The goal is to make freedom-loving people love freedom.

Posted: 30 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Jim Glassman, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, described ... the challenges of effectively countering propaganda while maintaining the values of a free society, yet remained optimistic that the right American efforts would impact 'freedom-loving people' throughout the Muslim world." Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, 29 August 2007.

A remarkable relay host for VOA.

Posted: 30 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Remarkably, other than the Voice of America relay transmitter station that broadcasts to most of Africa, the United States does not maintain a permanent official presence in São Tomé and Príncipe: the ambassador in Gabon is concurrently accredited to the island state and makes occasional visits. Fortunately for U.S. interests, unlike other geostrategically important and resource-rich countries, this absence of an American presence has not resulted in the People's Republic of China (PRC) filling in the vacuum. As it happens, São Tomé and Príncipe is one of only five African countries (the others are Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Malawi, and Swaziland) to have maintained diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan, perhaps not so coincidentally another island nation that has escaped the plagues of the mainland nearby." World Defense Review, 30 August 2007.

London taxis promote Aljazeera.

Posted: 30 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Twenty London taxis completely branded 'Al Jazeera' have been attracting tourists and Londoners alike this summer as the taxis travel the streets of one of the world's major cities. ... The logo and Al Jazeera English colour palette are prominent and onlookers are directed to where they can view the English Channel on Sky 514." The Peninsula, 30 August 2007.

Another global English-language channel.

Posted: 30 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Vladimir Sloutsker, A Russian businessman and politician, is planning to launch a 24-hour English-language channel next year, aimed at a global Jewish audience. ... The channel is expected to launch early next year and will initially run as a news channel, but also with programming devoted to the political, economic, social, cultural and religious lives of Jewish communities in different countries. ... He denied that it would broadcast propaganda, pointing out that if the venture was to be commercially successful, it would have to be objective and independent." Brand Republic, 30 August 2007.

DW editors get second source for report that Germans are friendly.

Posted: 30 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Editors at the Deutsche Welle were more than a little surprised recently when another type of Welle (wave) consisting of three or four letters poured into their offices praising the politeness, generosity and even friendliness of their fellow countrymen. Immediately suspicious as to the authenticity of these letters, investigative reports Bodo Holtzwart and Karl Bernstein quickly delved into the matter and soon discovered that the Germans in question only behaved this way when thoroughly smashed to the gills. 'I mean what was that?' asked an incredulous Holtzwart when commenting about the juvenile hoax. 'You could smell that one from 1.6 kilometers away. We’re not playing in the sandbox here, people. This is the friggin’ Deutsche Welle. And if we don’t know what Germans are really like, who does?'" Blogger News Network, 29 August 2007. University of West Florida's WUWF-TV is an outlet for DW-TV. Pensacola News Journal, 30 August 2007.

IPTV service in Spain includes dub/no-dub switch.

Posted: 30 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Imagenio service was commenced as a pilot project in Alicante and is gradually being extended across Spain. It includes English language channels such as CNN International and BBC World. An innovative feature enables the viewer to switch instantly from the dubbed Spanish versions of foreign-made programs to the original language version. This facility is available for digital channels such as TCM, Calle 13 and Fox." broadcastbuyer, 30 August 2007.

Karen Hughes for President? (updated)

Posted: 29 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Jean Johnson Phillips, co-chairwoman of Bush's 2005 presidential inaugural ... said Hughes has the energy and grace 'to even be president someday.' Hughes couldn't speak quickly enough. 'Let me dash that rumor right now,' she said with a laugh. 'I'm not interested.'" Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 26 August 2007. Hughes: "People overseas ... tend to base their opinions of America based on what they perceive Americans think about them. They worry that we don't listen or respect them." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 21 August 2007. "Q: Do you think your forceful personality helps or hurts you in the role of a diplomat? Hughes: That's a good question. I am who I am, and you can't fake being who you are. I think in some ways it helps me engage. I think it helps me engage with children, with people who sometimes might be intimidated by a U.S. government official. But I think it cuts both ways. There are probably times when people look at me and say, 'Who's this loud woman in this quiet meeting?' But I try to act appropriately. I try to behave. Q: Is there anything you wish you could do over? Hughes: I think there were a lot of mistakes in the way my first trip (to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) was structured. There was a lot of media interest, and we thought we should take the media on the first trip. I think in hindsight, I should have done a totally low-key first trip, behind the scenes, meeting with people. Not because it wasn't good to have the journalists along. It was fine, but it led to the sense that somehow me traveling to the Middle East was going to make an immediate change in the perception of the Middle East toward our country." Houston Chronicle, 19 August 2007. Update: "I believe, and I believe my fellow colleagues on the Broadcasting Board of Governors believe, with our new chairman Jim Glassman, that we should provide a platform for debate for those democracy advocates, for example in the Middle East, to have a venue to get on our airwaves and to have a debate and to talk about improvements they want to make in their societies and their countries." Council on Foreign Relations, 28 August 2007.

Radio Sawa scoop on detained Iranian officials?

Posted: 29 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Internet site of Radio Sawa, an Arabic language station financed by the United States, said Iranian officials were detained and taken to an unknown location. It said the Iranian delegation was in Baghdad to negotiate contracts on electric power stations. An Iranian diplomat told the AP that the Iranian Embassy had notified Iraqi authorities about the Radio Sawa report. The diplomat refused to give his name." AP, 29 August 2007. But a later rewrite of the AP story appears to omit mention of Radio Sawa, e.g. via Washington Post, 29 August 2007. BBC World coverage, showing juxtaposition to President Bush's comments about Iran. Via The Raw Story, 29 August 2007.

So when VOA English is gone, viewers worldwide can watch "Main Street USA" on Aljazeera English.

Posted: 29 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Visit the Al Jazeera English section on YouTube to watch 'Main Street USA,' a new travelogue with distinctive stories about our country … aimed mainly at a viewership outside our borders. Dave Marash, formerly of 'Nightline,' takes us to the Cabrini-Green projects of Chicago in this week’s first installment of the series, produced for the audience of the best cable news channel you can’t get on cable." Aaron Barnhart, Kansas City Star TV Barn blog, 28 August 2007.

International broadcasts to Burma are in the thick of it (updated).

Posted: 29 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
On 25 August, the Burmese military junta arrested social activist Htin Kyaw. "The Burmese-language services of the BBC, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America had carried an interview with Htin Kyaw on Friday night in which he said he was secretly organising a big demonstration and urged students and Buddhist monks to join in." Reuters, 26 August 2007. "Antiregime shortwave radio stations have been broadcasting foreign coverage of events into Burma, boosting the morale of people who are otherwise largely cut off from the outside world." Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 24 August 2007. Update: "As the sun sets and darkness descends on a town that rarely has electricity, people huddle around ancient radio sets to tune in to Burmese-language broadcasts on the BBC or Radio Free Asia, funded by the U.S. government. The junta-controlled state media are disregarded. 'Myanmar radio is just pop singers and lies.'" Reuters, 28 August 2007.

New use for an underused shortwave broadcast band?

Posted: 29 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) "applied in the 25.67-26.1 MHz international band, represents a powerful combination for reaching domestic listeners in U.S. cities and towns, campuses, entire states or the whole nation. This little-used frequency band is less than one-half of one megahertz in size. It could support hundreds of new radio stations if DRM is utilized." 26MHz.us

Towards a new U.S. Ideas Agency. (But whose ideas?)

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Diplomacy and public diplomacy often conflict. Diplomacy deals in government to government contacts. It may at times require support for an authoritarian regime, while at the same time public diplomacy may be cultivating support for democracy in that country. The State Department does not, and should not be expected to, give priority to public diplomacy. The State Department should concentrate on the implementation of the broad range of the president's policies. Public diplomacy should concentrate on the longer-range goal of winning the war of ideas. We need a central U.S. government institution within which policy, personnel, and budget can be deployed coherently to implement a multifaceted strategy to fight the war of ideas over an extended period of time. Without it, the U.S. will remain largely absent from the field. In this time of crisis, a new USIA-like organization should be created that can articulate and promulgate American ideals to the world and counter hostile propaganda. This new cabinet-level communications agency, independent of the State Department, the Defense Department, and the CIA, could maintain a strategic focus on aiding Muslim liberals and moderates, and not get lost in daily 'spin' control. It would be staffed by people who know substantively what the 'war of ideas' is about and have the regional expertise to operate across the Muslim world and in other vital regions. Its director should report to the president." Former VOA director Robert R. Reilly, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2007. So the United States would have two foreign policies, one public, one private, often clashing. Mr. Reilly favors a centrally-planned rather than market-based U.S. international broadcasting effort, putting it under this "new USIA-like organization." But listeners tune to VOA mainly to get news that is more reliable than what they get from their state-controlled domestic media. Credibility is therefore the be-all and end-all. It is achieved only by independence from USIA-like organizations. So whither U.S. international broadcasting? It depends on whether we want it to have an audience, or not. Another former VOA director, Chase Untermeyer, who served during the administration of George H.W. Bush, is finishing three years at ambassador to Qatar. He dismissed speculation that he would become chancellor-president of the University of Houston, but instead "will represent an international real estate investment firm in the United States and a Qatari bank in Houston." San Antonio Express-News, 19 August 2007.

A more in-your-face VOA?

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"VOA's message is muffled, as if the US itself were merely a spectator in the global war of beliefs. Simply quoting American officials without providing a more robust context for their comments is insufficient to explain US foreign policy to global audiences. It is a detached, achromatic approach that risks conveying neutrality. But the US cannot afford to be neutral for the sake of appearing impartial. What is needed is a more forceful, clear, and compelling articulation of US policy. VOA's editorial approach appears to be influenced by fear – fear that it may say something provocative, fear that it may seem heavy-handed, fear that its journalistic integrity and credibility may suffer, fear that it may be seen as a propaganda outlet for an administration that is increasingly disliked by the audiences it targets." David J. Trachtenberg, Christian Science Monitor, 23 August 2007. The editorials on VOA are vetted by the State Department, and are thus "diplomatic" in their wording. Would Mr. Trachtenberg have VOA editorials step a bit beyond, and clash with, U.S. foreign policy? In any case, it depends on who the audience is. If the "audience" is really members of Congress and commentators in the United States, such an approach might make sense. But if VOA is to be more than an obligatory international mouthpiece, with the real intention of attracting an audience abroad, then it must continue to concentrate on what that audience wants: news that is more credible than they get from their state-controlled domestic media.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush on VOA, not reading the news.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"As the United States neared the end of the war, then-President George H.W. Bush went on Voice of America radio and called for the Iraqi people to rise up. 'There is another way for the bloodshed to stop,' the elder Mr. Bush said, 'and that is for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside and then comply with the United Nations' resolutions and rejoin the family of peace-loving nations.'" McClatchy Newspapers, 25 August 2007.

Not the same old jazz: memories of Ernest Tubb, Elvis Presley on VOA.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"For the legions of country music fans in Poland, idealized images of the American West represent freedom. Michael Lonstar fondly remembers hearing Ernest Tubb on Voice of America radio as a boy growing up behind the Iron Curtain." From review of PBS's “The Anti-Americans,” New York Times, 26 August 2007. "I think back in the 1950s Turkey was probably influenced by Elvis through NATO and Voice of America." Today's Zaman, 20 August 2007. Elvis Mohammed "said that his father was an Elvis Presley fan from the 1950s onward and, although Elvis music was prohibited in Albania during those times, his father listened to short wave radio, picked up the sounds of Elvis and became a fan. He said he decided to name his son Elvis because of his love for the music of Elvis Presley and the fact that Elvis represented freedom to him." Arab News, 24 August 2007.

VOA to Zimbabwe expands.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Zimbabwe Project at the Voice of America (VOA) is expanding its Studio 7 broadcasts to Zimbabwe with the addition of one-hour programs on Saturday and Sunday, bolstering its existing schedule of 90-minute evening broadcasts Monday through Friday in response to the country's deepening crisis, upcoming elections and state jamming of VOA signals." VOA press release, 17 August 2007.

TV Martí is an issue in presidential politics.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Hillary Clinton and John McCain favor more funding. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp blog, 26 August 2007. But Barack Obama spokesman Jen Psaki "said he thinks that funding for TV Marti -- routinely jammed by the Castro regime -- would be better spent on other democratic ventures. 'Ultimately, this election is a choice between staying with the failed policies of the past and the Bush administration or turning the page and taking a new approach to global diplomacy.'" Miami Herald, 22 August 2007.

RFE/RL's role in Iraqi/Czech legal squabble.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, former Iraqi diplomat in the Czech Republic and Iraq intelligence agent, allegedly wants to sue the Czech Republic whose secret services labelled him as a collaborator of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Saturday. ... It was also speculated that Ani was preparing an attack on Radio Free Europe (Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) whose Prague seat he allegedly photographed." CTK, 20 August 2007.

New charge against Radio Farda broadcaster.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"A lawyer for Radio Farda broadcaster Parnaz Azima, who has been trapped in Iran since January, says Azima is now facing a charge of acting against Iran's national security by working for the U.S.-funded broadcaster. Azima was already facing charges of working with Radio Farda and spreading propaganda against the Iranian state." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News, 27 August 2007. "My grandchild will be born soon in the United States and I wish I could be there to experience this."
RFE/RL News, 27 August 2007.

In Nigeria, too, politicians support international broadcasting.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Nigerian journalist/politician says: "The Voice of Nigeria (VON), which is supposed to be the Nigerian version of Voice of America (VOA) is under-funded and we don’t engage in commercial broadcasting because it’s solely government funded. And because we are under-funded, we can’t do most of the things we would want to do. The Voice of Nigeria is supposed to have offices everywhere, so that we can tell the world what is going on in Nigeria. We allow other people to tell our story the way they deem fit." Daily Sun (Lagos), 22 August 2007.

More praise for BBC World Service, at the expense of its competitors.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"For most of those decades, the reports of the BBC's India bureau chief Mark Tully were often seen as closer to the whole truth. 'Crushed beneath the boastful banalities of state-controlled radio and television, propaganda from the Voice of America and Radio Moscow's barefaced lies, we could turn only to the BBC World Service for the truth, and the truth as we saw it then came from the mouth of Tully,' recalled the writer Firdaus Kanga in 1995. In times of political crisis, Indians preferred to tune in to the BBC to confirm or refute rumours and to understand what had happened." Chandrahas Choudhury, The Scotsman, 20 August 2007.

MEMRITV website redesigned.

Posted: 28 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Established in 2004 with the aim of monitoring and translating excerpts from the 100 most important TV channels in the Middle East and Iran, the MEMRI TV Project is the only body in the world - non-profit or governmental - providing subtitled translations." Among the channels it monitors: Alhurra. MEMRI press release, 20 August 2007. Will it also monitor BBC Arabic?

Sambrook positions the new BBC Arabic channel, with aspersions to Alhurra and France 24.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"We have a strong brand [name] in the region based on the BBC Arabic radio service since the 1930s, in addition to our Arabic online service, which we are constantly modernizing. All our research suggests that our television will have a strong audience. However, I do not expect to match Al Arabiya or Al Jazeera for audience person-to-person. There are people who say that we are out to beat them, I am not… we are an international channel and a foreign broadcaster in the region, we need to understand that we will not match them person-to-person in terms of reach and share. What I do believe and what we are trying to do is to be one of the two or three channels people go to in order to find out what is going on, and offer a strong and valuable service to the region. ... I think that what distinguishes us is that while ‘Al Hurra’ is set out to give the American perspective of the world and ‘France 24’ is set out to do the same with the French perceptive, the BBC does not want to give the British government’s perspective of the world. We always said we were independent and impartial; it is true that we are a British broadcaster and inevitably there will be a British flavor to our work, but we always sought to give an international perspective and to have an international focus, not that of the British government. In the end, let us wait and see what happens when the channel is launched." Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC's Global News Division, interviewed by Asharq Alawsat, 21 August 2007.

Latest new medium for international television has "issues."

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Zattoo is regular TV played across a broadband connection. There is no time-shifting. They broadcast 24/7. The client is free to users... . In Switzerland, they are offering 52 channels including ZDF, TF1, Euronews and BBC World. It takes a minimum of 400kbps to receive. ... Business plan? They insert their own ads when you switch between channels." But there are obvious "rights issues." The Guardian organ grinder blog, 25 August 2007.

BBC still off the FM dial in Moscow.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"I would encourage Bolshoye Radio to allow the BBC World Service to continue broadcasting on the station’s airwaves and I would ask the authorities to do more to protect the right of the Russian people to receive a plurality of information from both national and international sources." Johann P. Fritz, director, International Press Institute, 20 August 2007. Head of BBC Russia says: "FM-frequency in Moscow was very important for us, as many radio listeners listened to the radio only for BBC news." Trend News Agency, 21 August 2007. "There is logic to the suspicion that FINAM wanted to abrogate the BBC agreement for financial reasons. The Russian authorities facilitated, perhaps to the point of finding the right buyer. ... The lesson for international broadcasters like the BBC and governments engaged in public diplomacy is simple: the cost has gone up. And there’s always the internet." Michael Hedges, followthemedia.com, 18 August 2007. Until the internet is blocked, which the Russian authorities are certainly cable of doing. Then there's always shortwave, which can be jammed, but at greater expense and difficulty." See previous post about same subject.

World Service apologizes -- in Urdu.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The BBC has been forced to issue an apology in Urdu and pay damages after publishing 'serious defamatory allegations' about a London man on its Urdu-language website. ... The BBC subsequently admitted it did not take steps to verify the allegations made by the man's estranged wife and accepted the piece should not have been published." Media Guardian, 22 August 2007.

Let others save the planet, then report on it.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Two of the BBC's most senior news and current affairs executives attacked the corporation's plans yesterday for a Comic Relief-style day of programming on environmental issues, saying it was not the broadcaster's job to preach to viewers. ... 'It is absolutely not the BBC's job to save the planet. I think there are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped.'" The Guardian, 27 August 2007. "One of the hallmarks of the BBC is that we put the facts before the people and let them reach their own conclusions -- we do not tell them what to think." Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC's Global News Division, interviewed by Asharq Alawsat, 21 August 2007.

An Irish channel on British tellys?

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The long road to bringing RTÉ to British television screens is reaching its most pivotal moment. Ireland’s national broadcaster has said the key decision on how it will be distributed across the water is now in the hands of the Irish Government and could become a reality by next year. ... 'We are not asking for something that doesn’t exist with other countries’ television stations. Most international television services are subsidised by government. It’s quite common in fact. I mean if you just think of BBC World Service on the radio and BBC World on television across the globe. You can also see TV5, which offers a service for the French abroad, and the German station Deutsche Welle. They all receive very substantial grants from governments. It’s just seen as part of making ex-pats feel an affinity with the country they left.'" Irish Post, 22 August 2007. BBC World is, at least in theory, self funding through commercial partnerships. In any case, elsewhere in Europe, it is common for cable systems to include channels from neighboring countries. So why has RTÉ not been on UK cable systems? It would probably draw a few viewers from UK as well as Irish expats.

International broadcasters make use of citizen journalists.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"International media such as BBC World Services and The New York Times are now able to broadcast and publish rare photographs and video clips of the oppression by the [Burmese] military regime, even in remote cities." The Irrawaddy, 28 August 2007. "CNN's i-Report has garnered more than 50,000 submissions from 189 countries and territories around the world, ranging from compelling to light-hearted to tragic to amazing. CNN's citizen journalism initiative now pulls in an average of about 7,000 i-Reports each month." Indiantelevision.com, 22 August 2007. Reports, audio excerpts, even pictures from listeners were a major part of my VOA program "Communications World," 1995-2002. "There is a clear anxiety that both parliament AND television are sliding into irrelevance, disappearing into the mists of history like the quill pen and the coffee house. ... The anxiety about irrelevance expresses itself in obsessions with the red button, with interactivity, fatuous opinion polls, podcasts, ‘multiplatform 360 degree programming’, etc, etc, we’ve all heard the jargon, even if we’re not entirely clear what some of it means. In the process, something’s gone wrong. We’ve got too interested in the way we deliver what we do, at the expense of what we deliver. We have become obsessed with how the copper wire is organised, and forgotten about the electricity." Jeremy Paxman, James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, BBC Newsnight website, 24 August 2007

Does foreign television promote feminism?

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"TV programs made in Western countries and now widely available in India via cable have also been influential. Shows like The Bold and the Beautiful, The Simpsons, Ugly Betty, My Name is Earl, Seinfeld and Friends are being broadcast on leading satellite channel, STAR India. Believe it or not, they might even be helping some of the world's poorest and most marginalised people have a better life." Matt Wade, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 August 2007.

Israel's new Persian-language website has an "out-of-target" audience.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"In response to the Iranian government's recent media war against Israel on satellite television and the Internet, Israel's Foreign Ministry last month launched its own offensive -- a Persian-language pro-Israel Web site. Although the site's first aim is to teach Persian-language readers about Israel, it also gives Iranians in Iran a different perspective on their own government's activities. And for all these reasons, the site, Hamdami.com -- Persian for 'camaraderie' -- is also of great interest to Los Angeles' large Iranian community." Jewish Journal, 24 August 2007.

Notes on the "netwar."

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The terrorists and other extremists associated with Al Qaeda and its affiliates ... have created a vast, detailed online presence, linked to a real–world presence in particular mosques and other centers of activity, that is tantamount to a globe–spanning realm of the mind. It upholds a set of spiritual values and ethics; it fosters a kindred community of believers (what Moslems call the umma); it is globally distributed and guardedly open; and it instructs adherents how to think and act." David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla, Wired blog network, 18 August 2007.

DRM chickens (transmitters) to beget eggs (receivers).

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"German international service Deutsche Welle has launched DRM transmissions to India of its English-language services. According to Peter Senger, director of DRM for Deutsche Welle and chairman of the DRM consortium, the commitment of the German international broadcaster shows that the DRM take-off in India is 'on the right track.' With the Indian government having decided to convert all medium- and shortwave transmitters to the DRM standard, Deutsche Welle programs are available in FM-like quality across much of the subcontinent." Radio World, 24 August 2007. DRM receivers on display at trade shows. Jura Forum, 20 August 2007. Canada might use DRM for AM stations. Audiophile Audition, 22 August 2007.

Hydrocarbons pay for international channels.

Posted: 27 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Though, in theory, the growth of cable television worldwide raised the prospect of ending the Anglo-American duopoly in 24-hour TV news, not much had happened due to the exorbitant cost of gathering and editing TV news. It was only the arrival of Al Jazeera English, funded by the hydrocarbon-rich emirate of Qatar -- with its declared policy of offering a global perspective from an Arab and Muslim angle -- that, in 2006, finally broke the long-established mold. Soon France 24 came on the air, broadcasting in English and French from a French viewpoint, followed in mid-2007 by the English-language Press TV, which aimed to provide an Iranian perspective. Russia was next in line for 24-hour TV news in English for the global audience. Meanwhile, spurred by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Telesur, a pan-Latin-American TV channel based in Caracas, began competing with CNN in Spanish for a mass audience. As with Qatar, so with Russia and Venezuela, the funding for these TV news ventures has come from soaring national hydrocarbon incomes -- a factor draining American hegemony not just in imagery but in reality." Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch.com, 20 August 2007. "The BBC. Of course, they're newsier than Fox, but they tend to run long, long features on the origins of genius and such. And while they do restrain themselves from giving too much coverage to Paris and Anna Nicole, they spend more time than you would think a serious news channel might on cricket and the Beckhams' move to America. I do, however, recommend Tom Brooks' Talking Movies show for any film buffs out there. And what of Al Jazeera in English? When it's not criticizing Israeli policy in Gaza, it's gotten just as puffy as everyone else. I just saw an interminable feature on the 25th anniversary of the compact disc that could have appeared on any other channel." Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post, 23 August 2007. "I was in Egypt, when I switched on BBC World to have reporting of the Nigerian elections interrupted with the words 'And we’re just getting some breaking news. It’s from Britain.' Oh my god, I thought, that’s happened. More bombs? Blair assassinated? The newsreader continued. 'Prince William and Kate Middleton have split up.'" Jeremy Paxman, James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, BBC Newsnight website, 24 August 2007.

BBG seeks cat herder.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
The Broadcasting Board of Governors has a vacancy for a new position: Director of Programming, responsible for "coordinating, developing and improving the broadcast programs of the BBG's broadcast entities, i.e., VOA, OCB, MBN, RFA, and RFE/RL. Oversees and coordinates the programming activities of the BBG's broadcast entities, including overseeing the development and implementation of joint programming efforts by BBG's broadcast entities in priority countries. ... Represents the Board with other international broadcasters and with the Departments of State and Defense, the National Security Council, other agencies and organizations and Congress." Vacancy announcement can be seen at the IBB Personnel web page.

Transcribing jazz from VOA, 50 years ago.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
In 1950s Poland: "Most musicians, [Polish-born jazz singer Grazyna] Auguscik says, depended on the Voice of America broadcasts that played jazz music for one hour each night. 'They didn't have the albums, notes or (music) books, so they listened to the VOA every night and they transcribed the music from the radio,' she says. 'Some guy transcribed the first four bars, and the next one took the next four bars.'" South Bend Tribune, 17 August 2007.

For all the baseball fans in the Arab World.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"U.S. State Department chiefs chose a novel way to publicize baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr.'s recent appointment as the country's special sports envoy. They went on YouTube. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who appears in the video, said it was part of her campaign to bring a positive image of the U.S. to a skeptical global audience -- particularly in the Muslim world. Children are a chief target." AP, 16 August 2007. "The State Department is launching what it says will be the first comprehensive public diplomacy effort targeting children, hoping to shape the views of Muslim youths ages 8 to 14 with a series of summer camps and enrichment programs designed to counter negative images of the United States." Boston Globe, 18 August 2007.

Closing Delano and its nine shortwave transmitters.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The International Broadcasting Bureau hopes to save about $1.8 million a year by closing its big VOA Delano shortwave facility, which occupies 800 California acres... . The facility has two major buildings, 23 shortwave antennas, seven 250 kW and two 50 kW shortwave transmitters." Radio World, 17 August 2007. Perhaps a more profitable use: "California's largest natural gas field may be lying under and by the City of Delano." Oil and Gas Online, 16 April 2001. See previous post about Delano.

Broadcasting back to Thailand, 65 years ago.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
In 1942, "the Free Thai Movement launched an underground campaign against the Japanese. MR Seni Pramoj, then Thai ambassador to Washington, led the movement in the US. 'We helped run a radio programme called 'This is America' aired via short-wave to people in Thailand.' ... The programme was a form of psychological war aimed at encouraging members of the movement who secretly fought against the Japanese." The Nation (Bangkok), 17 August 2007.

Evidence that shortwave listeners are no longer the target audience.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
American visiting Vancouver finds "the offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, which I listen to on shortwave radio all the time at home. I try to enter the building to see if there's a souvenir shop, but a guard throws me out -- the latest evidence we've encountered that not everyone in Canada is gentle and nice and overly welcoming." New Have Advocate, 16 August 2007. There was a nice CBC shop at the Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal. I don't know if it's still there. Tchotchkes are available at the online CBC Shop.

Shortwave anyone? BBC loses FM access in Russia.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The BBC World Service is no longer to be available in Russia on FM following a ruling from the country’s licensing authority. The World Service has been informed by the owners of Bolshoye Radio that BBC programming in Russian will no longer be broadcast on the station, as of this afternoon. This was the BBC Russian Service’s last FM distribution partner station in Russia. It follows two other FM partner stations ceasing to take BBC programmes over the last nine months." Press Gazette, 17 August 2007. "The authorities claim the station’s licence requires all programming to be produced by Bolshoye Radio itself. However, the BBC said the station is allowed to broadcast foreign-produced content. The BBC plans to appeal the decision." Evening Echo (Cork), 17 August 2007. Official of Bolshoye Radio parent company says: "It's no secret that the BBC was established as a broadcaster of foreign propaganda." AP, 17 August 2007. BBC still via medium wave in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Ekaterinburg. BBC World Service press release, 17 August 2007.

Impending cash flow problems -- or worse -- at WorldSpace?

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Pay-radio operator WorldSpace filed its SEC quarterly report on August 14, and the filing shows that its cash burn could quickly prove embarrassing. WorldSpace’s quarterly 10-Q filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission shows that the broadcaster has only $18.2m of cash available as at June 30, plus $40.7m of marketable securities." RapidTV News, 16 August 2007. "'If the company is unable to secure additional capital, it will be required to curtail its operations and if these measures fail, it may not be able to continue its business,' WorldSpace officials wrote." Radio World, 17 August 2007. See previous post about WorldSpace

Paid intermediaries arranging access to international channels?

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"There is a new kind of ‘tout’ accosting development and humanitarian agency officials at international meetings. These smart and well-heeled persons are not looking for a supply contract. In the age of spin, they are offering agencies ‘product placement’ -- in the globalised news media. 'I can get your agency on BBC World,' is a common claim. In some quarters now, Al Jazeera International (AJI) is also being mentioned. ... Some media outlets are harder to penetrate than others. CNN International regulations prevent access peddling by its staff or intermediaries." MediaChannel.org, 15 August 2007.

Some light reading on Australia's public diplomacy.

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Report of Australian Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade issues 260-page report, "Australia's public diplomacy: building our image." It calls for more awareness of Australia's public diplomacy efforts within Australia and for "long-term research into attitudes toward Australia by countries that are of significance to Australia." It also mentions Australia's international broadcasting: "The committee urges the government to continue to support Radio Australia and Australia Network especially in light of the increasing competition in the region and to ensure that Radio Australia remains well funded." Access to the report via Australian Senate website.

Broadband over power line and the future of shortwave (updated).

Posted: 17 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Let us first establish the correct terminology. The Americans call it broadband over power line (BPL). Some Europeans call it power line communication (PLC), but the official standards body, ETSI refers to it as power line telecommunication (PLT). ... [One vendor of PLT] successfully had the courts overthrow a regulation for outlawed PLT in Austria because of its HF radio spectrum inference potential. The regulation was overthrown, not because they could prove that PLT did not cause interference to the HF spectrum but because of a technicality that there was not enough consultation. The next step is probably in the lap of the regulatory authorities. One of the infuriating statements so often heard is 'why worry about interference to HF, the disadvantaged don’t listen to shortwave radio anyway' and another one 'PLT will bridge the digital divide'!" Hans van de Groenedaal, myadsl.co.za, 15 August 2007. Update: DirecTV will use BPL for a broadcasd service in the United Stated, but the technology will "avoid the HF ham bands." American Radio Relay League, 16 August 2007. I.e., too bad about the HF (shortwave) broadcast bands.

Karl Rove on international broadcasting.

Posted: 15 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Of all the subjects that Karl Rove really understands it will surprise many that international broadcasting is on the list. 'Is it surrogate broadcasting?' That’s the question Rove always asks when assessing international broadcasting — and in the end that question should provide the standard for what we do. The concept of surrogate broadcasting is deceptively simple. Through solid research and reporting, surrogate broadcasting provides totalitarian and authoritarian societies information they would enjoy if their countries had a free press. It’s not propaganda, dear to the hearts of so many émigré activists. It’s not a call to arms to resist tyranny associated with Radio Free Europe’s broadcasts that may have played a role in sparking the ‘56 Hungarian Revolution. Nor is it public diplomacy promoting the policies of the United States government, though this is an absolutely valid responsibility of a vital State Department component. We don’t need to spend the resources required for surrogate broadcasting for societies that already enjoy a free press." Kenneth Tomlinson, previous chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, via Extreme Mortman blog, 14 August 2007. Karl Rove is correct in that international broadcasting that provides news about the target country, where reliable news is not available domestically, has the largest audiences and the most impact. But RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia are not the only "surrogate" broadcasters. In theory, VOA is supposed to provide news about the United States and general world news. In practice, VOA provides a great deal of news about its target countries, because it must do so to attract an audience. BBC World Service is the world's most popular and influential surrogate broadcaster, though it never never uses that term to describe itself. Radio France International and Radio Australia are important regional surrogate broadcasters.

Refreshingly, more redundancy in U.S. international communications efforts headed off.

Posted: 15 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Congressional committees deny funds to Defense Department strategic communications proposals. "The Senate committee said the components of strategic communication -- public diplomacy, public affairs and information operations -- should be practiced separately. 'Any attempt to integrate them could compromise the integrity of each of these functions.'" Federal Computer Week, 14 August 2007.

BBC Monitoring considers the past, present, and future of shortwave.

Posted: 15 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"There is now a huge choice of information sources and platforms available in the developed world and these are also rapidly spreading into the developing world. The public in many countries have access to satellite radio, television and the internet. The number of states launching their own international television news channels also continues to grow. It is in the face of this increasing choice that shortwave radio listening in many parts of the world is declining." Analysis by Ian Liston-Smith, BBC Monitoring, via Monitoring Times Shortwave Central blog, 14 August 2007.

Evidence of effectiveness: VOA reporter makes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad laugh.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his first-ever visit to Afghanistan, calling Iran's eastern neighbor a 'brotherly nation' whose stability is paramount for the region. Asked if Iran is supplying weapons to the Taliban by a reporter from Voice of America, a U.S.-funded outlet, Ahmadinejad laughed and said the United States doesn't want Afghanistan and Iran to be friends." AP, 14 August 2007. See also VOA News, 14 August 2007.

Owner and broadcaster of Somalia's HornAfrik assassinated (updated).

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Ali Iman Sharmarke, owner of the HornAfrik Media Company, and Mahad Ahmed Elmi, who hosts a popular radio talk show for the same company" were assassinated 11 August in Mogadishu. "Two other journalists - one working for Reuters, the other for Voice of America - were in the car with Sharmarke and suffered light injuries, said Mohamed Ibrahim, a reporter in Mogadishu." AP, 11 August 2007. VOA reports story, but not does not mention the VOA reporter. VOA News, 11 August 2007. HornAfrik is a VOA affiliate and its FM outlet in Mogadishu. Two suspects arrested. Globe and Mail, 13 August 2007. Update: "We deeply regret and condemn the senseless murder of Ali Iman Sharmarke, a longtime friend of the Voice of America, and a courageous journalist committed to establishing a free press in his native Somalia. ... The Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Voice of America appeal to the government of Somalia to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice and to take substantive measures to protect its journalists and support free media." Statement by BBG chairman James K. Glassman and VOA director Danforth Austin, BBG, 14 August 2007. Same statement at voanews.com, 13 August 2007. "The international community has strongly condemned the murder of two broadcast journalists in Somalia." VOA News, 14 August 2007.

Refreshments will probably not be served.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy will meet on Wednesday, September 12, 2007, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon ... . The Commissioners plan to discuss the human resources dimension of the State Department’s public diplomacy programs and operations; and legislative branch-based public diplomacy programming." Press release, 14 August 2007.

Because you can't commit acts of terror while you're playing shortstop (updated).

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will announce Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. as a Special Sports Envoy to the Department of State." State Daprtment notice, 9 August 2007. "The State Department hopes that using sports and other public figures as envoys will stem a tide of suspicion over U.S. foreign policy goals, particularly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003." Reuters, 9 August 2007. Update: Karen Hughes: "We know young people around the world will look to Cal Ripken, Jr. and will say, 'Well, if he represents America, you know, that's a very positive message.'" State Department, 13 August 2007. "It's going to take a lot more than the Iron Man to repair America's image around the world." Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy blog, 13 August 2007.

More Cold War international broadcasting nostalgia (updated).

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"We need broadcasting into Iran in the fashion we used to do on Radio Free Europe during the Cold War into Eastern Europe." Former CIA director R. James Woolsey, interviewed by Kenneth R. Timmerman, NewsMax, 7 August 2007. New Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman James Glassman "can make his mark by not being merely a custodian for U.S. broadcasts abroad, but a catalyst for their refurbishment, enabling the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to attain their previous Cold War stature." Alvin Snyder, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 26 July 2007. Update: "We also need robust public diplomacy to build substantive ties with the world's Muslims. We need more scholarships, exchange programs and American libraries in Muslim countries, and more funding for the kind of outreach and international broadcasting that we used to reach across the Iron Curtain during the Cold War." Lee Hamilton, Indianapolis Star, 13 August 2007. "It is clear that we need to do a better job of explaining America's message and mission to the rest of the world, not by imposing our ideas on others but by appealing to their enlightened self-interest. To this end, the Voice of America program must be significantly strengthened and broadened. Its surrogate stations, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, which were so effective at inspiring grass-roots dissidents during the Cold War, must be expanded as well. Our entire approach to public diplomacy and strategic communications must be upgraded and extended, with a greater focus on new media such as the Internet." Rudy Giuliani, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2007.

Iran's soft power better than U.S. soft power? (updated)

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Iran has also improved its strategic position through the effective use of charities, social-services networks and public diplomacy. 'The U.S. is far superior to Iran in the sense" of military strength already, while 'Iran trumps Washington in the use of soft power,' says Emile El-Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at Washington's Henry L. Stimson Center." Wall Street Journal, 9 August 2007. Iran's international communications instruments, e.g. Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Arabic-language television channel Al-Alam, the English-language Press TV, are rather pedestrian. The real appeal of Iran in Arab communities is more likely its policies and pronouncements than its implementation of "soft power." Update: "The U.S. government has long been accused of botching public diplomacy in the Muslim world, where the United States is largely seen as an aggressive superpower more interested in dropping bombs than promoting democracy. Iran, on the other hand, has been bolstering its image not only by capitalizing on longstanding religious and economic ties, but also by contributing millions of dollars for the reconstruction of Lebanon and Afghanistan, as well as informal aid to Iraq." UPI, 14 August 2007.

BBC World Service audiences have a new controller.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Sanjay Nazerali is the new controller of marketing, communications and audiences for the BBC Global News division. "He will be responsible for building a single brand platform across the division and will lead teams across marketing, communications and audiences at BBC World Service, BBC World television, BBC Monitoring and its international online news services." MarketingWeek, 14 August 2007.

¿Es posible?

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Two journalists from BBC Mundo [BBC World Service Spanish section] decided to go on a road trip across the southern half of the United States. Their mission was to see if they could make the journey from Florida to L.A. speaking only Spanish. They have just completed their journey." KPBS, 13 August 2007.

The high cost of covering the Iraq war.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"As the war wears on, so too does the internal debate about the amount of money going to the Iraq coverage. No news organization is exempt; even CNN and the BBC, which have global infrastructures with bureaus in more foreign outposts than many western news organizations, continue to earmark a disproportionate amount of their budget to Iraq. 'The actual number of people that we have in Baghdad is relatively small,' says Jeremy Hillman, editor of BBC World. 'The amount of logistical support, of security that they need around them and even just getting them in and out [of the country] safely, it’s a massive investment and a significant percentage of what we spend on foreign news. It’s completely out of proportion with what we spend to send foreign correspondents to other places.' To curb costs, competing news organizations coordinate on security issues and share expenses." Broadcasting & Cable, 13 August 2007.

Will voice recognition, via shortwave, identify abductee?

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"A private organization investigating missing Japanese who might have been abducted to North Korea said it is examining the voice patterns of a North Korean state radio announcer and the parents of a man who went missing off Tottori Prefecture in 1988, after a report that a man in a photograph taken in March in Pyongyang resembles the Japanese man. The man in the photograph is believed to be Sin Bom, an announcer for the Korean Central Broadcasting Committee. ... The commission then asked an acoustic engineer to examine the voice patterns of Yakura's parents and that of Sin speaking on a shortwave radio program that is aired for listeners in Japan. ... According to the commission, Sin hosts the 'Voice of Korea' Japanese-language radio program. Sources say that Sin starting hosting the program in about 1988." Daily Yomiuri, 15 August 2007.

The internet does what shortwave did.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Egyptian diplomat in Nigeria: "It is the first time in history you can read your country's newspapers and watch her TV channels on the spot. There is no time lag. We are lucky to live in such times. When I was in Rio de Janerio and even back in Chicago I depended on the shortwave radios to follow events in the Middle East, but now I can follow any newspaper in any country in the world and most of the world TV channels. To me that is the biggest revolution in history." This Day (Lagos), 12 August 2007.

Hamas PR via Aljazeera.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
MA thesis concludes: "Al Jazeera satellite TV channel and its website arranged very good PR for Hamas, through giving free space in the most of its news broadcasts to Hamas spokesmen to talk about situations and actions in Palestine. It also helped Hamas to create a good international image, particularly in the Arab world, through displaying them as innocents." Al Bawaba, 14 August 2007. "AlJazeera English will take a revealing look at the appalling conditions facing many of the 10m Asian labourers in the Gulf most of whom come from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka." The Peninsula, 14 August 2007.

The dangers of reporting from Tashkent.

Posted: 14 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Interview with Natalia Bushuyeva, Deutsche Welle reporter who faced criminal charges in Uzbekistan. "The criminal police told my mother I should come back and fear nothing because they would even help me. If not, then my name would end up on the international list of wanted criminals and they would eventually hunt me down and make the arrest. They threatened that at least a year would pass between the arrest and the beginning of the investigation, the year I would spend behind the bars. I'm in Europe now. I'm free." Ferghana, 13 August 2007.

Take along a shortwave radio.

Posted: 13 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
When traveling to East Asia during typhoon season, a "small SW radio will give you access to English language news and updates if none are available in your country." Steve Peer, Associated Content, 12 August 2007. "The novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux never makes a trip without Tabasco sauce, a shortwave radio and a Swiss Army knife. The shortwave is for tuning into the BBC, the Swiss Army knife for emergencies and repairs, and the Tabasco because, as he explained it to the editors of The Guardian newspaper in London a few years back, 'just a little bit takes the curse off revolting meals.'" Universal Press Syndicate, 12 August 2007.

They prefer Al-Qaeda videos to the Shining City on the Hill?

Posted: 13 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Although the extremist narrative, built around themes of humiliation, God, honor and heroism, often mystifies Westerners, ... it stirs deep feelings in the young men al-Qaida hopes to incite. 'It is an American conceit that Osama bin Laden is engaged in a debate with us. We are merely foils. ... His narrative rests upon themes of faith and history that resonate throughout the Arab world." Newsday, 12 August 2007.

Devolution: when television made in London, viewed in Aberdeen, becomes international broadcasting.

Posted: 12 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"In this digital age there is no point in BBC Scotland trying to replicate the news coverage available from Sky News, Al-Jazeera, (or CNN if you're really desperate). What BBC Scotland needs to produce is a much more authoritative and rigorous Reporting Scotland. And if they want to go abroad and report on an international topic from a Scottish viewpoint, then the funds should be available to do so. One problem is that there is rarely enough interesting Scottish news to fill the half-hour slot." Tom Shields, Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 12 August 2007. See also press release, Scottish Executive, 8 August 2007. "We welcome any debate on broadcasting as we believe BBC Scotland has a very strong story to tell and already contributes significantly to the Scottish economy. ... We also work hard to develop new comedy writing and a number of new programmes will be aired over the next few weeks as a result of that collaboration." BBC Scotland press release, 8 August 2007.

In the case of Radio Frada's Parnaz Azima, is no news good news?

Posted: 12 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Tehran's deputy prosecutor Hassan Hadad says that the investigations on Middle East expert Haleh Esfandiari and urban planner Kian Tajbakhsh, US-Iranians now in prison in Iran, have concluded. And he "revealed for the first time that the case of Ali Shakeri, a third US-Iranian arrested at around the same time, had no link to the dossiers of Tajbakhsh and Esfandiari." But: "Hadad made no mention of a fourth US-Iranian, Parnaz Azima, a broadcaster with Radio Free Europe's Prague-based Persian language arm Radio Farda, who faces similar security-related charges. Azima is not being detained but her passport has been confiscated and she is unable to leave Iran. Iran, which does not recognise dual nationality, has repeatedly rejected US calls for their release, bluntly telling Washington that their detention is none of its business." AFP, 12 August 2007.

BBC attempt at street art in San Diego "ended up in the trash bin."

Posted: 12 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"In July, oversized puzzle pieces – each in the shape of a different nation – began popping up seemingly at random around town, from Horton Plaza to Hillcrest to Coronado. They seemed mysterious until you got up close enough to see that the pieces bore the logo of the British Broadcasting Corp., and a Web site address: DemandBBC.com. The campaign, aimed at getting San Diegans to lobby cable companies to carry BBC World News, borrowed from guerrilla art in the way it sought to stir curiosity by sticking strange objects in familiar places. But it clearly was not trying too hard to convince locals this was a true street-art venture (one way other companies have stumbled badly in this realm)." San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 August 2007.

One international broadcaster misidentifies another international broadcaster.

Posted: 12 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"In an interview with a German online magazine Deutsche Welle, Andrei Markovits who is an American expert on Germany, believes politics is just one of many spheres where the European vision comes into conflict with the big and powerful United States." Press TV, 11 August 2007. Although it is possible that many international broadcasting organizations, which began as radio stations, perhaps later adopting some television, might end up as "online magazines." Swiss Radio International did: it's now swissinfo.org.

Indonesia's public diplomacy.

Posted: 12 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Parts of Indonesia’s public diplomacy initiatives are to translate the writings of Indonesian Muslim scholars into English and Arabic so that they can be accessible to readers outside of Indonesia. Indonesia hopes that greater knowledge about the predominantly Muslim nation, which has officially promoted religious tolerance and gender equality from the very beginning, and where Islamic civil society organisations have been at the forefront of democratic activism and social development, would help to present an alternative image to the current prevailing image about Islam and Muslims in general." New Straits Times, 12 August 2007.

Aljazeera, Alarabiya, and predecessors going back to Bari.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Georgetown University's Adel Iskandar "noted that a Saudi-financed station, Al-Arabiya, has called Al-Jazeera’s bluff about journalistic neutrality by producing a documentary about the sorry plight of Qatar’s foreign workers. The documentary also served as a commentary on the progressive pretensions of the emir. Of course the Al-Arabiya program did not comment on conditions of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia. Al-Jazeera’s weak spot is that it relies on the emir for almost all of its funding. If he decides it is too expensive, if he is overthrown, if he dies, who knows what will happen?" Arab American News, 11 August 2007.

Under the terms of the agreement, can VOA also report on the failures?

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"In spring 2007, [State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs] initiated an agreement with the Voice of America's (VOA) recently-created Pashto language radio station Deewa, which broadcasts in the Pashto areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, including Helmand. Under the terms of the agreement, Deewa will provide dedicated coverage of counternarcotics, law enforcement, and related news and successes. Deewa joins Radio Television Afghanistan-Helmand and Radio Sabawoon in carrying [counternarcotics] and related broadcasting in Helmand. Given the tenuous security situation in Helmand, radio becomes a very important conduit through which to relay critical counternarcotics news and information to the local population." [Emphasis added.] U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy for Afghanistan, State Department, August 2007. See also VOA News, 9 August 2007.

Radio Free Asia VP on citizen journalism in China.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Dan Southerland: "The most significant new phenomenon is the advent and explosion of citizen journalists inside China. Nothing may frighten the Chinese [regime] more than scores of citizens on the ground with cell phone cameras ready to capture and disseminate images from protests, demonstrations, and other events as they take place—and which can be quickly recorded by anyone and everyone." Epoch Times, 8 August 2007

Is Karen Hughes domestically disseminating?

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Why is [Karen] Hughes reemerging now? I venture to say that her second coming has little, if anything, to do with the outside world or communicating with it, never a Bush priority. Rather, it's about the upcoming presidential election, and Hughes' attempt to make her boss' failings abroad acceptable to American voters at a time when the Iraq war has become increasingly unpopular in the U.S." John Brown, Huffington Post, 9 August 2007.

Returning artifacts as public diplomacy.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes ... visited Lima to say the United States was returning 350 pre-Colombian artifacts to Peru. The artifacts were recovered in Miami under an anti-smuggling accord between the two countries." Reuters, 9 August 2007. Hughes "has been in Peru this week to promote a U.S. military ship giving free medical care and U.S. help in recovering stolen Peruvian artifacts. But Hughes' visit has received little coverage in Peruvian media." Miami Herald, 10 August 2007.

The strident Islamophobia is unhelpful.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"No image can substitute for policy. However, an effective public diplomacy campaign toward Arabs and Muslims must contain several measures. The first one is an energetic challenge to charges of American Christian racism against Muslims and Arabs, coupled with an articulate highlighting of the positive contributions the US has made to Muslim and Arab lives. ... Strident American voices who peddle Islamophobia and racism undercut this strategy and must be refuted at the highest levels. They must also not be made to seem as reflecting official US policy or the attitudes of the American people." Ziad Asali, Daily Star (Beirut), 10 August 2007.

Documentary or advert?

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The junior diamond exploration company Central Kimberley Diamonds Ltd, is pleased to announce, that a production film of the company and its exploration operations is to be broadcast on BBC World (Europe). The documentary, which will last about six minutes, will centre on the Central Kimberley Diamonds exploration projects in Kimberley South Africa, capture footage of the company's exploration and mining operations, and will include interviews with the Central Kimberley Diamonds Board of Management. ... The advertising and promotion for Central Kimberley Diamonds to be generated from this documentary is expected to be highly beneficial for the company." Filmmaker South Africa, 9 August 2007.

Full "Top Gear" on BBC America.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"BBC America will start airing full episodes of the 8th season of Top Gear later this month. No more of those watered down 30-minute 'specials' we saw on BBC World." autoblog, 9 August 2007. "Beginning in September the BBC will be screening a new series about the business of [Formula One racing] called 'Formula for Success' ... . Sadly ... the series is being screened on BBC World which is not available the UK." Pitpass, 9 August 2007.

BBC World Service news release makes the news.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"English Football Association (FA) chairman Geoff Thompson has written to FIFA vice-president Jack Warner demanding an explanation for his disparaging comments about the country's possible bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Thompson said in a statement on Friday that the FA were 'shocked and disappointed' by the comments attributed to Warner in a news release issued by the BBC World Service." Reuters, 10 August 2007. See also said BBCWS press release, 9 August 2007. And reaction from, itself, FA, 9 August 2007.

CNN, U.S. embassy websites "blacklisted" by Zimbabwe.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"ZANU PF has blacklisted 41 online publications, including websites for American-owned Cable News Network (CNN) and the United States Embassy in Harare, which it claims have launched a cyber war to promote a regime change agenda against President Robert Mugabe's government. ... Among a cocktail of strategies to counter bad publicity from various international media, the state has set up a short-wave propaganda radio station, Voice of Zimbabwe (VOZ) operating from Gweru. However, the radio project appears to have suffered a stillbirth amid reports of self-jamming as a result of gagging equipment installed to block broadcasts from foreign radio stations such as Voice of America's Studio 7. The project has also been unpopular with state media journalists." Zimbabwe Independent (Harare), 10 August 2007. See previous post about Zimbabwe.

UPI cites Press TV, matter-of-factly.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"A terrorist group operating out of southern Iran has been successfully disbanded, Iranian Minister of Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said this week. Iran's Press TV reported Wednesday that Mohseni-Ejei announced that security forces were able to identify and arrest members of the terrorist group through a coordinated effort by Iranian officials." United Press International, 8 August 2007.

Proving that there is money to be made from money-losing corporations (update).

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
James R. Laramie, a director of satellite radio platform WorldSpace, "exercised options" for WorldSpace shares for $2.66 apiece, "then sold 54,274 shares the same days for $4.10 to $4.66 apiece." AP, 6 August 2007. Update: "WorldSpace recorded a net loss for the second quarter of 2007 of $51.2 million, or $1.30 per share, compared with a net loss of $36.7 million, or $0.98 per share for the second quarter of 2006." WorldSpace press release, 9 August 2007.

Private sector public diplomacy (updated).

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Business for Diplomatic Action's "five part strategy is to sensitize Americans to the rising problem of anti-Americanism, work to change negative perceptions of Americans as a people, amplify those qualities about America that are still admired, build new bridges with key foreign constituents through business-led initiatives, and serve as the connection between the U.S. government public diplomacy efforts and the resources of the private sector." TravelVideo.TV, 7 August 2007. See also BDA website. Update: BDA "trains corporate leaders in the subtleties of public diplomacy. Most are already adept at negotiation and conflict management on the global level because it affects the bottom line. Others are encouraged to listen more to their international counterparts; be open to other points of view; and to refrain from being offensive." The American, 10 August 2007.

More scrutiny for VOA Persian and Radio Farda.

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Why has VOA caved to a poorly-written letter from a lawyer who can’t afford an office in downtown Washington, DC, that is packed with hyperbole, misstatements, and outright lies?" Kenneth R. Timmerman, FrontPage Magazine, 10 August 2007. "Mehdi Khalaji ... a former Persian-language producer at Radio Farda and BBC, criticized what he called the ineffectiveness of State Department funded Radio Farda and Voice of America (VOA) Television’s Persian-language service in achieving the goals set out by the US Congress." National Iranian American Council, 9 August 2007. See previous post about the lawyer's letter and previous post about Khalaji.

One year later, murder of Radio Free Asia general counsel still unsolved (updated again).

Posted: 11 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
D.C. police have yet to make any arrests in the slaying of Robert Wone, who was killed late Aug. 2, 2006 while staying overnight at a friend's home. Wone, 32, was stabbed three times in the chest with a butcher knife that came from the kitchen, police said. Police said they did not get full cooperation from the three men known to have been in the house at the time of the killing." Washington Post, 5 August 2007. Lawyer for one of the townhouse occupants says: "It's simply unfair to these three men for anyone to make an allegation that they have not been cooperative in this investigation." WRC-TV, 6 August 2007. See also Washington Post, 7 August 2007. Update: "It's a case that may actually result in someone getting away with murder." Law.com, 9 August 2007.

Another VOA (presumably) jazz alumnus.

Posted: 10 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"An encounter with the music of Clifford Brown, in a bootlegged recording of a short-wave broadcast, sent [trumpeter Valery] Ponomarev down a different path when he was an 18-year-old student at the First Moscow Regional Music College. He learned the art of jazz on the sly, studying black-market tapes and records." Kansas City Star, 8 August 2007.

The CBS "rapid response" team of World War II.

Posted: 10 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
From a "this day in history" feature: "1942 - CBS radio debuted Our Secret Weapon. It was a program that featured Rex Stout, who countered lies being broadcast by the Axis powers through shortwave radio." Capitol Hill Blue, 9 August 2007. Intrigued, I searched, and found this: "The job of supplying Stout with propaganda pigeons falls to Jack Gerber, director of the CBS short-wave listening station. Said Gerber last week: 'We wondered if they'd tell enough lies in a week to keep the program interesting. They sure do. We hear twice as many as we can use.' CBS's short-wave listening began on an experimental basis from a booth at the National Lawn Tennis championships at Forest Hills in September 1939. Engineers installed the listening equipment there because reception was good, and ... monitors used the direct wire to relay short-wave news from Europe back to Manhattan headquarters. CBS has been eavesdropping on the Axis -- and on more friendly stations -- ever since." Time, 7 September 1942.

The new internet radios, listening to the world.

Posted: 10 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
A review of five models. Most "come from obscure European companies that don't seem to have their distribution act together in the United States just yet. Still, the category is worth watching - and worth encouraging." International Herald Tribune, 8 August 2007. "If you fancy waking up to some Venezuelan jazz or Czech hardcore electronica, rather than the usual talk radio morning show, then internet radio is the way forward." Independent (Dublin), 9 August 2007. C. Crane in California sells three wi-fi internet radio models. As a new owner of the Tangent Quattro, I'll have a review soon. For a list of the stations available, see Reciva Internet Radio It's a nice successor to shortwave, unless a station is blocked, or the internet is swamped by overuse, as during crises.

Mobile TV emerging as a medium of international broadcasting.

Posted: 10 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The service is currently offered in countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Italy, UK, and the US. DVB-H [Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld] Mobile TV services are also being pilot tested in India, Europe, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and South Africa." In the United Arab Emirates: "Currently we offer 13 Arabic and English channels, and we plan to add more channels and special packages to cater to different segments." One UAE user says: "I would prefer to see channels that cater to a wider audience. The only channel I view right now is BBC News and sometimes Al Jazeera English." XPRESS (Dubai), 9 August 2007. The telecommunications company providing the Mobile TV service is the gatekeeper.

WorldSpace music channels available on the internet, but it will cost you.

Posted: 10 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"MSN India, Worldspace Satellite Radio, and music maestro A R Rahman, announced the launch of 5 Worldspace stations on MSN India. With this, music lovers will have 24x7 access to the five Worldspace stations, including Farishta (Hindi film classics), Gandharv (Hindustani classical), Sparsha (Kannada), Spandana (Telugu), and Shruti (Carnatic music) at http://www.in.msn.com/worldspace for a monthly fee of $9.9 [$9.90 US]. ... According to Worldspace and MSN, the monthly fees are on the higher side because this is the only 'legal' online streaming channel where moneys go to the concerned artistes, and copyright fees end-up getting paid." Techtree.com, 9 August 2007. See also MSN India. Worldspace available, via loudspeaker, in Indian women's prison. Deccan Herald, 11 August 2007.

Murdoch purchase of Wall Street Journal recalls famous episode in international broadcasting (updated again).

Posted: 09 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Murdoch's habit of putting his business interests ahead of covering news without fear or favour is a core concern. There have been numerous instances of this over his long career, such as when, in 1993, to kowtow to the Chinese Government, he removed BBC World's news, some of whose reporting on China displeased the Government, from his satellite television service in northern Asia." The Age (Melbourne), 31 July 2007. Josh Rushing, ex-Marine spokesman, now correspondent for Aljazeera English. "And the thing is, Fox likes to see themselves as so pro-military and patriotic and they like to share their knowledge, like they’re one of the guys. It’s also interesting to note now how little Fox covers the war. MSNBC covered the war three times as much as Fox, I think in June. You’ve got to be kidding me. The number one cheerleader for this war is now just leaving it behind?" CBS PublicEye, 31 July 2007. Update: "The Wall Street Journal will not alter its coverage of China in the wake of Rupert Murdoch's takeover, former managing editor Paul Steiger said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday. Steiger, now an editor-at-large for the paper, sought to reassure the paper's readers and its own editorial staff that reporting would not be stymied or adulterated due to Murdoch's influence, as many have publicly warned may happen." MediaDailyNews, 8 August 2007.

RFE to Hungary 1956: the controversy carries on (updated).

Posted: 09 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Then there was the appalling business of Hungary in 1956, when Radio Free Europe, run by the CIA, incited the people of Budapest to rise up against their Soviet rulers in the expectation of American support that never came." Review of Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Times, 5 August 2007. Well, RFE was, until 1978, covertly funded by the CIA, but by most accounts probably not "run" by it. RFE's actual role in the 1956 uprising is still debated. The station's conduct was defended by former director A. Ross Johnson, International Herald Tribune, 6 November 2006. It would be interesting to read what Mr. Weiner has to say about this. Update: "The book alleges that the CIA used Radio Free Europe to spark the 1956 Hungarian uprising. But Weiner’s main source for this idea is a Radio Free Europe memo that was written after the uprising." Central Intelligence Agency press release, 6 August 2007.

Aljazeera as "surrogate" broadcaster.

Posted: 09 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Interview with Nader Gohar, Egyptian news entrepreneur: "Q: Why do you feel Egyptian viewers rely on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia to follow local news? Gohar: They are faster and more accurate, two things we need in this business. They’ll remain leaders for two reasons. First, if you compare an Egyptian channel like Nile News to Al-Jazeera in terms of finance, you’ll find the budget for the former is $7 million and the latter is $85 million. We can be competitive if the Ministry of Information would assign a $30 million budget, which is a small amount from the state budget, to support the news business. But [all the budget] is blown on Egyptian Radio and Television Union’s [ERTU] 70,000 employees, [many of whom] are inexperienced, bureaucratic and corrupt. Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera has become the biggest brand name in the Arab world." Business Today Egypt, August 2007.

The internet in Arabic.

Posted: 09 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"There is a lack of compelling Arabic-language content currently available online, and the culture of user-generated content is still in its infancy. This relates closely to the second factor: it remains difficult to monetize Arabic language websites, with Arab-language advertisers largely avoiding internet advertising, and advertising agencies remaining woefully ignorant of the opportunities for online media. Both of these factors connect to a third challenge: the ability to search for Arabic-language content online remains limited, by the complexity of the Arabic language and by the search services currently available. The good news? Solutions for all three of these challenges are currently being developed and implemented by some of the most innovative local and multinational companies in the Arab world." Business Today Egypt, August 2007.

Can U.S. public diplomacy survive the foreign policy pronouncements of presidential candidates? (updated)

Posted: 09 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Such as Barack Obama's talk of invading Pakistan, or Tom Tancredo's threat to bomb Mecca. "'It is absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion,' a clearly agitated [State Department deputy spokesman Tom] Casey told reporters, shaking his head in disgust." AP, 3 August 2007. Pakistan criticizes Obama's remarks. AP, 3 August 2007. Update: State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: "I think that people have a -- if they're listening -- have a healthy appreciation for what our policy is, what it isn't. And if there's accurate reporting about it, I'm sure that people will fully understand and be able to separate out the functioning of a democracy and the politics that surround the presidential campaign and what the policies are of the existing administration." Daily press briefing, 6 August 2007.

At least they can't monitor what shortwave station people are listening to.

Posted: 09 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Zimbabwe's new "Interception of Communications Act allows Government to monitor the Internet, mobile and fixed phones to sift for information it deems subversive or used for organised crime." The Herald (Harare), 4 August 2007. "Hardly four days after Robert Mugabe signed the Interception of Communications Bill into law, unconfirmed reports suggest that out of 45 state security operatives trained by Chinese instructors, at least 10 have now been deployed at the Mazoe Earth Satellite station outside Harare this week. The station serves as the portal for Internet traffic in and out of Zimbabwe via satellite connectivity to Intelsat, the world’s largest commercial satellite communications services provider." SW Radio Africa, 7 August 2007. See also Committee to Protect Journalists, 8 August 2007.

Another interview with new BBG chairman James Glassman.

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"By law, the BBG serves as a firewall between the State Department and the journalists who do the broadcasting. This arrangement can at times be confusing and complex, but I am dedicated to making it work. We work well with the State Department -- Karen Hughes, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is an active, helpful, and imaginative member of our board -- but the BBG is an independent agency." Interviewed by Alvin Snyder, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 6 August 2007. See previous post about Glassman and previous interview.

Whose anti-terror ad?

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Anti-terror ad playing on Arabic channels "is part of an elaborate, multimedia campaign dubbed 'No Terror,' whose slick production values have raised more than a few eyebrows — and left experts and viewers alike mouthing a resounding 'Huh?' The campaign’s website (noterror.info) claims that 'All religions, human codes and ethics, and even our most primitive intuition, regard terrorism to be villainous. True Islam also rejects and condemns terrorism.' ... According to the AP, 'The US government refuses to say clearly whether it’s involved in the commercial [it] had a hand in other public relations campaigns in the Mideast, including Arabic-language, US-financed Radio Sawa and the Al-Hurra TV station.'" Egypt Today, August 2007.

RFE/RL lands Armenian affiliate (updated).

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has renewed a contract to carry the programs of Radio Liberty's Armenian language service on a private radio network based in the Armenian capital, Yerevan. The contract with AR Radio Intercontinental runs from August 15, 2007 until September 14, 2008. The network has 23 transmitters, which cover Yerevan and a number of outlying districts. ... However, Gedmin noted that efforts to renew a contract with Armenian Public Radio, which has transmitters covering the entire country, have so far proven unsuccessful." RFE/RL press release, 1 August 2007. See previous post about same subject. Update: "AR Radio Intercontinental claims 80 percent coverage in Armenia. The station, ironically, belongs to the executive director of Armenian Public Radio, Armen Amirian. Its programming primarily consists of re-transmissions of public radio’s Radio Yerevan programs. ... The broadcast reach for RFE/RL, known within Armenia as Radio Liberty, will be considerably reduced under the new arrangement – a detail that some critics argue was the government’s goal. ... Despite the signing of a new broadcast contract for Radio Liberty, some government critics believe the station’s difficulties are not over yet. They suggest that fresh legislation could be introduced to block Radio Liberty’s broadcasts when parliament reconvenes in September." Gayane Abrahamyan, Eurasianet.org, 6 August 2007.

Death of George Moore, IBB Deputy Director (updated again).

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Mr. Moore, acting director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, was previously IBB director of engineering. See BBG statement, 3 August 2007. "His willingness and ability to close the antiquated shortwave stations to find resources for television and Internet literally paved the way for the most important international broadcasting developments of our time. (If only he had been in charge of programming to the Arab world!)" Former BBG chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, via Extreme Mortman blog, 4 August 2007. Update: See also obituary, Annapolis Capital, 6 August 2007.

English is the language for global internet news, but spurned in European domestic radio.

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Internet may be a global platform, but when it comes to advertising, one language speaks louder than others: English. ... Some European news sites are taking note, trying to grab attention from readers and advertisers world-wide by producing more content in English. Running a news service in more than one language isn't easy. Finding and hiring bilingual staff is expensive, and it takes time for translated sites to attract foreign interest and ad revenue. Nonetheless, non-English news sites are jumping in to compete for international readership. ... France 24, a French round-the-clock news channel, produces all its Web site content simultaneously in English, French and Arabic. 'You need the English language to attack the international ad market.'" Wall Street Journal, 6 August 2007. "Even as English is the lingua franca of business, science and tourism it, too, is increasingly under threat in Europe. The French regulator CSA recently denied FM licenses to applicants for English language programming, awarding instead licenses for Arabic stations. The Swiss government transferred a nominally private radio license to the public broadcaster, with little opportunity for public discussion among the large English-speaking community most affected by the outcome. Though English is the dominant working language in Brussels none of the European organizations recognize it as a significant minority language. And, of course, Brussels has no English news radio station." Michael Hedges, followthemedia.com, 6 August 2007. Anglophones in Western Europe should therefore be equipped with a shortwave radio. Americans there can nowadays hear VOA only with difficulty, but BBC World Service is still audible.

New Greek media law could affect BBC rebroadcasts in Athens.

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio stations primarily broadcasting speech content (read: news) are required to post a bond of €100,000. Music radio stations need only post €60,000. Similarly, radio stations broadcasting news are required to have 20 full-time employees while music radio stations must have but three. ... Also threatened if the new media law is signed is Athens International Radio (AIR), which broadcasts English language news from a variety of sources including the BBC World Service." Michael Hedges, followthemedia.com, 6 August 2007.

BBC marks India's 60th year of independence by trying to increase market share (updated).

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"As India gear up to celebrate 60th year of Independence, British media giant BBC is chalking out aggressive plans to capture market in the erstwhile colony. 'India is one of the largest market for us outside Europe and there is a growing need for international news in India. We will launch a month long new series, India and Pakistan 2007, in August on the occasion of their 60 years of independence and a programme on India's economy shortly.'" Economic Times, 3 August 2007. "BBC World has launched a new advertising campaign in India for the new show World News Today which has started from 23 July." Indiantelevision.com, 1 August 2007. Update: "Ads for Internet, radio and print have already been rolled out. For television, the company will soon place ads on channels like Discovery, Travel and Living, AXN, Zee Studio and Pix." exchange4media.com, 6 August 2007.

Importing shortwave radios back in the U.S.S.R.

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
From Soviet-era "spivs," dealers of foreign goods: "Radio sets were especially popular among young people due to their wave changers able to find BBC or Voice of America radio-frequencies." Russia InfoCentre, 7 August 2007. Perhaps referring to the fact that Soviet-made shortwave radios usually did not tune higher than 12 MHz, whereas Western models could receive the higher shortwave frequencies more capable of overcoming Soviet jamming.

The future of international broadcasting may be via South Korea and China.

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"A total of 46 [South Korean] developed technologies on Internet protocol TV (IPTV) were selected as international standards. ... China is the only country that competes with Korea in the rivalry to secure IPTV standards as the world's most populous nation also gained about 200 standards. ... IPTV is packet-based real-time broadcasting on the Web, which experts predict will bring more possibilities for customers than conventional video services. Otherwise dubbed broadband TV, IPTV has no channel limitations as long as the network doesn't suffer overloads, and it also enjoys global coverage." Korea Times, 6 August 2007. Because it is not tied to the limited channel capacity of cable and direct-to-home satellite services, IPTV may become an important medium for international broadcasting. But will China's considerable involvement in IPTV standards hinder the application of IPTV in international broadcasting? And, as the article notes, IPTV will work "as long as the network doesn't suffer overloads," i.e. during major crises, when international broadcasting audiences usually surge.

Aljazeera English continues to make its case.

Posted: 07 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Nigel Parsons, managing director of Aljazeera English: "We are even making inroads in the United States, not only via cable and satellite. Our service is available via broadband ... we now have tens of thousands of subscribers in America, dispelling the notion that Americans aren't interested in foreign news. They must be, they're fighting two wars. ... At a time when much of the Western media is moving toward lightweight, celebrity-driven news ... we believe serious times require serious journalism. Do we really care so much about Paris Hilton?" Parsons also says that AJE's tie-up with YouTube has been "'an astonishing success,' with almost 100,000 viewers downloading videos every week, and many of them from the United States. Al-Jazeera could not immediately provide exact figures on U.S. online subscriptions and YouTube viewers." AP, 6 August 2007. Singaporean communication professor says: "Local media described the channel as ‘controversial’, yet there were no protests when Fox News was introduced. The channel is well known to have helped mislead Americans into war through its propaganda." Gulf Times, 6 August 2007.

The substantial presence of a discontinued broadcasting service.

Posted: 04 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The American-run Voice of America program -- considered instrumental in fostering pro-American sentiment in Soviet-bloc countries during the years of the Cold War -- did not have a substantial presence in the Arab world until 2004." Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia), 2 August 2007. VOA Arabic was eliminated after the creation of Radio Sawa in 2002. It is true that U.S. international broadcasting in Arabic was rather anemic until recent years. BBC World Service in Arabic dominated because of its medium wave relay in Cyprus and superior newsgathering resources in the Middle East. It was not until the efforts of Norm Pattiz, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and creator of Radio Sawa, that USIB acquired its own medium wave relay in Cyprus, and a network of FM relays in several Arab countries.

Public diplomacy is the answer. No it's not.

Posted: 04 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Instead of "surrender" in Iraq and Afghanistan, "our government needs to do a much better job of public diplomacy in the world — explaining what's at stake." Bruce Chapman, Seattle Times, 5 August 2007. "Bush tapped former campaign adviser Karen Hughes to head the State Department's public diplomacy unit. But [Pew Research Center's Andrew] Kohut said there was not much Hughes could do, especially among Muslims.'In order to really change things with regards to the image of the United States from the point of view of Muslim people,' Kohut said, 'you have to change American policies, not do a better job of explaining them.'" Chuck Raasch, Gannett News Service, 4 August 2007.

Meaning that major broadcasters no longer have a two-source rule?

Posted: 04 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Major broadcasters such as the BBC World Service Radio used to have policies of never going with an agency story unless it had been corroborated by another agency. It was not unusual for the BBC people at Bush House, for instance, to phone a competing news agency’s London office to say 'Agency A has this story and we would like to see your version.' Often that phone call was the first the competing news agency knew of the other story. Sometimes if the story was one the BBC felt it just had to go with without corroboration then it would say Agency A reports … not because the BBC liked to credit news agencies but rather because it was a cya (cover your a..) operation and if the story was wrong let the agency get the blame. It was about the only time the BBC would give credit where credit was due." Followthemedia.com, 5 August 2007. "You have to give it to BBC World when it comes to documentaries. The global news network ran a three-part series on Tony Blair's political career recently and it was amazing how the narrator weaved the end of Blair's tenure as prime minister around two GBs; George Bush and Gordon Brown." Moses Serugo, Sunday Monitor (Kampala), 5 August 2007.

It's Aljazeera English. Call the police.

Posted: 04 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
AJE Washington anchor David Marash: "Frequently people will call the police when we're out there doing reporting in America. The police come round, they recognise me and that quickly solves the situation. ... Elected politicians and senior officials still refuse to be interviewed by us. But people from the think-tanks, including some well-known neoconservatives, are very happy to come on al-Jazeera. They appreciate the fact that we go into much more detail than CNN." FT.com, 3 August 2007. Interview with Ibrahim Helal, deputy managing director of Al Jazeera English: "Q: Al Jazeera has been accused of encouraging militancy by interviewing dissidents. Helal: Perception and truth are two different things. Many know that Al Jazeera broadcast Osama’s tapes, but they don’t know we refused to broadcast his interview when it was not newsworthy and seemed like propaganda. I was the Editor on that day and took that decision after applying highest standard of journalism keeping the safety of our journalists in mind. Q: But couldn’t that perception become a problem in India? Helal: If perception is a problem any where in the world we will fight it with truth. Al Jazeera English is already reaching more than 100 million homes worldwide and we are just about eight months old, so the ‘truth’ seems to be winning the battle." Outlookindia.com, 13 August 2007 issue.

Hurricane diplomacy?

Posted: 04 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Director of Forecast Center at Cuba’s National Meteorology Institute says "There is close coordination for exchange of facts and information with the U.S. Hurricane Center, because it is the organization’s specialist regional center. It is normal exchange, mutually beneficial and a model for international relations in its professionalism and respect. Meteorology knows no human borders; the air is where it is, we live in an ocean of air that is not limited by borders." Granma Internacional, 3 August 2007.

Trouble for international broadcasting reporters in Guinea Bissau.

Posted: 04 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
BBC and Radio France International correspondents in Guinea Bissau "went into hiding in the wake of a police announcement ordering them to report to the nearest police station." They reported on the United Nations naming "Guinea Bissau as a major trafficking and transit point." Media Foundation for West Africa press release, 3 August 2007. "Earlier this month, the local correspondent of Radio France International left the country after receiving threats over his coverage of drug trafficking." Reuters, 28 July 2007.

Gordon Brown "camp" thinks U.S. public diplomacy "old-fashioned."

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Brown has "been impressed by the work of David Kilcullen, a former Australian army officer and academic anthropologist who now works for the US state department. Kilcullen's core belief is that the war on terror is better described as a 'global counter-insurgency'. He refers to the 'information battlefield' but insists that the west's strategy must be radically localised: each region, each village, needs a different counter-terrorist tactic. The Brown camp agrees that the propaganda campaigns adopted by Bush's long-time ally Karen Hughes, the US under-secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, have been much too centralised and old-fashioned. The Kilcullen doctrine on winning 'hearts and minds' is based not on making local people feel affection for you, but on persuading them that you can protect them better than the enemy." Matthew d'Ancona, The Guardian, 2 August 2007.

About the building from which RFE/RL will soon move.

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"I sit in a café on Wenceslas Square, the scene of most Czech tragedies and triumphs, with Nenad Pejic, associate director of broadcasting at the Prague station of the American-run Radio Free Europe. The building that houses the offices of the RFE and Radio Liberty, opposite the National Museum, captures the story of the dramatic change from communism. It housed the Czechoslovak stock exchange before World War II. After the communists gained power in Prague, they had the national parliament shifted there. After the fall of communism, the building was given to the RFE on a monthly rent of one Czech kroner! 'It was Havel’s gesture to the RFE for all that it did for Czechoslovakia’s freedom from communism.'" Ashis Chakrabarti, The Telegraph (Calcutta), 2 August 2007.

Reviews of the new bio about Willis Conover.

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
About Willis Conover: Broadcasting Jazz to the World, by Terrence M. Ripmaster (iUniverse, 2007): "In places all around the world where America is hated today, the name Willis Conover still draws smiles and releases a reserve of goodwill, yet the bizarrely narrow and smug Ken Burns PBS series on jazz a few years ago managed not even to mention Conover." Marc Fisher, Washington Post blog, 3 August 2007. See also my review as written for the IBB house organ. And iUniverse blurb. And this related item: Widow of saxophonist Art Pepper produces CD from VOA recording of his concert in Washington. New York Times, 2 August 2007.

International broadcasting to the Horn of Africa.

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
In Ethiopia: "Almost every middle class family by now has a satellite dish so that they can avoid watching ETV all the time. Shortwave radio’s are a popular item for many people. Deutsche Welle, the BBC, Voice of America and other stations that provide news about Ethiopia are much listened to." Nazret.com, 1 August 2007. "While [Eritrean evangelical Protestants] can't engage in open evangelistic work in Eritrea, they can send a shortwave radio Bible study broadcast into some of the military camps where Christians reside." Mission Network News, 3 August 2007.

BBC and Americans' appetite for world news.

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The perceived dearth of international news and analysis on U.S. mainstream broadcasters is one of the big marketing ploys the BBC is using to create a bigger footprint in the U.S. for its global TV news. BBC World News' slogan is 'See the world you've been missing.' ... This might seem boldly optimistic: Fewer Americans read newspapers than ever in the country's history, and Americans' taste for news seemingly always has drifted to the domestic angle. But the BBC is -- in the words of Mel Gibson in 'Braveheart' -- 'out to pick a fight' in America." Hollywood Reporter, 1 August 2007.

In Israel: international channels for international news.

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The news broadcasts here, and even more than that, the news magazine programs preceding and following them, have gradually become stand-up comedy shows. ... The despairing viewer zaps on to the international channels. There, wonder of wonders, seriousness is still a solid value, as on BBC World in Humphrey Hawksley's excellent report 'Bitter Sweet' (Tuesday, 7 P.M.), about the route that cocoa takes from the Ivory Coast to the profiteers and merchants in Europe and America, who sell it at the price of gold, with only tiny crumbs of the revenues reaching the wretched farmers and laborers, some of them children, who grow and harvest it." Benny Ziffer, Ha'aretz, 2 August 2007.

Rushing re Aljazeera.

Posted: 03 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Former Marine spokesman Josh Rushing, now working for Aljazeera English: "Al Jazeera broke down boundaries because it's on satellite, so the government couldn't stop it from coming in if the people had a satellite dish. And then it showed Israelis. Most Arabs saw their first Israeli by watching Al Jazeera news. And not only did they put Israelis on, they actually gave the interviews in Hebrew. There is no equivalent in the English language to how Al Jazeera drives the debate in the Arab world." Yahoo! News, 1 August 2007. Aljazeera English gets feedback. Foreign Policy blog, 2 August 2007.

Even more questions about TV Martí.

Posted: 02 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey responds to question about TV Martí: "U.S. policy, of course, for a long time has been to try and break the information blockade the Castro has imposed on his own people. And Radio and TV Marti are two of the vehicles that we try and pursue that with. And certainly we want to take every opportunity and take every effort to be able to do so because, particularly as we move into what is clearly some kind of transition phase in Cuba, we think it's very important to try and reach out to regular Cubans, as well as to those who are engaged in efforts and who want to be able to try and change the situation there. In terms of specific jamming or how much TV Marti is or isn't viewed, that I'd just have to let the BBG speak to. But, again, it's a program that has had extensive and longstanding support not only in this administration but in previous administrations and on Capitol Hill." Followup question: "One of your methods of beaming Radio Marti is through a gulfstream jet that's over Cuban airspace. Is that against international law? Mr. Casey: I'm not aware that that's actually being done. Again, I'd refer you to BBG. I can assure you that all programs that the U.S. Government does, including those done by BBG, are in compliance with our own national as well as international legal obligations." State Department Press Briefing, 31 July 2007. Actually, the Gulfstream flies over U.S. territory, near the Florida Keys. Broadcasting from airplanes or ships in international waters violates international law. And U.S. broadcasting from a plane over Cuban territory would be especially problematic. See previous post about same subject.

Watchdog complains about identification of BBG member on CNN show.

Posted: 02 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"On the July 29 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz included conservative radio talk show host and Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Blanquita Cullum on a panel to 'talk about the Bush administration,' without emphasizing that Cullum was appointed by President Bush to serve on the BBG." Media Matters for America, 30 July 2007. If the spirit of the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 were observed, members of the BBG could, as the "firewall" between government and international broadcasting, claim to be independent as soon as appointed to the Board. In any case, the BBG would better be served with journalists as members, rather than commentators.

If I have this right, Obama's public diplomacy effort would challenge the message sent out by the State Department.

Posted: 02 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"I will also launch a program of public diplomacy that is a coordinated effort across my Administration, not a small group of political officials at the State Department explaining a misguided war. We will open 'America Houses' in cities across the Islamic world, with Internet, libraries, English lessons, stories of America's Muslims and the strength they add to our country, and vocational programs. Through a new 'America's Voice Corps' we will recruit, train, and send out into the field talented young Americans who can speak with -- and listen to -- the people who today hear about us only from our enemies." BarackObama.com, 1 August 2007.

Public diplomacy: delete jazz, insert hip-hop.

Posted: 02 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"During the Cold War, the State Department recruited jazz musicians as cultural emissaries. Mostly African Americans, who faced discrimination at home, musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman were "jazz ambassadors," playing gigs bankrolled by the U.S. government all over the world, including Communist countries. Such cultural outreach faded over the decades but has been revived in recent years by Karen Hughes, the U.S. undersecretary of State for public diplomacy. Last year, the Washington, D.C., hip-hop quartet Opus Akoben toured Cairo and other places in the Middle East." Los Angeles Times, 1 August 2007.

Venezuela's Supreme Court allows RCTV to stay on cable, for now.

Posted: 02 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"The court ruled in favor of a petition from Venezuela's cable television association and asked the government to clarify telecommunications laws related to the case." Bloomberg, 1 August 2007. "Forcing the station to transmit President Chavez’s speeches is a sign of the government’s attempt to control the flow of information." Committee to Protect Journalists, 31 July 2007. See previous post about same subject.

International news as alternative to summer reruns.

Posted: 02 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Then there was the summer I decided I simply did not know enough about international affairs. I meticulously plotted out a daily schedule that included BBC World News, CBC and CTV news (natch), CBS, ABC and NBC evening newscasts plus FOX News and CNN's Anderson Cooper. The result months later: I could talk anybody's head off about wars and riots. And I'm still watching news reports off the beaten track. ... And if all these suggestions fail to move you, here's one last thought: why not try radio?" Jim Bawden, Toronto Star, 1 August 2007.

RIAS lives on, by dint of fellowships.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"University of Hawai'i at Manoa professor Tom Brislin, chairman of the Academy for Creative Media, has been selected by the RIAS Berlin Commission and the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation to attend an inaugural week-long fellowship in Germany focusing on news management. ... Other participants include news directors and managers from CNN, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and broadcast stations in Indiana, Alabama, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Utah and Wisconsin." Honolulu Advertiser, 30 July 2007. RIAS -- Radio In the American Sector -- was the U.S. government funded station in West Berlin broadcasting in German to East Germany. See the RIAS Berlin Kommission history page.

Cheers, jeers for Hughes.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Karen Hughes has been unfairly criticized. ... First, the undersecretary of state does not control the half of the traditional public diplomacy budget that goes for broadcasting (it is under an independent board) or the Pentagon's huge information effort in Iraq and elsewhere. Second, 'public diplomacy' is not a panacea. Misinformation is widespread in this world of 24/7 global chatter, and public diplomacy can help bring facts and reasoning into the ongoing discussion. But it alone cannot remake America's image abroad - an image that is formed primarily by our policies and actions." William A. Rugh, Baltimore Sun, 31 July 2007. "President Bush touts the need for public diplomacy. But his appointment of Karen Hughes as public diplomacy czar has been a failure, as evidenced by poll after depressing poll. ... When it comes to exercising soft power, America should take a page from China's book. Train more diplomats to speak local languages, and let them do more tours in the countries whose languages they speak. Reopen U.S. cultural centers abroad. Unlike China, focus U.S. radio broadcasts abroad on real news, like the BBC does, not on pop music and propaganda. Retake our former leadership in multinational organizations - and take the lead in environmental causes such as global warming." Trudy Rubin, Baltimore Sun, 31 July 2007. "Hughes seemed to adopt a lower profile after her first, somewhat maladroit, trip to the Middle East. There were even rumors that she was headed back to Texas. But there she was, back in the news last week, popping up in the West Bank town of Ramallah to attend an event launching a small-business loan guarantee program and talking some more about a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Quiet diplomacy, as they say." Al Kamen, Washington Post, 1 August 2007.

Counternarcotics public diplomacy in Afghanistan: less media, more interpersonal.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
US Ambassador Thomas A. Schweich, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs says "in the area of public diplomacy, the United States will deemphasize its support for radio, print, and other traditional media advertising. Instead, US projects would concentrate more on person-to-person outreach campaigns that engage the political, religious and tribal leaders within each community." Eurasianet.org, 30 July 2007.

This is the Voice of the Iranian Pro-Democracy Movement, coming to you from Washington.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Senator Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, believes "that tough sanctions and divestment, coupled with a better targeted public diplomacy campaign aimed at supporting the pro-democracy movement inside Iran, could have dramatic effects. 'The eventual result could be regime change,' he said. 'Nearer term, pressure could cause policy shifts with the existing regime.'" Kenneth R. Timmerman, NewsMax.com, 30 July 2007.

RFI given the month off in Niger.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Niger's media watchdog on Thursday suspended local FM broadcasts by Radio France International (RFI) for one month, accusing the French state-run channel of showing bias in favour of a Tuareg-led rebellion." Reuters, 19 July 2007. Reporters sans frontières "voiced concern today about a rapid deterioration in press freedom in Niger, especially in the north, following the imposition yesterday of a one-month ban on retransmission of the programmes of the French public radio station Radio France Internationale (RFI) throughout the country." RSF, 20 July 2007. Committee to Protect Journalists also protests. CPJ, 20 July 2007. "On 14 July 2007, the Chief of Defence Staff of Niger's Armed Forces (FAN), General Moumouni Boureima, threatened to kill Moussa Kaka, a correspondent for Radio France International (RFI) in Niger, over his coverage of the rebellion in the Northern part of the country." Media Foundation for West Africa press release, 20 July 2007. Still audible via shortwave, but if you go to the RFI website to find the shortwave frequencies -- bonne chance!

On Press TV, you can say what you want, then they can say what you say is "offensive."

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Only five days after launching, Press TV invited me to take part in a televised panel discussion about journalism in the Middle East. I argued that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the region is a lack of freedom and cited, among other examples, the case of Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian photojournalist who was raped, tortured and murdered by Iranian officials after she was arrested for taking photographs outside the Evin prison in Tehran. To his credit, the host and chief press officer, Shahab Mossavat, did not interrupt or silence me. He called my comments 'offensive' to Iran but pointed out that I was given free rein to say what I wished by Press TV. He then steered the conversation toward obstacles confronted by journalists in Israel." Michael Petrou, Macleans, 30 July 2007.

Aljazeera English hopes to have (cable? terrestrial?) access in Singapore by the end of the year.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Nigel Parsons, managing director of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera English channel, said that Singapore was cautious about allowing it to broadcast because of criticism of the channel in the US. ... 'Yes, we will freely admit to having sympathies for the occupied people of Palestine, for example, but when we do stories about that region, they are always balanced,' said Parsons." Reuters, 31 July 2007.

France 24, where all the visitors are unique.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"June was a record month for the France 24 website. The international news channel gained over three million unique visitors in the 10 countries measured by the Nielsen/NetRatings survey. Traffic on the website has increased steadily since the start of 2007 and has been characterised by the number of visitors from outside of France, which represents 83% of the total traffic. The Nielsen survey also revealed visitors to the site to be typically male (66%) and over 35 (72%). Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the United States are monitored by the survey." Broadband TV News, 30 July 2007.

When all else fails: shortwave.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Minivan Radio will begin shortwave broadcasts again from August 1. The pioneering opposition radio station has only been available via the internet since it stopped short wave broadcasts four months ago. MR stopped short wave broadcasts in anticipation of winning an FM license [in the Maldives], but has so far been unable to procure one." Minivan News, 30 July 2007.

Cold War intrigue in the history of a World Service transmitter site.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
BBC2's "Coast" visits Orford Ness, on the Suffolk shore, home of "the experimental radar site from where the Cobra Mist operation was run to spy deep into the Soviet Union and China during the Cold War. A fan-shaped area of giant aerials was used to bounce signals off the atmosphere to watch missile tests and aircraft movements. No-one is sure whether the system actually ever worked despite the millions of pounds spent on it. Today there is little evidence of the American military's use of the site except the bomb-proof buildings, which are now used to transmit the BBC World Service." Evening Star (Ipswich), 31 July 2007. And BBC archives in the history of Sri Lankan music: "In the late 80s/early 90s the Movement for Inter-Racial Justice and Equality (MIRJE) organised a concert called Nidinathi Nãdiyë Nadaya (Song of the Sleepless River). It was a huge event and included everyone from the highest profile performers to new groups of young musicians. ... It seems that the only remaining record of this event is in the BBC World Service archives in London, taken out once in a while to play a song on the Sinhala Service." Countercurrents.org, 31 July 2007.

The BBC's babies and bathwater.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"Last week Sir John Tusa, former head of BBC World Service, popped up to name Lord (as he then wasn't) Birt, former director general, as the guilty man. Birt certainly brutalised the corporation - I know, I was working there at the time - and introduced the system, known as 'producer choice', which fundamentally broke down the BBC's cosy but time-honoured way of doing things. ... But Birt also brought necessary discipline to an unsustainable BBC. He imagined the digital future at a time when few others in the British media were looking that far ahead. And BBC On-Line, as well as BBC News 24, BBC3, 4 and other new channels, have all been made possible by Birt's clear-sightedness. ... And yet: babies and bathwater. The BBC is a less happy, less confident place than it used to be. It is, in fact, now much more like a private sector business, and less like a public service broadcaster." Stefan Stern, Management Today, 30 July 2007.

The internet's "cult of the amateur," and the BBC World Service contribution thereto.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
Andrew Keen, author of new book that contends "the web is dumbing itself down by replacing the authorative knowledge of experts with the flawed 'wisdom of the crowd'. ... The ... distorting effect came into play in 2002 when a version of A Nation Once Again by the Wolfe Tones beat John Lennon's Imagine when it was named 'the world's most popular song' in an online poll run by the BBC World Service." Damian Corless, Independent (Dublin), 31 July 2007.

The international broadcaster at Guantánamo.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007   Print   Send a link
"He's all but unknown in the United States, the country of his jailers, but in his homeland of Sudan, Sami al Hajj is a national hero. ... A 38-year-old cameraman for the Arabic news network Al-Jazeera, Hajj has been imprisoned as an 'enemy combatant' at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for five years, but never charged with a crime." McClatchy Newspapers, 29 July 2007.