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Court climbdown interrupts latest government offensive against media

first_img Regional newspaper editor harassed after investigating real estate scandal January 15, 2021 Find out more Kazakh reporter accuses police of attacking her News KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia Follow the news on Kazakhstan Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information RSF_en October 30, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday’s climbdown by a court in the Almaty district of Medeu as a victory for independent news media and press freedom organisations over a government bid to impose de facto censorship throughout the country. The court rescinded the order it issued a week earlier banning all of the Kazakh media from publishing any information that could damage the reputation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, businessman Timur Kulibayev (photo : ITAR-TASS). “A campaign of intimidation has ended,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But it has caused a great deal of damage both in financial terms, because of the all the newspapers that were seized, and in terms of the fear that has been cast over all the media. The financial losses must be compensated and a closer watch must be kept on the manoeuvring by this autocratic president, who is bound to go back on the offensive, only this time more selectively.”The Medeu district court issued the ban on 1 February in response to the legal action which Kulibayev brought against four independent newspapers, Respublika, Moya Respublika, Vzglyad and Kursiv, after they published an open letter by exiled politician Muhtar Ablyazov accusing him of corruption.In its 1 February ruling, the court also ordered the immediate confiscation of their latest issues, although Reporters Without Borders believes that the four newspapers “just did their duty by mentioning – without endorsing – the serious charges that had been made against a high-profile public figure.”Ablyazov’s open letter accused Kulibayev of embezzling part of the proceeds from the sale of a Kazakh state-owned company to the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation. The court did not examine Ablyazov’s claims and the prosecutor-general’s office continues to maintain that it has not received documents sent by Ablyazov.The authorities used the 1 February order as a pretext for launching a broad campaign of repression and intimidation against not only the four newspapers but also printers, distributors and other print media. Although virtually all newspapers referred to Ablyazov’s allegations, only independent and opposition newspapers were systematically targeted.A major arsenal of state resources was rapidly mobilised for an offensive that was waged not only in Almaty and Astana (the two largest cities) but also in Shymkent, in the Aktobe, Karaganda and Ust-Kamenogorsk regions, and elsewhere. A newspaper had only to mention the allegations against Kulibayev for all of its copies to be seized from printers or newsstands.At least 21 news media (and a newsstand) in the Aktobe region received a formal notification from a local court on 5 February reproducing the Medeu court ruling and warning of the potential consequences of publishing anything about the case. Five judges and a detachment of police were deployed to take this warning to the headquarters of Diapazon, a newspaper critical of the government that has been targeted by other legal actions.After the business newspaper Kursiv received its copy of the 1 February ruling, its editor was suddenly fired on 5 February. The staff refused to comment, but local observers pointed out Kursiv received particular attention from the authorities because it was distributed by all the Kazakh airlines. It also distanced itself from the protest movement about the court order.Elena Burmistrova, the head of Vremya-Print, a printing house that publishes the newspaper Svoboda Slova (“Freedom of Expression”), was summoned before an Almaty administrative court on 8 February to account for the front page of its latest issue, which showed a large photo of Kulibayev under headline: “Kazakhstan’s second president?” All copies of the issue were seized.In the end no charges were brought against Burmistrova but local journalists said the summons put a lot of pressure on other publishing houses and newspapers. “They are all in complete disarray,” Rozlana Taukina, the head of the NGO Journalists in Danger, told Reporters Without Borders. “In practice, censorship now reigns.”The ban issued by the Medeu district court on 1 February triggered a wave of protest within the country and abroad. It was condemned as flagrant censorship by press freedom organisations, the opposition parties Alga and Azat and even the semi-official Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s media freedom representative, Miklos Haraszti, compared the situation to the recent libel actions against five major newspapers in neighbouring Tajikistan and condemned the practice of “shooting the bearer of bad news.”In response to a call from eight newspapers and the NGOs Adil-Soz and Journalists in Danger, around 100 people waving placards saying “No to censorship” gathered outside the Medeu district court yesterday before it issued its second ruling. The request for the withdrawal of the original ruling was by submitted by Respublika and Vzglyad, and was subsequently supported by six other newspapers.“We are astonished by the order’s withdrawal,” Taukina said as she left the courthouse yesterday. “But this case had taken on a great deal of importance and was beginning to embarrass the authorities. The media were united and determined. The staff of the newspapers planned to go on hunger strike and to take their protest to the OSCE in Vienna. A case of such direct censorship in a country that holds the OSCE presidency was too provocative.”After cracking down hard on independent media in recent months, it seems the authorities are now taking a more subtle tack. They are blowing hot and hold, maintaining tension to intimidate newspapers but now acting with more discretion. Unrelated prosecutions are continuing against Respublika, the cable TV station K+ and Diapazon, in what seems to be an attempt to pick off media one by one rather all at once.center_img News News Reporters prevented from covering Kazakh parliamentary elections to go further February 5, 2021 Find out more News KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia February 10, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Court climbdown interrupts latest government offensive against media Organisation last_img read more

Aker Energy Files Plan for Deepwater Development Off Ghana

first_imgAker Energy Ghana has submitted an integrated plan of development and operations (PDO) to Ghanaian authorities for the Deepwater Tano / Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana.“The plan will, once approved, ensure an efficient development and production of the Pecan field and further optimisation of the DWT/CTP petroleum resources in a way that will deliver value to the people of Ghana and to us and our partners,” says Jan Arve Haugan, CEO at Aker Energy.The PDO was submitted and presented to the Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, at the Ministry of Energy in Accra, Ghana.“The submission of the integrated PDO has been a result of collaboration between the Contractors, GNPC, relevant agencies and the Ministry. The Pecan field will be the fourth producing oil field offshore Ghana and will strongly benefit the people of Ghana,” says John Peter Amewu, Minister of Energy in Ghana.The integrated PDO presents an overall plan for a phased development and production of the resources in the DWT/CTP contract area. The phased development plan will start with the development of the Pecan field as a firm phase one, being the largest of several discoveries in the area.The PDO is subject to approval from relevant Ghanaian authorities. Upon PDO approval, the partners will initiate a process to make a final investment decision (FID). First oil from the Pecan field is estimated 35 months after the FID is made.The main Pecan field, located in ultra-deep waters ranging from 2,400 to 2,700 metres about 115 kilometres offshore Ghana, will be developed with a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel and a subsea production system (SPS). The FPSO will be the centre for processing and exporting of crude oil from the field. The development of the Pecan field will comprise of up to 26 subsea wells. It is planned for 14 advanced, horizontal oil producers and 12 injectors with alternating water and gas injection (WAG), and the use of multiphase pumps as artificial lift, to maximise oil production.Maximising oil production for the long term Total reserves from the Pecan field development are estimated to 334 million barrels of oil, and plateau production is estimated to 110,000 barrels of oil per day. Production from the field is expected to last for more than 25 years. The total investments (CAPEX) to develop these reserves are estimated to USD 4.4 billion, excluding the charter rate for a leased FPSO.The Pecan field centre will have the flexibility to tie-in subsequent development of resources. In addition to the reserves to be developed in the first phase, the area holds discovered contingent resources (2C) of 110-210 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), combined resulting in an estimated volume base of approximately 450-550 mmboe. Total resources in the area have thepotential to increase to between 600-1000 mmboe, provided successful appraisal drilling activity. Data analysis and appraisal drilling are currently ongoing at Pecan South and Pecan South East.“In addition to the FPSO for the Pecan field development, Aker Energy has entered into an option agreement with Ocean Yield for a second FPSO, Dhirubai-1. If the option is exercised, Dhirubai-1 could either be used to accelerate production or for other, potential developments dependent on volumes and geographical distribution of these,” Haugan says.Aker Energy Ghana is the operator under the DWT/CTP Petroleum Agreement with a 50% participating interest. Its partners are Lukoil Overseas Ghana Tano (38%), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (10%) and Fueltrade (2%).last_img read more

DOLE: FOLLOW WAGE ORDER | Inspectors to check WV employers’ compliance

first_imgWage Order No. RBVI-25 took effect onNov. 26, 2019 yet but the DOLE inspection will start this February to giveemployers ample time to comply. The order, however, did not coverhousehold or domestic workers, persons in the personal service of another, andworkers of duly registered Barangay Micro-Business Enterprises (BMBEs) withCertificate of Authority. “(The) wage increase prescribed inthis Wage Order shall apply to all minimum wage earners in the private sectorin Western Visayas, regardless of their position, designation or status ofemployment and irrespective of the method by which they are paid,” read part ofWage Order No. RBVI-25. “The increase cannot even buy a kiloof rice. Worse, to those with P15 increase, it cannot even pay a one-wayback-to-back trip within four kilometers minimum distance without shelling outP2 more. A kilo of regular well-milled rice now costs P45-50,” said ElmerForro, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Workers who wish file complaints couldwrite DOLE Region 6 or visit the office, said Ticao. As stated in Wage Order No. RBVI-25,erring employers “shall be subjected to the mandatory 30 days conciliation andmediation process under the single Entry Approach (SEnA).” If settlement is not reached, the casebecomes subject of enforcement proceedings under Articles 128 and 129 of theLabor Code. Wage Order No. RBVI-25 set thefollowing wage increases: “I am reminding employers to followthe wage order. May inspectors kami nga magalibot,” said Ticao. * agriculture sector – from P295 toP315, or an increase of P20 Progressive groups were not happy withthe order. They said the new rates were “an outright disrespect and insult tothe long-standing call of our workers for a P750 national minimum wage.” A family of six needed a daily livingwage of P1,400 to live decently, he stressed, and the P395 was only 28 percentof that. Employers who failed to immediatelyobserve the new minimum wage in November and December last year could do itretroactively this month, said Ticao. ILOILO City – Is the new minimum wagebeing observed by employers in Western Visayas? The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) would be deployinginspectors across the region to check, said Director Cyril Ticao. Wage Order No. RBVI-25 listed someexemptions: distressed establishments, new business enterprises andestablishments adversely affected by calamities natural or human-induced./PN * non-agriculture / industrial /commercial sector: (a) employing more than 10 workers – from P365 to P395, oran increase of P30; and (b) employing 10 workers and below – from P295 to P310,or an increase of P15 So far, according to the director,DOLE Region 6 has not received complaints against employers for not followingthe wage order. last_img read more