Senate Appropriations Committee rejects BBG proposal to drop VOA Chinese radio and TV.

Posted: 30 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Blogger News Network, 28 Sept 2011, Ted Lipien: "The media freedom website BBG Watch reported that the Senate Committee on Appropriations has rejected the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) proposal to end Voice of America (VOA) radio and TV broadcasts to China and criticized the BBG for the lack of transparency. The committee recommended $740,039,000 for U.S. international broadcasting operations, for the operating and engineering costs of VOA, Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), which includes Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN), which includes Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, and the BBG in FY2012. The Obama Administration has asked for $754,261,000. The BBG’s FY2011 budget was $740,017,000. The BBG. manages these U.S. government-funded entities and broadcasting operations. In a highly critical language included in a report recommending the passage of the bill (S. 1601) making FY2012 appropriations for the Department of State, the BBG and other foreign operations, the Senate Committee on Appropriations expressed concern with 'the lack of transparency' regarding the BBG proposal. The committee noted that in addition to ending VOA radio and TV to China, the BBG also wanted to reduce shortwave and medium wave transmissions to Russia, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The committee directed the BBG to notify the committee when BBG broadcast hours are reduced or increased and when transmission platforms are changed. The committee approved funding for the continuation of these broadcasts and transmissions, including VOA radio and TV programs to China." See also BBG Watch, 28 Sept 2011, BBGWatcher. A note from VOA director David Ensor to VOA China Branch staff is reprinted by BBG Watch, 29 Sept 2011.

OIG inspects IBB transmitting sites in Germany, noting that they are doing more with less.

Posted: 30 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
US Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors Office of Inspector General, 28 Sept 2011: Inspection report: "International Broadcasting Bureau’s Germany Transmitting Station." "•The International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Germany Transmitting Station provides global systemwide support to other IBB transmitting stations, transmitters in third countries, and affiliates in third countries in terms of innovation, automation, monitoring, and intervention, and it does so with a talented staff that has been reduced to historically low numbers. •The IBB Germany Transmitting Station serves a critical role in supporting the implementation of part of the U.S. strategic communication strategy in Afghanistan through the Golden Eagle program and other transmitting initiatives. •The Lampertheim site has been transformed from being only a shortwave transmitting station to also performing many satellite system functions, including serving as the alternate satellite uplink for IBB Prague and IBB Transmitting Station Kuwait. ... •Thanks in large measure to automation pioneered by its own staff, the IBB Germany Transmitting Station does as much as, or more than, the larger station of earlier years and with less staff, reducing the number of shifts from three to one."

Multitasking Turner Broadcasting + CNNI executive will help integrate company's business across Turkey, Middle East, Africa.

Posted: 30 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
TradeArabia, 28 Sept 2011: "Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS) has announced that Rani R Raad will be adding the role of senior vice president and managing director for Turkey, Middle East and Africa for Turner International to his existing responsibilities at CNN International. ... [T]he newly-created role will see Raad include the entertainment channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TCM and Cartoon Network Arabic within his remit, alongside CNN International and CNN Arabic. Raad will continue in his current role of senior vice president and managing director for CNN International advertising sales and business development, overseeing CNN's global commercial initiatives, while also managing and facilitating the growth of Turner’s business in Turkey and the MEA region. ... 'Our aim is to integrate our business operations more closely across Turkey and MEA, and this role will form a key part of that plan.'"

RT (Russia Today) will be "available globally on smartphones, iPad and tablet devices" via Yamgo mobile TV network.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Yamgo press release, 28 Sept 2011: "RT, the Russian English-language news channel has launched on mobile TV network Yamgo. The round the clock live news channel will be available globally on Smartphones, iPad and Tablets devices. RT, the Russian English-language news channel has launched on mobile TV network Yamgo. The round the clock live news channel will be available globally on Smartphones, iPad and Tablets devices. The Yamgo TV network delivers live TV to mobile devices worldwide using a 2.5G, 3G and Wi- Fi connection. RT is the latest addition to a line-up which now includes music, sports, movies, entertainment and news channels. ... By launching on the Yamgo network, RT will be available on all leading mobile platforms and devices including iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android (phones and tablets), Nokia, Blackberry, HTC, Samsung and HP webOS."

Emmy award for BBC World News America story about North Korea.

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BBC World News press release, 27 Sept 2011: "BBC Newsnight and BBC World News America have triumphed at the 32nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards with a unique insight into North Korea by BBC correspondent Sue Lloyd-Roberts. The Emmys were presented by the National Academy of Television arts and sciences in New York last night, Monday 26 September 2011. Inside the North Korean Bubble commissioned by BBC Newsnight won the category of Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast. The film saw reporter Sue Lloyd-Roberts accompanied by Newsnight cameraman Tony Joliffe, gain extremely rare access to one of the world's greatest enigmas - North Korea. While taking the 'model tour,' Lloyd-Roberts was able to offer an insight into everyday life in this closed country. It was originally broadcast in the UK in June last year."

Turkmenistan seminar on election coverage "implemented by BBC World Service," organized by groups with many syllables.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Turkmenistan.ru, 27 Sept 2011: "A two-day seminar on international experience in election coverage started in Ashgabat. The seminar has been organized by the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Project on cooperation in improving mass media in Turkmenistan, implemented by BBC World Service and funded by the European Union. The seminar has brought together representatives of the working group on media under the CEC, consisting of journalists of the Turkmen State News Service, national newspapers, television and radio."

China Radio International, in Mandarin, available on New Zealand satellite service.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
DPA, 28 Sept 2011: "Five new agreements between New Zealand and China were signed in Wellington Wednesday during an official visit by Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu. New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English, who witnessed the signings with Hui, said the agreements showed the growing relationship between the two countries. ... China Radio International signed a cultural agreement to provide Chinese language content and editorial resources to World TV Ltd, which broadcasts in New Zealand." See also the World TV Ltd website, "New Zealand's Nationwide Asian Channels Provider."

"World media tycoons" meet at the World Media Summit in Beijing and say nothing especially interesting.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 28 Sept 2011, Li Hongmei: "World media tycoons gathered in Beijing for the World Media Summit Presidium Meeting (WMSPM). The 2-day gathering has yielded positive fruits as expected --- the tycoons discussed the development and new landscape of world media industry. Topics focused on system and mechanism for cooperation, IPR protection, journalists' on-the-job safety and the media's role in natural disasters. The meeting was attended by leaders and senior members of the Associated Press (AP), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), New York Times, Itar-Tass, Kyodo News, News Corporation, Thomson-Reuters, Al Jazeera Network, Google and Time-Warner's Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). At the press conference coordinated by Li Congjun, President of the Xinhua News Agency, the 11 media leaders explained their understanding of traditional media and new media, opportunities and challenges in the new era of media, shared responsibilities assumed by the world media in coping with stiff challenges for humans, and the common willingness to form an international media order in a fair, rational and balanced way. Tom Curley, the AP president and CEO, said in light of the breakneck pace of new media, traditional media companies seem to have lost revenue opportunities but still have a chance to reverse that with adaptation to new technologies. ... Xinhuanet had a brief interview with Ahmed Sharikh, advisor to H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Tamer Al Tani, the Chairman of Board of Al Jazeera Network, immediately after the press conference. When asked whether he thinks Al Jazeera is a global media leader in the making, he said the news organ is not merely pleased with leading the regional media, but is striving to be one of the most influential media outlets in the world. He said the firepower for any news organization is to go to sound journalism, and the great storytelling." -- "International media order"? That sounds familiar.

China Radio International, 27 Sept 2011: "Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, thought that companies could build on cooperative projects and collaborate on successful projects where possible. 'A few years ago the BBC had a successful collaboration with CCTV, creating a natural history documentary of China - entitled "Beautiful China" or "Wild China". I think we should explore, whether it's in culture, art, history, music, or the environment, traditional TV or new media, what we can make together in ways that audiences in China and around the world can enjoy the program.' On the topic of current affairs, it is hard to find a way to cooperate but debating programs might be a solution, Thompson added."

Xinhua, 27 Sept 2011. "Executive President of the WMS and President of Xinhua News Agency Li Congjun pointed out that the rise of the new media is an advancement of the time that propels the media to adjust to the development of the economy, science and technology, all of which definitely affect the structure of traditional media."

Xinhua, 27 Sept 2011: "President of the WMS and President of Xinhua News Agency Li Congjun ... proposed that the WMS should remain a high-end platform for global media to enhance communication and cooperation, and create mutual benefits while addressing common challenges."

Xinhua, 27 Sept 2011: "During the Presidium Meeting of the World Media Summit (WMS), Li Congjun, executive president of the summit and president of China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, said that IPR protection is facing new problems along with the development of new media and digital technology, adding that there have been sporadic cases of media IPR infringement."

Xinhua, 27 Sept 2011: "Leaders of world media giants on Tuesday urged in Beijing more attention to the safety of journalists whose jobs often put them in danger."

Financial Times, Beyondbrics blog, 29 Sept 2011, Kathrin Hille: "The astonishing thing is that some of the most powerful men of global media have agreed to sit down and be used as props in Beijing’s show. Eleven heavyweight media executives including New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr, BBC director-general Mark Thompson and AP president Tom Curley attended the summit and discussed things such as the protection of intellectual property rights, journalists’ safety, the media’s role in disasters and media cooperation in the new media era. That, at least, was the agenda according to Xinhua, which not only hosts and heads the World Media Summit’s secretariat and its website but also seems to have produced all media coverage there is about the event. Requests by foreign journalists based in Beijing for accreditation were politely declined (by Xinhua). ... This year, two remarkably clear and simple messages came out of the meeting: China will “as always guarantee the legitimate rights of foreign news organisations and their reporters and provide convenience for their reporting work in the country,” and China wishes that 'foreign media would issue increasingly precise, balanced and objective reports about China' – according to Xinhua, that is."

GlobalPost, 28 Sept 2011, Kathleen E. McLaughlin: "What happens when top executives from the world’s most powerful media companies gather in China to discuss the future of journalism? Not much, if press accounts of this week’s World Media Summit in Beijing are any guide."

China Media Project, 28 Sept 2011, David Bandurski: "These media executives are representing themselves — or allowing themselves to be represented — as governing members of an organization that states publicly on an official website apparently managed by Xinhua News Agency itself, bearing an all-rights-reserved Xinhua copyright, that it plans to 'set a code of conduct binding for all' in order to 'tackle challenges and problems confronting all.' Li Congjun, the former deputy propaganda chief who runs Xinhua and is now the Summit’s president apparently proposed 'establishing a WMS [World Media Summit] mechanism outlining a common code of conduct.' Gentlemen, I think everyone understands why you have agreed to sit at the table. But is this really an agenda you have all signed up for? How much do you really understand about this institution? And what right do you have, however powerful your news organizations, to speak for the rest of the world’s media in setting any agendas beyond those of your corporations?"

Voice of Russia, 27 Sept 2011: "The World Media Summit 2012 will be held in Moscow."

Decision on the Australia Network tender, "imminent" for several months, might happen Monday.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Australian, Media, 28 Sept 2011, Michael Bodey: "A decision on the much-delayed Australia Network contract is imminent with the item listed as an agenda item at Monday's federal government Cabinet meeting. Both relevant, or duelling, min[i]sters, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will be present at what is expected to be the final deliberation on a recommendation by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on whether the ABC retains the right to broadcast the channel through Asia or whether the contract will be handed to the Sky News consortium. The final decision for the ten-year contract was expected to made by the deadline of September 16 after it was delayed in May. Reports suggested a panel of public servants initially recommended the contract go to the broadcaster of Sky News, Australian News Channel Pty Ltd, which is a joint venture of Nine Digital, Seven Media Group and British Sky Broadcasting (part-owned by News Corporation, publisher of The Australian). ... Sky News has also complained about inappropriate lobbying of government ministers by ABC chief Mark Scott in jostling for the $223 million contract."

The Australian, Media, 28 Sept 2011, Michael Bodey: "The ABC's news division has been hit by a 1.5 per cent budget cut and job losses, but ABC News 24 is not to blame, according to an email from head of news Kate Torney. The email circulated to staff this morning confirmed a broad 1.5 per cent budget cut and staff losses due to 'attrition', Media can reveal. ... The ABC awaits a decision from the federal government on the ten-year, $223 million dollar contract for broadcast of the Australia Network service into Asia and the Middle East, which is the subject of Cabinet deliberation on Monday. The federal government indecision has severely affected ABC News' planning and budgets."

See previous post about same subject.

BBC's international iPlayer "could start a revolution of sorts in global media distribution."

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 Sept 2011, Nick Ross: "The BBC's iPlayer has launched in Australia. Usually the service allows Brits to watch live TV or 'catch-up TV' - the term for watching shows which recently aired. The ABC has a similar service called iView which is now the third most popular section of ABC Online (and is growing, fast). Both, however, only allow access to people based within the host country. The Australian iPlayer is a very different beast and could start a revolution of sorts in global media distribution. The new global iPlayer uses a commercial model (unusual for a public-funded broadcaster) and will only serve as a Video On Demand service. It will ultimately provide access to the bulk of the BBC's massive television archives, with over 1000 hours being available at launch and "hours" of additional footage being 'regularly added'. Subscriptions will cost $9.49 per month or $89.99 per year. The first ten hours are free to allow 'try-before-you-buy'." -- Presumably Australian $.

paidContent.org, 27 Sept 2011, Robert Andrews: "What about the U.S.? 'Our timelines are always changing. It is our intention to launch there,' [a] spokesperson says. Right now, the global iPlayer is still in a 'pilot' phase. BBC Worldwide is not disclosing the subscriber count for the two-month-old product but claims to paidContent it is 'exceeding all targets'."

Sydney Morning herald, 29 Sept 2011, Adam Turner: "The app’s interface is uncluttered, slick and responsive, making it easy to flick through categories to discover new content. The app runs over w-fi or 3G, but you can download programs in the background to watch while you’re offline. ... At $9.49 per month the BBC service isn’t cheap, but it offers great value for money when you consider how much content is on offer and that you can watch it offline."

The Australian, 29 Sept 2011, Michael Bodey: "The service primarily offers library programming and will not cannibalise content from BBC News or new release material from BBC Worldwide's Australian channels including UKTV. Nor did the service plan to hurt the BBC's current output deals with Australian TV networks... ."

BBC Worldwide press release, 29 Sept 2011: "Matthew Littleford has taken on the role of General Manager of the pilot for the global BBC iPlayer. Littleford joined BBC Worldwide in April 2011 as Creative Director for the commercial and international video on demand service that launched in 11 Western European countries in July this year and today, 29th Sept launches in Australia. As General Manager, Littleford is responsible for editorial and day to day operation, marketing, promotion, product and technology and reports directly to Jana Bennett, President Worldwide Channels and global BBC iPlayer."

Let the talent raids begin: Sky News Arabia "editorial elite" résumés include Al Arabiya, Alhurra, Al Jazeera, BBC Arabic.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Arabian Business, 27 Sept 2011, Joanne Bladd: "Sky News Arabia, British Sky Broadcasting’s (BSkyB) first foreign-language news channel, said Tuesday it is on track to launch in early 2012. The planned 24-hour Arabic channel has hired 70 staff and expects to hire a further 300 by the close of the year, the company said in an emailed statement. ... Questions were raised over the launch of the news channel after the collapse of News Corp’s $12bn takeover bid for BSkyB in July, after the Rupert Murdock-owned firm became mired in a phone hacking scandal. ... Sky News Arabia, a joint venture between BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp, will be going head-to-head for viewing figures with the Prince Alwaleed-backed Alarab news channel."

AMEinfo, 27 Sept 2011: "As part of Sky News Arabia's commitment to developing local talent, [it] also announced the launch of a graduate internship program which will be offered to appraising journalists from around the region commencing at the start of the 2012 academic year."

Rapid TV News, 28 Sept 2011, Rebecca Hawkes: "Joining the Sky News Arabia editorial elite is Yasser Thaber as director of output, and Pierre Kesserwani, director of newsgathering. They will work alongside the already anointed director of news, Nart Bouran, in establishing the editorial stance of the 50:50 joint venture between BSkyB and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's private investment company, Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation. Thabet joins Sky News Arabia from Al Arabiya, where he held the post of programme editor for four years. Prior to Al Arabiya, he worked for Al-Hurra in the US and Al Jazeera in Qatar. Meanwhile, Kesserwani joins Sky News Arabia from BBC Arabic in the UK, where he spent four years running the newsgathering desk and liaising with the planning and interview departments."

In Libyan "vacuum," "new media outlets have blossomed," including Libya Al Hurra and an English FM station.

Posted: 29 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Globe and Mail, 27 Sept 2011, Susan Sachs: "In fact, in the new Libya there are no rules. The country is running on ad-hoc decisions most often made by committees in individual towns and neighbourhoods. The Transitional National Council, the anti-Gadhafi forces’ provisional governing body, has not appointed interim ministers. In the vacuum, new media outlets have blossomed. Local television and radio channels have sprung up in the larger cities of Benghazi and Misrata. Dozens of newspapers have appeared across the country. But the biggest battle is for the media-related equipment, frequencies and property in the freshly liberated capital, which was the hub of the ousted dictator’s massive international and domestic propaganda machine. [Saleh] Magdub is a case in point. He set up Libya Al Hurra in the studios of a channel that was controlled by Col. Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam. The sets, computers and other equipment were purchased only three years ago and are housed in a modern downtown building. ... A committee of rebel activists from Benghazi has occupied what once was the state-run pan-Africa radio service. It offers mainly patriotic songs and call-in shows. Another NTC effort is a new FM radio station that broadcasts in English. 'It wasn’t allowed before, so why not have an English language station?' said Mohamed Kish, one of the founders." -- Libya Al Hurra is not to be confused with, but will be confused with, the USIB Alhurra. The pan-African station was the Voice of Africa, and it broadcast on shortwave in Arabic, English, French, Hausa, and Swahili.

"Influential" VOA gets two recent mentions in the Philippines press.

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Asian Correspondent, 28 Sept 2011, Tony Cruz: "[T]he proposed Anti-Planking Act, filed by Rep. Winnie Castelo, a partymate of President Noynoy Aquino, continues to attract attention locally and internationally – and the latest is the influential Voice of America which took it as a topic last night (Manila time). Sarah Williams of VOA’s Crossroads Asia asked me about my views on the bill, and I wish to explain further."

Manila Standard Today, 21 Sept 2011, Victor C. Agustin: "A critical Voice of America report says Mount Pinatubo sand is being illegally exported, possibly to land-hungry Singapore. The VoA report says the Philippines has become an international supplier of river sand, after Indonesia and Malaysia banned their export to the neighboring city-state, which has built up a ravenous demand for the non-corrosive sand, as opposed to sea sand, to feed its massive reclamation and building project." -- The VOA report, 19 Sept 2011, is not itself "critical," but it includes several quotes which are critical of sand smuggling.

Not exactly broadcasting, but Wired article investigates "The Russian Short Wave Radio Enigma."

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Wired, 27 Sept 2011, Peter Savodnik: "From a lonely rusted tower in a forest north of Moscow, a mysterious shortwave radio station transmitted day and night. For at least the decade leading up to 1992, it broadcast almost nothing but beeps; after that, it switched to buzzes, generally between 21 and 34 per minute, each lasting roughly a second—a nasally foghorn blaring through a crackly ether. The signal was said to emanate from the grounds of a voyenni gorodok (mini military city) near the village of Povarovo, and very rarely, perhaps once every few weeks, the monotony was broken by a male voice reciting brief sequences of numbers and words, often strings of Russian names: 'Anna, Nikolai, Ivan, Tatyana, Roman.' But the balance of the airtime was filled by a steady, almost maddening, series of inexplicable tones."

Al Jazeera Kabul bureau chief released from Israeli prison after plea bargain and £900 fine (updated).

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 27 Sept 2011, Harriet Sherwood: "An al-Jazeera journalist has admitted to having ties to Hamas six weeks after being detained by the Israeli military following a visit to his family in the West Bank. Samer Allawi, the Arab TV network's Kabul bureau chief, was released from detention on Monday after a plea bargain resulted in a suspended jail sentence and a . Allawi was arrested on 9 August when trying to leave the West Bank via Jordan to return to Afghanistan. His lawyer told Human Rights Watch he had been threatened with physical harm while in detention for months without charge unless he admitted membership of Hamas. Under interrogation, Allawi admitted he had been recruited by Hamas in Pakistan in 1993. A military court convicted Allawi of 'conspiracy to provide a service for an outlawed organisation'."

Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz, 27 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Afghanistan, Samer Allawi, was released from an Israeli prison Sunday night after reaching a plea bargain under which he confessed to serving as a Hamas operative. Allawi reached a deal with the Israel State Prosecutor’s Office under which he will receive a suspended sentence of three years, after he confessed to serving as a Hamas operative and working on behalf of the terrorist organization, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) released in a statement. ... During his interrogation, the Shin Bet said he also discussed his activities as a member of the mujahideen in Afghanistan from 1988 to 1992, during which he confessed to participating in a rebel raid on an Afghan military base as well as guerrilla operations against Soviet forces."

Reuters, 26 Sept 2011, Dan Williams: "'There was no evidence against me,' Allawi told Reuters upon returning to the West Bank. 'The whole arrest episode was a charade aimed at extorting Al Jazeera. I was not the target.' He met with Hamas, Allawi said, because 'I meet people everywhere from whom I can get the news'."

AP, 26 Sept 2011: "The prosecutor alleged that ... Allawi agreed to help strengthen public support for Hamas by reporting stories that would positively portray the Palestinians, but that he did not act on that due to 'inability or unwillingness.' Salim Wakim, the journalist’s attorney, said his client was sentenced with 'very, very, very trivial crimes.'"

The Guardian, 28 Sept 2011, Tara Conlan: "Al-Jazeera has denied allegations that its Kabul bureau chief has links to Hamas and accused Israeli authorities of 'blatant breaches of human rights' over its treatment of the journalist. Samer Allawi was detained by the Israeli military for 49 days following a visit to his family in the West Bank. The Arabic news channel's journalist was released from detention on Monday after a plea bargain resulted in a suspended jail sentence and a £900 fine. A spokesman for al-Jazeera said Allawi faced 'false accusations' and suffered 'psychological trauma' as a result of his detention."

See previous post about same subject.

NBC will remake Borgen, a Danish political drama.

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Television Business International, 27 Sept 2011: "US network NBC is to remake Borgen, a Danish political drama from the producers of Forbrydelsen (The Killing). This comes after British public broadcaster the BBC acquired the DR-produced series. The show is the latest Nordic-originated series to be developed by a US broadcaster following AMC's Fox and Fuse Entertainment-produced remake of The Killing. Borgen, which is produced in house by the Danish public broadcaster DR, is a political drama that centres around the fight for political power and the surprise election of Sidse Babett Knudsen's Birgitte Nyborg. It was acquired by the BBC's head of programme acquisitions Sue Deeks and will air on BBC Four, which aired the original Danish version of The Killing. BBC Worldwide Productions, which is run by former BBC One controller Jane Tranter, will produce the series in association with Universal Television and Deadline Hollywood reports that Friday Night Lights executive producer David Hudgins will write and exec produce the series with Jason Katims." -- Will the US version be about politcis in Denmark? Or in the United States? See also Deadline, 26 Sept 2011, Nellie Andreeva, including trailer of the Danish Borgen.

This could develop into a new reality show: Dancing With Italian Attorneys (updated).

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 11 Aug 2011, Clive Whittingham: "The son of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has denied saying it is okay to copy other TV formats, as a row about Mediaset's latest dance show escalates. Mediaset, Italy's largest commercial broadcaster, has picked up the rights to Endemol's dance competition programme Baila! which previously aired in South America as Bailando por un Sueno. However, a row has broken out with pubcaster Rai, which says the programme is a copy of BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) format Dancing With The Stars, which it airs under the title Ballando con le Stele. Rai has taken Mediaset, founded by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and still controlled by the Berlusconi family, to court on copyright charges. ... In a statement Mediaset 'rejected all accusations of plagiarism' and said it was calmly waiting for the decision of a judge on the case in Rome. ... BBCWW has issued a statement to C21 saying: 'We take any potential infringement of our rights seriously and are currently considering our options.'"

Update: Advanced Television, 27 Sept 2011, Chris Forrester: "An Italian court has ruled in favour of the BBC Worldwide and RAI’s joint action against Mediaset/Endemol TV dance show ‘Baila!’, which the court said had too many similarities with BBC format ‘Strictly Come Dancing’/’Dancing with the Stars’"

Iranian House of Cinema backpedals on its criticism of filmmakers' arrests. Official says more arrests are coming for cooperation with BBC.

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
UPI, 27 Sept 2011: "Iran's intelligence minister has issued a warning to his fellow Iranians to not cooperate with the BBC, less than week after arresting six filmmakers. Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said Sunday he is advising all people 'who are thinking about cooperation with BBC to be careful not to fall into the trap of this anti-Iranian and counter-revolutionary institution,' the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported. More arrests are coming, he said, asserting his ministry had 'obtained important information about people who are in connection with BBC' and that 'intelligence agents are diligently pursuing the issue.' ... 'Basically, BBC is not a media, rather it is an organization in disguise which has a Baha'i-Zionist nature with political-intelligence missions,' Moslehi said."

Press TV, 26Sept 2011: "The defendants are members of the Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds. The alliance has issued a statement in their defense. But they also complain that their statement has become politicized. The Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds says it has no business with those who want to tarnish the image of Islamic Republic. The alliance has also condemned those who are trying to misrepresent the contents of its statement."

Tehran Times, 27 Sept 2011: "The Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) has announced that it has always avoided collaborating with those TV networks that are enemies of the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 'We eschew them,' said the head of the IHC Board of Directors Chairman Farhad Tohidi during a press conference on Monday that was also attended by IHC Managing Director Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur.The press conference was organized to subdue a media frenzy that arose after the IHC issued a statement over the arrest of six Iranian documentary filmmakers, who have been accused of 'collaboration with the BBC Persian service' in Iran. In the statement, the IHC, which is the Iranian cineastes’ guild, had asked Iranian security officials to uphold the rights of the filmmakers. It had called on judicial officials to conduct an accelerated and just legal inquiry. 'Due to its primary responsibilities, the IHC intervened in the issue. A guild should naturally pursue the subject and protect the security of its members,' Tohidi said. ... IHC Managing Director Asgarpur said that the context of statement is totally clear. 'Some media outlets create an atmosphere of misapprehension by their erroneous analyses,' he added. 'Due to the fact that both BBC and VOA do not have good relations with the system and both are managed by Bahais, neither are suitable networks for [Iranian] cineastes to screen their films and to express their opinions.' The statement was severely censured by the Majlis. The Cultural Committee of the Majlis announced on Monday that it plans to discuss the IHC’s move. 'This statement, in fact, is not the statement of the House of Cinema of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is the statement of the house of cinema for the old colonialism of England,' committee spokesman Sattar Hedayatkhah said. He expressed hope that the IHC would implement reforms in its policies. 'Otherwise, we should begin to doubt the necessity for the existence of the organization,' he threatened".

Press TV, 27 Sept 2011: “'The detainees were paid tens of thousands of dollars for each of their programs,' Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said on Monday. 'The [Iranian] government has found important information in light of the arrests, which serves as further evidence that political intelligence gathering is high on the BBC's agenda,' he added."

Press TV, 27 Sept 2011: "A senior Iranian lawmaker says those arrested in connection with having worked for the state-funded BBC were detained for serving the colonial objectives of the UK. 'We believe that the Intelligence Ministry has acted based on the evidence and documents in its possession,' Fars News Agency quoted Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel as saying on Tuesday. ... 'Whoever cooperates with the [BBC] has effectively worked in favor of the British government's goals; but sometimes there is the issue of the free flow of information and sometimes the issue is working towards the British government's colonial aims,' he explained."

Trend News Agency (Baku), 27 Sept 2011: "Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, condemns the recent arrest of six independent film-makers in Iran, the official statement reads. 'The High Representative condemns the recent arrest in Iran of six documentary film-makers, who are accused of working for the BBC Persian service, and calls for their immediate release,' the statement says. Ashton is equally concerned at reports of harassment of several other people alleged to have links with the BBC Persian service, the statement says."

RFE/RL, 27 Sept 2011: "Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival, the largest in North America, have decried the recent arrest of six independent filmmakers in Iran 'whose work should be seen and their voices heard.' In a statement, they expressed 'deep concern' over the arrest last week of Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Katayoun Shahabi, Hadi Afarideh, Nasser Saffarian, Shahnama Bazdar, and Mohsen Shahrnazdar by Iranian authorities. Mirtahmasb is the co-director of banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's latest film, 'This Is Not A Film,' which was screened at the Toronto film festival."

Movie City News, 26 Sept 2011, Ray Pride: "Facets Multi-Media, Chicago’s independent film exhibitor, distributor, and educator, today issued a statement condemning the arrest of six Iranian filmmakers on September 17: 'Facets strongly condemns the arrest of Mohsen Shahmazdar, Haidi Afarideh, Naser Safarian, Shahnam Bazdar, Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb, and Katayoun Shahabi, and calls on Iranian judicial authorities to release them unconditionally. Facets also calls on the international community to support their release.' ... To mobilize public awareness and protest, Facets plans to deliver a petition to the Iranian delegation to the United Nations. The petition is online at www.facets.org."

RFE/RL, 27 Sept 2011: "Three Iranian journalists working for state media outlets are reported have been arrested in recent weeks, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. The arrests of Mehrdad Sarjouei, Amir Ali Alamehzadeh, and Hadi Ahmadi add to a growing list of imprisoned journalists in Iran. ... Iranian opposition websites reported on September 25 that Alamehzadeh, who works for the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), was taken into custody on September 17. His whereabouts are unknown. Ahmadi, who writes for the economy section of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), was arrested in Karaj, west of Tehran, earlier this month. And the Kaleme website, which is close to opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi, reported that Sarjouei, who writes the international section of English daily newspapers published in Tehran, was arrested more than two months ago. He is currently being held in Ward 209 of Tehran's Evin prison."

See previous post about same subject.

Tai Freedom radio of Shan State, Burma, follows in the tradition of clandestine radio for revolutionaries.

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Mizzima, 19 Sept 2011, Thea Forbes: "Tai Freedom Radio provides a beacon for the Shan people in this region of Shan State in Burma. It is the radio broadcasting operation for the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the political wing of the Shan State Army (or SSA). ... Tai Freedom Radio was established in 2002, and it has a team of more than 10 broadcasters, and transmits news on fighting and current affairs to people living in the area surrounding Loi Taleng, the SSA headquarters. ... Is Tai Freedom Radio ethno-nationalist propaganda? Or is it Shan news for Shan people? It’s both, according to Sai Sang, 27, who has been a broadcaster at the station for three years. ... Clandestine radio has long been an important apparatus for revolutionaries. 'Radio Rebelde,' the broadcasting station set up by Ernesto Che Guevara in 1958 (and which still operates today) to transmit the aims of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement to the Cuban people, was even used strategically to transmit some tactical military instructions over the airwaves. Tactical broadcasts reportedly became just as popular as ordinary programmes and made the local Cuban population feel closer to the movement. Here in Loi Taleng, however, megaphone politics are somewhat different. The consequences for Shan civilians caught listening to Tai Freedom Radio by the Burmese government authorities could be severe."

Cameraman for Alhurra contractor dies of wounds from sniper fire in Yemen.

Posted: 28 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 26 Sept 2011: "A Yemeni cameraman died in a Sana'a hospital on Saturday, five days after being struck by sniper fire while covering an anti-government protest in the capital, according to local and international news reports. Hassan al-Wadhaf, who filmed his own shooting, is the second journalist to be killed in Yemen since demonstrations began in February. Struck twice in the face, al-Wadhaf had been in critical condition since the shooting. The fatal shots were fired by an unidentified rooftop sniper, whose affiliation could not be verified. ... Al-Wadhaf was working for the Arabic Media Agency, a production company that provides reports for the Saudi-based satellite news channel Al-Ekhbariya, the U.S. government-funded Al-Hurra, and the Iraqi state outlet Al-Iraqiya." See also Reporters sans frontières, 27 Sept 2011. See previous post about same subject.

Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 7 launched, will beam "popular stations like al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya" to the Middle East and North Africa.

Posted: 27 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 24 Sept 2011, Jonathan Amos: "Sea Launch, the rocket company that operates from a converted oil rig in the Pacific, has returned to flight. Saturday saw the firm put up its first satellite payload since emerging from bankruptcy protection last year. The spacecraft, owned by Eutelsat, will beam TV channels into the Middle East and North Africa. ... 'Atlantic Bird 7 will not only be new and more modern, it will be larger and more powerful,' Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen told BBC News. 'It will allow us to have more television channels and more high-definition channels, so we will be able to serve more customers.' Popular stations like al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya will be switched across to the new satellite once it is up and running." See also the Atlantic Bird 7 footprint.

South Korean and Vietnamese television channels sign deals with RT (Russia Today) and other international broadcasters.

Posted: 27 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 26 Sept 2011: "Yonhap News TV, an all-news cable channel [in Korean] to be launched later this year, signed a content exchange agreement with Taiwan's leading TV network TVBS on Monday, the latest in a series of such deals the South Korean broadcaster has made with foreign partners. ... The MOU is the latest in a series of agreements Yonhap News TV has forged with foreign TV stations in recent months. These include deals with Al Jazeera Satellite Network; Russia Today (RT), a Moscow-based 24-hour news-only channel; and the Hawaii-based Korean channel KBFD-TV."

VietNamNet, 26 Sept 2011: "Vietnamese Television (VTV) and the Russia Today television channel (RT) on Sept. 22 signed an agreement on exchange of TV programmes, experts, professional skills and other relevant fields. ... The delegation is scheduled to leave Russia for Belarus on Sept. 24 and work with the National State TV and Radio Company of Belarus in Minsk."

Deutsche Welle Akademie training Liberian and Sierra Leonean journalists to report on the extractives industry.

Posted: 27 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Awoko, 23 Sept 2011, Saidu Bah: "Deutsche Welle Akademie trainers with funds from the German International Corporation (GIZ), has commenced two-week training in Liberia to build the capacity of journalists in Sierra Leone and Liberia to report effectively and adequately on the Extractives Industry. ... The project aims to give Liberian and Sierra Leonean journalists the instruments they need to provide their audiences with balanced, objective and impartial information on extractive industries with a view to promoting public debate on resources and making their use more transparent."

Al Jazeera Children's Channel "is the only children's channel invited" to cover UN youth environment conference in Bandung.

Posted: 27 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AMEinfo.com, 26 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) is setting sail to Indonesia to take part in the United Nation Environment Program's (UNEP) International Children and Youth Conference on the Environment TUNZA, taking place in the city of Bandung from 27 September to 1st of October 2011. ... TUNZA is a platform for children and youth to express their thoughts and concerns on tomorrow's issues related to nature, and species. ... Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) will have a unique presence as the only children's channel invited by the UNEP to cover the different angles of this conference and highlight the youth's interaction and participation in what's known to be one of the most prominent environmental awareness youth conferences."

Al Jazeera after Wadah Khanfar "is less important ... because the field is more crowded."

Posted: 27 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Foreign Affairs, 27 Sept 2011, Philip Seib: "[D]espite its expanding global reach, the Arab world's flagship 24-hour satellite news channel must now face the fact that Arabs' dependence on it is decreasing. As more and more of the region gains access to the Internet, a proliferation of information providers is eroding Al Jazeera's dominance. Meanwhile, the revolutions that the network helped drive have unleashed a cascade of largely local news outlets, which provide more direct competition. There is no doubt that Al Jazeera will remain a major force in the region for years to come, but its singular role as a unique provider of open, honest content may already be a thing of the past. ... This is not to predict the demise of Al Jazeera. The network will remain a significant player in Arab journalism and politics for many years to come. It will continue to merit careful scrutiny by governments that want to understand the region. But Al Jazeera will be, to a certain extent, a victim of its impressive success and is unlikely to retain the dominance it once enjoyed."

Bloomberg, 26 Sept 2011, Nicholas Noe and Walid Raad commentary: "Al-Jazeera is less important these days in part because the field is more crowded. According to the Jordan-based Arab Advisors Group, the number of fully operational, free-to-air satellite TV channels in the Arab world grew by 12 percent from 448 to 501 between April 2010 and April 2011. Half these channels are based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Israel is set to launch an Arabic station, Hala TV, which would represent the third time Israel's broadcasting authority has tried to establish an Arabic channel. A former Al-Jazeera bureau chief, Ghassan Bin-Jiddu, who resigned recently over the station’s coverage of Syria -- he deemed it biased against the Syrian government -- plans to launch Al-Mayadin TV, based in Beirut, which will have the Palestinian cause as its centerpiece. All of which may signal that despite the deep pockets of both Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- where a member of the royal family owns the second most popular news station in the region, Al-Arabiya -- the range and depth of media choices is inexorably expanding for a population demanding change and choice both on TV and in the halls of power."

The Jewish Chronicle, 27 Sept 2011, John R. Bradley: "In short, Al Jazeera's often sensational, but always powerful and unpredictable, coverage of Arab affairs has become a hindrance to Qatar's efforts to ingratiate itself with Western powers and contain further revolts. The replacement of Mr Khanfar as news director by a member of the Qatari ruling family, rather than an attempt to restore the channel's reputation for objectivity and professionalism, actually marks the abandonment of any such pretensions. That will be music to the ears of the US and its regional ally, Israel, whose strategic interests are threatened by continuing unrest in the Arab world. But it is yet more bad news for the spread of democracy in the region."

Middle East Monitor, 26 Sept 2011, Amira Huweidi: "The pace at which Al Jazeera's new policies will be enacted is still not clear; nor do we know if there will be a swift re-evaluation of Khanfar's projects such as Al Jazeera Live [Mubasher] which covered events in Egypt and is operated by a management group alleged to have Islamist inclinations. ... The fate of Al Jazeera Live, which has been broadcasting the revolutionary songs of Sheikh Imam, a symbol of the opposition during the Anwar Sadat era, in celebration of the Egyptian revolution is the end of the contribution of the channel which has supported the Arab revolutions. Its fate will be decided in Doha and the result will tell us a lot about the policies of the new Director-General.

Arabian Business, 25 Sept 2011, Claire Ferris-Lay: "The decision to replace Khanfar with an executive at Qatargas and a member of the royal family, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, has been seen by some as a clear demonstration of the Qatari royal family’s efforts to retain its grip on the network’s coverage. ... Others disagree. 'The Qatari royal family founded the company; they were there before Wadah Khanfar and they are there now. There won’t be any fundamental changes taking place,' says Farhad Bin Sauood, a manager with Al Arabiya.net. Khanfar himself, during an interview with Al Jazeera in the days following his resignation, called his replacement a 'great manager and a great director.'"

See previous post about same subject.

Pierre Hanotaux is the new deputy director of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France.

Posted: 27 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 22 Sept 2011, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Alain de Pouzilhac, the CEO of French holding Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France, has named Pierre Hanotaux as Deputy Managing Director. The new deputy MD of the firm that owns RFI, TV France 24 and part of TV5, replaces Christine Ockrent who left in controversial circumstances. Hanotaux, formerly the principal private secretary of Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand, will in his new position help conduct the current reform of the strategy of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France that aims to set up a French international media group." -- But there is a confusing division of the old deputy director resposibilities between Hanotaux and Christian de Villeneuve. See L'Express, 22 Sept 2011, Renaut Revel.

Guinean singer Sia Tolno wins Radio France International Découvertes Award.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio France International, 23 Sept 2011: "The jury presided by Richard Bona has elected Sia Tolno from Guinea-Conakry as the winner of this year’s RFI Découvertes Award. The artist topped the final selection, ahead of Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa) and Metzo Djatah (Senegal). Djatah took the Internet public’s vote, which counted for one voice in the judging. Tune into RFI and RFI Musique over the next few days to hear Sia Tolno’s music." With video.

"What's the best way to watch Aussie TV when you're abroad?" Several incomprehensible solutions.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Sept 2011, Adam Turner: "What's the best way to watch Aussie TV when you're abroad? A friend might be moving overseas for work next year and has asked me for ideas on the best way to keep up with Australian television. He was wondering if it would be worth taking a Telstra T-Box, but from my experience they’re all but useless when not connected to Bigpond. ... I reckon the Boxee Box would be a lot more useful than a T-Box, especially as it features a built-in VPN client and a Flash-enabled browser. There are plenty of Australian-based VPNs around, which would make it easy to watch Australian Catch Up TV on his television. Even better, he could look for a global VPN service which offers connections for multiple countries such as the US, UK and Australia. My friend already has an Apple TV, so it’s easy for him to hire movies from the US and Australia. If he’s keen to watch live Australian TV, he could always consider something like a Slingbox, which sits in the lounge room and streams the output from your AV devices across the internet. Another option is to run the Orb media centre on a computer with TV tuners. Of course this means you’re relying on someone in Australia to maintain the gear and supply the internet access, which isn’t always practical. I also suggested he take a look at cloud-based PVR services such as MyTVR. It works via a smartphone or browser, so it might even work with the Boxee Box’s browser (I haven’t tested it). I’m not sure if MyTVR employs geoblocking, but if it does you could bypass it using the Boxee Box’s VPN client." -- Strangely, the article does not mention Australia Network, but one of the comments does.

Award winning film "explores a mysterious web of shortwave radio towers" that transmit Radio Canada International.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Chronicle Herald (Halifax), 23 Sept 2011: "The Joy Awards were presented at the 2011 Linda Joy Brunch on Thursday, during the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. ... The Joy Post Award, worth $17,500, went to Amanda Dawn Christie for Spectres of Shortwave. The documentary explores a mysterious web of shortwave radio towers over the Tantramar Marshes in New Brunswick. The site, the largest civilian shortwave facility in Canada, broadcasts signals around the world. 'Christie’s film examines themes related to cultural identity, international communication systems, changing technologies, rural myths, environment and politics among others,' says the release. 'And cinematically there is the visually arresting landscape of the towers themselves through the seasons.' Christie is a lecturer at Mount Allison University, a writer and an arts administrator." -- The shortwave facility is the Radio Canada International transmitting site at Sackville, NB.

Al Jazeera English receives Online Journalism Award for coverage of Egypt uprising.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
TradeArabia, 26 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera English (aljazeera.com) has received the 'Breaking News' award at the Online Journalism Awards [of the Online News Association] in Boston. The accolade was for its coverage of the uprisings in Egypt, when the site received a 2500 per cent spike in traffic. ONA judges commended Al Jazeera's use of online tools to powerfully communicate the way the revolution immediately impacted people's lives. Al Jazeera online journalist Dorothy Parvaz, who was captured in Syria and Iran earlier this year, accepted the award on behalf of the network." See other ONA winners.

New book details history of Radio Free Scotland -- actually Sound On Your TV Scotland.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Scotsman, 25 Sept 2011, Tom Peterkin: "'Attention! Attention! this is Radio Free Scotland calling! Do not switch off! Listen when the BBC is off the air!' Those dramatic words will strike a chord with Scots of a certain age, who remember tuning in to an illicit broadcasting phenomenon that pre-dated the famous pirate radio station by almost a decade and kept the fires of Scottish Nationalism burning when they were perilously low. From 1956 until 1977, a small group of enthusiasts illegally produced Radio Free Scotland, transmitting from safe houses across the central belt as they dodged the police and GPO detector vans attempting to hunt them down. Against the odds, these pioneering Tartan Pimpernels somehow managed to evade capture and, with their clapped-out transmitting equipment, tuned into television frequencies to get their Nationalist message into living rooms. In the black and white era – long before 24-hour television, BBC television ended a day's programming with a rendition of God Save the Queen. Once the last notes had been sounded, the television airwaves, in certain parts of the country, were hi-jacked by Radio Free Scotland and its strange mixture of Nationalist polemic, satire, discussions, interviews and rock'n'roll music. As a little girl growing up in Edinburgh, Christine Grahame, the SNP MSP, was one of those allowed to stay up late to listen for the weekly broadcasts that Nationalist radio hams somehow managed to send through ordinary TV sets. ... In the early days, much of the technical aspect of looking after the transmitters – a Halicaster then later a Viking Challenger – was down to a great, great nephew of the writer RL Stevenson – a lawyer named Louis Stevenson, who emigrated to the US around 50 years ago." -- The story refers to the forthcoming book Pirates of the Air: The Story of Radio Free Scotland, by Gordon Wilson. The old UK 405-line television system used AM-mode audio, the same as transmitted by much of the amateur radio equipment of the time. The Wikipedia article about Radio Free Scotland states that it also transmitted on 262 meters (1144 kHz) medium wave.

ABC iPhone streaming app now includes nine Radio Australia channels (updated: be aware of data consumption).

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Lifehacker, 20 Sept 2011, Angus Kidman: "The ABC has had radio streaming in its iPhone app since it launched, but the option just got a lot more appealing with the addition of 19 more stations: 10 metropolitan ABC Radio stations and nine channels from Radio Australia. Before you ask: I checked with the ABC, and while there are no immediate plans to add a similar streaming facility to the Android app, the broadcaster is keeping a close eye on Android uptake in Australia and there will be more Android apps in the future. As ever, this is an option more sensible used with a Wi-Fi connection than over 3G. The ABC app is a free download for iPhone and iPad users." -- Presumably the nine Radio Australia channels cover all its language services.

Update: Computer Daily News, 26 Sept 2011: "But Aunty adds: 'As with all online content, the ABC encourages users to be aware of their data consumption whilst using mobile devices. When designing and building mobile applications the ABC does all it can to prevent unintentional data use.'" -- Because of cost considerations? I don't think there are any privacy issues when listening to ABC radio streams.

More arrests in Iran for alleged links to BBC Persian.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 26 Sept 2011: "Iranian authorities have summoned an unspecified number of people for questioning over their alleged links to BBC's Farsi-language service, the country's intelligence chief says. The summons followed the arrest this month in Iran of six independent filmmakers for allegedly providing the BBC with video and news reports perceived as damaging to Iran. ... The intelligence chief, Heidar Moslehi, also accused the BBC of operating as a cover for British intelligence and of seeking to harm Iran by hosting Iranian dissidents. He made the remarks to Iranian state television today. ... 'The British intelligence services have begun a new phase of anti-Iranian activities under the cover of the BBC,' Moslehi said. He also issued a veiled warning of more arrests in the case."

Press TV, 25 Sept 2011: "Deputy Judiciary Chief Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi told reporters on Sunday that that the enemies have no objective other than inflicting harm on Islamic Iran by launching channels such as the state-run BBC Persian. ... Raeisi added that by portraying the atmosphere of the country as tumultuous, they are trying to prepare the grounds to exploit the situation for their own benefit, saying that the US and its allies are funding such networks."

Press TV, 25 Sept 2011: "According to an Iranian Intelligence Ministry statement, the members of the network provided the BBC with propaganda subjects to be exploited in psychological warfare by the enemies of Iran and Islam. The statement added that the members of the network, some of whom have been arrested, carried out anti-Iran missions commissioned by the BBC through illegal underground activities in return for massive sums of money." See also Fars News Agency, 25 Sept 2011.

Press Trust of India, 25 Sept 2011: "Iran's House of Cinema, the country's motion pictures guild, has criticised the arrests, issuing a statement carried by some local media that 'there was no law to prohibit the sale of film to foreign television' stations."

See previous post about the arrest of the filmmakers.

BBG press release, 23 Sept 2011: "The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG ) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) take the opportunity of this UN General Assembly to protest an escalating campaign by the Iranian government to silence independent media in Iran. ... We deplore such arbitrary practices that have included satellite jamming; continuous Internet disruption; intimidation of journalists, government critics and online activists; and aggressive hacking practices. These tactics have been aimed at BBC Persian, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Farda and the Voice of America's Persian News Network."

RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 24 Sept 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Vahid Pourostad, a well-known Iranian journalist who before being forced to leave Iran about a year ago served on the editorial boards of a number of reformist newspapers. One of Pourostad's duties was to ensure that the content of the papers did not violate any of the 'red lines' of the Iranian establishment. Reformist newspapers, he says, are forced to practice self-censorship in order to survive in the Islamic Republic, where in recent years scores of publications have been shut down. Pourostad, who was arrested in Iran in the postelection crackdown and is now a broadcaster with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, talked about his work with Persian Letters."

US Armed Forces Network ends local operations in Iraq. Listeners included University of Baghdad students.

Posted: 26 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Stars and Stripes, 24 Sept 2011, Mark Patton: "Since World War II, voices of [Armed Forces Network] disc jockeys have been heard over the airwaves by deployed troops, a sure sign of a sustained American presence. The same held true for Iraq, where AFN started broadcasting from Baghdad in December 2003. 'Freedom,' a song written and recorded by Paul McCartney in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, was the first song played on AFN Iraq. 'Freedom Radio' became the moniker of the station’s programming. Friday marked the latest footnote in AFN’s wartime history, as Toby Keith’s 'Courtesy of The Red White and Blue' became the final song to be broadcast from AFN Iraq’s studio. ... DJ Staff Sgt. Jay Townsend said many AFN listeners were students at the University of Baghdad, near AFN Iraq’s home studio at Forward Operating Base Prosperity.'The university students send in requests day after day. A lot of them like country music, old-school country,' Townsend said. ... AFN Iraq’s Facebook page is full of pleas from Iraqi listeners, begging them not to leave. 'I don’t know if anybody in Vietnam wrote anything like that to the American troops,' Townsend said."

DVIDS, 23 Sept 2011, Sgt. Vannessa Josey: “'We’ve reached more than U.S. troops and civilians. We reach out with our radio broadcasts to Iraqi civilians. They hear our radio broadcasts and say how great it is to hear what our culture is about,' said Staff Sgt. Aaron Salinas, technician NCOIC and unit movement officer of the 206th BOD. Salinas continues, 'I think our legacy is that lasting relationship between us and the Iraqi people as we depart and they’ll still have a piece of us because we were here for eight years and they listened to AFN radio for that long. There will be an Iraqi saying, "I grew up listening to AFN Radio" and maybe it will bring a little more understanding and maybe some peace.'"

CNN, 23 Sept 2011, Charley Keyes: "The unit's motto is 'serving those who serve,' [Lt. Col. Freddie] Mack says. 'We all can't wait till the 31st of December to board planes, so some of that transition has to start now.' ... The transmitters will stay in place for now, but music and news will come from Europe." See also WIAT-TV (Birmingham), 22 Sept 2011, video.

The last major shortwave project? World Christian Broadcasting hopes to be on the air from Madagascar by January 2012.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Reporter-News (Abilene, TX), 22 Sept 2011, Charles G. Anderson Sr.: "Former World War II combat veteran of Guam and Iwo Jima Lowell Perry died in a plane crash in the Caribbean on March 25, 1977, at age 53, but his dream of setting up shortwave radio stations to teach the Bible around the world did not die with him. The dream began in Perry's living room in Abilene and grew into World Christian Broadcasting Inc. ... Now, Perry's dream is about to become a reality. One station is already set up in Alaska and is reaching into China and Russia and numerous other nations, while another will open in Madagascar that will broadcast into Egypt, Jordan, India, and other countries. It has not been an easy task, said Charles Caudill, president/CEO of World Christian Broadcasting, based in Franklin, Tenn. 'Our station in Alaska was set on fire by arsonists,' he said. 'The damage was about $200,000.' He said three transmitters will soon be on their way to Madagascar. 'We hope to have the station in operation by January 2012,' Caudill said." --- The Alaska station is KNLS. Plans for the Madagascar shortwave transmitting site date back to 2005, with ambitions "to reach five billion." Actual completion of the station has taken an unusually long time. Coups, coup attempts, cyclones, etc., have not been helpful. At this point, it might make more sense for WCB to acquire the shortwave relay facility in Madagascar that Radio Netherlands plans to abandon. On the other hand, WCB has done so much work at its own site that it may prefer to continue from that location.

DX Listening Digest, 21 Sept 2011, Glenn Hauser: "Had a nice conversation with Kevin Chambers, Director of Engineering at World Christian Broadcasting. Target for Madagascar World Voice to start up is now toward the end of the B-11 season [end of March 2012]. A test schedule has been registered effective as early as 1 February 2012. But we saw the transmitters still in the Continental factory [in Dallas, TX]. They are almost complete but obviously have not been shipped yet. Antennas are as wind-resistant as they can afford to build them, but cyclones periodically hit the area, even on the NW coast of the island, and are bound to batter the station at some point. ... [Chambers did] not seem to think that the RNW facilities, soon up for grabs, would have been suitable for WCB needs."

"The Afghan war of the 1980's was really the last of its kind." Correspondents listened to shortwave to stay informed.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Truthout, 23 Sept 2011, foreign correspondent Edward Girardet as interviewed by Joni Praded: "The Afghan war of the 1980's was really the last of its kind, as far as the media was concerned. It was tough, but also romantic and highly exhilarating. It was like living in the 19th century. Computers and mobile phones were just beginning to come in, but no one worked with them effectively while traveling clandestinely inside Afghanistan. A few used satellite phones, but they were incredibly expensive, and sat dishes for TV transmission were too heavy and bulky. So, basically, you disappeared inside and didn't file until you were back out. So, this meant sometimes being out of touch with your editors for weeks, even months, at a time. ... You also listened to the BBC, VOA and other shortwave radio stations, so you could stay informed about global events and could always place the story into context when you got out."

This radio is anachronistic in two ways: 1) It's made of wood. 2) It tunes shortwave.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Portland Monthly, 22 Sept 2011, Kristin Belz: "The Magno Wooden Radio from Areaware ... is made of wood from Indonesia. Sustainably-harvested wood, I might add... . The Magno Radio plays on the look of old-fashioned radios, vaguely echoing the 1940s or ‘50s without copying. The designs are witty and simple, and come from Singgih Kartono, an Indonesian designer who not only has given these objects their unique look but has created a progressive economic system by which to produce them. ... The radios pick up AM and FM radio stations (short wave, too, in the case of the large and medium sizes)." -- Frequency coverage is 2.2 to 22 Mhz, which is good, but with all that spectrum squeezed onto a few inches of dial space, there will be nothing resembling fine tuning.

FT interviews Trevor Baylis, inventor of the clockwork (wind-up) radio.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 24 Sept 2011, Angus Watson interviewing UK inventor Trevor Baylis: "Q: Why did you make a wind-up radio? Baylis: I was watching a programme on HIV in Africa. It was horrific. It said that the best solution would be to get information to people using radio, but electricity and batteries were rare and expensive. I thought about an old fashioned wind-up gramophone and thought: surely you can have a clockwork radio? I went out to the garage and within half an hour had a working prototype. Q: Was the radio an immediate success? Baylis: I went to everybody to no avail. The Design Council’s rejection letter is framed on my toilet wall. It was the BBC World Service that promoted it. Then it was amazing, the rich and famous people who got on board. I found myself sitting in Nelson Mandela’s house, chatting away as if we were old mates."

The result of his efforts is Freeplay Energy. For a time, his wind-up radios were manufactured in South Africa. By 1999, all production had moved to China. Freeplay Energy is now owned by Hong Kong based Euro Suisse group.

"Increase the budget of VOA Persian," and more international broadcasting to Iran in the news.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
National Iranian American Council, 23 Sept 2011, Loren White: At a hearing of a House committee on 22 September, "Mehdi Khalaji of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) stated, 'I think that it is very important to strengthen our diplomatic relationship with the Iranian people.' He offered two methods for helping achieve this--increase the budget of Voice of America Persian, and increase 'people to people exchanges,' with Iran by easing travel and study visas restrictions for Iranian citizens to come to the U.S."

House Subcommittee on the Middle East and Africa, 22 Sept 2011 (find the hearing on 22 Sept, then click on the names for testimony)...

Michael Singh, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: "[W]e should strive to break the Syrian, and particularly the Iranian, regimes’ monopoly on information. This requires a multifaceted effort. We should step up our efforts to broadcast accurate and unbiased information into these countries via satellite, internet, and other means. We should increase our efforts to counter the regimes’ efforts to interfere with those broadcasts. We should push back on the regimes’ efforts to spread their own misleading propaganda domestically and internationally. And we should do that which is in our power to aid Iranians and Syrians themselves, most importantly, to disseminate news and information."

Mehdi Khalaji, senior fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: "Despite the fact that the Islamic Republic is legally committed not to interfere with other countries' satellite broadcasting in Iran, the regime regularly jams transmission of television and radio satellite programming and violates rules set up by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This is a clear violation of the Iranian people's right to receive and impart information and ideas through the media. Unfortunately, the ITU has little authority to enforce its rulings. Yet because Iran itself is using the same satellites -- including Eutelsat, Hotbird, and Nilesat -- to broadcast in other countries in different languages, Congress can pass a bill prohibiting Iran from using any service that interrupts other countries' usage in a manner that violates international law. U.S. and European satellite companies in particular should not provide services to Iran if the regime continues to jam satellite transmission of U.S. and European-based television and radio. Also, individuals who are involved in planning and executing the jamming of satellite transmissions should be sanctioned."

Iranian.com, 24 Sept 2011, Alidad Mafinezam: Ramin Asgard, director of the VOA Persian Service, is one of this year's an honorees of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans.

The Christian Post, 23 Sept 2011, Alex Murashko: "The Iranian government’s tracking of Christians in Iran has intensified over the last several months, according to Open Doors USA, an organization that provides help to persecuted believers in Jesus worldwide. ... Michael Wood, an American who works in the Middle East office of Open Doors USA, told The Christian Post that the house church movement in Iran is one of the fastest growing in the world. However, the Iranian government is doing its best to squelch the movement, he said. ... 'We heavily use radio broadcasts, short wave and satellite TV broadcasts to send programs back into the country that are used in house church groups,' Wood said. However, this method has also proven to be risky. 'Satellite broadcasting in the country is illegal,' he noted. 'It’s illegal to have a satellite dish, but if you were ever to fly into Tehran you would see satellite dishes all over the roofs of homes.'"

Commentator criticizes USIP report on Pakistan but describes Deewa Radio debate as "a welcome step."

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Daily Times (Lahore), 24 Sept 2011, Farhat Taj: "The report, ‘Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite’, by Jinnah Institute (JI) and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), is anti-Pakhtun in line with Pakistan’s military establishment’s policy of strategic depth. ... The good news is that radio Deewa, Pashto service of Voice of America’s radio, plans to air a critical debate on the JI-USIP report. This is a welcome step. The debate will break the monopoly of the ‘elite’ over the foreign policy discourse by taking it to the ordinary people of Pakistan, who have suffered the most in the state’s pursuit of the strategic depth policy and will provide a break from the daily pro-establishment views emanating from TV talk shows."

Columnist describes RFE/RL Azerbaijani broadcasts as "weird and rather disturbing," but provides no examples.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 27 Sept 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. ... Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been vehemently and relentlessly attacking Azerbaijan for closing mosques that preach Islamic fundamentalism, banning head scarves in public schools and imprisoning radical clerics. ... 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." See also the comments. (Illustration by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times.)

This commentary is of very little value because it does not cite a single RFE/RL news story, nor quote so much as a sentence, to support its point about RFE/RL's coverage of Azerbaijan. Some of RFE/RL's coverage of Azerbaijan is available, translated into English, here. It is not necessarily representative of all of the news and current affairs content provided by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service (Radio Azadliq), but it does show that Radio Azadlik reports on dissatisfaction within Azerbaijan that is probably not reported by Azerbaijani domestic media.

The US "surrogate" international broadcasters do have a dilemma. They must focus on the domestic affairs of their target countries, especially on news ignored by the target countries' domestic media. As such, they can be perceived as the bad-news-about-the-target-country stations.

As I discussed in my Foreign Service Journal essay, reporting neutral news and good news about the target country, whenever it is news, makes the bad news more credible. Furthermore, a consolidation of US international broadcasting would "smooth out" the content of the surrogate stations by adding coverage of the world and of the United States. It would show that there are problems in the rest of the world, not just in the target country.

"Anxiety and apprehension" among ABC staff because of delayed decision in the Australia Network tender.

Posted: 25 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Age (Melbourne), 24 Sept 2011, Daniel Flitton: "Gillard government dithering in deciding who will run Australia's $223 million overseas TV service is causing 'anxiety and apprehension' in ABC staff ranks, a leaked management email claims. The public broadcaster is battling Sky News - part-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - to retain the rights to broadcast Australia Network into Asia on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Department. A final decision - already delayed from an initial deadline in May - was supposed to be taken by Friday, September 16. 'This date has now passed and we have had no indication of an outcome,' ABC International director Murray Green told staff this week in an internal email. 'It was earlier indicated that the matter would be referred to cabinet. I realise that no indication of an outcome at this time is causing anxiety and apprehension for staff and contractors. I am immensely grateful for your ongoing commitment to serving our audiences in this pressing time of uncertainty,' Mr Green wrote. ... The aim of Australia Network is to act as a showcase in the region of Australia's national values. It targets a middle-class audience in 44 countries with a mix of news, drama, sport, children's programs and limited advertising." See previous post about same subject.

BBC Worldwide names EVP for Asia, the third of its regional EVPs. "We see a huge opportunity for BBC Worldwide in the region."

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 23 Sept 2011: "BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC, today announces that Ted Lai is to join as Executive Vice-President (EVP) for Asia with effect from 1 December 2011. This is the final appointment in a line-up of three newly appointed regional EVPs, with Fred Medina appointed for Latin America and Joerg Bachmaier for EMEA earlier this month, as BBC Worldwide focuses increasingly on international revenue opportunities. All three EVPs will be responsible for BBC Worldwide’s strategic development in their regions, driving future growth through new brand, product and service initiatives. Lai will be based in Hong Kong... . Steve Macallister, BBC Worldwide President & MD Worldwide Sales & Distribution and Asia, said: '... We are delighted to have someone of his expertise and breadth of experience joining us as we extend our business and brands further in Asia. We see a huge opportunity for BBC Worldwide in the region.'”

Taliban warlord found out from a VOA Pashto broadcast about the $5 million bounty on his head.

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 23 Sept 2011, Michael Georgy: "Sirajuddin Haqqani does not carry a gun or wear a turban as he moves stealthily through the Waziristan wilderness along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, hoping to avoid detection and getting hit by a U.S. missile from a drone aircraft. Yet, from his safe houses and mountain redoubts, the guerrilla commander has directed some of the most brazen attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and is now seen as one of the most dangerous warlords in the Taliban insurgency. ... For now, Sirajuddin is one of the world's most wanted men with a $5 million bounty on his head. He said he discovered that while listening to the Voice of America. 'I don't know why, but I could not sleep that night,' he said in Thursday's interview. 'In the morning, I tuned into a Pashto-language broadcast of the Voice of America and came to know about this.'"

Kazakhstan's Caspionet available as an internet video stream, with 6 viewers last time we checked.

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 23 Sept 2011, Andy Sennitt, citing Caspionet: "Kazakhstan’s national satellite channel, Caspionet, has started broadcasting in North America through the Galaxy-19 satellite, which is part of the largest platform for foreign channels on the market. The station broadcasts in Kazakh, Russian and English. Its website gives the following times, which appear to be local time (UTC+6): Kazakh: 00.00-03.00, 06.00-09.00, 12.00-15.00, 18.00-21.00; Russian: 15.00-18.00, 21.00-24.00; English: 03.00-06.00, 09.00-12.00. The station is also available via online streaming. It doesn’t seem to have many viewers though. When I checked just before posting this item, it said: The number of viewers at the moment: 5 people; Maximum of views today: 8 people; the number of views today: 124 people." -- When I checked at at 2115 UTC, 6 viewers at the moment, 12 maximum of views today. For many international broadcasters, audiences were probably as small during the shortwave era, but there were not the instant, and brutally honest, web metrics. The content is very much similar to that of the old set-piece international shortwave broadcasts, but with video added.

"Germany can not prohibit satellite TV channels transmitting from other EU member states into its domestic territory."

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 22 Sept 2011, Jörn Krieger: "Germany can not prohibit satellite TV channels transmitting from other EU member states into its domestic territory. The decision whether a channel's programmes comply with federal laws has to be made by the country in which the broadcaster is based, ruled the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxemborg. The judges had to decide whether Germany is allowed to ban the programmes broadcast by Denmark-based Kurdish satellite channel Roj TV. Germany argues that the channel would stir violence between Kurds and Turks and support PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party which is classified as a terrorist organisation by the European Union. ... As a result of the ruling, the reception and private use of Roj TV is not prohibited and remains possible in Germany. However, as a prohibited association, Roj TV can no longer produce programms or organise activities in Germany such as, for example, showing its programmes in a public place like a stadium."

Forum calls for Russian-language FM radio station, affiliated with Voice of Russia, in Paris.

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 20 Sept 2011, Mikhail Aristov: "Russian should be recognized as one of the EU official languages. This brave conclusion was made by the participants in the Russian Forum which was held at the Russian Embassy in Paris. The forum gathered delegates from all organizations of the Russian diaspora in France. ... The forum appealed to the French Audiovisual Council for frequencies in the FM range for broadcasting in Russian. The radio station will be established with the support of The Voice of Russia. All initiatives put forward in Paris will be considered by the participants in the International Conference on the Status of the Russian Language in Moscow on the 17th -18th of October."

Burma reportedly unblocks websites of VOA, BBC, RFA, and DVB (updated).

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 16 Sept 2011: "Myanmar's new government has stopped blocking some foreign websites such as the BBC and YouTube in a gesture toward openness that is tempered by remaining harsh laws that still keep readers of such sites at risk of arrest. Once-banned websites that were opened this week for viewing include the Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corp., as well the Democratic Voice of Burma, Radio Free Asia and the video file sharing site YouTube. ... This week, journalist Sithu Zeya of the Norway-based news broadcaster Democratic Voice of Burma was sentenced to a 10-year-prison term for circulating material online that could 'damage tranquillity and unity in the government' under the country's Electronic Act, Reporters Without Borders said." See also Reuters, 15 Sept 2011.-- This news is tempered by the fact that only a small percentage of Burmese have access to the internet.

Reporters sans frontières, 20 Sept 2011: "Reporters Without Borders has confirmed that access to a number of previously banned foreign news websites including Youtube, BBC, Reuters, The Bangkok Post, Straits Times, Radio Free Asia, Irrawaddy, Democratic Voice of Burma, and the Burmese version of Voice of America has been unblocked. Internet connections nonetheless continue to be very slow. 'The unblocking of websites just a few months after Internet café regulations were tightened is curious,' Reporters Without Borders said. 'If censorship is being partially lifted, the authorities should say so publicly and should undertake to open up the Burmese Internet even more. And they should acknowledge that allowing the public to have access to previously blocked websites does not pose a threat and does not result in any public order disturbance, as they long maintained in order to justify the censorship.'"

Irrawaddy, 20 Sept 2011 (via Asia Sentinel), Irrawaddy senior reporter Aye Chan Myate as interviewed by Irrawaddy editor Aung Zaw: "I think the exiled media still plays an important role. Many people in Burma—farmers, workers, students, opposition members and ordinary citizens—listen everyday to the Burmese-language services of Radio Free Asia, the British Broadcasting Corporation and Voice of America. They also watch television channels like the Democratic Voice of Burma and visit websites and blogs run by The Irrawaddy and other exiled media groups. This indicate that the exiled media still plays a large and broad role inside Burma." See also AP, 19 Sept 2011, Todd Pitman.

VOA press release, 13 Sept 2011: "Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi says the release of political prisoners in Burma cannot be separated from the process of democratizing the country. In an exclusive interview with a VOA Burmese Service reporter in Rangoon, the Peace Prize laureate was asked how she could agree to cooperate with the government when about 2,000 political prisoners are still jailed. ... The interview with reporter Khin Soe Win was made possible after the Burmese government allowed a VOA Burmese Service journalist into the country for the first time since 1995. The radio and television interview was conducted in English and Burmese."

Update: Asian Correspondent, 27 Sept 2011, Kyi May Kaung: "This week saw the first ever TV broadcast from inside Burma, by a Voice of America newscaster. In living memory, at least in my living memory, this has not happened openly before. Foreign correspondents routinely need to enter Burma (oops, the official name is Myanmar, often mispronounced 'Mee ahn mar') declaring themselves paint salesmen or just plain tourists, on their visa application forms. So it was with surprise and some incredulity, that I watched the videos posted U Tube style at the VOA link above. What’s this thing with international women correspondents and jump suits?"

China mainland and Taiwan media representatives meet to discuss "exchanges to promote mutual understanding and cooperation."

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 23 Sept 2011, via China Radio International: "Representatives from news media organizations on the Chinese mainland and Taiwan Thursday called for more cross-Strait media industry exchanges to promote mutual understanding and cooperation. A mainland media delegation, led by Zhou Xisheng, vice president of Xinhua News Agency, arrived in Taipei on Thursday for an eight-day visit to Taiwan. The delegation consists of representatives from ten major mainland media organizations, including Xinhua, the People's Daily newspaper, China National Radio, China Radio International and China Central Television. The delegation will visit several media organizations and associations based in Taiwan during the visit. ... Tsai Eng-meng, chairman of the Taiwan-based Want Want China Times Media Group, said that the group is willing to step up cooperation with mainland media to boost the international image of the Chinese people." See also the Want China Times website.

Al Jazeera and the departure of Wadah Khanfar: "towards a less troublemaking editorial"?

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Scotsman, 24 Sept 2011, Chris Stephen: "The shock resignation this week of Wadah Khanfar, the highly-acclaimed head of Qatar television network Al Jazeera, has focused attention on Qatar's pivotal role in Libya's revolution - and on what the emir gets in return. ... Why [Khanfar] decided that his face no longer fitted, in what should be his hour of triumph, can only be guessed at, but the station had recently begun stepping on toes in Libya, through promotion of an exiled Libyan Islamicist, Ali Salibi. He has been screened by the station taking swipes at NTC prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, accusing him of lacking democratic credentials. This, in turn, has focused attention on the battle for power between Islamicists and pragmatists which, say diplomats, weakens the NTC. Did Al Jazeera go too far? Or rather, did the emir worry that it risked taking sides in the post-revolutionary politicking? Only time will tell. Or rather, Doha's coverage will tell."

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 22 Sept 2011, Hugh Miles: "The network was established primarily so militarily indefensible Qatar could punch above its weight in international affairs through the application of "soft power". It's a strategy that has worked out well, as Qatar has remained secure and al-Jazeera has helped drive major changes in the region at a fraction of the cost of military intervention. But al-Jazeera has always been a double-edged sword and the forces it has helped unleash could potentially threaten Qatar's national interests and even challenge its own undemocratic political hegemony. At such a turbulent time it may be easier for the Qatari government to have al-Jazeera safely under government control. The onus is on the new director-general to prove he can still think as independently as Khanfar."

New York Times, 20 Sept 2011, David D. Kirkpatrick: "Al Jazeera played an early and influential role in covering — some would say encouraging — the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt last winter. It was even more aggressive in its focus on the regime of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and the struggles of what it called 'freedom fighters' in Libya, where Qatar came to play a major role in supporting the rebellion. But some people now cite what they see as a double standard in the network’s sensational coverage of the unrest in Syria on the one hand, and its relatively negligible coverage of the strife in Bahrain, Qatar’s Persian Gulf neighbor."

CNN, 23 Sept 2011: "'Generation after generation,' Khanfar said in an interview with CNN in March, people had to contend with 'a security state, very harsh, very cruel, there was systematic oppression and suppression taking place.' But this year, in the form of the Arab Spring, a new mood took hold, led by a 'new generation that is connected to the Internet, wired and ... (with a) proper understanding of the universal values of freedom. ... I think Al Jazeera provided people with alternatives, with many new voices.'" With video.

The National (Abu Dhabi), 23 Sept 2011, Ben Flanagan: "[T]he possibility remains that the WikiLeaks revelations were the real reason behind Mr Khanfar's resignation. 'It would be ironic if it turned out that WikiLeaks was the reason for his departure,' says Matt Duffy, an assistant professor of journalism at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. 'It's come full circle.' Another irony of the WikiLeaks case is that - of all the accusations levelled against Al Jazeera, including its so-called anti-American slant - is the implication of a cosy relationship with the US government that is rumoured to have toppled Mr Khanfar. Qatar is, of course, a US ally. 'Did Al Jazeera become too mainstream? I doubt it, because if anything, the Qataris would be happy for them to tone down their perceived anti-US bias,' says Prof Duffy."

Monthly Review, 23 Sept 2011, As'ad AbuKhalil: "It is too early to speculate on the future of Al Jazeera, but one thing is clear. The network thrived and grew when its conflict with Saudi Arabia gave it a wide margin of freedom, and when it was able to articulate the grievances of most, if not all, Arabs. The Saudi-Qatari alliance has severely limited the parameters of acceptable debate on the network and has made it yet another propaganda outlet for another Arab potentate. Furthermore, the network is increasingly keen on pushing the Islamist line of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. This may not necessarily kill the network but it will substantially change its audience and reputation."

RT (Russia Today), 22 Sept 2011: "'The reports say that the US government has been monitoring Al Jazeera Arabic before the English channel even started. Then Al Jazeera English as well,' Omar Chatriwala, a former Al Jazeera reporter told RT. 'They went through the website, both English and Arabic, and kept the detailed list of things that they found inaccurate, inappropriate, journalistically questionable or simply that they didn't like. Then they would sit down with Wadah and would discuss these points.'"

The Economist, 24 Sept 2011: "A deeper criticism of Al Jazeera is not that it sponsors rebellion, but that it promotes one particular stripe. Colleagues who quit the channel complain that Mr Khanfar packed its staff with Islamists, many of them sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. In coverage of Libya, for example, Al Jazeera has put Islamist factions, some of which happen to be backed by Qatar, in the spotlight at the expense of secular rivals. Perhaps the appointment of a member of the emirate’s ruling family as the channel’s new chief will curb such enthusiasm."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 22 Sept 2011, Anealla Safdar and Ben Flanagan: "Sheikh Ahmad's appointment was likely to lead to a 'repositioning' of Al Jazeera's coverage, said the media commentator Ali Jaber, speaking in his capacity as dean of the Mohammed bin Rashid School for Communication at the American University of Dubai. 'This is a political decision rather than a professional one,' Mr Jaber said. 'It should indicate a displeasure of the shareholders of Al Jazeera about the political performance of the station lately. It will reflect in a clearer way the direct interest of the state of Qatar and the royal family,' he said. 'It can only change towards a less troublemaking editorial.'"

Reuters, 21 Sept 2011, Una Galani commentary: "In one sense, Qatar’s decision to put a member of the ruling family at the helm is in keeping with the practices of its royal neighbours. Gulf leaders have a tendency to put their most prestigious institutions in the hands of insiders. Al Jazeera has become a tool of immense political influence, as highlighted by disclosures in Wiki leaks that Khanfar had modified the channel’s coverage of the Iraq war following pressure from the United States. By consolidating the ruling family’s power at the top, it will now be even harder for Al Jazeera to claim it is free from bias, and more difficult to dismiss the complaints of foreign governments. ... But the reshuffle may be in the best interests of Qatar, which has recently discovered that its immense wealth gives it international clout independently from its broadcaster. The World Cup, military participation in Libya, investments abroad, and a pledge of aid to Egypt all have raised Doha's standing. They are also less threatening to the stability of its powerful neighbours -– and of Qatar itself."

Al Jazeera English, Listening Post, 24 Sept 2011: "When the former director general of Al Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar announced on Twitter that he was leaving the network, the news media immediately began speculating why. The New York Times amongst others, linked his departure to leaked US diplomatic cables that appeared to show Mr. Khanfar had altered Al Jazeera's coverage at the request of the US government. The focus then turned to his successor, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani – a member of the Qatari royal family – and whether the network was losing its independence with his appointment. We turn the spotlight on ourselves this week and look at the circumstances around the resignation of a man who held the top spot at Al Jazeera for eight years and the implications for the global news network."

See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera English hires co-creator of satirical puppet series Spitting Image as executive producer.

Posted: 24 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 22 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera English has appointed one of the creators of iconic satirical puppet series Spitting Image as a full-time executive producer as it increases its original factual programming. Jon Blair has signed up as exec producer of all Al Jazeera English's major series and specials. ... He has ... won an Oscar, two Emmys and a Bafta for work on films such as Anne Frank Remembered, Dancing with the Devil and The Age of Terror. Blair said: 'Al Jazeera is committed to making quality factual television and telling stories of global importance. That's why I'm here. The breadth of the ambitious projects I'm already involved in is why I was excited to take on this role.'"

France 24 now available on a digital terrestrial bouquet in Atlanta.

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 22 Sept 2011: "France 24 has expanded its reach in the US after signing a new distribution agreement with WANN TV. The deal means the English version of the news channel will be available throughout Atlanta. France 24 said its penetration in the US increased by 50% in the first half of 2011. Its French and English channels are available on DISH World throughout the US. Its English channel is also available on Time Warner Cable in the New York metropolitan area, on RCN, Comcast, Cox and FiOS TV in Washington D.C. and on RCN in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. WANN TV is a DTT network reaching 2.4 million households in the Atlanta metropolitan area." See also www.wanntv.com.

Deutsche Welle proposes partnership with Wartburg College (Iowa) and may offer internships at its Washington studio.

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
WCFCourier.com (Waterloo, IA), 21 Sept 2011, Jimm Offner: "Wartburg College [in Waverly, Iowa] has been emphasizing its German roots in recent years, and Tuesday the Waverly school had a German media leader on campus preaching that enhanced understanding. Erik Bettermann, director general of international broadcasting conglomerate Deutsche Welle, based in Bonn, met with Wartburg leaders and students to stress that international connection. ... He also hinted that the connection could take on a more concrete component, through possible internships and advanced study for Wartburg students who graduate from the school's mass media program and are interested in enhancing that background with some international experience. Deutsche Welle Akademie is a two-year international media studies master's degree program, which attracts non-German students from all over the world. 'We have media studies in Bonn with the University of Applied Science and the University of Bonn, and I have proposed --- and they have to reflect on it --- that we go into partnership with Wartburg College,' Bettermann said. Deutsche Welle also may consider an internship program at its Washington, D.C., studio for students who want an international background without leaving the U.S."

Iowa Public Radio, 20 Sept 2011, Pat Blank: "This week the CEO, Erik Bettermann is visiting the U.S. Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank caught up with him Monday at Waverly’s Wartburg College. They discuss how entertainment news has begun to influence mainstream media and how social media is providing new challenges for broadcasters."

Jewish News One (JN1), "new addition to the alphabet soup of television news," launches with a balloon launch.

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
European Jewish Press, 23 Sept 2011: "Jewish News One (JN1), the first ever 24-hour global Jewish television, dubbed a ‘Jewish Al Jazeera’, started broadcasting in English on Thursday. 'We are on air, JN1 began international broadcasting,' announced producer Peter Dickenson at a launch and presentation event in Brussels. At the same time, Vadim Rabinovitch, Vice-President of the European Jewish Union (EJU), an organization dedicated to promoting Jewish life in Europe, symbolically released dozens of balloons bearing the channel logo in the sky to mark what he called 'an historic day.' ... JN1, which is broadcast via satellite, cable network and internet, to Europe, North America and the Middle East, ambitions to present news from a Jewish perspective, said Alexander Zanzer, head of the Brussels bureau."

The Jewish News One website is http://www.jn1.tv/. It provides satellite parameters, but does not, at least yet, offer a video stream. See also the JN1 Facebook page.

New York Post, 22 Sept 2011, Michael Starr: "It's already airing in Europe and is expected to be available here 'in the coming months,' according to its Brussels-based coordinator, Alexander Zanzer. No word, yet, on which satellite carriers here are negotiating to carry JN1. ... 'JN1 will report on news like all other channels, but with more focus on Jewish affairs and the Middle East and Israel in particular,' he said. 'It is not intended to be biased in any way. It will provide just another view of events.'"

The Jewish Daily Forward, 20 Sept 2011, Renee Ghert-Zand: "Jewish news junkies will be pleased to know that they will very soon be able to get TV news covering Israel and the Jewish world 24/7. On September 21, Jewish News 1 will go on the air and reach viewers in North America, Europe and the Middle East via satellite. ... At the beginning, all broadcasts will be in English, but there are plans for the addition of seven other languages, including Hebrew, French, Italian, Russian and German. ... As they gear up for their first broadcast, Zanser, his team and his backers are hoping that come later this week, remote controls in Jewish homes worldwide will be clicking not to CNN or BBC, but to the new addition to the alphabet soup of television news: JN1."

See previous post about same subject.

Comparing BBC, VOA, and US public broadcasting: balanced or muddled?

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Nieman Journalism Lab, 22 Sept 2011, comment from Bob Jacobson: "NPR today has more profound problems than its sound and stories. It has a muddled voice. Either it hews to the truth and controversy at all costs, a la BBC. Or it is the Voice of America, pandering to the still mysterious 'center,' the people who supposedly insist on hearing both (as if there were never one, never three, but only two) sides to each story. The latter is the direction PBS has gone, except for the determined producers of Frontline, POV, Independent Lens, and Need to Know (formerly Moyer's slot) -- and it's been disastrous. Even C-SPAN, which deliberately goes the middle road as its cable owners demand, is more exciting. PBS is dull, dim, and always in need of dough. Maybe David Koch and ExxonMobil can be leaned on just a little more?" -- Yes, news items that include input from both (or more) sides of the story may seem, at times, contrived. But as a news consumer, I appreciate the effort. It establishes the credibility of the news organization. If I want point of view, there are plenty of other media offering that.

Kyrgyzstan takes foreign (chiefly Russian) channels off cable TV during presidential election period.

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Trend News agency (Baku), 22 Sept 2011: "In connection with the presidential election scheduled in Kyrgyzstan for October 30, cable television companies and the state enterprise Kyrgyztelecom from September 25 will stop the retransmission of foreign channels, including Russia's Channel One and RTR, representatives of these companies said at a press conference here on Thursday. The Russian television broadcast will be resumed on October 30, Itar-Tass reported. ... At the same time, according to experts, the people of Kyrgyzstan during this period will be able to watch foreign TV channels by satellite television and on the Internet, and the authorities have no technical capability to deprive them of this opportunity."

In Pakistan's frontier regions, BBC and VOA compete with "illegal radical radio stations."

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Gulf Times (Doha), 21 Sept 2011, Kamran Rehmatin in Islamabad: "Nationally, TV may be the dominant communication medium in Pakistan but radio still remains a crucial conduit for communicating with Pakistanis in many parts of the country, especially areas in conflict. This is particularly the case in rural areas and less economically developed provinces. ... In many areas of Fata[Federally Administered Tribal Areas], and even some areas of KP [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], citizens are exposed to uncontested propaganda and erroneous information from illegally run radical radio. ... For many areas Fata, and in some places in KP, the main alternatives to these illegal radical radio stations are government-controlled FM stations based in urban centres, along with international stations such as the BBC World Service, Voice of America or Afghan-based Deeva Radio. Only three radio stations, all owned by the state, transmit in Fata region." -- "Deeva Radio" is probably Deewa Radio, a VOA service in Pashto for Pakistan's frontier region.

VOA journalists receive awards from the Religion Newswriters Association.

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Poynter, 20 Sept 2011, Jim Romenesko: "Religion reporters from across the country won top honors Saturday (Sept. 17) at the 2011 Religion Newswriters Association’s annual awards competition. ... The television national/cable news awards went to Mike O’ Sullivan of Voice of America... . Jerome Socolovsky of Voice of America took third." This RNA web page has links to Mike O'Sullivan's "Haitians Turn to Faith for Support," and to Jerome Socolovsky's "Ground Zero Mosque Controversy Puts Many US Muslims on Defensive."

House bill would allow US to issue no more visas to Chinese "state-media workers" than China issues to BBG (updated).

Posted: 23 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Rep Dana Rohrabacher press release, 13 Sept 2011: "Today, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Randy Forbes (R-VA), and Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced H.R. 2899, the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011. The bill would require the Department of State to issue the same number of visas to Chinese state-media workers as China issues to American journalists working for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). During Fiscal Year 2010 approximately 650 Chinese citizens entered the United States on I Visas (international journalist visas), compared to only two American BBG journalist’s granted permission to be stationed in mainland China. 'There is a very alarming disparity between the number of Chinese state media workers whom we grant visas to and the number of visas the Chinese grant to their American counterparts,' said Rohrabacher. ... H.R. 2899 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ensure open and free journalism access in China by enforcing the established reciprocal relationship between the number of visas issued to state media workers from each country. The bill would also require revocation of a sufficient number of I visas issued to Chinese state media workers 30 days after its enactment in order to reach parity with the number of visas issued by China for BBG employees seeking entry to China. Rep. Rohrabacher offered a similar amendment to the FY 2012 U.S. Department of State Authorization Bill, which passed during the full committee markup over the summer." -- If passed, this could have a bizarre outcome: China challenging the law in US federal courts on First Amendment grounds. Whatever the result of such a legal action, it would publicize the lack of reciprocity, which is one of the tenets in my strategy for US international broadcasting to China.

New Tang Dynasty Television, 19 Sept 2011: Zhao Yan, a "former New York Times news assistant thinks the bill is excellent, but should include more. 'Phoenix TV and CCTV are available on US TV cable networks, including Chinese-language TV … However, can we watch American CNN, Colombia TV [sic, CBS?] and Fox TV, as well as ABC, NBC, and other media, including VOA and Free Asia? Can they be openly aired or published in China? No, [we] can’t find them in China.'"

Update: Heritage Foundation, 23 Sept 2011, Helle Dale: "The real answer lies with the free market in information and ideas. Were the Chinese government to embrace the concept of truly free media, not only would China’s share of the global media increase exponentially, but Chinese reporters would undoubtedly be welcomed with open arms in the United States."

In North Korea, "increasing numbers can access information from the outside world."

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 20 Sept 2011, Shaun Waterman: "North Korea is 'one of the darkest places on Earth,' but there are chinks in the wall that the communist dictatorship uses to keep its people isolated. Exiles in the South are beginning to exploit them by smuggling in DVDs, flash drives and shortwave radios that are floated across the border in helium-filled balloons, members of Congress were told Tuesday. Defectors from North Korea and human-rights experts painted a harrowing picture of life in the vast prison camps run by the regime. They told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that even in the hermetic, one-party state where listening to foreign broadcasts is a crime and domestic radios are locked on a single frequency, increasing numbers can access information from the outside world. ... One of the 'crimes' for which North Koreans can be imprisoned is for listening to or watching broadcasts of foreign radio or TV. Nonetheless ... surveys of those who had escaped indicated that as many as 30 percent of the population have listened to foreign radio broadcasts, including those from the U.S. funded Radio Free Asia. Among other sources, radios were smuggled in from China."

AFP, 21 Sept 2011, Shaun Tandon: "[A]n expert who testified before the committee said that human rights abuses appeared to be worsening in North Korea, perhaps due to succession dynamics in the regime. ... Along with Pyongyang's provocations against South Korea, 'the border crackdown aimed at preventing North Koreans from defecting to China has intensified and the political prisoner camp population has been on the increase,' he said. The crackdown comes as North Koreans increasingly have access to smuggled radios, allowing them to listen to South Korean broadcasts or US-backed Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, Scarlatoiu said."

See also House Committee on Foreign Affairs press release, 21 Sept 2011, with links to testimony, especially that of Greg Scarlatoiu and Suzanne Schlote, both of which mention radio into North Korea.

Wall Street Journal, Korea Realtime, 21 Sept 2011, Evan Ramstad: "For a guy who was apparently targeted for death last week, North Korean defector Park Sang-hak doesn’t sound surprised or scared. Mr. Park is a leader of Fighters for Free North Korea, an activist group that sends leaflets, videos, radios and money into North Korea via helium balloons. Last Friday, police and intelligence agents arrested another North Korean defector who was carrying poison needles on the way to what he believed was a meeting with Mr. Park, raising suspicion that he planned to kill Mr. Park. ... 'I will never stop my work, sending anti-North propaganda on giant balloons across the DMZ and letting North Koreans know the truth. The more North Korea puts pressure on me, the more work I will do. I never yield to threats. All defector activists are risking death, of course, and have expected such difficulties from the beginning.'" See previous post about same subject.

BBG chairman: If USIB news coverage is not "in line with U.S. policy, it doesn’t matter. We cover it."

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
CQ Weekly, 19 Sept 2011, Jonathan Broder: "'We have to be credible, informative and accurate. That’s core to our values,' Isaacson said in an interview. 'With the democracy movement now sweeping the Middle East, these values are incredibly closely aligned.' Added Isaacson: 'And if there ever were a case in which coverage of an event might not seem in line with U.S. policy, it doesn’t matter. We cover it.' Such an aggressive, news-focused approach could get Isaacson in trouble on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers have criticized Alhurra for broadcasting interviews with the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas — groups the United States has branded as terrorist organizations. On top of such editorial disputes, Isaacson faces other hurdles in Congress. He’s likely to feel some push-back on his plan to streamline the broadcasting networks, especially if such moves cut into the broadcasts of Radio Martí’s Cuba service and VOA’s Chinese-language broadcasts, both sacred cows for some lawmakers. And he’ll have to fend off deficit hawks seeking to cut the board’s annual budget. ... Isaacson is aware of the challenges and says he’s ready to take them on. 'These are battles I’m not afraid to have,' he said. Some of these battles will take place as the House and Senate consider the fiscal 2012 State Department and foreign operations authorization and appropriations bills, which are due to move this fall in both chambers."

VOA Music Mix apparently acquires "Juke in the Back," a 40s/50s R&B retrospective.

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Houston (MO) Herald, 19 Sept 2011: "Beginning last weekend, 'Juke In the Back' became a part of programming on Voice of America. The show will air in Central Europe and Africa on Saturdays at midnight (Central European Time) and on Sundays at 10 p.m. .... 'I'm so excited that "Juke In The Back" will be heard all over the world, exposing many people in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America to American roots music,' program host and producer Matt the Catt said. 'I think the musicianship, the beat and the overall sound of American rhythm and blues music will really resonate with many around the globe.'" -- This is presumably on VOA Music Mix, though I can't be sure, because there is no(!) VOA Music Mix program schedule at the VOA website. Music Mix can be heard on the handful of VOA 24-hour FM relays, when priority VOA English and language programming is not on the air. The name "Juke in the Back" is explained by the program's opening: "You know what was on the jukebox in the front. Now Matt the Cat is going to show you what was on the juke in the back." That would be the rhythm and blues tunes from 1946 to 1954, which "laid the tracks for what was to become Rock n’ Roll." See also the Juke in the Back website.

Death of former senator Charles Percy, who played a key role in the enactment and restoration of the VOA Charter.

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Former Senator Charles H. Percy "passed away September 17 at the Washington Home in the District of Columbia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91, just ten days shy of his 92nd birthday. The Illinois Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee played a key role in enactment of the Voice of America Charter, Public Laws 94-350 of 1976 and 103-415 of 1994. The Charter remains a cardinal principle of all U.S. publicly-funded civilian international broadcasting today, that news broadcasts of the nation’s overseas networks will be 'accurate, objective and comprehensive.'" See additional notes by former VOA deputy director Alan Heil.

Kevin Klose, former RFE/RL president and IBB director, to step down as dean of University of Maryland journalism school.

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Poynter, 21 Sept 2011, Jim Romenesko: "Kevin Klose, who was named dean at University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism in February 2009, says he’s stepping down next June, and 'beginning July 1, I will be fully engaged in the classroom, where the work of educating the next generation of journalists challenges us all.'" Kevin Klose was president of RFE/RL Inc. from 1994 to 1997, and director of the International Broadcasting Bureau from 1997 to 1998, when he was named president of National Public Radio.

Euronews plans full-time Polish channel, localized content (starting with Ukrainian), and unified app.

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 21 Sept 2011: "Euronews is planning to launch a unified Euronews application for iOS and Android devices, as well as an app specifically designed for people on the move. ... 'We are now working on two apps,' CEO Michael Peters told DTVE. 'We will have a pure Euronews app which will be the same for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. We are also working on another app just for the iPhone – Euronews Express – for people in a hurry.' Euronews is also working with Google to run a series of live interviews of major figures who will relate questions posted by citizens on the internet. The first in the series will be with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso. Separately, Euronews is also planning to launch a Polish version of the channel following its Ukrainian launch earlier this year. The channel has been test-broadcasting in Polish between 17:00 and 24:00 since July, but the broadcaster hopes to follow this up with a full launch at the beginning of 2012. Euronews is also to trial more localised content, starting with its Ukrainian feed from October 5. 'Some programmes will be replaced just for Ukraine with Ukrainian content,' said Peters. 'This is just a test – we want to see how well it works.'"

Iran's Spanish-language HispanTV "works hand-in-hand" with Venezuela's Telesur.

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Florida Jewish Journal, 21 Sept 2011, Sergio Carmona: The Israel Project's director of Spanish Media Program, Leah Soibel, "expressed concern with Iran's strategic influence, which she finds most frightening regarding its presence in the [Latin American] region. This influence includes Iranian state news agencies transmitting in Spanish for some time and its launching of HispanTV, the Spanish language version of Press TV. She said that in its trial phase, it works hand-in-hand with Venezuela's TELESUR TV network." -- HispanTV is unlikely to get channel slots on many cable systems in Latin America, nor on any of the major DTH systems such as DirecTV Latin America. This will limit its influence in the region.

BBG and IBB combine to form the International Bureau of Broadcasting Governors. Well, not really.

Posted: 22 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Broadcasting Board of Governors has released a chart showing the reorganization of the administration of US international broadcasting. See this pdf, two pages showing the present and future structures. (See also documents from the 15 September 2011 meeting of the BBG.)

The main feature of the reorganization is the merger of the staffs of the BBG and the International Broadcasting Bureau. USIB now enters a situation in which the IBB director, a political appointee selected by the president with Senate consent, becomes the senior executive of a board that is supposed to provide the insulation ("firewall") between the government and the entities of US international broadcasting.

This will not be a problem under the present IBB director, Richard Lobo. But what if a future IBB director is especially partisan and wants USIB to provide strong support for the policies of his/her administration? Somewhere it is stipulated that the IBB director will be concerned only with administrative matters, and not with content. (Hence the dotted lines between the IBB director and the entities.) Will that stipulation hold? Or will a future IBB director withhold administrative or engineering support from an entity or language service with whose content he/she is displeased?

Ideally, US international broadcasting should consist of one corporation, with one board, one layer of senior management, and one "entity." The only political appointees should be the members of the bipartisan board.

As confessed in my disclaimer, my day job is in the International Broadcasting Bureau. Where am I after the reorganization? I'm hiding under my desk.

As Ayman Mohyeldin moves from AJE to NBC, he says he was almost AJE + ABC, or AJE + CBS.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Columbia Journalism Review, 19 Sept 2011, Dave Marash, former Washington anchor for Al Jazeera English, interviewing Ayman Mohyeldin, previously a reporter for AJE, taking a new job as correspondent for NBC News: "[I tried] to find an American network that would work with Al Jazeera, allowing me to report for Al Jazeera as a primary reporter and to be a special news contributor, to do programs for any of these American networks, the kind of deal that I had seen done with other correspondents like Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, and Christiane Amanpour. To my surprise, two of three of the networks were willing. They liked the idea and wanted to explore making it work. The network I ended up with was the one that didn’t want to play. Q: Would Al Jazeera have gone along? Mohyeldin: I can say now in hindsight, they said no. At the time I thought I could make a convincing argument that it would be beneficial to them to have an Al Jazeera reporter working for one of the three American networks, but even though Al Jazeera reporters do appear on other networks, to try to work out an arrangement on sharing me on assignments posed too great a logistical challenge. It was territory that was very new to Al Jazeera, that they just weren’t ready to explore at this time."

Deewa Radio and France 24 reporters encounter difficulties near the Bin Laden compound.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 19 Sept 2011: "Reporters Without Borders condemns the continuing curbs on the movements of journalists in Abbottabad, the town in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces on 2 May. ... In one of the latest incidents, Muhammad Ihsan Khan, a journalist working for [VOA's] Deewa Radio, a US-based station broadcasting in the Pashto language, was punched and kicked by unidentified individuals near the perimeter wall of the compound where Bin Laden was living. Khan had come to cover a visit by the judicial commission that the government appointed to investigate the intervention of the US special forces. Two France 24 journalists, Noémie Karine Géraldine LeHouelleur and Olivier Joulie, were arrested near the Bin Laden compound on 7 September and were questioned at Mirpur police station for six hours by police and members of the Federal Investigation Agency for 'travelling without valid documents.' Joulie did not have the required special permit."

In Yemen, cameraman for Alhurra contractor critically wounded by sniper fire.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 19 Sept 2011: "Yemeni journalist Hassan al-Wadhaf, a cameraman for the Arabic Media Agency, is in critical condition after being hit in the face by sniper fire while covering protests today in Sana'a, a colleague told CPJ. 'We hope that Hassan al-Wadhaf will recover from his critical injuries,' said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. ... The Arabic Media Agency is a clearing house that produces reports for the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra TV and for Al-Ekhbariya, a Saudi Arabia-based satellite news channel."

Reporters sans frontières, 21 Sept 2011: "Reporters Without Borders has learned that Al-Hurra TV cameraman Hassan Al-Wadhaf sustained a serious eye injury on 18 September while covering attacks by security forces and baltajiyas (militiamen) on demonstrators in Sanaa, in which 26 people were killed. Hospitalized in a critical condition, Wadhaf was later reported to be on life-support equipment with no chance of recovery."

Speculation about why Al Jazeera's DG is leaving. He says "It's the right moment."

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 20 Sept 2011, Ian Black: "Wadah Khanfar always cut an impressive figure in his director-general's office at al-Jazeera headquarters in the Qatari capital, Doha. But his career at the top of the most important news organisation in the Arab world ended on Tuesday when he was replaced by a member of the Qatari royal family. It was an abrupt and dramatic move at a critical time in the Middle East. ... It is thought that Khanfar had become too independent a figure for the Qataris, and that he had come under pressure from them. Recently al-Jazeera has been accused of pulling its punches over the uprising in Bahrain, where Saudi Arabia dominates regional policy. Al-Jazeera's Lebanon chief, Ghassan Bin Jiddo, resigned in April, apparently in disagreement over coverage of some of the revolts. But on Tuesday night Khanfar denied speculation that his departure was linked to outside pressure. He told the Guardian: 'I have spent eight years with the network. We have been talking in this part of the world about change, about presidents who stay for decades in their posts. I thought maybe it is good to give an example as well, while the network is at the peak of its performance. It's the right moment.'"

Al Jazeera English, 21 Sept 2011: "In an interview with Al Jazeera, Khanfar discusses his decision to resign and dispelled suspicions that it was linked to political pressures." Video.

CBS News WorldWatch, 20 Sept 2011, Joshua Norman: "Much of the speculation for Khanfar's resignation revolves around Al Jazeera's coverage of the Arab Spring. The network - which pioneered independent Arab-centric news coverage - has been accused of favoring causes dear to Qatar's ruling family. The Guardian writes: 'It is thought that Khanfar had become too independent a figure for the Qataris, and that he had come under pressure from them.' It is true that Sheikh Ahmad bin Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family with uncertain media credentials, has been appointed as Khanfar's replacement. The network's website offered no biographical information on the new top executive. Those details mean that particular rumor will be hard to quash."

Foreign Policy, 20 Sept 2011, Blake Hounshell: "My sense from watching the Arabic network's coverage over the past few months is that it had more or less dropped the pretense of independence, and at times seemed like the official network of the Qatari Foreign Ministry. For instance, its Libya coverage was utterly over-the-top, enthusiastic cheerleading for the rebels -- and it just so happened that Qatar was heavily engaged in overthrowing Muammar al-Qaddafi. When Qatar brokered a peace agreement between warring factions in Darfur, Al Jazeera broke away from its normal coverage for two hours to show the final announcement. And, as many have noted, the Arabic channel's usual aggression has been noticeably lacking when it comes to Bahrain. It's hard to imagine a hard-charging guy like Khanfar -- who clearly has his own ideological leanings -- putting up with that sort of thing for very long. So maybe he just didn't want to toe anybody's line. Whatever the reason, Arabs will be watching closely to see if his successor clips Al Jazeera's wings.

Twitter, 20 Sept 2011, Richard Sambrook (former director of BBC Global News) @sambrook: "Sorry to hear @khanfarw is stepping down as DG of Al Jazeera. Huge achievements during his leadership."

Twitter, 20 Sept 2011, W. Khanfar @khanfarw: "Entertained by all the rumors of why I have resigned."

The Guardian, 20 Sept 2011, Brian Whitaker: "[A]l-Jazeera's role in promoting free flow of information and opening up political debate in the Middle East is hard to overestimate – its actions probably contributed towards the emergence of the 'Arab spring'."

See previous post about same subject.

BBC World Service offers last tour of Bush House before move to Broadcasting House.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
RTHK (Hong Kong), 18 Set 2011: "Bush House, the building in central London that's been the home of the BBC World Service for the past seven decades, is opening its doors to the public for the last time. Hundreds of people have been queueing to visit the studios and art deco entrance hall. From next year, World Service programmes and bulletins will come from Broadcasting House - also in London." See also Bush House history from BBC.

Syrian YouTube channel says Al Jazeera "built enormous 'cinematic replicas' of Syrian cities" to fabricate the Syrian uprising.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, The Lede, 14 Sept 2011, Jillian Dunham: "A YouTube channel called the Syrian Interpreter has posted a subtitled recording of the Syrian television station Addounia TV claiming in a Sept. 9 broadcast that the news station Al Jazeera has built enormous 'cinematic replicas' of Syrian cities and squares in the Gulf state of Qatar in order to fabricate the uprising in Syria. These replicas were built 'with the help of some French and American directors' and are 'exactly like the ones set up of the Green Square for Libya, with which they duped the Libyans and the world that Tripoli fell,' according to the channel’s English translation. ... A spokesperson for Al Jazeera said: 'This is wackiness of the highest order which no one will be taking seriously.'" With video.

Press TV, 19 Feb 2011: "Press TV has conducted an interview with Ammar Waqqaf of the British Syrian Society... Waqqaf: ... In Damascus, there was this huge [pro-Assad] demonstration in the Umayyad Square and the Syrian TV had to use a helicopter to show the enormity of the situation. We are talking about at least 1.5 to 2 million people in that square, and what did the BBC show? Just a few tens of people holding President Bashar Assad's [placards]... Press TV: I know viewers are used to this kind of bias, but what do you think goes through the heads of journalists on the ground or these journalists here in London because they are not allowed into Syria and are monitoring the situation in Syria from afar through their sources? What do you think goes through their minds as to why they can be so obviously biased? Waqqaf: I actually do not know. We demonstrated as well as a group, as you know, at the Syrian Social Club outside Bush House, BBC World Service building, and we told them is there a specific reason why 9 out of 10 of your guests are all anti-Syrian government? Is there a specific reason why you show only the videos that the opposition is showing?"

On BBCWS Newshour, a week of guest presenters, including Christiane Amanpour and Christine Ockrent.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 18 Sept 2011: "BBC World Service's award-winning news and current affairs programme Newshour will be hosted by five guest presenters, from Monday 26 September to Friday 30 September. The presenters – drawn from the world of international broadcasting and media – will each present the programme for one edition at 13:00 GMT, which will air to a global audience. The line-up includes: Renowned broadcaster, journalist and author Jeremy Paxman, who anchors the BBC's flagship television news and current-affairs programme Newsnight... . Christine Ockrent, one of France's most respected journalists, the first woman to anchor the evening news on French TV [and was previously head of France 24]... . Broadcaster and journalist Redi Tlhabi who ... presents primetime shows for Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg and 567 Cape Talk in Capetown, South Africa... . Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and one of the most experienced foreign correspondents, Christiane Amanpour, who has over two decades of experience reporting from some of the world's major conflicts and now hosts This Week with Christiane Amanpour on ABC News in the USA, will anchor Newshour from New York, USA, on Thursday 29 September. Journalist Evan Davis, who presents BBC Radio 4's leading news and current-affairs programme Today in the UK... ."

BBC World Service press release, 18 Sept 2011: As debate continues over whether the Palestinians should ask for a UN resolution recognising Palestine as an independent state, a new global poll for BBC World Service reveals that, in all 19 countries surveyed, more citizens would prefer to see their government vote to support the resolution than vote against it – although only by a modest margin in many countries.

North American edition of the BBC News website now has the Magazine, which is too difficult to describe in this headline.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC The Editors blog, 19 Sept 2011, Giles Wilson: "A year ago we launched a North American edition of the BBC News site, run from our bureau in Washington DC. As well as strengthening our coverage of US issues, it meant we could offer a front page of the website targeted directly at our millions of readers in the US and Canada. Two weeks ago, we introduced an extra element to the website, following a further expansion in Washington - an international edition of the Magazine index. This is great news for readers of the website outside the UK, and also for the Magazine's regular followers at home, who will be able to access all the new content too. As was the case with the launch of the North American edition, the international Magazine is done with the backing of BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, which funds our services internationally. Since we started the Magazine in the UK in 2003 it has grown to become a focus for original features, such as our piece looking at 50 years of Private Eye covers, as well as regular items like 7 days 7questions, Who What Why, and Paper Monitor. Until now, however, it has never had a high prominence on our international site. It has also been largely text and still images."

With BBC websites, it's not always easy to find things. Here is how to find the BBC Magazine, home to longer-form articles. First, type bbc.com. If you live in the USA, it will be the commercial version of BBC.com, with advertisements. (This morning's ads are for Bridgestone and Viagra; the latter warns of Viagra counterfitters: "See how they try to pull it all off and how we help take them down." Perhaps more information than we really need.) Anyway, BBC.com is sort of a portal page. But there is no sign of Magazine here. So, just guessing, I clicked on News. Now on the BBC News page, there is Magazine in the upper right corner. A short URL to the BBC News page is bbcnews.com.

Strange idea of promotions: Al-Shabab radio station awards AK-47, grenades as contest prizes for children.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 20 Sept 2011: "A radio station run by Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist group has awarded weapons to children who won a Koran-reciting and general knowledge contest. Andulus radio, based near Mogadishu, gave the group which won first prize in the Ramadan competition an AK-47 rifle and the equivalent of $700 (£450). The second prize-winners received an AK-47 and $500, while the third prize was two hand grenades and $400."

Former Ukrainian president is also a former VOA listener. "It really made a major impact on me."

Posted: 21 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Lawrence (KS) Journal-World, 20 Sept 2011, George Diepenbrock: "[Former Ukrainian president Viktor] Yushchenko recounted his days as a child in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border listening to radio broadcasts each morning, including Voice of America, which was often jammed. 'That was a voice of truth, and it really made a major impact on me,' he said."

From South Africa, a pointed prose poem about CNN.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Artslink.co.za, 17 Sept 2011, Johan Kupferburger: "This is CNN. Das ist CNN. Esta es la CNN. We're live, streamin', tweetin' and podcastin' straight onto your iPad. From Atlanta. From everywhere. Even from Tristan da Cunha. Twenty four seven three six five. Around the clock. Around the globe. Wherever you are. On Air. On Line. Going Beyond Borders. ANY country's borders. Even if we’re not wanted. Outta my way, I'm with CNN. I'm in the zone, buddy. The Green Zone. We're embedded. To the hilt, baby. On the Front line. But preferably in a decent Hotel."

Renovate the old VOA Kavala, Greece, site for DRM digital shortwave?

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 12 Sept 2011, letter from Adil Mina, vice president, Continental Electronics: "Although I helped design and build many VOA facilities worldwide, the finest ever built was constructed in Kavala, Greece, with 12 each CEC 250 kW HF transmitters, a 500 kW CEC medium-wave transmitter, two 50 kW HF communication transmitters, power plant, curtain antennas (more than 36), houses, etc. That station was closed about six years ago and turned over to the Greek government; it is now dormant. I am doing my best to find somebody who is willing to renovate it and start operation with DRM [Digital Radio Mondiale digial shortwave]. Its location is ideal for Europe, North Africa, Asia and other targets." See previous post with photos of the Kavala site.

No regionalized Al Jazeera English for the USA. "We only have one transmission."

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Arabian Business, 19 Sept 2011, Elizabeth Broomhall: "One way of accommodating a US audience could be to adjust the content of [Al Jazeera English] to suit American viewers. [Al Anstey, managing director of AJE] cuts in, and says there is no chance of manipulating content in any part of the world. 'We only have one transmission. So what people see on AJE in the US is the same as our audiences worldwide. Are we going to tailor that to the US market? No. We are an international news channel — that is the value we bring to the market place, and that’s how we will continue into the future. We put every country in the world on a level playing field and evaluate the story on its merit. That means we cover the developing world as much as the developed.”

Large turnout at tour of old VOA Bethany transmitter site may lead to more opportunities for public visits.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Cincinnati Enquirer, 19 Sept 2011, Adam Kiefaber: "An encouraging weekend turnout might keep the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting open to the public more frequently, at least for occasional tours, while the building undergoes more renovation. Closed for two years, the VOA Museum was open for three hours Saturday for tours, and about 100 people showed up. It will close again soon for more outside renovation and a new roof. ... One of Saturday's tour guides, Clyde Haehnle, was a project engineer at the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station and was involved with the project when it was built in 1944 under the direction of Powell Crosley Jr." See also museum website.

AP, 13 Sept 2011: "A Butler County [Ohio] building that helped the government spread pro-democracy messages for 50 years will open for tours this weekend for the first time in two years. The Voice of America building relayed radio signals from broadcasters in New York and Washington around the world from 1944 to 1994. The site is now the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting, but has been closed while it undergoes a restoration. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the museum will open for monthly public tours beginning Saturday. It will shut down again for more work during the winter. The VOA station began relaying news and entertainment around the world in 1944. The station closed in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union." -- The facility spread news more than "pro-democracy massages," and, in its latter decades, was used to transmit to Latin America and Africa rather than to the Soviet Union.

Cincinnati.com, 12 Sept 2011, Cliff Peale: "Miami University will suspend the full-time MBA program on its Oxford campus and focus limited dollars on the part-time program at the Voice of America campus in West Chester." -- Adjacent to the museum, on the old antenna field.

World's first CNN Cafe opens in Seoul. What's a CNN Cafe? (updated)

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Twitpic, 14 Sept 2011, Paula Hancocks @PHancocksCNN: "The world's first CNN Cafe opens in Seoul today in Young Poong bookstore, Jogno. Check it out!" -- I asked Steve Herman, VOA's Seoul correspondent, what a CNN Cafe is. Steve asked Paula Hancocks, who replied: "It's a cafe where you can watch CNN on a plasma screen with personal headphones, use state of the art computers for free and there's a live ticker with the most recent CNN wires."

Update: Campaign Asia-Pacific, 19 Sept 2011: "The new CNN concept 'coffice' (coffee-office) offers customers free wi-fi, computers and printing services, and features CNN content across different platforms, including a live feed of the CNN International channel on a large screen, the latest CNN newswires on a digital ticker and computer terminals featuring cnn.com and cnngo.com. The new marketing initiative is due to the growing number of self-employed and students who study at coffee shops. 'CNN Café is not just another coffee shop, but an information hub for locals to get the latest international news from CNN, as well as a chance to learn English in a more comfortable, relaxed environment,' said Ron Lee, senior vice president and general manager of Turner Entertainment Networks Korea."

International broadcasters Voice of Russia and Press TV report on US cable about international broadcaster Al Jazeera (updated).

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 14 Sept 2011, Inessa Frolova: "The WikiLeaks whistleblower website, known for its scandalous revelations, has once again perplexed the world. This time it published information on close contacts between the Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite television network and the US military intelligence. The leaked documents say that the US government instructed the channel’s director on how to highlight events and which of them should be held back. ... Certainly, such a way to treat information could not but affect people’s confidence in Al Jazeera materials, says the Arab channel’s former Moscow Bureau Chief Akram Khuzam. 'It is wrong to say that people confide in Al Jazeera. This was true when the network was only being created. Today, in my opinion, half of the overall Arab population disbelieves it. Objectivity is simply paling into insignificance,' according to Akram Khuzam. Experts suppose that Al Jazeera’s exposure by WikiLeaks may cause the shutdown of the company’s offices in the Arab countries. Recently, Egypt suspended live broadcasts of its Al Jazeera Mubasher, referring to violations of the law on radio and TV licensing procedures."

Press TV, 11 Sept 2011: "A recent cable released by WikiLeaks reveals that the managing director of the al-Jazeera network has had relations with the US government officials. According to the cable released on August 30, the US government has previously had a say in what content to appear on the al-Jazeera website."

Update: Foreign Policy, 19 Sept 2011, Omar Chatriwala: "[A]fter the last dump of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, on Aug. 30, articles have begun to circulate -- especially in Iranian and Syrian media outlets -- about Al Jazeera's close relationship with a surprising interlocutor: the U.S. government. In particular, a newly released cable issued by the U.S. Embassy in Doha and signed by then ambassador Chase Untermeyer, details a meeting between an embassy public affairs official and Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera's director general, in which the latter is said to agree to tone down and remove what the United States terms 'disturbing Al Jazeera website content.'" -- Chase Untermeyer was director of the Voice of America from 1991 to 1993.

Al Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar announces that he will step down.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 20 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera's director general, Wadah Khanfar, has announced that he will step down after eight years as the network's top executive. Khanfar said he had been discussing his decision to step down with the Chairman of the Board for some time. In a farewell note to Al Jazeera staff, Khanfar mentioned that upon his appointment he spoke with the chairman and they set the goal to establish Al Jazeera as a global media leader. In final discussions, they agreed that this target had been met and that the organisation is in a strong position going forward. ... 'When we launched in 1996 "media independence" was a contradiction in terms,' he said in his note to staff. 'State media was prevalent and was blatantly used for propaganda and misinformation. Within such an environment the public probably doubted that Al Jazeera would fulfill its promise of independent journalism. We managed to pleasantly surprise them by exceeding all expectations. ... Our audience quickly saw that Al Jazeera was of them and their world - it was not a foreign imposition nor did it seek to impose a partisan agenda.'"

The Guardian, 20 Sept 2011, Ian Black: "Qatar's government has replaced Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of the al-Jazeera satellite TV network, with a member of its own royal family – a sudden and dramatic move at a time of unprecedented turmoil across the Middle East. ... The new director-general is said to be Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, an executive at Qatargas and a member of the country's ruling dynasty."

Gulf News (Dubai), 20 Sept 2011, Habib Toumi: "Wadah has come under intense pressure recently after a confidential US cable from the US embassy in Doha where Aljazeera is located and published on Wikileaks, claimed that the pan-Arab station general director had agreed to US government request to delete and alter its website content that 'disturbs' the US government. ... Shaikh Ahmad, the new director, is seen as a success model for young Qataris following a series of achievements in the gas sector."

After Al Jazeera was closed in Cairo for broadcasting live, Egyptian plans news channel to broadcast live from Doha.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Almasry Alyoum, 17 Sept 2011: "Information Minister Osama Heikel said Saturday that he ordered the closure of the Egyptian studios used by Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera because the network had not obtained a license to broadcast live from Egypt. Last week Egyptian security forces raided the offices of the Egyptian affiliate of Al-Jazeera, sparking criticism of a perceived crackdown on news media and freedom of expression. Heikel said Al-Jazeera has violated the country's rules by not applying for or receiving a license to broadcast live tapes. ... Meanwhile Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris has said he plans to launch a new news channel to broadcast from Qatar. Sawiris told daily newspaper Al-Ahram that the new channel will broadcast live programs from the Qatari capital. Sawiris did not give details or say why he wants the television station to be based in Qatar." -- I think "live tapes" means live coverage of a event. See also Egypt State Information Service, 18 Sept 2011. See previous post about same subject.

Cancellation of Super Girl on Chinese TV could be a super opportunity for international broadcasting.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 19 Sept 2011, Michael Bristow: "Chinese regulators have told a TV station to stop broadcasting a popular talent show called Super Girl [快乐女声]. The authorities say the programme is too long - although many suspect other reasons. Hunan Satellite Television, which makes the programme, said it would air shows that promote moral ethics and public safety instead. Chinese officials often ban programmes they think are too vulgar or not suitable. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) told the Hunan station that Super Girl broke time rules for this kind of show. They should be no more than 90 minutes long, but episodes of Super Girl - in which women of all ages compete in a singing contest - can last more than three hours. But a senior employee at the station told the BBC that regulators were jealous of the popularity and financial success of Super Girl. 'It is widely believed that the real reason for the ban is that Hunan TV's talent programmes have been extremely popular,' she said."

The Telegraph, 19 Sept 2011, Malcolm Moore: "Yin Hong, a professor at Tsinghua university's school of Journalism and Communications [said] 'The "voluntary" cancellation of Super Girl is just the first example. There will be more to come. Local television stations are supposed to restructure and make adjustments,' he added. On Saturday, SARFT also suspended the movie channel of Shijiazhuang Television in Hebei for one month after deciding that it had 'magnified distorted ethics and moral values' and 'caused extremely negative social effects', according to the state media."

The Shanghaiist, 19 Sept 2011: "Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of Danwei.com, thinks that the issue isn't about the content, but rather the success of HST, a provincial station - 'I think it's more about clamping down on the uppity provincial station - making sure they don't have a runaway hit that puts [state broadcaster] CCTV to shame. I think CCTV is very wary when any provincial station has a breakaway hit and SARFT and CCTV are very close.'"

UAE multilingual radio network adds Farsi-language station.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 19 Sept 2011, citing ARN: "The Arabian Radio Network (ARN), has added a new radio station to its seven stations, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, with the launch of a new Farsi speaking radio station for the UAE. Broadcasting on 93.4 FM, Radio Shoma (‘Your Radio’) will also be available online via the internet. Transmitting for 24 hours each day, the new station will provide a wide range of entertainment and music shows. Located at Dubai Media City ARN, a subsidiary of Arab Media Group, is the largest radio network in the UAE with eight dedicated Arabic, English, Hindi and Malayalam stations. The network also broadcasts a number of programmes targeted at the Filipino community and during the last six years broadcast a Farsi programme 'Persian Wave' on Dubai Eye as part of its offering to listeners."

Iranian authorities arrest six film-makers, accusing them of working for the BBC.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 19 Sept 2011: "The Iranian authorities have arrested a group of film-makers and accused them of working for the BBC Persian service, which is banned in the country. State TV reports that the group of six were paid to make secret reports for the Farsi-language service. The BBC says no-one works for the Persian service inside the country - either formally or informally. The arrests came a day after the service showed a documentary on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The BBC's James Reynolds says the channel's signal, which is sometimes accessible inside Iran, was disrupted during the broadcast."

Reuters, 19 Sept 2011: "Iran has arrested several people for supplying information to the British Broadcasting Corporation, accusing them of seeking to portray a negative image of the Islamic state, media reported on Monday. ... BBC Persian broadcasts live news, documentaries and entertainment programmes aimed at Farsi speakers, mostly in Iran and Afghanistan. Terrestrial Iranian television is completely controlled by the state. In London, the BBC said in a statement that the six filmmakers arrested in Iran were not BBC staffers but 'independent documentary filmmakers whose films have been screened in festivals and other venues internationally.' BBC Persian television had brought the rights to broadcast their and other films, a common practice, but had not commissioned them, the statement quoted Liliane Landor, Controller, Languages, BBC Global News, as saying."

AP, 19 Sept 2011, Raphael G. Satter: "Iran's authoritarian theocracy is strongly opposed to [BBC Persian], which it accuses, along with the British government, of fomenting the mass protests that broke out after the disputed election. The country has gone to great lengths to jam broadcasts and block websites of foreign-based Farsi-language media, including BBC Persian and Voice of America."

Reporters sans frontières, 20 Sept 2011: "Reporters Without Borders condemns the Iranian government’s targeting of the BBC’s Farsi-language TV station, BBC Persian. Its satellite signal was jammed on 16 September when it broadcast a documentary about the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The next day, pro-government media announced the arrest of several of the station’s 'collaborators' in Iran".

Iran is planning a Russian-language satellite channel.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 19 Sept 2011, citing Press TV: "The Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarghami has announced Tehran’s willingness to launch a satellite channel for audiences in Russian-speaking countries. Launching a Russian-language television network is a top priority for the IRIB, Zarghami said upon returning from a visit to Ukraine. ... IRIB’s Russian TV will be the fourth specialized channel to be launched by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, following the appearance of the Arabic language Al-Alam television network, round-the-clock English language Press TV and Spanish-language Hispan TV. The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to reach out to Latin America with Spanish-language Hispan TV to explain its 'ideological legitimacy.' As a large part of the world’s population speaks Spanish, we will start a network (in Spanish) within the next few months, Zarghami announced in the Iranian capital of Tehran in September 2010. ...

"Andy Sennitt comments: Not for the first time, IRIB has chosen a strange place to make an announcement about a new language service. Last month it announced the launch of its Spanish network in Brazil, where they speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Now they have chosen Ukraine, the largest non-Russian country that was part of the old Soviet Union, to announce a service in Russian. It’s true that many Ukrainians speak Russian (the two languages are similar) and there is a significant Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine. But, like other former USSR countries, Ukraine is fiercely independent and wants to promote its own language and culture, and discourages Ukrainian nationals from watching TV programmes in Russian."

"Jewish version of Al Jazeera" begins broadcasting on Wednesday, from studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels, and Kiev.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Ynetnews, 19 Sept 2011, Akiva Novick: "The first-ever Jewish news network will begin broadcasts this Wednesday. Jewish News 1 (JN1) was born as an alternative to the world's leading news networks – CNN, Fox News and Sky News. But its main goal is to serve as the Jewish version of al-Jazeera, which has won the hearts of tens of millions of Arab viewers over the past 15 years. According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, the channel will be broadcast via satellite to Europe, North America and the Middle East. In Israel it will be offered by the Yes satellite company. 'Jewish News 1' will broadcast news from Israel and the world 24/7. The network has already set up studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kiev, and additional studios will be opened in Washington, Paris and London in the coming months. The network has 12 correspondents, all foreigners, who are currently deployed in six countries. The casting of reporters to cover the news in Israel, Europe and Russia will be completed in the coming days. The network will begin its broadcasts in English, but its managers seek to offer news in seven additional languages, including Hebrew, French, Italian, Russian and German."

Some history of radio listening in China, including to the "cheeky, slightly salacious" BBC and VOA.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
China Daily, 18 Sept 2011, Cang Wei: "It may seem rudimentary or almost obsolete in today's terms, but decades ago, it was radio that brought the world into Chinese homes. Those days of family and friends crowded around a little transistor radio are still very much part of the indelible memories of several generations. ... In the 1970s and '80s, a radio also became part of the requisite purchases for a newly wedded couple and their home. People of that era dreamed of having 'three spinning and one resounding' items - a bicycle, a sewing machine, a watch and a radio. ... With the economic reforms and opening-up policies in the late 1970s and early '80s, radio gradually lost its position to television, although it still retained a tandem role. For many college students too poor to buy a television, the radio still provided information and entertainment as they tuned in to the BBC and Voice of America to find out what was happening outside China, and at night, they would cluster around the set for cheeky, slightly salacious radio programs. ... By 1996, the number of television sets had soared to 232 million, and currently, China is the world largest market - with more than 1 billion viewers and television sets in over 350 million households. But television's gradual monopoly was being challenged by the time the new millennium arrived. In 2000, the Internet showed how powerful it was going to be with 10 million users online; about 18 per cent of all households in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou already had access to the World Wide Web."

Zimbabwean editorial rails at radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Herald (Harare), 19 Sept 2011, editorial: "The European Union stands guilty of being an overly interested stakeholder in the Zimbabwean body politic and as such lose the right to be observers as their political judgment is already clouded by imperial pre-conceptions geared towards engendering regime change in our country. ... Worse still, the Europeans funded and continue to fund the unquestionably partisan pirate radio stations that broadcast concocted hate programmes meant to gang Zimbabwe's electorate against Zanu-PF. Together with the United States, the European countries play host to Studio 7, Voice of America, SW Radio and all other similar imperial projects that propagate falsehoods about our political landscape."

App for mobiles and tablets "will aggregate and stream news feeds from UN agencies and programs."

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting & Cable, 15 Sept 2011, John Eggerton: "The United Nations Foundation has launched a first-of-its-kind customizable mobile and tablet app that it says will aggregate and stream news feeds from UN agencies and programs in real time. But don't look for it to take on CNN International. The idea is instead to enlist support and interest in the foundation's many worthy campaigns, including the 'nothing but nets' mosquito netting drive and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. ... The app is free, and available on Android, iPhone/iPad, and Windows Phone." -- I remember listening to the United Nations Radio, decades ago, via VOA shortwave transmitters.

New anchor joins Alhurra's flagship news program Al Youm.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Alhurra press release, 17 Sept 2011, via Zawya: "Egyptian anchor Bassel Sabri joins Alhurra's Al Youm on Sunday, Sept. 18th. He will co-anchor the magazine program with Engy Anwar from Al Youm's main studios in Dubai. 'Al Youm is a unique program coming from five countries giving us an opportunity to connect with viewers across the region,' stated Sabri. 'This is great team and I am excited to be a part of it.' ... Sabri has an extensive journalism background, most notably working for seven years as the editor-in-chief and news anchor for the English-language programs and newscasts on Nile TV International. Within that position, he hosted a variety of political, cultural and social programs including the weekly economic program Mondays. In addition to his duties at Nile TV, Sabri anchored and served as editor of Egyptian TV Channel 1's primetime newscast The 9 O'Clock News in Arabic from 2008-2011. Prior to joining Alhurra, he was the host of Masr Ennaharda (Egypt Today) on Egypt Channel 1 and the El Masreya satellite channel."

This week's VOA jazz alumnus is a Czech-American trumpeter.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
New Haven Independent, 16 Sept 2011, Neena Satija: "Laco Deczi sneaked past border patrol guards while they were watching a Russian hockey final in what was then called Czechoslovakia. The journey he began 27 years ago will lead him this coming week to the stage at Toad’s—where the world-famous jazz trumpeter will play some of his world-famous tunes—then to American citizenship. ... Deczi, who is now 73, has lived and breathed jazz since he was a young boy in Czechoslovakia listening to Voice of America radio every night at 9 p.m. 'They would play the news for 15 minutes, and then for 45 minutes they would play jazz,' he said. That was when he heard the greats: John Coltrane, Clifford Brown."

Chorus named for the Voice of America will perform at a park named for the Voice of America.

Posted: 19 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Chorus named after Voice of America will perform at a park named after Voice of America. WXIX-TV (Cincinnati), 16 Sept 2011: "A family-oriented variety show is scheduled to take place at The Voice of America Park’s Ronald Reagan Lodge on Sunday, September 25 at 3pm in West Chester. Entitled 'Sundae at the VOA,' the show will feature the Voice of America Chorus, a variety of men’s and women’s barbershop quartets, various instrumental groups, and 100 singers from Adena Elementary School. The ticket price of $20.00 includes a homemade ice cream sundae." At the site of the old VOA Bethany, Ohio, shortwave transmitting station. See previous post about tours of the museum in the transmitter building.

Scan of the FM radio band from a Pyongyang hotel reveals not much variety.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
North Korea Tech, 16 Sept 2011, Martyn Williams: "Switch on an FM radio in Pyongyang and there isn’t much to listen to, according to a scan of the FM band by a recent visitor to the country. Mark Fahey found just two radio stations available, although one was repeated on multiple frequencies. Pyongyang FM Broadcasting (Pyongyang FM Pangsong) was broadcasting on 105.2 MHz. Mark said the station, 'opened each morning with a few minutes of test tone, an interval signal and that the 6AM time signal.' ... The second station, Pyongyang Broadcasting Station (Pyongyang Pangsong) was broadcasting on 89.2, 91.2, 92.9, 93.3, 93.9, 94.5, 96.7, 97.3, 97.7, 98.1, 99.6, 101.8 and 106.5 MHz. All frequencies were carrying the same program. ... Pyongyang Broadcasting Station is the same program heard on several mediumwave and shortwave channels in East Asia. ... Fahey scanned the FM band from the 32nd floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel, so some of the channels could have been relays in nearby towns and cities. " With recordings. -- So no South Korean stations are audible, even from the 32nd floor. The distance would be a stretch for FM frequencies, easier for medium wave, very easy for shortwave.

South Korea arrests North Korean defector, accused of poison-needle plot against anti-DPRK leaflet activist.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 16 Sept 2011: "South Korean officials have arrested a North Korean defector on suspicion of plotting to kill high-profile activist Park Sang-hak, reports from Seoul say. Mr Park is an anti-Pyongyang activist involved in sending propaganda leaflets to the North. Named only as An, the arrested man is reported to be a former commando in his 40s who defected to the South in the late 1990s. Reports said he had a poison-tipped needle on him when he was arrested. Mr Park, another defector from the North, leads a group that flies balloons across the border carrying leaflets criticising the North Korean leadership."

Xinhua's CNC World now via Time Warner cable in the New York area.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 14 Sept 2011: "Xinhua News Agency's 24/7 news channel CNC World has increased its reach to North America and is now broadcast on Time Warner Cable as viewers in the greater New York area are able to receive the CNC program on channel 502 starting on Wednesday. ... CNC World has now reached all continents except Latin America. CNC World, which was launched on July 1, 2010 in Beijing, offers international news coverage timely and objectively and has become a new source of information for a global audience."

More comparisons of CNN International and CNN domestic.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Consortiumnews.com, 13 Sept 2011, Robert Parry: "Once Bush launched the Iraq invasion in March 2003, CNN – like the other U.S. news networks – positioned itself as supportive of the 'troops,' but had a special problem in that it broadcasts internationally and thus required at least a facade of objectivity, unlike Fox News and MSNBC which aggressively pandered to pro-war sentiments. CNN’s solution was to offer startlingly different war coverage to Americans on domestic CNN than what global viewers saw on CNN International. While domestic CNN focused on happy stories of American courage and appreciative Iraqis, CNNI carried more scenes of wounded civilians overflowing Iraqi hospitals. Ironically, when this divergence was noted in the U.S. press, it was framed as CNN pandering to its international audiences with more negative coverage of the war on CNNI, rather than CNN pandering to an American audience with more jingoistic coverage in its domestic feeds."

Redding.com, 11 Sept 2011, Doug Craig: "CNN International, for example delivers a different product from what we see, stateside."

CNN and foreign print media websites popular in Australia.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "7.30," 15 Sept 2011, Greg Hoy: "Hoy: Data collected by Expirian/Hitwise research shows in the 10 most popular TV network websites in Australia, CNN International ranks number four. The top 10 Australian print media sites also include some formidable foreign competition. Matt Glasaner, Experian/Hitwise: So there's a big interest in the Australian population about what's happening abroad, a global perspective."

Al Jazeera English documentary will report "more slaves worldwide than ever before," including 50,000 in the USA.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Monsters and Critics, 15 Sept 2011, April MacIntyre: "According to Al Jazeera, slavery persists in The United States of America and there are more slaves worldwide than ever before, according to a shocking new documentary series premiering on Al Jazeera English on 10 October 2011. Oscar and Emmy winning executive producer Jon Blair says, 'Slavery: A 21st Century Evil has been a year in the making and represents one of Al Jazeera's most important global investigations. Shot on three continents, this is the most in-depth study undertaken by any broadcaster of how and why modern day slavery persists.' 'Slavery: A 21st Century Evil' suggests there are up to 50 000 slaves in America -- with 17 000 new slaves arriving every year."

Huffington Post, 15 Sept 2011, Jack Healey: "Unfortunately, our [US] media waste too much time reporting on celebrities, sensationalizing family dramas, and giving opinions -- not news. I want my news to be factual, socially relevant, and delivered from diverse perspectives. Al Jazeera English (AJE) helps to fix this problem by providing solid reporting from diverse perspectives not often heard in the mainstream U.S. press. AJE is truly global in its coverage. It is the only news network with more bureaus in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (the regions where most of the world's people live) than in Europe and North America and has won accolades and awards for its coverage of the tsunami in Japan, the drug war in Mexico, this year's inspiring 'Arab Spring.' But it does not stop there. Its coverage of the U.S. is also top-notch. The channel has had superb reporting on how the current economic crisis is affecting Americans. ... A global power needs an informed citizenry. Cable companies should provide access to this valuable resource to all their costumers. This would be a great step toward helping Americans understand the culture and politics of other regions, in turn helping us become better neighbors to the world."

TradeArabia, 17 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera, a leading international channel based in Qatar, said it is now available on Flipboard, a leading social magazine based in California. The social magazine app will list Al Jazeera on their 'featured section', bringing the channel's news and programming content from around the world to more than three million Flipboard users, said the channel in a statement."

TV5Monde now available in more US cable homes -- for $10 a month.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 16 Sept 2011, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "TV5Monde Etats-Unis has signed major new distribution deals with leading US cable TV operators Comcast and Time Warner Cable. These two agreements are designed to strengthen the premium channel which is offered on demand at $9.99 each month. The Comcast deal sees the channel added to cable networks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey where TV5Monde is now accessible to 2.5 new million households and will add 1.9 households in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. The deal with Time Warner Cable adds 1.5 million households in cities from North and South Carolina and extends distribution in the North of New York State." -- Programs are in French, though some have English subtitles. For those interested in French-language cinema, or who want to learn French, it might worth worth $10 a month. See the TV5Monde USA website.

Perth footy fans watch Friday night final on one-hour delay, while Australia Network viewers throughout Asia-Pacific get it live.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Sept 2011, Simon White: "Once again Perth footy fans won't get a Friday night final live on TV – but AFL lovers in Guam, the Northern Marianas, Palau and Mongolia will be far more fortunate. Channel 7 will screen tomorrow night's Hawthorn-Sydney semi-final showdown from the MCG on one-hour delay from 6.30pm. The reasoning is again that a 5.30pm telecast would be 'too early' and that people 'won't even be home by then.' But that logic doesn't seem to apply to Hong Kong, Mongolia, Malaysia and Brunei, all of which are in the same time zone as Perth and will receive live free-to-air coverage of the Hawks-Swans clash via satellite service, the Australia Network. And the 'won't be home' argument certainly doesn't appear to hold water in fellow Australia Network destinations Laos, Cambodia and Burma – the first two of which will get a live broadcast from 4.30pm and the latter from 4pm. Among other more obscure destinations for Australia Network's live feed of the do-or-die Hawthorn-Sydney blockbuster are Nauru (population 9000), the Marshall Islands (68,000), Guam (178,000), Palau (21,000) and the Northern Marianas (80,000)."

WorldScreen TV Kids, 14 Sept 2011, Marissa Graziadio: "The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) has secured a range of deals for the first and second seasons of the Matchbox Pictures-produced series My Place. My Place seasons one and two have been picked up by Australia Network and Public Broadcasting Services Malta."

Voice of Russia cites Radio Sawa on Turkish Air Force treating Israeli "objectives" as hostile.

Posted: 18 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 13 Sept 2011: "The Turkish Air Force will identify Israeli objectives as hostile, Radio Sawa reported on Tuesday with reference to a Turkish military source. This will be made possible by the new 'friendly – hostile' identification system with which Turkish F-16 jet fighters are being equipped. The source said that fire will be opened at Israeli objectives. Relations between Turkey and Israel became tense after the recent publication of the UN report on the Freedom Flotilla incident."

Prince Alwaleed's news channel Alarab is still in the news. So are assault charges against him, re-opened by a Spanish judge.

Posted: 17 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 15 Sept 2011, Faisal J. Abbas: "It seems that 2012 will be the year when Arab viewers may finally see the break up of the dominance currently imposed over the Arabic satellite news channel market by the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera and Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya. Whereas preparations and staffing continues for the highly anticipated launch of Sky News Arabia from Abu Dhabi, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal announced that Alarab will be the name of his new international news channel, also scheduled to be launched in 2012. (though no exact date has been announced for either channel). ... Following the announcement, Alarab's managing director (and former editor of Saudi Arabia's Al-Watan daily newspaper) Jamal Khashoggi, answered some questions relating to the channel on Twitter. 'Alarab is going to be to the left of Al-Arabiya and to the right of Al-Jazeera,' Khashoggi Tweeted in response to a question about Alarab's editorial line. ... Alarab's headquarters and main broadcast center has not yet been announced, although according to Saudi-owned daily Al-Hayat, Prince Alwaleed has stated that the channel will 'not take orders' from the Saudi Minister of Information and its priority will not be 'Saudization' as it is a 'Arab, Muslim channel before being Saudi.' ... However, like the eternal dilemma Al-Jazeera has when it comes to its questionable coverage of its homeland, Qatar, it will remain to be seen how Alarab will cover Saudi Arabia. After all, editorial integrity can't be promised, it must be proven."

The Media Line, 15 Sept 2011, David Rosenberg: "[A]n all-news channel is an expensive proposition demanding huge investments in people and equipment, [Rob Beynon, chief executive DMA Media, which a international media company that helps launch news channels around the world, including the Middle East] said. When the U.S. government launched Al-Hurra in 2004, its first-year budget was $60 million and that figure doubled in subsequent years. Backers can expect several years of losses and an audience that waxes and wanes depending on the flow of news. 'You have to be very distinctive in your marketplace to make money. People will watch news channels when there’s a big story and often there can be days, weeks or months when there isn’t one and you have to get in there and develop the brand,' Beynon said."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 18 Sept 2011: "In the pan-Arab paper Asharq Al Awsat, columnist Hussein Shabakshi ... said the Arabic media landscape might be crowded, but the new channel has plenty of potential, especially with the involvement of Bloomberg, a trendsetting news platform with a clean reputation. There is more to the Arabic media landscape than Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, which have defined consumption of audio-visual media products in the Arab world. But other Arabic news channels have been launched by non-Arab countries. These include the US-funded Al Hurra, the UK's BBC Arabic, the US's CNN Arabic, France 24 Arabic, Russia Al Youm, China's CCTV Arabic and Turkey's TRT Arabic. Clearly, competition is not in short supply. But there is optimism that Al Arab will manage to make a niche for itself, the columnist argued. Editorially, the veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is taking the helm. Financially, the channel will be cushioned by an 'ambitious funding scheme' aiming to cover its spending for the next ten years. 'Let the viewer and the market have their say,' he concluded." -- There is no CNN Arabic television channel, although CNN does have a website in Arabic.

Investor's Business Daily, 15 Sept 2011, editorial: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg "has no qualms about doing business with the creepy billionaire. They seem to see eye-to-eye on many issues. Take the Ground Zero mosque. Bloomberg gave his blessing to the outrage. In fact, to the shock of many, the mayor actually promoted its construction. His support is said to have been colored by Alwaleed, who happens to be one of the project's biggest foreign boosters."

New York Times, 13 Sept 2011, Raphael Minder: "A Spanish judge has reopened an abandoned sexual assault case against a Saudi prince who is one of the world’s richest men, reviving accusations that he raped a 20-year-old model on a luxury yacht in the Spanish Mediterranean in August 2008. The prince, Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, is the largest individual stakeholder in Citigroup and, among his other major holdings, is the second largest investor in the News Corporation. Forbes valued his fortune this year at $19.4 billion, making him the 26th richest man in the world and the single richest in the Arab world. The accuser did not go public, and the original complaint appears to have remained largely unknown. The case was quietly closed in July 2010 for what a judge on the Mediterranean resort island of Ibiza called a lack of evidence. But on appeal, a Spanish provincial court for the Balearic Islands, which has jurisdiction over Ibiza, ordered the judge to resume investigating and to summon the prince to appear. ... Heba Fatani, a spokeswoman for Prince Alwaleed’s investment arm, the Kingdom Holding Company, called the accusations 'completely and utterly false.'" See also CNN, 15 Sept 2011, Al Goodman.

Arab New, 16 Sept 2011, via Eurasia Review: "[A]nyone familiar with Prince Alwaleed would be outraged by such reports. Here is someone who is not just renowned for his philanthropy and extensive charity activities around the world, he is known for his utter simplicity and rare integrity of character. ... Whatever be the truth, which will eventually come out before the world and let’s hope soon, what is unacceptable is the manner in which a newspaper of the standing of the New York Times went to town with the story without checking facts and primary sources. We don’t consider it responsible journalism. The highbrow newspaper failed to stick to the basics of journalism in reporting this so-called case."

See previous post about Alarab.

Employee of the old (1951-53) Radio Free Asia establishes college scholarship.

Posted: 17 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR), 16 Sept 2011, Saul Hubbard: "A University of Oregon graduate is donating $5 million to provide scholarships to a group that she says is often overlooked — the children of middle class families. ... The Mary Corrigan and Richard Solari Scholarships will be for $5,000 a year, renewable for a maximum of four years. ... Mary Solari graduated from the UO in 1946 with a degree in psychology, and went on to work for NBC Radio, Radio Free Asia and Bechtel Engineering before marrying Richard Solari and raising three daughters. She now lives in Aptos, Calif." -- Apparently she worked for the "old" Radio Free Asia, funded by the CIA 1951-53. See Cold War Radios, 4 Mar 2011, Richard H. Cummings.

Forbes Kazakhstan magazine launches. It's in Russian.

Posted: 17 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Chaikhana blog, 15 Sept 2011, Farangis Najibullah: "It wasn't long ago that Kazakh tycoons first began appearing on 'Forbes' magazine's annual list of the world's billionaires. Now the self-described 'capitalist tool' itself is venturing into Kazakhstan. The first issue of 'Forbes Kazakhstan' was launched this month in the oil-rich Central Asian country in partnership with the local United Media Group (UMG). Beginning with a circulation of 10,000 copies, the Russian-language magazine will combine local business stories with content selected from the U.S. edition of Forbes, publishers say." -- Does the Kazakhstan Russian edition of Forbes borrow content from the Russian Russian version of Forbes?

VOA director David Ensor tells newsroom staff: "There are going to be some RIFs."

Posted: 17 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBG Watch, blog, 15 Sept 2011, BBGWatcher: "Here are some more quotes from VOA director David Ensor from his meeting with staff of the Central News Division, as reported to us by some of the participants. A RIF (Reduction in Force) will happen. 'There are going to be some RIFS. I don’t think it is constructive to put a number out when the numbers have to go through about five different other groups, now it goes to the Board in a few days time, then it has to go to (OMB Director) Jack Lew, then it goes to subcommittees on the Hill.' ... 'I’m going to fight like hell' to minimize cuts, Ensor said. On the BBG’s plan to end VOA Chinese broadcasts, which members of Congress are working to block, Ensor suggested that he is in favor of expanding satellite television transmissions which were to be eliminated under the BBG plan. 'I would like to have a proposal in a matter of weeks on an expansion in the number of hours of satellite television, I would like to see some ideas, let’s come up with a smart idea because I think we need to move some of the money we are spending on Mandarin shortwave.' ...

"February will be a key month as the BBG is forced to make 'a whole series of decisions' about consolidation. 'The BBG currently told the RFA (Radio Free Asia), RFE (Radio Free Europe)and MBN [Middle East Broadcast Network, which runs the U.S. government's al-Hurra television] to combine into one.' For the time being, Ensor said, VOA will remain a federal organization. ... Steve Redisch, VOA’s Executive Editor who was acting director before Ensor arrived to take up his political appointment, said the massive restructuring would not eliminate 'brands' such as Alhurra television for the Middle East, Radio Sawa which broadcasts to the Mideast, or TV Ashna, a relatively new VOA TV operation for Afghanistan. ...

"Responding to one employee who asked how long he expects to remain in his position, Ensor said he hopes to remain for at least two years. 'I have already had to threaten to quit once. I think in this kind of a job, I am a political appointee, you have to be ready to walk. In order to stand for the things that you believe are essential for the organization. An organization like this needs a boss who is willing to walk on principle in order to get the things that the organization needs to go forward. ... I am not a civil servant, I am a political appointee, and I am going to try and stand for this organization with a certain backbone." See also BBG Watch blog, 14 Sept 2011.

Actually, Mr. Ensor is not a political appointee. He is a civil servant. He really should know this. One of the main reasons for the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 was to depoliticize the hiring of the VOA director. Formerly the VOA director was appointed by the president, sometimes with Senate consent. Now that position is filled by the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors. The only political appointees now in USIB are the BBG members and the IBB director (who refrains from decisions affecting content).

BBG Watch is a new, clandestine website "launched and maintained by former and current BBG and VOA employees and their supporters." It is anti-BBG and appears to be pro-VOA in the internecine rivalry among the entities of US international broadcasting.

BBG decries "repression and intimidation" of USIB journalists in Nepal, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Burma, Angola.

Posted: 17 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 15 Sept 2011: "At today's Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) meeting, the Board ... called public attention to a string of disturbing incidents of repression and intimidation perpetrated against BBG journalists in recent months in Nepal, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Burma and elsewhere. The Board decried the longstanding interference with media freedom in Iran and Board Chairman Walter Isaacson noted that, 'Taken together, these practices amount to the construction of an "electronic curtain" isolating the Iranian people from the rest of the world.' The Board's full statement on recent threats to its journalists can be found online here."

BBG's Michael Meehan: "I could just resign and go home and move on to other things."

Posted: 17 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 15 Sept 2011, video stream of the BBG meeting on the same day: Member of the BBG Michael Meehan discussing the June 2011 trip to Africa by him and by BBG members Susan McCue and Dana Perino: "I just wanted to go on the record to anyone in the sound of my voice that to understand that we're here to protect the journalistic mission of this place, and if not I could just resign and go home and move on to other things. It's not essential for me to be here. But I just want to go on the record to say that now that management has taken the actions that they have taken, to be clear that we stand foursquare on the side of journalists and that we will stand up to the people who will impede the freedom of journalists to do their work around the world." (Listen to audio, mp3, 1 min 35 sec.)

Mr. Meehan refers to the situation (see previous post) in which the VOA Horn of Africa chief was suspended and later reassigned to the VOA central newsroom after he revealed, in an interview on a VOA Amharic broadcast, some specifics about the BBG's meeting (which he also attended) with the Ethiopian communications minister. Will the former VOA Horn of Africa chief now also be able to go on the record to anyone within the sound of his voice to provide his version of events? I don't know much about the specifics of this case, but I do know that language service chief is the most difficult and grueling job in US international broadcasting. Service chiefs should, whenever possible, be treated with appropriate forbearance.

After Mr. Meehan's statement, the new VOA director David Ensor said: "May I just thank the governor and the governors who went to Africa for their dedication and the the hard work that went into that. ... Your interest is just priceless. Thank you for the effort."

Also noteworthy from the 15 September BBG meeting...

--Approval of the merger of BBG and IBB staffs under the IBB director. And approval of revised grant agreements (no specifics given) with the grantee organizations (RFE/RL, RFA, and MBN).

--The BBG has created a Commission on Innovation, with members including James Montgomery of BBC Global News.

--An FM relay (presumably for Radio Sawa) will be set up in Benghazi, Libya, after the transmitter was held up for three weeks by Egyptian customs. An FM relay transmitter in Tripoli, Libya, will follow.

--A "direct-to-home" satellite feed for VOA and RFA Mandarin will be established on Telstar 18, the "number one ranked" satellite in China. The feed will consist of audio and still visuals, some of which will display the URLs of proxy servers to allow access to the VOA and RFA websites.

--USIB news bureaus will be consolidated. This includes VOA and MBN in New York, London, Cairo, and Jerusalem. VOA and RFE/RL "are working towards" co-locating in Moscow in 2012. VOA and RFA "are working towards co-locating in places such as Bangkok." Governor Victor Ashe mentioned that RFA was subject to a drive-by shooting in Phnom Penh, and the VOA office in Phnom Penh, a mile away, knew nothing about it.

--A consultant will look into the consolidation of USIB.

--MBN president Brian Coniff reported that a new survey in Egypt shows the Alhurra audience has doubled to nearly eight million.

RFE/RL blogger describes NBC report as "a great piece of propaganda for Ahmadinejad" (updated).

Posted: 16 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 14 Sept 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari: A "flattering report, described as the 'first-ever behind-the-scenes access' into the Iranian president’s daily schedule, was aired on the U.S. television network NBC. The 'exclusive' report, which reveals unimportant details about Ahmadinejad's life (including the fact that he works with his shoes off but his reading glasses on) is a great piece of propaganda for Ahmadinejad, who heads to New York next week to attend the UN General Assembly. The positive report has been also noticed in Tehran, including by Ayandehnews, which referred to it as NBC’s 'propaganda piece' about Ahmadinejad. The report portrays Ahmadinejad as a hard-working, compassionate, and religious president who leads a very simple life and cares deeply about his people. Ahmadinejad's PR team couldn’t have done it better. ... The NBC report mentions Iran's rising inflation and the poor people who swarmed the president during a visit to a remote province while pleading for food and other necessities. But what it doesn't say is that many economists believe Ahmadinejad’s policies and his mismanagement of the economy are largely to blame. Instead of challenging the Iranian president, the NBC reporter, Ann Curry, asks him easy questions that are quite usual even on Iran’s state media. Curry: 'Mr. President, why have you made this point to come to one of the poorest parts of Iran to highlight the art and the crafts?' Ahmadinejad (through a translator): 'I want to show that we all have some common humanity, human values.'"

Update: Atlantic Wire, 14 Sept 2011, Uri Friedman: "Is the criticism fair? It's true that Curry's 'behind-the-scenes' report on Ahmadinejad's grueling schedule -- with its images of the president jogging 'Rocky style' and hugging a man whose wife is sick--is a bit of a puff piece, albeit an interesting one. Curry asks softball questions like 'why do you work so hard?' and 'why have you made this point to come to one of the poorest parts of Iran to highlight the art and the crafts?' But the report isn't entirely glowing, either. At one point, for example, people swarm Ahmadinejad and plead for food and other basic services. ... In this week's interview, Curry touches on sensitive issues like concerns about Iran developing a nuclear warhead (7:23), Ahmadinejad's 'explosive' 9/11 conspiracy theories (29:50), and Iran's aggression toward Israel (38:40). She also asks how 'what Syria is doing, with all due respect Mr. President, [is] any different than what Iran did to the young people protesting your reelection' (42:11). She stops short, however, of delving into Iran's domestic human rights and economic issues, and often doesn't press Ahmadinejad when he proves evasive." See also Jerusalem Post, 16 Sept 2011, Yaakov Katz.

"Brave New World Service" think piece calls for greater World Service role in BBC news output within the UK.

Posted: 16 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Twitter.com, 15 Sept 2011, Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News, @PeterHorrocks1: "John McCarthy's insightful report 'Brave New World Service' published. He poses sharp and relevant questions. ibt.org.uk

International Broadcasting Trust, Sept 2011, "Brave New World Service", by John McCarthy: "In 2012 the World Service will be moving from its long standing home in Bush House to a building shared with the domestic news services of the BBC. The new custom built centre at Broadcasting House will be known as ‘W1’. The move is the first stage in a plan to integrate the World Service with BBC domestic news in order to create one, multi-platform, global newsroom. ... The World Service has never been more relevant or needed; for those audiences around the world who have no other source of honest news, for those who want a cool, calm, authoritative voice to cut through the babble of available information and for the UK public in general, who need more information about the rest of the world. ... There is a genuine opportunity to bring its expertise to a wider UK audience by enhancing the quality, tone and range of the BBC’s international coverage. But that opportunity needs to be seized decisively and will only be successful if the BBC can find a way of articulating the value of the World Service to UK audiences and to its own journalists. Now is not the time for platitudes and quiet assurances, the BBC needs not only to be clear and decisive but must be brave in its approach. It must take the lead as a public service broadcaster, using the opportunity that World Service expertise provides, to modernise the domestic news agenda to more accurately reflect the nature of our globalised world. Of course, this must not be at the detriment of the World Service’s international role, which should be maintained and nurtured in the years to come."

This report is mainly about the integration of World Service into the larger BBC as the World Service becomes funded by the license fee. The report does not discuss the most difficult challenge for international broadcasting, which is getting information into countries that jam or block that information. BBCWS has been cutting back on its Mandarin output because it has not found a solution to China's interdiction of BBC Mandarin content.

The Guardian, 15 Sept 2011, James Robinson and Dan Sabbagh: "The chairman of the BBC Trust defended the size of the corporation's news operation and said it was popular with viewers because of its quality, reliability and accuracy. Lord Patten told the Royal Television Society's biannual conference in Cambridge: 'Would Britain be better served if we weren't on the spot when Osama bin Laden was killed and had to depend on American television companies to cover it? I'm not sure that would be of benefit to the public.' He argued that the BBC's greatest strength was its ability to cover global events such as the murder of the former Pakistani president Benazir Bhutto on the ground."

Iran filters traffic using Tor circumvention tool. Tor quickly finds a workaround. For now.

Posted: 16 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Tor Project, 14 Sept 2011, arma: "Yesterday morning (in our timezones — that evening, in Iran), Iran added a filter rule to their border routers that recognized Tor traffic and blocked it. Thanks to help from a variety of friends around the world, we quickly discovered how they were blocking it and released a new version of Tor that isn't blocked. Fortunately, the fix is on the relay side: that means once enough relays and bridges upgrade, the many tens of thousands of Tor users in Iran will resume being able to reach the Tor network, without needing to change their software. ... We're working on medium term and longer term solutions, but in the short term, there are other ways to filter Tor traffic like the one Iran used. Should we fix them all preemptively, meaning the next time they block us it will be through some more complex mechanism that's harder to figure out? Or should we leave things as they are, knowing there will be more blocking events but also knowing that we can solve them easily?"

"Receiver solutions" for DRM digital shortwave "were a huge attraction" at IBC Amsterdam.

Posted: 16 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium press release, 14 Sept 2011: "At DRM’s strongest ever presence at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam, participants were given a unique opportunity to take part in a digital journey with DRM including practical demonstrations highlighting its benefits and features. Three events were held on the 10th, 11th and 12th of September at the booths of Transradio, Nautel and Fraunhofer IIS (all DRM members) respectively which were well attended and well-received. The new receiver solutions presented at these events were a huge attraction that made these events a success. ... At the Transradio booth on Saturday, 10th September, participants were constantly taking pictures of the ‘stand-alone’, ‘USB’, ‘car’ and ‘professional monitoring’ receivers displayed against the Transradio transmitters. DRM enthusiasts had certainly not seen so many DRM receiver solutions in one place before. ... On Monday Frauhofer IIS hosted DRM for the first time at its booth and almost by popular demand gave the floor mainly to the receiver manufacturers Chengdu New Star, Frontier Silicon, Himalaya, MSWay and Uniwave, who had a chance to promote their solutions side by side. In all, it was a very successful IBC for DRM which managed to showcase the full technology and also demonstrated that there are a variety of chipset and receiver solutions now available for international DRM markets." -- But will these "receiver solutions" lead to actual receivers? See also Radiopassioni, 10 Sept 2011, Andrea Lawendel. See previous post about same subject.

Love Asia By Radio (KTWR Guam), 16 Sept 2011, NH2MS: "We have had an encouraging learning experience during our DRM test transmissions. ... We have received listener reports from Japan and Australia. The main beam of the 75KW signal was actually headed toward India." With link to YouTube video of reception in Japan.

If you're in Europe, you can listen to Eur Radio on your radio.

Posted: 16 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Solaris Mobile press release, 9 Sept 2011: "Solaris Mobile Ltd., the Dublin based operator of hybrid satellite and terrestrial wireless networks, has today announced the launch of EUR RADIO - a new, free, pan-European digital satellite radio demonstration platform which will serve the European Union region. The new free-to-air distribution service platform, EUR RADIO, will be used initially for marketing and demonstration purposes but could become the catalyst for a commercial service, providing listeners across the EU with a bouquet of radio channels, both public and private, covering the majority of European languages. ... The first phase will include the following European radio stations; HIT RADIO FFH (Hessen/Germany)and planet radio (Hessen/Germany). The platform will also include the TV channel, France 24 (France). The new digital audio service will complement existing national services and offer users unique benefits not seen before when crossing member state borders and using broadcast networks. EUR Radio demonstrates how listeners in the near future will be able to tune into a radio station in their native language regardless of territory or location. Once tuned into the station of choice, reception and broadcast quality will remain constant and of superior digital quality whilst traveling across country borders within the EU, a first for broadcast customers within Europe. ... Solaris Mobile will make its S-Band capacity on the W2A satellite available to facilitate EUR Radio, which will go live this year. The EUR Radio service offering may also be available in densely populated areas [when line of sight of the satellite may be restricted] through the use of Solaris Mobile's existing national CGC networks." -- Until receivers dedicated to this service are developed, reception is presumably via satellite television receivers.

NHK World TV wins ConnectedWorld.TV award for its earthquake/tsunami coverage.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Sept 2011, Gavin J. Blair: "NHK World TV won Broadcaster of the Year at the inaugural Internet television ConnectedWorld.TV Awards, for its coverage of the triple Japanese disasters in March. The international English-language channel of Japan’s public broadcaster ran rolling 24-hour coverage of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis through cable television, and on its website, which attracted 5.4 million visitors in the two weeks from March 11. 'In serving the global audience NHK employed all the traditional broadcast elements of good journalism and excellent technology on a new media platform via the Internet to serve an incredible thirst for information,' said Michael McEwen, one of the judges, at the ceremony in Amsterdam on Monday evening. NHK was chosen from a shortlist that included the BBC and TV5 Monde from France. 'The NHK and BBC often lead their colleagues in both innovation and service quality and while there is little to separate these two great public broadcasters there is no question that NHK's worldwide distribution of earthquake information that was consistently of quality and humanity gives it the edge for this year's award,' declared the judges." See also www.connectedworldawards.tv. -- Apparently ConnectedWorld.TV was not able to get the URL connectedworld.tv.

Essay on press freedom in Europe includes discussion of subsidies to Euronews and Arte.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
EurActiv.com, 14 Sept 2011: "As a public good, the question of granting public subsidies to media has often been raised. State television and radio were long the rule in Europe, although privately held broadcasters became increasingly common after World War II. The BBC earned Europeans' respect and gratitude for providing trusted news during the Nazi occupation and for opening its airwaves to governments in exile. Today, state-owned broadcasters in Europe tend to be outnumbered by private TV and radio stations. In Britain, this has even led some to call into question the necessity of retaining a publicly-funded media service. In most countries, though, public-funded television is generally seen as a guarantee that quality programmes will continue to be aired in the public's interest. Guided by an editorial independence charter, such stations are meant to offer programmes that would not normally attract sufficient advertising revenue or large enough audiences. Arte, a cultural TV channel funded by France and Germany, is a good example of this. At EU level, multilingual TV channel Euronews is known for benefiting from European Commission funding, giving a European angle to its coverage. Smaller media, including EurActiv.com and its network of national affiliates, have also won funding under specific EU projects to cover topics considered of public interest (never exceeding 30% of annual turnover). But while some MEPs [members of the European Parliament] have pushed for EU intervention to help make European media more profitable, some fear that this could hamper the independence of the press."

Al Jazeera's 15th anniversary events will include poetry contest, art fairs, forum, theatrical events, and an operetta.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Gulf Times (Doha), 14 Sept 2011: "The Al Jazeera Network is preparing for grand festivities to celebrate its 15th anniversary. The festivities will begin on October 22 and conclude on November 20. Mounir Daymi, executive office manager at the director general office and head of the supreme committee organising the festivities ... pointed out that festivities this year have a special dimension in the light of the Arab uprisings. The festivities would reflect the various concepts that have been adopted and promoted by Al Jazeera, most important of them being the value of freedom as well as the right of people to fight injustice and build a better future. ... He also announced that an Arabic poetry competition in co-operation with the ministry of culture and arts (MCA) would be held. ... Daymi added that the festivities have been planned to include formative art fairs, an international forum that would study the effects of Al Jazeera on the Arab uprisings, theatrical events, a musical operetta, and a family celebration for Al Jazeera employees. There would also be publications on the occasion illustrating the role of Al Jazeera."

Radio Martí is a factor in appeals for the "Cuban Five," now serving US prison sentences.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, Checkpoint Washington blog, 14 Sept 2011, Karen DeYoung: "This week marked 13 years since the U.S. imprisonment of five Cuban nationals who were convicted of espionage and related charges in Miami. Their release is a cause celebre in Cuba, whose government says they were subjected to an unfair trial and were wrongly convicted. ... [T]he Cuban government on Monday [held] a massive gala in the Cuban capital, where the families of the five were treated as heroes and victims. Senior officials called the prisoners’ treatment 'inhumane and cruel' and again demanded their release. ... A new round of appeals is currently pending, with lawyers for the five re-arguing the venue question, in part on grounds that U.S. government funds paid for some of the overwhelmingly negative local media coverage during their trial. Many of the journalists who wrote scathing articles in Miami’s Spanish-language press were also employed by the government’s Radio Marti, which sends largely critical broadcasts to Cuba from Miami."

Public diplomacy: From Israel via "public diplomacy video," from Pakistan via Wall Street Journal ad.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Arutz Sheva, 13 Sept 2011, Gavriel Queenann: "Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon starred in a new public diplomacy video explaining the main reason for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is not Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria, but successive Arab leaders' resistance to Jewish sovereignty. Ayalon asks, 'If Israel's presence is the cause of the conflict, then it follows that there is no conflict before 1967, when Israel was not in the West Bank. Right? Let's look at the facts. The PLO – the Palestine Liberation Organization – was created in 1964, when the entire West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands. Why create a PLO in 1964 when Israel has no presence in the West Bank and Gaza? What Palestine were they liberating?'"

Wall Street Journal, India Realtime, 13 Sept 2011, Tom Wright: "Pakistan has taken out a half-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in an attempt to shift what Islamabad feels is an anti-Pakistan narrative in the American media. 'Which country can do more for your peace?' the ad asks, sitting below a story on page A10 of the U.S. Journal’s Saturday/Sunday edition titled 'When the Towers Came Down.' 'Since 2001 a nation of 180 million has been fighting for the future of world’s 7 billion!' it continues. 'Can any other country do so? Only Pakistan…Promising peace to the world.'"

New York Times blog uses RFE/RL video of attack on US embassy in Kabul.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, The Lede blog, 13 Sept 2011, J. David Goodman: "[T]he United States Embassy there came under sustained attack on Tuesday, a brazen strike on one of the most secure locations in the country. ... The video below posted by Radio Free Afghanistan, the Afghan branch of Radio Free Europe also known as Radio Azadi, captured fighting in the partially constructed tower." See also RFE/RL, 14 Sept 2011.

Committee to Protect Journalists still has questions about NATO airstrikes on Libyan broadcast facilities.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Jounalists, 13 Sept 2011, Joel Simon, CPJ executive director: "On August 4, CPJ wrote to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen requesting information about the July 30 attacks on broadcast facilities in Libya in which NATO aircraft destroyed three broadcast dishes. As we noted in our letter, CPJ is concerned any time a media outlet faces a military attack. Such attacks can only be justified under international humanitarian law if the facility is being used for military purposes or to incite violence against the civilian population. ... We received a reply on August 12, signed by Martin Howard, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations. ... Howard noted that NATO carried out extensive monitoring of Libyan TV broadcasting and that throughout July Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi used the state broadcaster to make frequent calls for violence against the civilian population. But the letter lacks specifics. ... We would like to know the specific instances in which Qaddafi used the media to call for violence against the civilian population, and the specific language that he used. Moreover, we would like to know how NATO commanders assessed the likelihood that destroying three broadcast dishes would in fact achieve their objective, which was to prevent Qaddafi from communicating with the Libyan public."

China establishes major media presence in Brazil.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 12 Sept 2011, Eric Ehrmann: "Seeking to put more of its own spin on global affairs and provide counterspin to offest coverage generated by CNN, the BBC, the Voice of America and other U.S .public diplomacy outlets, official Chinese media is expanding its footprint in the southern hemisphere. To make this happen, China has entered into a strategic partnership with Bandeirantes, one of Brazil's major multimedia companies. A YouTube video featuring China's ambassador to Brazil does not provide financial details of the arrangement. China Central Television (CCTV) now makes São Paulo the headquarters for its Latin American operation. Recently, several additional journalists and staff from China's 'big three,' which includes CCTV, Peoples' Daily and Xinhua news service, were added to the São Paulo contingent. The expanded coverage is an example of how China shape-shifts content delivery to support its global policy initiatives on a broad spectrum of issues including currency, defense, development, energy, food security and technology. Content produced out of São Paulo can be fed to CCTV viewers in Mandarin, Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian." -- Radio Bandeirantes was a major partner of the old VOA Brazilian Portuguese service. BBC is still active in Brazil.

South Korean content floated over North Korea's southern border, smuggled across its northern border.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AFP, 14 Sept 2011: "South Korea's military operates giant trucks which print and send thousands of leaflets and transmit broadcasts as part of psychological warfare against North Korea, said a report disclosed on Wednesday. ... Details of South Korea's military psychological operations (psy-ops) unit emerged in a defence ministry report to Song Young-Sun, a member of parliament's defence committee. ... The South has five-ton trucks equipped with a satellite data receiver and a printer to publish up to 80,000 leaflets a day, and giant helium balloons to carry leaflets into its isolated communist neighbour, the report said. 'The military is known to launch the balloons twice or three times a month, depending on wind direction and weather conditions,' the aide to Song told AFP."

The Chosunilbo, 14 Sept 2011: "After the North sank the Navy corvette Cheonan in March last year, the military resumed broadcasting the "Voice of Freedom" propaganda programs that had been suspended in 2004. ... 'We keep a database of some 1,300 leaflets and about 470 materials for broadcast programs in preparation for wartime psy-ops against the North,' a [South Korean] military spokesman said. 'U.S. personnel of the Combined Forces Command are participating in producing leaflets, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CFC commander review and approve them.'"

AP, 9 Sept 2011: "In South Korea ... an activist said his group sent huge balloons floating into North Korea on Friday; the balloons contained U.S. dollar bills, booklets and DVDs critical of the Kim dynasty. The North has angrily reacted to such activities taking place near the border in the past, calling them a push by the South Korean government to incite subversion in Pyongyang. Seoul denies a link to the activists."

Strategy Page, 13 Sept 2011: "A month ago, several hundred men from the Escort Bureau (the personal security force for the ruling Kim family) were assigned to the Chinese border. There, the Escort Bureau troops went after police and border guards who were taking bribes to allow people (and goods) to enter or leave the country. ... While the Escort Bureau troops had arrested many security personnel and civilians, they were still corruptible in the end. In response to this, or simply to follow up on the success of the Escort Bureau troops, the government has now sent a special 'Unit 828' to ensure honest border security. This outfit was recruited from the propaganda staff of the most senior government propaganda organization. Unit 828 will be there to seek ways to halt the flow of South Korean culture into North Korea. Most of this traffic is in the form of videos, usually on DVDs. This stuff is very popular in North Korea, but its depiction of a wealthy, happy South Korea, undermines decades of North Korea propaganda."

Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting webcast today at 1800 UTC.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBG events, 15 Sept 2011: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Thursday, September 15 at BBG headquarters in Washington, D.C. to receive and consider a report from the BBG’s Governance Committee, including the revision of Agency grant agreements. There will be an update on digital innovations. Broadcast executives will give programming and coverage updates. The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. [EDT, or 1800 UTC], will be webcast both live and on-demand, at www.bbg.gov."

From this NPR story we know, at least, there is more variety on the Libyan radio dial.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
NPR, All Things Considered, 12 Sept 2011, Jason Beaubien: "The fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has brought about a dramatic change on the radio dial in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. In the past, Libyans could only tune in to the government stations. Foreign broadcast signals were blocked. And what the state-run stations offered was tightly controlled and laden with pro-Gadhafi propaganda. Now, the airwaves that used to only carry four state-run stations — broadcasting only in Libyan Arabic as a mouthpiece for the Gadhafi regime — are filled with broadcasts from across the Mediterranean and neighboring Tunisia. There's news from Radio France International. Announcers yell in Italian. A station in Tunisian Arabic can be heard. Shakira is singing in Spanish and English. In the past, the government jammed all these broadcasts." -- This story does not quite add up. The Gadhafi regime jammed all foreign station audible in Libya? Unlikely. And what "airwaves" are "filled with broadcasts from across the Mediterranean"? If it's the FM band, the broadcasts are for the most part from within Libya. RFI already has an FM station in Banghazi, on 105.5 MHz. BBC World Service also has FM relays in the country. The Radio Sawa frequency list does not show any FM outlets in Libya.

HCJB assisting a radio training project in Liberia, home of "renowned international broadcaster ELWA."

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HCJB press release, 9 Sept 2011, Ralph Kurtenbach: "In July 1990 the [Liberian civil war] forced the evacuation of staff from renowned international broadcaster ELWA after clashes on the station's campus between fighters of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia and government troops. Staff returned and reopened the broadcasting and healthcare ministries in 1991 only to flee fighting in Monrovia again in April 1996. Missionaries and Liberian staff reinitiated ministries in 1997. ELWA has partnered with HCJB Global and other broadcasters since 1985 in the World by Radio effort, making Christian broadcasts available in numerous languages that didn't yet have Gospel programming." See also some history of ELWA. -- A major VOA shortwave relay site in Liberia was also destroyed by the civil war.

USAID's radio-based learning programs in South Sudan.

Posted: 15 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
USAID Frontlines, September/October 2011, Jane Namadi and Ezra Simon: "One of USAID’s most important tools in raising literacy and improving learning in South Sudan is radio — the medium that reaches the broadest segment of the population of more than 8 million. USAID uses radio-based learning not only to provide teachers with lessons they can present to their students but also to reach non-traditional, generally older students who may not have had the opportunity to attend school. In 2010, USAID’s radio-based learning programs have reached nearly 100,000 students and 445,000 youth and adults who did not have access to regular school instruction. The USAID-supported South Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction has broadcast over shortwave, FM, and through MP3s since 2005, programming that also includes civic education programs. Community radio stations that USAID supports also broadcast the Agency’s radio-learning programs."

When the "emerging countries" emerge, they, too, can experience "Facebook fatigue."

Posted: 14 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Independent Online (Cape Town), 13 Sept 2011: "Facebook fatigue is setting in. Time has wearied users of Facebook and while total usage is growing thanks to emerging countries, established markets such as the US, UK and Canada have seen large declines in terms of active participation such as status updates, sharing content, messaging and installing applications. That’s the recent finding by GlobalWebIndex, the world’s most detailed global insight study into consumer behaviour online. Active behaviour on Facebook in the US such as messaging friends and joining groups in the past month are down 15 percent and 10 percent respectively. ... Facebook fatigue is setting in. Time has wearied users of Facebook and while total usage is growing thanks to emerging countries, established markets such as the US, UK and Canada have seen large declines in terms of active participation such as status updates, sharing content, messaging and installing applications. That’s the recent finding by GlobalWebIndex, the world’s most detailed global insight study into consumer behaviour online. Active behaviour on Facebook in the US such as messaging friends and joining groups in the past month are down 15 percent and 10 percent respectively." -- I had Facebook fatigue about 36 hours after opening my Facebook account. I love, and will continue using, my steam-powered PC, connected to a professional-grade 24-inch display suitable for the eyes of someone in the "or older" bracket of most questionnaires.

Adweek, 6 Sept 2011, Dylan Byers: Blogger Ben Smith "is concerned that blogging may not have much of a future. Since the early days of the 2008 campaign, Smith has distinguished himself by being first to the news. Having a jump on the competition of even just five minutes has made all the difference, he says. But a lot has changed since 2008. Twitter, Smith says, is 'sort of draining the life from the blog.' 'Where people were hitting refresh on my blog because they wanted to see what my latest newsbreak was, now they’ll just be on Twitter, and I’ll tweet it out and they’ll see it there,' he says." -- Well, they see the headline, or teaser, at Twitter, then, if interested, use the link to see the larger blog post. So what is the problem?

CNBC EMEA press release, 13 Sept 2011: "CNBC’s ‘Europe’s Mobile Elite 2011’ ... showed that the use of Twitter as a business and marketing tool has seen a rapid increase amongst users, almost doubling in use to 61% up from 31% a year ago. ... Accessing news websites via a mobile device has fallen 10% since 2010 due to the proliferation of news mobile applications downloaded. News apps are by far the most popular (75%), followed by weather (54%) and social networking apps (39%). The results indicate that access to traditional news websites over mobile devices is likely to fall in favour of using apps. ... Facebook continues to be the favoured network amongst social media users, although the number of senior executives with accounts has dropped off to 77% from 81% a year ago."

US public diplomacy in Afghanistan includes "pulse racing music" and "quick cuts from scene to scene."

Posted: 14 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Nextgov.com, 12 Sept 2011, Joseph Marks: "To the long list of public diplomacy efforts the U.S. State Department has launched in Afghanistan, add the TV show 'Eagle Four,' a '24'-style cop thriller that has proven, in early analyses, to be the most popular of several TV programs financed by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In addition to 'Eagle Four,' which NPR described in December as filled with 'pulse racing music' and 'quick cuts from scene to scene,' the embassy has funded a youth-oriented soap opera set at a Kandahar university and a reality show-style documentary about army life, according to David Ensor, the embassy's recently departed communications director who's now the director of Voice of America. The shows are all meant to serve some public policy function, Ensor told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Friday. 'Eagle Four,' for example, is aimed at raising public respect for Afghan police officers, who are widely regarded as corrupt, while the youth-oriented soap opera focuses heavily on female students who would have been banned from attending university during Taliban rule." See previous post about same subject.

On Latin American pay TV, high cost of international channels causes "high churn."

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Rapid TV News, 12 Sept 2011, Michelle Clancy: "In the Americas, more than 16 million homes upgraded from analogue to digital TV in 2010, new research from Informa has revealed. Also, during the year, more than 7 million new homes in the region subscribed to pay-TV, with DTH performing particularly well. ... Although a high-profile merger has not resulted in the dominance hoped for, DirecTV Latin America (DTVLA) is also reporting significant subscriber growth. Potential entrants into the Latin American TV sector have previously been discouraged by the major debt loads of prospective partners. But significant efforts to clear debts have been made, with several major media players successfully rescheduling their debt burden. Exchange rate fluctuations and major increases in local prices of imports from the US had a particularly detrimental effect on the broadcast sector. Many cable and satellite operators pay international channels in US dollars but receive subscription and ad revenues in local currencies. Operators sometimes pass on these extra costs to their subscribers, causing high churn. Dollar denominated contracts can also lead to greater piracy and subscriber underreporting by operators."

Space Systems/Loral press release, 8 Sept 2011: "Space Systems/Loral, the leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that it has been awarded a contract to provide two high-power satellites to Intelsat for Direct-to-Home (DTH) television service in Latin America. The two satellites will be operated by Intelsat, which will provide them to DIRECTV Latin America, a leading DTH digital television services operator in Latin America."

Hillary Clinton put "our people ... on key channels like Al Jazeera ... because that’s where people are."

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State Department, 9 Sept 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks to the John Jay School of Criminal Justice: "One of the first things I did after arriving at the State Department was to appoint a special representative to Muslim communities around the world and to step up our engagement in the most crucial media spaces. We put our people – especially Arabic, Urdu, Dari speakers – on key channels like Al Jazeera and others to explain U.S. policies and counter at least some of the widespread misinformation out there. There was this idea that it was – it would be a waste of our time to go on channels and go onto websites to refute and rebut what was being said, but we’re in a fight, and I’m not going to let people say things about us that are not true. If they want to say things about us that are true, we’ll explain that. But to make up stuff, to be accusing us of things that are totally outlandish and outrageous, was just unacceptable. You’re the only way we will get into the conversation where it matters most, and we have to show up. I sometimes get asked by members of Congress: I saw an American diplomat on X, Y, or Z; why? It’s because that’s where people are. That’s where we need to be. I make no apologies for that. It is with this in mind that we developed and launched the new Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which is tightly focused on undermining the terrorist propaganda and dissuading potential recruits. The center is housed at the State Department, but is a true whole-of-government endeavor. It has a mandate from the President. And as part of this effort, a group of tech savvy specialists – fluent in Urdu and Arabic – that we call the digital outreach team are contesting online space, media websites and forums where extremists have long spread propaganda and recruited followers. With timely posts, often of independent news reports, this team is working to expose al-Qaida’s and extremists’ contradictions and abuses, including its continuing brutal attacks on Muslim civilians. This effort is still small, but it is now growing."

VOA reporter in Uzbekistan "finally" permitted to travel to Germany for study (updated: now in Hamburg).

Posted: 14 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Eurasianet.org, 21 July 2011, Catherine A. Fitzpatrick: "Abdumalik Boboyev, a correspondent for the US-sponsored Voice of America, has finally been permitted to travel to Germany, ferghananews.com reported. Boboyev was arrested and charged with 'libel' last year for his broadcasts, as well as unlawful border-crossing. He managed to avoid prison and the latter charges after an intensive campaign on his behalf by human rights activists and both public and private intervention by US diplomats, but was fined $11,000 for 'insulting the Uzbek people.' The journalist was invited for a year of study at a Hamburg institute, but was initially denied permission to travel as a person still under a court ruling. Uzbekistan still retains the Soviet-era practice of requiring exit visas to travel from the country. Finally, Boboyev was authorized to travel abroad for two years, and says he intends to return home after completing his studies."

Update: Deutsche Welle, 12 Sept 2011, Janine Albrecht: Boboyev "is a journalist, like most of the people who receive funding from the Hamburg Foundation to live in Germany. But unlike others, Malik did not flee from his homeland. He wants to use his time in Germany to gain a fresh perspective on his life and his work. ... Malik began working as a radio and Internet correspondent for the American broadcaster Voice of America. 'I wrote about a great many things including political affairs, freedom of the press, the widespread use of child labor in Uzbekistan and human rights issues,' he said. ... Malik spends most of his time in Germany at his kitchen table or the desk in his apartment in Hamburg. The city and its inhabitants remain somewhat strangers to him. He is envious that his colleagues here in the West are able to work so freely, seemingly without restrictions."

New York Times is developing a Mandarin language website. Other languages may follow. Whither USIB?

Posted: 14 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Capital, 13 Sept 2011, Joe Pompeo: Joe Kahn takes charge of the foreign news desk at the New York Times. "The foreign desk is ... involved in an initiative at the Times to develop news sites in foreign countries. When they are up and running and the business side is figured out, the foreign desk will be deeply involved in their development. The first, rolled out earlier this month, is India Ink, the Times' first country-specific blog, which now falls under his purview. And the foreign desk is likewise involved in at least one 'big additional initiative' that will add a foreign language component to the Times’ content strategy, said Kahn. The plan is to launch an online editorial product for China, where the paper already maintains its largest foreign bureau (Kahn worked in that bureau, as well as The Wall Street Journal’s, before becoming deputy foreign editor in 2008), within the year. 'If things go well, I expect we’ll see The New York Times producing a pretty robust product in Mandarin Chinese before long,' Kahn said, though he declined to go into detail. ... More such foreign-language sites could pop up over the next couple of years. About the Chinese product, asked whether reporting from that site might make its way into the main Times news report translated into English, Kahn said he hadn't worked that out yet. 'But most likely we would not have a substantial reverse-translation operation,' he said. Instead: 'Most of the writers, even those who produce original stories in another language, would be able to produce stories in English as well.'" -- The International Broadcasting Act of 1994 stipulates that US government funded international broadcasting shall "[n]ot duplicate the activities of private United States broadcasters." Will this be the end of the VOA and RFA Mandarin services? And of USIB services in other languages that the Times takes on? See previous post.

Alarab will be the name of the new Arabic news and business channel, in partnership with Bloomberg.

Posted: 14 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 14 Sept 2011, Ben Flanagan: "Two giants of the financial world have joined forces to launch an Arabic news TV station with a focus on business. The Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal has partnered with the US financial data company Bloomberg to produce Alarab, a 24-hour station set for launch next year. Bloomberg will provide five hours of business news per day for the new channel, which will have 'an emphasis on freedom of speech', said Andrew Lack, the chief executive of Bloomberg's multimedia group. Mr Lack said editorial independence was a prerequisite for Bloomberg to enter the deal. 'This channel is going to come with an independent spirit and an independent view that we at Bloomberg support very strongly,' Mr Lack said. 'We wouldn't have been engaged in this effort if in fact the effort wasn't driven by this fair, independent and balanced approach.' ... Alarab will vie for audience share with the two mainstream Arabic news stations, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. It will also compete with the existing Arabic business station CNBC Arabia. The TV news market is set to become even more crowded with the planned launch of Sky News Arabia, which is to be broadcast from Abu Dhabi early next year. ... Mr Lack said that Bloomberg was accustomed to operating in competitive markets. 'We're used to a crowd. You've always got four or five competitors. That comes with the territory,' he said."

Alarab News Channel press release, 13 Sept 2011: "Alarab will focus editorially on the important shifts taking place across the Arab world with an emphasis on freedom of speech and freedom of press. Furthermore, it will uphold the principle of free transfer of information as well as, objective, balanced and credible reporting. The News channel will cover the latest developments around the world and will also highlight political, social and economic issues in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world."

Politico, 13 Sept 2011, Keach Hagey: "Alarab enters a cluttered Pan-Arab satellite television market, but one without much of a business news presence. The channel’s main competitor will be Al Arabiya, the news channel owned by the Saudi-backed MBC Group, which has its headquarters in Dubai and has midday business coverage focused on the Saudi stock market."

See previous post about same subject. So while Prince Al Waleed remains the largest shareholder in News Corp outside of the Murdoch family, Alarab is "an independent venture from Kingdom Holding Company and the Rotana group and is privately owned by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal." News Corp will be associated with Sky News Arabia, a planned competitor to the planned Alarab and to the already existing Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Are the names Alarab and Al Arabiya as similar in Arabic as they in English? And on the subject of Sky News Arabia...

Digital Production Middle East, 9 Sept 2011, Chris Newbould: "Sky News Arabia has finally announced two of its key suppliers for the channel, which is due to launch early next year. In the eventual disclosing one of the region's worst-kept secrets, Sky has confirmed that EVS will supply ingest, production and playout platforms, while Haris will also supply solutions for part of the channel's playout automation. Sky News Arabia is the first such venture for Sky in the region, and could represent a major new player in regionally-based, Arabic language news providers, with the added backing of a major international news brand."

Deutsche Welle expands its Arabic TV to six hours per day.

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Deutsche Welle, 12 Sept 2011: "Deutsche Welle will begin broadcasting its new television channel for the Arab World on September 12, 2011. Audiences from Morocco to Oman can tune in to a six-hour block in Arabic – always in primetime throughout the region. DW-TV ARABIA will continue to inform its viewers about the most important developments in Arab countries, Germany and the rest of the world. ... English-language programming will complete the channel’s 24-hour line-up. Up until now, the schedule alternated hourly between Arabic, or German with Arabic subtitles, and English. ... The core of the new DW-TV ARABIA schedule will be made up of four 30-minute segments of 'Journal' – Deutsche Welle’s news flagship. There will also be Arabic versions of 'Arts.21' and 'GLOBAL 3000'. In addition to 'Quadriga', there will be four new talk shows added to the mix. These will all be conducted and broadcast in Arabic and offer viewers the chance to participate while shedding light on the changes in the Arab World."

Australian senior ministers will give evidence in Australia Network bid inquiry.

Posted: 13 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Age (Melbourne), 13 Sept 2011, Daniel Flitton: "Senior ministers including Stephen Conroy anhttp://www.theage.com.au/national/mps-quizzed-on-tv-deal-20110912-1k62r.htmld Martin Ferguson have been required to give evidence in an official investigation into complaints over Australia's $223 million overseas television service. The investigation by the Australian government solicitor was triggered after Sky News complained that ABC chief Mark Scott had unfairly lobbied a minister in a bid to win the contract. The ABC has been asked to explain Mr Scott's actions. ... Mr Ferguson's office yesterday declined to comment on the investigation but he has previously said he regarded Mr Scott's call as inappropriate. A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman last night declined to say if the investigation had concluded."

AFP, 13 Sept 2011: "Australia on Tuesday said it would hold a media inquiry following the British hacking scandal which sank Rupert Murdoch's best-selling tabloid News of the World. A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the scope of the inquiry was yet to finalised but the ruling Labour party had decided that a probe was required. ... Murdoch controls about two-thirds of Australia's regional and metropolitan newspapers, has a stake in broadcasters Sky News and Fox Sports, and is angling to run the Australia Network, the international public TV channel."

See previous post about the Australia Network tender.

At IBC Amsterdam, Thomson proposes DRM SW/MW/LW for feeds to FM rebroadcasters.

Posted: 13 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 12 Sept 2011: "Shortwave is an efficient technology for delivering programming to a wide area from a single transmission site, but FM provides higher quality audio and a ready supply of inexpensive receivers. At IBC2011, Thomson Broadcast is demonstrating a solution that bridges the two technologies, using the DRM30 digital radio standard to distribute programming for retransmission on FM. With the system, a broadcaster originating a DRM30-encoded short-, long- or medium-wave signal could take the same over-the-air signal listeners with a DRM receiver can hear and, using a DRM-FM transponer, demodulate and transpose it to an FM signal that can be picked up by an standard FM receiver, including the sort common in many mobile phones. For example, a medium-wave channel with a bandwidth of 9 kHz could be used to distribute two DRM30 digital audio programs at a bitrate of up to 14.7 kbps; if the channel is extended to 18 kHz, bitrates of up to 26.5 kbps would be possible. The DRM-FM rebroadcasting transmitter takes the over-the-air DRM30 signal, decodes the digital programs and then can retransmit the two services locally on FM. The system could be used by NGOs or international broadcasters to distribute programming to low-power FM stations in remote or wide-spread areas without the need to use satellite connections." -- During the IBC show, I was expecting, but did not see, any news about DRM receivers, or even about DRM "receiver solutions."

In the AIB People's Choice award, the people will decide among Alhurra, Press TV, or other international broadcasters.

Posted: 13 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Association for International Broadcasting/Yahoo! Maktoob press release, 11 Sept 2011: "Yahoo! Maktoob and the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) have announced that the 2011 People’s Choice Award will be hosted on Yahoo! Maktoob, harnessing the site’s enormous reach, which includes over 55 million users in the Middle East and North Africa. The People’s Choice is the category in the AIB’s international media excellence awards which is open to online viewers everywhere who vote for their favourite entry, and each year attracts entries from broadcasters across the globe. This year’s topic for the People’s Choice award is 'Best Coverage of Democracy Uprisings' reflecting the momentous changes happening in the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring and highlighting the impact that traditional and social broadcasting has had in enabling the movements for change. The deadline for final entries is Friday September 16th, but already programmes have been submitted from Europe, Middle East, and Africa and include entries from Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, France24, NDTV, Press TV and The Doha Debates. A short list of the six best will be selected from which online users from across the world can view and vote on Yahoo! Maktoob from the second half of October. The winner will be announced at the AIB’s ceremony on the 9th November. Yahoo! Maktoob will be hosting the programmes on special pages in both English and Arabic versions, allowing a worldwide audience to participate in viewing and then choosing the one they like best."

Depending on international broadcasting for news on 9/11/2001.

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CNN, 11 Sept 2011, Alden Mahler Levine, who was in Jordan on 9/11/2001. "By the time I reach the internet café, the first tower has fallen; the second falls shortly thereafter. The normally chaotic back room is silent. Nearly every monitor displays CNN."

Detroit Free Press, 11 Sept 2011, Bob Cousino: "It was evening in Japan. I had just gotten home from teaching an English class at Denso Corp. I flipped on the TV and sat down to eat the late dinner I had bought at a convenience store. The breaking news was on CNN International. The first tower had already been hit."

Digital Journal, 10 Sept 2011, Christopher Szabo: "In those days they had a four O’clock bulletin on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s English service, so I took a break and turned it on. ... "[T]hey cut to a reporter in Washington, D.C., who was saying a plane had apparently crashed near the Pentagon, but they weren’t sure what plane it was. Then back to the well-known images of the second plane and then the collapse of the Towers. The problem was the reporters and anchors were from a local version of CNN, not CNN International which I was used to watching, so I didn’t recognise them. I began to think perhaps it was a hoax."

New Atlanticist, 12 Sept 2011, Lord Robertson, who was NATO Secretary General in Brussels on the day: "A second plane, and it was a major incident. Plates were abandoned, talk ended, cars summoned and it was high speed back to HQ. I listened in my armour-plated car to the BBC World Service with growing dismay and alarm."

New York Times, 11 Sept 2011, Scott Shane: "As the hijacked airliners neared their targets, [Osama bin Laden] asked an aide to get a Western news channel on the satellite television in his van. But the aide, Ali al-Bahlul, could not get a signal. So they turned to the radio ... switching between Voice of America and the BBC, and then cheering and firing their guns in the air at the first bulletin announcing that a plane had hit the World Trade Center."

Somalia's al-Shabaab bans radio listening, with special shout-outs to BBC and VOA.

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Africa Review, 11 Sept 2011, Abdulkadir Khalif: "Somali radical group, al-Shabaab has issued an order banning residents of Shaballe town, 100km south of the capital Mogadishu from listening to radio. Announcing the ban, senior al-Shabaab official, Sheikh Abdullahi Mumin said the stations had a bias towards non-Muslims besides airing misleading information against the group. He pointed an accusing finger at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA) and Radiyo Muqdisho, a state run broadcaster in the country’s capital."

VOA press release, 8 Sept 2011: Voice of America is broadcasting special drought-related radio programs delivering life-saving information to the hundreds of thousands of victims of the humanitarian crisis who are now at risk of starvation in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The first of the half-hour radio programs, broadcast on medium-wave Thursday night in the Somali and Amharic languages, features an exclusive interview with USAID Director Rajiv Shah, who recently visited the region and calls the famine 'an extraordinary tragedy.' ... The new programs are broadcast Monday through Friday on MW frequency 1431. They are also broadcast on shortwave, streamed on VOA Somali and Horn of Africa websites and broadcast throughout Africa on the Arabsat satellite." -- The 1431 kHz medium wave frequency is from the Radio Sawa relay in Djibouti. A remarkable example of inter-entity cooperation in US international broadcasting, where the entities have not traditionally been inclined to do one another any favors.

Burmese journalist who worked for BBC and RFA returns to Burma, is detained and interrogated (updated).

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The Irrawaddy, 6 Sept 2011, Wai Moe: "Sein Kyaw Hlaing, a veteran Burmese journalist working in exile for the BBC Burmese Service (BBC Burmese) and Radio Free Asia (RFA), was reportedly detained and interrogated in Rangoon after accepting President Thein Sein's offer to exiles to return home. Sein Kyaw Hlaing, who became well-known by Burmese audiences while working as a broadcaster for the BBC Burmese in the1990s, was reportedly detained by Burmese secret service officers shortly after he arrived at the Rangoon International Airport in late August, one of his friends told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. ... While he worked with BBC, Sein Kyaw Hlaing was notable for his business reporting. With the Washington-based RFA, he covered the affairs of the ruling generals and ministers. One minister he reported on was Aung Thaung, a leader of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and former minister of Industry-1. After working with the RFA, Sein Kyaw Hlaing became the editor of the New Era Journal based in Thailand. Currently, he is an outside contributor for RFA."

Update: Radio Australia, 12 Sept 2011: "There has been a report he has since been released from detention but his friend and journalist with the Thai-based Irrawaddy News Magazine, Kyaw Zwa Moe, has told Connect Asia he has not been able to contact Sein Kyaw Hlaing. 'Unfortunately at the airport he was detained and taken to the interrogation centre,' he said. 'There he was interrogated for days'."

Gadhafi still heard via Al-Rai TV, "a blip in the regional plethora of channels."

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CNN, 9 Sept 2011, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Moni Basu: "Moammar Gadhafi no longer has his Tripoli compound or his vast power apparatus. He is a fallen leader, a fugitive wanted by the world's eminent criminal court. And yet, he still has a voice. It goes out loud and clear to the entire world thanks to Al-Rai, a privately owned Syrian-based television station that has, in recent weeks, taken over for Libyan state media in fulfilling a role as Gadhafi's mouthpiece. ... So why is Al-Rai such a strong supporter of Gadhafi and his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who has also taken to its airwaves? For starters, Al-Rai is not in the vein of commercial networks such as Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera or even CNN, said Arab television expert Joe Khalil. It's a blip in the regional plethora of channels: about 500 of them that serve up news and entertainment to the Arab world."

Iran aims for launch of its Spanish-language HispanTV by the end 2011.

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CNSNews.com, 9 Sept 2011, Edwin Mora: "The Iranian government is racing to launch its first Spanish-language news channel by the end of this year, which is expected to reach audiences in Latin America and Europe, a Brazilian news outlet reported. HispanTV, the name of the upcoming Iranian channel, has already made its debut on the Web, covering news in Iran, the Americas, the United States, Canada, Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa and also reporting on culture, health, sports, society, economy, and technology. The Iranian channel is expected to air 'varied' programming, including interviews and talk shows about movies and books on Iranians and Hispanics. Pilot programs, such as one about the 'the massacre of Pakistanis' by the United States are already available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter." The website is www.hispantv.com.

CPJ calls for "due process" for Al Jazeera Kabul bureau chief detained by Israel.

Posted: 13 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 12 Sept 2011, Joel Simon, executive director: "The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the Israeli government's ongoing detention without charge of Al-Jazeera correspondent Samer Allawi and calls on you to ensure that the journalist is allowed due process. On August 9, Allawi, the Kabul bureau chief for Al-Jazeera, was arrested at the al-Karama border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank while leaving the Occupied Territories after a three-week vacation in his hometown near Nablus, Al-Jazeera reported. The journalist, who lives in Kabul, was visiting his parents and was not on assignment. ... Allawi's detention has periodically been extended by the military, and on September 5, the military court extended his detention for another eight days. He has yet to be charged and no evidence has been presented against him. ... Israeli authorities should not hold Allawi for an extended period of time without charge." See also UFree, 10 Sept 2011. See previous post about same subject.

Egypt police raid Egyptian offices of Al Jazeera Mubasher. The channel continues from Doha, via Nilesat.

Posted: 13 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
McClatchy Newspapers, 9 Sept 2011, Mohannad Sabry: "Security police raided the Egyptian offices of the Al Jazeera news channel Sunday and detained a member of its technical staff in the first move of its kind against a foreign news organization since the ruling military council declared a state of emergency in the wake of the storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Egypt's ruling military council later announced that the emergency decree would be expanded to allow prosecution for the 'spreading or broadcasting of any false news, information or rumors.'"

Reporters sans frontières, 12 Sept 2011: "The government news agency MENA said that, although local transmission of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Egypt’s signal was cut, it continued to be freely available on Nilesat, like Al-Jazeera itself. MENA also claimed that local residents had filed complaints accusing the station of 'sowing dissent' and 'calling for demonstrations.' Al-Jazeera Mubasher Egypt is still broadcasting on the same satellite frequency, but from Al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar instead of its studios in the Cairo neighbourhood of Al-Agouza."

MENA, 12 Serpt 2011: "Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr was shut down for disregarding Egyptian laws, said Information Minister Osama Heikal Monday, denying charges that the satellite channel was targeted because of its content. ... Two hundred satellite channels and newspaper offices have properly filed for the renewal of their permits and channels operating legally have not been closed, he added. ... Ahmed Zein, the head of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, told reporters that his office submitted a request to renew its broadcasting permit four months ago but was told to continue broadcasting as usual."

Wall Street Journal, 12 Sept 2011, Matt Bradley: "Employees at Al Jazeera Live [Mubasher], which started broadcasting from Egypt shortly after the revolution against Mr. Mubarak, said they believed Egypt's Ministry of Interior was retaliating against Al Jazeera because it broadcast live images of protesters' attacking the Israeli embassy late Friday night."

New York Times, 11 Sept 2011, Heba Afify and David Kirkpatrick: "The network, Al Jazeera Live Egypt, was founded in the aftermath of the uprising and has become known for its attentive, if not sensational, coverage of street protests, including the Israeli Embassy attack on Friday. The raid forced the network to halt its programming for a period before it resumed broadcasting from Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar."

Al Jazeera Mubasher is somewhat like C-Span, offering live, uninterrupted coverage of events. It was a key player in the Arab Spring demonstrations.

The British Council becomes a shortwave broadcaster. Sort of.

Posted: 12 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Agência Angola Press, 8 Sept 2011: "Angola National Radio and British Council launched 'Obla air', an English language teaching programme for learners to be broadcasted nationally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12pm, for 15 minutes, until October 5. According to a press release that Angop had got access to, the programme will be transmitted in modulated frequencies FM 93.5 and Short Wave 9530, as well as for provincial radio. The radio programme is for the benefit of students and professors of English language."

Stories of yesteryear, when youngsters listened to shortwave radio.

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First Arkansas News, 10 Sept 2011: "What would a series dedicated to old time radio serials be without some attention paid to a juvenile adventure program? Those 'kids on adventures' things were big back when OTR was king, and one of the more popular programs in the genre was the ambitiously named Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police. Yes, Speed was your average American boy — interested in short wave radios, aviation and fighting crime on an international scale."

San Antonio Express-News, 9 Sept 2011, Elaine Ayala: "George S. De Leon, an opera aficionado who sang tenor in the San Fernando Cathedral choir and mentored Sylvia Villarreal, who went on to sing opera internationally, died Sept. 3 of a heart attack. He was 76. De Leon developed a love of opera as a boy, first listening to it on a short-wave radio."

Euro Weekly News, 9 Sept 2011, Stephen Amore: Our family "apparently moved up the social scale and acquired a radiogram, remember them? A huge sideboard which opened up to reveal a record player with the same ‘drops down before it plays’ mechanism and also a radio! Holst ‘The Planets’ never sounded so good. This was a thing of beauty and when listening to the radio a huge glass screen lit up etched with the names of exotic radio stations from all around the world; all long and short wave of course."

Canada's fifth largest cable provider adds CNN International and Al Jazeera English.

Posted: 12 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
EastLink press release, 9 Sept 2011: "EastLink announced today the launch of three world news channels with the introduction of CNN International, Al Jazeera English, and Bloomberg Television in HD and SD. ... CNN International - One of the world's leading international news channels carries news, current affairs, politics, opinions, and business programming worldwide. Their motto, 'Go Beyond Borders,' emphasizes CNN International's perspective of utilizing local reporters often directly affected by the events they are reporting. Al Jazeera English - The world's first 24 hour English language news and current affairs channel to be broadcast from within the Middle East. This channel aims to provide both a regional voice and a global perspective through its fearless news reporting and award winning programming. Al Jazeera English takes viewers inside global news stories putting the human story at the forefront while providing a bridge between cultures." -- EastLink is Canada's fifth largest cable provider. Its channel lists do not include BBC World News, so EastLink carries only two of the "big three" global English news channels.

International broadcasters make use of Brookings Institution television studio.

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Brookings Institution, 9 Sept 2011, Ron Nessen: "CNN has done more interviews in the Brookings [television] studio than any other news organization, a total of 1,033. In second place is National Public Radio, with 728 interviews. And in third place is the BCC [sic, probably BBC] with 482 interviews. Because of the expertise of Brookings scholars on international issues, the studio is often used by foreign news outlets, including the Middle East news organizations Al Jazeera and Alhurra." -- Do you suppose the Brookings Institution really thinks Alhurra is a "Middle East news organization"?

Alumnus of VOA English teaching radio launches English teaching facility in upstate New York.

Posted: 12 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Watertown (NY) Daily Times, 10 Sept 2011, Brian Kidwell: "Chinese businessman Jingtian (James) Ma’s plan to open an English as second language school at the former Academy at Ivy Ridge here may be credited to his listening to United States government radio more than 30 years ago. Mr. Ma, 55, says he hopes that one year from now, Chinese youths will come here to spend their last year of high school learning English at the former school for troubled youths on Route 37 west of the city. He bought the 238-acre campus last month in a sale that is expected to close next month. He also bought a former restaurant that not only will offer native cuisine, but will be expanded to feature specialty shops. But in 1977, Mr. Ma was an architect, fresh out of university in his native Qindao province. English was a challenge, so he decided to listen to language lessons that were broadcast on the Voice of America. It paid off, especially a few years later, when he was beginning a career in the import-export business. Others were stunned when told how he became so fluent. 'You learned English on the radio?' Mr. Ma last week recalled being asked. 'Unbelievable.'"

Oh oh. Some governors of the Broadcasting Board of Governors governing with expired terms.

Posted: 12 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Layalina Perspectives, September 2010, Matt Armstrong: "The BBG is the only federal agency run by a committee composed of eight governors appointed by the President, not more than four of whom may be from the same party, and the Secretary of State, who usually delegates his or her Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy as the representative. By statute, Governors’ terms are of different lengths to guard against complete leadership changes like the one occurring now. However, this requires action by the President and Congress to appoint new Governors when (or before) terms expire. The terms of the just replaced members of the Board expired four to six years ago (Governors whose terms have expired are allowed to continue serving until their replacement is confirmed). Sadly, due to unnecessary delays by Congress in confirming the new Board, (the slate was nominated in November 2009), three governors are serving on expired terms. The new Governors are: Walter Isaacson as chairman (for a term expiring August 13, 2012); Victor Ashe (August 13, 2010); Michael Lynton (August 13, 2012); Susan McCue (August 13, 2011); Michael Meehan (August 13, 2010); Dennis Mulhaupt (August 13, 2011); Dana Perino (August 13, 2012); and, S. Enders Wimbush (August 13, 2010)."

New York Times's new India Ink blog taps India's media "growth potential."

Posted: 12 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
paidContent.org, 9 Sept 2011, David Kaplan: "With newspaper revenues in a downward spiral in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that there’s one area where daily tabloids and broadsheets are still thriving: India. While the NYTimes.com’s new India Ink blog is an online only, it does suggest that western publishers may look to the large Indian market for growth potential, especially as broadband penetration and incomes rise there. The NYT’s sharper Indian focus comes more than two years after the Wall St. Journal launched its Indian effort. Given the accelerating ad market in India right now, it seems like the NYT should be able to catch the growth that’s happening there."

Apparently, Boston radio listeners are not so WILD about China Radio International.

Posted: 12 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
PRI's The World, 9 Sept 2011, Anne Donohue: "In June, Boston’s ... WILD began leasing its air time to an English language service of China Radio International, a product of the Chinese government. The programs are an eclectic mix of news and information on Chinese culture and society interspersed with syrupy English and Chinese pop music and the occasional Chinese language lesson. ... Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam has spent much of his summer listening to the new Chinese WILD. He found some of it amusing — features on hermaphroditic butterflies and snoring police at Beijing hotels, for example. But he also detected a decidedly pro-Beijing bias on some news stories. Even so, Beam thinks China International Radio might just work. 'I think it could easily be as effective as Voice of America, Deutsche Welle,' Beam said. ... Harvard Professor Joseph Nye has written extensively about China’s use of soft power. He says there are limits to how much goodwill China can create through government projects. ... '[T]the problem that CCTV or China Radio International faces is that its a governmental organ. And if its propaganda, it’s not attractive, and doesn’t produce soft power.' Nevertheless, China is throwing a reported $6.5 billion into this soft power initiative. But AM radio may not get them much bang for their buck. The ratings at the new WILD are dismal: they are reaching only half of their previous audience, about 500 listeners during any given 15 minute interval." See previous post about same subject.

The Wrap, 9 Sept 2011, Dan Bloom: "As you know from media reports by now, Sinhua [Xinhua], the state-controlled propaganda agency of the Chinese Communist Party, has leased a long-term advertising logo space in Manhattan’s iconic Times Square, renting a huge LED sign called a 'spectacular' in U.S. advertising parlance. ... Why China’s soft public-relations push in Times Square? Well, for one thing, Sinhua has introduced a CNN-like 24-hour English-language broadcast service — China Network Corporation (CNC World), which seeks to reach millions of gullible viewers around the world — with state-sanctioned propaganda of the most nefarious and sophisticated kind."

International channels for video reporting, because "no American TV journalists showed up."

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2011, Dave Marash, former Al Jazeera English anchor: "[C]omparing what the three American networks and the three cable news channels did on those two days in June with some foreign news channels—Iran’s Press TV, Russia’s RT, Britain’s BBC, and Qatar’s Al Jazeera English—we came away wanting more from America. ... Maria Finoshina’s report on RT, for example, on how selling and buying gas in Tripoli has become a female preoccupation because men in a city under siege had more important things to do, was news to me, and told me something more significant about Tripoli than the presence of angry supporters of Muammar Qaddafi. I also learned new things from RT’s Sean Thomas, who took me to the southernmost Russian Orthodox Church on Earth, in Antarctica, and from Press TV’s Ashraf Shannon’s story of conflict over natural gas in Gaza. During the civil war in the Ivory Coast, France 24 and Al Jazeera English regularly had reporters on the scene. My impression watching the story, confirmed with US officials there, was that no American TV journalists showed up. ... Al Jazeera English’s hallmark has been video reporting. 'We have better visual content than anyone else,' brags Snorre Wik, a director of photography at AJE. He says he’s regularly allowed to give the viewer a “sense of adventure, the feeling that they are experiencing something tangible and not in theory ... which is why real video is more valuable and more powerful than anything that anyone can tell you.' ... Lawrence Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent turned academic, says that AJE stands head and shoulders above all the other English-language news channels, because of its dominance in eyes-on coverage. AJE, he says, 'just plain has so many more boots on the ground. It has more boots on the ground than the BBC and armies more boots on the ground than CNN International.'"

Huffington Post, 9 Sept 2011, Michael Calderone: "Tony Maddox, managing director of CNN International, said that when coverage of the Iraq war was at its peak, the network had an operation of about 40-50 people on the ground. 'The bill was huge,' he said. 'It ran into millions of dollars.' Despite the large investment, Maddox said that CNN got a lot in return by producing stories for a 24-hour domestic network, CNN International, HLN and CNN.com. 'For the broadcast networks the model is different -- they still have the same shows they always had,' Maddox said, referring to their having less programming hours for news each day. 'The extensive investment in Iraq coverage would impact the bottom line. I do not know how each company dealt with that, but as a viewer I see less of a presence overseas.'"

"Feeding a supercomputer with news stories could help predict major world events, according to US research."

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 9 Sept 2011: "Feeding a supercomputer with news stories could help predict major world events, according to US research. A study, based on millions of articles, charted deteriorating national sentiment ahead of the recent revolutions in Libya and Egypt. While the analysis was carried out retrospectively, scientists say the same processes could be used to anticipate upcoming conflict. The system also picked up early clues about Osama Bin Laden's location. Kalev Leetaru, from the University of Illinois' Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science, presented his findings in the journal First Monday. The study's information was taken from a range of sources including the US government-run Open Source Centre and BBC Monitoring, both of which monitor local media output around the world." -- Open Source Center was previously the Foreign Broadcast Information Service. At the Open Source Center home page, this friendly greeting: "If you are not an authorized user, exit this system immediately."

Bangladeshi satellite TV channels may soon have easier access to India.

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Press Trust of India, 7 Sept 2011: "Bangladeshi satellite TV channels may soon be able to telecast their programmes in India, Bangladesh's Information Minister said on Tuesday. 'The chief ministers (of four Indian states) assured me of taking steps so our private television channels can easily be downlinked in India,' Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad told newsmen emerging from a meeting along with eight other Bangladesh ministers on the sidelines of the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina. Azad added: 'this will create an opportunity for building people-to-people cooperation being wanted by both the neighbours.' Bangladesh TV channels currently require permission from Indian authorities for telecasting their programmes."

The Financial Express, 22 Aug 2011, editorial: "The fact is, while viewers in Bangladesh are bombarded with all kinds of Indian 'infotainment' -- TV serials, cinemas, talk shows and what-not, with hefty doses of advertisements of consumer products -- via their satellite channels, Bangladeshi TV channels are yet to enjoy similar access to viewers."

Chinese online activists concerned that further controls over China's internet "are imminent."

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 9 Sept 2011: Grace Kei Lai-see and Yang Jiadai: "China's propaganda chief has spoken publicly about the problems of controlling the activities of the country's 500 million netizens, fueling fears that further attempts at control are on the way. Propaganda department chief Liu Yunshan made the comments on Wednesday during a round-table media discussion held with participants from China, Japan, and South Korea, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency. 'The central propaganda department won't be able to completely control [the actions] of 500 million netizens,' Liu was quoted as saying in response to widespread criticism of his department. 'The criticisms [leveled at us] overestimate the propaganda department,' he said. Many online activists have expressed concern that further controls over China's Internet users are imminent, especially in the wake of official campaigns against 'rumor-mongering' via social networks and microblogging platforms."

Taliban's web presence is in Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Persian, Urdu and English.

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 9 Sept 2011, Bashir Ahmad Gwakh, Radio Mashaal broadcaster, commentary: "The Taliban once banned photography, movies, and use of the Internet on the grounds that they were all 'un-Islamic.' Now, however, the terrorist group’s perspective has radically changed. ... It possesses several Internet domains, which host official content and have backup domains in case of an attack on the main website. ... Although the Taliban has numerous blogs and websites, two of their official websites Al-Emarah.net and Shahamat.info (mostly videos) are their main official tools of propaganda. Along with pictures and videos, they provide text materials in Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Persian, Urdu and English. As not many people have access to the Internet in Afghanistan, the primary target group is foreigners. The Taliban reaches Afghans through pamphlets, brochures, mobile radio, audio and video CDs, magazines and religious sympathizers."

Cambodian human rights court starts contempt proceedings against VOA Khmer (updated again).

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AFP, 31 Aug 2011: "Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court said Wednesday it had started contempt of court proceedings against Voice of America Khmer for revealing confidential information about a new Khmer Rouge case. The move comes after the US-funded news service posted an article and video on its website describing prosecution allegations of mass killings and other atrocities by three mid-level cadres during the regime's 1975-79 rule. The service cited a document obtained by a source close to the court. ... The news service chief Chris Decherd refused to comment directly on the court action, but said ... VOA's role was to serve Cambodian citizens 'who deserve and are well-served by objective and quality news reporting about issues and topics that impact and affect their daily lives'. This marks the first time judges have followed through on warnings to launch contempt proceedings, following numerous leaks to the media. Their terse statement however failed to clarify if action was being taken against the journalist, the editor or the producer of the piece, all of whom are understood to be in Washington, DC. 'They have no power to enforce contempt sanctions against a journalist who is not in Cambodia,' said Anne Heindel, a legal advisor to the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which researches Khmer Rouge atrocities."

Phnom Penh Post, 1 Sept 2011, Mary Kozlovski and Thomas Miller: "Commentators said yesterday the move was an attempt to stifle public discourse on cases 003 and 004, which many believe are set for dismissal amid political pressure."

VOA statement, 1 Sept 2011: "The Voice of America is concerned about a legal warning issued in connection with VOA coverage of the U.N.-backed tribunal in Cambodia that has been investigating atrocities committed by the former Khmer Rouge regime. ... Voice of America is concerned about the potential 'chilling effect' this threat by the co-investigating judges could have on coverage of an important international story. Some rights groups have accused judges at the tribunal of failing to fully investigate cases brought by prosecutors. Voice of America believes the warning issued by the co-investigating judges is unwarranted. The Voice of America has a journalistic and legal responsibility to provide balanced and comprehensive coverage of important issues. The careful use of confidential sources and documents that provide important insight into critical issues is a well-established practice by independent journalists the world over. Furthermore, the documents in question have been used by other news organizations. Voice of America and its Khmer Service are committed to providing accurate, objective and comprehensive coverage of the ongoing investigation into Khmer Rouge atrocities and issues of importance to the people of the region and the world." See also DPA, 2 Sept 2011.

Update: VOA News, 9 Sept 2011, Men Kimseng: "VOA Khmer reporter Sok Khemara, whose reporting in Cambodia last month is at the center of the contempt charges, told “Hello VOA” Thursday that he had received a number of threats and acts of intimidation in his 20-year career as a reporter. This has included threats from government officials who demanded he give up confidential sources or stop reporting a subject altogether, he said. 'Whatever the threats against me, as a journalist, I have a responsibility to bring the truth to the public,' he said. 'We don’t work for ourselves, but rather the public.'"

Great photos of the old VOA Kavala (Greece) shortwave relay station.

Posted: 11 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Picasa Web Albums, 11 Mar 2006, Charles Lewis: The Voice of America relay station at Kavala, Greece, "was one of the world's largest and most impressive international broadcasting facilities. It was a major US diplomacy player in the Cold War Era. It was shut down and the nearly 2000 acres site was returned to the Greece government a few years ago. I served there in 1997 to 2002, initially as Transmitter Plant Supervisor and then as Deputy Station Manager for the last three years." -- "Impressive" may be an understatement. In many instances, listeners to my VOA program "Communications World," in Japan, Australia, India, Europe, South Africa, and North America, would tune in to the program at the same time on the same frequency (9760 kHz). You might recognize one of the photos. (Thanks to Ivan Huziak for the link.)

Deutsche Welle partners with Vodacom to provide "Learning by Ear" telenovela to African mobile phones.

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Radio Netherlands Media Network, 9 Sept 2011, citing Tanzania Daily News: "African communications group Vodacom and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), have signed an agreement for provision of entertainment and social education programmes on various topics including democracy, human rights, HIV/AIDS and environment. The DW programme known as radionovela ‘Learning by Ear’ will be available on-demand for all mobile service subscribers. It is targeted to teenagers and young adults and provides information on important topics like HIV, human rights, democracy and the environment with an exciting mix of stories and features. Learning by Ear is produced in all of DW’s programming languages for Africa and is already broadcast in Tanzania as part of Radio/Kiswahili, Vodacom Head of Corporate Affairs, Nector Foya, said in a statement issued in Dar es Salaam on Thursday."

Al Jazeera Swahili "poaching" BBC talent. Al Jazeera Balkans building "glass studio."

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Variety, 10 Sept 2011, Christopher Vourlias: "Al-Jazeera, already a mainstay in Africa, has announced plans to launch a Swahili-language news network next year based in Nairobi, where Al-Jazeera English already has an East African bureau. According to local sources, Al-Jazeera has begun an aggressive recruitment drive to staff the new bureau. The move is part of the Qatari-owned net's global expansion that will also include new channels broadcast in Turkish and Spanish. Execs at Al-Jazeera are tight-lipped about the Swahili station, confirming only that it will launch in 2012. ... The deep-pocketed Qataris are already rumored to be poaching talent from Kenyan competitors, as well as the BBC's Swahili radio service. ... The new net should capitalize on the growing popularity of Al-Jazeera English, which many East African viewers consider to be more objective than Western competitors like the BBC and CNN."

Qvest Media press release, 9 Sept 2011: "The Qatar-based news broadcaster Al Jazeera is further expanding its international portfolio. The broadcaster is planning to go on air with a new news channel for the Balkan region in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. As a leading system integrator, Qvest Media has been commissioned by Al Jazeera to handle the implementation of all the associated technical studio, production and broadcasting capacities. ... Once construction is complete, Al Jazeera will report live with about 100 staff on-site in the local languages from a glass studio with news spanning the various regions."

Its 9/11 anniversary coverage will be "test" for Al Jazeera English.

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AP, 8 Sept 2011, David Bauder: "This weekend's events also may provide a test of whether Al Jazeera English, still seen mostly online in the United States despite its availability in a total of 250 million homes worldwide, can get past a lingering sense of hostility that many Americans feel toward it. ... [Owen Watson, international executive producer] contrasted Al Jazeera English's coverage to advertisements he has seen for domestic reporting of the event with the theme of 'America Remembers.' 'We're providing a niche that is not available somewhere else,' said Amjad Atallah, bureau chief for the Americas at Al Jazeera English. Still, Al Jazeera has a lingering image problem in the United States that has been most obvious in its failure to become available on all but a few cable television systems. Many Americans don't distinguish the Qatar-based network from its Arabic-speaking main network, Al Jazeera, which started in 1996 and had problems with the Bush administration, Atallah said." -- If Al Jazeera Arabic and English have the same name, and are part of the same company, then Americans are entirely justified in not distinguishing the Arabic and English sides. Al Jazeera can never be more credible than its least credible language service.

The Oakland Tribune, 8 Sept 2011, Bill Mann: "I was furious at CNN, MSNBC and other cable networks when they dropped virtually all their coverage of the battle for Tripoli still going on recently for a 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast. ('I don't even get out of bed for anything less than a 6.2,' one L.A. viewer e-mailed CNN's Jack Cafferty). ... Desperate for coverage of what was going on in Tripoli, I switched over to Al Jazeera's English-language TV feed at english.aljazeera.net. I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. It was almost like watching the BBC. It wasn't what I expected. If anything it was dull, but it had some great Tripoli coverage, most of it by solid British reporters of stories U.S. cable hadn't touched."

Commentator slams proposal by Euronews CEO for a Europe-wide TV license fee.

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Daily Mail, 5 Sept 2011, Mary Ellen Synon: "This is how it starts: first a European Commission fellow-traveller (in this case, Philippe Cayla, the head of Euronews, the broadcaster of so-called EU perspective news which is 25 percent funded by the commission) identifies a 'problem' – which is, according to Cayla, the fact that news broadcasters in Europe are largely depend on advertising and subscription. Not that Cayla explains why this is a problem -- mind you, it is a problem if you dislike ideological independence in your news reporting -- except perhaps that more people would rather watch real news put out by these ‘problem’ media organisations than by his own. Anyway, the Euronews boss proposes a solution to this ‘problem.’ He wants the EU to impose a license fee (ie, a new tax ) on all of us, to be taken by the EU but distributed by independent -- yes, sure --bodies outside the control of national governments. The money would go to ‘a number ‘of media organisations. Yes, not to all, just to ‘a number.’ As in, the new tax revenues will go to broadcasters anointed by the eurocrats."

EurActiv, 18 July 2011, Daniela Vincenti-Mitchener: "According to Cayla, the greatest challenge for a TV channel like Euronews is probably the transition to the Internet. 'We need a strong brand,' he argued. In a highly competitive business with thousands of other channels, he wants people to say 'I want to watch Euronews' and not X, Y or Z. Euronews started broadcasting 20 years ago with the aim of rivalling US news channel CNN. Since then it has opened services in 10 different languages, including Turkish and Arabic. Today, it has six million viewers per day and can be understood by 50% of the world's population, approximately three billion people, reckons Cayla. But Euronews' ambition is to be watched by half the world's population. Despite having given strategic priority to non-European languages, Cayla notes that Euronews did not intend to become an instrument of soft power, but happened to unofficially become one by broadcasting 'the image of Europe'."

Telesur reporter suggests "up to 50,000 people ... massacred" in Libya.

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Venezuealanalysis.com, 7 Sept 2011, Tamara Pearson: "'None of the private media belonging to the large transnational companies has reported on the large scale damage brought about by NATO,' said TeleSUR journalist Rolando Segura at the Thought Artillery vs Lie Factory conference held this week in Caracas. ... While Segura, who had just returned from Libya, said, 'It’s said that just as a result of the NATO bombing, more than 1,800 people have died, and now they are already saying that as a result of the conflict as a whole, the total could be up to 50,000 people who have been massacred as a result of this invasion and aggression against Libya'."

Venezuelanalysis, 6 Sept 2011, Nil Nikandrov: "The Libyan rebels' August 23 attack on the Venezuelan embassy and compound in Tripoli went largely unreported, though fatalities were narrowly averted as Venezuelan ambassador Afif Tajeldine and the embassy staff moved to a safer location at the last moment and left Libya shortly thereafter. ... It is widely expected that the approach the Empire put to work to destabilize Libya and Syria will in the foreseeable future be employed in Venezuela… Reuters mentioned the plan on August 17, saying that 'Political violence in Venezuela threatens to undermine the outcome of next year's election whether President Hugo Chavez wins a new six-year term or not'. Outbreaks of protests in Venezuela will be backed by vocal media campaigns launched by BBC, Euronews, CNN, Fox, Al Jazeera, etc. and will likely be paralleled by acts of vandalism and street killings perpetrated by terrorist groups which will sneak into Venezuela from other countries."

Correo del Orinoco International, 11 Sept 2011, via Venezuelanalysis.com: "This week Telesur welcomed home a news team just back from covering NATO’s war on Libya from that nation’s capital, Tripoli. On arrival at Venezuela’s Maiquetia International Airport, the journalists denounced the ongoing 'fabrication of lies' by mainstream media outlets and accused the international press of 'producing the arguments needed for a continuation of the war'. The Libyan people 'have been invaded by destruction, war, suffering and death, when the solution to the conflict could have been secured by peaceful means', affirmed Telesur journalist Rolando Segura, who spent the last four months in Libya alongside cameraman Henry Pillajo. ... Rodriguez pointed out that while NATO bombs continue to hit populated urban centers, 'we watch as the large networks like CNN and the BBC report on the precision of NATO bombs' instead of the impact these bombs have on the Libyan people’s daily life."

On 9/11 anniversary, detractors accuse US international broadcasting of "self-flagellation."

Posted: 10 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Commentary, 8 Sept 2011, Michael Rubin: "Now, as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nears, it may be time for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to consider its mission and how it achieves it. 'Winston,' an Iranian expatriate blogger, points me to a section on the RFE/RL homepage called 'highlights' which includes a section called #my911, which features personal remembrances of that horrific day. Below is one of the remembrances published on a website funded by American taxpayers and written by a contributor from Peshawar, Pakistan: 'On that day my father and I were going from Peshawar to Charsadda to attend my cousin’s marriage… While on the way one of my friends called me on my cell phone, the use of which was still rare in those days, and he told me to switch on my television. However, I told him, “I am on the road and not able to get to a television now.” At the same time he told me that someone had attacked America. It was unbelievable for me but when I turned and told this to my father, a big smile appeared on his face. He replied that it had happened because of what America is doing with the international community. After that, when I reached Charsadda, I came to know that everyone was happy about the attack.' There’s a tendency among many U.S.-government funded broadcasters to believe broadcasting criticism bolsters credibility. In reality, many foreigners just find the self-flagellation pathetic. They tune into VOA and RFE/RL to hear news which their own governments censor, or which their own journalists could never tackle. Expressions of glee at the murder of nearly 3,000 people are not something RFE/RL should tolerate, whether on the RFE/RL website directly, or in a separate project among the 'highlights.'" -- Doesn't news "which their own governments censor, or which their own journalists could never tackle" include criticism of those governments? But if criticism of the US government is not covered, would criticism of the target country's government have any credibility at all? No, such a broadcasting effort would probably be dismissed as "pathetic."

Family Security Matters, 7 Sept 2011, Peter Gadiel and Patrick Dunleavy: "Integral to the defense of our values and ideals is the Voice of America, yet VOA in many cases appears to be unequal to the job. For example in 2009, [the] head of the Urdu service of VOA ordered employees of the South Asia Division to discontinue use of the term 'Islamic terrorists' and replace it with 'terrorists.' Also to be 'avoided' were 'Islamic Fundamentalism, Muslim Fundamentalists, Islamist and Muslim extremists.' VOA cannot possibly defend American values and ideals against a violent enemy when it refuses even to acknowledge that the violent enemy exists."

Event on Wednesday discusses "BBC's unique opportunity to bring the world to the UK when it integrates the World Service into the BBC in 2014."

Posted: 10 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
International Broadcasting Trust website (pdf): "Brave New World Service Invitation: 14th September, 6.30pm at Blenheim Salon, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX. We’re delighted to invite you to the launch of a new report looking at the future of the World Service, published by the CBA [Commonwealth Broadcasting Association] in association with IBT [International Broadcasting Trust]. Please join us next Wednesday evening for the launch event and a panel discussion with the report’s author, broadcaster and former hostage John McCarthy; Peter Horrocks, the Director of the World Service and Rita Payne, from the Commonwealth Journalists’ Association. Written by John McCarthy and Charlotte Jennwer, the report highlights the BBC's unique opportunity to bring the world to the UK when it integrates the WS into the BBC in 2014. Panelists include John McCarthy and Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC Global News and BBC World Service."

Some recordings of Kim's "Communications World" program on VOA, 15 September 2001.

Posted: 10 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
America Under Attack - Live web page, maintained in Hungary: This website in Hungary has the only known surviving recording of my VOA "Communications World" program just after the 9/11 attacks. My Washington FM Band/Bandscan, from the night of 11 Sept, might especially be of interest.

Just after the attacks occurred, VOA News Now, a global English-language news service, was keen to share any information it could obtain. I was called into the studio to talk about the New York City television stations that were suddenly off the air, at this critical time, because their transmitters were atop the World Trade Center buildings. My friend Ralph Brandi in New Jersey recorded some content from WCBS and WINS, the all-news stations in New York, ans sent it to me as audio files. That was also shared with the VOA News Now audience.

Smart TVs may provide international broadcasters (and their competitors) access to more target countries.

Posted: 10 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 8 Sept 2011, Jonny Evans: "Smart TV (also called 'Connected' or 'Hybrid' TV) is big news at this year's IFA trade show, where the likes of Samsung and LG are showing-off their connected TV products. These televisions are televisions with Internet access, which enables you to use the TV as a portal for all manner of online services. Surf the Web, share email or access any supported video-on-demand service, including YouTube. ... In future, some TV channels will be made available as apps on these next-generation devices - Euronews this week announced a deal with Samsung to offer its shows on that company's connected TVs. In years to come, it seems you'll subscribe to the channels you most like directly as apps, using these apps on your television, computer, iPad and smartphone. This will transform existing broadcast business models, and will require new cooperation between trans-national licensing bodies as broadcasters move to cater to increasingly international audiences with their content, and content providers seek compensation for the shows they create."

One of the impediments to international television is the difficulty for international broadcasters to obtain one of the finite channels on cable, DTH satellite, and IPTV systems in the target country. Smart TV theoretically expands the number of available channels to infinity, though it also expands the number of competitors to infinity. The international broadcaster's competitive position will improve if it has -- and does a good job of marketing -- an app that works on most available smart TVs.

Sudan Armed Forces spokesman criticizes Al Jazeera reporting and calls assault on its reporter "isolated."

Posted: 10 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Sudan Tribune, 7 Sept 2011: "The spokesperson of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad said today that the assault on an Al-Jazeera TV correspondent by Sudanese soldiers in Blue Nile state was an act of an individuals and isolated. Osama Sayed Ahmed recounted his ordeal on Al-Jazeera Arabic TV saying that he was verbally abused and beaten up by SAF soldiers who accused him of circulating false news on Blue Nile state. He was also ordered to leave the state where fighting erupted last week between SAF and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) military units. SAF spokesperson said that a commission was formed to investigate this so that incidents like these are not repeated stressing that attacking journalists is 'unacceptable'. He also urged news outlets to ensure accuracy in their reporting of SAF activities adding that Al-Jazeera’s report yesterday on the heavy gunfire Blue Nile state capital of Damazin dealt a setback to of efforts made to reassure displaced citizens to return home. Colonel Sa’ad said Al-Jazeera omitted to mention to the fact that the shooting was accidental thus opening the door wide open for speculations on a possible hostile act."

Radio Dabanga, 7 Sept 2011: "Osama Sayed Ahmed, correspondent for Arabic news network Al Jazeera, was arrested by the Sudanese security forces on Tuesday, a spokesperson of the Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) said. ... The SJN said, 'From what has happened to our colleague Osama, we can infer the intentions of the regime to stub out free voice and whoever goes out in search for the truth without any bias.'"

An Al Jazeera English Texas high school football contretemps (updated again).

Posted: 10 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net blog, 4 Sept 2011, Gabriel Elizondo: "I’m in the middle of a two-week drive across the United States. I am stopping along the way in small towns and big cities to talk to people of all walks of life about the wide-ranging impact (or not) of 9/11 on American life. ... 'Let’s stop at a random high school and film a game and talk to people about 9/11; what better a setting to immerse ones self into Texas rural life than high school football.' ... [Booker High School principal] Mrs Yauck bounced up from her seat, approaches me warmly, and gives me a wonderful Texas hospitality smile and said something to the effect of 'what an interesting project' I was doing. ... She said she was out of business cards, so I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my wallet, grabbed by business card, and handed it to Mrs. Yauck. I don't think anything can wipe that double-wide smile off Mrs Yauck’s face. But my Al Jazeera business card does the job pretty quick. 'So you’re from Al Jazeera,' Mrs Yauck says in a sharp tone, still looking down at my card. Looking up at me, she adds quickly, 'So what’s your spin on this story?'"

Aljazeera.net blog, 5 Sept 2011, Michael Lee, superintendent of Booker, Texas, schools, responding: "We did not have prior notice and we certainly did not have time to verify who you were. Also, I would have asked you not to do those things at a public event, on public property and at a public school function. If you had done these, then the FERPA rights for our students would very well have been violated, especially for the students whose parents have signed papers not allowing the pictures of their children on the web. I do regret however, that you did not return to talk to me more, or 'confront' me as you stated in your blog. I think we would have enjoyed a nice conversation."

Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6 Sept. 2011, Bud Kennedy: "Look, I'm not sure how they teach the First Amendment in Booker. But as long as nobody's interrupting the game, a peaceful conversation in a public place should not be Lee's business. Forget all that now. Elizondo ruined his own case by unfairly blaming Booker for being fearful and bigoted, just because he couldn't do interviews. ... Al Jazeera left out the most important part of any game story. Booker beat Hooker, 46-27."

Update: Amarillo Globe-News, 7 Sept 2011, Kevin Welcoh: "'The courts have given public schools considerable latitude in controlling their environment,' said Ken Paulson, president and CEO of the First Amendment Center, a free-speech advocacy group. ... 'If Al Jazeera went to a Booker football game to do an interview, and the reporter was taken into custody by police, it might be a First Amendment violation if local media did the same thing and didn’t get arrested.'"

Slate, 6 Sept 2011, Will Oremus: "Is Elizondo just being paranoid to see anti-Muslim sentiment at work? There’s no way of getting into the mind of the administrators, but comments on some of the conservative-leaning sites that have picked up the story make it clear they wouldn’t be the only Americans to shun Al Jazeera. ... Not that commenters on more liberal sites showed much more tolerance. One who posted on Wonkette shrugged at the report of the brush-off: 'I say the same thing to Fox Newsies.'"

American Thinker, 8 Sept 2011, William Sullivan: "The disgust presented in Elizando's blog screams hypocrisy. We have to wonder how he might feel about FoxNews reporters visiting a local soccer game in Anytown, Middle East, on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, asking how they felt about the event a year later."

Former Radio Netherlands journalist is appointed head of new Libyan television channel.

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Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 8 Sept 2011: "Former Radio Netherlands Worldwide journalist Tareq Alqzeeri has been appointed director of Libyan television channel Libya Alahrar. The news and current affairs channel was created shortly after the start of the Libyan revolution to act as a counterweight to former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s state television. Mr Alqzeeri, who worked for RNW’s Arabic desk, was one of the founders of the opposition channel. The owner Mahmud Shammam, who is also Media Minister on the National Transitional Council, has asked him to transform the rebel channel into a fully-fledged news channel to replace Libyan state television at some point in the future."

New documentary film includes scene from shortwave listeners convention (updated).

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Movie Reviews by Dusty, 20 Aug 2011: "Resurrect Dead is not a flesh-eating zombie flick. It’s more of a film-noir documentary that follows a team of average citizens using their noodles to solve a mystery. The Toynbee Tiles started appearing in the early 80's. Most people ignored and walked over them without a thought. They appeared most densely in the Philadelphia area, but they have been spotted all over the East coast. If that's not enough to pique your interest, there are also Tiles in South America. ... The mystery leads our fearless sleuths to places where skepticism is a must. They find themselves at a short wave radio convention where they are following a lead. There is a scene here that is completely unrelated to the Tiles. A presenter at the convention gives a speech and demonstration of thought transference via short wave radio. ... The apparatus was a foil pie plate that he wore like a hat, with an antennae on top, or bottom depending on how you wish to view the pie plate." -- The shortwave radio convention was the 2006 Winter SWL Fest, near Philadelphia. The thought transfer session was tongue-in-cheek. I was at the event, but in another room at the time, trying to coax reception out of receivers at the Digital Radio Mondiale exhibit. See also www.resurrectdead.com.

Update: A.V. Club, 8 Sept 2011, Elliott Sharp interviewing director Jon Foy and producer Colin Smith: "AVC: What was one of the biggest leads you had in the investigation? JF: The biggest breakthrough was making a connection to shortwave radio—but to go further down that road will lead to pure spoiler territory. AVC: How did shortwave radio get introduced as a clue? JF: There was a newspaper article, an interview with a guy named Bill O’Neil who ran a website about the tiles up until the early 2000s. He received an email by someone who claimed to have come across the tiler on a Greyhound bus handing out handbills. When we tracked him down, it turns out this person didn’t see the tiler on the Greyhound bus, but he did come across a series of wheatpastes related to the Toynbee tiler that referenced shortwave radio transmissions. This clue became a major breakthrough that opened up a whole new avenue to pursue, and it was ultimately the right one."

"People do not need to like the United States in order to abandon violence."

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic, 8 Sept 2011, William McCants & William Rosenau: "In recognizing al-Qaeda's failures and weaknesses, we should reevaluate the political, military, economic, and other instruments the United States wields against terrorism. Three of these methods need particular scrutiny [including] ... one used in part of a broader set of information operations: positive messaging about the United States. There are excellent reasons to pursue public diplomacy, but countering terrorism is not one of them. The young people who are vulnerable to al-Qaeda's recruitment pitches are likely to be impervious to positive messages about the United States. In addition, linking public diplomacy with counterterrorism risks alienating intended audiences, which can easily detect the fear and hidden agenda lurking behind the friendly American smile. The United States needs to dissuade people from attacking its citizens -- but those people do not need to like the United States in order to abandon violence."

Katty Kay is new anchor of BBC World News America.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 7 Sept 2011, Alex Weprin: "Longtime BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay has been named lead anchor of 'BBC World News America,' the nightly newscast that airs on the BBC World News cable channel and on PBS stations across the U.S. Kay is effectively replacing Matt Frei, who had been the lead anchor on the newscast before jumping to Channel 4 in May. Kay also appears regularly on many U.S. networks on shows such as 'Meet the Press.'" With BBC press release.

Fox owns US rights to Canada's "Little Mosque on the Prairie," but doesn't develop the series in the USA.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Newsnight, 7 Sept 2011, Catrin Nye: "Influential American broadcaster Katie Couric has suggested a way to change attitudes to Muslims in the US. Pointing to the success in the 1980s and 90s of TV sitcom The Cosby Show in improving relations between African-Americans and whites, she argues that a Muslim version of the show may counter some Americans' negative perceptions of the community. But just across the border, in Canada, this 'Muslim Cosby Show' already exists. Little Mosque on the Prairie, made in Toronto, is recording its sixth and final series. ... The rights for Little Mosque were acquired by US TV network Fox, but the show was never remade. Creator Zarqa Nawaz says she has come up with something at least very close to the 'Muslim Cosby Show' four times already, but nothing has made it to the pilot stage in the US."

OpEdNews.com, 7 Sept 2011, Stuart Jeanne Bramhall: "I decided to watch a few episodes at http://watchlittlemosque.com/ ... I rarely campaign for letters and emails to politicians (they don't seem to accomplish much). However, in this case I think Fox needs to hear from several hundred thousand Americans demanding the right to watch Little Mosque on the Prairie on network TV."

Jacksonville public radio station replaces NPR's "Tell Me More" with BBC's "Tell Me More Cheaply."

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The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), 7 Sept 2011, Roger Bull: "WJCT (89.9 FM) is dropping the long-running 'A Prairie Home Companion' along with two other radio shows because of budget cuts. Effective Oct. 1: - 'A Prairie Home Companion' will be replaced by 'Bob Edwards Weekend.' - 'Tell Me More' will be replaced by BBC's 'World Have Your Say.' 'Tell Me More,' which airs weekdays at 1 p.m., wasn't particularly well-received, Boylan said. But the price is rising from about $8,000 a year to $16,500. 'World Have Your Say,' a global call-in show from BBC that will replace it, will cost $3,865."

CNN International notes ratings success among European business elite.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
CNN International press release, 8 Sept 2011: "CNN is the international news channel of choice for Europe’s most senior business decision makers, according to the latest data from the Ipsos Business Elite (BE) Europe Survey, released today. The channel now outstrips its competitors on daily, weekly and monthly reach, cementing its position as the number one destination for international news. The 2011 survey, which examines the media consumption habits of senior business professionals in the largest companies across 17 European markets, illustrates reach during one of the most extraordinary years for global news in living memory. CNN International is placed ahead of its global rivals – including dedicated business channels – with a monthly reach of 33.5%, a weekly reach of 16.1% and a daily reach of 4.1%. CNN enjoys a clear lead over all international news, business and factual channels in all measures, including monthly, weekly and daily reach. According to the survey CNN was not only ahead of BBC World News and Euronews, but also outperformed the dedicated business networks CNBC and Bloomberg, by 184% and 194% respectively."

Thirty-three years since the umbrella murder of BBC Bulgarian broadcaster Georgi Markov.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Novinite Sofia News Agency, 7 Sept 2011: "Bulgaria [marked] Wednesday the 33rd anniversary since the murder of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian émigré broadcaster and a dissident writer, who was poisoned in London in 1978. On September 7, 1978, Georgi Markov, had been walking on foot to a bus stop to go to work at BBC. Once he reached the Waterloo Bridge over the Times River, he felt a sudden pain, similar to an insect bite, at the back of his left leg. He looked back and saw a man, picking an umbrella from the ground, crossing the street in a hurry, and catching a cab. When he arrived at his office in BBC, Markov noticed a small red bump right where he felt the stinking earlier. He told one of his colleagues about the incident. The same evening, he was admitted in the hospital with high fever and died on September 11. ... [In 1971] Markov moved to London where he learned English and started working for the Bulgarian section of the BBC World Service (1972). ... Later, he also worked with Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe." See also Cold War Radios, 9 Sept 2011, Richard H. Cummings.

Iran is now jamming BBC Persian on two satellites: Eutelsat W3A as well as Hotbird.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 7 Sept 2011: "The deliberate jamming of BBC Persian TV from within Iran has now moved to two different satellites for the first time. The Hotbird satellite has been targeted since July and now the Eutelsat W3A satellite is subject to interference. Eutelsat, the satellite owner, has validated the geolocalisation of the source of the interference as being in Iran. Both BBC and Eutelsat condemn this extensive and deliberate act that is contrary to international conventions for the use of satellites. ... Last year, the ITU Radio Regulations Board urged Iran to end interference hampering Eutelsat satellite operations. BBC Persian TV continues to stream live online and on satellites T12 (15 degrees West) and EB2 (25.5 degrees East)."

Old news: BBC global iPlayer will offer previously broadcast "strands" from BBC News.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 8 Sept 2011: "On Friday 9th September 2011 the global BBC iPlayer app, available in 11 European markets will introduce a weekly-updated BBC News programme collection to its multi-genre video on demand service. A selection of highly acclaimed News strands, previously broadcast on BBC News channels – both domestic and international - over the past week will be available for new and current subscribers to stay informed and view at their leisure."

Broadband TV News, 8 Sept 2011, Julian Clover: "BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith has said the prospect of the new Global iPlayer eating the BBC’s own lunch is a danger that has been present for a very long time and requires careful management. Speaking at the opening session of IBC 2011 in Amsterdam, Smith said canabalisation had been an issue since the launch of BBC Worldwide’s channel business. 'Through careful windowing you can have content shown on your own linear channels and other broadcasters'." -- The BBC Worldwide international commercial channels include BBC Enetrtainment, BBC Knowledge, and CBeebies.

NHK documentary on Japan's earthquake and tsunami will be broadcast by English-language NHK World.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Realscreen, 6 Sept 2011, Kelly Anderson: "NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster, will air programming this week that will address what life has been like in the region six months after its most recent major earthquake and tsunami. ... On September 11, NHK will air the special The Great East Japan Earthquake: The Unknown Threats of Mega-Tsunami, which uses footage to re-examine the destruction caused by the tsunami. The documentary will also broadcast on the English-language service, NHK World TV, on October 1."

State-BBG OIG inspects and reports on the "well managed" VOA Indonesian Service.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
US Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors Office of Inspector General, 31 Aug 2011, "Inspection of Voice of America's Indonesian Service." •The Voice of America (VOA) Indonesian Service (the service) is a well managed operation that has established a credible presence in Indonesian media markets with a strategy that relies on affiliate stations to broadcast its television and radio products. In more than 11 years, the service has changed from being a small, shortwave operation to a modern, vibrant, multimedia organization that carefully uses audience research to target its viewers and listeners. •Television has eclipsed radio in Indonesia, and the use of new media is growing rapidly; Indonesia is the second largest user of Facebook in the world. VOA Indonesian television broadcasts are carried on some of Indonesia’s largest stations. The service has appropriately directed resources in response to these changes in the media environment. •Although the percentage of news in the service’s television products is significantly lower than the percentage of feature material, the service believes that this ratio between hard/soft news and information is the appropriate mix, given the local media environment. On the other hand, the radio market is different and VOA radio programs continue to provide a larger percentage of hard news."

This plan for an American World Service is really for a domestic terrestrial service.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Columbia Journalism Review, Behind the News, 6 Sept 2011, Justin D. Martin: "I constantly wish for a twenty-four-hour network devoted to serious global news, like BBC World or Al-Jazeera. Even people in the US with expanded cable packages are denied serious global news coverage, of course, as most cable providers do not offer Al-Jazeera English and too many don’t carry BBC, and domestic cable news channels routinely cover hours upon hours of nonsense. ... In the July/August edition of CJR, Lee Bollinger offered a bold proposal to address these problems, suggesting creation of an 'American World Service,' much like BBC World News. Bollinger imagines the outlet as a catalyst to enhance the global exchange of ideas: '[A] media institution with sufficient funding to bring the highest-quality American journalism to the global public forum.' It seems to me that one of the primary benefits to an American World Service would be to also bring more serious global journalism to Americans."

While Mr. Bollinger's proposal was for a channel that would broadcast both domestically and internationally, Dr. Martin's implementation seems to be for domestic consumption. This would be a serious news channel that would be available on terrestrial television, thus not requiring a cable or satellite connection. But in almost all markets, the terrestrial channels are already spoken for. Would the government use eminent domain to bump a private, for-profit, commercial channel and replace it with this government-funded news channel?

Dr. Martin does not mention CNN International. CNN International might have more entertainment and sports news that Dr. Martin would prefer, but it has much more substantial world coverage than CNN domestic. Getting CNNI on more cable and satellite platforms would do much to overcome the world news deficit in the United States. If terrestrial distribution is desired, CNN International could be placed on a digital subchannel of a partner stations. No government funding would be required: CNN International pays for itself through advertising, much of it by countries promoting tourism, trade, and investment. It does not take much imagination to see a business plan emerging here -- both for CNN International and BBC World News.

Another feature of Mr. Martin's plan is that it would employ VOA journalism. One of the best arguments for the repeal of the Smith-Mundt prohibition of domestic dissemination is that US international and domestic broadcasting could barter content, strengthening the output of each side. The BBC world and domestic services greatly benefit from such an arrangement. So do CNN International and CNN domestic.

In America Calling: A 21st Century Model, I suggest that US international broadcasting be franchised to a consortium of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC. The consortium would provide the senior executive board, firewall, expertise, and newsgathering resources. In turn, the consortium members would benefit from the regional and language expertise of US international broadcasting.

Herald de Paris, 8 Sept 2011, Jes Alexander: "Time-Warner ... still [has] a whole lot of fixing to do to HLN, the former CNN Headline News channel. The half-hearted HLN re-branding was a monumental blunder. My suggestion to Time-Warner is to quickly re-vamp the mostly goofy HLN while Nancy Grace is off dancing. You have three outstanding newsrooms in CNN proper, CNN International, and CNN Mexico, there is no reason you can’t present headlines from around the globe, 24/7, increasing your market share without increasing your payroll. How? It’s simple, really. The single largest minority demographic in the US is Latin-American. By losing the talking heads of the Nancy Grace era and replacing them with English language news delivery from the CNN Mexico newsroom, you can’t help but to attract a stronger audience. So, too, you have to stop selling airtime to infomercials and cable outlets. It’s unbecoming of a news channel."

Al Jazeera English is "no-frills, though not quite stuffy, news with a foreign accent."

Posted: 08 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Market Watch, 7 Sept 2011, John Friedman: "I’ve watched a steady diet of Al Jazeera over the past few weeks to see what makes the network tick. It is no-frills, though not quite stuffy, news with a foreign accent. Put it this way: If the BBC and Bloomberg News got together and had a baby, the offspring might be something just like Al Jazeera. ... I saw well-produced, thoughtful pieces about political, economic and financial subjects that gave me a keener understanding about places I’ll probably never get to visit — or learn about on the 6:30 p.m. evening news shows. I learned about the panic in a Pakistani village suffering landslides after a deluge, the aftermath of the election in Japan, Ramadan buffets and accusations that food was being wasted during the period, the World Athletic Championships from South Korea, world-class sprinter Usain Bolt’s stunning disqualification because of a blatant false start, and press coverage of a carnival in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood."

Report: Botswana invited the US to send troops to guard the VOA relay facility in that country.

Posted: 08 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
New Zimbabwe, 6 Sept 2011: "Botswana invited the United States to send troops to guard a transmission station used by the Voice of America's Studio 7 to broadcast into Zimbabwe, leaked diplomatic cables show. Zimbabwe’s western neighbour was concerned by rising rhetoric against the radio station which is funded by the United States government and broadcasts from Washington through medium and shortwave. ... Zimbabwe has in the past spoken strongly against Botswana's decision to continue hosting Voice of America (VOA) transmitters. It claims they are being used by the United States government to transmit propaganda against President Robert Mugabe."

Head of Al Jazeera Kabul bureau, held in Israeli prison, asks to see his doctors (updated).

Posted: 08 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 4 Sept 2011, Joanna Paraszczuk: "The Haifa District Court ordered the Israel Prison Service on Sunday to file a written response no later than Monday regarding a petition over the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Samer Farik Mohammad Allawi. Allawi, the head of Al Jazeera's Kabul bureau in Afghanistan, was arrested on August 9th when he tried to cross into Jordan over the Allenby Bridge. According to Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau, the Palestinian born journalist, who heads the Qatar-based news agency's Kabul branch in Afghanistan, was returning from a three-week vacation with his family near Nablus. Israel suspects Allawi of belonging to Hamas and of carrying out actions against state security. Allawi, who is being held in custody in the Kishon Detention Center after Samaria Military Court ruled that his detention will be extended, had petitioned the Haifa District Court to order the Prison Service to permit his doctors to visit him in prison."

AFP, 3 Sept 2011: "About 150 journalists, photographers and cameramen demonstrated in Gaza City on Saturday for Israel to release the Palestinian head of Al-Jazeera's Kabul bureau. They held a sit-in in front of UN offices to demand 'the immediate release' of Samer Allawi. ... The demonstrators called on the United Nations to intervene against Israel's 'arbitrary' detention which 'violates the freedom of the press.'" See previous post about same subject.

Tablet Magazine, 1 Sept 2011, Lee Smith: "Last week the Israeli daily Maariv relayed a report from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs explaining that Israel is incensed with Qatar and intends to break off relations with the spunky Persian Gulf emirate. ... As part of its campaign against Qatar, the Maariv report claimed that the Israeli government would no longer allow journalists employed by Al Jazeera, the Qatari emir’s de facto public diplomacy wing, to operate within its precincts. However, the station’s bureau chief is still working from Jerusalem and is in little danger of being chased out of the country. Nonetheless, by shining the spotlight on Al Jazeera, Israel is illuminating the satellite network’s negative influence in the region."

Update: AFP, 7 Sept 2011: "Al-Jazeera satellite news channel has called on Israel to release its former Kabul bureau chief ahead of the journalist's appearance before a court on Wednesday. ... According to [its] statement, Israeli authorities used Allawi's personal passwords to gain access to Al-Jazeera's internal news and email networks."

For expats in China, getting satellite TV involves "four guys turning up at your doorstep with a car boot full of dishes."

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 6 Sept 2011, Joseph Jones: Getting satellite TV in China "consisted of four guys turning up at your doorstep with a car boot full of dishes. At my old apartment the security guard ranted a bit when they tried to put the dish. Apparently the proximity of the nearby PLA barracks meant that there was a danger military frequencies could be picked up. Luckily the PRC's plans for Taiwan never did flash up onscreen and interrupt Jamie Oliver. The TV package was an illegal Philippine feed. Along with the usual offerings, there were a number of peculiarly Pilipino television channels: the Christian ones. At least half a dozen of the 50-odd channels were completely dedicated to a strange kind of evangelical Christianity. Even when the Chinese government periodically scrambled every other channel, JCTV (yes, that's right, JCTV) would come beaming through. Amongst its programming delights were 'show and tell' shows on how man had coexisted with dinosaurs and 'evidence' of Noah's Ark, complete with khaki-clad experts and an array of dubious-looking fossils and relics. ... On the plus side, football-mad Asia means I can watch the beautiful game for seven hours straight on a Saturday night. All I'm waiting for now is to find a half-decent British pub serving a ploughman's lunch, and my reasons for moving back to the UK go down by one." -- The Philippine feed is Dream Satellite TV on Koreasat 5 at 113.0°E, popular among expats in China for its English-language channels and good signal into China. Even though it appeals primarily to expats, its widespread adoption in China suggests that an audio channel on this package consisting of VOA and RFA Mandarin would be worth a try. When VOA Mandarin radio is eliminated, the non-RFA portion of the 24 hours could be filled with VOA English (now mostly for Africa, thus of interest to African expats in China). See also the Lyngsat age for Dream Satellite TV.

SABC International is finally in the news. The news is that SABC International no longer exists.

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Media Update (South Africa), 5 Sept 2011: "SABC journalist and presenter, Desiree Chauke ... said ... 'In 2000 I was invited to join SABC Africa, and the basis is that they will want full commitment and at the point I stopped the addition of activities and focused my energies on SABC, which has been the case since. SABC Africa doesn’t exist anymore, I moved to SABC International and it was closed down for various reasons and at the moment I am based at Morning Live as the producer of the show'." -- Channel Africa, however, is still on the air.

CNBC Africa and Namibian Broadcasting Corp begin content partnership.

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Media Update (South Africa), 6 Sept 2011: "CNBC Africa and the Namibian Broadcast Corporation (NBC) have concluded a strategic partnership that will see top quality business news content from the channel being broadcast across Namibia from September. The agreement will also see CNBC Africa featuring more Namibian content on the 24/7 network across Sub-Sahara Africa. ... This agreement will in essence see CNBC Africa setting-up a bureau at the NBC in Namibia – giving the channel the opportunity to source business and economic interviews from the country, while the NBC will have access to CNBC Africa’s business news content and programming to distribute on its terrestrial platform. CNBC Africa is distributed in 49 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa via Multichoice and also is available on DStv channel 410." -- CNBC Africa, based in Cape Town, is licensed to use the CNBC name, along with some CNBC and NBC programs.

Syrian news agency accuses Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya of "blatant hostility."

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Syrian Arab News Agency, 3 Sept. 2011: "A number of satellite channels entered a new stage of bltanat [blatant] hostility towards Syria, calling openly for providing terrorist groups with weapons and money and adopting all opinions that support this regardless of who is behind them or what agenda they're carrying out. In the coverage of these channels – particularly al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya – of Friday's events in Syria, all reports called for arming the terrorists and foreign interference in Syria in a manner that betrays clear annoyances and disappointment over the gradual return of normal life to several Syria cities which had witnessed criminal acts by armed terrorist groups."

Syrian Arab News Agency, 2 Sept 2011: "The family of child Mousa Salameh on Friday related the details of how he was injured while playing in the streets, denying the lies of channels that claimed that he was shot dead by security forces. ... Mousa's uncle Ghazi al-Melhem said that his nephew is alive and in good health, discrediting the allegations made by al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya that he died and that he attending a funeral."

Press TV, 4 Sept 2011: "Syria's national television has broadcast confessions of an individual that had cooperated with foreign media in fabricating footage on demonstrations in the country, Press TV reports. Mohammad Ibrahim Khanoudi's confessions were broadcast on the Syrian state-run TV on Saturday, a Press TV correspondent reported. The 45-year-old Syrian national admitted to joining a foreign-funded media group that fabricated videos of demonstrations and repressions by the Syrian security forces. ... The fabricated videos were sold to stations like al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya and Orient TV for USD 100 each clip, according to Khanoudi."

Hulu launches Hulu Japan, while Netflix begins Lat Am rollout.

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
paidContent.org, 1 Sept 2011, Staci D. Kramer: "Hulu’s first offering outside the U.S. is live: Hulu Japan, a subscription service with 'hundreds' of films and thousands of hours of TV. For ¥1,480 a month or roughly $18.50, Japanese subscribers can watch across an array of devices just like U.S. subscribers of Hulu Plus with one exception—Hulu Japan is ad free. Then again, they are paying more than twice the $8 monthly lug of Hulu Plus in the U.S. Hulu Japan launches with programming from CBS, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) featuring content from Disney/ABC Television Group and The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. Disney, Fox and NBCU are equity owners in the online video portal. But the launch version doesn’t offer Japanese programming. Hulu promises to rapidly add more programming, including Japanese-produced content and content from across Asia. ... Hulu Japan is more like streaming video rival Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) than Hulu U.S. in one respect: TV shows are previous seasons, not current."

Update: Home Media Magazine, 6 Sept 2011, Erik Gruenwedel: "Netflix has formally bowed subscription streaming service in Brazil, the first of 43 planned Latin America countries, the Caribbean and Mexico. ... On the Sept. 7, the Spanish-language version of the Netflix streaming service goes live in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. ... Netflix is expected to launch streaming operations in Europe by next year, beginning in Spain."

US Institute of Peace event on Friday will discuss "media interventions in conflict zones."

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
United States Institute of Peace, "Media in Conflict: The Evaluation Imperative," 9 September 2011, 9:00am to 12:15pn EDT, in Washington. "Never before have the media played a more integral role in conflict management. At the same time, funding agencies and policymaking bodies have greater expectations for demonstrating impact and efficacy in this area. To meet these growing needs, media development practitioners, donors, international broadcasters and methodologists have collectively authored the USIP PeaceWorks titled 'Caux Guiding Principles.' The Principles aim to improve monitoring and evaluation of media interventions in conflict zones. Such media interventions can consist of the media working to promote a particular message to influence public opinion, or they can be projects geared towards building the capacity of media organizations themselves." The keynote address will be given by David Ensor, the new VOA director. Bruce Sherman, on the staff of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, will also be speaking. -- I hope that international broadcasters, in their understandable desire to contribute to "conflict management," don't forget that the audience is mainly interested in credible, reliable news. See my essay on this subject.

Euronews claims it is "the most distributed international channel on connected TVs." Now where is the owner's manual?...

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
DigitalTVEurope, 5 Sept 2011: "News broadcaster Euronews has significantly expanded its presence on connected TVs after signing recent deals with a number of TV manufacturers. The news channel has signed deals to bring its content to connected TVs from Philips, Samsung, Toshiba and LG as well as Vestel and Loewe via NetRange MMH, an independent manufacturer of white-label products. Euronews said it was becoming the most distributed international channel on connected TVs. According to the broadcaster the connected TV market is estimated to reach over 123 million sets by 2014." See also Broadband TV News, 5 Sept 2011. "Miguel Relvas, [Portugal's] parliamentary affairs minister, ... told journalists that the government would pre-pay €225 million in debts owed by the state-owned broadcaster RTP in 2012 within the framework of preparations for privatisation. ... However, with a clear emphasis on the financial reality following the EU/IMF bailout of Portugal, Mr. Relvas informed the commission he had asked RTP both to rethink its €2 million contract with the Euronews channel and 'to find synergies' with national news agency Lusa, particularly in terms of international bureaus."

African movies distributed to the world through Roku players and connected TVs.

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Appmarket.tv, 2 Sept 2011, Richard Kastelein: "SyncTV, the leader in delivering television services to the largest set of Internet-connected TVs, mobile devices, and other service-enabled devices, today announced a new partnership with UK-based video-on-demand (VOD) service, African Movie Channel (AMC), to deliver hundreds of authentic classic, recent and new Africa-origin films to both Africans and the global diaspora through Roku Streaming Media Players and Samsung Connected TVs."

Rapid TV News, 4 Sept 2011, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "French-speaking international channel TV5 has enriched its TV5Monde+ Afrique web TV channel with a Facebook app. The web TV service, developed by ViewOnTv, can be watched live on its Facebook fan page offering varied content from and about Africa. It is the latest in an upping of the ante by TV5 in the interactive space and follows the addition of TV5Monde+Afrique to the TV5Monde offering embedded on connected TV sets."

Ten years after 9/11, is a lighter US military footprint the best public diplomacy?

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 5 Sept 2011, Andrew Hammond: "Like the Cold War, the challenges that are posed by the campaign against terrorism cannot be met by hard assets alone. ... This factor is, ironically, very well understood within the top echelons of al-Qa'ida. For instance, its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has said 'more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. We are in a media battle for the hearts and minds'. Similarly, bin Laden emphasised the importance of communications, once noting 'the media war in this century is one of the strongest methods; in fact, its ratio may reach 90 per cent of the total preparation for the battles'. It is in this context of winning Muslim hearts and minds that, 10 years after 9/11, Obama now has such a precious political window of opportunity to relaunch the campaign against terrorism. Seizing the moment would require the US giving higher priority, as it did during the Cold War, to public diplomacy, broadcasting, development assistance and exchange programs."

CNN, 5 Sept 2011, Steven Kull commentary: "When George W. Bush, in what has to go down as one of the greatest public diplomacy missteps of all time, announced a 'crusade' against terrorism, the assimilation of American actions into the long-standing narrative of Western hostility to Islam was all but complete. ... As America begins to gradually disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan there is the potential for negative feelings toward the United States to begin to abate. Muslims generally perceive U.S. military forces in the region as a threatening presence designed to keep the region the way America wants it to be. Any lightening of America’s military footprint will further mitigate this sense of being coerced."

Iranian media accuse BBC Persian of encouraging Kurdish rebel attacks.

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 5 Sept 2011: "The state-funded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is seeking to encourage the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) terrorist group to continue militant attacks against Iran. A senior member of the PJAK leadership council, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the BBC in a recent interview that she decided to join the militant group to fight for the rights of Kurds. She added that she is ready to kill Iranian soldiers for her cause, IRNA reported on Monday. The BBC report said that since Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) recently deployed a large number of its troops to the northwest of the country along the border with the Iraqi Kurdistan region, PJAK has been preparing for a full-scale confrontation with Iran."

Human Right Watch describes difficulties for VOA reporter in Angola.

Posted: 07 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AlertNet, 5 Sept 2011, citing Human Rights Watch: "On September 3, 2011, police agents and groups of unidentified men apparently allied to the authorities violently dispersed an anti-government rally involving several hundred protesters. The demonstration, at Luanda's Independence Square, called on President José Eduardo dos Santos - in power for 32 years - to step down. ... Alexandre Neto, a journalist with the Portuguese-speaking radio service of Voice of America, told Human Rights Watch that unidentified men knocked him down and took the backpacks that contained his mobile phones. ... On August 21, police disrupted a news conference being given by the September 3 demonstration organizers in Luanda, seizing their documents and briefly detaining five organizers. On the same day, police also briefly detained VOA journalist Alexandre Neto, and confiscated his camera, after he had taken pictures of the location of the planned news conference. All were released from custody on the same day and the police returned the journalist's material." See also Committee to Protect Journalists, 6 Sept 2011.

VOA press statement, 7 Sept 2011: "Voice of America deplores an assault against one of its journalists in Angola Saturday, which took place as he tried to cover a pro-democracy rally in the capital Luanda. ... Voice of America urges the authorities in Angola to respect the rights of journalists and insure they are not subjected to attack while performing their duties. The incident on Saturday is one of several cases of VOA reporters being harassed in Angola and it is the second time police have tried to take photographic equipment from Mr. Neto."

Media Institute of Southern Africa, 7 Sept 2011: "Two reporters from the Portuguese RTP were also assaulted and their camera damaged during the events, the station said. Antonio Cascais, also a Portuguese journalist with the German radio Deutsche Welle, said he was beaten and assaulted after arriving at the demonstration site, and was not returned his material."

Tough room: private South Korean group will try satellite TV directed to North Korea.

Posted: 06 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 6 Sept 2011, Steve Herman: "A private South Korean group says it intends, as soon as next year, to beam satellite entertainment television programs into the isolated North. North Koreans are allowed to watch only the government’s television channels, which mainly broadcast news, movies and documentaries predictability exhorting the successes of the country’s communist leadership. But a group of South Koreans wants to give those on the northern side of the divided peninsula some lighter fare, hoping that will help unify, at least culturally, the two Koreas. Unification TV is to be composed primarily of South Korean dramas and other entertainment programs. ... The station’s founders say the programming they will air should be neutral and inoffensive to the leaders in Pyongyang or Seoul. Skeptical analysts note it would be nearly impossible for impoverished and repressed North Koreans to acquire and install the roof-top satellite dishes and receivers needed to view the TV signal from space."

US Army radio station in Afghanistan: Pashto ballads, call-in, jokes, and Army's narrative.

Posted: 06 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 24 Aug 2011, Kevin Sieff: "DJ Abed Lawang is one of the biggest names on the airwaves, known for playing hit Pashto ballads, telling jokes and hosting a popular call-in show about farming practices. But there’s one key fact the disc jockey has never told his listeners: He is broadcasting from a studio on a U.S. Army base, delivering messages written by American military officers. He is one of more than 20 radio DJs in Paktika province, and dozens more across the country, who are engaged in what the U.S. military considers a crucial operation: persuading residents in an area dominated by insurgents to embrace Afghan and NATO forces. In practice, that means he has to pause between Pakistani love songs and pas­sages from the Koran to read about the heroism of Afghan and American armies, as well as the destruction wreaked by insurgents. The commentary is not always well received; he uses the pseudonym to protect himself... . The radio campaign has been a boon to the U.S. war effort, enabling the Army to advance its own narrative after successful operations or destructive Taliban attacks. ... 'We hear the station’s messages about the Afghan government and ISAF achievements. It is sometimes good information, but many people here assume [Light FM] is run by Americans. It doesn’t seem independent,' said Ali Mohammad Nazari, 20, a Sharana resident."

BBC Worldwide names EVP for Latin America, with more regional EVPs to come, "driving international revenue growth" (updated).

Posted: 06 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 31 Aug 2011: "BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC, today announces that it has appointed Fred Medina to the role of Executive Vice-President (EVP) for Latin America with effect from 12 September. In this newly-created BBC Worldwide role, Medina will be responsible for BBC Worldwide’s strategic development in Latin America and in the US Hispanic market, delivering new brands, products and services initiatives to drive future revenue growth across the region. He will be based in Miami ... . The new role reflects BBC Worldwide’s stated strategic aim of driving international revenue growth and an increased focus on regional opportunities, and will see similar roles created for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and for Asia, in addition to existing positions for North America and for Australia and New Zealand."

Update: BBC Worldwide press release, 5 Sept. 2011: "As part of its strategy to drive international growth, BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC, today announces the appointment of a regional Executive Vice-President (EVP) for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Joerg Bachmaier. ... Joerg comes aboard from Endemol Group, where he was Senior VP/General Manager for the Americas for Endemol Worldwide Brands."

RFE/RL Azerbaijani correspondent abducted, expelled to Iran (updated).

Posted: 06 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 2 Sept 2011: "A freelance correspondent for RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq, is back in Baku after being abducted and forcibly expelled to the Iranian border by unidentified men in the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan. Yafez Hasanov had been in the Julfa district to investigate the death of Turac Zeynalov, who had been summoned to Naxcivan's National Security Ministry on August 24 on accusations of 'working for Ira' and found dead the following day. ... Hasanov, who has reported for Radio Azadliq since 2010, said on Wednesday (August 31) he was planning to investigate other sensitive cases in the region when three men in a vehicle commonly used by state security agents stopped him on the street and told him to get in the car. ... Hasanov was driven to the district customs office and told to cross the border and return to Baku via Iran. ... RFE/RL President Steven Korn called the incident 'outrageous, dangerous, and criminal,' and said that 'it warrants an explanation from the Azerbaijani government.'" See also Azeri Report, 2 Sept 2011.

Update: Reporters sans frontières, 6 Sept 2011: "Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the unacceptable escalation in harassment of the media by the authorities in Nakhchivan, an autonomous Azerbaijani exclave between Armenia and Iran, especially last week’s expulsion of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reporter Yafez Hasanov (Яфез Xасанов)."

Pakistan's information minister wants "deep interaction between Radio Pakistan and China Radio International."

Posted: 06 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Press Trust of India, 4 Sept 2011: "Pakistan's Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, who is [in Beijing] here on an official visit ... said APP [Associated Press of Pakistan] was planning to formulate specific segment of news sharing in Chinese language. She said Pakistan was in 'talks to give landing rights' to Chinese state-run TV channel CCTV as given to international electronic media outlets. The minister said that we are also examining how the Chinese language programmes in Pakistan vis-a-vis Pakistani programmes, including drama, documentaries, arts and culture and youth programmes can be telecast in each other countries. 'We want deep interaction between Radio Pakistan and China Radio International (CRI),' she noted." See also APP, 4 Sept 2011. -- I'm not sure which story was first.

Alaska calling the Philippines: Another story of shortwave listening during captivity.

Posted: 06 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
USA Today, 1 Sept 2011, Rick Hamson: "Martin and Gracia Burnham, American missionaries, are kidnapped in May 2001 in the southern Philippines by the Muslim rebel group Abu Sayyaf. They’re moved through the jungle as the rebels try to get ransom. ... 5.20.2002: The Burnhams persuade their captors to let them listen to a shortwave radio. They find a Christian station in Alaska and hear their first spoken Scripture in almost a year, from Romans 8: 'If God is for us, who can be against us?' The preacher continues: 'If you are in the midst of a hard situation, and if you could hear Christ in the next room praying, you wouldn’t be afraid of a thousand enemies. He would be calling your name.' The minister prays for the oppressed and the persecuted, including Christians treated wrongly because of their faith. Martin and Gracia look at each other, tears in their eyes. It’s like he’s praying for them." -- The Christian shortwave station in Alaska would be KNLS, Anchor Point, whose English transmissions are beamed to the "Pacific Rim."

Commentator praises Al Jazeera for "taking the side of the people against the dictators."

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 4 Sept 2011, Nehad Ismail: "I must confess that up to a year or so ago I had been somewhat uneasy about some of the Al Jazeera Arabic output. This has now changed. I am now an ardent admirer of the Station's honourable stance in taking the side of the people against the dictators in such an unambiguous and decisive manner. ... This is not to say that other Channels notably Al Jazeera English, Al Arabiya and BBC Arabic are not doing a sterling job. Their coverage of the uprising has been of the highest professional standards, but less strident and more restrained than Al Jazeera Arabic. Al Jazeera and al Al Arabiya have played a pivotal role in the popular Arab uprisings. Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya were described as contemptible dogs by Gaddafi and Bashar al Assad." -- For news channels, I still vote for "less strident and more restrained."

The Peninsula (Doha), 5 Sept 2011: "The Algerian media has launched a campaign against Al Jazeera channel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy alleging that they have joined hands to destabilise the Algerian system, Egyptian daily Al Ahram has reported. The Algerian media has alleged that there is a secret understanding between Al Jazeera and the French president to export the Arab spring to Algeria and change its political system. Algerian French newspaper Liberty said some Algerians had successfully tried to block Al Jazeera’s website."

CNN International report catalogues pro- and anti-Gadhafi Libyan television channels.

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
CNN, 2 Sept 2011, Nima Elbagir: "Pro- and anti-Gadhafi television channels are popping up across Libya. CNN's Nima Elbagir reports." Video report.

BBC Monitoring, 2 Sept 2011: "For Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the loss of Tripoli also meant that he lost his media outlets - a main driver of his personality cult and his authoritarian rule up until a week ago. An extensive media group of dozens of domestic and satellite radio and TV channels, newspapers and magazines vanished, leaving Col Gaddafi with severely limited choices. After National Transitional Council (NTC) forces went into Tripoli on 21 August, dozens of Col Gaddafi's TV and radio stations swiftly went off the air and the publication of state press ceased."

Iranian punk musician says appearance on VOA's Parazit "is the end of me going back to Iran."

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 3 Sept 2011, King Raam, lead singer of Iranian-American punk band Hypernova, as interviewed by Gaby Dunn: "I went and did an interview on [Voice of America]. There's a show called 'Parazit.' 'Parazit' is like the Iranian Jon Stewart. They have 500,000 fans on Facebook and they're watched by 40 million people a month. If you go on that show in Iran, and they're like basically an anti-governmental show, speaking out against the government's brutality. Basically if you go on that show, you are automatically on the blacklist for never going back home. I finally decided to do it. Almost every single Iranian on the planet watches that show. If I go on this show, this is the end of me going back to Iran. Because my friends with much less records than mine, they went back and their passports were taken away at the airport."

Alhurra's program Al Youm went to Cairo for Eid.

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc press release, 1 Sept 2011: "Alhurra’s primetime magazine program Al Youm celebrates Eid live from Cairo’s Tivoli Dome today. Al Youm's Egyptian fans can come out to watch the live show co-hosted by Engy Anwar and Amr Khalil. The broadcast will feature a performance by Egyptian singer Ramy Sabry who will sing his hit song Kelma. ... Engy Anwar remarked, 'I am really looking forward to meeting with Al Youm’s audience for the second time. Having the show outside the studio always brings a whole new energy to the program.'"

New app brings CNBC content to "different internet connected devices" in Europe, Middle East, Africa.

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 3 Sept 2011, Robert Briel: "CNBC, the business and financial news channel, has launched the CNBC Real-Time TV App, available for connected TV platforms throughout the EMEA [Europe, Middle East, Africa] region. The CNBC Real-Time TV App, which is free to use, allows viewers to access content from CNBC’s TV and online platforms via their internet connected televisions, giving them access to the latest essential business and financial news and data. Features of CNBC’s Real-Time TV App include CNBC’s latest EMEA videos with CEOs, market analysis and investor insights; Real-time market data with live data from the London Stock Exchange, NYSE, NASDAQ and Deutsche Börse (further exchanges will be added in due course) and a My Portfolio feature enabling viewers to personalise a watch list of up to 30 favourite stocks for easy monitoring The CNBC Real-Time TV App is available via different internet connected devices, including TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and home theatre systems on Panasonic Viera Connect, Philips Net TV, Samsung Smart TV and on the Virgin Media cable network in the UK."

BBG seeks proposal for VOA social networking studies in Lagos, Jakarta, and - even though VOA no longer has Arabic - Cairo.

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
FedBizOpps.gov, 29 July 2011: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Governors [sic: meaning the BBG governors responsible for the IBB?] requires a contractor to conduct a social networking study of the following markets: Lagos, Nigeria, Cairo, Egypt, and Jakarta, Indonesia. The Broadcasting Board of Governors operates the Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S.-based, publicly funded international broadcaster dedicated to providing objective news and information to audiences in under-served media environments around the world. While traditionally focused on delivering its content via broadcast media, VOA is moving aggressively to expand distribution via new media platforms. In particular, recognizing the explosive growth of social networking around the world, VOA is interesting in exploring how this phenomenon can best be used to supplement and enhance its traditional methods of content distribution. To succeed in this effort, VOA requires a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of exactly how web and mobile-based social networking contributes to the flow of information in key markets."

Cairo? VOA no longer broadcasts in Arabic. Arabic has been turned over to Alhurra and Radio Sawa.

The report of such a study should say this, but probably won't: In the shortwave era, VOA had 120 million listeners. With the advent of social media, VOA will have 120 million competitors. Going back to shortwave is not the answer (too late now, anyway). But what is the answer in this new age of overabundant content sources? What will elevate US international broadcasting to more than a spit in the ocean? As a first step: the entities of US international broadcasting must quit competing with each other. It is time to consolidate their resources and talents.

By the way, I'm responsible for VOA audience research in Indonesia. This is the first I've heard about the Jakarta study. One of the reasons I curate news about international broadcasting from the house where I live is to find out what is going on inside the building where I work.

In interview, head of Polish Radio External Service provides mixed message about his station's mission.

Posted: 05 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The Warsaw Voice, 2 Sept 2011, Peter Gentle interviewing Marek Cajzner, head of the Polish Radio External Service: "Q: In its broadcasts, which reach target audiences on FM, AM, traditional shortwave and as webcasts, the station builds a favorable climate for business relations between Poland and the European Union, on the one hand, and countries beyond Poland’s eastern border, on the other. How does that fit into your overall mission? Cajzner: The Polish Radio External Service works on three fronts. One direction is to reach Polish communities abroad. Another one is to draw countries to the east of Poland into the sphere of European and pro-Western thinking. Yet another direction is both eastward and westward-oriented. It is to promote Poland as a European and world player and a good partner in business. The goal of the Krynica forum is to build economic bridges. For our part, we are also aiming at projecting Poland as a country offering investment and business opportunities, and, in relation to the countries beyond Poland’s eastern border, a country which understands their problems well and can bring business to them. ...

"Q: Poland is the next-door neighbor of Belarus, a country that many say is frozen in time. It is also seriously underreported in the Western media. What is your station’s role in informing the people of Belarus about what goes on in their own backyard, also in terms of the economy, and in letting the world know about the situation in Belarus? Cajzner: These two directions complement each other. Obviously, we talk to Belarusians in Belarusian, and to ethnic Poles there in Polish. We reach them through FM/AM relays from Ukraine and Lithuania. It is in Poland’s interests that Belarus changes. But for that to happen we also need to sustain interest in what is happening there among Western European countries and in the EU. We need to give plenty of coverage to Belarus in our broadcasts to the West, also on our website in English. We are excellently positioned to do that, given that we have a network of our own correspondents across Belarus. Our Belarusian service understands its audience very well and we can pick up stories emerging from Belarus and broadcast them to our Western audiences."

At www.thenews.pl, the English-language portal of Polskie Radio, I did not find a section devoted to news about Belarus. After a search, the most recent news item about Belarus was from 25 August.

Mr. Cajzner's responses position the Polish Radio External Service as both a provider of news and a public diplomacy instrument to promote Poland. A look at thenews.pl, however, reveals a serious news site, with no hint of a public diplomacy mission. Promoting Poland as a "good partner for business," etc., is probably best accomplished by 60-second television ads on foreign channels, not by an entire radio station. These ads would ideally be commissioned by a Polish public diplomacy agency, not by a news organization. See also Polska: "the official promotional website of the Republic of Poland."

The Irish love hurling so much they will listen to it on shortwave.

Posted: 04 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
RTÉ Radio Worldwide web page: "RTÉ Radio will broadcast the GAA All Ireland Hurling Final on Sunday, 4 September and the All Ireland Football Final on Sunday, 18 September on all wavelengths and via the internet to Irish people and communities around the world. ... Shortwave to Africa: In Africa, where many Irish people live and work, often in relative isolation with poor communications, RTÉ is providing special transmissions on shortwave radio." -- Via leased shortwave transmitters outside of Ireland, which has not had its own shortwave broadcast service since the 1940s. (Via RadioActivity, 3 Sept 2011, Alokesh Gupta.)

As EU investigates French government payments to AFP, could AFP take on same "public service" role as France 24?

Posted: 04 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 31 Aug 2011, Gabriele Steinhauser: "The European Union's competition regulators are examining whether France is providing tens of millions of euros in unfair state aid to Agence France-Presse, sparking deep concern among officials of the French news agency. AFP Chief Executive Emmanuel Hoog said the agency was hoping to avoid the 'darkest scenario,' in which it would be forced to return to the French government the portion of 10 years worth of payments deemed illegal. The French government pays the agency euro111.65 million ($161.3 million) a year in subscriptions for its ministries and administrations, which the European Commission says accounts for 40 percent of the agency's revenue. ... France, which is already overhauling its relationship with AFP, could also try to get subsidies to the agency approved as compensation for a public service provided by the agency, as it has successfully done with TV news channel France 24."

New VOA director David Ensor interviewed by NPR's Scott Simon.

Posted: 03 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, 3 Sept 2011: "Host Scott Simon speaks with David Ensor, who took over directorship of Voice of America last month. A longtime journalist for NPR, CNN and ABC News, his most recent post was in Afghanistan, where he was director for communications and public diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul."

Mr. Ensor's main challenge will be to keep VOA relevant during a new era of content overabundance, rather than the content scarcity of previous decades.

During the interview, Mr. Ensor says that on 6 September, VOA will begin special broadcasts with information for Somalia refugees. His reference to working with a "sister station" suggests use of the Radio Sawa medium wave relay at Djibouti. See previous post about similar broadcasts of BBC Somali.

Crowdsourcing Cablegate: Aljazeera.net asks readers to select "most interesting" of WikiLeaks unredacted US cables.

Posted: 03 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 2 Sept 2011: "More than 250,000 US diplomatic cables are now online after WikiLeaks published its entire collection unredacted. Our journalists want your help to find the stories contained in them. ... Copy-paste a link to the cables you find most interesting and send them to Al Jazeera in the form below. We will be reading your confidential responses and turning the best ones into stories. If you have additional information we need to know, please also add it to the form."

In Kenya, controversy over digital TV distribution contract to Chinese company.

Posted: 03 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Africa-Asia Confidential, August 2011: "In Kenya, Chinese companies have landed a couple of deals but not without riling the local private sector and attracting criticism around issues of national security issues. Pan African Network Group, a Chinese company, won a lucrative bid to distribute digital TV signals across Kenya last month. Of at least six bidders, only Pan African Network Group qualified, according to Francis Wangusi, the head of broadcasting at the state-run Communications Commission of Kenya. James Rege, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy, Communications and Information, said that he would launch an investigation to determine why local companies did not qualify for the bid. Rege said that the awarding of the licence to a foreign company, one from a country prone to censorship, had opened Kenya to sabotage. The Nation Media Group and Royal Media Services lost an appeal on the contract to the Communications Commission of Kenya. The Kenyan controversy followed the accusations in mid-June of pro-democracy Ethiopian Satellite Television. The company accused Beijing of supplying technology, training and technical assistance to allow the authorities in Addis Ababa to block short-wave radio and satellite transmissions."

Radio Prague celebrates 75th anniversary with promise of no further budget cuts for at least a year.

Posted: 03 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Prague, 31 Aug 2011, Jan Richter: "Marking Radio Prague’s 75th anniversary, the Czech-born, UK-based writer, and former Radio Prague reporter Benjamin Kuras and Radio Prague’s own David Vaughan discuss the most interesting moments in the station’s history." Audio report.

Radio Prague, 31 Aug 2011, Jan Richter interviewing Jan Bondy, head of the Czech Foreign Ministry public diplomacy department: "Q: Radio Prague suffered severe budget cuts in recent years, including one of over 40 percent. What are the outlooks for the future? Bondy: It’s true that the cuts were enormous, but they affected the whole ministry, not just Radio Prague; we had to close some embassies and so on. But it looks like there should be no budget cuts for at least next year."

Radio Prague, 31 Aug 2011, Radio Prague director Miroslav Krupička as interviewed by Sarah Borufka: "[T]he focus is shifting from shortwave to the internet, social networks, to what we sum up with the term new technologies. One of the results of the shrinking budget is the closure of our shortwave broadcasts, which happened earlier this year. And we have to somehow reach the audience in other ways; we have to replace the old technology with new ways of reaching listeners. Radio Prague’s internet site is quite well developed. I think we were one of the first Czech media to launch an internet site, back in 1994. We currently have one million visits a months on radio.cz, but there also are other technologies, for example the social networks."

Radio Prague, 31 Aug 2011, message from listener Stan Schmidt: “I started listening to Radio Prague back in 1968. I was spending the summer with my grandparents at the farm, and in the kitchen, there was an old tube radio with a wooden cabinet and my grandfather still used it to listen to the farm reports and baseball games. And that 1930s radio was how I found shortwave and Radio Prague. I would like to thank you for all the news and entertainment over the years.” More anniversary greetings on 3 Sept 2011.

See previous post about the same subject.

BBC Worldwide launches Lonely Planet Magazine in Thailand, as it prepares to sell the publishing rights.

Posted: 03 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide Press Release, 29 Aug 2011: "BBC Magazines launches Lonely Planet Magazine in Thailand, making it the tenth international edition of the publication since its launch in the UK in 2008. ... The first issue of Lonely Planet Magazine Thailand is on sale from 1 September 2011, with a 120, 000 print run and a cover price of 100 Thai Baht. ... The magazine is now available in the UK, Korea, Brazil, France, Spain, Asia (Singapore), Argentina, Philippines, Taiwan and India, with more international deals in the pipeline. ... On 16 August 2011, BBC Worldwide and Exponent Private Equity announced that they have signed a sale and licensing agreement for the publication of titles currently published by BBC Magazines. Under the terms of the deal Exponent will acquire, in full, Radio Times and a number of magazines less closely aligned to the BBC, as well as the rights to publish BBC-branded titles under licensing and contract publishing arrangements." -- Lonely Planet will be under license to Exponent. See The Guardian, 16 Aug 2011 and BBC Worldwide press release, 16 Aug 2011.

"Overwhelmed with questions and suggestions on relief aid," BBC Somali launches daily program on the subject.

Posted: 03 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 1 Sept 2011: "BBC World Service has launched special radio broadcasts to serve the Somali-speaking population affected by famine and drought in the Horn of Africa. The purpose of the daily 15-minute radio programmes by BBC Somali is to help people to make informed decisions that may help them survive the famine. At 14.15 local time (11.15 GMT) every day, Gurmad (Rescue) on BBC Somali delivers special news bulletins, practical information and expert advice for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). It will also reach those who have stayed in their home towns and villages. Editor of BBC Somali, Yusuf Garaad Omar, comments: 'We have been covering the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa since it started to unfold, and our reporters were overwhelmed with questions and suggestions on relief aid – or lack of it. So we decided to devote a special programme to address these issues, and as a majority of those affected are Somali-speakers, it was also obvious that BBC Somali is the right channel to reach these people.' ... Available on shortwave and BBC FM relays across the Horn of Africa, Gurmad is also rebroadcast by the BBC's partner radio stations: Kenya's Star FM, whose network covers Dadaab refugee camp and Mogadishu; Shabelle FM in Mogadishu, Somalia; and the private Somali network, SBC. Gurmad also features on a special index on bbcsomali.com, in text and audio."

Low-price satellite pay-TV package to Uganda includes "BBC World, CNN and Al Jazeera."

Posted: 02 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg, 2 Sept 2011, Sikonathi Mantshantsha: "Naspers Ltd. (NPN) will expand its pay- television service to Uganda next week priced at about $7 a month and roll out packages in other African countries to add subscribers in an underserved market. 'The low-price packages are really meant to give someone an opportunity to be a pay-TV subscriber and then hopefully to scale them up to the higher-price packages,' Eben Greyling, chief executive officer for pay-TV at Naspers, Africa’s largest media company, said in an interview. 'If you look at our current penetration there is certainly much more room to grow.' Naspers added 977,000 pay-TV subscribers in the year ended March 31, taking its total to 4.9 million across the continent, including 3.5 million in South Africa. The expansion of the African pay-TV market may be propelled by 221 million consumers who will advance from poverty to earn annual incomes of $1,000 to $5,000 by 2015, according to McKinsey & Co. estimates. Last month Naspers introduced a $7 a month package in Zambia. Before Naspers, the country only had a state-owned broadcaster. Naspers will use the low-priced package of 20 channels, including access to the 'Big Brother' show and Africa Magic and Africa Magic+ film and music channels, to gain a mass market for pay-TV, Greyling said by phone from Johannesburg. Among the channels are news stations including , and entertainment and religious channels, he said." -- Naspers is a holding company that owns 100% of satellite-delivered Multichoice Africa. It's interesting that the Naspers name rather than Multichoice (mentioned once), or Multichoice satellite service DsTV, is stressed in this article.

BBC World News will broadcast "Kung Fu Nuns" documentary. (If you're outside of India, good luck finding the schedule.)

Posted: 02 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
TVnext.in, 1 Sept 2011, Avantika Gaikwad: "'Kung Fu Nuns' is the intriguing title of a documentary film which will be telecast on BBC World News on Saturday, 3rd September... . Directed by Indian documentary film director Chandramouli Basu, this 22 minute film by 24 Frames is produced by Arjun Pandey and Ambica Kapoor. ... This is the story of an incredible transformation taking place among Buddhist nuns in some Himalayan communities. The film shows the struggle of a group of nuns of the Drukpa lineage who break centuries of tradition to cross barriers of male dominance which have excluded them from some practices and learning, and kept them secondary to the monks. Their cause has been decisively pushed by one man - His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the Drukpas." -- BBC World News doesn't really have a website any more, so it's difficult -- well, actually, for me, it was impossible -- to find more information about this program.

An important function of the BBG firewall is to protect US international broadcasting from the Heritage Foundation.

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 31 Aug 2011, Helle Dale: "The U.S. should work with the Broadcasting Board of Governors to make international broadcasting part of an integrated government-wide U.S. counterterrorism communications strategy. The firewall established by the U.S. International Broadcasting Act of 1994 between State and BBG to ensure editorial independence for the broadcasters has turned into a detriment in terms of resource allocation and lack of congressional oversight."

I think the Heritage Foundation misses the Soviet Union. The USSR provided a large, easy-to-hit adversarial target. The Soviet Union also established central planning, which is what the Heritage Foundation would like to employ to "integrate" the content US international broadcasting. Instead of market based international broadcasting, which provides the audience with the credible news they are seeking, a central committee for the coordination of content would determine what the audience should listen to. Except that the audience will tune elsewhere.

Chairman of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal says "every reason" to make suspension of shortwave transmissions permanent.

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 31 Aug 2011, citing TVI24: "The chairman of the board of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP), Guilherme Costa, said on Tuesday that the company has 'every reason' to suspend the shortwave transmissions of RDP Internacional. Mr Costa, quoted by the Lusa news agency, said such a platform is obsolete from the technical point of view, is generally poor quality in terms of reception, and is expensive, adding that discussions about shortwave began within the organisation in May 2009. He said that RDP had received 190 messages on the suspension of shortwave broadcasts, and more than half came via email from people who can listen to broadcasts on the Internet. RTP announced in May that it would temporarily suspend the shortwave broadcasts of RDP Internacional from 1 June, citing the low number of listeners and the need to reduce costs." From TVI24, 30 Aug 2011.

New DRM digital shortwave receivers, but are they coming soon to a dealer near you?

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale North America, 31 Aug 2011: "Currently we are informed that India officially will launch DRM. Therefore the immediate demand in India is quite promising. Also Brazil and Russia is reviewing DRM for the official launch and DRM consortium people are promoting DRM in those countries. We naturally should aim the markets that have plans to start DRM broadcasting officially like India, Brazil and Russia. There is a lot of interest from Europe and Australia and we will go to the markets with high interests. North America? Why not? If there is demand, we will look into the possibilities to launch our products. However we need to study the market very carefully. ... We are getting some actual requests from broadcasters and local distributors in different countries. Throughout IBC show in September we will meet more potential customers for commercial productions. We have decided to emphasize on the DRM reception with good audio quality to go into the market quickly. Other multimedia functions and other data service function can be added by customers’ requests later on. Our ultimate goal at the moment is 'spread affordable DRM radios as soon and as many as possible'. We will offer both module type and final product type and the customers can decide their release time and date." See also PDF overview of MSway’s DRM products and strategy. And DRMNA, 29 Aug 2011.

Fraunhofer press release, 30 Aug 2011: "Fraunhofer IIS, the world’s renowned source for audio and multimedia technologies, today announced the availability of the Fraunhofer MultimediaPlayer for digital radio standards Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM30/DRM+) and DAB (DAB Classic/DAB+). The software enables device manufacturers of PC-based receiver solutions and smartphones to seamlessly integrate playback of digital radio programs, as well as the variety of data services offered by digital radio."

So when your neighbor's XAVB2602 interferes with your shortwave reception, turn on your vacuum cleaner and hair dryer.

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Netgear press release, 31 Aug 2011: "Netgear, Inc., a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, today introduced the Powerline AV+ 200 Nano Dual-port Set (XAVB2602)... The Powerline Nano Dual-port Set features a tiny adapter that plugs into any electrical outlet and provides two Ethernet ports for connecting Internet-enabled devices such as TVs, PCs, Blu-ray(TM) players and video game consoles to home networks. Powerline networking, which makes connections through a home's existing electric wiring, is ideal for reaching rooms beyond the range of WiFi signals, without the cost and complication of installing Ethernet cables. ... Interference from devices that emit electrical noise, such as vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, may adversely affect performance. Powerline devices may interfere with devices such as lighting systems that have a dimmer switch, short wave radios, or other powerline devices that do not follow the HomePlug Powerline Alliance standard."

Every few months we are reminded that bluesman Taj Mahal listened to shortwave as a child.

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Madison.com, 31 Aug 2011: "Growing up in Springfield, Mass., blues legend Taj Mahal used to huddle at the foot of the family’s shortwave radio as sounds from all over the globe filled the house. 'I’d be listening to music from Havana, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Dakar, Senegal,' said Mahal, 69, born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks in Harlem, N.Y. 'I can still see myself punching into Honolulu and hearing this music with depth and soul and gravity, and thinking, "Wow, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to see what it’s like there?"' This exploratory spirit has served as Mahal’s guide from the moment he released his self-titled debut in 1968. Though a bluesman at heart — the singer/guitarist learned his craft studying the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker — Mahal’s music has always encompassed a more worldly point of view, incorporating elements of those Caribbean, South American and African sounds that filtered into his psyche while he listened to his parents’ radio as a child." -- He was probably listening to the great Radio Tahiti rather than any shortwave station from Hawaii that I'm familiar with.

China's English-language CCTV News and CCTV Documentary will be available in Washington (updated).

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
MHZ Networks press release, 29 Aug 2011: "CCTV News and CCTV Documentary launch as two new MHz Networks 24/7 channels in the Washington, DC metro area on October 1. CCTV News, a global news channel broadcasting headlines, business, money and travel magazine programs in English from China launches on MHz Networks 3. Viewers will be able to watch the channel on digital broadcast 30.3, Comcast 273, Cox 472, RCN 32 and Verizon FiOS 458. CCTV Documentary, a channel featuring cultural, historical, nature docs, information and more about the world in English from China launches on MHz Networks 6. Viewers will be able to watch the channel on digital broadcast 30.6, Comcast 276, Cox 475, RCN 35 and Verizon FiOS 452. Frederick Thomas, MHz Networks Chief Executive says, 'The addition of CCTV programming in D.C. opens a full-time window into China for all the residents of the region through free over-the-air and cable TV distribution.' CCTV joins the existing MHz line-up of premier full-time broadcast partners in DC, including Al Jazeera English, France 24, NHK World TV and RT/RT Espanol. Thomas adds, 'There is perhaps no other country which all Americans wish to know more about than China.'" (Via Radio Netherlands Media Network, 30 Aug 2011.)

Unless they are moved elsewhere, these channels will be bumped from the MHz Networks Washington-area bouquet: 1) Metro Chinese Network (now on 30.3), a mixture of Mandarin-language entertainment and news programming from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. 2) MHz Native, a mix of Vietnam's VTV4, mostly in Vietnamese with some English, and Euronews in Germans and Italian. The other channels on the ten-channel bouquet include NHK World, RT (Russia Today), Al Jazeera English, France 24, RT in Spanish, Arirang TV (South Korea), and Ethiopian TV.

Regarding the CCTV channels in Washington, there is, of course, no reciprocity. US broadcasts in Mandarin are not transmitted within China. This is why "Publicize the lack of reciprocity in media between China and the United States" is one of the planks in my strategy for US international broadcasting to China.

Will Xinhua's English-language CNC World bid for another of the MHz Networks channels, in order to keep up with rival CCTV News? Perhaps China's English-language Blue Ocean Network will also join in.

Update: TPM, 31 Aug 2011, David Taintor: "Speaking on limited press freedom in China, [MHz Networks chief Frederick] Thomas said, 'We don't limit who we carry. We try to bring all of it through. We leave it to the viewer to decide what they're looking at.' And certainly, popular uprisings across the Middle East and Africa have raised Americans' awareness of international news outlets. 'Without beating up on the American news networks, there's no secret that there's been a retreat on international coverage,' Thomas said. 'These other networks, in a sense, fill that void. You ight want to factor in the source from time to time, but generally speaking, when you're able to get contrasting views, you're able to get a better sense what's going on.'"

Media Bistro, 31 Aug 2011, Alex Weprin: "And they [CCTV] are hiring! Check out a posting for a business producer on our job board here."

In Burma, some websites become accessible, but not those of BBC, RFA, and VOA Burmese.

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Mizzima, 30 Aug 2011, Tun Tun: "Some previously banned Web sites including Mizzima’s Burmese language Web site and other exile-based news Web sites and blogs are now accessible in Burma. IT experts could not explain the new availability and warned that it could be temporary. The English language Web site of Mizzima is still banned, however. Likewise, the Norway-based DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma) Web site’s Burmese section and the BBC, RFA and VOA Web sites are still banned in Burma. ... According to tests made by Mizzima reporters in Rangoon on Tuesday, the Web sites of CNN, the English- language Bangkok Post and Reuters are still banned. ... The BBC Burmese Service Web site is still not available, but people can access the BBC World Service [in English] and also the mail Web sites of Hotmail and Yahoo. Despite some opening up of banned Web sites, Internet users said that the speed is now slower than before. An Internet café shop owner said that the highest speed available on Tuesday was 50 Kbps."

Libya Alhurra and Springfield Alhurra conflated by dint of sloppy journalism.

Posted: 01 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
The New American, 30 Aug 2011, Joe Wolverton II: "[D]espite his own claims ... that [Libyan journalist Mohammed] Nabbous was one of the unfettered voices crying in the wilderness of war, [journalist Don] DeBar insists that Nabbous was 'clearly a U.S. agent.' As proof of his claim, DeBar points out that Nabbous 'founded Libya's version of al-Hurra.' The entry for al-Hurra posted on Wikipedia explains that 'Alhurra (or al-Hurra) (Arabic: الحرّة‎, al-Ḥurrah [alˈħurra] 'The free') is a United States-based satellite TV channel, sponsored by the U.S. government.' Furthermore, Wikipedia states, 'The station is forbidden from broadcasting itself within the U.S. under the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act concerning the broadcast of propaganda.' What is clear, then, is whether or not Nabbous was a U.S. agent, he was employed by a media company funded by the government of the United States.

Two lessons here. First, use Wikipedia as your first but not your only source of information. In May, Mohammed Nabbous founded Libya Alhurra, not affiliated with the Alhurra (based in Springfield, Virginia) that is under the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Second, "Alhurra" was a poor choice of name for the USIB Arabic channel because many organizations in the Arab world, with varying degrees of validity, call themselves Alhurra (Free). (In April, the Libyan rebels set up a mobile network called Libyana Al Hurra.) The consolidation of US international broadcasting should result in a single, global, memorable brand name befitting a news organization.

PanArmenian.net, 31 Aug 2011: "According to a classified cable sent by former U.S. ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson, Turkish MFA Deputy Director General for Security Affairs Sakir Torunlar called the embassy on April 18, 2007 to express concern about a program on the Armenian Genocide scheduled to be aired on Iraqi TV station Al Hurra. Torunlar said that, 'were this a commercial station with advertisers, it might be understandable, but al Hurra appears to be congressionally funded.'" -- Mr. Torunlar's perception was correct: the Iraqi Alhurra is part of the Springfield Alhurra.

Update: Times of Malta, 1 Sept 2011, Ranier Fsadni: "The National Transitional Council’s station, Libya al-Hurra, has transmitted ... poetry and, no doubt, the art will continue to play a role in narrating the various battles as part of a seamless narrative."

Sudanese president promised to release all journalists, but Radio Dabanga employees still in custody.

Posted: 31 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands, 30 Aug 2011, Johan van der Tol: "Last weekend, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir promised to release all journalists in his country. He said their release was an important step on the road to full press freedom. But will he keep his promise? 'Promises by presidents have not always been fulfilled. Right now, only one journalist has been freed, but others - and there are many more - haven’t. So we're weighing the value of his comments,' says Hildebrand Bijleveld, the Dutch editor-in chief of the independent Sudanese Radio Dabanga. Dabanga is based in the Netherlands under the name Radio Darfur and broadcasts news and other programmes via shortwave to Sudan. Dabanga is not allowed to operate inside Sudan. The station is financed by the NGO Press Now, which supports independent media organisations all over the world. Radio Dabanga's offices in Khartoum were closed in 2010 after a raid by the Sudanese security police. Nine of its employees were detained."

Reporters sans frontières, 29 Aug 2011: "Abdelrahman Adam, an employee of Radio Dabanga, and six of the station’s other employees, who have been detained since 30 October 2010, were not freed. ... Broadcasting on the short wave from the Netherlands, Radio Dabanga is the only station that specializes in covering the situation in Darfur. As it is not legally recognized by the Sudanese authorities, its employees in Sudan lack press cards and official recognition of their status as journalists. The detained Radio Dabanga employees are accused of divulging state secrets, undermining the constitutional system, calling for resistance and inciting sedition ... . [One of the violations] carries the death penalty."

Al Jazeera commentator writes of a "re-imagined BBC World Service, infused with the hip, cosmopolitan tenor of Al Jazeera."

Posted: 31 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 30 Aug 2011, Tarak Barkawi: "[W]hat if Britain began to think of itself as an authentically post-colonial state? What if it fostered an identity that encompassed both sides of the imperial experience, the coloniser and the colonised? All of a sudden, those who have been so excluded from British life, immigrants from former colonies, would be propelled to the centre. They would be equal participants in 'Brown Britain' with a humbled ruling class once again open to the influences of the East, willing to mix with native society. Instead of the UK being a place where other countries have diasporas - Pakistani, Nigerian, Malaysian, et cetera - the UK would have networks and diasporas of its own, who fully identified with the project of Brown Britain. They would be a leading edge for business and influence around the world. A re-imagined BBC World Service - infused with the hip, cosmopolitan tenor of Al Jazeera - could become the voice of Brown Britain and of the aspirations of a post-imperial world."

In India, partnerships with CBS, BBC seek to add FM radio licenses, and "Big CBS Prime" TV channel will launch.

Posted: 31 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
DealCurry, 29 Aug 2011, Irfan Khan: "Reliance Broadcast is talking to PE funds and strategic investors to raise upto $86 Mn for it's radio business. The company which owns radio channel BIG FM and three English entertainment channels, launched recently in a joint venture with CBS Corp. The company will use the funds to buy radio licences in the upcoming auctions. It expects to own 100 radio licences after the auctions. ... The promoters of Radio-One, a JV between Next MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide, are also investing fresh funds in the company to buy new frequencies in the up-coming auctions. It runs FM stations in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune."

Press Trust of India, 18 Aug 2011: "Anil Ambani-led Reliance Broadcast Network on Wednesday entered into an equally-owned joint venture with global media conglomerate CBS Studios to launch a series of television channels in India, a burgeoning market currently valued at around Rs26,000 crore. The JV, Big CBS Networks, will initially launch English general entertainment channels (GECs) such as ‘Big CBS Prime’ for the upwardly mobile, ‘Spark’ catering to the youth and ‘Love’ for women audience. 'We feel the English GEC segment in India is very limited and hence there is a tremendous scope for growth in the market which is estimated to overtake the US market in terms of homes having access to satellite television,' Reliance Broadcast CEO Tarun Katial told reporters here. ... The channels will be rolled-out phase-wise by October, he said, adding they will be available for viewers even in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. Besides offering brand new series of their own, the company will derive 70,000 hours from CBS’ vast programme library and tap third-party suppliers for content, he said."

Al Arabiya satellite signal jammed, briefly.

Posted: 31 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya News, 31 Aug 2011: "Al Arabiya News Channel was jammed by unknown sources beginning early on Wednesday. It returned to normal broadcasting later on Wednesday. This deliberate jamming seems to have been intended to interrupt Al Arabiya’s coverage of events taking place in the Arab region, especially in Libya and Syria. The channel can be watched on its original permanent frequency on the Nilesat (12341 Vertical), in addition to the alternative frequencies of (12476) and (11488.) Viewers can either do an auto-search for the new frequency or through the manual search."

Shortwave frequency coordinating conference will be held in Dallas and will discuss "other platforms."

Posted: 31 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
Shortwave frequency coordinating conference will be held in Dallas and will discuss "other platforms." Radio World, 30 Aug 2011: "The use of other platforms among shortwave broadcasters is a touchy subject for true believers. But for many in the shortwave world, the use of FM, online and other media is simple reality. One manifestation of that shift: The approaching B11 HFCC/ASBU shortwave broadcasters conference in Dallas, Sept. 12–16, has announced an expansion of its agenda. The High-Frequency Coordination Conference is a semi-annual gathering at which shortwave broadcast frequency schedules are coordinated. These meetings been going on since 1989 but this will be the first one in the United States. 'B11' refers to the broadcast season that runs from October 2011 to March 2012. Event organizers say the time has come to start addressing additional modes of delivering messages. Chairman of the HFCC Oldrich Cip recently wrote: 'The merits of broadband delivery of media through the Internet or via mobile devices in comparison with the traditional delivery of TV and sound radio from terrestrial transmitters are frequently on the agenda of meetings and discussions of domestic broadcasters and broadcasting unions.' ... But organizers also stressed that one of the major themes of the conference will be the continuing importance of shortwave for international broadcasting." See also the HFCC B11 conference website.