Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished
As we reported late Thursday evening, the death toll from the viral outbreak on mainland China has surpassed 600. With global markets once again in the red, Bloomberg reports that Beijing has silenced two of the citizen journalists responsible for much of the horrifying footage seeping onto western social media.
As BBG’s reporter explains, Chinese citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin have effectively been “the world’s eyes and ears” inside Wuhan (much of the film produced by American news organizations has consisted of drone footage). In recent days, SCMP and other news organizations reporting on the ground and publishing in English have warned that Beijing has stepped up efforts to censor Chinese social media after allowing citizens to vent their frustrations and share news without the usual scrutiny.
On Wednesday, China said its censors would conduct “targeted supervision” on the largest social media platforms including Weibo, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Douyin. All in an effort to mask the dystopian nightmare that life in cities like Wuhan has become.
But that brief period of informational amnesty is now over, apparently. Fang posted a dramatic video on Friday showing him being forcibly detained and dragged off to a ‘quarantine’. He was detained over a video showing corpses piled up in a Wuhan hospital. However, he has already been released.
Chen, meanwhile, seems to have vanished without a trace, and is believed to still be in government detention. We shared one of Chen’s more alarming videos documenting the severe medical supply shortages and outnumbered medical personnel fighting a ‘losing battle’ against the outbreak.
The crackdown on these journalists comes amid an outpouring of public anger over the death of a doctor who was wrongly victimized by police after attempting to warn the public about the outbreak. Beijing tried to cover up the death, denying it to the western press before the local hospital confirmed.
The videos supplied by the two citizen journos have circulated most freely on twitter, which is where most in-the-know Chinese go for their latest information about the outbreak. Many “hop” the “great firewall” via a VPN.
“There’s a lot more activity happening on Twitter compared with Weibo and WeChat,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. There has been a Chinese community on Jack Dorsey’s short-message platform since before President Xi Jinping rose to power, she added, but the recent crackdown has weakened that social circle.
Chen has now been missing for more than 24 hours, according to several friends in contact with BBG News.
Chen has been out of contact for a prolonged period of time. His friends posted a message on his Twitter account saying he has been unreachable since 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. In a texted interview, Bloomberg News’s last question to Chen was whether he was concerned about his safety as he’s among the few people reporting the situation on the front lines.
It’s all part of the great crackdown that Beijing is enforcing, even as the WHO continues to praise the Communist Party for its ‘transparency’.
“After lifting the lid briefly to give the press and social media some freedom,” said Wang about China’s ruling Communist Party, the regime “is now reinstating its control over social media, fearing it could lead to a wider-spread panic.”
With a little luck, the world might soon learn Chen’s whereabouts. Then again, there’s always the chance that he’s never heard from again.
The story of former Nigerian military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida popularly known as IBB, has been documented in a new biopic, ‘Badamosi: Portrait of a General’.
The film, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Obi Emelonye, explores Babangida’s story from childhood up to his run as the Head of State, also touching several key history points in Nigeria’s history.
Babangida was Head of State from Aug. 27, 1985 to Aug. 26, 1993. He previously served as the Chief of Army Staff from January 1984 to August 1985.
Wikipedia, the online dictionary describes him as a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985) and notably moved the seat of power from Lagos to Abuja in 1991.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, the filmmaker explained the inspiration behind the film and its importance in modern-day Nigeria.
Emelonye said: “I decided to use the IBB story to explore our history and our political consciousness.
“In a film, what creates drama is conflict. If you are such an easy-going, quiet person, nobody would want to make a film about you, which explains the hundreds of films made about Hitler.
“It tells you that the more complex a character, the better their stories will be for film.
“So we started looking for stories of Nigerian leaders that can be used to explore our history. The story of Babangida stood out,” he said.
Emelonye also said that it was important to get Babangida’s authorisation and perspective while making the film to increase its authenticity.
He said: “I wanted to make it authorised. I wanted his participation because that is what will make it more interesting.
“This is because most stories are already in the public domain and there will be no point to make a film about it.
“The only thing missing is his personal perspective, which we don’t have. For me, his participation was the determining and distinguishing factor,” he added.
On the portrayal of Babangida in the film, Emelonye noted that in history, perspectives differ hence the need to document from Babangida’s perspective.
He said: “Whatever came out as a persona of Babangida was a function of the information from news outlets.
“What I did with this film was to dig deeper into the psyche of the man himself, to find his perspective to the things we already know in the public domain,” Emelonye said.
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NAN reports that the trailer of the film, starring Eyinna Nwigwe in the lead titular role, has been sparking several conversations on social media as the premiere draws close.
Some of the social media reactions to the trailer go thus: @Baudex said, “I hope they get the story right. Many of us still know how it all went and most of us who don’t have our parents to tell us. Getting the story right will determine the extent the film will go. This is portraying IBB as a hero.
@Daisy said, “Finally we are telling our own stories and documenting our own history.
@Stitchesandstones said, “This is welcome. If they remove history from the curriculum, art will help us remember.
@Olabanle said, “Nollywood is finally listening and I am excited. There are stories in Nigerian history that need screen time and I applaud Obi Emelonye.
This article is probably going to #trigger a lot of you, so go ahead and read your horoscope or one of our Real Housewives articles to calm down before you @ me in the comments.
With the dawn of social media has come the dawn of oversharing. So many people feel the need to have their existence validated in the form of comments and likes on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook that it makes my head spin. Now that our generation (millenials for life) is hitting the wedding and kid age, you may have noticed that a lot of your friends are constantly (and I mean CONSTANTLY) sharing stories, pictures, and videos of their kids and partners online.
The question is, how much is too much? Will the subject of these videos, the children, be cool with the fact that mom is documenting a blowout/bath/toddler meltdown for the whole world to see? Let’s break it down.
The Rise Of “Sharenting”
Oh, yeah, there’s a name for it. If you weren’t aware, “sharenting” is basically sharing everything your kid does while simultaneously asking for advice, posting embarrassing sh*t, and generally airing out your parenting dirty laundry all over the internet. It doesn’t, on the surface, seem like that big of a deal. However, it can lead to everything from your kids looking for validation in the form of likes later, to identity theft, to children feeling like they have no sense of privacy.
We get that sharing that inspirational quote with a picture of bath time gone wrong is going to probably get a lot of likes from your friends, but is it worth it? You’re creating a digital identity for your child before they can even say, “mom, chill with the photos.”
Not Sharing Helps Your Kids Later
It may seem like a wild thought when you’re up at 3am changing diapers, but eventually, your kid is going to grow up and see all the stuff you’ve posted about them online (provided the internet still exists then). In addition to them feeling weird about it, all that sharing can actually lead to serious problems, like identity theft. According to Forbes, “Barclays has forecast that by 2030 ‘sharenting’ will account for 2/3 of identity fraud, costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year. With just a name, date of birth, and address (easy enough to find in a geotagged birthday party photo on Facebook, for example), bad actors can store this information until a person turns 18 and then begin opening accounts.”
That kind of makes you stop and think about posting the full name, date, time, and location of your kid’s first birthday party, doesn’t it? As someone who has personally dealt with having my social security number stolen and having some jackass try to file taxes in my name (joke’s on you—I have no money), I can attest to how not fun that situation is. Is posting that photo or video really worth the headache your kid may endure later?
Aside from identity theft, posting about behavioral issues, tantrums, illnesses, and other trials and tribulations your kid is going through could come back to hurt them later. Maybe your kid, upon reaching age 10, didn’t really want people to know that they were wetting the bed/had a biting issue/licked walls, even though it was hilarious at the time. You posting that online didn’t really give them a choice in sharing that information when, at the end of the day, it directly affects them.
Genevieve von Lob, a clinical psychologist consulted for an article about sharenting on The Guardian, says, “‘More and more parents are questioning the wisdom of posting so much about their kids online. The pictures that are uploaded can form a permanent digital tattoo. Because it’s all so new for parents, we need to start thinking about asking children’s permission to post online.” She wants parents to ask themselves, “Are you leading with a positive, respectful, appropriate example? Are you modelling that you think before you share online? If parents are posting things online to get likes, it’s about getting that validation from others. It’s important kids aren’t learning that posting [photographs] is a way of being validated.’”
So, if you’re sharing everything from cute outfits to “inspirational” mommy quotes with a pic of your kid to tummy time and everything in between to get validation that you are a GREAT parent, your kid is going to pick that up. Basically, don’t be surprised when they try to drop out of high school to be an influencer.
This Isn’t Your Dog
It kind of goes without saying, but your dog isn’t a person.
** slams computer shut in disgust **
You dog doesn’t have a future other than to play all day, sleep all night, and eat whatever you drop on the floor while providing unquestionable loyalty and snuggles. Your kid, however, could potentially be looking at going to an Ivy League school, or trying to make friends while appearing normal. Whatever the case, your kid is not your dog, and documenting their antics to the same degree you’ve documented that of your pets isn’t all that chill. Like, do you think your kid, when they hit age 15, is going to be SO PSYCHED that you posted that time they smeared sh*t all over the walls of the nursery? How about when they just looked **so adorable** during naked naptime? It’s important to remember that your baby is a person, and just because they can’t tell you to stop posting sh*t now, doesn’t mean they won’t think it (and yell at you about it) later.
Stacey Steinberg of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law wrote a legal analysis regarding sharenting and was consulted for this Forbes article. Steinberg concludes that “it’s important to give children the right to say no to parental posts about them (including photos, quotes, and descriptions of their accomplishments and challenges). She notes that by age four, children have a sense of self and have already begun to compare themselves with others.” Additionally, Steinberg says, “‘children who grow up with a sense of privacy, coupled with supportive and less controlling parents, fare better in life. Studies report these children have a greater sense of overall well-being and report greater life satisfaction than children who enter adulthood having experienced less autonomy in childhood.” She emphasizes, “Children must be able to form their own identity and create their own sense of both private and public self to thrive as young people and eventually as adults.’”
Your dog doesn’t NEED a sense of autonomy in puppyhood to experience greater life satisfaction. You kid, on the other hand, totally does.
Post, But Keep It Chill
Overall, posting a few pics here and there of your cute kid or kids is like, fine. They aren’t going to be mentally damaged by it; your friends may talk sh*t about you behind your back, but you can rest assured that you’re just one of millions of cool moms documenting your “totally crazy fun #blessed” life on social media.
But, for the love of God, try to keep it to a minimum. Personally, I would rather see your dog than your spawn—and, also, you’re potentially setting your kid up for all the issues we discussed above. If you just NEED to post that pic, keep it vague, don’t geotag, and limit your audience. Even better, send the video via text to friends and family, post for a limited audience as a story on Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat it. No matter what you want to post, think before you do it. For f*ck’s sake, think of the children.
Protesters were characterized as a threat to national security in what one calls an attempt to criminalize their actions
Helen Yost, a 62-year-old environmental educator, has been a committed activist for nearly a decade. She says she spends 60 to 80 hours a week as a community organizer for Wild Idaho Rising Tide; to save money, she lives in an RV. Shes been arrested twice for engaging in non-violent civil disobedience.
Yost may not fit the profile of a domestic terrorist, but in 2014 the FBI classified her as a potential threat to national security. According to hundreds of pages of FBI files obtained by the Guardian through a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) lawsuit, and interviews with activists, Yost and more than a dozen other people campaigning against fossil fuel extraction in North America have been identified indomestic terrorism-related investigations.
The investigations, which targeted individual activists and some environmental organizations, were opened in 2013-2014, at the height of opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the expansion of fossil fuel production in North America.
Thunberg has been sailing to New York to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, and traveled on a zero-emissions sailboat to reduce the environmental impact of her journey, according to a statement from her team.
She set sail on her vessel, the Malizia II, from Plymouth, UK on August 14, and has been documenting her journey on social media.
Hours before reaching land, Thunberg tweeted an image of her final evening on board the boat. She had previously posted a video showing choppy waters lashing the boat as she approached North America.
The Swedish teenager has become the figurehead of a burgeoning movement of youth climate activists after her weekly protests inspired student strikes in more than 100 cities worldwide.
Thunberg doesn’t fly, because of the high levels of emissions from air travel, according to a statement. The Malizia II allowed her to make a zero-emissions journey, thanks to solar panels and underwater turbines that generate electricity, the statement said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on world leaders to present concrete plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the upcoming summit in New York.
Tourists remain in airport during demonstration, with flights to resume on Tuesday
Hong Kong protesters have shut down one of the worlds busiest airports in a dramatic escalation of the mass demonstrations that have plunged the city into its worst political crisis in decades.
The unprecedented cancellation of all flights followed the fourth consecutive day of protests at the airport and amid increasingly threatening statements from Beijing. A Chinese official said terrorism was emerging in the city, while in Hong Kong authorities demonstrated water cannons for use in crowd control.
The protests are in their 10th week, with confrontations between protesters and police growing more violent. Rights groups and democracy activists have accused police of using increasingly excessive force. At least 40 people were treated in hospital after clashes on Sunday, including a woman who was reportedly hit with a beanbag round and could potentially lose an eye.
Protesters in black T-shirts and face masks filled the airport, handing out lists to arriving visitors documenting alleged police violence and holding up graphic images of injured protesters. Some held signs that said: An eye for an eye and wore eye patches in solidarity with the injured woman.
Others held posters that said: Hong Kong is not safe and Shame on police and chanted: Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom!
I just dont understand how people can tolerate that kind of police brutality. I feel like if I dont come out now, I cant come out ever, said Hilary Lo, who took a half days sick leave from her accountancy firm to attend the demonstration.
People are starting to realise the police are out of control, especially with what has happened in the past two weeks, she said.
Tourists remained at the airport through the protest, with flights expected to resume at 6am on Tuesday. Elodichukwu Obiageli, from Nigeria, said she had been stranded for five hours. We had no information from our airline. We are just stranded here we have no money, she said, adding that all airport stores had closed.
By the early evening, crowds had thinned amid reports police would move in to clear the airport but when they did not show, thousands of protesters streamed back, bringing supplies to stay through the night.
Honestly, I dont think anything will happen, said Andy Chu, a protester who remained at the airport. I think the police strategy until now we can see is to burn out our energy, just let us sit here and wait.
A few hours ago there were rumours flying around, saying the police are coming in to kick us out, with teargas, he said. I think that is also from the police. Thats part of their tactics, part of the game. They want most of the more peaceful protesters to leave themselves.
Hong Kongs summer of dissent has presented one of the biggest challenges to Chinas leader, Xi Jinping, since he came to power in 2012. Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council called on authorities to show no mercy in dealing with the protesters.
Hong Kongs radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging, Yang said at a press briefing. This wantonly tramples on Hong Kongs rule of law and social order.
State-backed media in China on Monday said armed police had held exercises in the neighbouring city of Shenzhen.
In an apparent warning to protesters of a toughening approach on the part of authorities, Hong Kong police invited legislators and journalists on Monday to witness a display of water cannon. Police have never used the device since two were bought after pro-democracy protests in 2014, but during Mondays demonstration one was blasted at dummy targets in a training facility.
Man-Kei Tam, the director of Amnesty Internationals Hong Kong division, warned that clashes between protesters and police had escalated to another level, especially on the police side over the weekend.
In May 2019, WIRED joined the One Free Press Coalition, a united group of preeminent editors and publishers using their global reach and social platforms to spotlight journalists under attack worldwide. Today, the coalition is issuing its sixth monthly “10 Most Urgent” list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases demand justice.
Paul Chouta, the Cameroon Web reporter who was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on “anti-state” charges and will have been imprisoned for one year on August 27. He has been repeatedly interrogated by police, demanding that he reveal his sources.
Here is the August list, ranked in order of urgency:
Months after his brazen killing, and despite findings from the UN and the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.
Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017, and the government has failed to conduct an investigation or disclose what it knows. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.
3. Juan Pardinas (Mexico): Mexican newspaper editor targeted with death threats for criticizing new president.
Mexican media organizations and journalists have recently reported a sharp increase in threats and online harassment over critical reporting of the López Obrador administration. Juan Pardinas, the editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma, received a barrage of online harassment and threats after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the newspaper in April. López Obrador acknowledged the threats against Pardinas and said that his government had offered protective measures to the journalist.
Cameroon Web reporter Paul Chouta was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. Chouta’s editor said he suspects the case was in retaliation for critical reporting. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison.
Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for his release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30.
A commentator for opposition newspaper Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV, Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak was arrested in 2016 and sentenced in February 2018 to life without parole for trying to overturn the constitution through her journalism. In a separate trial in January, she was sentenced to an additional five years for revealing state secrets. In Turkey, which has been the top jailer of journalists three years in a row, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement, with limited visits.
7. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Imprisoned journalist denied healthcare after for covering May Day demonstrations.
Iranian authorities arrested Marzieh Amiri, an economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, as she covered May Day demonstrations, and her family has had limited contact with her since. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving further details.
Jones Abiri, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, is behind bars on charges under Nigeria’s cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act, and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges are the same ones that a court threw out after he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.
9. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict.
Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, will have been imprisoned one year on August 27, arrested in 2018 and months later charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists.” He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police. Sultan continues to be denied due process, with ongoing delays in his hearings.
Truong Duy Nhat, a Vietnamese reporter with Radio Free Asia, went missing in January in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had applied for refugee status. In March, his daughter learned he was jailed without charge in a Hanoi detention center. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection to his critical reporting on the government.
According to CPJ research, the killers go unpunished in nine out of every 10 journalists murdered.
The One Free Press Coalition contains 33 prominent international members including: AméricaEconomía; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; BuzzFeed; CNN Money Switzerland; Corriere Della Sera; De Standaard; Deutsche Welle; Estadão; EURACTIV; The Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India Today; Insider Inc.; Le Temps; Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Office of Cuba Broadcasting; Quartz; Radio Free Asia; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; Republik; Reuters; The Straits Times; Süddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; TV Azteca; Voice of America; The Washington Post; WIRED; and Yahoo News.
One Free Press Coalition partners with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to identify the most-urgent cases for the list, which is updated and published on the first day of every month. News organizations throughout the world can join the Coalition by emailing email@example.com.