Radio journalists repeatedly summoned, fuelling hostile climate for media freedom

first_img News June 5, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Burundi Organisation July 29, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Radio journalists repeatedly summoned, fuelling hostile climate for media freedom Reporters Without Borders condemns the harassment of two privately-owned radio stations, Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) and Radio Isanganiro, in the form of a series of summonses, one of the latest of which was a summons to RPA news editor Bob Rugurika to appear before the Bujumbura main court prosecutor’s office today, his third summons in the past 11 days. In the event, today’s hearing was postponed until 1 August because of a lawyers’ strike.Two other RPA journalists at its regional bureau in the northern city of Ngozi, bureau chief Léonce Niyongabo and reporter Yvette Murekesabe, were summoned by a Ngozi prosecutor today for the purposes of “judicial investigation” and will be questioned again on 1 August. Radio Isanganiro news editor Patrick Mitabaro has been summoned by the Bujumbura prosecutor’s office on 1 August for “judicial investigation.” These summonses follow recent warnings from the National Council for Communication (CNC) to both radio stations about content that was also broadcast by other stations.“Repeated judicial summonses and warnings by the CNC constitute harassment and intimidation of privately-owned media and fuel a climate of hostility to media freedom,” Reporters Without Borders said. “RPA and Radio Isanganiro, which are critical of the government, are being singled out by the authorities. Other stations that have covered the same stories have been left in peace by the CNC. We urge the authorities to let these media and their journalists work freely.” RPA news editor singled out by prosecutorsRugurika was questioned for an hour on 18 July by the state prosecutor over a report about an open letter which the spokesman of the opposition Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), Pancrace Cimpaye, who is currently in exile, addressed to the president on 23 June. RPA said the prosecutor had described the station’s report as “insult to the state.” Rugurika was also criticised for a report quoting passages from a speech by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on 13 June in which she referred to the Arab Spring. The prosecutor regarded the report as “inciting a popular revolt.”Rugurika received a second summons two days later, on 20 July. This time he was questioned about his coverage of a news conference that Chauvineau Mugwengezo, the spokesman of the opposition Alliance of Democrats for Change (ADC-Ikibiri), gave on 13 July to criticize hikes in water and electricity tariffs.Reporters Without Borders is particularly concerned about the third summons (now rescheduled for 1 August), as it has learned that Rugurika’s lawyer, François Nyamoya, was arrested yesterday for as yet unclear reasons. No charges have so far been brought against Rugurika but the court has announced that it has opened a case against him.The CNC has meanwhile issued several warnings to the RPA. The latest was on 23 July, when it gave a news conference to call RPA to order for “inciting ethnic hatred and blaming personalities” because it had cited a 1996 UN report (S/1996/682) containing information that reflected badly on come of the people appointed by the president to prepare a truth and reconciliation commission.Regional correspondents targeted by judicial investigationsWhen Niyongabo and Murekesabe appeared before the Ngozi deputy prosecutor today, they were questioned about a report concerning Ciza Pascal, a member of the Burundian intelligence service. They will take a recording of the report when they return for further questioning on 1 August.Two months ago, on 25 May, the RPA correspondent in the northwestern city of Bubanza, Eloge Niyonzima, was questioned by provincial state prosecutor Didier Nibizi Simbizi in response to a complaint by the head of the Imbo Coffee Company, Nyandwi Anselme, over an RPA report about an attack by gunmen on the company’s plant. Niyonzima was not charged.Four RPA journalists – Raymon Zirampaye, Domithile Kiramvu, Bonfils Niyongere and Philbert Musobozi – are meanwhile still the target of a prosecution by Bujumbura mayor Evrard Giswaswa over allegedly insulting reports about a brawl last year in which the mayor was reportedly involved. The latest hearing in the case was due to be held on 26 July, but was postponed.Other targeted stationsMitabaro, Radio Isanganiro’s news editor, thinks his summons for “judicial investigation” on 1 August could be linked to an interview in which the head of the bar association, Isidore Rufikiri, referred to certain judges as “sub-humans” for constantly jailing people at the behest of the prosecutor’s office. Rufikiri was arrested on 27 July. The station also received a letter of warning from the CNC on 27 July about a report broadcast two days before.The international media are also subject to this kind of intimidation. Radio France Internationale (RFI) correspondent Esdras Ndikumana was interrogated by the Bujumbura main court state prosecutor on 19 July. Ndikumana had covered the arrest of a lawyer, Suzanne Bukuru, on a charge of “complicity in espionage” for helping a crew from the French TV station M6 do a story about Patrice Faye, a French citizen accused of raping minors.After questioning Ndikumana about his report, the prosecutor confiscated his mobile phone for several hours. He also asked Ndikumana to remain available for further questioning. Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts BurundiAfrica News Newscenter_img RSF_en The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa November 27, 2020 Find out more to go further BurundiAfrica Four Burundian journalists complete 12 months in arbitrary detention Reports Burundian appeal court upholds prison sentences for four journalists October 21, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Swift action needed to support affected Public Servants – Region 10 GPSU rep

first_imgWith the release of recommendations by the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Public Service, Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) representative Maurice Butters is urging swift implementation, noting that workers continue to be adversely affected.The GPSU rep has for years been advocating for improvements in working conditions of the region’s public service employees. According to Butters, issues such as contract employees and their benefits, as well as non-payment of gratuity are still affecting workers. These issues were highlighted months ago at the CoI into the Public Service.Making particular reference, Butters said all employees at the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) are contract workers, who to date are awaiting change so they can be made permanent, which would mean they would be eligible for all benefits.“We are still waiting on someone, in higher authority, to say something on these issues. All employees of the Linden Hospital Complex are contract employees, from the CEO right down. If a Doctor is employed by the LHC he is placed on contract”, the GPSU Representative stressed.He added that coming out of the CoI recommendations was for all contract employees to be made permanent, however, no move has since been made in this direction.Several issues regarding gratuity payments continue to plague employees, including nurses, and others, who have staged several protests over the issue, the GPSU Rep said.“We are trying to see how we can revive gratuity payments for female employees. The contract of those employees state that they will receive gratuity based on service. The then Minister of Health spent weeks in Linden trying to coerce employees to come over to the Ministry and promised to corporatize the hospital. The employees were asked to sign a one-year contract to safeguard their pension, and gratuity was paid in lieu of pension. The contract signed then was to safeguard pension for service provided”, Butters said.He added, however, that it was then changed, and gratuity was paid according to performance, instead of service. Additionally, Butters stated that there has been misinterpretation in the computing of gratuity payments since it is supposed to be calculated on a three-month basis, however he said payments are received every six months.“If that employee proceeds on maternity leave and that leave commences within the last months of the six-month period that they are paid for, then they lose an entire year of gratuity. Although the contract clearly states that they should be assessed within a three-month period. Nobody is looking at these issues affecting nurses”, he declared.Issues highlighted by the St John’s ambulatory staff attached to the LHC several months ago has also received no attention, the union Rep said, as he accused the institution’s board of not taking a stand on behalf of the affected workers.Those issues ranged from salary, to benefits and allowances. According to staff, the salary is presently minimum wage, since they are paid $18,000 fortnightly.Apart from that, it is alleged that employees do not receive double and time-and-a-half payments for working on Sundays and holidays in some instances. It was also highlighted that they are required to work eight hours for five consecutive days, followed by two days off.“We would have expected the board to do something but it is inactive. Apart from that, the board is being manipulated by a few people. Employees are asking why a Minister of the Government (Valerie Adams-Patterson), should be part of the board”, he said.Butters had testified at the CoI into the Public Service in Linden a few months ago.last_img read more

Tele-medicine and E-learning possibilities for Guyana – Cathy Hughes

first_imgTelecommunications Minister Cathy HughesIn an effort to create a green, smart, information-based Guyana, Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes is touting tele-medicine and E-learning as possible initiatives that can be embarked upon with the development of an inter-connected digital platform.“Here we are talking about establishing an inter-connected digital platform that can provide Government services systems to citizens in an efficient cost-effective and timely manner. It is about establishing links that can manage both Government and Private Sector data in a safe and secure manner,” Hughes said at a recent press conference.She highlighted that Guyana has to explore directions and implement strategies that can foster a more technologically advanced country.“Inter-connectivity is the foundation of the platform that we can build and of course, it is an integrated cross-sectoral programme. It offers citizens the benefits of tele-medicine: having a doctor in Georgetown connecting with a patient in Mabaruma,” she explained, adding that a lesson taught in Georgetown can be received in far-flung hinterland regions where subject teachers are limited and, of course, this can be done in an informed format.She said the digital platform could also create a pathway where the use of E-books can be utilised to reduce the imbalance of those who cannot purchase hard copy or photocopy text books.“The technology exists today for us to really make the change. So, we have to change the focus and identify our own priorities as a nation. It is time for Guyana to think big, but act small,” she said. “It is about implementing a strategy to bridge the digital technological economic gap we face today.”Hughes stated that during her trip to China with the Huawei technology giant, the Ministry and the E-Government Unit were able to explore new directions and create new strategies that can propel the development of a green, smart, information-driven Guyana.“It is clear to me today, that we cannot solve Guyana’s problems in the traditional way. What’s exciting is that with the use of existing technologies, we have the capacity and many opportunities to truly connect, transform and innovate,” said Hughes.She added that it was also critical for the establishment of a 21st Century system that can manage all Government and Private Sector data in a safe and secure manner. “No more collecting and disposal of mountains of paper after a flood, no more loss of important information that was only available on paper.”last_img read more

Unfixed employee issue to be resolved soon – City Hall’s HR tells CoI

first_imgThe ongoing feud by retired and current employees against the Mayor and City Council for an unfixed agenda of working without any benefits will be resolved in the near future.This is the statement made by the Human Resources Manager, Paula Braithwaite, who told the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that the process of working for 10 additional years minus benefits is a fair practice.However, Legal Assistant Sherwin Benjamin posed the thought as to how the process is fair, since many persons would have worked their entire life at the Council and received no money at the end of their service. He explained that this is indeed an “unfair employment regime”.“Imagine you have persons who work all their work lives and would leave without having pension. Is that fair?” he questioned.Braithwaite then told the Commission that officials of the Guyana Labour Union and City Hall would have discussed the issue and it was agreed upon that the persons would be placed under the fixed agenda after working for over seven years.“If it’s seven years and over, all of them would be placed on the fixed establishment and will receive benefits accordingly and persons seven years and under, they will remain on the unfixed agenda,” said the Human Resources Manager.This generally means that they would work until the age of 55 and retire with a severance package and insurance; as opposed to working until the age of 65 with no benefits.For many years, persons have been subjected to this condition of work and there have been numerous complaints that were submitted to the Commission. The only shocking situation behind this decision is that the Union did not mention this and nor did the respective staffers of the Council.Over the past week, President of the Guyana Local Government Officers Union, Wendy DeCunha also voiced her disagreement with the Council, calling for all employees to receive their benefits.DeCunha noted that during her witness statement, the Union tried to engage City Hall, but the relationship has been “confrontational”.Kenrick Hamilton is one such employee, who achieved no benefits after serving over 20 years. At the current age of 55, he is hoping that the system can be rectified so that other employees can retire with a pension package.last_img read more

Tunisian Government Hackers Probably Behind Phishing: This Week in Online Tyranny

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… curt hopkins Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… “The hacking method was basically to block access to the secure Gmail so that Tunisians are required to sign in via a non-secure Gmail, then divert them to a machine running a fake Gmail login page under EasyPHP, to steal their passwords and later, when needed, hack their email accounts.”Given the scope and the focus, it seems unlikely, though possible, that this phishing was for money. More likely, given the rash of online censorship actions in the country, and the increasing role of quasi-government hackers (virtual death squads), is Tunisia’s intelligence services wish to gain control of all information transiting the country. China sentences a commenter to a year in prison. Tang Lin, whose child died in the infant formula scandals in China, “Tang wrote on the ‘Sanlu Milk Powder Incident’ QQ group saying that he would ‘take extreme action’ that would be “reported by newspapers.” Dumb, but understandable, thing to say. But now he works at hard labor for a year. He’s not the first to serve time for being mad that his baby was murdered by a bunch of greedy trolls with Central Committee connections. Wikileaks soldier sentenced. Private First Class Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst is being charged with two crimes for passing secret video footage of an attack to Wikileaks. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he’ll be charged with transferring classified information and violating federal laws on the handling of classified information.Belarus’s Internet censorship and control laws now in effect. Decree No. 60 establishes control over Internet content and access, and requiring ISPs to register with the communication and information ministry and to identify all devices using its service to connect to the Internet, including phones. NSA building cyber-attack detection system. In conjunction with the kill switch bill we reported on last week, the U.S. government is clearly headed the wrong way on Internet control issues. This sort of early-detection system, said to be build by military contractors Raytheon, is heavily positioned for abuse. CNN fires editor for Tweet. Octavia Nasr, who was CNN’s senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs, was fired after using her Twitter account to say, “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Even if you did not appreciate her praise of a man who seemed to violent acts, the speed of the firing seemed a bit unseemly, if not arguably as unseemly as the praise itself. Venezuela arrests more social media users. Two Twitter users were arrested for allegedly “spread(ing) malicious rumors” regarding the country’s economy “with the aim of creating runs on banks.” Notwithstanding “cui bono,” the phrasing sounds ominously like any of the other dozens of countries who arrest people for using social media and call it “libel” or “defamation” of one sacred cow or another. It never happens that those so arrested wind up being of the leadership’s political party (or ethnicity or religious denomination or whatever). They always somehow wind up being people who are critical of those who run the country. Perhaps these Twitterers really did spread false information in a malicious fashion in order to, for some reason, destabilize the economy of Venezuela. Either that or they don’t believe Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez did the right thing in his tenure economically, including closing down banks last year. Tunis photo by Ashley Good Tags:#Government#international#web Tunisian Gmail users targeted. Slim Ammanou reports that Tunisia has been hit by a phishing scam with an intelligence element. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

3,498 Bru families identified as bonafide residents of Mizoram, says State Home secretary

first_imgMizoram government officials have identified 3,498 families staying in the six Bru relief camps in Tripura as bonafide residents of the State, Home Secretary Lalbiakzam said on Tuesday. All the identified families have expressed willingness to the officials to return to Mizoram during the proposed government-sponsored repatriation process, Lalbiakzama told PTI. “The second phase of identification process commenced on July 3 and is scheduled to be completed by July 20,” he said, adding that the period might be extended if the officials could not complete the process on time. Though the Ministry of Home Affairs has expressed its desire to begin the physical repatriation from September and to complete it within a month, but the unprecedented belated onset of monsoon might compel the government to defer the beginning of the repatriation process, the Mizoram Home Secretary said. He said that all the arrangements including the logistics of the repatriation like transportation, construction of transit camps along the Tripura border as also the quantum of free ration and cash dole would be determined by the number of identified people as well as those who were noted as willing to return to Mizoram. Those who return to the State would be provided a free ration and ₹5,000 per month per family for a period of two years, as per the agreement reached between the Centre, State governments of Mizoram and Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) on July 3, 2018.last_img read more