Some global media outlets have suspended their operations in Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed into law a new bill that punishes the spreading of “fake news” with jail terms of up to 15 years.
Following the development, CNN International, the global arm of CNN, ABC and CBS News has announced that it will stop broadcasting in Russia.
Bloomberg News, the BBC and Canada’s CBC also said they were temporarily suspending the work of their journalists inside Russia.
This is coming after some Russian officials claimed that false information has been spread by enemies such as the United States and its Western European allies in an attempt to sow discord among the Russian people.
Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said he greatly regretted the suspension. But “the change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” he said. “We will not do that to our reporters.”
BBC Director General Tim Davie said the new legislation appeared to criminalise the process of independent journalism.
“It leaves us no other option than to temporarily suspend the work of all BBC News journalists and their support staff within the Russian Federation while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development,” he said in a statement.
He added that the BBC News Service in Russian would continue to operate from outside Russia. Jonathan Munro, an interim director of BBC News, said the corporation was not “pulling out” journalists from Moscow but assessing the new law’s effect.
The Washington Post, Dow Jones and the Reuters news agency said they were evaluating the new media law and the situation.
CBS News stated that it is no longer broadcasting from the country: ‘CBS News is not currently broadcasting from Russia as we monitor the circumstances for our team on the ground given the new media laws passed today.’
ABC News also announced suspension of its media operations in the country. ‘Because of the new censorship law passed in Russia today, some Western networks including ABC News are not broadcasting from the country tonight. We will continue to assess the situation and determine what this means for the safety of our teams on the ground,’ the network said.
Russia has termed its actions in Ukraine a ‘special operation.’ The new law came after foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the BBC of playing a ‘determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security.’
Interim BBC News Director Jonathan Munro tweeted: ‘It’s with a heavy heart that we have had to suspend @BBCNews operations in Russia until we assess impact of new laws which outlaw independent journalism. Thoughts with colleagues in Moscow whose voices cannot be silenced for long.’
Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor ‘limited’ access to bbcrussian.com and bbcnews.com on Friday.
Other foreign websites have also been blocked, including independent news website Meduza, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and the Russian-language website of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Svoboda.
Deutsche Welle posted a letter to Russians on its German website saying it regretted the decision and urged readers to bypass the internet blockade.
Voice of America said in a statement that audiences in Russia deserved access to factual news content and it would continue to support tools that allow them to bypass any blocking efforts.
By ordering his forces into Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has sparked the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War, battering financial and commodity markets, sending the ruble into a tailspin and triggering an economic isolation never before visited on such a large economy.
Western governments and tech platforms have also banned the Russian news network RT, with the European Union accusing it of systematic disinformation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lagos demolitions : Six more buildings to go down in renewed crackdown
Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
Six highly distressed buildings on Lagos Island have been marked by the State Building Control Agency for demolition as part of its ongoing campaign against building collapse,
A statement by LASBCA, signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Adetayo Akitoye-Asagba, disclosed that occupants of illegal attachments to buildings in the area had been ordered to quit.
According to the statement, the General Manager of LASBCA, Arc. Gbolahan Oki, while supervising the special enforcement exercise, said that the agency was acting on the mandate to identify and remove distressed and non-conforming buildings within the metropolis to forestall needless tragedies.
While giving a seven-day vacation ultimatum to occupants of illegal attachments, he stated that buildings in the axis were notorious for illegally adding attachments to their frontages, thereby obstructing the layout and making the approach less visible.
“Some of the distressed buildings are quite difficult to detect due to illegal attachments in their frontages. As such, we need to remove them to reveal the actual state of the buildings,” he said.
Oki decried the spate of illegal and unapproved building construction in the area despite government enlightenment campaigns and stringent enforcement measures.
He reiterated that it was illegal to erect buildings without obtaining the necessary approvals and going through stage supervision and eventual certification of the building as fit for habitation by LASBCA.
Noting that the on-going demolition exercise was a wake-up call to all developers and property owners in the state to build by the rules, he said the Lagos State Government would continue to come down heavily on any act of disregard for the State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2020 as amended.
He emphasised that LASBCA would not relent in removing both distressed and non-conforming buildings in the state, while the cost of removal would be at the expense of the owners.
The general manager assured stakeholders that the safety of lives and property remained the priority of the government as the ongoing exercise was not designed to witch-hunt or intimidate the people but to ensure their wellness and well-being.
He urged Lagosians to continue to give maximum support to the government by carrying out voluntary structural engineering appraisals on their old buildings, obtaining the Certificate of Completion and Fitness for Habitation and promptly reporting cases of distressed, non-conforming and illegal developments
Strike not ending soon – ASUU, others
Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Joint Action Committee of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational (NASU) and Associated Institutions and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have insisted that the strike will not be ending soon as no agreement has been reached with the Federal Government.
ASUU started its strike on February 14, 2022 and JAC commenced its own on April 14, 2022.
The unions embarked on industrial actions while demanding improved welfare packages, better working conditions and implementation of various labour agreements signed with the Federal Government between 2009 and 2020.
The national leaders of ASUU and JAC of SSANU and NASU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke and Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, respectively told newsmen that the Federal Government and all stakeholders in the education sector and religious leaders had a meeting with the four unions but no strong agreements were reached.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, at the weekend said, “We had a cordial and fruitful discussion; we looked at the issues dispassionately and reached some agreements, to the satisfaction of everybody in attendance.”
But Osodeke said Ngige’s claim after the meeting that the unions would call off the ongoing strike this week was a political statement.
In his words, “We are not aware that we are calling off the strike. We met but there was nothing concrete between us and the government. Like we said before, we do not want promises, we want actions, if they show action and implement all the issues, we will go to our members, but knowing their antecedents, we know they will not do anything.
“They promised us since December 2020 and it is going to a year and a half, they have not done anything. We are waiting for them.
“As far as we are concerned, only when they sign our agreements, accept UTAS, release EAA and revitalisation funds will we call the strikes off.”
Ibrahim added that the major progress he could point at during the meeting was the ordering of the National Information Technology Development Agency, by the presidency who was represented by the Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the meeting, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, to subject the three payment solutions; Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system , University Transparency and Accountability Solution and University Peculiar Payroll Payment System, to integrity test and submit in three weeks.
“We are not talking about calling off strike now,” he said.
2023 Presidency: Atiku lists five-point agenda
Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
Former Vice President and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday, said listed his five-point development agenda for Nigeria if he becomes the next President come 2023.
Atiku made this known when he met with Abia State Special Delegates to the PDP National convention at the Government House Banquet Hall.
He highlighted his five-point development agenda to include; instituting symbols of unity, and dealing with insecurity, the economy, education, and restructure of the country.
He said that the South-East is his real point adding, “Therefore, nobody can label me anti-East or anti-race”.
According to him, by 2023, PDP would have been in opposition for 8 years, stating, “We must win the next election.Would we like to go back? Do we want to remain in opposition? These are the questions before us”
“Your aspiration as Igbo people will materialise and be realised. So, give me victory so that your aspiration will be realised.
“Together, we can achieve these goals if we unite as PDP and fight for power.”
He added, “I came with these objectives and if you should be able to give me this opportunity, I believe we will work together to achieve this”.
Earlier in a courtesy call on him, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu saluted Atiku for his doggedness in his quest to unify and recover Nigeria.
Nigeria, he said, “has drifted further down the valley from where we are. Nigerians are faced with serious challenges and are now begging for the opportunity to live.”
Speaking, the PDP state chairman, Asiforo Okere, expressed his excitement to receive Atiku, adding, “We are not unaware of your contributions to the nation”.
Atiku was led by his campaign director general, Raymond Dokpesi who described Atiku, as “a detribalised Nigerian, astute deliverer of democracy and a unifier”.