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Rwanda YouTuber alleges prison torture, HRW says

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Several people have fallen foul of Rwandan authorities after turning to YouTube to publish content critical of the Kagame government, raising concern among rights groups

Several people have fallen foul of Rwandan authorities after turning to YouTube to publish content critical of the Kagame government, raising concern among rights groups – Copyright AFP Sahel ARMAN

A prominent Rwandan YouTuber has accused prison guards of torturing him, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Monday as it urged leaders attending an upcoming Commonwealth summit in Kigali to pressure the government to free critics.

The East African country, ruled by President Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide, has often come under fire for rights abuses and for misusing laws to round up critics.

Aimable Karasira, 41, a former university lecturer turned YouTuber, was arrested over a year ago and is on trial for alleged genocide denial, a charge which could see him jailed for more than a decade if he is found guilty.

At a court hearing last month, Karasira reportedly said the authorities at Nyarugenge prison had been subjecting him to severe sleep deprivation and beatings and denying him treatment for health conditions including diabetes.

“I’ve gone for days without sleeping. I don’t know how to explain the torture I have been subjected to,” he told the court, according to a statement by HRW, which obtained transcripts of the hearings.

“They beat us to make us come to court… They torture us by playing loud music and never turning off the lights. It’s terrible torture, like in the movies.”

“The prison staff tell us they will kill us after CHOGM,” he added, referring to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Kigali next week.

There was no immediate response from the Rwandan government to an AFP request for comment.

Campaigners have called on those attending the Commonwealth meeting to pile pressure on Rwanda to improve its grim human rights record.

“Just a few kilometres (miles) away from the Kigali Convention Center, where Commonwealth government leaders will be discussing good governance, jailed Rwandan journalists and critics are brutally being reduced to silence,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at HRW.

“The victims of abuse will be abandoned by the Commonwealth if it fails to speak out about the human rights situation in Rwanda.”

– ‘Grave concern’ –

“At least 2 journalists, 3 commentators, and 16 opposition activists are currently behind bars in Rwanda,” HRW said.

Several people have fallen foul of the Rwandan authorities after turning to YouTube to publish content critical of the Kagame government.

Dieudonne Niyonsenga, better known by his YouTube persona Cyuma (“Iron”), was sentenced to seven years in prison last November after being found guilty of forgery and impersonation.

His jailing came weeks after another YouTube star, Yvonne Idamange, was jailed for 15 years for inciting violence online.

On Friday, 23 groups including HRW and Amnesty International released a joint statement expressing their “grave concern” about the human rights situation in Rwanda ahead of the Commonwealth meeting.

The biennial event had originally been scheduled in 2020 before it was pushed back twice because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Commonwealth is made up mainly of former British colonies comprising 54 countries and 2.4 billion people.

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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