Wanted Free FM journalists find refuge in South African embassy

first_img The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Receive email alerts Follow the news on Madagascar South Africa’s embassy in Madagascar has granted refuge to two Free FM journalists, Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy and Fidel Razara Pierre, and one of the radio station’s technicians, the embassy said in statement on 7 September.The two journalists are wanted by the police on charges of inciting hate and conspiracy against state security for broadcasting a statement by one of the soldiers involved in a mutiny as it was taking place on 22 July. The station suspended broadcasting on the evening of 22 July after being threatened by the authorities.Davis Rakotoarijaoana, a reporter who covers politics for the daily Midi Madagasikara, was summoned for questioning by the DST, an intelligence agency, on 17 August after writing an article that quoted Rakotondrazafy. The DST wanted Rakotoarijaoana to help locate her.—–2012.07.24 – Opposition radio suspends broadcasts after mutiny at military baseReporters Without Borders deplores the fact that Free FM, an opposition radio station based in Antananarivo, has been off the air for the past two days after angering Andry Rajoelina’s transitional government by broadcasting a message by mutineering soldiers that announced the “dissolution of the current state institutions.”In a Facebook post on the evening of 22 July, Free FM director Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy wrote: “For the safety of its employees and its equipment, Free FM has decided to suspend its broadcasts (…) we take responsibility for this decision.”“It is regrettable that the political tug-of-war of the past few months between the transitional authorities and radio Free FM has resulted in a suspension of broadcasting by what is the last opposition radio station,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the two sides to enter into a dialogue as the only way to avoid further loss of freedom of information in the political crisis that has been going on for more than three years.“With the two main protagonists of this crisis – transitional leader Andry Rajoelina and ousted president Marc Ravalomanana – due to meet this week, it is crucial that Free FM should be able to resume broadcasting without being exposed to danger and with its presenters acting with the appropriate caution and responsibility.”The mutiny by soldiers in the early morning of 22 July led to clashes at the base of the 1st Intervention Forces Regiment (RFI) near Antananarivo international airport at Ivato. As a safety measure, the airport was closed and all flights were suspended. The mutiny was eventually put down.Immediately after the start of the mutiny, Free FM broadcast a communiqué by the mutineers announcing the suspension of political institutions and the “creation of a military directorate.”Communication minister Harry Laurent Rahajason, a former journalist better known by the pen-name of Rolly Mercia, reacted by announcing that Free FM was “liable to be prosecuted for complicity in an attack on state security (…) spreading false reports and inciting hatred and revolt.”In the wake of the communication minister’s statement, soldiers loyal to the transitional government raided the station and disconnected its electricity supply. After realizing it was still broadcasting, the solders went back at around 7 p.m. to seize its broadcast equipment. The equipment had already been moved to safe location as a pre-emptive measure, according to Rakotondrazafy, who nonetheless finally decided to “turn off the microphones.” Protest on 19 may responded to a call from Free FM (AFP/Andreea CAMPEANU) News News MadagascarAfrica Help by sharing this information April 16, 2020 Find out more Photo : from left to right, Soavina Ralaisoavamanjaka, Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy, Andry Rajoelina et son épouse Mialy, Fidèle Razarapiera and Harry Laurent Rahajason MadagascarAfrica Reportscenter_img Madagascar : Sabotage silences TV channel that criticized coronavirus measures News Organisation April 30, 2021 Find out more to go further _ Pressure on “political” radio stationAccording to Agence France-Presse, between 3,000 and 5,000 people responded to a call from Free FM last May to march in protest against the government and threats to close the station. The police used violence to disperse the demonstration, which was not authorized.At the start of May, Rakotondrazafy and her colleague, Fidèle Razarapiera, spent 24 hours in police custody and were charged with defamation, broadcasting false information and inciting hate. Their arrests came shortly after the station received two formal warnings from the Special Commission for Broadcasting Communication (CSCA).There have always been doubts about the independence of the CSCA, a regulatory authority headed by the communication minister. Free FM’s plight recalls that of Viva TV, a station owned by Rajoelina, now the transitional president, which was forcibly closed before the 2009 political upheaval. Rajoelina’s media company immediately reacted by creating a talk show called “Anao ny Fitenenana” (You have the word), that was virulent in its criticism of the then government and was hosted by Rakotondrazafy, Razarapiera, Rahajason and another journalist, Soavina Ralaisoavamanjaka.The team of presenters was finally disbanded a few months after the High Transitional Authority’s creation. Some of them joined the new government, others joined the opposition.Madagascar has been hard pressed to recover a degree of stability because of the failure of negotiations between the various political parties and because of sporadic mutinies and demonstrations. Elections have been postponed three times since May 2011. A new date is to be set in an electoral timetable due on 1 August. November 27, 2020 Find out more RSF_en September 12, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Wanted Free FM journalists find refuge in South African embassy RSF urges Madagascar to let journalists cover Covid-19 freelylast_img read more

Giving Huntington’s disease the one-two punch

first_imgA major, multi-institutional study based at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified a promising treatment strategy for Huntington’s disease (HD).The team’s identification of a novel compound, MIND4, appears to protect against neurodegeneration in cellular and animal models of HD by means of two separate mechanisms — inhibiting a regulatory enzyme of the nervous system (SIRT2), and stimulating activity of the NRF2 pathway, which regulates the expression of protective, antioxidant proteins. The report will be published online in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.“Based on numerous studies, it has become evident that the pathologies of neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease, are very complex, so targeting multiple pathways may help us achieve maximum therapeutic benefit,” said Aleksey Kazantsev, who led the study as an investigator at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND). “The lead compound identified in the current study has two distinct mechanisms, both of which are shown to be potentially neuroprotective and which we expect will have synergistic benefits.”Previous work from Kazantsev’s MIND team identified SIRT2 as a promising treatment target for Huntington’s as well as for Parkinson’s disease. Building on those findings, he and his collaborators from 12 research institutions in five countries began searching for a scaffold — a group of molecules with similar chemical structures — that could be the basis of more potent and selective SIRT2 inhibitors. Starting with the most powerful SIRT2-inhibiting compound they identified, which they called MIND4, they assembled a group of structurally similar compounds with varying levels of effectiveness.In investigating how MIND4 acted to inhibit SIRT2, the researchers were surprised to find that the top seven pathways activated by treatment with MIND4 were related to the oxidative stress response mediated by NRF2. Additional experiments indicated that activation of NRF2-mediated pathways did not depend on SIRT2 inhibition.“Finding that MIND4’s SIRT2 and NRF2 activities are independent of each other is a critical step for further drug development, which indicates that work to improve the potency of each activity should proceed separately,” said Kazantsev. “We still don’t know whether the neuroprotective results we observed in this study depend more on one activity or the other, but since MIND4, which produces both activities, was a better protectant than [a MIND4 derivative] which only activates NRF2, I speculate that both activities will be necessary.”He added, “MIND4 is a great starting template for drug development, and we have promising preliminary results in two mouse models. We also need to optimize the pharmacology to meet FDA requirements for a version we can test in human patients. Right now, we expect to have results regarding the mechanism behind NRF2 activation ready for submission soon.” Kazantsev recently joined the Cambridge, Mass.-based startup company Effective Therapeutics, LLC, but continues to collaborate with his colleagues at MGH and other institutions.Anne B. Young, former MGH chief of neurology and founder of MIND as well as Effective Therapeutics, said, “These multidisciplinary studies highlight new pathways that can be targeted for HD therapy but also very likely for other neurodegenerative diseases, too.”A pdf of the study is available here.last_img read more

Legendary surfer Eddie would go

first_imgIt’s a simple saying that most Hawaiians and surfers know by heart. It’s the ultimate proverb of motivation and determination. It is commonly used when a surfer faces a big wave or simply adversity.”Eddie would go.”Those three words carry more than meaning; they carry dreams and expectations. The saying was adapted in respect for one of the greatest surfing legends off all time, Eddie Aikau, whose life after his death became a myth told among those who once surfed with the fabled man.Aikau’s life began like a typical Oahu surfer. He grew up surfing the shores of Waikiki and worked endless hours at the Dole Plantation in hopes of purchasing his first real board.Once Aikau was adjusted to the calm waves of Waikiki, he traveled up north to find the bigger and better waves along the island’s North Shore.The legend first took on Waimea Bay. One day he was out surfing against prodigies Greg Noll and Rick Grigg. Aikau dominated every set of waves that day. Photos from his outing appeared in Life magazine and unexpectedly, Aikau became a celebrity.Aikau’s occasional trips to the North Shore led him to become a lifeguard for the Sunset and Haleiwa areas. No lives were ever lost when he was on watch.Aikau continued his surfing ways, winning tournaments and impressing fans. Eventually surfing lost its touch and he started looking for a more rewarding void.Surfing was a part of Aikau’s life, but Hawaii was his life.An announcement was made across the island that the Polynesian Voyaging Society was searching for volunteers to recreate the journey of rediscovery aboard its replica canoe-Hokule’a. The Hokule’a trip was intended to retrace the ancient Polynesian voyage between the Hawaii and the Tahitian chain.This was the announcement the Hawaiian was waiting for, and he did not hesitate at the opportunity.The canoe set sail on March 1978 and had trouble from the start. The canoe had developed a leak and eventually capsized. Everyone was safe and was awaiting a response. Aikau’s heart could not wait a second longer. He had to be the hero and he had to search for help. His last words were, “Don’t worry, I can do it.”A few hours later, the crew was saved, but Aikau was missing.He was never found. He went and never returned.No one knows exactly what happened. Since his disappearance, a surf contest has been held in his honor known appropriately as the “Eddie.” It is only held during the winter months and when waves hit 20 or more feet, because “Eddie would go.”Aikau wasn’t afraid to pass on an opportunity, and his story should hold true for all citizens of the island.Aikau’s message should also hold true for all citizens of the mainland.Simon Bairu took Aikau’s message to heart Monday by winning his second consecutive NCAA title. Ditto for the entire men’s cross country team, who won its first national title since 1988.This Saturday, when the Wisconsin football team takes on Hawaii, will they go?They have already missed one opportunity to secure a victory for Barry Alvarez in his final home game — an opportunity they will never have again.Hawaii does have a less than stellar football program, boasting a 4-6 record to date. However, Wisconsin has been known to choke towards the end of the season and they are a Malihini (newcomer) to the island. This time will be different for the team — Alvarez will seek his redemption. It is only fitting. He is not the perfect coach and neither is his team — neither was Aikau.Aikau is a legend of Hawaii and Alvarez is a legend in Madison. “Eddie would go,” but will Alvarez? Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much).Instead of posting comments about Shannon on message boards, email them to her at [email protected]last_img read more