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World Humanitarian Day

“Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict. On this day we also take More »

Aung San Suu Kyi

Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma Alex Lazar 7 MIN READ

Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma Alex Lazar Aung San Suu Kyi is treating the press in Myanmar poorly, and that may impede her efforts to democratize the conflict-wrought country. More »

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Journalist Organization Gives Award to CNN’s Jim Acosta

Journalist Organization Gives Award to CNN’s Jim Acosta NAHJ honors vocal Trump critic for ‘always pushing both sides to answer the tough questions’ BY: Jack Heretik August 9, 2017 12:57 pm The National More »

Britain’s performing arts has ‘class shaped hole’ warns diversity report

Britain’s performing arts has ‘class shaped hole’ warns diversity report Widespread action is needed recommends the Labour Party research.   A “class shaped hole” exists across the performing arts industry in Britain, More »

david sheen

The only democracy in the Middle East? Not without free speech, Israel is not

Israel promotes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East. Former prime minister Ehud Barak once described his nation as a “villa in the jungle“. But recent years have seen a More »

World Humanitarian Day

WHD

“Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict. On this day we also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need, and pay tribute to the government employees, members of civil society and representatives of international organizations and agencies who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid and protection.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Global Humanitarian overview 2017

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Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma Alex Lazar 7 MIN READ

Aung San Suu Kyi

Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma

Journalist Organization Gives Award to CNN’s Jim Acosta

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Journalist Organization Gives Award to CNN’s Jim Acosta

NAHJ honors vocal Trump critic for ‘always pushing both sides to answer the tough questions’

BY: Jack Heretik

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is giving its 2017 Presidential Award to CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who has emerged this year as a media star for his frequent clashes with the Trump administration.

NAHP will honor Acosta at the Hall of Fame Gala on Sept. 9 in Anaheim, Calif., the group announced Wednesday.

“For the past years, I’ve seen Jim Acosta in action. He’s covered President Obama and President Donald Trump, always pushing both sides to answer the tough questions,” said Brandon Benavides, NAHJ’s president. “As a voice for the people, Acosta is not afraid to hold our elected leaders accountable. Regardless of criticism, he remains focused in a pursuit of truth for our communities.”

Acosta has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and his administration. He also has been a foe of White House press secretaries, gaining attention for his outbursts and commentary on policy issues during press briefings.

Some of Acosta’s own CNN colleagues have criticized his antics, saying he is angling for his own opinion show on the network rather than reporting.

During a recent press briefing about immigration, Acosta got into a heated argument with White House policy adviser Stephen Miller that gained widespread media attention. Acosta’s comments and argument drew as much attention as the issue itself. At one point, he accused the White House of “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people” into the United States.

At a press conference in January, Trump called Acosta and CNN “fake news.” Acosta has also accused Trump of hosting a “fake news conference.”

Acosta tweeted on Wednesday that he is “incredibly honored” to receive NAHP’s award and thanked the organization.

Britain’s performing arts has ‘class shaped hole’ warns diversity report

Britain’s performing arts has ‘class shaped hole’ warns diversity report

Widespread action is needed recommends the Labour Party research.

 

A “class shaped hole” exists across the performing arts industry in Britain, a diversity report has found.

Widespread action by government, drama colleges, HMRC, broadcasters, film companies and theatres is needed to counter a “diversity crisis” across performing arts according to Labour Party research, Acting Up.

Led by the party’s MPs Tracy Brabin, an ex-Coronation Street actress, and Gloria De Piero, a former ITV journalist, Acting Up lays out a series of recommendations including urging the government to take action over a drop in the number of GCSE students studying drama.

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Labour MP Tracy Brabin and deputy leader Tom Watson (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

It also calls on the Arts Council to stop funding projects which pay “poverty wages” and the need for a targeted review by Her Majesties Revenue and Customs into enforcing the application of the national living wage across the industry.

The report took evidence from a number of on-screen and behind-the-scenes talent including actress and star of The Good Wife, Cush Jumbo, who revealed she was told her south London accent was “lazy” during her time at drama school and described the experience as the first time she “realised I was of colour”.

Ms De Piero and Ms Brabin said the report shows the arts is “increasingly dominated by a narrow set of people from well off backgrounds”.

Ms Brabin warned a “carousel of the same stories” would continue if action was not taken to increase the amount of working class, disabled and diverse talent.

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Cush Jumbo (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The research, commissioned by the party’s deputy leader and shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, found an example of the Arts Council funding a project which paid workers or performers as little as £100 a week for eight weeks’ full-time work.

Citing the release of the BBC top paid on-screen talent in highlighting the gender and black, Asian and minority ethnic pay gaps, the report calls for a more comprehensive approach to diversity data collection across film, TV, theatre and drama schools in order to form a clearer picture of the current make-up of the performing arts.

Other key recommendations include:

:: An increase in funding for schools to take students on free trips to the theatre.

:: Reforming the application process for drama schools which currently charge audition fees of up to £100.

:: A revamp of the EBacc – a school performance indicator tied to GCSEs made up of English, maths, science, history or geography, and a language – which the report claims has led to a “systematic marginalisation of arts subjects, particularly drama, from schools”.

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Rakie Ayola praised the report (Matt Crossick/PA

Writing in the report, Ms Brabin and Ms De Piero, said: “As women from northern working class backgrounds who went on to work in TV we know what it’s like to have people sneer at your accent and struggle to pay your way.”

They added the issue matters particularly in the performing arts as it offers a “mirror to the nation” and claimed “we’ll all be poorer” if progress is not made.

Rakie Ayola, who is currently starring as Hermione in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, praised the report and called for immediate action.

She said: “If you ask everyone in the industry if they are for diversity they all put their hands up, but there comes a time when people need to say it out loud. That time is now.”

A Government spokesman said they were “completely committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to take part in arts and culture, including in schools,”.

They also referenced a 2016 Culture White Paper and a review of Arts Council England which aim to make “diversity across the arts workforce a priority”.

He added: “There is no evidence that GCSE entries in arts subjects have declined as a direct result of the introduction of the EBacc performance measure. We are also investing £300 million between 2016 – 2020 to help young people from all backgrounds enjoy music and arts.”

“The government is clear that all businesses, irrespective of size or sector, are responsible for paying the minimum wage and takes action to ensure that everyone receive what they are entitled to,” the spokesman said.

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The only democracy in the Middle East? Not without free speech, Israel is not

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Israel promotes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak once described his nation as a “villa in the jungle“. But recent years have seen a major erosion of press freedoms in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and an Israeli Jewish public that wholeheartedly supports the suppression of independent media.

Palestinian journalists are routinely harassed and arrested. Palestinians are increasingly targeted on social media after Israel accuses them of incitementAl Jazeera is now being threatened with closure. Israel’s communication minister Ayoub Kara claimed that Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain were his inspiration for trying to shut the Qatari news channel.

Israeli journalists aren’t immune. Being opposed to the decades-long occupation automatically makes you a target. Israel cannot maintain its control over millions of Palestinians without instituting a regime of control, intimidation, imprisonment and death. Occupation is

, imprisonment and death. Occupation is brutal, unforgivingand now permanent.

Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen is the latest reporter to fall foul of Israel’s draconian political environment – and his case should be a wake-up call to a global community that still clings to the belief that Israel is a thriving democracy.

Sheen has contributed to The New Arab, Haaretz, Al Jazeera and others, and is one of Israel’s finest chroniclersof the state’s mistreatment of its Africans, and a consistent advocate of humanitarian principles.

He is being sued by an Israeli general, Israel Ziv, for writing about Ziv’s connections to the South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir.

Late last year, Israel’s Channel 2 discovered that Ziv’s company, Global CST, in addition to assisting and trainingsecurity forces in South America, Eurasia and Africa, was advising Kiir to defend his beleaguered South Sudanese regime.

Mexican journalist threatened in Michoacán state

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Mexican journalist threatened in Michoacán state

July 26, 2017 11:12 AM ET

Mexico City, July 26, 2017–Mexican authorities must undertake a swift and credible investigation into death threats sent to José Maldonado and ensure the journalist’s safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.Maldonado, who is based in Morelia, the capital of the central Mexican state of Michoacán, told CPJ he received a threatening email on July 21 signed Raúl Solorio. The email warned Maldonado, the 49-year-old editorial director of Agencia Mexicana de Noticias Noventa Grados, to stop reporting on the activities of the state’s law enforcement agencies. The message, which CPJ has viewed, ends with a series of implicit death threats against Maldonado. The journalist told CPJ he does not know of anyone named Raúl Solorio.”In Mexico, threats against journalists too often escalate to deadly violence,” said CPJ Senior Program Coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría in New York. “Mexican authorities should swiftly investigate the threatening messages sent to José Maldonado, and ensure that he and other threatened journalists have the necessary protections to continue reporting safely.”

Maldonado, who founded Agencia Mexicana de Noticias Noventa Grados in Morelia in 2007, covers a range of subjects, including crime and violence, corruption, and socioeconomic issues.

A translation of the threatening email said, “We have had conversations with you for some time in relation to the activities you have in your pamphlet, because [you are not] a journalist … We believed you had disciplined yourself and had understood as other colleagues have, but we realize, reading your last articles, that you have not.”

The email says that information published by Noventa Grados has become “uncomfortable” to Martín Godoy, the state attorney general, and Rodrigo González Ramírez, who heads the state’s anti-kidnapping unit. The email ends with a series of implicit death threats, including a reference to Rogelio Arredondo Guillén, the director of Investigation and Analysis of the state attorney general’s office, who was killed on July 1, and warns Maldonado that if he writes one more article it will be his last.

On July 13, Noventa Grados published an article about alleged ties between Arredondo and organized crime, following earlier pieces in March and May alleging ties between Michoacán law enforcement and other crime, such as gasoline theft.

Maldonado told CPJ that he believes the death threats are a direct response to at least some of those articles. A spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office said she was not authorized to provide CPJ with comment on the case. Several phone calls that CPJ made to the office of Godoy on July 24 and 25 went unanswered.

Maldonado told CPJ he has been threatened before over his coverage of law enforcement. The Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists has provided him with protection since 2015, after he and his family received several threats over his reporting. He told CPJ the mechanism provided him with a panic button. A spokesperson for the mechanism told CPJ yesterday that his institution is reviewing possibly providing additional safety measures for Maldonado, including police protection.

Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, the federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression, told CPJ yesterday that he is aware of the threats and that his institution, which works under the auspices of the federal Attorney General’s Office, has opened an investigation. He said that Maldonado needs to give an official statement to the FEADLE. The journalist told CPJ he intends to do that as soon as possible.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. In 2017, at least four journalists have been murdered and one was abducted there, according to CPJ research, CPJ is investigating the case of a fifth journalist to determine if his killing is directly related to his work.

Turkish journalist defends press freedom as grand trial begins

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Turkish journalist defends press freedom as grand trial begins

Hundreds of protesters gather at court as 17 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper stand trial

A top Turkish correspondent delivered a powerful defence of press freedom as he took the stand in the largest trial of journalists in the country, saying he was being punished for doing his job and criticising Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism.

Kadri Gürsel, one of 17 journalists, lawyers and executives from Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper, who are standing trial on charges of aiding and abetting terrorist organisations, urged the presiding judge to drop the charges, saying the fact that he was standing trial on flimsy accusations was proof that his warnings of creeping authoritarianism were prescient.

“I am here because I am an independent, questioning and critical journalist, not because I knowingly and willingly helped a terrorist organisation,” he said. “Because I have not compromised in my journalism and I am persistent until the end. All these accusations directed to me are devoid of wisdom and reason, and are beyond the scope of any law or conscience,” he added.

Turkey has become one of the world’s largest jailers of journalists, with 178 behind bars. Since a traumatic coup attempt last July, 173 media outlets have been shut down and 800 journalists have had their passports and press credentials confiscated, according to opposition statistics.

The government crackdown on the press continued in the aftermath of the coup under the ongoing state of emergency. Much of Turkey’s media has been coopted by the government, and journalists accuse the ruling party of putting pressure on advertisers to abandon struggling opposition newspapers. They say the lawsuits and the imprisonments of journalists have created an environment of fear that promotes self-censorship. Few local newspapers reported on the start of the trial.

Cumhuriyet has borne the brunt of the government’s ire because of the newspaper’s harsh criticism of its policies. It condemned as a “witch hunt” a crackdown after the coup that has ensnared tens of thousands of civil servants, judges, military and police officers, academics as well as dissidents, and endorsed a peaceful resolution to the crisis with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at a time when tensions with the group were spiralling.

Fethullah Gülen
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 Fethullah Gülen, whose movement has been accused of orchestrating last year’s coup. Photograph: Chris Post/AP

It also embarrassed the national intelligence service by revealing that it had transported weapons to rebels in Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid in 2014, a leak that the government says was orchestrated by Gülenists.

“Cumhuriyet shows the fascist side of the ruling party,” said Bariș Yarkadaș, an opposition MP who visited the imprisoned journalists and was attending the trial. “That is why they want to suffocate it. They are not just prosecuting a newspaper, but they want to prosecute republican values. They want monarchy, not republican rule.”

The Cumhuriyet trial has drawn broad condemnation from human rights and press freedom advocates, who say the allegations are unfounded and politically motivated, with the aim of muzzling the last major newspaper that is strongly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling party. They see the threat of closure for the staunchly secular newspaper, founded in 1924, as an assault on the founding values of the republic.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Çağlayan justice palace near downtown Istanbul to protest against the trial, which is taking place nine months after the journalists were first incarcerated. People outside the courtroom clapped for the journalists as they were marched into the crowded premises, which were filled with lawyers, family members and international observers.

The initial phase of the trial is expected to continue until Friday with defenc statements from the journalists, and the judge is expected to rule on whether to release them on bail while the case icontinues. On Monday, Gürsel testified, along with the head of the newspaper’s executive board, Akin Atalay.

The start of the trial coincided with the National Press festival in Turkey, celebrating the declaration of a constitutional monarchy by the Ottoman rulers and the abolition of censorship in 1908, an irony that was pointed out by observers of the case.

Many have also noted the apparent absurdity of the charges, whereby newspaper staff are accused of aiding and abetting terrorist organisations that they have long challenged publicly in their newspapers. The indictment accuses them of supporting the goals of the Fethullah Gülen movement – believed by many in Turkey to have orchestrated last year’s coup – and the PKK.

“The indictment charges them for aiding and abetting terrorist organisations, but what did they do in reality? Nothing but news,” said a statement by the journalists’ syndicate, whose members attended the trial. “The word ‘news’ appears 667 times in the indictment … A newspaper as old as the republic is being accused of supporting terrorism only based on the fact that its employees made news.”

“We will neither leave our friends and colleagues alone in those prisons nor resign ourselves to oppression, threats and thugs,” the statement added.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

on charges of aiding terrorists

ASIAN BBC STARS REVOLT OVER PAY GAP

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ASIAN BBC STARS REVOLT OVER PAY GAP

 

THE BBC must do more to bridge the pay gap between ethnic minorities and white employees, according to journalists and presenters at the corporation, with some pointing out that the organisation had a “tick box” approach to increasing diversity in its programming and elsewhere.

A week after the BBC revealed how many of its staff were paid more than £150,000, a former senior employee slammed the broadcaster, saying “racial diversity has taken a back seat since Greg Dyke left [the organisation]”. Of the 96 highest-paid stars at the BBC, only 10 are from a minority background.

Among them is Sri Lanka-born presenter George Alagiah, who is 25th on the list with earnings of £250,000-£299,999. Radio 4’s Today presenter Mishal Husain, who is of Pakistani origin, earns £200,000-£249,999 and is 47th on the list.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s presenter Nihal Arthanayake, who has been with the organisation since 2002, told Eastern Eye on Monday (24) that he was “disappointed to see a lack of ethnic minorities” in the list.

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Nihal Arthanayake

“The pay gap is an issue which the BBC has admitted needs rectifying,” Nihal said.

An Asian journalist, who did not wish to be identified, told Eastern Eye: “When they say diversity, I don’t think they know or truly mean it. They say: ‘Oh, if we get so-and-so to be on the front of that, then we’ve got the diversity box ticked.”

The journalist added: “I hope this isn’t a conversation that dies down. It would be a shame, especially for minorities, because we want to have our
point of view heard.” While praising the broadcaster for its news
coverage, the journalist nevertheless criticised it for being like an “old boys club – opportunities are given and rules are bent to progress the careers
of a certain mould of people; white, male and from Oxbridge”.

Commenting on the pay gap, the former senior BBC employee alleged that ethnic minorities in the organisation were “not being looked after”.

“I have great admiration for (BBC directorgeneral) Tony Hall but when he’s looking at gender pay, he also needs to look at ethnic minorities as well. He has to do it all and he has to do it now,” the ex-employee said.

“The most important thing is that they need to get a grip on racial diversity in the BBC because it’s just appalling. What the BBC have singularly failed to understand though is that when it comes to racial diversity, only 10 [of the BBC’s top paid stars] are in the top 100. That tells me that we’re not valued at all.

“Why is it that George Alagiah isn’t being paid as much as Hugh Edwards for doing the same job? Why is Mishal Husain, who fronts one of the most influential radio programme in the UK, languishes where she does?”

Ritula Shah, presenter of The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4, told Eastern Eye that she “[regards] working for the BBC as a huge privilege”.

BBC Radio 4 presenter Ritula Shah

However, she confirmed that her thoughts surrounding the issue were summarised in the open letter written last weekend by 40 female BBC personalities over the gender pay gap. In it, they said many have “suspected [the pay gap] foryears” and that BBC employees “would be willing to meet [Hall] to discuss ways in which [he] can correct this disparity so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination.”

Among those who signed the open letter were Shah, Husain, Anita Anard and Samira Ahmed.

Reposting the hashtag #BBCWomen on Twitter, stars such as Mishal Husain have brought much attention to the issue by demanding that change needs to happen now.

Others, however, have raised concerns that inequality within minorities is not being addressed enough. Channel 4 journalist Darshna Soni tweeted: “Lots of comment about #BBCpay and the #GenderPayGap. Far less about the difference between what White stars and Black/ Asian stars are paid (sic).”

This is the first time that the BBC has had to publicly reveal the salaries of stars who earn more than £150,000.

In response to the open letter, Lord Hall said: “Over the next three years I want the BBC to be regarded as an exemplar on gender and diversity.”

In 2014, Lord Hall announced that one in seven BBC presenters would be of an ethnic minority within the next three years.

Nihal spoke of his love for the BBC and said he was grateful for the opportunities he had. However, “it has also frustrated me at times as any
employer would,” he added.

The popular presenter has been with the broadcaster for 15 years, working at Radio 1, 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and now BBC5Live. He is on the independent diversity action plan board that hopes to increase diversity across the corporation’s programmes.

“I have gained shows and had shows taken away from me. The BBC has been good to me and I have brought something unique to the BBC,” he
told Eastern Eye.

“At every juncture I have thought about my future, and alongside my agent, tried to orchestrate where I wanted to be. I prefer to focus on getting to where I want to get to rather than complaining about where I am not. I find that is more positive and less poisonous. I’ve seen bitterness eat up people. I want to try and avoid being that guy.”

The journalist who wished to remain anonymous added: “I’m just glad that this conversation has started. This speaks to our whole society. By April next year, everyone will have to reveal their gender pay discrepancies and I would be very surprised if the BBC is the only one that has this issue when it comes to diversity. If the BBC can’t get it right, then who can?

“It would be a shame if this conversation stopped… we have access and insight that I don’t think necessarily all those who are of white privilege
have. Those are skills that need to be invested in and valued. This conversation is not about tripling anyone’s salary.”

Lord Hall added: “We have taken some significant steps forward but we do need to go further and faster. I have committed the BBC to closing the gap by 2020 and if we can get there earlier, we will.”

On the representation of ethnic minorities in the BBC, he said in a speech last Wednesday (19): “I want to achieve right balance when it comes to
BAME talent too. Here, we have a similarly tough target – 15 per cent by 2020. And, again that’s having an impact, with nearly 20 per cent of the leading talent we’ve hired or promoted in the last few years from BAME backgrounds.”

Labour MP and shadow minister for diverse communities Dawn Butler said the pay gap between white and minority ethnic staff was “shocking”.
She told Eastern Eye on Tuesday (25) “the public must have faith that the BBC pays all its colleagues fairly and on merit, yet the pay list sends a bad message with the majority of the BBC’s highest paid employees being both white and male.”

Recent statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) following a survey of job applications showed that candidates who had a distinct ethnic minority name suffered bias.

According to the latest labour market statistics, 10 per cent of ethnic minority individuals are unemployed compared to five per cent of the
overall population.

Farah Elani from the Runnymede Trust told Eastern Eye “the data from the BBC is disappointing.”

“It is a structural issue that starts with employment. We need targeted interventions that will result in a better outcome,” she said.

Myanmar: Detained journalists to be charged under colonial-era law

Myanmar: Detained journalists to be charged under colonial-era law

Arrests have alarmed country’s media community, fuelling fears that freedom of speech has become increasingly restricted under Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has retained loosely-worded security laws that are decried by monitors as violating free speech.
 Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has retained loosely-worded security laws that are decried by monitors as violating free speech. Photograph: Reuters

Three Myanmar reporters detained at an undisclosed location by the army will be charged under a colonial-era statute against “unlawful association” and face up to three years in jail, government and army officials have said.

The military arrested the journalists in Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state on Monday after they covered a drug-burning event organised by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ethnic armed group designated as an “unlawful association” by the Yangon authorities.

The reporters are from two media outlets publishing both in Burmese and English, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and the Irrawaddy. They were among the few media organisations providing independent coverage of Myanmar when it was under military rule before a democratic transition began in 2011.

The arrests alarmed Myanmar’s media community, fuelling fears that freedom of speech has become increasingly restricted since the government of Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi took power in April last year.

“Everyone should be treated according to the law,” said Aung San Suu Kyi’s spokesman, Zaw Htay. He added that the military told him it planned to charge the reporters under the Unlawful Association Act. A military source confirmed this.

Citing information from the army, Zaw Htay said the three reporters and four other men arrested with them were “being treated very well” at a military guesthouse and would be handed over to the police “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow”.

Despite pressure from human rights bodies and the West, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has retained loosely-worded security laws dating to British colonial rule, which ended in 1948, and decried by monitors as violating free speech.

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The Unlawful Association Act has long been used by the authorities to arbitrarily arrest and detain people in Myanmar, in particular people in ethnic and religious minority areas, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which has called on the government to release the journalists.

Western governments have also expressed their concern over the incident.

The US state department said it was “deeply concerned” about arrests of Thein Zaw from the Irrawaddy, and Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing from DVB, particularly in light of other recent arrests of journalists.

“We urge immediate action on this matter consistent with international standards of human rights and freedom of the press,” a spokeswoman, Katina Adams, said.

“A free press is vital to the success of peace and national reconciliation process,” she said.

The editors from the publications where the reporters work told Reuters they had tried obtaining explanations from the military and the government, but to no avail.

“We are all concerned about the situation, because we have lost connection with the detainees,” said Than Win Htut, a DVB editor. “Their families have the right to know what happened to them.”

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Army Combat Photographer Captures Last Moments Before Her Death

Hilda Clayton

By: Winny Moro
Canadian – Sudanese ANAJ Writer

Two extraordinary photos of combat photographer Spec. Hilda Clayton’s last seconds before her accidental death were released and published by the U.S. Army in their May-June issue of Military Review.
Clayton, along with an Afghan military photographer she was training and three Afghan National Army soldiers were killed in July 2013 when a mortar tube accidentally exploded right in front of them, injuring eleven other people. Astonishingly, right before the device detonated, Clayton and one of her trainees captured two last photos which display the fiery blast, engulfed in smoke and debris as it turned deadly.

It is suggested that at the instant of the explosion, due to the pressure differential of 14.7 Lbs of an atmosphere increase to at least that of a 100 times, the air pressure had almost instantly compressed all of her vital cavities to a combined mass of fluids and tissues. In other words she had been already dead while pictured standing up.

Twenty-two year old Hilda Clayton had been deployed overseas for less than a year when she died and was the first combat documentation and production specialist to be killed in Afghanistan. She was assigned as a visual information specialist to the Army’s 55th Signal Co., known as Combat Camera and was documenting a live-fire exercise in Laghman Province, Afghanistan at the time of her death.
Clayton was attached to the 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, where her mission was to document the training of Afghan forces. As a combat photographer, she was exposed to many dangers but also played a large role in participating in the Army’s efforts to create a visual record of U.S. military operations and having an eye on the ground to give commanders far from the battlefield a view of the action.
“Clayton’s death symbolizes how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts” the Army’s journal wrote. “Spc. Clayton embodied the Cavalry spirit. She was always willing to take on any mission and she pursued every opportunity to tell our story with her images.”
To honor her memory, Combat Camera has renamed its annual photo competition “SPC Hilda I. Clayton Best Combat Camera (COMCAM).” Clayton’s name is also now etched into the Hall of Heroes at her alma mater, the Defense Information School.

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