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New law fails to protect journalists, creates new problems

first_img* Article 5, subsection 2 (new) – “The journalist has the right to publish comments when he considers this to be appropriate, in order to express his view, independently of differences of opinion and interpretation and within the limits of respect for the law.”* Article 7 (repeated) – “No one has the right to encroach on the journalist’s tools of work unless this is permitted by the law.”Article 7 seems to want to protect “the journalist’s tools” but is imprecise because neither the term “tool” nor “encroach on” is explained. To really protect journalists’ equipment and material, the criminal code would have to contain specific provisions for searches and seizures, and sanctions for violations of the confidentiality of sources. Exceptions would have to be really exceptional and require authorization from an independent judge. Saying that searches and seizures are possible when “permitted by the law” completely nullifies the protection.* Article 8 (repeated)Article 8 is one of the most confusing and pointless in this law. It says “the journalist cannot be held responsible for his opinions or the information he publishes, and these opinions or this information cannot be regarded as reasons for causing him any prejudice, unless his actions are contrary to the law.” This confusion between “opinions” and “information” is dangerous. The law should strictly define the circumstances in which journalists can be held responsible without any need to distinguish between “opinions” and information.” And the definition needs to respect international legal standards.Some of the law’s articles provide for a judge to intervene and authorize restrictions on the rights of journalists. The introduction of arbitration by judges might seem reassuring, but no guidance or directive imposes any limits or conditions on their action. The lack of precision increases the danger of arbitrary intervention.* Article 15 says “it is forbidden to prevent the publication of newspapers or to permit their seizure unless this is done by judicial decision.” Prior bans or seizures should be exceptional measures that are strictly limited to extremely grave offences and when no other, less draconian, measure is possible.* Article 10 seems to want to protect journalists from overly “heavy-handed” interrogation but it is obvious – and essential for the respect of defence rights – that a judge should have to give his permission for a journalist to be interrogated in the event of “an investigation into a crime that has been attributed to him and is linked to his work as a journalist.” To really protect journalists, the authorities should set about decriminalizing press offences rather than calling them “crimes.”Finally, far from proposing a system of social benefits and protection, or containing provisions about labour rights for journalists, the law just offers generalities about the need for a “work contract” and a ban on “arbitrary dismissal,” and refers vaguely to the labour law. September 6, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New law fails to protect journalists, creates new problems News Organisation RSF_en Receive email alerts December 28, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa to go further Reporters Without Borders regards Iraq’s new law on the protection of journalists as pointless at best and dangerous at worst. Adopted on 9 August, the law had been under discussion since 2009.The law that was finally adopted contained changes to the draft that was presented to parliament in May, and took account of the many comments made at the time, including those made by Reporters Without Borders in a letter to the authorities on 10 May that was released on 16 May. In that sense, the final law seems to represent an improvement. Although some of the criticized provisions in the earlier draft were dropped, the law’s overall lack of effectiveness and usefulness is unchanged. The result is a succession of 19 articles devoid of specifics despite the bold declared intention not only to “ensure the protection of journalists” (as in the earlier version) but also to “promote the rights of journalists and provide them with needed protection.”President Jalal Talabani described the law as “stemming from respect for the freedom of the press and expression, as well as guaranteeing the rights of Iraqi journalists and their heirs, and their important role in realizing democracy in the new Iraq.” But this was little more than empty rhetoric.Where are the concrete measures? Where are the sanctions for violations of the principles proclaimed in the law? Where is the compensation fund? Where is the training for the police and judiciary in protecting journalists and prosecuting attacks on the press? Where is the repeal of jail sentences for journalists and where are the specific measures to protect the confidentiality of sources and access to information?The law’s vagueness and many serious omissions are all the more incomprehensible for the fact that many NGOs including Reporters Without Borders offered a detailed critique, proposed specific changes to the wording and recommended ways to better protect journalists and combat impunity for physical attacks on the media.Reporters Without Borders therefore thinks that this law, which aims to protect Iraqi journalists, in fact does nothing to improve the current situation for the media and even represents an additional danger for media freedom and freedom of information.Only three articles place the authorities under any obligation to support journalists. Article 3 obscurely states that “state and public sector institutions, and any other entities where journalists operate, undertake to provide them with the facilities required by their obligations and in such a way as to preserve their dignity.” Articles 11 and 12 mention compensation, but only for freelance journalists, and the provision of free medical care, but without going into more detail about a proper system of social benefits.In order to really protect journalists’ independence and physical integrity and combat impunity for those responsible for crimes of violence against journalists, the Iraqi authorities should adopt concrete measures and make effective resources available instead of limiting themselves to statements of intent.More detailed commentsAs said, the law contains improvements on the earlier draft. For example, journalists no longer have to belong to the journalists’ union in order to be protected by the law. And, despite its imprecision and omissions, article 1 defines “journalist” and “media,” which the draft did not.As regards judicial proceedings against a journalist, subsection 3 of article 10 says: “The Union of Journalists or the head of the news media that employs the journalist or the person they designate may attend the interrogation, preliminary investigation or trial.” This provision could help to avoid harassment and threats, but it is vague.Vague wording* Article 1 defines the terms “journalist” and “media” too vaguely and too narrowly. The concept of “journalism” is not developed and only “full-time” work is taken into account. Article 2 talks of “protection” and journalists’ “rights” but does not define them. Also, if the law protects only journalists, then it excludes media assistants, bloggers and anyone else providing the public with news and information.Recognition of the right to “preserve the confidentiality of sources of information” (article 4, subsection 2) is positive but too imprecise, and it is regrettable that the issue of protecting sources is just mentioned in passing. This provision gives no real protection.Repeated conditioning on respect for “laws” or “judicial decisions”The law conditions all journalistic rights on “respect for the law.” Aside from stating the obvious, this provides no additional protection. This vague principle is reiterated several times without specifying the content or article of law alluded to, posing a major danger to the ability of journalists to work properly.Such is the case with the following rights: Access to information (article 4-1 and 6-1)* Article 4 subsection 1 refers to the possibility of accessing information, data and statistics “that are not prohibited by their different sources” and “within the limits of the law.” Conditioning access on other legal provisions renders it very illusory.* Article (6) 1: “The journalist has right of access to official reports, information and statements, and the relevant authorities are required to guarantee this right, unless divulging this content would be detrimental to the public interest or contrary to legal provisions.” This clause nullifies the positive affirmation of the right of access to information, without clearly defining what “the public interest” means. It is highly likely that officials who want to prevent the release of information will use this restriction, especially as no procedures are specified. And there is no provision for appealing against a refusal to release documents.Freedom to publish information IraqMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information December 16, 2020 Find out more Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” February 15, 2021 Find out more News RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” Follow the news on Iraq News Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan Newslast_img read more

Clonmel hopes of promotion to UBL dashed

first_imgThe Tipperary club were beaten 29-12 against Bangor at Ard Gaoithe in their third and final Round Robin Series match.This means they finish third in the table.The Ulster side regain their senior status while Enniscorthy, who defeated Clonmel seven days ago, go on to face Sligo in a relegation/promotion play-off.last_img

Clear Lake councilman Boehnke says he’ll not seek another term

first_imgCLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake’s third ward councilman says he’s not going to seek re-election.Jim Boehnke is in the last year of his second term on the City Council. Boehnke tells KGLO News that he’s been doing some serious juggling between his job and serving in city government.  “Due to business proposals that I’m encountering right now, I’m so busy that I am not going to seek re-election to the Third Ward of the Clear Lake City Council. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve Clear Lake and I’m looking forward to continue to do anything I can for the city and maybe someday I’ll be back.”Boehnke says he’s enjoyed his time on the council. “Oh, it’s been wonderful. I’ve done my very best to try to help people. I’ve always considered myself a public servant, and keeping that goal in mind, I was always humbled and tried to help people in any way that I could.”Boehnke won’t rule out coming back to serve in city government in the future.  “I could see myself running for office again at some point. I’m young enough that three or four years down the road that might very well happen.”Besides the Third Ward seat, Clear Lake voters in November will vote for two other council positions currently held by First Ward councilman Mark Ebeling and at-large councilman and mayor pro-tem Mike Callanan.last_img read more

It’s Opening Day 2019…The Water is Calling You

first_imgFacebook24Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Olympia Yacht ClubSaturday May 11 is the annual Sound Sound Opening Day of Boating Season Celebration held in downtown Olympia along Percival Landing and the Port Plaza Park. All area residents are invited to attend and further, all South Sound boats interested in celebrating Opening Day are urged to join the Opening Day Parade which occurs the same weekend as the Olympia Wooden Boat Festival. Sponsored by the Olympia Yacht Club (OYC) with active support from the South Sound Sailing Society, Opening Day is a ceremony and celebration that marks the traditional start of the South Sound boating season. The Decorated Boat Parade with the Lakefair 2019 theme of “Cut Loose” is the day’s main event and all South Sound boats are welcome to join the Parade.Opening Day is a decades old Olympia event with similar events in other marine cities throughout Puget Sound. Key elements of South Sound Opening Day include live music, the Ceremony and Blessing of the Fleet and of course the Decorated Boats Parade along downtown Olympia’s shoreline.The Parade is open to any South Sound boat, BIG or small, Sail or Power; decorating your boat is urged but by no means required. South Sound boat owners interested in joining the May 11 Decorated Boat Parade should RSVP to 360-867-8418 via text or phone or email [email protected] to reserve their spot in the Parade.  Alternatively, they can also register in person at the OYC Clubhouse (201 Simmons Street, Olympia) on May 10 at 6:00 p.m.  Once registered, participants pickup their registration packets Saturday May 11 11:15 a.m. at the Skipper’s Meeting held at the OYC Clubhouse.The South Sound Opening Day Parade of Decorated Boats begins at 12:00 p.m. featuring both power and sail craft as little as 20 feet and up to 55 feet from throughout the South Sound.  Olympia’s Lakefair Court is embarked on the judge’s boat and helps award prizes for categories such as Best Sailboat and Best Themed Boat.  After starting near Port Plaza Park (excellent place to watch the event) the Opening Day Boat Parade heads out into West Bay before circling back to return to the Port Plaza Park and Percival Landing area.South Sound boat Skippers ought to participate in the 2019 Opening Day Parade. And, all South Sound residents and families interested in Olympia’s beautiful marine environment, a great local event and decorated boats should make the time to attend this long-standing maritime tradition on Saturday May 11.last_img read more