Iran broadcasts Hollywood films to counter "badly dubbed" Korean soap operas on Farsi 1 satellite channel.

Posted: 31 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Intelligence Partners Ltd press release, 28 July 2010: "Iran’s government already denies its people access to stations such as BBC Persian and the internet is heavily restricted for all but a very few. With such a restricted media, the Iranian population are forced to choose between he ideological state television and the increasingly popular Farsi 1 channel, which is purely for entertainment. Farsi 1, which is owned by the Moby Media Group, features no news or original programming, but it does stream back-to-back episodes of badly dubbed Korean and Col[o]mbian soap operas. Fearing the increasing popularity of the channel, the State broadcasters have, in recent months, been showing major Hollywood films in a bid to lure viewers back towards State controlled channels. ... Another victim of Iranian censorship on information is the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia Persian. Last week, it was added to the ever growing list of banned web sites."

New York Times, 27 July 2010, Neil MacFarquhar "The Web keeps [Iranian exiles] involved with events inside Iran, easing some of the isolation of life in exile. ... 'They have shifted the goal posts in saying that Iran is ruled by an illegitimate government; that had never been said before by so many people who were important inside the government,' said Behrouz Afagh, the director of the BBC World Service for Asia and the Pacific, including its successful Persian-language television channel. 'But they have a future only if things inside Iran keep moving. Once out they might be effective for a year or two, then what they say will not have the same resonance.' ... The Iranian government has tried to combat their use of the Internet by slowing the Web, so YouTube videos or other large files are often impossible to view from inside the country. But enough information passes back and forth that many exiles feel connected."

RFE/RL, 28 July 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: The new social-networking site Velayatmadaran, "launched by the Iranian establishment ... [is] an attempt by Iranian officials to get in on the social-networking craze. Like other sites that have proved to be crucial tools for communication, discussion, and the exchange of news and information among members of the opposition -- including Facebook -- Velayatmadaran allows users to network and post pictures, videos, and articles. ... New York-based journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, who was jailed in Iran in 2004 over his online writings, says the creation of Velayatmadaran and other similar moves -- such as the launching of hard-line blogs -- is the result of Tehran viewing the Internet as a threat. 'The Islamic republic and the security military organs that are behind such projects make a big mistake by thinking that online tools -- blogs and now social-networking websites -- themselves have the power to influence,' Mirebrahimi says. 'It's a wrong belief, these are only tools -- the ideas that are being discussed within these tools are [what is] important.'"

Activists launch family planning devices to North Korea. Oh, sorry, those are balloons.

Posted: 31 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 27 July 2010: "South Korean activists launched propaganda leaflets towards North Korea on Tuesday on the anniversary of the Korean War armistice, after ripping up its flag and calling for the death of leader Kim Jong Il. ... Around 150 people gathered at a park at Imjingak near the border to release ten giant balloons carrying some 100,000 leaflets, 300 DVDs and 1,000 one-US-dollar notes. ... The two Koreas agreed in 2004 to halt official cross-border propaganda, although private South Korean groups still launch leaflets. The North's military describes them as a 'despicable psychological smear campaign'. Winds were unfavourable for Tuesday's launch, with the balloons being carried back into South Korea. It was unclear how many leaflets were blown across the border."

Chosun Ilbo, 28 July 2010: "'We floated the leaflets to the North to tell North Koreans the truth about the North's invasion of the South that caused tremendous sacrifice and misfortunes among the Korean people.'"

Radio Free Asia report about reprimand of North Korean World Cup team widely cited by news media.

Posted: 31 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg, 26 July 2010, Kyung Bok Cho: "North Korea’s soccer team was reprimanded this month on its return to Pyongyang for losing all three of its World Cup matches and 'betraying the trust' of Kim Jong Un, son of leader Kim Jong Il, Radio Free Asia said, citing unidentified people."

AP, 28 July 2010. "Radio Free Asia said the team was summoned to a closed-door meeting in Pyongyang earlier this month and criticized for its losses to Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast. The report says players were then ordered to reprimand coach Kim Jong Hun. The report cited unidentified sources in North Korea and a Chinese businessman described as knowledgeable about North Korea affairs. South Korea's main spy agency could not confirm the report, and there was no mention of any such meeting in North Korean state media." This RFA report was cited by many other news organizations, including The Korea Herald, 27 July 2010. I hope for the sake of RFA's credibility its sources in North Korea are reliable. See also Radio Free Asia, 28 July 2010. See previous post about RFA reporting on North Korea.

The Korea Herald, 26 July 2010: "According to the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia, the North has put its military and people on heightened alert due to the exercise. The North’s military has begun its own military exercise, the RFA quoted a North Korean source as saying."

New York Times, 25 July 2010, Choe Sang-hun: "Radio Free Asia reported that the North had put both its military and its people on high alert.

Lankaweb, 25 July 2010, Ajit Randeniya: "The black propaganda has already begun, with that ‘private, non-profit broadcasting organisation, the US Congress funded ‘Radio Free Asia’ reporting that the North has put its military and ‘hunger-stricken people’ on high alert!", 24 July 2010, Timothy V. Gatto: "The validity of the investigation [into the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan] was questioned by two American investigators from John Hopkins University and the University of Virginia. ... What I found to be more curious wasn't that the mainstream media didn't report on this story, but that the Voice of America, a semi-official mouthpiece for the government of the United States did."

Refers to VOA News, 9 July 2010, Akiko Fujita.

VOA Botswana MW relay is "squatting" on Zimbabwe frequency, former official says.

Posted: 31 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Herald (Zimbabwe), 27 July 2010, via Radio Netherlands Media Network: "Professor Jonathan Moyo, who was Minister of Information in Zimbabwe from 2000-2005, claims that VOA Studio 7 is operating illegally from Botswana, in contravention of the rules of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Writing in the pro-Zanu (PF) newspaper The Herald, Professor Moyo says 'Studio 7 is illegally broadcasting on a medium wave frequency which the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has allocated to the sovereign Republic of Zimbabwe in accordance with the applicable international treaties and protocols. In other words, the Voice of America which broadcasts Studio 7 is squatting on a frequency that the ITU has set aside for Zimbabwe’s national use.'" -- I'm told Zimbabwe has no allocation for 909 kHz, the frequency used by VOA from Botswana. Trans-border medium wave broadcasting has been common for decades.

Postmortem on Al Jazeera's World Cup signal problems.

Posted: 30 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 20 July 2010, John Parnell: "The recent signal interference during the World Cup led to a bout of finger pointing but long-term issues over the lack of regulation and consumer protection are more important than the blame game. ... '[I]t is caustic to imagine that either of the satellite operators, Nilesat or Arabsat, would interfere with the Al Jazeera channel, which is owned by the Qatari government, to such a damaging extent and at such a crucial time,' claimed [Sonya Shaykhoun, attorney, Charles Russell LLP]. 'Especially given that Nilesat is owned in party by the Egyptian government while Arabsat is owned by a consortium of Arab countries. It is imaginable that the sabotage was not commercially-motivated but rather motivated by a disgruntled customer armed with the know-how or by political malcontents for obscure political reasons,' said Shaykhoun who also noted that signal interference of any form is illegal under international law. 'Tracing the source of the jamming is a time-consuming effort which is apparently akin to tracing a phone call.'"

Al Jazeera sues Al Ahram, vies for White House briefing seat.

Posted: 30 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
DPA, 29 July 2010: "The al-Jazeera news network is suing the Cairo-based al-Ahram newspaper over remarks regarding the channel's dress code, Qatari media reported Thursday. Al-Ahram, owned by the Egyptian government, will face suits in both Egypt and in British courts, a spokesman for al-Jazeera said. An article entitled Jazeerat Al-Taharoush ('An Island of Harassment'), published in al-Ahram on June 9, said that the news network pressured its female presenters into wearing the headscarf. The allegations leveled against the network 'were completely baseless, and without merit, and were aimed at damaging the reputation of the al-Jazeera network', an al-Jazeera spokesperson said."

Star News (Wilmington), Behind the Headlines blog, 28 July 2010, Si Cantwell: Al Jazeera's "White House correspondent is also asking for a seat in the room. I imagine some conservatives might howl in outrage at seeing an Al Jazeera reporter sitting in front of the president and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. ... Obama’s people won’t get to decide whether Al Jazeera starts asking Gibbs questions at the daily briefing. The White House Correspondents Association decides who gets to sit where."

Were Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and VOA way ahead of WikiLeaks?

Posted: 30 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
New American Media, 28 July 2010, Jalal Ghazi: "The WikiLeaks documents, 90,000 in total, do much to validate Arab media, and taken together, the two provide a powerful account of U.S. involvement in civilian deaths spanning two wars. While the WikiLeaks materials are based on military records, Arab media reports depend on eyewitness accounts and powerful video images, showing scores of victims including women and children. For example, the Dubai-based television station Al Arabiya, which aired Obama’s first interview after he was sworn in, aired a report on May 19, 2004 depicting the aftermath of a U.S. military aircraft attack on an Iraqi wedding party near the Syria-Iraq border that killed dozens of civilians. ... Al Jazeera English reported another incident involving civilian casualties, involving a joint Afghan-NATO raid on the village of Haiderabad in Ghazni Province of Afghanistan on Nov. 20, 2009. The soldiers opened fire on an Afghan family while they were sleeping and let their dogs bite women and children." But unlike WikiLeaks, I don't think Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya would indiscriminately publish the names of persons who could be harmed by reprisals.

Scripps Howard News Service, 30 July 2010, Martin Schramm: "A day before the Times and WikiLeaks released the gusher, a U.S. government website and radio broadcast was already spreading the word about the Pakistan intelligence agency’s cozy ties with the Taliban. I can report this on excellent authority – because they were my words that were being spread. I was last week’s moderator on the Voice of America’s weekend radio show 'Issues in the News.' While discussing Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in the Afghan War, I brought up something we had discussed many times: the close link between Pakistan’s intelligence agency and the Taliban, as well as the gulf that seems to separate Pakistan’s spy agency from Pakistan’s president and military."

See previous post about same subject.

BBC World News content now available from world's largest, most advanced, and most unpronounceable video search engine.

Posted: 30 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
blinkx press release, 27 July 2010: "blinkx, the world's largest and most advanced video search engine, today announced a partnership with BBC World News,, the BBC's international 24-hour news and information channel. BBC World News content will now be available and fully searchable on for all users outside of the United Kingdom. Leveraging its unique AdHoc platform, blinkx will place advertising against this premium content and share resulting revenue with BBC World News."

BBC Worldwide Channels in the news, in Europe, USA, India, Australia, New Zealand.

Posted: 29 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Variety, 24 July 2010, Steve Clarke: "As recently as 2006, [BBC Worldwide's channels business] was marginal to the strategy of the pubcaster's commercial arm. The biz was worth a piffling £1.2 million ($1.8 million) a year and employed nine people. Now, 41 channel launches later, BBC Worldwide Channels reported a profit of £39.2 million ($60 million) this month on sales of $399 million, not far behind home entertainment and content distribution. There is a staff of 500 based in London and overseas. Worldwide's suite of six webs [TV networks] -- Entertainment, Knowledge, Lifestyle, kids web CBeebies, World News and BBC HD -- are available in Australia, parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. But in one sense, the hardest work may be beginning as Worldwide Channels attempts to beef up its position in mature Western European markets and in the toughest entertainment market of all, the U.S." -- "Web" is one of Variety's idiosyncratic words, meaning television network. Now that "web" means something else to most people, this could be confusing.

Economic Times, 30 July 2010: "BBC Worldwide Channels has identified India as a key growth market and is working on widening the reach of its channels and introducing new ones in the country, a senior official said. ... Currently, three BBC channels — BBC World News, BBC Entertainment and Cbeebies — are available in the country. ... 'We will also look at bringing other channels like BBC Knowledge and BBC Lifestyle in India at the appropriate time.'"

afaqs!, 30 July 2010: "Darren Childs, managing director, BBC Worldwide Channels, believes that the Indian pay-TV market is lucrative. India's rapid economic growth trajectory and a consumer appetite for high-quality British television content, makes it a very important market for BBC Worldwide.", 27 July 2010: "BBC Worldwide Channels has roped in former Discovery India head to spearhead its channels in South Asia. Shourie has joined as director of BBC Worldwide Channels, South Asia. Based in New Delhi, he will take on responsibility for BBC Worldwide Channel operations across South Asia. Shourie was Discovery Communications India EVP and managing director."

The Spy Report, 26 July 2010: "BBC Worldwide Australia has announced the appointment of Deirdre Brennan to the director role of television for its channels business. Brennan will be responsible for decisions impacting acquisitions, on-air promotions, presentation, production and programming for the commercial subsidiary. The position will include the portfolio of channels within Australasia, including subscriptions channels UKTV, UKTV NZ, BBC Knowledge and CBeebies.", 29 July 2010: "A number of New Zealand broadcasters have signed up for programming from BBC Worldwide Australia, with deals in genres such as drama, natural history and lifestyle."

Floridians can now have their say on BBC's World Have Your Say.

Posted: 29 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
University of Florida News, 23 July 2010: "Public radio stations WUFT-FM 89.1 and WJUF-FM 90.1 [in Florida] will add some new programs in the broadcast schedule beginning Monday. ... The programs include: 'BBC News World Have Your Say,' Monday through Thursday at 1 p.m. This live program features a global conversation via blog and call-in and is presented by BBC Global News. The daily topics are set by those that participate." "World Have Your Say" was recently taken off the schedule of Oregon Public Broadcasting. Judging from responses, listeners either loved or hated the program. See previous post.

No tomorrow for Afghan television station Today, which was closed yesterday?

Posted: 28 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL News, 28 July 2010: "The Afghan cabinet has closed a private television station, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports. The government's closing on July 27 of the Emroz (Today) television channel, owned by Afghan parliament member Najibulla Kabuli, is unprecedented. Kabuli told Radio Free Afghanistan ... Emroz has been trying to reveal to viewers 'Iran's interference in Afghanistan's affairs.' ... Hakim Asher, the head of the Afghan government's Center for Information and Media, told Radio Free Afghanistan that the decision to close Emroz was made 'because the television channel was fueling religious tensions and harming national unity.'"

OIG to VOA in Islamabad: Everything looks fine. Goodbye.

Posted: 28 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, The Cable, 22 July 2010, Josh Rogin: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately. ... But in the most concise report your humble Cable guy has ever seen coming out of the Office of the Inspector General, the oversight board reported Thursday that as far as the BBG's operations in Pakistan are concerned, everything is cool. 'Discussions with BBG staff in Washington during the survey phase revealed no outstanding issues. Discussions with the staff at the office in Islamabad found a staff engaged and proud of their accomplishments,' the one-page report stated. 'The VOA bureau chief was satisfied with Washington support (he is extending for a second year): the contractors for the Urdu service were satisfied with their terms of employment, their working conditions, and the work itself.' Any room for improvement? 'The OIG team, then, found no issues that require recommendations.' An OIG report with zero recommendations is pretty unusual. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this was a severely limited investigation. The OIG team visited the BBG's Islamabad bureau for one day in February. 'Because of security concerns, this was a limited-scope inspection,' the report said."

Report: WikiLeak documents mention payments to Afghan radio stations for "friendly stories."

Posted: 28 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Yahoo! News, 27 July 2010, John Cook: "Buried among the 92,000 classified documents released Sunday by WikiLeaks is some intriguing evidence that the U.S. military in Afghanistan has adopted a PR strategy that got it into trouble in Iraq: paying local media outlets to run friendly stories. ... In one of the WikiLeaks documents, a PRT member reports delivering '12 hours of PSYOP Radio Content Programming' to two radio stations in the province of Ghazni in 2008, and paying one of them '$3,900 for Radio Content Programming air time for the month of October.' ... Radio Ghaznawiyaan was established and funded by the Agency for International Development, but USAID has described it in the past as a success story for local independent journalism launched with American help. So its listeners may be surprised to learn that it is an outlet for paid U.S. 'PSYOP radio content.'"

The Guardian, 26 July 2010, Simon Tisdall: "Winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan can be uphill work, as US soldiers attached to Task Force Catamount discovered when they visited the remote village of Mamadi in Paktika province, near the Pakistan border. ... [Their mission] report, circulated by US military intelligence in April 2007, is one of numerous accounts of attempted bridge-building contained in the classified war logs and examined by the Guardian. The material offers an unprecedented insight into the gaping cultural and societal gulfs encountered by US troops trying to win grassroots support for the west's vision of a peaceful, developing, united Afghanistan."

The term "21st century statecraft" may not mean much, but it has a nice ring to it.

Posted: 28 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Economist, Babbage blog, 22 July 2010, B.G.: "I am suspicious of the phrase '21st-century statecraft'. ... Is it a new kind of state-run broadcaster, a digital Radio Free Europe? Is it a new kind of public diplomacy? ... Take just one of these ideas: a digital Radio Free Europe. Accurate information is as important now as it was during the Cold War, so of course it's a good idea to distribute that information where the readers are, in social forums on the internet. But now, as then, it's hard to determine how to fund a state broadcaster so that it's both trusted and trustworthy. Radio Free Europe was paid for, originally, by the CIA. Was it therefore tainted? If it was perceived as such – and it was – then it doesn't much matter. ... Or take another idea: digital public diplomacy. ... The world just doesn’t seem to understand how great America is. This is the central problem of public diplomacy, which is expected to fill in the gaps between America’s policies and its self-image. I’m not sure how Twitter is going to help." -- However murkily it may have been perceived, RFE did have large audiences in its target countries. This is because it provided more accurate news than did the state controlled domestic media of those target countries.

Al Arabiya office in Baghdad bombed, killing six.

Posted: 27 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 26 July 2010: "A suicide bomber driving a minibus blew himself up in front of the Baghdad office of a popular Arabic-language satellite news channel early Monday, killing six people, police and hospital officials said. The bomber was apparently waved through the first checkpoint at the Al-Arabiya television station after security guards checked his identification."

New York Times, 26 July 2010, Tim Arango: "On Monday afternoon, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia took credit for the bombing at Al Arabiya on a Web site it often uses to communicate, suggesting the attack was in response to a broadcast about the influence of the extremist group. The program was called 'Creation of Death.' 'Wait for more,' the group’s statement said."

Bernama, 27 July 2010: "Top United Nations officials have strongly condemned the attacks targeting the offices of the regional satellite television channel Al-Arabiya in Baghdad, while urging Iraqi authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of media professionals, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported."

Gulf News (Dubai), 27 July 2010: "Having lost a total of 15 Al Arabiya staff killed and 'tens injured' in the past seven years, Hayek said the channel was being made to pay the 'price of freedom of expression'."

Television from Asian countries increases presence in Arab countries.

Posted: 27 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Saudi Gazette, 24 July 2010, Farhaa Xha: "With an increasing economic power, Asian broadcast channels are starting to bite the 'lucrative pie of Arab viewership' after the Western channels launched Arabic networks - BBC Arabic, France 24, DWTV and Euronews, The trend is easily noticeable. ... 'When I first saw Chinese news anchors speaking Arabic, it certainly seemed Martian! Of course I was impressed by their impeccable Arabic,' said [student Rana] Rayes. China Central TV, widely known by its acronym CCTV, inaugurated its first Arabic-language international channel in July 2009 to reach 300 million people in 22 Arabic-speaking countries. ... Besides China, its economic rival India has a channel that has dominated the Middle Eastern airwaves much ahead. Zee Aflam, a free-to-air channel from Zee Networks, is patronized by Arab fans of Bollywood. The channel features Hindi films with subtitles customized for Arab family viewing. ... Noora Amer, a 23 year-old anthropology student ... and her family enjoy Korean drama, fashion, music and language."

The Vatican Radio case: does shortwave cause cancer?

Posted: 27 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
IEEE Spectrum, July 2010, Alexander Hellemans: "A new study ordered by a court in Rome has revived the decadelong battle between the inhabitants of Cesano, Italy, who live close to a huge complex of shortwave antennas, and the operator of this complex, Vatican Radio. ... Nineteen children living at a distance of 12 km or less from the antennas died from leukemia or lymphoma between 1980 and 2003, a figure higher than in control groups in other parts of the country. ... According to magistrates, the report justifies the current investigation of six officials of Vatican Radio for manslaughter. In response, the Vatican has enlisted the help of two counterexperts--the internationally renowned oncologist and former Italian health minister Umberto Veronese and Susanna Lagorio, an epidemiologist at the Italian National Institute of Health." See previous post about same subject.

CNN en Español will cover enactment of Arizona's immigration law.

Posted: 27 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
CNN press release, 23 July 2010, via Tucson Citizen: "On Thursday, July 29, a new Arizona immigration law will go into effect. Starting Sunday, July 25 through Friday, July 30, CNN en Español will climb aboard the CNN Express to dedicate a week-long coverage to the immigration debate in the United States, and tour some of the locations from which historic events are taking place for the future of immigrants in this country. ... Elements of this coverage will be presented throughout the network’s daily programming. In addition, every night at 7:00 p.m. EST, Directo desde EE.UU. will be the daily appointment to follow Frías and López in this coverage joined by special guests, including special reports prepared by CNN en Español’s production team on the field. On Thursday, July 29 at 12:00 a.m. the law will be enacted, and throughout the day CNN en Español will report live from Phoenix in order to follow closely the early effects of this law from all the angles of this story. ... CNN en Español, CNN’s independently produced 24-hour network in Spanish, is currently available in 23 million cable and DTH households throughout Latin America, and more than 4 million households across the United States."

Head of Venezuela's Globovision flees country, while Chavez government takes stake in the network.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 15 July 2010: "The head of a Venezuelan pro-opposition television channel says he cannot return to Venezuela, where he could face arrest, and that he could seek political asylum in the United States. Globovision president Guillermo Zuloaga spoke to VOA's Foro Interamericano, in an exclusive interview being broadcast on Friday. Zuloaga also said U.S. government officials and attorneys have recommended he request asylum. Last month, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government ordered Zuloaga's arrest on criminal charges he and his son illegally stored 24 new Toyota vehicles."

Variety, 25 July 2010, Anna Marie de la Fuente: "In yet another twist in the ongoing saga at beleaguered Venezuelan news web Globovision, President Hugo Chavez declared Tuesday that his government was claiming a stake in the opposition-leaning web [television network]. Chavez is appropriating the 25.8% held by banker Nelson Mezerhane, who fled the country in May after the government seized his Banco Federal. ... Globovision, which reaches 42% of the country, is the last remaining voice of dissent on Venezuela's free-to-air TV airwaves. RCTV, the oldest web in Venezuela, was relegated to cable and satellite in 2007 after the state refused to renew its terrestrial broadcasting license for its alleged support of Chavez's detractors."

Deutsche Welle: FM relays in Bangladesh, television workshops in Pakistan.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia Media Journal, 27 July 2010: "Following the beginning of test transmissions on Bangladesh Betar’s FM network last month, Deutsche Welle [Bengali] will now start testing radio transmissions in three additional cities on May 1. DW-RADIO will be broadcasting daily on 102.0 MHz in Khulna, 105.0 MHz in Rajshahi and 105.4 MHz in Rangpur from 8:00 am [to] 8:30 am as well as 8:00 pm [to] 8:30 pm BST."

The News (Karachi), 23 July 2010: "A 12-day workshop started at the Bara Gali summer campus of the University of Peshawar Thursday to train the faculty members of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication for the educational television channel to be launched by the university in the near future. Jointly organized by the University of Peshawar and Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) broadcast organization, the workshop was formally inaugurated by vice-chancellor of the university Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan. ... Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Dr Azmat Hayat said the German organisations had been very supportive of the UoP. They have helped the university to set up the campus radio stations, which is a success story, he added. The vice chancellor said the step initiated by DW to train the faculty of UoP about documentary making was very good."

Georgia's Russian-language First Caucasian channel "outsourced."

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 23 July 2010, Molly Corso: "An outsourcing deal designed to enhance the reach of a government-run Russian-language television channel in Georgia instead threatens to bog down the station in controversy. The channel, known as Peryvi Kavkaski (Caucasus One), was created in October 2009 in an effort by President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration to counteract unfavorable television coverage of Georgia that is broadcast on channels controlled by the Russian government. Since its launch, however, Caucasus One has experienced problems. In late January, for example, the French satellite provider, Eutelsat, pulled the plug on Caucasus One broadcasts. Georgian media representatives blamed the move on Kremlin maneuvering. Top management and board members of Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB), the entity responsible for overseeing Caucasus One operations, voted July 14 to outsource the Russian-language station’s operations. The very next day, it was announced that a firm known as K1, run by British journalist and Caucasus specialist Robert Parsons, had been selected to handle Caucasus One’s operations."

The Messenger (Tbilisi), 20 July 2010, Salome Modebadze: "International Affairs Editor at France 24 TV and BBC Moscow reporter from 1993-2002, Robert Parsons also directed RFE/RL’s Georgian service in 2003-2005. ... Parsons stressed that the channel must not under any circumstances be perceived as propagandistic but as an objective, fair channel in which the Georgian Government would be as subject to fair criticism as any other Government in this region."

Georgian Daily, 23 July 2010, David J. Smith: "The Paris Court of Commerce last week handed a victory to the Russian propaganda machine, allowing French satellite operator Eutelsat—one quarter French Government-owned—to bar Tbilisi-based First Caucasus Television from one of its broadcast satellites. For now, this prevents First Caucasus from reaching most of its intended Russian-speaking audience." See previous post about same subject.

Ethiopian Satellite Television "back on the air" despite reported satellite interference (updated).

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 14 July 2010, ESAT press release: "For the past 24 days, Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) broadcasts and transmissions in Ethiopia have been disrupted by external interference to its satellite signals from sources that we are still continuing to investigate. ... In blocking satellite transmissions, there are two commonly used approaches. One method involves the broadcasting of a stronger signal, either from the ground or from another satellite, that drowns out what the originating satellite is sending to the ground, preventing people from receiving the signal. Another method involves blasting signals directly at the originating satellite itself so that it can not hear what the ground source (uplink) is trying to tell it. We plan to present a full program on the details of electronic signal jamming technology in the future. ... We at ESAT are pleased to be back on the air to serve our viewers with the fair and accurate reporting and programming we promised when we began service on May, 2010. ... We ask for the support and patience of our viewers as we continue to struggle to bring forth information, educational and entertainment programming." See Arabsat/Badr 6 parameters at ESAT website.

Update:, 22 July 2010, Hindessa Abdul: "Over the last decade satellite dishes have been sprawling from the roof tops of many Addis Ababa neighborhoods. They are also constantly growing in the regional states. These days the cost of satellite dishes in Ethiopia has shown a drastic increase. In most cases up to 50 percent, hitting the 2000 Birr mark. Many people say ESAT has been one of the 'culprits' for the price hike. Others attribute that to the recently concluded World Cup tournaments in South Africa."

Addis Neger, 21 July 2010, Abiye Teklemariam: "Will our first independent Satellite channel be able to do what Al Jazeera has done to the Arab media sphere? ESAT’s battles are harder. While Al jazeera started with lavish funding from an ambitious young emir who just overthrew his father in a bloodless coup, ESAT’s sources of funding are ordinary Ethiopians living in North America.", 10 July 2010, reprinting e-mail from VOA, minus links: "For 28 years Voice of America has broadcast uncensored news to both countries, but that service has been recently interrupted by the Ethiopian government. And they have blocked access to our Horn of Africa web site for all who live in Ethiopia. We value your views and during a crucial time in Ethiopian domestic affairs, we wanted to offer you by e-mail a new way to receive our news and feature programs. Our broadcasters continue to work diligently to reach many parts of the world with news in Amharic, Afaan Oromoo and Tigrigna, but most listeners in Ethiopia cannot get that news now. So, we invite you to receive the Horn of Africa news Monday through Friday. You can subscribe at If you cannot access our site, click on . You will be able to hear a recent broadcast in any of our three languages. ... We invite you to forward this e-mail to anyone in Ethiopia or anywhere else in the world who would like to receive our Horn of Africa newsletter." See also VOA satellite information.

No forensic audit of South Africe province's payments to CNBC Africa.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Business Day (Johannesburg), 20 July 2010, Chantelle Benjamin: "There would be no forensic audit conducted into [the South African province of] Gauteng's contract with CNBC Africa - which was cancelled in January - despite at least R40m of taxpayers' money being paid to the organisation, economic development MEC Firoz Cachalia said in reply to questions in the legislature yesterday. ... The matter came to public attention after the South African Screen Federation (Sasfed) asked why money set aside for the development of the local film industry was being used to fund a company that did not promote local content." See previous post about same subject.

Russian organs: Moscow News ("because foreign radio fell short") and

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 17 July 2010, Dmitry Babich: "Thirty years ago ... the first issue of the weekly paper The Moscow News was published in Russian. ... The Moscow News transformed the collective consciousness of the Soviet people, encouraging them to escape the hypocritical sanctity of their monastery. The amazing thing about The Moscow News between 1986 and 1988 is that it remained legal. The Soviet people had figured out that life was not all it could be. They had pieced it together from Western radio broadcasts, such as Voice of America, and rumors that the government could not suppress. But foreign radio fell short of its mission. We couldn't understand their words in a sense, and not just because the broadcasts were jammed by the government, making the voices difficult to hear over the interference. The Moscow News was an official Soviet newspaper. If the paper raised an issue, it meant that this issue was officially recognized by the government and open for discussion. The newspaper gradually introduced new words and concepts in Soviet newspeak. It was like climbing a mountain."

Foreign Policy, The Cable, 22 July 2010, Josh Rogin: "[T]he Russia government now has an English language web portal to help funnel business and advertise their foray into the information age. Modern Russia, a website devoted to Russia's public diplomacy mission in the U.S., opened for business today. Funded by the Russian government, the site is managed by Ketchum, the public-relations firm that represents the Russian government and the Russian energy giant Gazprom. ... The site also has a lot of wonky policy and law-related items that purport to show Russia as a burgeoning emerging market that is steadily moving toward economic and legal reform." URL is

France 24 on NTV+ satellite platform to Russia and Ukraine.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
France 24 press release, 26 July 2010: "France 24 has today signed a major distribution agreement with NTV+, the number one satellite platform in Russia and Ukraine, with more than 500 000 subscribers across the two countries. Already available on several ADSL and cable platforms in these two countries, this new agreement with NTV + will allow FRANCE 24 to expand its coverage throughout the region and increase its number of viewers." -- The press release does not specify if this is the French or English version of France 24, or both.

CNN International and France 24 introduce new iPhone applications.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
MediaBistro, 22 July 2010, Alex Weprin: "CNN, which released a slick paid iPhone application last year, is taking the product international... and making it free. The news organization is releasing an international version of the CNN App for users that live outside of the United States. Unlike the domestic version, which costs $1.99 and has advertising, the international app will be free and ad supported. ... Making the app free is a peculiar decision for CNN, considering it was so strongly defending the decision to charge for its U.S. app. So why do it? The costs of developing the international app were likely far below the domestic one, seeing as CNN could essentially take what it already built, only having tweak it slightly for international users. In addition, while CNN is a big name for news here, in many parts of the world it is not the go-to source for news and information. Going free can also serve to promote and sample content for viewers that may not otherwise be too familiar with CNN as a brand." With CNN press release.

Sydney Morning Herald, 23 July 2010, Julian Lee: "However, in offering the free app CNN has made a 'trade off'; the news will be regional and users will be unable to watch videos of breaking news. Since its launch in April 1 million editions of the BBC News app have been downloaded, and 34,000 have been downloaded in Australia since its launch here in June."

The Australian, 23 July 2010, Andrew Colley: The CNN international app "includes its citizen reporting tool iReport which has proved highly popular in the US. CNN mobile vice president Louis Gump said ... iReport was an enhancement to CNN's service and not replacement for its base editorial model. ... CNN is selectively absorbing iReport content into its commercial editorial platform through a process it calls vetting where content is checked by professional editors and journalists."

Smart Products Ecosystms Connections, 23 July 2010, press release via: "International news channel France 24 has launched a free iPhone app, compatible with the iPad, providing full access to its live and VoD programming of the last two months. Consumers can find content about their location in French, English or Arabic thanks to a mapping tool."

Rapid TV News, 19 July 2010, Pascale Paoli Lebailly: "Available for all smartphones thanks to video distribution platform MOBICLIP, mobile application France 24 Live has surpassed one million downloads. It was launched in March 2009. The app allows users to watch programming and news bulletins from the channel live or on-demand, plus access headlines and news briefs. Nearly 80% of downloads are from outside France with Europe accounting for 50%, Africa 20%, North America 15% and Asia almost 15%."

IPTV service provides seven international channels to Australia.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 21 July 2010, press release via: Australian IPTV service "FetchTV today announced that five new specialty international news channels will be added to the FetchTV Basic subscription package, available from partner ISP’s such as iiNet. The channels, all broadcast in English, aim to broaden FetchTV’s appeal among Australia’s culturally diverse population by providing an international perspective on global news and events. The new channels include: *CCTV News is a 24-hour news channel of China Central Television, China's largest national TV network. It is dedicated to reporting news and information to its global audience, with a special focus on China. *NDTV 24x7 is a 24-hour news and infotainment channel featuring news from India and internationally, along with Indian entertainment and sports. *euronews covers world news from a European perspective. *FRANCE 24 is a French news channel offering 24 hour coverage of global news from a French perspective. *Al Jazeera English provides a unique perspective on news from around the world. These channels, alongside the previously announced CNBC and BBC World News, provide FetchTV with a comprehensive range of leading international news channels."

Shortwave in the news includes -- not surprisingly -- the numbers stations.

Posted: 26 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
NPR, 17 July 2010: "In the shadowy corners of the shortwave radio spectrum, you can often find mysterious mechanical voices counting off endless strings of numbers — in English, Czech, Russian and German … even Morse code. But who's listening? The voices are coming from what are known as 'numbers stations,' and they've long been thought to be part of international espionage operations. In fact, the Russian spies recently captured here in the U.S. may have been getting orders from Moscow via a shortwave numbers station." With audio.

Following up to the previous post about the Russian spies, historian Richard Cummings in Germany looked at the court documents. He writes: "Apparently the only short-wave communications between Moscow and its agents in the USA was through RADIOGRAMS, not by recorded voice as you wrote in your blog [quoting Brett Sokol in Slate]: '...the clandestine Russian agents were tuning in to foreign short-wave stations transmitting strings of numbers—some in Morse code, others spoken by a recorded voice—that they then decoded into words.' As the document explains, RADIOGRAMS sound similar to Morse Code, but they are not Morse Code."

AOL News, 16 July 2010: Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers, "arrested last summer and charged with spying for Cuba, were sentenced today in federal court in Washington, D.C. ... The Tactics: The Myerses exchanged information in grocery stores by swapping shopping carts with their Cuban handlers, with whom they also communicated via short wave radios and encrypted emails from cybercafes." -- They listened to coded messages on shortwave, but didn't transmit.

Daily Dispatch (East London, South Africa), 23 July 2010: "July 23, 1960: A request for a shortwave broadcasting station in the Eastern Cape was made by the Eastern Agricultural Union Congress yesterday. It was claimed that reception on longwave was very poor in areas distant from Grahamstown and in summer virtually impossible. The resolution asked for the broadcast of regional news from Grahamstown on shortwave. Speaking in support of the motion, put forward by the Elliot Farmers’ union, Mr S Marr said that the matter was an important one to farmers, especially in regard to the receiving of weather forecasts." -- "Longwave" here no doubt refers to medium wave, as South Africa did not employ longwave frequencies for broadcasting in 1960. South Africa did -- and still does -- use shortwave to reach remore areas of the country.

Greenwich Citizen, 23 July 2010: Greenwich, Connecticut, made "history when Greenwich radio pioneer Edwin Armstrong and his team made the first trans-Atlantic shortwave radio broadcast on Dec. 11, 1921 from his station 1BCG. The monument marking that event can be found on the traffic circle on North Street and Clapboard Ridge Road." -- Will trans-Atlantic shortwave broadcasting survive until the 100th anniversary of this first trans-Atlantic shortwave communication?

Southgate Amateur Radio Club, 16 July 2010: "Popular Communications magazine has launched a new and easier-to-navigate website. ... Popular Communications is the world's #1 magazine for scanning enthusiasts, shortwave listeners, broadcast DXers and other radio hobbyists. It has been in monthly publication for nearly 30 years. ... The new Popular Communications website may be accessed at" -- PopComm and competing Monitoring Times provide useful information to US radio hobbyists.

Syracuse Online, 18 July 2010, Lee Badman: "Whether your interests take into shortwave and utility monitoring, scanning or amateur radio, it's no secret that gear can be pricey. ... One of my favorite websites for equipment reviews is Though there are a lot of sites that have equipment reviews, reviews tend to cover everything from top-dollar rigs to simple wire antennas."

Praise for three "pirate" radio stations broadcasting to Zimbabwe.

Posted: 25 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Nehanda Radio, 16 July 2010, Rejoice Ngwenya: "The paranoia in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime that broadcast laws that deliberately prevent alternative opinion are entrenched in the legislative DNA. The positive spinoff of this scenario has been a proliferation of shortwave and Internet broadcast stations spanning the globe, the most popular being VOA Studio 7 based in Washington DC, Voice of the People in Botswana and Violet’s own SW Radio Africa in England. ... ... [A]s long as the broadcast regulations outlaw alternative opinion, we Zimbabweans at home will continue to tune in to VOA Studio 7, Voice of the People and SW Radio Africa for REAL news."

New Zimbabwe, 24 July 2010: "An hour-long television drama, Sakhile, written and produced by Zimbabwean journalist and writer, Chris Gande, has premiered at the New York International Independent Film Festival which opened Thursday. ... Gande, a reporter with the Voice of America’s Studio 7, is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Film Making at the Art Institute of Washington."

Released Cuban dissidents had reported for Radio Martí and VOA.

Posted: 25 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Miami Herald, 17 July 2010, Fabiola Santiago: "'I can't enjoy anything. I can't feel free as long as there is a political prisoner in Cuba. How can I be happy with all I left behind?' asks Mijail Barzaga Lugo, 43, who served time in four different prisons for filing news reports about life in Cuba to CubaNet and Radio Martí. Barzaga and the others are part of a group of 75 independent journalists and peaceful dissidents jailed in the massive crackdown of 2003 known as the Black Spring. These 11 freed prisoners are the first of 52 scheduled to be released and expatriated to Spain in the next four months under an agreement negotiated by the Spanish government and the island's highest-ranking Catholic, Cardinal Jaime Ortega."

AFP, 15 July 2010, Olivier Thibault: "'The hygiene and health situation was not bad, it was worse than bad,' Julio Cesar Galvez told reporters in Madrid, two days after arriving in Spain with six other dissidents. ... The 65-year-old, who was serving a 15-year sentence for secretly working for US media outlets such as the Voice of America, said not enough drinking water was provided for the prisoners and food often came mixed with dirt."

Euronews programs to Africa via Canal France International.

Posted: 25 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
"TV channels from 45 African countries and Haiti will soon broadcast six magazines from Euronews following an agreement between the Lyon-based international news channel and Canal France International (CFI) network. CFI will broadcast Euronews magazines to 47 million households as of next September. These half-hour science-oriented and current affairs programmes will be available in the three international languages used on the continent - French, English and Portuguese. ... The listing of the countries and partner channels are available on website" "Canal France International, subsidiary of France Télévisions, has acted for the past 20 years as the French operator in media development aid for 150 partners from southern countries, with support from the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs."

Euronews will get a "timeslice" of Irish terrestial digital channel.

Posted: 25 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 15 July 2010, Julian Clover: "Ireland’s public broadcaster RTÉ has given details of its plans for DTT including high definition channels and a Freesat-style service to reach the 2% outside the reach of terrestrial coverage. ... The first multiplex, broadcasting in MPEG-4/DVB-T, would carry RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2, TV3 and sister channel 3e, TG4, and RTÉ News. A seventh channel would timeslice RTÉ Children, Euronews and RTÉ+1." See also The Independent (Dublin), 15 July 2010.

Euronews welcome in Armenia. Domestic channel A1+ not so much.

Posted: 25 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 16 July 2010: Armenia's "President Serzh Sargsyan held a meeting with Philippe Cayla, Head of the Euronews Board of Directors. ... President Sargsyan pointed out Euronews is one of the most popular European channels in Armenia, perceived by the audience as a mirror of Europe and European views. Mr. Philippe Cayla pointed out he was impressed by Armenia’s ancient history and culture. The sides expressed the confidence that the Euronews TV channel plays an important role in Armenia’s integration into Europe and in raising Armenian citizens’ awareness of Europe."

RFE/RL, 17 July 2010: "The owner of Armenia's leading independent television channel before it was controversially taken off the air eight years ago says the channel is very unlikely to win a new license and resume broadcasts in the near future, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. ... Mesrop Movsesian, the owner and executive director of A1+, reaffirmed the once-popular TV channel's intention to contest at least one of the tenders administered by the HRAH. But he was pessimistic about the fairness and objectivity of the bidding process."

ABC News 24 and its international broadcasting implications.

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Crikey blog, 23 July 2010, Margaret Simons: Sky News issued a media release yesterday that was all about the ABCs launch without actually mentioning it. The pay television channel claimed that its 24 hour coverage was 'unrivalled' and spruiked the fact that its political editor David Speers (and not the ABC’s people) had been chosen to moderate the leaders’ debate at the National Press Club on Sunday night. This, of course, is part of a wider battle. This week is also the deadline for submissions to the government on the future of the overseas broadcasting service Australia Network. Sky News hopes to steal the Department of Foreign Affairs funded gig from Auntie, while ABC Managing Director Mark Scott wants to position the ABC as an instrument of Australia’s 'soft diplomacy' at a time when governments in our region are spending up big on broadcasting. ... I kept watching until after midnight, when Auntie threw to the BBC World Service." -- Presumably BBC World News, the television news channel -- with commercials included? Or maybe it's BBC World Service radio with some sort of slide occupying the picture.

Crikey, 22 July 2010, Jason Whittaker: "Jim Middleton presents Newsline at 10:30pm, taken from the ABC’s Asia-Pacific Australia Network. The ability to draw on those extra resources (which Sky wants to pinch as part of the bidding process to run the Asia-Pacific government-funded service) will be another feature of the channel."

lifehacker, 20 July 2010, Angust Kidman: "If you subscribe to pay TV, you’ve already got a range of 24-hour news options: Sky News for local content, and CNN, BBC World News, Bloomberg, CNBC and (debatably) Fox News for international coverage. However, that assumes that you’re willing or able to pay for an additional service. ABC News 24, as you’d expect, is entirely free, and available to anyone with the right equipment." See previous post about ABC News 24.

BBC launches online archive of Andy Kershaw's world music collection.

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 22 July 2010, Ian Burrell: "The BBC will tomorrow launch a globally-accessible online archive that features indigenous music from some of the world's most dangerous conflict zones, as well as its most inaccessible states. There are audio clips of singing waitresses performing sea shanties on the coast of North Korea, and harp-playing cowboys in rural Venezuela. The Sufi fakir is, in fact, Sain Zahoor, who plays his three-stringed tumba in the Pakistani shrine of Pakpattan. Saddam's favourite pop star is Qassim al-Sultan, whom the BBC's Andy Kershaw recorded in 2001, singing the praises of the Iraqi dictator. ... Since recovering from a nervous breakdown, Kershaw has been back on the road, making shows in Laos, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He is about to head off to record further material in the Middle East and Southern Africa. 'I haven't finished yet,' he added. 'Cautiously, I feel I'm getting the hang of this radio caper.'" The URL is

BBC News, 23 July 2010: "As part of a BBC World Service series on being creative in China, two musicians discuss China's alternative music scene."

The BBC Lonely Planet Service.

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Tnooz, 16 July 2010, Kevin May: "Fans of the BBC around the world – but not the UK – will see an overhauled website in the coming months, complete with a new travel section courtesy of Lonely Planet. Although the UK’s publicly-funded web news service was relaunched this week, BBC Worldwide (the commercial wing of the corporation) is separately looking to revamp the entire platform later this summer for users outside of the UK. is supported by advertising and has a wider remit to work with thirds partners or, in this case, utilise some of the corporation’s myriad of commercial operations. The BBC’s relationship with Lonely Planet (it bought a 75% stake in the company in 2007) is still hugely controversial and plans for the coming months are likely to reinvigorate the debate. ... The idea is to include travel-related material penned by the BBC’s own reporters but also bring in content from to help populate the channel. A full-time editor was unveiled this week in the shape of ex-New York Times travel and style editor, David Allan." See previous post about the US version of

BBC Arabic will be taken off FM frequencies in Sudan.

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Sudan Tribune, 22 July 2010: "Sudanese authorities informed the BBC Arabic service radio that they will no longer be allowed to broadcast on local frequencies citing violations by the widely popular station in the country. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) since several years is airing its Arabic service on FM frequency in Khartoum, Port Sudan, Medani and capital of Northern Kordofan Al-Obayid. Also Monte Carlo, the Arabic service of Radio France Internationale (RFI) is aired on the FM in the Sudanese capital. The decision to stop the broadcasting will be effective within three months. It does not include the semi-autonomous region of southern Sudan. Sudanese authorities refused to renew a permission to broadcast its Arabic programme saying that the British government sponsored corporation imported unauthorized devices through the diplomatic pouch two years ago, informed sources tell Sudan Tribune. It is not clear why the decision was taken only now. ... The British radio remains available on the short waves." -- Radio Sawa lists an FM outlet in Khartoum, on 97.5 MHz.

BBC HD joins BBC bouquet on Turksat.

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 19 July 2010: "BBC Worldwide Channels has added to its channel bouquet in Turkey, launching its international BBC HD service on Turksat. In Turkey, BBC Worldwide Channels also operates BBC Entertainment on Turksat, TT Net and Digiturk. BBC HD, available to all HD subscribers of Turksat, delivers docs, entertainment and arts fare in high definition, such as The Jonathan Ross Show, Gavin and Stacey, Hotel Babylon, Hiroshima and Nuclear Secrets. The channel is also carried in Australia, Scandinavia and Poland."

BBC DG says "BBC does not loom large in America."

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 23 July 2010, Ben Fenton: BBC director general Mark Thompson "dismisses the idea that the BBC’s free internet news prevents the Murdoch newspapers from successfully charging for their content. 'Does that follow? Is it credible that every single provider of news in the world is going to go behind a paywall? I mean there are plenty of news sources with sovereign funds backing them – Al Jazeera is just one example – who do not need to go behind a paywall. Actually, if the BBC helps create a climate in this country where people are really interested in news, it’s probably going to be good for UK newspapers. American newspapers are not having any more luck with this than UK ones, rather less so actually and the BBC does not loom large in America.' ... 'We’re prepared to go to the stake for the BBC’s impartiality,' says Thompson, who in January 2009 refused to broadcast an appeal for refugees in Gaza for this reason. He adds that it is critically important that the organisation remains independent of government too, and is proud of the broadcaster’s reputation abroad. 'We’re still on the world’s front lines,' he says, 'In Afghanistan, on the radio, we are a really critical part of the supply of news.' He also points to countries such as Somalia, 'where the BBC Somalia service is basically it'." -- So VOA Somali, presumably, is not "it."

"Tussle of Arab news stations set to heat up."

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 16 July 2010, Andrew England and Robin Wigglesworth: "British Sky Broadcasting this week revealed it was negotiating with an investor from Abu Dhabi, the wealthy capital of the United Arab Emirates, to launch a 24-hour Arabic news channel. Last week, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire, announced he was setting up a similar venture. Both talk about launching within the next two years, but they will be entering a competitive market where costs are high and advertising revenues meagre. As well as Al-Jazeera, the entrants will be taking on Al-Arabiya, a private Saudi-backed channel, the BBC’s Arabic service, and a host of smaller rivals. Al-Arabiya, owned by the MBC Group, admits it has lost money since going on air seven years ago, despite claiming it attracts about eight times the advertising revenue of Al-Jazeera." See previous post about same subject.

Ammon, 22 July 2010, Nehad Ismail: "Two-third of Arab society is young people below the age of 35. This group is more media savvy than the older generation and demands high standard of entertainment and programs that deal with issues relevant to their lives. They are not interested in heavy adversarial political shouting matches. Soft content intelligently presented is gaining ground at the expense of heavy stuff. People want programs that promote co-existence and understanding between religions and people from different ethnicities. Exposing bad behaviour by the authorities and the promotion of democratic values and respect for human rights are vitally important but must be introduced in small dozes within the framework of a socially oriented program. To succeed and stand out in the Middle East Satellite TV Bazaar, a Satellite TV Channel must have something special, it must have a unique blend of programs that distinguish it from the crowd."

Committee to Protect Journalists blog, 21 July 2010, Kamel Labidi: "Moroccan Minister of Communication Khalid Naciri ... claimed that the draconian restrictions recently imposed on Arab and foreign TV reporting in the Kingdom of Morocco 'are also implemented in all democratic countries.' ... [T]his new restriction on press freedom has been adopted to mainly target Al-Jazeera satellite TV, whose coverage of social unrest in Morocco and critical guest speakers often anger the authorities and prompt reprisal. ... Naciri took precaution to mention that the Saudi satellite Al-Arabiya TV and the U.S.-government-backed Al-Hurra TV are also required to abide by what he euphemistically called this 'ordinary measure.' But neither of these networks has given the Moroccan authorities as much of a headache as Al-Jazeera."

Get Al Jazeera out of Charlottesville, she writes.

Posted: 24 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA), 15 July 2010, letter from Lisa Kennedy: "I was surprised and distressed to tune into WHTJ 41.3 on July 1 at 7 p.m. and realize that it is broadcasting as a regular feature an Al-Jazeera news feature. As I am sure that readers are aware, not only is Al-Jazeera’s viewpoint is absolutely one-sided concerning the future of Israel and Palestine, but it also regularly assists al-Qaida by airing al-Qaida propaganda. I think it is extremely poor judgment to further Al-Jazeera’s evangelistic reach by serving as its affiliate, during prime time no less, while our service members are fighting and dying to combat al-Qaida’s deadly designs. I strongly suggest that WHTJ drop Al Jazeera’s program immediately." -- WHTJ 41.3 is a digital subchannel of the public television station in Charlottesville, Virginia. The content is from MHz Worldview.

China's new CNC World channel: more like Russia Today than Al Jazeera?

Posted: 23 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Financial Express (New Delhi), 16 July 2010, Sreeram Chaulia: "On July 1, the Chinese government’s official news agency Xinhua announced the launch of CNC World, a 24-hour global English TV channel, to purvey ‘a China perspective’ on all prominent international issues. In tune with the mind-boggling variety of the digital age, CNC World will be broadcast in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and Africa via satellite, cable, mobile phone and streaming feeds on the Internet. ... Though some observers have compared CNC World to Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, the Chinese model of advancing soft power through the electronic medium is more akin to that adopted by Russia since 2005. The RT (formerly Russia Today) group of TV channels, propped up by the Russian federal government budget, have brought the ‘Russian view’ on domestic and international affairs into drawing rooms of audiences around the world. The lens peddled by RT is typically the antithesis of western portrayals. For instance, most studio discussions about international relations on RT channels emphasise the decline of American power as permanent and speak of Bric countries as the only relevant players with promising futures left on the planet. CNC World, which is likely to be flush with a larger budget and better qualified correspondents than RT, will definitely be more sophisticated in editorial content. China’s foreign policy art of subtly but steadily undermining western capacity to mould minds is going to sustain CNC World as an authoritative source, which viewers can tune in to for a distinct take on every breaking international news story." See previous post about same subject.

VOA News, 13 July 2010, Laurel Bowman: "CNC (China Xinhua News Network Corporation) is half-owned by private investors. Wu Jincai is the CNC chairman. 'A system financially backed by the government, in any country, is always a waste with problems of inefficiency. But in a market system its scale is adjusted,' Wu Jincai says. 'It creates a very good pattern.'" With video.

The Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo), 20 July 2010, Kenji Minemura and Ko Tanaka: "Another recent attempt to move into Western media occurred in June when the Washington Post announced it was putting its venerable but money-losing Newsweek magazine up for sale. Along with three U.S. media companies, an investment company made up in part by the Southern Media Group of China placed bids to acquire the weekly. A key person in the Chinese bid was Xiang Xi, the former managing editor of Southern Weekly, a magazine popular for its investigative reporting and calls for political reform. Southern Weekly is the flagship publication of the Southern Media Group. While the Washington Post did not comment directly, a source with the Southern Media Group said its bid was rejected because it was made by a Chinese company. ... A Chinese government official said: 'Now is our chance to move into overseas markets because Western media organizations are suffering from recession. There is a need to grasp the upper hand in creating international opinion in order to wipe away any negative image of a "China threat."' ... Yu Guoming, deputy dean of the school of journalism and communication at Renmin University of China, said: 'Creation in media and culture is totally different from material production. I do not believe a "state-produced media" will be readily accepted by advanced nations and there is the possibility of frictions arising.'"

Xinhua, 16 July 2010: "Television services from the Xinhua News Agency are accessible on Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices, Xinhua announced Friday. IPhone and iTouch users can watch Xinhua news, cartoons, financial information and entertainment programs around the clock after downloading applications from Apple's online store or iTunes Store. ... The latest move is mainly aimed at audiences abroad. Wu Jincai, chairman of China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), the TV arm of Xinhua News Agency, said Xinhua would make more efforts to share quality news resources with global audiences through new media."

New company offers P2P method for international broadcasting into China.

Posted: 23 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Epoch Times, 18 July 2010, Xin Fei: "StarP2P Inc, formally launched its online television network iPPOTV in July. The technology used has unique advantages in breaking through mainland China's information blockade, said StarP2P’s technical manager, Li Yi, in an interview with The Epoch Times. IPPOTV’s software platform enables sharing of video files and broadcasting of TV channels over P2P [peer-to-peer] networks. Users with broadband access can, upon installation of the software, watch TV programs from across the world. As the viewer watches programs, the software simultaneously streams the video information to other users, thereby creating a non centralized, real-time internet TV network. The software encrypts transmitted data, ensuring the user’s identity and personal information remain secure and protected. ... Li Yi said that the company plans to include radio broadcasts familiar to mainland Chinese listeners such as Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and Sound of Hope Radio, in the near future."

China fears Facebook.

Posted: 23 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
New Tang Dynasty Television, 13 July 2010: "State-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences—or CASS—published their 'Report on the Development of China's New Media 2010.' It acknowledges the growing popularity of social-networking sites, and says, 'Some Web sites including Facebook, which are utilized by intelligence agencies in the Western countries, caused people to fear their specific political functions.' But a press-freedom advocate Oiwan Lam from Hong Kong In Media, tells Radio Free Asia that Western social-networking sites are being singled out for another reason. '[The regime] is targeting Facebook because it’s targeting new-media from overseas. Because in terms of their basic functions and technicalities, I don’t think Facebook is different from Chinese social-networking sites. The only difference is whether these sites will cooperate with authorities to follow censorship requirements.'"

Radio Free Asia, 14 July 2010, Hai Nan and Xin Yu: "Chinese authorities have ordered companies that provide microblogging services such as Twitter to step up online monitoring of content, as the major Internet service providers close their popular update services for 'maintenance' or testing."

Radio Free Asia, 22 July 2010, Ding Xiao: "Amid a restructuring of China’s blogosphere, some bloggers have reported receiving calls from hosting sites pleading with them to refrain from posting items deemed 'sensitive.' A Beijing-based member of the media, who asked not to be named, said he received a phone call Wednesday from Chinese portal asking him to abstain from blogging items that would draw attention from authorities."

CNNGo, 23 July 2010, Jennifer Lai: "Internet usage in China has proliferated in the past couple of years as computer ownership in homes becomes more common in urban areas of China, according to a recent Gallup poll. ... [T]eens are getting their dose of Internet consumption outside of home too, in Internet cafes. This could be partially due to busy migrant workers considering these cafes as a safe and inexpensive playground. But this could change as Radio Free Asia reports that from July 2010 onwards the Public Security Bureau announced Internet cafes must install ID swipe card machines, ensuring only those residents with second generation ID cards will be able to access the Internet." Refers to Gallup, 21 July 2010, Tao Wu and Steve Crabtree.

ABC and Sky compete to see who can get a worse deal in China.

Posted: 22 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
ABC press release, 20 July 2010: "The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Shanghai Media Group (SMG) today signed a Co-operation Agreement which will provide the basis for a long term partnership between their international channels; Australia Network and International Channel Shanghai (ICS). The Chairman of the ABC, Mr. Maurice Newman today formally inked the agreement with the President of SMG, Mr. Li Ruigang, at an official signing ceremony in Shanghai attended by the Australian Consul General, Mr. Tom Connor. ... The agreement now positions the broadcasters with a wide range of international co- operation options from exchange of television programs, to providing mutual news gathering support and content supply, through to exploring international television program co- productions. Selected Australia Network programs will soon be seen on International Channel Shanghai, and Shanghai Media Group will have access to studio and production support in Australia immediately." See also ICS website. It's an IPTV channel.

The Hollywood Reporter, 20 July 2010, Pip Bulbeck: "Pay TV channel Sky News Australia meanwhile recently signed a landmark programming agreement with CCTV. Under that deal CCTV’s international English service, CCTV News, begins broadcasting in Australia on the Austar pay TV platform this Thursday. But both the ABC and Sky are locking horns over their burgeoning international ambitions, particularly over the operation of the Australia Network." -- And each is trying to demonstrate its ability to get Australian content into China as proof of their worthiness to hold the Australia Network contract. Any deal short of real news, in Mandarin, on a mainstream platform, into China, is underwhelming. See previous post.

Los Angeles-based "Hello! Hollywood!" available to 250 million Chinese households. It's! Uncontroversial!

Posted: 22 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 18 July 2010, Jonathan Landreth: "A Los Angeles-based production company started by E! co-founder Larry Namer and former News Corp. exec Martin Pompadour is gaining traction in China with a year-old syndication model up and running in 48 cities and on several video portals with nationwide reach. Bypassing top markets Beijing and Shanghai and targeting second-tier cities such as Guangzhou (population 10 million), Shenzhen (9 million) and Tianjin (12 million), Metan Development Group and its Chinese production partner have landed sponsors Ford, Colgate and Philips for its flagship entertainment news program 'Hello! Hollywood!' ... It's hosted in Beijing by China Radio International personality Andy Dong and, in Los Angeles, by newcomer Yang Yang. Their peppy Mandarin commentary over jump-cut footage of everything from Malibu celebrity fund-raisers to Hollywood premieres reaches 250 million Chinese TV households. ... Metan ... avoids trouble from news censors in Beijing by sticking to celebrity and lifestyle stories, rather than addressing Hollywood's complaints about market access and piracy." -- In media industry press release parlance, "reaches" means available to, not necessarily viewed by.

Asia-Pacific region will get TLC.

Posted: 22 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific press release, 20 July 2010, via Asia Media Journal. "Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific (DNAP) today announced that it will be launching TLC in the region from 1 September 2010. TLC, one of the fastest growing lifestyle channels in the US, will replace Discovery Travel & Living in DNAP’s portfolio of seven networks that includes Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, Discovery HD World, Discovery Turbo and Discovery Home & Health. At launch, TLC will reach 133 million households in 20 countries across Asia-Pacific. ... TLC joins Discovery Communications’ portfolio of global brands that also includes Discovery Channel, available in more than 180 markets; Animal Planet, available in more than 170 markets and Discovery Science, available in more than 100 markets." See also Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific web page, with coverage map.

Following up on Lee Bollinger's proposal to create an "American World Service" from PBS, NPR, VOA, and RFE.

Posted: 21 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
In the Wall Street Journal, 14 July, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger proposed to bolster US journalism, especially international coverage, through a government-funded "American World Service" combining PBS, NPR, VOA, and "Radio Free Europe." (See previous post.) This would be along the lines of the BBC and government- or license-fee-funded broadcasting entities in many other countries. The op-ed provoked many comments, almost all negative.

21st Century Journalism, 14 July 2010, George Brock: "Media not supported by government and in the private-sector economy are, by definition, at risk. As the business model for daily printed newspapers runs into deeper and deeper trouble, the damage done to the expertise housed in long-standing publications is undeniably great. ... The BBC’s peculiar combination of editorial independence and tax funding is a historical miracle. It might be hard to reproduce in Britain now, let alone anywhere else. Combinations of unusual factors – the culture and habits of the 1920s when it was founded, determined individuals, luck – have made it one element in British news media which are a 'mixed economy' of public service and privately-owned media." -- Actually, there are several other public broadcasting bodies similar to the BBC model. They include the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Norsk Rikskringkasting AS, SRG SSR idée suisse, and others in democratic states.

The Guardian, 15 July 2010, Roy Greenslade: "I wish to preserve the skills of our current journalistic community, which looks to be in danger of collapsing. In this stage of transition from one platform to another, I think there is a case to be made for the state to help and the BBC model - in terms of both funding and arm's-length political independence - should not be dismissed lightly."

Lee Bollinger did not mention CNN International. CNNI is one of the 'big three' global English-language news channels, along with BBC World News and Al Jazeera English. All three aspire to pay for themselves through advertising, but CNNI is the only one, so far, to earn a profit.

In the United States, CNNI is available on Verizon FiOS, but through few other outlets. If the channel could find its way onto more cable systems, Americans would get more international news than they see on CNN domestic or any other U.S. news channel. CNNI may not be everyone's ideal of a news channel, but the price is right: it costs the taxpayers nothing.

In many Western democracies, there are public broadcasting entities that receive government subsidies or income from mandatory license fees, yet maintain the independence of their news operations. Independence is, however, usually easier if there is no government funding at all.

Notes for the new Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Posted: 20 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Layalina Review, 2-15 July 2010: "The Senate recently confirmed the new and bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors after seven month of political bickering, reports Kim Andrew Elliott for The New York Times. Former CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson will now head the Board and administer American media projects such as the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Al-Hurra TV and TV Marti ... Elliott remarks that the budgetary cut may be a salutary move for the BBG, which has an annual budget of $757 million, but fails to channel the funds efficiently and blames the duplication of efforts in broadcast. He notes, 'Instead of having one entity that produces all broadcasts, American international broadcasting is a collection of often redundant agencies working under the banner of the Board of Governors.' Elliott believes that the new board will have an opportunity to remedy to the situation by proposing 'to Congress and the Obama administration a merger of the separate broadcasting entities into one corporation under the board’s supervision, similar to the BBC World Service.'" See previous post. The first meeting of the new Board members will be July 29-30.

Heritage Foundation, The Foundry, 14 July 2010, Helle Dale and Morgan Roach: "The new Broadcasting Board of Governors, announced on Friday by the Obama White House, have their work cut out for them. For a variety of not very satisfactory reasons, the U.S. broadcasting entities (Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, et al.) on whom the federal government spends $745 million a year of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, have been without strong leadership and management for an unconscionably long period. ... The board’s newest members are now entering a world where tensions run high and opinions are anything but lacking. At a recent Heritage Foundation forum, 'Perspectives on U.S. International Broadcasting,' some of the biggest voices in public diplomacy aired sharply diverging views on the effectiveness of the BBG as an institution."

George Washington University press release, 14 July 2010: "Dana Perino, White House press secretary to George W. Bush from 2007-2009, has been named to GW's Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) adjunct faculty for Strategic Public Relations (SPR) in the fall 2010 semester. Ms. Perino will teach a master class in political communications on advocacy, politics and public affairs. ... President Obama has nominated her to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the governing board of all U.S. broadcast services, including Voice of America." -- I hope Ms. Perino gets the "advocacy" out of her system at GWU, because if the elements of the BBG engage in advocacy, their audiences will tune elsewhere.

Recognition for Rep. Royce's role in Radio Free Asia bill needs some more recognition.

Posted: 20 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Orange Country Register, 16 July 2010, Dena Bunis: "Rep. Ed Royce got some recognition on a couple of measures this year that were his ideas but don't carry his name. Royce, R-Fullerton, has long been pushing for a permanent Radio Free Asia. He got a bill passed last year to extend the operation for one year. This year the permanent authorization was passed. But it had Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar's name on it, not Royce's. 'They weren't marking up any legislation in the Foreign Affairs committee,' Royce said, so he had to go over to the Senate to get things moving. Royce introduced six resolutions, seven bills and one amendment during this Congress. He got one resolution passed, and the Radio Free Asia extension." See also Rep. Royce website, 30 June 2010.

Rep. Ed Royce website: "Congress holds the purse strings of the federal government and therefore has a duty to be good stewards of the taxpayer's hard-earned money. It is important to the national economy that our government spends its money wisely. Congress, through the different Committees, has been able to identify and root out areas of waste, fraud and abuse within our government agencies and programs. Concerns about our federal deficit and excessive government spending have been long-time top priorities for me."

See previous post, describing how RFA and VOA both broadcast to the same Asian countries in the same languages, and how this is made permanent through the legislation championed by Rep. Royce, who also champions the struggle against "excessive government spending." See also my op-ed.

Foreign Policy, 15 July 2010, Manzoor Ali: "With the wash of conspiracy theories floating around in the Pakistani media, it is little surprise that 59 percent of Pakistanis view the U.S. as the greatest threat for Pakistan, followed up by 18 percent for India and a mere 11 percent for the Taliban. .... To help counter this flood of conspiracy, the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty launched a Pashtu-language radio station called Radio Mashaal in January of this year, to supplement the reach of Voice of America's Dewaa Radio in 24/7 coverage of the region." -- It's VOA Deewa Radio, and it broadcasts nine hours a day. Radio Mashaal transmits six hours a day in the same language to the same region. Both stations cover many of the same news stories.

From where America broadcast to the world, cardboard boats will sink (updated: they sank).

Posted: 20 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Cincinnati Enquirer, 16 July 2010: "Watch brilliance unfold at the Crazy Cardboard Boat Regatta, 1 p.m. [today], Voice of America Park, Cox Road at VOA Park Drive, West Chester Township. Participants design and build human-powered boat made of corrugated cardboard which are capable of completing at least three trips around a 200-yard course." The site of the former VOA Bethany, Ohio, shortwave transmitting station.

Update: Hamilton Journal-News, 19 July 2010, Rick McCrabb: "Peter Hall took four hours to build his boat for the Crazy Cardboard Regatta on Saturday, July 17. ... As the boat, a 4-foot-by-4-foot box, neared the start line and prepared to race against two other vessels, it tipped over, dumping [Kathleen] Stoughton and her children in the water, which, on this humid day, probably brought relief. They were rescued and brought ashore."

WLWT-TV, 17 July 2010: "An estimated 5,000 onlookers came out to Voice of America Park... ."

Middletown Journal, 18 July 2010, Kelsey Cano:"Jim Breitenbach, who served as Voice of America park manager from August 2006 to June 2008, said he witnessed misspending during his tenure, which ultimately persuaded him to leave. ... Breitenbach said among other things, MetroParks purchased paddle boats and canoes from a sporting goods store before doing adequate research. The boats weren’t approved for commercial use, and safety issues followed, including the boats flipping over with people inside."

VOA Albanian during the Hoxha years, and other VOA in news and history.

Posted: 20 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Seattle Times, 17 July 2010, Carol Pucci: "Isolated from the rest of Europe and most of the world for nearly 50 years by its dictator, Enver Hoxha, Albania ... was a country where 20 years ago, 'even the idea of owning a private hotel or restaurant was not allowed.' The borders were sealed. Private cars and phones were banned. What little learned Albanians knew about the outside, they gleaned from patching into Italian TV or Voice of America." -- During the Hoxha years, VOA was the only US station with an Albanian service, except for Radio Free Albania in the early 1950s. RFE/RL added Albanian in 1999. BBC Albanian was broadcast 1940-1967 and relaunched in 1993.

The St. Augustine Record, 12 July 2010, Marcia Lane: Jose Marti "is remembered in St. Augustine ... for his work promoting education. His bust is in the Grove of Educators at the Oldest Schoolhouse on St. George Street. Florida Sen. Walter Bryan Fraser chose Marti and other Central and Latin American educators to go in the grove of the schoolhouse, one of the tourist attractions he owned. ... For Marti's dedication in 1951, the guest list included Sidney Berry of Voice of America, the assistant Librarian of Congress, the Cuban Consul as well as the president of the Cuban Academy of History, University of Florida president D.J. Hillis Miller, the U.S. assistant secretary of state and the UF band."

San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 July 2010: Death of Holbrook 'Hobey' Bradley, 93. "In 1962, he was a Foreign Service officer for the State Department assigned to the Voice of America Far East news desk." -- With the existence of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, State Department officers (perhaps he was actually USIA) are no longer assigned to the VOA newsroom.

The New Vision (Kampala), 8 July 2010: "Radio West, a station owned by the Vision Group and based in western region [Mbarara, Uganda], on Wednesday hosted the American ambassador, Jerry Lanier. ... Matojo told the ambassador that Radio West covers northern Tanzania, northern Rwanda, western and other parts of Uganda. He said the station promotes democratic governance through participatory approaches and runs some programmes from Voice of America."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 15 July 2010: "Three journalists were formally charged today after refusing to reveal to Ivory Coast's state prosecutor their sources for a corruption story based on a document leaked from the prosecutor's office. The journalists could face up to 10 years in prison. [They include] Editor-in-Chief Saint-Claver Oula of the daily Le Nouveau Courrier ... The health of Oula, who had been suffering from a stomach ailment at the time of the arrest, has deteriorated, according to Gueu. Police took Oula, who is also a local correspondent for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, to a local clinic on Thursday, but denied a doctor's request to hospitalize the journalist. In protest, Oula began a hunger strike and has refused medication."

Reuters, 15 July 2010, Paul Taylor: "Houshang Asadi is an equal opportunity torture victim. He was tortured under the Shah and tortured again after Iran's Islamic Revolution. He still feels the pain, every night. Now the 59-year-old former communist journalist, who lives in exile in Paris, is finally getting even with his former torturer -- a man he came to know and fear as Brother Hamid -- via the Internet. ... Now it is Brother Hamid who has been made to sweat since Asadi outed him in a Voice of America interview as Iran's ambassador to a central Asian state. The envoy was quickly recalled to Tehran and sent into retirement."

City Journal, 11 July 2010, Guy Sorman: "Wei Jingsheng lives in exile in the United States after spending ten years in prison for having publicly aspired to what’s known in China as 'the fifth modernization' —democracy. ... If Wei Jingsheng 'means nothing,' as an official told me in Beijing, then why does the party jam his radio addresses, which the Voice of America broadcasts?"

China's two-channel international broadcasting already causing confusion.

Posted: 19 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Sky Report, 19 July 2010: "Austar is broadening its international news horizons this week by launching China’s new English news channel to its lineup. The regional subscription television provider also brings Al-Jazeera’s news channel into the 740,000 homes of subscribers. The CCTV News Channel will start broadcasting to regional Australia on Thursday, the same day ABC News 24 launches on digital free-to-view, Foxtel HD and Austar HD. The English-language service was launched three weeks ago. China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC) says that the channel aims to give 'a Chinese perspective to global audiences'." -- When a country has two international services, from the same city, in the same languages, to the same target countries, e.g. VOA and Radio Free Asia, confusion ensues. China has decided the emulate the US system, and so its international broadcasting is also subject to confusion. Is CNC describing rival CCTV, or itself? Will CCTV or CNC be on Austar?

The Australian, 19 July 2010, James Chessell: "Regional pay-TV group Austar yesterday announced it would begin broadcasting the CCTV News channel to its 740,000 subscribers from Thursday. The timing of the announcement is clearly designed to send a message to Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith who will receive crucial submissions from Sky and ABC on the future of the Australia Network today. The service also starts broadcasting on the same day the ABC launches its 24-hour news channel. ... ABC managing director Mark Scott has argued the public broadcaster is better placed to serve Australia's 'soft diplomacy' interests around the world. Sky has established public affairs channel A-PAC and believes it has the edge over the ABC as demonstrated by its ability to strike reciprocal deals with Chinese broadcasters. The Chinese are reluctant to broadcast foreign content unless the foreign broadcaster has signed up to a reciprocal deal." -- What reciprocal deals? China has plenty of broadcasting outlets in the United States and other countries, but those countries don't have similar exposure in China.

Decision whether ABC or Sky will get contract for Australian international television may wait until after August election.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 2010, Julian Lee: "News Corporation ... is also a three-way shareholder in Australian News Channel, the company that produces Sky News, which will bid for the $20 million-a-year Department of Foreign Affairs contract to run the Asia Pacific news service, Australia Network. The deadline for the 'invitation of views' on whether the contract should go to tender is coming up this Monday. However, both ABC and Sky sources say a decision has been postponed until after the election."

Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 2010, Hamish McDonald: Rupert "Murdoch and his men are ... exercised about [the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's] overseas TV broadcasting operation, called the Australia Network, which, by satellite dish and cable, claims to shower 32 million homes in 44 countries, mostly in Asia and the Pacific... . This operation began in 1993, under Paul Keating's government. The Howard government chopped it back, along with its vandalism of the shortwave service Radio Australia, and it had a brief and unsatisfactory period under the Seven Network before coming back to the ABC in 2001. ... It would be anomalous if the Australia Network was retained under the five-year tender system, and not folded into the ABC permanently as Radio Australia has been since 1939. It would be even more anomalous if Australia's international broadcaster was put into the hands of an outfit that is majority foreign-owned. Sky is a venture between Murdoch's British BSkyB; Nine, which is controlled by the Luxembourg private equity firm CVC; and Seven, controlled by Australia's Kerry Stokes. Even if it wasn't, who would you trust - Murdoch or the ABC - to fulfil the Australia Network's aims ... 'To present a reliable Australian voice in the Asia-Pacific region and to promote Australia as a sophisticated, diverse, innovative and tolerant society'?"

Crikey, 19 July 2010, letter from Malcolm Colless: "Australia Network should have more independence in its news gathering potential[,] something which it does not have while tied the the ABC’s apron strings. I believe that this is a fundamental issue which the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his current review of Australia Network should put to the ABC, Sky News and anyone else who believes they should manage this service." See previous post about same subject.

CNN International employs many Australian anchors, reporters, and crew.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 19 July 2010, Michael Bodey: "As the ABC launches its ABC News 24 channel this week, another 24-hour news network staffed by many Australians continues to grow, bucking the trend of shrinkage in news organisations. On the frontline of CNN International's growth are a number of Australian anchors all over the globe. Many, like former Today Tonight hosts Anna Coren and Stan Grant, based in Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi respectively, are familiar to Australian audiences. Some, like former Seven reporter John Vause, Nine reporter Michael Holmes and ABC's Rosemary Church are less so, while others, including Justin Armsden, Michael Ware, Andrew Stevens and Phil Black, have made their name at the global network. ... Many expat Australian crew members and office staff support them. ... CNNI executive vice-president and managing director Tony Maddox says the Australian accent is useful on his network because his research suggests it is clear for those using English as their second language. For a network available in more than 257 million households and hotel rooms in more than 200 countries, with a particular influence in Asia, that is a potent asset."

Lords debate re BBC World Service: Add Department for International Development funding to that of Foreign Office.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 14 July 2010: "A peer has called for the cost of the BBC World Service to be shared between the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development (DfID) in order to protect it from cuts."

House of Lords Hansard, 13 July 2010: "Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: Does the Minister agree that in these very unstable times there is a clear need for unbiased and independent news and information, which is uniquely provided by the BBC World Service? Does he also agree that a 25 per cent cut will inevitably lead to challenges that the World Service will find difficult to meet? That is what is being proposed and it is an unacceptable threat to the world's most respected broadcaster. Lord Howell of Guildford: I certainly agree with the first point that the noble Baroness makes. Indeed, one wants to see a well funded and effective BBC World Service, but she has to recall that under her Government a substantial cut was imposed as a result of the fall in the value of sterling, which must have hurt a lot. Under the cuts announced on 22 June by my right honourable friend the Chancellor, the BBC World Service has to make a modest further contribution and-I have to say, given the appalling financial situation that we have had to unscramble and are still unscrambling-there will be further spending-round cuts."

See also video.

The Scotsman, 14 July 2010: "At question time in the House of Lords the Bishop of Chester, the Right Rev Peter Forster, said there was a general recognition that world peace required 'more religious understanding'. He asked Lord Howell: 'Would you share my disappointment that over the last 10 years the religious programming output of the World Service has dropped?' The minister replied: 'Yes. Although this is an editorial decision of the BBC World Service.'"

Watching BBC Arabic, Alhurra, Al Jazeera in US military prisons.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Christian Science Monitor, 15 July 2010, Jane Arraf: "The US closed one of the most controversial chapters of the Iraq war today when it transferred control of its last remaining prison to the Iraqi government. ... Despite the handover, the Iraqi government has asked the US military to keep about 200 prisoners, many of them suspected or convicted of terrorism, as well as eight former regime officials – five of whom have been sentenced to death. ... The former officials wear civilian clothing rather than the neon yellow outfits of regular prisoners. They’re allowed books, newspapers, television news channels such as BBC Arabic, and the US-funded Iraqi Al-Hurra, as well as sports and movie channels."

Fox News, 13 July 2010: "At [Guantanamo Bay] Camp 6, a minimum security facility within sight of bright Caribbean waters, detainees can now watch flatscreen TVs suspended from above (and encased in protective plastic) or attend classes on personal finance -- all while their feet are chained to the floor. At first, detainees were offered four channels via satellite television, but now detainees can choose from among 18 channels, including Al Jazeera English, a sports channel, and broadcasts focusing on Tunisia, Libya or Kuwait, according to McManus, who said 'nature shows are very popular.' 'Introduction of television is the number one thing we've changed... '."

BBC Persian now on four satellites in move to overcome Iranian jamming.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 16 July 2010: "The BBC's award-winning Persian-language television channel, BBC Persian, is now available on Eurobird 2 which is positioned in the same location as Arabsat. This is the latest in a series of recent moves to ensure that BBC Persian television is available to audiences in Iran despite attempts to jam the channel's signal. In May 2010, as part of the BBC's commitment to ensure that its Iranian audiences have access to accurate and impartial television news and current affairs, BBC Persian television started broadcasting on the Hotbird 8 satellite. The channel continues to be available on Eutelsat W3A and Telstar 12. The EB2 satellite (co-located with Arabsat) is the third Eutelsat owned platform to carry the Persian service. BBC Persian television started suffering deliberate attempts to interfere with its signal during its extended coverage of Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009. The source of the interference has been identified as being situated in Iran."

Gwyneth Williams moves from BBC World Service English to BBC Radio 4.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 15 July 2010: "A senior BBC World Service executive, Gwyneth Williams, has been appointed as the new controller of BBC Radio 4. Williams, who began her BBC career in 1976 and was most recently responsible for the World Service's international radio programmes in English, will succeed Mark Damazer in the autumn." See also BBC News, 15 July 2010. -- BBC Radio 4 has a format similar to BBC World Service English. Or as it was before hour-long news programs started taking over the BBC WS English schedule. Listeners abroad who can listen to internet radio might prefer BBC R4 for its variety.

Using geo-IP targeting, a US version of the homepage is introduced.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 15 July 2010, Robert Andrews: "The BBC is continuing its efforts to find overseas advertising money by targeting its main homepage at U.S. audiences for the first time. The move is a simple case of using geo-IP targeting to show more locally relevant content through, the international-facing version of It’s hardly a paradigm shift. But BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, hopes it will attract more users in order to boost U.S. sales that underperformed in the downturn last year, the second full year in which the BBC has been showing ads to overseas visitors. The switch means showing a different order of news and features on The site’s TV section refers to its roster of 12 international channels, rather than domestic ones. And BBCWW is still contemplating launching iPlayer internationally, possibly on a paid basis. ... One confusing thing is that BBC Worldwide seems to use the name “” interchangeably, to refer to both the BBC News site and the BBC homepage (it actually refers to the homepage, which is a parent of the news site, but BBCWW is selling localised ads on both)." -- I hope this doesn't mean we in the USA will have to pay to hear BBC domestic radio networks on the iPlayer.

Reuters, 15 July 2010: "Miranda Cresswell, senior vice president of, said in a statement: 'You're going to see more analysis, more insight and more perspective that connects the dots on events and issues that affect us all in the U.S.' Such an approach will undoubtedly see the BBC compete more directly with US newspapers and broadcasters for local and regional stories. Until now, most of BBC's U.S. coverage has focused on major national stories, usually with an international impact."

The Observer, 18 July 2010, Peter Preston: "Here comes a redesigned BBC website – and a new (with 10 or so Washington-based journalists) producing a distinctive American site, which of course can take advertising because it's over there, not over here. With 17-plus million clicking in across the US, you can see more ad money rolling in. But can 10 people, however good, supply all the news, all the features, all the coverage? Of course not. The essential news infrastructure is good old British stuff, paid for by you and me. Which means BBC Worldwide, taking precious ad money from UK newspaper sites seeking a US foothold, is operating a grotesquely unlevel playing field – at least in those newspapers' view. Now wonder why they don't sing constant paeans of praise to Auntie ... ."

BBC World News America, 13 July 2010, Matt Frei, presenter: "So as we re-launch our BBC News website I will throw myself into the gushing maelstrom of a daily blog, updated at meal-times. Its mission will be not dissimilar to the mission of BBC World News America. We will try to create a connection, an understanding, a rapport between the world's most powerful country and everyone else. ... It means recalibrating my mind to think, frequently, in short nugatory bursts. This should be no problem for someone suffering, as I do, from PDD, patience deficit disorder."

BBC Worldwide 2009/10 sales and their worldwide components.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 5 July 2010: "BBC Worldwide Ltd, the commercial and wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), today published its Annual Review for 2009/10. The company saw sales rise by 7% to £1074m in the 12 months to 31 March 2010, exceeding the £1bn mark for a second year. ... Sales generated overseas rose from 51.3% to 54.6% of the total (target- two thirds by 2012, from 46% in 2006). ... A strong overseas format business has helped sales from Content & Production grow by 10.7% and profits by 4.8%. ... The top five programme brands around the world were Top Gear, Life, Planet Earth, Being Erica and Doctor Who; The launch episode of the most recent series of Doctor Who attracted 1.2m viewers for BBC America post year end - its biggest-ever audience."

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July 2010: "The BBC has sold 16 per cent more content to Australia in the past year, largely on the back of cuddly characters with nonsensical names and car mad men. Top Gear is a huge success for the BBC Worldwide, its recent move to the Nine Network delivering an increase in viewers, more traffic to the website and an audience for the magazine, sold here through the BBC's partnership with ACP. The BBC has also widened the reach of its specialist channels BBC Knowledge and CBeebies, the latter including the hugely popular pre-school hit In the Night Garden. Both BBC channels are now available on Austar and Foxtel."

BBC's Corporate Responsibility Report includes international projects.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC press release, 13 July 2010: "The BBC today published its Corporate Responsibility Report for 2009/2010 detailing its approach to managing the BBC's business functions in a responsible way. ... In line with the BBC's public purpose to communicate with audiences abroad, the BBC World Service Trust and BBC Learning English has launched a series of initiatives. In Bangladesh, two projects – BBC Janala and BBC Buzz – were launched to help the population improve or learn the English language. ... BBC World Class, in partnership with the British Council, has helped to twin schools in different countries. The aim is to inspire the schools to twin, facilitated by the British Council, and create global classrooms to help children to understand different cultures. For example, the Polesworth School in Warwickshire is twinned with Shen Zhen Shi Bi Bo Zhong Xue, in Shenzen, China."

Ugandan's "Will Smith Look-Alike" is winner of BBC World Service African playwriting competition.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 12 July 2010: "Will Smith Look-alike," written by Deborah Asiimwe of Uganda, is the winner of the annual BBC World Service African Performance playwriting competition. ... Will Smith Look-Alike tells the story of 17-year-old Tereka as he travels to New York with his school music group after they won a national competition. Once in New York, Tereka believes that his resemblance to the American actor Will Smith will help him to pursue a better life in the USA."

If Pakistan limits domestic news coverage, foreign broadcasters could become the "go-to" sources.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Pakistan Christian Post, 14 July 2010, David A. Andelman: "The plan to ban coverage of terrorism in Pakistani media was put forward by politicians who think the broadcast coverage of the consequences of terrorism– especially in the volatile North West Frontier Province (NWFP) – is exaggerated and irresponsible. ... [A] potent media is quite often the best and most effective check on unbridled government power that abuses or curbs personal liberties. There are several realities the government of Pakistan has failed to consider as it strives desperately to put a lid on the activities of extremists that threaten to overwhelm the nation and its security services. ... In this globally connected world, a host of other sources of information will quickly step into the breach. Would the government of Pakistan prefer that Qatar’s Al Jazeera replace the news outlets Dawn, Indus or Geo – each Pakistani owned and operated? Or for that matter should the BBC, Voice of America or CNN, Deutsche Welle, France 24, Russia Today or Xinhua TV become the main go-to source for news for Pakistanis? A host of private radios and Internet operations outside Islamabad’s control would inevitably begin beaming their own version of events into the most volatile regions, especially the NWFP. Such vehicles may themselves be controlled by the very insurgents and extremists that the government is so anxious to prevent its people from embracing."

Satellite, internet, and "scratchy" shortwave no remedy for foreign radio ban on Azerbaijan FM dial.

Posted: 18 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Azeri Report, 8 July 2010, Vugar Gojayev: "At the beginning of 2009, the Azeri services of the BBC, Radio Liberty and Voice of America were banned from broadcasting on national frequencies in Azerbaijan. ... Foreign broadcasters were the only media outlets offering a plurality of political views, dissenting voices and alternative information to the Azerbaijani public. The Azerbaijani media never airs any politically sensitive issues, or contradicts the government’s view for fear of official retribution, including the revocation of broadcast licenses and fabricated tax evasion charges. ... As a radio listener, I have always depended on these three radio stations for regular and objective news. It was dismaying for me to see how easily the incumbent regime put a lid on these last remnants of pluralistic media. ... As a radio listener, I have always depended on these three radio stations for regular and objective news. It was dismaying for me to see how easily the incumbent regime put a lid on these last remnants of pluralistic media. ... Although banned, foreign broadcasts can be accessed via satellite, cable and internet platforms. But according to Miklos Haraszti, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s former representative on media freedom, these means are unable to provide an adequate reception, as ‘the internet usage is low, the expansion of satellite radio is unrealistic and shortwave radio is scratchy’." -- Scratchy? Shortwave reception is presently unjammed in the former Soviet Union, and can provide good reception if broadcasters dedicate sufficient resources and listeners commit enough patience to the process. The proliferation of modern appliances, such as flat-screen televisions, can cause interference to shortwave. This phenomenon should be assessed.

Al Jazeera named in $1.2 billion lawsuit related to Hezbollah rocket attacks into Israel.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center press release, 13 July 2010: "On the fourth anniversary of start of the Lebanese-Israeli War, 91 American, Israeli and Canadian victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks have filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network. The suit, Kaplan et al. v. Al-Jazeera (10 cv 5298), filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, seeks $1.2 billion in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. The plaintiffs, whose family members were killed or who were themselves injured by rockets fired at Israel by Hezbollah between July 12 and August 14, 2006, allege that Al-Jazeera intentionally provided real-time coverage of the locations of missile strikes inside Israel in violation of Israeli security regulations, thereby enabling Hezbollah to aim its missiles more accurately. Al-Jazeera camera crews in Israel during the war were repeatedly detained by the Israeli police for broadcasting real-time information regarding the location of missile strikes, which Hezbollah utilized to more accurately aim their missiles at civilian population centers. Al-Jazeera is widely acknowledged to have an extreme anti-American and anti-Israel political agenda."

Netanyahu cites France 24 as model for new Israeli international channels.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 13 July 2010, Rebecca Anna Stoil: "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shared his dream to establish a state-sponsored international news network with members of the Knesset’s State Control Committee Monday, when he arrived to testify before the committee regarding the controversial reform of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. ... The prime minister’s vision for the IBA includes separate round-the-clock news channels broadcasting in Hebrew, English and Arabic. ... He went on to speak at length regarding the virtues of France 24, a channel that broadcasts news from a French perspective directed at international audiences and does, according to Netanyahu, 'a great service to France.' 'A channel such as this could give a great push toward improving Israeli advocacy,' said Netanyahu. He did not, however, mention one of Israel’s potential rivals on the international television scene, Iranian government-run Press TV." -- France 24 maintains a fairly independent stance, and does not really do "France advocacy." Press TV does not have much of an audiences, because it does "Iran advocacy." If the new IBA does "Israel advocacy," it won't have much of an audience, either, outside of Israel.

The Jewish Chronicle, 15 July 2010, Gary Rosenblatt: "Meet Adil Awadh, 42, an Iraqi-born Muslim whose new position as senior adviser for The Israel Project’s Arabic Media Project has him seeking out meetings with Arab journalists to encourage them to report Israel’s side of the Mideast conflict. 'It will be very difficult,' Awadh said in a distinct understatement earlier this month in New York at a private reception sponsored by The Israel Project. ... He said that in his one-on-one meetings with various Arab journalists at the United Nations, he was put on the defensive about Israeli policy but explained that his objective was not to make Jerusalem’s case. ... 'I said I assume I am talking to professional journalists who have the ability to separate their opinions and biases, and try to present the complete story. ... That means, for example, choosing not to interview Israeli officials like Avishai Braverman, the minister of minorities, who has been outspoken about his efforts to improve conditions for Israeli Arabs. Awadh noted that Al Jazeera and other Arab TV media tend to show footage of graphic, bloody scenes of wounded Palestinians during interviews with Israelis.'"

"Welcome to America" to Africa part of BET's "mission to build a global distribution footprint."

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
"The BET Networks continue to provide quality entertainment for black people all over the globe and African audiences can join the fun on BET via DStv [DTH satellite service to Africa] as the channel marks off the half way point in the year with spectacular programs that will have viewers glued to their screens. Starting this July, viewers can look out for International Music Week’s ‘WELCOME TO AMERICA’. The WELCOME TO AMERICA festival brings the best in international artists to BET viewers."

BET web page for BET International: "With a beyond our current carriage of 85 million homes in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, BET International is licensing BET content to television broadcasters on multiple platforms, developing distribution opportunities for 24-hour BET branded networks, BET branded TV blocks, and BET branded broadband and mobile offerings - adding locally derived content to the US mix - all to serve consumers of black culture globally." -- But no separate website for BET (originally Black Entertainment Television) International.

CNN International "number one" and "continuing to pop-up around the world," says its MD.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Asahi Shimbun (Osaka), 15 July 2010, Yumiko Harashima, interviewing Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International: "Q: What is the 'Content Ownership Strategy' you began in 2007? A: We want CNN to be an original news service, not aggregating third-party material, which people can get from elsewhere, so we've invested millions of dollars in hiring staff in new locations around the world, so that people can see a richer supply of original journalism on CNN. ... Q: How can you manage to put so much money into the digital equipment and human resources? A: We're doing double-digit margins on our growth for the past six years, which gives us money to invest. And, we also chose not to invest in some other things. We chose not to invest in third-party content, and use that for the unoriginal content. So, some of it is 'reusing the same money.' ... We are number one around the world. But that will only stay that way if we continue to invest in good journalism and good programming. ... Q: Your content is distributed in fourteen services in 7 languages and can be seen in more than 260 million households in about 200 countries and regions. Which are the fastest growing markets for CNN in the last few years? A: We spend a lot of time, and rightly, talking about new media and the digital age and what our new proposition should be. But our established business, what CNN started doing, the cable news network, was as a paid television services and being paid for cable distribution and for household distribution. That remains a very strong business model, a very resilient business for us. So you'll see us continuing to pop-up around the world as more and more households get pay television." -- Recommended reading. This is a comprehensive conversation about CNN International and its operations and strategies.

Disney joins Asian Television Advertising Coalition.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) press release, 15 July 2010: "Following MTV Networks' recent commitment to the Asian Television Advertising Coalition (ATAC), CASBAA today announced that Disney Channels Southeast Asia has also joined the alliance dedicated to the growth of the Asian subscription-TV advertising pie. The alliance now comprises Discovery Networks Asia, Bloomberg Television, CNBC/ Universal Networks International, Disney Channels Southeast Asia, Fox One Stop Media, MTV Networks, Sony Pictures Television and Turner International."

India refuses to renew visa of NHK reporter.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Sify News (Chennai), 12 July 2010: "The Indian government has refused to renew the visa of Shogo Takahashi, the New Delhi bureau chief of Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), with the broadcaster expressing surprise at the decision. After making repeated attempts to get his visa renewed, the 46-year-old Takahashi, who had been the bureau chief since 2008, returned home Sunday. A NHK spokesperson said that the broadcaster was surprised at the Indian government's abrupt decision. The broadcaster has not, however, given up and written to the Indian embassy in Tokyo requesting a meeting to discuss the matter. The reply is being awaited, sources said. According to sources, the external affairs ministry was upset over some [allegedly] biased content in some of the NHK's documentary programmes. The NHK's coverage of the Lok Sabha elections last year, with its focus on role of caste system in Indian politics, did not go down well with Indian officials, sources said." See also The Telegraph (Kalkata), 16 July 2010.

How bootleg DVDs in Burma reported the destruction of Cyclone Nargis.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 10 July 2010, Emma Larkin, excerpt of her book Everything Is Broken: The Untold Story of Disaster Under Burma’s Military Regime: "Bootleg DVDs featuring the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis were available at streetside stalls and at road junctions, where boys walked between the vehicles stopped at red lights and held up the covers for viewing. Most of the DVDs had simple titles, sometimes written in English (Cyclone Nargis, Nargis, Nargis Storm), though I came across one DVD poetically entitled Gone with the Wind. ... There are few other ways for people to get information that hasn’t first passed the censors. Many people listen to Burmese-language news broadcasts from radio channels such as the BBC and Voice of America and, in urban areas where there is access to the internet, people can go to internet cafes and use special software to get past the regime’s firewalls and blocks on news channels. Still, at a time when few reliable reports were emerging from the delta, nothing quite matched the visceral content of the DVDs, and the films served an important function by documenting the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. ... But it turned out that the DVDs were available for only a limited period. One day in mid-May state media announced that foreign news agencies and local 'destructive elements’ were trying to manipulate public opinion by broadcasting false information. It was an oblique warning, but it was enough; the very next day the DVDs were gone." -- At least some of the video may have come from satellite television. Al Jazeera English was particularly active in Burma after the cyclone. See also review of the book by Radio Free Asia executive editor Daniel Southerland, Christian Science Monitor, 16 July 2010.

Fort Wayne News Sentinel, 6 July 2010, Ellie Bogue: "Members of the Burmese community and Fort Wayne [Indiana] Public Access TV channels are coming together to start a weekly program. The Golden Moon TV Network will air a news/variety show 7-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Comcast, City TV Channel 58. For Verizon users, it's City TV Channel 28. The show will feature news, a short beauty segment, interviews, entertainment and cultural events in the community, and a talk- show segment. About a year ago, Thiha Ba Kyi was talking with friends Myo Myint and Thin Ko Ko, a Burmese videographer who has worked for the BBC and Voice of America. With an influx of Burmese refugees coming to Fort Wayne, many of whom can't read or write, the Burmese community needed a way to help new arrivals adjust to living in Fort Wayne. Video seemed like the easiest solution, and so the idea of a television program was born. ... Starting in April, the three, plus Thiha Ba Kyi's fiancée and Thin Ko Ko's wife, began taping segments for the show. ... The first episode of the show is tentatively scheduled to air July 14. Because many Burmese do not have cable access, the DVDs will be distributed to local temples and other Burmese social services so they can reach their target audience."

AP, 15 July 2010: "A former aide to Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from prison Thursday after 14 years behind bars in the military-led country. ... Win Htein, 68, had been serving a 14-year sentence on charges of providing false information to the foreign press, according to the U.S. Campaign for Burma, which lobbies against aid to the military regime. Win Htein was released briefly in 2008 during an amnesty, but was re-arrested 17 hours later without explanation. In that brief period of freedom, he gave an interview to the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based shortwave radio station and website that is run by exiled Myanmar dissidents."

And that ends today's propaganda broadcast. Please let us know what you think about our program.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 16 July 2010: "South Korea's Defense Ministry said Friday it will resume anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcast along the heavily fortified border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported. The ministry said it has installed 11 propaganda loudspeakers and has completed preparations for sending more than 1 million propaganda leaflets into the DPRK, according to Yonhap News Agency. ... Pyongyang, for its part, recently threatened to open fire at the loudspeakers if they start blaring propaganda into the country."

JoongAng Daily, 17 July 2010, Ser Myo-ja: South Korea's Ministry of National Defense "said [apparently Friday] it will resume parts of its psychological warfare against the North if it makes anymore attacks. 'We have completed installing loudspeakers at 11 locations along the border,” [Ryu Je-seung, a senior policy planning official] said. 'They will be used to punish the North in case of any additional provocation.' He said six operational bases are ready to send 1.23 million propaganda leaflets to the North. 'We will decide when to begin the psychological warfare operation taking into account the Group of 20 summit in November and the North’s reaction, as well as developments in inter-Korean relations,' he said."

The Chosun Ilbo, 12 July 2010: "[T]he South Korean government and military are looking into various scenarios for resuming propaganda broadcasts against North Korea and sending anti-communist leaflets to the North, which they had planned to do in response to the sinking. 'Since the UN Security Council has adopted a presidential statement, we plan to start talks soon with the UN Command about the resumption of propaganda broadcasts. There is a good chance a decision will be made this week,' a Defense Ministry official said."

The Dong-a Ilbo, 13 July 2010: "A military source said, however, 'Military authorities have no special plan to resume a psychological war. Since the (presidential) statement of the U.N. Security Council stressed peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, if we start a psychological war now, it may look like we started a provocation first.'"

Yonhap, 14 July 2010, Sam Kim: "A South Korean government branch plans to step up its monitoring of North Korea next year by increasing funding for the activity five-fold, an official said Wednesday. The Unification Ministry is seeking 33.9 billion won (US$28.1 million) next year to scrutinize North Korea and assess its political, economic and social situation, the official said, asking for anonymity."

Radio Free Asia -- and its sources -- report on North Korea.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Chosun Ilbo, 15 July 2010: "North Korea has been distributing a propaganda poster apparently boasting about its sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday. The U.S.-funded radio station based the claim on a poster it obtained from a Chinese businessman just back from a trip to the North. The poster shows a North Korean soldier's fist smashing the ship into two pieces, accompanied by a slogan saying, 'We'll take it down with a single blow if it attacks!' ... Quoting a military exert in South Korea, RFA said, 'The poster features a corvette like the Cheonan, not a destroyer or a convoy ship, given the two guns each on the foredeck and the afterdeck. It seems that the North made the propaganda poster to boost soldiers' morale.'"

JoongAng Daily, 15 July 2010: "The RFA also cited a North Korean defector who said a rumor circulated within the North Korean military after the Cheonan sinking that 'the heroic navy landed a blow.'"

The Chosun Ilbo, 8 July 2010: "The North Korean regime has been thwarted in apparent plans to use the World Cup as a means to boost the image of leader Kim Jong-il's heir apparent Kim Jong-un. Radio Free Asia on Tuesday claimed the plans were scuppered when what seem to have been muddle-headed instructions from Kim senior himself to the national team lead to a devastating rout in South Africa. Quoting a source, RFA reported that after watching the match against powerhouse Brazil, in which North Korea recorded a respectable 1-2 loss with a tight defense strategy, Kim Jong-il said that although the team played the first half well, it lost because it only focused on defense in the second half. He then gave orders for the team's defenders to be positioned forward and even specified where each defender should be standing in the field. According to the source, Kim 'gave orders twice' to a responsible official dispatched to South Africa during the game against Portugal on June 21. The orders were delivered to North Korea manager Kim Jong-hun and implemented in the game. Despite the widening gap in the score, the North Koreans team stuck to their hopeless strategy and lost 0-7." Also picked up by National Post (Toronto), 9 July 2010.

The Chosun Ilbo, 7 July 2010: "North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has ordered the demolition and rebuilding of a theater that was in perfect condition, adding to suspicions that his judgment is becoming severely impaired as a result of a stroke in 2008. Citing North Korean sources, Radio Free Asia reported on Monday that a national theater in Pyongyang was demolished in May and is being reconstructed. People there 'seem to wonder why a building that was just renovated in 2003 is being rebuilt.'"

GlobalPost, 14 July 2010, Justin McCurry: "What little is known about the machinations of the world's most secretive state comes from South Korean government officials, the animated pronouncements of the North's official news agency, defectors and small-time surveillance operations that double up as purveyors of anti-North Korean propaganda. Taken together, their nuggets of information add up to a country on the brink of political and economic crisis."

Praise for Radio Free Asia Korean. Pay no attention to that other US station.

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Korea Herald, 15 July 2010, Robert Lee: "Big Brother controls the news, radio, Internet and every other form of communication. This is not George Orwell’s '1984.' This is North Korea and a U.S. government-funded organization aims to change that. Media oppression is omnipresent in the North, but information for and from Radio Free Asia’s shortwave radio broadcast flows through the communist state’s iron curtain. By informing the public of oppressive nations, RFA hopes to reduce censorship, while improving the economy and living standards. ... 'Before listening to RFA, I knew only about North Korea, but now I know there is a different world out there where people live without their rights being infringed upon,' one North Korean defector said." -- Isn't RFA the station that is supposed to tell North Koreans about North Korea? And the VOA Korean Service -- nowhere mentioned in this half a news story -- about "the different world out there"? Such is the muddle of US international broadcasting in its present structure, one that needs to be fixed.

Belarus warns RFE/RL reporters they "exceed the Government`s quota on RFE/RL."

Posted: 17 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link Belarus News, 14 July 2010: "The United States is seriously concerned about 'continued acts of suppression and intimidation aimed at independent media and political opposition figures in Belarus,' Ian Kelly, US ambassador to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation, said when speaking at a meeting held by the OSCE Permanent Committee on Tuesday, as quoted by BelaPAN. ... The US ambassador mentioned a recent attack on Artur Finkevich, leader of an opposition youth group called Maladaya (Young) Belarus, and his associate Alyaksandr Lykshyn who were assaulted by unknown assailants on July 8 shortly after leaving the US embassy in Minsk, and the Belarusian authorities’ warning to at least two Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalists that they are 'working illegally' in Belarus. 'They allegedly exceed the Government`s quota on RFE/RL, a quota that violates Belarus`s OSCE commitments to allow for a pluralistic and free media in Belarus,' Mr. Kelly said."

RFE/RL's "writer-at-large" on Finland making internet access a legal right.

Posted: 16 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Ha'aretz, 9 July 2010, James Kirchick, "writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty": "It might seem like yet another excessive giveaway from a Scandinavian social welfare state. Last week, Finland became the first country in the world to make broadband Internet access a legal right, placing the ability to get online alongside other entitlements like unemployment benefits and health care. ... Compare Finland's decision with the actions of authoritarian nations, which devote massive amounts of money and resources to preventing their citizens from enjoying unrestricted Internet access. ... When it comes to dealing with rogue regimes, preaching the unparalleled virtues of the Internet and social networking sites becomes an excuse for avoiding more effective actions - whether they be sanctions, covert operations or military force." -- "Writer-at-Large." I like the sound of that. I think I will propose that I become my agency's Bureaucrat-at-Large.

Radio Free Europe marks 60th anniversary.

Posted: 16 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 2 July 2010: "On July 4, 1950, Radio Free Europe (RFE) went on the air for the first time with a broadcast to communist Czechoslovakia from a studio in New York City's Empire State Building. The station signed on with the pledge of delivering news 'in the American tradition of free speech.' On this Fourth of July, exactly 60 years later, RFE/RL reaches nearly 20 million people in 28 languages and 21 countries (map) including Russia, Belarus, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It remains a lifeline for people living in war zones and under authoritarian rule who seek accurate and reliable news and information." With additional history and links.

RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 14 July 2010, Charles Dameron: "Sixty years ago, Radio Free Europe (RFE) took to dropping balloons into Communist-occupied Eastern Europe as one of its many creative ways of dodging the censors. These days, RFE/RL's methods of penetrating closed societies feature more high-tech tools - proxy servers and client software, for example - as authoritarian regimes do their best to prevent citizens from receiving news and information from the outside world."

RFE/RL press release, 29 June 2010: "According to a new Freedom House report unveiled at RFE/RL's Washington, D.C. office today, independent media have declined significantly across the former Soviet Union during the past decade." See alsao RFE/RL's Journalists in Trouble, 9 July 2010.

Correspondents move: Fox News to Al Jazeera English, CNN International to ABC.

Posted: 16 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 13 July 2010, Alex Weprin: "Fox News Channel's Islamabad, Pakistan-based Middle East correspondent Scott Heidler has left the network for Al Jazeera English. ... According to his LinkedIn profile, Heidler is now a correspondent based [out] of Al Jazeera's Washington DC bureau."

AP, 14 July 2010: "ABC's Christiane Amanpour officially joins the Sunday morning talk world on Aug. 1. ABC [the US network] said Tuesday that the former CNN international reporter begins as host of 'This Week' in less than three weeks. Amanpour was a surprise hire to replace George Stephanopoulos on the Sunday political show, which competes with NBC's 'Meet the Press' and CBS' 'Face the Nation.' With an August start, ABC wants Amanpour to get in the Sunday morning rhythm and get a few shows done before the political season starts in earnest."

Now two pan-Arab news channels being planned, each with Murdoch connections.

Posted: 16 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 14 July 2010: "British pay-TV company BSkyB (BSY.L) is in talks with a private Abu Dhabi investor to launch a round-the-clock Arabic language news channel under the Sky News brand. The new channel, which could launch within 24 months, would be run as a 50-50 joint venture, providing coverage of news across the Middle East and North Africa and competing with the likes of Al Jazeera, BBC Arabic and Al Arabiya. English language Sky News is available to viewers around the world but this would be the first wholly international venture for BSkyB. ... BSkyB is 39 percent owned by News Corp (NWSA.O), and the two sides are in talks after Rupert Murdoch's company proposed buying the rest of the company it does not already own."

Sky News, 14 July 2010: "The service would offer a new style of independent and neutral multi-media news coverage for countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA)."

AP, 14 July 2010: "The channel would compete against established regional networks such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said last week he also plans to launch an Arabic television news channel."

Gulf News (Dubai), 15 July 2010, Derek Baldwin: "At least seven per cent of Sky News owner News Corp is owned by Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, who recently hinted that he would help set up a new 24/7 news channel in a region virtually saturated with Arabic broadcast competitors. ... Steve Vaile, CEO and Founder of Dubai's H2O, a firm that specialises in new media development [said any] ongoing discussions to set up the service within two years would likely hinge on a complete, leading-edge multi-media platform ... rather than a straight-up TV news channel. ... 'I think it would take time and it would need a lot of positioning to win viewers' trust with that channel,' Vaile said, especially with a bevy of Arabic news services underfoot such as Doha-based Al Jazeera, Dubai's Al Arabiya and BBC Arabic."

The National (Abu Dhabi), Mixed Media, 14 July 2010, Ben Flanagan: "This follows the news last week that the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed has recruited Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to head his new 24-hour Arabic-language news channel, which will launch in the 'near future'. In a statement issued by Prince Alwaleed's company Kingdom Holding, it was claimed that the channel will be launched in partnership with the Fox Network, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire. This is intriguing. Fox News is a subsidiary of News Corp, and British Sky Broadcasting is 39.1 per cent owned by Murdoch's company. Prince Alwaleed has a 7 per cent stake in News Corp, while Murdoch has a 9.09 per cent stake in Rotana, Prince Alwaleed's media company. So given the strong links between Alwaleed and Murdoch, it is surprising that there are two Arabic news stations in the pipeline, given that the stations would presumably be competitors. (Some say, however, that Fox's involvement in Alwaleed's project may have been exaggerated.)"

The National, 15 July 2010, Ben Flanagan: "Assuming that the two proposed stations go ahead, they will, presumably, be in competition with each other. And given that Prince Alwaleed has a stake in both, how does that fit his 'long-term' investment strategy?"

The National, 14 July 2010, Ben Flanagan: "'The cost [of setting up a news station] is extremely high – you have to operate in five continents – and revenue is limited,' said Mazen Hayek, the group director of marketing, PR and commercial for MBC Group, which is behind the Al Arabiya news channel. 'What could a new news channel bring to the audience? What is the unique selling proposition of that channel? How could a business plan make sense, if it’s not linked to a media conglomerate with other channels?'"

With Murdoch connections to both, are the BSkyB channel and Prince Alwaleed's channel the same channel in making? Or will they be? Or are they vying to be? See previous post about Prince Alwaleed's planned channel.

Islamic Development Bank takes out ads on CNN, France 24 and Al-Jazeera.

Posted: 16 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Arab News, 10 July 2010: "'That’s Why' is the name of a worldwide media campaign that the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has launched to raise public awareness about its economic and social development efforts around the world. Nine short videos are being aired via CNN, France 24 and Al-Jazeera networks, coinciding with the 35th annual meeting of the IDB in the Azeri capital of Baku last month. Each video focuses on an important social challenge and what it means to ordinary people, before describing — that’s why — the action that the IDB is taking by itself and jointly with other development financing institutions around the world." -- The "short videos" are really commercials.

Job One for the new BBG is to keep this from happening to US international broadcasting.

Posted: 16 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Daily Beast, 6 July 2010, Randall Lane: "As part of a public diplomacy program similar to Radio Free Europe or Voice of America, the State Department had allocated more than $4 million a year to launch a magazine about American culture, which would be translated into Arabic and sold across the Arab world. (A TV station, Al Hurra, and Radio Sawa were launched around the same time.) Other than a corny name, Hi!, the one English word everyone on the planet knows, it was an empty vessel. ... Congressmen began complaining that rather than show young Arabs how Western society works, Hi! should tell them why American policies are right. The initiative’s leadership got incrementally political: The undersecretary for public diplomacy, a former advertising CEO named Charlotte Beers, was replaced ... eventually, by President Bush’s top image-maker, Karen Hughes. A State Department panel of ham-fisted political appointees now began actively reviewing our content before we printed it, as the new war in Iraq turned increasingly unpopular. ... [D]uring one review meeting, held before a star chamber of 10 high-level State Department officials, the co-leader specifically took offense to a photograph from a classic Western scene: campers and pack mules heading out on a rugged weekend expedition. ... She held up the offending photo, as wholesome as a Norman Rockwell painting, and pointed to a pack mule that, by other names, might be known as a donkey. This has to go, she said. Too pro-Democrat. And out it went." -- A second source for this story would be helpful.

"Makeover" for Channel NewsAsia.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, 5 July 2010: "Channel NewsAsia, the Singapore-based regional news channel, undergoes a makeover this month with a fresh on-air look, new documentaries and some changes to its staple programmes. The channel says the revamp is part of its continuing drive to present Asian perspectives which are timely and relevant to viewers. Kicking off the revamp is a new on-screen look of Channel NewsAsia, with a newly designed information bar. The aim is to give viewers more information in a streamlined manner." See also

New ABC news channel will include Australia Network's "Business Today."

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Spy Report, 13 July 2010, Cyril Washbrook: "After weeks of speculation, the [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] has announced that ABC News 24 will launch on-air on Thursday 22 July. The first programme to air on the high-definition news channel will be an ABC News special at 7:30pm AEST. The broadcaster indicates that the launch programme would aim to showcase the full range of the ABC’s news-gathering capabilities, featuring reporting from journalists in Australia and around the world. ... The Australia Network‘s Business Today, presented by Whitney Fitzsimmons, will also be broadcast on News 24."

Study finds higher cancer risk near Vatican Radio's "obsolete" transmitters.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 14 July 2010: "A court-ordered study has found that electromagnetic waves beamed by Vatican Radio leave residents living near the station's antennas at a higher risk of cancer, Italian media said Wednesday. ... The Vatican spokesman said the Holy See would soon publish its own experts' conclusion in the case."

BBC News, 14 July 2010, David Willey: "There is a 'coherent and significant connection' between radiation from Vatican Radio aerials and childhood cancer, researchers have said. The Italian experts looked at high numbers of tumours and leukaemia in children who live close to Vatican Radio transmitters. The 60 antennas stand in villages and towns near Rome. The Vatican said it was astonished and would present contrary views to a court in Rome. ... Some 60 huge steel aerials were erected on farmland owned by the Vatican during the last century. They transmit Vatican Radio programmes around the world on medium and short wave. However, the technology is now largely obsolete, as Catholic radio stations in many countries rebroadcast Vatican Radio shows after picking them up on the Internet."

-- And in many countries, local stations do not rebroadcast Vatican Radio programs.

Radio Business Report, 14 July 2010: "The radio's director, Federico Lombardi [said], 'Vatican Radio has always observed international directives on electromagnetic emissions and since 2001 has observed more restrictive norms set by Italy to allay the concerns of the neighboring populations.' Speaking on Vatican Radio, he said: 'According to international scientific literature on the matter, the existence of a causal link like the one apparently hypothesized by the report had never been established.'"

VOA Spanish to Cuba during Apollo era "better than today," and other shortwave stories.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
National Catholic Register, 14 July 2010, Victor Gaetan: "Oswaldo Payá Sardinas is the founder of the Varela Project, the most powerful democracy effort in Cuba’s recent history. ... 'My father had a trans-Atlantic radio, short wave, which had been sold for military purposes. My mother used to listen to the “Voice of America” every day. I still remember the names of the broadcasters. There was a lot of information. I heard the launching of the Apollo, very good, quality reporting. ... That radio station used to fill us with so many emotions — it was better than today. I want to say that they were always very impartial. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the message of a nation: with historical material, sports, culture and a very good capacity to transmit information with excellent description." -- "Better than today" might mean better the old VOA Spanish service was better than today's Radio Martí.

Euronews, 15 July 2010: "Pablo Pacheco has been talking to euronews: 'The proof of my guilt according to the Cuban Government was me owning a 1950s typewriter, a tape recorder, pens, denunciations, a fax, white sheets of paper, books – the majority of them about journalism – a short-wave radio.'"

The Economist, Babbage, 8 July 2010, N.V.: "In the days when you could buy germanium diodes, variable capacitors and earphones from war-surplus stores for pennies, your correspondent—like many of his schoolboy contemporaries—built a solid-state version of his grandparents’ crystal-set to pull in short-wave radio broadcasts from around the world. Though such sets were used only for receiving, and therefore didn’t need a carefully designed resonating antenna like a transmitter, the biggest problem with them always was constructing an effective enough dipole aerial."

The Newton Kansan, 6 July 2010, James A. Marples: "When I was a kid, I listened to shortwave radio and wrote to Radio Nederland and Radio Moscow asking for QSL cards (postcards which verified listening to a particular program, which they would spell 'programme'). The postal letters I received from the then-U.S.S.R. during the Cold War were all opened and unsealed. Obviously, the letters were censored and the authorities were making sure I wasn’t a spy." -- In my teen-aged days of sending for shortwave QSL cards, I rarely received responses that looked to have been opened.

Times-Herald (Vallejo, CA), 3 July 2010, Kenneth Zadwick: "My interest in ham radio goes back to 1939 when I was walking home from a movie and saw through a basement window a huge amount of equipment. After telling my father I thought I had uncovered a spy, he explained to me about ham radio, and turned on the short wave selection on a set. I was hooked... ."

All India Radio plans to purchase DRM digital shortwave transmitters.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 9 July 2010: "All India Radio (AIR) has placed a global tender notice for the procurement of several DRM [Digital Radio Mondiale] digital transmitters. It has invited bids for the supply of 34 new MW transmitters, for the upgrade of 36 MW transmitters and purchase of 5 SW transmitters and other associated equipment. The Research Department of AIR is also going ahead with the purchase of a 500 watt DRM shortwave transmitter for conducting trials on 26 MHz SW DRM transmissions for local coverage." -- Propagation rarely allows the 26 MHz shortwave band to be be useful for international broadcasting, so DRM is being tested in the band for an FM-like local service. With the 11-year sunspot cycle back in ascendancy, the 26 MHz signals meant for local listeners will occasionally be heard over long distances. The other 5 shortwave DRM transmitters will be used for more conventional domestic and/or international broadcasting.

RadioActivity blog, 11 July 2010, Alokesh Gupta: "DW 12095 DRM Txn [transmission] via Trincomalee. Tried listening to some DRM txn's today after long time, here's a screenshot for DW12095, SNR around 21 dB, stable audio"

"Growing roster" of television programs directed to Indian-Americans.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2010, Kavita Daswani: "Colors, the highest-ranked general entertainment channel in India, launched in the U.S. this year. Reaching 40 million households in India, the 2-year-old channel, a joint venture between Viacom and Indian media conglomerate Network 18, is hoping to replicate some measure of that success stateside. ... In January, Colors linked with Dish; it is now part of a Hindi language paid-subscription package on the satellite service. ... Colors is among the latest to join the growing roster of programming directed toward Indians, a demographic that ranks among the most highly educated immigrant populations in the country. ... [J]ust about every cable and satellite provider offers Hindi-language channels and a growing diet of varied programming. Industry executives decline to reveal numbers, but estimate that at least one third of South Asian households in the U.S. subscribe to some type of entertainment package."

Washington Post, 5 July 2010, Tara Bahrampour: "After 23 years of broadcasting to viewers in the Washington area, their one-hour talk show, 'Darshan,' has spawned "Darshan America," a half-hour version appearing in about 30 markets nationwide. ... It is a triumph for 'Darshan,' which means 'morning blessing' in Hindi. The show is one of 15 locally produced programs aired by the Falls Church-based MHz Networks, but it is the first to be broadcast outside its home market, on the company's channel geared to diaspora communities and viewers interested in foreign programs. 'Quite frankly, it's the only one that has the quality of content and production standards that meet the level that it's able to go national,' said Chris Arth, editor and director of 'Darshan' and a producer at MHz, which also airs international programming such as 'Al Jazeera English,' 'France 24' and 'Russia Today.' ... Unlike shows on Indian satellite subscription channels that are heavy on soap operas and Bollywood musicals produced in India, 'Darshan' targets the interests of immigrants and native Americans of South Asian descent."

Press TV's "exclusive interview" with Iranian who claims to have been abducted by the US.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 13 July 2010: "Shahram Amiri, the Iranian academic who was abducted by US and Saudi forces last year, has held an exclusive interview with Press TV, after his 'escape' from US forces. In the interview, he dismissed US claims that he has been in the US on his own desire. ... On Tuesday, US declared that arrangements are underway for the return of Iranian academic Shahram Amiri to Iran, claiming that he has been in the US on his own desire." For an "exclusive interview," this story is brief, cautious (e.g. the quotation marks around "escape"), and balanced by the mention of the US explanation of the matter. Press TV has many other stories about the same subject (search Amiri at, most of which are less constrained by journalistic principles.

Radio Farda breaks story of planned execution by stoning in Iran.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 11 July 2010, Benjamin Joffe-Walt: "Iran has apparently submitted to intense international pressure, promising to review a judicial sentence calling for the death by stoning of a woman convicted of adultery. The sentence so far has not been commuted. ... Dozens of international rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, took up Ashtiani’s case after it was first leaked to Radio Farda by women’s rights activist Soheila Vahdati last week." See also RFE/RL, 8 July 2010.

AP, 11 July 2010: "In its report Friday, the [Iranian] state news agency added that Western media, specifically BBC and Radio Free Europe’s Farsi services, had launched a propaganda campaign over the case."

Latest broadside against VOA Persian News Network.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Investor's Business Daily, 6 July 2010, editorial. "Voice of America's mission is to promote U.S. interests abroad, which includes freedom in Iran. But VOA's Persian newscast has been hijacked by pro-Tehran broadcasters. The Obama administration's sole strategy for defanging the Ahmadinejad regime is talk and more talk. Only, the propaganda that VOA is piping into Iran is helping the regime — thanks to deep-seated bias in favor of Tehran by Persian editors and producers whose salaries are paid by American taxpayers. They've banned stories that cast the regime in a negative light, such as last year's violent postelection crackdown on protesters in Tehran. They even refused for several days to air video footage of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young Iranian woman whose murder became an international cause celebre." -- Latest in a series of such allegations against VOA Persian. See, for example, this previous post.

Ibid, Voice of America response: "VOA is congressionally mandated to provide accurate and objective news often not available to our audience. Iran’s jamming of VOA programs is a testament to our success. VOA was one of the first to air video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan. Re: the lawsuit, a Federal District Court found complainant is unlikely to succeed. VOA also rejects your allegations about retaliation. Due to space limits, other inaccuracies are addressed in our full response @"

American Thinker, 7 July 2010, Ed Lasky: "[T]he Obama administration seems to like the Voice of America's new direction -- even more towards the dark side."

National Post (Toronto), 10 July 2010, Terrine Friday: "Within minutes of Neda Agha-Soltan being shot on a street in Iran during the government's crackdown of the Green Revolution last year, a video of her bloody death was being broadcast around the world. ... Soon a photograph of the beautiful, young woman in a flowered headscarf was being broadcast by the international media and the image of the 'Angel of Iran' became an icon. Except the picture was of the wrong woman. The photograph was of Neda Soltani who was -- and is -- still alive. ... In an interview with German media in February, Ms. Soltani said she first heard her name broadcast as the former Ms. Agha-Soltan on Voice of America. When she contacted them to say she was still alive, she sent along a photo of herself to prove it. According to Ms. Soltani, that same photo was then published and attributed as Ms. Agha-Soltan, with no correction issued." -- Gulf Daily News (Manama), 28 June 2010, James J. Zogby: "The story is true, Agha-Soltan was murdered, but the picture is not of her."

Leagle, 12 July 2010, re Sataki v. Falahati: "Plaintiff Elham Sataki filed [a] suit against Defendant Mehdi Falahati, her co-worker at the Broadcasting Board of Governors ('BBG'), asserting tort claims for Assault and Battery, False Light, Defamation, Tortious Interference with Business Relations, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. ... Plaintiff, who is represented by counsel in this action, failed to file any response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss by July 2, 2010, or indeed, at anytime thereafter. ... This case shall therefore be DISMISSED without prejudice." See previous post about same subject.

Trying to find where TV Martí really is on DirecTV can cause a dolor de cabeza.

Posted: 15 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 1 July 2010: "TV Marti premieres the first of a series on Cuban-American musical performers, as well as a tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces in its launch of prime time broadcasts over Independence Day weekend. Beginning Saturday, July 3, TV Marti will broadcast from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. via DirecTV to Cuba to showcase a fresh line-up of news and features on economics, sports, health, and technology. ... To fulfill its mission in providing Cubans with objective and reliable news, TV Marti will further expand its broadcast hours to Cuba on Direct TV, Channel 8, on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 p.m. to 11 pm, in addition to the existing weekday schedule. To help spread the word, an advertising campaign is being launched today to invite Cuban Americans to tell their relatives in Cuba about the expanded programming. In addition, on June 21, Radio Marti introduced a new program clock, with faster tempo news and a more dynamic sound. Programming includes a half hour newscast at the top of each hour, followed by expanded news related programming on various topics. A redesigned website for Radio and TV Marti,, also will launch in the coming weeks."

"Direct TV [actually DirecTV], Channel 8," is GenTV, or WGEN, which shows TV Martí on its Saturday-night schedule. WGEN is on terrestrial digital channel 8 in the Miami area. Its channel designation on DirecTV varies by the model of receiver. According to Wikipedia, WGEN is 25% owned by Colombia's Caracol TV. Presumably the idea is that WGEN via the DirecTV local service for Miami can also be received in Cuba. (Are black market dishes in Cuba pointed instead to the satellite carrying DirecTV Latin America? Perhaps not, if South Floridian are supplying DirecTV cards to their relatives in Cuba.)

A "tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces" is an interesting choice of programming to Cuba.

The website does not yet seem to be redesigned. It does provide a link to audio ("Radio en Vivo") allowing one to hear the new sound of Radio Martí.

"American World Service" idea makes my consolidation proposal look tame, by comparison.

Posted: 14 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 14 July 2010, Lee C. Bollinger: "Both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are undertaking studies of ways to ensure the steep economic decline faced by newspapers and broadcast news does not deprive Americans of the essential information they need as citizens. One idea under consideration is enhanced public funding for journalism. ... [W]e already depend to some extent on publicly funded foreign news media for much of our international news—especially through broadcasts of the BBC and BBC World Service on PBS and NPR. Such news comes to us courtesy of British citizens who pay a TV license fee to support the BBC and taxes to support the World Service. The reliable public funding structure, as well as a set of professional norms that protect editorial freedom, has yielded a highly respected and globally powerful journalistic institution. ... The U.S. government's international broadcasters, like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, were developed during the Cold War as tools of our anticommunist foreign policy. In a sign of how anachronistic our system is in a digital age, these broadcasters are legally forbidden from airing within the U.S. This system needs to be revised and its resources consolidated and augmented with those of NPR and PBS to create an American World Service that can compete with the BBC and other global broadcasters. The goal would be an American broadcasting system with full journalistic independence that can provide the news we need." See also many negative comments.

Actually, the BBC we get in the United States is not paid for by the license fee. BBC World Service is funded by the UK Foreign office and by US public radio stations that purchase BBCWS content. BBC World News is purchased by public television stations. The BBC America channel earns its keep through advertising.

NPR and PBS would probably be branded as too liberal by enough members of Congress to prevent any consolidation with VOA and RFE/RL. Some exchange of content between USIB and other private US domestic broadcasting companies could be beneficial to all, and need not compromise the journalistic independence of any of these organizations. The domestic dissemination prohibition of the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act would have to be revised. See my USIB consolidation proposal published the previous day in the New York Times.

President signs the Two US Stations Broadcasting to the Same Asian Countries in the Same Languages Act.

Posted: 14 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The White House, 13 July 2010, Office of the Press Secretary: "Earlier today, the President signed S. 3104, legislation that provides permanent authorization for Radio Free Asia (RFA). The mission of Radio Free Asia directly reflects the value Americans place on freedom of and access to information, which are vital to the democratic process and consistent with the principles of freedom of opinion and expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Over the last 14 years, RFA has brought accurate and timely news to the people of seven Asian countries without a free press. Starting with just two language services, it now broadcasts in nine Asian languages and numerous dialects. It has been honored with a wide variety of prestigious journalism awards over the years for providing factual and impartial news as well as analysis, commentary, and cultural programming. We will continue to work closely with Congress to support the critical work of RFA, and thank Senator Lugar and Representative Royce for their leadership in advancing this legislation. We look forward to increasing RFA’s audience reach in the years to come."

Chosun Ilbo, 5 July 2010: "Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California, who introduced the bill, stressed the need to support RFA, saying that according to a survey of defectors, more than half of refugees who fled the North since 2006 regularly listened to foreign broadcasts. The annual upkeep for RFA is equivalent to the cost for the fuel cap of a single B-52 bomber, he added, but its effect is much more powerful." -- A fuel B-52 cap costs $37 million dollars? Actually, this is from Rep. Royce's floor debate on 30 June 2010, in which he seems to be taking some poetic license. The debate makes no mention of VOA's broadcasts to the same region in the same languages. See also Daily NK, 5 July 2010. See previous post about same subject.

RFA is a very good station, reporting aggressively about its target countries, and getting many scoops. VOA also provides a very good news service to Asia, reporting on many of the same stories as does RFA. The result is frequent duplication of effort, unsustainable given present concerns about the growing federal deficit.

A simple solution might be to order VOA to limit itself to world and U.S. news, leaving the target-country news to RFA. This, however, would impose on the audience the unacceptable inconvenience of tuning to two US stations to get all the news.

In the present structure of US international broadcasting, there is no satisfactory scenario. Real reform (see previous post) is needed.

Russia spy episode is a reminder that shortwave, for certain purposes, is not dead.

Posted: 13 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Slate, 6 July 2010, Brett Sokol: "The FBI documents that accompanied last week's arrest of 10 alleged Russian spies are alternately creepy—who knew the Tribeca Barnes & Noble was a hotbed of espionage?—and comical—turns out even foreign spies wanted to cash in on suburban New Jersey's real estate boom. With a nod to Boris and Natasha, the accused are also said to have used short-wave radio, a 1920s-era technology that, because of its particular place in the spectrum, can bounce off the atmosphere and travel across continents. ... Just as in the case of Cuban spies Walter and Gwendolyn Myers, arrested last summer in Washington, D.C., the clandestine Russian agents were tuning in to foreign short-wave stations transmitting strings of numbers—some in Morse code, others spoken by a recorded voice—that they then decoded into words. The so-called 'numbers stations' carried regular broadcasts that could be heard by virtually anyone across the United States spinning their own short-wave dial past the BBC World Service or Radio France International, two of many neighbors in the shortwave spectrum."

New Scientist, 6 July 2010, Paul Marks: "Shortwave was not a bad idea, though. 'Using shortwave Morse is fairly good cover,' says [Tom] Sale, who monitored Russian spies in the UK communicating with Moscow in the 1960s. 'There probably aren't all that many intercept stations listening for Morse traffic any more.'"

Radio Survivor, 12 July 2010, Paul Riismandel: "[T]his just provides another reason why the particular qualities of radio makes it so suited for one-way communication, often over long distances."

MISO is no longer just a soup you order at a Japanese restaurant.

Posted: 13 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 2 July 2010, Kevin Maurer: "The Army has dropped the Vietnam-era name 'psychological operations' for its branch in charge of trying to change minds behind enemy lines, acknowledging the term can sound ominous. The Defense Department picked a more neutral moniker: 'Military Information Support Operations,' or MISO. U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw said Thursday the new name, adopted last month, more accurately reflects the unit's job of producing leaflets, radio broadcasts and loudspeaker messages to influence enemy soldiers and civilians. 'One of the catalysts for the transition is foreign and domestic sensitivities to the term "psychological operations" that often lead to a misunderstanding of the mission,' McGraw said. Fort Bragg is home to the 4th Psychological Operations Group, the Army's only active duty psychological operations unit. Psychological operations soldiers are trained at the post."

Strategy Page, 5 July 2010: "In early 1951, the Psychological Warfare operation got more power, money and autonomy when it became the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare (OCPW). This was a first for the Pentagon, as OCPW was an autonomous Special Staff Division working directly for the chief of staff. Keep in mind that the uniformed Special Forces advocates in the Pentagon were practicing what they preached (guerilla warfare) in getting the OCPW established. The OCPW contained many World War II veterans who had worked on commando, guerilla and Psychological Warfare operations against the Germans and Japanese. Here they were using those skills against communists, and the Pentagon bureaucracy."

Robert Coonrod named CEO of InterMedia, USIB audience research intermediary.

Posted: 13 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
InterMedia press release, 12 July 2010: "The Board of Directors of InterMedia, the global media and communications research company, today unanimously appointed Robert T. Coonrod as InterMedia's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). ... Coonrod joins InterMedia from Meridian International Center in Washington DC, where he has served as Chief Operating Officer. Coonrod also serves as President of the Board of the Public Diplomacy Council, and is a former member of the Defense Science Board Taskforce on Strategic Communication. ... Coonrod spent seven years as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the parent to NPR and PBS that helps support more than 1,000 public radio and TV stations throughout the United States. ... As a career Foreign Service Officer, he held several senior positions at the United States Information Agency in Washington and was posted in both in Italy and Yugoslavia. Coonrod is a graduate of Fordham University. He studied Italian, Slovene and Arabic and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute."

InterMedia evolved from the old Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty audience research office on Munich. If all of USIB audience research were under the International Broadcasting Bureau, RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia, not part of IBB, would likely complain. If research were under RFE/RL or RFA, VOA would probably complain. Hence the need for a third-party research entity.

The problem this poses is that if a survey is planned in, say, Laos, IBB (on behalf of VOA), RFA, and InterMedia managers and analysts are all involved in the process. This adds to the expense, time, and complexity of audience research.

If the consolidation of US international broadcasting, proposed in my New York Times op-ed of 13 July, were to take place, there would no longer be a need for a third-party research entity. InterMedia's analysts could be brought into the new corporation, just as BBC World Service research analysts work in-house. (The actual data collection would be performed by separate survey research firms, just as it is now.)

How does BBC World Service have a larger audience with about half the budget of US international broadcasting?

Posted: 13 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 13 July 2010, Kim Andrew Elliott: "The new Broadcasting Board of Governors has a chance to change this. It should propose to Congress and the Obama administration a merger of the separate broadcasting entities into one corporation under the board’s supervision, similar to the BBC World Service. This would eliminate the duplication and reduce overhead, compensating for [an administration-proposed] 5 percent budget cut and then some. It would also free up money to invest in television, an expensive medium that is necessary to attract audiences in many target countries. The present mixture of broadcasting bureaucracies, created over the decades by this and that legislation, must be replaced by a consolidated structure that can increase audience reach without reaching for taxpayers’ wallets."

Radio France International adds Swahili, with FM outlets already in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi.

Posted: 12 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Coastweek (Mombasa), 9 July 2010: "In a context of audience growth on the African continent to the tune of 200,000 additional listeners in 2009 and the success scored by Radio France International in Hausa, RFI is stepping up its coverage and reaching further afield with the development of new programmes in another African language: Swahili. RFI has launched its programme broadcasting in Swahili in 10 African countries on 5 July 2010, with two hours of programmes daily. The broadcasts will be aired from the RFI stations in Mombasa (105.5 FM) and Nairobi (89.9FM) in Kenya, Dar Es Salaam (94.6 FM) in Tanzania, Kampala in Uganda (93.7FM), Manga (103.7FM) in Burundi and, eventually, southern Rwanda (92.1FM). Some of the programmes in Swahili will also be broadcast in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, southern Sudan, Madagascar and the Comoros." See also Radio France International, 5 July 2010.

France 24 on Dish Network to USA, Digiturk to Turkey, Intelsat 9 to Lat Am.

Posted: 12 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Hollywood Reporter, 11 July 2010, Elizabeth Guider: "International news channel France 24 will link up with Dish Network and its 15 million U.S. subscribers, appropriately enough on July 14, which is Bastille Day. The deal with the Dish platform aims to offer French-speaking audiences and Francophiles a Gallic-inflected alternative to other foreign-sourced news stations. The channel will be available 24/7 to subscribers of the French bouquet on Channel 660. ... Since its launch, France 24 has been available in English to select TV markets in the United States. It has strengthened its position across the country thanks to the Galaxy 23 satellite, which allows access to most cable TV providers."

Broadband TV News, 8 July 2010: "France 24 has signed a distribution agreement with the Digiturk satellite platform in Turkey. The French news channel is part of the basic package. Out-of-home broadcasting of France 24 hopes to benefit from this agreement as Digiturk is not only available to individual households, but also in a majority of luxury and upscale hotels in the country."

Rapid TV News, 11 July 2010: "France 24 has signed a distribution agreement with Genesis Networks to expand its distribution throughout Latin America using the Intelsat 9 satellite. Since July 6, several thousand cable network headends in the region have been able to capture the French international news channel." The French-language France 24 will be on Dish Network. Unsure of the language(s) on Digiturk and Genesis Networks.

BBC World Service loses its FM slot in Dubai.

Posted: 12 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 8 July 2010, Derek Baldwin: "The BBC has confirmed that it is no longer broadcasting BBC World Services content from Dubai amid reports yesterday that its world shortwave listenership has plunged dramatically in the last year. 'BBC World Service in English and BBC Arabic are no longer available on 87.9 FM in Dubai due to a cessation of our licence,' a BBC spokesperson told Gulf News Wednesday. The spokesperson didn't say why the station is no longer in pla. For now, 87.9 FM is playing classical music selections until the BBC's future on the local dial is determined. 'However, audiences in the region can access BBC World Service and BBC Arabic on 90.3 FM in Abu Dhabi and also BBC World News and BBC Arabic television on Nilesat, Arabsat and Hotbird, as well as on eVision,' the spokesperson said."

The Telegraph, 8 July 2010, Richard Spencer: "This is what the fuller statement said: 'Due to pressures on budgets for distribution of our radio services at BBC World Service, we were unfortunately unable to reach a financial agreement with the licensor that provided adequate value for money for the BBC. These financial constraints limit our ability to invest in FM distribution at a time of increasing costs of licences generally around the world, especially in that part of the Middle East.' In other words, they reckon Dubai was taking the mickey, and now of all times we weren’t playing."

Kipp Report, 11 July 2010: "Abu Dhabi Classic FM is poised to expand into Dubai, according to a press release. The station has grabbed the frequency recently vacated by the BBC’s World Service, dashing listener hopes that the BBC would eventually negotiate to reacquire its license. From Sunday, the UAE’s only classical music station will broadcast to Dubai and the northern emirates on 87.9 FM. ... A BBC spokesperson told Kipp that the broadcasting corporation was 'actively pursuing other ways of making our programming available across the region, including Dubai.'" Radio Sawa is still listed in Dubai on 90.5 MHz FM.

BBC Monitoring faces "grim" budget cuts, with possibility of closure.

Posted: 11 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 9 July 2010, James Robinson: "BBC Monitoring, the Home Office-funded body that translates media coverage from around the world, faces budget cuts and significant job losses as part of the coalition government's austerity measures. Chris Westcott, director of BBC Monitoring, told employees in a briefing on Monday that the 'situation is grim' and the organisation is at a 'tipping point'. It could even be closed down, he warned. BBC Monitoring employs about 450 people in the UK and overseas, with a main base at Caversham Park in Reading. It tracks and translates press, TV and radio reports from 150 countries in more than 100 languages. ... BBC Monitoring is part of the corporation's Global News division. It is financed by a £25m-a-year Cabinet Office grant, rather than the licence fee, although income is boosted by money paid by other governments and commercial organisations for the use of its services. ... The service can trace its routes back to 1939, when a forerunner was founded to provide the UK government with information about wartime propaganda and press reports from overseas." See also comments.

New BBC World Service annual report notes 8 million decline in weekly audience, but gains in Arabic and Persian.

Posted: 11 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 5 July 2010 "BBC World Service expanded its reach on new platforms last year in the face of a dramatic drop in global shortwave listening trends, according to the BBC World Service Annual Review for 2009/10, published today (5 July). ... During the year, BBC World Service attracted around 9 million new viewers to its television, online and mobile services, in addition to new listeners to BBC radio programmes through local FM and medium wave radio partner stations in a number of countries. This increase came despite a loss of 20 million short wave radio listeners during the year, reflecting the increasing global decline in short wave listening. Overall, BBC World Service drew a weekly multimedia audience of 180 million across television, radio, online and mobiles – an eight million decline from the previous year. In his foreword, BBC World Service Director Peter Horrocks said: 'The headline figures only tell part of the story. The strategic move into Arabic and Persian television channels has been vindicated.' The estimated BBC Arabic television audience was up 3.5 million, making it the largest BBC's largest language service with an audience of 22 million across all platforms, while BBC Persian has an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Iran. " So, a decline in the BBC World Service audience, although a record audience 241 million for BBC Global News (see previous post) on the strength of its commercial services BBC World News and the international-facing Link to BBCWS 2009/10 annual report.

BBC World Service, "Over To You," 8 July 2010: "Peter Horrocks, Director of the World Service, discusses the BBC's Annual Report with [program host] Rajan, who asks him how he accounts for the decline in listener numbers, particularly in certain parts of the world, and how he plans to respond if, as seems to be widely expected, the World Service is asked to make savings through cuts or efficiencies." With link to audio.

New report finds impartial international news is a "scarce commodity."

Posted: 11 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 7 July 2010, Laura Oliver: "Impartial news coverage is 'a scarce commodity' in international news broadcast in the developing world, according to a new study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The study, which looks at eight countries in Africa and South Asia, considers the increasingly competitive provision of TV news by international providers in these markets and the impact of this on news consumption and news agendas in those countries. Its initial findings suggest that there has been huge investment in state-funded coverage of international affairs in recent years, resulting in a more nations presenting an uncritical perspective of themselves. ... But this provides an opportunity for international broadcasters, such as the BBC's World Service arm, to provide reliable, local news, it says. ... 'Many established providers [have cut] vernacular radio services to expand international TV. While these strategies generally reflect shifts in media consumption they can pose threats to the ability to tailor content to ensure its relevance to local audiences,' says the report's executive summary." With link to the working paper., 7 July 2010, Philip M. Stone: "What do you do if you’re a nation that doesn’t think the world’s 24-hour English language global news networks are giving you a fair shake? Simple, you start your own English news channel. All you need is money and that’s what governments print so, no problem even in these days of counting pennies."

Chinese international broadcasting initiatives in Pakistan, Latin America, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Africa.

Posted: 11 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Associated Press of Pakistan, 9 July 2010: Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, currently on a official visit to China, "was impressed when the interviewer of China Radio International (CRI) interviewed him in Urdu Language."

Press Trust of India, 8 July 2010: "An MOU was signed between Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and China Radio International for Urdu service broadcasts in selected Pakistani cities."

Associated Press of Pakistan, 8 July 2010: "Under the MOU, both the broadcasting institutions of friendly countries will extend maximum cooperation with each other in technical field and programmes to enhance the standard of their broadcasts in the region. The PBC will relay programmes of China Radio International on its network which will help further promote friendship of both the countries.It is worth mentioning that Director General Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Murtaza Solangi during his visit to China a few months ago had held talks with the administration of China Radio to finalise the MOU."

China Radio International, 8 July 2010: The MOU "will see CRI broadcast Urdu and English programs on FM in five Pakistani cities, including Karachi and the capital, Islamabad."

Jamaica Observer, 6 July 2010: "The State-run Chinese media is seeking the cooperation of the media in Latin America and the Caribbean, not only to deepen its friendship with countries in that region, but in helping to tell the story about the new China. Executives of China Daily, China Central TV (CCTV), and China Radio International (CRI) - all of which have English Language services -- as well as the online news service, all had the same message for media executives and senior journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean, who were on a recent tour of the Asian country, courtesy of the State Council Information Office (SCIO). ... CRI's vice-president Wang Yunpeng told the nine Caribbean and Latin American journalists and media executives (representing Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Panama and The Bahamas that he wanted closer cooperation with their media companies in the promotion of friendship with their respective countries. ... In the meantime, the CCTV network plans to increase the number of its bureaux from 30 to 50 as part of its international expansion. The new bureaux will be set up in North, South and Central America as well as in Asia, in which there is already a strong presence. CCTV English - one of the news channels offered by Jamaican cable operators - is one of 38 channels offered by the Chinese television network which employs 15,000 people, among them 3,000 journalists."

Bernama, 6 July 2010: "Bernama General Manager Hasnul Hassan said the news agency received one representative from China Radio International (CRI) last year, who was given a one-month training at both Bernama Radio24 and the editorial department, with two more to be assigned this year. As part of the exchange programme, Bernama also dispatched its journalist for a two-week training at CRI, he said."

Radio the Voice of Vietnam, 6 July 2010: "Vietnamese young people and 20 Chinese students studying at Hanoi and Hai Phong universities on July 5 started a friendship cycling tour from Hanoi to Nanning, China. ... The tour is being jointly held by the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) and China Radio International (CRI) to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Vietnam-China Year of Friendship and the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity." People's Daily Online (Beijing), 6 July 2010: "'The Vietnam China Youth Friendship Bicycle Tour', jointly organized by the China Radio International and Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, was the first of this kind to be held."

Awoko (Freetown), 5 July 2010, Umaru Fofana: "Here in China, knowledge of Africa is growing tremendously. The Chinese satellite TV station, CCTV, which broadcasts around the world in English, Chinese, French, and many other languages, carries stories about Africa almost everyday. China Radio International has services in Hausa and Kiswahili and has relay stations in especially east Africa with plans to go big in West Africa."

Asia News via Spero News, 5 July 2010: "China's state news agency Xinhua has launched a 24-hour global news channel in English, CNC World, part of the China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), in order to present 'an international vision with a China perspective' by broadcasting 'news reports in a timely way and objectively' that can 'be a new source of information for global audiences,' said Xinhua’s President Li Congjun at the launch ceremony in Beijing. For a number of analysts however, the new channel represents China’s attempt to pass on its 'official' version, and sweep under the rug the fact that it closely censors its own media. The new English-language channel (with a peace dove for logo) will allow anyone to know the CNC’s and thus the Chinese government’s point of view. It aims to reach 50 million viewers in Europe, North America and Africa within its first year, CNC World Controller Wu Jincai said." See previous post about CNC.

International broadcasting lawsuits in the news: creator of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire v Disney.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Press Association, 8 July 2010: "A British production company which created Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has been celebrating a multi-million pound 'David and Goliath' legal victory against Disney over profits from the game show. A jury in Los Angeles on Wednesday awarded Celador 269 million dollars (£177m) in damages after ruling it failed to receive a fair share of profits from Disney's screening of the programme in the US. Celador chairman Paul Smith described the US court ruling as 'justice' after fighting for eight years to obtain money the company was owed."

Press Association, 8 July 2010: "'Millionaire' was first broadcast in the U.K. in 1998 and has been carried in 106 countries, including Australia, India, Japan, Germany and Russia, according to the creators."

Sale of Worldspace assets to Worldspace founder may be slowed by years-old class action suit.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 8 July 2010, Chris Forrester: "The Class Action against Worldspace and some former directors and advisors looks like slowing down the final asset transfer to new owner [and founder] Noah Samara. A filing on July 7 to the Delaware Bankruptcy Court stated politely but bluntly that '[Worldspace’s] arguments have no merit'. The Class Action against Worldspace has been running for a number of years and alleges that Worldspace inflated ['misrepresented'] their subscriber numbers in their IPO prospectus back in August 2005. Worldspace is attempting to deny lawyers for the Class Action further access to its past documentation at this time."

Radio World, 29 June 2010: "You can read the highly detailed purchase agreement on the WorldSpace investor website; see the June 29 Form 8K entry." -- The Worldspace investor website is It loads slowly and shows a share price from 1 December 2008. The URL does not work. The URL works, but does not appear to have been updated since 2008.

Satwaves, 6 July 2010, Brandon Matthews: "With Liberty Media’s credit rating at risk, short sellers are betting that Liberty Media could have been forced to convert and liquidate all or part of its Sirius XM stake. Looking back, Liberty’s attempted acquisition of Worldspace fell through, which may also lead some to believe that Liberty has abandoned whatever plans it might have had regarding Liberty Radio."

Sirius Buzz, 4 July 2010, Spencer Osborne: "I hear this argument [that Sirius XM should expand internationally] all the time. The fact of the matter is that this company is not yet mature enough to take on that task. Via the Internet, they already have a global presence, but to manufacture satellites, launch them, get political permissions, and then market the service on a larger scale would be a costly endeavor that Sirius XM simply can not afford now. It should also be considered that there are countries that have perhaps soured on the satellite radio concept after the failure of World Space." See previous post about Worldspace.

New Saudi-owned Arabic news channel will try to compete with Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 6 July 2010: "Saudi Arabia's Kingdom group controlled by tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Tuesday it would launch a regional 24-hour news channel to be headed by prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ... The channel, which will make use of a network of reporters from across Arab countries, will enter a field already dominated by tough competition between Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and the Saudi-controlled Al-Arabiya. 'We no longer have a void in the Arab world as it is now heavily occupied,' Alwaleed acknowledged in the statement. 'Therefore the new news channel is going to become an addition and an alternative for viewers. Our personal aim is to achieve this.' ... The statement also said the new channel would be independent of Alwaleed's Rotana regional media and entertainment group, which earlier this year sold a nine percent stake to global media giant News Corp, owner of the Fox News channel."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 6 July 2010, Ben Flanagan: "Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud plans to launch a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel in partnership with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network, and has recruited the controversial Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to head the station. ... Prince Alwaleed did not say when the network would begin broadcasting. Mr Khashoggi will be chief of the channel, overseeing news bureaus around the world. He was previously editor-in-chief of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Watan, but resigned this year after the newspaper published an opinion piece questioning Salafism, a form of Islam at the heart of the conservative state. The article was written by the Saudi poet Ibrahim al Almaee and published while Mr Khashoggi was abroad. The editor later claimed that he did not agree with the points made in the article."

The Economist, 8 July 2010: "Fox had previously said its Gulf operations would focus on making natural-history shows. In the 1990s Mr Murdoch dropped the BBC’s world-news channel from Star TV, a satellite operator that beams into China, after complaints from Beijing. This time, he is presumably ready to accept the editorial compromises that such a venture is bound to bring." -- Most reports claim the new channel will be in partnership with Murdoch's Fox network, but the AFP says it will be independent of the Rotana group, which has the News Corp stake. I can't find the full statement at Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding website, or anyplace else. See previous post about same subject.

The National, 10 July 2010, Bob Flanagan: "Some analysts doubt there is enough demand for another Arabic news channel, and one commentator claims the prince’s move could force consolidation in the sector. 'This brings the number of [major] pan-Arab news channels to at least four and there could be more on the way,' said Rob Beynon, the chief executive of DMA Media Middle East, a news and production company based in Abu Dhabi. 'That’s more than most other TV markets can support so we’re expecting it to open the way to consolidation, which will … be the trend for TV generally in the region.' ... Kingdom Holding claims the channel will be launched in partnership with the Fox Network, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire of which Prince Alwaleed has a 7 per cent stake. ... But News Corp would not confirm the extent of Fox’s involvement when contacted by The National. Any association with the Fox News Channel in the US, which has the reputation of being right wing and presenting Arab affairs in a poor light, would be unlikely to prove popular in this region." -- The four major pan-Arab news channels would be Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Prince Alwaleed's channell and -- what would be the fourth? Probably BBC Arabic, given this at the DMA Media website.

NASA administrator's interview on Al Jazeera English ignites controversy.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Examiner, 6 July 2010, Byron York: "Lawmakers across Capitol Hill, both Democrats and Republicans, were surprised to learn recently that the Obama administration has made reaching out to Muslim nations a top priority for the space agency NASA. They will probably be more surprised to learn that administration officials told the Middle East news organization Al Jazeera about it before they told Congress. ... According to a NASA spokesman, [NASA administrator Charles] Bolden sat down with Al Jazeera's Imran Garda on June 17, during a stop in Doha, Qatar. Bolden's Mideast trip, which was timed to mark the first anniversary of President Obama's June 2009 Muslim outreach speech, was devoted to pursuing 'a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.' During the interview, Bolden told Al Jazeera that the 'foremost' mission he had been given by Obama was 'to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.' the Al Jazeera interview did not air until June 30, after the Obama space plan was released and Bolden briefed members of Congress. But there's no question Al Jazeera got the word first." See also Washington Examiner, 7 July 2010, Byron York. Video: Real Clear Politics, 6 July 2010. See also Al Jazeera English video, 1 July 2010.

Los Angeles Times, Top of the Ticket, 8 July 2010, Andrew Malcolm: "Perhaps not surprisingly, Bolden's stunning announcement about the taxpayer-funded space agency's new task did not come at home. It came overseas during a televised interview with Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern TV network."

Washington Times, 6 July 2010, editorial: "Islam's meager contribution to human technological advancement is no accident. In his new book 'The Closing of the Muslim Mind,' former Voice of America director Robert Reilly describes the brief flourishing of intellectualism in Muslim Spain 1,000 years ago before it was brutally suppressed by religious extremists. They imposed a continuing Islamic orthodoxy that is hostile to rational thought and to the scientific method." Many other comments about this, mostly from conservative commentators.

CNN editor sacked after tweet stating "respect" for Hezbollah leader.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, Media Decoder, 7 July 2010, Brian Stelter: "CNN on Wednesday removed its senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs, Octavia Nasr, from her job after she published a Twitter message saying that she respected the Shiite cleric the Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who died on Sunday. Ms. Nasr left her CNN office in Atlanta on Wednesday. Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice president for CNN International Newsgathering, said in an internal memorandum that she 'had a conversation' with Ms. Nasr on Wednesday morning and that 'we have decided that she will be leaving the company.' Ms. Nasr, a 20-year veteran of CNN, wrote on Twitter after the cleric died on Sunday, 'Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.'"

Los Angeles Times, Show Tracker, 7 July 2010, Matea Gold: "The network issued a statement saying the tweet violated CNN’s editorial standards. Nasr herself said she was wrong to 'to write such a simplistic comment.'"

AFP, 9 July 2010: "Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi denounced the 'intellectual terrorism represented by the firing of journalist Octavia Nasr of CNN after she expressed sadness' at the death of Fadlallah. 'This measure reveals the double standard in the West regarding matters in the region and unmasks the United States, which pretends to protect freedom of speech,' he added in a statement."

Gulf News (Dubai), 9 July 2010: "Octavia said the reaction to the tweet was immediate, overwhelming. 'The incident provides a good lesson on why 140 characters should not be used to comment on controversial or sensitive issues, especially those dealing with the Middle East,' she said in her statement received by Gulf News."

The Daily Maverick (Johannesburg), 9 July 2010, Kevin Bloom: "It was a dumb move, any way you look at it. ... [S]he did it using her official CNN Twitter account, which kind of reflects the views of her employers, and one thing mainstream media bosses don’t like is a worker who pokes a hole in their carefully woven cloak of objectivity."

RT (Russia Today), 9 July 2010: "Octavia Nasr ... is the latest victim to be fired and publicly dismissed for careless use of microblogging website Twitter." RT, 8 July 2010: "A CNN senior editor is the latest high-ranking casualty in the virtual world of social blogging where a personally-held sentiment is becoming the ticket to an early retirement and worse. In yet another case of an American journalist being sacked for expressing a controversial opinion... ."

VOA News, 9 July 2010: "The British government says it has removed a blog post by its ambassador to Beirut praising Lebanon's controversial top Shi'ite cleric, Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who died earlier this week."

Al Jazeera sues Al Ahram over latter's coverage of former's resigned female presenters. And more Al Jaz.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
MEMRI Blog, 6 July 2010: "The Qatari daily Al-Arab reports that Al-Jazeera TV has filed lawsuits in Egypt and Britain against the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, for what it calls a false and distorted report about the resignation of five Al-Jazeera presenters one month ago. The channel, which is demanding five million pounds in damages, stated that the Al-Ahram report was criticized by the daily's own management in an attempt to appease Al-Jazeera and avoid the lawsuit."

The Guardian, 3 July 2010, letter from Louis Charalambous of Simons Muirhead & Burton, Jeremy Dear of National Union of Journalists, Aidan White of International Federation of Journalists, Gavin Millar QC, Helena Kennedy, Vera Baird QC, Professor Roy Greenslade, Heather Brooke: "The decision by five female journalists to resign over their treatment by management at the Doha-based al-Jazeera satellite channel causes us great concern. ... The dispute has been misreported as a row over dress codes and treated by some newspapers as a spat over fashion. The truth runs far deeper. The statistics of how women at al-Jazeera fare in its employment cast a poor light on a channel which was a refreshing change when it came on the scene in 1996."

Global Times (Beijing), 5 July 2010, Lu Yiyi: "Al-Jazeera, a 24-hour news channel founded by the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar but editorially independent, has broken CNN and the BBC's dominance in TV news. What's the secret of its success? ... First of all, you have to be willing to spend resources. For instance, Al-Jazeera makes sure that guests appear in person when conducting live interview, instead of just showing the guest's photo and voice. As Al-Jazeera's UK branch only has a studio in London, if they invite me to appear in a show when I'm not in London, they will rent the local BBC studio, regardless of the cost, even if only for two or three minutes."

Digital Spy, 5 July 2010: "David Essex has praised the news channel Al Jazeera. Speaking to Closer, the singer expressed his admiration for the English-language channel of the Qatar-based broadcaster, which launched in 2006. Asked what he watches on TV when he is alone, Essex said: 'Al Jazeera - an English-language version of the Arabic-language news network. No, really! I think it gives a more balanced view on what's going on out there.'", 4 July 2010: "Media freedom in the Arab world has tightened and little progress is being made to clarify ambiguous media laws, the director general of Al Jazeera Network has said. Speaking to CEO Middle East Wadah Khanfar said he believed Arab governments had taken a five year step back in terms of freedom of the press."

Eye of Dubai, 1 July 2010, onpassing press release: "Mandarin Oriental, Prague is now taking reservations for a special summer suite getaway offer including a complimentary extra night and a selection of Arabic luxuries. From Arabic-speaking staff to special Halal and shisha delicatessen, the hotels extensive Arabic amenities menu has been designed to make guests feel at home. ... To keep guests up to date on the latest news, daily Arabic newspapers and a wide selection of channels such as Al Jazeera, MBC, Saudi 1, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Arabiya, Dubai Sport or Abu Dhabi are also available."

Russia Today (RT) as an example of "weirdly constructed propaganda."

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Economist, Babbage, 6 July 2010, E.L.: "Fans of weirdly constructed propaganda have long enjoyed watching the programmes of Russia Today, a well-financed television channel that seeks to redress what its backers see as the anti-Russian bias of the mainstream English-language media. Some the stuff is interesting and unobjectionable, such as this photo essay about an underground river in Moscow. Some of its more hard-edged, such as this report lambasting the European Court of Human Rights for upholding Latvia's side in a case involving a wartime Soviet fighter who has been convicted for war crimes. Sometimes the programming is ludicrously bad, such as this discussion in which Douglas Murray, a British commentator, tries in vain to explain to a comically combative presenter that the 9/11 attackers were in fact Islamist terrorists. But some of the channel's recent offerings suggest a penchant for wild conspiracy theories which may have the opposite effect." RT is capable of very well produced reports and respectable journalism, in addition to its less salubrious material. If it could focus on the former, the channel would speak well for Russia. As it is now, RT gives the impression that Russia, as a nation, is not ready for prime time.

US-based The Africa Channel now available in Grenada.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link, 5 July 2010: "The US-based television network showcasing the diverse culture and perspectives of Africa's people, The Africa Channel, has entered into an affiliation agreement with FLOW - Columbus Communication (Grenada) to expand its reach in the Caribbean. Beginning on July 1, The Africa Channel will be available in standard definition to subscribers on FLOW's Economy tier as Channel 54 on the digital line up. ... The Africa Channel, which is already available in Jamaica via FLOW and in Barbados, will continue to provide a daily window into modern African life, offering a bridge to African entertainment, culture, information, music, lifestyle, travel, news and business."

NBC's Nightly News and Meet the Press return to CNBC Europe.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 6 July 2010, Chris Ariens: "Tipsters across the pond tell us commercials are now running on CNBC Europe featuring NBC's Brian Williams telling viewers 'Nightly News' will return to the channel later this month. It was pulled from the channel in April. The broadcast will air live at 11:30pm UK time / 12:30am in Central Europe. 'Meet the Press' will also air on the channel beginning this next Sunday at 10pm UK Time, 11pm in Central Europe. NBC News President Steve Capus tells News on News, 'NBC News is always looking to extend its reach, and making America's number-one evening newscast and public affairs shows available for the international audience is vital to that mission.'" See previous post about same subject.

More unflattering notes about CNBC Africa.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Daily Maverick (Johannesburg), 7 July 2010, Mandy de Waal: "'What’s very worrying for me on a broader political level is the growing tendency for politicians to want to buy their own PR,' said City Press editor Ferial Haffajee. 'We saw this in the CNBC Africa saga where the provincial government of Paul Mashatile supported and funded CNBC Africa.'"

Moneyweb (Johannesburg), 7 July 2010, Alec Webb: "It's interesting if you go back in history when the National Party funded The Citizen we had the Info Scandal, which had reverberations around the world. Yet lately Mbeki's acolytes funded CNBC Africa - silence." See previous post about same subject.

Almost old news: US channel, with South Korean sponsor, brings Africa to the world.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
National Geographic Channel press release, 7 July 2010: "Hyundai, official partner of the FIFA World Cup™, has chosen National Geographic Channel to help it reach a massive global audience with a brand campaign that communicates the excitement of the first ever FIFA World Cup tournament in Africa. As Hyundai’s global media partner, National Geographic Channel will bring international attention to the Korean auto industry leader’s FIFA commitment under the theme 'The World Comes to Africa to the FIFA World Cup with Hyundai.' National Geographic Channel has put together a collection of its best Africa-themed documentaries in a series which Hyundai is sponsoring to raise awareness of Africa’s unique wildlife by capitalizing on interest around the FIFA World Cup. Hyundai’s Wild Africa will be shown across Asia, Europe and Latin America throughout the World Cup period."

The international broadcasting of the FIFA World Cup final and baseball's All-Star Game.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 8 July 2010: "The Netherlands will face Spain in Johannesburg on Sunday 11 July at 1830 UTC in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2010." With shortwave frequencies of Radio Netherlands' Dutch-language coverage of the match.

Nehanda Radio, 8 July 2010, Robson Sharuko: "There will be a Zimbabwean voice bringing the drama of the 2010 World Cup final to millions of listeners on the BBC World Service radio broadcast on Sunday. Stanley Katsande, the veteran commentator who was recruited from ZBC as part of an all-star pan African team working on the BBC World Service 2010 World Cup team, has been given the job to cover the World Cup final. He will be one of the two English language commentators who will cover the grand chapter that will bring a close to the historic World Cup." If BBC World Service is broadcasting the final, it doesn't show on their schedule for Sunday at 1830 UTC. Instead, I see "This Week in Africa." This week in Africa, indeed.

MLB press release, 9 July 2010: "Major League Baseball International (MLBI) has renewed agreements with broadcasters in Korea (OBS) and Mexico (Televisa), as well as with pan-regional Asian broadcaster ESPN Star Sports (ESS), allowing fans in these baseball-crazed regions to catch all of the action of the 2010 All-Star Game. MLBI, which will utilize its own production team and facilities for the 2010 All-Star Game telecast, will broadcast the Midsummer Classic in 20 languages to 219 countries and territories around the world, as well as to the more than one million United States and Canadian Armed Forces personnel stationed around the world and aboard ships-at-sea via the American Forces Network and the Canadian Armed Forces Network."

Introducing the new Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Posted: 10 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 9 July 2010: "President Barack Obama has appointed eight media, communications, and foreign policy leaders to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency which supervises all U.S. civilian, international broadcasting. The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a bipartisan board comprised of nine members appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate; the ninth is the Secretary of State, who serves ex officio." With short biographies of all the new members. See previous post about same subject.

VOA News, 8 July 2010, Doug Bernard: "An intellectual summer camp for adults? No wonder so many think the Aspen Ideas Festival is something special." -- Walter Isaacson is president of the Aspen Institute and founder of the event. Doug adds the disclosure: "Isaacson was recently named Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the entity that oversees VOA."

Washington Post, The Federal Coach, 6 July 2010, Tom Fox: Interview with Sen. Ted Kaufman, junior senator from Delaware, appointed in 2009 to fill the unexpired term of senator now Vice President Joseph Biden, and until then a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. "Q: Why did you decide to lead the 'Great Federal Employees Initiative'? I was scratching an itch. It's bothered me for the last 30 years that some people felt like they could denigrate federal employees. In the federal government, we have so many incredible superstars." -- A major East Coast newspaper almost published today an op-ed of mine, calling for reform of U.S. international broadcasting. Said newspaper has promised a slot for said op-ed since January. If/when it is published, it will guarantee that I will never be named a Great Federal Employee. Great Federal Employees always argue for budget increases for their agencies.

Al Jazeera English opens Los Angeles bureau.

Posted: 03 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Studio Briefing, 2 July 2010: "Other TV news organizations may be closing bureaus and reducing staff all over the world, but al-Jazeera English is continuing to expand, and on Thursday it announced that it plans to open a bureau in Los Angeles to be headed by veteran TV journalist Rob Reynolds. Reynolds has been the Arab news channel’s senior correspondent, most recently reporting from Washington D.C. He previously had reported for CNN, CNBC, and was Moscow correspondent for NBC News in the 1990s. With the opening of the Los Angeles bureau, the Qatar-based network said that it now has 65 bureaus around the world." See also press release via LA Observed, 1 July 2010. -- Does "bureau" mean an office and staff? Or a correspondent working out of his/her home?

In the UK, Al Jazeera English wins Freesat award, gets Freeview slot.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Digital Spy, 1 July 2010, Andrew Laughlin: "Al-Jazeera English was named 'Best News Channel' at the second annual Freesat Awards last night in London. The Qatar-based news channel, which launched today on Freeview, beat the BBC News channel, Bloomberg, CNN and BBC Radio 5 Live to the accolade." See also Al Jazeera press release, 1 July 2010.

The Guardian, 30 June 2010, Mark Sweney: "Al-Jazeera English, the Qatar-based news channel, will double its availability in UK homes by launching on Freeview. The English-language version of the Arabic news channel will be available in about 10 million homes that get digital TV via Freeview from tomorrow. Al-Jazeera English is currently available in about 10 million homes that subscribe to Sky's digital satellite TV service or have Freesat. The service launched on Sky's pay-TV service in late 2006 and went free to air on the Freesat digital satellite service in May 2008. 'This is a breakthrough for us; it will give us substantial reach to more than 80% of homes in the UK,' said Al Anstey, director of media development for the al-Jazeera Network." -- Freeview and Freesat are digital multichannel platforms, the former terrestrial, the latter satellite-delivered. Both, as the names would suggest, are free, and both are in the UK.

The National (Abu Dhabi), Mixed Media blog, 1 July 2010, Ben Flanagan: "[D]espite its expansion in the UK and the digital sphere, Al Jazeera English has failed to crack another potentially lucrative market: the US. For despite launching in a few US states last year, the channel has found it 'virtually impossible' to win space on American cable and satellite networks, according to a report by AP. In the same report, AJE's managing director Tony Burman blamed the 'very aggressive hostility' toward Al Jazeera from the Bush administration, but said that 'we're really determined to make a breakthrough in New York'. Critics of AJE accuse it of being anti-US and anti-western, claiming that it focuses too heavily on issues in which Arabs are seen as 'victims'. Others says that the channel has failed to criticise its financial backers, the Qatar government."

Do Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya each have their "camps"?

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Palestine Note, 24 June 2010, William McKeithen: "In contrast to [journalists Shireen Abu Aqleh's and Taghreed El-Khodary's] dismay over mainstream American media, both journalists expressed optimism over the rise of a diversified and respected Arab media. From the availability of Al-Jazeera in English to the plethora of new channels, the Arab news voice is getting both louder and more polyphonic, they said. But ahead of the pack, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya dominate the field. One point of contention was over the perceived bias attached to the two agencies. While El-Khodary described a well-known dichotomy between Al-Jazeera/Hamas and Al-Arabiya/Fatah camps, Abu Aqleh [correspondent for Al Jazeera] brushed off the claim, saying Al-Jazeera receives criticism from both groups."

Deterred by Al Jazeera interference and cost, West Bank residents watch World Cup via Israel.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Ha'aretz, 25 June 2010: "The Palestinian Authority may be struggling hard to develop the trappings of a national state – but West Bank residents are still forced to turn to Israeli television stations to enjoy the World Cup. Palestinian television has no rights to broadcast the soccer tournament. These belong exclusively to satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera, which is transmitting footage from South Africa across the entire Arab world. Yet Palestinians viewers have encountered so much interference in signals from the Qatar-based station that they have been turning to Israeli channels instead."

AFP, 24 June 2010: "At just 25 dollars (20 euros) a month, the Israeli subscription is especially popular among poorer Palestinians who cannot afford the 100-dollar (80-euro) Al-Jazeera subscription. An official at Palestine TV, a network run by the Palestinian Authority, said he was not concerned about the reliance on Israeli TV, which he assumed would end with the tournament on July 11."

South Korea debates the value of propaganda to the North.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Chosun Ilbo, 29 June 2010, "The National Human Rights Commission on Monday failed to endorse the resumption of anti-North Korean propaganda broadcasts across the military demarcation line. The discussion was postponed when members could not reach agreement. Kim Tae-hoon of the NHRC, a proponent of the proposal, said, 'North Korea is a violent regime that restricts freedom of information. I submitted the proposal to help North Koreans regain their own human rights by supplying them with information.' ... But some members were against. Cho Guk, a professor of law at Seoul National University, called the measures 'anachronistic.' 'Wary of such things, the North Korean regime will put pressure on North Koreans instead,' he said."

New Statesman, 28 June 2010, Daniel Trilling: "Singing in a mix of Korean and English, the polyglot 4Minute ... bear the dubious distinction of having reopened the propaganda war between North and South Korea. Following the sinking of the Cheonan warship earlier this year, the South has resumed radio broadcasts and installed 11 loudspeaker points along the demilitarised zone that separates the two countries."

Japanese domestic foreign-language radio station will quit due to falling ad revenues.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
The Japan Times, 26 June 2010: "The recent news Aichi International Broadcasting Co. will terminate its FM radio service at the end of September because of a large deficit has sent shock waves through the industry in the Tokai region. Nagoya-based Radio-i, as it is known, is the only FM station in Tokai offering programs in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Tagalog. It began airing in April 2000, serving Aichi, Gifu, Mie and Shizuoka prefectures, but it has suffered falling ad revenues. ... The firm will return its broadcast license and liquidate itself by year's end. The Tokai Bureau of Telecommunications said Radio-i will be the first to fail among TV and radio stations in Japan, except for small community-based FM stations." -- In the United States, ethnic foreign-language radio stations generally don't sell spot ads. Instead, they sell time to the foreign-language program makers, who in turn sell their own ads, or seek financial support from listeners or foundations, or just maintain the programs as a pricey hobby.

Japan not having much luck exporting its small, fuel-efficient TV dramas.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Asahi Shimbun, 26 June 2010, Shinya Murase: "U.S. television companies are making a fortune off the Japanese appetite for drama, courtesy of a propensity in this country for renting DVDs. Japanese broadcasters would dearly love to turn the tables, but they haven't had much success. American TV dramas are acclaimed for their grand themes and strong narrative elements, such as the terrorists-versus-investigators story of '24' and the tale of survival on a deserted island in 'Lost.' These strengths are drawn from the huge production costs for large-scale sets, cutting-edge graphics and special effects. It's not unusual for a season of one program to cost several billions of yen. ... Japanese TV dramas have enjoyed some success in Asian countries, such as the smash-hit 'Hana yori Dango,' a high school story adapted from a popular manga. But they get no airplay in the much larger U.S. and European markets."

Documentary about Japanese-American shortwave broadcasters of World War II will be shown in LA.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Los Angeles Downtown News, 1 July 2010: "The Japanese American National Museum announced today the screening of a documentary about Japanese American World War II radio broadcasters. The film Calling Tokyo will screen at 2 p.m. July 10 at the museum. It tells the story of the role played by Japanese Americans as government broadcasters during the war. While the U.S. government incarcerated 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry during the war, the government also recruited a group of Japanese Americans to be part of the Office of War Information (OWI) and the British Political Warfare Mission (BPWM). The OWI and BPWM produced regular short-wave radio broadcasts in Japanese in hopes of convincing Japanese political and military leadership to surrender." See also Japanese American National Museum.

New Xinhua English-language news channel "not a propaganda station." Which, if true, would really be news.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 1 July 2010. "China's state news agency Xinhua has launched a 24-hour global news channel in English. ... CNC - China Xinhua News Network Corporation - said it would offer 'a better view of China to its international audiences' and enable 'more voices to be heard by the rest of the world'. ... Wu Jincai, controller of CNC World, told the BBC's Chinese service ... the channel was initially broadcasting in Hong Kong but aims to reach 50 million viewers in Europe, North America and Africa within its first year. Mr Wu insisted that the coverage would remain objective, saying: 'We are a news channel, not a propaganda station.'"

Xinhua, 30 June 2010: "As a new international TV network, CNC broadcasts to the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, North America and Africa by satellite, cable, cellphone and the Internet. The Chinese-language CNC has been airing across the Asia-Pacific region and in parts of Europe since Jan. 1. It started airing on Hong Kong cable television on July 1. Xinhua Internet and cellphone broadcasts are already in operation and are expanding to overseas markets. CNC World will have global satellite coverage by the end of the third quarter this year. By Oct. 1, it will be available on cable networks in regions including the United States. Xinhua will also promote production of TV programs in Russian, French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic with contributions from its overseas branches." -- On 1 October, will CNC be available on, or (more likely) available to, US cable networks? See also Xinhua, 1 July 2010.

Wall Street Journal, 30 June 2010, Anton Troianovski: "China's state news agency could soon be the newest Times Square neighbor of media giants Thomson Reuters and Conde Nast. Xinhua, one of the Chinese government's main news outlets and propaganda arms, is finalizing a deal to move to the top floor of the 44-story skyscraper at 1540 Broadway, Xinhua's North America bureau chief, Zeng Hu, confirmed in an interview. ... Xinhua has been increasing its presence outside China and is launching a global English-language television channel."

New York Times, 1 July 2010, David Barboza: "Xinhua’s move is just one of several planned by Beijing. China Central Television, the country’s biggest state-run television broadcaster, has also been expanding overseas and offering broadcasts in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and other languages. And China has heavily financed a makeover of China Daily, its English-language daily newspaper, and introduced a new English edition of Global Times, which is controlled by People’s Daily, the leading Communist Party-run newspaper. Whether state-run news services financed and controlled by Beijing can attract a big international audience or earn significant revenues overseas remains uncertain. Many media experts say Chinese news agencies, though improving, lack credible and objective reporting and are widely perceived to be propaganda vehicles for the Chinese government."

And when VOA's Radio Ashna comes on the air, the solar-powered device becomes an electric egg scrambler.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 25 June 2010: "RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin discussed his recent trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan in an event titled, 'Af-Pak Diary: Notes from Islamabad and Kabul' at the New America Foundation. Gedmin shared his observations on U.S. policy in the region, RFE/RL's broadcasting in the countries, and the importance of promoting press freedom, tolerance and pluralism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ... Gedmin also announced a joint RFE/RL-ISAF initiative that will see some 20,000 solar-powered radios delivered to rural areas of Afghanistan in time for the country's Fall parliamentary elections." With link to video of the event.

International Herald Tribune, 29 June 2010, Jeffrey Gedmin and Abubakar Siddique, senior correspondent of RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal: "Robust support for free, professional, responsible media [in Pakistan] will help. It’s the great disinfectant. The State Department supports indigenous media and journalist training. It would be impossible to do too much."

Films about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (updated).

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Goethe-Institut Washington: "To Russia, With Love tells the story of the Cold War from a most unusual perspective: Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Conceived as a propaganda instrument and financed by the CIA, RFE over the years changed its face and provided the people under Soviet rule with information and news not available to them in any other form. Today the radio station is seen as one of the most successful enterprises of the CIA, and some claim that the peaceful end of the cold war is largely due to RFE/RL's broadcasts." "Tuesday, 15 June 2010, 6:30 pm, Goethe-Institut Washington ... Followed by discussion with A. Ross Johnson, Senior Advisor, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Kevin Klose, Dean and Professor, Philip Merrill College of Journalism (University of Maryland, College Park), former president of Radio Free Europe and National Public Radio." -- The blurb gives the impression that RFE/RL is still a CIA "enterprise." As important as RFE/RL and VOA were, I think the peaceful end of the Cold War was at least "largely due" to Mikhail Gorbachev's decision not to use tanks to quell rebellions.

Update: RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 18 June 2010, Charles Dameron: "In a bizarre moment of historical revivification, Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB general who was linked with the [Sergei Markov] killing, came face-to-face last Tuesday night with the story of the Markov assassination as he sat in the audience of the U.S. premiere of the film, To Russia with Love: The Great Radio War. The movie, by the late independent German documentary filmmaker Christian Bauer, was screened at the Goethe Institute in Washington, D.C. last week, and Kalugin, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995, offered pointers after the show on how America might improve its overseas information programs. (Kalugin currently works in Washington as a counterintelligence consultant). Bauer first got involved with the project at the suggestion of a former RFE/RL staffer in Germany, but began his research with a considerable amount of skepticism. According to former RFE/RL president Ross Johnson, Bauer grew up with a distaste for RFE/RL’s early CIA affiliations. But, after reading the testimony of former dissidents writings crediting the radios as invaluable sources of truth during Eastern Europe’s darkest periods of state oppression, Bauer gained respect for RFE/RL."

Radio Survivor, 1 June 2010, Matthew Lasar: "Anyone interested in how broadcast radio and international politics merged in the late 20th century should watch Alexandru Solomon’s masterpiece, Cold Waves, a documentary on Radio Free Europe’s role in Romanian society from the 1950s through the Cold War. LinkTV ran it over the weekend here in San Francisco." -- I don't have access to the 24-hour LinkTV, so missed it. The first five minutes of the documentary are available at this LinkTV page. The DVD can be purchased for €19.90, plus shipping. Or watched pay-per-view for four dollars. It would be nice if some Washington-area entity would do a screening. Update: RFE/RL's Ross Johnson informs us: "We planned a screening of Cold Waves at the Romanian Embassy over a year ago, but the producer/director changed his schedule and did not want a discussion without him present."

Dolly Parton on Radio Farda. Oh, sorry, but she looks a bit like Dolly Parton.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 17 June 2010, Julian Knapp:: "Last fall, RFE/RL’s Persian-language service Radio Farda launched "Top 10," a monthly music program featuring new music being produced in Iran and throughout the Iranian diaspora worldwide. We talked to Radio Farda's chief music producer Payam Razi about the 'Top 10' from May and take a look at this month's program. June marks the one year anniversary of the protests that broke out in Iran following controversial presidential elections. Q: What's the basic concept of the show? Razi: The idea is simple: each month, our music team selects 10 songs, and these songs are aired daily. Our listeners then vote for their favorite song by e-mail or text message. At the end of each month we present the winners in a special program. Before the Revolution, Iranian public radio had similar programs, but now this kind of show no longer exists on Iranian radio as far as I am aware." -- In June, apparently everything had to hark back to the previous year's election, even the music program.

RFE/RL, 30 June 2010: "'The Iran Sound From Way Out' is a new music program from RFE/RL with the best of Iran's underground music scene. Despite the restrictions imposed by the Islamic republic's ruling authorities, Iran has a vibrant underground artistic life. In the last 10 years, many Iranian musicians have introduced Western musical devices, influences, and instruments into traditional Persian melodies and musical traditions, branding their own Persian sub-genre in familiar styles such as rap and blues." With links to audio.

VOA and Pakistan cable channel launch joint English-language program.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 28 June 2010: "The Voice of America and 'Express 24/7,' a cable news channel in Pakistan, have launched a new joint TV program called The Platform, which will focus on key issues in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship and the fight against terrorism. The twice-weekly 50-minute program, co-hosted from Express studios in Islamabad and VOA studios in Washington, is the first English-language TV talk show to be jointly produced by stations in Pakistan and the United States."

And, by the way, Miss Smarty-Pants VOA reporter, just wait til next time you try to re-enter the USA.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Newswire, 25 June 2010: Questions after speech by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at Center for Strategic and International Studies, Rick Nelson moderating: "Let's try this side of the room over here, back with the red dress in the corner. Q: For Secretary Napolitano. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has confirmed, and other sources within the administration have confirmed, that the administration will be filing a federal law suit against the State of Arizona. And I'm wondering since you were Governor of Arizona and spent so much time there if you could comment on that. Nelson: I'm sorry. Could you just state your name and where you're from too? Q: Oh, sorry. Carolyn Presutti with Voice of America TV. Napolitano: No. Nelson: All right. Could we go to the next question? Napolitano: Listen. Questions about whether, how, when or whatever to challenge the Arizona law should be addressed to the Department of Justice. ... Nelson: No more questions from this side of the room. You guys are in the penalty box."

"It Ain't Necessarily So," via VOA to Russia, then back to music festival in Maine.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Portland (ME) Press Herald, 25 June 2010, Christopher Hyde: "Wednesday's opening concert of the Maine Festival of American Music, presented by the United Society of Shakers and the Portland String Quartet at the Shaker Meeting House in New Gloucester, was devoted to the music of George Gershwin and friends. ... The most surprising work of the evening was a Russian string quartet's transcription (ca. 1992) of 'It Ain't Necessarily So,' which the composers had heard on a Voice of America broadcast. The original song, from 'Porgy and Bess,' is one of my all-time favorites, but I think the string quartet version is better. The part writing both amplifies and brings into sharp focus the masterful construction of a work of pure genius."

The VOA tour is cool.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 30 June 2010: "Visitors to Washington D.C. have discovered Voice of America studio tours are an exciting opportunity to escape the searing summer temperatures and learn more about the world’s largest international broadcasting organization. VOA tours are free, offered twice-daily during the summer months, and conducted just minutes from the U.S. Capitol and other Washington museums and landmarks." -- One oppressively hot summer day in 1965, my family visited Washington. As a young shortwave listener, the VOA building was number one on my list of places to see. Back then, one could just stroll into the building (no security), walk up to the second floor, look through the windows at the live radio broadcasts, and push the buttons to hear the audio in various languages. And the air conditioning, also then, provided blessed relief. The present tour is on the first floor, showing the main television set (nothing like that at VOA in 1965!) and two radio studios.

IEEE-USA, 29 June 2010: "IEEE-USA [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers] Engineering Mass Media Fellow Smitha Raghunathan has begun her 10-week media internship preparing news stories on science, engineering and technology in Washington at the Voice of America. Raghunathan has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is currently pursuing her master's degree in biomedical engineering from the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences."

House and Senate pass permanent authority for Radio Free Asia.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
World Affairs, 28 June 2010, Martha Bayles: "Last week the Senate actually did something good. It unanimously passed a bill (S. 3104) to authorize funding for Radio Free Asia (RFA) on a permanent — as opposed to a temporary — basis. Co-sponsored by Dick Lugar, R-Ind., Ted Kaufman, D-Del., Al Franken, D-Min., Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Jim Webb, D-Va., the bill 'indicates the importance we place on the free flow of information, particularly in countries noted for their lack of an open press,' said Lugar. ... The Mandarin service poses a bigger challenge, because unlike RFE/RL’s Russian Service, it never had the chance to cut a deal with a post-Communist government to operate through local FM affiliates. This deal looked promising in the 1990s but lasted only as long as other press freedoms in post-Soviet Russia. When Putin came to power, he ordered a media crackdown that included closing all of RFE/RL’s affiliates. Because shortwave is no longer used by Russians, that leaves RFE/RL relying largely on the Internet, which today limits its reach to less than 30 percent of the population. RFA has consistently refused to negotiate with Beijing, which makes it look less naive than RFE/RL, not to mention less compromised than certain U.S. businesses (Yahoo, Google, Facebook) whose liberty-loving image has been sullied by their cooperation with the Chinese authorities’ repression of dissidents. But RFA pays a price for its integrity. Today it too relies mainly on the Internet, and you know how much fun that can be in the PRC." S.3104 passed the House on 30 June, so it now goes to the President for signature.

How could anyone in Congress vote against a bill that has "free" in its name? At the risk of being considered anti-freedom, I would like to argue why, by passing S.3104, the Senate actually did something bad.

Just by dint of its expanse, East Asia is one of the most difficult areas of the world to get news out of, and news back into. This is compounded by the shortwave jamming, internet blocking, and satellite dish confiscating of China and other regimes in the region.

Successful international broadcasting to this region will require all the resources the United States can muster. The resources of U.S. international broadcasting are, however, divided into two entities, VOA and Radio Free Asia, which compete with each other.

Yes, the theory is that RFA transmits news about the target country, and VOA does news about United States and the world in general. If this were true, the audience would have to tune to two U.S. stations to get a complete newscast.

Fortunately, the theory is not true. VOA does broadcast news about the target country, in addition to world and U.S. news. This means, however, that VOA and RFA are reporting on many of the sames stories, and broadcasting them back to the same audiences. S.3104 perpetuates this unsatisfactory situation.

The global media environment has become much more competitive. U.S. international broadcasting will not be equal to the task at hand until it stops competing with itself.

Acquittals in alleged cover-up of Radio Free Asia general counsel's murder.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 30 June 2010, Keith L. Alexander: "One of the most sensational criminal trials in D.C. history ended Tuesday with the judge acquitting three men of covering up the slaying of Robert Wone -- even though she believes that they know who did it. D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz said she thinks that the three defendants made up a story about an intruder breaking in and stabbing the overnight guest at their Northwest Washington home. ... The key to the verdict was the strong distinction between what she might feel in her gut and what was proved beyond a reasonable doubt in her courtroom, the judge said. ... Wone, a prominent lawyer who worked as general counsel for Radio Free Asia, was stabbed three times in the chest and abdomen, and one of the thrusts pierced his heart." See also Who Murdered Robert Wone blog. And The Blog of Legal Times, 29 June 2010.

Finally: Broadcasting Board of Governors nominees are confirmed.

Posted: 01 Jul 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, Politics and Policy blog, 30 June 2010, Paul Kane: "The Senate confirmed the appointment of all eight Broadcasting Board of Governors nominees by a unanimous voice vote Wednesday night. ... Ending one of the longest standoffs in recent nomination history, Senate Democrats reached accommodation with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to allow the confirmation of a high-profile collection of nominees to the Broadcasting Board of Governors. ... On Tuesday, [Senator Tom] Coburn and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the committee chairman, came to an agreement that will mean more oversight for the BBG. If Coburn allowed all eight BBG nominees to pass by a unanimous voice vote, Kerry promised to invite Coburn, who is not a member of the panel, to serve as a 'guest of the committee' at an oversight hearing on the board, giving the Oklahoma Republican a temporary perch to rail against the BBG's expenditures of taxpayer dollars."

Foreign Policy, The Cable, 30 June 3010, Josh Rogin: "'We have eight great nominees and I'm looking forward to working with them,' Coburn told The Cable in a brief interview. ... The entire affair [recent controversy concerning VOA Persian News Network] speaks to what many observers see as a confused and unresolved definition of the BBG's mission and role in U.S. public diplomacy. The law calls for the BBG to be both a tool of American foreign policy as well as an independent source of journalism -- which can lead to editorial dilemmas in a region where U.S. policies remain deeply unpopular."

The Hill, Congress Blog, 25 June 2010, Senator Dick Lugar: "[S]hould the chronic dysfunction in the confirmation process persist, Congress may well have to consider a new structure to oversee our international broadcasters so that this important tool of public diplomacy gets the consistent management and oversight it deserves." See previous posts on 16 June and (another) on 16 June.