Praise and suggestions for Alhurra.

Posted: 31 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Host of weekly program on Alhurra is very upbeat about Alhurra. "Curious, open-minded, eager-to-know Arabs are America’s natural allies in the ideological contest against Islamic extremism. Done right, Al Hurra could connect with them -- individually, on a daily basis -- in a way not possible for any other public diplomacy initiative." Robert Satloff, Weekly Standard, 6 November 2006. "We ought to use our television station in the Middle East, al-Hurra, to broadcast pictures of what’s happening in Darfur, so the Arab world knows this is a humanitarian crisis for Muslims." Princeton N. Lyman, Council on Foreign Relations, 26 October 2006. And, coincidentally(?): "The United States could put video footage (I'd supply some) of Darfur atrocities on its Arabic-language satellite television station, Al Hurra." Nicholas D. Kristoff, Arizona Daily Star, 31 October 2006. As a news organization, Alhurra has probably done this already, with being instructed to do so by policy officials.

Reconsidering Radio Free Europe's role in the 1956 Hungarian uprising (updated).

Posted: 31 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Hungary 1956: Radio, Film, and History" at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, will look at the allegations that "Radio Free Europe had irresponsibly encouraged the uprising, promising military support that would never come." A Ross Johnson, "former acting president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and former director of the RFE Research Institute, will be presenting the findings of his recent work in the archives of RFE." Also speaking is Michael Nelson, who has written about RFE. Lunch will be served. USC Center on Public Diplomacy. And while you in California, drive up to the Hoover Institution at Stanford to see the exhibit “A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Hungarian Uprising of 1956,” featuring RFE recordings from the time of the crisis. The exhibit ends 15 December. Hoover Institution press release, 11 September 2006. "Can RFE be blamed for those perceptions, or were Hungarians simply hearing what they wanted to hear? RFE's message was often exaggerated by word of mouth, or simply confused with other broadcasts. Many Hungarians insist to this day that RFE promised that U.S. paratroopers were on their way. No such promise was ever made. ... RFE, whose Hungarian section was dominated by right-wing Hungarian emigres, bitterly attacked Nagy as a communist traitor. Here, Gati argues, the U.S. failed to reach for small but attainable gains — a turn away from hard-line Stalinism and a moderate distancing from Moscow." Christopher Condon, Los Angeles Times, 29 October 2006. See previous post about RFE and the Hungarian uprising. Update: "At the same time Dulles was reassuring everybody that nothing would be done, Radio Free Europe was explaining to its listeners how to make molotov cocktails and hinting at the American invasion to come. To use contemporary language, a part of the U.S. government was 'promoting democracy.' Another part was 'advocating stability.' The result was a bloody mess." Anne Applebaum, Washington Post, 31 October 2006.

BBC World Service initiatives in Central Asia.

Posted: 31 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Launches first marketing campaign in Afghanistan, "promoting its Pashto and Dari language broadcasts on FM across the country." BBC World Service press release, 31 October 2006. New FM outlets in Kyrgyzstan. "The new BBC 103.7FM brings BBC Kyrgyz programming in crystal clear sound quality to listeners in the capital, Bishkek, while BBC 102.2FM in Batken and BBC 106.3FM in Kerben give audiences in these cities the opportunity to tune in to BBC Kyrgyz and BBC Uzbek broadcasts." BBCWS press release, 31 October 2006.

Public diplomacy from and to Iran.

Posted: 31 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Iran's public diplomacy - of trying to convince the world that it is being penalized for standing up to US power in the Middle East - has not altogether fallen on deaf ears, as can be seen in recent commentaries in the Arab press. These include an article in Beirut's Daily Star making the case that it is Iran's 'growing power' that is behind the present Western hostilities." Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times Online, 1 November 2006. "It is preposterous to imagine that (the United States) can mount a successful public diplomacy campaign directed at the Iranian people while at the same time sanctioning them economically. The latter will produce the very anti-American resentment and swelling of stubborn nationalistic feeling the former is designed to counter." DanK, America Abroad blog, TPM Cafe, 30 October 2006.

Fernandez fallout

Posted: 30 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Why was (Alberto) Fernandez appearing on the terrorist network, anyway? Has al-Jazeera run out of live feeds of al Qaeda beheadings of Americans? Are its replays of Osama's tiresome speeches no longer a ratings smash? ... Fernandez has no business directing public diplomacy - or taking any public role - in any area of the State Department. In fact, he probably has no business being with the State Department at all." Editorial, New York Post, 28 October 2006. "The backlash over Fernandez' comments could have a chilling effect on other Arabic speakers who may want to work in U.S. public diplomacy. 'If it means someone's career, why take the chance?'" AP, 28 October 2006. "Alberto Fernandez is no ordinary State Department functionary. To millions of Middle East Arabs, the Arabic-speaking Fernandez - one of very few in the State Department - has become the voice of American policy in the neighborhood." William Fisher, Scoop, 27 October 2006. See previous post about the Alberto Fernandez incident.

The theoretical godfather of the Voice of America?

Posted: 29 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"By their very existence, VOA, Radio Sawa and others are a tangible outworking of (Thomas) Paine's theory. By engaging in international broadcasting, the United States is giving people around the world access to ideas beyond what they get from their own countries. Even if people can't read Paine's works, they can listen to broadcasts such as VOA." Andrew Clark, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 29 October 2006.

If we can hear yours, why can't you hear ours?

Posted: 28 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"President Putin excused his clampdown on international media broadcasting in Russia using a false claim that Russian broadcasters suffer similar discrimination in the West." But: "DIRECTV, a big satellite television company in the United States, offersFreeMediaOnline.org, 22 October 2006 its American subscribers four Russian television channels of entertainment, news and information for an additional charge of $29.99 per month. While U.S. law prevents foreign companies from obtaining broadcast licenses in America, U.S. regulations do not forbid licensed American stations to use Russian programs as part of a larger program offer." Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline.org, 22 October 2006.

Public diplomacy certainly *is* a challenge to international broadcasting.

Posted: 28 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
The Public Diplomacy Council at the George Washington University will hold a forum "International Broadcasting: The Public Diplomacy Challenge," 16 November, 8:30 a.m., at the Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street NW, Washington. Speakers include Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, acting RFE/RL president Jeffrey Trimble, and former head of BBC World Service audience research Graham Mytton. See forum agenda and registration form.

TV Martí is in the air (updated).

Posted: 28 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The new [sic] G1 twin turboprop, based in Key West, is to be airborne between 6 and 11 every night except Sunday in an attempt to bypass Cuban government jamming of the stations' previously stationary broadcasting facilities. ... But the aircraft is still restricted to flying within U.S. airspace to avoid violating international broadcasting regulations. Some Cuban-American lawmakers are pushing the administration to let the plane fly in international airspace, which would make it even harder on the Cuban jammers. ... Last week, Cuba's acting ambassador before the United Nations, Ileana Núñez, told the General Assembly that on Aug. 11, Cuba detected simultaneous broadcasts from two aircraft in the 213 MHz frequency [Channel 13] that interfered with island stations. (Radio-TV Martí chief of staff Alberto) Mascaro said the new aircraft is broadcasting on TV's Channel 20 frequency and will not broadcast Radio Martí on the FM frequency." Miami Herald, 26 October 2006. The Grumman G-159 Gulstream I turboprops were built between 1959 and 1969. There are Cuban domestic terrestrial television stations on channel 13, which was used by TV Martí from its blimp-based transmitter. There appear to be no Cuban domestic television stations on the UHF channels (14 and above). Can television sets in Cuba receive UHF? Newer imported sets almost certainly come with the obligatory UHF. The aircraft-based transmitter will make it more difficult to jam TV Martí, but on VHF and UHF frequencies, unlike on shortwave, the closer (jamming) signal almost always prevails. Afro-Cuban and African-American civil rights leaders meet on Radio Martí broadcast. WFOR-TV (Miami), 23 October 2006. Update: "Cuba has jammed the latest anti-Castro television programing beamed over by the United States, according to an informal survey of Cubans who tried to watch the shows that included baseball's championship series." Reuters, 27 October 2006. "TV Martí should at least be eliminated as a government expenditure. The Cuban exile community is known for its entrepreneurial accomplishments since the late 19th century, when they populated Tampa as tabaqueros. They also have a long record of successful fundraising; therefore, if the Cuban exile community wants to air TV Marti, let them pay for it." Vincent Parascandolo, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 28 October 2006. Yes. With shortwave the medium most resistant to jamming, a VOA service on shortwave combining programming targeted to Cuba, with the general VOA Spanish service, and perhaps some programming from U.S. domestic commercial Spanish radio, would be effective and cost effective."

Bad news, good news about shortwave.

Posted: 26 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle will end German-language shortwave broadcasts to North America on 28 October. Deutsche Welle, 15 October 2006. DW English shortwave to North America ceased in March 2003. But Radio Slovakia International resumes shortwave broadcasts on 29 October, after leaving shortwave on 30 June. Radio Slovakia International, 15 October 2006. Radio Romania International begins DRM digital shortwave transmission in English to Europe. WRN press release, 20 October 2006.

Propaganda in the news.

Posted: 26 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The U.S. military acted legally when it hired a contractor to pay Iraqi news organizations to run pro-American stories, the Pentagon's inspector general has found." Reuters, 19 October 2006. "The government shouldn't be in the business of covertly peddling propaganda -- especially in a war based on the notion of seeking to export democratic values such as, say, a free press." Editorial, Washington Post, 23 October 2006. Armstrong Williams will repay $34,000 related to his "covert propaganda" for the Department of Education. Washington Post, 23 October 2006. "Editorial writers at the Washington Post and elsewhere have raged against the Pentagon placing positive stories in Iraqi newspapers, thus violating the journalistic sacristy of objectivity. But they have no rage at all for CNN placing glorifying publicity from terrorists on a global television network." L. Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center, 25 October 2006. Congressmen say "CNN has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier," and "This is nothing short of a terrorist snuff film." AP, 22 October 2006. CNN concludes the report met its "criteria for newsworthiness." The Guardian, 26 October 2006.

To preserve the ghosts of VOA Bethany.

Posted: 26 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
West Chester Township (Ohio) officials consider forming a board to supervise the renovation of the transmitter building at the old VOA Bethany site. "Turning the building into a museum is expected to cost about $12 million and take more than five years." Cincinnati Enquirer, 26 October 2006. "The museum's name -- if accepted by the Internal Revenue Service -- will be the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting." The Pulse-Journal (Dayton), 25 October 2006.

Fifty years later, Radio Free Europe still living down its advice to Hungarians (updated).

Posted: 26 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"'The U.S. had a double-faced policy, a non-violent policy. They wanted to keep alive the desire for freedom in the communist bloc until the system failed, which it was bound to do. The message got sent by Radio Free Europe, but there was no promise of help. People didn't know it was just rhetoric. False hopes were created.' Radio Free Europe, staffed by right-wing émigré Hungarians, had slandered Nagy throughout the revolt, portraying him as just another communist -- which was how Washington saw him, unable to grasp that the communist world was not monolithic. ... After 1956, Radio Free Europe moderated its tone. 'Instead of liberation, they promoted liberalization.'" Toronto Star, 15 October 2006. "During the week following the Russian invasion everyone seemed to be glued to their radio listening to Radio Free Europe, waiting to hear if the West would come to our rescue." Frank Furedi, Spiked, 17 October 2006. "While Radio Free Europe urged the Hungarians to rise up, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles decided that it was not possible for the NATO forces based in West Germany to intervene." Michael Danby, Eureka Street, 17 October 2006. "The given wisdom whenever the issue is raised inside or outside Hungary today is that America and its NATO partners had abandoned Hungary to its fate in its hour of need, preoccupied with a pointless conflict over the Suez Canal and with the Eisenhower re-election campaign. Although the Republican campaign and Radio Free Europe broadcasts referred to intentions 'to liberate captive nations' and 'to roll back Communism,' from the perspective of the satellite nations of Eastern Europe, this was all rhetoric and no action because no concrete steps were ever taken." Peter Keresztes, New York Sun, 20 October 2006. "The U.S. government might have made it clear to the Hungarian revolutionaries that it would not intervene. Instead, Radio Free Europe was given a free hand to broadcast encouragement for the most radical demands of the Budapest fighters and to intimate that Western support of their demands meant likely U.S. intervention." Norman M. Naimark, The Moscow Times, 20 October 2006. "CIA-funded Radio Free Europe, which had a wide audience in Hungary, gave its listeners technical advice on guerrilla tactics and how to disable a T-34 tank." Chicago Tribune, 22 October 2006. "Radio Free Europe kept encouraging us to fight, as if they planned to help. It was a great disappointment." Home News Tribune (Neptune NJ), 22 October 2006. Update: Author Michael Korda "voices a partial grievance toward the United States, charging that Radio Free Europe (RFE) encouraged the Hungarians to rise up against the Soviets by strongly implying that the West would support them militarily. Though he does recognize that the Eisenhower administration had no interest in militarily engaging the Soviets, Korda also presents the commonly held Hungarian belief that the RFE enticement to rebellion was part of the opportunism of British and French power politics." Philadelphia Inquirer, 26 October 2006. "US-financed Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty never fully recovered from the charge that they had led the Hungarian people to believe that American military assistance was on the way." David I. Steinberg, The Irrawaddy, 25 October 2006. See previous post about international radio and the Hungarian uprising.

New director for VOA, and for VOA TV.

Posted: 25 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Danforth W. Austin as the Director of the Voice of America (VOA). He will have the overall responsibility for the planning, organization, direction and policy application of all VOA broadcasting activities. Austin will replace David Jackson who will be returning to the private sector." Austin has served as CEO of Ottaway Newspapers, a subsidiary of Dow Jones, and has also served in a number of senior positions with the Wall Street Journal. The BBG also named Russell Hodge the director of VOA Television. BBG press release, 25 October 2006.

A public diplomacy official who may soon be detailed to the the Tennessee Valley Authority (updated).

Posted: 25 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs tells Aljazeera that the US has shown "arrogance and stupidity" in Iraq. "The state department says Mr Fernandez was quoted incorrectly - but BBC Arabic language experts say Mr Fernandez did indeed use the words." BBC News, 22 October 2006. Transcript. International Herald Tribune, 22 October 2006. The Aljazeera interviewer said, "I, of course, appreciate your usual candor Mr. Fernandez." The audience, perhaps, did as well. "Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al-Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq. This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize." Alberto Fernandez, State Department press release, 22 October 2006. But no apology yet from State Department spokesman Sean McCormack for claiming (as reported by VOA News, 22 October 2006) that the quotes issued by Aljazeera were not an accurate reflection of what Fernandez said. McCormack's contention dissolved when BBC and National Public Radio did their own translations of the Aljazeera interview. "Q: Did he get in trouble? Sean McCormack: Excuse me? Q: Did he get in trouble? McCormack: What do you mean by 'get in trouble'? Q: Was he rebuked by his superiors for this? McCormack: He's still in his job. Q: That's not what I asked you. McCormack: He's still in his job." State Department press briefing, 23 October 2006. Update: "Only in Washington, perhaps, is honesty considered a major gaffe." Editorial, USA Today, 23 October 2006. "Can you imagine a diplomat in any other nation saying such a thing and still having a job the next morning? We can't. It's easy to accept an earnest apology, but not so easy when one suspects the error represents not a personal foible, but an institutional norm." Editorial, Investor's Business Daily, 23 October 2006. "Of all the pronouncements by American officials on Iraq, his, at least, was the most truthful." Editorial, Gulf News (Dubai), 24 October 2006. For more media reaction, see Craig Hayden, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 23 October 2006.

A lot of jazz about VOA (updated).

Posted: 25 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"John Birks 'Dizzy' Gillespie was already internationally famous (in) 1956, primarily due to his exposure on Voice of America. In 1955, VOA launched its "Jazz Hour," hosted by Willis Conover, which quickly grew into the station's most popular [sic] program, enjoyed by tens of millions of listeners in eighty countries, six nights a week." USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 15 October 2006. "Asha Puthli was born and raised in Bombay. With a strong grounding in Indian classical music, she stepped forward to European opera. She learnt about Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole from 'Voice of America' and about Dusty Springfield and Cliff Richard from Radio Ceylon." The Hindu, 15 October 2006. The John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk "partnership was caught on one amazing live recording by the Voice of America, found recently in the Library of Congress. ... And it is a hoot." Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 October 2006. Television series "Jazz Alley has signed up with Voice of America - a development that means the program is to be broadcast to some 70 countries." Rocky Mountain News, 13 October 2006. Update: "Like most Eastern Europeans of his generation, (trumpeter Tomasz) Stanko encountered jazz through Voice of America broadcasts and State Department tours; the music registered as a soundtrack of freedom partly because it was packaged that way by the United States government." New York Times, 25 October 2006. See previous post about VOA jazz alumnae.

China may amend satellite reception regulations, but to what end?

Posted: 23 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"China's State Council issued Decree 129 in 1993 to prohibit individuals and work units from setting up satellite dishes to receive foreign programs. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television is considering amending the regulation" in anticipation of the launch of China's first large direct broadcasting satellite at the end of this month. Xinhua, 23 October 2006. Not clear what this means. Perhaps it is to allow reception only of this particular satellite, whose "foreign programs" will likely be chosen carefully by Chinese authorities.

RFE/RL executives upbeat about their operations in Russia following the Politkovskaya murder.

Posted: 22 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
But this may be "whistling past the graveyard considering President Putin's success in establishing state control over all major nationwide television channels and in imposing severe restrictions on other independent broadcasting in Russia, including Radio Liberty's local retransmissions." Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline.org, 19 October 2006. Voice of Russia website ignores murder of Anna Politkovskaya. "The state-run international broadcaster more commonly known during the Cold War as Radio Moscow, has returned to some of the old propaganda themes and habits after a period of practicing relatively objective journalism under President Yeltsin and in the early years under Putin." FreeMediaOnline.org, 15 October 2006. See also Voice of Russia website.

Citgo's private public diplomacy.

Posted: 20 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Venezuela-owned Citgo uses full page ads in major newspapers to explain the termination of its supply agreement with 7-Eleven and other issues. "We believe this move is being pushed for political or economic gain, ignoring the implications it would have on American businesses and the general public." Reuters, 16 October 2006.

Instead of jamming foreign broadcasts, just slow them down.

Posted: 20 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Iran's Internet Service Providers (ISP) ... received instructions to not exceed the low speed of 128K, which would mean that millions of subscribers can no longer access internet websites for satellite channels broadcast from abroad, on their forefront the Voice of America and Channel One [24-hour Iranian channel that is broadcast from Los Angeles], which is very popular in Iran." Asharq Alawsat, 19 October 2006.

Texas pop culture critic considers BBC America.

Posted: 20 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The wonderfully soapy Footballers Wives (4 p.m. weekdays) and Footballers Wives Overtime (9 p.m. Sundays) chronicle the off-field brawling and back-stabbing among soccer players and the women who love them, and show that Brits take off their pants one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. At the other end of the spectrum, the sober BBC World News (5 a.m. daily and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday) often gives a very different and refreshing journalistic perspective compared with its American brethren." Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 20 October 2006.

For Indians wanting BBC news, shortwave is still free.

Posted: 19 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"When the BBC World became a pay (TV) channel in the middle of July, many cable operators in Delhi discontinued beaming the BBC to their subscribers. The reason was obvious: the cable operators were not willing to pay the extra fee that would become due by producing the list-genuine or fudged-of their subscribers. The 'cablewallah', who serves in this reviewer's area, said that the great majority of their clients would not agree to cough up the extra 15 or 20 rupees a month for the encrypted BBC channel." Central Chronicle (India), 19 October 2006.

Calling North Korea, intensively.

Posted: 18 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga is considering ordering NHK to broadcast intensively on international shortwave radio information about the abduction issue." Daily Yomiuri, 17 October 2006. "The Broadcasting Board of Governors recently cited surveys from 2003 and 2004 that found 28 to 31 percent of North Korean refugees had listened to the Voice of America, and 18 percent had listened to Radio Free Asia. They did so despite facing severe repercussions if caught." Joshua Stanton, Washington Post guest blog, 13 October 2006. "Defectors tell of North Koreans huddling alone under thick blankets to listen to radios smuggled in from China or North Korean ones they've tinkered with to get South Korean or international broadcasts." McClatchy Newspapers, 13 October 2006. Reporters sans frontières condemns "threats by North Korea’s officials against the independent radio stations based in South Korea or the United States that broadcast programmes for the North Korean population." RSF, 17 October 2006.

Azerbaijanis looking for their shortwave radios (updated).

Posted: 17 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"(Azerbaijani) Officials have ordered local radio stations to cease broadcasts of programming prepared by foreign news organizations, including the British Broadcasting Corp., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America. ... 'The foreign radio stations must use their own re-broadcasting transmitters to air their programs, rather than use the airtime of local radio stations.'" Eurasianet, 11 October 2006. "The U.S. Embassy in Baku is holding talks with Azerbaijani officials in efforts to clarify the situation and bring the broadcasts into compliance with the country's media laws." VOA News, 11 October 2006. Update: Reporters sans frontières calls on the Azeri government "not to implement a 13 October decision by the National Council for Television and Radio to stop local radio stations Antenn and ANS and the Azeri state radio from retransmitting BBC, Voice of America and Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe programmes from 1 January. The ban also affects Voice of America TV programmes." RSF, 17 October 2006.

One view of what international broadcasting cannot do.

Posted: 17 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell: "There is a perception abroad and it's in Europe and it's in the Islamic world and it's in Asia is that we are bullies, is that we're arrogant. It goes back to decisions that were made or perceptions of decisions, the wars. And whether it's fair or not somebody's gotta fix that and that cannot be fixed with Radio Free Europe or its descendants. It is a big, big problem." The Chris Matthews Show, 15 October 2006.

Karen Hughes has tried everything else, so why not this?

Posted: 17 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
“The challenges America faces in the world today are complex, and we need the help of grassroots citizens to share our nation’s story with audiences across the world. I hope members of this Internet community post their ideas and videos at HOTSOUP.com to help me better explain our country’s values.” According to HOTSOUP.com press release, 17 October 2006. "It is not unrealistic to foresee real change in world attitudes from the simple act of a change in leadership, not in basic values. Much of the world is ready and waiting for this renewed strength in your foreign policy. It will bring the United States back into its proper and rightful role in the community of nations faster than the current incumbents in the State Department want the electorate to recognize." ePluribus Media, 17 October 2006.

The dangerous profession of international broadcasting.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Karen Fischer, 30, and Christian Struwe, 38, freelancers for Deutsche Welle, were killed 7 October outside a village in northern Afghanistan. AP, 7 October 2006. "The director of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) Erik Betterman called on Afghan authorities Sunday to clarify the circumstances surrounding the murder." DPA, 8 October 2006. Memorial service at Deutsche Welle. DW News, 9 October 2006. The killings took place the same day Reporters sans frontières inaugurated a European memorial to journalists killed on the job. AP, 8 October 2006. German authorities detain "36-year-old Iraqi man near the central German city of Osnabrück on charges of distributing al Qaeda videos on the Internet." DW News, 10 October 2006. Freelance reporter for Deutsche Welle in Bangladesh receives death threats by telephone. The Daily Star (Dhaka), 11 October 2006.

BBC America's niche.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
General manager of the channel says, "the role of the US networks ... well, it's to make money first and foremost, but they do so through programming that is always aspirational. You'd never get a dark, unpleasant thriller like State of Play on US TV in the same style, the closest you'd get is something like 24 and that's still shiny and positive. US networks also work on the premise that if something is successful, you just keep making it. I remember being asked why we didn't make another series of Pride and Prejudice." Guardian News Service, 10 October 2006.

Hungary 1956 and the role of U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Radio Free Europe, Washington’s mouthpiece, egged on the uprising, declaring on Nov. 4, 1956, that a 'practical manifestation of Western sympathy is expected at any hour.' At the same time, it disparaged the revolution’s leader and martyr, Imre Nagy, as a compromised Communist." Roger Cohen, New York Times, 8 October 2006. "Radio Free Europe egged on the Hungarians to seek a knockout victory - even offering advice on how to make Molotov cocktails." Charles Gati, International Herald Tribune, 8 October 2006. "The real villain was not so much the Soviets, who could scarcely have acted otherwise, but the CIA-sponsored Radio Free Europe. It encouraged the guerrillas to think that US military intervention was imminent, traduced Nagy as a Kremlin puppet (his project of "Communism with a human face" didn't stand a chance), and exhorted the rebels to keep fighting. RFE's irresponsible encouragement of the wild men meant that they embraced impossibilism writ large." Frank McLynn review of Twelve Days: Revolution 1956, by Victor Sebestyen, The Independent, 12 October 2006. The history of the role of RFE (and VOA) in the 1956 Hungarian uprising is murky and hotly debated. See previous posts about this subject from 28 June and 13 September.

Providing "policy guidance" does not seem very firewall-like.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"U.S. international broadcasting needs reorganization and fresh leadership. Members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) run their own pet projects instead of providing policy guidance to staff directors. Although the BBG increased America’s presence over Arab airwaves by creating Radio Sawa and Al-Hurra-TV, it did so by taking resources from the Voice of America. As a result, U.S. programming in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America now lacks content, lively discussion, and airtime." Stephen Johnson and Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation, 10 October 2006.

Anti-terror ads of dubious parentage.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Sixty-second ads "began airing this summer on Al-Arabiya, Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and several Iraqi channels. ... Spokesmen for the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense said they could not find any information that their agencies were connected to the ad, but neither would rule out some government involvement." AP, 10 October 2006. See previous post on this subject.

BBC will launch a Farsi television service.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
But not until 2008. It will initially transmit at 17.00 to 01.00 Iran time. BBC World Service press release, 10 October 2006. "The £15m-a-year ... (f)unding, from the Foreign Office, will be on top of the grant-in-aid sum paid each year to the BBC World Service." BBC News, 10 October 2006. The press release states that this launch will "make the BBC the only tri-media international news provider offering Farsi language news and current affairs on television, radio and online." Actually, VOA Persian has been tri-media (radio, television, internet) for years. It's interesting that BBC will refer to the service as "Farsi," as the BBC World Service radio counterpart has always been "Persian," serving both Farsi and Dari speakers. VOA's equivalent service was traditionally referred to as "Farsi," but became Persian in recent years. The BBC press release (not suprisingly) and the BBC news report (somewhat disappointingly) leave out any reference to the difficulties of transmitting television into Iran, where satellite dishes are confiscated and satellite signals are jammed. "Iran has officially complained to BBC over a World Service report that falsely claimed Tehran was happy about North Korea's recent nuclear test." IRNA, 11 October 2006. VOA "adds a fourth hour of daily Persian-language television broadcasts to Iran." VOA press release, 6 October 2006.

ABC News Now (from the U.S. ABC network) to be seen via DTH provider Dish TV in India.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"ABC News Now is a 24x7 international news channel that provides live breaking news coverage, complete shows, exclusives, news specials, in-depth coverage and more. ABC News Now also offers viewers exclusive uncut interviews from award-winning ABC news programming such as 20/20, Primetime and World News with Charles Gibson as well as original programs with the latest on health, money and Hollywood." Disney press release, 10 October 2006. "A subscription service, ABC News Now is currently available to more than 25 million people through broadband, digital cable, satellite and wireless phone." AP, 9 October 2006.

Drawing a line from the Politkovskaya murder to the demise of VOA Russian radio.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Mixed signals from Washington have helped President Putin's crackdown on independent media in Russia and may have contributed to the recent slaying of a prominent investigative Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. ... One of the clearest signals that the Bush Administration has weakened its support for media freedom in Russia was the recent decision that would force Voice of America (VOA) to stop all of its Russian-language radio broadcasts." Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline.org, 9 October 2006. Politkovskaya's last interview before her death was on the Russian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which will stay on radio. RFE/RL press release, 9 October 2006.

Another VOA jazz alumnus. (And another)

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"In the late '50s, (Polish trumpeter Tomasz) Stanko listened religiously to the Voice of America radio broadcasts of jazz disc jockey Willis Conover. 'It was the only possible way to be in touch with the music in our country,' he explained. 'We didn't have the records at that time.'" SFGate.com, 5 October 2006. "Hungarian double-bassist Aladar Pege ... discovered jazz through DJ Willis Conover's nightly broadcasts to eastern Europe on Voice of America." The Guardian, 11 October 2006.

North Korea criticizes U.S. funding of private broadcasts to North Korea.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The communist regime says outside radio broadcasts are part of a U.S. psychological campaign aimed at toppling the communist regime -- a charge Washington denies. U.S.-financed Radio Free Asia also broadcasts to North Korea. North Koreans are officially banned from listening to outside news, and radios are fixed so only state programs can be heard." AP, 12 October 2006 VOA broadcasts in Korean are not mentioned in this AP piece. "The Japanese government will support private shortwave radio broadcasts to North Korea calling for information on Japanese nationals abducted to the communist country." Kyodo, 11 October.

R.W. Apple was a shortwave listener.

Posted: 06 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Star New York Times reporter, who died 4 October, told the Atlantic in 1996: "Off the beaten track I take with me a small pepper mill (to enliven bland grub) and my Sony shortwave radio. It's amazing how many places don't have CNN and don't sell the International Herald-Tribune or the Financial Times." The Atlantic, April 1996. Internet access has taken up some, but not all, of that slack.

Moving up the career ladder (not that this website has any expertise in that).

Posted: 06 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Larry Register has been named Vice President of Network News for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN) the MBN Board announced today. Register will succeed Mouafac Harb, who is stepping down to pursue private media projects. MBN is the non-profit corporation that operates Alhurra television and Radio Sawa." MBN press release, 6 October 2006. Uduak Amimo appointed as senior editorial adviser supporting the director of the BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman. BBC World Service press release, 5 October 2006. BBC News presenter Darren Jordan moves to Aljazeera International. Brand Republic, 5 October 2006.

How to feel good about parking your car and eating a big breakfast.

Posted: 06 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Parking fees collected at the annual Union Centre Boulevard Bash in August produced an $8,545 check this week to support restoration efforts at the Voice of America building in West Chester Township [old Bethany relay]. The donation from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce will be used to convert the World War II-era building that once relayed radio broadcasts around the world into a national museum." Cincinnati Enquirer, 1 October 2006. "Make a donation to support restoration of the Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting on Saturday and your family can have a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausages and beverages and take a tour of the museum." Cincinnati Enquirer, 6 October 2006.

Before scrapping their shortwave facilities to free up funds for satellite and internet delivery, international broadcasters might want to consider...

Posted: 06 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"China has beamed a ground-based laser at U.S. spy satellites over its territory, a U.S. agency said, in an action that exposed the potential vulnerability of space systems that provide crucial data to American troops and consumers around the world." Reuters, 5 october 2006. To be sure, geosynchronous satellites are farther away, but they are also not moving targets. "Hackers operating through Chinese Internet servers have launched a debilitating attack on the computer system of a sensitive Commerce Department bureau, forcing it to replace hundreds of workstations and block employees from regular use of the Internet for more than a month." Washington Post, 6 October 2006.

Aljazeera International and other Arab channels (updated).

Posted: 06 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Orientalists, the open-minded and those who are sympathetic to what is taking place in the Arab world would accept this channel, but I think the masses would prefer to watch the news on CNN or BBC." MBC group, parent of Alarabiya, is also considering an English-language channel. Asharq Alawsat, 3 October 2006. "Australia's monopoly pay TV provider, Foxtel, will not be making the channel available at its November 1 launch, saying its satellite system is running at capacity." The Age (Melbourne), 3 October 2006. Accuracy in Media hosts screening of "Terror Television: The Rise of Al-Jazeera and the Hate America Media." AIM press release, 4 October 2006. Update: "Earlier this year, Waddah Khanfar, Al Jazeera's managing director, was put in overall charge of both Arabic and English channels, causing some disquiet among AJI journalists. This was followed a few months later by the unexpected and unexplained departure of Paul Gibbs, director of programmes." Financial Times Deutschland, 5 October 2006.

But is VOA compelled to broadcast his apology?

Posted: 06 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"After accepting what was considered an apology in the spirit of moving forward, plenary mandated (Liberian politician Dusty Wolokollie) to publish his apology in all local dailies including radio stations and air same on the Voice of America (VOA), the international channel he had earlier used to bring them to disrepute." The Inquirer (Monrovia), 4 October 2006. Kampala's Capital FM will rebroadcast VOA English-to-Africa programs. The New Vision, 4 October 2006.

How much will China censor the internet during the 2008 Olympics?

Posted: 04 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Li Jingbo, the media services chief of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Games ... made headlines by committing not to censor something he states isn't censored." The Australian, 5 October 2006. "The ruling elite had managed to coopt potentially disruptive forces like the Internet and satellite television -- forces that foreign scholars had wrongly predicted would pry open Chinese society." Joshua Kurlantzick, Commentary, October 2006.

The assembly line of pro-Tomlinson columns (updated).

Posted: 04 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"I left (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) because International Broadcasting is my life -- has been for over 25 years. In the end, I didn’t want to fight at CPB because my fight is to preserve my traditional leadership role in international broadcasting." BBG chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, quoted by Stephen Spruiell, National Review Online, 28 September 2006. "Government bureaucrats do not like to be told what to do by their bosses, especially something new, even though their political leaders clearly have the legal authority and responsibility to direct them." Donald Devine, Washington Times, 23 September 2006. "Tomlinson was found guilty of using his email for private communications, particularly to his horse stable. Those averaged probably one a day. What government worker doesn't do that routinely?" Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, 2 October 2006. See previous post about Tomlinson.

Expert says Alhurra focuses on positive stories of American Arabs, and we have to fight Arab criticism that it is impartial. Or should that be partial? Well, you read it...

Posted: 04 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The television station Al Hurra (the Free One) is a noteworthy attempt by America to counter the extremist media assault. Reminiscent of Voice of America, it is a 24-hour-a-day Arab television station created for a Middle Eastern audience. Al Hurra's primary message is freedom and democracy, and it focuses on positive news stories of American Arabs. The United States should continue to develop this effort and find ways to counter Arab criticisms that label Al Hurra as impartial [sic] and untrustworthy due to its American influence." Raymond L. Bingham, U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection, Autumn 2006.

Publisher of Miami Herald resigns over Radio/TV Martí payment flap.

Posted: 04 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"While I still believe that the acceptance of such payments by the nine journalists was a breach of widely accepted principles of journalistic ethics that violated the trust of our readers, our policies prohibiting such behavior may have been ambiguously communicated, inconsistently applied and widely misunderstood over many years in the El Nuevo Herald newsroom." "Amnesty" granted to three reporters dismissed for taking payments from Radio/TV Martí. Miami Herald, 3 October 2006. Actually, Jesús Díaz Jr. resigned two weeks ago about a Carl Hiaasen column about the Radio/TV Martí controversy. Miami Herald, 4 October 2006. "The editors of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald disagree over whether reporters should appear on U.S. government programs aired in Cuba." Miami Herald, 3 October 2006. Letters from readers. Miami Herald, 4 October 2006. New publisher David Landsberg says "it would be 'absolutely out of bounds' for journalists to accept payment from Radio or TV Martí. Reporters must discuss with their supervisors the possibility of any nonpaid participation in Martí programs." New York Times, 4 October 2006. "At the end of the day, I think everyone agrees that working for money for TV and Radio Martí when you're an independent journalist is not the right thing to do." AP, 3 October 2006. BBC News describes Radio/TV Martí as "a US government broadcaster that aims to undermine Cuba's communist government." BBC News, 4 October 2006. "As long as editors are informed and the proper disclosures are made, what's wrong with journalists contracting for U.S. government broadcasters? Are these same journalists prohibited from contracting for the BBC?" Stephen Spruell, National Review Media Blog, 3 October 2006. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, journalist Nunurai Jena is under police investigation "on allegations of stringing for the US government-funded Voice of America." AFP, 4 October 2006.

Is DRM the future of shortwave (updated)?

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Assessing Digital Radio Mondiale, the new digital mode for shortwave, medium wave, and longwave. "DRM boosters express confidence that when consumers hear it, they’ll like it. They say that even though DRM’s sound quality will not be like hearing true hi-fi, listeners will appreciate having shortwave and AM stations coming in at near-FM quality. Even more important, perhaps, listeners will be able to get many more stations than before." IEEE Spectrum, Octoberc 2006. Actually, listeners will be able to get fewer stations than before (albeit with better audio quality), because DRM is more adversely affected by low signal levels and interference than is analogue. "There is an ever-growing body of transmission/reception data collected by DRM monitoring networks that show, when properly managed by selecting DRM coding options, etc., that the same 'FM-like' quality and robustness as DRM provides for local broadcasting can be attained for the wide-area, long-distance coverage of millions of square kilometers that skywave propagation can provide." H. Donald Messer, Radio World, 27 September 2006. See also the Sangean DRM-40 receiver. Update: Australian Communications and Media Authority places embargo on new shortwave frequency assignments "to avoid the premature introduction of unplanned services that may compromise the benefits to the public that would otherwise result from the delivery of comprehensively planned Digital Radio Mondiale bands." ACMA media release, 28 September 2006.

More Radio Free Europe history.

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The newly uncovered recording features the (1954) trial of Josef Pazout, a farmer from Bystrice, west Bohemia, whom the communist court sentenced to nine months in prison for allegedly failing to hand over a leaflet distributed by the Radio Free Europe (RFE) to the Czechoslovak police." CTK, 26 September 2006. The leaflet may have been distributed through one of RFE's early projects to send balloons into communist eastern Europe.

Radio Australia rediffused in Singapore.

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Listeners can now tune in directly to Radio Australia's English and Chinese (Mandarin) programmes in high digital quality on Singapore’s Rediffusion subscription service." Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, 2 October 2006. See also ABC Radio Australia press release, 7 September 2006. Rediffusion Singapore began in 1949 as a wired radio service. It now provides several channels of audio through a digital wireless system.

More journalists having trouble with the U.S. international broadcasting organizational chart.

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"The State Department itself has increased its budget for supporting Voice of America radio and TV broadcasts in Farsi. What's telling is that Ms. Rice mentions none of this: Her primary method for dealing with the Iranian regime, it seems, is to deal with the regime, not to seek to change it." Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, 30 September 2006. Ms. Rice probably did not mention this because VOA is not a branch of the State Department. Nor is Alhurra: "'We will not allow the dignity of the nation to be violated,' the Shiite prime minister said Sunday in an interview with Al-Hurra TV, which is funded and overseen by the U.S. State Department." AP, 2 October 2006.

Iva Toguri, "Tokyo Rose," 1916-2006 (updated).

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Taunting millions of servicemen with stories of infidelity on the home front, false reports of battle outcomes meant to demoralize them and frequent spins of pop songs to keep them listening, the broadcasts of Radio Tokyo were notorious instruments in the propaganda war. Many American sailors and soldiers found the broadcasts cartoonishly incredible, which (Toguri) said was exactly her intention." Washington Post, 28 September 2006. "The Los Angeles native was the only Tokyo Rose to be prosecuted. She was convicted of treason in 1949 and served more than six years in prison." Los Angeles Times, 28 September 2006. "Toguri lived with that stigma until 1977, when she received a presidential pardon following a flurry of media attention, including a series in the Chicago Tribune in which two of her chief accusers said their testimony had been coerced." Chicago Tribune, 27 September 2006. "Ms. Toguri hid in plain sight, living on Winnemac Avenue on the North Side and working the register at her family's store." Chicago Sun-Times, 28 September 2006. "Born July 4, 1916, in Los Angeles, the young college graduate was visiting a sick relative in Japan when she became trapped there as war broke out. Starving and sick, unable to speak Japanese, she answered an ad to become an English-language typist for Radio Tokyo." Reuters, 27 September 2006. See also the "Orphan Ann" Home Page. And a 50-minute "Biography" television documentary about Iva Toguri is available on DVD. Update: "Directed at American and Australian troops in the Pacific, Zero Hour was the only truly popular Japanese wartime program ever made. Cast in the style of a regular commercial program, its announcers kept up a patter of jokes and amusing stories. More importantly, they played the latest American music: hot and cold jazz, the big bands, dance music and the popular classics of the Boston Pops were the standard fare." Judith Keene, The Australian, 2 October 2006.

Dalet press release breaks news about Rusiya Al-Yaum.

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Rusiya Al-Yaum is planned to go on-air during the first quarter of 2007. The Channel is an Arabic language news service for Arab and Arabic speaking viewers. It is devoted mainly to news and information. Additionally, it will offer viewers a variety of documentaries, discussion programs, press reviews, business, cultural and sports events." It's the Arabic-language counterpart to the English-language Russia Today. Dalet Digital Media Systems press release, 27 September 2006.

Report: U.S. public diplomacy spokesman Adam Ereli derides Alhurra.

Posted: 02 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Al-Hurra did not succeed in delivering the administration's point of view in spite of its relative popularity in Iraq". Dar Al-Hayat, 1 October 2006. Ereli also says, "the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Xinhua, 29 September 2006. "'It's great that we have set up Arab language TV stations like Alhura and radio stations like Alsawa [sic], helping and supporting Arab language newspapers, but (that is not) reaching the demographic that we need to be reaching,' (analyst Bruce Hoffman) said, pointing out that in Arabic countries, as elsewhere, young people were getting news from the Internet rather than radio, TV or newspapers." UPI, 20 September 2006.

New Orleans to the Middle East is a long way, even for shortwave.

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Robert Mawire, "a preacher at Arlington (Texas) based Good News World Outreach, plans to broadcast a Christian message to the Middle East over WRNO, a (New Orleans based) shortwave radio station. He and his associate Dean Spurlock hope to convert Muslims by transmitting the gospel, music and Christian conversion stories, all in Arabic." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 28 September 2006. "Many in the Middle East still haven't forgotten the Crusades, and that was 1,000 years ago. They will see this as nothing more than another assault on their religion." Post to Star-Telegram blog, 28 September 2006.

Surgical targeting of international radio.

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Voice of America inaugurates VOA Deewa Radio, in Pashto for the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. It transmits 1300-1400 UTC on two shortwave frequencies (11510 and 15645 kHz) and 1400-1700 UTC on no shortwave frequencies (a result of OBB's diminished shortwave availabilities?), and during all four hours on FM 100.5 MHz "in slect cities." Website is www.voadeewaradio.com. VOA press release, 29 September 2006. VOA Deewa Radio is thus the third Pasto language service of U.S. international broadcasting, joining VOA Pashto and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. VOA debuts two new 30-minute television news programs to Afghanistan, in Dari and Pashto. VOA press release, 27 September 2006.

So what is VOA saying about the United States?

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
Participants in the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program discuss VOA at Kent State University. "An area of main concern to the international visitors was Voice of America, an international broadcast funded by the U.S. government. (Professor Tim) Smith said even though the broadcast is created for international people, Americans rarely investigate what their government is saying about them and their country. 'I think in terms of accountability, it may be worse that Americans don't have access to what the government is telling the outside world about their country,' said Barisoth Sek, director of Anti-Corruption Coordinated Action Program in Cambodia." Stater Online, 29 September 2006.

BBC World covers VOA's home turf.

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"Next month in the lead-up to the mid-term elections in the US on 7 November, the BBC will have a USA Direct season. This will feature news coverage, interviews and documentaries looking at American society, culture, economics, and politics." Indiantelevision.com. 30 September 2006. Kazakhstan places advertisements on BBC World to promote itself as "a cosmopolitan country of religious tolerance, a strong economy, and captivating nature." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 29 September 2006. Dubai development company also advertising on BBC World. AME Info, 28 September 2006.

Comments on the Radio/TV Martí journalist pay controversy (updated).

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"To hide behind two unnamed ethics experts and compare the case to that of Armstrong Williams is outrageous." Miami Herald, 25 September 2006. See previous post on this subject. Meanwhile, Cuba's Granma claims that the press freedom organization Reporters sans Frontières, "the French organization virtually created to attack Cuba ... is ... closely linked to Radio Martí." Granma Internacional, 25 September 2006. Update: "Latino journalists are concerned that a scandal at the Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald in Miami could have serious negative effects on the image of Hispanic media nationally." New American Media, 27 September 2006. "Now we find out that the U.S. government-run stations are actually running a charity for needy journalists, at least 10 of whom have been paid to appear on their programs. Some people might call this corrupting the press; I call it compassionate conservatism." Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, 29 September 2006 The last thing journalists need is for skeptics to wonder about the source of a reporter's paycheck. Readers of the two Miami newspapers involved should be relieved. Lou Gelfand, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1 October 2006.

Bearish about shortwave (updated).

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
"After the Berlin Wall fell and new media forms flourished, there was less need for shortwave transmissions in developed countries. International broadcasters like RFI of France and the BBC started striking hundreds of partnership agreements with local FM stations to rebroadcast their programs with clearer sound." International Herald Tribune, 24 September 2006. "I suspect that whatever is left of shortwave will be relegated to fringe use, mostly by missionaries and the underappreciated amateur/ham radio community." John Dvorak, PC Magazine, 25 September 2006. All this might convince more international broadcasting managers to dismantle their shortwave plants in favor of newer, more attractive media. But then come events like the recent coup in Thailand, when local FM and cable television outlets suddenly became unavailable. Or in Iran, where satellite signals are jammed, dishes confiscated, and websites blocked. Because shortwave propagates better over long distances than over short distances, it is the only medium of international broadcasting that has some physical immunity from jamming. Decision makers may learn this lesson too late, and that will be the end of international broadcasting. For arguments why it is a good idea to maintain a shortwave capability, see "No comprendo: why the largest English-speaking country should broadcast to the world in English," Radio Netherlands Media Network, 16 February 2006. Update: "When there is a crisis in a country, and the local FM relays, Web sites and satellite output are interrupted, shortwave continues to be the only means of direct international mass media communication." Jeff White, letter to IHT, 1 October 2006.

Karen Hughes discusses sex and violence.

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
“One of the things that I hear a lot, particularly in deeply conservative societies, is that parents feel kind of assaulted by American culture. The sex and the violence that they see on television and movies ... some of the lyrics of our music.” AP, 29 September 2006. "Hughes is exactly the wrong person for the task; she has no sensitivity to the audience she needs to reach, and she's too much of a passionate partisan, viewing the challenge from a 'we're right and we need to convince you that you're wrong' perspective. She's the Brownie of communication." Adam Hanft, Huffington Post, 29 September 2006.

BBC criticized for having dropped its Thai Service (updated).

Posted: 01 Oct 2006   Print   Send a link
A BBC spokesperson said "Thais would not be able to listen to the service even it if was still operation because it was heard through partner stations that have now been closed down." The Telegraph, 25 September 2006. The spokesperson did not consider shortwave? Bush administration "concerned" about media restrictions in Thailand, according to U.S. public diplomacy website usinfo.state.gov, 25 September 2006. Update: "When the BBC closed down its Thai service in March 2006, World Service Managing Director Nigel Chapman justified the decision by saying that 'its dedicated journalists have seen Thailand emerge as an Asian democracy with an extensive choice of radio and television outlets.' That statement struck me as strange at the time, coming as if did after a series of news reports showing that all was far from well with press freedom in Thailand." Andy Sennitt, Radio Netherlands Media Network, 29 September 2006.