Burma

first_img to go further MyanmarAsia – Pacific MyanmarAsia – Pacific May 31, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Organisation Domain name : .mm Population : 48 137 000 Internet-users : 250 000Average charge for one hour’s connection at a cybercafé : about 0,55 US$ Average monthly salary : about 27,32 US$ Number of imprisoned netizens : 2Two high-ranking government officials sentenced to death for having e-mailed documents abroad: Net censorship is a serious matter in Burma. Massive filtering of websites and extensive slowdowns during times of unrest are daily occurrences for the country’s Internet users. The Military Junta considers netizens to be enemies of the State. The legislation governing Internet use – the Electronic Act – is one of the most liberticidal laws in the world.A rigid firewallThe Burmese firewall applies strict censorship, which limits users to an Intranet purged of any criticisms of the regime. Only the use of proxies or other censorship circumvention tools permits access to the World Wide Web. Blocked sites include those of exiled Burmese media groups and certain global media outlets, proxies and other censorship circumvention tools, blogs and study-abroad scholarship sites. Government authorities block both websites and URLs. Censorship is not consistent: for example, the site www.peoplemediavoice.com is filtered, but its identical counterpart, www.peoplemediavoice.net is not.Consultation of private electronic mail is also curtailed. Officially, Internet users are prohibited from using e-mail services other than those provided by the government. Webmail services such as Yahoo and Hotmail are blocked in the country, but can be consulted via proxies.Connection speed: A barometer of Burma’s internal situationThe ordinary connection speed is 512kb per line, which is the equivalent of a basic ADSL individual connection, but one line is shared by several users, thus slowing down online activities. It takes about ten seconds to open an email or load one page. Using a proxy speeds up things. However, cybercafés – the main connection points in a country where individual Internet subscriptions are very expensive and subject to government authorization – must share this 512 kb line with 10 to 15 computers, thereby reducing the connection speed. Gtalk cannot function on a 256 kb line. A 512 kb line is needed to use Gtalk and Skype in real time.When the country is in the throes of political tension, connection speed drops sharply, since the Junta deems it necessary to prevent “information leaks abroad.” In May and June 2009, when opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was on trial for having violated the terms of her house arrest by allowing an uninvited American citizen to stay two days in her home, the regime did not hesitate to cut the telephone and Internet lines of the city in which she was detained. Moreover, Burmese Internet users noticed there was a drastic slowdown in nation-wide connection speeds that made it impossible to send videos. At the time, it took nearly an hour to send a simple email with no attachment. According to local sources, the government may be planning to once again cut off Internet access during the October 2010 elections, just as it did in 2007, so as to assert total control over the dissemination of newsIndependent news sources: The regime’s pet peeveJournalists who collaborate with exiled media and bloggers are being closely watched by the authorities, particularly since the 2007 Safran Revolution and international sentencing that followed the widespread distribution of photos of the crackdown. They are brazenly taking advantage of a highly repressive piece of legislation, the Electronic Act of 1996, which pertains to the Internet, television and radio. This law prohibits the importation, possession and use of a modem without official permission, subject to a fifteen-year jail penalty for “endangering the security of the state, national unity, culture, the national economy, and law and order.” Nay Phone Latt (http://www.nayphonelatt.net/), arrested in 2008, got a 15-year prison sentence for possessing a “subversive” film. The blogger has developed eyesight problems while incarcerated.The well-known comedian, Zarganar, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for disseminating on the Web articles critical of the way the government handled humanitarian aid in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. His blog was one of the most visited Burmese websites inside the country. On December 31, 2009, Hla Hla Win, a video journalist working with the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) TV network, was given a 20-year jail sentence. In January 2010, journalist Ngwe Soe Lin also got a 13-year term for having worked for the DVB. He had been arrested in a cybercafé in the Rangoon’s Kyaukmyaung district on June 26, 2009.By arresting these Internet users and journalists, the Junta is trying to intimidate potential critics and impose self-censorship on its citizens. Like the state-owned media, online publications are subject to advance censorship, which ruthlessly eliminates any topic that is even slightly controversial.Exiled Burmese media such as Mizzima and Irrawaddy were once again the target of cyberattacks in 2009.Under surveillanceCyber-café owners are under increasing pressure from Burmese authorities. They were already required to take screenshots every five minutes on every computer station and be prepared to provide every user’s ID card number, telephone number, and address if the police requested them. They are now strictly forbidden to help a customer create an email account, particularly on Gmail, or to use a proxy, under penalty of being closed down. Many cyber-cafés have been shut down in the last few months, partly for economic reasons, but also because of more practical problems such as power outages, high maintenance fees, slow connection speeds, and lack of customers.Despite these actions, blogs are multiplying. A survey conducted by the Burma Media Association in August 2009 showed that there were over 800 active blogs, most of them hosted by Blogspot and WordPress. Eighty percent are in Burmese, 8% in English and 10% are bilingual. Three-fourths of the bloggers are between the ages of 21 and 35 and have a college education. Over half of them are living in Burma and began blogging less than one year ago. The majority of them focus on entertainment-related topics. Only 8% of them discuss news-related subjects.Is a Chinese-like economic opening likely?Although Burma has one of the world’s lowest Internet penetration rates, the regime is about to build its own “Silicon Valley” dubbed “Yadanabon Cyber City.” Its objective is not to facilitate free Internet access for its citizens but to centralize control prior to the autumn 2010 elections, within the framework of “Road Map to Democracy,” a political reform plan launched by the Junta in early 2003. According to the State media, this “business complex” may be called upon to become the national communications’ clearing house. For now, priority is being given to setting up land and mobile telephone lines for businesses that will be opening offices in this center. Internet will be next. Some Junta generals’ reservations about communications will not easily be laid to rest.For the moment, the Junta is using a Thai satellite station for Burma’s Internet connection, but plans to launch its own communications satellite via a Chinese or Indian rocket. With its “Silicon Valley” and its own satellite, the military regime seems to be making a commitment to develop Internet infrastructure for economic reasons. At the same time, however, it stands ready to cut off all connections and totally isolate the country once again at the least suspicion of “domestic unrest.”Links : http://www.dvb.no/ (Democratic Voice of Burma): Burmese opposition media, in exile in Norway http://www.burmanet.org: Burmanet News http://www.irrawaddy.org: website of the exiled opposition magazine he Irrawaddy. http://www.blc-burma.org/html/myanmar%20law/lr_e_ml96_08.html: text of the 1996 law regulating the Internet in Burma.http://www.bma.co.cc/ : Burma Media Association RSF_en News News RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylumcenter_img Follow the news on Myanmar March 12, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Burma News May 26, 2021 Find out more Thai premier, UN rapporteurs asked to prevent journalists being returned to Myanmar Receive email alerts News US journalist held in Yangon prison notorious for torture May 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Roxana Saberi about to be freed

first_img IranMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders welcomes a Tehran appeal court’s decision to reduce Roxana Saberi’s eight-year jail term to a suspended two-year sentence. Her lawyer, Saleh Nikbakhat, confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that she could be freed later today. In a closed hearing yesterday, the court’s judges noted that Iran and the United States “are not at war.”—————-10.05.2009 – Court hears Roxana Saberi’s appeal, urged to quash her conviction on spying chargeA Tehran appeal court today heard Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi’s appeal against her conviction on a charge of spying for the United States. The hearing was closed but, unlike the original trial, which resulted in Saberi getting an eight-year jail sentence, it lasted several hours and Saberi’s lawyers were able to present arguments in her defence. The appeal court is expected to issue its ruling in a few days.“The short space of time between the original trial and the appeal, the length of the appeal hearing and the fact that her lawyers were allowed to speak in her defence are all encouraging signs,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But we must not jump to conclusions as the Iranian judicial system often produces surprises.”The press freedom organisation added : “We had urged the authorities to allow Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi of the Human Rights Defenders Centre to attend the hearing but they did not. If this court is to render justice to Saberi, it must quash her conviction and free her without delay.”Reporters Without Borders spoke to Saberi’s two lawyers – Saleh Nikbakhat and Abdolsamad Khoramshahi – after today’s hearing. Nikbakhat said he was “confident and optimistic.” He was able to speak for almost two hours, presenting arguments based on past cases of journalists who have been acquitted of spying charges. “If the court takes account of these arguments, Roxana will have to be freed,” he said, adding that, “although the hearing was closed, the court adhered to the law.” Khoramshahi, who also said he was “optimistic”, added that the court had week to issue its verdict.The daughter of an Iranian father who lives in the United States and who acquired US citizenship, Saberi moved to Iran six years ago and worked for various international news media including the BBC, Fox News and the US public radio network NPR. Arrested at the end of January, she was initially accused of working illegally as a journalist but was finally tried on a spying charge, one the Iranian authorities often use to silence journalists.Several Iranian-American citizens, including journalists, have been arrested in Iran in recent years but Saberi is the first one to be tried and given a jail sentence. Her trial was held on 13 April and the sentence was issued five days later.Iran was ranked 166th out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. A wave of arrests on 1 May brought the total number of journalists and bloggers currently held in Iran to 14. Three of them are women. to go further Follow the news on Iran Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 May 11, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Roxana Saberi about to be freed RSF_en IranMiddle East – North Africa News June 9, 2021 Find out more March 18, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders welcomes a Tehran appeal court’s decision to reduce Roxana Saberi’s eight-year jail term to a suspended two-year sentence. News After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Help by sharing this information News Receive email alerts Organisation News February 25, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Fast Track Arbitration: Revving Up ADR In Times Of Pandemic

first_imgColumnsFast Track Arbitration: Revving Up ADR In Times Of Pandemic Abhishek Gupta23 Jun 2020 7:30 AMShare This – xWith the Courts grappling with the pandemonium perpetrated by the proliferation of PILs in the pandemic, perplexed litigants are propelled to explore alternative avenues for resolution of commercial, contractual and corporate disputes. While many corporations and individuals have resorted to a friendlier and frugal mode of redressal, such as conciliation and mediation, others are in…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginWith the Courts grappling with the pandemonium perpetrated by the proliferation of PILs in the pandemic, perplexed litigants are propelled to explore alternative avenues for resolution of commercial, contractual and corporate disputes. While many corporations and individuals have resorted to a friendlier and frugal mode of redressal, such as conciliation and mediation, others are in pursuit of an ersatz litigation, that offers a semblance of court procedure, judicial determination, greater attorney participation and an uncoloured perception of the dispute. Arbitration would perfectly fit the bill during peaceful times, however, the current crisis calls for a more cost-efficient and swift resolution medium. Section 29B of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- a somewhat untested and untried mechanism under the Act providing for fast-track arbitration has the potential to fill in the void created by Covid. This is conducted under the aegis of a Sole Arbitrator according to a predetermined set of rules devised with the consent of parties in order to curtail the duration, procedural bottlenecks and costs involved in a regular arbitration. Genesis of Fast-Track Arbitration: Fast-track arbitration, also known by its other monikers like expedited arbitration, summary procedure or accelerated proceedings, originated in the early nineties under the Swiss Arbitration Rules (erstwhile, Geneva Chamber of Commerce), and the suit was followed by other international arbitration centres, such as CIETAC (China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission), American Arbitration Association (AAA), Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and most recently, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC). This expedited arbitration kicks in either by election of parties and an explicit agreement to that effect, or automatically based on a default monetary threshold. Scheme of Fast-Track Arbitration in India: Section 29B was inserted by the 2015 Amendment to the Act, and draws inspiration from antecedent institutional arbitration rules and procedures. The provision attaches supreme sanctity to the party autonomy and party cooperation, right from consensual adoption of fast-track procedure, choice and remuneration of a Sole Arbitrator, to the procedure guiding the proceedings. As is evident from a bare perusal of Section 29-B(1), the parties must elect to invoke the fast-track arbitration at any stage either before or at the time of constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal. Further, while electing the same, the parties ‘may’ agree that the arbitral tribunal ‘shall’ consist of a sole arbitrator who ‘shall’ be chosen by the parties. The incoherent use of ‘may’ and ‘shall’ under sub-section (2) of Section 29B casts a slight shadow on the process of appointment of Arbitral Tribunal. However, what cannot be disputed is the composition of such Arbitral Tribunal comprising of a Sole Arbitrator and the consensual choice of such Arbitrator by the parties. The use of word ‘may’ appears to pave way for a judicial appointment of a Sole Arbitrator along with the in-built process of appointment by agreement between the parties. Any prayer for appointment of an Arbitrator under this Section would be premature in the absence of an agreement between the parties for fast tracking the arbitral proceedings or prior to the stage of constitution of a Tribunal. This application has to be made in writing and is principally consensual[1]. The parties are obligated to observe the Sixth Schedule under the Act while appointing the Arbitrator.By virtue of the judgment of the Supreme Court in ‘Board of Control for Cricket in India Vs. Kochi Cricket Pvt. Ltd.; AIR 2018 SC 1549’, the fast track procedure can only be made applicable to the arbitration proceedings commenced after the promulgation of the 2015 Amending Act, i.e. 23rd October, 2015. The Arbitral Tribunal is enjoined to observe the procedure laid down under Section 29B(3) of the Act, which, inter alia, mandates adjudication on the basis of written pleadings, documents and submissions filed by the parties sans any oral hearing. An informal oral hearing may be held for calling any further information- clarification on the request of parties or if the Arbitral Tribunal considers it necessary. The award shall be made within a period of six months from the date the arbitral tribunal enters upon the reference. If the award is not made within such period, it shall set the provisions of sub-sections (3) to (9) of section 29A into operation. The mandate of the Arbitrator expires and a substitute arbitrator in its place to continue and complete the proceedings if the period for pronouncing the award is not extended with the consent of parties[2].Party autonomy is the cornerstone of fastrack arbitration, and its success is largely dependent on how parties draft an arbitration clause with in-built safeguards against dilatory tactics, indiscretions of the participants and the procedural bottlenecks that may arise in the appointment of an Arbitrator and enforcement of the Award. The arbitration clause ought to distinctly provide for the ambit of arbitrator’s jurisdiction; number, scope and time limit of permissible submissions; presentation of evidence; examination of witnesses etc. As such, it strongly recommended to involve professionals in the drafting of a fast-track arbitration clause, lest the parties are likely to encounter troubles in enforcing the mechanism. In India, several arbitration institutions- Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre, Delhi International Arbitration Centre, International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Indian Council of Arbitration, have incorporated the rules of fast-track procedure in sync with Section 29B of the Act. Per Contra, the Mumbai Centre For International Arbitration has adopted the ‘opt-out’ approach in line with the Swiss Arbitration Rules, providing for an Expedited Procedure in the event the anticipated amount in dispute does not exceed Rs.10 crore, representing the aggregate of the claim, counterclaim and any set-off defence, or if the parties so agree in writing. Comparative Analysis of Fast-Track Arbitration with Regular Arbitration: The definitive pros of the fast-track procedure are speed, cost efficiency, and most felicitously, dispensing with the in-person hearings and determination hinging on written pleadings. It is particularly productive for smaller claims, where the costs involved do not outweigh the magnitude of claim amount. In situations where parties strive to preserve their long-standing commercial relationship, sustain a long-term co-operation, or keep an ongoing contract afloat, a fast, focussed and frugal procedure comes in handy. The Fast-Track Arbitration does not come without limitations: too much reliance on party cooperation proves to be a double-edged sword, when one is confronted with a recalcitrant party that is bent on jettisoning the progress of proceedings by adopting dilatory tactics and defying the stipulated timelines. With some delay inevitable, one often wonders about comparative benefit of choosing a fast-track arbitration over a regular arbitration. Further, having a Sole Arbitrator at the helm of affairs, operating sans the expertise, guidance or assistance of her confreres, might raise doubts on the determination. That said, the party autonomy inherent in the mechanism wards off most drawbacks through incorporation of appropriate contractual provisions to deter any sabotage of the proceedings. There could still be a class of cases not amenable to fast-track procedure, such as complex, technical cases, which involve construction of legal documents and detailed evidence. Stakeholders apprehend that the speed of fast track arbitration might imperil their claims. Ironically, one of the most famous cases where speedy resolution of disputes by arbitration was objected to, came from a field where speed alone counts, viz. Formula One racing. In Walkinshaw v. Diniz ((2001) 17 Arbitration International, 193), a Formula One racing team and one of its drivers were at loggerheads, and their dispute was submitted to the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, which rendered a very quick decision, i.e. only within three days. The racing team, which opposed the arbitration, filed a legal action against the driver in the English High Court, alleging that CRB conducted summary proceedings inconsistent with arbitration, and it did not get sufficient opportunities to make its case. The High Court turned down the case. The judge stated that “if justice so required”, the procedure needed only to involve as many meetings “as required”, and in that case, justice did not ask for more. Thus, the acceptable speed of arbitration was to be determined on the basis of what justice required[3]. Concluding Remarks: The present crisis has witnessed the Courts and Arbitral Tribunals assimilating the technology and shunning the in-person hearings for virtual hearings, that has passably placated the concerns of litigants and litigators alike. However, the reach and comfort of virtual hearings is widely overestimated. The parties are albeit motivated to attend virtual hearings, but there is an apparent lack of confidence in the technical and logistical aspects of such hearings. Moreover, the hesitation of the Arbitrators and Counsels to conduct virtual proceedings because of lack of prior experience or limited access to technical resources has put many contractual and commercial claims on the backburner. With many claims anent force majeure, frustration and hardship on the horizon and virtual hearing remaining an unchartered territory for many, the parties could adopt fast-track arbitration even where the underlying contract does not provide for an arbitration clause. To avoid delays, parties may want to consider converting their litigation into arbitration. It dispenses with the need for formal pleadings, oral hearings, discovery or witness statements. I close this article with an excerpt from ‘P. N. Eswara Iyer Vs. The Registrar, Supreme Court of India; AIR 1980 SC 808’, where Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, in his inimitable style, writes that, “The written brief, before careful judges, can be a surer process of deeper communication than the ‘vanishing cream’ of speaking submissions. And a new skill-preparation of an effective brief, truly brief, highly telling and tersely instructive- is an art of the pen worth the acquisition especially when, in practice, there are many gifted lawyers who go with Goldsmith who ‘wrote like an angel and talked like poor Paul’. … .To put superstitious faith in oral submissions or unlimited argumentation as the sole means of presentation and persuasion and to debunk the potency of well-drawn up manuscript representations may be condemned as absurd…. .Therefore, it is quite on the cards that where no injury to justice will be all, orality may suffer partial eclipse in the shape of time-limitation or substitution by written submission even in categories other than review proceedings. All that we mean to indicate is that the mode of ‘hearing’, whether it should be oral or written or both, whether it should be full-length or rationed, must depend on myriad factors and future developments.” Views are personal only.Abhishek Gupta is an Advocate based out of New Delhi appearing in various courts, including the Supreme Court of India.  [1] Hamara Pump Mithoura HPCL Petrol Pump Vs. Chairman-Cum-Managing Director Hindustan Petroleum and Ors.; 2018 (1) ADJ 363 [2] Crayons Advertising Private Limited Vs. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited; 2018 (2) ArbLR 252 (Delhi) [3] Strengthening Arbitration in India: Sharing Knowledge and Building Connections, (2009) 3 LW (JS) 38: By Justice Sri. V. Ramasubramanian Next Storylast_img read more