Car bomb and hate campaign mark disturbing evolution in climate for media

first_img News February 11, 2021 Find out more News News RSF_en News Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about a new deterioration in the media freedom situation in Bulgaria in the run-up to the presidential and municipal elections due to be held on 23 October. There has been a surge of hatred and violence against journalists in recent days although so far there have been no victims.A continuing social media hate campaign against Mirolyuba Benatova, a reporter for privately-owned BTV, in connection with her coverage of a conflict involved Roma, and the bombing of TV host Sasho Dikov’s car on the night of 13 October have revived the fears of violence that Bulgarian journalists have so often felt in the past.Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the bombing, which could have had tragic consequences. No lead should be neglected in order to identify those responsible. As it coincided with a visit by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, those in charge of the investigation should examine the possible links with previous explosions targeting news media while European Commission delegations were visiting Bulgaria.These coincidences are at the very least suspicious and deserve close attention. European Union officials must also end their silence on this subject. Although Bulgaria is an EU member state and the European Commission’s powers in such matters are limited, the EU cannot continue to say nothing about such a dangerous situation within its own borders.The impunity prevailing in Bulgaria in all cases of violence against the media must end. A thorough investigation is needed into the Dikov car bombing so that both perpetrators and instigators are indentified. The other murder attempts against journalists must also be thoroughly investigated. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to the presidential candidates to firmly and publicly undertake to ensure that the police and judicial system will make more determined efforts to find those responsible for these abuses. While the difficulty of such investigations is understandable, the judicial system complete laxness is intolerable.Without taking a position on the substance of the accusations against Benatova, Reporters Without Borders is very worried by the virulence of the hate campaign that has been waged against her ever since her coverage of clashes in the village of Katunitsa on 24 September. Organisation BulgariaEurope – Central Asia Bulgaria: RSF condemns refusal to investigate reporter’s violent arrest Bulgaria’s general election: RSF publishes 10 proposals to rescue press freedomcenter_img Interview with Sasho DikovReporters Without Borders : Mr. Dikov, lots of people are talking about the circumstances of the bombing of which you were the target, and several explanations are being offered. According to the semi-official version, the aim of the explosive that was detonated beneath your car was just to scare you. Others see it as a murder attempt. What do you think?Sasho Dikov : So far there is not enough evidence to support the murder attempt theory. Only the facts are clear. At around 10 p.m. on 13 October, a powerful bomb was set off and my car was blown up. It is clear that if any passers-by had been near the car at the time, they would have been killed. And if I had been inside the car, I would be dead. On the basis of these facts, you can suppose all sorts of things. I may have been the target because of certain things I may have said. It may have been to scare me and to make me shut up. It is also possible that the aim of the explosion was just to discredit the government, because we were receiving the president of the European Commission at the time. Those responsible may have chosen me because of my popularity. They knew it would cause a stir. My mind is not made up.Reporters Without Borders : Nonetheless, it was the third case of an explosion coinciding with high-level official visits since the start of the year.Sasho Dikov : Yes, there were other cases such as the bomb outside Galeria, a recognized opposition newspaper (on 10 February 2011, during a visit by four European commissioners). I am known for not stinting in my criticism of the government. It is serious that these events have taken place precisely when European commissioners were visiting. What’s really regrettable, really appalling, is that none of these cases has been solved. The journalist Ani Zarkova wrote a very moving letter that the newspaper Trud ran on page one. Ani was attacked a few years ago. Someone threw acid in her face to disfigure her. This criminal act was not solved. Twenty years ago someone torched the car of Petar Blaskov, one of the founders of Bulgaria’s democratic press. Again, those responsible were not found. Three of four years ago, another journalist, Vasil Ivanov, found his apartment blown up. Same situation. Then we had the attack on Ognian Stephanov.The impunity is total. None of these cases I’ve just mentioned has been solved. Ani Zarkova summed up the situation very well. Journalists are caught between the masterminds who write the scenarios for the attacks and use servile underlings to carry them out, and the approximately 15,000 state employees, police officers, who fail to identify them. We have special services with an enormous budget, of which millions are allocated to phone tapping. And nothing, no result. This is very worrying. After the Galeria explosion, they tried to portray it as if those running the newspaper had set off the bomb themselves. It was the same thing with me. They said I did it to attract attention to myself. Me, Galeria… [The centre-right opposition party leader] Yane Yanev may also have blown up his own office. If you believe them, all these cases were the work of the victims themselves.Reporters Without Borders : Do you think it could happen again ?Sasho Dikov : Without a doubt. And I’m afraid that we may not always be so lucky.Reporters Without Borders : Are you and your family receiving protection from the police or special services ?Sasho Dikov : Not at all. And I don’t think it would serve much purpose, inasmuch as my guards would not have been able to protect me from this bomb. What’s more, I haven’t really had any threats. Kanal 3’s owner offered me protection but I refused.Reporters Without Borders : No threats ? But has pressure been put on you ? In your work, by the staff or by others ? Sasho Dikov : I don’t want to portray myself as a martyr who is being attacked because of his work. I have always respected the rules of this trade, which I have practiced for the past 34 years. I am convinced that journalism is above all and by its nature meant to be in opposition to every kind of authority. A professional journalist just has a duty to reflect different points of view. I have always respected journalistic ethics and I have always worked according to my conscience, without yielding to outside influence. I may have been mistaken in the comments I have made or in the way I have evaluated certain things, by they were my own opinions. Within Kanal 3, I have always enjoyed an exceptional situation, complete freedom of expression. It’s fairly unusual here and should be emphasized. There are no taboo subjects. No obstacles are put in my path. It was already that way before the elections.Reporters Without Borders : Has the situation of the Bulgarian media deteriorated ?Sasho Dikov : I will give you some examples that illustrate the situation. The latest is the most striking. The presidents of the Union of Bulgarian Painters decided to award an honorary title to Prime Minister Borisov and the culture minister. A painter, the head of their supervisory commission, wrote an open letter to the media describing this as a servile decision taken under pressure. None of the state-owned media dared publish the letter. So I wrote two articles about the case during the weekend, as the award ceremony was due to take place on the Monday. I spoke to the open letter’s author, Professor Minev. It turned out that journalists had already interviewed him but their interviews had been spiked. It was totally absurd. I wrote that they were trying to make Borisov look ridiculous with all this submissiveness. It may seem like boasting to you, but I have reason to believe that it was because of me that Borisov turned the prize down at the last moment. A conference on freedom of expression was held in Brussels a few months ago. The newspapers Trud and 24 Chasa sent representatives but their articles were not published. Why? Another example: last year, I think, the deputy culture minister appeared at a concert bringing flowers on behalf of the prime minister. He was greeted with loud whistles. No one dared to report that. There was video of it on YouTube. No one aside from me and [famous show-business personality, singer, actor and talk-show guest] Slavi Trifonov even dared to comment on this event or circulate the video.So, quite frankly, the situation has not improved one bit. The media continue to be in a position almost identical to what we knew 20 years ago. This is deplorable. Help by sharing this information BulgariaEurope – Central Asia Demonstrations outside BTV headquarters demanding her head and the hatred of her being voiced on social networks, particularly Facebook, are disturbing and unacceptable. She has been called an “enemy of the Bulgarian people” and a “Jew corrupted by the Roma.” Some people have even called for her children to be run over, in reference to the car accident that triggered the violence in Katunitsa.A journalist’s professionalism and conduct can always be the subject of a debate, but it should be conducted in a legal manner and without hate messages. In this case, the limits have been widely overstepped and some of the comments clearly constitute death threats that should not be minimized. Administrators deleted Benatova’s Facebook profile several times because of what had been posted on it.Because of her fear of reprisals, Benatova has not appeared on the air since 24 September and is no longer able to work. It is vital that she should quickly recover her freedom in both her private and professional life. We urge BTV to continue to support her and not to yield to pressure. to go further October 21, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Car bomb and hate campaign mark disturbing evolution in climate for media March 10, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Bulgaria RSF and 60 other organisations call for an EU anti-SLAPP directive December 2, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Green Flag flying proudly over Limerick’s People’s Park

first_imgLimerickNewsGreen Flag flying proudly over Limerick’s People’s ParkBy Alan Jacques – July 30, 2019 314 Twitter WhatsApp Previous articleConcerns raised over Punches Cross student developmentNext articleO’Connell Street revitalisation plans lack ambition Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Linkedin Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival TAGSGreen FlaglimerickLimerick City and County CouncilPeople’s Park Email WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads center_img Green Flag flying proudly over Limerick’s People’s Park. It was raised by Mayor of Limerick City and County, Michael Sheahan and Michael Sheehan, Park Superintendent Limerick City and County.Picture: Keith WisemanA Green Flag now flies proudly over the People’s Park after the park was chosen as one of the latest recipients of the internationally recognised Green Flag Awards.The Green Flag Award scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces around the world.It aims to encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways and encourages high environmental performance and good management. Parks and green spaces are judged against eight key criteria.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The People’s Park in Limerick city and the Páirc Cois Féile in Abbeyfeale have received the Green Flag Award.This year participating countries included Australia, Belgium, England, Finland, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Wales.The 2019 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, and green spaces from across the whole country.They are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against the strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement.This international award is a recognition that the People’s Park meets the highest possible environmental standards.Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said: “This award is a huge honour for all who work in the Parks Section of the Council. The People’s Park plays an integral part in making Limerick city an attractive place to live and people strongly identify with it. City parks improve our physical and psychological health, strengthen our communities, and make our cities and neighbourhoods more attractive places to live and work.”“We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in our city for people to enjoy. I would encourage everyone to get outdoors this summer and enjoy the parks and green spaces that we have on our doorstep in Limerick City and County.” RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Print Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Advertisement Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Facebook Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League openerlast_img read more

Fed Districts Report Continued Moderated Economic Expansion

first_imgSubscribe Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Fed Districts Report Continued Moderated Economic Expansion The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago October 14, 2015 3,989 Views The 12 Federal Reserve Districts reported continued modest economic expansion from mid-August through early October in the Fed’s October 2015 Beige Book released Thursday.New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, and St. Louis all reported a modest pace of economic growth while Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco reported moderate economic growth. Increased economic activity since the previous Beige Book was issued in early September was reported in Boston and Richmond while a slight decline in economic activity was reported in Kansas City, according to the Fed.The reporting period for the latest Beige Book found residential housing markets have generally improved since the last report with increasing home prices and sales volumes driving the improved housing markets. The latest report found generally positive reports from the banking and finance sectors due to increased lending activity, improved loan quality, and slightly eased lending standards, according to the Fed.Nearly all Fed districts reported rising residential home prices and more sales volume since the previous Beige Book report was issued. The one notable exception was in Chicago, which reported generally steady home prices and sales volume. The market for lower- and moderately-priced homes outperformed the high end of the residential market in a number of districts. Low inventory was reported in Boston, New York, Richmond, and St. Louis, while Philadelphia and Dallas reported adequate housing inventory.Strong residential construction was reported in Atlanta, while declines in new home construction was reported in Minneapolis in Kansas City. A lack of new home construction was reported in Philadelphia, while labor shortages restrained new home construction in the Dallas District.Reports for the banking sector were generally positive, while credit conditions were mixed but improved for the most part, according to the Fed. Declining delinquency rates and improved loan quality were reported in New York; the districts of Cleveland, Richmond, and Kansas City reported little change since the last Beige Book. Eased lending standards for residential real estate were reported in Richmond and Chicago, with no change in New York, Kansas City, and Dallas. Tighter lending conditions were reported in the San Francisco District. Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Beige Book Federal Reserve Residential Real Estate Market U.S. Economy 2015-10-14 Brian Honea  Print This Post Home / Daily Dose / Fed Districts Report Continued Moderated Economic Expansion Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Previous: HUD Secretary Castro Plans to Announce Clinton Endorsement on Thursday Next: Government’s Control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Unlikely to Change, Analyst Says Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Related Articles Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Tagged with: Beige Book Federal Reserve Residential Real Estate Market U.S. Economy Sign up for DS News Daily Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago About Author: Brian Honealast_img read more

Visit Haywood County

first_imgThere is nothing fresher than springtime in the North Carolina Smokies. As the mountains awake from their winter slumber and eagerly welcome the first blossoms of spring color, you will find the ideal seasonal getaway in the picturesque towns of Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde, and Lake Junalaska. Fondly referred to as “the other color season”, the area comes alive with the early blossoms of spring like daffodils, dogwoods and cherry blossoms. Warmer days and mild evenings offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy a plethora of outdoor adventure and unique local hotspots amidst the scenic backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.  Whether you’re looking for that special “off the beaten path” hiking excursion or an epicurean adventure, the North Carolina Smokies are serving up the freshest springtime experiences around.HikingHaywood County is home to rich agricultural offerings, with over 700 farms encompassing more than 56,000 acres – from sprawling picturesque farms to family-owned and operated homesteads. With that comes endless agritourism opportunities spread across Haywood County’s five towns and rural communities. To experience Haywood County’s unique agripreneurial offerings, grab a copy of Buy Haywood’s “Find Your Adventure!” Agritourism Guide.  Haywood County offers year-round opportunities to explore the many agritourism adventures available in our area, like historic Farmer & Tailgate Markets, award winning “Farm to Table” restaurants, specialty retail Shops, heritage festivals, U-Pick farms, and more!AgritourismCome celebrate it in Waynesville visiting the town’s FOUR craft microbreweries: BearWaters Brewing Company, Boojum Brewing, Frog Level Brewing, and Tipping Point Brewery.  All located within a short radius of each other, you can conveniently enjoy their one-of-a-kind brews while experiencing the charm and beauty of downtown Waynesville.  Each brewery will celebrate North Carolina Beer Month in their own special way so make time to visit each one.  There are also a number of other establishments boasting the area’s local brews, like Mad Anthony Wayne’s Bottle Shop, Sunburst Market, The Classic Wine Seller, and The Strand at 38 Main, just to name a few.  Cheers!BeerWith several trails offering easy year round access, Haywood County is a basecamp for fantastic spring hiking.  Purchase Knob, located in northwestern Haywood County along the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offers butterfly and wildflower abundance, native wildlife, historical significance, and amazing panoramas. The Sam’s Summit Loop Trail, located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway on Hwy 215 is another hiking gem with year round access. This trail weaves you through several ecological systems and boasts incredible sights of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Both of these trails have been spotlighted by certified Blue Ridge Naturalist, Ken Czarnomski. His passion for hiking, mapping, and drawing brought to life a unique hand illustrated guides for both Purchase Knob and Sam’s Summit. The free guides are available exclusively in Haywood County through the Haywood TDA. There are a number of other great hiking areas to explore from Cataloochee Valley and the Blue Ridge Parkway to a scenic stroll through the majestic gardens of Lake Junaluska. For more suggestions, visit www.visitncsmokies.com. last_img read more