"An electronic war has been launched against Iran."

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 26 Sept 2010, Elizabeth Arrott: "The head of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant has confirmed a computer worm infected some of the facility's software, but says the plant's main systems are all safe. ... Iranian authorities had earlier acknowledged the worm has infected systems throughout the country, but said it had caused no serious damage. Stuxnet, a self-replicating worm, has distinguished itself as the first known to be designed to take over industrial control systems. It is able to penetrate computer systems not connected to the internet. The worm was detected earlier this year and has spread around the world. Iran is believed to be the most heavily affected, suffering an estimated 60 percent of the attacks. The director of information technology at the Iranian Ministry of Industries and Mines, Mahmud Liai, told state media 'an electronic war has been launched against Iran.'"

Cyber-attacks against Democratic Voice of Burma.

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
CPJ, 27 Sept 2010: "The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by cyber-attacks against three exile-run Burma news outlets, Irrawaddy, Mizzima News, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have shut Irrawaddy's main website while temporarily blocking access to Mizzima's site."

Some history from the last great shortwave decade in India (updated).

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Hindu, 18 Sept 2010, Pheroze L. Vincent: "Most western music lovers in Coimbatore, back in the 80s, got their manna from Radio Australia, British Broadcasting Corporation and Voice of America radio frequencies. If they liked a song, they went to Music Junction where Charanjit 'Channi' Singh and Parmesh would order the record for them. ... Things have changed a lot. 'Technology has killed the business,' Channi says. There's so much free music online that people rarely buy western albums. They can download the latest tracks, and the tracks they want, instead of buying the whole album."

Update: Deccan Herald (Bangalore), 27 Sept 2010, Shirley Hereford: "The Voice of America jumpstarted my day back then and opened a window to the world. Casey Kasem and his show AT4 [American Top 40] was my school, my weed, my bed fellow. His signature line ‘keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars’ became my life’s mantra. ... When television replaced Radio Jockeys with VJs, I felt my umbilical chord had been severed." -- When was Casey Kasem's weekly show on VOA? During the first Gulf War, when VOA Europe was put on shortwave frequencies to provide a 24-hour service to the region when VOA Arabic was not available. VOA received many letters from fans of Kasem's program. Was this what Dr. Hereford, apparently now living in India, was hearing?

Iran plans a Spanish-language television channel.

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 30 Sept 2010: "Iran is to reach out to Latin America with a Spanish-language television channel to explain the 'ideological legitimacy' of the Islamic system. 'As half [sic] of the world's population speaks Spanish we will start a network within the next few months,' Ezatollah Zarqami, the head of Iran's state television network, IRIB, announced in Tehran. ... Latin America may be seen as fertile ground because of the good relations between Iran and countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Portuguese-speaking Brazil also has ties to Tehran." This report from DPA, 30 Sept 2010, is very similar. Also reported by the Iranian AhlulBayt News Agency, 6 Sept 2010.

In keynote speech, BBG chairman Walter Isaacson "repeatedly stressed the importance of credibility."

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 29 Sept 2010: "Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Walter Isaacson tonight announced a new direction for U.S. international broadcasting that 'seizes on the latest media tools and technology to stay one step ahead of those who seek to repress free information around the world.' ... 'The challenges we face in the new global struggle against repression and intolerance are as great today as they were during the Cold War,' he said at a reception marking the 60th anniversary of RFE's first broadcast. ... Tonight's reception honored six decades of RFE. On July 4, 1950, Radio Free Europe 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."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 29 Sept 2010: "Acknowledging the newly-appointed Board's launch of a year-long comprehensive review, Isaacson described the creation of 'a great virtual global news service' that would provide reliable reporting for every medium, including social media created by members of BBG broadcasters' global audience. As he outlined his imperatives for engaging citizens with limited access to news and information, Isaacson repeatedly stressed the importance of credibility in news broadcasting, noting that 'trustworthy journalism' would pay dividends for U.S. foreign policy objectives." With text and video of the speech.

Walter Isaacson's strongest arguments for the credibility of US international broadcasting came during the questions and answers after his speech. These are not included in the on-demand video, but audio of the first two questions is here (mp3, 7:32). Responding to Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy, Mr. Isaacson said that when there is a conflict between journalism and helping US policy, the BBG should "always make the choice on the side of credible journalism." Following up, Mr. Rogin asked, "does maintaining that credibility include having voices that are opposed to US policy?" Isaacson: "Yes. Of course."

The new BBG has stated the need for "collegiality" among its entities. In her question, Claudia Rosett of Forbes Online departed from that spirit by trying to start a food fight between VOA and the Radio Free stations. She began by asking if reports of a budget cut to Radio Free Asia's Korean Service are correct. (See previous post.) Then she said: "You have UN coverage which sometimes amounts to basically taking something like a Burmese or Iranian press release for Voice of America -- my compliments to Jeff Gedmin who has done fantastic work on Iran -- but for Voice of America and rerouting press releases, and I'm curious as to why that..." Isaacson: "Shut down the UN bureau and put the money into North Korea?" Mr. Isaacson ignored the insinuation about VOA, saying instead that he would try to find money for broadcasts to North Korea. (Ms. Rosett has written articles critical of VOA in Pajamas Media on 8 October 2007 and 7 September 2009.)

Mr. Isaacson did not mention consolidation of U.S. international broadcasting, unless it was implied in his vision for a "a great virtual global news service" rather than services (plural), one for each entity. Iit is interesting that he did not provide the oft-repeated, though inaccurate, dichotomy of VOA telling the world about America, and the surrogate stations exclusively providing news about the target countries.

Columnist says Radio Free Asia Korean "is facing an immediate budget cut (updated)."

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 26 Sept 2010, Christian Whiton: "A political warfare strategy also would involve empowering North Korean people. In a closed society like North Korea, the best way to do this is by giving them access to information. Broadcasts into North Korea help undermine Pyongyang's censorship, inspire North Koreans, and increasingly provide information to the outside world about the North. Unfortunately, Radio Free Asia's Korean service is facing an immediate budget cut, and a large reduction in transmission funding is expected for next year. More critically, the State Department cut off new funding for Free North Korea Radio, whose network and defector-led broadcasts are perhaps the most effective of all." -- This is the first I have heard of any budget cut for RFA Korean. Given the present importance of North Korea to US foreign policy, I would be surprised if such a plan exists. RFA and VOA (unmentioned) each broadcast in Korean five hours a day, not concurrently, for a total of ten hours USIB output per day. Any expansion would get into sleeping or working hours in North Korea. Is Free North Korea Radio funded by the State Department, or by the National Endowment for Democracy?

Update: Responding to a question at the Radio Free Europe 60th anniversary event (see subsequent post), RFA president Libby Liu explained that under the continuing resolution, by which the US government is soon to be funded, the earmark for enhanced North Korean coverage by RFA will no longer be available.

New Discovery Networks management structure places the Middle East and Africa in Eastern Europe.

Posted: 29 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
WorldScreeen.com, 24 Sept 2010, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Discovery Networks International (DNI) has put in place a new senior management structure in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, organizing the operation geographically into two businesses that group those markets in similar stages of development. The Western Europe operation covers 16 markets, including the U.K., Germany, Southern Europe, Nordic and Benelux and is led by Dee Forbes, the executive VP for Discovery Networks UK & Western Europe. It will continue to be run from the London headquarters and has regional offices in Italy, Spain, Benelux, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. ... The Eastern Europe operation is responsible for ten brands in 99 markets, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, Middle East and Africa."

Discovery Communications press release, 28 Sept 2010: "Discovery Networks International (DNI) today announced the creation of a new unit charged with creating content for TLC International, DNI's new flagship entertainment and lifestyle network targeting women 25-49. 'The international launch of TLC is a key priority for Discovery, and one of the drivers for success will be creating compelling local content and extra-ordinary characters that resonate with audiences around the world,' said Luis Silberwasser, Senior Vice President and International Head of Content, DNI. 'While we will leverage the pipeline of rich content across TLC and Discovery’s portfolio of networks, we will focus our efforts on creating distinct programming designed specifically for TLC on an international and local level. That combination of content sources will establish a firm foundation to make TLC a true global success.'"

What's really mind-blowing is how much conservatives want to increase government spending on international broadcasting.

Posted: 29 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 24 Sept 2010, Helle Dale. "It is ... amazing and disturbing to find that China has now, in certain areas of international broadcasting, overtaken the United States. While strategic decisions have been made here in Washington to reduce the amount of global short-wave broadcasting produced by the U.S. government in favor of TV and Internet, China has been moving full speed ahead. According to the World Radio TV Handbook, China Radio International now broadcasts on short-wave in 45 languages, compared to Voice of America’s 32, and does so on 284 frequencies, compared to Voice of America’s 200 frequencies. And most mind-blowing of all is the fact that China Radio International carries more English language broadcast hours than Voice of America."

It's not so mind-blowing from a market-based analysis. (Heritage is more into central planning.) This is international broadcasting, as in broadcasting to other countries, as to countries where they speak other languages. China Radio International includes as target countries the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. VOA targets none of these countries, especially not the United States, not even Americans abroad. So, outside of Africa, CRI has much more reason to broadcast in English than does VOA. And if CRI wants to invest in shortwave when it is obviously declining in popularity, it's their money. Note that China was manufacturing steam railroad locomotives until 1999.

Foreign Policy, Shadow Government blog, 24 Sept 2010, Will Inboden: "The freedom section of President Obama's address to the United Nations General Assembly ... was the most extensive, fulsome, and compelling defense of human rights and democracy of his presidency, and it strategically placed political freedom in the context of economic freedom and development. ... While presidential rhetoric matters, to have enduring meaning it must be backed up by action. ... The administration should ... should increase support for international broadcasting efforts, such as the vital work of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty."

Washington Times, 24 Sept 2010, Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter: "With the eyes of the world upon him, Mr. Obama should have issued a new manifesto that declared [among four other things] (4) funding for Radio Farda and other democracy-building programs will be doubled; ... (6) the Global Online Freedom Act will be enacted to prevent American companies from assisting the Iranian regime's efforts to monitor and censor its people on the Internet."

See previous post about same subject.

I thought everybody dozes off for 5 minutes throughout the day.

Posted: 29 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 27 Sept 2010: "Radio Free Asia reported last week that Kim has now developed a symptom where he unexpectedly dozes off for about five minutes repeatedly throughout the day. Open Radio for North Korea, run by defectors, claimed that Kim suffered a bout of dyspnea, or breathing difficulties, on Sept. 8, an apparent side effect to a medication he is taking to prevent a relapse into a brain ailment."

Report: Group linked to Al Qaeda sends a video to RFE/RL Tajik.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 23 Sept 2010, Roman Kozhevnikov: "A militant group linked to al Qaeda on Thursday claimed responsibility for killing 28 soldiers in Tajikistan and threatened more attacks, as government troops hunted down rebels in the mountains of the Central Asian state. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), whose exiled members have fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, said via a radio station that they attacked a column of Tajik soldiers on Sunday in retaliation for a government crackdown on Islam. Abdufattoh Ahmadi, who presented himself as a spokesman for the IMU, made the statement in a video message sent to the Tajik service of Radio Liberty. 'This is our response to Tajikistan's government, which has lately shut down a thousand mosques, which arrests Muslims without any reason and prohibits women from wearing Muslim clothes,' Ahmadi was quoted as saying, in Tajik, by [RFE/RL's] Radio Ozodi. 'We demand a stop to this policy. Otherwise, terrorist attacks will continue,' Radio Ozodi quoted him as saying on its website, www.ozodi.tj." -- I can't find any RFE/RL report in English about this video being received by Radio Ozodi.

Radio Free Europe was rather more than "a flea on the behind of an elephant."

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Canada Free Press, 27 Sept 2010, Ron Ewart: "In the 20th Century, with the new technology of radio and eventually TV, the news reached the people virtually instantly. But never have the people of the planet been able to obtain so much news and information and communicate, discuss and debate that information amongst themselves, individually, until the Internet and e-mail was born. The World Wide Web has brought the citizens of the world together like no other time in history. Never before have the roots of freedom been able to reach almost anyone in the world with a computer and internet access. Radio Free Europe was a flea on the behind of an elephant, in comparison to the millions who are now wired into the Internet."

In Cold War Eastern Europe, RFE/RL and VOA were the two main sources of information, with BBC and Deutsche Welle also important. With this paucity of competition, each station was assured of large audiences. When East Europeans were able to get access to satellite television in the 1990s, they had a choice of a hundred or so channels. When the internet emerged, hundreds, then thousands of websites were available. Blogs were easier to produce than conventional websites, so tens of thousands emerged. With the social media, millions are participating. With the migration to the internet, international broadcasting finds itself in an environment of vast oversupply. The large audiences of decades past have been subdivided.

Medals for international broadcasters at the New York Festivals.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 28 Sept 2010: "Reporters from Radio Free Asia’s Vietnamese Service and Burmese Service won gold and bronze medals respectively at this year’s New York Festivals. Both winning entries produced pieces exploring the issue of human trafficking in Asia."

VOA press release, 24 Sept 2010: "VOA Korean Service broadcaster Young-Ran Jeon was awarded the Gold World Trophy for National/International Affairs at the New York Festivals International Radio Programming & Promotion Awards Ceremony today for her report on North Korean migrant workers in Vladivostok, Russia."

Radio Netherlands, 25 Sept 2010: "Radio Netherlands Worldwide is among the winners with three English-language programmes at the prestigious New York International Television and Radio Festivals 2010. The radio documentary The Lonely Funeral was crowned with a gold medal."

New York Festivals list of 2010 winners also includes Deutsche Welle.

RFE/RL 60th anniversary celebration, with BBG chairman's keynote, will be streamed at 2300 UTC.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The RFE/RL 60th anniversary web page will include a live stream of the ceremony at the Newseum, beginning today at 7:00 p.m., or 2300 UTC.

RFE/RL press release, 28 Sept 2010: "Also, follow the discussion on Twitter at @rferl."

Broadcasting Board of Governors Highlights, 27 Sept 2010: "As part of the celebration, BBG chairman Walter Isaacson will give a speech discussing his vision for U.S. international broadcasting. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., with remarks starting at 7:00. The speech will be streamed live on the RFE/RL website and will be available on demand in the days following the event."

The 17-year-old who was executed by the Nazis after listening to the BBC and distributing leaflets.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 28 Sept 2010: "The rare World War Two poster declaring the execution of 17-year-old Helmuth Hubener is set to be auctioned off at Mullock's Specialist Auctioneers in Ludlow, Shrops. The red poster printed with bold, black writing was put on display to the German public to announce the youngster's beheading by guillotine on October 27, 1942. ... Hubener was the youngest boy to be executed for his opposition to the Third Reich after he was caught listening to radio broadcasts of the BBC and distributing antiwar pamphlets based on the airings. Mr Westwood-Brookes added: 'This poster shows how important the BBC was for disseminating the truth rather than the lies promoted by the Nazis.' ... 'He found a shortwave radio in his brother's closet and secretly listened to the BBC broadcasts before inviting his friends to join him to distribute leaflets against the Third Reich.'"

Mullock's Auction House: "Printed in black on red paper 4to size with indications that it had been displayed for public consumption (as was intended). Dated October 27th 1942. He was just 17 years old and the youngest person to be executed by the Nazis for opposition to the Third Reich."

Bing Crosby, shortwave listener (updated). And other shortwave stories.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 23 Sept 2010, Richard Sandomir: Bing "Crosby loved baseball, but as a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates he was too nervous to watch the [1960] Series against the Yankees, so he and his wife went to Paris, where they listened by radio. ... 'We were in this beautiful apartment, listening on shortwave, and when it got close Bing opened a bottle of Scotch and was tapping it against the mantel,' Kathryn Crosby said. 'When Mazeroski hit the home run, he tapped it hard; the Scotch flew into the fireplace and started a conflagration.'"

Update: Richard Cummings in Germany mentions this text of a 1951 film short in US movie theaters, with Bing Crosby speaking to the audience: "Voice: This theater brings you an important message... Crosby: I want to tell you something I found out over in Europe: we’ve got plenty of good friends behind the Iron Curtain. Probably fifty or sixty million of them. Naturally they’re not Russians, they’re not Communists. They’re freedom-loving peoples in the captive countries, who refuse to believe the big Red lies the Commies tell them. And you know why they don’t believe those lies? It is because we, yes, you and I, and millions of other private US citizens have found a way to pierce the Iron Curtain with the truth. And that way is Radio Free Europe, the most powerful weapon in the Crusade for Freedom."

Update: FanHouse, 25 Sept 2010, Clay Travis: "Since 1969, Arkansas fans have waited for a home game as big as this one. It's been 41 years since Texas beat Arkansas 15-14 to claim a national title -- a game that Rhodes Scholar Bill Clinton would write about listening to on a shortwave radio from Oxford in his autobiography."

Stabroek News (Georgetown, Guyana), 21 Sept 2010, letter from Leon Jameson Suseran: "I remember my dad and me in our hammock in the verandah when I was small, listening to short wave news from one of the Caribbean islands (Radio Grenada I think it was), on a radio, which was fitted in a black case with a strap." -- We shortwave listeners in the United States also tuned in to Radio Grenada, and to its predecessor the Windward Islands Broadcasting Service.

Huffington Post, 20 Sept 2010: Donna Baranski-Walker: In the early 1980s Support of Solidarity - Chicago smuggled "more than a dozen shortwave radio sets to the underground Solidarity network."

Southgate Amateur Radio Club, 24 Sept 2010: "Due to the fat-headedness of the UK regulator, OFCOM, the very existence of [amateur radio] and indeed all short wave and VHF communications is under threat due to OFCOM's refusal to ban polluting Powerline Network adaptors marketed by Comtrend, Devolo, Belkin and others and supplied by BT Vision." Video demonstrates the noise: Southgate Amateur Radio Club, 28 Sept 2010.

Bavarian digital shortwave transmitter will close. And more DRM in the news.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bayerische Rundfunk press release, 27 Sept 2010, sent by Kai Ludwig, translated to English: "In light of the austerity measures of the Bavarian Radio has decided to cease to broadcast on short wave at the frequency 6085 kHz (49-m band). Each year can thus save electricity costs, especially for the BR. The decision was made in view of the trade and consumers at very low diffusion of digital short wave radio (Digital Radio Mondiale - DRM). The selection of DRM devices is still very small and the market has so far not developed satisfactorily. A reversal back to analog short wave propagation is eliminated because of the progressive digitalization of the program distribution."

Why can't programming that has been distributed digitally to the transmitter be transmitted in analog mode? There may be advantages to analog transmission.

BR's 6085 kHz facility is one of the last shortwave transmitters used for domestic broadcasting in Germany. While medium wave provided long distance reception at night, the 49 meter shortwave band allowed similar reception during daylight. In the 1950s through 1970s, it was not uncommon for radios in Germany, especially in cars, to include the 49 meter shortwave band (and no other shortwave coverage).

Yahoo! DRM North America discussion group, 25 Sept 2010, Whit Hicks, Digital Aurora Radio Technologies, Delta Junction, Alaska, note to Benn Kobb: "We are looking for potential users. The transmitter system is in place and we would like to conduct long term propagation tests, but lack funding to do so. Like the rest of America, we are hoping for better economic times in the near future." -- Using Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS), with the shortwave signal going almost straight up, the main objective of the Digital Aurora Radio Technologies experimental station WE2XRH is to cover Alaska mainland and maritime areas. It is employing DRM to provide an FM-like signal to areas in Alaska and vicinity beyond the reach of FM stations.

Engineering Radio, 23 Sept 2010, Paul Thurst: Some of the advantages of DRM over Ibiquity’s HD radio.

DRM Consortium press release, 13 Sept 2010: Includes presentation on the Diveemo small-scale video via DRM system. See previous post about same subject.

Budget cuts force BBC World Service to drop drama, Proms, Wimbledon, "World of Music."

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 23 Sept 2010, Josh Halliday: "The BBC World Service is ditching regular drama output after more than 75 years and axing dedicated Proms and Wimbledon highlights programmes as part of a new round of cost cutting, MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal. From April 2011, the World Service will no longer have a contract with the BBC's Audio & Music department to produce about 14 radio plays per year. The World Service is also ditching its weekly 60-minute BBC Proms season programme, the World of Music series, and a daily hour-long Wimbledon highlights show that runs during the tennis tournament from next year. ... A BBC spokesman said: 'Like all of the public sector, BBC World Service is having to respond to the challenges of an increasingly difficult financial climate at home and abroad. These are tough decisions, taken carefully and with great thought. We acknowledge that they will not be popular with some of our audiences and we share their disappointment.'" -- What's the expense of "World of Music"? Is it the music rights? The host?

The Guardian, 23 Sept 2010, text of message from Craig Oliver, Controller English, Global News to World Service staff: "I am pleased to say that the biannual International Playwright Competition, which we have run in conjunction with the British Council for 22 years, will continue on BBC World Service."

The Telegraph, 23 Sept 2010, Andrew Porter: "Ninety-four quangos [quasi non-governmental organizations] and other public bodies face an anxious three-week wait to see whether they escape abolition or face severe cuts to their budgets. According to the list seen by The Daily Telegraph, there are several well-known organisations whose future has yet to be finalised, including the BBC World Service, the British Council, the Design Council, the Competition Commission and the Student Loans Company."

Tribune Magazine (London), 26 Sept 2010, Joe Cushnan: "Total independence is a pipedream. However, surely getting close to it most of the time is not a bad effort? Sometimes, the BBC crosses the line into controversy and sometimes it drifts too far into political correctness. This is a debate that will rumble on, at least until the day the corporation is destroyed once and for all. But we should not forget, in our national selfishness, that the BBC World Service is still a powerful global communications brand, relied on and trusted by many people far beyond our shores. ... The Foreign Office gives an annual direct grant of £272 million to help fund global broadcasting, but undoubtedly a hefty chunk of that amount will soon disappear. Everyone has a stance on cuts and investments, but it seems obvious in troubled times that drastically chopping back World Service broadcasting would significantly diminish Britain’s ability to influence global opinion in a positive fashion."

Daily Mail, 25 Sept 2010, Paul Revoir: "Veteran BBC broadcaster John Simpson has attacked the corporation’s bloated management, claiming: ‘We have managers like New York City has bedbugs.’ ... During a talk at the National Theatre on Thursday night, Simpson claimed that valuable services such as BBC World News were kept ‘chronically’ short of money, yet there were hordes of managers."

UK culture spokesman says audit will not harm BBC, citing World Service precedent.

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 22 Sept 2010, Mark Sweney: "The coalition government has pledged that the BBC's editorial independence will not be harmed by giving the National Audit Office carte blanche to investigate the corporation's books, with contentious areas such star salaries set to remain confidential under the new deal. Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat culture spokesman, speaking at the party's conference today, confirmed that the NAO would be able to get access to 'any information it needs to carry out its studies', including confidential BBC contracts with third parties including top talent. ... Foster highlighted the BBC World Service, which is funded through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has been fully scrutinised by the NAO for decades, as an example of a BBC-run operation whose editorial integrity has not been affected by such an arrangement. The BBC World Service is currently facing cuts to its £272m annual direct grant under the government's spending review. 'The BBC is the best public service broadcaster in the world and, thanks largely to the peerless World Service, the envy of the world,' he said." -- The coalition wants to audit the domestic BBC, funded by a mandatory license fee on television sets. World Service is funded by a Foreign Office grant.

The Guardian, Organ Grinder blog, 27 Sept 2010, Jane Martin: "Did anyone notice Don Foster using the BBC World Service as an example of how giving the National Audit Office full access to BBC accounts should not hurt editorial independence? Yes, that's the same World Service that could face the axe, according to a leak just two days after the Liberal Democrat culture spokesman's comments to the Guardian. Doesn't bode well for the BBC, does it?"

Canadian military radio stations in Afghanistan: "simply informing people what's going on."

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Canadian Press, 24 Sept 2010, Dene Moore: "Voice of Panjwaii [is] one of five very small, local radio stations broadcasting from Canadian military bases throughout Kandahar province as part of NATO's psychological war against the Taliban insurgency. ... Voice of Panjwaii has been on air since June, broadcasting news, government announcements, weather and other programs throughout the district southwest of Kandahar city where Canadians have been concentrating their efforts in Afghanistan. Local elders and mullahs come to the station to speak, as well as the district governor. There are quiz shows and the station has its own most-requested list of traditional Afghan songs, but by far the most popular program is the call-in show. Voice of Panjwaii is receiving 40 to 50 phone calls a day from listeners. About 80 per cent of Panjwaii residents have radios, said Lesarge. Canadian soldiers have handed out an estimated 30,000 units over the past two year in the province. It's all part of the quiet, psychological war going on to win the hearts and minds of Afghans. 'The biggest battle in a place like this is simply informing people what's going on,' said navy Lt. Mark Shepherd of Information Operations for Task Force Kandahar." See previous post about the US Army's Conmmando Radio.

In Cuba, overcoming the noise to hear radio from "the other shore."

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 24 Sept 2010, Yoani Sanchez, Cuban blogger: "We live in the midst of a real war of radio frequencies on this Island. On one side we have the broadcasts of the station called Radio Marti -- banned, but very popular among my compatriots, they are transmitted from the United States -- and on the other side the buzzing they use to silence it. The radio receivers sold in the official stores have had the module that allows you to hear these transmissions removed, and the police are in the habit of searching the roofs for the devices that help to better capture these signals. Meanwhile, inside their houses, people look for the place -- it could be a corner, near a window, or stuck to the ceiling -- where the radio manages to ignore the annoying beeping of the interference. It is common to see someone lying on the floor while they locate the exact point where local programming is overshadowed by what comes from abroad. It doesn't matter what they're sending from the other shore, whether it's a boring musical program, the news in English, or a weather report from somewhere else in the world. What matters is that it is a balm for the ears, that it sounds different, that it is something other than that mix of slogans and prose without freedom that is transmitted daily on Cuban radio." -- The "module" is perhaps the shortwave band circuitry, but not easily removed in small, modern shortwave radios.

Fareed Zakaria will interview Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on CNN and CNN International.

Posted: 27 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 24 Sept 2010, Alex Weprin: "CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviewed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday for his weekend program, 'Fareed Zakaria GPS.' The interview will air Sunday, October 3 at 10 AM ET on CNN, and 8 AM ET [1200 UTC] on CNN International. Premier Wen last gave an interview to a U.S. media outlet back in 2008. That outlet was CNN, and the interviewer was Zakaria."

NYC life international block includes BBC, RAI, France 24, and Polsat.

Posted: 27 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BroadwayWorld.com, 22 Sept 2010, press release via: "NYC life (channel 25), the flagship television station of NYC Media, announced the launch of its expanded fall line-up... . Part of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, NYC Media is the official TV, radio and online network of the City of New York... . Weeknights, NYC life presents a block of international news offering global perspectives: BBC World News at 6pm, RAI Italian News at 6:30pm, France 24 at 7pm, and Polsat Polish News at 11pm."

We have established, then, that he is not a fan of Press TV.

Posted: 27 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 21 Sept 2010, Ben S. Cohen: "Ahmadinejad ... when it comes to lying, enviably blends classical totalitarianism with postmodern spin. As an interview subject, he should be left to the sort of useful idiot who thinks that a show on Ahmadinejad's mouthpiece, Press TV, is a mark of celebrity -- serious journalists need not, and should not, follow there. They would be better off investigating why a regime media outlet like Press TV is widely, and preposterously, regarded as a legitimate broadcaster. They might find that part of the answer lies in the marketing. Press TV has quite snazzy graphics and music inflected with soul and jazz. It even waged an advertising campaign on the red double-decker buses of London -- which is its main international operating base -- using the frankly Orwellian slogan, '24/7. News. Truth.' ... But my patience has run out. I don't want to know what Ahmadinejad had for breakfast this morning. I want to know why governments which have banned terror broadcasters like Al Manar and Al Aqsa continue to tolerate the presence of Press TV on the airwaves. And I want to know when they are going to shut it down."

Amnesty International calls on Iran not to imprison journalist for BBC interview.

Posted: 27 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Amnesty International USA, 24 Sept 2010: "Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities not to imprison a prominent human rights defender and journalist sentenced to a total of seven years in prison, including six for recording an interview with a reformist cleric. Emadeddin Baghi, the head of the now-banned Association for the Defence of Prisoners' Rights (ADPR), who had been released on bail in June after six months' detention, was told on Wednesday of his conviction for 'propaganda against the system' and 'gathering and colluding with the aim of harming national security' while attending a trial session for another case. The charges were brought against him over a 2008 TV interview with the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, broadcast by BBC Persian in December 2009 following the cleric's death." See previous post about same subject.

BBC Arabic and Persian cooperated on special about 30th anniversary of Iran-Iraq war.

Posted: 27 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 22 Sept 2010, Ian Black: "The BBC World Service's Arabic and Persian language TV services are co-operating in an unprecedented exercise to mark the 30th anniversary of the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, joining forces with interactive programmes to bring old enemies together to talk about one of the 20th century's bloodiest conflicts. The 60-minute programmes, being broadcast today, will give people from both countries the opportunity to join the live debate together – sharing personal experiences about the war and how it changed their lives – online, via texts, telephone, voxpops, webcam, email and social media outlets. The two flagship shows, Nuqtat Hewar (Talking Point) on BBC Arabic and Nowbat Shoma (Your Turn) on BBC Persian, will air using translators from one language to the other." See also BBC World Service, 22 Sept 2010.

President Obama's interview on BBC Persian analyzed.

Posted: 26 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 25 Sept 2010, Glenn Kessler: "Nearly two years after President Obama took office, the broad outlines of his Iran policy are clear: accumulate leverage, keep your options open, and prepare for the worst. The strategy was illustrated Friday when the president took to the airwaves of Iran, granting a lengthy interview to the BBC Persian service in which he balanced sometimes dissonant themes: praise for the Iranian people; a willingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the impasse over the government's nuclear ambitions; condemnation of the Iranian president; and rhetorical support for the opposition movement that seeks to topple the leadership with whom Obama needs to make a deal."

International Business Times, 25 Sept 2010, Nagesh Narayana: "U.S. President Barack Obama has once again appealed directly to Iranian people over the BBC Persian service on Friday, in a rare showcase of technology surpassing the boundaries of official communication channels. ... And his efforts to appeal to the people of Iran are, in fact, part of a new strategy aimed at winning the confidence of people and roll out a new diplomacy aided by technology."

Los Angeles Times, Top of the Ticket, 24 Sept 2010, Andrew Malcolm: "And given today's modern communications and porous political curtains, thanks to cellphones, txt msgs, e-mails, tweets and web-browsing on the BBC's array of multilingual sites and others in the region, many thousands of Iranians already knew the details of this interview well before you clicked on this page. The Obama message was delivered for free, costing only 24 minutes of presidential time. And he never even had to leave the Waldorf Astoria."

BBC News, 25 Sept 2010, Bahman Kalbasi, BBC Persian: "Interviewing US President Barack Obama, I felt a weight of responsibility. This was the first time an Iranian reporter had interviewed President Obama, and our audience in Iran has a wide range of questions and concerns about the policies of United States government. My challenge was to try to address those questions and concerns in just 20 minutes, the time I was given to interview the most powerful man in the world."

There was consternation at VOA because BBC Persian, and not VOA Persian News Network, was granted this interview. The White House may have selected BBC because of the perception, however incorrect, that VOA is the administration's poodle. This perception would also not be helpful for VOA.

Instead of trying to get its own interview with the President, VOA Persian News Network should wait for the next occasion in which British-Iranian relations are in the news. Then, using its large audience in Iran as collateral, try to get an interview with David Cameron, Nick Clegg, or William Hague. For the same reason the White House opted for BBC, Whitehall might choose VOA PNN as its avenue to speak to the Iranian people. See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera journalists released after being "treated humanely" by NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan.

Posted: 26 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 24 Sept 2010: "Two Afghan journalists working for Al Jazeera television were released Friday from a NATO-run prison in Afghanistan, days after being arrested over alleged links to the Taliban. ... 'The insurgents use propaganda, often delivered through news organisations, as a way to influence and in many cases intimidate the Afghan population,' [Al Jazeera] quoted ISAF as saying in a letter. Al Jazeera rejected the allegations, saying the men were 'innocent'. The network's Afghanistan correspondent Sue Turton said that most of Al Jazeera's local reporters feared arrest."

International Security Assistance Force press release, 24 Sept 2010: "'After reviewing the initial intelligence and information received during questioning, the two men were not considered a significant security threat and were released,' said Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, Director of Communication, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). 'During their brief detention they were treated humanely and in accordance with international law and U.S. policies.' ... 'The operations were conducted with our Afghan partners and based on intelligence gathered over an extended period of time, focusing on insurgent propaganda networks and their affiliates.' A discussion earlier today between Rear Admiral Smith and Samer Allawi, Al Jazeera Kabul Bureau Chief, focused on the basis for detention of the two journalists, and Al Jazeera's acceptance of responsibility for their conduct. The Doha-based news organization pledged to uphold the highest journalistic standards for their reporting in Afghanistan. ISAF will also work closely with the Government of Afghanistan and its Ministry of Information and Culture to ensure that security operations are conducted to prevent Taliban influence from being spread through propaganda, and that journalists are treated with respect as they endure the challenge of reporting in an often dangerous and complex environment."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 24 Sept 2010, David Lepeska: "Press freedom advocates challenged Isaf’s justifications for the detentions. 'What exactly does it mean to be a ‘propagandist’ or ‘facilitating information networks’?' asked Anthony Mills of the International Press Institute in Geneva. 'Being a journalist covering that side of the story should not be considered a crime.'" See also IPI, 24 Sept 2010.

Committee to Protect Journalists, 24 Sept 2010: "'We are pleased that ISAF released Rahmatullah Nekzad and Mohammed Nader quickly, although they should not have been detained in the first place' said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator."

Reporters sans frontières, 24 Sept 2010: “'We are extremely relieved that these three arrests, which we had described as a serious mistake, have been resolved so quickly and we hail President Karzai’s personal involvement,' Reporters Without Borders said."

National Press Club press release, 24 Sept 2010: "The National Press Club President Alan Bjerga called upon the NATO command to more fully explain the reason for the detentions... . 'Journalists who take unpleasant images in a war zone are not responsible for how belligerents on either side of a conflict may use the images. These cameramen should not be incarcerated for, in effect, doing their jobs.'"

RFE/RL, 24 Sept 2010, Heather Maher: "RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan spoke to Al-Jazeera cameraman Nadir after his release. 'I was questioned at least five times,' he said. 'Overall, they treated me well. They didn't behave badly during the interrogation. They gave me food. And I was escorted to washroom. Their interpreters were Afghans and Pashtuns who understood everything and translated fairly.' He said he told the soldiers, 'I am not in hiding in Kandahar. Almost all journalists know me very well. I am not an outsider. They could give me a call and I would come on foot. There was no need for Americans to rush and put my home under siege or terrify my family in that midnight.'"

AP, 25 Sept 2010, Deb Riechmann: "The interrogators asked [Rahmatullah Naikzad], 'Who is your contact with the Taliban?' He said he told them 'Everybody is talking with the Taliban. I'm not calling the Taliban. The Taliban are calling the media.' 'The American investigators told me "If you are talking with the Taliban on the basis of doing a story, no problem. But the reports that have come to us is that you are giving information to the Taliban,"' Naikzad said. ... He said one member of the coalition told him as he was released: 'We heard a lot of bad things about you, but please forgive us.'"

Aljazeera.net, 24 Sept 2010: "The arrests followed a recent pattern of escalation by Isaf and multinational forces to target Al Jazeera journalists in Afghanistan. ... Al Jazeera, however, said it will continue to maintain its coverage on the basis of fair and impartial journalism in line with its Code of Ethics and will not bias its coverage in favour of any party or coalition despite pressure being imposed on it. As part of their work, cameramen and crew need to contact all sides of those involved in a particular issue, which in this case includes Isaf forces, the Afghanistan government as well as the Taliban. These contacts should not be seen as a criminal offence but rather as a necessary component of the work that journalists undertake, the channel said." See previous post about same subject.

In the Arab world, impact of online media "has not always been positive."

Posted: 26 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Palestine News Network, 21 Sept 2010, Daoud Kuttab: "Until the mid-1990s, radio and television stations that Arabs were able to follow were mostly government owned. With the exception of international radio stations such as BBC, Voice of America and Monte Carlo radio, hundreds of millions of Arabs were forced to hear and see protocol news of their presidents and kings leading and dominating newscasts. ... The [later] success of media entrepreneurs in using the Internet to circumvent government controls was not without a strong governmental response in most Arab countries. While some countries applied strict proxy restrictions banning locally produced content from being seen by the country’s citizens, or carried out brutal crackdown actions, the majority of the Arab regimes decided to join the revolution. When it became clear that they couldn’t totally stop many alternative websites, Arab governments decided to either co-opt existing sites or create their own sites camouflaged as independent sites. ... Oppressive governments also used a number of other ways to clamp down on alternative media. Bloggers and media owners faced various bureaucratic problems that included travel bans, imprisonment and in some cases physical punishment."

ABC News, The MidEast Memo, 22 Sept 2010, Lara Setrakian: "What’s happening online is a catalyst, not a revolution. It’s a first alert for human rights groups monitoring Arab countries from thousands of miles away, and a prompt for greater accountability from governments. ... ‘The question isn't, 'How many regimes have social media overthrown,' because the obvious answer is "None,"' columnist Mona Eltahawy told VOA. 'The question should be…how are social media enabling those most marginalized groups in the Middle East to mature and go into the realization that their opinions count and that they have the ability to bring about change in a region that is largely run by dictators?'"

International Press Institute issues "Brave News Worlds," report on future of global journalism.

Posted: 26 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
International Press Institute, 13 Sept 2010: "The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), the world’s oldest global press freedom organisation, relaunched the IPI Report series today with the publication of 'Brave News Worlds'. The Report, featuring 42 contributors from across the globe, was produced in collaboration with the Florida-based Poynter Institute, one the premier journalism training centres in the world... . With a focus on effective solutions and lessons to be learned, as well as providing stimulus for debate, the Report serves to be a compass, rather than a map, pointing the global media towards a successful and sustainable future for journalism." Download the report (pdf) here. Chapters include...

"Competition Over News Intensifies in China, as Internet Offers Alternative Coverage," Yuen-Ying Chan, Hong Kong University: "For now, the future for Chinese journalists remains both promising and perilous. The Chinese Communist Party has made clear that it will not relinquish control of the news media. But both commercialization and the empowering forces of technology demand greater openness. Somehow, the government will have to resolve the contradictions inherent in its grand strategy of gaining credibility worldwide while suppressing dissent and critical thinking at home."

"Peeking Behind Burma’s Bamboo Curtain," Soe Myint, editor-in-cheif Mizzima News: "With headquarters in India and branch offices in Thailand and Bangladesh, Mizzima utilizes websites, TV, podcasting and print to disseminate information on Burma to both those inside and outside the country. The road to media freedom, however, remains fraught with obstacles and dangers, as Mizzima News seeks to constantly develop new means of overcoming official designs aimed at silencing the press."

"NN24: Birth of an African Channel," Anthony Dara, founder and CEO of NN24: "NN24 (Network News 24) is Nigeria’s first 24-hour, seven-day-a-week news channel, the channel operates out of Lagos, Nigeria and is distributed via direct to home satellite service by DStv in Nigeria and a number of countries on the continent. The channel produces its news content, gathers news and information content from CNN Newsource and Reuters. However the channel aims to produce up to 80 percent of its own content, considering the vast amount of unreported stories in Africa."

"Government Support Obliges Australian Broadcasting Corporation to Innovate and Diversify," Mark Scott, Managing Director of Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "Without the income to produce programming capable of completing for mass attention, public broadcasters in the United States have been unable to acquire critical mass and exist as a marginalized, rather than mainstream presence in national life." -- NPR and PBS, of course, have more than a "marginalized" role in the United States.

Public diplomacy as multi-level marketing: Israel launches its English hasbara website (updated).

Posted: 26 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 15 Sept 2010, Gil Hoffman: "A Web site that aims to help Israelis defend the country’s image abroad – which Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said would be online in April – finally premiered on Sunday. The site (http://masbirim.gov.il/eng/) provides hasbara material related to current events, tips for the 'novice ambassador,' myths and facts about Israel and the Arab world, and lists of Israel’s most prominent achievements in science, medicine and agriculture. A Hebrew version of the site has been online since February."

Update: Ha'aretz, 22 Sept 2010, Carlo Strenger: "The whole Masbirim project is based on the faulty premise that defending everything Israel does is a useful way of representing Israel’s interests and concerns. ... Never lower yourself to the level of Israel’s worst detractors. Don’t ever lie, and don’t twist the facts. Don’t use hollow propaganda phrases; you’ll lose your credibility the moment you do so. Instead, try to make Israel humanly intelligible."

Al Jazeera will launch a Balkan channel. And something about CNN tapeworms in Sarajevo (updated again).

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 18 Sept 2010: "Pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera will launch a regional television in the Balkans in January, Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz reported Saturday. The seat of its regional project, Al-Jazeera Balkans, would be based in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina, a Balkan country with an important Muslim community. Al-Jazeera bought local TV chain NTV 99 for 1.2 million euros (1.56 million dollars) and plans to invest further 10 million euros by the end of this year, the daily said. The company published an [ad] in local papers on Friday looking for a managing director for its Balkans branch, without giving the date when the programme might start."

Dnevni Avaz (Sarajevo), 18 Sept 2010, as Google translated: "After the company PEP, owned by Adil Kulenovica finally bought NTV 99, a powerful House Qatar television Al-Jazeera 'definitely will start its broadcast from Sarajevo in January 2011th years,' has learned exclusively 'Dnevni Avaz'. This was completed with the arrival of tapeworms Arab CNN in Sarajevo." -- I think this means that Al Jazeera is an Arab version of a CNN-like news channel.

Croatian Times, 20 Sept 2010: "The Quatar-based television network Al-Jazeera will start broadcasting from Sarajevo at the beginning of next year and is rumoured to be looking for seasoned journalists from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia who will cover the region. Local press has been speculating which 'star' journalists will fill the ranks of the world-renowned Arab network that is expected to hire around 100 new staff members, forty of which would be reporters, the daily Jutarnji List writes. The network is especially interested in having three known television personalities to help attract viewers."

Update: Deutsche Welle, 22 Sept 2010, Samir Huseinovic and Mirjana Dikic: "Al Jazeera's decision is especially interesting because Bosnia-Herzegovina does not have a strong media market, says the General Secretary of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian journalists association, Borka Rudic. 'Money is not the reason behind the network's decision to settle here,' Rudic said."

Survey: The Simpsons most successful global television brand, Sesame Street second.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 22 Sept 2010, Tara Conlan: "The Simpsons is the most successful television brand of all time with global DVD and merchandising sales of more than $8bn (£5.1bn), according to a survey of industry experts. ... The Matt Groening series was placed first in the survey of 450 global licensing experts from leading media companies with 31% of votes, followed by long-running US children's show Sesame Street with 26%. ... With the global TV merchandising industry worth $191bn, licensing a brand so it can be used to create toys, books or other products featuring the show's logo is a key part of the sector's business. The proceeds are often a key component of a show's earnings, with the spin-offs often helping to fund the development of future programmes."

MTV International CEO retires; "masterminded the international rollout of MTV ... Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central."

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Variety, 22 Sept 2010, Steve Clarke: "Bill Roedy, the architect of MTV's global expansion for the past 20 years and one of showbiz's most prominent international execs, is set to retire at year's end. Viacom chairman Philippe Dauman told staffers Tuesday that the London-based Roedy, who masterminded the international rollout of MTV and sister outfits Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central, had 'crisscrossed the planet, planting our flag on nearly every continent and spreading the gospel of quality, audience-first programming from Beijing to Bangalore to Buenos Aires and everywhere in between.' ... A graduate of West Point and Harvard U., Roedy served as an officer in the U.S. Army for seven years, including a stint as commander of three NATO nuclear missile silos in Italy. ... 'He is an advocate for human rights and an open-minded student of unfamiliar cultures,' Dauman said. 'He is a man trained to fight Communism who spent decades deploying entertainment, children's programming and health education in countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and throughout Africa.'"

Leo Sarkisian of VOA's "Music Time in Africa" grants his archives to University of Michigan.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AnnArbor.com, 20 Sept 2010, James Dickson: "Leo Sarkisian has built a six-decade career in music and radio on that proverb, which he shared in a lecture on 'Travels & Ethnomusicology' today in the gallery of the [University of Michigan's] Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. ... [H]is big break came in 1963 when Edward R. Murrow hired him to join the new Voice of America radio. 'Music Time in Africa' first appeared in 1965, and 45 years later, remains a staple of the program. Sarkisian recently passed that torch to musicologist Matthew LaVoie, but still appears on the air from time to time. ... Sarkisian is regarded by some in his field as the most knowledgeable and experienced African ethnomusicologist in the game. At the age of 89, with more than 60 years of experience and recordings in every African country, it stands to reason that he might be. ... [He spoke] about the archives Sarkisian recently granted the university to digitize. Tom Bray, converging technologies consultant at U-M, said that digitization has already begun, but he had no timetable when the collection would be viewable online. Digitization is a piecemeal effort between U-M and Voice of America. First, VOA sends out about 50 tapes; when those are digitized and sent back, VOA inspects them and sends out the next batch. When the digitization effort is over — and everything from music to field notes from Sarkisian's recordings to sticky notes on tape cases will be scanned — only Voice of America, the National Archives, and the University of Michigan will possess the 'thousands of reels, cassettes, and vinyl records' from Sarkisian's Voice of America recordings."

In Zimbabwe, inebriated man denounces VOA.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 22 Sept 2010, Farai Matsuka: "Hearings on constitutional reforms that could dilute the powers of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe have become so unruly that they have been suspended until further notice. It wasn't hard to see why. At one public event, an inebriated man stood up and denounced Voice of America and local radio studios that receive U.S. government support. 'They are selling out the country to colonialists,' he shouted. Loud cheers followed." -- VOA's Studio 7 has a large audience in Zimbabwe.

HCJB installs antenna at its Australian shortwave site.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
HCJB Voice and Hands Australia, September 2010 (pdf): At the HCJB Global Australia shortwave transmitting site at Kununurra, "July heralded the installation of the long anticipated TCI Curtain Antenna between the two 96m tall towers erected in 2008. A great team of volunteers had arrived on site by plane, car and caravans from all over Australia to be part of the exciting task ahead. One young man even joined us from California! Under the direction of Stephen Sutherland, two groups were formed to assemble the front and rear elements of the antenna on the ground. When completed the antenna was raised a section at a time. It was exciting for the whole team to watch the antenna being pulled up in ideal weather conditions by two tractors." See also "Shortwave Expansion Taking Shape," elsewhere in the newsletter. And HCJB Global press release, 27 Aug 2010. -- Evangelical broadcaster HCJB has ceased shortwave transmissions from Ecuador, its original home, except for a low-powered shortwave transmitter used to reach rural areas of Ecuador itself. HCJB is, however, expanding shortwave operations from Australia, for broadcasts to East and South Asia.

HCJB Australia website, 17 Sept 2010: "Objections to our application for easements that would enable the installation of a HT power line to our new Broadcast Facility in Kununurra have been withdrawn. We are now in a position to proceed with this part of the project."

Voice of Russia ends Japanese-language "Siberia Galaxy Station," on the air since 1946.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Kyodo, 21 Sept 2010: "A Japanese announcer and his wife had their last recording on Monday of a long-running program to be discontinued this month from the Japanese-language service of the Voice of Russia, the country's state radio broadcaster. The roughly 40-minute 'Siberia Galaxy Station,' produced for Saturdays by the broadcaster's Khabarovsk bureau as part of the two-hour daily Japanese-language broadcast, dates back to 1946, but will have its last air time next Saturday night, Japan time. Kazuya Okada, 49, has been the only Japanese announcer at the bureau, and his program, which introduces Russian culture and the voices of its listeners, has attracted many devotees over time, with about 150 letters and e-mail messages arriving from all over Japan every month. ... The bureau's Japanese-language broadcast was launched by Radio Moscow, the Voice of Russia's predecessor, in 1946. ... The program will end with its 222nd installment aired Saturday during the Japanese-language service on medium- and short-wave frequencies from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Japan time, which itself will continue, with all its content produced at the broadcaster's head office in Moscow thereafter."

Stories from the BBC Ascension Island shortwave relay station (now using wind turbines).

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Economist, 21 Sept 2010, Correspondent's diary: "You can’t get BBC television on Ascension. But you can get BBC electricity, and BBC water. The World Service transmitters at English Bay, at the northernmost tip of the island, can suck up megawatts of electricity as they broadcast news and more across Africa (and, for a short while each day, South America). As by far the largest consumer of electricity, it makes practical sense for the corporation’s installation to be the island’s main generator, too... . The power for all this came, until recently, from a battery of seven V-12 marine engines, each of which delivers over a megawatt. Every 18 months or so a tanker moors off English Bay and delivers about 6000 tonnes of fuel to the tank farm there through a floating pipeline. This powers many of the island’s cars, as well as the generators. But it is an expensive and troublesome undertaking, and recently the BBC invested in a big chunk of fuel-free generating capacity – five Enercon E-33 330 kilowatt wind turbines, spinning ceaselessly in the southeast trades, the whole system officially inugurated just a couple of weeks ago. ... Here on the volcanic plains, already dotted with antenna arrays of various sorts serving not just the BBC but also a number of military communications systems, not to mention intelligence agencies, they are unquestionably magnificent, poised on their wave-splashed crags. But for all their shiny newness, sublime siting and green credentials, they are not the machines that inspire the most awe on a visit to the station. Those are the two original Marconi transmitters that can between them suck up a megawatt or more of the power station’s output. No one knows how old they are, but they were already in use at the BBC’s then-main transmitter at Daventry before being shipped to the island in the mid 1960s. ... The engineers look at them with pride and affection, as zookeepers might a dinosaur, aware that their day is mostly passed. Four of the original Marconis have already been replaced with modern transmitters from the Croatian company Riz that are far more efficient, and should in the long run prove more reliable, though whether they’ll be still pushing out the megahertz in 50 years remains to be seen. ... When the BBC was first here it built a village for its staff and their families. Now the operation no longer needs its separate receiver station, from which tapes would be ferried over for retransmission from English Bay, or the part time announcer it used to employ. The programmes come direct to English Bay by satellite downlink; shifts at the transmission centre have gone from nine people to two." -- Before its Antigua relay was completed in 1976 (it has since been mothballed), the Ascension relay often provided the best World Service signal into the United States. VOA uses the Ascension relay for some of its broadcasts.

Ireland's only shortwave broadcasting is due to "efforts of renegade engineers inside RTÉ."

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Brian Greene blog, 18 Sept 2010: Irish public broadcaster "RTÉ don’t broadcast on shortwave. RTÉ listeners overseas go to many lengths to hear the national service but one of these lengths is not the shortwave wavelength. With a large diaspora from famine and economic emigration the state broadcaster has NO shortwave service and never has had any plan to activate one. This Sunday, before Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh hangs up his microphone on his last senior all Ireland men’s football final it will be broadcast on shortwave like all the All Irelands have been over the past decade and a half. But this shortwave service (mainly to Africa) is not the brainchild of RTÉ, but the conscientious efforts of renegade engineers inside RTÉ who went outside of the state broadcaster to rent shortwave airtime from the BBC / Merlin to get coverage on 2 days in September every year. RTÉ has continued the activity but without a ounce of publicity it generally goes unnoticed." See previous post about same subject.

Radio France International offers its sound catalog to other broadcasters.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 21 Sept 2010: "Radio France Internationale (RFI) is offering a catalogue of sound for use in over-the-air radio and television productions. The catalogue includes short instrumental pieces suitable for use in jingles, trailers, news features, weather reports, sports programs and more, as well as longer pieces. More than 50 musical styles are included from some 30 regions of the world, along with background and atmosphere audio from around the globe. New audio is added regularly. For over-the-air use, access to the catalogue is free, so long as RFI receives credit for the audio. To gain access to the sound catalogue, as well as to receive a monthly newsletter outlining additions to the catalogue, visit www.rfi-instrumental.com."

RFI Instrumental website: "This catalogue is free to download and broa[d]cast only for radios and tv programmers (produced by the media itself) except webtv and web radio. The only obligation we place on you is to declare to your relevant society of authors those works you have broadcast."

Ugandan singer wins RFI Discoveries Music Award, "a reference in world music."

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Observer (Kampala), 19 Sept 2010, Simon Musasizi: "The 2010 RFI Discoveries Award has been given to Uganda’s own, Maurice Kirya. A jury presided over by French hip-hop musician Passy, chose the 27-year-old singer as the winner of the prestigious award. Kirya was chosen ahead of Winyo (Kenya), and Lexxus Regal (DRC). According to Radio France International (RFI), Kirya was picked from ten finalists in the 2010 competition that had an initial entry of nearly 500 artistes. ... The award which comes with a cash prize of 7,000 euros opens doors to the international stage for the young singer. The singer will soon embark on worldwide tours courtesy of RFI. He will perform in Paris and the Chadian capital N’Djamena before embarking on an African tour as part of the prize. This is on top of a grant of 11,000 euros, to develop his career. The RFI Discoveries Award represents a unique trampoline for careers of artistes from African, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean regions. The award has become a reference in world music. It is organised in partnership with SACEM, CulturesFrance, the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie." See also RFI, 17 Sept 2010, with links to audio samples.

CNBC Africa's "Eureka!" features African inventors.

Posted: 25 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 21 Sept 2010: "Eureka!, a new show on the CNBC Africa line-up premiered ... Tuesday, 21 September 2010 at 9pm. The show will look at African inventors from across the continent. Presenter, Jacqui Nel and the team will talk to the organisations that help nurture young inventors and find the story behind each invention. ... Eureka! will air every Tuesday for the next three months and is sponsored by intellectual property specialists, Bowman Gilfillan."

The Guardian's Ian Black: BBC Persian TV "enjoys far greater credibility than" VOA Persian.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 24 Sept 2010, Ian Black: "Obama ... used an interview with BBC Persian TV to make a direct appeal to the people of Iran, defending sanctions and urging them to believe that the US wants a better relationship with the Islamic republic, repeating that it is only possible if the regime complies with international demands over its nuclear programme. ... Obama [spoke of] "the difference between how the Iranian leadership and this regime operate and how the vast majority of the Iranian people who are respectful and thoughtful think about these issues.' Making that distinction was the main point of his interview, which was broadcast on [BBC Persian TV] tonight with a translation into Persian, and was likely to be seen by millions of Iranians who watch it despite official jamming. It was an extraordinary scoop for the London-based satellite channel, which was set up in 2008 and enjoys far greater credibility than the Persian service of the Voice of America."

BBC News, 24 Sept 2010: "BBC Persian: On Afghanistan, we have a large Persian audience in Afghanistan who watch the BBC. And they're hearing all these mixed messages, competing statements about what really July, 2011 means. And they're worried about the commitment that America has to Afghanistan. Will you stay there until the job is done? President Obama: Well, we are going to stay there until the job is done. The job is to provide Afghans themselves the capacity to secure their own country. And so, the July, 2011, date is a date in which having ramped up our armed presence in Afghanistan in order to provide space and time for the Afghan security forces to develop and strengthen, and to blunt the momentum of the Taliban, we will then start gradually reducing the number of US troops and coalition troops that are inside of Afghanistan."

Press TV, 24 Sept 2010: "US President Barack Obama has admitted to the futility of tougher sanctions against Iran in forcing the Islamic Republic into giving up its nuclear rights. 'There are no guarantees' that the latest set of punitive measures could get Tehran to halt its nuclear activities, Obama said in an interview with the state-run BBC Persian service in New York on Friday, AFP reported." See previous post about same subject.

Obama, "speaking exclusively to BBC Persian television," responds to Ahmadinejad's 9/11 claims.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 24 Sept 2010: "US President Barack Obama has described as 'hateful' and 'offensive' the claim by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that most people believe the US government was behind the 9/11 attacks. Mr Obama was speaking exclusively to BBC Persian television, which broadcasts to Iran and Afghanistan. ... 'It was offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones. People of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation. For him to make a statement like that was inexcusable,' Mr Obama said. ... BBC Persian television will broadcast the full 23-minute interview with US President Barack Obama at 1930 GMT." With 1:11 video excerpt. Cited by AP, 24 Sept 2010. See previous post about same subject.

RFE/RL pushes its eastern limits with report about North Korea.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 21 Sept 2010, Antoine Blua: "North Korea says it will hold its biggest political meeting in a generation, amid speculation that leader Kim Jong Il is about to name his younger son as successor – a move that would take the Kim dynasty into a third generation. The country's ruling communist party is to meet in Pyongyang on September 28 to elect its supreme leadership board. North Korea's KCNA news agency carried a statement early today calling the Workers' Party meeting 'historic.'" See also VOA News, 21 Sept 2010, Kate Woodsome. And 23 Sept 2010.

Ethiopian PM cites Smith-Mundt in justifying jamming of VOA Amharic, Oromo, Tigrigna.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists blog, 23 Sept 2010, Mohamed Keita: At the World Leaders' Forum at New York's Columbia University, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi "asserted that Africans enjoy more freedom than ever in choosing their destiny. ... Following the speech, in a Q&A session moderated by Mamadou Diouf, director of Columbia's Institute of African Studies, I asked Zenawi to reconcile the gap between his words and his administration's record of press and Internet repression. 'Should we really take you at your word when your country is known to restrict the press and the websites that Ethiopians might read?' After a 10-second pause, Zenawi declared: 'I think choice is important and fundamental to every human being's free impression of himself.' Speaking of his days as a guerrilla freedom fighter, he added 'I believe I have contributed my fair share to fighting the systems in Ethiopia that were unmistakably oppressive.' He then suggested critics in the Ethiopian press were disgruntled supporters of the former Derg regime. 'We had to step on some toes.' When someone else asked about the government's jamming of the Amharic-language service of Voice of America, he said Ethiopia was following the spirit of a 1940s U.S. law prohibiting VOA from broadcasting domestically."

Ogaden Online, 22 Sept 2010: "Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa are reporting that Meles Zenawi’s Woyanne junta has blocked Columbia Spectator [Columbia University newspaper] from being accessed in Ethiopia’s capital."

New VOA English program for southern Sudan as its independence referendum approaches.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 20 Sept 2010: "A new Voice of America program called Sudan in Focus goes on the air today with an exciting line-up of news, interviews and music. VOA Director Danforth W. Austin says, 'This program is going on the air at a critical time, as the people of southern Sudan prepare for the January 2011 referendum on whether to remain a part of Sudan, or become an independent nation.' Austin says, 'In order to make such a monumental decision, people need to hear from all sides. VOA will continue its tradition of providing balanced, comprehensive and independent reporting on this and other issues that are important to Sudanese, at home and in the diaspora.' The 30-minute English language program airs Monday thru Friday and will be available on shortwave, FM affiliates, and the Internet. It will offer the targeted audience in southern Sudan news of the country, region, and the continent. ... The program, which airs from 1630 to 1700 UTC, can be heard on three Shortwave frequencies: 12015 KHZ (25 meter band), 9675 KHZ (31 meter band), and 13825 KHZ (22 meter band)." -- Those shortwave frequencies did not carry "Sudan in Focus" until 23 Sept. The program website has no information about any FM affiliates, but it might be carried by Liberty FM, 105 MHz in Juba. English is a language of education and business in southern Sudan.

President Obama will be interviewed today by BBC Persian -- not by VOA Persian News Network.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
McClatchy Newspapers, 24 Sept 2010, Warren P. Strobel: "This morning, Mr. Obama is scheduled to give an interview to the BBC's Persian service, widely listened to in Iran, in an bid to speak directly to Iranians."

Fox News, 23 Sept 2010, Eve Zibel: "President Obama will attempt to engage the Iranian public Friday when he sits down for an interview with BBC Persian TV. The BBC estimates that its Persian TV branch has a viewing audience of about 3.1 million, which includes Iran. The Iranian regime has past blocked access to it in the past."

There will no doubt be grumbling in Washington about this interview being granted to BBC Persian rather than to VOA Persian News Network. (Recall that, to address the Arab people in January 2009, the President granted an interview to Al Arabiya rather than to Alhurra.) In fact, VOA PNN has a larger audience in Iran than BBC Persian, so the President would have reached more eyes and ears if interviewed by the former.

In terms of public diplomacy, however, the White House might have concluded that it can have more impact if the President is interviewed by what is perceived as respected, independent, hard-hitting broadcast news organization than by what is typically (and unfortunately) described as an instrument of US public diplomacy.

One of the BBG's "implementation strategies" is to "broaden cooperation within U.S. public diplomacy." How much weight can a VOA "news" interview have if its supervisory board has achieved its goal of broadly cooperating with US public diplomacy?

Just yesterday, the Miami Herald reported that President Obama had "proposed" Cuban-American lawyer Carlos García-Pérez as the new director of Radio-TV Martí, and within hours the BBG issued a press release announcing that Mr. García-Pérez was so appointed. If the report is true and the BBG is acquiescing to White House selection of the entities' senior executives, how seriously can interviews on those entities be taken? It would be like the CEO of a corporation being interviewed by the corporation's house organ.

And to demonstrate that VOA is capable of asking questions that one would expect from a journalist rather than a public diplomacy functionary, see the following...

State Department, 22 Sept 2010, transcript of VOA correspondent interviewing Robert Blake, Jr., a Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs: "Q: Peter Fedynsky, Voice of America. After the unrest in April in Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. ambassador to that country was accused by some of supposedly turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan for pragmatic reasons, among them the Manas transit center. And I believe it was David Kramer who wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post over the weekend alleging that the Obama Administration is also sort of selling principles short for the sake of pragmatism. Are there any considerations as the State Department balances pragmatism with principle in terms of human rights, and do you think that the American accent on human rights has changed since its heyday in the Carter Administration?

"Assistant Secretary Blake: I don’t think there’s any basis to the charge that the Obama Administration has relegated human rights to a secondary level of importance. We have made a point of working with all of our friends in Central Asia on these annual bilateral consultations and we have consistently stressed that we need to see progress across the board on the full range of issues on our important agenda. And that’s not just with respect to things like cooperation on Afghanistan, cooperation on border security, and improving trade and investment, but particularly on human rights, where, frankly, there are – there’s great room for improvement still in most of Central Asia. And so this has been a very important part of our dialogue and I think that if you speak to the ministers and others with whom I deal with and with whom my colleagues at the NSC deal, they will tell you that this is a very consistent and important part of every conversation that we have with every Central Asian official."

VOA stringer in Uzbekistan "could face several years in jail" for various charges.

Posted: 24 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 16 Sept 2010: "The Voice of America is deeply concerned about the fate of VOA Uzbek journalist Abdumalik Boboev, who has been charged by authorities in Uzbekistan with threatening public safety, slander, insult, and visa violations. If convicted, the 41 year-old Mr. Boboev could face several years in jail. For more than five years, Mr. Boboev has been reporting for the VOA Uzbek Service. In 2009, he was given an award for his writing on Uzbekistan-U.S. relations by the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent.VOA Director Danforth W. Austin said Thursday, 'Mr. Boboev, like all VOA journalists, is required to present accurate and balanced reports, and he should not be penalized for doing his job.'"

RFE/RL News, 17 Sept 2010: "An Uzbek reporter for U.S.-funded Voice of America radio has told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that slander charges brought against him are 'baseless.' ... 'I told them that in my reports I had covered events objectively,' Boboev told RFE/RL. 'They are insisting that I am guilty of these crimes. But I will try to prove these charges baseless in the trial.' VOA Uzbek Service Director Javdat Sayhan, speaking from Washington, called Boboev 'a professional journalist, who covered events from Uzbekistan impartially and in accordance with journalistic ethics set by VOA.' Sayhan expressed hope that Boboev will be tried fairly and acquitted."

Ferghana.ru, 20 Sept 2010: "At the behest of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 19 the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov took off to New York with the purpose to attend the plenary session of UN General Assembly, dedicated to the Millennium development goals, Uzbek mass media report. ... While President Karimov is visiting USA, the authorities in Uzbekistan are prosecuting Abdumalik Boboev, one of very few free journalists in Uzbekistan and the correspondent of Voice of America. He is incriminated the number of charges: 'slander' and 'insult' against governmental bodies, 'illegal entrance to the Republic of Uzbekistan', as well as 'preparation and dissemination of materials, threatening public security', meaning the journalistic investigations, conducted by Abdumalik Boboev in the last four years for Voice of America, financed by US government."

Radio Netherlands, 24 Sept 2010: "The OSCE's media freedom representative on Friday slammed the prosecution for slander of two journalists in Uzbekistan, urging the country's authorities to loosen restrictions on press freedoms. In a statement, Dunja Mijatovic, of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said she was 'alarmed by the unrelenting judicial pressure exerted on independent journalists in Uzbekistan.' ... In a letter to Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov, Mijatovic raised the cases of Abdulmalik Boboyev, a reporter with Voice of America (VOA) radio; and Russian journalist Vladimir Berezovsky, editor of the website vesti.uz."

Al Jazeera English video screening 29 Sept at Georgetown University.

Posted: 23 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 21 Sept 2010: "On Wednesday September 29, Al Jazeera English hosts an event at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall on 'Reporting From the Frontlines.' The 7 p.m. event includes a special screening and talk with Emmy Award nominated Middle East reporters Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros and Al Jazeera English host Josh Rushing, a former Marine."

The Final Call, 21 Sept 2010: Interviewed on Al Jazeera Arabic, Louis Farrakhan said "Muslims should call for an independent investigation into the events surrounding 9/11." See also aljazeera.net, 14 Sept 2010.

Two Al Jazeera reporters detained by NATO forces in Afghanistan, accused of Taliban "propaganda facilitation."

Posted: 23 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 23 Sept 2010: "Al Jazeera television on Thursday accused NATO of trying to suppress its coverage of the war in Afghanistan after two of its cameramen were arrested by foreign forces this week. The Doha-based television network, which has been critical of NATO and the Afghan government, said the two Afghans were detained as part of 'an attempt by the ISAF leadership to suppress its comprehensive coverage' of the conflict. NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said earlier this week that it had 'captured a suspected Taliban media and propaganda facilitator, who participated in filming election attacks'. ... The network provided AFP with a transcript of a telephone conversation with ISAF, in which a spokesman confirms the arrest of the cameramen and accuses them of 'propaganda facilitation' on behalf of the insurgents."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 22 Sept 2010: "'We are very concerned by the detentions of Mohammed Nader and Rahmatullah Nekzad, and we call on ISAF to immediately detail why and where they are being held,' said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator."

RFE/RL, 23 Sept 2010, Abubakar Siddique: "Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called for an investigation into the reasons behind the detention this week of three journalists, and has instructed his Ministry of Information to ensure their release. The detentions of the three Afghans -- two of whom worked as cameramen for the Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera, and the third a reporter for Afghan state TV (RTA) -- have raised alarms outside the presidential office as well."

ISAF press release, 20 Sept 2010: "After questioning the residents at the scene, the security force identified and detained the targeted individual. The security force also discovered multiple grenades, ammunition and magazines along with video recording equipment at the scene. The assault force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children throughout the search."

Canadian Press, 22 Sept 2010: "Afghan reporters working in the war zone say their job requires them to have contact with Taliban insurgents."

Iranian journalist sentenced for BBC interview; RFE/RL and BBC cited in Iranian blogger case.

Posted: 23 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RTT News, 22 Sept 2010: "A court in Tehran has sentenced Emadeddin Baghi, a journalist and human rights activist, to six years in prison for interviewing a dissident Islamic cleric for the BBC, Iranian media reported quoting officials on Wednesday. ... Iranian opposition websites claimed that Baghi's sentencing was directly related to an interview he had conducted with a dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, for BBC's Persian language TV channel late last year."

BBC News, 22 Sept 2010: "Emad Baghi was convicted of engaging in propaganda against the Islamic system, a statement on his website said. The court charges referred to his BBC interview with Iran's leading reformist cleric, the late Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri. Mr Baghi, 49, remains free, pending an appeal hearing."

New York Times, The Lede blog, 21 Sept 2010, Robert Mackey: "Hossein Derakhshan, an influential Iranian-Canadian blogger who was arrested after he returned to Iran nearly two years ago, could be sentenced to death by a court in Tehran, according to his family. ... Golnaz Esfandiari, who writes for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the American-financed news organization, reported on Tuesday that 'an informed source who does not want to be named' also said in an interview with the network’s Persian-language station, Radio Farda, that the prosecutor had asked a judge to order the execution of the blogger. A report on the Web site of the BBC’s Persian-language service added that sources close to Mr. Derakhshan said that the prosecutor requested the death penalty in a closed session of court where his conviction was read aloud."

The Telegraph, 23 Sept 2010, Richard Spencer: "An anonymous source told Radio Free Europe that the trial had taken place behind closed doors and that although no sentence had yet been handed down, the prosecutor had sought the death penalty."

RFE/RL, 22 Sept 2010: "Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini has announced plans to create a new five-person board that will approve the content of all books prior to publication, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports."

Vietnam as aggressive internet filterer.

Posted: 23 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
My Heart's in Accra blog, 17 Sept 2010, Ethan Zuckerman: "Iran and China are probably the most popular answers, and there’s a good case to be made for each. My friend Sami ben Gharbia makes the case – in a very important and must read essay – that much of the Arab world is extremely hostile to online dialog and filters extensively, though gets less attention because Arab leaders are often aligned with US foreign policy objectives. If we’re getting technical about things, North Korea, which doesn’t permit internet access for ordinary citizens, probably wins the prize. But when I think about aggressive internet filtering, I think about Vietnam. Lots of countries – as many as forty – filter the internet their citizens can see. Vietnam does lots, lots more. They surveil, harass and arrest bloggers."

Euronews will move to "a luxurious location" in Lyon, doubling its space.

Posted: 23 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 21 Sept 2010, Robert Briel: "French based international news channel euronews has signed several contracts confirming a move to one of the most prominent buildings in Lyon’s new Confluence district in 2013, the broadcaster has announced. ... Euronews said in a statement: 'This new building, one of the Confluence district’s most eye-catching, will raise the channel’s profile as well as its status at local, national and international levels. This move into the city centre also represents a genuine venture for euronews and will provide the additional space needed to keep up with the expansion of the channel in recent years. By moving from a 4500 sq. m to a 10,000 sq. m space, not only will euronews’ working environment improve, so too will its capacity for development within this new space, set in a luxurious location at the confluence of the rivers Rhone and Saone.'" -- Euronews modestly does not capitalize the first letter of its name.

Arch supporters of Greek government convinced BBC to remove video of shoe-throwing incident.

Posted: 23 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 21 Sept 2010, Tara Conlan: "The BBC has been accused of failing to support one of its foreign correspondents after his report about a shoe being thrown at the Greek prime minister was temporarily removed from the BBC News website. Malcolm Brabant, an award-winning BBC correspondent, filmed the shoe-throwing incident involving the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, earlier this month. ... The corporation took the footage down from the website after what it described as 'supporters of the [Greek] government' complained about the video and made allegations about its authenticity. The film was taken down despite, it is understood, protests by Brabant. Since the Guardian made inquiries, the BBC has put the video back online. ... The BBC World News editor, Jon Williams, went on Greek television to defend Brabant, who has won the Sony reporter of the year award for coverage of the siege of Sarajevo and an Amnesty International prize for coverage of the Russian bombardment of Grozny in Chechnya. ... A BBC spokesman said: 'The shoe incident was covered as part of the BBC News Online article throughout the weekend. There were questions about the video showing the incident so the page featuring the clip was taken down, but it is now back up on the website given it is clear to us that the allegations were unfounded.'" See the video: BBC News, 11 Sept 2010. -- How is it that the camera was fixed on the thrower before he threw the shoe? Something does not smell right.

"BBC Hindi’s booming mobile audience."

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, 20 Sept 2010, BBC Hindi multimedia editor Santosh Sinha and India business development manager Indu Shekhar Sinha: "Not sure of how the market would shape up, we bet on both voice and internet services. Through partnerships with India’s leading mobile operators, Airtel and Reliance Mobile, we made BBC Hindi audio content accessible to mobile users. Earlier this year, we added a single telephone number (505-10-10-74) that works across all Indian mobile networks and provides regular audio updates from BBC Hindi on news, sport and entertainment. The launch of m.bbchindi.com marks a new chapter in this journey. This ground-breaking mobile site works on all phones, even if they do not support Hindi text. ... The signs so far are encouraging. According to a BBC performance report, more than 360,000 pages were accessed on m.bbchindi.com in July 2010. And the voice services on partner mobile networks are accessed by at least 60,000 subscribers every month. ... Google claims that India is now the second largest consumer of mobile internet, having accounted for 5.9% of the 14 billion pages accessed on mobile phones in February 2010." -- These online access numbers for BBCWS Hindi, while impressive, are much smaller than the audiences BBC Hindi used to attract on shortwave. Information was scarce then. There is a vast oversupply now.

BBC Burmese print newsletter in Thailand is more than reused radio.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, 17 Sept 2010, head of BBC Burmese Tin Htar Swe: "One might wonder why we should invest in a traditional printed newsletter when the rest of the BBC’s global operation is making big moves to embrace online and social media. Mae Sot [Thailand] is home to some 300,000 Burmese migrants - indeed the Burmese outnumber the local Thai population by five to one. However, most Burmese factory workers are undocumented and are paid less than their Thai counterparts. They work long hours and they rarely have internet access. ... Initially we thought it would be reasonably straightforward, as we could easily reuse some of our radio material for the newsletter. However, we soon realised that this was not the case and every article needed to be appropriately adapted."

On Radio/TV Martí appointment, is President Obama drilling a hole through the firewall? (updated)

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Miami Herald, 22 Sept 2010, Juan O. Tamayo: "President Barack Obama has proposed Carlos García-Pérez, a Cuban-American lawyer in Puerto Rico, to head the Radio/TV Martí stations that broadcast to Cuba, sources said Tuesday. García-Pérez is a leading member of the Cuban American National Foundation, which has harshly criticized the U.S. government Martí stations and acted as an Obama administration sounding board on Cuba. ... García-Pérez was proposed by Obama but must be confirmed by the [Broadcasting Board of Governors], said three knowledgeable people who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to comment on the issue. ... García-Pérez would replace Pedro Roig, a 69-year-old lawyer and registered Republican who resigned Aug. 27 after seven years at the helm of the two stations."

The Broadcasting Board of Governors was created in large part to depoliticize the appointment of the senior managers of US international broadcasting, thus giving USIB newsrooms the independence necessary to achieve credibility. It is therefore unhelpful that President Obama has proposed (if this report is correct) a director of Radio/TV Martí.

The most important attribute of a BBG member is courage. Courage is needed to resist pressure from the administration and Congress on matters concerning content and appointments. If Mr. García-Pérez is not qualified for this job -- he has an impressive résumé but apparently no journalistic experience -- the BBG will have to say no to the President.

In fact, because the director of Radio/TV Martí is not a political appointment, shouldn't this job be advertised? Mr. García-Pérez can apply, using President Obama as a reference.

Update: Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 22 Sept 2010: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) appointed of Carlos A. Garcia-Perez as the director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). The OCB is the entity that supervises Radio and Television Martí's Spanish-language broadcasts of news and information to Cuba. 'As we observe potential changes in the political and economic landscape in Cuba, it becomes even more important that Radio and TV Marti present a trusted source of objective news and information about events in Cuba, and related U.S. policies,' said BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson. 'Garcia-Perez is a strong leader with a commitment to the editorial competence and professional journalism required of all BBG broadcasters.' Garcia-Perez brings rich experience in international business and law having represented clients in the United States and several Latin American countries. 'I am honored to serve in this important position,' said Garcia-Perez. 'Providing reliable news and information about Cuba, the U.S. and the world to the people of Cuba is more critical than ever.'"

Poder (Miami), 22 September 2010: "As with previous federal appointees to the job, Garcia-Pérez appears to lack any prior media experience. Instead, he is a political activist with the influential Cuban American National Foundation."

BBC World Service content on 搜 狐 and Бі-Бі-Сі Мій світ.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 20 Sept 2010: "Users of China's third-largest web portal can now learn English and receive information about studying in the UK directly ... , as a result of a partnership agreement between bbcukchina.com and Sohu.com. From today, Monday 20 September, users of Sohu.com will be able to access BBC Learning English and BBC Study in the UK content specially tailored for Chinese-speaking learners of English."

BBC World Service press release, 21 Sept 2010: "BBC Ukrainian has launched an internet distribution partnership with Korrespondent.net, Ukraine's leading news website. In a first for the BBC Ukrainian service, Korrespondent.net will display daily news stories directly from the BBC Ukrainian multimedia website, Бі-Бі-Сі Мій світ.

New pay iPhone app brings BBC spoken word radio to Australia.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Smartoffice (Sydney), 21 Sept 2010, Marie Jones: "A new iPhone app, BBC Listener, has been released by BBC Worldwide today, making some of the broadcaster's best radio content available to Australian audiences. The world famous Desert Island Discs, Sir David Attenborough's Life Stories, and Americana are some of the programs being made available for a monthly subscription fee of [Aus]$3.99. ... Each week subscribers get over 20 new documentary, magazine and discussion programmes, plus access to a huge archive featuring some of the best audio documentaries from the last 10 years. ... The content is drawn from the speech network BBC Radio 4 and the internationally renowned BBC World Service." -- No mention of drama.

BBC World Service documentary compares current Iranian media revolution with that of late 1970s.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, 22 Sept 2010: "Iran is facing a media revolution through blogs, social networking sites and mobile phone technology. Ideas and pictures are reaching people across the globe every day in a matter of seconds. But Iran has faced a media revolution before. Across the country in the late 1970s, families and friends would sit together to listen to, read and share subversive material. Then, it was in the form of cassettes, pamphlets and whispers behind closed doors that spread the message of the Islamic Revolution quickly and effectively across the country and beyond. Old and new revolutionaries explore how the two movements compare." With links to 22:41 radio report and 2:19 video. Podcast download available here.

Al Jazeera reports on VOA Persian News Network iPhone application.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 21 Sept 2010: "In Iran, a phone application that attempts to enable users to become 'citizen journalists' faces a different kind of obstacle. The Voice of America's Persian News Network intends to give Iranians the opportunity to download the latest news, and share theirs with the world. Users can send images and video to a secure website where VOA editors review them for broadcast. Iranians have made headlines for utilising tools such as Twitter to mobilise protest groups in major cities, and VOA hopes the new application would empower people there further. But, along with strict Internet controls, only those who are able to bypass filters that forbid downloads from American-based companies will be able to use the application." See previous post about same subject.

In Donetsk, street brawl or police beating in response to RFE/RL Ukrainian report about police curruption?

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 21 Sept 2010: "A senior prosecutor will investigate a claim that police beat and severely injured a journalist employed by the US media group Radio Liberty, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday. Law enforcers in the east Ukrainian city Donetsk beat Artem Furmaniuk and three friends as they were sitting in front of their apartment building, and later at a police station, Furmaniuk alleged in a complaint filed Monday. ... Furmaniuk is owner-operator of a news website devoted to exposing crime and corruption in the Donetsk region, and works as a regional correspondent for the US-managed Radio Liberty network, according to the report."

RFE/RL, 21 Sept 2010, Olha Dorovskykh: "Police deny the allegation, saying Furmanyuk's injuries resulted from a street brawl. ... Although it remains unclear whether the incident was linked to Furmanyuk's journalistic activities, it has raised fresh concerns about media freedom in Ukraine. Media watchdogs say attacks and pressure on journalists have increased since the February election of Yanukovych as president. Furmanyuk's alleged beating by the police took place just hours after RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service published an article in which he accused the local authorities and police of widespread corruption." -- This RFE/RL story does not refer to Furmanyuk as an RFE/RL reporter.

Cambodian government Press and Quick Reaction Unit quickly reacts to Radio Free Asia report about poverty.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Phnom Penh Post, 21 Sept 2010, Khouth Sophakchakrya: Cambodia's "government has rejected a recent media report stating that around 30 percent of the Kingdom’s 14 million people are currently living below the poverty line. In a statement issued yesterday, the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit took exception to a Radio Free Asia report, aired on Sunday, that quoted a spokesman from the United Nations Population Fund offering the figure. 'We entirely reject the information,' said Tith Sothea, a spokesman for the PQRU. 'We do not know for sure whether Radio Free Asia quoted incorrectly or if the [UNFPA] official spoke incorrectly, but we reject the information.'"

The benefits of working for the old Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia Times, 22 Sept 2010, John McBeth: Pilots of the CIA-owned Air America clandestine airline (1950-1976) are unsuccessful in their attempts to receive Civil Service retirement benefits. "[P]erhaps more galling for the Air America men who risked their lives is the fact that benefits have already been granted to other CIA-funded proprietary corporations, including Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe." -- Referring here to the old Radio Free Asia of 1951-1953.

BBG announces the appointment of IBB director Richard Lobo, and specifies his duties.

Posted: 22 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 21 Sept 2010: President Barack Obama has appointed Richard M. Lobo as director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), following Lobo's confirmation by the U.S. Senate. ... The IBB Director manages program placement and transmission services for the BBG, the federal agency that supervises all U.S. civilian, international broadcasting. The IBB manages a global network of transmitting sites and an extensive system of leased satellite and fiber optic circuits, along with a rapidly growing Internet delivery system. For the agency's federal components, the IBB provides research, manages the evaluation of broadcasts and is responsible for VOA editorials, along with support services including human resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, procurement, security, administrative, and graphics. 'I am proud to serve my country in this role and through this Administration,' said Dick Lobo. 'IBB plays a critical role supporting our broadcast services and I am delighted to be a part of it.'" See previous post about same subject.

Notice how specific this press release is about Mr. Lobo's duties. It indicates that the presidentially-appointed Mr. Lobo will not be involved in content, other than the VOA editorials (and, perhaps, "the evaluation of broadcasts"). Mr. Lobo echoes this by saying his role will be "supporting our broadcast services." That's plenty of responsibility for any one person. Disclosure: Mr. Lobo is now the boss of the boss of my boss.

"The Dangerous World of Cold War Broadcasting."

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Historytimes.com, 15 Sept 2010, Richard Cummings: "I will briefly examine the first known example of hostile action against broadcasters in the Cold War: the 1954 murder of the RL Azerbaijan Service chief in Munich. ... [On 23 November 1954] the Munich newspapers reported the mysterious murder of Michael Ismailov, a émigré from the USSR. The initial medical report was that he had died of strangulation, after being struck on the head with a hammer by an unknown assassin. ... Meanwhile, Radio Liberation (as Radio Liberty was then called) Chief Editor Abdulrachmann (Abo) Fatalibey failed to show up for work and did not call to say he was sick, which was considered unusual for him. Colleagues went to his apartment, but he was not there. They declared him missing to the Munich police and RL Management. The Munich media speculated that Fatalibey was the prime suspect in the murder and had disappeared after committing the act. A rumor started at Radio Liberation a week later that the person buried as Michael Ismailov was actually Fatalibey. Police exhumed the body. After a full examination, the coroner said that the body was, in fact, the missing RL employee Abo Fatalibey and not Ismailov, who had disappeared—presumably he returned to the USSR. Ismailov then became the prime suspect in Fatalibey’s murder."

Historytimes.com, 7 Sept 2010, Richard Cummings: "Thirty-two years ago this [month], on September 7, 1978, Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian émigré, who lived and worked in London, was assaulted in broad daylight on London’s Waterloo Bridge. ... Georgi Markov had been a prolific and successful literary figure in Bulgaria before defecting to the West in 1969. He settled in England and became a broadcast journalist for Radio Free Europe, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), and the German international broadcast service Deutsche Welle. Markov had a large listening audience in Bulgaria, who listened to his prime time Sunday-night broadcasts over Radio Free Europe. ... [W]ith all the public information and years of official investigation, no one has been charged with the crime."

New book compiles documents about Western broadcasts during the Cold War.

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Central European University Press: Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, edited by A. Ross Johnson, former director of Radio Free Europe and the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute, and R. Eugene Parta, retired Director of Audience Research and Program Evaluation for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. "This book examines the role of Western broadcasting to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, with a focus on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. It includes chapters by radio veterans and by scholars who have conducted research on the subject in once-secret Soviet bloc archives and in Western records. It also contains a selection of translated documents from formerly secret Soviet and East European archives, most of them published here for the first time. Previous studies have examined the history and organization of RFE / RL and its place in American national security strategy. What has been lacking until now are studies of the impact of Western Cold War broadcasting, on both societies and Communist regimes, that draw on archival material from the other side of the former Iron Curtain."

One of John Hughes's "Lessons from Indonesia" is to "reform the Broadcasting Board of Governors."

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
American Diplomacy, 20 Sept 2010, John H. Brown reviewing former VOA director and former USIA associate director John Hughes, Islamic Extremism and the War of Ideas: Lessons from Indonesia: "[D]espite its title, its central focus is the current state of American public diplomacy — in Part I, 'The Rise and Fall of USIA,' and Part IV, 'What We Should Do.'" Among the recommendations: "Reform the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the entity that oversees US international broadcasting; use the new social media." Specifically: "Hughes writes favorably about senator Sam Brownback’s plan to establish a National Center for Strategic Communications that would fold the BBG and VOA into one agency."

Creation of the Broadcasting Board of Governors in 1994 was the reform. Before that, its USIA superiors would, alternatingly, allow VOA to report the news, or force it to toe the policy line. As a result, over the decades, VOA was not able to develop the credibility necessary for complete success in international broadcasting. If folded into a National Center for Strategic Communications, or something like it, US international broadcasting would lose it independence, forfeit its credibility, and part with its audience. By the way, VOA has a weekly audience in Indonesia consisting of 16% of its adults, about 27 million people, larger than during the old USIA days. Now that's a lesson from Indonesia. See previous post about same subject.

Public diplomacy broadcast at 1700 UTC: Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
State Department, 16 Sept 2010, Office of the Spokesman: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will formally announce the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a new public-private initiative to create a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions that will save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change. The announcement will occur at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting on September 21 at approximately 1:00 p.m. ... Led by the United Nations Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves will address one of the greatest threats facing developing countries and their populations— the extraordinarily high exposures to toxic smoke from indoor fires and inefficient cookstoves which lead to nearly 2 million deaths each year, with young children and adult women suffering the vast majority of this disease burden." With links to video.-- If the State Department also wants an international audience, the UTC time of the broadcast (1700) should have been provided. Not mentioned at America.gov, so maybe an international audience is not sought at this time.

RT (Russia Today): "undue airtime to conspiracy theorists and extremists."

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 20 Sept 2010, Shaun Walker: "With its slick graphics, smiling young news-anchors, and round-the-clock coverage, RT is like any other news channel. But there is one major difference, aside from the content: RT, which stands for Russia Today, is paid for by the Kremlin. The channel launched in 2005, broadcasting news mainly about Russia on various satellite packages around the world. ... Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a well-respected US organisation that tracks hate groups and extremists in the United States, published a report about Russia Today. The group did not label the channel itself extremist, but said it gives undue airtime to conspiracy theorists and extremists. ... RT is rather different from the BBC, certainly when it comes to covering the 'home' country. Several journalists at the channel have told The Independent that while some coverage of problems in Russia and sensitive issues is allowed, any direct criticism or questioning of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev is strictly prohibited."

The Independent, 20 Sept 2010, William Dunbar: "When I took the job as RT's Georgia correspondent, I was under no illusions. I knew the channel was financed by the state, and that its editorial policy was bound to reflect that. But for a 24-four year old with no TV experience, it was just too good an opportunity to turn down. ... [T]he big test was the Georgia-Russia war of August 2008. Would RT try to be objective, and offer both sides of the story? Or would it see its main role as being a cheerleader for the Russian army? I found out on the second day of hostilities when ... I was to deny an inaccurate CNN report about an air strike on Tbilisi, but not mention the very real bombing of other parts of the country. I declined, and tendered my resignation. I'm grateful for my time at RT, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Russia. The station has some great stories and some talented people. But on any issue where there is a Kremlin line, RT is sure to toe it."

The Independent is owned by Russian busionesman Alexander Lebedev.

Newcastle 17-year-old will speak to Burma via VOA and BBC.

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Journal (Newcastle upon Tyne), 20 Sept 2010, Rob Pattinson: "The voice of a North East teenager will be broadcast to millions of listeners across the globe as a message of hope to the oppressed people of Burma. Declan Stokle, 17, has been asked to record the speech he made on stage alongside the Pope, for international radio stations Voice of America and the BBC World Service. Both channels broadcast [to] Burma, which is ruled by a military junta that seized power after overthrowing a democratically elected government. ... Declan, of Gosforth, Newcastle, was one of a group of pilgrims who took to the stage with the leader of the Catholic Church at a prayer vigil attended by 80,000 people in London’s Hyde Park on Saturday. ... Declan, who travels to Burma under visas obtained for charitable purposes, plans to continue with the work he has already started with his mum Anne, 49, a nurse, dad Tony, 50, a teacher, sister Sarah, 24, also a nurse, and brother Patrick, 19, who is a student." -- Asked by whom?

Militants seize popular radio and television stations in Somalia.

Posted: 21 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 20 Sept 2010: "Somali militants who have seized a radio and TV station say it will now broadcast only Islamic messages. Hassan Dahir Aweys, who leads the Hizbul Islam group, said he wanted the broadcasts to serve Islam. The seized station, GBC, was popular because it used to show live international football matches. Another broadcaster, HornAfrik, was also attacked on the weekend. Witnesses blamed the al-Shabab militant group, but they denied the raid. ... According to witnesses, the first attack was on HornAfrik, one of the country's best known independent broadcasters. ... The BBC's East Africa correspondent Will Ross says radio stations provide a vital source of information for Mogadishu residents, who need to be constantly updated on which areas are unsafe. But in the face of ongoing attacks, it is virtually impossible for the stations to carry out their work, our correspondent says." See also CNN, 19 Sept 2010. And Reporters sans frontières, 19 Sept 2010.

GaroweOnline.com, 20 Sept 2010: "Horn Afrik used to broadcast both the BBC and America's VOA programs before the takeover. On April 9, Al-shabaab banned the British Broadcasting Corp. from all areas under the group's control and carried off equipment from the service's offices." -- Shortwave from outside the country will be important in this situation. The BBC World Service Seychelles relay is well located for this purpose.

BBC World Service "Newshour" bumped from Pasadena public radio station.

Posted: 20 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Los Angeles Times, 20 Sept 2010, Steve Carney: "Monday, [Madeleine] Brand premieres her own show at 9 a.m. on Pasadena-based KPCC-FM (89.3), which she said has the vibe of the pioneering days of NPR. ... Brand is taking over the time slot of the 'BBC Newshour,' and Curtis said he's already received complaints from fans of that program. He noted that the station still carries the BBC World Service overnights and hopes that fans of the BBC will give Brand's program a chance. 'The show sits in that interesting area between a talk show and a newsmagazine,' with a conversational style that lets Brand show her personality, [KPCC program director Craig] Curtis said." See also comments about BBC at Madeleine Brand Show blog, 17 Sept 2010.

New York Magazine, 19 Sept 2010, Jada Yuan: "Patrick Stewart ... better known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, is finishing rehearsals for David Mamet’s two-man play A Life in the Theatre, and he likes to use his morning commute from Soho to the Atlantic Theater’s rehearsal space on 15th Street to run his lines. ... Stewart prefers a 'very regimented' daily routine. He wakes up early, makes his tea, reads the newspaper, listens to BBC’s 'World at One' radio news as he showers, and walks to rehearsals, to which he is never, ever, late." -- He must be listening to this BBC Radio 4 program, at 8:00 am New York time, via the internet, because it's BBC World Service programming that is relayed by New York public radio stations.

Saving BBC World Service based on the "more questionable content of competitors."

Posted: 20 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 19 Sept 2010, Bunn Nagara: "[T]he BBC World Service is renowned internationally for professional impartiality, yet the BBC habitually canvasses the government for more funds by citing its service to vital British interests abroad. These interests can seem humanitarian – in racist Rhodesia as in today’s Myanmar, the World Service has provided an alternative source of reportage contrary to official rhetoric. A result has been the BBC’s global reputation for truth, accuracy and integrity, even if that can be oversold. The strength of this reputation is ultimately relative, deriving less from the intrinsic qualities of BBC content as with the more questionable content of competitors. Over many years, the World Service’s chief competitor is said to be the Voice of America (VoA). Given VoA’s Cold War purpose and CIA links, a solid reputation for the BBC should come by default." -- The writer seems to be confusing VOA with Radio Free Europe, which was covertly funded by the CIA from 1950 to 1978. The present-day RFE/RL also is occasionally is described as CIA-associated. This is one reason US international broadcasting needs to be retooled, reinvented, and rebranded.

MTV Networks sues Turkish distributor, alleging nonpayment.

Posted: 19 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 17 Sept 2010, Julian Clover: "MTV Networks has filed a London High Court suit claiming that its Turkish distributor has failed to pay it for the transmission of both MTV and sister channel Nickelodeon. The Viacom-owned company says that Multi Channel Developers (MCD), which also represents the BBC, Eurosport and Euronews, has reneged on its agreement and is seeking a court order that would take the local versions of the channels off the air along with unspecified damages. ... MCD said that it disputed the claims and had filed a full defence with the court. The company considers it has agreements in place for both Nickelodeon and MTV Turkey."

Doubts about putting digital activism "into the hands of the policy-oriented DC crowd."

Posted: 19 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Sami Ben Gharbia blog, 17 Sept 2010: "When the U.S Senate passed the Victims of Iranian Censorship (VOICE) Act authorizing $30 million to the Broadcasting Board of Governors to expand Persian-language broadcasting into Iran and counter Iranian jamming efforts, $20 million for the 'Iranian Electronic Education, Exchange, and Media Fund,' that will help Iranians bypass Internet censorship and share information online, and $5 million for the U.S State Department to document human rights abuses that have taken place since the 2009 election, my dear friend Rob Faris, Research Director for the Berkman Center reportedly declared 'You are engaging in cyberwarfare, on the side of the good guys.' The fact that our friends from the Berkman Center are adopting the rhetoric of 'good vs. bad guys' shows the danger of this very new context whose boundaries are blurred. The most alarming development, in regard to this matter, is to put the knowledge and data gathered in part by global grassroots activists and bloggers, via their collaboration with U.S research centers and NGOs, into the hand of the policy-oriented DC crowd to foster U.S interests or cyberwarfare in the world."

Slate, 16 Sept 2010, Evgeny Morozov: "It's not surprising that the discourse about America in Iran would be infected by conspiracy theories. But this is what happens when you make an unthinking push to liberate the world one tweet and one Google search at a time. Buzzwords like '21st-century statecraft' and 'Internet freedom' sound good in PowerPoint presentations, but the State Department can't just snap its fingers and fix everything for Iranians by creating a free Internet. The reality is that 'digital diplomacy' requires just as much oversight and consideration as any other kind of diplomacy. Only when the U.S. government realizes this can we be assured that something like the Haystack affair won't happen again."

The Economist, 16 Sept 2010: "While geeks unpick Haystack’s technical failings, the political storm is growing. The unthinking praise for the project may have temporarily boosted Mr Heap’s Censorship Research Center. But the wider effect was to violate a central principle of democracy-promotion: 'first, do no harm'." See previous post about same subject.

The Tor Project press release, 16 Sept 2010: "The Tor Project releases an article about the 'Ten Things to Look for in a Circumvention Tool'. As more countries crack down on Internet use, people around the world are turning to anti-censorship software that lets them reach blocked websites. Many types of software, also known as circumvention tools, have been created to answer the threat to freedom online. These tools provide different features and levels of security, and it's important for users to understand the tradeoffs. This article lays out ten features you should consider when evaluating a circumvention tool. The goal isn't to advocate for any specific tool, but to point out what kind of tools are useful for different situations." With link.

"Neither the internet will destroy the Putin regime, or the regime will destroy the internet."

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Window on Eurasia, 13 Sept 2010, Paul Goble: "In an article in 'Yezhednevny zhurnal,' [Yulia] Latynina notes that 'already earlier than asserting its monopoly on gas, the economy, the parliament and the powers that be, the regime of Vladimir Putin asserted its control of television.' And to this day, 'the seizure of television is considered by the regime as the first and chief stage of the seizure of everything else.' ... Now, however, 'the Internet is becoming a generator of news,' and 'the situation has changed.' What appears on the web, Latynina says, is now viewed as news and not just commentary, and consequently, the regime’s failure to take control of that medium, something it could perhaps afford to ignore earlier, is now a problem for it. ... And consequently, Latynina concludes, 'neither the internet will destroy the Putin regime, or the regime will destroy the internet,' an existential conflict that the regime can win only by acting in ways that the even more agile web communities will not only register but almost certainly figure out ways to work around."

Jonathan Marks adds more international broadcasting history to his Media Network Vintage Vault.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Network Vintage Vault, 17 Sept 2010, Jonathan Marks: "This site is an experiment - an experiment which is so far working well. It is simply a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000. It was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. I hosted and produced the programme, but a lot of the content was made by a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers dotted all over the globe. I kept copies of most of the programmes, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period. Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have been slowly digitizing the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-email, when most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them." -- Citizen journalism before the term was coined.

Recent entries include, from 18 Aug 2010, "the complete edition of a documentary called Truth Shall Prevail, the engaging story of Radio Prague in 1945 and 1968."

CBeebies increases distribution to "little tykes" in Lat Am and US Hispanic markets. And more BBC Worldwide news.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 15 Sept 2010: "CBeebies, BBC's preschool channel, announced that just shy of its second anniversary it has successfully consolidated its presence in the pay TV industry as a result of the quality of its content, BBC's commitment to the region, and its rapid expansion in both the US Hispanic Market and Latin America. CBeebies, available in the Hispanic market through the DishLATINO package on channel 848 and in 15 countries in Latin America, continues working on increasing its distribution and delivering on its commitment to offer a broader variety of new programming content for little tykes. ... CBeebies' programming, including animation, storytelling, puppets, and live action engages children in a fun and safe learn through play experience utilizing exercise, reading, drawing, numbers, and the use of the imagination."

Worldscreen.com, 17 Sept 2010: "BBC Knowledge and BBC Lifestyle are to launch on the YouSee pay-TV platform in Denmark this winter. ... The two services join BBC Entertainment, which has been available on YouSee since December 2008."

BBC World News press release, 15 Sept 2010: "BBC World News is to broadcast a new series of its successful travelogue, The Real…, beginning this month, which will once again be sponsored by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. The weekly five-part series uses celebrity residents to take viewers on a tour of some of the hidden attractions and most intriguing, but less known, locales of famous cities. Beginning on 25 September, the new season will take in Berlin, Buenos Aires, New York, Istanbul and Shanghai. Each episode features three different perspectives on the city, sidestepping the usual tourist itineraries in favour of unique, quirky sights that only locals can reveal."

Multichannel News, 15 Sept 2010: "Sandy Ashendorf, a former MTV Networks executive, has been appointed executive vice president of network distribution for BBC Worldwide America, overseeing affiliate sales and marketing in the U.S. market. Reporting to new BBC Worldwide America COO Ann Sarnoff, Ashendorf will oversee U.S. distribution activities for channels and assets including BBC America in standard and high definition, video on demand and BBC World News." See also The Wrap, 15 Sept 2010.

William Hague says don't believe "some of the wilder rumours that fly around" about BBC World Service budget cuts.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
House of Commons Hansard, 14 Sept 2010: Andrew George (St Ives) (LD): As we heard earlier, many millions of people depend on the BBC's World Service, which achieves its very impressive and impartial global reach on a budget that is roughly equivalent to that for three and half fighter jets. Will Ministers at least acknowledge the importance of this vital service to the United Kingdom as the comprehensive spending review nears its completion? Mr Hague: Yes, I completely agree with my hon. Friend-it is an absolutely vital service for the United Kingdom and an absolutely vital service to many parts of the world. I have often spoken about its great value to this country. Of course, in the current situation all parts of the public sector have to be scrutinised for value for money, and the BBC World Service itself believes that it is possible to make economies without necessarily affecting the services it provides. We are looking at that in the comprehensive spending review. However, my hon. Friend will find that I am a very strong supporter of the work of the World Service, so he should not believe some of the wilder rumours that fly around."

The Zimbabwean, 15 Sept 2010, excerpting from the UK House of Commons Hansard: "Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Lab/Co-op): The Minister will, I am sure, join me in welcoming the fact that the BBC World Service has recently been able to have a correspondent back in Zimbabwe. Given the important aspects of accountability and information that the BBC World Service brings to Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, what assurances can he give that it will continue to be supported by the Foreign Office? Mr Bellingham: There are currently no proposals to close any language service. Any such proposal requires ministerial approval and no such approval has been sought or given as yet. There was an article in The Guardian that was wholly inaccurate and pure speculation. Discussions are ongoing and there will be a robust discussion involving the Foreign Office about the World Service's £272 million annual direct grant, but no decisions have been taken. I stress that any closure of a language service requires ministerial approval." See previous post about same subject.

BBC relays resume in Somalia's risky radio market.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 14 Sept 2010, Tom Rhodes: "In August, Shabelle Media Network, one of Somalia's leading independent broadcasters, did something incredibly brave--they rebroadcast news and music that the BBC's Somali-language service beams to the war-torn Horn of African nation in defiance of a ban imposed by hard-line militant Islamist rebel groups Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam. For Somali journalists, who risk death by crossfire and assassination, and censorship from both insurgents and the weak U.S.-backed transitional government, it was a courageous pushback against forces hostile to independent media. ... More than four months ago, Al-Shabaab insurgents closed down the BBC's facilities in its strongholds in southern Somalia, confiscating its properties and forcing local media to cancel contracts with the outlet."

China's CCTV and CRI choose Kenya as "regional hub."

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bernama (kuala Lumpur), 17 Sept 2010: "Leading Chinese media networks have chosen Kenya as the regional hub of their operations since the two countries have a lot to share and learn from each other in the sector of communications, Xinhua news agency reported Friday. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China (SARFT) Vice Minister Wang Lili said the China Central Television (CCTV) and China Radio International (CRI) will be based in Nairobi with an FM sub-station for the radio in the Indian Ocean port city Mombasa. She said the plans is for China to increase the on-going programme exchange with local stations." -- CCTV and CRI have had relays in Kenya for the past few years. Is this a new marketing office for all of Africa? The "FM sub-station [in] Mombasa" makes it sound more like an intra-Kenyan operation.

CNBC Africa "has produced 500,000 minutes of Africa content."

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 16 Sept 2010: At the "Brand Africa 2010 Forum on Thursday, 16 September 2010, in Johannesburg ... Gary Alfonso, MD of CNBC Africa, said his station has produced 500 000 minutes of Africa content, more than any other station in Africa that usually produces only 15 minutes of Africa content and still call it an African report. 'In short, Kenyans must get their views from Kenyans, Nigerians from Nigerians, not from some analysts from New York,' he said."

CNN iReport University provides journalism students with a year of advice and guidance.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 16 Sept 2010: "CNN has announced the launch of a new initiative for journalism students, called CNN iReport University, linked to iReport, the network's user-generated news community. Launching in time for the 2010/11 academic year, university will enable students from respected journalism schools around the world to forge a relationship with CNN for one year. ... Katherine Green, senior vice president for programming, CNN International, [says]: 'This promises to be an exciting and innovative CNN iReport initiative to nurture the talent of tomorrow.' ... Throughout the programme, CNN 's editorial team will provide feedback on all story ideas pitched, to ensure valuable advice and guidance is received on how best to develop a strong pitch."

India Infoline, 16 Sept 2010: "CNN launches a multi-month network initiative to mark the most iconic moments and news events of the past 30 years. Titled CNN30: WERE YOU THERE? CNN is asking viewers from around the world to submit their photos, memories, videos via iReport, the network’s user-generated news community, online or directly via the CNN international iPhone app."

Novinite Sofia News Agency, 15 Sept 2010, CNN International anchor Jim Clancy as interviewed: "CNN was very quick to pick upon what this new media is about. CNN.com today is one of the most popular, if not the most popular website for news anywhere in the world, and it's constantly re-inventing itself. On the air CNN is using things like Skype, Twitter, and Facebook much more in order to bring the viewpoint of individuals and the audience."

“La Novia de Venezuela” criticizes CNN International and CNN en Español coverage.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Postcards from the Revolution blog, 15 Sept 2010, Eva Golinger: "Two weeks ago, CNN International premiered a docu-report titled 'The Guardians of Chavez', during which the international network falsely associated armed groups, criminals, terrorists and paramilitary forces with the Venezuelan government. On Monday, September 13, just one and a half weeks before the upcoming legislative elections in Venezuela, CNN en Español’s primetime anchor, Patricia Janiot, conducted a live interview with an escaped convict from Venezuela, who just two years earlier had been tried and sentenced for terrorism."

Report on CNN International about Azerbaijani journalist riles Armenian American group (updated).

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
News.Az, 25 August 2010: "American CNN International will show a report about the life and death of brave reporter, as well as the video materials he made about the Khojaly tragedy on the days of celebration of the 50th jubilee of National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev. ... The report about Chingiz Mustafayev will be broadcast at one of the popular news television programs of World View five times within four days."

PanArmenian.net, 27 August 2010: "Armenian Assembly of America launched an internet campaign against CNN broadcast of anti-Armenian report. 'According to the Azerbaijan News Service, the CNN International program World View is scheduled to broadcast a report from Azerbaijan about Chingiz Mustafayev, an Azeri reporter who covered the 1991-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh war. This report will extensively discuss the Azerbaijan government's version of the events at Khojaly and is scheduled to air 5 times in 4 days, beginning on August 28, 2010,' AAA press service reported. 'The Azerbaijan government is using the CNN venue to launch anti-Armenian propaganda world wide,' AAA stressed."

World View is the CNN International program that takes reports from broadcasting organizations around the world. The video is here via YouTube, 28 August 2010.

Update: News.Az (Baku), 16 Sept 2010, Javid Huseynov, general director of the Azerbaijani American Council, as interviewed: "[T]he ANS report was prepared not merely as a chronicle of historical events, it is a review about a journalist who dedicated his life to informing the public about the truth. I think this approach has more significant effect on foreign audience. However, we should not be [content] with that. CNN International is intended more for international rather than the US audience and I do hope that such reports will further appear on local US TV channels."

India orders Press TV off cable systems in Kashmir (updated).

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 13 Sept 2010: "India has banned local cable operators in Indian-administered Kashmir from airing Iran's English-language Press TV in the disputed Himalayan region. State Chief Secretary SS Kapur made the announcement in Kashmir's summer capital of Srinagar on Monday. 'We have decided to impose a ban on the airing of Press TV broadcasts by local cable operators,' Kapur told reporters. The ban comes as Press TV has become popular across the Muslim-majority region due to its enhanced coverage of the regional events over the past three months. Media organizations have strongly condemned the move and demanded that the government put the channel back on air. However, reports say more and more people in Kashmir continue to get their news from Press TV via internet services or direct broadcast satellites."

Kashmir Observer, 13 Sept 2010: "The ban on Press TV was announced by the State Chief Secretary, SS Kapoor and Director General of Police, Kuldip Khoda at a joint news conference here today. The fresh curbs on media come after a new wave of protests erupted in Kashmir today partly fuelled by alleged desecration of a copy of holy Qur’an in the United States. Kapoor alleged that the fresh protests began after Press TV Sunday night relayed the news that a copy of the holy Qur’an had been desecrated in the US. He said none of the news channels had reported what he termed as ‘unsubstantiated’ news and accused Press TV of fanning the protests for some ‘ulterior motives’."

Update: Press TV, 16 Sept 2010: "Kashmiri viewer point out that Press TV has given Kashmir more significance than the mainstream western media giants, including the BBC and CNN. Press TV's continued popularity in Kashmir comes despite recent measures by India to ban local cable operators from airing the channel in the disputed Himalayan region. ... This is while more and more people in Kashmir continue to get their news from Press TV via internet services or direct broadcast satellites." With video report.

Labor and management unrest at financially beleaguered France 24 (updated again).

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The labor unions of France 24 will meet to consider a strike. They are concerned about financial shortfalls at the station, amid a confusing management struggle involving CEO Alain de Pouzilhac and deputy director general Christine Ockrent, who is the wife of France's foreign minister e of Bernard Kouchner. See (all in French) AFP, 1 September 2010, Le Point, 1 September 2010, and Le Figaro, 30 August 2010.

The Guardian, 2 September 2010, Lizzy Davies: "At the heart of the latest troubles are the channel's two chiefs: Alain de Pouzilhac, the chief executive known to staff as 'Poupou', and his second-in-command, Christine Ockrent, one of France's best-known journalists whose imperious persona and brusque leadership have earned her the nickname 'the Queen'. ... According to Paris's media pundits, she and Pouzilhac are now engaged in a battle for influence over the state-funded television channel, which broadcasts in French, English and Arabic. While they slug it out the staff are becoming increasingly restless. 'Editorial is falling victim to the battle of the bosses,' one journalist told the daily newspaper Libération this week. ... 'It's like we were pawns, like we weren't treated as human beings but like mechanical parts of a sausage factory,' one former journalist said. 'France 24 is like a medieval king's court. People have patrons: you're so and so's guy or you're so and so's. It's all about alliances.' Another former freelancer on the English language side said that 'the sweatshop atmosphere' of the channel meant that journalists at Radio France International, part of the same public media group led by Pouzilhac and Ockrent, felt better off. 'Journalists who have worked at both RFI and France24 consistently prefer the former to the latter, despite poorer pay,' she said."

Rapid TV News, 17 Sept 2010, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Tension ratcheted up among the channel’s editorial team with the recent departure of two key managing professionals. Departing hot on the heels of Deputy Editorial Director Albert Ripamonti who slammed the door as he quit, was Editorial Director Vincent Giret, fired on 13 September, following a period of suspension. ... Chosen by President Sarkozy when holding company Audiovisuel de la France—which comprises France 24, Radio France Internationale and TV5Monde—was created in 2007, Alain de Pouzilhac and Christine Ockrent, the wife of current Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner, are reported to have never enjoyed a harmonious working relationship. A flashpoint is said to have been reached earlier in summer when de Pouzilhac demoted Ockrent from MD to Deputy MD."

For AIB awards, entries from VOA, DW, and France 24 are high quality, but not shortlisted.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Association for International Broadcasting press release, 16 Sept 2010: "The Association of [sic] International Broadcasting (AIB) has today announced the first short list for the 2010 AIBs (international media excellence awards). In the People’s Choice category, for 'Best Coverage of Climate Change', the selected entrants come from broadcasters in Belgium, China, UK and the USA as well as from the United Nations, making it a truly international selection. ... The short listed entries are [from CNN International, VRT (Belgium), Phoenix Satellite Television (Hong Kong), BBC, Sky Television, and the United Nations]. ... Because the quality of entries to the award was so high, the AIB is also making available to view four other entries that come from CNN International, Deutsche Welle, France24 and Voice of America." -- I can relate. I haven't been on a short list for anything in at least 25 years.

Director of Al Arabiya "postponing" his resignation, intends to continue working for corporate parent MBC.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Asharq Al-Awsat (London), 17 Sept 2010: "The Director General of the Al-Arabiya News Channel, Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed has announced that he is postponing his resignation as head of Al-Arabiya, and ... that he intends to continue working for the MBC group – that owns Al-Arabiya – in any appropriate capacity. Al-Rashed also revealed that he received a telephone call from the Chairman of the MBC group, Sheikh Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, officially informing him that his resignation was not being accepted. ... 'Al-Arabiya today is not just a news channel; it actually embodies rationality, moderation, objectivity and balance in Arab society, which are quite rare nowadays and which is naturally what makes us a direct target to those who oppose this. Al-Arabiya did not only rectify some misconceptions during the past seven years but, it also straightened out the trajectory of Arab media and paved its way towards a better path.' ... As for rumours about mass resignations at Al-Arabiya, al-Rashed's statement reiterated what the MBC Chairman said previously, stressing that 'these are stories that are absolutely devoid of truth ... .'" See previous post about same subject.

Cheer, jeer for Alhurra.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AOL News, 16 Sept 2010, J.D. Gordon: "Like in America, there are distinctions in Arab media. Some do it better than others. Notable is Al Arabiya, a world-class TV network that strives for accuracy and balance. For its fairness and objectivity, it was duly rewarded with the first media interview given by President Barack Obama just days after his inauguration. Al-Hurra, 'the free one,' also is commendable in getting the facts to the Arab street."

OpEdNews, 8 Sept 2010, Jim Miles, reviewing Philip Seib, Toward a New Public Diplomacy - Redirecting U.S. Foreign Policy: "In chapter three, 'The Lessons of Al Hurra Television,' the U.S. sponsored Arab language TV station, the general commentary is on its failure. Within the discussion is the statement that the station 'may have further strengthened perceptions, of the United States as an arrogant, disrespectful and bullying nation.'"

At the Aspen Institute event Digital Statecraft: Media, Broadcasting, and the Internet as Instruments of Public Diplomacy in the Middle East, 15 Sept 2010 in Washington (video available), one of the questions from the audience also posited the failure of Alhurra. One of the speakers, Eli Khoury, responded with a mixed assessment of Alhurra.

I have seen recent data showing Alhurra and Radio Sawa to have a respectably large audience in a major Arab nation. The BBG, however, won't let me share the details, as they are from "non-public" documents.

Commando Radio in Kabul, "increasing the credibility of the commandos."

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, 7 Sept 2010, Tech. Sgt. Gloria Wilson: At Camp Morehead, Kabul, "Commando Radio, 95.1FM, is operated by Commandos trained in Afghan Information Dissemination Operations, or AIDO. It provides a variety of services to its listeners to include popular music, weather information, radio dramas, and updates on Commando operations. 'The most important aspect of Commando Radio is that all the information it provides is truthful,' said the U.S. Army Special Operations Captain responsible for training commandos in AIDO. 'Afghans can count on Commando Radio to always provide the truth, thus increasing the credibility of the commandos. For example, if insurgents attack and kill civilians, our DJs can instantly put out a news spot letting the public know what actually happened versus the lies the enemy try to tell. Commando Radio’s value lies in its ability to quickly publicize the truth in an effort to counter enemy propaganda.' ... Currently listeners can call and tune in from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm every day, except Fridays when the hours are 8:30-11:30 a.m. Based on the feedback that the radio station is always seeking, they are looking into 24 hour, seven days- a-week broadcasting in an effort to become even more popular. Fans can also look forward to potential live interviews with local leaders and incentives for tuning in like radio contests." -- So we have, on radio to Afghanistan, the US-funded Radio Azadi, the US-funded Radio Ashna, and the US-funded Commando Radio. This is an important lesson for Afghanistan at it modernizes: never let one bureaucracy do what three bureaucracies can do less efficiently.

RFE/RL distributing 20,000 self-powered radios in Afghanistan. (Psst: They also receive VOA.)

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 17 Sept 2010: "On the eve of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, RFE's Radio Azadi -- with the help of the Afghan Air Force and U.S. military -- has launched a new initiative to help Afghans participate in the democratic process by having access to reliable news and information. At a refugee camp outside Kabul yesterday, Radio Azadi staff began handing out the first of 20,000 solar-powered, hand-cranked radios to Afghans who live in remote places or lack the means to access news and information. More than 2,000 radios were delivered this week to Afghans in the provinces of Logar, Shamali, Parwan, Kapisa, and Kabul. Over the next few weeks, the Afghan Air Force will distribute the remaining radios via Mi-17 helicopters to isolated villages throughout the rest of the country."

AP, 17 Sept 2010, Dusan Stojanovic: "The idea is to counter the Taliban-sponsored stations - the so called 'Mullah Radios' - that operate mainly in the tribal areas along the Pakistani border and broadcast propaganda that helps turn public opinion against foreign troops and the pro-Western Afghan government. ... [RFE/RL spokesman Julian] Knapp, said the dial on the distributed radios will not be fixed to Radio Azadi's frequency. 'They can choose to listen to whatever they wish,' he said, 'but we believe they'll listen to the truth.'"

Unmentioned in these articles is that the radios can also receive VOA's Radio Ashna broadcasts in Dari and Pashto to Afghanistan, which share time with RFE/RL's Radio Azadi on the same medium wave and FM frequencies. Just for fun, VOA should issue a press release stating that more than 20,000 solar powered radios have been distributed in Afghanistan (leave out the part about them being distributed by RFE/RL personnel), enabling reception of Radio Ashna, making no mention whatsoever of Radio Azadi. This should thoroughly confuse the US news media, to the great amusement of all.

Remember our motto: The fraternal entities under the Broadcasting Board of Governors support, commend, and congratulate each other, and wish each other to jump off a cliff.

From the photos, it appears the radio being distributed is the Etón FR160, which receives medium wave and FM, but not shortwave. That's OK as long as the Azadi/Ashna medium wave and FM relays are still available in Afghanistan. The FR160 is assembled in China. It also receives the US NOAA weather frequencies, which are unavailable in Afghanistan, but might offer an opportunity for additional specialty broadcasts. See previous post about Radio Azadi.

Antiwar.com, 17 Sept 2010, Jason Ditz: "[T]hough [RFE/RL] claims its goals are to stand as a surrogate where there is no freedom of the press, their operations in Afghanistan began in the wake of the 2001 US invasion and their operations in the nation seem aimed primarily toward furthering the goals of the floundering NATO occupation, and countering a number of rival radio stations set up by the Taliban to spread their own message. ... But given that the existing radio stations it is designed to compete with are, by and large, Taliban propaganda stations many Afghans are liable to be savvy enough to recognize that they are being pitched to, regardless of who is doing the pitching." -- Presumably RFE/RL Radio Azadi is broadcasting news rather than messages trying to further any goals. But Jason Ditz is correct that the audience will "recognize that they are being pitched to," if any pitching is attempted.

Senate confirms Richard Lobo as International Broadcasting Bureau director.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
St. Petersburg Times, 17 Sept 2010, Alex Leary: "The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Dick Lobo, a Tampa native who ran WEDU-Ch. 3, to be director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. 'I'm delighted and honored,' said Lobo, 73. Lobo will directly oversee Voice of America and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which includes Radio and TV Marti. He ran the Cuba office from 1994-95 under President Bill Clinton. ... 'We're trying to get out unfettered news and information about what our country's role in the world is,' Lobo said."

The IBB director is appointed by the president rather than by the BBG. Subordinate to the IBB director are the VOA and Radio/TV Martí directors, who are appointed by the BBG, not by the IBB director. See the potential for discord? During the 17 September BBG meeting, the governance committee proposed rules including the definition of the duties of the IBB director. See also previous post.

Mr. Lobo is 73 years old. Amazing. We Elliotts usually can't remember our own names by the time we reach 73.

On-demand video of Friday's Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting is available.

Posted: 18 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors Highlights, 17 Sept 2010: "On Friday, September 17th, for the first time ever, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) opened its meeting to the public via webcast. During the meeting, the BBG discussed BBG Governance Committee recommendations, the BBG’s research program and other business. In addition, the Board welcomed the Senate confirmation of Richard M. Lobo as the new Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). ... More information on the September Board meeting will be forthcoming." With video and list of ten BBG "implementation strategies." -- Comments on those ten strategies will be forthcoming. For running commentary on the meeting, go to twitter.com and search on #bbgmtg .

Call for tweets: today's BBG meeting at 10am-noon EDT (1400-1600 UTC).

Posted: 17 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Broadcasting Board of Governors will meet today, Friday, 17 September, at 10 am to noon EDT, or 1400-1600 UTC. It will be the first webcast BBG meeting. Links to live and on-demand video are available at the home page of www.bbg.gov.

I'll be watching and posting a few notes to my Twitter account, @kaedotcom. Even if you do not have a Twitter account, you can "follow" at twitter.com/kaedotcom, refreshing the page occasionally. If you are watching the meeting and want to (if you'll excuse the expression) tweet about it, let's use the hashtag #bbgmtg. See previous post about same subject.

Director of Al Arabiya, "known for his liberal views," submits resignation.

Posted: 16 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 15 Sept 2010: "Abdul Rahman al-Rashid, the director general of Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television known for his liberal views, has resigned, a member of the channel's editorial management told AFP on Wednesday. ... Dubai-based Al-Arabiya, part of Middle East Broadcasting Corp, is a prominent Arab news channel and the main rival of Qatar's Al-Jazeera. The exact reasons for Rashid's resignation were not clear. Journalistic circles said it might be linked to his regular liberal-oriented columns in the London-based Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat, which were discontinued in the past few days. During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Al-Arabiya also aired a series of documentaries on the relations between Islam and the West which included criticism of the ultra-conservative Saudi form of Islam known as Wahhabism."

Middle East Online, 16 Sept 2010, Habib Trabelsi: "Sheikh Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, Chairman of the 'MBC and Al Arabiya Group' admitted that the Saudi-funded Al Arabiya news channel made ‘serious errors’ in response to a question about the news of the resignation of its Director General Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed. The error was a program that harmed the Saudi royal family, the country’s official religious doctrine and the Islamic community in the kingdom. 'Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed tendered his resignation after taking responsibility for some errors that appeared on the channel’s screen lately,' said Sheikh Waleed. 'I still haven’t accepted and will deal with the matter when I return from the United States.'" See also DPA, 16 Sept 2010.

Al Bawaba, 16 Sept 2010, MBC press release: "As for the speculations regarding the alleged mass resignations from 'Al Arabiya' in the press, Al Ibrahim highlighted the fact that: 'There have been no such mass resignations whatsoever, as this story has been utterly fabricated and groundless altogether.'"

Al-Masry Al-Youm, 15 Sept 2010, Helba Hemy: Al-Rashid’s resignation represents the latest example of mounting tensions between certain liberal-minded local journalists and the Saudi religious establishment, which enjoys the support of influential members of the Saudi royal family."

RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, to the Afghanistan/Pakistan frontier, expands from 6 to 9 hours a day.

Posted: 16 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 15 Sept 2010: "RFE's programs in the Pashtun regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan are expanding from six to nine hours a day, starting today. Amid the growing number of extremist-controlled radio stations in the region, Radio Mashaal ('Torch' in Pashto) covers local and international news with independent reports on terrorism, politics, women's issues, and health care. ... RFE President Jeffrey Gedmin calls Radio Mashaal's increasing popularity 'proof that people will never fail to choose truth over falsehood when given a fair chance to decide.' About Radio Mashaal: Radio Mashaal was established in January 2010 to broadcast independent news and information in the local Pashto dialect of the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It operates out of a new bureau in Pakistan and broadcasts from RFE's Prague headquarters. Radio Mashaal shares a frequency with VOA's Radio Deewa and transmits via FM and shortwave." VOA Deewa Radio is 0100-0400 UTC, Radio Mashaal 0400-1300 UTC, Deewa at 1300-1900 UTC. Add five hours for Pakistan time. See previous post about same subject.

VOA takes one from the right. RFE/RL takes one from the left.

Posted: 16 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The American (journal of the American Enterprise Institute), 15 Sept 2010, Trey Hicks: "In a recent news article by Voice of America covering the controversial Islamic center near Ground Zero, the U.S. government reinforced the narrative of those who wish to do us harm—that Americans are warring against Muslims: 'But despite a rash of anti-Muslim rhetoric and possible hate crimes, some Muslims see the mosque debate as an opportunity to reaffirm their place in American society …' 'But the plan to build an Islamic center near the site known as Ground Zero has sparked heated debate across the country, and concerns about possible hate crimes toward Muslims.' Possible hate crimes? A rash of anti-Muslim rhetoric? Based on what evidence?"

Antiwar.com blog, 13 Sept 2010, Jason Ditz: "Over the Labor Day weekend it came to my attention that Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), an official part of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government of the United States of America, had penned an article [concerning] a relatively anonymous and heretofore to me unknown website with an Iranian domain name, BarackObama.ir. ... [T]he author speculates that I personally was either 'recruited to write exclusive for BarackObama.ir or agreed to share (my) content' with a site that the article makes very clear is up to some dastardly deed on behalf of the Iranian government. ... But I assure you that I, Jason Ditz, am not now nor have I ever been an agent provocateur for any government, let alone the Iranian one. The fact that such a proclamation has to be made is perhaps a lesson in the absurd state of affairs for a radio station that has gone from Cold War propagandist to CIA proxy to forgotten (but still funded) ward of the government." -- The RFE/RL author has since corrected the article.

Now the Middle East and Africa can purchase device that interferes with shortwave. And more shortwave in the news.

Posted: 16 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
D-Link Middle East press release, 14 Sept 2010: "D-Link Middle East & Africa, the end-to-end network solutions provider for consumers and business, today introduced a new Powerline adapter that takes advantage of existing power outlets and electrical wiring to enhance the connected experience and provide convenient access throughout the home or small office. ... This product may interfere with devices such as lighting systems that have a dimmer switch or a touch-sensitive on/off feature, short wave radios, or other powerline devices that do not follow the Universal Powerline Association (UPA) standard." -- Hmmm, let's try a DRM receiver in a house equipped with this Powerline adapter.

TechNewsDaily, 15 Sept 2010, Wil Milan: "Radio receivers operate by detecting electromagnetic signals, and on an AM or shortwave radio receiver lightning bolts can be readily heard as crackles, pops, or even loud bangs that resemble gunshots, depending on distance and intensity. Other electrical storm phenomena such as sprites, blue jets, and elves (yes, 'elves') -- all of them forms of Transient Luminous Effects, or TLEs -- emit their own electromagnetic signals that add to the symphony."

Mint (New Delhi), Rahul Jayaram: "In artist Navin Thomas’s world, what is part of the background of daily life has been pushed into the foreground. Objects from our daily lives, some abandoned in junkyards, are summoned before our eyes. In one corner there is a transistor radio wound to a chair, seeking signals. ... 'When I say electronic junk, its mostly old transisitors and discarded audio equipment or gadgets with an audio capacity. I spend a lot of time trying to pick up obscure signals on short-wave or medium-wave bands.'"

The Faster Times, 13 Sept 2010: "Dan Morrison’s new book, The Black Nile, chronicles his journey along the Nile River from its source at Lake Victoria to its exit 3,600 miles later at the Mediterranean Sea. In this exclusive excerpt, the author describes an eventful night in the Sudanese border town of Malakal. 'The power was out when I returned to the Adventist Relief guest house, the room quite warm. I lit the candle nub, drank the remains of my ouzo from the night before, polished off the last of the ginger cookies, and sat listening to my roommate’s shortwave. Pushing the dial down into a valley between the otherworldly squeaks and whines, something truly exotic — an American Bible program — came into the clear. I leaned toward the sound, and in the dull planar tones of another universe, a Midwestern woman was asking the host if the prophetic impulse wasn’t an aspect of the Holy Ghost and, if so, how then could each person have it?'"

VOA News, 15 Sept 2010, Joe DeCapua: "There isn’t much modern technology in many parts of rural Africa. But one thing those areas do have is abundant sunshine. The Lifeline Energy Company is using that age-old resource to power 21st century technology on the continent. This week, the charitable organization launches the Lifeplayer, a solar-powered digital, mp3-enabled radio. The device costs between (US)$80 and $120, depending on features and memory capacity. The major funder of Lifeplayer is actor Tom Hanks." -- The story doesn't say if the radio receives shortwave. In most of Africa, shortwave capability is necessary to receive VOA. It turns out that the Lifeplaye does receive shortwave, but does it receive the frequencies used by VOA?

Greenville (NC) Reflector, 13 Sept 2010: Music group Shortwave Society is performing at the Tipsy Teapot in Greenville, today, 16 Sept. -- Greenville is home to the last VOA shortwave transmitting facility located in the United States.

Small-scale video, and the Last Night of the Proms, via DRM digital shortwave (updated).

Posted: 16 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Fraunhofer IIS press release, 8 Sept 2010: "Fraunhofer IIS, the leading innovator of technologies for cutting-edge audio and multimedia systems, today announced the worldwide launch of Diveemo®, the new small-scale video service for Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) at IBC 2010. Initiated as a joint effort between Fraunhofer IIS, Thomson Broadcast & Multimedia and Chengdu NewStar Electronics, Diveemo delivers cost efficient large-area distribution of education and information video programs via DRM. ... The launch will feature the world’s first Diveemo transmission of a live video broadcast with BBC content displayed on a NewStar DRM receiver. ... DRM transmissions over shortwave have virtually unlimited coverage possibilities ranging from 100 to well over 5,000,000 square kilometres depending on the transmission conditions and broadcast parameters. The service opens the door to a large range of unprecedented information and education services and is an ideal platform to reach audiences worldwide with a single DRM transmitter or an even more cost-efficient DRM single frequency network. Diveemo offers free-of-charge reception and is independent of gatekeeper and third party providers like satellite and cable networks. ... Diveemo is designed to offer a convenient mobile small-scale video service experience, allowing users to quickly switch between channels and enjoy consistent audio and video even under bad reception conditions. A video stream can be accompanied by one or more audio streams, allowing for synchronous, multi-language support. Diveemo enabled receivers also feature all the benefits of the DRM Digital Radio standard, such as service selection by Unicode compatible station labels, alternative frequency signalling and switching, announcement and warning/alert features."

Video via shortwave, even if "small-scale," would be remarkable. This sort of broadcasting would more efficiently and reliably be accomplished via the internet, but there are places where internet access is not available. The press release mentions "gatekeeper" as one reason content via internet might not be available. It is therefore ironic that one of the partners is Chengdu NewStar Electronics, located in China, the country that is the most pervasive gatekeeper, i.e. jammer, blocker, dish confiscator, of content from abroad.

Of course, a "single DRM transmitter" will not "reach audiences worlwide." And my experience is that DRM collapses like a five-dollar suitcase, i.e. the audio drops out completely, under most instances of "bad reception conditions." This is even more so if the bitrate is ratcheted up to ambitious levels, which I assume will be necessary for the video service.

DRM does provide perfect reception in cases where analog might have some low-level interference or noise in the background. It also eliminates the fading that some people find objectionable. On the other hand, if there is jamming, analog might allow the content to be intelligible, whereas the less forgiving DRM would more likely cut out completely.

The press release mentions the NewStar DRM receiver, which seems to be a chip. Actual standalone DRM receivers are difficult to find, rather expensive, and for now prone to quality control problems. The UniWave Di-Wave 100 is currently unavailable at Universal Radio.

I enthusiastically support experiments with and development of DRM. I have organized more North American public demonstrations of DRM reception than anyone else. At the end of the day, we must be honest about the capabilities of DRM.

Update: Television Broadcast, 13 Sept 2010: "Operating at just 8 frames per second, Diveemo transmissions are not designed to compete with even standard analog television; instead, Diveemo is being positioned for large-area distribution of education and news programs where the video supplements an existing audio program." With photo.

DRM Consortium press release, 9 September 2010: The DRM Consortium "is very proud to announce the inaugural DRM transmission of the Last Night of the Proms, during IBC, on Saturday September 11th between 1800 and 2200 GMT (2000 to 0000 CET). This world famous concert which concludes the biggest classical music festival in the world will be recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall and transmitted via DRM letting audiences across Europe tune into this prestigious event ‘Live’ and in high quality for the first time. The concert will be transmitted by Babcock, a leading engineering support services company and a Consortium member, from one of its facilities in the UK." See also DRM Consortium September 2010 newsletter.

New Arabic-language magazine: Forbes Middle East.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Forbes Media press release, 15 Sept 2010: "Arab Publisher House announced that Refaat Jaafar has been appointed Editor in Chief of Forbes Middle East Arabic version, its flagship publication. The new magazine, published in partnership with Forbes Media, is Forbes' latest international edition. ... Forbes Middle East will debut in Arabic in October 2010, to be followed in a few months by an accompanying website. An English-language edition, also accompanied by a website, will appear in 2011. Arab Publisher House is a newly formed joint venture of influential Arab investors; it plans to bring to the region a number of other Forbes publications, as well as other magazines." See previous post about National Geographic Al Arabiya.

CNBC names two international VPs.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
CNBC press release, 14 Sept 2010: "CNBC today announced that John Casey has been appointed Vice President of International News and Programming and Peter Juno has been appointed Senior Vice President of International Operations, effective October 4th 2010 & November 29th 2010 respectively. Casey and Juno will oversee CNBC’s news, programming and operations across the Asia Pacific region and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with additional responsibility for supporting all CNBC local language affiliates. ... John Casey ... has led the News & Programming team in Asia over the last three years. He was responsible for leading CNBC Asia through a new programming revamp & the seamless integration of two new partnerships (SBS-CNBC in Korea, & CCTV2 in China). ... Peter Juno has led CNBC operations in the Asia Pacific team for 17 years. He was appointed Senior Vice President of Operations for CNBC in Asia Pacific in 2004. Most recently, Juno led the business through the design & build-out of its new primary studio in Singapore (at the SGX)."

Lowy Institute paper calls for consolidation of Australian international broadcasting, and more funding.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Lowy Institute (Sydney): "On 13 September 2010 the Lowy Institute released a working paper, 'International broadcasting and its contribution to public diplomacy', by Annmaree O’Keeffe and Alex Oliver, which examines the role of government-funded international broadcasters in supporting their nations’ public diplomacy efforts, and draws some conclusions for an effective international broadcasting future for Australia. The paper is the result of research commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It is intended as a starting point to stimulate a broader debate about Australia’s international broadcasters – the Australia Network and Radio Australia – and their role in furthering Australia’s public diplomacy and supporting the nation’s foreign policy goals." With link to pdf of the report.

From the report: "Despite the relative stability of the last decade, Australia’s funding of international broadcasting still falls considerably short of that of its international counterparts. Australia spends less on a per capita basis than all of the broadcasters in our review (and less than a quarter that of the UK and France), with the exception of Canada, which has effectively abandoned the arena. But the periodically erratic resourcing of the past is not the only factor which has hampered Radio Australia and the Australia Network in their task of attracting and maintaining audiences and promoting Australia’s interests effectively. Struggles over the control and direction of both broadcasters have made consistency and strategic coherence elusive goals. ...

"Australia’s broadcasters function under a framework that provides little assurance of funding stability and leaves the Australia Network in a state of statutory limbo. Not only are the platforms of Australia’s international broadcasting housed in separate government portfolios (although currently under the ABC’s roof), they operate as two separate identities, unable to exploit the reinforcing and multiplying benefits of one strong brand, and ill­ equipped to overcome that without more abundant resourcing." See previous post about same subject.

Australia seems to share with the United States confusion about the separate and complementary roles of international broadcasting and public diplomacy. In Britain, there is less ambiguity. BBC World Service and the British Council are funded under a Foreign Office budget category called "publc diplomacy." Beyond that, BBC World Service executives are loath to refer to their broadcasting effort as "public diplomacy."

The Australian, 13 Sept 2010, Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO of of Sky News: "Sky News looks forward to re-engaging with the Government over the future provision of the international Australia Network for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Adopting a policy of open and transparent 'contestability' for any new broadcasting services procured by the Government on behalf of taxpayers should be a priority. ... Taxpayer-funded broadcasting remains important but the purpose of it needs to be openly reassessed. Our successful creation of the A-PAC public affairs channel, showing Australian democracy in action without editorial filter to domestic and international audiences, has shown that public broadcasters need not be the automatic default choice for 'public interest' broadcasting in the future."

Matt Armstrong's essay about the work of the new Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Layalina Perspectives, September 2010, Matt Armstrong: "The BBG can no longer afford to be perceived as an unaccountable black box. With few exceptions, relations between the agency and the Congress are strained at best and adversarial at worse. ... Increased dialogue between Congress and the BBG must be complemented by third-party oversight to provide the Congress, the President, and the American public informed analysis and recommendations on the BBG’s course of action. ... This third party entity has existed for over sixty years as a Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed ... U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy [that] has been dormant for a long time. An invigorated and active Commission of experts will shed a continuous light on the BBG’s activities as well as the challenges and constraints faced at home and abroad in a way that the occasional reports from the Congressional Research Service and Government Accountability Office cannot." See also MountainRunner.us, 14 Sept 2010.

An interesting and wide-ranging essay about US international broadcasting.

The relations between the BBG on one hand, and the administration and Congress on the other, will occasionally be adversarial. Such adversity shows that the BBG is working, by deflecting executive- or legislative-branch attempts to manipulate the news transmitted by the entities.

At no cost to the taxpayers, university scholars, think tank fellows, and journalists will produce no end of reports about US international broadcasting. I would therefore prefer that the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy be eliminated, along with all other such advisory commissions in Washington that have no decision making authority. This would help reduce government spending and help ensure that international broadcasting and public diplomacy remain separate, complementary, and occasionally adversarial.

RFI-France 24 prize for "new journalistic genre" web documentary.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio France International, 13 Sept 2010, Alison Hird: "For the second year running at Visa pour l’image, RFI-France 24 awarded an 8,000 euro prize for best web documentary: a new journalistic genre using photos, video and text, and broadcast on internet. As traditional outlets for photojournalists dry up, web documentary-making seems an attractive way forward. This year’s prize went to journalist David Dufresne and photographer Philippe Brault for Prison Valley, a report on the prison industry in the United States."

Deutsche Welle Best of the Blogs (BOBs) recipient in the news, and still in Russian prison.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Moscow Times, 14 Sept 2010, Alexander Bratersky: "A renowned journalist on Monday accused outgoing Federation Council Senator Vladimir Slutsker of organizing the jailing of her husband, who incidentally has turned into a celebrity blogger while in prison. Olga Romanova, a journalism professor at the Higher School of Economics who formerly worked as a news anchor on Ren-TV, filed a complaint with Prosecutor General Yury Chaika on Monday in which she accuses Slutsker of having her husband, Alexei Kozlov, jailed over a dispute at Finvest, an investment company controlled by Slutsker and formerly headed by Kozlov. Slutsker denied wrongdoing. ... Kozlov, 36, is serving a seven-year prison sentence in the Tambov region after being jailed in 2008 on charges of illegally obtaining shares in the Iskozh company, which is co-owned by Finvest. But with Romanova’s assistance, Kozlov has turned into a popular online figure as the host of Butyrka Blog, an award-winning blog named after the infamous Moscow detention center. ... Kozlov’s involvement in the blog was long kept secret. The Butyrka Blog won a prize in April at Germany’s Best of the Blogs competition, organized by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Since that time, the blog, now carried by Forbes Russian edition, has turned into a platform for other bloggers jailed for various white-collar crimes." -- I can't find this blog at DW's The BOBs website.

News.Az, 13 Sept 2010: "Azerbaijani-born British citizen Vugar Khalilov has been found not guilty of money-laundering charges and released by a Kyrgyz court. ... A former BBC and Radio Liberty journalist, Vugar Khalilov had been running a PR company, Flexi Communications, in Bishkek." See previous post about same subject.

TV5MONDE in the news (release).

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
ProConsultant Informatique press release, 13 Sept 2010: "TV5MONDE, the French-language global television network, has achieved rapid expansion and growth with the addition of non-linear platforms powered by the LOUISE™ Business Management System from ProConsultant Informatique. TV5MONDE operates 9 different French-language television channels with an expansive lineup of news, information, sports and entertainment programs that are viewed in nearly 200 countries and 215 million households. As an international network, it ranks in the top 3 with MTV and CNN. And now, TV5MONDE reaches beyond broadcast with many additional viewers and as many as 8.5 million hits each month on its tv5monde.com website and its mobile version."

Mediaset Italia brings Italian television to US homes. Somehow.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 13 Sept 2010, Kristin Brzoznowski: "International Media Distribution has launched the Italian-language TV channel Mediaset Italia in the U.S. to more than 15 million homes. Key prime-time programming includes news, soccer, entertainment and fiction from Mediaset's Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete. The service will provide programming in the U.S. just hours after its original Italian broadcast." -- Great, but how will it be distributed? Satellite? IPTV?

www.mediasetdistribution.com: "The channel is targeted to the 60M Italians living around the world and to the people who love Italy, its culture and its beauty." -- The Technical Information link at this site is, alas, "under construction." Will the content be subtitled in English? That would be cool.

Nickelodean launches block in former Soviet bloc.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 13 Sept 2010, Hannah Hudson: "Nickelodeon will launch its first branded block in the Ukraine after signing a deal with local broadcaster StarLightMedia Group. Over 800 half-hour episodes of Nickelodeons cartoons, including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Penguins of Madagascar, and Rugrats, will be localised for Ukrainian audiences. The branded block will air daily on Ukrainian cable channel, QTV, and at weekends on terrestrial net STB... ."

Revamped "Upstairs Downstairs" is set on the planet Carpathia in 2045. Or maybe I should read that again.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Sept 2010, Mimi Turner: "'Little Britain' stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams will launch their new comedy 'Come Fly With Me' to buyers at MIPCOM, part of a lineup of fare from BBC Worldwide. ... Other highlights of the BBC Worldwide-distributed slate of shows will be revamped period drama 'Upstairs Downstairs,' which follows the pre-War lives of an aristocratic family in Belgravia, London, as well as the lives of their 'below-stairs' servants. Kudos Film & Television will present futuristic drama 'Outcasts,' due to air on BBC1 and BBC America, which follows the a group of men and women to the planet of Carpathia in 2045 where they have to attempt to build a new life." -- MIPCOM is the international television content trade show, 2-7 October in Cannes.

Indiantelevision.com, 13 Sept 2010: "BBC Worldwide Channels has announced a raft of new programming for the pan-regional entertainment channel, BBC Entertainment. The channel showcases dramas, comedies, and light entertainment programming from the BBC."

Democratic Voice of Burma finds ways to cover the Burmese election.

Posted: 15 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 13 Sept 2010, Sian Powell and Chiang Mai: "As the Thailand bureau chief of the non-profit Democratic Voice of Burma news network, Toe Zaw Latt helps oversee 100 staff working illicitly in Burma, as well as more than 38 in Thailand. An Australian citizen with a degree from Monash University, Toe Zaw Latt is sure the ruling State Peace and Development Council will try to further restrict news from Burma as the elections get nearer. ... The junta has established a Russian-trained police cyber-crime unit, he says, to track down undercover and citizen journalists trying to send information out of Burma via the internet. Toe Zaw Latt is reluctant to spell out details of the various ways of getting round the expected clampdown, but it's likely they include satellite phones, clandestine internet tricks, and straightforward smuggling of footage over the border to Thailand. DVB has stringers all over Burma, including conflict zones. ... The news network broadcasts television and radio into Burma in various languages, to an estimated audience of 10 million, and also runs a website (www.dvb.no). Cut off from the world and real news by heavy restriction of the internet and rigorous censorship of newspapers, Burmese mostly rely on external broadcasts from DVB, the BBC World Service, VOA, and Radio Free Asia."

AFP, 15 Sept 2010, Rob Bryan: "U Ottama recalls joining thousands of fellow Buddhist monks who flooded Myanmar's streets in a saffron-robed protest brutally crushed by the army. Three years on, he still lives in terror. ... But in hushed corners, with fellow brethren he trusts, U Ottama talks about politics every day, and when the monastery's lights go out he tunes his radio to the BBC or Voice of America to get 'correct news'. 'The Myanmar government says they are the killers of the airwaves,' he said." See previous post about same subject.

Evgeny Morozov continues to needle Haystack (updated again).

Posted: 14 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, Net.Effect blog, 9 September 2010, Evgeny Morozov: "According to my correspondence with Austin Heap, they have tested their software inside Iran. They have had some problems, most of which – according to Heap – they have managed to resolve. My anonymous source inside Iran who has had first-hand experience with testing Haystack has painted a somewhat less rosy picture; Haystack's rate of circumventing censorship was not particularly impressive. ...

"Haystack is not at fault here; the State Department – I am not so sure. Austin Heap can make whatever statements he likes; the government, however, is supposed to treat such statements with due skepticism and think through the political implications of their endorsement of any technologies. ...

"[Update 10 Sept] I just received information that 'Haystack has been turned off as of ~19:00 PST, Sept 10/2010', with Austin Heap agreeing that 'Haystack will not be run again until there is a solid published threat model, a solid peer reviewed design, and a real security review of the Haystack implementation.'"

See (listen to) also NPR On the Media, 10 September 2010.

Washington Post, Post Tech blog, 13 Sept 2010, Cecilia Kang: "Haystack, a company that has created software designed to circumvent Iranian government censors, has stopped testing its program amid criticism of faulty security. Haystack founder Austin Heap said in an interview Monday that concerns about how his much-touted software program works and whether it's secure were 'valid.' 'For the time being, we are going to stop human testing and rely instead on machine testing,' Heap said."

Electronic Frontier Foundation, 13 Sept 2010: "Based on this announcement, we recommend that users stop using all versions of the Haystack software immediately." See also Austin Heap blog, 13 Sept 2010.

Update: Computerworld UK, 14 Sept 2010, Simon Phipps blog: "The lesson of all this should be that security is very hard to do properly. It takes more than cryptography, wide-eyed enthusiasm and the confidence that comes from wide praise to actually solve hard security problems and come up with software upon which people can bet their lives. When we find people have opted for media hype instead of proper peer-review or open source we should be concerned."

Jillian C. York blog, 13 Sept 2010: "I ... firmly place blame on the media, which elevated the status of a person who, at best was just trying to help, and a tool which very well could have been a great thing, to the level of a kid genius and his silver bullet, without so much as a call to circumvention experts." See previous post about same subject.

Doubts were expressed about Haystack by John Boudreau, San Jose Mercury News, 14 February 2010, as cited in previous post. See also previous post on 11 June 2010.

South African transmission company Sentech "could be out of cash by November."

Posted: 14 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Times (Johannesburg), 12 Sept 2010, Caiphus Kgosana and Charl Du Plessis: "Sentech, the company responsible for bringing TV broadcasts to South Africans and which is on the verge of financial collapse, granted more than R117-million in contracts that did not go to tender over a period of two years. The company is also battling to collect R27-million owed to it by government departments and community radio stations. It is also struggling to pay the R850000 monthly rental on its head offices in Fourways, north of Johannesburg. The company's plan for 2010-11 shows it could be out of cash by November." -- In addition to transmitters for domestic South African broadcasting, Sentech operates and leases time on shortwave transmitters for customers seeking to reach audiences in Africa. Will these shortwave operations be affected?

At Beijing forum, Chinese officials and other speakers discuss China's public diplomacy.

Posted: 14 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Global Times (Beijing), 13 Sept 2010, Ji Beibei: "China should invest more in public diplomacy in order to help the rest of the world know more about how the country works, senior officials and scholars said during a forum Saturday in Beijing. ... 'Having public diplomacy is like playing a football match. Playing a game is good even when you don't care about winning or losing. One gets the chance to present his side and allow others to feel his existence. But one will definitely lose if he doesn't play at all,' said Fu Ying, the vice foreign minister. The United States was the first nation to engage in public diplomacy, according to Zhao Qizheng, head of the foreign affairs committee in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He said the Voice of America service was the earliest example of American public diplomacy, which illustrated American spirit and helped the world know, trust and learn from the US." -- And VOA is still jammed and blocked, thoroughly, by the PRC.

Indian Express, 12 Sept 2010: "'While China has made progress in communicating with foreign political sectors, it lacks experience in handling relations with the media and the public in foreign countries,' Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying said addressing the 2010 International Forum on Public Diplomacy here."

China Daily, 12 Sept 2010, Wu Jiao and Ai Yang: "Scholar Johan Galtung from Norway, who spoke at the seminar, advised China to present multiple angles in its news coverage. 'If the West doesn't understand China, they use Western criteria to judge it. China is not good at explaining itself - and the West, by trying to understand this country, looks for the negative issues it has,' said Galtung. 'China should not only run the CCTV 9 news channel but also a global TV station which includes China as part of the content,' said Galtung."

Global Times, 13 Sept 2010, Niu Huayong: "The Chinese government should consider the introduction of some relevant laws, such as penalties for companies that pay bribes in other countries or regions. It is especially important for Chinese enterprises to establish good image and credibility. ... Sometimes, cultural communication is more effective than political communication, and the overseas non-governmental organizations are more effective than government institutions abroad. In the different situations, government, NGOs, enterprises and citizens each can have their own appropriate manners to be applied in public diplomacy."

The World at Large blog, 13 Sept 2010, Richard Sambrook: "In 2009 the Chinese Government announced that it will spend almost $7bn on the international expansion of key media outlets, of which $2.2bn will be spent each on CCTV and the Xinhua news agency: a stark contrast to the pressures on international resources felt by, even state funded, western media. ... China is online and mobile. There are nearly 550 million mobile phone users and 384 million internet users – most of them on broadband. But the government’s grip across the media is as tight as ever. ... This combination of explosive growth, modernisation and state control is confusing for many in the West. We assume economic liberalisation must lead to political liberalisation. But that’s not how the Chinese see it. The 'Asian Values' of social harmony, partnership, concern for welfare over rights and respect for authority, with industry and the media as projects of the state, are inevitably at odds with Western ideas of pluralism, competition, human rights, accountability and governance."

Global Times, 1 August 2010, Blue Ocean Network president Justin Ku responding to interview: "BON is an independent and commercial network, so we are audience-driven and service-oriented. This direction decides that we offer the audience what they need. We provide a service of information, as our three functions show: objectively inform the audience about what is happening in China, educate the audience about Chinese language and history, and entertain them. State-owned media also have these functions, which they just realize in different ways. BON doesn't have a pre-set agenda, nor does it represent any interest group. That means we don't interpret the facts according to our values. Instead, we report the facts as they are. While most State-owned media usually try to shape China's image, we try to reflect the real China. ... The biggest challenge BON face is still the bottleneck in government policy. Policy restraints will limit the development of private media. For instance, in China, CNN now has access to three-star and better hotels where foreigners here can watch their programs. But BON is still kept out of the door. That means we are losing a large number of audiences." See previous post about BON. See also the channel's website www.bonlive.com. -- So, three English-language Chinese channels competing with one another: CCTV-9, Xinhua's CNC World, and BON.

Al Jazeera's new "tri-medial" training center.

Posted: 14 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Al Bawaba, 13 Sept 2010, apparent Qvest Media press release: "For the setup of the training centre for media and TV technologies (AJTC - Al Jazeera Training Centre) the Arabic broadcasting network Al Jazeera has engaged the services of Qvest Media FZ LLC based in Dubai. ... With awarding of the contract, Qvest Media will have responsibility for the complete realisation of a cross-functional, media-technical infrastructure, which will enable the broadcaster to conduct future-oriented training courses for its employees. ... As a result of the rapidly progressing convergence of the media, the individual vocational fields in the media business are today increasingly growing together. For example, in areas like broadcasting cross-functional networking is taking place combining Internet and communication. ... Al Jazeera is now purposefully facing up to this process of change with the construction of its training centre for tri-medial training and further training."

Bulgaria and Kazakhstan will advertise themselves on international channels (updated).

Posted: 14 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Sofia Echo, 3 September 2010: "Bulgaria's tourism sector has not fared well in recession... . Bulgaria now hopes to reach about 608 million European households through its new advertising campaign, which will run on four international television channels - Euronews, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel and Eurosport. The promotional clips will feature Bulgaria's summer and winter tourist destinations, environmental and rural tourism and the country's cultural historic heritage. The clips, in Bulgarian, English, German, Russian and French will be aired during prime time hours, 3166 times in total. It would be done in two phases – from September 6 until December 26 and from January 31 until March 27 2011. The initiative is worth 7.5 million leva, financed by the European Union's operational programme Regional Development."

Update: Novinte.com, 12 Sept 2010: "Bulgaria's recently launched international tourism advertising campaign has been criticized by tour operators at the acquiescence of the respective deputy minister. The choices of the international TV channels to advertise Bulgaria as a tourism destination has been defined as 'reckless' by Valentin Yosifov, manager of TUI Bulgaria. He told the national radio on Sunday that most tourists from Bulgaria did not come from around the world but from Romania, Germany, the UK, and the Scandinavian countries. What is more, in his words, even though Bulgaria is supposed to be a family destination and in 80% of the cases wives choose the holiday destination, the Bulgarian campaign is not targeting wives and women. That is why, the choice of Eurosport, Euronews, National Geographic and Discovery for broadcasting ads of Bulgaria will be inefficient, believes the manager of TUI."

The Star (South Yorkshire), 6 September 2010: "Windsor Street-based Uber and Washington-based East West Communications have created a campaign of TV, press, online and outdoor promotions to highlight the United Nations' choice of Kazakhstan to host International Day Against Nuclear Testing. ... [A] 30-second advertisement was launched on the giant screen in Times Square and shown on Euro News and CNN during a global leadership summit in Kazakhstan."

BBC World Service as "example of Gestalt theory," and other discussion of possible budget cuts.

Posted: 14 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, Comment is Free, 13 Sept 2010, Keith Somerville: "This picture has changed somewhat over the years but in a world of information overload for many, there are still many more who are starved of accurate, impartial news. This may seem a rather romantic vision, but it was and is constantly reinforced by direct audience feedback, with this connection with listeners a key aspect of its accuracy and appeal. The World Service not only calls on the BBC's sadly shrinking global news-gathering resources but a network of regional and national stringers recruited by the language services, which feed local expertise and knowledge into the entire operation. The World Service is a great example of Gestalt theory – each language service works to serve its own particular audience but together they join with the central news operation to form what is still the best global news provider. The World Service is far greater than just the sum of its parts. But cut or take away any one of those parts and you diminish the whole."

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 12 Sept 2010, Peter Preston: "The corporation, to be sure, controls what it broadcasts. But it doesn't truly control where it broadcasts, or in which languages. That's the paymaster's prerogative, and it fundamentally reflects the FCO's own muddled brief: sometimes cementing special relationships, sometimes burnishing old ties, sometimes pushing trade, sometimes waving freedom's torch. And who's the competition? Sometimes the Germans, but most often, indeed monotonously, the Voice of America: two torches waving down the same long alley.

"If you laid all the options out on a table and discussed them frankly, some decisions might take themselves. Goodbye to the States, to the Caribbean, to Indonesia, possibly to India. A digitalised democratic world has moved on. Goodbye to the hard, expensive slog of getting a word in edgeways between al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya. Let's prioritise purpose and performance. High plains or low haw-haw. And while we're at it, let's acknowledge that one giant BBC newsroom means news gathering gets a great deal from a wonderful World Service correspondents' network. Why not help Mr Hague's budget by adding a few licence fees of our own?"

The Guardian, 13 Sept 2010, letter from Khin Thant Han: "As a Burmese woman who has been listening to BBC World Service since I was a teenager, I'm appalled by the news about its axe. In a country with such a repressive, anti-educational and untrustworthy regime, the World Service is the one institution we trust and is as essential as the air we breathe." See previous post about same subject.

Paper argues why US international broadcasting and US ethnic broadcasting should collaborate.

Posted: 13 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
MountainRunner.us, 10 Sept 2010, Matt Armstrong: "For anyone interested in the Broadcasting Board of Governors and/or U.S. government broadcasting, I recommend reading this updated report-turned-chapter written by Shawn Powers: U.S. International Broadcasting: An Untapped Resource For Domestic And Ethnic News Organizations"

Powers (via ibid, with links): "Currently, U.S. public service broadcasting, which is severely underfunded in comparison to the rest of the world, is also legally separate from U.S. international broadcasting, a technical firewall that inhibits effective collaboration between the two entities. As a result, U.S. funded international broadcasting is prohibited from disseminating its journalistic features within the U.S., a legal ban that hinders the use of its significant journalistic resources by both public and private news networks, including a large sector of ethnic media that could surely benefit from the 60 languages that American international broadcasters report in. This chapter argues for further collaboration between government funded international broadcasting and its domestic counterparts—both public and private—and for an adjustment in policies in order to accurately and intelligently adapt to the reality of today’s information ecology."

Kim's comment on 5 Feb 2010: "There are two good reasons for US international broadcasting to be excused from the domestic dissemination prohibition. The first is that immigrant communities in the United States appreciate news about their their home countries in their home languages. VOA, RFE/RL, and RFA provide such news, so this valuable public service should not be restricted via the internet or on local radio stations. (Some radio stations in the United States use VOA programming on a 'don't ask, don't tell' basis. Because VOA content is generally not protected by copyright, they use it without asking the permission that VOA would not be able to grant.)"

Missourian (Columbia, MO), 27 July 2010, Naomi Stevens: "How often do you surf for new stations on your radio? If you rely on presets alone, you're probably missing KLJE/107.9 FM, which broadcasts from downtown Columbia. KLJE, which stands for Kingdom of Lord Jesus Expansion, is owned and operated by the Columbia Chinese Christian Church. Right now, music, sermons and news are broadcast in Chinese only, but the church's pastor, Billy Ko, wants to broaden the listening audience. ... While most of the material is recorded by Chinese Christians in Columbia, the news on the station comes from Voice of America, an organization funded by the U.S. government that issues news in dozens of languages." -- Unlike the Somali radio program in Minneapolis, KLJE apparently did not make the mistake of asking VOA for permission to use its content.

Grab your popcorn: this Friday's BBG meeting will be webcasted.

Posted: 13 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 10 Sept 2010: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Friday, September 17, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The BBG will be considering BBG Governance Committee recommendations, the BBG’s research program and other business. The meeting is open – via webcast – to the public. The public may observe the open meeting via live and on demand streaming at www.bbg.gov." -- This will be the first opportunity for the public to observe a BBG meeting, if not participate.

CFR fellow whose title has 32 syllables says public diplomacy "maybe makes a difference in the margins."

Posted: 13 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Council on Foreign Relations, 10 Sept 2010, Greg Brundo interviewing Richard A. Falkenrath, Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Adjunct Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security: "I personally am a bit of a skeptic of these sorts of public diplomacy. Public viewers are going to form their own opinion based on what they see on television, and I think in the minds of many people around the world, their opinion of U.S. actions in Iraq is already set, and it's not going to change if the president gives more speeches, or if we put out different press releases, or establish alternative means of getting information. We do some of that; maybe it makes a difference in the margins. But we're talking about very small numbers of people that we worry about. If we successfully impact the hearts and minds of 50 percent of the global Muslim population, we still have the less than 1 percent that is a potential threat that is unaffected."

Reports that SMS text messages were shut down in Mozambique.

Posted: 13 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Business Day (Johannesburg), 7 Sept 2010, Des Latham: "As Mozambique, Iran and China have shown, mobile phone text messaging is showing an ability for the poor to mobilize quickly. ... Some SMS read 'Let's protest the increase in energy, water, mini-bus taxi and bread prices. Send to other Mozambicans.' ... About a quarter of all Mozambique's 20 million people have access to mobile phone technology, and the cheapest phones all have SMS functionality."

News24 (Cape Town), 11 September 2010: "Vodacom Mozambique had violated Mozambicans' rights if reports were true that the cellphone operator obeyed a government order to shut down SMSing services to clients, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) said on Saturday. ... Independent news sheet Mediafax on Friday reported Mozambique's telecommunications regulator sent a letter to Vodacom Mozambique and state operator mCel last Monday ordering them to suspend SMSing facilites for clients. The order was sent after a widespread viral SMS campaign fuelled three days of food riots at the start of September which killed 13. Pay-as-you-go customers, the bulk of cellphone users in the country, could not send SMSes from Monday to Thursday. Contract customers could still send SMSes after negotiations between the operators and authorities, according to Mediafax. Mozambican Communications Minister Paulo Zucula denied any orders were given to suspend SMS functions, while mCel declined to comment. Neither Vodacom Mozambique nor Vodacom South Africa responded to enquiries by Sapa."

In other mobile news: MobileActive.org, 10 Sept 2010: "BBC Janala is part of a multi-platform effort to bring English language education to millions of Bangladeshi people. It is part of the BBC World Service Trust’s 'English in Action' program, dedicated to teaching English to 25 million people in Bangladesh. Using mobile phones, BBC Janala offers audio English lessons and quizzes to callers – and in a short amount of time has seen rapid pickup across the country. ... The current audience break down is: 10.8 million young people, 4.8 million merchants, 2.3 non-merchant adult men, and 2.3 million women."

"Take an axe to the BBC, but save the World Service."

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 11 Sept 2010, Alasdair Palmer: "The quality of government is a critical factor in economic success. Countries with corrupt and incompetent governments stay poor no matter how much aid they are given, largely because the politicians simply steal it. They know that the best way to preserve their privileges is to ensure that the people they steal from don’t know what’s going on. Which is why corrupt governments are also governments that do their best to destroy any semblance of a free press, replacing journalists with toadies who can be bullied and bribed into pumping out propaganda. That’s where the World Service comes in. In many poor countries, it is the only source of accurate and impartial news. It is a daily demonstration that there is an alternative to lies and falsehood, and it represents the possibility that eventually, the people will be able to hold their corrupt rulers to account."

House of Commons Hansard, 9 Sept 2010: Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) (Con): May we have a statement from the Foreign Secretary on the future of the BBC World Service, and in particular on the future of the BBC Russian Service? It has not been above criticism in the past, but if it were to disappear completely, we would never get the frequencies back for broadcasts. Sir George Young: My hon. Friend makes a good point, and the World Service is respected throughout the world. I will certainly pass his concerns on to the Foreign Secretary. The issue may well not be resolved until the CSR [spending review] is finalised." See previous post about same subject.

BBC Worldwide names a Global iPlayer Launch Director.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
paidContent.org, 10 Sept 2010, Robert Andrews: "BBC Worldwide is plucking an iPlayer exec from the BBC itself to drive through its stuttering plan to launch an overseas version of the VOD service. It’s giving the new post of Global iPlayer Launch Director to Mark Smith, who has been filling the role of general manager for programmes and on-demand at the BBC on an acting basis. ... It means BBC Worldwide, the commercial wing, will have an exec with direct experience of the popular UK catch-up service. Indeed, Smith will work not from New York, where many of BBCWW’s operations are, but from London, where the public-service iPlayer is managed. The iPlayer is not available outside the UK because it depends on licenses from TV show producers which were signed on a UK-only basis, allowing the producers to commercialise their work following an initial window of BBC linear and VOD exclusivity. But BBCWW is eager to launch a worldwide version that would allow it to charge payments for, or place ads against shows like Doctor Who, Torchwood and Top Gear, which are popular in the U.S. in particular." See previous post about same subject.

BBC Worldwide hopes "relentlessly gloomy" Wallander sells well internationally.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Deadline, 10 Sept 2010, Tim Adler: "Masterpiece’s Fall kicks off on Sunday, October 3 with the second series of Wallander, the Swedish detective portrayed by Kenneth Branagh, memorably described by one critic as 'having the permanent mien of a recently slaughtered halibut'. British critics have found series two relentlessly gloomy, although they couldn’t find much to criticise in the acting, stories or production design. ... BBC Worldwide hopes that Wallander will sell as well internationally as ITV’s Inspector Morse did, which sold to more than 200 territories."

The Guardian, 9 Sept 2010, Jason Deans: "Wayne Garvie, the executive responsible for growing BBC Worldwide's international production business, is leaving to join the super indie All3Media. Garvie will become managing director of international production at All3Media, which owns the independent producers responsible for shows including Skins, Hollyoaks, Midsomer Murders, Shameless, Saturday Kitchen and Fifth Gear. ... John Smith, BBC Worldwide chief executive, said: 'Wayne has had an exemplary career at the BBC, including the last four years at BBC Worldwide. He goes with our gratitude for all he has done, particularly in establishing our international production base and taking fantastic shows such as Dancing with the Stars to the world.'"

Iran adds Arabic-language iFilm to its stable of international channels.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, Ya Libnan, 9 Sept 2010: "Iran has launched a 24-hour satellite television entertainment channel to broadcast serials and films to audiences in the Arab world, media reported on Friday. The state-run iFilm channel will broadcast programs dubbed into Arabic for viewers in Lebanon, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, reports said. ... The channel’s launch comes three years after the start of Press TV, which the Islamic republic says is a bid to break the 'stranglehold' of the West over the world media. Iran’s state-run broadcaster already operates Al-Alam, a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel whose slick programming has won a loyal following from Shiite Muslims in Lebanon and Iraq. It was launched at around the time of US invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The state broadcaster also runs Jam-e Jam, which airs Farsi programs for Iranians living abroad, and the Arabic Al-Kawthar which broadcasts a mix of news, religious talk shows and Iranian soap operas dubbed into Arabic. Although Tehran uses satellites to broadcast its programming abroad, it is still illegal to have satellite receivers inside the country, where officials frequently denounce the 'cultural decadence' spread by foreign channels."

Press TV, 9 Sept 2010: "The iFilm international channel will broadcast on Badr 4 (Arabsat), frequency: 12169 MHz, vertical polarization, symbol rate: 27500, FEC 3/4. It can also be received on Atlantic Bird 4A (Nilesat), frequency: 11393 MHz, vertical position, symbol rate: 27500, FEC 3/4; and Eutelsat W6, frequency: 11564 MHz, vertical position, symbol rate: 3214, FEC 3/4."

The softest of soft power: Farsi1 attracts viewers in Iran with its all-entertainment format (updated).

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 3 September 2010, Sahar Namazikhah: "A satellite TV station broadcasting from Dubai is now so popular in Iran that it has the authorities seriously worried, even though its content is entertainment, not politics. Farsi1 , which has been on the airwaves for just over one year, is now much part of the social fabric that the shows it airs are popular all across Iran, even in the remotest villages. ... One possible indicator of the station’s growing popularity is a report from the frontier guards service showing a massive increase in interceptions of smuggled satellite receivers in recent months. Satellite dishes and receivers are banned in Iran and anyone found with one installed has to pay a fine. Some Iranians believe that the government tolerates Farsi1 because its standard fare of entertainment does not present a political challenge, and may offer a useful distraction from the troubles facing the country. ... The focus on pure entertainment seems to have given FarsiTV the edge over other rivals – even the BBC’s Persian TV service launched at the beginning of 2009. IRIB recently conducted a confidential survey which – at least according to the excerpts published on the Jahan News website – indicated that BBC Persian’s audience had fallen by 30 per cent since Farsi1 was launched." -- The article does not discuss Farsi1's business plan. It may be difficult to sell advertising on a channel that does not operate inside Iran. See also www.farsi1.tv.

Update: The Economist, 9 Sept 2010: "Since the summer, conservatives have become alarmed by the hold that Farsi1’s fatuous fare was exerting over huge numbers of mainly urban Iranians. No middle-class dinner party, it seemed, was complete without analysis of Salvador (above), the hunky hero of 'Body of Desire', a Colombian telenovela. Conservatives responded by denouncing Farsi1’s “corrupting” effects, and its signal was jammed at the end of July. Since then, the channel has begun broadcasting from a different satellite. Middle-class Iranians needed help in reorientating their dishes accordingly. 'I had to wait for days,' says one viewer, 'and when the satellite man finally did come, he spent his time receiving calls from other clients, who wanted him to go and fix their dishes.' She hopes to counter future disruption with the help of a remote device that allows her to change the angle of her dish from her living room."

RFE/RL: Iranian blogger criticizes Iranian bloggers.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 10 Sept 2010: "An exiled Iranian political cartoonist and blogger says the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) plan to conduct a 'soft war' against Iran's 'enemies' is flawed because of the government's ideology, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. The IRGC commander in the holy city of Qom, General Ebrahim Jabari, said on September 7 that some 2,000 Basij members would be taught to operate blogs for what he called a 'soft war' against 'enemies.'"

Radio Sawa's question of the week gives Iraqis an opportunity to scoff.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 10 Sept 2010, Nir Rosen: "Not everyone has such confidence in the ability of the Iraqi army and police to maintain security in the wake of the withdrawal of American combat troops. This was the question of the week on the popular American-sponsored station Radio Sawa; most of the callers said 'no'. 'They can’t even protect themselves,' one caller scoffed."

Former Telesur reporter wanted by Colombia for alleged FARC links (updated again).

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
CNN, 8 September 2010: "A Colombian journalist wanted by authorities for alleged links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, proclaimed his innocence in a statement Tuesday. William Parra, an independent journalist who previously worked with the Venezuelan-based Telesur network, said he would appeal the allegations to international bodies to prove that the charges were a violation of his rights. ... For its part, Telesur defended Parra's record while distancing themselves from his legal troubles. The network, which is financed by the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and is known for its leftist slant to its coverage, said the charges against Parra were a plot to discredit it."

Reporters sans frontières, 10 September 2010: "The prosecutor who initiated legal proceedings against former Telesur reporter William Parra, retired military officer Ricardo Bejarano, was removed from the case yesterday and was relieved of his post within the anti-terrorism section of the attorney-general’s office. No reason was given for the move, which came after irregularities were pointed out in the proceedings against Parra."

Update: AP, 11 Sept 2010: "A Colombian reporter accused of conspiring with leftist rebels denied the allegations Friday, saying his contacts with the guerrillas were purely for his journalistic work. William Parra said in an interview with The Associated Press in Venezuela, where he lives, that police and military in his home country have viewed him as an enemy ever since he refused to lead them to a camp where he interviewed a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. ... Parra was press secretary for then-Colombian President Ernesto Samper in the 1990s and has recently worked with Telesur, the regional TV network backed by Venezuela's leftist government. He said he has worked independently since leaving Telesur in 2008. Parra has lived for several years in Venezuela, where he obtained refugee status saying he faced political persecution in Colombia."

Xinhua television in English and Chinese now available on iPhone.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 11 Sept 2010: "Users of the iPhone can enjoy both the Chinese and English television broadcasts of Xinhua News Agency from Saturday. After downloading an application from Apple's app store, iPhone users will be able to watch the two channels' round-the-clock news programs through both wifi and 3G networks, said Wu Jincai, chairman of China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), the TV arm of Xinhua News Agency. Users of the iPod and iTouch can also access the same service. CNC began broadcasting in January and its English channel, CNC World, began satellite and cable broadcasts in July. 'We hope to provide another perspective for global audiences to learn about news events,' Wu said.'" -- Of course, iPhone users in China cannot access CNN, BBC, or any other international news source.

CNBC Asia interviews Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bernama, 11 Sept 2010, full transcript of CNBC Asia interview with Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak: "CNBC: One of the items of your agenda is you've been meeting with US President Barack Obama. What message will you have for him from Malaysia? Najib: The message is that this is an important region and that the United States cannot afford not to have a serious policy toward Asia, a very serious engagement toward Asia, and that should manifest itself in many ways." -- This interview was widely cited by the Malaysian press.

Pacific international broadcasters defend their coverage of Fiji news.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Pacific Scoop, 11 Sept 2010, Shannon Gillies: "Claims of inaccurate reporting by Fiji regime authorities at New Zealand and Australian media have been dismissed by most editors and correspondents canvassed by Pacific Scoop who say most reporting is 'fair and factual' and the country gets the press it deserves. ... Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney of the ABC News Asia Pacific News Centre, speaking personally, says ... 'Radio Australia and Australia Network provide quite a bit of coverage of what has happened in Fiji, coverage of issues there by Australian domestic news outlets is mostly contained to events like the expulsion of journalists, and diplomats, and the odd inflammatory statement by [interim prime minister] Commodore Frank Bainimarama or one of his colleagues... .' ... Radio New Zealand International reporter Megan Whelan says one of the problems with covering Fiji is that under the current censorship regime there is a shortage of people to talk to. The station has tried to represent Fiji as fairly as possible but the Fiji government was not as accessible as they could be, she says."

III Kings of the Solomon Islands win Radio Australia Pacific Break music contest.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Australia, 10 September 2010: "After much careful consideration and many hours of close listening, our judges have decided who will fly to Fest’napuan as our 2010 Pacific Break winners. Ladies, gentlemen — we’d like to introduce you to III Kings! It was a difficult process, and with a record number of entries this year (over 120), there were many songs that caught the attention of our judges. Damian, Annette and Sarah were impressed by some wonderful production values, as well as touching or even groundbreaking songwriting, and beautiful voices and musicianship. They expressed high hopes for a number of artists, and were genuinely excited with the startling quality of music across the entire range of entries... . III Kings are a ten-piece band based in Honiara [Solomon Island] who’ve been playing together for about five years." With audio.

Solomon Star, 10 Sept 2010: "More than 120 bands entered the Pacific Break competition, with the majority from the Solomon Islands."

Teenage finalists of Princess Christina music competition broadcast live on Radio Netherlands.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands, 10 Sept 2010: "Four teenage finalists of the Princess Christina Competition are to perform live at Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Violinist Joep van Beijnum, saxophonist Dineke Nauta, pianist Ghil Bae and guitarist Tuur Segers will play at the RNW studios in Hilversum on Saturday, 11 September. ... The live concert at RNW is an annual event. The programme (broadcast live between 14.00 and 16.00 local time) can be heard on internet and via satellite. Listeners in Europe can tune in on the usual short-wave frequencies. In western and central Europe the frequency is 5955 kHz, in southwestern Europe it is 9895 kHz. A video report will be posted on our website following the concert." -- Sorry that I did not post this in time for live listening. I don't see a link to the video yet at www.rnw.nl.

"Big men" in Nigeria tune to foreign radio and television.

Posted: 12 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Daily Trust (Abuja), 9 September 2010, Idangalibi: "I have had the privilege of visiting some of our big men in their homes and have discovered, quite sadly, that many of them are permanently tuned to CNN, Sky News, Super Sports, Al-Jezeera, BBC, VOA, Radio France International and other foreign radio and TV stations. In fact, there are some of them who tell me with a certain amount of pride that they never watch the 'trash' on NTA [Nigerian Television Authority] or on our other TV stations nor do they listen to our radios."

RFE/RL reports on Ukrainian television station under pressure from government.

Posted: 11 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Maidan (Ames, IA), 8 September 2010, summarizing story by RFE/RL Ukrainian: "Pressure from the authorities on the largest and most popular TV and Radio Broadcasting Company [TRC] in the Crimea – 'Chornomorska' – is arousing protest among the Crimean public. On Wednesday morning Chornomorska journalists, technical staff and TV viewers are planning to picket the Crimean Council of Ministers. The organizing committee explains that this is in protest against the actions of the authorities aimed at closing Ukraine’s largest private regional TV channel. ... In the last few days the Head of the company, Tetyana Kraskova stated that the Crimean authorities are using the tax authorities and the SBU to continue putting pressure on the Chornomorska TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. In her view, the final aim of the authorities is to close Chornomorska and remove the only opposition television channel." Original: RFE/RL Радіо Свобода, 8 September 2010.

RFE/RL, 10 September 2010, commentary by Alexa Chopivsky: "Ukraine's new rulers must better understand the value of peaceful free expression in a democracy if they seek broader legitimacy at home and respect abroad."

Well, actually, Ryan Seacrest is the Daoud Sediqi of the United States.

Posted: 11 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 9 Sept 2010: "A groundbreaking new Voice of America television program, Karwan (Caravan), premiers in Afghanistan Friday, with an exciting and youthful approach to critical issues facing the country. The 30-minute dual-language weekly program, broadcast in both Dari and Pashto, will tackle social and political issues, culture, health, education and other topics, highlighting what young people are doing in Afghanistan and the United States. The program is hosted by the easygoing Daoud Sediqi, who has been called the 'Ryan Seacrest of Afghanistan.' Before coming to the United States Daoud was the moderator of Afghan Star, the wildly popular Afghan talent show modeled on American Idol. ... The program, which is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, plans to develop ways for viewers to send in web-based videos to expand the dialogue." -- On what conditions, concerning content, does VOA accept the State funding? None, I assume.

RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 7 Sept 2010: "On September 8 in London, RFE Senior Correspondent Abubakar Siddique took part in a special debate on BBC Radio 4 titled, 'Has the Taliban Won in Afghanistan?' ... Siddique argued that the Taliban have not won the war because they had failed to achieve there stated goal of a caliphate run under Sharia Law."

If Qurans are burned, VOA will decide about showing any video or photo.

Posted: 11 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News Blog, 10 September 2010, Alex Belida: "What makes news? And how do editors decide whether to cover some events and not cover others? The plan, now suspended, by the leader of a small Christian church in Florida to burn copies of the Quran makes a good case study. ... As for VOA News, which has been and will continue reporting on the story, VOA Director Danforth Austin has said it is 'hard to imagine a circumstance under which running video or a photo of a Quran burning would be justified.' He said VOA would make a final decision only after viewing any video or photo that does become available." -- Pastor Jones's latest is that he will not burn Qurans "not today, not ever," thus, for now, relieving VOA of the need to make any such decision. See previous post about same subject.

Obit: Werner Michel monitored shortwave for CBS and directed VOA bureau during World War II.

Posted: 11 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Advertising Age, 8 September 2010: "Werner Michel, an advertising and TV executive present during the formation of some of the small screen's earliest programs, died on Aug. 27 in New York. He was 100. ... A native of the Alsace region of France, Mr. Michel spent most of his youth in Vienna learning to be a musicologist. His family fled as Hitler began to assert Germany's power over the region, and they arrived in the U.S. in 1938. CBS hired Mr. Michel two years later to listen to news programs on a shortwave radio and translate newsy information into English. As a result, he began creating shows for radio. Because of his language skills, he was recruited by the Voice of America, where he wound up as director of the VOA broadcast bureau during World War II, working with legendary broadcasters from Edward R. Murrow on down." -- Some accounts says that Mr. Michel was "head" of VOA, but that is not indicated in this list of VOA directors. Head of VOA German, maybe. His work with Murrow would have more likely been in his CBS, not VOA, capacity.

VOA acquisition of celebrity news creates a Splash.

Posted: 11 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Post, 11 September 2010, Maxine Shen: "The federal government is officially getting into the celebrity gossip biz. The tax-funded Voice of America has signed a deal with Splash News, the LA-based paparazzi agency that supplies newspapers and magazines with the latest dish on Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, etc., for news and video that will be broadcast to the Middle East, Asia and Africa. 'Hollywood, its celebrities and American media are among the United States' largest exports,' says executive editor Steve Redisch. 'VOA has an obligation to report on it, explain it and give context to it.' The deal pays Splash $80,400 a year for nine one-minute segments a week and a half-hour program to air on nine satellite stations."

Press Gazette, 10 September 2010, Dominic Ponsford: "US State Department-funded [sic] broadcaster Voice of America has signed a deal with British owned news agency Splash to win hearts and minds in the Middle East and Developing World by beaming them the latest celebrity news. Splash News and Pictures has signed a licensing deal to supply Voice of America with a weekly half hour TV show. This means millions of viewers in the Middle East, Asia and Africa will have access to the latest news about the adventures of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian via the US government-funded broadcasting network."

The Register, 10 September 2010, Lester Haines. "In what is evidently an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by Koran-burning pastors, the US government will attempt to dissuade outraged citizens of the Middle East from joining al-Qaeda by beaming Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears across the Voice of America's airwaves."

VOA coverage of US celebrities is nothing new. VOA has 24-hour satellite channels, mostly in English. They are seen on or in a small number of cable systems and hotel rooms, but mainly they are feeds to affiliate stations. The English content consists largely of acquired programs, either inexpensive or free. As "full service" channels about the United States, it is not unreasonable that some (39 minutes a week) of the content would be about celebrities. For better or worse, such content attracts audiences and affiliate stations. It's also possible that this content will be versioned by VOA's various non-English language services that have television or video output. See also www.splashnews.com.

Korean propaganda news.

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
National Post (Toronto), 9 September 2010, Peter Goodspeed: "North Korea has never been known for the spellbinding quality of its propaganda. So it is not surprising the latest catch-phrase employed to bolster support for the world's only communist monarchy is 'Computer Numerical Control' or 'CNC.' The phrase, which has been popping up in official news broadcasts and on propaganda posters and factory bulletin boards for more than a year, is a peculiar code for Kim Jong-un, dictator Kim Jong-il's youngest son and supposed heir. ... Kim Jong-un, 27, is virtually unknown beyond government reports of his role in supervising the implementation of 'computer numerical control,' but has his own special succession anthem. Footsteps declares, 'Commander Kim is stepping forward [and] taking over.'"

The Economist, 9 September 2010: At the Pyongyang conference, "the most likely scenario will be for the dictator-in-waiting, a Swiss-educated, untested man still in his 20s, to get an important post on the central committee of the Korean Workers’ Party. A huge propaganda exercise is also expected: Open Radio for North Korea, a short-wave radio station, reports that 10m portraits of the young man have been ordered, for distribution after the conference. Kim Jong Il was similarly elevated in and after the 1980 party congress."

AFP, 9 September 2010: "In South Korea, about 100 refugees from the North and other activists gathered near the border to release 10 giant balloons carrying some 100,000 propaganda leaflets towards North Korea. The balloons carried slogans such as "Kim Jong-Il, the enemy of the people" and 'We oppose third-generation power succession'."

The Korea Times, 9 September 2010, Lee Tae-hoon: South Korea "police forced website operators to delete 42,787 pro-North Korean posts on the Internet in the first half of the year, up about 100 times compared to five years ago, according to data released by Rep. Ahn Hyoung-hwan of the governing Grand National Party Thursday."

Report: Deputy director of French international broadcasting will marry (updated and denied).

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
"France's 70-year-old foreign minister, former humanitarian champion Bernard Kouchner, is to marry his long-term companion in Rome, a source close to the political veteran said Wednesday. 'He has that project,' the source told AFP, when asked whether Kouchner plans to wed 66-year-old Christine Ockrent, who is his girlfriend of many years and a well-known journalist and broadcaster in her own right. ... Ockrent is a veteran journalist and commentator in print, television and radio and now serves as the head [of] France's state international broadcaster, which oversees RFI radio, and the TV5 Monde and France 24 TV networks." -- Ockrent is deputy director general of l'Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France. See previous post.

AFP, 10 Sept 2010: "The French foreign ministry on Friday denied reports that 70-year-old foreign minister Bernard Kouchner plans to marry his long-term companion, journalist Christine Ockrent. 'I can assure you on Bernard Kouchner's behalf that these rumours are unfounded,' ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told AFP by telephone from Brussels, where Kouchner was attending informal EU talks. ... Ockrent is a veteran journalist and commentator in print, television and radio and now serves as the head of France's state international broadcaster, which oversees RFI radio, and the TV5 Monde and France 24 TV networks."

Piers Morgan, international broadcaster.

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Time Warner press release, 8 September 2010: "Global media personality and veteran newspaper editor Piers Morgan will host a candid, in-depth newsmaker interview program on CNN beginning in January, it was announced today by Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. The new program will air weeknights on CNN/U.S. at 9 pm ET/PT and will air worldwide on CNN International in more than 200 countries." -- Replaces Larry King.

Turkish soap operas are changing Bulgarian attitudes about Turkey.

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
PRI The World, 6 September 2010: "Turkish soap operas are hugely popular in Bulgaria today. One of the main Bulgarian channels shows Turkish soaps six and a half hours a day. ... Bulgaria used to consider its southern neighbor backward and strictly Islamic, Brunwasser reports. The shows are changing that by showing glamorous Istanbul locations and attractive characters living modern lifestyles."

TV2MORO adds Syrian channels to its North American IPTV lineup.

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
TV2MORO press release, 8 Sept 2010: "The State owned Syrian Satellite Channel and the newly launched sister channel, Syria Drama, have launched on TV2MORO as part of the Premium Packages in the USA and Canada. ... Earlier this year, TV2MORO launched two top tier Arabic television subscription packages servicing Arab Americans and Arab Canadians coast to coast. ... TV2MORO is an ethnic programming IPTV distribution network focusing on Diaspora communities in North America, Australia and Europe. Using the latest technology and Internet innovations, TV2MORO promises to re shape the way ethnic and specialty channels are distributed worldwide."

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya coverage of planned Quran burning noted by other news media.

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 8 Sept 2010: "The two top Arabic news channels, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, reported the news in the context of a backlash in the U.S. against Muslims, and questioned how U.S. leaders could continue calling for peace and religious tolerance in other countries, if these episodes continued to flare up in America."

BBC News, 8 Sept 2010: "In its Wednesday morning bulletin, al-Jazeera described the plan as an 'unprecedented' and 'ferocious' attack on Islam and Muslims. ... The story was the third item on Dubai-based al-Arabiya, which reported civilian and military leaders had intensified calls for Mr Jones to scrap the idea."

UTV, 8 September 2010: "Reactions to the affair featured prominently on the popular Arabic satellite TV channel al-Jazeera and its Saudi rival, al-Arabiya."

PBS Newshour, 7 Sept 2010, guest March Lynch: "Where it's really playing out is with the mainstream, with Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, you know, the major TV stations, newspapers."

Aljazeera.net, 9 Sept 2010: "As a fringe Florida pastor courts global controversy by pushing ahead with plans to burn copies of the Quran, many in the Islamic world will be looking on and asking why the US government does not simply ban the event from taking place. ... But the First Amendment to the US constitution, one of the sacrosanct documents of the American bill of rights, prevents the government from interfering in personal freedom of expression, assembly and religion. In the US, the right to express oneself- no matter how offensive that expression might be- is seen as a fundamental part of what it is to be American."

Washington Times, 7 Seopt 2010: "'President Obama's news coverage is more positive in Arab and European television newscasts than on U.S. network news. His most positive coverage came from Al Jazeera, the controversial international news network based in Qatar, while his most negative coverage came from the U.S.-based Fox News Channel,' says S. Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. Mr. Lichter and fellow media scholars Stephen Farnsworth and Roland Schatz of Media Tenor International parsed the coverage of Mr. Obama from January 2009 through June 2010 on the evening newscasts of 13 major American, European and Middle Eastern television outlets, including Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Al-Manar, LBC and Nile News." See also Center for Media and Public Affairs press release, 7 Sept 2010.

Listening to television: Al Jazeera English might be carried by Pacifica radio stations.

Posted: 10 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 9 September 2010, Paul Farhi: "Pacifica Radio, the nonprofit organization that runs the nation's oldest public-radio network, is in talks with the Al Jazeera Network to put the Persian Gulf-based news service on its five stations, including WPFW-FM in Washington. ... Pacifica's parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation in Berkeley, Calif., has been negotiating with Doha-based Al Jazeera to carry the audio portion of its English-language TV channel, according to people familiar with the discussions. Closing a deal with Pacifica, which is known for its liberal-leaning programming, would be a boost for Al Jazeera. The network, owned by the emir of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, has struggled to gain a foothold in the American market."

Radio Survivor, 10 Sept 2010, Matthew Lasar: "I really hope Pacifica can get this going. The network urgently needs to draw in a younger, more diverse audience, and it’s never going to be able to do that on its own. This is just the kind of outside-the-box breakthrough Pacifica needs."

CRI in Galveston, and could more foreign radio leases help save the US AM band?

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Business Report, 8 September 2010: "SIGA Broadcasting’s KGBC-AM 1540 Galveston, TX served the Galveston area since 1947. This year the station blew up its Oldies format and leased all of its airtime to one of China's state-owned media companies/news agencies, China Radio International (CRI). ... CRI can also be heard here on New World Media’s WUST-AM 1120 DC-Baltimore and WNWR-AM 1540 in Philadelphia. But these stations aren’t leasing to CRI 24/7, like KGBC. Of course, multicultural radio and block programming is nothing new in the U.S., neither is full-time station leasing. In L.A. and NYC, we have 24/7 Korean LP TV stations taking the Korean National Network and rebroadcasting it. Emmis has a time brokerage agreement on an FM in LA and the programming is coming out of Mexico. ... Could more and more CRI full-time station leases be signed with desperate broadcasters? Of course. Could foreign governments airing potential propaganda 24/7 in 50 top markets be something to question? Yes -- both are things to consider. On the other hand, of course, any investment in the AM medium these days is a good thing. Perhaps it’s not so bad to have a bit of investment come back our way. So we’ll see how this might help the AM band down the road." See previous post about same subject.

International broadcasters cover the Burmese election (updated).

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Irrawaddy, 4 September 2010, Moe Thu: "'People are disinterested [in Burma's November election] because they know nothing will happen,' said Cho, a farmer in Mandalay Division. He said farmers like him think that any changes that come from the election will bring no benefits to them—only to the country's elite. ... Cho said that people are not interested in politics because they feel they are not being kept informed. He said that of the little he has heard about the election from foreign radio programs, he knows that only a few parties will run. The 50-year-old graduate farmer said he spends three hours every day listening to the BBC, VOA and RFA [Radio Free Asia] that broadcast in Burmese. He said he does not trust local programs."

Update: Reporters sans frontières, 7 September 2010: "With just two months to go to the general elections that the military government plans to hold on 7 November, there are still no grounds for thinking that the Burmese and foreign media will be able to cover the campaign and polling freely. ... Burma has more than 150 privately-owned newspapers and magazines but they are all subject to pre-publication censorship by the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division, commonly known as the Press Scrutiny Board, which is run by a military officer. This kind of censorship is virtually unique in the world and prevents the emergence of any editorial independence. The international media that broadcast in Burmese – BBC, RFA, VOA and DVB – have never been allowed to work freely inside the country and have repeatedly been attacked by the military government. Very few visas are issued to foreign reporters." See previous post about BBC Burmese.

Russia Today (RT) claims larger audiences than Al Jazeera English in Bangkok and Taipei.

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
News on News, 8 September 2010, apparent press release: "RT’s audience exceeds that of Al Jazeera English in South Asia’s largest business and tourism centers Bangkok and Taipei. RT’s audience exceeds that of one of the leading international channels, Al Jazeera English in Bangkok and Taipei, according to a Pan Asia Pacific Cross Media Survey (PAX). RT’s success comes despite Al Jazeera’s heavy investment in a large number of SE Asian news bureaus and a TV center in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia." -- The PAX survey covers elites. It doesn't say what quarter of what year the survey covers. Other international channels will probably step forward to claim success from the survey. Note that RT did not compare its audience with those of BBC and CNN.

Cover EU affairs. Then you can be independent.

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
EurActiv.com, 8 September 2010: "Better communication of EU affairs by public service broadcasters is key to bridging the gap between the European Union and its citizens, said the European Parliament yesterday (7 September), highlighting in particular the 'huge potential' of social media to reach out to young people. ... The report calls on the EU to 'foster the establishment of transnational media […], while tightening up the rules intended to safeguard pluralism and combat concentration of media ownership,' identifying broadcasting Euronews in all EU languages and making the Parliament's EuroparlTV service 'more effective' as ways of achieving this. ... But yesterday's report stressed that while public service broadcasters 'have a responsibility to cover the EU' and should set themselves 'ambitious targets' in this regard, member states should must always ensure that the broadcasters are independent."

Japan's Kyodo News redesigns its English website.

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Kyodo News press release, 8 September 2010: "Kyodo News has launched a fully redesigned website for its English-language service as part of efforts to strengthen its multilingual and multimedia services. ... The new site offers a wide range of subscription options according to customer needs. ... The Kyodo News English-language service covers developments around the globe 24 hours a day, with a particular focus on Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. It transmits over 200 news stories daily on topics ranging from politics and the economy to crime and accidents, science and sports." URL is english.kyodonews.jp.

Radio Okapi "has several important roles in the Democratic Republic of Congo."

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
International Press Institute, 7 September 2010, Naomi Hunt, interviewing Leonard Mulamba is editor-in-chief at Radio Okapi: "Radio Okapi has several important roles in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The foremost role is to inform, educate and entertain the Congolese people in all fields: political, social, economic, cultural, sports … To give you an exact idea of the work we do, you should know that the DRC has a population of more than 60 million inhabitants. This population is scattered over an area of nearly 2.4 million km² - almost the size of the whole of Western Europe. Radio Okapi is the only radio station to cover almost all of this vast country. With eight provincial studios, dozens of FM transmitters, but also shortwave, a broadcast-satellite DSTV on channel 167, as well as a webcast (www.radiookapi.net) and dozens of community radio stations which relay its signal, Radio Okapi is present 24 hours a day for the Congolese. ... And most importantly, Radio Okapi broadcasts news not only French, the language of the DRC, but also in the four national languages: Lingala, Kikongo, Tshiluba and Swahili." -- Radio Okapi is funded by Fondation Hirondelle and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

More discussion of BBC iPlayer and its international availability.

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Fast Company, 7 September 2010, Kit Eaton: "Recently there were a number of rumors that suggested the BBC would be bringing the iPlayer to international audiences for the first time in 2011. We've heard these rumors before, but this time they have a ring of authority. Earlier moves seem to have been squashed due to the BBC's complicated status as a quasi-public owned entity, but this time many of these objections appear to have fallen away as it's now plausible for the Beeb to easily charge overseas viewers to see the content. And when this happens, the venerable BBC may suddenly burst onto the Web TV stage as a serious player. Its shows are widely syndicated around the world, and highly regarded in terms of quality of both content and production, and combined with a globally-accessible Web portal the BBC's reach would be even greater." -- The BBC iPlayer is not a piece of hardware, but a BBC website portal to BBC radio and television on demand. Only the radio part works, for now, outside the UK. See bbc.co.uk/iplayer. See previous post about same subject.

DStv chooses breakfast launch, not lunch launch, for BBC's World News Africa Business Report.

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 9 September 2010: South African DTH satellite service "DStv held a breakfast launch for the BBC's World News Africa Business Report in Parktown on Tuesday, 7 September 2010, hosted by BBC's Komla Dumor. Speaking at the event, Govan Reddy, former SABC radio head, indicated that the Media Appeals Tribunal could inflict irreparable damage on South Africa's image as a nation that champions free speech. Former SABC radio head Reddy said the tragedy of what was happening in South Africa should be seen in light of the drawing up of 'one of the finest' Constitution's in the world in 1994 to the nadir brought about by the mooted media tribunal." See also BBC Africa Business Report web page.

BBC Worldwide America hires a COO to "drive growth and profits."

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC America press release, 8 September 2010: "Ann Sarnoff has been named Chief Operating Officer at BBC Worldwide America, reporting to U.S. company president, Herb Scannell. Her appointment follows last week’s announcement of Perry Simon as General Manager, Channels. Both are new roles in Scannell’s senior executive team. Sarnoff, who joins the BBC from Dow Jones, will drive growth and profits across the company’s U.S. businesses. She will oversee advertising and affiliate sales for BBC America as well as digital assets including digital syndication and BBC.com, which attracts more than 16 million U.S. users a month."

Hague: BBC World Service will contribute to UK spending cuts, but the chance of closing BBC Burmese is "small."

Posted: 09 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 9 September 2010: "Foreign Secretary William Hague has issued a reassurance about the future of BBC World Service broadcasts in Burma today amid reports they could fall victim to spending cuts. Hague told MPs the organisation could not expect to escape the cost-cutting being imposed across Government and would not rule out the possibility that some services would be lost. But he insisted targeting Burma would 'not be a very good way of saving money' and that the impact of a particular service on promoting human rights would be a factor in identifying savings. ... 'Can the BBC World Service make itself more efficient and therefore contribute to the spending round? Yes, I think it can and it thinks it can.'"

The Guardian, 8 September 2010, Andrew Sparrow and James Robinson: "Hague told the Commons foreign affairs committee ... 'Here am I as someone who in opposition has appeared on platforms with Burmese human rights activists, launched books with Burmese human rights activists and been on the World Service talking about Burma and the importance of communicating into it. The chances that I'm then going to sit in my office and say, "let's close the World Service into Burma" are correspondingly small.'"

BBC News, 8 September 2010: "No decisions have been taken about possible cuts to the BBC World Service's annual £264m grant, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. ... The World Service is funded by grant-in-aid rather than the licence fee. It is paid for by the government - its funding allocated by the Foreign and Commonweath Office (FCO). Mr Hunt said the coalition government ... was still looking at budgets to see whether better value could be achieved for taxpayers. An FCO spokesman said: 'Any proposal to open or close a language service requires ministerial approval - no such approval has been sought or given.'" See also BBC News, 8 September 2010.

Digital Spy, 8 September 2010, Andrew Laughlin: "Speaking to MPs on the culture, media and sport committee ... BBC director general Mark Thompson told MPs that the World Service grant-in-aid was 'absolutely in scope for the comprehensive spending review'. However, he added: 'Manifestly, these are some of the most cost-effective and leanly-run parts of the BBC and significant cuts in grant-in-aid would have a very significant and deep effect on services.'"

The Guardian, 9 September 2010, editorial: "Government departments often fight spending cuts by leaking plans to scrap something that no one can imagine losing. The threat of the cut is enough to prevent it ever taking place. That tactic may lie behind reports this week that the BBC World Service is considering axing its Burmese service, 70 years to the month since it began. If Foreign Office belt-tightening has to go this far, one wonders which other broadcasts will survive, for there can be nowhere more in need of a radio station that tells the truth than Burma." -- In the United States, we call this threatening to close the Washington Monument. Given the success of BBC Burmese in attracting an audience, and the acute need of the Burmese people for accurate information, the choice of the service as a trial balloon was silly. See previous post about same subject, including audio of Hague's answer to the Foreign Affairs Committee.

President Otunbaeva: RFE/RL is Krygyzstan's "leading source of accurate, credible information."

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 7 September 2010: "During a three-day trip to Kyrgyzstan, RFE President Jeffrey Gedmin met President Roza Otunbaeva, parliamentary candidates, journalists, and students to discuss media freedom and the recent ethnic violence in the southern city of Osh. ... In the capital, Bishkek, President Otunbaeva told Gedmin that Radio Azattyk is the country’s 'leading source of accurate, credible information.' She praised the station for providing a platform for different points of view and honest political debate."

24.kg News Agency, 7 September 2010, Nadiya Sarbagysheva: "Jeffrey Gedmin stated that it was hard for journalists to give an impartial assessment of the conflict, following the main principle of reporter’s work to distribute objective information. 'I can compare the tragedy of the Kyrgyz people with the tragedy of the United Stated on 11 September, 2001. Then the journalists did not hide their emotions and blamed everybody for the incident,' Radio Liberty president concluded."

BBG chairman "will outline his vision for the future of U.S. international broadcasting" at RFE anniversary event.

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 31 August 2010: "Walter Isaacson, Chairman, of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), and President and CEO, of The Aspen Institute will give the keynote speech at RFE's 60th Anniversary Celebration on September 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. Sixty years ago, RFE launched its first broadcast from the Empire State Building with a pledge to deliver the news 'in the American tradition of free speech.' ... On this historic RFE anniversary, recently confirmed BBG Chairman Isaacson will outline his vision for the future of U.S. international broadcasting. The event is by invitation." -- By invitation? Well, I couldn't go, anyway. That's the night I'll be rehanging the towel rack in my bathroom.

Liberian political candidate has an international broadcasting background.

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Informer via TMCnews, 6 September 2010: "A veteran Liberian broadcast journalist, Mr. Peter Kphan Toby, has declared his intention to run for the House of Representatives for District #6, Weegbyee, Saclapea, in Nimba County in next year's general presidential elections. ... In 1984, he underwent a broadcast radio and TV intensive training organized by the Voice of America VOA and also went through a nine-month radio production training in rural development at the Rural Communication Network in Monrovia. Moreover, in order to advance himself he took training in [Radio] Netherlands International in Hilversum-Holland in 1986. Upon his return home to Liberia, he worked for several media institutions including the Rural Communication Network in Gbarnga Bong County. He was the senior architect of the Renaissance Communication Network and is presently CNN freelance reporter."

National Football League via ESPN to 150 countries.

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Variety, 7 September 2010, Steve Clarke: "The National Football League and Disney-owned sports web ESPN Intl. have concluded a new rights deal that beefs up global NFL coverage. No financial details were disclosed. The agreement will see the NFL air in almost 100 countries across Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia and the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Africa and Israel to the end of the 2013-2014 season. The deal augments existing licensing agreements and gives ESPN NFL coverage in more than 150 countries outside the U.S."

BBC World Service will broadcast Premier League commentary to Africa in French, Hausa, Portuguese, Somalia, and Swahili (updated: basketball, too).

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 6 September 2010: "Football fans across sub-Saharan Africa will now be able to listen to the BBC commentating on Premier League matches in four more languages, thanks to an agreement between BBC World Service and the Premier League. The three-year deal, which will be in force until May 2014, means that the BBC's key African multimedia services – BBC Afrique (French for Africa), BBC Hausa, BBC Para Africa (Portuguese for Africa) and BBC Somali – will be offering their audiences commentary on Premier League weekend matches. The agreement also extends the existing commentary rights of the BBC Swahili service, which has been broadcasting live Saturday afternoon football commentaries since 2004. BBC Swahili will now also commentate on Sunday matches." Update:

Bizcommunity.com, 8 September 2010, Gregory Gondwe: "'Save for French, the rationale of extending such services to Malawi which already enjoys English commentary is beyond me,' said Msawanika Zungwara, an ardent Manchester United fan. He said efforts should have been made to consider broadcasting in Chichewa which is spoken in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia where it is referred to as Chinyanja as well as in some parts of Zimbabwe."

BBC Sport, 8 September 2010: "Listen to the [World Basketball Championship] final on Sunday, 12 September, live on BBC World Service and via the BBC Sport website."

Shortwave as music group name, album name, album inspiration, and opera component.

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
My Chemical Toilet, 6 September 2010, Stuart Waterman: "Aeroplane are the people who did ... this amazing remix of The Shortwave Set... ."

Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC), 2 September 2010: "Shortwave Society from Knoxville 'uses elements from orchestral and electronic soundscapes to create a unique accompaniment to their off-kilter pop songs.'"

Under the Radar, 6 September 2010: "The Transistors are set to release their long awaited new EP - Flux Pentaphile. The EP follows their debut album Short Wave released last year and was again recorded with the legendary Bob Frisbee on a frenzied trip to Auckland this time last year."

The Pitch (Kansas City), 3 September 2010: "Known for its psychedelic electronic beats and rowdy live shows, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (known to fans as STS9) purveys genre-spanning electro-funk jams. The group's latest album, Ad Explorata, is based on mysterious voices that band members overheard on a shortwave radio and traced to Big Sur, where they found a metal box full of black-ops military paraphernalia from the Cold War."

SILive.com (Staten Island), 5 September 2010: "Galileo, Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer have inspired contemporary operas. Now it is physicist Raymond Chiao’s turn. His work in superconductivity and gravity waves has inspired Mikel Rouse’s 'Gravity Radio,' a song cycle (multichannel video, string quartet, short-wave radio and art songs)."

BBC World Service budget cuts might affect its very successful Burmese Service.

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 7 September 2010, Rajeev Syal and James Robinson: "The Foreign Office, which funds the World Service through an annual £272m grant, has told executives to prepare for a possible budget cut of 25% from April 2011 as part of the public sector cutbacks. The BBC service in Burma is one of those identified by the government as under threat, according to a diplomatic source. 'The Burma office is up for grabs. It is a question of costs. It is very expensive and has relatively few listeners. ...

"BBC sources said talks with the government would continue for six weeks, however, and claim no final decisions have been made. The outcome of the consultation will be known on 20 October, when the chancellor, George Osborne, outlines the scale of the government cuts in the Treasury's public spending review. ...

"[A] Foreign Office spokesperson said: '... 'The foreign secretary [William Hague] has repeatedly made clear the importance he attaches to both the British Council and the World Service. He has also made clear the need for all parts of the FCO family, including the Council and World Service, to contribute to efforts to boost efficiency and cut public spending.' ...

A spokesman for the World Service said: '... 'We will continue to argue confidently that the BBC World Service is one of Britain's most effective and vital assets in the global arena; particularly at a time when other governments are increasing, not reducing, their own investments in international broadcasting.'"

"BBC Burmese has "relatively few listeners"? The most recent data I've seen shows that about one in five Burmese adults (about seven million) listens weekly to BBC Burmese, making it one of the most successful services in the history of international broadcasting. (VOA and RFA Burmese have comparable numbers). I hope the "diplomatic source" is not hung up on raw numbers. More important is the the percentage of the target country reached. Seven million listeners in Burma have more impact than, say, thirty million in China.

Evening Standard, 8 September 2010, editorial: "The news that Foreign Office cuts may result in swingeing reductions in the BBC World Service's output and could even mean scrapping the Burma service is utterly dispiriting. The World Service does more good to Britain's image abroad than many embassies; in Burma it does a genuine service in providing truthful broadcasts to a nation under dictatorship. This would be a cut too far."

The Irrawaddy, 8 September 2010, Ko Htwe: "Detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told her lawyer, Nyan Win, that she is sorry that the BBC Burmese service is facing financial problems. Suu Kyi's colleague in the now-disbanded National League for Democracy, veteran activist and writer Win Tin, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that he felt 'anxious' after hearing that the BBC World Service is under threat. Win Tin said he had been listening to the BBC since the age of five. The Burmese service had enormous influence in Burma, he said. Chan Tun, a veteran Rangoon politician, said: 'People interested in the news have to rely on the BBC and VOA to know what is happening in Burma.'"

journalism.co.uk, 8 September 2010, Rachel McAthy: "The National Union of Journalists said it will fight any proposed cuts, adding that the BBC World Service was a 'clear success story.' 'This announcement shows that for the ConDem government, public sector broadcasting, and the talented, hardworking journalists at BBC World service are totally expendable,' NUJ deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said in a statement. 'The rumoured cut will mean the cutting of entire country services and will obviously threaten jobs. Along with our sister unions, we will fight these proposals with all our might.' The Foreign Office has not yet responded to a request for comment."

The Guardian, 8 September 2010, James Robinson: "The BBC chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, has said that the government should spend more rather than less on the World Service after it emerged that it is facing huge budget cuts. He told MPs today the corporation is engaged in 'robust' discussions with the government about a reduction in the service's £272m Foreign Office grant. ... He refused to be drawn on the size of the cuts the Foreign Office is seeking but warned that they would lead to services being closed." See previous post about same subject.

At a meeting of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, today answered a question about the future of BBC World Service put to him by Liberal Democrat MP (and former Lib Dem leader) Menzies Campbell. Listen to the mp3 (4:32).

Old, big, heavy, fun shortwave radios, and a post-shortwave radio.

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
dagblog, 5 September 2010, cmaukonen: "The play is going out of our lives. I remember the shortwave radios I use to own years ago. They were big and heavy and had lots of tubes and did not work nearly as well as those we have today. But we could modify them and add things on and well play with them and it was interesting and exciting and fun. The fun of failure and finding out why and then doing it better the next time."

Globe and Mail, 7 September 2010, Wayne MacPhail: iPad app "Spark Radio. It's like a shortwave radio in your iPad. NPR, CBC, BBC and local stations worldwide are a tap away."

Will Zimbabwe's jamming make more Zimbabweans want to listen to SW Radio Africa?

Posted: 08 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
SW Radio Africa, 6 September 2010: "Since Wednesday there has been intermittent jamming by Robert Mugabe’s regime of short wave broadcasts from SW Radio Africa. Using a heavy noise like a slow playing record, some of our programming and news bulletins have been drowned out. Experts say jamming radio broadcasts is expensive to do and you need a lot of power."

Reporters sans frontières, 7 September 2010: "Reporters Without Borders condemns the jamming of some of the programmes of Short Wave Radio Africa (SWRA), a London-based radio station staffed by Zimbabwean exile journalists that broadcasts to Zimbabwe. Various sources said they thought Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) was responsible for the interference, which began on 1 September."

Cathy Buckle, cathybuckle.com, 4 September 2010: "You would think that that with the explosion of cell phone lines in the country and the return of an independent daily newspaper there wouldn’t be a need for radio jamming anymore, but that’s not the case. For the vast majority of Zimbabweans a newspaper is a luxury; computers, emails and internet access are a remote dream and sitting listening to a short wave radio station for two hours a night is the only way to get information that’s not blatant propaganda. ... Ironically the jamming of SW Radio Africa doesn’t make less people listen to the broadcasts, but exactly the reverse because now even more people want to know what the government are trying to hide."

The Zimbabwean, 8 Sept 2010, Litany Bird: "When SWRadio Africa asked MDC Information minister Nelson Chamisa what was behind the radio jamming, Chamisa said he didn’t know the station was being jammed. His response was a mirror image of MDC co Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone, when asked about the arrest and detention of a Bulawayo artist - she didn’t know about it. How soon they’ve forgotten that SWRadio Africa was their only voice before they got into Zimbabwe’s massive government – a voice they don’t listen to anymore?"

journalism.co.za, 7 September 2010: "Mugabe has repeatedly said SWRA, Radio VOP and Voice of America's Studio 7 are pirate radio stations that are broadcasting into Zimbabwe for the purposes of unseating him."

Radio VOP, 7 September 2010: "Radio Voice of the People must not shut down Short Wave broadcasting programmes because Government failed to licence new players, a media expect and political commentator said. ... The discussion was held during Radio VOP 10th anniversary in Harare last week. [Media expert Takura] Zhangazha said, 'the Inclusive Government must not coerce Radio VOP and other foreign radio stations to abandon Short Wave if it can not reconstitute Broadcasting Service Act [BSA] to allow players to register. Laws infringe liberties of broadcasters, so remain on Short Wave to be relevant'." See previous post about same subject.

BBC World Service surveys are comparing views about deficit cutting in 26 nations.

Posted: 07 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 5 September 2010: "Many people are in favour of taking steps to reduce the government deficit but they are less clear on where spending should be cut, a poll commissioned by the BBC suggests. Six out of 10 people asked if they were in favour of reducing the deficit said they were, in the poll by Globescan for BBC World Service. But there was significant opposition to cuts in some areas of public spending. Some 82% of 1,000 people surveyed were against education and healthcare cuts. And 66% opposed cuts in military spending. The telephone survey of 1,000 UK adults was conducted for the BBC between 28 June and 5 July 2010 by the international polling firm Globescan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. ... The BBC World Service poll asked the same questions in a total of 26 countries. The proportion of respondents in the US supporting steps to reduce the government deficit was lower than in the UK, with 52% in favour. ... The full results of the global survey will be released later this month." See also BBC World Service press release, 6 September 2010.

The Ugandan who named his first-born son after a BBC World Service presenter.

Posted: 07 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
New Vision (Kampala), 5 September 2010, interviewing Joseph Serwadda: "I came to Kampala for the first time in life and bought my first radio set, a 9-volt 2-speaker Grundig, from my first salary at Lubaale [Primary School]. I loved listening to BBC news [via] their shortwave radio [relay] based in Seychelles. I ended up studying Journalism, and later naming my first-born son David Martin after a BBC presenter that I admired immensely for clarity of speech and deep voiced Southern England accent! I still teach albeit differently, and use communication skills for doing what I do today, evangelism."

Award for BBC World Service Trust radio program in Ethiopia.

Posted: 07 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service Trust, 6 September 2010: "The BBC World Service Trust’s Ethiopian health radio show Abugida was named mass media communicator of the year in the 4th annual pan-African awards for strategic HIV and AIDS communication this month. Organised by the African Network for Strategic Communication in Health and Development (AfriComNet), the awards celebrate the best of effective communication around HIV and AIDS across the continent, highlighting communication as an essential tool in the fight against HIV."

Kahkeshan Digisat TV, new Persian-language channel from somewhere.

Posted: 06 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 6 September 2010: "A new Iranian satellite channel, Kahkeshan Digisat TV, has selected Europe Media Port (EMP) to provide direct-to-home uplink teleport and transmission services to Persian-speaking viewers in the Middle East and Europe [via the Nemea teleport in Greece. ... Kahkeshan TV provides 24-hour programming, with a schedule which includes documentaries, concerts, films, plays and literature, and is aimed at Iranians living at home or abroad. The channel is now available on Hotbird at 13 degrees East and Hellas Sat at 39 degrees East via the Middle East beam. ... 'We are proud to present programmes for Iranians, by Iranians and through Iranians. Kahkeshan TV is an entirely independent enterprise. We shall therefore remain open to all initiatives that will help us advance on our chosen path, that of transmission of free and independent ideas and programmes,'" said Jean Marc Sermier, managing director of Kahkeshan Digisat. Unsure where the studios are. An address might be available at its Persian-language website, www.kahkeshantv.com.

Voice of Vietnam marks 65th anniversary by noting "enemy's crimes."

Posted: 06 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio The Voice of Vietnam, 6 September 2010: "Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV) held a ceremony at its headquarters in Hanoi on September 6 to celebrate its 65th anniversary and receive the second Ho Chi Minh Order. ... On behalf of all VOV staff, VOV Director General Vu Van Hien reviewed the glorious history of VOV over the past 65 years. ... He said that in the wars of resistance against French colonialists and US invaders, VOV was the only press agency delivering the Party’s directives and lines to all areas of the country, especially to Vietnamese patriots and fighters in southern Vietnam. VOV’s radio programmes encouraged the people and the army to struggle for national independence and expose the enemy’s crimes while winning support from international friends. ... The same day, Director General Vu Van Hien received international delegates, including those from the Cambodian Information Ministry, the Laotian Ministry of Information and Culture, Radio Voice of Russia, and Thai singers." VOV is primarily a domestic service, but it also has international radio broadcasts in 12 languages.

Casualties: Al Jazeera fixer killed in Pakistan, Alhurra cameraman beaten in Yemen.

Posted: 06 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeeera Correspondents blog, 4 September 2010, Kamal Hyder: "According to one senior reporter, many people died [after a suicide bombing and subsequent gunfire in Quetta, Pakistan] because they did not get help in time. Amongst them, Mohibullah, an Al Jazeera fixer who worked with me in Afghanistan and reported for CNN during the Afghan war, was hit by a bullet, which pierced his kidney. He was in hospital until late at night, waiting for a doctor before finally succumbing to his wounds."

Reporters sans frontières, 3 September 2010: "More than two weeks have gone by without any news of reporter Abdul Ilah Haydar Shae and cartoonist Kamal Sharaf since their arrests in Sanaa on 16 and 17 August, which have been followed by an increase in cases of violence against journalists. ... Journalists who were staging a sit-in in solidarity with Shae and Sharaf outside the attorney-general’s office on 26 August were attacked by soldiers. Hassan Abd of Al-Hurra TV was beaten when he refused to hand over his camera to the soldiers, who tried to arrest him."

Donated shortwave radios in the news.

Posted: 06 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Democrat Herald (Albany, OR), 4 September 2010: "Pavla Zakova-Laney, president and founder of Educare-Africa, completed her 11th trip to Cameroon in July. ... Three shortwave radios donated by a nonprofit group in North Carolina called Ears to Our World were given to staff members at GHS Tabenken, GSS Nseh and GHS Ntumbaw, which are located in remote parts of the northwest region."

Miami Herald, 4 September 2010: "The former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana -- who earned a reputation as an aggressive critic of President Fidel Castro during his diplomatic tour -- is the latest contender for mayor in Coral Gables. ... As the chief U.S. diplomat in Havana from 2002 to 2005, [James] Cason riled the Cuban government when he traveled throughout Cuba, met with dissidents, handed out books and shortwave radios."

Unsuccessful attempt to predict the future by listening to a shortwave radio.

Posted: 06 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BelmontPatch, 4 September 2010, Celeste M. Andrade quoting from the Belmont (MA) Citizen, 8 September 1939: "'The United States, Russia, and Italy in self-interest will remain neutral, but the Balkan states, particularly Rumania and Yugoslavia, will soon forsake neutrality to join Poland against Germany,' Dr. Frank Nowak, Polish historian and professor of history at Boston University, predicted this week. He admitted it was not the function of the historian to prophecy, but said it was his opinion that if the allies gave her supplies, Poland would hold out indefinitely… There was no doubt in his mind about the continued neutrality of Russia… ... Prof. Nowak has spent many hours this week at his home at 12 Elizabeth Rd. listening to short-wave broadcasts from European capitals."

Mozambique unrest and international broadcasting.

Posted: 05 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists blog, 3 September 2010, Mohamed Keita: "This week's deadly unrest in Mozambique became a global news story in part because reporters and citizen journalists used new media and social networking tools. ... As the streets exploded with violence, one Maputo resident observed that few local broadcasters were relaying information. 'Demonstrations in Maputo. Radio Mozambique, just music, TV pass math class. News just in RTP Africa and STV.' ... [Erik Charas, editor of Jornal a Verdade, a free weekly newspaper in Maputo] received a tweet from Faith Karimi, a CNN International Wire news desk editor: 'Are you in Maputo? Can you DM a phone. contact I can reach you for a story?'" RTP Africa is a service of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal. See also report by Al Jazeera English, 4 September 2010. And VOA Portuguese, 3 September 2010.

"Big boy" of Indian media and its international broadcasting connections.

Posted: 05 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Mint (Delhi), 3 September 2010, Veena Venugopal: "With 11 channels, 13 websites, 18 magazines and gross revenue of Rs3,000 crore, [Raghav] Bahl’s Network18 is now 'standing abreast' (his words) with the big boys of Indian media. ... He invested all the money he had, Rs50,000, and made the pilots for two shows. One, a business show titled India Business Report ... was picked up by BBC World and telecast over six years across the world ... . The real game changer, however, happened towards the end of the decade. TV18, as the company was called then, decided to tie up with CNBC and start a business news channel. ... Then the government changed the regulation and insisted that any news broadcaster uplinking from India could only have foreign ownership of up to 26%. CNBC had 51% and it had no interest in trimming down to 26%. So it asked TV18 if they would like to buy them out. ... 'We did a lot of things in very rapid succession; we launched the Hindi CNBC Awaaz, then ... launched CNN-IBN.'"

International broadcasting and the world's largest flagpole.

Posted: 05 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
News.az (Baku), 3 September 2010: "The opening of National Flag Square with the world’s highest flagpole in Baku has been reported by international news agencies and television channels. Euronews TV reported the opening of the square on 2 September. The report notes that National Flag Square with the world’s highest flagpole was opened in Baku the day after a fatal clash on the contact line separating Armenian and Azerbaijani troops." See Euronews report, 2 September 2010.

News.am (Yerevan), 3 September 2010: "No such luck! The AZE.az news website reports that the giant flag, its square being 2,450 sq meters, with a flagpole in the Guinness Book of Records, was damaged by the strong wind and lowered. ... Of course, not a single word was said about a complete fiasco of the hyped-up propaganda campaign. We wonder if Euronews and BBC will show new reports or the previously prepared news about 'outstanding' achievements of the Aliev clan." See also RFE/RL Transmission blog, 3 September 2010, with links.

International Crisis Group, 3 September 2010: The government of Azerbaijan should "[r]einstate broadcasts of the Azerbaijani services of the BBC, RFE/RL and Voice of America on national frequencies."

Alhurra visits stud farm.

Posted: 05 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 5 September 2010: "Abu Dhabi: Mediapersons got a rare opportunity to visit the Wathba stud farm, the breeding stables of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in Normandy, France, on Thursday. ... Lara Sawaya, director of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival accompanied the mediapersons on the tour. She said: 'It is the first time the media, including Al Hurra TV from America, has got a chance to visit the farm and get first-hand information about it.'"

According to employee survey, BBG is no Surface Transportation Board.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
AllGov.com, 3 September 2010: "The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is happy to pass the baton to the Office of Postsecondary Education. Voted the worst agency to work for three times in a row, the FLRA finally has begun to turn things around internally, resulting in dramatically higher scores in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government survey. As for the Office of Postsecondary Education, which oversees government policy relating to colleges and universities, it registered the lowest overall rating of any of the 234 departments, agencies and agency subcomponents surveyed. Its score of 32.9 put it well behind other agencies of dissatisfaction, such as the Selective Service System (47.4), the International Boundary and Water Commission (48.0), the Broadcasting Board of Governors (49.5) and the Missile Defense Agency (49.5)."

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government website: BBG is 32 of 34 among small agencies, but up 13% from last year. The Surface Transportation Board is number one.

Cuban Five activists will picket in front of BBG headquarters on 13 September.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Periodico26.cu, 2 September 2010: "Actions in solidarity with the five Cuban antiterrorists unfairly imprisoned in the United States have been organized in that country on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of their incarceration. ... The exhibition titled 'Desde mi Altura,' with works by Antonio Guerrero, will be inaugurated on September 3 in New York, where it will be opened to the public for a month; while activists will picket in front of the Broadcasting Board of Governors headquarters in Washington D.C. on Monday." -- Actually scheduled for 13 September at 5:00 p.m., per the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five calendar. See previous post about the activists' arguments with the BBG.

New Green Movement TV channel to Iran, because Farda, BBC, and DW "have to follow the guidelines" of their governments.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 2 September 2010: "Iran's opposition Green Movement has officially launched a new satellite TV channel, RASA TV (Resan-e Sabz-e Iran or Iran's Green Media), RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. Ebrahim Nabavi, one of the channel's organizers, said their aim is to break the state-controlled broadcasters' monopoly on the flow of information, fight against censorship in Iran, reflect the views of all Iranian people, and frankly discuss all issues related to Iran. ... Nabavi says RASA TV differs from other broadcast outlets like Radio Farda, the BBC's Persian Service, and Deutsche Welle. He says those broadcasters are financially dependent on foreign governments and have to follow the guidelines they set down, whereas RASA TV operates on the basis of donations from people around the world." -- Maybe a quote from an RFE/RL spokesperson to balance what Mr. Nabavi said about Radio Farda? See also Los Angeles Times, Babylon & Beyond blog, 3 September 2010, Meris Lutz. See previous post about same subject.

RFE/RL, 31 August 2010: "Afghanistan's Minister of Culture and Information has criticized a recent ban imposed on Afghan TV channels by Pakistan's government, saying it does not benefit either country. Talking to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan by telephone, Sayed Makhdoom Raheen said that he will directly discuss this issue with Pakistani officials and ask them to reopen the TV channels as soon as possible to Pakistani viewers. Pakistan's Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on August 29 blocked nearly 28 foreign TV channels, including several Afghan TV channels, from being broadcast by cable operators in Pakistan." See previous post about same subject.

RFE/RL, 30 August 2010: "The Kyrgyz government plans to allocate 17 million soms ($365,000) to rebuild the headquarters of the Jalal-Abad Oblast Television Company, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. ... The Jalal-Abad Oblast Television Company building was totally destroyed during violent clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in southern Kyrgyzstan in mid-June."

Tolerance "key value" at Radio Free Iraq, says former director.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Today's Zaman, 2 September 2010: "At the Maryland Turkish American Inhabitants (MARTI)-Rockville’s annual iftar dinner last week, Ambassador David Newton recounted his time at Radio Free Iraq. Tolerance, he often told his staff, was the key value that we need to promote. He would bring together leaders from different tribes and different nationalities to speak together for a radio program." -- Ambassador Newton was director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq 1998-2004 and was US ambassador to Iraq 1984-88.

In 1945, considering the future of US shortwave broadcasting.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
MountainRunner.us, 31 August 2010, Matt Armstrong, excerpting Assistant Secretary of State William Benton, writing about plans for a State Department foreign information service, New York Times, 2 December 1945: "In short-wave radio the role of private enterprise is under study. This is a much more complex problem. There is no profit in short-wave radio. The Government must put up the money. Other Governments are using short-wave on an increasing scale. Technical efficiency grows from day to day. We cannot retire from the field. We have not yet determined how to operate it or who should own and control it."

Is Xinhua the future of news? And more analysis of Chinese international media.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Newsweek, 3 September 2010, Isaac Stone Fish and Tony Dokoupil: "Xinhua may be the future of news for one big reason: cost. Most news organizations are in retreat, shuttering bureaus and laying off journalists. But the former 'Red China News Agency' doesn’t need to worry about the inconvenience of turning a profit. As a result, it might do for news what China’s state-run factories have done for tawdry baubles and cheap clothes: take something that has become a commodity and foist it onto the world far more cheaply than anyone else can. ... A subscription to all Xinhua stories costs in the low five figures, compared with at least six figures for comparable access to the Associated Press, Reuters, or AFP. ... A [big] problem is the fact that Xinhua is often face-rakingly boring, as one would expect from an organization that believes 'news coverage should help beef up the confidence of the market and unity of the nation.'"

CNN, 3 September 2010, Lisa Farrar: "Beijing is pouring billions into the country's state-run media machine, which is churning out new TV networks, radio stations and newspapers aimed at foreign audiences. But there are gaps emerging for non-state broadcasters to operate. One such TV station is Blue Ocean Network (BON TV) that is owned and operated by Chinese from within China. It hopes to offer American cable TV viewers a new perspective on the world's most populous country. The key difference between BON TV and its state-owned counterparts is that, well, it is not state-owned. ... Can it win over audiences and is it indicative of a greater sea-change taking place within China's heavily government-controlled media?" With video report.

Global Asia, June 2010, Chan Yuen-Ying: "As China enters the fourth decade of its reform era that began in 1978, its media system has emerged as a version of market Leninism in which the central state media maintains commanding heights both in the market and in the bureaucratic hierarchy. ... According to media scholar Wei Yongzheng, the principle of 'the party governs the media' (dangguan meiti, 党管媒体) became enshrined in writing in an internal document circulated among senior cadres in 2001. ... With the state media infrastructure in place and expanding abroad, China has become bolder in preaching its media model and philosophy to the world through lectures and conferences at home and abroad. Its rhetoric on the China model of media freedom has become more nuanced and confident. It would be a grave error to dismiss the impact of China’s media on the world, especially in developing countries. Meanwhile, citizens and media entrepreneurs will continue to wage the tough battle against the monopoly of state media back home."

China's CCTV will make tourism documentary for Fiji.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio New Zealand International, 1 September 2010: "The South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Tourism Fiji and Air Pacific have commissioned China Central Television to make a documentary program on Fiji’s tourism attractions for the Chinese and other Asian markets. ... The SPTO’s Ilisoni Vuidreketi, says the aim is to help establish the South Pacific and Fiji brand names in China, which is an important emerging tourist market for the region." See also Xinhua, 1 September 2010 and Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, 2 September 2010. See previous post about Fiji.

Yonhap will provide G-20 summit video to media outlets.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 3 September 2010: "Yonhap News Agency, South Korea's premier news wire service, will provide English video news service to more than 600 media outlets worldwide for the G-20 summit in Seoul, the company said Friday. The outlets will be provided with the video news in addition to wire stories, photos and graphics, the company said. Yonhap currently has contracts on exchanging video news with 12 news agencies from 11 member states of the Group of 20. Partner agencies include The Associated Press (AP), Agence France Presse (AFP), Kyodo, Xinhua, Itar-Tass, Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), Deutsche Welle, Australian Associated Press, Press Trust of India, Anadolu News Agency of Turkey, Antara of Indonesia and Telam of Argentina."

SW Radio Africa reports that Zimbabwe has resumed jamming its broadcasts.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Zimbabwean, 3 September 2010, SW Radio Africa: "Robert Mugabe’s regime has resumed jamming news broadcasts from SW Radio Africa, despite the existence of the coalition government with the MDC, that is supposed to guarantee freedom of expression. On Wednesday evening the first half hour of our broadcast featuring Newsreel was drowned out by a heavy noise, sounding like a slow playing record. SW Radio Africa listeners told us that soon after the news ended the jamming noise stopped and the rest of the broadcast featuring current affairs programming could be heard clearly. Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel he was not aware of the jamming." Listen to example of the jamming at This is Zimbabwe blog, 2 September 2010, Sokwanele. -- SW Radio Africa has studios in London and transmits on 4880 kHz shortwave via Meyerton, South Africa. See also The Zimbabwean, 4 September 2010.

SW Radio Africa, 3 September 2010, station manager Gerry Jackson: "The country is in the middle of an exercise to create a new constitution, leading to the next election, but once again there is a determination to deny Zimbabweans independent information about this process. We call on the unity government to urgently address this situation, to stop jamming our broadcasts and to allow Zimbabweans access to a basic human right – freedom of expression." See also statements by ZINASU and MISA-Zimbabwe.

Radio VOP, 3 September 2010: "Radio VOP has been commended for its resilience and continued broadcasting of diverse views in a difficult situation. Women Affairs Gender and Community Development Deputy Minister Jessie Majome said this at the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Radio VOP held in Harare and castigated Global Political Agreement principals for delaying freeing the airwaves. It broadcasts every morning between 6 and 7am on 9875 khz on Short Wave and plans are under way to re-introduce an evening bulletin." -- Radio VOP (Voice of the People) is, along with SW Radio Africa, an exile station transmitting into Zimbabwe. Radio VOP uses the Radio Netherlands shortwave relay in Madagascar. Also to Zimbabwe is VOA's Studio 7.

Russia Today Spanish now available terrestrially digitally in Washington DC area.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Russia Today Spanish now available terrestrially digitally in Washington DC area. News on News, 1 September 2010: "RT is launching its Spanish-language 24/7 open broadcast in the US capital. RT will now be available to numerous Spanish-speaking viewers in the Washington Area through MHz Networks. MHz Networks is one of the most popular non-commercial TV companies in Washington, D.C. Its programmes are available to every household in the area. Besides RT, its digital broadcast package includes leading international news channels, such as Al Jazeera English, Deutsche Welle, Euronews and France 24. RT English has been available through the network since June 2007."

Newsweek Russian edition, 3 September 2010, interview with RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan, Google-translated: "Q: If as easy as possible: the purpose of your television - the audience to speak about Russia all good, but about the U.S. - гадости? Our goal is not to talk about the United States. It is rather a method. Speaking about Russia, we the audience will not work. You would be interested to watch every day news from Belgium? I do not. It is obvious that people are interested in what happens next to them. We opened our own broadcasting from Washington, which at 80% tells Americans about America, and trying to do so was not like their mainstream. Why do CNN, only cheaper? Therefore, we take the stories that air on CNN and Fox News did not show. And thus earn the audience... ."

Developer of planned Arabic news channel is a contributor to planned Islamic center near Ground Zero (updated).

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Yahoo! News, 20 August 2010, John Cook: "The opponents of the proposed Cordoba Initiative Islamic center planned for Lower Manhattan are fond of suggesting, by way of lengthy and often confusing chains of causation and association, that its principal planner, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is connected to terrorism. ... On last night's 'Daily Show,' Jon Stewart skewered these antics as a 'dangerous game of guilt by association you can play with almost anybody,' and proceeded to tie Fox News to al-Qaida by connecting Fox News parent News Corp's second-largest shareholder, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, to the Carlyle Group, which has done business with the bin Laden family, 'one of whose sons — obviously I'm not going to say which one — may be anti-American.' But Stewart didn't need to take all those steps to make the connection: Al-Waleed has directly funded Rauf's projects to the tune of more than $300,000. If Fox newscasters can darkly suggest 'terror dollars' are sluicing into the Islamic center's coffers via 'shady characters,' then are Al-Waleed, and News Corp. leader Rupert Murdoch, by the same logic, also terror stooges? ... Fox News had no comment. An email to Al-Waleed's Kingdom Holdings was not returned." -- Prince Alwaleed is planning to launch a pan-Arab news channel to compete with Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. See previous post.

Update: NPR, 1 September 2010, David Folkenflik: "Fox's intense coverage of the Islamic center, combined with its lack of disclosure about the corporate connection to Waleed, has sparked scorn from some media critics and from liberals."

ArabianBusiness.com, 24 August 2010, John Ryley: "The announcement in April that Prince Alwaleed is to launch his own news channel caused a few ripples in the industry given the vast personal fortune that could potentially be made available to the venture. ... When it was revealed last month that Sky News was planning an Arabic channel, it appeared at first glance that the two projects were one and the same, given that News Corp owns 39 per cent of the UK-based channel. The Sky News scheme, however , is a 50/50 joint venture with an unnamed Abu Dhabi-based businessman. .... Sky News has received plaudits in the UK for its accessible style and reputation for breaking news. Existing [pan-Arab] channels could be forced to raise their game."

BBC World Service Trust will conduct research to measure its social impact in India.

Posted: 04 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, 26 August 2010, Purnima Menon: "The story of why hunger persists in India is long, sometimes depressing, and full of paradoxes, the central one of course being the fact that the country actually has a booming economy and robust food stocks. But really it's a story of poor planning, social exclusion, gender inequality, and above all, a government that's failing to translate new capital into broad prosperity for its people. ... In October 2009, Life Gulmohar Style, a 156-episode radio drama by the BBC World Service Trust aired on FM channels of All India Radio and Dhamaal Radio and took on issues of women's rights, including the question of dowry, in the modern world by portraying the lives of five young people, men and women; the BBC World Service Trust will conduct research on the social impact of the show later this year."

BBC Russian content available from GZT.RU online news portal.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 31 August 2010: "The website of BBC Russian - bbcrussian.com - and GZT.RU, one of Russia's top ten online news portals, today announce a new agreement that will enable international news seekers to access a variety of Russian-language video content from bbcrussian.com, direct from the GZT.RU website. The deal with the online news portal will make BBC video and text content available to a new audience of 1.6 million users per week. ... Sarah Gibson, Head of BBC Russian, says: 'Our ambition is to build on BBC Russian's well-established direct online audience through partnerships with highly-regarded online sites. Our global perspective makes us a unique resource for news consumers in Russia, and this is another way for them to access BBC news and analysis.'"

BBC Burmese marks 70 years on the air.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 1 September 2010: "BBC Burmese marks 70 years on air with a roadshow in Mae Sot, Thailand – home to tens of thousands of Burmese economic and political migrants. As part of special events and programming today, on the eve of the anniversary, in the border town between Burma and Thailand, BBC Burmese has launched its new monthly newsletter tailored for Mae Sot-based Burmese expats. ... BBC Burmese launched on 2 September 1940 and has since reported all key events in Burma. According to surveys, the service has a weekly audience of 8.4 million listeners in Burma, reaching 22.9 per cent of the country's population. Independent surveys also show that BBC Burmese has established itself as the most trusted international broadcaster in Burma."

BBC News, 2 September 2010, Bethan Jinkinson: "'Every journalist in Burma wants to work for the BBC' says producer Moe Myint, one of the younger members of the team. 'Nobody can compete in terms of audience or reputation.' But for those who work for the BBC, there is a personal cost. Moe Myint says that whenever he returns to Burma he is followed by the authorities 'everywhere I go'."

Mizzima, 2 September 2010, Ko Wild: "Just after the BBC Burmese service was launched, the Fascist Broadcasting station led by Thi from Tokyo and Thakhin Tun Oak, and the All India Broadcasting service run by Than and Mya Sein were launched to broadcast also in Burmese."

BBC explains, sort of, why it dropped Malaysian blogger from BBC World News program.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Free Malaysia Today, 1 September 2010, Patrick Lee: "The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has denied dropping controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin from its Hardtalk segment due to political pressure. 'The suggestion that the item was dropped due to political pressure is untrue,' said Peter Connors, BBC global news senior press officer in an e-mail statement. ... 'It became clear in our research that any comprehensive interview with RPK would prominently feature issues that are currently the subject of a current court case in Malaysia,' Connors said."

Kerfuffle as BBC DG Mark Thompson speaks of "massive bias to the left," then visits Downing St.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
WalesOnline.co.uk, 3 September 2010: "Labour has called for 'clarity and reassurance' from the BBC after the director general of the corporation was photographed going into a meeting in Downing Street to apparently discuss coverage of government spending cuts. Shadow culture secretary Ben Bradshaw wrote to Mark Thompson urging him to 'avoid any impression that the BBC's editorial independence may have been compromised'. Mr Bradshaw raised his concerns after Mr Thompson reportedly met one of Prime Minister David Cameron's senior aides to talk about offering prominent exposure to senior government figures on BBC channels in the coming weeks. The meeting, said to be with Mr Cameron's strategy chief Steve Hilton, appeared to be an attempt by Mr Thompson to assure senior Tory figures that the BBC was not biased against the Government, the Daily Telegraph reported. It came on the same day the director general admitted in an interview that the Corporation was guilty of a 'massive bias to the left' in the past."

Digital Spy, 3 September 2010, Andrew Laughlin: "The BBC has defended its impartiality after its director general Mark Thompson was seen going to a meeting in Downing Street to discuss the BBC's coverage of the government's spending cuts. ... However, a spokesman for the corporation said: 'The director general has made it repeatedly clear that the impartiality of the BBC is paramount. The director general in his role as editor-in-chief discussed the possible participation of a number of members of the government in the BBC's coverage of the spending review this autumn. The BBC has regular meetings with both government and opposition parties. Both he and colleagues will also be talking to all the main political parties on this issue.'" See also photo of Mr. Thompson and the memo he was carrying as he walked into No 10, Daily Mail, 3 September 2010. And New Statesman, 1 September 2010, James Macintyre.

It remains to be seen the extent to which these events will affect the credibility of the BBC's international services.

How does Haystack stack up against the other anti-censorship programs? (updated)

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
"Austin Heap and a friend ... created Haystack. The anti-censorship software is built on a sophisticated mathematical formula that conceals someone’s real online destinations in-side a stream of innocuous traffic. You may be browsing an opposition Web site, but to the censors it will appear you are visiting, say, weather.com. Heap tends to hide users in content that is popular in Tehran, sometimes the regime’s own government mouthpieces. Haystack is a step forward for activists working in repressive environments. Other anti-censorship programs—such as Tor, Psiphon, or Freegate—can successfully hide someone’s identity, but censors are able to detect that these programs are being run and then work to disable the communication. ... The gradual, go-slow approach of Heap and others shouldn’t mask their ambition. After such an extraordinary year, I asked him where he hoped his organization would be a year from now. 'I hope we are ready to take on the next country,' he replied. 'We will systematically take on each repressive country that censors its people. We have a list.'" -- An objective analysis -- difficult to accomplish -- is needed in Iran and other "target" countries. It must determine if Haystack and the other anti-censorship methods work, and how many people are using them. That number does not have to be large, if enough users copy text from forbidden sites and paste it into the blogs that operate freely within their countries.

jgc.org, 8 August 2010, John Graham-Cumming: "[T]he Haystack web site has zero technical details. Worse, they plan to keep their software closed source. So, there's no way of evaluating their claim that their amazing software will help Iranian citizens evade Internet filtering in Iran. That hasn't stopped them getting in Newsweek and asking you to send them donations. Now, it may well be the case that these folks are onto something, but I wouldn't trust a closed source piece of vaporware if I were trying to evade a government (any government)."

Update: Foreign Policy, Net.Effect blog, 2 September 2010, Evgeny Morozov: "While I don't doubt Austin Heap's noble intentions, the world is not exactly running short on well-meaning Americans wrecking havoc on everything they touch. I propose that Haystack should first be tested on some friendly people with a nice government -- say Canadians. They seem like a good bunch who won't imprison their dissidents; Iran, on the other hand, seems like the worst possible testing ground for Heap's new method -- even if it works." See also Austin Heap's response.

RFE/RL Tangled Web blog, 3 September 2010, Luke Allnut: "For non-techie funders and policymakers, the use of anticensorship software and proxies is still seen as a dark art: understood by a chosen few, but devastatingly effective when deployed. It can be easier to see the promise in something you don't fully understand. That can lead to a lot of money on bad projects. So well done Heap for having the courage and energy to start Haystack and well done Morozov for not shying away from poking holes in it." See previous post about same subject.

ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour" will be broadcast by BBC World News.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
ABC News, 2 September 2010: "Viewers around the world will be able to tune in to 'This Week with Christiane Amanpour' beginning this Sunday when 'This Week' begins airing on BBC World News. BBC World News is the BBC's international 24-hour news and information channel, broadcast in English in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe. It is available in more than 295 million homes and 1.7 million hotel rooms and has a weekly audience reach of 74 million. ... Ms. Amanpour's exclusive guest this Sunday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair." -- This is ABC as in the Disney-owned commercial television network in the United States. Will BBC World News put adverts in the commercial breaks?

Web content on mobile devices may be the future of international broadcasting.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
IDG News, 1 September 2010, Sumner Lemon: "The number of people with Internet access in Brazil, Russia, China, India and Indonesia will double by 2015, management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group said in a report released Wednesday. These five countries -- which the consulting firm dubbed BRICI -- account for 45 percent of the world's population and 15 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product), BCG said, noting they are currently home to 610 million Internet users. That number is set to double to 1.2 billion by 2015, it said, predicting the number of users will increase at compound annual growth rates of 9 percent to 20 percent. In these countries, home computers aren't the most important means of getting online, unlike in the U.S. and other countries where PCs are used to connect to the Internet. 'Personal computers are much less prevalent than mobile devices in the BRICI countries -- and play nowhere near the role in catalyzing digital consumption that mobile devices and Internet cafes do,' the report said. As the costs of mobile Internet access comes down and operators expand the reach of their networks, the number of people accessing the Internet in these countries will grow, it said." With link to the report.

If this pattern extends to the developing countries, websites optimized for the very small screens and finite bandwidth of mobile devices may become the primary conveyance for most international broadcasters. Even though I use the word "broadcasting," I'm referring to the text and graphics of web pages, more than video or audio. Of course, there will be many competing websites within the target country, and the number of visitors will be limited in countries where international broadcasting websites are blocked.

How does this news about the BRICI countries apply to US international broadcasting? Brazil: VOA dropped its Portuguese to Brazil in 2001. India: VOA dropped its Hindi Service earlier this year. The VOA English website must compete with thousands of other English news websites. China: USIB websites are blocked, presumably via mobile as well as landline broadband. Russia: RFE/RL can be competitive here, but would be more so if it could add the global newsgathering resources of VOA. Indonesia: VOA is already popular here on television, so VOA Indonesian could be the prototype for a mobile-optimized web based news service. Competition from within Indonesia will be formidable, so VOA will have to find its niche content and niche audience.

Although websites provide an economical means of delivery, international broadcasters that can afford a 24-hour television channel with content attractive enough to be placed on cable, DTH satellite, and IPTV services, will continue to draw the largest audiences for the time being. If video-on-demand becomes more popular than full-time channels, this equation will change.

Strange shortwave noises in the news.

Posted: 02 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Houston Press, We Want the Airwaves blog, 1 September 2010, Jef With One F: "Consider the Backwards Music Station, aka Whalesong. It doesn't play backwards music, and it doesn't play whale songs. It's kind of like the people who name dog breeds in that way. The station, which sports the enigmatic designation XM, has been picked up on short-wave radio for decades. The sound that is an odd feedback-driven noise through which an altered voice can occasionally be heard." With audio sample.

Metro.co.uk (London), 1 September 2010, Arwa Haider: "With a new album due later this month, Jah Wobble, the former bassist from Public Image Limited, tells Metro about bringing his punk to the posh. ‘The turning point in my life was listening to Radio Cairo on shortwave radio as a teenager. I heard this mysterious sound oscillating up to the stratospheres.'"

Two HCJB shortwave transmitters moving from Ecuador, via Indiana, to Australia.

Posted: 02 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
E-mail from HCJB Global, 29 September 2010: "Two high-power HC100 (100,000-watt) shortwave radio transmitters designed and built at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., have gone full circle. After nearly 20 years of service in Ecuador, broadcasting the gospel around the world in more than a dozen languages, two of the units are back in Elkhart to be refurbished for HCJB Global-Australia’s international broadcast facility in Kununurra. ... The ministry shut down its shortwave site in Pifo, Ecuador, nearly a year ago, partly because of its proximity to Quito’s new international airport and increased listenership to local stations and the Internet. ... 'The additional HC100s are part of this expansion "out the back" as we say. Once we have them installed, they will give us the luxury of operating three transmitters across seven antennas while having a "live" fourth transmitter as a backup,' [Dale Stagg, chief executive officer of HCJB Global-Australia] explained. 'Three transmitters will allow us to expand our broadcast hours and provide a stronger, more consistent signal along with the option of introducing digital shortwave (DRM).'"

VOA history in the news (updated).

Posted: 02 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
MountainRunner.us, 16 August 2010, Matt Armstrong: "On March 30, 1949, in its first semi-annual report by the US Advisory Commission on Information, the predecessor to today's Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, recommended an 'immediate and broad expansion of the world-wide information program being conducted by the State Department, including the activities of the Voice of America.' ... 'It is in the information field that we meet the rival forces head on. The Soviet Union places by all odds its heaviest reliance on 'propaganda' spending enormous sums, and using its best and most imaginative brains. Other governments are acutely conscious of the importance of information programs and are spending more in proportion to their capacities than is the United States in telling its story abroad. ... The dissemination of American private media abroad is primarily and essentially an informational activity and the responsibility and funds for this activity should be placed with the Department of State, and the activities should not be limited to the countries receiving aid under the European Recovery Act.'"

This recommendation by the Commission might have something to do with the discussion at the time about whether US international radio broadcasting should remain a government-funded activity, or revert to the private sector. By 1949, private US broadcasting had set its sights on television, and was no longer very interested in shortwave radio. Other elements of US private media, such as the 21 language editions of Reader's Digest, maintained their international activities with no financial help from the US government.

Audience research showing how Radio Moscow, for all the rubles spent on it, was unsuccessful in attracting an audience, would have deflated the Advisory Commission's mantra calling for more funds for US information efforts.

Polskie Radio, 17 August 2010: "Zofia Korbonska, a veteran of the Warsaw Rising during Nazi occupied Poland has died in Washington. She was 95 years old. Zofia was the widow of Stefan Korbonski, the co-founder of the Polish Underground State (1939-1945) who also led the Directorate of Civil Resistance throughout the war. Zofia directed the secret SWIT radio operations. In June 1945 she was arrested, along with her husband by the Soviet NKVD, though they later escaped, first to Sweden and then finally arriving in the US in 1947. ... They later worked for the Polish section at Voice of America... ."

Update: Washington Times, 1 September 2010, Ted Lipien: "I got to know Zofia in the early 1970s when I joined the Polish Service of the Voice of America in Washington. Her fire undimmed by adversity, she was still a sharp and often witty critic of the socialist regimes of Eastern Europe and Western naivete about those regimes."

North Korean English radio broadcasts provide details of Kim Jong-il visit to China (updated: mentions VOA).

Posted: 02 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA Seoul bureau chief Steve Herman has been listening to North Korea's Voice of Korea and reporting via his twitter account twitter.com/W7VOA: "Voice of Korea (DPRK) 0100 UTC English language newscast lists those who accompanied Kim Jong Il to China. No mention of son, Kim Jong Un." "N. Korean radio broadcasts today devoting entire newscasts to details of Kim Jong Il's just-concluded visit to NE China." The World Radio TV Handbook shows all of the Voice of Korea English broadcasts are on shortwave. No medium wave. See also Korean Central News Agency, 30 August 2010.

Update: Steve Herman tweets on 2 September 2010: "Voice of (North) Korea just aired list of foreign media, including VOA, which reported Kim Jong Il's China trip."

Deprived of dubbed "petits rats," etc., UK television is "trapped in the Anglosphere."

Posted: 01 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, Comment is Free, 1 September 2010, Marianne M Gilchrist: "British television for the young was far more international in [previous decades]. Dubbed or narrated imported serials, mostly made in the 1960s, were repeated well into the 70s, offering a window on to excitingly different worlds. My earliest TV memories include L'Âge Heureux, a serial about the 'petits rats' – young ballet dancers – in Paris, with dramatic scenes on the roof of the Opera House which haunted me for years. I also recall the 1950s east German The Singing, Ringing Tree, although I did not find it as scary as some of my contemporaries seem to have done. White Horses, too, was popular, about a young girl's adventures at a Slovenian stable that raised Lippizaners... . Some serials took us even further afield: Yao, a French/Côte d'Ivoire co-production, was my first introduction to an entirely black African world, albeit in a legendary context. ... Why, when we are supposed to be becoming more European, more global in outlook, is our television becoming so narrowly Anglophone in focus? As Martin Kettle recently noted, we have become trapped in the Anglosphere. The overseas imports that are shown are American and Australian: they may speak the same language, but in many respects are more "different" than some of our nearer neighbours. Yes, there are financial costs involved in subtitling or dubbing, but the cost of wearing cultural blinkers is greater."

Hugo Chavez accuses international media (eg CNN en Español) of campaign against his administration.

Posted: 01 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 31 August 2010, Ingrid Bachmann: "Less than a month before Venezuela's elections, President Hugo Chavez accused media like CNN in Spanish, The New York Times, and Grupo Prisa of Spain of orchestrating a campaign of 'intrigues' and 'lies' about his government and of sabotaging the coming elections, reported the news agency AFP and the magazine Semana. The president made repeated criticisms of CNN, which broadcast a documentary critical of alleged armed groups in Caracas. Chavez branded the CNN journalists as 'imbeciles,' added El Universal." With links to news articles in Spanish.

He is not a fan of MHz Worldview and its foreign "propaganda."

Posted: 01 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Canada Free Press, 1 September 2010, Jerry Kenney: "About 30 non-commercial TV stations around the U.S. are airing 'MHz Network Worldview,' which includes programs from Al Jazeera English, the Kremlin’s 'Russia Today' and other foreign state-controlled instruments of propaganda. ... American taxpayers are helping to put this material on the air whether they watch it or not. This odd-couple arrangement with some tax-supported TV stations (not to be confused with the PBS network) has been a windfall for many foreign-propaganda machines. After years of struggling to obtain carriage on American TV outlets, some foreign governments not only get multiple hours of free national broadcast airtime each week, but as a bonus, they get a few dangerously naive souls, mostly from academia (who own many of these stations) insisting that foreign governments actually have a First Amendment right to free carriage on tax-supported public TV. ... With regard to censorship, there is however, one country’s state-sponsored programming that is censored by federal law. That country is the good ole US of A. Yes, domestic broadcasting of the Voice of America’s foreign programs has been prohibited by the Smith-Mundt Act since the 1940’s. I haven’t heard MHz Networks or any of its affiliates make any effort to UNcensor VOA. Go figure." See also MHz Worldview web page.

Al Jazeera English revamps its website.

Posted: 01 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Next Web Middle East, 30 August 2010, Ahmad F. Al-Shagra: Al Jazeera's "English speaking website hasn’t received as much attention as it’s Arabic counterpart which got 3 redesigns during the past 4 years while Al Jazeera English basically been the same since 2006, of course minor improvements were applied but none worth mentioning. Although not exactly an epic work of art, the design comes as a needed first iteration for their English portal, which in my opinion is far more usable and accessible than their previous portal and their current Arabic interface." See the site: english.aljazeera.net. -- The "Today's Schedule" link should be in the upper right corner, not farther down the right column, where it now looks a header for the material below it. The schedule itself is nicely done.

journalism.co.uk, 1 September 2010, excerpting AJE press release: "'[T]he refreshed site will provide a platform for smart debate and discussion, in keeping with the Al Jazeera mandate of providing a voice to all angles and opinions.'"

BBC's John Simpson: "America seems to have shrunk as a direct result of its imperial adventure in Iraq."

Posted: 01 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 31 August 2010, John Simpson: "Whatever happens here for the next decade, the Americans will get the blame - unless of course Iraq becomes peaceful and prosperous, in which case no-one will thank them. That is the usual fate of an occupying force. ... Has the United States benefited? It is hard to see how. As the British learned in the Boer War, and Russia learned by invading Afghanistan, great military powers run big risks by putting their strength to the test against weak-seeming opponents. America seems to have shrunk as a direct result of its imperial adventure in Iraq. It will have to work very hard to persuade the rest of the world that it is strong again."

BBC and US State Department efforts for Pakistan flood relief.

Posted: 01 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC The Editors blog, 27 August 2010, Peter Horrocks, director of BBC World Service: The flooding in Pakistan has caused hundreds of thousands of people to be in desperate need of food, shelter and water. Nazes Afroz, Regional Executive Editor for Asia & Pacific for the World Service, explains how they have been contacting us and how World Service and BBC Urdu are getting news and information to them. [Afroz:] '... The BBC World Service Trust, the BBC's international charity, quickly found the funding to carry out this humanitarian information service or "Infoasaid" for the victims. We also felt that we needed to broadcast in Pashtu alongside Urdu as the main language of the badly affected north-western part of the country was Pashtu. When we approached our 34 FM partner stations, they readily agreed to take this "lifeline Pakistan" service on their airwaves ensuring an audience of 60 to 80 million across the country.'"

Fast Company, 31 August 2010, Jenara Nerenberg: "The emphasis is on the need to deliver information, as aid itself--Information as aid itself? In this case, the BBC World Service Trust is the aid agency, lest you become confused. They deliver information. The approach raises questions about the role of global media as we've become accustomed to it. What if CNN or Fox were to apply some of their resources in a similar fashion? It's highly unlikely, in part because neither of those companies has a foundation arm like the BBC World Service Trust, which is funded in part by the U.K. Department for International Development."

State Department DipNote blog, 31 August 2010: "In television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) released by the Ad Council today, Secretary Clinton encourages donations to the Pakistan Relief Fund. ... Created by the U.S. Government through the Department of State, the Pakistan Relief Fund serves as a platform to raise the profile of fundraising efforts and to bring together people from around the world to help make donations. The new PSAs, which include television and radio spots as well as Web banners, direct audiences from around the world to visit www.state.gov, where they can donate to the Fund through a secure online donation page. ... The Ad Council is distributing the PSAs to media outlets nationwide today. The PSAs will run in advertising time and space that is donated by the media."