Social Media Covers Nigeria’s Presidential Election Extensively

Hundreds of Nigerians celebrate the victory of main opposition All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari at an intersection in the flashpoint northern city of Kaduna on March 31, 2015.
NICHOLE SOBECKI/Getty Images
Hundreds of Nigerians celebrate the victory of main opposition All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari at an intersection in the flashpoint northern city of Kaduna on March 31, 2015.
NICHOLE SOBECKI/Getty Images

Nigerian Vote Was Its Largest to Play Out on Social Media

"Finally, Nigeria has a new president," Maeve Shearlaw reported Tuesday for Britian's Guardian. "Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general and reformed democrat, beat the sitting president Goodluck Jonathan in the most closely contested election in the country’s history. It was also the first to be played out at such a scale on social media. 

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"First came the month-and-a-half postponement, justified on the grounds that Jonathan's government needed more time to secure the north from Boko Haram. Some were concerned that this would be the first of endless delays, Nigerian commentator Max Siollun suggested it had been a good thing for democracy: . . .

"As everyone waited for the results, thousands of Nigerians took to Twitter to discuss the election using the hashtag #NigeriaDecides (or, as Africa is a Country noted: #Nigeriadecidesveryslowly).

"The term was trending in Nigeria through the vote counting, with the names of key states also ranking high as their results were announced.

"By Tuesday afternoon #Nigeriahasdecided and GEJ WAS A USELESS PRESIDENT, referring to Jonathan, had taken its place. . . ."

Shearlaw also wrote, "The waiting took its toll on journalists and election analysts painstakingly recording the results. James Schneider, the editor of the New African, live tweeted the process over three days. He ran into problems with wifi, got into several arguments with others on Twitter and at one point his laptop froze. By Tuesday afternoon he said: 'I'm starting to physically feel the last three days.' He is thought to be the first to call the result on Monday evening, soon followed by the Nigerian community news group Sahara Reporters. . . ."

A delegation of journalists from the U.S.-based National Association of African Journalists, who said they were concerned about a successful democratic transition, went to Nigeria and created a web page for their reports.

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Meanwhile, the International Press Institute Tuesday added its voice to those calling on the Nigerian military to release two Al Jazeera reporters it has confined to a hotel in northeastern Nigeria for more than a week.

"The military has accused the reporters, Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa, of working without accreditation or clearance," IPI said.

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"But Al Jazeera said in a statement that the two men, who it indicated had been covering operations against the militant group Boko Haram ahead of Nigeria's recent presidential elections, had received 'clearance to report from anywhere' by Nigeria's national electoral commission. . . ."

Al Jazeera: Buhari will 'spare no effort' to defeat Boko Haram

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Will Nigeria's new president stop Boko Haram?

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Charles D. Ellison, The Root: Will the New Nigerian President Do Any Better in Suppressing Boko Haram?

Siobhán O'Grady, Foreign Policy: Fourth Time's the Charm: Buhari Ousts Jonathan in Nigerian Election

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Christian Purefoy and Holly Yan, CNN Nigeria's president-elect Muhammadu Buhari says he will fight corruption

Max Siollun, the Guardian: How Goodluck Jonathan lost the Nigerian election

S. African Says Not to Judge Him "by a Handful of Jokes"

"Within hours of the announcement that he had been named the new host of 'The Daily Show,' the comedian Trevor Noah was subjected to the full scrutiny of the Internet," Dave Itzkoff reported Tuesday for the New York Times.

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"As potential audience members scoured his past work and social media presence for more clues to Mr. Noah, a South African comedian, they uncovered many posts on his Twitter account that they deemed offensive to women or Jews."

Not to mention statements that offended African Americans, fat women and transgender people.

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"South Africa, in many ways, has a much more robust culture of freedom of speech," Kenneth Walker, an African American journalist now living in South Africa, messaged Journal-isms Wednesday. "Racism and Zionism are just two of the issues that invite serious attack in the U.S., but are given wide latitude in South Africa."

Itzkoff's story continued, "Comedy Central announced on Monday that Mr. Noah, 31, would succeed Jon Stewart as anchor of 'The Daily Show,' its satirical late-night news program, when Mr. Stewart steps down this year. Though Mr. Noah has performed stand-up comedy around the world, he is not widely known in the United States, and he had appeared as an on-air contributor to 'The Daily Show' only three times before being named as host.

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"On Twitter, where he has had an account since 2009 and accumulated more than two million followers, Mr. Noah often posts irreverent statements that reflect his interests in popular culture, global politics and issues of race. As with many comedians, Mr. Noah's jokes can test the boundaries of what is socially permissible and what is in bad taste.

"In several posts, Mr. Noah came across as mocking or derisive of women. In one from 2011, he writes: 'Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!' a quote that he attributes to 'fat chicks everywhere.'

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"In a post from last year, he quotes another Twitter user who writes, 'When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before,' to which Mr. Noah adds: 'So she gets fat?'

"Mr. Noah has also posted jokes about Jews and about Israel. As he wrote in 2009, 'Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!'

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"A post from 2010 reads, 'South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.'

"Reacting to some of Mr. Noah’s jokes in a post for The Daily Caller, a news and opinion website based in Washington, Jamie Weinstein, a senior editor, wrote that this tweet 'does seem to suggest that Noah believes Israel is an inherently belligerent country.'

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"Mr. Weinstein wrote that this was a potentially dangerous attitude for a new host of 'The Daily Show,' adding: 'Many young people don't watch "The Daily Show" just to laugh — they watch the show to get their news. The show shapes perceptions.'

"Comedy Central offered its support to Mr. Noah in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

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" 'Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,' the network said in its statement. It continued: 'To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.'

"Late Tuesday afternoon Mr. Noah responded on Twitter: 'To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn't land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.' . . ."

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Guy Branum, New York Times: Trevor Noah Learns Twitter Just Can't Take a Joke

Josh Feldman, Mediaite: Don Lemon Panel Erupts over Guest Scolding Trevor Noah's 'Irresponsible' Jokes

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Howard Gensler, Philadelphia Daily News: You are what you tweet. Or not. Trevor Noah's 140-character problem

David A. Graham, the Atlantic: Ladies and Gentlemen, Trevor Noah

Andre Guess, theGrio.com: Political correctness, not bigotry, to blame for Trevor Noah’s Twitter critics

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Jason Johnson, NBCBLK: Essay: You Can't Put Trevor Noah in a Box

Mark Joyella, TVNewser: Fox & Friends Ask If Trevor Noah is a 'Fox Hater'

Ezra Klein, vox.com: How Barack Obama made the old Daily Show obsolete

Spencer Kornhaber and James Hamblin, the Atlantic: Trevor Noah Meets the Outrage Internet

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Roland Martin, Daily Beast: Comedians Are Becoming an Endangered Species

Jim Norton, Time: Trevor Noah Isn't the Problem. You Are.

Tim Teeman, Daily Beast: The Ridiculous Trevor Noah Backlash: 'The Daily Show' Host Has Nothing To Apologize For

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Wendy Todd, Washington Post: Yes, the new 'Daily Show' host is black. And he's spent his career making fun of African Americans.

David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Trevor Noah's tweets could be serious threat to future of Comedy Central

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Indy Star Makes Splash With Front-Page Editorial

"The print editions of newspapers are supposed to be dead, but someone [forgot] to tell Karen Ferguson, president and publisher of the Indianapolis Star," Erik Wemple wrote Tuesday in his Washington Post blog.

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"The paper's decision to place its Tuesday editorial — headlined 'Fix This Now' — about the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the front page has blown up social media and framed any number of segments on TV news.

"Making a big splash with editorials jibes with the Indianapolis Star's policy when it comes to exercising its institutional voice. In an interview with the Erik Wemple Blog, Ferguson notes that the Star routinely publishes merely one editorial per week — not multiple iterations per day, as at many other big-city dailies. 'We decided to only weigh in on the most meaningful issues,' says Ferguson.

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"So who gets credit for the A1 idea? 'It was a joint idea,' says Ferguson. 'When we started the discussion, we were at one place and ended up in a different place. It evolved.' It evolved into a massive space grab for the editorial division, so surely the news side expressed concerns about turf. 'I did not hear of any negativity around that,' counters Ferguson, adding that the paper added space to accommodate news coverage of the law, among other things.

"The key to the paper's editorial, says Ferguson, was to emphasize that the newspaper supports religious freedom, the First Amendment and protections against discrimination. . . ."

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Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Religious Freedom vs. Individual Equality

Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: Indiana religious law overshadows Final Four

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Leslie L. Fuller, Indianapolis Recorder: Andre Carson, other Dems call for RFRA repeal

Emil Guillermo blog, Asian American Defense and Education Fund: Religious Restoration Freedom Act? Why it's to protect things like people crucifying themselves like they do in the Philippines. Right, Gov. Mike Pence? To prove it, he should stage a special Good Friday at the state capitol.

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Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: A clash of freedoms in Indiana

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Thankfully, faith of force and exclusion is not the only faith there is

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Al Tompkins, Poynter Institute: Should journalists use the phrase 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' in their reporting?

N.Y. Times Magazine Hires Hannah-Jones in Diversity Effort

The New York Times has hired Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won plaudits for her investigative work on racial issues at ProPublica, as a staff writer for its magazine, the Times announced Wednesday. It is part of a broader diversity effort by magazine Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein, the editor told Journal-isms.

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"Building a diverse staff of editors and writers is very important to me and to the magazine, and since I took over in May we have been trying to draw a greater variety of voices to our pages," Silverstein said in an email.

Hannah-Jones messaged Journal-isms, "I will continue to do long-form investigations of racial inequality along the lines of what I've been doing at ProPublica for the magazine. I will also be able to join larger newsroom investigations for the paper."

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Silverstein said in a staff memo, "At the Times, Nikole will be a major voice, continuing to report important public interest stories both in print and also for our growing digital presence. And she'll contribute in many other ways as well, helping to guide our thinking about some of the most vital issues of the day, and contributing to the newsroom's ambitious investigative projects too. . . ."

Silverstein led Texas Monthly before joining the Times last year. In February, he introduced a relaunch of the magazine, installing "new concepts for columns, new writers, new ideas about how to compose headlines, new typefaces, new page designs in print and online, new ideas about the relationship between print and digital and, animating it all, a new spirit of inquiry that is both subversive and sincere," he told readers.

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In December, Silverstein hired Jenna Wortham, who wrote about the business of technology for the newspaper, to focus on "digital business and culture" for the magazine. Like Hannah-Jones, she is a black woman. So is Jazmine Hughes, hired as an associate digital editor.

Others of color are Claire Gutierrez, a story editor; Teju Cole, the magazine's photography critic; Colson Whitehead, a monthly columnist; Troy Patterson, a regular columnist on clothing; Natasha Trethewey, who selects and introduces the weekly poem; Francis Lam, author of a monthly food column; Kenji Yoshino, a writer of the "Ethicist" column; and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, a contributing writer.

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Star-Ledger Urges Indicted Sen. Menendez to Resign

"U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez now begins a fight for his political life that could last for years," the Star-Ledger, the Newark-based largest newspaper in New Jersey, editorialized on Wednesday. "New Jersey would be better off if he would resign and conduct that battle on his own time."

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Menendez is chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force and the only Latino Democrat in the U.S. Senate. He is a diversity advocate, releasing last year, for example, a third survey measuring the progress leading companies have made on the issue of corporate diversity.

Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz reported Wednesday for CNN, "Federal prosecutors indicted the New Jersey Democrat on corruption charges on Wednesday for allegedly using his Senate office to push the business interests of a friend and donor in exchange for gifts, according to the Justice Department."

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Perz and Prokupecz added, "He has become one of the Obama administration's most vocal Democratic opponents on two key foreign policy matters — President Barack Obama's decision to ease the trade embargo against Cuba and also his effort to engage direct negotiations with Iran over that country's nuclear program. . . "

The editorial continued, "The state needs a respected senator who is focused on his job, not a tarnished defendant who spends his days fending off credible charges of corruption and raising money for his legal defense.

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"Menendez vows that he will not resign. He argues that he should be regarded as innocent until he is proven guilty, a claim that cannot be taken lightly. But that is the standard for imposing criminal sanctions like jail and fines. For senators, the bar should be much higher. . . ."

Matt Friedman, NJ.com: Menendez backers launch 'I Stand With Bob' campaign; critics say he should quit

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AP Stylebook Committee to Take Up "Redskin"

"A hot topic this past week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the annual convention of the American Copy Editors Society was usage of the R-word as dictated by the Associated Press," Sheena Louise Roetman reported Monday for Indian Country Today Media Network. "The AP is considering how and if the stylebook committee will address the term in the 2015 update.

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"More than 20 mainstream news organizations and journalists already oppose and refuse to use the term, based on historical context and its offensiveness to Native Americans, and that number is rapidly growing.

"A ruling from the AP against usage would amount to a huge step forward in removing the term from colloquial language altogether. The AP has “around 1,400 U.S. daily newspaper members and thousands of television and radio broadcast members,” according to their website. In addition, nearly every English-language news organization in the world adheres closely to its standards and it serves as the basis of journalism education around the world.

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"David Minthorn, co-editor of the AP Stylebook, said the R-word, particularly as used by the Washington NFL team, is an 'active topic' of interest to the committee, and changes could come in May with the 2015 update. . . ."

Amanda Blackhorse, Indian Country Today Media Network: This Is What Dehumanization Looks Like (March 20)

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Dennis G. Chappabitty, Indian Country Today Media Network: 'You Damn Redskin!' Surviving a Racist Attack

Joe Palladino, Republican-American, Waterbury, Conn.: When are mascots, nicknames offensive?

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Ellie Reynolds, Denver Post: Guest Commentary: Native Americans have become a political pawn

Relatives Visit Abu-Jamal, Suffering From Diabetic Shock

Relatives of prison journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal visited him on Wednesday, his supporters said, after demanding family visitation rights for the inmate who, they discovered on Monday, was rushed to a medical center after suffering from diabetic shock.

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Amy Marchiano reported Tuesday for the Republican Herald in Pottsville, Pa., "Family and friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal are worried about his health after learning he has been diagnosed with diabetes. The former death row inmate, being held at State Correctional Institution/Mahanoy, was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center-East Norwegian Street on Monday after suffering from diabetic shock. . . . "

Noelle Hanrahan, spokeswoman for Abu-Jamal supporters, messaged on Wednesday, "Mumia's youngest brother Bill Cook and his oldest son Jamal Hart have been able to visit him today for 30 minutes each.

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"As of today, a new prison rule is going to prevent his wife Wadiya and his brother Keith from visiting again for an entire week. The new rule states that only one visit per week per immediate family member will be allowed.

"This also means that there will be many times when we will not have any contact with Mumia during this critical week.

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"Please do continue calling the prison and medical center to demand that Wadiya and Keith can visit Mumia again this week!"

As Marchiano reported, "Abu-Jamal, 60, who was born Wesley Cook, is a former Black Panther and is serving a life sentence at the prison for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, who was white. In spite of numerous appeals, Abu-Jamal remains in prison.

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"In 2011, the Third Circuit upheld the ruling of the district court that returned the case to Philadelphia County Court for a new sentencing hearing. The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office chose not to continue to purse the death penalty. Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence at SCI/Mahanoy.

"Pittsburgh lawyer Bret Grote, Abu-Jamal's attorney, said his client was brought to the hospital for diabetic shock. He is getting better but, 'he's still at risk,' he said.

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"His blood sugar level was 779, he said. . . ."

Nick Chiles, Atlanta Black Star: Report: Mumia Abu-Jamal May Be In a Coma in Penn. Hospital From Diabetes-Related Illness

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Photography Led Chinese-American to Embrace Identity

"When I was in eighth grade, in Queens, in the early 2000s, I was often picked on by other children for my almond-shaped eyes, beige complexion and jet-black hair — essentially, my Chinese face," An Rong Xu wrote Saturday for the New York Times. "They'd ask me if I ate vermin and felines and constantly mocked my native language. These adolescent experiences planted within me seeds of self-hatred, and for years I tried to rid myself of my cultural heritage.

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"So it is interesting that the first real photos I ever took were in Manhattan's Chinatown, which I spent my adolescence avoiding. But it was in that neighborhood where I began to appreciate the hard work of immigrants and the sacrifices they made to be here.

"I then traveled west and saw the early Chinese-American settlements in Locke, Calif., and met relatives who traced their lives in this country to the Transcontinental Railroad. The more I experienced, the more I felt empowered to accept myself as a Chinese-American.

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"My great-grandfather Gee Goon arrived in America in the early 1900s and traveled from Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to Quincy, Mass. I feel as if I made a similar journey. These photos explore what the Chinese-American identity is, a coming-of-age story about the merging of two, sometimes polarizing, cultures. . . ."

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.
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Rick Ramirez Dies at 39, Phoenix TV Photojournalist

Rick Ramirez, a photojournalist at ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix who was well-known as a house disc jockey in the Phoenix underground, died Wednesday in hospice care after battling colon cancer, his friend Mekahlo Medina said. Ramirez was 39.

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"By day he [covered] consumer issues and by night he [would] tear up the dance floor with house beats," Medina, a reporter for KNBC-TV in Southern California and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, emailed Journal-isms.

Medina wrote on Facebook, "Rick Ramirez will not only be [remembered] as [a] good news photographer, but [as] an everlasting spirit of hope. He always had a smile on his face no matter the situation and a good mix on his iPod. He [breathed] life everyday, until his last.

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"He was my friend since college. Two [Latino] gay kids who found each other out of sheer fear of being found out. We were both passionate about journalism. He loved the visuals and sounds. I loved his energy. . . ." The two worked in Phoenix together from 2001 to 2004 when Medina was at KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate.

Funeral services are tentatively set for April 10. Ramirez leaves Mark Parra, his partner of nearly 20 years, his mother and father, two brothers "and his much beloved cats."

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Short Takes

"Tensions between reporters and public information officers — 'hacks and flacks' in the vernacular — aren't new, of course," Paul Farhi wrote Monday for the Washington Post. "Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give. But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executive promised in 2009 to bring 'an unprecedented level of openness to the federal government.' . . ."

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Julianne Malveaux, economist, columnist for the black press and president of Bennett College for Women from 2007 to 2012, is one of three finalists for the presidency of the University of the District of Columbia, Elizabeth Crisp reported Sunday for the New Orleans Advocate. The others are Southern University System President Ronald Mason and Malcolm X College President Anthony Munroe.

"In the case of Phil Ponce's performance last night moderating the final mayoral debate on 'Chicago Tonight,' even supporters of Mayor Rahm Emanuel seem to think Ponce went off the rails when he persisted in asking challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia about his son's past involvement with gang activities," Steve Rhodes wrote Wednesday for Crain's Chicago Business. Ponce hosts the nightly television magazine of news and culture on public television station WTTW-TV. [Ponce acknowledged to John Kass of the Chicago Tribune, "In retrospect I think that question was off the mark and that I blew it on that one," Kass wrote on Thursday.]

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"Three weeks after Univision host Rodner Figueroa was fired for remarks he made about First Lady Michelle Obama, Carlos Calderon and Jomari Goyso were named the new hosts of 'Sal y Pimienta,' " the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

"ABC’s Jim Avila will be presented the Merriman Smith award for outstanding coverage by the White House Correspondents' Association at the annual Nerd Prom next month," Chris Ariens reported Tuesday for TVNewser. "Avila is being honored for his reporting from Cuba back in December. He was first to report the release of American prisoner Alan Gross which led to a re-start of normalized U.S. relations with the island nation. . . ." Gary Fields is one of four Wall Street Journal reporters to be honored for "America's Rap Sheet," which the association said "documents the erosion of citizen trust in law-enforcement officials, chronicles the inadequate data keeping of killings by police and reveals the startling statistic that nearly one third of the adult American population has an arrest record."

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"Longtime Denver media presence Gloria Neal has accepted a job at WGCL in Atlanta, the CBS station, as morning anchor," Joanne Ostrow reported Tuesday for the Denver Post. "According to her boss here, it's an opportunity she 'couldn’t pass up.' . . ." Rodney Harris and Kelly Frank added for WTOC-TV in Atlanta, "She is the outgoing president of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists, advisor for the Rose Andom Center for Domestic Violence, American Red Cross board member, honorary chair for the National Kidney Foundation and a past board member of the Wildlife Experience. . . ."

"Look for a new sports anchor on CBS 11 starting Tuesday, March 31," the Fort Worth (Texas) Business Press reported on Monday. "Keith Russell will join CBS 11 as sports anchor coming from WXTF-TV Philadelphia. . . ."

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"Chris Martinez has been named a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the Network's 24-hour television newsgathering service for CBS stations and broadcasters around the world," the network announced on Tuesday. "Martinez will be based in Los Angeles. His appointment is effective May 4, 2015. Martinez joins CBS News from WBBM-TV, the CBS owned and operated station in Chicago, where he had been a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor since 2012. . . ."

The March-April issue of Ebony magazine is on the newsstand, featuring Kerry Washington on the cover. Ebony skipped the March issue while it negotiated higher advertising rates.

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In Britain, "The Press Association has launched a new bursary programme to encourage budding journalists from ethnic minority backgrounds to enter the profession," Helen Lambourne reported Tuesday forholdthefrontpage.co.uk. "PA has joined forces with the Journalism Diversity Fund, run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, to create a scheme to help boost the diversity of its newsrooms. . . ."

"Twitter this morning is launching Curator, its new product that lets media organizations, publishers, and broadcasters identify, filter and display tweets and Vine videos on any screen in real-time," Sarah Perez reported Tuesday fortechcrunch.com. "The free service, which is something of a competitor to Storify, is designed to help those in the media industry and, soon, others too, make better sense of the barrage of data on Twitter's network in order to highlight the best content for their own readers and viewers. . . ."

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"A Moroccan court has convicted an investigative journalist of adultery and starting a brothel, sentencing him to 10 months in prison in a verdict that the head of a local media freedom organization said Tuesday was meant to intimidate him," the Associated Press reported Tuesday. "The journalist, Hicham Mansouri, was arrested after the police burst into his home two weeks ago and found him with a woman. Maati Monjib, the head of Freedom Now, condemned Monday's verdict and said, 'The regime is finding new ways to attack its opponents.' . . .”

The International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate, said Wednesday they "are gravely concerned by the current escalation of violence in the country. They have urged all the parties to the conflict to immediately stop threatening and harassing journalists and media workers, accused of affiliating with rival parties and serving their interest. . . ."

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