RSF_en April 2, 2020 Six Ivorian journalists heavily fined in March AfricaCôte d’Ivoire Condemning abusesMedia independence Freedom of expression Côte d’Ivoire is ranked 71st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. Follow the news on Côte d’Ivoire News After a significant fall in press freedom violations in recent years in Côte d’Ivoire, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is disturbed by the heavy and completely unjustified fines imposed on six journalists in summary proceedings in the past month. They send an alarming signal during the Covid-19 pandemic and ahead of the presidential election at the end of 2020. In the third of the past month’s three trials targeting independent and opposition journalists, Vamara Coulibaly, the editor of the independent newspaper Soir Info, and Paul Koffi, the editor of the opposition newspaper Nouveau Réveil, were each fined 2.5 million CFA francs (3,810 euros) on 31 March on charges of “publishing false news.” to go further They were convicted for publishing a letter by the lawyers of Alain Lobognon, a parliamentarian arrested in Abidjan on 23 December who is now in Agboville prison. The letter expressed concern about the “difficult conditions” in which he is being held. He is an ally of Guillaume Soro, a former ally of President Alassane Ouattara and former national assembly speaker, who has announced he will run as an opposition candidate for president. Receive email alerts “Convicting journalists just for publishing a letter written by lawyers is nonsensical and completely unwarranted,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office. “Aside from its absurd character, this latest in a series of recent fines on journalists is a serious press freedom violation after several years of significant progress in Côte d’Ivoire.” Diagne added: “It is all the more regrettable for coming during a global pandemic and ahead of a much anticipated presidential election in which the role played by journalists is absolutely essential.” Organisation AfricaCôte d’Ivoire Condemning abusesMedia independence Freedom of expression Help by sharing this information Palais de justice d’Abidjan. Source : 7info.ci November 27, 2020 Find out more Cissé Sindou and Marc Dossa, two journalists with the pro-Soro newspaper Générations Nouvelles, were each fined 5 million CFA francs (7,620 euros) on 25 March on a charge of “publishing false news” for reporting that there were two coronavirus cases in Abidjan prison, a claim that was denied by the authorities. October 29, 2020 Find out more The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa News The Côte d’Ivoire Media Sector Union Federation (ISMCI), which groups 11 media unions, immediately issued a statement on 31 March condemning the “unjustified fines.” ISMCI general secretary Guillaume Gbato accused prosecutor-general Adou Richard of being an “objector of conscientious journalists” and of trying to “gag” the media. Threats against journalists in run-up to Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election Yacouba Gbané and Barthélémy Téhin of Le Temps, a newspaper that supports former President Laurent Gbagbo (an opponent of the current government), were fined 5 million CFA francs for defamation on 4 March. They had previously been summoned for questioning at gendarmerie headquarter over an article headlined, “In 10 years Côte d’Ivoire has become a gangster state” that was very critical of the government. News RSF’s recommendations for protecting press freedom during Côte d’Ivoire’s elections Reports October 16, 2020 Find out more
Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty announced Tuesday that Peter Madden, the broker manager from Berkshire Hathaway’s Ninth Street and Simpson Avenue office in Ocean City, is resigning his position to take a new opportunity at Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty.Madden will be a broker/owner based out of the Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty 34th Street office, where he will have a hand in rentals, sales and managing the office.“We are excited for Pete to join our ownership and leadership team here at Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty and look forward to a successful future together,” Burton and Emily Wilkins, broker/owners, said in a press release.Madden, who has been the manager at Berkshire Hathaway since 2009, first at the Battersea Road office and most recently at the new office located at Ninth and Simpson, has spent the past 15 years of his real estate career at Berkshire Hathaway. During his time as manager, sales increased from $40 million to $285 million.Madden prides himself on his community involvement, serving on City Council since 2014 and serving as its president since 2016.He is currently a member of the Ocean City Board of Realtors’ executive committee and also sits on its board of directors as well as on the board of directors for the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.Madden also serves on the Ocean City Tourism Commission and the planned giving development board at Shore Medical Center.He was previously a member of the Ocean City Board of Education from 2009-2013 and coached boys’ crew at Ocean City High School.He and his wife Ashley have four children, Riley, 16, Avery, 14, Brynn, 11, and Carter, 8. The Maddens reside in Ocean City.Contact Pete Madden at [email protected] or (609) 513-4781. Peter Madden broker/owner of Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty in Ocean City, says the real estate market in the resort is exploding.
Such pressure on the commission comes after the House and the government decided in late May that this year’s regional elections should be held on Dec. 9 to elect 270 regional leaders, comprising nine governors, 224 regents and 37 mayors, even though the epidemic showed no sign of easing. The elections were pushed back by around three months from their initial schedule of Sept. 23, as mandated by a regulation in lieu of law issued by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo earlier in May.Read also: Health measures will increase cost of regional electionsThe commission has since been preparing a new KPU regulation (PKPU) stipulating a list of health protocols, along with PPE, that will be mandatory for election officers, candidates and voters during all stages of the elections, from the preparations starting this month to the final vote count a week after voting day. The procurement of the PPE for KPU officers, such as face masks, hand sanitizer, face shields and gloves, can be started once the regulation is in force.But the commission has yet to issue the regulation because the prevailing regional election law obliges the KPU to consult the House on every draft regulation before passing it. Even the consultation hearing was unilaterally moved by the House to Wednesday from the initial June 17, which Pramono described as only shortening the KPU’s time to prepare the health equipment. The House reportedly said the delay was a result of their tight schedule during the new sitting session which began on June 15.Pramono said even if the House approved the regulation on Wednesday, the KPU would still have to wait for the Law and Human Rights Ministry to promulgate it.Read also: Health measures will increase cost of regional electionsThe KPU would use the regulation as a legal basis to ask the Finance Ministry to disburse the state funds allocated for procuring health equipment. In a recent hearing with the House, the ministry agreed to add Rp 4.7 trillion (US$335.71 million) to the current election budget of around Rp 10 trillion, with Rp 1.02 trillion having been ready to be disbursed this month.To anticipate possible delays in PPE procurement due to PKPU uncertainty, the commission issued a circular on Friday instructing every regional KPU officer to perform the June 24 candidate verification by wearing any available PPE they had at home, even if it was only a face mask or gloves.“The circular is our temporary strategy to anticipate possible delays in procurement and prevent this issue from becoming more complicated in the future,” Pramono said.Critics have urged policymakers to push back the elections to 2021 over fears the outbreak could continue late into the year – and even beyond it – and put voters and election organizers at risk of contracting the disease. They also warned against low voter turnout.Read also: Year-end regional polls risk low turnout due to virus fearsHadar Nafis Gumay, cofounder of election watchdog Network for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (Netgrit) and a former KPU commissioner, questioned why the government insisted on holding the December elections despite the slapdash preparation.Fadli Ramadhanil of the Association for Election and Democracy (Perludem) said it would be “impossible for the KPU to apply strict health protocols in such a short time”, recommending the KPU postpone the elections until next year.But Home Minister Tito Karnavian was adamant about the plan, saying that postponing the elections would only undermine democracy.“If we have to postpone the elections, let’s say, until 2022, that means I have to assign 270 state officials as interim regional leaders for around two years,” he said in a recent statement. “That will be a bad move since the public will be led by those who are not [their elected leaders].”Topics : The General Elections Commission (KPU) is under pressure to procure all necessary health equipment and apply strict health protocols for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections, which the government has insisted on holding despite the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.KPU Commissioner Pramono Ubaid Thantowy said the health equipment procurement was supposed to start on Monday, right after the commission sought approval from the House. This includes personal protective equipment (PPE), which should be ready to be used by KPU officers when verifying independent candidates face-to-face on Wednesday, or within only two days if they secure House approval.”The short amount of time available to prepare health equipment for the elections is concerning,” Pramono told The Jakarta Post on Friday. “But we are confident that all equipment can be ready before June 24 [Wednesday].”