Myanmar charges Japanese journalist with encouraging dissent

Myanmar charges Japanese journalist with encouraging dissent
Friends and colleagues of Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota call for his release during a press conference at Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Aug. 3, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 August 2022

Myanmar charges Japanese journalist with encouraging dissent

Myanmar charges Japanese journalist with encouraging dissent
  • Toru Kubota was held while covering a protest in Yangon last week
  • Charges against him carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison

YANGON: A Japanese journalist detained in Myanmar has been charged with breaching immigration law and encouraging dissent against the military, the junta said Thursday.
Toru Kubota, who was held while covering a protest in Yangon last week “has been charged under section 505 (a) and under immigration law 13-1,” the junta said in a statement. The two charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack

New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack
Updated 1 min 6 sec ago

New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack

New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack
  • PM Jacinda Arden urges Elon Musk action on extremism
  • White supremacist murdered 51 Muslims in 2019

DUBAI: The New Zealand government has called on Twitter to remove newly uploaded footage of the Christchurch terror attack that was circulating again on the social media platform.

The video clips, which Twitter initially failed to recognize as harmful, were filmed by the Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019. The clips resurfaced after some Twitter users reposted them on Saturday, UK daily The Guardian reported .

The move prompted the government to raise the issue with the social media company. A spokesperson for the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said Twitter’s automated reporting function did not pick up the content as harmful. Arden’s office said: “Twitter advised us overnight that the clips have been taken down and said they would do a sweep for other instances.” 

In 2019, the terrorist livestreamed his attacks on multiple social media platforms alongside his manifesto.

In response, Arden launched the Christchurch Call campaign after the attack, calling on social media companies to counter online extremism and misinformation. Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, supported the initiative.

While Twitter assured the New Zealand government it continued to support the Christchurch Call community, Arden said that “time will tell” about the company’s commitment to removing harmful content.

“We will continue to maintain our expectation that Twitter does everything they can on a day-to-day basis to remove that content but also reduce terrorist content and violent extremist content online, as they’ve committed to,” Arden said to media on Monday afternoon.

Earlier this month, Arden addressed a national security, disinformation and online extremism summit, saying Twitter has been deeply involved in the Christchurch Call campaign “and to date, been a really constructive partner.” However, she said the partnership is in “unknown territory” after Elon Musk’s takeover of the company.

Arden urged Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, to “stick strongly to the principle of transparency” as social media platforms can be “a force for democracy, a force for connection and for good. But also, if misused, they can do a huge amount of harm.” 

Under Musk’s new management, thousands of content moderators and human rights teams have been laid off, and the platform has been struggling to manage harmful content and racist tweets in the lead up to the World Cup.

Recently on Twitter, Musk posted a chart to his 119 million followers explaining that hate speech was down a third from its pre-spike levels in October. No further details were provided.


Google Doodle celebrates female Emirati poet Ousha Al Suwaidi

Google Doodle celebrates female Emirati poet Ousha Al Suwaidi
Updated 28 November 2022

Google Doodle celebrates female Emirati poet Ousha Al Suwaidi

Google Doodle celebrates female Emirati poet Ousha Al Suwaidi

DUBAI: Google Doodle celebrated on Monday Emirati poet Ousha Al Suwaidi, who inspired female poets across the region, with an illustration featuring her in traditional attire, including a face covering. 

Nicknamed ‘Fatat Al Khaleej’ (The Girl of the Gulf), Al Suwaidi was known for writing Nabati poems, or traditional poetry originating within the nomadic Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula. 

Al Suwaidi was born on Jan. 1, 1920 in Al Ain. When she was 15, she rose to fame nationally in what was commonly a male-dominated field of literature.

Many of her poems were inspired by the Arabian Gulf and desert landscapes, as well as her own experiences in the UAE, touching on themes such as love, wisdom, patriotism, and nostalgia.

She is regarded as one of the finest Arabic Nabati poets with many of her poems sung by popular Emirati and Arab artists.

On this day in 2011, a prestigious event recognized her contributions to literature and many of Al Suwaidi’s poetry and poems written in her honor were recited at the venue.  

The poetry community in the UAE also established an annual award for female Emirati poets in Ousha Al Suwaidi’s name in 2011. A library at the Emirates International School, and a section of the Women's Museum in Dubai, was also dedicated in her honor, according to a website citing her biography.  

Al Suwaidi died in 2018, she was 98.


BBC says Chinese police assaulted journalist covering protest

BBC says Chinese police assaulted journalist covering protest
Updated 28 November 2022

BBC says Chinese police assaulted journalist covering protest

BBC says Chinese police assaulted journalist covering protest
  • The BBC said it had not been given a credible official explanation for its journalist’s detention

LONDON: The BBC said on Sunday that Chinese police assaulted and detained one of its journalists covering a protest in Shanghai, before later releasing him after several hours.
“The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai,” a spokesperson for the British public service broadcaster said in a statement.
“He was held for several hours before being released. During his arrest, he was beaten and kicked by the police. This happened while he was working as an accredited journalist,” the spokesperson added.
The BBC said it had not been given a credible official explanation for its journalist’s detention.

 


Elon Musk: Twitter user signups at all-time high

Elon Musk: Twitter user signups at all-time high
Updated 27 November 2022

Elon Musk: Twitter user signups at all-time high

Elon Musk: Twitter user signups at all-time high
  • Signups were averaging over two million per day in the last seven days as of Nov. 16
  • Buying Twitter speeds up Elon Musk’s ambition to create an ‘everything app’ called X

Twitter chiefeExecutive Elon Musk says new user signups to the social media platform are at an “all-time high,” as he struggles with a mass exodus of advertisers and users fleeing to other platforms over concerns about verification and hate speech.
Signups were averaging over two million per day in the last seven days as of Nov. 16, up 66 percent compared to the same week in 2021, Musk said in a tweet late on Saturday.
He also said that user active minutes were at a record high, averaging nearly 8 billion active minutes per day in the last seven days as of Nov. 15, an increase of 30 percent in comparison to the same week last year.
Hate speech impersonations decreased as of Nov. 13 compared to October of last year.
Reported impersonations on the platform spiked earlier this month, before and in wake of the Twitter Blue launch, according to Musk.
Musk, who also runs rocket company SpaceX, brain-chip startup Neuralink and tunneling firm the Boring Company, has said that buying Twitter would speed up his ambition to create an “everything app” called X.
Musk’s “Twitter 2.0 The Everything App” will have features like encrypted direct messages (DMs), longform tweets and payments, according to the tweet.
In another tweet early on Sunday, Musk said he sees a “path to Twitter exceeding a billion monthly users in 12 to 18 months.”
Advertisers on Twitter, including big companies such as General Motors, Mondelez International, Volkswagen AG, have paused advertising on the platform, as they grapple with the new boss.
Musk has said that Twitter was experiencing a “massive drop in revenue” from the advertiser retreat, blaming a coalition of civil rights groups that has been pressing the platform’s top advertisers to take action if he did not protect content moderation.
Activists are urging Twitter’s advertisers to issue statements about pulling their ads off the social media platform after Musk lifted the ban on tweets by former US president Donald Trump.
Hundreds of Twitter employees are believed to have quit the beleaguered company, following an ultimatum by Musk that staffers sign up for “long hours at high intensity,” or leave.
The company earlier in November laid off half its workforce, with teams responsible for communications, content curation, human rights and machine learning ethics being gutted, as well as some product and engineering teams.


Iran’s Fars news hit by cyberattack

Iran’s Fars news hit by cyberattack
Updated 26 November 2022

Iran’s Fars news hit by cyberattack

Iran’s Fars news hit by cyberattack
  • Hacker group appears to have obtained staff personal information and government data

LONDON: Iran’s state media outlet Fars was hit by a cyberattack, the agency reported on Saturday.

The incident seems to be part of a larger operation aimed at discrediting the outlet, which is managed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and exposing sensitive government information.

Fars said that its website had been disrupted late on Friday by a “complex hacking and cyberattack operation.”

“Removing possible bugs may cause problems for some agency services for a few days,” it said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel.

“Cyberattacks against Fars news agency are carried out almost daily from different countries, including the occupied territories (Israel),” it added.

Fars has been heavily criticized for what critics say is its distorted reporting of recent protests that have swept Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini in mid-September.

The 22-year-old was arrested for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women and died while in the custody of the country’s morality police.

Hackers appear to have targeted the Twitter account of one of Fars’ managers and published a video on his profile.

The hacker group Black Reward on Friday claimed to have breached the agency’s database, and said it had obtained confidential bulletins and directives sent by the news agency to the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iran has been targeted by several anonymous hacker groups in recent years.

In October, Black Reward published documents from Iran’s nuclear program after the government ignored hackers’ demands to release all political prisoners and protesters arrested during recent demonstrations.

In past weeks, the group has also hacked the emails of state-affiliated press and TV managers and employees, obtaining personal information.