Bahrain (GV) – Bahrain is intensifying its crackdown on media freedom ahead of the 14 February uprising anniversary, when anti-government protesters, inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets and called for political reform and equality for Read More
Trinidad & Tobago (GV) – With the proclamation of The Children Act on May 18, 2015, Trinidad and Tobago raised the age of sexual consent from 16 to 18. Ironically, however, because The Marriage Act of 1923 is still on the books, the Read More
Israel (GV) – The Israeli Knesset passed last week a first reading of a controversial new bill that would allow Israeli courts to order social media companies to remove online content it deems “inciting”. The “removal of criminally offensive content from the Read More
Macedonia (GV) – Investigative journalists in Macedonia say the country’s ruling party VMRO-DPMNE owns properties that by law it shouldn’t, and that party officials in government positions have abused their power to benefit the party. The Center for Investigative Journalism SCOOP earlier revealed that Macedonia’s main ruling Read More
Afghanistan (GV) – International media coverage of Afghanistan focuses overwhelmingly on war; the damage reaped by NATO/Resolute Support Mission airstrikes, the atrocities committed by militant groups on the ground, the abuses of the civilian population by government troops. But if the Read More
Mexico (GV) – For many Mexicans, 2017 has got off to a shaky start. This is due primarily to increasing fuel costs for cars, which spiked by around 20% overnight (it now takes 20% of the minimum daily wage to buy 1 liter of gasoline) thanks to Read More
A number of disturbing cases concerning the offshore Asylum Seeker Detention Centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island have recently captured online attention in Australia and beyond.
As reported in an earlier post, since 2013 asylum seekers arriving by boat without a valid visa are sent to offshore centres on Manus Island and Nauru. There is currently no possibility of being allowed to settle in Australia.
The Australian government announced in August 2016 that it intends to close the Manus centre, but the facility continues to generate controversy, most recently with the death of a Sudanese asylum seeker and the beating of two Iranian asylum seekers allegedly by police.
The decision of the Malaysian office of fast food giant McDonald’s to ban non-halal cakes inside its premises has been criticized for allegedly promoting an intolerant and extreme version of Islam.
Malaysia has a predominantly Malay Muslim population, although the state advocates the unity of diverse races and ethnic groups.
Halal certification in Malaysia means that a food product has been endorsed by an accredited religious authority as meeting Islamic standards.
Despite occasional whiffs of volatility, Central Asia has remained remarkably resistant to real change, either the type that could see it deteriorate into a hotbed of violence and chaos as some have predicted, or the kind that might inch it in the direction of democratic rule and socio-economic wellbeing, which almost no-one suspects will happen.
Consequently, while a lot of things happened in the region this year, none of it will necessarily look meaningful when (or if) historians look back on Central Asia’s 2016 in 50 years time.
Throughout the infamous “war on drug trafficking” in Mexico, both international and local media have regularly referred to the missing and the dead in statistical terms that fail to capture the enormity of human tragedy the war left in its wake. Moreover, coverage of drug barons like El Chapo Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa cartel, has seriously overshadowed the stories of the conflict’s victims.
Little attention is paid to the bereaved the day after a violent event, or communities that have learned to live with daily pain. Every corpse, every bone found in each of the hundreds of clandestine graves, is the testimony of countless parents, sons and daughters, friends and spouses, who harbour wounds that may never heal.
Images of homeless people in Iran taking refuge in empty graves outside of Tehran have shocked Persian social-media users, leading to outrage and calls for the government to intervene.
The public uproar intensified after the newspaper Shahrvand, a publication believed to be close to the reformist government of Hassan Rouhani, ran a feature called “Life in the Grave.”
Since the story broke, Iranians have been discussing it heatedly online. One anonymous Twitter user called “Maktoub” quoted an ironic line by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, saying, “I prefer the ‘slum dwellers’ to the ‘palace dwellers.’” The irony of this statement was shown in the juxtoposition of an image of a homeless man living in a grave, with the image of the palace-like shrine, built with government money, that houses his tomb.
Serbian government officials are claiming that uproar over alleged plans to establish a state body to persuade women to avoid abortions is all a misunderstanding.
Slavica Đukić Dejanović, a minister without portfolio responsible for demography and population policy, reportedly told pro-government tabloid Informer confirming that the state would “form a body that would raise awareness of all women about the harmful side effects of abortions.” Several other media outlets then picked up on the statement. According to news portal Alo.rs, the council would provide counseling on pregnancy and its termination, and “would include the civil sector, priests and various experts that would be able to help.”
A very un-Balkan thing happened during the Macedonian election. Instead of voting for ‘their’ ethnic parties, many ethnic Albanians decided to vote for the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM), who recently re-branded themselves as more multi-ethnic.
Currently, Macedonia is going through the tumultuous process of forming a new government after parliamentary elections on 11 December. The initial election results are controversial — and contested — so it’s uncertain which party will have more members of parliament in the end. Nevertheless, even though the ruling parties seem to have a slight lead, it is evident that their support has dropped dramatically in comparison to previous elections.
Following a successful and peaceful election on December 7, Twitter was awash on Sunday, December 11 with messages from Ghanaians saying that they had attended to church to give thanks to God for the smooth outcome or to celebrate with the winning party.
However, a tweet from Ghanaian sports journalist Gary Al-Smith (@garyalsmith) struck a much different note. Gary had published a screenshot of part of an article written by American broadcaster CNN about Ghana’s election in which the country was characterized as suffering food shortages. In his tweet to his over 166,000 followers, using the hashtag #CNNGetItRight he said:
The protest at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, US has mobilized hundreds of Native American tribes as well as solidarity across the world. The protests are against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would transport almost half a million barrels of oil per day across the northern US. The pipeline could contaminate the Missouri River, a key water source for the region. It would also cross through a prominent Sioux burial site.
Although the US government stated last week that it would not grant the easement–the right to cross or use someone’s land–under Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, the struggle is not over. The announcement cited that further examination was needed, and that an Environmental Impact Statement will be initiated. Demonstrators have said they plan to remain in the camps surrounding the northern edge of the reservation.