TNR on RT: "Why are liberals lending credibility to a zany Russian TV station?"

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The New Republic, 14 Mar 2012, Jesse Zwick: "[I]t isn’t remarkable that eccentrics ... are willing to appear on [RT, née Russia Today]. What is surprising, however, are the number of decidedly non-crazy American experts and journalists who appear regularly on the channel’s news programs as guest analysts. Indeed, whether it’s playing host to contributors from respected outlets like The Nation or Reason or the Center for American Progress, RT has excelled in cultivating American liberals and libertarians eager to criticize the United States for its adventurism abroad and sermonizing posture toward other nations. ... One of the main ways in which RT manages to persuade legitimate experts and journalists to appear as guests is by providing extensive airtime for issues that generally fail to register on other, larger news outlets. 'I’ve been given the opportunity to talk about military expenditures in a way I haven’t been given in U.S. outlets,' explains John Feffer, codirector of Foreign Policy in Focus and a frequent critic of U.S. defense spending. 'I have a basic policy in which I’ll be interviewed by anybody.' As for the fairness of RT, Feffer points out that he also talks to U.S.-funded news outlets like Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. 'You’re going to find blind spots in the coverage for any news organization,' he told me. ... One journalist who covers civil liberties told me that he used to appear on RT’s news programs, but now restricts himself to 'The Alyona Show,' a talk show produced in RT’s Washington bureau and hosted by 26-year-old Russian-American Alyona Minkovski. 'The reason I continue to do her show is, one, I think it’s good. It’s not conspiratorial or anything. And, two, in terms of the issues I cover, I think she’s probably the best interviewer on cable news,' he told me. 'I really don’t watch the other programs on the network, but I’ve seen clips online in which they’ve given a platform to 9/11 truthers and other fringier, crazier guests. So I’m not really comfortable doing those shows.'"

Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog, 28 Mar 2012, David W. Almasi: "Alyona Minkovski, host of 'The Alyona Show' on RT TV (Russia Today), joins the chorus against the Bloomberg Administration’s ban on private donations of food to city-run homeless shelters in New York City."

Digital Radio Mondiale adds chipset manufacturers to its steering board.

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale press release, 29 Mar 2012: "The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) Consortium has set its strategy for the next two years at the General Assembly held in Winnersh, UK on 28 - 29th March 2012 and elected its new governing bodies. The Consortium has inducted two new members to its Steering Board, both receiver chip-set manufacturers – Frontier Silicon and NXP Semiconductors. The annual meeting of DRM members also re-elected Ruxandra Obreja (BBC) as the Chair of the DRM Consortium along with Jochen Huber (Transradio) as Vice Chair, Ludo Maes (TDP) as Vice Chair and Commercial Committee Chair, Lindsay Cornell (BBC) as Technical Committee Chair and Alexander Zink (Fraunhofer) as Treasurer. Apart from the above mentioned members, other companies who make up the DRM Steering Board are Nautel, RFmondial, Continental Electronics, Thomson, Babcock, SWR, Robert Bosch GmbH and Voice of Russia. The meeting was hosted by DRM member Harris at its headquarters in the UK. ... Two new members were also announced – Parrot SA and Keystone Technologies have joined the DRM Consortium this year." -- DRM has been developing a digital transission system for shortwave, medium wave, and longwave, as well as the DRM+ system for frequencies about 30 MHz.

Moroccan professor gives Radio Sawa/Alhurra part credit for lack of US flag burnings during Arab Spring.

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
MoroccoBoard.com, 29 Mar 2012, Abdelmajid Hajji: "Arab Spring revolts have noticeably steered themselves clear from US flag-burning and related excessive anti-Western rhetoric in a region known to have used the tactic widely and for so long. ... Few reasons have been volunteered to explain why flag-burning deserted Arab public squares during the past year. To help explain the sudden change, this article lays out ten reasons which, in concert, have thinned out the clouds propitious to the controversial practice." [Including:] "Worthy of first mention was the launching of a media and communication campaign in the Arab region, modeled after the decades-long communication blitzkrieg ordained for the peoples of the former Communist Block. The key tools for the expensive and laborious drive to win hearts and minds have been Radio Sawa (destined for the region’s youth) and Al Hurra satellite television channel, purposefully designed to counter the perturbing views and influence of Al Jazeera (too distasteful for Secretary Rumsfeld’s taste) and hopefully win over in the act a portion of its huge viewership. The first years’ ratings have demonstrated that Radio Sawa fared considerably better than Al Hurra television, which did not garner more than two percent of viewers in most Arab countries (with the exception of Iraq, thanks to a boost from terrestrial broadcasts). A little over a year ago, many of the channel’s original enthusiasts in the United States sought to abolish Al Hurra, regarded as a waste of effort and tax payers’ money; but the unexpected events overtaking the Middle East have decided otherwise: now Al Hurra is competing and holding its own against the majors: Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and BBC Arabic. Al Hurra has produced some surprisingly first-rate reporting from Tahrir Square in Cairo. Arabs were very pleased to see a US-owned and managed channel squarely plunked behind Arab revolutionaries, particularly when the signals from Al Jazeera and other stations were intermittently knocked off their course by the beleaguered regimes." -- Alhurra viewing rates were never near those of Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya, but respectable for a non-Arab channel competing in the Arab market. The competition beween Alhurra and BBC Arabic is certainly worth watching.

Alhurra program acquisitions (updated again: "one about a Muslim high school football team").

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Realscreen, 5 Mar 2012, Adam Benzine: "Alhurra – a U.S.-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel – has bought Quest (38 x 30-minutes), a series shedding light on cutting-edge scientific discoveries in technology, science and the environment; and Superfactories (5 x 60-minutes), which reveals the ins and outs of some of the most intriguing production powerhouses of our time."

Worldscreen.com, 21 Mar 2012, Marissa Graziadio: "In Europe and the Middle East, Breakthrough sold the reality series ... The Truth About Shoplifting and Crackberry'd: The Truth About Information Overload to Alhurra Televison... ."

Update: C21Media.net, 30 Mar 2012, Jesse Whittock: "US-backed Middle East broadcaster Alhurra TV has acquired a slate of docs from the UK’s Mercury Media, including one about a Muslim high school football team, and aims to commission more content. Along with Fordsham: Faith, Fasting and Football, Alhurra has taken on IDFA-selected Salaam Dunk, about the American University of Iraq’s basketball team; The Flaw, a doc seen at Sundance about the global financial slump; PlanEat, about the benefits of eating less meat; and The Crisis of Civilisation, about how major crises could be part of a failed global system. The deal came as Alhurra’s programme officer Mark Kozaki told delegates at MipDoc here in Cannes that the channel was open to coproductions and acquisitions, having dipped its toes into the market last year. 'Alhurra started in 2004 and primarily we’ve either bought off the shelf or made programmes ourselves, but in the past year we’ve been doing a little bit of the commissioning and we’re going to do more of that now. We want you to bring your hot topics to us,' he said. ... 'Our mission is to present a fair and thorough vision of the world with an extensive overview of the US, the region we televise in and the world. We are part of the international US broadcast services but our credibility would be compromised if we were not objective, and viewers will find programmes that are very critical of US foreign policy.'"

Tara Sonenshine, now confirmed as under secretary for public diplomacy, will attend BBG meetings.

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Mountainrunner.us, 29 Mar 2012, Matt Armstrong: "Congratulations to Tara Sonenshine, who was confirmed this evening to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs! ... For Tara, getting started requires waiting for the President to attest (certify) the confirmation, then swearing in (mostly like at the Department, possibly by Secretary Clinton but possibly Under Secretary Kennedy, unless she has a specific individual in mind), and then she’s off and running. She could start as early as Monday but Tuesday may be more likely. It largely depends on the White House’s ability to turn around the certification and get it to State. Congratulations also goes to State’s public diplomacy, including the people, bureaucracy, the practice and the supporters. Having a strong leader like Tara confirmed for the job is long overdue." -- Sonenshine will represent the secretary of state, ex officio member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, at BBG meetings. Other than that, she will have no administrative authority over US international broadcasting; i.e., US international broadcasting is not under US public diplomacy.

It's Global Pirate Weekend on shortwave radio.

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The SWLing Post, 29 Mar 2012, Thomas: "Harri Kujala, organizer of the Global Pirate Weekend, has 17 stations scheduled to be on the air this weekend (March 31-April 1, 2012). Check out full details on Harri’s blog and schedules announced as they become available. Global Pirate Weekend is an event that gives pirates from all over the world a chance to test their broadcasts on the HF spectrum (not limited to, but mostly between 15-22 MHz). This will be a great opportunity for radio listeners to log pirate radio stations from across the globe. Good music and variety are a given!"

VOA wall-to-wall coverage of Burmese election. RFA wall-to-wall coverage of Burmese election.

Posted: 31 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 30 Mar 2012: "As Burmese voters go to the polls on April 1, the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) will provide wall-to-wall coverage of a society that until recently has lacked electoral freedom. 'In a place where approximately one in four adults tune in to broadcasts from RFA and VOA, we know our broadcasts play a vital role providing unbiased coverage of these elections,' said Michael Meehan, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all U.S. international broadcasting. ... VOA broadcasts 25 hours of radio and three hours of TV per week into Burma, while RFA provides 21 hours of radio and 2 ½ hours of television. More than half of all adults in Burma own and watch terrestrial TV weekly." -- But VOA and RFA television are transmitted into Burma via satellite.

Radio/TV Martí's @martinoticias has most retweets per tweep of USG Twitter accounts.

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Federal Computer Week, 28 Mar 2012: "While many federal agencies are actively tweeting messages on Twitter, measuring the agency’s true engagement on the social network is a complex task involving more than just counting tweets and followers, according to a new study. OhMyGov Inc. analytics identified the U.S. Army as being most engaged on Twitter based on how often its tweets were retweeted, proportionately, while the National Institute of Mental Health, NASA, U.S. Navy, Radio and TV Marti, USDA and a handful of other agencies also scored high. ... The most retweeted per follower was Radio and TV Marti, a Spanish-language division of the Broadcasting Board of Governors that transmits radio broadcasts to Cuba. Its Twitter feed has only about 2,700 followers, but on average one out of every 15 followers will retweet the station’s tweets. That was the most highly-engaged audience by that metric, OhMyGov said."

Radio Netherlands without radio? Dutch international broadcaster enters "period of drastic change."

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 23 Mar 2012, Andy Sennitt: "As the clocks in Europe go forward to summertime, Radio Netherlands Worldwide is entering a period of drastic change which will see the closure of many services and the relaunch of the organisation with a much smaller staff. RNW will in future be specialising in producing material for audiences in countries with limited press freedom. RNW will no longer be broadcasting to Dutch expatriates. The Dutch radio service will hold a 24-hour marathon broadcast on 10/11 May to mark the end of its 65 years of service. Other services will be affected too - plans are still to be finalised, but Radio Netherlands Worldwide will cease to operate in a number of languages and other services, including this website, will be adapted to meet the new focus of promoting free speech. All these changes have been forced on RNW by the Dutch government’s decision to slash our budget by 70 percent with effect from 1 January 2013. The budget will come from the Foreign Ministry rather than the Ministry of Education and Culture as at present. The editorial independence of RNW will remain sacrosanct. More information about the changes will be published as soon as these are official."

Foreign Confidential, 24 May 2012: "The Netherlands, ironically, is believed to have started the international broadcasting business, with regular transmissions starting in 1927 from shortwave stations to the Dutch East Indies--now Indonesia. Following the Nazi occupation during the Second World War, the Dutch government in exile was granted air-time on BBC transmitters. The Radio Oranje program was a daily commentary. ... One of the chief commentators on Radio Oranje, Henk van den Broek, was given the task of re-starting public broadcasting once the country was liberated. He began Radio Herrijzend Nederland, which eventually became RNW, in 1946, modeling it after the BBC. RNW's English-language shortwave broadcasts to North America were discontinued in 2008 after a survey found that more listeners to the network were using the podcasting service instead of shortwave radios."

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 14 Mar 2012: "The television archives of Radio Netherlands Worldwide contain hundreds of hours of footage. Among them is a programme made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Happy Station, the show of 'smiles across the miles'. The marathon broadcast on 19 November 19 1978 was hosted by Tom Meyer. Happy Station was the world’s longest-running international radio programme. It premiered in 1928 on the Philips Radio station PCJJ. From 1946, it was broadcast by Radio Netherlands Worldwide. RNW cancelled the Happy Station show in 1995."

See previous post about RNW.

Good question: "How do you compete with channels that don’t have to make a profit?"

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 28 Mar 2012: "While commercially-funded operations including CNN, BBC World News and Sky News all experienced audience spikes in the aftermath of Osama’s death, their grip on news has been challenged by the growth of state-funded channels like Al Jazeera English and Russia Today. Here, the issue for the incumbents is two-fold. First, how do you compete with channels that don’t have to make a profit? Second, how do you combat the rise of news networks that come from a different geo-political perspective? Russia Today’s coverage highlighted research that suggested 40% of Russians were distrustful of the details around Bin Laden’s death. With RT giving airtime to the idea that Bin Laden had been a CIA asset or that he had been dead for years, the question for news channels is how their version of events will play in territories where they are associated with a rival state’s foreign policy."

The channels that don't need to make a profit can limp along indefinitely with second-rate, moribund programming. They will survive, but they can't compete with the stations that can only stay in business if they provide content that meets viewers' wants and needs. At present, CNN International is the only global news channel that has claimed to be profitable. If BBC World News is not already, it certainly aspires to be. So does Al Jazeera English, as least half-heartedly.

Latest goodbye to Bush House laments Mali coup, forcing BBCWS to report "same old stories" about Africa.

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 29 Mar 2012, Elizabeth Ohene: "For 14 years this building was the centre of my working life, in or outside London. The memories have been coming thick and fast. ... I had been thinking and saying that, sad though the move from Bush House is to us oldies, it would help in shaping the new African Service in its coverage of the new Africa. Then I get up last Thursday morning and the news throws me back to the 1980s all over again. Soldiers in Mali are reported to have staged a coup d'etat because they claim the government has been unable to deal with the rebellion in the north of the country. ... I thought I was saying goodbye to Bush House and the type of stories it invokes in my mind - it turns out they are leaving Bush House with the same old stories, thanks to some renegade soldiers in Mali."

Malaysian party official hopes Radio Free Sarawak will add programs in Mandarin.

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Bernama, 29 Mar 2012, via New Straits Times: "The state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is keen to use the Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) in its campaigns among rural voters in the coming parliamentary election. Its Lubok Antu division chairman Nicholas Bawin Anggat claimed the radio station, allegedly broadcasting from London, presented fair and balanced reportings. Speaking to reporters here today, he said the station was getting popular among many rural folks now. 'The station is always interviewing many people on issues close to their hearts. They speak the truth and we want the truth to be heard and understood. They do not speak up for the sake of criticising others,' he said. The party's Lanang division chairman, George Chen, too expressed the hope that the station would air programmes in Mandarin soon." -- Radio Free Sarawak transmits into Malaysia using a leased shortwave transmitter. See also previous post.

CNN International begins promos for "Amanpour.".

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 27 Mar 2012: "After her brief stint as the anchor of ABC's 'This Week,' Christiane Amanpour is returning to the network that employed her for decades, CNN. Following her departure from ABC in December 2011, Amanpour said she would split her time between hosting prime time specials on ABC and launching a new international affairs program on CNN International. The network released the first promo for Amanpour's new CNN International show on Tuesday. The program, titled 'Amanpour.' will debut on Tuesday, April 17."

CNN Press Room, 27 Mar 2012: "CNN International today announced that Amanda Davies is joining the network’s thriving sport team from the BBC in April. Known to viewers worldwide as a presenter and reporter for the BBC’s coverage of world sports news and Premier League football, and to UK viewers of BBC One’s flagship weekend news programmes, daily breakfast bulletins and F1 coverage, Davies joins CNN’s London bureau as the network gears up for a year of major sporting events. At CNN she will work alongside London-based sport anchors Pedro Pinto and Alex Thomas, covering global sport stories from football, tennis, golf and motorsport, through to basketball, cricket, rugby and athletics."

DirecTV analyst: "Latin America is now the core business."

Posted: 30 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Satellite Today, 29 Mar 2012, Jeffrey Hill: "Financial firm Citigroup raised its rating on DirecTV based on the satellite pay-TV company’s rapidly growing Latin American business, which it believes is being undervalued by the market, Citigroup analysts said in a March 28 research note. DirecTV added fewer U.S. subscribers than anticipated in its 2011 fourth quarter, but added much more customers than expected in Latin America, especially in its most active growth markets in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico. DirecTV Latin America added a net 590,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter — up from 378,000 subscribers tacked on a year earlier, which drove its total subscriber base in the region to 7.87 million by the end of last year. ... With the 16 percent jump in DirecTV’s fourth-quarter profits primarily driven by the growing scale of DirecTV Latin America, Bernstein Research Analyst Craig Moffett believes the company should find its proper focus to offset the slowing U.S. market. 'Latin America is now the core business,' Moffett wrote in a report issued with DirecTV’s fourth quarter results. 'We expect DirecTV Latin American operations to account for around 40 percent of the group’s revenue by the end of 2015, from around 18.5 percent at the end of the 2011 fourth quarter.'" See also the DirecTV Latin America channels.

DPRK's Voice of Korea shortwave transmitters having trouble staying on the air.

Posted: 29 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
North Korea Tech, 28 Mar 2012, Martyn Williams: "Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international shortwave radio broadcaster, is still having technical problems that result in entire broadcasts failing to make it on-air. The problems began just over a month ago when some Voice of Korea broadcasts failed to appear at their scheduled times. Now, a month later, the broadcaster is still failing to match its schedule. Today, on March 27, some of the scheduled transmissions were heard but others were missing. Here’s a clip from a broadcast on March 20 when, midway through a piece of music the transmitter suddenly goes off air. [Audio.] It was due to remain on air for several additional hours and did not return that day. The problems have also hit the DPRK’s radio jamming operations, which attempt to block Korean-language foreign radio reception by broadcasting strong noise on the same frequency. ... It’s worth noting that the DPRK’s shortwave transmitters carrying the domestic service, largely for listeners in the country, have not been hit by such problems. ... The problems could be technical in nature, perhaps related to faulty equipment, or due to an electricity shortage."

BBC News relaunches its mobile website for its 9.7m (and growing) mobile/tablet users.

Posted: 29 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Internet Blog, 27 Mar 2012, Kate Milner: "[T]oday we relaunched the BBC News mobile website for audiences in the UK and around the world. The new-look site is designed to work on a range of mobile devices and screen sizes, whether your phone is a touchscreen one or whether you use a keypad or trackball. Now when you browse the mobile site, what you see will be tailored to the device you have in your hand, for example the way you move around the news sections and the number of images you see. You can visit the new site on your mobile at m.bbc.co.uk/news. ... Right now, not all of our BBC News content works perfectly on your mobile, but we’ve got lots of plans. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be adding more features and functionality. ... As the editor of the BBC News website, Steve Herrmann, notes, in an average week, the BBC News sites and apps are visited by around 9.7m users worldwide on mobile and tablet devices. That represents about 26% of the total users coming to the BBC News website and this is growing. ... Although predictions vary as to when it will happen, at some point the number of people accessing the internet on the mobiles will overtake those on desktops." See also the comments.

Sri Lankan politician calls for closure of VOA relay station.

Posted: 29 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 24 Mar 2012: "Sri Lanka Friday rejected a UN resolution urging it to seek external help in probing alleged war crimes committed during an onslaught against the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels nearly three years ago. Acting Foreign Minister Dew Gunasekera told parliament that Sri Lanka will resist outside help to investigate violations of humanitarian law, a key demand in the US-initiated Human Rights Council resolution in Geneva Thursday. ... Elsewhere, there were signs of anger in the local press and in comments from public officials following weeks of anti-US and pro-government demonstrations in the capital. Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa called for the shutting down of a Voice of America (VOA) transmitting station in the island's north-western coast. 'We must shut down the VOA station,' Weerawansa, a hard-liner in the cabinet, told a rally in the central town of Kandy, according to a copy of his speech released by his office. 'VOA get out of Sri Lanka. They use this station for intelligence gathering,' he added. The Voice of America, a US government-funded broadcaster, expanded their operations in Sri Lanka with the commissioning of a re-broadcasting facility at Iranawila in 1999."

english.samyalive.com, 24 Mar 2012: "'I demand that we shut down the Voice of America (VOA) station if the US continued in their action to harass us with hostile acts,' said Minister of Construction Wimal Weerawansa,who is also the leader of National Freedom Front, a constituent party of the ruling coalition."

A shortwave relay station, saturated with radio frequency energy, would be a poor location for "intelligence gathering." The IBB relay station at Iranawila, Sri Lanka, is used for VOA, RFA, and RFE/RL transmissions to South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Daily News (Colombo), 29 Mar 2012: "The Listeners Association of China Radio International in Sri Lanka has thanked China for supporting Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva and said China's stand is highly appreciated by the grateful people of Sri Lanka."

Al Jazeera receives but declines to broadcast video of shootings in southern France.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
TheWrap.com, 27 Mar 2012, via Chicago Tribune: "Al Jazeera has declined to air a haunting video of three separate shooting attacks that occurred in southern France earlier this month. The video, delivered to Al Jazeera's Paris bureau on a USB stick, portrays the three attacks, executed by Mohammed Merah in Toulouse and Montauban, in chronological order. ... 'In accordance with Al Jazeera's Code of Ethics, given the video does not add any information that is not already in the public domain, its news channels will not be broadcasting any of its contents,' the network said in a statement. Al Jazeera also posted an article on its website explaining the decision. French president Nicolas Sarkozy implored television networks not to air the video, and family members of the victims reiterated that request."

The Atlantic, 28 Mar 2012, Ford Vox: "Other news organizations immediately began clamoring for Al Jazeera to give them access to Merah's video. I hope Al Jazeera will disclose the names of those outlets. In the news ecosystem, these videos often start in the sludge at the bottom of the information lake, somewhere along the level of TMZ, then percolate up to the floating water lilies like the Today Show and Good Morning America... . We all know what Al Jazeera's video contains. Merah's work may find its way to other less scrupulous outlets and it may make its way online. I implore you not to view it, and I respectfully ask for the world's news producers to pay heed to the standards now being set in Qatar."

AFP, 27 Mar 2012: "President Nicolas Sarkozy thanked the Al-Jazeera network Tuesday for deciding not to air footage of the murders of French soldiers and children and warned that France would jam any other broadcaster who tried. ... 'Al-Jazeera took a reasonable decision and I warn that if any channel belonging to or close to institutions spreading terrorist ideas gets their hands on it we will not hesitate to do what we can to stop their signal.' Satellite jamming technology is imperfect but some regimes, notably Iran, have been accused of jamming incoming signals from space. France would also have commercial and legal means to pressure commercial satellite operators."

Gillard government "in line for a flogging" over the Australia Network tender.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 28 Mar 2012, Christian Kerr and Amanda Meade: "The Gillard government is in line for a flogging from the Auditor-General over the bungled $223 million Australia Network contract. A forthcoming audit -- described by sources as 'imminent' -- is believed to lash the government for basic failures of process in its handling of the tender for the international television service, the main face of Australia's 'soft diplomacy'. The report is expected to pave the way for compensation to be paid to Sky. ... Julia Gillard stripped then-foreign minister Kevin Rudd of responsibility for the 10-year tender last June, announcing an 'amended tender' process to be overseen by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. Days later The Australian reported that the panel overseeing the original tender had recommended it be awarded to Sky over rival bidder the ABC. This was followed by another exclusive in October that the amended tender had also preferred Sky." See previous post about same subject.

CNN multimedia documentary examines "Slavery's Last Stronghold" (updated: "advocacy journalism").

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 20 Mar 2012: "To shine a light on the practice of slavery in the country of Mauritania, CNN Digital has rolled out its first ever 'virtual magazine,' a powerful storytelling format that fuses video, text, photography and interactive components. A part of the network's Freedom Project initiative, CNN's John Sutter and Edythe McNamee traveled to the West African nation where an estimated 10-20% of the population lives in slavery, despite a 1981 outlaw of the practice. The special report, 'Slavery's Last Stronghold,’ will appear across all CNN platforms including CNN.com, domestic and international television broadcasts, and via CNN’s mobile website and apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Android Tablet. ... CNN International will feature this CNN Freedom Project investigation across its programming lineup this week, with additional reports airing the week of March 26. CNNI’s coverage will culminate in a special documentary, ‘Slavery’s Last Stronghold: A CNN Freedom Project Special Report,’ on Thursday, March 29 at 3:30aET [0730 UTC]."

Update: Poynter.org, 27 Mar 2012, Mallary Jean Tenore: CNN’s Freedom Project initiative "launched in March 2011. Since then, CNN has published 250 stories about modern-day slavery from five different continents. ... It’s hard to compare CNN’s international efforts with others news organizations, primarily because the organization has such a wide reach. CNN International airs around the world, and CNN.com got about 2.3 billion page views worldwide in 2011. ... . 'This is advocacy journalism in a lot of ways. We don’t need to be this completely flat, disconnected, unbiased … observer — this is modern day slavery, for Christ’s sake,' [Meredith Artley, vice president and managing editor of CNN Digital] said. 'It certainly isn’t something you need to be objective about.'"

CNN's reporting about slavery would be more effective if it were "flat, disconnected, unbiased," because then the audience would know that the information comes from a bona fide news organization, and not an NGO trying to further its cause. And, in any case, there are already NGOs working against slavery, e.g. London-based Anti Slavery International.

Where does CNN draw the line between stories that are treated objectively, and those that can be subject to "advocacy journalism." How does the audience know which story is which?

Commendable as the cause may be, CNN has proceeded down a slippery slope, and Poynter.org seems content to go along for the ride.

See previous posts on 7 Mar and 13 May 2011, and "In International Broadcasting, Even the Static Must be Credible."

Report: CNBC-e in Turkey fined for showing Oliver Stone's "Alexander."

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 26 Mar 2012: "Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) has fined CNBC-e channel for showing an American film which the council says contains obscene and violent scenes. The television channel was fined 50,000 YTL (more than USD 27,000) for broadcasting Alexander, a film which contains scenes of 'violence against women,' says the RTUK report. CNBC-e is a business, financial and entertainment channel operated in Turkey by CNBC Europe and the NTV Group. ... Alexander is a 2004 epic film by Oliver Stone which recounts the life story of Alexander the Great. The film was an original screenplay based in part on the book Alexander the Great, written by Oxford University historian Robin Lane Fox in the 1970s."

Al Arabiya publishes a commentary noting that Al Arabiya's coverage of Libya vs. Egypt was "completely different."

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 26 Mar 2012, Mshari Al-Zaydi, originally published in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat: "Broad headlines always succeed in rallying throngs of excited people under any slogan or banner. But the devil lies in the details, and this leads to a clash of wills. For this reason, Arab media outlets adopted different tones of addressing and covering what was happening in our region, from one place to another. Al-Jazeera satellite TV station approached the 'Bahrain' incidents in a manner completely different to the one it adopted in dealing with the Egyptian revolution. The same goes for 'Al-Arabiya' satellite TV station which covered the 'Libya' incidents in a completely different manner to its coverage of the Egyptian events."

PBS NewsHour reports on China's new CCTV America: "Is it news or propaganda?"

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
PBS NewsHour, 23 Mar 2012: "RAY SUAREZ: Chinese government-owned and -operated, CCTV America rolled out last month, unveiling three new programs in English for American viewers. Americans can watch CCTV on cable and satellite systems across the country. ... PHILIP CUNNINGHAM [Cornell University]: Somebody who was interviewed by [CCTV America] wrote to me and told me what he talked about and went through everything that they covered. And he said, 'I bet this won't make it on the air.' RAY SUAREZ: Cunningham discussed the incident on condition that the CCTV guest not be named. But the NewsHour confirmed that the interview which appeared on 'Biz Asia America' and on 'The Heat' was heavily edited. PHILIP CUNNINGHAM: And it was just cut to pieces. And I know for a fact that there was discussion of Tibet. There was discussion of Xinjiang. There was discussion of having whistleblower, of having the Chinese media become more free, of having elections. And all five of those things were cut. ...RAY SUAREZ: But CCTV officials say they edit their stories the same way other news organizations do. MA JING: We uphold the traditional journalistic values. We consider accuracy, objectivity, truthfulness, and public accountability very important, more important than anything else." With video.

USC Center on Public Diplomacy blog, 27 Mar 2012, Adam Clayton Powell III: "Tara Sonenshine, nominated to serve as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, offered advice this morning to public diplomacy observers: Watch China. 'We are challenged every day by what the Chinese are doing in public diplomacy,' she said. Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she is Executive Vice President, Sonenshine pointed to China’s paid print supplements in the Washington Post and other newspapers, including the New York Times. 'You may not read it,' she said, but readers are 'embraced' by the paid supplements, which Sonenshine called 'brilliant.' These supplements have not been without critics, focusing on blurring of editorial and paid propaganda content. And an article on the Nieman website described them as 'content-as-advertisement strategy.'"

China Media Project, 28 Mar 2012, David Bandurski: "Offering further indication of the shift away from the politics of Bo Xilai, who was removed as the leader of Chongqing on March 15, a report in today’s Chongqing Daily offers what seems to be a mea culpa by the municipality’s head of propaganda, He Shizhong (何事忠). ... [He] emphasized that Chongqing propaganda leaders needed to 'realistically summarize and analyze propaganda and culture work over the past few years, in which there are a number of areas that require improvement.' Specifically, He said there was a need to 'improve activities and methods, reducing as much as possible collective theatrical performances, firmly avoiding movement-style [propaganda] methods.' Just over a year ago, as Bo Xilai’s campaign of 'red songs' was in full swing in the city, He Shizhong defended the Chongqing’s policies on propaganda and culture."

Sky News Arabia introduces "second batch" of presenters, including VOA and RT alumni.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Sky News Arabia press release, 26 Mar 2012: "Sky News Arabia, the 24-hour Arabic language multi-platform breaking news service, today announced the names of ten more of its presenters, carefully selected from countries across the MENA region. Sky News Arabia received over 1,300 applicants for the coveted presenter roles alone. Each presenter was chosen following a rigorous interview process and in-depth market research. Nart Bouran, Head of Sky News Arabia, commented: 'As the channel launch draws closer, we are delighted to announce our second batch of presenters. I believe the line-up is a good representation of the Arab region and I know each will play a vital role in the success of Sky News Arabia.' ... [including] Mohannad Al Khatib, News Presenter. Mohannad started his career as an International Radio Broadcaster at the Voice of America in Washington, DC, where he then moved to UNICEF working as a Communication Officer for MENA region. In 2001, Muhannad joined MBC as a talk show host based in Beirut, Lebanon, then moved to Al Arabiya as a senior news anchor and the host of a weekly current affairs program. ... Dalia Abdalla, News Presenter. With a Bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Canada and a Masters in International Business from London, Dalia started her career as a journalist for Russia Today TV, as Deputy Chief Editor. ... Imane Lahrache, News Presenter. Before joining Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi, Imane was business and news presenter at Russiya Alyawm TV [Russia Today in Arabic] covering major political stories in the Arab world and business news - mainly the euro zone crisis."

Sky News Arabia press release, 27 Mar 2012: "AFKAR 2012, a regional debate tour hosted by Sky News Arabia, kicked off with an audience of influential bloggers and social media personalities from the UAE at Meem Gallery in Dubai, last night. ... Nart Bouran, Head of Sky News Arabia commented on the event saying, 'As the channel launch approaches, we are delighted to be able to create a platform for influencers, social media personalities and people from across the region to share their views on the relevant topics that impact their lives. Sky News Arabia looks forward to continuing to interact with our future viewers in the UAE and across the region both on and off air.'"

See previous post about same subject.

Samsung TV with integrated satellite receiver will help Africa "go digital," and take DStv "head-on."

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
SES press release, 23 Mar 2012: "SES announced at the Samsung Africa Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, that it is collaborating with Samsung to drive digital broadcasting via satellite in sub-Saharan Africa. Samsung will introduce an LED television with an integrated free-to-air satellite receiver, the Samsung LED TV Free Satellite that will be distributed in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon in August 2012. Distribution in additional countries will follow. The integrated satellite receiver will allow consumers to receive free-to-air television channels without the need for an additional set top box as the LED TV will be directly connected with the satellite dish. ... As a leader in the free-to-air TV market, SES delivers more than 60 free-to-air channels in more than 40 African countries. The launch of the new Samsung LED TV Free Satellite coincides with more channels becoming available in Africa. 'This collaboration is the first of its kind and will drive digitalization in Africa,' said Christoph Limmer, SES’s Senior Director of Marketing Development and Marketing in Africa. 'Today, one out of three households in Africa has a TV set but less than 10 million homes receive content in digital format. Our cooperation will not only help to improve access to digital content for African consumers but it will also encourage African broadcasters to launch more content. In servicing more than 40 African countries, we are well aware of the huge demand for more and higher quality TV services. The opportunity lies in providing an increasingly sophisticated African viewership with a significantly increased number of TV channels – a first for many African countries.' 'The Samsung LED TV Free Satellite is our contribution to the continent’s efforts to "go digital", providing African consumers with greater choice and broadcasters with the opportunity to grow the region’s media industry,' says Dae Hee Kim, Regional Product Manager at Samsung Africa."

The Standard (Nairobi), 25 Mar 2012: "The service will be available on high-end Samsung LED TVs, and will provide access to 60 free-to-air TV channels (30 English and 30 French). In what is seen as a value added service to attract sales for its high-end sets, no decoder or monthly payment will be necessary, although users would still need a satellite dish. Samsung’s move could potentially make it the biggest provider of satellite TV services on the continent, taking MultiChoice’s DStv head-on. ... Danny Kim, director of TV and Audio Visual at Samsung Electronics said viewers will have to aim their dish antennas at the Astra 2A or Astra 4B satellites."

"Truthful information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives."

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
ShadowSpear Special Operations, 24 Mar 2012, Dave Chace: "More than 80 initial-entry Army Reserve Soldiers graduated the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Advanced Individual Training course during a ceremony March 22 on Fort Bragg, N.C. ... Civil Affairs teams can quickly and systemically identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in war or disaster situations; the work with civilian authorities and populations to lessen the impact of military operations. Psychological Operations level-one skills include foreign-audience analysis, selection of themes and symbols, and identification of relevant information. Psychological Operations Soldiers conduct military information support operations in order to disseminate truthful information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives." -- "Truthful information ... in support of U.S. policy and national objectives" suggests that some information may be emphasized, other information de-emphasized, and some omitted altogether. The output, while 100% truthful, could come across as propaganda to audiences who can quickly discern the patterns.

TVNewsCheck, 27 Mar 2012, Diana Marszalek: "U.S. Army Capt. Frank Razzano Jr. ... stashed his uniform in the closet and left Fort Bragg, N.C., where his Military Information Support unit is based, for an apartment in suburban Savannah, Ga., (DMA 92) to spend a year with the news team at WTOC, Raycom’s CBS affiliate there. ... He says his goal is to take away from the experience 'best practices of a television news station' that will help him and fellow PSYOPS soldiers more effectively do their job — spreading the American message to convince foreign populations to support the work of U.S. forces in their countries. ... Dow Smith, a visiting journalism professor at Washington and Lee University, says military internships at TV stations ... blur the line between news staffers and the people and institutions they cover. 'In the media, we have a totally different mission, like telling the truth,' he says. ... Razzano says he is not interested in shaping WTOC's coverage in any way. All he wants to do is learn, he says."

Tito-era informants infiltrated BBC Yugoslav service, according to released files.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 26 Mar 2012, Jack Grimston: "The BBC World Service was infiltrated by a ring of informants run by the secret police of Communist-era Yugoslavia, newly released files have revealed. The spies were briefed by Marshal Tito's security service, the Udba, to inform on their Yugoslav and British colleagues and on dissident emigres living in Britain. The informants unmasked in the files include Mitja Mersol, now an MP in Slovenia, the European Union state that until 1991 was part of Yugoslavia. In the 1970s he worked as an announcer for the World Service, where his Udba codename was 'Linguist'. The secret files, released in Slovenia, paint a picture of London as the arena for covert cold war manoeuvring between Yugoslav agents and anti-Communist emigres."

The Syrian international video war, continued.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 24 Mar 2012, Sam Dagher: "The region's two main news channels—Al-Arabiya, which is based in Dubai and owned by Saudis, and al-Jazeera, which is owned and run out of Qatar—feature multisided discussions on Syria. But they can also often project the determination by oil-rich Sunni Gulf Arab states to cripple Iran and its Shiite allies, analysts say. ... Meanwhile, a range of channels friendly to the regime in Damascus—including Syrian state TV, Iranian broadcasters and Beiruit-based Al-Manar TV, owned by the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah—have echoed Mr. Assad's characterization that international coverage of Syria is a 'media onslaught.' They say they are battling an immense conspiracy waged by enemies in the Arab world, Israel and the West."

CNN, 23 Mar 2012: "Syria, which has long accused Arab and Western satellite news networks for fabricating and falsifying events, now has CNN in its sights. State-run Syrian media asserted Thursday that CNN journalists were involved in blowing up an oil pipeline in Homs province, collaborating with 'saboteurs.' The allegations surfaced when Syrian state TV aired portions of the CNN documentary '72 Hours Under Fire,' about the challenges faced by a CNN team while on assignment in Homs. ... Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International, called the assertions 'ridiculous.' 'We stand firmly behind our excellent reporting on Syria,' he said. 'It is a pity that its citizens did not get to see this important documentary without these ridiculous interventions.'"

Ahlul Baht News Agency (Tehran), 25 Mar 2012: "An official source on Friday said that the news broadcast by al-Arabiya satellite channel on the defection of a Syrian helicopter pilot who escaped to Turkey and targeted security headquarters in Aleppo is 'completely baseless'. The source added that the channels of the bloody terrorism including al-Arabiya used to air such false news which reflects the bankruptcy of their aggressive campaign against Syria."

Washington Post, blogPost, 27 Mar 2012, Eliabeth Flock: "A report from London-based Channel 4 suggests that Syrian citizen journalists may have embellished the truth to get that international attention. When Channel 4 sent a French photojournalist to Syria last month, the unidentified journalist came back with footage that documented the crimes against humanity taking place in the central city of Homs. The journalist also came back with information that some Syrian citizen journalists were embellishing their footage, Channel 4 revealed today." With video of the Channel 4 report. See also The Daily Beast, 27 Mar 2012, Mike Giglio.

Al Arabiya, 26 Mar 2012: "Al Arabiya managed to regain control of its English Facebook page after a group calling itself 'Syria’s Electronic Army' posted a banner on the page of claiming responsibility for its hacking earlier today. The group also posted a statement on the wall in Arabic saying, 'The Syrian electronic army.' was here. ... Posts on the page surrounding the conflict in Syria have provided our readers with false news on attacks in Syria and deceptive information on Saudi government orders. The posts included news about clashes between the Free Syria Army and the Syrian regime security forces, which Al Arabiya cannot verify. ... The posts by hackers appear in Arabic on Al Arabiya English Facebook page and have confused our readers who normally expect the latest news on the Middle East in English."

Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar 2012, Ramin Mostaghim and Emily Alpert: "News of a bloodied and troubled Syria has begun to run on Iranian state television, focusing on angles sympathetic to the regime of President Bashar Assad as it contends with armed rebels and foreign critics. Iranian media originally shied away from covering the uprising in Syria, a longtime ally of Iran. Tehran cheered revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, but Iranian officials and academics have contended that the Syrian protests are different and that the West is seeding the unrest. ... Though the Iranian media have focused on events that are sympathetic to the Assad regime, the mere shift toward covering the Syrian crisis at all is noteworthy. State television is the main source of news for most Iranian viewers. However, illegal satellites are often used in urban areas to pick up prohibited channels from the West, bringing the Voice of America and the BBC into some Iranian homes."

See previous post about same subject.

Former VOA journalists in the news.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam), 22 Mar 2012: "The Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) Board of Directors has appointed Mr Dunstan Tido Mhando the new managing director effective yesterday. ... The MCL publishes The Citizen, The Citizen on Saturday, The Citizen on Sunday, Mwananchi, Mwananchi Jumapili and MwanaSpoti. ... He started off his career in the late 1960s with the government-owned media house, Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam (RTD), before going abroad. In the UK, he became the first African to head the Swahili Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Apart from the BBC, Mr Mhando has also worked with other international media organisations including Swahili Service of the Voice of America (VoA) and Radio Deutche Welle (DW) of Germany."

Pakistan Today, 24 Mar 2012: "Radio Pakistan Director General Murtaza Solangi was among the outstanding people who got Nishan-e-Imtiaz and other civil awards for their meritorious services in various fields on the occasion of Pakistan Day. President Asif Ali Zardari conferred the medal upon Solangi in recognition of his meritorious public service in broadcasting at a ceremony here on Friday. ... Murtaza Solangi went to the United States for higher education in 1993 and got a degree in broadcasting from Gateway Technical College Western Islands. He then joined the Voice of America Urdu Service and continued to work for 15 years. He has been serving as Radio Pakistan director general for the past over three and a half years."

New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur), 24 Mar 2012: Malaysian "journalism legend" Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin died 22 March. "His 62-year journalistic career took off in Singapore in June 1950 in time to cover the Natrah episode for Utusan Melayu before the Voice of America took him away to New York for a three-year stint." See also NST, 24 Mar 2012, Johan Jaafar.

Cubans connect to the internet thanks to phone cards provided by tourists.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 21 Mar 2012, Lina Correa interviewing Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez: "VOA: Many believe it is difficult for Cubans to freely access unmonitored web pages. What can you tell us about that? Sánchez: From my experience, having access to information and technology are fundamental for a free country. A person who holds a flash memory and has access to at least a minute of internet can change his or her life. That makes that citizen more empowered, more aware of his rights, perhaps more likely to speak up because he doesn’t like what is happening. I think in order to help Cubans is necessary to empower them technologically, so that they can become 21-century internet users. Because without it, we will not become more democratic; we will not be free. ... VOA: Reports say the Cuban minimum-wage is very low and you have said it’s expensive to have internet access. How do you do it? Do you receive any funding? What are the medium costs for the average Cuban to get internet access in a hotel and browse for few minutes each week? Sánchez: In my case, I try to take advantage of the all the time I'm not online to arrange texts and photos correctly, so when I finally get access to look around the web, I do it as quickly as possible. Fortunately, many tourists who visit Cuba know our situation, mine and that of other bloggers. After spending a week or two in this country, they usually give us prepaid phone cards to use in a hotel. Our technological poverty doesn’t allow us to sustain those costs. But thanks to the solidarity of many people in the world, we are able to have internet access. And also people who read our posts in other parts of the world, recharge our phones, which allow us to tweet. This is quite an interesting period on how Cubans have access to social networks."

See also Heritage Foundation, 21 Mar 2012, "Cuba Needs a (Technological) Revolution: How the Internet Can Thaw an Island Frozen in Time," with video. And, about this event: BBG press release, 26 Mar 2012.

"Call to Action on Public Diplomacy" includes call to action on US international broadcasting.

Posted: 28 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
American Diplomacy, March 2012, Spring Morris E. Jacobs, preident, Public Diplomacy Council: "Over at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Chairman Walter Isaacson – author of the critically acclaimed biography of Steve Jobs – has resigned, leaving another important leadership position vacant. What this may mean for implementation of the Board’s proposed reorganization of international broadcasting is not clear. The good news is that the White House is looking for a candidate to replace Isaacson. One hopes that the Administration is also seeking qualified candidates to fill the positions of the other BBG governors, most of whose terms of office have ended. Of course, whether any nominations will be acted upon in the current toxic political atmosphere is uncertain. ... [T]he Senate could follow the spirit of the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, which it passed with a large majority in June 2011, and act upon these nominations without hearings. This bill, which is awaiting action in the House of Representatives, reduces the number of including officials below the assistant secretary level and members of boards, commissions and other advisory bodies."

Newsmax, 25 Mar 2012, Andra Varin and Kathleen Walter: "As a former top exec at advertising giant Leo Burnett, [Ted] Bell said he thinks the United States is losing an international PR war. He cites incidents in Afghanistan such as U.S. troops’ recent inadvertent burning of Qurans and the alleged massacre of 16 civilians at the hands of an American soldier. 'I would say that we’re not actually winning the war of words. We’re sort of slipping behind,' he said. He believes America should do more with networks such as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 'We’re falling behind. We should reinvest in telling our side.'" -- The US could "reinvest" up to stratospheric sums, but if "telling our side" is the only output, there will be even more "slipping behind."

European Commission willing to provide funds for Euronews Portuguese broadcasts.

Posted: 27 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Portugal News, 24 Mar 2012: "Brussels is willing to bear the costs of Portuguese language broadcasts on Euronews for two years so long as state-owned broadcaster RTP maintains its shareholding in the pan-European news channel and pays its annual fees, Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reading said. RTP will also have to guarantee to keep the broadcasts going long after the two-year period of assistance comes to an end. Portugal, through RTP, pays about €1.8 million a year to ensure the multilingual news channel broadcasts in Portuguese, but government cutbacks have put that service at risk. RTP has a 1.4% stake in Euronews and pays €360,000 a year in fees."

Scripps to acquire Travel Channel International, distributing programs in 20 languages to 91 countries.

Posted: 27 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Realscreen, 22 Mar 2012, Barry Walsh: "Knoxville-based Scripps Networks Interactive is acquiring independently-owned, UK-based Travel Channel International (TCI). Scripps will pay £65 million (or US$102.6 million) to acquire TCI, which distributes the Travel Channel brand in 20 languages across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions. TCI produces and commissions original travel programming for distribution in 91 countries. Its 46 London-based employees will join Scripps Networks Interactive at the completion of the deal, expected to come during the second quarter of 2012, pending regulatory approval."

The Guardian, 19 Mar 2012, Mark Sweney: "Ofcom has severely reprimanded Travel Channel International after an investigation found instances of competition winners being chosen by staff 'pointing at a spreadsheet' and UK entrants being deliberately prevented from being able to win some prizes. ... The Travel Channel admitted "on at least three occasions" during that period UK viewers were given no chance of winning on the basis of a company policy to favour international entrants."

Digital TV Europe, 22 Mar 2012: "British pay TV broadcaster Horse & Country TV is ramping up its international expansion and has hired two executive to lead the charge. ... Horse & Country TV is currently available via satellite pay TV service BSkyB and broadcasts sports events and news and documentaries about the equestrian world."

Radio Netherlands, which may no longer have funds to do radio, sends target country "radio in a box."

Posted: 27 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands, 22 Mar 2012, Heleen Sittig: "The Netherlands has shipped a container with a mobile radio studio to Sierra Leone. The Radio Netherlands' Training Centre donated the studio to War Child, an organisation that assists children and young people in war zones. There's a complete radio studio inside the container. Children and young people in Sierra Leone will use the studio to broadcast their own radio programmes. ... The 'radio in a box' concept is the brainchild of Radio Netherlands Worldwide. It was originally designed to enable producers in disaster zones to get back on the air in the wake of an emergency. In the past, these mobile studios were sent to Indonesia, where there was an urgent need for radio broadcasts after the tsunami in 2004. RNW no longer needs these radio containers because it has built even more compact studios. RNW has one remaining radio container and is thinking of where it would be most useful."

And on the subject of Radio Netherlands, Andy Sennitt's last post to the Radio Netherlands Media Network was on 24 March. It was about unused broadcasting frequencies in Kenya. Andy also writes: "In April I shall be writing a series of articles reflecting on the changes in international broadcasting since I started appearing on the Media Network radio show in 1981, and looking ahead to the coming decade. The articles will be published on the RNW English website. ... My last working day will be 26th April." The Media Network site remains as a "searchable archive of over 15,000 international media stories published from Oct 2003 - March 2012." Good, but, going forward, as my friend Morand Fachot wrote, "no news is bad news." See previous post about same subject.

Radio Macau programs will be heard via China Radio International Portuguese service.

Posted: 27 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Macau Daily Time, 21 Mar 2012: "Radio Macau will broadcast some of its Portuguese programs on the platform of Chinese state media China Radio International (CRI). A TDM [Teledifusão de Macau] official stressed that their editorial authority and expression of freedom would not be sacrificed for the programs to be broadcast on CRI platform. The two sides signed a cooperation protocol yesterday in Zhuhai, allowing TDM to broadcast four radio programs on the Chinese state broadcaster’s website and internet radio. Beijing-based CRI has daily broadcasts directed to Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde and other Lusophone countries. CRI hoped the cooperation would help to bring Macau cultures to the major Lusophone countries. The first four radio programs to air on CRI platforms include Paralel 22 and Counterpoint that focus on report and analysis of Macau’s current issues, as well as music programs Sound of the Week and Papageno. The cooperation came after a visit by TDM officials to Beijing last year, and corresponds to the strategic objective of TDM to strengthen its cultural reach in Lusophone countries. ... According to TDM, the cooperation may soon be extended to the broadcast of some CRI programs on TDM’s platform, possibly a program to teach Mandarin (or Putonghua) to Portuguese speakers. Francisco Pinto also told MDTimes that some programs on Chinese social and economic issues may reach Macau audiences very soon."

CNN International gets digital terrestrial channel in Finland.

Posted: 27 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
YLE, 22 Mar 2012: "The American-based international news channel CNN will soon be available on digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) in Finland. The round-the-clock news station has, to date, been available either via cable or satellite. From next April, CNN will be available on subscription thanks to Thursday’s government decision to grant a licence to Turner Broadcasting System Europe until the end of 2016. ... Current foreign pay-TV channels available over terrestrial networks in Finland include Eurosport and the Discovery Channel."

Al Jazeera gives its new French sports channels English names. And more Al Jazeera in the news.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 26 Mar 2012: "Al Jazeera has confirmed that its French sports channels will be named Be In Sport 1 and Be In Sport 2. 'This choice reflects the spirit of both channels towards showing the biggest events live and in exclusively,' said Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, general manager of Al Jazeera Sport."

Nieman Journalism Lab, 26 Mar 2012, Justin Ellis: "Mohamed Nanabhay likes to talk about something he calls 'distributed distribution,' which, aside from being delightfully alliterative, might be a kind of rallying cry for the future of media. 'What that meant was that we shouldn’t think of ourselves as having a single venue where our content should be viewed,' said Nanabhay, the head online for Al Jazeera English. 'We shouldn’t force people to come to our website if they want to view our content — rather we should move onto the platforms where communities have already formed and there are already big audiences.' That’s a strategy that has worked for Nanabhay and Al Jazeera English: the site’s videos on YouTube generate around 2.5 million views a month; they have almost 1 million Twitter followers and just as many likes on Facebook. Maybe more importantly, Al Jazeera has turned around and used those alternate channels to bolster their news gathering, particularly throughout the events of the Arab Spring."

Rapid TV News, 21 Mar 2012, Rebecca Hawkes: "Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera is launching a new iPhone app for its English news service, including breaking news, opinion, features and same-day access to features. Live streaming of 24 hour news broadcasts free of charge will also be provided to viewers, and easy uploading will allow citizen reporters to instantaneously submit and share content. ... 'Today's announcement comes on the back of Al Jazeera's recent launch of updated Android and BlackBerry smartphone apps. We look forward to building on Al Jazeera English's mobile momentum with the launch of apps for other popular smartphone and tablet devices.'"

Democratic Underground, 25 Mar 2012, Avalux: "Ever since I got my Roku box, I'm able to watch Al Jazeera news. So far this morning, I've been informed about the following: 1. Israel leading the way in testing marijuana for pain control. Great story. 2. Protestors in Hong Kong fighting for democracy - I actually saw a protestor with a sign standing in front of a politician, yelling at him and no one dragged him away!! 3. Occupy Wall Street wants everyone to know they are not going away (good footage and interviews). 4. Feature on a food co-op in Britain where all employees get paid the same, have interchangeable skills and get input into the direction of the business. Pointing out that capitalism is not the only viable economic system (and has caused the economic downturn). Also - they will be airing a special report on the Koch brothers - People and Power. Looks good. This is NEWS; information. It's not a bunch of pundits and panels arguing and 'reporting' based on their political leanings; it's not censored because network execs are beholden to corporate overlords and want to keep the population uninformed. What a contrast."

The Atlantic Wire, 23 Mar 2012, Dan Grandoni: "Using a trove of data from Bit.ly links, Forbes has created an interactive map of the news preferences of online readers. The biggest surprise: Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera is curiously most popular in the states of Oregon and Vermont. Focusing on 15 major news outlets, the interactive charts 'news sources and individual articles that were unusually popular in certain states compared to national averages.' Al Jazeera also had strong showings in Washington, California, and Texas. Take what you will out of the fact that another outlet outside mainstream news in the U.S., NPR, also performs better-than-average in these states."

AFP, 26 Mar 2012: "President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday that influential Qatar-based Sunni Muslim cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi was not welcome in France. Egyptian-born Qaradawi, 86, has been invited to visit next month by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF). ... Qaradawi, who hosts a popular show on Al-Jazeera satellite television, backed Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and has launched a fund-raising effort for the Syrian opposition. ... He is accused of having made anti-Semitic and homophobic statements and was banned from entering Britain in 2008. He has been banned from entering the United States since 1999."

The Times of India, 20 Mar 2012: "The I&B [India's Information and Broadcasting] junior minister skidded in the Rajya Sabha on Monday when he mistakenly named news channel Al Jazeera as illegal more than a year after giving it permission to broadcast in India. In response to a question, I&B minister of state, C M Jatua, said: 'Security agencies have identified a list of 25 illegal foreign channels and observed that the contents of some of these channels are not conducive to the security environment on the country and pose a potential security hazard.' However, Al Jazeera has been operational since December 15, 2010, after receiving the requisite clearances from the ministries of home affairs, company affairs and I&B. Al Jazeera's India bureau chief Anmol Saxena said, 'We are fully licensed company.' When contacted, an I&B ministry official admitted that a mistake had been made and an old list may have made its way in Parliament."

Viewers note stories covered by RT (Russia Today) -- and apparently not by other channels.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Sudbury Star, 23 Mar 2012, I Am Borg: "I watched [Canada's] CTV news two nights ago when Lisa Laflame put a face on the tragic events in France where some lovely young lives were ended far before their times. Pictures were shown and a small bio were given for each of the victims which helped the public understand that there were people who had hopes and dreams cut short by the actions of a mad man. Contrast that with the coverage of the 16 people slaughtered in Afghanistan. While channel surfing I came across the news network RT (Russia Today) which actually read out the names of all the people murdered. Why haven’t any western media outlets done anything like this?"

Oxfam America, 18 Mar 2012, Lissette Miller: "You know things are bad when Russia Today breaks a story about civil liberties in the US. On March 8, President Obama signed into law H.R. 347—the harmless-sounding 'Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011' — essentially making it a crime to peacefully protest in areas protected by the Secret Service, whether or not you even know they are there."

Rapid TV News, 23 Mar 2012: "In a bid to expand further its growing global news service, Russia Today (RT) has signed a deal with LG to launch a Smart TV App through CE giant’s global application store. ... In the deal with LG, RT will offer free access to all of its TV programming and will in the near future rollout free applications for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices. 'TV's future is online, and Smart TV technology proves it brilliantly. We are happy that viewers of LG's Smart TVs can watch all of RT's channels and no longer have to depend on cable networks or satellite signals,' said RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan."

Voice of Russia's "Evening Mail," about, and on FM in, Turkey, wins "best news program" award.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 21 Mar 2012: "The Voice of Russia Radio Broadcasting Company has received the annual award of the Turkey Journalism Association. This year the award went to the Evening Mail program with Atilla Guner as the best news program. Voice of Russia programs are broadcast in FM band to Ankara, Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir and other Turkish cities 24 hours a day. The company is planning to expand FM-broadcasting to cover more of Turkey and other countries."

Voice of Russia, 21 Mar 2012, Svetlana Kalmykova: "World events and Turkish news are discussed there, Head of the Bureau of the Voice of Russia Programmes in Istanbul Andrei Isayev says. 'We’ve put the main emphasis on the hot topics in Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy. About 10 experts who stay in the studio and answer the calls take part in each programme. The above-mentioned programme is a great success, mainly, due to the work of all these experts. We are trying to find people whom nobody can find. For example, let’s take a tragedy in Istanbul, where the workers’ tent city was burnt down. Several hours after the fire we came into contact with the parents of those who were injured in the fire. Or let’s take the earthquake that occurred in the eastern part of Turkey, when a Japanese journalist was dug out from under the rubble. Some minutes later we talked with him. Thus, what was praised by the Turkish journalists was the following: the speed with which the work is done, the selection of journalists, and of course, the host, a very experienced journalist, who can urge anybody to talk. He either talks to several people simultaneously or talks vis-a-vis his partner. Besides, he makes commentaries.'" -- Voice of Russia evolved from the old Radio Moscow.

BBG's "busy" Victor Ashe visits RFA and VOA offices in Bangkok and RFA and VOA offices in Phnom Penh.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 22 Mar 2012: "BBG Gov. Victor Ashe wraps up his tour of Southeast Asian broadcast facilities this week with a series of meetings in Thailand, including stops at the offices of Radio Free Asia and Voice of America in Bangkok. Earlier, Ashe visited the Bangkok Transmitter Plant where he met with staff and delved into the plant’s history. ... In the Udon Thani province of northeast Thailand, Ashe toured a BBG transmission facility and presented 30-year and 20-year service awards to staff members. In Phnom Penh, Ashe toured the facilities of RFA and VOA and met with staff. Also in Cambodia, he met with representatives of human rights NGOs and independent journalists. Ashe was accompanied by Poly Sam, director of the RFA’s Cambodian Service. The first BBG member to visit Laos, Ashe met there with Vice Minister of Information of the Laotian government about the possibility of allowing RFA correspondents in Laos."

For Radio Sawa's 10th anniversary, praise from Secretary Clinton.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 22 Mar 2012: Radio Sawa marked "its 10th anniversary of broadcasting to millions of listeners across the Middle East. Since its launch in 2002, Radio Sawa’s innovative style of mixing accurate and objective news with popular music has gained the appreciation of its Arab audience and produced numerous imitators throughout the region. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a letter to the Radio Sawa staff, praised the radio station’s success and popularity saying 'its team of dedicated journalists across the Middle East and the United States provides millions of listeners with an invaluable source of news.' Sec. Clinton added that mixing popular music and public affairs made an immediate impact in the region. ... Radio Sawa broadcasts on FM to Libya, Morocco, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E., Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and Djibouti. Radio Sawa broadcasts on medium wave to Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria. The radio networks can also be heard on Arabsat and Nilesat as well as Radio Sawa’s website. Recent surveys by international research companies such as ACNielsen show that Radio Sawa has an unduplicated weekly reach of an estimated 14 million adults."

BBG press release, 21 Mar 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors held its March 8 meeting at the headquarters of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks in Springfield, Va. The session included visits by the board members to the newsrooms of both Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, during which they met with staff and took questions." With photos.

One Organization, Many Brands, Much Confusion.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Strategy, 19 Mar 2012, Bruce Sherman: "'One organization, many brands' is integral to the BBG’s new strategy, Impact through Innovation, and Integration. The ability to have multiple brands offers several advantages. The BBG’s major brand names are, of course, the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, Radio Martí and TV Martí. There are also various sub-brands such as Radio Azadi (RFE/RL) in Afghanistan and Deewa Radio (VOA) in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Popular BBG programs — Parazit in Iran, OMG Meiyu in China, and Studio 7 in Zimbabwe — often acquire identities in their own right. Differential branding is beneficial. It lets us position our products for specific markets and target key audience segments (women, youth, etc.). It helps us stand out in cluttered media environments and deal with challenging political realities, including anti-Americanism. All this helps boost our reach and impact — a BBG priority."

How can USIB "stand out in cluttered media environments" when it is itself a cluttered media environment? For an example of the confusion caused by the "many brands," see the previous post. I argue for a single, unified, global USIB brand in "US International Broadcasting: Success Requires Independence and Consolidation".

In India, cable operators allegedly jamming signals from rival satellite television companies.

Posted: 25 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Financial Express, 21 Mar 2012, Ashish Sinha: "Rivalry between cable operators and DTH [direct-to-home satellite] companies has come to the fore with growing instances of DTH jammers being used in parts of Mumbai and Delhi NCR to distort DTH signals. DTH firms like Tata Sky, Dish TV, Reliance Big TV, Videocon D2H and Airtel Digital TV have detected fresh cases of DTH jammers causing disruption of services in Mumbai. ... The move is being adopted to give a bad name to DTH services, which have almost wiped out cable connections from affluent parts of Mumbai and Delhi, said top executives of two leading direct-to-home (DTH) companies. ... 'Using jammers to block DTH signals selectively in affluent parts of the city is to promote cable usage,' said a senior executive of a leading DTH brand. ... [DTH Operators Association of India] has cited seven specific instances when DTH jammers caused problems to the DTH signals in Mumbai between February 18 and March 18 this year. These instances happened during the telecast of popular events, including key cricket matches of India with Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and on the telecast of Filmfare Awards on February 19. ... DTH services have gained popularity in India crossing 45 million subscriber base in five years of operations."

A meditation on the history of Zee TV.

Posted: 25 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Forbes, 15 Mar 2012, Naazneen Karmali: Subhash Chandra "largely credits meditation for his business success. ... Inspired by CNN’s coverage of the Gulf war, Chandra took a gamble and started Zee TV, India’s first satellite television channel, in 1992. His family fretted that he would lose the modest pile he’d made. Ashok Kurien, his pal and Zee’s cofounder, says it was like walking into the valley of death. There was no private Indian broadcaster, since regulations didn’t permit it then. So he set up in Hong Kong. The Indian government questioned him several times, and he was told to shut the channel down; he refused. At the outset he burned through cash at the rate of $6 million a month. ... Living, the health-and-wellness channel in the U.S. he launched in 2007. It has not yet made money, but he insists it eventually will. 'A lot of money may go down the drain, but this is close to my heart,' he says."

Obviously the work of bureaucrats: Jamming an empty broadcast satellite transponder.

Posted: 25 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 15 Mar 2012, Chris Forrester: "Salah Hamza, CEO at Cairo-based Nilesat, speaking at the Satellite 2012 event in Washington DC, said that the jamming of satellite signals is hurting the industry very badly. 'We now even have what we call voluntary self-jamming, where in order to curb unwanted signals coming into a country it seems that a nation is prepared to also lose its own signals by jamming a complete transponder. ... For the past two months we have multiple examples of deliberate jamming. This has spread to five transponders, affecting many of our clients. It is deliberate, and seems to us to be quite senseless. In some instances, the jamming occurs on a daily basis starting promptly at 7.30am and finishing at 1am the following day. It is as if someone is just coming into an office and switching on the jamming mechanism as a matter of routine. ... Last week we had jamming from a very sophisticated source, and generating 30 dBW of signal power which obliterates everything else on a transponder. These people seem determined to act as satellite operators, judging what will – and will not – be carried by an operator. Indeed, this case was quite ridiculous because even after we had removed all of the channels from a transponder, which is a huge headache for us and our customers, the jamming continued onto an empty transponder!" See also Space News, 25 Mar 2012, Peter B. de Selding.

Government Computer News, 15 Mar 2012, Henry Kenyon: "Radio frequency interference in space has been growing, Stewart Sanders, chairman and director of the Space Data Association (SDA), said March 13 during a panel on orbital radio frequency interference issues at the Satellite 2012 conference in Washington. There are a number of reasons for this, and most are not related to intentional jamming, he said. Where it used to take highly advanced nations with highly trained personnel to launch and maintain satellites, technological developments have lowered the entry requirements for space, which has increased the number of players in orbit, he said. Even in cases of deliberate jamming, such as recent attempts to jam Eutelsat transmissions, this only represented about five percent of all detected interference, he said. From a commercial perspective, the vast majority of interference with satellite communications is created by human error, mostly from misaligned antennas and transmitters."

How the Global iPlayer will help BBC avoid the fate of Kodak.

Posted: 24 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 22 Mar 2012: "BBC Worldwide’s Global iPlayer service will enable the BBC to hedge against the relative decline of linear viewing without cannibalising the existing content sales channels of the UK public broadcaster’s commercial arm, according to Matthew Littleford, general manager of Global iPlayer. Addressing the IP&TV World Forum in London this morning, Littleford said that the BBC had launched global iPlayer, following the huge success of the UK catch-up service, because the BBC knew this was what viewers wanted. He referred to the example of the fate of Kodak, which had invented the digital camera, but had failed to develop the concept because it threatened to cannibalise its existing business. 'They were the first people to create a digital camera,' he said. 'The owners felt it would cannibalise its core business. As a result, Kodak set itself up for long-term obsolescence.' ... While the UK iPlayer is primarily a catch up service, the global service mines the BBC archive in a different way. The Global iPlayer app is currently free to download, but offers a paid for subscription service that primarily showcases BBC archive content and content from other UK producers. ... Global iPlayer is currently available in 16 countries."

Radio Farda engages its audience with a poll, resulting in son of Shah being named most important person of the year.

Posted: 24 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 22 Mar 2012: "RFE/RL Radio Farda's audience has chosen exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the eldest son of the late deposed Shah of Iran, as the most important and most influential person of the Iranian year. The selection is the result of an online poll that was timed to coincide with the Persian New Year and included thousands of respondents. The 51-year-old Pahlavi has called for the prosecution of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on charges of crimes against humanity. He has also said he wants to unite diverse Iranian opposition groups and forces to eliminate the regime in Tehran. ... The poll was conducted online on Radio Farda's website and its Facebook page. Some took part in the poll by sending e-mails and text messages to Radio Farda. In total, Radio Farda received 12,024 votes from Iranians inside and outside the country. ... The poll was not intended to be representative of the views of the entire Iranian population."

RFE/RL press release, 20 Mar 2012: "Former princess and life-long humanitarian Hindia d'Afghanistan has been named Radio Azadi’s 'Person of the Year' in Afghanistan. The 83-year old daughter of Afghanistan’s King Amanullah has devoted the last ten years of her life -- and most of her family’s wealth -- to rebuilding her country after decades of war and destruction. 'Before making the final decision we consulted several civic groups in Kabul, which praised Princess Hindia and her work,' says Radio Azadi Director Hashem Mohmand. 'She supports the weak in Afghanistan and we wanted to honor her for her dedication to help her country.'" -- The Radio Azadi selection for person of the year is, then, an "honor." On the other hand, Time Magazine persons of the year were sometimes selected on the basis of their infamy, as well as their fame, as long as they were newsworthy.

International broadcasting reporters blocked from entering or exiting Belarus.

Posted: 24 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 20 Mar 2012: "Reporters Without Borders roundly condemns the Belarusian government’s decision to close the country’s borders for journalists. During the past few days, several Belarusian independent journalists have been unable to travel to neighbouring European Union countries while at least one journalist from an EU country has been prevented from visiting Belarus. ... Reporters Without Borders has confirmed that on 13 March the Belarusian consulate in Prague refused to issue a visa to Syarhey Shupa, who works for the Belarusian service of Prague-based Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. ... Zhanna Litvina, the president of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), and Mikhas Yanchuk, a reporter for the Poland-based independent TV station Belsat, were prevented from boarding a flight to Warsaw from Minsk on 15 March. Litvina was given an 'Exit denied' stamp in his passport."

TV viewers in Shanghai can "feast their eyes" on Australia Network content.

Posted: 24 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Eastday (Shanghai), 20 Mar 2012: "Audiences in Shanghai will have a chance to feast their eyes on Australian TV shows for a whole week for the first time ever, beginning later this month. The city's only English-language channel, ICS, will host the Australian TV Week from March 26th to April 1st. A variety of feature programs will air on ICS every evening from 8 PM to 9 PM during the week, providing a showcase for the better understanding of Australia, it's sunshine, fine food, and beautiful coastline. In return, a China Shanghai TV Week will be launched on the Australia Network this September. ... Australia Network is a high-profile TV channel of the Australia Broadcasting Corporation. It transmits to 46 countries and regions in Oceania, India, South East Asia and East and North Asia. For showing in Shanghai, Australia Network has prepared top-quality TV programs featuring Australian customs, cutting edge technology, art and culture. ... Sun Wei, ICS Executive Director, said that Australia Network and ICS had formed a close strategic partnership three years ago. Previously the two corporations have worked together on joint sports and cultural broadcasts."

From the ICS website: "ICS Mission: To strive to be [Shanghai's] key information and service provider for the international community by constantly improving Shanghai’s international communication influence and focusing on its urban development strategy. ... Coverage: ICS is available in 5 million cable TV households in Shanghai, and reaches an even wider audience through its website: www.ICShanghai.com, IPTV and SMGBB broadband Internet TV. ICS has been expanding its presence in the city’s best hotels. The latest statistics show ICS is now available in 40 of the city’s 45 five-star hotels. Broadcasting time: ICS broadcasts 24 hours a day. The schedule includes 6 hours of first-run programs, more than 3 hours of which are locally produced. ICS is the only comprehensive TV Channel in China broadcasting in both English and Japanese (with Chinese subtitles). Programs include news and information, fashion and entertainment, language learning, talk shows and English-language movies."

Does the Australia Network content include the Chinese subtitles mentioned above? If so, this comes a bit closer to true reciprocity, given that Chinese channel CCTV News is seen in Australia in English. (Australian readers: Is China's English-language CNC World also available in Australia?) CCTV News, however, includes the Chinese version of news, whereas the Australia Network feed to ICS seems to consist of softer content. Furthermore, ICS is distributed on internet-based channels (and is it limited to hotels?), while CCTV News is delivered via Australia's more mainstream Austar multichannel service. See previous post about Deutsche Welle in China.

Distribution of BBC World Service in the US will switch from Public Radio International to American Public Media.

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Email to staff from Jim Egan, BBC World service controller of strategy and distribution, 23 Mar 2012: "I wanted to let you know about some changes taking place this summer for the distribution of World Service English radio in the US, as result of our current distribution agreement coming to the end. Following a procurement process, and subject to contract, we have chosen American Public Media (APM) as our preferred distributor of World Service English to public radio stations in the US for the next five years. We expect the new arrangements to come into force on 1 July 2012 once final contract negotiations are complete. As many of you know BBC World Service radio has been distributed by PRI (Public Radio International) for more than 20 years. Although PRI will no longer distribute the World Service stream and our own programmes, arrangements for the distribution of existing co-production programmes such as The World and The Takeaway are unaffected by today’s announcement. ... The new contract will deliver substantial increases both in audiences for the BBC in the US and also in the revenue which APM will return to us."

From the Wikipedia article about American Public Media: "Formerly, much of American Public Media's programming content was distributed by Public Radio International, which itself was named "American Public Radio", or APR, until July 1, 1994. APR was formed by four stations, the Minnesota Public Radio network, WGBH in Boston, WNYC in New York, and KUSC in Los Angeles, to distribute A Prairie Home Companion. PRI owns and produces numerous programs today, but still also distributes diverse programming from many sources. In contrast, APM, which was founded in 2004, predominantly distributes content that it owns and produces itself; the current exceptions are The Story with Dick Gordon, and the BBC Proms broadcasts from Royal Albert Hall in London."

Polish Radio External Services ends 80 years of shortwave transmissions this weekend.

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Shortwave Central, 23 Mar 2012: "Polish Radio carries the following announcement on its English website: 'From Sunday 25 March, the English Section of Polish Radio External Service is changing its broadcast times and the nature of its transmissions. As of Sunday, the English Section will NOT be available on Short Wave, ending almost 80 years of broadcasts on this spectrum. Many thanks to all our listeners who tuned in via these means over the years. However, the English Section is continuing ALL its transmissions via satellite and online, with podcasts also available via our RSS feed and through the iTunes platform. Additionally, the English Section of Polish Radio External Service is available in London on DAB Spectrum 1 daily at 1900 local time." See also Polskie Radio, 23 Mar 2012.

VOA reports linked by RFE/RL, cited by Minnesota Public Radio, and loosely rewritten by Pakistan Press International.

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 20 Mar 2012: "Join Voice of America reporter David Axe as he travels to one isolated Afghan village along the border with Pakistan, where coalition forces are hoping that a risky local police initiative will win over villagers and help weaken the Taliban." With link to video report.

Pakistan Press International, 21 Mar 2012: "When asked by Voice of America (VOA) if the US should pay heed to Pakistan’s wishes, independent Senator Joe Lieberman bluntly said 'no'. 'The drone strikes are critically important to America’s national security. So obviously I do not believe that they should stop,' he said." Strongly resembles VOA News, 20 Mar 2012, Michael Bowman.

Minnesota Public Radio, 20 Mar 2012, Tom Weber: "Darren Taylor, Voice of America reporter based in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently published a five-part series about rhino poaching and laid out the arguments on both sides of a legalized rhino trade. 'On the one side, you have the ranchers - the actual rhino owners,' he said. 'They seem to mostly be in favor of legalization at this stage. They argue a legalized trade in rhino horn will control it; the relevant authorities then can step in and control the flow of rhino horn into the market. And in this way, they argue the criminal syndicates will be shut down and poaching will cease.'" MPR (heeding Smith-Mundt?) did not provide a link to the series, but it refers to VOA News, 21 Jan 2012 (and subsequent), Derren Taylor.

The Syrian international video war.

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Tangled Web blog, 20 Mar 2012, Luke Allnut: "If you want a good example of the power of citizen journalism, then look no further than the Deir Press Network (DPN). Started one year ago in the eastern Syrian town of Deir el-Zour, DPN was the brainchild of a doctor and his cousin who lived in the United Kingdom. In a fascinating interview in 'Guernica' magazine, the two founders, Kareem and Ahmed (not their real names), discuss how they smuggled out footage and fought off cyberattacks from the pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army. ... None of the videos can be verified and it is hard for news organizations without a presence on the ground to check that the scenes of dead bodies, for example, are what they purport to be. DPN doesn't have any pretenses to be an independent, nonpartisan news organization. They are a group of activists allied with the opposition dedicated to recording atrocities by the regime. To that end, their videos have spread on social networks and are making it onto the major TV networks -- they have undoubtedly driven much of the international policy discussion on Syria."

The Guardian, 20 Mar 2012, Charles Arthur: "Syrian activists are being targeted by a fake version of Google's YouTube video site which plants malware on the PCs of people who leave comments on videos shown there, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has warned. The EFF, a pressure group for free speech online, said that the site has been used to target people watching videos showing the conflict inside Syria, and that it may have captured the login details for Google accounts belonging to activists inside or outside the country. It also warns that the site offers a fake 'update' to the Flash software used on most PCs to view video content."

Syrian Arab News Agency, 19 Mar 2012: "Terrorists Mohammad Walid Shukairi and Yamen Hussain al-Azizi confessed on Monday to committing several crimes, including killing a citizen in Sayda Zeinab suburb in Damascus countryside, and videotaping them to be broadcast on al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya channels to blame the security forces. In his confessions to be aired by the Syrian TV in the evening news bulletin, Shukairi said that he fired at protesters and the security forces, and he burned several cars in return for money. ... He added that during a funeral at al-Sayda Zeinab, their armed group fired at the people and security personnel, hitting a girl in her head, later, they protested at Fayez Mansour street in al-Sayda Zeinab, attacking the owner of al-Sanafer bookshop with knifes and photographing the process in order to send them to al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera TV channels and attributing it to the army."

Al Arabiya, 22 Mar 2012, Ali Ibrahim: "A constant message has been repeated by the [Syrian] regime ... is that there are satellite television channels and media outlets outside the Syrian authority’s control that are inciting unrest, even fabricating news, reports, demonstrations and protests, or at the very least, magnifying them with the aim of overthrowing the regime."

The Australian, 19 Mar 2012, John Lyons: "In Syria, there is now a body of evidence that the regime has been deliberately trying to kill journalists. The committee to protect journalists says six have been killed in Syria this year. Marie Colvin, the legendary reporter of London's The Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik, were killed, apparently after their communications were monitored. Most journalists travelling into places such as Syria or Libya take satellite phones and BGANs -- laptop-sized devices through which they file via satellite. These have dramatically different signals from mobile phones and have made journalists sitting ducks. Even if a satellite phone or BGAN is turned off, if the battery is in place they can be tracked."

Reuters, 22 Mar 2012, Oliver Holmes: "Barcelona footballers don't just have a slick passing game, they can also secretly indicate arms smuggling routes to Syria, a pro-government Syrian television channel claimed this week. Without a hint of irony, Addounia TV superimposed a map of Syria on a screen to show how Lionel Messi and his team-mates, representing smugglers, had kicked a ball, representing a weapons shipment, into Syria from Lebanon. The subtle signals to rebels were transmitted when Barcelona played Real Madrid in December, said the channel, which is owned by a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad. It did not trouble viewers by revealing Barcelona's motives for the exploit."

China complains of North American "piracy" of its Great Wall TV package.

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 20 Mar 2012, citing China International Communications Co Ltd: "China International Communication Co Ltd (CICC), the sole distributor of Great Wall TV, has issued a formal statement aimed at pirate Chinese TV operators: CICC is a wholly owned subsidiary of China International Television Corporation (CITVC) and is the only company approved by China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) to have exclusive overseas copyright of the Great Wall TV package. It has come to CICC and SARFT’s attention that the overseas piracy of Chinese TV channels has worsened in recent years. With the full support of SARFT, CICC has released a formal statement noting that all Chinese TV channels broadcast overseas are required to be evaluated and approved by the national authority, SARFT. All operators must have legal broadcast rights and strictly comply with all relevant provisions. CICC along with domestic copyright agencies and overseas partners will actively seek justice against all unauthorized operators distributing Chinese TV to overseas Chinese. The statement stressed that the 'Great Wall TV' package is China’s only TV package authorized by SARFT to be broadcast overseas. Currently only the following five TV operators are authorized to carry the Great Wall TV package in North America: DISH Network (US), KyLinTV (US/Canada), Rogers (Eastern Canada), Bell (Parts of Canada) and Telus (Parts of Canada). ... Many unauthorized Chinese TV operators can be found throughout Chinese communities in North America. ... CICC advises overseas Chinese to only subscribe to Chinese TV services provided by those operators with proper authorization to ensure the best TV viewing experience and protecting the legal rights of the viewer." See also the Great Wall TV website.

"U.S. International Broadcasting Joins The Digital Age."

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
AOL Government, 19 Mar 2012, Judi Hasson: "Once strictly a radio enterprise, U.S. international broadcasting – including its leading brand Voice of America – now reaches more people via television, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and mobile apps, then it does via the radio airwaves. ... The networks currently reach 187 million people a week - 97 million on TV, 106 million on radio and 10 million on the Internet in 59 languages. The goal is to grow these audiences to 216 million in five years. ... It's an enormous challenge to harness this new age media and especially daunting in these economic times when every federal agency is being called on to cut their budgets. And that means developing new platforms and new products for the public on a tight $720 million budget for fiscal 2013, a 4.2% cut from 2012. ... While there will be cuts to all of its broadcasters, BBG hopes job losses will be absorbed through attrition. And its strategic plans calls for saving though consolidation of resources, ending duplication and leveraging new technology and innovation." With video of Richard Lobo, director of the International Broadcasting Bureau.

Wall Street Journal, 22 Mar 2012, Russell Adams: "Bloomberg TV laid off nearly 30 employees, as the upstart cable network seeks to make its work force more focused on digital distribution. The network, a unit of financial-data provider Bloomberg LP, plans to add at least 13 digital positions. Many of the people departing were producers and associate producers with traditional-television backgrounds and will be replaced by people who have both digital and traditional TV skills. ... Bloomberg TV has begun focusing more on delivering its programming on tablets and other mobile devices, where more people are watching video. The network is forming what it calls a digital video desk aimed at expanding the production of digital video for non-traditional TV viewers."

Washington Post, 23 Mar 2012, Cecilia Kang: "'My view has always been that video via cellular was always a fantasy,' said Craig Moffett, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research. 'The networks simply aren’t designed to handle it.' ... After paying $629 for an iPad that hooks up to Verizon’s 4G network, [Garry Denny] quickly found that his tablet was a money guzzler. In just 15 minutes last week, he watched a YouTube clip that ate nearly one-third of his $20 monthly wireless data plan. For perspective: That experience cost nearly $7, or the price of watching a matinee at a movie theater. ... 'It’s disappointing because I think of 4G as a way of taking the Internet and media anywhere to do anything I want at any time,' said Denny, the director of programming at Wisconsin Public Television. 'But when you realize the heavy cost for that, it changes your perspective on how true that is.' ... Cisco recently predicted that the global use of data over mobile devices will increase 18-fold over the next five years. And tablets put even more strain on wireless networking, generating three times more traffic than the average smartphone, according to Cisco’s study."

Religious broadcasters hope their "Words of Hope" are reaching listeners on shortwave.

Posted: 23 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Tennessean, 18 Mar 2012, Heidi Hall: Eugene Brown, 84, records "15-minute sermons that [private shortwave station] WWCR in Nashville broadcasts five times a week into every continent except Antarctica. His show is called Words of Hope, with audio broadcasts also available online. Shortwave may seem quaint in 2012, but listeners pick up the spectrum with special radios thousands of miles away from stations where shows originate. Foreign governments easily can block websites they oppose, but that’s a lot harder to do with shortwave radio. 'Interest in shortwave is as high as I’ve ever seen it,' said Brady Murray, WWCR’s operations manager. 'The Internet and iPhones might have put a dent in it, but Pastor Brown is broadcasting to areas where you’re not finding the iPhone.' ... And while some may think that message doesn’t work today, Brown has letters from all over the world to prove his popularity. Listener Ingo Breuer of Germany traveled to Madison several years ago so Brown could baptize him at McFerrin Missionary Baptist Church, where Brown attends." See also "Why Shortwave" at World Christian Broadcasting website.

Radio World, 15 Mar 2012: "After a quarter century absence from the radio-broadcasting scene in Sri Lanka, Adventist World Radio is returning to the island on March 25. AWR aired for almost 40 years (starting in 1950) via the Radio Ceylon shortwave service near Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was the first syndicated Christian broadcast from this station. Radio Ceylon then became Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and in 1988 AWR moved to its own shortwave station, KSDA in Agat, Guam. AWR is returning to Sri Lanka for a three-month stint, lasting until the end of June, and will transmit via the Deutsche Welle station near Trincomalee. AWR says the transfer will allow them to carry out maintenance on curtain antennas 1 and 2, and to install an additional curtain antenna at the Guam site."

Rep. Rohrabacher letter could set off a border dispute between RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Pakwatan.com, 22 Mar 2012: "Dana Rohrabacher sent a letter to the President of Radio Free Asia (RFA) requesting they begin 'reporting on, and broadcasting to, the Baluchi population in the Baluchi language, especially those who live in Pakistan and Iran.' He alleged the government of Pakistan has brutally repressed Baluchi nationalism and denied the Baluchi people their right to self-determination. ... 'While the government and intelligence services in Pakistan act against the interests of the United States, I believe America can find common ground with the people of South Asia. The Baluchi people would be very receptive to RFA broadcasts in their own language and the increased exposure to accurate and objective news would no doubt be to our and their great benefit.'"

Examiner.com, 21 Mar 2012, Ahmar Mustikhan: "A U.S. congressman who has been named as "Hero of Balochistan" Wednesday called for Radio Free Asia to start broadcasts in Baluchi language. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to the President of Radio Free Asia (RFA) requesting they begin 'reporting on, and broadcasting to, the Baluchi population in the Baluchi language, especially those who live in Pakistan and Iran.'" See also Rep. Rohrabacher press release, 21 Mar 2012.

Even a member of Congress is confused by the "many brands" of US international broadcasting. Balochistan is far to the west, or, depending how you spin your globe, far to the east of Radio Free Asia's target region. Balochistan would be closer to the territory of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has a Pashto service (Radio Mashaal) to the frontier region of Pakistan. And, in fact, former BBG chairman Walter Isaacson said in July 2011 that he would put the appeal by Balochi activists for a VOA Balochi service on the Board's agenda. (See previous posts on 16 July 2011 and 10 Jan 2010.)

Knowing Congress, and knowing US international broadcasting, this is my prediction, and remember you read it here first: RFA, RFE/RL, and VOA all will add Balochi services. They will compete for talent from what must be small pool of Balochi-speaking stringers. They will all cover the same news, as it happens, from Balochistan.

As if he isn't busy enough, acting BBG chairman Michael Lynton is expected to become CEO of Sony Corp of America.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 21 Mar 2012, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Matthew Garrahan, via CNN: "Sony is shaking up the leadership structure of its US entertainment businesses in preparation for Sir Howard Stringer's handover as chairman and chief executive to Kazuo Hirai. The reshuffle will hand more power to Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and to Nicole Seligman, the Japanese group's general counsel. Both Mr Lynton and Ms Seligman are close allies of Sir Howard. ... Mr Lynton is expected to add the title of chief executive of SCA to his responsibilities at the group's film and TV studio. ... Mr Lynton will also assume oversight of Sony Music, the recorded music division led by Doug Morris, and Sony ATV, the group's music publishing joint venture with Michael Jackson's estate, led by Marty Bandier. However, he is not expected to play a high-profile operational role in the music businesses. 'It's more about who presents the budget to Tokyo,' said one person familiar with the plan." -- Lynton is also a member and acting chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

BBC's "Haba na Haba" will facilitate dialogue between people and their leaders in Tanzania.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 19 Mar 2012: "BBC World Service and the BBC’s international development charity, BBC Media Action, have joined forces with Radio Free Africa (RFA) and community radio stations across Tanzania to launch a new weekly radio programme facilitating dialogue between ordinary people and their leaders. From Saturday 24 March, produced by BBC Swahili and presented by BBC Swahili’s Hassan Mhelela, Haba na Haba (“Little by Little”) will feature contributions from reporters at community radio stations across Tanzania, as well as from ordinary people telling their stories. ... The regional contributions for Haba na Haba will be provided by six community-based radio stations spread across Tanzania. ... Haba na Haba will be broadcast by BBC Swahili and simultaneously rebroadcast by RFA - the BBC’s biggest partner station in Tanzania."

China's CCTV will broadcast "Faces of Africa" documentaries, produced by Nairobi-based A24 Media.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 19 Mar 2012: "A24 Media have announced a partnership with CCTV Africa, China Central Television's news productions center which launched in Kenya in January 2012 which focuses on African news and perspectives, to produce 20 documentaries for the CCTV series 'Faces of Africa'. Faces of Africa is a documentary series on people in Africa, either prominent or ordinary, who have great stories to tell about Africa. The weekly series will air on Sundays at 7:30pm (CAT), 5:30pm (GMT) on CCTV News, which can be seen across Africa and around the globe. The debut production of A24 Media's contribution to the series will air on 25 March 2012 with 'Our Film Future', taking viewers to Arusha, Tanzania to meet the students and faculty of the Kilimanjaro Film Institute. In the coming weeks, can expect to see documentaries on Grace Nanyonga, a Ugandan entrepreneur; Patricia Mawuli, Ghana's first female pilot; and a four-part series on Nelson Mandela and his effect on modern South Africans." See also A24 Media.

The Guardian, 22 Mar 2012, David Smith: "When Malawi's state television shuts down for the night, it does not switch to CNN or, as might once have been expected in the former British protectorate, the BBC. Instead insomniacs are treated to the minutiae of Chinese domestic affairs courtesy of that country's CCTV News."

Reports: Al Jazeera will launch a French channel. Updated: not true, says Al Jazeera.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 14 Mar 2012, Robert Briel: "Al Jazeera is planning to launch a French language news channel in 2013, writes Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui en France. The news does not come as a surprise, as Al Jazeera is in the process of acquiring football rights for both the French league and international tournaments to broadcast within France. With Arab and English news services on air, launching a French language 24/7 news channels seems like a natural evolution."

webdo.tn, 4 Mar 2012, Hatem Bourial: "Selon des indiscrétions provenant de diplomates, Al Jazeera étudierait en ce moment la possibilité de s’implanter en Tunisie pour y diffuser, à partir de cette nouvelle antenne, des programmes en langue française. Ces programmes cibleraient en priorité les pays maghrébins et devraient aussi tenter de toucher les Maghrébins résidant en France, en Suisse et en Belgique, qui sont de plus en plus nombreux."

SlateAfrique, 3 Mar 2012, Akram Belkaïd, quoting an "offciel": "Al Jazeera en langue française balayerait France 24 comme un fétu de paille." ("Al Jazeera will sweep up France 24 like a straw.") -- France 24 already has a substantial following in the Maghreb, so the competition may not be so easy for Al Jazeera.

Update: Broadband TV News, 20 Mar 2012, Robert Briel: "A spokesperson for Al Jazeera has denied local reports that it is to launch a French language news channel, according to the Tele Numerique blog."

L'Expression, 21 Mar 2012, Amira Soltaine, quoting Al Jazeera spokesman Oussama Saeed: "L'histoire d'une chaîne info française n'est pas vraie. Je n'en connais pas la source, mais vous pouvez vous dire qu'elle ne repose sur aucune base."

La Liga Talk, 15 Mar 2012, The Gaffer: "Al Jazeera Sports Network has won the US TV rights to [Spain's] La Liga, beginning with the 2012-13 season, according to a source. The shocking news means that GolTV’s flagship league will no longer be shown on the Miami-based network. Al Jazeera Sports Network’s acquisition of La Liga rights comes hot on the heels of similar acquisitions by Al Jazeera Sports Network worldwide including winning the bid to show Ligue 1 in France from 2012-13 through 2018-18, as well as the rights to show UEFA Champions League in France from 2012-2015. Al Jazeera Sports is currently only available in Arabic on DISH Network (channel 601 in HD). No news was available as of press time in regards to Al Jazeera Sports Network’s plans for how and where it’ll broadcast La Liga games in the US starting next season, or whether games will be available online via streaming."

Tunisia Live, 18 Mar 2012, Houda Mzioudet: "Al Janoubia TV, based in France, will officially begin broadcasting on the NileSat frequency on March 20th. The Tunisian media landscape has changed dramatically since the fall of Ben Ali regime in January 2011. New media outlets continue to be created in the aftermath of the Tunisian revolution. The new satellite channel claims it will be politically neutral and will strive to serve the Tunisian Revolution in developments in the field of culture, society, investment and tourism. In late February, Al Janoubia's founders Rabii Baaboura and Farhat Jouini announced the launch of the new TV channel and declared their objectives to the public. They described the channel as representing the people 'South of the Mediterranean,' Al Janoubia will focus on the socio-cultural lifestyle in Tunisia and hopes to reach Tunisians living abroad in Europe as well."

Google TV adds international channels, but is itself not yet available internationally.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Google TV blog, 16 Mar 2012, Jennifer Wasson: "If you live in the U.S. and your home is far away, we’re featuring apps this week that bring the hometown content you love to your Google TV, for free. Take a trip with us through some apps from around the world: PPTV offers high-definition video programming, including the latest cinema blockbusters and TV dramas from Asia. ... IslamBox has more than 40 Live TV Channels and over two thousand hours of video on demand in four different languages from around the world. ... Yupp TV brings Indian TV channels live and on demand to your Google TV. ... Raaga offers South Asian music from more than 200 music labels from the region in almost 20 languages. ... Crunchyroll lets you watch Japanese anime and Asian Drama on your Google TV. ... euronews is a web app that publishes the very latest news from Europe ‘s leading international news channel. ... Language services available include English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. Al Jazeera offers an English version of the Arabic-language news network."

Phandroid, 18 Mar 2012, Edgar Cervantes: "These international applications could be a good sign that Google is set to release Google TV internationally soon. It has already been stated that this is a plan slated for 2012. Release dates and markets are not yet announced, but we can expect major markets like Asia and Europe to be included."

TechCrunch, 16 Mar 2012, Ingrid Lunden: "To get Google TV, Google currently lists two options: either buy a special Sony Internet TV, or a set-top box from Sony or Logitech that you use with your own Internet-enabled TV."

Wall Street Journal live TV programming now available on Livestation.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Beet.TV, 19 Mar 2012, Andy Plesser: "The Wall Street Journal's expanding slate of live business programming, has gone live on the Livestation, the London-based global portal for live news, says Lippe Oosterhof in this interview with Beet.TV The WSJ Live joins other business programmers including CNBC and Bloomberg on the distribution channel. Livestation takes the live, satellite telecasts of several other world's major broadcasters including BBC, CNN, France24, Russian's RT, Al Jazeera and others, and streams them on the Web and on various digital devices. (Many of these channels are restricted to certain countries in keeping with the regional agreements of broadcasters.)"

Website described as right wing chides media watchdog described as left wing for Al Jazeera ties.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Daily Caller, 18 Mar 2012, Jamie Weinstein: "Media Matters for America is linked with Al-Jazeera, the anti-American and anti-Israeli cable news channel, The Daily Caller has learned. Media Matters Action Network senior foreign policy fellow MJ Rosenberg’s column for the liberal organization regularly appears on Al-Jazeera’s website and, in 2010, Rosenberg represented Media Matters at a forum hosted by Al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar where he praised the news outlet as 'mainstream.' Media Matters Action Network is part of the organization’s political arm. According to two Daily Caller sources, the then-director general of Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, also visited Media Matters’ offices in Washington in 2010 and met with the organization’s two top leaders, David Brock and Eric Burns. Representing Media Matters at the first Al-Jazeera 'Unplugged' forum on social media at the Sheraton Hotel & Resort in Doha on May 22, 2010, Rosenberg explained that Khanfar invited him to the forum during a meeting in Washington earlier that year."

Al Jazeera documentaries about Poland involve "cooperation" with Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Polish Ministry of Foriegn Affairs, 19 Mar 2012: "On March 17 the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV network, with 8 million viewers in the Arab world, began broadcasting a series of programmes devoted to Poland. This was made possible thanks to the [Polish Ministry of Foreign Affair's] cooperation with the TV network, a process initiated during Minister Radoslaw Sikorski's visit to Qatar last year. It was agreed that Al Jazeera will showcase Poland's transition experience for audiences in North Africa and the Middle East, thus providing a source of knowledge and inspiration for pro-democracy movements. Poland is the first country which the broadcaster has chosen to highlight through a series of documentary special features. The eight 30 minute segments will cover Poland's recent past and present. Each episode will focus on a different topic: Poland's peaceful transition process, the Polish constitution, regime-era reckoning, and the role of the media in implementing democracy. The series will be capped off with an interview with President Lech Walesa. The series was produced in 2011 during a visit of Al Jazeera journalists to Poland. The MFA and the Polish Embassy in Doha actively cooperated with journalists in the making of the programmes. The features will initially be aired in Arabic, but an English-language version is planned to be broadcast on Al Jazeera International."

BBC World Service press release, 21 Mar 2012, via TV by the Numbers: "The Direct Seasons on BBC World News go behind the headlines to explore everyday life in one country. ... Poland Direct examines how the country is tackling the challenges of transforming a command economy against the backdrop of the economic crisis affecting much of Europe. Poland Direct meets the people who are making that transformation happen and explores the attractions that could help to make Poland a major tourist destination."

Al Jazeera English wins Scripps Award for its Bahrain documentary.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Wrap, 16 Mar 2012, Lucas Shaw: "Al-Jazeera English became the first international news channel to ever win a Howard Scripps Award on Friday. It won for Television/Cable In-Depth Reporting thanks to 'Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark,' a documentary about political unrest in the small Persian Gulf nation. This adds another prominent award to the channel’s ever-growing cabinet of hardware. In the past few months, it has won a DuPont Award, a George Polk Award, a Royal Television Society Award and a Foreign Press Association award."

Samsung Smart TV app will live-stream Al Jazeera Arabic and English.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Samsung press release, 18 Mar 2012: "Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced that it has formed an exclusive agreement with Al Jazeera, the 24 hours news and current affairs channel. As part of the agreement, Al Jazeera will live stream its Arabic and English TV news channels through a custom built application for all Samsung Smart TVs, which will be their first application launched on a connected TV. ... Samsung recently announced that its Smart TV range is dominating the Gulf region with 45% market share in the Smart TV category and 50% market share globally. In the last quarter of 2011, Samsung recorded a 21% increase year-on-year within the Gulf market. The impressive increase resulted from Samsung's commitment to offering a diverse portfolio of content with services launching in English, Arabic and Hindi. In the region, Samsung currently has 250 Smart TV applications, including: Dubai Media Incorporate, streaming all of its broadcast channels; YuppTV, streaming over 60 Indian channels; Arabian Radio Network, with live radio feed and program schedule; and DEWA, the first business solutions application developed in the UAE."

UK licence fee payers: "Do you want drama on BBC4 – or Persian language TV?"

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Observer, 17 Mar 2012, Peter Preston: "There are tender eulogies to the old BBC World Service as the removal vans cluster outside Bush House. Life won't seem the same in the brand new integrated newsroom at Broadcasting House, funded all too soon from the licence fee rather than William Hague's FO budget. Nevertheless, let's not doubt a BBC desire to keep its flag flying high. What's more difficult, a year or two down the line, is seeing how such desire will fare once the brutal questions are asked. Do you, the licence payer, want the horseracing you follow to be part of the programming you pay for – or reporting to Burma and Pakistan that you can't see or hear? Do you want drama on BBC4 – or Persian language TV? The difficulty with dilemmas like these is that they're inevitable, with an infinitely predictable outcome over time. If governments from Paris to Moscow want to put over their version of events to the world, they reach for their chequebooks. If the US, through its Voice of America, wishes to spread Washington's enlightenment, then Congress knows well enough who has to pay. Only in Britain will you find governments believing that the BBC – and thus ordinary viewers and listeners – must be prepared to dig deep in their pockets to finance programmes that barely register in UK parlours. It's a pleasing, altruistic belief. But come back in five years' time to see, probably sadly, if it's rubbish."

Reuters, 20 Mar 2012: "Mark Thompson is to step down as the director general of the BBC after eight years in which he overcame battered morale, assaults from Rupert Murdoch's media empire and threats to the corporation's funding at a time of national austerity. ... Last year the BBC agreed to freeze the annual licence fee, payable by every TV-owning British household, at 145.50 pounds, while it also took on extra costs from the government including funding the BBC World Service, which is broadcast overseas."

BBC Arabic airs "Electronic Spring" documentary about role of new media in the Arab uprisings.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Egypt Independent, 17 Mar 2012: "BBC Arabic announced on Saturday that it has produced a documentary film featuring the role of new media and social networking sites in fueling the uprisings in the Arab world. ... 'The Electronic Spring' attempts to answer questions about the role of bloggers and internet activists in the Arab uprisings, and the effects of images transmitted through mobile phones and the internet on the Arab street and in bringing down regimes, said a BBC statement. ... Mohamed Yahya, programs editor-in-chief at BBC Arabic, said in the statement that the aim of producing 'The Electronic Spring' was to highlight the role of new media and social networking sites in directing the course of the events and in providing material for press coverage."

In his Nowruz message, President Obama discusses Iran's "electronic curtain."

Posted: 21 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The White House, 20 Mar 2012: "[I]ncreasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power. And in recent weeks, Internet restrictions have become so severe that Iranians cannot communicate freely with their loved ones within Iran, or beyond its borders. Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them. Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran - a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer. I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations. That’s why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing. We’re using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. And even as we’ve imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my Administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet." On the new guidelines for software and services to Iran, see The White House blog, 20 Mar 2012.

Mashable, 20 Mar 2012, Alex Fitzpatrick: "Channeling Winston Churchill’s 'Iron Curtain' speech, President Obama has said that an 'Electronic Curtain' is descending over Iran. ... So how do Internet-savvy Iranians to get around Iran’s National Gateway? A bit of cleverness — by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxy servers located outside the country, Iranians can get around the government filters. Circumventing the government’s filters doesn’t come without risk. The regime has a 'cyber army' of up to 15,000 Internet 'enforcers,' and the government routinely spies on citizens’ online behavior. Many Iranians continue to ignore the risk of government harassment and intimidation."

RFE/RL, 20 Mar 2012, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Jamal Abdi, the research director of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) ... said the United States needs to make sure sanctions are not adding to the iron curtain of Internet censorship. 'What we first of all need to do is to stop erring on the side of restriction and just grant a general license for all of these -- software, hardware, and services, including satellite Internet,' Abdi said. 'That's a very important one and, unfortunately, if you're a satellite Internet provider, you have to go to a licensing process that is pretty arduous. So you have the satellite above Iran that could provide Internet and they're not because they haven't gone through that process.'"

VOA press release, 19 Mar 2012: "Some of the biggest stars from the Persian music scene, including legendary pop singer Sattar, King Raam, and the band Kiosk, highlight a Nowruz TV special airing on the Voice of America Monday, as Persian-speakers around the world celebrate their New Year. Music icon, SattarThe star-studded two-hour concert, recorded live at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., also features Sepideh, Rana, Shahrzad, Karmandan, and Tara."

RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 13 Mar 2012, Golnaz Esfandiari: "[I]t appears that Iran's war on satellite dishes is a losing one. Neither police raids nor stiff fines have been able to stop Iranians from watching their favorite shows. At a recent seminar about the "harming effects" of satellite dishes, held in the city of Qom, researcher Mohammad Reza Khoshrou said that, according to the latest figures, 65 percent of Tehran residents use satellite dishes. ... One woman in the Iranian capital, whose satellite dish was demolished by the police several months ago, told 'Persian Letters' that the first thing she did the day after her apartment complex was raided was order a new dish and receiver. 'That's the only fun we have here. There's nothing worth watching on [state television],' she said. 'They can come and take my dish away. I will get a new one.'"

AP, 18 Mar 2012: "Britain has condemned Iran for blocking a website aimed at explaining the United Kingdom and its policies to Iranians. Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday that barring the British government's 'UK for Iranians' site -- three days after it was launched -- proves 'the Iranian authorities fear their own citizens' interaction and involvement with the outside world.' Britain says Iran blocked the site on Saturday. It remains unavailable to users in Iran. The BBC's Persian service is regularly blocked in Iran."

NHK World gains outlets in South Africa, plus Nordic and Baltic regions.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
ITWeb (Johannesburg), 19 Mar 2012, Bonnie Tubbs: "SA's second pay television operator, TopTV, has gained some ground with the signing up of two new third-party channels. ... Having already gone live this weekend, NHK World TV is an English channel broadcast from Tokyo, in Japan, and features Newsline, a half-hour live news broadcast at the top of every hour, followed by a variety of Asian lifestyle programmes, documentaries and special reports focusing on culture, news, entertainment and sport, as well as Japanese animated cartoons, anime. ... The introduction of NHK World TV and [African Movie Channel] broadcasting on channel 406 and 120, respectively, comes as TopTV's content team has been facing 'a lot of pressure'. ... [T]he operator has had to cut its losses with Current TV, a 'very popular' US-based channel that ceased operations just over a week ago." -- If she is referring to the Current TV founded by Al Gore, the channel is still operating. Maybe it no longer has a satellite feed to Africa. See also MyBroadband.co.za, 16 Mar 2012.

Broadband TV News, 15 Mar 2012, Robert Briel: "Viasat Broadcasting has announced that it has added the 24-hour news and lifestyle channel NHK World TV to the satellite TV platforms in the Nordic and Baltic regions on March 14. This is the first time the channel is available in these regions. ... The channel is available to Viasat satellite TV subscribers in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, as well as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania."

Vietnam plans extensive international radio and television services, including satellite TV in 8 Languages.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Viet Nam News, 9 Mar 2012: "The plan to broadcast Vietnamese news to the world has been outlined by the Ministry of Information and Communication in its Master Broadcasting Development Plan for Radio and Television Services by 2020. Under the master plan, the Ministry of Information and Communication aims to broadcast news via satellite to North America, Europe and Asia – Pacific by 2015 and throughout the world by 2020. The national television channel will produce up to 20 hours of news coverage per day while the radio channel will run 24 hours/ day by 2020. Initially, these channels will air internationally qualified production programmes in foreign languages for at least 8 hours/ day to give international communities a better understanding of Viet Nam's current political, socio-economic development, culture and lifestyle spheres. The radio channel will primarily use the current Voice of Viet Nam on Channel 5 (VOV5). Programmes will be aired in multiple languages: English, French, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, Spanish, Indonesian, Lao, Khmer, Vietnamese, Arabic and Korean. The Viet Nam Television Channel 4 (VTV4) will broadcast programmes in English, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German and Spanish. Viet Nam Television Corporation (VTC) Channel 10 and VTV4 will air programmes for Vietnamese overseas. The Government will also encourage other radio and television stations to produce programmes to serve international communities and Vietnamese overseas."

CNBC hires commercial VP for Europe, Middle East, Africa.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
CNBC press release, 15 Mar 2012: "CNBC, the leading business and financial news channel, has appointed Anthony Lilleyman to the newly created role of Vice President Commercial, EMEA. Lilleyman will lead CNBC’s revenue generating divisions and drive the network’s commercial strategy across the EMEA region. He will have responsibility for growing the distribution of the channel, including carriage agreements, commercial licences (businesses, hotel and airlines); managing CNBC’s local affiliate networks; content syndication and business development across the region. Advertising revenues will fall under a newly created role of Vice President, Advertising Sales for CNBC International, for which an external search is underway."

"Mistake" results in 8-hour interruption of RT ("most popular news broadcaster") on YouTube.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 18 Mar 2012: "RT’s main YouTube channel was suspended for about eight hours, returning online about 2 p.m. Moscow time (10:00 GMT). YouTube ascribed the temporary blackout to a 'technical mistake.' During the temporary suspension, anyone who attempted to access RT’s main YouTube channel was greeted with a startling message: 'This channel has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, scans, and commercially deceptive content.' ... RT’s YouTube account manager has confirmed it was the YouTube team's mistake, and they have since apologized for the incident. RT’s web promotion chief Mikhail Konrad particularly stressed RT has not violated YouTube’s terms of service in any way, shape or form. 'There have been no copyright or community guideline violations on our part which could result in this kind of measures,' he said. RT is the most popular news broadcaster present on YouTube, having racked up about 700 million views and 275 thousand subscribers since the channel’s inception."

Russia Today is "different from the old Soviet media" but its "hallmark ... is anti-Westernism."

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
EuropeanVoice.com, 15 Mar 2012: "Russia Today, the state-financed television channel for foreigners, is a must-watch. Not because of journalistic excellence: it has glitzy presentation but huge holes in its coverage and bizarre quirks in its editorial outlook. But it does give an unbeatable insight into the minds of the people who run it – and into the regime that sponsors it. To be fair, I should note that the channel has substantial strengths. It reports thoroughly on official utterances and it covers most of the headline stories in Russia with reasonable professionalism. In that sense it is quite different from the old Soviet media, which simply ignored topics that did not fit the official line. ... But the hallmark of Russia Today is anti-Westernism. It gleefully highlights weaknesses, anomalies and double standards in countries that like to criticise Russia. ... Many Western media outlets would share much of Russia Today's ire at all this and cover these stories too. But they tend to be critical of government wrongdoing everywhere. Russia Today steers well clear of taboo subjects such as the private wealth of the top people in Russia, while stitching the woes of the Western world into a single implicit narrative of hypocrisy, brutality and decline. ... If Russia Today's editors want to rise above the level of the despised 'mainstream media', they might try seeking comment from those who disagree with their worldview, not those who enthusiastically echo it."

Correspondent apologizes for graphic of scorched Kenyan flag in CNN International report.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 15 Mar 2012, Alex Weprin: "Kenyans are upset about a news report that appeared on CNN International. The report–about the deadly grenade attacks in Nairobi last week–said that the violence was 'widespread' throughout the country, and featured a graphic with what looked like a scorched Kenyan flag. The correspondent in the CNN piece, David McKenzie, apologized for the 'banner' on Twitter, but said that the reporting in the piece was accurate. ... One of Kenya’s largest newspapers, The Daily Nation, reports that Kenya’s ambassador to the U.S. has asked the channel for a formal apology."

"Opposition activist," elected to Moscow municipal council, says she can no longer work as VOA reporter.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 14 Mar 2012, Marc Bennetts: "While victory for Vladimir Putin at this month’s presidential polls was no surprise to anyone, grassroots politics here were boosted by the victories of dozens of independent candidates at municipal polls for Moscow held on the same day. Opposition activist Vera Kichanova, 20, was one of those who gained a foothold on the lowest rung of Russian government. ... She also lost her job as a reporter for the Voice of America. 'Municipal council members aren’t allowed to work for foreign media,' she says. 'But the post is unpaid.' Kichanova made the news in Russia last year when she protested a closely-managed visit by President Dmitry Medvedev to Moscow State University, where she studies journalism. But it’s Putin that she reserves her real scorn for. 'He’s lost touch with reality,' she says, bluntly. 'He doesn’t use the Internet and just gets his information from his own sources of propaganda.'" -- Opposition activists and VOA reporters serve useful purposes, but perhaps not if they are one and the same.

Facebook page to Save VOA Tibetan is launched.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Blogger News Network, 14 Mar 2012, Ted Lipien: "A recently launched Save Voice of America Tibetan Radio website (www.savevoatibetanradio.com) and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/savevoatibetan) urge supporters to contact their congressmen with a message to oppose elimination of Voice of America Tibetan radio by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. federal government agency which oversees VOA broadcasts and wants to silence VOA radio in Tibet as part of its 2013 budget proposal. On its Facebook page, Save VOA Tibetan Radio states that stopping the Voice of America’s Tibetan Language Radio would be wrong for the following reasons: 1. Wrong political message to the Chinese Communist Party. 2. VOA Tibetan language radio is a unique source of information for Tibetans. 3. Shortwave radio is still a powerful medium in Tibet." -- This campaign would not solve the larger problem of US international broadcasting to difficult target areas: 1) scarce resources are split between two entities, 2) broadcasting efforts are duplicated, and 3) the audience might have to tune to two US stations to get complete news coverage. This is unfair to both the Tibetan audience and to the US taxpayers.

"Early returns" suggest Iran's HispanTV does not have much impact in Latin America.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 6 Mar 2012, Michelle Clancy: "Iran, famously a friend of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and a welcome ally in Cuba, has been making moves to counter U.S. influence in South America through cultural outreach. But early returns on HispanTV suggest its efficacy in that regard is in question. ... HispanTV, which launched on Jan. 31, is a Spanish-language, Tehran-based channel beamed out courtesy of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. However, most users will only be able to watch HispanTV streaming via the Web, considering that an expensive satellite dish is required to watch otherwise--it's not included in the existing DirecTV channel lineup. That places the channel out of the range of livings rooms for many Latin Americans. And as for streaming in Venezuela, home of the slowest and most expensive broadband in Latin America according to researcher Paul Budde, that too is its own challenge. Secondly, analysts say its programming is lacklustre at best. HispanTV is the first Spanish-language channel airing from the Middle East, and it broadcasts 24 hours per day, ostensibly showing a mix of news, documentaries, movies and Iranian films. 'But my first impression is that it simply duplicates Telesur,' wrote Greg Weeks, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Latin American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, referring to Venezuela's state-run mouthpiece network. The content focuses on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and the general perniciousness of the rest of the developed world."

Foreign Policy, 5 Mar 2012, Girish Gupta: "While HispanTV is streamed live on its website, those keen on watching the channel on a television set will be flummoxed by the need for a satellite dish and modulator costing thousands of dollars. This, coupled with patchy Internet connectivity in Venezuela, makes HispanTV out of reach for most Venezuelans. Even in Persepolis, an Iranian restaurant frequented by diplomats and Iranians in the high-end Caracas district of Las Mercedes, the huge television in the corner was turned to more popular Iranian programming on a busy Wednesday during lunchtime. There was little interest in this small oasis of Iranian culture for a homegrown channel aimed at Latin America, especially given the difficulty in accessing it. Few of the diners were familiar with HispanTV, let alone keen on watching it. At a mosque in the center of Caracas, worshippers were similarly uninterested."

Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 7 Jan 2012, Helle Dale: "Iran has launched Spanish-language satellite TV, which will broadcast Iranian news, documentaries, and movies 24 hours a day. Though news of Iran may not rivet every Latin American viewer, many of the shows capitalize on anti-American sentiment and are critical of the U.S., including a story claiming that most Americans did not favor sanctions against Iran, a piece criticizing U.S. 'plots' against Syria and Venezuela, and a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describing the U.S. as a 'selfish and bullying minority.' ... Iranian media advances in Latin America come at a time when deep budget cuts in American international broadcasting. Voice of America’s Latin Service—as well as the U.S.-government-funded but independent Radio Marti—are facing deep cuts. What a message we are sending to U.S. neighbors to the south. ... Playing with fire is a good way to look at any agreement with the Iranian government. Meanwhile, though, the U.S. government, too, is playing with fire if it abandons the battlefield for influence in this key part of our own hemisphere." -- So here is the "limited government" Heritage Foundation using the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses argument to maintain the US international broadcasting bureaucracy in its present form. Heritage might want to consider "the principles of free enterprise": CNN en Español is, and always will be, more successful than HispanTV.

Fox News latino, 20 Mar 2012, Adam Housley: "Some of [the] messages being pushed by Hispan TV include not only attacks and misinformation about the U.S. and west, but also tries to rationalize the controversial Iranian nuclear program. The channel allows Iran to do its best to spread its propaganda around the globe by pushing an agenda that goes directly against what UN inspectors and U.S. intelligence are reporting and now this propaganda is 24 hours in America’s own backyard."

Al Jazeera English reports on "Afghanistan's propaganda war."

Posted: 19 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, Listening Post, 17 Mar 2012: "For years the US army has been talking about winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan but it appears to be fighting a losing battle. On March 11, one US soldier went on a shooting rampage claiming the lives of 16 Afghan civilians – nine of them children. It was just the latest in a series of PR disasters for the coalition. Last month a group of US soldiers caused outrage in the country when they accidentally – or so they say - burnt the Holy Quran. Before that, video surfaced of coalition snipers urinating on the dead bodies of alleged Taliban fighters. While the Obama administration shifted back into damage control mode, the story was also picked up by the now vibrant Afghani media landscape whose various media outlets, including the Taliban's media machine, all had a different tale to tell. Our News Divide this week looks at the propaganda war in Afghanistan and how the big threat the coalition forces face in the battle for hearts and minds could come from within." With video.

New America Media, 16 Mar 2012: "The killing of 16 civilians – mostly women and children – by a lone American soldier in Kandahar Province last week has darkened an increasingly ominous cloud hanging over America’s mission in Afghanistan. In its wake, many Afghan Americans in the Bay Area are asking what sort of justice should be meted out. Humaira Ghilzai, co-founder of Afghan Friends Network and the Hayward-Ghazni Sister City Committee in Hayward, has spent the past six years working to bring education to the women of Ghazni, located some 70 miles southeast of Kabul. ... 'We need American diplomats on Afghan TV, not VOA (Voice of America),' she explains."

Libyan militia holding British journalists working for Press TV (updated: released).

Posted: 19 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 4 Mar 2012, Christian Lowe and Ali Shuaib: "Two British journalists working for Iran's Press TV who were detained late last month in Libya are suspected of being spies, the head of the militia which is holding them said on Sunday. Faraj al-Swehli, commander of the Swehli brigade, said his men had found among the journalists' possessions official Libyan documents, equipment used by the Israeli military and footage of them firing weapons. 'We believe they are spies,' Swehli said in Tripoli. ... Swehli, the militia commander, said the two men were being well treated, and that they had been visited in detention by British consular officials and representatives from New York-based Human Rights Watch. 'I did not hit the prisoners and I am ready to stand before a court if there is any evidence against me,' said Swehli. A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office, asked to comment on the spying accusations, said: 'We are aware that two British nationals have been arrested in Libya. We are providing consular assistance.' Press TV is based in Tehran and broadcasts around the world in English. It often employs journalists from English-speaking countries."

Update: AFP, 14 Mar 2012: "A militia that held two British journalists accused of illegal entry into Libya has turned over the two men to the government, the deputy interior minister said Wednesday."

The Guardian, 18 Mar 2012, Ben Quinn: "Two British journalists who were arrested last month by a Libyan militia group and accused of spying have been released and cleared of all charges, Libya's Interior Ministry has said. Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, 36, and Nicholas Davies, 37, who work for Iran's state-owned Press TV, were arrested on 23 February by a Misrata militia based in Tripoli."

See previous post about same subject.

The BBG explains why it replaced "accurate and reliable" with "freedom and democracy."

Posted: 18 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Strategy, 12 Mar 2012, Bruce Sherman: "The BBG has unveiled a new mission statement that acknowledges the changes in audience media habits — especially with regard to the emergence of connective technologies. ... 'To inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.' ... Let’s break the statement down: (1) 'inform' captures the BBG’s longstanding mission to provide accurate, credible, and comprehensive news and information; (2) 'engage' is new and reflects the priority of increasingly being in dialogue with our audiences, to listen to what they have to say, and encourage them to share with us — including content; (3) 'connect,' also new, refers to helping audiences network with one another to share their information and ideas in peer-to-peer fashion; (4) 'people around the world' conveys that our target audiences are overseas; and (5) 'in support of freedom and democracy' highlights why we exist. ... Why include a mention of freedom and democracy in the statement? Because strategy speaks to ends, not just means. Our enabling legislation makes clear that freedom and democracy is the ultimate, long-term goal of our efforts. By putting those words in our statement we are clear with ourselves and our stakeholders why we exist."

Reliable news is a necessary ingredient in the development and maintenance of freedom and democracy. But real news does not support, or promote, anything. It informs. Its "impact" is measured by the quantity and quality of the people who are informed.

There are many ways to "inform." The "accurate and reliable news and information" of the previous, flawed, but better mission statement is a small subset of those many ways to "inform." In the new BBG mission statement, "inform" is not only unqualified, but it is relegated to one-third of the mission statement, along with "engage' and "connect."

For an agency that has set a goal to be the "world's leading news agency" by 2016, the BBG seems uncertain of the concept of news.

See also "US International Broadcasting: Success Requires Independence and Consolidation."

(And see Mary Boone's blog, connect-inform-engage.blogspot.com, which seems to have predated the BBG's "inform, engage, and connect.")

Radio World, 15 Mar 2012, Randy J. Stine: "The U.S. international broadcasting landscape will look different following the resignation of a key leader, budget cuts and recommendations by its main governing board to consolidate administrative services and reduce language services. ... One analyst predicted support from the White House on the reconfiguration plans. Vice President Joe Biden is viewed as a longtime supporter of U.S. international broadcasting efforts. 'My assumption is that [the vice president] handles questions of broadcasting, with input from others of course, including Secretary of State Clinton,' the analyst said. 'Biden’s had his hands in the broadcasting bureaucracy for a long time, understands its utility and how it works to a much greater level than most; so I am guessing he takes leadership on these questions at the White House.' James K. Glassman, former chairman of the BBG and founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, said the BBG will likely not get too many chances to attempt a restructuring. 'No matter the timing, it is important to build support on the Hill and in the executive branch before embarking on a major consolidation.The BBG has, for many years, been considering a way to rationalize its structure. It is not easy. I absolutely believe that reorganization is in order, but it needs to address some thorny issues, such as the possibility of de-federalization of VOA,' Glassman said."

The Reporters sans Frontières Enemies of the Internet list, and its important lessons for international broadcasting.

Posted: 18 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
, 12 Mar 2012: "Two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, have been moved from the 'under surveillance' category to the 'Enemies of the Internet' list, joining the ranks of the countries that restrict Internet freedom the most: Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. They combine often drastic content filtering with access restrictions, tracking of cyber-dissidents and online propaganda. Iran and China, in particular, reinforced their technical capacity in 2011 and China stepped up pressure on privately-owned Internet companies in order to secure their collaboration. ... Iran has announced the launch of a national Internet. Iran and Vietnam have both launched a new wave of arrests, while the bloody crackdown on protests in Syria is hitting netizens hard and is enabling the regime to perfect its mastery of online surveillance with Iran’s help. ... Bahrain offers an example of an effective news blackout based on a remarkable array of repressive measures: keeping the international media away, harassing human rights activists, arresting bloggers and netizens (one of whom died in detention), smearing and prosecuting free speech activists, and disrupting communications, especially during the major demonstrations." With link to the full report in pdf format.

Jerusalem Post, 14 Mar 2012, David Rosenburg: "The Internet and social media are enjoying explosive growth across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the wake of the Arab Spring, but that has made the governments of the region more fearful than ever of the online community and spurred them into employing new and innovative forms of censorship. ... According to the Arab Social Media, fear of the government remains the biggest deterrent to people in the Arab world expressing themselves freely on the Internet. A survey it took found that 26% of the respondents cited 'I could be held accountable by the authorities for my views' as the biggest 'negative repercussion' of using social media."

Recommended reading, especially the RSF Internet Enemies report. International broadcasters have embraced the internet, through websites, blogs, social media, and mobile content delivery. More and more countries, however, are finding more and more ways to block internet content, and to monitor internet use.

Circumvention technologies can plow through some of these effort to interdict internet content, but, ultimately, the offending regimes control the landlines through which that content is diffused, and on which internet use can be tracked.

International broadcasters must keep in mind that one of their most important tasks it getting information through to countries whose regimes try to block that content. This means that the most popular and most fashionable media cannot always be used. International broadcasters may have to fall back onto the use of long-distance wireless technologies, including the old and therefore maligned shortwave, as well as satellite communications, including geostationary, LEO, and MEO systems.

Al Jazeera English airs documentary from Syria shot entirely on iPhone. RT again challenges reports from Syria.

Posted: 17 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Policymic, 16 Mar 2012, William Bauer: "Yesterday, ‘People & Power,’ an Al Jazeera English program, broadcast a half-hour-long documentary on the Syrian uprising, filmed entirely on an iPhone. During the documentary, the undercover reporter – who is neither named, nor shown for his own protection – travels through Syria bearing witness to its ongoing revolution. ... The real question the documentary answers is very simple and straightforward. One year one from the start of the uprising, is the revolution still going strong in Syria? The answer is undoubtedly: yes." See also Al Jazeera English, 15 Mar 2012 for the video.

Al Jazeera English, the Stream, 14 Mar 2012: "Very few media outlets have managed to gain direct access to the unfolding crisis in Syria, and most have had to rely on videos uploaded to YouTube and Facebook by Syrian opposition activists showing a population under attack. The Syrian government’s response has been to mobilise its media to counter this narrative."

RT (Russia Today), 14 Mar 2012: "Some mainstream news channels have been recently caught carrying dubious footage from Syria. It fuels the debate over media's role in legitimizing possible military intervention in the country. ­‘Danny’ is a Syrian opposition activist who reports from Homs for CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. He is attached to the opposition movement and regularly calls for military invasion of Syria. He's identified as Danny Abdul Dayem, a 22-year-old British citizen of Syrian origin. In a video leaked online, Danny appears to be falsifying a video broadcast for CNN. Prior to going on air, he requests colleagues to fire weapons to dramatize his Live report with Anderson Cooper."

NOW Lebanon, 13 Mar 2012: "Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali commented on the 'massacre' that took place on Sunday, criticizing the role played by satellite channels, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday. 'Satellite channels, with Gulf financial support, took part, sadly, in this dirty and criminal game,' Ali said, in an implicit reference to the pan-Arab stations Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, following his meeting with Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adnan Mansour."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 14 Mar 2012, Dahlia El Zein: "This week, Anita McNaught of Al-Jazeera English and Paul Wood of the BBC have openly reported from within Syria. On Monday, Al-Jazeera English released McNaught's special report on conditions in Idlib, now a central front in the conflict. CPJ research shows that at least 20 other international journalists have publicly identified themselves as having snuck into Syria in the last two months to report on the unrest. The actual number is certainly higher since many journalists have kept a low profile."

Al Arabiya, 16 Mar 2012: "None of the 'very personal emails' of President Bashar al-Assad or his wife Asmaa al-Akhras were screened or published, Al Arabiya said on Friday. The pan-Arab news channel said that many 'private' messages were in their inbox among thousands of emails leaked by Syrian activists and obtained by Al Arabiya, but the channel declined to screen or publish them on any of its platforms. Al Arabiya underscored that all the emails that it has published were related to the Syrian ongoing crisis."

See previous posts on 13 Mar and 8 Mar 2012.

Iraqi authorities: those behind detention of Russia Today crew in Baghdad "will be punished."

Posted: 17 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 14 Mar 2012, via Voice of Russia: "The film crew of the Russia Today Russian TV channel’s Arabic Service, Rusiya al-Yaum, were earlier detained in Baghdad, the TV channel’s press service said in a statement today. The team was about to start filming an episode about ‘Emo’ teenagers, who are often subjected to violence by radical Islamists, when security officers told them to stop the filming. Although the crew had been issued with a permit to film in downtown Baghdad, the reporter, cameramen and assistant cameraman were taken to a police station and held there for three hours before being released. All the footage filmed by the crew was confiscated."

Voice of Russia, 15 Mar 2012: "All those behind the arrest of journalists from the Russia Today television news network will be punished, the Iraqi authorities said on Thursday, pledging an early probe into the incident."

Al Jazeera English launches Uganda Speaks to involve "Ugandans themselves" in debate about Kony 2012.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Mashable, 14 Mar 2012, Sonia Paul: "In light of the worldwide spotlight on the non-profit organization Invisible Children and its viral YouTube video Kony 2012, Al Jazeera English has launched 'Uganda Speaks,' an initiative to track down the voices of the people who have largely been missing from the debates regarding the viral video and its organizers. Namely, Ugandans themselves. ... Al Jazeera’s online platform for Uganda Speaks features an interactive map showing the different locations where views are filtering in from, as well as highlights the crowd-sourced, time-stamped views — cited as 'reports' — on a stream."

New York Daily News, 16 Mar 2012, Rheana Murray: "The group behind 'Kony 2012' insists the film is meant for 'American audiences' after the viral hit was widely criticized at a showing in Uganda, the very country it intends to help. A video report from Al Jazeera shows outraged Ugandans yelling and throwing rocks in protest after the sunset screening in Lira, Uganda, on Tuesday. But Invisible Children, the American charity that created the film about a brutal warlord who terrorized Uganda’s children, says the anger was misplaced. 'Al Jazeera’s reporting was flawed at best and unprofessional at worst,' spokesman Jesse Derris told the Daily News. 'It lacked context and cohesion, and it was clear that they didn’t do their jobs the way they’re supposed to.' According to the Al Jazeera report, Ugandans were angry that the film’s narrator was a white, American man."

See previous post about same subject.

BBC, victim of cyber-attack, suspects Iran.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 14 Mar 2012: "A 'sophisticated cyber-attack' on the BBC has been linked to Iran's efforts to disrupt the BBC Persian Service. In a speech Director General Mark Thompson plans to say that the internet attack coincided with efforts to jam two of the service's satellite feeds into Iran. He will say: 'We regard the coincidence of these different attacks as self-evidently suspicious.' ... Some parts of the BBC were unable to access email and other internet services on 1 March. It is understood that the attack may have been caused by its systems being overwhelmed by a flood of external communication requests - a so-called distributed denial-of-service attack." See also text of Mr. Thompson's speech.

The Guardian, 14 Mar 2012, Josh Halliday: "It is suspected that the latest attack was prompted by new figures showing that its Persian TV audience has almost doubled its audience in two years, to 6 million people."

Sophos, 14 Mar 2012, Graham Cluley: "In an extract from the speech, released by the BBC in advance, Mark Thompson explains the difficulty of proving the origin of the internet attack. 'It is difficult, and may prove impossible, to confirm the source of these attacks, though attempted jamming of BBC services into Iran is nothing new and we regard the coincidence of these different attacks as self-evidently suspicious.' ... Thompson is right to be cautious of claiming definitively that the government in Tehran was responsible for the internet attack on the BBC. Even if a computer involved in the attacks was found to be located in an Iranian military base that doesn't necessarily mean that it was an attack done with the knowledge of Iran's authorities."

UPI, 14 Mar 2012: "The British government said it launched a new Internet social media platform to open a direct dialogue with the Iranian people. Dubbed U.K. for Iranians, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office describes the Web site and social media presence as a chance for London to provide "an accurate and undistorted picture" of British policy toward Iran. London said it was committed to keeping in touch with the Iranian people in any way possible now that its embassy in Tehran was closed. The FCO said bilateral relations with Iran were 'clearly difficult' adding 'we want to be as open as we can to the people of Iran.'"

BBC launches search for a chief business correspondent, to be based in East Asia.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC press release, 14 Mar 2012: "The BBC is launching an international search for a new role of Chief Business Correspondent as part of a major drive to expand the breadth and depth of its international business coverage. Based in East Asia, the BBC is looking for a heavyweight journalist who can bring fresh global perspectives and break major stories from around the world. Whilst their prime focus will be reporting for international outlets such as BBC World News, BBC World Service and BBC.com, the successful candidate will also bring major stories and reports to UK audiences across the BBC's flagship UK news services. They will report across all platforms - TV, radio and online."

"Sometimes humor matters more than the straight news."

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 15 Mar 2012, Paula Goldman and BBG director of innovation Raina Kumra: "In all the recent debates about whether social media was responsible for movements like the Arab spring or the Tea Party, we've forgotten that sometimes humor matters more than the straight news and information, especially in closed media environments. Those who have the ability to make fun of their leaders have the ability to lead a free life in many more aspects. Here are six key examples from around the world to demonstrate how satire can move the needle on difficult issues that are otherwise unmovable."

The Economist, 3 Mar 2012: "In the Islamic Republic’s fiercely controlled media there has been little room for political satire. The arrival of an animated monkey has changed that. As the eponymous star of Dr Copy, a smash-hit entertainment show, this iconoclastic simian has taken the nation by storm since the programme was launched in 2011. Broadcast by a London-based satellite station, Manoto 1, the weekly show combines references to popular culture with parodies of old Persian cinema. The tone is teasing rather than aggressive, yet it still gets in pointed barbs at figures within the Iranian regime. A recent episode commented on Tehran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz. It had the monkey suggesting that Hassan Firouzabadi, the corpulent head of Iran’s combined armed forces, could be jammed into the narrow waterway at the mouth of the Gulf."

Huffington Post, 13 Mar 2012, Mallika Rao: Saman Arababi, co-creator of VOA Persian News Network's "Parazit," "is the ideal poster boy for Weapons of Mouse Destruction, a social media-driven awareness campaign about government censorship in places like Iran and China. Arbabi's show is more than a nuisance for the Iranian government -- the way he describes it, 'Parazit' is enemy no. 1."

Deutsche Welle's foot in the door of the Chinese television market.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 12 Mar 2012, Marissa Graziadio: "Deutsche Welle (DW) has secured placement for a range of lifestyle and culture programs on four Chinese video portals. The titles chosen by the portals v.huanqiu.com, youku.com, tudou.com and ku6.com include Chinese editions of Global Ideas and Future Now. Global Ideas features people with innovative ideas and a multinational team of authors, researchers, TV and online reporters. Future Now presents 20 visionary scientific projects on the key fields of communication, the environment, mobility and health. ... The hit show Euromaxx covers the glamorous side of European living, while Drive it is a motor magazine that stays on top of the industry. Tomorrow Today is a science magazine that looks at everything from space travel to environmental conservation and genetic engineering." -- No indication that any of these programs will be translated into Chinese. The fact that they are distributed via portals rather than television channels will probably also limit their audience potential.

Radio France International recording from 1994 is evidence in Rwanda genocide trial.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Hirondelle News Agency, 12 Mar 2012: "A prosecution witness on Monday admitted he had received an audio interview of ex-Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware done in Senegal on May 4, 1994, with Radio France Internationale. The witness, Massamba Ndiaye, had previously testified refuting Ngirabatware's claim that he was out of Rwanda between April 30 and May 5, 1994, when he is accused of committing crimes. ... However, under cross questioning by the defence on Monday, he said he had received the audio recording in an E-mail from RFI officials. ... Ngirabatware is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide or, in the alternative, complicity in genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity."

BBC World News, Fox News, MSNBC, etc, to the WiFi-enabled devices at sea.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
MTN press release, 12 Mar 2012: "MTN Satellite Communications(MTN), the global provider of communications, connectivity and content services to remote locations around the world, today announced version 2 of its MTN Worldwide TV service to cruise passengers and crew delivering entertainment programming and specific cruise content streaming to Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Cruise line partners can now integrate additional video and audio content such as shore excursions, ship and port information and onboard vendor advertising for a comprehensive and personalized line-up, anywhere. MTN Worldwide TV is the first fully digital, multi-channel television service for the maritime industry delivering programming from eight major U.S. and international television networks including BBC World News, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sport 24 and E! Entertainment Television, and includes special event programing such as Premier League Soccer and onboard events. Leveraging MTN’s global Next Generation Network, the service utilizes three overlapping satellite beams that integrate seamlessly with a cruise ship’s existing Television Receive-Only (TVRO) antenna and onboard video distribution system to make installations quick and easy. By managing the satellite network and the content, MTN ensures viewers at sea receive reliable, uninterrupted service. 'With MTN Worldwide TV, passengers and crew can now access entertainment and news programming, and other content, from anywhere on the ship using personal mobile devices – from lounging by the pool or in the comfort of their room. Further, this new mobile service will keep crew morale high and help increase productivity while at sea,' said Brent Horwitz, senior vice president and general manager of MTN’s cruise and ferry services business. ... MTN Worldwide TV is currently reaching more than 60,000 cabins aboard 19 cruise lines around the world."

MTN press release, 12 Mar 2012: "MTN Government Services ... today announced the availability of MTN Worldwide TV for government vessels. Taking advantage of the MTN global satellite network and advanced technology, seafarers can now enjoy watching diverse news and entertainment programming from major international television networks without interruption. ... 'MTN Worldwide TV provides our men and women in uniform at sea with access to entertainment, sports and news as well as information to keep them connected to home in a way that is informative and entertaining,' said James Ramsey, President of MTN Government Services. 'With many of our men and women deployed globally for long periods of time aiding other countries or protecting our Nation, this service can help improve overall moral and mental health by allowing them to watch their favorite programs.'"

Consolidation at the top: BBC DG will also be chairman of BBC Worldwide.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Financial Times, 12 Mar 2012, Mark Wembridge: "Mark Thompson has taken over the role of non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide, in a move that places the public broadcaster’s director-general on the board of its commercial arm. The appointment, effective immediately, follows the departure of Robert Webb, who stepped down as chairman of BBC Worldwide last week to become general counsel at Rolls-Royce. ... The director-general said that such changes 'included a programme of controlled growth with a focus on BBC branded international channels and digital services, and a more restricted approach to television production and mergers and acquisitions'. ... BBC Worldwide, which sells programming around the world in the form of channels and one-off shows as well as merchandise, generated profits of £160 million on sales of £1.16bn for the 12 months to March 2011, and returned £182m to the BBC."

The Independent, 13 Mar 2012, Gideon Spanier: "It will also save on the £77,000-a-year salary paid to Mr Webb... . ... Mr Thompson is likely to remain as chairman of Worldwide for only a short time as BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has hired recruitment firm Egon Zehnder to find his successor as director-general."

Alan Johnston of BBC World Service adds his goodbye to Bush House.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, From Our Own Correspondent, 14 Mar 2012: "As the BBC World Service prepares to leave Bush House in London - its home for many decades - Alan Johnston recalls his time there. ... From his first day in the newsroom at the beginning of the first Gulf War, to filing his first pieces, he explains why Bush House is special to him. Also, while he was held hostage in Gaza, a guard allowed him to listen to the radio. His colleagues broadcasting on the World Service provided a lifeline." With audio.

Radio Times, 14 Mar 2012, Allan Little: "The World Service newsroom is a strange and exotic place. It is where the BBC’s commitment to impartiality is most jealously guarded and cherished. It is where the BBC’s core values truly reside. The men and women who work there have always felt a little marginalised, a little overlooked, by the wider organisation. But they are the guardians of what the BBC is truly about. ... The World Service will lose its direct grant from the Foreign Office in 2014 and be funded for the first time by the British television licence fee. This year - the 80th since broadcasts began - the World Service will leave Bush House and join their news colleagues in an impressive new newsroom at Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus in central London. The Swahili Service, and the Persians, the Hausa and the Tamils, will sit under the same awesome glass atrium as the Today programme and the BBC News at Ten. Having all that talent working together will see the start of a new era for journalists at the BBC. It’s an exciting time, but I hope that some things won’t change and the face that the World Service projects in the world – and the lifeline it extends to hundreds of millions - will remain as valuable as it has always been."

Pro Sound News, 14 Mar 2012: "The World Service, which celebrates its 80 anniversary in December this year, is in the middle of moving from its long-term headquarters at Bush House into new studios in BH. The transition between the two buildings is due to be completed by the end of this month, when the Service's radio operation will be broadcasting completely from 18 VCS and OnAir 3000 equipped glass box studios, designed by Andy Munro."

Peter Horrocks @PeterHorrocks1, 11 Mar 2012: "BBC Burmese service celebrate after successful first transmission from World Service's new home in Broadcasting House." http://pic.twitter.com/lVkdVgkU-- Moving to Broadcasting House in alphabetical order?

See previous post about same subject.

Voice of Nigeria's "ultramodern super" shortwave station is commissioned and transmitting in DRM digital mode.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Nigeria, 13 Mar 2012, Lawan Hamidu: "President Goodluck Jonathan has commissioned Voice of Nigeria’s (VON) ultramodern super transmitting station and its revolving antenna, located at Lugbe, Airport Road, Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo at the event, stated that the project was in line with Federal Government’s commitment to meet the 2015 global deadline for the digitization of the broadcast industry and international best practices. ... 'In keeping with my avid policy of expanding the political space and driving the ideals of democratic process, this administration is not interested in turning VON, or any government broadcast organisation into an uncritical mouthpiece for our policies,' he emphasised. ... The event included, the commissioning of three Super-Power Transmitters, three fixed and one rotatable antenna, the first in Africa and sixth in the World. Voice of Nigeria, Nigeria’s external broadcast station is mandated to project Nigeria and Africa’s views to the world."

DRM digital radio @drmdigitalradio, 13 Mar 2012: "State-of-the-art’ DRM tx station, set up by Thomson; first of its kind in Sub-Sahara Africa, commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan." -- Shortwave listeners are hearing the VON DRM digital transmissions, but how much of VON's schedule will be digital?

Newest VOA English-language product is from VOA Burmese.

Posted: 15 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
VOA Burmese @Voaburmese, 13 Mar 2012: "Follow our blog, http://www.voaburmese.wordpress.com for the latest on news on #Burma #Myanmar and more @kayemlin"

The Irrawaddy, 13 Mar 2012, Charlie Campbell: "Burma could soon be removed from the 'enemies of the internet' list if current reforms on media censorship continue, claims a leading press freedom watchdog. However, President Thein Sein continues to run one of the world's 12 worst governments for unfettered internet access, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released on Monday. 'Burma could soon leave the enemies of the internet list if the country takes the necessary measures,' says the report. 'It has clearly embarked on a promising period of reforms, which has included the release of journalists and bloggers and the restoration of access to blocked websites. It must now go further by abandoning censorship altogether, releasing the journalists and bloggers still held, dismantling the surveillance apparatus that was built on the national internet platform, and repealing the Electronic Act.'"

The Irrawaddy, 15 Mar 2012, Saw Yan Naing: "Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters on Wednesday that the Burmese government is still restricting media freedom, and cited the case of a government ministry’s intention of filing a lawsuit against local journals for reporting about corruption within various ministries."

DW Akademie, 12 Mar 2012, interviewing Burmese journalist Kay Khine: "I work for the independent weekly magazine 'The Voice' which focuses on political and economic issues. We used to be heavily censored but now about 90% of our content gets published. This is also true for other weekly magazines. In terms of dailies, there are currently only three state-controlled newspapers - one in English and two in Burmese - but the government is now planning to allow independent dailies. There is still, however, heavy censorship on sensitive topics such as ethnic tensions, refugee issues and foreign - primarily Chinese - business interests."

DW Akademie, 12 Mar 2012: "DW Akademie is one of the first foreign media organizations to offer journalistic training in Myanmar. Five workshops are to be held this year and a long-term training and consulting project is being planned with a local media training center."

International sales deal for Hulu's original programming.

Posted: 14 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 11 Mar 2012, Andrew Wallenstein: "Hulu has signed a first-look deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises, which will have rights to the streaming service's original programming for international sales. First programming covered under the deal is 'A Day in the Life,' a documentary series from Morgan Spurlock that is about to premiere its second season on Hulu. ... Hulu will look to license its programming to either TV or digital outlets, and TV could even get an earlier window in some instances, according to Forssell. And in regions where Hulu has no plans to expand, even rival streaming services could be buyers, [Andy Forssell, senior VP of content at Hulu] noted. 'If it's a market we don't plan on being in anytime soon, I have no issue with licensing to Netflix,' Forssell said."

In its submission to the Australia in the Asian Century Taskforce, ABC calls international broadcasting a "national fundamental."

Posted: 14 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 12 Mar 2012, Michael Bodey: "[T]he ABC submission to the federal government's Australia in the Asian Century Taskforce reiterated its importance in delivering public diplomacy in the coming 'Asian Century'. The ABC submission to Ken Henry's upcoming white paper on the subject noted that 'the ABC's contributions in the region are acutely relevant to Australia's interests'. The submission came as the ABC negotiated with the government the terms of its delivery of the Australia Network service. 'A strong, vibrant and trusted public and international broadcasting capability will be critical to Australia's ability to engage economically, politically and culturally with the Asian Century,' it said in a submission, arguing that the recognition of public and international broadcasting was a 'national fundamental'. The ABC argued that 'through Radio Australia and the Australia Network international broadcasting services the ABC has a long history of taking a leadership role in Australia's public diplomacy efforts in Asia'. 'International broadcasting and the presentation of Australian perspectives to Asian audiences are both critical parts of Australia's engagement in the region' and 'a strong, credible and innovative international broadcasting service will be vital for Australia in strengthening its position in the region'." -- The ABC might want to reconsider putting "perspectives" and "credible" in the same sentence. For the complete ABC submission (in pdf format), look for ABC on this page.

"Why fighting Mullah Radio is not easy."

Posted: 14 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Express Tribune (Karachi), 12 Mar 2012, Tayyeb Afridi: "When the mullah radio stations reported to their followers that the government wanted to modernize tribal women and men on the finger tips of west by playing music, what happened? They started a campaign against government’s radio. For example, the chief of Lashkar-e-Islam, Mangal Bagh twice warned the people not to call radio stations because they were promoting vulgarity. However, when we started local bulletins – brief news updates – with the approval of a high ranking officer, it went well enough that we had covered the whole military operation in Swat. The hate radios didn’t have to offer news bulletin and opinion programing to community and therefore, the public turned on to the government station because it was giving fresh news bulletin and news programing. No one threatened us because we were seen as non-biased reporters. Impartiality is the only security guarantee for a journalist in Pakistan, but news bulletins were closed down in March 2010, for security reasons. The people in Fata are very used to radio broadcasting and they prefer Pashto news bulletins from VOA Pashtu Service, BBC Pashtu, Radio Azadi Afghanistan Pashtu Service, and Radio Mashaal Pashtu. The literate people of Fata also listen to BBC Urdu Service, VOA Urdu Service, Voice of Germany Urdu Service, Radio Veritas Asia Urdu Service, Radio China Urdu Service, Radio Tehran Urdu Service and Delhi Radio Pashtu Service. How could Radio Pakistan compete with that much news broadcasting? If you have a news service that only provides information about the government — what the president said, what the prime minister said and what the information minister said – then you are just ignoring community problems. You can’t compete in the tribal areas when there’s so much other, reputable news broadcasting. The government has lost an important potential audience to Radio Deewa and Radio Mashaal, which are funded by the US State Department. When I asked Shandi Gul, an office boy who works at Radio Razmak, North Waziristan why he listened to Radio Mashaal, his reply was simple; he just wanted to know what was going on in his surroundings. This proves that days of centralized information dissemination have gone and people are now more concerned about local news."

"CIA-linked," "psywar," "hand-wringing," and other things they are writing about VOA.

Posted: 14 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 11 Mar 2012, Bunn Nagara: "United Russia had failed to secure a two-thirds majority, yet the CIA-linked Voice of America reported that Putin had won 'by a landslide.'"

GlobalResearch.ca, 11 Mar 2012, Adrian Salbuchi, from New Dawn Magazine: "[T]he so-called 'Arab Spring' of today did not just suddenly and spontaneously explode in 2011, but was rather hatched from an 'egg' laid decades ago and brooded by the secret intelligence agencies. This began in the 40’s and 50’s with Project Troy that mobilised top scholars to identify available means of transmitting the 'truth' (i.e., US propaganda) behind the Iron Curtain through powerful radio transmitters like the Voice of America, the broadcasting network created by the International Information Service (IIS), another PsyWar institution created under the Truman Administration. Voice of America was used to promote US 'values' of so-called 'democracy,' the 'American Way of Life,' 'freedom' and Corporate Capitalism. ... They soon realised, however, that Voice of America was not enough to penetrate the Iron Curtain and supported by the US Navy and the CIA, they suggested other channels to implement 'white' propaganda: university exchanges, publications of books, information through the mail, professional journals, commerce and industrial publications." -- Do people still think that VOA exists to "promote" "democracy" and "freedom" rather than report the news? Where would they get such an idea?

Investor's Business Daily, 12 Mar 2012: "A U.S. soldier went berserk and killed 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday. The political class is brimming with apologies, and the punditocracy is wringing its hands. ... That response is backed by hand-wringing from the Voice of America, whose positions represent the U.S. government's take. VOA's top three headlines read: 'U.S. Officials: Afghan Killings May Fuel More Anti-American Sentiment,' 'Taliban Vows Revenge For Killing Of 16 Civilians' and 'Americans Believe Afghan War Not Worth The Costs, A New Poll Finds.' The mainstream media were even worse."

Huffington Post, 12 Mar 2012, Felix Sanchez: "Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez not only have two lovely children together, they are the proud parents of a global child: ¡Q'Viva! The Chosen, on Fox TV, Saturdays at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. The show is part National Geographic, part telenovela, part documentary, part Survivor, part Ed Sullivan, part Greatest Show on Earth; the show is filmed partly in Spanish, partly in English and all of it is fleshed out against a backdrop of human drama, redemption and ascendancy. ... ¡Q'Viva! is doing what the U.S. Voice of America has failed to do: build a compelling media message that unites Latin America with the U.S., in a modern and contemporary way." -- Yes, maybe it's time to convert VOA to a reality show.

North County Times (Escondido, CA), 13 Mar 2012, Gary Warth: "Almost 50 years since forming what is considered by rock historians the first rock 'n' roll band in the Soviet Union, Saifudinov still wears his hair in a shaggy black mane, still dresses like a rocker and still performs. ... Saifudinov grew up in Riga, the capital of Latvia, formerly part of the USSR. The country is on the Baltic Sea and had better radio reception than many Soviet states. 'When I was 6 years old, my mother bought me a shortwave radio, and that's how I discovered the world,' he said. 'We could hear Voice of America, the BBC, the pirate radio stations. I grew up listening to Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and then later, Ray Charles.'"

Bradenton Herald, 11 Mar 2012: "Tours of the Crosley Estate, 8374 N. Tamiami Trail, Bradenton, across from the Sarasota Bradenton Airport, west of U.S. 41, hourly at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon. ... Conducted tour of the 11,500 square foot, 21 room winter home of Powel Crosley Jr. built in 1929. Docents will tell of the entrepreneur's innovation of autos, radios, airplanes, fax machines, Voice of America, baseball and much more." -- During World War II, Crosley built the shortwave transmitters used at the VOA (then OWI) Bethany (near Cincinnati) transmitting station.

Epoch Times, 13 Mar 2012: "The former deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Liu Xirong, criticized the overstaffing of the Chinese bureaucracy at a recent political meeting, according to Voice of America. ... 'The civilians, no matter how hard they work, cannot afford so many officials!' he said, according to VOA’s Chinese edition." -- Of course, bureaucratic overstaffing would never happen in the United States!

"The Fifth Floor" "revels in the variety ... of stories produced by the BBC World Service's 27 language sections."

Posted: 13 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service: "David Amanor presents The Fifth Floor, a brand new weekly programme that revels in the variety and range of stories produced by the BBC World Service's 27 language sections. In any given week the language services across the BBC World Service are producing hours of radio and television and streams of web output: a truly global picture of the world. And now there is a place where you can tap into that talent. The Fifth Floor brings you an authentic perspective on the week's global news. From Russia to Rwanda and Burma to Brazil, Presenter David Amanor takes a sometimes playful look at the big issues and surprising stories that emerge in a week of global news."

Peter Horrocks @PeterHorrocks1, 11 Mar 2012: "BBC Burmese service celebrate after successful first transmission from World Service's new home in Broadcasting House." http://pic.twitter.com/lVkdVgkU -- Moving to Broadcasting House in alphabetical order?

Russia Today: Resignations from Al Jazeera Beirut bureau because of "bias" in Syria reporting.

Posted: 13 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 13 Mar 2012: "Key staff from Al Jazeera’s Beirut Bureau have resigned citing 'bias' in the channel’s stance on the conflict in Syria. Bureau Managing Director Hassan Shaaban reportedly quit last week, after his correspondent and producer had walked out in protest. A source told the Lebanese paper Al Akhbar that Al Jazeera’s Beirut correspondent Ali Hashem had quit over the channel’s stance on covering events in Syria. ... The Beirut bureau’s producer also quit claiming Al Jazeera had totally ignored Syria’s constitutional reform referendum, which saw a 57% turnout with 90% voting for change. Ghassan Ben Jeddo, who had been the head of the Beirut Bureau before resigning almost a year ago, said that Al Jazeera was biased in covering the Arab Spring, especially in Syria and Bahrain." See also Syrian Arab News Agency, 10 Mar 2012.

Xinhua, 12 Mar 2012, via China Radio International: "Syria's mainstream media refuted Monday allegations and amateur videos broadcasted by some Arab news TVs about atrocities committed allegedly by government troops, saying the reports came as part of the 'hysterical media campaign' against Syria ahead of the upcoming UN Security Council meeting. ... Singling out al-Jazeera and al-Arabyia TVs for criticism, [an unnamed] source said 'those bloody channels are partnering the armed groups and appointing the gunmen as their reporters in the areas that witness criminal acts.'"

Rapid TV News, 13 Mar 2012, Rebecca Hawkes; "Footage from Syria shot entirely on an Al Jazeera correspondent's iPhone will be aired on Wednesday, following a day of opposition mourning for over 8,000 citizens killed since violence engulfed the Middle East country a year ago. The new Al Jazeera documentary, 'Syria: Songs of Defiance', captures protests witnessed by the reporter and ordinary Syrians taking up arms against President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The reporter, who has not been named to protect those Syrians he spoke with, said: 'Because carrying a camera would be risky, I took my cell phone with me as I moved around the country and captured images from the uprising that have so far remained unseen.'"

Arutz Sheva, 12 Mar 2012, Gavriel Queenann: "Hamas charged on Monday that Al-Jazeera's coverage of the escalating violence in Gaza is 'unprecedented' in its 'lack of balance.' Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri wrote on his Facebook page that Al-Jazeera's coverage of events in Gaza showed a 'bias against Palestinians' and that the Qatar-based news agency considered them 'less important' than other Arabs."

Al Jazeera English, 12 Mar 2012: "Al Jazeera journalist Tayseer Allouni is now a free man after spending years in detention for a charge he says was political. Allouni, the Syrian-born Spanish citizen, returned to the Qatari capital Doha on Sunday after a seven year imprisonment in Spain. Spanish authorities said the journalist had collaborated with the al-Qaeda network. They accused him of being a financial courier for the group and charged him with 'co-operating with a terrorist organisation'. Allouni denied the charges, saying he was arrested only because he had interviewed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader accused of being one of the main architects of the 9/11 attacks on the US."

Yemen Online, 11 Mar 2012: "Ahmed al-Shalafi a correspondent of TV channel al-Jazeera, a Qatari based TV news station revealed that his passport was still held by Yemen National Security. Mr. al-Shalafi who is a Yemeni national, explained that about a year ago as he was trying to have his passport renewed, the authorities blocked his request and open up an investigation against his person with National Security looking into his activities and links with revolutionaries and politicians of the opposition."

Iran again claims interference to its satellite TV signals.

Posted: 13 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 10 Mar 2012: "The broadcast of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting's (IRIB) international channels on the Hotbird satellite provider has been interrupted for two hours by jamming signals sent from an unknown location. The transmission of high-power jamming signals on frequency 12437 MHz took place from 9:00 to 11:00 GMT on Saturday, March 10, 2012, during which the broadcast of IRIB’s international channels was interrupted several times. In addition to the 24-hour English-speaking Press TV, other international channels, including Al-Alam, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Al-Kowsar, and Sahar 1 and 2 channels were also affected." See previous post about same subject.

Inter-Korean media news includes "care packages" of tech devices smuggled via China.

Posted: 12 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Policymic, 9 Mar 2012, Jieun Baek: "As a state with one of the worst human rights records, North Korea severely punishes those who consume information that’s considered off-limits. Consequences include fines, sentences to concentration camps, or even execution. Three to five generations of a criminal’s relatives are punished as well, per the country’s guilt-by-association policy. However, information from the outside world has long been secretly pushed into North Korea through a variety of creative means including balloon launches with freedom messages, DVDs, secret radio programs, and more recently through USB flash drives. Given the demand for foreign media among citizens, there is a fairly established system for smuggling technological devices into the country. Religious organizations, NGOs, and defectors send these goods in for free distribution or for sale via Chinese businessmen (who have easier mobility into the country). Chinese brokers comprise a lucrative business by charging families large fees for delivering care packages to North Korean families."

Wall Street Journal, Korea Realtime, 12 Mar 2012, Evan Ramstad: "On Sunday, North Korea’s biggest newspaper reported that 'the buzz' in Pyongyang was that South Korean President Lee Myung-bak 'dropped dead.' People started clapping and dancing in 'subway stations, bus stops and many villages nationwide,' the newspaper said. 'Our editorial department is getting numerous calls from people who clearly want to confirm the news,' the paper also wrote. 'We are not sure where the buzz came from, but one thing is sure is that it is the hope of people who love justice and hate injustice and a stern judgment toward the South Korean traitors.' The Rodong Shinmun story was laced with a few profanities, and ended with the admission that it couldn’t confirm that Mr. Lee was dead. But it used the opportunity to declare him 'virtually dead' and noted that South Koreans have even protested Mr. Lee’s presidency."

Korea Times, 9 Mar 2012, Yun Chung: "Korea.net, the official website of the Korean Government, has been limping along like a hermit. It has never been a convenient or user-friendly website or an intelligent one. ... Korea.net web pages have no “contact us” for communications between readers and webmasters or writers and editors. The greeting page by its Director Seo Kang-soo states: “Email collection prohibited.” This sounds so stupid, obnoxious, and unfriendly that it should be deleted, particularly when Korea.net has no email (ok, email addresses) for anyone, including the webmaster. This is why Korea.net is a hermit website." -- Korea.net does also operate The Korea Blog, which does allow comments from readers.

Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France signs content exchange and training agreement with Qatar Media Corporation.

Posted: 12 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France press release, 9 Mar 2012: "A three-year agreement between Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (Monte Carlo Doualiya, FRANCE 24 and RFI) and the public broadcasting group Qatar Media Corporation (QMC) has been signed today in Paris in the presence of Alain de Pouzilhac, CEO of AEF, Mubarak Jaham Al Kuwari, Executive Chairman of QMC and Mohamed Jaham Al Kuwari, Qatar's Ambassador to France. The cooperation agreement covers exchanges of content for radio, television and multimedia as well as tri-media training programmes. ... On January 15th 2011, a cooperation agreement was signed in Doha between RFI and QMC at the launch of Oryx FM, the first French-language radio station in a Gulf country. This agreement was related to the broadcasting of RFI programmes and an international training programme for journalists and producers of the station."

State Department mollification of Beijing keeps internet from undermining Iranian regime, they write.

Posted: 11 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Ha'aretz, 9 Mar 2012, Sam Brownback, Michael Horowitz, and Mark Palmer: "Military action and 'containment' through economic sanctions may not be the only options available to confront the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions. In our view, there is a third option - one with the potential to rapidly, peacefully and fundamentally undermine that regime and one that we believe the Israeli government can bring into play. This option would place the power of the Internet at the service of the Iranian people. Events in Iran demonstrate that its regime views a free and unmonitored Internet as a profound threat to its short-term survival. ... The regime's fears are based on experience, for the digital sophistication of Iran's young people fueled the 2009 Green Revolution and is critical to the growth of dissent within its borders. Then, as now, hundreds of thousands of Iranians tapped into Internet 'firewall circumvention' programs to organize countrywide protests and share their stories with the rest of the world. ... While the U.S. Congress has provided close to $100 million to foster Internet freedom in closed societies, and has specifically called for a robust initiative directed at Iran, these efforts have been thwarted by the State Department. Senior department officials have publicly deprecated the importance of firewall circumvention programs and have sat on millions of dollars of congressional appropriations for long periods of time. An important basis of the State Department's reticence lies in the fact that some of the most successful circumvention services have been developed by Chinese dissidents. This has caused resistance to the release of appropriated funds to key providers for the reason cited by an anonymous senior official quoted by The Washington Post: fear that the Chinese government would 'go ballistic' if this were done. ... [W]e believe that if Israel were to define immediate implementation of a robust firewall circumvention initiative as a critical marker of American resolve toward Iran, it would be very difficult for the U.S. government not to rapidly do so. Thus, Israel is in a position to ensure the achievable objective of allowing young Iranians to freely and without fear communicate via the Internet with each other and the rest of the world." -- Mark Palmer also advocates for the revival of the RFE Hungarian Service. See previous post.

Website for investors says it is blocked in Uzbekistan after article published jointly with RFE/RL (also blocked).

Posted: 11 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Market Leader (Toronto), 10 Mar 2012: "For decades much was banned in the USSR, from the books of Solzhenitsyn to 'Voice of America' and 'Radio Liberty', and the stronger were the appeals of communist ideologists to the party consciousness of Soviet people, the more attentively sensible people were listening to and reading what was banned. No fruit is so highly desired and sweet as the one that is banned. The government of Muslim Uzbekistan does not seem to understand this biblical truth, having recently followed 'the best traditions of former USSR' and banned initially 'Radio Liberty', then Wikipedia (in Uzbek), and now the leading CIS portal for traders and investors 'Market Leader' after its publication, jointly with 'Ozodlik Radiosi' (Radio Liberty in Uzbekistan), of analytical article 'For Investors: Who is Dearer to Russia Around CIS? What are the secrets of Russian and Uzbek relationships?' What frightened President Karimov? From February 22, 2012 and up to the present day we keep receiving letters from various parts of Uzbekistan asking 'Why isn’t it possible to study your web-site anymore?'"

RFE/RL, 24 Feb 2012: "Three Uzbek state-owned television channels have removed Turkish soap operas from their airwaves because of material deemed 'inappropriate' by the authorities. RFE/RL's Uzbek Service quoted unnamed sources close to Uzbekistan's national television company as saying the broadcasts of the melodramas were halted because of the 'rebellious nature' of some of the fictional characters."

Newest medium of international broadcasting: download-to-own.

Posted: 11 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Gizmodo, 9 March 2012, Jamie Condliffe: "The BBC might be somewhat of a staid UK institution, but perhaps not for long. Paid Content suggests that the media group is planning on launching a new download-to-own service, pitting itself against iTunes in the process. The report suggests that the BBC is soon to launch a service that allows users to download shows from its huge back catalogue for around $US3 a time. While about seven per cent of the BBC’s back catalogue is already licensed through BBC Worldwide, that leaves a huge amount of content left — which the BBC plans to make available. ... It’s not clear how this would be rolled out around the world, and it’s likely that in the first instance it would be trialled in the UK, but with a wealth of fine-quality programming stretching back decades, it’s a project worth keeping an eye on."

MSN Autos, 13 Feb 2012, Sam Smith: "Goofball 'Top Gear' star Richard Hammond is coming to BBC America in April. The show in which he will star, 'Richard Hammond's Crash Course,' will be produced in America for an American audience. The New York Times has more, but the gist is this: Stuff will go boom."

Nominations for 2012 Deutsche Welle's Best of the Blogs (The BOBs) end 13 March.

Posted: 11 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
GlobalVoices, 8 Mar 2012, Claire Ulrich: "Have you submitted your blog, social media group, or online initiative to the 2012 Best of the Blogs Awards (The BoBs)? The BoBs are an annual blog award organized by German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (@dw_thebobs). Bloggers, writers, artists, citizen video reporters, activists and innovators are encouraged to shun shyness and register their blogs in one of 17 categories in 11 languages. You can also recommend a blog you love written by someone else. Take a moment to submit the link before March, 13, 2012. Online voting will open on April 2, and the winners will be announced on May 2."

Deutsche Welle press release, 13 Feb 2012: "Since its inception, Deutsche Welle's blog awards established themselves as the premier international and multilingual weblog contest, and the BOBs remain the only competition conducted across the Internet in 11 languages."

There is no link to The BOB's website (thebobs.com) at the dw.de home page, but the link was available, albeit small and at at the very bottom of, the above press release.

DW Global Ideas web page: "In more than 100 fascinating features, DW-TV, Germany's international broadcaster, showcases people and projects whose innovative ideas are helping combat global warming - from Thailand to Honduras, Jordan, India and Laos. A multinational team of authors, researchers, TV and online reporters is working on a multi-media presentation of the projects. The result is GLOBAL IDEAS." (From about us.)

Al Jazeera is teaching Twitter and Facebook to viewers in English, Turkish, Bosnian, Swahili, Arabic.

Posted: 11 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
GigaOM, 8 Mar 2012, Janko Roettgers: "Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera launched an educational campaign this month that aims to teach viewers in Turkey, Bosnia and elsewhere in the world how to use Twitter and Facebook. The videos are being distributed on a new, dedicated YouTube channel called Al Jazeera Unplugged but may eventually also show up on Al Jazeera’s TV stations. The network’s ambitious goal is to raise a new generation of citizen journalists. ... Some of the subjects coming up in the future include how to use mobile devices effectively in a time of crisis, and how newsrooms can vet contributions from citizen journalists. Videos are currently being produced in English, Turkish and Bosnian, with translations into Arabic and Kiswahili coming soon. The network will also work with volunteer translators to make them available in additional languages, and will release the clips under a Creative Commons license to allow reuse and remix."

WebProNews, 9 Mar 2012, Drew Bowling: "Al-Jazeera’s seen how social media is changing the way the wind blows, so the news organization shifted its sails accordingly and now finds itself on the front lines of the next generation of news reporting. Twitter, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Storify – no social network outlet is too small for Al-Jazeera’s 'social media-centric' show, The Stream. By relying primarily on social media, much like all people these days appear to lean, The Stream has molded a new style of crowd-sourced journalism capable of catching stories and breaking news before any of the established giants of the mainstream news. ReadWriteWeb has a great profile on the upstart news program that details how its 'social TV' innovation aims to turn the world of news reporting on its ear." -- My VOA program, Communications World, 1995-2002, was at least one-third "crowd-sourced" each week. Listeners sent news, audio, and, for the program's website (the first associated with a VOA English program), images. Of course, that was before "crowd-sourced" was a word. And it was before the so-called "social media." Nevertheless, e-mail, fax, and the miracle of international airmail worked very well.

Columbia Journalism Review, 7 Mar 2012, Justin D. Martin: "Perhaps the most common social media misstep news providers commit involves positioning Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook buttons and the like at the end of a news item, so that clickers must perform several swipes on screen or mouse to reach share functions. Al Jazeera’s English news app commits this error. Some might argue that this policy encourages readers to spend more time on a page and actually consume more of the content. But which is preferable: one user spending more time with Al Jazeera content, or, potentially, a digital socialite sharing the same article with her 15,000 connections?"

VOA launches Café DC, a "relaxed" discussion show for Pakistan, in both English and Urdu.

Posted: 11 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 9 Mar 2012: "Café DC, a new weekly TV interview show for Pakistan, premiers on Friday with a relaxed and personal look at some of the people making headlines in and around Washington. In the first edition of the new VOA program, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) talks about his experiences living in Sri Lanka and Turkey as a young boy, and the impact of being born in Pakistan, where his father served as a U.S. diplomat. ... VOA Director David Ensor says the new show, which is produced in both English and Urdu, 'offers audiences in Pakistan and elsewhere a snapshot of the personalities involved in shaping the policies of the U.S. government. We hope that giving newsmakers a chance to discuss the things that are important in their lives will help build understanding.' The 20-minute show is first being offered as a multimedia product on the VOA Urdu website, and a shorter edition will be aired on the popular VOA TV program, Beyond the Headlines, which is broadcast in Urdu on Express TV, Pakistan’s 2nd largest cable network."

The English version of Café DC is not listed (at least not yet) among VOA's English programs. You will therefore have to go to the VOA Urdu (Aap ke Dunya) web page, where a link to Café DC (in English) can be found along the left column. This takes you immediately to a YouTube video of the first program. It's in English, with no Urdu subtitles or link to an Urdu version visible.

BBC Media Action advisor: Kony 2012 "could be better told by Ugandans from Uganda."

Posted: 10 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Media Action, 9 Mar 2012, Rachel Borlase, governance advisor: "My immediate reaction to Kony 2012 is an argument that is already getting a lot of attention. Rosebell Idaltu Kagumire, (@Rosebellk) a prominent Ugandan blogger, is being picked up by media outlets all over the world to voice a concern over the film's lack of context and humility in attempting to expose a very complex story. In its attempt to inspire action towards the injustices committed to northern Ugandans, the film reduces an entire population to helpless victims of mass atrocities committed by a one-dimensional monster. ... Considering the work we do at BBC Media Action, it's not surprising that it concerns me that it takes a video like Kony 2012 to draw mass attention to an issue that could be better told by Ugandans from Uganda. There is no shortage of people capable of telling those stories. Ugandan journalism is among the best in Africa."

Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar 2012, James Rainey: "More than 58 million views [of Kony 2012] had been recorded just four days after its YouTube release Monday. But the response to the video also confirmed that every digital media sensation also invites a large, if not equal, reaction, with the Kony production provoking hundreds of video retorts, uncounted Tumblr posts, countless journalism critiques and millions of comments on Facebook and Twitter. The deluge included a dissection of the finances of San Diego-based Invisible Children, the creator of the video, a slam on the video's role in what writer Teju Cole deemed the 'White Savior Industrial Complex' and suggestions of many relief groups more worthy of public support."

See also VOA News, 8 Mar 2012.

RFE/RL says its Azerbaijan reporter is targeted by blackmail campaign.

Posted: 10 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 7 Mar 2012: "Khadija Ismailova, a freelancer for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) who has built a reputation in Azerbaijan as a fearless investigative reporter, has been targeted in a blackmail campaign. Ismailova received an envelope in the mail today containing photos of a personal nature and a note saying, 'Whore, behave. Or you will be defamed.' Ismailova was defiant in a statement she posted on her Facebook page today writing, 'I am convinced and determined that I can withstand any blackmail campaign against me.' ... Steven Korn, RFE/RL president, called the incident a 'hideous attempt at blackmail that has no place in a civil society. We are proud of Khadija and we stand behind her and her work.'"

Beirut-based Asia TV, "with offices in Tehran, Damascus and Baghdad," is newest pan-Arab channel.

Posted: 10 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
McClatchy Newspapers, 9 Mar 2012, David Enders: "In a media environment where television channels are frequently accused of taking sides, a new station based here [Beirut] and aiming to capture an audience across the Arabic-speaking world is promising a counterweight to the current giants of the industry, which are owned by conservative Persian Gulf governments. 'I'm trying to give the Arab viewer a chance to make a decision on their own,' said Entifadh Qanbar, the general director of Asia TV, which launched this week. With offices in Tehran, Damascus and Baghdad, Qanbar said he is hoping Asia TV will offer a different perspective on events from those offered by Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, and Al Arabiya, whose owner is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both have been accused in the past year of giving positive coverage to revolutions in countries such as Libya and Egypt, while stifling coverage of unrest in autocratic countries in the Gulf such as Bahrain. ... Qanbar declined to give a figure for Asia TV's budget. 'It's never enough,' he said with a laugh. Asked who was putting up the money, he said only that it came from businessmen who supported free speech and the channel's stated principles."

Another 70th anniversary: Radio Exterior de España.

Posted: 10 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
DX International, 9 Mar 2012, Chrissy Brand, onpassing email from Radio Exterior de España: "On March 15th, Radio Exterior will be celebrating its 70th anniversary and we would love you to take part in the festivities. If you are interested in sharing your experience as a listener of the English language shortwave broadcasts, by letter or phone,- we would call you- please let us know as soon as possible. We´ll be dedicating our March 15th broadcast to the anniversary and would like to reserve a special section to listeners -- your impressions and memories as well as the importance shortwave listening, in general, has had in your life." See also the Radio Exterior de España website.

Video of the VOA 70th anniversary event is now available online.

Posted: 10 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Inside VOA, 7 Mar 2012: "The Voice of America celebrated 70 years of broadcasting this year, and marked this milestone on Wednesday, March 7th, with a special event at VOA headquarters in Washington, DC. High points of the afternoon included video tributes from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Dalai Lama. ... The event also brought together distinguished guests, former VOA directors, members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and current and former employees of VOA, all coming together to share their experiences from the agency’s rich history and look to its exciting future." With video of the event. Video of the tributes is here. See previous post about same subject.

From tribute by Aung San Suu Kyi: "Now that there is more freedom of information in Burma, we perhaps are not as dependent on the [international] radio stations as before, but that does not in any way reduce their importance, because it is a different angle from what we hear inside the country." See also AFP, 10 Mar 2012: "Suu Kyi ... told Radio Free Asia that officials removed a paragraph from the text of her speech to be aired on state media as part of her National League for Democracy's (NLD) party broadcast."

Government Executive, 7 Mar 2012, Charles S. Clark: "Guests present in person at VOA’s Southwest Washington building included 95-year old Walter Roberts, the last surviving member of the small team that organized the first U.S. broadcasts to Nazi Germany during World War II."

WJLA-TV, 8 Mar 2012, Whitney Wild: "'There is a lot going on between the United States and Pakistan and we try to present the picture in its entirety, we try to present all side of the argument, all sides of particular questions,' said VOA producer Amina Khan, who is of Pakistani descent. Now, the broadcast has moved forward, expanding into television and internet. But the core values remain. 'When the news is bad, when there's an Abu Grahib, we go ahead and we tell that story and I think that the power of that honesty that comes through from our doing that is tremendously powerful,' said VOA Director David Ensor. The voices that once flowed through short-wave radio, now blast over social media." With video.

Mountainrunner.us, 8 Mar 2012, Matt Armstrong excerpting a 1948 Department of State Bulletin article by George Allen, then the DOS Assistant Secretary for Public Affair: "The real Voice of America is the voice of the thousands of newspapers, periodicals, public speakers, public officials, private groups, or individuals - anyone and everything which, if fused together by some magic process, would make up the articulate and composite voice of the 147 million people of the United States. If our shortwave program is to be the true Voice of America, it will reflect their views, not so much as expressed in quadrennial elections but in their day-to-day lives. ... It has been pointed out that the Department of State could get ten times more listeners to the Voice of America broadcasts if entertainment were featured. The Congress of the United States, however, did not appropriate money for the purpose of entertainment. The Department would have an endless job if it undertook the task of entertaining the two billion peoples of the world. The Voice of America, therefore, does not include programs of dance records and other forms of entertainments. Its principal job is one of information."

Survey measures VOA, BBC, Radio Pakistan audiences in Pakistan's FATA.

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Dawn, 8 Mar 2012, Khalid Aziz: "The report Understanding Fata [Federally Administered Tribal Area of Pakistan] is the outcome of a yearly statistical exercise that documents the perceptions of the region’s people. ... An examination of the answers to the questions about the media provides some unusual results. Whereas in 2008 only 30 per cent of the respondents relied for news on Radio Pakistan, by 2011 49 per cent relied on it. Of foreign broadcasts, Voice of America proved to be the main source of news for 20 per cent of the respondents while the BBC was relied upon by 10 per cent of the listeners. Similarly, PTV was watched by 28 per cent of respondents. It must be noted that if the coverage of PTV increases, the audience and the government’s influence over this audience will also increase."

Maybe this is the future of international broadcasting: Cartoon Network themed water park in Thailand.

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
CNNGo, 7 Mar 2012: "Brace yourselves for some begging, moms and dads. The world's first Cartoon Network-themed water park is now being built in Thailand. Turner Broadcasting System Inc, parent company of CNN International and CNNGo, released details of Cartoon Network Amazone, set to open in 2013 in Bang Saray on Thailand's east coast. Planners say the water park -- which is costing 1 billion baht (US$32 million) -- will be modeled after the Amazon rainforest, with popular Cartoon Network characters like the Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10 and Johnny Bravo incorporated into the design. ... Turner Broadcasting hopes Cartoon Network Amazone will attract up to 800,000 visitors a year when fully operational."

VOA's Middle East Voices creates Syria: Faces of the Fallen page (updated).

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Nextgov, 29 Feb 2012, Joseph Mark: "Once conflict reporting became a crowdsourced affair, perhaps it was inevitable that tributes to those conflicts' victims would be managed by the masses as well. The folks over at the Voice of America's Middle East Voices site recently launched a Faces of the Fallen page where people inside Syria can submit photos of friends and family members killed in the clashes between President Basher Assad's government and Arab Spring protesters. ... To date, the site has about 100 submitted photos, according to an information page."

I am uncomfortable about this. Would Faces of the Fallen show the pictures of official Syrian or pro-Assad forces that were killed by overzealous demonstrators? This appears not to be the case, although the information page refers to "8,000 slain on both sides." [NB: also see update below.] The photo page suggests that Middle East Voices is taking sides. It may be taking the side of history, and of humanity, but taking sides is something a news organization, which trades on its credibility above all else, cannot do, or even give the appearance of doing.

Middle East Voices was orginally described as "an Arab Spring social media project powered by the Voice of America." The "Arab Spring" has since been removed from the larger type at the top of the home page, though it remains in the small type at the bottom of the page. The Arab Spring could be construed as a movement, and, at least at its inception, Middle East Voices identified with this movement.

Over the decades, VOA has been hampered by its status as the duckbill platypus of international broadcasting -- part news, part public diplomacy. VOA must sort this out before it can contribute fully to the BBG's goal of becoming the "world's leading news agency" by 2016.

See also "In International Broadcasting, Even the Static Must be Credible," PD Magazine, Summer 2011.

Update: International Journalists' Network, 6 Mar 2012, Natasha Tynes: "Faces of the Fallen aims to document as many of the fallen as possible by the first anniversary of the conflict in Syria on March 15, 2012. 'What we are hoping to do is leverage a form of social journalism or social documentation to humanize the loss of life in the Syrian conflict,' Davin Hutchins, managing editor of Middle East Voices told IJNet. 'The ongoing dispute over who has the most accurate figures on the death count miss the broader point that whether it's 7,500 lives or 10,000 lives, the world needs to conceptualize fallen Syrians as individual human beings,' he added. In addition to civilian casualties, the site hopes to show photos of soldiers, whether they are from the Syrian Armed Forces or 'resistance forces' like the Free Syria Army. 'A life lost is a life lost,' Hutchins said. The site's founders plan to continue the effort beyond the anniversary date and tweet the name and photo/video of each new addition to this memorial wall until the conflict ends."

NPR, All Things Considered, 27 Feb 2012: "ZOUHEIR JABBOUR: 'In the time of computer, you can fabricate and falsify whatever you like and go to Al Jazeera and go to Al Arabiya, and you can see all the fabrication and this unprecedented campaign against Syria.' [Robert Siegel, host:] 'That is Syria's charge d'affaires here in Washington, Zouheir Jabbour. On Friday, he spoke with our co-host Melissa Block. And that conversation bothered many of our listeners.'"

Al Jazeera English Live Blog listed among "Best Blogs to Better Understand the Middle East."

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Policymic, 8 Mar 2012, David Dietz: "Not a blog for in-depth analysis, Al Jazeera's English 'Live Blog' is more for the reader interested in breaking news, often overlooked facts, and updates on the various conflicts going on around the Arab World. The 'Live Blog' which was recognized as a leader in coverage during the Arab Spring for posting realtime news, photos, and video about the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya and elsewhere has since become an aggregator of various news wires and Middle East blogs keeping readers informed with the latest violence, court rulings, or trials taking place in the Middle East. Updated by Al Jazeera staff members and journalists, the 'Live Blog' offers dramatic pictures and videos exclusive to Al Jazeera that make it worth coming back to."

Deutsche Welle trains African journalism educators, and prepares for its Global Media Forum.

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Africa Press Organization, 7 Mar 2012: "DW-AKADEMIE (Deutsche Welle's international center for media development, media consulting and journalism training) is organizing in cooperation with UNESCO, a Train-the-Trainer Course for 10 young lecturers from 6 African journalism education institutions in Rabat, Morocco, from 5 to 16 March 2012. ... Journalism educators from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia will share their teaching experiences with a focus on new media and multimedia. In the first week, participants will concentrate on developing their pedagogical skills through a Train-the-Trainer course that emphasizes new teaching methods: more interactive, participative and practice-oriented, thus allowing students to apply newly acquired skills and knowledge directly. In the second week, the group will concentrate on the use of new media, which can play an important role in development in Africa." See also DW Akademie website.

Deutsche Welle press release, 15 Feb 2012: "This year's Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum - Culture. Education. Media. Shaping a sustainable world - will take place from 25-27 June in Bonn, Germany, under the patronage of the German Commission for UNESCO. Germany's foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, will take part in the fifth of an annual series of international congresses that focus on the media's role in multidisciplinary topics of development and globalization. DW anticipates that 1,500 participants from 100 nations will attend the three-day convention being held at the World Conference Center in Bonn. In more than 50 panel discussions and workshops they will discuss subjects such as the right to education, cultural diversity, political culture and intercultural dialog, sustainability and new methods of learning. The Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum draws media representatives from around the world – including staff from many of Deutsche Welle’s partner stations – and experts from the fields of politics, culture, business, development and academia." See also the DW Global Media Forum web page.

Hamas official denies BBC Persian report about Hamas response if Iran is attacked.

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Fars News Agency, 7 Mar 2012: "Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior official of the Palestinian Hamas movement, strongly rejected a recent BBC report which quoted him as saying that Hamas would take no action in case of an Israeli invasion of Iran, and warned that any Israel or US attack on Iran will be reciprocated by Hamas's crushing response to the Zionists. BBC Persian's website alleged in a report on Wednesday that the No. 2 Hamas official in the Gaza Strip has assured that his movement would not take any action in the face of an Israeli attack on Iran. Al-Zahar strongly rejected the BBC claim as unfounded and a lie. 'Retaliation with utmost power is the position of Hamas with regard to a Zionist war on Iran,' Zahar told FNA on Wednesday afternoon."

BBC News, 7 Mar 2012, Jon Donnison: "Mahmoud Zahhar, a senior leader of Hamas in Gaza, denied the group would get involved and told the BBC: 'We are not part of any political axis. If Israel attacks us we will respond. If they don't, we will not get involved in any other regional conflict,' he added."

International Press Institute, 9 Mar 2012, Nisha Thanki: "The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate has reported that three journalists reporting on a mass wedding of 500 couples in Gaza City were attacked. The mass wedding was organised by local charities in conjunction with Hamas, according to Ramallah-based Maan News. According to the Palestine Press Agency and the Wafa news agency, the journalists who were attacked were: Mohammed Mashharawi, who works for Sky News, Adnan al-Dorosh, who works for the BBC Arabic Service, and Amer Abu Omar. Sources said that Mashharawi was briefly detained by Hamas."

New BBC Worldwide MD will unify web brands: "one single consumer overview to our digital portfolio."

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
paidContent:UK, 7 Mar 2012, Robert Andrews; "BBC Worldwide is aiming to more closely unify its various web brands, after BBC.com’s managing director Luke Bradley-Jones left in January. The role of digital EVP, occupied by Dan Heaf, no longer exists; Heaf now becomes managing director for digital consumer products. ... Now Heaf will be 'responsible for driving a unified global digital strategy and consumer vision across BBC Worldwide’s digital portfolio', according to the firm. BBC Worldwide says the aim is to pull together topgear.com, goodfood.com, the international lifestyle and genre sections of BBC.com. In recent years, BBC Worldwide had talked about these as unique 'passion sites'. Now, as it builds up advertising sales around the world and tries to curate its core BBC.com for each of the local markets it enters, Heaf is tasked with a single vision for the properties, following Bradley-Jones’ exit. A spokesperson tells paidContent: 'As BBC Worldwide seeks to become a more digitally focused business, it is imperative to have one single consumer overview to our digital portfolio.'"

South Florida columnist praises Radio/TV Martí: "Much to my surprise ... it was balanced."

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), 8 Mar 2012, Guillermo I. Martinez: "For the first time since it was founded 30 almost years ago, I was invited as a guest to participate in a program by Radio and TV Martí back in January. Prior Radio and TV administrators were never sure of what I might say, so no one invited me. ... Would this be a political show to highlight the president's performance in office? What was expected of me? Was I to be a person who rationalized what the president did, or would I feel comfortable enough to voice my honest opinion? Much to my surprise, when the show started, the anchor, Karen Caballero, introduced a story done by one of TV Marti's reporters. It was balanced. It put the president's speech in its proper political context. It interviewed Democratic and Republican analysts. In essence, it had both side of the story. ... I admit I was impressed. This was not the Radio and TV Martí of old. This one, headed by Carlos García, a Miami-born lawyer who lived in Puerto Rico, is doing things differently. When he was first offered the job — a political appointee position — García's first move was to do a thorough due diligence of the government broadcasting entity; almost as if he were to buy it. He wanted to know what he was getting into and if he could program it with a well-balanced non-political agenda." -- But how long will this last? There are probably members of Congress who take a dim view of this "balanced" stuff.

A chorus of voices to preserve the cacophony of voices in US international broadcasting.

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
National Review Online, The Corner blog, 5 Mar 2012, Ann Noonan: "[T]he BBG proposes to completely eliminate the Voice of America’s Cantonese Services to China. ... The BBG FY2013 budget also dropped the ax on Tibetan Voice of America radio broadcasts to Tibet. ... The BBG proposals to isolate Tibetans and Cantonese-speaking Chinese must be demoralizing and discouraging to VOA staff. And so the fight is on. Let’s hope that once again, the U.S. Congress will prevent these cuts from taking place. Let’s also hope that the Broadcasting Board of Governors will use what remains of their tenure to clean house and get rid of the management staffers who seem to oppose their own mission: to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding by broadcasting accurate, objective, and balanced news and information about the United States and the world to audiences abroad."

BBG Watch, 5 Mar 2012, Edite Lynch: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) plan to end Voice of America (VOA) radio news broadcasts in Tibetan to Tibet is an extremely worrying prospect that will affect everyone who lives there. The Chinese regime wants to commit a cultural genocide in Tibet and slowly rid Tibet of its language, faith and culture. They want create a Chinese enclave. ... The members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors require a sensitivity training that would outline for them in very graphic terms exactly what will happen to Tibet and its people, as well as to many millions of others, whose hope for any kind of future at all lies with the American model of democracy, its human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly."

BBG Watch, 7 Mar 2012, via Radio World: "What the BBG is in fact saying is that Tibetans in Tibet do not need Voice of America if they have Radio Free Asia. While RFA performs an extremely useful role, to claim that Tibetans in Tibet do not deserve to get Voice of America American, international and Tibetan news and the support of the American people that these VOA broadcasts imply is simply inhumane. Radio Free Asia cannot replace Voice of America in Tibet. But because the Tibetans are so oppressed by the Chinese authorities, in addition to VOA they also need RFA as a surrogate broadcaster. The same is true for VOA and RFA Cantonese and for broadcasts to Vietnam and other countries ruled by communist or other authoritarian regimes."

Nevada Appeal, 5 Mar 2012, Guy W. Farmer, chief of VOA’s Spanish Branch during the period 1977-79: "As part of that ill-considered merger the government’s radio stations were turned over to the quasi-independent BBG, which plays pop music while downplaying, or even ignoring, the VOA Charter’s directive to 'present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively.' Personally, I don’t think taxpayers should subsidize an official radio station that doesn’t accomplish U.S. foreign policy objectives. If that happens, just turn the whole thing over to PBS or Sirius satellite radio." Longer excerpt here.

My views are otherwise and summarized in "US International Broadcasting: Success Requires Independence and Consolidation."

Heritage Foundation evaluation declares that VOA Persian News Network "is not up to the task."

Posted: 09 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 5 Mar 2012, Helle Dale: VOA Persian News Network "is extraordinarily important to, and receives a great deal of attention within, the U.S. international broadcasting complex. Yet, PNN’s mission has not necessarily been clear—even to the people who work there. Is it a news organization? An asset to U.S. foreign policy? The answer has to be that it is both, yet this hybrid status sits awkwardly with many PNN employees (as it does with many other VOA staffers). Until amended by a new management team in 2011, PNN’s mission statement asserted that the network’s only duty was to report the news. Today, the mission statement remains focused on reporting the news, but a reference to the VOA charter has been added, stating that PNN shares Voice of America’s mission, which includes explaining and reflecting American values and culture as well as U.S. policy. This is important: U.S. international broadcasting is a fundamental part of the U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy tool kit, and has to encompass information about American society, culture, values and, not least, policies and point of view. In the absence of this dimension, editorial direction and focus is only too easily lost."

US international broadcasting can be an asset to US foreign policy if it is allowed to exist as a news organization, and not as a mere "part of the U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy tool kit." It's interesting that the VOA Charter, traditionally used to defend VOA journalistic independence ("VOA News will be VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive"), is lately being used to bring VOA into line ("VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively"). US policies are presented most "effectively" through credible information, which is what international broadcast audiences are seeking, rather than through propaganda, which is what international broadcasting audiences are escaping when they tune to foreign stations. Helle Dale continues...

"[I]t is clear that there are well-informed pro-regime individuals currently working at PNN and providing sensitive internal information to Iranian authorities. This has compromised PNN’s ability to serve its mission. Furthermore, Iranian employees often cite a low level of job satisfaction due to hiring and retaining practices based on family or social affiliation rather than professional qualifications."

Mrs. Dale, offering no evidence, slips in a charge of treachery against some VOA PNN employees. In the next sentence she writes: "This has compromised PNN’s ability to serve its mission." Gosh, do you think? Then, next sentence, same paragraph, she gives "low level of job satisfaction" equal billing with treachery. This indicates that the accusation of treachery is frivolous.

Later, we read about the alleged pro-Iranian-regime bias of VOA PNN. Here, all the evidence comes from one Iranian "exiled student leader" and perennial squeaky wheel Amir Abbas Fakhravar. Mrs. Dale apparently made no attempt to verify Fakhravar's accusations. She continues....

"According to recent and reliable survey data, the most successful foreign news broadcaster to Iran is BBC Persian—not PNN. ... Unlike PNN, BBC Persian is not run as a government agency; it functions as an independent agency that is government funded. BBC Persian fields many more on-site journalists than does PNN, which gives it news coverage with more accuracy and vitality."

Nevertheless, she recommends...

"Demand that PNN editors and producers use the resources of U.S. taxpayers to provide more professional, diverse, and technologically proficient programming, anchored in American values and aligned with U.S. national interests."

Well, which is it going to be? An "independent agency" like the BBC, which has a larger audience than VOA PNN? Or something that is "aligned with U.S. national interests"? If VOA PNN were allowed to function as an independent news agency, alignment, or lack of alignment, with US interests would not be an issue. The fact that Iranian audiences are better informed by VOA PNN than they would be from their domestic media should obviously be in the US national interest.

Why does BBC have a larger audience in Iran than VOA PNN? The most important research project that BBG could commission in FY12 is to ask Iranians who watch BBC more than PNN, or to the exclusion of PNN, why. Does BBC provide better reception? Is the BBC on-air talent better? Does BBC do a more thorough job of covering Iranian affairs? Does BBC do a better job of avoiding bias?

And why is it so difficult for US international broadcasting to recruit Farsi speakers who also happen to be journalists? Perhaps part of the problem is that VOA PNN is over here, and Radio Farda is over there, splitting between them the scarce commodity of Farsi-speaking journalists, and chasing the same stories.

Mrs. Dale began her paper with this talking point: "Tragically, America’s principal instrument for communicating with Iranians, Voice of America’s Persian News Network (PNN), is not up to the task." She leveled some very serious charges against VOA PNN. These accusations require very thorough evidence, but that was not to be found in her analysis. For the evaluation of US International Broadcasting, it seems that the Heritage Foundation "is not up to the task."

See previous post about same subject.

International Radio Serbia marks 76th anniversary, thus, as they point out, "predating Voice of America."

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
“'The International Radio Serbia is one of the oldest media of its kind in the world, predating the Voice of America. Through more than 12 hours of daily program in 12 languages, we attempt to cover the full spectrum of events in Serbia and about Serbia, while the feedback from our listeners affirms our belief that we are successful in doing it', director and editor-in-chief Milorad Vujovic has pointed at the press conference on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of our radio. He has expressed expectation that the public interest for the need of our broadcasts to abroad will be defined in the law on public information. The press was also acquainted with the new website of the station. More in the report of Suzana Mitic: 'Radio Yugoslavia was founded on 8 March 1936 in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During the Second World War the broadcasts were going from Moscow, and later from the Ural, under the name Free Yugoslavia. As of 2006, when Montenegro decided to leave the State Union, the founding rights were transferred to the Serbian Government, and we have been using the name International Radio Serbia. Program is broadcasted on short waves, via satellite and internet, presented in audio, written and video formats. We are doing what is possible in the given circumstances, not only to preserve the best traditions of our house, but also to keep up with the times, which is maybe best illustrated in the motto “Where you cannot hear and find us, it must be the end of the world”, says director and editor-in-chief Milorad Vujovic."

Should we worry about CCTV's US operations?

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 5 Mar 2012, Helle Dale: "Chinese TV has taken a page from Al Jazeera’s playbook. With sparkling new offices in Washington, D.C., on New York Avenue since February 6, and a staff of 75 soon to be 100, CCTV America is making a serious and well-financed bid to be a player in the U.S. media market. CCTV America is a subsidiary of China Central TV, the Chinese state broadcaster, whose global ambitions have been making headlines. Other headlines have been grabbed by Xinhua, the Chinese news agency that created a 24/7 global English-language news channel to compete with CNN International and Fox News. In a free and open society like the United States, should we worry about this promotion of the Chinese point of view? The answer is 'yes.' If we are not careful, we could wake up in the not-so-distant future and find that more people receive their international news from Russia Today, CCTV, and Al Jazeera than from American news sources. U.S. government-funded international broadcasting is shrinking, and Voice of America broadcasts to China are constantly under threat of the budget knife. Despite the existence of CNN International, foreign news is a weak point for American networks. Other western broadcasters like BBC International [sic] are also under budgetary pressures. Not so CCTV."

"Should we worry about this promotion of the Chinese point of view?" The answer is "no." That answer is derived from the question. Any international broadcasting effort that exists to promote a point of view will not be taken seriously as a news operation.

Even if CCTV News, RT (Russia Today), and Al Jazeera English can get cable access throughout the United States, they will never appeal to American viewers the way that the US-centric CNN, Fox, and MSNBC do. It would be interesting, however, if Al Jazeera or BBC tried (a la Al Jazeera Balkans) to create a US-centered news channel, to compete with CNN/Fox/MSNBC. Interesting, but probably ultimately not successful.

For US viewers wanting more international news, more access to CNN International on US cable and satellite systems would provide a welcome increase in global coverage. A package consisting of CNN International, BBC World News, and Al Jazeera English, perhaps also adding France 24, DW-TV, and NHK World, would be ideal.

Watching CCTV News, one can see that they are trying to cover stories that probably would have been ignored by Chinese international broadcasting a decade ago. But BBC CCTV is not. Even if CCTV were to provide comprehensive coverage of Chinese affairs, it probably would not have much more appeal in the United States than, say, France 24.

Radio Netherlands Media Network blog will close down 24 March. Editor Andy Sennitt is retiring.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 8 Mar 2012, Andy Sennitt: "I shall be taking early retirement from RNW at the end of April. Due to the new mandate of RNW effective on 1 January 2013, it will no longer be possible for the organisation to provide coverage of international media news. In April I shall be writing a series of articles reflecting on the changes in international broadcasting since I started appearing on the Media Network radio show in 1981, and looking ahead to the coming decade. The articles will be published on the RNW English website. If you have any memories of RNW or other international broadcasters that you would like to share, I will be pleased to hear from you at MediaNetwork@rnw.nl and I’ll try to include them in the articles."

My friend Andy Sennitt has provided decades of valuable information to broadcasters and broadcast audiences. His departure will result in a news void that probably will not be completely filled. In the RNMN blog, he has covered a wider range of media items than I have attempted here, and even within the realm of international broadcasting, he often finds news that has escaped me completely.

I wish Andy all the best in his retirement, but I know this will not be the end of his contributions to the international media community.

Critical Distance Weblog, 8 Mar 2012, Jonathan Marks: "Media Network web editor Andy Sennitt announced late this afternoon that their international media news blog is closing down as of Saturday March 24th 2012. Andy is retiring. Radio Nederland Wereldomroep (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) is heading off in a very different direction in the future. So it makes sense to bow out knowing that a job has been well done. Several thousand people a week have relied on Andy’s sharp eye in spotting international media developments and their implications for those who work in the business of international story-telling. I understand the plan is to keep it online as a reference, since it’s a searchable record of media stories over the last decade that has more than academic value. That’s good news. ... Andy has spent his career following the media, especially radio. He worked for BBC Monitoring in Caversham Park, UK as well as becoming Editor of the World Radio TV Handbook in Denmark. He moved the HQ of the WRTH to Amsterdam and Diana Janssen recruited him to work on a web-version of the radio programme. ... It’s not going to be possible to replace the Media Network news blog. But I will increase the frequency and focus of this Critical Distance blog to include more international media stories"

Critical Distance Weblog, 5 Mar 2012, Jonathan Marks: "[T]he political parties in power at the moment (VVD, CDA and PVV) have started three weeks of intense negotiations on how to make another round of cuts in public spending. ... In the case of external broadcasting, they decimated the budget of Radio Nederland Wereldomroep bringing it down from 46 to 14 million Euro. It may well not even be that in the end. 7? 5? 0 million? It's looking that way for 2013."

Languages left to right for available now Twitter.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Mashable, 7 Mar 2012, Sonia Paul: "Thanks to the efforts of 13,000 volunteers worldwide, Twitter is now available in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu, according to a company blog post. Twitter had been working on translating and localizing these right-to-left languages since January 25. These languages posed unique challenges for Twitter. To overcome technical barriers, Twitter’s engineering team had to build a new set of special tools to ensure that these tweets, hashtags and numbers would behave as their counterparts in left-to-right languages."

In July, BBC World Service will replace "Network Africa" with "Network Largely Africa."

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Joyonline (Accra), 8 Mar 2012, citing BBC Global News Communications: "The BBC is launching a new morning programme for Africa this summer, as the world's attention turns to London and the start of the 2012 Olympics. Newsday will be broadcast live for five and a half hours every weekday morning, replacing The World Today and Network Africa. Liliane Landor, Controller of Language services at BBC Global News, said: 'While having a global listenership and editorial remit, the new programme will - in its tone and agenda - reflect that by far the largest part of the morning audience is in Africa at breakfast time. It will have a presenting style, pace and informality to appeal particularly to this audience and will be taking full advantage of BBC correspondents and bureaux in Africa.' Richard Porter, Controller, BBC Global News English, added: '... Because of its global remit, the programme will continue to serve other audiences around the world, particularly in North America at these times.' ... Newsday will be produced by a team working to the programme's editor, Simon Peeks. It will go on air from the new BBC studios at New Broadcasting House in London in the week beginning 23 July, as the London Olympics gets underway. As well as broadcasting the best of BBC journalism, including the BBC World Service Languages, Newsday will develop links across all media platforms and engage with audiences by making active use of social media."

Perhaps related to its funding cut, World Service is consolidating its now-separate global and region news programs (and stream) into one. Because "Newsday" will be broadcast during prime breakfast listening time in Africa, it will "appeal particularly" to listeners on that continent. The broadcast time is also during the hours after 11 pm in North America, when many US public radio stations begin to relay BBC World Service. This will be a good opportunity for Americans to hear more news about Africa than they would obtain from US media. But will the ratio of African news be too much for US public radio audiences?

"Newsday" will compete with VOA's "Daybreak Africa" and "International Edition" during Africa's morning hours. An important test for US international broadcasting, aspiring to become "the world's leading news agency" by 2016, will be how well VOA competes with BBC for the morning English-speaking audience in Africa, especially in countries where delivery capabilities are comparable.

Mediaset Italia, television for Italians abroad, relaunches after RAI stops programs for expats.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 6 Mar 2012, citing Mediaset: On 7 March, "Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset [relaunched] its Mediaset Italia TV channel for Italian expats - estimated to be 60 million worldwide. The channel broadcasts a selection of the best programmes aired by terrestrial TV channels Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4 and the main editions of their news bulletins. ... Mediaset Italia [is] available on satellite and/or cable in Europe, North America, South America and Australia. The re-launch to a wider audience follows the decision of Italy’s national broadcaster RAI to cease production of programming for expats at the end of 2011."

ABN, parent company of CNBC Africa, adopts "new-look" logo.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 6 Mar 2012: "ABN (African Business News), home of the CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa, launched a new-look logo, while also launching a new business unit, the ABN Training Institute. ... The ABN Media Group was established in October 2006, when founders Zafar Siddiqi and Wahi decided to fill the business news vacuum that previously existed in Africa. Their plan was to become Africa's leading business news conglomerate ... The group has since launched a new-look logo signifying ABN's holistic, 360° approach to telling Africa's business story - first." -- The CNBC name is licensed to CNBC Africa, which carries some CNBC and NBC content, in addition to its own.

New QSL cards mark anniversaries in the US shortwave community.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters Facebook page, 3 Mar 2012, citing Harry Scott, RFA: "Radio Free Asia (RFA) announces the release of our 44th QSL card. This QSL commemorates the 25th annual SWL Fest, March 1-3, in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. The SWL Fest is a premier DX’er event in the USA attracting hundreds of attendees. It is sponsored by the North American Shortwave Association (NASWA) and covers shortwave, mediumwave (AM), scanning, satellite TV, pirate broadcasting and more. This QSL card will be used to confirm all valid RFA reception reports for March 2012." -- QSL cards are collected by hobbyist shortwave listeners as proof of reception of stations and countries.

Shortwave Central, 6 Mar 2012, Hans Johnson: "WINB [Red Lion, Pennsylvania] is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2012 and we have a new QSL card. The card features a vintage view of our control room. Anyone sending us an audio reception report will receive this new verification." -- WINB was the last private shortwave station licensed by the FCC until Joe Costello broke the moratorium, when his WRNO (New Orleans) was licensed in 1982. WINB was owned by the same people who owned WGCB, involved in the famous 1969 Red Lion v FCC Supreme Court decision upholding the Fairness Doctrine. See also www.winb.com.

Media coverage of the Syrian conflict: heroism and revisionism.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 5 Mar 2012: "Homs, Syria – considered one of the most dangerous places CNN has ever covered – is at the heart of a one-hour special documenting the challenges and dangers faced by a CNN team while on assignment there. As told by the journalists who risked their lives to get into Homs and the CNN news executives tasked with keeping them safe, 72 Hours Under Fire gives viewers an inside look at the complexities and risks involved in getting the story out of Syria. 72 Hours Under Fire airs Sunday, March 11 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CNN/US. It premieres on CNN International Friday, March 9 at 3 p.m., and replays Saturday, March 10 at 4 a.m., 3 p.m., and 9 p.m., and Sunday, March 11 at 6 a.m., all times Eastern. 'Homs is as challenging an editorial operation as we have encountered,' says Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International. ... 'We are taking the unusual step of covering our journalists’ experience in Homs because it is another piece of the untold story in Syria,' says Mark Whitaker, executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide. 'The fact that the Syrian government doesn’t want the world to know what is happening in places like Homs, and the enormous effort and courage it has taken for Western journalists to cover the brutal crackdown there, is part of the story. We thought it was important to take our viewers behind the scenes to see and feel that part of this conflict, too.'" -- UTC times (which should have been provided) for CNNI are 9 Mar: 0800 and 1900 and 10 Mar: 0100 and 1000.

Now Lebanon, 6 Mar 2012: "Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali said ... that the reports concerning the activities of Syrian security forces 'should not be taken [directly] from satellite channels known for their instrumental role in fabricating information encouraging aggression against Syria,' in an implicit reference to the pan-Arab stations Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya."

Syrian Arab News Agency, 7 Mar 2012: "Upset with its provocation and bias, Aljazeera correspondent in Beirut Ali Hashem has resigned his position from the Qatari channel, according to the Lebanese Newspaper of al-Akhbar. ... The Syrian e-Army leaked correspondence between Hashem and Ibrahim, a news reader in the Qatari channel, via e-mail where the latter said that she 'recanted the revolution' describing it as a branch of Qaeda and it would destroy the country. Hashem was, as many colleagues of his, upset with the flagrant bias of the channel in dealing with the Syrian file, said the source, stressing that Aljazeera handled the correspondence leak smartly by neglecting the whole issue in order not to promote for it due to its weak stance."

Counterpunch, 5 Mar 2012, Peter Lee: "The main event, or what should be the main event, for Western observers of Syria is the messy implosion of Al Jazeera’s credibility."

Voice of Russia, 7 Mar 2012, Aisling Byrne, projects coordinator with the Conflicts Forum, as interviewed bt Yekaterina Kudashkina: "[A]ctually there are a lot of fabricated videos, fabricated YouTube clips and different people have been cataloging this. There are pictures on YouTube and videos being made waiting for CNN or BBC, or Aljazeera to call. And one clip shows a child done up in bandages, and the child is being told what to say when the camera starts rolling, and then a mobile phone is used as if to show that this is being done in the field whereas actually it’s been done in a quiet department center. ... But then on the other side there are other publications, websites, television channels which actually show both sides of the story. And for example I can give an example from Russia Today, where they interviewed residents of Homs who said that actually most of the people in Homs don’t side with either the Government or the rebels and they just want to be left alone, and they’ve said that the violence lies on both sides – with the Government and the rebel fighters."

Wall Street Journal, Corruption Current blog, 5 Mar 2012, Samuel Rubenfeld: "The U.S. Treasury Department said Monday it identified the Syrian General Organization of Radio and TV as subject to sanctions imposed on the country’s government. The organization is a state-run agency subordinate to the information ministry; it operates Syria’s state-owned TV channels and the government’s radio stations, Treasury said in a statement. It was identified as being subject to sanctions imposed on entities of the Syrian government, regardless of whether they’re specifically identified by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. ... 'The General Organization of Radio and TV has served as an arm of the Syrian regime as it mounts increasingly barbaric attacks on its own population and seeks both to mask and legitimize its violence,”'said Adam Szubin, director of OFAC, in the statement."

BBC World Service director: US is "underserved" by media often "slanted."

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Beet.TV, 5 Mar 2012, Andy Plesser: "As the cost of bandwidth decreases, video is becoming the 'mainstay' of the BBC's global news offering via its digital platforms, says Peter Horrocks, Director of the BBC World Service in this interview with Beet.TV Video rich devices and Apps from the BBC, notably the iPlayer, are boosting video consumption. ... With dwindling oveseas bureaus for U.S. television networks and newspapers, the U.S. market is 'underserved' by a media which is often times 'slanted,' says Horrocks. Recently the BBC has ramped up both its cable distribution and online news gathering in the United States, including an agreement with Comcast. Online, the BBC has some 22 million monthly viewers in the United States, a BBC spokesperson told us via email."

Broadband TV News, 7 Mar 2012, Chris Dziadul: "The BBC would love to launch the iPlayer as a full service outside the UK following the end of its 12-month trial period. ... Ian McDonough, SVP & GM for EMEA, BBC Worldwide Channels, said that the service, which made its debut in the UK in 2007, is currently available in 14 European countries plus Canada and Australia. It differs from the one in the UK by offering a 'very deep archive of content' and being paid for. He also said that the BBC is currently engaged in talks with a number of parties about iPlayer outside the UK and would have no objection, for instance, to it being offered by other parties and being embedded in a box."

Deutsche Welle journalists in the news -- including murder in Dhaka (updated).

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Aid Netherlands, 14 Feb 2012: "A young journalist couple [Sagar Sarowar and Meheren Runi] was cruelly murdered by unknown assailants in their apartment in the small hours in the weekend in the capital Dhaka, sparking widespread protest prompting authorities to issue orders for an investigation. ... Sarowar returned to Bangladesh in 2011 after a few years stint with Deutsche Welle in Germany as a broadcaster. The motive of the killing is unknown and police have yet to determine whether it is related to their work."

DW.de, 14 Feb 2012, Sarah Berning: "Sarowar left Deutsche Welle's Bangla service after three years in Bonn as a radio host and reporter. During this time, he made a name for himself reporting on environmental issues. Staff at the South Asia department observed a minute of silence to remember the couple on Monday. Grahame Lucas, head of the department expressed his shock at the news. He described Sarowar as a very dedicated journalist."

Update: bdnews24.com, 6 Mar 2012, Maruf Malick: "Journalists and Bangladeshi expatriates in Bonn, Germany, on Tuesday sought the United Nations' intervention for a faster investigation into the killing of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi. ... Earlier in the morning, dozens of expatriate Bangladeshis along with citizens from other countries joined hands to form a human chain on the UN campus here in the former West Germany capital that currently hosts 17 United Nations institutions. Journalists from Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) Radio also participated in the human chain. Sagar had worked with the Bangla service from June 2008 to May 2011 as a radio host and reporter. ... Deutsche Welle's Asia Department editor Sarah Berning urged the Bangladesh government to ensure security of journalists."

Greek Reporter, 14 Feb 2012, Stella Tsolakidou: "Greek reporter and author Alexandros Schinas passed away last Saturday at the age of 88 in Bonn. Schinas was the voice of freedom and democracy that encouraged the Greeks to fight against dictatorship through the air waves of the Greek Programme of Deutsche Welle. ... Alexandros Schinas was born in 1924 in Athens and graduated from Varvakeios before the Civil War. After travelling around different countries in Europe, he settled in the then Federal Republic of Germany in 1959, where he worked as a correspondent of the Greek National Radio Foundation (EIR), and since 1974 for the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT). This job would render him the speaker against the dictatorship regime in Greece. Every night, at 21:40pm the Greeks would turn their radio to the Deutsche Welle frequency and listen to the anti-dictatorial demeanor of Schinas and his calls for a national uprising against the military regime. Not even the threats against his life could stop him from his duty. ... On July 24, 2004, Schinas sent out his last message from the microphone of Deutsche Welle, which was more lenient towards his country’s fate: 'Katharsis, like expected by the Greek people, did never come. But let’s not be so strict. Where did ever occur a katharsis?'" -- Was Deutsche welle really used to call for a "national uprising" in another country?

Worldcrunch, 12 Feb 2012, Shi Shiwei: "The German journalist and best-selling author, Frank Sieren, is one of the West’s leading China experts. His latest book Angst vor China (Fear of China) was published last September in Germany. ... Sieren has lived in China for 17 years. He first worked as the correspondent of Germany’s business weekly, the Wirtschafts Woche, specializing in economics. He later became a presenter for the talk show, Asiatalk on Deutsche Welle-TV. ... He isn’t just introducing or interpreting China, but rather speaking directly to the West about how it should face China. And Sieren’s driving message is clear: approach this major new world power as a challenge, not a threat."

Euronews adds a travel and leisure website.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 7 Mar 2012, Robert Briel: "Euronews is announcing the launch of its travel and leisure website at the ITB travel trade show in Berlin. Trends, practices and unusual news are published on a daily basis with videos, interviews and slideshows. The website is available in French and English. The Travel section presents some 500 new topics a month, organised in four sections: Breaking news, Videos, Slideshows and Events/Agenda. ... Olivier de Montchenu, managing director, Euronews sales, said: 'The tourism industry is historically close to euronews, and it is an important source of income for us. The website offers our advertisers and partners in the tourism sector a new means of communication: straight and efficient in an environment appropriate to their targets.'" -- I think this is it: www.euronews.com/travel.

African Television AFTV, "supported by various African broadcasters and embassies," will reach Europe via Astra.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 7 Mar 2012, citing SES: "SES announced today that it has signed a capacity and uplink agreement with Netherlands-based Scope Media TV for the free-to-air distribution of African Television (AFTV) via Astra’s 23.5 degrees East orbital position (12,168 MHz vertical polarization). Supported by various African broadcasters and embassies, AFTV aims to promote Africa, ranging from culture and lifestyle to business and current affairs. AFTV will use the Astra distribution for both direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting and delivery to cable and IPTV operators throughout Europe. AFTV will commence its Astra 23.5 East transmissions on 1 April 2012." -- I can't find a website for AFTV.

BBC World News is "fully restored" in Pakistan.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World News press statement, 6 Mar 2012: "The following statement regarding BBC World News in Pakistan has been issued by the BBC. 'We can confirm that BBC World News television has been fully restored in Pakistan after being taken off-air in November 2011. The BBC welcomes this development and is committed to providing impartial news and current affairs to the people of Pakistan. We hope that there will be no future disruption to our services.'"

journalism.co.uk, 7 Mar 2012, Sarah Marshall: "The BBC World News channel is back on air in Pakistan after it was blocked in November 2011 for broadcasting a documentary deemed to be critical of the country. ... The documentary considered critical was Secret Pakistan, which explored links between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency and the Taliban. It alleged that Pakistani officials were acting like an ally of the US in public while secretly training and arming Taliban fighters in Afghanistan."

RFI reporter says its "worldwide listeners are, of course, with Barack Obama." Swiss TV reporter says social conservatives "a bit funny."

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
WXIA-TV (Atlanta), 7 Mar 2012: Coverage of Georgia's Super Tuuesday Republican primary was "broadcast to millions of viewers and listeners all over the world in several languages. Stefanie Schuler of Radio France International was sending her reports to an audience of about 50-million all over Europe and several African countries. She told 11Alive News many in her audience prefer President Barack Obama and have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to defeat him. 'French people and even worldwide listeners are, of course, with Barack Obama, so everybody wants to know who is going to be the guy who'll try to beat him,' Schuler said. ... [Karin Bauer of Swiss Television] told 11Alive that most of her audience admires President Obama. She said many in her country are amused by Republican conservatives fighting to challenge him. 'They think it's a bit funny, the two social conservatives,' Bauer said."

BBG meeting, with webcast, is Thursday at 2015 UTC.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 2 Mar 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Thursday, March 8, at the headquarters of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. in Springfield, Virginia. The BBG will consider a report from the Governance Committee regarding Board leadership, Board operating procedures, the status of the consolidation of BBG-sponsored grantees, and the future structure for U.S. international broadcasting. ... The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. [2015 UTC], will be open to the public via webcast live and on-demand." With links to the video and audio.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 9 Mar 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Governance Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 7, and on Friday, March 9, to discuss the authorities of the presiding governor and other issues. This meeting is not open to the public."

VOA celebrates its 70th anniversary. New podcast about Willis Conover.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Voice of America today celebrates its 70th anniversary with an event in the VOA auditorium. Former VOA directors and other past officials will attend. (As determined by recent historical research, the actual anniversary date was 1 February.) See the VOA 70th anniversary web page.

Jazz at Lincoln Center, 6 Mar 2012, David Goren: "During the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the United States had a secret weapon: Willis Conover's 'Jazz Hour,' carried on the shortwave radio signals of The Voice of America across Russia and Eastern Europe: Starting in 1955 and running for over forty years, 'Jazz Hour' nurtured generations of jazz musicians who grew up under the restrictions of Communism. On this edition of Jazz Stories we hear Willis Conover and two outstanding jazz musicians, Czech bassist George Mraz and Russian trumpeter Valery Ponomarev – both of whom learned about jazz from his broadcasts." With audio-- The link says "preview," but it's the entire 13:26 podcast.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 2 Mar 2012: "VOA’s Lao Service celebrated its 50th anniversary on February 22."

Al Jazeera has a "realistic prospect" for rights to broadcast Premiere League football in UK.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Sport.co.uk, 28 Feb 2012: "Premier League clubs could be in for another massive television cash windfall with a serious challenge to Sky's domination of top-flight domestic TV coverage by Al Jazeera now a 'realistic prospect', according to the European head of ESPN. The possibility of the Qatar-owned broadcaster going head to head with Sky has been speculated on ever since it beat Canal Plus to the French Ligue 1 and Champions League rights. The spin-off of a bidding war for the clubs could be a lot more cash for the 2013-16 domestic rights - the current three-year deal is already worth £1.782billion. Ross Hair, head of ESPN for Europe, Middle East and Africa, believes Al Jazeera are likely to challenge Sky. He told the Evening Standard: 'We're expecting another Premier League auction in April or May. An Al Jazeera bid is a realistic prospect.'" See also Arabian Business, 29 Feb 2012, Andy Sambidge.

Digital TV Europe, 7 Mar 2012: "Canal Plus president Bertrand Meheut ... said that the entry of Al Jazeera into broadcasting in France via the acquisition of sports rights represented another destabilising source of competition. Al Jazeera, he said, was supported by a state with unlimited resources and operated under a different logic than companies constrained by the need to make a profit. He said the result would be that, in the short term, sport would disappear from free-to-air channels, while pay TV players would have to bid more for rights, to the detriment of other forms of content, including movies and drama."

New Arabic channel Al Hadath will allow its "mother station, Al Arabiya, to focus on its regular programs."

Posted: 06 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 4 Mar 2012: "Al Arabiya TV channel launched on Saturday its new channel, Al Hadath in a bid to expand its news coverage and offer more political news. 'We are not offering a totally different station nor will the programs be controversy-free. Yet, I promise you will be watching an exciting channel that others would find hard to compete,' said General Manager of Al Arabiya TV, Abdulrahman Al Rashed. Al Hadath will feature extensive news coverage, political discussion and documentaries, thereby allowing the mother station, Al Arabiya, to focus on its regular programs. 'The region has (so many) events that a big channel like Al Arabiya is not enough to cover it all,' Rashed added. ... A new program called 'Event of the Day' will offer two hours of detailed news coverage. Another show 'Cairo Studio' will be broadcast directly from the Egyptian capital at 7 p.m. GMT."

Al Jazeera changes some satellite frequencies because of interference.

Posted: 06 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link

Rapid TV News, 4 Mar 2012, Rebecca Hawkes: "Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera is advising its viewers in the Middle East and North Africa to retune their satellite decoders to allow better reception of its TV signals, following continued channel interference in the region. Al Jazeera suggests Nilesat viewers should seek the alternative frequencies of 11636V and 10992V, while Eutelsat viewers in Western Asia (including the Gulf, Levant, and Iraq), Egypt and East Libya should retune to 11636 MHz, Vertical. Meanwhile, Eutelsat viewers in Western Africa and West Libya should seek the new 10992MHz, Vertical frequency. The new frequencies will support Al Jazeera's entire bouquet of channels including the news channels Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English, as well as Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Mubasher and Al Jazeera Sports. ... Just last month, the regional satellite operator Arabsat pinpointed the location of recent attempts to block Al Jazeera signals to Damascus in Syria and Tehran in Iran – a strong ally of Syria."

Broadband TV News, 1 Mar 2012, Robert Briel: "Al Jazeera has signed a new capacity contract with Eutelsat to expand its coverage over Africa. The broadcaster is leasing capacity on the Eutelsat 7 West A satellite (formerly Atlantic Bird 7) located at 7 degrees West. It enables Al Jazeera to extend coverage across North West Africa to Morocco and as far as Nigeria. Broadcasts have already begun, with nine channels operational, including the flagship Al Jazeera news channels in Arabic and English, as well as documentary, children’s and sports channels."

BBC Media Action, ex-BBC World Service Trust, launches new website and blog (updated).

Posted: 06 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Media Action @bbcmediaaction, 27 Feb 2012: "We have launched our new blog and website www.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/ Please visit and RT."

BBC Media Action @bbcmediaaction, 27 Feb 2012: "We're on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/bbcmediaaction pls watch the welcome video and Like our page."

Peter Horrocks @peterhorrocks1, 27 Feb 2012: BBC relaunches its media charity as "BBC Media Action" - aiming to reach 500m people to help transform their lives.

Update: Civil Society Media, 5 Mar 2012, Adam Martin: "The BBC says the new name is short, straightforward, direct, translatable, and the term Media Action defines it as a non-governmental organisation. The new name also allows the charity to differentiate itself from the similarly named BBC Trust - the governing body of the BBC. A budget of £8,000 was set aside to cover expenditure associated with the name change, although external branding agencies assisted the BBC at no cost with the rebrand and the hosting of stakeholder workshops. A new ‘mark’ was delivered by a branding agency at a cost of £20,000 included full branding guidelines, an animation to use on multimedia, and a range of outputs using the name in different formats. This was paid for as part of a wider portfolio of work for BBC Global News and therefore at no direct cost to the charity." -- Presumably, the new name also allows BBC World Service to differentiate itself from the advocacy -- for good causes, to be sure -- of BBC Media Action, formerly BBC World Service Trust.

Turner International hopes to tap growing pay-TV market in Brazil.

Posted: 06 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
C21 Media, 28 Feb 2012, Jesse Whittock: "Anthony Doyle is an Englishman in Brazil and in that capacity has witnessed the unprecedented boom in the country’s economy over the past decade. Turner International’s VP of distribution for the territory says there’s never been a better time to be involved in pay-TV there. 'There’s been a very large expansion of the middle classes in Brazil. Something like 40 million people have migrated from the lower class to the middle class in the past three years, and that means more people can afford pay-TV when before they could not,' says Doyle. Pay-TV penetration is still relatively low (about 16%, Doyle estimates) but Brazil 'is a society that absolutely loves watching TV,' he adds. 'It’s a very strong cultural phenomenon and having more options – free-TV, DTT, pay-TV, whatever – fits very well with Brazilians.' Doyle’s role encompasses the distribution of Turner’s local stable of channels, which includes CNN International, CNN en Español, TNT, Cartoon Network, iSat, Infinito and Fashion TV Brasil. 'Most of my job is taken up with the distribution of our pay-TV channels to the cable and satellite operators, which is a very vibrant business, and growth has been phenomenal over the last two years,' he says."

"Satellite television has brought the Arab-speaking world together, for better or worse."

Posted: 06 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 24 Feb 2012, Marwan Bishara, excerpts from Chapter 6 of The Invisible Arab: The promise and peril of the Arab revolutions: "The emergence of satellite networks broke the Arab state's hold on media, as satellite networks competed in the political and religious playing fields and through the use of entertainment and pop culture. ... Once a regime lost its control over the message, it lost control, period. From then on, it was a question of public will and time. The same could be said, perhaps, about the early Western monopoly over the airwaves. When satellite television first emerged, Arabs, among others, were likely in 1991 to hear CNN's Bernard Shaw reporting from Baghdad, followed by US generals, and, in between, commercials for McDonald's, Nike, and Jeep. ... Regionalisation or so-called 'perverse globalisation' has become the norm in the Arab world, as culturalisation took precedence over Western-driven globalisation. Arabic took over from English and French, and Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya pulled ahead of CNN and the BBC on the ratings charts, just as Rotana pulled ahead of MTV among Arabs - including the English-speaking elites. Satellite television has brought the Arab-speaking world together, for better or worse. It mostly advanced Arab rather than Western brands, explored Arab desires instead of US preoccupations, Arab drama and soap operas, rather than French literature or British sitcoms. Even when they adopted Western pop culture, they succeeded in adding their own flavour to it, prompting regional and global powers from Iran to China through France, Russia, and the United States, to establish satellite networks that broadcast in Arabic."

EVP of CNN International salutes BBC World Service on its 80th anniversary.

Posted: 06 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, 1 Mar 2012: "Tony Maddox, the executive vice president of news organisation CNN International, thinks that despite changes in the world media environment, there will always be a role for traditional broadcasting. He also paid tribute to the BBC World Service saying: 'If you look at what the British have given the world, you’d have to put the World Service in the top ten. It’s an outstanding service.'" With video. On BBC Newshour, 29 Feb 2012, "The Future of International Broadcasting," host Lyse Doucet questioned Tony Maddox about CNN International's Freedom Project, noting that the BBC would not participate in a campaign. (I wrote about this here.) Other video highlights of the BBC World Service 80th anniversary are available along the right column of this page.

Global Post, 29 Feb 2012, Michael Goldfarb: BBC World Service "has become the most important broadcasting organisation in the English speaking world (sorry CNN, it's true). Via its language services it provides vital news and information to many other countries. The birthday celebrations aren't quite as happy as they might be. There have been huge budget cuts to absorb and the World Service is moving from its long time home in Bush House, a wrench to an institution which has developed strong traditions of excellence that frankly come from a by-gone age. But then I'm prejudiced - I have worked there on and off over my years in England. I love the World Service and what it stands for and I remember Bush House as the world greatest aggregation of untenured intellectuals, a polyglot think-tank where the word 'think' actually means 'THINK.'" -- Actually, CNN International has the largest audience of any of the global English television news channels, including BBC World News, and it's the only one that claims to be profitable. Perhaps the addition of BBC World Service radio in English could support the claim of "most important."

Radio Times, 29 Feb 2012, William Gallagher: BBC World Service is "seen as being authoritative and trustworthy. The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger said: 'The BBC World Service is one of the best no-nonsense sources of information in a world crowded with sensationalism and cheap exploitation. It is serious without being dull.' In an era when US news channels are arguably being ever-more politicised the BBC World Service continues to be seen by many as an impartial organ of truth. Indeed, ratings for the World Service have risen in America. Currently 10.2m people listen each week and that's a trebling of its audience in the past ten years."

AFP, 1 Mar 2012: "The British government, which pays for World Service through its foreign ministry, slashed the radio station's £270 million ($431 million, 323 million euro) budget by 16 percent last year. The World Service has broadcast in 68 languages over its eight-decade history, but now has just 28 services, many of which are only accessible online."

London Evening Standard, 2 Mar 2012: "Lord Patten suffered the ultimate embarrassment last night. He missed all the speeches at his own grand party — guest of honour Foreign Secretary William Hague — to celebrate the 80th birthday of the BBC World Service and its departure from Bush House, its home in the Aldwych since 1941. The BBC [Trust] chairman was unavoidably detained in the House of Lords by a debate on BBC governance. In his absence, more than 700 people quaffed champagne, ate canapés and listened to a band called The Jazz Berries. The soirée had gained mild notoriety because Sir John Tusa, who used to run the World Service, declined to go, in solidarity with other ex-staffers who had not been invited on grounds of cost."

Anglican Communion News Service, 6 Mar 2012: "The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, today paid tribute to the work of the BBC World Service which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. The Archbishop, who is a long term supporter and advocate of the importance of the BBC World Service, described it as 'the gold standard for international affairs coverage'."

See previous post about same subject.

French international television news in Asia, including TV5Monde subtitles in Chinese.

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Taiwan Today, 5 Mar 2012: "The international news and current affairs television channel France 24 will be available to viewers in Taiwan by the end of this year, while TV 5 Monde will add Chinese subtitles to its French programming in Taiwan, the French Institute in Taipei said March 4. According to the institute, the number of Taiwan high school students studying French has been gradually increasing, with the language now trailing only English and Japanese in popularity."

Media Research Asia, 27 Feb 2012: "In a move to further strengthen TV5MONDE’s expanding audience share in Asia Pacific, TV5MONDE – the number one global network for TV entertainment in French announced the renewed appointment of Green Worldwide, a pan-regional Marketing, Business and Communications TV consultancy for the Singapore market. ... TV5MONDE is the #1 global network for TV entertainment in French and offers a wide variety of subtitled prime-time films, world news, live sports events, quality documentaries, cartoons and exciting lifestyle programming. With a network of 10 channels reaching 220 million homes in 200 territories on all platforms, and localized programming subtitled in 13 languages, we are able to reach not only the large global French-speaking community but the world’s business and cultural elite."

Religious international broadcaster HCJB renews its Arabic-language efforts.

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
HCJB Global press release, 2 Mar 2012: "More than a year after 'Arab spring' upheavals began shaking up much of the North Africa/Middle East Region, HCJB Global’s Journey of Hope campaign is offering media users eternal promises amid the social, political and cultural uncertainties facing them. Launched on Wednesday, March 1, the campaign renews the mission’s evangelistic efforts, focusing on the people throughout the region. ... The mission broadcasts in Arabic daily via satellite, shortwave and FM stations with programs also streamed via the Internet. A smartphone app allows listeners to 'travel' with their favorite program hosts. ... HCJB Global began Arabic-language programs to the region via shortwave in 1991. Satellite broadcasts followed 10 years later with Internet streaming not long after. Producers focus on niche groups, including young families, men, women or those learning to speak English. Many listeners find that listening establishes a connection that the printed word does not."

BBC Worldwide "starts global crime wave."

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media, 29 Feb 2012, Michael Pickard: "Broadcasters in Japan, Australia and Denmark have picked up a slew of crime dramas from BBC Worldwide (BBCWW), including Mad Dogs and Death in Paradise. ... The deals were announced at the BBCWW Showcase event held in Liverpool. 'Crime drama captures the imagination of TV audiences all around the world, and is a perennial best-seller for BBC Worldwide,' said Caroline Torrance, director of investment, content acquisitions, BBCWW."

Liverpool Daily Post, 2 Mar 2012, Alistair Houghton: BBC Worldwide "has been hosting the BBC Worldwide Showcase, the annual event where British broadcasters get to sell their shows to the world. Hundreds of television buyers from across the globe flock to the event to watch the latest programmes from the BBC and other British broadcasters and producers. It is, BBC Worldwide says, the biggest TV export showcase in the world outside Hollywood. The company – the commercial arm of the BBC– says the showcase generates around £50m – some 20% of its annual programme sales."

Multichannel News, 28 Feb 2012, Tim Baysinger: "BBC is developing a pair of new series, Wired and The Dead Beat. Wired and The Dead Beat are the first two series created out of the non-exclusive development deal between [BBC America] and Clerkenwell Films (who produce U.K. sci-fi series Misfits), which was announced last September. Both series will be distributed by BBC Worldwide. Premiere dates were not disclosed. Wired takes place in a world where 'syns' (synthetic organisms) -- replicas of humans -- are the latest luxury, while The Dead Beat centers around two cops, one dead and one alive, who team up, working from leads in the world of the dead, to track down killers in the world of the living."

BBC still has a German service, sort of, and it's on Spiegel's new web TV platform.

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 1 Mar 2012, Jesse Whittock: "BBC Worldwide (BBCWW), the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster, is launching a branded area on German publisher Spiegel’s new web TV platform. The BBC Exklusiv brand launches on the recently launched Spiegel.TV today, offering about 50 hours of longform content from BBCWW’s catalogue to the German market. Some programmes will be reversioned and receive their territory premieres through the service. ... 'After years of cooperation in the linear space with Spiegel this is a great opportunity to launch our well recognised BBC Exklusiv brand on a free VoD service and offer more world-class programming to German audiences,' said Isabelle Helle, head of Germany for BBCWW." See also BBC Exklusiv and the Spiegel.TV BBC Exklusiv channel, but you may get the "not available in your country" message.

Digital TV Europe, 29 Feb 2012: "Russian digital platform Tvigle Media has acquired 200 hours of programming from BBC Worldwide after striking a deal with the commercial arm of the British public broadcaster. The agreement will see a raft of British series made available on Tvigle’s transactional and subscription video-on-demand services."

Intelsat's New Dawn expects to be "a key neighborhood for broadcasters in Africa"

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Intelsat press release, 29 Feb 2012: "Intelsat S.A., the world’s leading provider of satellite services, and GlobeCast, a leading global content management and delivery company, today announced the launch of the Intelsat New Dawn Ku-band Multi-Channel Per Carrier (MCPC) media platform for Africa. As part of the IntelsatONESM terrestrial network, the platform provides a cost-effective solution for both regional and international programmers wishing to expand their distribution to cable and Direct-to-Home (DTH) services across sub-Saharan Africa. Intelsat is a leading video provider in Africa, offering more than 800 television channels to the continent. GlobeCast will provide ground and uplink services for the platform from its facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. ... 'One of the most exciting things about this new platform is that our broadcast customers can now uplink directly from Africa to a prime position for the DTH market in our region of the world,' said Alan Hird, CEO of GlobeCast Africa. 'With our global satellite capacities and fiber network, the content can easily come from anywhere worldwide to GlobeCast’s facility in Johannesburg. We expect this to quickly become a key neighborhood for broadcasters in Africa.'" -- The C-band part of New Dawn does not work because its west antenna reflector failed to deploy. See TechCentral, 2 Mar 2012. See also Intelsat New Dawn web page.

Is it time to revive RFE Hungarian? (updated)

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 26 Feb 2012, Mark Palmer, Miklos Haraszti and Charles Gati: "In recent weeks, the Hungarian government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban has frequently attacked Western media outlets but none more than CNN for its reports on the sorry state of Hungarian democracy. Hungarians can still watch CNN, but since January the network is no longer part of the package offered by Hungary’s largest cable provider. Klubradio, the country’s popular independent talk channel, has been even less fortunate. Despite widespread protests by its listeners, an effort supported by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Union, the government’s one-party Media Council has not renewed the station’s broadcasting license. Absent a last-minute reversal, Klubradio will be unplugged this spring. ... With the fall of Hungary’s Western-style, pluralistic democracy, the time is right for the United States to reinstate Radio Free Europe’s Hungarian-language broadcasts. ... A new Hungarian channel, by making full use of gifted editors and reporters in Hungary, should become a hub for quality journalism, a provider of inclusive debates and fair information, inviting to all and detached from all. By cultivating rational and civilized debates, it should be a wellspring for democracy and good journalism. It should not revive the confrontational spirit of the early years of the Cold War, nor should it even turn into an opposition channel broadcasting only 'bad news' that gets omitted by the official and semi-official media." See previous post about same subject.

The authors are certainly correct about avoiding the establishment of a "bad news" station.

So how is the goal of providing independent journalism to Hungary best accomplished? In 2012, Hungarians won't huddle around their shortwave sets. They probably don't even have shortwave sets. They might, in limited numbers, listen to a medium wave frequency from a neighboring country. The radio station would also be available via satellite and the internet, but this still would not attract mass audiences.

A website (with the obligatory accompanying social media outlets and mobile version) might seem more suitable for the present media environment. Again, the audience could be limited, especially because of the thousands of competing sources of information on the internet.

Many Hungarians have access to satellite dishes. A channel on one of the popular European satellites could bring audiences larger than those for radio or internet efforts, but would also cost more than the other options. If it is a commercial channel that succeeds in selling advertising, those costs could be offset.

Should this be an indigenous Hungarian effort, such as Klubradio using a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy and corresponding European organizations? On the other hand, the Radio Free Europe name does have stature, even if it also has a mixed historical legacy. The fact that RFE has been revived in Hungarian would itself send a message, inside Hungary and beyond.

Of course, some member of Congress, perhaps forgetting that there ever was an RFE Hungarian Service, will slip in an amendment calling for the resumption of a Voice of America Hungarian Service, with the result being we will have both VOA and RFE broadcasts in Hungarian.

Update: Washington Post, 2 Mar 2012, letter from Gyorgy Szapary, Hungarian amabassador to the US: "The writers suggested that CNN was dropped by one of the major cable companies because of government pressure. Senior management of that company, which is majority-owned by Deutsche Telekom, categorically denied this and said that it was a purely financial decision. Contrary to the writers’ claims, Klubradio, a station airing opposition voices, lost one of its regional frequencies in a transparent tender by offering less money than its competitors did. The decision was appealed, and the case is before the courts. Meanwhile, the radio station stays on the air."

How the BBG will increase its audience by 50 million by 2016.

Posted: 05 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Strategy blog, 28 Feb 2012, Paul Marszalek: "The BBG 2012-2016 Strategic Plan set an aspirational goal of increasing the weekly global audience size by 50 million. An increase of that size, a little more than 5% each year, would be no small feat in flush economic times. An atmosphere of budget cuts and austerity will make it that much harder. Regardless, it still can be done. ... Distribution: ... Overall, the data trends are clear: Consumers are moving away from shortwave and even medium wave (AM) to FM, Television, Satellite Television, and Mobile. ... The Types of Content and Target Audiences: ... Better options for crowded markets include short-form 'reach and frequency' plays — where short pieces air multiple times throughout the day and week. ... The Definition of a Language Service: ... By creating translation-based 'micro-services,' which consist of just 2-4 employees and stringers offering a short menu of content options, VOA could increase its service to Nigeria by adding [Ibo and Yoruba] under the current Hausa service. ... How the Entities Interact: The BBG broadcasters never truly unlocked the reporting and content creation power of the larger organization. That’s changing. The Strategic Plan has called for the creation of a 'global newsroom' to identify opportunities for greater collaboration, translation, and sharing of the best content across the BBG."

I'm looking forward to the new, collaborative Broadcasting Board of Governors International Broadcasting Bureau Global News Network Voice of America Radio Ashna Deewa Radio Radio Aap ke Dunya Middle East Voices Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty Radio Free Iraq Radio Farda Radio Azadi Radio Mashaal Radio Azattyq Radio Ozodi Radio Azatlyk Radio Ozodlik Radio Azadliq Radio Tavisupleba Radio Svaboda Radio Free Asia Office of Cuba Broadcasting Radio Martí TV Martí Middle East Broadcasting Networks Alhurra Radio Sawa Broadcasting Corporation. Now to create a logo....

With an "advocacy group" like this, who needs enemies?

Posted: 04 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Watch, 1 Mar 2012, BBG Watcher: "In a response for a RadioWorld article, 'Advocacy Group Objects to BBG Cuts,' a spokesperson for the Broadcasting Board of Governors advanced an argument that Voice of America does not have a special role representing the United States to foreign audiences and can be replaced in this role by private broadcasters funded by the BBG. ... CUSIB supports the so-called 'surrogate broadcasters' and their special independent role in delivering highly-targeted news to countries without free media. CUSIB does not believe, however, that surrogate broadcasters should be required to represent the United States and explain American policies to foreign audiences. According to CUSIB experts, the effectiveness of surrogate broadcasters depends largely on their editorial independence and being separate from the Voice of America and the U.S. Government. ... [A BBG spokesperson] did not elaborate how the requirement of the VOA Charter, a Public Law passed by the U.S. Congress which mandates that the Voice of America will represent significant American viewpoints and discussions and explain U.S. policies to foreign audiences, will now be carried out by surrogate, private broadcasters."

The surrogate broadcasters are not exactly "private." They are independent but US Government funded corporations.

When "CUSIB experts" say that "the effectiveness of surrogate broadcasters depends largely on their editorial independence and being separate from ... the U.S. Government," they imply that VOA does not have editorial independence and separation from the US government. What an awful thing to say about VOA, which must be independent if it is to have the credibility required for success in international broadcasting. If VOA's function is to "represent the United States," it should be transferred to the public diplomacy undersecretariate of the State Department and abandon any pretense of being a news organization.

They also imply that VOA does not do targeted news. In fact, it, and BBC, have done so all along. They are de-facto "surrogate" stations. Where audiences for international broadcasting are large, they are mostly because those audiences are seeking reliable news about their own country. Stating that the surrogate station provides the news about the target country, while VOA provides news about the United States and elsewhere, is the equivalent of saying that the surrogate stations and VOA are differentiated by the fact that the former attracts an audience, while the latter does not.

For each country, there is a sweet spot, a proportion of news about the target country, the United States, and the world, that best suits the interests of the international media audience. Only a consolidated USIB can achieve that proportion. There is no provision for success in the present structure of USIB.

Those who are trying to preserve the present entities of USIB do none of those entities, or USIB in general, any favors. If USIB remains as a confederacy of overlapping, duplicative broadcasting efforts, it will be unable to compete with the growing sector of unified, global media brands.

Radio Liberty and VOA via medium wave to Moscow subject to election content restrictions.

Posted: 04 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Journal, 2 Mar 2012, Ted Lipien: "US government-funded media freedom broadcasters, Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Liberty (Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, RFE RL), have resorted to self-censorship of their news to keep broadcasting on two leased radio stations in Moscow in the days leading up to Russian presidential elections. Self-censorship affects only their radio newscasts on two AM Moscow transmitters, which are leased and paid for by the US government to rebroadcast VOA and RL programs. It does not extend to their other program delivery options, such as their websites. The newscasts on these stations were changed in response to a request from Russian operators of the transmitters who had warned that broadcasting political programming or poll results several days before the elections would violate Russian media law. ... The letter sent to the Broadcasting Board of Governors by the operator of the Radio Liberty station in Moscow warned of a five-day ban on opinion polls, forecasts and use of research related to the campaigns or elections. ... The BBG pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for these two weak AM transmitters in Moscow. Since the BBG claims that its newscasts also can be easily accessed online, that money might be better spent on US-operated shortwave transmitters to reach those without Internet access in Russia rather than making Putin supporters richer and allowing them to dictate VOA and RL news coverage. Some of the money could be used to advertise shortwave frequencies in Russian media, for as long as that is allowed, and the remainder on improving radio, TV and new media coverage of human rights issues."

Ted's op-ed points to the tradeoff that international broadcasters increasingly face. Larger audiences can be achieved thought access to the domestic media of the target country. But such access usually requires compliance with the domestic media laws of that country.

Iran's Press TV recently lost its license to operate from the UK because of such laws. In India, no private FM station is allowed to broadcast news, but BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands, and Voice of Russia place soft, "infotainment" programming on these stations to gain a presence, and increase familiarity with their brands. These stations will have a head start when India relaxes its rules about news on FM radio.

Even if certain content is disallowed via rebroadcasting, it introduces audiences in the target country to the existence of the international broadcaster, and invites them to access the broadcaster through transborder direct-to-home media, such as the internet, satellite, and shortwave.

The Russian election media restrictions on the "freedom broadcasters" are lemons from which lemonade could have been made (or perhaps was made). During the affected days, this message could be repeated in lieu of normal programming: "We are unable to bring you are regular programming due to Russian government restrictions on broadcast content during the election period. We invite you to visit our website for full news coverage. The URL is ... ." And in the case of Radio Liberty: "We remind you that all of our programs and coverage are available in our shortwave transmissions. Here is the schedule:" With all all times and frequencies provided. The svobodanews.ru website could even sell, or provide advertisements for those who sell, shortwave radios.

Shortwave radio has fallen into such disuse in Russia that even medium wave, also no longer very popular in Russia, probably provides a small boost to RL and VOA audiences in the Moscow area. The purchase of MW transmitter time might be worth the investment.

VOA asks hardball question and is rewarded by being described as "the US government’s foreign news agency."

Posted: 03 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Global Post, The Grid, 28 Feb 2012, Jeb Boone: "[In] what seems to have been a temporary fissure in the Great Firewall of China, users of the heavily-censored Chinese internet were able to access usually barren Google+ yesterday, spamming US President Barack Obama’s official page with messages of freedom, dissent and requests for green cards. ... Such comments seemed to irk China's Foreign Ministry spokesmen Hong Lei, according to Voice of America, the US government’s foreign news agency. After stating that Chinese citizens should express themselves according to Chinese law, the spokesman was then asked if he be believed that the Chinese government considers citizens who criticize it on the internet as violating the law. He refused to answer." -- Granted, the hardball question was asked of a Chinese government spokesman. And VOA is not only USG funded but, unlike RFE/RL, RFA, and MBN, is also part of a USG agency (the International Broadcasting Bureau). And, frankly, the name "Voice of America" has never been especially helpful for a news organization wishing to demonstrate its independence.

Government Exceutive, 1 Mar 2012, Charles S. Clark: "Currently transmitting on radio, television and the Internet in 43 languages, VOA is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2012 and is reaching a record audience of 141 million weekly. Its calculated blend of news, discussion and culture consistent with U.S. foreign policy is increasingly being delivered through cutting-edge communications tools." -- "Consistent with US foreign policy" is not very helpful, either.

BBC World Service funding switch: divorce or decree nisi?

Posted: 03 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 2 Mar 2012, Vanessa Thorpe: "As the BBC World Service celebrates its 80th birthday this week, questions are being raised over its future independence and that of the BBC's monitoring service at Caversham in the run up to a funding switch that will see licence fee payers footing the bill, while the government retains some control. The change in funding – which will see the World Service and the international news monitoring service paid for by the licence fee, not the government – has been sold to the British public as a way of sorting out confusion about the work of these services. But intelligence experts and former World Service journalists have expressed fears that, far from underlining the distance between nationally funded journalism and state diplomacy, the new arrangement will be much less clear. ... Cultural historian and author Frances Stonor Saunders, who investigated the BBC's history of 'soft diplomacy' for a recent Radio 4 programme, believes the funding switch is a bad deal for the broadcaster. ... 'The senior management of the BBC should have negotiated a divorce but instead of bringing home a decree nisi they were fobbed off with the old arranged marriage for which the licence fee payer now has to pay.'" -- This article makes several references to "BBC World Service Trust," which is now named BBC Media Action.

More memories of Bush House as BBC World Service prepares to move out.

Posted: 03 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Press Trust of India, 1 Mar 2012: "For almost 70 years, Bush House was the base from where the BBC broadcast to the world in many languages, reporting key events, but now a wave of nostalgia has swept across generations of Indian and other journalists as the BBC prepares to move out of the iconic building. Located next to the Indian high commission in The Strand, the imposing building hosted top leaders, celebrities and key individuals from across the world as London-based journalists well known to audiences in India and elsewhere interviewed them. For decades, the BBC Hindi Service was broadcast from Bush House, reporting key events such as Indira and Rajiv Gandhi's assassinations at a time when the news media in India was largely governed by perspectives of the state. ... The iconic home of the BBC World Service was designed by Harvey Corbett and built in 1923 with further wings added between 1928 and 1935. The quintessentially British building was originally constructed for an Anglo-American trading organisation headed by Irving T. Bush, after whom it is named. It opened in July 1925, and was then considered the most expensive building in the world, having cost around 2 million pounds. Over a Celtic altar at the centre of the portico is the inscription 'Dedicated to the friendship of English-speaking peoples'. ... However, the BBC has never owned Bush House. Its owners have been the Church of Wales, the Post Office and now a Japanese-owned organisation, but for millions of listeners in India and elsewhere it remains the building which mostly represents the BBC."

BBC Media Action blog, 2 Mar 2012, Kirsty Cockburn: "BBC World Service is moving to join its domestic news colleagues in Broadcasting House. And we at BBC Media Action will be moving too. In June we head to west London to the complex of BBC buildings known as White City. The BBC kindly provides office accommodation to us as a gift-in-kind. Although we are an independent charity BBC Media Action shares with the BBC strong partnerships, a common heritage, and the same values." -- BBC Media Action is the former BBC World Service Trust.

BBC News, 29 Feb 2012: "To coincide with this week's 80th anniversary celebrations of the World Service, staff members past and present have been reminiscing about their time spent in the iconic building." With video produced by Thomas Hannen and Owain Rich.

"I used to love shortwave radio," he writes.

Posted: 03 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Gadling, 29 Feb 2012, Sean McLachlan: "For most of us these days, shortwave radio is a quaint product of a different age, a bit like the aerogramme. There was a time, though, when shortwave was king, and it's still vitally important to people in remote and developing regions, and to adventure travelers. ... I used to love shortwave radio. As a bored child of the Eighties living in the middle of nowhere, it gave me a window on the world. With my clunky old radio I could listen to broadcasts from just about anywhere. Most of the national radio services had broadcasts in English, so I tuned in to news and programs from my favorite stations: Radio Damascus, Deutsche [W]elle (Germany), Radio Beijing, Radio Moscow (the Soviet Union), Radio Quito (Ecuador) and of course the BBC. The BBC was my favorite. While not as exotic as Radio Pyongyang or the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service, the signal was always strong and they had programming on an endless number of topics. ... I don't use shortwave much these days, only when I'm working in remote areas like Ethiopia. Even there satellite television is beginning to take over. For me, like most people in the West, shortwave radio has been displaced by the Internet. That's not a bad thing, I guess. Still, it's nice to know you can pick up a radio and hear the other side of the world. I think I'll tune in today." -- Perhaps to discover that many of his favorite stations have left shortwave.

tvnewswatch, 29 Feb 2012, Newsjunky: "With the advent of the Internet, Digital Audio Broadcasting and satellite transmission, shortwave radio is in decline. Even the BBC World Service, which once covered the entire globe, has cut back on its services. But the demise of shortwave will be missed by many millions who regularly tune in from remote locations. ... In 2008 the BBC closed its World Service shortwave transmissions to Europe. For those sitting in a tent in a remote corner of France during their summer vacation were now cut off from England. 'There comes a point where the shortwave audience in a given region becomes so small that spending money on it can no longer be justified,' the broadcaster said in a statement."

South Korea's Arirang TV says "keep March 5th circled" for launch of its "new look."

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Arirang TV, 29 Feb 2012: "For all our viewers stay tuned! Come next week, Arirang TV will have a new look. Arirang's CEO, Sohn Jie-ae, says the network will be at the forefront of sharing all things Korean to the world and the new look was influenced by feedback from viewers across the globe. With much anticipation and excitement, Arirang will bring more news updates from Korea and around the globe and feature new dynamic programs including a live morning lifestyle show, in-depth talk shows and new music programs. We hope to be the go-to channel for Korean pop, news, and culture. So, do stay tuned! And keep March 5th circled on your calendars."

The Korea Heraald, 28 Feb 2012, Claire Lee: "'Many countries around the world promote themselves through their English-language news shows, including Japan’s NHK World, Russia Today, China’s CCTV News and France24,' said Sohn Jie-ae, president and CEO of the state-run, English-language station. 'In Korea, K-culture, which goes beyond K-pop, accounts for a huge part of its nation branding. Our program revamp this time is focusing on those two trends, K-culture and nation branding.' Starting March 5, Arirang’s live news shows will be broadcast 12 times a day, instead of the current nine. Each news show will be longer, expanding from 15 minutes to 30 minutes starting March 5. ... For its entertainment lineup, two K-music shows will be launched for gugak, or traditional Korean music, and Korean rock ‘n’ roll ? 'The Sensation' and 'Rock on, Korea!'? while three of its on-going K-pop shows have been strengthened with new segments and hosts." -- The most credible of the international channels do not "promote" their countries, but report the news.

China Radio International opens office in Melbourne, following bureau in Sydney.

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Business Day (Sydney), 2 Mar 2012, Peter Cai: "A leading Chinese radio network is due to open a Melbourne office within days, as part of a push by China's state-owned media to lift its image abroad and compete with the likes of CNN and the BBC. China Radio International, an official news outlet, will open the Melbourne office after recently establishing a bureau in Sydney. Another official Chinese government news agency, Xinhua, recently moved into an office on Pitt Street, Sydney, with more than a dozen journalists, including some hired locally. Christian Edwards, a senior correspondent for Xinhua ... said that while Xinhua was a long way from rivalling international news agencies such as CNN and Fox, it was gaining traction in the non-Western market. 'It's a long game and will take time. Xinhua's model has traction in south-east Asia and outside the West.' Xinhua has also reached out to the main local media organisations in Australia such as the ABC and AAP. It has been reported that the ABC is interested in signing some content-swap agreements with Xinhua. The ABC's managing director, Mark Scott, has said 'the two parties should actively get involved in mutually beneficial co-operation in future'."

Expanding list of English-language FM radio stations in India advertises BMW, Audi, Mercedes, etc.

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Campaign India, 28 Feb 2012, Shephali Bhatt: "From 2002 to 2006, there was only one English [private] radio channel in India, namely Go (92.5 MHz), (owned by Radio Mid-Day) and it operated only in Mumbai. In June 2006, the channel transformed into Radio One (94.3 MHz), after a joint venture between Mid-Day Multimedia and BBC Worldwide. While the channel expanded to seven metro areas, it was no more an all English radio station. Come September 2006, and there were two new English radio channels; HIT FM (95 MHz) in New Delhi, and Radio Indigo (91.9 MHz) in Bengaluru and Goa. In 2008, Chennai got its own in Chennai Live (104.8 MHz). Starting February 2012, Radio One (94.3 MHz) started offering English content in New Delhi and Mumbai. (The station however declined from being a part of this story because they feel they are more 'international' than just English). ... Prem Kumar, COO, Chennai Live, says, 'With English radio channels, the premium advertisers get a chance to reach out to an upmarket audience.' Sanjay Prabhu, MD, Radio Indigo, adds, 'Our advertiser base includes premium cars like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes; upper-end apartment and villas’ dealers, and brands like Apple.'"

CNN International applies for a digital terrestrial channel in Finland.

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
YLE, 24 Feb 2012: "CNN International has filed for a broadcasting license in Finland. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has received three applications for programming channels on a new digital television multiplex for terrestrial broadcasts. The application was filed by Turner Broadcasting System Europe Limited. According to Riikka Pitkänen of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the application is for CCN's existing output, not for a service especially tailored for a Finnish audience. CNN has been available in Finland in Finland via cable as part of pay-for-view services. If granted, the channel license will put CNN on air for non-cabled households."

RT (Russia Today) says its acquisition of Julian Assange talk show "would be any channel’s dream right now."

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Salon, 23 Feb 2012, Douglas Lucas: "Russia Today, rebranded to the more neutral-sounding RT in 2009, licensed the show, giving [Julian] Assange an audience of over 430 million worldwide. Since the Kremlin funds RT, the licensing has drawn loud criticism. Julia Ioffe in the Columbia Journalism Review describes RT as the Kremlin’s 'soft-power tool to improve Russia’s image abroad' and as often just a way for Russia 'to stick it to the U.S. from behind the facade of legitimate newsgathering.' Legitimate or not, RT’s Alyona Minkovski certainly criticizes the U.S. and takes a pro-WikiLeaks position. The young hostess has given sympathetic airtime to hackers hitting American companies over the WikiLeaks banking blockade, for example. WikiLeaks says its show 'is independently produced and Assange has control' and that WikiLeaks offers a 'Broadcasters license, only'; RT’s chief editor said Assange is 'not an empolyee [sic]. We bought the show.' The RT deal, then, may just be a profitable way for him to get a gigantic retweet." -- That would be, maybe, a potential audience of 430 million. The actual audience is audience is almost certain to be a tiny fraction of 430 million.

RT, 25 Jan 2012. “'Assange to record TV series for RT while under house arrest – I am sure it will be an amazing show!' RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan posted on her Twitter on Wednesday. 'I’ve never waited for a show on RT with such excitement.'. RT news executive Nikolay Bogachikhin held talks with Assange to secure the show. He is convinced working with Assange would be any channel’s dream right now, as the new host is full of fresh ideas."

The Guardian, 2 Feb 2012, letter from Graham Lang: "Re Miriam Elder's criticism of RT (Kremlin TV to broadcast Assange shows, 26 January), I discovered RT about 18 months ago. Clearly it is not critical of Russian politics, but then I don't watch it for that. I've learned more about the world's financial system from the Keiser report than from the BBC. If the BBC is not covering stories I'm interested in, such as the Occupy movement, I tune in to RT or al-Jazeera. Propaganda is an all-persuasive force operating in the world today. To break through this mist of propaganda I use many sources, but mainly the Guardian, BBC, RT and al-Jazeera, and then make my own judgment."

Riz Khan, ex-BBCWN, ex-CNNI, ex-AJE, will launch his new comedy novel.

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 27 Feb 2012, Janice Ponce de Leon: "Television news host Riz Khan has announced that he will launch his first novel at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on March 9. Riz Khan, a popular television broadcaster worldwide who worked with the world's three leading news networks, BBC World, CNN International and Al Jazeera English, will be launching his novel entitled We Interrupt Our Programming… on the fourth day of the five-day festival. Khan is recognised for his high-profile interviews with leading political figures, entertainment and sports icons and business tycoons. He is also the first Asian mainstream newsreader for an international network. The novel is a comedy drama that is set in the fast-paced world of international news and features and what happens behind the camera."

Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal provides an opening for US distribution of BBC World News.

Posted: 02 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 28 Feb 2012, Alex Weprin: "This morning Comcast filed its first annual report with the FCC concerning its acquisition of NBCUniversal. The report updates the FCC on how it has followed through on the promises it made in order to get the deal approved. ... Comcast revealed that it plans on expanding its carriage of international cable news channel BBC World News in 2012. So far international cable news channels have failed to gain much distribution in the U.S., but by adding the BBC channel to a number of new markets, Comcast may provide it with enough of a footprint to help it gain distribution on other carriers. The filing also shows that NBC News will formally launch its English-language Hispanic news website NBCLatino.com in April 2012. Right now the site exists in a beta form at NBCLatino.tumblr.com. ... NBC News policy on independence: 'NBC News Policy requires that the NBCUniversal news organizations treat Comcast, our various divisions, subsidiaries, products and services in the same manner as any other company, product or service. Consistent with this policy, neither Comcast nor any of our joint venture partners will receive, should expect to receive, or should seek to receive different or special treatment of any kind. Comcast employees should not ask any NBCUniversal news organization to investigate, develop, broadcast or report stories about Comcast, our products or services or any other subject whatsoever.'" -- This would be good language for an agreement between the US Government and USIB. I especially like the "whatsoever."

Cracking down on satellite dishes in Tehran ... and Boston.

Posted: 01 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 28 Feb 2012, Chris Forrester: "It is a tale of two cities, where one is an evil regime that won’t allow people to watch satellite TV, and then there’s Iran! Iran doesn’t like satellite TV, or perhaps more accurately it doesn’t like TV that comes into its country from outside its borders. ... Additionally, Iranian police have again been confiscating dishes in the name of 'social security'. Fortunately, dishes and their associated receivers, are so cheap that people simply replace then once the police have moved away to another unfortunate district. The Boston problem, as reported by the Boston Globe, concerns the 'clumps of satellite dishes installed haphazardly on the fronts of houses in East Boston'. City Councilor Sal LaMattina wants the Council to ban dishes from the fronts of buildings. He has the support of Boston’s mayor. ... A similar ban is being discussed in Philadelphia, and the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Assoc. is reportedly considering challenging these actions. The Boston Globe, far from staying neutral, is supporting Cllr LaMattina and is calling for dishes to be installed where they can be practical but also visually pleasing. Shame about Iran, however." Refers to Boston Globe, 27 Feb 2012, editorial.

What to do with MW 648 kHz, of the old BBC 648 to Europe.

Posted: 01 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 27 Feb 2012, citing radiocaroline.co.uk. "UK media regulator Ofcom is hopeful that it will soon be in a position to draft a consultation document regarding any possible future use for 648 kHz. Until last year the frequency was used to transmit the programmes of the BBC World Service - and for about six weeks carried Dutch Radio 1 on a temporary basis - but the BBC has now confirmed to Ofcom that it has no intention of using the frequency for any purpose in the future. The regulator is now in discussion with the company that owns the transmitting infrastructure for this channel [Babcock], and whilst this process may take some time, Ofcom has confirmed that its intention is to proceed with drafting the document which will invite members of the public to make Ofcom aware of how they would wish the channel to be used." See also comments. And previous posts on 13 Feb and 31 Mar 2011. -- This could be a good frequency for NPR to reach US expats and other anglophones in Europe, if funding could be found.

Totaal TV (Hilversum), 29 Feb 2012, Jan-Hein Visser: "Er zal nu een publieke consultatieronde plaatsvinden om te bepalen wat er met de frequentie moet gebeuren. Er zijn ondanks de vele digitale ontvangstmogelijkheden nog altijd veel geluiden te horen van luisteraars in Nederland en België, die de middengolfuitzendingen missen."

Proteus and Ariel, 2 Feb 2012, excerpt of "BBC 648" by Rogier VanDeWeyden:

Broadcast the bits of a single thought,

From Orfordness to the whole world,

Error-Corrected, CRCed, bound to arrive,

Complete and clean, bounced off Heaviside,

Brought back to earth in sparking coils.