Censorship and persecution: net closes on Venezuelan media

first_img Amid a deepening political crisis and continuing opposition street protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, Venezuela’s security forces and paramilitary groups have stepped up efforts to silence the media. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns their attempts to suppress free speech and the freedom to inform. Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives News to go further New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets Follow the news on Venezuela RSF_en Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information January 13, 2021 Find out more Organisation News VenezuelaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ViolenceFreedom of expression August 25, 2020 Find out more May 15, 2017 – Updated on May 16, 2017 Censorship and persecution: net closes on Venezuelan media Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela News Members of the police, Bolivarian National Guard, Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and pro-government paramilitary groups have repeatedly targeted, insulted or arbitrarily arrested reporters covering opposition demonstrations, and have seized and destroyed their equipment.According to the National Press Workers Union (SNTP), the first four months of the year saw more than 200 attacks on journalists. During the most recent national day of protest, no fewer than 19 journalists throughout the country were the victims of acts of aggression by the security forces.Mounting censorshipIn addition to these acts of physical violence, the authorities have been finding other ways to limit media coverage of the protests and to censor independent and opposition media outlets.Websites and radio stations such as Hit 90.7 FM, Studio 92.1, Punto Fijo Stereo 90.3 and Jet have been closed, while opposition TV stations that have been broadcasting coverage of the protests online, such as Vivo Play, VPI (Venezolanos por la Información) and Capitolio TV, have been blocked or deprived of a broadcast signal by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL).The same fate was inflicted on foreign TV broadcasters, including Argentina’s TodoNoticias and Colombia’s El Tiempo Televisión, on 19 April. They were the latest international media outlets to be harassed in a range of ways that have included expulsions, the seizure of material and equipment, and censorship.“The Maduro government’s growing authoritarianism is extremely worrying,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “Its violent harassment of journalists is in the process of destroying the freedom to inform in Venezuela, a country where it was already very difficult for independent and opposition media to work. The authorities must stop obstructing journalists, whose reporting is vital during such turbulent times.”Venezuela’s devastating two-year-old economic, social and political crisis has intensified since President Maduro’s abortive attempt in March to transfer power from the National Assembly to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and thereby govern by decree with no checks and balances.A climate of widespread violence has accompanied the many demonstrations called by the opposition to demand early general elections without waiting for Maduro’s presidential term to end in December 2018. At least 40 Venezuelans have died during protests since the start of April.Aside from the censorship, one of the gravest consequences of this persecution of the media is the difficulty that Venezuelans now have in quickly obtaining reliable and objective information about the crisis and about the acts of violence by the government against its own citizens.Venezuela is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. News VenezuelaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ViolenceFreedom of expression June 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Alternative rice products see double digit growth in demand amid trade disruption

first_imgThe market for foreign rice varieties in Indonesia is relatively small compared to regular rice. According to the latest available data compiled by the Agriculture Ministry, Indonesia imported 295,714 tons of “special” rice varieties compared to 987,500 tons of medium-grain rice in 2016.Read also: Ministry ramps up rice production amid farmers’ lossesThe special rice varieties comprise Thai hom mali, basmati, japonica, brown and low-glycemic rice, according to the ministry’s data.Despite the niche market for the products, Hery said the worldwide disruptions to trade had impacted rice imports, increasing demand for the cooperative’s products. According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data, the country booked a 14.28 percent year-on-year (yoy) decrease in imports between January and June.Furthermore, the rise of Indonesia’s upper-middle class has also supported demand growth for more expensive special rice varieties, which are considered healthier than regular rice.“We are targeting the growing upper-middle class segment. As they’re extremely concerned with product quality, we pack our products neatly and market them through online marketplaces to attract customers,” he said.Amid the growing demand for special rice varieties, Hery said high-quality seeds and fertilizers were crucial for successful cultivation. However, he added that the seeds sometimes were difficult to find.Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Bali-based Jagadhita Farming Cooperative, Nyoman Suma Artha, voiced similar concerns, and urged the government to focus on improving fertilizer and seed quality to increase yields.Nyoman said farmers in Bali could increase their rice production, in yield per hectare, by up to 5 tons by using high-quality fertilizers and seeds, double the yield rate of lower quality fertilizers.“We could produce between 8 to 10 tons of dried grains [per ha] if we use high-quality fertilizers and the right techniques, while lower quality fertilizers and seeds produce only around 5 tons [per ha],” he said.The Agriculture Ministry has set a rice production target of 62.5 million tons for 2021, 5 percent higher than this year’s target.Read also: Virus, climate change cause food shortages in parts of IndonesiaThe government has allocated Rp 18.4 trillion (US$1.26 billion) for the ministry’s 2021 budget, of which around half has been allocated for programs to ensure the availability and accessibility of high-quality food.However, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo said on July 7 that the allocation would not be enough to finance policies to ramp up food production, and proposed an additional Rp 10 trillion in next year’s state budget to finance its planned policies.“The Rp 18.4 trillion budget allocated to the ministry for 2021 is far from sufficient for the economy to recover after the COVID-19 pandemic in villages that heavily rely on agriculture, and to meet the food production target set in the government’s working plan,” Syahrul said in a hearing with the House of Representatives.In 2019, prolonged drought led to a decline in Indonesia’s rice production, which was down 13.2 percent year-on-year to 16.1 million tons in the first half of 2020, according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Indonesia office.Topics : The disruptions to trade and falling imports caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a double-digit increase in demand for locally produced, high-quality, alternative rice products, farmer cooperatives have reported.Sales of high-quality foreign rice varieties and organic rice products such as Japonica rice, Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, and high-protein black rice have increased by 20 percent, Mintogoro Cooperative chairperson Hery Sugiarto told The Jakarta Post on Monday. The cooperative is based in Demak, Central Java.“Alhamdulillah [thank God] the pandemic impacted our business positively rather than the other way around, as demand for our products has increased 20 percent,” he said during an online webinar held by the Indonesian Seed Cooperative (Kobeta).last_img read more

‘At risk’ children should be identified before birth – study

first_imgOneNews 21 July 2014Information gathered during pregnancy checks should be used to identify “at risk” or “vulnerable” children before they are born and determine the level of support a family should receive, child development researchers say.The authors of the Growing Up in New Zealand study have identified 12 family and environmental prenatal factors they say increase the chance of children having poor developmental outcomes.The factors include teenage pregnancy, poor maternal health, the mother’s relationship status and financial stress.Identified risk factors1. Teenage pregnancy2. Mother with no formal secondary school qualifications3. Maternal depression4. Poor maternal physical wellbeing in late pregnancy5. Mother smoking regularly/daily during and after pregnancy6. Mother with no current partner7. Reporting highly stressful money problems8. Living in a decile 9 or 10 NZDep 2006 area9. Mother actively seeking work but not currently working10. Living in public rental accommodation11. Having two or more persons on average per bedroom12. Being in receipt of an income tested government benefithttp://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/risk-children-should-identified-before-birth-study-6033214last_img read more

Wisconsin ends pesky WCHA rival’s season

first_imgST. PAUL, Minn. — The teams might have ended the season series with a split, but Wisconsin won the game that mattered most.St. Cloud State owned a three games to two edge over UW after a WCHA Final Five semifinal win back on March 19th, but with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line, the Badgers took a commanding lead and didn’t look back in the 5-3 win.Freshman goaltender Mike Lee was the main nemesis in two of the SCSU wins, making 38 saves in a 4-1 Husky win in St. Cloud in November and blanking the Badgers for just the second time in UW’s season at the Final Five.Lee’s weakness however, was youthful inconsistency. The day after turning aside 37 Wisconsin shots in that semifinal, he allowed four goals in just 26:05 of play, being pulled in favor of Junior Dan Dunn in an eventual 3-5 loss to WCHA tournament champion North Dakota.It was a similar story in the West Regional final, as it took just 15:21 of play for John Mitchell, Blake Geoffrion and Jake Gardiner to put pucks in the net for Wisconsin. That spelled the end of Lee’s night and essentially, the end of St. Cloud State’s NCAA tournament run.Lee made just eight saves after facing 11 shots.The twist in this game was Wisconsin’s ability to get shots on net and skaters in front to screen and create rebounds.“I think with all young goaltenders that are played very well, the message to your team is that you need to get pucks and bodies to the net and then make him make saves,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “Early in the game we were able to get pucks that he did not control very well. We were able to get the rebounds and that is the simple truth.”Mitchell’s willingness to crash the net resulted in his two goals, as he poked a puck shot in by Andy Bohmbach past Lee to open the scoring.Rebounds took care of the rest of the first period’s scoring, as both Geoffrion’s and Gardiner’s goals were the result of rebounds.“[Lee] shutout Wisconsin last week but we were flat, the first period was a real struggle for us and we felt it on the bench and our guys felt it,” SCSU head coach Bob Motzko said.The win helped take some of the sting away from the Badgers’ previous losses to the Huskies.“A lot of it was redemption. We just played them and we didn’t perform the way we wanted to,” junior tri-captain Ryan McDonagh said.Hobey Baker notes as of April 4thGeoffrion was named to the all-tournament team for the West Regional, as well as being voted the weekend’s MVP. The senior tri-captain had two goals and three assists in the two regional games.Additionally, it was announced March 31 that Geoffrion made the Hobey Hat Trick, meaning he is one of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, the college hockey equivalent of the Heisman. Geoffrion is joined by New Hampshire’s Bobby Butler and Maine’s Gustav Nyquist.Butler led the nation with 29 goals on the season, while Nyquist was the top overall scorer, with 19 goals and 42 assists.In comparison, Geoffrion is second in goals (27), and is tied for first in the nation in power play goals (14). Additionally, he’s one of the Badgers’ top penalty killers and face-off men.The Brentwood, Tenn. native wasn’t the only Badger to be one of the top-10 finalists for the award. Teammate Brendan Smith was included as a finalist, but wasn’t one of the top three vote-getters in the final tally.Smith certainly had a case to be included in the Hat Trick, as he’s the nation’s highest-scoring defenseman (15-32-47). He’s tied for sixth in the nation in power play goals with 11, notably getting the game-tying and game-winning goals in the Camp Randall Hockey Classic back in February.Interestingly, Wisconsin has six more national titles than Hobey winners. No Badger has ever won the prestigious award, with Steve Reinprecht’s runner-up finish in 2000 being the closest Wisconsin has come. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain was a top-10 finalist last season for UW and current Ottawa Senators goaltender Brian Elliot was named to the Hat Trick in 2006, the year of Wisconsin’s most recent national title.The winner of the Hobey Baker Award will be announced Friday night.last_img read more