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Police harassment of media seems to have become a regular occurrence in Macedonia, which has included the detainment and sentencing of some journalists in the country. On August 25, 2014, Macedonian Nova TV journalists were harassed and “stopped from doing their jobs” by police officers while covering protests held in front of the Customs building in Skopje.
In May 2014, there were no consequences for the Macedonian police officers who strong-armed journalists into erasing footage of arrests during riots in the ethnically-charged protests in Skopje. After a complaint was filed by journalists involved in the incident, the Minister of Interior stated that all 34 policemen engaged in the action were interviewed and not one reported such incident. Nova TV compared the metadata in the Word document sent as statement by deputy minister [mk] at the time and calculated that each interview and the compiling of written statements had taken about 7 minutes per policemen, consecutively. Nevertheless, the official investigation of the incident was closed.
On August 26, 2014, Nova TV editor-in-chief Borjan Jovanovski published a public protest letter [mk] informing that police again obstructed journalists while covering a protest. This time it was a protest of disgruntled former Customs workers [mk] in Skopje, who were fired after complaining about work conditions.
Полицијата пресудува на лице место
По не знам кој пат полицијата дрско спречува новинари на НОВА во извршувањето на работните задачи.
Денеска нашиот репортер Дехран Муратов имаше задача да го регистрира протестот на граѓаните кои сметаат дека им биле повредени правата при одлуката на Царинската управа да ги избрка од работа. Овие лица заглавени во правните лавиринти на (не)правната држава денеска сакаа да добијат одговор од одговорните во Царинската управа за нивниот нерешен статус. Нивниот обид да го добијат тоа што им следува НОВА имаше намера да го регистрира аудиовизуелно. При извршувањето на оваа задача на новинарот Муратов дрско му пристапи полицијата со барање да им го даде неговиот мобилен телефон. Телефонот му бил привремено одземен по што полицајците без никаква основа си дозволиле да ги прегледуваат содржините во телефонот на новинарот Муратов.
Овој случај на дрско попречување при извршување на професионална задача од страна на полицијата и уште погрубо одземање на нечија сопственост, како и претурање во базата на неговите лични податоци немаме намера да го пријавиме во службата за внатрешна контрола бидејќи немаме дилеми дека станува збор за грубо прекршување на законите од страна на полицијата, но и како последица на нашето последно и горчливо искуство со Секторот за внатрешна контрола при МВР кога наша колешка од НОВА и други новинари од Фокус и Радио Слободна Европа на свој грб ја почуствуваа „независноста“ на Секторот за внатрешна контрола на полицијата. Нашата преставка ја споделуваме јавно со потсетување на членовите од законот за полиција. Во членот 57 од овој закон се вели:
Полицискиот службеник може привремено да одземе предмети со наредба на суд, во случаите утврдени со Законот за кривичната постапка.
Одземањето на предмети може да се изврши и без наредба на суд во следниве случаи:
1) кога постојат основи за сомневање дека се работи за предмет на кривично дело, прекршок или имотна корист прибавена со кривично дело или прекршок кој може да послужи како доказ во постапката, доколку постои опасност од одлагање;
2) кога заради заштита на општата безбедност, одземањето на предметот неопходно е потребно и
3) на лице на кое привремено му е ограничена слободата на движење, а поседува или може да употреби предмет за самоповредување, напад или бегство.
Исто така, јавно се обраќаме до Здружението на новинарите за ова грубо кршење на слободата на медиумите и попречување на новинарите да си ја извршуваат својата работа. По поплаките кои во минатото ги упативмe директно до ЗНМ за слични инциденти сега до нив упатуваме јавен апел да ги превземат сите неопходни мерки за да ги заштитата правата на новинарите на што ги обврзуваат сите основачки акти.
Police Passes Judgement on the Spot
Yet another time police impertinently stopped NOVA journalists in performance of their work tasks.
Today our reporter Dehran Muratov had an assignment to register the protest of citizens [mk] who claim that their rights were violated with the decision of the Customs Authority to fire them. These people are stuck into the legal labyrinths of the (un)legal state gathered to demand answers by the Customs Authority about their unsolved status. NOVA intended to create audiovisual documentation of these efforts. While performing this assignment, police officers approached the journalist Muratov, harshly ordering him to hand over his mobile telephone. Muratov’s telephone was temporarily requisitioned, and without any legal ground the policemen browsed through the stored contents.
We do not intend to file an official complaint to the Police Internal Control Office regarding this case of impudent prohibition by the police in performing a professional task, and moreover the rough seizure of personal property, including rummaging through a database containing personal data. While we have no dilemmas that this is a case of harsh violation of the laws by the police, we base our decision on the previous bitter experience with the Ministry of Interior Internal Control Office. Then, our colleague from NOVA, as well as colleagues from Fokus and Radio Free Europe felt the “independence” [mk] of this sector. Therefore we share our complaint publicly, to remind about the relevant Article 57 of the Law on Police, which states:
Police officer can temporarily seize objects with a court order, in cases proscribed by the Law on Criminal Procedure.
Seizure of objects can be done without court order in the following situations:
1) When there are grounds to suspect that the object has been appropriated during performance of a criminal act, misdemeanor or as material benefit resulting from a criminal act or misdemeanor which can be used as evidence during the court procedure, if there’s an peril of postponement;
2) When in order to ensure protection of public safety, the seizure of the object is necessary, and
3) From a person with a temporarily limited freedom of movement, and owns or may use the object to inflict self-harm, for assault or escape.
NOVA also publicly demands that the Association of Journalists of Macedonia address this harsh violation of freedom of the media and obstructing journalists to perform their duties. After the complaints we addressed to AJM about similar incident we now send a public appeal to conduct all necessary measures to protect the rights of journalists, according to their acts of incorporation [i.e. Statutes].
Heavy rains and flooding in Niger have killed 12 people and left thousands without homes. Rivers in Niamey and the extended regions have risen and destroyed thousands of houses. In the region, land degradation and cultivation of marginal land increase the risk that extreme events can develop into natural disasters. Some solutions for flood preparedness were being implemented by national authorities :
ANADIA Niger aims to develop methodologies and tools to assess flood risk, to support planning at different decision making levels, to increase the resilience of local communities and to develop a greater capacity for forecasting and response. In this context, the development of a floods database will contribute to a more effective decision-making.
The Spanish Congress’ Commission of Culture approved the so called AEDE Tax (for the Spanish name of the Association of Editors of Spanish Newspapers), also known as Google Tax as part of the draft bill of the Law of Intellectual Property.
GurusBlog explains what is this tax about:
A tax by which an inalienable right is created so every journalistic update website automatically generates a collection right on any other website that links to it. An organ like a SGAE (for the Spanish name of General Society of Authors and Publishers) will be in charge of the collection and the distribution among its associates.
On Xataca they note:
Unlike Germany, the media group that is lobbying for this legislation -AEDE- gets the “inalienability” to be added so as to avoid to be self-evident: if Google has to pay a medium for linking from Google News, it would suffice to take it out, and after realizing the sudden loss of traffic, that medium might request to get back without any fee.
After some tweets, some netizens are upset:
— Afrika Winslet (@AfrikaWinslet) July 22, 2014
Angrier than me with the AEDE tax. Überfav, unfortunately.
— Hiddekel Morrison (@IngMorrison) July 22, 2014
This AEDE tax is ridiculous and it goes against the nature of Internet itself! LINKING IS NOT A CRIME!
Other users are promoting not linking to the media:
— Ialza (@Ialza) July 22, 2014
WordPress plugn to block all URLs than link to AEDE y the Spanish Center of Republishing Rights.
Two journalists from the daily paper Madagascar Matin were placed under arrest at Antanimora's jail, in the capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo. Earlier this morning (July 23), both of them were summoned to the Brigade of Fiadanana for a hearing. Solo Rajaonson, another local journalist, posted the following update in Malagasy on Facebook :
About the latest news regarding freedom of press in Madagascar: our colleagues, the Publication Manager of the newspaper Madagascar Matin, Jean Luc Rahaga and his Editor-In-Chief, Didier Ramanoelina are placed under arrest at the penitentiary of Antanimora in Antananarivo, Madagascar. This is the result of a complaint of defamation from Rivo Rakotovao, the Minister of Transport and Industry. So much for breaking away from our recent dark past, I guess
Prominent Chinese activists Hu Jia was attacked last night on July 16 in Beijing. He reported the incident in his Twitter:
— Hu Jia 胡佳 (@hu_jia) July 16, 2014
Today (July 16), just now at 20:12, I was attacked by a number of plain clothes cops near the east wing of Caofang subway station at Chaoyang district, Beijing. They drove away immediately. As I dropped my glasses, I could not see the car plate number. Now I feel sick and have to rest on the pavement. Will call the police. Hu Jia.
— Hu Jia 胡佳 (@hu_jia) July 16, 2014
A red cross was marked on the white fence next to the spot where I were attacked. My car was parked at the spot where I was ambushed.
— Hu Jia 胡佳 (@hu_jia) July 16, 2014
I have just filed a written report at the Changying police station. The police officer (035658) escorted me back to the spot where I was ambushed. Now he has left. I will drive to the nearby Minhang Hospital to treat my wound before going home. The police had gone through the surveillant video and told me that they could not identify the number of the attackers’ car plate.
— Hu Jia 胡佳 (@hu_jia) July 16, 2014
I remember clearly, a top guy wearing black clothes kicked my abdomen. They were very professional, caught my throat and hit my eye. In gangster's language, the method is called “eye blocking”. It was a heavy hit and my nose bled. Then came a round of random hits and kicks.
— Afropages (@Afropages) August 18, 2014
Armed forces and dahalos (highwaymen in Malagasy) clashed in Amboasary Sud in the southern region of Madagascar on Aug. 15 over a theft of humped cattle (Zebus), a type of domestic cattle with a fleshy hump on their shoulders. Thirteen Dahalos and two members of the armed forces died during the clashes. Official reports states that 450 Zebus were stolen by about 90 armed thieves when authorities intervened.
IP addresses inside the Russian government continue to be active on Wikipedia, where a computer at the Russian Secret Service, the FSO, revised the German entry for Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, changing the word “separatists” into “rebels.” The Twitter bot @RuGovEdits, which automatically logs all Wikipedia edits made from Russian government IP addresses, caught five separate attempts by an FSO computer this morning to make the “rebels” language stick. The effort failed. German Wikipedia editors reverted the article's language to the original text, every time.
— Jason Morrell (@CNNJason) July 25, 2014
The first footage of the plane crash are now available thanks to a Burkinabe soldier present on the site of the wreck near Gossi, in Northern Mali. There are no survivors among the 118 people on board, including more than 50 French nationals. Algerian website Algérie Focus reports in French that:
Cette vidéo montre des débris éparpillés et broyés. La zone sablonneuse a été noircie par le crash. Sur cette vidéo, il est pratiquement impossible de repérer les pièces maîtresses de l’avion au milieu des débris.
The video shows scattered and crushed debris. The sand at the site was blackened by the crash. In the video, it is virtually impossible to identify the key components of the aircraft amid the debris.
After news broke out about the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, Singapore Airlines posted this message on Facebook and Twitter:
Customers may wish to note that Singapore Airlines flights are not using Ukraine airspace.
— Singapore Airlines (@SingaporeAir) July 17, 2014
Many netizens accused the airline of being insensitive. Sophie Chang commented on Facebook that “a better way for the airline to do is to express condolences first.” But Stephen Chapman believes that the statement “was intended to bring calm in a general sense.” Ryan Ik appreciated the clarification but he also felt that “without any words of sympathy, the update feels very cold.”
Insensitive or not, this short update has since then become a viral message in a matter of hours.