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Parliament close to adopting draconian media bill

first_img News Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent News Organisation RSF_en December 4, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Parliament close to adopting draconian media bill June 13, 2019 Find out more Receive email alerts The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa to go further Help by sharing this information center_img KenyaAfrica Follow the news on Kenya News November 27, 2020 Find out more Reports KenyaAfrica Kenyan media group trolled by pro-ruling party activists Reporters Without Borders believes that a proposed new media law currently before Kenya’s parliament would, if adopted, represent a big step backwards for press freedom in a country known for diverse and outspoken media. The “Kenya Communications Amendment Bill 2008,” also known as the “ICT Bill,” would reinforce government control over media companies and programme content.“It is particularly shocking that the political class is uniting behind the ICT Bill while journalists are unanimous in criticising it as draconian and vindictive,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the authorities to respect and reinforce independent regulatory bodies and not subordinate them to a minister’s discretionary powers.” The press freedom organisation added: “This bill must not be adopted as it stands. We call for it to be withdrawn and reexamined in consultation with media professionals.”Currently in its third reading – the penultimate legislative stage before adoption by President Mwai Kibaki – the ICT Bill provides for heavy fines and prison sentences for press offences. It also envisages the creation of a government-appointed “communications commission” that would be in charge of granting broadcast licences. The information minister would be empowered to “issue policy guidelines” to the commission although it is described as “independent,” while article 86 of the bill gives the minister the unilateral power to interrupt broadcasts, dismantle radio and TV stations and tap telephones. The internal security minister, for his part, is empowered to seize broadcasting equipment.If adopted, the ICT Bill would even give the information minister power to control programme content, as the commission he appoints would also be responsible for ensuring the “good taste” of broadcasts.David Makali, the head of the Nairobi-based Media Institute, said: “Culturally diverse societies such as Kenya do not have a universal value of what is good or abhorrent, and the discretion of the editor, guided by professional ethics and the existing laws on public nuisance and morality, is in our view adequate.”But Kenyan Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka insisted last week that the ICT Bill would reinforce the media’s “professionalism.”The bill has sparked an outcry among Kenyan journalists and in the international community and, on 1 December, the Media Institute and Kenya Editors Guild called for it to be withdrawn to allow for more consultations. If it is adopted in its current form, the Media Institute has threatened to challenge its constitutionality.“Regulation of professional or editorial content should be left to the professionally inclined mechanisms of the existing Media Council,” Makali said. “Given this government’s track record of relations with the media over the past six years, the media has cause to be apprehensive that the amendments as proposed will seriously curtail media freedom.”Reporters Without Borders points out that in a report issued on 6 March – entitled “How far to go? Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election” – it urged the Kenyan authorities to be less mistrustful and hostile towards the media and to help them strengthen their ability to regulate themselves, work together and train journalists. April 6, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more


11 Tasty apples

first_imgYou can grow apples in most of Georgia, though the best varieties will differ within the state. Local growers, gardeners or nurseries, or your county University of Georgia Extension Service office, can tell you the best variety for your yard.Varieties with disease resistance are best.Size and spacing important considerationsThe size of a mature apple tree depends on several factors, including variety and rootstock. Varieties such as spur Arkansas Black or spur-type Red Delicious tend to be compact trees, while Mutsu (Crispin) and Jonagold are quite vigorous.Within the same variety, the rootstock can vary the size from full size to “semidwarf” (half to three-quarter size) to “dwarf” (25 percent to 40 percent of full size).Whatever you plant, most apple trees need to be cross-pollinated by a different variety. So unless you already have apple trees within about 50 feet, plant at least three varieties to make sure you get good cross-pollination.Consider yieldYou may be tempted to plant several trees when just a few may yield more apples than you’ll need. With good care and accommodating weather, a mature dwarf tree can easily produce more than a bushel of apples. A semidwarf tree can produce 3 to 5 bushels, and a standard-size tree can yield more than 10 bushels.Dwarf trees start to bear fruit earlier than either semidwarf or standard trees. The fruit quality will be better, too, and more uniform throughout the tree. Tree support and irrigation, though, are essential for dwarf trees.Site selection and purchasingSelecting a good site to plant apple trees is crucial to their success. Frost damage and disease pressure is greater in low areas. Apple trees need full sun to do their best.The soil should be deep (at least 24 to 30 inches of rooting depth), well-drained and moderately fertile. Avoid drought-prone areas.Buy trees from a reputable nursery. There are several excellent nurseries in the Southeast, but trees don’t need to be locally grown to be adaptable to Georgia growing conditions.Planting considerationsBefore planting, protect the tree’s root system from freezing, overheating or drying out. The best time to plant bare-root fruit trees is late winter to early spring, several weeks before it will start growing.Dig a hole deep enough to allow the tree to be set as deep or slightly deeper than it was in the nursery. The bud union, which separates the variety from the rootstock, should be 1 to 2 inches above the ground.Prune long roots so they will fit in the hole instead of bending them to fit. Don’t put any fertilizer in the planting hole. This could burn the roots.Cover the root system with soil, working the soil around and under the roots to avoid leaving air pockets. Water the tree well, and then fill the hole to a point slightly higher than the surrounding ground.Prune new trees when you plant them. The ideal tree to buy is a whip 4 to 6 feet tall. Bigger trees aren’t better trees. After you plant it, cut the tree off 6 to 8 inches above the height you want for the bottom limbs — usually about 2 feet above the ground.Depending on the variety and rootstock, a dwarf tree may produce its first crop in the second or third year after you plant it. A semidwarf tree should begin bearing within three to four years. A standard tree may not bear any fruit for its first five to seven years.You can get more information on fruit tree care at your county UGA Extension office. By David W. Lockwood University of Georgia Volume XXVIII Number 1 Page 11last_img read more