"China should strive for the right to speak in public diplomacy in cyberspace," they write.

Posted: 31 May 2011   Print   Send a link
People's Daily (Beijing), 31 May 2011, Li Xiguang and Wang Jing: "Given its lesser standing in terms of international public opinion compared to the West, China should strive for the right to speak in public diplomacy in cyberspace, strengthen the universal participation of the public diplomacy on the Internet, draw attention to innovative means of public diplomacy in cyberspace, formulate a public diplomacy strategy for cyberspace and proactively build up a national brand. With a long-term strategy in mind, China should learn to fully utilize the Internet. China's 'Internet users-based reporters' can disseminate facts to every corner and Internet community around the world through social networking websites and change the misperceptions about China held by the international community. China should use its huge number of Internet and blog users and increasingly networked groups to advance public diplomacy in cyberspace." -- In the meantime, in accordance with China's Principle of We Transmit, You Receive, China continues thoroughly to block internet content from abroad that Beijing deems undesirable.

Libya Alhurra (not to be confused with Springfield Alhurra) launches as satellite TV station.

Posted: 31 May 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 31 May 2011: "Libya's rebels have launched their first homegrown satellite TV station, trying to counter the regime's powerful media machine, which churns out Moammar Gadhafi's message, depicts the opposition as terrorists and drums up patriotic fervor by beaming images of burning buildings hit by NATO strikes. Libya Alhurra, or 'Free Libya,' began broadcasting Monday night, a major step in the rebels' attempts to get its message to the Libyan public, whose main source of information on the crisis roiling their country has been Gadhafi's TV and radio. ... The channel was born out of an Internet video streaming site launched by Albarasi and fellow Libyan businessman Mohammed al-Nabbous, who since the uprising began in mid-February searched for a way to show it to the world and to the Libyans themselves. ... On another front, the rebel administration is fighting to get Gadhafi's channels off the air, arguing they are spreading hatred and inciting violence. The administration has appealed to Egypt-based distributor Nilesat to hand them Gadhafi's frequencies. Nilesat head Ahmed Anis said they're a commercial company and such demands should be taken to Egypt's Foreign Ministry." -- Not to be confused with the other Alhurra (headquarters in Springfield, Virginia), part of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc, part of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. After this Arab Spring, many budding broadcasting stations in the region might want to include Alhurra (free) to their names, Alhurra of MBN of BBG notwithstanding. Meanwhile, and unfortunately, AP does not tell us on what satellite the "homegrown satellite TV station" Libya Alhurra can be found.

Radio-Television Serbia apologizes for its propaganda role during the 1990s Balkan War.

Posted: 31 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL In the News, 31 May 2011: "RFE Balkan Service Director Gordana Knezevic sat down with the "Q" program on [Canada's CBC radio] to discuss propaganda during the Balkan War and the recent arrest of Ratko Maldic. Just a week before the Mladic arrest, Radio Television of Serbia issued a public apology for broadcasting the propaganda of Slobodon Milosevic during the Balkan War in the 1990s." With link to the CBC program.

RFE/RL, 25 May 2011, Nenad Pejic: "The managing board of Radio-Television Serbia (RTS) apologized on May 23 for 'insults, slander and hate speech' in its programs in the early 1990s. A statement on the website of the TV and radio outlet said the apology was meant for 'the citizens of Serbia and neighboring countries.' RTS's managing board noted that that TV propaganda had 'hurt the feelings, moral integrity and dignity of the Serbian citizens, intellectuals, members of political opposition, journalists, ethnic and religious minorities, as well as certain neighboring peoples and states.'"

White House: BBG will work with Poland's Belsat to develop content on "democracy education."

Posted: 31 May 2011   Print   Send a link
White House Fact Sheet, 28 May 2011, on "U.S.-Polish Efforts to Advance Democracy Worldwide": "In Warsaw, President Obama and President Komorowski met with Polish democracy activists to discuss strengthening U.S.-Polish cooperation in democracy promotion. ... We continue our joint efforts to support civil society in Belarus. ... The United States Broadcasting Board of Governors will also work with Poland’s BelSat television station to develop content and programming on democracy education." -- "Democracy education"? A news service that is more objective, balanced, and independent than the news available from Belarusian domestic media is what audiences in Belarus are primarily seeking. Some C-Span fare translated into Belarusian would be a democracy education, even if not always riveting.

Belsat TV, 30 May 2011: "The American President congratulated Ms. Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, Belsat TV director, on the channel’s work. She was introduced to Mr. Obama during a Saturday meeting in the Presidential Palace. ... 'I asked President Obama to remember, that in Belarus there are still repressions against the political opponents of the regime,' Ms. Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy said. 'I hope that the support for our project, as expressed by the President, will soon turn into a real cooperation,' she added." See also Belsat TV, 24 May 2011.

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 31 May 2011, citing PAP News Agency via BBC Monitoring: "The Polish Foreign Ministry will support Polish television (TVP) strivings for additional funds for BelSat Television from the European Commission, if the need arises, spokesperson for the ministry Marcin Bosacki said Tuesday."

Ukrainian World Council says Radio Ukraine International should continue to broadcast in Ukrainian.

Posted: 31 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Interfax Ukraine, 30 May 2011: "The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) has called on Ukraine's authorities to cancel the decision to shut down the Ukrainian language section of Radio Ukraine International. ... The UWC is calling on Ukraine's authorities to cancel the decision by Director General of the National Radio Company of Ukraine Taras Avrakhov to shut down the Ukrainian language section of Radio Ukraine International due to its importance as a source of information on national issues for Ukrainians living abroad, according to the letter. In its letter, the UWC pointed out that Radio Ukraine International is broadcasting in the Ukrainian language, providing a listening audience of more than 20 million in the Ukrainian diaspora with information about life in Ukraine and the lives of Ukrainians beyond its borders." -- The "various languages" schedule at the Radio Ukraine International website shows English and German on shortwave, and Romanian on medium wave, with all languages available via satellite and internet audio.

BBC Turkish ended radio broadcasts on 27 May. It continues via internet and television (updated).

Posted: 30 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Today's Zaman, 27 May 2011: "After 72 years of continuous programs, BBC Radio's Turkish Service held its final broadcast today. The Turkish Service will continue news coverage on the internet and television. In its final broadcast, the Turkish Service shared the memories and views of its former contributors, including journalists, reporters and politicians. Commenting on the Turkish service's history, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the service had made interesting and lively broadcasts, and at times, delivered news quicker than many newspapers, TVs or other radio stations. Gul said he had always been a good listener of the Turkish radio service, especially during his university years and when he had worked abroad. Sharing his views on the service's broadcasts, Turkey's 9th President Suleyman Demirel also said that BBC Radio's Turkish Service had always been a role model in terms of fair and reliable newscasting."

See also BBC Turkish, 27 May 2011, with link to audio of the final broadcast. At the end of the broadcast, greetings from each of the broadcasters, followed by applause. See previous post about same subject.

Washington Post, 23 May 2011, Anthony Faiola: "Since Britain lost its superpower status in the first half of the 20th century, its global footprint has remained remarkable for a nation its size. But bowing to fiscal pressures, Britain is already shrinking that footprint, making cuts, for instance, in the BBC World Service that once stood as a prime example of Britain’s global soft power.

The Economist, 27 May 2011, Bagehot: "A lot of the grumbling from the Tory right is based on the idea that big chunks of British aid spending overseas goes to countries, like India, which seem to be rich enough to run space programmes and even their own overseas aid projects but too mean to look after their own populations. There is something to such complaints. For that matter, I would be happy to see chunks of the DFID [Department for International Development] budget steered towards the preservation of foreign language services earmarked for closure by the BBC World Service, as some MPs recently suggested."

Update: The Guardian, 30 May 2011, letter from John Tusa, managing director, BBC World Service, 1986-92: "David Cameron over-eggs the pudding by impling [implying?] that every single pound of the DfID budget is devoted to direct relief of human suffering (Report, 28 May). Much of it is in practice spent on more abstract activities such as 'capacity building' in weak governments. The prime minister might pause to reflect that Britain's most effective instrument of human 'capacity building' is the BBC World Service. It now faces £46m of cuts, already much criticised by the Commons foreign affairs committee. A transfer of that sum from the DfID budget would not damage Britain's aid commitments, and save the world's hitherto unchallenged international broadcaster. And talking of pausing – why not 'pause' the implementation of the World Service cuts while these issues are fully reviewed by the BBC and the FCO?"

Bahraini stringers for France 24 and DPA "called in for questioning" (updated again).

Posted: 30 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 23 May 2011: "Two Bahraini journalists working for Western media were detained and at least one was mistreated by police this week, one of the journalists said on Tuesday. Mazen Mahdi, who works for the German news agency DPA, said he and a reporter for French television station France 24 were called in for questioning on Sunday."

AP, 25 May 2011: "French television channel France 24 has confirmed that its journalist Nazeeha Saeed was detained for questioning and then released earlier this week. She also reports for Radio Monte Carlo."

Reuters, 24 May 2011: "Bahrain will investigate allegations that a woman reporter was mistreated after being detained in the Gulf Arab state, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday. ... Its statement did not name the reporter, but Mazen Mahdi, who works for the German news agency DPA, said he and Nazeeha Saeed, a Bahraini reporter for France 24 television and Radio Monte Carlo, had been called in for questioning on Sunday."

Gulf News (Dubai), 26 May 2011, Habib Toumi: "Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) on Wednesday condemned the maltreatment of journalist Nazeeha Al Saeed and called upon all parties to respect media people and allow them access to information with ease. Nazeeha, a Bahrain-based reporter for France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo, has complained that she had been roughly treated at a police station where she had been summoned."

Update: Reporters sans frontières, 30 May 2010: "When Nazeeha Saeed, the Bahrain correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, was summoned to a police station in the city of Rifa’a for questioning at midday on 22 May, she expected to be back home two hours later and had no inkling of the nightmare awaiting her. ... [A] woman police officer mocked and insulted her. When Nazeeha ignored her, the policewoman grabbed her by the chin, held it hard, and slapped her with the other hand. 'You must tell me the truth,' she screamed, continuing to slap her and then seizing her by the hair and throwing her to the ground. Four policewomen proceeded to slap, punch and kick her repeatedly. One of the women took her shoe and forced it into her mouth. 'You are worth less than this shoe,' she said."

Al Jazeera English "Listening Post," walking a bit lightly, interviews the DG of Al Jazeera about the channel's role in the Arab Spring.

Posted: 30 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 28 May 2011: "Al Jazeera's coverage of the Arab revolutions has, at times, prompted embattled leaders in the region to accuse the network of fuelling the protests. The man who has to respond to this criticism is Wadah Khanfar, the director general who is in charge of both the Arabic and English channels. Listening Post sat down with Khanfar in Washington recently. We spoke about the network's coverage of the Arab revolutions, the new ecosystem developing between journalists and social media activists and the efforts to crack the American news market." With video. The interview is about 18 minutes long.

Host Richard Gizby's interview was somewhat on the soft side. When a news organization interviews one of its own executives, if the questioner doesn't put him or her self in danger of being fired (or at least getting transferred to a paperclip inventory project), the interview is inadequate.

I did not hear these questions: Do Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English have different journalistic standards? If they do, what is the point of having a global Al Jazeera brand? Did Al Jazeera Arabic, if not English, hold back on its reporting about Bahrain? If serious protests erupt in Qatar, will Al Jazeera cover them?

Nevertheless, the interview is recommended viewing. In answer to one question, Wadah Khanfer said, "I think we are part of a community of journalists who have no political agenda, and who would like to see the truth reported as it is. And this is what we are going to continue doing regardless of how politicians or political centers of power would like to see us framed." The head of any international broadcasting entity must, periodically, make such an unequivocal statement as part of the process of establishing credibility. Of course, independent studies of the entity's content must be carried out to determine if performance has matched the promise.

Houston Chronicle, 28 May 2011, Molly Harbarger: "It is not unusual to hear Al-Jazeera reporter Rosiland Jordan expound on French philosophy, then throw in a 'y'all' for good measure. The native Houstonian has worked for local TV and radio stations all over the country, and is now at the international network that New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman called 'the biggest media phenomenon to hit the Arab world since the advent of television.' ... When Al-Jazeera began reaching out to the English-speaking market, there was much suspicion of the channel with an Arabic name. Jordan was aware of the skepticism, but she maintains that good reporting begets respect. 'Usually, once people watch, then they say, "Oh, you're like the BBC." And then we say, "Actually, we're better than the BBC,"?' Jordan said."

Syrian Arab News Agency, 30 May 2011, H. Sabbagh: "Lebanese documentary director Bilal Khreis said on Monday that al-Jazeera's insistence to edit out 10 out of 12 interviews with Syrian personalities in the documentary he directed 'Made in Syria' is non-objective and unprofessional. In an interview with al-Safir newspaper, Khreis said al-Jazeera asked him to edit out around 90% of his documentary, mostly material relating to the effects of the US embargo on Syrian industry, practically destroying the documentary, noting that he will have to pay the entire cost of the documentary in this case, which is what happens when al-Jazeera cancels a documentary."

VOA broadcaster goes multimedia: radio plus theater.

Posted: 30 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Sierra Express Media, 28 May 2011: "The world watched as Sierra Theatre Productions (STP) started their journey from a group of five people who believed in one Director – to a diversely enriched entourage of talent, riveting audiences into bursts of laughter, awe, and amazement as they spewed forth with multiple displays of drama evolving around the culture of Sierra Leone and the values of life. Sierra Theatre now joins hands with the Embassy of Sierra Leone and the 50th Independence Planning Committee to showcase one of Sierra Leone’s historic plays. 'Let Me Die Alone' – depicting tradition, the culture of tribes in Sierra Leone, and the life of a woman who rose up above local tradition to be an icon among women. The 37th wife of a great Mende chief who was granted the opportunity to step into her husband’s shoes … faced with doubts, fears, and suspicions. The play was written by one of Sierra Leone’s greatest playwrights, the lake Kolosa John Kargbo and directed by David Vandy, a man who wears many hats, he chairs the 50th Independence Planning Committee and he is the host of Voice of America’s international show, 'The African Beat.' The play, 'Let Me Die Alone,' will be performed at the prestigious Montgomery College Performing Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD, USA on Friday June 3rd, 2011, from 7 pm to 11 pm."

Iran takes steps to turn its internet into an intranet.

Posted: 29 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 28 May 2011, Christopher Rhoads and Farnaz Fassihi: "Iran is taking steps toward an aggressive new form of censorship: a so-called national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world. The leadership in Iran sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet, according to observers of Iranian policy inside and outside the country. Iran, already among the most sophisticated nations in online censoring, also promotes its national Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold Islamic moral codes. In February, as pro-democracy protests spread rapidly across the Middle East and North Africa, Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the telecommunication ministry's research institute, told an Iranian news agency that soon 60% of the nation's homes and businesses would be on the new, internal network. Within two years it would extend to the entire country, he said. ... 'It might not be possible to cut off Iran and put it in a box,' said Fred Petrossian, who fled Iran in the 1990s and is now online editor of Radio Farda, which is Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Iranian news service. 'But it's what they're working on.'"

Parazit: the VOA program with a "US fan base."

Posted: 29 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Iranian.com, 27 May 2011, Ari Siletz: "I’m guessing VOA’s new Perisan news network director, Ramin Asgard, was among the crowd at Kambiz Hosseini’s Berkeley talk for the same reason I was: to see what [the VOA satirical program] Parazit’s US fan base looked like. For one thing the crowd looked really big. The Iranian-American themed Berkeley Lecture Series usually doesn’t fill a 500-seat theater, and normally you don’t see teenagers sitting on the aisle steps playing Pokemon. ... Kambiz, Saman, and Ramin Asgard have a difficult task beaming a clear message into Iran as long as the US waffles on a well-defined Iran policy. 'Free speech is good,' is not a message Iranians haven’t already figured out for themselves. Creative ideas with vectored messages are needed to justify the costs to the American taxpayer." -- "Vectored messages" may form an angle away from credibility, which is the primary attractant for audiences in international broadcasting, and thus the main source of value to the U.S. taxpayers.

Home of a Syrian TV presenter set ablaze after she refused to resign from Al Jazeera (updated).

Posted: 29 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 25 May 2011: "The home of a Syrian TV presenter has been set ablaze after she refused to resign from Al Jazeera, media reports have said. According to the reports, the family of Rola Ebrahim was besieged by thugs who put pressure on its members to distance themselves from the presenter for working for a channel that they deemed biased against Syria in its coverage of the events there. The thugs later set the house on fire."

Update: Gulf News (Dubai), 28 May 2011: "The family of Rola Ebrahim, an anchorwoman with Al Jazeera channel, have distanced themselves from her, saying that they fully stood by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. 'The Ebrahim family condemn satellite channels for their malicious reports,' the family said in a statement."

MEMRI, 27 May 2011, N. Mozes: "Hakam Al-Baba, former deputy director of the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists in Syria, also attacked Syrian artists 'who are used to going from one shoe to another and kissing them all.' ... If you can't help this revolution, do not curse it, and do not level accusations of treason against those who stand, empty-handed and with unparalleled courage, against the most vicious intelligence apparatus in the world – against those who respect me and restore my respect and pride as a Syrian citizen. ... The devil himself could not recruit all these people, as well as TV channels like Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera, France 24, BBC, Al-Hurra, and others, for a plot against Syria. Even if they all banded together and organized a protest, it would fail, unless the protestors themselves had an interest in it...'"

Gather, 25 May 2011, Chris Sosa: "Ayman Mohyeldin is what GQ compares to a 'rough approximation of an Anderson Cooper.' Most US news followers have likely never heard the man's name. But this is soon to change. GQ sums up Mohyeldin's whirlwind life by relaying that he was 'born in Egypt, raised in Michigan, started as a gofer for NBC News, reared as a producer at CNN, [and] first appeared on-camera for Al Jazeera in 2006.' ... Much of Ayman Mohyeldin's appeal rests in his ability to waylay the absurd fears about the network from a public dealing with a severe case of Islamophobia. ... He [made] a spot-on observation: 'Unfortunately Americans are being deprived of the choice of watching Al Jazeera... And people say that Americans aren't interested in international news. I think that's false... The reality of it is these cable companies which are not carrying Al Jazeera are sadly helping to contribute to the misinformation....'"

The Australian, 27 May 2011, Bruce Loudon: "Not surprisingly, al-Jazeera, while it focuses closely on dissidence and uprisings in other countries, keeps away from reporting much about Qatar. It's a subject largely off limits. As much as that results from concern not to upset the ruling family, it is also a reflection of the reality that in Qatar there is little political rivalry."

Press TV, 25 May 2011: "While al-Jazeera gained worldwide prestige for its ground breaking coverage of the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan revolutions, the satellite news broadcaster has remained almost silent over massive anti-government protests in Bahrain and Manama's brutal crackdown on popular uprising. It is widely believed that since the Qatari troops are helping Manama as part of a Saudi-led effort to suppress any notions of democracy in Bahrain, al-Jazeera, which is largely funded by Qatar's ruling family, avoids covering events unfolding in the neighboring country."

Nonprofit produces video reports about underreported diseases (good) which are placed on "selected broadcasters" (let's discuss).

Posted: 29 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Global Health Frontline News press release, 26 May 2011: "Global Health Frontline News (GHFN) today announced that veteran broadcast and web journalist Julie Lindsay has joined its production staff as Programming Director. ... Ms. Lindsay has over 25 years experience as a journalist for the most respected news organizations in the world including ... CNN International as a senior writer, editor, producer and anchor. ... 'Julie will be the principal manager of our strategy to build our programming outreach to Internet platforms worldwide,' said GHFN’s Executive Editor Gary Strieker. 'Her deep experience in international broadcasting and basic journalism will be a major asset for us as we develop our coverage of global health stories in the months ahead,' he said. ... Launched in January, GHFN assigns video newsgathering crews worldwide to cover major global health stories in partnership with selected broadcasters and Internet platforms. As a nonprofit project with a mission to produce video news stories on global health issues that are largely under-reported by mainstream media, GHFN focuses its coverage on diseases that mainly affect impoverished populations in developing nations – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases such as river blindness and trachoma – and on maternal/child health and food security. Funded by nonpartisan donors and operating independently, GHFN follows strict journalistic standards and produces high-quality video news material for broadcast globally by television networks and wide distribution on the Internet."

Per press release, 4 April 2011, GHFN's managing editor David Lindsay (unsure if related to Julie Lindsay) also has CNN International experience. GHFN may indeed follow "strict journalist guidelines," but the increase in coverage of a certain topic because that coverage is subsidized by an outside organization, commercial or nonprofit, presents a conundrum -- and a good subject for a panel for a journalism conference. And, apropos...

DuPont press release, 6 May 2011: "DuPont today announced its sponsorship of a new BBC series Horizons. The television program will examine the future of business by looking at companies around the world that are making the greatest progress in their sectors and influencing the way people will live in the future. Horizons begins airing today around the globe on the BBC World News networks. ... The first story, which will air starting May 6, highlights the collaboration between local Tennessee farmers, Genera Energy and DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE) to produce cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass, corn cobs, stalks and other forms of sustainable biomass."

CounterPunch, 26 May 2011, Afshin Rattansi: "The BBC, a multinational infamous for the dioxins of Delaware not to mention the napalm of Vietnam and the commissioning of a new generation of journalists, all in holistic embrace."

RT (Russia Today) correspondent "shot in the gut by rubber bullets" during Tbilisi protest.

Posted: 29 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 26 May 2011: "A RIA Novosti correspondent was beaten and detained by Georgian riot police on Thursday while covering mass opposition protests in the country's capital, Tbilisi. ... Several other Russian and local journalists were also beaten during the crackdown. A correspondent of satellite TV channel Russia Today (RT), Diego Marin, was shot in the gut by rubber bullets and beaten with a police nightstick around his kidneys."

RT, 27 May 2011: "A police officer took aim at an RT cameraman, luckily realizing in time it was the media. Others were not so lucky, including Spanish RT correspondent Diego Marin, who was caught up in the confusion. 'The policeman appears – okay. They were very aggressive with the people, they started to hit all the people. Suddenly I felt pain in my stomach and realized they had hit me with some kind of bullet. This was a rubber bullet, and they hit me and I started to run,' Marin recalled."

Released Azerbaijani journalist listened to RFE/RL's Radio Azadliq in prison.

Posted: 29 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 27 May 2011: "In his first interview after being released from prison today, journalist Eynulla Fatullayev told RFE's Azerbaijan Service, Radio Azadliq, 'We cannot let independent, critical journalism disappear in Azerbaijan.' ... Fatullayev called his release a 'miracle,' and thanked local and international organizations for their efforts to press for his freedom. In his interview he said that he listened to Radio Azadliq in prison. 'I love Radio Azadliq. You're one of those who saved my life,' he added. Radio Azadliq reported extensively on Fatullayev's arrest and trials, interviewed him in prison and aired several letters that he had written while behind bars. Fatullayev was the editor of Realny Azarbaycan and Gundalik Azarbaycan, both independent dailies that published criticism of the government and which were closed after Fatullayev's arrest."

Zimbabwe's invitation for commercial radio applications met with skepticism.

Posted: 28 May 2011   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 26 May 2011, Studio 7 reporters: "The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority called Thursday for applications for commercial radio licenses in a move that could, if it represents a genuine bid to liberalize electronic media, end the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's monopoly in the sector. But some advocates of media reform expressed skepticism saying the promise to issue two commercial radio licenses could merely be intended to placate the Southern African Development Community which has been stepping up pressure for democratic reforms. An extraordinary SADC summit focused on Zimbabwe and its electoral timetable is to be held in South Africa next month at which time President Robert Mugabe and his former ruling ZANU-PF party could find themselves under closer regional scrutiny. Zimbabwe has no independent radio and television stations inside its borders, though a handful of broadcasters including the Studio 7 at the Voice of America, London-based Short Wave Radio Africa and South African based Voice of the People beam programming to Zimbabweans from outside the country."

The Zimbabwean, 28 May 2011, Lovejoy Sakala: "Irate villagers here are up in arms with Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation for demanding licence fees but failing to transmit a reliable signal in the area. Last week, ZBC dispatched its officers to collect listener’s and viewer’s license in the area but villagers resisted saying they last accessed ZBC programming long ago. 'We wonder why they want us to pay licence when it actual fact we don’t receive any ZBC signal transmission. We will not pay. They can do whatever they want. We are poor and they should stop violating our rights,' complained Lloyd Mudiwa of Kazozo Nyanga. Manuel Maruta weighed in saying they had not been receiving ZBC signal for a long time and surprisingly the broadcaster was demanding fees which he said was 'exorbitant'. 'We are very isolated and we wonder whether we are Zimbabweans. We watch foreign programming from Mozambique and Voice of America (VOA).Important information about our country remains elusive. $50 is too much for such a shoddy job,' said Maruta, who was listening to studio 7 from America."

UK regulator finds "serious breach" by Press TV for 2009 interview with imprisoned Newsweek reporter (updated).

Posted: 28 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 23 May 2011, Mark Sweney: UK regulator "Ofcom has ruled that Iran's state-run Press TV is responsible for a serious breach of UK broadcasting rules and could face a fine for airing an interview with Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist arrested covering the Iranian presidential election in 2009, that was obtained by force while he was held in a Tehran jail. In July 2009 Press TV, which has a bureau in west London, aired what it said was an interview with Bahari following his arrest in the previous month, days after he had filed a report to Channel 4 News and Newsweek about an attack in Tehran during a post-election demonstration. ... In its ruling on the complaint published on Monday, Ofcom said it regards the breaches to be of a 'serious nature' and is now considering if the case 'warrants the imposition of a sanction'. Bahari lodged a complaint with Ofcom in December 2009 which said the 'interview' had been made 'under duress', after he was told by an interrogator that he was suspected of espionage and could face the death penalty unless he made a 'televised statement about the role of the western media in the post-presidential election demonstrations'."

Press TV, 23 May 2011, statement in response to the Ofcom ruling. "This interview was conducted in prison. Neither the Press TV journalist, nor the other reporters who were also conducting interviews, saw any signs of distress from Mr Bahari. The journalist explained the context of the interview to Mr Bahari and obtained his permission to ask questions. The reporter saw no indication that Mr Bahari had been mistreated. Press TV strongly rejects Mr Bahari's claims against it."

Press TV, 24 May 2011: "The UK government has launched a smear campaign against Iran's English language Press TV News Channel, spreading lies to undermine the thriving media outlet."

Press TV, 22 May 2011: "Ten days after Bahari's arrest, in a press conference with his consent , the Iranian Canadian admitted to giving 'false and biased' reports about the events that erupted in Iran after the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Press TV, 20 May 2011: "It appears that Press TV's policy of breaking the western monopoly on media and its critical examination of certain red lines for the western media has been the main reason behind Britain's efforts to pressure the Iranian news channel, with cases like that of Bahari serving as a means to Britain's ends."

Press TV, 23 May 2011: "Media giant Rupert Murdoch's newspaper, The Sunday Times, is among the media supporting Ofcom plan to put more pressure on Press TV. ... Dipesh Gadher, 36, who became the deputy news editor at the paper in 2008, has accused Press TV of adapting non-professional news-writing regulations. This is while Gadher has ignored the definite rules of free and fair journalism."

Press TV, 22 May 2011: "BBC has once more been hit by a wave of criticism in regards to its stance towards Palestine. This is while it claims to be 'impartial'. And of course, like all the times before this one, Ofcom does not intervene."

Update: Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, 23 May 2011 (pdf) contains the complete text of the decision.

The Propagandist, 26 May 2011, Walker Morrow: "Based in Tehran, Press TV takes, in its own words, 'revolutionary steps as the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis.' If it were a private media outlet, it might be congratulated: broadcasting news and opinion in Iran is a risky business, after all. Alas, Press TV is essentially a government-funded propaganda arm for the Iranian regime. Being a media stooge for an inhuman, brutal government undoubtedly has its perks, if you're willing to occasionally ignore the stench of evil, but Press TV seems to have run up against a wall in Britain. This wall is Ofcom, Britain's 'Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.'"

Kashmir Observer, 26 May 2011: "Two ministers in the state today urged Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to impress upon New Delhi to allow broadcasts of Iran based International satellite news channel, the Press TV, in Kashmir. ... Press TV was banned in Kashmir last year after authorities here accused the channel of instigating protests over the desecration of holy Qura’n in the US."

Only weak signals of protest as Portugal prepares to quit shortwave broadcasting.

Posted: 28 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Portugal News, 28 May 2011: "Portuguese broadcaster RDP said Friday it was temporarily suspending its short-wave transmissions as of 1 June because of the low number of listeners and as a means of cutting costs. RDP said it would be reviewing the service to see whether it would go back on air at a later date. Listeners around the world can still follow their favourite programmes via satellite, cable and Internet. The Portuguese broadcaster said it was 'just one of many global broadcasters who are reducing or closing their SW transmissions'."

Lusa, 23 May 2011: Commander of Portuguese merchant marine complains, noting that not all ships have satellite or internet. "The only way is the shortwave."

Lusa, 23 May 2011: President of Associação Portuguesa de Radiodifusão says shortwave is "too expensive and irrelevant" and minimizes the impact on fishing fleets. Lusa, 23 May 2011: O Sindicato dos Capitães e Oficiais da Marinha Mercante agrees that the elimination of shortwave is "'not serious' when it comes to national vessels."

See previous post about same subject. -- And with Deutsche Welle planning to close its shortwave relay in Sines, Portugal (see previous post), Portugal will be bereft of shortwave broadcasts. Portugal was also host to two RFE/RL shortwave sites dating from 1951 to 1996, and its Catholic station Rádio Renascença transmitted on shortwave until 1996. See Transmitter Documentation Project page for Portugal.

How "a television revolution" connected English football with Indian fans.

Posted: 28 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 27 May 2011, Dileep Premachandran: "English football was never a big deal in India, post-independence, with little or no newspaper space and radio airtime devoted to it. ... Even in the early 1990s, the BBC World Service's sports round-up was the only way to follow the fortunes of your club. Then, Rupert Murdoch and ESPN Star Sports came along. By the time Sir Alex Ferguson had had enough of Mark Hughes, Paul 'Big Time Charlie' Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis, the wheels were in motion for a television revolution."

New book by presenter on BBC World Service Trust's Afghan Woman's Hour.

Posted: 28 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 27 May 2011, Syed Hamad Ali: "[I]n a new book, Dear Zari: Hidden Stories From Women of Afghanistan, by Zarghuna Kargar ... stories are taken from a BBC radio programme called Afghan Woman's Hour, which ran from 2004 to 2010 and for which Kargar worked as presenter and producer. ... In mid-2004 the BBC World Service Trust decided to do a woman's radio show in Afghanistan. Kargar had to work on the project from scratch alongside an experienced journalist from BBC Woman's Hour. It was a feature programme which went on air every Monday and was repeated twice in the week. It was recorded in the two main Afghan languages of Dari and Pashto — 25 minutes each. Over time they were able to hire women living in different provinces of Afghanistan who would go out and interview other women. By 2006, according to a survey, the Afghan Woman's Hour had become the second most-listened-to programme across Afghanistan. Interestingly, the majority of the listener feedback was from men, although a lot of women listened too."

BBC Radio 4 "Front Row" visits exhibit on war correspondents at Imperial War Museum North.

Posted: 28 May 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Radio 4, "Front Row," 27 May 2011: "Kirsty Lang examines the changing role of the war correspondent with several generations of war reporters, as a major new exhibition opens at the Imperial War Museum North. ... Kirsty is joined by his journalistic descendents, Robert Fox, Defence Correspondent for the London Evening Standard, Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor for Channel 4 News, John D McHugh, Multimedia Photojournalist and Filmmaker, and Rosie Garthwaite, news producer for Al Jazeera English and author of How To Avoid Being Killed In A War Zone." With 30-minute audio.

Burma releases journalist, imprisoned for sending articles to his daughter, a reporter at VOA.

Posted: 27 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 26 May 2011: "Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for Democratic Voice of Burma’s call for the release of the 17 DVB journalists who are currently jailed in Burma. ... Reporters Without Borders welcomes the recent release of five journalists: [including] Thaung Win Bo, a 65-year-old journalist with New Light of Myanmar who was released from a prison in the central town of Tharrawaddy on 17 May. He was jailed for sending articles to his daughter, a Voice of America reporter."

Voice of Vietnam will help Voice of Indonesia launch a Vietnamese service. Now will it have an audience?

Posted: 27 May 2011   Print   Send a link
VOV News (Hanoi), 25 May 2011: "Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) will help Indonesia’s national radio broadcaster to launch a programme in Vietnamese. Prior to a gala dinner welcoming delegates to the eighth Asia Media Summit (AMS8), on May 24, VOV General Director Vu Van Hien received Rosarita Niken, President Director of Indonesia’s national radio broadcaster and Kim Inkyu, President of the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). At the meeting with Mr Hien, Ms Rosarita said her radio broadcasts in nine languages but there is no Vietnamese language programme. She said she hopes VOV will help Indonesia build a Vietnamese language programme for its world service. Ms Rosarita also proposed signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between VOV and Indonesia’s national radio broadcaster." -- Indonesia's "world service" is the Voice of Indonesia: voi.co.id. VOI broadcasts in English, Arabic, Chinese, German, French, Indonesian, Japanese, and Spanish. To develop an audience in Vietnamese, VOI will need to acquire time on an FM station in Vietnam, rather than depend on shortwave.

VOV News (Hanoi), 25 May 2011: "Representatives from Canal France International (CFI), Fra[nc]e 24, Tv25 and Radio France International (RFI) and Shanghai media group (SMG) are keen to cooperate with [Radio the Voice of Vietnam] VOV. ... They praised VOV for successfully organising the 8th Asia Media Summit (AMS 8) which has left a deep impression on international guests. They said that the event has provided a good opportunity for them to seek cooperation partners in the digital era." -- I'm not familiar with "Tv25," but it might be the pan-francophone TV5 Monde.VOA News, 26 May 2011: "The success of the eighth Asia Summit (AMS8) has provided fresh impetus for Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) to integrate deeply into the world’s broadcasting industry. AMS8 - the top media event of 2011, hosted by VOV in coordination with the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) closed in Hanoi on May 25. During two days’ sitting, VOV and other AIBD members proposed specific solutions to build a sustainable media environment that helps connect the Asia-Pacific region to other parts of the world in the era of digital technology."

ABC MD says loss of Australia Network contract would affect ABC staffing and international bureaus.

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Australian Associated Press, 26 May 2011: Australian Broadcasting Corporation managing director Mark Scott "warned the ABC would have to cut staff if the broadcaster lost its contract for Australia's international television service. The ABC and Sky News are bidding for a 10-year contact to broadcast the government-owned Australia Network. The corporation's current five-year contract for the service that broadcasts into more than 44 nations across Asia, the Pacific and the Indian subcontinent, expires on August 8. 'The reality is that we receive around $20 million a year to run Australia Network,' Mr Scott said. 'To lose that money would be of significance and, of course, we would need to think through the implications if that was to happen.' The ABC would have to adjust staffing if the broadcaster's contract was not renewed, Mr Scott said. 'We would need to look at our international bureaus in the light of this,' he said."

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 25 May 2011, Andy Sennitt, citing Radio Heritage Foundation via Commonwealth Broadcasting Association: "New Zealand’s international shortwave broadcaster, Radio New Zealand International [RNZI] has again had its annual budget frozen in the latest government budget for FY 2011-12. This is the third year in a row that RNZI’s budget has been capped at NZ$1.9m (US$1.5m) but the buying power in US dollars has actually increased by almost 20% because of the stronger New Zealand currency. The budget is forecast to stay the same in future years through to 2015, so the good news is that core shortwave services to the Pacific continue to be funded, but the bad news is that increased wages, costs and inflation [around 2-4% in the coming few years] will effectively put greater pressure on the broadcaster."

"Some American versions of foreign shows may soar. Others may flop. But expect the trend to continue" (updated).

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Variety, 21 May 2011, Michael Ventre: "Just how easy (or hard) is it to take a show from outside the U.S., Americanize the language, actors and setting, and present it as something new? It depends on the show. 'I couldn't take my eyes off' the Danish version of "The Killing," says Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior VP of original programming. 'I felt it was well-suited to our audience. There didn't seem to be too much heavy lifting necessary to change the show.' Still, adjustments needed to be made. Audiences the world over love good stories, but their sensibilities aren't always the same. ... Some American versions of foreign shows may soar. Others may flop. But expect the trend to continue. 'I can tell you that we're seeing more international series coming to the U.S. for adaptation,' says AMC's Stillerman. ' think a lot of people in other countries are able to think differently about the world of scripted dramatic TV. There are always bound to be a few sparks that are right for U.S. audiences.'"

Update: Variety, 25 May 2011, Jon Weisman: "BBC America ... announced that 'The Hour,' starring Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Wishaw, will premiere Aug. 17... . Spy thriller 'The Hour' is set in the 1950s London newsroom of the BBC... ." See also Deadline, 24 May 2011, Tim Adler.

CPJ: Uzbekistan must allow VOA stringer Abdumalik Boboyev to leave the country.

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 25 May 2011: "Uzbek authorities must stop harassing Abdumalik Boboyev, a stringer for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, and allow him to leave Uzbekistan, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Uzbek authorities barred Boboyev from traveling to Germany by denying him the exit visa required for travel outside Uzbekistan, according to the independent news website Uznews and the Uzbek service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Boboyev filed his application to travel on March 2 and was denied it in early April. He is barred from travelling because he was prosecuted last fall on trumped-up defamation charges, Uznews said. ... 'Uzbek authorities must end their ongoing harassment of our colleague Abdumalik Boboyev, and grant him permission to leave the country,' CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney said."

At Heritage Foundation event, criticism of BBG's proposal to eliminate VOA Mandarin shortwave.

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 25 May 2011, Jerome Socolovsky: "The decision to shut down the Voice of America's Chinese radio and TV services later this year came under heavy criticism Wednesday at a conservative Washington research institute. But a number of Western broadcasters are focusing on China's growing Internet audience. The changes were announced several months ago by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. agency in charge of government-funded foreign broadcasting, including the Voice of America. The BBG said it would shut down VOA's Chinese radio and television broadcasts while making its Mandarin-language service available only on the Internet. Forty-five journalists, or more than half of the branch's full-time staff, will be let go. ... [A] critic on the panel was former VOA director David Jackson. He said China's efforts to obstruct VOA programming are a sign of success. 'If people weren't listening to us, they wouldn't be jamming us,' he said." Video of the event is available at Heritage Foundation, 25 May 2011. See also previous post.

Public Diplomacy Council, undated but recent, Alan Heil: "Retention of shortwave as a failsafe backup is crucial, even if audiences in that medium are declining in some regions. This is because of the increasing technical savvy of some authoritarian regimes determined to block news and information from beyond their borders or transmissions of dissident activity within their territories to the outside world. The Heritage Foundation forum June 1 on Russia’s interdiction of external news will explore the issue. China is even more skilled in silencing or interdicting incoming information from abroad on both new and traditional media."

VOA should make better use of internet, says observer. Eliminate VOA, writes another.

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
National Journal, 25 May 2011, Sophie Quinton: At House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing, Georgetown University professor Bruce "Hoffman called for 'an information campaign' that utilized social media to promote American ideals and discredit terrorist leaders, and suggested that government programs like the Voice of America should make better use of the internet."

Washington Examiner, 25 May 2011, Christopher Taylor: "So what can congress do to cut the debt and take real steps toward reform? They have to start smaller and slower and target other things. Don't go after the big popular programs the left will die to protect. ... Target programs which might have been useful or good at one point but are not any longer, such as Voice of America, the gratuity paid families of congressmen who die in office (and are typically millionaires to begin with), government subsidies for political conventions, and the federal government payments to the International Fund for Ireland."

Awareness Times (Freetown), 24 May 2011, Mohamed Kanu: "Over (36) thirty six amputees situated in Grafton and Jui [Sierra Leone], in the outskirt of the city have recently simultaneously received a wheelchair and other materials boost totally worth $14,400 from the Voice of America (VOA) and a Non Governmental Organization in America called Chariotts Hope East Harford Connecticut. The project dubbed as 'annual pilgrimage' is annually fast tracked through the effort of one Sulaiman M Tarawaley, a veteran Sierra Leonean working for the Voice of America to help the physically challenge[d] in the country."

Saudi official: "FM radios with shortwave ... effective in propagating Islam."

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Arab News, 26 May 2011, P.K. Abdul Ghafour: Saudi Arabia's "Islamic Affairs Minister Saleh Al-Asheikh has emphasized the need for utilizing modern information media including the Internet and FM radio stations to spread the message of Islam. 'FM radios with shortwave have been found more effective in propagating Islam,' the minister said, adding that it has been successfully used in African, East Asian and Southeast Asian countries. 'We can reach a large number of people through FM radios than satellite channels and at lesser cost,' he said and urged philanthropists to make use of this dynamic media for dawa work. ... He expected satellite channels would slowly disappear within 10-15 years as people would shift their focus to the Internet. 'So, we should have a greater presence on the Internet and we should spend more money to develop this media,' the minister said." -- Unsure what "FM radios with shortwave" means. Does it mean get the message on a local FM affiliate wherever possible, and use shortwave for other places? And it might have to do with the fact that virtually all shortwave portable radios sold nowadays also have an FM band. But, I'm just flailing here.

Shortwave history in the news includes clandestine listening to BBC in WWII Malaya.

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Free Malaysia Today, 24 May 2011, B Nantha Kumar: "Come June 12, it will be exactly 63 years since Sybil Kathigasu, the freedom fighter, died. Most Malaysians know little of her. This is mainly because she, along with many other distinguished non-Malay freedom fighters, have been 'buried' and forgotten by the ruling Umno government. ... Sybil secretly supplied medicines, medical services and information to the underground guerilla forces of the Fifth Independent Regiment of MPAJA freedom fighters who camped in nearby hills and jungles. She also secretly kept shortwave radio sets and clandestinely listened to BBC broadcasts to keep in touch with the situation around the world, especially in Britain and Europe."

BT press release, 24 May 2011: "BT’s research records detailing more than 100 years of cutting-edge technology innovations undertaken by BT scientists and engineers have been successfully nominated to the UK UNESCO Memory of the World Register." Included: "Pioneering experimental research led by Sir William Henry Preece, Post Office Chief Electrician and Engineer-in Chief (1892-1899) from 1892 in transmitting radio signals. Later research reports (including radio research reports) reflect the huge effort and investigation in VHF and short wave radio transmission, resulting in the transatlantic radio telephone service from 1926 and other intercontinental radio telephony services. The main Post Office radio station at Rugby which transmitted the transatlantic service also operated for many years the world’s largest radio telegraph transmitter, which provided broadcast telegraph press and news services, and time signals from the Royal Observatory, to land stations and ships across the globe."

Tom's Guide, 23 May 2011, legacy5955, responding to news that Sony is expected to post an annual loss of $3.2 billion dollars: "Sony go back to your roots. Bring out a NEW series of Shortwave radios! The ICF SW7600GR is almost a decade old now but is still one of the best and contrary to what the consulting agencies tell you many folks still do listen to HF shortwave and Amateurs too. When the cell/wired world crashes and it will, you'll still be able to hear Amateur operators on the air all over the world."

FiOS TV adds five Spanish-language channels; one is "dedicated to Central Americans in the US."

Posted: 26 May 2011   Print   Send a link
WorldScreen.com, Kristin Brzoznowski, 24 May 2011: "Verizon has added an additional five Spanish-language channels to its FiOS TV lineup: CentroAmerica TV, Latele Novela Network, Pasiones, Teleamazones Internacional and Vme Kids. CentroAmerica TV is dedicated to Central Americans in the U.S., with morning shows, comedy series, live news and soccer. Latele Novela Network features telenovelas from Latin America, many of which have never been aired before in the U.S. Pasiones is a multicultural network dedicated to novelas, including recent hits and classic from across Latin America. Teleamazones Internacional is the international version of the Ecuadorian network Teleamazones."

DuPont trades in TV spots for advertorials and for "Horizons" on BBC World News.

Posted: 25 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Adweek, 24 May 2011, Andrew McMains: "DuPont has traded in TV spots for editorial content and advertorials in a bid to become a thought leader around global concerns like fuel, protection, and food. Along the way, the company ceded an unusual amount of control, even for the Internet age. For example, the editorial piece — Horizons, a TV series documenting how businesses, governmental leaders, and organizations are tackling macro problems related to population growth — was produced entirely by BBC World News, though DuPont and Ogilvy Entertainment hatched the concept. ... BBC World News is shooting 20 half-hour episodes of Horizons, the first of which ran earlier this month."

CNN International receives Amnesty International award for documentary about Kenya's mentally disabled community.

Posted: 25 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CNN press release, 24 May 2011: "CNN International has won the Amnesty International Media award in the ‘International Television and Radio’ category for its documentary, 'World’s Untold Stories: Locked Up and Forgotten', it was announced at the awards ceremony in London tonight. The winning half-hour documentary, fronted by CNN’s Nairobi-based correspondent David McKenzie, highlights the negligence and social taboos suffered by Kenya’s mentally disabled community, who live a life hidden away in slums and remote villages across the country. ... When first aired on CNN International the documentary sparked widespread debate, bringing the plight of Kenya’s mentally disabled to the forefront of the world’s media."

CNN, 24 May 2011: "The Amnesty International Media Award jurors praised the program for putting the issue high on the media's agenda and subsequently bringing the matter to the attention of Kenyan government, who have called for change." With link to video of the documentary.

For Australia Network, will less footy attract a larger "target" audience? (updated: cricket, too)

Posted: 25 May 2011   Print   Send a link
World Footy News, 23 May 2011, Troy Thompson: "The Australia Network provides Australian TV content into Asia (on satellite/cable TV) much the same as Radio Australia does with radio content. It is a government program that has been provided by the ABC but with programs from across the Australian TV networks. On weekends this extends to coverage (often live) of AFL matches. This provides a strong link and easy access to the game for homesick expats but also a window into the Australian game for many Asian locals who have an interest in the game. ... This is however all under threat with the current 10 year deal set to expire at the end of August and the winner of the next 10 year tender, is yet to be announced by the Departmentof Foreign Affairs & Trade. According to AusNet's CEO, Bruce Dover, 'DFAT has indicated in the associated tender documents that in any case in the future, sports programming on the channel should be limited, as "much of the Sports [football] historically shown appeal more to the expatriate community rather than the target audience." Consequently, sports programming - be it NRL, rugby or AFL - will be significantly restricted on the channel after August 2011.'" -- This decision will either result in 1) fewer expats and more "target" audiences, or 2) fewer expats and a smaller overall audience. I would bet on the latter.

The Australian, 23 May 2011, Mark Day: "[T]his week ... the [Australian] government is expected to announce the winner of its tender process to supply the Australia Network international service for the next decade. This announcement was due three weeks ago, but it is in the Foreign Affairs portfolio of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, so I suppose it's no surprise that the industry is being kept waiting."

Update: The Australian, 25 May 2011, Sian Powell in Bangkok: "I once wrote a peevish email to the Australia Network, the channel funded by the Australian government. It screens overseas to give foreigners an idea of Australian life. The network is given to running some soaps, some English lesson specials, a few current affairs programs, and endless AFL and rugby league games. In my house it's known as the Footy Channel. Why, I asked, didn't the programmers screen international cricket matches? A prompt response made it clear; they couldn't afford it. ... So out here, in the cricket desert, we have tried various manoeuvres to listen in. I haven't yet managed to listen to the ABC's Grandstand coverage (although I have downloaded plug-ins too numerous to mention), but on the first day of each test the BBC's Radio 5 broadcast can be heard via the BBC website. But it seems it's only for that first day, after which the station reverts to taped announcements. So, asked a geeky friend, how about a proxy server? FoxyProxy was duly downloaded, and I managed to delude the BBC into thinking I lived in Britain. I got coverage for a few days, before the ruse stopped working. Now I'm back to the online scorecard, reduced to staring at fuzzy little lists on my computer screen - such is the extremely high price of living elsewhere."

NHK World TV launches its iPad application.

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Penn Olson, 24 May 2011, Rick Martin: "This week Japanese broadcaster NHK released its NHK World TV iPad application. Now English-speaking users can get the latest news and video clips from NHK’s International broadcasting service. ... NHK and NHK World were excellent sources of news in the wake of the March 11 earthquake, with a sober, objective tone that was a refreshing alternative to the many sensationalized western reports. It’s encouraging to see it move to new platforms."

Re Al Jazeera "challenge": Yes, but if your reporters are arrested, they can't do *their* job.

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
currybetdotnet, 20 May 2011, Martin Belam: "I spent much of today at the BBC Social Media Summit, and thought it worth putting together a few quick notes on the things that stood out for me. ... I was very impressed with Esra Dogramaci from Al Jazeera, who handled with great composure and diplomacy some very hostile questioning over the station’s role in the 'Arab spring' uprisings. ... There seemed a widespread concern that Al Jazeera wasn’t simply reporting events, but was intertwined with them. Esra was adamant that their role was to amplify the voice of the people, saying that if you went to the social media channels and their was no unrest there, there wouldn’t be a story to report. She also issued a strident challenge to other news organisations: 'If you are not out there telling the truth, and your reporters are not being arrested, then you are not doing your job.'"

Vancouver Sun, 24 May 2011, Tracy Sherlock: "North Vancouver journalist Dorothy Parvaz, who was held captive in Syria and Iran for more than two weeks, plans to head back to the Middle East following a respite at home. ... After a couple of weeks, she will be heading back to the Middle East and her reporting job with the television network Al Jazeera. She urged people to pay attention to the situation in Syria where anti-government protests are being violently suppressed."

GQ, June 2011, Michael Peterniti: "If you get talking to the people at AJE — the newsroom represents 50 nationalities, though the Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, and Americans constitute the biggest percentages—you hear a lot about 'the story,' about the channel being the voice of the voiceless, or 'the street,' or something called 'the global south,' a concept that even some of the AJE staff can't quite define. Is it an economic south? A sociological south? And where does it start and end? (In general, the term, as interpreted by the Jazeerians, seems to speak to that class of people in the developing world who have been either patronized or ignored — or, worse, have had their problems mediated — by the global networks for too long.)"

Mideast Youth, 23 May 2011, B (Tunisia): "Al-Jazeera English got under cover and interviewed a few victims of the Bahraini security forces’ brutality. Some of the victims are as young as 12.

Time, Global Spin blog, 24 May 2011, Aryn Baker: "Over the past three months [Bahraini] authorities have embarked upon a devastating campaign of repression, intimidation and torture that wouldn't look out of place in Libya or Mubarak's Egypt. Yet the coverage on Al Jazeera has been largely limited to brief mentions and a backstage examination of why the world's media has been so slow to cover the events there. As the program well points out, Bahrain's government has adeptly blocked major coverage simply by preventing journalists' entry. But the excuse rings hollow, especially coming from Al Jazeera, which usually takes such blockades as a challenge to a duel, not a reason for retreat. Is there a double standard in effect?"

Hartford Advocate, 23 May 2011, Gregory B. Hladky: "WHUS, the community radio station based at the University of Connecticut, began broadcasting the Al Jazeera news show Monday, and you can hearing it on that station from 7-8 a.m. every weekday morning."

KIT digital selected for VOA Direct, which is direct to affiliates, indirect to viewers and listeners.

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
KIT digital press release, 24 May 2011: "KIT digital, Inc., a premium software and technology services provider for delivery, has been engaged by Voice of America (VOA) to provide KIT's software platform as a white-label online content marketplace solution called 'VOA Direct.' VOA Direct will serve as the online media content distribution hub for VOA's network of 1,400 radio and TV affiliates across 38+ countries. The KIT Platform software solution will provide VOA with a fully managed platform to automate syndication and instant/simultaneous delivery of VOA's media assets, including video footage, audio and still images. Using the KIT Content Marketplace offering, VOA Direct will allow affiliates to immediately upload, access, preview and order media files in all necessary IP-based protocols and formats for distribution over television, radio, web, mobile, and tablet devices."

Radio Martí scraps "old history lectures" in favor of "practical and entertaining programming" (updated).

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
WTVJ-TV (Miami), 19 May 2011, Hank Tester and Courtenay Tucker: “'If we’re going to ask them to break the law, the programming better be good,' said Office of Cuba Broadcasts Director Carlos Garcia-Perez. So management decided to scrap the old history lectures and blast the airwaves with a 1,000 kilowatts of practical and entertaining programming to attract younger audiences. It may have only been on the air since January, but already Radio Martí’s 'El Revoltillo,' or 'The Scramble' in English, has captured the attention of Cubans on and off the island. The show acts as a promoter for natives trying to sell, rent, or swap everything from car parts to music lessons to a private investigator. All the while, the two lively hosts, Alfredo Jacomino and Karen Caballero, exchange comedic banter and toss in informative news briefs throughout the show. ... Garcia-Perez brings a fresh perspective to the industry. There’s no hidden agenda, there’s just one goal: Keep them informed and make them want to listen."

Update: Fox News Latino, 24 May 2011: Radio/TV Martí's "most visible, best-known medium is the renovated Web site, which in the few months since its makeover has multiplied the number of hits from around 600 to 4,000 a day. 'We've enlivened the Web page with more news and better content. Added to that is our use of social networks, because we have to make use of all media in an integrated way. They all support each other,' García-Pérez said. García-Pérez, a 47-year-old Miami native who practiced law in Puerto Rico, believes that now more than ever, 'Cubans need to be informed so they can analyze what is happening and come to their own conclusions.' ... Under its new management, Martí's newscasts and programs have diversified their content with more input from countries of the region." See previous post about same subject.

BBC Turkish last radio broadcasts will be Friday; it will continue via internet.

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Today's Zaman (Istanbul), 23 May 2011: "The British Broadcasting Company's (BBC) Turkish Service is slated to air its last radio program on May 27 due to a government budget cut. The service's radio programs, which have been on the air for 72 years, are among the BBC services hit by government budget cuts on public spending. ... The main area of activity will be the service's Internet page as the television broadcasts will support the Internet."

Report: Judith McHale will depart as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 23 May 2011, Al Kamen: "Judith McHale, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, is expected to announce as early as Tuesday that she will be leaving her post in June to return to the private sector in New York, sources said. For the past two years, McHale, former general counsel and then president and chief executive of Discovery Communications, has overseen hundreds of employees in the department’s international information programs, in the educational and cultural affairs bureau, and in the public affairs operation at State, as well as in embassies overseas." -- On the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the undersecretary for public diplomacy sits in for the secretary of state, who is an ex officio member.

Iran's "Sisyphus-like war" against satellite dishes.

Posted: 24 May 2011   Print   Send a link
DPA, 23 May 2011, Farshid Motahari: "Iran has once again started a crackdown on satellite television, demanding the forceful removal of dishes in what critics term a 'Sisyphus-like war.' 'Whenever there was a removal, I had an increase in my income,' said Mansour, a satellite installer in Tehran. 'Police take them away, and as soon as they are gone, the people call me to bring a new one and install it,' the 38-year-old added. ... Foreign satellite programmes, received via satellite and digital receivers, are the main competition to the five domestic IRIB state channels watched nationwide by the majority of Iranians who have no other alternative. ... Persian programmes of Voice of America and BBC carry the Iranian news with a more critical perspective, building a loyal Iranian listener base in the process. There are also MTV-like entertainment programmes showing video clips of Iranian music performers in US or Europe exile. These are especially popular among the younger population. Recently, programmes have begun production in neighbouring countries, like the United Arab Emirates, and dubbed into Persian. TV series and movies in the Persian language, or with subtitles, have become extremely popular nationwide."

"Axis Sally," and her biography, in the news.

Posted: 23 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), 22 May 2011, Brian Albrecht: "Sixty-eight years ago, Mildred Gillars broadcast this radio greeting on behalf of Nazi Germany during World War II. And to hear 'Axis Sally' -- as she was dubbed by American GIs -- was to hate her. She was the original shock-jock of radio propaganda, delivering daily doses of discouragement and dismay in the congenial Midwest tones of her Northeast Ohio upbringing." And more details from Richard Lucas, Axis Sally, The American Voice of Nazi Germany (Casemate, $29.95). See previous post about same subject.

France 24 is the channel of choice among fruit vendors at Botswana bus ranks.

Posted: 23 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Independent Online (Cape Town), 22 May 2011, "'I am listening to the real president, real one, not these fake presidents of Africa,' said a young man in his mid-20s who usually works as a bus conductor, as he twiddled the controls of a small TV set. He was among the people gathered under a makeshift shelter to watch the France 24 news channel on the television operated by a fruit vendor at the Gaborone bus rank. His friend, the vendor, listened with him to US President Barrack Obama’s speech on the Middle East democratic uprisings. Whether or not they understood the whole message that Obama was conveying is a matter for another day. But they got the gist and felt the message of support from Obama to the oppressed. The two young men reflected the mood of the citizens of Botswana who are frustrated at the latest developments in their country, once dubbed Africa’s beacon of democracy." -- Why was France 24 the channel of choice for the fruit vendor? It is probably one of the best of a moribund handful of free-to-air satellite channels available in Botswana.

People's Daily suggests "censorship" and "prejudice" as reasons Deutsche Welle fired four Chinese employees.

Posted: 23 May 2011   Print   Send a link
People's Daily Online (Beijing), 21 May 2011, Li Hongmei and Zhang Hongyu: "Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) recently fired another four editorial staff of Chinese origin working for the China-Redaktion der Deutsche Welle (DW’s Chinese Department), for what it claims were financial reasons, but in actuality, as a result of expelling 'dissidents' with 'Communist background'. The four dismissed Chinese editors have probably fallen victim to DW’s intense censorship and deep-seated prejudice."

Euronews adds Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish to its iPad and iPhone apps.

Posted: 23 May 2011   Print   Send a link
AMEinfo.com, 21 May 2011: "Pan-European multilingual news TV channel, Euronews has updated its iPad and iPhone application, Digital TV Europe has reported. The upgrade will see the addition of Euronews service in Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. The new channel also plans to launch next month an app for devices that use the Google Android operating system."

UK MPs and newspapers discover BBC World Service Trust and question its projects.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 22 May 2011, Jason Lewis: "A little-known charity run by the BBC is spending more than £15 million from the UK taxpayer on 'international aid' projects including 'educating' Africa on climate change and a 'romantic' soap opera for Indian radio. Last year it spent more than £28 million on “changing lives through media and communication” ... On Saturday the disclosure was condemned by MPs who questioned why taxpayers’ money was being spent in this way and whether the Trust’s relationship with Whitehall departments, business donors and foreign governments damaged the BBC’s independence. ... Formerly known as the BBC World Service Training Trust, the charity started out funding journalist training in the Third World. It has now grown to be one of Britain’s largest international aid charities, although it is still dwarfed by more established organisations like Oxfam which spends ten times the Trust’s budget. ... Caroline Nursey, the Trust’s director, added that, as a charity, 'the Trust is able to go one step further than the journalists of the BBC and provide people in developing and transitional countries with timely, useful information and opportunities for discussion'. She said that how and where it got its funding had 'no bearing on the news output on the BBC whatsoever'."

Daily Mail, 22 May 2011: "MPs blasted the organisation, which is separate to the World Service, and questioned the BBC's independence when reporting on foreign governments and the charity's donors. 'You imagine that our foreign aid budget is being spent to save lives by pumping fresh water to a drought-ridden village, not to make soap operas,' Philip Davies, a Tory member of the Commons culture committee, told the Sunday Telegraph."

BBC World Service Trust might be "little known," but its existence is hardly a secret. Why has World Service Trust evolved into the multifaceted international charity that it is today? I have three hypotheses, not based on any inside information: 1) BBC World Service desired to use its communication skills and resources to advocate for worthy causes. World Service itself, to protect its credibility, should not advocate for anything, no matter how commendable. The establishment of World Service Trust as a separate organization addressed this dilemma. 2) Success in international broadcasting nowadays requires the formation of partnerships in the target country. In order to get a "foot in the door," and to establish goodwill in those target countries, World Service Trust engages in various beneficial projects. 3) World Service Trust would also generate good publicity for World Service within the UK -- although the opposite seems to be happening now.

Afghan-Iranian-Tajik Persian-language Navrooz TV project, proposed in 2006, still in limbo.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 20 May 2011: "Iran's ambassador to Tajikistan says Tajik officials are responsible for the long delay of the launch of the Afghan-Iranian-Tajik television project, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports. In 2006, presidents Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed to launch a joint Persian-speaking television channel called Navrooz-TV. The project has still not been implemented. ... Tajikistan was responsible for providing an appropriate building for Navrooz TV's television broadcasting center, Iran was to provide all the necessary equipment and studios, while Afghanistan had promised to provide a satellite channel in Persian for the television station. Many of the people in Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan share cultural and linguistic similarities."

Matt Frei departing as anchor of BBC World News America, going to UK's Channel 4.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Mediabistro, 19 May 2011, Alex Weprin: "'BBC World News America' anchor Matt Frei is leaving the program to become Washington correspondent for the UK’s Channel 4. Frei has anchored the program since October, 2007. ... Frei’s move comes just a few weeks after the BBC reshuffled its stateside programming, shifting 'BBC World News America' to the BBC World cable channel from BBC America, while also expanding its presence on some PBS stations."

WYFR and the never-ending eschatology of shortwave broadcasting.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Survivor, 21 May 2011, Paul Riismandel: "You’ve seen the bumper stickers, and today at least it’s true for [Harold Camping's] Family Radio. Their website has been unreachable all day, likely due to being overloaded with traffic. So that’s also made it difficult to get their online radio stream. So I tuned in to Family Radio’s shortwave station WYFR this afternoon (at 13615 Khz) and it certainly sounds like the station is on auto-pilot." -- WYFR also heard 22 May at 2015 UTC on 13615 kHz, sounding very pre-recorded and automated. The Family Radio website still warns of Judgment Day on 21 May.

VOA News, 21 May 2011, comment from Juan Carlos Aragón in Spain: "Family Radio, I thought, it was a prestigious international short wave radio station. Now this, the world is not going to end, but it goes crazy, that is for sure."

See previous post about same subject.

VOA jazz and Willis Conover figure in the plots of novels about a Russian-born New York detective.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 18 May 2011: "Reggie Nadelson is a New Yorker who also makes her home in London. ... Nadelson's best known creation ... is the detective Artie Cohen, a New York City cop. Artie first appeared in 1995 in Red Mercury Blues, and has appeared in eight further novels since then. The latest Artie Cohen novel, Blood Count, is newly published in paperback by Atlantic. ... 'Artie Cohen, my main character, is a Russian-born, New York detective, who has loved the music all his life. In Moscow, as a boy, he listened under the covers to Willis Connover's Jazz Hour on the Voice of America. In New York, he listens to the music all the time – at home, on cases, in his car.'"

Former Radio Canada International employee now works "in conflict and post-conflict zones setting up radio stations."

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Montreal Gazette, 20 May 2011, Danielle Murray: "David Lloyd Smith, 50, ... worked at Radio-Canada International until budget cuts put him out of work. When the same job came up in the Netherlands, he went there. Two years in, he was offered a station manager position in Durban. 'It was too exciting to turn down.' After a year, he was back home and working at the National Film Board. When the United Nations called a little while later and asked him to set up a radio station in the former Yugoslavia, he jumped at it. 'Again, I wasn’t leaving Montreal. I was going to a job. An exciting job.' Once his contract was over, he returned to the NFB. And then the UN called again. This time, he was off to Bangui in the Central African Republic for another two years. Followed by another UN stint in New York City. He came home every other week. In 2001, he was asked to set up a peacekeeping network in Kinshasa, so off he went. Now, although he lives in South Africa, he works mainly in conflict and post-conflict zones setting up radio stations. His home and office are in Johannesburg because of its proximity to other parts of the continent."

The two new Arabic news channels and the media environment they will face.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link

Communicate.ae, May 2011, Sidra Tariq: "With the Middle East and North Africa at the center of current uprisings, this is perhaps one of the best times to report from the region. For years now, Arabic news channels such as Qatar-based Al Jazeera, and Middle East Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) Al Arabiya, have dominated the market with step-by-step coverage of regional events. Many other regional and international news entities have also followed suit over the past few years. And now at least two more 24-hour Arabic news channels are slated for release in the next 12 months. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company and a 7 percent stakeholder in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (which owns Fox News), is reportedly launching a news channel in October this year. ... Meanwhile, Sky News Arabia, a 50-50 joint venture between pay television provider British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) – in which News Corp has shares and which owns Sky News – and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp (ADMIC), will hit the airwaves in Spring 2012. ... Mazen Fakhoury, managing director of media agency Mindshare KSA ... says that apart from the obvious strong contenders Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, the new Arabic news channels may also face competition – though to a lesser extent – from BBC Arabic, France 24 and Russia Today. Other potential competitors include the US-funded Al Hurra. ... Cable News Network (CNN) has no plans to launch an Arabic news channel in the region, either, according to Rani R Raad, senior vice-president and managing director for advertising sales and business development at CNN International. 'While there seems to be a flurry of new Arabic news channels being launched, we look for the right combination of editorial and commercial sense, consumer demand, and a gap in the market,' he adds. 'CNN is unique in that it is not a government-funded or subsidized channel and our assessment is that it would be difficult to operate a profitable news channel in Arabic.'"

Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), 19 May 2011, translated by MEMRI Blog: "Former Al-Jazeera in Beirut bureau chief Ghassan bin Jeddo has announced that he will launch a new television channel, with an investment of $40 million. The channel, he said, would employ prominent media members from Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, and Syria. Bin Jeddo quit Al-Jazeera after protesting against what he termed the channel's 'unprofessional' coverage of the unrest in the Arab world."

Ohio State University press release, undated (!!): "Despite the fears of some Americans, Arab television networks such as Al Jazeera do not promote anti-American feelings among all their viewers, according to a new study. Research based on surveys of nearly 20,000 residents of six Arab countries suggests that while watching networks like Al Jazeera fuels anti-American feelings in some viewers, it actually reduces such sentiment in others." -- I hope Ohio State University is not as worthless as a press release with no date on it.

After backbench debate on BBC World Service, UK government will review budget cuts, with no promise of reversal.

Posted: 22 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 19 May 2011: "Senior MPs today lined up to call for the Government to reverse its decision to slash the BBC World Service's funding. Richard Ottaway, Conservative chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, described the 16% cut as 'disproportionate'. Labour former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth warned the World Service risked being 'completely eclipsed' by competing sources of information, reducing the UK's influence. Opening a Commons debate on the cuts, Mr Ottaway said: 'It is the view of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that the World Service is a key component of British soft power.' ... The motion calls on the Government to review its decision."

The Guardian, 20 May 2011, Ben Dowell: "The BBC has given a cautious welcome to the government's decision to review its controversial funding cuts to the World Service. The corporation issued a brief statement after MPs voted in favour of a backbench motion calling on the Foreign Office to look again at the funding settlement which is expected to see the broadcaster's budget cut from £241m to £212m by 2014, from when it will be wholly funded by the BBC. 'We welcome the support for the World Service among MPs and the offer by the [Foreign Office] to review its decision to cut World Service funding by 16%,' said the BBC statement. 'We do not yet know what form any review or reflection will take.' In a House of Commons debate on Thursday, foreign office minister David Lidington stopped short of saying ministers would reverse their decision following the review, telling MPs he wanted to help the BBC find other ways of funding the service."

Press Gazette, 20 May 2011: "Ottaway said he hoped the review would not be 'swept under the table. He said [foreign office minister David] Lidington had not 'quite got the point' made by MPs in the debate, as the World Service's future was a 'question of priorities' and there was now a need to 'take soft power more seriously'. ... Earlier, Labour former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth warned the World Service risked being 'completely eclipsed' by competing sources of information, reducing the UK's influence."

The Spectator (UK), Coffee House blog, 20 May 2011, David Blackburn: "Yesterday’s debate on the future of the World Service was an unqualified success for its convener, Richard Ottaway. His motion received very extensive cross-party support and the MPs involved are confident of victory. As one source put it, 'I haven’t met anyone – anyone – who agrees with that cut.' For its part, the government will 'reflect carefully on the issue.'"

The Spectator (UK), 21 May 2011, Dennis Sewell, via TMCnet.com: "When so many other states are investing so much in diplomacy through broadcasting, it would be foolish of Britain to throw away the strong hand cards we already hold. It is not in our interests for large swaths of Africa, Asia and the Middle East to live in permanent ignorance of British values, institutions and culture; never to be given a taste of what living in a free society is like; never to receive impartial and honest news and to be harangued day in, day out by people who despise us and everything we stand for. And that is what leaving the field to Al Jazeera, the Chinese or the Russians would mean. If Hillary Clinton is right about that information war, we should give some serious thought to how to win it."

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, 19 May 2011: Links to "Report: The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service" and Government and BBC responses to the report. The 19 May backbench debate can be seen in this video file, about three hours in. The transcript of the debate is in the House of Commons Hansard, 19 May 2011.

And this item, pertaining more to BBC domestic... Press Gazette, 19 May 2011, Andrew Pugh: "The Government tabled plans for the BBC to become a vehicle for 'government messaging' during negotiations over the BBC licence fee settlement last year. A report out today by the Culture Media and Sport Committee revealed that former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons and BBC director general Mark Thompson felt the proposals crossed one of the BBC’s 'red lines.' Lyons and Thompson told the committee – which was set to report on the BBC’s licence fee settlement and annual report – that during negotiation last October the Government put forward plans for the BBC to become a vehicle for 'showing a large amount of information produced by the Central Office of Information – government messaging – to the public'. The report added Lyons and Thompson felt this was 'unacceptable to the BBC because it would have been a serious breach of the BBC’s editorial independence'. The idea was put forward several times during the negotiation process before the Government eventually dropped the idea, yesterday's Commons report. Lyons considered the public information broadcasts proposal 'a fundamental and wholly unacceptable attack on the BBC and one we’d fight tooth and nail'."

Private international broadcasting is best -- except when the chief investor runs off with his mistress.

Posted: 21 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 17 May 2011, Jonathan Shieber: "The founder of the venture capital arm of multi-billion dollar investment firm CDH Investments LLC, Wang Gongquan, announced on his micro-blog account that he was 'giving up everything' to run away with his mistress. 'I cannot live up to your expectations and trust and cannot explain it to you,' Wang, who is married, wrote on his Weibo account – a blogging service hosted by Sina Corp., saying that he was going to leave it all for the woman he loved. ... Earlier stage companies in the [CDH Investments] portfolio include ... Blue Ocean Network (Beijing) a private media company producing China-related television programs and online content." -- Blue Ocean Netwok, or BON, is nominally a privately-owned English language television news network based in Beijing. It is available via www.bon.tv and on some satellites, but on few, if any, cable systems outside China.

China Radio International VP leads 25- (or maybe 20-) member media delegation to Pakistan.

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Daily Times (Lahore), 20 May 2011: "A 25-member Chinese media delegation headed by Madam Wang Dongmei, Vice President of China Radio International (CRI) ... is visiting Pakistan in connection with 60-year celebrations of Sino-Pak friendship... ."

Pakistan Observer, 20 May 2011: "A 20-member Chinese media delegation led by Vice-President of China Radio International, Ms. Wang Dongmei,on Wednesday visited the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to pay homage to the Founder of Pakistan. They laid floral wreath and stood silent for some time as the mark of respect."

Associated Press of Pakistan, 19 May 2011: "Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday called for enhanced collaboration between educational institutions of Pakistan and China and exchanges of students and researchers to further strengthen their bilateral ties. ... The Prime Minister also appreciated the China Radio International for running excellent programmes in its Urdu service... ."

Radio Farda interview reprinted (with "a few liberties") by Iran's Fars news agency.

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Weekly Standard, 17 May 2011, Daniel Halper: "Tom Gross, a Middle East analyst based in Israel, recently gave an interview to Radio Farda, the pro-democracy branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that broadcasts in Iran. Gross discussed Iran, Israel, democracy, and the Middle East, among other topics. The interview was translated into Farsi and posted on Radio Farda's website. Oddly, though, the interview also ran on the government-run Iranian outlet Fars News Agency in a piece on its website (accessible here). It's odd because Gross is pro-Israel and a democracy advocate. But while the articles in both outlets share the same photo and pretty much the same text, it appears that the Iranian-run outlet took a few liberties of its own."

RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 19 May 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari: "In the past 30 years, Iranian officials have used different labels to belittle critics, opposition members and those who are not in line with official views and principles. For example, intellectuals have been labeled as 'spies,' 'freemasons,' and 'mercenaries with a pen'. ... And if you come across 'Radio CIA' while reading Iranian conservative newspapers or websites, it's a reference to RFE/RL’s Persian service, Radio Farda."

"Whoever said shortwave listeners were a bunch of pasty-skinned nerds?" In recent online survey, 97% are male.

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 20 May 2011, Brett Moss: "Whoever said shortwave listeners were a bunch of pasty-skinned nerds who didn’t know how to have fun? These boys (a recent survey of theirs revealed they are indeed mostly male) know how to have fun. Who else has an annual convention on a cruise ship sailing around the Bahamas? Held May 13–16 aboard the Majesty of the Seas, the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters and DRM USA conventions gave attendees sessions with speakers from as far away as Finland and China. They also heard technical talks on topics such as DRM and the Telediffusion de France site in French Guiana along with member news and adventures."

National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters press release, 20 May 2011, via Shortwave Central: "Around 1300 shortwave listeners from around the globe took part in the NASB shortwave listener survey between May of 2010 and May of 2011, and the results of the survey were announced at the 2011 NASB annual meeting on May 14th. In the conference center of Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, anchored off the coast of CocoCay in the Bahamas, Dr. Jerry Plummer of WWCR announced the results for the first time. Jerry is the administrator of the survey, which was posted online at the NASB website, www.shortwave.org, with links on other shortwave and DX websites. Most of the respondents were located in North America and Europe, with significant numbers from Asia and Oceania as well. Nearly half of those who responded were also amateur radio operators. Around 97 percent were male. Not surprisingly, most listeners who took the survey listen to shortwave stations for news and commentary, and many listen for cultural programs as well. Around 7 percent listen for religious programming of a variety of faiths. The number one shortwave station in the poll was the BBC. Full results of the survey will be published in the next NASB Newsletter, which will also be on the NASB website, www.shortwave.org."

The timing of the above-mentioned cruise was convenient for NASB member WYFR, flagship shortwave station of Harold Camping's Judgment Day, 21 May... New York Times, 19 May 2011, Scott James: "Mr. Camping, a 1942 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, who started out in Christian broadcasting in 1958 with one San Francisco AM radio station that eventually became a broadcast empire, proclaimed the doomsday date in 2008. Since then, the ministry has unleashed a giant effort to spread the word. The message has gone out over the ministry’s 216 AM, FM and low-power radio stations, plus two TV channels in the United States. And, there’s been an international effort with shortwave radio, satellite broadcasts, a Web site, 5,500 billboards (400 in India; 2,200 across the United States, including many around the Bay Area), and 100 million pamphlets in 61 languages, according to the ministry." See also familyradio.com.

"Tougher to get into the Al Jazeera compound than to enter most countries."

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
New Internationalist, 19 May 2011, Stephanie Boyd: "[F]or a media junkie, no visit to Qatar can be complete without a trip to the Al Jazeera TV channel headquarters in downtown Doha. For those of you who might want to check out the place on your own – a warning: it’s tougher to get into the Al Jazeera compound than to enter most countries. There are two security checkpoints with stern-looking guards. You need a special pass from someone ‘on the inside’ before you can even set foot inside the first gate."

journalism.co.uk, 20 May 2011, Rachel McAthy: "Al Jazeera is developing tutorials to train citizens in using new media technologies to report on events, especially where mainstream media lack access. Speaking at the BBC's Social Media Summit today, member of Al Jazeera's social media team Esra Dogramaci said the Qatar-based broadcaster is not creating the news agenda, but amplifying it. ... When questioned about the responsibility of Al Jazeera for those who they train, and the risks the new citizen journalists may face in using the technology to report on issues, she said in journalism 'there are always risks that you take'"

Right Side News, 17 May 2011, Cliff Kincaid: Senator John "McCain’s praise of Al-Jazeera was ... curious because the channel, during the 2008 presidential campaign, had savaged the McCain-Palin ticket by running a piece depicting Republican voters as country bumpkins and racists." See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera's Dorothy Parvaz "has been released," returns to Doha after flight from Iran (updated).

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net. 18 May 2011: "Al Jazeera has confirmed the release of its journalist, Dorothy Parvaz, who was detained in Syria upon her arrival in Damascus nineteen days ago, while on assignment. During that time she was not allowed any contact with the outside world. She landed in Doha, Qatar on May 18 on a flight from Iran. An Al Jazeera spokesman said: 'I'm delighted to let you know that Dorothy Parvaz has been released and is safe and well and back with us in Doha. She has been in contact with her family, and we are with her now to find out more about her ordeal over the last nineteen days.'" See previous post about same subject.

Update: CBC, 18 May 2011: During Parvaz's Syrian detention: "'[A man] pushed me up against a wall and told me to stand there. As I did so, I heard two sets of interrogations and beatings taking place, about 10 metres away from me in either direction.'" See also Aljazeera.net, 18 May 2011.

Canadian Press, 19 May 2011: "Journalist Dorothy Parvaz is back with her family in B.C. after being released from detention in Iran. Parvaz hugged relatives upon her arrival at Vancouver International Airport and her father said she looked 'great.'"

More calls for an Israeli satellite channel in English and Arabic.

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 18 May 2011, Rebecca Anna Stoil: The Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee Committee Chairman Danny Danon (Likud) "called on both the Foreign Ministry and the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to 'go from defense to offense' and repeated calls for the establishment of Israeli English and Arabic-language satellite television. 'We are seeing the results of not having Israeli satellite television in English and Arabic, despite the fact that it would require a budget of $15m. per year,' said Mordechai Keidar, a research associate at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. 'The United States, France, Great Britain, Russia and China all broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the Arab world, and it is ironic that Israel acts as though it has nothing to say,' he said. But Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, the Abraham Fund Initiatives co-executive director, said Israel’s media image has more to do with consumer demand than with Arab propaganda. 'There are also many wonderful and good things that are published about Israel in the international media. Only recently, Al-Jazeera broadcast an article about the degree to which the Israeli educational system tries to educate for coexistence,' he said." -- Placing the new Israeli domestic Arabic channel, reported in a previous post, on Arabsat and Nilesat would fulfill part of the goal, even if the content is not targeted to audiences outside of Israel. For English, a commercial channel might alleviate the funding problem, if Israel can find content attractive enough to draw audiences and to achieve some cable carriage.

Radio Free Europe 60th anniversary events and remembrances.

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Czechposition.com, 16 May 2011, Cóilín O’Connor: "As Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) celebrates its 60th anniversary this month, many Czechs and Slovaks will recall when the station made regular broadcasts to this part of the world during the dark days of the Cold War. ... Although it was cleared of being directly responsible for events in Hungary, the controversy surrounding the country’s doomed anti-communist revolution prompted RFE/RL’s management to urge more caution in its broadcasts. The station also set up a special analysis division to ensure its reporting was professional and objective. 'I would repeatedly tell our people to remember that the best propaganda is the truth, and I think we really abided by this,' says Pavel Pecháček, the former director of RFE/RL’s Czechoslovak service. ... Despite its efforts to provide a more neutral news service, RFE/RL still regularly had to endure criticism that it was merely a tool for American propaganda."

Center for Transatlantic Relations: "Please join us for a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Radio Free Europe's First Broadcasts to Czechoslovakia and a discussion: No Freedom Without Media Freedom. June 2, 2011. Program: 4:30PM - 6:00PM. Reception to follow. Kenney Auditorium, Johns Hopkins SAIS 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC."

Cold War Radios, 6 May 2011, Richard H. Cummings: "[A] look at the events in Prague celebrating 60 years of Radio Free Europe Broadcasts."

RFE/RL press release, 11 May 2011: "At celebrations marking this month's 60th anniversary of RFE's first broadcasts to communist Czechoslovakia, key personalities from Czech and Slovak politics and culture praised RFE's role in toppling communism in Central and Eastern Europe."

RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 12 May 2011, reprinting letter from Vaclav Havel: "I am glad that RFE/RL celebrates such a mature birthday, and in full strength. Its broadcasts have played an exceptional role in the modern history of Czechoslovakia. The radio belongs to institutions that have for several decades informed truthfully about real and important events, and thus have helped to maintain continuous civic awareness under communist dictatorship."

RFE/RL In the News, 17 May 2011: "Czech Media Covers RFE 60th Anniversary Celebrations."

Cold War radios, 19 May 2011, Géza Ekecs and János Kund: "Bye-Bye Szabad Európa Rádió (SZER): Memories of RFE's Hungarian Broadcast Service."

RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 18 May 2011: "A look back on the 60th anniversary of RFE's first Romanian broadcasts."

Polskie Radio, 19 May 2011: "Wlada Majewska, who had celebrated her 100th birthday this March, was a feted singer both in pre-war Poland and later amongst the exiled community in Great Britain. For over thirty years, she co-ran the Polish section of Radio Free Europe in London. ... In 1994, following the collapse of the Iron Curtain, she travelled to Warsaw and bequeathed the full archives of RFE's London service to Polish Radio."

See also the RFE/RL 60th Anniversary web page.

Pakistan's Geo TV "eulogizing" Osama bin Laden, while carrying VOA program, he writes.

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Express (Chennai), 17 May 2011, Anees Jillani: Pakistan's "news channels, which easily number more than 50, left no stone unturned to make Osama father of the nation. A leading news channel, Geo News, is running one programme after another eulogising the life of Osama; this channel usually gauges public perception correctly and the Osama coverage is another example of its astuteness. It is a different matter that it also runs a daily hour-long programme funded by Voice of America which fills it coffers substantially."

RFE/RL, 17 May 2011, Muhammad Tahir, a Washington correspondent for RFE/RL (commentary): "Did the Pakistanis have him under their protection or didn't they? The house was unguarded. CIA agents apparently kept bin Laden under observation for months -- never once attracting the attention of the Pakistani security services. It seems highly unlikely that they could have gotten away with that if he had really enjoyed official protection. ... What the whole story shows, in fact, is not that the ISI was complicit. It was, instead, miserably incompetent."

CNN International's new app for Nokia "includes user-generated content upload functionality."

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Tech2, 19 May 2011, Shayne Rana: "CNN’s new application for smartphones has been making the rounds since December of last year when it hit the iTunes App Store and then recently this year when the Android App Market got a hold of it. Nokia ... is the last one to get the CNN international news app. The CNN App for Nokia is designed to provide users with one-click access to news and the company says it will be a dynamic news experience. It’ll also feature integrated sharing functionality. The CNN App includes user-generated content upload functionality through iReport, showcases important global news through text, video and photos; and also enables users to watch live breaking news video."

Heritage Foundation: "This time it has to be VOA's turn" for Obama interview (updated).

Posted: 20 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 16 May 2011, Helle Dale: "It will be the second time the President has attempted public diplomacy outreach to Muslims, the first being his 2009 Cairo speech, which was woefully short on policy follow-through. This time, the President ought to: ... ▪Take the opportunity to promote his message on Voice of America (VOA). In the past, the President has spoken on Al Arab[i]ya, the BBC World Service, and South African television. This time, it has to be VOA’s turn."

Update: Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 19 May 2011, Helle Dale: "President Obama’s major Middle East speech offers an opportunity to provide substance to a policy so far heavy on rhetoric and light on action. It also offers the opportunity for Obama to use Voice of America (VOA) to help deliver the message of support to the Arab peoples, who are in an unprecedented struggle for peaceful political change. Yet, for the second time in the space of a year, it will not be VOA but the BBC that will get the coveted interview with President Obama (according to the White House schedule at 2:55 p.m.). This time, it will be a sit down in the White House Diplomatic Room just hours after the President’s Middle East speech. The first time, it was the BBC’s Persian service that had the opportunity to interview Obama at the United Nations. In fact, Obama is the only U.S. President since VOA came into being during World War II not to give an interview to the signature international broadcaster of the U.S. government. At the White House, where VOA maintains a bureau, VOA is generally treated as an unwanted relative, never called on in daily briefings and not allowed questions during the President’s rare press conferences."

First, VOA does not broadcast in Arabic. Second, I think only George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have given interviews to VOA. Some of the other presidents have recorded statements for, or given speeches at, VOA, in commemoration of VOA anniversaries and the like. Actual VOA interviews with presidents can be a mixed blessing: the president might be perceived (incorrectly) as taking softball questions from his own government radio station, and VOA might be construed (incorrectly) to be the president's personal megaphone. See previous post about same subject.

Heritage Foundation, 16 May 2011, James Jay Carafano, James Phillips, Sally McNamara, and Helle C. Dale: "[F]oreign aid and public diplomacy programs that are not delivering results must be jettisoned, and resources should be focused on efforts that make a difference. Washington must stop using foreign aid to prop up unaccountable regimes. U.S. efforts should focus on a mix of proven instruments and innovations. The U.S. should support programs like the Voice of America (radio programs in particular) and the Millennium Challenge Account." -- Actually, Radio Sawa continues to be remarkably successful where it has FM outlets, and even reasonably so in Egypt, which it must reach via medium wave. I think the Heritage writers are more interested in "freight," messages supporting US policies and Israel, and against terrorists and any Middle Eastern leaders we don't like, on a revived VOA Arabic Service. The problem is that there is not much of a radio audience for such content in the Arab world, putting the effort in the category of "programs that are not delivering results."

Memphis Commercial Appeal, 17 May 2011, Bartholemew Sullivan: At an 11 May hearing of the U.S. Helsinki Commission about Central Asia and the Arab Spring, "[i]n response to a question from [US Rep. Steve] Cohen about the influence of radio programming beamed into the countries by Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, [Paul] Goble said the U.S. made a mistake abandoning shortwave broadcasts in favor of FM stations licensed by the repressive regimes. He said the stations practice self-censorship in order to retain their licenses, defeating their purpose." -- Shortwave can sidestep censorship, but the problem is convincing audiences in Central Asia, immersed in television and internet, to resume listening to shortwave, or to buy a shortwave radio, or to try to find a shortwave radio in the shops. See also Paul Goble bio.

Radio Dirooz (Yesterday) blog launched in Iran to "review and criticize" Radio Farda (Tomorrow).

Posted: 19 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 17 May 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari: "A new website called 'Radio Yesterday' (Radio Dirooz) has been launched in Iran in an apparent effort to counter RFE/RL's Persian-language Radio Farda, which means Radio Tomorrow in Persian. 'Radio Dirooz' says it aims to review and criticize the work of Radio Farda. The website selects and summarizes reports of Radio Farda or comments by experts and reposts them, recast and with its own spin. ... 'Radio Dirooz' has been registered by an individual named Javid Arabshahi, who has registered some 50 other domains, including the website of Iran's hard-line 'Hezbollah' in the city of Gonabad. The editor of Radio Farda's website, Fred Petrossian, suggests that 'the time and effort' invested in the newly launched website demonstrates 'the impact' Radio Farda is having."

Interviews with President Obama: BBC 2, VOA 0.

Posted: 19 May 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 18 May 2011. "The BBC's Andrew Marr interviews US President Barack Obama. The full interview will be available to watch on the BBC News website from 0800 GMT, 0900 BST, on Sunday 22 May." With video promo.

White House, official schedule and guidance for 19 May 2011: "In the afternoon, the President will be interviewed by BBC. This interview in the Diplomatic Room is closed press."

Some at VOA are dismayed that this is the second time President Obama has been interviewed by BBC (the previous one, in September 2010, was with BBC Persian), even though he has granted no interview (so far) to VOA. The new BBC interview, however, is on the topic of the president's visit to Europe, which begins Monday. The trip includes a state dinner in London. BBC is a domestic UK broadcaster and has a significant presence in the rest of Europe through its BBC World News television channel. VOA has no broadcasts to Europe other than to the Balkans, Russia, and some former Soviet republics. VOA and/or other elements of USIB will eventually get their interview. See previous post about the president's interview with BBC Persian.

BBC World Service available (almost) 24/7 on Australia's SBS DAB+ audio bouquet.

Posted: 19 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Rambling Thoughts Blog, 16 May 2011, Neerav Bhatt: "Trevor Long – Business Affairs Manager at SBS Australia ... is excited about new [DAB+ digital radio] radio model features like being able to view an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and record digital radio to an SD card on the Grundig Replay Radio as well as the image slideshow display on the Grundig Trio Radio. Trevor is in charge of SBS digital radio stations including: SBS 1 and SBS 2 (traditional SBS foreign language content), SBS Chill, SBS PopAsia and SBS 6 (which usually plays a relay of BBC World Service but is switched to big events at certain times of year eg: Eurovision, big soccer tournaments)." -- SBS is Australia's public broadcaster for immigrant communities.

"William Hague questions BBC World Service's commitment to savings." Commons debate today 1230 UTC.

Posted: 19 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 18 May 2011, John Plunkett: William "Hague, the foreign secretary, said the reduction in the World Service's funding by the government, which will see its budget reduced by £46m a year and lead to the loss of up to 650 posts, was 'challenging but fair'. Hague accused the BBC of a lack of transparency over back office savings and described the level of staff cuts in relation to the reduction in funds as 'somewhat disappointing'. 'The FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] is committed to saving £100m from our administrative budgets while boosting frontline activity. The World Service assured us at the time of their settlement that they were working to identify savings in this area too. The degree to which they have done so is not clear,' said Hague. ... Hague also criticised the corporation's decision to close services including BBC Hindi on shortwave – a decision that has since been partially reversed – and large parts of its BBC Arabic offering, which he said was 'surprising even before recent dramatic developments in the region'. 'We were not formally consulted on this decision and we believe that the case they advanced for closure was not compelling," Hague said of the Hindi service.'"

The Drum, 18 May 2011, Stephen Lepitak: "The National Union of Journalists has condemned foreign secretary William Hague’s response to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee assessment of the cuts being made at the BBC World Service. The NUJ has described Hague’s response that the cuts were ‘challenging but fair’ as having a ‘shameful disregard for the listeners of the world and travesty of reasoned debate and argument’."

journalism.co.uk, 18 May 2011, Rachel McAthy: A report of the House of Commons select committee on foreign affairs, "Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service, assessed the impact of the 16 per cent reductions earmarked for the service across a four year period. The committee advised that the World Service's income should be ringfenced against spending cuts to secure its 'value to the nation'."

Parliament website, 19 May 2011: "'The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service' report findings will be the subject of a Commons Debate this week. This will be the first debate in the House on a substantive motion by a departmental select committee relating to a major issue of public concern since the introduction of the new arrangements for backbench business. The debate will take place in the Chamber at approximately 1.30pm [1230 UTC] on Thursday 19 May. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Richard Ottaway MP, will be the Member in charge. The motion has been supported by the Chairs of the Defence, International Development, Treasury, Home Affairs, Culture, Media and Sport and Environmental Audit Select Committees, and by the former Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw MP. ... In advance of the debate, the Committee has put into the public domain the Government's response to its report, together with a response from the BBC and a letter to the Committee from the Secretary of State for International Development." With links to documents. Live video might be available here.

See previous post about same subject.

Deutsche Welle will discontinue German, Russian, Farsi, Indonesian shortwave and close two SW relay stations.

Posted: 18 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 18 May 2011: "On November 1, 2011, DW will be discontinuing the shortwave broadcast for German, Russian, Farsi and Indonesian. For English, the shortwave broadcast will be limited to Africa. The broadcasting times for Chinese programming will be reduced from 120 minutes to 60 minutes. For these languages, DW will also be increasing the online and mobile services as well as video-on-demand and audio-on-demand. The portfolio will also include audio productions for rebroadcast by partners (when applicable). Starting in November, DW will only be broadcasting radio programming via shortwave in the following languages: Amharic, Chinese, Dari, English and French for Africa, Hausa, Kiswahili, Pashtu, Portuguese for Africa and Urdu. The shortwave program currently broadcasts 260 hours daily with DW’s own or rented relay stations – with the new focus on Africa and regions in Asia that will be reduced to just 55 at the beginning of the winter season. Only the relay station in Kigali (Rwanda) will be needed for shortwave broadcasts in Africa. The stations in Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) und Sines (Portugal) can no longer be used to capacity. The financial operation is no longer possible and the relay stations will stop being used on November 1, 2011 and closed at the next possible point in time. ... The German Bundestag approved DW’s strategic plan in April 2011 with an overwhelming majority. The core of the plan is the multimedia orientation of the broadcaster, the focus on major tasks and target regions with regards to the budgetary issues. The new strategic direction ensures that DW is prepared for the changing conditions of international media markets."

Novinite Sofia News Agency, 18 May 2011: "Although Deutsche Welle's program in Bulgaria has long been transmitted through ultra-short waves [FM], it will be suspended as of July 1. The media will keep its current online presence. 'Deutsche Welle in Bulgaria stays', Alexander Andreev, head of DW's Bulgarian desk, said in a statement. He made it clear that an overall change of strategy of the company envisaged a shift of focus to TV, online and mobile products. Bulgarian audiences will be able to follow Deutsche Welle programs on Darik Radio and the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). Details about the airing time and the length of the programs will be provided at a later stage."

New international packages for Time Warner digital cable in New York City.

Posted: 18 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting & Cable, 16 May 2011, George Winslow: "Time Warner Cable announced that its digital TV customers in New York City now have access to more than 175 high-definition channels and that it had launched a number of new international packages. ... Along with over 50 international channels currently available to Time Warner Cable digital TV customers, the cable operator also announced that it has launched or will be launching a number of new international packages. These include a variety of Hindi, Filipino, Mandarin and Russian packages that offer savings of up to 65% over existing offerings."

Radio Sweden relaunches MediaScan.org as "hub for Swedish media and IT news."

Posted: 18 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Twitter, 17 May 2011, @radiosweden (Radio Sweden): "We've relaunched http://MediaScan.org as a hub for Swedish media and IT news, from radio and TV to social media and online services. -- Now it would be a good idea to launch a MediaScan Twitter account.

Mediascan.org: "Radio Sweden has been intensively covering media since 1948, with the launch of the program 'Sweden Calling DXers'. SCDX covered the then-brand new hobby of shortwave radio listening, and was massively interactive, depending almost exclusively on contributions from listeners. The program was succeeded by the broader media magazine 'MediaScan' which extended coverage to satellites and the Internet. 'MediaScan' was the first radio program in English in Europe to have audio posted online. Ironically it was the Internet itself that led to Radio Sweden leaving shortwave in October 2010. But Sweden remains a hub for media news, from radio, TV and film to social media and online services."

Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and France 24 via HD mobile TV service in Jordan.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 16 May 2011, Rebecca Hawkes: "New mobile high definition (HD) channels have been launched by Orange Jordan to help feed the surge in content demand, accessed online by both cell phones and computer, which was witnessed in the Kingdom during the first quarter of 2011, according to the Middle East telco. Orange Jordan’s mobile TV service now provides HD streams of the Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and France 24 Arabic news channels, along with general entertainment programmes from MBC 1, which has an exclusive content deal with the operator."

Service2Media press release, 15 May 2011: "Service2Media, the leading provider of advanced app solutions for mobile devices, today announced the launch of Al Jazeera's new smartphone news application, developed on Service2Media's App Lifecycle platform. ... Al Jazeera wanted to stand out from traditional news apps, by developing an app with high usability, but at the same time a unique look and feel. Following creative meetings and functional discussions, the graphical and interactive design and user experience for the app were agreed. Service2Media came up with various design scenarios, reaching beyond the typical design for apps on smartphones running the BlackBerry OS, Android or iOS, which best matched Al Jazeera's brand values." See previous post about Al Jazeera English via Android and Blackberry.

The end of the world could result in poor shortwave propagation.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CNN In the Arena blog, 17 May 2011, Jay Kernis: "In 1961, Family Radio began the Open Forum program, a live weeknight call-in program hosted by Camping, and broadcast on the more than 140 stations owned by Family Radio in the U.S., and heard worldwide via shortwave and a network of AM/FM stations. Q: Based on your study of the Bible, you have determined that May 21, 2011 is Judgment Day–that God will completely destroy the Earth. What do you predict will happen as clocks turn to 6 pm? Camping: We cannot say emphatically that it’s 6 pm. There’s a lot of information that looks at the probability of 6 pm in any city in the world–when that great earthquake will occur. It could be that it might be just one great earthquake, but there is enough evidence in the Bible that says it will begin at one point in the world, and it could be at 6 pm—that’s a great possibility. Then as it gets to be May 21 in any other country—there will be a great earthquake there. But we know absolutely, without any shadow of a doubt, that May 21 will be the day." See also Radio Survivor, 16 May 2011, Jennifer Waits.

Family Radio's shortwave outlet is WYFR, with transmitters in Florida. WYFR began with the 1974 purchase of a shortwave license held by Bonneville International, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bonneville operated the station as WNYW, Radio New York Worldwide, with transmitters in Scituate, Massachusetts. It was the successor to the famous private shortwave station WRUL, earler W1XAL, dating back to 1931.

Quigley in Exile blog, 1 Jan 2006, Bernie Quigley: "As comic Jackie Vernon once put it in one of his routines: he had an uncle who was always predicting that the world was coming to an end and for him it did."

New European edition of CNBC.com.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CNBC press release, 16 May 2011, via Enhanced Online News: "CNBC ... today launched a new European edition of CNBC.com, the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative digital destination for global business news and expert analysis. Starting today, visitors to the site can make the European edition their preferred destination within CNBC.com. ... The site now offers additional free live market data from exchanges including the London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext, building on the data already available from NYSE and NASDAQ. Further exchanges will be added in due course. ... According to the latest data from comScore Media Metrix, the site was visited by 7.4 million unique users last month, a 30% increase compared to the same time period last year, and recorded 322 million page views, a 14% increase year-over-year. The launch of the European edition is supported by a new €1.7 million pan-European print, on-air and digital advertising campaign, which highlights how CNBC content can be accessed on a multitude of digital platforms." See previous post about the new CNBC.com Asia-Pacific edition.

Financial journalism award for CNBC Africa journalist Chris Bishop.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CNBC Africa press release, 16 May 2011, Celeste Baliraj, via Bizcommunity.com: "Business news television channel, CNBC Africa late last week scooped the Audio-visual Award at the Sanlam for Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards. The channel's senior journalist Chris Bishop, was announced as a winner in the Audio-visual category at a ceremony in Johannesburg last night, 15 May 2011. He shared the prize with former CNBC Africa colleague Suzanne Beukes. The annual Sanlam Awards were introduced in 1974 to acknowledge the role of financial journalism in society and to promote the high standards required of financial journalists. ... CNBC Africa chief editor, Godfrey Mutizwa says: 'The recognition of CNBC Africa is a continuing testament of the tireless work we are putting in to make the channel the leading voice for African business and markets.' ... Bishop was previously honoured with the Sir David Beattie Award for excellence in Journalism for uncovering a plot to assassinate the Queen of England during a royal tour." -- Johannesburg-based CNBC Africa is not owned by CNBC or its parent entities, but uses the CNBC name, and some CNBC and NBC content, under license.

NATO psyop employs pathos on Libyan army radio frequencies.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 16 May 2011, Matt Robinson: "NATO is broadcasting to forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on Libyan army radio frequencies, telling them foreign mercenaries are raping the Libyan people and urging them to give up. 'Nobody has the right to make the lives of their people a living hell,' says the broadcast, heard by Reuters on a Libyan army radio taken by rebels in the Western Mountains. ... Asked about the broadcasts, a NATO official told Reuters: 'NATO is being responsible in informing the Libyan people though public service announcements to ensure the civilian population remain as safe as possible.' The message, played on loop, is broadcast in English and Arabic spoken with an Iraqi accent. 'You have a choice,' it says. 'Build a peaceful Libya for the benefit of your family and a better future for your country.' Otherwise, the air strikes which began on March 19 will continue, it warns. The broadcast features a woman saying, 'Why, my son, why do you kill our people?' A crying child says, 'Dad, come home, stop fighting.'" -- The Libyan army radios probably operate on VHF or UHF frequencies, so the NATO psyop transmitters would have to be close-in, and preferably at a high altitude, e.g. broadcasting from an airplane.

Nancy Pelosi and John McCain speak at opening of Al Jazeera US Forum.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Politico, 17 May 2011, Keach Hagey: "Al Jazeera may not be having much luck getting its English channel onto American televisions, but Washington, at least, continues to be smitten. At the opening night of the Al Jazeera U.S. Forum on Monday night, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney could be spotted milling among Al Jazeera top brass on the balcony of the Newseum while waiters passed non-alcoholic refreshments. Over dinner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. John McCain praised Al Jazeera’s role as a catalyst in the Arab Spring uprisings before a room of journalists ranging from New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh to Ayman Mohyeldin, the face of Al Jazeera English’s reports from Tahrir Square. ... Wadah Khanfar, director general of Al Jazeera, pushed back, gently, against the conspiracy theorists trying to lay to much credit, or blame, for the Arab Spring at Al Jazeera's feet. 'We do not make revolutions,' he said. 'We are not behind revolutions. Revolutions are made by people themselves. People have decided that they are tired of the humiliation that have seeen over the last few decades.'" "Students [at DePauw University] demand Al-Jazeera English channel on campus."

More scrutiny of the two Al Jazeeras' coverage of Bahrain.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 14 May 2011, Robert Fosk: In Bahrain, "a Sunni monarchy, the al-Khalifas, rule a majority Shia population and have responded to democratic protests with death sentences, mass arrests, the imprisonment of doctors for letting patients die after protests and an 'invitation' to Saudi forces to enter the country. ... And what do we get for it? Silence. Silence in the US media, largely silence in the European press, silence from our own beloved CamerClegg and of course from the White House. And – shame of shame – silence from the Arabs who know where their bread is buttered. That means, of course, also silence from al-Jazeera. I often appear on their otherwise excellent Arabic and English editions, but their failure to mention Bahrain is shameful, a dollop of s--- in the dignity that they have brought to reporting in the Middle East. The Emir of Qatar – I know him and like him very much – does not need to belittle his television empire in this way."

The Peninsula (Doha), 17 May 2011, Khalid Al Sayed, editor-in-chief: "For about one week, I have been monitoring the news on Al Jazeera English and I am surprised by the time they have devoted to the country. In less than 3 months, Al Jazeera English had telecast around 62 stories on Bahrain. On the other hand, Al Jazeera Arabic gave scant coverage to events in Bahrain. So it’s either too much or too little. ... We understand the target audience of the two channels might be different, but they wear the same identity and should have the same vision and message so they can uphold their credibility. ... What we see in Al Jazeera English is that they are only presenting the point of view of the Shias in Bahrain. What about the other people who have equal stake in the country?"

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The Drum, 16 May 2011, Christopher Stokes, general director of Médecins Sans Frontières, first published by Al Jazeera English: "During the current civil unrest, Bahraini health facilities have consistently been used as a tool in the military crackdown, backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council, against protestors."

McClatchy Newspapers, 16 May 2011, Hannah Allam: "Rawya Rageh, an Egyptian correspondent for Al-Jazeera English, the satellite news channel, said she and her crew were briefly detained outside the [Israeli embassy in Cairo], their cameras and other equipment confiscated. As an ambulance raced to the scene, siren blaring, Rageh said on-air that the melee was 'a reminder that, although Mubarak may be gone, certain red lines remain.'"

See previous post about Al Jazeera.

Iran says Al Jazeera reporter "violated the law" but provides no details of her whereabouts.

Posted: 17 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 17 May 2011: "Iran said today it is following up the case of a journalist for Al Jazeera who holds a joint US, Canadian and Iranian nationality and who went missing after arriving in Syria on April 29th. Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference in Tehran that Dorothy Parvaz had violated the law. 'She had violated the law in several cases...she wanted to travel to Syria with an expired Iranian passport [as a tourist but] aimed at working as a journalist without asking for relevant permits,' he said. 'We are also following up her case because it is important for us as well,' he added, without giving details on Parvaz's whereabouts."

Press TV, 17 May 2011: "Speaking at a regular news briefing in the capital Tehran on Tuesday, Mehmanparast said the 39-year-old Parvaz 'traveled to Syria with an expired Iranian passport, planned to work there without a press permit, and also had several passports with her. The passports had been US and Canadian,' IRNA reported. 'We [the Islamic Republic of Iran] do not recognize dual citizenship. She was stopped from reporting since she wanted to secretly work [in Syria] irrespective of violations she had committed,' he added."

RFE/RL, 17 May 2011: "The father of an Al-Jazeera reporter who went missing in Syria last month and is believed to have been sent to Iran has appealed to Tehran to treat her 'with compassion,' RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports."

The Guardian, 17 May 2011, Roy Greenslade blog: "Al-Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been disappeared. Authorities in both Syria and Iran now deny that she is being held in their countries."

It is, after all, international broadcasting: 125 million watch Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 14 May 2011, Gavin Blackburn: "After 25 crackling live performances at Dusseldorf's Esprit Arena, the votes are in: Azerbaijan leave Germany as victors of 2011's Eurovision after Ell and Nikki wowed European juries with 'Running Scared.' An estimated 125 million people worldwide tuned in to see duo Ell and Nikki crowned Eurovision winners at this year's festival with 221 points."

AFP, 16 May 2011, Simon Sturdee: "Eurovision tradition dictates that Azerbaijan's victory means that the 2012 competition is set to be held in the resource-rich former Soviet republic often criticised by campaign groups for having a poor human rights record. 'Now Europe will really learn about Azerbaijan,' accountant Sakina Akhmedova told AFP in Azerbaijan, a 9.1-million-strong mainly Muslim but officially secular state by the Caspian Sea. 'It's a great advertisement for a country like this.'"

RFE/RL, 16 May 2011, Kristin Deasy and Kenan Aliyev: "Of the 43 songs competing this year, only six were performed in the representative country's native language, and just three of these (France, Italy, and Serbia) made it to the Top 25, competing in the grand final, which takes place May 14 in Duesseldorf, Germany. ... 'This year, I think for the first time, it's not about this folkloristic element anymore. Like in the '90s, everybody stopped watching...it was too much. And now it's getting more international, it's about the fun,' the reporter said. 'I think it's a good change, but I like it if there's like a little spice of the own culture to every song.'"

Gawker, 14 May 2011, Matt Cherette: "[D]on't worry if you missed it [Azerbaijan's Eurovision victory], because this so-bad-it's-good performance by the squad from Moldova is the only one worth watching." With video.

See also Eurovision 2011 website.

Funding for new MISO complex on Psy Ops Lane, Fort Bragg, moves forward.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Fayetteville [NC] Observer, 13 May 2011, Henry Cuningham: "The House Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved almost $404 million of military construction projects for Fort Bragg in the coming year. ... [It will include] $23.5 million for a 4th Military Information Support Operations battalion operations complex in the block bounded by Son Tay Road, Thompson Street, Psy Ops Lane and 14th Street. ... $26 million for a headquarters Military Information Support Operations Group in the Son Tay Road area."

Christian Science Monitor, 12 May 2011, Anna Mulrine: "The videos of Osama bin Laden that the US has elected to release so far have an important common denominator: They portray the Al Qaeda leader in a less-than-flattering light – diminished, hunched, gray, and, perhaps, a bit self-obsessed. That is no accident. The five short clips released to the press last weekend amount to powerful tools of psychological warfare."

Sony is now selling only one radio model in India. It's "mostly bought by senior citizens."

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Economic Times (India), 15 May 2011: "The FM radio sector may be booming but the demand for radio sets is on a rapid decline forcing multinationals like Panasonic and Sony to either stop manufacturing devices in India or trim down the number of models sold here. In the wake of growing listener-ship of mushrooming FM channels in the country, companies are integrating radio as an additional feature in other devices like mobile phones, music players and torches to cater to consumer demand. ... Japanese electronics major Sony which used to sell a wide range of radio sets and transistors in India, currently has just one model on retail shelves. 'There is not much demand coming for these products now. Sony only sells a small transistor priced at Rs 800 which is mostly bought by senior citizens. The youth is not interested in buying separate radio sets anymore,' Rajesh Dewani, Director Avit Digital, a distributor for Sony products in New Delhi. Earlier Sony used to sell 'World Band Radio' [shortwave] which was very popular, but it is not sold at showrooms anymore."

New VOA initiatives focus on Democratic Republic of Congo.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 13 May 2011. "Voice of America’s new French language program Your Health–Your Future (Votre Sante–Votre Avenir) [went] on the air Saturday, with a dynamic and focused look at the impact HIV/AIDS is having in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- and the practical steps needed to ease the devastating health crisis. The new VOA French to Africa radio show is hosted by Khalil Gueye, a documentary maker and veteran television/radio reporter who has devoted his career to health issues that disproportionally impact women in Africa like HIV/AIDS and gender-based sexual violence. In Saturday’s first program, Gueye [spoke] to two national and regional health officials, and begins a dialogue with four of the show’s new reporters in Congo who have participated in a special VOA journalist training program that focuses on critical health issues like AIDS. ... Your Health-Your Future is partly funded with a grant from U.S. State Department."

Huffington Post, 13 May 2011, Broadcasting Board of Governors members Susan McCue and Dana Perino: "We see an opportunity to offer help and hope to the women of the Congo through a breakthrough media initiative called 'Congo Story: War, Women and Rape'. A joint initiative between VOA and the social media company CitizenGlobal, 'Congo Story' is an entirely new online platform to document the violence in the Congo and create a forum for discussion of solutions. ... We're joined in this new project by partners equally committed to addressing the violence against women in the Congo, including The Enough Project, Eastern Congo Initiative, the Hirondelle Foundation, and United Nations-sponsored Okapi Radio. We will work together to sustain coverage of the crisis in the Congo and enable conflict resolution."

Al Jazeera versus Al Jazeera: two approaches to the news.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 13 May 2011, Thomas Erdbrink: "[T]he events on the tiny Persian Gulf island of Bahrain, a strategic partner to Qatar, best illustrate al-Jazeera Arabic’s dilemma in covering the uprisings. Al-Jazeera Arabic failed to report on intensifying demands by mainly Shiite protesters for the end of the Sunni monarchy in early March, critics say, and the network also neglected several large demonstrations that ultimately led to a military intervention by Saudi Arabia. [Columbia University associate professor of Arab politics Joseph] Massad accuses Al-Jazeera of engaging in a 'media blackout' of the uprising in Bahrain and of demonstrations in Saudi Arabia and Oman. The contrast shows that the Qatari government supports uprisings against republics in the Arab world, he said, but not against monarchies in the gulf. The network’s English affiliate, which operates independently, led its broadcast with the news that Saudi tanks were rolling into Bahrain. 'This is a critically important story for us,' said Al Anstey, its managing director, adding that his broadcast has 'a different audience' from the Arabic channel. Al-Jazeera Arabic carried news of the intervention but less prominently, and focused on the Bahraini government’s rejection of the protesters’ demands and the blame it placed on Iran for the unrest. ... But [Satnam] Matharu, the network’s communications director, said al-Jazeera is independent. 'Look at our reporting, our analysis,' he said. 'If we were a tool of Qatar’s diplomacy, the viewers would run away. As for Bahrain, we reflected the reality on the ground,' he added. 'Like always, al-Jazeera did not choose sides.'" See also Washington Post slideshow about Al Jazeera. See previous post about same subject.

Media Research Center, 10 May 2011, Matt Philbin: "Examples of Al Jazeera's poisonous anti-U.S. and anti-Isr[ae]l bias, its anti-semitism, its tolerance of terrorism and its blatant misreporting abound."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 11 May 2011: "Some Arab media outlets have actively contributed to stoking the pro-democracy uprisings in parts of the Arab world, while others have benefited from the margins of freedom that opened up when dictatorships began to totter, noted the London-based Al Quds al Arabi newspaper. ... [S]ome news channels that have been in the vanguard of the Arab media scene, like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, have lost some credibility, due to their selective coverage, inciting more protests in one country and downplaying their impact in another, based on pure political interest."

"Conflicting reports" about Al Jazeera reporter Dorothy Parvaz, said to be deported from Syria to Iran.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 15 May 2011: "Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been missing since April 29, when she travelled to Syria to report on the uprising there. There have been conflicting reports about what has happened to her. Syrian authorities first said she was being held in Damascus, but Syrian officials later said they had deported her to Iran. Dorothy's father, Fred Parvaz, and Todd Barker, her fiancé, spoke to Al Jazeera and said they hoped she was being treated 'with dignity and respect, mercy and compassion'."

DP News, 14 May 2011, Susan Gilmore: "Larry Pintak, a former Middle East correspondent for CBS with more than 30 years in journalism, said journalists often list tourism as a reason for entering a country, and they often carry a lot of currency, as did Parvaz when she was detained on her arrival in Syria on April 29. ... Parvaz, who works for the news agency Al-Jazeera, has Canadian, Iranian and U.S. citizenship. She used her Iranian passport to enter Syria because she couldn't enter with her U.S. or Canadian one. She was detained at the airport in Damascus and hasn't been heard from since."

AP, 14 May 2011, Charmaine Noronha: "If Syria has sent Parvaz to Iran, that could reinforce allegations that Iranian authorities are working closely with Assad's government to crack down on protesters and choke off independent media coverage. A statement by Al-Jazeera urged Iranian authorities to provide details on Parvaz, who works for the news network's English-language channel. The network said it is 'deeply concerned' for Parvaz's welfare."

Sacking of Radio del Sur president shows that, in Venezuela, be careful what self you self-criticize.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Venezuelanalysis.com, 12 May 2011, Juan Reardon: "Caracas-based Radio del Sur suffered a shake up this week after Venezuela’s Minister of Communication and Information replaced the station’s president in what workers there described as a reprisal for having aired 'the exercise of self-criticism' in the aftermath of Venezuela’s controversial deportation to Colombia of alternative media activist Joaquin Pérez Becerra. According to a statement released by the Workers’ Collective of Radio del Sur, Venezuela’s Minister of Communication and Information, Andrés Izarra, phoned station president Cristina González on Monday to inform her of her removal. González, a member of Venezuela’s Movement for a Necessary Journalism, professor of social communication at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), and Radio del Sur’s president since May 2010, was replaced by Desireé Santos Amaral – a journalist and former lawmaker (2006-2010) of Venezuela’ United Socialist Party (PSUV). In their ‘open letter’ regarding the shake up at Radio del Sur, the station’s Workers’ Collective rejected González’s removal; calling it 'a decision not just against [her], but against the project of alternative communication' underway at the station since its 2009 launch. ... Argentina-based Resumen Latinoamericano referred to González’s firing as 'another injustice' resulting from the Becerra Case and went on to 'repudiate the disastrous method of attacking those who give themselves entirely to the Revolution, while at the same time promoting the corrupt and go-getter "yes-men".'" -- La Radio del Sur is the radio counterpart of Telesur.

Venezuelanalysis.com, 16 May 2011, statement (translated) by Workers’ Collective of the Radio of the South: "We think (since we have already rejected the reason why the president of the Radio of the South was dismissed) that this decision isn’t against the person and the work of Cristina Gonzalez, but rather against the alternative communication project that we the workers of the Radio of the South have been constructing, and the fact that some of the themes have been vanguard and informative, in Venezuela and in Latin America. We recognise that there are attacks by reformist sectors within the revolution who are made uncomfortable just by the visualisation of the struggle of our people, of the successes against bureaucracy and opportunism, of the explosion of the practice of self-criticism – not as a mere rhetorical reference but rather as a revolutionary practice, of the construction of alternative communication within the National System of Public Media, in which the sources of news are the organised people, social and political movements, as well as the government public servants." -- Sheesh. Whatever happened to who, what, where, when, why, and how?

NHK World airs "Mega-Tsunami" special. KCET rebroadcasts NHK disaster coverage during pledge drive.

Posted: 15 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Realscreen, 13 May 2011: "Global audiences [were] able to watch the NHK special Mega-Tsunami: How Can We Protect Life on May 14. The NHK World TV documentary tells the story of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan using NHK’s exclusive footage and amateur videos, including footage that was never broadcast. The comprehensive look at the catastrophic tsunami, which includes tales of human survival, tries to provide answers to the questions of what caused the giant tsunami and how people escaped the violent waters."

NHK World, 16 May 2011: NHK World report (with video) on the meltdown in the Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 reactor.

KCET (Los Angeles), 12 May 2011, Meghan Stettler: "KCET, the nation's largest independent public media company serving Southern and Central California, will air a special live pledge drive to benefit Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region. ... During the drive, KCET will rebroadcast special segments from Japanese network NHK World that feature its coverage of the disasters. Also, KCET will air an exclusive pre-taped interview with Gene Otani, the lead anchor for 'Newsline,' NHK's weeknight English-language newscast. Taped previously at KCET, Otani will discuss his experience covering the disasters in Japan with Val Zavala, KCET's vice president of news and public affairs."

Disney XD channel, including its "Kick Buttowski," now available to Africa via Multichoice DStv.

Posted: 15 May 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 12 May 2011, Donna Bryson: "Disney executives were in downtown Johannesburg Thursday for the launch in Africa of a new Disney channel in a deal with South African pay-TV company MultiChoice, which has audiences across the continent. ... The channel launched in Africa Thursday, Disney XD, has been available in the U.S. and Europe since 2009. Boys are the main audience for its mix of animated shows and live action sitcoms, among them 'Kick Buttowski,' a cartoon about a suburban kid with daredevil aspirations. Maciej Bral, Disney Channel's vice president for emerging markets, said Disney XD could one day be a platform for African shows. 'We'll be aiming to increase the number of local productions over time,' Bral said in Johannesburg Thursday."

Multichoice press release, 15 Apr 2011: "MultiChoice wishes to inform its subscribers that [Dutch, and Dutch-language, international television channel] BVN will extend its broadcasts on the DStv platform until end October 2011. During this period, BVN will carry out further research into its distribution options in Africa. Please keep an eye on the BVN website (www.bvn.tv) for further updates."

This Thursday, 19 May, House of Commons backbench debate on BBC World Service budget cut.

Posted: 15 May 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 13 May 2011, Mark D'Arcy: In the House of Commons on 19 May, there will be "two big backbench debates. The first is on a motion deploring cuts to the BBC World Service, drawing on the recent Foreign Affairs Select Committee report. The motion is signed by the Committee chair Richard Ottaway and an impressive list of Commons heavyweights including the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw."

Parliament website, text of the motion reported above: "That this House notes the Sixth Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service, HC 849; endorses the Committee’s support for the World Service’s invaluable work in providing a widely respected and trusted news service in combination with high-quality journalism to many countries; considers that the unfolding events in North Africa and the Middle East demonstrate the continuing importance of the ‘soft power’ wielded through the World Service; believes that the value of the World Service far outweighs its relatively small cost; and invites the Government to review its decision to cut spending on the World Service by 16 per cent."

Digital Spy, 12 May 2011, Andrew Laughlin: Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) ratings for domestic listening in the UK, first quarter of 2011: "BBC World Service recorded a weekly reach of 1.79m, up from last quarter's 1.46m."

Daily Nation (Nairobi), 14 May 2011, Daniel Wesangula: Interview with Joseph Warungu, who recent retired as head BBC African News and Current Affairs Service.

The international broadcasting of horses jumping over obstacles.

Posted: 15 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Horsetalk.co.nz, 12 May 2011: "The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has signed a new four-year contract it says will ensure global distribution of its major equestrian events to television audiences worldwide. The deal is with IMG Media, a division of the global sports, fashion and media company IMG Worldwide. The contract runs through the end of 2014. The renewed agreement covers the distribution of broadcast rights to FEI flagship events such as the FEI World Equestrian Games 2014, the FEI European Championships in 2011 and 2013 in the Olympic disciplines of jumping, dressage and eventing, the finals of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping and the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage through 2014 outside European Broadcasting Union (EBU) territories. ... 'IMG is the world's largest independent distributor of sports programming and they have a physical presence in more than 30 countries and daily contact with thousands of international broadcast media.'"

State Department says its funds to counter internet censorship in China and Iran will be "quickly spent."

Posted: 14 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 12 May 2011, Ho Shan and Shi Shan: "As Beijing and Washington disagree publicly on human rights, the State Department has said it will pour U.S. $19 million into helping dissidents in China and Iran bypass Internet censorship. Officials plan to invest the money in anti-censorship technologies, including 'slingshot' firewall circumvention software. The announcement by Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, came amid strong U.S. criticism of China’s human rights record during economic and strategic dialogues. Posner said the new software uses algorithms to track what users in Iran and China want to view online but cannot, because of government blocks and filters. ... The department was allotted just U.S. $20 million in the current year, an amount which Posner said would be quickly spent." See previous post about same subject.

Radio talker Barry Farber: Credibility "must be built, brick by brick, some of those bricks, painful to expose."

Posted: 14 May 2011   Print   Send a link
WorldNetDaily, 11 May 2011, Barry Farber: "We all know how important weapons are in war. Somewhat fewer realize how important morale is. Americans rarely impute proper importance to credibility. We haven't yet thanked Britain enough for something extraordinary it did to help win World War II. There was no Voice of America at the time, but there was the Overseas Voice of the BBC, the British Broadcasting Company. The BBC did something unique in history. They told the truth! When the victorious Nazis swallowed France and chased the British troops into a tight cocoon around the French port city of Dunkirk, they fled back to England aboard everything from warships to private yachts to inner tubes! And the BBC told it all; no denial or spin. And when things began to move in our direction, victories in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, etc., our side was BELIEVED! Inside the captive Hitler empire, millions of underground fighters were emboldened to heightened acts of resistance. The enemy – Nazi and Communist – never got it. Their state-controlled media came out straightforwardly and lied about the whole thing, and their own people knew it. ... You can't buy credibility. It doesn't come in spray-on containers. It must be built, brick by brick, some of those bricks, painful to expose. There's no Standard-and-Poor's or Moody to rate America's credibility the way they rate our credit, but if there were, we would finish ahead of the North Koreans (who claimed Kim Jong-il took up golf in his 60s and scored in the 60s, 18 holes, on his very first round, scoring six holes-in-one along the way!) but well behind the British. Our summation might read something like, 'Whatever can be embellished by the Americans, WILL be embellished.'"

Actually, VOA was on the air starting February 1942. It did not have the transmitting and newsgathering resources to and in Europe to match those of the BBC, so VOA was a less important player than BBC during the war.

Barry Farber was one of the first of the conservative radio talk show hosts. I remember listening to him on the mid-1960s on shortwave, on Radio New York Worldwide (WRUL, later WNYW). He had a weekend show on this station. I'm not sure if it was specific to Radio New York Worldwide, or simulcast with a domestic station in New York City, where he was heard weekdays.

Other writers at WorldNetDaily, who are trying to nudge VOA and US international broadcasting into a more propagandistic role, should heed Farber's words.

Religious international broadcaster FEBC closes its shortwave site on Saipan.

Posted: 14 May 2011   Print   Send a link
DX Listening Digest, 14 May 2011 (pdf): US-based religious broadcaster FEBC (Far East Broadcasting Company) has closed its KFBS shortwave transmitting site on Saipan. -- Reasons for closing the site are specified at the end of the linked report. It would seem that Radio Free Asia and other international broadcasters might be interested in the FEBC site to provide additional shortwave signals into China, etc. However, sale of the site might be more lucrative to FEBC than leasing time on the site's transmitters.

In complicated campaign against religious groups, Vietnamese government web article confuses FEBC with Radio Free Asia (updated).

Posted: 14 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Compass Direct News, 6 May 2011: "An official Vietnamese government Web site began a vicious disinformation campaign against the 'Vang Chu religion.' Vang Chu religion means 'The Religion of the Lord of Heaven' and is what Hmong Protestants call themselves. ... The article confuses Christian radio broadcasts of the Far East Broadcasting Co. with Radio Free Asia broadcasts."

Update: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 11 May 2011: "130 men have been detained and military personnel have been sent to Dien Bien province, North West Vietnam to seal off an area where ethnic Hmong followers of a cultic movement were disbanded by local military and the Vietnam People’s Army last week. ... The US-based Harold Camping cult, which teaches that the world will end on 21 May, has gathered a following among the Hmong after Hmong-language materials were distributed. ... Up to 350,000 Hmong have converted to Protestantism since the late 1980s on hearing short-wave radio broadcasts in local languages." -- Camping also broadcasts on shortwave through his Family Radio stations.

In Afghanistan, US military psyop DVD explains "Why We Are Here."

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
GlobalPost, 11 May 2011, Maura R. O'Connor: In Khost province, Afghanistan, "a local employee of the U.S. Army presents a battery-powered, handheld DVD player to a crowd of boys and men. They gather around the small screen to watch a movie called 'Why We Are Here.' Produced by the U.S. Military Information Support Operations (MISO), traditionally referred to as 'PSY-OPS,' the movie describes the events of 9/11, when an 'Arabian group called Al Qaeda,' says the narrator in Pashto, flew planes into two 'very tall buildings where thousands of people, including Muslims, worked.' ... According to military officials, the campaign, called 'Roll the Tape,' was launched in late 2010 because Afghanistan’s high illiteracy rate made pamphlets and posters an ineffective method of delivering information, and polling conducted in Afghan villages indicated some of them didn’t know about 9/11. ... Unlike some other military units, Pearson said he makes sure his troops don’t give the DVD players away because of their high value as means of disseminating propaganda — both for military or the Taliban. 'I’m not going to be out there handing out grenades to local kids,' [Col. Jesse] Pearson said. 'I’m not going to be giving them DVD players because there are tons of DVDs that are insurgent propaganda.'"

Euronews now available via domestic channels in Ghana.

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 11 May 2011, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "European news channel euronews is now available in English in African country Ghana to 3.4 million homes. The channel is carried in two modes: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation will air euronews two and a half hours per day on its public network while private Metro TV will broadcast the channel’s programming on a one–hour basis daily. Already 24,000 homes receive euronews in Ghana 24 hrs a day via the DSTV/Multichoice satellite package. In African Sub Sahara, euronews is broadcast to over 20 million homes including 12 million terrestrial links."

After earthquake coverage, NHK World hopes for a future of larger audiences, and commercials.

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2011, Gavin J. Blair: "Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, and its English-language global channel, NHK World, came into their own during the triple disasters of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that began March 11, although it is yet to commercialize its strengths in the same way as the British Broadcasting Corp. ... The public broadcaster re-launched its global channel, NHK World, in 2009 as a 24-hour, all-English service split 50-50 between news and programs about Japan. With a total staff of about 300, including around 50 native English-speaking rewriters and announcers, the channel also found its global profile raised by the disaster. As well as its core overseas target audience, it became a vital source of information during the disaster for foreigners living in Japan. With the channel not usually available on television in Japan, NHK World’s website – which offers live streaming -- attracted 5.4 million unique users in the first 15 days of the disaster. The channel was also offered through some cable stations to six million households in Japan. ... NHK World has a current potential worldwide audience of approximately 130 million, set to rise to 137 million by the end of the year. 'We hope to see that increase from now on, but we don’t yet have the brand name of a BBC. So it’s been a kind of promotion to give our footage away this time,' says [NHK official Makoto] Harada. 'We can’t have commercials now, but it’s possible in the future we could form a separate company and go in that direction.'"

Discovery Channel in India adds Bengali feed; already available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu.

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
WorldScreen.com, 10 May 2011, Mansha Daswani: "Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific has added a Bengali feed for its flagship channel in India, making it the only network in the country to be available in five languages. Discovery Channel in India is now available to subscribers in English, Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. ... Discovery's first localized Indian language feed, Hindi, rolled out in 1998, followed by Tamil at the start of 2010 and Telugu on January 1 of this year. The channel is currently available in Bengali from 6 p.m. to midnight, with the 24-hour feed launching June 1." -- How does the feed work? Subtitles? Dubbing?

Hillary Clinton: "I want to see us out there pitching our ideas."

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic, 10 May 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg: "I testified before Congress a few weeks ago. I said we are losing the war of ideas because we are not in the arena the way we were in the Cold War. I don't think that belongs to a political party or a political philosophy in our country. I want to see us out there pitching our ideas. Now, we need to do it in a way that's more likely to be understood and received than just asserting it in a conclusory way, but no, we need to be much more engaged. And frankly, just at the moment when there's this ferment for democracy breaking out -- 20 years-plus after the Berlin Wall fell, and we invested so much money and effort over so many decades to get behind the Iron Curtain, to talk about what democracy was, to keep the flag of freedom unfurled in people's hearts, to get our messages in through every means of shortwave radio and smuggling Bibles, and we did all kinds of things just to give people a sense that they weren't alone and that maybe their ideas about the human spirit were not subversive -- well, we have cut back on all of that. We don't have those messages going out. China is starting an English-speaking television network around the world, Russia is, Al Jazeera. And the BBC is cutting back on its many language services around the world. We're not competing. I just feel like we're missing an opportunity. And I'm well aware of our budget constraints and all of the difficulties we face, but now is the time -- not in an arrogant way, but in a matter-of-fact experiential way."

Actually, we (the United States) are competing very well. Al Jazeera English, and the English television channels from China, Russia, etc., all have as their original model CNN International, a global commercial channel that costs the taxpayers nothing. CNN International still has the largest audience of all the global English news channels, including BBC World News, and it is the only one that is financially self-sustaining.

International broadcasting in most languages other than English probably cannot support itself through advertising, so government funding is necessary for those. Instead of the usual appeals for more spending, US international broadcasting would be "missing an opportunity" if it does not consolidate and eliminate the overlap and duplication that presently exist in 20 languages.

And to achieve the credibility that is necessary for success, it is necessary to ensure that government funding of US international does not mean government control of its news content. As commendable as it may be to have "the flag of freedom unfurled in people's hearts," the people are probably more interested in knowing what's happening in their own country, and in the rest of the world, so that they have the information necessary to develop, and then to participate in, democracy.

See previous post about same subject.

BBC World Service "will have a much stronger presence" on the Houston FM dial.

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CultureMap (Houston), 9 May 2011: "With the news that the University of Houston's purchase of 91.7 FM is complete, listeners now have an idea of the programming that KUHF and the new Classical 91.7 will offer beginning on May 16. At 4 a.m. next Monday, KUHF will begin broadcasting its all-news and information format on 88.7 FM (the current news-and-classical station). ... The BBC will ... have a much stronger presence under the new format, with the BBC World Service newscast from midnight until the early morning hours daily and the BBC World Have Your Say program airing at noon on weekdays."

CNN: Worthy cause, but doing good is not the same as reporting well.

Posted: 13 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 25 May 2011, Amanda Meade: "CNN International has taken unprecedented action for an impartial news network and launched its first global campaign. The network, available in 370 million households, has launched a campaign to end slavery, telling its viewers the issue 'cannot be ignored'. 'We did it because it was the right step. It's very hard to argue when people are enslaved that there is a benefit to that. Rather than try to adopt any neutral position, it's better to say it should end,' CNN International senior vice-president and general manager Katherine Green said. 'It's the first time we've advocated a position,' added Green, who is based at CNN's Atlanta headquarters. The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery, is CNN's first foray into taking a strong political position as a broadcaster and prosecuting a case for change." -- CNN's Freedom Project is discussed in my essay, "In International Broadcasting, Even the Static Must be Credible," to be included in the summer issue of PD, magazine of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. I argue that news organizations should report the news, and allow the audience to draw their own -- in this case obvious -- conclusions.

Look to the Stars, 6 May 2011: In Nepal’s Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary, actress and anti-sex trafficking activist Demi Moore partners with the CNN Freedom Project to shine a light on the shocking trade of human life in Nepal.

New Al Jazeera English apps for Android and BlackBerry.

Posted: 12 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 9 May 2011, Ahmad Al-Shagra: "In a recent push by Al Jazeera the Middle East’s largest news Network has released two new smartphone apps for the Android and BlackBerry in a shift from its standard Live Streaming model provided for iPhone users. The launch comes a couple of months after the first Al Jazeera English Live Android app quietly hit the market this year raising the Al Jazeera smartphone app stack to 4 apps running on BlackBerry, Samsung Wave (Widget), Android, and Nokia. ... We put it up against other global news network apps to compare focus on content and functionality and the differences are striking. Comparing it to CNN’s Android app (but is inaccessible to many countries in the Middle East for some reason) that was released only last month, Al Jazeera has an entirely different target audience if its app has any say on the matter." See the app at Android Market.

Bid approved for Hala TV, "Israel’s first Arabic-language station."

Posted: 12 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 6 May 2011, Ben Hartman: Israel's Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting announced "that the Hala TV group had won a bid to launch Israel’s first Arabic-language station. ... The investment group behind Hala TV includes Arabs and Jews from human rights groups, communication firms, and the welfare and education sectors. ... [T]he investors 'plan to promote social issues and the socio-economic and cultural development of the Arab community by investing in locally-produced content and drawing on the expertise of civil society organizations.'"

Zimbabwe official says VOA Studio 7 and other "pirate" stations are illegal.

Posted: 12 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Voice of the People, 12 May 2011: "Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba said on Wednesday that pirate radio stations beaming into Zimbabwe from outside the country were illegal. Charamba who was quoted by the state-owned Herald, said: 'Just because they have telescopic technology does not legalise it. That technology compounds its illegality and the whole facility is illegal.' There are three pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe. The Voice of America operates the Studio 7 that broadcasts from Washington DC daily, the Voice of the People (VOP) and Short Wave Radio Africa (SW Radio)." See also The Herald, 10 May 2011.

VOA News, 11 May 2011, Tatenda Gumbo: "Media Institute of Southern Africa Senior Programs Officer Nyasha Nyakunu commented that charges such broadcasts are illegal overlook the absence of independent players in the local broadcasting sector."

Radio Voice of the People, 9 May 2011: "Bright Matonga, the Zanu (PF) legislator for Mhondoro-Ngezi, who is also a member of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology told journalists here over the weekend that government was not yet ready to free the broadcasting airwaves because it had no capacity to monitor and control them."

VOA News, 9 May 2011, Tatenda Gumbo: "Zimbabwean advocates of media liberalization say they are continuing to lobby for open airwaves in the country despite a recent statement from a ZANU-PF member of parliament saying the country is not ready to issue new licenses."

SW Radio Africa, 12 May 2011, Tanonoka Joseph Whande: "The legality or otherwise of such radio stations is determined by the countries from which they operate, not from ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare."

Heritage Foundation event on 25 May: "Radio Silence in China: VOA Abandons the Airwaves."

Posted: 12 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation: "Radio Silence in China: VOA Abandons the Airwaves. On October 1, Voice of America's Chinese radio service will go silent, as U.S. international broadcasting abandons the airwaves and moves to the Internet. In the burgeoning age of new media, many, including Voice of America, seem to be questioning the continued relevance of shortwave radio. Yet, while the Internet offers great potential, U.S. public diplomacy cannot rest exclusively on the use of a single platform. This is particularly true where the prevalence of internet censorship is high. Just this month, for instance, China announced the creation of its State Internet Information Office (SIIO), intended to further expand and enhance China's information dissemination policy, and leading many to question whether abandoning the airwaves is truly the best way to reach America's audiences throughout the world." 25 May at 2:00-3:30 pm EDT.

Heritage Foundation, the Foundry blog, 6 May 2011, Helle Dale: "According to The New York Times, 'a powerful arm of China’s government said Wednesday that it had created a new central agency to regulate every corner of the nation’s vast Internet community, a move that appeared to complement a continuing crackdown on political dissidents and other social critics.' ... In its 2012 budget request, for instance, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has proposed restructuring broadcasting to China, shifting 'VOA Mandarin from traditional radio and television broadcasting from a web only platform utilizing new media technologies.' Anyone who can read The New York Times can see why this idea is a non-starter—and why it completely plays into the hands of the Chinese state censors." See also Heritage Foundation, 4 May 2011, Helle Dale.

Missing Al Jazeera journalist deported from Syria to Iran. And more Al Jazeera in the news.

Posted: 11 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 11 May 2011: "Missing Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been deported from Syria to Iran, the network has learned. Parvaz, who holds Iranian, American and Canadian citizenship, has been missing since she arrived at Damascus airport on April 29 to cover protests in Syria. ... 'We are calling for information from the Iranian authorities, access to Dorothy, and for her immediate release. We have had no contact with Dorothy since she left Doha on April 29 and we are deeply concerned for her welfare.'" See previous post about same subject.

Jakarta Globe, 2 May 2011, Farouk Arnaz & Elisabeth Oktofani: "International news network Al Jazeera has confirmed that it had prior knowledge of a planned Good Friday bombing in Jakarta and informed Indonesian authorities about the plot. The confirmation came after news emerged that the National Police were planning to question Al Jazeera cameraman Bobby Gunawan in connection with the plot to bomb Christ Cathedral and a military facility in Serpong, Tangerang, on April 22."

iPolitics.ca, 4 May 2011, Tony Burman, Al Jazeera chief strategic adviser for the Americas, remarks to a crowd at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa: "The common North American image of Al Jazeera is a network at odds with the American government. But this is largely out of date. In fact, the Obama administration has made it quite clear that, unlike its predecessor, it regards Al Jazeera as part of the 'solution' not the 'problem' in the easing of tensions in the world. A far more accurate image of Al Jazeera is a network often at odds with Arab governments — or at least Arab dictatorships. After all, Al Jazeera’s mandate and mission represent everything they oppose: giving voice to the voiceless, telling truth to power, supporting the universal values of free expression and genuine democracy." -- Seems to me that a news organization needs no "mandate and mission" other than to report the news, accurately and fairly.

Al Jazeera English appoints new bureau chief for the Americas (Washington-based).

Posted: 11 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Middle East Events, 2 May 2011: "Al Jazeera English has appointed Amjad Atallah as its new bureau chief for the Americas. Atallah takes over responsibility for Al Jazeera’s operations in the Americas from today. He joins the network from the leading think tank, the New America Foundation, where he was Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force. He was also an editor of the Middle East Channel at ForeignPolicy.com. Atallah also has a wide range of international experience, having played key roles in the Save Darfur Coalition, in humanitarian and development work as an advocate for women's rights, and as an adviser in the Middle East peace process." See also Politico, 1 May 2011.

Decades-old memories of VOA include reports about the Mujahideen.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Global Times (Beijing), 9 May 2011, Li Xiguang: "It was midnight of a day in 1980. I was listening to the newscast of the Voice of America through a shortwave radio in a tiny classroom with the door and all the windows shut tightly. I was then an undergraduate student at Nanjing University. 'The freedom fighters of the mujahideen ambushed Soviet tanks and killed communist soldiers.' Mujahideen? It was a new word and I did not find it in my dictionary. Later I read in the press that the mujahideen were armed and trained by the CIA, along with funding from other countries, which together supplied billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahideen. The Voice of America gave daily reports of freedom fighters like Osama bin Laden and his fellow fighters. Some 30 years later, I read that the Western media were celebrating the death of Bin Laden." -- Did VOA use the term "freedom fighter" in 1980? Or is this a Mandarin-English translation issue? I doubt that Osama bin Laden was, in 1980, specifically mentioned by VOA.

Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghampton, NY), 8 May 2011: Elephants Have the Right of Way, "[w]ritten and self-published by 73-year-old Vestal [New York] resident William D. Stewart, this 2010 release details a two-year period, beginning in 1967, when he made the choice to live and work in east Africa through the University of Massachusetts' 'Uganda Project.' ... Television was a distant memory, replaced by a static-prone shortwave radio delivering programs from the BBC, American Armed Forces Network or Voice of America in 'special English,' spoken slowly in monosyllables."

"International radio broadcaster" seeking host for three-hour show from Washington, DC. And no, it's not VOA.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Journalism.Jobs.com: "International radio broadcaster is seeking a personality driven On-Air host and news reporters for a daily three-hour news talk show from Washington DC studio. The candidate must be able to engage guests, discuss issues of the day with experts and politicians, take calls from listeners, produce news packages, write monologues and work with other staffers to generate show topics. -Considerable experience in broadcast industry is a must. -A strong interest in International Affairs. -Candidates must have exceptional writing and producing skills and be able to multi-task This is a full time position in Washington DC, local candidates are encouraged to apply. To apply, please email your resume and on-air demo to hr@ruvramerica.com."

Is VOA reviving its English-language radio broadcasting? Probably not. The ruvramerica.com domain is similar to that of ruvr.ru, the URL of Voice of Russia (formerly Radio Moscow). A check on ruvamerica.com shows the address "1325 G st" (presumably NW) in Washington, DC. That's the same address as the RT (Russia Today) Washington studios.

Voice of Russia now has full-time AM relays in Washington and New York. See previous post. (Thanks to Art Chimes for the news tip and reporting assistance.)

NHK World HD now available on Sky and Freesat DTH satellite services to the UK.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Media Mughals, 9 May 2011, apparent press release: "As per the announcement made by GlobeCast and Japan International Broadcasting, Inc. NHK WORLD HD has launched on the Sky and Freesat platforms in the U.K. GlobeCast offers a re-encoding, uplink, and capacity on Eutelsat's EUROBIRD 1, making the channel to serve a new community of over 10 million Sky subscribers, and over a million Freesat viewers. NHK is a 24/7 English language channel produced by JIB and NHK and is available on Sky EPG channel 507. ... With two of the world's three largest economies located in Asia, NHK WORLD TV provides a unique geographic and cultural perspective on important developments in this highly influential region. The recent disaster in Japan resulting from its greatest natural crisis proved the value of NHK WORLD TV and provided an invaluable service to people all through the world. Powerful HD images and information about fast changing events were broadcast live on NHK WORLD TV to an audience of over 137 million potential households in more than 120 countries."

Voice of Russia (formerly Radio Moscow) sends Radio Day greetings and describes its media mix.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 7 May 2011: "The Voice of Russia is doing its bit here adding a new dimension to the tried-and-true means of communication, broadcasting its programs in 44 languages to 160 countries worldwide. Faced by tough competition, the VoR is going with the times making wide use of modern technology while, at the same time, preserving the traditional short-wave service. Our FM programs can now be heard in more than 100 cities of the former Soviet Union and beyond and we are beaming in medium wave to Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and China and, from January this year, also to New York City and Washington DC. Our Internet portal – http://english.ruvr.ru/– brings together 37 multilingual websites offering a continuous flow of daily news, Russian and foreign media comments, political think pieces and much, much more!. All this is available on a round-the-clock basis online, via mobile phone and also in audio, video and other multimedia formats. We are sending Radio Day greetings to all our listeners wherever they may be in the world!"

On Radio Day, praise for RFE/RL's Գլխավոր էջ from Armenia's prime minister.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Գլխավոր էջ (RFE/RL Armenian), 7 May 2011, Hasmik Smbatian: "Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian praised RFE/RL’s commitment to 'exposing problems and shortcomings' in Armenia and implied its work met the interests of his government as he visited the U.S-funded radio station’s Yerevan bureau on Saturday. During his tour of the radio’s office in the Armenian capital on a day that is still marked in some former Eastern Bloc countries as ‘Radio Day’ Sarkisian congratulated the Service’s management and staff on the occasion and had a nearly one-hour-long relaxed meeting with them. ... '[F]rom international experience we know that Radio Liberty yields its positions in societies where little room is left for criticism, they lose their listeners and the U.S. government stops their funding. My wish is for Radio Liberty to have this fate in Armenia as well.'"

Osama bin Laden: case study in international television viewership.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Wired Danger Room, 7 May 2011, Spencer Ackerman: "In [an] undated video, a grey-bearded bin Laden wraps himself in a blanket and watches himself on a small television with what looks like a satellite hookup. ... He flips channels to view his appearances -- al-Jazeera, BBC Arabic, al-Arabiya. Some of the shots display famous propaganda footage of him ruggedly climbing mountains, even while he sits quietly on the squalid floor of what may be his Abbottabad compound."

RFE/RL's extensive news (and commentary) about Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Posted: 10 May 2011   Print   Send a link

RFE/RL, 4 May 2011, Charles Recknagel in Prague: "Fawad Ali Shah, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, has been in Abbottabad since bin Laden was killed early on May 2, and says that of the more than 100 people he's talked to, 'the majority of them are still not ready to believe that Osama was killed here.'"

RFE/RL, 5 May 2011, Daud Khattak, acting director of RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal (commentary): "[A]nti-Americanism still abounds in the Pakistani media -- particularly in the local Urdu-language newspapers and private television channels. Yet so far no prominent political leader or major political or religious party has called for protests against bin Laden's killing by U.S. forces on May 2 in the city of Abbottabad, in a compound located directly next to the prestigious Kakul Military Academy."

RFE/RL, 4 May 2011: "Lawyers in Peshawar, Pakistan, gathered today to say funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden." With video.

RFE/RL, 4 May 2011, Shaheen Buneri: "Pashtun nationalist leaders in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan regions are reacting positively to the news that Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden has been killed."

RFE/RL, 3 May 2011, Heather Maher, based on reporting Radio Mashaal’s Fawad Ali Shah in Abbottabad: "[T]here is surprise, and even shock, among bin Laden’s former neighbors, but what there isn't is celebration. One man said the town's residents mainly see the incident as 'the death of a Muslim.'" With video.

RFE/RL, 4 May 2011, Radio Mashaal broadcaster Bashir Ahmad Gwakh (commentary): "The irony is that instead of asking the question, 'what was bin Laden doing in a million-dollar house in the same neighborhood as the Pakistani Army and ISI,' TV anchors were quick to suggest that the man killed was not even the Al-Qaeda leader. As television channels around the world showed the happy faces of thousands of people from the United States to Kenya celebrating the news of the death of Al-Qaeda's No. 1, Pakistani anchors seemed undecided about how to describe bin Laden. Should they go with 'shaheed' (martyr) or should they, in an unusual move, simply follow the professional way and state the facts -- bin Laden was killed? Discussing the event on one of Pakistan's prominent channels, anchor Hamid Mir called Osama bin Laden 'shaheed.' Following Mir's sympathetic approach toward bin Laden, Ansar Abbasi, a well-known journalist and columnist in Pakistan, defended bin Laden, saying that 'we only believe Osama was a terrorist because America told us so.'" -- Why not specify the channels on which these journalists appeared?

RFE/RL, 6 May 2011: "RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal has determined that the phone lines at the police station in the alpine garrison town of Abbottabad started ringing constantly after 12:30 a.m. on May 2."

Foreign Policy, 6 May 2011, Radio Mashaal journalist Daud Khattak: "Although the TTP [Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan] and its allies are not likely to collapse immediately following the death of bin Laden, the Pakistani public and politicians' growing disenchantment with the TTP and its agenda, the organizational struggles of the various Taliban groups in the tribal areas, and increased pressure on Pakistan's security forces to go after militants in Waziristan suggests that the 'Talibanization' of Pakistan may, at last, be receding."

RFE/RL, 6 May 2011: "(This time around we offer you a guest post by our friend James Brooke, who reports for Voice of America from Moscow.) ... 'The death of Osama bin Laden has many Americans thinking: let’s declare victory, crank up the brass bands, and get out of Afghanistan.'" Originally posted at VOA Russia Watch, 4 May 2011.

See more RFE/RL reporting about Pakistan. See also VOA reporting about Pakistan.

More descriptions of US international broadcasting as "propaganda."

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 8 May 2011, Christian House: "Douglas Kennedy's tenth novel, The Moment, finds the bestselling author flexing his muscles and playing to all his strengths. ... To get a feel for Berlin's underbelly, Thomas takes lodgings with Alistair Fitzsimons-Ross, an Irish aristocratic artist in the Francis Bacon mould. A job at the western propagandist station Radio Liberty provides an income and an obsessive love affair: Petra is a brooding translator with dangerous links to the GDR." See also excerpt from Chapter 1, introducing Radio Liberty to the plot. -- It mentions an RL "office" in Berlin, but does not necessarily portray Berlin as the location of the headquarters (it was Munich then).

ZDNet, 9 May 2011, Stilgherrian: Michael Bauwens, "founder of the P2P Foundation ... previously worked as an analyst for the United States Information Agency, the American propaganda organisation that ran radio station Voice of America, and knowledge manager for what was then called British Petroleum (BP), where he developed one of the world's first virtual information centres."

BBC Turkish radio will soon end, and more about BBC World Service cuts.

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Hürriyet Daily News (Istanbul), 8 May 2011, Işıl Eğrikavuk: "Recent budget cuts to the BBC World Service will soon bring an end to the BBC Turkish radio broadcast, which has been hailed as an independent voice unafraid to tackle sensitive topics. Some say the decision is a natural ending of the BBC's mission of broadcasting news to censored countries, while others worry about how it will affect coverage of Turkey. From imprisoned political leaders to banned hit songs, from the Kurdish question to military coups, no topic has been too sensitive for the BBC Turkish radio broadcast to handle. But financial cutbacks at the home office will soon leave Turkey without this much-lauded source of independent, uncensored news. ... 'I learned so much about unbiased journalism there,' said Nilüfer Kuyas, who went to London to get a doctoral degree but ended up becoming a BBC journalist. 'BBC kept this policy of fairness for its internal issues,' she added. 'When the Falkland War happened with Argentina, the BBC never used the word "us" in its news coverage. I remember a lot of nationalist papers [in Britain] and [former Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher were really disturbed by this.'"

Financial Times, 7 May 2011, Harry Eyres: "The cost of the cruise missiles rained down on Libya would, I guess, be enough to keep the threatened parts of the BBC World Service going for many years to come. Why is it that we seem to prefer hard solutions to soft approaches? Is it because we have not really grown up yet and prefer playing with our toy soldiers to the more complicated but more rewarding business of interacting with other people’s hearts and minds?"

House of Commons Hansard, 3 May 2011: Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): The Prime Minister has referred several times to the need to combat the global jihadist Islamist ideology. In that context, will he have urgent discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ask it not only to reverse the reductions in the BBC’s Arabic language services, but to implement an idea that has been talked about for quite a while—namely, to introduce a BBC Urdu channel to broadcast in Pakistan? The Prime Minister: I heard the Foreign Secretary dealing with that matter extensively during questions. Many of the budget reductions being made are regrettable, but they are all part of ensuring that government is affordable and that we deal with the deficit that we inherited. I am quite clear that the settlement for the BBC is fair and that the BBC has to ensure that that money goes further in providing many of the excellent services that it does." See three addition questions about BBC World Service, two to the Foreign Secretary and one to the PM, on this same page.

Arab regional media: Will "Al Jazeera effect" be followed by an "Egypt effect"?

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2011, Lawrence Pintak: "Depending on their politics, Arabs tend to line up behind Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya just as Americans follow Fox News or msnbc, though the complexities of the Arab world—Hamas/Palestinian Authority, Saudi/Qatar, fundamentalist/reformist Muslim, Sunni/Shia, republican/royalist, etc.—means defining their respective audiences is not as simple as the conservative/liberal dichotomy of Fox/MSNBC. Critics say the rivalry for influence between the patrons of the two Arabic channels plays out in news decisions. On topics such as Palestine, for example, Al Jazeera is said to favor Hamas over the Palestinian Authority, while Al Arabiya takes the opposite tack. In Egypt, pro-Mubarak forces claimed Al Jazeera was overtly fostering revolution, while anti-Mubarak demonstrators accused Al Arabiya of going soft on the regime. ... While Al Jazeera has been credited for the growing willingness of Arab journalist to push the envelope, a sort of 'Al Jazeera effect,' the coming years could well see the rise of an 'Egypt Effect,' as a freer Egyptian media reclaim their historic role as agenda-setters for the region."

Al Arabiya, 8 May 2011, James M. Dorsey: "Embattled [Arab] regimes have also failed in their effort to choke off independent reporting to ensure that their version of events dominates the news. State-run media lack credibility, as do claims five months into the mass protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa region that foreign intervention and manipulation are at the root of the crisis. Persistence and perseverance on the part of the international media, coupled with technological development, has relegated to history the days where repressive regimes could ring fence their countries and dictate a narrative."

Transdniester releases imprisoned RFE contributor, who may become an RFE blogger.

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 6 May 2011: "The leader of the Moldovan breakaway region of Transdniester has released Ernest Vardanean, a journalist and occasional RFE contributor who was imprisoned for espionage last year. 'Ernest Vardanean is a highly respected professional journalist. We were outraged at his arbitrary treatment and welcome his release,' says RFE Moldovan Service Director Oana Serafim. 'We are especially pleased with this decision as RFE is in ongoing discussions with Ernest about joining Radio Europa Libera as a blogger, which we were planning prior to his arrest.' ... Vardanean ... offered thanks to RFE for supporting him during his incarceration. 'I greatly appreciate the attention that the journalists helped draw to my case. I listened almost each evening to Radio Europa Libera and I was glad that (RFE) supported me so intensely and so sincerely.'" See previous post about same subject.

RFE/RL Washington bureau chief receives award for his commentary about WikiLeaks.

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 5 May 2011: "With his provocative examination of WikiLeaks and journalistic morality, Christian Caryl, Radio Free Europe's (RFE) Washington Bureau Chief Editor, was awarded one of the first ever Overseas Press Club (OPC) awards for 'Best Online Commentary.' 'Why WikiLeaks Changes Everything' was published on the blog of the 'New York Review of Books' (NYRB) and explored the race between information technology capabilities and a journalist's ability to make informed reporting decisions." -- Ironically, employees of VOA and IBB received an e-mail stating that they cannot read US cables leaked by WikiLeaks. See previous post. And another previous post.

RFE/RL and VOA will co-exist in new Kabul bureau.

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 28 Apr 2011: "RFE's Radio Azadi, Afghanistan's most popular media outlet, celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art broadcast bureau yesterday in Kabul. The move completes the rollout of a series of ambitious mobile news and citizen journalism projects, connecting Radio Azadi more directly with the growing number of mobile phone users across Afghanistan. ... Afghanistan has an estimated 57 percent penetration rate for mobile phone use - 17 million subscribers out of a population of 29 million. The opening celebration was co-hosted by Voice of America (VOA), which shares the Kabul bureau with RFE. Speaking at the event was David Ensor, Director for Communications and Public Diplomacy of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, who said, 'I know that a lot of important Afghan history that is yet to come will be reported superbly from this facility.'" -- David Ensor has since been named the new director of VOA, a post he will take this summer.

According to this, BBC not only has a Polish Service, it has four of them (updated).

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Globecast press release, 7 Apr 2011: "GlobeCast is providing playout and media workflow services for four of BBC Worldwide’s Polish-language channels from GlobeCast’s London media management and delivery hub. ... International re-versioning services provided by TVT form part of the ecosystem for BBC Worldwide, streamlining expansion into new regions by adding additional languages to the existing on-line content store at GlobeCast. This ability to use one pool of content across many regions, combined with the delivery connectivity GlobeCast can provide drives down costs and reduces the time-to-launch of new services. GlobeCast’s solution for BBC Worldwide includes ingest and workflow set up, secure storage, subtitling, graphics, encoding, encryption and delivery of BBC Worldwide’s Polish language versions of BBC Knowledge in high definition, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies, via the Hot Bird satellite." -- So how does this work? Subtitles into Polish?

Update: News on News, 5 May 2011: "BBC Worldwide has announced the appointment of Jacek Koskowski as General Manager CEE, BBC Worldwide Channels. The appointment of a General Manager for the CEE is a new role for the EMEA business and is the first phase in BBC Worldwide Channels’ strategy to establish a local office in the market, underlining a long-term commitment to Poland as a priority territory for its business."

After 50 years, HCJB will end DX Partyline, its program for shortwave enthusiasts.

Posted: 09 May 2011   Print   Send a link
HCJB Global press release, 6 May 2011, Ralph Kurtenbach: "The 'dah-di-dit' code tapping that opens the DX Partyline (DXPL) radio program for shortwave hobbyists will fall silent this month, moving the popular program to history’s pages. The program will end with broadcasts the weekend of May 28-29, exactly 50 years after it first aired on Radio Station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador, on May 28, 1961. Program host Allen Graham’s surprise announcement came near the end of his April 30-May 1 show. He cited as one reason HCJB Global’s change of emphasis regarding direct shortwave broadcasts from Pifo, Ecuador, where HCJB terminated shortwave broadcasting in 2009 after nearly 58 years. Three years earlier the station had ceased English-language broadcasts. Also contributing to the decision was the 'global change in our ministry priorities as a mission and my increased involvement and work responsibilities in areas very different from those I had when I arrived in Quito as a producer in English Language Service in August 1993,' Graham said. ... [A]s HCJB Global’s emphasis has shifted to local radio and later the Internet, Graham continued providing a forum where DXers could not only listen but participate. E-mailed reports and audio clips became standard fare on the show."

DX Partyline is one of the last of the DX program, later media program, genre in international radio. The first of these was Radio Sweden's Sweden Calling DXers, later MediaScan. Radio Netherlands DX Juke Box eventually became Media Network (audio archives here), which is now the Media Network blog. VOA's Worldwide Shortwave Spectrum later became Communications World (presented by me 1995-2002) (and this website is a successor to that program). In previous years, the World Radio TV Handbook would annually list the DX programs of various international radio station. (See, for example, the list from the 1975 issue.)

These DX, later media, programs were citizen journalism before the term was known. Listeners would send in their shortwave listening tips, later expanding to general media news, by the miracle of airmail, later fax, later e-mail. Now that DXers can keep in touch through various blogs and internet discussion groups, these radio programs have lost some of their original function. I think, if they sufficiently adapt to the times, these programs could retain their popularity.

Firedoglake, 6 May 2011, cmaukenen: The "whole period from after WWII through the late 1970s it seemed like one new thing after another. Television, satellites, color television, men in space then going to the moon, transistors and then integrated circuits. Rockets and jet aircraft. Solid state audio. ... Boom boxes started to show up in the 1970s. They were big and loud and had much better sound than the transistor radios of the past. But they weighed a ton because of all the D cell batteries needed to get all that sound. Shortwave radio listening got big as well with the new solid state shortwave receivers. Some even having a digital display to show you exactly what frequency you were tuned too. And nearly every shortwave broadcaster had a program dedicated to this particular interest. By the time the 1980s came interest in all these things began to fade."

Working around India's ban on FM radio news might involve a combination of mobile, internet, and shortwave.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
GlobalPost, 6 May 2011, Jason Overdorf: "Even in Asia's supposed bastion of free speech, India, news radio is illegal. Newspapers are allowed, and so are television stations. But those media reach mainly the rich. For the bulk of India's more than 1 billion people, radio is all they have. Restricting radio, then, is a powerful way to keep information from the masses. ... Until 2006, when the government began allowing commercial FM stations and community radio, state-owned All India Radio enjoyed a monopoly on the dial — its only competition coming from international shortwave broadcasts from the BBC and Voice of America. Today, pioneers like Thane Richard — a 23-year-old American from Bozeman, Mont., who hopes to turn Mumbai-based Dabba Radio into India's NPR — are introducing internet radio to the market. ... The station is working with Boston-based former NPR host Chris Lydon on an international chat show intended to be a meeting of the minds between the two democracies. ... [Former BBC producer Shubhranshu] Choudhary calls the mobile phone 'the most democratic tool' for gathering and disseminating news. ... 'What we are suggesting is a mixture or a linkage between internet, radio and mobile phone: a voice-based platform where news gathering happens through mobile phone,' he said. 'Then in the middle the internet connects one to many on the phone, and thirdly that population without mobile phones has to be served by a short-wave radio station, because it has to have reach.' Of course, for now, despite India's cherished freedom of speech, a station like the one Choudhary describes would have to be hosted in Nepal, perhaps, or Sri Lanka."

VOA stars in work by Winnipeg artist.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Winnipeg Free Press, 5 May 2011, Alison Gillmor: A "diverse and ambitious new exhibition at the University of Winnipeg's Gallery 1C03 offers a view into the often unexpected world of 21st-century craft. ... [It] features 35 artists from across the [Canadian] Prairies. ... Some works carry the weight of history. Hungarian-born, Winnipeg-based Tibor Bodi uses cast glass and forged steel to recall Cold War memories of Eastern Bloc citizens tuning in to forbidden radio broadcasts of The Voice of America." More views at the Prairie Excellence website.

BBG will enter mediation with fired VOA Persian translator.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Blog of Legal Times, 5 May 2011, Zoe Tillman: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors will enter mediation in the hopes of resolving a lawsuit filed by a former Voice of America translator who was fired because of her appearance in a video protesting the Iraq war. The decision to enter mediation comes two months after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed (PDF) Melodi Navab-Safavi's right to pursue the suit, over the Broadcasting Board of Governors' objections. At a status conference this morning before U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle, attorneys for the agency and Navab-Safavi said they were prepared to begin mediation. ... Navab-Safavi filed suit against members of the BBG board in July 2008, alleging violations of her First and Fifth Amendment rights. She has argued that she was unlawfully fired for engaging in protected private speech, as well as because she is Iranian." See previous post about same subject.

Libyan rebel radio stations in the news (updated).

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 29 Apr 2011, Xan Rice: "Radio Free Libya [is] a station seized in February from Muammar Gaddafi, who has permitted no dissenting voice on the airwaves since taking power in 1969. The station, staffed by volunteers, symbolises the defiance of the people of Misrata – and is an object of fury for Gaddafi. His forces shot up the studio, forcing the presenters to move. They also made three unsuccessful attacks, including one by helicopter, on the broadcast tower. 'It's driving Gaddafi crazy that we are still on air,' says Ahmed Hadia, the station's general manager. ... There have been tensions about content, with the younger people – the generation leading the revolution and the fighting – objecting to attempts by older, more religious, men to make the station programming more conservative. The youth appear to have won the debate, with the station broadcasting some hip-hop style songs about the revolution."

Update: Aljazeera.net, 5 May 2011, Ruth Sherlock: "Broadcasting revolutionary songs, news, and debate, Radio Free Libya Misrata is a bastion of the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. ... An engineer added an AM channel alongside the FM signal so that the station can be heard, on clear days, in places as far away as Europe. Today, the radio station continues to expand. Free Libya correspondents are being dispatched on the ground to gather news from the local front lines. The fear-fuelled rumour mills produced in warfare can only be abated with boots on the ground, and the rebel news programs say they want to be accurate. 'Sometimes we choose uplifting news, but we never tell a lie. Either tell it straight, or don’t tell it,' says [DJ Salim] Betmal."

Christian Science Monitor, 28 Apr 2011, Scott Peterson: In Libya, the new mission of “Radio Free Nalut” is to "spread anti-Qaddafi sentiment everywhere along the 90-mile-long Nafusah mountain, where rebels are making gains against loyalist soldiers after more than two months of fighting."

Heritage Foundation's idea of VOA Persian housecleaning: sweep credibility out the door.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 5 May 2011, Helle Dale: "VOA Broadcasting to Iran: A Long-Overdue Housecleaning. At a standing-room-only meeting Wednesday, the leadership of Voice of America (VOA) announced major changes in the way the Persian News Network of VOA goes about the business of reporting the news to Iranians. It’s about time. ... According to sources, the structure will be changed from the current system of English-language executive producers paired with a Persian-language editor for each show. Instead the network will have just two executive editors, who will also double up as editors of the shows. Whether this streamlining makes sense will certainly depend on whether the individuals in charge have the right language skills and understanding of the needs of the audience they are serving. The new leadership also needs to have respect for the mission of VOA, which includes not just broadcasting the news but also promoting democracy—a function derided and downplayed by the previous leadership."

Let's review the Broadcasting Board of Governors' mission for US international broadcasting: "To promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas." This means providing the accurate information people need to develop and participate in democracy. It does not mean juxtaposing news and promotion. The latter would subtract from the credibility of the former.

Most audiences for international broadcasting seek out international broadcasts when their state-controlled media are as bad as VOA would be if it were reformed according to the vision of Helle Dale. Those state-controlled media mix news and promotion all the time.

Radio Farda Facebook page reaches "landmark" 100,000 fans -- considered large by social media standards.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 4 May 2011: "In a landmark event exemplifying the success of social networking and new media in reaching those living under government censorship, RFE/RL’s Iran Service, Radio Farda, reached a milestone last week: surpassing 100,000 fans on Facebook. ... Radio Farda has the highest Facebook user following of any media outlet in Iran (the closest competitor trails distantly with a little over 60,000). ... [T]he interactive elements that Facebook provides have become an essential part of Radio Farda’s success, which has continued to grow - somewhat to the surprise of Radio Farda itself - even after the election controversy and ensuing protests of 2009. ... Congratulations to Radio Farda!"

Actually, this exemplifies the limitations of Facebook and other social media in international broadcasting. The BBG's 2010 Annual Service Review Briefing Book shows a weekly audience in Iran of 9 million for VOA Persian News Network television. VOA PNN is only one of a handful of international television and radio service beaming into Iran in the Persian language, thus facilitating the potential for large audiences. On the other hand, Persian-language Facebook accounts number in the tens of thousands, at least, resulting in an oversupply of content and diluting the number of friends or fans each can attract.

The 100,000 fans for Radio Farda are not all in Iran. The comparison with other media outlets' Facebook sites was apparently accomplished by looking at the number of fans listed at those pages -- BBC Persian: 69,984. Farsi1 (entertainment television channel): 33,625. VOA PNN: 24,535. However, the VOA Parazit Facebook page has 424,170 fans. Radio Farda "trails distantly."

Belarusian international radio claims popularity with "compatriots abroad."

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Belteleradiocompany press release, 6 May 2011: "Programs of Foreign Broadcast Division of the Belarusian Radio are popular with our compatriots abroad. This was stated by father Jan Kojlo, Director of the Orthodox Radio Station 'Orthodoxia' (Bialystok, Poland) at a meeting of employees of radio station Belarus with representatives of Belarusian NGOs and media of Latvia, Poland and Ukraine. ... In turn, Director of the Foreign Broadcast Department of the Belarusian Radio Naum Galperovich ... said that the radio station has begun broadcasting in two more languages - French and Spanish - since September 2010. Thus, to date, the total amount of radio broadcast is 26 hours a day, including 16 hours of broadcast in seven languages - Belarusian, English, French, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and also 10 hours of English Internet broadcast on-line. Radio station Belarus broadcasts to 20 countries of Eastern, Central, Southern and Western Europe in the medium and shortwave radio spectrum." See also the Radio Belarus website.

Reviews of music groups with "shortwave" in their names include adjectives not normally associated with shortwave.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Music Remedy, 4 May 2011, Jermy Leeuwis: "Anthems of heartbreak and triumph that tug at the heartstrings and speak to the masses. New-wave indie-rock that is smart and sexy. Pulsating dance-rock and contemplative ballads. Toronto’s own Shortwave have managed to capture it all on their debut full-length album The Skyline Verses, available online now."

Yes! Weekly (Greensboro NC), 5 May 2011: "Curt and Grant Geren spend a couple of weekends each month on the road as touring musicians. Half the time they're in the van as Shortwave Society, an odd five-piece band that plays an exquisite, refined electronic chamber pop. Those trips can be tough— 'exquisite, refined electronic chamber pop' isn't the kind of music that packs bars in college towns like Durham, N.C., and Richmond, Va."

International Broadcasting Trust report concludes that BBC1 is no BBC World News.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 5 May 2011, Catherine Neilan: "BBC1 is turning its back on content about the developing world, according to a report by the International Broadcasting Trust. Out of the five terrestrials, the flagship BBC channel broadcasts the least amount of new factual coverage of emerging regions, the report claims, replacing ITV1 for the first time since the IBT studies began in 1989. Last year, BBC1 broadcast just 16.7 hours of factual programmes about the developing world, compared with 52.6 in 2007 and 56.8 in 2005. BBC2 has also seen a drop, down from 117.9 five years ago and 103.7 in 2007 to 66 last year. ITV1, meanwhile, aired 29.7 hours, compared with 5.1 in 2007 and 49.6 in 2005. Only C4 has broadly maintained its levels."

See also the report (pdf) from the International Broadcasting Trust website. The report states in its methodology note: "In order to identify news stories not covered by the bulletins in the sample, the output of the BBC World Service and Reuters was also monitored."

Columbia University project examines output of Al Jazeera English, CCTV News, France 24, Press TV, and Russia Today.

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
GlobalPost, 3 May 2011, Nathanael Massey: "Where the BBC and CNN International once stood almost uncontested as the arbiters of global news, new 24-hour TV news channels have jostled their way into the market, shaking the longstanding primacy of Western media. These new channels are aimed at viewers abroad and funded by various states. The governments paying their bills usually say they want to see their countries portrayed 'fairly' to the world (as opposed to the way Western media may be portraying them). They also say their channels will show viewers the world as seen through their nation-centric lens. As they do so, they have begun to challenge some of the most basic tenets of American journalistic practice — among them, the concept of reporting objectivity."

Global Media Wars website: "Global Media Wars is a project produced by 15 reporters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s International Newsroom. The reporters monitored five state-funded, English-language TV news channels available in tens of millions of homes worldwide via satellite, cable or Internet livestream. Each channel was monitored for several weeks in early 2011; analysis of how each covered Egypt’s revolution, as well as a range of other issues, is included in the reports." With links to reports about these channels:

Al Jazeera English: "Of all the new global TV channels, Al Jazeera English is the only one considered to be strong competition by BBC and other older global broadcasters."

CCTV: "With criticism of the government muted and international reporting burdened by the need to mirror Chinese foreign policy, CCTV will struggle to gain an audience that finds its reporting interesting and credible."

France 24: "Good news judgment and solid reporting are hallmarks."

Press TV: "The agenda is clear: the west is bad. 'Experts' brought in as talking heads often have little or no expertise in the subjects they’re addressing."

RT (Russia Today): "RT can raise good points in some of its stories. But its relentlessly anti-west message and its refusal to cover much of substance in its homeland leave little reason to watch it."

Recommended reading. The project wisely includes credibility as an important factor. A comparative analysis of the "big three" global English news channels: CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera English, would be a good future project for Global Media Wars.

Pakistan suspends satellite uplinks of BBC, VOA, CNN, etc. "They were spitting venom against Pakistan."

Posted: 08 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Express Tribune, 8 May 2011, Qamar Uz Zaman: "Authorities suspended on Saturday uplink facilities of nine foreign satellite news channels, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VoA), CNN and Al Jazeera. Information Minister Firdous Aashiq Awan said the suspension was temporary and an inquiry had been launched to ascertain why the foreign channels were using uplinking facilities without first obtaining mandatory permission from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). She said that certain violations had been observed in the past week’s coverage of the Abbottabad operation to kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. 'They were spitting venom against Pakistan,' said the information minister.' After issuing show-cause notices, Pemra suspended uplink facility of Fox News, NBC News, CNN, CNS, IBN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Voice of America and Sky News for violating Section 31 of the Pemra Act of 2007."

Dawn (Karachi), 8 May 2011: "[R]epresentatives of several foreign electronic media organisations told Dawn their crew were still in Abbottabad and some said their channels, like BBC, Al Jazeera, VOA and NBC, were not airing their news live from the spot. A VOA official said the notice seemed to be more aimed at earning fees and that it should have been issued at least four days ago rather than at a time when most channels were likely to close their operations in Abbottabad. As a policy, VOA does not have live coverage and all its programmes are forwarded to their offices through Radio Pakistan, the officials said. However, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera uses the uplink facility of a local media agency, a group official said."

Report: Comcast "not currently in active talks to complete" agreement with Al Jazeera English.

Posted: 07 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Accuracy in Media, 4 May 2011, Cliff Kincaid: "David A. Jensen, Vice President for Content Acquisition at Comcast, has reaffirmed that the cable giant is not negotiating to carry the late Osama bin Laden’s favorite TV channel Al-Jazeera. ... In an email message responding to a request for a meeting on the subject, Jensen said that while 'Comcast’s goal is to deliver as diverse and comprehensive a line-up as we possibly can, and we continually seek to improve the number and mix of the channels we distribute,' the fact is that 'We do not have an agreement with this service that would permit us to carry Al Jazeera English on our cable systems and Comcast is not currently in active talks to complete such an agreement.'"

Accuracy in Media, 21 Apr 2011, Cliff Kincaid: Jensen's "April 15 letter was in response to an Accuracy in Media supporter by the name of Jeffrey Smith, who had sent a letter to the cable company objecting to the possibility of al-Jazeera getting more carriage."

No reports about this from any other source.

BBC World Service is available in 28 languages, but bbcworldservice.com is useful only if you speak English.

Posted: 07 May 2011   Print   Send a link
I've just noticed that the bbcworldservice.com URL takes the user directly to the World Service English "Programmes" page. There are no longer links to the BBC World Service language services. I finally found those links, first by clicking on the How and When to Listen tab at the top of the home page, and then, under the FAQ header, clicking on Which languages do you broadcast in. One can also type bbc.co.uk/(name of language), e.g. www.bbc.co/russian or www.bbc.co/chinese.

An international broadcasting entity that offers content in more than one language should ensure that its web home page is friendly and accessible to speakers of each of those languages. This means that there should be a link in the language at the top of the home page. The user should not have to click on some word in English (or the home language of the broadcaster) to get to the user's language service.

Yes, as Andy Sennitt has just pointed out, each BBCWS language service has its own URL, e.g. bbcrussian.com, or bbcmundo.com, which is announced on the air, if they are still on the air. But if you don't know these URLs, the BBCWS home page won't be very helpful.

This page should be the BBC World Service home page, with the addition of prominent links to BBC English content. Those links could be: BBC World Service Radio in English; BBC World News Television in English (which provides a schedule but doesn't say much about what BBC World News is); and BBC.com News Online in English. This would also solve the problem of not finding much news when going to bbcworldservice.com.

Then there is the BBC World Radio and TV web page. I believe we previously discussed how to get to this page, but I have since forgotten. In any case, this page is more useful than the BBC World Service homepage in navigating to BBC World Service language services, although one has to scroll down below the initial visible page.

It is apparent that BBC needs to go back to the drawing board in designing and organizing its international broadcasting websites.

Examples of international broadcasting home pages that are language friendly: Radio Netherlands, Radio Sweden, Swissinfo, NHK World, Radio Canada International, China Radio International, Radio Free Asia.

New websites for Radio Free Asia 15th anniversary and VOA Development and Media Training.

Posted: 07 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia press release, 3 May 2011 (pdf): "Radio Free Asia (RFA) launched a website commemorating RFA’s 15 years of bringing news and information to people without access to a free press. Featured on the homepage is a video greeting by recently freed Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi thanking RFA for keeping her informed during her house arrest and praising the broadcaster for making an 'invaluable contribution' to freedom and democratic ideals. Visitors to the multimedia site can view images, video, and timelines that tell the story of RFA from its beginnings in 1996 to the present. The site also takes visitors behind the scenes through a special section that details the creation and continuation of RFA’s nine language services, which deliver objective, timely news and information to people living in countries that restrict press freedoms and censor free speech."

New web page for VOA Development and Media Training: "The office promotes the mission of the VOA through a wide range of projects that strengthen free and open media worldwide and provide accurate, objective and balanced news and information to audiences overseas. The office forges partnerships with U.S. government agencies, non-governmental organizations, foundations and commercial and public broadcasters to create programs that support democratic institutions, good governance, the free flow of information and the free enterprise system." -- Somewhat similar to BBC World Service Trust.

Will the Ministry of Laughs determine the future of UK international broadcasting to the USA?

Posted: 07 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 4 May 2011, Philiana Ng: "BBC America is launching a two-hour comedy block, 'Ministry of Laughs,' which starts Saturday, June 18 at 10 p.m. The block will include 'irreverent and inventive comedies' from the U.K., such as The Inbetweeners, Come Fly With Me and Friday Night Dinner. Kicking off the block at 10 p.m. will be talker The Graham Norton Show."

The Africa Channel will be added to Comcast Cable in seven US markets.

Posted: 06 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Multichannel News, 4 May 2011, R. Thomas Umstead: "Comcast Cable will expand its rollout of the Africa Channel to seven additional markets representing 2 million subscribers as the MSO continues to add more diverse programming to its channel lineups. The independently owned network, which provides a broad range of English language programming from Africa, will expand its distribution on Comcast's Xfinity TV lineup in Comcast's Detroit, Chicago and Washington D.C. markets by the end of July, said network officials. In addition, Africa Channel will launch in Comcast's Northern Santa Barbara County, CA, Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and South Florida systems by the end of the year. ... The Africa Channel deal follows a similar Comcast distribution expansion agreement with Asian-themed network Mnet two months ago, part of its mandate to launch several minority-targeted networks related to its merger deal with NBC Universal." See also The Africa Channel website.

Rep. Rohrabacher questions decision by Taiwan company to drop New Tang Dynasty TV from satellite.

Posted: 06 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher press release, 3 May 2011: "Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-jeou, requesting an explanation for Chunghwa Telecom’s decision to terminate satellite services for pro-democracy channel, New Tang Dynasty (NTD). Chunghwa Telecom recently refused to renew its agreement with NTD. New Tang Dynasty relies on Chunghwa Telecom for broadcast services in both Taiwan and China in order to spread news and information that the Beijing dictatorship does not want the people of China to hear. 'As a founder of the Taiwan Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, I have always felt that democracy and freedom are bonds that tie our two nations together,' writes Rohrabacher. 'If Taiwan does not support the struggle for freedom of thought within China, I see no need for America to support Taiwan.' ... 'NTD broadcasts to China help break the Chinese blockade on free information and have a multiplying effect that add to what Voice of America and the Board of Broadcast Governor’s do to bring truth to the people of China. The Chinese regime spends billions every year on worldwide propaganda efforts, while free broadcasting to China is being dramatically reduced.'"

Taipei Times, 6 May 2011, William Lowther: "NTDTV has said in a statement it has been leasing CHT’s ST-1 satellite to air programs from overseas. The contract expires on Aug. 9 and NTDTV is -obligated to apply to renew the lease three months prior to the contract’s expiration. CHT refused to renew the contract on the grounds that it will start using a new satellite, ST-2, which it said does not have enough bandwidth to provide quality service because the new satellite will have fewer transponders. NTDTV has said the decision was made to please Beijing because CHT is expanding its market in China. CHT on Wednesday again said that, the telecoms company decided not to renew the contract with NTDTV as a result of the decreased bandwidth. It denied the decision was politically motivated."

Taipei Times, 7 May 2011, J. Michael Cole: "A Singaporean source confirmed to the Taipei Times yesterday that while ST-2 has more transponders, CHT’s share in the satellite has shrunk, meaning it may had been allocated less bandwidth than on ST-1. Although this could explain why CHT will be unable to assign as many stations as it did before, it does not explain the decision to specifically select NTDTV to be dropped. ... ST-1’s low-band frequency covers all of Taiwan and 80 percent of China. The higher transmitting power of ST-2 could ostensibly make it more difficult for China to jam its signals, as it did in the lead-up to the 60th anniversary celebrations."

See also NTDTV, 6 May 2011. -- New Tang Dynasty television is affiliated with the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

"Growing concern" about Al Jazeera English reporter detained in Syria.

Posted: 06 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 6 May 2011, Roy Greenslade blog: "There is growing concern about the refusal of the Syrian authorities to release Al-Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz, who was detained on her arrival in Damascus on 29 April. Parvaz, left, who holds US, Canadian and Iranian citizenship, is being held by one of Syria's myriad security services. It was five days before officials even admitted she was being held."

International Press Institute, 6 May 2011: IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: “We urge the Syrian authorities to be more transparent about the whereabouts of Dorothy Parvaz, and the circumstances of her detention. If she is being held because of her work as a journalist she should be released immediately.”

The Peninsula (Doha), 5 May 2011: "While Al Jazeera’s bureaus in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya have faced repression from the regimes in these countries directly for their coverage of anti-government demonstrations, the TV station is faced with a peculiar situation in Syria. Here, its editorial staffers are accused of either diluting their coverage of events due to fear of the authoritarian regime or being forced to quit."

Columbia University will bestow its Journalism Award to Al Jazeera we-are-not-Al-Jazeera-Arabic English.

Posted: 06 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Columbia University press release, 4 May 2011, via Poynter: "Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism will bestow its highest honor, the Columbia Journalism Award, to Al Jazeera English. The award is given annually during the school’s commencement ceremony to recognize an individual or organization for 'singular journalism in the public interest.' ... 'Al Jazeera English has performed a great service in bringing the English-speaking world in-depth coverage of the turmoil in the Middle East.' said Dean Nicholas Lemann. 'We salute its determination to get to the heart of a complicated story unfolding in countries where news has historically been difficult to cover.'"

Reuters, 4 May 2011, Michelle Nichols: "Al Jazeera, not carried in most U.S. cable and satellite television markets, has a reputation for being anti-American and has also come under fire from Arab countries since its inception in 1996."

Fox News, 5 May 2011: "Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, told FoxNews.com he wasn't surprised by the selection. 'It isn't surprising that the liberal and Soros-funded Columbia Journalism School is also fond of the anti-American Al Jazeera,' Gainor said in a statement. ... '[A]warding a state-funded propaganda network that supports radicals in the Arab Street cheapens what is left of the Columbia Journalism School name.'"

Mediaite, 5 May 2011, Frances Martel: On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly discussed the award "with former CIA Middle East specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht, who made the point that Al Jazeera’s coverage was 'very first hand' and 'dwarfed the reporting coming out of CNN or BBC.' O’Reilly did not deny that the coverage was extensive and unparalleled, but had moral objections to the way the acquired their information. 'They have their connections and they’re looked upon as the home team,' O’Reilly argued, suggesting that the only news on non-English Al-Jazeera is 'that great Satan America' and 'the Arab extremists, they’re really okay.'"

There is Al Jazeera, And, then, there is Al Jazeera. And apparently we are not supposed to confuse the two.

Posted: 06 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 28 Apr 2011, David Pollock: "Aljazeera English must be distinguished from its Arabic counterpart in several regards. While the Arabic website reflects Qatar's regional interests, the English site has a greater internationalist bent to its reporting. Moreover, Aljazeera English reports favorably on many issues that are largely absent from the Arabic site, including low wages, poor working conditions, class conflict, and feminist and other minority groups throughout the Middle East. ... Aljazeera Arabic online tends to overreport events in Libya and Yemen, countries unfriendly to Qatar, possibly as a means of burying more politically sensitive news stories such as the Bahrain protests. Aljazeera's coverage of every minute development in Libya and Yemen would, in fact, set the journalistic standard if it did not correlate to a paucity of information on other regional developments. ... Accordingly, the U.S. audience should understand that the news and viewpoints published on the network's English website are often not seen on the Arabic site, a discrepancy often reflected in the television coverage. Unfortunately, Aljazeera's English/Arabic bifurcation helps to ensure that these constituencies will never see eye to eye. As long as this practice continues, Aljazeera should not be touted as a true reformer or promoter of democracy."

Aljazeera.net, Correspondents blog, 4 May 2011, Teymoor Nabili: "The fact that there are two news stations based in Doha, operating independently with different staff and different audiences, is a fairly important fact that's often overlooked. But rather than shedding any light on the network, Pollock's article somehow managed to leave the impression that there's a conspiracy afoot in Doha, and that the division between English and Arabic stations is a cause for concern." -- If Al Jazeera Arabic and English have such different standards, what is the point of the Al Jazeera brand? If Al Jazeera Arabic is uneven in its coverage of Arab countries, or prone to inject opinion in its news coverage, this can and should reflect on Al Jazeera English and affect decisions to carry AJE on cable systems. If Al Jazeera English is so different, call it the Acme News Channel, and place it in a separate organization, under a separate board, in a separate building.

International broadcasting and the death of Osama bin Laden (updated again).

Posted: 06 May 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, Media Decoder blog, 2 May 2011, Brian Stelter. "The BBC benefited early on from having reporters in Islamabad and elsewhere in the region. 'Of course we have been reporting jubilant reaction in the U.S.,' said Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC Global News, in an e-mail message. 'But we have been using our local reporting to give a broader view in AfPak. For instance, our Pakistan team has noted that the compound is just half a mile from a major Pakistan army military academy. And our Kabul reporters spoke to Afghan security chiefs who said it comes too late — there is now a bin Laden on every street.'"

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 2 May 2011: "U.S. international broadcasting is providing extensive local coverage of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, commentary and analysis from the United States, and reaction to the news from around the world. ... *Ihsan Muhammad Khan, of Voice of America’s (VOA) Pashto-language Deewa Radio, reported from Abbottabad (the location of bin Laden’s compound) that a helicopter had crashed north of the city in Kakul, and that locals were hearing heavy fire and blasts. By 11 p.m. EST Deewa broke the story to its audience in Pakistan. ... *While much of the world celebrated the news of the death of bin Laden, VOA reported a sense of stunned silence in Pakistan, where U.S. forces found and killed bin Laden. *With seasoned journalists already on the ground in Abbottabad, Islamabad and Kabul, Radio Free Europe’s (RFE) Radio Azadi and Radio Mashaal provided more than 21 combined hours of special coverage and breaking news. *RFE reported several vox populi interviews and comments from the area surrounding Abbottabad, adding the unique and compelling perspective of those who lived daily in the shadow of bin Laden."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 2 May 2011: "Media Advisory: U.S. International Broadcasting Experts Available for Interviews/Commentary/Analysis."

Time, 2 May 2011, John Wendle: "[A]t a store that has sold President Karzai his trademark lamb's wool caps, the news was blaring full force on an old radio sitting amid a pile of leather scraps and finished hats. The excited voice of the Radio Azadi announcer blared around the unlit shop, paraphrasing Karzai's statements, saying, 'The battle is not in our homes, in our villages — it is on our border. We couldn't find Osama in [the provinces of] Kandahar, Mazar, Badakhshan, Bamyan, Kabul, Parwan, Farah, Heart, Ghor or Paktika — he was in Abbottabad.' Compared to the breathless pace of the broadcaster, Sayeed Habib Sadaat calmly repaired an old hat and said, 'It is good news. We are happy that Osama is dead. He was the one who helped destroy our country and who carried out attacks around the world. The suicide bombers came from him.'"

Financial Times, 2 May 2011, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and David Gelles: "As media commentators surfed between channels, several praised the coverage by Al Jazeera English, the English-language spin-off of Qatar’s Arabic news network, which has been urging cable companies to give it wider distribution in the US since the start of uprisings across north Africa and the Middle East."

See also Al Jazeera English live blog.

Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 May 2011, John Timpane: "Global radio today is local. Radio France International marveled at the secrecy with which the United States pursued the mission, and Obama, dubbed in French, praised the "courage et . . . savoir-faire exceptionnels" of U.S. troops."

The Hollywood Reporter, 2 May 2011, Pip Bulbeck: "All Australian TV networks ... broke into their daytime programming and crossed live to news networks as soon as word began emerging from the U.S. of the impending announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death. Australian Broadcasting Corp. used Al Jazeera English, while SBS, Seven and Ten used CNN, Nine used U.S. ABC."

Politico, 3 May 2011, Ben Smith: "Russia Today, the Russian government's international news and, often, raw propaganda channel has conspiracy peddler Alex Jones on as a guest. And he does reflect a level of conspiratorial thinking present in the upper echelons of a Russia, whose history has, after all, been characterized by horrifying conspiracies by the security services. 'They may have thrown a ham sandwich in the Arabian Sea,' says Jones. 'Most of the people in Pakistan think it's fake.'"

Update: VOA press release, 4 May 2011: "Voice of America website traffic was up sharply this week, as users around the world searched for news and information about al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his death during a U.S. Special Operations raid in Pakistan. On Monday, there was a 180% spike in the number of visits to VOANews.com websites from Pakistan, compared to the number from the previous Monday. Traffic to the Urdu language website on Monday was double what it was on the same day a week earlier and its highest one-day total ever."

BBC Monitoring, 4 May 2011: "Pakistani papers condemn the government for having failed to detect the presence of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, terming it a 'great embarrassment'. ... A few papers express disbelief about Bin Laden's death and the manner of the operation, dubbing it an attempt to boost the morale of US troops in Afghanistan and President Obama's re-election campaign. Two papers call on the US to quit Afghanistan, saying it now has no right to be there." With excerpts and links.

The Australian, 6 May 2011, Emma-Kate Symons: "Amid the generous obituaries, [Al Jazeera's] reporting and commentary likes to admonish those Americans celebrating the bloody end to bin Laden's (if not al-Qa'ida's) reign of terror. Despite its often refreshing, original and well-reported take on international stories, al-Jazeera is once again giving voice to the basest form of moral equivalence."

Accuracy in Media, 3 May 2011, Cliff Kincaid: "Al-Jazeera’s obituary of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, calls him the man 'allegedly' behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This odd formulation reflects the channel’s favorable coverage of the 9/11 'truth' movement, which pinned the attacks on the U.S. and/or Israeli governments."

Aljazeera.net, 5 May 2011: "Footage of the wreckage of the stealth helicopter left behind at Osama bin Laden's compound by US forces has prompted conjecture that the aircraft is a secret, highly-modified version of the military's iconic Black Hawk. ... Al Jazeera speaks to Robert Densmore, a former US Naval Flight officer, about the vital role of the helicopters in the mission and what caused one of them to crash." With video.

Report: Deutsche Welle will end radio in Persian, Russian, Indonesian, and close shortwave relays in Sri Lanka and Portugal.

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The May edition of Journalist magazine in Germany, via Nils Schiffhauer, via Kai Ludwig, reports that Deutsche Welle will close its Sines, Portugal, and Trincomalee, Sri Lanka shortwave transmitter sites (Trincomalee also medium wave). Radio programmes in Persian, Russian and Indonesian will be cancelled before the end of this year. It appears that the DW radio operations at Bonn will be hit particularly hard by cuts, with employees having to move to DW TV in Berlin.

Deutsche Welle press release, 3 May 2011: "The Director-General of Deutsche Welle, Erik Bettermann, pointed out that 'authoritarian and despot regimes are increasingly eradicating the freedom of the Internet'. To mark World Press Freedom Day (May 3) he told an event in Brussels that in some regions of the world the 'free exchange of information and opinions for Internet bloggers and people using social networks can be dangerous'. Technical aids make it possible to trace the origin of even anonymous expressions of opinion and to take action against different-minded people. 'The Internet is no longer an instrument for dissidents and activists, but also for dictators,' said the Director-General."

National Union of Journalists calls strike vote over compulsory redundancies at BBC Monitoring and World Service.

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Today, 3 May 2011: "The National Union of Journalists is asking thousands of BBC journalists to vote this week on whether to take strike action. It's over the plight of around 100 BBC journalists - including some at the World Service - who are threatened with compulsory redundancy. The NUJ says it will ballot members after the BBC 'refused to consider further moves to secure redeployment or find alternative opportunities' for the staff affected - who work in BBC Monitoring, Online and in Scotland and Wales as well as at the World Service."

Group of Darfuri journalists complains about "irresponsible management style" at Netherlands-based Radio Dabanga.

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Association of Darfur Reporters & Journalists, 3 May 2011, via Ground Report: "Radio Dabanga started broadcasting into Darfur from Hilversum [the Netherlands] since December 2008 primarily because of [Sudanese] government censorship and crackdown on independent media. Because of, among others, Radio Dabanga, the Darfuri people realized that the international community has not forgotten them and their suffering. Thanks to the commitment of Dutch, other European and international friends, the voiceless people of Darfur started to have a voice in Radio Dabanga. However, this historical initiative is starting to collapse due to irresponsible management style of Radio Dabanga that continues to exclude the Darfuri journalists from every policy of Radio Dabanga. This irresponsible management style has not only damaged the effectiveness of Radio Dabanga but it has also endangered the lives of Darfuri journalists in The Sudan. Radio Dabanga management opened a studio in Khartoum. That led to the arrest of Radio Dabanga workers and other activists on October 30th, 2010, other fled to Uganda and still other are missing within Sudan." -- This press release has appeared in a handful of websites. I do have confirmation that some sort of labor dispute is going on within Radio Dabanga. There was a small demonstration near the Radio Netherlands headquarters in Hilversum, although Radio Netherlands' only involvement with Radio Dabanga is the coordination of its shortwave frequencies. See previous post about same subject. See also www.radiodabanga.org, down at the moment: 2100 UTC.

On MHz Networks DTT in DC: add South Korea's Arirang TV, delete Euronews English.

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
MHZ Networks press release, 29 Apr 2011: "MHz Networks recently signed a distribution deal with Arirang TV [in English] from South Korea. The addition of Arirang TV to the MHz line-up strengthens an already robust line-up of Asian content available from the national network. Arirang joins the full time ten channel line-up in the Washington, DC metro area on May 1." -- On the MHz Network digital terrestrial bouquet, Arirang is on channel 30-9. Ethiopia's ETV moves to 30-10, replacing Euronews. Euronews is still available on 30-6, but only from midnight to noon, and only in German and Italian. Euronews English remains available in three 30-minute weekday slots on the MHz Worldview channel, but I miss its 24-hour availability.

Arirang TV, 4 May 2011, Nitza Soledad Perez: "So viewers continue to tune into MHz Networks for a wide variety of world perspective…bringing pieces of the world and now of South Korea together, delivered it to the hearts and minds of the US audience."

Lord Patten, new chairman of BBC Trust, says World Service "hugely important part of what the country offers to the world."

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Ariel, 3 May 2011: "Lord Patten, the new chairman of the BBC Trust, ... said he was 'delighted' to be working with what he described as 'the greatest broadcasting organisation in the world' ... [He] spoke warmly of the World Service, saying that as a politician who had spent ten years working overseas he had, 'probably more than any other previous chairman, reason to be grateful to World Service'. It is a 'hugely important part of what the country offers to the world,' Patten said, adding: 'To be blunt, World Service is safer in the hands of the BBC than it is in the hands of the Foreign Office.' And he says it is part of his job to explain to licence fee payers why their money should support the World Service. However the new Chairman is not optimistic about a reversal of the planned cuts, suggesting the BBC must look at what can be done within the confines of a settlement that shaves 16% off the World Service budget. He also feels strongly about the future of the Hindi service, revealing that he has been lobbied about it by high level figures, including the novelist Vikram Seth."

Daily Mail, 4 May 2011, Harry Phibbs: "The former Conservative cabinet minister Chris Patten, now Lord Patten ... has rightly emphasised the importance of defending the BBC World Service - although its English language broadcasts were much easier for foreigners to understand before it became engulfed with trendy slang and regional accents."

Daily Mail, 4 Apr 2011, Paul Revoir: "He described himself as an ‘old fashioned moderate Tory’ but said he would be a ‘moron’ not to defend the BBC’s impartiality and independence."

Two former employees continue legal dispute with RFE/RL over employment rights.

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Czech Position, 2 May 2011, Michael Stein: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's "60th birthday celebrations are marred by tangled and complicated legal disputes that are a current hot-button issue in Prague due to the question of employment rights it applies to international employees. The disputes open up the broadcaster to charges of discrimination and hypocrisy. The crux of the issue is a multi-tier recruitment system at the broadcaster. While American employees of RFE/RL work under US employment legislation and Czech employees under Czech legislation, a major dispute has arisen over the apparently limbo status of numerous RFE/RL employees from other countries. Croatian national Snjezana Pelivan was dismissed from RFE/RL in 2004 without an explanation and sued the broadcaster in a Czech court for her lack of recourse, being without the protection of either American or Czech labor laws. Her case went through the entire Czech court system without success and is currently awaiting a hearing at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. ... Former RFE/RL employee and Armenian national Anna Karapetian has notched up one victory in the Czech courts, when a district court ruled in her favor. ... In a ... statement to Czech Position, RFE/RL denied having a three-tier employment system that discriminates against employees without recourse to American or Czech labor laws." See previous post about same subject.

Portugal's public broadcaster RDP permitted to suspend shortwave broadcasts.

Posted: 05 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 4 May 2011, Andy Sennitt: "Portugal’s National Communications Authority (ANACOM) sees 'no problem' in the temporary suspension of international shortwave transmissions by the national public broadcaster, RDP. The decision has already received the green light from Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Jorge Lacão. According to a source at parent organisation RTP, the request for temporary suspension 'was based on several factors: the dwindling number of listeners served by this distribution platform, the increased costs in recent years and the growth of investment needs.' Moreover, he continued, 'the RDP Internacional transmissions can be alternatively provided via satellite, cable and Internet, with lower costs and higher quality, serving the vast majority' of listeners to RDP Internacional. 'Only at the end of the period of provisional suspension will there be an evaluation of the consequences thereof, and a final decision,' he added, noting that 'many international operators have chosen in past years' to end or reduce transmissions on shortwave. Italy, Holland, England and Germany are countries that have taken steps in that direction, the source told the Lusa news agency." -- In the 1990s, Radio Portugal was the first of several European international radio stations to drop English and other foreign language broadcasts on shortwave. It continued in Portuguese, with relatively large audiences in lusophone Africa. RDP is still available in Africa via FM outlets and satellite television. See also (in Portuguese) Público (Lisbon), 3 May 2011.

Forbes will launch (or, actually, license) an English-language African edition.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Forbes press release, 3 May 2011, via Business Wire: "Forbes announced today the introduction of its sixteenth local-language edition, Forbes Africa, in partnership with Africa Business News (ABN) Publishing. The new edition is scheduled to launch in October 2011, with English-language distribution in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. Forbes Television and Licensing President Miguel Forbes stated: 'Forbes Africa is a very important step for our continued international expansion. The region is ripe for micro finance and innovative entrepreneurs.' ... 'Forbes, as a leading international brand, has built a strong reputation as a respected and informative source of business news,' said Zafar Siddiqi and Rakesh Wahi, Founders of ABN Publishing. 'This partnership is in line with our long-term strategy of building sustainable mediums of credible business information across sub-Saharan Africa.' About ABN Publishing: ABN Publishing Limited has been established in South Africa by Zafar Siddiqi and Rakesh Wahi to launch Forbes Africa. The Founders have a successful track record for setting up media companies in emerging markets; and have a strong footprint in Sub Sahara Africa through the ownership of Pan Africa Business Media Holdings, which launched CNBC Africa in 2007."

International broadcasting preinstalled: CNBC on LG Smart TV's in Asia.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CNBC, 2 May 2011: "CNBC ... is the only real-time, business news application preinstalled on the LG Smart TV platform. The CNBC real-time app is available on all LG Smart TV’s in 9 markets across Asia Pacific including Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. LG Smart TV combines LG’s expertise in home entertainment and internet technology to create a TV that is highly advanced yet extremely simple. It provides a range of features, including TV apps and premium content that make it the most intuitive, accessible, and easy to use on the market. ... CNBC’s real-time application includes: Access to content from the Asia Pacific edition of CNBC.com including regional business news and expert analysis. Up-to-the-minute business news stories from across the region. Top videos of the day providing invaluable insights from CNBC’s high-profile guests." See previous post about Asia Pacific edition of CNBC.com.

Iranian official visits Havana, discusses Iran's new Spanish-language Hispan TV.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 3 May 2011: "In a meeting with the president of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) Danilo Sirio Lopez in the capital Havana on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast touched on the growing importance of public diplomacy, and the integration of mass media into all aspects of international relations and foreign policy, IRNA reported. ... Sirio Lopez ... noted that Tehran and Havana can supply the global audience with accurate and up-to-the-minute information given the technical facilities of Caracas-based Pan-Latin American teleSUR television network, and the know-how of Iran's Spanish-language Hispan TV news network. The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to reach out to Latin America with Spanish-language Hispan TV to explain its 'ideological legitimacy.' 'As half of the world's population speaks Spanish, we will start a network within the next few months,' Ezatollah Zarghami, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting announced in the capital Tehran in September 2010. 'This new Spanish network will have a major role in reflecting the ideological legitimacy of our system to the world,' Zarghami noted."

Cuban diplomat accuses US of broadcast interference, boasts of Cuban jamming, and is a poor planespotter.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
ACN Cuban News Agency, 28 Apr 2011: "[T]he Cuban Acting Permanent Representative to the UN, Rodolfo Benitez, expressed Cuba’s stance while addressing the General Assembly’s Committee on Information. ... The Cuban diplomat explained that a new world information and communication order, as well as regional and international multinational projects, are possible; and brought forward the example of the Telesur channel, which is boosted by several Latin American governments. He also referred to the U.S. radio-electronic aggression against Cuba, as part of Washington’s hostile policies and the blockade imposed on the island for more than 50 years. In this regard, Benitez noted that the U.S. broadcasts radio and television programs based on premeditated lies with the purpose of encouraging the overthrow of the constitutional order established by the Cuban people. Benitez mentioned that the U.S. has maintained its broadcasts despite the fact that the International Union of Telecommunications (ITU) affirmed that they cause prejudicial interferences in the Cuban stations and urged Washington to eliminate them. As it has been denounced in different international forums, the U.S. government has reinforced its transmission power, improved its antennas, and has used a C-130 aircraft as platform for the Television Marti broadcasts, among other actions. Nonetheless, all of them have failed thanks to the work of Cuban specialists that have been able to jam the television broadcasts and most of the radio ones." -- TV Martí is transmitted from "AeroMartí," a Grumman Gulfstream 1 turboprop, flying over the Florida Keys, not (at least routinely) from a C-130, presumably referring to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's Commando Solo C-130 aircraft.

Radio/TV Martí tries "ghost" websites to get through to Cubans who have internet access.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 3 May 2011, Laura Wides-Muñoz: "The Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami has added several 'ghost' websites to its portfolio, allowing people in Cuba to view the U.S. government's Marti networks online without being detected by their government. ... The websites went up two weeks ago and received roughly 1,000 hits from Cuba, the U.S. and Ira[n]. It's a tiny number, though the launch was done with little fanfare. U.S. officials said they were unsure as to who is viewing the sites from Iran. The problem remains, though, that most Cubans don't have access to the Internet, and those that do have to negotiate a system that has a limited capacity, making online traffic extremely slow. Cuba Broadcasting Director Carlos Garcia-Perez said the agency is also texting in four messages a day to the island through online phone servers like Skype that do not identify the text message sender as being from the Martis."

Radio Netherlands was down Tuesday and Wednesday due to DDoS attack. Now restored.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Andy Sennitt of Radio Netherlands Media Network writes: "Since around 2000 UTC yesterday, RNW's websites and blogs (including mine) have been unavailable as our domain has been subjected to a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack. Dutch Public Broadcasting, who host our sites, have taken them offline to prevent its own co-hosted services being attacked. Our Facebook page www.facebook.com/radionetherlands and Twitter www.twitter.com/rnw will keep users informed. We hope to be back online in the course of Wednesday." Update: The site, www.rnw.nl, is restored as of 1330 UTC on 4 May. -- Some pages still seem slow to load, as of 1400 UTC.

ABC optimistic about keeping Australia Network contract. Decision to be revealed 8 June.

Posted: 04 May 2011   Print   Send a link
The Australian 2 May 2011, Michael Bopdey: "The ABC is cautiously optimistic that it has retained the contract to run the government's global service, the Australia Network, with a decision on the 10-year $223 million contract due today. Australian News Channel's Sky News (a joint venture of Nine Digital, a division of Nine Entertainment, Seven Media Group and British Sky Broadcasting) also submitted a tender to run the government-owned international television network administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australia Network chief executive Bruce Dover sent a measured but positive email to key staff this week in anticipation of today's decision about the network, which broadcasts into 45 markets in the Asia-Pacific region. ... Mr Dover added 'under the probity requirements of the tender process' the preferred contractor must keep their selection confidential until June 8." See previous post about same subject.

The Roar, 29 Apr 2011, Rob McLean: "Today’s technology allows [Australian] ex-pats to follow the game on-line, while the Australia Network is on cable television in Hong Kong and has, this season, dropped its commitment to the [National Rugby League], meaning there are now even more AFL [Australian Football League] games shown each week. All of this means there is plenty of opportunity for the ex-pats in Hong Kong, which is on a similar time zone to Australia, to get their footy fix."

State Dept provided information about internet freedom project in "dribs and drabs," leading to $10 million transfer to BBG.

Posted: 03 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg Businessweek, 28 Apr 2011, Brendan Greeley and Nicole Gaouette: "Republicans claim that State has taken too long to disburse the $30 million that Congress gave to the project [internet freedom grants] in 2010. It's especially galling, say some, in light of State's claim that it's trying to act as nimbly as a Silicon Valley company. In February, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) asked the Secretary of State to transfer $8 million to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which runs Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America and helps fund technology to circumvent fire walls. ... State has argued that the tools supported by the BBG bring people to U.S.-sponsored sites like the Persian Free Network, and that the overt U.S. link might hurt, not help, their cause. Republicans counter that taxpayers should get the satisfaction of knowing that the tools they're funding are routing activists to U.S.-approved sites. According to Mark Helmke, a senior adviser to Lugar, the decision to strip $10 million from State's Internet freedom budget in 2011 was driven in part by frustration over the slow pace and what the GOP saw as a lack of transparency. 'We get information in dribs and drabs,' he says." See previous post about same subject.

President of Estonia notes that 75% countries to which RFE/RL broadcast in 1991 are still not free.

Posted: 02 May 2011   Print   Send a link
ISRIA, 2 May 2011: "'75% of the countries to which Radio Free Europe broadcasted its programmes in 1991 are not living today in a free society,' stated the President, Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, last night at a panel discussion at a conference in Munich dedicated to the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe. ... 'If we look at the countries in Central and Eastern Europe, which were the former parts of the Soviet Union and were situated in the broadcasting range of Radio Free Europe back in 1991, Radio Free Europe reached, in total, approximately 40 million people. Today, only 25% of the population of these countries is living in a free society, according to the definition, while 15% and 60%, respectively, are living in countries that are either partially free or not free. There is no doubt we once did a good job, but in reality, there is still a lot to be done,' added the Estonian Head of State, who was the head of the Estonian editorial board of Radio Free Europe in Germany from 1984–1988 and an analyst and investigator at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe from 1988–1993."

Al Jazeera suspends operations inside Syria (updated).

Posted: 02 May 2011   Print   Send a link
CPJ, 27 Apr 2011: "Responding to restrictions and attacks on its staff, Al-Jazeera has suspended its operations inside Syria indefinitely, the Qatar-based news network told the Committee to Protect Journalists today. Damascus has subjected Syrian employees of Al-Jazeera to sustained pressure to resign from the widely viewed satellite news channel, the station's Public Liberties and Human Rights Section told CPJ today."

Update: Aljazeera.net, 2 May 2011: "Al Jazeera has demanded immediate information from Syria about one of its journalists who has been missing in the country since Friday afternoon. Dorothy Parvaz left Doha, Qatar, for Syria on Friday to help cover events currently taking place in the country. However, there has been no contact with the 39-year-old since she disembarked from a Qatar Airways flight in Damascus. Parvaz is an American, Canadian and Iranian citizen."

Satellite channel of the most active satellite jamming country is reportedly jammed.

Posted: 02 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 30 Apr 2011: "The signal of Press TV has been jammed on the Nilesat satellite provider, and the operator has failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the electronic interference. The Iran-based English-language news network has been jammed on the Nilesat satellite since 6:39 p.m. Tehran time (1509 GMT) and has not returned to normal. ... When contacted by Press TV, the satellite provider first declined to comment but later said the interference was due to bad weather."

At forum, Alhurra journalist says some Arab channels more concerned about influencing events than "independent and unbiased" coverage.

Posted: 02 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 30 Apr 2011, Mustapha Ajbaili: "During an Arab media forum recently held in Kuwait to discuss the trends in media coverage of Arab revolutions, Abdel Wahab Badrakhan, a noted journalist and author, said that broadcast TV channels were the most prominent during the Arab uprisings. He was, of course, referring to the two most popular networks, Al Arabiya (which is privately owned) and Al Jazeera (which is funded by the Emir of Qatar). ... Akram Khozam, a prominent journalist at Al-Hurra TV (which is sponsored by the United States Government), said during the forum in Kuwait that some Arab broadcast TV channels were more concerned about influencing the course of events, even if they carried flawed reporting, than covering the developments from an independent and unbiased angle."

Gulf News, 29 Apr 2011, Ayman Mustafa: "If you got that diversity of Qatari Al Jazeera, Saudi Al Arabiya, British BBC Arabic TV, Iranian Al Alam or Hezbollah's Al Manar, what is left then? Simply, a somehow objective, fast and accurate news channel not heavily opinionated and more of a TV station than ‘Radio with pictures' as most current news outlets are. ... The pan-Arab projects in the launch stages now are those of Saudi Prince Al Walid Bin Talal, who is planning to launch his news channel to add to the entertainment bouquet of Rotana. The other main one is Sky News Arabia, a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB and a media company in Abu Dhabi established mainly for that purpose. ... For a new pan-Arab media outlet to succeed in the crowded scene, it needs an innovative approach, realising the weaknesses of others and making them its strengths. Hopefully those working on launching Sky in Arabic are aware of the gaps in news provision in the region and can garner the skills to plug these gaps in a highly professional way."

RFE/RL is "pro-American propaganda, to an extent," while VOA is "the actual propaganda outlet," he writes.

Posted: 01 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Registan.net, 30 Apr 2011, Joshua Foust: "[Y]es, it was meant to be pro-American propaganda, to an extent, but it was credible in the former Soviet Union—and now, not coincidentally, inside Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—because of its ability to criticize U.S. and allied policies. In fact, it was the remarkable ability of RFE/RL journalists to maintain their editorial independence despite funding from the U.S. government-funded BBG —something not afforded the actual propaganda outlet Voice of America—that gives RFE/RL its value."

Many members of Congress believe that the Radio Free stations provide hard-hitting news about their target countries, while VOA is a "propaganda outlet" on behalf of US policies. This is the same as saying the Radio Free stations will have an audience, while VOA will not. If VOA cannot shake loose its image as a pro-US propaganda station, it might become the Pontiac in the General Motors of US international broadcasting. Foust's comment refers to this op-ed...

Washington Times, 27 Apr 2011, Xandra Kayden: "There is something weird and rather disturbing about Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) - a U.S.-funded media outlet that is famous for broadcasting information during the Cold War to support our friends and undermine our enemies - attacking an ally over our mutual enemy, radical jihadism. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has claimed repeatedly that Azerbaijan is not at risk from the threat of spreading Iranian-backed radicalism and therefore, accuses it of human rights violations for considering banning head scarves in public schools (something France did recently) and imprisoning radical clerics who foment the overthrow of the government in favor of becoming a satellite of the mullahs in Iran. ... U.S. foreign policy and concerns are certainly not served by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in this instance. As part of its mission, the service claims that it provides 'uncensored news, responsible discussion and open debate.' This is a noble mission, yet even a brief look at the RFERL’s coverage of Azerbaijan shows a clearly negative bias toward Azeri authorities. Perhaps, such an approach was justified during the Soviet years when the objective was to use all means necessary to undermine our Cold War enemy. But what value does it have today against one of the very few friendly nations we have in a strategically critical area of the world? The issue is not RFERL’s freedom of speech because it is a U.S. taxpayer-financed entity established to advance U.S. interests. Given that, one would expect that its message to Azerbaijan would confront the one broadcast by the Iranian government’s propaganda outlet, Sahar TV, rather that echo it."

This op-ed might have been convincing if it provided specific examples rather than generalities about RFE/RL Azerbaijan coverage. Judge for yourself at the RFE/RL Azerbaijan news archive.

If RFE/RL content is adjusted to "advance U.S. interests," it would have no audience, whose interest is to get news that is more comprehensive, reliable and credible than the news they get from their state-controlled domestic media. Content to "advance U.S. interests" would not "advance U.S. interests," because it would have no audience. It would be an application of the tree-falling-in-the-forest theory of international broadcasting.

The great majority of the reporting of each language service of Radio Free stations is news about the corresponding target country. There is an understandable tendency to report negative developments that are not reported, or underreported, by the target country's state controlled media. This could result in a perceived bias. One solution would be consolidation of US international broadcasting, so that the reportage about the target country can be smoothed out by world and US news. Also, whenever anything positive or neutral, and newsworthy, happens in the target country, that should be reported, to achieve balance and to make the negative news more believable. See previous post about RFE/RL and Azerbaijan.

BBC Ukrainian ends its radio broadcasts, with the help of champanskya.

Posted: 01 May 2011   Print   Send a link
ZIK (Lviv), 29 Apr 2011: "Apr. 29, the Ukrainian Service of the BBC will go on the air for the last time. Its morning and evening radio broadcasts drew hundreds of thousands of listeners all over Ukraine, with weekly audiences reaching 5 million. According to Ukrainian Service editor Svitlana Dorosh, information bulletins will be available on BBC internet sites. BBC first started broadcasting in the Ukrainian language on June 1, 1992, with the first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, being interviewed live. Ukrainians are grateful to the BBC for running an exemplary broadcasting service entirely committed to fostering democracy, unbiased approach to news coverage and integrity."

At www.bbc.co.uk/ukrainian, click on Добрий вечір з Лондона! to hear the last radio broadcast. I don't have Ukrainian, but it sounds like much of the program was devoted to the relative merits of radio versus internet in international broadcasting. Just after 56 minutes into the broadcast, talk of champanskya, and clinking of glasses presumably containing champanskya.

The Korea Times, 29 Apr 2011, John J. Metzler: "A memorable scene in 'The King’s Speech' shows his address to the Empire where BBC studios (I presume Portland Place in London) are ready to broadcast to Canada, Kenya, Jamaica, Malaya, etc. Today the BBC through a series of foolish and penny-wise cutbacks have trimmed most of the overseas shortwave services, including important language services to China, former Portuguese Africa, and Russia."

See also the Stop the BBC World Service Cuts website.