“A book is not a bomb”

first_img April 28, 2021 Find out more Organisation April 2, 2021 Find out more Open publication – Free publishing – More reportReporters Without Borders urged the Turkish government today to prove it supports the media freedom it proclaimed during the recent election campaign.The appeal came in a report called “Media and justice in Turkey – mistrust and repression” after recent fact-finding visits by the worldwide media freedom organisation to investigate the hounding and prosecution of journalists by the country’s police and courts. Despite significant advances in freedom of expression, journalists are still arrested and tried for doing their job or expressing an opinion, their documents seized and their sources tracked down, the report said. Journalistic principles are still poorly guaranteed by law while a wide range of legislation continues to prevent many topics being reported.The few guarantees that do exist are too often swept away by the judiciary’s repressive habits and paranoia. Journalists have also been victims of the sharp political polarisation during the election campaign and the present fierce struggle for control of all state institutions.“On Saturday, investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener will have been in prison for 100 days. Major demonstrations to support them are planned, showing that media freedom is not just an election slogan. Turkish civil society is protesting as never before that these violations of freedom are very serious. The protests call for an immediate response from the government,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities are politically responsible for the judiciary’s hounding of journalists. This undermines the government’s claim to be a regional democratic model. The authorities therefore need to start a frank and open dialogue with journalists and with the country’s international partners.”At a press conference in Istanbul on 19 April, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard pointed to a number of taboos for which journalists are being prosecuted if they violate them. Unfortunately, this has continued, with plenty of examples in just the past two weeks.The longstanding taboo of discussing and reporting on the armed forces has eased but the judiciary and police are still out of bounds for journalists, especially as these institutions are both judges and interested parties. Reporting of legal matters is thus the main cause of prosecution of journalists, based on the Penal Code’s article 285 (legal confidentiality) and 288 (trying to influence the result of a trial). Journalists Nedim Sener and Hasan Cakkalkurt (of Milliyet) and Aysegül Usta (of Hürriyet) appeared before the second chamber of the magistrates court in Bakirköy (Istanbul) on 2 June for “violating legal confidentiality.” It is the ninth trial for Sener, who has been in prison since 3 March in connection with the wide-ranging Ergenekon case.Criticism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is tolerated less and less, as shown by the trial of Ahmet Altan, director of the daily Taraf, that began on 9 June. He faces two years and eight months in prison for “offending the person of the prime minister” after criticising him in two articles in January for ordering the destruction of an unfinished statue symbolising the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. He described Erdogan as “a shallow person.” The Kurdish issue is still the hardest one for journalists to tackle because of the judiciary’s repressive reliance on the outdated Anti-Terror Law and repressive articles of the Penal Code. Follow the news on Turkey The country’s only Kurdish-language daily, Azadiya Welat, was suspended again (for the ninth time) on 13 June for 15 days and all copies ordered seized for supposedly printing “propaganda for a terrorist organisation.” The paper’s former editor, Vedat Kursun, was sentenced on appeal to 10 and a half years in prison for this offence on 9 June. He has been imprisoned in Diyarbakir for the past two and a half years and had been sentenced by a lower court to 166 years in jail. Ercan Atay, of the paper Batman Gazetesi, was sentenced to 37 days in prison on 7 June for quoting in an article a statement by a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This was described by the court as “praising a criminal” and resembles many cases cited in the present report. Reporters Without Borders calls on the Turkish judiciary to study urgently the lists of imprisoned journalists complied by the Freedom for Journalists platform (GÖP) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and release immediately and unconditionally all those only jailed for doing their job. Reporters Without Borders has identified at least five such cases and there are undoubtedly many more but the secrecy of the judiciary makes it hard to identify them.The Anti-Terror Law and the repressive articles of the Penal Code must be abolished or thoroughly revised to comply with international agreements ratified by Turkey that guarantee freedom of expression. The judiciary must change its attitude to the media, stop lumping together journalists and “terrorists” and allow the media to regulate itself more.“Turkey is at a crossroads,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Progress towards democracy over the past decade has been impressive but is incomplete and fragile. The latest attacks on journalists show that a return to the past is possible at any moment. The ruling JDP/AKP’s easy election victory should reassure the country’s leaders and show them they have nothing to fear from allowing freedom of expression. The government must now prove it is still determined to carry out the democratic reforms demanded by Turks.” Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit Related documents Download the report (turkish)PDF – 2.6 MBDownload the report (english)PDF – 7.84 MB News June 16, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “A book is not a bomb” TurkeyEurope – Central Asia to go furthercenter_img Reports Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law Receive email alerts TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information RSF_en April 2, 2021 Find out more News Newslast_img read more

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Family, police offer starkly different views of Jacob Blake in wake of shooting

first_imgSTEPHEN MATUREN/AFP via Getty ImagesBy KARMA ALLEN, ABC News(KENOSHA, Wis.) — Jacob Blake captured the attention of civil rights advocates around the world last week as cellphone video circulated of the 29-year-old man being shot seven times in the back by Wisconsin police in front of his children.Blake’s family said the shooting left him paralyzed from the waist down and doctors fear he may never walk again, adding to public outrage that had already caused days of civil unrest within his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin.Several competing narratives have emerged in the wake of the shooting, including official accounts of the incident issued by Kenosha police and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the agency charged with investigating the shooting.The Kenosha Professional Police Association claims Blake was armed with a knife and “forcefully fought” with the officers who tried to subdue him.But those closest to Blake, including his parents, say Blake is a loving and devoted father who did not deserve what happened to him.Three of his children — ages 8, 5 and 3 — witnessed the incident and were “absolutely devastated” in the wake of the shooting, Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump, said. The oldest boy was celebrating his birthday when his father was shot, Crump said.What investigators say occurredThe shooting occurred just after 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23, when Kenosha police officers responded to a reported domestic incident after a woman called saying, “Her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. The woman has not been identified.A dispatcher named Blake in a police call, saying he had taken the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher said Blake “isn’t supposed to be there” and that she couldn’t get more details because the complainant was “uncooperative,” according to the agency, which is investigating the shooting.Once on the scene, officers said they tried to arrest Blake and deployed a Taser in an unsuccessful attempt to detain him, the department said. Investigators said Blake walked to his vehicle, “opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward,” before Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey fired seven shots into Blake’s back, according to the agency.No other officer fired their weapon. Investigators have not explained why officers moved to arrest Blake or why Sheskey fired so many times.The agency said Blake told authorities that he had a knife in his possession. Investigators later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s vehicle. The Wisconsin DOJ has not said whether Blake was holding that knife during his interaction with police.All of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.A 20-second video of Blake’s shooting, filmed by a bystander, has been viewed millions of times on social media. The video appeared to show three officers with their weapons drawn following Blake as he walked from the back of a vehicle to the driver’s side. As Blake entered the driver’s side of the car, Sheskey, who was hanging onto Blake’s shirt, opened fire.Fiancé offers different account of shootingMilwaukee ABC affiliate WISN-TV spoke to Blake’s fiancé, Laquisha Booker, who said two of their kids were sitting in the back of the car when Blake was shot by police. She claimed the officers threatened to shoot her as well.“They didn’t even know the kids were in the car, and I’m telling the woman cop, ‘Can you please?’ She said, ‘Get back before I shoot you,’ I’m like, ‘Shoot me? My kids are in the car,’” Brooks said.Referring to Blake’s being shot, Brooks added, “It wasn’t just one shot — ‘Let me just put you down for a little bit.’ That man just literally grabbed him by his shirt and looked the other [expletive] way and was just shooting him with the kids in the back screaming. Screaming! While I’m trying to fight this woman cop, saying, ‘Let me get my kids out the car.’ Her telling me no, they’re handling it.”Booker told WISN she never called police and wasn’t sure why they were there. She said her fiancé wasn’t armed and didn’t own any guns or weapons.“It doesn’t make sense to treat someone like that,” Booker told WISN.Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who often takes on prominent cases and is representing the family, said Blake was helping to de-escalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and Tasered him. As Blake was walking away to check on his kids, the officers fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range, according to Crump.“We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha police. Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets,” Crump said in a statement immediately after the shooting. “Their irresponsible, reckless, and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident. It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”Crump said he believes Blake was racially profiled and nearly killed because he is Black.“We will seek justice for Jacob Blake and for his family as we demand answers from the Kenosha Police Department,” he added. “How many more of these tragic ‘while Black’ tragedies will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of Black lives by the police finally stops?”A ‘fun-loving’ family man who adores his boysBlake’s uncle, Justin Blake, described his nephew as a “fighter” who was “fun-loving” and deeply in love with his young boys. He said his nephew had been comforting family members, telling them things were going to be okay, even as he fought for his life.“Little Jake’s been through a lot. He’s in a lot of pain,” Justin Blake told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “His children are surrounded by family, we give them love showering them with love, and just trying to help them through this experience that was just brutal.”He said his nephew recently underwent surgery and was doing better, but he isn’t “out of the woods yet.”His children have not been allowed to visit him yet, according to the family.“You can only imagine the psychological problems that these babies are going to have for the rest of their lives,” Crump said in an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday. “They’ll go through life and they’ll think of this horrific scene that plays over and over in their mind.”“And this was the 8-year-old son’s birthday. It will be very difficult for him to not remember this tragedy every time his birthday comes around,” he added.Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said she raised her children and grandchildren to love and respect police officers, but now she fears they might grow to resent them.“I can pray for my grandchildren as well as my children, but it puts a stumbling block in the process of trying to make sure they grow up without that hatred and that image,” Jackson said in an interview with GMA.About two weeks before the shooting, she said she introduced her 14-year-old grandson to a high-ranking police officer she admired in an effort to show him that some police officers are good people.“We talked for a few minutes and my grandson was very impressed, we had a conversation. You need to know that not all police officers are bad. There’s some good ones out there. Then a week or two later this happens to us all — what do I say to him now?” Jackson said.Teary-eyed, Jackson also revealed that she had gone to visit her son at the Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee. When she arrived, the first thing he did was cry and tell her, “I’m sorry about all this.”“I asked him, ‘Jacob, did you shoot yourself in the back?’ He looked at me and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Then why are you sorry?’ He says, ‘Because I don’t want to be a burden on anybody. I want to be with my children and I don’t think I’m going to walk again, Mom,’” she said.But even through his tears, he maintained his loving and compassionate demeanor, she said. When it came time for them to pray, she said her son stopped her and asked if the police officer in the room could join them.“The three of us prayed together,” she said.Police union claims Blake ‘forcefully fought’ officersThe Kenosha Professional Police Association released a statement Friday, disputing some of the statements by the Wisconsin DOJ. It claimed Blake was armed with a knife and “forcefully fought” with the officers who tried to subdue him.In this statement, attorney Brendan Matthews, representing the police union, says that officers were dispatched to the location by a complaint that Blake was attempting to steal the caller’s keys and vehicle.Wisconsin DOJ has previously said that officers were dispatched due to a call from a woman saying her boyfriend was not supposed to be on the premises.There is an open warrant for Blake’s arrest on sexual charges, although it has not been made public against whom. Matthews said officers were aware of the warrant before they arrived at the location. They said Blake was not breaking up a fight between two females as neighbors and family have said.Matthews contends the silver SUV seen in the video is not Blake’s car and that Blake was actually holding the knife in the video where he rounds the front of the car. He said Blake put one of the officers in a headlock at one point during an altercation.“The purely fictional depiction of events coming from those without direct knowledge of what actually occurred is incredibly harmful, and provides no benefit to anyone whatsoever, other than to perpetuate a misleading narrative,” Matthews said. “The lawyers for Mr. Blake, among others, have continued to provide false and misleading ‘facts’ to the public, in what can only be considered a ploy for attention and sympathy.”“Unfortunately, even the incident update from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (‘DCI’) — the agency charged with investigating the incident independently — is riddled with incomplete information, and omits important details that would help to paint a more complete picture of the incident,” he added.Family, activists call for justiceA large crowd of protesters flocked to the scene immediately after the shooting, prompting local authorities to impose the citywide curfew. Officers were seen using tear gas on protesters who had gathered outside the Kenosha Police Department.Police said they have received “numerous” calls in the wake of protests about armed robberies and shots fired in the city.A day after the shooting, authorities announced the Kenosha County Courthouse and administration building will be closed for a day due to damage sustained during the previous night’s civil unrest.Kenosha city officials held a press conference Monday evening to update residents on the investigation, but its location had to be changed multiple times as protesters shouted in the background. The press conference was originally scheduled to be outside, but it was moved inside. Banging and shouting from protesters could still be heard, so it was then moved a third time, into an interior room.At Tuesday’s protest, two people were killed and a third was seriously wounded in a shooting when a counter-protester, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse from Antioch, Illinois, allegedly opened fire, police said. He was charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, two counts of recklessly endangering safety and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon.Lin Wood, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, said his client was acting in self-defense.“From my standpoint, it’s important that the message be clear to other Americans who are attacked that there will be legal resources available in the event false charges are brought against them,” he said.Rittenhouse’s extradition hearing is set for Sept. 25.The American Civil Liberties Union called for the immediate resignation of Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis and Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth in the wake of the civil unrest.The ACLU claimed that Beth’s deputies had “fraternized with white supremacist counter-protesters” and “allowed the shooter to leave as people yelled that he was the shooter.” The ACLU further alleges that Miskinis “blamed the unidentified victims in Tuesday night’s shooting for their own deaths.”“The ACLU strongly condemns Sheriff Beth and Police Chief Miskinis’ response to both the attempted murder of Jacob Blake and the protests demanding justice for him,” said Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Their actions uphold and defend white supremacy, while demonizing people who were murdered for exercising their First Amendment rights and speaking out against police violence.”Separately, Blake’s family has also called for charges against the officers involved.“We believe based on the evidence, based on that video, probable cause exists to arrest and charge the officers with attempt at murder,” Crump told GMA earlier this week. “It should be no different than what happened at George Floyd’s case – when you see such a lack of humanity and respect for the people that you’re in charge of to protect and serve, why shouldn’t you be held accountable? You shouldn’t be above the law. That’s the reason I think now we continue to have so many tragedies happening over and over again, as quick as we can keep up where there’s another hashtag.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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In my world

first_imgJo Fairley is co-owner of Judges organic bakery and grocery shop in Hastings and co-founded and sold Green & Black’s chocolate firm, with hubby Craig SamsHave you looked at the cost of a supermarket loaf lately? For a small, independent craft baker and I speak as the owner of a small craft bakery, Judges, in Hastings’ Old Town there is probably nothing more depressing, because quite simply, we can never compete with that knock-down price.Supermarkets, of course, sell bread as a ’loss leader’, wafting out that just-out-of-the-oven smell to lure customers to buy loaves, which are often sold at what cannot be more than cost price. The thinking is that once those customers have been seduced by the ludicrously low price of a loaf, everything else in the store is bathed in a ’halo’ of affordability, as they drift the aisles filling their trolleys, often in an out-of-town store where they don’t have to pay for parking and don’t get me started again on that one.It’s all very well for the Big Guys. They can afford to sell bread so cheaply because they have 20,000 other lines on which they can make a chunky 45% margin, so the loss on the bread is a drop in the ocean. Sadly, any high street or village baker does not have that luxury because bread is the cornerstone of what we make and sell. Yet we’re confronted, constantly, with customers who tell us that our product is expensive because we’re being compared with the price of, for example, a sliced white Kingsmill they saw last week in Morrisons.The arguments that many of us use time to allow a loaf to rise perfectly, handcraft our loaves, rather than churning them out on a production line, and often pay higher-than-average wages in order to bring in the skills of a true craft baker invariably sound ’thou-dost-protest-too-much’ to a budget-conscious shopper. We can try to explain about the difference in quality between mass-produced and craft-baked bread but because in this country so many people have come to expect cheap food as their birthright, those arguments will fall on ears that are deafened by a pair of iPod headphones funny how nobody has a problem splashing their cash around on those. As businesses, we are left to rely on our ’foodier’ customers to stay afloat people who wouldn’t go near a Chorleywood-processed loaf if they were paid to, and know quality when they see and taste it. But in these cash-strapped times, there are fewer of them about.So, I have a radical proposal. Wouldn’t it be fairer if the supermarkets paid a small percentage on every loaf sold, to keep the cost of flour down for the rest of us? After all, it is the small, craft baker who has done so much for the image of bread in the past few years enabling the supermarkets to cash in and sell focaccias, ciabattas and walnut breads for a fraction of the price we can afford to. It’s worth noting that the price of a pint of milk is kept artificially low by a subsidy to dairy farmers. Why not hive off some of the vast profits from supermarket bread, in the form of a ’bread margin’…? An unrealistic dream, perhaps, but one way, surely, to ensure the survival of this country’s artisan and craft bread shops, in the face of and I cannot be the only person to think this desperately, depressingly unfair competition.last_img read more

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