A New and Revitalized Alhurra TV Launches Across the Middle East

Posted: 03 Nov 2018   Print   Send a link

Alhurra press release …

For Release: Nov. 3, 2018

A New and Revitalized Alhurra TV Launches Across the Middle East

(Springfield, Va.)—On Nov. 4th, Alhurra Television will reveal the first step towards its largest transformation in its 14 year history with an overhaul of the channel as it changes the look and feel of the television network. Viewers will see that Alhurra is more than doubling the number of newscasts to 12 hours per day and will be coming live from studios outside of Washington, D.C. and Dubai. In addition, the channel will have an all new line-up of anchors.

The new programs will have extensive reporting from across the region and providing in-depth analysis focusing on topics not found in other Arab media outlets such as social, cultural and religious challenges. In addition to stronger content, the relaunch will include new graphics for its programs. Alhurra can be previewed here following the launch at 1700 GMT on Nov. 4th.

“This is something that I set out to do my first day as president of MBN. The network now has a strong identity and can compete with the other pan-Arab networks in the region,” stated MBN President Amb. Alberto Fernandez. MBN manages and oversees Alhurra TV. “The relaunch is just the first of many changes that will appear on Alhurra and we look forward to the coming months, as we continue to improve the content and the on-air experience of the network.”

Newscasts will report from throughout the Middle East/North Africa region, the U.S. and around the world. Alhurra will have daily newscasts dedicated to North Africa and a daily newscast focused on stories from the U.S. Alhurra will also introduce a new line-up of fast paced, thought-provoking programs that will enlighten and engage viewers, as well as updating current programs to fit with the revamped network. The new programs include:

The Talk Is Syrian — A weekly show that analyzes, through discussion and visual elements, the developments, human crises, and overall political situation in Syria. Decision’s Capital — A weekly show that displays American foreign policy with insiders who shape and influence the policies. Islam Hurr (Free Islam) — A weekly show that focuses on enlightenment values instilling the language and adaptation of “free, moderate Islam” into daily life. Forbidden — A weekly show that provides a platform for silenced intellectual moderate voices and ideas whose work is banned or marginalized in Arab Countries Investigative Reports — A weekly no-holds barred show that highlights and encapsulates the best of original, Alhurra investigative reports produced by Alhurra’s new investigative news unit. Defecting Back Home — A limited run series that explores life after ISIS from the point of view of ex-ISIS fighters who address how they joined ISIS, what they saw and did, why they left, and how they are coming back to life. Sam and Ammar — A weekly show where two intellectuals share their unfiltered and cutting edge views of current affairs and spotlight Washington’s political and economic decisions that impact the target region. Debatable — A weekly show wherein the renowned Ibrahim Essa promotes critical thinking while analyzing radical Islamic ideas and raises questions on how these ideas are dictating lives and risk essential freedom. Gulf Talk — A weekly show that addresses current news and developments in the Gulf countries. Inside Washington — A weekly American current affairs program that addresses political and social issues.

Changes will also be seen on Alhurra-Iraq, Radio Sawa and Alhurra.com including more news content and increased coverage of topics not found on other media outlets.

Alhurra Television is an Arabic-language television network that broadcasts to 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa via satellite. It is operated by the non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an independent federal agency. The USAGM serves as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters.



Deirdre Kline

Director of Communications

Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.

703-852-9250 dkline@alhurra.com

"I don't see how BBC, DW-TV, France 24, etc, can avoid having to register."

Posted: 21 Aug 2018   Print   Send a link

"To reach audiences with strategic messaging" is an oxymoron.

Posted: 21 Aug 2018   Print   Send a link

A BBG Facebook gambit in Cuba

Posted: 21 Aug 2018   Print   Send a link

State-funded media (including international broadcasting) is not always "inherently political"

Posted: 22 Jul 2018   Print   Send a link

Brookings piece calls for more DOS control over BBG

Posted: 10 Jun 2018   Print   Send a link

What should America broadcast to China?

Posted: 07 May 2018   Print   Send a link

For more news about international broadcasting, visit https://twitter.com/kaedotcom or follow @kaedotcom on Twitter.

Russia's (cheap) international botcasting

Posted: 22 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

"Sometimes they quarrel." Good.

Posted: 22 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

Carter Page and his one dollar lawsuit against BBG

Posted: 22 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

Cambodia, RFI, RFA, and VOA

Posted: 14 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

AM transmitters on the Middle East that might be missed

Posted: 14 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

"We have done a Trump story which we didn't need to"

Posted: 14 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

Sherlock Calling

Posted: 11 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

VOA's history with Joe McCarthy resurfaces twice in one day

Posted: 07 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

Carter Page and his intersections with international broadcasting

Posted: 07 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

Report awkwardly tosses RT and RFE into the same basket

Posted: 03 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

But the point about emphasizing some news while downplaying other topics is valid.

YouTube tries to address sticky issue of government funded news

Posted: 03 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

I’ve checked several news videos at YouTube but have not seen any of these notices yet.

The VOA Persian broadcaster who is also an anti-hijab activist

Posted: 03 Feb 2018   Print   Send a link

No prisoner of plausibility, Pakistan considers regulating transmitters abroad (updated)

Posted: 24 Jan 2018   Print   Send a link


Hun Sen is fan of Trump's fake news awards

Posted: 23 Jan 2018   Print   Send a link

Pakistan orders closure of RFE/RL Radio Mashaal bureau

Posted: 20 Jan 2018   Print   Send a link

The problem of Russian and Chinese media in the USA. And the problem of curbing them.

Posted: 20 Jan 2018   Print   Send a link

RT Arabia (Rusia Al Yaum) claims success in net metrics

Posted: 13 Dec 2017   Print   Send a link

Kim: Internet metrics are vulnerable to tomfoolery. So far I have not found specifics about SimilarWeb’s methodology. RT’s links to the salacious and the conspiratorial enhance its web numbers.

Trump campaign adviser has issues with US "propaganda" and RFE/RL

Posted: 13 Dec 2017   Print   Send a link

“He is suing Oath and the Broadcasting Board of Governors over the 2016 Yahoo News story, which was subsequently shared by U.S.-controlled Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Page contends in Tuesday’s filing that Yahoo News was imprudent in publishing its report and that the federal government was complicit in spreading those allegations.” Politico, 12 December 2017.

Islamic State steps up propaganda in Persian.

Posted: 07 Jun 2017   Print   Send a link

RFE/RL, 6 June 2017, Golnaz Esfandiari: “The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has recently expanded its campaign to recruit Iranians and disseminate its message to Persian speakers. In late March, IS published a rare video in Persian in which it called on Iran’s Sunni minority to rise up against the Shi’a-dominated Iranian establishment. … Since then, IS has published four issues of its online propaganda publication Rumiyah in Persian. Rumiyah, whose title means Rome in Arabic in an allusion to prophecies that Muslims would conquer the West, is already published in several languages, including English, Russian, French, and Indonesian.”

RFE/RL, 7 June 2017: Coverage of the attack in Tehran.

As British leaders criticize Silicon Valley, VOA opens bureau there.

Posted: 06 Jun 2017   Print   Send a link

Voice of America press release, 6 June 2017: “A lively debate between a congressman, an entrepreneur and an academic was the focal point of the opening of Voice of America’s first-ever Silicon Valley bureau in San Francisco. At the event – held June 1 among the entrepreneurs and financiers of the global incubator 500 Startups in San Francisco — participants debated two sides of a developing argument over tech worker visas in the U.S. ‘Silicon Valley is an incredibly important place for the Voice of America,’ said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. ‘In telling America’s story, we always emphasize technology and entrepreneurship because we have found that these two topics are of great interest to our global audience.’ … The VOA Silicon Valley bureau is in temporary quarters, but will formally open its office and studio at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, later this summer.”
Dow Jones Newswires via Fox Business, 4 June 2017, Robert Wall, Sam Schechner and Stu Woo: “Hours after the third terrorist attack in the U.K. in three months, British leaders on Sunday escalated their criticism of Silicon Valley, calling for international regulations to hinder extremists who use cyberspace to spread their message and recruit supporters. … Technology giants have struggled for two decades over how — and how much — to curb the spread of undesirable content, from pirated music in the 2000s to false news reports in recent months. Governments ramped up pressure on them to crack down on online terrorist propaganda in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe and the U.S. in 2015. In each instance, the challenge remained the same: Tech executives must balance their desire to help fight a common enemy — like terrorists — with Silicon Valley’s libertarian values in protecting free-speech rights of most internet users.”

You can watch CNN International and BBC World News, but it will cost you more ringgits, rupees, naira, etc..

Posted: 29 Apr 2016   Print   Send a link

USC Center on Public Diplomacy Blog, 27 April 2016, Kim Andrew Elliott: “On Malaysia’s Astro DTH service, the Family ‘Starter Pack’ (39.99 Malaysian ringgits per month) … has CCTV News as its only global English news channel. It costs an additional RM19.08 for access to CNN International, BBC World News, and Al Jazeera English. On DishTV, the most popular DTH satellite system in India, the cheapest DISH99 package (99 rupees a month) provides Al Jazeera English, France 24, CCTV News, DW-TV, NHK World, RT (Russia Today), and Australia Plus. The much more expensive Titanium package (Rs535) is required to see CNN International and BBC World.”

The negative impact of impact.

Posted: 03 Feb 2016   Print   Send a link

USC Center on Public Diplomacy Blog, 1 Feb 2016, Kim Andrew Elliott: “News in international broadcasting provides audiences with the information they need to make up their own minds about current events. Citizens trying to build and maintain democracies need this antidote to the misinformation and disinformation they receive from dictators and terrorists. This is the ‘impact’ of international broadcasting. It is subtle and occurs over the long term. … If, however, news is written or produced to create a certain impact, it isn’t really news. It is advocacy, or propaganda. The audience for international broadcasting will perceive it for what it is. They will tune — or point their browsers — elsewhere.”

His photojournalist describes the death of VOA stringer Migdad Mojalli.

Posted: 03 Feb 2016   Print   Send a link

The Intercept, 2 Feb 2016, Mohammed Ali Kalfood: “I had never thought the place would come under aerial attack again, at least not that day, when I accompanied my friend Migdad Mojalli to Jaref [Yemen]. We were visiting the resort several days after it had been bombed by airstrikes; we were on assignment for the Voice of America to report on civilians deaths there. Actually, that was our second visit to Jaref; we had been there a couple of days earlier, but Migdad was asked by his editor to reshoot the videos all over again in high quality, and to focus on some specific things. So we had to travel back to Jaref.” See also VOA press release, 18 Jan 2016.

BBC overtakes CNN "global desktop audience," per comScore

Posted: 15 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

TheMarketingSite.com, 12 Nov 2015: “The latest results from ComScore show that the BBC has overtaken CNN in ComScore’s digital rankings, reaching a global desktop audience of 75.6m unique visitors each month, compared to 72.1m for CNN. BBC visitors are also more engaged, spending over three minutes per visit and generating close to 1.8 billion page views. The latest results have seen the BBC’s sites achieve their highest-ranking position in ComScore’s News and Information category, above competitors including CNN, Mail Online, NYT and The Guardian. Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd, said, ‘In an increasingly noisy news landscape the BBC chooses to offer facts, context and completely impartial analysis people can trust. This has always been our commitment and we are delighted that audiences around the world value what we do.’ The BBC puts its popularity down to a programme of product investment, digital innovation and its continued investment in balanced reporting from an unrivalled network of international correspondents. BBC news is available on digital platforms in 30 different languages around the world.” KIM: While comScore has its shortcomings, not least of which is that its brand name begins with a lower case letter, this is an important global measure. “Desktop audience” is specified because, in most countries, comScore is limited in its measurement of Internet use via mobile devices. So far there is no information about this at the BBC Media Centre, but I’ll update this item as necessary.

Appeals court rules in favor of BBG on "Voice of America" trademark

Posted: 15 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Mondaq, 13 Nov 2015: “Namer v. Broadcasting Board of Governors, No. 14-31353 (5th Cir., Oct. 26, 2015) Costa, J. Affirming summary judgment in favor of the Board on its claim of trademark infringement for Namer’s use of ‘Voice of America,’ and an injunction preventing Namer from further infringing the Board’s ‘Voice of America’ mark.” See also the opinion (pdf). KIM: Involved Namer’s use of www.voiceofamerica.com, although I saw thevoiceofamerica.com in one account. See previous post about another legal challenge involving “Voice of America,” but not “our” VOA.

CNBC International will cut live London content, close Paris and Tokyo bureaus, in favor of more digital.

Posted: 14 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

The Guardian, 10 Nov 2015, Mark Sweney: “CNBC International is to cut live TV news it produces out of London by a third and close its Paris and Tokyo bureaus, as part of drive to increase investment in digital operation. The business and financial news organisation, which has launched a staff consultation that will see about 5% of its international workforce put at risk of redundancy, is to reduce its London-based live TV news from six to four hours a day. … CNBC will also close its Paris bureau – French coverage will be served by new roles to be based at its regional HQ in London, and its Tokyo bureau will also shut. … New digital roles in news will be created to bolster the Live Blog output. “Implementing these proposals will make CNBC International a more agile, multi-platform news organisation without impacting the quality of our first-rate financial journalism,” said a spokeswoman for CNBC International.”

Among recent apps for Africa is CNN's "Africa View"

Posted: 14 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

CNN Press Room, 4 Nov 2015: “CNN International and Africa’s leading mobile operator, MTN, today launched a dedicated ‘Africa View’ news app. The app launch is part of a multi-platform commercial partnership between CNN and MTN, spanning advertising, sponsorship and digital components. The ‘Africa View’ app curates CNN International’s extensive Africa content, including the network’s ‘Africa View’ weekly infographic content, providing background and context to trends, figures and initiatives shaping the African continent. The app also showcases content from CNN’s flagship African programming including ‘Inside Africa’; and ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’, as well as breaking news and analysis about the continent. All content on the ‘Africa View’ app is editorially independent, alongside prominent MTN branding and messages.”

See previous post about BBC World Service app for Africa.

Turkey's TRT recruits for its English channel while media freedom deteriorates domestically.

Posted: 14 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

The Express Tribune (Karachi), 10 Nov 2015: “Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) has kicked off a recruitment drive in Pakistan in a bid to lure media professionals for its new English news channel, TRT World — a channel that aims to rival the likes of Al Jazeera, BBC and CNN. TRT World, which will offer English news services around the clock, will join 15 others operated by TRT, including an Arabic-language and Kurdish-language channel. The Express Tribune has come to learn that TRT is currently interviewing Pakistan’s top journalist and editors for its new English-language project, TRT World. … Since English speakers are hard to find in its own country, TRT is recruiting heavily in the Pakistani market. One prospective employee said that they are offering very lucrative salaries with excellent perks. ‘Recruiting Pakistani journalists is an innovative idea. Which Pakistani wouldn’t grab the chance to go live and work in Istanbul?’ founder and publisher of The Express Tribune Bilal Lakhani said, while commenting on the development. … Further, Bilal said TRTWorld is also not breaking new ground entirely. ‘Voice of America recruits Pakistanis to work for its network based in Washington DC,’ he said. … The Istanbul-based channel will have studios in Kuala Lumpur, Washington, DC and London. TRT Deputy Director-General İbrahim Eren said in an earlier interview with TRT Haber channel that TRT World would offer a different perspective than major news stations such as CNN, Al-Jazeera and the BBC. ‘It will offer Turkey’s point of view on current events. Rather than promoting Turkey, we aim to show the audience how we interpret the current affairs,’ he said.” KIM: “Interpret” may mean emphasizing some news stories, avoiding or ignoring other stories, a tactic employed by many prominent international broadcasters.

Screen Africa, 3 Nov 2015: “On 28 October, [South Africa-based] eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) announced that its Group News editor Ben Said will be leaving the channel. Said has been offered and accepted a senior position with TRT World, a new English-language global news channel based in Istanbul, Turkey. This comes after several eNCA staff have been recruited by international news organisations including CNN, Al Jazeera and CCTV [China] among others in recent years.”

Index on Censorship, 12 Nov 2015: “Media freedom has declined considerably during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tenure, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

News about "The Voice of America" that is not about the Voice of America (VOA).

Posted: 14 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

The Guardian, 10 Nov 2015, Tara Conlan and Jasper Jackson: “An ongoing legal dispute over who created the format for The Voice threatens to cast a cloud over the show’s anticipated move to ITV from the BBC. Next month, a court in the US will set a date for a trial to hear claims by Irishman Roy Barry that he came up with the idea rather than Dutch production company Talpa Media. Barry alleges that in 2008 he filed a copyright for a talent show called The Voice of America in which the judges were behind screens so they could not see contestants, and also registered a domain name for The Voice of America. Barry claims he lodged the idea with a platform in the US used by the television industry to find new ideas called The Writers’ Vault. … Barry contacted the BBC once the corporation bought The Voice four years ago but the corporation said the issue was between him and Talpa and that their executives had not seen his original idea.”

"Euronews launches sister channel Africanews." One video stream, multiple languages.

Posted: 05 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Broadband TV News, 5 Nov 2015, Robert Briel: “At this year’s DISCOP in Johannesburg Euronews announced the launch of a sister channel dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa, Africanews, the first pan-African and multilingual media, set to debut January 4, 2016. A team of 85 professionals of 15 nationalities, based in Congo-Brazzaville, is creating an international news channel to cover African and the world news from a pan-African perspective. Produced 24/7 simultaneously in English, French and partially Swahili. Africanews will meet the challenges and opportunities of a Digital Africa, and will introduce the media service on all digital screens and media platforms. … [Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews and Africanews:] ‘Africanews is not “Euronews Africa”. Editorially independent from Euronews and from any political or ideological agenda, Africanews is designed as the first pan-African multilingual news service. … To become the first ever pan-African, multilingual, and unbiased media in Africa we need to solve the image issue first.’”

Kim:This could be a significant development. The Euronews concept is to provide a signle video stream, with multiple audio streams in the several languages of Europe. If Africanews does the same for Africa, it may solve the problem of providing a news channel in all of the major African languages. Of course, the sacrifice is the absence of an anchorperson. But if Africanews can provide strong video coverage from all parts of Africa, and if it lives up to its promise of “unbiased media,” the anchorperson might not be missed. The Al Jazeera Swahili channel, which never materialized, might not be missed, either.

Increasingly multilingual CNN launches CNN Greece

Posted: 05 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Advanced Television, 5 Nov 2015: “November 4th saw the official launch event for CNN.gr, a dynamic Greek-language digital offering from DPG Digital Media and CNN International Commercial that combines international news with local content and video. CNN.gr offers content of national and local interest with a focus on video, as well as coverage of international news and major events through content from CNN and its partner network. Besides its core values, which combine transparency, accuracy and telling multiple sides of a story with a balanced approach, CNN.gr is adopting the conduct and operational code synonymous with CNN.”

CNN, 5 Nov 2015: “CNN.gr combines international news from CNN with locally-produced content and video. ‘As the world’s news leader, CNN is committed to bringing news in different formats and platforms across the world to reach and engage new audiences,’ said Rani R. Raad, Chief Commercial Officer of CNN International.”

KIM: CNN’s non-English operations are not international broadcasting in the purest sense because these generally involve local partners. Television channels such as CNN Türk certainly must adhere to target-country regulations and restrictions. An all-Internet operation such as CNN.gr could produce its content outside of Greece, if necessary, but the local partner must be mindful of regulations if it wishes to make money. CNN could try to produce the language content on its own, but it would not have the area knowledge for newsgathering and advertising sales.

News about un-international broadcasting: BBC Store will be UK-only.

Posted: 05 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Digital TV Europe, 5 Nov 2015: “BBC Worldwide today launches its download-to-own BBC Store, promising access to the ‘most comprehensive collection of BBC programmes ever collected’. The store is a joint effort between the BBC’s commercial and public service arms and is accessible both through the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service and from a standalone website – with BBC Store mobile apps due to follow. … Asked whether the BBC planned to launch the BBC Store internationally, [Marcus Arthur, MD BBC Worldwide & ANZ] said that the download-to-own model would be UK-only. ‘This is a download-to-own service, rather than subscription VOD; this is a UK-only service. We have no plans to take this overseas. As [BBC director general] Tony Hall said, we have a plan to do a subscription service in the US, which is different from this.’”

Reuters investigation discovers Chinese "global radio web" (listeners apparently haven't)

Posted: 04 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Reuters, 2 Nov 2015, Koh Gui Qing, John Shiffman, Jane Wardell: “A Reuters investigation spanning four continents has identified at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries that are part of a global radio web structured in a way that obscures its majority shareholder: state-run China Radio International, or CRI. …

“At WCRW [1190 kHz AM, Leesburg, Virginia], Beijing holds a direct financial interest in the Washington station’s broadcasts. Corporate records in the United States and China show a Beijing-based subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned radio broadcaster owns 60 percent of an American company that leases almost all of the station’s airtime. …

“In some ways, the CRI-backed radio stations fulfill a similar advocacy role to that of the U.S.-run Voice of America. But there is a fundamental difference: VOA openly publishes the fact that it receives U.S. government funding. CRI is using front companies that cloak its role. A few of the programs broadcast in the United States cite reports from CRI, but most don’t. One program, The Beijing Hour, says it is ‘brought to you by China Radio International.’ …

“Zhao [Yinong], whose [GBTimes] media company is based in Finland, spearheads an operation that broadcasts China-friendly programming in Europe on behalf of China Radio International (CRI). But CRI is more than a client of Zhao: A CRI subsidiary owns a 60 percent stake in GBTimes, according to corporate filings. Asked why China is operating abroad through private companies, Zhao said the initial reason was a lack of talent, funding and knowledge of the overseas media market. … Zhao, who spoke with Reuters in an interview last month in Beijing, said there was no difference between his operation and the U.S.-government-funded Voice of America (VOA). When a reporter said that VOA is transparent about its government links, Zhao replied: ‘We’ve never hidden ourselves. There’s nothing to hide.’ …

“The Justice Department … regulates agents of foreign governments or foreign groups engaging in political activity – defined as people or entities seeking to influence U.S. policy or public opinion. They are required to register with the department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. These people must publicly disclose financial arrangements with foreign governments and affix warning labels to any promotional material distributed inside the United States.”

For a shorter version of this Reuters story, see Voice of America, 2 Nov 2015.

KIM:The best action here would be no action. Propaganda is perfectly capable of failing on its own.

Even by the dismal standards of the AM radio band in the United States, the CRI programming is not very compelling. Most of it is chitchat. When they do news, even a casual listener will notice that its lacks balance and is guided by Chinese policy considerations. WCRW does not show up even as a blip in any of the Washington-area ratings that I have seen.

If programming from government sponsored international broadcasters is banned, because the brokers are determined to be foreign agents, or for whatever reason, this would be a public diplomacy setback for the United States. Detractors could cite this as a loss of freedom in the USA. Washington could no longer point to the fact that Chinese, Russian, and other foreign media content can be disseminated in the United States, while content from U.S. international broadcasting is not allowed on any broadcast outlet inside China, Russia, and other countries.

How far would any enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act affect international media in the United States? Would it be the end of Al Jazeera America, France 24, or even BBC World News on U.S. cable systems? Would it eliminate the advertisements by foreign governments that have appeared for decades in major U.S. newspapers, and more recently on CNN?

The biggest problem that emerges from this Reuters exposé is that it refers to VOA’s “advocacy role,” with no mention of the news that comprises the bulk of VOA’s output. Audiences for international broadcasting do not seek propaganda or advocacy. They seek the objective, balanced news that is absent from their government-controlled domestic media. Do audiences perceive VOA the same way Reuters does?

@JamesCridland, 3 Nov 2015: “almost hysterical reporting about China Radio International”

@martyn_williams, 3 Nov 2015: “Loved the Reuters story on China radio, but no mention that G&E has TV station and CCTV leases time on US stations”

Federal Communications Commission, 2 Nov 2015: “Based on reports, the FCC will initiate an inquiry into the facts surrounding the foreign ownership issues raised in the stories, including whether the Commission’s statutory foreign ownership rules have been violated.”

Radio Free Asia, 3 Nov 2015, Xin Lin: “‘The Chinese government is now expanding its repressive policies of stifling freedom of speech and expression to other countries,’ said Maya Wang, spokeswoman for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW). ‘Xinhua news agency, China Central Television (CCTV), and the People’s Daily all pay other countries to place their content in influential overseas newspapers,’ Wang said. ‘The Chinese government has had a plan for several years now to extend censored content that supports their point of view through various channels,’ she said.”

Some obscure VOA jazz history

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Jazz Journal (UK), November 2015: “MILES DAVIS: AT NEWPORT 1955-75 (Columbia/Legacy) This 18th boxed Miles set from Columbia is Vol 4 of their excellent ‘Bootleg’ series, although why this mainly legitimately sourced music should be tainted with piracy is not clear. Most of the recordings come from Newport, but also include stuff from the times when ‘Newport’ was exported to New York and to Europe. Columbia claim that four of the five hours or so here have not been issued before. The music at Newport was usually recorded by the Voice of America (VoA) and by a unit with [jazz promoter] George Wein’s approval. Eventually the VoA handed a lot of their stuff at random to the BBC which then distributed it to local radio. I was privileged to see George Wein’s face when I told him that this had happened. (Steve Voce)”

Al Jazeera America "in this for the long haul"

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Variety, 2 Nov 2015, Brian Steinberg: “The new chief of Al Jazeera America says the early-stage cable-news network is moving forward after a rocky launch that left the staff demoralized and prompted speculation that the Qatar-backed outlet might abandon its efforts to plant a flag in the United States. … The network’s average prime-time viewership had been hovering between 20,000 and 30,000 viewers as recently as the Spring, according to Nielsen data. … In late evenings, ‘we are doing live national and international news and nobody else is doing it,’ said Kate O”Brian, president of the network. ‘There is a lot of stuff that breaks from around the world. We are always on it.’ … The network’s parent has a ‘long term commitment” to keep it operating, said Anstey, who cautioned that counting out Al Jazeera America might be an error. When he was working at Al Jazeera English in its early days, he heard talk that the network would never fare well, he said. These days, Al Jazeera English has footholds in countries around the world. Al Jazeera America is ‘a young channel is a very mature market,’ he said, but ‘we a.’”

International news channels on Es'Hailsat for the Middle East/North Africa

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Broadband TV News, 2 Nov 2015, Robert Briel: “Under the tagline All You Want [Qatar-based beIN Media Group] is positioning itself as the only comprehensive pay TV entertainment player in the region. Until now, the broadcaster was only offering its sports channels on the Es’Hailsat satellite positioned at 25.5 degrees East. The new DTH service, which is available immediately, comprises channels including Fox Movies HD, Star Movies HD, StarWorld HD, Fox HD, National Geographic Channel, NatGeo Wild, NatGeo, People BabyTV, and news channels including BBC Arabiya, BBC World News, CNBC Arabiya, Rusiya Al-Yaum, France 24 in French and Arabic as well as three Al Jazeera channels.” KIM: With Badr/Arabsat at 26 degrees east, the same dish can be used for Es’Hailsat. Not sure about using the same satellite receiver. Es’Hailsat is, like Al Jazeera, Qatar-based. See also Es’Hailsat press release, 31 Dec 2014.

RFI: "Fabulous news! We have a shortwave frequency again!"

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Radio France International, The Sound Kitchen, 31 Oct 2015, Susan Owensby: “Fabulous news! We have a shortwave frequency again! It’s 13725 kHz on the 22m band, and you can hear us between 6.00 and 7.00 UT every day. We’ve had reception reports from Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US, and although the frequency is “aimed” (or however that works) towards the African continent, give it a try. You never know … and be sure and send us your reception reports. Maybe we can get more time, which would be wonderful.” KIM: Presumably previously was online-only, but some people prefer listening to radio on a radio.

Worldspace afterlife involves Cayman Islands and China Radio International

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

SpaceNews, 30 Oct 2015, Peter B. de Selding: “Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems has begun construction of an L-band mobile broadcasting satellite for the Chinese market under a contract with a New York-based company acting on behalf of a Cayman Islands-based, Hong Kong-traded company affiliated with China Telecom. El Segundo, California-based Boeing has been involved with Cayman-based CMMB Vision Holdings Ltd. and its Silkwave-1 satellite project for the better part of two years. But only recently has CMMB lined up sufficient financial and regulatory support to permit construction to start. … New York Broadband will lease all the capacity to CMMB. To quicken its entry into the Chinese market for radio and video broadcasts via satellite to automobiles in China, CMMB has negotiated the purchase of the aging AsiaStar satellite at 105 degrees east. AsiaStar was part of a planned digital radio broadcast constellation for WorldSpace, which has since sold its assets and disappeared. Charles Wong, chief executive of CMMB, said the company has negotiated the terms of the purchase of AsiaStar and determined that despite its age — it was launched in 2000 — it has six to eight years of useful life remaining. … CMMB’s operating partner will be China Radio International, which Wong said has broadcasting rights in mainland China.” KIM: Worldspace was an L-band satellite radio service that started business in the 1990s and filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Its successor is Yazmi, a “satellite-to-tablet content delivery system” particularly for schools and government agencies, using the Afristar and Asiastar satellites launched by Worldspace. I’m not sure how CMMB’s purchase of Asiastar will affect Yazmi operations on that satellite.

China-based StarTimes multichannel platform brings Chinese content to Africa

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

Digital TV Europe, 3 Nov 2015: “StarTimes media executive Michael Dearham tells DTVE’s Andy McDonald about the China-based company’s ambitious African expansion efforts. Since making its first steps into Africa in 2007, China’s StarTimes has made a major mark on the continent’s digital TV landscape, now claiming more than five million DTT and DTH subscribers across 16 countries. … Dearham says that StarTimes’ content strategy is based around ‘three pillars’: exclusive sports rights; high production-value Chinese content dubbed into local languages; and different types of indigenous-language content in languages like Swahili, Luganda and Yoruba. He claims these are key to setting StarTimes apart from its competition – namely Africa’s dominant pay TV provider, Multichoice. … Dearham says that StarTimes’ aim is to ensure its pay TV offering is affordable and ‘address millions’ of people that don’t have access to digital TV. In Nigeria, for example, StarTimes’ entry-level Nova bouquet, which consists of some 29 channels, costs just NGN600 (€2.65) per-month.” KIM: The only international news channel on that StarTimes Nigeria Nova bouquet is China’s English-language CCTV News. The pan-African news channel TVC News is also available.

Prototype BBC World Service app brings a minute of news to "mobile-first" Africans

Posted: 03 Nov 2015   Print   Send a link

BBC press release, 3 Nov 2015: “In a unique collaboration – the first of its kind for the BBC outside the UK – a prototype media player, designed and built by digital innovators from Africa, is now live online. BBC Minute CatchUP can sit within any online page and will let users hear and share the latest edition of BBC Minute. … Teams of African tech experts were invited to think of new ways to reach young Africans through social and digital media and this selected idea can now be tried and rated by the potential audience themselves here. Dmitry Shishkin, Digital Development Editor for the World Service, says: ‘African audiences have become “mobile-first” before the term has become mainstream for western media, and World Service has a very impressive record of growing mobile and social segments of our digital reach.’”

New Al Jazeera America newsgathering SVP is veteran of NBC, AJE

Posted: 31 Oct 2015   Print   Send a link

TVNewser, 26 Oct 2015: “Heather Allan, who spent 30 years at NBC News, has been named senior vice president of news gathering for Al Jazeera America. Allan has spent the last six years as head of global news gathering for Qatar-based Al Jazeera English. … Allan played a key role in launching AJAM in 2013. With Al Jazeera English, she managed global news coverage across 34 bureaus. With NBC News, Allan held positions across many of NBC’s bureaus, lastly as bureau chief in Los Angeles.”

Al Jazeera moves from Arabsat to "anti-jamming" Es'haul 1.

Posted: 30 Oct 2015   Print   Send a link

Advanced Television, 26 Oct 2015, Chris Forrester: “Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, CEO of Qatar’s Es’Hail satellite operation, says that Qatar will shortly be shifting their portfolio of channels including news channel Al-Jazeera, and the beIN Sport channels from Arabsat to exclusive carriage on Es’Hail-1. The impact will not be severe for viewers in the MENA region given that Arabsat’s ‘hot spot’ is at 26 degrees East and Es-Hail-1 operates from the adjacent 25.5 degrees East, and thus will appear to be co-located with Arabsat. The initial changes will take place early in November, with the final switch happening during January 2016.”
Es’hailSat press release, 31 Dec 2014: “We have designed Es’hail 1 and our second satellite Es’hail 2 with advanced anti-jamming capabilities.”

CNN Indonesia will launch in August 2016.

Posted: 30 Oct 2015   Print   Send a link

telecomasia.net, 19 Oct 2015: “Ideal Systems has fully delivered CNN Indonesia’s turnkey 24-hour newsroom solution ahead of the official launch on Indonesian National Day, broadcasting in full 1080i HD through Transvision. The channel launch was a collaboration between CNN International and CT Corp Indonesia, a diverse business corporation with core operations in media and entertainment. Ideal was the prime systems integrator tasked with designing and building the new facility located at the Trans Corp headquarters in Jakarta. CNN Indonesia is an Indonesian-language news channel with 80% of content generated locally and 20% coming from CNN International.” KIM: CNN branded news channels outside the United States, in languages other than English, are generally domestic companies with license to use the CNN name and some CNN content. They do have to comply with media regulations and restrictions in the country, so are not “international broadcasting” in the strictest sense. Transvision is a multichannel television platform using both cable and DTH satellite. Indonesia’s next National Day is August 17, 2016.

CNN International marks 30 years by suppressing its brand

Posted: 30 Oct 2015   Print   Send a link

CNN press release, 19 Oct 2015: “CNN has been broadcasting globally for 30 years. In that period momentous change has taken place – geopolitically, technologically, medically, and socially. In a special programme hosted by CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, ‘CNN 30 – Three Decades that Changed Our World’, CNN highlights moments in world history from the past three decades, and looks ahead to what the next 30 years might hold.” KIM: Note the absence of the “CNN International” brand in that press release. “CNN International” is specified here: News on News, 19 Oct 2015, though I can’t track this item to a CNN source.
exchange4media, 27 Oct 2015: “Turner’s CNN International, and Yupp TV join hands to offer Cartoon Network and Pogo in India YuppTV and Turner International India Private Limited announced their partnership to offer Turner’s channels, CNN International, Cartoon Network and Pogo in India on YuppTV in India, which provides converged OTT (over the top) live TV and Video on Demand (VOD) services.”

New York Times looks to "international audiences" to increase revenue

Posted: 29 Oct 2015   Print   Send a link

New York Times, 7 October 2015: “The New York Times Company released a strategy memo to its staff on Wednesday outlining an ambitious plan to double digital revenue to $800 million in 2020 from $400 million in 2014 … Twelve percent of Times readers, the memo said, deliver 90 percent of its digital revenue. ‘To double our digital revenue, we need to more than double the number of these most loyal readers,’ it said. ‘We will need to develop them increasingly from younger demographics and international audiences.’”
Business Insider, 13 October 2015: “London will act as The Times’ launchpad not just for UK and European branded content campaigns, but the rest of the world too. … Asia will be a focus.”

"BBC Russian Wants to Expand, But It's Not So Easy"

Posted: 18 Sep 2015   Print   Send a link

USC CPD Blog, 18 September 2015, Kim Andrew Elliott: “The feasibility of BBC satellite TV for Russia is problematic. Very few Russians have rotatable satellite dishes, surfing the Clarke Belt in search of outside news. About 25% of Russian homes have fixed Ku-band satellite dishes to receive proprietary domestic direct-to-home services such as TricolorTV and NTV+. Western Russian-language news channels are not included in these channel packages and are unlikely to be invited aboard. Content from Western Russian-language broadcasters, including Voice of America and Radio Liberty, is also legally not welcome on Russian domestic terrestrial television and radio stations. With satellite and terrestrial television not presently an option, the BBC must maintain its dependence on the Internet to reach Russian audiences.”

BBC World Service is at a "credibility crossroads." Or not.

Posted: 17 Sep 2015   Print   Send a link

USC CPD Blog, 10 September 2015, Gary D. Rawnsley: “In announcing the creation of a satellite TV service for Russian speakers and a daily radio news program for North Korea, the Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, is in danger of crossing the fine line between public diplomacy and propaganda. It is surprising that the BBC would wish to single out particular countries that it wishes to target, rather than the language services it wishes to expand, for by doing so the organization cedes ground to its critics around the world who view the World Service as an instrument of British propaganda. These decisions imply that the BBC World Service is connected to a political agenda – something that the organization, and the World Service in particular, has vigorously avoided since its creation. The American Radio Free Asia (RFA) already broadcasts to North Korea as part of its remit to provide news and information to audiences living in authoritarian political systems. RFA is therefore, rightly or wrongly, perceived as a propaganda station with little credibility. The BBC is now in danger of suffering the same fate.” See also comments.

USC CPD Blog, 14 September 2015, David S. Jackson: “Was the BBC World Service ‘an instrument of Cold War politics’? Of course it was, because it showed with every broadcast the reach of British and Western influence. It was also very much ‘a mechanism for the promotion of democracy’ because its broadcasts provided an accurate picture of the world, including the democratic world, so that its international audiences could hear reports of elections and debates and freedom of speech and accountability of government, and then compare that with the systems under which they were ruled. That inherent pro-democracy message is precisely why Soviet authorities jammed Western broadcasters like the BBC and VOA behind the Iron Curtain.” See also comments.

New Nigerian president is "avid listener" of VOA, "the station I love to fear."

Posted: 16 Jun 2015   Print   Send a link

Voice of America press release, 16 June 2015: “‘My daily life starts at 6am by dedicating 30 minutes to listening to VOA,’ President Buhari told VOA Hausa reporter Aliyu Mustapha at the presidential villa in Abuja. President Buhari chose VOA for his very first one-on-one interview, after his inauguration, to an international broadcaster. ‘I am an avid listener of VOA because you are fair, professional and balanced, which all add up to the fact that you are the station I love to fear,’ he said.”

Is "Freedom News Network" a business opportunity as well as a subtle-as-a-brick brand name?

Posted: 16 Jun 2015   Print   Send a link

Daily Beast, 16 June 2015, Tim Mak: “Robert Cristiano—a sports psychologist, real estate executive, and self-proclaimed ‘personal friend’ of Royce’s—has emerged as the central player in an apparent plan to benefit from the congressman’s efforts to reform the U.S. government’s international broadcasters, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Royce’s legislation would replace the existing broadcasters with a new government-funded broadcasting corporation called the ‘Freedom News Network.’ As it happens, Cristiano has created a corporation with the very same name. It’s a vehicle that could then vacuum up new contracts, new salaries, and new opportunities. Royce denies that he’s involved in anything improper. He even shot down the idea that he and Cristiano are friends.”