Connect with us

News

UK journalist wins £80k damages after being hired ‘to smear’ UAE and Egypt critics

Published

on

journalist

UK journalist wins £80k damages after being hired ‘to smear’ UAE and Egypt critics

A journalist has been awarded over £80,000 in damages against a London-based investigative website and its CEO – a press freedom campaigner – after claiming she was duped into joining the organisation only to find out that it was a propaganda vehicle for the UAE and Egypt.

Jane Cahane said she was told in her job interview by Mohamed Fahmy, who was imprisoned in Egypt for over a year for disseminating “false news” in a case that caused a public outcry, that the Investigative Journal (TIJ) was a publication of independent investigative journalism.

But Cahane, who was editor-in-chief between December 2018 and July 2019, said TIJ received funding from the UAE and pursued an agenda intended to further the interests of the Gulf state and Egypt.

In the particulars of her claim, Cahane said Fahmy was “assisted and directed” by representatives or agents of the UAE and, in June 2019, met with the authoritarian Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, under whose regime Fahmy was imprisoned , “to discuss TIJ’s editorial line and content”.

After neither TIJ nor Fahmy presented a defence, a judgment in default, seen by the Guardian, was entered and Cahane was awarded £80,735.92 for fraudulent and/or negligent misrepresentation plus costs.

Sitting at the high court in London, senior master Fontaine said in her written judgment: “This was a particularly difficult and sensitive area relating to journalism and the funding of journalism for purposes that were alleged to be political rather than independent and relates to alleged funding from Middle-Eastern sources … the reputation of the claimant as a journalist of integrity was at stake and for her that concern was likely to have been as important as the financial claim that she has made, and that has to be appropriately reflected [in the remedy].”

Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, hit the headlines when he was convicted in Egypt in 2014 alongside two fellow Al Jazeera English journalists, Egyptian national Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste. He was sentenced to seven years in jail for endangering national security and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, despite independent observers saying there was no credible evidence.

Fahmy, who has also worked for CNN, the LA Times, and BBC, was awarded a prize by the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom during the trial. He was later represented by Amal Clooney and he and his colleagues were all pardoned in 2015. In 2019, he was a speaker at the Foreign Office’s inaugural international media freedom conference in London.

Cahane had previously worked on travel website Culture Trip and renewable energy news title Recharge before joining TIJ.

Her particulars of claim said that her job description at the TIJ stated she would “work with leading journalists and a team of editors to help create and manage a top-tier, investigative online publication”. But she said the reality was different. “At no time has TIJ covered, nor did the defendants intend TIJ to cover, a wide range of topics and a diversity of viewpoints from an independent and objective standpoint,” the document stated.

“Articles, reports and social media content published by TIJ have focused and focus primarily on aggressively targeting, attacking and smearing those perceived to be opponents of the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic of Egypt, including particular countries such as Turkey, Qatar and Iran and particular organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.”

At the time of going to press TIJ’s website was not working. The court heard that the company is going into liquidation, while Companies House says it has not filed accounts due in October last year. The journal and Fahmy are jointly and severally liable for the sums owed to Cahane.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

14 − six =

News

UN chief warns of ‘catastrophe’ from global food shortage

Published

on

UN chief warns of ‘catastrophe’ from global food shortage

The head of the United Nations warned Friday that the world faces “catastrophe” because of the growing shortage of food around the globe.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the war in Ukraine has added to the disruptions caused by climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and inequality to produce an “unprecedented global hunger crisis” already affecting hundreds of millions of people.

“There is a real risk that multiple famines will be declared in 2022,” he said in a video message to officials from dozens of rich and developing countries gathered in Berlin. “And 2023 could be even worse.”

Guterres noted that harvests across Asia, Africa and the Americas will take a hit as farmers around the world struggle to cope with rising fertilizer and energy prices.

“This year’s food access issues could become next year’s global food shortage,” he said. “No country will be immune to the social and economic repercussions of such a catastrophe.”

Guterres said U.N. negotiators were working on a deal that would enable Ukraine to export food, including via the Black Sea, and let Russia bring food and fertilizer to world markets without restrictions.

He also called for debt relief for poor countries to help keep their economies afloat and for the private sector to help stabilize global food markets.

The Berlin meeting’s host, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, said Moscow’s claim that Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were to blame for food shortages was “completely untenable.”

Russia exported as much wheat in May and June this year as in the same months of 2021, Baerbock said.

She echoed Guterres’ comments that several factors underlie the growing hunger crisis around the world.

“But it was Russia’s war of attack against Ukraine that turned a wave into a tsunami,” Baerbock said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that Russia has no excuse for holding back vital goods from world markets.

“The sanctions that we’ve imposed on Russia collectively and with many other countries exempt food, exempt food products, exempt fertilizers, exempt insurers, exempt shippers,” he said.

Continue Reading

News

Bandits release Zamfara wedding guests after payment of ransom

Published

on

Bandits release Zamfara wedding guests after payment of ransom

Local and federal highways in the North-west have become vulnerable as bandits continue to ambush and abduct travellers.

The gunmen who abducted 29 people returning to Zamfara State from Sokoto State where they had gone to attend the wedding of colleagues have released them after the payment of an unspecified ransom.

The victims, who were mostly dealers of mobile phones and phone accessories at Bebeji Communication Market (Bebeji Plaza) in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State were abducted in Sokoto 13 days ago.

Secretary of the GSM Dealers Association in the state, Ashiru Zurmi, confirmed the release of the victims but didn’t give details.

One of the victims reportedly died in captivity.

Though the amount paid as ransom to secure the release of the hostages has not been revealed, Abdullahi Lawal, whose brother was among those abducted, said their relatives were asked to make donations. He said his family raised N33,000 while the phone sellers’ association “provided the remaining money.”

“Every family was told to gather N400,000 while the members of the plaza and their colleagues in the state provided the remaining money. Some family members were able to raise the money in full, but we couldn’t. I took the money to the plaza and I was told that they were still negotiating with the bandits” he said.

He said he didn’t know how much was given to the bandits “but I’m happy that my brother is okay,” he said.

From N5m to N700,000

A phone accessories seller, Sharhabilu Muhammad, told PREMIUM TIMES over the phone that the officials of the phone dealers association negotiated with the bandits to reduce the ransom they originally demanded to release the captives.

“You know that the initial money they said was N5m for each of the captives but our officials kept negotiating with them (bandits) until they reduced the money to N700k,” he said.

When asked about the person who reportedly died in captivity, Mr Muhammed said his identity has not been revealed.

“We don’t know because even the bandits didn’t tell but we’ll surely find out when they (captives) arrive at Gusau tonight,” he added.

The police command spokesman, Mohammed Shehu, didn’t respond to calls and SMS sent to him on the development.

Backstory

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the wedding guests were abducted when bandits opened fire on the two buses they were travelling in a few kilometres after Bimasa in the Dogon Awo junction, Sokoto State.

They were returning from Tambuwal town in Sokoto State where they had attended the wedding of a colleague, Jamil Umar.

The captives were travelling on a Toyota Coaster bus belonging to the Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC and another bus owned by Gusau Local Government.

The bandits had demanded a ransom of N145 million to release the 29 hostages.

Bandits have been terrorising North-west states and a part of North-central Nigeria, killing and displacing hundreds of people and rustling domestic animals.

Travelling on federal and local highways is becoming dangerous as bandits block roads, abduct and kill motorists.

Major federal highways including Abuja-Kaduna, Gusau-Sokoto-Birnin Kebbi, and Birnin Gwari-Kaduna have become travellers’ nightmares with attacks and abduction or killing of travellers becoming a daily occurrence.

Continue Reading

News

Reps demand review of public officers’ salaries, allowances

Published

on

Reps demand review of public officers’ salaries, allowances

A motion seeking the intervention of the House of Representatives in the conflict between the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, and Justices of the Supreme Court, over issues bordering on welfare and working conditions suffered a setback on Thursday.

While the House called for a general review of salaries and allowances of all political office holders and public servants, the members were divided over which committees should handle the task.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke, had moved a motion to seek the intervention of the chamber in the crisis rocking the apex court and better welfare package for judicial officers across the courts.

Luke, who moved the motion titled, ‘Need to Address the Deteriorating Working Conditions of Judicial Officers,’ prayed the House to urge the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to upwardly review the remuneration of judicial officers in line with present economic realities.

The lawmaker prayed the House to urge the Federal Government to increase the budgetary allocation of the judiciary for the upcoming fiscal year and provide special intervention funds for the development of the arm

He further prayed the House to mandate the Committee on Judiciary to ensure compliance and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

While the lawmakers were making amendments to the prayers, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, called for an upward review of the welfare package of all public office holders.

Wase, who stated that he appreciated the memo from the Justices to the CJN, noted that only the RMAFC had the responsibility to review remuneration of government officials.

The Deputy Speaker made reference to a part of the motion that read, ‘The remuneration of judicial officers was last reviewed in 2008 by the RMAFC when the official exchange rate was N117.74 to $1, whereas the naira has considerably depreciated.’

Wase partly said, “I think this particular element does not affect just judicial officers, maybe because they cried out now. I don’t think it is right that we have to wait every time until people write letters of complaints and there is protest before we begin to do the right thing.”

Rephrasing Wase’s proposed amendment, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said: “The DSP’s amendment is that we should not isolate the Judiciary and all those enumerated constitutional bodies and public office holders. They should be reviewed; a comprehensive review based on all the things that Hon Luke said – the exchange rates and this and that.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending