Authorities step up pressure on independent journalists

first_img News News to go further Receive email alerts RSF_en Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Belarus BelarusEurope – Central Asia June 2, 2021 Find out more May 27, 2021 Find out more February 5, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Authorities step up pressure on independent journalistscenter_img Organisation 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 BelarusEurope – Central Asia News News The Belarusian police are increasingly harassing and intimidating independent journalists by charging them with relatively minor offences. This practice should stop at once if the government really intends, as it claims, to turn Belarus into a democracy.In the latest case, Ivan Shulha, a journalist who works for the privately-owned satellite television station Belsat TV and who is an active member of the independent Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ), was sentenced to 10 days in prison by a Minsk court yesterday on a charge of “minor hooliganism” in connection with an incident the day before, when he was arrested.Judge Aksana Relyava’s refusal to allow a witness of the incident to testify is indicative of the way the courts are used by the authorities to silence independent media.Shulha’s arrest came when a police unit tried twice to force its way into the apartment of another Belsat TV journalist, Mihas Yanchuk, on the afternoon of 3 February. The police, who had no warrant, said they were responding to a complaint from neighbours about noise. The journalists present in the apartment refused to open on the grounds that Yanchuk was absent. A nearly two-hour siege ensued in which the police cut off the apartment’s power supply.Shulha, who had left the apartment seconds before the police arrived, reportedly called his colleagues by means of the intercom at the building’s entrance to alert them to arrival of the police. The police claimed that he attacked an officer. Their statements initially mentioned torn braid on the officer’s uniform and later talked of a broken leg. The police refused to say where they were holding Shulha until the start of the trial at noon the following day.Like Belsat TV, which broadcasts from Poland, the BAJ is one of the few remaining entities that enable independent journalists to work in Belarus. As well as monitoring and denouncing violations of free expression, the BAJ issues press cards to its members that allow them to avoid the strict procedure for accrediting news media and journalists. It also offers a legal assistance unit to journalists who have problems with the police.It was these functions that deputy justice minister Aliaksandr Simanau took issue with in a 13 January directive. Arguing that it was not a news media, he ordered the BAJ to stop using the word “press” (and therefore stop issuing press cards). He also said its legal assistance unit was illegal as the BAJ statutes contained no provision for it.BAJ vice-president Andrei Bastunets insists that the legal unit is envisaged in the BAJ statutes, which were approved by the justice ministry. “It is hard to image what violations the ministry has suddenly discovered in regulations that have been in place for the past seven years,” he said. The BAJ was initially given a month to comply but it has challenged the order and has requested clarification.Since its introduction a year ago under a new media law, the accreditation procedure has served the authorities as an effective mechanism for vetting news media. After citing many different pretexts for not considering Belsat TV’s request for accreditation, the foreign ministry turned down its request for the second time in December.Under a decree promulgated by President Alexander Lukashenko this week, the Internet is to be subjected to the same controls as the traditional media from 1 July. The regime appears to be clamping down on all forms of access to news and information in the run up to local elections in April and a presidential election to be held in early 2011. RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” May 28, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Santa Anita racetrack reopening after the deaths of 22 horses

first_img Written by Beau Lund March 29, 2019 /Sports News – National Santa Anita racetrack reopening after the deaths of 22 horsescenter_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailwinhorse/iStock(ARCADIA, Calif.) — Santa Anita Park will reopen for live racing Friday amidst controversy after 22 horses have died in recent months.The famed Southern California horse racing track has held multiple Breeders’ Cup World Championships, and is slated to hold the event again in November. The Grade II $200,000 San Luis Rey stakes will headline Friday. On Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board granted approval for Santa Anita to reopen. Horse racing at Santa Anita had been suspended in response to the deaths of 22 horses since Dec. 26. Most recently, on March 14, the filly Princess Lili B broke both front legs while training and was euthanized.Necropsies are underway to determine the causes of death, but officials say the horses suffered fractures and at least one had a heart attack, according to Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV.A statement from Belinda Stronach of The Stronach Group, Santa Anita’s parent company, announced plans to update the facility’s medication polices, implementing a zero tolerance policy for race-day medication, including the controversial drug Lasix.“These Thoroughbred racetracks will be the first in North America to follow the strict International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) standards,” the statement said, calling the enactment of the updated policy, “a watershed moment.”The racetrack has been heavily criticized by animal rights activists. Members of PETA rallied on March 14, urging Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey to request an immediate investigation by law enforcement into the horse deaths. After Santa Anita announced its new policy, PETA expressed relief in the company’s ban of race practices such as corticosteroid injections and whipping.“PETA will be watching very closely to see that these changes are implemented,” PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said in a statement.Mike Smith, a Hall of Fame American jockey, defended the act of whipping on Wednesday at the draw for the upcoming Dubai World Cup. According to The Guardian, he expressed his belief that a complete ban on the whip will not hold at Santa Anita. Santa Anita will continue to allow whipping only as “a corrective safety measure.”“They [whips] don’t mark or hurt a horse whatsoever, but they help a horse to focus when you need it,” Smith told The Guardian.“A lot of people will come in for the Breeders’ Cup and then all of a sudden, you’re expecting them to adapt in one day, so it’s not fair to anybody,” he said.The practice will first go through a 45-day public comment period before enactment.As it stands, Santa Anita will abide by the new standards and The Stronach Group recognizes that certain horses will not be able to race due to their medication requirements.“We are taking a step forward and saying, quite emphatically, that the current system is broken,” Belinda Stronach said in a statement.“First and foremost, we must do right by the horse,” she added. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Update on the latest sports

first_imgRyan Palmer felt more nerves than usual when he stood over his first tee shot Thursday in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial — the first official shot on the PGA Tour in 90 days.Even more bizarre was making a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole with no one around to cheer. The closest thing to a crowd was a few people who watched from behind hedges and a chain fence from a nearby street.Golf is the second major sport in the U.S., behind motor sports, to resume a schedule shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. Among the safety measures are coronavirus tests for every player, caddie and essential personnel. Of the 487 tests at Colonial, the results were all negative.The PGA marked its return to golf with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. as a tribute to George Floyd. The time has become symbolic. Authorities say a white police officer pressed his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. The handcuffed black man died after pleading for air. Commissioner Jay Monahan stood on the first tee and spoke about hopes of ending racial injustice.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball says it stands fully behind the Black Lives Matter movement.At the outset of the amateur draft broadcast Wednesday night, Commissioner Rob Manfred said “this moment is a call to action” and baseball “can do more as an institution” to combat systemic racism and inequality. Executives from all 30 teams working remotely held up signs that read: “Black Lives Matter. United For Change.” The baseball operations officials were joined by MLB and club owners in announcing donations to several organizations that support and fight for racial justice.The Detroit Tigers selected Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 pick. The baseball-bashing Torkelson played first base in college, but the Tigers plan to move him to third. Torkelson hit 54 home runs at Arizona State and finished two shy of Bob Horner’s school record. Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad went No. 2 to Baltimore after the Orioles took Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick a year ago. Associated Press — The NFL has extended virtual offseason programs for teams through June 26. Although team facilities have opened for key personnel, coaches and players rehabilitating injuries, healthy players have been barred from those complexes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The remote programs have taken the place of on-site work, and some teams already have announced they are shutting those down. But the league said Thursday it will allow the virtual work for an additional 15 days.— Australian rules football is back after a three-month shutdown, and fanatical fans in Melbourne were happy to see it — even if they could only watch on television. There were no spectators allowed in the cavernous, 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground for an Australian Football League game that would have drawn close to a capacity crowd in a perfect, non-coronavirus world. City rivals Richmond and Collingwood played to a draw. Other than the ban on spectators, the start of the game was also unique — players on both teams took a knee to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Both clubs and the league hierarchy said they wanted to support worldwide protests over the death in police custody of George Floyd.— English Premier League players won’t need to wear face masks arriving at stadiums, in dressing rooms or on the substitutes’ bench when the competition’s 100-day coronavirus shutdown ends next week. Clubs agreed Thursday on matchday protocols that include splitting stadiums into red, amber and green zones to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Games will be played without fans so access to stadiums will be limited to around 300 people who will have their temperatures checked on arrival. The season is scheduled to resume on Wednesday with Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Arsenal playing at Manchester City.MLB-BLACK LIVES MATTERMLB opens draft with Black Lives Matter message, donations Update on the latest sportscenter_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditPGA-COLONIALPGA Tour gets back to businessFORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour is back. June 11, 2020 NHL camps to open July 10 pending deal to resumeUNDATED (AP) — NHL training camps will open July 10 if the league and players’ union can reach an agreement to resume the season. Setting the date gives the 17% of players overseas time to make arrangements to return in light of U.S. and Canada quarantine regulations. The league and NHLPA said the July 10 start of camps is pending medical and safety conditions and agreeing on getting back to games.Camps are expected to run two to three weeks with games taking place in two “hub” cities without fans. If the league and players finalize a deal to return, games could resume in early August.In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:— The PGA Tour Champions Boeing Classic scheduled to be held in August outside Seattle has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament director says uncertainty about the ability to hold large public gatherings in Washington state led to the decision. The tournament was scheduled for Aug. 17-23 at The Club at Snoqualmie (snoh-KWALM’-ee) Ridge.last_img read more