Survey shows large audiences for BBC World News among affluent in Africa.

Posted: 24 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Modern Ghana, 24 June 2010, press release (unknown if from BBC or EMS): "EMS Africa, a new survey covering affluent adults in five countries, has revealed that BBC World News reaches over half of them every month. Covering a number of African markets – Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Cameroon, EMS Africa provides data for advertisers and agencies looking to reach key consumers in these emerging economies. According to EMS Africa, the monthly reach among individuals accessing both BBC World News and BBC.com is 53% across the whole survey, and the weekly reach is 41%. In Nigeria, the monthly reach is 76%, 64% in Kenya, 56% in South Africa and 37% in Cameroon. These are significantly higher than for similar surveys in Europe and Asia Pacific." -- BBC World News is the global English-language television news channel. It would be interesting to compare these numbers with those of CNN International and Al Jazeera English.

Tuesday's 63 Senate confirmations do not include the eight BBG nominees.

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 22 June 2010, Al Kamen: "The Senate on Tuesday confirmed 63 Obama administration nominees, many of whom had languished for months awaiting final approval after the resolution of a dispute over the National Labor Relations Board." With a link to all the conformations. -- The eight persons nominated for seats on the Broadcasting Board of Governors are not included. Are there issues, apart from the NLRB nominee, still to be resolved? Senator Coburn received answers to the questions he put to the BBG nominees. (See previous post.) If this means anything the Senate Executive Calendar (pdf), as of today, still shows Senator Coburn's "notice of intent to object to proceeding" for six of the BBG nominees, i.e. all except Perino and Meehan.

Activist hopes for "new direction" at VOA Persian, says Congress will be monitoring.

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
FrontPage Magazine, 17 June 2010, Jamie Glasov interviewing Amir Fakhravar, "an Iranian writer, student leader and former political prisoner": "Before we conclude, tell us a bit about the role of VOA Persian service to support Freedom and Democracy in Iran. Fakhravar: VOA Persian has been broadcasting its programs to Iran for the past 30 years. Up to now, it has been a source for news and programs that have done more damage than good towards the principles that are supposed to govern it — representing America and covering the news accurately, objectively and comprehensively. VOA can be tremendously effective in supporting the Green Movement and the cause of democracy in Iran. In representing America, it can educate ordinary Iranians how modern democracies work and familiarize them with the inner workings of the U.S. system of government. It can also report comprehensively all the efforts made by Iranians and non-Iranians outside Iran in support of their movement. These and many other helpful programs can help give Iranians the confidence and optimism they need to speed up their movement. I am hopeful that with the new management at VOA Persian, a new direction will be taken and I know that members in both the House and Senate are closely monitoring this progress." -- Does this "new direction" involve little more of what Mr. Fakhravar believes, and a little less of what he doesn't believe? At the Heritage Foundation event, "Perspectives on US International Broadcasting," (see previous post, where audio is now available) Josh Carter, staffer for Senator Sam Brownback, mentioned complaints about VOA Persian by Iranian expats who visit his office. Mr. Carter said there is a role for the firewall, but also a role for Congress. Congress, he said, is concerned that US international broadcasting should be "messaging things that need to be messaged."

Family Security Matters, 22 June 2010, editorial: "It is strange that Britain allows Iran full broadcasting rights. Earlier this year Danforth Austin, director of Voice of America, said that the Iranian regime was banning its citizens from talking with representatives of VOA or the BBC (Britain’s nationalized TV corporation). And of course, as VOA is the voice of the 'Great Satan' it is officially banned in Iran. In the US, Press TV is subject to sanctions, and can only be used to report on affairs in United Nations, but it still manages to broadcast via other outlets, such as its show American Dream, which is described as 'A political roundtable offering a warts-and-all picture of life in the USA from ghettos to gated communities.' Press TV also has three English language websites and its shows, such as American Dream, are showcased there." -- By Britain allowing Iran "full broadcasting rights," he is probably referring to the Press TV studios in London. What is "strange" to the writer is actually the free press exercised in the UK and other Western democracies. Ideas compete in the marketplace. In this competition, Press TV does not have much of an audience.

This method of propaganda depends on which way the wind is blowing.

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 23 June 2010, Claire Lee: "South Korean and Japanese activists floated hundreds of thousands of leaflets by balloon toward the border with North Korea on Wednesday to condemn the country's government amid tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship. ... The leaflets sent Wednesday criticized North Korea's late founding father Kim Il Sung for starting the 1950-53 Korean War and blamed the current government led by his son, Kim Jong Il, for a botched currency reform and the downing of the warship, which killed 46 sailors. ... The groups originally planned to send 100 balloons carrying a total of 6 million leaflets, but less-than-ideal wind conditions at the launch site near the border reduced the total to nine balloons and 540,000 leaflets, organizers said. It was unclear whether the balloons would actually reach North Korea."

New TV program hopes to "bring overseas Vietnamese flocking back to their homeland."

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Viet Nam News, 22 June 2010: "Viet Nam Television is set to begin broadcast of a programme on the country's attractions that it hopes will bring overseas Vietnamese flocking back to their homeland. Viet Nam Ngay Nay (Viet Nam Today), a joint production by VTV and Sai Gon Tiep Thi newspaper, will be on VTV4 every day, beginning on July 15. It will be a kaleidoscope on the country's economy, culture, people, and landscapes made by young film-makers. Bach Ngoc Chien, head of VTV's Foreign Affairs Department, hoped the programme will appeal not only to the 4 million overseas Vietnamese all over the world but also foreigners who are looking for information about Vietnamese culture and people living in this country. ... The channel is seen in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and North Africa, Chinh said, adding VTV has negotiated with CNN, Russia Today, CCTV, and other television stations to carry the programme." -- Rather confusing. The program will also appeal top foreigners, but will be only in Vietnamese. And will "CNN, Russia Today, CCTV, and other television stations" provide free airtime to this program? Or will be be a paid informercial?

VOA Chinese broadcasters, past and present.

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Redlands (CA) Daily Facts, 22 June 2010: "Timothy Calvin Ling, 95, passed away peacefully at his Loma Linda home on June 10, 2010. He was born Feb. 19, 1915, on Kulangsu Island in South China. ... Tim accepted a position in New York City with the United States Information Agency in its Voice of America operations in 1951. When the agency moved its operations to Washington, D.C., a few years later, the Ling family relocated to Takoma Park, a suburb in Maryland. Until his retirement in December 1982, Tim was a broadcast journalist for Voice of America, committed to sharing global news with those behind the Iron Curtain, particularly in China."

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, 20 June 2010, John Campanelli interviewing Donny Newman, Cleveland native who studied Chinese and now works for the VOA Mandarin Service: "You work at the Voice of America; does that mean you're piping propaganda into China? Newman: I work on an entertainment TV show, 'Cultural Odyssey,' that is purposefully not political. Basically, we introduce different aspects of Americana to the Chinese audience every week, like a Mark Twain-inspired frog-jumping contest or the hot dog restaurant scene in Chicago." -- Although native Mandarin speakers will continue to do most of the work for VOA Chinese, a few Americans who speak Chinese well are necessary to put the America in the Voice of America.

Thank you for flying Commando Solo (updated).

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Wired Danger Room, 27 May 2010, Nathan Hodge: "The 193rd Special Operations Wing operates a fleet of three ["Commando Solo"] EC-130J aircraft, cargo haulers that have been converted into flying radio and television stations. These 'psychological operations' aircraft can broadcast their own signal over AM and FM radio, UHF and VHF television bands — or override broadcast stations on the ground, something they apparently did during operations in Bosnia and Iraq. I recently accompanied a Commando Solo crew on a training mission. It was an unusual opportunity to see the crew at work testing their radio and television equipment at full power. ... [Lt. Col. Mike] Rice says many of the Commando Solo broadcasts during early phase of Operation Iraq Freedom were simple rebroadcasts of the BBC: It was perceived as a more neutral, and therefore more trusted, outlet, by Iraqis. In Afghanistan, lots of the broadcasts post-9/11 were simple Afghan pop music. After years of rule by the Taliban, which forbade pop music, Afghans were eager to tune in."

Update: Harrisburg Patriot-News, 21 June 2010, T.W. Burger: "'In Haiti, we could see immediately that we were having an effect,' [Lt. Col. Mike] Rice said. 'When they moved relief stations from one location to another, we would broadcast that fact, and within 30 minutes to an hour, people started showing up. Obviously, people were listening.' ... During the 193rd’s nearly two-month mission to the Caribbean, the unit was essentially working for the U.S. State Department, Rice said. In addition to whatever portable radios Haitians might have owned, the U.S. supplied small receivers to be distributed as widely as possible so civilians could get information they needed faster."

Another report that new satellite channel directed to Ethiopia is jammed.

Posted: 23 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Addis Neger, 22 June 2010: "The satellite transmission of an Ethiopian broadcaster ESAT has successfully been jammed by Ethiopia’s Information Network Security Agency (INSA). According to information obtained by Addis Neger, INSA has received material and technical assistance for the jamming from the Chinese government. ... Assistance was sought from the Chinese government after INSA tried local jamming equipments. In mid May, a 700MW Chinese manufactured jammer was brought to Ethiopia. It was installed at the agency’s facility which is located at the Sar Bet area. Satellite images obtained by Addis Neger show the location of the jammer." If 700MW is 700 megawatts, that would be moere power than needed to send a jamming signal up to a satellite. This would suggest, then, ground jamming affecting satellite dishes in an urban area, Addis Ababa most likely. (Try not to stand too close to that 700 megawatt jamming transmitter.) See previous post about same subject.

BBC World News suffers by comparison to BBC World Service, he writes.

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Japan Times, 22 June 2010, Kevin Rafferty: "With the growing global reach of the Internet and world television channels, the BBC should be on the cusp of a golden age as an international broadcaster and promoter of debate about issues vital to the future of the planet. Instead the reputation is at risk from a strange mixture of little England and a tabloid mentality. ... This is particularly marked in the international television brand, known as BBC World News. World Service radio still tries to preserve traditional values in spite of pressures on it. On TV, the BBC yells the latest headlines, like a tabloid newspaper with a bold front page but with little background or explanation inside. ... Repetition is the order of the hour and day. If you watch for two hours, you get about 21 minutes of news repeated twice, 90 seconds of headlines repeated six times, 10 minutes of business duplicated, 10 minutes of sport ditto, a few minutes of weather where forecasters struggle with foreign place names, a few advertisements and endless, mindless promotions of future programs, often proclaiming 'only on BBC World News.'"

Louisianans have their say on BBC World Have Your Say. And fewer Oregonians will (updated).

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
WWL TV (New Orleans), 4 June 2010, Meg Farris: "Local seafood promoters say the Louisiana seafood brand is hurting around the country. They say it took two years to come back after Hurricane Katrina, but with the perception from the oil leak, it could take longer. So they took the message that the seafood is still safe to a worldwide audience Friday with an hour of live, talk radio, broadcast around the world from the University of New Orleans, to an estimated 190 million listeners. BBC World Service gathered a panel of local people in front of a live audience to talk about their perspective on the oil leak. ... Listeners called from Nigeria, England, and Alaska, where a man who called the show said 21 years after the Valdez spill, areas of seafood production are still not back. ... BP representatives were invited to be on the panel but BBC says they declined." Refers to BBC WS World Have Your Say on 4 June. Audio available here.

BBC World Service: "BBC World Service reporter Robyn Bresnahan is spending two weeks at New Orleans station WWNO. She'll be hearing how the BP oil spill is affecting people's lives."

BBCWS World Have Your Say blog, 4 June 2010, Ros Atkins: "We got some sad news from Oregon a few days ago. As you may have seen on facebook and twitter yesterday, OPB [Oregon Public Broadcasting] has decided to drop WHYS from its schedule from the end of June. ... Needless to say it's a real shame as we've a fantastic connection with the station and many of you who listen in Oregon. (We get more comment from Oregon than any other US state and more than any country bar Nigeria.) But clearly for a significant number of listeners our 'tone' and 'production' are not to their liking and we have to respect the station's decision."

OPB Facebook, 3 June 2010, John B.: "With a limited number of hours, we are constantly looking to bring the very best to our listeners. After nearly three years that we’ve broadcast WHYS, production and audio quality issues continue to be problematic. And we’ve heard from listener feedback that the tone of the show is inconsistent with that of our other programs. World Have Your Say is an ambitious concept. We’ve enjoyed working closely with Ros Atkins and the WHYS production team and we wish them the best." Many listener comments at the OPB Facebook wall. See also comments about OPB morning talk shows at The Portland Mercury, 14 January 2010.

Update: The Oregonian, 21 June 2010, Kristi Turnquist: "The BBC World Service radio show, 'World Have Your Say' is leaving the Oregon Public Broadcasting schedule as of July 1. Depending on your attitude, this will either prompt a sigh of disappointment, or a hearty shout of 'It's about time!'" See also many comments, including this from adoregon: "I hated the urgent/conflict/crisis tone they always used and the implication that other news sources are un-trustworty or conspiratorial but talking to a few people around the world is a good way at getting at the truth. But I did like hearing broader perspectivefrom all over - I think it could be a good show with some changes."

We missed the BBC World Service annual midwinter Antarctic Special.

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, 21 June 2010: "Once a year, staff at the four Antarctic bases - Rothera, Halley, King Edward Point and Bird Island - cluster round their short wave radios to hear the BBC's Gabrielle Walker present half an hour of music requests and special messages from their loved ones back home. ... The 'Antarctic Specials' are possibly the World Service's most unusual broadcasts. " -- It was 21 June at 2130-2200 UTC, but audio of the program is available.

Should the money-making BBC Worldwide also be bonus-awarding?

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 20 June 2010, James Robinson: BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith's "retort to those who criticise Worldwide's growing power and reach is to point out that it has returned nearly £1bn to the BBC since he was appointed at interim CEO in July 2004 – money that is ploughed back into programme-making. 'That is increasingly important at a time when public finances are tight because it reduces the burden on the licence fee payer,' he claims. ... Smith is unapologetic about Worldwide's expansion and says growth will continue apace particularly in digital and international areas, with an emphasis on the US. Unabashed by the controversy it has caused among competitors who claim it has little or nothing to do with existing BBC programmes, Smith remains a huge fan of the October 2007 acquisition of the travel guide Lonely Planet, calling it a 'good business doing all the right things'. ... 'It fits very nicely with the other genres in which we are big – like news and natural history. It's got brilliant assets. It's number one in all the countries that matter to us … It's doing well in India and China and its brand values are very synonymous with those of the BBC. It's about impartiality and truthful, honest appraisal of a topic. It is making that transformation to digital in a way that I'd like the rest of the company to do.' Earlier this month, the Lonely Planet iPad 'app' was the most downloaded in the world."

The Guardian, 20 June 2010, James Robinson: "Senior managers at BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, will receive bonuses this year, the company's chief executive John Smith has said. The payments are likely to prove controversial at a time when the government is emphasising the need for the BBC, a publicly-funded organisation, to show pay restraint. ... Smith said Worldwide, which employs 2,700 people in 21 offices in 12 countries, 900 of them overseas, has to compete for talent in expensive markets, particularly in Australia and the US, but said it might also impose a pay freeze."

mUmBRELLA, 21 June 2010, bbc.com press release: "BBC.com has created two new Australian roles to boost its local sales offering in NSW and Victoria. Andrew Knowles joins BBC.com on 1 July as Sales Manager, NSW. ... 'They join the team as we look to build on our current success by introducing key new products and services to ANZ audiences and advertisers over the next year.' BBC.com is the number one international online news provider across Australia and NZ with more than 3 million ANZ unique users. It offers advertising opportunities across three platforms: online, mobile and VOD. Globally, the site reaches more than 50 million unique users and attracts more than 600 different advertising partners." -- I've never seen a "bbc.com" press release, and don't know where they would be found, other than maybe bbcworldwide.com.

Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV may soon be off Eutelsat.

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 19 June 2010: "In what seems as a scale down in tension between the European satellite service provider, Eutelsat and the Hamas-run TV channel Al Aqsa, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday notified the management of the Palestinian channel that it will give it five days before removing it from the satellite beam unless the material was found to be in compliance with EU rules. The ministry had said earlier that it would shut down Al Aqsa TV on June 17 for repeated violations of EU broadcasting policies. ... Suhaib Shahadeh, director of Al Aqsa terrestrial channel ... said all preparations were being made for a backup system which will enable the viewers to see its programmes around the globe."

AP, 15 June 2010, Ibrahim Barzak: "The Hamas station — best known for its children's programs glorifying violence against Israel — is the centerpiece of a growing media operation of Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers. Losing the satellite provider will hamper the group's attempts to spread its message and raise funds abroad."

UPI, 9 June 2010: "The European Commission has warned France to cease carrying 'inflammatory broadcasts' of Al-Aqsa TV, the television channel of Hamas, officials said."

Aljazeera.net, 17 June 2010, Estelle Youssouffa video report: "Broadcasting regulators in France have ordered a French satellite company to stop carrying al-Aqsa, the Hamas-backed TV station. ... Hamas officials said the ban contradicted the 'principles of freedom and justice which France is proud of'."

Rapid TV News, 16 June 2010, Chris Forrester: "Al-Aqsa TV says it will “mobilise” rights activists around the world to fight the sanction. Gaza-based Al-Aqsa was responding to a formal prohibition made by the French Higher Broadcasting Council (CSA) ordering Eutelsat to cease the transmissions. In reality, Al-Aqsa held an uplink contract through a third-party supplier, and that contract was itself honoured by Amman-based Noorsat, an Arabian satellite sub-contractor which leases spare Eutelsat capacity."

Al Jazeera English opens Toronto bureau, expands Canadian cable penetration.

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera press release, 16 June 2010: "Al Jazeera English ... is pleased to announce that the channel began broadcasting on [Canada's] Shaw Cable today. AJE is available to all digital subscribers of Shaw Cable on channel 175 and will be free of charge for a promotional trial-period that will last until August 31. ... Additionally, AJE has announced the opening of their Canadian bureau. The new bureau, which is based in Toronto, signifies the channel's commitment to presenting Canadian news and perspective to a global audience. This makes AJE the only international news channel with a bureau in Canada."

The Coast (Halifax), 18 June 2010, Bruce Wark: "The National Council on Canada-Arab Relations is calling on all Canadian cable television companies to offer Al-Jazeera English to their subscribers. Doug Daniels, who serves on the Council’s board of directors, says cable companies should give customers a chance to sign up for what he describes as Al-Jazeera’s 'well balanced and high acclaimed' international coverage. 'Al-Jazeera is an open door to the rest of the world,' he says. 'It’s not only an alternative to North American all-news channels, it also offers a broader range of coverage from around the world.'"

Winnipeg Free Press, 19 June 2010, Tom Oleson, "The contrast between the two networks -- AJE [Al Jazeera English] and CBC -- is interesting. AJE's core funding is a $400 million annual grant from the emir of Qatar. The rest of its money is raised through advertising, cable subscription fees, broadcasting deals with other companies, and sale of footage. The CBC has both an English and a French network. It gets a $930 million yearly grant from the federal government that is paid for by Canadian taxpayers. Its total budget is $1.3 billion, the difference being made up mostly from advertising. Al Jazeera reaches almost every corner of the world. Its two networks operate 60 bureaus around the world and it can be seen in pretty well every country that hasn't actually banned it under the perception that it is a tool of Arab-Muslim propaganda. The CBC reaches almost every corner of Canada -- last year it considered closing bureaus in Thompson and La Ronge, Sask., because of what it considered to be a budget pinch. It has bureaus across Canada and in a few foreign countries as well, but its reach is limited to our little corner of the world. There seems to something seriously out of proportion here." -- Check also for undocumented sources of funding, and different accounting methods, at AJE. Also, unlike Al Jazeera, CBC has to pay for many terrestrial transmitters and local stations.

FrumForum.com, 16 June 2010, Martin Krossel: "Quebecor Media Inc., a Canadian owner of newspapers and television outlets, just announced the launch of a channel modeled after conservative-leaning Fox News. Imitating Fox’s parent News Corp., Quebecor hired Kory Tenecyke, the former communications director for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to run the channel. News Corp. employs Roger Ailes, a former communications adviser to Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, to oversee the development and the continued operation of the Fox News Channel. ... [L]ast year when the left-tilting Al Jazeera English (AJE) sought the CRTC’s approval to be shown in Canada, the only group that opposed the application was the Canadian Jewish Congress, fearing – not without reason – that the channel would broadcast blatantly anti-Semitic content." See previous post about same subject.

Is this what they call a table pounder? Worldspace stock "surged by 100%" ... to $0.01.

Posted: 22 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
PennyStockLive.com, 18 June 2010: "Worldspace, Inc. (OTC: WRSPQ) surged by 100.0% and closed at $0.01 with total volume of 513,400 shares for the day."

Rapid TV News, 20 June 2010, Chris Forrester: "For the best part of two years interested parties have been watching the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of pay-radio operator Worldspace unfold, before seemingly getting resolved two weeks ago. Watching in the wings have been the backers of a Class Action against Worldspace and some of its directors. Now they have pounced. In a Court filing on Friday, the Lead Plaintiff in the Class Action (Midtown Partners) asked Judge Peter Walsh for a modification in the wrap up proceedings. Their request is on behalf of those 'who, during the period from Aug 4 2005 through March 16 2006 purchased or otherwise acquired common stock of Worldspace Inc..... and [traceable] to the debtors IPO of August 4 2005.'" See previous posts about same subject on 16 June and 9 June 2010.

Australian government invites comments on future of Australia Network.

Posted: 21 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs press release, 18 June 2010: "The Australian Government is inviting views on the future direction of Australia Network, the Government-funded international television broadcasting service. The Australian Government has funded an international television service since the early 1990s. The service is currently provided under the terms of a contract between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation which expires in August 2011. The service aims to present a reliable Australian voice in the Asia-Pacific region and to promote Australia as a sophisticated, diverse, innovative and tolerant society. ... Submissions are invited to address the following issues: ▪The future opportunities and challenges for a Government-funded international broadcasting service to effectively deliver a high quality, credible and reliable service in the Asia-Pacific region; ▪Options for the delivery and funding of an international broadcasting service in the Asia-Pacific; and ▪Whether the service, when the current contract with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation expires in August 2011, should be the subject of a competitive tender process." -- Is Australia a "sophisticated, diverse, innovative and tolerant society"? If so, there is no need to "promote" that fact through an international television channel. Instead, report on life in Australia through an independent news and information service. That way, the channel will have credibility, and an audience.

The Australian, 21 June 2010, Michael Bodey: "The move might be considered an attempt to head off heated media lobbying in an election year. ... ABC managing director Mark Scott has noted that his corporation is best-placed to serve a role as a 'soft diplomat' through the region with the free-to-air satellite TV service, while Sky has questioned the suitability of the ABC providing a service that is already provided by the market and thereby over-stepping its charter. ... Critics have also suggested the ABC might cross-subsidise its other news and current affairs services with the DFAT contract, although most accept the Australia Network is a much-improved service since the ABC won the contract from the Seven Network in 2001."

Crikey, 21 June 2010: "Does Australia really want a foreign-controlled group directly involved with the Australia Network, the federal government-funded international TV broadcasting service run by the ABC? The future operation of the service is up in the air: a decision on who operates is due next year and the ABC has already put its hand up for it, but Sky News wants to have another go." See previous post about same subject.

Will Iceland become the world's "information haven"?

Posted: 21 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 17 June 2010, Stephanie Siek: Icelandic "legislators passed a law that they hope will protect the freedom of the press around the world. The law, passed unanimously during Icelandic parliament's last session for the year, provides more protection for journalists and their sources than any other such law in the world, say its creators. Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir, who helped write the legislation, said the goal was to create an information haven - much like other countries which have turned themselves into tax havens. ... The law protects anonymous sources who communicate with journalists, places strict limits on pre-publication censorship, and provides immunity for telecommunications and internet providers who merely act as conduits for the publication of news and information. Icelandic courts and institutions would also not be required to enforce rulings by foreign courts which violate Icelandic law. Any entity that bases some part of their operation in Iceland - even if only a data server - are all protected under the law."

"International organizations slam Armenian TV law."

Posted: 21 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL News, 17 June 2010: "International organizations have criticized controversial Armenian legislation that media freedom groups say will allow the government to retain its control over Armenia's broadcast media, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. Dunja Mijatovic, the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's representative on media freedom ... said the final version of the bill passed by parliament last week 'fails to promote broadcast pluralism in the digital era.' She pointed to provisions reducing the number of channels, making all forms of broadcasting subject to state licensing, and setting what she says are 'ambiguous procedures' for establishing private TV and radio stations. Critics also say the new bill may prevent the embattled independent TV channel A1+ from regaining a broadcast license. A1+ was closed just before the presidential election in 2002."

Update: International broadcasting of the FIFA World Cup.

Posted: 21 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 18 June 2010, Stefania Bianchi: "A host of technical glitches is threatening an embarrassing own goal for Al Jazeera, the satellite-TV channel that won exclusive rights to broadcast the World Cup in much of the Arab world. Soccer fans across the Middle East and North Africa have paid as much as $150 for one-month World Cup subscription packages or special cards that allow their receivers to tap into the soccer tournament. ... Al Jazeera said broadcasts carried by Egypt's Nilesat satellite operator and Arabsat, of Saudi Arabia, were deliberately jammed. The station hasn't accused anyone of the jamming yet but suggested political interference."

Ynet News, 19 June 2010, Doron Peskin: "The network has been placing the blame on cable companies and satellite providers throughout the Arab world, but now, it is also point the finger at Israel. Raed Abed, head of the Al-Jazeera's broadcasting department, told Emarat Alyoum, 'I do not rule out Israeli involvement in the disruptions.'" See previous post about same subject.

The Hollywood Reporter, 14 June 2010, Eriq Gardner: "Football fans in Hong Kong are upset because they've been ordered by the government to stop using satellite antennas to see mainland China's CCTV coverage of the World Cup. Violators have been warned about being sued for copyright infringement if they continue to tune in to China's coverage."

Phuket Gazette, 17 June 2010: "Authorities in Patong are reportedly cracking down on bars illegally showing World Cup football matches with English-language commentary. A source has told the Gazette that officials last night raided a restaurant that allegedly violated international copyright law by airing broadcasts telecast on the Malaysian-based Astro SuperSport satellite TV network."

BBC's Somalia reporter, denied visa, was not allowed entry to the UK to accept award.

Posted: 21 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Tribune Magazine (London), 18 June 2010: "A BBC reporter has been refused entry to the UK to collect a Parliamentary award for services to press and democratic freedom. Mohamed Olad Hassan, the main English language correspondent in Mogadishu for the BBC World Service, was chosen to receive the Speaker Abbott award by a panel of senior Parliamentarians, Speaker John Bercow and Tribune, which sponsors the award. But his flight, and a two-week programme of events and meetings organised by the Parliamentary Press Gallery, which instituted and organises the award, had to be abandoned when the British High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, rejected his visa application. ... Olad told Tribune: 'I am really very grateful for the award and the support it gives to me. I am surprised at the denial of a visa to a journalist working with the BBC in Somalia for seven years and in possession of an official, documented invitation to meet the Speaker.'"

Suna Times, 19 June 2010: "A BBC World Service journalist described as 'the voice of the voiceless' in Somalia has been honoured at a reception in the House of Commons. Mohammed Olad Hassan was not able to attend the event in Speaker's House this week, where he was awarded the Speaker Abbott Award for his promotion of democracy. ... Lord Avebury, one of this year's judges, later wrote on his blog of his unhappiness that Hassan could not attend the event as he was refused a visa by the UKBA. 'The reason I was told, at second hand, was that he hadn't submitted payslips showing his earnings from the BBC with his application for a visa,' he wrote."

"Voice of the voiceless." Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes, in the previous post, and all over the place when international broadcasters talk about themselves. (Search this website for voiceless.) Al Jazeera uses the slogan frequently, and it has been used to describe Alhurra. Perhaps it should be copyright, like "Good to the last drop," or "Strong enough to pick up a 16-lb. bowling ball." The problem, however, is that "voice of the voiceless" doesn't capture what successful international broadcasting really does. "News to the newsless" would be much better, though, admittedly, it doesn't sound as good.

L'exception confirme la règle: 70th anniversary of de Gaulle's appeal on the BBC.

Posted: 21 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 16 June 2010, BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks: "On June 18, 1940, the world's future looked bleak indeed. Half a dozen countries had already been conquered by the Nazis; German troops had entered Paris; and British forces had been evacuated from Dunkirk. In occupied Europe, newspapers had been shut down or taken over, while radio stations had been turned into beacons of Nazi propaganda. Yet when General Charles de Gaulle strode into a studio at the BBC's Broadcasting House, on that Tuesday, he spoke to the people of occupied France about hope, insisting that 'the flame of French resistance must not and will not be extinguished'. De Gaulle appealed to officers and soldiers, military engineers and armament workers to rally under his command in London. ... When war broke out in 1939, the BBC was broadcasting overseas in English as well as in nine foreign languages, most of them aimed at European listeners. Today, the World Service maintains that same crucial lifeline in a very different world, and in very different places."

USC Center on Public Diplomacy blog, 19 June 2010, Nicholas J. Cull: "[T]he seventieth anniversary of one of the great broadcasts in the history of international broadcasting ... has been marked by a visit from President Sarkozy to the BBC and press hullabaloo on both sides of the English Channel. The appeal of 18 June has a number of lessons for contemporary public diplomacy. It is a reminder of the historical impact of the radio, which still has a role to play in today’s world. More than this it is an example of the public diplomacy of empowerment. The British government could (and did) address the people of France themselves, but Churchill for one understood that there was infinitely more to be gained from empowering a credible Frenchman to speak."

AFP, 19 June 2010: "Sarkozy said the decision to let de Gaulle make the appeal from London -- initially opposed by the British cabinet but championed by premier Winston Churchill -- 'made possible the very existence of the French resistance.'"

About the BBC Blog, 17 June 2010, Robert Seatter "The Free French (as his followers were called) were allowed five minutes each day on the BBC French Service to broadcast to occupied France and orchestrate their defiance. Many impassioned addresses were made by de Gaulle himself, either from Broadcasting House or Bush House, and he was regarded as the 'secret hope' by those living under German rule. Even today, the sound of the opening jingle of those BBC broadcasts can bring tears to the eyes of surviving listeners. 'Unprecedented in media history' is how one of the most famous Resistance survivors described these lifeline broadcasts. It's moving and humbling to be told by others of the impact of the BBC 70 years ago, and it's salutary to remind ourselves that wars go on, media freedom is still a precious thing, and many of our BBC News and World Service colleagues are today carrying on that vital role of giving voice to the voiceless on air."

BBC World Service, 18 June 2010, interview with Jean-Louis Crémieux-Brilhac, who was in charge of clandestine Free French propaganda from the spring of 1942 until the liberation. See also BBC Newsnight report, 18 June 2010. Read and hear (the second airing of) the speech.

BBC was important in Europe during the war because of the credibility of its news. It was the information Europeans used to determine what shreds of truth there might be in the propaganda coming from everywhere else on the continent. BBC had to serve the national interest during the war, but it managed to maintain its credibility by not letting such appeals take over its schedule.

Zero Hour and "Tokyo Rose," a chapter in WWII international broadcasting.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Heritage Foundation, James Wood: "By mid-1944, NHK overseas broadcasting bureau had honed and crafted its skills in making authentic American-style radio programs. By patience and dedication, the Japanese had overcome all initial problems and were setting a new standard in radio propaganda, which was unequalled by anything existing. ... The American FBIS closely monitored Japanese propaganda broadcasts, and many recordings were taken for archival purposes; yet not one of these has the name Tokyo Rose, nor is the name found in NHK broadcasts. ... From 1944, the US government took some steps to combat the effects of Japanese propaganda programs by setting up radio shows of a comparable quality and style. 'Voice of America' SW transmitters beamed such programs to its troops in the Pacific zone. The highly successful Command Performance scripted and produced by Hollywood specialists, employed a galaxy of stars to entertain the troops." [Excerpt from Wood's 'Japanese War Time Broadcasting' in the book 'History of International Broadcasting, Vol.1.] -- "Command Performance" was a program of the Armed Forces Radio Network, not VOA, although it may have been sent over the same shortwave transmitters used by VOA. (US English-language shortwave broadcasts across the Pacific to Asia may not have gone by the "Voice of America.")

CNBC Asia opens its new studio, complete with "touch screens, video walls and ticker," at the Singapore Exchange.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
CNBC Asia press release, 13 June 2010: "CNBC ... and Singapore Exchange (SGX) jointly announce the official launch of CNBC’s new primary studio facility at SGX. The new studio begins operations today on the second floor of SGX Centre 1 in Shenton Way, the heart of Singapore’s financial district. To coincide with the unveiling of the new studio, CNBC Asia is introducing a new morning programming line-up. ... The new look includes visual enhancements such as s providing real-time market data that frames the new studio space at SGX. Along with the new studio comes an enhanced line-up which includes an earlier and more dynamic three-hour Squawk Box Asia from 6am, a brand new one-hour programme, The Call, an updated two-hour programme, Cash Flow from Australia and a fresh approach to Capital Connection with the introduction of a new bureau in Bahrain."

CNN International and other Turner channels to Vietnam via new DTH service.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 17 June 2010, Rose Major: "Vietnam’s newest DTH [direct-to-home satellite] service, from digital-terrestrial broadcaster VTC, is shaping up well, with Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific announcing it would launch six of its channels on the platform. ... One of Vietnam’s largest broadcasters, VTC will distribute Turner’s flagship channels, CNN International and Cartoon Network, as well as HLN, Boomerang, TCM Turner Classic Movies and, newcomer to Asia, truTV. Distribution to VTC’s potential subscribers will begin on July 1, 2010. VTC will launch its new DTH television service using Asiasat5. The service will provide subscribers throughout Vietnam with the best of both worlds - a compelling mix of VTC’s well established local channels and a variety of popular international channels from news, kids and factual entertainment to Hollywood movies."

WorldScreen.com, 16 June 2010: "Outdoor Channel is set to roll out in Taiwan and Vietnam, via new carriage agreements clinched by Multi Channels Asia, a Singapore-based venture that represents, distributes and owns a number of thematic pay-TV channels across Asia Pacific."

Newscast Studio, 15 June 2010: "For [CNN International's] 'Inside Africa,' [production music producer Stephen] Arnold had to create a compelling intro using local beats that worked with CNN’s existing brand. 'We stayed true to the three-note mnemonic that’s a signature of the network’s "Inside the Middle East,"' Arnold says. 'We applied those same notes, but in a setting that emphasized strong beats and modern instrumentation, creating a sound that was instantly recognizable as pan-African.'" With video (recommended viewing). -- For some listening fun, check out Arnold's The Vault.

Aung San Suu Kyi, on her 65th birthday, still a shortwave listener.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Mail & Guardian (Cape Town), 19 June 2010, Lisa Steyn: "According to Burmese exile media, Aung San Suu Kyi will celebrate her [65th] birthday in seclusion, with her two women companions. She has not been allowed visitors, and her telephone line has been cut for many years. But she does have a short-wave radio, so -- if the batteries are still working -- she will know that many people around the world are honouring her."

Irish Times, 20 June 2010, Stephan Morgan: "[A] birthday song composed by Paul Brady called The World is Watching was played on Saturday morning by the BBC World Service, the only radio station which Daw Suu Kyi is permitted to listen. The Democratic Voice of Burma, a non-profit organisation, travelled from their office in Norway to film the concert, having made arrangements with the Burmese authorities to show the footage to Daw Suu Kyi." -- Really? She's not allowed to listen to VOA or RFA Burmese? Listen to "Freedom From Fear," BBC World Service, 18 June 2010.

amnesty.org.uk, 17 June 2010: "There is no doubting the power of radio – those are the words of Amnesty International – who are today launching a major new financial appeal to supply thousands of radio sets to the people of Burma. ... Despite the severe restrictions placed on access to information in Burma, media organisations in exile are able to broadcast directly into the country. These broadcasts are a vital source of independent information for people in Burma, especially in a year when the government prepares to hold elections for the first time in two decades."

Thai elite criticize CNN and BBC coverage of the Bangkok protests.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia Sentinel, 15 June 2010, Haseenah Koyakutty: The Thai elite "allege the foreign media was negligent in reporting on the so-called Men in Black who appeared to be responsible for a major share of the Red Shirts' violence, thereby rendering the movement anything but peaceful. ... Second, the critics say, the foreign media, specifically large television networks with an international reach such as CNN and BBC, report conflicts through western eyes, fitting this particular one into a standard third world archetype: A military-backed government using force on unarmed demonstrators. The western reporting, they say, also ignores cultural differences. Put another way, the foreign media do not understand Thailand. To a press participant in the two month-long crisis that ended with the expulsion of the Red Shirts, however, the media coverage was as fair as it could be under the difficult and life-threatening conditions in which many reporters operated. In-depth coverage was a luxury under deadline and budgetary pressures. CNN and the BBC are easy public targets given their global impact, especially during a crisis or with breaking news that may portray the unpleasant side of a semi-open or controlled society. The outcry is therefore not unusual. What was unusual, however, is the vitriol hurled at certain media outlets or specific reporters."

VOA reporter who had been expelled from Yemen is expelled from Ethiopia.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 18 June 2010: "Authorities in Ethiopia expelled an American journalist on Thursday who had been reporting near a rebel area in the east of the Horn of Africa country, according to local journalists. Heather Murdock had been reporting with the U.S. international broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) in the eastern region of Harar, near an area where there was reported skirmishes between the army and rebels of the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), according to the same sources. ... VOA confirmed to CPJ that Murdock had left the country. ... 'We condemn the expulsion of Heather Murdock,' said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. ... Murdock arrived in Ethiopia last month after she was expelled from Yemen in April following a reporting trip to strongholds of Yemen’s armed separatist Southern Movement, according to news reports. In Ethiopia, she covered the country’s general election and its aftermath, among other topics."

AFP, 19 June 2010: "Murdock, who said she was reporting on the town's semi-domesticated hyenas that are a major tourist attraction, had her material confiscated and was sent to Addis Ababa where she boarded a flight to Cairo. 'This journalist has broken the law. The Ethiopian government has all the rights to defend itself against such behaviours,' an official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The official said Murdock's business visa had expired and that she had been working in the country on a tourist visa."

Bloomberg, 19 June 2010: "Bereket Simon, Ethiopia’s communication affairs minister, confirmed the expulsion, saying in a phone interview Murdock 'was searching for ONLF people.' Murdock said from Cairo she 'didn’t know talking to people was a crime in Ethiopia.'"

VOA Swahili video feature now available on mobile phones.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 15 June 2010: "The Voice of America Swahili Service announces the launch of Mitaani, or From the Streets, a new video feature produced exclusively for mobile phone users in Kenya and other parts of Africa. The short video reports, which debuted on the VOA Swahili mobile site this week, can also be viewed on the Swahili Service website: http://www.voaswahili.com."

VOA press release, 10 June 2010: "A popular Voice of America Portuguese language program on HIV/AIDS prevention is back on the air in Mozambique. ... The 30-minute weekly radio program, called Vida Sem Medo, or, 'living without fear,' focuseson educating young people in Mozambique about the dangers of HIV/AIDS."

"Hugs" for VOA Special English for explaining, using 1500 words or less, synthetic collateralized debt obligations.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Christian Science Monitor, 15 June 2010, Ruth Walker: "The Voice of America Special English Service, meant for those just learning English, recently ran a report on the Center for Plain Language. The piece included some sound bites from the recent congressional hearings on Goldman Sachs and its involvement with synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). ... Among the reader comments was one from someone identified as 'jose roberto (brazil).' His words, eloquent in their own way, are reproduced below, with all their endearing departures from standard usage: '[I]f for you is difficult to understand, could you imagine for us, foreings. when things are confused, non clear for all people, something wrong is, with the thing or with those who do that, this case of Goldman Sachs says all. hugs for you american friends of VOA.'"

New York Times, Schott's Vocab, 10 March 2010, Ben Schott: "Has anyone ever attempted to construct an artificial language based on English? ... [Author] Arika Okrent: A reasonable simplification project is the 'Special English' used in Voice of America radio programs. It has a core vocabulary of 1500 words, but other terms are introduced as needed, along with brief explanations. The few rules it does claim – no passive voice, one idea per sentence – are violated when they interfere with sensible judgment. It doesn’t modify the grammar of English; it just provides guidelines for speaking in a way that makes it easier for learners to understand."

There was no Twitter Revolution in Iran. Yes there was.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, 7 June 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: "[I]t is time to get Twitter's role in the events in Iran right. Simply put: There was no Twitter Revolution inside Iran. As Mehdi Yahyanejad, the manager of "Balatarin," one of the Internet's most popular Farsi-language websites, told the Washington Post last June, Twitter's impact inside Iran is nil. 'Here [in the United States], there is lots of buzz,' he said. 'But once you look, you see most of it are Americans tweeting among themselves.' A number of opposition activists have told me they used text messages, email, and blog posts to publicize protest actions. However, good old-fashioned word of mouth was by far the most influential medium used to shape the postelection opposition activity. ... Nonetheless, the 'Twitter Revolution' was an irresistible meme during the post-election protests, a story that wrote itself."

The Atlantic, 18 June 2010, Jared Keller: "[W]hile Twitter failed as an organizational tool, the Green movement remains the first major world event broadcast worldwide almost entirely via social media. Given the extent of the Iranian regime of repression, the amount of information publicized real-time through social networks allowed the international community an unprecedented peek into the turmoil afflicting Iran. For the Greens, the international reaction to the post-election violence gave the movement critical international visibility. While crowd sourcing is now a familiar concept to even the marginally tech-savvy, Twitter's use on a massive scale was rarely contemplated nor executed prior to the Iranian election. The Green revolution was a Twitter revolution; while social media fell short organizationally, it brought the violence in the streets of Tehran to the forefront of the geopolitical conversation." See previous post about same subject.

Committee to Protect Journalists blog, 18 June 2010, Sulome Anderson: "Jeffrey Gedmin, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, expresses his dismay at the rapid manner in which repressive regimes evolving to crush this new form of opposition: 'The government of Iran is pretty good at social media too.'" -- Gedmin was the guest on "Ideas in Action," 10 June 2010, a coproduction of Grace Creek Media and The George W. Bush Institute, with former BBG chairman James K. Glassman as host.

The Hill, 16 June 2010, Gautham Nagesh: "When asked if the [State] Department has any policy on foreign citizens using social media to question their own government such as the widely-cited use of Twitter during last year's Iranian protests, [Caitlin Bergin of the State Department's Office of International Information Programs] seemingly endorsed the practice. 'I personally think these technologies are empowering for people, they allow them to have a voice,' Bergin said. 'Some people will use it for expressing their political views and that's not a bad thing.'"

European broadcasters ask international organizations' help to combat Iranian satellite jamming.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
EurActiv.com, 18 June 2010: "Foreign television stations who have accused Iran of cutting off their broadcasts to stop coverage of violent political clashes have appealed to telecoms unions to step in and shield satellites from 'international piracy'. A broadcasting union put pressure on the CEPT, a European postal and telecoms body, and the International Telecoms Union (ITU) to pass a resolution to protect telecommunication satellites from the kind of interference experienced by the BBC and other channels in the Middle East. It has also requested the involvement of the UN's Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space. The Bruges Group of European broadcasters argues that this would be the only remedy to prevent interference or to sanction it, because there is nothing else that can be done under international law to stop such meddling. Iran has been jamming satellites, stopping European broadcasters' Farsi-language transmissions in the Middle East and Europe since 12 June 2009, according to a statement made by Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service."

More broadcasts to Iran, they write.

Posted: 20 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Politico, 16 June 2010, Senator John Cornyn: "Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and I have introduced legislation ... [stating] that it is U.S. policy to support the Iranian people’s efforts to establish a truly democratic and accountable government and free themselves from the regime headed by Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Our bill authorizes the president to provide assistance for broadcasting and other communications directly to Iranian democratic opposition organizations, as well as to offer humanitarian aid to victims of repression by the current regime. Our bill reflects the reality that the millions of Iranians who want democratic change still deserve it and that the United States must stand with those who stand for their liberty." "Broadcasting ... directly to Iranian democratic opposition organizations" indicates that Senator Cornyn does not have "objective and comprehensive" (quoting from the VOA Charter) in mind.

National Council of Resistance of Iran, 14 June 2010, Representative Brad Sherman: "[W]e need to promote democracy in Iran. I was just at hearings today calling upon the State Department to provide free satellite time to the thousands of different flowers blooming on the radio and television and cable airways; chiefly of Los Angles. The people of Iran ought to hear all of the different opinions, not just those of Radio Farda which of course does a good job. But - I wish I understood Farsi - I can tell from so many of my friends in Los Angel[e]s, there is a wide array of opinions being expressed in a vibrancy to public policy discussion in Farsi that may not be matched by the public policy discussion we have in English in this country." -- This would open a can or worms. Would all viewpoints, no matter how extreme, be welcome on this free satellite time? If not, what would be the parameters? Who would monitor the content for compliance?

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 18 June 2010, Benjamin Weinthal: "The EU has made scarcely any efforts to cultivate free information inside Iran. Europe should strengthen the broadcast of its existing Farsi-language news services, including the Prague-based Radio Farda and the BBC Persian service. Creating independent new outlets in the Iranian diaspora that broadcast shows, popular cultural programming and music into Iran can strengthen the forces of democratic change." -- Mr. Weinthal, an adjunct fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, thinks Radio Farda is an EU effort. It is located in Prague, but is US-funded, part of RFE/RL. The formidable BBC Persian Service, and not-insignificant Deutsche Welle Persian Service, are more than "scarcely any efforts." There are already Iranian diaspora channels, mostly from California. Europe could add one of its own, but good luck maintaining harmony among the factions.

Monday event at Heritage Foundation will discuss international broadcasting.

Posted: 18 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation: "Perspectives on U.S. International Broadcasting ... will examine the challenges and the potential of U.S. international broadcasting." Speakers are James Glassman, former Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman; Jeff Hirschberg, BBG member; Tom Korologos, former BBG member; Robert Reilly, former VOA director; Josh Carter legislative director for Senator Sam Brownback; Tim Shamble, president of VOA employee union. Monday, 21 June 2010, 11:00 to 1:30, Lehrman Auditorium.

China hip-hop radio DJ shows that it helps to have ancestors in high places.

Posted: 18 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 17 June 2010: "Confucius enlightened people on different elements of life. Some 76 generations later, his descendants are doing the same. Jeffrey Kung, the 29-year-old American-born Chinese pop singer who is related to the famous philosopher, wants to expose Chinese youth to hip-hop and spark interest in the local music scene. ... His radio show - The Park on HIT FM88.7 - is his main source for spreading hip-hop in Beijing. It is the first station within China that promotes hip-hop. Between established rappers from other countries and local artists who send in self-produced mix tapes, The Park plays a wide variety of music with as much as 70 percent of songs recorded in English. Kung hopes one day the show will be 100 percent Chinese. ... 'We started broadcasting from a living room,' Kung said. 'You could hear a lot of background noise like dog's barking and people playing NBA Live.' The show was picked up by China Radio International and is now broadcasted from a studio."

Global Times (Beijing), 18 June 2010: "Eight months ago when Nillah Nyakoa took up a China Radio International job offer to come to Beijing from Kenya, the Chinese tones and characters were like 'song and drawings' to her. Now she knows how to bargain with vendors, tell the cab drivers to stick to the shortest route and has found her own rhythm to dance with the city. ... 'In December 2008 I came to Shanghai for the first time. The weather was not good, I have never experienced winter in my life, it felt like being in a fridge. But after a week, I fell in love with the city, and I wanted to resign from my previous job in Kenya and move to China. I used to listen to the CRI station to learn about Chinese culture, so I went to their website and left a resume there. A few months down the line they gave me a call and told me they wanted to bring me to Beijing.' ... 'I think the major difference is reporting in Kenya is mostly about politics; while here politics totally does not exist. Here we do a lot of human interest stories. Otherwise everything else is quite similar.'"

CCTV Arabic channel won't try to be "the new Al Jazeera."

Posted: 18 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 27 May 2010, Daniel Bardsley: "Although launched as part of CCTV’s ambitious plan to have a channel in each of the six official languages of the United Nations – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – [its Arabic] service has no pretensions to being the new Al Jazeera. While the Qatar-based channel has become influential through its coverage of the Middle East, CCTV Arabic aims to tell the Arab world about China. That means 90 per cent of the content, which includes news, feature stories and programmes covering entertainment, education and travel, comes from other CCTV channels, with much of the material subtitled in Arabic. ... The channel has a staff of 110, among them 80 who have graduated in Arabic and 15 'special experts' on the Arab world. ... 'The mainstream media [are] dominated by the western media like the BBC and CNN, and we want to be part of the mainstream voice in international affairs.'"

Company officials dispute Radio Free Asia report of "large" radioactive leak from southern China nuclear plant.

Posted: 18 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 15 June 2010: "CLP Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong's largest power supplier, said it had recorded a small rise in radioactivity in reactor cooling water at a nuclear plant in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen last month. 'The reactor cooling water is sealed in completely and isolated from the external environment, thus causing no impact to the public,' CLP said on Tuesday. CLP's statement followed a report by Washington-based Radio Free Asia that the Daya Bay nuclear plant had suffered a large radiation leak that was threatening public safety."

AFP, 16 June 2010: "The operator of a nuclear power plant in southern China has acknowledged possible cracks in fuel tubes but, contradicting Hong Kong authorities, denied that any radiation had leaked out. ... Washington-based Radio Free Asia first reported a leak at the plant, which the Hong Kong government confirmed on Tuesday. ... Radio Free Asia had quoted a 'Hong Kong expert source' as saying a large amount of radioactive iodine was released into the air. It said the plant's management had kept the incident secret and only later reported it to authorities in Beijing."

China Radio International, 16 June 2010, from China Daily: "Power supplier and experts assured the public Tuesday that there is no threat to public safety arising from an incident at Daya Bay nuclear power plant. The nuclear leakage fear was ignited by a report from Washington-based Radio Free Asia Monday, saying that the plant experienced an abnormality in Unit 2 on May 23 resulting in the release of a large amount of radioactive iodine into the atmosphere. Hong Kong's No 1 electricity supplier CLP Holdings, which owns 25 percent of the plant, denied the allegation. The company issued a statement saying that only a small increase in radioactive substances was found in the cooling water at the unit."

Radio Free Asia, 15 June 2010: "Albert Lai, vice chairman of Hong Kong’s Civic Party, who has closely watched the development of the Daya Bay nuclear plant for more than a decade, urged the government and CLP to explain why the public was not informed about the incident until it was first reported by the media."

BBC HARDtalk interviews Hugo Chávez and the owner of Venezuela's Globovision, now a fugitive.

Posted: 18 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
El Universal, 15 June 2010: "In an interview published on Monday by the BBC World News and BBC Mundo networks, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez addressed a wide array of topics, from his relations with the United States to the independence of the Judiciary. The Venezuelan leader defended vehemently his model."

BBC News, 15 June 2010: "Mr Chavez rarely grants interviews to foreign media but he agreed to talk to the BBC's Stephen Sackur to mark the premiere a new documentary by the director Oliver Stone."

BBC News, 11 June 2010: "During his weekly TV address to the nation, the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, reveals what it is like to be interviewed by Stephen Sackur."

BBC Mundo, 15 June 2010: "En un tono a veces distendido y en ocasiones tenso, la BBC confrontó a Chávez durante casi 25 minutos con gran parte de las críticas que argumenta la oposición a su gobierno y que Venezuela recibe internacionalmente."

BBC News, 12 June 2010: "The Venezuelan authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the owner of a private television channel fiercely critical of President Hugo Chavez. Prosecutors accuse Guillermo Zuloaga, who owns the Globovision channel, of business irregularities."

BBC HARDtalk, 14 June 2010: "In what may have been his last interview before going into hiding, Mr. Zuloaga spoke to [HARDtalk anchor] Stephen Sackur."

Reuters, 17 June 2010: "Globovision boss Guillermo Zuloaga is a fugitive after an arrest warrant charging him with usury was issued on Friday. Then on Monday, the government took control of a bank that is owned by another Globovision director and handles its payroll, citing liquidity problems and risk of fraud, and leaving the station's employees in fear for their livelihoods."

Dow Jones, 17 June 2010: "President Hugo Chavez said his government might take over part of Venezuela's last remaining opposition television station, Globovision, if its owners don't return to Venezuela to meet with authorities."

Russia's Russian-language CTC-International channel now available in Israel.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
CTC Media press release, 16 June 2010: "CTC Media, Inc., Russia's leading independent media company, today announced the launch of the CTC-International channel in Israel. The channel is distributed on the Yes satellite platform and the HOT cable network, which have a combined total of approximately 120 thousand Russian-speaking subscribers. ... The international version of CTC, which was launched in the U.S. in December 2009, is a 24-hour a day family entertainment channel with a broad range of high quality programming content from the CTC (80%), Domashny and DTV channels. 1 million people, or 13% of the Israeli population, is Russian-speaking... ."

Discovery Communications: private-sector international broadcasting success story.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Discovery Communications press release, 2 June 2010: "More than 25 years ago, [John] Hendricks mortgaged everything he owned to realize his dream: the first cable network in the United States dedicated to providing high-quality documentary programming. On June 17, 1985, John Hendricks launched Discovery Channel to 156,000 subscribers; today, the network reaches more than 100 million subscribers in the U.S. alone and globally, Discovery Communications has more than 100 networks in over 180 countries, touching 1.5 billion subscribers."

A "slew of international channels" coming to India.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Financial Express, 16 June 2010, Ashish Sinha: "Taking advantage of the paucity of quality content on television and a shift in urban viewership towards foreign lifestyle programming, several large international broadcasting houses are set to bring in a slew of international channels to India soon. The new channels can be broadly classified into two categories –– lifestyle and news & current affairs. BBC, Discovery and Fox will bring channels on lifestyle, while media houses from Canada, the US, the UK, France and Japan will come up with news and current affairs channels."

Artist is, so far, unable to hear Radio Canada International shortwave on a kitchen sink.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
CanadaEast Interactive, 17 June 2010, Victoria Handysides: "The people of the Tantramar marsh [New Brunswick] hear voices. ... Through the miracle of external rectification - aka: 'the rusty bolt effect' - folks around the region have been receiving misdirected radio waves for over half a century. They're unintentionally intercepting Radio Canada International broadcasts from CBC's shortwave broadcasting transmitter, built in the marshy wetlands to send radio waves across the globe. 'The plumbing acts as an antenna,' area artist and burgeoning historian Amanda Christie said. ... Christie, a 33-year-old Sackville resident, is attempting to record the area's buzzing and undocumented history; she's creating an audio/visual art project to tell the tale. ... The filmmaker/gallery worker has never heard the waves through her own appliances, so she's trying to fake it. Christie has constructed a homemade sink, with makeshift antenna copper piping. ... So far, nothing yet - but Christie's resolve is strong."

Listening to cricket commentary, then in India, now in Guyana, on shortwave (updated).

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
merinews.com (Gurgaon), 11 June 2010, Prakash F Madhwani: "Readers OF my generation will recall the times when cricket commentary; from a tiny transistor, glued to our ears, an extra bit of a dangling wire, twisted on to the existing aerial for a better reception, angling the transistor and its aerial to varied angles constantly to get the best reception, was a treat to listen to, not to forget the eloquent expert commentators in English, Hindi and in Kannada too, who gave defined description of ball to ball movement. ... For matches held within India, we had our own His Masters Voice of Medium Wave All India Radio, but for those outside India, we would be up at all unearthly hours and amid the proverbial burning of the midnight oil, we would tune in on Short Wave and this would be best savoured as a part of combined studies in the house of – not the guy with best brains but the house of the guy with the best radio system."

Stabroek News (Georgetown), 12 June 2010, letter from Mohamed Sattaur, chief executive of NCN: "With reference to a letter titled ‘Test cricket should take precedence over World Cup football’ in the June 11 edition of Stabroek News, The National Communications Network [Guyana] wishes to advise that cricket reigns supreme on radio at 560AM and 102.5FM as well as our shortwave signal which is received worldwide."

Update: Stabroek News, 17 June 2010, Mohamed Sattaur, CEO of NCN: "The Voice of Guyana is broadcast on the medium wave on 560 and 700 AM, on the shortwave on 3.290 and on 102.5FM. Everyone along the coast, in most of the interior locations and some parts of Suriname should be able to hear VOG on 560 AM without any difficulty. The shortwave signal is heard internationally. We have received word from Europe, Africa, Australia and the USA, among other places, that the signal is clear."

Catholic shortwave radio station inspires listener to start a Catholic FM radio station.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Putnam County (Ohio) Sentinel, 16 June 2010, Tom Jeffery: "It was around 10 years ago when Tom Deitering, Leipsic, came up with the idea of having a Catholic radio station for Putnam County. Listening to EWTN, which is the global Catholic network, on a short wave radio sparked his vision. Seven years passed and Deitering looked into buying a radio station. It was too expensive, but a number of radio frequencies started to open up in the area. The Leipsic native applied for a frequency in Oct. 2007, and was finally approved in Sept. 2009. ... WJTA 88.9 FM, Holy Family Radio was born." And now from Catholic to Protestant shortwave broadcasting...

San Francisco Chronicle, 15 June 2010, Justin Berton: "For a man convinced the world is going to end in less than a year, Harold Camping was in a delightful mood. I visited with Camping at his Oakland office two weeks ago, shortly after he'd returned from a business trip to prepare for his ministry's last year on earth. 'There's so much work to do,' Camping told me with some enthusiasm as he sat down. 'And not a lot of time left to do it!' As readers may already know, Harold Camping gained notoriety a few years ago when he announced he'd cracked a code within the Bible that revealed the date for Christ's return: May 21, 2011. Camping oversees Family Radio and his daily recorded sermons are translated into 54 languages, then beamed across the globe via short wave radio." Harold Camping's station, Family Radio, WYFR, is a member of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters, which will hold its next annual meeting 13-16 May 2011 aboard the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas cruise ship, which be sailing from Miami to the Bahamas and back.

Private FM station in Niger is back on the air.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
South African Press Association, 15 June 2010: "The main private radio station in uranium-rich northern Niger was on air again Monday after being closed two years earlier by the deposed president following broadcasts linked to the Tuareg rebellion. 'The National Observatory of Communication has given us permission and we have already started transmitting again,' said the head of private Sahara FM, Ahmed Raliou, in the northern capital Agadez. 'It is very good news,' said Raliou, who is also the regional [correspondent for] Radio France International (RFI)."

In Somalia, arrested, or worse, for watching World Cup matches.

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Goal.com, 16 June 2010, M. J. Somoni: "At least 10 people have been arrested by Islamic fighters who accused them of watching the banned screening of World Cup football matches currently going on in South Africa. The groups imposed a ban on the viewing and screening of the matches in Somalia but local fans have been daring to watch the games at the homes of those who can afford to install satellite dishes. According to Radio France Internationale, unconfirmed reports say that two people were also killed after Islamic fighters stormed a house in Mogadishu as youths were watching live matches from the World Cup in South Africa."

Deutsche Welle on how Europeans versus Americans demonstrate anger about oil spills.

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 5 June 2010, Michael Knigge: "When the oil tanker Erika sank and broke apart off the French coast in December 1999, the public was outraged. An estimated crowd of 20,000 demonstrated at a rally in Nantes against French oil giant Total whose leased vessel had spilled approximately three million gallons of oil. The disaster killed as many as 75,000 birds and spoiled around 400 kilometers (250 miles) of the coast. ... The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dwarfs both the Erika and Prestige disasters. ... It is by far the worst environmental disaster in US history. ... And yet after weeks of uninterrupted spilling, a recent rally at BP's Washington headquarters according to media reports attracted only a few dozen protesters. A protest event in New Orleans, which is directly affected by the spill, also drew only some 200 people according to media reports."
   ARLnow.com, 16 June 2010: RT (Russia Today) on America's "crude oil addiction." With video.

New service brings international video streams to Android and iPhone.

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
theChanner press release, 14 June 2010: "A new service, theChanner, begins offering mobile TV access to live TV broadcasts from networks and stations that stream across the globe. ... Available for $1.99 for mobile devices, theChanner will enable 3G viewing on Android phones and wi-fi viewing on the iPhone. theChanner can be downloaded at www.thechanner.com. ... As broadcasters start streaming their channels live to the Internet, theChanner will search for them and add to its lineup. ... theChanner viewers can explore such International channels as ABC Australia, e-Music Television (United Kingdom), Hip Hop TV (France), Fashionguide TV (Germany), Sky News (United Kingdom), IBA (Israel), Sport Italia (Italy), NHK World (Japan), Press TV (Iran), Canal 44 (Mexico), among many others. Many of theChanner’s broadcasters stream in English."

BBG nominees answer Sen. Coburn's questions. Now will they be confirmed?

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 16 June 2010, "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) had a hold on all eight nominees to the Broadcasting Board of Governors until he could talk to them about challenges facing U.S. international broadcasting. 'I am pleased to report,' he wrote in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and top Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.), 'that each of them has answered my questions,' apparently to Coburn's satisfaction. 'However,' he added, given the BBG's 'vital role' in international broadcasting, he requested a 'balanced oversight hearing before the end of the year to discuss the agencies under the BBG's purview.' What's more, he wrote, 'I would further ask that I be allowed to attend the hearing and question the witnesses.' Maybe not unprecedented but pretty unusual. Kerry and Lugar are said to be mulling." See previous post for Senator Coburn's questions to the BBG nominees.
   So will the BBG nominees soon be confirmed? Or will they and dozens of other nominees to federal positions continue to held up by other Republican senators, unhappy about a Democratic nominee to the National Labor Relations Board?
   If the hearing that Senator Coburn wants takes place, especially with himself in attendance, it could be a battle for the soul of U.S. international broadcasting.
   One side is articulated in the recent Lugar report on U.S. international broadcasting: "[I]n order for the BBG to be credible to its audience and draw in not just those who already agree with U.S. policy, its networks must be permitted to present both sides of an argument."
   This is in contrast to Senator Coburn who, in April 2008, wrote: "The U.S. taxpayers should not subsidize content presenting a balance between the truth and the regime's malicious propaganda. U.S. broadcasts should be the balance to the propaganda being broadcast by the regime and others."
   The eight new BBG members, probably in attendance at the hearing, might align with the Lugar view and take their firewall function to heart. Or they may go with Senator Coburn and his call to transmit the U.S. version of truth. At the hearing, they may get a sense of which way the wind is blowing.
   The Lugar version will be attractive to the potential audience, which tunes to international broadcasts as an antidote to one-sided government controlled media in the homeland.
   The Coburn plan will be attractive to certain members of Congress who might, in coming years, be in the majority. Send the messages that please those legislators, and the funds will continue to flow. No need for an audience (beyond Capitol Hill), except as a pretext.

Responses to Senator Lugar's report on US international broadcasting (updated).

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
I have finally read and digested "U.S. International Broadcasting -- Is Anybody Listening? -- Keeping the U.S. Connected," a report by the staff of Senator Richard Lugar (see previous post). My comments are in this pdf document.
   MountainRunner.us, 11 June 2010, Deirdre Kline, Communications Director, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc: "We appreciate Senator Lugar’s report pointing out the success of Alhurra in Iraq where research shows it has a weekly reach of 64 percent and is the third most trusted TV news station in the country. However, it is equally important to highlight the success Alhurra has had throughout the Middle East. As the chart on page 31 of Sen. Lugar’s report shows, Alhurra’s audience has consistently averaged more than 25 million weekly viewers for the last three years – a significant audience by any standard - and an unprecedented audience by international broadcasting standards. The network is the leading international non-indigenous news television channel broadcasting to the Middle East. Television is an expensive medium, but America needs a voice in the region and television is the way people consume news in the Middle East. In a region filled with anti-American sentiment and with the local media regularly distorting U.S. policy; Alhurra’s steady inroads into the competitive Middle East marketplace are noteworthy."
   Huffington Post, 14 June 2010, Philip Seib: "Al Hurra, the U.S. government's Arabic-language television news channel, was created as if there were audiences eager to hear from America because they had no reliable home-grown news sources. That, however, is no longer true. With Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and many other broadcast news providers in the Middle East, people there no longer need to rely on outsiders' views of the region's events. Although hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on Al Hurra, it does not have a significant audience and needs to be torn down and rebuilt."
   Update:USC Center on Public Diplomacy blog, 15 June 2010, Shawn Powers: "Lugar's report will serve as a critical text for the future of U.S. International Broadcasting, and the timing could not be any better. Walter Isaacson, current President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and former Chairman and CEO of CNN and the Managing Editor of TIME, was nominated to be the Chairman of the BBG in November 2009 and is reported to be thinking outside the box when it comes to the future of American broadcasting. In 2007, Isaacson wrote about the need for dramatic overhaul to create 'an organization for public diplomacy in the digital age. This is a field in which America, with its values and media savvy, should be triumphing, but instead it is failing astonishingly. The outmoded structures of the Broadcast Board of Governors, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and the like -- built for an analog broadcast era -- should be swept away for a coherent agency empowered to create an honest and open information strategy built for the age of blogs, social networks, digital streaming and satellite.' Well, Mr. Isaacson, there is no better place to start thinking through the details of such a broad and important shift in structure and organization than with this detailed report on the state and future of U.S. International Broadcasting."
   Budget Insight, 16 June 2010, Elizabeth Cutler: comments made by BBG Governor Jeffrey Hirschberg do not bode well for the BBG’s fate on the budgetary chopping block. He stated that a “one-to-one correlation as to whether or not for every dollar we spend we can change hearts and minds” simply does not exist. Concern runs rampant in Washington that American dollars are supporting the promulgation of anti-American views that are often espoused by local broadcasts made possible by the BBG. On the other hand, if the ultimate goal of the BBG is to support democracy worldwide, then diversity of views is necessary. Hirschberg’s statement thus demonstrates the vulnerability of the BBG right now as it tries to defend its purpose in the broader context of U.S. foreign aid while scrambling to establish an actual full board of governors.

Lawsuit invokes Smith-Mundt Act against Broadcasting Board of Governors (updated again).

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Periódico AHORA (Havana), 31 May 2010: "A civic group will shortly disclose evidence on how the U.S. Government covertly paid tens of thousands of dollars to Miami journalists working for major media outlets to incendiary stories against Cuba and five Cuban antiterrorists. The evidence has been uncovered by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, which next June 2 will make it public at a press conference. ... The press conference will reveal names of journalists, payment amounts, and will have available notebooks highlighting articles and propaganda by supposedly-independent journalists who were covertly on the payroll of the U.S. Government. Speaking at the press conference will be attorneys with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) that have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the National Committee. The litigation filed by the PCJF asserts that the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its Office of Cuba Broadcasting are withholding information that will show that they have engaged in activities in violation of federal law, specifically the Smith-Mundt Act, which prohibits the BBG from seeking to propagandize the U.S. public, and may be continuing to do so." See also PCJF complaint (pdf).
   CounterPunch, 4 June 2010, Linn Washington Jr: "Others, however, claim it’s just coincidence that the same journalists who were paid $1,125 to $58,600 to appear on anti-Castro programs produced by the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting before and during the trial for the Cuban Five also published scandalous articles about the Five in an influential Spanish language newspaper owned by the Miami Herald and in other local media. ... 'This is a most blatant and outrageous example of government influence destroying the right to a fair trial and the right to appeal,' said Gloria La Riva, Coordinator of the National Committee. ... La Riva, in her remarks at the National Press Club in Washington, said the payments to journalists, funneled through Radio and TV Marti, violated federal law banning domestic government propaganda." See also Russia Today, 4 June 2010.
   Radio Havana Cuba, 3 June 2010: "The activist said that these manipulations were funded by the government's Office of Broadcasting and Propaganda against Cuba and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), under the supervision of the Department of State of the United States." -- The "Office of Broadcasting and Propaganda against Cuba" is probably the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, with the addition of some poetic license. It's not "under the supervision of the Department of State."
   See also National Committee to Free the Cuban Five reply in support of its cross motion for summary judgment (pdf). Additional materials at freethefive.org.
   Update: The Real News Network, 14 June 2010, Jesse Freeston, interviewer: "Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, lawyer, Partnership for Civil Justice: This is conduct by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, through its Office of Cuban Broadcasting, that violates domestic law in the United States. It violates the Smith-Mundt Act, under which the US government may not seek to propagandize the domestic population of the United States. Freeston: Recent law school graduate Jeremy Berkowitz is one of very few people to have written about the Smith-Mundt Act. He believes that the contracts will need to be seen before a legal violation can be proven. Jeremy Berkowitz, recent grad, Catholic Univ. Law: If there is evidence that's revealed that could show that there were specific ties between government payments and these journalists writing specific articles on certain topics, then there could potentially be a violation of the Smith-Mundt Act."
   Statement by the Broadcasting Board of Governors: "The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five claims that the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), an entity under the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was improperly influencing U.S. public opinion and particularly the Miami area jury pool by paying local reporters to generate negative coverage in the case of 'The Cuban Five'. These allegations are baseless. OCB did not pay local reporters to influence coverage of 'The Cuban Five.' Radio and TV Marti are broadcast to Cuba and were inaccessible on the U.S. airwaves in the period leading up to and during the trial. Furthermore, the International Broadcasting Act requires the news and information reported by Radio and TV Marti to be balanced and comprehensive."

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union is providing North Korea with free World Cup video.

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 15 June 2010, Eileen Ng: "Asia's broadcasting union said Tuesday it's providing North Korea with free live coverage of World Cup matches so that its citizens could enjoy the sport and get a feel for life outside their isolated communist nation. John Barton, the sport director of the Kuala Lumpur-based Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union ... dismisses as 'rubbish' reports accusing Pyongyang of broadcasting a pirated recording of the opening match between South Africa and Mexico. ... Two North Korean commentators dryly narrated the South Korea-Greece game and offered mostly background information on the teams' rankings and general game rules. They expressed little excitement at a goal by South Korea's Park Ji-sung and calmly offered analysis into the technical skills leading to South Korea's 2-0 victory."
   State Department daily press briefing, 15 June 2010, assistant secretary Philip J. Crowley: North Korea "could enter into legal transactions with their neighbors. But they choose, rather than doing so, to try to steal or pirate a World Cup signal even if the showing of the World Cup may well offer yet another crack so that the North Korean people understand the dichotomy between what is happening in the North and what’s happening in the South and elsewhere."
   Daily NK, 14 June 2010, Namgung Min: "The pace of the resumption of psychological warfare against North Korea, an important plank in South Korea’s response to the Cheonan incident, has slowed. Originally, the South Korean military announced a wide-ranging plan for psychological warfare through radio broadcasts, anti-regime leaflets, loudspeaker broadcasts and electronic signboards. However, the only pledge currently to have been fulfilled concerns FM radio broadcasts. All the rest; leafleting, loudspeaker broadcasts and electronic signboards, have been deferred or cancelled, ostensibly for timing reasons. However, some suspect that a softening of South Korean will is behind the move. ... However, experts point out that, despite North Korean vitriol, firm measures by the South Korean military are the best way to prevent additional provocations, and therefore scaling back the planned psychological warfare could prove counterproductive."
   Washington Post, 16 June 2010, Michael Gerson: "In addition to a policy of economic isolation, it would be worth trying a policy of ideological exposure -- an aggressive, patient, well-funded information assault by South Korea and the United States. Clandestine distribution of radios and cellphones. Video exposure of the gulags. History texts on flash drives for the educated. Information on the decadence of the elite for the common folk. Other options have failed. We should test if the North Korean regime can survive the collapse of its lies.
   Korean Central News Agency, 12 June 2010: "[T]he [South Korean] puppet army has already set up loudspeakers for the psychological warfare at 11 places in areas along the Military Demarcation Line and is stepping up its preparations to install them at more than 30 places at the second phase and at 94 places under a long-term plan. And it is also attempting to set up even electronic displays at 11 places for the psychological warfare. ... From a military point of view that a psychological warfare is one of the basic operational forms for carrying out a war the installing of such means for the above-said warfare is a direct declaration of a war against the DPRK. Therefore, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will launch an all-out military strike to blow up the group's means for the psychological warfare against the DPRK in all areas along the front as already solemnly warned by the commander of forces of the Korean People's Army in the central sector of the front. The decisive military strike of the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK is not a tit-for-tat retaliation on the 'principle of proportion' much touted by the group of traitors. It should bear in mind that the military retaliation of the DPRK is a merciless strike foreseeing even the turn of Seoul, the stronghold of the group of traitors, into a sea of flame."

Lacking cable access in the US, Al Jazeera English tries smartphones, iPad, social media.

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 14 June 2010, David Bauder: "Frustrated by its continuing inability to crack the American television market, Al-Jazeera English's new strategy is to make itself available for free on every other possible screen. The Qatar-based news network said its 24-hour newscast has been streamed over the Internet for 18 months. The company said it will expand its presence on various smart phones, is launching an iPad application and is aggressively distributing content through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter."
   The American Thinker, 15 June 2010, Leo Rennert: "In sharp contrast [to New York Times coverage], Al-Jazeera shows no such timidity and hesitation. In its June 14 dispatch, the Arabic network reported that conservative political parties in Israel 'blamed the attack on the government's recent moves to dismantle checkpoints in the West Bank.' Al-Jazeera quotes a Knesset member from a right-wing party as declaring that 'opening roadblocks encourages terror.' And, on its own, Al-Jazeera adds that the attack took place 'about nine kilometers from the Dahariya checkpoint, which was dismantled by Israeli authorities three weeks ago.' Imagine that -- Al-Jazeera connecting the dots... ."
   London Evening Standard, 16 June 2010, Roy Greenslade: "I was astonished a couple of weeks ago to see that five of the female presenters at Al-Jazeera's Qatar headquarters had resigned after complaining about harassment from a senior editor and a demand that they modify their dress. ... They were accused of wearing clothes that were 'incongruous with Al-Jazeera's expected strictness' and then given instructions on what would be congruous. ... According to the station, this dress code is based on those at the BBC and CNN. I think not." See previous post about same subject.
   Huffington Post, 13 June 2010, Magda Abu-Fadil: At the 4th Arab Free Press Forum "anchorman Mohamed Krichen of Qatar's Al Jazeera (aljazeera.net) admitted his satellite channel had undergone serious Islamization. He confirmed to a forum questioner that Al Jazeera was undergoing internal turmoil, notably with the recent resignation of five female anchors the media had reported were harassed by former deputy editor in chief Ayman Jaballah."
   The Peninsula (Doha), 14 June 2010: "After receiving numerous international awards, and following its success in European and International cinema theatres, 'Aisheen - Still Alive in Gaza', will be telecast on Al Jazeera Documentary Channel this week. The 85-minute documentary was co-produced by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel and Akka Films with the participation of La Télévision Suisse Romande (TSR) and directed by the Swiss filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff."
   Digital Production Middle East, 14 June 2010: "Al Jazeera Sport is unlikely to be liable for compensation following the signal disruption during the World Cup, according to a lawyer with experience in the Middle East satellite sector. ... 'Commercial satellite contracts typically include a force majeure clause that would envisage interference out of the broadcaster's control, such as the jamming that Al Jazeera suffered this past weekend and that would excuse the broadcaster from liability.'" See previous post about same subject.

Shortwave on an iPhone. All you have to do is build a quadrature sampling detector.

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
American Radio Relay League, 11 June 2010, Stan Horzepa: "[A] software defined radio (SDR) application for the Apple iPhone, iPod touch and iPad called iSDR. It is a portable software-defined radio receiver designed for experimenters, shortwave listeners and Amateur Radio operators -- and it is free! A caveat: receiving live on-the-air signals with iSDR requires purchasing or constructing a quadrature sampling detector (QSD) RF front-end device that connects between an antenna and the microphone input jack of the iPhone, iPod or iPad." See also iSDR web page.

Will Worldspace begin its revival in South Africa?

Posted: 16 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 14 June 2010, Chris Forrester: "The bulk of WorldSpace’s assets are now owned by a new company controlled by Noah Samara, who founded WorldSpace. The order approving the transfer of assets was signed by the bankruptcy court judge on Thursday last week. Now Samara is to concentrate on rebuilding a satellite radio business, starting in South Africa. ... WorldSpace opened its offices in South Africa five years ago and received permission to operate while the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) finalised the licensing process for subscription broadcasters. But WorldSpace pulled out of the process in 2007 because it was said to have contravened the Electronic Communications Act, which caps foreign ownership on local broadcasting companies at 20%". Avhasei Mukoma, a broadcasting and telecommunications lawyer said: "If they are going to position themselves as a niche provider and also bring something unique to the market, it might work."
   Business Day, 14 June 2010: "Hamza Farooqui, MD of WorldSpace Southern Africa, said ... [Worldspace] will provide wider choices for consumers wanting access to regional and international radio stations. Unlike commercial radio, which depends heavily on advertising, satellite radio depends primarily on subscription income. ... WorldSpace had 42 radio stations on its local platform, including Kagiso Media's East Coast Radio and international stations such as Voice of America."

CCTV and China Radio International add terrestrial outlets in Sri Lanka.

Posted: 15 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Sunday Times (Colombo), 13 June 2010: "China Central Television (CCTV) News Channel and China Radio International (CRI) Sri Lanka FM were launched in Colombo recently. CCTV English news channel telecast on UHF 29 and CRI Sri Lanka is aired on 102FM. ... Nihal Perera, the president of China Sri Lanka Friendship Association [said] ‘Since the CCTV programme has been introduced in Sri Lanka, I requested that the CCTV programme be made accessible to hotel rooms. Presently the hotel guests have access to the programmes of BBC, CNN, NHK, KBS, AL Jazeera, and other channels; however CCTV programs are not available in the hotels.’"

The flashing graphics are sure to win hearts and minds for China.

Posted: 15 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, 12 June 2010: "On June 11, the Chinese Embassy in the United States formally put into operation its newly facelifted Chinese language website and also initiated the test run of its upgraded English version. As part of the program, Ambassador Zhang Yesui briefed Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun by telephone on the considerations for overhauling the Embassy website and major features of the new version. Ambassador Zhang expressed his appreciation to leaders of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and relavant Departments incluing its Information Department for their guidance and support, stressing that the Embassy will continuously attach importance to public diplomacy and keep improving the Embassy website. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun congratulated the Embassy on the launching of its renovated website. Pointing out that public diplomacy is an important part of diplomatic work, he encouraged the Embassy to keep up the good work to ensure an ever better Embassy website." See also said website of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States.

Author posits a Radio Liberty chapter in the development of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted: 14 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Seattle Times, 5 June 2010, Bruce Ramsey: A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, by Ian Johnson: "is the story of how the scheming agents of several governments tried to make political use of Muslims in Germany, and instead helped light a fuse for Islamic radicalism. ... [T]he CIA had hired some of the same central Asians who had fought for the Germans to broadcast to the Turkic peoples of the USSR through Radio Liberty." See also Epoch Times, 12 June 2010.

VOA Pentagon correspondent pulls the mask off "Robert Gates" Facebook page.

Posted: 14 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Stars & Stripes, 11 June 2010, Kevin Baron: "A popular Facebook page for Robert Gates, the secretary of defense, appears to have been hacked, and then went missing altogether from the website on Friday. One problem: Sec. Gates doesn't have a Facebook page, according to Col. Dave Lapan, director of press ops at the Pentagon's Office of the Secretary of Defense. There are many celebrity pages and fan pages on Facebook, including military celebrities. Usually the one with the most followers is the legitimate one, not a faker. ... This Gates page had more than 5,200 'fans' who signed up to follow it...including several Pentagon and military reporters (you know who you are). It usually posted news stories about the secretary and not much else. ... Hat tip to Al Pessin, of Voice of America, who noted some oddly non-OSD like language being used to comment on some recent wall postings on the page."

Jazz septet creates piece based on shortwave numbers stations, and gets paid to do so.

Posted: 14 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
All About Jazz, 11 June 2010: New Jazz Works awarded a total of $200,500 was awarded to nine grantees. "New Jazz Works provides support to professional U.S. ensembles for the creation and performance of new work in the jazz idiom." One of the grantees: "Curtis Hasselbring and The New Mellow Edwards (Brooklyn, NY) A work for septet, inspired by broadcasts that mysteriously appear on shortwave radio, in which each musician has his own five-pitch scale, or 'number station.'"
   CounterPunch, 11 June 2010, David Yearsley, reviewing Richard Williams' The Blue Moment: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music: "It’s as a teenager in England in 1963, some four years after Davis had made Kind of Blue, that Williams first hears the sounds that will shade his musical world: Kind of Blue comes over his wireless courtesy of the Voice of America nightly Jazz Hour, 'presented' as Williams puts it 'by Willis Conover, a man who introduced jazz records in a tone of impeccable sobriety but probably did more for the image of the United States around the world than any president you could mention.' Williams has a penchant for well-meaning overstatement."

"Radio towers are going away within 10 years," at which point listening to radio will be *very* expensive.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Sacramento News & Review, 10 June 2010, Cosmo Garvin: "NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller, who said last week at The Wall Street Journal’s 'All Things Digital' conference in Rancho Palo Verdes that 'Radio towers are going away within 10 years, and Internet radio will take its place. This is a huge change, and we should embrace it.'"
   James Cridland's blog, 11 June 2010: "The typical refrain of poor journalists and sub-grade radio consultants is that broadcast radio’s days are numbered. Talk to them and they’ll tell you not to bother with DAB, or HD, or whatever: because 'the internet is the future of radio'. In the US, 50% of total hours (TSL) is spent in a mobile situation, like in a car. In the UK, the figures are rather lower, but at least 25% of all total hours is spent listening to radio in a car. Yet, to my disbelief, they claim that the internet is the future even in a mobile environment. Now, it seems, even the mobile operators are beginning to smell the coffee. ... Last week, AT&T, the US mobile phone network, removed its unlimited iPhone data tarrif. And yesterday, O2 removed unlimited data here in the UK. (Vodafone has never even offered it.) New contracts – or upgrades to iPhone 4 – will limit your data usage. My 35-quid tarrif will only offer me 500MB of data a month, instead of unlimited data. ... It’s always been clear that radio via 3G has never been able to replace broadcast radio in terms of technical quality: the coverage and contention levels simply aren’t adequate in most parts of the UK (or, I discovered last week, most parts of San Francisco either). But now it’s clear that we’ll not be able to afford to listen to radio in this way either. While the internet’s great for niche listening or for on-demand programming, BROADCAST radio – whether FM, DAB, satellite or HD – is the best way to reach hundreds of thousands of people at the same time."

Karen-language radio in Melbourne.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Irrawaddy, 11 June 2010, Shah Paung: "A group of Karen volunteers in Melbourne, Australia, plan to launch the community radio program in cooperation with 3ZZZ radio. The program will also be broadcast worldwide on the Internet. ... Programing will keep the Karen community informed of events and activities and include local and international news, as well programs on Karen history, traditional music, interviews and story telling for children. 3ZZZ radio (FM 92.3) is the largest ethnic community radio station in Australia, which started broadcasting in 1989. ... Radio broadcasting is an important tool to unite the Karen community inside and outside of Burma. ... Karen language radio programs are also broadcast by Democratic Voice of Burma; DVB Burmese service and Radio Free Asia; RFA Burmese service; Radio Verita Asia; and a Karen community radio station based on the Thai-Burmese border operated by the Karen Student Network Group."

Christine Ockrent in Israel trying to get France 24 French on cable and satellite.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Ha'aretz, 10 June 2010, Aviva Lori: Christine Ockrent recently visited Israel, "invited to the 'Democracy and its Challenges' conference, sponsored by the French Embassy in cooperation with Haaretz. She used the visit to conduct business negotiations with local cable and satellite stations on behalf of the body she heads: She is director of the external broadcasts of the French broadcasting commission, which includes two television channels, France 24 and TV5, and the radio station RFI. The main issue on her agenda was to persuade HOT (cable) and Yes (satellite ) to purchase the broadcasting rights for the France 24 news channel - in French. Presently, the channel broadcasts in Israel in English only. ... '[I]t is very important for us to ensure that our values and worldview on every subject are reflected - if necessary, in English. It took us hundreds of years to achieve democracy and we will not allow tyrannical regimes destroy it.'"

International channels go to Monte Carlo, get Golden Nymphs.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 11 June 2010: "At a star-studded ceremony Thursday night, CNN won a Golden Nymph award for its Haiti Earthquake coverage at the Monte Carlo TV Festival. The award was for coverage in the 24-hour news program category. The network beat out BBC, Sky News, France 24 and Russia Today." See also CNN, 11 June 2010.
   WorldScreen.com, 11 June 2010: "Best TV news item went to Lucia Newman: Colombia Drug Labs Attack from Qatar's Al Jazeera English."
   Russia Today press release, 10 June 2010: "RT [Russia Today] Channel is nominated for two Golden Nymph awards at the world's biggest annual Monte Carlo Television Festival that celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. RT's 'Urban Decay' (Mortal Motor City: Detroit on the Edge), a four-minute story on Detroit, a once booming capital of the U.S. auto industry, and currently seized by the acute unemployment accompanied with a crime surge, is running for the top prize in Best TV News Package category."

Fidel Castro (or at least his ghostwriter) is surfing the international channels.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Escambry, 11 June 2010, Fidel Castro: On 9 June, "at 10:00 am, knowing that the meeting had been scheduled for that morning, I decided to watch CNN in Spanish, which would certainly carry news of the Security Council debate [on sanctions against Iran]. Thus, I could listen to the words of the chairman of the Security Council as he introduced the Draft Resolution promoted a few days before by the United States with the support of France, the United Kingdom and Germany. ... The CNN showed in it news segment various images of hands raised as the representatives explained their positions with noticeable gestures. These included the representative of Lebanon, a country that would abstain from voting. ... There would still be masses of news on the issue. I turned on the TV to watch Telesur, which for hours pleased the indescribable need for information." -- Most Cubans (a few black-market satellite dish owners are the exception) do not have 24-hour access to CNN en Español.

Director of BBC Global News "would love to launch new TV services."

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 10 June 2010, Judith Towend: "'The World Service can't be insulated from the world and say this is what we're interested in and this is what we're going to tell you. We do have our values, which are absolutely bedrock and are non-negotiable, but the way you tell stories, the angles that you use, the perspectives that you bring to a world that's changing very fast has to be more responsive to the audience than would have been the case 20 or 30 years ago.' ... In Somalia shortwave radio is "a lifeline", while the BBC's Brazilian service is 'going hell for leather online'. Where broadband penetration is picking up, video distribution, without having the full expense of TV services, is a huge opportunity, he says. In other markets, Horrocks would love to launch new TV services, building in particular on the success of BBC Persian and BBC Arabic. ... 'State suppliers have got a lot of resources - but we know from the audience research we have done that their reputation is too much as a representative of their country's point of view and that's absolutely not what we do. The reputation issue is very much in our favour.'" See also the Horrocks speech, and questions, at the BBC College of Journalism Values of Journalism conference. See previous post about same subject.

Disagreement, and planned legal challenge, after BBC newscasts taken off 34 Pakistani FM stations.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Daily Times (Lahore), 7 June 2010: "BBC Pakistan Acting Editor Haroon Rasheed told the Daily Times that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority's (PEMRA) decision to shut down their bulletins being aired on around 34 channels across the country was surprising, biased and illegal. He said the broadcasting company had decided to lodge a case against the relevant authorities."
   AFP, 10 June 2010: "Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) rejected a news item appearing in a section of press in which the authority was alleged of banning the broadcast of BBC news bulletins on private FM stations in Pakistan. ... PEMRA Authority had allowed FM stations to broadcast BBC news bulletins, in May 2009, subject to the permission which is mandatory under law. According to the statement, all foreign broadcasting facilities have to obtain permission from the host country, which is in line with international broadcasting practices. It also said that some stations failed to obtain permission and kept on flouting the law, and that action was taken against them as per rules and regulations. All FM radios which have obtained prior permission are allowed to broadcast BBC News Bulletin three Times a day. ... The statement also said that ‘It may be noted that BBC News (TV) is available to people in Pakistan through Cable Networks without any hindrance."

BBC World News expands its Intelsat capacity to Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Intelsat press release, 10 June 2010: "Intelsat S.A., the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, announced that BBC World News has signed a renewal and expansion contract for satellite and teleport services to distribute its programming to its audiences throughout Asia-Pacific and the Americas regions. ... To reach viewers in the Asia-Pacific region, BBC World News will utilize capacity on the Intelsat 8 and the Intelsat 5 satellites, located at 166º E and 169º E, respectively. For distribution into the Americas, BBC World News will use capacity on the Intelsat 9 and the Galaxy 13 satellites, located at 58° W and 127° W, respectively."

Second day of World Cup disruptions via Al Jazeera Sport. "We had to suffer the commentary in French!"

Posted: 13 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Gulf News, 13 June 2010: "Soccer fans in the UAE were left wringing their hands in frustration at the interruption of the World Cup coverage on Al Jazeera Sport for the second day in a row on Saturday. Up to 40 minutes of the telecast were lost during the first half of Argentina's game against Nigeria as garbled images flickered across the TV screens. The interruption comes a day after the satellite television channel vowed to deliver the 'best coverage' of the World Cup after similar transmission woes of the opening match. ... Al Jazeera Sport has advised customers who are experiencing reception problems to retune their set top boxes to the following frequencies: Arabsat at 12341 horizontal, 11881 horizontal, 12398 vertical, 11585 vertical and Nilesat at 11240 vertical, 11488 horizontal."
   The Peninsula (Doha), 13 June 2010: "Observers said this was the first time hackers had become active and targeted the broadcast of as coveted a sporting event as the football World Cup."
   The National, 13 June 2010: "The company said in a statement it did not know the identities of the perpetrators, but Nasser al Khalifi, its chairman, vowed yesterday to “go after whoever has caused this terrible act” and that the perpetrators would be found out 'very soon'. A telecommunications industry analyst in the United States, Jeff Kagan, said that would be a virtually impossible. 'When the company says the bad guys have done this, they really have no idea who hacked in,' he said. ... 'The signal they used to gain control could have come from anywhere in the world.'"
   Aljazeera.net, 12 June 2010: "'We apologise for the interruption that happened, it was because of satellite interference from an unknown source,' Nasser al-Kholeifi, the managing director of Al Jazeera Sport, said. He said he was astonished that the World Cup signal was blocked because it was 'not a political programme, but a sporting event.'" With video showing the disruption.
   The National, 12 June 2010, letter from Roland Blaney: "A complete shambles across the UAE. Al Jazeera left so many people disappointed, and now confused, about which channel to watch. When we managed to see the picture, we had to suffer the commentary in French!"
   Gulf News, 13 June 2010: "The fans would have tolerated it if their viewing was free. But they paid good money to watch the games, only to find themselves staring at blank screens. Sabotage or not, Al Jazeera has a responsibility to rectify this and let people enjoy the paid-for fun. It is a fact that the task is challenging for Al Jazeera. But the fans only want to enjoy the game and cheer their favourite teams. It is simple and should have been free anyway."
   Almasry Alyoum, 13 June 2010: "The head of the Egypt Radio and TV Union (ERTU), Osama el-Sheikh, decided to file a lawsuit against al-Jazeera sport; the owners of the broadcasting rights to the FIFA World Cup competitions, which kicked off last Friday in South Africa. ERTU is accusing the Qatari channel of breaching three articles of the agreement it signed with the union by cutting the air time of the opening match between South Africa and Mexico. The union is also dismayed with the accusations by al-Jazeera Sport, which claims that Nile Sat, the Egyptian satellite company, had intentionally jammed its transmission."
   Arab News, 13 June 2010: “'We have launched an investigation to find out how it happened. Egypt has no interest whatsoever in marring the reputation of the Arab world’s best provider, the Nilesat,' said Mahmoud Juma, the head of the Egyptian Radio & Television Union, which owns 40 percent of Nilesat, quoted by Aljazeera.net. 'Al Jazeera might have decided to punish Nilesat 10 minutes after the first disruption by claiming that its causes were unknown and requesting its viewers to move to other providers, such as Arabsat, Hotbird and Noorsat,' Juma said. He continued: 'Al Jazeera is punishing Egyptian viewers and advertisers. Egyptians are not thieves or highwaymen; we are gentlemen and professionals.'"
   Khaleej Times, 13 June 2010: "Most families cannot afford this high rate and may miss the most widely watched event in the world (by the way, it is not Olympics or some religious festival)."
   Ennahar Online, 12 June 2010: "Blue Cards, orange Cards, no signal, the two channels that broadcast the encrypted World Cup ... Since Saturday and the kick off the World Cup, Algerian subscribers of Al-Jazeera are lost. On the second day of the World Cup, many customers complain of cards that do not work." See previous post about same subject.

Does the Al Jazeera English "tightrope" drive some viewers to Press TV?

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Qantara.de, 10 June 2010, Stephanie Doetzer: "Al Jazeera English tries to walk a tightrope. One can scarcely count it among the Arabic media; its reporting is more like that of a left-wing station in Europe. Israeli military spokespersons often get more time than they would get on any other Middle Eastern station outside Israel. This could have the effect of leading viewers who are critical of Israel to switch over to Press TV from Tehran, which currently sees itself as the English-speaking voice of the pro-Palestinian scene." -- I think that even anti-Israel viewers would find that Press TV can be taken only in small doses, and this would return to AJE.

Democratic Voice of Burma documentary, claiming Burmese nuclear plans, broadcast by Al Jazeera English (updated).

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 4 June 2010: "Journalists from the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) ... say recent revelations from a former army officer show that the military government is pushing ahead with ambitions to become a nuclear power. The allegations are contained in a special documentary produced by the DVB being aired by Al Jazeera. On Thursday evening, shortly before the film was due to be broadcast, US Senator Jim Webb announced he was postponing his scheduled trip to Myanmar in response to allegations in the documentary." "The film Myanmar's military ambitions can be seen on Al Jazeera from Friday, June 4, at the following times (GMT): Friday: 0600; Saturday: 1900; Sunday: 0300; Monday: 1400; Tuesday: 0530; Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0300."
   Update: Xinhua, 12 June 2010: "Myanmar has charged Al Jazeera TV Network with airing recently an incorrect news report about the country's bid to produce nuclear weapons in collaboration with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). 'They are just groundless accusations made with the intention of launching political attacks on Myanmar,' refuted a press statement carried in Saturday's official daily New Light of Myanmar." See also Aljazeera.net, 12 June 2010.

Canada may get news channel "modeled on Fox News to the south."

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 11 June 2010, Etan Vlessing: "Quebec media giant Pierre Karl Peladeau has applied to Canada's TV regulator to launch a right-wing cable news channel to counter mainstream offerings from rival broadcasters CTV and CBC. ... Quebecor also hired David Akin away from Global Television to become a likely TV host for the proposed conservative-minded all-news channel modeled on Fox News to the south. ... In addition to the Canadian offerings, local cable and satellite TV schedules also receive a host of American news channels including Fox, CNN and MSNBC."
   Canadian Press, 9 June 2010, Bruce Cheadle: "NDP MP Charlie Angus reacted to Quebecor’s bid with guns blazing. 'One of the problems they’re going to face is that there is actually an obligation in Canada — unlike the United States — to have some balance (in news reporting)'."
   National Post, 11 June 2010, Tasha Kheiriddin "If Liberal and NDP politicians are to be believed, Canadian airwaves are about to be flooded with right-wing propaganda... . Funny, but when the decidedly left-wing Al Jazeera English (AJE) got regulatory approval last month for broadcast in Canada, nary a peep was heard from Parliament Hill, and its arrival was welcomed by media organizations such as Canadian Journalists for Free Expression."
   The Coast (Halifax), 11 June 2010, Bruce Wark: "Eastlink which holds a monopoly on cable service in [Halifix Regional Municipality], does not carry Al-Jazeera English and three days of phoning and emailing produced no information on whether the company has any plans to provide it."

Azerbaijan's 1918-20 republic featured on CNN's World View.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
News.az, 10 June 2010: "Leading world CNN International channel will broadcast report at the end of the week. The program is devoted to the first democratic state in the East -- Azerbaijan People's Republic (1918-20) and its heritage. ... It has been prepared by ANS TV channel. On the basis of the agreement between CNN International and ANS, the popular television company will broadcast video materials about Azerbaijan." Within the CNN World View program.
   RFE/RL, 8 June 2010, commentary by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski: "Azerbaijan's petro-dictatorship not only qualifies as a gross violator of press freedom by any reasonable criteria, it also often uses its energy and geopolitical cooperation with the West to deflect criticism on human rights and democracy. Thus, the inclusion of this regime [in the US State Department's list of governments that violate the rights of journalists] would send a strong message about the list's impartiality and credibility."
   Azeri Report, 10 June 2010, Karl Rahder: "A high-level [US] diplomatic visit could really make a difference, but one would hope that it would be in the context of a coherent and visible Obama policy toward Azerbaijan, which would be a lot more than we have now, something I told Voice of America correspondent Erica Marat here. Erica is a very sharp analyst of Eurasian affairs, and writes frequently for organizations such as the Jamestown Foundation."

Press TV presents its own documentary about the 2009 Iranian election.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 12 June 2010: "Iran's Press TV channel is to broadcast a documentary on the country's latest presidential election that was held on June 12 last year. The Real Fake by renowned Iranian director Nader Talebzadeh that will be aired by the English language channel on Saturday (13:35 GMT) provides realistic insight into developments in Iran before the election and the incidents after that. ... It includes footage that has never been broadcast on any TV channel, including some about the post-election violence and suspicious murders committed in the days after the election. The documentary also investigates the role of western media in the post-election developments in the country." It might be available again Sunday at 0305 UTC. I'll be asleep.
   Press TV, 11 June 2010: "Iran's international satellite channel Press TV announces the launch of a Persian-language website offering in-depth analysis and news coverage of world affairs. With the main goal of becoming a trusted source of news and information, Press TV's Persian-language website will give the latest reports on various political developments arising on the regional and global scene." -- Unclear why Press TV is doing this. There are already several Persian-language websites supporting the Tehran regime. And Persian doesn't reach very far among non-Iranian audiences. Perhaps it is to provide an outlet for the stories that are prepared in Persian for translation into English for Press TV and its accompanying website.

"Subdued internet appeal" on election anniversary, and other Iran cyber updates.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, 11 June 2010, Karim Sadjadpour: "While jumping through bureaucratic hoops at the Iranian Foreign Ministry several years ago to retrieve my confiscated passport (a wrist slap compared with what many of my contemporaries later endured), I was taken aback to find that nearly every office I entered had BBC Persian or Rooz -- considered subversive, anti-government websites, which are now filtered -- on their computer screens."
   Wall Street Journal, 10 June 2010, Jay Solomon: "'Because Iranians seem willing to take risks, we should be willing to provide them help when requested,' says Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Washington's Freedom House. The State Department last year declined to provide $3 million in funding to keep open a Freedom House online magazine in Farsi that focused on democracy promotion. U.S. officials say many of the programs had little impact inside Iran, a charge disputed by their administrators. U.S. officials say they haven't pared back support for Iranian democracy, stressing that they have increased it in the communications area. The State Department declined to say how much the U.S. is spending specifically to support democracy promotion inside Iran. One primary goal of the U.S. tech-support program is to counter Tehran's jamming of Iranian websites and Western broadcasting, including reporting from the Voice of America, which Tehran routinely blocks, and U.S.-funded Radio Farda, which provides real-time political news."
   Wall Street Journal, 9 June 2010, Ilan Berman: It's time now for the U.S. government to put its money where its mouth is. Like their anti-Soviet counterparts during the Cold War, Iran's opposition needs reliable, independent means for communicating and coordinating their activities—technology and tools that the United States and its allies can readily provide. Regime opponents likewise need to be able to dispel the disinformation being spread by the Iranian regime, and to highlight official corruption. For that, they require unfiltered access to the Internet, and a receptive ear from Western media. And the Green Movement needs greater Western support for the plight of political opponents and dissidents, particularly those lingering in Iranian prisons.
   RFE/RL, 11 June 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Iranian blogger and Internet activist known as Vahid Online, who was in Tehran during the 2009 events, tells RFE/RL that Twitter's role inside Iran was exaggerated by outside observers. ... 'Twitter never became very popular in Iran. [But] because the world was watching Iran with such [great interest] during those days, it led many to believe falsely that Iranian people were also getting their news through Twitter,' the Iranian blogger said. The blogger denies claims that Iran experienced a 'Twitter revolution.' He says that some Internet users encouraged others on social networking sites to participate in the protests, but he believes that Facebook and Twitter were not used for coordination purposes. Activists believe that the Internet and new media, particularly Facebook, will remain a platform of information sharing for opposition activists who use proxies to access blocked opposition websites and social networking sites."
   Index on Censorhip, 11 June 2010, Mahmood Enayat, "Director of Iran at the BBC World Service Trust": "Leaflets and cassette tapes were widely used in 1979 revolutions. These days the digital equivalents of them will be CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, email, Bluetooth on mobile phones, peer to peer file sharing etc. The green movement only has the internet but it has to change its approach towards it by going beyond its widely prescribed uses. It is time to replace the Twitter revolution with small media discourse."
   The Guardian, Comment is Free, 12 June 2010, Eskandar Sadeghi: "The brute reality of state power had overwhelmed an opposition ill-equipped and incapable of mounting a crippling blow to the former's 'iron fist' – sporadic and/or poorly co-ordinated street protests, chanting 'God is great' from the rooftops, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, BBC Persian and Weblogestan were certainly effective in disseminating the presence and scattered demands of the Green movement, but were always going to be limited in their ability to provoke a fully fledged socio-political transformation; and even while the people's rage and ire has continued to bubble beneath the surface, the semblance of calm returned to the streets and the state has been in reasonable control."
   AP, 12 June 2010, Ali Akbar DareinI: "The one-year anniversary of Iran's disputed election passed quietly Saturday with little more than a subdued Internet appeal by opposition leaders for supporters to speak out on the Web against government repression. ... 'We have to expand social networks, websites, these are our best means,' said Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who maintains he was robbed of the presidency through fraud in the June 12, 2009, election. 'These work like an army. This is our army against their military force,' he said on his website, Kaleme.com." See previous post about same subject.

Renewed Iranian satellite jamming subject of VOA editorial, BBG press release.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA editorial, undated but recent: "In the run-up to the one year anniversary of last June's disputed presidential election, the Iranian government has continued to increase its jamming of satellite television signals in Iran, thereby prohibiting access protected by international treaties. According to complaints by Iranian citizens, the electronic interference was evident when the Voice of America's Persian News Network recently broadcast an HBO documentary on the life of Neda Agha Soltan, the young woman killed during peaceful protests following the election last year. Despite the attempts of the leadership in Iran to deny outside information to its citizens, those in Iran who are trying to exercise their universal rights should know that the world is watching. As President Barack Obama has said, 'Suppressing ideas does not succeed in making them go away."
   Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 11 June 2010: "Days ahead of the one year anniversary of its disputed presidential election, the Government of Iran has stepped up efforts to keep its citizens from receiving independently reported news and information by reinvigorating its apparent jamming of TV and radio broadcasts, blocking websites and pressuring global news agencies to keep video of events within the country from being transmitted back to Iran. The Broadcasting Board of Governors condemns these actions by the Government of Iran and calls on authorities to open the airwaves and respect the rights of its people to freedom of opinion and expression."
   Iran Focus, 11 June 2010: "Satellite television broadcasts have failed to show in Tehran since Wednesday afternoon. Virtually all broadcasters have been affected, including the Persian service of US-based Voice of America television and the dissident Simay-e Azadi (iranntv.com). When those channels are dialled only a blank screen appears."
   EuropeanVoice.com, 12 June 2010, Eldar Mamedov: "[T]he EU must do its utmost to facilitate to the opposition the access to the Internet and other electronic communications despite government interference. It should protest loudly any jamming of its broadcasts, like attempts to block the BBC Persian TV, and it should find ways to retaliate." See previous post about same subject.
   RFE/RL press release, 11 June 2010: "RFE/RL and its Persian-language service, Radio Farda, will be covering the anniversary with interviews and programs focusing on the state of the Green Movement and comprehensive reporting of this weekend's events. They will also broadcast into Iran interactive roundtable discussions with prominent politicians, religious leaders, opposition figures and political analysts. ... In the past year, Radio Farda has stepped up its programming to Iran by adding additional hours of daily news coverage. One of the station's most popular new shows is Farshid Manafi's nightly, one-hour live satire called Pas Farda (The Day After Tomorrow). Manafi's irreverent comedy sketches and impersonations are enormously popular in Iran (visit the show's Farsi website), and is well-known for pushing the limits on critical satire. Four years ago, Manafi's lively programs on state television and radio were shut down by censors, and he was fired."

Among latest volleys against VOA Persian, judge is accused of lack of sympathy with "fellow woman."

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
WorldNetDaily, 11 June 2010, Larry Klayman, writing again about the lawsuit of his client, former VOA Persian broadcaster Elham Sataki: "One would have thought, despite my differences with Judge Kollar-Kotelly, that she would have sympathized with a fellow woman who was sexually harassed, was retaliated against and is now bankrupt and on the verge of suicide. ... But, regrettably, Judge Kollar-Kotelly, unable to separate out her partisan politics and her dislike of me, not only turned down Ms. Sataki's request to immediately allow her to return to work and be paid, she refused to give her even a hearing. ... As Ms. Sataki's lawyer, I have now been forced to seek disqualification of Judge Kollar-Kotelly as well as prepare a formal complaint against her. This is sad, because another jurist – such as former federal Judge Stanley Sporkin (to whom I gave an award while I was head of Judicial Watch) – would have stepped in immediately, without putting Ms. Sataki through further pain and suffering, and told VOA to put my client back to work with pay." See previous post about same subject.
   Wall Street Journal, 11 June 2010, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, "Iranian filmmaker and opposition activist": "So before you give in to a nuclear Iran or put to the test the invasion of Iran and its consequences for Iraq and Afghanistan, consider in earnest the experiment of helping the development of democracy in Iran. A first step would be to overhaul the most important tool America has in its arsenal, Voice of America broadcasting, by finding management interested in enlightening the Iranian people. The Iranian democratic movement is in need of information. And I am asking the Europeans to broadcast EuroNews in Persian. Before you test our land by real bombs, test us with the bombardment of information."
   Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 11 June 2010, Karim Sadjadpour interviewed by, apparently, himself: "Sadjadpour: What can the United States and major powers do to support internal reform? Sadjadpour: Washington’s ability to influence internal reform in Iran is limited, but Iranian democratic activists commonly mention three areas where the United States can help. One, improve the editorial quality of the Voice of America’s Persian News Network, which has the potential to reach as many as 40 million Iranians (though it is often jammed by the Iranian government)."
   All three of these swipes at VOA Persian News Network are short of, or bereft of, facts. (Doesn't the WSJ op-ed page require some fact checking?) Nevertheless, I think they prefer US broadcasts to Iran to consist of propaganda with which they agree rather than that pesky objective, balanced news.

Al Jazeera Sport claims satellite jamming disrupted its FIFA World Cup broadcasts.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Maktoob.com, 12 June 2010: "Al-Jazeera television's sports coverage was hit by outages during the opening match of the football World Cup by what the company claims was sabotage. Al-Jazeera Sport, which has exclusive transmission rights of the event in the Arab world, was deliberately jammed on the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites, said a statement issued late on Friday. The channel aims to identify and pursue those responsible for this 'act of piracy,' managing director Nasser bin Ghanem al-Kholeifi said, while also apologising to the fans. For its part, the Egyptian Satellite Company (Nilesat) said it was investigating the source of the jamming."
   ArabianBusiness.com, 11 June 2010: "Technical problems hit the beginning of the coverage by the Qatar based TV station with its special World Cup channels frozen or broadcasting in the wrong language in a number of countries, including the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt. For most of the first half an hour of the first game between hosts South Africa and Mexico, viewers were left with no picture or a frozen screen. The issues appeared to have been sorted out shortly before half time but problems persisted throughout the second half of the match. Broadcasts on the English language channel morphed into French commentary from the start and then the channel went blank. The English commentary only appeared much later in the first half of the game. The only coverage working throughout was the HD channel broadcasting in Arabic only." -- The wrong language track would indicate switching errors rather than deliberate interference.
   ArabianBusiness.com, 12 June 2010: "The general manager of Al Jazeera Sport ... added that the TV station had the 'full backing' of World Cup organisers FIFA to find the culprits he accused of deliberately jammed the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites."
   The Jordan Times, 11 June 2010: "The Doha-based Al Jazeera Satellite Channel has set 'unacceptable conditions' that drove the Jordan Radio and Television Corporation (JRTVC) to reject a mediated deal that would have allowed Jordanians to watch 2010 FIFA World Cup free of charge. ... 'Al Jazeera’s administration asked for JD8 million and the mediator agreed. But just two days ago, they informed this party that in return for the amount they would allow JTV to air only 20 football matches from the preliminary stages that do not even include matches involving Algeria, the only Arab team taking part in the games,' the official said. The offer was consequently rejected. ... He claimed that the network's decision is 'based on a political agenda and has nothing to do with commercial or any other purposes, stressing that by doing this, Al Jazeera is punishing the Jordanian people, who have the love of sports in their blood'."
   Naharnet, 11 June 2010: "The [Lebanese] government is paying al-Jazeera TV network 800,000 dollars for the Lebanese to view the World Cup games at no additional cost, Information Minister Tareq Mitri said Friday. The Qatar-based satellite television channel owns the exclusive rights to air the 2010 South Africa World Cup in Lebanon and the Middle East. Mitri said during a press conference at his office that a deal was secured on Thursday night following negotiations with al-Jazeera and cable television distributors for Lebanese to watch the games at home. However, he told reporters that the deal does not apply to restaurants, cafes and hotels which will have to pay fees to the network."

Al Arabiya anchor is so anxious to tout health benefits of coffee, I'll bet she can't sleep.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Eye of Dubai, 10 June 2010: "Mayssoun Azzam, respected Arab political journalist and news presenter for Al Arabiya, has become the new face of Nescaf[e']s latest campaign to highlight the health benefits of coffee and to address the myths surrounding habitual coffee drinking. ... Mayssoun is the perfect choice to represent NESCAFÉ Red Mug. She has dedicated her career to the pursuit of hard facts, showing the truth behind stereotypes and misconceptions. She represents the ambitious, intelligent and well balanced woman someone who NESCAFÉ Red Mug drinkers in this region can relate to, said Sherilla Bayona, Group Product Manager (coffee) of Nestl[e] Middle East. Commented Mayssoun Azzam: I have drunk at least three cups of coffee each day since I was 19 years old. I begin my day with a newspaper and a cup of NESCAFÉ Red Mug - it tastes great, stimulates my senses and gives me a revitalizing morning experience. I drink another cup in the afternoon to give me a physical boost to take care of my children or do some exercise. With two children and a demanding job I have a very hectic schedule and this is one of the small pleasures which I would never give up - this new research gives me an extra reason to enjoy my favorite cup of coffee, knowing that I'm reaping health benefits as well as enjoying the great taste."

Meanwhile, in North Korea, a light comedy with "ample cognitive and educational significance," and bean-flour drink.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Korean Central News Agency, 11 June 2010: "A meeting to follow the positive example set by leading characters of light comedy 'Echo of Mountain', a winner of Kim Il Sung Prize, was held by officials of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League on June 10. Present there were officials of the Central Committee of the league and other youth league officials in Pyongyang. Speakers at the meeting said that the light comedy, highly appreciated by General Secretary Kim Jong Il as another monumental masterpiece representing the literature and arts in the era of Songun, was created in the era of the Chollima movement but it still serves as a work of deep impression replete with ample cognitive and educational significance because it instigates the young people to bring about creation and innovation."
   Korean Central News Agency, 11 June 2010: "A large quantity of bean-flour drink is being mass-produced and provided to all children and students everyday as required by the science of nutrition. The 'time for bean-flour drink' for the children and students reflects the WPK's noble view on the younger generation and the true nature of the best Korean-style socialism in the world. The Pyongyang Children's Foodstuff Factory has so far produced more than 300 million liters of nutritive bean-flour drink so it might be provided to the nurseries, kindergartens and primary and secondary schools in the city everyday. The vans carrying bean-flour drink are called 'vans for kings.' The total distance covered by these vans reached a total of 14,150,000 kms which equal to 354 trips around the world."

From North Korea: beyond the usual loudness complaint.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 12 June 2010, Yoo Choonsik: "In what it called a 'crucial declaration,' North Korea's army general staff said it would shoot down the loudspeakers and all other means of psychological warfare if South Korea resumes its propaganda broadcasts. 'From a military point of view that a psychological warfare is one of the basic operational forms for carrying out a war the installing of such means for the above-said warfare is a direct declaration of a war against the DPRK,' the North's official KCNA news agency said, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. ... 'The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will launch an all-out military strike to blow up the group's means for the psychological warfare against the DPRK,' Saturday's KCNA statement said, repeating similar threats made in recent weeks. It warned South Korea that any military action on its part would risk turning Seoul 'into a sea of flame.'" See previous post about same subject.
   Wall Street Journal, 11 June 2010, Evan Ramstad and Jaeyeon Woo: "North Korea's state media over the last two weeks stepped up an anti-South Korea campaign after being accused of sinking a South Korean warship, with reports repeatedly portraying angry citizens vowing to work harder to 'get back' at the South. ... Amid the heightened tension between the two Koreas, the North's reports are not focused on the prospect of conflict but instead seek to connect its government's anger at Seoul with the need to improve the North's impoverished economy. That shows the North Korean regime has latched onto the sinking incident not just to preach about perceived external threats but as a new way to shift responsibility for the country's troubled economy away from itself, said Brian Myers, an American professor in South Korea who has studied the North's propaganda operations since the early 1990s. 'They're using hatred of the outside world to inspire people to work harder,' he said. 'The extent of it is quite striking.'"
   Youtube, 10 June 2010, Martyn Williams: Eight-minute video on listening to outside radio in North Korea.
   Washington Post, 11 June 2010, Michael Gerson "With strategic options relating to North Korea limited, an information assault on the regime assumes greater urgency. The irreplaceable National Endowment for Democracy supports Free North Korea Radio. But neither South Korea nor the United States shows much creativity or commitment in applying new information technologies to help the spread of freedom." -- Twelve hours of Korean-language broadcasting per day from a combination of VOA and Radio Free Asia, plus the acquisition of medium wave transmitter time in South Korea, seems like a commitment to me. As for creative, see the following...
   Chosun Ilbo, 11 June 2010: "The [South Korean] Defense Ministry is apparently minded to use songs and music videos by manufactured girl bands such as Girls' Generation, Wonder Girls, After School, Kara and 4minute in so-called psychological warfare against North Korea. An official in charge of psy ops at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said no decision has been made so far. 'It will take months to set up the big screens to use in psychological warfare operations and a wide range of contents will be shown.'"

Digital Radio Mondiale capable shortwave transmitters sold to Australian and Malaysian broadcasters.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale, 11 June 2010: "Broadcast Australia and Radio-Television Malaysia (RTM) have recently bought new DRM-ready short wave transmitters. Both broadcasters have chosen the same state-of-the-art Continental Model 418G-DRM transmitters for this upgrade. Broadcast Australia has asked Continental Electronics to supply two new DRM-ready 100 kilowatt transmitters for two of its short-wave stations. The purchase represents the first step in Broadcast Australia’s plan to enhance its digital short-wave (HF) broadcast capabilities throughout its network of transmitters. These transmitters will enable Broadcast Australia to transmit programming in analogue AM and digital (DRM) modes from both stations, Tenant Creek and Shepparton. Both of Broadcast Australia’s new transmitters are expected to be on the air and fully operational by late summer. Radio-Television Malaysia is getting three 100 kilowatt DRM-ready HF transmitters from Continental along with other associated equipment that are to be installed in the RTM Transmitting Station at Kajang, and will enable RTM transmissions in digital DRM format as well as conventional analogue AM. RTM’s new HF transmitters were shipped from CEC factory the end of May and are expected to be on the air and fully operational before the end of the year."
   Broadcast Australia is a private transmission company serving major customer major customer Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), including Radio Australia, which will presumably be the primary and perhaps exclusive user of the two Australian transmitters. As for Radio-Television Malaysia, will the DRM shortwave transmitters be used for its international or domestic shortwave transmissions, or both?

Radio New Zealand CEO sees a future for shortwave in the Pacific.

Posted: 12 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, 11 June 2010: "Shortwave radio is likely to continue to play a major role in the Pacific for many years, the chief executive of Radio New Zealand, Peter Cavanagh, has said. ... 'We currently broadcast to the Pacific using both analogue and digital (DRM) shortwave transmitters. Most of our local partner stations are now using our digital transmission to provide a higher quality and more reliable signal for re-broadcast to their own audiences. But many individuals and those living on the more remote islands are still very much dependent on analogue receivers - particularly in times of crisis such as the cyclone season - and it's likely that analogue shortwave will continue to play a major role in the region for many more years to come.' Around 20 Pacific radio stations relay [Radio New Zealand International] material daily, and individual shortwave listeners and internet users across the world tune in directly to RNZI content."

Ukrainian TV channels denied new frequencies include VOA partner.

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 8 June 2010: "A court has stripped two Ukrainian TV channels -- Channel 5 and TVi -- of their new broadcast frequencies, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports. The Kyiv district court today annulled the January results of a tender held by Ukraine's National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting that allocated those frequencies. According to Ukrainian media experts, Channel 5 and TVi are among the few Ukrainian TV channels that provide independent news coverage."
   Kyiv Post, 11 June 2010. "The TVi Channel and Channel 5 retain their current broadcasting frequencies."
   TV5 rebroadcasts VOA Ukrainian programming.

Viewer finds VOA video "balanced" in its coverage of Arizona's immigration law.

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Care2, 9 June 2010, Cris Popenoe: "Voice of America just produced a new video showing a balanced view of the Arizona immigration law due to take affect in July. Beyond voicing the concerns of those worried about immigration and who support the law, the video also discusses the ramifications of racial profiling and quotes a police chief who worries the law will take his officers away from their regular duties." With video.
   Elly Savage press release, 5 June 2010: "Elly Savage’s ... is also played on The Voice of America, a radio station in Arizona." -- I have no idea...

Deutsche Welle attends the can't-miss Shanghai TV Festival after missing it last year (updated).

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 4 June 2010, Jonathan Landreth: "Now in its 16th edition, the Shanghai TV Festival has become a can't-miss opportunity for global broadcasters intent on cracking the coveted Chinese market. The event, which takes place just before the Shanghai International Film Festival from June 7-11, will unite hundreds of producers, broadcasters, new media companies and equipment makers to buy and sell their wares and services in between panel discussions, an awards show and market at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Overseas visitors include the likes of Warner Bros., Japanese statecastser NHK and, back after missing a year, Deutsche Welle. New arrivals at Shanghai this year include Telemundo, TV Azteca and Grammy distributor Alfred Haber. ... Maggie Zhou of SMG subsidiary Wings Media -- which is charged with acting as a buying and selling bridge between China and the rest of the world -- says it's important for guests in Shanghai to respect the increasing sophistication of domestic Chinese television. 'The demand for pure overseas content could prove to be smaller than hoped for,' says Zhou."
   Update: The Hollywood Reporter, 10 June 2010: "Selling ... content into China can prove frustrating for some overseas companies. Foreigners get flustered when it sometimes takes six months to pass through official censorship."
   AFP, 11 June 2010: "Taiwan has decided to cancel its participation in a top film festival in Shanghai, Taipei officials said Friday, citing fears that the island would be treated as a part of China. As a result, eight films have been pulled from the Shanghai International Film Festival, which opens Saturday, the officials said. The decision comes after organisers at the just-concluded Shanghai television festival handed awards to two Taiwan-produced films but described them as being from 'China, Taiwan,' triggering a Taiwanese protest."

In new white paper, China reconfirms its internet controls.

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 8 June 2010, Peter Simpson: "The Chinese government has defended its policy of censoring the Internet and cautions other nations to respect how it polices the world's largest online population. Some in the international community fear China's high-technology methods for controlling information are gaining popularity with oppressive governments around the world. There were no surprises in the Chinese government's new white paper, as it reiterated its determination to heavily censor Internet access in the world's most populous nation. It calls for other countries to respect its Internet laws, which it says are a matter of national sovereignty."
   VOA News, 8 June 2010: "VOA's Kate Woodsome spoke with Geordie Guy, the vice-chair of the Internet freedom group Electronic Frontiers Australia, about how other governments are taking cues from Beijing."
   Bloomberg, 8 June 2010: "No organization can 'produce, duplicate, announce or disseminate information' on topics which may be 'against the cardinal principles set forth in the constitution,' or which may 'instigate ethnic hatred,' jeopardize 'state religious policy,' or spread 'superstitious ideas,' China’s State Council Information Office said in a 31-page policy paper on the Internet issued today."
   Radio Australia, 8 June 2010: "A Hong Kong University expert, David Bandurski, told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific the policy paper is in part a response to the Google search engine shutting down its Chinese service."
   Xinhua, 9 June 2010: "To narrow the digital divide the Internet has brought to the Chinese people, the government will devote itself to promoting the Internet's applications and popularity, striving to make the Internet accessible to 45 percent of its 1.3 billion population, the white paper said."

"Torchwood" will return with "a more international flavour" (and flavor).

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
What's on TV, 8 June 2010: "Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood will be back for a fourth series with a more international flavour, the BBC has confirmed. John Barrowman will return as Captain Jack for the 10-part series, which will be funded by BBC Wales, BBC Worldwide and US cable network Starz Entertainment. Previous series have been recorded in Cardiff but new storylines will feature locations in the US and around the world."
   Hollywood Reporter, 7 June 2010: "'This gives "Torchwood" the chance to feel like a real global drama,' said BBC Worldwide Productions executive vp Jane Tranter. 'The story of 'Torchwood' will impact worldwide humanity and not just a small area of the UK. This will scale it up.'"

VOA FM affiliate in The Gambia changes frequency from 100.7 to 100.7.

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Today (Kanifing), 8 June 2010. "Signals from Unique FM will now be received on 100.7 MHz on the FM band, a release from the frontline radio station has said. ... Established on 13th December 2007 as a commercial radio station, Unique FM, previously broadcasting on 100.7MHz, provides a wide-ranging music and showbiz programmes. It was the first radio station to broadcast business and aviation news as well as giving a regular weather report in The Gambia. It also enjoys a media partnership with Voice of America (VOA) and broadcasts their morning programme Day Break Africa, Wednesdays evening’s Talk show Straight talk Africa, and their 5minutes News on the Hour." -- Actually, the old frequency was 101.7 MHz. See www.uniquefm.gm

Senator Lugar issues major report on US international broadcasting (updated).

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Senator Richard Lugar website, 9 June 2010: "U.S. International Broadcasting: —Is Anybody Listening?— Keeping the U.S. Connected," is a 91-page report by Senator Lugar [and, presumably, his staff] to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "One of [the issues facing US international broadcasting] is the growing concern over the ability of U.S. broadcasters to reach their desired audiences. Sometimes this is due to crowded media markets, such as in the Middle East, where our voice is one among many. Other times, our voice is silenced or suppressed, including in China, Iran, and Russia, which use intimidation to prevent local affiliates from carrying U.S. programming or use sophisticated technologies to shut down satellites, jam radio transmissions or block Internet sites. Each of these issues requires its own response, but without a new [Broadcasting Board of Governors] in place providing appropriate direction and guidance, these difficulties will only grow more pronounced."
   Update: My comments will come along in the next few days. I'm a slow reader, and distracted by a wealth of media news this week. Matt Armstrong is a faster reader and has a good summary at his MountainRunner.us, 10 June 2010.
   Washington Post, 11 June 2010, Al Kamen: "For the last 15 years, Lugar said in a statement, 'both parties in the Senate [have been] playing politics with Board nominations.' ... Time to either confirm the new board, he said, or 'it is perhaps time to create a new mechanism that will have greater Congressional support.' As it turns out, we're hearing that there is a chance the Senate could move in the next few weeks to approve the nominees -- including author and Aspen Institute chief executive Walter Isaacson, formerly CEO of CNN and editor of Time magazine, who's up for chairman." "Greater Congressional support, or greater Congressional control? The Board was created to protect US international broadcasting, and its credibility, from kibitzing on the part of Congress and the administration. Congress will be relieved of the burden of a pesky BBG, and USIB will be relieved of the burden of having an audience.
   Foreign Policy, The Cable, 11 June 2010, Josh Rogin:"[T]he timing of report clearly suggests it's a shot across the bow at Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who has been holding up President Obama's eight nominees for the BBG board for months. Congress originally intended the board, which was established in the 1990s, as a way of shielding U.S. broadcasting efforts from political meddling. It hasn't worked out that way." -- Actually, it has worked out that way. The present Board is truncated, battered, and weary, but they are managing US international broadcasting, not the administration or Congress.

Iran cyber update includes mention of an intranet "separate from the World Wide Web."

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 2 June 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Human rights activists and supporters of the opposition Green Movement in Iran are increasing their calls on the United States and other countries to help Iranians access an unfiltered Internet by lifting sanctions and sharing key software and technology. ... Berlin-based blogger and journalist Mehdi Mohseni, who left Iran in June 2009, predicts Iranians will likely have an even tougher time accessing the Internet in the future. He notes that the Iranian government is working on a project to create a national 'intranet' -- an internal Internet service -- that would be separate from the World Wide Web and which would effectively seal off Iranians from the Internet."
   The Guardian, 9 June 2010, Robert Tait, senior correspondent for Radio Free Europe: "Evidence shows there is a massive effort to snuff out an [Iranian election] anniversary protest. The internet – which enabled protesters to communicate through outlets like Facebook and Twitter – has been used by the leadership to monitor dissent. Activists describe ever-present surveillance on the streets and in cyberspace."
   The Guardian, Comment is Free, 9 June 2010, Timothy Garton Ash: "Keep open the lines of communication and information, so Iranians inside and outside the country can tell each other what is happening there. The BBC Persian language television service must on no account fall victim to UK public spending cuts. Work should be redoubled on internet firewall circumvention technologies, so all Iranians have online access to films like For Neda as well as their own home-made citizen journalism."
   Aol News, 10 June 2010, Barbara Slavin: "Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, told me recently that support for human rights in Iran is 'a huge priority' for the Obama administration. But he acknowledged that the administration still hasn't fully allocated the $5 million in Internet freedom grant money Congress appropriated last fiscal year. Legislation for the current fiscal year sets aside $30 million for this purpose. If the Obama administration really cares about promoting human rights in Iran, it will expedite this spending. That could help small startups like Censorship Research Center. Two young Californians there -- Austin Heap and Daniel Colascione -- invented a program called 'Haystack' that lets Iranians evade government Internet filters. It's free to Iranians but costs their company about three cents a day per user. The U.S. has lifted export controls that blocked Haystack from being provided to the Iranian market. So far, however, Colascione says, his center hasn't received any U.S. funds, and 'we're having trouble paying our server bill.'" I'm sure there is more to this recurring unspent-funds story than we ever hear from the commentators. Perhaps the $30 million funding is going through the standard government bid process, which should determine which of these internet anti-censorship remedies actually work.
   VOA News, 9 June 2010, William Ide: "The Freedom House's Calingaert says such efforts to bypass filtering are important and helpful, but they should not be a substitute for traditional human-rights efforts by Washington. 'If you look at the case of Egypt for instance, there is very little filtering," said Calingaert. "I mean the Internet has pretty much anything anyone wants to say is there. But the most high-profile bloggers are in jail, and that sends a pretty clear message to other bloggers who want to be critical about the regime. Anti-censorship tools are not going to solve that problem.'" -- But they will at least help information get in.
   RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 9 June 2010: "'Women In Shroud,' a documentary co-produced by RFE/RL Radio Farda broadcaster Mohammad Reza Kazemi, was recognized in February with the Cinema For Peace Award for Justice for promoting humanity through film. Shot in Tehran, the film focuses on the sometimes arbitrary and subjective nature of the Iranian judicial system and the sentencing policies towards women believed to be guilty of adulterous behavior."

UK regulator investigating Press TV for interview conducted under "extreme duress."

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 9 June 2010, Roy Greenslade: "Press TV, the news network controlled by the Iranian government with a bureau in west London, has been accused of multiple breaches of the Ofcom broadcasting code. The regulator has launched a formal investigation into the complaint by Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist who spent 118 days in a Tehran jail after being arrested while covering the protests over the disputed presidential election last June. I understand that Ofcom is now awaiting a response from Press TV to a series of questions about its screening of an excerpt from an interview with Bahari that occurred while he was in jail. After his release, Bahari complained to Ofcom that Press TV had obtained the interview while he was under 'extreme duress' in a prison interrogation room. He was unable to speak freely, being compelled to read answers from a prepared script. The Press TV interviewer also asked questions that were suggested by Bahari's interrogator, who was concealed behind a curtain. Those extraordinary circumstances were not revealed when Press TV screened an excerpt from the interview."
   The Independent, 10 June 2010, Kylie Morris and Katie Brown: "Press TV says it determines its own editorial policy and maintains complete independence from the government... . The broadcaster says it won't comment on Mr Bahari's allegations while Ofcom makes its deliberations. The case is being closely watched by human rights activists. Index on Censorship campaigner, Jo Glanville says any respectable journalist should refuse to work for the channel. 'The way they behaved by going into the prison in that way and essentially colluding with the torture and illegal detention of a journalist that should finish their reputation once and for all in this country.'" See also video report, 7:24 in length, at Channel 4, 10 June 2010.

Press TV: "BBC sabotaging Press TV broadcasts" in Afghanistan.

Posted: 11 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 9 June 2010: "The British Broadcasting Corporation is showering Afghan cable networks with lucrative deals to cut broadcastings of Iran's English-language news channel, Press TV. The Press TV bureau in Kabul was informed on Wednesday that 'a number of BBC employees have recently contacted the cable networks' union in Herat to persuade them into breaking contract with Press TV and blocking all satellite transmission of its programs.' 'The BBC reportedly offered to triple the union's pay once it agrees to strip Press TV of its broadcasting rights in Herat,' the bureau added. The move has drawn sharp criticism from media figures in Iran, who believe it is in line with US efforts to limit Press TV activities in Afghanistan, which is grappling with an all-out humanitarian crisis since the US-led invasion in 2001." -- The influence of Press TV in Afghanistan would be limited at least by the fact that it broadcasts in English. My guess is that what is really happening is that BBC is trying to get one or more cable slots in Afghanistan for its BBC World News and/or BBC Worldwide channels. This might result in Press TV being bumped from from the Afghan cable systems, which have a finite number of channels.

"Strategic communications" is a term desperately seeking a new bureaucracy.

Posted: 10 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 8 June 2010, Walter Pincus: "Buried in a 647-page House Armed Services Committee report on the defense authorization bill are six pages that show how the abundance of Pentagon money has allowed the military to move into areas that once were the prerogative of intelligence professionals. While Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is pressuring the services to make cuts in overhead, personnel and programs, the House panel is calling on Gates to take the intergovernmental lead in nonmilitary 'innovative approaches' to counterterrorism. Ironically, the committee is assigning the Pentagon new duties while complaining that President Obama's National Security Council did not agree about the need for a new independent organization to reconcile the Pentagon's growing strategic communications activities -- which 'aim to undermine the ideological narrative of various violent extremist groups' -- with the State Department's public diplomacy role. The panel urged the NSC to reconsider that option." -- I'm with Obama's NSC on this. The government does not need yet another "organization." The Pentagon should be limited to information operations in or near its areas of activity. Leave the global public diplomacy to the State Department. One staff member from each agency can meet maybe once a week to coordinate.
   Heritage Foundation, The Foundry, 7 June 2010, Helle Dale: "The lack of interagency coordination is one of the problems that beset the messaging of the plethora of U.S. government agencies with a slice of the strategic communications, from the State Department to the Defense Department to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. Agency [for] International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy and many besides. Engaging with global communities is from the U.S. government perspective a piecemeal affair since the demise of the U.S. Information Agency in 1999. Coherent and strategic messaging is one of the critical components of U.S. international leadership." ... [The creation of a] Center for Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy ... has been the recommendation of many major independent foreign policy institutions (including the Heritage Foundation)." -- You know, it's funny: once again, the Heritage Foundation is calling for an expansion of the US federal bureaucracy. No one would accuse me of being a conservative, but when it comes to size of government, I can out-conservative Heritage any day of the week, with one arm tied behind my back. And, by the way, the "coordination" of the BBG would immediately be detected by the audience, who would immediately tune elsewhere.

Why I don't cover the State Department much anymore.

Posted: 10 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
State Department, 8 June 2010 Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs P.J. Crowley, introducing video production: "Good morning and welcome to the Department of State here in Washington, D.C. and thank you for joining us in Conversations in America, an opportunity for us to discuss a range of issues, important issues with people within the United States and around the world, allows you to watch a live discussion between leading State Department officials past and present as we discuss key regional issues. Today, we’re going to be talking about South Asia and the United States’ relationship with a very important emerging power in the world, India. ... And we thank you for joining us for Conversations with America. We hope to hold these kinds of conversations on a wide range of issues, from Haiti to Afghanistan to India as we go forward, and inform both our citizens and citizens around the world of the United States’s efforts to address such challenges. So thank you for submitting your questions. Thank you for joining us. And this video and transcript will be available on State.gov shortly."
   State Department, 19 April 2010, Secretary Crowley introducing the first "Conversations With America": "This initiative allows you to – the opportunity to join this conversation by submitting questions through the State Department’s blog DipNote. We’re very proud of it. And over the past few days, we have received many questions on today’s topic, which is Afghanistan and Pakistan, from people across the United States. We have received questions from those countries as well as India. We have selected a few among those questions for a discussion toward – during the course of this broadcast."
   Who sees "Conversations With America" live, and how? It goes out via satellite, but who receives it? Can it be viewed live from the State Department website? The program has no web page of its own, but archived are available via the State Department's Dipnote blog.
   More interesting is Secretary's Crowley's statement that program's purpose is to "inform both our citizens and citizens around the world of the United States’s efforts." The domestic dissemination prohibition of the Smith-Mundt Act implies that some US content is suitable for foreign audiences, and some for domestic audiences. "Conversations" is having it both ways. I think it's great that Americans and citizens of other countries can share opinions in a single vehicle. Senators Smith and Mundt might disagree, but they don't get around much these days.

   O'Reilly Radar, 8 June 2010, Alex Howard: "Unlike colleagues at the State Department like Philip J. Crowley, [US Secretary of State's senior advisor for innovation Alec J] Ross spends little to no time in public diplomacy. 'Where I think this stuff is most compelling and most effective is when pulled into a toolkit to address long-term policy challenges,' Ross said. 'I don't want a "tech strategy," per se. I want a nuclear non-proliferation treaty with a tech component, or a global climate change policy with a tech component.'"
   Heritage Foundation, The Foundry, 9 June 2010, Helle Dale: "In its ongoing search for solutions to U.S. public diplomacy challenges – some might call it a deficit – the State Department has launched yet another new Internet venture, a social website called Opinion Space. ... Sounding cool counts for a lot at the State Department these days. The team of young professionals assembled by Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale are a constant source of new ideas. ... One question that might be asked is whether the information gathered on Opinion Space will used in the formation of public diplomacy techniques and strategy, another whether this will in any way further the comprehension abroad of the policies and priorities of the U.S. government or the understanding of the United States as a country."

US international broadcasters cover the FIFA World Cup.

Posted: 10 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 9 June 2010: "The Voice of America is boosting its coverage of the first-ever World Cup in Africa, adding an online competition, a new webpage and special radio and television reports on the athletes, the venues and much more. Complete World Cup coverage can be found at: www.voanews.com/worldcup. Sonny Young, the popular host of VOA’s Sonny Side of Sports, is already in Johannesburg, South Africa, reporting on the festive atmosphere of the World Cup. In addition to his daily radio show, Sonny also has a special world cup blog: http://blogs.voanews.com/sonny/."
   CNN press release, 7 June 2010: "CNN International’s South Africa 2010 coverage will extend beyond its daily sport show, ‘World Sport’, and appear in every program in its lineup, offering viewers match highlights, fan reaction and top storylines around the clock. On Friday, 11 June Isha Sesay will host an hour-long special at 1200 ET/1700 BST from Johannesburg’s Fan Park that will feature reports from CNN correspondents in nearly a dozen other countries represented in the World Cup including Mexico, England, Brazil, Spain and Argentina. ... CNN en Español joins the World Cup fever and is calling on all Super Fans and 'FANalysts' to be a part of the network’s historic coverage of this global event."
   Stars & Stripes, 10 June 2010, Mark Patton: "Just hours before the start of the world’s largest sporting event, American Forces Network secured the broadcasting rights to the 2010 World Cup. In a press release on its Web site, AFN officials announced that the network was granted permission by FIFA — soccer’s governing body — along with a slew of international television licensees to show the entire slate of 64 soccer matches during the monthlong tournament. ... Because AFN doesn’t pay for programming, it was important that it receive the rights to the World Cup for free, AFN chief of affiliate relations Larry Sichter said earlier this week. The deal was the culmination of a 2½ year effort by AFN."

When Jamaicans listened to shortwave.

Posted: 10 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Jamaica Observer, 6 June 2010, Basil Walters: "Radio came to Jamaica in the early to mid-1930s. In those years, all radios sold in Jamaica had to be able to tune in to the short wave radio bands as the broadcasts from England, (the BBC), the Netherlands, Germany and France were all short wave transmissions. Medium wave radios could also pick up Cuba and the Dominican Republic, as well as the high-powered American stations WCKY, WLWO and WLNY, but only from after dark until sunrise, when atmospheric conditions allowed for reception. In the early years, there weren't many radios and Galbraith recalled that in 1936, when King Edward VIII was crowned, people gathered in the streets outside of the houses of those who owned radios."

In the wake of the flotilla, Israel again floats the idea of an international news channel.

Posted: 10 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 8 June 2010, Yaakov Lappin: "The government is considering the establishment of a news channel to add Israel’s perspective to the international news arena, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. 'We could have our own channel, which would at least broadcast on the Internet. We’re not there now, but we are seriously discussing that,' Edelstein said. The channel would require a combination of state and private funding, he said, adding that his ministry had secured some state funds toward the project. In a reference to Al-Jazeera, Edelstein said, 'Would it be an Al-Judea satellite TV broadcaster? Or would it broadcast online? Would it have a .gov or .com Web address? We still don’t have the answers.' The channel could be a 24- hour-a-day live news station with a team of reporters and camera crews, or a more limited channel that provides press services, he said."
   The English-language global news channel business is very competitive. The "big three" consists of CNN International, BBC World News, and Al Jazeera English. Perhaps through some combination of news and non-news programming, an Israeli channel could join the lower tiers of English channels, which presently includes DW-TV, France 24, RT (Russia Today), EuroNews, NHK World, Australia Network, CCTV9, Xinhua News Network, and Press TV. The audience size for such a channel might not justify the expense.
   Here's a back-of-envelope plan for Israel: 1) Purchase advertisements on CNN International and BBC World News, explaining Israeli policies, and promoting tourism, trade, and investment. The ads might also be placed on Al Jazeera English, reaching an audience less favorably inclined towards Israel, or not, thus shifting income to AJE's two main rivals. 2) Improve the public diplomacy content and presentation now at Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, and add languages to that effort. 3) Simplify and consolidate access to, and publicize, the non-Hebrew radio and television content from the Israel Broadcasting Authority, now available at www.iba.org.il and www.intkolisrael.com. 4) For news in English via the web, various perspectives are already available from haaretz.com, jerusalempost.com, www.israelnationalnews.com, and other sites.

Al Jazeera on "the brink of self-sufficiency"?

Posted: 10 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
ArabianBusiness.com, 10 June 2010: "Though still funded in-part by the Qatari government, Al Jazeera has, like many other state-backed media in the region, begun to follow commercial targets with renewed vigour. When founded from the ashes of the old BBC Arabic and Orbit joint venture in 1996, the network received a loan of around $130m from HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, Emir of Qatar, and was given the target to be self-sufficient by 2001. The network missed this target and has since received further, smaller loans to tide it over. It is understand that advertising, cable carriage agreements and content sales have pushed the network close to the brink of self-sufficiency. One of the big drivers in recent years has been its pay TV sports channels."

Should we tell him that Tony Burman will soon depart as MD of Al Jazeera English?

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Kansas City Star, 9 June 2010, Aaron Barnhart: "Since its launch in 2006, Al-Jazeera English has become one of my essential sources for global news. ... I say this despite ongoing problems at the mother ship of Arabic Al-Jazeera, including the recent resignation of five female anchors in protest of the channel's restrictive dress code. ... Since taking over, [Tony] Burman has almost doubled Al-Jazeera English's reach to 200 million homes, mostly in Europe, Asia and Africa. He just negotiated a series of deals that put the channel on cable systems across Canada. Al-Jazeera English is now on cable in Washington, D.C., its first major U.S. market. ... Just last month, eight Al-Jazeera staffers were on board the Turkish relief ship headed to Gaza when it was intercepted by Israeli commandos, and its English-language reporter Jamal Elshayyal provided riveting first-hand details of the attack. I spoke with Burman recently via Skype from Doha, Qatar. ... Q. The BBC made a decision to launch a one-hour newscast for its U.S. audience (7 EDT nightly, BBC America). Do you worry that there's only so much space in the U.S. market for global news, and the BBC is going to take all of it? Burman: No. What the BBC offers is a British perspective on the world. What we offer is a global treatment of world affairs from a staff of more than 1,000 people from 50 nationalities." -- Not mentioned in this piece -- nor reported anywhere else -- is that Tony Burman will depart his post as managing director of AJE at the end of June. See previous posts on 18 May, 19 May, and 23 May 2010.
   journalism.co.uk, 6 June 2010, Laura Oliver: "The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) has published its first story - a joint investigation with the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The not-for-profit bureau, which was officially launched in April and operates out of City University London with 17 freelance and full-time staff, will seek out a range of multimedia partners to collaborate and distribute investigations. Its first story has been published in the BMJ and broadcast by Al Jazeera English, before being picked up by other news organisations."
   IFJ, 4 June 2010: "The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on Al-Jazeera to explain the circumstances that led to the resignation of five women journalists on 25th May amidst reports that they left following harassment and complaints over their dress."

On Indian FM stations, Voice of Russia without the "Voice of Russia."

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Radioandmusic.com, 8 June 2010, Anita Iyer: "With its recent deal with Midday Multimedia’s radio venture Radio One, international broadcaster Voice of Russia is expanding its footprint in the Indian FM space. The broadcaster that already has its content on air on Fever FM and Siliguri based Radio High 92.7 FM, has begun begun airing its programme ‘With Love from Russia’ on Radio One from the first week of June. ... The FM channels are currently broadcasting a daily two hour infotainment program titled 'With love from Russia' between 0000-0200 hours IST without mentioning 'Voice of Russia.' ...[T]he shows are hosted by radio jocks in individual stations playing a mix of Indian and Russian songs. The talk content is mainly related to music, culture and lifestyle of Russia. ... The content syndication space might just get competitive with international broadcasters like Voice of Russia entering into agreements with FM players in India." See previous post about same subject.

Worldspace back under the control of Noah Samara (updated).

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 3 June 2010, Chris Forrester: "Noah Samara has successfully bought back the assets of WorldSpace. Court documents filed at the Delaware Bankruptcy Court state that Judge Peter Walsh approved the sale of the Worldspace assets to a company, Yazmi USA LLC, and controlled by Samara. The price was $5.5m."
   See also Bloomberg Businessweek, 4 June 2010. The court order approving the sale is available at this Kurtzman Carson Consultants web page. No recent activity at www.1worldspace.com, and www.worldspace.com doesn't open.
   Update: Rapid TV News, 8 June 2010, Chris Forrester: "Court claims at the Delaware Bankruptcy proceedings designed to wrap up the purchase of Worldspace’s assets, show that Liberty Satellite Radio has 'aggregate secured claims' over Worldspace totalling more than $116m. Liberty looks like holding onto certain Worldspace Italian assets as part of the final settlement with Worldspace." See previous post about same subject.

Pacific region musical talent signs up for Radio Australia Pacific Break competition (updated).

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Saipan Tribune, 22 May 2010: "ABC Radio Australia has just kicked off its music competition, Pacific Break, searching for the best unsigned musical talent across the Pacific. Pacific Break has been running for two years and in that time they have received hundreds of entries from all over the Pacific, but not yet one from the North Pacific." There is no link to Pacific Break from the Radio Australia home page, but a search found this web page.
   Solomon Star, 22 May 2010: "Five local bands this week entered the Pacific Break Competition. 'Pacific Break' a competition by Radio Australia, searching for the best original unsigned musical talent in the Pacific region is becoming popular in the Solomon Islands. Paoa FM, the registration station in the Solomon Islands, sent through the five entries to a delighted Pacific Break team this week."
   Update: Solomon Star, 9 June 2010: "Radio Australia's Pacific Break Competition is getting hotter by the day. The competition, which searches for the best original unsigned musical talent, started in March, and the closing date is on the 1st of September. Paoa FM, the registration station for Pacific Break in the Solomon Islands, so far has sent through a total of 10 local music groups and artists to radio Australia. ... Paoa FM Programs Director Leilah Sae says through this process, a lot of talented musicians have been discovered. 'We have a lot of very talented musicians, artists and singers out there! We've been listening to the entries sent to Radio Australia, and the talent level is so high!'" See also RA Pacific Break blog.

CEO of Australia's Sky News mentions international activities, aspirations.

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 7 June 2010, Angelos Frangopoulos, chief executive of Sky News: "Our public affairs channel, A-PAC, has changed the dynamics between public and private sector broadcasting. A-PAC operates under an independent charter on a not-for-profit basis fully funded by Foxtel and Austar. ... A few months ago, Sky News and A-PAC announced the first international expansion with our Australian Parliament program into the US and Canada. In April Sky signed a reciprocal programming agreement with China's national broadcaster CCTV. I remain a strong believer in the value of introducing 'contestability' into the provision of future broadcasting services on behalf of the government and taxpayers. A truly open contest to provide services such as the international Australia Network TV service for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade remains the best way to get the best service for the nation." See previous post about same subject.

Press TV correspondent in Belgium murdered; she held US and Bulgarian citizenship (updated).

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 5 June 2010: "Journalist Anna Parashkevova Moya, the Press TV correspondent in Belgium, has been murdered in Brussels. The Belgian police said Anna Moya was stabbed to death in her apartment at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, and the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry confirmed the report shortly afterwards. After the murder, her Cuban husband, Adrian Moya, fled to Luxemburg, where he turned himself in to the police and confessed to the murder. Anna Moya worked as a freelance journalist and held dual US and Bulgarian citizenship, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said on Friday." See also Novinte.com, 4 June 2010.
   Update: The Moscow News, 9 June 2010: "She worked for Russia Today (RT), a 24-hour news channel based out of Moscow. 'We extend our condolences to her family and loved ones, and mourn the tragic loss of such a young and bright life,' said the company’s external relations specialist. Moya worked for RT for over 2,5 years, both in Russia and the United States, covering a range of topics mainly politics and foreign policy."

Burma's junta expands media outreach, domestically and internationally.

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Irrawaddy, 7 June 2010, Wai Moe: "Currently the junta has been using different public relations tactics. The state-run MRTV has recently used foreign broadcasts [broadcasters?] in its new, English-language program, 'Myanmar International.' The junta has also formed different FM, AM and short wave radio stations to counter exile media and Burmese-language foreign broadcasts. One of these is Napyidaw-based Padauk Myay radio which often counters reports criticizing the junta and carries attacks on pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and dissident groups. Despite its propaganda, the radio station attracts young Burmese audiences with the latest music. According to independent researchers, Padauk Myay's audience also includes Burmese migrant workers in Thailand."

Report: Chinese TV managers suspended because of a T-shirt slogan caught on camera.

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Epoch Times, 5 June 2010: "The news that Shenzhen Satellite TV has suspended several senior management staff—reportedly because of a reference to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre—has spread rapidly via the Internet. ... According to an unconfirmed report received by Radio France Internationale, several senior management staff of Shenzhen Radio, Film, and Television, including CEO Wang Maoliang, and Chief Editor Chen Juncong, have been suspended and put under investigation. The actions are due to the appearance of the phrase 'Vindicate June 4' on the talk show '30 Minutes at Noon,' broadcast by Shenzhen Satellite TV. Ye Du, a Guangzhou-based Internet contributor, indicated that in a snapshot image, a group of young people were having a discussion, seated around a table. One of them wore a T-shirt with the controversial phrase on the back, according to a report on June 3 by Radio Free Asia (RFA)."

With deep pockets, China's "big four" -- CCTV, CRI, Xinhua, and China Daily -- reach out to the world.

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 7 June 2010, David Shambaugh: "The Chinese government is investing a reported $8.7 billion in 2009-2010 in its 'external publicity work' — primarily on the 'Big Four': China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), Xinhua News Agency and the China Daily newspaper — while media executives and opinion shapers from various countries are being brought to China for 'familiarization' tours. All four of these external media outlets have had major makeovers in recent months, all intended to give a less propagandistic face to the world. Foreigners now anchor news broadcasts; op-ed pages are becoming more serious; radio programs are more diversified; Web sites are more informative; and newspapers are publishing more investigative stories. Some specific efforts include Xinhua TV now operating a 24 hour news channel that is trying to imitate Al Jazeera; CCTV News is trying to compete with CNN and BBC; CRI is buying more air time in a number of AM and FM radio markets in the United States and Europe, while broadcasting directly into Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. CCTV now broadcasts six international channels in five languages and claims a total global audience of about 125 million." -- Recommended reading, with more details of China's international media outreach. A "less propagandistic face" can still provide propaganda by the selection of news topics. Also, CCTV's "global audience of about 125 million" needs documentation. Reaching a number like that requires a rare combination effective delivery and attractive content. Viewership among Chinese diasporas might achieve that number.

South Korean loudspeakers in place, but will they speak to North Korea?

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 9 June 2010: "South Korea on Wednesday completed the installation of loudspeakers along the border with North Korea, although it was not yet decided when to resume anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts, a military official said."
   The Korea Times, 8 June 2010, Jung Sung-ki: "The ministry last month announced plans to restart loudspeaker broadcasts of news and propaganda near the border as part of the retaliation for the sinking of the Navy ship Cheonan in March. The plan was withdrawn temporarily, however, in order not to ratchet up tension on the Korean Peninsula, as the Seoul government was pushing to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council. When the speakers will actually be used in propaganda has not yet been fixed, an official said."
   Time, 7 June 2010, Justin Jimanez: "[A]s with most of the Koreas' clashes, the South's latest barrage of propaganda has been tempered by the hesitation to pull its reclusive northern neighbor out of its asocial shell and into all-out war. Nobody wants another war on the Korean peninsula — not even the pugnacious North — and some believe this latest bout of brinkmanship may simply be for show."

CNN International in trouble, again, with UK regulator over program sponsorship.

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
paidContent.org, 7 June 2010, Robert Andrews: "Two weeks ago, CNN International was reprimanded by Ofcom because its CNN YouTube Debate on Climate Change programme broke rules barring sponsorship of news programmes and product placement. Just two weeks later, the UK media regulator is again warning the network on a near identical charge. It says Skype’s sponsorship of the Connector Of The Day segment in host Becky Anderson’s Connect The World show contravened rule 9.1 of the UK’s Broadcasting Code, which outlaws sponsorship of news programmes. ... While CNN owner Turner escaped sanction for the YouTube breach (Ofcom merely recorded the offence against Turner’s broadcasting license), the regulator is now angrier following the repeat offence. It says: 'Ofcom has significant concerns with Turner’s compliance with Rule 9.1 of the Code. In light of this, Ofcom is ... putting the licensee on notice that any further breaches of Rule 9.1 will be taken extremely seriously and in such circumstances Ofcom may consider further regulatory action.' Like the YouTube case, the Skype complaint put CNN International in the rather weird position of saying the show in question was not actually a news programme... 'The segment format of the "Connector of the Day" is explicitly not a news and current affairs format, even though it sits in a current affairs show.'" See also Ofcome statement via News on News, 8 June 2010. See previous post about same subject.
   Private international channels such as CNN International, which receives no government subsidy or income from license fees, must attract advertisers through creative commercial vehicles. This will be difficult if advertisements on international channels must comply with the regulations in all of the countries where they will be seen.
   Update: Andy Sennitt of Radio Netherlands Media Network provides an important clarification:
"Ofcom only regulates those broadcasters which produce programmes in the UK. CNN International produces and uplinks some of its content from London, and therefore is counted as a UK-based broadcaster."

CNBC begins broadcasts Monday from its new Bahrain hub.

Posted: 09 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Zawya, 7 June 2010, CNBC press release via: "CNBC ... will start broadcasting live from Bahrain on Monday, 14 June. The new editorial hub will coordinate and produce business and financial newsgathering from the Middle East, with a studio and production facility linked to CNBC's global network. Coverage will start on 14 June at 7.00am (Bahrain time) [0400 UTC] when CNBC's pan-regional programme Capital Connection, will be tri-anchored live from Bahrain, London and Singapore, Monday to Thursdays. On Fridays the show will be co-anchored from London and Singapore. ... To help celebrate the launch, viewers will be able to watch a free live broadcast of Capital Connection on CNBC.com. ... The show's global reach is considerable, broadcasting to 65 countries and more than 185 million households on CNBC in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in Australasia, New Zealand, on CNBC Africa and CNBC World in the United States. CNBC also announced that Yousef Gamal El-Din has joined the network as a co-presenter on Capital Connection and as CNBC's Middle East correspondent. Gamal El-Din joins from Nile TV in Egypt where he hosted several news, business and culture programmes since 2007."

Reason, tolerance, peace, understanding -- but any viewers?

Posted: 08 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Arab American Media Services, 6 June 2010: "Azhari TV, the education and entertainment satellite channel created to promote moderate Islam in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cairo in June 2009, has announced that it will now be available in English, French, Urdu and Pashto in addition to its original Arabic-language programming, thus extending its reach to hundreds of millions of additional viewers worldwide. ... Operating on a new channel, Azhari TV 2, the dub of the original content on the Arabic-language channel into four additional languages will enable the station to reach homes from Europe to Asia, spreading its message of reason and tolerance. ... The new channel, Azhari 2, will be available on prime news tiers on Hotbird, Asiasat, and Nilesat, giving it a reach of more than 325 million households in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It is aimed at exposing new audiences to the 'true face of Islam' as a force for peace and understanding." See also Canadian Press, 7 June 2010.

Press TV: Member of "terrorist organization" was introduced to the group by Radio Farda.

Posted: 08 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 8 June 2010: "A member of a terrorist organization operating in Iran says that a US State department radio station originally put him in touch with the group. Ali Motlaq is a member of The Royalist Association of Iran or Tondar, a terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks across Iran in the last 5 years. ... In an exclusive interview with Press TV's IRAN TODAY, he said he first got in touch with the group through Radio Farda - a Persian language radio station funded by the US State Department. ... Press TV has tried to contact the US State Department but has not yet received any response on the accusations." -- If/when the State Department calls back, it will presumably inform Press TV that Radio Farda is not "a US State department radio station." And what does "put him in touch" mean? Does it only mean that Ali Motlaq first heard about Tondar on Radio Farda? "Iran Today" is on today (Tuesday) at 2035 UTC, so maybe we'll find out.

Is the Iranian regime losing the satellite jamming fight? Will it be undone by Victoria Ruffo?

Posted: 08 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Newsweek, 5 June 2010, Christopher Dickey: "A battle for the future of Iran is shaping up in outer space, and it’s not about missiles or nuclear weapons. It’s about information—the ability to jam the signal that brings the news to the Iranian people via satellite television. And for the moment, it’s a fight the Iranian government appears to be losing. ... No. 1 on the list: BBC Persian TV, which began broadcasting in January ’09, just months before the election. ... [T]hree industry sources, who didn’t want to be named discussing the mullahs’ telecom disputes, say the Iranian government is in a difficult spot: Iran’s domestic TV broadcasts—key to the regime’s ability to maintain control and stability—depend on the very European satellites Iran is toying with to get its signals distributed across the country. (Arab-owned satellites have quit carrying Iran’s broadcasts, and Iran has no satellites of its own.) ... Since the end of May, BBC Persian TV has been transmitted from Hot Bird and is broadcasting, so far, without interference." -- I have not yet seen a satisfactory account of the effectiveness of Iranian satellite jamming or of Western efforts to overcome it. If Iranian authorities are no longer sending jamming signals up to satellites, they may still be sending interfering signals on the ground, directly into dishes. This method of jamming is effective over small areas, so is more feasible in cities. See previous post about same subject.
   The National (Abu Dhabi), 7 June 2010, Maryam Sinaiee: "Farsi 1, a satellite television channel run by the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, is gaining increasing popularity among Iranians, who complain that the homegrown fare is stale. Some authorities have expressed concern about the Hong Kong-based channel’s operation, which began broadcasting last August. ... The channel’s immense popularity has even been admitted by some officials. 'Research in one of the schools in Shiraz indicates that nearly all students and even teachers watch the programmes of Farsi 1.' ... The popular telenovela Victoria, a Spanish-language production starring Victoria Ruffo, is about a 50-year-old woman whose marriage is wrecked by her husband’s infidelity and who falls in love with a dashing young man 17 years her junior. Beside daily soaps including Victoria and The Bold and the Beautiful, a US-made show, Farsi 1 also broadcasts international dramas such as TheX-Files and Prison Break and such comedies as Dharma and Greg and How I Met Your Mother."

Listen to 40 radio plays on Voice of Russia. Knowledge of Russian apparently required.

Posted: 07 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 5 June 2010: "Saturday sees the unveiling of an international radio theater on the Voice of Russia, where 40 world famous plays will be broadcast in radio format on weekends. Later in the day, VOR listeners will hear Marina Tsvetayeva’s My Pushkin, staged by the Krasny Fakel Theater in the Russian Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The next few weeks will see presentations of plays of several Ukraine-based Drama Theaters." -- I think these are all in Russian. No information at the VOR English page, other than this article.

US soap operas are no longer the guiding light as the world turns to telenovelas.

Posted: 07 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Yale Global, 1 June 2010, Susan Froetschel: "In the 1930s when American detergent companies began sponsoring radio dramas and later television serials aimed at housewives, little did they know how much these 'soap operas' would influence the world. For generations of viewers, serials like 'Guiding Light' and 'As the World Turns' shaped opinions of life in capitalist, democratic societies. But for many reasons, American soaps faded, ceding place to telenovelas from Mexico and Brazil that cast a spell on viewers around the globe. ... [T]he US no longer monopolizes global television. Researchers from numerous disciplines analyze soap operas and telenovelas, agreeing that these modern folktales shape opinions, prompting viewers to reflect on their lives and prepare for social change. Researchers can’t predict which shows or formulas will inspire mass audiences, particularly cross borders, yet the competition may improve storytelling along with understanding of public policy in a complicated world."

Cold War thinking: rock music was bad but "effective as a subversive tool," thus OK for VOA.

Posted: 07 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Big Hollywood, 4 June 2010, Larry Schweikart: "In Seven Events that Made America America, I examined rock’s part in not only providing a source of hope and optimism for those youth locked under communism’s grip, but also how it became a subversive force within the East Bloc. ... [W]e ... interviewed Joseph Morris, who was legal counsel for the Voice of America, and who recalled that while some argued that no rock should be sent over the airwaves because it was 'degenerate' music, others insisted that while it was bad, rock was effective as a subversive tool. Morris and others challenged these views, successfully, noting that in fact rock was the essence of freedom—it epitomized freedom."

I think I finally understand why we are "paging Willis Conover."

Posted: 07 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 4 June 2010, Nancy Snow: "Paging Willis Conover: In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Bush Administration adopted a domestic-style political campaign strategy to explain the global war on terror. What may have worked for an American audience -- the use of the word 'crusade' to explain the president's resolve to a nation just attacked by terrorists -- conjured up negative historical associations overseas. Interviews with foreign media were arranged, but more interviews resulted in falling goodwill in the world. Why? Because the selling approach with words did not match actions (Abu Ghraib). What we know today is that asymmetrical warfare needs asymmetrical communications. Wikileaks needs monitoring and response as much as any Larry King Live show. The era of the cookie cutter approach is over. If our failures have taught us anything, it's that we have to look at every operation differently -- this is jazz and not architecture." -- She writes like Marshall McLuhan. As in you can figure out what the paragraph is about, but it takes an hour (that you will never have back) to do so. The upshot is that in strategic communications, free-form works better than a blueprint. All we need are bureaucrats who can -- and who are authorized to -- improvise.

Why your emergency radio should be able to receive shortwave.

Posted: 06 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Helium, 2 June 2010, Robert Smith: "What would you do in case of a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a break down of the nation's infrastructure? ... A portable, wind up/battery powered, AM, FM, short wave, is recommended."
   Why shortwave? During a serious emergency, you may lose all local power and communications, including landline telephone, cell phone, and internet, as well as all local broadcast and cable outlets. FM radio stations farther than about 125 kilometers away won't be audible. Distant medium wave (AM) stations can be heard at night, but during the day maximum range is about 250 kilometers. Hence the need for shortwave to get news and information during daylight hours. (Satellite television and radio would also provide information, but they consume more power -- scarce in such situations -- than analog radios.)
   The stations most likely to be heard are privately owned US stations, which are generally not distinguished for their news coverage. (Some may tell you: see, we told you the world was going to end.) VOA plans to close its last US-based shortwave facility, and BBC may end most of its shortwave broadcasting within five years. So far, CBC's Radio Canada International has not announced plans to close it facility at Sackville, New Brunswick. Canada and the CBC may therefore find themselves with the responsibility of keeping Americans informed after a disaster.

New technology is no substitute for quiet drinks in seedy bars.

Posted: 06 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The Drum, 3 June 2010, Jonathan Holmes: "[I]t's likely that the new 24-hour channel will make it harder, not easier, for the ABC to break news. ... The fear is that fewer phone calls will be made, journalists will be allowed out of the office to see for themselves still more seldom, that more and more 'news' will be produced on the back of less and less reporting. It's a problem that the ABC's rivals everywhere are facing. Reporters, and bureaux, and sub-editing staff, are being cut, even as websites demand not just text, but video, and audio, and (who knows) pretty soon smelleo, not soon, but right now. At least the ABC isn't facing, as many of its commercial rivals are, an actual diminution of revenue even as demands increase. But it is spreading its resources thinner. The bean-counters say that new technology will fill the gap. But new technology cannot make phone calls, and have quiet drinks in seedy bars, and patiently cultivate a source who's nervous that revealing wrongdoing will cost him his job. New technology, in other words, is no substitute for old-fashioned reporting."

Budget cut may force BBC World Service to "axe entire services."

Posted: 06 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 3 June 2010, Katherine Rushton: "The BBC is preparing to drop some of its international radio services in line with an expected cut to the World Service budget. The World Service is funded through a 'grant in aid' from the Foreign Office rather than the BBC licence fee, and is therefore subject to cuts in line with the reduction in national spending. The service’s £272m annual budget is currently due for renewal in 2011. Peter Horrocks, director of Global News and the World Service, acknowledged the risk that it may have to axe entire services, in an echo of the 2005 closure of 10 foreign-language services, which cost more than 200 jobs. ... Horrocks also urged the government to set out the World Service’s budgetary position. 'We haven’t been given any figures by the new government, but we want clarity as soon as possible… many people are anxious and have been for some time,' he told the BBC’s in-house newspaper, Ariel." See previous posts on 2 June and 24 May 2010.

FIFA World Cup can be expensive to cover, and expensive to watch.

Posted: 06 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands, 3 June 2010, Andy Sennitt: "[M]ore than a few eyebrows have been raised in the UK at the BBC’s decision to send about 300 members of staff to South Africa for the tournament, and to rent its own facilities in Cape Town rather than use the facilities of the International Broadcasting Centre. The facilities are reported to have cost the BBC £1m (1.2m euro). ... [T]o put these figures into perspective it’s worth noting that Irish public broadcaster RTÉ will be showing 56 live games and will manage with an 11-strong team in South Africa: four commentators, four co-commentators and three producers."
   BBC World Service press release, 3 June 2010: "BBC World Service has secured English and Swahili commentary rights from Fifa for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa, it was announced today. ... 'Our commentaries in English for Africa and Swahili will be supplied to over 400 FM stations across Africa and it's great to see journalists from other African stations joining the BBC commentary teams.'" Only just now securing those rights? See also BBCWS Africa Kicks (including the Africa Kicks bus).
   Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, 3 June 2010, Claire Wanja: "Equity bank has entered into a partnership with MultiChoice to enable soccer fans and enthusiasts catch the World Cup action live on SuperSport by offering unsecured loans for DSTV connection. The new deal will see DSTV subscribers pay their subscriptions at Equity Bank branches and automated teller machines (ATMs) countrywide and also through the banks Eazy 24/7 platform. Dr James Mwangi, Equity Bank Managing Director said that the bank would also extend soft credit to potential subscribers to buy MultiChoice DSTV decoders and TV sets and have instant connection to the DSTV services."
   Inspire, 3 June 2010: "Sports media group 2K Plus International Sports Media is producing a new radio programme for football fans during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The show will also be available online. ... The programme will be produced and presented by Steve Vickers, an experienced BBC World Service sports producer, assisted by local 2K Plus reporter Solomon Ashoms and sports journalist, Marcos Falcao from London. The programme is designed to bring listeners around the world a Christian perspective to the sport, culture and community events in South Africa during the World Cup. ... With international broadcast partners Feba South Africa and HCJB Global, 2K Plus is also producing programmes from the World Cup in French and Spanish. Offices and studios in Johannesburg are being provided by another partner, TWR."
   VOA's World Cup 2010 page includes Predict the World Cup Brackets contest. Prize: "'Kick It with VOA' prize pack stuffed with VOA T-shirt, hat, soccer ball and other goodies."
   Deutsche Welle: "Deutsche Welle presents: The World Cup Predictor. Pick the winners and lead your country to victory." Top prize: "A trip for two to Germany – home of 'Fußball' - Tickets for a 'Bundesliga' game – the top soccer league in Germany." See also Radio Netherlands' World Cup Dossier.

Flotilla crisis media update.

Posted: 05 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Inter Press Service, 3 June 2010, Jerrold Kessel & Pierre Klochendler: "Normally, in this non-descript sleepy Arab town in Galilee, TV sets are tuned to Al-Jazeera or Al-Arabiyya, the round-the-clock Arabic networks. Thursday afternoon, all eyes were on Israeli Channels One, Two and Ten. As part of their blanket coverage of the flotilla fiasco, all three Hebrew channels were live in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Pandemonium reigned. The plenum was like a boat engulfed by stormy seas."
   New York Times, The Lede, 3 June 2010, Robert Mackey: "On Thursday, Al Jazeera English broadcast an interview with Jamal Elshayyal, one of the channel’s journalists who was on board the Mavi Marmara on Monday when it was intercepted by Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade on Gaza. In his account of the start of the raid, which left nine activists dead and has sparked calls for an independent investigation, Mr. Elshayyal insisted that the Israelis had fired live ammunition at the ship from the air before commandos landed on the boat and said that he had seen someone shot and killed by a bullet that hit the top of his head."
   AFP, 3 June 2010, Hazel Ward: "The Israeli military's YouTube site is using 'pirated' footage confiscated from journalists on board a Turkish vessel in a bid to defend its botched flotilla raid, a press body charged on Thursday. 'The Foreign Press Association (FPA) strongly condemns the use of photos and video material shot by foreign journalists, now being put out by the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) spokesman's office as "captured material",' a statement from the organisation said."
   Jerusalem Post, 4 June 2010, Haviv Rettig Gur: "[W]hile Israel’s spokespeople continue to trust in diplomacy, bureaucracy and methodical fact-finding, the country’s enemies set the agenda and drive the political winds by getting their views into the media faster and delivering the more interesting story. To deliver its own messages to a skeptical world, Israel must develop the same capabilities displayed by election campaigns. Tell the story simply, directly, believably. Tell it fast, and don’t make us beg for the proof."
   The Guardian, Comment is Free, 4 June 2010, Antony Lerman: The "Israeli version of events was very often given an uncritical airing. The fact that the video was a selected and edited segment, that the activists who witnessed what happened were being held incommunicado, that every bit of recorded evidence they may have had in their possession was being confiscated – this context was rarely highlighted, with BBC online and radio coverage particularly weak in this respect."
   CNN, 5 June 2010: "The Israeli government's press division is apologizing for circulating a link to a video that mocks activists aboard a ship headed to Gaza earlier this week that was blocked by an Israeli raid. ... The video, titled "We Con the World" -- set to the tune of the 1985 hit, 'We are the World' -- was put together by Caroline Glick, a former member of the Israel Defense Forces and columnist for the Jerusalem Post."
   Aljazeera.net, Middle East blog, 4 June 2010, Ayman Mohyeldin: "[T]he most recent video distributed on Friday by the Israeli government press office (which belongs to the Israeli prime minister's office and is responsible for accrediting foreign journalists) is distasteful and insulting to those killed and injured on the Freedom Flotilla, and quite frankly disturbing - especially since it was made by the Jerusalem Post's deputy managing editor, Caroline Glick, who also moonlights for the American Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC." See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera announces "new newsroom structure" with focus on "interplay" between TV and internet.

Posted: 05 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Peninsula (Doha), 3 June 2010: "Al Jazeera Network recently announced a new newsroom structure designed to continue to build quality in it news operations. The new structure will change the organisation and method of work in the newsroom in what Al Jazeera has termed as the 'Multiplatform Multimedia Newsroom'. The Network has also commissioned a team of specialists to survey the latest developments in newsroom management with focus on the interplay and relationship between the TV news and the Internet. In accordance with the new structure the network announced several changes and new appointments in Al Jazeera Channel’s senior management. ... The Network has also appointed Ayman Gaballah, former Deputy Chief Editor of Al Jazeera Channel, as the Managing Director of Al Jazeera Mubasher. Similar to C-Span, Al Jazeera Mubasher is the first 24-hour live news and events channel in the Arab world focusing on uncut televised broadcasts of regional and international events as well as breaking news."
   The Guardian, Comment is Free, 4 June 2010, Nesrine Malik: "The quarrel over dress code at al-Jazeera appears to be the first precipitation of ideological and political conflict. It is a worrying sign that a channel which has been a pioneer in many ways could be falling victim to the very patterns of behaviour it made a name for denouncing in the Arab countries." See previous post about same subject.

Report: Internet censorship in Thailand affects 4,500 websites, Facebook, Twitter.

Posted: 05 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
PBS MediaShift, 3 June 2010, Clothilde Le Coz: In Thailand, "the Internet is falling prey to censorship. So far, around 4,500 websites have been blocked in an attempt by the regime to institute partial censorship of news about the nine-week crisis. Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Twitter account has also been blocked since May 19. On that same day, the leadership's Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) blocked Facebook and Twitter, which had been functioning as alternative sources of news after TV stations began broadcasting government-controlled programming."

HBO's "For Neda" broadcast by VOA Persian News Network (updated: jamming and power cuts).

Posted: 04 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 2 June 2010: "VOA's Persian News Network has been granted rights to air the HBO documentary For Neda, the tragic story of the young Iranian woman shot and killed last year during the turmoil that followed Iran's controversial presidential election. ... The hour-long HBO documentary tells Neda's personal story, featuring previously unseen footage with friends and family, including her father, sister and brother. The documentary, which airs in the United States on HBO June 14 and 20, also contains exclusive video recorded the day she died."
   Update: The Guardian, 4 June 2010, Ian Black: "Iran is jamming satellite broadcasts in attempts to stop people seeing a new film telling the story of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot dead during the mass protests that followed last summer's disputed presidential election. Viewers in Tehran complained of jamming and power cuts on Wednesday and yesterday evening when the Voice of America Persian TV network broadcast the documentary For Neda , featuring the first film interviews with the family of the 27-year-old." See also The Guardian, 4 June 2010, Saeed Kamali Dehghan.

AP report notwithstanding, the VOA Chinese website is still blocked in China.

Posted: 04 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 4 June 2010, Anita Chang: "[M]any Chinese and foreign-language pornography sites were accessible Friday and reports said they were apparently unblocked earlier this week. Other newly unblocked sites included Voice of America, video-sharing site Vimeo and URL shortening site bit.ly. ... 'I think it's totally just a glitch. These things have happened often before. (Censors) screw up and some site will suddenly become available for a day or two days and then be back to normal again. There's never any rhyme or reason to it,' said Kaiser Kuo, a Beijing-based technology analyst. 'It's almost certainly not deliberate policy.'" -- The International Broadcasting Bureau's remote monitoring system shows www.voanews.com/chinese, a.k.a. www.voachinese.com, still blocked in China. The blog reports where this news originated refer to and link to the VOA website, which would be the English-language www.voanews.com. The RMS has lately shown this English site not to be blocked in China.

Turner will broadcast Jordanian-produced children's television shows in Europe, Asia and North America.

Posted: 04 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 4 June 2010, Ben Flanagan: "Turner Broadcasting, a unit of the US media conglomerate Time Warner, has signed a partnership deal with the Jordan-based production company Rubicon Group to broadcast around the world children’s television shows produced in the Middle East. ... Rubicon and Cartoon Network will also develop merchandising programmes around the launch of a new series of Ben & Izzy, the animated comedy in English and Arabic, and Tareq wa Shireen, the Arabic-language series focused on Arab heritage and culture. The two shows will be rolled out to additional regions including Europe, Asia and North America 'within nine to 12 months'."

New president of BBC Worldwide America looks to US productions with BBC DNA.

Posted: 04 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 1 June 2010, Brian Stelter: "The British Broadcasting Corporation said Wednesday that it brought in Herb Scannell, a former president of Nickelodeon, to run its growing operation in the United States. Among his first tasks: increasing production in the United States for a channel, BBC America, that has traditionally relied on British imports. ... In a telephone interview, Mr. Scannell said that he would push for BBC America to be fully distributed in the country’s 100-million-plus cable and satellite households. It is currently available in about 67 million households. ... Mr. Scannell said that programs made in the United States would be relevant to American audiences while maintaining 'the DNA of the BBC, which is smart, innovative and irreverent.' BBC America’s audience is small, but it is steadily growing, according to the Nielsen Company. It averaged 132,000 viewers in prime time in 2009, up from 70,000 viewers in 2005. It features British imports like 'Doctor Who' and 'Top Gear.'"
   Variety, 2 June 2010, Michael Schneider: "Scannell's Nickelodeon background will come in handy as the BBC prepares to introduce its young kids franchise, CBeebies, to the U.S. market. ... As prexy of BBC Worldwide America, Scannell will oversee channel BBC America, as well as BBC Worldwide Productions, BBC.com in the U.S., and sales and distribution." See also BBC Worldwide press release, 2 June 2010.

Lena from Germany wins Eurovision Song Contest without tacky costumes, pyrotechnics, and LEDs.

Posted: 04 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 31 May 2010, DW music editor Matthias Klaus commenting on the victory of Germany's Lena Meyer-Landrut at the Eurovision Song Contest: "Over the years, the Eurovision Song Contest has created a parallel universe of kitsch and pomp. The world's biggest TV event, it features over-the-top performances, tacky costumes and songs that might be unbearable to anyone who lacks a secret fondness for bad music. Lena's decision to opt out of the gaudy spectacle was a wise one - but it would only work for someone with her special charm. Where others relied on pyrotechnics and LED outfits, Lena took the stage as Lena, pure and simple." See also Eurovision Song Contest website.

Report: Radios used to listen to VOA Studio 7 confiscated in Zimbabwe.

Posted: 04 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Zimbabwean, 2 June 2010, Tony Saxon: "Zanu (PF) supporters and self-styled war veterans here are reportedly moving door-to-door here in an effort to prevent people listening to foreign radio broadcasts by confiscating their radios. The people from Buhera said the move was to force people not to listen to the radio reports on constitution making process that is expected to begin next week. An [opposition] MDC T councillor Tapiwa Ngorima said: 'All those listening to radio stations broadcasting from outside the country are being told they will be identified, because they are accused of influencing others to support the MDC in the area.' He said there were some incidents reported to police in Buhera but there have been no any arrests made so far. 'We have cases where our supporters lost their radios after the Zanu (PF) and war veterans accused them of listening to Studio 7. Their radios were forcibly confiscated. We have made reports to the police in Buhera but nothing was done to bring the perpetrators to book,' said the councillor. Studio 7 is broadcast through the Short Wave from Voice of America."

No jazz this year in the VOA Auditorium, and other VOA in the news.

Posted: 03 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
DCist, 1 June 2010: "Today marks the start of the 2010 D.C. Jazz Festival, hands down the biggest annual jazz event in our nation's capital. For five years, it was called the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, in celebration of the jazz icon who was born here in the District. ... [T]here have been some programming cuts. Duke Fest's most well-attended concert was its free show on the Mall, and one of it's most popular was the annual closing concert held at the Voice of America. Due to budgetary constraints and scheduling conflicts, neither show will take place this year, but the organizers are confident of their return next year, and are already planning the lineups."
   VOA News, 1 June 2010: "Veteran VOA journalist Howard Lesser retires after 31 years at the Voice of America and as co-host of 'Daybreak Africa'. ... He thanked his listeners for being such gracious and engaging listeners and helping to give his broadcasting career enhanced meaning for over 30 years."
   Radio Ink, 2 June 2010: "Today opened Radio Ink's first RadioTech Summit ... opened by keynote speaker James Cridland of the UK's Not At All Bad Ltd. Cridland, a 'Radio Futurologist,' used examples from around the world to illustrate the potential for radio -- 'what radio what be like in 10 years' time,' he said ... . [He cited] a powerful show produced by Voice of America in Cambodia, about a woman whose family was killed while she studied abroad during the Khmer Rouge uprising in the '70s; Cridland said the images available along with the show made viewing it 'an incredibly moving experience' although he didn't understand the language."

US Commission on International Religious Freedom passes the plate for Radio Farda and VOA.

Posted: 03 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL Watchdog, 31 May 2010, Ladan Nekoomaram: "The latest report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ... calls for the use of funds to promote the free flow of information to and from Iran, including support for RFE/RL's Radio Farda."
   Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, May 2010: "[A]dequately fund U.S. public diplomacy entities, such as Voice of America and Radio Farda, and expand and develop new programming focusing solely on the situation of human rights — including the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief — in Iran."
   Does "adequately fund" mean match the budget of BBC World Service, the station with the largest audience? Actually, in that case, the budget for US international broadcasting ($717 million) would have be be reduced to that of BBC World Service ($410 million). Achieving adequacy involves more than more money.
   It would be better for US international broadcasting to address human rights matters as they occur in the news -- which, in Iran, is often enough. Entire programs about the subject could give human rights the aura of a US propaganda theme. And the audience would wonder if it is the purpose of Radio Farda and VOA PNN to advance an agenda, no matter how commendable, or report the news. USIB should stick to the news, while the Persian page of the public diplomacy site America.gov can devote a voluminous section to "freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief."

Netanyahu uses social media to explain "what went down" during flotilla raid.

Posted: 03 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, The Lede, 2 June 2010, Robert Mackey: "[R]eaders of [Prime Minister Netanyahu's] Twitter feed and Facebook page were advised to watch a sort of video remix of footage from Monday’s deadly commando raid, which asserts that the activists killed or arrested as they tried to reach Gaza with humanitarian aid were planning 'a terrorist attack, designed to kidnap and murder Israeli soldiers.' The video, called 'Keeping Lies Afloat,' splices together some of the annotated clips of the raid released by Israel’s military with clips from the flotilla that an anti-Palestinian group says are proof that the activists were prepared for violence. It also adds a soundtrack and some titles written in the sort of faux-hip lingo employed by ad copywriters who want to reach out to young people. For instance, the titles promise to explain 'the real deal' about 'what went down' during the raid."
   Jerusalem Post, 3 June 2010, Mark Rebacz: "The IDF Spokesman’s Office, which operates its own YouTube channel, is getting the most hits, with some videos reaching a hit count of over a million. But the IDF channel’s response feature is disabled, so no posts are allowed. The same is true of the response feature on Al Jazeera’s channel. However, for video-poster Russia Today, for instance – a popular English news channel that focuses on international news – despite its top video only reaching a view count of a few hundred thousand, the number of responses posted is in the hundreds, if not thousands."
   YouTube, 3 June 2010, Al Jazeera English: "Both sides of Flotilla story." -- The report did include an IDF spokesperson. But the caption "Israel's Selective Use of Video" appeared in the bottom third during most of it.
   Committee to Protect Journalists, 2 June 2010: "Media accounts have indicated that 60 journalists or more were aboard the ships; on Tuesday, CPJ independently verified the names and affiliations of 20 journalists who had been taken into custody. Othman Battiri, a senior producer at Al-Jazeera who was on board the Mavi Marmara and released on Tuesday, told CPJ that soldiers confiscated Al-Jazeera's cameras, tapes, satellite phones, and mobile phones." Reporters sans frontières, 2 June 2010: "Reporters Without Borders reiterates its urgent appeal to the Israeli authorities to release the journalists who were accompanying the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that was intercepted on 31 May."
   Ynet News, 2 June 2010: "Four Lebanese employees of Al-Jazeera who participated in the flotilla to Gaza have been returned to their home country through the Rosh Hanikra border crossing. One of them was brought to the crossing by an ambulance from the hospital in Petah Tikvah." See previous post about same subject.

"Garbage bags of propaganda," and other inter-Korean media update.

Posted: 03 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
CNN, 31 May 2010, Kyung Lah: "[B]alloons are the weapons in breaking Kim Jong Il's spell, say the Fighters for Free North Korea. The group, made up primarily of North Korean defectors, says if North Korea can't get any messages from the outside world, then outside world must deliver those messages in. How? The giant helium balloons carrying the garbage bags of propaganda, which can fly 200 kilometers over the border, straight into the heart of Pyongyang."
   The Korea Times, June 1 2010, Kang Hyun-kyung: "North Korea threatened to fire at loudspeakers that the South Korean military are setting up near the border in order to disseminate the 'Voice of Freedom' radio broadcast. If the broadcasts are launched, North Korean residents living within 30 kilometers of the border during daytime and 124 kilometers away at nighttime can hear about what's going on in South Korea and what happened in the North." -- Loudspeaker audio can travel 124 kilometers? Or even 30 kilometers? I doubt it, and certainly hope not. Involuntary exposure to loud noise would never win my heart or mind.
   AP, 1 June 2010, Sangwon Yoon "North Korea is stealing ordinary South Korean citizens' identities to open Internet accounts and post messages denying Pyongyang's involvement in the recent sinking of a South Korean warship, Seoul's top spy agency said Tuesday."
   Chosun Ilbo, 2 June 2010: "The posts are broadly the same as a statement from the North's National Defense Commission, its top policy body. It was uploaded on the state-run North Korean website Uriminzokkiri."
   Chosun Ilbo, 3 June 2010: "North Korea's latest cyber operation has once again demonstrated the weaknesses inherent in South Korea's computer defense system. The authorities must find out the source and facts behind the latest cyber attack and fix the weak links. And they must ensure that young South Koreans, who are the most frequent visitors of websites, are not swayed by North Korean propaganda."
   New York Times, 31 May 2010, Choe Sang-hun: "Last week, the South resumed its 'Voice of Freedom' radio broadcasts, which do not directly criticize North Korean leaders but promote the capitalist lifestyles of the South." See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera Arabic and English available free on iThis and iThat.

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Peninsula (Doha), 2 June 2010: "Al Jazeera is set to launch a number of important initiatives that will deliver high quality content to mobile devices worldwide, in tune with its network-wide strategy to provide the widest possible audience with the channel’s award-winning English and Arabic news services. The broadcasters will be making their English and Arabic news channels available free on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. This will help to support the growing international demand for the channels, which has been demonstrated since the applications were made available on these devices. Additionally, across the Middle East and North Africa region Al Jazeera’s news widget will be preloaded in all new Samsung Wave phones. On Nokia phones, Al Jazeera’s widget became available worldwide in Nokia’s Ovi Store from yesterday."

Five female Al Jazeera news presenters quit in dress code dispute (updated).

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 30 May 2010: "Five female news presenters at the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera satellite television channel have resigned over conflicts with management over dress code and other issues, a journalist there said on Sunday. 'This collective resignation is not motivated just by the growing pressure on the presenters concerning their dress code, which was evoked by the media,' said the journalist, who asked not to be identified. 'The conflicts run much deeper,' the journalist added. ... The Al-Hayat daily reported on Sunday that they had resigned in the past few days after petitioning management in January over repeated criticism from a top company official for allegedly not being conservative enough in their dress."
   Update: Daily Mail, 1 June 2010: "Arab bloggers have thrown their support behind the women, with one claiming the TV station's management was 'attempting to impose one political and ideological' standpoint on its staff. A staff journalist said: 'This collective resignation is not motivated just by the growing pressure on the presenters concerning their dress code, which was evoked by the media. The conflicts run much deeper.'"
   Gulf News, 2 June 2010: "'Al Jazeera, in line with its policy of rejecting arm-twisting, has accepted the resignation of the five rebellious presenters,' an official from the pan-Arab station was quoted as saying in the Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper yesterday. ... Other measures taken by the station, according to Al Quds Al Arabi, included naming Ahmad Al Shaikh, the editor in chief, consultant to Shaikh Hamad Bin Thamer, the board chairman. He would be replaced by Salah Najm who left BBC Arabic to work for Al Jazeera. Ayman Jaballah, the deputy editor-in-chief, whose attitudes were cited by the women presenters in their petition as a major cause for their resignation, was appointed head of station channel Al Jazeera Live. An ad hoc investigation committee set up by Al Jazeera to look into the presenters' petition had cleared Jaballah of the harassment complaint." See previous post with more Al Jazeera in the news.

New "Beyond Markets" on CNBC Africa will have hosts in Johannesburg and Lagos.

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 2 June 2010: On CNBC Africa, "Beyond Markets launches on 7 June 2010 in the prime time evening slot, 8pm to 9pm, and will be seen in the 6am to 7am slot from 8 June replacing Business AM. Hosted from Johannesburg by Lerato Mbele and from Lagos by Wole Famurewa, Beyond Markets aims to provide a platform for African leaders and experts to discuss issues influencing business. ... Head of programming Jill de Villiers says, 'Beyond Markets is designed to become a must-watch markets-and-beyond show across the continent. The team will give viewers a roundup of the day's main African markets, with commentary on trading patterns, currency trends and corporate actions.'" See also The Times (Johannesburg), 1 June 2010.
   Bizcommunity.com, 2 June 2010: "Another change on the morning schedule is an extended and newly structured version of the morning markets show 'Open Exchange'."
   Business Insider, 1 June 2010, Antonina Jedrzejczak: "As it turns out, CNBC has a total of 35 (!) female anchors and reporters—19 at CNBC U.S., 8 at CNBC Asia and 8 at CNBC Europe, according to the network."

English-language radio station "with an American Muslim flavor" uses smartphones to reach its audience.

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
InFocus News, 31 May 2010, Sondos Kholoki-Kahf: "One Legacy Radio, an online radio station that discusses all things Islam by a group of highly talented Muslim professionals, is a dream come true for its co-founder, Nour Mattar and for the Muslim community nationwide. OLR is rapidly gaining a reputation for professionalism and relevance through programming that consists of talk shows, health and fitness programs, and music, all with an American Muslim flavor. Mattar, 32, came up with the idea for a Muslim radio station long ago, but waited until the technology caught up with his dream. Rather than using the traditional AM/FM dial, which is limited in reach, Mattar wanted to reach listeners nationwide, and possibly, internationally. Enter the smartphone. OLR is set up similarly to the popular internet radio station, Pandora; listeners can tune in through the internet from any location, not just by sitting in front of the computer. 'With the smartphone, people can listen in the car,' Mattar says, without expensive Satellite radio subscriptions or faulty reception. ... Mattar prefers to avoid the reputation of being 'an Arabic station' by limiting the use of Arabic words on air. All programs and music are in English to cater to the mostly second-generation American Muslim audience." See also www.onelegacyradio.com.

World Cup foreign-language radio commentary in the United States.

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
MediaPost, 2 June 2010, David Goetzl: "WorldBand Media [is] a company that controls all foreign-language rights -- save Spanish -- to radio broadcasts of the tournament, after acquiring them from ESPN. In the days before the World Cup kicks off June 11 in South Africa, WorldBand is vigorously trying to sign up stations to narrowcast the games to various ethnic communities -- from Chinese in San Francisco to the Koreans in Los Angeles to a pocket of Greeks in Florida. In addition to the AM stations that have come on board, WorldBand will carry games on the four HD Radio stations it operates that target people with roots in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. ... In addition to L.A., Korean stations in New York and Atlanta will air broadcasts, while five Chinese stations will carry games, some in Mandarin and others in Cantonese. Negotiations are continuing with Greek, Italian, Portguese and Japanese outlets ... The Chinese broadcasts will be in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition to the potential deal with a Greek station in Florida, Herd said there has been interest from Portuguese AM stations in New England and a Japanese outlet in Hawaii." Not to be confused with "world band radio," a synonym for shortwave.

India's Doordarshan plans international English-language channel "on the lines of BBC World."

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
afaqs!, 1 June 2010, Sangeeta Tanwar: India's "[p]ublic broadcaster Doordarshan has its hands full this year, not only with the Commonwealth Games, but also with big plans for its family of channels, including DD India, DD Bharati and DD Urdu. ... Doordarshan plans to convert DD India into an English-language channel, which would cater to India's vast English-speaking population, as well as the PIOs (People of Indian Origin). DD India will package Indian news for the international audience. The content and debate-discussion based programming will focus on medical tourism and education, in addition to the traditional programming that DD India is currently known for. As Sharma says, 'As an English-language channel, DD India will serve as a window to showcase the best of India to the outside world, on the lines of BBC World.' Doordarshan also hopes to attract advertising from global Indian brands on this channel."

BBC World Service hopes to add television for Pakistan, Africa.

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 2 June 2010, Ian Burrell: "The BBC is hoping to launch a television news service in Pakistan in order to provide an alternative to what the corporation's director of Global News yesterday described as the 'sensationalist' and 'biased' reports of some existing broadcasters in the politically-volatile South Asian state. Peter Horrocks, who is also the director of the BBC World Service, said the provision of a BBC Urdu television service would build on the popularity of the corporation's Arabic and Persian television networks and would offer a valued source of independent journalism to the people of Pakistan. ... Mr Horrocks also has ambitions for new BBC television networks in sub-Saharan Africa, working alongside local broadcasters. The BBC enjoys large audiences for its radio and online services in Africa, most notably in Kenya and Nigeria. 'We would want a pan-Africa service which builds on the BBC's strength as the broadcaster and news provider that helps to bind Africa together.' ... Another ambition of Mr Horrocks is to offer English language lessons in Africa via mobile phones. This would be funded separately through the BBC World Service Trust charity."
   The Independent, 2 June 2010, Ian Burrell: "The director of the World Service, Peter Horrocks, said that the 'real take off' has been in listening to the BBC's output by phone. 'In key markets such as Asia and Africa, people are just starting to use mobile phones for more than texting and phone calls, and the BBC is at the leading edge of introducing content on those new technologies.' ... The World Service argues it can't afford to stand still – but that doesn't mean it will do away with the shortwave signal just yet. In Nigeria, the government still refuses the BBC access to FM, so listeners to Story Story rely on their shortwave sets. And in countries such as Burma and Somalia, shortwave is the only option."
   The Guardian, 1 June 2010, Harriet Minter: "Senior product manager at the BBC World Service Trust. BBC job descriptions always seem to require an expert knowledge of both the sector and buzzwords. If you're a web savvy producer who can bandy about words such as 'project life-cycle management' and 'e-learning systems' with relish then you might be in with a chance."

The dueling videos of the flotilla crisis.

Posted: 02 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 1 June 2010, Brian Stelter: "When Israeli commandos attacked the so-called Freedom Flotilla, both sides were well armed — with video cameras — and both sides have released a blizzard of video clips as evidence that the other side was the aggressor in the conflict on Monday, which left nine activists dead. ... The flotilla videos have proved a popular draw online, with one from the Israel Defense Forces attracting more than 600,000 views on YouTube. Scenes from both perspectives have been shown in a continuous loop on television news programs all over the world, stirring public outrage. But what is missing so far from the flotilla clips on both sides is context: it is difficult to establish the sequence of events or, more simply, to determine who attacked first. The videos have made it all the more murky."
   Wired Danger Room, 1 June 2010, Noah Shachtman: "Every few hours, the Israeli Defense Forces are uploading to YouTube a new video meant to demonstrate that their troops acted responsibly — and that the people in the 'Free Gaza' flotilla were the hostile ones.
   Huffington Post, 1 June 2010, Hani Almadhoun: "Al Jazeera English scored yet another win for their live coverage of the story. They followed the story until the last minute when they were forced to stop broadcasting and their crew was detained by the 'brave' Israeli soldiers. While I am not a fan of Al Jazeera Arabic for their political opinions, I think the English one continues to remind American media outlets on what real journalism looks like."
   Press TV, 2 June 2010: "Three days after the deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the fate of Press TV's British national correspondent onboard the humanitarian convoy remains unknown. All contact with Press TV's Hassan Ghani was lost soon after Israeli commandos intercepted the Freedom Flotilla in international waters... ."

Times of London: VOA report "pinpoints a key ambiguity" in UN resolution about flotilla crisis.

Posted: 01 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
The Times (of London), 1 June 2010, Judith Evans: "11.00 BST Earlier the UN Security Council agreed a resolution calling for an impartial and credible investigation into the killings. But Voice of America pinpoints a key ambiguity in the wording, which appears to leave open the possibility of Israel itself carrying out the investigation." Refers to...
   VOA News, 1 June 2010, Margaret Behseer: "The council also called for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards. That language is a diplomatic twist on what Turkey and Arab states were demanding - an independent international investigation. This ambiguity left open interpretations of who would conduct the investigation - Israel or independent investigators possibly appointed by the United Nations."
   The Guardian, 1 June 2010, Roy Greenslade: "It was difficult, if not impossible, for journalists to report freely on the attack by Israeli forces on the aid ships attempting to break the Gaza blockade. But Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal did manage to make this broadcast before communications were cut. He was on board the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla of six vessels, which was boarded by Israeli commandos who were lowered on to its deck from helicopters."
   Arab News, 1 June 2010, Siraj Wahab: "A good comparison is the coverage between the British Broadcasting Corp. and Qatar-based Al-Jazeera News." Arab News, 1 June 2010: "Al Jazeera network has eight member of its staff on board... ."
   VHeadline.com, 1 June 2010: "Telesur continental TV channel president, Andres Izarra confirmed that Telesur's Spanish journalist, David Segarra, who was traveling with the flotilla, was sa[f]e and well in Israel."

Select yourself for the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters listener survey.

Posted: 01 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Southgate Amateur Radio Club, 31 May 2010: "The National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters in the US has launched a Shortwave Listener Survey, which is now online. The purpose of the survey is to gather demographic and other information about shortwave listeners in North America and around the world. Questions deal with listener preferences regarding shortwave stations, programming, receivers, DRM and much more." With link to survey. The NASB is an organization of privately owned shortwave radio stations in the United States.

Russia Today's interest in Ron, and now Rand, Paul.

Posted: 01 Jun 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 28 May 2010, David Weigel: "Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul has reoriented his media strategy after his nightmarish interviews with Rachel Maddow and Good Morning America last week -- national media, for now, is not on his radar. The last national interview we'll see goes to Russia Today, an English language station funded by the Russian government, and one that has expressed an amazingly high level of interest in Paul's father and the tea party movement. ... The questions are -- how to put this? -- less tricky than the ones put to Paul by [Rachel] Maddow."
   The Moscow Times, 31 May 2010: "U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul has stirred up controversy by telling Russia Today television that he opposes citizenship for children born in the United States to parents who are illegal immigrants."
   Media Matters for America, 1 June 2010, Will Bunch: "OK, so Rand Paul spoke with a Kremlin-funded news org -- nothing wrong with talking to the foreign press every so often, right? Except that Russia Today, or RT, also promotes a particular brand of conspiracy theorizing that many voters in Paul's home state of Kentucky would find appalling -- including frequent news stories and commentators promoting the idea that 9/11 was a U.S. government inside job."