US – #WeeklyAddress: February 4 – February 10: Journalists facing harassment while reporting from southern border

first_img Journalists facing harassment while reporting from southern borderJournalists, lawyers and activists have faced harassment from US and Mexican authorities while working from the US-Mexico border, according to a report The Intercept published on February 8. In recent months Mexican officials have approached groups of photojournalists and photographed their passports, on one occasion admitting the photos were “for the Americans,” according to the Intercept report. Spanish journalist Daniel Ochoa de Olza and US-Canadian freelancer Kitra Cahana, both of whom had their passports photographed by Mexican authorities in recent months, were eventually barred from re-entering Mexico from the United States in January. Some journalists, including freelancer Manuel Rapalo, have been accused by border patrol of helping migrants cross into the United States. Rapalo, who has been reporting at the border for Al Jazeera, has twice been brought into secondary screenings when returning to the United States through Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. During his most recent screening on January 18, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer told Rapalo he was likely being stopped because of his “line of work.” Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) opened an investigation into CBP’s conduct at the border. Wyden’s statement to The Intercept read: “It would be an outrageous abuse of power for the Trump Administration and CBP to target people for searches based on their political beliefs or because they are journalists. For the latest updates, follow RSF on twitter @RSF_en. February 11, 2019 – Updated on February 12, 2019 US – #WeeklyAddress: February 4 – February 10: Journalists facing harassment while reporting from southern border Colorado officers reprimanded for detaining journalists Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information June 7, 2021 Find out more Two members of Denver’s police department will lose two days’ pay following an investigation into a July encounter during which Susan Greene, editor of The Colorado Independent, was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car. Greene said the officers disregarded her claim that she had a First Amendment right to take photos on a public sidewalk. Greene was released after ten minutes and an internal investigation was launched into the matter. Following the incident, a spokeswoman for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told The Denver Post, “Denver is not about arresting journalists who are doing their job. That said, it will be important not to prejudge the situation until the internal investigation that is underway is completed.” Greene was one of 11 journalists arrested in 2018, according to the US Press Freedom Tracker. Journalists at New Yorker, Daily Beast, AP say they were blackmailed by National Enquirer’s parent companyJournalist Ronan Farrow, reporters from The Daily Beast, and members of The Associated Press’ (AP) investigative reporting team say they have received messages threatening blackmail from National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI) in recent weeks. Not long after the Enquirer published intimate text messages exchanged by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder hired an attorney to open an investigation to find out how the company obtained those messages and why they were published. On February 7, Bezos published a column that included an email his lawyers received from AMI’s Chief Content Officer threatening to publish illicit photos of Bezos if he didn’t stop investigating the company. Bezos’ column prompted reporters to come forward about threats they received. Farrow said in a February 7 tweet he had fielded “stop digging or we’ll ruin you” blackmail efforts from AMI when covering breaking news stories related to the National Enquirer’s relationship with President Trump. Ted Bridis, a former AP investigative reporter, responded to Farrow’s tweet, saying the AP had also been “warned explicitly by insiders that AMI had hired private investigators to dig into backgrounds of @AP journalists looking into the tabloid’s efforts on behalf of Trump.” The Daily Beast’s Editor-in-Chief Noah Shachtman echoed those sentiments on Twitter and shared an article that citing AMI’s threats. BuzzFeed journalist questioned at airport checkpoint over investigative report News Organisation Federal judge reportedly ordered Chicago Sun-Times against publishing information NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP Below are the most notable incidents regarding threats to press freedom in the US during the week of February 4 – February 10: News News RSF_en Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says Follow the news on United States to go further June 3, 2021 Find out more News BuzzFeed News’ deputy director of breaking news, David Mack, said he was aggressively questioned by a border patrol agent upon arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 3. The agent repeatedly asked about a highly-discussed BuzzFeed investigation that was published in January alleging that President Donald Trump had ordered his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Russia — allegations that Robert Mueller, special counsel in the Russia investigation, disputed. Mack wrote about his experience with the border agent in a Twitter thread, saying he felt compelled to respond politely for fear of angering him and potentially not being allowed into the country.  Andrew Meehan, CBP Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs, apologized on behalf of the agency in a statement BuzzFeed published on February 5, referencing the agent’s “inappropriate remarks,” and also called the reporter to personally apologize that same morning. Mack had just arrived in the United States from the United Kingdom, where he had traveled to renew his work visa. An RSF analysis published in October outlines the difficulties many foreign correspondents face in obtaining such visas, while a report the Committee to Protect Journalists published on the the same day found that 37 journalists were stopped for secondary screenings at US ports of entry more than 110 times between 2006 and June 2018. Thirty of those journalists reported they had been questioned about their reporting. WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists United StatesAmericas A federal judge reportedly ordered the Chicago Sun-Times not to publish the details of a court document that revealed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had secretly recorded an Illinois politician offering up his private law firm’s services to a developer, according to an incident the US Press Freedom Tracker reported on February 7. The document, which Sun-Times reporters downloaded after it was accidentally posted online to PACER, a website journalists often use to access federal court records. It revealed Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s intentions to lend his private law firm’s services to a developer interested in building a hotel in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. The reporters defied the judge’s order and used this information in a January 29 report. A week later, business news website Chicago Business reported in a follow-up article that the judge decided to order the newspaper not to publish likely on the grounds that “premature publicity could undermine what appears to be an extremely wide-ranging federal probe.” Chicago Business reported that it was unclear whether the judge would take further action against the Sun-Times. United StatesAmericas April 28, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

“Journalists are not terrorists”

first_img Receive email alerts News RSF condemns NYT reporter’s unprecedented expulsion from Ethiopia RSF_en May 18, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders has just visited Ethiopia, where two Swedish journalists, Kontinent news agency reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, were sentenced to 11 years in prison on 29 December on charges of entering the country illegally and supporting terrorism.During the visit, from 9 to 12 January, the two Swedish journalists decided to request a presidential pardon instead of appealing against their conviction. “In Ethiopia, there is a long tradition of pardons and we have chosen to leave it to this tradition,” they said, announcing their decision on 10 January in Addis Ababa’s Kality prison.“Persson and Schibbye were arrested with members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front but they never supported terrorism,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They went to the Ogaden as journalists. We are now in a new phase, one of political negotiation, and we hope that the Ethiopian authorities, the National Pardon Board and everyone else involved can reach an agreement under which they are released quickly.”During the visit, Reporters Without Borders also assessed the current state of media freedom in Ethiopia and the constraints on its journalists, two of whom were convicted on terrorism charges on 19 January in Addis Ababa.A repressive legislative arsenal and dwindling room for expressionEven if recent years have been marked by tension between the government and privately-owned media and surveillance of the most outspoken journalists, Reporters Without Borders recognizes that there is space for freedom of expression in Ethiopia. As well as two state-owned dailies, the Amharic-language Addis Zemen and the English-language Ethiopian Herald, there are also privately-owned newspapers such as the Amharic-language Reporter, Addis Admas, Sendek, Mesenazeria and Fitih, along with the English-language The Reporter and The Daily Monitor. The privately-owned newspapers are routinely critical of government policies and at times provocative.But, in the course of its observations and the interviews it conducted during this visit, Reporters Without Borders confirmed that freedom of expression has been on the wane for some time. This has been seen, for example, in the fact that two Amharic-language weeklies, Addis Neger and Awramba Times, ceased to publish when their journalists fled the country, in December 2009 in the case of the first, and November 2011 in the case of the second.In the course of the past three years, Ethiopia has adopted laws targeting civil society and combating terrorism that have arguably rode roughshod over rights guaranteed by Ethiopia’s constitution. It is partly this legislative arsenal that has had the direct effect of reducing the democratic space and freedom of expression.Taboo subjects and working as a journalistSpeaking on condition of anonymity, an Ethiopian journalist who works for one of the weeklies told Reporters Without Borders: “There are red lines we cannot trespass while covering news stories. For example, the Oromo Liberation Front, which has long been a separatist movement, announced a few days ago on a website based abroad that it was abandoning its demand for autonomy. This is big news for Ethiopia but we cannot cover it in the local press because the authorities regard the OLF as a terrorist organization and referring to it might get you arrested.”The journalist added: “We cannot publish the views of certain people, either. The journalist Mesfin Negash of Addis Neger, for example, is wanted on a terrorism charge. As he is living in exile, he can still write articles and offer them to newspapers in Ethiopia. But who is going to take the risk of publishing them? You could possibly be picked up at once and face charges. The law forbids it, so it is indirect censorship.”Reporters Without Borders is concerned that when journalists with the privately-owned media dare to persist with their fierce criticisms of the state, it happens that they become the targets of criticism or smear campaigns in the state-owned or pro-government media.Widespread self-censorship and fear of arrest have also at times led journalists to flee the country. After those who fled in December 2009, at least another three left in November 2011. They were Abebe Tola, also known as “Abe Tokichaw,” a well-known columnist for the Fitih and Awramba Times weeklies, his colleague Tesfaye Degu of Netsanet and Awramba Times editor Dawit Kebede.Journalists facing a possible death sentence on terrorism chargesReporters Without Borders wrote to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August 2011 requesting an investigation into the condition in which two journalists were being held – Awramba Times deputy editor Woubeshet Taye, who was arrested on 19 June, and Fitih columnist Reyot Alemu, who was arrested on 21 June. The letter did not get a reply.In Addis Ababa, Reporters Without Borders asked the NGO “Justice for all, Prison Fellowship Ethiopia” to make enquiries about their situation and work with the government to assure that they are held in acceptable conditions while in detention.On 19 January, an Addis Ababa court found these two journalists, along with a number of opposition figures, guilty of participating in a terrorist organization and preparing a terrorist attack. The charges carry a possible death penalty or life imprisonment. The court is due to issue sentences on a later date.“Was there any irrefutable evidence of their involvement in terrorist activity produced in court?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “As showed by the prosecutor, both may have been in contact with opposition figures, which was risky, but the court should have considered the possibility that it could have been done in the exercise of freedom of expression. We are very disturbed by the idea that these two journalists may well receive harsh sentences just for expressing opinions. “The Ethiopian government says the court just followed the law, but this law could violate journalists’ freedom to practice their profession, a freedom guaranteed by the constitution. A journalist carries a tough duty to proving information to the public. He needs special protection in order to fulfill this duty. This law in Ethiopia no longer allows journalists to do their job in that sense.” Follow the news on Ethiopia News February 10, 2021 Find out more Journalist attacked, threatened in her Addis Ababa home Newscenter_img Help by sharing this information Ethiopia arbitrarily suspends New York Times reporter’s accreditation May 21, 2021 Find out more News Organisation EthiopiaAfrica to go further EthiopiaAfrica January 24, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “Journalists are not terrorists”last_img read more

Disaster Response: When the Dominoes Begin to Fall

first_img During the first week of March, a deadly tornado became our nation’s latest major natural disaster when it ripped through central Tennessee. Sadly, it was only the latest in a seemingly endless onslaught of fires, floods, and hurricanes that Americans have had to grapple with over the past several years. Today, we are all dealing with a new disaster that is bigger, scarier, and more deadly than them all. To be sure, the COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster of a different kind, yet its impact is even more catastrophic.Having spent the last few years managing natural disaster events, servicers may risk being overconfident, thinking that they have disaster preparedness down pat. In this environment, however, the obstacles for default servicing are mounting exponentially. Federal, state, and investor requirements continue to shift. With an evolving climate, an increasing number of natural disasters, and now the coronavirus, servicers need to quickly reevaluate how rigorous their processes truly are—and what they should do to improve them.The Challenges of a PandemicEven with the best of outcome scenarios, the coronavirus promises to ignite delinquency rates. As families across the U.S. prepare to deal with businesses shutting down for an undetermined time frame, news of economic distress and volatility is soaring. The potential ripple effect of this pandemic disaster is virtually unfathomable. Homeowners face income loss on multiple fronts, including layoffs, business closures, the inability to work due to absence of childcare, and, most importantly, loss of work due to contraction of the virus.Disaster relief options are beginning to take form. On March 10, Dr. Mark Calabria, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), reminded mortgage servicers that “hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers.” The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provided similar guidance, prompting servicers to offer FHA loss mitigation solutions to distressed borrowers. As the breadth of impact escalated, both agencies quickly responded with the issuance of a two-month moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.The mortgage industry as a whole is proactively following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in efforts to prepare for this pandemic disaster. However, the question of business continuity and access to liquidity will play an equally important role in addressing the relief effort.The Reality of Disaster Relief RequirementsA recently published Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) white paper entitled “Improving Default Mortgage Servicing Processes, calls on the industry to improve both clarity—such as taking the chaos of exception processing and automating—and consistency in disaster relief policy. Asserting that the “industry needs a common playbook across all the federal agencies and guarantors as well as uniform standards of property preservation and hazard mitigation programs,” the proposal is timely, but may fall on deaf ears amidst pandemic fears.Overlooking this and similar important calls to action would be a mistake. Default servicing has struggled under tight margins and constrained human resources, while disaster events have soared conversely to record low delinquency and foreclosure. Adding to this dilemma is the fact that relief options and requirements have continued to change, which requires implementation and administration by already strained mortgage servicing operations.For example, this past summer, HUD strengthened FHA mortgage relief options by expanding their Disaster Standalone Partial Claim option to all borrowers living or working in a Federal Emergency Protection Act (FEMA) Presidentially Declared Disaster Area. With the looming coronavirus pandemic, nearly all U.S. states and territories have filed Emergency Declarations for COVID-19 disaster assistance, which also falls under FEMA in accordance with the Stafford Act. This means that default servicers now need to reassess relief options and requirements to effectively support homeowners impacted by the coronavirus.Likewise, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently expanded their relief options to include 90 days to one year of suspended payments, depending on a borrower’s circumstances. This may sound small, but keeping up with previous and existing agency relief has been a challenge even before the onset of the coronavirus. In addition to other new disaster relief requirements, servicers must also provide accurate and timely relief amidst sunsetting programs, including the FHFA Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the subsequent Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief Refinance (FMERR) program, and existing relief under Fannie Mae’s High-LTV Refinance Option (HIRO).The Pressure Is OnToday’s challenges are unique, but they are not new. Mortgage servicers have always had to protect themselves from excessive default risk brought on by natural disasters. In addition to ensuring disaster preparedness, mortgage servicers also need to “spread their wings” and prepare their teams for domino issues arising from the continuing occurrence of disaster events. The more disasters that happen, the more those dominos can pile up.For example, the cost to provide repair and relief for homeowners impacted by disasters of any kind is growing exponentially, and it’s hitting the insurance business hard. According to insurancejournal.com, the growing number of property claims has fueled an 18% rise in property insurance pricing in the U.S. in Q4 2019, compared to a global commercial average increase of 11%. These price increases not only impact homeowners in areas affected by disasters, but homeowners across the U.S. as well, who are absorbing these costs in their monthly housing expenses.Recent wildfires, floods, and hurricanes—and now the virus—have also created a serious underinsurance crisis. As property claims are submitted, repair assessments frequently overlook the true cost of reconstruction, which has been adversely impacted by the rising cost of materials, ongoing labor shortage, and tariffs on construction materials. This creates a gap in claim reimbursement and the actual repair cost burden on the homeowner. Many disaster-stricken families are facing severely strained finances as they juggle the cost of home displacement and potential loss of income during recovery timeframes.Underinsurance is also growing as new homebuyers purchase in areas where wildfires, flooding, and tornadoes have not previously occurred, at least not at the catastrophic level. If it’s not an investor requirement, homebuyers rarely opt to purchase insurance coverage that sufficiently covers a natural disaster, if it covers one at all. When a disaster occurs, the rising reconstruction expense and the underinsurance gap, coupled with increasing costs of homeowner’s insurance, can push even financially stable borrowers into default.“Relief” for Default Servicing?Mortgage servicers have been put to the test since the financial crisis, and they continue to show their strength and perseverance despite the barrage of industry challenges. However, with business continuity in question, and what may be a near total absence of manpower, default servicing is in for its greatest challenge yet.Default servicers need to help borrowers rebuild and recover. To do so, servicers will need to effectively bridge gaps in changing relief regulation, investor guidelines, and program offerings. The key to bridging these gaps is automation.The mortgage industry prides itself on embracing digital technology.  Yet, even with clearly defined strategies, areas within mortgage servicing can be left with significant gaps in innovation. That includes default servicing, which has not been much of a priority in recent years. During the financial crisis, an enormous amount of attention was given to delinquency, foreclosure, and bankruptcy. With today’s record low foreclosure rates, however, default servicing has thinned out with the exception of disaster relief.Yet, success in the mortgage servicing industry has always meant taking a responsive, flexible, cost-effective approach to business. Despite the forthcoming systemic stress on default servicing, the demands remain the same. Servicers must create operational efficiency, minimize costs, manage risk, and both innovate and improve the customer experience and retention.Servicing operations must commit to avoiding further breakdown in processes, uniformity, and efficiency. In other words, they must stop resorting to reactive approaches to issues, which typically leads to manual processes and spreadsheets. The smarter approach is for servicers to take what precious time and budget resources they have and invest them in automated workflows built on today’s technologies. By doing so, they will be able to create a sophisticated, flexible, and transparent approach to business processes and decisioning created for today’s digital framework.As manpower becomes stretched to capacity, automation allows services to place control in the hands of their operations team, who are the “boots on the ground” during disaster relief efforts. The operations team is best suited to understanding existing processes, rules, and decisioning, and best equipped to add another iteration of changing requirements and circumstances. They don’t have the time to wait for IT development to help them out, but existing automated workflow technology can help them immediately.The other crucial step for servicers is to identify a vendor partner that deeply understands the servicing business down to every detail and has a proven commitment to the industry. Equally as important, the vendor must have an established track record for rapid requirement development and deployment. Ideally, this will involve a SaaS application that stores complex rules and leverages dynamic decisioning and AI to understand data captured throughout the loan lifecycle.A servicer’s automated workflow application should be able to access data that supports subsequent processes and is able to make determinations, define exceptions, and create alerts. It should also be able to guide users through various tasks, scenarios, and decision paths to yield required results. Most importantly, it should enable customer self-service, so that borrowers who need help immediately are able to get it.If current disasters—including the coronavirus—have taught us anything, it’s that servicing needs can change drastically on a dime. That means technologies that servicers depend on must be flexible enough to handle rapid shifts in default servicing. At the end of the day, workflow automation and the help of an experienced business partner is really the only option for addressing today’s disaster relief challenges. We may never be able to prevent disasters, but we can always improve the ways we respond to them. Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Previous: DS5: The Mortgage Industry Work-Life Balance Next: American Homeowners Unprepared for Disaster Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Related Articles Home / Daily Dose / Disaster Response: When the Dominoes Begin to Fall Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Tagged with: Coronavirus natural disaster Sign up for DS News Daily Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Jane Mason is the Founder and CEO of Clarifire and the creator of the CLARIFIRE, a sophisticated, automated workflow engine that streamlines and integrates all of an organization’s business operations. Under Mason’s leadership, CLARIFIRE has won numerous awards over the years including one of Cloud’s Top 500 Applications Vendors for the past two consecutive years. She can be reached at [email protected] or on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/clarifire. in Daily Dose, Featured, Loss Mitigation, Market Studies, News, Print Features About Author: Jane Masoncenter_img Disaster Response: When the Dominoes Begin to Fall Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago May 26, 2020 1,520 Views The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Coronavirus natural disaster 2020-05-26 Seth Welborn Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago  Print This Post Subscribelast_img read more

CMA CGM to Set Up Its Own Start-Up Incubator

first_img CMA CGM resumes calls to Beirut CMA CGM takes delivery of world’s largest LNG-powered vessel View post tag: start-up Digital naming ceremony held for CMA CGM’s 23,000 TEU behemoth Categories: List of related news articles Posted: about 1 month ago Posted: 20 days ago Posted: 5 days ago Related news French container shipping company CMA CGM is planning to create its own start-up incubator in Marseilles, and to attract start-ups from around the world, Rodolphe Saadé, CEO of CMA CGM, announced at the Salon des Entrepreneurs trade fair in Marseilles.“With this project, CMA CGM wishes to play a leading role not only in the economic development of the territory but also in the development of start-ups. “The incubator complements the group’s digital ecosystem to accelerate its transformation and benefit from the best in the world, in the interests of our customers, the society, and the territory,” Saadé said.CMA CGM said that the project complements its various initiatives, including support for the Carburateur, the incubator for the northern districts of Marseilles, along with partnerships with Aix Marseille French Tech, a digital innovation player, The Camp, a campus bringing together companies, start-ups, teachers and researchers, and Infosys, a global IT company, to accelerate the transformation of its information system.This also complements the initiatives implemented through the corporate ventures fund, CMA CGM Ventures, the company added. View post tag: CMA CGM Posted: 5 days ago As the operational situation in the Port of Beirut is now back to normal again, French shipping maj… CMA CGM boosts profitability despite volume slowdown Categories:center_img Vessels Posted: 5 days ago Share this article Posted: 20 days ago Vessels During the second quarter of this year, French container shipping major CMA CGM improved profitabili… Business & Finance French shipping group CMA CGM has taken the delivery of its first 23,000 TEU containership, the worl… A first-of-its-kind digital naming ceremony was held today for the 23,000 TEU CMA CGM Jacques Saade,… Categories: Operations & Maintenance Posted: about 1 month ago Categories: Posted: 5 days agolast_img read more