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Friday:  August 15, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Sunday
Jun262011

Major Media Markets Big Winners at African Journalism Awards (REPORT)

By a HUMNEWS Correspondent in Johannesburg

(HN, June 26, 2011) -- Major media markets such as Kenya, Uganda and South Africa walked away with the bulk of the awards last night at the African Journalism Awards in Johannesburg last night.The African Journalism Awards gala in Johannesburg. CREDIT: HUMNEWS

The top prize winner was Fatuma Noor of The Star of Kenya, who was recognized for her hard work on a three-part series on the militant Islamic group in Somalia, al-Shabab. It was chosen from among 1407 entries from 42 nations across the African continent.

The series tells the story of the young men who give up their freedom abroad to return and fight for the ‘Al-Shabaab’ in one of the world’s most dangerous places on earth – Somalia.

Fatuma Noor was one of the 27 finalists at the Awards ceremony on Saturday evening and was a winner in the category ‘General News Award (Print).’

The Awards, which rotate location each year in tribute to their pan-African credentials, were held at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice. Established in 1995 in Ghana, the awards were co-founded by the legendary African photo-journalist "Mo" Amin.

Last night, Kenya alone received four awards, Uganda three and host country South Africa three. One sponsor of the event told HUMNEWS that the domination of larger media markets in the awards line-up is a trend that has held almost since the event was first hosted. He added that smaller countries may not have the capability to submit entries or that some works are produced in countries that have governments hostile to enterprise journalism.

Chair of the judging panel, journalist and media consultant Joel Kibazo said: “The judges were impressed with the high quality of entries to the competition this year, and this intrepid young journalist has shown great courage and determination in going the extra mile to tell this fascinating story. Fatuma Noor’s three-part series on the Al-Shabaab provides a detailed and personalised portrait of the young men who leave their comfortable western lives to join one of the world’s most ruthless militant groups in Somalia.”

The evening also recognised Mahamud Abdi Jama as this year’s recipient of the Free Press Africa Award, for his work in Somalia. His situation was noted by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) in New York. He wrote a critical article about the government there and was jailed for just over a month and released when pressure was put on the government of Somalia.

Media freedom is still very tenuous in many markets on the African continent. Just last week, the CPJ reported that Ethiopian columnist Reeyot Alemu has been detained and held incommunicado. She is a regular contributor to the independent weekly, Feteh.

Even in host country South Africa, journalists tell HUMNEWS they fear a sweeping crackdown if a proposed draconian bill on secrecy passes the legislature.

(The Bill is a revised version of a 2008 piece of proposed legislation that was withdrawn after protests that it would give state bodies too much leeway to quash information. It establishes serious hurdles for the media and civil society to obtain information about official corruption mismanagement and government service delivery issues. It gives government officials wide powers to prevent disclosure in the interests of “national security” which is broadly defined to cover a vast array of information).

No mention of the legislation - initated by the administration of President Jacob Zuma - was made last night.

Other winners at the awards ceremony were:

ARTS & CULTURE AWARD

Kofi Akpabli, Freelance for DailyGraphic, Ghana.
Title: ‘What is right with Akpeteshie?’


DIGITAL JOURNALISM AWARD

The Dispatch Online Team on behalf of ‘The Daily Dispatch’ in South Africa.
Title: ‘Failed Futures’


ECONOMICS & BUSINESS AWARD

Sylvia Chebet and Kimani Githae, Citizen TV, Kenya.
Title:  ‘An uphill task’


ENVIRONMENT AWARD

Lamia Hassan, Business Today Egypt, Egypt.
Title:  ‘Washed up’


FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: PRINT

Rabin Bhujun, L'Express Dimanche, Mauritius.

Title: ‘Le vrai pouvoir des castes’


FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: TV / (RADIO

Claudine Efoa Atohoun, ORTB, Benin.

Title: ‘Le barrage de Nagbéto: Outil de développement ou source de nuisance’


FREE PRESS AFRICA AWARD

Mahamud Abdi Jama,Waaheen Media, Somalia.


HIV/AIDS REPORTING IN AFRICA AWARD

Beryl Ooro, K24 TV, Kenya.

Title: ‘HIV infection among senior citizens in Kenya’


MOHAMED AMIN PHOTOGRAPHIC AWARD

Norman Katende, freelance for The New Vision, Uganda.

Title:  ‘When death strikes’


PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GENERAL NEWS AWARD

Selma Marivate, TV Miramar, Mozambique.

Title:  ‘O Movimento Rastafari em Mocambique’


RADIO GENERAL NEWS AWARD

Melini Moses, SABC, South Africa.
Title: ‘Hillbrow – Den of Iniquity’


SPORT AWARD

Kamau Mutunga, DN2 Magazine, Daily Nation, Kenya.
Title: ‘Soccer and Superstition (Animal body parts and snake blood on the pitch)’


TELEVISION – GENERAL NEWS – FEATURE/CURRENT AFFAIRS AWARD

Lindile Mpanza, e.tv, South Africa.
Title: ‘Silence of the innocents’


TELEVISION – GENERAL NEWS – NEWS BULLETIN AWARD

Farouk Kayondo, UBC, Uganda.
Title:   ‘Watching in the hood’


TOURISM AWARD

Benon Herbert Oluka, DailyMonitor, Uganda.
Title: ‘Why Ugandans would rather watch goat races than visit their national parks or heritage sites’

Friday
Apr152011

Deployment of Solo TV News Crews to Foreign Conflict Zones Problematic (REPORT)

TV news crews are frequently finding themselves as targets: news crew near Tahrir Square in Feb 2011. M Bociurkiw/HUMN(HN, April 16, 2011) - With foreign journalists under siege in many parts of the world, especially in ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, news agencies may need to think twice before deploying solo video journalists to conflict zones.

The issue of precautions for so-called all-platform journalists or multi-media journalists came up a a panel at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) this week in Las Vegas.

Also called 'backpack journalism' (BPJ), the trend of downsizing news teams is emerging in more TV markets, both big and small. Smaller cameras and ubiquitous connectivity - as well as budget slashing at news operations - are making media proprietors far more keen on the all-platform journalist model.

While the trend has worked fairly well in developed economies, such as the US and Canada, it is still too early to tell whether conditions allow for mass deployment of one-man videographer teams in danger zones overseas.

"When it comes to folks working by themselves you don't have someone watching your back," said Kevin Benz, a broadcast journalism veteran and award-winning news photographer. "When you are staring down that lens you are in complete tunnel vision and you don't have anyone watching for you."

Benz said that in conflict zones, larger crews may be more conspicuous but they allow for more protection.

"If you go off to dangerous places - whether it's in our cities or in other countries - by yourself there should be significant ethical consideration in our newsrooms that we make sure that we are keeping our journalists safe. If we know that we are sending them into something that is dangerous that we are sending them with support. That's being smart about being safe," said Benz.

On the other hand, there are benefits to a lean deployment to the field. The "intimidation factor" of interviewing subjects drops dramatically with smaller equipment, said Stacey Woelfel, an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and the news director for KOMU-TV, the University of Missouri-owned NBC affiliate for central Missouri.

"Smaller equipment does lend some stealth to the operation that we didn't have before," said Woelfel. "There is a trade-off there as our journalists will be able to work more secretly."

The issue of the safety and security of journalists has become more prominent in recent weeks as protests have rocked numerous countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Earlier this month a team from The New York Times was detained for several days by pro-Gadaffi elements in Libya. And in February, CBS News '60 Minutes' correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted in Cairo while covering the uprising in and around Tahrir Square.

CNN correspondents Anderson Cooper and Hala Gorani, and CBS News anchor Katie Couric were shown on-air being pushed around while covering the uprisings in Tahrir Square. All were accompanied by at least one crew member when they became the target of unruly crowds.

As news gathering drifts into a task done by many - including freelancers and citizen journalists - sufficient vetting of user-generated content streaming into newsrooms needs to be a major consideration. One panelist said that with more new sources sending stories and tweets into newsrooms from far-off locations, fact verification has to be part of the news work flow. "You want to be sure these people are legitimate."

Benz cited the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) as an institution that has pioneered fact verification in often difficult circumstances. The service uses contributors in country where freedom of information is severly restricted. "They have developed very, very strong systems to verify information."

Benz said whether at home or abroad, leaner news operations means that "fewer people are working faster" to gather the news. "Give journalists time to verify the facts," he said.

- Reporting by Michael Bociurkiw in Las Vegas