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Nicaragua: RSF and PEN Call on Congress to Reject “Foreign Agents” Bill

Sketch of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and PEN International call on the Nicaraguan Congress to reject a bill providing for the registration of press correspondents as “foreign agents”, and denounce an increasingly complex working climate for the independent press in the country.

The bill known as the “Foreign Agents Regulation Law”, intended to “prevent crimes against the security of the State” caused a real outcry within Nicaraguan civil society and the international community. The text, which forces any entity or person receiving funding from abroad to register with the Ministry of the Interior as a ” foreign agent “, and which will apply in particular to journalists working for foreign media, must still be examined by parliament, where President Ortega’s political formation, the Frente Sandinista, has a large majority.

“RSF strongly denounces an aberrant and unconstitutional bill intended to censor and further intimidate the independent media in the country,” said the director of the Latin America office for RSF, Emmanuel Colombié. Congress must reject this liberticidal bill which will allow Daniel Ortega’s government to have a new tool of repression to silence the critical voices of his administration.

“The trials, persecutions and attacks against journalists and media critical of the Nicaraguan government are proof that the authorities in this country are acting systematically to limit the right to freedom of expression, denounces Jennifer Clement, president. by PEN International. Respect for rights must be a priority for the State. We call on the government of Nicaragua to stop the criminalization of independent voices, and ask Congress to reject this bill which aims to control and restrict the work of the media, journalists and civil society organizations ” 

The text tabled in parliament on September 22 by the deputies of ‘Frente Sandinista’, the party of President Daniel Ortega, plans to establish “a legal framework for natural or legal persons dependent on interests and funding from the foreigner and who engage in interference in the internal affairs of the country ”. Any organization or person registered with the Interior Ministry as a “foreign agent” will be subject to close surveillance, restrictions on their civic and political rights, and may face the seizure of all their property.

NGOs, press correspondents, representatives of news agencies but also Nicaraguan media journalists receiving financial support from outside the country are part of this list of foreign agents. Consulting, public relations, advertising agencies, employees of information services and political consultants with links to foreign governments, companies and foundations included in this list of the ministry should also “refrain from intervening in domestic affairs or matters ”, under pain of legal sanctions, and will also be subject to close surveillance. 

This liberticidal bill worsens an already very degraded climate for the press. As the country sinks into the political crisis, attacks against the independent press have increased since April 2018: intimidation, threats, seizures of equipment, searches without a warrant, organized shortage of paper , arbitrary arrests have become the daily media. Regularly victims of harassment campaigns and even death threats, Nicaraguan journalists are more and more likely to go into exile .

Several independent media are particularly in the crosshairs of power. The offices of the media Confidencial , 100% Noticias Niú and Esta Semana have been blocked and surrounded by the police since December 2018. On September 11, 2020, the Nicaraguan justice announced the seizure of all the property of the independent television channel Nicavision Canal 12, one of the last independent channels still in operation in the country, particularly critical of the government, as well as the freezing of all assets and the group’s bank account. The judge’s decision followed the decision of the General Tax Directorate to impose a fine of USD 607,000 onNicavisión Canal 12 for tax declarations allegedly irregular between 2011 and 2013. The Canal 10 channel is also in the crosshairs of the General Directorate of Taxes.

Legal proceedings against journalists have also increased in recent months. On September 23, journalist Kalua Salazar , director of La Costeñisima radio station, was found guilty of slander and defamation for exposing acts of corruption in the municipality of El Rama . In August 2020, journalists David Quintana , from Boletin Ecologico , William Aragón and Elsa Espinoza , from the coalition of independent journalists PCIN (Periodistas y Comunicadores Independientes de Nicaragua), were also targeted by these abusive legal proceedings related to their work as information.

Nicaragua occupies the 117th position out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2020 established by RSF.

Copyright ©2016, Reporters Without Borders. Used with the permission of Reporters Without Borders(RSF), CS 90247 75083 Paris Cedex 02 https://rsf.org

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How to identify Fake News or Messages on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

Without evidence or with fake evidence, a conspiracy theory will always remain a conspiracy theory.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+916289017966

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