The month of May marks mental health awareness month or mental health awareness week in several countries around the world. Many people will be reading posts and blogs about the importance of getting more sunshine and exercise to avoid the blues, about ways to deal with the stress of the pandemic, about dealing with everyday challenges that disrupt our striving for happiness.
People affected by leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, are often stigmatised. In countries like Nigeria, many of them end up as beggars due to the psycho- and socio-economic problems they face. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought fresh challenges for them and life is getting increasingly difficult. Sam Olukoya in Lagos takes a look at how people affected by leprosy in Nigeria are faring in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus infections and deaths in India recorded a daily high on Monday, 10 May, with 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths as reported by the Indian health ministry, taking India's total tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths. Experts have raised a flag stating India's actual figures could be far higher than what is currently being reported.
We met 22-year old Ali B. in a park in Rome’s city center on a rather cold and windy April evening. We could not share a meal, or even a coffee, as all restaurants were shut due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions. He had travelled down from Cerveteri (a small town about 50km north of Rome) where he works for an old couple. They provide boarding and lodging as well as a decent salary and social security benefits. In return, he has to cook for them and look after the kitchen.
Oratile Dikologang was naked when police officers pulled black plastic over his head during his detention in April 2020. It was difficult to breathe, but the interrogation continued, he told CPJ in a recent phone interview.
When Dr Aqsa Sheikh Tweeted and asked if she was the only transgender person to head a vaccination centre, it seemed extraordinary that in a country with 1.3 billion people, that this could be true.
There is considerable evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk and severity of COVID-19 (Mercola 2020
; Wimalawansa, 2020
). More than 50 clinical studies have published confirming that high doses of vitamin D administered early in persons with COVID-19 significantly reduce complications and the need for ICU admissions.
Eighteen-year-old Chuol Nyakoach lives in the Nguenyyiel Refugee Camp in Gambella, Ethiopia. Chuol is grateful that despite the trauma she has already experienced in her young life, she is able to continue her education in the refugee camp. Learning has given her a reason to wake up every day.
In the contemporary world of journalism, female reporters face a double jeopardy: they are increasingly targeted both as journalists and as women-- particularly in repressive regimes and misogynistic societies.
Have you ever heard of a workers’ strike or similar labour action for press freedom? And how long do you think it lasted? A day? A week? A month? And where and when do you think this happened?
Workers strike for press freedom
Six decades ago, in 1961, Said Zahari
, the editor of the Malay language daily, Utusan Melayu
, led a strike of journalists and other employees. The protracted strike, in both Malaysia and Singapore today, was for press freedom rather than employee welfare.
Every time a woman journalist receives threats of physical and sexual violence, cyber attacks and surveillence, doxxing, public humiliation, damage to her professional & personal credibility, the driving forces behind these intents are deeply rooted misogyny, sexism and abuse of power.
WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: a reminder to governments of their commitment to press freedom. This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme: “Information as a Public Good.”
Human Rights Watch’s 27 April report, A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution
, could also have been entitled Better Late Than Never
When Myanmar’s military seized power from the elected government in February, one of its first actions
was to further squeeze the already restricted free flow of information in the country. It obstructed news stations, temporarily shuttered phone and internet access, and blocked social media platforms.
When the UN’s Beirut-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), released a landmark 2017 report on “apartheid” in Israel, the United Nations disassociated itself with the study and left it to die--- unceremoniously and unsung.
We were able to keep the coronavirus at bay for five months in Gaza, the densely populated Palestinian strip of land surrounded by Israel that I call home. But the Coronavirus doesn’t respect walls or artificial borders. While preparations were made for the pandemic to inevitably breach a blockade so few Palestinians can, we waited for it to come for us. And it did.
Edmund Burke called the press the fourth estate, the fourth pillar of democracy, with an oversight role on the remaining three pillars – the legislature, executive and the judiciary. In an ideal world, this fourth estate would have unimpeded access to the other three pillars so that the citizenry could be kept informed at all times. This freedom was conceived to be so sacrosanct that many countries have included it as a fundamental right, e.g., the US Constitution enshrined it as the very first amendment.
Access to accurate information is vitally important during the pandemic, so that people can understand how to protect themselves and their families, and to hold their governments to account for their response to the health emergency.
Spyware’s repeated use to target journalists and those close to them poses an existential threat to the privacy required for press freedom to flourish. Without the ability to privately communicate with sources, conduct research, and compile information, journalists are hampered in their ability to keep the public informed and hold the powerful to account.
Investigative journalist and media executive Maria Ressa of the Philippines has been named as the 2021 laureate of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals. The Award Ceremony will take place on 2 May in Windhoek, Namibia, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference
, and be streamed online.
The SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) affected the entire world; many died, millions got sick, and the misery continues. Second and third waves of SARS.Cov-2 infection are devastating most countries.