Independent paper threatened with closure

first_img February 6, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Independent paper threatened with closure RSF_en June 2, 2021 Find out more Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” Organisation News to go further News Receive email alerts May 28, 2021 Find out morecenter_img News BelarusEurope – Central Asia BelarusEurope – Central Asia Reporters Without Borders today strongly protested against a court’s cancellation of the commercial licence of Romuald Ulan, founder of the independent weekly Novaya Gazeta Smorgoni, in the town of Smorgon, thus threatening the paper’s survival.”Your government is systematically using bureaucratic and legalistic obstruction to censor and gag the independent press,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to justice minister Viktor Golovanov.”We protest strongly against this decision on 3 February by the Grodno commercial court, which condemns to death a paper that has become too much of a nuisance to local authorities on the eve of next month’s regional elections. We are not fooled by this legal farce and we ask you to use all your influence to see that this decision is reversed on appeal.”The court decision was in response to a complaint filed by the Smorgon town board accusing Ulan of not respecting labour and tax laws and fire regulations in 2000 and 2002. The paper has been harassed for several years by the town authorities, who have also obstructed the appearance of two other publications run by Ulan, Novaya Gazeta Astrautsa and Novaya Gazeta Ashmyan. The Grodno commercial court condemned such obstruction on two occasions, in 2001 and last year.The government controls the country’s publicly-owned media and the independent press is systematically harassed by regional and national authorities. Last year, three journalists were sent to a labour camp for insulting the president. They had denounced the corruption of President Alexander Lukashenko or said he was involved in the July 2000 disappearance of journalist Dmitri Zavadski. Help by sharing this information News Follow the news on Belarus “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Two draft laws: one good, one bad for press freedom

first_img News Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) welcomed a legislative reform plan to repeal the National Security Law that should benefit press freedom but urged withdrawal of a draft media law that would endanger free enterprise in the printed press.Both draft reforms to be put before parliament by the ruling Uri Party would have significant press freedom consequences, it said.The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the Chairman of the Uri party, Lee Bu Young, to shelve the media reform law. While welcoming the repeal of the National Security Law, the organisation expressed concern about attempts by the majority to use the law to control the printed press sector.”This law intended to curb the influence of the three major conservative dailies, looks more like ideological revenge that an attempt to regulate the news sector,” said Robert Ménard in his letter to Lee Bu Young.Reporters Without Borders is aware that a monopoly or an oligopoly is not desirable for pluralism of news and information, but South Koreans have a wide range of sources of news on top of the traditional dailies.The Uri party, which has 152 seats in the 299-seat parliament, on 15 October 2004 put forward four draft laws two of which directly affect press freedom. The party wants to have them adopted before the end of the current parliamentary session in mid-December.The media reform bill decrees that no newspaper can control more than 30 percent of the market and that the three leading dailies cannot control more than 60 percent. It also limits to 50 percent the space each paper can give to advertising, on the threat of a fine of 20 million-wons (more than 14,000 euros).All press groups would also have to provide the culture and tourism ministry with full information about their financial situation, circulation and capitalisation.The three conservative dailies Chosun Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo and JoongAng Ilbo dominate 70 percent of the daily written press market. Chosun Ilbo alone has more than a 30 percent market share.The law also obliges press groups to set up a committee to protect readers’ rights allowing them to challenge media if they consider their coverage less than “objective”.The ruling party also wants to establish a single distribution system for the dailies to end fierce competition between the papers for subscribers.Belligerent statements by top officials accompanied the announcement of the proposed law. Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan said, “I can forgive the military regimes of Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo (former South Korean presidents), but I cannot forgive the betrayals of Chosun Ilbo and Dong-a Ilbo.”One Uri party leader said the law would “help create a sound media market to reflect public opinion”. The government of President Roh Moo-hyun earlier attempted to push through a law to reduce the influence of the conservative dailies in February 2002.Elsewhere the Uri Party is planning to repeal the law on national security that made it a crime to put out news favourable to the communist regime in North Korea. President Roh Moo-hyun proposed that some articles of the law should be put into the criminal code to protect the country from spying on behalf of North Korea.The last journalist to be jailed under this law was Choi Chin-sop, imprisoned from 1992 to 1995. Extreme-left publications are still censored or harassed for carrying articles considered supportive of the Pyongyang regime.Reporters Without Borders has previously spoken out against this repressive law that dates from 1948, which under the guise of protecting the country from North Korean ideology allowed journalists to be jailed and media censored.Amnesty International wrote in its 2004 report that “the National Security Law has often been used arbitrarily against people for exercising the rights to freedom of expression and association.” At the end of August 2004, 14 people were in prison under this law.The opposition Grand National Party said on 27 October that it would refer the draft laws to the Constitutional Court. Some conservative deputies threatened to physically block the adoption of the laws. November 11, 2020 Find out more November 19, 2020 Find out more News November 4, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two draft laws: one good, one bad for press freedom Follow the news on South Korea News On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia Receive email alerts South KoreaAsia – Pacific center_img August 18, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information Organisation News Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” RSF calls for the release of South Korean journalist jailed for defamation RSF_en to go further South KoreaAsia – Pacific last_img read more

Vermont Senators Sanders, Leahy praise EPA on power plant pollution

first_imgUS Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today praised the Environmental Protection Agency for forcing coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions. Leahy Statement: “I commend the Environmental Protection Agency for doing the right thing, under tremendous special interest pressure, in standing up for the public’s interest.  The Utility Air Toxics Rule to control toxic air pollutants such as mercury is a health and environmental breakthrough for the American people, and especially for Vermonters.  Finally, after 20 years of dodging regulation, coal- and oil-fired electric power plants, the largest contributors of these toxics, will be held accountable for the pollution they emit, just as many other industries are.These controls are particularly important to Vermont, which is why I have long fought to reduce mercury pollution and protect public health.  Though we have no major sources of mercury, we are on the receiving end of much of the rest of the country’s pollution.  So much, in fact, that the mercury data crucial to the development of this rule came from the atmospheric monitoring station at Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, for which I secured funding.  Unfortunately, deep budget cuts will hamper EPA’s data gathering from this location, making it difficult for the EPA to get the full swath of information needed to keep the public safe, and informed.In Vermont, the devastating effect of all this mercury pollution is most evident in our waterways.  While we celebrate greatly improved fishing on Lake Champlain, we also know that large game fish from every water body in Vermont, including Champlain, are so heavily contaminated with out-of-state mercury that Vermonters are warned against eating them. That needs to change, and these new actions will help.Pollution control technology is already widely available, affordable, and in use at many plants nationwide.  We cannot allow outdated technology to endanger lives and stifle the innovation, investment and productivity that new technologies offer.  It is time for those older power plants that have failed to install this life-saving technology to catch up with the 33 percent that already comply with all of EPA’s emission limits, and with the 60 percent that already comply with EPA’s mercury limit. Without these safeguards, the public would continue to shoulder the cost of dirty industries, with their health, their children’s health, and sometimes with their lives. These poisonous emissions lead to more than 17,000 premature deaths every year, and they compromise our children’s brain development.  But with clear and effective Clean Air Act rules, we see tremendous benefits: cleaner air, healthier and more productive citizens, and the creation of thousands of good-paying clean jobs.  Skilled laborers are standing ready to fill the 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs that the Utility Air Toxics Rule will create.  This is about five times more jobs than the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline would employ.  And unlike the pipeline, these clean air improvements do not gamble with the public’s health and our environment.For the hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering from heart attacks, bronchitis, asthma attacks and even worse, the EPA must act now to implement the Utility Air Toxics Rule.  We have the opportunity to create thousands of jobs that will make this nation safer and cleaner.  I look forward to fewer poisonous power plant emissions drifting over us to settle in Vermont’s backyards.” Sanders Statement: ‘I strongly support the Clean Air Act standards announced today that will slash toxic air pollution, such as mercury and arsenic, from our nation’s power plants,’ said Sanders, a member of the Senate environment committee. ‘We know from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mercury can cause brain damage and is particularly harmful to infants and young children. We also know that installing the necessary pollution control scrubbers and equipment will create jobs as we update our power plants. This clean air rule is long overdue, and I commend EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for protecting our families’ health and wellbeing,’ Sanders added. Sanders and other senators sent a letter to the White House on December 16 urging President Obama not to delay implementation of the rule. Power plants that have not installed equipment to reduce emissions are the largest remaining source of uncontrolled toxic air pollution in the United States. The EPA rule would prevent the release of about 90 percent of the mercury in coal and cut emissions of other toxic substances, such as arsenic. Medical experts estimated that the rule would prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year, prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and result in about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year. Enforcing the stricter rule, Sanders said, also would create an estimated 46,000 short-term construction jobs and result in 8,000 permanent jobs. 12.21.2011last_img read more