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UN offers help to journalists, whistle-blowers under threat

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United Nations: Journalists and whistle-blowers facing threats or retaliations for their work in the public interest can reach out to him for help, a top UN official dealing with freedom of expression says.

David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression, said that whenever journalists or whistle-blowers felt threatened, they can contact him directly or through non-governmental organisations. He would look into their complaints and, if these are genuine, his office would take up the cases with the governments, he said.

Speaking to reporters here Thursday, Kay said that the fact someone is watching them can put a brake on retaliations by governments.

Kay, who is with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, was a law professor at the University of California at Irvine.

He said the disclosures by whistle-blowers, who often are the sources for journalists, are important in safeguarding human rights and in fighting corruption.

He said the definition of journalists should be broadened to include bloggers, citizen journalists, non-governmental organisation (NGO) researchers, authors and academics as they are all now important sources for informing the public.

While conceding that some information may deserve special protection, he said that when their disclosure is in the public interest the punishment should not be disproportionate. It is important in the public interest to encourage whistle-blowers, he added.

But speaking at the General Assembly earlier, Kay said, “States may restrict access to information in specific areas and narrow circumstances, yet the disclosures of information relating to human rights or humanitarian law violations should never be the basis of penalties of any kind.”

Kay presented to the General Assembly a report focusing on whistle-blowers and sources of information that accused governments and international organisations of failing to adequately protect whistle-blowers.

“Countless sources and whistle-blowers around the world are intimidated by officials, co-workers, and others depriving everyone of information that may be critical to public debate and accountability,” he said.

(IANS)

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Does Your Home or Office Have Enough Fire Safety?

Proper fire safety is something that you always need to have in place, even if you hope to never need the equipment.

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California, Fire prevention, wildfires
A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, VOA

If you’re lucky, you’ll never experience a fire in your home or place of business, but you can only trust luck so far. Because a fire can strike anywhere at any time, you need to be prepared by keeping your fire prevention supplies ready and your sprinklers well-maintained. Control Fire Systems offers a variety of different fire prevention services, including a sprinkler system and important safety supplies.

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In many cases, regular maintenance can also save you money on building insurance premiums. Pixabay

Fire Control Equipment

Any home or office can benefit from certain fire equipment. Any room that has people sleeping or which poses a potential fire hazard should have smoke alarms installed, preferably wired into the building’s electrical system so dead batteries don’t become a problem. Portable fire extinguishers should also be easily accessible in several areas of the building. Finally, in public places, exits should be clearly marked with signs that can be seen through a haze of smoke. You can get all of these supplies in one place. Control Fire Systems is a fire equipment supplier that provides alarms, extinguishers, control panels, signage, and much more.

 

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Keepi your fire prevention supplies ready and your sprinklers well-maintained. Flickr

 

Equipment Installation

Having alarms and extinguishers on hand is only one part of the fire prevention problem. You also need to make sure that they are properly installed and maintained. Control Fire Systems is a fire equipment supplier that also has you covered when it comes to the installation and testing of the equipment. These experts can visit your home or place of business for proper fire equipment installation, ensuring that sprinklers are piped into the appropriate water supply, alarms are strategically placed, and extinguishers are accessible in case of emergency. With the right installation, your chances of surviving a fire go up dramatically.

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Additionally, keeping your home or office building ready to respond to a fire can help. Flickr

Equipment Testing and Maintenance

Certain pieces of fire safety equipment need to be tested on a regular basis or have certain maintenance steps that need to be performed, usually every year. After installing your equipment, the experts at Control Fire Safety can also provide you with regular maintenance to make sure that everything works properly year after year. This includes such tasks as fire sprinkler inspection to make sure that your equipment meets all local and national fire codes. Because sprinklers need to be tested on occasion, Control Fire Systems also offers fire sprinkler system testing. While you can test your alarms and sprinklers yourself if you so choose, having professionals on hard for fire sprinkler system maintenance and other tasks helps to avoid any errors. In many cases, this regular maintenance can also save you money on building insurance premiums.

Also Read: Wildfire in California Causes Severe Distress to Citizens

Proper fire safety is something that you always need to have in place, even if you hope to never need the equipment. By using a supplier like Control Fire Systems that can also provide installation and maintenance for e reasonable cost, you give yourself a better chance of being prepared should an emergency happen. Additionally, keeping your home or office building ready to respond to a fire can help keep your insurance lower and keep you in compliance with all local laws and regulations.