Al Jazeera English expands distribution in India with Tata Sky deal.

Posted: 30 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Press Trust of India, 26 Apr 2012: "Qatar-based Al Jazeera Network today said it is widening distribution of its English news channel in India, besides adding local content to its global feed. Announcing a tie-up with direct-to-home service provider Tata Sky, the media firm said its English news channel now reaches 25 million households in India, which is around 10 per cent of its global count. ... Since December last year, the channel has been available on another DTH platform -- Dish TV. The news channel also reaches Indian audience through cable operators. The channel will also start airing an Indian documentary series from May 3, 2012 onwards."

Ahram Online, 24 Apr 2012: "The documentary film ½ Revolution co-directed by Karim El-Hakim and Omar Shargawi, won The Golden Award in the long category at the 8th Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival. ½ Revolution directed by the Danish/Palestinian Omar Shargawi and Egyptian/American Karim El-Hakim is a personal story about the filmmakers' involvement in the Egyptian revolution. The title was chosen to suggest that the revolution is not over yet and will be ongoing."

Wired, 26 Apr 2012, Susan Crawford: "Remember, Al Jazeera can topple authoritarian regimes but cannot get carried by Comcast (and is available in only five places in the U.S.). Why is that? Because Comcast and the other major cable distributors get to decide who wins and who loses, and under what terms. Negotiation isn’t a real option unless the programmer has power or is willing to share a big chunk of its revenues (or both). Now that same construct is coming to the online ecosystem."

Sierra Leone official visits VOA for radio and television interviews.

Posted: 30 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Embassy of Sierra Leone to the United States press release, 26 Apr 2012, via Cocorioko (Freetown): "Sierra Leone’s Deputy Information Minister and Co-Government Spokesman, Sheka Tarawalie (Shekito), was a special guest of the Voice of America (both radio and television) on Monday 23rd April 2012 as he granted a series of wide-ranging interviews at their Independence Avenue [SW] studios, Washington DC, USA. Received and led by Sierra Leonean-born VOA anchor David Vandy, the Minister was welcomed and introduced to virtually all staff at the studios before granting the interviews to ‘African Beats’ (Radio),‘In-Focus’ (Television) and ‘Daybreak Africa’ (Radio) in that order." See also Cocorioko, 24 Apr 2012.

RFE/RL Georgian and USAID launch media school in Tbilisi.

Posted: 30 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 23 Apr 2012: "Twenty aspiring journalists in Georgia are set to begin a year of hands-on training in modern media. RFE/RL’s Georgian Service, Radio Tavisupleba, is partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and IREX to launch the Radio Tavisupleba Media School, a new one-year certificate program in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. ... In addition to the education center, Radio Tavisupleba now offers a 'learning-by-doing' externship at its Tbilisi bureau, open to experienced journalists who seek further professional development. Successful applicants will work side-by-side with RFE/RL staff for two months, producing content across all platforms, and learn tools of the trade from journalists with decades of experience."

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation considers launch of broadcasting watchdog agency and international satellite TV station.

Posted: 30 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Today's Zaman, 19 Apr 2012, Abdullah Bozkurt: "A Turkish proposal to establish a broadcasting watchdog agency among 57 Muslim countries was officially approved on Thursday at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in Gabon’s capital, Libreville. The decision effectively empowers the OIC with new tools to promote broadcasting of a positive image of the Muslim world on member countries’ television channels. The OIC was established in 1969 to protect and promote the interests of Muslims worldwide. Officially named 'The OIC Broadcast Regulatory Authorities Forum,' the platform can be used by Turkey to limit broadcasts by banned Kurdish Roj-TV, which is affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in case the PKK in the future decides to use one of the OIC members’ local channels to broadcast terror propaganda. Turkey submitted the proposal to establish the OIC Broadcast Regulatory Authorities Forum in an OIC meeting in Dakar, Senegal, held from Oct. 11-13, 2010. The proposal was welcomed and approved for further exploration. ... In the meantime, OIC officials underline that the broadcasting forum will be used in close coordination with a satellite TV channel to be launched under the OIC’s name. The OIC will use the international satellite TV station to project the voice of the Muslim world, report on Islamic causes, defend Muslim interests within the framework of Islamic solidarity among OIC member states and stand up to the repeated defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims. The draft resolution said that 'particularly in this age of globalization, where so many voices are rising which claim to speak on behalf of Islam, and where defamation campaigns have multiplied against our noble faith and its symbols, it has become more necessary than ever to give serious consideration to the idea of launching an international satellite TV station under the umbrella of the OIC.'" YouTube, 8 Mar 2012: "New television shows are fanning the flames of cultural progression in the Middle East, showcasing new & radical social norms and confronting taboos considered to be punishable by death in many hardline Islamic countries. Reuters columnist David Rohde takes a look at the changing face of Arabic television in this edition of Decoder."

Research report: "DTH satellite platforms are emerging" in Asia.

Posted: 30 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 23 Apr 2012: "Asia's pay-TV market is expected to top 600 million subs by 2016, reaching almost 700 million subscribers by 2020, according to a new report from Media Partners Asia (MPA), with India and Southeast Asia among the key growth markets. The report ... found that of the 35 million new subs added across the region last year, 15 million were in markets outside of China. Of that 15 million, more than 60 percent, were added in India, followed by 15 percent from Southeast Asia, notably Indonesia with 5 percent. North Asia contributed 17 percent, led by Korea at 11 percent. Vivek Couto, executive director of the MPA, noted, 'Pay TV in India and Indonesia are growing at a rapid pace, with competition intensifying and structural dynamics changing, while direct-to-home (DTH) satellite platforms are emerging as key gatekeepers to future distribution value. Similar trends are occurring, though with less intensity, in markets such as Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.' ... MPA's forecasts are healthy: the pay-TV subscriber base across Asia Pac will rise from 411 million last year to 602 million in 2016 and 695 million by 2020. Particular growth will be seen in digital pay-TV subs, rising from 203 million in 2011 to more than 623 million by 2020. Penetration rates could rise to 62 percent by 2016 and 67 percent by 2020, up from 50 percent last year. Digital-TV penetration is expected to soar from 23 percent last year to 60 percent in 2020." -- Seems that online, on-demand video could affect these projections.

Good evening non-transitioning states. We present this week's edition of Many-to-Many Deliberation.

Posted: 29 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Journal of Public Deliberation, Volume 8 (2012), Issue 1, Shawn M. Powers and William Youmans, "A New Purpose for International Broadcasting: Subsidizing Deliberative Technologies in Non-transitioning States." Excerpts...

"In countries where internet access is insufficient, can international broadcasters provide a special forum for many-to-many deliberation? International broadcasters have access via television and radio to many places where internet access is non-existent or where state controls limit dissent. Can they re-define new missions using non-traditional Internet technologies, such as mobile phones, in combination with the powers of broadcast to facilitate deliberation and information flows where they are currently poor? ...

"In November 2011, months after popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and amidst ongoing political ferment in Bahrain and Syria, VOA launched the Middle East Voices (MEV) portal (middleeastvoices.com). Distinct from the U.S. government financed Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN), the portal is exclusively online and its goals explicitly deliberative. ... Speaking to the unique need for state- supported projects in transitioning and repressive states, [MEV managing editor Davin] Hutchins (2012) argued: 'Our goal is our public diplomacy, which is different than the goal of The New York Times. We want to make sure that the exchange of ideas and ideals is taking place, despite challenging circumstances, where freedom of expression is lacking. We also want to make sure the ideas and ideals that are germinating in the public sphere are made public and accessible to English speaking audiences. These are not the goals of privately run news organizations, but our site and the VOA takes them seriously.'"

The goal of the audience, however, is to obtain the type of reliable and comprehensive news not available in their own countries, but available from independent outlets such as the the New York Times, if not from the Voice of America. If US international broadcasting conflates journalism and public diplomacy, the results will disappoint.

The proposal for international broadcasting to "facilitate deliberation" is interesting. It's not actually a new role. Over the decades, international broadcasters, through their mailbag programs, have solicited and broadcast listener comments, which begat other, contrasting listener comments.

A more recent version of audience participation was VOA's "Talk to America," a daily call-in program that began in 1994. That show recently was discontinued, perhaps a victim of internet-based media overtaking the telephone as medium of choice of choice for "deliberation." The BBC's "World Have Your Say" carries on, however.

Perhaps a more important BBC forum is the Doha Debates, chaired by former BBC correspondent Tim Sebastan, and broadcast eight times a year by BBC World News television. In fact, the Doha Debates have been flattered by imitation, including Deutsche Welle's "The New Arab Debates," also moderated by the rather busy Tim Sebastian, and the BBC Africa Debate.

All of this shows that a trusted international broadcaster can be an effective moderator of discourse. It must be seen as an authoritative but neutral player. The BBC has been unambiguous in its commitment to independent journalism. US international broadcasting, whose new mission statement has jettisoned "accurate and reliable news," may not instill such confidence.

Furthermore, the BBC's stature is enhanced by being one of the world's most famous brands. USIB is a confusing confederation of "many brands." The VOA sub-brand has had a good reputation in the Middle East, but it has been fading from memory since VOA ceded its Arabic Service to the new Rado Sawa in 2002. In any case, Middle East Voices understates its association with VOA, presenting itself as yet another brand of USIB.

Moderating debate can open a can of worms. From the Middle East, much public opinion will consist of pointed opposition to Isaeli and US policies. Yes, the anti-semitic dreck must be eliminated, but if input that is opposed to US and Israeli polices is also snipped, a pro-US bias will be apparent. If the natural flow of opinion from the Middle East is unabated, an anti-US bias will emerge -- much to the displeasure of Congress. The facilitation of deliberation may be a no-win situation.

The 7,070 "likes" of the Middle East Voices Facebook page is to be compared with the weekly audience of 33.4 million for BBC Arabic radio and television. To be sure, MEV's likes and followers will grow, but at present the score is Old Purpose 33,400,000, New Purpose 7,070. New Purpose has some serious catch-up ball to play.

New Purpose may be the outcome of the new IBB mission statement, in which "connect" has been given equal billing with "inform." But does international broadcasting really need a new purpose? There is still plenty of work to be done in Western international broadcasting's original purpose. There are still many countries that do not enjoy independent journalism. Western international broadcasting provides accurate and reliable news, and finds ways to get that content into countries that try their best to keep it out. This is the unique function of international broadcasting. In terms of attracting audiences, it is the haymaker.

Yes, encourage audience, or "citizen," input, and use it if warranted, but do not let it become the tail that wags the dog. If US international broadcasting tries to become the latest popular social media app, it will find itself lost, forever, in the crowd.

On DPRK's Voice of Korea, the news, but not before 6 minutes of the songs of Kims Il Sung and Jong Il.

Posted: 29 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
North Korea Tech, 26 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "North Korea’s international shortwave broadcaster, the Voice of Korea, will use the following schedule for English language broadcasts from April 30, 2012. The radio station broadcasts two programs a day, each around 57 minutes long. Program one is carried on broadcasts aimed at South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, South Africa and Central and South America. Program two is carried on broadcasts for Europe, North America and North East Asia. Each of these programs includes the same core features: the news, editorials and the reminiscences of Kim Il Sung. Music and other features sometimes differ between the two broadcasts. They broadly follow along these lines: :00 Opening signal, station identification: 'This is Voice of Korea'; :01 National Anthem; :03 Song of General Kim Il Sung; :06 Song of General Kim Jong Il; :09 News, editorials (approx 15 minutes), followed by music; :30 Reminiscences of Great Leader President Kim Il Sung of the century; :40 Music and features; :50 Editorial, special message (occasional); :55 Frequency information; :57 Close." With latest transmission schedule.

The Economist, 25 Apr 2012: "For years North Korea has been threatening to turn Seoul into a bulbada (sea of fire). Those who live here are well accustomed to such bluster, and are mostly happy to ignore it. Perhaps because of this, Pyongyang is now trying out a new style of tough talk. The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) ... is now naming individual targets. Predictably, South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, with his habit of fussing Pyongyang with talk of regime change, makes the top of the list. But also in line for 'reduction to ashes in three or four minutes, by unprecedented unusual means' are some of the South’s main media outlets. This apparently includes the main national broadcasters, KBS, YTN, and MBC. In Seoul, they seem like strange choices: many of their reporters are currently on strike, on the grounds that the government has been interfering with their coverage."

Gizmodo, 26 Apr 2012, Sam Biddle: "What do you do when your rockets are broken, your nukes are just threats, and the whole world thinks you're a joke? Shout! Lots of shouting! ... In the woods! ... Kim Jong-un would also be wise to maybe take a few hundred bucks out of his Rockets That Don't Work program and divert them toward a used DSLR, so that his country's absurd propaganda flicks don't look like terrible late 80s VHS action movies."

Yonhap, 28 Apr 2012: "About 40 North Korean defectors launched balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist state Saturday, as the North has stepped up its saber-rattling against the South. The activists from the Fighters for Free North Korea group sent 10 large balloons carrying 200,000 leaflets, 1,000 one U.S. dollar bills, 300 DVDs and 200 booklets from Imjingak pavilion in the northern border city of Paju about 50 kilometers northwest of Seoul. The event was held as part of the North Korea Freedom Week 2012, set to continue in Seoul through Tuesday... ."

Theme music to capture to triumph and agony of international broadcasting.

Posted: 28 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Stephen Arnold Music press release, 24 Apr 2012: "Viewers who tune into CNN International's long-running show, 'World Sport,' see sports news unfolding on a global scale, with breaking information on soccer, golf, tennis, motorsports, the Olympics, and more. Sonic branding experts Stephen Arnold Music composed the enduring new theme and music package for 'World Sport' that lives up to CNN International's reputation for elite news reporting. The soundtrack involved the Stephen Arnold Music team bringing in top players from the Dallas and Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestras to provide the organic distinction and depth of using real instruments in the arrangements. It was the latest assignment in a growing string of CNN International themes written by Stephen Arnold Music, which also includes 'International Desk,' 'Inside the Middle East' and 'Inside Africa.' As CNN International's flagship sports show, 'World Sport' demanded a new theme that would timelessly capture the triumph, agony, anticipation and communal spirit of athletics. Equally important, the music needed to transcend regional tastes, while giving CNN International producers the flexibility to easily fit the compositions to graphic elements of varying durations." With audio.

Sky News Arabia will launch on 6 May.

Posted: 28 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AMEinfo.com, 25 Apr 2012: "Sky News Arabia, the 24-hour Arabic language multi-platform breaking news service, will launch on 6th May, 2012 and broadcast to the region across multiple platforms. ... The channel aims to provide a new horizon for news reporting with independent breaking news across the Arab world and will be available on Transponder 15 on Arabsat Badr 4, Transponder 14 on Nilesat 201, on du IPTV and e-Life platforms plus in high definition on the OSN pay-TV platform. ... In advance of the launch, the Sky News Arabia digital news platform has been active since the website, skynewsarabia.com, launched in Beta format in February, and social media channels have attracted more than 100,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter." See previous post about same subject.

The National (Abu Dhabi), 16 Apr 2012, Ola Salem: "At an open discussion between five [UAE Federal National Council] members, media professionals and students yesterday, all agreed that the National Media Council (NMC) should be given further rights to supervise locally produced media content. ... AA, an Emirati TV producer, said that with more than 40 television channels and 300 newspapers and magazines in the country, 'the big question' was what the NMC was doing to supervise it all. 'Can we control international media coming out of the UAE, for example Sky News [Arabia], which will have Emirati presenters in [traditional clothes]? Can we control it 10 years from now?' he asked. Dr Aisha Al Nuaimi, a mass communication professor at UAE University, said control over the outlets had dissolved. 'The NMC needs to be the federal umbrella,' she said. Dr Al Nuaimi called for public-service television channels for Emiratis, along the lines of the BBC."

Al Jazeera commentator on helping "independent media stay independent in a digital world," eg in Russia.

Posted: 28 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 25 Apr 2012, Kevin Anderson, freelance journalist, commentary: "I've just joined the Media Development Loan Fund, a mission-driven investment fund for independent news outlets in countries with a history of media oppression. It provides low-cost capital and business assistance to help news media become financially sustainable in places where the press isn't free. MDLF is launching the Knowledge Bridge project, to help independent news outlets in countries like Nepal and Guatemala make the digital transition. ... Digital and mobile technologies open up huge opportunities to distribute news and information to a wider audience and can be a driving force for social and political change. But as we've seen in developed countries, they can also disrupt the business models that have supported journalism for decades. In the countries where MDLF works, the stakes in whether news organisations successfully navigate the digital transition are much higher than in the West. If independent media go out of business in places like Russia or Zimbabwe, reliable news disappears as outlets supporting - and supported by - governments or oligarchs take over. That's why it's time for me to take on a new challenge: to help independent media stay independent in a digital world."

International Press Institute, 24 Apr 2012: "Ahmad Ibrahim, who heads the investigative unit of the Doha, Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, will take part in an IPI World Congress 2012 panel session titled, 'Going Beyond Borders: Covering Breaking News in Your Own Backyard and Making Sure Your Story Gets Out to the Rest of the World,' on Tuesday, June 26. Launched in June 2010, Al Jazeera’s investigative unit is 'dedicated to breaking significant hidden stories from around the world for output across all the Network’s channels, languages and platforms'. The unit produces its own investigations, but also commissions stories of varying lengths from external sources. Ibrahim, a British citizen of Syrian origin, also runs Al Jazeera Arabic’s Syria desk, and is responsible for the channel’s coverage of the Syrian revolution and its network of citizen journalists inside Syria."

Voice of Russia reports on "biased journalism Al Jazeera style" and distributes St George ribbons to listeners.

Posted: 28 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 24 Apr 2012, Kim Brown: "The story of a former Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem says that while he was covering the revolutions in Syria and Libya, he discovered that the channel Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, was skewing the story of these revolutions in a way that perhaps will not be viewed as an objective journalism. We are fortunate to have an exclusive with Mr. Ali Hashem on the line with us now." With interview transcript.

Voice of Russia, 25 Apr 2012, Mikhail Aristov: "Muscovites can already see orange and black striped ribbons appearing on cars, posters and bags in the city streets – a sign that the St.George Ribbon public movement gathers momentum. Part of the campaign to mark the upcoming 67th anniversary of WWII victory, the St.George ribbon is especially popular among young people. ... The Voice of Russia has been taking part in the action since 2007. ‘We have already distributed orange-black ribbons among thousands of people from all across the globe,’ says Sofya Berezhkova, the Voice of Russia’s coordinator of the project. 'Many of our listeners sent us appreciation letters where they also remembered about the events related to the Second World War, Berezhkova says. As for the 2012 St. George Ribbon campaign, we have already sent orange-black ribbons to our listeners in the United States, Canada, Britain, Poland, Bulgaria and some Latin American countries.'"

Voice of Russia, 25 Apr 2012, Gorokhova Ekaterina: "The Voice of Russia World Services continues a series of programs dedicated to the bicentenary of Russia’s victory in the 1812 war against Napoleon."

Voice of Russia, 24-28 Apr 2012: Correspondence between International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Voice of Russia regarding VOR's coverage.

Voice of Russia is successor to the old Radio Moscow.

Still kicking around speculation whether Al Jazeera will bid for British Premier League rights.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 25 Apr 2012, Keith Weir: "BSkyB, which has built its British pay-TV business on the back of soccer rights, could face a costly challenge from Qatari group Al Jazeera when English Premier League rights are renewed this summer. Better known for covering news in the Middle East, Al Jazeera has recently expanded aggressively in French soccer rights, prompting speculation it wanted to cross the Channel to muscle in on the Premier League. The outcome of the looming contest will be deeply significant for the bidders and for the Premier League's member clubs, who have reaped millions of pounds from the sale of rights to broadcast their top stars in action. BSkyB has had the lion's share of domestic Premier League rights since the competition was launched two decades ago, the two enjoying what one former Sky executive called 'one of the great corporate romances of our time'. ... The 20-club Premier League was expected to issue tenders in the next week or two for rights from 2013. BSkyB will face a tricky choice on how to pitch its bid in a blind auction. 'The Premier League needs the market to think that Al Jazeera is coming in order to make others bid higher,' said Simon Johnson, a consultant with the Sports & Media Group at lawyers Charles Russell. 'Al Jazeera are ambitious, wealthy and acquisitive, but as of now they have concentrated all their efforts on buying rights in France,' he said."

Football Economy, 24 Apr 2012, WG: "Al Jazeera has decided not to bid for the Premier League television rights when the next auction starts in August for a three year period. Al Jazeera had been seriously considering such a move as part of its plans to build a global sports brand. The form of the packages to be offered has not yet been decided, but the Premier League had been hoping that Al Jazeera, backed by Qatar's gas and oil wealth, would go head-to-head with Sky. It now looks as if only BSkyB and ESPN will be involved in the main packages. A comment issued by Citigroup said: 'The bidding process will potentially have more twists and turns, making the process more complicated to analyse. In general, though, the direction of travel is favourable to BSkyB. The move to pan-European rights, if that happens, would raise the barriers to entry into the auction while reports of Al Jazeera's non-involvement, if confirmed, suggest the bidding process will stay rational.'"

NHK World will promote its channel at hotel trade conference in Baltimore.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Hospitality Net, 25 Apr 2012, onpassing press release: "For the very first time, Japan's sole public broadcaster, operating the country's largest national and international television network, is coming to the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC). Today 154 million households spanning 130 countries and regions depend on it. Based on international traveler demand, more than 300,000 hotels rooms across the United States, Asia and Europe already offer it. Independent hotels and global brands looking for the 'IT' factor to enhance international travelers' experiences and establish a new competitive market edge should plan to visit NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp.) and distributor Japan International Broadcasting (JIB) in Booth No. 1231, June 25 to 28 at the Baltimore Convention Center. 'Whether you are an independent hotel or a global brand providing hospitality to travelers from around the world, it's critical that you also deliver news, information and entertainment today's travelers demand in the medium they prefer to receive it,' said Jay Campbell, NHK World TV U.S. representative. 'As dependency on technology continues to grow, hotels must implement the solutions that are requested most by their guests in order to remain competitive. When 85.2 million households in Europe, 42 million in the Middle East and Africa, 21 million in Asia, 5.3 million in North and South America, and 440,000 in Australia and the South Pacific subscribe to a service, hotels — especially those in large city centers designed for international travelers — cannot afford to ignore the trend.'"

Russia's CTC International channel now available in Kyrgyzstan.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
CTC Media press release, 25 Apr 2012: "Russia's leading independent media company CTC Media has announced the signing of an agreement with the Evropa-Aziya (Europe-Asia) television and radio company, envisaging broadcasting of the CTC-International channel in Kyrgyzstan. CTC-International is currently available to viewers in the U.S. and Israel, as well as in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa through the Hot Bird satellite. ... Marat Devlet-Kildeyev, CTC Media's Head of International Broadcasting: 'We have intended to broadcast in Kyrgyzstan for a long time, especially given the long historical and cultural ties between our countries. Television and radio company Evropa-Aziya, with whom we signed the partnership agreement, has operated in Kyrgyzstan for more than 10 years. The channel is currently available to 25% of the country's population, and the technical penetration will increase in the future.'" See previous post about CTC in Kazakhstan.

Goodluck merging Voice of Nigeria (international) and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (domestic).

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Daily Trust (Abuja), 25 Apr 2012, Gabriel Omonhinmin: "I have no option but to join in the on-going debate, whether or not, it is proper for VON [Voice of Nigeria] to be re-merged with FRCN [Federal Radio Corporation o Nigeria], twenty-two years after it was excised from the then National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). ... For the benefit of the general public, it is appropriate to clarify the mandate of both stations. The FRCN main focus is to feed its Nigerian audience with local news development whereas Voice of Nigeria's mandate is to broadcast the country's view points to the rest of the world. ... I am ... not saying that [VON's] function could no longer be carried out by VON if the organisation is eventually re-merged with FRCN. But one thing is certain; the station will never again be as effective in its primary assignment as it is now. Knowing the make-up of FRCN and VON, high level of intrigues, manipulation and fight for supremacy will be the other of the day. This will never in any way help neither stations nor the country."

Information Nigeria, 3 Apr 2012: "Almost a year after he introduced the transformation agenda, which implementation so far remains but unimpressive, there are strong indications that the Goodluck Jonathan administration is now set to do the right thing. ... The core elements of the new initiative as revealed to The Guardian are the overhaul of the country’s tertiary education system, scrapping or merging of agencies performing same or overlapping functions, and a significant cut down in budgetary allocation to current expenditure in favour of capital spending. ... [A government committee proposed] the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Voice of Nigeria (VON) may come under the umbrella of Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) with a Director-General as it is with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)."

The BBC, the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, and CNN domeonstrate that there are synergies to be enjoyed when domestic and international broadcasting are conducted by the same organization.

Shortwave listeners in the US, even as far west as the Pacific coast, are hearing and decoding VON's new DRM digital shortwave transmissions. According to other listeners, some days the DRM transmissions are not on the air at all. See previous post.

Two of top three Change.org radio-related petitions involve international radio, including VOA Tibetan.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Survivor, 25 Apr 2012, Matthew Lasar: Change.org "has been around for about five years. The site lets you launch your own petition, asking a government, or a company, or some other entity to do (or stop doing) something. Here are the top three radio related Change.org causes, in order of the number of people who signed the request. ... #2: LM Radio: We request LM Radio to obtain a licence to broadcast in Gauteng. Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa—home to Pretoria and Johannesburg. From 1936 through 1975, LM Radio broadcast popular music to South Africa from Mozambique in Portuguese (Mozambique being a Portuguese colony until 1975). The station offered a cultural alternative to apartheid South Africa’s state run system of broadcasting (SABC). ... Now a plucky band of older LM Radio lovers want the recently revised online version put back on South Africa’s airwaves via a license. ... #3: Save Voice of America Radio to Tibet. The petition calls for the preservation of Voice of America radio broadcasts to Tibet. It is directed in part to the Voice of America’s Board of Governors, and to members of House Appropriations Committee of the United States Congress. 'We adamantly object to the proposal by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which manages the Voice of America, and their plans to eliminate the VOA Tibetan Radio Service,' the statement begins. ... At the bottom end of the list, a petition calling for the Pacifica radio network to inaugurate an 'Arab Spring Netizens Radio Program,' has received no votes (at least so far)." See previous post about the BBG's decision to retain VOA Tibetan radio, for now.

US diplomat and author discusses US international broadcasting and its competition.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 24 Apr 2012, Peter Van Buren, US diplomat and author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, as interviewed by John Brown: "Credibility is the key. If you look at the very successful penetrations of American society by foreign 'public affairs,' you see sources of news and entertainment that are clearly allied with a foreign entity (China Xinhua News, RT.com, al Jazeera, the BBC) and do not try to hide that fact. Yet, at the same time, they are aggressive in presenting a side of news that is missing in America's mainstream media, often pointing out the 'other side' to a story or not shying away from reporting U.S. Government mistakes and misjudgments. Their credibility comes not from being pro-Russia, but from tapping into a need in the U.S. for alternative news sources. People are too sophisticated now, even in the developing world, to be reached via crude propaganda -- America=Good, al Qaeda=Bad. That costs those sources their credibility and thus their audiences. Who cares what U.S. broadcasting into the Arab world has to say, or crap like Radio Marti? Most of the time it is just self-referential: Obama made a speech and PD says 'Here's Obama's Speech' in case you missed it elsewhere or really want to plod through 1500 words on Earth Day. No one independently quotes their opinions, no one considers them vital or important the way al Jazeera became simply by filling a real gap in what people wanted to hear. If the U.S. would try and learn a bit more about what people want, they might find a more ready audience. Instead, our 'public diplomacy' programming seems designed more to please our bosses in Washington than to really reach people abroad." -- In English-language global television, the real US competitor to the Xinhua, RT, Al Jazeera, and BBC mentioned by Mr. Van Buren is not any BBG entity, but CNN International, which he did not discuss.

With ratings down in the servants' quarters, "reboot" of Upstairs Downstairs in not renewed for a third season.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 23 Apr 2012, Steve Clarke, via Chicago Tribune: "The BBC reboot of costume saga 'Upstairs Downstairs,' which was co-produced with PBS' 'Masterpiece' in the U.S., has been axed following two seasons. The revival suffered by being compared with 'Downton Abbey,' made by Carnival and commissioned in the U.K. by rival network ITV. ... Reviewers did not respond well to the show. ... The original series was broadcast on ITV from 1971 to 1975 with five series comprising 68 episodes. BBC Worldwide sold the first season of the reboot to several countries, including Australia (ABC), Denmark (DR), Finland (YLE), Israel (IBA), New Zealand (Sky), Spain (Antena) 3 and Sweden (TV4)."

Indiantelevision.com, 25 Apr 2012: "Reliance Home Video and Games, a Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company, has bagged the exclusive rights to market and distribute BBC Worldwide’s audio-visual library on home video in India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. BBC Worldwide, a wholly owned subsidiary of BBC, has a catalogue of around 50,000 hours of programming across all genres from drama and comedy to factual and formats. Programs like Sherlock (a contemporary adaptation of Sherlock Holmes that attracted 8.7 million viewers at its UK TV premiere and has become BBC One’s top drama of the year) and Frozen Planet (the Natural History program narrated by Sir David Attenborough that is the highest rating documentary in the UK since 2003 and the highest rating Natural History documentary for over 11 years) are some of the recent hit series from BBC. ... With this alliance, BBC fans in and around India would be able to enjoy acclaimed programs also on the Blu-ray format... ."

BBC World Service launches "its first IPTV service" with newscast via Russia's Dozhd TV (updated).

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 19 Mar 2012: "BBC World Service has launched its first Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service with live bulletins in Russian. BBC Russian’s 10-minute IPTV news bulletins are to be broadcast Monday to Friday via Russia’s 24-hour live IPTV channel, Dozhd TV, and also will be available via the website bbcrussian.com. Presented regularly by BBC Russian’s Oleg Antonenko and Famil Ismailov, the BBC Russian news bulletins offer a round-up of the day’s main stories. Dozhd TV also features regular live two-way inputs from BBC Russian journalists in London, commenting on British and international developments. While BBC World Service offers its TV programming online, the BBC Russian IPTV news bulletins are a first for the World Service as content produced as IPTV operation, from production to distribution, with no traditional transmission infrastructure. Streamed direct from London to Moscow via a high-speed internet connection, these broadcasts allow BBC World Service to offer broadcast-quality bulletins without the costs of a traditional TV transmission. ... Moscow-based Dozhd TV broadcasts live 24 hours a day as an IPTV channel as well as via satellite, cable, mobile TV, and internet-enabled TV. Grigoriy Aleksanyan, Editor-in-Chief, Dozhd TV, adds: 'This project will allow us to expand borders, to use the experience and the capabilities of one of the best broadcasters for the benefit of our TV channel.'" -- There are various definitions of IPTV, and sometimes it is difficult to determine which web video content qualifies as IPTV. For example, would VOA Russian's "Crossfire" be considered IPTV according to the same criteria outlined in this BBC press release?

Update: Celebro Media Networks press release, 25 Apr 2012: "Celebro Media Networks have completed work on the major IPTV launch for BBC World Service and managed it through all stages of this project to deliver the BBC Russian IPTV service. As well as developing the programme format and training staff, Celebro Media Networks’ consultants implemented the technical infrastructure for live production and transmission. This is the first time BBC World Service produced content as an IPTV operation streaming it direct from London to Moscow via a high-speed Internet connection in broadcast quality without the costs of traditional TV transmission. ... Senior Consultant Wesley Dodd, the project’s launch director, was a guest speaker in the panel discussion on the Future of TV and New Services at the latest IPTV World Forum in London. Commenting on this pioneering BBC IPTV service, he envisaged that in the next few years many major international broadcasters will be moving towards launching more IPTV operations and live channels, especially in other languages. He said: 'The cost of traditional broadcasting is so great and it might not give you the benefits that you want today. You might actually get a much broader audience with IPTV - if there is a screen, you can get on it'. Wesley recognised that 'a lot of people think of IPTV channels as a catch-up or on-demand service', pointing to the IPTV model that is 'closer to traditional TV channels which are live and reactive'. He stressed that a major cost advantage with a full IPTV channel is that 'it allows you to spend more on content rather than infrastructure'."

Digital TV Europe, 20 Mar 2012: "The BBC has signed a carriage deal with Greek broadcaster ERT for its BBC World News channel. ERT will add BBC World News to its digital package, giving the channel a reach of 3.6 million Greek homes."

International broadcasting obits: Roger Donaghy of BBCWS, Armen Dilanian of RFE/RL Armenian.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Portadown (Northern Ireland) Times, 27 Apr 2012: "A memorial service is being held today (Friday) in Bexley Heath, Kent, for former Portadown Times journalist Roger Donaghy who rose to the position of newsroom editor with the BBC’s World Service in London. Mr Donaghy, who was 72, was so highly respected at the corporation - and such an expert on world news - that he remained in post at Bush House right up until his death. He had just signed his latest contract to carry on working. He was at his desk the week before he passed away at his home - he died in his sleep just two days after taking ill. He is survived by his wife Rachel (nee Watson from Edenderry) and by their daughter Nina who works with the American TV news corporation CNN in Washington. She is a regular presenter on their network in the US capital. ... [H]e started with the BBC World Service, first as a reporter and then as newsroom editor where he really found his niche. He reported on world trouble spots like Iraq, on the Berlin Wall, the Dunblane Massacre, the tsunamis, the Far East and particularly South America, managing to combine a ‘desk’ job, with ‘field’ reporting that really impressed the bosses at the Beeb."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Off Mic blog, 25 Apr 2012: "Armen Dilanian, a veteran of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Armenian Service, passed away on April 24 at the age of 56 in Glendale, California. Armen was one of the founders of RFE/RL's bureau in Yerevan in 1992, where he worked until he joined RFE/RL's headquarters in Munich, Germany in 1994. He was one of the first journalists in post-Soviet Armenia to report on the most vital political, social, and economic issues in his country. Between 1995 and 2006, Armen worked in RFE/RL's headquarters in Prague."

Television program beamed into Iran criticizes US Iran policy, and VOA, too.

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Media Line, 25 Apr 2012, Felice Friedson: "A few months ago, I interviewed Iranians at home through encrypted phone lines as part of an ongoing effort by The New Iran, an opposition group established in 2010, that reaches an estimated millions of Iranians weekly via satellite television. Iman Forouton, founder of the group, invited me back to co-host his program using simultaneous translation from English to Farsi. ... In my first interaction, I had been warned that if the Iranian government found out that our guests were speaking to the American media they would be taken with no further warning to a notorious prison in Tehran. ... The same sense of frustration that emanates from the anonymous Iranian callers is visible in Forouton. Having failed to alter its official policy not calling for regime change, the American administration will not meet with Forouton or allow his colleagues air time on Voice of America because it’s funded with American tax dollars. The Iranians we heard from believe the U.S. should be embarrassed. 'The U.S. is using delay tactics rather than standing for the principles of freedom and democracy,' he admonishes. 'And it’s a mockery.' As the broadcast wound down, discontent and disappointment with American policy came through loud and clear, the final voice predicting sadly that 'the U.S. will cut a deal with the Iranians in the end.'" See also The New Iran website, where the program's transmission schedule is not easy to find.

Between Russia and US, "a tougher approach to reciprocity in media access is clearly needed."

Posted: 27 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 23 Apr 2012, Helle Dale: "[A]nti-Americanism is a long-standing and fundamental pillar of Russian foreign policy and public diplomacy. ... Anti-American rhetoric is also a standard feature of the broadcasts of Russia Today, the Kremlin’s international news channel, which can be found on many American cable systems. However, while Russian commentators can spew allegations with impunity, the U.S. government’s Radio Liberty and Voice of America (VOA) are banned or severely curtailed in most Russian media markets. In fact, prior to the Russian presidential election, VOA broadcasters were warned against covering Russian election issues under threat of being kicked off the market altogether. The fact that the U.S. media market is free leaves it open to abuses. Nevertheless, a tougher approach to reciprocity in media access is clearly needed."

"Take in an interview with Lady Gaga and stay up to date with daily news from Voice of America." While learning English.

Posted: 26 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
EnglishCentral press release, 24 Apr 2012: "EnglishCentral Inc. announced its appointment of KanHan Educational Services Limited, wholly-owned subsidiary of M Dream Inworld Limited to be its business partner in Hong Kong. EnglishCentral makes improving one's English skills fun and effective by turning popular web videos into powerful language learning experiences. Users can select from thousands of videos covering a wide-range of topics from business to entertainment to culture. For example, users can watch tutorials on improving their presentation skills, hear Barack Hussein Obama talking about U.S economic status at White House news conference, take in an interview with Lady Gaga and stay up to date with daily news from Voice of America - all while building their vocabulary and improving their speaking fluency and pronunciation."

US international broadcasting and human rights in Asia.

Posted: 26 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia press release, 23 Apr 2012: "Radio Free Asia won two awards at the 16th annual Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents Club, Amnesty International, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. RFA’s video documentary series on human trafficking in Asia won in the contest’s online content category and its Cantonese language story on the humiliation of a Chinese rights advocate garnered a merit award in the radio broadcast category."

The Phnom Penh Post, 25 Apr 2012, Roth Meas: "Breaking the Silence, produced by the Phnom Penh-based arts organisation to encourage Cambodian people to speak up about their own experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime, toured through Rwanda from March 25 to April 14. ... Since its 2009 debut, Breaking The Silence has been performed in Phnom Penh and several Cambodian provinces. It was adapted into an audio play and broadcast by radio stations, including Voice of America (VOA), and has served as a media outreach tool to encourage conversation among Cambodians about a painful time in the Kingdom’s history."

AlertNet, 25 Apr 2012: "Australia should urge Vietnam to release all political prisoners and to end restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, belief, and religion when the two sides meet for their annual bilateral human rights dialogue in Hanoi on April 26-27, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today in a 16-page memo submitted to Australia. ... Activists who write pro-democracy articles and anti-government commentaries and give interviews with foreign-based radio stations such as Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) are often held for 'conducting propaganda against the state.'"

VOA Kurdish will put cameras in the radio studio, and resulting audio/video on Hot Bird.

Posted: 26 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 26 Apr 2012: "Voice of America’s Kurdish language radio broadcasts will be simulcast on direct-to-home satellite starting Monday, giving listeners in the Kurdish-speaking regions of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, a new way to hear the popular programs. VOA’s Kurdish service is the only international broadcaster that speaks to the Kurds of Iraq in their main dialects, Sorani and Kurmanji. The service, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week, also attracts a significant audience in Syria, Turkey and Iran, all with sizable Kurdish minorities. VOA Director David Ensor, who recently introduced TV/radio simulcasts in Pakistan and Burma, says putting the Kurdish program on satellite makes sense. 'VOA has a solid news team that is already broadcasting on radio to areas where direct-to-home satellite use is growing. By simply putting cameras in the studio, we can offer the satellite audience an additional way to hear and see our programs,' Ensor says. The Kurdish satellite broadcasts go on the air daily at 5:00 PM Iraq time and are simulcast on radio and Hotbird, one of the most widely-used direct-to-home satellites in the region. VOA Kurdish radio programs are also delivered on shortwave, FM transmitters in northern and southern Iraq, and broadcast over medium wave from Kuwait." -- Presumably this is on one of VOA's several audio channels on Hot Bird 13B, 13 degrees east, transponder 76, 12.226 GHz. In Iraq, this would would probably require a dish 120 cm or more in diameter.

Sundance Channel and WE tv acquire new outlets in South Korea and Taiwan.

Posted: 26 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 24 Apr 2012: "New distribution deals across Asia and programming acquisitions for Sundance Channel and WE tv Expansion are at the heart of a major push by AMC/Sundance Channel Global. In essence the company has expanded carriage in South Korea and Taiwan with new partners and Sundance Channel and WE tv have acquired the rights to new productions and acclaimed series to debut in 2012 and 2013 across Europe and Asia. In its third major South Korea platform deal, Sundance Channel will be available as a 24/7 HD linear IPTV offer on SK broadband alongside SkyLife and KT. Women’s lifestyle network WE tv will launch on Taiwan’s Vee Time’s Vee TV IPTV platform. The deal will complement similar arrangements with other Taiwanese providers Chunghwa Telecom and DTH firm DishHD."

Andy Sennitt's Radio Netherlands farewell articles begin with international radio history of the 1980s.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 24 Apr 2012, Andy Sennitt: "When Media Network started in 1981, little did we know that it would be the last decade of the Cold War. I was assistant editor of the World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) at the time, based in Copenhagen because the editor, Jens Frost, was Danish. ... Most international broadcasts at the time had a political purpose, and the biggest international broadcaster of all was Radio Moscow, which had dozens of shortwave transmitting stations all over the USSR. In those days, the Soviet authorities didn’t publish their frequencies, and at the start of each new broadcast period other international broadcasters spent a few frantic days assessing which of their frequencies had to be changed to avoid interference from the Russians. There was another Moscow-based operation called Radio Station Peace and Progress, which described itself as the Voice of Soviet Public Opinion. In fact, this was just another service of Radio Moscow, even sharing some of the same announcers. It gave the Soviet authorities the opportunity to put across different ideas to gauge international reaction, without them being seen as directly reflecting government policy - in other words, a sounding board." -- Andy, who was until last month editor of the Radio Netherlands Media Network weblog and RNW English web producer, is retiring from RNW at the end of this month. See previous post about Andy Sennitt.

"Role of media and technology in emergencies," including efforts of BBC Media Action and BBC Burmese.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Media Action, 24 Apr 2012, Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News. "Previously, the main danger was that people affected by humanitarian emergencies would be left in the dark when disaster struck, deprived of the information that would help them to understand what was happening and what they could do to survive. Now, it may be the humanitarian agencies themselves - rather than the survivors of a disaster - who risk being left in the dark if they don't have the right systems to be able to listen to the public they are attempting to assist. ... The Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network is working hard to get the humanitarian sector communicating better with the people it serves. Recently, BBC Media Action helped by sharing experiences of Lifeline programming and partnering at an event at Google that examined the role of media and technology in emergencies. You can see Tin Htar Swe, Head of the BBC’s Burmese Service delivering her 'Ignite' presentation here."

Netflix will expand in Europe, now preferring developed to emerging countries.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 24 Apr 2012: "US online video service Netflix is gearing up to launch in additional European territories this year following the success of its launch in the UK and Ireland. CEO Reed Hastings said that the company was set to return to global profitability in the second quarter of the year and, as a result, would speed up plans to launch further international services. Netflix, last year, announced that it was freezing its global ambitions following large subscriber losses in the US. However, it achieved its strong streaming subscriber growth this quarter, with the net addition of 1.7 million customers, taking the total number of US streaming subscribers to 23.41 million. Netflix currently has 3.07 million international subscribers, an increase of 1.21 million in the first three months of the year. ... The company had laid out plans to launch in Spain before halting its international plans last year and it is also reportedly eyeing moves in other European countries. Hastings said that it has seen more success from its launch in the UK and Ireland than its rollout across Latin America and that it would target developed countries rather than emerging markets for its next phase of growth."

Some news "bureaus," eg Al Jazeera in Chicago, are really just one correspondent.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Columbia Journalism Review, 23 Apr 2012, Justin D. Martin: "In December, Al Jazeera English announced the founding of a Chicago bureau, staffed with one journalist (former ABC reporter John Hendren). Of course, the founding and maintaining of foreign news facilities is something we should celebrate, but news organizations should never use flashy language to exaggerate their global reach. Al Jazeera hired a Chicago correspondent in order to expand its 2012 US presidential election coverage, and this is a good thing, but the organization has not built a branch campus in the Windy City."

The Nation, 23 Apr 2012, Greg Mitchell: "Bradley Manning, facing twenty counts, including 'aiding the enemy' (which potentially carries the death sentence), for allegedly leaking sensitive military and government documents to WikiLeaks, returns to Fort Meade tomorrow for the next hearing in his court-martial proceedings, leading to his trial, perhaps starting in August. ... The hearing for Manning on March 15–16 provided a glimpse of how prolonged the process could be before he finally receives the trial. ... There were very few media this time; perhaps twenty people in all. Major networks, beyond ABC, were again missing. Al Jazeera English had assigned a reporter."

CNN "reaffirms its commitment to Nigeria" with appointment of Vladimir Duthiers as Lagos correspondent.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 24 Apr 2012: "Vladimir Duthiers is to take on the role of CNN international correspondent based in Lagos, Nigeria, the network announced today. Duthiers will join CNN’s contingent of Africa-based correspondents across the continent, as the network reaffirms its commitment to Nigeria. CNN currently has key bureaux in Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg – all headed up by bureau chief Kim Norgaard – as well as three weekly programmes on CNN International focused on the continent: Marketplace Africa, Inside Africa and African Voices. ... Earlier this year, Duthiers was on the scene as the Occupy Nigeria movement exploded onto the streets of Lagos. His reporting put the focus on the economic struggles of ordinary Nigerians and the tensions surrounding recent attacks by the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram. Duthiers, who is fluent in French and Haitian Creole, has taken an unusual route to a career in journalism. Prior to joining CNN, he spent nearly 20 years in the financial services industry, travelling extensively around the world for clientele in 21 countries."

International channels establish hubs in Nairobi, and lure staff from Kenyan domestic stations.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 22 Apr 2012, Annie Claire Bergeron-Oliver: "Global state-funded television news channels like Al Jazeera, the BBC, China's CCTV and RT (formerly Russia Today) have proliferated in recent years -- and now they're expanding, with a host of new services that tailor the news to local interests. ... [O]ne of the busiest new markets for the global channels is, perhaps, a surprising one: East Africa, where the new daily program, CCTV Africa, launched in January. Expected later this year is Al Jazeera Swahili, a 24-hour news channel as well as new East Africa-focused half-hour daily news television programs in Swahili and English from a more traditional international broadcaster, BBC. Why East Africa? All of these new operations are based in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, where the media business operates with relative freedom from government interference. And while many western countries are still suffering from economic slowdown, Kenya's economy is on the rise -- with growth of nine per cent in its GDP over the past decade, according to the World Bank. ... Up against the deep pockets of China's state funding it was almost impossible for Kenyan stations to hold on to highly experienced and talented staff. After being offered salaries twice what they earned at the Kenyan station, John Mwendwa, head of news at K24, says his network 'lost some of its best reporters.' Saida Swaleh, a reporter at KTN, said her colleagues ran towards the money. 'They came with fat checks and everyone wanted to go where the money is,' she says. In addition to the larger salaries, reporters who move to an international network often get greater television exposure and travel opportunities. Signing with CCTV means their reports may be seen globally, via the Chinese broadcaster's satellite channel, and not just within Kenya. But Mwendwa says that CCTV's programming doesn't resonate well with all Kenyans. Many, he says, are skeptical of their biases and 'The perception of Chinese media is as having the interests of their people at heart.'"

Al Arabiya blocked, hacked, and jammed.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 23 Apr 2012: "The Syrian regime blocked Al Arabiya’s Arabic website in Syria, in reaction to the publication of the leaked emails of President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asmaa, as well as the publication of secret documents from a specially set up 'Crisis Cell'. The website 'alarabiya.net' was initially only partially blocked in March, following the publication of the leaked emails but it grew to a complete blocking a few days ago. The blocking of the online platform was also accompanied by dozens of attempts to jam the transmission of Al Arabiya TV on Nilesat. The channel had to offer its viewers alternative frequencies to enable them to watch its continual coverage of the Syrian crisis. Al Arabiya’s website is widely viewed in Syria according to statistics. Before it was blocked, the website received 77,000 visitors every week, with almost 510,000 page views. Syrians can only visit Al Arabiya’s website using a proxy server."

Financial Times, 24 Apr 2012, Abeer Allam, via Zawya: "Hackers broke into the social media accounts of Al-Arabiya, the 24-hour Arab news channel, in what appeared to be the latest attack by a group of online vigilantes loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The online team, which calls itself the Syrian Electronic Army, has compromised the station's web properties in the past, and for many months has been waging a digital war against websites and online activists it sees as being behind an international plot to topple Mr Assad. Al-Arabiya's Facebook and Twitter pages began reporting false news late on Monday night, including reports that the powerful Qatari prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, had been 'relieved' of his posts and replaced by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the son of the Qatari ruler."

Huffington Post, 24 Apr 2012, Faisal J. Abbas: "Mazen Hayek, MBC Group's Official Spokesperson, tells The Huffington Post that last night's attacks weren't an isolated incident nor were they the work of amateurs as well. 'We were and still are subject to a cyber-war from governments and financially/technically well-equipped institutions' he says. According to Hayek, Al-Arabiya has had to constantly deal with matters such as transmission frequency jamming, a massive amount of targeted messages against a specific portal at one time (a.k.a 'e-bombs') and the hacking of social media outlets. 'We expect this cyber-war to continue simply because we produce credible and interesting News', says Hayek suggest that the perpetrators goal is to stop Al-Arabiya from uncovering wrongs, reflecting the truth and encouraging the proliferation of citizen journalism."

Al Arabiya, 24 Apr 2012: "Al Arabiya’s Al Hadath channel was also subjected to constant jamming while it was running reports about Assad’s leaked emails. The six-part coverage of Assad’s inbox was later re-run on Al Arabiya News Channel, which has also been repeatedly jammed since the start of the Syrian revolution and had its frequency changed several times."

Deutsche Welle may not be Comedy Central, but DW-TV's Max X amuses.

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Jaunted, 23 Apr 2012, JetSetCD: "Deutsche Welle's TV news show Euromaxx has introduced a character who silently parodies [the] little hiccups of modern life, and his name is Max X.. Enjoy the little video ... — a little laugh to start your week — and you can find more on Max X's YouTube channel here. We discovered Max X. while watching too much hotel TV, and hint that another one coming soon to the internet touches on the issue of taking photos of yourself in front of landmarks."

New Euronews iPhone app works "even under minimal reception conditions."

Posted: 25 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 11 Apr 2012: "Connection breakdowns, unstable networks, bulky images... euronews offers the solution to these reception problems with its new app for the iPhone - claimed to be the lightest news app on the market. Get the top stories in real time without worrying about connection difficulties. euronews has designed an ultra-light application that is designed to allow news addicts to keep up to date with news, culture, business and sport, all day long. Available from the AppStore, the new euronews EXPRESS application for the iPhone is claimed to function even under minimal reception conditions (Edge) and can be consulted offline thanks to the cache memory. The high speed of euronews EXPRESS is made possible by an optimised architecture and the text / image mix (no video for better performance). The app offers three different sections: •News: The big stories and developments in international news, sport, business and culture. •Flash: all the latest news wires. •Editor's Choice: the top stories selected by the newsroom. ... The application is available in the 12 language versions of the channel: English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. euronews EXPRESS will soon be available on Google Play." -- I wonder if this technology that works in "minimal reception conditions" might have applications on shortwave? Will there be any shortwave transmitters left by the time this technology might be tested on shortwave?

Rapid TV News, 25 Apr 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Mobile devices application supplier Mobile Republic has inked a content deal with international news channel Euronews to enrich its free apps News Republic, APPY Geek and Biz Report with Euronews articles and videos. These will be offered in five languages: French, English, Spanish, German and Italian."

Mobiles Republic press release, 10 Apr 2012: "Mobiles Republic, a leading publisher of applications for smartphones, tablets and connected devices, today announces a content partnership with Al Jazeera English, one of the world's leading global news networks. Mobiles Republic's popular free news app, News Republic, will now feature full Al Jazeera English news articles and video content. ... News Republic delivers thousands of full articles each day from leading news sources, and allows users to create customized 'myNews' channels that filter this mass of information down to their exact topics of interest. They can then click on headlines to view complete articles -- not just RSS feeds -- all within the same window, without having to surf outside the app. Users can further research the stories that are most important to them by using the Word Cloud feature to bring up related articles, YouTube links and Wikipedia entries. Real-time alerts keep users completely in touch and up to speed when important news breaks on their favorite subjects. News Republic is available for all of the top mobile phone and tablet platforms, including iPad, Android Tablet, Blackberry, iPhone, Android Phone, Nokia, Samsung and Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Google TV at http://www.news-republic.com."

Pyongyang's Voice of Korea: "Please enjoy a male chorus: 'All of us will become human rifles and bombs'."

Posted: 24 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
North Korea Tech, 25 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "On the Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international radio service, the harsh words [against South Korean president Lee Myung Bak] continued: 'Lee Myung Bak and his clan invite punishment.' There’s also a song. Introduced by Voice of Korea in a completely dead-pan manner, 'Please enjoy a male chorus, All of us will become human rifles and bombs.'" With audio.

North Korea Tech, 25 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "Recent monitoring of North Korean radio transmissions does indicate the installation of a new radio transmitter on 11680kHz shortwave. Previously the broadcasts on 11680kHz, like some other North Korean domestic radio transmitters, wandered a little either side of their assigned frequency but they are now observed to be exactly on 11,680kHz. While the location of the transmitters might be a secret inside North Korea, that’s not quite the same outside of the country. Thanks to the satellite images on Google Maps and other mapping services, the location of most transmitters has already been found."

Fox News, 19 Apr 2012, Alex Liu: "Robert Westmore of Southern California designs websites for a living -- but he was shocked to learn that he had designed a new homepage for the reclusive North Korean regime. 'I had no idea,' he told FoxNews.com in an interview. 'Honestly, I didn't even know North Korea had a website.' While the notorious totalitarian government continues to spend hundreds of millions on failed rocket launches, North Korea skimps in other areas, notably web design. Indeed the country spent just $15 redesigning its national homepage, korea-dpr.com -- a fact accidentally discovered by an unsuspecting college student. Fordham junior Michael DiTanna was working on a class project about Korean propaganda when he noticed the country's "flashy" new redesign, which DiTanna estimates to be only a few months old. A computer science major, DiTanna quickly realized the site was based on Westmore's $15 Blender template."

Daily NK, 24 Apr 2012, Hwang Chang Hyun: "Open Radio for North Korea, North Korea Reform Radio, Free North Korea Radio and Radio Free Chosun have today joined together to form a new association of broadcasters whose purpose is to prompt change in North Korea. The four private radio broadcasters launched the Association of Broadcasters for North Korea (ABNK) at Seoul Press Center, announcing their intention to lead the way in pushing the North Korean authorities towards reform and opening by providing greater freedom of information for the ordinary North Korean people. According to the association’s founding declaration, 'As Kim Jong Il was dying and the 3rd generation succession was being launched, the North Korean people’s interest in outside information and desire for change was exploding. We have formed ABNK to embrace the thirst for truth and desire for change which is spreading in the North.'"

France 24 now receivable in 245 million households, adding 10 million since the end of 2011 (updated: add Malaysia).

Posted: 24 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 20 Apr 2012, Robert Briel: "France 24 said it now reaches 245 million TV households, gaining 10 million households since the end of 2011. After signing over thirty new distribution contracts, France 24, which is currently available in 117 million homes in Europe, continues to expand. In Italy, following an agreement with Canale Italia the channel’s French version is now broadcast on channel 141 of Italy’s DTT network. As a result, France 24 is now received by 18 million households in Italy, which represents 76% of the market." -- This means that France 24 is now receivable in 245 million households, not that they are all watching.

Update: The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 24 Apr 2012: "Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and French news channel France 24 hopes to capture 2,000 French households living in the country to sign up for the newly launched pay channel on HyppTV. HyppTV is TM pay-television service that is available through TM’s high-speed broadband (HSBB) service UniFi. 'Our first-tier target is French expatriates in Malaysia. There are some 4,000 French people living in Malaysia currently. Second-tier target market would be the Malaysian public and lastly tourism but not limited to French but also Canadian, Belgians and Swiss,' France 24 Asia-Pacific distribution director Brice Bertrand said at the launch of the French news channel. ... Malaysia is the fourth country in Asia-Pacific to launch France 24 after Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. ... He said only French news feeds would be available at the moment but would consider English feeds, going forward." -- Given that English is widely spoken in Malaysia, France 24 might want to consider adding the English feed with a bit more urgency.

UK TV presenter and author "found jazz and blues" on VOA during his early teens.

Posted: 24 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Journal (Newcastle upon Tyne), 23 Apr 2012: "Best-known for presenting TV shows like Grundy's Wonders and Grundy's Northern Pride, presenter and author John Grundy is a champion of North East architecture. ... What music did you like and what was the first record you bought? I loved rock ‘n’ roll from the first moment I heard it and I started a lifetime love of American music before I was ten. The first record I bought was 'Hound Dog' by Elvis but I loved Bill Haley and Lonny Donegan. In my early teens I discovered The Voice of America radio station and found jazz and the blues. What joy." -- Mr. Grundy is 65 years old, so his early teens would have been around 1960.

Willis Conover Day, as proclaimed by Congress in 2009, is 25 April. It will be commemorated by events at VOA on 25 and 26 April.

Cold War Radios, 8 Mar 2012, Richard H. Cummings: "No disc jockey of Radio Free Europe or Radio Liberty gained the legendary status of Willis Conover, who daily hosted the music program 'Jazz Hour' for the Voice of America (VOA). ... That is not without trying of RFE and RL but for the jamming of the frequencies of both RFE and RL throughout most of the Cold War. That being said, both RFE and RL had popular music programs including jazz. ... Simon (Sim) Copans actually provided jazz program texts to Radio Free Europe's language services in Munich from October 1956 to June 1959. His program text 'Jazz from Paris' in English was then translated into the respective RFE languages for broadcasting."

CNNMoney website launches international edition for the 13% of its traffic from outside North America.

Posted: 24 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 23 Apr 2012, Anna Heim: "CNNMoney is launching an international homepage to target global audiences, its parent company CNN announced today. In practical terms, users outside the United States will be directed to this new international homepage the first time they visit the site. However, they can also revert the setting to the U.S. version if they prefer. If you are wondering why CNN’s business website cares about foreign readers, the answer is simple: 13% of its traffic already comes from outside North America. This is a sizable number, considering that CNNMoney currently boasts 14.69 million unique visitors a month. ... While the BBC already offers an international homepage to its foreign readers, it is certainly interesting to see American media companies such as Time Warner go after global audiences with commercial expectations." -- Americans can also select the international edition -- so domestic dissemination is allowed. See also CNN press release, 24 Apr 2012.

James Fallows is impressed by CCTV America, Bo Xilai notwithstanding, and "will follow its evolution."

Posted: 24 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic, 18 Apr 2012, James Fallows: "Over the years in China, I watched my share (thousands of hours?) of China Central TV, CCTV, and have a very clear idea of its role as reliable presenter of the official governmental view. In the past few evenings I've started watching the launch of new programs from CCTV America. I don't know how representative the shows I've seen are, or how long this can go on -- but flipping back and forth between CCTV America and a well-known US network based in Atlanta, I've generally heard a lot more, and in a lot more detail and less tendentiously and cutesily, from, gasp, CCTV America. I'm not even comparing it with some other networks, including the one run by Roger Ailes. (For instance: right at this moment CNN is giving us an hour on 'Remembering Dick Clark.' Of course I love Dick Clark! But at the same time CCTV-America is giving us a whole bunch of world events and economics, including just now Timothy Geithner saying that China 'still has a long way to go' in liberalizing the RMB. 'Dull but worthy'? Perhaps. But closer to actual 'news'? Definitely yes. On the other hand: Yet to see any Bo Xilai updates. Still...) This is not something I expected, nor -- on the basis of a couple nights' viewing -- that I'm sure how to react to. I will follow its evolution, and I invite you to check it out for yourself. Meta-point: I have been very bearish on contemporary China's ability to exercise 'soft power,' since its efforts have so often been so Onion-like. This seems different, and for China-watchers and people in general is worth paying attention to." For live stream: english.cntv.cn/live/.

See also YouTube, 24 Apr 2012, jimlaurie1, promotional video.

NHK World now in the New York City area, "will fill the void" caused by fewer US news bureaus in Tokyo.

Posted: 23 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
NHK World TV press release, 20 Apr 2012: "NHK WORLD TV, a stand-alone 24-hour English language TV news channel produced by NHK, Japans sole public, independent broadcasting corporation, is now available for the first time to over seven million TV viewers in the New York City region, who will be able to tune into Japan and Asian news coverage all day and night. NHK WORLD TV is available as digital broadcast through a dedicated, over the air channel on Regional News Network (WRNN Channel 48.5), which can be seen by six million households in the New York City area. The network will also be available in HD to Time Warner Cable subscribers (Channel 771 in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Channel 792 in Bergen County, NJ and the Hudson Valley). ... 'NHK WORLD TV is expanding to New York because we believe there is a market for a U.S. audience interested in Asian programming, focusing on breaking news from the region, Japanese culture, developments in society/politics and on being a key source for natural disasters news,' says Mr. Tetsushi Wakita, Head of NHK WORLD. 'As many U.S. media outlets have closed their Tokyo bureaus to cut costs in recent years, NHK WORLD TV will fill the void with independent, credible reporting on Japan and the rest of Asia, making full use of our bases in Beijing, Seoul, Bangkok and elsewhere, as we will now be seen on televisions across New York City.' ... Since its inception as an over the air broadcast station in Kingston, NY, WRNN has grown exponentially, creating relationships and partnerships with some of the biggest global brands in Broadcasting and Telecommunications including Verizon and Al Jazeera."

As Radio Netherlands loses 70% of its budget, will its DG receive a €1m handshake?

Posted: 23 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 20 Apr 2012: "Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reports that Radio Netherlands Worldwide General Director Jan Hoek could receive a golden handshake worth over one million euros when he leaves the international public broadcaster. The cabinet has cut the RNW budget from 46 million euros to just 14 million as part of a raft of austerity measures. The unions have agreed a redundancy package for the 270 employees – out of a total of 350 – who will be dismissed. A new slimmed-down RNW is due to begin operating in January 2013. Jan Hoek has indicated that he does not intend to stay on in the new organisation. Under the terms of the general redundancy agreement, he would be entitled to a lump sum of about 450,000 euros. That amount could rise considerably, however, because of an arrangement he made with the board of commissioners when he was appointed director general. ... Jan Hoek has neither confirmed nor denied the size of the amount. He told NRC that 'if agreements were concluded in the past which could lead to entitlements in the future, then whether or not these entitlements are claimed also lies in the future.' ... The new, slimmed-down, Radio Netherlands will under the foreign ministry as of next year and will focus exclusively on providing impartial information to countries without a free press."

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 20 Apr 2012: "Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s Editor-in-Chief Rik Rensen and his deputy, Ardi Bouwers, are to leave the organisation. They say they will not serve as part of the new slimmed-down RNW which is to become operational from 1 January 2013. ... Earlier this week, Rensen and Bouwers wrote to RNW’s board of commissioners, saying they had 'serious worries about the lack of vision and urgency' in turning RNW into a more flexible and market-orientated company. The board failed to answer the letter and this has lead to Rensen and Bouwers’ decision to leave RNW. ... They are most worried about the lack of explicit guarantees of journalistic independence, the tempo of building up the new organisation, and its eventual make-up. They also believe that issues including the development of new programme formats, the search for additional funds – besides government subsidies - and clinching contracts with media partners should now be addressed with urgency."

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 22 Apr 2012: "Ben Bot, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, has issued a statement in response to recent developments in the drastic restructuring of the organisation. ... In his statement, Mr Bot points out that the Netherlands’ international broadcaster is facing the most turbulent period in its 65-year history. The prospect of 70 percent budget cuts has prompted emotions and given rise to painful and difficult choices. ... After stating that the Supervisory Board, like the Works Council, wishes to distance itself from inaccurate reports, Mr Bot’s response concludes by emphasising that most of the staff at Radio Netherlands Worldwide are working hard to bring the organisation in its current form to a fitting end and to ensure that the new slimmed-down RNW gets off to a good start."

Al Jazeera Children's Channel buys series about youngsters "who can physically travel through the Internet."

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 20 Apr 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "The Grupo Alcuni series SLASH://, targeted at 7- to 12-year-olds, has scored a slot on the Al Jazeera Children's Channel for the Middle East and North African region. The show tells of the adventures of a group of five youngsters, hailing from across the globe, who can physically travel through the Internet, thanks to the magical power of a green stone. They all go up against the evil Cobra, who is intent on stealing and destroying some of the most important works of art."

Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival jury includes members from China, Iran, Cuba (updated: and an entry from RFE/RL).

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 5 Apr 2012, Habib Toumi: "Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival (IDFF) will this year feature 168 films. The festival, in its eighth edition will, be held on April 19-24 in the Qatari capital, Doha. The selection includes 46 short featured documentaries, 66 mid-length and 28 long featured ones, in addition to 19 films of the 'New horizon films' genre, and nine of the 'Promising films' genre, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported. The 18 TV stations taking part in the annual festival will present 23 films. The Jury Committee is made up of 15 members from China, Iran, Cuba, Iraq, Russia, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Poland and Turkey." See also 8th Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival website.

Tehran Times, 10 Apr 2012: "Iranian producer Mohammadreza Abbasian withdrew his movie 'School' from the 8th Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival, due to the silence of Al Jazeera news network against crimes committed by Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain. ... The movie depicts a school in Sarajevo that apparently looks peaceful with happy students all around. However, there are horrible stories of events that had happened to the teachers and school staff during the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1995. In a letter addressing director of the festival Abbas Arnaout, Abbasian wrote, 'The festival used to be an authentic place to present different ideas. It was the place where my movie "Qana" was awarded a gold medal in 2006. But the Al Jazeera news network has closed its eyes to these crimes.'"

Update: RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 20 Apr 2012, Kristyna Dzmuranova: "A documentary movie produced by RFE/RL correspondent Zafer Karatay will compete this weekend at the eighth annual Al-Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival in Doha. The film, 'Cengiz Dagci,' explores the life of renowned Crimean Tatar novelist and poet Cengiz Dagci. Born in Crimea in 1910, Dagci grew up in a Tatar community that faced persecution and discrimination from both the Russian Empire and its successor, the Soviet Union. Drafted to fight for the Soviet Union in World War II, Dagci was captured and placed in a German labor camp. After the war, he settled in Great Britain. Though he never returned to his homeland, he told Karatay, 'There has been no day, no morning and no evening when I didn't remember my Crimea.' ... Karatay, who hosts a weekly radio show on Radio Azatliq, RFE/RL’s Tatar-language service, has worked with RFE/RL for more than 20 years. From his base in Ankara, Turkey, he frequently covers issues relevant to the Crimean Tatar diaspora living in Turkey, Romania and the United States."

Gulf Times, 20 Apr 2012, Ross Jackson: "The eighth Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival opened last night with the promise of advancing the cause of human rights for the region. Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani, chairman of the Board of Directors at Al Jazeera, in his opening address, ... stressed that Al Jazeera is and will remain the voice of the oppressed and will continue to provide a forum for artists and film-makers who fight for freedom, justice and equality." -- As commendable as it may be to be the "voice of the oppressed," there is probably more need in the Middle East for a "voice of independent, objective, balanced, credible journalism."

Al Jazeera English: Official channel of eyeless shrimp and clawless crabs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
CBS News, 19 Apr 2012: "Two years after the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, scientists say they're finding trouble with sick fish that dwell along offshore reefs and in the deep waters - especially in places where the oil spill hit the hardest. The scientists are unsure what's causing a small percentage of the fish they're catching to have large open sores and strange black streaks. The biggest question is whether contaminants from the BP spill are causing the problems. According to a lengthy report by Al-Jazeera English, Gulf Coast fishermen as well as scientists have found "disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish."

The Inquisitr, 19 Apr 2012, H. Scott English: "The Gulf of Mexico is filled with mutated wildlife. Clawless crabs, eyeless shrimp and scarred fish are popping up everywhere leaving scientists to question just how much damage was done by the BP Oil Spill. On April 20, 2010, an explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels into the Gulf, in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. According to an extensive report by Al Jazeera English, scientists and environmentalists are claiming that the deformed sea life is probably the result of the oil released into the Gulf and the chemicals they used to try to clean it up."

NewsCore, 20 Apr 2012, via Adelaide Advertiser: "On April 20, 2010, an explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels into the Gulf, in the worst offshore oil spill in US history. Two years later, scientists and commercial fishers alike are finding shrimp, crab and fish that they believe have been deformed by the chemicals unleashed in the spill, according to an extensive report by Al Jazeera English."

Atlantic Wire, 18 Apr 2012, Adam Clark Estes: "Down along the Gulf coast, the beaches look cleaner, the birds less tar-covered, but the longterm consequences of the BP oil spill are leaving their mark under the ocean's surface. Scientists continue to be shocked at what they're pulling up from the area around the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 and coated thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico. It happened almost exactly two years ago, and as much good news as you read about the return of tourism and the spending of BP's money to help the recovery efforts, some major problems remain. We're most concerned about the eyeless shrimp. Scott Eustis from the Gulf Restoration Network recently showed Al Jazeera English's Dahr Jamail some of those shrimp. It's easy to see what's wrong with them: They have no eyes!"

Talk Nation Radio, 18 Apr 2012, David Swanson: "Dahr Jamail has covered the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico for two years. He reports on massive environmental and economic damage and on oil continuing to enter these damaged waters. Jamail is based in Doha, Qatar working as an Online News Producer for Al Jazeera English."

Al Jazeera English, 20 Apr 2012, Dahr Jamail: "'The fishermen have never seen anything like this,' Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. 'And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either.' Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010. Cowan's findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP's oil and dispersants. Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster. Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause."

Al Jazeera, Inside Story Americas, 20 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera has returned to the region to investigate the impact of the worst man-made environmental disaster in US history. Gulf oil drillers are having their busiest year since 2010, but fishermen say their businesses are still suffering and scientists report seeing a disturbing amount of mutated sea life."

Orlando Sentinel, 17 Feb 2012, William Gibson: "House Republicans, including seven from Florida, voted late Thursday to end the ban on drilling along Florida’s west coast. ... The bill, which passed by 237 to 187, serves mostly to demonstrate opposition to Obama’s policy of limiting offshore drilling, especially in environmentally sensitive areas like the west coast of Florida. The issue likely will play out in this year’s elections."

Radio Biafra London returns to shortwave with a "warning to all looters, embezzlers, kidnappers, sponsors of terrorism, child traffickers, corrupt judges, crooked university lecturers, murderous Nigerian security forces and all thieving individuals."

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Biafra London press release, 20 Apr 2012, via Nigeria Masterweb Daily News: "After two years of absence the legendary Radio Biafra London (RBL) is back on air and will resume on SATURDAY 21 APRIL 2012 at 8pm broadcasting twice a week on 11870 kHz frequency on the shortwave band from its London Studio to all African countries with concentrated footprint in Nigeria. ... Radio Biafra London further wishes to give advance warning to all looters, embezzlers, kidnappers, sponsors of terrorism, child traffickers, corrupt judges, crooked university lecturers, murderous Nigerian security forces and all thieving individuals masquerading as public officials who steal public funds thereby preventing developmental projects from impacting positively on the lives of the ordinary people. These looters and workers of iniquity will be named and shamed. There will be no hiding place for common thieves who use the cover of high political offices to steal in the name of Nigerian politics. For Radio Biafra London, there will be nothing like no-go-areas in what can be reported, discussed and analysed." -- Biafra was a secessionist state in Nigeria, 1967-1970, and it had a shortwave radio service called Voice of Biafra. See also radiobiafralondon.com.

New BBC Mundo iPhone app is "tuned" for Latin American markets.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Internet Blog, 18 Apr 2012, Phil Buckey: "A month or so ago I blogged about the iPhone app for the BBC Russian service, and about how we hoped to roll out further apps very quickly; and today you can see the next step with the release of our iPhone app for our Latin American Spanish Service, BBC Mundo. ... We have also tuned the app for the Latin American markets. So, as well as the international social networks you can share articles via the popular Spanish network Menéame. You can also make the latest news stream ('Ultimas noticias') your default homepage in preference to the headlines ('Principales noticias'). On the BBC Mundo website as in much of Latin America the simple stream of the latest news is one of the most popular sections, so if you prefer to see this first you can now do so by clicking on the configuration ('Configurar') icon. ... BBC Mundo (originally the BBC Latin American Service) is, like Russian, one of our oldest services. It started broadcasting radio in 1938 and its website started in 1998 under the title 'BBC Línea Directa' (BBC Direct Line). ... Both radio and internet services were rebranded BBC Mundo in 2000. It stopped broadcasting radio in 2011 and has been a fully digital (i.e. internet only) service since then. During these 74 years, BBC Mundo has seen vast changes in both politics and economics, of which the latest is a huge growth in smartphone and tablet take up in Latin America."

"Poland Direct Season" on BBC World News; "The Spies of Warsaw" on BBC America.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Warsaw Voice, 20 Apr 2012: "A series of programs entitled Poland Direct Season, which starts April 21 on BBC World News will go behind the headlines to explore everyday life in the country as it prepares to host the European Football Championships. Poland Direct will examine 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 will meet the people who are making that transformation happen and explores the attractions that could help to make Poland a major tourist destination. Programming highlights include: Working Lives from Krakow, One Square Mile from Warsaw, Fast Track from Krakow and Warsaw - plus a visit to the Primeval Forest and the Coast, and a special program of Weekend World from Warsaw."

Variety, 12 Apr 2012, Jon Weisman, via Chicago Tribune: "Former 'Doctor Who' star David Tennant has taken a leading role in miniseries 'The Spies of Warsaw,' which BBC America will co-produce and air. Janet Montgomery ('Entourage') will co-star in the adaptation of the Alan Furst novel, set in the years leading up to World War II, by scribes Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Production on the four episodes begins in May in Poland. BBC America is co-producing with Apple Film for TV Poland in association with Arte France and BBC Worldwide."

VOA journalist discusses RT; CSM journalist compares RT with VOA; RT video of Toyota crashing through window is sponsored by Toyota.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America, Russia Watch blog, 21 Apr 2012, James Brooke, VOA Moscow bureau chief: "For today’s junior Kremlinologists, there is a ... fun way to read between Russia’s lines: the website of RT, the government-owned English language TV station previously known as Russia Today. The key to RT is that it’s funded by the Russian Government. There may be a secret hotline, but there are layers of deniability between the Kremlin and the RT newsroom. RT says what some Russian officials think — but can’t say in public. Here the Kremlin follows the teachings of that influential, late 20th century American philosopher, Bart Simpson. One of Mr. Simpson’s most famous quotations: 'It wasn’t me. No one saw me do it. You can’t prove it.' After an afternoon of content analysis, here is the world, according to RT: TURKEY BAD - SYRIA GOOD."

Christian Science Monitor, 18 Apr 2012, Dan Murphy: "Julian Assange's new talk show debuted yesterday on the Kremlin satellite channel Russia Today with a whale of a 'get:' Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's politically and militarily dominant Hezbollah. ... [Assange's] own avowed disdain for propaganda and branding of himself as a tireless seeker of the truth makes the station he's tied up with all the more interesting. RT is a Kremlin propaganda channel, and its reporting on the Middle East (the area of its coverage I'm most familiar with) isn't merely slanted by the interests of the Russian government. It's often outrageously biased to the point of making things up out of whole cloth. For instance, a string of reports by the station from Tripoli, Libya in July and August of last year made obviously false claims about advances for Muammar Qaddafi's army. ... Assange told RT, describing what he said would be the line of attack against him. ' ... RT is a voice of Russia, so it looks at things from the Russian agenda. The BBC is a voice of the British government. Voice of America is a voice of the American government. It is the clashing of these voices together that reveals the truth about the world as a whole.' No. The BBC, which has many flaws, has an independent board. The Voice of America, far more directly an arm of the US government than the BBC is for the UK, aint perfect, but has demonstrated far more faithfulness to basic facts over the years than RT. These things are simply not equivalent, nor is the Russian state analogous to the democracies of the UK and US, their warts aside."

Huffington Post, 19 Apr 2012, Liam McLaughlin: "Assange's demeanor was difficult to sympathise with as he played the anti-American role - treating the USA unquestioningly as the Great Evil. Clearly such lazy bias is not necessarily helpful to a journalist, and that it just so happens to fall into line with the Russian stance is rather suspicious considering Russian state TV is funding and broadcasting the show. Suffice to say, it will be hard to defend Assange from claims that he is yet another apparently left-wing apologist for Russia's oppressive and absolutist regime. In this sense it is tough to see the programme as serious or impartial journalism. ... If you follow the recent ignorant line of argument for a pre-emptive strike on Iran, it is clear that the western media does not understand those it demonises, and does not want to. The 'other' is rarely given a voice, and as a result is entrenched in the minds of westerners as a group of faceless barbarians. At least Assange, through Russia Today, is giving those people a voice, albeit one that should be treated with caution."

MEMRI, 18 Apr 2012: "Julian Assange: 'The U.S. bans the broadcasting of Al-Manar TV in America, even though it professes to be a bastion of freedom of speech. Do you think that the U.S. administration is really so scared of Al-Manar?' Hassan Nasrallah: 'They want to tell people that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, which kills and so on, but they do not allow people to listen to us. In a fair trial, they should at least give the accused an opportunity to defend himself.'" See previous post about Julian Assange on RT.

The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), 20 Apr 2012, Jerry Hirsch: "In one of the more bizarre instances of auto advertising, a YouTube video that shows an elderly Florida woman crashing her 2004 Toyota Camry through a Publix supermarket, injuring 10 people, is sponsored by Toyota. The video of Saturday's incident was posted earlier this week by Russia Today."

NewsWithViews.com, 21 Apr 2012, Cliff Kincaid: "In the U.S., RT is carried by such giant media companies as Comcast and DISH Networks. But in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the channel is not carried with disclaimers identifying the material as foreign propaganda. Holder’s Justice Department is refusing to enforce the law."

This week, "the true Voice of America" is not the Voice of America.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Nation, 20 Apr 2012, Peter Rothburg, via NPR: "Levon Helm, The True Voice Of America"

Esquire, 18 Apr 2012, Charles P. Pierce: "He was the true Voice of America, as far as I'm concerned."

Dallas Observer, 19 Apr 2012, Andy Odom: "Despite his Southern drawl, he was very much a voice of America."

Poughkeepsie Journal, 19 Apr 2012, John W. Barry, quoting Jimmy Vivino: "The voice of America is silent only till we play his music....there's plenty out there to hear."

And you can drink to the memory of Levon Helm at....

Cincinnati.com, 19 Apr 2012, Rasputin Todd: "Wine Tasting, 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Anthony’s Cigar Bar and Grille, 7641 Voice of America Centre Drive, West Chester Township. Ages 21 and up. Benefits First Book Greater Cincinnati. $20." -- Voice of America Centre is named for the nearby site of the former VOA Bethany shortwave transmitting station.

NAB Show panel discusses the state of international TV production and distribution.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
NAB Show Daily News, 17 Apr 2012, Alexis Hauk: A "Norwegian drama about a New York mobster who moves to the Scandinavian country as part of Witness Protection Program, is now a top-rated show on Netflix, said Caroline Kusser, director for Seven One's North America branch, which produces 'Lilyhammer.' Kusser was one of four panelists at Monday's Content Theater session, 'Innovators in International TV Production and Distribution.' ... 'The reason you're seeing more independence is that there are so many more platforms now,' said [John Morayniss, CEO of Entertainment One], who said that his company will package a 'quality' show first; run it in international markets; then approach the U.S. market to see who's interested. ... Unfortunately, the looming question is still how to make digital turn a profit. [John Pollak of Electus International] said that '70–80 percent' of revenue for Electus is still in regular television broadcast, not digital. ... For 'Off Their Rockers,' a show that has now manifested in 30 countries and which Kusser says she discovered 'by accident' in Belgium, there was no question of how it would appeal in the United States. 'We had the genius idea to sell it with Betty White,' she said."

Russia will drop DRM digital radio.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Izvestia, 17 Apr 2012, as Google-translated from Russian: "Ministry of Communications has prepared a new amendment to the Federal Program 'Development of Broadcasting in the Russian Federation in 2009-2015'. All advertised events this year to implement broadcasting in DRM standard will soon be lifted. As explained in the department, a program developed in 2008, did not fully take into account the latest technological advances. Over the past few years, the use of DRM in the world has significantly decreased, while broadcasters are still satisfied with the work in the VHF range and wait for the emergence of new hybrid technologies. At the event 'radio broadcast of the program' in the budget was included 3.9 billion rubles, which was planned to learn in four years. Now all the money will be spent on the development of television." -- The reader comments are also interesting and worth Google-translating. This appears to pertain to domestic medium wave in Russia. Does it also mean that Voice of Russia will discontinue its DRM shortwave transmissions for international audiences? In any case, the DRM consortium appears to have lost an important member.

RadioActivity, 21 Apr 2012, Alokesh Gupta: "New DRM receiver from CDNSE, Newstar DR111 was tested in Delhi, here's a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOZ38emzPgg (Thanks to Shakti Verma for sharing the video)."

DRM Consortium press release, 19 Apr 2012: "The DRM Consortium used its stronger than ever presence at NAB 2012 to showcase a new DRM receiver and to update participants on the developments and potential of the DRM standard, now fully recommended by ITU for both AM (DRM30) and VHF (DRM+). ... At the Continental-Transradio event on April 16th participants saw and tested the new DR111 receiver. They also learned more about DRM30 and how highly efficient and economical it is as it can deliver up to 80% energy savings."

Telesur team complains of "assault" at Israeli embassy in Santiago de Chile.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Prensa Latina (Havana), 18 Apr 2012: "The International Press Correspondent Assocation in Chile (ACPI) denounced on Wednesday the assault suffered by a Telesur team by an Israeli Embassy official in [Santiago]. 'We deplore and consider serious the aggression suffered by the Telesur team in the middle of the street,' reads a statement issued by ACPI, led here by Mauricio Weibel, who also chairs the South American Union of Correspondents. The attack took place yesterday when the Telesur team in Chile, including correspondent Beatriz Michell and cameraman Hugo Fuentes, went to the Israeli Embassy to film from outside the presentation of a letter addressed by the World Federation of Trade Unions, demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners. The embassy officials asked for the foreign press professionals' ID papers, and they showed them the credentials granted by the Chilean government. According to the Correspondent Association, who briefed foreign press accredited here about the incident, 'then, an unidentified man from inside the building went out and pushed the Telesur workers, and yelled at them to leave the place.'"

Broadcasting Board of Governors "forges ahead with China strategy" by maintaining the status quo.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 20 Apr 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today announced a renewed strategy for broadcasting to China that will be reflected in the ongoing dialogue with Congress about the Agency’s proposed FY 2013 budget. 'China’s highly competitive media market and its government’s aggressive jamming of BBG content are long-standing challenges,' said BBG board member Michael Meehan. 'Beijing blocks media of many kinds and aggressively stifles free expression, especially in regions where dissent continues to arise in the open, such as Tibet. While the Board understands the reality of the current budget environment, it also perceives a pressing need for the news and information that we provide to be seen and heard across China and Tibet.' In response to inquiries from Congress and other stake-holders, the Agency is developing alternatives that take into account the roles of Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan Radio, along with VOA Cantonese TV programming and VOA satellite TV capability in China. At the April meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee, the Board asked that key senior staff form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet."

Committee for US International Broadcasting press release, 21 Apr 2012: "The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has been vindicated by the action of Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) who approved a plan to restore funding in the FY 2013 budget request that the BBG proposed to cut earlier this year for U.S. international broadcasting to China and Tibet. CUSIB applauds efforts by its members to bring this important issue to the attention of the American public. We are also deeply grateful to Mrs. Annette Lantos, a Holocaust survivor and human rights campaigner, who made a powerful plea to the Broadcasting Board of Governors in defense of Voice of America programs to China, Tibet, and Russia. CUSIB also thanks its Advisory Board members Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and Jing Zhang, founder and president of Women’s Rights in China, for their efforts to show how VOA and Radio Free Asia (RFA) radio and television broadcasts help women in China who are victims of human rights abuses."

CUSIB is justified in taking credit for the preservation of the VOA Mandarin and Tibetan radio services. Its efforts seem to have brought pressure on the BBG to delay its previous decision about broadcasting to China and Tibet.

The victory, however, is pyrrhic. It is very difficult to get reliable news out of China and Tibet, and to get that news back into China and Tibet. Furthermore, most Chinese have hundreds channels of entertainment and information via video and internet media. In this challenging environment, US international broadcasting is attempting to succeed with two entities that split scarce money, resources, and talent, while duplicating their efforts.

Just three days ago, in this website, we saw an example of this duplication. RFA Tibetan and VOA Tibetan both sent people to shoot video of the Dalai Lama's visit to the United States. In San Diego, "[a]mong the 50 or more media members waiting to cover the talk were Tibetan-born, Washington, D.C.-based reporters for the Voice of America's Tibetan Service and Radio Free Asia." That video was used for RFA's and VOA's separate Tibetan broadcasts and websites.

The Obama Administration has announced its intention to reduce duplication in the US government. The pervasive duplication in US international broadcasting being such an obvious target, it is only a matter of time before before the BBG comes under the scrutiny of the OMB. The BBG, however, did not create the duplication. Congress did, most egregiously in 1994 by establishing Radio Free Asia based on the entirely false premise that VOA did not broadcast news about its target countries. (They somehow forgot VOA's extensive coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests, just five years earlier.)

The BBG might try to eliminate the duplication by ordering the USIB entities to adhere to their oft-stated but mostly unobserved mandates. The Radio Free stations would broadcast news about the target countries. VOA would broadcast US and general world news -- and lose most of its audience, because people mostly want to hear about what's happening in their own countries. In the competitive global media environment, however, audiences will not put up with the inconvenience of having to tune to two US broadcasting services to get complete news coverage. They will not pay this price to keep the USIB entities intact.

No matter how you slice or dice the "many brands" strategy of US international broadcasting, the outcome is unsatisfactory, both for the audiences and for the US taxpayers.

The Board has "asked that key senior staff form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet." They haven't asked for this already? In any case, I, as non-key junior staff, formed a working group of one, mostly working on the Metro during my commute home, resulting in this holistic strategy for US broadcasting to China, published in May 2011 by the Public Diplomacy Council.

New data show rapid internet and smartphone growth in Russia.

Posted: 21 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 20 Apr 2012, Robin Wauters: "According to [GP Bullhound], (only) 47 percent of Russia’s total population is currently online, or roughly 67 million people. New users are coming online for the first time in droves all around the country, particularly where penetration is generally low. Last year, 90 percent of new Internet users were from outside of major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russia’s mobile penetration is among the highest in the world at 159 percent today, compensating for the poor fixed-line infrastructure in the country. If you think those phones are almost all feature phones, think again: smartphone penetration has reached 25 percent, which is comparable to big Western markets like the UK, France and Germany."

China's Pan African Networks will soon provide digital TV service in Kenya.

Posted: 21 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 15 Apr 2012, Rebecca Hawkes: "China's Pan African Networks Group is to roll out a digital TV service in Kenya next month in competition with state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, which switched on its DVB-T2 digital terrestrial network last week. Michael Wu, managing director of Pan African Networks said construction of a transmission site in Nairobi is almost complete and it will have covered 65% of the country by the end of 2012, according to The Star. His company was awarded Kenya's second broadcast signal distribution license in October 2011." -- This is a digital terrestrial bouquet of channels.

USA Today journalists who reported on information operations were subject to disinformation operations.

Posted: 21 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
USA Today, 20 Apr 2012, Gregory Korte: "A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites. Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's 'information operations' program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored. For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company. If the websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption. 'We're not aware of any participation in such activities, nor would it be acceptable,' said Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman." With links to the original USA Today reports.

Washington Post, 20 Apr 2012, Erik Wemple blog: "In an interview Thursday night, Locker said that the campaign was 'something I’ve never experienced in 30 years' in this business. The sites launched in the names of the USA Today colleagues, suggests Locker, were insidious samples of infocrafting. They contained links to work that the journalists had done, plus a space for comments on the stories. In that space, says Locker, there were 'nasty, untrue' remarks from commenters who didn’t appear to be real people. Like an actual news site, in other words."

Hyundai hopes its ads on CNN International will help it "become the most beloved automotive company in the world."

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN press release, 18 Apr 2012: "CNN Worldwide today announced that it has signed a large-scale global sponsorship deal with leading automotive producer Hyundai Motor Company (HMC). The deal will include sponsorship of the new nightly ‘Amanpour' show and the popular interview program ‘Piers Morgan Tonight', and will involve HMC's ‘Live Brilliant' campaign airing across the CNN International, CNN US and CNN en Español networks. The collaboration represents one of CNN's most comprehensive global auto sponsorship deals to date. The six-month sponsorship agreement encompasses both billboards and spots around signature programming, in addition to daily segments within shows. ... Mr. Won Hong Cho, CMO of Hyundai Motor Company said, '... We saw a perfect fit with Hyundai's brand direction of "Modern Premium" through "New Thinking. New Possibilities." and are delighted to once again work with CNN through this truly global collaboration. Hyundai Motor Company launched a new worldwide brand campaign called "Live Brilliant" as part of its efforts to reinforce its brand management activities and fulfill its vision to become the most beloved automotive company in the world.'"

Aviation News Today, 19 Apr 2012: "Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials announced a concessions rollout schedule for the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal and its 12-gate concourse, set to open May 16. ... Shopping choices set for opening day [include] two CNN International News locations and two duty-free stores." -- I think these are CNN Café's, selling coffee and snacks, and allowing customers to watch CNN (or CNN International) on a big screen. See previous post and cnn-cafe.com.

CNN, Security Clearance blog, 18 Apr 2012: "Pakistan's Foreign Minister told CNN International's Christiane Amanpour that her government had 'no complicity' in the hiding of Osama bin Laden."

CNN Press Room, 17 Apr 2012: "On Tuesday, April 17, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) spoke with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in a live interview about the broken ceasefire in Syria."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 18 Apr 2012, Rick Arthur: "Hala Gorani, 42, is a prize-winning anchor and correspondent for CNN International and is based at the network's headquarters in Atlanta. Born to Syrian parents in Seattle and raised in Paris, she has reported from every country in the Middle East. She speaks English, French and Arabic."

CNN en Español Facebook page, 20 Apr 2012: "Con nuestro seguidor Wellington Farid Sanchez Reyes, llegamos al millón de 'likes' en nuestra página de Facebook. Muchas gracias de parte de todo el equipo de CNN en Español por todos estos 'me gusta' a lo largo de estos últimos años y los que vendrán." With video.

NBC Universal exec predicts shows "on more than one NBCU outlet in more than one language simultaneously."

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 17 Apr 2012, Cynthia Littleton: "NBCUniversal is plowing more money and resources into its Spanish-lingo TV assets, and for good reason. Broadcast net Telemundo and cabler Mun2 hit the sweet spot of the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. Mun2, which targets younger, U.S.-born Hispanics with a mix of Spanish and English programming, in particular is seen as a sleeping giant within the Peacock family. ... Execs at Telemundo and Mun2 are increasingly brainstorming programming and marketing ideas with execs at other NBCU cablers. Diana Mogollon, g.m. of Mun2, predicts that it won't be long before they develop a show that airs on more than one NBCU outlet in more than one language simultaneously." -- "Mun2," in Spanish, is pronounced Mundos, as in "worlds."

GlobeCast's new MyGlobeTV delivers international channels to the Americas via IP + set-top box.

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
GlobeCast Press Release, 17 Apr 2012: "GlobeCast today announced the launch of MyGlobeTV — a new over-the-top (OTT) platform for international broadcasters in the Americas. MyGlobeTV is a B-2-C [business-to-consumer] television bouquet that brings international and genre-based audiovisual content directly to subscribers. 'With MyGlobeTV, subscribers will be able to enjoy their favorite international channels using their existing broadband connection,' said Emma Brackett, VP of Consumer Products and Services at GlobeCast. 'At launch, content will be available on connected TVs via the MyGlobeTV set-top box. The deployment of a MyGlobeTV app will follow soon after to enable anytime-anywhere viewing on any connected device.' The initial commercial launch of the MyGlobeTV service in the United States is scheduled for July 1. After the U.S. rollout, plans are in place to expand the service to the rest of the Americas. Rather than delivering content on the open Internet, MyGlobeTV is an OTT offering that utilizes closed-network, encrypted Internet Protocol (IP) delivery of television and radio content directly to the subscriber’s home. In contrast to WorldTV, GlobeCast’s Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite offering, all MyGlobeTV subscribers need is a broadband Internet connection and an easy plug and play MyGlobeTV set-top box; no satellite dish is required. ... No matter where in the world the broadcaster’s signal originates, it is possible to use GlobeCast’s global infrastructure to carry it via satellite and/or fiber to a GlobeCast technical operations center in the U.S. The technical operations center then processes the signal and sends it securely to the viewer’s home, anywhere in the U.S., via the Internet."

Al Jazeera using new media to "bypass" US cable, with the goal "to be the largest media organisation in the world."

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
7DAYS (Dubai), 17 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera’s main mobile man Derrick Fountain - himself an American - said the days of Arab coverage being heavily restricted or even having the plug pulled in the US were fast becoming a thing of the past. 'In the US we have to go through cable networks,' said Fountain. ... [W]e have to go through all these hurdles to get on television screens - but with new media we can bypass that and go direct to the consumers. We can go direct to their handsets, direct to the internet.' Fountain says Al Jazeera has created two iPhone apps - one for the broadcaster’s Arabic language channel and one for its English programmes. 'It’s a very important distribution channel for us and we’ve been pretty successful in getting downloads from the US,' he said. ... 'The goal is to be the largest media organisation in the world,' he said."

New York Times, 18 Apr 2012, Alex Hawgood: New York City DJ Jazmin Venus Soto "frequently peppers sound clips from the Al Jazeera news network, audio from the riots in Egypt and sound pings from submarines into her sets. 'I’m going to play Al Jazeera in the club, and you’re going to like it,' she said."

Australian traveling in Asia watches Australia Network and declares it to be "repetitive, pointless tosh" (updated).

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 17 Apr 2012, Judith Sloan: "We have been travelling around Asia for the past three weeks. In some of our spare time, we have tuned into the ABC-produced Australia Network channel aired on local television, as well as a number of other channels. What is my conclusion on the Australia Network? Repetitive, pointless tosh. It is completely unclear who the intended audience is, the mix of programming is quite bizarre and the news services are patchy, unreliable and boring. Frankly, a lot of the output looks cheap and dated. ... To give you a flavour of the content of Australia Network, there are episodes of Play School and The Wiggles. There are old episodes of Sea Patrol and Packed to the Rafters. The Gruen Transfer and The New Inventors get plenty of runs. ... There are ponderous and unsatisfying half hours of news, cut and pasted from various segments of the nightly news back at home and possibly bespoke segments created by the ABC's Asian correspondents. These latter pieces are endlessly repeated, as if every last ounce of their worth has to be milked. ... What we need to know is who the audience is, as well as its size, because only in this way can we assess the degree to which the objectives of the Australia Network are being met. On this point, it is actually not clear what the real purpose of the network is. ... Arguably, the timing of the start of the network could not have been worse. Recall that it got going in the early 2000s as an experiment sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This was just the time when developments in information and digital technology began to undermine the exclusive use of free-to-air television stations to reach audiences. And don't forget, there is still Radio Australia for those shrinking numbers of people without access to any foreign broadcast services. ... As far as the Australia Network is concerned, there is simply no case for its continued existence. The content of the network is second-rate and any notion that a contribution is being made to the soft diplomatic effort of Australia is simply laughable."

Remember that 1) Australians abroad are not the target audience for Australia Network and 2) there is usually repetition on international channels, because most people don't stay tuned in for very long.

Still, this commentary reminds us that "build it, and they will come" does not always work in international television. For one thing, the channel has to be good enough to be carried by cable and DTH satellite systems in the region (or have enough money to buy time on those systems).

Ms. Sloan is correct about the uncertainty of the "real purpose" of Australia Network. If it is "soft diplomacy" -- a dreadful term, and one that is not compatible with journalism -- then Australia would be better off purchasing 60-second spots on popular television channels in the region, to promote trade, tourism, investment, and to put across policy objectives. If it is to provide a window on Australia with a cross-section of Australian television programming, self-funding through advertising (the BBC Worldwide model) and/or pay-TV arrangements would force the channel to find ways to attract an audience. If it is to provide a news alternative for Asia, this would require a formidable investment of money and talent. Here, Australia might want to enlist a coalition consisting of the public broadcasters of New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and perhaps also the Netherlands and other European countries where English is widely spoken.

Crikey, 17 Apr 2012, David Salter: "Sloan stumbled into laughable error by declaring that 'Sky News Australia is widely available in Asia and this would surely be the preferred outlet'. No, it’s not. What the undiscerning Sloan was watching was Sky News UK — the local version of Sky News isn’t available in Asia."

Update: The Interpretor (Lowy Institute for International Policy), 18 Apr 2012, Alex Oliver: "Axing [Australia Network] would be drastic, and would cut off one of Australia's principal means of projecting its image, strengths and values to the world. It would also deprive the region of a valuable source of independent news and current affairs, with ABC's corps of correspondents in Asia (26 journalists in five Asian bureaux and 55 in the Asia Pacific News Centre) far outstripping that of the BBC, CNN, Sky and Al Jazeera. Given the erratic government treatment of both Radio Australia and Australia Network over their chequered histories, it is miraculous they have any audiences at all. But they do, and they are significant: Australia Network reaches over 31 million and ranks higher than Al Jazeera English and Korea's Arirang in a major nine-city survey across Asia. It remains either the most-watched or second-most watched international broadcaster in Pacific Island markets." -- How does the viewer know where the projecting image ends and the independent news begins?

The Australian, 19 Apr 2012, Christian Kerr: "The government is still determining the future direction of the Australia Network, nearly four months after it controversially shut down a $223 million tender and handed responsibility for the soft diplomacy broadcasting service to the ABC. ... 'These matters remain under consideration by government.'"

VOA using Norwegian company's Interactivity Suite for "true participation TV."

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
InteractiveTV Today, 17 Apr 2012: "Norwegian interactive TV company, never.no ... said Tuesday that its flagship Interactivity Suite (IS) is being used by Voice of America to incorporate social media into its programming. ... The never.no IS is a toolkit for creating the technical backbone of interactive broadcasts and social TV. IS supports true participation TV by enabling viewers to influence a broadcast in real time, and allowing them to interact with one another and the rest of the world. With IS, a broadcaster can effortlessly aggregate user-generated content from social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook into programming, and even build synchronized companion apps that enable viewers to interact with their televisions using an iPad (or tablet), PC, or smartphone."

Information into North Korea: "What used to be a drip is now a steady trickle."

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link

The Atlantic, 15 Apr 2012, Max Fisher: "After the disastrous famine of the mid-1990s, Kim Jong Il opened the border with China ever-so-slightly, turning a blind eye to the informal network of traders who brought in food and basic necessities. But the merchants started bringing in something more dangerous: Chinese transistor radios. State security, immediately seeing the existential threat that Chinese news reports or Radio Free Asia could post, imposed a sentence of 10 years hard labor for anyone caught listening, and began jamming the signals. It was another victory for the Hermit Kingdom, but keeping up with technology is getting much tougher. A few years ago, the traders began carrying video CDs (DVDs are too expensive) of South Korean soap operas and Hollywood films. These pirated videos could pose more of a threat to the North Korean system than a half-dozen American presidents, and the Kim regime seems to know it. They portray an outside world of freedom and prosperity that, in a couple of short hours, undo a lifetime of studied propaganda and meticulously enforced isolation. Security forced have responded by routinely cutting power to entire apartment blocks, raiding every living room and bedroom to see what discs are stuck inside the players. Anyone caught with a contraband video CD is arrested. But it's a losing battle."

The Economist, 21 Apr 2012, leader: "In labour camps across its remote northern reaches, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea detains an estimated 150,000-200,000 political prisoners. ... The gulag’s captives are not told of their crimes, though torture usually produces a 'confession' — which might admit to defacing an image of the 'Great Leader' or listening to a foreign broadcast."

CNN, Security Clearance blog, 17 Apr 2012, Larry Shaughnessy: "'It is extremely surprising that North Korea admitted to its populace that [its rocket launch] was a failure. In times past they claimed it was a success even when the satellites went into the Pacific Ocean,' said Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation. 'I think it's likely that there was a realization by the regime that more information is getting in and out of North Korea than in times past.' [Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations] agreed that the regime's iron-tight grip on information flowing into the country is getting rusty. 'I think that it is an implicit admission of that, yes. Very much so,' Snyder said. 'Surveys of North Korean refugees show an increased information flow into North Korea.' A U.S. official told Security Clearance that some North Koreans are able to get some access to outside information. 'It is harder for North Korea to control all outside news, or prevent some of its people from leaving if they are determined to do so.' ... As for the weapon of propaganda, neither Snyder nor Klingner thinks there's suddenly a flood of information getting into North Korea, but perhaps what used to be a drip is now a steady trickle. And it comes from a variety of sources. ... In spite of the spread of 21st century technology, Snyder said he believes it's an ancient form of information sharing that matters most. 'The dominant way that information comes in is by word of mouth, that essentially means somebody coming in from China telling rumors of the latest news probably at the marketplace.' The United States does have a Korean language version of Radio Free Asia that it uses to try to get accurate information inside the nation, but that's not very effective when the electricity for most citizens works only two hours a day." -- But many of the radios used by North Koreans who do listen to international broadcasts are battery powered. See previous post about same subject.

The Korea Times, 17 Apr 2012, Kim Jung-yoon: "Ha Tae-kyung, a North Korean human rights activist-turned-lawmaker said Thursday that he will seek to cooperate with Chinese officials in an attempt to improve the North’s human rights situation. 'Meeting with Chinese officials one-on-one to discuss the issue will be one of the key issues,' said Ha during an interview with The Korea Times, shortly after winning a parliamentary seat last week. The head of Open Radio for North Korea earned his doctorate degree in China while working as a human rights activist for North Koreans. Ha said his experiences and background will help him open a new channel with Beijing. ... Ha won a parliamentary seat in the Gijjang-B constituency of the southeastern port city of Busan on the ruling Saenuri Party ticket. ... Ha will shortly resign as the head of Open Radio for North Korea, leaving the broadcasting work to other activists."

Radio Canada International hears from listeners "from all countries, in many languages" about its budget cut.

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
RCI Action Committee blog, 19 Apr 2012: "It’s been quite humbling and touching to read the many, many reactions from listeners around the world to the news of the cuts at Radio Canada International. The comments are coming . People are very upset. ... From a Chinese listener: 'It must have been 6 or 7 years since I started to listen to RCI Chinese section’s daily broadcasting via shortwave radio, I really enjoy it. However, when I heard that RCI will stop the mandarin broadcast to China at the end of June, it made me very sad, even depressed. I cannot understand the reasoning behind this decision… For me, the shortwave radio is the only way to know what happen in China, in Canada and in the world. Now you are burning this only bridge down!'" With links.

RCI Action Committee, 19 Apr 2012: "Yesterday at noon in Montreal, a common front of unions representing on air production staff, producers, technicians, administrative staff at our national radio and television public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada convened a meeting of hundreds of employees. The impact of the cuts on public broadcasting in Canada were discussed, and the near elimination of RCI was raised numerous times. The unions are working together to come up with a common strategy to fight the cuts. Almost all of 60 plus RCI staff attended the meeting." See also Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada, 18 Apr 2012.

Montreal Mirror, 19 Apr 2012: "With the federal Conservatives hacking away at everything in sight, Radio Canada International, the CBC’s international service, will lose 80 per cent of its $12.3-million budget, effectively killing it as a shortwave and satellite radio broadcaster. It will keep some sort of web presence, though it’s still unclear what it will look like. RCI was never nearly as big as some other international broadcasters, but it did have a solid reputation, and put Canada’s best face forward. With Internet access still far from universal, it’s doubtful the new website will get a whole bunch of hits. So the world is losing a bit of Canada, which is a shame. China Radio International, meanwhile, has been busy buying up all the frequencies it can."

Calgary Herald, 12 Apr 2012, Anne Sutherland: "'Yes, we did have to make some choices,' [James Moore, the federal minister of Canadian heritage] said when faced with questions about the recent budget cuts to the CBC and Radio Canada International, and the closing of National Film Board screening centres in Montreal and Toronto. ... As for RCI, Moore said that losses in ad revenue at CBC meant that choices had to be made internally on how to best manage challenging times."

See previous post about same subject.

Sky News Arabia hopes its commitment to editorial independence "will ring true with viewers."

Posted: 20 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Arabian Business, 15 Apr 2012, Sara Anabtawi, based on interview with Nart Bouran, head of Sky News Arabia: An "ingredient that adds to Sky News Arabia’s attempt to stand out from the crowd is its editorial advisory committee, a concept that the channel says has not been replicated anywhere else in the region. 'We have an editorial advisory committee that makes sure — like a board of trustees would work for a company — that we maintain our editorial line and our integrity when it comes to covering news,' he says. In other news organisations, Bouran says, the usual format involves the management of the channel, the editorial staff, which is situated in the newsroom, and, of course, the board of directors. However, Sky News Arabia is planning to operate in a slightly different way. 'The committee has two nominees from each of the shareholders, but there are four independent individuals, very well respected, whose role is to work with me and to assist the team in making sure that we are independent in what we produce,' Bouran says. Given the storm of criticism that has rained down on news organisations like Al Jazeera — which has been regularly accused of bias — perhaps the promise of editorial independency will ring true with viewers."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 19 Apr 2012, Ben Flanagan: Sky News Arabia presenter "Alma Intabli ... is from the Syrian port town of Latakia. Not that she can let this show. Ms Intabli, 28, is quick to underline the neutrality required of TV-news presenters. 'At the end of the day, I'm a journalist, and I'm a presenter. So I have to be balanced,' she says. 'If I'm anti-regime, or pro-regime, I must not show anything. It's kind of difficult to control yourself. But at the end of the day, we are used to this, and this is our job.' ... Yasser Thabet, the head of output at Sky News Arabia, ... is from Egypt. He has lived in the UAE for five years, and worked on all four rival Arabic-language news stations - Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, BBC Arabic and the US-funded Alhurra. One of the things he does is to ensure that questions asked by presenters are kept short - as part of his policy of 'no boredom'."

Arabian Business, 15 Apr 2012, Ed Attwood: Rupert Murdoch's "direct link to Sky News Arabia comes through NewsCorp’s controlling stake in BSkyB – one half of the channel’s 50:50 joint backers. Although Sky News Arabia has been at pains to distance itself from NewsCorp – as our interview with channel chief Nart Bouran overleaf shows – it remains to be seen whether its close connections, real or perceived, with Murdoch will hinder the brand."

See previous post about same subject.

China Radio International bureau chief gets married in Islamabad "in traditional Pakistani style."

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Independent News Pakistan, 19 Apr 2012: "A Chinese couple, Wang Qianting, bureau chief China Radio International (CRI) and a diplomat of Chinese embassy in Islamabad Mr. Wang Shengjie tied the knot in a traditional Pakistani style at a ceremony held here Sunday night at a local hotel. The wedding ceremony was attended by Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian and a large number of their friends including Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed. The marriage was sermonized in traditional Pakistani fashion that included performance of folk dance and singing of Pakistani marriage’s songs during the ceremony. The bridegroom was wearing ‘Sherwani’ and bride attiring traditional Pakistani bridal dress with jewelry. The couple set a pleasant tradition getting themselves engaged in Pakistan, considering it their second home, said the ambassador in a brief talks on the occasion. It shows the love of Chinese people with Pakistani culture and fashion."

International broadcasters are among New York Festivals TV winners and finalists.

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
New York Festivals website: Among the several winners and finalists of the 2012 New York Festivals television awards are international broadcasters VOA Persian News Network (Parazit), Alhurra, Deutsche Welle, BBC Knowledge, Cartoon Network Latin America, CNN International, and Discovery en Español. They are eligible to purchase trophies ($215) or certificates ($89, not including frame). See also New York Festivals press release, 18 Apr 2012. And VOA press release, 18 Apr 2012. And Middle East Broadcasting Networks press release, 18 Apr 2012.

TV5Monde c'est ne pas "rubbish."

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Irish Independent, 15 Apr 2012, letter from Noel Canty, TV5Monde representative in Ireland: "I have to object to the pejorative reference to TV5MONDE, the second most available public service broadcaster in the world after MTV and ahead of CNN, as a 'scraping from the bottom of the barrel' (Sunday Independent, Business, April 1, 2012). TV5MONDE is a generalist channel, akin to RTE and the BBC, if one were to leave out its US/Aus/UK bought-in offerings, that relays the best of productions from 10 Francophone partner terrestrial channels as well as our own in-house productions. Cinema offerings form a sizeable, very popular proportion of our 24/24 schedule. Next month we broadcast a number of Cannes award-winning cinema offerings -- most of them subtitled in French and in English and 10 other languages. Not a 'rubbish station' by anyone's standard." -- I would like to see the article it refers to, but searches have been unsuccessful. See previous post about same TV5Monde.

RFA Tibetan covers Dalai Lama visit with video. VOA Tibetan covers Dalai Lama visit with video.

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Honolulu Civil Beat, 13 Apr 2012, Michael Levine: "I’m downstairs at this undisclosed location where the Dalai Lama will be arriving within the hour. Among the dozen or so journalists assembled are the Associated Press, KITV, Hawaii News Now, etc. Mostly local reporters — but not all of them. Joshua Edelstein works for Radio Free Asia, which broadcasts video and audio via short wave and the Internet into six Asian countries with state-controlled media — China, Cambodia, Korea, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. In China, it broadcasts in four langugages — Mandarin, Cantonese Uyghur and, most interestingly for this event, Tibetan. The Tibetan Language Service was his assigning editor for this assignment. Edelstein said he was until two weeks ago the webmaster for the private nonprofit in Washington D.C., the organization’s only U.S. office. If he hadn’t moved home (he was born and raised in Hawaii, Iolani class of 1990), Radio Free Asia would have been without a presence for the Dalai Lama’s visit. ... He said he was told he doesn’t have to ask questions but just shoot 'good video of other people’s questions.' Normally Radio Free Asia wants five- to 10-minute clips, 'but seeing as I’m not a reporter, I’m just going to shoot everything and let them choose,' Edelstein said."

San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Apr 2012, Peter Rowe: "Ruth Spear faced a simple choice Tuesday afternoon. She could catch a 90-minute snooze before her all-night flight home to London. Or she could skip sleep and stand outside the Manchester Grand Hyatt, hoping to glimpse the Dalai Lama. Napping never stood a chance. 'When I heard who it was these people were waiting for,' said Spear, a British Airways flight attendant, 'I had to stay. He’s a peacemaker — and these days, any peacemaker deserves applause.' Her sleepless vigil was rewarded less than an hour later. Around 4 p.m., a black Cadillac sedan parked outside the Hyatt, dropping off a team of U.S. State Department security agents and a slight, bespectacled man wearing his customary saffron and maroon robes. As a team from the Voice of America’s Tibetan service recorded the scene, applause and cheers erupted from the 100 people waiting behind a rope barrier. Dozens offered him bright spring bouquets."

Does VOA get to use RFA's video? Does RFA get to use VOA's video?

San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Apr 2012, Pat Flynn: "Among the 50 or more media members waiting to cover the talk were Tibetan-born, Washington, D.C.-based reporters for the Voice of America's Tibetan Service and Radio Free Asia. 'We are broadcasting into Tibet, in the Tibetan language and dialects,' said Karma Gyaltsen, of the Voice of America. 'Our mission is to broadcast world news, uncensored, into Tibet. The Chinese try to jam it. Somebody's always trying to jam in and somebody's always trying to get around that. We have different frequencies.'"

Voice of Turkey plans to add Mongolian, its 36th language service.

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Today's Zaman, 15 Apr 2012, Aydin Albayrak: "The Voice of Turkey (Türkiye’nin Sesi Radyosu in Turkish), Turkey’s state-owned radio broadcasting service in foreign languages, will soon add Mongolian to its portfolio. The Voice of Turkey is the world’s fourth biggest radio station in terms of the number of foreign languages in which it broadcasts. It airs content in Turkish as well as in 34 other languages with plans to start a Mongolian service soon. With such a large coverage, Turkey’s official radio station is placed on the list above the BBC, which broadcasts in 33 languages, and comes after the US, China and Russia. Now in its 75th year, the Voice of Turkey is considering expanding its coverage to Mongolia. 'We have received requests from Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Gagauz Turks and Bashkortostan [a republic in Russia] to start broadcasting in their languages,' Süleyman Köksoy, director of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) Foreign Service, told Sunday’s Zaman in an exclusive interview. If the plan gets the go-ahead from the governing board, Mongolian will be the 36th language broadcast by the Voice of Turkey. The Voice of Turkey utilizes new technology such as web-broadcasting and a satellite feed as well as the traditional shortwave transmission. The latest additions among the languages broadcast are Armenian (over the web since 2009) and Afghan languages such as Dari Persian, Pashto and Afghan Uzbek. 'The broadcast in Armenian has met with considerable interest in Armenia; we generally get positive messages,' Köksoy said. Stories of the lives of Armenian artists who lived in Anatolia and Ottoman bureaucrats of Armenian origin are being broadcast during the one-hour transmission. This relatively new addition has led the Armenians living in Istanbul today to request radio broadcasts in Armenian from TRT inside Turkey. Noting that broadcasting in Armenian is a step towards friendship, Köksoy commented, 'It is proof we don’t have any negative feelings towards Armenians.' ... [T]he country where the broadcast gets the warmest welcome is Pakistan, where there is even a club bringing together those who listen to the Voice of Turkey." See also the TRT World website.

The Guardian publishes seven-part, multi-lingual "Battle for the Internet" series.

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 16 Apr 2012, Paul McNally: "The Guardian has begun publishing a series of articles in foreign languages – including Russian, Estonian and Chinese – looking at global internet issues. The translated articles, which are also available in English, are part a week-long series on the 'Battle for the internet' which looks at the challenges facing the dream of an open internet. Today's articles include a piece in Mandarin on Chinese internet censorship, an Estonian-language piece on how the country has embraced the web and an article in Russian on the Kremlin's attitude to the 'western' internet. The foreign-language articles follow a similar initiative last year, in which 72 Guardian articles were translated into Arabic - mostly covering the Arab Spring uprisings, but also some UK football reports." -- The first part is about Chinese bloggers. See previous post, second item.

European Parliament news release, 18 Apr 2012: "The EU should have rules for monitoring internet censorship by autocratic regimes, says a resolution, approved on Wednesday on the annual human rights report for 2010. Parliament wants these new rules to strengthen the accountability of EU-based companies that export tools that can be used to block websites and monitor mobile communications."

Communication minister says Iran will establish "sort of an intranet," but its purpose will be "to avoid unnecessary costs."

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Fars News Agency, 18 Apr 2012: "Iran's Minister of Communication and Information Technology Reza Taqipour said reports that the country is planning to shut down the internet and replace it with a national intranet network were untrue. 'The news on unplugging the internet by the month of Shahrivar (which starts on August 22) and launching a national intranet was released on the sidelines of a forum in the final days of the previous Iranian year and were by no means true,' Taqipour said on Wednesday. Iran, however, does have plans to establish a 'national information network' that would function like a sort of intranet for the Islamic Republic, he said, and explained that the revelations about the national intranet network referred to an extensive multi-layer network with a wide bandwidth which has already been launched across the country. 'The main function of this network is that the information produced in Iran - which is on the increase each day - and transferred (to a recipient) inside the country will not need to go through international bandwidth ,' Taqipour added."

Ars Technica, 18 Apr 2012, Cyrus Farivar: "Iran appears to have recently published a Persian-language 'Request for Information' (RFI) for an even-more filtered and monitored version of the Internet than what presently exists in the Islamic Republic. The RFI calls for 'proper conditions for domestic experts in order to build a healthy Web and organize the current filtering situation,' and lists a deadline of April 19, 2012. The document, which was discovered on Monday by a Washington, DC-based Internet surveillance researcher, was posted to the website of the Research Institute for ICT in Tehran. The institute describes itself in English as the 'mother consultant to the Ministry of ICT.' The document appears to be the latest step in what Iranian government officials have previously called the 'halal Internet.' The government has not yet explained precisely what they mean, nor what its technical capabilities are, nor when it would launch. ... Collin Anderson, the researcher who found the document, said this RFI shows an unexpected shortcoming of the Iranian government to capitalize on its own domestic ability and recent deals with Chinese telecom companies such as Huawei and ZTE." With links to documents and sources.

AP, 16 Apr 2012, Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy: "Experts in Internet technology question whether Iran will try to create a completely closed Web universe – which is possible but exceedingly complicated – or simply take cues from China's 'Great Firewall' policies that tightly control the Web and cut links at any signs of politically uncomfortable chatter or postings."

See previous post about same subject.

International broadcasting very much in the news: Many comments about Julian Assange's debut on RT.

Posted: 19 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 18 Apr 2012: "The opening episode of Julian Assange's new talk show featured an interview with militant leader Hassan Nasrallah, whose Syria-backed Hezbollah militia is considered a terrorist organization in the United States and Europe. The opening episode of Julian Assange's new talk show featured an interview with militant leader Hassan Nasrallah, whose Syria-backed Hezbollah militia is considered a terrorist organization in the United States and Europe. ... Getting Nasrallah on air was something of a coup. The Shiite militant boss rarely gives interviews, and when he does they usually are on Hezbollah's Manar TV station."

New York Times, 17 Apr 2012, Alessandra Stanley: "[T]here is something almost atavistic about the outlet he chose. RT, first known as Russia Today, is an English-language news network created by the Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin in 2005 to promote the Kremlin line abroad. (It also broadcasts in Spanish and Arabic.) It’s like the Voice of America, only with more money and a zesty anti-American slant. ... Basically, it’s an improbable platform for a man who poses as a radical left-wing whistleblower and free-speech frondeur battling the superpowers that be. ... Mr. Assange said he would be able to attract hard-to-get guests because 'they are not dealing with a standard interviewer, they are dealing with someone who is under house arrest.' In his first foray as a talk show host, however, Mr. Assange did everything he could to minimize his prisonlike isolation and behaved surprisingly like a standard network interviewer.'"

The Independent, 17 Apr 2012, Jerome Taylor: "With Mr Nasrallah, the soft-spoken Australian was largely deferential, asking just one question on Hizballah's firing of rockets into northern Israel, questioning him on his childhood memories and even sharing a joke about computer encryption. But there moments when Mr Assange showed some flair for asking tough questions. 'Why have you supported the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, and other countries but not in Syria,' he asked the leader of Hizballah, whose closeness to the Syrian regime is well known and has placed the militant group in a difficult position given the popularity of the Arab uprisings."

The Power Index, 18 Apr 2012: "The program, based on a Skype conversation, was made to look natural -- with a makeshift studio, Assange's creased and casual collared shirt, sporadically placed notes and empty coffee cups -- but it was anything but. ... He asked questions that were obviously pre-prepared and sounded as if they'd also been pre-approved (or at least pre-provided to Nasrallah). He did not fire back at Nasrallah's responses." With video.

The Guardian, 17 Apr 2012, Luke Harding: "Assange's debut interview wasn't quite the incendiary event that Russia Today had promised. The questions were clearly agreed in advance. Some were softball, others fawning, with Nasrallah's answers unchallenged."

Business Insider, 17 Apr 2012, Adam Taylor: "While watching Julian Assange's new Russia Today talk show, 'The World Tomorrow', is not going to convince anyone that the embattled Wikileak's founder isn't a megalomaniac, we have to say we were pleasantly surprised by the relatively tasteful show."

New York Daily News, 17 Apr 2012, Ethan Sacks: "Don't quit your day job."

Forbes, 18 Apr 2012, Mark Adomanis: "I think it’s extremely telling that most of the criticism of Assange been about things that he should do or could do, not about things that he actually has done. This doesn’t make him a saint, nor does it make him immune to criticism, but it does mean we should try to engage with the material that he actually produces, which hardly seems like a radical proposition."

Salon, 18 Apr 2012, Glenn Greenwald: "There is apparently a rule that says it’s perfectly OK for a journalist to work for a media outlet owned and controlled by a weapons manufacturer (GE/NBC/MSNBC), or by the U.S. and British governments (BBC/Stars & Stripes/Voice of America), or by Rupert Murdoch and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal (Wall St. Journal/Fox News), or by a banking corporation with long-standing ties to right-wing governments (Politico), or by for-profit corporations whose profits depend upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. government (Kaplan/The Washington Post), or by loyalists to one of the two major political parties (National Review/TPM/countless others), but it’s an intrinsic violation of journalistic integrity to work for a media outlet owned by the Russian government. Where did that rule come from? ... The real cause of American media hostility toward RT is the same as what causes it to hate Assange: the reporting it does reflects poorly on the U.S. Government, the ultimate sin in the eyes of our 'adversarial' press corps. A bitter little rant about RT and Assange today in The Guardian from Luke Harding ... unveils the real reason for the hostility toward that network. On RT, Harding frets, 'The west, and America in particular, is depicted as crime-ridden, failing, and in thrall to big business and evil elites.' Oh, perish the thought."

Forbes, 17 Apr 2012, Tom Watson: "There can be little doubt, meanwhile, that despite the somewhat numbing format of the show RT believes it has a new star to build upon. Assange is all over the network’s website, social feeds, and blog and the network is openly bragging about the 'media storm' Assange fomented with his first guest."

RT, 19 Apr 2012: "While the general public expressed their interest in what Nasrallah had to say in his first interview since 2006, the media pounced on Assange accusing him of… Actually Assange beat them to the punch, saying it all before the show was even launched."

See previous post about same subject.

New TV series about Iranian-Americans panned by Iranian-Americans (updated: has 1.5m viewers and is renewed).

Posted: 18 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 23 Mar 2012, Heather Maher: "'Shahs of Sunset,' named after the city's iconic Sunset Boulevard, tracks the daily, and nightly, dramas of six wealthy, 30-something Iranian Americans whose parents fled Iran after the 1979 revolution ushered in theocracy. ... Who wouldn't want to spend an hour watching these people every week? Other Iranian-Americans, for starters. ... 'This show wants to present caricatures of Iranian-Americans. This is not entertaining. Rather, it is racist and only encourages others who do not know Persians in our American society to feed into the worst kind of stereotype.'"

Update: Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr 2012, Yvonne Villarreal: "The folks of 'Shahs of Sunset' have a reason to break out the expensive champagne and all the diamond water in Asa's fridge (rather than unleashing G.G.'s knife collection): Bravo has decided to bring the show back for a second season. ... Not that there was much doubt that the Ryan Seacrest-produced show would return. Though it drew some criticism for its portrayal of Iranian Americans, the show debuted to 1.1 million viewers, besting Bravo veteran 'Bethenny Ever After.' And its finale, which aired Sunday, was the highest-rated episode of the season with more than 1.5 million viewers (a million of which were in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo)."

Huffington Post, 18 Apr 2012, Charlotte Safavi: On the season finale of Shahs of Sunset, "Homa Sarshar -- a distinguished Iranian-American media maven -- even made a somewhat surprising and rather lengthy guest appearance, throwing an art-show/coming-out party for Asa at her own personal residence. A month earlier, Ms. Sarshar had condoned [sic] the show on Voice of America Persian. Surely this is the equivalent of Barbara Walters doing a segment on and then showing up for drinks on the Jersey Shore." -- Instead of "condoned," I think she meant to write "condemned."

See previous post about same subject.

London-based Persian-language Manoto 1 TV "has struck a chord inside Iran."

Posted: 18 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 18 Apr 2012, Yeganeh Torbati: "With light fare like 'Befarmaeed Sham,' ('Welcome to Dinner' in Persian), the Iranian answer to the UK cooking show 'Come Dine With Me,' family-owned channel Manoto 1 has struck a chord inside Iran, gaining what is likely to be millions of fans since launching in 2010. In the process, it has also irked Iran's Islamic government. 'Manoto is closer to us than other channels culturally, and their shows are more fun,' said Mohamad, 25, of Esfahan, who answered questions over the Internet. 'It's like we are watching ourselves on television. Even their presenters are people who seem similar to us.' ... After less than two years on the air, Manoto ('Me and You') has outstripped its closest rivals, BBC Persian, Farsi 1, GEM TV and Voice of America (VOA), according to the number of 'likes' each channel receives on its Facebook page - an imperfect proxy used by some experts to assess the channels in lieu of independent media survey firms in Iran. ... Reports from viewers inside Iran suggest authorities have repeatedly tried to interfere with Manoto programming since the channel launched." -- Facebook likes are a very imperfect proxy for survey research.

Iranian.com, 13 Apr 2012, Nizam Missaghi: "This morning, an Iranian-based website entitled 'Young Journalists Club' [introduced] a UK based website named ManoTo ('You and I') and notes that the efforts of its editors, who are directly financed by the 'Royal Elements,' are to work under the guise of promoting culture and social values. The 'Young Journalists Club' alleges that it has uncovered the true intentions of this UK based site, which is to promote 'Zionist, Bahai, and anti-Iranian' propaganda."

Fusion for Peace group touts appearance on VOA Persian News Network. And more VOA PNN in the news.

Posted: 18 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Fusion for Preace press release, 14 Apr 2012, via Payvand Iran News: "A proposal by US and Iranian physicists for cooperation on clean energy research and development as an alternative to confrontation was featured on Voice of America’s Persian News Network television on Tuesday, April 10, just three days before the resumption today of talks between Iran and the 'Five plus one' countries. Appearing for 20 minutes on VOA's 'Ofogh (Horizon)' program, US physicist Eric Lerner described the 'Fusion for Peace' initiative. ... The coverage of this proposal on Voice of America’s Farsi (Persian) language station has brought it to the attention of hundreds of thousands of Iranian viewers, and-the scientists hope-to officials within both the Iranian and US governments. The Voice of America is operated as an arm of the US government, but has a policy of administrative and journalistic autonomy from the US State Department."

Jerusalem Post, 16 Apr 2012, Fathiyeh Naghibzadeh and Andreas Benl: "A Facebook campaign called 'Israel Loves Iran' has drawn huge attention globally. Ronny Edry, a graphic designer from Tel Aviv, wrote that the message is simple: 'Iranians. We love you. We will never bomb your country.' Prominent Western state-sponsored Persian-language media outlets like BBC, Voice of America, Radio Liberty/Radio Farda have promoted the initiative with extensive coverage."

Iranian.com, 26 Mar 2012, Yara: "I watched most of the Norooz specials BBC Persian, Manoto TV and VOA Persian broadcasted immediately before and after the start of the Persian New Year. The BBC had a very well-planned program, filled with live performances by new and old Iranian and Tajik artists and interesting recorded bits of video containing Norooz messages and themes. ... Manoto TV’s consistent advance toward capturing the hearts and the ratings of Farsi-speaking audiences worldwide continued this Norooz with their well-planned and very well-executed specials such as a nostalgic concert that brought back the Turkish singer, Emel Sayin for a rare performance of Farsi songs with Anooshirvan Rohani. ... The worst Norooz programming came from Voice of America’s Persian service, where despite much promotion by the station’s Shabahang program on the nights leading to the show, 12 hours of very poorly planned and unprofessional musical performances by mostly unknown artists was a major disappointment. ... It appears that today BBC Persian has not only excelled in its news and analysis programming, it continues to recognize the rhythm and interests of the Iranian audiences better than any other Farsi-speaking medium."

Ai Weiwei: "If the internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win."

Posted: 18 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, Commment is Free, 15 Apr 2012, Ai Weiwei: "[S]ince we got the net and could write blogs – and now microblogs – people have started to share ideas, and a new sense of freedom has arisen. Of course, it varies from silly posts about what you've had for breakfast to serious discussions of the news but, either way, people are learning how to exercise their own rights. It is a unique, treasured moment. People have started to feel the breeze. The internet is a wild land with its own games, languages and gestures through which we are starting to share common feelings. ... China may seem quite successful in its [internet] controls, but it has only raised the water level. It's like building a dam: it thinks there is more water so it will build it higher. But every drop of water is still in there. It doesn't understand how to let the pressure out. It builds up a way to maintain control and push the problem to the next generation. It still hasn't come to the moment that it will collapse. That makes a lot of other states admire its technology and methods. But in the long run, its leaders must understand it's not possible for them to control the internet unless they shut it off – and they can't live with the consequences of that. The internet is uncontrollable. And if the internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It's as simple as that."

The Guardian, 15 Apr 2012, Tania Branigan: "International attention tends to focus on the Great Firewall, which stops Chinese citizens from reading sensitive content overseas, and constraints put on familiar western brands – the blocking of social media services such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or the Chinese government's clash with Google, which saw the internet giant relocate search services to Hong Kong rather than continue to censor results. But the world's largest internet population is far more interested in what happens on domestic sites – and particularly the 'weibo' or microblog services, which boast about 300 million registered users. Microblogs, particularly Sina's Weibo, are where the clash of political controls, commercial interests and the urge of millions to share their thoughts on official scandals, or just last night's TV, play out."

The Guardian, 16 Apr 2012: "The OpenNet Initiative has analysed government interference with the internet in 74 countries. The level of tampering in four categories is graded out of four in each country. See how each country is ranked... ." With interactive map.

The Guardian, 15 Apr 2012, Oliver Burkeman: "America's role in the open internet's future may just be starting to get interesting. If the promise of neutrality is not kept – if the policy is used instead only to further narrow US interests – then it could alienate pro-democracy activists and harm US credibility abroad. On the other hand, if the promise is kept, it could unleash forces of openness too great for any nation to control, and with no guarantee that movements thus empowered will be friendly to America."

VOA has a cameo in the Russian movie musical Hipsters, now playing in the USA.

Posted: 18 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Boston Globe, 13 Apr 2012, Mark Feeney: Thie 2008 Russian movie music "'Hipsters' is ... kind of amazing, thanks to headlong enthusiasm and an endearing obliviousness to just how ghastly the whole thing keeps threatening to become. Set in Moscow in 1955 [with] a bunch of young Muscovites whose teased hair, wild clothes, and jazz mania make them seem like a capitalist counter-revolution waiting to happen. What obsesses these post-Bolshevik cats and kittens isn’t America as Kansas. It’s America as Oz. ... It’s ... 'American Graffiti,' with the Voice of America substituted for Wolfman Jack... ." "

DFW.com, 1 Mar 2012, Cary Darling: "[E]ven by the standards of romantic musical fantasy, there are times -- as when saxophone neophyte Mels becomes a virtuoso after listening to a few scratchy Voice of America broadcasts -- that strain credibility."

J.B. Spins, 20 Feb 2012, J.B.: "Hipsters’ music is definitely jazz, but it leans toward jumpier big band arrangements, which are a lot of fun and work well in the film’s context. It also makes no bones about jazz’s American origin, clearly associating it with notions of freedom. Even one of [Willis] Conover’s fondly remembered VOA broadcasts is heard briefly."

See schedule of remaining opening dates. See previous post about same subject.

Al Jazeera in the news includes delayed New York Times recognition of its Haiti coverage.

Posted: 17 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Columbia Journalism Review, 13 Apr 2012, Ron Howell: "Last December, Al Jazeera won a DuPont Award for its 'uncompromising look at the shortcomings of international aid and peacekeeping in Haiti … after the devastating earthquake' and for 'reminding the world that the survivors still face urgent crises.' How did the New York reading public come to learn lately of Al Jazeera’s journalistic coup? The information was offered in an April 1, front-page Times report headlined 'In Haiti, Global Failures on a Cholera Epidemic.' More than halfway down into the 6,000-word article, Times writer Deborah Sontag noted that back on Oct. 27, 2010, Al Jazeera took film of the cholera epidemic’s source." See previous post about same subject.

Tehran Times, 14 Apr 2012: "The head of Al Jazeera news network office in Tehran resigns in protest against the participation of the network in a project devised by the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia against the resistance movement. He had previously warned that he would tender his resignation, if the policies of Al Jazeera toward the issue of resistance movement changed, the Persian service of the Fars News Agency reported on Saturday."

Press TV, 16 Apr 2012, Jihad Ballout, former Al Jazeera manager of media relations: "With the advent of what is considered to be the Arab Spring, Al-Jazeera has gone through a great change from the flag bearer of objective journalism to what many people and many observers consider to be a policy or foreign politics-led news organization at the time when Al-Jazeera actually changed all this."

Al Jazeera English, 13 Apr 2012, Imran Khan: "Recently revealed American security files show that if a cafe had a television screening Al Jazeera, then it was worthy of further investigation."

Report: Al Arabiya website hacked with "false story" of Qatar coup.

Posted: 17 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 18 Apr 2012, Awad Mustafa: "An online Arabic news portal yesterday claimed it had been hacked by a group supportive of the Syrian government. A false story was posted on alarabiya.net, part of the MBC group, alleging that Maj Gen Hamad bin Ali Al Atia, the Qatari Armed Forces' Chief of Staff, had led a military coup in Qatar. The story, which was removed from the website, also featured a stock image of Gen Al Atia dressed in full uniform. A subsequent article published on the website denying the report was headlined: 'Al Assad's goons visit alarabiya.net and target Qatar'. Al Arabiya believe the hackers belonged to the Syrian Cyber Army." -- Alarabiya.net is the website of the Al Arabiya pan-Arab news channel.

Press TV, 17 Apr 2012: "In a report not confirmed by independent sources, Al-Arabiya alleged that a number of high-ranking military officers have risen against the regime of Qatari King Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. According to the Saudi news channel, the coup was foiled following the arrest of the officers involved in the effort, and American helicopters transferred the Qatari Emir and his wife to an unknown location. The Al-Arabiya report was however removed from the channel’s website after the story was published. Press TV contacted Al-Arabiya and Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera for comment, but did not receive a clear response. There is speculation that Al Arabiya might have mistakenly reported the news of a similar coup attempt in 2011. Coups are not uncommon in Qatar. The Qatari Emir came to power in 1995 after staging a coup against his own father."

Fars News Agency (Tehran), 17 Apr 2012: "Qatar is experiencing critical conditions after it was the scene of a coup attempt against Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, sources close to the country's royal family revealed on Tuesday. Informed sources close to the royal family in Qatar told FNA that a failed coup d'état has happened in Qatar but the Qatari officials have sought hard to keep it away from the media and the public, given the growingly fragile conditions in the country and the instability in a number of regional Arab states."

No non-Iranian mainstream media have reported on an attempted coup in Qatar.

Al Jazeera Balkans "an island of media professionalism in the region," he writes.

Posted: 17 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Eurasia Review, 15 Apr 2012, Dusan Babic: "In post-war periods, public broadcasting service (PBS) has a particular responsibility to provide accurate information and to foster spirit of tolerance and reconciliation; in brief, to play a role of social cohesion. This is largely missing today, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite having media laws in accordance with European media standards, public broadcasters – in particular, FTV, which operates in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but can be viewed countrywide – are disseminating biased information and using inflammatory rhetoric, and sometimes even hate speech. ... How can things change? A first and crucial step should be to separate facts from comments. Unfortunately, this tenet of the profession does not exist; not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in the region too. Al Jazeera Balkans, however, strongly respects it. Their news presenters cannot be or act as editors, and additionally, assigned editors cannot edit material written even by lower editorial staff. ... A responsible and accountable media should build bridges between peoples, linking them together for a common future in peace and prosperitiy. And that is what Al Jazeera Balkans is doing best. That is why I call Al Jazeera Balkans an island of media professionalism in the region."

CNBC Africa exec Gary Alfonso departs.

Posted: 17 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 4 Apr 2012: "Africa Business News (ABN360), home of CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa, have announced the departure of Gary Alfonso, who has served as the group's managing director for its Africa operations. Alfonso joined as head of programming in 2007 and was part of the project group that launched CNBC Africa in June of that year. He took over as chief operating officer in January 2008, managing director in 2009 and more recently, he has fulfilled the role of managing director for the company's African expansion strategies. Rakesh Wahi, founder and vice chairman of ABN360, says Alfonso has decided to pursue his own interests. 'Gary has been an integral part of the rollout of CNBC Africa within the ABN360 Group over the past five years and we wish him the best in his new ventures', says Wahi. ... Alfonso says the experience gained at CNBC Africa and ABN360 has been invaluable. 'The people I've encountered at CNBC Africa, Forbes Africa and the rest of ABN360 have been some of the best I've had the pleasure of working with in my 24-years of broadcasting and media', said Alfonso." -- CNBC Africa is not owned by NBC. Instead, the CNBC name is licensed to ABN30. CNBC Africa broadcasts its own programs, as awell as programs from CNBC and NBC.

For coverage of tsunami warnings, CNBC International was better than CNN International, he writes (updated).

Posted: 17 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
News on News, 11 Apr 2012, Kevin Coy: The 11 April "earthquake and subsequent tsunami warnings across the Indonesian sub-continent only went to cement the view that CNN International hasn't the force it once had in global news reporting. In contrast, CNBC EMEA's Worldwide Exchange which is aired in the Asia-pacific region, remained on air after its end-time of 12:00 CET (06:00 ET), continuing for 30 minutes with the latest developments and analysis until handing over to US Squawk Box which immediately took up the baton and continued with coverage from CNBC Asia's studio's in Singapore. During a segment hosted by Ross Westgate in London, officials at CNBC's EMEA headquarters had even managed to put together breaking news graphics for the near-year old video wall, adding further dimension to the developing story. Back on CNN International, coverage was anchored from London and was very thin in terms of information and depth from the region, and seemed to be presented in a very news-magazine style."

Update: New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur), 17 Apr 2012, Fauziah Ismail: "Both CNN and BBC had the earthquake that day as 'breaking news', with the tsunami alert activated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC). Both news channels were equally quick to disseminate information. We immediately issued an SMS alert to our subscribers on the situation. We updated our website and Facebook page based on information obtained from the centre and the US Geological Survey, a scientific agency under the United States government, which gives updates on what it terms as 'significant' earthquakes all over the world. We closely followed the updates by Mari Ramos, the Nicaraguan American weather anchor for CNN International in Atlanta, which we found helpful in understanding the situation. The warning systems and emergency responses have come a long way since the 2008 tsunami, triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake near Banda Acheh in Indonesia, which killed nearly 230,000 people in the region."

Christiane Amanpour is "thrilled to come home to CNN." Specifically: CNN International.

Posted: 16 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 13 Apr 2012: "Christiane Amanpour will host a new daily foreign affairs programme on CNN International that will launch on Monday 16 April, it was announced today. Beginning with the programme’s launch, the 30-minute daily broadcast of ‘Amanpour’, will air weeknights at 2000 BST, and replay at 2200 BST. ... In the unique relationship announced in December, Amanpour’s primary role is as global affairs anchor for ABC News blazing a trail in international reporting for American viewers, in addition to her new programme on CNN International reaching a vast global audience. ... 'This is an exciting time to have this unique role,' Christiane Amanpour said. 'I am thrilled to come home to CNN, where I have reported for so many years – and combine this role with the reporting that I will continue for ABC News. Viewers in America and around the world recognize that we live in a globally-inter-connected world – from the ‘Arab Spring,’ to the economic challenges faced by Europe and theU.S., to security challenges everywhere. We are all in this together. And, we will look at all of these events and the people moving these events, from all angles, without fear, nor favour,' she continued. ... As a companion digital presence to the programme, CNN will also launch www.Amanpour.com. ... Also on 16 April, CNN International will launch ‘CNN NewsCenter’, a half-hour news programme that will air weekdays 2030 BST. Anchored by CNN’s Isha Sesay and broadcast from CNN’s worldwide headquarters in Atlanta. ‘CNN NewsCenter’ will provide viewers with a complete picture of the day’s global news."

CNN, Amanpour. blog, 13 Apr 2012: "Q: Why did you come back to CNN? CA: CNN is family. CNN is where I’ve been for decades and it is from here that I’ve seen the world change. CNN has played a role in all the changes that we’ve witnessed over the last three decades, so for me it was a really wonderful opportunity to come back and anchor this new program at a time of incredible, almost unprecedented global change and upheaval. From East to West, North to South, people are protesting because they want a better future, a better life – and they are demanding that their elected leaders be accountable and responsive to the people."

The Guardian, 15 Apr 2012, Hadley Freeman: "While CNN remains determinedly neutral – Amanpour prefers 'objective' – the other 24-hour news channels offer precisely the kind of gossip and blatant political partisanship she abhors: 'Fox didn't take viewers away from CNN, they took viewers who were dissatisfied with all news networks and they nurtured a political base. That's what they do and they shouldn't pretend to be anything else. The trouble is they then exerted pressure on other cable stations to take on more of a political role.' Amanpour herself has been criticised for what some saw as a bias in her reporting from the former Yugoslavia but she draws a distinction between being "passionate" – "I'm not neutral between victim and aggressor" – and 'acting like an advocate for a political party, which is not what I do'."

No doubt BBC is disappointed that Julian Assange chose RT over it for his new chatshow.

Posted: 16 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 13 Apr 2012, Josh Halliday: "Julian Assange's television chatshow, The World Tomorrow, is to broadcast its first episode on state-run news channel Russia Today on 17 April. According to a statement issued by WikiLeaks on Friday, Assange has completed filming 12 episodes of the chatshow, which will be broadcast online and by the Russian broadcaster. ... The Russia Today editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, added: ... 'We provided Julian a platform to reach the world and gave him total editorial freedom. He is absolutely the right person to bring alternative opinions to our viewers around the globe.' Assange, who is on bail awaiting a British court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden, is in discussion with other broadcasters about licensing rights to the show, according to the WikiLeaks statement."

New York Magazine, 14 Apr 2012, Andre Tartar: "The inaugural episode of his new talk show, The World Tomorrow, filmed wherever Assange has been living out his U.K. house arrest, will feature a 'notorious guest,' whom we know little about except that he (or she) is 'particularly controversial' and 'highly charismatic.'"

RT (Russia Today), 16 Apr 2012, interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange: "RT: So how did you get to know RT, and why did you choose RT for the broadcast of your first program? JA: We’ve seen RT’s reportage on the attacks on WikiLeaks for a number of years, and that reportage has generally been quite supportive. When we were looking what international broadcaster we wished to partner with as opposed to national broadcasters, we looked to see what was the penetration into the United States. And RT had higher penetration in the United States than Al Jazeera. The BBC is the leading contestant but the BBC has been acting in a hostile manner towards us so we didn’t consider that the BBC would be an appropriate partner. ... [W]hen we look at international networks there’s really only two that are worth speaking about, and that’s RT and Al Jazeera. ... RT is a voice of Russia, so it looks at things from the Russian agenda. The BBC is a voice of the British government. Voice of America is a voice of the American government. It is the clashing of these voices together that reveals the truth about the world as a whole. ...

"RT: Were you restrained by editorial policies while you were making the program for RT? JA: No, not at all. We make the program. It is made by an independent British production company. The international broadcaster we’ve chosen is RT. So, at no stage has any editorial control been exercised. At no stage it was capable of being exercised by RT. RT: And have you found that to be true? JA: Yes, absolutely. There has been no interference in our show at all. ...

"RT: Would you invite anyone from Russia’s political opposition to be on your program? And if so, who do you think it might be? JA: Yes, we have invited a number of people from Russia’s political opposition. The Russian election cycle interfered with that because of their schedule and availability. But we’ll see if they will turn out. We had invited nearly all the prominent figures. And we’ve invited people from the Russian government as well – to try and get some balance."

This budding international broadcaster has some things to learn about international broadcasting. Not all international broadcasting entities are mere mouthpieces of their sponsoring governments. The audience for international broadcasting is looking for a credible and reliable alternative to their state-controlled media. The government-funded international broadcaster that best maintains independence from that government ultimately has the most success. Hence the great success of the BBC as an international broadcaster -- compared to the lesser success of Voice of Russia and RT. Furthermore, Mr. Assange contradicts himself by first saying RT is a "voice of Russia," then insisting that that RT has not interfered with his show.

RFE/RL, Tangled Web blog, 16 Apr 2012, Luke Allnutt: "[G]iven RT's reliance on guests who tend to be critical of 'Western imperialism' and Assange's past focus on the United States, a big-name first guest would perhaps more likely to be someone like Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, or Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who all hold strident anti-Western opinions. (Unless, of course, someone like Khodorkovsky or Navalny decided to publicly recant and confess the error of their ways.) Someone like Noam Chomsky or Slavoj Zizek might be a safe bet -- although that would hardly shake the establishment to its core. Or he could go tabloidy with, say, an exclusive tell-all with former Russian spy Anna Chapman. If the interviewee really was so controversial that there would be calls for the station to be shut down, that could mean a senior Taliban or Al-Qaeda official or a terrorist wanted by the United States. But then again, all this talk of secret guest lists might just all be bluster. Another possibility might be Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Assange might draw certain parallels between the rape charges against Kahn -- subsequently dropped -- with his own situation, in which he faces rape allegations in Sweden. The real scoop, however, would be Joseph Kony, the Uganda guerrilla leader at large and the target of a phenomenally successful U.S. viral campaign. Now that really would be something."

Tel Aviv-based Radio RadisIn broadcasts to Iranian-Israelis and to Iranian-Iranians.

Posted: 16 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 12 Apr 2012: "From a tiny studio in a rundown district of southern Tel Aviv, a group of Iranian-Israelis beam non-stop music and news in a bid to reach out to their former fellow countrymen. As the war of words between the leaders of the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic heats up over Iran’s contested nuclear programme, Farsi-language web broadcaster, Radio RadisIn, is trying to set a different agenda. Based in a small shopping centre in Tel Aviv’s outskirts, RadisIn was set up three years ago to encourage a sense of unity among the estimated 300,000 Israelis of Iranian descent. But it also has another, perhaps more important raison d’etre: to send news and views from Israel directly to Iranians living in the Islamic Republic and around the world. ... RadisIn, a contraction of 'radio' and 'Iran,' broadcasts on the Internet mainly because the Iranian regime is not able to interfere with the US-owned Intelsat Galaxy 15 satellite through which its programmes are transmitted. ... One of the most popular programmes is a cookery show featuring rare Iranian recipes, which is presented by 73-year-old Vida Leevim, one of the station’s favourite broadcasters." -- A bit of confusion on the description of the delivery platforms. The satellite and the internet are separate media capable, if not successfully jammed or blocked, of reaching Iran. Radio RadisIn is actually on Galaxy 19, not Galaxy 15. See also www.radisin.com.

BBC News, 16 Apr 2012, Beth Ryder: RadioRadisIn "takes calls, SMS messages and emails from listeners in Iran, and one of the most commonly talked about subjects ... is the impact that Western economic sanctions are having on the country. 'People talk about their weariness with the current situation and tell us how they're having to store food and other life necessities at home.'"

This is London. Claude London. New Digital Director, Consumer Products for BBC Worldwide.

Posted: 15 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 11 Apr 2012: "BBC Worldwide today announced that it is to expand the remit of Claude London, who becomes Digital Director, Consumer Products with immediate effect. Reporting directly to Paul Dempsey, MD Consumer Products, Claude will build on his previous role to execute an international eCommerce strategy for the business, as well as driving growth in the digital delivery of BBC Worldwide’s Consumer Product’s video output – both download-to-own and electronic sell through. In addition, Claude will continue to partner with Consumer Product’s video, publishing, licensing and audio and music businesses, retail clients, and the rest of BBC Worldwide to create next generation, innovative digital consumer products that utilise the latest consumer technology and platforms."

BBC Worldwide press release, 13 Apr 2012: "BBC Worldwide Australia has appointed Helen Pendlebury in the new role of Head of Commercial, Entertainment & Children’s Brands. In this newly created role, Pendlebury will be responsible for the business development around some of BBC Worldwide’s biggest global brands, including Doctor Who and Dancing with the Stars as well as a range of children’s properties such as Charlie and Lola."

Al Jazeera "thrilled" to win French broadcast rights to Euro soccer championships.

Posted: 15 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 11 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera said on Wednesday it was thrilled to have won the French rights to broadcast all of the Euro 2012 and 2016 soccer championships. The Qatar-backed company will share the rights with free-to-air channels TF1 and M6, who as part of their package will broadcast France games which have to be shown on free TV under French law. Al Jazeera is using France as a testing ground for its ambitions to be an international pay-TV sports broadcaster having already become the Middle East and Africa's most popular sports network. The French channels - dubbed beIN Sport - are set to launch in early June and will cost 11 euros ($14.39) a month, according to multiple industry sources."

Digital TV Europe, 13 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera has chosen commercial broadcaster TF1 to sell advertising for its new French sports channels. TF1 won the contract to sell ads on the Be In Sport 1 and 2 channels after a competitive bidding process that included Lagardère and France Télévisions."

Inside World Football, 11 Apr 2012, David Gold: "Tuesday saw UEFA predictably allocate broadcast rights for this summer's European Championships and the 2016 tournament in France in part to beIN Sports, Al Jazeera's new sports channel in the country. The name of the channel has already been trademarked worldwide, and its expansion seems only a matter of time, with plans to become a major player in the United States. Al-Jazeera is already making waves on that side of the Atlantic, acquiring television and internet rights to La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A. It was recently claimed that the Qatari broadcaster will launch a new beIN Sports channel in the States to further increase their presence there. And then there is the prospect of a bid, which has been touted, for Premier League rights."

See previous post about same subject.

USAID-supported Salam Watandar radio network in Afghanistan becomes an NGO.

Posted: 15 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Internews, 10 Apr 2012: "Nine years after its establishment, Salam Watandar ('Hello Countrymen') Radio was officially inaugurated April 8 as an independent, non-governmental Afghan organization. Throughout its history, the radio news and current affairs service has vocalized and connected the voices and aspirations of its listeners from urban centers to rural areas across Afghanistan. The ceremony was attended by USAID Mission Director to Afghanistan, Ken Yamashita, representatives from media outlets, the Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Information and Culture, Temorshah Ishaqzai, and the Vice President of Salam Watandar's Board of Directors and BBC Pashto Senior Editor, Mahmod Kocha. ... Established in 2003 by Internews with funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives, Salam Watandar has been supported by USAID since its inception. Beginning as a small radio production service that provided content to a handful of independent provincial radio stations established by Internews, the network has grown to 47 radio stations that broadcast in 29 Afghan provinces with the capacity to reach over 10 million listeners."

Euronews: We are most connected on smart TVs. CNBC: No, we are. Euronews: No, we are.

Posted: 15 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 1 Apr 2012, Robert Briel: "International Lyons-based news channel Euronews said it has reached its goal of becoming the most connected media worldwide, and announces the launch on 11 smart TV platforms. The channel offers on-demand short format programmes, multiple services in different languages and fast reacting news produced by the 400-strong journalist team. The list of 11 manufacturers includes Panasonic (EMEA), Philips (world-wide), Roku (US, UK, Ireland), Toshiba (Europa, with ME and Asia to follow in Q2, 2012), NetRange MMH (connected TV solution for around 60 brands including Loewe, Vestel, PEAQ and SES Astra/HD+; availability is worldwide), Samsung (Europe), Sharp (Europe), TechniSat (Europe), Google TV (US); with Sony launching now (worldwide) and LG to follow later this month (also wordlwide). All content is available in five different langiuages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish."

Broadband TV News, 10 Apr 2012, Robert Briel: "The race is on for broadcasters who want to go connected on smart TVs. During MIPTV, Euronews claimed smart TV leadership, but CNBC now says it is better connected. At present, CNBC is available in the US on Samsung, Google TV, Roku, Yahoo! Connected, DISH, Vudu and two more to be announced. In Europe CNBC is also available on Samsung, Virgin Media, Panasonic, and Philips, while in Asia LG sets are connected. The CNBC smart TV app was launched last September in the EMEA region."

Broadband TV News, 12 Apr 2012, Robert Briel: "Following CNBC’s counter-claim that it has more smart TV platforms than Euronews, the Lyon based channel now strikes back saying it is indeed well ahead of any competitor. ... No matter who is the ‘winner’ in this claim-game, we think that broadcasters need to be applauded for serving their audience in any way they can – also using unconventional methods and making full use of smart TV and OTT functionalities. This way, the viewer is the true winner."

Euronews, 6 Apr 2012: "Television is becoming increasingly global. The programs we see on our screens, whether documentaries or soap operas, quiz programmes or films, are produced in various countries around the world. ... Technology is quickly transforming and smart TV is the new frontier. Along with simply watching programmes, TV sets will be able to connect to the web thereby offering new applications. So does the internet mean that TV’s days are numbered? Or could it turn out to be its best ally?"

The Heritage Foundation has advice for the BBG and its newest (acting) member.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 9 Apr 2012, Helle Dale: "Rolling up her sleeves should be new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine’s first act in office. For the chief of the U.S. government’s outreach to the foreign public, urgent business is waiting. Moving into her office at the State Department on Monday, with her swearing in scheduled for April 24, Sonenshine, the former executive VP of the U.S. Institute of Peace, is reportedly ready to jump right in. As her position holds a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Sonenshine will be able to influence the BBG’s strategic planning process. This process has in recent years threatened to gut the U.S. international broadcasting services by redirecting resources from broadcasting toward Internet-only platforms, which are unavailable in many developing countries. According to the website BBG Watch, Sonenshine is planning to attend this month’s BBG meeting at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Radio and Television Marti, which broadcasts to Cuba, are among the entities targeted by the cutting knife. Sonenshine will also need to hear from Members of Congress who have taken a strong interest in the future of international broadcasting, such as Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R–CA)."

Broadcasting Board of Governores press release, 10 Apr 2012: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine was welcomed April 10 to Broadcasting Board of Governors headquarters, where she toured facilities and met with staff. It was her first visit to the BBG since being sworn in on April 5. By law, the Secretary of State serves as an ex-officio member of the BBG. Representing the secretary on the board traditionally has been a duty of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs." With photos.

Heritage Foundation, 12 Apr 2012, Helle Dale: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recently released its 2013 budget request, which slashes Voice of America (VOA) funding by more than $17 million while increasing funding for major bureaucratic offices inside the International Broadcasting Bureau. A reprioritization is clearly necessary. This disturbing trend focuses on making U.S. international broadcasting a global media service, with digital media distribution at the hub, much like the Internet-focused CNN model. At the same time, actual broadcasting services are being cut, resulting in lost viewers and listeners who, since they often have no Internet access, are deprived of trustworthy and important news sources." -- The "CNN model" is "internet focused"? CNN's flagships are its television channels, CNN in the USA, CNN International elsewhere, distributed by cable and satellite. CNN.com is, for the time being, subsidiary.

Description of VOA as "a propaganda tool" is a Montreal Gazette quote of the week.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Montreal Gazette, 14 Apr 2012, "7 Quotes -- Things they said in Montreal this week": "'It was never a propaganda tool, like the Voice of America.' - Sheldon Harvey, president of the Canadian International DX Club, about impending demise of Radio-Canada International's shortwave radio service." See previous post about same subject.

During its 70 years, VOA has not been perfect, but, especially in the post-Cold War years, it has taken seriously its statutory requirement to provide accurate and objective news. As an experienced shortwave listener, Sheldon is familiar with other international radio stations, past and present, that would much more fittingly be called "propaganda tool."

This does demonstrate that "propaganda" is the worst thing an international broadcasting effort can be called. It reminds international broadcasters of the need to commit to credibility, both in in stated mission and in actual practice.

Note that Sky News Arabia says that it is headed for its launch on 6 May "with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do." Whether the channel lives up to that mandate, it at least made the effort to proclaim that independence as its guiding principle.

BBC World Service Trust is still in the news, even though it was renamed BBC Media Action in December 2011.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
exchange4media.com, 10 Apr 2012, Priyanka Nair: "BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST), in partnership with [India's] Population Services International (PSI), and the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, created an aggressive awareness campaign about tuberculosis using the Out Of Home (OOH) medium. The campaign ended early last week. ... The campaign was based on the findings of a research conducted by PSI. The findings indicated that in most cases, cough is not perceived as a serious issue by people. ... BBC WST was the creative partner responsible for designing and producing the strategic and creative plans for TV, radio, out of home and on-ground activities. The multi media campaign was rolled out in six prime states namely, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Karnataka and Maharashtra."

BBC World Service reports on free speech in Miami and women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Mundo, 10 Apr 2012, Fernando Peinado: "The Miami Marlins baseball team suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games after he praised Cuba's Fidel Castro. Is it possible to speak freely about Cuban politics in America's most Cuban city? ... In the past, other Cuban Americans have complained of harassment after calling for better relations with the Cuban government and Cuban society. Businessmen and artists suffered boycotts." -- No VOA English story about this, but see Radio/TV Martí, 11 Apr 2012.

Arabian Business, 9 Apr 2012, Andy Sambridge: "The daughter of Saudi Arabia's former king has called on rulers to implement a new constitution giving men and women equal rights in kingdom. Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz, in an interview with the BBC's World Service, said she was 'saddened to say that my beloved country today has not fulfilled that early promise'."

BBC World Service launches multimedia "Africa Beats," showcasing new African music talent.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 5 Apr 2012: "BBC World Service launches Africa Beats - a series of multimedia programmes showcasing Africa’s new musical talent. From Friday 6 April 2012, each edition of the eight-part weekly series, available on radio, TV and online, will introduce to the BBC’s global audiences an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Africa. Each of the four-minute editions of Africa Beats will show the artistes performing a favourite song, and include an interview with them. The series will be broadcast as part of the BBC Africa morning radio output on BBC World Service, on BBC World News TV, and will be available for viewing via bbcafrica.com and the BBC’s entertainment and arts pages. The inaugural edition of Africa Beats features Uganda’s Sarah Tshila who chose to give up a promising career in computer science in the US to dedicate herself to music." -- I couldn't find it via BBC websites, but Google search located this: BBC News, 5 Apr 2012.

"What does the future of international broadcasting look like in the age of mobile?"

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, Innovation Series website, 13 Apr 2012, Davin Hutchins, managing editor of VOA Middle East Voices: "What does the future of international broadcasting look like in the age of mobile? Should journalists focus on providing objective information even though information is no longer scarce in the age of the Internet? Should public diplomats focus on explaining a foreign policy or rather sparking discussion and promoting free speech even if it’s critical of that policy? These are questions we ask ourselves daily – no hourly – at Middle East Voices. Middle East Voices is a newly launched 'social journalism' project hatched out of VOA English. The website soft-launched in November of 2011 and is gearing up for a bigger debut after the MEV team completes its 'innovation boot camp' with the 'incubators' at the BBG’s Office of Digital and Design Innovation (ODDI). Originally conceived as a community that uses participatory journalism to focus on Arab Spring uprisings – which we still do especially in Syria, Egypt and Bahrain – we are expanding our scope to address the wider phenomenon of grass-roots democratization across the Middle East, including the Arabian Gulf and Iran. While the Arab Spring is usually associated with revolution and regime change, our sense is Arab Spring 2.0 will revolve around monarchies implementing reforms, citizens demanding more civil and social rights and the free exchange of ideas about what home-grown democracy should look like in the region. As a digital-only project, Middle East Voices has become obsessed with conversing with our sources and audience on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and WordPress. We obsessively pour over Google Analytics in real-time – and over long periods of time – to draw conclusions about the issues Arab countries really care about so we can constantly refine our coverage. We have learned a lot about how international broadcasting must evolve – and quickly – to serve a vital role in this rapidly changing landscape. We’ve come up with five rules on innovation that journalists and public diplomats should follow to remain relevant to their audiences." -- The same five rules for journalists and public diplomats? Journalism and public diplomacy are very different, indeed adversarial, endeavors. Is Middle East Voices journalism or public diplomacy? Or is it trying to be some combination of each? See previous post.

"Innovation means risk and risk often means failure. We have 10 new ideas per week and 7 of them fail. But 3 don’t. Lessons learned from risks are invaluable." -- Agree completely.

See also Middle East Voices.

Family Security Matters, 13 Apr 2012, John Hajjar: "In her post which appeared in Middle East Voices this week, Cecily Hilleary (pictured above) regurgitated the same Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) talking points about Professor Walid Phares that Brooke Anderson of Beirut’s Daily Star did back in January. Both women parroted CAIR spin saying that 'many American Muslims have expressed concern about Romney’s choice of Walid Phares as an adviser,' but neither offered a single shred of evidence to support their claim. ... I do not know how Congress which funds VOA will look at this biased reporting. The situation is serious as Hilleary wrote for the taxpayer-funded organization. According to MEV’s website the organization is 'a new social journalism project powered by the (US Congress-funded) BBG and Voice of America. Designed as a collaborative journalism and engagement platform, it seeks to combine investigative journalism, crowdsourcing, participatory writing and social media technology to redefine how stories in and about the Middle East should be told.' All of this bias ... raises the specter of penetration of the US bureaucracy by pro-Islamists. Congress should investigate the real story behind Hilleary’s article along with other propaganda pieces which are funded by taxpayers."

Wife of late Rep. Tom Lantos urges BBG to maintain VOA services.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Journal, 12 Apr 2012, Ted Lipien: "Annette Lantos, the wife of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, has joined efforts to oppose the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) proposals to cut Voice of America (VOA) services, the independent Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting reported. In a letter addressed to the presidentially appointed members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, Annette Lantos wrote in support of Voice of America radio and television broadcasting, particularly to China, Tibet and Russia: 'I write to you on a personal basis to express dismay that Voice of America radio and television broadcasts to Russia ceased in 2008. I am deeply concerned that although last year’s proposed cuts of VOA Mandarin and Cantonese radio and television programs were halted, this year’s proposal includes the elimination of VOA Cantonese services and VOA Tibetan Radio Services, at a time when there is significant unrest in Tibet. I urge you to continue the Cantonese and Tibetan broadcasts, and to restore them to Russia. ... I know that my late husband, Congressman Tom Lantos, would have fought to save the VOA Russian, Tibetan, and Cantonese Broadcast Services -- to use all available means to deliver uncensored news, hope and encouragement to those seeking freedom. How could I do any less?'"

Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting, 14 Apr 2012: "Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Ambassador Victor Ashe has called the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) to express his appreciation for CUSIB’s pro-media freedom and human rights activities mentioned in a recent letter to the BBG from Annette Lantos, a human rights campaigner. ... Ambassador Ashe said that even prior to receiving Mrs. Lantos’ letter, he had raised similar concerns with Governors Michael Meehan and Enders Wimbush at the meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee that took place on April 10, 2012 at BBG Headquarters in Washington, DC. Ambassador Ashe said that he specifically urged keeping Voice of America Tibetan radio broadcasts on the air. 'I cannot say the full committee agreed or disagreed. It is unclear. However, what I think is clear is that Congress will not allow this cut to take place,' he told CUSIB."

See previous post about efforts to maintain the the VOA Tibetan radio service.

BBG Strategy makes its case for less shortwave in US international broadcasting.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, BBG Strategy website, 11 Apr 2012: "Shortwave. It’s among the most hotly debated topics inside and outside the BBG. Once the single go-to method of distribution, the medium is now just one of many tools employed by BBG broadcasters. The debate on the funding and promise of shortwave merits careful research and analysis as well as accurate data. ... The Argument: Shortwave Cannot Be Jammed, But Satellite Can Be Jammed and the Internet Can Be Blocked. The Facts: This is fiction. The overwhelming majority of our shortwave transmissions to China are indeed routinely jammed. While it is possible, and even likely, that some individuals in remote rural locations might be able to listen to our broadcasts, the reality is that in most cases, the signals, as far as the vast majority of the Chinese population are concerned, are either inaudible or replaced by Chinese government broadcasts. BBG monitoring of these broadcasts confirm this, and samples are available here. ... The Argument: At Any Given Moment, There Are One Billion Shortwave Receivers Turned On Worldwide. The Facts: This statistic, attributed to the International Broadcasting Bureau, was posted on the website of World Christian Broadcasting in a post called 'Why Shortwave?' The post was used to criticize BBG strategy. After all, why would the BBG recommend sun-setting of some shortwave when its own data pointed to wide use? The IBB was very surprised by the attribution and could not find any study that supported the data point. When contacted by the BBG, World Christian Broadcasting president Charles H. Caudill said that the post had been on the site 'for some time,' and the organization could not verify where the ‘one billion’ data had come from. World Christian Broadcasting has since removed the data point and its attribution to the IBB, as well as another data point that claimed 60 million shortwave radios in the Western Hemisphere, from its website."

BBG Watch, 26 Mar 2012: "What active measures have the IBB taken to overcome jamming? Have they shifted frequencies or bands on a random or radical basis? Have they transmitted from various transmitter sites to change the incoming angle (i.e., North – South, East – West, over the Eural mountains, etc) in order to make jamming more difficult? By not attempting to overcome jamming, isn’t this a form of 'surrender' in the War of Ideas? ... Have they experimented with 'twilight' transmission (within an hour before and an hour after sunrise and sunset) when propagation patterns change and make jamming more difficult?"

As a shortwave listener for nearly a half-century, I am saddened to see the reduction of shortwave broadcasting, especially by US international broadcasters. As an international broadcasting audience research analyst, however, I see much data showing a decline in the number of of people owning and and listening to shortwave radios. Even in rural areas, audiences are moving to FM radio, television, and mobile phones.

US international broadcasting should employ, if possible, the media preferred by its target audiences. If access to those media are denied in the target country, then the use of more robust but less popular media is necessary. Shortwave can be jammed, but it still offers the most physical resistance to interdiction of any medium available to international broadcasting. New digital modes allow text to be transmitted very efficiently via shortwave, requiring much less power than needed for voice. Shortwave could therefore be an alternative means of delivery when the internet is blocked. (On the subject of internet blocking, see previous posts re Iran and China.)

For future emergencies, when the internet, mobile networks, cable television, and other popular forms of communication will be disrupted, the United States should maintain an interagency global network of shortwave transmitters. These can be used by US international broadcasting to reach key target countries, by the State Department to reach Americans abroad and for public diplomacy tasks, and by the military for information operations and other purposes. The output of each agency would remain separate. Their functions would not be intermingled. The shortwave transmitter network would operate as a common carrier.

BBC "not expecting any disruption to World Service programming" during network operators' strike.

Posted: 14 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
BECTU (UK media union), 11 Apr 2012: "BBC staff working in the Network Operations Centre based in Bush House and Broadcasting House, London, are to take strike action starting this coming Sunday 15 April. The action will start at 15.00 on Sunday 15 April and will continue until 21.00 on Monday 16 April and will affect the transmission of programmes by the World Service. Staff in Network Operations, who are represented by BECTU, are challenging the BBC's refusal to allow them to join a defined benefits pension scheme following the transfer of their employment with Babcock to the BBC."

journalism.co.uk, 13 Apr 2012, Jack Dearlove: "Following a ballot of members, media and entertainment union Bectu has announced that some staff working in the BBC World Service’s network operations will strike for 30 hours this weekend. Journalists are not taking industrial action. Bectu warned that 'output is set be hit' by the strike but the BBC has this afternoon issued a statement to say it is 'not expecting any disruption to World Service programming'. ... The industrial action will take place between 3pm [1400 UTC] on Sunday (15 April) and 9pm [2000 UTC] the following day. The staff involved route programmes to transmitters around the world."

Audio of DPRK's Voice of Korea, with English-language report about satellite launch failure.

Posted: 13 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
North Korea Tech, 13 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international radio service, broadcast news of the failure to place the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite into orbit. Below is a recording of the radio station’s English-language broadcast for Friday. Voice of Korea typically updates its programming once a day, so is almost always beaten to the news by domestic media outlets. I’m posting it here because it’s the only radio or TV news available in English. As expected, there’s no update on the reason for the failure. North Korea-watchers with a keen eye have already noted how unusual it is for the country to admit failure, as Chico Harlan writes in The Washington Post. There are a number of theories, mostly revolving around the presence of international media in Pyongyang, although those journalists were kept in the dark about the launch and learned about it from colleagues overseas. One interesting idea proposed it that it’s because of the increasing amount of information coming into the country from overseas. It’s theorized that citizens would find out anyway so why keep them in the dark? Whatever the reasons, the admission of failure represents a bold step for the government." With audio.

Washington Post, 13 Apr 2012, Chico Harlan: "[T]his time, unlike after previous failures, North Korea didn’t manufacture a tale about a technological triumph and a satellite spinning around the globe. Roughly four hours after the Unha-3 rocket fell apart, Pyongyang’s state-run news agency released a brief statement saying that the 'earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit.' A news anchorwoman then read the statement on domestic television. ... When the North attempted to place a satellite into orbit in 2009 — its most recent effort until Friday — the multistage carrier rocket failed when the third stage didn’t fire. Outside accounts, relying on tracking data, said the Unha-2 plummeted into the Pacific Ocean. But North Korea provided a different account. Kim Jong Il expressed his 'great satisfaction' that the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite had been placed into orbit. A front-page account in the next morning’s state-run newspaper described the device’s nine-minute, two-second path into orbit and said the satellite was now transmitting revolutionary songs at a frequency of 470 MHz."

See previous post about same subject.

China experiences two-hour cutoff from foreign websites, spawning "kill switch" and other hypotheses.

Posted: 13 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Asia Times, 14 Apr 2012, Martin J. Young: "The Great Firewall of China came into full force this week when the country was virtually cut off from the rest of the world as the government cracked down on rumors and speculation over the recent scandal involving a top Communist Party leader whose wife is now accused of murdering a British businessman. The world's largest Internet population, 500 million strong, found itself walled in on Thursday when they could not access any foreign websites outside of China. Web users in Hong Kong were also affected as they could not access Chinese websites - the People's Republic became a digital island for a few hours."

The Guardian, 12 Apr 2012, Tania Branigan: "China's internet users have been cut off from accessing all foreign websites for around an hour in an unexplained incident that sparked speculation the country's censorship system was being tested or further tightened."

ZDNet, 13 Apr 2012, Hana Stewart-Smith: Some "have suggested that the temporary outage might have been a test run of an emergency ‘kill switch’, in case extreme measures need to be taken in the ongoing crackdown of the Chinese Internet. According to Tech in Asia, VPNs that had previously allowed Internet users to get around the Great Firewall were down, but that smaller VPN providers seemed to be unscathed. This could suggest a deliberate targeting of such services, but at the moment, we can only speculate. Admittedly, it does seem as though such a ‘kill switch’ would be extreme and far-fetched. However, the absence of clearer explanations lends the theory some credibility. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has been silent over the blackout, and so have much of the state-run media."

Wall Street Journal, China Realtime Report, 13 Apr 2012, Paul Mozur: CloudFlare "engineers also found that, contrary to what would be expected if the blackout were due to an equipment failure or break in an undersea cable – as many originally speculated after Wednesday’s magnitude 8.6 earthquake near Indonesia – only certain types of data had stopped flowing. China Telecom and China Unicom HTTP traffic – connections between clients and sites directly – mostly stopped, but other types of traffic that flow through different ports like Skype calls, email transfers and DNS traffic (which functions like a phone book to link a web address with an IP address) continued to flow."

PolicyMic, 13 Apr 2012, Liz Alton: "If China takes down the internet in order to maintain a facade of social control, not only does it stand to drive activists and the international community to more drastic action, but it stands to cripple its own economic machine."

Conflicting reports on how "clean" Iran's internet will be.

Posted: 13 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
International Business Times, 9 Apr 2012, Amrutha Gayathri: "Millions of Internet users in Iran will be permanently denied access to the World Wide Web and cut off from popular social networking sites and email services, as the government has announced its plans to establish a national Intranet within five months. In a statement released Thursday, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced the setting up of a national Intranet and the effective blockage of services like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail, in line with Iran's plan for a 'clean Internet.' The government is set to roll out the first phase of the project in May, following which Google, Hotmail and Yahoo services will be blocked and replaced with government Intranet services like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine."

International Business Times, 10 Apr 2012, Jamie Lewis: the latest statements from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said: 'The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry' and is 'completely baseless', blaming 'the propaganda wing of the West.'"

AFP, 10 Apr 2012: "Iran, however, does have plans to establish a 'national information network' billed as a totally closed system that would function like a sort of intranet for the Islamic republic. ... Iran in any case currently censors millions of websites deemed un-Islamic, and has from time to time imposed temporary additional restrictions."

The Register, 10 Apr 2012, John Leyden: "Unless Iran bans international phone calls then human rights activists could set up an ISP in neighbouring countries that Iran's oppressed population might be able to use, something which happened during the Egyptian Arab Spring protests. In addition, the US is reportedly looking to develop technology for a 'shadow internet' or 'internet in a suitcase' that will enable the creation of an independent connection to the international internet from inside a repressed country, maintaining internet access even if the local government pulls the plug."

Bloomberg Business Week, 11 Apr 2012, John Tozzi: AnchorFree, a "30-employee Mountain View (Calif.) startup makes free virtual private network (VPN) software which Internet users install on their computers to secure their connections and reach websites blocked by censors. ... If Iran does disconnect from the Internet entirely, VPNs would not help, says Eva Galperin, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group in San Francisco that advocates for Internet freedom. 'You simply cannot get out,' she says."

Wall Street Journal, 12 Apr 2012, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz: "Unfortunately, foreign companies have sold [Iran's Revolutionary] Guards the technologies they need to make this oppression possible. ... These systems include hardware and software from some of America's best-known technology companies, including Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Dell, Juniper Networks and Symantec, all of which deny knowledge that their products are being bundled into systems sold to Iran. A Reuters investigation confirmed, however, that these companies' technology was included in these systems. After the Reuters report was published, HP, Dell, Cisco and Juniper said that they were initiating internal investigations."

Reporters sans frontières, 12 Apr 2012: "Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Solimaninya, an Internet and social network expert who has been detained for the past three months and who, according to the information we have obtained, is being pressured to work with the government on the creation of a 'National Internet.'"

FierceGovernmentIT, 12 Apr 2012, David Perera: "A spate of reports suggest now is not a particularly good time for Internet and press freedom in the Middle East and nearby areas."

Progress, DPRK-style: Admission of rocket launch failure rather than "news" of fantasy satellite in orbit.

Posted: 13 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America, 13 Apr 2012, Steve Herman: "North Korea has acknowledged a multi-stage rocket it launched early Friday failed to reach orbit. An announcer on North Korean television - interrupting programming four hours after the launch, which was not broadcast - says the Kwangmyongsong-3 earth observation satellite did not succeed in reaching orbit and scientific experts are investigating the cause of the failure."

Steve Herman @W7VOA, 13 Apr 2012: "Not a word aired on the N. Korean 5pm TV newscast about the failed launch."

Steve Herman @W7VOA, 13 Apr 2012: "There was a brief break-in during the noon hour to read the KCNA statement on the failed launch. That's been it."

North Korea Tech, 13 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "North Korean TV ran a special news broadcast informing the country that the launch of the Kwangmyongsong 3 had failed to reach. The broadcast came several hours after the launch. which passed by when national TV was still yet to begin programming. When it did begin daily broadcasts, the TV station opened as usual and went into regular programming. The special bulletin came several hours later, long after the rest of the world has discovered what happened to the rocket. ... The news reader read out the KCNA bulletin, an English version of which is [here]: 'Pyongyang, April 13 (KCNA) — The DPRK launched its first application satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province at 07:38:55 a.m. on Friday. The earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit. Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure.'" With video.

@chicoharlan, 13 Apr 2012: "I would say N. Korea's admission of failure is by far the most surprising part of this whole adventure."

Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr 2012, David Pierson: "BBC reporter Damian Grammaticas, who'd been up all night working, was awakened by his Beijing bureau chief, Jo Floto, to learn of the news. 'The rest of the world knew but nobody in North Korea knew that the rocket had launched,' Floto said. Grammaticas later tweeted: 'Now in bizarre situation our #NKorea minders asking ME to tell THEM if rocket has launched. Went up 4 hours ago but they have no information.' ... Though they ultimately had no scoop, the massive media attention may have pressured the country’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, to issue the stunning admission of failure later that day. 'The way North Korea quickly admitted the failure of the launch may have reflected the reigning style of Kim Jong Un,' said Koh Yoo-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in South Korea. 'Unlike Kim Jong Il, who in the past hid his failures, Kim Jong Un called the foreign press and showed them what happened.'" -- I don't think Kim Jong Un personally called the foreign press.

AP, 12 Apr 2012, Eric Talmadge: "Pyongyang [said] the satellite [would have] broadcast martial music praising North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. It says Bright Shining Stars 1 and 2, launched in 1998 and 2009, did the same. But no broadcasts were ever detected, and neither probe is believed to have reached orbit."

See previous post about same subject.

BBC global iPlayer's first sport offer is Oxford-Cambridge boat race.

Posted: 13 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 11 Apr 2012, Paul Sawers: "[O]ne of the glaring omissions from the global iPlayer’s arsenal of programming was sport, something which is set to change now that it has secured the Xchanging Boat Race, the long-standing contest between England’s Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The 2012 event was one of the most remarkable race’s in recent memory, with a protestor halting the race shortly after it started. Now, Global iPlayer subscribers in Australia, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg, can watch the race. ... So you may not be all that interested in the Oxford/Cambridge boat race (this year’s is a goodie though…), but it seems we’ll start seeing a slew of of UK sporting events hit the Global iPlayer moving forward. Match of the Day? That would be sweet, but given the rights aren’t held by the BBC itself, it would likely find it difficult to broadcast English Premier League highlights internationally."

Digital TV Europe, 13 Apr 2012: "The Global BBC iPlayer has secured the rights to two [additional] UK sporting events, the Grand National and the London Marathon."

At Telesur forum, US and "private media" of Venezuela blamed for 2002 coup.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Prensa Latina (Havana), 9 Apr 2012: "Under the title The Revolution Never Will Be Censured, began on Monday a forum to discuss the practice of journalism and media coverage, sponsored by the multinational TV Network Telesur. The event, which [ended] on Tuesday, [was] in session in the framework of the conference celebrating the tenth anniversary of the popular uprising that foiled a coup and reinstated President Hugo Chavez in April 2002, in Venezuela. ... In a speech given during the first day of the forum, Minister of Communication and Information Andres Izarra said that besides the Venezuelan bourgeoisie, the United States was directly involved in the preparations for the coup perpetrated on April 11, 2002. ... Izarra noted, moreover, the responsibility of the private media in these events. 'Never before there was a media coup in the world, ie, it was a real coup: articulated, driven and led by the private media in the country,' said the minister to the guests who filled the Teatro Principal of this capital." See also Telesur YouTube, 10 Apr 2012, with English subtitles.

ABC MD discusses why ABC should have the Australia Network contract: no "conflicting stakeholders," no "commercial imperatives."

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Conversation, 11 Apr 2012, Rod Tiffen interviewing ABC managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "Tiffen: I worked on a few reviews of [the Australia Network] for the ABC, and it struck me then that … to get proper government funding you needed to show that there was value to the taxpayer, to the Australian national interest, but equally you had to assert and maintain total editorial independence. I wonder if in the tender processes initiated by Kevin Rudd there was sufficient recognition of the limits of what government involvement should be? Scott: We argued that whilst governments put some things out to tender there are some things you don’t put out to tender, because there are some things that governments should do, and that we thought you shouldn’t put your international broadcasting out to tender the same way you don’t put your diplomatic [representation]: 'Who wants to run the embassy in Japan?' You don’t do it! And that’s not to say there shouldn’t be robust questions around performance, around outcomes, around value for money but to make it contestable we argued it was unnecessary and it was questionable. And so we are pleased now with the outcome that we have got, we’re very happy to engage with Canberra around the outcomes and the performance of that network but a key to its strength and its credibility in the region is its independence and the fact that there are no conflicting stakeholders, there’s no other commercial imperatives driving the ABC, that we are an independent public broadcaster and they are the values that we are bringing. … This is not a trend that’s being followed around the world – that you would outsource your public broadcaster. No one else is doing it. In fact, we would run into other broadcasters around the world who were bewildered by the fact that there was a prospect of a tender process for this." -- Well, in the United States, CNN "outsourced" itself to create CNN International, the most successful of the global English news channels. "Commercial imperatives" have also not created any impediments for CNN International.

PSnews, 10 Apr 2012: "An audit of the on-and-off tender processes governing provision of the Australia Network television service has produced important lessons for the future, according to the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee. ... The Full audit report can be accessed at this PS News link ... ."

WA Today, 8 Apr 2012, Katharine Murphy: "If you want to learn two things — how bad things were in the preamble to the leadership showdown between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, and how Canberra works through such transient trifles as political power struggles — read the Auditor-General's report on the botched Australia Network tender. ... And the crowning irony in the saga? The government made absolutely the right decision.It's arguable, of course, but my view is there is demonstrable national interest in having the public broadcaster, not a commercial player, run Australia's overseas television service. Doing right via a debacle: that's the worst of all possible worlds."

See previous post and another previous post, both 7 Apr 2012, about the same subject.

If there is a North Korean satellite, and if it reaches orbit, it will broadcast "Song of Kim Il Sung" on 470 MHz.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
NBC News, 12 Apr 2012, James Oberg: "During all this time, officials say, the satellite will be transmitting patriotic hymns on a 470MHz beacon. Foreign radio listeners will try to pick it up, and if the satellite reaches orbit, it’s almost certain that some — perhaps very, very many — will do so before the first official North Korean reception. If nobody hears the satellite’s beacon in those hours, something clearly will have gone wrong."

Xinhua, 8 Apr 2012: "Jang Myung Jin, who is in charge of the [launching] station, told reporters that ... [a]fter entering its Sun-synchronous orbit, the satellite will broadcast 'the Song of General Kim Il Sung' and 'the Song of General Kim Jong Il.'"

NBC News, 10 Apr 2012, Ed Flanagan interviewing space consultant James Oberg: "Q: What questions did you have coming into this press conference with the North Korea Space Technology Committee? A: Perhaps the most interesting one for me was how soon after launch they’ll have success or failure in the form of a radio signal from the satellite. The North Koreans said they couldn’t answer that one. That puzzled me because the primary responsibility of flight control is knowing when to expect indicators of success or failure like receiving a radio signal. Maybe they were just officials and not workers who care about the details. ... In regards to the timing of the radio signal and how other radio amateurs around the planet could help detect these signals, they said they would answer tomorrow ."

AP, 12 Apr 2012, Eric Talmadge: "Pyongyang says the satellite will broadcast martial music praising North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. It says Bright Shining Stars 1 and 2, launched in 1998 and 2009, did the same. But no broadcasts were ever detected, and neither probe is believed to have reached orbit. If the broadcasts on the UHF and X-bands are successful, the first independent confirmation could come from western Australia, which might pick them up within 20 minutes. The west coast of South America would be next, followed by the U.S. east coast. North Korea would not likely hear them until as much as 12 hours later."

North Korea Tech, 13 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "Based on information submitted to international organizations prior to launch, the folks at Analytical Graphics have produced a good-looking computer simulation of what the Unha-3 launch might look like." With video.

weather.com (The Weather Channel), 10 Apr 2012: "North Korea's claim justifying a planned rocket launch that the isolated country merely wants to put a weather satellite in orbit was denounced on Tuesday by the White House, which dismissed the claim by saying North Korea should just 'go to weather.com.'"

Politico, 9 Apr 2012, Dylan Byers: "The White House is pushing back against the media for what it sees as oversaturated coverage of this week’s forthcoming North Korean missile test. 'You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know this is a propaganda exercise,' National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told me. 'Reporters have to be careful not to get co-opted.'"

See previous post about same subject.

After 80% budget cut, Radio Canada International will have no radio, no news.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Montreal Gazette, 11 Apr 2012, Catherine Solyom: "While CBC, like other crown corporations and government departments, has to cut 10 per cent of its overall budget as a result of federal cutbacks, [Radio Canada International], which is administered by the CBC but has long been its poor cousin, was told more than 80 per cent of its budget would be slashed, or $10 million of $12.3 million. As of June 25, there will no longer be any Russian or Portuguese language sections, there will be no more RCI newsroom, no more RCI programs, in fact, no more shortwave or satellite broadcasting at all, other than to direct listeners to the Internet, the CBC decided last week. RCI will retain a 'Web presence' in five languages – but what kind of presence remains to be seen. The news was a severe blow to the staff at RCI, at least two-thirds – or about 40 – of whom can expect to receive pink slips April 25. ... Sheldon Harvey, the president of the Canadian International DX Club, and a longtime shortwave enthusiast, said the international service, over the decades, has gained a stellar reputation, ranked just behind the BBC World Service – despite its relatively tiny budget – for its balanced, neutral perspective. It was never a propaganda tool, like the Voice of America, he said." -- As a "longtime shortwave enthusiast," Sheldon could have come up with a more appropriate example of "propaganda tool."

Montreal Gazette, 12 Apr 2012, letter from Dan Malloy, Everett, Massachusetts: "Contrary to what many Canadians may believe, there are Americans who don't believe that Canada is a northern version of the U.S.A., and shortwave radio is an excellent way to get that message across."

CBC, 4 Apr 2012, speech to employee town hall meeting by CBC CEO Hubert T. Lacroix: RCI "will now provide national and international audiences with content on the web in five languages (French, English, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin). The Brazilian and Russian sections will close. This transformation responds to demographic shifts, to the traffic on our sites, and concentrates our efforts on Canada's largest communities of diverse origins, while continuing to offer an international service via the web. These decisions are consistent with international trends and approaches adopted by other public broadcasters."

Radio Canada International, Off Mike column, 7 Apr 2012, Wojtek Gwiazda: "We will no longer broadcast on shortwave. The only presence we’ll have is on the Internet, on our website. The RCI newsroom will be closed, there will be no newscasts. ... I can tell you that there is a union supported lobby group, the RCI Action Committee, which is actively lobbying to stop the cuts. Whether it will be successful, is unknown."

RCI Action Committee blog, 4 Apr 2012: "Radio Canada International’s $12.2 million dollar budget will be slashed by 10 million, leaving only $2.2 million. (Revised April 5: $12.3 and $2.3 million) ... It’s being billed as a 'transformation' – I think we would use other words. ... Suggestions, comments, questions welcome at: rciaction@yahoo.ca . We are working on an action plan – should be able to provide details within a few days." See also ibid. on 8 Apr 2012 (CKUT interview, with audio).

RCI Action Committee blog, 12 Apr 2012: "We feel because of the continuing cuts to RCI since 1990 (See: http://rciaction.org/blog), the government should give RCI financial autonomy and take RCI’s budget away from CBC/Radio-Canada’s control." Ibid, 12 Apr 2012: "It is CBC/Radio-Canada, not Canada’s federal government, that so severely cut the budget and services of Radio Canada International. But it is the government that can step in, stop the cut, and protect RCI."

@sandragagnon, 10 Apr 2012: "Écoutez l'émotion de la directrice @Hélène Parent RCI // Budget amputé de 80% à Radio Canada International http://j.mp/HCmnDj"

See also BBG Strategy, 9 Apr 2012, with video clips.

See previous post about same subject.

Taiwan ministry denies, VOA stands by, report that Taiwan might co-host APEC forum.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Central News Agency (Taipei), 11 Apr 2012, Nancy Liu: "Taiwan is not in talks with China to co-host APEC forum ministerial meetings, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday, in the wake of a report published by the Voice of America (VOA) days earlier indicating the island's willingness to do so. 'Taiwan has never conveyed such a message to mainland China,' the ministry said in a statement. However, VOA spokesman Kyle King said in an email to CNA that the radio station 'stands by its report, which was based on a recording of Mr. Chang Chien-yen making the statements in public.' On April 8, VOA published an article saying that Taiwan has expressed willingness to co-organize APEC ministerial level meetings with China when China hosts the event in 2014. The article cited Chang, a visiting scholar at George Washington University, as its source."

Radio Free Asia will "deploy private clouds in remote locations."

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Piston Cloud Computing press release, 10 Apr 2012: "Piston Cloud Computing, Inc., the enterprise OpenStack company, today announced Radio Free Asia, a private non-profit corporation broadcasting news and information in nine languages to listeners in Asia, has deployed Piston Enterprise OS (pentOS™) to quickly build and deploy private clouds in remote locations under time, staffing and freedom constraints. In its 16th year, Radio Free Asia is a unique organization with a mission to provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries where governments prohibit access to a free press. This presents unique challenges, both technically and politically, when deploying technology infrastructure to share and analyze what is sometimes sensitive data on a global scale. ... Many of Radio Free Asia's centers are either minimally staffed, or unstaffed. Having a product that can be installed quickly and easily allows a travelling datacenter administrator to get clouds up and running in remote locations under time constraints. Combating the real threat of confiscation of physical nodes by government or other outside agents requires data-at-rest encryption, the encryption of non-moving data stored on those nodes."

Web Host Industry Review, 10 Apr 2012, Nicole Henderson: "Talk back: Have security concerns like that of Radio Free Asia’s influenced your customers to move towards private cloud?"

This sounds like something that VOA could also use for its heavily blocked internet traffic to East Asia. Nevertheless, this is strictly an RFA-only deployment, part of its Freedom 2 Connect initiative. In accordance with the BBG's "many brands" strategy, there is no room on the cloud for both RFA and VOA.

With the help of end-of-year funds, Radio Free Asia is increasingly becoming Television Free Asia.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 10 Apr 2012, Laura Mir: "Radio Free Asia found that a relatively small amount of money can be applied creatively to develop a quality video product. Now it has an impressive studio space and a multi-disciplined staff that can create Web content for www.rfa.org. Gordon Burnett, production engineer III, and AJ Janitschek, director of program and operations support, have been working on bringing video services to RFA in Washington since their purchase of a Canon GL1 DV mini camcorder in 2000. ... The technology team at RFA knew that the amount of video being posted online was on the increase. Burnett was attracted by the medium’s capacity 'to retain visitors to well-designed websites and its ability to tell stories in ways that audio alone could not.' The individual language services of RFA were also beginning to pick up on the importance of adding value to their online content. ... Funding was the biggest roadblock. Radio Free Asia is a U.S.-government funded, non-profit organization operated by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. 'None of these [video expenditures] were a line item in our budget. When the opportunity presented itself, end-of-year funds, etc., and funds were available, we got in line and stated our case,' said Burnett. Little by little the money to purchase equipment did come. Cameras, teleprompters, lighting ensued. Slowly the video studio acquired the necessary gear to produce the Vietnamese and other language shows."

The resourcefulness of the RFA engineers is admirable. Nevertheless, funding would be less of a roadblock if the United States had one entity broadcasting to East Asia rather than two. So now RFA has cameras, teleprompters, and lighting to compete with VOA's cameras, teleprompters, and lighting, for broadcasts to the same countries, in the same languages, covering much of the same news. This story says more about US international broadcasting, and its "many brands," than the Radio World reporter realized.

Report: MGM seeks to shed its international channels, looking to online delivery for future revenue.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Apr 2012, Alex Ben Block: "Metro Goldwyn Mayer has begun shopping its interests in 25 MGM-branded international TV channels after the company’s new management decided they are not part of its core business, according to sources. ... One source says MGM might be moving toward a deal with AMC Networks, whose channel division is run by a former MGM executive with a mandate to build a suite of international channels -- just what MGM appears ready to shed. The MGM channels operate in Eastern and Western Europe, South America, Asia, India, Oceana and Africa, along with a HD channel in North America. They were a priority for previous management of the storied entertainment company, but the company recently emerged from bankruptcy after former Spyglass executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum took over in December 2010. ... In fact, say several sources, the new management including Roma Khanna, the former NBC executive who became president of the MGM television group and digital in July, consider the 25 channels to be an impediment to getting full value out of the company’s huge content library, which as of the end of 2011 included 4,100 feature films and 10,500 TV episodes. The thinking goes that, while in the past the best way to monetize the older library titles once they had been through theatrical, network, pay TV and syndication windows worldwide was to package them on branded channels, that is no longer the case. Now similar libraries are being licensed all over again to Netflix, Amazon and others for online and digital streaming delivery systems. MGM at present can’t do similar deals for most of its library because it is committed to the channels. 'They now believe that on the open market they can sell 10 percent or 20 percent of these titles and make more money than they can from putting 100 percent of them on the channels,' says another former MGM executive who declined to be named."

History of the Deutsche Welle Sri Lanka relay station, 1980-2011.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Shortwave Central, 9 Apr 2012, Adrian Peterson, from AWR Wavescan: "On August 12, 1980, representatives from Deutsche Welle in Germany and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in Colombo signed a mutual agreement, whereby a large radio broadcasting station, mediumwave & shortwave, would be constructed at the former Royal Navy Base, a dozen miles north of Trincomalee Harbor. This original agreement provided for one mediumwave transmitter at 600 kW, three shortwave transmitters at 250 kW, and one communication transmitter at 10 kW. ... As is happening these days to so many important shortwave stations throughout the world, downsizing is now part of the picture. Deutsche Welle decided to close two of its major shortwave relay stations, Sines In Portugal & Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. At the end of October last year Deutsche Welle programming from the Trincomalee relay station came to an end, though some client programming remained on the air until the end of the year. ... On January 1 earlier this year, the large international radio broadcasting station located at Perkara-Trincomalee was taken over by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation."

State Department produces cartoon about Iran's "electronic curtain."

Posted: 11 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
DiploPundit, 8 Apr 2012: "The State Department recently started promoting its new cartoon called 'Behind the Electronic Curtain' highlighting online censorship in Iran. It promoted the video on Twitter in English, Chinese, Farsi and Arabic with the hashtag #ConnectIran. It has yet to catch fire." With video of the cartoon.

@americagov, 6 Apr 2012: "VIDEO: See how the Electronic Curtain isolates the people of #Iran from the world. #ConnectIran #NetFreedom http://goo.gl/xv5mo"

New Iranian book examines propaganda and psyop of the Iran-Iraq war.

Posted: 11 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Iran Book News Agency, 8 Apr 2012: "Propaganda and Psychological Operations in the Iraq-imposed war on Iran is the title of a book by Ali Mohammad Naeini published by Revayat-e Fath publication center. Arranged in 5 chapters, the book analytically reviews the Sacred Defense era and explains the nature of propaganda and psychological operations against Iran in the war. ... In its third chapter, the book considers Iran's propagations during the war and elaborates on methods Iranians adopted for retaliating foreign assaults. Chapter 4 deals with Iraqi psychological warfare against Iran and gives details about the propagation organization of Iraq's Baath regime, targets of propagations and assessment of Iraq's psychological activities during the war."

International broadcasting to Turkey -- Al Jazeera, China Radio International -- in the news.

Posted: 11 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Hürriyet (Istanbul), 8 Apr 2012, Cengiz Semercioglu, via Worldcrucnh: "There are many ways for Turkey to fulfill its aspirations of becoming a major player in the Middle East. One sure way to be better seen and heard in the region would be the long awaited launch of a Turkish-language broadcast of satellite news giant Al Jazeera. Indeed, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has been a major proponent of an Al Jazeera Turkish project. So why hasn’t Al Jazeera started its Turkish broadcast yet? Is this related to Turkey’s larger foreign policy dynamic, or to internal problems at Al Jazeera? ... With [Waddah] Khanfer’s removal as CEO, progress on both the Turkish and Bosnian broadcasts slowed. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera made separate investments in Turkish media by purchasing the CINE5 network, the first subscription-based television channel in Turkey. Still Khanfer’s removal isn’t the only reason for the delay in Al Jazeera Turkish seeing the light of day. The broadcaster’s editorial style also bears some responsibility. At the heart of the disagreement is controversy over how Al Jazeera will term the Kurdish militant group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in its Turkish broadcasts. In its English and Arabic broadcasts, Al Jazeera does not call the PKK 'terrorists' as they are generally referenced to in Turkey. Instead, Al Jazeera prefers the term 'insurgent,' as do most top international news agencies. Al Jazeera has refused to budge on this point, considering it a matter of preserving journalistic standards. ... [T]he experience is a reminder that a TV network that takes its news seriously should never be considered a tool for the foreign ministry."

Today's Zaman (Istanbul), 8 Apr 2012, Abdullah Bozkurt: China Radio International "has been broadcasting in Turkish since October 1957 using the shortwave frequency. It has a one-hour-long program every day, repeated four times during the day in different time slots. It uses Internet broadband to spread the word and has also used local FM stations in Istanbul and Ankara to reach its audience since 2010. With unprecedented growing ties recently with Turkey, China is set to promote its culture in many areas, including broadcasting more Turkish content on the CRI. Yongmin Xia, the director of the Turkish service, revealed to Sunday’s Zaman that the CRI has decided to boost its presence in Turkey. Going by the Turkish name Murat, Xia said the CRI has chosen Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, to launch a radio station. 'We are going to start with five people and hope to reach 15 in this service in Istanbul,' he said, adding that the stronger presence would help develop bilateral relations further. ... Though the CRI is funded by the Chinese government, Xia says the staff is free to choose stories and decide on how to broadcast them. The general layout of the program was decided by the board of directors at the CRI, but the staff decided to pick which stories to air and also edit them. 'The government does not dictate the contents of the broadcast,' he explained."

See previous post about Voice of Russia Turkish broadcasts.

Invitation to the rededication of the BBG/VOA Greenville shortwave station mentions neither Greenville nor shortwave.

Posted: 11 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 5 Apr 2012: "Please join the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) for the rededication ceremony in honor of the renowned broadcaster and director of the USIA (1961-1964), Edward R. Murrow, and in recognition of World Press Freedom Day. Speakers will include: Congressman Walter Jones (invited); Victor Ashe, BBG Governor, former Ambassador to Poland and former mayor of Knoxville; Richard M. Lobo, award-winning media executive and journalist and Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. Edward R. Murrow’s legacy as a journalist and his rich understanding of the importance of press freedom as part of the bedrock of democracy along with the key role of U.S. international broadcasting as a model of a free press will be highlighted in the ceremony to be held in the lead-up to World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd. The transmitting station, a 24/7 broadcast facility, supports the mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors to 'inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy' through about 2,200 hours of transmissions each month. Following the ceremony a tour of the facility will be offered." On 2 May at 10:00 a.m. With link to registration. -- Unmentioned in this press release: the station is usually referred to as Greenville, as in nearby Greenville, North Carolina, and all of its transmitters are of the shortwave persuasion. The BBG FY 2011 budget recommended closing the Greenville station. See previous post.

Al Jazeera English hands over evidence from its documentary about illegal logging to Sierra Leone's Anti-Corruption Commission.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Concord Times (Freetown), 5 Apr 2012, Moses A. Kargbo: "Doha-based Al Jazeera cable news has confirmed it has handed over 'a large amount of evidence' in support of the serious allegations contained in its documentary about illegal logging in Sierra Leone as requested for by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which is currently investigating the issue involving Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana, among others. It could be recalled that in November 2011, as part of its ground-breaking Africa Investigates series, Al Jazeera English broadcast 'Sierra Leone: Timber!', a documentary about the alleged illegal logging that is laying waste to the country's endangered forests. ... Al Jazeera English executive producer Diarmuid Jeffreys said: 'In line with our legal obligations and out of respect for a judicial process that is still ongoing, we haven't spoken publicly about any of this until now. However we think this is a good moment to say how proud we are of the tremendous work of Sorious Samura and the Africa Investigates team in bringing these matters to light. This sort of in-depth reporting is never easy and Sorious, who is one of Africa's finest investigative journalists and a man of the utmost integrity, has had to stay silent in the face of some wildly ill-informed comment about the documentary in sections of the media in Sierra Leone.'" See previous post about same subject.

More news about Al Jazeera for sports fans.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 7 Apr 2012, Leila Abboud and Gwénaëlle Barzic: "Al Jazeera, best known for its Middle Eastern news coverage, is taking aim at Europe’s pay-TV market, using sports to build a global media brand, just as owner Qatar is raising its profile by hosting the 2022 World Cup. The broadcaster is racing to launch a new French channel in early June in time for the European soccer championships, offering a service for about 11 euros per month, according to three industry sources. The channel’s name, ‘beIN Sport’, has been trademarked worldwide. The sports world is also buzzing with anticipation that Al Jazeera, with Qatar’s gas and oil wealth behind it, could put big money on the table to bid for UK rights to the English Premier League now mostly held by News Corp affiliate BSkyB."

Media Bistro, 7 Apr 2012, Alex Weprin: "Al Jazeera wants to grow, but as a news channel there are severe limitations. News is commoditized, and there is heavy competition. In the world of television, the most valuable content is content that viewers cannot get anywhere else. That is why in the U.S. and cross the globe the most valuable TV content is live sports."

Soccer America, 6 Apr 2012, Paul Kennedy: "The most lucrative soccer rights in the world are to the English Premier League, and Al-Jazeera is reportedly prepared to take on BSkyB, which holds a majority stake in EPL rights. The EPL would love a competitor to take on BSkyB and boost its next rights deal up for bid this year. Al-Jazeera may not be able to beat out at BSkyB but it might cut our ESPN, which holds rights to a sliver of the EPL TV pie. ... According to the website EPL Talk, Al-Jazeera will wrest the U.S. rights to Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga away from Fox Soccer and Gol TV and could bid on the EPL rights held by Fox and ESPN for 2013-16. ... As a for Fox, it can't afford to lose EPL rights. Al-Jazeera's foray into the U.S. market comes at a time Fox needs to build its audience in anticipation of its coverage of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups."

Arabian Business, 8 Apr 2012, Ed Attwood: "Many of you may remember sitting down to watch the opening game of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa two years ago. After hours of build-up, the opening match between the hosts and Mexico kicked off, only for fans to cry foul when screens across the Middle East suddenly went blank. For broadcaster Al Jazeera, which bought the screening rights for the World Cup across the Arab world for an unnamed sum, the event was something of a public relations disaster. As ‘helplines’ went unanswered, the broadcaster limply blamed outside interference for jamming its signal. ... As Al Jazeera embarks on its plan to roll out its news coverage across the US this year, it may well consider trying to buy rights to screen the sports that Americans hold dearest. Such a move would be fraught with difficulty, but Qatar has the ambition and the money to push the envelope as far as it can. Stranger things have happened."

See previous post about same subject.

Sky News Arabia will launch on 6 May, "with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do."

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 5 Apr 2012: "Abu Dhabi Sky News Arabia, the 24-hour Arabic language multi-platform breaking news channel, will launch its service on May 6. The channel, which promises 'a new horizon' for news reporting across the Arab world, will be available on transponder 14 on Arabsat Badr 4, transponder 15 on Nilesat 201, on du IPTV and e-Life platforms plus in high definition on the OSN pay-TV platform. The announcement was made during a press conference held by the head of the channel, Nart Bouran, at Sky News Arabia's state-of-the-art studios in Abu Dhabi. Commenting on the launch of the channel, Bouran said: 'The Sky News Arabia idea was born more than two years ago. Our aim has been to create an impartial and independent breaking news channel for the Arab world across multiple platforms. ... Sky News Arabia will offer the Mena region a fresh approach to television news with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do.' James Zogby, chairman of the Editorial Advisory Committee, commented: 'We are looking forward to working with Sky News Arabia to support the channel's aim to present an independent evaluation of the news agenda, free of external influence. It will have clear, unambiguous standards, upheld by an editorial charter that sets the framework for world-class news delivery as well as creating a new culture for Arab journalism.' The Sky News Arabia digital news platform has been active since the website, www.skynewsarabia.com, launched in beta format in February, and social media channels have attracted more than 100,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter." With names of all members of its editorial advisory committee.

Arabian Business, 3 Apr 2012, Sara Anabtawi: "The network also plans to offer a graduate internship scheme to local journalists. The Abu Dhabi-based channel will be going head-to-head for viewing figures with the Prince Alwaleed-backed Alarab news channel, as well as long-term players Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Last year, the Saudi billionaire [Alwaleed] confirmed he had teamed up with Bloomberg to fund a 24-hour Arabic-language news network, fronted by Saudi-based journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi. Sky News Arabia will broadcast to an estimated 50m households across the Middle East and North Africa."

Sky News (UK), 3 Apr 2012: "Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between Admic, the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, and BSkyB, which also runs Sky News in the UK."

journalism.co.uk, 3 Apr 2012, Sarah Marshall: "Sky News Arabia joins the BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Arabeya and France 24 in providing round-the-clock news in Arabic."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 4 Apr 2012, Ben Flangan: "The station will have 12 dedicated bureaus, in cities such as Cairo, London, Washington, Beirut, Baghdad, Islamabad and Gaza. It will also use facilities at some of the Sky News English-language bureaus in Britain. It will vie for audience share and advertising revenue with the two incumbent news stations, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Sky News Arabia will also compete with Alarab, a station being launched by the Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, which is set to launch in December and will be based in Bahrain. The four news stations will compete in a crowded TV market, which - across all stations - shares estimated advertising revenue of just US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn). Mazen Nahawi, the president of News Group International, a Dubai company that specialises in media monitoring, said Sky News Arabia would find it 'challenging' to become profitable, given the cost of producing TV news. ... However, Mr Nahawi was confident that Sky News Arabia would be able to maintain editorial independence. 'It is feasible that they will have significant independence,' he said. 'They have the opportunity to seriously compete. It all comes down to how good their reporters are.'"

Al Jazeera English, 8 Apr 2012: "A view of the News Operation Centre (NOC) at the Sky News Arabia headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Its British counterpart admitted this week to hacking into emails on two occasions, but defended their actions as editorially justified and in the public interest." With photo.

See previous post about same subject.

International broadcasters accuse international broadcasters of "fabricated" reporting about Syria.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 4 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera has supplied Syrian rebels with satellite communication tools to ensure telephone and Internet connection, claims Ali Hashim, a former correspondent of the Qatar-funded channel. The equipment was smuggled from Lebanon, he told RT. ­The channel paid $50,000 for smuggling phones and other tools across the Syrian border to ensure they would get an inside picture, claims Ali Hashim. ... 'The channel was taking a certain stance. It was meddling with each and every detail of reports on the Syrian revolution. At the same time it was almost covering up what was going on in Bahrain,' recalls Hashim."

Voice of Russia, 6 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera fabricates news on Syria in favor of the rebels, ex-producer for the channel’s Beirut Bureau Moussa Ahmed stated on Friday. He said that news writers conceal a number of facts and exaggerate the scale of the opposition movement and the number of casualties in the region. Moussa was one of the five employees who resigned in March opposing biased coverage of the Arab Spring in Libya, Bahrain and Syria. Al-Jazeera broadcasting policy is said to be strongly affected by the Emir of Qatar."

Press TV, 7 Apr 2012: "Rafik Lutf a Syrian journalist and a member of the Arab Journalists Union in the US has said CNN, Al-Jazeera and other Western and Arabic satellite news channels are fabricating and falsifying events ,with the help on saboteurs, to accuse the Syrian army of violating and terrorizing civilians. Rafik Lutf, the head of Al-Kawthar office in Damascus was able to track the live streaming of a camera in Homs, at the beginning he felt suspicious about live streaming on the same area for more than 7 hours, he was trying to understand the purpose of this streaming. After 12 hours, a plume of smoke rose from the area where the camera was directed to. CNN and Al-Jazeera crew was the first to arrive there. When CNN correspondent Arwa Damon went on live to talk about the explosion of a pipeline in Homs, CNN broadcasted the same images that were taken from the fixed camera that was streaming before the explosion happened. Which leads to the conclusion that the CNN crew knew about the explosion before it even happened? CNN is not the only news satellite channel that is fabricating crimes to make believe that the Syrian government is shelling Homs. Al-Jazeera with the help of some correspondents in Homs is faking gunshots during their live calls with those reporters to make believe that the Syrian Army is shelling the area."

"If viewers perceive a bias...": As Al Jazeera's audience grows, so does the number of its critics.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg, 9 Apr 2012, Nicholas Noe & Walid Raad: "Having built considerable goodwill among various Arab publics tired of state-run TV, Al-Jazeera is facing a slew of criticisms from commentators who argue the channel has gone off track. The strength of the regional station, founded in 1996 and based in Qatar, had been that it offered an alternative to broadcasters controlled by national governments, whose coverage invariably reflected narrow regime interests rather than a popular understanding of events. Now, Al-Jazeera is being accused of the same sin as those state-run enterprises -- of being a vehicle for a regime, in this case that of Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Writing under the headline 'Al-Jazeera is not okay' in the Beirut-based, leftist daily As-Safir, columnist Sahar Mandour outlined some of the main controversies swirling around the channel. Mandour described a series of high-level resignations by staff angry over a lack of coverage given to unrest in Bahrain, which abuts Qatar, and 'biased' coverage of violence in Syria. ... Reacting to such criticisms, especially from Al-Akhbar, which has run a number of critical pieces, including from Al-Jazeera staff members who have resigned, the channel posted its own editorial last week on its website, Aljazeera.net. 'Let us forget about the praise addressed to Qatari policy back when it belonged to the resistance and rejectionist axis,' the editorial concluded, and ask if it is really logical that 'Qatar has gone overnight from being an active member of the rejectionist and resistance axis to the spearhead of imperialism aimed at destroying the resistance and at dividing the Arab world on sectarian bases?' It was an odd way for a media outlet to defend its professionalism, by arguing that it couldn't possibly have changed camps so quickly. Given that the accuracy, objectivity and fairness of its reporting weren't Al-Jazeera's main line of defense, it may take considerable repair before the channel wins new fans in the region."

Christian Science Monitor, 4 Apr 2012, Elizabeth Dickinson: "[I]t’s not just Al Jazeera’s audience that has grown. So, too, have its critics. Founded by the Qatari emir in 1996, the channel's main detractors early on came from the West, where its penchant for broadcasting Al Qaeda messages and portraying graphic images of the US-led war in Iraq irked many, including former President George W. Bush. But since the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera’s previous success has been amplified and the Qatari government has started playing a bigger part in regional policy. Suddenly, the cozy relationship between patron and broadcaster carries a bit more baggage. 'It’s important to take seriously where the funding of this network comes from,' says Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center. 'You’re basically talking about a journalistic organization that by definition has a conflict built in.' ... [Al Jazeera English managing director Al] Anstey knows it’s the audience who will ultimately decide the broadcaster’s fate. 'Yes we are headquartered here, [but] we are wholly independent from the state of Qatar,' he maintains. 'Our coverage absolutely demonstrates to our viewers that we are impartial.' ... If viewers perceive a bias, real or imagined, Al Jazeera and its critics alike know the stakes. 'The Arab peoples are used to state-controlled media and it will not be a shock for them to see Al Jazeera sliding back into that category,” says [Professor Ahmed Souaiaia of the University of Iowa]. 'They are very adept in flipping through the channels to find the truth.'"

Both articles are important reading. Nicholas Noe & Walid Raad astutely observe that Al Jazeera is not stressing "accuracy, objectivity and fairness" as its main line of defense. Elizabeth Dickinson correctly notes the consequences "if viewers perceive a bias." Lessons for all of international broadcasting, not just Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera English, CNN, and BBC.com are among winners of this year's Peabody Awards.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 5 Apr 2012, Paul McNally: "CNN, Al Jazeera English and National Public Radio in the US have each received awards for their exceptional coverage of the Arab Spring. The broadcasters were among 38 recipients of this year's Peabody awards, which recognise excellence in broadcasting around the world. Al Jazeera English was praised as "a network of record for millions of viewers throughout the world". Judges said the channel's 'on-the-ground reporting was thorough, enterprising and brave'. CNN was commended by judges for its preparedness, with 'seasoned correspondents already stationed throughout the Middle East'. ... The BBC won two prizes, including one for BBC.com, the global-facing version of the corporation's website, which judges said was 'uniquely situated to provide immediate, evolving coverage of news events great and small ... with access to more than 2,000 journalists and the BBC's 72 overseas news bureaux'. A BBC Panorama documentary, Somalia: Land of Anarchy, which saw Peter Greste return to the country after six years 'to provide the world with an unflinching look at life in a failed state' also picked up an award. ... The full list of winners can be found here. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in New York on 21 May."

Al Jazeera English, 5 Apr 2012: "Founded in 1940 and administered by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Peabody is the oldest award in electronic media and recognises achievement and public service in television, radio and online. 'We are delighted to receive yet another prestigious and coveted award,' Al Anstey, Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, said. ... 'We ... look forward to continuing to provide global, in-depth coverage to our growing audiences in the United States and across the world.'"

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication press release, undated(!): Also among this year's winners: "NHK’s Surviving the Tsunami, a meticulous post-mortem of the tidal wave and nuclear disaster with an eye to lessons for the future."

"What’s the Best Way To Foment Unrest in a Foreign Country?" A media guide (updated with RFE/RL response).

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Slate, 5 Apr 2012, Brian Palmer: "Iran is often accused of instigating, fomenting, or stirring up violence and anti-Americanism in other countries. How, exactly, does a government go about fomenting violence? With a mixture of videotapes, audio cassettes, and explosives. When U.S. missiles kill Afghan civilians, or U.S. forces commit an affront to Islam, Iran seeks to broadcast the news among the local population. Agents quickly generate and disseminate pieces of audio and video propaganda decrying the indignity and urging civilians to rise up against American forces. Some of these go beyond mere exhortations to violence. In Iraq, U.S. agents claim to have intercepted Iranian-produced tapes that included directions to Iranian-stocked weapons caches and instructions on how to build explosively formed projectiles capable of penetrating U.S. armored vehicles. The tapes are also said to provide detailed descriptions of routes frequented by U.S. troops. The government in Tehran, for its part, denies meddling in Afghanistan or other countries. And the White House says it makes no effort to foment rebellion in Iran, although the United States does acknowledge broadcasting its own take on world and Iranian news into the country via Voice of America radio and television. ... In the past, the U.S. government has tried to foment rebellions abroad by promising financial or military support, or offering tactical advice to local malcontents. In 1956, an American colonel speaking on Radio Free Europe assured Hungarians that the U.S. military would support a rebellion, and a subsequent program offered tips on anti-tank tactics. The CIA-initiated Radio Swan, which broadcast from an island near Cuba beginning in 1960, mixed anti-Castro speeches, exhortations to defect from the military, and pop music. The station also broadcast coded messages to fighters in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion."

Update: Response to Slate from from Martins Zvaners, deputy director of communications, RFE/RL, Inc.: "Concerning Radio Free Europe and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, to which you refer in today's Explainer -- the tapes of all of the Hungarian Service broadcasts from that time were preserved by chance by the German government. These tapes, along with the findings of several internal and external investigations, refute the charges that RFE incited the revolution, promised Western military assistance, or provoked the Soviet crackdown. What RFE’s programs were most guilty of, according to researcher and former RFE executive Ross Johnson, was 'project[ing] to Hungary the sympathy and moral and humanitarian support of the Western world. In the context of the revolution, this reporting--with few exceptions both accurate and journalistically responsible--inadvertently became a source of false hope.' To read Johnson's "Hoover Review" article on RFE's performance during the Hungarian Revolution, visit http://bit.ly/I9vbQt. Johnson examines the issue in more depth in his December 2010 book, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond, while Arch Puddington discussed the question in his May 2000 book, Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Former Radio Liberty official recalls interview by CBS journalist Mike Wallace.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Cold War Radios, 10 Apr 2012, Richard H. Cummings quoting from Gene Sosin, Sparks of Liberty: An Insider's Memoir of Radio Liberty: "In the spring of 1982, CBS informed RFE/RL's New York Programming Center that Mike Wallace wanted to bring his camera crew to our office. They were interested in pursuing information published in a new book, The Belarus Secret, by John Loftus, a Boston attorney and former employee of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations. Loftus had uncovered evidence during his work in Washington that Radio Liberty hired former Soviet citizens who collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation of Belorussia in World War II. Anthony Adamovich, a writer for Radio Liberty, was included in Loftus's list. New York Director William Kratch consented to the interview and asked me to join him in front of the camera when Wallace appeared to tape the segment. I called Howland Sargeant for advice, inasmuch as he had been president of Radio Liberty from 1954 to 1975. He confirmed that several members of the Radio's staff in Munich and New York had been collaborators, but that they had been cleared by the proper authorities in the U.S. government before we hired them. In other words, their wartime association with the Nazi occupation was forgiven because the Nazi invaders had offered them the choice of collaborating or being shot. In the case of Adamovich, he had been an editor of a Belorussian newspaper in Minsk and was forced to cooperate with the Germans by continuing his activities under their supervision. Mike Wallace interviewed Kratch and me for about ten minutes, throwing in a question about the Radio's former clandestine association with the CIA, as if that cast a shadow on all of our activities."

An influential Venezuelan columnist -- and his grandfather who relayed VOA to passersby.

Posted: 10 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 9 Apr 2012, Jose de Cordoba: "When Nelson Bocaranda tweets, people in Venezuela—and Wall Street—listen. Last June, the columnist broke the news that President Hugo Chávez had undergone cancer surgery in Cuba. After days of silence from the Comandante Presidente, a shaken Mr. Chávez appeared on television from Havana, admitting to having cancer. ... That makes Mr. Bocaranda, who publishes a twice-weekly column called Runrunes, or 'Murmurs,' the best source of information on the president’s illness, and a headache for the government. He also has a radio show and a website. 'Bocaranda is the unofficial minister of information, since the official minister of information doesn’t have any information,' says Boris Segura, an analyst at Nomura Securities in New York. 'It’s a throwback to Soviet days.' ... In the small Andean town where he was born, Mr. Bocaranda’s grandfather used to put the family radio on a table fronting the street so that passersby could hear the U.S. government’s Voice of America show."

Fox News domestically disseminates VOA story as apparent pretext for provocative headline.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Fox News, 9 Apr 2012, republishing story by VOA's Kent Klein: "The Obama administration is defending its Thursday meetings with members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political party. Officials say the United States is engaging with a variety of Egypt’s emerging political actors. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood met with mid-level officials from the U.S. National Security Agency. On Wednesday, he described the agency officials in the meeting as 'low-level.'"

International Herald Tribune, 9 Apr 2012, Mark McDonald: "It appears that the United States will soon name Derek J. Mitchell as the new ambassador to Myanmar, according to Josh Rogin on The Cable blog of Foreign Policy magazine. ... Before the recent election, Mr. Mitchell gave a wide-ranging interview to the Voice of America. A video of that conversation is here."

The Raleigh Telegram, 8 Apr 2012, republished a story by VOA's Brian padden about an agreement between the United States and Afghanistan concerning night raids on Afghan homes. "Brian Padden is located in Islamabad and writes for Voice Of America, which is a United States government run news agency."

Kyrgyzstan court overturns conviction in murder of journalist who had reported for RFE/RL and VOA.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 9 Apr 2012: "Kyrgyzstan's highest court has overturned a murder conviction in the case of a prominent journalist who was shot in the turbulent former Soviet nation in 2007, and ordered a new investigation in the killing. Supreme Court spokesman Baktybek Rysaliyev said Monday the verdict that led to the sentencing of a drug trafficker for the murder of Alisher Saipov has been overturned. Rysaliyev says the case will be sent for review to a court in the southern city of Osh, where Saipov was killed. Saipov, who was 26, edited a newspaper that harshly criticized neighboring Uzbekistan's authoritarian policies. He also worked for the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America. Many analysts and activists believe Saipov was targeted by Uzbek security services. Saipov was a member of Kyrgyzstan's sizable ethnic Uzbek minority."

VOA website uses commentary from RFA about news into Tibet. It mentions RFA by name, but not VOA.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America, 4 Apr 2012, Dan Southerland, Radio Free Asia executive editor, from RFA website: "In 1987 near Lhasa, I was able to get into a Tibetan monastery surrounded by the police by simply climbing over a back wall. When the police spotted me and a colleague trying to get into another monastery, we were able to outrun them on foot and then by bicycle. The police presence in Lhasa is now much larger and surveillance cameras are everywhere, even around monasteries. I wouldn’t be able to play cops and robbers with the police in today’s Lhasa. But amazingly international broadcasters such as Radio Free Asia have been able to get the story out today thanks to sources inside Tibet who provide tips through short phone calls, email messages and smuggled cell phone videos."

"Short-wave listeners" may receive signals from the North Korean satellite -- but probably not on shortwave.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
MSNBC, 8 Apr 2012, James Oberg: "Far more authoritative than anything we report will be the post-launch detection of the [North Korean] satellite’s radio beacon by amateur radio operators in the outside world. Short-wave listeners are ideally placed to pick up such signals — first in Australia, and then along the west coast of South America, and finally up the east coast of North America. Only then will North Korea have its first chance to catch a fleeting signal, unless it managed an extremely long-range radio reception immediately after launch." Via The SWLing Post, 9 Apr 2012. -- Probably not on shortwave frequencies, though. The report below refers to frequencies in the UHF and X bands, above shortwave in the radio spectrum....

North Korea Tech, 20 Apr 2012, Martyn Williams: "The satellite will broadcast remote data in the UHF band and video in the X-band, the ITU quoted the DPRK’s notification as saying. The UHF band runs from around 300MHz to 3GHz and has several chunks of frequency reserved for satellite use. It’s commonly used by satellites to send data back to earth and is also utilized by the International Space Station and radio amateurs for voice communications. The X-band is a little more exotic. It runs from around 7GHz to 12GHz and is most often used via satellite for military and government communications."

Bavarian regulator takes Iran's Press TV off SES satellite.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 5 Apr 2012, Chris Forrester: "Iranian-funded Press TV, which has already been banned by the UK’s regulator Ofcom, says it will institute legal proceedings against the Bavarian media regulator. The specific allegation argues that Munich’s media regulator has made an 'illegal' decision to force SES to take down the controversial broadcaster. The channel went dark at 7pm on April 3 and prompted a flurry of statements stating that the decision to remove Press TV is a 'flagrant breach of regulations and a disproportionate act.' The channel says it will be demanding compensation unless transmissions are restored by 5pm April 5. In an email sent to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) officials, and reported on from local sources by the BBC’s Monitoring Unit, Vice President of the SES Platform Services Stephane Goebel noted that the [Munich regulator] BLM has asked that Press TV be immediately taken off the platform, claiming that the channel does not have a licence for broadcasting in Europe. Press TV says the move is part of a 'plot orchestrated by the West' to silence what it says is an alternative news network."

From Kai Ludwig in Germany: "Thank you for alerting me on this story that has so far slipped past my attention. Besides the usual rhetoric it can be gathered from Press TV, 5 Apr 2012 that it is the legal position of IRIB (or rather their attorney) that BLM has acted beyond its authority which for such cases lies by a joint body of all media authorities called Kommission für Zulassung und Aufsicht, in short ZAK. BLM for its part responded to the inquiry of a blogger. As quoted there they stated that foundation for the retransmission on Astra 1H was the Ofcom licence. After its revocation Press TV has no longer the required licence from an EU body. They say that the case was in their authority because Press TV was uplinked from Unterföhring (that's correct, there, between Munich and Ismaning, are TV studio facilities as well as the uplink of APS-Astra, a subsidiary of SES) and that a licence application for Press TV is pending at Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg. APS-Astra has replaced Press TV by this slide."

Iran criticizes BBC for documentary, alleging "illegal footage" by "fugitive journalist."

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 7 Apr 2012, Joanna Paraszczuk: "Iran sharply criticized the BBC on Friday for airing what it said was 'illegal footage' of Tehran in a new documentary examining the history of Iran’s relationship with Israel, from the Babylonian exile through the present conflict. BBC Persian – whose broadcasts are jammed in Iran – posted Iranian- Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari’s film, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad, on its website last week, where it is still available for viewing. ... The 55-minute film examines Israel’s relationship with Iran from the time of Persian King Cyrus the Great, who helped the Jews return to Israel from exile in Babylonia in the sixth century BC, through the Jewish state’s covert dealings with Iran both before and after the fall of the Shah in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. On Friday, the Basij paramilitary militia website ran a statement saying that BBC Persian was broadcasting the documentary illegally, because of a ban on airing footage taken in Iran. ... Iran’s anger over Bahari’s documentary is also the latest development in an ongoing row over the UK’s decision in January to revoke Iran’s state-owned Press TV’s license to broadcast in Britain, after the Iranian channel aired an interview last year of Bahari obtained under duress during his 118-day detention in a Tehran prison in 2009."

Press TV, 5 Apr 2012: "The fugitive journalist had earlier filed a lawsuit against Press TV after the Iranian news network aired a 10-second soundbite, which was part of an interview with Bahari in 2009. In October 2011, the British media regulator, Ofcom, claimed that Press TV violated its broadcasting codes by airing the interview. The ruling led to the imposition of a 100,000 pound fine on Press TV, the closing of the Iranian news network's office in London and its removal from the Sky platform. In the 10-second clip, Bahari made reference to post-election events in Iran around three years ago and said, 'On Monday, June 15 [2009], I sent a report about the attack against the base, a military base of Basij, to Channel 4 News as well as to Newsweek magazine.'"

Iran's culture ministry criticizes Iranian website for Q&A with US diplomat.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 4 Apr 2012, Ali Akbar Dareini: "Iran’s Culture Ministry on Wednesday sharply criticized a conservative news website that offered Iranians a chance to pose questions to a Farsi-speaking spokesman for the U.S. State Department, who would then respond. The alef.ir website posted a notice Tuesday saying readers could pose questions on the site and that U.S. State Department spokesman Alan Eyre would respond to them. It took down the post late Wednesday as authorities stepped up criticism. Eyre speaks fluent Farsi and has become the new public face of the United States to many Iranians and Farsi speakers who are able to watch Farsi-language news outlets. Eyre has already conducted interviews with foreign-based media outlets such as the Farsi language programs of both the Voice of America and the BBC, but responding to alef.ir would have been the first ever contact with an Iran-based news website. ... Dozens of people submitted questions Tuesday hours after the website wrote 'Alan Eyre responds to questions by Aelf visitors.' ... The Culture Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that there is no justification for the website to allow a U.S. 'intelligence officer' to respond to questions by Iranians."

Federal News Radio, "In Depth," 6 Apr 2012: "E-diplomacy is one area in which the State Department is taking a leading role, but not many other countries are following. Fergus Hanson, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of polling at the Lowry Institute, discusses the definition of e-diplomacy and State's growing online presence. In a Lowry Institute analysis, 'Revolution @ State: The Spread of Ediplomacy,' Lowry writes: 'In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms.'" With audio interview.

Al Arabiya, 6 Apr 2012, Guy Golan: "The Obama administration has time and again expressed its commitment to genuine relationship building with Muslims around the world. Through social media, it launched an ambitious multiplatform public diplomacy campaign that allows for direct two-way communication between the State Department and Muslims. Through videos and blogs, Facebook pages, and mobile phone applications, America can now both talk and listen. It seems like technology is reinventing the very essence of international relations. Yet, recent evidence indicates that launching a successful public diplomacy campaign via social media may be easier said than done. An innovative global digital outreach campaign was recently introduced by the U.S. State Department. Their campaign allowed citizens from across the world to ask Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, questions in ten different languages using the #AskUSA Twitter hashtag. This campaign turned out to be a bust. Most of the tweets consisted of either spam or communication from American officials from outside the USA. Yet, the American State Department should not let one failed effort deter them. All relationships both off and online take time to develop."

Ghanaian children well informed about US politics thanks to international radio.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
allAfrica, 5 Apr 2012, Leila Janah as interviewed by Trevor Ballantyne: "I ... wanted to have an adventure so I left Los Angeles and volunteered through the American Field Service for this school for blind kids in Ghana, about two hours north of Accra, in a town called Akropong. When I got there I thought I was going to be this 'American who saved the day' and teach these poor desperate children English and give them some basic skills so they could survive in the world. But then I discovered that all of my students were really bright. They could name U.S. senators that my high school classmates couldn't name because they listened to the BBC and Voice of America radio, and they were just incredibly bright and talented."

Retired general says North Koreans who receive US food aid should also receive a radio to listen to RFA and VOA.

Posted: 08 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
RTTNews, 6 Apr 2012: "Speaking at a think tank even on North Korea Thursday evening, General Walter L. Sharp (ret.) told RTTNews he believes all U.S. aid to the isolated Asian country should be contingent on equal promotion of democracy programs there. ... Specifically, he told RTTNews any North Koreans who received U.S. food aid should also receive a radio 'so they can listen to Radio Free Asia or Voice of America.' ... Speaking on Friday with RTTNews, former State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley said he did not agree with General Sharp's radio-for-food idea. Instead, he suggested the best way to affect change in the totalitarian state would be to interact more closely with its locals."

France's web-TV operator Play TV adds RT channels and wants "more international free-to-air broadcasters."

Posted: 08 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 31 Mar 2012, Jesse Whittock: "France’s largest web-TV operator Play TV has launched three Russian channels and plans to add more international free-to-air broadcasters to its bouquet. Russia Today, Russia Al-Yaum [Arabic] and Russia Today ES have gone live on the linear, pre-roll ad-supported service, which offers broadcasters a 40% revenue share. The platform already has more than 50 channels, such as France 2, France 3, Arte, TV5Monde and CCTV France. 'We want more international free-to-air broadcasters on our platform and we are in active discussions with some major channels,' said Guillaume Lacroix, business development and international relations officer. A stumbling block could be the global focus of some of the major broadcast groups, which want their linear channels to air across multiple territories, Lacroix admitted. 'Some want to keep an international focus to their business. In France, they are happy to keep their channels geo-locked.'"

China's CCTV9 and France Télévisions agree to "fast-track co-productions and acquisitions."

Posted: 08 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 3 Apr 2012, Elsa Keslassy: "Pubcaster France Televisions has inked with Chinese documentary channel CCTV9 to fast-track co-productions and acquisitions between the nets. The pact was announced by France Televisions' topper Remy Pflimlin and CCTV VP Luo Ming on Tuesday at MipTV. Pflimlin and Luo said they will collaborate on a large number of docus, animated series and movies but declined to disclose further details on the deal. ... This is the latest in a series of deals announced by CCTV9 at the mart, underscoring its 'wish to open up to co-operation with worldwide partners to strengthen the quality of programming and give them an international dimension,' said CCTV9 managing director Liu Wen. The first project jointly developed by the two nets is "Sur la route des vins," a series about wine. 'China and France share many affinities, particularly our love of wine,' quipped Luo. ... Liu said CCTV9 was particularly interested in docs dealing with China as well as nature, sciences and cultural themes." See also France Télévisions press release, 3 Apr 2012. See previous post about CCTV9 co-productions with BBC Worldwide.

Broadband TV News, 6 Apr 2012, Robert Briel: CCTV9, "which boasts a daily peak audience of 94 million in China alone, already has many coproduction deals in place with the BBC Worldwide, NHK, ITV, France Televisions, National Geographic, KBS and many others including series such as Generation Earth, China’s Hidden Landscapes: Sinkholes and Chinese Mega Projects. CCTV9 Documentary Channel was launched on January 1, 2011 by China Central Television. In China, it attracts mainly an upmarket audience that is curious to learn about China itself as well about other countries around the world. The broadcaster has acquired over 1,000 hours of imported programming during the past year. The international version, also available in both Chinese and English, aims to offer a window on China to the world. The name CCTV9 was formerly used for the Chinese broadcaster’s English language news channel, that was since renamed CCTV News.

Deutsche Welle marks twenty years of television broadcasting.

Posted: 08 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 25 Jan 2012: Deutsche Welle began its international television broadcasting twenty years ago, on 1 April 1992. The first transmissions consisted of a six-hour program in German and English, "created in the wake of German unification from the Berlin RIAS TV." Spanish was added in 1992. A 24-hour schedule was adopted in 1995.

Deutsche Welle, 4 Apr 2012: "Born in Darmstadt in 1959, the journalist Christoph Lanz has worked at Deutsche Welle television since it went on the air on April 1, 1992. The station was made possible by the breakup of the Berlin broadcaster RIAS-TV, whose studios DW took over - and for whom Christoph Lanz had worked as editor-in-chief. For the next ten years, he served as editor-in-chief at DW before being named Director of Television in 2002. ... The 52-year-old is also proud of the sweeping reorganization of Deutsche Welle's television programming, which since February 2012 has been broadcast in German, English, Spanish and Arabic." Video of DW Talking Germany interview with Christoph Lanz is here. -- Recommended viewing, for the most part. DW was ahead of its time in the development of international television. A good graduate school thesis could compare USIA's Worldnet and DW-TV, discussing why the former went nowhere, while the latter has been a relative success.

Canadian artist "working against the clock" to film Radio Canada International shortwave towers.

Posted: 07 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
CBC News New Brunswick, 7 Apr 2012: "A Moncton artist is now working against the clock to film the Radio-Canada International shortwave towers in her latest film project. Budget cuts at CBC announced last week mean the towers, near Sackville, N.B., will soon be shut down, but it's not known exactly what will happen to the towers themselves. Amanda Dawn Christie said she remembers coming and going from Moncton and the towers signifying that she was almost home. 'Whenever I would drive in, I would just be filled with this exhilaration and I don't know if it's the high voltage. Like, some people get headaches and nauseous; I would get exhilarated,' she said. ... She even created a sculpture on the marsh near the towers — a kitchen sink designed to catch radio waves — a phenomenon often reported by locals. ... Christie said she's particularly fond of the sight at dawn and dusk. 'The sky's kind of pink and blue, and the lights are on but you can still see all the towers and the wires. It's very magical,' she said." See also Amanda Dawn Christie website.

As part of CBC budget cut, Radio Canada International will "move away from shortwave," drop Russian, Portuguese, and "news bulletins."

Posted: 07 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation press release, 4 Apr 2012: "As announced in the 2012 federal budget, through its Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP), the government has chosen to reduce CBC/Radio-Canada's appropriation by $115 million over three years. CBC/Radio-Canada today outlined the plan it will implement to account for this decrease. ... Radio Canada International (RCI) will undergo a transformation that will see the service move away from shortwave and satellite transmission in order to focus its efforts on the web. The service will also end the production of news bulletins and close its Russian and Brazilian departments in order to concentrate on the five languages most spoken by its audiences: French, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. 'RCI will continue, on the web, to pursue its mission of disseminating Canadian democratic values abroad,'" says Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC.

Radio Canada International, 4 Apr 2012: "Speaking to employees at RCI's headquarters in Montreal on Wednesday, RCI director Helene Parent declared that two out of three RCI employees---about 40 people---will lose their jobs by the end of July." See also the comments.

Montreal Gazette, 5 Apr 2012, Brendan Kelly: "The mood at RCI was very dark Wednesday."

Embassy, 4 Apr 2012, Kristen Shane: RCI "will close its Russian and Portuguese departments, keeping the others 'to help audiences discover and especially understand democratic and cultural life and values in Canada,' said CBC president Hubert Lacroix. 'This allows us to concentrate our efforts on what are among Canada’s largest communities of diverse origins,' the CBC website reads, outlining the budget cut details. ... The service started in 1945 to broadcast to Canadian Forces overseas."

Sun, 6 Apr 2012, Brian Lilley: "Did you know that CBC was broadcasting in Portuguese to audiences in Brazil? Did you know about the Russian programming or the shortwave? Do you think that continuing an online radio station in Arabic or Mandarin is a good use of tax dollars when other priorities are being squeezed?"

The Mark, 5 Apr 2012, Daryl Copeland "Canada is withdrawing from foreign-language broadcasting in two of the four BRIC countries. Think about it. What about power shift? We are talking here about pulling the plug on Canada’s voice in two of the major poles in an emerging heteropolar world order. This amounts to no less than shooting yourself in the foot when you are in a race."

See also RCI Action Committee blog.

No news bulletins? This indicates that RCI embracing more completely its latter day mission of serving Canadian immigrants rather than audiences abroad. No news, coupled with "disseminating Canadian democratic values abroad" suggests a flat-out propaganda operation. "To help audiences discover and especially understand democratic and cultural life and values in Canada" points more towards an educational function.

Presumably, the parent CBC, despite its large budget cut, will remain a formidable news operation. RCI could provide a valuable international service by translating much of this news into its languages and posting that news on its website.

Australia's ABC, expanding to Middle East and Africa, will have to decide between "projecting messages" or reporting the news.

Posted: 07 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 5 Apr 2012, Nick Leys: "The ABC plans to make a wider range of content available to audiences in the Middle East and Africa on a variety of platforms. An ABC spokeswoman said the broadcaster had been asked to 'explore the opportunity to combine the Australia Network and Radio Australia with new online services to provide a multi-platform international media operation'. Access to audiences in those areas became an issue during the controversial tender process for the Australia Network that led to rival bidder Sky News receiving $2 million in compensation. ... 'An opportunity now exists to develop a converged strategic approach to international broadcasting that makes use of the different capabilities of the two services,' the ABC spokeswoman said. 'This will significantly strengthen the public diplomacy role of the services by projecting messages about Australia to the region in a way that targets diverse audiences and demographics using a range of media platforms, including television, radio, web services, mobile phones and tablets.'" -- "Projecting messages about Australia" or reporting the news? The ABC will have to make a decision about this before it expands its international broadcasting effort.

Australian auditor general criticizes Gillard government on handling of the Australia Network tender.

Posted: 07 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AAP, 3 Apr 2012: "The Commonwealth auditor-general has slammed the way a tender process for the Australia Network was conducted, saying it presented the Gillard government in a poor light. The manner and circumstances of the $223 million tender brought into question the government's ability to deliver such a sensitive process 'fairly and effectively'. The auditor-general's report, released on Tuesday, comes as the government confirmed it had paid $2 million in compensation to losing bidder Sky News after aborting the tender process. The government abruptly ended the tender in November and awarded the 10-year contact to the ABC. ... Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the government will respond to the report 'as we do'. But she says the ABC is the best network to deliver the Australia Network. 'That was the right decision,' she told reporters in western Sydney."

ABC News, 3 Apr 2012, Kieran Ricketts: "The report says Sky eventually spent over $1.4 million, the ABC spent over $475,000 and DFAT spent $770,000 on the bungled tender process." With video.

BigPond, 4 Apr 2012: "Federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson conceded the process had been less than 'elegant'. 'I'm not going to stand here as a politician and pretend that the process was beautiful and smooth,' Dr Emerson told the National Press Club on Tuesday. 'There were problems in the process - I acknowledge that, we've acknowledged it.'"

ABC News, 3 Apr 2012, Naomi Woodley, via Yahoo! 7 News: "The Federal Opposition says a scathing audit report on the Australia Network tender process calls into question the future of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. ... Opposition senator Simon Birmingham has been pursuing the issue in the Upper House and says the Communications Department and Senator Conroy are responsible for many of the problems with the tender."

The Australian, 4 Apr 2012, editorial: "Even a casual viewer of both television services could attest that Sky News easily outperforms ABC News24 in its coverage of news. Sky News's presenters and producers are highly qualified and respected. In contrast, ABC News24 looks like the television arm of Radio Triple J. In the region, the ABC's service has been little better."

The Australian, 4 Apr 2012, letter from Penny Svasti: "To call this government's handling of the Australia Network tender a 'bungle' is very kind. In addition to the legal expenses, many man hours go into the preparation of a tender of this nature. More troubling than this, Sky reached an agreement with the Chinese national broadcaster, CCTV. The arbitrary nature of the withdrawal of the tender would not have been lost on the Chinese, who will regard our government as one without honour which would go back on its word for no apparent reason."

The Australian, 3 Apr 2012, Dennis Shanahan: "Two weeks ago, the government decided to quietly pay Sky compensation of more than $2m, which the news service sought after cabinet denied its bid to take over the Australia Network contract. Sky is one-third owned by BSkyB, which is 39 per cent owned by News Corporation, publisher of The Australian."

The Australian, 7 Apr 2012, Paul Kelly: "The terms of the tender were altered to include new international events, notably in the Middle East and North Africa. The justification for these extra criteria was widely criticised at the time. Both tenderers said their original submissions met such requirements. The tender evaluation chairperson said much the same. One tender board member criticised the additional criteria. The Australia Network does not broadcast to the Middle East or North Africa."

The Australian, 9 Apr 2012, Peter Van Onselen: "Gillard and Conroy were never going to let an organisation owned by News Corporation (about one-ninth of it, anyway) run the Australia Network. Especially not in the middle of the British hacking scandal at News International. Better to ensure the ABC (whose charter expects it to operate free of government interference) continue running the Australia Network, which is officially the 'soft diplomacy' arm of DFAT. Work that one out. A change to the ABC charter must surely be in the offing."

The Australian, 5 Apr 2012, Lauren Wilson: "Two key crossbenchers have questioned the government's bungled handling of the $223 million Australia Network tender, with Andrew Wilkie branding it a 'shambles' and Rob Oakeshott flagging that his parliamentary committee could further investigate the Auditor-General's damning findings."

The West Australian, 4 Apr 2012, Paul Murray: "In the grand scheme of the national accounts, $2 million doesn’t add up to much. But the $2 million that the Gillard Government paid secretly to Sky News two weeks ago as compensation for the ham-fisted way it scuttled the $223 million Australia Network international news service tender means something far more than the sum involved. What makes this issue so damaging for the Government is that the dysfunctional handling of the tender was polluted by the poisonous relationship between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd leading up to Labor’s recent leadership spill."

End of the World Radio Switzerland?

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
World Radio Switzerland, 4 Apr 2012: "World Radio Switzerland is threatened with either closure or privatisation. According to Roger de Weck, director-general of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, WRS’s parent company, an English-language radio station should no longer be publicly funded. No one from the SBC was available to come on the programme this morning to explain the situation, but de Weck made it clear on Monday that the options were closing down WRS or selling it."

World Radio Switzerland, 4 Apr 2012: "De Weck ... said an English-language radio isn’t part of the core mandate of Switzerland’s public broadcaster. The SBC bought WRS, which was then World Radio Geneva, in 2007 to transform it into a national English-language radio." World Radio Switzerland is a domestic English-service in Switzerland. It is not to be confused with former shortwave broadcaster Swiss Radio International, since replaced by swissinfo.ch.

The Global Journal, 5 Apr 2012, Irina Pavlova: "The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SSR) has announced a wide review of all of its internet platforms, radio and television stations across Switzerland. The oldest English language radio with national broadcasting, World Radio Switzerland (WRS), finds itself in a peculiar situation. While the review process is projected to take place over the next seven months, WRS has already been threatened with either closure or privatization. The key argument invoked by the head of SSR is that WRS should no longer be funded by public money since it operates in English, a non-official language of the Swiss Confederation. ... The chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi Switzerland and outspoken media observer Pedro Simko adheres to the view that not only Geneva, but the whole of Switzerland, is bound to lose from the closure of the WRS, a national media platform. 'It is a completely short-sighted decision and a monstrously erroneous argument that WRS is not in one of our national languages. But beyond that, the role of WRS is to help a very large ex-pat community to integrate into Switzerland. And Switzerland lives from the very important relationship that we have with that community. Without WRS I think we are losing an opportunity to acquire some of these companies, which is the foundation of our economy.' The final outcome remains to be seen, even though it appears that a decision to close the WRS would be equally disappointing for its staff and dedicated listeners. The latter have already begun generating comments and ideas on a dedicated web page.

Report: First phase of Iran's domestic "halal" internet to be introduced by 21 May.

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg, 1 Apr 2012: "Iran will introduce the first phase of its domestic Internet network by May 21, the state-run Fars news agency reported, citing Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Reza Taghipour. Taghipour said the launch of the network was a priority of his ministry in the new Iranian year that started on March 20. A local data centre, search engine and domestic e-mail service are being completed, Fars cited him as saying, without elaborating on the projects. The project, which has earlier been referred to as the 'halal' internet, which unlike other search engines such as Google and Yahoo! filters out content deemed inappropriate to Islamic sensibilities." See previous post about same subject.

Arab journalist writes that "people have started relying more on western media" due to Arab news channels' selective coverage.

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, Comment is Free, 3 Apr 2012, Ali Hashem: "The new Arab TV channels seemed to be flourishing and gaining credibility until the Arab spring came along and they began providing daily coverage of the revolutions. From Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, people expected TV stations to embrace their dreams and defend their causes, but it seems that major networks decided to adopt some revolutions and dump others. ... I was one of those who experienced it when al-Jazeera, the channel I used to work for, refused to air footage of gunmen fighting the Syrian regime on the borders between Lebanon and Syria. I saw tens of gunmen crossing the borders in May last year – clear evidence that the Syrian revolution was becoming militarised. This didn't fit the required narrative of a clean and peaceful uprising, and so my seniors asked me to forget about gunmen. ... Once again, people have started relying more on western media to know what's going on. That is reflected in the number of viewers the BBC Arabic TV channel gained during the past year – reportedly more than 10m while leading Arab channels have been losing viewers. Governments who own media organisations in the Middle East, and impose their agendas, are pushing them towards journalistic suicide. They are taking the Arab media landscape back to the early 1990s rather than moving it forward."

Yemen Post, 3 Apr 2012: "The Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom, Rights & Development, Yemen based, followed up closely the issue of threats targeted the correspondent of BBC TV (Arabic Service) in Yemen, Abdullah Ghorab, which reached in some cases to threat of killing in a dangerous move discloses bad intentions in the continuing repression of the media and put media freedoms in critical situation."

Advisory committee of "independent personalities" will keep Sky News Arabia independent, says its news director.

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Daily Star (Beirut), 31 Mar 2012, Emma Gatten: "Launching a news channel in the midst of what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest stories of the decade would seem to be a sure thing, but Nart Bouran, head of news at Sky News Arabia, set to begin airing this spring, says it could actually be something of a double-edged sword. 'You can’t get distracted from covering other stuff,' Bouran, currently on a visit to Beirut, told The Daily Star. ... Bouran believes ... Sky will be able to capture a new market, with a focus on new technology, launching across online and mobile platforms. 'Most channels in the region launch a channel and then they launch their website and they have an app,' he says. 'The way we’ve done it is we’ve established everything at the same time and we’re launching everything more or less around much the same time.' ... Bouran says he’s aware of criticisms that have been leveled against other channels with close links to power (Al-Jazeera in particular has witnessed resignations amid charges of bias over its coverage of events in Syria), but says viewers need not be concerned over Sky News’ coverage. ... 'One of the other things we’ve done in the organization which doesn’t exist in other organizations is [establish] an editorial advisory committee ... which is independent personalities who are there not to direct us in a certain way but to help us and assist us and advise in maintaining the editorial mind that the organization is built on.'"

AP, 3 Apr 2012: "A new Arabic-language TV news channel with links to media magnate Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday it plans to begin broadcasting next month. The announcement of the May 6 launch comes after more than two years of preparation for Sky News Arabia to join the increasingly crowded Arabic news market. It is also a boost for Abu Dhabi’s efforts to challenge Dubai as a regional media hub. The channel is a joint partnership between the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp. and British Sky Broadcasting, whose biggest shareholder is Murdoch’s News Corp. ... The channel would compete against established pan-Arab networks such as Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya in Dubai. Last year, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said he plans to start an Arabic television news channel that will be based in Bahrain."

TSL press release, 2 Apr 2012, via Advanvced Television: "TSL, leading systems integrator for the broadcast industry, today announced that it has completed the installation of Sky News Arabia’s new 24/7 news station in Abu Dhabi; one of the largest of its kind in the region. ... Designed and built by TSL, the fully file-based TV station is comprised of a state-of-the-art production facility housed in a studio on the twofour54 campus, with a separate building for the newsroom, graphics and editing, machine rooms and operations centre."

See previous post about same subject.

Syrian exile internet radio station hopes to start cross-border FM broadcasts.

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
NPR, 2 Apr 2012, Kelly McEevers: "Rania was the morning host for a radio station owned by the cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Then came the protests all around Syria. Then came the phone call. 'The radio station called me, at home, and they said, "Rania we have to say the truth,"' Rania says. The 'truth,' they said, was that there were no protests and no demonstrations in Syria. Rania maintained it wasn't her job to talk about politics on the air, but her bosses persisted. ... Rania quit her job and fled the country, as did most of her family. She, her brother and a small team of activists launched an Internet radio station at the end of last year called New Start Radio. ... For much of the day, New Start Radio plays music, slogans, poetry, skits, all of them about revolution, freedom and dignity. There's an old-time feeling to it all, as if it is trying to re-create a world that never existed. The radio site reaches only a few thousand people. The real goal, says Shakib al-Jabri, another Syrian activist who has founded a newspaper, is to get on the FM dial. 'We need to set up radio stations on the border and broadcast into Syria,' he says. 'I think this would be a very powerful way to get our message through.' Turkey and Jordan have tentatively agreed to let the Syrian exiles set up these radio towers. But Jabri says official approval has not yet come through." With audio.

Al Jazeera "using sport to build a global media brand." But will the Al Jazeera brand be part of its beIN Sport brand?

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 2 Apr 2012: "Al Jazeera, best known for its Middle Eastern news coverage, is taking aim at Europe's pay-TV market, using sport to build a global media brand, just as owner Qatar is raising its profile by hosting the 2022 World Cup. The broadcaster is racing to launch a new French channel in early June in time for the European soccer championships, offering a service for about 11 euros per month, according to three industry sources. The channel's name, 'beIN Sport', has been trademarked worldwide. The sports world is also buzzing with anticipation that Al Jazeera, with Qatar's gas and oil wealth behind it, could put big money on the table to bid for UK rights to the English Premier League now mostly held by News Corp affiliate BSkyB. ... The broadcaster is already no novice at sports coverage. In the past decade, it has built the most popular sports network in the Middle East and Africa, with two free and 15 pay channels, plus an English version with a dozen commentators and producers." -- Will the Al Jazeera brand be mentioned in the broadcasts and identity of beIN Sport? No website yet, at least none that I can find, so no clue from that medium.

EPL Talk, 29 Mar 2012: "Al Jazeera has hired Imagina US, a Miami-based production company that specializes in the US hispanic industry. Imagina US has been advising Al Jazeera as well as being involved in building a facility for Al Jazeera in South Florida. ... The big question about the upcoming launch of beIN Sports in the United States is whether the network will be ready and available via most major cable and satellite TV providers across the United States before the [European soccer] seasons kick off in August."

NBC's "once trusted newsman" Tom Brokaw gets heat for his appearance on CCTV's The Heat.

Posted: 04 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
The Weekly Standrad blog, 31 Mar 2012, Daniel Halper: "Former network television host Tom Brokaw will be appearing on the Chinese Communist channel later tonight, according to a press release from China Central Television. The Communist channel bears the ironic acronym CCTV, which in other contexts usually stands for 'closed-circuit television.' ... Brokaw, a once trusted newsman, will without a doubt lend legitimacy to the Chinese television network’s budding presence in America. Brokaw is currently a special correspondent to NBC News, having previously anchored NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, and Meet the Press. ... The new channel ... represents the Chinese government’s investment in buying good coverage of its Communist regime here in America." See video of Brokaw's appearance on CCTV's The Heat, 1 Apr 2012.

French-language TV5Monde Pacifique available on cable in Japan, including 10 hours a day with Japanese subtitles.

Posted: 03 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 2 Apr 2012: "As of Apr 1st, 2012 French-language channel ‘TV5MONDE Pacifique’ will be available through Japan CableCast Inc. and its JCHITS service to 126 regional SOs throughout the country. Japan CableCast is one of only two aggregators supplying content to digital cable operators around the country. At launch, 16 cable operators are already carrying ‘TV5MONDE Pacifique’ to make it accessible to a total of 900,000 JCHITS subscribers in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and several others are expected to carry the channel by the end of 2012. ... ‘TV5MONDE Pacifique’ offers Japanese subtitles up to 10 hours per day on primetime films and dramas, as well as premium lifestyle programming. It beams from IntelSat-8 and reaches 3 million homes in North Asia, Australasia and the Pacific islands." -- So what is the SO in "regional SO"? France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada provide programming and funding to TV5Monde.

USA Today, 30 Mar 2012, Nancy Trejos: "Sofitel Luxury Hotels has partnered with TV5MONDE, a French language network broadcasting in the United States, to create a new channel called Tivi5MONDE, a French language children's channel. Children at all eight Sofitel properties in the United States can begin watching it this year. It will broadcast - commercial-free, 24 hours a day, every day - educational programs for children 3 to 13. Called the Le Petit Prince series, it will offer animated films, cartoons and original series."

Zimbabwe Senator: "Everyone is scrambling to be heard on [VOA's] Studio 7."

Posted: 02 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Newsday (Harare), 2 Apr 2012, Verananda Langa: "A Zanu PF Member of Parliament Zachariah Ziyambi has admitted to banning members of his constituency from listening to Voice of America’s Studio 7 or reading newspapers perceived to be hostile to his party. The Chakari MP made the disclosure during a parliamentary workshop organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in Kariba last week. 'Whereas there should be access to information, I have noticed that newspapers do not reach my constituency and there is also limited access to ZBC radio stations, but I have advised my constituents not to listen to Studio 7 so that they do not get distracted,' Ziyambi said. ... Chairman of the Senate’s Thematic Committee on Human Rights, Misheck Marava (MDC-T) said people should be encouraged to listen to all radio stations and to read different newspapers to help them make informed decisions. 'Everyone is scrambling to be heard on Studio 7 — even Zanu PF MPs,' Marava said. 'We should leave people to interpret any information they get because Zimbabweans in the remotest areas know what they want.'"

"Hotels worldwide pay CNN substantial sums to carry CNN International in all their hotel rooms."

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 30 Mar 2012, Reese Schonfeld: "CNN makes a lot of money -- it delivers a very lucrative news service to television stations and systems around the world. Hotels worldwide pay CNN substantial sums to carry CNN International in all their hotel rooms. Restaurants, bars and airports pay CNN fees to show it on their premises. It owns half an Indian network, and part of a Turkish network. It is a major brand worldwide, but it's in third place on its home turf."

Does Al Jazeera's downsizing of its Washington bureau downsize Washington as a news center?

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 31 Mar 2012, Alex Weprin: Al Jazeera English "will be downsizing in Washington D.C., instead using more reports from bureaus across the country. In addition, it will be moving its show 'Empire' from Washington to New York. ... TVNewser hears that around 75% of staffers in Washington will be let go as a result of the moves."

The Atlantic, 30 Mar 2012, Steve Clemons: From memo by AJE MD Al Anstey: "From April 15th, we will no longer be opting-in with presentation from the DC Centre into news bulletins. Instead we will be taking more live contribution from the field from stories we are covering across the USA. We will continue to produce Inside Story from DC five days a week. ... This change is part of the wider restructure which began over two years ago in order to enhance one of our core strengths of news gathering and reporting from the field. We recently started up our bureau in Chicago. We are soon to formally open our office in Los Angeles. And we are now fully operational from Miami. These bureaux add to our existing presence and strength in Washington DC, and New York, and our bureaux across Latin America. Our commitment to coverage of the Americas remains as strong as ever. With the US and Mexican elections this year, and with all the other stories from the United States and global stories which relate to the USA it is very important we continue to improve and enhance our coverage from the region."

Clemons: "It's been interesting to watch Al Jazeera gain prominence in Washington over recent years -- with the likes of Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, Leon Panetta, Susan Rice and others appearing on Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English. President Obama still seems to be maintaining an informal, perhaps unintentional, boycott of the news channel, which still smarts a bit from Obama's decision to grant an exclusive interview to the smaller Al Arabiya during his first year in office. Many of these high level political interviews might not have been secured if Al Jazeera had not had the robust array of DC-based news products in house at the time. Many employees of AJ English now fear layoffs will decimate their operation. And all this after Al Jazeera just did a deal to move their highly cramped operations to a new building in DC. Guess they won't need all that space after all?"

BBC Worldwide and China's CCTV9 will co-produce two science series.

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 1 Apr 2012, Marissa Graziadio: "BBC Worldwide and CCTV-9 have inked two co-production deals for the new science series Generation Earth and Wonders of Life. BBC Worldwide will distribute the series globally, while CCTV-9 — CCTV’s [English-language] documentary channel — will broadcast the new Brian Cox series Wonders of Life, which examines the story of life through physics, in the winter of 2012. Generation Earth, a study of ambitious engineering projects, will air on CCTV-9 in the spring of 2013. ... Liu Wen, the channel director at CCTV-9, commented, 'The BBC is world-renowned for its factual programming, and we’ve had great success with titles such as Human Planet and Frozen Planet, so we’re very pleased to be partnering with them on two ground-breaking new series.'" -- I think this means the series will be broadcast on CCTV-9, and that BBC Worldwide can sell the series to other broadcasters around the world, thus deriving revenue for both BBC and CCTV. CCTV9 formerly was the name of CCTV's global English news channel. The English news channel is now CCTV News, with CCTV9 now the name for the English-language (including much Chinese-language content with English subtitles) documentary channel.

BBC Worldwide press release, 29 Mar 2012: "Ken Munekata has been appointed as President of BBC Worldwide Japan, effective immediately. He joins BBC Worldwide after nearly three decades at Sony Corporation, where he most recently held two roles concurrently – President of Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and President of Sony Broadcast Media. Based in Tokyo, Ken will report to Joyce Yeung, General Manager & Senior Vice President, BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution Asia. He will be responsible for leading the commercial activities and strategic development for BBC Worldwide across its Sales & Distribution and Consumer Products businesses, as well as live events and theatrical distribution. ... Joyce Yeung commented, 'I’m delighted that Ken will be heading up our business in Japan. With his extensive management and business development experience in the Japanese media industry, I’m confident he will bring new growth opportunities to BBC Worldwide Japan and create collaboration with other Asian territories.'"

VOA website gets new, blue look, using CMS from "sister station" RFE/RL.

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 30 Mar 2012: "Voice of America is giving its websites a new look and additional features, and saving some money in the process. The new layout makes navigation easier for the user, moves more content to the top of the page, provides bigger images, and more multimedia functionality. The design also allows online commenting on audio and video for the first time. VOA, which broadcasts news and information around the world in 43 languages, began the transition to the new content management system (CMS) this week with its Indonesian, Spanish and Creole websites. Eventually more than 50 VOA websites will make the switch. ... The content management system, called Pangea, will also save money by migrating VOA and other U.S. international broadcasters to the same platform and reducing duplicate systems. Pangea was created by Internet technology developers at VOA’s sister station, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a U.S. government-funded international broadcaster, which has shared the program with VOA and will also store content on its servers." -- This might help audiences distinguish among the "many brands" of USIB by color-coding the websites. VOA is blue. RFE/RL is orange.

Director of Al Jazeera Tunisia office "insulted and attacked" while covering political rally.

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Tunisia Live, 28 Mar 2012, Hend Hassassi: "On March 24, Lotfi Hajji, the director of Al Jazeera's Tunisia office, was insulted and attacked while covering a political rally in Monastir. Yesterday, the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released a statement, condemning this attack. According to RSF, Hajji received kicks to the knee before entering the hall where the event was taking place. A microphone, placed in front of the room by a cameraman to record participants' responses, was stolen. Al Jazeera released a statement saying the microphone was actually destroyed." See also Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, 27 Mar 2012.

New marketing exec will help build Al Jazeera's "international presence and global brand."

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 1 Apr 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Paul Johnson, who previously held posts at the Endemol Group and Reed MIDEM, has been hired by Al Jazeera Media Network to serve as its executive director of marketing and distribution. Johnson will oversee all the global marketing, communication and distribution activities at the company. He will work to expand Al Jazeera's international presence and global brand. ... Johnson said: 'Al Jazeera Media Network is one of the top ten media companies in the world with documentary, news and sports in multiple languages. It’s an honor to be part of this fast growing media organization.'" -- Compare the Al Jazeera and Euronews (below) single global brand strategies to the "many brands" approach of the BBG.

Beet.TV, 28 Mar 2012: "With very limited cable distribution, Al Jazeera turned to London's Livestation, a portal for dozens of global broadcasters, to take its satellite signal and stream it on the Web, explains Livestation CEO Lippe Oosterhof in this segment from the Beet.TV Executive Summit in Vieques, Puerto Rico." With video.

New distribution exec, hired from France 24, will build Euronews "footprint" in the US and Asia.

Posted: 01 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 31 Mar 2012: "International news channel Euronews has tapped a France 24 executive to be its new deputy director of worldwide distribution. Arnaud Verlhac has joined the channel to develop its international distribution across all broadcast platforms – including cable, satellite, ADSL and internet – and in the out-of-home markets, such as in-flight and hotels. The channel claims to be already distributed to some 350 million viewers in 155 countries but Verlhac’s remit will include building its footprint in the US and Asia, and lifting distribution revenues. ... Prior to this appointment, Verlhac was director of distribution for the Americas at France 24. Euronews is based in Lyon, France, and supported by the European Commission."

Broadband TV News, 30 Mar 2012, Robert Briel: "Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews, commented: 'I’m delighted to welcome Arnaud Verlhac to euronews, and particularly appreciate his determined, pro-active personality. He will dynamise our distribution operation beyond its classic commercial function, with the mission of consolidating euronews’ base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; establishing the channel in Asia; and expanding its reach in the other continents.' 'I’m delighted to be joining euronews, the only news channel in the world that offers 11 linguistic services and, in addition, distributes them globally,' said Verhlac. ... 'Besides my team’s presence at all our business sector’s big events, I wish to more strongly differentiate euronews in the news-channel space, which is continually growing larger and thus more competitive,' he added."

Broadband TV News, 1 Apr 2012, Robert Briel: "International Lyons-based news channel Euronews said it has reached its goal of becoming the most connected media worldwide, and announces the launch on 11 smart TV platforms. The channel offers on-demand short format programmes, multiple services in different languages and fast reacting news produced by the 400-strong journalist team. The list of 11 manufacturers includes Panasonic (EMEA), Philips (world-wide), Roku (US, UK, Ireland), Toshiba (Europa, with ME and Asia to follow in Q2, 2012), NetRange MMH (connected TV solution for around 60 brands including Loewe, Vestel, PEAQ and SES Astra/HD+; availability is worldwide), Samsung (Europe), Sharp (Europe), TechniSat (Europe), Google TV (US); with Sony launching now (worldwide) and LG to follow later this month (also wordlwide). All content is available in five different langiuages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish."