Port Rowan man pleads guilty to threatening Chopp
Port Harcourt, Nigeria – For two weeks, thousands of young people across Nigeria and abroad this month took to the streets to call for the dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an infamous police unit accused of extortion, extrajudicial killings, rape and torture.
This was far from the first time Nigerians had made such a demand. It was, however, by far, the first time their calls garnered such widespread support and international media coverage – thanks, largely, to the prominent role of social media in spreading the word.
Peaceful protests against police brutality began on October 8 after a video allegedly showing a SARS operative killing a man was widely shared online.
The #EndSARS hashtag swiftly started trending, boosted in part by Nigerian celebrities and high-profile personalities with large followings. As the hashtag also spread beyond the country’s borders, a number of Nigerian Twitter users announced they would help cover the phone bills of others so they could afford to keep tweeting and maintain momentum.
Encouraged by the first protest held in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, Uloma Nwoke and her friends decided to also organise one in the Lekki area of the city. They shared a flyer detailing the time and location of the protest on various social media platforms – and on the morning of October 10, they were surprised to see that nearly 1,000 people had descended on the site.
“A lot of celebrities and influential people showed up,” Nwoke said.
Meanwhile, thousands of kilometres away, Omolara Oriye, a human rights lawyer, was organising a protest via WhatsApp in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. She said a video of Nigerian police officers manhandling demonstrators circulating on Twitter prompted her to action.
“I contacted the Nigerian Student Association in Pretoria who put me in touch with Nigerian students,” said 32-year-old Oriye. “We met at the [Nigerian] embassy.”
On October 15, the protest movement got an extra push from Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, who used the #EndSARS hashtag as he posted a donation link associated with the Feminist Coalition, one of the most prominent groups supporting protesters on the ground.
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
While the amplification of the protest by celebrities and social media influencers bridged the information gap left by local news outlets, protesters resisted attempts by government officials to single out influential personalities as spokespeople via invitations to join newly instituted panels on police reforms.
Having witnessed other movements fizzle out following closed-door meetings between lionised protest leaders and government representatives, many activists cautioned against such appointments.
Nwoke, 25, decried the tendency of celebrities to monopolise the microphone at protest venues, depriving those most affected by SARS of the opportunity to share their experiences.
“It was one of the biggest challenges for me,” she said, of celebrity worship and narcissism. “Most of them just want to always be in front. We had to start profiling [speakers].”
It’s a sentiment also shared by Oriye.
“Celebrities are great for amplification, but they are not movement leaders,” she said, arguing that many are ill-informed and have, in the past, diverted attention away from knowledgeable activists.
We’re still on job. There have been quite a few medical/hospital bill requests lately and still normal requests from outside Lagos. And the mental health lines are running for anyone who’s struggling. We’re working with @MentallyAwareNG & @StandtoEndRape
— FK. (@fkabudu) October 22, 2020
Apart from raising awareness about police brutality and coordinating protests on the ground, various #EndSARS organisers used social media to connect with volunteers, accept donations from other parts of the world and publish accounts of disbursed funds through frequent updates.
Information about emergency helplines and ways to circumvent a potential internet shutdown also spread freely and widely.
Essentially, observers say, social media democratised the #EndSARS movement, allowing users with varying numbers of followers to pitch, improve or reject ideas, solicit donations or start food banks to feed protesters.
“This entire movement was born, bred and salvaged online,” said Chioma Agwuegbo, communications lead for Not Too Young to Run, an advocacy group dedicated to getting young Nigerians into public office. “There was a constant reminder that there was no leader, [which] helped strengthen people’s voices and close any avenue for compromise.”
On the news front, web-based publications largely run by and geared towards millennials kept the protest in the fore alongside witnesses armed with smartphones, as most traditional media outlets – perhaps wary of running afoul of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation’s directive to be cautious with user-generated content and to not “embarrass” the government – kept off.
Their reticence left protesters such as Nwoke disappointed.
“It hurt me personally that people were dropping dead on the street and news channels were showing a cooking show or talking about some irrelevant subject,” she said.
As the peaceful protests grew in size after entering their second week, gangs attacked protesters in various cities, including Lagos and the capital, Abuja. Thugs also vandalised public buildings, burned private businesses and stormed prison facilities to help inmates escape, prompting state governors to impose curfews to curb the escalating unrest.
On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari said 51 civilians were killed and 37 injured since demonstrations began, blaming the violence on “hooliganism.” He added that 11 policemen and seven soldiers had been killed by “rioters”.
Buhari’s statement came two days after Amnesty International put the death toll at 56, with about 38 killed on October 20, the same day security forces opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in Lekki, in an attack that was livestreamed on Instagram by a witness and caused widespread outrage.
Amnesty said its on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International confirmed that the army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters in Lekki and Alausa, another area of Lagos where #EndSARS protests were being held. The army has denied the involvement of their men in the shooting.
Oriye expressed admiration for the dynamism of social media-savvy Nigerians.
“The Nigerian press refused to cover the issue initially, so it forced us to rely on social media to record information to preserve the truth and possible evidence,” she said.
Still, some Nigerians remain unconvinced by the video evidence. In a now-deleted tweet, an actress with more than one million followers seemingly cast doubt on the Lekki shooting, requesting the bereaved to “speak out”.
Others, however, are urging those with proof to store it in the cloud, away from potential government interference.
And despite the brutal clampdown, many see a silver lining.
“One of the things that would help us [gain political power] is community engagement,” said Nwoke. “That was something we tried to implement during the protest, educating people about the issues.”
For her part, Agwuegbo believes the events of the past two weeks have transformed Nigerian youth into a force to be reckoned with in the general elections less than three years from now.
“I think 2023 will be interesting for the future of the country because there’s rage,” she said. “But there’s also the realisation that if we come together and plan towards something, we can make it.”
Source:- Al Jazeera English
Judge at Toronto van attack trial suggests media should stop naming killers but courts should not – National Post
Article content continued
Her words on Friday, born of exasperation, described it as having a “gun to my head” and being handed “a ransom demand” for her kidnapped child.
The evidence from Westphal and his team is the only expected expert testimony directly supporting Minassian’s mental state defence.
“All of Mr. Minassian’s eggs are in this particular basket,” Molloy said in her ruling.
After all, Minassian has admitted he purposely rented a van on April 23, 2018, and drove it down a busy sidewalk with the planned purpose of killing as many people as he could.
Because Westphal is in the United States and the trial is being held online due to COVID-19, Molloy cannot do what she has done before, which is send police to corral a witness and bring them to court, where refusal to testify could lead to imprisonment.
“The devastation wrought by Mr. Minassian cannot be overstated. However, he is entitled to a fair trial in our courts, and to call a defence supported by evidence. That evidence exists, but is in the control of Dr. Westphal,” she concluded.
Molloy’s words on not naming killers rekindles the debate over what to do in the wake of violence that was raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the Nova Scotia rampage.
In Trudeau’s first public address after the Nova Scotia mass shooting during which 22 people were killed in April, he asked that the killer’s identity not be included in media coverage of the tragedy.
“I want to ask the media to avoid mentioning the name and showing the picture of the person involved,” he said as part of his prepared remarks. “Do not give him the gift of infamy. Let us instead focus all our intention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends who grieve.”
Social media 'out of control,' says Norfolk mayor – Simcoe Reformer
Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp says harassment and even threats of violence have been part of her job since being elected in 2018.
“I’m pretty tough, but the constant barrage of abuse that some find amusing has affected my psychology,” the mayor said in an interview last week.
Earlier this month, a 57-year-old Port Rowan man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Chopp.
Dana Robert Dargie was placed on house arrest for 30 days and put on probation for 18 months, during which he is banned from communicating with or going near the mayor. He also can’t go to the municipal building or attend any Norfolk council meetings. And he was directed to get counselling for anger management.
“It’s my understanding that he was warned once to stop and he didn’t,” Chopp said of Dargie.
But Dargie is just one of many people who lash out on social media against the mayor, who has faced controversy over council’s decisions to cut services and staff, among other things.
At a Norfolk council meeting last Tuesday, the mayor was accused by her council colleagues of using bullying tactics and intimidation as the politicians aired their feelings and grievances. Chopp refused to participate in the meeting, gathering her things and leaving.
Along with emails and negative online comments, Chopp is mocked through a parody account on Twitter, which often compares her to U.S. President Donald Trump. She said a members-only Facebook site with 3,000 members seems to have been formed specifically to discuss and denigrate her work and that of Norfolk CAO Jason Burgess, who is the municipality’s fifth CAO in just over a year.
She said she regularly receives inappropriate emails, including some from a “dirty old man,” who has sent dozens of messages, including half-naked photos of himself.
“I never used to believe in blocking people but that has changed in recent times. Social media has become too out of control, too offensive, too damaging and too harassing.”
And that harassment has extended to her family.
Chopp said her parents’ Hamilton-area farm was visited last year by bylaw officers looking for illegal cannabis.
“They realized they had been sent on a wild goose chase the second they stepped onto the farm but said they had so many phone calls and emails telling them to check it out that they finally went.”
A spokesperson for the City of Hamilton confirmed bylaw officers visited the farm and found no violations.
Chopp said that incident is still under investigation and included a “22-page manifesto” from someone named “Harry Smith,” who mailed his allegations to major media organizations in Canada and to Chopp’s employer, Air Canada, where she works as a pilot. The “manifesto” said the mayor is a narcissistic dictator and psychopath, who owns her own plane and runs a marijuana business.
“I think there’s a reason why women, in particular, don’t want to get involved in politics,” she said. “I can give you a list of more than a dozen men I’m allegedly sleeping with. And, if they don’t get off on that one, they call me a lesbian.”
Chopp said she has pondered taking civil action against some of the harassers as the abuse intensifies
She said she hopes Dargie’s conviction will stop others.
“But I don’t think it will,” she said. “Social media has taken on a life of its own and the facts don’t seem to matter.
“Ignoring the keyboard warriors is difficult but I will do my best to soldier on.”
The Debate – France, security and the media: Does the new global law go too far? – FRANCE 24
Issued on: 23/11/2020 – 20:17
France is caught in a row over the right to film police officers in the course of their duty. It is a controversy that has brought demonstrators on to the streets. A new law on the Security of France goes to a final vote on Tuesday. The Bill with a controversial amendment has been passed for a first time by the National Assembly by a margin in 146 to 24. Article 24 concerns the right to film the police. It raises fears and concerns among many media here in France about the right to report and inform.
This evening with our panel we discuss the issues. Police officers have a tough job. But freedom to report is a foundation of democracy
Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.
Dow hits 30000 on Biden transition, stimulus odds – BNN
Black Friday wireless earbuds deals – The Verge
China launches mission to bring back material from moon – World News – Castanet.net
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
- Art15 hours ago
The Art of Building the Impossible – The New Yorker
- Science19 hours ago
Utah monolith mystery: Wildlife officials' 12-ft desert discovery – Daily Mail
- Science17 hours ago
A 2020 space oddity? Mysterious metal object found in Utah desert – Global News
- Tech10 hours ago
Black Friday Sony TV Deals (2020): 60 Inch, 65 Inch & 75 Inch Sony 4K TV Deals Reviewed by Deal Tomato – GlobeNewswire
- Science20 hours ago
A 2020 space oddity? Mysterious metal object found in Utah desert – cjoy.com
- Politics23 hours ago
The fraught politics facing Biden’s foreign policy
- Media18 hours ago
Social media 'out of control,' says Norfolk mayor – Edmonton Examiner
- Media20 hours ago
Social media 'out of control,' says Norfolk mayor – The Sudbury Star