March 11, 2021 Find out more RSF asks International Criminal Court to investigate murders of journalists in Afghanistan Organisation Help by sharing this information May 3, 2021 Find out more RSF_en AfghanistanAsia – Pacific Follow the news on Afghanistan October 16, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Explanation sought for closure of government daily Arman-e-Mili Receive email alerts News AfghanistanAsia – Pacific Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) today called on information and culture minister Sayeed Makhdoom Raheen to explain the closure of Afghanistan’s second most important daily, the state-owned Arman-e-Mili (National Will), which recently carried articles criticising President Hamid Karzai’s administration. The move appears to violate government undertakings regarding the independence and development of the state media.”If this a political decision aimed at banning any criticism of the government in the state-owned press, we urge you to reverse it and to reinstate the journalists in their posts,” Reporters Without Borders said in a letter to the minister.Arman-e-Mili’s last issue appeared on 11 October after the government ordered its “administrative closure” one day earlier. The information and culture minister said it was a “measure of a budgetary nature.”AFP quoted the minister as saying at a press conference: “There are currently 265 dailies, weeklies and other publications in Afghanistan. Five of them belong to the government and are subsidized by public funds, often with the same articles and the same photos. So we decided to close one of them.”But the daily’s editor in chief, Mirhaidar Motahar, claims that the closure was linked to its increasingly more independent editorial line. He said Arman-e-Mili had often reported popular discontent with government decisions.As the newspaper received part of its financing from the defence ministry, its closure could also be linked to power struggles within the government. Defence minister Mohammed Fahim heads a major opposition current within the transition government. As Arman-e-Mili very rarely criticised Fahim, President Harmai’s associates may have suspected it of being in his pay.Arman-e-Mili had a circulation of 5,000, one of the largest in Afghanistan. It employed 17 journalists and had some 15 other employees. News Situation getting more critical for Afghan women journalists, report says June 2, 2021 Find out more News to go further News Afghanistan : “No just and lasting peace in Afghanistan without guarantees for press freedom”
May 6, 2020 Find out more José Manuel Echandi wrote on 19 September 2007 to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, urging her to act to speed up the release of Cuban journalist Normando Hernández González and his transfer to Costa Rica on humanitarian grounds. The request to the UN follows the refusal of the Cuban authorities to grant an exit visa to the seriously ill journalist, who has been in jail since 2003. In his letter, José Manuel Echandi points out that Cuba is a signatory to the UN protocol against torture, and could not therefore keep in jail a man whose state of health was incompatible with detention.Hernández González began a hunger strike in March this year to protest against maltreatment he has suffered in Kilo 7 prison in Camagüey, central Cuba. He was admitted to the Carlos J. Finlay in Havana on 14 September suffering from tuberculosis. The same day the Costa Rican immigration service sent an entry visa for the journalist issued on humanitarian grounds to the Costa Rican consul in Havana. Two days later the consul sent an official request for Hernández González to leave the country to the Cuban foreign minister, Felipe Pérez Roque. No reply has been received to this request.—————-18.09.07 – Support for Costa Rica’s offer of humanitarian asylum to imprisoned journalist Normando HernándezReporters Without Borders today said it supports Costa Rica’s request for imprisoned journalist Normando Hernández González to be allowed to leave Cuba for humanitarian reasons. His health has deteriorated steadily since his arrest in the “Black Spring” crackdown of March 2003. Costa Rica’s consul in Havana, José Maria Penabad, formally submitted the request to Cuban foreign minister Felipe Pérez Roque on 16 September.“Humanitarian concerns are clearly paramount as regards all prisoners of conscience, especially the 20 journalists held since March 2003 in very harsh conditions,” the press freedom organisation said. “We hail the Costa Rican government’s efforts to have Hernández moved to Costa Rica so that he can received appropriate treatment for his condition, which is now alarming.”Reporters Without Borders added: “We strongly hope the Cuban foreign ministry will accede to this request from Costa Rica, which as already issued a visa for Hernández. We also hope other governments will support this initiative and will take similar initiatives on behalf of other imprisoned journalists.”Costa Rica’s directorate of migration notified the consul on 14 September that it has issued a humanitarian visa for Hernández at the request of a parliamentarian, José Manuel Echandi, who has been trying for several months to have the seriously ill Hernández flow to Costa Rica. Two days later, Penabad formally asked the Cuban foreign minister to allow Hernández to take advantage of this offer of humanitarian asylum.The director of the Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey, an independent news agency, Hernández was arrested on 24 March 2003 along with 26 other journalists during the last major crackdown on Cuban dissidents. Arbitrarily accused of spying and threatening state security, he was given a 25-year prison sentence.Held since 10 September 2006 in Camagüey’s Kilo 7 top-security prison and suffering from tuberculosis, Hernández went on hunger strike in March of this year in protest against mistreatment, denial of the right to visits and prison leave, poor food and other unacceptable conditions. He was transferred four days ago to Carlos J. Finlay hospital in Havana.Two other independent journalists who have been held since March 2003 were taken to hospital the same day. They are Ricardo González Alfonso, Reporters Without Borders correspondent and editor of the magazine De Cuba, who is serving a 20-year sentence, and Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, serving a 15-year sentence. They were taken to the military hospital in Havana’s Combinado del Este prison, where they are being held. González, who has been hospitalised before, has high blood pressure. Gálvez has developed serious respiratory problems while in detention.With a total of 24 journalists currently held, Cuba is the world’s second biggest prison for the press, after China. Three of those currently in prison were arrested after Raúl Castro took over as acting president on 31 July 2006. The 20 still held since March 2003 are serving prison sentences ranging from 14 to 27 years. New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council CubaAmericas Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet News CubaAmericas to go further News Receive email alerts Follow the news on Cuba News September 25, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 A Costa Rican deputy pleads the case of Normando Hernández González before the United Nations Organisation News RSF_en October 12, 2018 Find out more Help by sharing this information RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago October 15, 2020 Find out more
HR faces headache over absencesOn 17 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Thenew code of practice on employers’ sickness records is long, confusing, and hasserious implications for absence management. Paul Nelson reports on how it willaffect HRThepublication of the Information Commission’s code of practice on employmentrecords places a significant added burden on the HR profession.Thedelayed Records Management code outlines organisations’ responsibilitiesconcerning the handling of personal data to ensure they comply with the 1998Data Protection Act, which came into force in October last year.Underthe code, HR professionals must be trained in data handling procedures andensure that line managers receive similar training so that all staff recordsare dealt with appropriately. HR departments will need to introduce a single HRdatabase for staff records, and annually provide employees with a copy of theirpersonal details kept on file. HR and other employees who handle personnel datawill have to sign confidentiality clauses in their contracts.Thecode also gives staff rights to access any information held by the HRdepartment that relates directly to them within 40 days, for a maximum £10 fee.However,the code’s interpretation of how HR should handle sickness records is its mostcontroversial aspect. Althoughemployers do have the right to keep absence records – which was prohibited inthe original draft of the code – they will now need the consent of eachindividual member of staff to record their sickness details.HRprofessionals have reacted angrily to the guidance, claiming it is impracticaland will cause confusion.HRdirector at financial services firm Skandia, Mark O’Connell, is concerned thatthe firm’s system for recording sickness absence breaches the code. Hesaid: “It is ludicrous that we have to keep two separate files and need toask permission to record the reason for absence. It is not very practical. Howcan companies assess if they have an absence management problem?”FrancesWright, HR director at psychometric testing company SHL, is concerned thatmanaging absence effectively could be more difficult following the code’spublication. “HR needs to be able to classify the reason for absence tomanage sickness absence,” she explained.Employerswill find the code’s guidance on sickness absence records confusing and mostwill have to change their policies to comply, according to the CIPD leadadviser on public policy, Diane Sinclair.”Ithink that the level of consent necessary to hold reasons for illness will notbe fully understood by employers. We will look at this practically, but are notentirely happy about the separation between personal and sensitive personaldata.””Thispractice may already exist in some companies, where occupational health departmentsknow why a staff member is off sick, while the HR team only know how long theyhave been absent. But many companies will need to change their practices,”she said.Sinclairstressed that organisations will need to get up to speed on the new guidance.”Itis a bureaucratic burden, but it is good practice and companies will have toget to grips with it,” she said.Employmentlaw expert Lucy Baldwinson, professional support lawyer in the employment groupat Allen & Overy, said the code is a significant improvement on theoriginal draft, but will still pose problems. “The new code offersslightly more flexibility than the Act itself and the original draft code, butit means more administration for HR professionals. It will bring more paperwork as HR professionals will not have made any differentiation between the two[sickness and absence] parts,” she said.TheInformation Commission defended its guidance claiming it is the only practicalway to deal with the twin issues of absence records and individual sicknessdetails. David Smith, assistant information commissioner at the InformationCommission, said: “The law treats the two parts [absence and sicknessrecords] separately, which is why it is sensible to separate them.” The length and usability of the code has alsocome under fire. The Records Management code is 109-pages long – almost twicethe length of the first 56-page code on recruitment. The CIPD’s Sinclairdescribed the code as “excessively wordy”, and added that employerscould be put off by its size.SusannahHaan, legal adviser at the CBI, agreed, claiming the length and complexity ofthe code will stop HR professionals from reading it.Smithdoes not dispute this criticism, but explained that some points under thebenchmark sections are repeated in the code’s checklist to try to make iteasier to follow.Hesaid: “We understand the concern about the length of the code – it is along document. The checklist in all codes essentially repeats the benchmarks,but has been included because we understand that employers find it useful.Although we do accept the concern about the of the document’s length, we neversaid that every word is to be read by business.”Smithannounced that the commission would publish an executive summary document forall four codes including a checklist for employers.Thethird and most controversial code, Monitoring at Work, which in its third andfinal draft introduced e-mails definitions – outlining which e-mails employerscould legally open and when – is expected at end October.Smithstated that the final code on medical records, due out at the end of the year,is far shorter than the other three codes.Nextweek in Personnel Today we will be publishing an at-a-glance guide to theEmployment Practices DataProtection Code Part 2: Employment Records, but youcan view this guide online now at Recordsmanagement codeWhat HR needs to do–Seek staff permission to keep sickness data–Include confidentiality clauses in HR personnel contracts–Provide data handling training for HR and line managers–Include data protection rights in staff inductions–Provide employees with personal details on an annual basis–Introduce a single HR databaseQ&Aon the data protection codes–What is the Data Protection Act?The1998 Act is designed to ensure organisations comply with the eight principlesof data protection. These include processing personal data fairly and ensuringthat this information is held only as long as needed–What is the records management code?Itexplains employers’ rights and responsibilities under the DPA when handlingstaff records–How many codes are there?Thereare four codes. The first code on recruitment was published earlier this year;records management is the second; the third on monitoring is due to be releasedin October; and the fourth on medical records is scheduled for the end of theyear–What happens if you breach the Data Protection Act?Itcould lead to an unlimited fine in the Crown Court, potential liability ofresponsible directors and compensation for the affected employee for damage andassociated stress. Failure to comply could also expose a company to the fullspectrum of employment related claims including sexual, racial and disabilitydiscrimination and unfair dismissal–What is the Information Commission?TheInformation Commission’s role is to oversee compliance with and enforce the1998 Data Protection Act
Food businesses have been warned about a scam involving the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.Three local authorities in Wales and one in England have received reports of a person that claims to be from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) or local authority, and approaches food businesses demanding money for a food hygiene re-rating. They are telling businesses they will be fined if they do not pay up.The FSA, which said it is working closely with local authorities to monitor these reports, said neither it nor local authorities would demand money in this way.Local authorities are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to ensure they meet the requirements of food hygiene law, and give businesses food hygiene ratings based on the findings of the inspections.There is no charge for inspections, and local authorities may charge only when a food business requests a re-rating inspection, and will not demand a request is made.Business that are concerned they may have been targeted by a scam should not provide any details or make any payments, and ask for ID from the caller. If a business has any suspicions, these should be reported to the local authority.”Although the number of reports of this particular scam are low, we are concerned that businesses may lose money to fraudsters pretending to be from the FSA or a local authority,” said Angela Towers, head of the FSA Food Hygiene Rating Team.“If you are approached by someone asking you to hand over money in this way, do not make any payment and always advise your local authority.”The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is set out in law in Wales and Northern Ireland where display of the rating sticker is mandatory, while display of the rating sticker is voluntary in England. The scheme is run by the Food Standards Agency and, in Wales, the Welsh government, in partnership with local authorities.