Like all astute international broadcasters, they learned that propaganda doesn't work.

Posted: 30 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Seoul has three privately run radio stations targeting the North: Open Radio for North Korea, Radio Free Chosun and Kim's FNK, the only one run by defectors, who are helped by a committed South Korean staff." ... Kim Yun-tae, director of Radio Free Chosun: "'At first we were doing more propaganda broadcasting, but we changed our minds,' he said. Added Kyounghee An, the station's international manager, 'We don't think we can cause the collapse of the regime directly. . . . We think after listening, people can compare their real situation to Kim Jong Il's propaganda and can change their minds, step by step.'" Washington Post, 30 December 2007.

RSS and Atom feeds.

Posted: 29 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
If you've had problems receiving RSS and Atom feeds from this site, try the new Feeds link above. The URL for RSS feeds is http://kimelli.nfshost.com/index.php&rss=1&section=Home

The "but" that boggles U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 29 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Jeffery Gedmin, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, quoted: "Our mission is news. It's not psy-ops, it's not U.S.-G [government] line, it's news. But we tell [local staff] two things. It has got to have a purpose -- to be promoting democratic values and institutions. We also tell them to shoot straight. It's indispensable for credibility in our markets. The moment that any country like Iran thinks that we are a front for the Bush administration or for U.S. policy we will lose credibility." Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal, 29 December 2007.
     Great paragraph, until the part about "promoting democratic values." To be sure, democracy is wonderful. But either your purpose is to provide credible news, or it is to promote democracy. It can't be both.
     A comprehensive, objective, balanced news service does contribute to democracy by providing audiences with the knowledge they need to institute democratic institutions in their own countries, and to participate in that democracy thereafter. If that's what Gedmin meant, then he should have said so, because it's a damned important distinction.
     Elsewhere in this piece, Voice of America is the fall guy:
"Radio Farda is the priority fix. [Gedmin] wrested full control over the station from Voice of America upon taking office, and put in new Iranian management." VOA is dismissed as "traditional public diplomacy broadcasting ... which as the name suggests is tasked with explaining U.S. policies to the world." Once again VOA has been mischaracterized (and will anyone at VOA or its parent IBB set the record straight?). Most of VOA's audience is accounted for by most of VOA's content, which is news that is more comprehensive and credible than the news that audiences get from their state-controlled domestic media. Furthermore, VOA provides the full diet of news, about the world and (competing competently with the "surrogate" stations) about the audiences' own countries, all from the convenience of one station.

RFI reporter still held in Niger.

Posted: 29 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières "reiterates its support for Moussa Kaka, director of privately-owned Radio Saraounia and Niger correspondent of both Radio France Internationale and Reporters Without Borders, on the eve of his 100th day in detention tomorrow on a charge of 'complicity in a breach of state authority.'" RSF, 28 December 2007.

International broadcasters have roles in NPR New Year's Eve special.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"8:00PM(ET) Boston – Pianist Danilo Perez and his Big Band perform Perez’s composition The Panama Suite from the Berklee College of Music. The concert is being presented by WGBH Radio and airing in Latin America on Voice of America. 9:00PM(ET) Amsterdam – This jazz party from Amsterdam features Dutch saxophonist Piet Noordjik, accompanied by an organ group, a quartet and a boptet. Presented by Radio Netherlands." National Public Radio press release, 21 December 2007.

Associated Press expands its international presence, with the help of an RFE/RL alumna.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"For years, the AP has been flying in the face of a prevailing industry trend. While others are pulling out of foreign locales, the wire service has made worldwide expansion part of a master plan for future growth. ... In June, Deborah Seward, a former AP international editor, returned from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to become the wire service's special international editor for innovation, training and restructuring. Her mandate is to work with bureaus to develop a more online-oriented international news product." Sherry Ricchiardi, American Journalism Review, December/January 2008.

Public diplomacy for civilians.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Many ordinary Americans who do not work in government, yet seek to improve America's image, often feel powerless to shape policy beyond casting their votes in presidential elections. However, there are many ways that Americans can build bridges with foreign publics, improve US public diplomacy efforts, and win the 'global war of ideas.'" Stephen W. Barnes, The Daily Star (Beirut), 28 December 2007.

Smith and Mundt would roll in their graves.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"My suggestion to Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and James K. Glassman, the new secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs: Use those Hearts and Minds millions to hire as many retired American Foreign Service officers and diplomats as the money will buy, and saturate America with their presentations. As the Muslim world sees the attitude of Americans change, their hearts and minds will too." Sarwar Kashmeri, The American Muslim, 27 December 2007.

BBC news website poised for adverts.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
The news.bbc.co.uk website now has a space on the right side of the page labeled "advertisement," with this message: "Notice anything different? Find out what's changed on the BBC website." Click for details about advertisements, but only for users outside the UK. Thanks to Richard Cuff for this news tip. See previous post about same subject.

WorldSpace adds disaster alerts to its product line.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Washington-based satellite company participates in the development of the Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) system. WorldSpace's Senior Vice-President S Rangarajan: "We are planning to introduce the product in India as early as possible. Optimistically, we expect to launch the system especially in the coastal districts, which are prone to natural disasters, by 2008. Later, we plan to move to other regions. The unique feature of this product is that it can wake you up. Even if the device is off, it can be activated by the disaster warning centre. If you're watching another channel, it will automatically switch you to the disaster channel – a feature not found in any other technology that we know of." Lanka Business Online, 27 December 2007.

RFI no longer via DISH Network.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio France Internationale has apparently terminated its relationship with Dish Network in the U.S. after almost 10 years. Without notice, Dish Network substituted a French Web radio station for RFI at midday today. The good news is that RFI's French service is now available free-to-air (unscrambled) on Galaxy 25 (Ku band, 12053 MHz, SR 22000, audio PID 1500). Also available on this same frequency, with differing program IDs, are RFI broadcasts in Spanish, Portugese, RFI Afrique, RFI Musique, Monte Carlo Doualiya in Arabic, and RFI in Vietnamese and Mandarin (I think)." Mike Cooper in DX Listening Digest, 26 December 2007.

China Radio International gives up Berlin FM relay.

Posted: 28 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"In the last days the German service of CRI sent out the enclosed text, apparently to all listeners addresses they have in their system: 'Dear radio and web friends, we're sorry that we have to tell you that our transmission for Berlin, 06:00 to 07:00 CET on 97.2 MHz, will be canceled as of January 1 2008. However, you can still hear us ... [list of SW/MW transmissions]' That's in fact a relay of WRN Deutsch which has a one hour broadcast from CRI on air 0500-0600 and is relayed via Berlin 97.2 at night." E-mail from Kai Ludwig in Germany.

The U.S. Navy's soft-power strategy.

Posted: 27 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The US Navy is trying to set a new course, embracing a shift in strategy that focuses heavily on administering humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and other forms of so-called soft power to woo allies to help the United States fight global terrorism. ... It's a move away from the go-it-alone stance of the Bush White House and toward a new emphasis on building partnerships abroad and finding common interests." Christian Science Monitor, 27 December 2007.

The Fallujah broadcasting scene develops, with U.S. help.

Posted: 27 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Three years after the Iraqi city of Fallujah was practically destroyed by a US assault, residents of the notorious battleground have found a new voice through their own TV and radio programmes. ...
And over the past six months residents have begun tuning in to independent radio and TV programmes made in the city with the support of the state-run and US-funded Iraqi Media Network." AFP, 27 December 2007.

China: satellite television becomes official.

Posted: 27 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"On December 25 China Direct Broadcast Satellite Company started operation officially, becoming the first satellite operator in China. The company owns all civil and direct broadcasting satellites of the country. ... Industry analysts predict that once individuals are allowed to install satellite dishes, up to 100 million households will do so between 2006 and 2010." eNet.com.cn via TradingMarkets.com, 27 December 2007. This is significant to international broadcasting, because the establishment of this official DTH satellite service could displace the gray market for satellite dishes, through which many Chinese are able to watch foreign channels. -- See also China Direct Broadcast Satellite Co. website.

Makes sense: blogs, which are overhyped, being used in public diplomacy, which is overhyped (updated).

Posted: 27 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Blogs have never completely lived up to their early hype. They haven't made many bloggers rich, or ushered in a new era of 'citizen journalism', or wrested control of political debates from the mainstream media. But they are gaining political importance, and they are influencing the conduct of foreign and strategic policy. ... Politicians already see blogs as useful public relations devices, and a number of foreign ministries are using them in their public diplomacy. Now governments are beginning to explore blogging as a tool for improving international policy." Sam Roggeveen, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 2007. Update: "Easing access to information is only one reason behind the Bush administration’s Web explosion. Expanding its global reach is another. Feedback at the State Department’s Dipnote, for instance, comes from respondents as far away as Syria and China." Council on Foreign Relations, 26 December 2007.

In Iran, an illegal satellite dish will get you 17,666 channels (updated).

Posted: 27 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"While satellite television has been outlawed in Iran for 14 years, people continue to tune in to a wide variety of channels whose content ranges from popular music to politics. ... Currently, some 17,666 satellite channels can be picked up in Iran, 3,000 of which have clear reception. ... Voice of America is run by the United States government and has won its audience share because of its high-quality programming and because there is no alternative independent source of Persian-language TV news. ... The popularity of Voice of America is likely to have been one of the factors that prompted the BBC to launch its own Persian news channel." Hengameh Hosseinpour, Mianeh, 18 December 2007. Update: VOA touts the publicity in a press release, 26 December 2007.

Hillary Clinton's stance on public diplomacy.

Posted: 26 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The whole unfortunate experience we’ve had with the Bush administration, where they haven’t done what we’ve needed to do to reach out to the rest of the world, reinforces my experience in the 1990s that public diplomacy, showing respect and understanding of people’s different perspectives -- it’s more likely to at least create the conditions where we can exercise our values and pursue our interests." New York Times, 26 December 2007.

France 24 reporters detained in Sri Lanka (updated).

Posted: 26 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"At least two French journalists have been arrested in Sri Lanka's south for filming a detention camp without permission, police said Tuesday. The police at Ratgama, about 104 km south of Colombo said that the two French men belonging to 'France 24 TV' were arrested Monday evening for filming the area surrounding the Boossa detention camp." Xinhua, 25 December 2007. Update: "Freed without any charges." AFP, 26 December 2007.

U.S. public diplomacy "hopeless"? "It is."

Posted: 25 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Interview with Lakhdar Brahimi, former U.N. mediator: "Q: Given all the failures of American public diplomacy in the Middle East, is the US situation hopeless in reaching people in the streets? Brahimi: It is. ... Q: Is this because of Palestine? Brahimi: Absolutely. So the Americans' public diplomacy -- what can you do? Your policies -- what you do in Palestine, what you say, what you don't do -- people know that very well and they don't like it. You are going to tell them, No, you should like it. It's not bad. The thing is, is the government willing to at least listen to some of these grievances?" The Nation, 24 December 2007.

Helping Africa with human-powered radios.

Posted: 25 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Feature about Kristine Pearson, founder of the Freeplay Foundation: "Most of sub-Saharan Africa goes without regular electricity. But Freeplay's bright blue Lifeline Radios are human-powered, which lets them pick up AM, FM and shortwave signals from far away. Destitute villages that lack reliable power grids can use the radios for education, communication and entertainment purposes." Investor's Business Daily, 24 December 2007.

American musical diplomacy: from "Jazz Ambassadors" to "Rhythm Road."

Posted: 24 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Dana Leong Band -- a hip-hop funk group from New York -- has toured Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos this month as part of 'The Rhythm Road -- American Music Abroad' program funded by the State Department and administered by Jazz at Lincoln Center. ... The State Department's global music tours first began during the Cold War under President Dwight Eisenhower, who sent Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and other jazz greats abroad to counter Soviet cultural influence in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Formerly known as the 'Jazz Ambassadors' program, 'The Rhythm Road' tour series began featuring hip-hop musicians in 2005 in hopes of connecting with younger audiences." Suzy Khimm, AlterNet, 24 December 2007.

Is public diplomacy closing the gate after the horse has escaped?

Posted: 24 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Rising interest in public diplomacy in Washington is confirmation that something has already gone seriously wrong. All the theory would suggest otherwise - that public diplomacy is best used as an instrument to reduce the probability or severity of international conflict; yet, interest in and support for public diplomacy only rises in times of serious conflict." Robert T. Coonrod, letter to The Financial Times, 24 December 2007. Mr. Coonrod is president of the Public Diplomacy Council and former deputy director of the Voice of America.

Psyops (PsyOp) in the news (updated).

Posted: 24 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Fort Bragg soldiers honored an Afghan reporter and schoolteacher Tuesday who lost her life fighting for the freedom of press in the central Asian country. Zakia Zaki was shot seven times in the chest and head as she slept with her son at her home north of Kabul in June. ... Zakia was one of only a few female journalists in Afghanistan during the Taliban and headed the U.S. funded station, Radio Peace. ... 'Through this memorial we plan on embedding her into our unit history so that she will never be forgotten,' [Lt. Col. Stu] Goldsmith said. 'We chose this time, PSYOP Regimental Week, when we are celebrating the first 40 years of the 4th PSYOP Group because Zakia will forever be a member of our regiment.'" Fayetteville Observer, 11 December 2007. "'When something happens, we want to get the truth out as soon as possible. We want to communicate with locals in the area to find out how they're doing. We're not there to hurt them, we're there to help.' ... [There are] four aspects of information engagement: public affairs, combat photography, psychological operations and Defense support to public diplomacy." Fort Leavenworth Lamp, 13 December 2007. Father, son serve together on Commando Solo aircraft. Air Force Link, 19 December 2007. KWMU's Adam Allington of public radio KWMU (St. Louis) reports from Iraq on the activities of the U.S. Armey 10th PsyOp Battalion. KWMU, 6 December 2007. Update: Glenn Hauser educates me that people in the know use the term "PsyOp" rather than "psyops." An example is in this essay by KWMU's Adam Allington: "The soldiers who I was traveling with were Psychological Operations ('PsyOp') troops. At this point, their job is to convince Iraqis to adopt a western-style system of Democratic governance." Leelanau Enterprise (Lake Leelanau, MI), 23 December 2007.

Another appeal for Aljazeera English to the USA.

Posted: 23 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"American soldiers in Kabul and elsewhere religiously watch al-Jazeera's English service. They're not only learning what they're up against. They're learning about the cultures of the people in whose defense they've been deployed. Why isn't the same service available to mass American audiences who still ask the kind of questions -- 'why do they hate us?' -- al-Jazeera answers every day, often by showing how they don't hate us, but hate our ignorance?" Editorial, Daytona Beach News-Journal, 23 December 2007. There is no overt U.S. government prohibition against Aljazeera English on a multichannel carrier. Rather, it seems to be a business decision, with political and public relations factors probably playing a role. One Aljazeera English official indicated that a deal with a U.S. satellite television company is in the works.

The Queen's Christmas message via YouTube (updated).

Posted: 23 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Fifty years after her first televised Christmas broadcast, the Queen today embraces the technology of the 21st century by launching her own channel on YouTube, the global video-sharing website." The Telegraph, 23 December 2007. "Keeping up with the latest communications technology is in fact a royal tradition. The Queen's grandfather, King George V, broadcast on the BBC's World Service 75 years ago when it began; the Queen herself gave the first televised Christmas message in 1957." Leader, The Telegraph, 23 December 2007. Transmitted by BBC World Service 25 December at 1505 UTC. Update: "King George V delivered the first royal Christmas broadcast live on the radio 75 years ago from Sandringham in 1932, when he read a message composed by author Rudyard Kipling. The fixed time of 3pm each year was chosen in 1932 because it was considered the best for reaching most of the countries in the British Empire by short wave." Western Mail (Cardiff), 24 December 2007. Three o'clock p.m. in England is just about dusk, a good time for shortwave, because the lower frequencies which propagate well in the dark can be used for points east, and higher frequencies that propagate well in daylight can be used for targets to the west.

No Nine Lessons and Carols ethereally via shortwave (updated).

Posted: 23 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Andrew Stephen, US editor of the New Statesman: "I found a warm, sunny Christmas and no Boxing Day wildly alien at first: I would desperately rig up an aerial to listen through the static to the BBC World Service relay of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Cambridge, but the BBC’s disgraceful decision to cease short-wave transmissions to North America soon put a stop to my Christmas Eve fix." New Statesman, 20 December 2007. Update: "For those of you who are musically inclined it is a very special day, for on this day you will be trying to listen to the BBC World Service which broadcasts the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge, the choir of which produces one of the most beautiful sounds on earth on this day." John Warrington, Stabroek News (Guyana), 23 December 2007. "Christmas is not Christmas also if not for the Nine Lessons and Carols from the chapel of King’s College in Cambridge, Britain. The 90-minute choir presentation, which includes selected readings from the Bible, is broadcast live by BBC World Service radio every year." Anthony Thanasayan, The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 23 December 2007. Transmitted by BBC World Service 24 December at 1500 UTC.

Ethiopia jamming update.

Posted: 23 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Two media organs, namely the BBC Monitor (BBCM) and the Netherlands Media (RN) disclosed that the TPLF regime's jamming of the Eritrean media has been stepped up to a great extent. ... In a related report, although the programs of the Voice of America are being muffled in Ethiopia, VOA staff members have been given instructions by their senior heads not to broadcast any report or information about the jamming." Shabait.com (Asmara), 21 December 2007. Well, VOA, at least in English, reported on the jamming on 26 November. The referenced BBC Monitoring report is reprinted by Radio Netherlands Media Network, 19 December 2007.

Instead of kilowatts, golf balls are directed to the target area.

Posted: 23 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
In 2008, international property developer, Thunderbird Resorts, will excite golf enthusiasts with the opening of its world-class golf course in Poro Point, La Union [Philippines]. ... Home of the Voice of America (VOA) and a former US military station, Poro Point’s close proximity to other Asian countries and territories like Taiwan, Macau, Canton, Hong Kong, and Japan makes it an ideal destination for commercial service to the Asian market." Manila Times, 23 December 2007. Poro is a former VOA shortwave relay site. A VOA medium wave relay (on 1170 kHz) for Southeast Asia is still in operation there.

Two ARTE reporters face death penalty in Niger.

Posted: 23 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Authorities in Niger have charged two French journalists with colluding with armed groups in the country's uranium-rich north, which could carry the death penalty if they are convicted, their lawyer said on Saturday. Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson are accused of violating the terms of their media accreditation to film a report about bird flu in the southern city of Maradi, instead travelling to film rebel fighters in the country's Saharan north. ... Paris-based press freedom watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres this week demanded the release of reporter Dandois and cameraman Creisson, who were employed by Camicas Productions and were in Niger compiling a report for European TV station ARTE. ... Two other local journalists, including one working for French state-backed Radio France International, have been detained for weeks on suspicion of aiding the rebels." Reuters, 23 December 2007. -- ARTE (Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne) is a Franco-German culture and arts channel.

It's not an American trying to get out. It's just gas.

Posted: 22 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"'There's never been a methodological listening study conducted by the U.S. government,' says Keith Reinhard, president of Business for Diplomatic Action, a private task force that tries to enlist U.S. businesses in global actions that help counter anti-Americanism. 'In one of our surveys, we talked to a New Zealand man, and he said, "You think that inside every human being on the planet there's an American trying to get out. It's not true!"'" Variety, 21 December 2007.

Voice of Russia not allowed on Lithuanian MW station.

Posted: 22 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Lithuania's TV and Radio commission has refused the country's radio station permission to carry programmes by the Voice of Russia. Officials say the move was needed to guard citizens from the 'influence of Russian propaganda.' The Baltic Waves Radio project manager, Rimantas Pleikys, views it as an act of political censorship. He says the move is strange because Baltic Waves Radio has been re-broadcasting the programmes of various radio stations from both the West and the East for eight years." Russia Today, 21 December 2007. Radio Baltic Waves relays various international station on medium wave frequencies.

Shortwave frequencies to be coordinated in Kuala Lumpur.

Posted: 22 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"A key conference on global shortwave coordination will be held in Kuala Lumpur on 4-8 February to try to resolve many of the potential interference problems likely to affect shortwave transmissions. ... A completely new database of frequency requirements for the shortwave radio broadcasting season from 30 March to 26 October 2008 will be on the agenda of the Kuala Lumpur conference. ... Shortwave broadcasting has a unique position in that the radio channels used by international stations are not assigned, but regularly coordinated for two seasons each year." Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, 21 December 2007. "A common misconception is that shortwave listeners do not use the Internet." Radio Netherlands, 20 December 2007.

CNN International: evidence of effectiveness.

Posted: 22 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
The story of an Iraqi boy who was doused in gasoline by masked assailants and set on fire "drew the biggest response to a non-breaking news story in the history of CNN.com. Through CNN's online Impact Your World initiative, viewers from around the world made contributions to the Children's Burn Foundation, allowing Youssif and his family to fly to the United States for treatment." Indiantelevision.com, 21 December 2007. CNN special on 26 December will showcase contributions from its iReporters around the world. Media Newsline, 21 December 2007.

Grumbling at Aljazeera English.

Posted: 22 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Al Jazeera International (or Al Jazeera English as we were forced to call it after objections from the Arabic news channel) was launched 13 months ago. Since then two things have happened: First, the channel has built itself a reputation as an authoritative news source on world issues, offering a different perspective from the likes of CNN and BBC. ... The second thing that has happened is that the people who have been responsible for this phenomenal innovation in the world of broadcasting have been treated like... ." Linda L., Friends of Aljazeera, 19 December 2007.

The road named for a VOA might-have-been (updated).

Posted: 22 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The public will enter the [Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge] and the service’s offices through Voice of America Road, which winds through Clallam County’s Dungeness Recreation Area." Sequim Gazette, 12 December 2007. Voice of America Road is named for the a VOA transmitter site that was planned, but never constructed, in this northwest corner of Washington state. Objections from Senator Joe McCarthy in the early 1950s were at least part of the reason the project was never realized. Transcriptions of McCarthy's VOA hearings are available in Volume 1 at the U.S. Senate Art & History web page. Update: "A 51-year-old man reported to the Pitt County Sheriff's Office that someone broke into his home in the 3300 block of Voice of America Road in Grimesland on Wednesday and stole two rifles valued at $2,150, two shotguns valued at $800, a rifle scope valued at $500 and a set of audio speakers valued at $600." The Daily Reflector (Greenville NC), 21 December 2007. This road is named for the existing IBB shortwave transmitting sites in North Carolina.

VOA jazz, then and now.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, [sax player Igor] Butman attended the Rimsky- Korsakov College of Music as a teenager and listened to Voice of America's nightly jazz broadcasts to build his knowledge. Bloomberg, 13 December 2007. Kyrgyzstani jazz pianist Eldar Djangirov re his father: "In the old USSR, when he was 13 or 14, he heard jazz at night on Voice of America and BBC, and he fell in love with it for life. So from my earliest years, I was constantly hearing music; it was part of the atmosphere, and it became a part of me." neweurasia.net, 15 December 2007. "Russ Davis, Program Director for Beyond Jazz on XM Satellite Radio and the Jazz America Program on Voice of America enthuses: 'The [Return to Forever] reunion will be THE jazz event of 2008. Rarely does a magical event like this occur. I'm one of millions of fans who can't wait!'" top40.charts.com, 19 December 2007. Davis's predecessor Willis Conover would probably have not been so enthused. But, times change.

Weakened dollar adds to housing expenses for RFE/RL employees in Prague.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Even U.S. government employees are feeling the pinch in countries with strong currencies like the Czech Republic, where the koruna has gained 17 percent this year against the dollar. Radio Free Europe, the U.S.-backed international broadcaster headquartered in Prague, is suddenly facing a housing crisis for many of its 500 employees. And the news organization's new chief executive, Jeffrey Gedmin, ranks the weak dollar with attacks on journalists around the world who have been kidnapped in Baghdad and jailed in Azerbaijan as one of the critical issue that it is facing. 'For me it's become an ethical issue,' said Gedmin, who was in Washington this month lobbying U.S. legislators for relief and trying to raise funds privately to aid hard-hit employees. 'I have a genuine ethical issue to take care of people who are trying hard to take care of their own countries.'" International Herald Tribune, 14 December 2007. Another argument in favor of my proposal, first floated years ago, that RFE/RL, RFA, and VOA merge, with everyone moving to Chicago. After all, the dollar is no weaker against the dollar.

Crackdown on internet cafes in Iran.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Police in Tehran have raided more than 430 Internet cafes and other shops during the first days of the latest campaign against what they say is inappropriate and un-Islamic conduct. ... According to Iranian independent journalists, ...many political websites -- including personal weblogs or blogs -- and many independent news sources are blocked with a filter so that Iranians cannot access them. Those sites includes radiofarda.com." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News, 18 December 2007.

Radio Veritas Asia marks 25 years of Kachin broadcasts.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), the Manila-based short-wave station run by Asia's Catholic bishops, has been airing its Kachin Service since Nov. 15, 1982. For the local Church celebration of the Kachin Service anniversary, about 500 Kachin Catholics on Nov. 18 crowded into St. Patrick's Cathedral in Banmaw, Kachin state [Burma], 840 kilometers north of Yangon, as did Kachin Catholics in other diocesan parishes that same day. ... RVA's Burmese, Karen and Kachin services regularly attract more than a million listeners." Union of Catholic Asian News, 17 December 2007.

Latest Nye-gram.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The effects of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have also thrown us off course. Since the shock of those attacks, the U.S. has been exporting fear and anger rather than the country's more traditional values of hope and optimism. Guantanamo Bay has become a more powerful global icon than the Statue of Liberty." Joseph S. Nye, The Korea Times, 18 December 2007.

President Bush joins in State's farewell to Karen Hughes.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"'One of her jobs was to teach me how to speak English.' ... Bush also took a shot at the State Department and its perceived culture of ingrained diplomatic niceties, saying that he named Hughes to head up the agency's public diplomacy efforts to shake up the system. 'There was no doubt in my mind that she (Hughes) was a change agent and sometimes this building could use change agents,' he said. 'I'm not saying all of the time, but certainly when it came to making sure that the world knows our intentions and our good hearts.'" AP, 12 December 2007. Hughes swan song: "I have found two major misperceptions in my conversations around the world. First, in many Muslim-majority nations, people worry that the war against terror is directed at them. ... The second major misperception comes from my fellow Americans. Contrary to a common perception, Muslims do speak out against terrorist violence – often and forcefully." Karen Hughes, Asharq Alawsat, 19 December 2007.

Comments about James Glassman,

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
nominated to replace Karen Hughes as under secretary of state for public diplomacy: "Glassman's America-first cheerleading may not be enough for him to engage in a significant dialogue with representatives from other countries, not all of whom are enamoured of an American model for the world. Cheerleading can encourage the home team, but it certainly doesn't win over the opposing squad." John Brown, The Guardian's comment is free, 19 December 2007. See also William Fisher, Inter Press Service, 20 December 2007.

BBCWS 75: Gordon Brown congratulates World Service.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Prime Minister Gordon Brown: "The World Service's reputation for integrity, truth and freedom of speech - values that motivate journalists around the world - is a credit both to the BBC and the UK as a whole. So I want to thank you publicly for the work you do." 10 Downing Street, 19 December 2007. Note that the prime minister knew better than to congratulate BBCWS for "promoting freedom and democracy and the UK's values abroad."

BBCWS 75: the new media as foil to the World Service.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"As the new media reveal their limitations – unreliability, partiality, the flaunting of personal whim or political bias – so the need for edited, processed, considered, reflected news and information reasserts itself. ... The BBC World Service is uniquely placed to do just that. Its strength is that such a crucial broadcasting principle goes back 60 years. That — in modern cant — is a World Service 'brand value.' You don't have to construct it — it's the core." Former BBCWS managing director Sir John Tusa, The Telegraph, 17 December 2007.

BBCWS 75: "Making News" compares a day of BBC World, CNN, and Aljazeera.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The World Service is way past 40. It's turning 75, though it isn't making a Radio 1-style fuss. Its idea of celebration is to broadcast a set of programmes around the theme of freedom of information. Making News, on Monday, looked at rolling news on TV, checking out BBC World News, CNN and Al Jazeera on a typical 24 hours: 30 October 2007. 'Not exactly an inspiring day,' according to the BBC World hack. And this wasn't exactly an inspiring programme, until 12 minutes in, when Allan Little talked to an Indian academic. He told us that the very format of 24-hour news favours certain kinds of news narrative, specifically the Middle East. The resources and the cameras are there, because America is involved: thus we get every detail. Whereas in the Congo, as an FT journo pointed out, three million people have died, 'and it largely passed unreported'. Exactly why we need the World Service. We should cherish it more than we do." Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 16 December 2007. Listen via the Making News web page. "Journalists speak about freedom" in four other BBCWS anniversary programs. Other "Free to Speak" events and programs.

BBCWS 75: Chapman positions World Service by misrepresenting VOA.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"'Other international broadcasters are locked into their perspective,' says [World Service Nigel] Chapman, pointing out that Voice of America employees, for example, are civil servants, with an explicit purpose 'to project a US political view'. Aided by the British mindset, and taxpayers’ money, the result is Britain’s only truly global media operation: the World Service." Veteran VOA journalist Tony Collins responds: "Never was I told to slant any story towards any Administration position. We covered Watergate, Iran-Contra, the Clinton Impeachment, etc. fully and fairly. Mr. Chapman has insulted not only me but generations of other VOA employees." The Times, 14 December 2007. Yes, if Mr. Chapman, who should know better, can be so howlingly wrong in his characterization of VOA, what does it say about the quality of the journalistic output for which he is resposible? This also behooves VOA to do a better job of positioning itself. -- Chapman: "I would say we stand for values that have been associated with ... British fairness and impartiality. It actually helps the world to get on with itself. I don't want to sound pompous about this, but that must be good for humanity in the end." The Observer, 16 December 2007.

BBCWS 75: "How Free to BBC?"

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"BBC World Service is in the unique position of being funded by the British government and yet is independent of the people who hold the purse strings. Looking back over 75 years, 'How free the BBC?' examines to what extent BBC World Service has been subject to pressure from its paymasters." Audio of the program, broadcast on 15 December, is available on this page of the BBCWS website.

BBCWS 75: new look for World Service website.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service website "has undergone the most radical facelift in its history – aptly on the occasion that BBC World Service celebrates its 75th anniversary." The home page used to look like "the top of the international news index on the BBC News website. But what makes BBC World Service unique is the quality of its programming and the depth of understanding our correspondents and journalists bring to the airwaves. We wanted to showcase this more predominantly – hence the redesign, which really puts the best of our content to the fore." BBCWS website.

BBC's ambitious global channels.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Darren Childs, managing director of global channels at BBC Worldwide, discusses his channels region by region. "We made a decision that we wouldn’t (launch a channel) just to replicate something that existed. We would only do something if we saw, in a specific genre, that we could either be number one or number two in a market." WorldScreen.com, 17 December 2007.

A new "cluster" of Turner channels in India.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Turner International is to launch a cluster of local TV channels in India. The nets will be owned and operated through a joint venture with local entertainment firm Alva Brothers... . Operation will start with the launch of a Hindi-language general entertainment channel at an unspecified time and be followed by other specialized nets, some potentially in other Indian languages." Variety, 12 December 2007. "Leading law firm Clifford Chance has advised Turner Broadcasting, a unit of Time Warner Inc., as international counsel on its equal joint venture with India's Alva Brothers to launch a general entertainment television channel in India." LawFuel.com, 18 December 2007.

WorldSpace Italy goes forward.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"WorldSpace Italy has recruited a well-known radio pioneer as its local content director. We almost breathed a sigh of relief at this latest news from WorldSpace, because it shows that with its hiring of Roberto Zaino confidence remains high – at least in WorldSpace’s Italian project." Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News, 20 December 2007. See previous post about WorldSpace.

Digital Radio Mondiale in the news.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"It is also expected that the adoption and deployment of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) in China will be widespread. DAB will be more widely adopted in the highly populated areas, while DRM is better suited to the remaining parts of the country." Ugo Carena, EETimes Asia, 17 December 2007. France adopts DRM for frequencies up to 30 MHz. Digital Radio Mondiale press release, 11 December 2007. Does this mean that DRM will be allowed or required for shortwave broadcasting? The latter could be problematic, because DRM often fails on frequencies subject to interference, or over long-haul circuits, even as analog shortwave provided a usable if less-than-perfect signal.

Shortwave radios still on the gift list.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
For holiday gift giving: "My first suggestion is to give them the world—almost literally. A portable shortwave radio opens a universe of experiences. There’s a thrill in exploring the large commercial broadcasters that beam news, music and drama to all who care to listen. Many foreign stations have English language broadcasts. Or someone learning a language can listen to native speakers to perfect pronunciation. You can also listen to ham radio operators (I’m one myself) and sample the unique programming of what the radio community calls 'pirate stations'. Usually operated illegally, these quirky broadcasters offer their take on music." Bill Husted, livemint.com. 18 December 2007. "You need to know about three wonderful, new radio receivers: a standard AM/FM/shortwave model, an AF/FM/HD device and one of the new Wi-Fi Internet radio receivers, which isn't really a radio in the strict sense but could be the wave of the future." Gary Krakow, TheStreet.com 17 December 2007. Feature about Ten-Tec, U.S. manufacturer of shortwave radios and related products. The Mountain Press (Sevierville TN), 17 December 2007.

As BBC, VOA, and RFE/RL are squeezed out of Russia, TWR gets an award.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Director of TWR (Transworld Radio) Moscow, Peter Ryazanov, was recently presented with an Award from the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation for TWR's radio ministry to prisoners in Russia, thanking them for 'their invaluable help in bringing spiritual instruction and education to the inmates'." Inspire Magazine, 19 December 2007. Trans World Radio is a U.S. based evangelical international broadcaster.

Turkmenistan's ban on "ugly" satellite dishes might make shortwave radios look pretty.

Posted: 21 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader has demanded the removal of satellite dishes from the roofs and walls of houses and tower blocks in the capital Ashgabat on the grounds that they spoil the city’s appearance. ... By way of compensation, President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov said he had ordered the telecommunications ministry to install a “common satellite dish with a huge diameter” in the near future. ... Satellite TV is one of the main ways for people in this isolated country to obtain information about the outside world." Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 14 December 2007. Of course, the "common" dish would be subject to gatekeeping. "It is not uncommon in the UK, Canada, Australia and the US for community associations to ban private individuals from setting up a satellite dish. Only rarely do human rights groups involve themselves in saving the satellite dish in Western countries." Michael Hedges, followthemedia.com. 15 December 2007.

Best of Blogs winner shot dead in Baghdad.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières calls on "Iraqi authorities to investigate the disturbing circumstances in which Ali Shafeya Al-Moussawi, a correspondent of the news website Alive in Baghdad, was killed on 14 December. Aged 23, Moussawi was founded dead in his home in the northeast Baghdad district of Habibiya after an Iraqi military raid on his street. According to an autopsy, he was shot 31 times in the head and chest. ... Since 2005, [his] website has been offering videos showing the situation of Iraqis, both those in Iraq and those who have fled abroad. On 15 November, it won the best videoblog prize in this years’s Best of the Blogs (BOBS) awards, which are organised by the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle." RSF, 19 December 2007.

Essays on Aljazeera and other Arabic channels.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"While Al Jazeera is the dominant news source in the region, it is by no means the only news. Unlike the American viewer, who may believe that his news channel is the objective source of information, there is no Walter 'Voice of God' Cronkite of the Middle East. After a lifetime of being spoon-fed government-sponsored news and propaganda, many Arab viewers watch their so-called independent news with a skeptical eye, hopping from Al Jazeera to Al Arabiya (Saudi), maybe touching down briefly at Al Minar (Hezbollah) or even Al Hurra (US). An offshoot of Voice of America, Al Hurra, which means 'The Freedom,' claims to broadcast 'objective and accurate Arabic language news,' according to a glossy. Al Hurra is still trying to find its niche in a crowded marketplace. If Al Jazeera is going to telecast all of Gen. David Petraeus's testimony before a Congressional committee along with the questions--more live coverage than any other network--maybe America is better off making sure that its commentators are ready to spin their take on events in the Arabic spin zone, rather than creating a network of their own." Ned Lamont, The Nation, 14 December 2007. "Al Jazeera gave a voice to Arab dissidents who were dissatisfied by the state of affairs in their respective societies. Al Jazeera English seeks to amplify the voices of millions of people across the developing world whose issues, problems and concerns have been silenced by the indifference of the power brokers who call the shots in today's day and age." Suhail Shafi, OpEdNews.com, 16 December 2007.

As Pakistan's media restrictions continue, radio sales "soar."

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Only a handful of stations do regular news bulletins and current affairs programming. To make an example of them, two of the leading radio stations, FM99 in Islamabad and FM103 in Karachi, got the rough end of the stick: their transmitters and broadcast consoles were taken away (along with most other equipment), thereby silencing them. ... However, foreign radio stations such as BBC and Voice of America have increased airtime for emergency-related coverage and that has caused sales of radio sets to soar." Newsline (Karachi), December 2007. At banquet, somewhere in Pakistan, in honor of a delegation from China Radio International, the "President and chairman of Pakistan China Media Friendship Association Mr. Makhdoom Babar has said that Pak-China friendship was entering new avenues of love, excellence and trust." Unique Pakistan, 13 December 2007.

Amid shortwave jamming and internet blocking, Ethiopia has allowed two private FM stations.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Ethiopia has allowed only two private FM licenses since it legalized commercial radio in 1999. One of the successful applicants is Mimi Sebihatu, a veteran of Voice of America who has had a show on Ethiopian government radio. Critics say he was selected over 10 other applicants because of his "pro-government sympathies." Christian Science Monitor, 19 December 2007. "If the terrible internet connection wasn’t enough, now the Voice of America radio is blocked. At least all the people I know couldn’t get it and I couldn’t access it the last three days." Kaffa, Jimma Times, 17 December 2007. See previous post about Ethiopian jamming.

RFA's share of press freedom restrictions in Cambodia.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Reporters of the Khmer-language program of the U.S. network Radio Free Asia are known to be 'frequently singled out for harassment by government officials.' The field editor of this radio network said that 'news reports about illegal logging, malnutrition in impoverished areas and human rights abuses have resulted in angry, and sometimes threatening, calls from senior Ministry of Information officials.'" Lao Mong Hay, UPI Asia Online, 12 December 2007.

The Next Big Thing is "Ndi Ndi Ndi," sung "wide open."

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Kenyan group Yunasi have been named the winners of BBC World Service's Next Big Thing 2007 competition at the Maida Vale studios in London. The band, comprising seven men from East Africa and a French woman, triumphed with their song Ndi Ndi Ndi, about the dangers of excess drinking. They were praised by the all-star judging panel for their 'wide open, exuberant vocals' and for being 'different to 99% of pop music'. BBC News, 13 December 2007.

U.S. public radio listeners will hear more about what ails the world.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Public Radio International (PRI) announces that it has received a three-year, $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lead an unprecedented effort to produce and distribute global health and development content. ... PRI will stimulate listener engagement with its global health and development programming through online discussions and other resources, including customized social networking and civic engagement tools, blogs, podcasts, mobile phone segments and searchable transcripts. ... These efforts are part of PRI's Our World Initiative, an innovative programming and online engagement undertaking that seeks, in part, to invest in journalistic capacity in critical content areas across PRI programs. PRI will announce additional Our World Initiative content tracks in the coming months." PRI press release, 12 December 2007.

CNN, BBC out of Kashmir; Aljazeera stays; Press TV may be added.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Cable operators in the Indian controlled Kashmir have stopped showing Western news channels including the CNN and BBC and one official said the move was in deference of the widely held view here that the Western channels were giving a biased account of the affairs in the Muslim world. ... Besides plethora of local and regional news channels cable TV in Kashmir these days offer only one international news channel, Al-Jazeera English. ... When asked if there is possibility of adding PRESS TV as another news source besides Al-Jazeera English, Irfan Ahmad, one of the Directors of 'Take 1 Television', which controls cable operations in Kashmir, said, 'We will take up the matter in our review meeting next week.' PRESS TV is a new international English language news channel from Middle East based in Tehran." Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), 13 December 2007. VOA English and Hindi can still get through via shortwave, but perhaps not for long, as they are still slated by the BBG to be taken off shortwave.

U.S.-based radios cited in Vietnamese arrest of dissident.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Vietnamese security forces Dec. 12 officially released information relating to Huynh Van Ba, leader of the so-called Vietnamese Political and Religious Prisoners Friendship Association (VPRPFA) who was arrested early this month for trying to incite mass complaints and demonstrations against the Government. ... Ba also helped the complainants have direct interviews with 'Radio Free Asia' (RFA), Radio Hoa Mai, Radio Tieng Nuoc Toi, all US-based radio stations which broadcast distorted information about the SRVN." VietNam Net Bridge (Hanoi), 13 December 2007.

Apologies for the interruption

Posted: 19 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
in posting to this site, caused by an unexpected medical adventure. I'm on the mend now, and have begun catching up with the news (and, even better, gossip).

South Africa: domestic news channel now competing with the international news channels.

Posted: 16 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
E.news, "South Africa’s first independent 24-hour news channel," joins "suite of news channels including CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC World, SABC Africa and Sky News." on South Africa's Multichoice DStv (satellite) platform. Screen Africa, 12 December 2007. "Television viewers will be better served by a new South African 24-hour channel instead of the standard fare from His Master's Voice at the SABC." Business News (Cape Town), 16 December 2007.

James K. Glassman goes over to the other side (updated again).

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
President Bush will nominate James Glassman, now chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to succeed Karen Hughes as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. AP, 10 December 2007. "Later today the President will meet with leaders of some of the U.S. broadcasting services, including Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, and the Middle East broadcasting networks. They will discuss the U.S. government's efforts to provide an alternative voice against violent extremism, and for the principles of democracy and liberty. James Glassman, Chairman of the BBG, which is the Broadcasting Board of Governors, will participate in this meeting. And today the President will also announce his intention to nominate Mr. Glassman to serve as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. In this new role, Mr. Glassman will help effectively explain our policies and America's fundamental values to people around the world. The President looks forward to working with him as we continue to communicate this important message of hope and freedom." Dana Perino, White House press briefing, 11 December 2007. Comment about Glassman in another capacity. Charlie Cray, Huffington Post, 10 December 2007. Meanwhile, Hughes predecessor Margaret Tutwiler has been hired by Merrill Lynch & Co. to oversee communications. Wall Street Journal, 11 December 2007. AFP story about Glassman nomination uses wrong photo: that of James E. Glassman, senior economist and Managing Director with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. AFP, 11 December 2007. "Over the years I have met, through reporting, many true-blue patriotic Americans who have spent their careers learning how Asian (or European or Arab-Islamic etc) cultures work and think, and how America could best engage them. Jim Glassman, despite being a great guy, is not one of these. As with Hughes, this seems another choice driven by internal comfort (the assumption that he'd face no confirmation problems) rather than external suitability (demonstrated understanding of the outside world), which means another bad choice." James Fallows, Atlantic.com, 11 December 2007. Update: Fallows backpedals: "It is possible that the verve, energy, and ingenuity Jim Glassman has shown through his career could be just the traits the person in that situation needs. As I think about him more, and more about the sources of my exasperation, I say: let's see what he can do in this next year." Atlantic.com, 12 December 2007.

America.gov will replace usinfo.state.gov.

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The America.gov website replaces the current usinfo.state.gov website on January 15 with an updated format and new video and blogging features. One new feature includes expanded coverage of the 2008 presidential election as a way of explaining the American electoral system for foreign audiences." State Department, 12 December 2007. I've been arguing for years for a catchier URL for the U.S. public diplomacy website. America.gov is a good choice.

Maybe the British Council will have to hire shortwave transmitters to get British culture into Russia.

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The U.K. government's cultural promotion body, the British Council, does not have a 'legal basis' to operate regional offices in Russia and will have to close them by Jan. 1, the Russian Foreign Ministry said today on its Web site. The U.K. said it will ignore the order, which it considers a violation of international law." Bloomberg, 12 December 2007.

Did BBC World Service survey come back to bite the BBC? (updated)

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Less than a third of UK citizens think the BBC has a good performance record in accurate news reporting, according to a survey carried out on behalf of the BBC World Service. Just 29% of 1,003 Britons polled in the survey - part of a global report into perceptions of media freedom - said they rated publicly-funded news organisations, meaning the BBC in Britain, positively." Leigh Holmwood, The Guardian, 10 December 2007. The questionnaire refers to "government or publicly funded news organizations" but not specifically to BBC. For years, BBC officials have extolled the virtues of public broadcasting, but the results of this survey do not indicate any global preference for public over private broadcast news. See previous post about same subject, especially the link to the detailed findings in the World Service press release. Update: Four-part BBCWS "Press for Freedom" series begins today. The Guardian's Greenslade blog, 11 December 2007. See also BBCWS Press for Freedom web page and other BBCWS 75th anniversary events.

You probably would have to be a "radio fan" to tune in programs like "Europe in perspective" and "Europe in-depth."

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio fans will from next year onwards be able to tune in to a new pan-European station, to be set up by a multinational group of broadcasters and funded by the European Commission. The 'European Radio Project' (ERP) - a consortium of 16 radio stations from 13 member states - will from April 2008 onwards bring programmes 'from a European point of view.' ... The programmes will be broadcast on the usual frequencies of the participating radio stations, as well as through a new ERP internet site, which will be in the air from June onwards. ... Original content for the radio shows will initially be produced in five 'core' languages - English, French, German, Spanish and Polish - and will be translated into Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian, Portuguese and Romanian. ... Deutsche Welle will ensure the editorial coordination of the project, while Radio France will be responsible for financial affairs and Radio Netherlands will run the web portal of the euro-station." EUobserver, 12 December 2007. "The European commission is to set up its own radio station for distributing EU propaganda." Daily Mail, 12 December 2007.

Not exactly filling a void: EuroNews will add Arabic.

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Television channel EuroNews, which is partly funded by the European Union, said Monday it will start broadcasting in Arabic next year to reach Arabic speakers within Europe and in the Mediterranean region." AP, 10 December 2007. "But does the Middle East want another 'Western' funded Arabic channel? ... A recent study by Arab Advisors Group showed there were a total of 29 'news and current affairs' channels broadcasting to the Middle East, almost all of them in the Arabic language. ... While few doubt that service providers like the BBC, already a trusted name in the region thanks to its radio news transmissions, might create some interest, it is doubtful if these other plans will generate viewership." Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News, 12 December 2007.

CNN expands news operations in the UAE (updated).

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Continuing its major growth and investment in international newsgathering, CNN Worldwide has begun expansion in its operations in the United Arab Emirates, which includes the appointment of a new international correspondent, a new bureau chief and the opening of an office with full broadcast and production capabilities in the capital city of Abu Dhabi. ... In addition to the expansion into Abu Dhabi, CNN also retains its base in Dubai which has an increased newsgathering role for CNN alongside the main CNNArabic.com operation." CNN Worldwide press release, 11 December 2007. Update: "CNN’s decision to invest in newsgathering locally is welcome, but it comes at a time when most other major news broadcasters are ahead of them in the Middle East, especially in regards to Arabic-language output. CNN, other than its within its Arabic web-site, has no Arabic-language service." Rapid TV News, 12 December 2007.

In Pakistan, restrictions on television journalism continue (updated).

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"And under a new ordinance, unilaterally enacted by Mr. Musharraf, television journalists face up to three years in jail for broadcasting 'anything which defames or brings into ridicule the head of state' and other restrictions. The law will remain in place after Mr. Musharraf ends the state of emergency, which he has promised to do on Saturday. 'He’s getting away with it, really, because the Western support is there again.'" New York Times, 11 December 2007. Update: BBC Monitoring reports that "Foreign news channels available via cable include CNN, BBC World, Sky News, Fox News, and Al-Jazeera in English." Rapid TV News, 12 December 2007.

Did you miss the International Children's Day of Broadcasting?

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"On Sunday 9th December 2007 children of Sierra Leone joined their counterparts worldwide to celebrate the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB). This day is usually celebrated on every second Sunday in December where broadcasters the world over tune in for kids with quality programmes about and for children. ... To date more that 150 broadcasters and 52 radio station across the country are presently involved in commemorating the ICDB." Awareness Times, 11 December 2007.

The global cheap laptop controversy.

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Intel and Microsoft seem to have done everything they could to undermine the [One Laptop Per Child] project, offering cut-price hardware and discount operating systems in an attempt to keep this remarkable machine, with its Linux operating system and AMD processor, at bay. Now US journalist John Dvorak has weighed into the debate, dismissing the laptop as a 'little green computer' that changes nothing, and arguing that sending food aid to Africa is a better way to solve the continent's problems. Dvorak is so wrong that it pains me." Bill Thompson, BBC News, 11 December 2007.

One solution for the global multiplicity of digital radio standards.

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
NXP car-radio chip handles AM, FM, and "multiple types of digital radio," including DRM. "Unfortunately we are seeing a lot of different standards emerging across the world and that raises the need for a single solution that can be configured for different areas." Red Herring, 11 Decemeber 2007. Couldn't such a clever chip receive shortwave and longwave as well as AM and FM frequencies?

Departing Karen Hughes helped make U.S. diplomacy more public.

Posted: 12 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"One of Hughes innovations was a rapid response team of Arabic-speaking analysts that watches Middle Eastern media in Washington and overseas. The new office sends talking points to diplomats worldwide, many of whom Hughes says were once reluctant to risk their jobs speaking publicly. 'We now say: 'No. Go out. We want you to do media interviews.' And, by the way, we also rate now every foreign service officer on public diplomacy,' she said." VOA News, 11 December 2007.

Estimated wait time until your visa interview: 32 viewings of "I am America."

Posted: 11 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen P. Hughes and Keith Reinhard, President of Business for Diplomatic Action, today premiered the film "I am America" at the Foreign Press Center in New York. A gift from the American business community to the U.S. Department of State, the film was produced to create a welcoming impression of the United States for international travelers applying for visas. It will run in the waiting areas of more than 200 American embassies and consulates around the world. 'By showing many welcoming American faces and taking visitors on a breath-taking visual tour of our country, this film should help counteract some of the negative stereotypes about America.'" BDA press release, 10 December 2007. View or download the film here.

Commission will propose "super-State Department" with public diplomacy as one of four sub-agencies (updated).

Posted: 11 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The United States must scrap the current structure of the State Department and radically reshape its foreign assistance, trade and diplomatic programs to create a super-size international affairs agency to meet overseas challenges, a majority in a congressionally mandated bipartisan commission will recommend tomorrow [10 December]. ... Under the commission's plan, the super-State would have four sub-Cabinet agencies, each reporting to the secretary of state. They would focus separately on trade and long-term development; humanitarian crises and post-conflict states; political and security affairs; and public diplomacy." Washington Post, 9 December 2007. Update: "Harmonize public diplomacy efforts by all U.S. Government agencies engaged in overseas development. Focus branding messages on a single core message, such as 'From the American People.' Select and apply only one or two prominent identifiers for all civilian assistance (e.g., the American flag or 'clasped hands') as opposed to using the logos of many agencies." One recommendation on public diplomacy from Beyond Assistance: The HELP Commission Report on Foreign Assistance Reform, available from the website of the United States Commission on Helping to Enhance the Livelihood of People.

Free Belarus? More money.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
A U.S. administration that "truly understood" the situation of the Belarusian opposition "would pay for news broadcasts over satellite television, not just shortwave radio." Fred Hiatt, 10 December 2007. It may be difficult to compete with a new television service for Belarus funded mainly by Poland, but also with help from Ireland and Lithuania. I.e., maybe encouraging democracy in Belarus would best be an intra-European project. See previous post about Belsat. Also, television would add only marginally to the extensive news service provided by the RFE/RL Belarus Service.

Smart power? More money.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"We should reinvest in public diplomacy within the government and establish a nonprofit institution outside of it to build people-to-people ties, including doubling the annual appropriation to the Fulbright program." Richard L. Armitage and Joseph S. Nye Jr., Washington Post, 9 December 2007.

For the BBC World Service 75th anniversary, a survey about press freedom.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Of those interviewed, 56% thought that freedom of the press was very important to ensure a free society. But 40% said it was more important to maintain social harmony and peace, even if it meant curbing the press's freedom to report news truthfully. In most of the 14 countries surveyed, press freedom (including broadcasting) was considered more important than social stability." BBC News, 10 December 2007. "The poll was commissioned as part of a season of programmes to celebrate BBC World Service's 75th Anniversary." BBC World Service press release, 10 December 2007. "India is among the three countries, after Russia and Singapore, where more people believe that stability is of far greater importance than press freedom." The Hindu, 10 December 2007. "Opinion in the UAE is divided between those who believe press freedom is important to a fair society (51 per cent) and those who believe restrictions on the media are important for maintaining a stable society (48 per cent)." Xpress, 10 December 2007.

RFI in Hausa: some sort of new arrangement in Nigeria.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The public Radio France Internationale has launched in Nigeria this weekend a news service in Hausa, the official language of northern Nigeria that is widely spoken in other parts of West Africa. Financed by RFI and with collaboration from the international Voice of Nigeria, the Hausa programs will be broadcast two hours daily -- the same amount of time as British rival, BBC, broadcasts in the same language. 'It's the first time in the history of the international French radio that the editorial staff is completely relocated overseas,' said Jean Claude Kuentz, RFI's deputy general development director, speaking of the launch which took place Saturday. Five journalists and three technicians will make up the radio's Hausa team, which Kuentz said has triggered interest by Tanzania's radio and television broadcasting service for a similar collaboration in Swahili." AFP, 9 December 2007. The RFI Hausa web page shows three daily shortwave transmissions, and FM in Niger, but not in Nigeria, so the quid pro quo is uncertain here. RFI Hausa shortwave transmissions began in May 2007. RFI adds third FM relay in Togo. RFI, 5 December 2007. Guinea drops state broadcasting monopoly; will allow private and international stations on the FM band. RFI, 8 December 2007.

WorldSpace nearing re-entry to financial reality? (updated)

Posted: 10 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"One can only hope that WorldSpace is finally getting close to the wire in raising this fresh cash, and/or partnerships with bankable money on the table – and confidence at the company that a deal will be in place by year-end remains high. However, its Q3 period has come and gone, and we are barely 20 days from year-end, by which time Samara has promised new financing would be firmly in place. WorldSpace might be closer than ever in getting its act together, but the current 'credit crunch' in the world’s capital markets might prove to be the last straw. The company is almost out of cash. As at Sept 30 the firm’s finance director said it had $28.5m left in cash and convertables at the bank, and is spending at $7m a month." Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News, 8 December 2007. See previous post about WorldSpace. Update: "Pay-radio operator WorldSpace suffered a massive stock-market fall on Dec 7 that continued in a volatile fashion Dec 10. ... Last Friday saw a massive one-day fall in its share price from $4 a share to just $2.50, a 23.55% fall." Rapid TV News, 10 December 2007. See also WorldSpace stock chart.

Who is that Australian on CCTV? (updated)

Posted: 10 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
The veteran Australian TV reporter Edwin Maher was hired by China's English-language CCTV International "as the station introduced a Western face to shake its image as a stodgy government mouthpiece, famous among foreigners for its wooden presentations and sometimes-tortured English. Maher anchors the news up to four times a day for millions of viewers worldwide, including the U.S. Critics say Maher isn't a reporter at all, but a shameless government yes-man who gives all Western journalists a bad name. Maher answers bluntly: He says he simply doesn't care. ... 'I don't feel that any of us are employed to be stooges. But obviously there are limits.'" Los Angeles Times, 4 December 2007. See also CCTV, 30 November 2007. See previous post about Maher. Update: "Maher came to China by chance. He picked up China Radio International while searching his short-wave radio in Melbourne, Australia, one day in 2003. On an impulse, he sent off an e-mail outlining his four decades' experience as a broadcast journalist. A few days later, he was offered a job in Beijing as voice coach." China Daily, 10 December 2007. See also Shanghaist, 12 December 2007.

China's huge, constrained media environment.

Posted: 09 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"CCTV grosses just $1.5 billion a year and barely makes a profit. Even a national broadcasting monopoly over the world's biggest audience can't make money when it also has to 'emphasise good news', elucidate 'the socialist view of glory and shame' and serve as 'the mouthpiece of the party and the people'. ... Foreign media and film moguls cannot fill China's vast content vacuum because they are up against the same propaganda controls plus a labyrinth of explicit and invisible foreign ownership and licensing restrictions." John Garnaut, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 December 2007.

Taiwan entices the world with the "luscious aroma of meat."

Posted: 09 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Describing the reception hall as brimming with the 'luscious aroma of meat' from DinTaiFung specialties, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang said earlier this week that introducing Taiwan's distinguished culinary culture to international society could be a creative tactic in the nation's attempt to break through China's diplomatic containment. Taipei Times, 8 December 2007. Taiwan's food is definitely impressive. The island is a cornucopia, with tropical fruits and vegetables grown in the lower elevantions, and apples and other varietals favoring cooler climates grown in the mountains. Restaurants in Taiwan represent all the types of cooking from mainland China.

Indian state enterprise provides transmitters and studios for Afghanistan.

Posted: 09 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Broadcasting Engineering Consultancy India Ltd. (BECIL), a department under the Information and Broadcasting ministry ... has ... submitted a proposal of Rs 977.2 million to the External Affairs Ministry for re-enforcement of radio coverage in Afghanistan involving medium wave and short wave hp transmissions along with studio centres." Indiantelevision.com, 8 December 2007. Because of its many remote areas, Afghanistan uses shortwave for some of its domestic broadcasting.

Shortwave listeners who passed on POW information during World War II.

Posted: 09 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Lisa Spahr's "World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion (Intrigue Publishing, $15.95) solves the puzzle of the letters she found two years ago. Spahr uncovered a network of ham radio enthusiasts who tracked German propaganda broadcasts, then informed the families of POWs that their loved ones were alive. ... But the radio operators also were going against a directive issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that all shortwave communications were to cease because they were playing into the hands of German propagandist. The radio operators, torn between duty to country and a passion to inform the families, came up with a compromise. 'They just went silent and went into a listening mode.'" Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9 December 2007. Of course, not all shortwave communications ceased during World War II, just amateur radio. The international capabilities of amateur radio posed a security risk, and the amateur radio frequencies may have been needed for military purposes. Shortwave listeners who were not licensed radio amateurs also monitored broadcasts with POW information.

France 24, one year old, goes mobile (updated).

Posted: 09 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
In addition to expanding Arabic to 24 hours, France 24 has struck a deal "with Finnish handset giant Nokia to offer France 24 news bulletins via video-on-demand on the manufacturer's new generation of mobiles. Furthermore, the French company will make its three local-language channels– French, English and Arabic – available directly on mobile phones, on an on-demand basis. Also, a mobile trilingual website, updated 24/7, will also be accessible via mobile.france24.com." C21Media.net, 6 December 2007. France 24's first anniversary page includes a collection of its "howlers." See previous post about same subject. Update: "It has also launched observers.france24.com, which will allow anyone to report on events around the globe. France 24's journalists will select video, text or photo content generated by Internet users to appear on the site." Variety, 7 December 2007.

Rush Limbaugh representing America on shortwave?

Posted: 08 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"CALLER: Rush, I have to ask you: Would you consider taking your show international from an hour a day? Because I think this message needs to get out. There are thousands and thousands and millions of English-speaking people around the world who would love to hear what you're saying, and who knows? Maybe you could do for shortwave what you did for AM. RUSH: Well, I can't. I don't want to say too much. We're always thinking of wider areas of distribution. Some of it's already happening on the Internet, of course, but that's not wide. That's subscription through the website. But the big challenge would be finding affiliates, like in Great Britain. Where are you going to go, the BBC? CALLER: On shortwave, you can cross boundaries, I think. RUSH: Oh, shortwave. CALLER: Right. RUSH: Well, you know, we once were on a shortwave station back in the early days, the outfit out of New Orleans. (laughing) This program was revolutionary in so many ways." Rush Limbaugh Show transcript, 7 December 2007. He refers to private shortwave station WRNO, which carried the Limbaugh program during the 1990s.

A few murmurs of democracy and dissent on Cuba's domestic media.

Posted: 08 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Since Cuba's interim president, Raúl Castro, called for public meetings to debate the country's innumerable problems, more and more people are speaking out -- and not just about empty store and pharmacy shelves and lousy public transportation but topics long off-limits like democracy and freedom." Some of these manifestations are being mentioned in Cuban newspapers and television. Miami Herald, 8 December 2007.

Aljazeera, from the planet Qatar (updated).

Posted: 08 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Author Hugh Miles: "Al Jazeera is in this really privileged position where they have this very very rich man who is backing them and has given them a very free rein. I think there are more question marks about channels like CNN or FOX News, about their financial backers, because I think the people who run, influence and finance them are more involved in global politics than the Emir of Qatar. Having Al Jazeera based in Qatar is almost like having Al Jazeera based on another planet, because Qatar is so unimportant in world affairs. It is like it can have a perspective on the world at a distance almost because Qatar is so remote." Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Dcember 2007. Update: "Although I do video-blogging for al-Jazeera, I am leaving even more depressed about them. Their Arabic language programing is so biased and one sided, feeding the hatred and the concepts of 'normalization' while their English language broadcasts are serving up very balanced reporting, which I know think is done out of guilt. A long time big fan of Al-Jazeera, I am now thinking they are not being courageous enough to be professional journalists, reporting ONLY what they think the audience wants." Ray Hanania, Mideast Youth, 7 December 2007.

Paucity of international news channels in Kansas City.

Posted: 08 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Meanwhile, another year has passed without a single international news channel being added to Time Warner's -- or Comcast's, or Everest's -- digital tiers. Al Jazeera, BBC World and France 24 are all there for the taking. [I.e. there on satellite for the cable systmes to take and pass on to their customers.] This lack of public responsibility in a post-9/11 era is disheartening." Aaron Barnhart, TV Barn, 7 December 2007.

Satellite television nudges Belarus to democracy.

Posted: 08 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Belsat, a "new television station funded by the Polish government will begin broadcasting a mix of news, cultural programming and entertainment shows to Belarus next week — part of Warsaw's ongoing attempt to bolster democracy in its autocratic neighbor. ... Apart from news programs, Belsat will also show documentaries on human rights, programs on censored cultural events in Belarus and sitcoms such as 'Ally McBeal.'" AP, 7 December 2007.

BBC Arabic's multimedia future.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Hosam El Sokkari, Head of BBC Arabic, promised a new multimedia era for Arab audiences to the BBC. ... 'We will reach audiences on radio, television, the internet via bbcarabic.com, mobiles and handheld computers – in whatever way best suits the audience. ... We are also well known for covering stories and issues which others have ignored and for reporting more than just conflict and politics.'" BBC World Service press release, 6 December 2007.

VOA spokesman Joe O'Connell retires.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Joseph D. O'Connell Jr., director of public affairs at the International Broadcasting Bureau, will retire Dec. 22 after more than 40 years of federal service. O'Connell served as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1967, as a Foreign Service officer in Brazil and Washington from 1970 to 1979 and, since 1989, has been the spokesman for the Voice of America, a part of the broadcasting bureau. On Dec. 4, he was presented with the bureau's highest award, the Distinguished Honor Award." Washington Post, 7 December 2007. Well deserved.

RFA uses Skype for newsgathering.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia "recently incorporated Skype into its operation. ... Many of their reporters were already using Skype on a personal basis; now they could use it to manage all voice communications. The main goal was originally the reduction of voice communications costs. Call recording for interviews has also become a useful feature. As their users get more accustomed to Skype, RFA is expanding its use to include conference and video calling. RFA plans to use the Mega Emotion Sounds Player feature to include sound bytes into live news reports. The overall voice quality can provide even better quality than standard phone lines." TMCnet, 6 December 2007.

Legislation that would combat Vietnamese jamming awaits Senate action.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Republican congressman Chris Smith, told VOA Thursday he still hopes the Senate will act on the [Vietnam Human Rights Act, approved by the House of Representatives last September] which ... supports democracy programs for Vietnam, and contains funds to help the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Asia overcome Vietnamese government jamming of its transmissions." VOA News, 7 December 2007. See previous post about same subject.

RFE/RL reporter in Azerbaijan is jailed.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"An RFE/RL correspondent in Azerbaijan, Ilgar Nasibov, was jailed on December 6 after being summarily sentenced to 90 days in prison on what rights groups call trumped-up and politicized charges. The charges of slandering local police officers stem from a letter Nasibov wrote to Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev protesting police brutality in the southwestern Azerbaijani exclave of Naxchivan." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News, 6 December 2007. "Tricked into appearing in court." RFE/RL press release, 6 December 2007. His wife is detained. RFE/RL press release, 7 December 2007. See also Committee to Protect Journalists, 6 December 2007.

Kurdistan's public diplomacy.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Highlighting the importance of public diplomacy in expanding and solidifying ties with the international community, [Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Head of Foreign Relations] said, 'We have begun to reach beyond governments and communicate to people and institutions in foreign lands. A shining example is the Washington Post article, written by the Prime Minister last month on the day that the Turkish Prime Minister met President Bush in Washington.'" DFR.KRG.org, 6 December 2007.

British Council gives Iowans a chance to hear someone other than a presidential candidate.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Martin Davidson, the head of the British Council, will speak to the [University of Iowa] students, faculty, and staff today about cultural relations in a time of war, with a focus on the Middle East. His lecture will be the first open discussion about the nature of public diplomacy from the council. ... Davidson said Iowa City was chosen as destination because of the UI International Writing Program and its work with UNESCO and the council. Furthermore, Iowa's central location is a change to hosting the presentation strictly on the east or west coasts." The Daily Iowan, 6 December 2007.

Attacks on BBC personnel in Moscow.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The BBC says it is concerned by three attacks on employees of its Moscow bureau in the past two weeks. The attacks took place between 24 November and 30 November in three different locations in Moscow, in the run-up to the Russian elections." BBC News, 6 December 2007. "The attacks may have been linked to the BBC's coverage of demonstrations in Moscow by The Other Russia, the anti-Kremlin coalition led by the ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Russia's state-controlled television stations refuse to show interviews with Kasparov or any members of his liberal opposition movement." The Guardian, 7 December 2007. See also The Telegrpah, 7 December 2007. And Russia Today, 6 December 2007.

A thesis on Radio Luxembourg's history.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Jennifer Spohrer's recently defended PhD dissertation "focused on the battle between the BBC, Britain's state-sponsored broadcasting monopoly, and the commercial Radio Luxembourg during the 1930s and '40s, a period that saw a wholesale change in Western European attitudes toward national broadcasting and freedom of information. ... The BBC had banned broadcast advertising, and Britain strenuously and repeatedly objected to Radio Luxembourg's advertisements and to the programming they supported, such as vaudeville-inspired variety shows in the American style. That sort of content was as popular in Britain as it was in the United States, Spohrer says, but the English feared that Radio Luxembourg's lowbrow programming was undermining the BBC's project — elevating the minds of the British people with education, religion and culture broadcasts." Bryn Mawr Now, 6 December 2007.

Murdoch hires Murdoch.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Rupert Murdoch's younger son James is to step down as chief executive of Britain's BSkyB to head News Corp's Asian and European operations, in a move that appears to make him heir apparent to the global media empire. Murdoch, 34, will become chairman and chief executive of Europe and Asia at News Corporation, taking charge of its international broadcasting, print and Internet divisions from Asian satellite television operator Star TV to Sky Italia." Reuters, 7 December 2007.

An Aljazeera for children (updated).

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Al Jazeera Children's Channel inaugurated its representative office in Cyberjaya - Malaysia, in a move designed to further extend its network and diversify the Channel's TV content programming. ... Al Jazeera Children's Channel representative office in Malaysia will work closely with production companies locally and in other major Asia pacific countries, with aim to grow its portfolio and offer world class standard in animation and multimedia content for the Arabic speaking children around the world." Press release via AME Info, 4 December 2007 Update: "Arabic Christian television pioneer SAT-7 is launching special channel for kids this month to send message of hope to kids in the Arab world who are watching other channels that are thought to be propagating anti-Christian messages." Christian Post, 4 December 2007.

Confucius Institute on the air, via CRI.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"China established its first Confucius Institute on the air ... Thursday at China Radio International (CRI), offering Chinese language teaching in 38 foreign languages worldwide. ... Named after the famous ancient Chinese philosopher, more than 200 Confucius institutes have been set up in more than 60 countries to spread Chinese culture. ... Apart from the broadcast institute, the country also plans to set up a television Confucius Institute and an online database of Chinese language education." Xinhua, 6 December 2007. Difficult to find at the CRIEnglish.com, but see this Everyday English web page.

One good reason for Chinese to listen to VOA and BBC.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"What Chinese readers are able to learn of events in the rest of the world from most mainstream media here remains sharply limited in context and tightly controlled. ... Only a handful of China’s conservative, state-run publications have permanent bureaus and correspondents in foreign countries. ... The short list of Chinese media that maintain foreign bureaus includes Xinhua; the China News Agency; the official newspaper, People’s Daily; the state television broadcaster CCTV; and China Radio International." New York Times, 7 December 2007.

Sarkozy uses RFI to address hostages in Colombia.

Posted: 07 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Says "he will have 'all necessary contacts' to set them free" from FARC. Bloomberg, 6 December 2007. One wonders if the hostages listen to Radio France International. However, with a relay in nearby French Guiana, RFI can put a commanding signal into Colombia. See also RFI France-Colombie page. -- "For our first anniversary, FRANCE 24 has dedicated its programming to French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt, a hostage of FARC, a Colombian Marxist rebel group, since Feb. 23, 2002." France 24 first anniversary page.

Ending the prohibition on domestic dissemination will improve external dissemination. Somehow.

Posted: 06 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
Section 501, the domestic dissemination prohibition of the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (Smith-Mundt Act) "is worse than an anachronism: It amounts to self-sabotage. Until Congress relegates this piece of legislation to the dustbin of history, the U.S. cannot expect to conduct public diplomacy effectively." Juliana G Pilon, Heritage Foundation, 3 December 2007. She never quite tells us why ending the prohibition on domestic dissemination would improve our public diplomacy, which is external outreach. Most of her examples of restrictions are actually not attributable to Section 501. Her recommendations call for changes in public diplomacy that have nothing to do with domestic dissemination. There are good reasons to get rid of Section 501. The best reason to keep the law is the motivations of some who have an urge to disseminate domestically.

A bid for a monochrome public diplomacy.

Posted: 06 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Karen Hughes repeatedly lauds 'diversity' as our strong point. That is not good enough against the divine mission of our opponents. When the rainbow of diversity that is popularly celebrated in America leads the message, it leaves the impression that the United States is indifferent to various claims to truth. In many Muslim eyes, diversity equals moral relativism, which repels them. Our sloganeering does not begin to suggest the moral principles from which our tolerance derives. You will not find them expressed on the State Department web site or in the new, clueless US National Strategy for Public Diplomacy." Former VOA director Robert R. Reilly, The Claremont Institute, 4 December 2007.

Ending the absurd practice of publishing claptrap about U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 06 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Steps to address the danger posed by the Iranian regime, short of military action" include "ending the absurd practice of broadcasting into Iran pro-regime propaganda via U.S. taxpayer-funded instruments like the Voice of America and Radio Farda." Frank J. Gaffney Jr., National Review Online, 4 December 2007. I don't speak Farsi, but I'm pretty sure that VOA Persian and Radio Farda are not transmitting pro-regime propaganda. Are these stations supposed to broadcast only anti-regime propaganda? Such a notion is completely out of touch with why people go to the trouble to tune in foreign broadcasts. Under the headline "The Ever-Helpful VOA": "Payvand Iran News, an Iranian Web site, carried a down-the-middle report of the new nukes assessment: 'A new U.S. intelligence estimate says it is not clear that Iran is determined to produce nuclear weapons. The estimate says Iran stopped nuclear weapons development four years ago, but adds that Tehran is keeping its options open.' Its source? The Voice of America." Al Kamen, Washington Post, 6 December 2007. What is Kamen getting at here? His column usually likes to catch federal bureaucracies or bueraucrats in embarrassing moments. Probably he thought that Peyvand is an official Iranian website -- a cursory look would reveal that it is an Iranian exile site -- and that VOA provided a story that brought comfort to Iranian propaganda. But even if it were an official Iranian site, was VOA supposed to ignore the story? Is VOA supposed only to report only what makes the United States look good and Iran look bad? If VOA did that, it would no longer be burdened with an audience.

From the VOA Horn-of-Africa file.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
VOA adds transmission in Somali. "The new program, broadcast to the Horn of Africa region at 4:00pm local time (1300 UTC) is paired with VOA's Somali-language "Evening Edition" at 7:00pm (1600 UTC) that is also repeated at 8:00pm (1700 UTC) for FM partner stations." Voice of America press release, 5 December 2007. Committee to Protect Journalists reminds Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of Ethiopia's jamming of VOA and DW, and Ethiopia's "contempt for independent media," on eve of her visit to Addis Ababa. CPJ, 4 December 2007. No specific mention of jamming in Rice's statement after her meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. State Department, 5 December 2007. See previous post about same subject.

VOA is "government-run," but BBC News is just BBC News.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The World Food Program says it suspended aid deliveries in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo because of renewed fighting between rebels and government troops. ... Voice of America, a government-run news service, spoke with a WFP official in the region. ... BBC News has personal accounts from people who live in the eastern part of this African nation." USA Today On Deadline, 5 December 2007.

The BBC's online cash cow.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"While most of the licence-fee supported sites provided to the UK population remain free of ads, the BBC has started treating the web in the same way as it does the TV channels it broadcasts around the world by trying to generate revenue from them. So far it seems to be going well. Speaking at a recent media conference in London John Smith, chief executive of the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide, said that it had underestimated the amount of money they could make online, and its target of getting 10% of total revenue from internet activity was too low." Bill Thompson, BBC News, 4 December 2007. See previous post about same subject.

World Service 24 hours on AM to Salt Lake City -- no digital radio required (updated).

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"KCPW is bringing round the clock news from BBC World Service to Salt Lake City. We're turning our 1010 AM signal to 24-hour news and information from the BBC. You don't even need to buy a new radio to hear this expansion of news and information from KCPW. Help us raise the $33,000 in start-up costs for this new service, and you could win a trip to London to tour the BBC studios." KCPW, 18 November 2007. If my information is up to date, the station has 50,000 watts during the day, but only 194 watts at night. Update: KCPW parent "Community Wireless has attempted to sell the AM license, so far unsuccessfully. KCPW-AM 'has always [been] and still is, for sale at a price that will produce a profit for Wireless contributors,' [KCPW President Blair] Feulner said... . The AM band simulcasts the same programming as KCPW-FM, but that soon will change. ... The move has angered some listeners, judging from comments on KCPW's Web site. 'Forget the BBC, ...let's keep that local news accessible to those who reside or travel out of the Salt Lake Valley,' said one listener. ... In the e-mail, Feulner said listeners rate BBC very highly. 'We think that change will be very positive.'" Salt Lake Tribune, 5 December 2007.

A name from BBC's past moderates a Press TV debate.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"I recently took part in a bear pit of a debate (moderated with impeccable fairness, I should add, by the former BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan) on Press TV, Iran's state-run English-language broadcaster." Oliver Kamm, The Guardian's comment is free, 4 December 2007. Gilligan "is perhaps best known for his 2003 report about a British Government briefing paper on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction... . After the Hutton Inquiry ended in September 2003, Gilligan continued to work for the BBC until his resignation in January 2004." BBC Two Newsnight Review, 13 July 2007.

Nokia devices with internet radio have a shortwave-like appeal.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
The Nokia Internet Radio service is now available on certain Nokia devicess, with "hundreds of internet radio stations to choose from worldwide." Nokia press release, 3 December 2007. At the Nokia Internet Radio web page, the demo states: "Listen to the world through internet radio ... Discover radio broadcasts in other countries and languages ... Enjoy a wide variety of global stations." In the "tips" section: "It is recommended to use Nokia Internet Radio with a WLAN connection. If you wish to use this service with a packet data connection (GPRS/3G), you should contact your service provider for information about the data transmission fees." So, if used with a WLAN, the range of Nokia devices with the internet radio software installed would not be any greater than other of the new crop of wi-fi internet radios. However, the Nokia devices appear to be limited to Windows Media Player, unlike the Reciva-based receivers, which are more ecumenical re the audio formats they can use. Also, it looks like the Nokia does not have anywhere near the 6,000 stations of the Reciva-based receivers. And there is no indication in the Nokia website if the major international radio stations are included. (Music stations seem to have the priority.) If the Nokia receives internet radio through GPRS or 3G networks, the range is much greater than that of wi-fi radios -- in fact, more like the portability of a shortwave radio. But, as the tip indicates, there could be bandwidth and cost issues.

Doesn't mention that Uzbekistan is so advanced that it can block proxy websites.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
The Washington Post, 5 December, contains a two-page ad for Uzbekistan: "A New Country Emerged... A Rising Economic Miracle." Unladen by the voluminous fine print characteristic of newspaper ads purchased by other countries, this one feature color photos and 17 bullet points, including "45% GDP growth over past 3 years," "Supported by a modern infrastuture with extensive transportation systems, modern telecommunications networks, and a world-class airline," "Literacy at 99%." Websites listed at the bottom are www.uzreport.com, www.gov.uz, www.uza.uz, and www.chamber.uz. The sponsor of the ad appears to be Oxus Gold, www.oxusgold.co.uk, "a UK based international mining group with gold mining interests in Central Asia. Oxus is the joint owner (50/50) with the government of Uzbekistan of Amantaytau Goldfields." See previous post about Uzbekistan.

The official station of happy Iraqis.

Posted: 05 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Iraq's government has launched a state television blitz seeking to claim credit — and score publicity points — for the recent downturn in violence and return of hundreds of refugees to the Iraqi capital. ... The focus on refugees returning has not been restricted to commercials, which end with the message: 'How sweet it is to return to Iraq.' Shows on state TV, such as the daily 'Baghdad by Night,' air interviews with residents expressing gratitude for the improved security in the capital and urging friends and relatives to return home. ... Iraqis remember when state television was the blunt propaganda tool of Saddam Hussein. They also have other options on the screen these days: pan-Arab news channels and private Iraqi stations, including the U.S.-funded Alhurra news station. The reach of all stations has become wider recently. Improvements in the electricity supply, combined with the power from private or neighborhood generators, allow families to watch television for longer than anytime since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003." AP, 4 December 2007.

Public diplomacy in fatigues.

Posted: 03 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Pentagon chief Robert Gates landed in Djibouti on Monday to visit U.S. troops conducting non-combat missions aimed at winning support in a region Washington sees at risk of Islamist militancy. ... The U.S. Defense Department says it expects Africa Command to engage more than other commands in development and humanitarian work -- the type of public diplomacy or 'soft power' that Gates sees as critical to winning future conflicts." Reuters, 3 December 2007.

BBCWS "Rocking Horse" gets a good review.

Posted: 03 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Rocking Horse (Saturday 7.30pm, Sunday 10.00pm) is a warm-hearted and ultimately unbelievable enmeshing of variously grieving or lonely people, all prone to garrulous autobiography with total strangers. Clive Swift and Amanda Root among others battle against general cosiness." Martin Hoyle, Financial Times, 1 December 2007. Previously: "Arnold Wesker has written a new radio play to mark the 75th anniversary of the BBC World Service. ... It tells of a group of strangers drawn into an unlikely friendship over a shared interest in a rocking horse they see while on a bus. ... Wesker, who is 75 years old and who has been writing plays for 50 years, will be interviewed prior to the play’s broadcast on BBC World Service on Saturday December 1." The Stage, 23 November 2007. See the rest of that previous post. Can you imagine a U.S. newspaper with a write whose job is to review radio plays?

Crude propaganda exists to show who's boss.

Posted: 03 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Years ago, when I still read The Economist and listened to the BBC World Service as a foreign student in the USSR, I could never quite get to the bottom of Soviet propaganda. What was its purpose? How could it be that it was so crude, so simplistic, so transparent? Did the authorities really believe that my fellow students who had just been solving partial differential equations one moment would fall for this nonsense the next? It did not make sense. Until one day a Russian friend took the just published draft of the brand new Soviet constitution, threw it on the floor and stumped and squashed it with all his strength. I finally got it. The purpose of propaganda was not to inform or even dis-inform. It was to declare who was the boss." Mladen Andrijasevic, Israel Insider, 2 December 2007.

A far-fetched hypothesis about Russia, Qatar, and Aljazeera.

Posted: 03 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Yet another reason for Moscow to court Qatar may have to do with the fact that the al-Jazeera news organization is located in Doha. As Kommersant put it, 'Al-Jazeera TV-station commands a lot of respect in the Arab world. It makes broadcasts from Qatar, it is even financed by the Emir himself.' Moscow may hope that good Russian-Qatari relations will result in more positive (or at least, less negative) coverage of Russia by al-Jazeera than if ties between Moscow and Doha are poor." Mark N. Katz, Global Politician, 3 December 2007.

Will South Korean electioneering whet the North Koreans' appetite for democracy?

Posted: 03 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"A U.S.-funded radio station was to begin broadcasting speeches and debates of leading South Korean presidential candidates into North Korea on Monday. Open Radio for North Korea said it would transmit a recently taped speech by pro-government liberal candidate Chung Dong-young for four days starting Monday evening. The station said in a statement that it would then broadcast a speech by front-runner Lee Myung-bak of the main opposition Grand National Park. ... The Seoul-based radio station also plans to air speeches of other presidential candidates to the tightly run communist state by using short-wave radio. The radio programs 'can make North Koreans have an interest in the South's election ... and North Koreans can learn how a policy decision is made in a democratic society,' the broadcaster said." AP, 3 December 2007. The station is funded by recent Congressional money for VOA, RFA, and independent stations transmitting to North Korea. In the of ORNK, it's via the National Endowment for Democracy. See previous post and search this site on open radio for north korea. North Koreans might more easily hear South Korean election coverage from the South Korean KBS stations on medium wave. -- Funding also from Freedom House. AFP, 4 December 2007. "Open Radio was launched in Washington in December 2005. The radio has since been transmitting programs on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and stories about separated families to North Korea on shortwave (9930?) from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. [1100-1200 UTC]" Chosun Ilbo, 4 December 2007.

Religious broadcaster HCJB: from "thing-of-the-past" shortwave to suitcase FMs.

Posted: 03 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"'Now almost everyone has FM, even primitive Third World countries,' said [Paul] Hollinger. 'When the Soviet Union collapsed, it stopped using shortwave. That medium is almost a thing of the past. Instead of shortwave, HCJB came out with these little suitcase FM radios [transmitters], fed by satellite.' ... Another project called 'Turn Your Radios On' was dreamed up to provide solar-powered radios to the people of Africa, and in particular, to Muslim countries in the northern part of that continent." Ken R. Deutsch, Radio World, 5 December 2007.

On BBC World Service: an examination of the independence of BBC World Service (updated).

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
On 15 December, as one of the programs marking the 75th anniversary of BBC World Service: "Ray Snoddy, one of the country's most respected media commentators, takes a candid look at the relationship between BBC World Service and its funders, the UK Government. He asks whether a broadcasting organisation funded directly by £246m a year grant-in-aid from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office can remain editorially independent. The programme features an extensive interview with Nigel Chapman, Director of BBC World Service, responding to the questions raised by Snoddy's analysis." BBC press office. Update: Today (3 December) at 2320 UTC on BBC Two (television): "There is a mistaken belief that the BBC World Service is an arm of the British Government. 'We are required to provide impartial, accurate, balanced news,' a spokesman says. Nowhere is this quest for impartiality put under greater pressure than in the Middle East, where the Arabic Service takes infinite pains to reflect every shade of opinion and steer clear of language of condemnation. One more reason why it is the BBC’s most underappreciated asset." The Times, 3 December 2007.

Conference on how RFE put itself out of business in Poland.

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The role of Radio Free Europe in the political transformations in Poland and the collapse of communism was the subject of a conference in Warsaw under the honorary patronage of the Speaker of the Polish Senate and the US Ambassador to Poland. Former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki said that the Munich-based station served for decades as the only source of uncensorsed information available to the Poles. ... Radio Free Europe started its broadcasts to Poland in May 1952, in the darkest days of the Cold War and functioned until 1994." Polskie Radio, 1 December 2007. RFE had the largest audience of international stations in Polish, but VOA Polish was a close second. BBC Polish also had a large audience.

Documentary about RFE now showing in Romanian cinemas (updated).

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Romanian director Alexandru Solomon has filmed a documentary about Radio Free Europe, which during the times of the Cold War broadcast programmes mainly aimed at Eastern European audiences. The Romanian/German/Dutch production 'Cold Waves' starts tomorrow in Romania's cinemas. In an interview with Adina Popescu Solomon explains: 'We would listen to the broadcaster in our living rooms and think "these people are not afraid to call a spade a spade".'" Courier International, 29 November 2007. Update: In Romania: "A crime punishable by death was the mere act of listening to the Voice of America on the radio.
'We listened anyway. That is the only way we knew what was going on in the rest of the world,' Christian said. 'VOA gave us hope.' When he said that, I felt even more proud of America." Janice Law, Galveston County Daily News, 2 December 2007.

Navy visit to Bangladesh as public diplomacy: differing views.

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The caretaker government should dispel public confusion over the detail plan of a US Navy ship that is acting as the launch pad for US relief effort in the coastal districts, speakers at a BBC Bangladesh Sanglap yesterday said. They said the administration should clarify how long the US service personnel would stay here, how they would perform their activities and when they would leave the country, easing public doubt. 'As the US warship has given rise to questions in the public mind, it is the government's duty to make everything clear,' said former army chief Lt Gen (retd) Harun-Ar-Rashid. He said the misgivings are not groundless given the US attitude in different countries. 'If people know how long and how US soldiers will work here, then they will get relief from confusion'." The Daily Star (Dhaka), 2 December 2007. Rear Adm Carol M. Pottenger: "We're doing good work here. Certainly we hope that the work is recognized and appreciated. But we get a lot of satisfaction out of having the opportunity to make a difference in this capacity as well. It's very rewarding for every sailor and Marine that's been involved in this effort." Defense Department transcript, 30 November 2007. See previous post about same subject.

Muslim comedians as U.S. public diplomacy.

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Welcome to ‘Allah made me Funny’, US’s only Muslim stand-up comedy show, co-founded by [Azhar] Usman and African-American convert Preacher Moss, currently on tour and arguably, Uncle Sam’s best public diplomacy tool in its hearts-and-minds battle to ‘wage peace’. ... Usman agrees that this is public diplomacy harnessed to Islam 101, telling the story of US values to the world in a way that makes people laugh." The Times of India, 1 December 2007.

Award to Aljazeera English for Agent Orange report.

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Al Jazeera English has been awarded the 'Best single news report' for Kylie Grey's report on Agent Orange at the Asian Television Awards 2007 held in Singapore last week. Filmed by Al Jazeera's cameraman Ben Emery, Grey's report on Agent Orange - one of the chemicals used by the US military during the Vietnam War- includes a look at how a third generation of Vietnamese children are still suffering the effects of Agent Orange, years after the end of the war." The Peninsula, 2 December 2007. Voice of America has not ignored this issue. See VOA News, 26 June 2007.

Moderate Muslim preacher broadcasting internationally.

Posted: 02 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"Television preaching in the Middle East was once largely limited to elderly scholars in white robes reading holy texts from behind a desk, emphasizing the afterlife over this life, and sometimes inciting violence against nonbelievers. But as TV has evolved from one or two heavily controlled state channels to hundreds of diverse, private satellite offerings, [Moez] Masoud and perhaps a dozen other young men -- plus a few women -- have emerged as increasingly popular alternatives. ... His most recent show, a 20-part series that aired this fall on Iqra, one of the region's leading religious channels, attracted millions of viewers from Syria to Morocco. Clips of the show appeared immediately on YouTube, and fans downloaded more than 1.5 million episodes onto their computers." Washington Post, 2 December 2007.

Come try the new cushioned chairs in our airport detention rooms.

Posted: 01 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"In a survey commissioned by a partnership of tourism-related businesses, two-thirds of travelers said they were afraid of being detained by [U.S.] customs officials, and many of them cited unfriendly officials and paperwork among their reasons for taking vacations elsewhere. ... Travelers wary of U.S. entry procedures don't just stay home, they go elsewhere, and they show no signs of curbing those trips just because they're eager to avoid this country. ... A majority of travelers to the U.S. leave with a better opinion of the country, its people and its policies. Considering that the U.S. spends hundreds of millions of dollars on public diplomacy with dubious results and nearly nothing on promoting tourism, it might do well to invest a little money in wooing travelers." Editorial, Los Angeles Times, 1 December 2007.

Let's hope the new public diplomacy czar enjoys a challenge.

Posted: 01 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"President Bush has already eliminated one member of the axis of evil (Iraq), is bending over backwards to appease another (North Korea), and is dangling a carrot in front of the third to bring them to a negotiating table over their very real nuclear program (Iran). Well, move over axis of evil, there is a new axis in town, the 'axis of the abhorred.' Consisting of the two remaining axis of evil members plus, you guessed it, the United States. ... [In a recent BBC World Service poll] Three of the four most negatively rated countries are – in order – North Korea (48% negative), United States (51% negative) and Iran (54% negative)." Robert A. Vinciguerra, OpEdNews, 30 November 2007.

Defense Department public diplomacy versus State Department public diplomacy: has the invasion of turf begun?

Posted: 01 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"The United States has also lost several tools that were central to winning the Cold War. Notably, U.S. institutions of public diplomacy and strategic communications -- both critical to the current struggle of ideas against Islamic radicalism -- no longer exist. Some believed that after the fall of the Soviet Union such mechanisms were no longer needed and could even threaten the free flow of information. But when the U.S. Information Agency became part of the State Department in 1999, the country lost what had been a valuable institution capable of communicating America's message to international audiences powerfully and repeatedly." Donald Rumsfeld, Washington Post, 2 December 2007. Discussion of public diplomacy aspects of the U.S. Navy's relief efforts in parts of Bangladesh affected by tropical storm Sidr. Department of Defense transcript, 30 November 2007. "Major Brian Yarbrough, who, until recently headed up all pysops work in Anbar province, told me, 'We operate within psyops objectives determined in Washington. Baghdad draws up the supporting objectives. Then we work out specific themes and actions.'" Noah Shachtman, Wired Danger Room blog, 30 November 2007. See previous posts on 29 November and 27 November about same subject.

RSF calls for restoration of radio stations and cable distribution of Geo-TV in Pakistan.

Posted: 01 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"We hail the Dubai government’s decision to restore Geo News’s rights. Your government must now quickly follow this example and allow Pakistani cable operators to resume distribution of all of Geo TV’s stations. Similarly, the sanctions that were unfairly imposed on the Pakistani news radio stations, Power99 FM and Mast FM 103, must be lifted immediately. ... Although they were very popular, both because of their own news programmes and their retransmission of the Urdu-language news programmes of the BBC and Deutsche Welle, they are now on the verge of bankruptcy." Letter to President Pervez Musharraf from Reporters sans frontières, 30 November 2007. See previous post about Pakistan.

Websites blocked as Ukbekistan election approaches.

Posted: 01 Dec 2007   Print   Send a link
"With presidential polls only weeks away, internet users in Uzbekistan report that access to sites carrying independent news websites and reflecting opposition viewpoints is becoming more and more restricted. Even the proxy servers through which banned sites can be seen are now blocked." Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 30 November 2007. RFE/RL transmits in Uzbek on shortwave and on leased medium wave 864 kHz via Armenia. No sign of jamming at the IBB Monitoring RMS.

¿Por qué no te callas? (updated)

Posted: 30 Nov 2007   Print   Send a link
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Wednesday CNN may have been instigating his murder when the U.S. TV network showed a photograph of him with a label underneath that read 'Who killed him?' The caption appeared to be a production mistake -- confusing a Chavez news item with one on the death of a football star. The anchor said 'take the image down' when he realized. ... 'I want the state prosecutor to look into bringing a suit against CNN for instigating murder in Venezuela," [Chavez said]. '... undoubtedly it is part of the psychological warfare.'" Reuters, 28 November 2007. But, really, CNN will have to do something about its too-frequent captioning incidents. Update: "Chavez also threatened to expel journalists for the CNN international news network if they assisted in any plot to overthrow his government. If CNN 'came here to lend its correspondents to an imperialist operation, they will be thrown from the country.'" AP, 1 December 2007.

Stalin must have focus-grouped well (updated again).

Posted: 30 Nov 2007   Print   Send a link
"Under the slogan 'proud to be different,' Russian state propaganda channel Russia Today (RT) has recently been running full-page ads featuring Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in a general's uniform, armed with a quill in hand. 'Stalin wrote romantic poetry,' the ad states. 'Did you know that?' It's about as subtle a message as a scenario in which German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle were to advertise with Hitler and the question: 'Did you know that Adolf Hilter also painted?'" Spiegel Online, 20 December 2007. Russia Today, though structurally not as independent as, say, BBC World, might grimace at being described as a "state propaganda channel." For what it's worth, RT's corporate profile states: "Russia Today started broadcasting in December 2005. Since then, RT has earned the respect of its viewers and fellow journalists all over the world for its commitment to independent journalism." Another ad for Russia Today appeared in 29 November issue of The Examiner, a free tabloid sized daily distributed at Metro stations in the Washington area. The picture shows a schedule board in an airport, with nothing but quesion marks. The caption: "Every 7th Adult on Earth Can't Read. Can you imagine?" Then the channel numbers for RT on local cable systems and Verizon FiOS. At the bottom of the ad: "Proud to be different." Update: New Russia Today marketing campaign in New York City includes "a 30-second spot that will be in heavy rotation on both Times Square’s Reuters and NASDAQ Signs ... a branded double-decker bus filled with 100 traditional Russian holiday characters ... seen throughout the city ... [ending on] New Year’s Eve with a live feed of Russia Today’s programming on Times Square’s The Reuters and NASDAQ Sign. The channel’s coverage of Moscow’s holiday celebration will add a unique touch to the largest New Year’s Eve party in North America." Global Advertising Strategies press release, 29 November 2007.

BBC, CNN news initiatives in India.

Posted: 30 Nov 2007   Print   Send a link
"India Business Report is a new half-hour programme which looks at business news and happenings on BBC World every Sunday. Its objective is to present the varied facets of the Indian economy to audiences not just in South Asia, but across the world." Indiantelevision.com, 1 December 2007. "CNN has announced the opening of new editorial operations in Chennai, India, as well as the appointment of two new India-based correspondents." CNN Worldwide press release (apparently) via Media Newsline, 30 November 2007.