Satellite TV, bootleg DVDs, and shortwave radio are alternatives to Zimbabwe's broadcasting monopoly.

Posted: 30 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Mail & Guardian, 30 Nov 2010, Jason Moyo: The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation "represents everything Zimbabweans most hate about their country: the propaganda, hatred and often comical backwardness of their leaders. ... News bulletins are a window on the Mugabe personality cult. Every reference to him must be prefaced by his full title, 'head of state and government and commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe defence forces'. ... Hordes of small-time dealers make good money selling satellite dishes and decoders imported from China and Dubai. For $50 these now allow millions to illegally watch foreign channels. Faults are fixed for $10. Long lines form at DStv [Multichoice-owned pay satellite TV service] dealerships. At flea markets bootleg DVDs of the latest Hollywood movies fly off the shelves for as little as a dollar. ... Zimbabwe had television in 1960, 16 years before South Africa and nearly 40 years before Malawi. You wouldn't know it: transmission is poor and the station is seeking Iranian money to modernise. The Iranians have seen to it that ZBC flights prime-time features on Iranian art, while South Korean soaps, donated by the embassy, also have prime slots. There are alternatives. Each evening, transistor radios crackle short-wave broadcasts from pro-opposition stations run from abroad by exiled Zimbabwean journalists. But the risk is high. This week, one of the stations, Radio VOP, reported that militia north of Harare had seized radios from villagers." -- See also the joke in the comments.

Complaint against Alhurra election coverage referred to Egyptian prosecutor.

Posted: 30 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link

Al-Masry Al-Youm, 29 Nov 2010, Hamdi Dabbash (translated from Arabic): "The High Elections Commission (HEC) referred a complaint filed by Egyptian Information Minister Anas al-Fiqqi against US-based satellite TV channel al-Hurra to the public prosecutor for further investigation into what he described as the violation of a temporary ban on electoral propaganda.

Al-Fiqqi previously declared Saturday a day of special campaign restrictions, imploring the media to follow the law and the regulations set by the commission.

For his part, head of al-Hurra’s Cairo office Tarek al-Shami expressed astonishment with what he described as 'questioning of the channels objectivity.' Referring to the day of special campaign restrictions, he added that he had informed HEC officials that the channel intended to broadcast the episode from the series 'Cairo Conversation' early Saturday morning and that the episode was a re-run of Friday’s episode on women's quota seats.

Expressing anger that the case had been referred to the public prosecutor, he questioned why the state-run daily Al-Ahram was not being investigated for publishing a third page campaign ad on Saturday in violation of HEC edicts.

Al-Shami noted that the channel had previously broadcast the National Democratic Party and HEC’s conferences live, interviewed a number of NDP candidates, paid tribute to President Mubarak and his son Gamal Mubarak, and conducted an interview with Parliamentary Speaker Fathi Surour." -- Alhurra "paid tribute" to the Mubaraks? Or was something lost in translation? See previous post about same subject.

Al-Masry Al-Youm, 29 Nov 2010, Hamdi Dabbash: "Egyptian Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi denied the Egyptian Government made any deals with Al-Jazeera network for less negative coverage of Sunday’s Parliamentary elections. In a meeting with news program heads, al-Fiqi said that the Arabiya News channel was the most objective and neutral of the Arab satellite channels in covering the elections. In contrast, he described Al-Jazeera Live as 'hijacked' and claimed it was working for the 'interests of certain movements.' He also expressed disappointment with the election coverage of Arab news channels that have branched from international news organizations. 'It appears these channels have forgotten the professional values upon which these agencies are based and which have led to their credibility as internationally reliable sources of news.'"

VOA mentioned in leaked US cables (updated).

Posted: 30 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 28 Nov 2010, Robert Booth: From recently leaked US embassy cables via Wikileaks: "Iranian intelligence was suspected of targeting a leading critic in London through an individual who had earlier been jailed for hiring a hitman to kill a US-based Iranian broadcaster. A cable from the US embassy on Grosvenor Square reported that ... a prominent opponent of Iran's leadership and a regular commentator on Voice of America, the Washington-funded radio station, was targeted while in the British capital in 2009 by ... an Iranian national who introduced himself as a 'big fan' of Nourizadeh."

Update: The Telegraph, Damien McElroy, 30 Nov 2010: "Ali Reza Nourizadeh described to The Daily Telegraph how he grew suspicious of the Mohammad Reza Sadeqinia, a purportedly wealthy businessman, who made several trips from Iran to meet him in London. 'I think the plan was to poison me. He claimed to be a fan of my poetry but started acting suspiciously very quickly,' Mr Nourizaeh, who works for Voice of America from London. 'He took many, many pictures of me, my car, everywhere we would go.'"

The Guardian, 28 Nov 2010, Declan Walsh: In 1999 cable from US embassy Islamabad: "'We face a formidable foe among those churning out pro-Osama propaganda.' The message urged Washington to consider a new raft of anti-Bin Laden propaganda through the Voice of America radio station, interviews with Bin Laden victims, 'commissioned articles' in the local press and an anti-Bin Laden website."

The term "public diplomacy" increasingly used globally, but less fashionable in the USA.

Posted: 30 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 28 Nov 2010, John Brown: "Recent statements by public diplomacy cognoscenti give strong indications of its declining importance, both as a term and (to a lesser extent) as an activity. ... Irony or ironies: While the US 'drops' public diplomacy, a term it created, the outside world (or at least foreign governments) embraces it. That 'public diplomacy has become a global phenomenon is now quite evident (a conference was devoted to this subject some years ago). As I tried to illustrate in several essays for Place Branding and Public Diplomacy (2007), 'public diplomacy' is now part of the official/media vocabulary of numerous countries, including, in tentative priority order for this year, according to the near-daily examination of articles pertaining to public diplomacy cited in my Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review: Israel (which also uses its traditional term 'hasbara' to identify activities related to public diplomacy); China; India (which also uses 'cultural diplomacy' extensively); Australia; Canada; Turkey; the UK; Japan; South Korea; the Philippines (where it is closely associated with tourism)."

John quotes me in his essay: "The term 'public diplomacy' is now attributed to so many activities that is has lost useful meaning." Even though more fashionable terms, such as "strategic communication." are gaining traction, I still think "public diplomacy" is a useful term. This is especially because "public diplomacy" is in increasing use around the world. It's a useful replacement for "propaganda," which, despite attempts to declare it a neutral term, has a negative connotation.

"Public diplomacy" should be the official presentation and advocacy of international policy by one country to people (not just to government officials) of other countries. International outreach by non-governmental individuals, companies, and organizations is a good thing, but it needs a different word to describe it, so that everyone understands this is not a nation-state speaking.

Huffington Post, 29 Nov 2010, John Brown: A positive aspect of the Wilileaks disclosure of US State Department cables is that they demonstrate that "American diplomats can write. If you read the missives -- and, granted, no way I could read them all -- they provide strong evidence that Foreign Service officers (FSOs) construct solid, logical, and detailed analyses that (if not always correct) are thoughtful and carefully crafted. Compare them to the instant, superficial reporting of the mass media, and you can see the importance of diplomatic dispatches not only for giving Washington the background and nuance to a given situation, but also for providing a reliable historical record of major global events."

Famous humorist writes: "Voice of America is primarily about America."

Posted: 30 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
World Affairs, November/December 2010, P.J. O'Rourke: "At dinner in Prague with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s president, Jeff Gedmin, and half a dozen RFE/RL staffers, Gedmin said, to no one in particular, 'Do you think at any time in the future history will look back and say, "I wish they hadn’t broadcast so much information"?' ... The concept of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is 'surrogate broadcasting' — doing the job that independent media would do if there were any or enough of it in the places RFE/RL serves. Jeff Gedmin calls it 'holding up a mirror.' ... Like its sister organization Voice of America, RFE/RL is funded by the U.S. government. But Voice of America is primarily about America. RFE/RL is primarily about Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, the Balkans, the North Caucasus region, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan ... Vaclav Havel, the first president of free Czechoslovakia, said, 'I learned about America from VOA and learned about my own country from Radio Free Europe.'"

RFE/RL is a "surrogate broadcaster," providing the accurate information about its target countries that the media of those countries would provide if those countries were free. is a surrogate website, providing the accurate information about US international broadcasting that senior executives of US international broadcasting would provide if they provided accurate information about US international broadcasting.

First to Vaclav Havel. He is the hero of the Velvet Revolution, but he is also a bureaucrat. And only a bureaucrat could think it is a good thing to have to tune to two radio stations to learn about both Czechoslovakia and the United States.

Now to P.J. O'Rourke: One would think that the a journal with the important title World Affairs would require its authors to do a bit of fact checking. If Mr. O'Rourke had listened to VOA, or read its website, maybe he wouldn't have written "Voice of America is primarily about America." Apparently, instead, what he knows about VOA he learned from RFE/RL president Jeffrey Gedmin and half a dozen RFE/RL staffers at dinner in Prague.

Why did Mr. O'Rourke place this essay in World Affairs? The US government is in a deep deficit and is looking for ways to cut spending. Accordingly, the new members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors are exploring ways to increase efficiencies. There is a danger that US international broadcasting might be rationalized, and that it will provide the taxpayers better value for money.

The entities of US international broadcasting, as bureaucracies, will do what bureaucracies do: try to preserve themselves. To this end, RFE/RL management has trotted out the old line about VOA primarily broadcasting about America. Mr. O'Rourke, whose essays I enjoy very much, but who also seems to have just fallen off the turnip wagon, swallowed it whole.

RFE/RL management would probably want this description of US international broadcasting to be true. RFE/RL and VOA would then complement each other in three important ways: 1) RFE/RL would broadcast about the target country, VOA about the United States. 2) RFE/RL would have an audience, VOA would not. 3) RFE/RL would still be around in ten years, whereas VOA would have taken its place in the history of international broadcasting. (Remember the motto of this website: The fraternal entities under the Broadcasting Board of Governors support, commend, and congratulate each other, and wish each other to jump off a cliff.)

Surveys (my day job for most of the past thirty years) tell us audiences are interested mainly in what is happening in their own country, and secondarily in what is happening in the rest of the world. Their interest in the United States is, I'm afraid, a rather distant third. For any target country at any time in its development, there is a sweet spot, a proportion of the three categories of news, that will best attract an audience.

The present structure of US international broadcasting does not allow this proportion to be achieved. Instead of a market-based approach, the structure of US international broadcasting that RFE/RL management is trying to preserve is, well, actually, there is no other way to put this, Marxist.

Under this schema, to get all the news from US international broadcasters, the audience must tune to the State Broadcasting Company for News About America, then, at another time and on another frequency, tune to the State Broadcasting Company for News About the Audience Country.

Or, to get all the news from the convenience of one station, they can just tune to the BBC. (Read here about why the BBC world services attract more audience for less money.)

I am not advocating that RFE/RL dry up and blow away so that my colleagues at VOA can enjoy greater job security. I am advocating that the elements of US international merge into a single corporation, actually organized more along the lines of RFE/RL than VOA. (More about this here.)

See previous post about P.J. O'Rourke.

Calling it "soft power" will strain the credibility of BBC World Service, but won't save its budget.

Posted: 30 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 29 Nov 2010, James Robinson: "In the run-up to the CSR, senior Foreign Office officials argued closing embassies or consulates in less strategically important countries was a false economy. The cost of reopening them again should the world change would prove prohibitive, they argued. But what's true of embassies is also true of the World Service. Withdrawing from territories completely will end the BBC's presence forever because it will be too expensive to relaunch them, and the goodwill they generate may have evaporated by then in any case. ... This time around, there are no services that can be closed down without depriving populations who are too often deprived by state-sponsored media of a trusted source of independent news. The Spanish language service is sacrosanct, so too are those in the former Soviet Union. They are the largest and most expensive, and taking the axe to the rest will mean many of them will have to disappear if the sums are to add up. The World Service is a classic illustration of how 'soft power' can be used to project Britain's values in the national interest. But its influence may be on the wane at a time when other nations – including Russia and Iran – are spending heavily on similar services. The more pressing concern, however – and one shared by senior figures at the corporation – is that once the government cuts have been pushed through, the BBC may not inherit a World Service worthy of the name." -- BBC officials say one advantage of funding BBCWS budget from the license fee is that the credibility of BBCWS will no longer be challenged because its budget comes from a Foreign Office grant. This demonstrates how much they guard the independence of both the BBC domestic and international services. I would think, therefore, those BBC officials are still cringing at the writer's description of how BBCWS is "a classic illustration of how 'soft power' can be used to project Britain's values in the national interest." I assume BBC will respond.

The Independent, Notebook blog, 30 Nov 2010, Neela Debnath "Ironically, from a global perspective, the BBC is seen as a public broadcaster, completely independent of the state and government influence. Yet this cannot be the case when it is making pre-emptive cuts before the government can get to it. So what can be done to ensure its freedom from the government? The end of Foreign Office funding to the World Service seems to be a step in the right direction. Yes, it will affect the output but if it helps preserve the future of the broadcaster then maybe it is a sacrifice that needs to be made now."

Fourthwall Magazine, 22 Nov 2010: "Over three thousand people have signed a petition calling on the BBC World Service to reverse its decision to axe drama from its schedule. Save The BBC World Service Drama petition was launched by Archie Graham, the Chair of Trustees of theatre company Tiata Fadhozi, in direct response to the announcement on 23rd September that the World Service will cease broadcasting its annual plays from next year."

BBC World Service press release, 25 Nov 2010: "BBC World Service's global mental health series, Mental Health: A Global Challenge, scooped an award in the current affairs category at the charity Mind's Mental Health Media Awards in London on 22 November."

Alhurra and BBC Arabic have run-ins with the Egyptian government over election coverage (updated: AJE too).

Posted: 29 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Al-Masry Al-Youm (Cairo), 28 Nov 2010: "Egyptian Minister of Information Anas al-Fiqqi has demanded the High Elections Commission investigate what he described a violation of the temporary ban on electoral propaganda by the Washington-based satellite channel 'Al-Hurra.' Al-Fiqqi previously declared Saturday a day of elections silence, imploring the media to follow the law and decisions of the commission. The Al-Hurra channel broadcast Saturday morning an episode from the series 'Cairo Conversation,' which featured as guests Madeeha Khetab, an NDP candidate running for a women's quota seat in Cairo, and Gameela Ismaeel, a candidate in the Qasr al-Nil district. ... The fact that the minister has demanded an investigation into Al-Hurra while the national press are running both political advertisements and editorials indirectly supporting some NDP candidates has been criticized by election monitors."

Al-Masry Al-Youm (Cairo), 27 Nov 2010: "BBC Arabic service has accused Egyptian state security of preventing media coverage of parliamentary elections and compelling its crew to return to Britain. An official from BBC Arabic told Al-Masry Al-Youm that as its crew prepared for filming a program hosting influential leaders of Egypt’s political opposition, Wagdi al-Shennawi, the manager studio in which they were taping, demanded security service approval. After turning to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologyfor help, it insisted that the matter must be settled directly with security services."

Asharq Al-Awsat (London), 27 Nov 2010, Diana Mukkaled: "In a tense and accusatory tone and with unjustifiable agitation, the Egyptian Interior Ministry's media official answered questions put to him by BBC Arabic about whether or not members of the Muslim Brotherhood had been subject to assault and restriction by members of the Egyptian security forces prior to Egypt's parliamentary elections. The Egyptian official denounced the accusation and tried to throw doubt on the motive behind such questions in an unjustifiably brusque manner. ... A large number of Egyptian journalists and activists have explicitly spoken of their lack of enthusiasm in covering the upcoming parliamentary elections due to their concern that such coverage will be subject to a number of obstacles and will therefore not meet their aspired level [of media coverage]. This comes following the closure of satellite television channels under the pretext of combating extremism, and the strengthening of the law with regards to news being sent and received via SMS text messages by empowering the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to grant [news providers] SMS text messaging permits. This is not to mention the suspension of some television programs, further restrictions being placed upon broadcasting, more limitation being placed upon filming in the street – something that is required by all media agencies – and additional restrains being placed upon journalists by the security forces."

Update: Human Rights Watch, 29 Nov 2010: "Adam Makary, from Al Jazeera English, told Human Rights Watch that polling station officials denied him accesses to the six polling stations he had visited despite the fact that he had the required permits." See also Middle East blog, 28 Nov 2010, Ayman Mohyeldin.

Egyptian court allows some channels to resume via Nilesat (but not those spreading "witchcraft").

Posted: 29 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Al-Masry Al-Youm, 28 Nov 2010, Middle East News Agency story: "An Egyptian court on Saturday ordered the reopening of five satellite channels which had broadcast from the Egyptian satellite NileSat prior to being closed down for alleged contractual breaches with Egyptian authorities. The court also ruled to close another three satellite channels. The Administrative Court of the State Council ruled that the channels Al-Nas, Al-Siha wa Al-Gamal, and Al-Khaleeijia had spread 'witchcraft, deception, sectarian incitement and sedition' through their various programs on sectarian disagreements. On the other hand it decided that the channels Al-Badr, Wesal, Sifa, Al-Rahma and Al-Hafez had not committed any violations which would justify their closure."

Press TV, 28 Nov 2010: "Egypt's Nilesat satellite company has decided to take Iran's Arabic-language al-Kawthar TV channel off air, as the parliamentary elections begin in the North African country. The Egyptian company refused to renew its contract with Al-Kawthar despite the Tehran-based channel's agreement to raise the contract fee. Al-Kawthar has decided to negotiate with Atlantic Bird satellites, operated by Eutelsat, a French-based satellite provider. Established in 2006 by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Al-Kawthar mainly broadcasts 19 hours of religious and cultural programming a day."

Increasingly difficult to live up to its name: Cairo-based Al-Baghdadiya closes its operations in Baghdad.

Posted: 29 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 26 Nov 2010: "Cairo-based satellite TV channel Al-Baghdadiya said Friday it had shut its Iraq operations, weeks after its broadcasts were cut for airing demands of militants who took Christians hostage in a church. The channel blamed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for its decision to shutter its bureaus in the country, and said it did not know if or when it would re-open its offices. ... On November 1, Iraqi troops cut the channel's power after it broadcast the demands of militants who took Christians hostage in an attack in which 46 people died. ... Al-Baghdadiya's closure is the latest of multiple such bans in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion led to an explosion in the number of homes with satellites affixed to them. In 2004, ex-prime minister Iyad Allawi barred Al-Jazeera from the country and, Maliki himself banned Sunni TV station Zawra and Al-Sharqiyah channel in November 2006 and January 2007 respectively. It was an Al-Baghdadiya staffer -- Muntazer al-Zaidi -- who in December 2008 notoriously threw his shoes at visiting US president George W. Bush."

BSkyB moving forward with plans for an Arabic news channel.

Posted: 29 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 29 Nov 2010, Mark Sweney: "BSkyB is to launch a Sky News-branded Arabic language service in a joint venture with Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The Abu Dhabi-based free-to-air channel is to launch in 2012 and broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa, competing with Arabic language TV news channels including al-Jazeera and the BBC World Service's Arabic Television. BSkyB has partnered in a 50/50 venture with Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp, a private investment firm owned by Mansour, to launch the 24-hour news and current affairs channel. The venture will employ 180 multimedia journalists and will be based in Abu Dhabi's twofour54 media zone. The channel will be supported by a network of news bureaux across the region as well as offices in London and Washington DC. The venture will also have access to Sky News' wider network of international offices."

Variety, 29 Nov 2010, Steve Clarke: "Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of ADMIC and of the new venture, said: 'The new channel will be an important, independent voice for the Arab world, providing accurate and in-depth reporting of all the interesting developments in the region. We intend to set a new standard for broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa by combining the best practice, expertise and reputation for impartiality of global news leader Sky News with our regional knowledge and the world-class infrastructure offered by Abu Dhabi and the twofour54 media zone.'"

Bloomberg, 29 Nov 2010, Jonathan Browning: "Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who has a 7 percent stake in News Corp., will also start a news television channel 'in the near future,' Kingdom Holding Co. said in July." See also Broadband TV News, 29 Nov 2010. See also See previous post about same subject.

Report: South Korea sends 400,000 leaflets to North Korea (updated).

Posted: 29 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 26 Nov 2010: "South Korea sent 400,000 anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets over the border after North Korea shelled an island in the West Sea, a government source said Friday. The source, who declined to be identified, said the leaflets were sent across the border on Tuesday night after the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday afternoon that killed two South Korean marines and two civilians."

Update: AFP, 27 Nov 2010: "'We've released the balloons carrying leaflets as retaliation against the shelling,' a military official was quoted as telling the Joongang Ilbo daily. 'The leaflets contain criticism against Kim Jong-Il and the third-generation hereditary succession,' the unnamed official said in reference to the North's expected looming power transfer to Kim's 27-year-old son Jong-Un. ... One activist-balloonist ... was considering sending copies of George Orwell's Animal Farm and DVDs with a combination of evening news broadcasts and popular movies from South Korea."

Xinhua, 26 Nov 2010: "Seoul also set up the loudspeakers along the heavily fortified border with the North, as part of countermeasures following the ship sinking. A senior official said the military has not been decided yet whether to resume anti-North propaganda broadcasting, and 'it will depend on North's further move,' according to local media."

Dong-a Ilbo, 26 Nov 2010: "The South Korean government will reportedly not resume psychological operations against North Korea in response to the North’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. This has fueled criticism from civilian and military experts who question whether Seoul has completely given up psychological warfare that could do damage to the North Korean military. A South Korean official said Thursday that there were proposals to resume psychological warfare in considering countermeasures following the attack, but Seoul chose not to use them. ... With its society closed to the outside world, the North believes that leaflets blasting its leader and his successor threaten the communist regime. At a time when the North is desperate to complete the father-to-son power succession system, disseminating propaganda leaflets in the North could deal a blow to the North Korean leadership. Propaganda broadcasting using loudspeakers can be heard in areas behind the frontlines and could disturb North Korean residents, let alone military personnel."

Daily NK, 24 Nov 2010, Kim So Yeol: "[T]the resumption of psychological warfare against North Korea, including hitherto delayed loudspeaker broadcasts across the DMZ and leaflet distribution, are probable responses. Indeed, since South Korea originally announced the May 24th Measures as being for immediate implementation but then postponed some of them until after U.N. Security Council measures and then weakened to implementing the remainder in case of additional provocation, it would appear inevitable that full implementation will now be achieved. Loudspeakers have been installed in 11 areas of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and the Psychological Warfare Corps is preparing 1.23 million copies of eleven different flyers at 6 bases around South Korea."

"Positive demeanor" by Afghan army general helped distribute more Radio Azadi radios to Balkh province.

Posted: 29 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, 28 Nov 2010, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jared Walker: "Members of the Afghan Air Force, Afghan National Army and NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan advisors distributed solar powered, hand-cranked radios, provided by [RFE/RL's] Radio Azadi, to the surrounding villages of Meymaneh, in Balkh province Nov.27. The villagers are without TV or radio contact with the rest of Afghanistan. Bringing the news to these villages will provide the local populace with the efforts their government and coalition is providing them. Lt. Col. Nhat-Thomas D. Tran, NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan/438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Deputy Commander and ANA Gen. Weza worked together to set up the mission to Meymaneh. Col. Tran said that Gen Weza's demeanor was very positive throughout their time together, which lead to a successful mission. ... The purpose of the radio distribution is to help the Afghan population, especially in rural and isolated villages, become more informed. Another objective is to show Afghan citizens that the Afghan authorities and the international community care about their welfare." See previous post about same subject.

Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi criticizes Ericsson and Eutelsat (updated: Eutelsat denies).

Posted: 28 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AFP, 22 Nov 2010: "Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on Monday accused Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson of aiding monitoring in Iran, and encouraged members of the Iranian diaspora in Sweden to protest to the company. 'I am urging you Iranians in Sweden to please email Ericsson and object and say, "Why are you selling the Iranian government software with which it can control its people",' the lawyer and human rights activists said. Ebadi, who was speaking at Stockholm University, said Ericsson had entered dealings with the Iranian government similar to those Nokia Siemens previously had, alleging the company sold Iran software that allowed it to monitor text messages and mobile phone calls. Ebadi also blasted European satellite operator Eutelsat for giving into an Iranian demand and removing the Persian-language BBC and Voice of America channels from a satellite broadcasting to Iran. 'So in fact, Eutelsat cooperated with the Iranian government in the sphere of censorship,' she told the crowd."

Update: AFP, 27 Nov 2010: "'Eutelsat wishes to correct Dr. Ebadi's statement that the company has ceded to political censorship from Iran and removed broadcasts of BBC Persian and Voice of America,' the company's director of corporate communications, Vanessa O'Connor, wrote to AFP in an email. ... [S]he stressed, the French company had cooperated with broadcasters to address the problem 'by transmitting these and other Farsi channels from other satellites resistant to jamming from Iran.' 'Today, BBC Persian is broadcast from three Eutelsat satellites and available throughout their entire footprint without interference, including in Iran,' she said. Eutelsat, O'Connor wrote, 'has at no time cooperated with the Iranian government in the sphere of censorship and regrets these allegations.' ... A French court also recently began probing whether Eutelsat's decision to pull the plug on broadcasts by a Chinese-language TV station based in New York was truly due to technical difficulties, as claimed, or if it was politically motivated."

Edward R. Murrow, USIA, and the afterlife of "Harvest of Shame."

Posted: 28 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 26 Nov 2010, Nancy Snow: In 1961, "Edward R. Murrow said goodbye to his CBS colleagues and left a commercial network where he was making over $200,000 for a government job paying $22,750. John F. Kennedy appointed him director of the United States Information Agency, whose mandate was 'telling America's story to the world.' Just as CBS sold BBC the television rights to 'Harvest of Shame,' the USIA director discovered that Radio Moscow was using the transcript to remind the world how America treats its workers. Murrow's truth telling in 1960 had become Soviet propaganda in 1961. To make matters worse for the new Washington insider, Florida Democratic Senator Spessard Holland had taken to the Senate floor to denounce the film as a domestic propaganda piece full of factual errors and hyperbole. Feeling the pressure, Murrow made a fateful call to his old war friend Hugh Carlton Greene, director general of the BBC, and asked if a substitute program were possible. It wasn't."

While in prison, Azeri blogger listened to RFE/RL on shortwave: "crackly, like in old Soviet times."

Posted: 28 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 19 Nov 2010, John Cleveland: "Despite his imprisonment, Azeri blogger and youth activist Adnan Hajizade was still able to get information from the outside world – thanks to RFE's Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq. Following this week's early release of the two Azeri political bloggers jailed last year on widely disputed charges of 'hooliganism,' Hajizade spoke about the important role that RFE’s broadcasts played during his months of confinement. 'I spent the last 17 months in isolation,' he says. 'The guards would allow us to watch only state-run TV and read only state-run newspapers. But in my cell I had a radio, and every night I would get up on my table so I could adjust my radio's antenna closer to the window in order to have a better reception of Radio Azadliq on short-wave. The reception was bad, . But still RFE was able to get the news to us.'"

Republican and Democratic party spokespersons debate on VOA Spanish TV.

Posted: 28 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Texas GOP Vote, 27 Nov 2010: "RNC Deputy Director of Coalitions Manny Rosales appeared on "Voice of America" on Friday, November 19th to debate Democrat Spokesperson Melisa Diaz Hispanic Media / Communications Consultant on a discussion about the lame duck session. Patricia Dalmasy was the host." -- Unmentioned in this story is that this debate was in Spanish, on the VOA Spanish program Foro Interamericano, also broadcast by TV Martí.

New blog looks at "international radio broadcasting in the Cold War."

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
"Cold War Radios: A look at international radio broadcasting in the Cold War, in particular Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty," is a new blog by Richard Cummings, who was director of security at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, 1980-1995. Richard, author of two books and numerous articles about the history of international broadcasting, is cited frequently by this website. See also

Cold War Radios blog, 27 Nov 2010, Richard Cummings: "One of the so-called double agents of the CIA at RFE was 'Jachym,' who started working for the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service in 1953. He was sent to West Germany through a 'faked escape' across the border the next year. The faked escape was meant to establish his bona fides within the Czech émigré community and then lead to a permanent job with RFE. ... In the early 1990s, when he was confronted with the spying allegations, 'Jachym' for the first time admitted he had lied to RFE on his employment application: he did not escape to the Germany but was sent on an espionage assignment."

Cambodian court orders Radio Free Asia to pay total of US$57,428 to two of its former reporters.

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Phnom Penh Post, 26 Nov 2010, Chrann Chamroeun: "Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday ordered Radio Free Asia to pay collective indemnity to two broadcast reporters who were fired without notice last year. Presiding judge Oeung Sien ordered RFA to pay US$44,946 to former reporter Ath Bony, who had worked for the media organisation for 12 years prior to his termination. Thai Sophea, who was fired after serving four years at RFA, was awarded US$12,482. The payments took into account unpaid annual leave, future earnings, court costs and damages. Sum Chamrong, a lawyer representing both complainants, said his clients were happy with the verdict. ... He said he hoped the RFA 'would follow the court’s conviction and voluntarily pay all indemnity money to the two reporters'. ... Hem Hounarith, a lawyer representing RFA, said he 'was not happy' with the verdict, because he lost. ... 'I will give time to my client to decide whether or not to appeal the verdict.'"

Xinhua deal with US network NBC: is there a devil in the details?

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 24 Nov 2010: "Xinhua News Agency and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) here Tuesday to establish a multi-level business partnership in the area of international TV news service. It marked the latest marketing endeavor in North America of the China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), Xinhua's TV arm created one year ago. CNC, which is aimed at setting up channels around the world, now gathers an average of 800 minutes of Chinese and English news content each day, the longest in that regard among the world's media organizations. ... Under the MOC signed Tuesday, Xinhua and NBC will conduct extensive and in-depth cooperation in TV news content gathering, production, broadcast and personnel training. Xinhua President Li Congjun said during a visit to the United States in May that cooperation with its international partners will greatly boost Xinhua's global service. Accordingly, the partnership between CNC and NBC will help the two broadcasters increase their influence in the global market and provide a better service for their audience. Steve Capus, president of NBC News, said at the MOC's signing ceremony that media organizations are shouldering greater responsibilities amid growing public demand for information, which requires cooperation and joint efforts among these organizations."

And BBC doesn't even (any more) broadcast in Polish.

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 26 Nov 2010: "Platform ‘n’ is promising to start 2011 on a strong note with a channel expansion that it believes will enhance its proposition for its growing subscriber base. From 1 February 2011, the Polish DTH provider will provide its viewers with exclusive access to four thematic channels from BBC Worldwide, including BBC Knowledge HD as well as BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies. These channels will be offered in SD but will join BBC HD, which has been available on Platform ‘n’ since May 2010. ... Platform ‘n’ Chief Operating Officer Christian Anting explaining the move: 'To add four new channels from the BBC—one of the world’s largest global television broadcasters—will be a fitting and fruitful start. Our subscribers will quickly learn to appreciate the new BBC thematic channels as the primary source of knowledge about the world.'"

Is BBC World Service going to "extremes" to save some language services from budget cuts?

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 25 Nov 2010: "[A] new series of special reports on the BBC's international news services, called Extreme World, beginning in December ... on TV, radio and online, will study some of the world's most dramatic divides, highlighting the extraordinary disparities in people's lives and lifestyles. ... BBC Hausa will report on the hottest place in Nigeria, Maiduguri, and the coldest, Jos, exploring the impact of the local climate on people's lives. ... Multimedia content on BBC Russian will report on the competition between Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk in Yakutia, Russia, for the status of the Northern Pole of Cold, and on life on the Vostok station in the Antarctic, the Southern Pole of Cold. ... Looking at how creative corruption can be, BBC Mundo will bring audiences 10 stories from across the world. ... BBC Azeri, BBC Kyrgyz and BBC Uzbek will feature a discussion with International Crisis Group's Central Asia Programme Director, Paul Quinn-Judge, and Latin America Programme Director, Silke Pfeiffer, who will talk about the similarities and differences in how corruption manifests itself in Latin America and Central Asia, how it is eating away at national institutions and what can be done to tackle it. ... BBC Swahili will be talking to John Githongo who investigated fraud and bribery as a journalist, and then fought corruption as a government official in his home country Kenya. A special report on BBC Afrique (French for Africa) will explore the temptations of corruption in a day in the life of a police officer in Cameroon. BBC Persian will broadcast a radio and TV report about corruption in Tajikistan. The subject of corruption, as well as other themes of the Extreme World season, will be discussed in BBC Persian live TV and radio debates and online forums."

BBC Global News in English: multimedia, global, but not "very good at the local stuff."

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Economic Times (Delhi), 26 Nov 2010, Dibeyendu Ganguly: "'The platforms echo, amplify and augment each other,' says [Craig Oliver of BBC Global News]. 'Radio is good as a medium for discussion and debate, better than TV, which tends to be superficial because of the time constraints but is great for visuals and graphics. On-line is best for digging deep.' ... Till recently, BBC Global News, like most media corporations, was organised around platforms. There was a controller for radio, for TV and for on-line and while the three were supposed to work together, they seldom did. In a major restructuring earlier this year, the vertical silos were abandoned in favour of a more horizontal structure. In April, Oliver was named Controller For English, in charge of all programming in English, be it on radio, TV or on-line. It’s a strange title, but it’s BBC’s way of getting at the root of what defines its audiences. 'It’s local versus global,' says Oliver, who is on his very first trip to India, exploring growth prospects in this region. 'We broadcast in 32 languages and each of these markets is different. In English, however, we’re more globalised. We aren’t very good at the local stuff — Mumbai politics, for example — and we are not going to be the first choice of local audiences. But if you want to know what makes the world tick, we would be the first choice.'" -- This multimedia approach is something like a Swiss Army Knife: each implement is adequate, but none really achieves excellence. Some media organizations might be better off selecting radio, television, or the internet as their primary, with the other media in support roles.

BBC World Service documentary about Philippines boxer Manny Pacquiao widely recommended.

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 25 Nov 2010, Gareth A Davies: "In this exclusive two-part documentary for BBC World Service, presenter Mike Costello travels to the Philippines to meet boxing legend, eight times world champion, politician and national hero, Manny Pacquiao."

Boxscore News, 24 Nov 2010, Kevin Smith: "Mike Costello and the BBC World Service capture what I believe is the 'essence' of Manny Pacquiao in their two-part documentary.", 26 Nov 2010, Joaquin Henson: "Don’t fail to check out the two-part audio documentary on Manny Pacquiao, accessible on BBC World Service starting today. Senior content producer Lyndon Saunders and boxing correspondent Mike Costello recently flew in from London to interview Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, friends, trainers, analysts, economists and politicians for the exclusive report. The second part will air on Dec. 3, also on BBC World Service."

Digital Journal, 27 Nov 2010, Edwin Ladaga: "For avid fans and boxing enthusiasts, the feature does not offer new information regarding the eight weight class world champion. But it will certainly improve his status as a crossover star not only in the United States but also in Europe. ... The program puts Manny Pacquiao's story in light of the country's economic difficulties and its unique folk catholic religious tradition. His story offers hope to the millions of people not only in his homeland but across the world."

For the documentary, see BBC World Service, 26 Nov 2010.

Obit: Peter Chopping, secret builder and listener of shortwave radio in Japanese POW camp.

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 25 Nov 2010: "Peter Chopping, who died on November 16 aged 93, endured more than three years as a wartime prisoner of the Japanese; he later worked as a radiologist in Cambridge and in the United States. Captured at the fall of Singapore in 1942, he treated his fellow PoWs for their many medical problems and secretly constructed a short-wave radio to track the progress of the war. ... PoW labour gangs were sometimes required to work at the Japanese radio station, and, knowing that Chopping was trying to build a radio, they purloined parts that would be useful to him: 'Eventually I made a working short-wave radio which was able to get the overseas shortwave transmissions from the BBC in London.' His first radio was hidden in the false bottom of what looked like a pail of dirty water. He later made one that was built into a field ambulance water bottle. The construction had to be clandestine – discovery would have meant execution. Every night at 11pm Chopping and a fellow prisoner, a journalist by trade, concealed themselves under a mosquito net and tuned into the BBC. His friend had headphones and took down the news in shorthand in the dark. In the morning he typed out a news sheet which was passed around the camp. Thus, the PoWs knew that Montgomery had recaptured Tobruk and that the Americans had landed in North Africa, and surmised that the tide of the war had turned."

Daily Mail, 27 Nov 2010, David Jones: Paul and Rachel Chandler, recently ransomed hostages of Somali pirates, "were together for Christmas 2009, surreally listening to carols sung by the King’s College choir on a crackling short-wave radio which they were occasionally permitted to use, tears streaking their cheeks."

New medium of international broadcasting: the box set.

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio France International, 25 Nov 2010, Daniel Brown: "The Charles Cros Academy today presented two major awards for box sets coproduced by Radio France International. The 18-CD music compilation Africa : 50 Years of Music was also given a prize by the the French-speakers' community, the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie). ... The 187 recordings from 39 African states is the brainchild of RFI producer Pierre René-Worms and one of Africa ’s best-known producers Ibrahim Sylla."

Telesur, "in his point of view," "in his opinion," "telecasts our points of view."

Posted: 27 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AHORA (Holguín, Cuba), 25 Nov 2010: "Cuban singer/songwriter Silvio Rodriguez confessed that he feels honored by the 2010 Arts Award given to him by the Cultural Fund of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA for its Spanish acronyms) on Wednesday. ... In his point of view, one of the most important contributions of [ALBA] has been Telesur, a television news network that, in his opinion, telecasts our points of view or that of the non-meek, so to say, Latin America.", 25 Nov 2010: Venezuelan president Hugo "Chavez has confirmed that he will be attending the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) summit in Georgetown (Guyana) on Friday and will present proposals and ideas towards greater integration. Among the proposals to be presented are: amplify the coverage of Telesur and a better use of national airlines."

VOA Persian satire program helps inform paintings by Iranian artist in exile.

Posted: 26 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The National, 25 Nov 2010, Timur Moon: "The Iranian artist Hesam Rahmanian paints politics and bloodsports. At times, he paints politics as bloodsport, and even comes to see the act of painting itself as a kind of mortal combat. ... There's clearly ore in the common ground between sport, polemic and cartoon, and these 27 paintings [on exhibit in Dubai] came out of a four-month period in which he mined that territory intensively. ... All of Iranian society is politicised, he says. There's no escaping it. 'When I started on this project, I was constantly listening to the new generation of underground music, and the satirical current affairs programmes being broadcast across Iran on Persian language shows for Voice of America - shows such as ... Parazit. These are shows produced in exile, in which people talk freely about politics. For Iranians, pop culture and pop music lets people do that, and also have fun. They headbang. The regime hates it.'"

Australia Network contract up for bid. Sky News likely to compete with incumbent ABC (updated).

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Kevin Rudd Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs press release, 23 Nov 2010: "The Government will be putting out to open tender a ten year contract for the provision of Australia Network, Australia’s international television broadcasting service. Australia Network is designed to present a reliable and independent voice in the Asia-Pacific region. It promotes Australia’s engagement with the region by fostering public understanding of Australia, and presenting, through its programs, an Australian perspective on the world. This service has been provided since 1993, at times by commercial broadcasters, and also by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The Australia Network service is currently provided by the ABC under the terms of a 5 year contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Government has decided that the next Australia Network contract will be put to a competitive open tender process, to ensure the best possible service in return for its investment. The Government was also keen to move Australia Network to a ten year contract for the period 2011-2021 which will provide greater certainty to the service provider. The tender process is expected to open before the end of the year."

The Australian, 24 Nov 2010, Michael Bodey: "The ABC will be forced to bid for the right to remain Australia's international television broadcaster. The federal government has put the $200 million, 10-year Australia Network contract to competitive tender. The decision is a blow for ABC managing director Mark Scott, who lobbied heavily for the contract to be retained by the broadcaster. It will allow Australian News Channel's Sky News -- a joint venture of PBL Media, Seven Media Group and British Sky Broadcasting, which is partly owned by News Corporation -- to bid for the right to broadcast news and entertainment services into the Asia-Pacific region. ... Mr Scott raised eyebrows this year with his suggestion that the service should be used as a federal government means of 'soft diplomacy'."

The Age (Melbourne), 24 Nov 2010, Hamish McDonald and Clancy Yeates: "The ABC has run the service since 2001, beating off a bid from Mr Murdoch's part-owned Sky TV in 2005 in the last tender. The previous foreign minister, Stephen Smith, put its future on hold ahead of this year's election, and the ABC has been in caretaker tenure since its contract expired in August."

Update: Radio Australia, Connect Asia, 25 Nov 2010, Sen Lam interviewing Alex Oliver, Lowy Institute research fellow: "Q: [C]redibility built on independence [is] also quite crucial for an international broadcaster, one would imagine? Oliver: Yeah well it's fundamental and all of the preeminent international broadcasters, the ones that have been most successful, particularly the BBC World Service, the German service, Deutsche Veller [Welle], Al Jazeera, the Voice of America, all of those primarily said it's their independence that gave them credibility, and that was what allowed them to have big audiences of strong loyalties to the broadcaster. And there are questions I guess about how does that work, when you have a non-government broadcaster, in a sense there needs to be a way that you can guarantee that independence. ... Q: So Australia is quite unique in seeking a commercial contract for its international broadcaster? Oliver: Yes it is, definitely. Amongst the ten broadcasting nations that we reviewed ... the biggest broadcasting nations, those that are spending a lot of money on public diplomacy and international broadcast in particular, and there were some real raised eyebrows about how this could work. And certainly, they knew of no precedent and none of those were operating a contract under those circumstances." -- The 800-pound precedent is CNN International, the most successful global English news channel. It was the result not of a government tender, but of CNN's own initiative. Its credibility is not challenged because it is "non-governmental." Over the years, I heard many doubts about the credibility of international broadcasting efforts because they are government funded, so these Australian objections to non-governmental IB seem antipodal to prevailing thought. See previous post about same subject.

The Australian, 24 Nov 2010, Andrew Trounson: "An initiative that taps into social media networks to deliver information to international students on a range of welfare issues ... is being led by Larry Anderson, a former head of business at the Australia Network, the international TV service run by the ABC. ... Mr Anderson said international education was arguably a more valuable and effective tool for promoting Australia diplomatically than a dedicated broadcaster such as Australia Network. 'That isn't to undermine the value of international broadcasting, but I think international education delivers long-term benefits.'"

The BBC's former FM frequencies in Azerbaijan up for bid.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
News.Az, 24 Nov 2010: "Azerbaijan's TV and Radio Council has announced a competition for would-be broadcasters on an FM frequency in Baku and Absheron. ... Bids can be made between 25 November and 25 December. The 103.3 frequency was used by the BBC World Service until foreign radio stations were banned from broadcasting in Azerbaijan in January 2009." --In January 2009, Azerbaijan banned BBC, RFE/RL, and VOA from its FM frequencies. See previous post about same subject.

Strictly Come Dancing all the way to the BBC's bank account.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 23 Nov 2010, Nick Allen "Strictly Come Dancing is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most successful reality television format. The BBC show has been sold to 38 countries around the world and more than a quarter of a billion people are believed to have watched an international version of the programme since it was launched. The international spin-offs, which are sold as Dancing With The Stars, helped the BBC's commercial arm to record profits of £145.2 million last year. It is distributed by BBC Worldwide which pushed sales above £1 billion for the second year in a row during the 12 months to March 31. ... Australia was the first country to adapt the show and the format has become hugely popular in the United States where it is now in its 11th season. Other countries to have picked it up include Albania, Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine."

New York Times, Gadgetwise blog, 23 Nov 2010, Stephen Williams: "More than three years after it was rung up as a immense success in Britain, the BBC’s super-sophisticated media player, the iPlayer, will begin streaming both television and radio globally next year, including in the United States. ... In the United States and elsewhere, iPlayer currently provides access to BBC radio only. The BBC has yet to decide on the timing for release, or on the business model for the international player, which could be available with advertising content or with a subscription charge for viewers." See previous post about same subject.

In 1960s Brazil, Os Mutantes used shortwave to hear "classical to Johnny Mathis to Nat King Cole to tangos, mariachis."

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Seattle Weekly, 24 Nov 2010, Jason Toon, interviewing Sérgio Dias, founding member of Brazilian group Os Mutantes: "Q: Os Mutantes lived under a military dictatorship after the 1964 coup. Was it difficult to keep up with music from outside Brazil? No, but we had kind of a kaleidoscopic view of it, because in Brazil we got bits and pieces of everything. We were searching a lot via the shortwave radio. So we could listen to and record stuff from all over the world, like working with a telescope in the sky. It was great to reach the BBC, or radio in the U.S., or even something that would be playing in, say, Greece. Shortwave was our Internet. The dictatorship could do nothing to control it. So we had influences from classical to Johnny Mathis to Nat King Cole to tangos, mariachis—all of it." See previous post about same subject.

CNN International anchor on countries using ads on CNN to reach their "customer base."

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link (Sofia), 24 Nov 2010, interview with CNN International anchor, and Bulgarian, Ralitsa Vassileva "Q: A lot of countries advertise themselves on CNN. What do you think is needed for a country to have a successful CNN ad, or is any ad on CNN beneficial by default? RV: I think that's for each advertiser to decide, but CNN has a global reach so it offers them a big advantage to reach a global audience if they want to expand their customer base. Q: There has been a public debate in Bulgaria on its self-advertising on international TV channels. Some have remarked that the best possible ad for Bulgaria would be if every time Ralitsa Vassileva is on screen, there is an inscription saying she is from Bulgaria. Such witty ideas aside, what do you think would be the best way to advertise Bulgaria on international TV channels such as CNN? RV: You can't go wrong by focusing on the country's natural beauty, business opportunities and cultural achievements over a long and turbulent history. Q: What is the feeling to be a CNN anchor and report news about native country? ... What kind of 'Bulgarian' news make it to the CNN screen? RV: CNN is a global newscaster so stories about Bulgaria and other countries are judged partly on their impact on the world. For example, Bulgaria was on CNN in the documentary I did on the fall of communism, as part of a series on a revolution that affected the world. I have also done stories on Bulgarian elections, folk dances and archeological discoveries. But there's a world of news competing for the usual 22 minutes in a half hour newscast."

The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Nov 2010, Jonathan Landreth: CNN's new Beijing correspondent Eunice Yoon has VOA experience. "CNN reports from China but can only be viewed in select luxury hotels and diplomatic residence compounds catering to expatriates. Its signal is otherwise blocked across China and is largely inaccessible to the common Chinese TV viewer."

China Radio International deal with Jiangxi province mentions both "publicity work" and "journalistic tenets."

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 24 Nov 2010: "China Radio International and the Jiangxi Provincial Government signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement on international communication Tuesday in Nanchang, the capital city of central China's Jiangxi province. Based on the agreement, CRI and Jiangxi government will set up a corresponding mechanism to share tourism information, coordinate publicity work and frame publicity policies. CRI Director-General Wang Gengnian indicated the rich tourism resources in Jiangxi provide abundant materials for CRI in its publicity work. On the other hand, CRI's advantage in multi-languages and multi-media can also help Jiangxi attract more tourists, especially foreign-friends. The two parties will co-host 'CRI Reporters' Trips around Jiangxi' and global knowledge contests to promote a comprehensive view of Jiangxi. China Radio International is the only national radio network broadcasting around the world, which is now a multimedia entity that incorporates all mass communication means. With 61 languages, the CRI Online network platform provides the most languages in China. By carrying out journalistic tenets of reporting from the Chinese perspective with a world vision and a human touch, CRI is making every effort to become a modern, comprehensive and innovative international media group."

Democratic Voice of Burma TV available terrestrially in one part of Burma.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 25 Nov 2010, citing Democratic Voice of Burma: "Burma’s largest armed ethnic group, the United Wa State Army, has allowed the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) to broadcast on terrestrial television in its territory for the first time. The first broadcast aired on 10 November, three days before the release of Burmese opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Previously the 30,000-strong army, which controls swathes of territory in northeastern Shan state, had permitted DVB programmes only to air on satellite stations. ... 'This makes people happy. Not everyone here understands Burmese language but still they can see the footage and images on the TV. For example, the day when Daw Aung San Suu Ki was released, people recognised her and realised she was free.' ... At present, DVB television can only be watched by Burmese with satellite dishes, but the Wa army will feed the broadcasts through a relay station to make it viewable for those without."

ProPublica and National Endowment for Democracy trade assertions about NED and about Democratic Voice of Burma.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
ProPublica, 22 Nov 2010, letter from Jane Riley Jacobsen, director, public affairs, National Endowment for Democracy, to ProPublica, Need to Know, and PBS: "ProPublica's characterization of the NED in its video report is crude, erroneous, and irresponsible. Here's what it says: 'The National Endowment for Democracy was established by Congress, in effect, to take over the CIA's covert propaganda efforts. But, unlike the CIA, the NED promotes US policy and interests openly.' ... NED is a grant-making institution and doesn't engage in any kind of propaganda, and the implication that it has a relationship with the CIA is not only utterly false, without a shred of evidence to back it up, but it also puts in danger NED-supported organizations around the world. ... [T]he claim that NED promotes U.S. policy is demonstrably false. The NED is a bi-partisan organization with a single mission: the promotion of democracy around the world. It does not and never has taken positions on U.S. foreign policy. It even eschews publishing articles on U.S. policy in its Journal of Democracy. ... Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica's managing editor, makes the following charge: 'If you're the Democratic Voice of Burma, you're an advocacy group.' ... Although it had its origins in the pro-democracy movement, over the past two decades [DVB] has developed into one of Burma's most widely respected and internationally-acclaimed media organizations. It aspires to meeting the highest standards of rigorous, objective journalism."

Ibid, response from Paul E. Steiger, editor-in-chief, ProPublica, to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler: "DVB's own website ( clearly indicates that the organization has objectives beyond journalism. Two of the four stated parts of the organization's mission are to 'promote understanding and cooperation amongst the various ethnic and religious groups of Burma' and 'to impart the ideals of democracy and human rights to the people of Burma.' These are laudable goals, to be sure, but they are not the goals of a news organization." See also ProPublica, 12 Nov 2010.

BBC World Service will delay announcements about job cuts until January.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 23 Nov 2010, Catherine Neilan: "Staff at the World Service will have to wait a further two months to hear whether their jobs are safe, as the BBC has pushed back any decision on cuts until after Christmas. As part of the licence fee settlement, the World Service has to find savings of £67m – the equivalent of 16% – over the next four years. It is thought this could lead to more than 300 job losses and the cutting of entire language services. But in an email to staff, Peter Horrocks, director of the World Service, said BBC Trust had called an additional meeting for 16 December 'to discuss and explore what can be done to mitigate the impact of these changes'. He added: 'They have asked us to present a long term plan for World Service as it enters the licence fee period.'" See also, 24 Nov 2010.

The Guardian, 25 Nov 2010, James Robinson: "The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, last night conceded the World Service will be forced to cut services and jobs following a government decision last month to dramatically reduce its budget. Thompson said the global broadcasting service, which is funded by a Foreign Office grant, faced 'a significant reduction in services as well as job losses'. 'There is no getting away from this fact,' he added. However, he pledged to increase the World Service budget from April 2014, when the BBC assumes funding responsibility for the organisation."

Discovery and BBC will produce series on human history -- but only going back 20,000 years.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Discovery Communications press release, 22 Nov 2010: "Discovery Channel U.S. and BBC One today announced a major new landmark series in which Andrew Marr embarks on the greatest story ever told - the epic story of human history. Produced by Discovery Channel U.S., BBC Vision Productions, BBC Worldwide and The Open University, the eight-part series will combine stunning dramatic reconstruction, innovative computer graphics and gripping storytelling to reveal the events, conflicts and characters that have shaped our destiny. HISTORY OF THE WORLD will reveal the major turning points in our shared history, ranging from military campaigns to love stories to technological inventions to assassinations to medical breakthroughs to devastating natural disasters. ... 'No one has captured 20,000 years of human history quite like this before,' said Clark Bunting, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel and President of Science Channel. Beginning at the end of the last Ice Age and ending in our modern age, each tells the stories of real people, their civilizations, cultures, successes, and crashing failures."

Australia's SBS launches new Chinese web hub and Chinese television news program.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
SBS (Australia) press release, undated (!) but recent: "On 24 November, SBS is launching an online Virtual Community Centre (VCC) for Chinese Australians and a new Mandarin TV news program. ... The Virtual Community Centre ( is an innovative multiplatform hub, featuring both SBS and user generated video, audio and text. It is a place to share stories and opinions on life in Australia, from a Chinese Australian perspective. ... 'As part of our commitment to meeting the language needs of the Australian community, SBS will also launch its first ever in-language television news service - Mandarin News Australia - to screen each Wednesday on SBS TWO at 5.30pm and on-demand at the Virtual Community Centre from November 24'. The new half hour TV news and current affairs program will comprise news bulletins, stories about the Chinese community, and profile pieces, and will be subtitled in English."

Russian TV channel in China coincides with "Day of Chinese Television in Russia."

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 23 Nov 2010, onpassing Rossiya 1 TV in Russian via BBC Monitoring: "The audience of the TV channel RTR Planeta has considerably increased. Broadcasting in the country with the largest population, China, has begun. This is the first Russian TV channel in China. The audience that likes the Russian culture and the language received an opportunity to learn more about the life of their northern neighbour. Our correspondent in China Dmitriy Sobiyev can also see his reports on air now. ... 'So far, RTR Planeta is the only Russian channel officially broadcasting in China. However, the need for television in Russian is great.'" -- No specifics on how it is distributed. Part of a digital terrestrial multichannel similar to Australian channels in China?

Xinhua, 23 Nov 2010: "More than 200 representatives from China and Russia attended the forum 'Day of Chinese Television in Russia' held here Tuesday. As an event within the framework of 2010 Chinese Language Year in Russia, the forum focuses on the role of television in enhancing mutual trust, friendship and cultural exchanges between China and Russia. China Central Television (CCTV), the country's biggest TV network, officially launched its Moscow office at the forum. ... Peter Fyodorov, Director of the International Relations from the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) , told Xinhua that Russian and Chinese media share huge responsibilities in deepening mutual understanding between the two peoples. He spoke highly of the TV program entitled 'Chinese Economy' that was jointly developed by China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC) and Russia 24, a TV channel operated by VGTRK."

"Practise what you preach, columnist tells Al Jazeera."

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Peninsula (Doha), 23 Nov 2010: "Known the world over as a champion of press freedom and for fiercely protecting its sources, the Al Jazeera television channel is pressing two Qataris to reveal their sources after they posted on their website the salary and appointment details of one of the channel’s freshly-appointed and highly-paid non-Qatari employees, says a famous Qatari columnist. Writing for Al Arab, a popular local Arabic daily, Abdullah bin Hamad Al Adhba said yesterday he found it strange that a channel of the stature of Aljazeera should go after the Qataris, forcing them to reveal their sources against its own as well as international journalistic norms. The Qatari duo had posted on their website details of the appointment and monthly salary (a huge QR100,000)[about US$27,000] of an expatriate head of the channel’s legal affairs department."

North Korean artillery shells are followed by North Korean propaganda.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, The Lede blog, 24 Nov 2010, Robert Mackey: "On Wednesday, North Korea’s international shortwave radio service, Voice of Korea, broadcasting in English to the outside world, put its spin on Tuesday’s exchange of fire between the two Koreas across their contested sea border. As Steve Herman, a correspondent for Voice of America in Seoul, points out on Twitter, a subtitled recording of the North Korean broadcast was posted online by Martyn Williams, a technology journalist based in Tokyo." See also Martyn Williams's North Korea Tech blog and Steve Herman's

The Telegraph, 23 Nov 2010, Myles Burke: "North Korea's state run KRT television station has launched a propaganda campaign against the South following shelling on the border island of Yeonpyeong. ... 'Should the South Korean puppet group dare intrude into the territorial waters of the DPRK even 0.001 mm, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will unhesitatingly continue taking merciless military counter-actions against it,' read a female KRT newsreader before showing the above propaganda film, in which North Korean soldiers can be seen crawling through freezing water and running through fire, while missiles are launched from navy ships. In the broadcast, the newsreader also suggested that the South Korean army had fired the first shots ahead of the North's attack on Yeonpyeong." With video.

The Telegraph, 23 Nov 2010: "The South, which has already stopped almost all humanitarian aid to the North, can step up its propaganda operations against the regime of Kim Jong-il, cut off remaining cross-border exchanges at a joint industrial compound." -- No word yet that South Korea's loudspeakers along the border are broadcasting anything.

President of Bishkek PR agency complains about "libelous allegations" during RFE/RL Kyrgyz interview.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 22 Nov 2010: "Vugar Khalilov, the Director-General of the "Flexi Communications” PR agency has complained to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)’s President Jeffrey Gedmin, asking him to provide evidence to back up the libelous allegations aired in a programme broadcast by the Kyrgyz service of Radio Liberty (Radio Azattyk). Khalilov, who is a British citizen, has sent copies of the complaint to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives Howard L. Berman, the Executive Director of the [Broadcasting Board of Governors] ... Jeffrey N. Trimble, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to Bishkek Tatiane Gfeller ... . The essence of the claims made by Vugar Khalilov is that on April 14, 2010 Radio Azattyk broadcast an interview conducted by broadcaster Burulkan Sarygulova with a person who was introduced as 'Bishkek journalist Bakyt Urmatov'." -- Complicated details follow. See also RFE/RL, 23 Apr 2010 and previous post.

Programs of UK's ITV now distributed in Asia via new ITV Granada channel.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 23 Nov 2010, citing "Hong Kong-based broadcast facilities outsource company has launched ITV Granada, a new entertainment channel for Asia and the Middle East offering dramas, comedy, reality and talk shows sourced from ITV’s UK programming library. Broadcast from’s facility via ABS-1 (Asia Broadcast Satellite, 75 degrees East), ITV Granada is currently available from operators across the Asia-Pacific region including Astro in Malaysia, StarHub and Mio in Singapore, MOD in Taiwan and NowTV in Hong Kong. ITV Granada is part of ITV Studios Global Entertainment Ltd, the international licensing arm of ITV, the UK’s most successful commercial broadcaster and one of the world’s largest television producers." -- I was not able to get past the glitzy opening graphics of

New free channels on African satellite service DStv include Chinese television, plus VOA and BBC radio.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Observer (Kampala), 21 Nov 2010: "Pay television company, DStv, has unveiled a new service that will enable its subscribers watch some television channels for free. DStv FreeView allows access to channels such as Mindset Learn, UBC 140, NTV 141, Trinity Broadcast Network, Rhema, DayStar, Inspiration Television, TV Mundial, The Islam Channel plus CCTV News, NHK and CCTV 4. Company spokesperson, Helena Mayanja, says the gesture demonstrates MultiChoice Africa’s commitment to creating a vibrant and exciting television industry in Africa. DStv subscribers will also be able to access 32 radio channels including BBC 1, 2 and 3 and Voice of America free of charge. As a digital service, DStv FreeView contributes to African governments’ efforts of migrating existing analogue services to digital services (digital migration) thus assisting in bridging the digital divide." See also DStv Africa, 15 June 2010, for information about the introduction of DStv FreeView to Botswana. -- Does DStv get income from these channels, as they are seeking audiences in Africa?

UK regulator Ofcom again finds Press TV in breach of impartiality rules.

Posted: 25 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 22 Nov 2010, Jennifer Lipman: "A phone-in TV programme presented by former MP George Galloway has been criticised by the broadcasting watchdog for breaching impartiality rules. Ofcom investigated after Mr Galloway's weekly, one-hour English-language programme, Comment, broadcast on the Iranian international news network Press TV, sparked complaints that it was biased against Israel. The regulator concluded that 'due impartiality' had not been maintained in individual programmes or across the series. It said: 'The broadcaster failed to engage or debate with any point of view that was contrary to the view presented by George Galloway.' ... Press TV, which is funded by the Iranian government, pointed to six examples from four separate programmes in which alternative viewpoints were presented but Ofcom said the views were "dismissed" by Mr Galloway."

Broadcast, 22 Nov 2010, Catherine Neilan: "Iranian broadcaster Press TV has been called in to a second meeting with the regulator 'to explain and discuss its compliance processes further in this area'." -- Ofcom has authority in this matter because Press TV has its main studio, and uplinks from, the UK. As usual, I can't find anything about this at the Ofcom website. It might be there, but I can't find it. See previous post about same subject.

RT (Russia Today) reporters arrested at Fort Benning demonstration; CPJ, OSCE, others protest.

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 22 Nov 2010: "A reporter for a Russian TV news network says she and her cameraman were wrongfully arrested and jailed by police as the journalists were covering the arrests of demonstrators outside Fort Benning in western Georgia. Reporter Kaelyn Forde and cameraman Jon Conway, Washington-based journalists for Russia Today, were arrested Saturday — along with at least 20 others — on charges that they violated state and local laws governing public protests. The arrests came during the annual protest of the U.S. military training school formerly known as the School of the Americas, which trains Latin American military officers. Opponents say its graduates have used their training to commit human rights abuses." See also RT video report, 22 Nov 2010. See also RT, 22 Nov 2010. And another RT, 22 Nov 2010.

The Moscow News, 23 Nov 2010, Evgeniya Chaykovskaya: "The 'rough' arrests happened 'despite complying with the police demand not to come close to the gates of the base,' Russia Today, the government-funded English-language TV network reported. The SOA Watch protesters were already on their way out, and Forde and Conway presented their valid press identifications, they said."

RIA Novosti, 24 Nov 2010: "The Russia Today (RT) TV channel will continue probing the arrest of two RT reporters in the United States last weekend, the channel's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, said on Wednesday. ... 'There will be a court hearing,' RT's Simonyan told RIA Novosti. 'We have already reached all possible organizations for their reaction.' She said RT would be represented by a U.S. lawyer."

RIA Novosti, 24 Nov 2010: "The International Committee to Protect Journalists called for an internal investigation into the recent arrest of two Russia Today journalists in the United States."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 24 Nov 2010: "'Journalists must be able to cover public demonstrations,' said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. 'Police in Columbus, Georgia, should carry out an internal investigation into this incident and in the future should implement procedures to ensure that journalists are able to do their jobs without interference.'"

RIA Novosti, 24 Nov 2010: "The Russian Public Chamber is awaiting an explanation for the arrest of two Russia Today journalists in the United States on Saturday, a spokesman said on Wednesday."

RIA Novosti, 24 Nov 2010: "The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, condemned the arrest of two Russian TV network journalists covering a demonstration in the United States." See also OSCE, 23 Nov 2010.

RIA Novosti, 23 Nov 2010: "A lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party urged government agencies on Tuesday to report on how Russian journalists abroad are protected. Mikhail Nenashev's query follows the arrest and detention of several members of a Russian TV network crew on Saturday after covering a protest near a U.S. Army base in Columbus, Georgia."

BBC World Service, 24 Nov 2010: "Whilst recording a documentary about anti-police guerrillas in Russia’s Far East, BBC World Service producer Ibrat Jumaboyev recalls a disturbing encounter in which he and presenter Lucy Ash were accused of working illegally. ... "The man who presented himself as the head of police in Skopin, a little town where the prison is located, told us we had no right to work in Russia. ... In an aggressive tone he said our visas weren’t valid in his territory, as if Ryazan or Skopin were independent states. He wanted us to write a testimony saying that we had broken the law and we were to go to court in Ryazan on Monday."

RFE/RL launches A Tree Without Roots blog, "devoted to development issues in the broadest sense."

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL A Tree With Roots blog, 18 Nov 2010, Robert Coalson: "Already, suburbs in post-Soviet bloc countries like the Czech Republic look hauntingly like the urban sprawl of the United States – and the people living in them are increasingly feeling the same discontents that many in the West are feeling. Do countries like Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Armenia have to follow the same path? That’s why RFE/RL is launching a new blog devoted to development issues in the broadest sense. A Tree With Roots will look at ways of defining and measuring progress and prosperity. It will look at unintended consequences and at the costs of undermining indigenous cultures and languages, of promoting rampant urbanization, of global consumerism." See also blog home page. -- Not yet listed among RFE/RL blogs.

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and Voice of America history in the news.

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Daily Star (Oneonta, NY), 22 Nov 2010, Mark Simonson: "Many residents turned on their porch lights in Oneonta on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 1950. Church bells began to ring at 6:55 p.m., and the fire siren was heard in long, intermittent blasts. It was all to start a nationwide kickoff of this Crusade, aimed to 'tell the truth about democracy by radio without governmental restrictions to 600 million people behind the Russian Iron Curtain,' as reported in The Oneonta Star. ... Oneonta's drive was headed by Judge Joseph P. Molinari, who said 'The idea of the Crusade is to establish five to eight radio stations in Western Europe to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to tell the people behind the Iron Curtain that we are not the aggressors and to tell them the truth.' Radio Free Europe had begun its broadcasts in July 1950 and was now looking to expand."

AFP, 20 Nov 2010, Emma Charlton: "A decrepit satellite dish points skyward from a deserted radio outpost that once broadcast from the West to the Communist bloc: ex-Soviet Europe is star guest at a top photography fair in Paris on this weekend. ... Among the artists present, Hungary’s Gabriella Csoszo shot the abandoned premises, stopped clocks and dust-gathering library of a Radio Free Europe outpost in Portugal, one of a network of US-funded stations that broadcast into the eastern bloc before the fall of Communism." -- Probably the old RFE shortwave transmitting site at Gloria, Portugal.

Washington Post, 19 Nov 2010, Anne Applebaum: "Like the rest of the dissident movement, activist Soviet Jews learned how to document the repression used against them and to get their reports out of the country. American Jews learned, in turn, how to beam these facts back into the U.S.S.R. on Radio Liberty, as well as how to present them to Congress, the news media and the White House."

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 23 Nov 2010: On this day "[i]n 1988, the Soviet Union stopped jamming broadcasts of Radio Free Europe for the first time in 30 years."

The Observer-Dispatch (Utica, NY), 21 Nov 2010, Frank Tomaino: This week in 1960 "[t]he Voice of America broadcasts via radio throughout South America portions of the season-opening concert of the Utica Symphony Orchestra in the Proctor High School auditorium. The orchestra’s new conductor is Jose Serebrier, a native of Uruguay. The agency airs information about the United States to many countries in the world. The audience of 1,200 – filling every seat in the auditorium – gives Serebrier and the orchestra a 4-minute standing ovation."

Jerusalem Post, 23 Nov 2010: Zurab Gagnidz of the Georgian trio The Shin: "[W]we used to listen to the weekly jazz show on the Voice of America radio station. We waited all week to listen to the program."

Rockin' Radio Farda presents live Berlin concert of Iranian band in exile.

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 19 Nov 2010: "RFE's Radio Farda aired live a rock concert from Germany by an Iranian band that is banned in its home country. It marked the first time Radio Farda is broadcasting a live concert to the people of Iran. Formed in Tehran in 2003, Kiosk was forced out of Iran because of its satirical lyrics which are often critical of the social and political environment under the Islamic regime. The group is popular among Iran's urban youth and the Iranian Diaspora. Inside Iran, web users will be able to hear the concert on Radio Farda or access it online using a proxy server that circumvents government censorship." With video.

In Zimbabwe, another confiscation of shortwave radios donated by NGOs (updated again).

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Voice of the People, 29 Oct 2010: "Police in Mashonaland East have launched a blitz confiscating Short Wave radio sets parcelled out to villagers by non-governmental organisations campaigning for the freeing of the airwaves. Information obtained by Radio VOP on Thursday indicated that the police had been raiding homesteads starting with Murehwa centre in search of the 'offending' SW radio sets, in what civil society organisations view as part of a Zanu (PF) strategy to stop rural folk from accessing alternative media sources other than the Zimbabwe."

SW Radio Africa, 29 Oct 2010, Lance Guma: "The excuse offered by Chief Superintendent Matsikasimbe, who is responsible for the district, was that they wanted to establish the type of radios, reasons for their distribution and whether they had been cleared by customs officials."

The Zimbabwean, 29 Oct 2010, Yeukai Moyo: "Most [Zimbabweans] say they find local television very boring hence they have turned to foreign stations for provision of quality entertainment. Harare is now awash with satellite dishes as viewers shun TV programmes churned out by the only state- run broadcaster in the country, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), in search for quality television entertainment. ... In the rural areas where most people cannot afford to own TV sets, it is now common to see crowds listening to short wave radios where they can tune to foreign radio stations as they search for more entertainment and informative news."

The Herald (Harare), 28 Oct 2010, letter from G. M. Odhiyambo, Mombasa, Kenya: "[P]lease allow me to hail ZBC’s Voice of Zimbabwe through your newspaper, for promoting culture through music. I used to listen to this station even before I visited Zimbabwe, on Short-wave 4828 kilohertz on the 60-metre band and found it so informative. The station’s news is really African and I also like their musical programmes, which so much identifies with the country. I noted when I was in Zimbabwe that its sister stations, like Power FM, mainly plays 'Western' kind of music, which doesn’t really give the station a local identity, but one that is borrowed. I listen to musical programmes on Voice of Zimbabwe, which, include Zimbabwe Music Show, by one Joseph Mandizvidza, but believe me, the brother makes you feel you are in Zimbabwe. ... I think Voice of Zimbabwe is doing quite well in promoting lesser known cultures, not only in Zimbabwe, but worldwide, since the station is accessible on Short Wave."

Radio France International, 6 Nov 2010: Gerry "Jackson of SW Radio says that the while the repressive media climate has always been there and their station had been jammed a few years ago, their radio has noticed recent changes, due in part to upcoming elections. 'A few days ago, the jamming started again, although it's now ceased and we believe it is again testing, ahead of elections, so that they know they are ready at any time to just block our broadcasts,' she says. Mea[n]while, Zimbabwe police have reportedly promised to investigate the illegal radio confiscations. ZimRights' [Okay] Machisa has called on those who have been harassed and hassled to report their radio confiscations as theft."

The Financial Gazette, 5 Nov 2010: The "Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) resumed its consultative outreach exercise in Harare over the weekend. ... Some of the rehearsed phrases that were heard in both Greystone Park and Mount Pleasant included: 'We do not need title deeds for land, your skin colour is your title deed.' and 'No to Studio 7', in reference to the Voice of America’s Washington-based radio station that beams into Zimbabwe and carries news bulletins on the goings-on in the country."

Update: VOA News, 19 Nov 2010, Gibbs Dube: "Police in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South province have been raiding non-governmental organizations and visiting homes demanding the surrender of wind-up short-wave radios associated with the Voice of America’s Studio 7 program for Zimbabwe. ... Police are said to have raided households suspected of possessing such radios. Wind-up short-wave radios have been awarded to Studio 7 listeners in promotional contests and drawings, most recently in connection with Studio 7's LiveTalk call-in program."

In Sudan, personnel of Radio Dabanga arrested, website of Miraya FM blocked (updated).

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 11 Nov 2010, Rebecca Hamilton: "At a market stall in southern Sudan, Darfuri trader Omer Saleh, 45, turned up the volume on his small battery-operated radio. Radio Dabanga, he said - the Dutch-based service that transmits Darfur news by local journalists through shortwave frequencies into Sudan - 'is the only way I can know what is happening at home.' ... But on Oct. 30, Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services raided a Khartoum office shared by Radio Dabanga and Darfuri human rights activists, arresting 13 people. According to Radio Dabanga's Dutch-based director, Hildebrand Bijleveld, the detainees are being held incommunicado in unknown locations. The first official acknowledgment of the arrests came last weekend, with an intelligence official telling the state-run Sudanese media that 'Radio Dabanga was working against Sudan, focused on inciting hatred among the people and aborting the peace process.' Amnesty International has issued an alert, warning that the detainees are at risk of torture."

Update: Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 19 Nov 2010, Katy Glassborrow: "[I]n Darfur and across the border in eastern Chad, the number of listeners who tune in to Radio Dabanga has mushroomed, causing a rush for radios in markets across the region. One day, a woman called the newsroom in tears. For the first time ever, she had heard the news in her own language of Zaghawa. As well as broadcasting in Darfur Arabic, the Radio Dabanga team translates their programmes into the local languages of Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit. The woman knew what she was hearing was impartial news, the truth unaltered by the government. Suffice to say the government does not welcome such broadcasts. It continues to try and block the signal, even taking the state-run Radio Omdurman off the air while Radio Dabanga is on, and using it's transmitter to interfere with Dabanga's shortwave frequency."

Sudan Tribune, 11 Nov 2010: "Access to the website of the UN-sponsored Miraya FM radio in Sudan was temporarily blocked for several hours on Wednesday by the country’s National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC), Sudan Tribune has observed. Miraya FM is a joint enterprise between the UN Mission in Sudan and the Hirondelle Foundation, a Swiss non-government organization. It started broadcasting on FM frequencies on June, 30 2006 and it provides news services around-the-clock. The station broadcasts only in south Sudan as authorities in north Sudan refused to grant Miraya a license to broadcast in the north. Its relays are not audible in north Sudan despite the fact it has offices in Khartoum."

Perhaps by the end of his first meeting he'll know that this Commission has no responsibility for international broadcasting.

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA), 19 Nov 2010, Brian Indrelunas: "President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he plans to nominate Farar, a Democratic fundraiser and president of a Los Angeles-based investment firm, to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. ... Farar, a former KDES disc jockey who also hosted local television shows in the 1960s and '70s, said his experience will come in handy on the public diplomacy panel, which advises the government on its overseas broadcasting efforts like the Voice of America service. 'The media (has) always been an interest of mine,' he said. 'I think that's going to be very important.'" Also to be nominated is Ambassador Ryan Crocker, dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. See, 22 Nov 2010, Matt Armstrong

Website of popular Farsi1 satellite channel hacked.

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL Persian Letters blog, 18 Nov 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: "On November 17, a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army reportedly hacked the website of the popular satellite channel Farsi1. ... The message wishes a 'Happy Eid Ghorban' and adds, 'Rupert Murdoch, the Moby company, the Mohseni family, and the Zionists partners should know that they will take the wish to destroy the structure of Iranian families with them to the grave.' Farsi1, which is co-owned by Rupert Murdoch, is a joint venture between Afghanistan's Moby Media Group, run by Saad Mohseni, and Hong Kong-based Star TV. It airs Latin American soap operas dubbed into Persian. Iranian officials have criticized the channel and accused it of being part of the West's cultural invasion against the Islamic republic and seeking to corrupt the Iranians' morals." -- Such hackings are usually short-lived and, in any case, the bigger Iranian audience is for the satellite channel rather than the website.

New York Times, 19 Nov 2010, Dexter Filkins: "Television audiences are difficult to measure in Iran, especially audiences for programs broadcast by satellite. Satellite dishes are prohibited, but as many as half the households in Tehran are thought to maintain them. A station like Farsi1, which is based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has no transmitter inside Iran. Many of the Persian-language channels that are broadcast into the country are news- and politics-oriented, like the BBC or the Voice of America. Farsi1’s backers focus exclusively on entertainment and, by doing so, say they have been able to draw millions of viewers away from the drab programs offered by Iranian state television and the news-only offerings of the others." See previous post about Farsi1.

BBC World Service Ascension shortwave relay now using wind power in addition to diesel fuel.

Posted: 24 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Power-Gen Worldwide, 19 Nov 2010: "A key BBC World Service transmission site on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic has embraced on-site wind power with the assistance of sustainability consultancy AEA, which was commissioned to investigate renewable power options to replace ageing technology at the site. The new hybrid wind/diesel power station is expected to save approximately £500,000 (US$803,000) a year on the diesel fuel that previously had to be shipped to the island, and reduce the frequency of tanker-supplied diesel fuel deliveries to 18 monthly intervals. The location and nature of Ascension Island made the project particularly challenging – the island is volcanic and has no deepwater port. However, since the turbines have been in operation they have generated in the region of 205 MWh of electricity a month – offsetting approximately 58,000 litres of diesel." See also AEA press release, 19 Oct 2010 (pdf). ?id=9703

BBC World Service correspondent receives a Lyons at the Lippmann.

Posted: 23 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Harvard Crimson, 19 Nov 2010, Kerry M. Flynn: "Mohamed Olad Hassan, a Somali journalist who has covered the people of his nation amid dangerous insurgency over the last decade, was awarded the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism at the Walter Lippmann House in Cambridge last night. Hassan, a senior correspondent and writer for BBC World Service and The Associated Press, has been called the 'voice of the voiceless.'" See previous post about same subject. -- We might need a voice of the voices of the voiceless.

Israel still hoping for an "IBA World" to compete with Al Jazeera English.

Posted: 23 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 19 Nov 2010, Greer Fay Cashman: "The popularity of Al-Jazeera invites a more substantial Israeli response, [Steve Leibowitz, chief editor of Israel Broadcasting Authority News in English] said, and from high-level meetings in which he has participated, he knows that the government, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office and the chairman of the IBA are all committed to Israel having an English-language channel that can compete with Al-Jazeera. The essential difference is that Al-Jazeera receives immense funding from the government of Qatar, whereas Israel will have to find the budget to keep what Leibowitz refers to as IBA World going. IBA World, he said, would be modeled along the lines of BBC World and would continue to expand in the volume and variety of its Israel coverage. In his interview with the Post, Leibowitz made frequent reference to Israel’s image. The word has certain PR connotations that provoke the question as to whether IBA News is a propaganda tool. 'Definitely not,' insisted Leibowitz. 'It simply presents the news from an Israeli perspective.' Other than the fact that its broadcasters are Zionists, it does not identify politically, 'and we hope to keep and gain viewers by being objective.'"

Competing with Al Jazeera English is a formidable undertaking. AJE is popular in the "South," because viewers in countries of the South see reports about where they live, or near to where they live, more often than they see them on other channels. Can IBA World provide such extensive reportage, with plenty of video, from all those places? Talking heads will not suffice.

How about this for US-China bilateral cooperation? We don't jam you, so don't jam us.

Posted: 23 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 19 Nov 2010: "China's State Council Information Office (SCIO) director Wang Chen met in Washington on Thursday with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale to discuss how to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in public diplomacy and cultural exchanges. Wang, who is on a visit to the United States, told McHale that the SCIO is willing to work with relevant U.S. departments to exchange views on issues of common concern, and maintain communication and dialogue on media cooperation in a bid to facilitate and deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. McHale echoed that the U.S. side is ready to take concrete steps to facilitate bilateral cooperation in this regard. Zhang Yesui, Chinese ambassador to the United States, was present at the meeting."

RFE/RL's Radio Azadi launches interactive SMS service for Afghanistan.

Posted: 23 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 18 Nov 2010: "Radio Azadi, RFE's Afghan station, has launched an interactive SMS service that is connecting the station more directly with its audience, especially villagers in remote, inaccessible regions who are often cut off from news and information. Thanks to a recent partnership between RFE and mobile service provider Etisalat, mobile phone users in Afghanistan can now subscribe to free SMS news updates and emergency alerts from Radio Azadi. ... One recent text message to Radio Azadi, for example, came from Samandar Khpalwak of the Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar province, who complained that a local teacher's training institute lacks a building. ... Each morning and evening, Etisalat customers who subscribe to the free service receive news headlines from Radio Azadi in either Dari or Pashto. They also get SMS messages on their phones with breaking news and emergency alerts. ... Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan has an estimated 57 percent penetration rate for mobile phone use -- 17 million subscribers out of a population of 29 million."

Does this deal increase the ability of Afghan mobile users to send messages to Radio Azadi? Or does receiving news via SMS encourage users to respond to Radio Azadi via SMS?

And how useful is SMS as a medium for international broadcasting? To be sure, penetration is in Afghanistan and elsewhere is high (as noted in the press release). However, I've seen comments by mobile users who complain about being "disturbed" by too many SMS news messages, and about their tendency to use up battery power. Also, the news items have to be staccato: not much room for analysis. Are international broadcasters better off waiting for high levels of 3G (and beyond) access, so that audiences can proactively retrieve more detailed, multimedia news?

Chicago film critic calls NPR "the voice of America" and hopes the world is listening.

Posted: 23 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Chicago Sun-Times, 19 Nov 2010, Roger Ebert: "I've mentioned before that I cannot get into a taxi in Chicago where NPR [National Public Radio] is not either playing, or pre-tuned when the radio is turned on. The driver is invariably African or South Asian. I ask, 'You like NPR?' I have been told, 'I hear more about the rest of the world.' I've also been told, 'I hear more about America.' More than once I've been told, 'I want to learn.' NPR surely is the voice of America -- the voice I hope the world is listening to via the internet. It is the voice of our better nature. We are not all snarling dogs of Left and Right, feasting on shreds torn from the Body Politic."

Washington Times columnist addresses the problem of VOA having an audience (updated).

Posted: 23 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 16 Nov 2010, Kenneth R. Timmerman: "Until now, the United States has not used the vast broadcasting tools at its disposal to promote real change in Iran. Massive budget increases for the Voice of America's Persian News Network (PNN) since 2006 have quadrupled the number of broadcasting employees without enhancing the quality of the programs they produce or the audience they reach. Worse, when it comes to influencing behavior, or even just promoting a culture of democratic values, we are getting no bang for our bucks. In many cases, PNN's programming actually has made things worse by making the United States appear a feckless power, uninterested in the struggle of the Iranian people for freedom. ... I think the Voice of America should return to its original mission as standard-bearer of American values and hold high the beacon of liberty to oppressed peoples, starting with the people of Iran. Unfortunately, today it serves merely as a handmaiden to the oppressors. If VOA is not transformed, it should be shut down. Anything less would be a waste of taxpayer dollars."

No mention of good journalism here. But that is what the audience for international broadcasting is seeking: news that is more comprehensive, reliable, and credible than what they get from their domestic state-controlled media.

The VOA Persian News Network audience is (ahem) conservatively estimated at nine million per week, larger than that of BBC Persian or Radio Farda, and one of the largest audiences for any U.S. international broadcasting service. (See VOA Media Watch, 5 October 2010.)

Timmerman's proposition is therefore an interesting one: either VOA should switch to content that will leave it with no audience, or it should be shut down.

So far this campaign against VOA Persian amounts to no more than occasional ack-ack from outside the mainstream. (See previous post.) These accusations will, however, eventually find their way into a Congressional hearing. Then will begin a more substantial discussion about U.S international broadcasting, and whether it should consist of news or propaganda.

Update: VOA Director Dan Austin responds to the Timmerman oped in this letter to the Washington Times, 22 Nov 2010 (pdf).

NewsMax, 19 Nov 2010, Ken Timmerman: Reza Kahlili, a "former Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer who worked for nearly a decade and a half as a CIA spy has advice for the incoming Republican majority in the House" including provide a "direct channel of communication to the people of Iran where information is shared and where the opposition can guide them for a national strike and where the West can inform them of its support for their cause. Unfortunately, today Voice of America has failed in achieving that by de-politicizing their news coverage and instead providing entertainment programming." -- Down here on planet Earth, most journalists, and serious audiences, consider it a good thing for news to be depoliticized. The "entertainment programming" is really more the purview of Radio Farda, whose music-oriented format does help it attract an audience in Iran, where many types of music are not available domestically.

Wife of Nigerian VP visits VOA, discusses partnership on educational programs.

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
ThisDay (Lagos), 17 Nov 2010, Damilola Oyedele: "The wife of the [Nigerian] Vice President, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo ... has started discussions with the Voice of America for the establishment of a strategic partnership for the provision of educative programmes that would target vulnerable groups in Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria. A statement made available to THISDAY by her office in Abuja disclosed that the Vice President's wife took the initiative during her recent visit to Washington DC, which was at the instance of the news outfit. She added the wide acceptance of radio in Northern Nigeria makes it an effective means of education, while noting that VOA already has a wide pedigree and huge base that would provide the needed intervention. Director General of VOA, Mr. Danforth Austin in his response emphasised that Nigeria is a strategic partner for his medium in Africa, while adding that his agency had already started educative programmes aimed at developmental issues. [He] added that his agency had already commenced town hall meetings in states like Bauchi to establish an interface between the agency and the people to improve programme content and delivery."

The Voice of America Chorus is not located in, or even near, Washington.

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link Share, 17 Nov 2010, Beverly McCabe: "The Voice Of America (VOA) Chorus, a prospective chapter of Sweet Adelines International, announced the launch of their website on November 16, 2010. There is information on the website about the chorus, an events calendar, quartets, the members, and their love of singing a cappella style music. It is not necessary to be vocally trained or read music." -- They rehearse near the site of the old VOA Bethany, Ohio, shortwave transmitting station.

Washington Post cites Amnesty citation of Radio Free Asia about Chinese tweet resulting in detention.

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, BlogPost, 18 Nov 2010, Melissa Bell: "On the day of her wedding, Oct. 27, Chinese online activist Cheng Jianping disappeared. Only this week did her whereabouts surface: She had been detained and sentenced by police to a year of 're-education through labor' for retweeting a suggestion that Chinese youth attack the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. ... Hua has not been arrested. The BBC reports that Cheng has been sent to Shibali River women's labor camp in Zhengzhou city in Henan province. ... Twitter is banned in China, but users can circumvent the blocks implemented by the government. Amnesty International became aware of the arrest through a Radio Free Asia report." See also RFA, 15 Nov 2010.

Study: Al Jazeera viewership in Middle East associated with Muslim rather than national identity.

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Ohio State University press release, 18 Nov 2010: "Residents of the Middle East who are heavy viewers of Arab television news networks like Al Jazeera are more likely to view their primary identity as that of Muslims, rather than as citizens of their own country, a new study suggests. Because networks like Al Jazeera are transnational – focusing on events of interest across the region rather than those in any one country – they may encourage viewers to see themselves in broader terms than simply residents of a particular nation, the researchers said. 'The goal of these relatively new networks is not to represent specific national interests, but to appeal to audiences across the region,' said Erik Nisbet, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University. ... The researchers used data collected between 2004 and 2008 by Zogby International and Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland. Telhami and his colleagues conducted surveys of 14,949 residents across six Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. ... Nisbet acknowledged that this is not the best way to determine if viewing Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya is likely to lead to claiming a Muslim identity. It would be better if researchers could follow the same people over time to see how their identity changes as a result of their TV viewing choices. But such data is not available, and the survey used in this study is the best available." (Asmara), 16 Nov 2010: "The port city of Massawa [Eritrea] was the gateway for the introduction and expansion of Islam in the entire African continent and there exist ample relicts attesting to this fact, noted Aljazeera news report that was broadcast on November 15. In the daily new report it is broadcasting focusing on Eritrea, Aljazeera TV indicated that Massawa not only served as a safe haven for followers of Prophet Mohammed but also paved the way for the introduction and spread of the Islamic religion all over Africa."

Fighting internet censorship takes more than earmarks for circumvention tools, "one in particular."

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 19 Nov 2010, Rebecca Mackinnon: "[M]any in Congress and the media have bought into the fantasy that all the U.S. needs to do is put enough money into these circumvention tools, and one in particular — and freedom will flood through the crumbling firewalls. Since 2007, Congress has inserted a total of $50 million of earmarks into the State Department's budget to fund organizations dedicated to fighting Internet censorship. One group that has been lobbying hard for the money is the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, run mainly by practitioners of the Falun Gong, a religious sect banned in China. The GIFC has produced a suite of circumvention tools that work well, as long as the user doesn't mind that GIFC engineers can see their unencrypted communications, or that the security of the tool has not been vetted by independent experts. ... The State Department has come under fire in the Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times for failing to support GIFC. ... In August, $1.5 million out of $5 million available for 2009 was finally awarded by the State Department to the GIFC via the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The bidding process for a remaining $30 million is expected to start soon. With the mid-term elections now finished, we can look forward to a new surge in the war over who gets to be hero of the fairy tale 'Toppling the Iron Curtain 2.0.'" See previous post about same subject.

UN-funded radio station for Somalia broadcasts, with "scrupulous independence," from studio in Kenya.

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Globe and Mail, 17 Nov 2010, Geoffrey York: "Bar-Kulan (the Somali phrase for 'meeting place') ... this year became the first non-partisan radio broadcaster in Somalia. Because it refuses to obey the extremists, its 50 employees must take precautions for their safety. They often use pseudonyms and voice-overs to protect their identities. And while the station has a network of correspondents across Somalia, along with an FM transmitter in Mogadishu, its main studio has been placed in neighbouring Kenya, where it can operate a little more freely. Their listeners must be equally cautious. If they live in areas of Mogadishu controlled by the extremist militias, they often secretly listen to Bar-Kulan on earphones or cellphone radios, giving the impression that they’re merely having a phone conversation. ... Funded by the United Nations with a $1.7-million budget this year, the station has insisted on scrupulous independence, covering all sides of the conflict and refusing to take orders from anyone – not even the African Union military forces that guard the besieged government in Mogadishu. The military asked for three hours of daily coverage of its activities, but the station refused. ... Launched eight months ago, Bar-Kulan now broadcasts 24 hours a day on FM, along with two hours a day on shortwave. It also offers live streaming on its website, mostly for the Somali diaspora in countries such as Canada. About a quarter of its employees are female."

Can the American version of "Top Gear" get into gear?

Posted: 22 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov 2010, Scott D. Pierce: "The attempt to translate the hit British series 'Top Gear' into American might not seem like a big deal — unless you’re a fan of the original. And about 350 million people worldwide are fans. Which is why the History Channel is taking a bit of a risk by putting three Americans in the 'Top Gear' format that has made Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammon and James May worldwide stars. The American version features Tanner Foust, a racing/stunt driver; Rutledge Wood, a Speed Channel reporter; and comedian/actor Adam Ferrara. They evaluate cars, go through goofy challenges and generally joke around. ... The British version is great fun, even if you don’t know anything about cars. Whether the U.S. version can re-create that magic is the question. Well, that and — given that we do speak English here— why not just import Clarkson, Hammon and May? 'I don’t see why you’d want a group of sort of bad-teethed Brits coming and telling you about your own car culture,' said producer John Hesling, who’s also senior vice president of programming for BBC Worldwide."

New York Times, 19 Nov 2010, John Pearley Huffman: "What the History show lacks is the original’s sharp-edge wit and critical bite. The American trio may be too nice for their own good. With the British hosts, it seems that if any one of them were hit by a Ferrari, the surviving two wouldn’t even bother scraping him off the windshield. And then they’d criticize the Ferrari for not handling well enough to avoid hitting him."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 20 Nov 2010, Rob Owen: "Fans of the original 'Top Gear' need not fear, it's not going anywhere. [John Hesling of BBC Worldwide Productions] said the original series already co-exists with an Australian edition of the show. 'In Russia, we have a version of it there, and we found out that people like both versions,' he said. 'It's not a competitive situation, you know. It's a great show that people love, and we feel it's proven that the two versions can sit quite happily side by side.'"

New York Times, 19 Nov 2010, Mike Hale: "The real test, though, lies in the numbers. Through three episodes, the featured cars — the ones actually driven in races or stunts — have included six imports and three domestics, and two of the American cars were $1,000 junkers from the 1980s. If the show doesn’t adjust that balance, it may have some explaining to do." See previous post about same subject.

History Channel press release, 22 Nov 2010, via Futon Critic: Premieres to audience of "nearly two million viewers."

New Solomon Islands television news operation has content deals with Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Australia Pacific Beat, 17 Nov 2010: "A former [Radio Australia] Pacific Beat Stringer Correspondent has created her own television operation from scratch in Solomon Islands, which has never had local television before. ... Australia Network's Pacific Correspondent, Sean Dorney, reports that Dorothy Wickham's One News operation is in the process of gaining the country's first local television licence. ... Dorney: And they burnt their news onto a DVD which they then rushed across the road to Solomons Telecom which would put it to air interrupting their relays of Australia Network or the BBC. ... When they are not broadcasting their own programs, One News has an agreement to run Al Jazeera. Wickham: So I asked and they said, 'Fine. If we could pull it down and get rights for it.' So we did. So we, in the process of also, ah, I've actually signed the rights for Deutsche Welle Television as well. We might be using some of their programs."

French Radio London, on DAB etc, promises to "talk a little slower."

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
French Tribune, 19 Nov 2010: "London has a very sizeable French population in it, and with 400,000 members, it is the largest non-English population in London. Their voices can now be heard on the official French radio station in the city, French Radio London (FRL), which was launched yesterday at midday. ... The broadcasting of the radio station will be 24 hours every day from the studios off Edgware road, and it will come almost entirely in French, and will also have its own website on the internet and will even reach the local DAB network. The primary audience target of FRL is the large number of French and French-speaking population in London, besides British Francophiles who wish to brush up a little on their French. There presenters in the station however consciously talk a little slower than their counterparts in metropolitan France." See also FRL press release, 20 Nov 2010 (pdf)., 19 Nov 2010, Michael Hedges: "Anglophone ex-pats living in Paris, however, have only internet radio options. ... World Radio Paris, Paris Live Radio and the BBC World Service were denied broadcast licenses in 2007. English language broadcasting is generally forbidden to French licensed broadcasters. Perhaps when the French government sorts out its digital radio dilemma a bit more diversity will be allowed. That is, of course, one of the biggest selling points for digital radio."

CNN International exits UK digital terrestrial Freeview.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 17 Nov 2010, Julian Clover: "CNN International has ceased broadcasting on Freeview [UK], describing its 22-month tenure on the DTT platform as a trial period. The news network had occupied capacity in the ITV-owned SDN mutiplex. Its four-hour nightly window came about after the earlier closure of the Nuts TV venture. 'With this trial period coming to a natural end on November 13th at midnight, we’ll be looking anew at the distribution opportunities across all platforms, for CNN content in the UK, as part of our overall international distribution strategy. We’ll now assess how Freeview might fit into our plans going forward as an international multiplatform brand in the future,' said a CNN spokesperson. Other news broadcasters BBC News, Sky News and Russia Today remain on the platform."

Documentaries or public diplomacy? Discovery Channel in co-production deal with China.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Discovery Communications press release, 18 Nov 2010: "Discovery Channel ... and China's State Council Information Office (SCIO), today announced the launch of 'China Imagica,' a three-year joint production initiative. The initiative aims to produce documentaries that will showcase the China's many unique aspects including her people, places, and things of 'magical interest' that inspire awe and wonder. The first two documentaries of the initiative, CHINA'S MAN MADE MARVELS: ANCIENT BEIJING and MAN MADE MARVELS: REBUILDING SICHUAN, are scheduled to commence shooting soon and will premiere on Discovery Channel in the second quarter of 2011. A third programme, CHINA, one of Discovery's first series to be produced in 3D, will premiere on Discovery's 3D channel next year. Tom Keaveny, executive vice president and managing director, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific (DNAP), said, 'With its amazing history and culture, the possibilities for documentary content in China are endless.'" -- From the second sentence of the press release, one might wonder if these documentaries are infomercials for China. Discovery Channel is not a news channel, but I assume it does have some editorial standards. Will the Chinese partner allow the entire story to be told?

Employees of Cold War-era Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty with shady pasts.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 17 Nov 2010, Richard Cummings: "On 28 June 1985, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report Nazi And Axis Collaborators Were Used To Further U.S. Anti—Communist Objectives In Europe -- Some Immigrated To The United States. ... Radio Free Europe, and to a lesser extent Radio Liberty, were mentioned in various parts. The CIA financed both until 1972. ... 'Subject B' of the report was Stanislas Stankevich, a freelancer for the Byelorussian broadcast service of Radio Liberty. During WWII he was mayor of the town of Borisov in Byelorussia, 1941-44, and he was given the nickname 'Butcher of Borisov' for his alleged collaboration with the Germans in extermination of the Jews in that area. ... In 1944, [Ferenc Koreh] worked in the Hungarian Ministry of Propaganda as the Press Information Officer and Deputy Director of the Information Section. After World War Two, he was convicted in Budapest of 'war crimes.' In 1950 Koreh immigrated to the USA without mentioning his work at the Ministry of Propaganda and became a US citizen in 1956. From 1951 to 1974, he worked full-time for Radio Free Europe and became a freelancer afterwards to 1989."

World War II veteran remembers listening to "Axis Sally."

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Oak Ridger (Oak Ridge, TN), 15 Nov 2010, Lewis "Doc" Emerson: "Carl Hoover, our first sergeant, had a battery-operated radio and we were absolutely shocked that evening when we listened to Radio Berlin's propagandist 'Axis Sally' welcoming the American's 100th Infantry Division to Europe and telling us how sad she was to know that many of us would never again see our homes, our mothers, wives, children, or sweethearts. She also played 'Home on the Range,' which she identified as the favorite song of Gen. Withers Burress, our commanding general. Having enlisted at age 17, I was still a teenager and was pretty unnerved to realize that the Nazis already had all this information and knew more about us and our plans than I did. ... Starting just after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, [Mildred] Gillars began her broadcasts that earned her the nickname of Axis Sally. These broadcasts were designed to weaken the morale of the American GIs by playing sentimental music designed to make us feel homesick. She even went so far as to suggest that our girlfriends and wives back home were being unfaithful with the 4F men left behind. She also posed as an International Red Cross worker in recorded interviews with captured and/or wounded POWs. These were used in her broadcasts, which were interspersed with anti-Roosevelt and anti-Semitic propaganda, beamed toward America in her efforts to promote fear and worry in our families back home." See previous post about same subject.

Media pilgrimage to Haj includes international channels.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Arab News, 18 Nov 2010, Muhammad Humaidan: "Every year the annual rituals of Haj are the subject of international media coverage. This year has seen an increase in the number of media organizations covering the event. These organizations included prominent TV channels, news agencies, radio stations and international newspapers, such as CNN, BBC, Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France Press, Turkey's Jihan News Agency, NBC, ABC, Malaysia's SCTV and Astro Channel, Britain's Islam TV, Korea's KBC, Russia Today Channel, Indonesian TV, France 3, MBC, Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera Network, Al-Hurra TV and Japan's NHK TV."

Poland opens news junkie's paradise.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Polish Market Online, 16 Nov 2010: "Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski opened an Operation Centre located at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. It is designed to monitor crisis situations in the world and notify Poland's authorities about natural disasters, the President’s official website reads. President Komorowski told journalists that the ultra-modern Operation Centre (OP) allows fast data collection and an immediate reaction to a potential crisis situation. The Centre’s team will monitor global events 24/7 in the situation room where 200 Polish and international news channels i.e. BBC, CNN, France 24, Euronews, Al-Jazeera will be broadcasted. Any extraordinary situation will be reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other proper institutions."

Egyptian's campaign for parliamentary seat includes interviews on Alhurra and Al Arabiya.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 14 Nov 2010, Betsy Hiel: Gameela Ismail looks "over her notes for an appearance on Al Hurra, the U.S.-funded Arabic-language TV channel. Tonight's topic is Egypt's coming parliamentary election and its new quota system, reserving 64 of 502 lower-house seats for women. Ismail is not running for one of the seats reserved for women; she is an independent candidate, part of the unsanctioned opposition. And she wants to talk with Al Hurra's interviewer about election issues, not quotas. ... The Al Hurra interview over, Ismail races to another on the pan-Arab station, Al Arabiya. On the drive, she criticizes Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party for its 'failure of 30 years.'"

Radio Free Sarawak goes on the air, via shortwave.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Free Malaysia Today, 15 Nov 2010: "Radio Free Sarawak, aimed as an alternative voice for Sarawakians, went on air this morning. In an e-mail to FMT, the Bruno Manser Foundation, said that the new alternative radio station will have two daily broadcasts on shortwave, presumably in Iban and Bahasa Malaysia. 'It aims at Sarawak's rural communities who lack access to independent media,' stated the e-mail. It is an open secret that the media in Sarawak are strictly controlled by the state government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and logging companies who own and control all major media outlets in the state. The transmission details of Radio Free Sarawak are as follows: 1st transmission: 0630-0730 local time (GMT +8) on 7590 kHz (short wave), 2nd transmission: 1800-1900 local time (GMT +8) on 15680 kHz (short wave)." For discussion of the transmitter site(s), see comment to Radio Netherlands Media Network, 15 Nov 2010.

Under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi listened to BBC, VOA, RFA "5 or 6 hours every day."

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
NewsCore, 18 Nov 2010: "Newly freed democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi gave an insight Wednesday into the daily routine and inner strength that enabled her to endure years under house arrest in Burma. 'It wasn't all that difficult,' she told London's The Times. ... 'I listened to the Burmese service on the BBC, VOA [Voice of America], RFA [Radio Free Asia], that was about five or six hours every day. It was a big chunk out of my day but I couldn't afford to miss it. Because any news I missed, I missed - no one was going to come in and fill the gaps for me. So that was a duty.'"

The Irrawaddy, 16 Nov 2010, Saw Yan Naing: "In a scene that was repeated throughout Burma, shop owner turned on the TV at his home on Friday when he heard of Aung San Suu Kyi's impending release. 'I turned on the DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] satellite broadcast on Friday evening and on Saturday we watched TV the whole day waiting to see her face,' he said, adding that many people came to his home to watch the event. ... Other residents in Bogalay confirmed that houses with satellite TV were packed with people watching the news of Suu Kyi's release. Despite official bans on receiving banned satellite news channels and shortwave radio broadcasts, the military government has been unable to block TV signals and prevent people from watching channels like the Oslo-based DVB." See previous post about same subject.

BBC World Service Trust web drama about Beirut life has "a loyal following."

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Daily Star, 20 Nov 2010, Annie Slemrod: "'Shankaboot' is a web drama about all-purpose moped-driving delivery guy named Suleiman (Hassan Akil). Alongside him is Ruwaida (Samira Kawass), whose naive pursuit of fame lands the both of them in some sticky situations. Fast-paced and brief (generally less than 5 minutes in length), the series’ episodes, eclectic cast of characters, and alternative look at Beirut life make it a fun and addictive watch. Since its launch in March 2010, 'Shankaboot' has gained a loyal following. The show’s public relations people suggest the website gets 2,000 hits a day, and 250,000 people have watched episodes on YouTube. ... Lebanon’s Batoota Films produces the serial with funding from the BBC World Service Trust, which regards the drama as part of its mission to produce 'socially responsible media content.'"

BBC Worldwide sells to Discovery its 50 percent share of Animal Planet.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Discovery Communications press release, 15 Nov 2010: "The BBC and Discovery Communications today announced a new agreement extending their long term North American co-production partnership. Under the new agreement, the BBC and Discovery are extending their long-standing strategic programming relationship for co-productions and programme acquisitions for North America by two years to 2014. This partnership has produced widely acclaimed global programming events such as LIFE, Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Wonders of the Solar System. ... In addition, BBC Worldwide is selling to Discovery its 50 percent interest in the global TV channels joint venture Animal Planet and Liv for $156m. Following the exit of this joint venture, BBC Worldwide will concentrate on the expansion of its wholly owned channel brands, which include BBC America, BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, BBC HD and CBeebies, which reach 107m subscribers in over 100 countries."

The Guardian, 15 Nov 2010, John Plunkett: "Last year's review of BBC Worldwide's remit said it should sell off stakes in non-BBC branded international channels 'where it makes commercial sense'. It also committed BBC Worldwide to exit from any activity that was 'not in keeping with the BBC brand' and ruled out further acquisitions, along the lines of its controversial purchase of the Lonely Planet travel guides business – except in 'exceptional circumstances'."

Russia Today (RT) redesigns its website.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 15 Nov 2010, RIA Novosti via BBC Monitoring: "The Russian news channel Russia Today (RT), which broadcasts in English, Arabic and Spanish, is launching a new multimedia internet portal at, the channel’s press service announced on Monday [15 November]. 'Our website is the most popular foreign-language resource originating in Russia. More than 50 per cent of the people who visit live in the US, Canada and Great Britain.' ... For media professionals, the portal has an internet video agency, FreeVideo, where they can obtain free access to a database of broadcast-quality video material about Russia."

Former BBC DJ will bid to operate British Forces international broadcasting.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Northern Echo (Darlington, County Durham), 15 Nov 2010, Owen McAteer: "A former BBC Radio 1 DJ is bidding to take over the international broadcasting services for the British Armed Forces. Tees Valley-born Mark Page, who runs North Yorkshire-based Garrison Radio, broadcasting to Army bases throughout the UK, is bidding to take on the contract providing radio and television to UK forces throughout the world, including those on board ships and serving in some of the world’s toughest environments. ... Forces Broadcasting has grown from humble beginnings in 1943, with a single radio station for British and Allied forces, into a global, multi-channel television and radio operation."

Association for International Broadcasting award winners include two international broadcasting organizations.

Posted: 20 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AIB, 9 Nov 2010: "The Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) announced the winners of its annual global media excellence awards at a gala event in London on 9 November 2010. ... Clearest coverage of a single news event – television. Winner: Al Jazeera English (Qatar) for Gaza Flotilla coverage. ... Clearest coverage of a single news event – radio. Winner: BBC World Service (UK) for Connexion Haiti. ... Best current affairs documentary - radio. Winner : BBC World Service (UK) for Dying to Give Birth."

Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting on 19 November: video and audio now available.

Posted: 19 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
On-demand video and audio of the meeting is available on this page of the BBG website.

Richard Lobo, new director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, reported that the IBB Coordinating Committee (required by the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 but until now mostly inactive) will have its first full official meeting on 8 December. The committee consists of all the BBG entities, even though IBB is statutorily connected only to VOA and Radio/TV Martí. Mr. Lobo also reported on the "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats" of and to the IBB. Listen to his presentation (mp3, 3:31).

Australian government nears decision on the future of Australia Network.

Posted: 18 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 15 Nov 2010, Malcolm Colless: "After months of stalling, the federal government is close to making a decision on the future of the Australia Network. An announcement, on the country's international television broadcasting service, was expected last Monday but this was deferred until later this month. ... [T]ime is fast running out because the five-year contract to manage Australia Network Television, which is held by the ABC, expires next August. Its future has been the subject of intense lobbying for well over a year by the ABC, which argues that as the government-owned national broadcaster it is uniquely suited to run this service, and by Sky News, which claims the contract should be contested through an open tender process. Sky News has questioned the competence of the national broadcaster to deliver an appropriate image of Australia from this diplomatic platform and claims it is more interested in projecting its own image. The ABC has countered by arguing that putting the service in the hands of Sky News, partly owned by News Corporation (parent company of The Australian), would undermine Australia's diplomatic relations because of conflicting commercial objectives. ... The international television service, which receives $20m a year in funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, has been managed by the ABC since 2001."

Friends of the ABC, 27 Oct 2010 (pdf), letter to Kevin Rudd, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, from David Risstrom, FABC Victoria president: "The present arrangement under which the ABC provides Australia Network on a contract from DFAT prevents the best outcome for Australian international broadcasting. Australia's international radio and television services would both be weakened if the television service were to be separated from the ABC which operates Radio Australia. As long as the ABC must continue to tender to provide Australia Network it is not feasible for the ABC to integrate the resources and content-gathering of Radio Australia and Australia Network or to draw them more tightly together for public identification. The cross-platform leveraging and presence internationally of the BBC, for example, is strengthened by the delivery of its radio, television and online services under a single banner. The effectiveness of Australia's international broadcasting services depends on them being independent and being seen to be independent from both political and commercial influence. The independence of Australia Network and, by association, Radio Australia, is compromised by the manner in which Australia's international television service is presently funded; i.e., through DFAT and commercial revenue."

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Nov 2010, Karl Quinn: "In the Bruce Allen Memorial Lecture, Mr Scott justified his call for increased government funding for the planned expansion by describing the ABC's role in terms of 'soft diplomacy'. 'When you look at the expansion of international broadcasting as an arm of soft diplomacy, governments are using their public broadcasters to do this work,' he said. 'We need to continue to put Australia on display, using the most powerful tools available - the tools of modern communication. And at the ABC, we are willing and ready to play our part.' That avowed willingness to put the ABC at the disposal of government interests has rung alarm bells in some quarters. 'If Mark Scott said that, it is shocking,' said Glenys Stradijot, a spokeswoman for Friends of the ABC in response to yesterday's comments. 'Scott's statement runs totally counter to the spirit and letter of the ABC Act, which establishes the independence of the national broadcaster from the government … It is totally unacceptable for him to trade the ABC's independence in return for money.'"

Remediation at a former Radio Australia shortwave site. And more RA in the news.

Posted: 18 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Construction Digital, 4 Nov 2010: "Based in Australia’s Northern Territory, G&K Akers Contracting is recognized for the successful completion of a series of mining and earthmoving projects. ... Current projects include a new mining agreement within the Northern Territory, Crocodile Gold and another remediation for the Old Radio Australia site." -- Almost certainly referring to the former Radio Australia shortwave transmitting station near Darwin...

Shortwave Central, 11 Oct 2010, Adrian Peterson, AWR Wavescan: "Radio Australia Darwin; that modern state-of-the-art international shortwave broadcasting station as it once was, is gone, gone forever! It is no longer on the air, it has been dismantled, and the property has reverted to its original inhabitants, the Belyuen Aborigines. ... Work commenced on this station in 1966 at a location on Cox Peninsula, seven miles across the harbor, or 100 miles around the unmade road. Three Collins transmitters rated at 250 kW were installed and these were activated progressively beginning in December 1968, though full usage was not implemented until nearly three years later."

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 18 Nov 2010, Andy Sennitt: "Radio Australia has been granted access and use of the Kranji shortwave relay station [BBC relay] by Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA). Starting Monday 22 November two transmissions per day will be relayed to Burma and China: Burmese: 0100-0130 UTC on 11780KHz 340deg 250Kw. English: 1100-1300 on 6140KHz 13deg 250Kw."

The Age (Melbourne), 17 Nov 2010, Bernard Clancy: Australian broadcaster John Hounslow, who recently died at age 63, "was conscripted in April 1967 and arrived in Vietnam about 12 months later, where he served in army public relations in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). His most important task was to read a five-minute bulletin of news from Australia on the American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) radio station at 10am each day. It was a much anticipated program by Australian troops throughout the country because it was the only way they received timely news from home in an age when radio communications were by telex and mail went by ship. To ensure the news was fresh, Hounslow would tape early morning Radio Australia broadcasts - obtained via a five-storey-high aerial on the Free World military headquarters building - rewrite it in his own style and make the daily dash to the American radio station through horrendous Saigon traffic jams to get to the microphone by the appointed hour."

Farsi1 attracts audiences in Iran with "American, Colombian and South Korean soaps and comedies."

Posted: 18 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 17 Nov 2010, Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran: "Broadcast from Dubai, Farsi1 is a joint venture between Hong Kong-based Star TV, a News Corp subsidiary, and Afghanistan’s Moby Media Group. Since it began beaming its signal last year, it has drawn millions of viewers for shows dubbed in Iran’s national language. Many young Iranian women are living vicariously through the Farsi1’s American, Colombian and South Korean soaps and comedies, which give them a taste of life beyond their conservative families and the Islamic regime. 'Farsi1 feels like having a delicious but forbidden cake in front of you and makes you further realise how you are deprived of your basic rights,' says Shabnam, a 39-year-old hairdresser. ... 'Farsi1 and other satellite channels are surely worrisome,' says Hamid-Reza Taraghi, a fundamentalist politician. 'Their goal is to attack the identity of people, push them toward vulgar behaviour and distance them from Islamic values so that people lose hope in the Islamic system.'" See previous post about same subject.

Heritage fellow reports, and laments, that VOA shortwave cuts were planned.

Posted: 17 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 15 Nov 2010, Helle C. Dale: "Despite the fact that the budget of the BBG has increased significantly in recent years, the board has cited budget shortfalls for decisions to curtail short wave radio transmissions around the globe, focusing in stead on television (which is far more expensive to produce than radio) and Internet (which is far more vulnerable to interference). ... In early October, directions went out from the VOA management that all shortwave transmissions on Voice of America (the flag ship of the U.S. international broadcasting complex) in several major world languages would be eliminated by October 31. This would effectively remove VOA’s reach throughout a large swath of the globe. The language services affected would be Mandarin, Spanish, French to Africa, and Indonesian. ... Considering that the BBG proposed in its 2010 budget shutting down the Greenville, South Carolina, transmitting station (the last U.S. government owned short-wave transmitted on continental U.S. soil), one might well conclude that [budgetary planning at the BBG and VOA leaves a lot to be desired]. Thankfully, cooler heads seem to have prevailed for now. The decision to shut down short-wave transmissions in Spanish, Mandarin, Indonesian, and French to Africa was put on hold by VOA management on October 28, just days before the great silence would have set in. To eliminate short-wave radio (the vast preponderance of VOA radio transmissions) from the set of tools possessed by the U.S. government in its outreach to the world would be extraordinarily shortsighted."

I've listened to shortwave radio for the past 45 years, and I still do, on shortwave radios (some now long in the tooth) scattered all over the house. It's a wonderful medium. I should be an advocate of shortwave for international broadcasting, but data about media environments around the world lead to a different conclusion.

First, although I'm not allowed to be specific, Ms. Dale's information about the VOA languages for which shortwave would have been eliminated is partially incorrect. In two of these languages she listed, shortwave would have been reduced, not eliminated. In one language she did not mention, shortwave would have been eliminated. Also incorrect: the VOA shortwave transmitting station is near Greenville, North Carolina, not Greenville, South Carolina.

Traditionally, people owned and listened to shortwave radios for two main reasons. First, they used it to receive domestic broadcasts from the National Service, if they didn't have a medium wave or FM transmitter in their vicinity. Now, networks of FM transmitters saturate countries that formerly depended on shortwave for domestic coverage. Television transmitters are also now available.

The second reason to listen to shortwave is to listen to foreign broadcasts if domestic media are not providing adequate, or credible, news coverage. Now, to get news from abroad, people are turning to international channels via cable or satellite, or to the internet.

With the elimination of these two main reasons for listening to shortwave, in most countries, most people don't own shortwave radios.

There are countries where access to international television and the internet is sufficiently limited that rates of shortwave listening are still high. Examples are Burma, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and not many others.

Shortwave is arguably least interdictable medium available to international broadcasting, because of the physical tendency of shortwave to travel better over long rather than short distances. The internet, with its proxy sites and circumvention softwares, might be equally or more difficult to stop. Even against jamming attempts, VOA and BBC were able to find the combination of satellites to get their programming through to Iran.

For future crises, when the internet might not work very well, it would be a good idea for the United States to maintain a global shortwave transmission capacity. It would also be difficult for the BBG to justify the expense of such a "rainy day" asset. Perhaps the global shortwave network could be a Federal interdepartmental responsibility, available to the Defense Department, the State Department, or BBG, as and where needed.

People, too, should keep a shortwave radio in the house for those future crises. I doubt, however, that many will. Shortwave radios will be in the hands of government agencies, emergency service organizations, well-prepared news organizations, radio amateurs and hobbyist shortwave listeners. This small contingent will have to spread the news to the larger population.

(Even an amateur group planning to send a weather balloon across the Atlantic has moved on from shortwave: "Rather than a shortwave radio signal, they'll communicate with the balloon by way of a satellite modem." Louisville Courier-Journal, 16 Nov 2010.)

Next webcast meeting of the BBG is Friday, 19 November, 1600 UTC.

Posted: 17 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 10 Nov 2010: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Friday, November 19. The public meeting is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. [1600 UTC]. The BBG will hear research presentations by InterMedia and Gallup, a report from the Board’s Governance Committee and a status report from the International Broadcasting Bureau Coordinating Committee. In addition, the Board will discuss the security of BBG journalists and consider a resolution regarding the Agency’s Ethics Program. The meeting is open to the public - but due to space limitations via webcast only - and will be streamed both live and on-demand at" -- And I haven't watched the October meeting yet.

BBG adjusts weekly USIB audience estimate from 171 to 165 million.

Posted: 17 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 15 Nov 2010: "U.S. international broadcasters continue to draw large global audiences on radio, television, and the Internet in key countries, according to the newest Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) Performance and Accountability Report released today. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and Burma are among countries where the five entities under the BBG reached substantial audiences in 2010. ... Overall, the report finds that more than 165 million people turn to U.S. international broadcasts across media platforms every week and that most consistently find programming consistently highly reliable and informative. The figure is a decrease from the BBG’s 2009 audience estimate of 171 million people. The report notes that U.S. international broadcasting faces ongoing distribution challenges including increased local competition, crowded FM markets and fragmented TV markets. Persistent jamming in Iran contributed to the audience decline as did the discontinuation of VOA broadcasts in Hindi. Increased media fragmentation in Pakistan and the loss of key affiliates in Ukraine were additional contributors to audience declines." With links to documents. -- A decline or increase in the audience estimate from year to year does not necessarily reflect an increase or decrease in the actual audience. As more and newer data replace older data, the change might be more of a correction to a more accurate estimate. An expanded number of information sources, including microbloggers, will continue to exert downward pressure on the USIB audience figure.

Directors of BBCWS, DW, AEF, RNW, and VOA meet in Washington.

Posted: 17 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 29 Oct 2010: "Defeating jamming and censorship and ways to reach new audiences in the fast-changing digital world were among topics discussed by the directors of the VOA, BBC, Deutsche Welle, France’s AEF, and Radio Netherlands at their annual meeting, held October 25-26 in Washington DC. The annual meeting of the 'DG5' ('DG' stands for Directors General) brings together managers of five of the world's leading international broadcast organizations to discuss issues of common concern and mutual interest. Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Walter Isaacson and BBG Governors Michael Meehan and Dennis Mulhaupt also took part in the meetings, which included discussion about possible enhanced cooperation among the five broadcasters and the increasing importance of engaging global audiences through social media." -- Did they also discuss that through the social media, global audiences become competitors for the attention of global audiences?

Former official of Kyrgyzstan presidential secretariat is now (unless something was lost in translation) head of RFE/RL Kyrgyz.

Posted: 17 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link News Agency, 13 Nov 2010: "Sultan Dzhumagulov, former official of the Presidential Secretariat, headed RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service in Kyrgyzstan. H[e] was presented to creative team of Radio Azzatyk the day before. Sultan Dzhumagulov is a professional journalists, 52 years old, worked in such editions as Leninchil Zhash newspaper (it was transformed to Asaba newspaper later), Erkin-Too newspaper, contributed to BBC. Sultan Dzhumagulov headed Analytical Department under the Presidential Secretariat before April 7, 2010."

"Bitingly critical" Ukrainian journalist "continues his long-time association with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty."

Posted: 17 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Kyiv Post, 12 Nov 2010, Natalia A. Feduschak: Vitaliy Portnikov's "commentaries are often bitingly critical of Ukraine’s elite and he is fearless in going head-to-head with politicians from all persuasions. Portnikov’s determination to maintain journalistic integrity has sometimes caused him to part ways with colleagues and publications. But he has stayed true to his principles. ... In May, Portnikov was appointed editor-in-chief of TVi, the independent TV station that had its frequencies revoked in September after complaints by U.A. Inter Media Group, the nation’s largest media group, which is partly owned by Security Service of Ukraine chief Valeriy Khoroshkovsky. The case is being appealed. He continues his long-time association with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for the Ukrainian and Russian services." See also Portnikov commentary at RFE/RL, 28 July 2010.

RFE/RL Washington chief editor reviews George W. Bush's autobiography.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 10 Nov 2010, Christian Caryl, RFE/RL chief editor in Washington: "The newly released autobiography of former U.S. President George W. Bush makes for an intriguing read -- not least because of what it leaves out. It's a surprisingly good read, punchy and direct. He even admits a few mistakes -- something he was notably reluctant to do during his time in office. But if you're looking for substantive second thoughts about the legacy for which he will be most remembered around the world -- his administration's controversial conduct of the United States's war against jihadi terrorists after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- you won’t find them here. ... Bush is certainly right to point out that many Democrats, as well as foreign intelligence services, shared his belief that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. What he passes over in silence, though, is how his administration's repeated declarations of a link between Al-Qaeda and Hussein's regime warped the work of the intelligence agencies, who had been told all too clearly what their masters wanted to hear. Nor does he touch upon the disastrous effect that the focus on Iraq had on the war in Afghanistan. The world is still living with the consequences." "The views expressed in this commentary are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL."

US international broadcasting interviews US public diplomacy.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 12 Nov 2010, Judith McHale, the U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, interviewed by Jeremy Bransten: "Q: What do you do in the case of a country like Iran, where America has an obvious stake in engaging the Iranian public, but where Washington right now faces a hostile government and few ways, aside from international broadcasting, of reaching out? McHale: I think you're right. It's a very difficult situation not just in Iran, but in other countries. And so when we encounter that situation, we look at all the tools that we have to continue to reach out. You talked about one of the most effective tools we have, which is international broadcasting. In those situations, this is a way to reach out, and we have a long history of that in our government, of using international broadcasting effectively, and I'm sure we will continue to do that. I think with today's technologies, with access to the Internet, there are many ways we can reach out and connect with people, and there are many ways in which they can connect with the rest of the world. And frankly, I think that governments which try to restrict people's access to information are probably playing a losing game. So we're going to continue to look at any way that we can to continue to reach out and engage with people."

Unfavorable review for Rasa TV, affiliated with Iran's Green movement.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 10 Nov 2010, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Blogger 'Iranian Life' believes the recently launched satellite TV channel 'Rasa,' which belongs to the opposition Green Movement and was recently written about on Radio Farda, is not likely to attract a large audience due to 'weak' programming: '... 'Rasa' TV -- which is supposed to inform and enlighten the Iranian people and also, in a way, represents the Green Movement (which is correct in calling itself 'numerous') -- is producing only one to two hours of weak programs everyday. Also, it’s available through Telstar [satellite], which can't be accessed by many people. It’s really a pity. ... [D]espite the presence of political activists who are so well off that if they wanted to they could launch a private TV station, this channel should be considered as something akin to disaster!' ... 'Rasa' TV says their channel is also available through Eutelstat and Hot Bird satellites" See previous post about same subject.

Documents indicate Shell sought to "build a relationship" with BBC World Service Lagos correspondent.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 9 Nov 2010, Eveline Lubbers and Andy Rowell: "Secret internal documents from Shell show that in the immediate aftermath of the execution of the Nigerian activist and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, the oil company adopted a PR strategy of cosying up to BBC editors and singling out non-government organisations it hoped to 'sway'. ... One document reveals 'relationships are underdeveloped' with the BBC World Service and continues: 'We will identify and cultivate important editorial and senior management staff through a contact program.' In particular they wanted to 'build a relationship' with journalist Hilary Andersson, who had recently become the BBC's Lagos correspondent, as well as 'any of her known contacts in the divisions'."

Finnish TV critic: most of BBC World News "will not be of interest to you."

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Helsinki Times, 11 Nov 2010: "While you might initially think that having an extra 40 channels from around the world beamed directly to your living room would be really cool and stuff, in fact it sucks – with a few exceptions. ... The worst channels seem to be the ones that rely on reputation to pull you in, and the worst offender of those is BBC World News. ... For one thing, being a global channel, they have to try and attract an extremely wide selection of people, which means they end up attracting hardly anyone. Most people watching the channel are probably stuck in airports, hotels or trains, and won’t watch it for long. Headlines are repeated constantly and repetitively, and are changed infrequently. The vast majority of the stories they report on will not be of interest to you. ... Incidentally, CNN is almost worse, and if you happen to be able to receive Fox...God help you. On the other hand, one of the best things available on cable is also from the BBC. BBC Entertainment is brilliant for people who, a) speak or want to speak English, or b) have lived in England at any point over the last 20 years and get nostalgic for re-runs of Deal or No Deal, Only Fools and Horses, and Inspector Lynley Mysteries. I’m not sure it’s worth shelling out a couple of hundred euros a year for, but if you do have a package that includes it, you might as well make the most of it mightn’t you?"

The news about Al Jazeera Balkans is that there is still no specific news.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Croatian Times, 11 Nov 2010: "Al-Jazeera has contacted the award-winning Croatian journalist Goran Milic about possible collaboration with the Quatar-based television network that is planning to make a debut in the Balkans soon. ... In the meantime, rumours have started circulating that another Croatian journalist Denis Latin has taken the position of the general director of Al-Jazeera Balkans. Latin, however, has not confirmed this as of yet, the daily Vecernji List writes." -- The station will be based in Sarajevo. See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera reporter thinks he was denied entry to G-20 summit for political reasons.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
BNO News, 12 Nov 2010: "A Syrian-born reporter from Al Jazeera Arabic-language news network on Friday said he was denied entry to the venue of the G-20 summit in Seoul and claimed the denial may have been for political reasons. According to South Korean media, Fadi Salameh was told he was not allowed to cover the summit when he went to pick up his press pass on Thursday at the venue of the global economic forum. ... [He] believes the access denial was because the way he covered a South Korean ship sinking story, and it must have irritated South Korean officials."

Yonhap, 12 Nov 2010: "'A journalist has to take a neutral stance,' he said. 'I think the whole problem was with the security officer (in Jeju) who wanted me to cover North Korea negatively.'"

Sri Lanka temporarily denies visas to Al Jazeera staff after channel broadcasts civil war images.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
DPA, 12 Nov 2010: "Sri Lanka has denied visas to at least three staffers of Al-Jazeera television, after the station broadcast images of bodies and execution-style killings, said to have occurred during the final weeks of the civil war against Tamil rebels last year. An external affairs ministry spokesman ... The spokesman denied the military was responsible for the killings, claiming that it appeared to be a collection of pictures which had been already dismissed as a fabrication.", 12 Nov 2010: "Al Jazeera could not verify the authenticity of the images, which were obtained from Tamil contacts. The contacts had said that they received the photos from a member of the Sri Lankan military."

Asian Tribune, 14 Nov 2010: "Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajpaksa had directed the Immigration and Emigration Department to grant visas to the Al Jazeera crew who earlier banned from entering Sri Lanka."

PTI, 14 Nov 2010: "Sri Lanka has reversed its decision not to allow the BBC to cover the proceedings of a government-appointed Commission probing the last phase of the Elam IV War in northern Jaffna peninsula."

Vietnamese legal activist has granted "detailed interviews to Radio Free Asia and the BBC."

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Human Rights Watch, 10 Nov 2010: "Nguyen Bac Truyen, a lawyer who is a member of the People's Democratic party, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in 2007 under article 88. Since his release in May, he has been an outspoken member of an association of former political and religious prisoners, granting detailed interviews to Radio Free Asia and the BBC about his prison experiences. In August, Ho Chi Minh City police detained and questioned him after he publicly called on Vietnam to release political prisoners."

CNN International and Cartoon Network on mobile phones in Vietnam.

Posted: 16 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 11 Nov 2010, apparent press release: "Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc. today announced a strategic partnership with, one of Vietnam’s major program distribution companies, to provide two of its leading channels to local mobile phone service providers in the country. The deal will see a CNN International 24/7 live-stream feed and a Cartoon Network block delivered to subscribers of the country’s three major 3G telecom operators Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone. This service is now available to the three carriers with a combined subscriber base of approximately 70 million. will also make the CNN and Cartoon Network services openly available to Vietnam’s IPTV operators looking to carry the two channels." -- No mention of any subtitling into Vietnamese, which is done by cable and DTH systems in Vietnam that carry Western channels.

Media Update, 11 Nov 2010: "CNN International is launching a new weekly series called The Boss. It will air across CNN International’s business shows, including the flagship business programme, Quest Means Business, presented by Richard Quest at 20:00 CET on Tuesdays. The Boss will follow three business leaders from Asia, Europe and the United States, to get a unique insight into what it’s like to run a company. Each segment will run approximately six minutes."

Voice of Russia Hindi Service will hold conference in New Delhi for its listeners.

Posted: 15 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RadioActivity, 10 Nov 2010, Alokesh Gupta: "Voice of Russia Hindi Service is organising a conference for radio listeners at Russian Science & Cultural Centre, New Delhi. The 5th Voice of Russia listeners conference will be held as following : Date : Dec 08, 2010 (Wed) - 11am IST. Venue: Russian Science & Cultural CentreEmbassy of Russia, Cultural Department, 24, Feroz Shah Road, New Delhi 110001."

Uzbekistan court upholds VOA reporter's conviction for slander, etc.

Posted: 15 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL News, 12 Nov 2010: "Tashkent city court has upheld a conviction for slander against a reporter for the U.S.-funded radio station Voice of America (VOA), RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports. Abdumalik Boboev, a freelancer for VOA's Uzbek Service, was found guilty last month of slander and distributing materials that pose a threat to public order. He was fined the equivalent of about $10,000. 'During today's hearing I stressed again that I did nothing wrong,' Boboev told RFE/RL. 'As a journalist I wrote critical articles and those articles never insulted, slandered, or posed a threat to public security. But they did not take this into consideration and left the previous decision of the court unchanged.'", 12 Nov 2010: "It is worth noting that for the first time the court session was open to everybody, including the representatives of British and US embassy, journalists and 7 human rights activists. It took only 10 minutes for judges to make the decision." See previous post about same subject.

Estonian documentary examines Soviet-era impact of Finnish transborder television.

Posted: 15 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 11 Nov 2010, Stephen Holden: "A playful compendium of archival footage, dramatic reconstructions with a surreal comic edge and solemn talking heads, 'Disco and Atomic War' persuasively makes the case that the 'soft power' of Western popular culture seeping in via radio and television was instrumental in the breakup of the Soviet Union."

Salon, 12 Nov 2010, Andrew O'Hehir: "As the film documents, there was a thriving industry in adapters and antennae that allowed Soviet-made TVs in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, to pull in the signals from Helsinki, 50 miles north across the Gulf of Finland. ... Furthermore, Finnish and Estonian are closely related languages understood by pretty much no one else. (Which didn't stop Finnish broadcasters from running faux-Soviet comedy sketches with stodgy announcers speaking mock-Estonian gobbledygook.)"

Movieline, 9 Nov 2010, Michelle Orange: "In the only interview former Communist party leader Karl Vaino has given since his ousting in 1988, he draws a direct connection between Estonia’s liberation and the availability of Finnish TV, saying it 'made people think,' and offered a direct contradiction to the portrait of corrupt, dehumanizing capitalism he and his party had worked so hard to paint. By the late 1970s and through the bleak 1980s, even on an ideological level the jig seemed pretty much up, and Soviet isolationism and propaganda were exposed as empty, almost habitual tropes propping up a bankrupt regime." See also trailer, YouTube, 31 March 2009.

Denmark's Social Liberals call for domestic news channel in Arabic, Turkish, English, etc.

Posted: 15 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Copenhagen Post, 10 Nov 2010: "The Social Liberals have proposed creating a news channel reporting Danish news in Arabic, aimed directly at immigrants who do not speak Danish. Party leader Margrethe Vestager does not think the language barrier should prevent immigrants from orienting themselves about current affairs in Denmark. 'We would like [public broadcaster] DR, as part of its public service commitments, to increase its efforts to report Danish news in some of the main foreign languages such as Arabic, Turkish and English,' she told Politiken newspaper. The proposal is a reaction to the Danish People’s party initiative to ban satellite dishes in immigrant housing areas in an effort to prevent immigrants from receiving all their news from Arabic news channels." See previous post about same subject.

Carnegie Endowment VP: Chinese media "publishing all sorts of opinions," mostly xenophobic.

Posted: 15 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 9 Nov 2010, Douglas H. Paal, VP for studies: In China, "anti-Japanese feeling is spreading, and anti-U.S. feelings are spreading as well, and even toward Southeast Asia, particularly the Vietnamese because of the disputes over the South China Sea. There’s a rising of a kind of Chinese xenophobia. ... In fact, [the Chinese government is] kind of accommodating this feeling—keeping the street quiet and preventing the protests from merging but letting people express themselves on the Internet, and through the so-called free media that has now emerged in China—hundreds of new radio and TV stations and journals are publishing all sorts of opinions. And the politically correct opinion these days is pretty hostile to outside forces."

Aung San Suu Kyi and her "exclusive" interviews with Radio Free Asia, VOA, BBC, and ABC.

Posted: 15 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 14 Nov 2010: "Fresh from her release from house arrest, Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called for a dialogue with the military junta, emphasizing that her top priority was to bring democracy to the reclusive country. In an exclusive interview with Radio Free Asia's Burmese service on Nov. 14, the 65-year-old democracy icon said she wanted to build a network using 'modern communication' among people within and outside her country in the push for democracy via 'people power.'"

VOA News, 14 Nov 2010: "Newly freed Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi is offering an olive branch to the country's military regime that kept her confined for most of the last two decades. In an exclusive interview with VOA, the 65-year-old Nobel Peace laureate said she and her supporters 'are certainly not bent on clashing' with the military rulers."

BBC News, 14 Nov 2010: "In her first interview since being released, Ms Suu Kyi told the BBC's Alastair Leithead in Bangkok by telephone that one of the first things she had to do was 'to listen to what the people have to say'."

Australian Broadcsating Corporation "AM,", 15 Nov 2010: Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate future is uncertain as she tests her new-found freedom. Already she has become a rallying point for many Burmese, and she's urged her supporters not to lose hope for Burma, and she's thanked Australia for its help. She gave this interview to AM's South East Asia correspondent, Zoe Daniel.

The Canberra Times, 15 Nov 2010, Ross Peake: "Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will speak by telephone to Aung San Suu Kyi as soon as possible to convey Australia's strong support for her fight for democracy in Burma. However, he made a breakthrough, apparently before other countries, by sending a personal message yesterday to the democracy advocate via Radio Australia's Burmese language program. Australian officials know Ms Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the past 21 years in detention, listens to the program, established just 12 months ago by Mr Rudd's government."

Portugal's RTPI now on New York City's Cablevision.

Posted: 14 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
CED, 9 Nov 2010: "Cablevision has added Portuguese network Radio e Televisao de Portugal (RTPi) to its iO International programming service. The Portuguese-language network is now available across Cablevision's New York City metropolitan service area on Channel 275 and joins SPT as part of the iO Portuguese programming lineup."

Somali, French programming on central Maine radio station.

Posted: 14 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Maine Public Broadcasying Network, 9 Nov 2010, Susan Sharon: "A small radio station in central Maine has begun broadcasting a Somali radio show on Sunday mornings in an effort to connect hundreds of Lewiston-Auburn residents from Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti with news and music from their homeland. The Somali Show airs directly after the long-running and popular French-speaking radio show, 'La Revue Francaise,' on the same station, am1240 WEZR. The hosts of both programs see the increasingly diverse airwaves as something to be shared and embraced, just as they share their cultures out in the community."

International channels included in MultiChoice Education Bouquet for Nigerian schools.

Posted: 14 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Daily Sun (Lagos), 9 Nov 2010, Sam Otti: South Africa-based satellite television provider "MultiChoice has launched 10 more resource centres in Kwara State bringing the total number of its resource centres in Nigeria to 181. ... Head of Corporate Communications, MultiChoice Nigeria, Segun Fayose, said: ... 'The beneficiaries will have access to the Special MultiChoice Education Bouquet, which includes: Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC Knowledge, BBC World, History Channel, Animal Planet and Mindset Learn, at no cost.'"

International broadcasting penetrates Down Under.

Posted: 14 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
afaqs!, 10 Nov 2010: "Expanding its portfolio in the international market, [Indian broadcasting company] NDTV has entered into a distribution arrangement with FetchTV, a subscription TV provider to leading Australian ISPs, to launch NDTV 24x7, NDTV India & NDTV Good Times in Australia. As a part of the agreement, NDTV 24x7 will be available to all FetchTV subscribers along with channels like CNBC Australia, BBC World News, Fox Sports News and other international news channels. NDTV India & NDTV Good Times will be available along with the bouquet of all other Indian channels. Rahul Sood, Head - Distribution & Affiliate Sales, NDTV Limited said: 'With India firmly on the global stage, there is a need to reach out to the broader audiences looking to keep abreast with events unfolding in the region. NDTV 24x7 has been available to the South Asian Diaspora for the last 4 years and we are delighted to now be available on Fetch TV’s base pack with all other leading international channels.'"

Rapid TV News, 11 Nov 2010, Rose Major: "More on-demand dealings for Yahoo!7: this time the Australian internet venture has signed up BBC Worldwide to offer a selection of classic and new titles via its internet TV offering, Plus7. Over 20 BBC series including classics Fawlty Towers and The Young Ones, Little Britain, Torchwood and Doctor Who, as well as Walking With Dinosaurs will be added to the service."

The Australian, 13 Nov 2010, Greg Sheridan: "I have a friend who has a device that allows him to listen to almost any radio station in the world. This, of course, is unmanageable choice, often the problem with new technology. But he solves it, also characteristically for the new age, by having a pre-programmed set of favourites. He knows the right time to get All Things Considered on US PBS radio; he knows when the best BBC programs are running; he can catch the Voice of America broadcasts he wants. ... Walking at night I hear the BBC World Service on ABC News Radio and can't work out whether I prefer it to News Radio's daytime pursuit of local news."

Rapid TV News, 9 Nov 2010: "Russian English-language news TV channel RT has started its 24/7 broadcast on New Zealand’s biggest platform Sky TV New Zealand which covers around half of the homes in the country. The Russian channel has started broadcasting on Sky NZ’s Channel 96 which also offers major news channels such as CNN, BBC World, Fox News, Sky News, CNBC and others."

Would you pay 3 Rupees for one minute of BBC Urdu news?

Posted: 14 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 10 Nov 2010: "Mobile phone users across Pakistan can now listen to news and sports bulletins from BBC Urdu on their phones via the dedicated short code 447474. By calling the number, subscribers to any mobile phone network in Pakistan can now choose between the BBC's one-minute news or sports bulletins on demand. The BBC bulletins are updated throughout the day and the number of updates will increase if there is a breaking news story. Calls cost 3 Rupees per minute. ... There are about 100 million mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan." -- Three Pakistani Rupees is about four U.S. cents.

BBC Worldwide channels director for South Asia says "No!" to localization.

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 10 Nov 2010, Ashwin Pinto interviewing BBC Worldwide Channels director South Asia Deepak Shourie: "Q: Is having a British flavour going to be your USP [unique selling proposition]? Shourie: That is important. Most content on air is from America. The BBC produces a wide ranging amount of content which has not been seen like Wallander, with Kenneth Branagh playing a detective in Sweden. ... Q: Will localisation play a role in your strategy? Shourie: No! Research has confirmed that the audience we look at does not want localisation. There is enough local content around. They want international content. The English audience is getting more confident. They are world citizens. They want world programming. Local shows will add a lot of cost for us, but not much value." -- I think BBC Worldwide officials in other parts of the world might have different ideas about localization.

BBC World Service "trying to keep the global footprint while cutting resources."

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 11 Nov 2010, Catherine Neilan: "Entire services from the BBC World Service could be closed as part of its £67m cuts, with those broadcasting to areas such as the Caribbean, Vietnam and Macedonia thought to be most at risk. Services in regions of legacy interest, or that cover relatively small populations, are the most likely to be cut, while Portuguese-language broadcasts within parts of Africa are also in the firing line. A BBC insider told Broadcast it was a case of 'trying to keep the global footprint while cutting resources', but the Foreign Office will have the final say, with a decision expected later this month."

House of Commons Hansard, 10 Nov 2010, Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) (Lab): "On the World Service, will the BBC have budget protection or will the World Service have to compete with other parts of the BBC budget in due course? What role will the Foreign Secretary have in that process? The Secretary of State mentioned that the BBC would have to seek the Foreign Secretary's approval for World Service closures. The fact that the word 'closure' is used must concern staff and lovers of the service. Furthermore, the BBC World Service is well regarded as the best international diplomacy and peacekeeping device that the UK has-more effective, indeed, than the UN or any military might."

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Mr Edward Vaizey): "The BBC World Service will now become part of the licence fee-funded BBC from 2014-15, but the BBC will remain independent in all matters concerning the content of World Service output as regards times and the manner in which it is supplied and the management of its affairs. The BBC's editorial guidelines, values and standards will be set by the BBC Trust and will continue to 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 will obtain written approval from the Foreign Secretary for the opening or closure of any language service."

House of Lords Hansard, 11 Nov 2010, Lord Hannay of Chiswick: "[M]y view is that the decision to shift the funding of the BBC World Service from the Foreign Office budget to that of the BBC should be a plus, at least in presentational terms. I have to admit that I never managed to persuade a single foreign interlocutor of the BBC World Service's total editorial independence every time I had to admit that it was in fact being financed from the Foreign Office budget. That should be easier to achieve now. But how are we to be sure, under the new arrangements, that the World Service is not being bled to meet the BBC's domestic demands? How, too, is the World Service's coverage and editorial autonomy to be protected from interference by the BBC's management, as it was from interference by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office?"

Lord Parekh: "[W]e must ... take a second look at the BBC World Service. It is widely respected as a source of unbiased information. As the noble Baroness, Lady Afshar, pointed out, the BBC's Persian service, for example, is widely respected. It is striking that President Obama chose to give an interview to the BBC's Persian service to reach out to the people of Iran and to refute President Ahmadinejad's comments before the United Nations General Assembly in September. It would be a great mistake to deprive the BBC of this capacity to reach out to many people."

Baroness Afshar: "The Iranian Vice-President is on record as admitting that he does not like BBC Persian Television, although he has watched it during a Cabinet meeting. Therefore, it seems to me that Britain is punching above its weight in the case of Iran. That is not surprising, particularly as BBC Persian Television is run by people who have been largely recruited in Iran, including many young journalists who have found the situation there impossible. Therefore, not only to avoid imprisonment but also to have a voice, they have come to work for the BBC, and I assure your Lordships that their voice is being heard loud and clear in Iran. It seems to me that, in response, the Iranians provide the BBC with an enormous amount of information. ... Therefore, it is crucial that the BBC retains its ability to broadcast to Iran. We know that the Government fear it by the number of jammings of BBC programmes that have occurred again and again." See previous post about same subject.

Strike against BBC suspended after disciplinary action against Arabic and Latin American service employees withdrawn.

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 11 Nov 2010, James Robinson and Tara Conlan: "The National Union of Journalists today offered to call off Monday's 48-hour BBC strike over pension changes, provided disciplinary action against three members is dropped. Jeremy Dear, the NUJ general secretary, said the strike planned for next Monday and Tuesday will be called off if the BBC drops disciplinary action against three employees, including one who has been sacked. The disciplinary action relates to last week's strike. The sacked journalist works in Washington for the BBC's Arabic service, while two employees at the corporation's Latin American service have been given written warnings."

National Union of Journalists, 11 Nov 2010: "On Thursday 11 November, BBC NUJ reps voted by 51-1 to suspend strike action planned for Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 November. The suspension was conditional on the BBC rescinding disciplinary action against members overseas who took part in the strike action last week. The BBC has now done so."

Offended by "Spooks" TV series, Chinese officials order TV companies not to cooperate with BBC Worldwide.

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 11 Nov 2010, Helen Pidd, Mark Sweney, and Tania Branigan in Beijing: "The BBC is used to China's disapproval. Its Chinese language service has long been blocked and last year it annoyed officials by sneaking Kate Adie into the country. But BBC executives say they could never have predicted the latest programme to send Chinese officials on the warpath: the corporation's far-fetched spy drama Spooks. Several episodes of the latest series, which finished on Sunday night, have featured Chinese agents engaged in nefarious activities: trying to kidnap a scientist and threatening to detonate a bomb in London if anyone interfered; working with Russians to hack Anglo-US cybersecurity; and stealing the blueprint of a genetic weapon. The Guardian has learned that Beijing is so unhappy at these unflattering portrayals that government officials have ordered TV companies not to co-operate with BBC Worldwide, the corporation's international commercial wing. Officials were thought to be particularly enraged at the timing of the broadcasts, coming as they did so close to David Cameron's visit to China earlier this week. ... The broadcasting cold war, if it lasts, could hurt BBC Worldwide, which ... has been expanding aggressively, not least because of the pressure the BBC faces at home over the licence fee. And China offers enormous opportunities for money-making."

The Telegraph, 12 Nov 2010, Andy Bloxham: "A senior BBC source told the paper: It is usually BBC News or a documentary that causes an issue. 'The issue is always if content strays, or is perceived to stray, into the area of politics. It is the nature of doing business in China. No one would have even thought about Spooks [offending anyone] and the timing [with Cameron's trip] is just plain bad luck.' It is more likely that any issue centres on the perception of the country abroad, rather than how widely Spooks has been viewed in China, as its censorship of the internet means few have full access to information from abroad." -- "Spooks" online is probably blocked internationally by BBC itself.

Digital Radio Mondiale reports "encouraging news from the receiver industry."

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale, November 2010 newsletter: "There has been some encouraging news from the receiver industry this month. DRM vice-chairman Ludo Maes has recently returned from a two week trip to South East Asia and he gives this update. On Monday 8th November All India Radio organised a roundtable in New Delhi with chipset and radio manufacturers interested in the DRM solution. The major chipset manufacturers and the number one radio manufacturer in India attended in person and on Skype. The Consortium helped with the organisation of the event and four senior members of the Consortium attended. A short update on DRM activity around the globe was given by the DRM chair, Ruxandra Obreja, and you can read more about what happened by reading her report." See previous post about DRM.

New Silicon Labs receiver circuit includes shortwave coverage.

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Silicon Labs press release, 8 Nov 2010: "Silicon Labs' new automotive-grade Si475x AM/FM receiver family provides unrivaled performance for cost-sensitive automotive radio designs in the high-growth BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets. ... Silicon Labs' Si475x tuner ICs support worldwide radio band requirements including AM, FM, FM radio data system (RDS), long wave (LW) and short wave (SW), giving car radio developers the flexibility to support a variety of global market requirements with a single design."

Japanese WWII holdout in the Philippines was a Radio Australia shortwave fan.

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Australian Broadcasting Corporation "Lateline," 12 Nov 2010: "One of the last to surrender was Hiroo Onoda who spent 30 years waging his own guerrilla war on an island in the Philippines. He eventually laid down his arms after his former commanding officer returned to the Philippines in 1974 and ordered him to give up. ... [ABC reporter] Mark Willacy: For information he would listen to a stolen short-wave radio. His favourite broadcast: ABC Radio Australia's Japanese language service. Hiroo Onoda (translation): Once I listened to an Australian election broadcast and another time I was interested in a cattle story. That helped me to later become a cattle breeder. Willacy: For years, Hiroo Onoda would ignore attempts to get him to surrender, dismissing Japanese leaflet drops and search parties as enemy trickery. Onoda: The leaflets they dropped were filled with mistakes so I judged it was a plot by the Americans. ... Willacy: In South America he started the cattle ranche he'd dreamed about since listening to ABC Radio in the jungle of Lubang. But later, he would return to his homeland to teach youngsters survival skills."

The village of Djuma, where "even shortwave is faint."

Posted: 13 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
UNICEF, 8 Nov 2010: "Djuma, on the banks of the Kwilu river [in the Democratic Republic of Congo], has no electricity, an intermittent ferry service and no cellphone signal. No FM or MW radio signals reach the village and even shortwave is faint. But the immunisation campaign marked the historic introduction to Djuma of mass media, as UNICEF provided two male nurses from the local hospital with megaphones."

Russia's internet as opposition "pressure valve."

Posted: 12 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Christian Science Monitor, 5 Nov 2010, Luke Allnutt, editor in chief of RFE/RL website: "While traditional media is largely under the Kremlin’s yoke, the Russian Internet is actually remarkably free, with a lively blogosphere and a vibrant culture of social networking. The prevailing wisdom is that all the dissent aired on blogs and social networks could eventually backfire on the Kremlin. Recently, a rapper, Noize MC, who had a brutal brush with the police, became a viral sensation, raising hopes for digital activism in Russia. So why would the Kremlin allow such Internet-based freedom? One possibility being considered by Internet theorists is that authoritarian countries might calculate that allowing online dissent is more effective than curbing it. It can actually serve as a useful pressure valve for the opposition to let off steam, giving dissenters the guise of freedom without the regime having to concede the reality of representation."

RFE/RL's Radio Azadi continues distribution of radios in Afghanistan.

Posted: 12 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, 5 Nov 2010, Capt. Robert Leese: "The Afghan Air Force delivered 500 radios, 100 Afghan National Army troops and six Afghan Air Force members in two Mi-17 helicopters flown by Afghan pilots advised by a Croatian aircrew Nov 3. ... The radios are a part of the Radio Azadi radio distribution project. The AAF and NATC-A have provided assistance transporting the radios across the country. Radio Azadi began distributing 20,000 solar-powered, hand-cranked radios to people in refugee camps, villages and cities across Afghanistan prior to the Afghan Parliamentary elections. The radio distribution program helps citizens become more informed about Afghan events and demonstrates the commitment of the Afghan authorities and international community to the Afghan people, particularly those living in rural and isolated villages." See also DVIDS, 10 Nov 2010.

BBC News, 12 Nov 2010: "The authorities hope the devices can help counter the message of Mullah Radio, as the Taliban-sponsored broadcasts are dubbed. The US-funded AM and FM receivers can pick up a range of other broadcasters, including the BBC, Voice of America, commercial stations and even occasionally Mullah Radio - in areas where attempts to jam the militants' signal have not succeeded. Akbar Ayazi, of Radio Free Europe, denies they are simply trying to beat Taliban propaganda with an American equivalent. 'These [Mullah Radio] stations incite hatred, intolerance and ethnic violence,' he said. 'By handing out these radios, we're enabling people to find out what's happening and enjoy entertainment in some of the remotest areas in the country, where there's no internet, newspapers or television. Our radio station is one of the most listened to in Afghanistan. No, it is not propaganda.'" -- This is the first report I've seen about jamming "Mullah Radio." See previous post about same subject.

Radio Free Asia introduces Facebook service for DXers.

Posted: 12 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RadioActivity, 8 Nov 2010, Alokesh Gupta: "A few months ago, Radio Free Asia (RFA) started a new social network service on Facebook where DXers, and others, can access our latest broadcast schedules, frequency data, and information about our current, and past, QSL cards. RFA encourages everyone with a Facebook account to join online at RFA QSL." -- I will leave it to you Facebook users to determine how to find this RFA Facebook service. QSL card design is an RFA specialty.

Shortwave Central, 4 Nov 2010: "RFA welcomes all reception report submissions at (follow the QSL REPORTS link) not only from DX’ers, but also from its general listening audience. If you have a smart phone, feel free to use this QR tag to access the automated reception report system and submit your reception reports to the web site."

Radio Free Asia's source reports of North Korean "special unit to plot a provocation" related to Seoul G-20 meeting.

Posted: 12 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AP, 8 Nov 2010: "South Korea makes its diplomatic debut Thursday as host of the Group of 20 summit of leaders from the world's major economies. ... Radio Free Asia reported last week that North Korea had formed a special unit to plot a provocation that would call attention to tensions on the peninsula. The report by the U.S. government-funded station cited an unidentified source in China." -- I can't find this story in English at the RFA site, so perhaps in Korean only.

Laura Bush interviewed by Radio Free Asia Burmese Service.

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 5 Nov 2010: "Former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush wants the world to speak up on Burma and the various restrictions imposed on its people by the ruling military junta, which is holding elections this weekend that are being criticized as not free and fair. ... 'I think what the world can do is speak out and speak straight to the people of Burma in any way that is possible,' Bush said in an interview with RFA, which broadcasts news and information in Burmese into that country as its people have no access to free news media. ... Bush sent a personal message to Suu Kyi in the RFA interview."

VOA News, 5 Nov 2010, Ron Corben: "Zaw Win, the MEMO 88 [media and research group based in Slovakia] coordinator for Burma, says the limited access to news left many Burmese reliant on foreign radio broadcasters. 'The radio they can listen to, Voice of America, BBC, and Radio Free Asia or Democratic Voice of Burma Radio. Radio is easy to listen, so they can access all the information by radio,' said Zaw Win. 'For the television is very limited. All the Internet is very limited. You have to go to Internet cafe. Opposition groups' website you cannot access. Access denied all the time.' Reports say Internet access has become increasingly restricted in recent days, and access to many overseas websites denied. The government also refused to issue visas to foreign journalists to cover the elections."

Eurasia Review, 4 Nov 2010, South Asia Analysis Group: "The news coming out of Burma is all about the election to be held from 7th to 11th November 2010. Four Burmese language radio stations, namely BBC, VOA, Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) as well as quite a few Blogs are telling what the New Light of Myanmar newspaper and other journals located inside Burma do not and cannot write or voice."

Asia Sentinel, 8 Nov 2010, Richard S. Ehrlich: "The junta claimed that the British Broadcasting Corp., Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia told the Burmese not to vote."

PBS Mediashift, 11 Nov 2010, Clothilde Le Coz: "Twenty-five Burmese journalists who work for foreign media and two Chinese correspondents were the only foreign media reporters allowed to cover the elections. A report by Simon Roughneen at Irrawaddy, an independent newsmagazine and website that reports on Burma, quoted an official with China Radio International saying that 'usually we cannot report on Myanmar,' or on other 'sensitive stories,' unless specifically asked to do so." See previous post about same subject.

Fox Network's "Fringe" is so unrealistic, it thinks there are still 15 people who listen to shortwave radio.

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 11 Nov 2010, Andy Sennitt: "I noticed this description of a TV show airing this evening in the US: 'Fringe “6995 kHz” Season 3 Episode 6 – Back “over here,” the Fringe Division investigates a bizarre phenomenon when 15 people up and down the Eastern Seaboard, all suffer retrograde amnesia from listening to their shortwave radios on the same frequency. Much to Walter’s dismay, Peter presses on with piecing together the mass destruction device. Just as alternate Olivia and Peter’s chemistry deepens, the anticipation of Olivia’s return escalates in the all-new “6995 kHz” episode of Fringe airing Thursday, 11 Nov (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.'"

Those who cannot learn from history will doom US international broadcasting.

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
I recently read a paper by USC professor Nicholas Cull about the feud between the US Information Agency and its (then) component VOA, during the George H.W. Bush administration. I was working at VOA when it happened, and attended the infamous "town meeting," but had forgotten many of the details. Nick's paper is so interesting that I was reading it even as my Metro train passed my stop. His essay is a reminder that any reabsorption of US international broadcasting into a "strategic communication" agency, "coordinating" its content, would have disastrous consequences.

Diplomatic History, January 2010, Nicholas Cull, "Speeding the Strange Death of American Public Diplomacy: The George H. W. Bush Administration and the U.S. Information Agency": "The performance of VOA during the Tiananmen crisis reflected the power of international broadcasting and its relevance to the post-Cold War world. The problem is that that broadcasting was not necessarily tied into the wider structure of U.S. public diplomacy. Specifically VOA operated with a rolling mandate to advance the interests of the United States by disseminating balanced news and publicizing U.S. government policy, but the Tiananmen crisis brought these two objectives into conflict. The Chinese government's attacks on VOA plainly alarmed the Bush administration. With the administration anxious to avoid burning bridges with China, as other scholars including those engaged in this issue of Diplomatic History have shown, USIA director Bruce Gelb moved to tone down some aspects of VOA coverage. Bush and his principal advisers preached caution in responding to the Chinese upheavals, hoping to preserve the long-term Sino-American relationship from the current crisis. Gelb accordingly ordered that a particular story by Mark Hopkins be cut from the VOA news lineup. The head of the news division, Diane Doherty, refused to comply. VOA director Richard Carlson rallied to her defense. 'I don't tell the news division what to do,' he told Gelb, 'and neither do you.' For Carlson it was a blatant challenge to the VOA charter and to its tradition of journalistic independence. From Gelb's point of view, the incident raised questions about his authority to direct all aspects of U.S. information, more especially given that Gelb and Carlson were already at odds in their tumultuous relationship." -- I disagree with the premise of the paper's title. US public diplomacy did not end when a separate bureaucracy dedicated to public diplomacy was abolished. USIA required State approval for anything of substance that it did, its activities were largely carried out through US embassies, and its key staff were selected through the Foreign Service process. USIA was never really independent of the State Department.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the future of US international broadcasting.

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 3 Nov 2010, Matt Armstrong: "What does leadership change in the House mean for Congressional action on public diplomacy and strategic communication? First, there is the House Foreign Affairs Committee where Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) (on Twitter) replaces Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) are Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. ... The 'change of tone' brought by Ros-Lehtinen will be a more aggressive approach to public diplomacy and to the State Department in general. This includes greater oversight into the Broadcasting Board of Governors, as shown with her introduction of her 2009 bill to reorganize US broadcasting. She is a vocal critic of Al Hurra and a natural supporter of the BBG’s Cuba services, despite criticism that it has little real effect for the substantial costs."

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen's bill would abolish the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the International Broadcasting Bureau, replacing it with a United States International Broadcasting Agency, supervised by a Board of Governors. The Agency would have a director appointed by the Board, so this would give U.S. international broadcasting what it does not have now: a full-time chief operating officer. (The chair of the board would be the CEO.)

It seems, then, the new Board would have the same firewall and supervisory functions of the BBG. The bill is vague about how the elements of US international broadcasting would be organized. Would there still be VOA, RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia, etc? Or does the new Agency have latitude in reorganizing these entities?

In a peculiar bit of legislative micromanaging, the bill calls for an Ombudsman to "act as a liaison between both the audience and employees and employees and management of the broadcasting entities under the control of the Board of Governors." This is also a peculiar combination of responsibilities, as audiences and employees have very different, and sometimes contradictory, needs.

Because a news organization cannot optimally function as a government agency, I would prefer a U.S. International Broadcasting Corporation rather than International Broadcasting Agency. Perhaps a broadcasting entity under the Agency can be a corporation. Engineering and administrative functions can be handled by the Agency, content by the Corporation. This would, however, not be ideal, because the most effective management of international broadcasting involves the synergistic application of content and delivery.

Fired Radio/TV Martí union VP is guest on the union's radio program.

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AFGE press release, 3 Nov 2010: On the American Federation of Government Employees "Inside Government" radio program for 29 October, "AFGE Local 1812 Vice President Niurka Fernandez-Arteaga's fight to save jobs at the Broadcasting Board of Governors' Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). OCB has initiated a reduction-in-force amid allegations of nepotism and cronyism." With link to audio. See previous post about the firing of Fernández. -- In the rather confusing interview, Fernández describes her separation from Radio/TV Martí and levels serious accusations against its management. The interview seems to have been recorded before Carlos García-Pérez came on board as the new director of OCB (see previous post).

Tony Burman of Al Jazeera English: "The US is no longer the sole power."

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Tyee (Vancouver), The Hook blog, 8 Nov 2010, Christopher Reynolds: "Tony Burman, managing director [sic] of Al Jazeera English, urged a pluralistic, international approach to news reporting in Canada at a Media Democracy Day speech in Vancouver Saturday. ... 'The power’s shifting in our world,' he told an audience of more than 200. 'The U.S. is no longer the sole power....And I think it’s important we keep up with it.' ... 'There’s a growing public awareness that commercialization of the system has gone so far over the top,' he said. 'We see this with Fox. And we’re naive to think it won’t migrate to Canada one day.'" -- Burman was also described as managing director of AJE in rabble, 9 Nov 2010. How did he describe himself at the event? His position is now strategic advisor for the Americas (see previous post). MD of AJE is now Al Anstey (see previous post).

Al Jazeera English reports on Oklahoma's death row.

Posted: 11 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
News On 6 (Tulsa), 4 Nov 2010: "A documentary about Oklahoma's death row has come from an unlikely source, Al Jazeera. You've probably heard of the Al Jazeera Arabic channel that reports on the Muslim and Arab world. Al Jazeera English is also based in the Middle East, but has a bureau in Washington D.C. and covers all kinds of topics. The reporter who made the documentary told News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright when the topic of the death penalty in America came up, he chose to focus on Oklahoma since we execute more prisoners per capita than any other state, so far, putting 173 men and three women to death."

Green Party Watch, 5 Nov 2010: "Al-Jazeera English has published a detailed profile of Farheen Hakeem, a current Green Party US co-chair who has run for office several times in Minnesota, including a recent run for governor."

BBC resumes news reporting from Iran.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 10 Nov 2010, Ian Black: "The BBC is to resume broadcasts from Iran nearly 18 months after its correspondent was thrown out during the mass unrest that followed the country's disputed presidential election in 2009. The move is being interpreted as a slight thaw in Iran's tense relations with Britain and the west, especially because the BBC is often attacked by Iranian hardliners as a propaganda arm of the UK government. The first public sign of the relaxation came with a report by an Iranian employee of the BBC's Tehran bureau, published today. The bureau remained open even when its last correspondent, Jon Leyne, was expelled in June 2009. Agreement was sealed in discreet talks with the BBC's world news editor, Jon Williams, in Tehran in late September. ... Iran has agreed to allow the Euronews satellite channel to open a bureau in Tehran after it launched a Persian-language service, competing with PTV and the Persian service of the Voice of America, at the end of last month. There are also indications that the Saudi-owned al-Arabiyya TV channel will be allowed to resume working in Tehran after being ordered to close its bureau after the election."

Payvan Iranian News, 9 Nov 2010, citing Radio Zamaneh: "Mohammad Hosseini, Iran's Minister of Culture announced that they are considering Persian BBC's request to resume activities in Iran in a 'positive light.' Hosseini told Iranian media: 'We have a positive attitude toward Persian BBC and Al-Arabiah coming and starting activities in Iran.' He added: 'We are aiming at having offices for all radio and TV networks in Iran and have a positive view of this matter. We currently have 122 press bureaus where reporters are settled. Al-Arabiah has made certain requests which we have supported.'"

Iranian culture minister Seyyed Mohammad Hoseyni on the Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2, on 9 Nov 10, quoted and translated by by BBC Monitoring, said that if BBC Persian requests permission to report in Iran, "their request will be considered like any other request. Our first approach is that we should have interaction and have the necessary support, but we will not have a positive approach towards a channel like the BBC Persian service which last year was broadcasting reports with certain motives. A lot of its reporting was false and was constantly serving its own specific purposes. It has a negative case and a black record, so on the contrary, we will have a negative approach [towards their request]. However; our foreign press and media department is duty bound to consider any request and to respond to them." See previous post about BBC Persian.

Azerbaijan ruling party official criticizes RFE/RL.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Azeri-Press Agency, 7 Nov 2010: Ali Ahmadov, the Executive Secretary of ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP), "criticized the activity of Radio Liberty: 'Those, who enter the site of this radio, think that the people in Azerbaijan are very hungry, there is war and people kill one another. I regret that, our representatives wanted to join the discussions on the site of this radio many times, but the site received the messages and did not broadcast them. How can it happen that there are 50 opinions on one issue on the site and all of them are against Azerbaijan? We have youths, they attend the forums, express their opinions but their opinions are not broadcasted. This site financed by someone’s money tries to disgrace Azerbaijan across the globe. Is it democracy? No one sends there any message. You know who writes messages, its own employees. Then they say why you don’t cooperate with us. I think we all should take stance on this issue'." (Yerevan), 1 Nov 2010: "Azerbaijani radio Azadlig ... (RFE/RL) [is] accused of propaganda for Azerbaijani Popular Front Party and Musavat Party. Mazahir Panahov, Chairman of Azerbaijan’s Election Commission, said that Azadlig [is] engaged in propaganda... ."

Russian tycoon's final court statement available only from RFE/RL.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 2 Nov 2010, Kevin O'Flynn: "In an impassioned speech, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky told a packed Moscow courtroom that Russia's fate depends on the verdict in his trial. In his final statement before an expected verdict on December 15, Khodorkovsky said he was prepared to die in prison rather than admit that he was guilty. ... Many Russians, however, continue to see Khodorkovsky as a crooked oligarch from the 1990s getting his just desserts. And his speech is unlikely to convince them otherwise, since few will hear it. Russian television has ignored the speech and the only media broadcaster to stream the sound live from the courtroom was RFE/RL’s Russian Service." Text and audio of statement at RFE/RL, 2 Nov 2010

Old Soviet punishment for listening to VOA: very hot cereal.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Glenwood Springs (CO) Post Independet, 8 Nov 2010, Igor Skakovsky, immigrated from the USSR in 1979: "When I served in the Soviet Air Force, I worked as a weatherman at the military airport, and I had at least five different radios that I used to receive weather reports from all over the world. During that time, I would listen to Voice of America. When the officers would walk in and hear it, they would get nervous and shut it down and warn me not to listen. But I listened anyway, and they caught me and sent me to a military jail, where they kept me for 21 days. The bed was locked to the wall. There was no mattress, only metal. Chairs were cemented to the floor. Everything was done on the run. I was given five minutes for breakfast, a cereal that was served very hot. I was constantly burning myself trying to eat it before the time was up."

Ed Gursky retires as VOA Music Mix operations manager.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 1 Nov 2010: "Much of what the rest of the world knows about American music, it knows from listening to VOA, where [Ed] Gursky has also been operations manager of VOA's Music Mix Network. He retired Friday after more than 20 years at VOA and six years at the FCC."

When I was host of VOA's Communications World, 1995-2002, I would often begin the programs with humorous (or an attempt to be humorous) skit. I would write the script, then go to the music library for any needed sound effects, then leave these materials for Ed, who was then working evenings. Ed would gather whatever talent he could find from the VOA English or other services to play the parts in the scripts. (I came to refer to these players as the Night Shift Thespians.) In the morning I would have the final production on reel-to-reel tape (later digital audio file).

Ed's on-air name is Ed Kowalski. (Most people shorten their names for radio work!) Look for "Classic Rock" on this page of VOA English programs, where Ed is still holding forth, as least via recording.

South African-born pianist, Indian percussionist, inspired by VOA jazz.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 4 Nov 2010: "Hotep Idris Galeta, pianist, was born in Crawford, Cape Town on the 7th of June 1941 [and recently passed away]. He grew up exposed to the rich musical culture of the Cape. His first piano lessons came from his Father at the age of 7. As a teenager in the 1950's he became interested in Jazz after listening to a short wave radio Jazz program on the 'Voice of America'."

Spinner, 9 Nov 2010, Steve Hochman: Ranjit Barot "had been born in England but moved to his family's native India in the late 1960s when he was 10. ... [P]ercussion and rhythm drew him and he became a drummer – not of Indian instruments but the Western drum kit. Totally self-taught, he studied the grooves in the music that came from outside. When it came. 'India at that time was very cut off. We had Voice of America now and then. Listened to [broadcaster] Willis Conover, the only jazz channel.'"

International channels on Malaysian IPTV include DW-TV, euronews, Australia Network.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
MySinchew, 8 Nov 2010: "Telekom Malaysia (TM) has announced the pricing for its premium channels and video-on-demand (VOD) content available via HyppTV, Malaysia's newest pay TV [IPTV] service. ... HyppTV's 14 basic channels continue to be provided free-of-charge for all UniFi consumer package subscribers, which include ... Channel NewsAsia, Luxe.TV HD, Euronews, DW-TV Asia+, Australia Network and Travel Channel. ... The pre-existing premium channels are BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies, STAR Chinese Movies 2, STAR Chinese Channel, Channel [V] Taiwan, Fashion TV and Fashion TV HD." See channel list.

BBC iPLayer international version will be launched; revenue by advertising or user pay to be decided.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 7 Nov 2010, Jonathan Wynne-Jones: "An international version of the iPlayer will be launched next year after receiving the approval of the BBC Trust. John Smith, the chief executive of BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial wing, said it would open up the 'under-exploited' market for UK shows, such as Top Gear and Doctor Who. The move will mean that advertising could be introduced on to the iPlayer unless BBC Worldwide decides to charge viewers to use the service. Executives have yet to decide which option will be introduced, but they said the Trust's decision will enable them to raise funds needed after the Government's decision to freeze the licence fee." -- It may be tempting to imagine the BBC iPlayer as a piece of hardware, but it's a website: We Americans can go to the site to access BBC radio, happily, for now, still free. And to view the "not available in your area" message for television content.

Leon Bailey-Green blog, 8 Nov 2010: "Competitive intelligence company Hitwise regularly tracks internet use. It is often the case that out of the Top 20 websites visited by Britons only five are British, four of which belonged to the BBC and the other to BSkyB. The government revealed the BBC license fee will be frozen for the next six years making it inevitable that online investment will decrease, giving British websites even less share of total visits. We need to create websites and digital media services that are loved and valued the world over, just like BBC World is." -- Because there is no "BBC World," he is referring either to BBC World News, or, more likely, BBC World Service, though it could be some combination of the two.

TopNews, 9 Nov 2010, Seher Dhillon: "The global launch of the iPlayer will discourage international fans to illegally access programs like Doctor Who as an ad-supported platform will be there."

Is it always wise to take the international out of international broadcasting?

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 7 Nov 2010, John Smith, Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide: "It’s been estimated that 80 per cent of TV watched around the world is locally made (Eurodata TV Worldwide). So if we want a share of that market we need to find ways of making our exports feel less like imports to foreign audiences. Adapting great TV formats for local tastes is one way of doing that. Another way is to develop our own 'locally flavoured' direct routes to the consumer, whether linear TV channels like BBC America or via IPTV - that is, TV delivered via the internet to whatever device you want, whenever you want it. ... The web may be borderless but talent rights agreements aren’t. One size will not fit all so we have to look at different markets on a case by case basis. But I am optimistic that, so long as we stays on our toes, the UK TV industry can sashay out into the world via this new platform as effectively as it has via traditional routes." -- US fans of "Top Gear" may not agree, as they fear the US version of the program will be the palest of imitations. There is a market for international broadcasting, and I don't think they appreciate pastiches of international programming. That having been said, this essay is thought provoking and recommended reading.

UK Foreign Office uses interview with BBC international broadcaster for public diplomacy.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 8 Nov 2010, Laura Oliver: "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has posted a video interview with BBC World News Today presenter Zeinab Badawi in which the broadcast journalist shares some of her views on media freedom in the UK and the world and describes her family’s move from Sudan to the UK. 'In the old days we used to say "foreign news". And "domestic news". And now actually, it sounds a bit odd if we say foreign news and British news because the two live off each other. They’re almost one and the same.'" -- BBC World News Today is one of the flagship news and analysis programmes on BBC World News. See Zeinab Badawi profile at the BBC website.

Iran's Press TV alleges BBC Persian held back on reporting statements of MI6 chief.

Posted: 10 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 2 Nov 2010: "The BBC Persian television channel has imposed a news blackout on the recent remarks by the head of Britain's spy agency on Iran despite their wide coverage by international media. The MI6 chief John Sawers admitted last week that they are employing 'intelligence-led' approaches against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. The state-funded BBC Persian, whose programs are mainly targeted at the audience in the Middle Eastern country, failed to cover the controversial remarks which were made in the first ever public speech by an MI6 chief. Sawers insisted on Thursday that their spying operations are necessary, as diplomacy is not enough to deal with Iran's nuclear issue. ... The BBC World Service, under which the BBC Persian operates, is directly funded by Britain's foreign office and follows its policies." -- The BBC News website in English had stories about the Sawers interview, though none mentioned Iran. Press TV's contention that BBCWS follows the policies of the Foreign Office could be used as evidence by those who contend that the transfer of BBCWS funding to the license fee will end such contentions.

CNN International will increase activities from Abu Dhabi hub, and expand "Prism" news program from there.

Posted: 09 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 7 Nov 2010, Benjamin Flanagan: "CNN will increase its activities in Abu Dhabi and is doubling the duration of Prism, the daily live news show aired from its production and news-gathering centre in the capital, which opened a year ago. Senior figures at the network including Tony Maddox, the executive vice president and managing director of CNN [International], and Richard Quest, the presenter, are in the UAE capital this week to mark the anniversary of the launch. Mr Maddox described Abu Dhabi as an 'area of investment' for CNN. 'You're going to see us increasingly consolidate our Abu Dhabi headquarters,' he said. 'This is going to be a powerhouse for us … You might see more staff being moved into there. We've scaled back some of our presence in Baghdad … and moved some of those resources to Abu Dhabi.' Prism, CNN's first daily live news show from the region, complements the network's other shows Inside the Middle East and Marketplace Middle East."

Jordan again asks Al Jazeera for evidence of World Cup jamming (updated).

Posted: 09 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Jordan Times, 22 Oct 2010: "The [Jordanian] government on Thursday renewed its demand that Al Jazeera satellite channel provide it with evidence regarding allegations that Jordan was the source of signal jamming during the station's broadcasting of FIFA World Cup games. An unnamed government source said in a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that authorities handed the Qatar-based channel a reply letter, the second this month, reiterating that the Kingdom is ready to consider any necessary measures on condition that the TV network provide it with the evidence, reports and information on which Al Jazeera based its claim."

Migrant Rights, 20 Oct 2010: "This week, Al-Jazeera English filed two reports from the Philippines about Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East and the lack of protection offered to them. The first report includes interviews with families of deceased Filipino domestic workers. It includes an interview with family members of an abused maid in Jordan who was not given her salary and forbidden to contact her family for two years."

Update: The National (Abu Dhabi), 7 Nov 2010, Ben Flanagan: "[T]he Jordanian government said it would only co-operate if Al Jazeera provided evidence of signal jamming, according to Rolling Stone. This led to a deadlock, as Al Jazeera was not willing to supply the evidence before the Jordanian government specified the course of action it would take against the culprits. 'The main issue is that we would like to get a public response on how they are going to help us find the culprits - and how they will be dealt with - before sending the reports,' an unidentified Al Jazeera source told Rolling Stone. ... The source also claimed the Jordanian government should have ready access to information on the movements of satellite vans suspected of jamming the broadcasts." IPTV service, with international channels, now available in USA (updated again).

Posted: 09 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 29 Sept 2010, Madhubanti Rudra: "The concept of High Definition IPTV proved to be a success with UK consumers. This huge popularity encouraged launched the first online High Definition Television in the U.K. in 2009---to import the idea on to the USA. Founder and Chairman and British business tycoon, Alki David has just announced the launch of its U.S. Virtual Cable Website, which is going to offer the U.S. consumers a revolutionary way to watch HD Television on the PC or mobile device. In the release, the Los Angeles-based service provider announced that their services includes over 30 premium free to air television channels and premium international Satellite channels, including CBS, ABC, NBC, KCAL, FOX, KTLA, Russia Today, BBC News, RAI Sports, Dubai Sports, TVE Spain, SCUZZ , FLAUNT and many more. ... brings real HDTV experience for the US consumers over basic broadband and for this, users will have to pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.95."

FierceIPTV, 4 Oct 2010, Jim O'Neill: "In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York Friday, was named as the defendant in a suit alleging copyright infringement, just as Seattle-based startup ivi TV, which currently is offering broadcast TV fare over the Internet for $4.99 a month, had been the week before. The suit was brought by a plethora of broadcasters, including CBS, NBC, Universal Network Television, KNBC-TV, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Fox Television Stations, ABC Holding Company, and Disney Enterprises."

Update: Rapid TV News, 3 Nov 2010, Michelle Clancy: "Despite joining iviTV in drawing copyright ire from the content companies by adopting a similar model of rebroadcasting content, online cableco FilmOn upped the ante by launching a HD mobile version for iPad, Android, BlackBerry and other smartphones. ... It will also offer some 'premium' content from the cable universe, including BBC News, Bloomberg International, CNN International... ."

BBC Global News journalists participate in, and fill in during, strike over pension deficit (updated).

Posted: 09 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
AOL News, 6 Nov 2010, Deborah Hasting: "Thousands of staffers went on strike today at the British Broadcasting Corp., knocking several flagship shows off the air and disrupting international radio programming. ... The 4,100-member National Union of Journalists voted to strike for 48 hours after rejecting a final contract offer that would have limited retirement benefits as the government-funded broadcaster struggles to bridge a pension deficit estimated at $2.42 billion. ... U.S. radio stations that carry the BBC World Service's 'News Hour' were forced to fill the time segment with other programming."

The Independent, 5 Nov 2010, Alan Jones: "Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists ... said 95% of journalists in the World Service newsroom in central London were on strike and he described the atmosphere on picket lines as 'incredibly determined'."

The Telegraph, 6 Nov 2010: "On BBC One, the 12pm news bulletin was five minutes shorter than scheduled and was presented by Peter Dobbie, who normally works on BBC World."

Update: The Guardian, 4 Nov 2010, John Plunkett: "[R]atings for BBC1's 10pm bulletin, fronted by BBC World presenter Stephen Cole in the absence of Huw Edwards, went up, a phenomenon attributed to curiosity about how the BBC would cope." David Murphy in Dresden points out that this happened during a BBC strike five years ago, and that Mr. Cole now works for Al Jazeera English.

BBC World Service budget bad news update.

Posted: 08 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC Democracy Live, 3 Nov 2010: "The Director of BBC Global News Peter Horrocks has told MPs that 'hundreds' of jobs could go to meet saving costs. Speaking to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 3 November 2010 he gave evidence on a government decision to move funding for the service from the Foreign Office to the licence fee. The World Service currently has a budget of around £272m a year - the Foreign Office is expected to retain a veto over the closure of any of the BBC's language services. Mr Horrocks told the committee that the service needed to make savings of 16% but that the corporation remained 'committed' to providing investment in the World Service, but admitted that some language services could close as listening habit change." With video.

The Stage, 4 Nov 2010, Matthew Hemley: "Archie Graham, chair of the trustees of theatre company Tiata Fadhozi, launched the petition following news that the World Service is to axe the 14 plays it broadcasts annually from 2011. ... Graham told The Stage that drama on the station 'plays a vital role in the literary field worldwide' and said it is 'renowned for its ethos and contributions to improving the cultural diversity in radio drama'.", 4 Nov 2010, John Collins: "The main version [of BBC World Service] that we've grown up with carries on much as you'd expect, with a wide variety of programmes across a broad spectrum of areas. But the move away from short wave has driven the World Service to offer its programmes for rebroadcasting on FM in territories around the world. One such station is the National Public Radio operator in Orlando, Florida. If you wake up in the small hours, you'll hear the BBC from London on 88.7FM before you rush off to the theme parks. Several times an hour, the BBC offers a quick pause or jingle to allow those rebroadcasting stations to 'opt out', to allow for some local information or - dare I say it - commercials. ... The events of a couple of weeks ago - when the funding for World Service radio moved from Westminster to the BBC license fee - represents a real-money cut in the Corporation's huge budgets. Massive cuts need new thinking, and the moving of funding of World Service means it needs to find new ways to fund its rich, diverse and distinctive programming mix. I have a suggestion that I know will appall BBC lifers, but would ultimately give them some degree of freedom. Allow the world service on DAB [in the UK] - and only the world service on DAB - to carry commercials." See previous post about same subject.

BBC apologizes for World Service "Assignment" report suggesting Band Aid/Live Aid money used for arms.

Posted: 08 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 4 Nov 2010: "The BBC has apologised over reports claiming millions of pounds raised by Band Aid was used to buy arms. In March, World Service's Assignment said cash raised by charities to help Ethiopia had been diverted by rebels. The BBC has admitted that Assignment gave the impression that Band Aid and Live Aid money had been diverted despite no evidence to back that up. It apologised for further TV, radio and online reports which actually stated that Band Aid money had paid for arms. The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit found in its ruling that there was no evidence to support such statements and that 'they should not have been broadcast'. 'The BBC wishes to apologise unreservedly to the Band Aid Trust for the misleading and unfair impression which was created,' it added." See also BBC Complaints, 4 Nov 2010.

The Telegraph, 4 Nov 2010, Neil Midgley: "[O]ne industry source yesterday criticised the BBC’s handling of the case. 'It’s bad enough that the BBC made such a terrible mistake – worse still that this flawed journalism was first broadcast on the World Service, of all places,' said the source. 'But they compounded their mistake by robustly defending the programme before a proper investigation. They then took seven months to deal with the complaint.'" See also The Guardian, 4 Nov 2010.

Press Gazette, 4 Nov 2010, Oliver Luft: "Michael Grade today accused the BBC of damaging the public perception of giving aid to relieve starving people by broadcasting a 'smear' story claiming money raised to fight famine was spent on weapons. The Band Aid trustee and former BBC chairman said it was 'outrageous' that the corporation had attempted to 'sex-up' its story with references to Band Aid, Live Aid and Bob Geldof. ... He also criticised a comment made to the trustees by BBC director general Mark Thompson in a letter following their initial complaint. 'The Trustees had a letter from the director general of the BBC and I quote directly, "It was excellent and robust journalism". Well, that looks pretty sick now,' Grade said. Asked by Today presenter Justin Webb if he thought Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News, should resign over the matter, Grade said: 'That’s a matter for the BBC, in my view somebody needs to have their horoscope read to them.'"

Microsoft award to BBC World Service Trust for its Bangladesh SMS English lessons.

Posted: 08 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
San Jose Mercury News, 6 Nov 2010, John Boudreau: "The 10th annual Tech Museum Awards, held Saturday night at the Santa Clara Convention Center before an audience of 1,300, shifted the gaze of Silicon Valley from the latest shiny tech objects and hottest new chips to social entrepreneurs working to solve some of the world's most vexing problems. ... 'It's important that social entrepreneurs are recognized and it's crucial that development work becomes financially sustainable. What happens when development funds run out?' said Sara Chamberlain with the BBC World Service Trust. The organization, a charitable arm of the British broadcaster, provides low-cost audio and SMS English lessons to mobile-phone users in Bangladesh to help them get better jobs. ... The five winners ... received $50,000 each. They [include]: .... Microsoft Education Award » BBC World Service Trust, featuring Sara Chamberlain, offers low-cost audio and SMS English lessons to mobile-phone users in Bangladesh."

RFE/RL extends lease on its Washington office, will help it compete with archrival VOA.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
citybizlist, 1 Nov 2010: "Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), an independent, international news and broadcast organization, signed a12-year lease renewal for 26,856 square feet at 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Washington, D.C. Robert Osinoff of Transwestern represented the tenant, and Mack-Cali was represented in-house by Kenneth Smondrowski, director of leasing. The 169,549-square-foot office property is 100 percent leased." -- That space includes RFE/RL's expanding (see previous post) Washington newsroom, several blocks away from VOA's newsroom and a few blocks away from Radio Free Asia's newsroom. How close are we, then, to BBG chairman Walter Isaacson's vision of 'a great virtual global news service' for US international broadcasting?

RFE/RL News, 3 Nov 2010, Breffni O'Rourke and Richard Solash: "The U.S. Federal Reserve has announced a bold plan to buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasury bonds in a move meant to speed up the country's financial recovery. The Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee announced today that the bank would purchase an additional $600 billion in government bonds by the middle of next year, further driving down interest rates on mortgages and other debts." -- Compare to...

VOA News, 3 Nov 2010, Jim Randle: "The U.S. central bank announced on Wednesday that it will put $600 billion more into circulation during the next few months, in a bid to cut interest rates, boost economic growth and cut unemployment."

RFE/RL, 5 Nov 2010, Charles Recknagel: "[I]t may be little wonder that much of the foreign reaction to Washington's move has been passionate. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai today said the United States 'owes us some explanation.' Otherwise, he said, 'international confidence in the recovery and growth of the global economy might be hurt.' Cui, who is also China's top negotiator on Group of 20 issues, signaled that Beijing wants Washington's move to be a top subject for discussion at the upcoming G20 meeting in Seoul next week." -- Compare to...

VOA News, 5 Nov 2010, Steve Herman: "China, the number two economy behind the United States, on Friday expressed concerns about the Fed's move. Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai spoke at a briefing in Beijing on the G20 summit. He says Washington owes other countries an explanation of the Fed's move, and that he has seen considerable concern about its effect on other countries. Cui goes on to say that as the main issuer of a reserve currency, the United States needs to take a responsible position."

Better to buy a Ku-band dish than to wait for your cable system to carry Xinhua's CNC World.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 7 Nov 2010: "China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC)'s English channel has further extended its international reach with the successful launch of satellite broadcasts in North America on Sunday. The CNC English service, channel 167 on Galaxy Satellite-19, is broadcast at Ku band without encryption and the signals are clear and smooth, according to the CNC service's monitoring sites across North America. Since its launch on July 1, the CNC English service, CNC World News, has broadcast English news programs 24 hours a day, covering breaking news and major political, economic and cultural news around the globe. ... Now, many U.S. and Canadian cable broadcasters and TV stations can broadcast CNC programs as the CNC English-language channels have a North America-wide coverage through satellite distribution." See previous post about same subject.

Christian Science Monitor, 3 Nov 2010, John Hughes: "Today China’s projection of 'soft power' involves a $7 billion international radio and TV broadcasting campaign. In funding, languages reached, frequencies used, and hours on the air, it already outpaces the two other major international broadcasters: Voice of America (VOA) and the BBC World Service. Both are facing cutbacks in their services. The Chinese media offensive includes two English-language TV channels and expansion of their international broadcasting bureaus from an existing 19 to 56." -- In the Cold War years, Radio Moscow outpaced Western international broadcasting in budget, languages, frequencies, and hours, but it had only a fraction of the audience. In similar fashion, Chinese international broadcasting may not be much of a threat, but it provides a convenient benchmark for US international broadcasting bureaucrats to ask for more funding.

Pappradio: a software defined solution to DRM digital shortwave reception.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link (Digital Radio Mondiale North America), 4 Nov 2010, interview with Stephan Schaa, developer of the Pappradio DRM receiver: "The Pappradio is for sure not the best HF radio you can get on the market: the Perseus, Quicksilver, Excalibur, Net-SDR and company are surely much better. But they cost at least 10 times the price a Pappradio costs and a lot of people can’t afford to buy them or don’t want to spend that much money for their first steps into the digital world of 'Software Defined Radio'. Q: There certainly is a dearth of affordable DRM receiver sets on the market! A: This is the biggest problem of the DRM system: the development of radios has been neglected for a long time. There are or have been some few models on the market, but they are expensive and weren’t that good as everyone wished they should be. So what to do? The 'Pappradio' and other PC-based SDRs can help the more technically interested people to be able to listen to DRM, but an affordable, good standalone radio would be very, very necessary to help DRM take off. The problem is that it would take a lot of effort for a company to develop a DRM radio. The bigger corporations don’t want to do that and the smaller ones aren’t able to finance that. So my question is: would it be possible to develop a 'creative commons' hardware platform and a open source software kit to help eliminating this problem? I’ve some ideas how to build a cheap and good HF front-end and I would like to use Android as base system for processing the signal." See also, 25 Oct 2010 and

Telesur and other ALBA media outlets "plan to control information across the hemisphere."

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Latin American Herald Tribune, 2 Nov 2010, Joel Hirst: "Keenly aware of the strategic importance of propaganda in their attempts to usher in their 21st Century Socialism, the ALBA [the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America] has embarked upon an ambitious plan to control information across the hemisphere. Their work began in 2005 with the establishment of the cable news network TeleSUR. This channel, with participation of the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Argentina, was founded to counter CNN and promote the integration of Latin America. TeleSUR rose to prominence in part for its active role in pushing for the reinstatement of the former Honduran President 'Mel' Zelaya, after he was removed from office for promoting an illegal referendum. ... [T]he ALBA has established a series of online services for radio and television such as ALBA-TV, ALBA Ciudad 96.3, the Radio of the South [Radio del Sur] , and ALBA Multi-Channel. ... And the ALBA's propaganda is working. In a recent survey carried out by M&R consulting in Nicaragua, 50% of respondents identified Venezuela as their greatest friend (in terms of cooperation), compared with only 18% for the United States."

Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency announces partnership with Radio Netherlands.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Ma'an News Agency, 2 November 2010: "Ma’an has finalized a partnership agreement with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, network officials said Tuesday. ... Ma’an general manager Raed Othman said the partnership would enable both sides to benefit from each other’s expertise. Both Ma’an and RNW share a common vision to provide accurate, unbiased reports to a broad audience via radio, TV, and Internet, Othman said. Ma’an radio director Muhammad Lahham said that through the partnership, beginning 1 November, every week Ma'an and RNW will trade three stories each for broadcast alongside regular programming."

Voice of Nigeria's "Kiddies Voices" wins UNICEF award.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
UNICEF press release, 3 Nov 2010: "UNICEF awarded the 2010 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) Awards to Télévision Togolaise (TVT), Voice of Nigeria and Maputaland Community Radio Station at its annual ICDB Awards Ceremony in New York. ... Voice of Nigeria, the official international broadcasting station in Nigeria, took the prize for its weekly program, 'Kiddies Voices,' a magazine show broadcast 'from the children to the children.' The ICDB edition focused on raising awareness around children’s rights issues, especially child trafficking and exploitation."

In Haiti, French international channels fight yet another tragedy: the loss of French.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
EurActiv, 2 Nov 2010: "Radio France International and television station TV5 were well established in Haiti before the [January 2010 earthquake] struck and they are currently repairing their broken transmitters. Before the earthquake, TV5 launched a series documenting development initiatives in the country, funded by the European Union. Asked what it was like working with the EU, Marie-Christine Saragosse, director-general of TV5 Monde, spoke of 'the complexity of EU procedures, which are even longer than governmental ones'. ... Saragosse said Haitians mostly watched American television, a statistic which worried one African journalist, who said 'he who loses his language loses his culture'. The TV5 boss said Europe could help reverse this trend because one of its goals was to support media pluralism worldwide. ... Saragosse also underlined how well the wide variety of channels designed to counteract English-language media complement one another. For example, Euronews produces a single, continuous image stream of news, for which it makes available a soundtrack in ten languages (Persian is the latest). The channel, which is based in Lyon, reaches almost 300 million households and attracts around eight million viewers. TV5, on the other hand, makes programmes that are adapted for different continents but shows them all in French only, offering subtitles in ten languages. Thanks to localised 'unhooking' to other national channels all over the world, TV5 is accessible in 207 million households worldwide and is watched by 53-55 million people every week, more than any rival national channel."

Report: Deutsche Welle faces budget pressure, may drop shortwave except to Africa.

Posted: 07 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Evangelischer Pressedienst, 4 Nov 2010, translated by Kai Ludwig: "'Far-reaching reforms' will be done at Deutsche Welle 'due to the Internet and heavy financial pressure'. Job positions 'rather in the three-digit range' will be eliminated until 2014.

"This is the basic outcome of a closed meeting of the DW directors earlier this week, where a benchmark paper has been developed. During the next months proposals are to be made how to create as much synergies as possible.

"EPD gathers from the paper also that shortwave will be kept only for Africa. Elsewhere DW will rely on the Internet and local rebroadcasting partners instead.

"DW's presence in Latin America and Russia will be strengthened while southeastern Europe no longer belongs to the 'core regions'. The existing 30 language services are supposed to stay.

"The current division between the different media will disappear. In future the editorial offices will prepare their content for TV, radio and online seamlessly.

"DW expects a shrinking budget for the next years. Even an unchanged budget of 273 million Euro per year would until 2014 result in a deficit of 23 million Euro due to increasing costs."

Television, radio, and online (web pages) have different production values and audience expectations. They cannot be co-created so "seamlessly."

Gulf Daily News (Manama), 2 Nov 2010: "Jazz music and traditional Arabic songs were performed by German and Bahraini musicians at a concert held at the Cultural Hall. Jazz Kicks - An Inter-Cultural Encounter was performed by the German Women Jazz Orchestra and the Bahrain Police Band. The free concert was organised by Deutsche Welle in co-operation with the German Music Council and the German Embassy."

David Rivera, "dogged by questions about his role with" Radio/TV Martí, debates on Radio/TV Martí, wins House seat.

Posted: 06 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
WTVJ (Miami), 3 Nov 2010, Jeff Burnside: "Republican David Rivera declared victory Tuesday at the campaign’s party at the Biltmore Hotel just yards away from where Marco Rubio also told the nation that the Republican tide is rising. Rivera defeated Joe Garcia, who did not concede defeat until after Rivera declared victory. ... Rivera had been dogged by questions about his role with Radio Marti and TV Marti, Rivera initially claiming he worked for USAID. But the government agency said that was not accurate, leaving critics to wonder where his salary came from. In the end, the controversy was not enough to do him in."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 1 Nov 2010: "In an historic first, Radio and TV Martí hosted a debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for Florida’s 25th Congressional District. The Cuban-American candidates, Joe Garcia (D), chairman of the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade, and David Rivera (R), Florida State representative, answered questions from independent journalists, economists and others in Cuba in the live streamed event. 'The freedom of candidates to engage in public debate of policy issues and the freedom of voters to evaluate those ideas for themselves are cornerstones of the democratic political process,' said Carlos A. García-Pérez, incoming director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), which oversees Radio and TV Martí. 'Both candidates showed a great commitment to the process by agreeing to this debate for Cubans on issues related to Cuba.'"

Across the Straits and around the world: some history of Taiwan's international broadcasting.

Posted: 06 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
USC Center on Public Diplomacy blog, 20 Oct 2010, Paul Rockower: "Radio Taiwan International (RTI) serves as the 'voice of Taiwan.' The station is an amalgamation of the 'Voice of Free China' service that served as the Republic of China on Taiwan’s international broadcasting arm plus the Central Broadcasting System, which for years broadcast to mainland China. The Central Broadcasting System (CBS) was founded in Nanjing, China in 1928, and the original mission of the station was to broadcast government policy. During World War II, the station promoted Chinese national unity against the Japanese occupation of China. Later, with the defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT), the station followed the KMT government to Taiwan. In the coming decades, the Voice of Free China conducted international broadcasting efforts, while the CBS outlet was used for propaganda and psychological warfare against mainland China."

Radio Taiwan International -- previously known as Radio Taipei International, and before that Voice of Free China -- broadcasts in Amoy, Cantonese, English, French, German, Hakka, Indonesian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese. Like China Radio International, RTI maintains its presence on shortwave, in addition to to offerings via its website See also the RTI cyber museum of broadcasting.

RTI has taken over from the old Central Broadcasting Service responsibility for broadcasts to the mainland. Also broadcasting to the mainland from Taiwan is a station called Voice of Kuanghua. Over the years, there has been an amazing array of radio stations, overt and clandestine, broadcasting across the Straits between Taiwan and the mainland.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Taiwan operated (from within the same Broadcasting Corporation of China building that housed the Voice of Free China) the Voice of Asia. As of 1995, Voice of Asia broadcast in Amoy, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka, English, Indonesian, Thai offered lighter broadcast fare than Voice of Free China, with more music and personality. Voice of Asia was an experiment in international broadcasting. The reasons for its creation and demise would be a good topic for a thesis.

If CNC World can't report fully about China, "China will simply be pouring money down a bottomless pit."

Posted: 06 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Korea Times, 3 Nov 2010, Frank Ching: "International news currently accounts for about 70 percent of Xinhua’s 24-hour English-language channel, CNC World, which was launched in July to be China’s voice in the world. But the real test for Xinhua will not be its coverage of international news, but rather its coverage of China, in particular, of Chinese politics. After all, CNC World can cover the whole world without fear or favor but, will the Communist Party allow it to cover sensitive political issues in China? Most viewers, presumably, will want to watch its programs for what they can learn about China. One example of how CNC World currently soft-pedals sensitive political news was its coverage of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a political dissident serving an 11-year prison term. CNC World did not report the news. What it did was report the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s criticism of the award, which was termed a 'blasphemy.' ...

"If CNC World is to contribute to international understanding of China, it should dig into such stories and explain to viewers around the world just what happened, and why. Its reporters should follow a story no matter where it leads. After all, that is what one would hope, and expect, from CNN and the BBC. If Xinhua cannot do this, then CNC World cannot possibly achieve its mission. The Chinese voice in the world will be simply dismissed as so much propaganda. And China will simply be pouring money down a bottomless pit." See previous post about same subject.

China Radio International Spanish now available 12 hours a day on 1470 AM in Tijuana.

Posted: 05 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 2 Nov 2010: "China Radio International (CRI) launched an overseas radio station in Tijuana, Mexico on November 1 local time. The station, broadcasting at AM 1470, is CRI's first Spanish speaking station in Latin America. The Tijuana station marks the fiftieth overseas station on CRI's massive network. The station will broadcast in Spanish for 12 hours each day from 18:00 PM to 6:00 AM. The broadcasts will reach an expected audience of six million, bringing them feature news, sports, entertainment and talk shows. The programs will mainly target the local audience and the Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. ... CRI has been pushing for more overseas radio stations in recent years. Its foreign bases on five continents broadcast in 41 different languages for more than 1,100 hours every day." -- As opposed to zero different languages for zero hours every day for other international broadcasters in China. China's idea of international broadcasting is We Talk, You Listen! (The 1470 kHz transmitter in Tijuana is 10 kW, so it should be able to reach across the border into parts of California.)

Al Jazeera English thinks it's close to a license to operate in India (updated).

Posted: 05 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Hindustan Times, 22 Oct 2010, Aarefa Johari: "Al Jazeera English (AJE), the only international news channel operating from the Gulf, is likely to reach Indian television screens in the next few months. Al Anstey, managing director of the Qatar-based network, said that the channel has 'nearly completed' the procedures for getting a landing license in India, and has begun talks with leading cable operators. 'India is one of the most important markets for us, and I believe it has intelligent, outward-looking viewers who would appreciate high quality content,' said Anstey, who is visiting Mumbai."

Mint (Delhi), 24 Oct 2010, Anushree Chandran & Gouri Shah: "Q: After the launch of Al Jazeera English, would you also look to launch regional news channels in India? Anstey: The Al Jazeera network is looking to reach out to new viewers all the time. In terms of television screen distribution, India is very important. We are actively looking at launching into other languages globally and are examining such options for India as well. For example, if we were to do something in the Hindi market, it will give us a whole new viewership base. I cannot give an affirmative word on whether we are going ahead or not, whether we launch with a potential partner or who we see as our potential partners, it’s too soon to tell.", 25 Oct 2010: "For Al Jazeera, India has been a hard love story. The network applied for a downlinking licence way back in 2006 through its India-registered arm AJI International, but has found it difficult to appease the government mandarins. The network also has plans to launch an Urdu news channel primarily targeted at India. The channel already partners Hindi news channel India TV through a September 2004 deal that allows both channels to broadcast each other's content."

Update: Indian Express, 2 Nov 2010, Archna Shukla: "The Qatar-based and state-owned broadcast network Al Jazeera is all set to launch its English news channel in India over the next three or four weeks. After struggling for almost four years to get all necessary government approvals, the channel is now in the last stages of completing all formalities and is likely to begin testing its signals sometime later this month, said sources. The channel’s global managing director, Al Anstey, met several cable operators and other distributors last week in Mumbai to firm up the distribution plan for the channel. While refusing to comment on the exact time of the launch, Anstey said most government approvals had been secured and the channel was all set for its India debut 'soon'." -- In bureaucratic India, "soon" could mean years and years.

Radio Sweden audio was easier to find when they were on shortwave.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio Sweden ended its shortwave and medium wave broadcasts on 30 October. It continues broadcasting via satellite and the internet. The website has been redesigned. The page starts easily enough, with links to each of Radio Sweden's international service languages, in the language of the service. Click on the English link, though, an we are confronted with several links in Swedish. To help you navigate, here's a quick course in Swedish:

Läs mer: Swedish for "click this link, and your computer will get a virus."

Lyssna: Swedish for "too bad you don't speak Swedish"

Senaste sändningen: In Swedish, this is how one insults your grandparents.

Poddradio (ladda ner mp3-filer): Now this is close enough to English that we can figure out what it is. (Too bad if your language is العربية.)

And on this podcast page, you will want to listen to the broadcasts on 29 October: "This weekend marks the end of seven decades of Radio Sweden on shortwave. We ask why we’re pulling the plug, and we look back on the last 72 years of Radio Sweden." And on 1 November: "We be heading into the digital frontier, hearing about what the internet means for the future of Swedish radio."

See also Radio Sweden, 1 Nov 2010. And the Radio Sweden satellite schedule. See previous post about same subject.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation converts some international news bureaus to operate out of APTN offices.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Spy, 3 Nov 2010, tjkirk: "The ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] has carried out a number of cost-cutting measures to its foreign news bureaus, following a two-year long review into its international operations. The public broadcaster's independent bureaus in London, the Middle East, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Moscow, will close as correspondents relocate to Associated Press Television News (APTN) offices. Under a new partnership with APTN, correspondents will also share the agency's support staff, which will lead to the termination of numerous translators, researchers and fixers, according to The Australian. ... [A] source labeled the move as an 'assassination tour' of the foreign bureaus by director of news Kate Torney, director of news policy Steven Alward, and director of international news John Turner. ... Torney defended the new structure, saying it would 'remove the current two-tier system' of wages for ABC correspondents and those working for its international arm, the Australia Network." See also The Australian, 2 Nov 2010, Amanda Meade.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Nov 2010, Tom Dick: "The ABC is seeking someone who wants a posting as a foreign correspondent in its newest bureau - Afghan capital Kabul - as it seeks to bolster its international news by teaming up with the Associated Press's television division. Kabul will be its 13th bureau. Director of news Kate Torney has told ABC staff it would operate for at least 12 months and serve as a base for covering the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She said the next year of the war would be critical." See also The Australian, 1 Nov 2010, Amanda Meade.

ABC press release, 29 Oct 2010: "The ABC today announced that ABC Managing Director Mark Scott, has agreed to extend his contract for a further five years, commencing 5 July 2011."

Australia's Gold Coast advertises to Asia via Australia Network.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 1 Nov 2010, Daniel Meers: "Images of the Gold Coast [Queensland, Australia] will be beamed into millions of homes and hotel rooms across 44 countries in Asia and the subcontinent as part of an international television campaign beginning today. Three different television advertisements targeting tourists, business travellers and investors will be rolled out as part of Gold Coast Tourism's first international television campaign since the Famous For Fun brand was launched last month. It will be the first time the Gold Coast has had a dedicated television campaign in Asia. The 60 and 90-second commercials will air on the ABC-operated Australia Network which is viewed throughout the crucial Asian market and includes China, Singapore, India and Malaysia. -- Australia Network is in China? Maybe in some hotel rooms.

A rapid-fire critique of the international news channels.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
New Europe, 31 Oct 2010, Andy Carling: "Euronews is just strange. The voiceovers are performed by people who are bored out of their minds. It is the channel designed for dentist’s waiting rooms. ... France 24 is painfully bland. As if they just think that an English language channel is beneath them, so only the bare minimum is required. ... I’ve only seen Fox News long enough to hurl obscenities and will never go there again. ... Almost as much a propaganda outlet, is Press TV, from the loveable mullahs of Iran. Set up with the express intention of exposing the moral corruption of everything un-Iranian. ... Russia Today, is pro-Kremlin, but does try to show the huge nation at a local level. This means lots of documentaries, often very good, on strange and frightening villages. ... If you want to see how Bilderberg is going to invade Russia or how the US blew up the twin towers to gain world domination, this is the channel for you."

Old media at China Radio International Hindi: "thousands of handwritten postcards and letters from rural Indians."

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Hindustan Times blog, 31 Oct 2010, Reshma Patil: "In contrast to the lack of Chinese curiosity for modern India, the 12th floor of the 50-year-old Hindi section of China Radio International in Beijing bursts with evidence of the inquisitive Indian. When I visited the office of the state run service, I was stunned to see blue sacks filled with tens of thousands of handwritten postcards and letters from rural Indians who tune into news about China and ask meaningful questions to compare the development of the Asian giants. Indian audiences are also members of dozens of ‘listeners clubs’ faithful to China Radio. The Chinese media continues to pay little attention to bringing the Indian growth story to its domestic audience, which is surprising since both nations are planning to expand bilateral business, tourism and academic exchanges." -- If CRI Hindi is offering souvenir items, that encourages a large mailbag.

Does China need Facebook if it has Happy Network?

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Economic Times (India), 1 Nov 2010: "As social networking websites Facebook and Twitter stand banned in China, their indigenous versions have hooked millions of Chinese users., translated in English as the 'happy network' is China's Facebook-style website that already has about 90 million users. Then there is Twitter's Chinese clone Weibo which is used by 40 million people, a media report in the official news agency said. ... Facebook and Twitter cannot be accessed in China as the government has not permitted their use fearing they would spread easily among the net savvy youth and may pose a potential political threat to the one party system. ... China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), the recently-launched global television news network of China's official news agency, in June became the first organisation to set up an official account on" See also Xinhua, 30 Oct 2010.

Al Jazeera English host Riz Khan at Harvard: US news outlets blur reporting and commentary.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Harvard Crimson, 1 Nov 2010, Michelle M. Hu: "Rizwan 'Riz' Khan, the host of an Al Jazeera English program that bears his name, discussed newsworthiness in American and Middle Eastern media outlets last Friday at the Barker Center. ... M. Abbas Jaffer—a student at the Divinity School who introduced and concluded Khan’s talk—added that the Harvard Pakistan Student Group asked for a specific media focus on the recent floods, which affected the lives of nearly 20 million Pakistanis and led to the deaths of almost 2,000. 'We’ve seen an utter lack of coverage,' Jaffer said, 'and really a lack of breadth in terms of understanding the disaster, its aftermath, and exposure to it in the U.S. and Western media.' In contrast, 'Al Jazeera did have quite a deep coverage,' he continued. ... Further comparing Middle Eastern and American news sources, Khan said that news outlets in the United States often blur the boundary between objective reporting and subjective commentary."

Party leader wants Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya banned in Denmark; coalition partners demur.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 31 Oct 2010: "The leader of Denmark's populist Danish People's Party, on which the government relies for support, said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that pan-Arab television channels Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya should be stopped from broadcasting to the country. Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of parliament's third-biggest party, accused the channels of sowing hatred against Western society in immigrant communities. The centre-right governing coalition said it did not support her views about the stations. ... Kjaersgaard said she would look into reporting the TV stations to Danish regulatory authorities with the aim of getting their broadcasts blocked. 'My aim is merely to promote integration here which in certain residential areas has gone completely wrong, and that is to a large extent due to the inhabitants getting their news from these two TV stations only,' she said in an interview with the daily Berlingske Tidende. 'Their broadcasts are very full of hatred...They contribute to inculcating hatred against Western society.'", 2 Nov 2010, Awad Joumaa: "The controversial proposal has so far been met with criticism from the Danish People's Party's coalition partners, the liberal and conservative parties. Although both main parties disagree with the proposed ban, they fundamentally agree with the People's Party's claims - as a spokesman for the conservatives put it - that Arab channels 'espouse anti-Jewish and anti-Western propaganda'."

The Copenhagen Post, 2 Nov 2010: "Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party (DF), has stuck to her guns in the face of harsh criticism following her proposal to ban access to two prominent Arabic news channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. ... 'I thought it was an April Fool’s joke,' Naser Khader, the Conservative MP, told Politiken newspaper, proposing that the DF instead come up with a democratic response. He added that labelling Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya as 'hateful Arabic TV-stations' shows that the DF does not have a proper understanding of the Arabic media. ... The DF will now go directly to the Radio and Television Board to get Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya channels banned, but they will need to provide evidence that the two TV stations are a form of hate speech."

Al Jazeera operations in Morocco suspended by Communication Ministry.

Posted: 04 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse (Rabat), 29 Oct 2010: "Morocco's Communication Ministry announced on Friday the suspension, as of today (October 29), of the 'Al Jazeera' TV channel's activities in Morocco as well as the accreditation of its staff on the national territory. This decision was taken following several cases of violation of the 'serious and credible' journalism standards, which require respect, honesty, accuracy and objectivity under all circumstances, in addition to committing to the commonly accepted professional norms and ethics, the ministry said in a release. ... In addition to the repeated professional shortcomings, reflected in Al Jazeera’s daily coverage of Moroccan matters, the channel 'brought technical equipment to our country without the necessary legal authorization by the competent governmental departments', the release underscored.", 30 Oct 2010: "Al Jazeera has denounced the suspension of the network's operations in Morocco. In a statement on Saturday, Al Jazeera said that the closure of its bureau in the capital, Rabat, would not change the network's editorial guidelines. 'Al Jazeera is committed to an editorial policy based on the principal of providing alternate opinions,' the statement said. 'Al Jazeera's coverage of Moroccan issues has always been professional, balanced and accurate.'"

CBC News, 29 Oct 2010: "Morocco took particular exception to the news service's reporting on the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony taken over by Morocco in 1975. ... Al-Jazeera reports that its Moroccan bureau chief was convicted and fined for what the government called 'disseminating false information' after reporting on deaths in clashes with police in 2008."

Huffington Post, 30 Oct 2010, Magda Abu_Fadil: "Complaints notwithstanding, Al Jazeera is back on top thanks to a series of firsts, according to Lebanese daily Al Akhbar 'Wikileaks returns Al Jazeera to its golden age,' the paper said, attributing the success to its broadcasts of the controversial Iraq war diaries. It said Al Jazeera and a few newspapers had scooped other media with their coverage of the leaked documents that uncovered war crimes and incidents of torture by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. Al Akhbar also said Al Jazeera planned a to expand its investigative journalism unit, to open new bureaus worldwide, to launch new channels, to delve into new media, and to upgrade its training center for journalists."

Magharebia, 4 Nov 2010, Naoufel Cherkaou: "Communication Minister Khalid Naciri said in a statement to Magharebia that the 'file of al-Jazeera has been closed once and for all.' 'The ban of the channel's office and withdrawal of accreditations from its correspondents is final and irrevocable, and can't be reversed in any way,' Naciri said. Regarding the possibility of negotiating with al-Jazeera instead of resorting to such a decision, Naciri said that 'the dialogues have extended for years, but have been in vain'."

Words of support for BBC World Service as it prepares for job losses and language service closures.

Posted: 03 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 3 Nov 2010, John Plunkett: "More than 300 jobs are at risk at the BBC World Service and some foreign-language broadcasts face the axe as a result of the funding cuts imposed in the latest licence fee settlement with the government, MPs were warned today. The director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks, described the financial situation as 'challenging' and said there were 'hundreds of jobs that would need to go'. Horrocks added that the World Service would be proposing that some foreign-language broadcasts should be closed as part of the cuts."

BBC World Service, 28 Oct 2010, Hamid Ismailov, BBCWS writer in residence: An "Uzbek listener famously said: 'The BBC broadcasts are the one hour of Truth in the 24x7 sea of propaganda of lies'. This access to truth in the media is not just about the Uzbek listeners. In Azerbaijan the oppositional figure known as S.J-o told us in an interview after his release from prison that inmates used to listen to the BBC on a smuggled small radio, which they hid during the day in a piece of soap. Truth is addictive, especially in closed societies and people will go the extra mile to get a gulp of the fresh air it provides. I've seen printouts on scraps of paper in Uzbekistan of our BBC blogs. They had been printed out and handed around on the streets."

News & Star (Carlisle), 2 Nov 2010, Stephen Blease: "[T]he BBC is not just EastEnders. It’s one of Britain’s biggest exports. Mr Cameron may be no admirer, but the BBC is admired and trusted all over the world. In some of the oppressive, tyrannical regimes in Asia and Africa it is regarded as the only source of balanced, comprehensive news out there – far more so than the US equivalent, Voice of America. It is not just a national treasure. It’s an international treasure."

The Guardian, 1 Nov 2010, Josh Halliday: "Foreign news coverage in four of the UK's most widely-read national newspapers has fallen by almost 40% in the past 30 years, according to a report published today. ... The BBC World Service was singled out in the report – compiled in the first half of 2010, before the comprehensive spending review – as essential for sustaining international reporting by UK news organisations. ... 'I'm very concerned about this from a number of perspectives. The BBC is going to have to cut back costs of the World Service and that will mean cutting important elements – how will they choose what to cut? It's concerning because the same editorial principles can't apply as with the BBC's services inside the UK. They can't say programmes are unpopular if they're talking about the Burma service or services that are serving a key function under dictatorial regimes,' [Martin Moore, author of the report and director of the Media Standards Trust] said."

Independent Catholic News, 30 Oct 2010, Peter Hughes, missionary priest: Before I went to Chile as a missionary priest in 1977 I was given very good advice by a friend of mine who was already working in Chile. He told me that the two most important luggage items to bring were a good Biblical commentary and a good short wave radio. Fortunately I took his advice. I probably used the radio more than I used the Biblical commentary! Most evenings I would tune in to the World Service on the BBC. The reception would not always be excellent but I would be able to hear enough to get the latest world news and even more important to get the true news about what was going on in Chile. ... The World Service not only kept us up to date on world events but we also received the latest sports results, you can imagine that the Chilean TV would not be too interested in how Arsenal was doing in the championship! Since I came back to England in 2005 I have continued my love affair with the World Service. I think that it is far superior to BBC 24 of Sky News. It provides a detailed, well researched analysis on what is going on and is listened to by thousands of people who have few other means of informing themselves." See previous post about same subject.

BBC Burmese extends its programming, somehow, to cover the Burmese election.

Posted: 03 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 1 Nov 2010: "As Burma prepares to hold elections that should form part of the country's transition from military rule to democracy, BBC Burmese has further strengthened its news teams and extended its programming to provide audiences with comprehensive and in-depth coverage. Between Sunday 7 and Wednesday 10 November, the service will add original programming, focusing on the elections, to its daily broadcasts. To deliver this special output, BBC Burmese has reinforced the team at its Bangkok bureau with two extra journalists. ... Between 7 and 10 November, BBC Burmese will broadcast two half-hour and one 45-minute programme a day, presented from the London and Bangkok studios of the BBC. The radio programming is broadcast on shortwave and on PAS10 and Palapa satellite television channels, and streamed on the BBC Burmese website." -- BBC Burmese already broadcasts "two half-hour and one 45-minute programme a day," so perhaps the addition of "original programming," i.e. fewer repeats, is the difference., 2 Nov 2010, Rachel McAthy: "Last month reported that foreign journalists will not be allowed into Burma to report on the country's first election in 20 years. In response, BBC Burmese will use its network of regional correspondents and stringers to inform its Burmese audiences and assist the BBC's international news services."

BBC Worldwide's "renewed thrust into India" includes new appointments.

Posted: 03 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 30 Oct 2010: "With BBC Worldwide set to make a renewed thrust into India for its channels business next year, it has made a number of appointments to boost its local team. BBC Worldwide channels India director Deepak Shourie, who came on-board earlier this year, says that Pankaj Saxena has been roped in to head programming, a new position that has been created. ... BBC Entertainment is available only on Tata Sky. The channel is now talking to different DTH and cable TV operators."

Viacom CEO on international expansion: Latin America is great, Africa will be great, China difficult.

Posted: 03 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 31 Oct 2010, Sam Schechner interviewing Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom: "WSJ: International revenue is about 27% of your top line. Where do you see growth internationally? Mr. Dauman: Latin America is a great territory. Someday I see Africa being great. The only part of the world that I see as difficult in the short term and medium term is China. Because of the restrictive practices there, the extensive piracy that exists, it's an economic opportunity that hasn't really materialized. But I see other emerging markets all being fertile territory for expansion. You have a growing middle class that has disposable income. And more and more households with more than one television set."

News out of, South Korean pop songs into, North Korea.

Posted: 02 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
PCWorld, 1 Nov 2010, Martyn Williams: "AsiaPress works with six North Koreans they've trained as journalists. They're given instruction in operating cameras, using PCs and how to use cell phones so they don't attract the attention of authorities. Then, every few months, they meet with AsiaPress representatives just over the border in China to hand over their images. ... AsiaPress isn't the only media working with reporters or informants in North Korea. Outlets including Open Radio for North Korea and Daily NK also receive reports from correspondents inside the country that add additional information, understanding and sometimes rumor to what's happening inside the country."

The Dong-a Ilbo, 29 Oct 2010: "When defectors who learned South Korean songs through TV or karaoke bars while living in China for several years were either repatriated or voluntarily returned to the North, they brought South Korean songs with them. This marked the second phase of the spread of South Korean songs in the North, with North Koreans singing them secretly. The third phase began around 2002, when Pyongyang announced the 'July 1 economic improvement measure.' Around that time, DVD players grew popular in the North, so South Korean TV dramas began flowing in and North Koreans started openly singing South Korean pop songs. 'Rocky Island' turned into a favorite song at end-of-the-year bashes, 'Friend' at birthday parties, and 'A Letter from a Private' at ceremonies for new military recruits. More than 100 South Korean songs are known to be sung in the North."

Japan Focus, 31 Oct 2010, Brian Yecies and Ae-Gyung Shim: "During the immediate post-war period, the [US Army Military govermnent in Korea's] propaganda operation in [South] Korea was anchored by the dissemination of a flood of glamorous Hollywood ‘spectacle’ films across a range of genres, filling a noticeable void hitherto left empty by American, Korean, Japanese and other European films. As local film critics noted at the time, the sheer spectacle and extreme ‘foreignness’ of the Hollywood films on show enabled audiences to forget about the political turmoil going on around them."

John Steinbeck's 1954 message to Eastern Europe, via Radio Free Europe.

Posted: 02 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 28 Oct 2010, Bill Steigerwald: John Steinbeck "knew what was wrong with the Soviet Union. He proved it in this wise and prescient message he delivered over Radio Free Europe in 1954 to the peoples of Eastern Europe who looked like they were trapped forever behind the Iron Curtain.

"'To my friends, There was a time when I could visit you and you were free to visit me. My books were in your stores and you were free to write to me on any subject. Now your borders are closed with barbed wire and guarded by armed men and fierce dogs, not to keep me out but to keep you in. And now your minds are also imprisoned. You are told that I am a bad writer but you are not permitted to judge for yourselves. You are told we are bad people but you are forbidden to see and to compare. You are treated like untrustworthy animals, subjected to conditioning as cold and ruthless as though you were rats in a laboratory. You cannot travel, you cannot read freely and you cannot work at the profession of your choice. Your writers are the conditioned servants of a regime. All of this is designed to destroy your ability to think.

"'I beg you to keep alive the integrity of the individual in his ability to judge and compare and create. May your writers write secretly and hold their writing for the time when this grey anesthetic has passed as pass it must. The free world outside your prison still lives. You will join it again and it will welcome you. Everything around you is cynically designed to destroy you as individuals. You must remember and teach your children that they are precious, not as dull cogs in the wheel of party existence, but as units complete and shining in themselves.'"

CNN International, CNN en Español, but no more CNN (US) on Costa Rican cable.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Insidecostarica, 30 0ct 2010: Costa Rica's local cable television provider "has been announcing a series of changes to its channel line up, introducing several new channels and eliminating others. ... Gone from the lineup is the US broadcast of CNN in English. There is CNN Español, CNN Headline News and CNN international, but no CNN." With link to the complete channel lineup, which shows "VOA" on channel 78.

CNN redesigns its Arabic website.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link, 1 Nov 2010, press release via: "CNN has redesigned its Arabic language website to align with the look and feel of the brand's award-winning and sites, at the same time as introducing a significantly enhanced content offering. The investment is the most substantial in the website's history and is the latest signal of CNN's commitment to the Mena region. ... Expanding on current activity with influential bloggers, and Facebook forums in the Arab world, there are two dedicated segments for key social media influencers in the region to post their latest thoughts and ideas, and at the same time add their URL so users can easily access their pages."

CNN International revamps evening lineup for Asia Pacific, will "forge relationships with viewers through social media."

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Media Newsline, 29 Oct 2010: "As part of CNN’s longstanding commitment to the Asia Pacific region and its ongoing expansion of its Asian coverage, the network is redefining its weekday evening primetime line up, led by a brand new show hosted by Kristie Lu Stout. ... From Monday November 8th, the new evening line up will be led by a new hour-long program News Stream anchored from Hong Kong by award-winning anchor Kristie Lu Stout. News Stream uses smart, cutting-edge technology to better relate key stories and forge relationships with viewers through social media. Visually arresting and different in look and feel to any CNN news show to date, the program also showcases a network of digital correspondents around the world."

China Radio International will expand FM relays in Nepal.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Zee News, 28 Oct 2010: "China's state-owned radio station is set to air its programmes across Nepal through FM channels, in new signs that the Communist giant is expanding its influence in the country. China Radio International CRI has been granted downlink permission by the government to rebroadcast its programmes across Nepal in Nepali and English, according to Information Ministry official. CRI is the second foreign radio station after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to acquire downlink permission in Nepal, the official Mahendra Guragain said."

Republica (Kathmandu), 28 Oct 2010: "Officials said the CRI plans to reach out to Nepali listenerss across the country through local FM radios in various parts of the country. 'We have learnt that CRI representatives in Kathmandu are currently in negotiations with FM radios in Kathmandu and beyond to reach Nepali listenerss across the country,' said a senior official at the ministry on condition of anonymity."

Biography of Mildred Gillars, "Axis Sally," is on sale.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
The Item of Millburn and Short Hills (NJ), 28 Oct 2010, Laura D'Onofrio: "On Nov. 4, Short Hills author Richard Lucas will be signing copies of his most recent book, 'Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany' at Barnes and Noble in Springfield at 6 p.m. The book is the first fully-documented biography of the notorious World War II broadcaster Mildred Gillars (1900-1988), better known to WWII soldiers as 'Axis Sally.' ... Gillars, later to be known as 'Axis Sally,' dropped out of college in Ohio to pursue her dream of becoming a famous actress. She moved to New York and failed there. She fled the United States for Germany around 1934 in an attempt to escape the Depression and study music. While there she met a man, who would eventually be killed in the War, and changed her citizenship. During this time she began to work in radio recording German shows in English and film criticisms for a variety show. ... Although Gillars started out as a deejay, she would become the highest paid American broadcaster within the Berlin Radio Service. Her programs were heard by U.S. GIs throughout Northern Africa and Europe." See previous post about same subject.

Ten shortwave stories include broadcasts to Belarus and Somalia, from Biafra and Afghanistan.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 22 Oct 2010, John Connor Cleveland: "Belarus is the only country in Europe where RFE is prohibited from broadcasting content through local affiliates. Instead, local listeners must rely on Cold War-era shortwave radios to tune in to Radio Svaboda, as the Belarusian station is known. However, as Internet connectivity within the country has increased, so has the ability of the people to access free information unencumbered by state interference. Despite numerous cyber-attacks against, the website has persevered against Belarusian state media filters."

Mail & Gaurdian (Cape Town), 22 Oct 2010, David Smith: "[A] peacekeeping radio network ... called Bar-Kulan ('meeting place' in Somali), which broadcasts from Nairobi to Somalia and the Somali diaspora. ... Bar-Kulan avoids [restrictions in Somalia] by locating its studios next door in Kenya and using shortwave and the internet to avoid the difficulties of erecting FM transmitters in places with neither security nor a stable power supply (though Mogadishu is served by an FM transmitter located within the Amisom compound). But its journalists are located throughout Somalia."

Daily Mirror (Colombo), 23 Oct 2010, Gamini Akmeemana: A "solitary radio station from the breakaway Nigerian province of Biafra continued its broadcasts till the very end during the bitter 800-day civil war which lasted till 1969. ... Just as things were looking impossible, French President Charles de Gaulle decided to back the Biafran cause. The French began airlifting supplies as well as arms and ammunition to Biafra. Radio Biafra received a brand new short wave transmitter and a gas-fuelled generator, bought by an intermediary company from the Swiss electronics firm of Brown, Boveri and Co. Ltd. The new transmitter operated on a new frequency of 7304 kHz, replacing the obsolete home service station. Broadcasts were prepared by 40 separate groups which included university lecturers, producing newstalk shows and other programmes. Frederick Forsythe, a former BBC reporter (and a famous thriller writer later on) worked as a volunteer on the staff of Radio Biafra."

Cincinnati Enquirer, 17 Oct 2010, Nicholas Hoesl: "I contemplated joining the Peace Corps for two years before being sent to Afghanistan in 1965 at the age of 33. ... During the summer I auditioned and was accepted in the capital as the short-wave English newscaster in the only station in the country, Radio Kabul."

Christian Science Monitor, 27 Oct 2010, Andras Simonyi and Markos Kounalakis: "Soft power has always had a place. During the cold war, rock songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Janis Joplin played an important political role by inspiring a young, disaffected, and rebellious generation in Eastern Europe to help bring down the Iron Curtain. Today, rock almost seems like a soft-power anachronism, along with most shortwave radio broadcasts; underwritten overseas English-language training; and other pricey, legacy public diplomacy programs paid for by the European Union and the United States."

Amateur Radio Newsline, 29 Oct 2010: "A shortwave station on the African continent is playing hardball and is refusing to leave the amateur only portion of 40 meters. This, even after notification from the government, Radio Uganda continues to operate on the amateur radio frequency of 7.195 MHz."

Southgate Amateur Radio Clib, 22 Oct 2010, Nige, G7CNF: "Powerline networking has been given many acronyms. PLT (PowerLine Telecommunications), PLA (- Adapter), PLN (- Networking), PLC (- Carrier), BPL (Broadband over -). ... Initially at 14Mbit, the technology evolved to 50, 85, 200 and most recently, gigabit. All of the solutions have one thing in common, they pollute the radio spectrum. Up to 200Mbit pollutes HF (shortwave) whilst gigabit in addition to HF also radiates into VHF. ... The most likely people to be affected are migrant workers who do not have internet and rely on shortwave broadcast to hear news from home. There are millions of shortwave listeners worldwide who have no representation and no voice. Please help put a stop to PLT, report it to your authorities."

Garnet Valley Press (Newtown Square, PA), 28 Oct 2010: "[I]n the spring of 1923, Ike Roach ... and neighbor, Bob Christman, participated in the first short-wave transatlantic tests from his home in Brookline, Delaware County."

The Optimist (Abilene Christian University), 28 Oct 2010: Dr. Lowell G. Perry "'knew what shortwave radio would become... . He knew shortwave radio could be a way to share the word of Jesus.' Lowell G. Perry was killed in a plane crash in 1977 while scouting a location for a shortwave radio station transmitter for the then unknown non-profit organization, World Christian Broadcasting. This organization now broadcasts in China, Russia and will soon include Madagascar."

io9, 29 Oct 2010: "Fringe: In the sixth episode, '6995 kHz,' which airs November 11th, a group of 15 people 'over here' suffer retrograde amnesia after listening to their short wave radios."

Radio France International back on FM in Rwanda.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Radio France International, 27 Oct 2010: "Radio France International can once again be heard in Rwanda. Transmitters have started broadcasting again after they shut down in 2006. RFI is now available in French and Swahili on a new frequency in Kigali of 91.9FM. 'It’s with immense pleasure that RFI can rediscover its Rwandan listeners with a new offering, enriched by two hours daily in Swahili along with programmes in French', said Geneviève Goetzinger Executive Director of RFI. The return of RFI to the airwaves comes during a warming of relations between the two countries." -- RFI was audible all along on shortwave.

Voice of Russia at 81, must "boggle the audience’s mind," "wracking their brains" over media choice.

Posted: 01 Nov 2010   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 29 Oct 2010: "The Voice of Russia radio station is celebrating its birthday. 81 years ago today Moscow started broadcasting to other countries. All this time we have been telling people about life in Russia, giving them a vivid picture of everything that is happening in our country. Today the Voice of Russia is still in the top five most popular world radio stations. It is a radio with its own history, traditions and unique working style; it is a modern, witty and sometimes biting media outlet. On October 29, 1929 the world first heard the words: This is Moscow! This saw the emergence of a completely new phenomenon: international radio broadcasting, a radio without borders. Moscow Radio began to broadcast programs in German and later in other European languages. It was only three years later that the second international radio – the BBC – emerged and several years later the Voice of America came."

Voice of Russia, 29 Oct 2010: "In 1941-1945 Radio Moscow (currently known as the Voice of Russia) seriously hampered Nazi propaganda."

Voice of Russia, 29 Oct 2010, Andrei Bystritsky, president of Voice of Russia: "I think that what was relevant when the Voice of Russia first started is not at all relevant today. The Comintern is dead, the socialist or communist chimera has been obliterated. We are a mass media outlet, with everything that comes with it. First and foremost, today’s Voice of Russia broadcasts should be interesting. We need to understand what concerns people, what they are talking about, what topics are prominent; we need to hit these spots, to be competent, to be timely, witty and sometimes biting. In other words, we have to boggle the audience’s mind.

"The multimedia, media and communication environment that we live in is evolving. The way in which it will develop remains a mystery to all. Everyone is wracking their brains over it. Which information channels will be the most significant? For example, short waves stopped being interesting as a way of delivering information. But someone is still listening to them. And evidently they need to be kept as a backup, yet they have lost their relevance. Will digital radio broadcasting triumph? What other ways of transmitting signals will there be, what receivers will people use? All of this remains unknown. Will people listen to the radio through their mobile phones? Even though the Voice of Russia offers such a service, few people make use of it."