Year starts badly for Mexican journalists

first_img The western hemisphere’s deadliest country, Mexico sinks deeper into violence by the day. Journalists are threatened, kidnapped and murdered with alarming impunity in the eastern state of Veracruz. News media are the targets of armed attacks in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. Reporters Without Borders offers an overview of the current situation of news and information providers in Mexico at the start of 2015Although not in the throes of any armed conflict, Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for media personnel. In 2014, it was the deadliest in the Americas, with three journalists killed in a clear connection with their work. A women blogger was also killed.Collusion between organized crime and government officials or politicians poses a grave threat to news and information providers and obstructs the work of the police and judicial system at all levels. Two of the three journalists killed in 2014, Octavio Rojas Hernández in the southern state of Oaxaca and Jorge Torres Palacio in Veracruz, were investigating links between officials and organized crime. So too was María del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, a blogger killed in Tamaulipas.News media are increasingly being targeted. A truck carrying copies of the newspaper La Reforma was riddled with bullets in the central state of Mexico on 15 February, injuring one person.“Attacks on news and information providers are taking place at an alarming rate as 2015 gets under way,” said Claire San Filippo, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk.“What are the Mexican authorities doing? Will they continue to look the other way as news outlets are forced to give up covering violence, drug trafficking and corruption, and as journalists flee the country? The authorities must end the almost total impunity that breeds fear and self-censorship. The inaction and complicity must stop.”Dangers in Veracruz stateThe state of Veracruz is one of Mexico’s most dangerous regions for journalists. They are often watched, threatened, harassed, physically attacked or killed if they dare to cover crime, drug cartels or corruption.The figures speak for themselves. Since the start of 2010, four journalists have gone missing and 11 others have been killed, including Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz in February 2014 and Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, whose death was confirmed by a DNA test on 5 February 2015.The authorities try to deny the reality. Although the figures are indisputable, Veracruz officials have repeatedly misrepresented what is taking place. After Jiménez’s death in 2014, Veracruz state interior minister Erick Lagos said it was probably a personal act of revenge or retaliation, and that it was “unacceptable” to link it to his journalistic work.When Sánchez was kidnapped, the local authorities initially tried to deny that he was a journalist, saying he was a taxi driver who “just posted on social networks.”Ineffective justice. In both cases, the lack of cooperation between Veracruz officials (the state prosecutor’s office) and federal officials (the Federal Prosecutor’s office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression) has badly hurt the investigation and chances of the crimes ever being solved.“We are worried because I have seen a series of irregularities in the investigation being conducted by the Veracruz state prosecutor’s’ office,” said Sánchez’s son, Jorge Sánchez Ordóñez. “We don’t trust the investigation.”Jiménez’s widow, Carmela Hernández Osorio, also criticizes the local authorities. Her husband’s murder is still unpunished a year later. Despite the protection provided by the Veracruz authorities, she has been threatened and intimidated three times and has requested protection under the federal mechanism for protecting human rights defenders and journalists.Frequent threats. There is much tension and other journalists have been threatened. When Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Heraldo de Córdoba newspaper from a distance of less than a metre on 29 January, editor Daniela Jácome clearly feared another attempt to deny reality because she wrote in a Facebook post: “We demand that the authorities solve this case and not minimize what we have just undergone.”Threats have also been made against Patricia Iveth Morales Ortiz, a photographer with the Imagen del Golfo news agency and Verónica Huerta, who works for AVC Noticias de Veracruz. Huerta received a threatening message on 1 February. Alluding to Moisés Sánchez, it said: “Cow, it will be your turn after Moisés. We are watching you, bitch.”Inaction encouraging journalists to fleeThreats and violence against news providers and a failure to punish those responsible are not limited to Veracruz. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 89 percent of crimes against journalists go unpunished. Neither the Federal Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression nor the federal mechanism for protecting human rights defenders and journalists have managed to improve the situation. Police and judicial investigations are often closed quickly or are paralyzed by cumbersome bureaucratic procedures.Because of the lack of an effective police and judicial system and the lack of effective protection, some journalists feel obliged to flee the country after receiving threats to themselves and their families.This was the case with Enrique Juárez, the editor of El Mañana, a newspaper based in Matamoros, a city adjoining the US border in Tamaulipas state, after he was kidnapped and roughed up by gunmen for four hours on 4 February because of his coverage of the endemic violence in Matamoros and the frequent clashes between police and armed gangs.The newspaper’s management said he fled with his family to the United States in order to protect them. Regretting the deterrent effect of his abduction, the newspaper also announced that, as a safety measure, it would no longer provide any coverage of violence.Two days later, a grenade attack on Matamoros-based Televisa del Noreste injured two of the TV station’s security guards.Moisés Villeda Rodríguez, a journalist based in Ciudad Juarez (in the northern state of Chihuahua) fled across the border seeking asylum in January after receiving threats in connection with articles about corruption that he wrote for the newspaper El Mexicano. One of the threats took the form of a dismembered cat that was left with a sign saying “Shut up!” outside a radio station where he worked.The threats increased after the Chihuahua Journalists Forum nominated him for the José Vasconcelos Prize for a report entitled “Shocking poverty versus offensive opulence” about corruption and alleged collusion between government officials and drug traffickers. According to a Reporters Without Borders tally, he is the sixth Mexican journalist to have sought asylum in the United States since 2007.By taking no action in response to acts of intimidation and violence against journalists (when not actually colluding or participating in them), the Mexican authorities give a blank check for violations of freedom of information.The solution for Mexican journalists cannot be either to remain silent or to flee across the border to avoid violent reprisals. It is high time that the state assumed its responsibility for guaranteeing fundamental rights.Mexico is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. RSF_en MexicoAmericas NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say MexicoAmericas February 18, 2015 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Year starts badly for Mexican journalists Organisation Reports 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies News News May 13, 2021 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Mexico Reporter murdered in northwestern Mexico’s Sonora state News Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts May 5, 2021 Find out more April 28, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

What to do if your Business Interruption insurance policy has let you down

first_imgThousands of estate agents were outraged during the early days of the Coronavirus crisis to find out that their Business Interruption (BI) Insurance did not cover them during the pandemic.And agents are not alone in believing some insurers have acted unfairly – the Financial Conduct Authority recently announced it is going to court to seek ‘legal clarity’ about when insurers can and cannot refuse claims and has written to insurance firm CEO’s to remind them of their responsibilities.In the meantime, expert Susan Hopcroft of legal firm Wright Hassall explores how affected agents can find out where they stand.Check your clauses“Business should check whether BI is covered in their insurance schedule, then go to the policy wording and look up the BI section, which may contain several useful clauses.“Standard business interruption covers loss of income when the business cannot operate normally, and some policies may have extensions that could apply to coronavirus losses.Business Interruption (specific illnesses)“Most extensions cover a list of specific diseases and because Covid-19 is not listed, insurers will deny claims. Businesses will argue the cover they bought could not have named a disease that did not exist. Some disease extensions do not specify diseases and BI cover for Covid-19 is more likely to apply.“Insurers will not have been expecting to pay for a long term shut down due to a global pandemic, but each clause is different, and you should check your wording.Business Interruption (non-damage denial of access)“Cover for losses because people cannot access the premises due to specific circumstances like the police cordoning off an area due to an event such as terrorism or a fire.“The clause might cover inability to trade due to a government restriction, which is what has happened with the imposed lockdown and these clauses might cover loss, but again the wording is critical.“The final step is to join a group action (called a Class Action in the US), ideally with a solicitor experienced in such matters, who has funding organised to fight the claim on behalf of all the claimants, who are effectively sharing the legal costs and risk.“Claimants in the UK, must ‘opt in’ and agree to be part of the litigation, but there is no simple way to find others pursuing claims other than a Google search for law firms discussing the group action they are undertaking.”Read more about agents and business interruption insurance.Susan Hopcroft Wright Hassall HIscox Business interruption insurance May 28, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » COVID-19 support » What to do if your Business Interruption insurance policy has let you down previous nextCOVID-19 newsWhat to do if your Business Interruption insurance policy has let you downLegal expert Susan Hopcroft explains how to read your policy and work out if it’s worth challenging the insurer’s decision to turn your claim down – and what to do next.Nigel Lewis28th May 20200999 Viewslast_img read more

‘It was too crowded’: Patients find it hard to get COVID-19 tests, treatment

first_imgReports have surfaced about patients in Greater Jakarta having to wait for a long time to get tests or treatment for possible cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as referral hospitals face increasing strain.Azizah, who had been in contact with a COVID-19 patient in Jakarta, went to get tested after the central government announced the confirmed case on March 14.She went to Gatot Subroto Army Hospital, a referral center for coronavirus patients, on Monday. She waited until about 5 p.m., when the hospital told her to come back on Tuesday at 8 a.m. “I should have been tested on Monday, but I could not get on the waiting list. It was too crowded,” she told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. “ “[Thank God] I was scheduled to do the test at 12 p.m. today. It is better than not being treated,” she said.She said she initially intended to do the test in RSUP Persahabatan in East Jakarta, another referral hospital, as dozens of her colleagues, who also had contact with the same person, had gone there earlier.However, she heard that people had overrun the hospital and the management had asked them to go home.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has acknowledged that a significant increase in patients seeking COVID-19 treatment has been observed over the past two months. “Medical officers involved in COVID-19 handling are facing a heavy workload because the [number of] people coming to seek medical services has significantly increased. The focus and energy they [medical officers] give are immense,” Anies said during a press briefing on Monday.“As a matter of fact, the past two months have been quite intense.”The son of a patient told the Post earlier, on the condition of anonymity, that his father had to wait for hours at Persahabatan hospital only to be rejected. He called a hotline, and the hotline referred him to another referral hospital in Matraman, East Jakarta, where he was rejected as well.Read also: COVID-19 patient rejected, waited for days for testing in JakartaAfter significant effort and emotional upheaval, his father was hospitalized and confirmed positive for the coronavirus.Experts have warned that the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to increase in the coming weeks and that Indonesian hospitals were not ready for the significant number of patients that would come.The Jakarta healthcare system, which has seen the most cases of COVID-19 in the country, has been overwhelmed by the need for facilities following the jump in confirmed cases over the past two weeks.As of Monday Jakarta had 356 people under observation for possible COVID-19 infection; 191 of them were treated in the hospital while 165 others were told to go home because they were considered in good condition by the hospitals.Fushen, a hospital management consultant who works at Krida Wacana Christian University, said that according to data from the Health Ministry there were 19,972 beds in Jakarta hospitals and only 2,051 beds for intensive treatment. Not all of the latter were isolation rooms.If the number of people under surveillance in Jakarta increased 10 percent each day, Fushen said, in about two months Jakarta would have 75,000 patients. If 50 percent of them required hospitalization, then Jakarta alone would need at least 37,500 beds in May, said Fushen.Fushen added that the beds available in the hospitals were not just for COVID-19 patients but also for people who had non-COVID-19 issues that needed urgent attention.“The bed occupancy rate in Jakarta is about 60 to 80 percent, so if we assume that the occupancy rate for non-COVID cases is about 50 percent, then we only have about 10,000 beds,” he said.Fushen asked the government to quickly establish temporary health facilities to address the capacity issues.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered the Public Works and Housing Ministry to renovate an abandoned building, which formerly housed Vietnamese refugees, and turn it into a hospital for COVID-19 patients. The makeshift hospital is expected to have 1,000 beds.A leaked document obtained by The Jakarta Post on Friday showed that out of the 132 designated state referral hospitals, only 49 were “really ready”. Persahabatan Hospital has complained about a lack of ventilators to treat patients who have severe shortness of breath.Read also: Indonesia scrambles to contain coronavirusOn Tuesday, the government reported 172 confirmed cases across the country. The Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention director general Achmad Yurianto said that although more cases had been confirmed, not every confirmed patient had to stay at the hospital for treatment.“Some patients with positive cases who show no symptoms will be quarantined and asked to isolate in their own houses,” he said on Monday.Jakarta Health Agency health resources head Ani Ruspitawati said on March 9 that there were 125 hospital beds provided by eight assigned hospitals in the capital, fewer beds than the number of currently confirmed cases.An abandoned building that once sheltered Vietnamese refugees on Galang Island in the Riau Islands province will be turned into a COVID-19 referral hospital. (JP/Fadli)With the increasing number of people seeking care, hospital managers are scrambling to find ways to improve services.“We are in the middle of a meeting to discuss internal strategy [for COVID-19 handling],” RSUP Persahabatan director Rita Rogayah told the Post on Monday morning.Governor Anies said the city administration would provide incentives of Rp 215,000 (US$14.27) per person to officers who directly supported the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The incentive is based on a 2019 Finance Ministry decree on 2020 standard input costs and Gubernatorial Decree No. 22/2016 on standard costs. Nurul Nadia, a public health expert and researcher at the Center for Indonesia Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI), warned on Tuesday that since the statistics had indicated community spread, hospitals had to be prepared or the death rate from the disease would be higher than it had to be.“Most COVID-19 infections that are detected are mild. However, the mortality rate will spike if health services are not ready for surges in COVID-19 cases,” she said.Topics :last_img read more