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Facebook executive who shared anti-Muslim post apologises: Report | News

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A Facebook India executive has apologised to Muslim staff for sharing a post that dubbed Muslims in India a “degenerate community”, according to a report by BuzzFeed News.

The post, originally written by a police officer last year in response to nationwide protests against a new citizenship law, said for Muslims, “nothing except purity of religion and implementation of Shariah matter”.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last year by India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi fast-tracks nationality for non-Muslim minorities from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The United Nations has termed the law “fundamentally discriminatory”.

“The intent of my personal Facebook post was not to denigrate Islam,” Ankhi Das, the social media giant’s policy director for India and South and Central Asia, wrote in an internal message obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The intent of my personal Facebook post was not to denigrate Islam.

Ankhi Das, Facebook’s policy director for India and South and Central Asia

“It was to reflect my deep belief in celebrating feminism and civic participation. I value all perspectives I have heard over the past days about how the post was received and as a result I have deleted the post. I genuinely regret any hurt it may have caused, including to my Muslim colleagues in the company.”

‘Hate speech and Islamophobia’

Some Muslim employees of the company commented on Das’s apology. “As a company, we now need to do an honest reflection of hate speech and Islamophobia against Muslims on our platform,” an employee said as reported by BuzzFeed.

Facebook is under fire after The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Das refused to apply the company’s hate speech policies to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians and other “Hindu nationalist individuals and groups”.

Facebook ignored its hate speech policy and allowed anti-Muslim posts on its platform to avoid ruining the company’s relationship with India’s governing party (the BJP), said the report by The Wall Street Journal.

Journalist Rana Ayyub writing in The Washington Post accused Facebook of ‘debilitating Indian democracy’ [File: Jeff Chiu/AP Photo]

“The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to [T Raja] Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence,” the WSJ report said based on interviews with current and former Facebook employees.

Singh, the BJP’s only legislator in the southern state of Telangana, is known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric. The WSJ said the right-wing politician had demanded mainly-Muslim Rohingya refugees be shot, called India’s Muslims traitors and threatened to demolish mosques in his Facebook posts and public speeches.

Das filed a police complaint saying she received death threats after the WSJ report drew social media fury. She has said that some individuals online had “intentionally vilified” her.

With nearly 300 million users, India is Facebook’s biggest market, while the social media’s messaging service, WhatsApp, has nearly 500 million users in the South Asian nation of 1.4 billion people. Critics have accused the social network of prioritising profit over ethics as it has allowed hate speech on its platforms.

On Instagram, owned by Facebook, a verified account, @HindustaniBhau, which has 3.4 million followers, recently called for violence against minorities. His post was only taken down after public outcry.

Journalist Rana Ayyub, writing in The Washington Post, accused Facebook of “debilitating Indian democracy”. “A platform that was once meant to spread ideas and opinions has now become a tool that enables and encourages fascism,” she wrote.

‘Non-partisan platform’

Last Friday, the social media giant said it was a “non-partisan platform where people can express themselves freely”.

“We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form,” Ajit Mohan, Facebook’s India head, said in an online post.

We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form.

Ajit Mohan, Facebook’s India head

“There is no place for hate speech on our platform. We have an impartial approach to dealing with content and are strongly governed by our Community Standards … We have removed and will continue to remove content posted by public figures in India when it violates our Community Standards.”

Mohan however, admitted the social media firm “needed to do more”.

Accusations of bias comes in the wake of criticism directed at Facebook for platforming white supremacists in the West and far-right groups in other parts of the world, including Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalists have demonised Muslim-majority Rohingya. Nearly one million Rohingya have been forced to flee after years of anti-Muslim hate propaganda online, including Facebook.

In the United States and around the world, Facebook employees are raising questions about whether adequate procedures and content regulation practices were being followed by the India team, sources familiar with discussions told the Reuters news agency.

An open letter written to Facebook’s leadership by 11 employees on one internal platform, and seen by Reuters, demands company leaders acknowledge and denounce “anti-Muslim bigotry” and ensure more policy consistency.

The letter also demanded that Facebook’s “policy team in India (and elsewhere) includes diverse representation”.

On Tuesday, Delhi state legislature began proceedings against Facebook and recommended to summon officials from the company.

An Indian parliamentary panel will also question Facebook executives about the company’s hate speech regulation policies in India on September 2.

India’s main opposition Congress party has called for a parliamentary panel to investigate what it has described as favourable treatment by Facebook’s India team towards the country’s governing right-wing party.

Communication and Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad shakes hands with COO, Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, during a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. Facebook's Global Public Policy Vi

Ankhi Das, right, told staff members that punishing violations by governing party politicians would ‘damage the company’s business prospects’ [File: Praveen Negi/The India Today Group via Getty Images]





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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