RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” News IraqMiddle East – North Africa Follow the news on Iraq Arbitrary arrest Karim, the editor of the weekly magazine Fshar, was arrested after participating in a news conference in the Palace Hotel in Sulaymaniyah on 18 September. Ironically, its purpose was to condemn all the violations against journalists and to defend freedom of opinion and expression in the autonomous Kurdistan Region. He was released at around 10 p.m. on 19 September after paying 250,000 dinars in bail.The police said he was arrested for failing to respond to a court summons. Karim denied this. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), one of the two main parties in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), sued Fshar for 500 million dinars in damages on 22 August. Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the tension between Kurdistan’s ruling parties and security forces, on the one hand, and its journalists and news media, on the other. Magazine editor Hemn Karim’s detention for more than 24 hours during the weekend and a spate of libel actions are the latest examples of this fraught climate.Reporters Without Borders takes the opportunity to remind Kurdistan’s journalists of the importance of respecting professional ethics and of distinguishing between reporting the facts and defamatory allegations.Nonetheless, a wave of defamation suits seems to be eroding press freedom, especially as they often are being brought after the legally-permitted period has expired. Under Kurdistan’s press law, a legal action must be brought within 90 days but in most cases plaintiffs are not respecting the deadline and it is not being enforced by the courts. News Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” Receive email alerts The radical Islamist group Ansar Al-Islam has meanwhile denied any role in Sardasht Osman’s murder. The denial was issued in response to the communiqué released on 15 September by President Barzani’s commission of enquiry accusing Ansar Al-Islam of killing Osman.“Sardasht had no link with us and we are not linked to his murder,” the Ansar Al-Islam statement said. “All this is nothing but a lie (…) We have a duty to shed the blood of the enemies of God such as the American forces and their agents in the KDP and PUK. God will be grateful to us for this. But we did not kill Sardasht. When we kill someone, we proudly claim responsibility.” Ansar Al-Islam denies murdering Sardasht Osman News The KDP sued four other publications on 22 August as well: Lvin Magazine, Awene, Hawlati and Rega.Awene is being sued for 500 million dinars in damages over an article in issue 214 on 9 March headlined “Opposition parties say Erbil is no exception as regards electoral fraud” and a column by Aziz Rauf in the same issue headlined “President, you are complicating things,” which questioned whether Massoud Barzani should continue to be KRG president.The other three magazines are being sued over articles suggesting that the KDP or Barzani himself was involved in last May’s murder of journalist Sardasht Osman. Lvin Magazine is being sued for 500 million dinars for suggesting this in issues 126 and 127 (on 10 and 20 May). Hawlati is being sued in connection with articles in issue 611 (pages 1 to 5 and 16). Rega is being sued for 1 billion dinars over a story headlined “KDP regarded as Sardasht’s murderer” on pages 7-11 of issue 16 (published in May).Awene editor Shwan Muhammad and Hawlati editor Kamal Rauf appeared in court in Erbil on 19 September in connection with these lawsuits. The court rejected their request for their cases to be transferred from Erbil, the KRG capital, to Sulaymaniyah. They have decided to appeal against this ruling.The KDP also sued the weekly Rojname for 1 billion dollars in damages on 25 July over a report accusing the KDP and its main coalition partner, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), of involvement in smuggling petroleum products to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The KDP also demanded the weekly’s closure.When the trial opened on 8 August in Erbil, Rojname’s lawyers asked for the case to be heard in Sulaymaniyah instead of Erbil. The court was supposed to issue its ruling on this request on 23 August but has not yet done so.Reporters Without Borders points out that journalists are also forbidden to film inside the KRG parliament in Erbil. Spate of lawsuits Osman’s brother, Hajar Osman, has resigned from his position as lieutenant in charge of checkpoints in the Erbil region in protest against the commission of enquiry’s allegations. IraqMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en December 28, 2020 Find out more Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan December 16, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information February 15, 2021 Find out more September 20, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Mounting tension between ruling parties and journalists News to go further Organisation
Tipperary’s long wait for a Munster senior football title will continue for at least another year.Kerry beat the Premier County 3-17 to 2-10 in yesterday’s provincial decider to be crowned champions for the fourth successive year.Tipp’s year isn’t over though – they’ll be playing in the qualifiers in just under three weeks. Manager Liam Kearns thinks the team gave it their best shot…While Captain Peter Acheson says if they had gotten a better start, the game might have turned out differently
Several months ago, following an exclusive interview with Mr. Bako Freeman, Managing Director of the Roberts International Airport (RIA), the Daily Observer broke the news that Liberia was to get a brand new modern terminal costing US$50 million.Mr. Freeman said the project was being financed by a US$50 million loan from China’s Exim Bank. It all came into fruition on Monday, October 3, when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Chinese Ambassador Zang Yue participated in the unveiling of a design which, for the first time, will give Liberia a new modern international airport terminal.We pray that RIA MD Mr. Freeman will keep his promise made at the time of the interview that the Liberian people will see the new terminal design before construction begins so they will be able to know and appreciate this brand new development on the national landscape.During Tuesday’s signing ceremony, Ambassador Zang expressed confidence that the new terminal will be something Liberians will be proud of. He made a remark that elated everyone in the Cabinet Room where the signing took place; everyone, including President Sirleaf. The Ambassador said: “Something good is coming to Liberia in two months.”The President, in her brief remarks on the occasion, told the Cabinet Room audience with pride, gratitude and happiness that she believed part of the “something good” to which Ambassador Zang referred was the commencement, at last, of construction on the Ministerial Complex that they pledged to build for Liberia over a year ago. We hope for three things in this new RIA Terminal: first, that it will truly be a modern one, giving Liberia, at long last, a truly admirable international airport of which Liberians, our West Africa neighbors and all international travelers using it, will be appreciative and proud.We secondly hope that the new runway, which is simultaneously being built, will be efficiently done to accommodate some of the world’s most advanced aircrafts, including the Boeing 747 and 767 jets and Airbus. This will definitely attract more regional and international airlines here, just as it was in the 1960s through the 1980s, and even more.Our third hope has to do with lighting. We hope and pray that lighting in and around the airport vicinity will be sufficient, so that passengers, during landing, will see a glittering surrounding, not the scary darkness that has always made people think they are entering a dense forest.In order to enhance the glitter, of course, we hope the government can invite some international hotel chain to build a five-star hotel somewhere around the airport that will use the Du, Farmington and Marshall Rivers emptying into the Atlantic Ocean for tourism.It would be good for government, too, to attract real estate developers to use the RIA highway and the Charlesville community for modern housing complexes. This will enhance the lighting and modernity around RIA.Bako Freeman and his team, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the National Investment Commission (NIC), should start engaging Liberian entrepreneurs and other interested parties now to install their restaurants, coffee shops and shopping complexes within the new terminal, selling arts and crafts, clothing, cosmetics, computers and electronic devices, fragrances, GSM equipment and software, footwear, liquor, etc. We highly commend President Sirleaf for the strong friendship she and her government have cultivated with the Chinese that has during her tenure enabled them to do so much for Liberia. A good part of this is in the extensive educational opportunities they have given to many Liberian students in various professional fields. Appreciation is due the Chinese government and people for all they have done to help Liberia. The two governments have sown the seeds of lasting friendship, which we know will bear greater fruit in the years ahead. We hope our Chinese friends will help Liberians to cultivate the enduring capacity for self-reliance that has made the Chinese nation and people what they have become—a mighty force to be reckoned with in every part of the world. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– as GRDB launches new paddy variety The introduction of a new variety of paddy will not only see increase in rice production in less time, but also guarantee low risk of crop losses, given its high resistance to rice blast diseases.The new rice variety – GRDB 15 – dubbed “Guyana Pride”, was launched on Thursday by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB). It is an early duration, semi-dwarf paddy. GRDB 15 will produce some seven to 8.5 tonnes per hectare, that is, 45 to 55 bags per acre; contains 150 to 250 grains per panicle, and has a maturing period of 105 to 110 days, and 73 days to flower after sowing. The average weight of this new grain is 26.6 grams, while its average length is 9.7 millimetres.With cultivation of this new rice variety to commence this year, the optimum sowing periods are May 15 to June 30 and November 15 to December 15. It is critical that sowing be done during these periods, so that maximum sunlight us available during flowering and grain filling.According to GRDB’s Chief Scientist and Plant Breeder Dr Mahendra Persaud, this new paddy variety is unexpectedly a significantly improvement of Guyana’s current top grain – GRDB 10.In a detailed presentation on the vision and developmental process behind GRDB 15, Dr Persaud noted that the high yielding capability of the new paddy variety will prove to be beneficial not only to farmers by increasing their outputs, but the country as well, by broadening its products to tap into the many opportunities available on the international market.“We have to think ahead in terms of what we gonna deliver. The work that we start in breeding today, you will see it bearing fruits in the next five sThe packaged new paddy variety, GRDB 15, which was launched on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotelix years, so our vision was (to) provide varieties beyond seven tonnes per hectare… We have noticed, if you look at it, around 6.7 bags per acre, close to seven bags per acre yield advantage over the 31 trials that we harvested so far. This is chalking out to be like 17% yield advantage over the current dominant variety – GRDB 10,” the Rice Board’s Plant Breeder stated.Meanwhile, President of the Rice Producers Association, Leekha Rambrich, posited that as both a farmer and miller, he is excited about the new variety.“This would be a great plus… I’m sure that farmers with even five or six bags more per acre would earn much more for their pockets when it comes to returns on their investments; and I’m sure that with the 4000 bags of seed that we have within the system, (it) would be enough to give to the farmers,” Rambrich posited.On this note, GRDB General Manager Nizam Hassan urged farmers to secure their new paddy variety seeds from the research station as soon as possible, so that cultivation can commence early. He indicated that the new variety will be sold at the same price as existing seeds on the market.Meanwhile, in his feature address before formally releasing the new paddy variety to the public, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder expressed Government’s continuous efforts towards the development of more new varieties and technology to further enhance the country’s rice industry.“I pledge my Ministry’s and Government’s support for a partnership with Guyana’s rice farmers in ensuring the continued growth of the local industry, not only in the yields per acre, but in the amount of lands cultivated… We will also continue to use green technology and renewable energy in production of our rice variety,” the Agriculture Minister asserted.