Journalists stripped of accreditation over protest about attack on colleagues

first_img September 7, 2020 Find out more Ukraine escalates “information war” by banning three pro-Kremlin media May 23, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalists stripped of accreditation over protest about attack on colleagues Crimean journalist “confesses” to spying for Ukraine on Russian TV Reporters Without Borders is appalled by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s decision to withdraw the accreditation of 10 journalists who staged a silent protest at a cabinet meeting to draw attention to the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for an attack on two reporters during street demonstrations on 18 May.“The allocation of press accreditation should not be used to ‘cherrypick’ journalists and eliminate those who express views at variance with the government’s,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Ukraine’s media law explicitly states that journalists can only be stripped of their accreditation for ‘gross and repeated violation’ of the rules.“The protest staged during yesterday’s cabinet meeting was calm and silent, and did not prevent ministers from working. Depriving the participating journalists of their accreditation constitutes a disproportionate and arbitrary punishment and should be rescinded at once.“Instead of punishing these journalists, the authorities should be paying attention to their demands. Physical attacks on journalists nearly always go unpunished in Ukraine. This impunity is fuelling an alarming increase in violence against journalists, with at least 80 cases reported last year.“The authorities obviously need to address the 18 May attack, which is now emblematic of the problem because of the attention it has received. But it is also imperative that full and impartial investigations are carried out into all the other attacks on journalists and bloggers, because such a high level of violence and impunity is having a direct impact on freedom of information.”Prime Minister Azarov had just begun speaking at yesterday’s cabinet meeting when the 10 journalists covering the event turned round silently to reveal signs pinned to their backs that said: “Today it is a journalist, tomorrow it will be your wife, your sister or your daughter. Act now!”Azarov was incensed. “What is this show?” he exclaimed. “Leave the room at once.” He then ordered aides to note the names of the journalists and withdraw their press accreditation. “We respect the work of journalists, but don’t turn this meeting into a circus,” he explained.Later yesterday, the prime minister’s press attaché confirmed that instructions had indeed been given to the relevant bodies to withdraw the accreditation of the journalists who “disrupted coverage of the work of the cabinet meeting.” This was “a legal requirement,” he said. The media that employ them have been asked to name replacements.The cabinet meeting protest was prompted by the attack on husband-and-wife journalists Olga Snitsarchuk, a reporter for Pyaty Kanal, and Vladislav Sodel, a Kommersant-Ukraine photographer, while they covered the clashes that occurred during two simultaneous demonstrations in Kiev on 18 May.One of the demonstrations was organized by the three leading opposition groups to demand the release of imprisoned former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The other was staged by supporters of the ruling Party of the Regions, who marched under the banner of “Towards Europe, without fascists.”The two journalists were attacked and beaten by athletic youths who were providing security for the pro-government demonstration. They turned on the journalists when they realized they were being filmed. Many Ukrainians were particularly shocked by the fact that police who were nearby did not intervene.Journalists protested within hours of the attack and continued to stage protests in the days that followed to press the authorities to identify the attackers and punish the police officers who failed to intervene.The interior ministry initially announced that it was treating the incident as a case of “minor injuries” (under article 125-1 of the criminal code) but said later said it was also treating it as an “obstruction of a journalist’s legal professional activities” (under article 171). The police announced on 20 May that they were conducting an internal investigation into the inaction of certain officers.One of the reasons for journalists’ anger has been the investigation’s apparent slowness with regard to the main suspect, who was quickly identified by the media thanks to social networks and images of the incident. The main suspect has denied attacking the two reporters, claiming in a video that he just wanted to help Snitsarchuk when she fell.In a 22 May report on the incident, police chief Vitaly Zakharchenko insisted on the professionalism of the police, blamed the unrest on the opposition and claimed that Snitsarchuk had been there as a demonstrator not a reporter. According to the latest reports, the main suspect was finally arrested and charged with hooliganism (under article 296 of the criminal code).Attacks on journalists are common in Ukraine, especially during demonstrations, and 19 out of 20 cases go unpunished. For example, there has still been no result in the investigation into a brutal attack one year ago on Tochka.net reporter Vitaliy Lazebnik although the assailant was immediately identified from photos taken by witnesses.Photo by: Dmitriy Vlasov Help by sharing this information News March 26, 2021 Find out more News Receive email alerts February 26, 2021 Find out morecenter_img UkraineEurope – Central Asia Follow the news on Ukraine Organisation News UkraineEurope – Central Asia to go further News Ukrainian media group harassed by broadcasting authority RSF_en last_img read more

Preparedness report spells out H1N1 challenges

first_imgOct 1, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Though the nation is going into its second wave of the H1N1 pandemic armed with crucial improvements such as better vaccine capacity, remaining challenges in medical surge and vaccine distribution could hamper response now and into a third wave, preparedness experts said today.Hospitals across the nation vary in their ability to bear the burden of mounting H1N1 cases, the experts said at a press conference during which they unveiled a 38-page report from Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit, health advocacy group based in Washington, DC.Fifteen states, including Arizona, Connecticut, and Oregon, could run out of hospital beds by the fifth week of the second wave if 35% of the population gets sick with pandemic flu. Twelve states—among them New Mexico and North Carolina—could reach or exceed 80% of their capacity.Jeff Levi, PhD, TFAH executive director, said some health facilities in big cities were overwhelmed during the early stages of the pandemic. “Our point is that how readily even a mild pandemic can overwhelm the system,” he said. “We need a better system for addressing these issues, and some states are beginning.”TFAH authors based their projections on a 35% attack rate, which is a planning projection at the low end of the range of scenarios included in an Aug 24 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The TFAH authors used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) FluSurge modeling program to estimate the number of hospitalizations in each state.However, they said erosion of the public health funding and workforce that has accelerated over the past few years will make it difficult to meet the challenges, unless steady federal funding streams, such as those that support police and fire services, are established for public health departments.Robert M. Pestronk, MPH, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) said periodic funding infusions are important, but the approach isn’t helping build a strong public health system. “There isn’t any end point in preparedness. It requires sustained funding,” he said.According to a recent survey from NACCHO, budget cuts forced public health departments to eliminate 8,000 positions between January and June of this year, which reflects a larger loss than all of 2008.Levi said a strong pandemic vaccine delivery performance from states might help blunt some of the impact on hospitals. However, a 2008 federal report on state pandemic plans revealed that 21 states had gaps in their preparations to handle mass vaccinations. “It’s a complicated task, even in the best of circumstances,” he said.Adding to the vaccination challenge, public health officials may have a hard time reaching risk groups with vaccine messages, because some in the priority scheme, especially children, young adults, and members of minority groups, haven’t routinely been targeted for seasonal flu immunization, Levi said.He added that public health systems can also help reduce the burden on hospitals by getting higher-profile messages out about when to seek medical care for pandemic H1N1 infections,Some of the other pandemic challenges addressed in the TFAH report include:Antivirals: some states have limited stockpiles because of budget constraints and other obstaclesSurveillance: current systems are outdated, don’t track flu in real time, and aren’t ideal for identifying clusters or monitoring severityMedical equipment: 25 million N-95 respirators were released from the federal stockpile at the beginning of the outbreak, with no action to replace the supply, which could be difficult because of limited availability.Today’s TFAH report included recommendations to improve response to the current and future pandemic waves. For example, the authors recommended that states and localities refine their plans for rapid vaccine distribution and that the federal government allocate more resources for vaccine delivery, especially if insurers don’t provide adequate coverage.The experts urged public health department to extend their vaccine campaigns beyond the flu season to help prepare for a potential third wave of the pandemic.States should at least purchase enough antiviral supplies to cover their at-risk populations, and the federal government should consider making antiviral stockpiling solely its responsibility, the report advised.Though federal officials have been working hard to improve surveillance to monitor the spread of the pandemic H1N1 virus, the TFAH authors said officials should consider funding and implementing detailed surveillance improvements outlined in the PCAST report.Longer-term improvements should include the establishment of regional consortiums to organize and plan for health emergencies, as well as redoubled efforts, such as overtime incentives, to develop a medical surge workforce.The most important improvement, though, would be a steady funding stream to support public health preparedness, Levi said. “We’re trying to surge a public health system that has been critically hampered,” he said.See also:Oct 1 TFAH report on H1N1 challengesAug 24 CIDRAP News story “Presidential panel calls for planning czar, faster vaccine”Sep 21 NACCHO survey on public health workforce job losseslast_img read more

Twins’s Reaction to “In the Air Tonight” Drums goes Viral

first_imgPhil Collins’ In the Air Tonight is a hit, 39 years after it was released. The British rocker can thank twins from Gary, Indiana who’ve made In the Air Tonight possibly the most meme-d song of August 2020.Twenty-two-year-olds Tim and Fred Williams sent the song soaring with their spontaneous reaction to the unexpected drum break in Collins’ ballad.The two said they did not expect to hear a drum solo riff in the middle of the song.“Hey, I never heard somebody drop a beat three minutes into a song!” they exclaimed admitting that they’d been “sleeping on this one.’In the Air Tonight is currently Number-3 on the iTunes song sales chart.The twins have a whole channel and share their reaction to songs they have never heard before by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Phil Collins.last_img read more