Leading journalist harassed over coverage of trial of top officials

first_img News News News Organisation RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” February 19, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Leading journalist harassed over coverage of trial of top officials Help by sharing this information Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says Follow the news on Belarus Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the continuing harassment of investigative journalist Maryna Koktysh, the deputy editor of the Minsk-based independent newspaper Narodnaya Volya, over her coverage of a case involving senior police officers and interior ministry officials in the southeastern city of Homyel.“The independent press has just done its duty by reporting developments in a scandal implicating senior officials that elicited comments from President Alexander Lukashenko,” Reporters Without Borders said. “As a journalist, Maryna Koktysh should not be regarded as a police auxiliary or as an accomplice to the criminal activity she covers.” Police raided Narodnaya Volya’s Minsk headquarters on 17 February, seizing her computer and some of her files in the course of a one-hour search. Officials said the raid was ordered by the Homyel police and prosecutor’s office in connection with her coverage of the trial of three Homyel police officers and Viktar Yermakow, the head of the interior ministry’s Anti-Corruption and Organised Crime Department, on charges of abuse of authority and blackmailing KGB agents.Held behind closed doors before the supreme court since October 2009, the trial ended on 17 February with three of the officials getting jail sentences ranging from three to four years. The case has led to a series of revelations about corrupt practices within the police and security agencies and President Lukashenko even publicly accused one of the defendants of having hunting lodges built illegally in Zhobin, in an area when senior officials and state company executives hunt illegally.Koktysh told Reporters Without Borders that the police questioned her in connection with a defamation action brought by a senior KGB official, whose identify has not been confirmed, over reports posted on several opposition websites about the hunting lodges. Details of the lawsuit are still not clear.She cannot provide more details as she had to undertake to treat the case as confidential. The defamation action has been brought against persons unknown, so Koktysh is not directly targeted, at least for the time being. But there is reason to think that the reason her computer was seized was to try to establish whether she wrote the offending website articles.Andrei Bastunets of the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ), a Reporters Without Borders partner organisation, said he was concerned that Koktysh’s status “could change from being a witness to being a suspect” and that she could end up being charged with criminal defamation, which is punishable by imprisonment.Reporters Without Borders shares the concern of the BAJ, which won the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2004. Koktysh is a high-profile journalist with a reputation for investigative reporting. She has worked for Narodnaya Volya since its launch in 1995 and has been its deputy editor since 2006. She was the first reporter to probe the disappearances of government opponents Viktar Hanchar and Yury Zakharanka, businessman Anatol Krasuski and cameraman Dzmitry Zavadski. On her initiative, Narodnaya Volya published documents demonstrating the existence of death squads involved in political assassinations in Belarus. She has repeatedly been threatened and harassed by the authorities and was illegally stripped of her parliamentary and government press accreditation.Reporters Without Borders regards the raid on Narodnaya Volya and the interrogation of Koktysh as attempts to intimidate her and calls on the authorities to put a stop to the harassment. After appearing to relax pressure on the independent media slightly as part of a bid to revive its relationship with the European Union, Belarus has now clearly embarked on new crackdown. On 13 January, the justice ministry ordered the BAJ to stop issuing press cards to journalists and stop providing them with legal aid.On 1 February, the president promulgated a repressive Internet law and, a few days later, the authorities announced new regulations placing additional restrictions on the dissemination of foreign news media.(Photos: Belorusskie Novosti, BAJ, Khartiya’97) center_img RSF_en BelarusEurope – Central Asia to go further June 2, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts May 28, 2021 Find out more May 27, 2021 Find out more News BelarusEurope – Central Asia last_img read more

Straight to the heart of the story

first_imgPatience and compassion: Even in an age of electronic media moving at breakneck speed, these old-fashioned virtues are essential to getting the story — and getting it right. That was the message conveyed by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR’s all-purpose Africa reporter, Thursday at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.Delivering this year’s Rama S. Mehta Lecture, the Ghanaian journalist spoke about her in-depth efforts to amplify the voices of African women.“African women, African girls — what they have to say is important, and we don’t hear enough of it,” she said.As Quist-Arcton related the development of various stories to the audience, what came up repeatedly was her method, a mix of careful journalism and shared humanity that has elevated the Peabody and Edward R. Murrow-award winner’s work.“We as reporters don’t dig deep enough,” she said. Finding interview subjects in the open-air markets of Dakar or Accra isn’t difficult, she said. What takes more work is uncovering the stories of those who aren’t always heard.“You have to cut through the lines of eager young men who zoom in when they see a microphone,” said Quist-Arcton, who has also worked for the BBC and PRI’s “The World.”,“You have to push back the masses, part those clamoring to talk, to go to the back — and that’s where you’ll find the women.”Quist-Arcton talked about the rewards of making the effort to capture the diverse viewpoints offered by local women, who may be caught up in cooking or commerce or childcare. “They have to work and they have families to provide for. They don’t have time to rush up to reporters, but they know what’s going on,” she said.The effort may be as simple as spending a few hours in an area or exchanging small talk before an interview. In the field, she said, she often focuses on market women, even just to chat about clothes or jewelry. Meeting interview subjects for the first time, she’ll take a few moments to inquire after their families — to ask questions that don’t immediately relate to the assignment and to show empathy with their situations.“It makes such a difference when you have met the person with whom you are talking,” she said. “Some of the examples that have stayed with me — I gravitate toward them because there are so many untold stories.”As an example, she detailed her reporting on the Boko Haram kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls in the Nigerian town of Dapchi in February. A month later, 104 of the girls were released (five had died), and that development was the banner headline.But Quist-Arcton found another story, that of the last girl, 15-year-old Leah Sharibu. One of the few Christian girls at the majority Muslim school, Leah had refused to renounce her religion and had not been released with her surviving classmates. Quist-Arcton was there and was able to get Leah’s mother to open up for an intimate and heart-rending story. They key, she said, was to “take the time to talk. You will make contacts that prove invaluable,” she said. Leah remains in captivity, and Quist-Arcton is still in touch with her parents.“If you give people time to get to know you, even for a day, people get more comfortable and hopefully they can trust you,” she said. “We owe it to such people who are sharing such intimate, difficult details to give them such compassion.”last_img read more

Emergency panel discusses Burma crisis

first_imgAn emergency panel discussed the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar (Burma) on Tuesday night. The panel focused on the persecution of the Rohingya minority group by the Myanmar government and the resulting refugee crisis. Soldiers are reported to have committed massacres, rape and mass burnings of villages and homes. More than 620,000 Rohingya have left Myanmar for refugee camps in Bangladesh, according to a pamphlet distributed at the panel. Of these refugees, 60 percent are children under the age of 17, the pamphlet said. “[Myanmar is] an extremely diverse country, which has 135 different ethnicities,” graduate student Dorottya Pedryc said. Chris Collins | The Observer An emergency panel discusses the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. Due to persecution by the Myanmar government, many Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee the country.The majority of the Rohingya, of which there are around 1 million people, live in the Rakhine state on the western edge of the country, assistant professor of global affairs Susan Ostermann said. The Rohingya living in Myanmar are not classified as citizens by the Myanmar government, but as illegal immigrants. Although they are recognized as illegal immigrants, “the fact is they actually arrived to the country 2000 or 3000 years ago, according to scholars,” Pedryc said.The most recent crisis has been ongoing since August, “when an insurgent group associated with the Rohingya carried out some limited attacks against state security forces,” associate professor of political science, Ernesto Verdeja said. “The response has been an overwhelming use of violence,” he said of the actions taken by the Myanmar government and military. Pedryc said around 240 Rohingya villages have been destroyed in recent months as a result of this violence. “In September of this year, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, referred to what’s going on in this area as a textbook definition of ethnic cleansing,” Verdeja said.While Bangladesh has “actually done quite a lot” for refugees, Ostermann said, the country still faces certain issues.“Bangladesh is still incredibly poor, despite the fact that development has lifted income dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years,” she said.Bangladesh is a small country with a large population, and the addition of refugees is putting an intense strain on the nation, Ostermann said. While much of the panel focused on the history that has led to this point, as well the status of the current situation, the panelists also discussed how students can get involved and make their voices heard with regards to this crisis and other humanitarian issues. The first suggestion was that students become more informed on the issues they care about. In addition, panelist and assistant professor of political science Jaimie Bleck gave suggestions for ways in which students could become more actively involved in a solution.“There is a range of things that you can do: contacting government representatives, raising awareness amongst your peers, amongst your family, continuing to educate yourself … and, finally, raising money,” she said. Tags: Burma, Myanmar, refugee crisis, Rohingyalast_img read more

Wardens targeting menacin’ venison

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ORINDA, Calif. – State game wardens have authorized local authorities to kill a rampaging deer that gored a dog to death and attacked three other dogs in a residential neighborhood. Witnesses said the black-tailed buck randomly attacked dogs in their yards over a three-day period earlier this month and did not appear scared of humans. Neighbors said they’re unsettled by the attacks. “We’re being held hostage by a rogue deer,” said Lou Pimentel, who said he stopped walking his Jack Russell terrier since the attacks. “I like deer. It’s peaceful to know you live where deer can roam. But it’s very different when you worry about your dog being killed.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Orinda police said they might shoot the animal if they determine it’s a public safety risk. But officials with the California Department of Fish and Game said the animal is already dangerous enough and issued a permit to a hunter from the San Joaquin Valley to kill the deer. Meantime, neighbors posted warning signs and said they will remain on alert until the deer is killed. Animal experts said the buck’s behavior was unusual and might be caused by illness or stress during the mating season. “I’ve heard of deer attacking dogs, but I’ve not heard of a case where a deer was so aggressive repeatedly,” said John Krause, a state wildlife biologist. last_img read more