Little hope for press freedom on eve of President Assad’s second seven-year term

first_imgNews Organisation SyriaMiddle East – North Africa February 3, 2021 Find out more RSF_en Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information March 12, 2021 Find out more to go further News Newscenter_img Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria March 8, 2021 Find out more SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Follow the news on Syria Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists News July 16, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Little hope for press freedom on eve of President Assad’s second seven-year term Reporters Without Borders appealed for the release of Michel Kilo, Muhened Abdulrahman and Habib Saleh today, on the eve of President Bashar Al-Assad’s swearing-in tomorrow for a second seven-year term.“Assad’s first term as president was marked by many arrests of Syrian journalists and activists,” the press freedom organisation said. “The state of emergency that has been in effect since 1963 is still used as a pretext to control the news media. A journalist and two cyber-dissidents are currently in prison for daring to express themselves freely. The government continues to cite the Islamist threat or regional problems in order to postpone political reforms.”Reporters Without Borders added: “There is no press freedom in Syria. The Baathist repressive apparatus hounds journalists whose work annoys the authorities. Arbitrary arrests, intimidation and censorship are part of their daily lot. Syria is one of the Middle East’s most ruthless countries in this respect.”A 67-year-old journalist and writer, Kilo was sentenced on 13 May to three years in prison for “weakening national sentiment.” He was arrested on 14 May 2006 after signing the “Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut” appeal by Syrian and Lebanese intellectuals for a radical overhaul of relations between the two countries, which the Syrian authorities described as “interference in the internal affairs” of Syria and as a “provocation.” He has been held ever since in Adra prison on the outskirts of Damascus.Saleh, a writer aged 59, was sentenced to three years in prison by a military tribunal in the west-central town of Homs after an unfair trial on 16 August 2006. Arrested in May 2005 in Tartus, 130 km north of Damascus, he was accused of disseminating “mendacious reports.” Abdulrahman, 25, has been held without trial since 7 September 2006 for contributing to independent websites.President since 2001, Assad won another seven-year term with 97.62 per cent of the votes in an election on 29 May in which he was the only candidate. He is regarded by Reporters Without Borders as one of the world’s 34 “press freedom predators.”last_img read more

Here’s where Confederate statues and memorials have been removed in the US

first_imgABC NewsBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Across the country, local and state leaders have been listening to protester’s calls to reexamine their controversial relics of the past and current policies on policing.In the last two weeks, locations such as Richmond, Virginia, Jacksonville, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana, have quickly moved to remove Confederate statues and memorials from public places as demonstrators reignited arguments about the pain the statues have caused. Historians and civil rights groups have long said these statues were put in place to emphasize white supremacy over black people during the late 19th century.After the weeks of protests from residents following George Floyd’s death, leaders have rethought their stances on the statues and approving their removals.As of Friday morning, at least seven cities have either removed or approved the removal of Confederate monuments. The most controversial of those memorials, the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, is caught up in a legal battle.Corporations and other organizations have also announced they were removing Confederate related items. The University of Alabama said it would remove three Confederate plaques from its campus and create a committee to review buildings that bear the names of Confederate members.In some cities, protesters have taken matters into their own hands. People have toppled and defaced Confederate statues in Virginia and Alabama during the protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody.Some protesters have also taken down and defaced statues of Christopher Columbus and other figures linked to colonialism, slavery and racial violence and disparity in their cities.At the same time, police offices and cities have worked to increase transparency between law enforcement and prohibit excessive force.Minneapolis’s city council said it has enough votes to disband its police force, despite opposition from its mayor, and New York’s State Legislature approved a bill that would repeal a measure that prevented disclosure of information on officers who were disciplined.Activists predict that more cities and police forces will enact reforms in response to Floyd’s death.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more