Human beings want to be free and however long they may agree to stay locked up, to stay oppressed, there will come a time when they say ‘That’s it.’ Suddenly they find themselves doing something that they never would have thought they would be doing, simply because of the human instinct that makes them turn their face towards freedom.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition politician, former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Laureate (1991)
Eroding Press Freedom - New Draconian Media Law Tightens The Kremlin’s Grip On Media

In the past months, Russia already adopted legislation being a serious threat to media pluralism in the country, bringing Internet under closer governmental control through immediate blocking of websites with content regarded as “extremist”, news media receiving funding from abroad being treated as “foreign agents”, banning advertising on pay TV channels (what will threat the existence of more than a half of all Russian TV channels) and thus leaving just small space for independent reporting.

On Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a regulatory action that will limit foreign ownership of media assets in Russia. 

 “Continuing the trend of the past two years and coming at a time when control of information is at the heart of the conflict in Ukraine, these laws constitute a grave attack on media pluralism, Internet freedom and the constitutional right to freedom of expression.” - Johann Bihr, head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk

The consequences of this step will be, that reports on politically sensitive topics will slowly disappear, as Russian media owners will be less inclined to take political risks or thus meet with pressure from Russian authorities.

The media laws can be seen as a large scale crackdown on Russia’s most important independent television and print news outlets, which provide critical reporting on the Kremlin, especially President Vladimir Putin, and are opposing to the powerful and Kremlin-backded state-run media.

The censorship of independent news and opposing political views, which are counted as being a mainstay of a democratic civil society, raises more and more concerns. 

The fact that - as opposition parliamentarian Ilya Ponomarev stated - “the way this law was voted suggests that it came directly from the president’s office” shows clearly that Vladimir Putin not only intends to limit freedom of information but also freedom of discussion, through which he wants the Russian people to refrain from political discourse.

Eroding Press Freedom - New Draconian Media Law Tightens The Kremlin’s Grip On Media

In the past months, Russia already adopted legislation being a serious threat to media pluralism in the country, bringing Internet under closer governmental control through immediate blocking of websites with content regarded as “extremist”, news media receiving funding from abroad being treated as “foreign agents”, banning advertising on pay TV channels (what will threat the existence of more than a half of all Russian TV channels) and thus leaving just small space for independent reporting.

On Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a regulatory action that will limit foreign ownership of media assets in Russia.

“Continuing the trend of the past two years and coming at a time when control of information is at the heart of the conflict in Ukraine, these laws constitute a grave attack on media pluralism, Internet freedom and the constitutional right to freedom of expression.” - Johann Bihr, head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk

The consequences of this step will be, that reports on politically sensitive topics will slowly disappear, as Russian media owners will be less inclined to take political risks or thus meet with pressure from Russian authorities.

The media laws can be seen as a large scale crackdown on Russia’s most important independent television and print news outlets, which provide critical reporting on the Kremlin, especially President Vladimir Putin, and are opposing to the powerful and Kremlin-backded state-run media.

The censorship of independent news and opposing political views, which are counted as being a mainstay of a democratic civil society, raises more and more concerns.

The fact that - as opposition parliamentarian Ilya Ponomarev stated - “the way this law was voted suggests that it came directly from the president’s office” shows clearly that Vladimir Putin not only intends to limit freedom of information but also freedom of discussion, through which he wants the Russian people to refrain from political discourse.

Two decades of protest and revolution from the so-called Color Revolutions in Eastern Europe during the early-mid 2000s, the streets of the Arab Spring and the unrest in the Middle East in 2011 to this years Euromaidan in Ukraine, Turkey’s Gezi Park protests, the World Cup protests in Brazil, the Ferguson protests and Occupy Hong Kong.

Reblogged from theflemface

Between The Barricades - Clashes In Hong Kong Erupt As Police Clear Road Near Government Headquarters

Yesterday police officers wearing riot gear clashes with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, using pepper spray, firing tear gas and arresting more than 40 people as they cleared an underpass near the government headquarters in Hong Kong’s central district.

The clashes are counted as the toughest crackdowns since the early days of the pro-democracy protests that broke out a few weeks ago.

Local television broadcaster TVB showed a video footage of a handcuffed protester (most likely a pro-democracy political member) being beaten by police officers during the police operation. After an outcry and heavy accusations towards Hong Kong’s police force, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok agreed that an investigation would be carried out in this case as well as officers seen on the video would be removed from their current duties.

The pro-democracy movement, also called Occupy Central, is demanding free elections for Hong Kong’s chief executive, putting pressure on Chinese and Hong Kongese authorities to answer their calls for reform and democracy.

I have been a war correspondent for most of my professional life. It has always been a hard calling. But the need for frontline, objective reporting has never been more compelling.

Covering a war means going to places torn by chaos, destruction and death, and trying to bear witness. It means trying to find the truth in a sandstorm of propaganda when armies, tribes or terrorists clash. And yes, it means taking risks, not just for yourself but often for the people who work closely with you.

Craters. Burned houses. Mutilated bodies. Women weeping for children and husbands. Men for their wives, mothers children. Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice. We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?

Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price. (…) We also remember journalists around the world who have been wounded, maimed or kidnapped and held hostage for months.

It has never been more dangerous to be a war correspondent, because the journalist in the combat zone has become a prime target.

Marie Colvin, American war correspondent, speech on the importance of war reporting, November 2010

Colvin was killed in February 12, 2012 during the Syrian civil war, while covering the siege in the Syrian city of Homs.

Heavy Row During Commonwealth Of Independent States Summit - Are Vladimir Putin’s Nerves Frayed?

Things didn’t went well for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Minsk (Belarus) with leaders of ex-Soviet republics, as at the start of the meeting a heated dispute between Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti and Russia’s Vladimir Putin broke out after Putin told Moldova it should postpone the Free Trade Agreement with the EU until 2016 (as Ukraine was forced recently to) and warned the country that it must take account of Russia’s interests before developing closer trade ties with the EU as he is pushing for a Russian-led Eurasian economic union.

Both leaders then briefly ignored the summit proceedings and exchanged (with a lot of gesticulation) words, that were not picked up by the microphones.

The situation worsened as another serious arguing point was hit with a discussion about ending the bloodshed in Ukraine, when Uzbek President Islam Karimov spoke out against missing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for not attending the CIS meeting, accusing him of preferring to go to talks with Western leaders instead of joining the CIS conference.

The CIS groups 11 of the 15 former Soviet republics including Ukraine, but decided not to join the customs union but to deepen ties with the European Union instead. So have done Georgia and Moldova, which signed trade deals with the EU, too. As a reaction Russia has banned imports of products from those countries (as it did before with other European countries).

Amid Death And Destruction - Gaza Struggles With War Aftermath

Gaza Strip, October 12, 2014

In the recent Israel-Gaza war over 2,100 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis died, around 20,000 tons of bombs are assumed to be fallen on the Palestinian territory.

After the 50-day military campaign more than three billion dollars are needed for reconstruction as according to the UN Emergency Relief Organisation Ocha in the Gaza Strip, more than 18,000 homes as well as many roads, bridges, schools and hospitals and the infrastructure for water and energy supply, were destroyed or damaged.

So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.
Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2014

Starting Over - Ukrainian Government Enveils Anti-Corruption Measures

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced plans for a ‘full clean-out’ of the Ukrainian government, law enforcement, the courts and state security which will include mass firings of officials who have served under Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich and ‘feathered their nests through corruption’.

This procedere, also called ‘lustration’, would start within the next 10 days and could lead up to one million state officials being sacked. Also those, who do not submit to a check will be dismissed without the right to occupy other (state) duties for 10 years.

"We are 20 years late with this law, but better late than never." - Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

With the lustration law Ukraine follows the models of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, which used similar methods to purge the remains of communist rule after the end of the Cold War.

osiegreenway:

Zaatari Refugee Camp for Syrian Refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. In 2013, camp population was estimated at 144,000 refugees, making it Jordan’s fourth largest city. Thousands of Syrian refugees have fled their country mostly at night risking being shot by Syrian regime forces and Jordanian border security. The displaced were escorted by the Free Syrian Army under the cover of night through valleys and across the Jordanian border. But since the war has drained resources from the rebles many Syrian citizens have risked the journey on their own without protection.Thousands of displaced Syrians arrive to Zaatari each week and there they sit and wait for a dream to return home to become reality. Mafraq, Jordan

osiegreenway:

Zaatari Refugee Camp for Syrian Refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. In 2013, camp population was estimated at 144,000 refugees, making it Jordan’s fourth largest city. Thousands of Syrian refugees have fled their country mostly at night risking being shot by Syrian regime forces and Jordanian border security. The displaced were escorted by the Free Syrian Army under the cover of night through valleys and across the Jordanian border. But since the war has drained resources from the rebles many Syrian citizens have risked the journey on their own without protection.Thousands of displaced Syrians arrive to Zaatari each week and there they sit and wait for a dream to return home to become reality. Mafraq, Jordan

Reblogged from fotojournalism

Latest United Nations Report On Human Rights Situation In Ukraine Reveals Scale Of Casualties

"In spite of a fragile ceasefire over the past month in the east of Ukraine, the protracted conflict continues to kill and wound civilians, and deprive the more than five million residents in areas directly affected by the violence of their basic human rights. (…) While there has been an absence of large-scale offensive actions since the ceasefire was announced on 5 September, in some areas artillery, tank and small arms exchanges have continued on an almost daily basis, such as in Donetsk airport, in the Debaltseve area in Donetsk region, and in the town of Shchastya in Luhansk region. 
From mid-April to 6 October, at least 3,660 people were killed and 8,756 wounded in eastern Ukraine.  Since the ceasefire began, between 6 September and 6 October, at least 331 fatalities were recorded. (…) While the ceasefire is a very welcome step towards ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine, there is the call on all parties to genuinely respect and uphold it, and to halt the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure once and for all.
(…) For almost half a year, residents of the areas affected by the armed conflict have been deprived of their fundamental rights to education, to adequate healthcare, to housing and to opportunities to earn a living. Further prolongation of this crisis will make the situation untenable for the millions of people whose daily lives have been seriously disrupted.”

Latest United Nations Report On Human Rights Situation In Ukraine Reveals Scale Of Casualties

"In spite of a fragile ceasefire over the past month in the east of Ukraine, the protracted conflict continues to kill and wound civilians, and deprive the more than five million residents in areas directly affected by the violence of their basic human rights. (…) While there has been an absence of large-scale offensive actions since the ceasefire was announced on 5 September, in some areas artillery, tank and small arms exchanges have continued on an almost daily basis, such as in Donetsk airport, in the Debaltseve area in Donetsk region, and in the town of Shchastya in Luhansk region.  From mid-April to 6 October, at least 3,660 people were killed and 8,756 wounded in eastern Ukraine. Since the ceasefire began, between 6 September and 6 October, at least 331 fatalities were recorded. (…) While the ceasefire is a very welcome step towards ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine, there is the call on all parties to genuinely respect and uphold it, and to halt the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure once and for all. (…) For almost half a year, residents of the areas affected by the armed conflict have been deprived of their fundamental rights to education, to adequate healthcare, to housing and to opportunities to earn a living. Further prolongation of this crisis will make the situation untenable for the millions of people whose daily lives have been seriously disrupted.”