International Committee of the Red Cross radio archives will be available online.

Posted: 31 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 26 Oct 2010, Andy Sennitt: "On the occasion of UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, 27 October, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is unveiling a unique collection of radio archives and other sound recordings that tell the story of a half-century of humanitarian work, from the Second World War to the 1990s. ... When the ICRC was invited to broadcast its messages on radio programmes of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation during the Second World War, it put this unique tool to good use by transmitting across Europe the names of released prisoners of war, making it easier for them to be repatriated. ... After the post-war period, the ICRC gradually began to use radio to aim its message at a broader audience and make itself better known. At the end of the 1960s, the Red Cross Broadcasting Service was born." See also ICRC, 26 Oct 2010.

Radio Netherlands is "streamlining" its English programming, with more regional offerings.

Posted: 31 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands, 26 Oct 2010: "In the new 2010-2011 season, which starts 31 October 2010, we're streamlining our programming, giving you more opportunities to hear extended versions of our popular programmes such as The State We're In and Earth Beat. RNW is also reinforcing its regional approach. From 1400 UTC there is a daily two-hour block serving South Asia. Programming includes Earth Beat India, produced in association with All India Radio, and our own South Asia Wired, getting people to talk to each other across national borders. When it's evening in Africa, Radio Netherlands Worldwide brings custom-made programmes for the continent. Bridges with Africa continues, as does Africa in Progress, which is seeing an increased number of broadcasts in the new season. ... Musically, the classical concert series Live at the Concertgebouw features two class performances each week. RNW Music is producing a weekly edition of Hear the World, a whole hour of music from all continents replacing the jazz series which has come to an end."

Radio France International and TV5 Monde transmit special broadcast about French journalists held hostage in Afghanistan.

Posted: 31 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists blog, 26 Oct 2010, Jean-Paul Marthoz: "Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier, two journalists from the public television channel France 3, along with their Afghan translator, Mohamed Reza, and two assistants, Ghulam and Satar, have been held hostage for 300 days in Afghanistan. ... France 3 and Radio France Internationale (RFI) hosted a two-and-a-half hour live program where celebrities took turns expressing their sympathy for the hostages. A free concert at the Zénith de Paris featured dozens of leading media personalities, including Michel Drucker and Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, and a lineup of recording artists including Yannick Noah, Véronique Sanson and Patrick Bruel. The event was broadcast live on France 3 and relayed to Kabul by RFI and TV5 Monde, the global French-language broadcaster." See also RFI, 26 Oct 2010.

"WikiLeaks Details Iraq’s Propaganda War."

Posted: 31 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Wired Danger Room, 28 Oct 2010, Adam Rawnsley: "Reports detail instances of mosques used for broadcasting incitement against the coalition, telling residents to take up arms against the occupation forces and asking them to 'come down and help us kill' troops. At other times, insurgent propagandists used similar methods as their U.S. counterparts. American psyops teams would broadcast Arabic pop music and pro-coalition messages on an FM radio station in Iraqi neighborhoods. While the coalition had anodyne pop from a radio station on its side, one Wikileaks document recounts insurgents using a mosque to blare more martial music, urging that 'holy warriors come out to fight' to join a small arms attack in progress."

Iranian officials fight Western "soft war" with a university forum.

Posted: 31 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 27 Oct 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: Tehran University "hosted the First National Soft War Forum on October 26-27. The event included speeches by senior officials, including President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who praised 'Iranian Islam' in the face of what he described as 'American Islam.' ... Journalist Vahid Pourostad, who fled Iran recently after being arrested during the postelection unrest, says the authorities use the so-called soft war to blame outside forces for the country's ills. 'They say the only reason for the protests and criticism are media and some individuals,' Pourostad says. 'They don't seem to believe that their own management and actions play a role.' Pourostad says his interrogators accused him of being used by Iran's enemies to further their aims via Persian-language media. Senior legislator Alaedin Borujerdi warned during the Soft War Forum [at Tehran University] that 'the enemy' had brought their fight inside people's homes, using the pen and other tools, such as the satellite-television dishes seen in the country's villages."

ABNA.ir (Shiite news agency), 31 Oct 2010, Hussein Shariatmadari: "To come to the point, Western media outlets refuse to come up with such ridiculous and incredible lies in order to shield their status and prestige. Instead, they employ trivial agents to do the job for them. For instance, Radio America [sic, VOA?] does not report these lies in its English programs and news. The English language BBC World has a similar policy. Equally, American and European officials might also sponsor Farsi speaking media outlets but they never make a comment on their false reports, since they don’t want to damage their position. Last year, the state-funded Radio Zamaneh (of the Netherlands) dismissed several of Iranian staff. When they protested, the deputy foreign minister of Netherlands told them, 'You are our slaves. And for the money you get from us, you must want what we want.'"

The Daily Free Press (Boston University), 27 Oct 2010, Jamil Sbitan: "On Tuesday, a panel of journalists who covered last year's election in Iran shed light on the political turmoil in the Islamic Republic as part of a day-long event called 'Covering Iran: Journalism and Truth Under the Siege' hosted by the [Boston University] College of Communication. ... Stephen Kinzer, an award-winning foreign correspondent and BU visiting professor ... said that ... Iranians suffer from an equal amount of ignorance concerning the U.S. as they are caught between 'two VOAs': the 'voice of America' on one side and the 'the voice of Ahmadinejad' on the other. Kinzer said news agencies such as the BBC Persian Service try to provide a balance between these two ideological extremes. Sadeq Saba, speaker and chief of the BBC Persian Service, said impartiality and accuracy were the BBC's main principles. 'Apart from impartiality, accuracy is very important for us,' he said. 'Sometimes accuracy is so important that we are behind other news organizations in covering events because we want to make sure that what we broadcast is accurate.' He said the Iranian government detests the BBC even more than the anti-government channels because it offers unbiased news."

BBC and Deutsche Welle launch DRM digital shortwave transmissions to South Asia.

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 26 Oct 2010: "BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle (DW) are launching a new Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) digital radio channel for South Asia. The channel will carry a four-hour daily broadcast that includes the best international programmes in English and Hindi from BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle. It will also bring to the audience all the advantages of DRM digital radio including near-FM quality audio, text messages, Journaline and an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). This joint initiative between BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle has been launched using two transmitters in the region and will cover much of South Asia. The signal covers the majority of the Indian sub-continent and may reach as far as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other neighbouring countries. The new transmission starts on 31 October 2010 and will be broadcast from 1400–1800 GMT each day. Listeners will find the new programme stream on 13590 and 5845 kHz (SW) and additionally on 1548 kHz (MW) between 1700–1800 GMT."

Digital Radio Mondiale consortium, 26 Oct 2010: "It will also bring to the audience all the advantages of DRM digital radio including near-FM quality audio, text messages, Journaline and an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). ... Ruxandra Obreja, DRM Chairman, says: 'Digital radio is as much about technology as it is about content. Through DRM we hope to increase the digital radio offer to South Asia giving people access to audio and multimedia content, which should in turn convince manufacturers that digital radio brings something new worth investing in.'"

The BBC and DW DRM foray into South Asia makes sense because All India Radio is already using DRM on shortwave and medium wave for domestic broadcasting. As Ms. Obreja indicates, the BBC, DW, and AIR DRM transmissions are the chickens hoping to beget the eggs: DRM-capable receivers that are available, affordable, and are not voracious consumers of battery life. (The 1548 kHz medium wave is the DW relay at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.)

Ghosts, goblins, and VOA Persian News Network detractors.

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 25 Oct 2010, Helle Dale: "'What are the most effective actions the United States could take towards liberty for the Iranian people and political freedom for the Green Movement in Iran?' This was the question posed to Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Iranian dissident in exile in the United States, by the audience at a lunch hosted by the Heritage Foundation last week. 'Two things,' was his brief and blunt answer: Impose oil sanctions and reform Voice of America’s Persian News Network (PNN). ... According to Fakhvarar, VOA’s Persian service is only one of two outside networks reaching Iranian audiences—the other being the BBC’s Persian service. He further noted that VOA has an estimated 17 million listeners in Iran, a sizable audience share in a country of 72 million people. PNN has also come under severe criticism here in Washington for the kind of programming it provides its Iranian viewers and listeners, which has been accused by Members of Congress of being, in some instances, anti-American in sentiment. An example cited—and shown by Fahravar last week—is the 2007 YouTube music video made by two PNN employees, 'demoKracy,' an attack on American policies. ... [S]o charged is this issue for Iranians in political exile that they are calling for a protest at Voice of America on November 5." -- The underlined portion is a link to a no-longer-existing post at the VOA PNN Watchdog blog, operated by Amir Fakhravar.

PipeLineNews.org, 28 Oct 2010, Beila Rabinowitz: "Fakhravar ... cited as an example the fact that they [VOA Persian News Network] were displaying the Islamic Republic of Iran's flag on their website saying that 'I don't think the United States has any diplomatic relationship with the Islamic Republic.' U.S. government officials had been contacted and a change in VOA policy was anticipated soon." -- I don't see any Iranian flag at the VOA PNN home page. Photos of President Ahmadinejad, which occur occasionally in the coverage of Iranian news, often have an Iranian flag in the background.

WorldNetDaily, 29 Oct 2010, Larry Klayman: "[A]s Obama and his leftist comrades apologize for and disparage the nation overseas, what has the Republican establishment done to further freedom? Not one Republican establishment leader – and I have approached many – has even given a hoot that the Persian News Network of our Voice of America is being run by the son of an Islamic Iranian mullah, Ali Sajjadi, and that VOA is broadcasting anti-American and pro-Islamic regime programming into Iran and the rest of the Middle East. And let me name some names: Minority Leader John Boehner who, while finding time to cordially kiss and then offer to help Elham Sataki at Morton's restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. – Ms. Sataki being that beautiful and brave VOA broadcaster who was destroyed by Sajjadi for her pro-freedom views ... did nothing after that to save her. Nor did so-called conservative Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, whose staff I met with on several occasions to ask for help for Elham and the other courageous Persian television broadcasters at VOA who have been retaliated against by Sajjadi for their pro-freedom views. And, as for the general state of VOA, no one else in the Republican establishment has come forward to help reshape the network into the freedom-fighting force that, during the Reagan years, was instrumental in bringing down the communist Soviet empire – not even the Republicans who sit on VOA's Board of Governors who oversee the network. As a result, to get their attention, Freedom Watch is organizing a protest in front of VOA at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17, when Congress convenes after the elections, and you are all invited to attend. See www.freedomwatchusa.org."

FreedomWatch, 26 Oct 2010: "Freedom Watch and others have tried to help American politicians clean up VOA, but to no avail. Now, as the Iranian freedom movement needs our support more than ever, we must show these politicians that they need to take action to restore VOA as the voice of freedom. Please join us in protest to restore VOA to greatness: to have Seyed Ali Sajjadi removed and replaced with a manager who will further Persian freedom and create stability for world peace."

It's Halloween, which might explain why they've suddenly come out of the woodwork.

First, interesting that Fakhvarar has declared VOA PNN and BBC Persian to be the only two outside sources of information to Iran. That should delight the folks at Radio Farda.

Seventeen million listeners for VOA PNN? I'm no Heritage Foundation expert, but, actually, they're mostly viewers. And with an audience that large, it's one of the most successful services in the history of US international broadcasting. Obviously, it must be reformed.

Then, for all the complaints about the alleged anti-American nature of VOA PNN, the only example Ms. Dale could cite is a three-year-old, since resolved, music video by a maverick employee?

And is this demonstration going to be on the 5th or 17th of November? Whichever date, they may have to compete with Ethiopian pickup truck bullhorn man, who stops by VOA every few days to yell at the building.

I propose a solution. In many languages of US international broadcasting, two stations transmit: VOA and a "Radio Free" station. In theory, VOA limits itself to news about the United States and the world in general, and the surrogate station provides news about the target country. In reality, the theory is absurd, because it forces the audience to tune to two stations get complete news coverage.

A less crazy dichotomy for US international broadcasting to Iran would be for one television channel to broadcast objective, reliable, comprehensive news. That would be VOA PNN. Another channel can devote itself to screeds that are anti-Tehran and pro whichever of the several Iranian exile factions that manages to get control of the station. This channel would be unabashedly biased. It might have content called "news," which is to say it's not really news.

Both channels can be beamed into Iran using a comparable array of satellites. After a year or so, audience research, which can be conducted, after a fashion, in Iran, would determine which channel Iranian viewers prefer. Because it's a matter of letting the market decide, the Heritage Foundation should go for the idea.

International broadcasting and the Burmese election: "enough funds" for VOA Burmese?

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 26 Oct 2010, Jocelyn Gecker: "The popular and charismatic Aung San Suu Kyi is right where the [Burmese] ruling military junta wants her: locked away under house arrest. ... Her days follow a strict routine of meditating until 5:30 a.m., then turning on the four radios in her bedroom to listen to the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and a dissident overseas station, the Democratic Voice of Burma. No phones or Internet connections are allowed in her home, though Suu Kyi said through her lawyer recently that she looks forward to joining Twitter one day to chat with the younger generation."

The Irrawaddy, 28 Oct 2010, Saw Yan Naing: "The Burmese military junta regularly utilizes the country's media to blame the pro-democracy opposition and armed ethnic groups for bomb blasts in the country, and routinely refers to the groups as 'terrorists.' The regime also routinely blames media organizations such as the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) for causing violence, generating public outrage and sowing hatred among Burmese people."

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 25 Oct 2010, "May": "Websites based in Thailand, India and Norway operated by three news organizations run by Burmese exiles experienced distributed denial-of-service attacks in September that shut them down for several days. In the attacks, hackers unleashed a flood of incoming messages to the sites, essentially forcing them to shut down and denying access to legitimate users. ... The Sept. 27 attacks were engineered by foreign hackers contracted by the regime, according to a Burmese IT employee of Yatanapon Teleport, a new Internet provider established in Mandalay, Burma’s second-largest city, who declined to be identified for fear of government retribution. ... The military regime harshly censors all domestic newspapers and blocks news websites from outside the country, including the BBC, Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America. Broadcasts from those outlets do reach local radio receivers and provide Burmese listeners with unfiltered news."

Democratic Voice of Burma, 20 Oct 2010, Dan Withers: "Just days after Burma’s election commission announced foreign journalists would be denied visas to cover this year’s controversial elections, a Paris-based media watchdog has ranked the country’s media environment one of the five most repressive in the world."

Washington Post, 27 Oct 2010, editorial: "The Voice of America should rethink its plan to cut back broadcasting hours to Burma the month after the election, while Congress should provide the VOA with enough funds to carry out its mission."

VOA Burmese is now on a "surge" schedule of six hours per day (includes repeats), plus 60 minutes of television per week. After the election, it will return to its normal schedule, though I'm not sure how many hours that is. In 2006, VOA Burmese transmitted only 1.5 hours a day.

It's interesting that the Post did not mention Radio Free Asia's Burmese service. The VOA and RFA Burmese services divide and compete for scarce resources, and report on many of the same stories. To complicate things, television has become popular in Burma, and many Burmese are seeking out foreign television channels via satellite. For US international radio to Burma, the division of resources is harmful. For US international television, it will be fatal. If US international broadcasting can be reformed, it will probably discover that it already has "enough funds." See previous post about same subject.

In study of TV coverage of "peace, violence and conflict ... Al Jazeera News was the most positive."

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Institute for Economics and Peace press release, 26 Oct 2010: "The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and Media Tenor today announced the results of 'Measuring Peace in the Media', the largest global study analysing the accuracy of international television networks’ coverage of peace, violence and conflict. The results show broad inconsistencies across geographies and networks, with US broadcasters much more focused on violence and conflict than their European and Middle Eastern counterparts. ... The report includes a detailed case study on coverage of Afghanistan, which shows that a disproportionate amount of coverage is focused on defence and crime, while neglecting news of progress in critical areas needed to build lasting peace. CNN International, BBC World and Al Jazeera English all had similar number of reports on the topics that received the most total coverage – warfare, elections, crime and international politics. However, Al Jazeera had the greatest breadth of coverage, including more coverage on topics which related progress in creating peace. Al Jazeera News was the most positive and had three times as many positive stories as BBC World, and more than eight times as many positive stories as CNN International Desk."

The Guardian, Roy Greenslade blog, 29 Oct 2010: "There are all sorts of fascinating facts to be picked up from the research. Examples: Al Jazeera provided the most balanced coverage on Afghanistan; US television networks broadcast more violence than other countries; and BBC World is widest ranging international news source." With link to the full report.

Does the amount of "positive" content necessarily correspond with higher quality news? Too much positive content, and the news becomes public diplomacy.

Al Jazeera English almost alone in covering Israeli probe of the Gaza flotilla raid.

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, Middle East blog, 26 Oct 2010, Sherine Tadros: "Turkel Schmerkel. For the past few days I've had the delightful task of hanging around the Yitzhak Rabin Guest House in West Jerusalem. I was covering the latest round of questioning by (Israeli) judges, appointed by the (Israeli) government to examine the legality of their deadly raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship last May. The inquiry is called the Turkel Commission, named after retired Justice Turkel - the big chief. ... The coverage of the Turkel Commission in the Israeli papers is virtually non existent. Apart from a local TV channel, Al Jazeera English was the only channel broadcasting from outside the proceedings the last two days." See also aljazeera.net, 25 Oct 2010.

Danish communication prize for NATO public diplomacy effort, including natochannel.tv.

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Synaptic Digital press release, 26 Oct 2010: "NATO, a longtime client of Synaptic Digital, was awarded a Communications prize for its development of web-based communication, including the natochannel.tv, and its coverage of the effort in Afghanistan. The prize was awarded on October 14th by Ms. Gitte Lillelund Bech, Danish Minister of Defense, who presented the Communication Prize to the NATO Public Diplomacy Team. 'Denmark supported the establishment of the web-based TV-channel a couple of years ago, and NATO's Public Diplomacy Division has further developed the product to an extent way beyond our expectations,' said the Minister of Defense, as she presented the prize to the acting head of NATO's Public Diplomacy Division, Dr. Stefanie Babst. Synaptic Digital's role is to extend the reach of content to TV and online media outlets globally. NATO Channel content is made available to the media via thenewsmarket.com platform which is accessed by over 30,000 media outlets in 190 countries." natochannel.tv press release, 14 Oct 2010: It's the Danish Defence Minister’s Communication Prize for 2010. See also natochannel.tv.

No, a Brussels bureau for Euronews will not make the EU interesting.

Posted: 30 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
EurActiv, 27 Oct 2010: "As part of a renewed communication strategy, the European Commission is planning to boost pan-European TV channel Euronews, giving the broadcasting company extra funding to establish a bureau in Brussels. ... The document also underlines that 'reports on US policies are considered more relevant than news about EU affairs in many member states,' echoing a report produced by French MEP Alain Lamassoure in 2008. To counter the current situation, Brussels has identified Euronews as the main driver of EU-related information and plans to increase its share of funding in all-news television. ... In [a new] document, the [European] Parliament 'recognises the importance of Euronews extending its range of languages to cover all the EU member states (and beyond) and to continue being a model of independent television journalism which will promote objectivity in news, quality in politics and transparency in advertising'. However, with a likely higher share of funding coming from the EU budget, the independence of the channel may be called into question. In its report the Commission is already dictating the line to follow, making clear that Euronews 'should improve its format in order to get as much impact and reputation as other international news channels'."

I am fascinated by Euronews. An international radio station could typically broadcast in dozens of languages. International television, because of the additional expense and complexity, and the market demand for 24-hour formats, is usally available in one or just a few languages. Euronews has tackled the multilingual problem by a single video stream accompanied by ten different language audio streams. I think the result is very good television, but many viewers will be off put by the lack of an anchorperson. For better or worse, personality is a major attractant to broadcasting.

More questions about unspent US funds for internet circumvention tools (updated).

Posted: 29 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 25 Oct 2010, Jackson Diehl: "That the [internet firewall-breaching] technology created by UltraReach and an affiliated company called Freegate works is not a matter of debate. Its success has been recognized from the State Department to the Chinese government, which has devoted enormous resources to trying to defeat it, so far unsuccessfully. The question is what is to be done. The companies' volunteer founders and operators say that if they could get $30 million in funding they could ramp up their server networks to accommodate millions more users -- and effectively destroy the Internet controls of Iran and most other dictatorships. Since 2007, a few in Congress have been trying to get that funding by putting earmarks into the State Department budget -- a total of $50 million so far. Yet the firewall-busting firms, which have formed an entity called the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, have yet to receive a dime. ... So why has nothing happened? The answer appears to be a mix of bureaucratic slowness, confusion over policy and -- just possibly -- a desire to avoid offending the Chinese government, which has denounced the Internet coalition as 'anti-China forces engaged in anti-China activities.' ... $1.5 million was given in August to the Broadcasting Board of Governors for distribution to the Global Internet Freedom Consortium. But the BBG has yet to turn over the funds." -- There have been many comments over the past couple of years about Congressional funds allocated for circumvention tools, but not spent. It would help for this subject to move beyond the op-ed pages, with investigative journalists looking into both sides of the issue. See previous post about same subject.

Update: The Weekly Standard, 26 Oct 2010, Kelley Currie: "[T]he problem is more complicated than mere access. As most anyone who lives in China and uses the Internet there can tell you, circumvention technology is relatively cheap and widely available. The thing is, aside from expatriates and a relatively small coterie of scholars, dissidents, journalists and the like, who seek a less filtered online experience, the overwhelming majority of Chinese Internet users seem quite content with their circumscribed version of the Internet and neither use nor seek out such technologies. For the aforementioned exceptions, as well as those who find the pornography and online gambling selections within the Great Firewall insufficient, virtual private networks or VPNs are all the rage. For everyone else, there are Chinese-language clones of Google, Facebook, Twitter and pretty much everything else, tailored to their needs to ensure that they don't feel they are missing out on anything. Within the bands of what is allowed by the Chinese government's complex, multi-layered censorship regime, there is a lively Chinese Internet experience that evinces a high degree of user satisfaction. The fact that the average Chinese user cannot access Facebook or various human rights NGO websites is largely meaningless for them simply because they are not trying nor do they have much desire to."

Peerage for former BBC World Service director John Tusa?

Posted: 29 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Daily Mail, 24 Oct 2010, Simon Walters and Glen Owen: "David Cameron and Nick Clegg plan to flood the Lords with another 44 new Coalition peers to stop Labour sabotaging their policies in the Upper House, it was claimed last night. ... [Among those] tipped to become peers [is] John Tusa, the former head of the BBC World Service." -- Tusa was BBCWS managing director from 1986 to 1993.

London Evening Standard, 29 Oct 2010: "BBC staff unhappiness at the 16% cut in the licence fee budget is evident in another letter from Simon MacLennan, a director for BBC South West: 'Amazing what drivel people are allowed to get away with on the Today Programme. Take Sir John Tusa on the BBC funding settlement last week: "The present senior management are paying themselves far too much and have seriously weakened the BBC's position. There has been an unhealthy obsession with marketing, PR, and compliance and layers of extra management are in place to oversee this. The BBC should concentrate on actually making programmes." The man is a dinosaur. Thinking like this went out of fashion years ago. Making Programmes' indeed. What nonsense.'"

MTV: Reality shows for Asia, drama about HIV/AIDS for Africa.

Posted: 29 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Television Business International, 25 Oct 2010: "MTV is launching two new reality shows in Asia, marking the broadcaster's first moves into original commissions in the region. The Viacom-owned broadcaster is launching Freshwater Blue in Australia and Shibuhara Girls in Japan and both shows will travel across the company's international networks. Freshwater Blue is produced by BBC Worldwide-owned Freehand and follows a group of 12 youngsters from Sydney's Northern beaches. ... Meanwhile, 12x30mins Shibuhara Girls will launch on MTV Japan in January and follows four young women in Shibuya and Harajuka as they try and make it in the fashion world."

CNN, 26 Oct 2010, Tim Hayes: "'Shuga,' [is] a cutting-edge MTV drama that's been a smash hit in Africa. For many young Africans, the three-part TV series about a group of students in Nairobi living under the constant specter of HIV/AIDS is the story of their own lives -- and is the reason 'Shuga' took the continent by storm when it debuted late last year."

30 October is the last day of shortwave from Radio Sweden.

Posted: 29 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Shortwave Central, 22 Oct 2010, Gayle Van Horn: "Just a few days left to enjoy the sounds of Radio Sweden. From October 31, Radio Sweden will cease broadcasting on shortwave, mediumwave and FM bands. Programming will shift to internet only." With remaining transmission schedule.

Radio Sweden website, 29 Oct 2010: "Saturday October 30th marks the last day Radio Sweden will be heard on shortwave. From then on we’ll be available nationally within Sweden on FM and listeners abroad will only be able to hear us over the Internet, as well as some satellite relays. So what's the reasoning behind the closure of our short and medium wave services? Kris Boswell spoke to Elle-Kari Höjeberg, the channel manager for Swedish Radio’s P2 network, which includes Radio Sweden. 'We can't defend costs for a very small audience' [Audio link, 4:50] George Wood takes us for a look back at seven decades of Radio Sweden’s shortwave history. 'We were born during the lead up to World War II' [Audio link 10:45]"

Swedish Radio website: List of remaining languages (many for immigrant communities in Sweden).

And so the question now for Radio Sweden is whether its internet-only international audience will listen to their audio productions, or just read the web pages.

Pakistan radio stations work with BBCWS Trust on humanitarian reporting, around which advertising is sold.

Posted: 29 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AlertNet, 26 Oct 2010, Nita Bhalla: "[A]s a result of the floods, many [Pakistani] FM radio stations -- most of which are more accustomed to broadcasting entertainment -- are either having their own journalists trained to produce humanitarian news by organisations like Internews or are re-broadcasting programs produced by the BBC World Service Trust. 'The local radio stations gained massive audiences in the first month after the floods and see it as a sense of responsibility to their country and they want to be producing some kind of broadcast that is valuable,' said Colin Spurway, BBC World Service Trust's senior project manager for Asia. 'They also want the audience, so they can sell the advertising round it, so they really appreciate the partnership with the BBC or Internews.' ... The BBC World Service Trust's 'Lifeline Pakistan' initiative is not only producing and broadcasting programs through its own World Service station on AM and MW [sic, probably meant SW] radio - it is also providing these programs to 36 FM stations across the country -- reaching more than ten million in both Urdu and Pashtun."

Court petition questions eligibility of the DG of Radio Pakistan, former VOA employee.

Posted: 29 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Online International News Network (Islamabad), 25 Oct 2010: "Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench has issued notices to the Secretary Establishment and Secretary Information and Broadcasting to submit their reply within seven days in a writ petition challenging the appointment and qualification of Director General Radio Pakistan Murtaza Solangi. The petitioner has challenged the appointment, qualification and holding the office of the director general despite expiry of his contract period which terminated on June 15, 2010, while instead of relinquishing charge of the office the respondent is still holding the office and enjoying the powers. ... Mr. Murtaza Solani worked as Assistant of a sub-Editor in the Voice of America, which is sole qualification, and the government all rules appointed him Director General of the country’s biggest media house on a two years contract. The petitioner has prayed the court to recover the money paid to the respondent as his perks and privileges especially during the last three months and declare his appointment as illegal."

Associated Press of Pakistan, 27 Oct 2010: "The certificate distribution ceremony of a professional training course for PBC employees was held here at Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation headquarters on Wednesday night. The course comprising three phases was organized in collaboration with German Radio, Deutsche Welle. Speaking on the occasion, Director-General Radio Pakistan Murtaza Solangi said this was part of the partnership programme undertaken by Radio Pakistan with various broadcasting organizations to develop capacity in its different wings."

CRI Italian, 25 Oct 2010: Murtaza Solangi visits China Radio International.

US public diplomacy billboards in Pakistan offer jobs.

Posted: 28 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Daily Times (Lahore), 24 Oct 2010: "The United States has stepped up public diplomacy to win hearts and minds of people establishing direct contacts with youth especially through advertisements for jobs. Big billboards and banners on main University Road invite commuters’ attention to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - many in the State Department refer to it as 'human face' of the American diplomacy - project for jobs. 'Your work is your identity,' a billboard near the US Consulate General was encouraging the jobless and unskilled youth to come forward and grab the opportunity the USAID offers with US$ 80,000,000 funding."

Tampa Tribune, 22 Oct 2010, Howard Altman: "On Sept. 2, Chowrangi, an English-language online journal of culture and news in Pakistan, published a story about three explosions in Lahore that killed more than 30 and wounded more than 200, including women and children. Like a lot of online stories, this one sparked vociferous comments. ... While hardly shocking, the comments on the English-language site didn't go unnoticed 8.000 miles away at U.S. Central Command, headquartered in Tampa at MacDill Air Force Base. Members of the command's public affairs office not only read them, they posted their own responses."

France 24 add its French channel to Asian satellite feed.

Posted: 28 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 25 Oct 2010, Robert Briel: "France 24 has signed a new distribution agreement with Asia Sat to commence the distribution of its French channel while it will continue to distribute its English channel throughout the Asia-Pacific region on AsiaSat 5 via the SatLink platform. France 24 launched its English-language channel in Asia on AsiaSat 5 in 2009. With the additional C-band capacity under this new agreement, France 24 will bring its French channel to the Asian continent, enabling it to address both French and English speaking audiences in the region. France 24 has access to almost 3 million TV households in Asia with key carriage agreements concluded with major Asian cable networks, DTH and IPTV platforms."

South Asian Zee TV claims ratings success in ... New York.

Posted: 28 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
India Journal, 22 Oct 2010: "South Asian network Zee TV announced that it dominated August primetime ratings (Mondays-Sundays, 7-11 p.m.) among all Men 18-34 in New York, beating top U.S. networks like Travel Channel, HGTV, ESPN2, TLC, Fox News, MSNBC, TV Land and VH1. ... The network’s ratings lead is further supported by Rentrak TV Essentials’ September data, which puts Zee TV in an impressive position for overall ratings and hours out of 416 U.S. networks ahead of primetime favorites on Planet Green, Fuel TV, Current TV, CNN International and Hallmark. Furthermore, the network lands at the top of the Average Hours Per Household list in the No. 4 Position with 8.47 viewing hours per week, leaving behind a trail of cable and broadcast television heavyweights like HGTV, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News Channel, ESPN, HBO, Food Network and MSNBC, just to name a few. ... Sameer Targe, Zee TV’s Head of Ad Sales for the Americas, adds ... 'As the media landscape in the U.S. continues to evolve, mainstream ad buyers, planners and agencies are repurposing their multicultural spend to consider niche-language networks and channels like Zee TV.'" -- Not much about the sample and methodology at the Rentrak website.

Xinhua's CNC World now available 24 hours via iPad application.

Posted: 28 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 24 Oct 2010: "China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC) announced on Sunday that it has linked 24-hour free broadcast to iPad users. Users of the Apple's wireless tablet computer could watch high-definition programs of the CNC's Chinese and World Channels by downloading and installing the two channels' client-side softwares from Apple stores free of charge. ... The CNC started broadcasting Chinese programs on Jan. 1 and officially launched its English Language TV service, CNC World, on July 1. CNC World Channel broadcasts news programs 24 hours a day and covers breaking news and major political, economic and cultural news around the globe." The CNC World video stream is here, but first you must download software, which they say "is provided by cooperator of xinhua TV. It's authenticated and safe."

Economic Observer (Beijing), 26 Oct 2010, Rose Scobie: "Last July Xinhua announced that it would launch a 24 hour English language channel and in 2009 China Central Television (CCTV) launched an Arabic channel. Even the private sector is getting into the act and Blue Ocean Network, China's first privately-owned English language TV network targeted at overseas audiences was launched in 2009. When Xinhua announced its launch of its English language channel that it hopes to reach 50 million viewers in its first year it stated it intended to deliver news, not propaganda. For a Chinese state-owned media company, this statement is definitely easier said than done."

Without a trace of irony, Xinhua reports on "tightened media control" in Egypt.

Posted: 28 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 24 Oct 2010, Li Laifang: "The Egyptian government has tightened media control with the latest suspension of 12 satellite TV channels ahead of the upcoming parliamentary polls, a campaign which the government says has no political motives. The latest measure came after the order of five channels to be suspended for similar reasons earlier this month and requirements of obtaining new licenses for companies who provide live broadcast services for private channels. According to Egypt's Ministry of Information statements, the suspension was due to their violations of media ethics by promoting religious hatred, violence or exaggerated medical advice. ... But not everyone agreed with the government's explanations. It's definitely an attempt to silence religious channels that benefit the banned Muslim Brotherhood by supporting their ideology and slogans, said Nabil Abdel-Fattah, researcher at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, according to a Daily News Egypt report on Thursday."

Gulf News (Dubai), 23 Oct 2010, Duraid Al Baik: "Nilesat's decision not to air 14 channels, although a difficult one financially, was necessary nonetheless in order to stop the glorification of violence on television, the Egyptian satellite company has said. The Chairman of the state-owned company, Major General Ahmad Anees, said it was not in the interest of any business to lose customers but for Nilesat the action was obligatory to safeguard the ethics and family values cherished by its wider audience and to ensure the company was not used by terrorists to further their cause. ... Media observers have argued, however, that the move is not as innocent as it seems. Dr Nabeel Abdul Fattah, head of Al Ahram Centre of Political and Strategic Studies, said Nilesat's action betrayed unease in government circles and was meant to unsettle Islamic parties ahead of the election."

Iran still planning a network separated from the global internet.

Posted: 28 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Mianeh, 21 Oct 2010, Khashayar Nouri: "Authorities want separate network that looks like internet but is confined and controlled within country. Plan to create a separate internet for Iran could leave web users confined to a closed domestic network, cut off from the rest of the world. The National Internet Network project has been in the offing since 2005 and was supposed to have been launched by the end of last year. That did not happen, but the protests that followed the June 2009 presidential election, in which the internet played a crucial role in disseminating news and images, clearly convinced the authorities that they urgently needed their own, controllable version of the web. ... A communications expert in Iran sees the national internet project as a major threat to the country's citizens, which could turn society into an island separated from the rest of the world. At the same time, he is not too downcast, as he doubts the completely hermetically-sealed system envisaged by the authorities can ever come to fruition."

Radio giveaway in Afghanistan goes awry: "We were mobbed."

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Global Post, 26 Oct 2010, Jean MacKenzie: "When officials from Radio Liberty invited me along for a press trip to Jalalabad to watch them distribute radios to the population, I jumped at the chance. ... I was desperate for a feel-good story: big-eyed children eagerly grasping their new, battery-free radios, promising to listen faithfully to Radio Liberty’s news and analysis programs. It did not work out quite that way. What was supposed to be a five-hour media junket turned into a 30-hour ordeal, where tedium alternated with nerve-jangling conflict and a fair bit of anger. Let me emphasize that this was through no fault of Radio Liberty. ... 'We hope these radios will help to counter propaganda from the Taliban and other extremists,' said Akbar Ayazi, Radio Liberty’s associate director for broadcasting. Quite possibly the radios will be used as most radios are: to listen to music. But given the Taliban’s restrictions on any form of entertainment, that might just be the most powerful counter-propaganda of all. ... We were mobbed. The police had to wade in, beating people with the butts of their rifles. They took the radios up onto the flat beds of their trucks and just threw them out into the crowd. The highest jumpers with the most lethal elbows got the goods." -- "Radio Liberty" is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has lately been abbreviating itself RFE rather than RFE/RL. Its service for Afghanistan is called Radio Azadi (competes with VOA's Radio Ashna), unless its for the part of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, in which case it's called Radio Mashaal (competes with VOA's Deewa Radio). Maybe better for RFE to become a wholesaler, ensuring that low-cost radios with adequate frequency coverage get to the shops and tradesmen. See previous post about same subject.

NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan Public Affairs, 26 Oct 2010, Petty Officer Third Class Jared Walker, USN: "Afghan Air Force and NATO Air Training Command – Afghanistan Det. 3 members distributed 1,500 radios to two girls’ schools in Deh Dadi village near Mazar-e-Sharif Oct. 23."

Associated Press of Pakistan, 26 Oct 2010: "Afghan media delegation visited the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) on Tuesday and emphasized on fostering relations between the two countries with the help of media. ... [A person from Radio Liberty Afghanistan was among] the delegation which visited the news agency."

Deal places BBC Russian videos on newstube.ru.

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press office, 22 Oct 2010: "News video content from the website of BBC Russian, bbcrussian.com, will now be published on newstube.ru, the Russian video news portal, following a syndication agreement between the BBC and newstube.ru. Thanks to the new partnership, BBC Russian video content will also appear on the newstube.ru partner network, including leading online news websites such as gazeta.ru, kommersant.ru and mail.ru. BBC Russian produces about 40 news video clips a week, including daily one-minute video news bulletins. The partnership with newstube.ru will make this BBC content available to a potential new audience of millions of users per week." See previous post about BBC Russian deal with GZT.RU news portal. -- Will these deals save BBC Russian, mentioned as a candidate for impending World Service cuts?

Russia Newsweek closes: lost money and had "run-ins with the authorities."

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 18 Oct 2010, James Brooke: "The Russian edition of Newsweek has unexpectedly closed, and Russia's leading opposition newspaper says it might be forced to close soon. Russia Newsweek has joined a long list of independent media outlets that have either closed or fallen under government control during the past decade. Since it opened in 2004, Russia Newsweek was seen as a hard hitting purveyor of independent news."

Newsweek, 20 Oct 2010, Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova: "Newsweek Russia had been losing money ever since its inception, and the decision to close the title was made for business reasons. ... But business and politics are not unrelated in Russia, and the magazine had more than its share of run-ins with the authorities."

Russia Profile.org, 25 Oct 2010, Svetlana Kononova: "At the same time, the Russky Reporter (Russian Reporter) weekly magazine entered the market and became Newsweek’s main competitor. It ran more interesting and up-to-date feature stories with more profound analysis."

Southeast Asian countries moving toward tighter internet regulation.

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 21 Oct 2010, Ben Doherty: "Governments across south-east Asia are following China's authoritarian censorship of the digital world to keep political dissent in check, the Guardian can reveal. Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines have all moved or are moving towards monitoring internet use, blocking international sites regarded as critical and ruthlessly silencing web dissidents. ... While much is made of China's authoritarian attitude moving towards internet access, a majority of south-east Asian governments have similar controls and , rather than relaxing restrictions on internet use, many are moving towards tighter regulation."

Al Arabiya and YouTube gather questions for Iraqi leaders -- more in English than Arabic.

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 21 Oct 2010: "A joint project between Al Arabiya and YouTube over Iraq helped in making the pan-Arab channel seize a very progressive rank on YouTube list of highest views. ... Through the online project, Al Arabiya asked the visitors to suggest questions that could be asked to Iraqi leaders and to vote on other preferred questions, so that Al Arabiya and YouTube teams would receive answers on those questions from the Iraqi politicians. ... The English version was viewed by more than 171,000 people worldwide, while the Arabic version was viewed by 25,400 people." See also YouTube, 21 Sept 2010.

When will Netanyahu reciprocate Abbas interview on Israel's Channel 1?

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 21 Oct 2010, Herb Keinon: "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will grant an interview to the Palestinian or pan-Arab media when the message he wants to convey may actually make a difference, government sources said this week. These comments came after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave an interview to Channel 1 on Sunday evening, bringing his message directly to the Israeli people. ... [E]ven though standing requests have been made to the Prime Minister’s Office by numerous Palestinian and Pan-Arabic outlets – including from networks like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya – no decision has yet been made by Netanyahu to grant any of them an interview. ... When Abbas wants to address the Israeli public he knows that if he interviews with one of the Israeli stations he will have a significant audience. But this is not the case if Netanyahu wants to address the Palestinians, since the Palestinian Authority television news is not widely viewed, certainly less than Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera."

VOA reporters follow the Long March route in China.

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 21 Oct 2010: "After a voyage of 21 days and more than 7,500 kilometers through a transformed Chinese landscape, VOA Beijing correspondents Stephanie Ho and Nan Zhang have retraced the route of Mao Zedong's epic 'Long March,' one of modern China’s founding legends. ... 'People say Beijing and Washington have more in common than Beijing and a rural village in Guizhou province,' Stephanie says, 'Now I believe it.' See what she means at www.voanews.com." -- Specifically at www.voanews.com/english/news/93683204.html.

VOA's English-teaching program adds mobile apps.

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 20 Oct 2010: "Voice of America's dynamic and cost-free English language teaching program for Chinese and Farsi speakers, goEnglish.me, is now even easier to use with the introduction of new mobile phone apps. The apps provide on-the-go access to VOA's interactive, online learning program, a fun and effective way to learn contemporary English." -- The .me domain belongs to Montenegro, but is sold worldwide because of the word combinations created by the URLs.

Commando Solo may add digital transmitters.

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 20 Oct 2010, Leslie Stimson: "Lt. Col. Douglas Williams of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, discussed the government’s aerial radio and television broadcasting from an EC-130J transport plane, dubbed 'Commando Solo.' ... Williams, squadron commander, gave a fascinating overview of how AM, FM, television and shortwave broadcasts are transmitted from the three planes, which can be re-fueled in mid-air. Communications specialists aboard the planes select which frequencies to use for transmission, including that of a foreign country. The typical mission lasts for 15 hours and the broadcasts are used to influence foreign audiences with the U.S. side of a story, he said. ... The Air Force is looking at upgrading its transmission equipment to digital, according to Williams, who added the new equipment would be in containers that can be rolled on and off the plane so that the aircraft could also be used for other things." -- Presumably the digital transmitters would be for countries where digital terrestrial television has been adopted. Will the digital picture forgive the various movements of the airplane?

Will Armenia's A1+ television be lucky in its 13th attempt to get a license?

Posted: 27 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Գլխավոր էջ (RFE/RL Armenian), 20 Oct 2010: "Armenia’s leading independent television controversially taken off the air more than eight years ago has made another bid to regain its broadcasting license amid lingering concerns about the fairness of the ongoing contest. The previous twelve bids made by A1+ since 2002 proved unsuccessful. Mesrop Movsesian, the head of the television’s founding company, Meltex, told RFE/RL on Wednesday that the application submitted to the National Commission on Television and Radio (HRAH) is 'a good presentation' and that the company intends to be guided by its submitted project should it succeed in receiving a license. Movsesian did not reveal details, but said that 'the chosen direction is news and 24-hour broadcast.'"

Al Jazeera first to cover, i.e. jumped the embargo, on Iraq War Wikileaks.

Posted: 26 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Peninsula, 23 Oct 2010: "Al Jazeera will be the first international broadcaster to air analytical coverage and programmes that reveal startling new information about the operations of US forces during the Iraq War. The programmes, produced for Al Jazeera English by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, are based on files from Wikileaks who gained access to over 400,000 documents regarding the War in Iraq making it the largest document leak in US history. The secret materials are more than four times larger than Wikileak’s Afghanistan files. The documents date from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009."

New American Media, 26 Oct 2010, Jalal Ghazi: "The leading role played by Al Jazeera in examining 391,000 classified American documents released through Wikileaks has not been widely acknowledged in the U.S. But Al Jazeera’s efforts have resulted in important revelations on a wide range of topics, including Iraqi state torture, the killings of hundreds of civilians at coalition roadblocks, Al Qaeda’s presence in Iraq, and the detaining of three American citizens by Iran near the Iraqi border in 2009."

TNW Middle East, 22 Oct 2010, Ahmad F Al-Shagra: The Al Jazeera report "broke the Wikileaks embargo by 30min according to Wikileaks."

Newsbusters, 24 Oct 2010, Noel Sheppard: "Julian Assange, the man that feels comfortable disclosing America's military secrets at WikiLeaks, walked out of a CNN International interview Sunday because he didn't want to answer questions about his relationship with his employees or the accusations of rape and molestation involving two Swedish women."

Al Jazeera reporter attacked, lightly injured, in Jerusalem.

Posted: 26 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Ynetnews.com, 22 Oct 2010: "A security guard arrested Thursday on suspicion of attacking an al-Jazeera reporter at Jerusalem's Malcha Mall has been released under limiting conditions. The reporter was lightly injured in the incident. The guard was released at the police's request, after placing bail. His gun was taken away and he was ordered to stay away from the reporter for 180 days. He is expected to be indicted for assault."

Jerusalem Post, 21 Oct 2010: "The suspect, a Jewish man in his 40s, worked as a security guard at the Malha branch of the post office. The reporter said he was sitting in a coffee shop in the mall with his crew when the guard attacked without provocation. The guard was not armed during the confrontation."

China Radio International subsidiary deal with IPTV technology company.

Posted: 26 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
UTStarcom press release, 21 Oct 2010: "UTStarcom, Inc. the leading provider of IPTV and Internet TV technologies in China and Cristar Media (Beijing) Co., Ltd., a company controlled by China Radio International (hereafter 'CRI'), the state-level broadcaster, today announced that they will enter into a strategic partnership that will take advantage of China's 'Three Network Convergence' policy to provide Internet TV services in China and abroad. ... Mr. Jiaqiang Zheng Director of the Board of Cristar said, 'This strategic partnership provides Cristar an excellent technology and service platform and the opportunity to bring our first class content to users in China, a portion of the 80 million overseas Chinese, as well as China watchers around the world.' ... UTStarcom also took the opportunity of the announcement of the strategic partnership to describe three critical shifts in the Company's business strategy [including] a 'return to China'. With the move of the operational headquarters to Beijing, the Company will be able to increase focus on the Chinese and Asian markets that drive its business, while improving internal communications and lowering costs." -- UTStarcom's corporate headquarters are now in Oakland, California.

RT (Russia Today) Spanish channel wins marketing and design awards.

Posted: 25 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VHeadline.com, 21 Oct 2010: "Russia's RT Spanish television channel ... has won a total of six awards at the Latin American Promax/BDA Latinoamerica 2010 award ceremony in Buenos Aires (Argentina). The channel is the first Russian channel in Spanish to be recognized in the biggest Latin American TV award ceremony dealing with marketing techniques and television design." Complete list of winners at the PromaxBDA website.

South Korea is "world's most connected" but blocks North Korean social media.

Posted: 25 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 19 Oct 2010, Steve Herman: "North Korean propaganda has emerged on popular Internet social media sites. It is not for domestic consumption as virtually no North Korean has Internet access. Rather it is targeted at other countries, especially South Korea. But in the democratic South, considered the world's most connected country, the government blocks such content. South Korea's Internet censors are working harder these days to keep up with an expanding number of Web sites showing material from or sympathetic to North Korea."

Strategy Page, 19 Oct 2010: "South Korean comics are getting in [to North Korea], some of them on CDs, in scanned format. The South Korea comics, called manhwa, are heavily influenced by the Japanese version, called manga. The South Korean manhwa originally came out of China, more than Japan (which occupied Korea from 1905-45, and created an intense hatred of all things Japanese in Korea). But in the last few decades, the explosive growth, and influence, of manga, has influenced South Korean manhwa, and the less creative North Korean comics."

CBS News, 20 Oct 2010, Randy Schmidt, cameraman and editor for CBS News: "We are taken to what will be North Korea's largest military parade ever, again featuring tens of thousands of personnel. Marching women with machine guns is what most catches my eye! Because we arrive at the end of their full dress rehearsal, I'm allowed to shoot video while marching alongside the troops and in front of them as they goosestep toward me. I feel like I've been transported to the set of Leni Riefenstahl's fascist propaganda documentary Triumph of the Will (1935) about Hitler at the height of popularity holding a mass Nazi rally in Nuremberg. It's frightening yet spectacular."

Alhurra scoop on President Mubarak seeking another term.

Posted: 25 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 21 Oct 2010: "Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 82, who has been in power for the past 30 years, is to seek another term by contesting next year's presidential poll, a high-ranking party official said on Thursday. 'The candidate of the (ruling) Democratic National Party will be President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak. At that moment, the candidate will be Mohammed Hosni Mubarak,' Ali Eddin Hilal said in a radio interview broadcast by the Arabic-language US satellite TV channel Alhurra."

AP, 21 Oct 2010: "'The next president is President Hosni Mubarak,' Hilal, who often acts as the party's spokesman, said in an interview with the U.S.-funded Alhurra television."

BBC News, 21 Oct 2010: "'The National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate will be President Hosni Mubarak,' the party's media chief Ali Eddin Hilal told Alhurra TV channel."

BBG strategic review will try to reconcile "unique roles" and "efficiencies."

Posted: 25 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 20 Oct 2010, Randy J. Stine: Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman Walter "Isaacson has talked about sharing resources among the U.S. services. Analysts have predicted he will consider consolidating several of BBG’s networks, as some critics have recommended, or even possibly bringing all operations under one combined news service. The BBG has said it values the unique roles that each of its broadcast entities performs in support of the agency’s mission. 'However, the BBG also has a legislated mandate to seek efficiencies where possible, and so as part of its year-long comprehensive strategic review will be looking at ways in which this might be done without diminishing or diluting those roles,' according to the BBG spokeswoman." -- The unique role of the international broadcasting audience is to get get news about their own country, about the world, and about the United States. At present, the BBC world services rather than any one element of US international broadcasting provide all of that news from the convenience of one station.

Voice of Russia, 21 Oct 2010, Valentin Zorin: "Speaking in Washington a few days ago, Mr. Isaacson did not hesitate to describe Russia as a US foe. What is particularly disappointing about the statement is that it is at odds with President Obama’s policies and comes from a high-ranking official in the presidential administration. Mr. Isaacson sees much farther than political statements and is asking a startling ten billion dollars for his work." -- Ten billion dollars? That would be about a 900% budget increase. Probably a mistranslation or an unchecked fact somewhere. See previous post about same subject.

Laura Bush interviewed by BBC Persian about possible Taliban reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Posted: 25 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 23 Oct 2010: "The former first lady of the United States, Laura Bush, has said that women's rights in Afghanistan should not be sacrificed in any reconciliation with the Taliban. Mrs Bush has long championed Afghan women, and spoken out about the problems they face. But who is her audience when she speaks up for them? She spoke to BBC Persian Television's Bahman Kalbasi." -- Mr. Kalbasi also interviewed President Obama on 24 Sept. See previous post.

Hillary Clinton "raised concern" about BBC World Service budget cuts. And more BBCWS update.

Posted: 25 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 24 Oct 2010, Ben Fenton: "Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, raised concern about how the UK’s public spending cuts might affect the BBC World Service only days before its funding was transferred from the Foreign Office to the BBC, according to people close to the discussions. In a private meeting in Washington, Mrs Clinton told Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, of her worries that if the Foreign Office imposed cuts on the World Service in line with the general reductions of its spending, it could be badly damaged. 'The US government raised the issue of what the cuts would mean for Bush House [the radio station’s London base], including the education and human rights initiatives of the World Service Trust, which both the state department and USAid [the international development arm of the US government] have put money into,' said a person with knowledge of the talks, which took place 10 days ago. Last month, President Barack Obama used an interview with the BBC World Service’s Persian television channel to respond to a controversial speech at the UN General Assembly by President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad of Iran."

The Guardian, Organ Grinder blog, 25 Oct 2010, Mark Thompson, BBC DG: "From now on, the funding of World Service and Monitoring will be agreed in separate licence fee negotiations which will give them longer settlements and greater security than they have enjoyed before. Just as now, the foreign secretary will have to agree BBC proposals to open or close services. But the BBC will have complete editorial and operational independence over these services and, for the first time ever, international audiences will know that the services are funded not by the UK government, but directly by the British public. That's likely to increase further their already high reputation for independence and trustworthiness. There are practical advantages as well. In a couple of years, the World Service will be leaving Bush House and joining BBC News, our home news service, in a single news hub in Broadcasting House. With a simple funding model our news operation will be simpler to operate and will enable us to spend more on journalism and less on management and unnecessary duplication. But we will make sure that it also enables us to preserve and enhance the unique and irreplaceable character of the BBC World Service."

The Independent, 25 Oct 2010, Stephen Glover: "Look, for example, at the BBC World Service, which receives £272m a year from the Foreign Office but will now be funded by the BBC. This is unfair to licence-payers who receive little, if any, benefit from the World Service, excellent though it is. It would make much more sense to transfer the costs of the World Service to the international development budget, which is soaring by 37 per cent to £9.4bn in 2015. But the Coalition thinks it can foist whatever costs it wants on the BBC."

The Guardian, 25 Oct 2010, James Robinson: "Decisions made in haste have left many questions hanging. The rolling of World Service funding into the licence fee won't happen for three years, but after that it's very unclear who will have ultimate responsibility for the World Service. Who will decide on the priorities? How will the BBC Trust decide between audiences in Accra and Accrington? What if licence payers object to their money being spent abroad? How long before parts of the domestic BBC feel they are being cut to fund the World Service? Radio 2 or Russian? Will the World Service still be part of Britain's policy for public diplomacy? If so, what role will the Foreign Office have? If not, then what is the justification for spending public money on overseas audiences? There are pluses. It will be easier to explain the editorial independence of the World Service to sceptical questioners overseas. 'Funded by the government but not controlled by it' can be a difficult pitch."

The Daily Free News (Boston University), 25 Oct 2010, Zachary Young: "The BBC will absolutely have to scale back and cut costs everywhere, including the World Service, just to stay afloat. That will be disastrous for everyone who watches or listens to the news, not just those in Britain. You see, the World Service is indisputably the globe's premier international news broadcaster, with its first-rate reporters stationed all over the earth. It is respected as insightful, impartial, independent and every other nice word that starts with the letter ‘i'. It also provides a significant portion of the world news we Americans imbibe when we are so boring as to pay attention to the rest of the planet. NPR and many other American news agencies rely, directly and indirectly, on the BBC for their international updates. That means that the budget cuts will have an enormous impact on what my mother listens to on her car radio every morning." See previous post about same subject.

Russian Orthodox channel begins international satellite broadcasts.

Posted: 24 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Interfax, 20 Oct 2010: "Orthodox Soyuz TV channel has started its broadcasting in Europe, Middle East, North Africa and North America. The Yekaterinburg Diocese information agency that owns the TV channel reported on Wednesday that the broadcasting is launched on two new satellites HotBird 6, Galaxy 19. According to head of the diocesan information and publishing department Hegumen Dimitry (Baybakov) last year the TV channel received Patriarch Kirill's blessing to work on launching full-fledged international broadcasting. ... The TV channel plans to further develop satellite broadcasting in South America, Australia and Asia in coming years." -- In Russian only, or additional languages. The Союз website does not show any languages other than Russian.

Free digital terrestrial TV platform in Argentina will include Telesur.

Posted: 24 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Aug 2010, Agustin Mango "President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced last night a national plan to allow free access to open digital TV and other modern communication technologies, as informed on Tuesday by Télam. ... The Plan is meant to create an alternative telecommunications network to big private corporations that will also include satellite solutions company Arsat. 'This Plan has as a goal to federalize and make available all broadband and digital TV avoiding monopolistic and dominant concentrations', she said, adding that the administration 'shall try to make big appliance store chains to place millions of decoders in the market at very low prices.' The initial offer will include Canal 7, educational network Canal Encuentro, kid channel Paka Paka, and news networks C5N, CN23, Gold TV, and Telesur." -- Although Venezuela is the headquarters and dominant partner of Telesur, other sponsor countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Uruguay.

Huffington Post, 22 Oct 2010, Joel D. Hurst: "In 2007 Andres Izarra, the director of the ALBA television station TeleSUR and former Venezuelan Minister of Communication stated upon backing the closure of the most important independent Venezuelan television station RCTV, 'What I believe is that to construct the objectives about which the President (Chavez) speaks, we have to build communicational hegemony.' In January of 2010, President Morales, in a meeting with press, announced, '...we are going to control so that media doesn't lie; that is for your dignity, for your good image.' While the former minister of the Presidency of Bolivia, Juan Quintana stated, 'the relationship between the Ministry of the Presidency and the owners of some media outlets has been challenging because some media organizations have become the clowns of imperial will and have worked and facilitated its work of undermining this (revolutionary) process.' Within this environment, it is clear why Bolivia's independent media is anxious."

Bloomberg Television claims largest working day 8am-6pm audience among affluent Europeans.

Posted: 24 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg press release, 20 Oct 2010: "The results of the latest 2010 European Media & Marketing Survey ('EMS') reveal that Bloomberg Television delivers the largest average working day audience of all international news channels in Europe during the key weekday business hours of 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Bloomberg Television, which offers 24-hour continuous coverage of the latest and most comprehensive news and headlines and is available in over 245 million homes around the world, delivers an average working day audience of 426,721 viewers, surpassing audience figures for CNN International, CNBC Europe, Sky News International, BBC World News and Euronews. In addition, Bloomberg Television is the clear choice for high earners and affluent viewers in Europe." -- The EMS survey tracks high-income households. The EMS results can be measured and interpreted several ways, so other other channels will probably claim victory or at least success based on the same survey. For more information, including topline, see Synovate, 14 Oct 2010.

Discovery Channel adds Telugu feed, bringing more viewers in Andhra Pradesh.

Posted: 24 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
WorldScreen.com, 20 Oct 2010, Mansha Daswani: "Discovery Channel in now available in four languages in India, with a Telugu-language feed, for viewers in Andhra Pradesh, adding to existing feeds in English, Hindi and Tamil. In Asia-Pacific alone, Discovery Channel is broadcast in 11 different languages. The new feed coincides with the celebration of Discovery Channel's 15th anniversary in India. It rolled out October 1 and has contributed to an 81-percent rise in viewership for the channel in Andhra Pradesh. ... Discovery Channel reaches more than 53 million subscribers in India." -- Does "reaches" mean 53 million are capable of watching the channel, or actually do watch the channel?

US version of BBC's "Top Gear" coming to History Channel.

Posted: 24 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
UPI, 20 Oct 2010: "Production has begun on the U.S. version of the hit British television show 'Top Gear,' the History channel announced. Comedian and car buff Adam Ferrara, champion rally and drift racer Tanner Foust and racing analyst Rutledge Wood will be the hosts of the American spin-off, which is to premiere next month. ... 'Featuring super-cars, extreme stunts and challenges, car reviews and celebrity interviews, "Top Gear" is the home for anyone with a love of cars,' the network release said. ... 'Top Gear' is a co-production between History and BBC Worldwide." See also BBC Worldwide press release, 19 Oct 2010. And TopGear blog, 21 Oct 2010, with comments.

Foreign Office will still have a say in language service selection, and (much) more BBC World Service budget update.

Posted: 23 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
7th Space, 20 Oct 2010: "The settlement ... continues to provide grants to both the World Service and the British Council, though at a reduced level. From 2014-15 the BBC World Service will be funded by the BBC, but the Foreign Secretary will retain his veto over any decisions to cut language services. Once the additional resources from the BBC are taken into account the rest of the FCO budget will only fall by 10% over the period."

BBC Radio 4, The Media Show, 20 Oct 2010, host Steve Hewlett interviewing Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust: "Lyons: The settlement, the agreement on the World Service, agreed in 2006 and basically rolled forward in this agreement, is the BBC has complete editorial freedom in this. It's, it needs to consult the foreign secretary on the overall direction of the World Service and has to reach agreement on the creation of any new or the closure of any existing service. Helett: So that's, so the government will retain those rights? Lyons: It will retain those rights. Helett: So that means that the government has rights over the expenditure, directly, of license fee money, that's not supposed to happen. Lyons: It has— Hewlett: That's not independence. Lyons: Well, uhh, no, it doesn't, I think, I think." See transcript by Joe Durso.

Additional radio coverage: BBC World Service, Politics UK, 23 Oct 2010 (including interview with former BBC World Service director John Tusa) , BBC World Service, World Have Your Say, 22 Oct 2010 (with Craig Oliver, controller of English, BBC Global News), and BBC World Service, Over to You, 24 Oct 2010 (with Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust).

The Guardian, 20 Oct 2010, BBC DG Mark Thompson e-mail to BBC staff: "Instead of a long and uncertain licence fee setting process which some would have attempted to turn into a fundamental attack on the breadth of the BBC's services to the public, we have an agreement which will protect our editorial and operational independence all the way to the next Charter review. ... We will secure the future of the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring, taking on the funding of the World Service from 2014/15 and BBC Monitoring from 2013/14, both until the end of the Charter [2016-17]."

The Guardian, 22 Oct 2010, letter from Jeremy Hunt, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, to Sir Michael Lyons, BBC Trust chairman: "•The government will continue to fund World Service at CSR-agreed levels for 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14. The BBC will be allowed to fund any World Service restructuring costs, at its discretion, during this period. The World Service will become part of the licence fee funded BBC from 2014/15. •The BBC Trust sets the overall strategic direction of the BBC including the World Service. •The BBC is independent in all matters concerning the content of World Service output, the times and manner in which this is supplied and in the management of its affairs. The BBC's editorial guidelines, values and standards are set by the BBC Trust and apply to the BBC World Service. •The BBC will continue as now to set the objectives, priorities and targets for the BBC World Service with the foreign secretary and to obtain the written approval of the foreign secretary for the opening or closure of any language service. •After extracting an efficiency dividend, the BBC will commit to providing sufficient investment in World Service to support its current plans for the period."

The Guardian, 21 Oct 2010, Josh Halliday: "The BBC's director of global news, Peter Horrocks, has revealed the corporation is looking at introducing advertising on some of the World Service's 31 foreign-language websites as part of a "seismic shift" for the whole organisation. ... Asked to comment on the proposals, a spokesman for BBC Global News said: 'BBC World Service already makes £4m in commercial revenues which are ploughed back into our services for audiences. The government are encouraging us, in the settlement, to exploit opportunties to increase this figure further. We will be looking at all possibilities but this will be a very small part of the huge challenge ahead for BBC World Service. The priority for BBC World Service is to manage a real-terms cut in our grant of 16% over the next four financial years; plus extra costs like pensions which we estimate will take that figure closer to 28% of our income – we estimate some £67m over the period.'"

The Telegraph, 21 Oct 2010, Neil Midgely: "Mr Horrocks reckons that licence fee funding will increase World Service’s standing around the world. 'We will now be able to say to our audiences around the world that we are paid for by the British people, not by the British government,' he said. 'This will reinforce further our reputation for independence.' Perhaps. But World Service’s political structure is not the only benchmark of its independence. My guess is that traditionalists will have a lot to say if its editorial structure and commercial philosophy are to be changed."

The Guardian, 23 Oct 2010, letter from Emo Williams (World Service 1960-95): "A small positive has emerged from Osborne's axe. The BBC World Service is to be funded from the licence fee, not the Foreign Office. The grant-in-aid from Whitehall was always something of an embarrassment for those of us in Bush House proclaiming our total independence from government. However, the fight against cuts which occupied much of our working lives will, in future, be a little more difficult now that my colleagues will have to denounce not the Foreign Office but the BBC director general and his mandarins."

James Cridland's blog, 23 Oct 2010: "Because of its different funding until now, there’s been a lot of hideous duplication and divergence from the rest of the Corporation: the World Service uses different playout systems, different studios and different buildings; the Corporation need to account and recharge the Public Service and the Grant-in-Aid work separately, in a horrid nightmarish accounting hell. When I worked on the BBC iPlayer and on its Radio Player forerunner, my time was, partially, accounted for under World Service time – since the World Service was carried there too. All this crazy internal accounting will disappear; and the BBC World Service will leave its Bush House headquarters to move in with the rest of BBC Radio in Broadcasting House, meaning savings in studios and equipment."

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 20 Oct 2010, Jean Seaton: "The role of the World Service and BBC Monitoring is now fundamentally at question, even if the changes are defendable. The World Service is a jewel in the BBC's crown but is also a national strategic asset and international resource. It is of greater not lesser importance now that we are battling for hearts and minds all over the world. Foreign Office funding recognised that international value – but was so daintily arranged that it did not compromise independent news production. Will the domestic licence-fee payer be a wise guardian of national strategy and international policy? Will the World Services' magnificent news values be compromised by having to sit within a domestic framework? Digital broadcasting is breaking down national boundaries but people in Africa still have different news needs from those in Britain. Hungry international media corporations eye the BBC resentfully and armed with the hostility of our domestic press towards it – what do they care about our national interest? Monitoring, which listens to the world on our behalf, feeds BBC news, but it also feeds intelligence – surely better at arms length from the BBC?"

-- Perhaps there are things about BBC Monitoring I'm not supposed to know, but my understanding is that everything Monitoring monitors is from open sources. If so, no need for it to descend into the intelligence realm. Monitoring is at least as useful to a news organization as to an intelligence agency.

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 21 Oct 2010, Balaji Ravichandran "Within weeks of moving to England, I soon tired of BBC News 24 and the terrestrial channels. At home, the corporation insistently appeals to the lowest common denominator instead of using the licence fee towards programmes that inform, educate and enlighten. BBC News, I painfully discovered, repeatedly lets its agenda be set by the tabloids and its broadcast competition rather than existing, head held high, as an independent body that serves as a model for public (and commercial) broadcasting around the world. Dare I say it – apart from the World Service and its radio stations, I cannot see merit in the BBC's broadcast enterprise. But now the World Service is to be funded by the licence fee, which in turn is frozen for the next six years. Inevitably, the BBC will make significant cuts in the budget. Regional services, already on the decline, will surely be axed. ... The Foreign and Commonwealth Office should know that the investment in the World Service is likely to be of greater use to the world per pound than all the developmental aid it channels every year. After all, hunger is not purely physical."

Press TV, 21 Oct 2010: "The world service has been traditionally broadcast on short wave radio signals for countries such as Burma, where independent local broadcasters are weak, or countries like Iran and Russia, whose governments are not exactly Britain's allies. Yet recently, the service has focused on more television channels in Farsi (Persian) and Arabic to promote the policies of the Foreign Office, particularly among the audience in Iran and certain Arab nations. The BBC world service has repeatedly been accused of being involved in coups d'etat around the world, including in Iran. Analysts say the service was behind the 1953 coup in Iran, which overthrew the democratically elected government of the country's Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh."

Sunday Island (Colombo), 22 Oct 2010, Lucien Rajakarunanayake: "The BBC, especially its World Service, is today a channel full of bias and bunkum, serving the ends of forces that are far removed from the interests of democracy and human rights that it trumpets about supporting. It is a hub of disbelief in the truth; that takes delight in spreading falsehood, using a fast-fading image of the objectivity it was known for many years ago. And its time to give a big hurrah at the news that the funds for the World Service with its policy against targeted Third World or developing nations are to be drastically cut in the review of budgetary policy by the UK Government."

See previous post about same subject.

Obama's first Persian-language interview wasn't on VOA, but was by an American.

Posted: 23 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
National Iranian American Council, 22 Oct 2010: "When BBC Persian reporter Bahaman Kalbasi became the first Iranian-American reporter to be granted an interview with President Obama, he knew Iranians and Iranian Americans wanted answers to many tough questions. 'I felt a weight of responsibility,' Kalbasi later wrote, knowing that he had a rare opportunity to press the Commander in Chief directly on the possibility of war with Iran, the impact of sanctions on innocent Iranians, and the U.S. approach to Iran’s human rights situation. Broadcast first in Persian, Kalbasi’s incisive interview would make the headlines around the world. ... Kalbasi believes the President chose to sit down with BBC Persian in order to reach as wide an audience in Iran as possible through an independent voice. 'This was the longest interview a US president has given to a foreign television network,' he said. 'Even though they were giving me the sign that my time was up, I didn’t pay attention and I just kept going.'" See previous post about same subject.

Arrested in Bahrain after his sister appeared on BBC Arabic.

Posted: 23 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 20 Oct 2010: "Bahraini security forces arrested football player Mahdi Sa'ad and banned him from traveling abroad after her sister appeared on the BBC Arabic and slammed Manama's aggressive approach toward detained opposition activists. Sa'ad's sister had also criticized Bahraini authorities for failing to inform her family about the condition of her blind brother, Ali Sa'ad, who was arrested in September. She said it is not clear where he is being held and that her family has not been given permission to visit him."

BBC News, 22 Oct 2010: "Bahraini voters are heading to the polls for parliamentary elections, as tensions run high between the Sunni-led government and the country's Shia majority. The government has detained opposition leaders, shut down newspapers, and charged 23 prominent activists with plotting a coup. Prior to today's vote, ordinary Bahraini voters have been sharing their views with the BBC Arabic service."

NewsBusters thinks BBC World Service criticized the wrong religion re women.

Posted: 23 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Newsbusters, 21 Oct 2010, Ken Shepherd: "'All this week on 'The World Today,' we're taking a close look at why it is that women are feeling the credit crunch more than men around the world,' BBC presenter Komla Dumor told listeners of the October 21 Global News podcast, adding that 'one obvious reason is that they're starting from a disadvantaged position in society and in many cultures around the world, that position of disadvantage is sanctioned by religion.' That's hard to dispute, given the role that radical Islam has in treating women in countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as, at best, second-class citizens. But of course radical Islam was not put on the defensive by the BBC today, Catholicism was."

A cheer from Uganda for "World Book Club" on BBC World Service.

Posted: 23 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Daily Monitor (Kampala), 17 Oct 2010, Kevin O'Connor: "Even when all the pages are there, at the end of an enjoyable novel, one often feels a sense of disappointment that it has come to an end. It is almost like losing a good friend. A programme on BBC World Service radio called World Book Club can lessen that disappointment. It is broadcast on the first Saturday of the month. It features a different novel every month and authors are drawn from all continents. A studio audience asks the author questions about the book, but questions can also be phoned or emailed in. I won’t pretend that I have enjoyed all the programme’s novels, but when I have finish[ed] a good one, knowing that World Book Club is coming up on the radio gives me something to look forward to and reduces the disappointment of having finished an excellent read." See also World Book Club web page, which asks listeners: "Please send your questions to PJ O'Rourke, who will be talking about his book Parliament of Whores."

The Telegraph notes the transatlantic travel expenses of the director of BBC Global News.

Posted: 23 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 16 Oct 2010, Robert Mendick and Jonathan Wynne-Jones: "Expenses claims lodged by Peter Horrocks, the director of the World Service and BBC Global News, show he travelled business class for the reception on May 6th held at the British Embassy in Washington DC. He flew back to London the following day. The flights cost £1,780 with an additional £181.49 spent on his hotel room. Mr Horrocks, who earns £242,800 a year, also charged the corporation £79.60 for taxis to and from the airport in Washington and a further £19.44 for 'access to secure BBC internet'. ... The BBC insisted yesterday that money for Mr Horrocks' trip to Washington and New York came out of commercial funds and that not a penny was from the grant-in-aid budget or from licence fee payers. A spokesman said: 'These trips are essential to our business.' The spokesman pointed out that the Washington party was co-hosted by the BBC and that it gave Mr Horrocks an opportunity to promote BBC World News, which is commercially funded, to key players in the US market. In a statement the corporation said: 'This [trip to Washington] was business class and paid for by BBC World News's commercial income – not licence fee or grant-in-aid money.'"

The Telegraph, 16 Oct 2010, Martin Beckford: "Among the most expensive hospitality events was an £825 meal claimed by Richard Sambrook - as he left the post of Director of BBC Global News - for 19 people at PJ’s restaurant in Covent Garden. A note on his file states that Mark Byford, the departing Deputy Director-General, 'authorised the small leaving dinner' in March this year."

Unblocking a blocked internet: a report on four types of circumvention tools.

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, 18 Oct 2010: "The OpenNet Initiative has documented network filtering of the Internet by national governments in over forty countries worldwide. Countries use this network filtering as one of many methods to control the flow of online content that is objectionable to the filtering governments for social, political, and security reasons. Filtering is particularly appealing to governments as it allows them to control content not published within their national borders. Circumvention tools allow users to bypass Internet filtering to access content otherwise blocked by governments, workplaces, schools, or even the blocked sites themselves. There are a number of different types of these tools: blocking-resistant tools, simple web proxies, virtual private network (VPN) services, and open HTTP/SOCKS proxies." With link to a report describing four categories of circumvention tools.-- Recommended reading.

RFE/RL, Tangled Web, 19 Oct 2010, Luke Allnutt: "The report finishes on the somber note that users may not be particularly interested in circumvention tools because they’re quite happy with what they’ve got: i.e. despite the filtering, they still prefer content in their own language about their own local interests. For the vast majority of users, largely apolitical who use the Internet to watch movies, hang out with friends, send email etc., that's likely true. But there’s also the significant segment of actively politicized people (normally a pretty small percentile) that, for instance, U.S. international broadcasting is interested in targeting. The change agents and the multipliers are more likely to also be the proxy users. In policy terms, it's about quality not quantity. The hope is that as circumvention tools become easier to find and use in local languages and are more accessible for non-techies, the numbers of people using them will grow. The catch, of course, is that they might be used more by people wanting to watch Hulu in Mexico than by people living in closed societies who are hungry for information."

More about the complicated relationship between Ethiopia and VOA.

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
nazret.com, 18 Oct 2010, Alemayehu G. Mariam: "When dictator-in-chief Meles Zenawi spoke unceremoniously at Columbia on September 22, he was talking trash about the Voice of America (VOA). He said he decided to jam VOA broadcasts in Ethiopia 'by taking a page from U.S. policy'. He wildly alleged that an evil cabal of supporters of the defunct Ethiopian military regime disguised as journalists had taken control of VOA's Amharic service." See previous post about same subject.

France 24 Arabic expands to 24 hours,"giving viewers an alternative to the long-standing English take on affairs in the region" (updated).

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 11 Oct 2010: "Lay witness to yet another Arabic 24/7 television news channel to enter the high-stakes game of international broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena). France 24, the round-the-clock, international French TV channel, will flip the switch on a brand new Arabic-only channel tomorrow at noon Paris time. ... Alain de Pouzilhac, President and Director of Audiovisuel exterieur de la France that owns France 24, stopped in Dubai yesterday on a tour of major Middle East cities to promote the new Arabic channel. In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Pouzilhac said the Arabic free-to-air channel will be broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa via Hot Bird, Arabsat and Nilesat satellites. International news from the Middle East will be viewed through a French prism, giving viewers an alternative to the long-standing English take on affairs in the region. ... 'People want comparisons, they want the French point of view,' said Pouzilhac."

AMEinfo, 11 Oct 2010, apparent press release via: "Faithful to its original mission, France 24 will propose a French perspective of the world's events which is to recognize the diversity of the world through its opinions, its religions and to grant an important place to culture by focusing on debates and confrontation of ideas. Primarily intended for Arabic-speaking viewers of the Middle East and of North Africa, the chain will also be widely broadcasted in France, in Europe and in Africa through Hot Bird, Arabsat and Nilesat satellites. ... The Voices of the Net program will leave the word to young people who every day are circumventing the state censorship through the Internet and social networks."

AFP, 10 Oct 2010: France 24 chief executive Alain de Pouzilhac: "'We have to speak Arabic if we want people to listen to us,' he said. ... Launched in 2006, France 24's Arabic channel grew from four hours a day in April 2007 to 10 hours a day two years later."

YouTube, 4 Oct 2010: France 24 publicizes the "countdown" to its 24-hour Arabic channel -- in English.

Update: The Daily Star (Beirut), 19 Oct 2010, Dana Halawi: "The director of the Arabic-language channel France 24, Nahida Nakad, ... [said] added that she has been working in Lebanon for over a year and a half without receiving phone calls from the government to restrict any content broadcast by the channel. 'Otherwise, that would be the end of our channel.' Nakad argued that Lebanon has an added value when it comes to freedom of speech which is not to be compared with other Arab countries which lack this important characteristic. Nakad’s remarks came during a news conference which was held at Albergo Hotel in Beirut to announce the launching of the Arabic channel France 24 on a 24-hour basis. Launched on December 2006, France 24 is a 24/7 international news channel. Its mission is to cover current international events from a French perspective and to convey French values throughout the world. It is a news hub that broadcasts its programs over the airwaves and over the internet in French, English and Arabic." -- Has she ever received phone calls from the French government to instruct her how to "convey French values"?

Radio France International's new Swahili service is on Nairobi FM 0300-0500 local time.

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Saturday Nation (Nairobi), 6 Oct 2010, Levi Obonyo, head of the Department of Communication at Daystar University: "Over the last couple of months, the French have launched broadcasts in Kiswahili on Radio French International, thus making an entrance into the continent’s media landscape. RFI is not the first major global player to make an entry into this increasingly important market. BBC and Radio China [China Radio International] have already done it. ... RFI’s Kiswahili service provides an outlet for Kiswahili speakers to communicate with a broader global community, and in this particular case, the Francophone world."

Update: The East Africa (Nairobi), 18 Oct 2010, Cosmus Butunyi: "Radio France managing director Geneviève Goëtzinger said the move to broadcast in African languages was in order to 'empathise' with the listeners in Africa and address them in the languages they speak. ... This strategy is born out of the experience in broadcasting in Hausa. ... RFI is broadcasting the Kiswahili programmes in partnership with Tanzania’s national broadcaster, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, which will provide office space as well as broadcasting facilities. ... In Kenya, an agreement is in place with the national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, which has been airing some of Radio France’s content, albeit at odd times (between 0300 and 0500 hours)." See previous post about same subject.

Reporters for BBC World Service and Radio Free Asia are among recipients of Courage in Journalism Awards.

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
International Women's Media Foundation announced the several 2010 recipients of its Courage in Journalism Awards, including: "Vicky Ntetema is a freelance Tanzanian reporter who contributes to the BBC World Service. She has been working for the BBC since 1991. Ntetema began investigating the brutal killings of albinos by witchdoctors in late 2007 after hearing about four murders of albino Tanzanians that occurred within three months." "Tsering Woeser is a Beijing-based Tibetan freelance writer and blogger for the site Invisible Tibet, where she posts reports of Chinese crackdowns in Tibet and Tibetan resistance to Chinese rule. She is also a contributor to Radio Free Asia." See also RFA press release, 19 Oct 2010 (pdf).

International radio and the 7 November Burmese elections.

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Inter Press Service, 20 Oct 2010, Marwaan Macan-Markar: "By polling day on Nov. 7, the London-based Amnesty International hopes to have distributed over 4,000 radio sets to people living in [Burma] under the iron grip of a military regime. 'Amnesty International just wants people in Burma to hear the truth,' said Niall Couper of the British branch of Amnesty, in an e-mail interview. 'It is the first time we have done a campaign like this.' ... The two decades since the last poll have also seen a shift in the media outlets that dominate the airwaves. The Burmese language services of the British Broadcasting Corp and Voice of America, which held sway during the 1990 poll, now have stiff competition from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an Oslo-based broadcaster run by Burmese journalists in exile. ... 'DVB itself is not taking any sides editorially, either pro- or against elections,' Khin Maung Win, deputy executive director of the station] said. 'While we broadcast pro-election campaigns and preparation for elections, we also broadcast voices of those against the elections.'" -- BBC, VOA, and RFA remain the leaders in Burma in terms of audience size. DVB's television program does have some loyal viewers in Burma.

The Irrawaddy, 16 Oct 2010: "As the new head of [Burma's] Military Affairs Security (MAS), Kyaw Swe replaces Lt-Gen Ye Myint, who sources say has been faulted by regime leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe for not foreseeing the upsurge in popular unrest that came to a head in September 2007, when thousands of monks took to the streets in the largest show of opposition to military rule in two decades. ... According to military sources, the MAS has in recent years come to rely heavily on exiled media websites and Burmese-language shortwave radio stations broadcasting from overseas for much of its information. 'The MAS doesn't do much work in the field these days. That's why it hasn't accomplished very much,' one source said... ."

Zambia replacing shortwave with satellite fed FM for domestic radio.

Posted: 22 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, 16 Oct 2010: "Information Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha has maintained that the ZAMBIA National Broadcasting Corporation -ZNBC- will soon place all its channels on satellite, for effective transmission countrywide. ... He said the corporation will further buy 48 FM transmitters which will be installed in rural areas in 2011. Lieutenant General Shikapwasha added that the development has been necessitated following the break down of ZNBC Radio One and Two Shortwave signals in February 2010."

In France, public diplomacy and international broadcasting seem to be en casserole.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 14 Oct 2010, Angela Doland: "[T]ough government law-and-order policies including crackdowns on Gypsies and a ban on Islamic veils are causing trouble for France's image abroad. A report handed this week to President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party says the country should use stronger public diplomacy to better explain itself. The report, commissioned by Sarkozy's UMP party, lists recent developments that were popular at home but baffled or angered observers in other nations. ... The author of the UMP report, Frank Melloul — a party member who plans strategy at France's state-run international broadcasting company — says he isn't criticizing the government's positions. But 'when you make a bold political decision, you always have to ... think not just of public opinion inside the country, but also outside the country,' he told The Associated Press. ... He also believes new technology is key. That sounds straightforward enough, but when the government launched a promotional site called http://www.france.fr this summer on Bastille Day, the site crashed almost immediately and stayed down for a month — a very global embarrassment."

UMP website, 12 Oct 2010: "La diplomatie publique française doit se composer de 5 piliers : 1) le Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, 2) le Ministère de la Défense, 3) l’Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France, 4) l’Institut français et 5) l’Agence française de Développement. Nous nous appuierons sur les synergies possibles entre ces différents piliers pour faires les recommandations... " For this text, click on la synthèse du rapport (pdf).

Why would a party member be planning strategy at "France's state-run international broadcasting company" -- presumably l’Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France, parent entity of France 24 and Radio France International -- and writing a report about public diplomacy? If French international broadcasting is to be competitive, it will have to decide whether it is in the business of news or of advocacy. Hint: the former is competitive.

The www.france.fr website could and should be the public diplomacy website that complements France's international broadcasting efforts. The easy to overlook pull-down menu in the upper left corner of the home page shows that france.fr is available in French (default), English, German, Spanish, and Italian.

Singapore IPTV "family pack" includes international channels.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 15 Oct 2010: "Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) has announced that starting from today, all new mio TV customers will receive a Family Channel Pack consisting of 28 channels as part of the service." -- mio TV is an IPTV service. According to this page from the mio TV website, the international channels in the Family Channel Pack include DW-TV Asia, Australia Network, euronews, Russia Today, CCTV (English), and NDTV 24x7 (India).

Australia gets a footy in the door of China's media market.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Queensland Government, 17 Oct 2010: "The Queensland Government’s new partnership with the Australian Football League kicks off this Sunday with the first ever AFL game in China between the Brisbane Lions and Melbourne. ... [Queensland premier Anna Bligh] said the Government wanted to capitalize on the growing interest in China of the AFL through a new broadcast agreement which will show one AFL match per week live into China via ICS and Australia Network in 2011. The AFL has also tapped into hugely popular social networking sites in China and set up a Chinese language website 51AFL.com which has attracted over 100,000 visitors in the past three months. 'I am pleased to also announce today that following the AFL's significant breakthrough of gaining broadcast access into China in season 2011, we have agreed that there will be a minimum of three China Broadcast games featuring a Queensland team with opportunities to also provide content about our State,' Ms Bligh said."

The Australian, 18 Oct 2010, Michael Sainsbury: "While it is picked up by expatriates and sports bars on pirate satellite services, the ABC's Australia Network has struggled to gain 'landing rights' on China's government-controlled cable and satellite networks. But there has been a welcome crack in the wall, with the AFL signing a deal with the Shanghai Media Group to broadcast games live to China's biggest and most cosmopolitan city." See previous post about same subject.

Multitasker: New CNN International VP of international ad sales remains GM of cnnarabic.com.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Business Intelligence Middle East, 17 Oct 2010: "CNN International has promoted Rani R. Raad from his regional management role to an expanded, global remit as he moves from Senior Vice President of CNN International Ad Sales EMEA, to the newly created position of Senior Vice President & Managing Director CNN International Ad Sales and Business Development. ... He will also continue to oversee the award-winning production arm Turner Commercial Productions, and remains General Manager for cnnarabic.com. ... He has been a driving force behind CNN’s rapid commercial footprint in the emerging markets, the creator of the tourism consultancy service the TASK Group, and the architect of CNN's innovative Lotus Formula One sponsorship."

Al Arabiya redesigns its website. One reviewer is not impressed.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 18 Oct 2010: "Al Arabiya celebrated the launch of the new version of its website alarabiya.net on Sunday night as part of its long-term plan to occupy the forefront in the news world whether on TV or in the digital world. ... The website sticks to the editorial policy for which it has always been known for, which earned it the popularity it enjoys now, based mainly on credibility and accuracy. ... The new version of alarabiya.net, which comes in four languages, namely Arabic, English, Persian and Urdu, takes electronic journalism to the top level. One of the most important features introduced to the website, which represents a technological revolution, is merging still and motion content in what came to be known as 'televising the website.'"

TNW Middle East, 17 Oct 2010, Ahmad F Al-Shagra: "Beginning with the shade of purple they’ve blinded us with instead of branding the website, to the cropped Live Broadcasting interface. The website looks like it’s been done on ‘Makeover with Joelle’ that water alone simply can’t get rid of. ... It’s probably a good thing to be ahead of the competition in the news industry, but to overload your readers with video when they hover over a news title is not only impractical but slows down both the rendering of the page and adds a waiting time for the Adobe Flash based movie clip not to mention the overall lacking bandwidth MENA readers have to put up with thus making the process even slower."

Boeing wants former employees to produce their communications with Al Jazeera.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 16 Oct 2010: "Boeing has asked a federal judge to force former workers, who alleged in a lawsuit that the company's planes were unsafe, to produce all their communications with journalists, particularly recent contacts with Arabic television station al-Jazeera. The filing this week in U.S. District Court in Wichita is the latest in a lawsuit filed in 2005 by three former workers who claimed Boeing defrauded the U.S. government. ... Boeing said in its court filing that after the Federal Aviation Administration's chief technical adviser rejected the lawsuit's allegations in a deposition, the workers contacted al-Jazeera about a story aimed at discrediting the U.S. government." -- I can't find any recent Aljazeera.net stories (in English) about allegedly unsafe Boeing airplanes. Perhaps still a work in progress, or the story did not have legs.

Al Jazeera and Russia Today Arabic collaborate on "Eye on Russia" special reports.

Posted: 21 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
News on News, 15 Oct 2010: "Al Jazeera Satellite Channel, in association with Rusiya Al-Yaum, will be broadcasting a series of special reports from Russia titled Eye on Russia. Hosting more than 40 guests, Al Jazeera will take an in-depth look across the Russian nation to bring a mixture of diverse voices from within. The series will consist of 40 special reports and documentaries covering various locations and a range of topics including social, political, economic and cultural issues. Al Jazeera will be reporting live from Moscow with a special studio to be built in association with Rusiya Al-Yaum." -- On Al Jazeera English or Al Jazeera Arabic? Rusiya Al-Yaum is the Arabic channel of RT (Russia Today).

Viet Nam News, 21 Oct 2010: "Vietnam News Agency (VNA) deputy general director and the VNA Television Centre director Nguyen Hoai Duong signed a co-operation agreement with Russia Today Television Channel's general director Aleksey Nikolov yesterday in Moscow. Under the agreement, the two sides will provide each other with news, television programmes, films and documentaries about the important political and cultural events as well as economic and scientific developments between the two countries and the region."

Report: Denis Latin named director of Al Jazeera Balkans.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Croatian Times, 15 Oct 2010: "Well-known journalist and the editor-in-chief of popular political TV series 'Latinica' Denis Latin has been booked for the general director position of Al Jazeera Balkans which will be coming soon to the region. ... The first wave of hiring will not include many journalists but rather translators who will be in charge of translating a large amount of previously-collected material, the portal writes." See previous post about same subject.

Euronews adds Persian, its tenth language.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 19 Oct 2010, Robert Briel: "Euronews is to take its multi-language news service into Persian. The new language will officially go live on October 27 and broadcast 24 hours a day. With the new addition, a further 3 million people will be able to follow Euronews programming. ... The addition of this 10th language version represents a very important step for Euronews in its multilingual strategy, the other languages being Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. A week ahead of the official TV launch, Persian Euronews will be available on the Euronews web site. For the new service Euronews has recruited 17 Persian speaking journalists who have been integrated into the broadcast operations in the Lyon headquarters over the past few months. From its launch, Persian Euronews will be immediately available on five satellites from its distribution network: Eutelsat Hot Bird 6, Arabsat Bad-4, Nilesat 101, Asiasat 5 and Eurobird 1 (which will be launched at the end of 2010)."

RFE/RL news interview about an Iranian Intelligence Ministry interview after a Radio Farda job interview.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters, 18 Oct 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari interviewing Ahmad Jalali Farahani, arrested in Iran in February after being accused of membership in "counterrevolutionary satellite network organizations," now seeking asylum in a neighboring country: "Q: Persian Letters: You were arrested in Iran about a year ago after you applied for a job at Radio Farda and were interviewed by our colleagues in Dubai. What happened exactly? Jalali Farahani: When I returned [from Dubai] I was arrested at the airport and my passport was confiscated. After a week of interrogation, [the authorities] told me that everything was fine and that I could go on with my life. They even returned me my passport and told me I could travel if I want. Eighty-eight days after the trip, eight officers from the Intelligence Ministry came to our house. It was at night, 1 or 2 a.m., they beat me up, took away all my documents and CDs , they searched everywhere and kept asking me, 'Where are your dollars and your euros, where did you hide them?' It took those about three hours, then they told me to get dressed and said, 'We're taking you somewhere nice.' They blindfolded me and handcuffed me and took me by car to Evin prison."

Judge will not remove herself from case involving VOA Persian News Network.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Courthouse News Service, 15 Oct 2010, 15 Oct 2010: "A federal judge refused to remove herself from a sexual harassment case against the Broadcasting Board of Governors, saying she was not biased against the plaintiff's attorney. Elham Sataki claimed U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was biased against her attorney because of his alleged ties to the Democratic Party and because Kollar-Kotelly had been appointed by former President Bill Clinton. Sataki claimed that her attorney, Larry Klayman, was critical of the Democratic Party and of Clinton, and that the judge could not be impartial because she was appointed by Clinton and is allegedly affiliated with the Democratic Party. Kollar-Kotelly wrote that after conducting an independent review of the record, she 'is satisfied that no reasonable and informed observer would question this court's impartiality.' Sataki is suing the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and several of the company's employees over alleged sexual harassment and assault by a co-worker at the Persian News Network, which is managed by the BBG." See also Leagle, 13 Oct 2010. See previous post about same subject.

"Now at least, the BBC World Service can argue that it is more independent than it was."

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 20 Oct 2010, Paul Reynolds, world affairs correspondent: "At a stroke, the Foreign Office has lost its two main levers of control over the World Service - its budget (currently £272m or $428m a year) and its services (that is, what countries it broadcasts to and in what format). ...

"Now at least, the BBC World Service can argue that it is more independent than it was. It will not be totally so because it is the British government which sets the level of overall funding for the BBC through the application of a levy on television sets.

"It is still open for critics to repeat the phrase that irritates all BBC folk - that the BBC is a 'state broadcaster'.

"But as the BBC does not seem to have been given any compensating funds to pay for the World Service, this decision raises huge questions about the future.

"Increasingly, the old radio services, especially on short wave, are going and are being replaced by online and television, such as the Persian TV service the BBC runs. ...

"In the Cold War it was easy. The BBC, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe knew what they were doing and knew why people listened. "The opposition put up their B team. Nobody was taken in by the old Radio Moscow, though the 'Midnight in Moscow' theme tune was catchy. ...

"The world is not yet so free that it does not need as much access as it can get to free information."

Are we certain that the Foreign Office will no longer have a say in determining the languages in which BBC World Service broadcasts?

BBC Trust press release, 20 Oct 2010: "Responding to today's announcement of a new licence fee settlement for the BBC, Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust, said: ... Having considered the details and the circumstances carefully, the Trust believes that this settlement, which reaffirms the corporation's operational and editorial independence, is in the best interests of licence fee payers who will continue to benefit from the high quality services they expect from the BBC. It brings with it new obligations for the BBC. But importantly they are all obligations that are relevant to the BBC's mission and purpose – to be a public service broadcaster of the highest quality that serves all audiences. In particular the new arrangements will ensure that the World Service remains a vibrant, independent service that brings impartial news to people around the world, while strengthening the BBC's ability to bring international news to UK licence fee payers."

The Guardian, 20 Oct 2010, Tara Conlan: "One source said: 'The plus side for the World Service being funded by the BBC is that often people around the world don't like the fact it's funded by the UK government. There will be streamlining that would come about anyway moving in with the rest of news into the new Broadcasting House, but at least it won't be squeezed by the FCO any more and it can be more integrated into the BBC.'"

The Guardian, 20 Oct 2010, John Plunkett and Maggie Brown: "It is not yet clear if any TV, radio or online services will be cut back or disappear but there will be far more integration of operations including the BBC World Service." See previous post about same subject.

CNBC Africa, "yet to turn a profit" but "about halfway" to its viewership target.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Leadership (Cape Town), 15 Oct 2010, Mike Simpson: Rakesh Wahi "is co-founder and vice chairperson of the Johannesburg-based CNBC Africa business television channel... . A franchise operation of the giant NBC television broadcaster in the United States, it is part of a global network of CNBC franchises and affiliates in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere. CNBC Africa broadcasts 24-hour news, almost exclusively business and finance orientated, to 48 African countries via the DStv satellite bouquet. Headquartered in Johannesburg, it has news bureaux in Cape Town, Nairobi, Lagos and Abuja. It currently reaches a highly niched viewership of more than 200,000 and competes with the likes of South African-based Summit TV and the international Bloomberg business and financial news service. There are, however, ambitious plans to extend CNBC Africa’s business news coverage, grow audiences across the continent, and expand the operations of the parent company, Africa Business News (ABN), into print and digital media products. ... While CNBC Africa has yet to turn a profit, Wahi says he is happy with its progress and it is about halfway to a viewership target of between 400,000 and 500,000. 'In the next two to three years, we should be in that ballpark,' he remarks."

Reports: BBC World Service funding will come from license fee rather than Foreign Office.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 19 Oct 2010: "The BBC licence fee is to be frozen for the next six years at £145.50, it has emerged. The corporation will also take over the cost of the World Service, currently funded by the Foreign Office, as well as the Welsh language TV channel, S4C. ... The BBC will also take over the cost of BBC Monitoring, part of the World Service which monitors how global media are telling news stories." -- I don't think this guarantees that BBC World Service funding will remain at present levels.

BBC News, Michael Crick's blog, 19 Oct 2010: "Two senior sources - in Downing Street and the Foreign Office - have told me that a deal has now been done where in future the cost of the BBC World Service - currently £272m a year - will have to come from the licence fee rather than the Foreign Office budget. This will come into effect with the next licence fee settlement due in 2012. This seems to replace previous plans - reported here yesterday - to make the BBC pay the £556m cost of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) paying for free TV licences for the over-75s. I understand the new deal, brokered between the BBC and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is likely to involve a new figure for the licence fee. A BBC source tells me the corporation recognised they had to contribute to the Spending Review process, and bringing the World Service within the overall BBC budget was a logical move given the fact that BBC and World Service journalists will soon share the same building."

The Guardian, 19 Oct 2010, Dan Sabbagh: The team of BBC director general Mark Thompson "says it is time to 'start having a more reasonable conversation' about the BBC paying for the World Service because the service is a broadcaster, although it is not clear if the BBC would be prepared to pay the entire bill through the licence fee. By contrast, if the BBC were forced to fund the cost of free TV licences for the elderly there would be no benefit for most viewers on screen or on air. ... There are suggestions that the World Service could be funded by some of the profits made by BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, which licenses formats such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Top Gear overseas. Last year, Worldwide made an operating profit of £140m, although that cash is used to fund the BBC's wider activities."

The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Oct 2010, Mimi Turner: Covering "the cost of free license fees for the over 75s at the cost of more than £500 million ($785.7 million) a year ... has been vociferously opposed by the BBC Trust, which is privately appalled at the prospect of having to implement what amounts to government social policy."

Press Gazette, 19 Oct 2010: The National Union of Journalists "said it feared the Macedonian; Serbian, Vietnamese and Moldovan language services may close entirely or be drastically cut while the Ukrainian and Russian services could be based solely in those countries with the Russian radio serviced closed by the end of the year. Journalism jobs were expected to go from the BBC World Service newsroom in London, the union said, with further cuts and restructuring expected across the Turkish TV service, the Central Asian and Bengali services, the Spanish American service and the Arabic service."

Press Gazette, 20 Oct 2010, Oliver Luft: "The BBC taking full control of the World Service will give it clear editorial independence from the Government but will open it up to the wider cuts process that is expected to hit the BBC. ... The [National Union of Journalists] claimed that cuts have been proposed for the BBC Monitoring Service based in Caversham which could impact on 300-350 jobs in the UK and 150 jobs overseas."

New York Times, 19 Oct 2010, Sarah Lyall: "Even in today’s broadcasting Babel, and despite criticism from many detractors, the BBC remains one of the world’s great media brands, commanding a respect that few institutions — not the government, not the royal family, not the Church of England — can match. It is also huge, with more than 17,200 employees. Its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, last year made a before-tax profit of $187 million."

The World Today, November 2010, Michael Harvey: "An anchor of British values, the World Service - funded by the equivalent of a $431.64 million grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - broadcasts in 32 languages, reaching a weekly audience of 180 million worldwide. In an era of global mass communication and greater engagement across cultures, the need for impartiality, openness, and pluralism is perhaps greater than ever. There is no doubting that the World Service continues to serve as a beacon beyond British shores - a fact ably demonstrated by US President Barack Obama's choosing to give an interview to the BBC Persian Service, in which he tried to engage directly with the Iranian people in refuting President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's comments to the United Nations General Assembly in September." See previous post about same subject.

Russia Today (RT) journalist shot, in the foot, with a rubber bullet, in Moscow restaurant.

Posted: 19 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 17 Oct 2010: "A Russia Today journalist is in hospital after being shot in the foot in a Moscow restaurant, the news channel said on Sunday. There is no indication that the attack, which Russia Today say took place on October 9, is related to her professional activities. Natalya Arkhiptseva was shot with a gun firing rubber bullets a by a 35-year-old native of St. Petersburg in the capital’s Prado Cafe. She said he opened fire after she objected to being sworn at by him and his friends as she passed their table. ... He has been charged with 'hooliganism' - which carries a maximum sentence of five years behind bars."

North Korea warns again about South Korean propaganda.

Posted: 19 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
DPA, 15 Oct 2010: "North Korea said Friday it would strike South Korean facilities if Seoul goes ahead with its plan to disseminate propaganda against Pyongyang on its territory, news reports said. South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae Young said on October 5 that his government was considering a plan to hand out radios in the North to receive anti-Pyongyang broadcasts, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said. South Korea was also reported to have printed up hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets, and erected loudspeakers on the border with its northern communist neighbour." See also Yonhap, 15 Oct 2010.

Xinhua, 15 Oct 2010: A North Korean "notice claimed the South Korean defense minister had disclosed plans to distribute frequency-modulated radios to be used for anti-DPRK psychological broadcasting. It would also set up large electronic displays and loudspeakers to broadcast anti-DPRK propaganda." -- "Frequency-modulated" would be FM, which does not reception as far into North Korea as would AM (medium wave). And previous reports stated that the South Korean Defense Ministry radio station beamed to North Korea would add or switch to medium wave.

Canadian Press, 15 Oct 2010, Kwang-Tae Kim: South Korean "[c]ivilian activists regularly use balloons to launch leaflets condemning North Korean leader Kim Jong Il across the heavily fortified border, a tactic Pyongyang views as part of official South Korean psychological campaigns aimed at toppling its regime. The North warned during military talks with South Korea last month that it might fire artillery at sites the activists use to launch the balloons."

AFP, 15 Oct 2010: "The loudspeakers and other sites will face 'a physical strike from our army' if the official propaganda campaign is launched, the North said."

PCWorld, 15 Oct 2010, Martyn Williams: "A new website that appears to be one of the first to operate from inside North Korea remained unblocked by South Korean government censors as of Friday afternoon. The website carries news in English and Spanish from the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA). The news articles are identical to those on a long-standing KCNA website that operates from Tokyo, but they appear roughly 18 hours earlier on the new site."

Computerworld, 9 Oct 2010, Martyn Williams: "North Korea appears to have made its first full connection to the Internet. ... A Web site for the country's official news agency was the first to appear from among a group of 1,024 Internet addresses that had been reserved for North Korea but never used. The Korea Central News Agency's new Web site is different from one operated by a group in Tokyo and carries news and photos a day ahead of the Japanese site." The URL is http://175.45.179.68/.

RFE/RL reporter among journalists assaulted in Ukraine.

Posted: 19 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
DPA, 16 Oct 2010, Stefan Korshak: "Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych promised this week to sack any public employee responsible for media intimidation - and some reporters wish he would. Under Yanukovych, who was elected last February, there have been spate of attacks on journalists, one of them believed to be fatal. Police have been implicated in several of these cases. ... Artem Furmaniuk, a Radio Liberty reporter and operator of an independent news website in Donetsk, Yanukovych's home town, speaks from personal experience. He says he was assaulted on September 18 by uniformed police, who left him with broken ribs and a concussion. Their attack on him intensified, Furmaniuk claimed, when he identified himself as a journalist and threatened to make the officers' names public."

RFE/RL's news coverage moves into South America.

Posted: 19 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL News, 16 Oct 2010: "Thirty-one of the 33 miners pulled to safety this week in an unprecedented Chilean rescue operation have returned home to a hero's welcome. Two of the miners, who spent more than two months deep in a collapsed mine, remain hospitalized for what were described as minor ailments." -- This is "compiled from agency reports," so RFE/RL did not have its own reporter in Chile. Compare to VOA News, 15 Oct 2010. See previous post about similar subject.

Richard Lobo sworn in as director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. But, then, you were probably there.

Posted: 19 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors Highlights, 18 Oct 2010: The new director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, Richard M. Lobo, was sworn in Monday afternoon (18 October). Video of the event is available.

The first I heard about this swearing in ceremony was Monday morning, when someone noticed the two good looking ersatz-leather chairs in my next-door colleague's office. The chairs were invited to the ceremony (they were needed on the stage of the VOA auditorium), but my colleague was not. Nor was I. Which is fine, because not being invited provided me with a convenient excuse not to attend. (Whenever I can avoid a room full of bureaucrats, I do.)

As those of us who were not invited were leaving the building at COB Monday, we could hear, behind a curtain, down the corridor towards to auditorium entrance, a large crowd enjoying the reception after the swearing in. Judging from the noise, we uninviteds may have been the smaller group.

The topic of discussion today at 330 Independence Avenue SW will likely be who was and who was not invited to the swearing in of the new director, and, more importantly, who was and was not able to partake of the refreshments afterward. The resulting disapprobation could help restore BBG/IBB/VOA as the worst place to work in the federal government. (See previous post.)

Deutsche Welle's euromaxx television program now available in Chinese.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, 14 Oct 2010: "Germany’s international broadcaster, has now made its lifestyle magazine euromaxx available in Chinese for its viewers in Asia. ... The Chinese version of euromaxx is the result of a partnership with Singapore-based Xinya and DW-TV. Xinya Azio is a pay-TV channel that is available in 15 Asian countries and plans on reaching approximately 1.2 billion Mandarin-speaking viewers. ... DW and Xinya have already produced 26 episodes of euromaxx in Mandarin which will be aired over the next six months." -- Approximately 1.2 billion? Ambitious plans.

Arabic-language Christian network launches multilingual channel.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Zenit.org, 8 Oct 2010: "The largest Arabic-speaking Christian television network launched its first multilingual satellite program, aimed to reach a worldwide audience. The Lebanese network, Tele Lumiere, launched an international program in various languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. It noted the aim to make this station 'an international free platform for peace and dialogue, communicating from Lebanon to the world the true face of humanity.'"

BBC World Service employees fear loss of as many as 1,000 jobs.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 15 Oct 2010, Neil Midgley: "Unlike the BBC's domestic services, the World Service is funded not out of the TV licence fee but from a £272million annual grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Though the World Service is not expected to be abolished completely in next week's announcement from the chancellor, George Osborne, the FCO has asked the BBC for budgets reflecting either a 25 per cent or a 40 per cent cut. Employees fear that this will translate into the loss of between a quarter and a half the World Service's 2,017 jobs. The World Service broadcasts around the world in 32 languages including Russian, Persian and Hindi. 'It looks as if whole services will close, not just one or two jobs going from here and one or two from there,' said a source. 'And the potential for redeployment of staff is lower within the World Service than at the rest of the BBC - you can't transfer a Polish speaker to the Urdu service.'"

The Guardian, 15 Oct 2010, James Robinson: "Sir Richard Dannatt, the former head of the army, has warned the government not to cut the budget of the BBC World Service, which was a 'relatively cheap' way of communication in countries where British troops were deployed, including Afghanistan. Dannatt described the service as 'a beacon of trustworthiness'. He said: 'Expenditure should be protected as fiercely as possible. Both our antagonists and our friends in Afghanistan rely on BBC World Service to find out what is going on. So do our own forces, and millions of other people all over the world.'"

New Statesman, 14 Oct 2010, Caroline Crampton: "The full details of the Coalition's 'bonfire of the quangos' have now filtered into the public domain ... BBC World Service survives to delight its global audience for a little longer... ." -- BBC World Service remains as a "quasi non-governmental organisation," but this doesn't spare it from the likely budget cuts mentioned above.

Lamenting the loss of drama on BBC World Service. But playwriting competition continues.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Stage (London), 14 Oct 2010: "Former [BBC] World Service drama head Gordon House has lamented the broadcaster’s decision to axe the 14 plays it broadcasts annually, claiming they provide a global showcase of the UK’s writing and acting talent. The plays form the majority of the station’s regular drama output and House, who worked as the station’s head of drama until 2000, described the World Service’s decision to axe the plays from 2011 as 'very sad'. He claimed actors and writers would lose a valuable source of employment as a result." See previous post about same subject.

BBC World Service press release, 18 Oct 2010: "BBC World Service, in partnership with the British Council, launches the 12th Annual Radio Playwriting Competition, which invites writers from around the world to submit a one-hour radio play on any subject. Two first prizes will be awarded: one for writers for whom English is a first language, and a second, for those with English as a second language. The winning entries will be broadcast on BBC World Service in autumn 2011. The competition is for writers outside the UK and the two winners will each receive a prize of 2,500 and a trip to London to see their play recorded." See also BBC World Service, 15 Oct 2010.

BBC World Service: "In 1960, 17 African countries became Independent. To mark the 50th anniversary of this important year, BBC World Drama - in collaboration with the British African Theatre Company Tiata Fahodzi - presents an evening of African plays from across the continent from the last five decades."

BBC World Service Trust adds two television programs to its English-teaching project in Bangladesh.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, World Agenda, 15 Oct 2010: "English in Action is a major nine-year initiative in Bangladesh with an ambition to raise the English language skills of 25 million people by 2017. In a landmark for the BBC World Service Trust project, children and adults will be brought together to learn English for the first time. ... Bishaash is a drama based in both Bangladesh and the UK which, as the first supernatural detective series in Asia, will hopefully captivate audiences whilst providing an introduction to beginner’s English. With most of the speech in Bangla to attract a mainstream audience, it includes functional English lines woven into the stories. It is followed by BBC Janala: Mojay Mojay Shekha, an entertaining educational game show and comedy which builds on the English used in the drama, providing viewers with a fun, accessible and free way for families to learn English together." See also The Daily Star (Dhaka), 15 Oct 2010.

Court takes away Europa Plus Baku radio license, citing RFE/RL, BBC, and VOA as precedents.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Azeri-Press agency, 15 Oct 2010: "Baku Local Economic Court #1 finished the hearing on the suit brought by Teleradio Production Unit of Communications and Information Technologies Ministry against Europa Plus Baku Closed Joint Stock Company for withdrawal of the license and payment of the debt. APA reports that Tahira Asadova presided over the hearing. The suit was granted. The suit was based on the decision on airing all programs in Azerbaijani on the radios on local frequencies. According to the decision, the broadcast of Radio Liberty, BBC and Voice of America radios on local frequencies was terminated. The court was appealed for withdrawal of the license of Europa Plus Baku radio. Teleradio Production Union demanded payment of AZN 10,022 debt for keeping its technical equipment on its territory. Europa Plus Baku radio was launched in Baku on June 22, 1999. The radio was broadcasted on 107.7 FM. The state language was 10%, foreign language 90% in the broadcast of the radio." -- It seems, then, that unfortunate Europa Plus Baku must pay $12,500 for the storage of its confiscated equipment.

VOA reporter in Uzbekistan fined, but avoids jail time.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL News, 15 Oct 2010: "Tashkent's Mirzo Ulugbek district court has fined an Uzbek reporter for the U.S.-funded radio station Voice of America (VOA) the equivalent of about $10,000, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports. Abdumalik Boboev, a freelancer for VOA's Uzbek Service, was found guilty of slander and distributing materials that pose a threat to public order." See also VOA News, 15 Oct 2010.

Eurasianet.org, 15 Oct 2010, Joshua Kucera: "Voice of America reporter Abdumalik Boboyev has been fined about $11,000 but has avoided jail time by an Uzbekistan court, in a case that was closely watched by international observers. ... He also was allowed to resume his journalism work immediately, though he plans to appeal, a U.S. State Department source told EurasiaNet. As it happened, as Boboyev was being sentenced, a delegation of senior Uzbek officials was visiting Washington, and got an earful about the Boboyev case, the State Department official said: 'It came up in every meeting they had here... we raised it as a specific concern and were encouraging them to do the right thing.'" See also Eurasianet.org, 15 Oct 2010.

VOA press release, 15 Oct 2010: "The Voice of America is expressing continued concern about a VOA Uzbek Service journalist who was fined more than $10,000 Friday by an Uzbek court that convicted him of slander, insult and publishing information harmful to the public peace. ... VOA Director Danforth W. Austin said Friday, 'We are reviewing the decision by the Uzbek court. We are pleased that Mr. Boboev wasn't sentenced to jail. However, we remain concerned that his work as a journalist has resulted in a substantial fine. We will continue to follow his case, and hope that he will be able to continue providing fair, comprehensive and accurate reports to our audience without fear of retaliation.'" See also Human Rights Watch, 14 Oct 2010. See previous post about same subject.

In California, Vietnamese-American radio broadcaster (and VOA domestic disseminator) taken off the air.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Voice of OC, 13 Oct 2010, Norberto Santana, Jr.: "Every day dozens of broadcasters go on the airwaves in Little Saigon -- which sits in parts of Garden Grove and Westminster [Orange County, California] --- and talk politics. The news programs, which rent time by the hour, have dedicated Vietnamese-language audiences and the potential to sway elections. For more than 20 years, Long Vo has been one of the local stalwarts in this arena. ... But on Sept. 29, his show was yanked off the air. The reason given by the station is that Vo was taken off AM 1190 because he refused to sign the station's newly constituted pledge regarding what can and can't be said on air about politicians. ... On Sept. 29, Vo hosted a call-in program on AM 1190 that began with him reading a story from the Voice of America on recent allegations that ethnicity had become an overriding issue in the [local Congressional] race."

Study in nine countries explores relationship between mainstream and social media.

Posted: 18 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Business Intelligence Middle East, 14 Oct 2010: "BBC Worldwide, Carat, and The Future Foundation have completed the most comprehensive study of global opinion leaders and word of mouth, revealing that opinion leading social media users are more, not less, engaged with mainstream media brands. The study examined how 9,000 opinion leaders share information in response to brand activity, news and personal experience, in 9 countries across platforms old and new (web, online social networks, email, SMS, phone and face to face). ... When it comes to discovering breaking news TV is the main source for [opinion leaders] (45%), with radio playing a key role (15%)."

ESPN international hires.

Posted: 17 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 15 Oct 2010, Julian Clover; "ESPN has made three significant additions to its international team. Rob Simmelkjaer has been appointed VP of international development, while Simon Potter Joins as senior director, programming and Alan Fagan as group director, advertising and sponsorship sales. ... Fagan ... will be responsible for day-to-day management of all of ESPN’s multi-platform advertising and sponsorship sales across ESPN’s wholly owned multi-media platforms in the UK and EMEA."

Its roving reporter says Al Jazeera English covers the "Southern world" on more than a "drop-in basis."

Posted: 17 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 14 Oct 2010, Ilan Evyatar interviewing Al Jazeera English roving correspondent Mike Hanna: "Q: So are you presenting the voice of the Arab world, the Arab message? Hanna: It’s not necessarily the Arab world and the Arab message; it’s more the Southern world. What I meant was that Qatar is a Middle Eastern state, our headquarters are there so we will be presenting news from an awareness of what is happening there as much as what is happening from Washington... In terms of the sort of ‘voice of the voiceless’ that is very much the stories that are not done, the Somalias, the Yemens, places that mainline media never cover unless it’s disaster or war, and we are constantly pushing to report not only on a drop-in basis but on a continuum from those types of places, which widens the context and understanding of what is happening there and at the same time not ignoring the important centers of news. ...

"Q: Isn’t there an overweighting on Israel that suggests a very subtle bias? Hanna: I think empirically it’s quite possible to see that. All I have to say is that to my knowledge there is no intent. Certainly I’ve never been conscious of any deeper agenda of Al-Jazeera or even of CNN that it has to go there because... It’s more that classic knee jerk that news is breaking, where is news breaking, ah!... Israel creates its news, we don’t have to focus to bring it up."

MoroccoBoard.com, 14 Oct 2010, Hassan Masiky: "The Moroccan public who initially endorsed Al-Jazeera is dismayed with its anti-Moroccan obvious biases. It will take more than shouting matches and anti-Israeli rhetoric to convince some viewers of Al-Jazeera’s objectivity and balance."

New Egyptian regulations could put a chill on SMS as a medium of international broadcasting.

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 13 Oct 2010: "Egypt's telecommunications regulator has imposed new restrictions on mobile text messages ahead of legislative elections. Mahmoud el-Gweini, adviser to Egypt's telecommunications minister, said on Tuesday that companies sending out text messages en masse – known as SMS aggregators – must now obtain licenses. ... Reform groups in Egypt have come to rely increasingly on the internet and mobile phones to organise and mobilise their supporters, tools which have enabled them to sidestep government harassment. ... El-Gweini said the decision was not supposed to curb political activity, but rather to protect people from 'random' text messages about sensitive issues. ... Only registered political parties can apply to use mass text messages in the upcoming elections. The ruling party has already been granted a permit, he said."

DPA, 12 Oct 2010: "Egypt's state telecommunications authority has imposed new restrictions on media companies that send out news alerts to cell phones by requiring that they first obtain government approval, local media reported on Tuesday. The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) said the restriction is aimed at some 30 media companies operating in Egypt without a clear legal status. Companies that send out news alerts will have to get a permit to continue doing so from the Ministry of Information and Supreme Press Council, the Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm reported. ... 'The NTRA will reportedly take three per cent of [mobile phone] companies' SMS- generated revenue with which it will pay the salaries of the special controllers,' al-Masry al-Youm wrote."

Al-Masry Al-Youm, 14 Oct 2010, Jano Charbel: "Ministry spokesmen could not be reached for comment, but reports indicate that news outlets utilizing mass text messaging services will have to pay hefty fees--in the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds--within the next few days in order to maintain the service. Although officials at the Communications Ministry claim the decision is "non-political," security sources suggest otherwise. Weeks earlier, a security source--whose name is being withheld because he is not authorized to speak with the media--told Al-Masry Al-Youm: 'There have been security discussions relating to the monitoring of mass text messages by service operators for the past several months.” He added that discussions had "focused on means by which to limit and control the transmission of provocative and opposition text messages.'"

Some international broadcasting entities have increasingly used SMS to provide news to their audiences. SMS has the advantage of being cheaper to send than via powerful shortwave or medium wave transmitters. And, in many countries, more people own mobile phones than radios with shortwave bands. In the case of Egypt, if the enforcement of these news regulations is against the mobile providers, international broadcasters, not being authorized, could find their content not reaching audiences in that country. If the enforcement is against the content providers, international broadcasters may be exempt, being located outside of Egypt.

Al-Masry Al-Youm, 16 Oct 2010: "A source at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has denied that any instructions have been given to restrict the use in Egypt of Facebook, the world's most popular social networking site. ... The source, who requested not to be named, added that Egypt, unlike other nations, has never before blocked the use of any website."

News from the dark side of shortwave.

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Minneappolis Star-Tribune, 14 Oct 2010, Dan Browning: "Pat Kiley, a former radio talk-show host who solicited investors for Trevor Cook's $190 million Ponzi scheme ... appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis to explain that he wants to be represented by Henry Nasif Mahmoud, a lawyer from Stone Mountain, Ga. But he said they haven't found any local counsel to sponsor Mahmoud's appearance in Minnesota because of the publicity the case has received in the Star Tribune. ... Kiley, a longtime associate of Cook's, pitched the currency investment scheme on his 'Follow the Money' radio show, which was broadcast on a Christian shortwave radio network and on more than 200 radio stations in the U.S." See previous post about same subject.

Ears to Our World distributes self-powered shortwave radios in developing countries.

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 14 Oct 2010, Thomas Witherspoon: "I am the founder and director of Ears to Our World, a grassroots charitable organization with a simple objective: distributing self-powered world-band [shortwave] radios to schools and communities in the third world, so that kids, not to mention those who teach them, can learn about their world, too. I want others –– children and young people, especially –– who lack reliable access to information, to have the world of radio within their reach. More specifically, Ears to Our World works in rural, impoverished and sometimes war-torn or disaster-ravaged parts of the world, places that lack reliable access to electricity –– let alone the Internet –– and where radio often is the only link to the world outside. The heart of our mission is to allow radio to be used as a tool for education, so we give radios to teachers, who, in turn, use the radios in the classroom and at home to provide real-life, up-to-date feedback about the world around them."

XO Dock press release, 22 Sept 2010: "Developing nations are quickly moving into the digital age through the adoption of low cost notebooks thanks to the work of non-profit organizations such as OLPC San Francisco, Green WiFi, and Engineers without Borders IIT. Working in collaboration with these groups, the XO Dock team aims to aid this technology adoption. Well over 1.4 million XO laptops have been delivered, shipped, or ordered; however, there are many challenges to overcome in the deployment of these laptops. Key challenges, aside from the lack of electricity and Internet connectivity, include the absence of any means to charge and store the laptops. As such, several problems arise including the following: Usage - Inadequate length of laptop use due to charge capabilities, Safety - Haphazard charging endangers users, laptops, and facilities, Storage - Complications in the daily storage and distribution of laptops."

Fifty years of TWR (Trans World Radio) broadcasts from Monte Carlo.

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
TWR International, 1 Oct 2010: "Fifty years ago this week, Christian media organization TWR International aired its first program from a 100,000-watt shortwave transmitter in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The transmitter was housed in a building ordered built by Adolf Hitler during World War II to broadcast Nazi propaganda. ... Today, programs from Monte Carlo are aired in 16 languages, including Arabic, English, French, Hungarian, Kabyle, Romanian and Tamazight, among others. Broadcasts originally began airing on October 16, 1960, from one shortwave transmitter, but now programming is beamed from multiple shortwave and high-powered AM facilities. 'Sometimes God turns the efforts of evil men into vehicles for His work in the world,' says TWR President Lauren Libby."

France's broadcasting service for overseas territories is now called Réseau Outre-Mer 1ère.

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
France2.fr, 13 Oct 2010: The French broadcasting service for its overseas territories has changed its name from Réseau France Outre Mer (RFO) to Réseau Outre-Mer 1ère. "Le nom de chaque station est décliné en fonction de la région : Guyane 1ère, Martinique 1ère, Réunion 1ère ... "

Tahiti Info, undated but recent: "Martinique 1ère, Guadeloupe 1ère, Nouvelle-Calédonie 1ère, Wallis et Futuna 1ère, Polynésie 1ère, Réunion 1ère, Guyane 1ère, Mayotte 1ère et Saint-Pierre et Miquelon 1ère, en référence à: -leur place de leader sur leur territoire de diffusion et de numéro 1 dans le «coeur» des téléspectateurs ultra marins -leur première place sur la télécommande -leur numérotation en cohérence avec les autres antennes du groupe."

BBC coverage of Chilean mine rescue brings large audiences -- at the expense of future international coverage.

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
News on News, 15 Oct 2010: "On Wednesday 14 October, the incredible story around the rescue of the Chilean miners was viewed by four million unique users on BBC.com. This figure is one million more than the average day in October, and the highest since the website refresh in July this year. ... Much of the website content was shared with other BBC websites. BBC Mundo, the BBC World Service Spanish language website for Latin America, attracted around half a million unique users on Wednesday, which is up 90% on the average day in October. BBC.com figures exclude UK online users."

BBC News, The Editors blog, 14 Oct 2010, Jon Williams: "For the past month, the English team on the ground has worked alongside a team from BBC Mundo, the BBC's Spanish-speaking Latin-American service. We made a decision to send two Spanish-speaking presenters, Tim Willcox and Matt Frei, who were able to interview the families of the miners and Chilean officials in Spanish, and then translate simultaneously, live 'on-air'. It was a huge point of difference with other broadcasters, and one that built a bond with the families in the days and weeks before the rescue. The truth is, the preparation and the resourcing of one of the biggest stories of the year is expensive. The cost - and some of the difficult choices we now have to make about what future stories we may have to pull back from to recoup the cost - has also drawn some press comment."

The Telegraph, 14 Oct 2010, Maury Waldrop: "'The financial situation is serious', Mr Williams wrote. 'We are currently £67k beyond our agreed overspend of £500k; newsgathering's costs for Chile will exceed £100,000.' Coverage of the forthcoming Nato summit in Lisbon, the Cancun climate summit and the Davos World Economic Forum will all suffer as a result of the black hole in the corporation’s finances."

"CNN: ... Do what you do on CNN International, only air it here."

Posted: 16 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
PoynterOnline Romanesko feedback, 13 Oct 2010, John Law: "CNN: Take some of the money you're paying Spitzer, Cooper, et al, and spend it instead on some no-name, crackerjack reporters. Live up to your marketing -- do news. Differentiate yourself by actually performing journalism on a day-to-day basis, instead of just saying that's what you do. Then maybe you'll have a shot at owning cable news. You won't otherwise. Oh, and also: stop being shallow inane. That doesn't help, either. Watch some tapes of the Turner days -- that will give you an idea of where to start. Do what you do on CNN International, only air it here. Put more people like Fareed Zakaria on your air. Be smart, and leave the stupid to Fox and MSNBC." -- Which means leaving most of the audience to Fox and MSNBC?

AP: Nigerian Islamic sect demands amnesty via interviews on BBC and VOA Hausa.

Posted: 15 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 14 Oct 2010: "A feared Islamic sect responsible for a recent federal prison break and targeted killings in northern Nigeria has demanded an amnesty offer from the government to stop the violence. The communication from the Boko Haram sect said the group wanted a deal similar to one made to militants in Nigeria's restive and oil-rich southern delta last year that slowed attacks there. However, such a demand could exploit regional and religious tensions that run through Africa's most populous nation and put new pressures on its Christian president. Boko Haram made its demands via interviews with an anonymous spokesman to the Hausa language radio services of the BBC and the Voice of America late Wednesday night."

Cato Institute fellow impressed by his encounter with VOA's "Encounter."

Posted: 15 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The National Interest, The Skeptics blog, 13 Oct 2010, Benjamin H. Friedman: "I went on Voice of America's Encounter program last Thursday to argue that the answer to all these questions is no. I said that vigilance is overrated and that if authorities are going to warn us about terrorism, they should be far more specific. The other guest, Frank Cilluffo, a homeland security expert at George Washington University, articulately disagreed with me on that and some of the other skeptical views I expressed about U.S. counterterrorism policy. It was an unusually substantive radio discussion that broadcast only overseas. So I'm posting it here." -- "Broadcast only overseas" but available to any American at this page of voanews.com.

Obituaries for conservative writer Joseph Sobran conjure who's who of US international broadcasting.

Posted: 15 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The American Conservative, 13 Oct 2010, Jon Basil Utley: "As America faces unending wars and bankrupting budgets as far as the eye can see, we are saddened by the death of one of our great patriots, Joseph Sobran. ... I first worked with Joe when we, together with Phil Nicolaides, founded in 1990 the Committee to Avert a Mideast Holocaust against Father Bush’s war on Iraq. Joe and Phil (former deputy director of the Voice of America and campaign manager for Jim Buckley’s and Phil Gramm’s senate campaigns) held a press conference in the National Press Club announcing the committee’s formation."

New York Times, 1 Oct 2010, William Grimes: "Mr. Sobran, unhappy with National Review’s support for the 1991 Persian Gulf war, and with [editor William F.] Buckley’s criticism of his writing on Jews and the Middle East, attacked Mr. Buckley in his 'Washington Watch' column in The Wanderer, a traditionalist Roman Catholic weekly. When informed by National Review’s editor in chief, John O’Sullivan, that the column amounted to a letter of resignation, Mr. Sobran was fired."

Phil Nicolaides was deputy director of VOA during the Reagan Administration, and was appointed by President Reagan to that post (this was before the BBG firewall). Jim Buckley, brother of William F., was president of RFE/RL Inc from 1982 to 1985. Jon Basil Utley's bio states that he was "a commentator on the Voice of America from 1985-2003." (I'm not sure what a "commentator" on VOA is.) John O'Sullivan is executive editor of RFE/RL Inc., appointed in 2008, "setting editorial vision and direction for the organization."

NHK World: Official channel of blue jet lightning.

Posted: 15 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
ntnews.co.au, 13 Oct 2010, Sarah Crawford: "Darwin storm chaser Mike O'Neill is set to be chased himself - by a Japanese film crew that wants to capture pictures of the rare phenomenon of blue jet lightning for a documentary on extreme weather. Blue jet lightning has flame-like leads, which shoot up from the top of storm clouds reaching between 60-100km in to the atmosphere. ... The film crew, from Japanese public broadcaster NHK World, also want to capture upward lightning, which is where electronic leads shoot up to storm clouds from the ground." -- NHK has been making a specialty of filming rare natural phenomena. See previous post about NHK World's quest for the greater sage grouse. Their documentaries are very good.

New website for North Korean news agency, but is it official?

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 14 Oct 2010: "North Korea's official news agency has apparently opened a website in English and Spanish, in the country's latest bid to boost online propaganda. A site under the name of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), with articles in both languages, was seen Thursday at http://175.45.179.68. ... It could not be confirmed that it was KCNA itself which had opened the website. No e-mail contact address was given." -- Another site, www.kcna,co.jp, which has been active for years, remains active. It has more extensive archives than the site mentioned by AFP. The archives at www.kcna.co.jp are somewhat difficult to find: click English, then move the banner panel at the top of the page down (by mouse movement on right) to reveal menu. Click on Past News.

How can North Korean propaganda fail, with music as "exciting as a volley of multiple launch rocket systems"?

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Korea Times, 13 Oct 2010, Kang Hyun-kyung: "North Korea kicked off its state-sponsored initiative to brainwash their people to believe that heir Kim Jong-un was born to be a great leader. The propaganda, however, is apparently becoming ineffective, given the sarcastic reaction from grass-roots North Koreans. People there are no longer what they used to be with an increasing number of North Koreans secretly tuning in to radio broadcasts late at night to listen to uncensored news from the outside world, according to North Korean defectors living in Seoul. ... Citing a source in the North, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Tuesday that lately residents there were directed to listen to propaganda radio programs as well as read brochures. In the material, North Korea’s next leader Jong-un is described as a man endowed with extraordinary abilities. The younger Kim can speak several foreign languages, including English and French, fluently and is knowledgeable about current affairs, including politics, diplomacy, economics and defense."

The Dong-a Ilbo, 13 Oct 2010: "The North’s glorification of Kim Jong Un is proving to be more nonsensical than that for Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. A myth about Kim Jong Il in a legends book for children, which is also well known in South Korea, says he made a grenade out of a pine cone and crossed a river on a leaf. Even when North Korea began idolizing Kim Jong Il, it never resorted to nonsense such as calling him a 'sharp shooter at age 3.' A North Korean defector in South Korea said, 'As leaders of the propaganda department became the generation that got indoctrinated in cult of personality, they are apparently taking things even further.'"

The Guardian, 12 Oct 2010, Tania Branigan in Pyongyang: "The campaign to establish the heir apparent began a year ago, but the media never mentioned Kim Jong-un until his promotion to general less than two weeks ago. Even now they do not spell out his family connections – yet North Koreans all remark on his resemblance to his grandfather. People can sing a new song about him, Footsteps; but no one will say whether it has been recorded. Still, it must be important – as one magazine observes, Koreans say their music 'is as forceful and exciting as a volley of multiple launch rocket systems'."

Where BBC Global News fits in the new BBC executive structure.

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 13 Oct 2010, onpassing e-mail to BBC staff from BBC DG Mark Thompson: "Yesterday I announced that Mark Byford will be leaving the BBC following the closure of the post of deputy director general. This is part of our strategy to simplify the organisation, to streamline our structures and to reduce senior manager numbers and paybill. Last year's closure of the post of director, nations and regions, and the combining of the two roles of director of global news and the director of BBC World Service into a single post should also be seen in this context.

"We also announced yesterday that Helen Boaden will join the executive board next April representing journalism at the UK and international level and for the English regions. The directors of BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will report directly to me, after Mark Byford steps down. Peter Horrocks, director of global news, will report to Helen. ...

"With the consolidation of divisions, inevitably some outside of the BBC will speculate about what this means in terms of our priorities. I would like to be very clear that my objective is simplification – simplifying reporting lines, simplifying structures and reducing the number of senior managers. No one should doubt our continuing belief in the importance of the work done by these divisions and the crucial role they have to play in the future of the BBC. In particular, Helen and I will ensure that the special role and special importance of Global News is fully maintained in the new structure." See previous post about same subject.

Belizean listened to US Armed Forces Radio and became culturally an American. And more shortwave stories.

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Amandala (Belize City), 7 Oct 2010, Evan X: "At the age of 17 in 1964, I would have to say that culturally I was an American. The big reason was the United States Armed Forces Radio Service, which we listened to on short wave radio in Belize. I was a big fan of the San Francisco Giants in baseball, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia Warriors in basketball, Notre Dame University in college football, and the Baltimore Colts in American pro football."

TMCnews, 6 Oct 2010: "Rome Research Corp., Rome, N.Y., won a $2,393,232 federal contract from the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the operation and maintenance of the Robert E. Kamosa Transmitting Station." -- The station, named for a former IBB diretor of engineering, is a shortwave relay for VOA and Radio Free Asia located on Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands. The Saipan station was orginally KYOI, a commercial station beamed to Japan.

Salina (KS) Journal, 4 Oct 2010: Hilga Trow's family, which came to the USA from Germany, had not acquired citizenship by the time World War II began. They were forbidden possession "of cameras, shortwave radio receivers and firearms. 'We couldn't have a shortwave radio, I remember that,' Trow said. That wasn't a problem, because they didn't own one."

WKYC-YV (Cleveland), 8 Oct 2010: "'We're on television, radio, AM and FM, shortwave, the internet,' [Mother Angelica, founder of Eternal Word Television Network] once said. 'Wherever there is rot, we're there!'"

China's CCTV among unauthorized channels carried by Indian cable operators.

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Financial Express (New Delhi), 14 Oct 2010, Ashish Sinha: "The central and state governments have started cracking down on television channels distributed without authorisation by small cable operators across the country. Almost 70 channels beamed from Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal and West Asia are illegally distributed by cable operators despite orders. The actions being contemplated include shutting down errant cable operators, jail sentence, penalties and a ban on re-entering cable business, apart from civil and criminal proceedings. Sources in the government said action against operators has already started in parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern states among others. Some of the channels illegally distributed include QTV, RTV, Filmax, Ren TV, Madani TV, ARY Digital, ATN Bangla, Anjum Urdu GEC, CCTV and CCTV9. ... Cable operators point to the demand for such channels in border areas, due to which agents tend to provide boxes and decoders in lieu of money."

"Free listening ... flip side of free speech" began "when Moscow stopped jamming VOA."

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Christian Science Monitor, 12 Oct 2010, editor John Yemma: "Free listening is the flip side of free speech. It is about 200 years younger than the First Amendment. I’d date its birth to 1987, when Moscow stopped jamming the Voice of America and other external broadcasters. Free societies don’t jam. They let the marketplace of ideas decide, as John Stuart Mill said they should. They trust their people, even when they say and do jerky things. North Korea, China, Iran, and a few other countries still don’t allow unfettered access to the Internet, but most of the world is clicking, watching, and listening. ... For better or worse, free speech now takes place in a global fishbowl. Whether you love the US Constitution is unnecessary. You can listen, even if you live where you dare not speak."

Charges against Turkish activist include one stemming from VOA interview.

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Bianet, 12 Oct 2010, Noam Chomsky: "Among [151 Turkish activists schedule for trial next week] is Muharrem Erbey, vice-chairperson of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, who has been in prison on accusations of 'membership of a terrorist organisation' for almost a year, charged with such crimes as speaking on the US government channel Voice of America about abuses against the Kurdish population."

Kurdish Info, 8 Sept 2010: "In the indictment, the prosecutor writes the following about a January 2009 interview Mr. Erbey gave to Voice of America, in which he discussed the problem of impunity for torture and police brutality in Turkey: 'It’s understood [from the interview] that Muharrem Erbey has aimed to put our country in a difficult position in international platforms by asserting that the state ignores the supposed maltreatment of Kurdish people carried out by police and soldiers in eastern provinces.'" See also VOA News, 16 Apr 2009.

VOA contract to South African company for "strategic planning and media buying."

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Marketingweb, 12 Oct 2010: "Alphabet Soup was recently awarded the strategic planning and media buying for Voice of America (VOA). ... Alphabet Soup was tasked with promoting the VOA brand by implementing an online campaign that tied in with the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Alphabet Soup is a specialist media consultancy, specialising in media strategy, media planning, and media buying in areas of ATL [above the line promotions tailored for a mass audience], BTL [below-the line promotions targeted at individuals according to their needs or preferences], internet marketing, sponsorships, promotions and non-traditional media." -- Alphabet Soup is located in Craighall (suburb of Johannesburg), South Africa. Are these services -- whatever they are -- for VOA in South Africa only, or elsewhere in Africa?

Radio France International returns to the FM dial in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Journaliste en Danger (Kinshasa), 12 Oct 2010: "Journaliste en Danger (JED) welcomed the return of French public radio station Radio France International (RFI). RFI's signal was shut down nationwide on orders of the Congolese government on 26 July 2009. The government accused RFI of 'initiating a campaign to demoralise the Armed Forces of the DRC.' ... As the most popular radio station in the country, the shutdown of RFI's signal deprived millions of listeners of information, which JED highlighted in its February 2010 petition campaign entitled 'Release the info, reopen RFI'."

Radio France Internationale, 12 Oct 2010: "RFI se félicite de la réouverture, ce mardi 12 octobre, de ses antennes en République Démocratique du Congo, fermées depuis le mois de juillet 2009. La radio internationale d’information est depuis ce matin de retour en RDC, disponible en FM dans les principales villes du pays : Bukavu sur 98 FM, Bunia sur 90.2FM, Kinshasa sur 105 FM, Kisangani sur 105 FM, Lubumbashi sur 98 FM et Matadi sur 98 FM."

"Even the managers of [Iranian] state television watch BBC Persian and VOA Persian television."

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters, 12 Oct 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari interviewing Iranian journalist Reza Valizadeh: "Q: How effective is state TV? It has come under a lot of criticism, yet some say it is still a main source of news and information for Iranians. Valizadeh: I think a very small percentage of Iran’s educated class and middle class turn to state broadcast for news. They use Farsi television stations and other sources from outside the country. Even people within the establishment – even the managers of state television -- watch BBC Persian and VOA Persian television to become informed about the latest news. State broadcasting has maintained its traditional role to a certain extent. It's the only tool that [Iran’s leaders] use to defend the Islamic establishment, using the same methods and style that the Revolutionary Guards use in the streets."

BBG expresses "grave concern" for VOA stringer on trial in Uzbekistan.

Posted: 14 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBG press release, 13 Oct 2010: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) expressed grave concern for Abdumalik Boboev, a journalist for the Voice of America, as he is on trial in Uzbekistan. At its meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, the BBG discussed the fate of Abdumalik Boboev, who is on trial in Uzbekistan charged by authorities with threatening public safety, slander, insult, and visa violations. ... If convicted, Mr. Boboev could face several years in jail. The Board adopted the following resolution expressing concern for Mr. Boboev's fate. 'The Broadcasting Board of Governors wishes to express its grave concern with the Uzbek government's attempt to silence Mr. Boboev and his objective reporting for the Voice of America and the state of media freedom in Uzbekistan. Using the criminal justice system to punish journalists for freely expressed views is contrary to Uzbekistan's international obligations and has a chilling effect on journalists throughout the country. The Broadcasting Board of Governors calls upon Uzbekistan to drop the charges against Mr. Boboev and cease all interference with the right of journalists in Uzbekistan to gather and report information freely.' In discussing Boboev's case, the Board concurred that the safety and security of its journalists is paramount."

VOA News, 12 Oct 2010, James Brooke: "Bobaev's indictment contains a long list of Bobaev's reports - child labor in cotton fields, the drying up of the Aral Sea, and the trial and conviction of two reporters last June. By reporting on these trials and saying Uzbekistan's '... government controls the media, and pressures journalists,' the indictment charges that Bobaev 'was openly insulting the judiciary and law enforcement agencies of Uzbekistan.' ... In a disturbing form of harassment, a state-run television channel early this year branded as traitors the Uzbekistan correspondents for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The channel broadcast their photos, home addresses, and schools attended by their children. Three years ago, Alisher Saipov, a VOA Uzbek service reporter, was shot dead outside his office in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, one month after Uzbekistan official media branded him a traitor." Most news organizations have spelled his name Boboyev. See previous post about same subject.

China finally mentions Nobel Peace Prize after finding a Norwegian who thinks the selection "was wrong."

Posted: 13 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 13 Oct 2010, Robert Weller: "China has let the secret out -- dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Prize for Peace last week. The official China Daily reported it in an article quoting a Norwegian judge/writer who said the selection of Liu was wrong. ... China had stopped to block circulation of the news, but they were a little slow off the mark. It had already spread around the nation. While Internet searches could be blocked, and BBC World Service and Voice of America broadcasts could be jammed, the horse was already out of the barn. Blocking hundreds of millions of emails, chat messages and other Internet channels isn't easy."

Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel, 13 Oct 2010, Stephen Lendman: "Broadcasting US propaganda globally, the Voice of America was jubilant over Liu's award, saying the Nobel Committee 'issued an explicit challenge, calling on China to respect political rights as it rises toward economic great-power status.' Omitted was America's support for wealth and privilege, not populist and human rights it disdains. Al Jazeera's Imran Kahn reported accurately, calling Liu's award 'controversial' and 'contentious,' citing past winners like Kissinger, the Israelis and Obama, choices exalting war, not peace."

YouTube, 13 Oct 2010: Video of Al Jazeera English reporter trying to visit Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo.

The Telegraph, 13 Oct 2010, Peter Foster: "I was watching the Nine O’clock news on the BBC’s World channel here in Beijing. I just caught the words 'Meanwhile In Chi…' from the inestimable, incomparable Lyse Doucet when the screen went black. Some goon in the censorship apparatus had pushed the button because (I guessed) an item about Liu Xiaobo, this year’s Nobel Peace Laureate was coming on. And I know I guessed correctly because the goon took his (or her) finger off the button a few seconds too early, revealing a half-second shot of the spider-thin figure of Liu Xiaobo stalking across his courtyard in footage from the BBC archives. I sniggered at this little piece of incompetence, but it was soon topped spectacularly when, a few minutes later in the bulletin, Ms Doucet embarked, without any blackout, on a lengthy two-way with BBC correspondent in Beijing about Liu Xiaobo. You had to laugh. Did the goon not speak English? Or perhaps he fell asleep or went out to dinner?"

Bloomberg, 13 Oct 2010: "Twenty-three retired Chinese Communist Party officials, led by Mao Zedong’s former secretary, challenged the government to improve press freedom days before meeting to discuss the nation’s new leadership. The group, drawn from the military, state media and academia, accused 'invisible black hands' of suppressing a speech last month in which Premier Wen Jiabao called for greater political openness to match the country’s economic gains. The open letter by party elders including Li Rui, the late Chairman Mao’s secretary, was published on the Internet." See also Radio Free Asia, 13 Oct 2010.

The other shoe finally drops: Al Anstey named new MD of Al Jazeera English.

Posted: 13 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
TradeArabia, 13 Oct 2010: "Al Jazeera Network has announced that Al Anstey has been appointed as managing director of Al Jazeera English. In this role, Anstey will lead the channel in its next phase of evolution and will be responsible for overseeing its day-to-day operations across its 65 international bureaus. Anstey was one of the founders of AJE and was a key member of the channel’s start up team. ... Prior to joining Al Jazeera in 2006, Anstey served as Head of Foreign News at ITN in the United Kingdom after many years in the field as senior foreign editor. He also ran ITN’s American operations for two years after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Anstey started his career as a producer at CBS News and then moved to the start-up of Reuters/GMTV as a reporter and news editor. He then joined APTN based in New Delhi and then Sydney, before taking on the position of Asia Editor with responsibility for APTN’s bureaus and coverage in the region." -- In a post on 9 October, I asked if the post of MD of AJE had yet been filled. Tony Burman's departure from that job was announced 17 May.

Croatian ex-employee continues her appeals against RFE/RL.

Posted: 13 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
"Croatian citizen Snjezana Pelivan, whose lawsuit charging the Czech Republic with tolerance to national discrimination, is in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, considering making a formal appeal also to Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council. ... Pelivan’s employment with RFE/RL was terminated -- after several years of impeccable service with invariably 'very good' or 'excellent' yearly performance assessments, a non-governmental organization ICCEE has informed Croatian Times. ... In the Czech courts RFE/RL, which traditionally combated communist lies, refers to regulations dating back to the Communist era (some are still on the book in the Czech Republic), which allowed foreign companies to use foreign labour laws if they did not contradict the fundamentals of the 'Czechoslovak Socialist Republic' – in particular, to the Communist law of 1963 intended to allow Soviet enterprises to use Soviet labour regulations in subjugated Czechoslovakia." -- Ms. Pelican wasa marketing manager responsible for placements of RFE/RL programming on stations in its target countries. See previous post about same subject. First reported in March 2009.

Anna Karapetian is another former employee who has filed a suit against RFE/RL. Her court hearing in the Czech district court is scheduled for October. Her letter to Vaclav Havel, who will meet with members of the BBG in Prague this week, appears in the website of ORER Armenian European Magazine, published by ICCEE, the Prague-based NGO mentioned above.

International channels offer live coverage of the Chilean mine rescue.

Posted: 13 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, Media Decoder, 12 Oct 2010, Brian Stelter: "Univision has two television crews on the scene, as well as the hugely popular television host Don Francisco, a native of Chile. Interviewed by the BBC, Mr. Francisco said the miners were a 'symbol of life.' He also acknowledged that the men had become worldwide celebrities, and that 'they’re going to have problems.' For the BBC, the anchor Matt Frei is at the mine, co-anchoring 'BBC World News America.' The BBC reportedly has 25 journalists on the scene. All told, there are more than 1,400 journalists there. The rescues are expected to continue through Wednesday, and at some point the television networks may cease the wall-to-wall coverage. CNN International, which is seen around the world, 'will carry every single rescue,' a spokeswoman said."

followthemedia.com, 14 [sic] Oct 2010, Philip M. Stone: "The BBC has been criticized at home for sending some 25 people to the Chile mine disaster and throwing money at its coverage but, no matter where you are in the world, if you really wanted to be 'there' then there was just one channel to watch – BBC World. And it really put CNN’s so-called continuing coverage to shame!"

Sky News Australia deal with CNN intensifies competition for the future of Australian international television.

Posted: 13 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Spy Report, 11 Oct 2010, tjkirk: "Sky News Australia has today announced a new four-year partnership with CNN International. The deal, which commences in January, includes the sharing of content and the mutual provision of rolling breaking coverage between the two twenty-four hour news services. It will 'form a central part of Sky's international news coverage initiatives launching next year. In turn, Sky News Australia reporters will be accessed by CNN International for news coverage and programming from Australia.' ... CNN joins Sky News' existing agreements with China's CCTV, America's ABC, CBS and Fox News networks, Britain's BSkyB, New Zealand's TV3, Reuters, APTN, Bloomberg and Dow Jones."

The Australian, 11 Oct 2010, Geoff Elliott: "It is understood the deal ends ABC TV's access to CNN's news content. Sky chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos would not disclose the terms, but it is believed to be the largest news content deal Sky has struck in its 15-year history, running into millions of dollars. The move has broader significance in Mr Frangopoulos's attempts to force a tender for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade contract to run the Australia Network -- the international TV service currently run by the ABC. ABC's carriage of that service, a contract worth $90 million over five years, is due to expire next year. ABC managing director Mark Scott is lobbying for the service to stay in the ABC's hands and not go to tender. In a speech in August, he said research into 10 international broadcasting services conducted by the Lowy Institute found none was 'outsourced by their government', saying the 'soft power' or 'public diplomacy' propagated through Australia Network 'helps achieve foreign policy and trade objectives'."

In the United States, a global English television news channel was never "outsourced" by the government. Instead, in 1984, CNN took the initiative of creating such a channel. CNN International is profitable and demonstrates that privately operated international broadcasting can be successful. See previous post about the Lowy Institute report.

The Australian, 13 Oct 2010, Simon Canning: Sky News has signed a reciprocal programing deal with the Shanghai Media Group in China. The deal, announced this morning, will see Sky and SMG share journalistic resources and will give the Australia broadcaster access to a broad range of content from China. Sky CEO Angelos Frangopoulos said there was a range of opportunities to be explored in the relationship between the two 24-hour news broadcasters. 'We will explore opportunities on news exchange and share our journalism resources on a regular basis with Shanghai Media Group,' Mr Frangopoulos said. ... The announcement comes as tensions between Sky News and the ABC continue to simmer over the The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's funded Australia Network." -- ABC signed its own deal with SMG back in July (see previous post). Is it still in effect? Because China and Australia have different notions of whan news is, for both Sky News and ABC, there may be less to these deals than meets the eye.

TV.com, 12 Oct 2010, Peter Allott: "By aligning itself with both US and Chinese media agencies, Sky News Australia is making a clear statement about the necessity of multinational broadcasting alliances in order for the media industry to remain ahead of the plethora of blogs and independent news agencies that collate news and information from its massive user base."

The "Chinese perspective" of CNC World means ignore stories other channels are covering.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The New Yorker, Letter from China, 11 Oct 2010, Evan Osnos: The house arrest of Liu Xia, wife of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo, "comes at the moment that China’s Xinhua news agency is poised to open a state-of-the-art newsroom at the top of a skyscraper in Times Square, for CNC World, the agency’s new 24-hour news channel, which seeks to 'present an international vision with a Chinese perspective.'"

EUobserver.com, 11 Oct 2010, Andrew Rettman and Andrew Willis: "One of the reporters temporarily excluded from the China-EU summit last week has talked to EUobserver about his "surprise" at facing Chinese-style censorship in the bosom of the European Union. Lixin Yang, who has full press accreditation in the EU institutions in Brussels, was first denied entry when he and three colleagues arrived at the metal detectors at the summit venue, the EU Council's Justus Lipsius building, at 2pm local time last Wednesday (6 October). He works for the government-critical media The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television, which have links to the repressed Falun Gong movement."

In Europe, digital terrestrial television is growing conduit for international channels.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 11 Oct 2010, Julian Clover: "Over 1,460 channels, including approximately 700 local services, are now available on DTT [digital terrestrial television] in 19 European countries. ... The number of national and international channels available has grown considerably over the past 12 months. Compared to 500 in April 2009 there are now more than 760 such channels available. Almost 40 channels are available to viewers in more than one country, among them the international brands of Discovery, Eurosport, CNN and BBC World News."

New Arabic news station will be "moderate" and geared to youth.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 12 Oct 2010, Ben Flanagan: "The Arabic-language news station being launched by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will be 'moderate' and geared towards a youth audience, says one of the Saudi billionaire's senior executives. In July, Prince Alwaleed said he had appointed the controversial journalist Jamal Khashoggi to head the new 24-hour station, which will compete with established players such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. The new station may launch within a year, said Dr Hala Sarhan, the president of Rotana Studios, which is part of Prince Alwaleed's media empire. Dr Sarhan said the new station would launch in 'a few months … It could be 11 months, it could be six months.' ... Dr Sarhan also confirmed that Prince Alwaleed's channel - which has not yet been publicly named - will be separate from an Arabic news channel being launched by the broadcaster Sky News. ... She said the operation would be based in the Gulf but declined to specify which country. Meanwhile, a senior source at Sky News said the UK broadcaster's Arabic operation would be headed by Adrian Wells, who is currently head of foreign news at the broadcaster. The source said Sky's Arabic-language operation would include 'at least seven Middle East bureaus'."

Internet connection allows Cook Island's Matariki FM to broadcast to the world (maybe).

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Pactel International press release, 8 Oct 2010: "On 1 October 2010, Pactel International announced a successful implementation of their DVB-S2 platform to provide internet radiocast service to the Cook Island’s leading bilingual radio station, Matariki FM. This service allows listeners to access Matariki FM from any part of the world, so Cook Islanders now have access to their native news and music, being miles away from home. Being a bilingual radio station, with broadcasting services in Cook Islands Maori and English; Matariki FM is the only radio station streaming reliably and consistently from the Cook Islands to a wide variety of audience. With approximately 90% of Cook Islanders living outside their native land, it became very important for Matariki FM to have the ability to stream local news and Polynesian Music (predominantly Cook Islands and Tahitian) to every part of the world. This would also allow intending visitors and tourists to sample a bit of the Cook Islands’ culture." -- Today, I was unable to get the stream to work at www.matarikifm.co.ck

Which Americans ignore European intolerance? RFE/RL writer at large says liberals, liberals, liberals.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 12 Oct 2010, Joshua Kirchick, RFE/RL writer at large: "Various commentators have argued recently that opposition by many Americans to a proposed Islamic center two blocks from the ruins of the World Trade Center represents deep-seated religious bigotry and paranoia. But if any place is plagued by increasing bigotry, it's not America but Europe, the continent whose welfare states and pacifism are so admired by American liberals. ... So when American liberals decry their conservative counterparts as bigots seeking to impose fascism on the U.S. (having failed to do so during two terms of the Bush administration), they ignore that part of the West where genuine nostalgia for fascism endures. Anyone who has traveled throughout Europe knows that its image as an exemplar of progressivism, and ethnic and religious diversity, is a fabrication of the American liberal mind. American liberals who ignore European bigotry while considering opposition to the Ground Zero mosque inexcusable bring to mind the mocking suggestion of German communist playwright Bertolt Brecht: 'Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?'"

Rights worker summoned to Cambodian court to answer accusations stemming from Radio Free Asia interview.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Phnom Penh Post, 11 Oct 2010: "A rights worker and two village representatives have been summoned to appear in Kampong Chhnang provincial court on October 21 to answer to an array of accusations laid against them by a company owned by the wife of a government minister. Sam Chankea, a provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, has been accused of disinformation by KDC International, a company headed by Chea Kheng, the wife of Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem. The complaint stems from a December 26, 2009 interview with Radio Free Asia, in which Sam Chankea suggested that the clearance of disputed land in Kampong Tralach district by KDC International might have been illegal."

Commentator: Keep Universal TV on Somaliland cable even though it has "completely lost all credibility, similar to BBC ... and VOA Somali."

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
American Chronicle, 10 Oct 2010, Ahmed Kheyre: "The recent decision by the Somaliland Information minister to suspend the broadcasts of a Somali cable station [Universal TV] based in London, UK appears to be somewhat draconian and goes against everything Somaliland stands for. It is no secret that this particular station is not a friend of Somaliland. There is a lack of journalistic objectivity in their broadcasts, let us be frank, there is hardly any journalism displayed in the contents of its programming. But, this should not be a reason to instigate state censorship. This station is not the BBC, CNN, France 24, Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera or any other prestigious network. It is a small, Somali speaking station, which began with good intentions, but, like all things Somali, eventually reverted to negativism, nepotism, tribalism, and has now completely lost all credibility, similar to the BBC Somali Service and VOA Somali Service."

Radio France International, 11 Oct 2010: "Somaliland authorities have blocked a United Kingdom-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia. The block comes less than four months after the region held peaceful elections. ... Information minister Abdullahi Osman placed an indefinite suspension on the TV channel, but has not given a reason for doing so."

Farsi1's all-entertainment fare to Iran, versus the "overt political propaganda" of BBC and VOA.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Daily Beast, 9 Oct 2010, Reza Aslan: "Farsi1, a Persian language satellite station partly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, has become the most popular entertainment network in Iran, with nearly half of the country’s population (some 35 million people) tuning in daily to keep up with dubbed episodes of Fox favorites like 24 and How I Met Your Mother. ... The truth is that the Iranian government is fairly blasé about the satellite dishes, perhaps recognizing that it may be able to get away with denying basic rights and freedoms to its citizens, but if it tried to take away their right to find out what happened to Victoria (the title character of one of Iran’s most popular Telenovelas) after her husband left her for a younger woman… well, that’s enough to stir up a revolution. ... Part of why the government is so wary about ... satellite programs is that they are usually filled with overt political propaganda against the Iranian regime (this includes BBC and Voice of America)." -- I don't understand Persian, so I can't directly defend BBC and VOA against the "overt political propaganda" description. Such content would certainly be against the principles of each station. See previous post about same subject.

Financial Times, 11 Oct 2010, Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran: "Iranian state television has suffered a credibility and popularity crisis after dropping a soap opera starring one of the country’s most popular actors. Mehran Modiri had completed a 30-part series called Black Coffee on a highly sensitive theme: the story of five years of rule by a dictatorial and incompetent regime whose mistakes were later eliminated from Iran’s history books. State television declined to show Mr Modiri’s series. But in a gesture of defiance, the star is now selling DVDs of every episode, advertising it on banners hung across Tehran streets. ... BBC Persian and Voice of America have become the main channels for information since the demonstrations after last year’s disputed presidential election. Farsi1, a station co-owned by Rupert Murdoch, shows American, Colombian and Korean shows, soap operas and sitcoms, all dubbed into Iran’s national language."

Press TV, 11 Oct 2010: "German Ambassador to Tehran Bernd Erbel has denounced Western media propaganda against the Islamic Republic as 'unreal', saying Iran is a unique country in the Middle East. It is necessary to make constant efforts to amend the 'incorrect' understanding by Western media of Iran, IRNA quoted Erbel as saying in a meeting with Chairman of the Cultural Commission of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel in Tehran on Sunday."

BBC Global News director contemplates the UK's "disinvestment in international broadcasting."

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC press office, 11 Oct 2010, BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks speaking to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association: "BBC Global News is talking to European and US international broadcasters to create effective partnerships on areas where we can share and collaborate more – in areas like audience research, distribution and promotion. ... As the need for innovation intensifies and resources become more constrained, the BBC must prioritise. It must focus on places where our presence matters most, now and in the future – that is, countries of greatest geopolitical importance and audience need. ... We've already implemented a series of efficiency plans that have delivered £74 million of 'cashable savings' since 1998. Over the same period, we managed to increase our audiences by almost a third – that's 43 million people a week. ... Will disinvestment in international broadcasting – at a time when France, America, Iran, China and others are investing heavily – weaken the UK's projection of its values just as the world becomes smaller?"

The Guardian, 12 Oct 2010, James Robinson: "Well-placed sources point out that a 10% cut would mean far more than one in 10 of those services would close. That is because a small number of them, including those in Russia and the Spanish-speaking world, account for a large proportion of the World Service budget. Around half a dozen services could be vulnerable to closure, although it is unclear which of them would be most at risk and their future is dependent on the how the Foreign Office decides to spend its reduced budget. Diplomatic sources warned last month that the Burmese service could be in jeopardy, but [foreign secretary William] Hague subsequently hinted that it is inexpensive to run and unlikely to close."

Mark Byford departing BBC as DDG; he ended BBCWS shortwave to North America in 2001.

Posted: 12 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 12 Oct 2010: "BBC deputy director general Mark Byford is to leave the corporation in June 2011 and the post will be closed. Mr Byford, whose salary is £475,000, is expected to receive a redundancy payment of between £800,000 and £900,000. Director General Mark Thompson paid tribute to his 'unfailing integrity and loyalty'."

BBC press release, 12 Oct 2010: "He joined the BBC Board of Management in 1996 as Director, Regional Broadcasting. Two years later he became Director of the BBC World Service and went on to establish the BBC's Global News Division. Under his leadership at that time, BBC World Service achieved its highest audience ever of more than 150 million listeners."

twitter.com/sambrook, former BBC Global News director Richard Sambrook: "Mark Byford big loss for #BBC. Deserves more recognition than he gets from people who have no idea of scale of what he's done."

For international radio listeners in the United States, Mark Byford is remembered for his decision in May 2001 to end BBC World Service shortwave broadcasts to North America (a story that I broke). The Save the BBC World Service Coalition tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Mr. Byford to postpone the decision for a few years. Since then, listening to BBCWS on a radio in the United States is an activity largely reserved to the hours after midnight and before 5:00 a.m., when many public radio stations fill their time with its content.

PBS out, but BBC stays, on KCET Los Angeles.

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Southwest Riverside News Network, 9 Oct 2010: While public television station KCET will sever its ties with PBS, it "will continue to air some non-PBS shows that have currently crept in to the station’s primetime schedule, such as BBC World News, which it airs and distributes across the U.S. under license from the BBC."

Variety, 11 Oct 2010: "KCET is likely to start airing more BBC World News fare; it already has a deal in place with the BBC to distribute news programming to public TV stations across the country." -- The absence of PBS programs may mean openings for other international fare.

"Al-Jazeera tops international channels covering Nepal."

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Himalayan News Service, 8 Oct 2010: "Al-Jazeera covered Nepal about two and half hours, whereas CNN broadcast only 19 minutes, said a study, which focused the period after the sign of Comprehensive Peace Accord on November 21, 2006 to November 20, 2008 in Nepal. There were 17 stories broadcast by Al-Jazeera, whereas CNN had only 7 stories during the period, according to the study on ‘Coverage of the Maoists’ Rise to Power in Nepal: A Comparative Study of Al-Jazeera and CNN’ carried out by Mediamates Nepal, an organisation founded by media scholars and working journalists."

Radio in Ukraine since the days when VOA was one of only four stations on the Kiev FM dial.

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Kyiv Post, 8 Oct 2010: In 1995, Michigan native Joseph Lemiere "went against an obscure law that forbade radio disc jockeys to broadcast live [and his] Gala Radio station soon became the nation’s most listened to station. ... In 1994, state-owned radio stations offered a steady diet of programming that lacked variety: the morning exercise lady, afternoon folk music, dinner-time poetry readings and evening classical music. Four FM stations operated in Kyiv then: a Moscow rebroadcast, Voice of America and two local operations. There was little advertising. And there were no jingles, weather, traffic reports or loud morning shows either. ... Lemiere’s initial investment was $500,000 for a 30 percent stake; later, the total investment grew to $2.2 million. By 1996, it had become profitable, grossing around $1.5 million annually."

Director of BBC World Service Trust: independent media hold governments to account.

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Bond (London), Oct/Nov 2010, Caroline Nursey, Director of the BBC World Service Trust, responding to an interview: "The development of a strong, diverse and independent media is a way of strengthening the ability of developing countries to hold their own governments and others to account. Of course, there is always the danger of the media being a force for harm, for instance promoting ethnic violence, but more often it is a force for good. We provide support in different ways. As well as training journalists, we try to help the institutions to be independent and to enable their interaction with the public so that they actually become a tool for accountability."

Apparently, in the UK, it's not normal for television news producers to push over their presenters.

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 8 Oct 2010, Neil Midgley: "A producer on the BBC's World News TV channel could lose his job after an apparent altercation over a news bulletin script left a presenter covered in herbal tea and with a bruised ankle. The incident, which took place in a BBC newsroom in London at about 6.30am on Wednesday, involved Jonathan Charles, a presenter on the BBC World News channel, and a producer on the channel, Bill Hayton. Mr Charles had written a script for a news item about the Hungarian river pollution, with which Mr Hayton is said to have disagreed. ... 'I think the words he objected to were the fact that the toxic red sludge was in danger of spreading towards the Danube,' said [a] witness. ... According to the witness, Mr Hayton 'ran across the room' and pushed Mr Charles, who 'fell backwards'. The witness said that Mr Charles 'happened to be carrying a cup of tea, it was herbal tea, so it was a very clear colour.' By the time Mr Charles next went on the air, 'it had completely disappeared. If it had been tea, it probably would have been more of a mess.'"

Deutsche Welle Bengali now available on FM in six cities of Bangladesh.

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radioandmusic.com, 8 Oct 2010: "Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, has officially launched DWRADIO/Bengali on FM in Bangladesh, making it available to listeners in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur daily between 8:00 and 8:30 am and 8:00 and 8:30 pm. ... 'The youth population in the country is growing quickly and they demand a fast, up-to date and reliable source of news and information,' says Grahame Lucas, Head of Deutsche Welle’s South Asia Desk. 'With FM on the rise, we can now easily reach these listeners and provide them with a unique, international perspective about the world around them.' DW-WORLD.DE/Bengali is part of Deutsche Welle’s multimedia strategy to further increase its reach in Bangladesh. Instant updates, news and podcasts are available via digital and mobile services on dw-world.de/bengali, Facebook (facebook.com/dwbengali) and Twitter (twitter.com/dw_bengali)."

CNBC Africa says its advertising revenues have grown, despite economic slowdown.

Posted: 11 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 8 Oct 2010: "Quinton Scholes has been appointed head of sales at CNBC Africa. Scholes will be taking up the position on 11 October 2010, heading up sales for both CNBC Africa and affiliate website, ABNdigital. ... In his new function, Scholes will be supported by a Johannesburg team of five sales managers [and two in] Lagos, Nigeria. Gary Alfonso, MD comments; 'Even though the economic slowdown has had an adverse effect on most media companies, CNBC Africa's advertising and sponsorship revenues have shown a steady increase over the past two years. Some territories, like Nigeria, have delivered growth in excess of 40%. So we remain confident that we have the people and the product to deliver results to shareholders and business television audiences throughout Africa.'"

Radio/TV Martí fires sports anchor and union VP.

Posted: 10 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Poder (Miami), 6 Oct 2010: "The shake up at TV/Radio Marti continues. Two employees were fired this week: sports anchor Omar Claro and Union rep Niurka Fernández. Staff at the station were shocked to see federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security enter the building on Tuesday and escort the pair from the building. The cases appear to be separate in nature. Claro, 48, was indicted earlier this year for his alleged role in a large mortgage fraud ring. He apparently failed to report his arrest to his federal employer, a violation of his labor contract. The reasons behind the firing of Fernández are less clear. She was an outspoken critic of the network's management by outgoing Director, Pedro Roig. She was recently quoted in PODER criticizing an alleged culture of cronyism at the network. Roig is leaving the station at the end of the month, to be replaced by Carlos Garcia-Perez, a Puerto Rico-based attorney with close ties to the Democratic party."

El Nuevo Herald, 8 Oct 2010, Juan Carlos Chavez: "Fernández, vicepresidenta del capítulo 1812 de la Federación de Empleados Gubernamentales de Estados Unidos (AFGE), debía presentarse la próxima semana ante un panel senatorial en Washington para hablar de los recortes realizados en ambas emisoras gubernamentales en agosto del 2009. ... Una de las fuentes dijo que Fernández no había sido despedida. 'A ella la han puesto en esta situación porque están saliendo todas las cosas oscuras de este organismo', precisó la fuente."

El Nuevo Herald, 29 Sept 2010, Nicolas Perez: "Poner el acento y la máxima presión en Radio Martí, y no cometer el error de Roig que desvió una enorme cantidad de recursos hacia Televisión Martí, que objetivamente hablando, tiene menos poder de penetración en la isla que su homónima radial."

El Nuevo Herald, 4 Oct 2010, letter from Orestes Rodríguez: "Mientras no se utilice un medio más eficaz, como establecer las instalaciones permanentes cerca del territorio cubano, Radio y TV Martí se mantienen en el aire pero no bajan al oído y a la vista de la población. Le deseo al nuevo director de estas emisoras, Carlos García Pérez, un fecundo éxito en su tarea."

CubaNet (Coral Gables, FL), 30 Sept 2010: "No sé, tengo mis dudas. Creo que un abogado conoce mucho de leyes civiles, de procedimientos, de litigaciones y demandas; pero en asunto de programaciones radiales no creo que un letrado pueda aportar mucho. Creo que hubiera sido mejor haber nombrado a alguien del medio radial y periodístico y no a un abogado por más que sus relaciones con la actual administración americanas sean muy fuertes. El tiempo dirá la última palabra, tal vez me equivoque y no sea del todo cierta la aseveración de 'zapatero a tus zapatos'. Eso ya se verá."

VOA stringer in Uzbekistan expresses "little hope" as his court trial begins.

Posted: 10 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 7 Oct 2010, Peter Leonard: "A journalist for a U.S.-funded radio station went on trial Thursday in Uzbekistan on charges including slander and posing a threat to public order, an Uzbek rights group said. Abdumalik Boboyev, an Uzbek journalist with U.S. government-funded Voice of America, is accused of insulting state officials and police through his reports. Other charges include illegal entry into the country, a charge that Boboyev's colleagues say stemmed from a clerical error with his passport."

AFP, 7 Oct 2010: "He may face up to five years in prison if convicted. Boboyev is not currently in detention but may not leave the capital Tashkent. 'I plead not guilty and consider these charges against me to be unfounded,' he told AFP after the court in Tashkent declared the trial adjourned until Monday. The charges against Boboyev are based on his materials aired by VOA in recent years, according to Surat Ikramov, head of the Initiative Group of Independent Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan who has been monitoring the trial. 'The authorities found that they slander and insult Uzbek state officials, the judicial system and law enforcement, as well as spreading panic among the population,' he told AFP."

RFE/RL, Journalists in Troble, 6 Oct 2010: "In a conversation with RFE's Uzbek service, Abdumalik Boboyev, an Uzbek journalist facing a possible eight-year prison sentence on four criminal charges, expressed little hope about his prospects for justice. ... Boboyev is one of the few independent journalists in Uzbekistan and is a correspondent for the Voice of America's (VOA) Uzbek service. On September 13, prosecutors charged Boboyev with defamation, insult, and preparing and disseminating information constituting a threat to public order and security."

Window on Eurasia, 8 Oct 2010, Paul Goble: "The ongoing Tashkent trial of a VOA stringer, Ferghana.ru says, shows that 'in Uzbekistan, it’s 1937 again,' with the major difference being that the regime does not feel it has to use torture to gain confessions to crimes those charged did not commit but rather can count on elastic laws and equally flexible 'expert conclusions' for the same ends."

Ferghana.ru, 8 Oct 2010: "It has to be mentioned that the journalist is incriminated four charges under Uzbek Criminal Code: Slander, Insult, Illegal exit and entry in the Republic of Uzbekistan, Preparation and dissemination of materials, threatening public security and public order. The article 244-1 (point c) says that the crime was committed with 'the use of financial and other material aid, received from religious organizations as well as foreign states, organizations and citizens'. The foreign organization means Voice of America, fancied by US government."

CPJ, 8 Oct 2010, letter to Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan: "The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the politicized prosecution of two journalists: Abdumalik Boboyev, a stringer for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America (VOA), and Vladimir Berezovsky, an editor for the news website Vesti. ... We ask you to ensure all charges against these journalists are dropped. We call on you to repudiate the systemic suppression of the press that has made Uzbekistan a leading jailer of journalists in Eurasia." See previous post about same subject.

"Unusually," international television networks invited to cover North Korean military parade.

Posted: 10 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 11 Oct 2010, Rick Wallace: "North Korea unleashed a huge display of military might at a 65th anniversary parade, overseen by heir-apparent Kim Jong-un. ... Unusually, selected international television networks were invited to broadcast the parade in a sign of the regime's desire to emphasise its military strength and the successful implementation of its leadership succession."

See coverage by Al Jazeera English, CNN, and BBC. Longer excerpts of the parade from Phoenix TV via YouTube, 9 Oct 2010. See also VOA News, 10 Oct 2010.

Human rights worker lauds Nokia decision to halt monitoring work in Iran.

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, 6 Oct 2010: "Following publication of a press release by Nokia Siemens Networks about the company’s halting all its activities in the area of monitoring technology with Iran, Shirin Ebadi who has had an active role in the negotiations with the company told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the company’s action is a major accomplishment for Iranian people and people of the world." [Refers to Nokia press release, 28 Sept 2010.] ...

"A few years ago, BBC and Voice of America televisions began broadcasting Farsi-language programming for the Iranian people. After the election, the Iranian government was very angry because the people had access to uncensored information, and they showed their anger by severe jamming of satellite broadcasting. ... According to Ms. Ebadi, through Iranian government’s negotiations with Eutelsat, the company participated in censorship. These television networks were broadcasting from Hot Bird satellite before, as this satellite provided better coverage for viewers in the Middle East, covering a larger geographic area. But through an agreement Eutelsat Company made with the Iranian government, without any reason, BBC and Voice of America television stations were taken off Hot Bird and put on another satellite that was not as effective for the Middle East region and has many blind spots."

CNN International studies the metrics of social and mobile media.

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 7 Oct 2010, Joel Gunter: "CNN's inaugural global research study into the power of news and recommendation (POWNAR) suggests that people who receive news content from a friend via social media are 19 per cent more likely to recommend brands advertised around the story to others and 27 per cent more likely to favour that brand themselves. The study, conducted between June and August this year, included biometric and eye-tracking exercises to measure emotional engagement with shared content and embedded advertising, tagging of CNN International content to track sharing and a global online 'ad-effectiveness' survey of 2,300 people. ... 'The commerciality of the social media space is fast becoming apparent and this study means that for the first time, we are able to substantiate the value of shared news from an advertising perspective,' says Didier Mormesse, senior vice president, ad sales research, Development and Audience Insight at CNN International."

SmartGorillas, 7 Oct 2010, Annie Morris: "'Every metric in mobile is growing,' said Mark Haviland, marketing director of CNN International. 'We have to take notice of this.' Speaking during the Mobile Marketing Forum (MMA Forum) in London this week, Haviland noted that mobile has been an important news-gathering tool at CNN for some years now, but mobile is now penetrating further into the business. 'We used to inform people,' said Haviland. 'Now we involve them.' In future, mobile will not only be important at CNN for news gathering but also as a channel via which to provide news, as with mobile broadcast services, and mobile marketing."

"Outsized enthusiasm for social media."

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The New Yorker, 4 Oct 2010, Malcolm Gladwell: "The world, we are told, is in the midst of a revolution. The new tools of social media have reinvented social activism. With Facebook and Twitter and the like, the traditional relationship between political authority and popular will has been upended, making it easier for the powerless to collaborate, coördinate, and give voice to their concerns. ... Some of this grandiosity is to be expected. Innovators tend to be solipsists. They often want to cram every stray fact and experience into their new model. As the historian Robert Darnton has written, 'The marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the Internet.' But there is something else at work here, in the outsized enthusiasm for social media. Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is."

Maryland company says it pinpointed Al Jazeera World Cup satellite interference "within as little as 2-3 kilometers."

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Intergral Systems press release, 5 Oct 2010: "Integral Systems, Inc., announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Integral Systems Europe, partnered with the Al Jazeera Sports Channel to identify and locate a significant satellite inference event that disrupted broadcasts of FIFA World Cup(TM) football matches this summer to millions of Al Jazeera Sports subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa. Due to the potential loss of customers and complexity of the interference event, Al Jazeera needed the most comprehensive satellite interference detection and geolocation system that could quickly, easily and accurately identify and locate the interference. Integral Systems' satID(R) Expert with Monics(R), experts from Integral Systems and support from satellite operators in the region quickly detected and characterized the interference, and identified the interferer's location with an extremely high level of accuracy -- within as little as 2-3 kilometers."

Aljazeera.net, 6 Oct 2010: "The Jordanian government has officially denied that the jamming of Al Jazeera's broadcast of the 2010 World Cup happened from its territory. ... The Guardian reported that the jamming was 'unlikely to have been done without the knowledge of the Jordanian authorities' and pointed to Jordanian animosity toward Al Jazeera as the reason behind the interference."

Aljazeera.net, 5 Oct 2010: "Nasser al-Kholeifi, director-general of Al Jazeera Sports, demanded that 'every step be taken in order to expose the identity of the culprits responsible for the jamming'. ... 'The located site was defined as being in the as-Salt district inside Jordanian territories,' the letter said, adding that the tracking equipment used to track the origin of the interfering signals had a margin of error not exceeding three kilometres."

World Cup Technology, 7 Oct 2010: "Geolocation is a technique for determining the origin of signals on communications satellites. It mitigates against accidental interference on military satellites (usually caused by either human error or equipment failure), and is increasingly being incorporated into commercial satellite operations to locate sources of deliberate jamming."

Al Ahram Weekly, 7 Oct 2010, Oula Farawati: "Al-Jazeera and Jordan have not been very close friends. On several occasions, Jordan retaliated to several provocative news stories and documentaries about Jordan by shutting down Al-Jazeera office in Amman (then allowing it to reopen) and harassing its reporters in Amman. But the tensions were bigger than Al-Jazeera: Qatar and Jordan haven't been best friends either. Probably the greatest conflict between the two countries was Qatar's sudden voting against the kingdom's candidate Prince Zeid Raad Al-Hussein for the post of UN secretary-general to succeed UN former chief Kofi Annan." See previous post about same subject.

New head of Al Jazeera global distribution will seek to expand markets and platforms.

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 4 Oct 2010, Robert Briel: "Al Jazeera has announced the appointment of Roch Pellerin as head of global distribution for the network. A veteran of the television industry with extensive professional experience throughout Europe and North America, Roch will spearhead efforts to continue the expansion of Al Jazeera. ... 'The Al Jazeera Network continues to make great strides in global distribution with Al Jazeera English now reaching more than 220 million households in more than 100 countries,' said (director of media development) Al Anstey in a statement. 'We know there are still many markets that are eager to have access to our cutting-edge news and programming and Roch brings with him the global experience and industry insight to reach new regions and expand our presence in current markets. Additionally, Roch will be an essential part of Al Jazeera’s strategy to continue our expansion through various areas of new media and online platform, ensuring we reach the widest possible international audience.'"

Vancouver Observer, 8 Oct 2010, Tyler Morgenstern: "Media Democracy Day Vancouver 2010 features a keynote address from Tony Burman, a 35-year veteran of the CBC and current Senior Executive of the Americas for Al Jazeera English." -- Burman was managing director of AJE. Has his successor been appointed?

RT (Russia Today) is available on cable in Chicago.

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
News on News, 5 Oct 2010: "RT, the Russian English-language news channel, has begun 24-hour broadcasting in Chicago via Comcast, a major US cable operator. RT will be available to more than 1.7 million subscribers of the Comcast Chicago cable network as part of the Expanded Basic package (Channel No. 103) in America’s second biggest financial centre and third most populated city."

Medvedev tweets, in Russian and English.

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 5 Oct 2010: "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ... Medvedev opened an official Twitter account during his visit to the microblog company in California's Silicon Valley in June. He registered KremlinRussia for Russian and KremlinRussia_e for English language tweets. The president's English-language microblog now has over 46,000 followers, and his Russian-language Twitter - more than 90,000." -- While @KremlinRussia_e is first person (would Medvedev actually have time to write tweets?), @Kremlin_e is a more general news account.

"North Korea Appears Capable of Jamming GPS Receivers."

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 7 Oct 2010, Steve Herman: "The North Koreans, according to South Korea's government, are now capable of disrupting GPS receivers, which are a critical component of modern military and civilian navigation. This week, the South Korea Communications Commission informed lawmakers that between August 23 and 25, signals emanating from near the North Korean city of Kaesong interfered with South Korean GPS military and civilian receivers on land and at sea."

SlashGear, 5 Oct 2010, Chris Davies: "According to Kim Tae-young, South Korea’s defense minister, their surly northern cousins are rolling out GPS jammers capable of knocking out positioning signals in 50-100 kilometer radius. The devices can be vehicle-mounted, apparently, and were imported into North Korea rather than being developed there."

CrunchGear, 5 Oct 2010, John Biggs: "Why is this important? Well, presumably a Southern invasion would require some sort of GPS signal for logistical coordination. However, I seriously doubt the satellite signals available to both military and civilian devices aren’t being bolstered by some secret system that we don’t know about. I mean I love my Forerunner and all, but I wouldn’t go into battle with it."

Inter-Korean propaganda update.

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 6 Oct 2010, Mark McDonald: "Less than a week after the appointment of a new leadership hierarchy in North Korea, the South Korean defense minister said that his country’s military would initiate a new and expanded propaganda war if provoked by the North. After six years of quiet along the border, South Korea has reinstalled 11 sets of psychological warfare loudspeakers, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Tuesday in Seoul. He said his ministry had switched its transmitters to the easier-to-receive AM band and was ready to send thousands of AM radios and propaganda leaflets across the border using helium balloons. A continuing balloon and leaflet campaign by South Korean civilians has angered the North Korean government, which suggests that it has been effective." -- AM (medium wave) signals can penetrate farther into North Korea, reaching Pyongyang throughout the day, and points north at night.

The Chosun Ilbo, 6 Oct 2010: "'We've already put psychological pressure on the North merely by installing loudspeakers for propaganda broadcasts at 11 locations' along the military demarcation line, the [defense] minister claimed. But he added that the government will not start the broadcasts and send the leaflets, which are ready, until the North launches a fresh provocation and there is therefore an urgent need to put pressure on the North."

JoongAng Daily, 6 Oct 2010: Defense Minister Kim Tae-young "also said the ministry is thinking of installing an electronic display board on the DMZ that would cost 1.3 billion won."

The Economist, Asia view blog, 6 Oct 2010: "If the South’s propaganda screen does go up though, the North Korean army will have a real problem on its hands. As well as being a world leader in electronics, South Korea excels in the creation of pre-fab girl groups ... which could have 'a considerable impact on North Korean soldiers', according to Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo."

AFP, 8 Oct 2010: "South Korean activists said Friday they would launch cross-border leaflets criticising North Korea's dynastic succession plan when the regime marks its ruling party anniversary this Sunday. They said the leaflets would be floated by balloon across the tense frontier after a ceremony attended by US activist Suzanne Scholte and by North Korean defectors living in the South. The launch from the city of Paju is aimed at encouraging North Koreans to rise up against ailing leader Kim Jong-Il, Park Sang-Hak, who heads a group of defectors, told AFP. He said the balloons would also carry CDs denouncing Kim and his youngest son and heir apparent Jong-Un, who was given powerful party posts last week." The Chosun Ilbo, 8 Oct 2010: "[W]e're going to float balloons carrying leaflets titled '20 Million Fellow Countrymen, Rise Up!' and hip-hop CDs denouncing Kim Jong-un."

The Dong-a Ilbo, 6 Oct 2010: "North Korea has recently strengthened its psychological warfare against South Korea. With the Lee Myung-bak administration of South Korea reinforcing a crackdown on pro-North Korea Web sites, Pyongyang is taking advantage of online social networking sites not subject to South Korean law as channels to distribute propaganda materials in the South. ... Intelligence authorities found 106 pro-North Korea Web sites and blocked domestic access to 60 of them while closely analyzing the pro-North tendency of 46 others."

Helsingin Sanomat, 29 Sept 2010, Petteri Tuohinen: "North Korean propaganda films are important for the country’s governing dictatorship. With their help, people are made to believe that nowhere in the world are things as well as they are in North Korea, and that the individual must make sacrifices for the community. On the screen, North Koreans are happy." Video example: Gawker, 7 Oct 2010. See previous post about same subject.

Chinasat 6A's helium malfunction, China's domestic DTH service, and "propaganda control."

Posted: 09 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Asia Times, 9 Oct 2010, Peter J. Brown: "In early September, Chinasat-6A also known as Zhongxing 6A, ZX 6A, Sinosat-6, or Xinnuo 6 suffered a helium pressurization problem immediately after launch. This affected the operation and control of the satellite's onboard fuel tank. ...

"Back at home, planning and policy-making across the complete satellite TV and TV infrastructure of China as a whole could be affected by this satellite glitch. Among other things, it could become a factor in China's efforts to curb illegal satellite TV.

"For months, China has discussed possibly ceasing crackdowns in the future on the owners of unauthorized or illegal satellite dishes which some say now number 60 million or more. China Satellite Communications (China Satcom) has played a role in this process. China's only authorized domestic satellite TV service for households, China Satcom began offering many free satellite TV channels last year.

"'Since our service launched, most of the illegal DTH viewers have turned their dishes away from foreign satellites and onto our domestic platform,' said Huang Baozhong, vice president of China Satcom. 'This helps the Chinese government with propaganda control.' ...

"At the same time, discussions about censorship and propaganda control in China involving foreign media and satellite TV channels available heated up considerably in early October following Premier Wen Jiabao's latest interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"Because Wen seems eager to champion political reform in China - some openly question his sincerity - and speaks of 'the continuous progress of China,' the fact that millions of Chinese satellite TV viewers had no opportunity to view the interview in question can only set the stage for storminess in the form of a clash of opposing viewpoints."

Ethiopian official awarded a ministry for "successful jamming duties"?

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
EthioGuardian.com, 5 Oct 2010, Eskinder Nega: "Veteran of Ethiopia’s KGB, Debre-Tsion Gebre-Mikael, who is also Jammer-In-Chief of the VOA and ESAT, the latter Ethiopia's first independent satellite TV, has been awarded a Ministry; perhaps in reference to his successful jamming duties, at the helm of a new Ministry where his jamming duty is expected to continue with renewed vigor."

Scripps Networks' Food and Fine Living networks to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 4 Oct 2010, Mansha Daswani: "In just a year, Scripps Networks International has secured distribution for two networks—Food Network and Fine Living Network—in 60 countries, in eight languages, across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The company, which began its international channel expansion under Greg Moyer last year, announced its achievements to reporters at an event in Cannes last night. Since embarking on its new global strategy, the company has brought its six Food Network and Fine Living feeds to 15 million homes globally."

iConcerts (who will probably avoid Nobel-themed concerts) distribution deal with China DTV Production.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
iConcerts press release, 5 Oct 2010: "Rapidly growing to become one of the world’s first global 360 degree live music brands, Swiss-based iConcerts has brokered a ground-breaking distribution and co-production deal with China DTV Production Company Limited, a division of CCTV (China Central Television). The multi-faceted collaboration starting this Autumn, will see China DTV Production’s digital music channel broadcast an iConcerts branded programming block in prime-time to over 60 million households. As part of the process, China DTV Production will further syndicate the iConcerts branded block to its affiliate networks, setting the stage for the unprecedented distribution of international artist concerts in mainland China."

Euronews will be available on Panasonic internet-connected TVs and video players.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 4 Oct 2010, Robert Briel: "Euronews has signed a partnership agreement with Panasonic for the launch of programming from the channel on Panasonic’s Viera Cast connected TV platform. Panasonic Viera Cast users can access Euronews content in four languages (English, French, German and Italian), with other languages to be added in the future, including the latest news bulletin as well as the lifestyle magazines cinema and le mag. ... Panasonic Viera Cast connected TV service was launched in Europe in May 2009 and is available on Panasonic’s VT20, V20, G20, D28 (37- and 32-inch models) and D25 Viera TVs, as well as Panasonic’s 2010 line-up of Blu-ray Disc and DVD players and recorders. This innovative feature allows users to access online content directly from the living room via an Internet connection without using a computer."

Sudan refuses to renew FM radio licenses for France's Monte Carlo Doualiya.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Sudan Tribune, 6 Oct 2010: "The Sudanese government refused to renew the licence of Monte Carlo, the Arabic service of Radio France Internationale (RFI), to broadcast on local frequencies and provided no reason for this abrupt decision. Rabie Abdulatti, a senior official at the National Congress party (NCP) told the independent Al-Ahram daily that the suspension was not politically motivated. ... Last July, Sudanese authorities revoked the license of the BBC Arabic service which for several years has been airing its Arabic service on FM frequency in Khartoum, Port Sudan, Madani and capital of Northern Kordofan Al-Obayid."

First Lady (of Gombe State, Nigeria) speaks to VOA health rally.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Leadership (Abuja), 4 Oct 2010: "Wife of Gombe State governor, Hajiya Yelwa Fatima Goje has called on state governments particularly in the north to wake up to the realities of cholera epidemic in their domains and take urgent steps to halt the trend. ... The state's First Lady who made the call during a campaign rally organized jointly by Voice of America VOA (Hausa Programme) and ministry of health also called for vigorous public enlightenment campaign for the necessary awareness that would help curtail the ravages of the disease. She applauded the action of the VOA, saying the effort is a wake up call to many households which should not only end in the state but extended to all the affected states."

CNN, 6 Oct 2010, George Webster: "One of America's best-loved children's shows, which began life on a fictional New York street over 40 years ago, is about to land in Nigeria under the title of 'Sesame Square' -- bringing with it some distinctly West African twists. The show stars Kami, a girl muppet who is HIV-positive, has golden hair and a zest for adventure; and Kobi, an energetic, furry, blue muppet whose troublesome escapades help others learn from his mistakes. ... Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind 'Sesame Street,' received a $3.3 million grant to produce the show for five years, from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and President Barack Obama's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief."

"Only all-English AM radio station" in the Philippines will include content from BBC and VOA.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Philippine Star, 4 Oct 2010: "Tune in to 810 khz today and experience a refreshing, informative and unique AM station, now called The Voice of the Philippines, as legendary radio station dzRJ launches its new format with a new high-powered transmitter for its AM station. The Voice of the Philippines, the first and only all-English AM radio station in the country ... will also feature live feeds from foreign partners, BBC and Voice of America. 'Our foreign partners help to ensure that our news and public affairs content is very fair, objective and compliant with international standards,' [station president Ramon] Jacinto said. 'BBC told me that they were looking for a news organization that has these qualities, so that’s how our programming will be: Fair, objective, constructive... ."

UK television program exports increased nine percent in 2009.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 4 Oct 2010, Joseph O'Halloran: "The annual UK TV Exports Survey from Pact, the UK trade association that represents the commercial interests of independent feature film, television, children’s, animation and interactive media companies, has revealed the enduring popularity of British TV which has posted and recession-defying record exports. ... International sales of TV programmes rose 9% to £1.34 billion in 2009 despite the worldwide recession. Furthermore, underlining the strength of the industry’s drive, exports to the USA, arguably the toughest market said Pact, rose 3% to £485 million. In all North America represented 41% of total export revenue in 2009, with Europe contributing 29% and Rest of World 30%. The other major English language markets of Australia and New Zealand represented the greatest proportionate growth area for the second year running, an increase of up 32%." See also BBC News, 5 Oct 2010.

The Guardian, 7 Oct 2010, Tara Conlan: "The BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, has won a reprieve from being sold by the government after it said it is has 'no commitment' to offloading the business. ... The decision to include Worldwide – which makes money from a string of global television channels and by selling programmes and formats, such as Strictly Come Dancing, to foreign broadcasters – in the portfolio of assets was a surprise to the BBC. However, sources said that under the new coalition government – which has announced the sale or partial commercialisation of other assets such as the Royal Mail Group – BBC Worldwide is 'off the hook'."

American civilians donating radios for the Marines to hand out in Afghanistan.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Dallas Morning News, 7 Oct 2010, Jim Royce: "Royse City plastics maker John Stettler ... put up $10,000 this year to buy radios for villagers in Afghanistan's Helmand province. A battalion of U.S. Marines is handing out these solar and hand-crank radios in places where there is no electricity. ... [He and others eventually] raised $30,000 that's being spent on 3,000 radios shipped directly to the Marines in Afghanistan. ... Media surveys in Afghanistan by aid groups have found most villages have had radios since U.S. forces overthrew the Taliban almost nine years ago. But the radio in the tea shop or mosque, powered by a small generator or a car battery, could be tuned by a Taliban sympathizer to a Taliban station. Giving families their own radios lets them listen to something else. ... 'We have three radio stations set up on combat outposts, with a fourth station coming in the next couple of weeks,' Lt. Col. Ben Watson, the [1st Marine Division] 3rd Battalion's commanding officer, wrote in an e-mail from Garmsir. Watson explained that the stations are manned by two local Afghan DJs and Marines working with translators. They offer a mix of programming, including local leaders supporting the government, music and news. ... Scores of radio stations are operating in Afghanistan and sending signals from across the border in Pakistan. The Afghan government, Britain's BBC and the U.S. government's Voice of America broadcast nationwide."

Radio Survivor, 3 Oct 2010, Jake Chapnick: "I propose building a network of community-based radio stations to serve Afghanistan’s rural central and northern regions. The objective of this project is to create a radio listening culture by demonstrating the potential impact radio can have on the empowerment and communication capabilities for and between rural villages."

Heritage fellow calls for funding of discredited Haystack circumvention program.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, The Foundry, 4 Oct 2010, Helle Dale: "Tehran’s fear of the social network sites is a powerful argument for funding the work that is being done to create new technologies, like the program Haystack, which are capable of circumventing Iran’s Internet controls. This is both in the purview and budget of the U.S. State Department, which has been releasing the funding slowly and cautiously." -- Apparently Heritage prefers taxpayer money to be spent quickly and recklessly. Noted by @evgenymorozov on 8 Oct. See previous post about same subject.

Nobel Peace Prize? What Nobel Peace Prize?

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Globe and Mail, 8 Oct 2010, Mark Mackinnon and agencies: "The long-stagnant politics of China received a rare jolt with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo. The initial reaction inside China was predictable: complete silence. Foreign television stations such as CNN and BBC that went live to the award ceremony in Oslo had their signals blocked just before the announcement was made. The state-run Xinhua news wire carried nothing on the announcement, and there was nothing on the main page of the sina.com web portal, the Chinese equivalent of Yahoo or Google."

Wall Street Journal, China Realtime Report, 8 Oct 2010, Laurie Burkitt, et al: "China’s Web censors have deleted chatter from Liu’s colleagues, as well as China’s intellectuals and elite, that began to spread on China’s blogs and message boards only minutes after the news broke. On Sina, personal comments that referred to Liu as LXB or Liu Liu, avoiding his full name, disappeared an hour after having been posted. Remarks that said, “He won,” are no longer visible. One Chinese journalist in Shanghai, who attempted to arrange on Sina’s social-media service a celebration for Liu, is rumored to have been arrested. In the runup to the announcement, Chinese media covered the Nobel winners, reporting everything from the award for literature to the prize for chemistry. Outlets such as Sohu featured special sections for the news. But now those sites can only be reached from outside China."

CNN, 8 Oct 2010, Steven Jiang: "An increasing number of mostly young, tech-savvy users, however, have learned to rely on proxy servers to circumvent the censors and log on to banned sites like Twitter, where the mood was ecstatic Friday night. 'We finally have our own Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi,' exclaimed @xieyi64."

Chairs appointed to the RFE and RFA boards, each the same as the BBG, but with different chairs.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 7 Oct 2010: "The Board of Directors of RFE/RL, Inc. has approved the appointment of Dennis Mulhaupt to serve as the Chair of RFE's corporate board. ... Mulhaupt, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), is joined on the RFE corporate board by eight directors who also serve on the BBG. They are Walter Isaacson, Victor Ashe, Michael Lynton, Susan McCue, Michael Meehan, Dana Perino, S. Enders Wimbush and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ... Mulhaupt is founder and Managing Director of Commonwealth Partners, Inc., a firm which provides advisory services to philanthropic institutions and families. Before founding Commonwealth Partners, he served as Executive Vice President at KCET in Los Angeles, the West Coast flagship public broadcasting and media company. He has also served as Vice President at Claremont McKenna College; Associate Vice President at Stanford University; and Senior Associate Dean in the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at the University of Southern California, where he also taught undergraduate courses in international relations." -- So, as before, the RFE board is the same as the BBG, but having a chair different than the BBG chair seems to be a change in procedure. And notice the use of "RFE" as the brand, replacing "RFE/RL."

Knoxville News Sentinel, 4 Oct 2010: "Former Knoxville mayor and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe has been elected chairman of the corporate board of Radio Free Asia, a non-profit that broadcasts and publishes news to Asian countries where media typically is censored. Ashe and Michael Meehan, a communications expert who also has served as a staff adviser for several Democratic senators, will serve two-year terms. Meehan was elected vice chair." See also RFA website. -- No doubt Mr. Ashe's priority will be to help RFA compete effectively against its archrival, the Voice of America.

Next Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting, 13 October, in Prague, will be webcast.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBG Highlights, 4 Oct 2010: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in Prague, Czech Republic. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 3:30 a.m. (EDT). The BBG will be considering Board By-Laws, a Calendar Year 2011 meeting schedule, Strategy and Budget Committee recommendations, and a Governor’s trip report. 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."

BBG press release, 4 Oct 2010: Record of Decisions from the BBG's meeting on 17 September 2010.

BBG Highlights, 6 Oct 2010: "BBG Governors Victor Ashe and Dennis Mulhaupt held a news conference with local media during their visit today to the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi. Ashe and Mulhaupt, who also serves as chair of RFE's corporate board, were joined at the press conference by RFE President Jeffrey Gedmin and RFE Tbilisi Bureau chief Marina Vashakmadze. The state of media freedom in Georgia, the role played by free media in post-Soviet countries and future plans for RFE Georgian broadcasting were among the topics addressed during the event, which was held at RFE's Tbilisi Bureau. All of Georgia's television stations and many radio and print media outlets sent reporters to the briefing, according to RFE Georgian Service Director David Kakabadze." -- Was the future of VOA's Georgian Service also among the topics addressed?

RFE/RL press release, 7 Oct 2010: "In remarks made at Tbilisi State University today, RFE President Jeffrey Gedmin told an audience of 200 students and faculty that 'there can be no freedom without free media. A free press is critical to the evolution of democracy.' Gedmin spoke at a ceremony at the oldest institution of higher education in the Caucasus, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate. ... Gedmin also highlighted RFE's newest initiative in the region, Ekho Kavkaza, a Russian-language news service to the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

Responses to a blogger's assertions about VOA Persian News Network's audience size.

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News Blog/VOA Media Watch, 5 Oct 2010, Alex Belida: "A blogger named Javad Rad, writing on the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy blog, claimed the reason President Obama recently chose to give an interview to BBC Persian TV and not to VOA’s Persian News Network was audience size. Rad wrote: 'Obviously VOA has not been able to reach a sizable audience inside Iran.' Obviously? Hardly. This is simply untrue – and begs the question of whether Mr. Rad conducted any research whatsoever before writing. Because it wasn’t particularly difficult to ascertain that: According to a BBC news release earlier this year, 'BBC Persian has an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Iran.' And drawing on survey data compiled by InterMedia, VOA researchers estimate the VOA TV audience in Iran to be around 9 million. Even if this audience were only half as big as that estimate, it would still be higher than BBC 's own published estimate for their audience."

USC Center on Public Diplomacy blog, 7 Oct 2010, Kyle B. King of VOA Public Relations: "A telephone survey of adult Iranians conducted in 2010 by InterMedia, a leading international research and consulting organization, found that VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) is seen each week by 19.6 percent of Iranians 15 and older, about 9 million viewers. Earlier this year the BBC said its Persian Television station had an 'estimated 3.1 million viewers in Iran.' That would make VOA the most popular international television broadcaster in Iran."

Ibid, Javad Rad: "[I]t is very hard to believe that 9 million people are really watching VOA. Again, I believe that is the number for reaching to the people, or at best, represents people who may tune into the network even once in a week." -- No, "reach" is the actual measured weekly audience, not the potential audience. (Robert McMahon's article in Foreign Service Journal, see previous post, includes accurate summaries of audience data for Iran.) See previous post about same subject.

VOA press release, 6 Oct 2010: "A satirical television show called Parazit has become one of Iran's most popular programs, even though it is broadcast from Washington and produced by the Voice of America. The 30-minute weekly show, which pokes fun at Iranian officialdom, has a Farsi language Facebook page that now routinely records about 500,000 impressions after each new program is posted. Last month, Parazit's Facebook friends surpassed 100,000 - up from 60,000 just two months earlier. Many viewers also watch the show on satellite dishes, which are illegal in Iran."

Is Radio Farda pointed in the right direction?

Posted: 08 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Service Journal, October 2010, "U.S. Funded Media and the 'Soft War' in Iran," by Robert McMahon: "VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch says [VOA Persian News Network] has been scrupulous in providing equal time to competing voices. 'There are people who believe we should be in the business of regime change; there are those who believe we should restore the monarchy,' says Redisch, a former executive editor for CNN in Washington. 'Our charter says we have to be a reliable and accurate source of news and information. We are supposed to report it straight.'

"RFE/RL’s [president Jeffrey] Gedmin also stresses that Radio Farda is not intended to be the broadcast arm of the Green opposition movement. But he says Farda’s mission remains to reach Iranians excluded or persecuted by the regime. 'At the end of the day, we’re after a kind of sympathetic evenhandedness,' he says. 'The [reporting] itself should be accurate and reliable, but it does have a compass. Those parts of Iranian society that feel voiceless are natural allies and a basis for an audience.'"

Do the journalists in the RFE/RL newsroom understand that they are guided by a "compass"? Report the news, all the news, not conveniently selected news. Give the audiences the information they need to decide for themselves what they think about current events. Journalists do well by not trying to do good.

Robert McMahon's piece also describes VOA PNN's “Parazit,” and Radio Farda's "Pasfarda," satirical programs about events in Iran. During the 1970s, I was a regular listener to Radio Sweden's English-language "Saturday Show." The half hour was devoted to music (more edgy than Abba), audience participation (and this was before social media), and hilarious satirical skits. About Sweden. Often at the expense of the Swedish government. Has "Parazit" or "Pasfarda" aimed its humor at the US administration or Congress? Now that would be a lesson in democracy.

(My VOA program "Communications World" was no "Saturday Show." Once, however, I attempted to describe to my listeners the organization structure of US international broadcasting. Because of its complex nature, I used a visual aid. "Communications World" was strictly a radio program, mind you, so I brought into the studio a whiteboard and the squeakiest marker I could find. But I digress...)

Foreign Policy, The Cable, 5 Oct 2010, Josh Rogin: "Pressed by The Cable to explain exactly what [the mission of being credible journalists] means, especially in light of reports that the Obama administration sought to influence BBG reporting after the disputed Iranian presidential elections, [BBG chairman Walter] Isaacson promised he wouldn't hesitate to air views that contradict American foreign policy on BBG stations. He said that the goals of American foreign policy and the objectives of credible journalism overlap about 90 percent of the time -- as for the other 10 percent, a choice must be made."

Here Josh Rogin is referring to an incident in February 2010 (see previous post), in which the National Security Council objected to VOA joining in a statement with other international broadcasters protesting Iranian satellite jamming. This, however, affected a VOA press release, and not the actual journalistic output of VOA PNN.

ISRIA, 5 Oct 2010, reprinting weekly briefing of the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman: "Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast ... rejected the news broadcast by ‘Radio Farda’ claiming that Tehran-Washington confidential talks were held during President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to the US."

Russia Today (RT) riled by its apparent inclusion among "enemies" in BBG chairman's speech.

Posted: 07 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 6 Oct 2010, Boris Volkhonsky: "[T]here are clear signs that the Americans are losing ground in a field where their monopoly remained unquestioned for decades – information and media. Speaking in late September in Washington at an event marking the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Walter Isaacson defined a number of competitors (if not foes) that are breaking the US monopoly in media production. 'We can’t allow ourselves to be out-communicated by our enemies. There’s that Freedom House report that reveals that today’s autocratic leaders are investing billions of dollars in media resources to influence the global opinion,' said Walter Isaacson. 'You’ve got Russia Today, Iran’s Press TV, Venezuela’s TeleSUR, and of course, China is launching an international broadcasting 24-hour news channel with correspondents around the world.' ... By picturing the dreadful picture of enemies surrounding and 'out-communicating' the 'free media', he is trying to persuade the US lawmakers to allocate more money for state funded radio stations."

RT (Russia Today), 7 Oct 2010: "To many it sounded like a declaration of information war, but later Mr. Isaacson backtracked. Isaacson told RT he does not view the network as an enemy and his words were not in context. 'I definitely do not think of RT as an enemy,' he said. 'It’s a, I was referring to Afghanistan.' ... Josh Rogin, a staff writer at Foreign Policy Magazine, ... Rogin explained that the BBG is going through an identity crisis. 'They have two conflicting missions. One is to report the news objectively and the other is to be a tool of American foreign policy,' said Rogin. He said that overall, the conflict does not speak well for the 'objectivity and credibility' of the news organizations." With link to video of the report and of five interviews, including Rogin and Andres Izarra, the president of Venezuela's Telesur. See also RT videos via YouTube on 6 Oct and 7 Oct 2010.

The interview with Josh Rogin is especially interesting. It was Rogin's piece in Foreign Policy, 5 Oct 2010, with the headline "New BBG chief wants more money to combat 'enemies' such as China and Russia," that probably precipitated the attention by RT and Voice of Russia.

Below is the passage from Mr. Isaacson's speech that caused the kerfuffle:

"All over Afghan and Pakistan, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are achieving great successes. RFE’s very popular Radio Azadi is the leading source of news in Afghanistan, and it hosted, as all of you know, in August [2009], the first-ever presidential debate to feature an incumbent in Afghanistan’s history. When Jeff asked me to speak here, I asked who spoke last year and he said, Richard Holbrooke, so I almost said, no, I’m not sure I want to follow in Holbrooke’s outsized footsteps – (laughter) – but I did notice how we stressed the role of RFE and VOA in the struggle in Afghanistan.

"We can’t allow ourselves to be out-communicated by our enemies. There’s that Freedom House report that reveals that today’s autocratic leaders are investing billions of dollars in media resources to influence the global opinion.

"You’ve got Russia Today, Iran’s Press TV, Venezuela’s TeleSUR, and of course, China is launching an international broadcasting 24-hour news channel with correspondents around the world – spent – reportedly set aside six (billion dollars) to $10 billion – we’ve to go to Capitol Hill with that number – to expand their overseas media operations."

The listener or reader could reasonably think that "enemies" refers to the "Russia Today, Iran’s Press TV, Venezuela’s TeleSUR" of the next paragraph, rather than the Afghanistan of the previous.

It is common for executives of U.S. international broadcasting to appeal for more money by citing the budgets and output hours of stations in other countries. But it is audience size that really matters. During the Cold War years, Radio Moscow had more transmitters, languages, and broadcast hours than any other international radio station, but its audience was at best as large as those of BBC or VOA.

In terms of audience size, we see that among African elites, the real competition for US taxpayer funded international broadasting is CNN International. (See previous post.) Obviously, we need more tax money to catch up with a station that costs the taxpayers nothing. Wait, that doesn't quite work, does it? Let me get back you on this one... (laughter)

BBG press release, 7 Oct 2010: "In remarks at the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Sept. 28, Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, discussed the importance of the journalistic mission of U.S. international broadcasting. He wants to clarify his comment concerning enemies. He meant to refer to enemies within Afghanistan - those that advocate terrorism. He did not mean to refer to, nor does he consider, that Russia, China, and the other countries or news services he mentioned are enemies of the U.S., and he regrets giving that impression." (See previous post.)

Joseph Nye plugs international broadcasting into the wrong theoretical framework.

Posted: 07 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
International Herald Tribune, 4 Oct 2010, Joseph S. Nye Jr: "The main strength of the government broadcasting and mass media approach to public diplomacy is its audience reach and ability to generate public awareness and set the agenda. But the inability to influence how the message is perceived in different cultural settings is its weak point. The senders know what they say, but not always what the target(s) hear. Cultural barriers are apt to distort what is heard.

"Networked communications among civil societies, on the other hand, can take advantage of two-way communications and peer-to-peer relations to overcome cultural differences.

"Rather than a central design and broadcast of a message across cultural boundaries, networks establish the structure for effective communication channels, and narratives are co-created across cultures.

"Simply put, face-to-face relations have more cross-cultural credibility than do government broadcasts. But this type of decentralization and flexibility is difficult for governments to accept.

"The greater flexibility of nongovernmental organizations in using networks has given rise to what some call 'the new public diplomacy,' which is about building relationships with civil-society actors in other countries and about facilitating networks between nongovernmental parties at home and abroad."

USIB has a a global weekly audience of 170 million. Will the US government or any NGO achieve 170 million face-to-face encounters each week? Mass communication exists for a reason.

Successful international broadcasting satisfies the audience's need for news that is more reliable than the audience can get from domestic sources. It is not about sending "a message."

Cultural barriers are not as much of a problem for US international broadcasting as Professor Nye imagines. Almost all of the language broadcasters are natives of the target country, and thus are native speakers of the target country's language. If the international broadcaster sticks to solid journalism, cultural differences are even less problematic.

The term "public diplomacy" is now attributed to so many activities that is has lost useful meaning. There can effectively be only one national foreign policy. Citizens and nongovernmental organizations should reach out internationally, but everyone should be clear they are not speaking officially for their government, nor are they articulating foreign policy.

Perhaps we need to divide public diplomacy into official public diplomacy and citizen public diplomacy, the latter using the word "diplomacy" metaphorically. As for international broadcasting, best to leave it out of any discussion of public diplomacy, official or otherwise.

Save BBC Russian, they write.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 4 Oct 2010, letter from Vladimir Bukovsky, and former BBC Russian broadcasters, et. al.: "It is true that the Russian Service failed to adapt after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but this was almost exclusively due to the BBC’s mismanagement and lack of vision. Instead of preserving its own distinguished voice, the service tried to emulate Russia’s domestic media, with disastrous results. This started when the BBC believed that it could strengthen the service by recruiting journalists straight from Russia, rather than by taking political refugees based in the West, as was the case in the past. ... The Cold War might be over but Russia is still a difficult international partner. As William Hague visits Moscow in the next few weeks, a move to curtail the Russian Service would be one of the best presents his hosts in the Kremlin could possibly receive."

BBC World News Doha Debates will be seen in Los Angeles (not via rabbit ears, though).

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Whittier (CA) Daily News, 2 Oct 2010: "The 'Doha Debates' is the top-rated program on BBC World News. It bills itself as a unique forum for verbal sparring about major political and controversial topics in the Arab and Muslim worlds. As a result of a new agreement with KVCR TV in San Bernardino, the English-language program can now be watched in the greater Los Angeles area on the Dish and DirecTV satellite networks as well as AT&T U-verse."

Vietnam's half-hearted internet firewall.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Global Post, 4 Oct 2010, Helen Clark: "Vietnam first blocked Facebook toward the end of 2009, as part of a haphazard block that the government has never directly acknowledged. A supposed draft regulation outlining eight blocked sites, including Facebook, made the rounds on the internet. Soon after, various internet service providers (ISPs) started blocking the social networking site, sometimes for days. But a couple weeks later, everyone was fiddling with their domain name system (DNS) settings to get around the firewall or using Facebook Lite, a pared-down version that was still accessible. ... Unlike China, which blocks websites at an ISP level, Vietnam does so at the DNS level. What this means, as one IT expert explained, is that the government simply tells service providers to redirect their servers away from sites as opposed to actually blocking their access. ... 'This is trivially easy to circumvent,' said the IT expert, who wished to remain anonymous."

Nobel Peace Prize for Democratic Voice of Burma?

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Irrawaddy, 2 Oct 2010, editorial: "The winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Oct. 8. ... The Nobel Committee, composed entirely of Norwegians, will select the winner from the 237 persons and organizations that have been nominated for the prize. The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB)—a Burmese-language satellite TV and shortwave radio organization run by exiled journalists—is considered a top candidate to win... . If the Nobel Committee announces that the Oslo-based DVB has won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, The Irrawaddy believes that it will be a significant achievement not only for the DVB but also for all Burmese media—both those in exile and those inside the country, as well as citizens journalists—who are struggling to cover a country ruled by one of most brutal military regimes in the world which is determined to censor all media critical of the junta." See also AP, 2 Oct 2010. -- Despite DVB's notoriety, BBC, VOA, and RFA have larger audiences in Burma.

The CNN International (ex-)anchor from Prince Edward Island.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian (Charlottetown), 2 Oct 2010, Jim Day: "After working for just nine months doing weekend newscasts for CBC’s Newsworld, [David Compton, born in Bangor, Prince Edward Island) submitted videotaped samples of his work to CNN International in Atlanta, Georgia. He was hired. Behind the desk of CNNI, he read the news of Iraq invading Kuwait, was part of the extreme extended coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and was also part of a large contingent from CNN sent to Normandy, France to report on the 50th anniversary of the historic D-Day landing. ... In 1994, CNN International executives felt the all white anchors did not properly reflect the multi-cultural, multi-racial audience to whom the programs were directed. As a result, Asian and European anchors replaced Compton and several others. Compton agreed to stay on in an editorial position."

RFE/RL names chief editor of its Washington bureau.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 5 Oct 2010: "Distinguished journalist Christian Caryl will lead RFE's efforts to step up news coverage from the nation's capital as he assumes the role of Chief Editor of RFE's Washington, D.C. bureau. Caryl is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy and the New York Review of Books and is a Senior Fellow at MIT's Center for International Studies. He is also a former Contributing Editor at Newsweek. 'Since much of what happens in Washington directly impacts the 21 countries in which RFE broadcasts, we are adding resources to the bureau,' says RFE President Jeffrey Gedmin. ... Over the years, Caryl has reported from 40 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Germany, and Japan. 'At a time when many news organizations are cutting back on their international coverage, I'm thrilled to have the chance to continue reporting on countries that are generating the biggest headlines,' he says. 'I'm also very excited to be working with an experienced team of reporters who know these stories better than anyone else.'" -- No doubt Mr. Caryl and the RFE/RL Washington bureau will do a great job. But isn't reporting from the USA, especially from Washington, VOA's nominal role in the panoply of BBG entities? At a time when the administration is trying to find savings to reduce the federal deficit, duplication in U.S. international broadcasting is running amok.

At RFE/RL, romance, marriage, and perhaps more information than we needed.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 1 Oct 2010, Rosalie R. Radomsky: "Daisy Sindelar and Grant Podelco were married Saturday afternoon at Blackwater Falls Lodge in Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, W.Va. ... The couple met at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. The bride writes radio scripts and feature articles for the organization’s English-language Web site; the bridegroom is an editor of the Web site. ... The bride’s previous marriage ended in divorce, as did the bridegroom’s. Both were still married when they met in Prague in the summer of 2001, when Mr. Podelco, who had left Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in 1999 to work at a newspaper in Oregon, returned to his old newsroom. Ms. Sindelar, a features editor who had arrived about six months before, asked him for help with an article. 'An hour after meeting him,' she recalled, 'I said, "Look at the story.' We bonded over the lead paragraph. It was kindred spirit at first sight.'"

On Deutsche Welle and Radio Farda, comments about US sanctions against Iranian officials.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters, 1 Oct 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Recently announced U.S. sanctions against eight senior Iranian officials accused of human rights abuses have been welcomed by some Iranians, including Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi while, predictably, the Iranian government has condemned the move. ... Ebadi has said in an interview with the Farsi Service of Deutche Welle that the sanctions mark a 'turning point' not only for Iran, but for 'the history of human rights.' ... Dozens of Iranians have expressed support for the move on Radio Farda's website. Shaghayegh from Bushehr writes that she believes 'political sanctions' are better than economic ones which, she says, only hurt the Iranian people. ... In Tehran, however, a well-known journalist, Said Razavi Faghih, who campaigned for opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi, dismissed the human rights sanctions as a 'propaganda move': 'I think this move by the U.S. will harm the Iranian people and the democracy movement rather then helping them. It will jeopardize the independence of Iran's protest movement.'"

Firewall at work: President Obama was wooing, while RFE/RL was "pushing," Azerbaijan.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Global Intelligence Report, 26 Sept 2010: "Pres. Obama and [Azerbaijan] Pres. [Ilham] Aliyev met in New York during the United Nations General Assembly session on September 24, 2010, and it was clear that Pres. Obama was keen to repair the bilateral relationship. Some 25 percent of the non-lethal logistical support for the US-led Coalition in Afghanistan, including fuel and food, is transported via Azerbaijan. ... Even so, while Pres. Obama was wooing Pres. Aliyev in New York, the US Government-controlled broadcaster, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was still pushing an anti-Aliyev line." -- Rather than "pushing an anti-Aliyev line," RFE/RL is more likely reporting news that the Aliyev would prefer not be disseminated.

Jordan will cooperate with investigation of Al Jazeera World Cup satellite jamming.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Jordan Times, 3 Oct 2010: "The government on Saturday called on Al Jazeera satellite channel to provide the documents that claim Jordan was behind jamming the broadcast of several matches during this year’s World Cup in South Africa. The government also urged the channel to send any independent team of experts as well as officials from the Qatari-based company to examine the facts, according to a government official quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, who added that the Jordanian government will fully cooperate with the delegation."

Aljazeera.net, 3 Oct 2010: "Al Jazeera has confirmed that it has conducted an 'extensive investigation' by 'multiple teams of independent international technology experts.'" With video. See previous post about same subject.

Thailand's ads on BBC World News, euronews, etc "are designed to regain the confidence of foreign tourists."

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Phuket News, 4 October 2010, press release via: "The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) won the prestigious PATA Gold Award 2010 for its advertising clip, 'Thailand Talks to the World' in the Marketing Media – Travel Advertisement Broadcast Media category. The Award was presented in a ceremony on 17 September 2010, during the PATA Travel Mart 2010 in Macau SAR. TAT Governor Mr Suraphon Svetasreni stated that the TV ad was undertaken as part of the country’s image restoration programme designed to regain the confidence of foreign tourists in the aftermath of the April-May 2010 domestic political crisis. 'This 60-second ad presents the country’s identity with a focus on art and culture as well as traditional festivals. The most attractive aspect of this ad is the smile of the Thai people that always impresses all visitors. The ad will be broadcast on international channels particularly in Europe; such as, EuroNews, CNN (Asia), BBC Worldnews, Eurosport, and local channels in Germany, France, and the Scandinavian countries,' the TAT Governor added."

The social media and those pesky "pro-government intruders."

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 2 Oct 2010, Evgeny Morozov: "While authoritarian governments continue to censor the Web and crack down on bloggers ... they are also increasingly using the Internet for their own propaganda. Officials are pouring resources into social media and hitting the blogs to disseminate pro-government views and undermine their critics. And they're succeeding: The decentralized nature of online conversations often makes it easier to manipulate public opinion, both domestically and globally. Regimes that once relied on centralized systems of media control can now deliver ideological messages more subtly, with the help of little-known intermediaries like anonymous commenters on websites.

"Can supporters of democracy in the West stop or at least thwart the growth of authoritarian influence on the Internet? Maybe. Should they try? That is a much harder question to answer. Western governments could fight this insidious new form of state propaganda by creating, for example, some kind of website for rating the authenticity of Russian or Chinese online commentators. Alternatively, all comments from one IP address might be aggregated under a unique online profile, thus exposing the operatives working from the offices of the government's propaganda department. But in most cases, such Western interventions would also erode online anonymity and put dissidents' lives on the line. The best that Western governments can do is to educate—in person or remotely—those running important political websites about how to build communities, keep their content visible despite all the spin and avoid being overwhelmed by pro-government intruders."

Also educate social media users to get their news from real news websites or news television channels, not from the social media. (Unless the Twitter or Facebook account defies the intent of Twitter and Facebook, and merely passes on the content of the news organization.)

Zofia Korboski, clandestine radio reporter in German-occupied Poland, VOA broadcaster.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 3 Oct 2010, Matt Schudel: Zofia Korbonski "was in charge of sending coded short-wave radio messages to the world beyond Poland's borders. 'She was in more danger than her husband,' said Ted Lipien, who grew up in Poland and later worked with Mrs. Korbonski at Voice of America. Under Nazi occupation, Poles were forbidden to own or listen to radios. German trucks equipped with antennas patrolled Warsaw, trying to detect radio signals. ... At constant risk of arrest, Mrs. Korbonski sent clandestine reports to London, describing events in Warsaw and throughout Poland. Many of her dispatches made their way back as Polish-language broadcasts from the BBC and from an underground radio station known as 'Swit,' the Polish word for 'dawn.' ... In 1947, [she and her husband] escaped from the port city of Gdansk aboard a coal ship bound for Sweden. They arrived in the United States with little money, and Mrs. Korbonski soon began working for Voice of America." See previous post about same subject.

In Soviet Belorussia, pianist listened to VOA jazz and "changed his musical direction."

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Livonia (MI) Observer, 3 Oct 2010: "The Livonia Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2010-11 season with a master of improvisational piano on Saturday, Oct. 9. 'Classic Pops' featuring pianist Sasha Burshtein opens the orchestra's season... . Burshtein was born in Minsk in the former Soviet Union. His father was director of a music academy and recognized his son's piano talent when Sasha was only 6 years old. At 15, he began a concert career, which brought him acclaim throughout his native land. At 20, he was awarded a position with the Belerussa [Belorussia] State Philharmonic Society and remained there for the next eight years. Late one evening, while listening to a broadcast of Voice of America, he heard recordings of jazz artists Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. This type of musical innovation was virtually illegal behind the Iron Curtain at that time. Those few recordings changed his musical direction. One year later, Burshtein resigned his secure and prestigious position from the Belerussa State Philharmonic Society in 1976, and organized his own variety ensemble infusing jazz with the classics. He incurred the wrath of not only government music directors, but also law officials. Burshtein was detained for several weeks and was accused of counter-revolutionary activities."

Trial of VOA reporter in Uzbekistan postponed after his lawyer withdraws.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Eurasianet.org, 4 Oct 2010, Catherine A. Fitzpatrick: "The trial of Abdumalik Boboyev, a correspondent for the U.S.-funded Voice of America (VOA), scheduled originally for October 2 has been postponed, the independent Central Asia news site ferghana.ru reported. Boboyev's former lawyer, Sobir Kuchimov, has unexpectedly withdrawn from the case, citing a heavy workload, forcing Boboyev to find a new lawyer. ... The VOA correspondent did not see the indictment until September 30, two days before the trial was to start, and was given only a few hours to read the text. Boboyev is charged with libeling and insulting state officials and law-enforcers, and spreading panic among the populace. He is also accused of failing to obtain official press accreditation from the Foreign Ministry, although his applications in the past were refused. A report from a state expert that concluded his broadcasts violated Uzbek law has still not been provided. Human rights groups have been gathering signatures to a petition on his behalf."

United States Mission to the OSCE, 23 Sept 2010: "Despite having worked for Voice of America in Uzbekistan since 2005, and despite repeated attempts to register with the government, Mr. Bobyev’s applications for registration seem to have been ignored by Uzbek authorities, leaving him without official accreditation and open to governmental criticism for being unregistered. Such tactics are unfair." See previous post about same subject.

Puntland government objects to VOA story about clan rivalry.

Posted: 06 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Garowe Online, 30 Sept 2010: "The government of Somalia's stable northern Puntland region has blasted a Voice of America report which it says is as expecting the U.S. government to 'appease Al Shabaab' in Somalia, Radio Garowe reports. A press release issued from the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in the Puntland capital Garowe said the VOA report entitled, 'Clan Rivalry Complicates Terrorism Fight in Puntland,' attempts to create the impression that 'long simmering rivalry' exists between the Majerteen and Warsangeli sub-clans of the Darod clan-family in Puntland." With link to press release. Refers to VOA News, 29 Sept 2010.

We trust the interlocution will not try to influence the news output of the BBG entities.

Posted: 05 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, The Cable, 1 Oct 2010, Josh Rogin: "The head of public affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development leaves the agency today to join the public diplomacy shop in Foggy Bottom. Lynne Weil ... is taking a new post as senior advisor to Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale. Weil will have a wide portfolio there, including outreach to Congress and working with intra-government interlocutors at agencies such as the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Government Accountability Office."

Alhurra and its persistent detractors.

Posted: 05 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
NewsBlaze, 4 Oct 2010, Nehad Ismail: "Some studies show that Alhurra has achieved 9% viewership which many believe is an exaggeration. Sceptics think it is more like 2%. The Station has failed to gain market share. A survey by Intermedia who designed polls conducted by A C Nielsen in 2009 showed that in Egypt the biggest Arab Country in terms of population, Alhurra ranked 18, and in Jordan it ranked 14. In Oman it ranked 11 and it dropped to 19 in UAE where only 2 adults of the sample surveyed said they had watched the channel the day before, compared to 61 who turned into Al-Jazeera. ... If Alhurra wants to be credible, if it wants to matter and if it wants Arab-speaking people to watch, it must get out of its comfort zone and calls a spade a spade. You just cannot run a satellite station in a competitive and crowded market by being too bland and too cautious." -- Although he can't provide definitive audience data, Mr. Ismail does provide interesting comments about Alhurra. The Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc. (MBN) might want to respond to some of his arguments and suggestions.

The Atlantic, 1 Oct 2010, Max Fisher: "Unlike the autocracies that try to oppress conservative movements, which usually only inflames them, liberal grassroots replace them entirely by offering young Arab people a different way to look at the world and their place in it. The U.S. understands this, which is why it has dumped over $500 million into Al-Hurra, a liberal secular Arabic TV station that is watched by virtually no one." -- If the BBG has audience data to counter these assertions about Alhurra, this would be a good time to share it. More Alhurra detractors in previous post.

Iraqi cameraman who supplied video to Alhurra and other news organizations killed by car bomb.

Posted: 05 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 5 Oct 2010: "Violence in Iraq on Monday killed eight people, including a journalist working for the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra television network. Police said Iraqi cameraman Tahrir Kadhem Jawad was killed by a magnetic 'sticky bomb' attached to his car in the town of Garma, west of Baghdad. Rights group Reporters Without Borders condemned the killing and called for 'urgent protection' of Iraq's journalists."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 4 Oct 2010: "Jawad had worked as a journalist for seven years, first as an editor with the weekly Al-Karma, and then as a freelance cameraman who supplied numerous television broadcasters with footage. The slain journalist was 'a courageous cameraman' who obtained distinguished footage 'where others had failed to do so,' according to Mohammad al-Jamili, the Baghdad bureau chief for U.S.-government-backed Al-Hurra television, one of Jawad's employers. Jawad is survived by his wife and five children."

Russia's Arabic-language biweekly أنباء موسكو relaunches.

Posted: 05 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
PRWeb, 30 Sept 2010, press release: Russia's "Arabic language Anbaa Moscu (أنباء موسكو) newspaper’s relaunch was feted in London today at a conference in the Dorchester Hotel. Anbaa Moscu, a 16-page, full color publication, returns to print after a 17-year hiatus, just in time for its 40th anniversary, and addresses the hard-hitting economic and social issues facing Russia today. ... Among the speakers were RIA Novosti Editor-in-Chief Svetlana Mironyuk, Anbaa Moscu Editor-in-Chief Raed Jaber, BBC Arabic’s Bureau Chief, Faris Couri and Director General of the Middle East Association’s Michael Thomas. ... Anbaa Moscu is a biweekly independent newspaper distributed in 13 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, the UK (London) and Russia (Moscow), with a circulation of more than 190,000 copies."

Foreign Service Journal October issue focuses on US international broadcasting.

Posted: 04 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Foreign Service Journal, October 2010: "Is Anyone Listening? U.S. Government Funded International Broadcasting." The articles are "Keeping America Connected: Challenges for the BBG," by Senator Richard G. Lugar. "Brought to You by the U.S. Government" (about a USAID television program in Afghanistan), by Jeremiah Carew. "U.S. Funded Media and the 'Soft War' in Iran," by Robert McMahon. "America Calling: A 21st Century Model," by Kim Andrew Elliott.

Perhaps not the most elegant "solution" for BBC World Service.

Posted: 04 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 1 Oct 2010, Mary Dejevsky: "The most elegant solution would be for the World Service to be shorn of its government connection and incorporated into the mainstream BBC – which it will be, physically, when it moves to Broadcasting House in the coming months. The Corporation should then be split into domestic and international arms, sharing journalists and programming where possible – which means far more than at present. It would have to decide whether to retain any foreign language broadcasting."

She provides many details about the BBC world services and gets most of them right. But she does not understand the real reasons why the BBC's international broadcasting is an admittedly confusing collection of commercial and non-commercial entities.

The BBC, like the BBG, needs to make its audience research data more available to the public. The commentator could have seen how important the foreign language broadcasts are to BBC World Service. To be sure, BBCWS will have to move some of its foreign language content out of radio and into television and internet.

Do the UK TV license fee payers want to subsidize BBC World Service, most of whose output they can't understand? Probably not, and hence the reason for the BBCWS funding coming from the Foreign Office. Other than that, BBC domestic and international seem to achieve synergies.

She dismisses "BBC World" (it's actually called BBC World News) as "a clumsy hybrid TV channel that trades on the name and the expertise, but is commercial, and nothing whatever to do with the scrupulously non-commercial World Service." Nothing to do with World Service except that they are both under BBC Global News and thus have the same director (currently Peter Horrocks). And BBC World News is, in terms of audience and notoriety, not so clumsily one of the "big three" global English news channels (CNN International and Al Jazeera English are the other two). Its audience doesn't pay the UK license fee, so if BBC World News can pay at least part of its way -- and, better, someday become profitable -- more power to it.

BBC Worldwide content deals in USA, Latin America, Africa.

Posted: 04 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 29 Sept 2010: "DIRECTV, the world's most popular video service, and BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, today announced a deal that will bring three heralded BBC Worldwide comedies, No Heroics, How Not to Live Your Life and Mutual Friends, all of which have been nominated for a British Comedy Award, to DIRECTV’s The 101 Network. ... The 101 Network, DIRECTV’s exclusive entertainment channel, is a unique television experience that is available to more than 18.6 million DIRECTV subscribers." -- In the United States.

Portada, 29 Sept 2010: "Two years after launching its BBC Entertainment and CBeebies channels in Latin America, BBC Worldwide Channels has announced that the channels have gained a solid foothold in the Pay-TV industry as a result of strong growth in the region. BBC Entertainment and CBeebies are broadcast in 15 countries in Latin America and the company continues to work on expanding the distribution of both channels to other Spanish-speaking countries, while continuing to provide a greater variety of new programming content." -- Is the content in English only, or versioned into Spanish?

Worldscreen.com, 4 Oct 2010: "A slate of dramas and comedies from HBO have been picked up by BBC Worldwide Channels for broadcast on BBC Entertainment and BBC Knowledge in Africa. BBC Entertainment opted for Capturing Mary, directed by acclaimed British playwright, director and scriptwriter Stephen Poliakoff; The Affair, with Courtney B. Vance as an American GI during World War II; and seasons one and two of Rome."

BBC Worldwide will relaunch and geo-target its international channels' websites.

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Digital Spy, 4 Oct 2010, Andrew Laughlin: "BBC Worldwide has relaunched the international channel website for pre-school property CBeebies with a new underwater theme. ... The CBeebies site will offer "geo-targeted content" in the key territories, including South Africa, Asia, and Australia, as well as local language content for Latin America and Poland. ... Following the CBeebies site launch, Worldwide plans to refresh the international channel websites for BBC HD, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and BBC Knowledge over the coming months."

BBC Worldwide hire will lead the development of the international BBC.com.

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BBC Worldwide press release, 29 Sept 2010: "BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has appointed Chris Davies as Commercial Director, BBC.com, to lead the development of the international edition of the BBC's award-winning website. ... Davies joins BBC.com at a crucial stage in its evolution, since its launch as a commercial website ex-UK in 2007. The site now attracts 54m visitors every month outside of the UK and has secured over one thousand global advertising partners. Davies will be responsible for the delivery of BBC.com’s multiplatform news, lifestyle and factual content to new platforms following the huge success of the BBC News international iPhone and iPad app that has now had over 1m downloads, outside of the UK. The business launched its local market strategy this summer with the BBC.com edition for North America. Davies will be responsible for the roll out of future market editions."

paidContent.org, 29 Sept 2010, Robert Andrews: "Even though BBCWW uses the term plenty, strictly speaking, BBC.com doesn’t exist - it’s just an internal name (and a redirect URL) for both the BBC.co.uk homepage and the BBC News front page, as seen from outside the UK. Since sales of ads were allowed to be sold to foreign eyeballs in November 2007, income has grown steadily, rising 41.7 percent in the last financial year to £14.5 ($22.91) million. But the website still made annual loss of £13 ($20.53) million because infrastructure costs are proving a drain (for example, BBCWW had to both co-develop and pay the BBC for its development of the recent BBC News redesign)."

Taliban propaganda employs leaflets, sermons, clandestine radio.

Posted: 04 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 2 Oct 2010, Ernesto Londono: "The Taliban continues to rely heavily on decentralized, conventional propaganda efforts, which U.S. military officials say is the crucial battleground. These include the distribution of leaflets with threats or pleas, sermons in mosques and clandestine radio stations. 'They've co-opted the religious narrative for the last several years,' Rear Adm. Greg Smith, NATO's communications chief in Afghanistan, said in an interview. 'They've used that narrative locally very effectively.' Foreign troops, meanwhile, are ill-equipped to offer counterarguments in mosques and other gatherings, forcing them to rely on Afghan officials to do so, Smith said. So far, that effort has been slow in the Taliban's southern strongholds of Kandahar and Helmand provinces, even as Taliban influence has spread in the east and the north, Afghans say." -- Nevertheless, the propaganda war, as with the military war, must ultimately be fought by Afghans who are opposed to the resumption of Taliban rule. The best the United States can do is to fight propaganda with non-propaganda, i.e. the credible information that causes propaganda to wither.

A blogger's data-free analysis of Obama's interview on BBC Persian.

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USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 1 Oct 2010, Javad Rad: "The fact that Obama went to the BBC to talk to Iranian people signals the weakness in U.S. public diplomacy apparatus, namely its own international broadcasting to Iran. Since the U.S. government has established its Persian TV service within Voice of America (VOA PNN) and funded it for nearly 15 years, why should the U.S. president resort to another country's public diplomacy network to speak to a foreign audience? The reason lies in the size of audience one can reach. Obviously VOA has not been able to reach a sizable audience inside Iran. The unfortunate case for VOA is that BBC Persian service (established in 2009) is newer than VOA PNN, and yet, with its high standards of journalism, has managed not only to overtake Persian channels like VOA but also reach a position where it could be considered a potential instigator of political unrest in Iran. Obama's speech to Iranians via BBC is certainly a signal to the people in this country but also an alert to producers and editors of VOA PNN who almost certainly watched the interview with envy." See comments to the post, previous post about same subject, and....

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 11 June 2010: "U.S. international broadcasters reach nearly 23 percent of Iranian adults on a weekly basis on TV, radio and Internet and VOA's PNN is the most popular international television station in Iran." -- If BBG audience research data were easier to access, we might see fewer blog posts like the above.

Advice so bad that he'll probably be the next program director.

Posted: 04 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Forbes, Out in the World blog, 30 Sept 2010, Melik Kaylan: "My friend the renowned Iran expert, Roya Hakakian, tells me that the Deutsche Welle Persian broadcast service found, astonishingly, that 57.3% of its listeners believed the US government was behind 9/11. ... If we expect our soldiers to crawl in dirt, we should expect that our ideas should battle the lowest of enemy propaganda however vile or preposterous. Where are the documentaries, the multi-part broadcasts and detailed refutations of 9/11 distortions – in Peshto [sic], Urdu, Arabic and the like? The accusations are out there; they can be refuted point by point. Where’s the creativity, skepticism and brilliance of American media in our dealings with our opponents? Where’s the gossip website outing the sex lives of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leaders? I know it sounds counter-intuitive but a humorous documentary skewering George Bush for lacking the competence even to plant phony chemical weapons in Iraq would do more for American credibility than a hundred drone strikes."

Cuban music and seminary training are among the latest shortwave stories.

Posted: 04 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Republican Herald (Pottsville, PA), 29 Sept 2010: "They (musicians in Africa) fell in love with Cuban music by listening to shortwave radios ... through time, a new flavor came," African traditional dance band director Tshibangu Kadima told his audience at Penn State Schuylkill.

The Christian Post, 30 Sept 2010: "For almost a decade, Trans World Radio (TWR) has been providing leaders of churches all over China with intensive seminary training free-of-charge. ... Since its inception, SOTA has taught biblical doctrine and life applications through shortwave radio, the Internet (SOTA Online – http://www.sotaonline.net) and intensive in-person training for over 1,000 church pastors and lay leaders. SOTA is broadcast every weekday via shortwave. The programme is available on three frequencies. SW - 11590/25 at 6.15 p.m. local time. SW - 11680/25 at 7.15 p.m. local time. SW - 9975/31 at 10.15 p.m. local time. covering all of China."

Media Matters for America, 28 Sept 2010: "On his June 18 radio show, [Glenn] Beck warned that the federal government could 'shut down' Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet and claimed that 'once they have control of your way to get the truth, there is no turning back.' He then recommended two things to his listeners: 'calling Washington and your senators' to tell them to 'leave the Internet and man's right to free speech alone,' or 'buy[ing] a short-wave radio.' He concluded: 'You might want to do both.'"

Please let us know what you think of our leaflets, and other inter-Korean propaganda news.

Posted: 03 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 30 Sept 2010: "North Korean artillery units are preparing to open fire on South Korean sites used to launch cross-border propaganda leaflets unless Seoul halts the practice, official media said on Thursday. The North's delegation chief made the threat at military talks with the South – the first for two years – earlier in the day, the communist state's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said."

The Korea Herald, 30 Sept 2010: "The communist state has called on the South not to fly propaganda leaflets as they could potentially cause problems for its leadership in managing the reclusive tightly controlled regime. The leaflets were intended to introduce the development of South Korean society, compare the South and North Korean social and economic systems and explain the truth behind the sinking of the Cheonan."

The Dong-a Ilbo, 1 Oct 2010: "North Korea is known to have meticulously planned a long-term propaganda operation before releasing photos containing Kim Jong Un, the heir apparent to leader Kim Jong Il. Pyongyang’s idea is to produce political effects from the reincarnation of the North’s late founder Kim Il Sung. ... The elaborate propaganda operation for the heir apparent was reportedly orchestrated by Kim Ki Nam, a Workers’ Party secretary for propaganda and agitation. Educated at Kim Il Sung University and Mankyongdae Revolutionary School, Kim Ki Nam is one of Kim Jong Il’s closest aides and has devoted his career to idolizing and propagandizing the leader and his late father."

The Korea Herald, 29 Sept 2010: "Radio Free Asia, a radio station that specializes in North Korean news, reported on Tuesday that North Koreans like the instant noodles the most among food aid sent by South Korea."

AFP, 1 Oct 2010, Ian Timberlake: "One of the world's most tightly-controlled societies got a rare glimpse of the outside world at the Pyongyang International Film Festival last week, where even Western films were screened. ... [P]articipants in the 12th Pyongyang International Film Festival, which ended on September 24, say it helped open a window for the impoverished country. Only a minority of the population was able to attend the event, but it gave them access to documentaries, feature films and shorts from several European countries and Canada. Productions from Asia, Russia, the Middle East and elsewhere were also on the programme."

AFP, 2 Oct 2010, Ian Timberlake: "The communist country is one of the world's most tightly-controlled societies and bans unauthorised mobile phones as part of a crackdown on information from outside the country. Visitors landing at Pyongyang's airport find there is no cellular phone signal. But it does not matter because polite and efficient customs officials confiscate foreigners' phones and put them in a green cloth bag. They are returned when the visitor leaves. Laptops are allowed after a customs check to ensure they do not carry a mobile communication device."

Technorati, 30 Sept 2010, Paul Sogge: "It is difficult to imagine the world without its parallel universe--a version of reality that has fascinated me ever since I heard my first North Korean propaganda while living in China in the early 1990s. Every day I tuned my shortwave radio to pick up the afternoon broadcast with its excoriations of fascist cliques and puppet regimes, all delivered in clipped, colorful English. A song called 'Women are Flowers' would be followed by a report that black Americans live in concentration camps where they are shot at random. A report on the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea would be followed by a brass band playing 'Death to the Aggressors!' It was irresistible."

Deutsche Welle special on 20th anniversary of Germany reunification is today, 1605 UTC.

Posted: 03 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 29 Sept 2010: "Twenty years ago, on October 3, 1990, a peaceful revolution culminated in the reunification of East and West Germany. ... We look at the winners and losers of reunification, taking you to the richest community in eastern Germany, as well as to 'Little Berlin,' a formerly divided village. ... A 55-minute Newslink radio special to mark this special anniversary will be broadcast on October 3 at 16:05 - 17:00 UTC." Or download mp3.

Differing assessments of US Army psyop soldier internships at US television stations.

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Yahoo! News, The Upshot, 1 Oct 2010, John Cook: "The U.S. Army has used local television stations in the U.S. as training posts for some of its psychological-operations personnel, The Upshot has learned. Since at least 2001, both WRAL, a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., and WTOC, a CBS affiliate in Savannah, Ga., have regularly hosted active-duty soldiers from the Army's 4th Psychological Operations group as part of the Army's Training With Industry program. Training With Industry is designed to offer career soldiers a chance to pick up skills through internships and fellowships with private businesses. The PSYOPS soldiers used WRAL and WTOC to learn broadcasting and communications expertise that they could apply in their mission, as the Army describes it, of 'influenc[ing] the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign audiences.' ... The relationship between PSYOPS, Training With Industry, and television news operations has stirred controversy in the past. In 2000, after a Dutch newspaper reported that PSYOPS troops had been placed in CNN's newsroom under the program, CNN discontinued the internships and admitted that they had been a mistake. ... WRAL's news director, Rick Gall, feels differently. 'My sense was, this was an educational opportunity to see how the broadcasting industry operates,' said Gall. 'They'd spend time in the various departments of the station, including the newsroom. I wasn't concerned about having someone learn what we do, and there was no influence on newsgathering.'" -- Because the Army personnel were not practicing psyop at the two television stations, I see no problem with the internships. And they are presumably learning about good, accurate, balanced journalism, which I think would be the best psyop.

US Army psyop personnel teach Iraqi counterparts how to do focus groups. etc.

Posted: 03 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, 27 Sept 2010, Sgt Chad Nelson: "U.S. Army soldiers from the 399th PSYOP(-) and 24 Iraqi soldiers, police and federal police gathered for a six-day class at Forward Operating Base Diamondback, Sept. 18-23. The class focused on developing the Iraqis’ skills in information dissemination operations. 'We’re teaching them to do what we do so they can fight against the bad guys’ propaganda by putting out their own information to the public,' said Spc. John Bolten, assistant team leader with Team 1775, 399th PSYOP(-) and St. Joseph, Mo., native. The class covered a variety of topics: developing ideas for information dissemination operations using loudspeakers, DVDs, television or leaflets; pretesting the products’ effectiveness through focus groups and interviews; creating and distributing the product; and post testing the product to determine its effect on the target audience."

Canadian Emmy-winning journalist will work for Al Jazeera English, "the emerging authoritative voice of the developing world."

Posted: 03 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
St. Thomas (ON) Times-Journal, 30 Sept 2010, ERIC BUNNELL: Twenty-five year Blake Sifton of St. Thomas, Ontario "is one of a group of 10 newshawks who, as University of British Columbia journalism graduates, are sharing the 2010 news Emmy for investigative newsmagazine journalism with professor Peter Klein. Their 2008-2009 international reporting course documentary, Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground, traced electronic waste from discarded computers to Ghana, where they discovered top secret U.S. security information on a $40 hard drive Sifton bought by chance. ... Sifton is now in Toronto visiting a friend and waiting for a visa to Qatar, where his career is taking him next. He has accepted a editor's position with Al Jazeera English, the emerging authoritative voice of the developing world. Sifton, who aspires to be a foreign correspondent, says the government-funded broadcaster which has 60 bureaux around the globe, 'has the resources to fund the kind of journalism the world needs.'"

And Now, Anacostia blog, 28 Sept 2010, David Garber: "This summer, Aljazeera English filmed a documentary feature on the changes coming east of the Anacostia River, specifically in the Anacostia and Barry Farm neighborhoods [of Washington, DC]." With video.

Question from Radio France International reporter to Hugo Chavez provokes contretemps.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio France International, 29 Sept 2010: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused RFI's Caracas correspondent of lying and trying to destabilise his regime during a press conference broadcast live on national television. RFI's management responded on Tuesday by inviting Chavez to be interviewed by one of its journalists. Chavez's outburst came after a question from RFI Spanish service's correspondent Andreína Flores during a press conference on Monday about his party's slim victory in legislative elections. ... After a few moments of hesitation the socialist leader responded angrily. ... 'RFI has lied for several days, I have demanded a retraction, but you have ignored it.' ... RFI's management has sent a response to Chavez, which reads as follows… 'We would like to tell you that not one request from you has reached RFI. We remind you that RFI is an international radio station based in Paris, which can be heard outside of France. It is a public organisation governed by rules which apply to all our programmes and indeed all of our correspondents around the world. Our news concerning Venezuela was designed for the international public. If you wish Mr President, RFI would like to invite you for an interview to explain your position.'" See also El Universal (Caracas) on 30 Sept and 28 Sept 2010.

CNBC's "People, Planet, Profit," sponsored segment on clean energy, will be broadcast globally.

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News on News, 28 Sept 2010: "CNBC has announced the launch of a new global 10 part segment series on clean energy called People, Planet, Profit. ... People, Planet, Profit looks at the next generation of clean technologies and goes behind the scenes of the most innovative companies and the unique energy they create. ... The series will be broadcast on CNBC’s three regional networks, covering Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the United States, reaching more than 240 million households worldwide. The series launched in Asia Pacific and EMEA yesterday and started airing in the Unites States this week. ... People, Planet, Profit will air on Thursday’s in Asia-Pacific at 1840 SIN/HK, and twice in EMEA at 09.45 CET and 16.45 CET." -- CNBC's three regional networks are 1) Asia Pacific, 2) Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and 3) the USA. CNBC Africa is separately owned, with a combination of its own programs and those from CNBC.

Russia Today (RT) reports on how Russian bloggers "heroically expose crimes and corruption in the system."

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Global Voices, 29 Sept 2010, Yelena Osipova (whose post is part of RuNet Echo, a Global Voices project to interpret the Russian language internet): "Last week, Russia's foreign broadcaster - Russia Today TV (RT) - ran a report about Russian bloggers and how they, heroically, expose crimes and corruption in the system. ... This story was broadcast on September 20. The following day, another report about the great potential of the Russian blogosphere appeared on Russia Beyond the Headlines (online and print, in cooperation with several prominent foreign newspapers). ... Seeing such reports, one cannot help but consider the source: both of these outlets are state-owned and are produced, primarily, in English, with the objective of 'helping foreigners better understand Russia.' With this in mind, it seems such stories would serve Russia's public diplomacy well, especially given President Medvedev's attempts to demonstrate to the world that Russia can be en par with the West in terms of technological progress, as well as the social and economic transformations that accompany it. ... It should be mentioned, however, that democracy - real or virtual - proves itself, time and again, as being very relative. When even some of the more prominent Western democracies have major issues with Internet access and surveillance, perhaps Russia should not be judged as strictly?" Refers to RT report, 20 Sept 2010.

Al Jazeera confirms its World Cup satellite transmissions were jammed from Jordan, but Jordan denies.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 29 Sept 2010, Ian Black: "Mysterious jamming of TV broadcasts of the summer's World Cup by the Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera has been traced to Jordan, which appears to have retaliated angrily after the collapse of a deal that would have allowed football fans there free access to the matches. Millions of al-Jazeera Sports subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa cried foul on 12 June when the opening game between South Africa and Mexico was hit by interference which produced blank screens, pixelated images and commentary in the wrong languages. It occurred seven more times during the tournament's biggest games."

The Guardian, 29 Sept 2010, Ian Black: "[S]ecret documents seen by the Guardian reveal what happened. International investigators hired by Arabsat monitored the final between Spain and the Netherlands on July 11, and using geo-location technology – involving a second satellite – traced the jamming in real time to somewhere near as-Salt in Jordan. It remains unclear whether the attack was mounted from a fixed ground station or a vehicle. But it was, in any event, 'a sophisticated operation', one expert said."

The Guardian, 30 Sept 2010, Ian Black: "Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite TV channel, confirmed today that its World Cup broadcasts from South Africa this summer had been subject to jamming from Jordan — as first revealed in the Guardian. But the Jordanian government 'categorically' denied that it was involved." See also Aljazeera.net, 30 Sept 2010.

The Jordan Times, 1 Oct 2010: "'The Jordanian government categorically denies allegations made by unnamed sources to the Guardian newspaper that it was behind the jamming of Al Jazeera's broadcast of the World Cup,' a senior government official said in a statement to The Jordan Times Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that 'these allegations are absolutely baseless and unacceptable? any examination will prove these allegations false', adding that the government is willing to cooperate with any independent team of experts to examine the claims.

Ammonnews.net, 30 Sept 2010, Jordanian government statement via: "Four days before the kick off of the matches, al Jazeera made an offer, demanding 8 million dollars for the broadcast rights of 20 games of its choosing, and over 50 thousand dollars for the broadcast on each screen that would have been placed in underprivileged areas. The Government did not accept the offer because it believed it was made too late and the matches offered by al Jazeera did not justify the cost."

The Peninsula (Doha), 1 Oct 2010: "The head of sports at Al Jazeera, Nasser Ghanim Al Khelaifi, said he was 'stunned that the jamming came from an Arab country, and Jordan in particular,' adding that the channel will seek legal action. 'We will prosecute all those responsible for this jamming which deprived 170 million television viewers from watching the World Cup,' he said without providing further details."

CNN, 1 Oct 2010: "Jordan fi[r]st took action against Al Jazeera in 1998 after the network accused the Jordanian government of conspiring with Israel against the Palestinian territories. Jordan reacted by shutting down Al Jazeera's bureau in Amman and recalling the Jordanian ambassador in Qatar. Similar spats have taken place with Jordan accusing Al Jazeera of excessive criticism of Jordan's King Abdullah and his government."

Pakistan's ban of popular channels on cable brings boom in sales of Indian satellite receivers.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The Nation (Lahore), 30 Sept 2010, Javaid-ur-rahman: "Recent blocking of many popular TV channels on cable TV networks is leading to a boom in sales of smuggled Indian satellite receivers in Pakistani markets. As per the findings of the survey conducted by TheNation, it was learnt that leading Indian brands including TATA Sky, Dish TV and Sun Direct are being openly sold in local markets for Rs. 8,000 including the digital satellite receiver and a small Ku band antenna. Monthly subscription of service is Rs. 700 for 200 channels that include many pure Hindu religious channels while many others promote vulgarity and Hindu culture, thus destroying the morality of young generation." See previous post about same subject.

Euronews via Viasat to Nordic and Baltic countries.

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Broadband TV News, 1 Oct 2010, Robert Briel: "Euronews and Viasat Broadcasting have concluded an agreement to broadcast the international news channel in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. As a result, euronews has launched on the Viasat satellite platform in the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in English and Russian, and in four Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, in English. Other languages may be added in the future. In these seven countries, euronews is now available on the Viasat platform through the Astra 4A satellite."

"Poland, Russia and India at the forefront" of direct-to-home satellite growth.

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Rapid TV News, 28 Sept 2010: "Despite increasing pressure on margins, the number of direct to home (DTH) satellite subscribers is expected to pass the 217 million mark by 2019 according to research by NSR. ... The survey found that by the end of 2009, a total of 113 DTH operators carried TV services to over 130 million subscribers, an increase of 14% compared to 2009. ... Analysing the report, Senior Analyst, Prashant Butani said: 'The Pay TV industry as a whole is becoming extremely competitive, be it over-the-top television in North America, digital terrestrial television in Europe or low cost DTH platforms in Africa and India. As far as subscriber growth is concerned, the balance of power has shifted further East with countries like Poland, Russia and India at the forefront.'" See also NSR press release, 28 Sept 2010.

International Herald Tribune and Reuters launch weekly Middle East supplement.

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Reuters press release, 29 Sept 2010: "The International Herald Tribune (IHT) will launch Middle East with Reuters tomorrow, a weekly enhancement to its Middle East edition featuring dedicated regional news, business, opinion and culture coverage from IHT, New York Times and Reuters correspondents. Appearing every Thursday inside the IHT Middle East edition, the new 4-page section will focus on emerging trends and themes throughout the region, complementing the current coverage of the Middle East and the authoritative world reporting and analysis of the daily newspaper."

Polish defector on RFE, 1954-55: "one of the most successful pieces of radio propaganda ever."

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Historytimes.com, 28 Sept 2010, Richard Cummings: "In West Berlin, on Saturday, 5 December 1953, Jozef Swiatlo, a lieutenant colonel in the Polish secret police, 'defected' to the West. ... On 20 October 1954, RFE began a series of 78 programs entitled 'Inside Story of Bezpieka and Party' that were broadcast until 31 January 1955. They were not verbatim interviews but were prepared scripts based on Swiatlo’s material. Swiatlo voiced the scripts. Other programs were broadcast throughout 1955 for a total of 141 Swiatlo programs. ... Swiatlo's broadcast over Radio Free Europe reportedly caused a major chain reaction in Poland with the dismissal, transfer, and worse, of thousands of Communist Party members and government officials. Perhaps as many as 150,000 party members, according to one estimate, were affected by RFE's programming. RFE’s radio programs about Swiatlo were described, 'a brilliant tactical decision that brought unforeseeable strategic gains,' and 'one of the most successful pieces of radio propaganda ever.' The Polish regime responded with silence for a few weeks before it launched a heavy counter-propaganda campaign of radio commentaries, articles, poems, and cartoons."

More Voice of America history: the move from New York in 1954, and VOA operations in 1955.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
University of California Press E-Books Collection, "A New Kind of Diplomacy," 1955 article by VOA program manager Gene King, in Eric Smooden and Ann Martin, editors. Hollywood Quarterly: Film Culture in Postwar America, 1945-1957. Berkeley: University of California, 2002: "Last year, The Voice of America moved its studios from New York to Washington. The move was made under a Congressional directive, and created problems. But, organizationally, the new location is more efficient; and the psychological value of 'This is Washington' is important. Our studios are now housed in a building just at the foot of Capitol Hill, in the very shadow of the great, gray Capitol dome.

"The move from New York, which got under way in the spring, was completed November 1, 1954, without any interruption of the broadcasting schedule. This required some doing since we have more than 75 separate programs a day. Broadcasts are made in 38 different languages. The new layout has 14 studios; and, with that kind of a schedule, they are occupied almost continuously. It sounds like Babel in old Shinar or, at least, Bedlam; but it isn't. It is a very smooth working operation. ...

"To give a few more technical details, The Voice of America has a network of 78 transmitters, including 30 short-wave stations in the United States which are operated for us by private broadcasting companies. Overseas, the U.S. Information Agency owns and controls relay stations at Salonika, Tangier, Ceylon, Honolulu, Munich, the Philippines, and Okinawa. The last three—Munich, the Philippines, and Okinawa—have million-watt transmitters, the world's most powerful known broadcasting facilities. ... To combat 'jamming,' we have, in addition, a floating relay station in the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter 'Courier,' now stationed in the Mediterranean."

Notice the emphasis back then was much more on public diplomacy (though the term had not yet been invented) than on news. Thanks to Richard Cummings for finding this.

Revise history: VOA's first broadcast was on the first, not 25th, of February 1942.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
www.chriskern.net, Sept 2010, Chris Kern: "Every year on February 25, I and my former colleagues at the Voice of America commemorate our first broadcast. VOA went on the air during the initial bleak months of 1942 following the entry of the United States into the Second World War, when we and our allies were taking a beating on every battlefront. ... Only problem is, we’ve been celebrating the wrong date. ... signed up for a researcher’s credential at the U.S. National Archives and began working my way through the records of the government’s World War II information program. ... The earliest script preserved in the file was the one for Tuesday, February 3, 1942,1 but it is clear that wasn’t the first Voice of America program because at one point the script calls on one of the announcers to refer to something he said 'yesterday.' The reference to the previous day’s program obviously means there had been a broadcast on Monday, February 2. But was that the first? Walter Roberts and I had independently noticed that the illustration of the February 11 script in the Houseman book had a Roman numeral XI typed under the title, and guessed that it might mean it was the eleventh in the series. Sure enough, at the top of the February 3 script, just under the title Stimmen Aus Amerika and the date, was a Roman numeral III. Subsequent scripts, including the one for the official February 25 anniversary date, incremented the series number each day. That means the first broadcast would have taken place on Sunday, February 1, just as Walter had been arguing all along." -- And why is the first script missing? Perhaps back in 1942, somebody set it aside so that the historic document would not get lost. And because of doing that, it got lost. Anyway, recommended reading: much information about the earliest days of the Voice of America. See previous post about same subject.

Discovery channels plan expansion in Russia.

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Worldscreen.com, 29 Sept 2010, Mansha Daswani: "David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, was in Moscow today to announce plans for the company's Russian expansion, which include the debut of TLC in 2011, the rollout of a science education block on Discovery Channel and increased investment in local content. ... TLC launches in Russia in January, offering lifestyle, reality and inspirational entertainment programs from around the world. Programming for TLC will also be supplied by Russian production companies making local shows in Russia, such as Like Mother, Like Daughter from Mastiff. Other local content initiatives include former world heavyweight champion boxer, Nikolai Valuev, voicing signature franchises shows in 2011; Ivan Zatevakhin, one of Russia's most renowned natural historians and TV presenters, voicing the channel’s Extreme Fishing season in early 2011; and comedy duo Garik Harlamov and Timur Batrutdinov, voicing the new series Dual Survival. Plus, Russian conservationist Nikolay Drozdov will be voicing Wildest Africa on Animal Planet in 2011." -- Is this Russian-language "voicing" over already existing Discovery video?

VOA Russian was successful until its access to television channels in Russia was taken away by the Putin government. Now Discovery and other private US channels are increasing their presence in Russia. To be sure, they do not provide the news that was VOA Russian's mainstay.

"Broader cooperation" between Iran's IRIB and China's CCTV.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Islamic Republic News Agency, 28 Sept 2010: "Head of National China Central Television (CCTV) Jiao Li called for broadening of cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). In a meeting with head of IRIB, Ezzatollah Zarghami, he described the two countreis' ties as ancient and said that media cooperation will contribute significantly to expansion of bilateral ties. ... Referring to the establishment of an office of CCTV in Tehran, he also noted that the entity will seek to introduce the real Iran to China and the world. ... Given IRIB's capabilities in producing various TV programs, CCTV is interested in having broader cooperation in exchanging documents and news. Zarghami, for his part, agreed with his view that the US has launched an extensive propaganda campaign against free and independent countries and said that the US has tried in the past year to introduce China as an uncivilized and terrorist nation to the world by producing negative anti-China films." -- As is usual in such bilateral cooperation agreements, details are sketchy. It does provide an opportunity for representatives of both sides to share a nice banquet and some anti-US rhetoric.

Was Alhurra "half-hearted" in its coverage of Israeli opposition to renewed settlement expansion?

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Los Angeles Times, Babylon & Beyond blog, 27 Sept 2010, Meris Lutz: "Images of Israeli settlers cheering as the first cement for a new foundation was poured dominated much of the Arabic news cycle on Monday, the day after a 10-month partial moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank expired. The tone of the coverage was subdued but also pointed. Pan-Arab satellite channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and Al Hurra reported that construction began 'within hours' of the settlement freeze 'despite' pleas from the United Nations for Israel to extend the ban. Al Hurra, which is funded by the U.S. government, appeared to make a half-hearted attempt to highlight some Israeli opposition to the government's decision to allow the ban to expire, while the Doha, Qatar-based Al Jazeera focused on the current government's dependence on its right-wing base."

Radio Sawa reporter speaks of the dangers to Iraqi journalists, e.g. the bomb wired to his car.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 25 Sept 2010, Nizar Latif: "'For Iraqi journalists the situation is returning to the dark days of 2007,' said Hussein al Rubaie, a reporter with Radio Sawa from Hilla, south of Baghdad. This month he found a bomb wired to his car engine, discovering the device by chance because he had decided to check the water and oil levels in the engine. 'You cannot be sure who wants to kill you in Iraq when you’re a journalist,' al Rubaie said. 'I’ve recently done a number of reports about the growing strength of al Qa’eda in the area south of Baghdad. Perhaps because of that, they want to kill me. Or if could be that a Shiite militia is after me. There are many people who are against journalists.'"

BBC Turkish expands presence on Turkey's NTV. (Hope it survives budget cuts.)

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 1 Oct 2010: "The BBC's service in Turkish, BBC Turkçe, has further extended its presence on Turkey's leading 24-hour news channel, NTV. The BBC's current-affairs TV programme, Dünya Gündemi (World Agenda), will now be broadcast five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, adding two more editions to NTV's weekly schedule." -- But will BBC Turkish survive impending BBC World Service budget cuts? Is there revenue potential for BBC Turkish?

And you can talk back to BBC World Service on your mobile phone. Not that anyone will be listening.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 28 Sept 2010: "BBC World Service has further expanded the availability of its live radio broadcasts via mobile phones in the United States. The extension of the BBC's agreement with provider of mobile phone radio distribution in North America, AudioNow, means that now, in addition to BBC Arabic radio, BBC World Service's broadcasts in English, Persian, Somali and Urdu are now available across the US via any mobile phone without downloads or data services, simply by calling a national access number. ... While the service is free to callers in the US, listeners should check their mobile phone contracts for any additional charges."

In latest BBCWS survey, people in 22 countries believe that governments misspend half their money.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 27 Sept 2010, Andrew Walker: "A BBC survey in 22 countries says that people believe that governments misspend more than half of the money they receive in taxes. But many people also want their government to play a more active role in the economy, the survey suggests. This survey of more than 22,000 people in rich and developing countries has a bleak message for governments. ... The research was done for the BBC World Service by Globescan and the Programme on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland." With full results. See also BBC World Service press release, 27 Sept 2010. See previous post about same subject.

International broadcasting covers the Commonwealth Games preparations.

Posted: 02 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Modern Mom, 24 Sept 2010: "There may be evidence that children as young as seven are being used to construct game venues for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. ... These are some of the allegations made by CNN International, Harvard fellow and trafficking expert Siddharth Kara, who spent several days in New Delhi and documented '32 cases of forced labor and 14 cases of child labor all for construction related to the Commonwealth Games.'" See also CNN, 24 Sept 2010.

Trak.in, 27 Sept 2010, Rabi Gupta: "[M]atters got worse when real picture of Games Village was shown across the Globe and by channels like ‘BBC World’. It was the end. The image of India as a country was tarnished."

Daily Mirror (Colombo), 2 Oct 2010: "One international TV channel Australia Network showed pictures of families living in absolute squalor conditions, the filthiest imaginable with children playing in filthy water while their dwellings resembled tin and plastic shacks worse than cattle sheds."

Synovate EMS surveys in Europe and Africa have many winners.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 28 Sept 2010, Julian Clover: "International television channels are reaching 78% of Europe’s upscale consumers and businessmen every month, according to the summer EMS survey. The phone-based study is seen as Europe’s only reliable guide to audiences to major channel brands including BBC World News, Discovery Channel, Eurosport and CNN. ... BBC World News scored a pan-European weekly reach of 19.5% with Arte on 31.1%, Bloomberg on 8.8%, CNBC 9.7%, CNN 22.4%, Discovery Channel 24.4%, Euronews 20.3%, Eurosport 32.0%, MTV 27.9%, National Geographic 19.9% and Sky News also on 19.9%."

News on News, 28 Sept 2010: "In EMS main, the CNN brand reaches 40.5% of the audience, compared to the BBC (40.1%) and Euronews (31.6%). Mobile represents a robust opportunity for CNN to extend its audience amongst Europe’s elite. When mobile is added to TV and web, CNN’s reach increases from 40.5% to 42.3%, registering the highest incremental increase across 'advertiser enabled' platforms amongst all international news channels. At 42.3%, CNN’s full cross platform (TV + Online + Mobile) reach, leads the BBC brand (42.1%) and Euronews (32.8%)."

Sport Business, 29 Sept 2010: "Sports media group Eurosport has come first in the 2010 European Media & Marketing Summer Survey (EMS Summer), which measures media usage among the continent’s affluent target groups. Eurosport’s TV, online and mobile platform beat groups like Discovery, CNN and BBC, showing sport remains the key audience driver ahead of other genres."

Synovate EMS website: Results of the EMS Africa survey conducted November 2009 to February. The selected results (pdf) show success for CNN International, and demonstrate the dominance of international television over international radio among this group.

The results of the Synovate EMS surveys can be interpreted in many ways, so many broadcasting organizations will have good news to report in press releases.

Internews uses USAID money to build local media, but keeps its distance from US public diplomacy.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
CNNMoney.com, 28 Sept 2010, Shelley DuBois: "On the list of items that US foreign aid gives to the Middle East, radios might not come to mind first. But they're a key part of reinforcing stability in the country, according to Jeanne Bourgault, Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit organization called Internews. Internews tries to build a free press in countries all over the world that don't have one. ... Internews is still roughly 90% funded by USAID government grants, and 10% funded by private donors. So building a free press is 'linked to other priorities,' says [Internews executive Tara] Susman-Peña, but 'we definitely still divorce it from public diplomacy. It's about empowering the local media to do their own good reporting, and let people decide for themselves. That's really what democracy is based on.'"

A 30-second ad on an Arab news channel costs about $5,000.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
AMEinfo.com, 27 Sept 2010: "The average advertising rates of free-to-air satellite news and current affairs channels in the Arab world is US$ 5,219 for a 30-seconds advertisement during peak time. General FTA channels rates followed while music channels had the lowest rates. Ad rates remain quite low by global standards. Arab Advisors Group's analysis of advertising rates across 38 free-to-air satellite TV channels revealed that news and current affairs, general channels, movies and series channels have the highest average advertising rates amongst the FTA satellite channels in the Arab World. The average advertising rate for a particular time segment represents the mean advertising rate for a standard 30-second TV commercial spot (known as a TVC) in that time segment throughout the week."

Al Bawaba, 19 Sept 2010: "A new Arab Advisors online Media Survey of Jordan’s Internet users revealed that 92.5% of Jordanian TV viewers prefer watching Syrian drama series while 61.6% prefer watching Egyptian drama series. This is compared to 26.6% of the respondents who stated that they prefer watching Jordanian drama series."

Middle East Company News, 8 Sept 2010: "During July 2010, the Arab Advisors Group examined 448 FTA satellite TV channels broadcasting on Arabsat, Nilesat, and Noorsat satellite systems (i.e. targeting the Arab World) to research their online presence. Of the analyzed stations, 66.7% (299 channels) have an online presence."

With Arabic "of critical importance to our expansion," Deutsche Welle will attend Dubai media show.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Domus Group press release, 27 Sept 2010: "The Domus Group today announced a record increase in confirmed exhibitors for this year's Media and Marketing Show 2010 [13-15 December, Dubai] with exhibitor numbers set to surpass last year's attendance by over 30%. Media partners from across the region including Dubai Media City, Al Arabiya News Channel, Creative Media Solutions, and Sharjah TV will be joined by leading players from Europe including Deutsche Welle at what is set to be a high profile platform for leading media professionals. ... A spokesperson from [Deutsche] Welle announced, 'Deutsche Welle is renowned for being one of Europe's leaders in news, background information and interesting magazines. It provides a European perspective to audiences around the world and promotes intercultural dialogue. Our Arabic language desk is of critical importance to our expansion and we see MMS 2010 as one of the key launch pads for us in the region.'"

Do exclamation marks translate into Arabic? Al Jazeera content deal with Yahoo! Middle East.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dahbi), 24 Sept 2010: "Yahoo has struck a deal with Al Jazeera to publish the Qatar-based TV channel’s broadcasts on its site. The deal is Yahoo Middle East’s latest partnership after an agreement with the Saudi media giant Rotana to publish more exclusive content to try to boost online traffic and advertising revenue. Ahmed Nassef, the vice president and managing director of Yahoo Middle East, said the bilingual website should start publishing a new version in the fourth quarter of the year, offering its users customised, local information. ... Yahoo bought the Maktoob portal in November for US$164 million (Dh602.3m), leading to the creation of Yahoo Middle East. It was the first Arab company to be acquired by a major internet player. ... [M]ore deals were expected to be announced soon, as Yahoo’s talks with the BBC and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, the owner and publisher of The National, were progressing well." See also www.maktoob.com.

"Stringers in Afghanistan .. are the eyes and ears of the world's media."

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Sue Turton, The Guardian, 27 Sept 2010: "Stringers in Afghanistan, where I am the correspondent for al-Jazeera, are the eyes and ears of the world's media. Without them, getting a picture of what is going on outside Kabul is almost impossible for a western journalist. Most correspondents don't often stray from the capital and those embedded with security forces struggle to witness anything not cleared by military censors. Al-Jazeera is bolder than most, with an occasional trip to the more dangerous provinces. But in the past week our invaluable stringer network has closed down. This month, one stringer's home in Khost was raided and four of his relatives were arrested. Then our Ghazni stringer was arrested two days after polling day for being what the International Security Assistance Force termed a 'suspected Taliban media and propaganda facilitator'. Two nights later, our Kandahar stringer was also picked up for being a 'Taliban facilitator'. ... About 40% of Afghans have access to TV but only 4% have access to satellite television and even fewer speak English or Arabic. Even if our footage of the Taliban could put fear into the hearts of people here, very few of them even got to see it." See previous post about same subject.

RFE/RL, 30 Sept 2010, Muhammad Tahir: Report, with video, on Afghan villagers fighting the Taliban.

Agreement between Bangla and Japanese public broadcasters includes jointly produced radio programs.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
UNBconnect (Dhaka), 27 Sept 2010: "Bangladesh Betar entered into a broadcasting agreement with NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) at Bangladesh Betar headquarters in the city recently. ... As per the agreement, NHK will provide technical support to Bangladesh Betar to broadcast programs through the FM band from its regional centers in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Comilla. Bangladesh Betar will be able to earn $71,175 per year in this regard, the press release said. NHK will also provide training facilities to Bangladesh Betar officials with a view to improving the quality of program. Bangladesh and Japan will jointly produce radio programs according to the agreement." -- NHK provides the technical support, but Bangladesh Betar earns the money? Perhaps NHK Radio Japan, which has a Bengali service, gets some relay time on the FM transmitters.

Telesur widely cited in global coverage of the Ecuadorian police rebellion.

Posted: 01 Oct 2010   Print   Send a link
Miami Herald, 30 Sept 2010: "Ecuador's military staged a spectacular rescue Thursday night to free President Rafael Correa, who was holed up in a hospital for more than 12 hours by a police uprising that threatened the nation's stability. ... Correa said he and his advisors were outnumbered and that 'at any moment' he could have been killed. He told the TeleSur network he refused to negotiate, saying the officers he met with had not even read the new law. 'Nobody has supported the police like this government has,' Correa said."

Bloomberg, 30 Sept 2010: "A group of police surrounded the presidential palace, burning tires and clashing with security forces, images on the Telesur television channel showed." -- And many other news organizations cited Telesur.

Telesur, 1 Oct 2010: "El presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, rechazó este viernes las acciones subversivas en contra de su homólogo ecuatoriano, Rafael Correa, las cuales aseguró que fueron orquestadas por el Gobierno de Estados Unidos, que sólo 'busca dominar el contiene por la vía de la violencia'."

Euronews is partner in global educational initiative.

Posted: 30 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
The Peninsula (Doha), 27 Sept 2010: "The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), in partnership with Euronews, will broadcast a series of educational documentaries in its bid to reach out to the general public and raise awareness of vital importance of education. Euronews will broadcast a series of 52 weekly 8-minute programmes in 10 languages on educational subjects from around the globe. Euronews, in partnership with WISE, has also plans to launch an educational magazine programme."