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US Justice Dept says it will no longer seize reporters’ records | Freedom of the Press News

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US news outlets say Trump administration had secretly tried to obtain journalists’ records as part of leak probes.

The United States Justice Department has said it will no longer secretly obtain journalists’ records in leak investigations, after recent revelations that former President Donald Trump’s administration had secretly obtained reporters’ phone and email records.

In a statement on Saturday, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said that “in a change to its longstanding practice”, the department “will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs”.

“The department strongly values a free press, protecting First Amendment values, and is committed to taking all appropriate steps to ensure the independence of journalists,” Coley said.

The move comes after US news outlets CNN and The Washington Post said the Trump administration had secretly tried to obtain the phone records of some of their reporters over work they did in 2017.

The New York Times on Friday also reported that the Justice Department under both Trump and current US President Joe Biden waged “a secret legal battle to obtain the email logs of four New York Times reporters”, including a gag order on executives.

The legal battle to gain access to the email logs of four of the journalists started in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency and sought to reveal reporters’ sources, the newspaper said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said no one at the White House knew about the gag order until Friday night [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

“While the Trump administration never informed The Times about the effort, the Biden administration continued waging the fight this year, telling a handful of top Times executives about it but imposing a gag order to shield it from public view,” the report said, citing Times lawyer David McCraw.

In a separate statement on Saturday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said no one at the White House knew about the gag order until Friday night.

“The issuing of subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations is not consistent with the President’s policy direction to the Department, and the Department of Justice has reconfirmed it will not be used moving forward,” Psaki said.

Biden last month had said it was “simply, simply wrong” to seize journalists’ records and that his Justice Department would halt the practice.

The tactic of using subpoenas and court orders to obtain journalists’ records has been used by Democratic and Republican administrations seeking to identify sources of classified information.

The practice had received renewed scrutiny over the past month as Justice Department officials had alerted reporters at The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times that their phone records had been obtained during the Trump administration.

US journalists had denounced Trump for what they termed a “sustained attack” on media during his time in office. The former Republican president regularly attacked reporters as peddling “fake news” and being “an enemy of the people”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Lockdown: Gov’t to Send Direct Cash to Vulnerable People

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The government on Sunday announced that it would not use the direct food distribution system to those affected by the Covid-19 lockdown but will instead send them direct cash.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said the national taskforce on Covid-19 has agreed to send the vulnerable people money via mobile money platform or the voucher system for those without mobile phones.

“We have agreed to have direct payment method and voucher system to provide assistance to the vulnerable people. This time, we shall not give food. People have phones, we shall use mobile money. Those who don’t have phones, we shall use voucher system [to give the relief assistance],” she said.

The Prime Minister said a committee will sit on Tuesday to determine the amount that will be given and when people will start getting the support.

This comes after President Museveni on Friday announced a total lockdown to contain the surging Covid-19 cases by halting public and private transport and restricting other businesses. He also brought down curfew time to 7pm from 9pm.

During last year’s Covid-19 induced lockdown, the government distributed food to the urban poor but many people did not receive the portions while others received half of it.

Auditor General John Muwanga reported that items valued at 55.8 billion Shillings which were distributed under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) lacked sufficient evidence of acknowledgement to enable him verify the recipients.

He also reported the quality checks by Uganda National Bureau of Standard-UNBS on a sample of 14,069 metric tonnes of maize flour and 8,547 metric tonnes of dry-beans which established that 2,615 metric tonnes of maize flour and 2,017 metric tonnes of dry-beans intended for distribution by OPM did not pass quality checks.

The government on Sunday reported 1,367 new infections and 34 new deaths, pushing the cumulative total of infections to 71,543 and deaths to 660.

The post Lockdown: Gov’t to Send Direct Cash to Vulnerable People first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Ethiopia elections 2021: Abiy Ahmed faces first vote amid conflict

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His reformist zeal saw him win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, but just a year later, he waged a military operation in his own country – deploying troops to Tigray to oust the TPLF as the region’s ruling party after it seized military bases in what Mr Abiy saw as a bid to overthrow him.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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New Cabinet to Be Sworn-In Today

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Parliament has scheduled today Monday 21, 2021 for the inauguration of the new cabinet ministers.

For the whole of last week, 79 ministers were vetted by Parliament’s Appointments Committee led by Deputy Speaker Anita Among.

Two other appointees missed out reportedly due to health related challenges.

The swearing in event is being conducted with extreme caution by ensuring that all in attendance are free of Covid19.

President Yoweri Museveni was on Friday 18 forced to lock the country after fatalities of the novel virus spiked again.

Earlier on, Parliament was forced to scale down its work force after rumours that over 100 Members of Parliament were battling Covid-19.

The Institution’s Director of Communications Chris Obore however clarified on Friday that those affected attended crowded events; The State of Nation Address (SONA) and Budget Reading events.

The above events were held on June 4 and June 10, 2021 respectively.

“Over 3,000 people that included MPs, staff of Parliament, Police, ISO, SFC, Service Providers, Journalists, Prisons staff and invited guests were tested for COVID-19,” Obore explained.

“Out of all those tested for the events, approximately 100 came out positive. Note that Parliament has 529MPs (approximately 30 Parliament staff were manning the events,” he pointed out.

Obore refuted allegations the one hundred cases were from a sample of more than 3000 and disclosed that some had already recovered.

The post New Cabinet to Be Sworn-In Today first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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