five years in the United States. First, Trump has repeatedly attacked the press and allied himself with dictators around the world during his reign, and incumbent President Biden’s unacceptable behavior towards the media has raised serious doubts about the support of Democrats for a free press.

President Biden’s ‘stupid ab***h son’ remarks

The latest incident is relevant to Biden’s abusive remarks to a reporter during a White House event on Monday, Jan. 24. President Biden was surprised by a hot microphone after losing his temper during a regular press conference. He called Fox News reporter Peter Doocy “a stupid son of an ab***h” after the latter asked him about the country’s skyrocketing inflation. After Biden finished his prepared speech at the White House rally, several reporters began asking the president questions. Doocy then shouted his question, asking if Biden thinks “inflation will be a political handicap ahead of the midterm elections?” In response to that, Biden said, “That’s a great asset. No more inflation? What a stupid ab**** son.” Video of Biden’s remarks was widely shared on social media platforms, sparking outrage among Americans.

Biden has berated reporters on more than one occasion

It bears mentioning here that this was not the first time President Biden berated reporters for asking questions about topics he disliked. Earlier, Biden had attacked a journalist from FoxNews when she asked about the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. “Why are you waiting for Russian President Vladimir Putin to make the first move?” the reporter asked, to which Biden replied: “What a stupid question,” according to FoxNews. Notably, after taking office as the 46th President of the United States, President Biden had advised his employees to treat their colleagues and members of the press with respect, however, his own actions do not appear to be in line with what he preaches.

120 journalists were arrested or charged in 2020 in the United States

According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, 120 journalists were arrested or criminally charged in 2020, and around 300 were assaulted, the majority by law enforcement. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of the press in the United States. Nevertheless, there are certain limits to freedom of the press in the United States, such as defamation laws, lack of whistleblower protections, barriers to access to information, and constraints caused by public and government hostility towards journalists.

Biden’s popularity as the president begins to wane

It is important to mention here that Biden’s popularity as President of the United States has already started to decline in the country. According to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, 56% of Americans disapproved of Biden’s performance as president. Currently, only 28% of Americans want Biden to run for re-election in 2024, with just 48% of Democrats backing him, the research found.

Image: AP

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Press release | Press Releases | Writing https://thebackwaterspress.org/press-release-press-releases-writing-16/ Mon, 24 Jan 2022 19:46:58 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/press-release-press-releases-writing-16/ 24.01.22 WASHINGTON – US Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) urged the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ) to prioritize the protection of at least 45 Cuban children who were imprisoned and unreasonably prosecuted following the July 2021 pro-democracy protests. “We believe that the situation in […]]]>

24.01.22

WASHINGTON – US Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) urged the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ) to prioritize the protection of at least 45 Cuban children who were imprisoned and unreasonably prosecuted following the July 2021 pro-democracy protests.

“We believe that the situation in Cuba deserves the full attention and condemnation of the international community,” writes the senators. “The Cuban authorities must know that their brazen actions have consequences and are unacceptable to any country that expects to be considered a legitimate member of the international community.”

“Given the agency’s child protection mandate, UNICEF is uniquely positioned to lead international condemnation of these unconscionable acts and demand the release of these young people. As more trials and convictions are expected in the days and weeks to come, we urge you to intercede on behalf of these children and their families, who are only seeking justice and respecting the basic human rights of Cuban minors.” , sued the senators.

Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Mrs. Russell:

Congratulations on your appointment as the next Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As you take this important position, we urge you to prioritize the protection of at least 45 Cuban children arbitrarily imprisoned and prosecuted by the Cuban regime for their participation in the historic July 2021 protests. We urge you to demand their immediate release as one of your first actions in your new role.

The Cuban regime is prolific in its use of arbitrary detention as a tool of repression. In 2020 alone, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights recorded 1,028 arbitrary detentions in Cuba. According to the independent non-governmental organization Justicia 11J, which documents the regime’s crackdown following the July protests, the Cuban regime has detained at least 45 minors between the ages of 14 and 17 for alleged “crimes”. Fourteen of these minors remain behind bars awaiting trial, according to Justicia 11J.

Human Rights Watch reports that those detained after participating in the July freedom protests were deliberately deprived of sleep, beaten, sexually assaulted, and held in cells without light for days. Many of those detained have also been charged with “sedition”, which carries a higher maximum sentence than murder. One of those detained, Kendry Miranda Cárdenas, is only 17, but Cuban prosecutors are asking for a sentence of at least 20 years.

Last November, UNICEF joined other international organizations in calling on Cuban authorities to provide more information on reported cases of children being detained in Cuba. Sadly, the call for more transparency has been met with numerous reports from the island, many from desperate family members on social media, of harsh sentences that continue to be handed down.

We believe that the situation in Cuba deserves the full attention and condemnation of the international community. The Cuban authorities must know that their brazen actions have consequences and are unacceptable to any country hoping to be considered a legitimate member of the international community.

Given the agency’s child protection mandate, UNICEF is uniquely positioned to lead international condemnation of these unconscionable acts and demand the release of these young people. As more trials and convictions are expected in the days and weeks to come, we urge you to intercede on behalf of these children and their families, who are only seeking justice and respecting the basic human rights of Cuban minors.

We appreciate your attention in this regard and look forward to your prompt action to demand the immediate release of the persecuted children in Cuba.

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India beats press freedom and journalists in Kashmir detained https://thebackwaterspress.org/india-beats-press-freedom-and-journalists-in-kashmir-detained/ Mon, 24 Jan 2022 02:06:21 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/india-beats-press-freedom-and-journalists-in-kashmir-detained/ SRINAGAR: For five years, Sajad Gul has written about the conflict ravaging Indian-occupied Kashmir, his homeland where resistance against New Delhi and India’s brutal response have raged for more than three decades. That changed on a snowy Wednesday night this month with a knock at his house. Gul was surrounded by Indian soldiers armed with […]]]>

SRINAGAR: For five years, Sajad Gul has written about the conflict ravaging Indian-occupied Kashmir, his homeland where resistance against New Delhi and India’s brutal response have raged for more than three decades.

That changed on a snowy Wednesday night this month with a knock at his house. Gul was surrounded by Indian soldiers armed with automatic rifles who loaded him into a vehicle and fled, winding down the snow-covered trail to Hajin, a quiet village about 30 kilometers from Srinagar, his mother, Gulshana, said.

Journalists have long faced various threats in the valley and found themselves caught between belligerents. But their situation has worsened dramatically since India revoked Kashmir’s semi-autonomy in 2019, placing it under a severe security and communications lockdown and the media in a black hole. A number of journalists have been arrested, interrogated and investigated under harsh laws. Fearing reprisals, the local press largely withered under the pressure.

Indian authorities appear determined to prevent journalists from doing their job, said Steven Butler, Asia coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Gul’s arrest, which CPJ condemned, underscored the rapid erosion of press freedom and the criminalization of journalists in detained Kashmir.

Police told Gul’s family that he was arrested for “inciting people to use violence”. A statement later described him as having a habit of spreading misinformation and false narratives on social media.

He was detained days after his single tweet linked to a video clip of a protest against Indian rule, following the killing of a Kashmiri fighter. He spent 11 days locked up before a court granted him bail.

Instead of releasing Gul, authorities charged him in a new case under the Public Security Law, which allows officials to jail anyone for up to two years without trial.

The media has always been tightly controlled in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Arm twisting and fear have been widely used to intimidate the press since 1989, when Kashmiris began fighting Indian soldiers.

The various media in the region have flourished despite the relentless pressure from the Indian authorities.

That changed in 2019, when authorities began bringing criminal charges against some journalists. Several of them were forced to reveal their sources, while others were physically assaulted.

The authorities created systematic fear and launched a direct attack on free media. There is total intolerance of even a single critical word, said Anuradha Bhasin, editor of the Kashmir Times.

Bhasin was among the few to petition India’s Supreme Court, resulting in a partial restoration of communications services after the 2019 power outage, which the government said was needed to block anti-protests. Indian.

But she soon found herself in the crosshairs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Bhasin’s newspaper office in Srinagar, operating out of a rented government building, was sealed off by authorities without notice. His staff were not allowed to take out equipment.

“They are killing local media except those who are willing to become government reporters,” Bhasin said.

Reduced freedom of the press

Under Narendra Modi, press freedom in India has steadily declined since its first election in 2014. Last year, India was ranked 142nd in the World Press Freedom Index by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders behind Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

Nowhere has this slide been more blatant than in held Kashmir.

Authorities pressured newspapers by reprimanding editors and depriving them of advertising funds to cool aggressive reporting.

For the most part, the newspapers appear to have cooperated and self-censored the stories, fearing they would be branded anti-national by a government that equates criticism with secessionism.

“We have just tried to stay afloat and have barely been able to do proper journalism for various reasons, one being that we mainly depend on government advertisements,” said Sajjad Haider, editor of Kashmir Observer. .

There have been press crackdowns in the region before, especially during times of heightened resistance to Indian rule. But the ongoing crackdown is significantly worse.

Last week, a few pro-Indian government journalists, with the help of armed police, took control of the valley’s only independent press club. Authorities shut it down a day later, drawing heavy criticism from journalistic organizations.

The Editors Guild of India accused the government of being brazenly complicit and called it an armed takeover. Reporters Without Borders called it an undeclared coup and said the region was gradually turning into a black hole for news and information.

The press club is the latest civil society group in the region to face growing government repression. For the past two years, authorities have prevented the Kashmir High Court Bar Association and the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce from holding elections.

New Delhi defended its decision citing a potential public order situation and the safety of bona fide journalists. He said the club had failed to register under a new law and hold elections for a new governing body.

The Indian government’s move contrasts sharply with its policies in the Hindu-dominated city of Jammu, where another press club continues to operate without having held an election for five years.

Majid Maqbool, a journalist, said the club had extended its institutional support to journalists working in difficult conditions. “It was like a second home for us.”

Journalists were often the only eyes on the ground for global audiences, especially after New Delhi banned foreign journalists from the region without official permission a few years ago.

Authorities are now seeking to control any narrative seen as opposing the broad consensus in India that the region is an integral part of the country.

In this battle of stories, journalists have been reprimanded by authorities for not using the term terrorists to refer to anti-Indian fighters. Government statements appear mostly on the front page, and statements by groups critical of Modi’s policies are barely published.

Newspaper editorials reflecting the conflict are largely absent. Rare reporting on rights abuses is often dismissed as politically motivated fabrications, emboldening authoritarian military and police to muzzle the press.

Some journalists have been subjected to grueling hours of police questioning, a tactic condemned by the United Nations last year.

Aakash Hassan, a Kashmiri freelance journalist who writes mainly for the international press, said he has been summoned seven times by Indian authorities in the past two years.

Hassan said sometimes officers questioned his “motives for reporting and lecturing me on how to do journalism the right way.”

“It’s a way of dissuading us from filing a complaint,” he said, adding that the police questioned his parents several times and probed their finances.

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth being a journalist in Kashmir,” Hassan said. “But I know silence doesn’t help.

Posted in Dawn, January 24, 2022

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In Kashmir, India defeats press freedom — and journalists | world news https://thebackwaterspress.org/in-kashmir-india-defeats-press-freedom-and-journalists-world-news/ Sun, 23 Jan 2022 04:09:22 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/in-kashmir-india-defeats-press-freedom-and-journalists-world-news/ By AIJAZ HUSSAIN and SHEIKH SAALIQ, Associated Press SRINAGAR, India (AP) — For five years, Sajad Gul has written about the conflict ravaging his homeland, a disputed Himalayan territory where violent armed rebellion and India’s brutal counterinsurgency have raged for more than three decades. That changed on a snowy Wednesday evening in January with a […]]]>

By AIJAZ HUSSAIN and SHEIKH SAALIQ, Associated Press

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — For five years, Sajad Gul has written about the conflict ravaging his homeland, a disputed Himalayan territory where violent armed rebellion and India’s brutal counterinsurgency have raged for more than three decades.

That changed on a snowy Wednesday evening in January with a knock at his house. Gul was surrounded by Indian soldiers armed with automatic rifles who loaded him into a vehicle and sped off, crossing the snowy track of Hajin, a quiet village about 20 miles from Srinagar, the region’s main town. , said her mother, Gulshana, who only uses one name.

Journalists have long faced various threats in Indian-controlled Kashmir and found themselves caught between belligerents. But their situation has worsened considerably since India revoked the region’s semi-autonomy in 2019, throwing Kashmir under a severe security and communications lockdown and the media into a black hole. A year later, the government’s new media policy aimed to more effectively control the press to censor independent reporting.

Dozens of people have been arrested, interrogated and investigated under tough anti-terrorism laws. Fearing reprisals, the local press largely withered under the pressure.

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“Indian authorities seem determined to prevent journalists from doing their job,” said Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Gul’s arrest, which CPJ condemned, underscored the rapid erosion of press freedom and the criminalization of journalists in Kashmir.

Police told Gul’s family that he was arrested for inciting people to “use violence and disturb public order”. A police statement later described him as “habitual of spreading misinformation” and “false narratives” on social media.

He was detained days after his single tweet linked to a video clip of a protest against Indian rule, following the killing of a Kashmiri rebel. He spent 11 days locked up before a local court granted him bail.

Instead of releasing Gul, authorities charged him in a new case under the Public Security Law, which allows officials to jail anyone for up to two years without trial.

“My son is not a criminal,” Gulshana said. “He was just writing. »

The media has always been tightly controlled in the Indian part of Muslim-majority Kashmir. Arm twisting and fear have been widely used to intimidate the press since 1989, when rebels began fighting Indian soldiers in a bid to establish an independent Kashmir or a union with Pakistan. Pakistan controls the other part of Kashmir and both counties fiercely claim the entire territory.

The fighting left tens of thousands dead. Yet Kashmir’s diverse media have thrived despite relentless pressure from Indian authorities and rebel groups.

That changed in 2019, when authorities began bringing criminal charges against some journalists. Several of them were forced to reveal their sources, while others were physically assaulted.

“The authorities have created systematic fear and launched a direct attack on free media. There is complete intolerance of even a single critical word,” said Anuradha Bhasin, editor of the Kashmir Times, a leading English daily established in 1954.

Bhasin was among the few to petition India’s Supreme Court, resulting in a partial restoration of communications services after the 2019 power outage, which the government said was needed to block anti-protests. Indian.

But she soon found herself in the crosshairs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Bhasin’s legacy newspaper office in Srinagar, operating out of a rented government building, was sealed off by authorities without notice. His staff were not allowed to take out equipment.

“They are killing local media except those who are willing to become government reporters,” Bhasin said.

Under Modi, press freedom in India has steadily declined since its first election in 2014. Last year, India was ranked 142nd in the World Press Freedom Index by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders behind Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

Nowhere has this slide been more flagrant than in Kashmir.

Authorities pressured newspapers by reprimanding editors and depriving them of advertising funds, their main source of income, to cool aggressive reporting.

For the most part, the newspapers appear to have cooperated and self-censored the stories, fearing they would be branded anti-national by a government that equates criticism with secessionism.

“We have just tried to stay afloat and have barely been able to do proper journalism for various reasons, one being that we mainly depend on government advertisements,” said Sajjad Haider, editor of Kashmir Observer. .

There have been press crackdowns in the region before, especially during times of mass public uprisings. But the ongoing crackdown is significantly worse.

Last week, a few pro-Indian government journalists, with the help of armed police, took control of the only independent media club in the Kashmir Valley. Authorities shut it down a day later, drawing heavy criticism from journalistic organizations.

The Editors Guild of India accused the government of being “brazenly complicit” and called it an “armed takeover”. Reporters Without Borders called it an “undeclared coup” and said the region is “gradually turning into a black hole for news and information”.

The government defended its decision citing “a potential public order situation” and “the safety of bona fide journalists”. He said the club had failed to register under a new law and hold elections for a new governing body.

The club said a new registration was granted by authorities after “six months of rigorous police checks” at the end of December, but was “on hold” a day later for unknown reasons.

Majid Maqbool, a local journalist, said the club has extended its institutional support to journalists working in difficult conditions. “It was like a second home for us,” he said.

Kashmir’s local journalists were often the only eyes on the ground for global audiences, especially after New Delhi banned foreign journalists from the region without official approval a few years ago. Most of the reporting has focused on the Kashmir conflict and government crackdowns. Authorities are now seeking to control any narrative seen as opposing the broad consensus in India that the region is an integral part of the country.

In this battle of stories, journalists have been reprimanded by authorities for not using the term “terrorists” to refer to separatist rebels. Government statements appear mostly on the front page, and statements by pro-India Kashmiri groups critical of Modi’s policies are barely published.

Newspaper editorials reflecting the conflict are largely absent. Rare reporting on rights abuses is often dismissed as politically motivated fabrications, emboldening the region’s authoritarian military and police to muzzle the press.

Some journalists have been subjected to grueling hours of police questioning, a tactic condemned by the United Nations last year.

Aakash Hassan, a Kashmiri freelance journalist who writes mainly for the international press, said he has been summoned by Indian authorities at least seven times in the past two years.

Hassan said that sometimes officers question his motives for reporting and “lecture me about how to do journalism the right way”.

“It’s a way of deterring us from pressing charges,” he said, adding that police also questioned his parents several times and probed their finances.

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth being a journalist in Kashmir,” Hassan said. “But I know, silence doesn’t help.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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IU graduate workers raise concerns about university’s covid policies – The Bloomingtonian https://thebackwaterspress.org/iu-graduate-workers-raise-concerns-about-universitys-covid-policies-the-bloomingtonian/ Thu, 20 Jan 2022 00:49:48 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/iu-graduate-workers-raise-concerns-about-universitys-covid-policies-the-bloomingtonian/ The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition sent a press release to members of the media on Wednesday with details of a letter to IU officials expressing concern about Indiana University’s Covid policies. The IGWC recently submitted 1,600 graduate worker union cards to the IU board and called for a union election. Here is the text of […]]]>

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition sent a press release to members of the media on Wednesday with details of a letter to IU officials expressing concern about Indiana University’s Covid policies. The IGWC recently submitted 1,600 graduate worker union cards to the IU board and called for a union election.

Here is the text of the press release:

“COVID Letter Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IU GRADUATE WORKERS EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT UNIVERSITY’S COVID POLICIES

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE) has written a letter responding to concerns about Indiana University’s COVID-related policies. The letter, addressed to IU President Pamela Whitten, Acting Provost John Applegate and various Vice Provosts, notes that “there is growing concern among members of the University of the Indiana that we are not well equipped for an in-person semester. The letter cites a variety of other universities that have chosen to start their classes online for the spring semester. The IGWC-EU states that “we believe that additional protective measures should be taken” in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the SARS-COV-2 virus throughout the IU and the greater Bloomington community.

Two concerns are raised in the letter which suggests that more protective measures be instituted by IU. The first concern[s] the university to provide KN95/N95 masks in every building on campus. Although IU recommends KN95/N95 masks due to their superior protective qualities, the university continues to provide standard surgical masks in various campus buildings.

The second concern noted by the IGWC-EU relates to inconsistencies in university policy regarding in-person teaching. The letter notes that confusion has arisen over whether or not instructors have the freedom to switch their course to an online format if they should test positive for COVID. The University’s Policy on Faculty Instructional Responsibilities states that “deviations from the schedule may occur for a variety of reasons, including illness, work activities, and educational considerations.” IU’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page, however, is inconsistent with this policy by stating that “the mode of instruction listed in the course schedule is the mode that should be used to deliver the course.” The letter asks “that graduate students who are expected to teach or work in campus facilities have greater flexibility to deliver courses online or remotely.”

Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition

[email protected] www.indianagradworkers.org

January 19, 2022

John Ferrand of SPEA, member of IGWC-UE, says that “IU is responsible for the health of her community. If he determines that in-person classes are the right method of instruction for the spring semester, then he must provide the necessary safeguards that increase our health and safety. Katie Shy, IGWC-EU member of the English department, adds that “graduate workers are in a particularly precarious position as we begin an in-person semester. We are responsible for teaching the majority of courses at IU. It is a responsibility we are proud of, but it is increasingly difficult to do so without the assurance that the University has our best interests in mind.

The IGWC-EU letter comes amid a surge of positive COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the omicron variant, pushing Monroe County into the county’s advisory red zone. IU is in its second week of in-person teaching, helping to spread omicron in Monroe County.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IGWC-EU has advocated for the health and safety of graduate workers which include a significant portion of associate instructors, graduate assistants, research assistants and faculty assistants. In addition to demanding COVID protections for graduate workers, among others, the IGWC-EU has called on the University to ensure workers have access to consistent pay, healthcare and housing where it is. applied.

In December 2021, the IGWC-EU submitted nearly 1,600 union cards to the IU board and called on the University to hold a union election for graduates. The 1,600 union cards represent the majority of the approximately 2,500 graduate workers who are employed by IU. The IGWC-EU requested a response from the University by February 1. The University has yet to respond.

For further questions and correspondence, contact Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition media correspondent Cole Nelson ([email protected]).

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/IndianaGrads/ https://www.twitter.com/indianagrads https://www.instagram.com/indianagrads/”

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Rights group concerned about crackdown on press freedom and jailing of journalists in Saudi Arabia https://thebackwaterspress.org/rights-group-concerned-about-crackdown-on-press-freedom-and-jailing-of-journalists-in-saudi-arabia/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 05:56:00 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/rights-group-concerned-about-crackdown-on-press-freedom-and-jailing-of-journalists-in-saudi-arabia/ A human rights organization has expressed concern over a crackdown on press freedom and the arbitrary detention of journalists in Saudi Arabia, as the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists, academics and opposition figures show no signs of slowing down. The human rights organization Sanad, which monitors and exposes human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, […]]]>

A human rights organization has expressed concern over a crackdown on press freedom and the arbitrary detention of journalists in Saudi Arabia, as the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists, academics and opposition figures show no signs of slowing down.

The human rights organization Sanad, which monitors and exposes human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, announced that the Saudi authorities continue to ignore all international warnings about violations of freedom of expression and the media in the kingdom, and go ahead with their repressive measures against writers and journalists.

Sanad added that Saudi Arabia is among the countries with the highest number of imprisoned journalists according to global press freedom indices, noting that around 14 Saudi journalists and citizen journalists have disappeared in a wave of arrests in the country.

The organization went on to hold Saudi officials fully responsible for the heinous violations of human rights and various forms of freedom in the country, and demanded an urgent crackdown on and abuse of journalists in the country.

Last November, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the Saudi authorities to immediately release Yemeni journalist Ali Abu Lahoum, sentenced to 15 years in prison.

“This decision shows that the use of internet and social media platforms by journalists and bloggers, which are supposed to be a place where they should exchange information and discuss various topics, is still strictly controlled in the kingdom,” he said. said Sabreen al-Nawi, director. of RSF’s Middle East Division said at the time.

He went on to say that the Yemeni journalist’s wife desperately tried to contact him several times, before realizing that her husband had been subjected to criminal interrogation without the presence of a lawyer.

The organization said the verdict was issued against the Yemeni journalist on October 26, more than two months after his arrest.

Abu Lahoum, who has resided in Saudi Arabia since 2015, reportedly worked in commercial media in the Najran region in the southwest of the country.

He had previously worked as the executive director of Saudi Arabic-language television channel al-Wadi.

Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has stepped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived to be political opponents, making evidence of near-zero tolerance for dissent, even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights activists put behind bars and tortured as freedoms of expression, association and belief continue to be violated.

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