RSF Index 2020: UK ranking declines following the murder of journalist Lyra McKee

first_img United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Organized crimeImprisonedWomenFreedom of expressionJudicial harassmentViolence Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information February 28, 2020 Find out more RSF_en UK: Legal arguments during the first week of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing highlight lack of US evidence February 3, 2020 Find out more United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Organized crimeImprisonedWomenFreedom of expressionJudicial harassmentViolence News Follow the news on United Kingdom April 20, 2020 – Updated on April 21, 2020 RSF Index 2020: UK ranking declines following the murder of journalist Lyra McKee Dispatch: One year after the killing of Lyra McKee, press freedom remains under threat in Northern Ireland News Reports UK: Banning of journalists from Downing Street press briefing latest worrying move by Boris Johnson’s new government News The UK has dropped two places to 35th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF’s) 2020 World Press Freedom Index, published today. Although the UK government played a key role in promoting media freedom globally, its efforts were undermined by domestic developments, including the murder of Lyra McKee and active threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland, and the detention of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who faces possible extradition to the US. to go further Organisation April 16, 2020 Find out more In 2019, the UK co-hosted the inaugural Global Conference for Media Freedom and co-founded the Media Freedom Coalition, which were significant steps in the global promotion of media freedom. However a number of domestic concerns undermined the UK’s international leadership role and resulted in the decline in ranking in the 2020 Index.The murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry, Northern Ireland, on 18 April 2019 marked a staggering low point for press freedom in the UK, where a journalist had not been killed in the line of duty since the assassination of Martin O’Hagan in September 2001. Journalists who cover organised crime and paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland continued to face serious threats to their safety.Although the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced in July it would establish a National Committee for the Safety of Journalists and a National Action Plan on Safety of Journalists, no apparent progress was made towards launching these initiatives.The sentencing of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to a disproportionate jail term of 50 weeks for breaking bail also marred the UK’s press freedom record in 2019, as did the Home Office’s decision to green light the US extradition request. Assange remained in custody at the high security Belmarsh Prison despite widespread international concern for his health and safety, including by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.“With coronavirus and other converging crises presenting unprecedented threats to press freedom globally, it is more important than ever for democratic states to lead by example. The UK should be performing better on the World Press Freedom Index, and must address these domestic concerns as a matter of priority. Concrete steps should be taken to ensure the safety of journalists in the wake of Lyra McKee’s murder, and Julian Assange should be released – and certainly not extradited to the US”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.RSF also noted concern over problematic provisions of counter-terrorism and crime legislation adopted in 2019, as well as the pursuit by the London Metropolitan Police of the publication of leaked information from diplomatic cables as a criminal matter.Notes to editors:Before its decline to 35th in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, the UK had risen seven places in the 2019 Index, bringing it to 33rd after spending the previous two years ranked at 40th.For more information on the press freedom situation in Northern Ireland, read RSF’s report following a research mission in March 2020.For more information on the press freedom implications of the case against Julian Assange, read RSF’s analysis after monitoring the first week of his US extradition hearing at the Woolwich Crown Court in February 2020.UK press contact: Rebecca Vincent at [email protected] last_img read more

Wild Spotter App

first_imgThanks to a new app, citizen scientists can help researchers track and stop the spread of invasive species like feral pigs, Chinese privet, cogongrass and kudzu bugs by reporting and mapping sightings of these invasive species.The University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and Wildlife Forever, a conservation nonprofit, to develop the smartphone app, called “Wild Spotter,” to identify and report invasive species in the remote wilderness and other natural areas across the 193-million-acre national forest system.Wild Spotter was designed to help researchers map invasive species using a smartphone app, website and customized marketing campaign. The app will help the Forest Service target aquatic and terrestrial invasive species in wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers.The partnership initially focused on building a citizen-science base in 12 ecologically diverse national forests scattered from coast to coast. Ultimately, the project will grow to include all 174 national forests and grasslands, according to Chuck Bargeron, associate director of UGA’s invasive species and ecosystem health center, commonly known as Bugwood, in Tifton, Georgia.“It is impossible for agencies like the U.S. Forest Service to monitor all of their lands. Reaching the public, who are in these specific areas across the country, is a solution to help find new infestations before they spread,” Bargeron said.These infestations involve harmful exotic plants, animals, fish, invertebrates, pathogens and other species that invade different ecosystems each year. These invasions reduce biodiversity and productivity, weaken local economies, and impact human and animal health. The Wild Spotter program provides people with the tools they need to help locate, quantify, map and report these invasive species infestations.“Invasive species cause economic and environmental damage to ecosystems across the world. Estimates have been as high as $120 billion a year in the United States,” Bargeron said. Citizen-scientist volunteers who download the Wild Spotter app and use the program can also identify and report unfamiliar species they find while they’re vacationing in America’s wild places. The data is verified by experts and made public through an invasive species database hosted by UGA.“We are very proud that Wild Spotter is expanding citizen-science-volunteer capacity against invasive species by capitalizing on the outdoor activities of millions of people who are already enjoying some of the most beautiful places in America,” Bargeron said. “Like the idea of ‘see something, say something,’ the Wild Spotter program greatly enhances the early detection and rapid response capabilities of agencies like the U.S. Forest Service.”To learn more about the Wild Spotter program, visit www.wildspotter.org. Learn more about the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at www.bugwood.org.The Wild Spotter app is free and available in Apple and Android app stores.last_img read more

Second Pseudoephedrine Shipment Seized This Week

first_imgBy Dialogo June 19, 2009 Guatemala, June 18 (EFE). – Official sources informed today that the security forces of Guatemala seized a pseudoephedrine shipment valued at 17.2 million quetzals (approximately 2.2 million dollars), the second this week. A spokesperson of the Civil National Police (PNC) told EFE that the antinarcotics agents of that institution seized the drugs Wednesday night in a warehouse at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala city. It is a cargo of 148,400 pseudoephedrine tablets, which is believed to be shipped from Bangladesh. “We are investigating the source and destination of the cargo, as well as the way in which it entered the country,” he indicated. Last Monday, antinarcotics agents seized a cargo of 17, 562,000 pseudoephedrine tablets in the port of Quetzal, on the Pacific coast. It was found in a container carried in the boat “Libra Rio”, coming from India. The cargo was valued at approximately 32,48 million dollars. The police spokesperson said that no arrests were made when both cargos were seized. Last February, the Guatemalan government prohibited the import of pseudoephedrine because of its use in the manufacture of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy.last_img read more