McCain: Aljazeera doing a better job than we are.

Posted: 30 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Clearly, in the area of, quote, 'propaganda,' in the area of the war of ideas, we are not winning as much as — well, in some ways we are behind. Al-Jazeera and others maybe, in the view of some — my view — may sometimes do a better job than we are. At the end of the day, it's how people make up their minds as to whether they want to embrace our values, our standards, our ideals, or whether they want to go the path of radical Islamic extremism, which is an affront to everything we stand for and believe in." Senator John McCain, interviewed on Fox News Sunday, 29 April 2007 (in story, date of interview is erroneously listed as 2 April).

Arab media: quantity does not equal quality.

Posted: 30 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"It is a mistake to confuse plurality of voices on Arabic TV with genuinely advanced and modern media. It is true that the internet and satellite television are in some respects provide a greater diversity of information and more critical voices than was previously the case. But the strength of this independent cultural space should not be exaggerated and constant work must be employed to improve the quality of news delivery in the Arab world." Manal Alafrangi, Gulf News, 30 April 2007.

Case ends against alleged RFE bomber.

Posted: 30 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Czech Supreme Court rejected an appellate review by Supreme State Attorney Renata Vesecka in the case of former secret police StB agent Pavel Minarik... . Minarik was acquitted of charges of an attempted bomb attack in the seat of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany, in the 1970s. He worked for the radio from 1969 to 1976 as an StB agent." ČTK, 30 April 2007.

VOA helps provide international news to India despite "hang ups."

Posted: 29 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Two English channels have their foreign affiliates who supply them with foreign news, News Now through Reuters and CNN-IBN through CNN. Sometimes they carry trivia of no particular relevance to India, mostly about foreign, particularly American stars. But they do keep up a comparatively steady flow of foreign news. The other channels, such as NDTV, depend on their foreign correspondents and agencies. And Headlines Today ties up with Voice of America, a Government organisation with its hang ups." Amita Malik, The Pioneer (Delhi), 28 April 2007. "'In India there’s market for both international and domestic news. While Indian channels cater largely and essentially to the latter category, BBC offers international perspective to news — that’s where our expertise lies.'" Financial Express, 29 April 2007.

There is something special about music on shortwave.

Posted: 29 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Tune in to the unusual sounds at Shortwavemusic, a blog that lets you hear music found on shortwave radio." Brian Cubbison, Syracuse Post-Standard, 28 April 2007. The blog is maintained by Myke Weiskopf, "a writer, shortwave avatar, and sound-artist" who warns: "Shortwavemusic is not a hi-fidelity, Westernized 'world music' experience. I celebrate the unique sonic characteristics of shortwave and frequently post clips which are subject to the effects of propagation and interference."

Latest Heritage bullet point would reduce James Glassman to an advisor.

Posted: 28 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) have at times been inefficient in their decision-making and focused more on their own pet projects instead of providing policy guidance to staff directors. Congress should consider making the BBG more of an advisory body and granting executive power to a chairman who would be responsible for strategic planning and implementation of international broadcasting programs." Statement of Lisa A. Curtis, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation,
before the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, Heritage Foundation, 28 April 2007. See also testimony of Jess T. Ford of the Government Accountability Office, and video of the hearing, at subcommittee website.

Sort of like a shortwave radio with a screen.

Posted: 28 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Software company Makayama is introducing Pocket Live TV, a software for Windows Mobile Pocket PC devicesa that lets users watch 100+ TV channels, from ten countries on Windows Mobile devices. The software provides a two-touch interface to streaming television on the internet. Users can pick a country, pick a channel and start watching." Geekzone, 28 April 2007.

Do U.S. funds bring democracy to Iran, or just trouble for democracy activists?

Posted: 28 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Bush administration's $75 million program to promote democracy in Iran has undermined the kind of organizations and activists it was designed to help, with U.S. aid becoming a top issue in a broader crackdown on leading democracy advocates over the past year, according to a wide range of Iranian activists and human rights groups." Article also mentions Radio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azimam, detained in Iran. Washington Post, 28 April 2007.

An examination of international broadcasting to Iran.

Posted: 27 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The main problems for both Radio Farda and VOA are strengthening management—including editorial control and training—and providing adequate research units for their political news segments. Only more careful attention to these problems will allow these stations to live up to their potential to influence the Iranian people by offering accurate information and knowledgeable debates. If the American government wants to avoid the accusation of propaganda in its public diplomacy, it has to expect Radio Farda’s and VOA’s Persian television to meet journalism’s highest professional standards. Much of the problem of inappropriate political content seems to stem from poor training and poor supervision rather than a political agenda by the top management. That said, the BBG should avoid micromanaging program content, which can give the appearance that the broadcasters are being asked to support the specific foreign policy of a particular administration. ... The United States will undermine its standing with the Iranian people were it to financially support private Iranian media of the sort now broadcasting from Los Angeles. Besides the fact that existing nongovernmental Persian radio and television stations outside Iran do not meet minimum standards of journalism, they have their own agendas which do not necessarily match U.S. interests." Mehdi Khalaji, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2007. Compared to most Washington think tank output about international broadcasting, Mr. Khalaji's paper is unusally well-informed and useful. He also discusses other countries' broadcasts in Persian and the State Department public diplomacy website in Persian.

China calling Hong Kong.

Posted: 27 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"China Central Television broadcasts may soon be seen in Hong Kong all day for free, as critics voiced fears it could herald the start of a profusion of communist propaganda in the territory. ... 'On one hand, we are talking about the possible termination of Radio Television Hong Kong, and now there comes CCTV.'" The Standard (Hong Kong), 27 April 2007. Just in time for the proposed elimination of the VOA Cantonese, which will end its placement of content on Hong Kong's ATV channel.

Brand Israel discussed again.

Posted: 27 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The impact of branding is conceived as long-term and is not supposed to fully register all at once. But as Israel continues to make its case in the arena of public opinion, it also makes great sense for it to project a truthful image of itself in the arena of public perception. The time is thus now ripe for replacing the prevalent limited images of Israel, not with alternatives that are false, but with something that is true, that effectively captures the transformative experience of a first-time visit to Israel and replicates the eye-opening and soul-touching impact of such a visit." Michael C. Kotzin, Ynetnews, 27 April 2007.

The First Annual Willis Conover Memorial Concert,

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
featuring the U.S. Military Academy "Jazz Knights" and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, will take place 28 April, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., at the Voice of America auditorium. Free, but reservations required. Sign up at bigbandjam.org, which also lists the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra at 6 to 7 p.m., same evening, also on the VOA stage.

Will Mr. Glassman be "coordinated" by public diplomacy?

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
President Bush nominates James Glassman to succeed Kenneth Tomlinson as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. "Glassman, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank ... is publisher of The American magazine and was a syndicated financial columnist for The Washington Post from 2001 until 2004." AP, 26 April 2007. In 2003, Glassman said: "Government-sponsored international broadcasting was funded last year at $540 million; that compares with $600 million for all State Department public diplomacy programs, including exchanges like Fulbright. Yet, the Board of Broadcasting Governors exists outside the normal structure of public diplomacy. We call in our report for bringing broadcasting under the same coordinated strategic direction as the rest of public diplomacy. We also urge that Radio Sawa adopt the right objectives--as our title says, changing minds, rather than simply building an audience." American Enterprise Institute, 3 October 2003.

Public diplomacy by dint of morning exercises.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan "demonstrated to Washington the seductive nature of China's public diplomacy. Cheney never mingled with the Japanese public during his brief trip to Japan. By comparison, the Chinese premier basked in media attention. He seemed to always be smiling, joining Japanese citizens during their morning exercises in a Tokyo park. Plunking himself happily behind the wheel of a tractor. Tossing baseballs with a college team in Kyoto. Happy to be on stage." Los Angeles Times, 26 April 2007.

BBC Mundo mucho bueno.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"A panel of judges voted unanimously to award the [BBC World Service] Spanish section's website, BBC Mundo, the first-ever Ortega y Gasset prize for online journalism. It was praised as a beacon of quality journalism since its launch in 1999." BBC News, 25 April 2007.

Broadcasting from and to the Arabs.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"So there are differences between Al-Jazeera International and the Arab original? [US media expert Mohammed el-]Nawawy: Absolutely. It's the same company, but they have a totally different editorial board." Spiegel Online International, 25 April 2007. "Hosam Al Sukari, chairman of BBC Arabic, said that Arabs have long seen the world from an 'us and them' perspective. He said that there was a need to break out of that mentality, and that foreign-based Arabic channels such as the BBC's upcoming Arabic channel should not be regarded with suspicion." Gulf News, 24 April 2007.

Mind if we international broadcasters get behind that heat shield?

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The United States should develop a smart-power strategy by creating a deputy national security advisor charged with developing and implementing a more streamlined outreach plan. ... In addition, the government should establish a federally funded research and development corporation to support the plan, as well as a nonpartisan, nongovernmental Civil Society Fund. Its independent board would provide a 'heat shield' to separate policy advocacy and diplomacy from the development of long-term social interactions around the world." Joseph Nye, Foreign Policy, May/June 2007.

Will they discuss jamming at RadioAsia2007?

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The upcoming RadioAsia2007 conference in Singapore in June ... will debate and identify radio's position within the current media landscape of multiple platform deliveries, and discuss how it can adapt to cater to the fast-changing profile and needs of the audience." Sponsors include the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deutsche Welle-Germany, and Commercial Radio Australia [not the ABC's Radio Australia]. Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, 23 April 2007.

Tibetan protest against Chinese jamming.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Based on the internationally acknowledged right to disseminate information through radio broadcasts without disturbances, and the rights of our listeners to access uncensored news and information, the Foundation Voice of Tibet strongly protest the PRC censorship violations. We call for action and support from Governments, politicians and NGO’s worldwide in addressing the issue of jamming towards representatives of the Peoples Republic of China, demanding an immediate stop to their hostile 'jamming' transmissions." Foundation Voice of Tibet press release, 23 April 2007. Planned reductions to VOA and RFA Tibetan services will mean less work for Chinese jammers.

America's unpopularity measured again.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Respondents in Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan expressed support for what they described as the goals of al-Qaeda, such as standing up to America and affirming the dignity of Muslims worldwide, and pushing the U.S. to stop favoring Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. ... Rena Pederson, a spokeswoman for the Office of Public Diplomacy headed by former White House counselor Karen Hughes ... noted that her department has sharply increased public diplomacy programs that were largely mothballed after the Cold War; programs such as Fulbright grants -- including resuming grants to Iraq and Afghanistan -- and ramped up 'citizen dialogue' programs bringing foreign students, journalists, and religious leaders to the United States and sending American Muslims overseas." San Francisco Chronicle, 24 April 2007.

Turkey buys newspaper ads for public diplomacy.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Turkey's Foreign Ministry is using the tools of public diplomacy to find a way out of the Armenian 'genocide' issue, which has become a stumbling block in parts of its foreign affairs, putting full-page advertisements in leading US dailies. ... The advertisements were published in The New York Times, The Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune and Roll Call newspaper." Today's Zaman, 24 April 2007.

Malaysian information minister criticizes BBC content, buys BBC programs.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin has lodged a protest with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for giving air time on television for leaders of opposition political parties rejected by the Malaysian people to express their views on the country's political and current affairs. ... Zainuddin had personally conveyed his protest on the matter to BBC World Asia Section Chief Editor Rita Hyne during a visit to the corporation while on the working visit to London. Besides Hyne, Zainuddin also met with the Director of the BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman, and BBC World Service Regional Development Manager Neil Curry. Zainuddin also said that Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) would purchase special BBC children's programmes to step up education in the English language for school children in the country." Bernama, 25 April 2007.

Alhurra takes another pounding.

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Rep. Steve Rothman (D-New Jersey) called for greater government oversight of Al-Hurra, an American-produced news network aimed at the Arab world. Following reports that the channel has run live, uncut interviews with leading terrorists, including Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Rothman proposed greater regulation of the channel. 'No sane person thinks that allowing terrorists to spout off live and unedited on media programs that are intended to promote the US's image abroad is in our country's best interests,' Rothman declared. 'Yet, that's exactly what a US-funded TV station overseen in part by [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] Karen Hughes's office did.'" Jerusalem Post Jewish World, 25 April 2007. See previous post about same subject.

Western broadcasts and the career of Boris Yeltsin (updated).

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
About Boris Yeltsin's 1987 criticism of Mikhail Gorbachev: "Though the Soviet press said nothing, Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, and other Western radios broadcast the news. And the Soviet public’s reaction was overwhelmingly pro-Yeltsin." National Review Online, 23 April 2007. Update: After the August 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. "I was invited to Moscow by his [Yeltsin's] administration. At that point, we were accredited by presidential decree and the city was instructed to give us an office -- something that had probably never happened in the history of international broadcasting before. The Radios were utterly instrumental in keeping him afloat politically. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if the Radios hadn't been working with him, we might have had a very different outcome." Former Radio Liberty director S. Enders Wimbush, interviewed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 25 April 2007.

Competing with Telesur?

Posted: 26 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"ALBA TV, an alternate TV channel with a Latin American scope, is airing next May 19... . ALBA stands for Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas, an initiative of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to counter US-supported Free Trade Agreements of the Americas. ... The network is moving forward in Ecuador, Argentina, Nicaragua, Colombia and even in New York." El Universal, 23 April 2007. This week, there have been full page ads in the Washington Post for "Venezuela Matters, The Multimedia Cultural Experience," at the Organization of American States, 23-27 April. Venezuela-owned Citgo is listed as a sponsor. The "Venezuela Matters" events kicked off October 2006 in Chicago.

Meanwhile, China is still jamming BBC World Service.

Posted: 25 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
BBC Motion Gallery, the archive clips sales arm of BBC Worldwide, will distribute clip footage globally on behalf of Chinese state television CCTV. "Collections of clips from CCTV which are predominately HDTV footage can now be viewed online at BBC Motion Gallery’s online catalogue: www.bbcmotiongallery.com." BBC Worldwide press release, 23 April 2007. Review of nomenclature: BBC Worldwide is the revenue-earning arm of BBC. It is not the same as BBC World Service or BBC World.

Not the TV Martí blimp.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Three die when small plane hits cable tethering blimp at Cudjoe Key, Florida. "There are two blimps at Cudjoe Key, one operated by the State Department and the other by the Air Force, according to the Air Force Web site. The State Department blimp transmits the U.S. government-run station TV Marti into Cuba. One of the uses of the Air Force blimp is to help monitor dug trafficking. It was unclear which blimp was involved in the crash, officials said." AP, 21 April 2007. "The blimp belongs to the U.S. Air Force and is officially called an aerostat. It's used as a radar surveillance platform to monitor illegal drug activity in the Florida Straits. At one time the site also featured another blimp, used by the State Department to transmit TV Martí, which sends American television signals into Cuba for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. But it was destroyed by Hurricane Dennis." Miami Herald, 21 April 2007. TV Martí has more recently been transmitting from its Gulfstream I turboprop.

How international broadcasting reaches Sudan.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"There are no longer any restrictions on the possession of satellite dishes and, like the rest of the Arab world, Sudanese viewers prefer to get their news from Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya than the state-owned Sudan TV. As for radio, RMC Moyen-Orient and the BBC have their own FM frequencies and are easy to tune into for most of the Khartoum public. Radio France Internationale's French-language programmes can be heard throughout the country on RMC Moyen-Orient, as can Deutsche Welle's Arabic, English and German-language programmes. At Nyala, the BBC World Service Trust, the British public broadcaster's humanitarian wing, has even created Lifeline Darfur, an Arabic-language programme employing Sudanese journalists broadcasting 30-minute programmes twice a week for Darfur, eastern Chad and the northeast of the Central African Republic." Africa Focus, 22 April 2007.

More VOA jazz memories.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"After listening often to his recordings, I first heard John Coltrane live at Birdland in June 1962. My interest had developed earlier in my young life in my home country of Sweden, considering that broadcast jazz there at the time was restricted to a half-hour broadcast on the national radio each week. It was also possible to tune in on the fading Voice of America radio-transmitter in Tangiers, Africa on the short wave band Sunday nights at ten o'clock (always opening with the Ellington band playing 'Take the A-Train')." Bertil Holmgren, All About Jazz, 24 April 2007.

Compliments for U.S. international broadcasting and public diplomacy coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Voice of America pulled no punches in its report that the shootings could impact future foreign student enrollment in U.S. universities, because of America's 'gun culture.' This view was balanced by interviews with foreign students at Virginia Tech and elsewhere who expressed confidence." Alvin Snyder, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 23 April 2007.

Western broadcasters lose important outlet in Somalia.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"HornAfrik television and radio -- the first independent broadcaster in Somalia’s history -- has been off the air since several mortar shells destroyed its Mogadishu studios on Saturday ... . HornAfrik, which is respected for its own independent broadcasting, also rebroadcasts programs from the Voice of America, the BBC, CNN, and Sky News." Committee to Protect Journalists, 23 April 2007. A good shortwave substitute to reach Somalia was the IBB relay at Kavala, Greece -- but the BBG shut it down.

SABC blocking SW Radio Africa?

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"We have received extraordinary information that journalists at the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) are denied access to SW Radio Africa’s website for news on Zimbabwe. Any attempt to access our web address returns a message that says 'Access to the requested URL has been denied by SABC Policy.'" SW Radio Africa, 20 April 2007. "Several staff members at SABC verified this last Friday and the head of television news, Amrat Manga, told us he was not aware of the policy but would investigate. A trial done by our web master also showed that it is our domain name that is being blocked." SW Radio Africa, 23 April 2007.

The think tanks might want to think twice before taking music off Radio Farda.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Authorities in Iran have reportedly detained at least six members of underground music bands during the past week and shut down their studios, Radio Farda reported. At least two detainees taken into custody on April 19 have been freed on bail after pledging not to distribute illegal compact discs of underground music. Western music is widely banned in Iran, and censors keep a close watch on the domestic arts scene. Many Iranians, especially young people, find their way around the ban to listen to Western music. Some unsanctioned Iranian acts have developed their own underground styles of rock, hip hop, and other music that authorities deem un-Islamic." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News, 23 April 2007. "More than 2,000 university students are protesting against the tightening of rules on student's behavior and dress." RFE/RL News, 23 April 2007.

Updating bad news about U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The position of Parnaz Azima, a journalist with Farsi-language US radio Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty, also appears to have worsened. The reporter is still trying to get back her passport which was seized by authorities upon her arrival in Tehran in January to visit her sick mother. All attempts to get her passport back, including an appeal by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, have failed. One of the journalist's lawyer said a magistrate on Monday had said the reporter would not be allowed to leave the country for another two years." AKI, 23 April 2007. "Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson and RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin condemned news that the Iranian government plans to keep RFE/RL journalist Parnaz Azima from leaving Iran for 'two or three years,' in defiance of Azima's wishes." RFE/RL press release, 24 April 2007. "Khamael Muhsen, was a journalist with Radio Free Europe, the U.S.-government funded broadcaster. She'd been a famous television personality in Saddam Hussein's era. Now the 54-year-old is a statistic." McClatchy Newspapers, 22 April 2007. See also RFE/RL News, 21 April 2007. See previous posts about Parnaz Azima and Khamael Muhsen.

More progress on development of Voice of America Park near Cincinnati.

Posted: 24 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The agreement, which must be approved by the National Park Service, would allow [Butler County] MetroParks to develop a portion of the park. West Chester Twp. would retain control of the future museum and approximately 50 acres that surround the historic building where VOA radio programming was transmitted for more than 50 years. This year, the parks commission will design its plan for the VOA park that will be combined with the adjacent Ronald Reagan Voice of Freedom Park under the VOA name. The boathouse and lodge there will retain the former U.S. president's name." Middletown Journal, 23 April 2007.

Soviet jamming and beyond.

Posted: 23 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Soviet bloc radio engineers tried to jam radio signals coming from the West while their Western counterparts did their utmost to get the signals through. Roger (Bolton) talks to engineers from both sides and hears what happened when the jamming finally stopped." "It's My Story," BBC Radio 4, 18 April 2007. Thanks to Glenn Hauser and Benn Kobb for this listening tip.

An incentive to listen to VOA Russian radio broadcasts (except that VOA is slated to end Russian radio broadcasts).

Posted: 23 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be 'positive.' In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin." New York Times, 21 April 2007.

France Vingt-Quatre considered as it covers the French election.

Posted: 23 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"De Pouzilhac and his team have created a stylish channel with substance. Culture features as heavily as current affairs, as you might expect from a French-based news organisation, with regular features on gastronomy and fashion. There is excellent, in-depth coverage of Africa, which doesn't stop at South Africa and Zimbabwe, or the continent's other trouble spots. The channel has exploited France's historical connections with the continent, just as the BBC uses Britain's ties with India and Asia to good journalistic effect." James Robinson, The Observer, 22 April 2007.

Aljazeera English in Burlington, but not in Detroit.

Posted: 23 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Burlington Telecom began offering Al Jazeera in its cable packages to customers six months ago. The two-year-old cable system does not pay anything for Al Jazeera and has a contract to provide it until 2011." Burlington Free Press, 21 April 2007. "No. 1 U.S. cable provider Comcast Corp. was ready to carry Al-Jazeera English's November debut in the Detroit area, Al-Jazeera executives said. But Comcast suddenly pulled out just before launch." Toledo Free Press, 20 April 2007.

The role of public diplomacy in Washington shenanigans (updated).

Posted: 23 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Beyond the question of what [Wolfowitz friend] Shaha Riza's compensation was and how she got it -- is what she has been doing and for whom. She was reportedly seconded to the multi-nationally supported 'Foundation for the Future,' which was really a part of America's public diplomacy game plan. ... But strangely, few seem to know much about the Foundation for the Future at the State Department." Steve Clemons, Huffington Post, 14 April 2007. Update: "Riza's assignment fell under the purview of Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. But these facts raise more questions than they answer. ... Riza, who is not a U.S. citizen, had to receive a security clearance in order to work at the State Department. Who intervened?" Sidney Blumenthal, Salon.com, 19 April 2007. See previous post about same subject.

Calling North Korea.

Posted: 21 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Today, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and a small number of independent broadcasters send their programs across the North Korean border. Listening to a foreign broadcast is a crime punishable by imprisonment and hard labor. However, based on reports that I get from refugees, not only are North Koreans listening in, but in the border regions, smuggled videos, DVDs and CDs are growing in popularity, with one group of dissidents referring to it as their "mental bread." This is their sustenance; this is now what they are surviving on. Radios acquired in North Korea come fixed to a state propaganda channel and cannot be tuned. But there are numerous reports of North Koreans who have learned how to modify their radios or to acquire illicit ones smuggled in from China. We need to ensure that there is ample content in the correct North Korean dialect for potential listeners to receive, which in turn will drive demand for more black market radios. The President has requested a significant increase for the Korean services of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, a near doubling from $4.6 to $8 million. Along with many other improvements, this increase will allow Radio Free Asia to begin transmitting in medium wave, which I believe will be a highly effective supplement to the current shortwave broadcasting. Appropriated funds have also contributed partially to broadcasts by independent groups, although their creation and the bulk of their funding is the product of concerned private citizens-who are important partners, along with all of the NGOs in the activities that we are trying to promote." Jay Lefkowitz, Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, speech to Heritage Foundation, via U.S. Department of State, 19 April 2007.

Can bloggers break through the Chinese firewall?

Posted: 21 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The internet and Chinese bloggers may be the best hope for a breakthrough toward a freer flow of information in China. ... A significant number of people on the internet in China are both tenacious and tech-savvy. Radio Free Asia's (RFA) readers and listeners, for instance, regularly request information on how to use proxies." Dan Southerland (RFA VP of programming), China Brief, 18 April 2007.

Springtime in Paris.

Posted: 21 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Two men, one of them wearing a motorcycle helmet, attacked a Voice of America cameraman with wooden clubs and took his camera. The man was taken to hospital with head injuries." Reuters via Yahoo! News, 20 April 2007. The story is no longer available at Reuters websites, and is not reported at voanews.com.

Joint television programs to bring together "fractious" South Asians.

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The initiative is being driven by a clutch of seven privately-owned television channels ... three are based in India while one each is from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. ... While the new TV programme would promote liberalism, a scientific temperament, education, sports, health, heritage and cultural diversity, it would oppose divisive forces, superstition, fundamentalism, discrimination and violence especially against women and children, environmental pollution, cruelty to animal, cultural hegemony and communalism." Dawn, 18 April 2007.

Benn: the phrase "war on terror" gives terrorists strength.

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The phrase 'war on terror' has been dumped from the British government's vocabulary, according to up-and-coming International Development Secretary Hilary Benn." Toronto Star, 17 April 2007. "In the UK, we do not use the phrase 'war on terror' because we can’t win by military means alone, and because this isn’t us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives. It is the vast majority of the people in the world - of all nationalities and all faiths - against a small number of loose, shifting and disparate groups who have relatively little in common apart from their identification with others who share their distorted view of the world and their idea of being part of something bigger. What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others, without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength." Hillary Benn speech, 16 April 2007. In the United States, the "Democratic leadership doesn’t like the phrase." Army Times, 4 April 2007. See previous post about the "war on terror."

New UK counterpropaganda unit.

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
A cabinet review of foreign policy ... disclosed that the Government is to set up a special research and communications unit to counter al-Qa'ida's ideology and 'extremist propaganda by hostile regimes'." The Independent, 18 April 2007. "Asked why the job could not be left to the Foreign Office, Blair responded: 'You've got to accept that today you can't do this simply by looking at these things in different compartments - foreign affairs here, home affairs there. It doesn't work like that.'" Reuters, 18 April 2007. See also Britain in the World policy review.

Aljazeera English to reach the USA via YouTube.

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"On YouTube Al Jazeera will be known as a 'branded channel' – putting it in the same category as the National Hockey League and Capitol Records, which use the website to promote their products." Online Press Gazette, 20 April 2007. "While YouTube prohibits long-form programming, the network's Web site offers it. The YouTube area will also include links to the English-language site." Mediapost.com, 17 April 2007. See previous post about international television via YouTube.

New Annenberg dean.

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Ernest James Wilson III is named the new dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He now holds positions with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the International Center for e-Leadership as well as a teaching position at the University of Maryland. Daily Trojan, 20 April 2007. See also USC Annenberg News, 19 April 2007. The Annenberg School includes the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Wilson succeeds Geoffrey Cowan, a former director of the Voice of America.

A hypodermic theory of Cuban public diplomacy.

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, "suggested that the US is losing the public diplomacy rivalry with Cuba because the Cubans are exporting health care experts and doctors and this has resulted in Latin American countries that receive Cuban health assistance liking Cuba's public diplomacy efforts and 'despising ours.'" Wayne Madsen, peoplesvoice.org, 20 April 2007. View event at New America Foundation.

But why is Karen Hughes answering questions about U.S. international broadcasting?

Posted: 20 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
She did from members of a House Appropriations subcommittee skeptical about proposed cuts. Representative Betty McCollum: "The audiences in fact are not dwindling. They are just being cut off. If you turn off a transmitter and then do a survey in a country of how many people are listening to VOA, it is going to go down, because they can't listen to Voice of America." VOA News, 19 April 2007. See also Bangkok Post, 20 April 2007. Even though she received many questions about international broadcasting, Hughes' opening statement was about public diplomacy. U.S. Department of State, 19 April 2007.

National Review writers dislike BBC World Service so much, they listen every day.

Posted: 19 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The BBC's World Service, normally obsessively microscopic in its monocular coverage of American affairs, has so far missed the partial-birth decision, omitting any mention of it in its half-hourly bulletins." National Review Media Blog, 18 April 2007. "In essence, the UN today used the BBC World Service to send a message to al-Qaeda in Iraq, to Syria and to Iran. That message: Keep on killing Iraqis." National Review The Corner, 18 April 2007.

Syrian and German officials meet, pledge to improve spelling of names.

Posted: 19 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Syria's "Minister of Information, Mohsen Bilal discussed with Director of Germany's International Broadcasting Station, Deutsche Welle, Eric Peterman [sic: should be Bettermann], and an accompanying delegation, ways of activating information cooperation between Syria and Germany with the aim of boosting dialogue culture and reciprocal respect." Syrian Arab News Agency, 19 April 2007.

Shortwave works around Zimbabwe's music ban.

Posted: 19 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"For nearly two decades after independence, Zimbabwean deejays lived and breathed (Thomas) Mapfumo. Any new song or album from him and his band, The Blacks Unlimited, was promptly broadcast on state radio to every farm, village, and beer hall in the country. But when we met in New York this year, the only stations broadcasting Mapfumo’s chimurenga songs were SW Radio Africa out of London and Voice of the People from the Netherlands. In Zimbabwe, his music has gone underground once more, to short-wave outfits, just as it had in the late seventies." The Walrus, April 2007.

Public-private public diplomacy initiative spawns 36-page report (updated).

Posted: 19 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The leaders of public relations and related communications professions have joined with the leadership of the U.S. State Department in creating a plan for increasing private sector involvement in the nation's public diplomacy efforts. The report, entitled 'Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy: Models for Action', was released today by the PR Coalition, a partnership of 18 major U.S.-based organizations representing public relations, investor relations, public affairs and related communications disciplines." U.S. Department of State, 9 April 2007. "The PR Coalition released a set of recommendations this week on how the private sector can help the federal government shore up the US' sometimes shaky reputation overseas and otherwise contribute to the government's public diplomacy. ... The report's 11 main 'action steps' include making public diplomacy an explicit part of corporate policies and practices; teaming with NGOs on employee volunteerism through creating a corps of short-term, private-sector 'foreign service officers'; offering more US internships for those overseas; and more." PR Week, 12 April 2007. Update: "Some suggestions are vague to the point of meaninglessness. For example: 'Make U.S. business practices consistent with U.S. values.' Would that mean providing living wages to workers employed overseas as contractors to U.S.-based companies? Somehow I think that Wal-Mart lobbyists Robert Lee Culpepper and Sarah Thorn, who were at the summit, might object to that." Diane Farsetta, PR Watch, 18 April 2007.

VOA interviews North Korean official re Virginia Tech.

Posted: 19 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"North Korea's deputy envoy to the United Nations in New York deplored the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, calling it 'condemnable act,' a U.S. government-funded radio station reported Thursday. In a phone interview with the Voice of America, Kim Myong-kil said he had not yet received an order from his government to deliver condolences to the U.S. government." Yonhap, 19 April 2007.

VOA's past mentioned in Afghanistan broadcasting controversy.

Posted: 19 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Abdul Jabar Sabet, Afghanistan's attorney general involved in police raid on popular Afghan television station TV Tolo, "was a longtime aide to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, once the United States' most-favoured anti-Soviet guerrilla leader, but now on their most-wanted list of terrorists. In 1992, Mr. Sabet's continuing links with Mr. Hekmatyar led to his dismissal from a job at the Voice of America. He was denied re-entry to the United States." Ottawa Citizen, 19 April 2007.

The WorldSpace marketing tune in India.

Posted: 18 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The latest campaign of WorldSpace featuring (AR) Rahman has four different commercials targeted at music lovers of different genres like Hindi, Indian classical, hip hop and rock. The first of the series has a middle-aged man listening to old Hindi music on his LP, which gets stuck. At this point, Rahman comes in and says that if you are a music lover, then switch to WorldSpace." Business Standard, 18 April 2007. Hear the WorldSpace signature tune composed by Raman at the bottom of the WorldSpace India home page. See previous post about WorldSpace.

The latest Alhurra detractor.

Posted: 18 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"In its first few years al-Hurra had succeeded in carrying real information about human rights and corruption in the Middle East, raising the ire of Arab regimes and bringing praise from liberals. But since 2006, under the leadership of former CNN producer Larry Register, the network has turned away from its mission and joined the ratings game." David Project Center for Jewish Leadership press release, 17 April 2007. See previous Alhurra detractor.

Calling Iran: broadcasting versus wrestling.

Posted: 18 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Radio Farda interview with State Department spokesman Sean McCormick. "Radio Farda: President George Bush has said, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said, and you have said as well many times that there is no freedom of speech in Iran, there is no rule of law, and there is no respect for the basic rights of Iranian citizens. How can people there have access to the free world, to accurate news? McCormack: Well, they can tune in to Western and other news organizations. They can listen to Radio Farda; they can get on Internet, but I expect that many of those things blocked by Iranian regime. So it is very difficult to communicate directly with Iranian people through media organizations or from outside. And we don't have any presence on the ground there for reasons everybody understands. So what have decided is that we are encouraging people-to people-contacts. Our wrestling team went to Iran, for example, and we have invited the Iranian team to United States. There have been exchanges of medical professionals, disaster-preparedness officials. So we encourage those kind of people-to-people exchanges, which is a good way for us to get know the Iranian people after 27 years, and for the Iranian people to get to know us a little bit better. Radio Farda: Almost half of the $66 million U.S. foreign aid to Iran for 2007 is earmarked for broadcasting to Iran. There are some critics in Congress, as well as in the executive branch, regarding the effectiveness of the contents and impact of such broadcasting. What is your reaction? McCormack: Well, you have to try the number of different ways in order to communicate with the Iranian people. Broadcasting is one of them, and it's an important medium through which people receive news and it is important that we try to use that medium to communicate with the Iranian people. It is difficult because of the controls and blocks the Iranian regime puts on free media and access to free media other than Iranian state-controlled media. But just because it is difficult, doesn't mean you don't try." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 18 April 2007.

Can the new Western Arabic channels compete?

Posted: 17 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"'If Al-Hurra is anything to go by, then there's no chance for these new channels to steal audiences from the existing ones,' says Jihad Ballout, who has served as spokesperson for both Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. 'The BBC is different. It has a name and a culture, which is an asset. If anyone has a chance, it's them.'" Variety, 16 April 2007.

Aljazeera English and its lack of access to U.S. households.

Posted: 17 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"At one major cable carrier, an executive said Al-Jazeera's English programming was too similar to BBC World and there weren't enough likely American viewers to add another foreign-centric news channel." AP, 16 April 2007. "The lesson of Al-Jazeera English — for now, anyway — is that there are no sides, only an endless array of viewpoints." Brendan Bernhard, New York Sun, 17 April 2007. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on "the US government to release Al-Jazeera cameraman, Sami al-Haj, who this morning started his 100th day of hunger strike after almost five-years of detention at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre." IFJ, 17 April 2007. New Aljazeera documentary channel "aims at fostering ties between different peoples and cultures." Middle East Times, 16 April 2007.

Spreading the word via mobile phone.

Posted: 16 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"While large numbers of organizations have been trying to promote the spread of the Internet in rural parts of developing countries, penetration rates are still pretty low in many areas. Mobile phones, however, have been spreading rapidly and today are nearly ubiquitous in some countries, leapfrogging the number of land lines in a matter of 3 or 4 years." Mongabay.com, 16 April 2007.

International television via YouTube and its new competitor.

Posted: 16 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Jalipo, a new online distribution network for high-quality TV and video content that aims to act as an alternative to YouTube, launched on Monday ... . Jalipo has signed content deals with BBC World, Al Jazeera English, French news channel France 24 in French, English and Arabic and Bloomberg among others." Reuters, 16 April 2007. "Al Jazeera (English) will launch a YouTube branded Channel... . YouTube users worldwide will have the ability to comment on Al Jazeera English clips, rate them, recommend them to friends and post their own video responses to communicate with other viewers." Broadband TV News, 16 April 2007. YouTube among websites blocked in Thailand. Southeast Asian Press Alliance, 13 April 2007.

Shortwave as art; internet radio as shortwave.

Posted: 15 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Seemingly disparate elements work the other way, toward each other into a convergence, in Steve Roden's Transmission (Voices of Objects and Skies) (2005). A constellation of upside-down, partly painted tin cans hangs in a dark room. Some of the cans have lights inside. There's space to stand in the middle of them enveloped in a light, mesmerizing haze of staticky, beeping sound. The sounds are everyday shortwave-radio transmissions. but the visual component is abstracted from John Glenn's otherworldly description of a light field on the moon." The Stranger (Seattle), 11 April 2007. John Glenn never went to the moon, but maybe from orbit he once described a light field on the moon. "I'm pleased to report that internet radio is just as mad as anything you'll find through ye olde SW knob-twiddling. Over the past seven days, I've checked out Sahaja Yoga Radio (ooble-booble happy hippie sounds); Mouseworld Radio ('The Disney Vacation Station', a housework fave); A Fistful of Soundtracks (tunes from films and TV, surprisingly listenable); Sirens of Song (only plays music made by women, for gender-sensitive ears) and Radio DavidByrne.com (sample track: Jimmy Durante singing 'It's My Nose's Birthday')." Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 15 April 2007.

Radio Farda broadcaster unable to leave Iran.

Posted: 15 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin expressed concern about the fate of Parnaz Azima, an RFE/RL journalist who is currently in Iran and being prevented by authorities from leaving the country. Azima, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, entered Iran on January 25 to visit a sick relative. On arrival, officials at the airport in Tehran seized her Iranian passport. Since then, Azima has tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the passport on several occasions. During one meeting with authorities Azima was asked to collaborate with Iranian intelligence services. She refused." Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 13 April 2007. Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman says: "The report on the lady was recently handed over to us. Her case is under investigation by authorities,." AP, 15 April 2007. Meanwhile, Iran's English language Press TV cites Radio Free Asia in a story about North Korea. Press TV, 14 April 2007.

Praise for VOA's report on Aljazeera English in Toledo.

Posted: 15 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The VOA news report actually does a really good job reporting why there is a need to for American’s to have access and explains, in a departure from most government perspectives, that: 'Americans generally see only excerpts of al Jazeera broadcasts, on U.S. news programs. They're usually scenes of Arab crowds mourning or protesting, or portions of videotaped statements, delivered to the Qatar-based station by al-Qaida or another terrorist organization. That's led some Americans to associate al Jazeera with terrorism. Al Jazeera officials say they do not air terrorist videos unless they have legitimate news value. They say they want to change the network's negative image in America. So they decided to say it in English.' Too bad the officials, policymakers, think-tank analysts, and academics in Washington can’t hear what’s being said." Courtney C. Radsch, Arabisto.com, 14 April 2007. See previous post about the VOA story.

A review of "The War of Ideas" on PBS Frontline.

Posted: 15 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Reporter Greg Barker begins the story at the U.S. State Department’s new Rapid Response Unit. This group, started by the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and close Bush ally, Karen Hughes, monitors what the international media is saying about America. It writes briefing reports in real time and develops a reply, which is then sent out to State Department offices worldwide. Barker says the Rapid Response Unit is like a campaign war room. These efforts aim to counteract the negative image of the U.S., or so the thinking goes." Elizabeth DiNovella, The Progressive, 13 April 2007. Video of the program is still available at PBS Frontline website.

The whole world is watching international television on their mobiles (updated).

Posted: 15 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"With surveys indicating that 16 million Filipino households have TV, two firms plan to market a mobile TV service in the country by midyear. ... Among the channels that were shown to local reporters during the launch at the Laguna Garden Cafe in Cebu Business Park yesterday were CNN, BBC World, CNBC, Jack TV, Fashion TV, MTV, Channel and Channel V, among others." Sun.Star (Cebu City), 12 April 2007. Update: "Mobily, which is backed by the UAE’s Etisalat, recently announced that CNN International could now be watched live on 3G mobile phones in Saudi Arabia, through a landmark content agreement. The deal marked the first time CNN had been made available live on mobile phones in the Middle East through a 3G network." ITP Technology, 15 April 2007.

Iraq: reporting requires embedding.

Posted: 15 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
On CNN's "On Assignment: Month of Mayhem," Michael Holmes "films behind the scenes inside the CNN bureau where he lives and works, on embedded trips with the military to neighborhood sweeps and wherever else a story takes him. With the conditions in Iraq worsening, embedding with the military has become, in some cases, the only way for reporters to safely meet with residents to get their first-hand accounts, putting a human face on the war." Indiantelevision.com, 14 April 2007.

Worldspace refinances.

Posted: 14 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Thanks to the support of our note holders, we have room to move forward with our business plan in places like Italy and hope to return to the markets with significant business achievements. We expect to make the most of the opportunities created by this agreement with focused, disciplined spending on our most promising business initiatives." Worldspace press release, 13 April 2007. Worldspace CEO Noah Samara supports the proposed Sirius-XM merger. "In a duopoly, each player is doing everything it can to undermine the other." Daily Tech, 12 April 2007. Worldspace marketing in India: "There is something for everyone on WorldSpace." agencyfaqs! 13 April 2007.

United Nations will be peddling its "green" television productions at Cannes.

Posted: 14 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"We invite TV broadcasters to discover the wealth of material and media services which exists within the United Nations system that they can use to produce a variety of formats from the small screen to mobile devices." UN News Centre, 13 April 2007. "U.K.-based startup Jalipo heads to Cannes to unveil what it calls 'the world's first online marketplace for TV and video.' ... Offering both live TV and VOD, the company is targeting what it calls "high value content owners" and has already been piloting the service with ITN, BBC World and Euronews." Variety, 13 April 2007.

Becoming an Alhurra specialty.

Posted: 13 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Alhurra video captures another terrorist blast in Iraq while covering something else. Internet Broadcasting Systems, 13 April 2007. "U.S.-funded Arab TV network Alhurra is being converted into a platform for Islamic terrorists and U.S. taxpayer dollars are helping promote the very propaganda used by Islamic terrorists to recruit young Muslims." Mark Broxmeyer, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, 12 April 2007. See previous post about Alhurra video of explosion during visit of UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, and about criticism of Alhurra.

Zimbabwe's new radio station, with Iranian help (updated).

Posted: 13 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The new station will be called News 24/7 - a misnomer, in that it is expected to carry very little news, and a great deal of government propaganda." The First Post, 11 Aptil 2007. Update: "Gweru residents told correspondent Taurai Shava of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that they consider the shortwave project to be a waste of money given that the state broadcasting monopoly already operates a number of radio stations." VOA News, 12 April 2007. See previous post about the same subject.

The wacky organizational chart of U.S. international broadcasting has a ramification.

Posted: 12 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Despite some improvements, the State Department still falls short in its information security efforts, according to a new report from Inspector General Howard J. Krongard. ... For the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which operates the Voice of America, Krongard cited an 'ambiguous' chain of command for the chief information officer, which hampers the CIO’s authority to identify and correct IT security problems." Washington Technology, 11 April 2007. Ambiguous? On top is the BBG. Under that is the IBB. Under the IBB is VOA and Radio/TV Martí (although the Martís have their own advisory board), but not RFE/RL, RFA, and MBN, which report directly to BBG, although IBB provides certain engineering and administrative services for those three. Although VOA is under IBB, the VOA director is appointed by the BBG, thus circumvents the IBB. And while the IBB is under the BBG, the IBB director is appointed by the President (with Senate confirmation), thus circumventing the BBG. Are you with me so far?

World Service outsources series on fair trade.

Posted: 12 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Manchester radio independent All Out Productions has been commissioned by BBC World Service to make a series of programmes examining the truth that lies behind the 'fair trade' bandwagon. ... 'We are looking forward to a rich and provocative series taking on a big subject in an unusual way. The issues raised are of huge significance to the BBC's global audience.'" How-Do, 12 April 2007. Madison Media Plus has bagged the media planning and buying duties for BBC World Service Trust’s HIV Campaign. agencyfaqs! 12 April 2007.

Celebrate if you can figure out this press release.

Posted: 12 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Celebrate Radio, a new and very different entertaining, informative and spiritually uplifting interfaith international Positively Music and social justice radio station, listener-supported, has been launched in Alameda California on satellite across Europe, Russia and the Middle East, shortwave across Central and South America, India and Asia and on the web here and everywhere, as well as on podcasts and soon with syndication to California FM outlets and beyond." Celebrate Radio press release, 11 April 2007. I found the shortwave schedule of Celebrate Radio's "Reaching Up" program, which claims to be heard in 120 countries.

How psyops "moves the needle" (updated).

Posted: 12 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The guy next to me, in Bed 3, was a PsyOps specialist. He spent much of the day listening to heavy-metal music, and bragging about how he could drive people crazy. He was right." Tom Kovanch, Renew America, 8 April 2007. "When I was in Uncle Sugar's Army for 14 years we called this PsyOps and those mind-control guys in Intel were really good at it. Really good. When I participated in the Invasion of Panama in 1989 with the 82d Airplane Gang we watched those Intel guys blast some rock music at the Vatican Embassy where Manuel Noriega was holed up. It worked ... because the Pope's Emissary 'encouraged' Noriega to leave his embassy 'voluntarily.'" OurSports Central, 7 April 2007. Update: "American psy ops (psychological operations) personnel set up massive speakers to blast annoying rock music at enemy positions to prevent them from sleeping and to generally make their lives miserable." Canadian Jewish News, 12 April 2007.

One of the *really* important "toppers" in international broadcasting.

Posted: 11 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Journalist and news executive Tony Maddox has been named to head CNN International... . As executive vice president and managing director of CNN International, Maddox assumes oversight responsibility for a news and information portfolio that includes five CNN services in English; CNN en Español; CNNj; CNN.com International; CNNArabic.com; the joint ventures CNN-IBN, CNN+ and CNN Turk, as well as international newsgathering and editorial and programming oversight." CNN press release, 11 April 2007. "CNN has upped existing topper Tony Maddox to run CNN Intl." Variety, 10 April 2007.

Is this maybe the problem? (updated)

Posted: 11 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
The 10 provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) "now operating in Iraq serve as a conduit between the Iraqi government and its people, Mr. Olson said. Of these, seven are U.S.-led, he said, while coalition partners South Korea, Italy and the United Kingdom manage the other three." American Forces Press Service, 9 April 2007. In related news: Afghan National Police "officers along with members of the [U.S.] 13th Psyops Bn. were responsible for keeping the villagers safe and keeping them entertained" while other U.S. military personnel defused an old Soviet bomb. Blackanthem Military News, 9 April 2007. More about PRTs: The Atlantic, 10 April 2007. "Plans are under way to double the number of provincial reconstruction teams now operating in Iraq by the end of the year." American Forces Press Service, 9 April 2007.

Assistant internet editor at France 24 comments on France 24.

Posted: 11 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The addition of France 24 in Arabic risks making things worse. The Muslims who speak French might watch both stations, but the majority of France does not speak Arabic and thus will not watch the Arabic version of the newscast. The editorial line-up for the network is supposed to be the same regardless of language, but where linguistic fault lines begin, societal fractures often follow." Anthony Grant, New York Sun, 11 April 2007.

Will Americans listen to U.S. internet radio via Canada?

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Despite their popularity, there is growing fear that a recent U.S. royalty decision could effectively shut down thousands of webcasting services. The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board recently established a new royalty scheme that dramatically increases the fees that webcasters will be required to pay to stream music online. ... Given the concern about the future viability of Internet radio in the U.S., there has been mounting speculation that some webcasters may consider setting up shop in Canada, where the U.S. rates do not apply. For example, Mercora, a service that allows individuals to launch their own webcasts, has established a Canadian site that falls outside U.S. regulatory and royalty rules. Webcasters considering a move to Canada will find that the legal framework for Internet radio trades costs for complexity." p2pnet, 9 April 2007.

New Iraqi station more independent than U.S. international broadcasting?

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Iraq's new Independent Radio and Television Network, with Sunni and Shiite personnel, is on the air. "Unlike better-known U.S. projects, such as Cuban-themed Radio Marti or the Cold War-era Radio Free Europe, the Iraq network is not produced by the U.S. government, although the State Department provided technical and programming help." AP, 10 April 2007. See also NewsNetNebraska, 9 April 2007.

Iranian media still mentioning a VOA Persian interview.

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry Mohammad Ali Hosseini has deplored the VOA interview with one of Iran's most wanted terrorist and drugs trafficker Abdul Malik Rigi. Hosseini said the interview by the Persian Service of Voice of America (VOA) with the notorious terrorist was a clear manifestation of the American double standard treatment of its so-called 'anti-terrorism campaign'." Press TV, 9 April 2007. See also IRNA, 9 April 2007. See previous post on same subject.

Propaganda of the deed is propaganda indeed.

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Hughes’ fascination with deeds meant to impress those who she thinks are bound to be 'grateful' for them reflects what has been a major fault of the Bush administration from its very beginning: that it does not really believe in two-way communications with the rest of the world. Instead of supporting the exchange views with foreign publics, the administration just wants to impress citizens of the world with our goodness so that they'll stop hating us." John Brown, TomPaine.com, 9 April 2007.

Is the net reaching its limit?

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"More people are online than ever before, and many of us are as profligate in our use of bandwidth as a decadent aristocrat who can't believe that the peasants will ever revolt. We can see this most clearly in the growth of online video, where concerns about network congestion are already being expressed." Bill Thompson, BBC News, 10 April 2007.

BBC's next big export to the USA?

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"BBC chiefs are attempting to broker a multimillion-pound deal with major American networks to make 'Top Gear USA'. ... It is believed that the show's format will be almost identical to the British version, but that its central focus will be American cars such as Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet." The Independent, 10 April 2007.

Future American journalist worries about visiting foreign news websites.

Posted: 10 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The problem with visiting foreign stations is that in the quest to understand the issues, we may inadvertently visit a station that has anti-American sentiments or, worse, has been banned by the government as a terrorist station. Visiting Al-Manar, a banned Lebanese station, or Al-Jazeera, are just the sort of stations that could land one in trouble." Marie Martin, The Oracle (Henderson State University), 9 April 2007. Probably an unwarranted concern. As one of many listeners to international shortwave radio stations, writing to several of them, and as one of many visitors to foreign news/propaganda websites, I believe we are protected at the least by our numbers and by our insignificance.

On the nefarious and other uses of the airwaves.

Posted: 09 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
National Public Radio president Kevin Klose will speak 11 April at Hyde Park. "As former director of U.S. international broadcasting, and former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Klose has a keen understanding of the power of the airwaves and the importance of unbiased, objective news reporting. ... Klose said he will give examples of what can happen in country where the airwaves are used to disseminate propaganda or false information and the unrest that can result. He'll also give examples of where the airwaves have been used to bring peace to a region." Daily Freeman (Kingston NY), 10 April 2007.

Northwestern looks to the East.

Posted: 09 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Northwestern University will open an undergraduate communication and journalism school in Qatar "including possible connections with Al-Jazeera, the largest Arab television network. 'We certainly are not thinking about going to Qatar to create American media, but we are deeply committed to a free press.'" The Daily Northwestern, 9 April 2007.

Different channels, different takes on Iran's detention of British military personnel.

Posted: 08 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Once the freed Britons gave a news conference Friday, CNN International, BBC World and Fox News began covering their revelations vociferously. CNN went live to a correspondent who began interviewing the released sailors after their news conference. ... Although Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera channels started their news bulletins Friday with reports of the Britons' news conference, they didn't spend much time on analysis. Producers juxtaposed the warm handshakes the sailors shared with Ahmadinejad two days earlier and their latest statements." Los Angles Times, 8 April 2007.

Syria in the news, from two different angles.

Posted: 08 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria "was most notable for its positive contribution to U.S. public diplomacy, so desperately needed in the Arab world. For example, bringing Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress and Nick Rahall, the dean of the Arab American delegation in Congress sent positive messages of inclusion." James Zogby, Huffington Post, 7 April 2007. "Syria should end the trial of human rights activist Kamal al-Labwani by releasing him and dismissing the politically motivated charges. ... Syrian security forces arrested Labwani on November 8, 2005 upon his return from a two-month trip to Europe and the United States where he met with government officials, journalists, and human rights organizations. He also appeared on Al-Mustaqilla and Al-Hurra television, calling upon the Syrian government to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights." Human Rights Watch, 7 April 2007.

DW-TV could lose its spot next to the UFO show on Wisconsin cable television.

Posted: 08 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Hudson/North Hudson Community Access Television ... is threatened by proposed legislation that would reduce funding for local cable access channels and increase their costs. ... Non-commercial, satellite programming dominates the channel’s daytime schedule. It includes the popular English-language Deutsche Welle show from Germany (described as a German CNN), Classic Art Showcase, NASA news and the new 'UFOs and the Paranormal.'"

You won't hear this on China Radio International.

Posted: 08 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Indian journal examines China's internet censorship, and attempted solutions. "On December 21, 2005, the UN, OSCE and OAS special mandates on freedom of expression called on internet corporations to 'work together to resist official attempts to control or restrict the use of the internet.' However, no one knows what happened to the initiative, as censorship grew by leaps and bounds since then, and continues to do so." Priyanka Pradhan, Tech2.com India, 8 April 2007.

Do we have enough Arabic television channels yet?

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The European Commission has given the green light to an Arabic-language version of pan-European news channel EuroNews in a bid to boost ties with the Arab and Muslim world. ... The EC is poised to provide a grant of €5 million ($6.7 million) a year for the Arabic service to join the seven other languages offered by EuroNews. ... Because it is broadcast in seven languages -- English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish -- EuroNews often has no on-screen anchors but rather uses voice-over narration to accompany the news footage." Hollywood Reporter, 5 April 2007. See previous post about EuroNews.

Funding for Zimbabwe's new shortwave broadcaster.

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Government has availed $8,9 billion [Zimbabwean dollars] for the new Gweru-based shortwave radio station that is scheduled to start broadcasting soon, Information and Publicity Minister Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said yesterday. He said the radio station, which would fall under the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, would start airing before this year's independence celebrations on April 18 and would be telling the true Zimbabwean story to local audiences and those abroad. ... The minister said Zimbabwe was under siege in light of the hostile international media, hence the need for it to tell its true story to the outside world." Meanwhile, Iran is providing five million Euros for the digitalization of Zimbabwe government radio and television studios. The Herald (Harare), 6 April 2007. The shortwave station "will go on air before 18 April" and "is being partly funded by the Iranian government." BBC News, 6 April 2007.

Psyops drones (but, in this case, "drones" is a noun, not a verb)

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"US Special Operations Command-sponsored Global Observer joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD) programme using the company’s Global Observer hydrogen-powered UAV will include assessment of psychological operations roles for high-altitude long-endurance platforms. The Global Observer JCTD psyops element will be based on the use of broadcast technologies from altitude." Flightglobal.com, 4 April 2007. "Polish aircraft dropped leaflets over [Diwaniya, Iraq] ordering local police officers to stay home, warning that anyone who went out with a weapon will be considered a target." Gulf News, 7 April 2007.

How to get to the top through a job in public diplomacy.

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The World Bank's employee organisation has questioned the promotion and pay rise of a female staffer it says is involved with bank president Paul Wolfowitz. ... In its latest protest, the staff association said Ms Riza was assigned by the bank to the US State Department to avoid a conflict of interest — when one partner supervises another. She remained on the bank's payroll, which is common practice for those on bank external assignment, while she has worked in the office of Karen Hughes, who oversees public diplomacy efforts for the State Department." Reuters, 7 April 2007. See also The Huffington Post, 4 April 2007.

John Bolton interview on Alhurra in the news.

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"'With all due respect to the King, it's a mistake to characterise the US presence in Iraq as illegal,' Bolton said in an interview with the US-based Arabic language Al-Hurra television station." AFP, 6 April 2007. "The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has said that Tehran's initiative to pardon the British Royal Navy crew members has given Iran a 'double victory.' ... Iran was able to gauge Britain's resolve in response to the incident, Bolton has told the Arabic-language television network of Alhurra, as reported by AFP." Iran's new English-language news channel Press TV, 6 April 2007.

Two (updated: three) very different views about Aljazeera.

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Author Hugh Miles: "Al-Jazeera has been called a 'terrorist network' or 'the voice of (Osama) bin Laden', but this just demonstrates deep ignorance of its history and the channel," Hugh Miles, InterPress Service, 5 April 2007. "With the advent of Al-Jazeera English, the channel wants to stir up and inflame the Arabs and Muslims who don't speak Arabic. It desperately wants a foothold inside the U.S. All major U.S. satellite and cable providers had been refusing to give Al-Jazeera English this outpost on American soil. It was the patriotic thing to do." Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media, 3 April 2007. See previous post on Aljazeera English on cable in Toledo. Update: "Al-Jazeera English could be a way to bring moderate Muslims to see our point of view and give American viewers a different viewpoint. I'm sure there are many Americans who would not suffer from a different point of view than what we see on American news." Mike Belkofer, letter to Sandusky Register, 6 April 2007.

The dangerous profession of international broadcasting.

Posted: 06 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Khamail Khalaf, a correspondent in Iraq with RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, was found dead 5 April in Baghdad. She "had been missing for the past two days amid fears she had been kidnapped." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 5 April 2007. See also Committee to Protect Journalists, 5 April 2007. "Khamel Mohsin, who was well-known to Iraqis as a TV and radio presenter during the Saddam Hussein era, was kidnapped by gunmen as she left her office in the university district on 3 April. Her body was found the next day. She had worked for Radio Sawa since Saddam’s removal." Reporters sans frontières, 6 April 2007.

International and clandestine broadcasting during the Falklands war.

Posted: 05 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio Atlantico del Sur ... was operated by British intelligence, and used a transmitter on Ascension Island that normally carried BBC World Service programmes, much to the annoyance of the BBC." Radio Netherlands Media Network, 5 April 2007. I played my own recordings of broadcasts from the 1982 war on VOA's Talk to America, 5 April. Audio available at TTA web page. Listen during the second half of the program. See previous post about same subject.

VOA interview cited as evidence of U.S. support for Baluchi group's raids in Iran.

Posted: 05 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
The speaker of Iran's parliament says, "'There is no doubt in our minds that the United States spares no effort to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The best indication of United States' support to a particular terrorist group is that one of the leaders of this terrorist group was given the opportunity to speak on VoA after committing the crime,' ... referring to a Voice of America radio broadcast after an unspecified attack." Reuters, 5 April 2007. "In fact, Voice of America (VOA), a U.S. government agency, aired a live phone interview with Righi on its Persian-language service April 1, introducing him as the 'leader of the Iranian people's resistance movement.' VOA's decision to provide [Baluchi leader Abdolmalek] Righi a platform to air Balochi grievances has raised further suspicions about U.S. involvement with the group." Stratfor, 4 April 2007. See also ABC News, 3 April 2007. See also Iran's Press TV report critical of VOA Persian.

Difficult lesson, indeed.

Posted: 05 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Interview with Richard Sambrook, BBC's Director of Global News: "The difficult lesson for governments is that a really strong, credible, trusted broadcasting voice depends upon being editorially independent. The fact that Al Hurra is widely seen as simply a voice of the US administration illustrates the importance of clear independence. That can be frustrating for governments who want to harness the power of broadcasting to support their policies and interests. Fortunately in the UK, we have had successive governments who have clearly recognized and supported that approach, and the success of the BBC World Service on which to build." followthemedia.com. 4 April 2007. New chairman of BBC Trust Sir Michael Lyons pledges to "safeguard the BBC's editorial independence and ensure that it is impartial, never allowing any individual, organisation or body of opinion to gain too much influence." BBC Trust press release, 5 April 2007. See another BBC Trust press release, 5 April 2007.

The metamorphosis of WorldSpace investors.

Posted: 04 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Investors who once swarmed like flies over WorldSpace (WRSP) are now swarming like angry wasps. When the satellite radio provider went public in August 2005, it priced at 21 and rose to 26 in the first week. Now it trades below 4. And the only ones having fun are the lawyers filing shareholder suits." Investors Business Daily, 2 April 2007. Third law firm gets in on the class-action action. Law Offices of Howard G. Smith press release, 31 March 2007. See previous post about same subject.

Indian author of book about psyops bowls a googly.

Posted: 04 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Review of Arunkumar Bhatt, Psychological Warfare in India. "The author bowls a googly when he asserts that the Bhagavad Gita while embodying Indian philosophy and culture 'is also an excellent piece of Psychological Warfare'. He adds provocatively but correctly: 'The present India society ... is prone to pacifist thought to a fault.'" The Hindu, 3 April 2007.

Just wait: the U.S. audience will *demand* the return of Benny Hill.

Posted: 04 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"BBC America is replacing shows like Benny Hill and 'Allo, 'Allo with more modern programming. ...
News coverage will also become more of a focus with BBC World News airing a three-hour news block every weekday morning and weekday nights." Digital Spy, 3 April 2007. New program themes include "Murder Monday," "Tuesday Nitro," "Wicked Wednesday," etc. The Hollywood Reporter, 3 April 2007. The "bug" is now smaller and in the lower right screen. Multichannel News, 2 April 2007.

Will Libya purchase Africa No. 1?

Posted: 04 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
Report that Libya may purchase the Gabon based commercial international broadcaster, partly to counter Chinese influence in Africa. Report is no longer accessible at Centrafique Presse, 2 April 2007, but before it disappeared I did get this translation via Altavista Babel Fish. Inaugurated in 1979, Africa No. 1 was a very popular pan-African French-language station, with its five 500-kilowatt shortwave transmitters. The station now also has FM relays in some African capitals. Its influence has declined in the face of increased domestic competition in most francophone African nations.

Alhurra has adverts?

Posted: 04 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"There are two adverts on Arabic TV that illustrate the difficulties of the Arab League, which held its annual summit last week. The first ad, most often aired on the US-run TV station al-Hurra, is a call to report terrorist activity: it features a determined looking man striding into a crowded marketplace, watched by a small boy. The boy and the man lock eyes. Moments later, in the middle of the crowd, the man throws open his jacket to reveal explosives and blows himself up. When you need to run adverts warning people about suicide bombers, you know your country is in trouble." Faisal al Yafai, Comment Is Free, The Guardian, 2 April 2007.

More broadcasting memories of the Falklands war.

Posted: 02 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Back in 1982 I was a BBC journalist and also an amateur radio operator - I still am. That means I have a call-sign - G3UML - and some expertise in long-distance short-wave communications. At the very end of March, 1982, I was working on the Golan Heights, hearing on the BBC World Service a bizarre story about Argentine scrap metal merchants taking over the British dependency of South Georgia." Laurie Margolis, BBC News, 2 April 2007. Aljazeera goes to the Falkland Islands to cover the war anniversary. Aljazeera.net, 1 April 2007. Hear excerpts of Falkland War international broadcasts at On the shortwaves.com. See previous post about the same subject.

Two cheers for the Voice of America.

Posted: 02 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"It appears that BBG has traded carefully targeted audiences of foreign opinion-leaders and policymakers for mass audiences of young people who want to listen to the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake when many commercial broadcasters are serving up the same fare 24/7." Former VOA official Guy W. Farmer, Nevada Appaeal, 1 April 2007. "VOA broadcasts are one of the most effective, biggest-bang-for-the-buck tools in our arsenal to propagate democratic ideals. ... We hope to roll back the VOA cuts and increase assistance for democracy promotion." Representative Alcee Hastings, Freedom House, 12 March 2007.

Frontline looks at Arab media (Update: video now available).

Posted: 02 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
PBS "Frontline" on 27 March will look at Aljazeera and the new Arab media. Frontline website. This is the fourth and final installment of the "News War" series on Frontline. "It's probably hard to make really snazzy TV out of something as abstract as a 'war of ideas,' and 'Frontline' will win no awards for compelling imagery here." Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 27 March 2007. Update: The video stream of the documentary is now available at the Frontline website.

Arab television channels affected by "invisible money"?

Posted: 02 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
According to Jordanian publisher, "If you own a media outlet that is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year but it continues to operate normally then you have no right to refer to your organization as 'independent'. 'You are being subsidized; you are being financed by somebody, and you are going to do what that financier tells you. ... Aljazeera keeps losing 100 to 120 million dollars every year, and this is going to jump to 200 million a year with the English [channel]. Alarabiya as well, they keep losing money. This is all invisible money.'" International Journalists' Network, 2 April 2007. BBC World Service is "subsidized," but it manages to retain its independence. Unlike the Arab channels, however, the source of World Service funding, i.e. Foreign Office, is documented.

Deutsche Welle Arabic increases from three to eight hours per day.

Posted: 02 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Arabic news desk with 30 staff is located in Berlin. DW also provides radio and online news in Arabic. ... DW-TV news included the topic of how Muslims fared in Germany's mainly Christian society, reporting on controversies such as opposition to head-scarves." DPA, 2 April 2007. "The expanded programming will also include Arabic subtitled feature shows and documentaries." Deutsche Welle, 1 April 2007.

The new Arabic international channels: quantity or quality?

Posted: 02 Apr 2007   Print   Send a link
"Perhaps Arab viewers are in need of a different language than what they have become accustomed to on their satellite channels. Alhurra channel’s experience was not an encouraging one, as it was overshadowed by the official US political position, which interfered in the choice of channels on more than one level – in spite of the significant and professional attempts made by some of the channel’s staff. As for Deutsche Welle, it remained ensnared in the role of interpreter into the Arabic language that it couldn't transcend that to reach the rank of a channel able to professionally and uniquely address issues of concern to the Arab viewer. Without a doubt the launch of France 24, to be followed by BBC’s Arabic Service channel, are matters that warrant thought, reflection and hoping that these channels could introduce a new language that is different from those that Arab viewers have become accustomed to on Arab satellite channels." Diana Mukkaled, Asharq Alawsat, 2 April 2007.

Radio Sawa in reverse.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Recording entrepreneur Miles Copeland: "I got a call from the Pentagon asking me how to win hearts and minds in the Arab world. They'd [sic] started a radio station, Radio Sawa (Arabic for 'together'). They'd play an Arab song, then an American song, but it was programmed the way they program stations here. Anything they did that was clever, the Arab stations copied and did better, and as soon as people knew (the station) was American, they stopped listening. But at least they made an attempt.' Copeland's answer to Radio Sawa is his show for XM Satellite Radio's Channel 29, 'The Kasbah After Dark With Miles Copeland.' It's the first radio show in the United States dedicated to Arab music." J. Poet, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 April 2007.

The BBC in New Zealand, 14 years ago.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"In 1993 when Alan Gibbs ran [the] BBC World Service [affiliate] in Auckland, reports filtered back to the BBC in London that a bunch of renegades in the colonies were hijacking the World Service to run right-wing radio - which we were, of course. So the Beeb sent out a delegation of two to listen and observe for five days. In that week Lindsay Perigo interviewed only lefties... . It worked. The inspectors flew back to London happy that their radio was safe in balanced hands. But on the Friday we received a fax from a plaintive listener, asking, 'Can we please have our radio station back now?'" Deborah Coddington, New Zealand Herald, 1 April 2007.

The BBC and the Falklands War, 25 years ago.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Reporter for the Observer, imprisoned by Argentina: "We were allowed to watch local television, which issued regular bulletins. But they were mostly fantasy. The three of us also had a short-wave radio, on which we could pick up the BBC World Service. The radio was confiscated along with the rest of our belongings when General Belgrano was sunk. The ship had sailed from Ushuaia, so feeling against us ran high in the town. But the prison staff were also keen to know what was happening in the war, and finally gave us back the radio. In the mornings they would come to the cell and ask what the BBC was saying." Ian Mather, The Scotsman, 1 April 2007. "Reception of the BBC World Service was impossible during the day, but around 2am it was boosted by a relay station on Ascension Island. The only mistake the BBC made was to use a Spanish-speaking announcer with a Mexican accent, which was widely ridiculed by the Argentines. The prison guards were curious to know what the BBC was saying about the war. Usually, their first question in the morning was, 'What does the BBC say?'" Ian Mather, The Observer, 1 April 2007. "Colonel Herbert Jones suggested that details contained in certain BBC World Service news bulletins put British troops in such danger that those responsible for them should be prosecuted for treason. (Jones was killed in the battle of Goose Green on May 28, 1982.)" Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 1 April 2007. "Much has been made about the way the US helped with intelligence. But, as the BBC's radio voice on the frontline, I must say I saw very little of this, as the general intelligence on the exact disposition of the Argentinians, and why they invaded the Malvinas/Falklands in the first place, seemed less than profound. The only Americans I came across were US mercenaries serving as snipers with one of the Argentinian infantry battalions." Robert Fox, New Zealand Herald, 1 April 2007. Radio amateur in the Falklands: "'Because we are so isolated down here a lot of people have radios, but they ordered everyone to take their masts down. It was made very clear that anyone who used their radio would be shot.' Radio fanatic Tony duly dismantled his main broadcast mast. But out of sight, he cunningly erected a makeshift aerial using wire strung between two poles." Sunday Mirror, 1 April 2007.

France 24 Arabic announces launch with cocktails in Dubai (updated).

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Since the new France 24 Arabic channel is the only one of its kind, we will strive to be an independent news channel with an objective overview of all conflicts keeping our coverage at an equal distance of all parties, with respect to their views and opinions. This will help us built trust between our station and our Arab viewers." Press release via AMEInfo, 29 March 2007. "The new service, which France 24 hopes will be helped by the generally positive Arab reaction to Chirac's strong opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, comes at a sensitive time for the station with the arrival of a new president in May." EiTB, 30 March 2007. "There has been growing speculation that the next president will overhaul the various French international broadcasters after the election in May and merge the services of France 24 and Radio France Internationale." Reuters, 31 March 2007. Update: "The Arab news market, says Al Arabiya's Al Rashid, is 'huge' and is yet to reach capacity. 'We have a population of 300 million people. The market can certainly take more news channels,' he says, but warns it is an 'expensive game' in which gaining credibility should be the number one priority." Gulf News, 1 April 2007. See previous post on same subject.