News Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the Chinese government’s praise of its human rights performance last year in a white paper published yesterday and points out that the regime continues to be one of the worst in the world for persecuting journalists and bloggers and censoring the news. China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News “The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavours fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions,” the State Council Information Office said in a release about the white paper.Entitled “Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2014,” it emphasizes the government’s commitment to “fundamental rights,” “universal values,” “democracy” and “civil society.”“The white paper’s hypocrisy and presumptuousness would be good for a laugh if they were not matched by the severity of the government’s treatment of journalists, bloggers and cyber-dissidents,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk.“By using statistics in a way that renders them meaningless, the report’s authors try in vain to hide the long list of human rights violations being carried out at the direct behest of President Xi Jinping’s government. We urge the international community to condemn this report’s mendacious self-assessment. China must stop pretending to respect human rights and must stop jailing all party and government critics with impunity.”The white paper devotes just a few hundred out of a total of 14,000 words to media freedom and freedom of expression. “Freedom of speech (is) better protected,” it says, citing a series of figures that supposedly support this claim: “In 2014 China published 46.5 billion copies of newspapers, 3.2 billion copies of periodicals, and 8.4 billion copies of books, with 6.12 copies of books per person. By the end of 2014 the population of netizens in China was 650 million, and the Internet penetration rate was 47.9 percent.” Help by sharing this information Organisation RSF_en April 27, 2021 Find out more ChinaAsia – Pacific Receive email alerts to go further June 2, 2021 Find out more News China’s Cyber Censorship Figures June 10, 2015 – Updated on January 20, 2016 China dares to praise its own human rights record Follow the news on China Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes ChinaAsia – Pacific News This paragraph ends with three phrases that suggest an interest in qualitative indicators but they are no more than a series of baseless claims about an imaginary reality:“The public can air opinions, and raise criticisms and suggestions freely through the news media, and discuss problems of this country and society. The government encourages enterprises to provide various Internet services to the public in accordance with the law so as to create a good environment for the public to acquire and exchange information. A cleaner cyber space is becoming an ever important place for the public to get information and make their voices heard.”In fact, the Chinese government tightened its grip on the media in 2014. Regulations were issued banning journalists from “making unauthorized criticisms” while well-known journalists and respected human rights activists were jailed.The journalist Gao Yu, the cyber-dissident Xu Zhiyong and the Uyghur blogger Ilham Tohti joined the hundred or so journalists and information activists already jailed in China. “Confessions” became the fashion. Gao Yu and another journalist, Xiang Nanfu, were forced to deliver televised “self-criticisms” in May 2014.One of the world’s online censorship pioneers, the Chinese government has continued to dedicate a great deal of resources to keeping the Internet under close control. The pro-democracy “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong and attempts to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre were both subjected to carefully orchestrated media blackouts that used censorship, content blocking and news manipulation. Independent news websites such as 64Tianwang are often the targets of cyber-attacks by hackers in the party’s service.The world’s biggest prison for news and information providers, China is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. March 12, 2021 Find out more
Sri Lanka: tamil reporter held on absurd terrorism charge Follow the news on Sri Lanka Sri LankaAsia – Pacific July 29, 2020 Find out more to go further Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about the safety of Vediwel Thevaraj, associate editor of the Tamil daily Veerakesari, who has received death threats.In a letter to the Minister of Public Security, Law and Order, Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, the organisation urged the authorities in Colombo to take seriously threats against the Tamil journalist since the murder of one of his colleagues, Dharmeratnam Sivaram on 29 April 2005.”It is urgent to arrest the authors of these threats before they can put them into effect,” it said.On two successive days after the abduction of Sivaram, the 29 and 30 April, unidentified people speaking in Singalese and Tamil telephoned Thevaraj’s home. Most of the calls were taken by the journalist’s niece, who was told that her uncle would be next on the list. News News Sri LankaAsia – Pacific May 24, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Fears for safety of Tamil journalist Organisation Receive email alerts RSF_en Sri Lanka: RSF signs joint statement on attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists News January 13, 2021 Find out more News Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about the safety of Vediwel Thevaraj, associate editor of Tamil daily Veerakesari, and friend of journalist Dharmeratnam Sivaram, who was murdered on 29 April. The organisation urged the Colombo authorities to find and arrest the authors of death threats against him before they can put their threats into effect. When he heard about Sivaram’s death, Thevaraj, who was in Melbourne at the time, decided to cut short his visit and to return to Colombo. On 1st May, he went to the deceased man’s home where his body was still lying. Throughout his visit, from 3.30 to 9.30pm, Thevaraj noticed a suspicious looking grey jeep, parked in front of the house, the same type of vehicle that had been used to abduct the journalist.Later in the evening, after returning home, Thevaraj was woken by noises from the street. He opened the door to see where the noises came from and recognised the same grey jeep, this time parked a few metres from his house.The following day, the Tamil journalist received a further anonymous call at his office repeating the death threats.Thevaraj went to Canada on a long-planned trip from 5-21 May and has received no new threats since he returned to Colombo. Sri Lanka: Journalist manhandled by notorious police inspector currently on trial July 15, 2020 Find out more
In just seven years—and only three with mainstream success—Nirvana paved the way for the sound of American music in the early 1990’s. Few bands were able to make such profound and impactful statements in the music industry in such a brief amount of time.Following their 1989 album, Bleach, and 1991’s Nevermind, Nirvana released their third and final studio album, In Utero, on September 21, 1993. It was a major step forward for the band, using this new platform of fame to challenge their audience and distort both their public image and their sound.The record wasn’t completed during their studio session with Steve Albini, however, and took R.E.M producer Scott Litt to dedicate some serious amendments to the album’s overall packaging, resolving controversy over the record’s production and mixing. This was difficult for bandleader Kurt Cobain to deal with, as he wanted to keep this record in the nature that sought to define it: raw, in the moment, fluid with his own pace. But the label wouldn’t approve, saying no one would like it.It was after Scott Litt’s adaptations that the quality of the record was finally ready for their label DGC to approve as commercially viable. With his help, “Heart-Shaped Box” made it out to the shelves as the first single, and the entire record eventually debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Selling over 180,000 copies in the first week alone, stores like Kmart and Wal-Mart still refused to sell the less-than-appropriate work-of-art.While the band’s intent was to relinquish mainstream approval and defy the standards of their label’s interests, they still managed to deliver one of the most important records of the 90s. Kurt Cobain died less a year later on April 5, 1994. In honor of In Utero‘s milestone birthday today, stream the full record below via Spotify:Nirvana – In Utero – Full Album Nirvana – In Utero – TracklistingAll songs written by Kurt Cobain, except where noted.“Serve the Servants” – 3:36“Scentless Apprentice” (Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic) – 3:48“Heart-Shaped Box” – 4:41“Rape Me” – 2:50“Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” – 4:09“Dumb” – 2:32“Very Ape” – 1:56“Milk It” – 3:55“Pennyroyal Tea” – 3:37“Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” – 4:51“tourette’s” – 1:35“All Apologies” – 3:51View Tracklisting
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A local environmental group is taking the fight against water pollution straight to Long Islanders’ lawns through a new “I Love Long Island” campaign meant to curb the use of potentially harmful high-nitrogen fertilizers.The ambitious project, spearheaded by the nonprofit Grassroots Environmental Education, coincides with Earth Day, which is on April 22. To raise awareness about pesticides and high-nitrogen fertilizer, Doug Wood, associate director of Grassroots Environmental Education, founded ILoveLongIsland.org. The site provides educational material about certain lawn products and encourages people to sign a pledge to refrain from using fertilizers containing 10 percent nitrogen or more on their property. A coalition of more than 30 environmental groups has already signed the pledge. “This is like heroin for your lawn,” Wood said, explaining that grass and plants eventually become too dependent on such products to survive. Part of the problem is people are constantly seeking “that perfect lawn…but they don’t realize there’s a payment for this,” he said, adding that stormwater runoff can lead to contaminated drinking water, algae blooms and fish kills. Wood sees an opportunity in changing people’s habits toward how they treat their lawns. “This is a problem that people can do something about,” he said. Along with launching the new website, GEE is creating 500 “I Love Long Island” lawn signs that will be ready for distribution on Earth Day, and he commissioned a short video explaining the potential dangers associated with high-nitrogen products. The animated video, “I Love Long Island—The Movie,” depicts a Long Islander convincing his neighbor who enjoys fishing to make the switch to more environmentally friendly products. One of the biggest threats to Long Island’s water supply is nitrogen, which can seep into the Island’s many waterways and vulnerable underground aquifers, which are the main source of the region’s drinking water. While nitrogen produced by wastewater has been blamed for threatening protective marshlands, experts also point to other pollutants and fertilizer as possible factors of environmental degradation. Wood acknowledges that many homeowners are simply unaware about the effects of high-nitrogen products, and he’s sympathetic to landscapers who understand potential consequences but are “kind of forced by the market to use these chemicals.” He also understands that the higher price tag associated with organic fertilizers can be a deterrent. “I’m not trying to take business away from anybody…I’d like to see everyone do well,” he said. In the past, Wood’s organization has trained more than 1,000 landscapers in the science of lawn care, and was hired by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to train school facility directors on the topic. New York, he noted, is the only state in the country that prohibits pesticides on school grounds. Now Wood and a coalition of groups that signed on to the “I Love Long Island” pledge are hoping to educate residents who want to do their part in protecting the region’s natural resources.