The Voice of Russia scoop that went bad.

Posted: 31 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington City Paper, 12 July 2012, Will Sommer: "It was a Cinderella story for local politics. While the District's other outlets were racing this afternoon to unveil more secrets of the Vince Gray shadow campaign, Russian website Capitol Correspondent landed the biggest scoop of all: [Washington DC mayor Vincent] Gray was resigning. ... The article blew up on Twitter and Facebook, bringing 10,000 visitors to a site that normally just gets a few hundred a day and eventually crashing it. ... It was a great story, but it wasn't true. After it ran, a spokesperson for the mayor called Russell-Sluchansky's office to deny it. ... Capitol Correspondent is a part of Voice of Russia, which is owned by the Russian government. Russell-Sluchansky, a Georgetown Law grad who's worked at Voice of Russia for about a year, says his story was based on several sources, including one he had used before and considered especially reliable. Russell-Sluchansky said that, if he could go back in time, he would run the story anyway, while perhaps adding 'Source:' to the beginning of his headline." -- Voice of Russia has a 24-hour AM (medium wave) outlet in Washington (1390 kHz), and is trying to be a hometown news station. Whatever VOR news may lack in quality, it certainly offers the most quantity of news and current affairs on the Washington AM radio dial. See also voicerussia.com, the VOR American Edition.

Euronews now available via Eastlink in Canada, and via Android ultra-light app elsewhere.

Posted: 31 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 15 July 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Euronews has gained greater presence in North America following an agreement inked with telco Eastlink in Canada, by which the international news channel is now available to customers. The English service of the channel is now part of the World News package. Eastlink's package adds to Euronews' distribution in Canada via six other cable operators and ADSL/IPTV which are Rogers, Cogeco, Videotron, Shaw, Telus and Ethnic Channel." -- Eastlink's World News package costs five Canadian dollars a month and also includes Al Jazeera (presumbaly English), CNN International, Bloomberg, and Bloomberg HD. BBC World News is on another package called Information, which would cost another five dollars.

Rapid TV News, 11 July 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Already available via iTunes, the ultra-light app euronews Express can now be downloaded to all Android smartphones via Google Play. The application combines images and text, for fast, optimised downloading and devices equipped with the Android operating system can now keep pace with the latest worldwide news even with minimal Edge connections. Thanks to cache memory, the news, culture, business and sports stories can be viewed offline. The app is available in the channel's 12 language editions."

The PP Eckersley room at BBC Broadcasting House recalls some international radio history.

Posted: 31 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 18 July 2012, Hugh Muir: "As BBC World Service types acclimatise themselves to new surroundings at Broadcasting House, they may notice various rooms named after BBC giants and want to know more about them. We can help in one case, at least – that of the Eckersley room. This is really quite simple. Captain Peter Pendleton Eckersley, aka PP Eckersley, was the first chief engineer between 1922 to 1929. ... Come the 1930s and Eckersley, at a loose end, found himself drifting towards lord of the Blackshirts Oswald Mosley. And here we turn to author Patrick Zander's summary of what came next. Eckersley was 'the principal technical consultant in Mosley's project to create his own radio network' and smash the monopoly of the BBC. Transmitters would be sited in Europe and/or the Channel Islands. 'These stations, then, not under the jurisdiction of the British government, could broadcast strong enough signals to cover Britain.' ... [Eckersley's] his former wife, Dorothy, [went] to Berlin to broadcast Nazi propaganda with Lord Haw-Haw. She was later tried here and jailed for assisting the enemy. ... All the Beeb would tell us was that 'the decision to name a room after Peter Eckersley is to mark his contribution as the BBC's first chief engineer, a role he fulfilled with drive and flair'. The bonkers stuff came later."

BBC World Have Your Say "reflects the level of control audiences exert over news online."

Posted: 31 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 19 July 2012, Rachel McAthy: BBC World Have Your Say was created in 2006, "centered on three key ideas. The first is to provide a radio discussion or programme that can run 'in parallel' with an online news operation. ... Secondly, the show would need to use online communications to inform the topics to be focused on and ensure an understanding of what is fuelling online conversations. ... And the third key idea is that the show reflects the level of control audiences exert over news online in terms of what they discuss, and how they do so. ... Twitter 'and way our producers have learnt to use it' means the show is 'bringing an enormous amount of people onto the World Service who otherwise wouldn't make it'."

I admit I'm not a huge WHYS fan. There are a few others who are similarly dyspeptic (see Rob Crilly's comment in the previous post). And WHYS has not always proven to be popular on US public radio stations (see previous post).

Audience participation has been a staple of international radio since decades before the internet. Mailbag programs would feature listeners' questions or comments. One of the best was Listeners Corner, hosted by Earle Fisher on the CBC Shortwave Service, later known as Radio Canada International. Listeners would send in letters describing their lives and their communities. Mr. Fisher would "curate" these, and read them on his program, with his wonderful, perfectly paced delivery. This certainly was easier on the ear than a long-winded caller over a bad telephone line. And the audience was not simultaneously distracted by "online."

Now that "online" seems to be mandatory, I do think that radio and Twitter work well together. The 140-character limit forces the contributors to be concise, in contrast to long-winded callers-in. The tweets can be read 1) in the studio 2) by genuine radio talent, greatly enhancing the intelligibility and pacing of the program.

BBC Persian TV will broadcast eight concerts of BBC Proms music festival.

Posted: 31 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 20 July 2012, Mahan Esfahani, Iranian-born harpsichordist: "This summer, BBC Persian's television service is broadcasting eight of the Proms concerts from London to the Persian-speaking world. Some 100m potential viewers in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere will have the opportunity to hear music by Elgar, Turnage, Boulez, Beethoven, Tower, Villa-Lobos and Tchaikovsky among others, performed by the likes of Martyn Brabbins, Sarah Connolly, the BBC Philharmonic, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim, Nelson Freire, and Vladimir Jurowski. Nothing so remarkable about that you might think. Except that in Iran – the country of my birth – western classical music is technically not permitted to be performed live, while current rules mean that television broadcasts of any music may not show close-ups of any instruments. In fact BBC Persian itself is not officially permitted to broadcast in the country, but, well, somehow people seem to find ways of accessing it. Millions of them. ... I myself shall spare a solemn thought for the two harpsichords belonging to the Iranian National Radio which I am told were smashed by Revolutionary Guards in 1979." See also BBC Proms website.

RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal "praised for its reliable reporting" of Pakistan's tribal areas.

Posted: 30 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Off Mic, 19 July 2012, Kate Leisner: "Daud Khattak, Senior Editor of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal, convened with prominent journalists, ambassadors, and foreign policy experts from Pakistan and the U.S. for a series of conferences to discuss the progress and setbacks of Pakistani journalists and the portrayal of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the media. The Pakistan-U.S. Leadership Forum on Media and Culture conference held June 17-19 was followed on June 20 by a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. entitled 'Pakistani Media and Views on Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Religion, and Society.' ... Radio Mashaal, one of the only news sources reaching tribal areas, was praised for its reliable reporting. Former Pakistan Information Minister Javid Jabbar, Express Tribune editor Muhammad Ziauddin, social worker and human rights activist Samar Minallah, and singer Zeb Bangash, all invited Khattak and Radio Mashaal to work with them to improve cross-cultural perceptions in the media." -- VOA's Deewa Radio is one of the only other news sources reaching tribal areas, also in Pashto. See also Heritage Foundation, 20 June 2012, with video.

BBC News, 13 July 2012, Mobeen Azhar, BBC World Service, Karachi: "Islamic groups in Pakistan were initially hostile to cable TV because of concerns about 'obscene' foreign imports, but religion now dominates the airwaves. A new breed of Islamic TV evangelist has emerged, leading to a confrontation with liberals. ... PEMRA, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, is a government organisation entrusted with policing the nation's TV channels. One of their stated aims is to stop the broadcast of programmes that promote 'communal and sectarian attitudes and disharmony'. Critics have branded the organisation as 'toothless' after they failed to take any action against Liaqat. PEMRA's general manager said he didn't want to speak about the regulation of religious broadcasters as it would be like 'starting a fire'."

RT (Russia Today) touts UK ratings success vs Fox, AJE, Euronews, DW-TV, etc.

Posted: 30 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 16 July 2012: "Official ratings by the UK’s Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board show RT scoring higher viewership than other foreign news channels measured by BARB, including Al Jazeera English, Fox News and Euronews. More than half a million UK residents tuned in to watch RT weekly, according to BARB. That is more than four times greater than those who watched Fox News, more than double the number for Euronews, and significantly above Al Jazeera’s viewership. ... RT’s recent BARB ratings support earlier findings by Kantar Media in a separate research study, which showed that in the UK, RT boasts higher weekly viewing rating than other major international English-speaking TV news channels, including Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, France 24, China’s CCTV News and Iran’s Press TV. According to the study, almost two-and-a-half million viewers watch RT in the UK. Only for 2011 RT’s UK monthly audience has grown by 40 per cent." See previous post about RT YouTube numbers.

Итоги, 30 July 2012, Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT (Russia Today) as interviewed by Valery Sychev (Google translated): "We fully agree with the foreign policy of [Russia]. Moreover, we have when we started, talked openly about what we represent the views of Russia in the world. And seven years talking about it and not pretend, as our colleagues that represent 'vsehnyuyu' objective point of view, actually consolidating the foreign policy of their states. You just have to be a little more honest."

Commentator labels CNN International report on Kazakhstan "a flashy infomercial exploiting CNN’s waning credibility."

Posted: 29 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Eurasianet.org, 20 July 2012, Myles G. Smith: "All this week, CNN International, part of that 'most trusted name in news,' has aired a series of reports on Kazakhstan. But what looks to the unsuspecting viewer like more of CNN at its finest appears in fact to be sponsored advertisements paid for by none other than Kazakhstan’s oil-rich government. The spots are part of CNN International’s 'Eyes On' series. Pay close attention and only the one-minute promo for the series ends with an announcement, 'In association with the following,' leaving the viewer to try to read two logos on screen. One is clearly Samruk Kazyna, the state fund that owns all state assets. The other, particularly fuzzy, logo is the Astana Economic Forum, the brainchild of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Both link to a page promoting Astana's bid to host Expo 2017. Most of the spots are quirky, soft-core reportage and travelogue sprinkled with carefully framed shots of the glitziest parts of Astana and Almaty. Topics include economic diversification, transportation infrastructure, skiing, and dating games. CNN International offers no coverage of labor strikes, human rights abuses, nascent violent insurgencies, violence against women, or any other diversions from the narrative of relentless growth and limitless opportunity. Yes, CNN has sold itself to Astana, though CNN seems reluctant to admit it. There is a tiny footnote, which appears only online, noting the Eye On series 'often carries sponsorship originating from the countries we profile.' But television and Internet viewers are left with little indication that the programing isn’t news, but rather a flashy infomercial exploiting CNN’s waning credibility." -- The dilemma for CNN International is that it operates entirely without government subsidy, a fact that should enhance its credibility. To survive as a business, however, it must create revenue streams, some of which involve the public diplomacy of nations whose conduct concerning democracy and human rights may be less than stellar. See also CNN Eye On Kazakhstan page.

CNN, 18 July 2012: "Outlook is CNN's in-depth look at business climates around the world. To August 12, 2012, we’re focusing on Singapore. ... CNN’s Outlook series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries we feature. However CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reporting."

Zambia Daily Mail, 19 July 2012, Kelvin Kachingwe: "Multichoice Zambia general manager Simon Bota says this weekend’s MultiChoice/CNN media Awards event will be a good opportunity for the country to sell itself as a top tourism destination on the continent. And CNN International vice president Maggie Eales says Zambia is a natural choice to host the awards because of its beauty and peaceful nature."

Zambia Daily Mail, 27 July 2012, Kelvin Kachingwe: "The 17th CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Awards came to Lusaka for the first time last week. And boy, what a week it proved! Tony Maddox, the executive vice-president and managing director, CNN International, believes what started as a fledgling endeavour to recognise and reward African journalism has become its most prestigious prize. 'These awards showcase the very best of what this extraordinary continent has to offer; and they are increasingly recognised as the benchmark by which many African journalists measure themselves,' he says. It is little wonder then that almost everyone wanted to be at the awards. Maggie Eales, senior vice-president – CNN International, Parisa Khosravi, CNN senior vice-president – international newsgathering and coverage, Deborah Rayner, CNN vice-president and managing editor EMEA, Thomas Evans, CNN senior director of coverage, Kim Norgaard, CNN African Bureau Chief, Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa chief executive officer and Errol Barnett, CNN presenter of Inside Africa. Yet, the list goes on!"

Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2012, Joe Flint: "Unable to reverse a dramatic ratings decline, CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton announced Friday that he is resigning at the end of the year. ... The woes at the domestic channel have — unfortunately for Walton — overshadowed the unit's performance overall under his leadership. CNN International, its global channel, is a force around the world. CNN's website CNN.com is also very successful both in attracting users and revenue."

Sky News Arabia coverage of Syrian opposition widely cited by news organizations.

Posted: 29 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 29 July 2012, Mahmoud Habboush and Maha El Dahan, via Chicago Tribune: "The Syrian opposition appealed on Sunday for its foreign allies to provide with heavy weapons to fight President Bashar al-Assad's 'killing machine' and said it would soon start talks on forming a transitional government to replace him. 'The rebels are fighting with primitive weapons. We want weapons that we can stop tanks and planes with. This is what we want,' Abdelbasset Sida, head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) opposition alliance, told a news conference. ... He also said the opposition would hold talks within weeks to form a transitional government. ... 'This government should come about before the fall (of Assad) so that it presents itself as an alternative for the next stage,' Sida told Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia television." -- This interview was cited by several other news organizations.

European News Exchange, 10 July 2012: "Sky News Arabia, a joint venture between BSkyB and the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, has joined the European News Exchange. ... Nart Bouran, the head of Sky News Arabia, [said] 'Our aim is to change the way news is gathered and reported across the Arab world. I am very pleased that we can now join an organization as vibrant and competent as Enex.'"

NewscastStudio, 16 July 2012: "Breaking from its sister stations, Sky News Arabia launched exclusively with Vizrt powered graphics. The channel has a variety of uses for real-time 3D graphics, such as the 'screen furniture' of multiple tickers, side panels, maps and Breaking News alerts constantly animating around the video window. In addition, the news content includes full-frame 3D animations in its stories, as well as displaying maps and background story graphics displayed on a large video wall in the studio. Everything is generated with a consistently branded look that is uniquely Sky News Arabia."

Al Jazeera English Viewfinder: Asia project will discover documentary talent.

Posted: 29 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 16 July 2012, Anneta Konstantinides, via Chicago Tribune: "Al Jazeera English has joined forces with the Asian Network of Documentary for a doc support project called Viewfinder: Asia. AJE founded Viewfinder in 2011, teaming up with a local film institution on every continent in hopes of discovering and showcasing new docu talent and films. Viewfinder: Asia will be the second in the series, following AJE's partnership with Uruguay's Doc Montevideo for Viewfinder: Latin America. The project will put selected directors through a weeklong training process in Busan, South Korea, in which works chosen by AJE will be commissioned to be aired on the net."

Screen International, 17 July 2012, Jean Noh: "Out of a selected group of 25 new documentary filmmakers, Viewfinder: Asia will shortlist ten to participate in a seven-day workshop Sept 30-Oct 6 in Busan. After that, Viewfinder will identify potential commissions to be broadcast on AJE and sign contracts with directors."

Robert Zaal named director of RNW 3.0 -- Radio Netherlands without radio.

Posted: 29 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Worldwide 27 July 2012: "Robert Zaal, the current head of Dutch media group RTV North Holland has been named as the new director of Radio Netherlands Worldwide. He will be responsible for leading the implementation of RNW’s new direction, focussed on free speech. As of 2013, RNW will operate primarily in Africa and the Arab world, but also in countries such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico. ... Zaal said ... 'There’s a good plan for RNW 3.0 and we will implement it in a serious and business-like fashion.' RNW’s current director, Jan Hoek, remains responsible for activities related to the winding down of the old organisation. Zaal will take over on November 1st."

followthemedia.com, 27 July 2012, Michael Hedges: "From the first of 2013 RNW will end broadcasting activities and devote energies to the web delivered services. About 270 employees are on the redundancy plan, including managing director Hoek... ."

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 26 July 2012, Louise Dunne: "Dutchabroad.nl is to continue some of the Dutch language activities that are no longer part of Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s activities. The newly established media organisation will maintain a Dutch language website and social media, e-mail bulletins and digital newspaper de Wereldkrant. ... The project has been in the planning since it became clear last year that changes to the laws governing RNW meant it would no longer be responsible for providing Dutch-language information outside the Netherlands. 'Within a short time we were inundated with reactions from people saying how important our digital products were to them.'"

In Africa, Deutsche Welle provides "news and explainers" via voice over mobile phone.

Posted: 28 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Nieman Journalism Lab, 20 July 2012, Antonio Jiménez: "By the end of the year, it’s estimated that more than three-quarters of [Africa's] population will be cell phone subscribers, including in places where literacy rates are low and electricity is unavailable. To better serve that demographic, German media giant Deutsche Welle is using over-the-phone voice technology to deliver news. No Internet access necessary: Just dial a number to access the program Learning by Ear, an educational show for teenagers that mixes news and explainers having to do with health, politics, the economy, the environment, and social issues. ... The bottom line for Deustche Welle is to distribute news and information to the 'widest possible audience,' especially in African markets where web penetration is low or non-existent. 'Mobile phones have succeeded in an area where the web has found success difficult to come by.'"

Slate, 19 July 2012, Hibah Hussain: "[D]espite all of the hype swirling around the role of mobile phones in the Global South, few people have examined the ways in which mobile technology can be partnered with existing, tried-and-true communications networks like radio. ... [I]t’s time for us to admit that when it comes to global development, mobile phones won’t cut it on their own. If we really want to use technology to promote lasting social change and economic growth, we need to stop ignoring the power of established communications networks. We need to start talking about the radio."

Tanzania Daily News, 8 July 2012, Thomas Mosch, Deutsche Welle's head of programs for Africa, as interviewed by Iman Mani: "Learning by Ear is a special programme that we created in 2008, with support from the German foreign office, because we said education is a big issue in Africa, which still has a weak infrastructure for education in many regions. We thought since radio is a very popular media on the continent it would be a good idea to offer education via radio." See also Tanzania Daily News, 8 July 2012.

More DW educational endeavors at DW Akademie.

DW Insider, 20 July 2012: "Parabola Orange TV, Indonesia’s latest DTH service has included Deutsche Welle (DW) in its programming lineup. DW will be offered in Orange TV’s 'Smart Package', alongside other top global news, educational and lifestyle networks."

Alain de Pouzilhac "invited to leave" his post as chairman of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France.

Posted: 27 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio France International, 12 July 2012: "Alain de Pouzilhac, the chairman of France’s international broadcasting service, AEF, has resigned. Appointed under President Nicolas Sarkozy to merge RFI with the France 24 and TV5 television channels, he was invited to leave his post by the newly elected Socialist government. ... The merger plan that he headed aroused heated opposition from trade unions at RFI, leading to several months of strike action, as well as criticism at France 24 and the Arabic radio MCD Doualiya, which is also part of the AEF. On Wednesday Pouzilhac met Culture Minister Aurélie Filipetti and Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius. According to reports in the French media they offered him an 'honourable way out' but pressed him to quit the company. During the election campaign President François Hollande signed a petition opposing the merger drawn up by the majority of unions at RFI. The new government invited former RFI boss Jean-Paul Cluzel to draw up a report on the AEF. Leaked copies indicate that he has proposed two main options for the future. Either RFI is linked to state-owned Radio France and France 24 to France televisions or the AEF remains but the media’s editorial teams remain separate."

Rapid TV News, 13 July 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Called in 2008 by former president Sarkozy to pilot the connection between France 24 and RFI into AEF holding, Alain de Pouzilhac also aimed at merging both editorial teams, in order to be able to compete on equal terms with international groups such as BBC.

Digital TV Europe, 13 July 2012: "A report by former Radio France chief Jean-Paul Cluzel ... recommended the exit of the AEF from the multinational ownership structure of French international culture channel TV5 Monde and its replacement as French shareholder by public broadcaster France Télévisions."

Media Mughals, 25 July 2012: "France 24 has concluded a major distribution agreement in Russia and is now available on Tricolor, the largest satellite TV provider in the country. France 24, English version, is now accessible via Tricolor to an additional 3.5 million subscribers across Russia (channel 107). 8 million digital households in Russia can now receive at least one of the three France 24 versions 24/7."

Blogger offers "less extreme alternatives" to the China Media Reciprocity Act.

Posted: 27 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
China Law & Policy, 18 July 2012, Elizabeth M. Lynch: "There is a chance that passage of the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act could result in China granting visas to U.S. government journalist, but that possibility is slim. The effects of passage of the Act ... – the eradication of the Chinese press in the U.S., an all out visa war, and greater suppression of freedom of the press – are much more likely and not positive. But the U.S. does not have to sit back and just watch the Chinese government harass and censor their journalists. [There are] some less extreme alternatives that the U.S. government can conduct to express its displeasure with the Chinese government and perhaps change the current situation. ... [T]he Chinese Media Reciprocity Act is not necessary [because] the U.S. can deny visas under current law. ... If rhetoric does not work with the Chinese government, the U.S. government can threaten to deny a visa to a single Chinese reporter. This might do the trick without damaging freedom of the press too much." Third in a series of articles, with links thereto. See previous post about same subject.

BBG confirms "commitment to supporting freedom and democracy for all Tibetans."

Posted: 27 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 19 July 2012: "In a meeting July 17 with the prime minister (Kalon Tripa) of the Central Tibetan Administration, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the agency’s top executive confirmed the BBG’s commitment to supporting freedom and democracy for all Tibetans through international media. BBG Governor Michael Meehan and International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard M. Lobo spent an hour with Lobsang Sangay and his delegation, which included Lobsang Nyandak, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas; Kelsang Aukatsang, senior advisor to the Kalon Tripa; and Jigme Namgyal, private secretary to the Kalon Tripa; and Todd Stein, director of government relations for the International Campaign for Tibet. The meeting took place at the BBG’s headquarters. The BBG offers around-the-clock coverage of events of interest to Tibetans, including short-wave services seven days a week and a constant audio signal by satellite, television broadcasts, plus an Internet presence that can be viewed anywhere in the world. Together, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America have been leaders in covering the ongoing crackdown on Tibetan protests, as well as political, religious and human rights developments affecting the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan autonomous jurisdictions." -- For a news organization, perhaps this would be preferable phraseology: "confirmed the BBG's commitment to provide the accurate and comprehensive news and information that is lacking in the Chinese-controlled domestic media available to Tibetans." Also, if both RFA and VOA are "leaders in covering the ongoing crackdown on Tibetan protests," isn't this an admission of duplication?

Broadcasting Board of Governors, 26 July 2012: "The BBG, in partnership with Gallup, presented ... findings about Tibetan sources of news and information from a survey of Tibetan travelers gathered during the Dalai Lama’s recent Kalachakra teachings in Bodhgaya, India. The new data shows that Tibetans are spreading news and information that they hear from RFA and VOA with others in their community on a regular basis. The study said Tibetans take pride in sharing the news, and they share it actively within their trusted social circles. While 89% of Tibetan travelers surveyed had televisions in their homes, none considered any official Chinese state media outlet their main reliable news source. Nearly three quarters (74%) say other people are their top source for reliable news. Asked to name up to three reliable sources of news and information, 94% named word-of-mouth sources." With link to the presentation.

Discussion of the Smith-Mundt domestic dissemination ban continues to elude reality.

Posted: 27 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 18 July 2012, Helle Dale: "The Smith–Mundt Modernization Act would remove the decade-long prohibition on the dissemination to Americans of material produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. agency that oversees U.S. international broadcasting. Other U.S. agencies, such as the Defense Department, are not covered by this bill. ... Americans have a seemingly infinite number of sources of information through their cable systems and Internet applications. Adding broadcasting from the BBG to this cacophonous mix would hardly to lead to brainwashing and marching in lockstep. Furthermore, the State Department’s 135 websites and blogs are already available to anyone with a computer, whether here or abroad. ... There is absolutely no reason why Americans should not be able to access the information that the U.S. government broadcasts to the rest of the world every single day. Americans may like what they hear and see. Americans may not like it. But they deserve the chance to be informed."

There is absolutely nothing stopping Americans from accessing access the information that U.S. government-funded entities broadcast to the rest of the world. The websites of those entities, as well as the mentioned 135 State Department websites, are accessible to Americans, but could readily be prevented from reaching US IP addresses. This doesn't happen because the domestic dissemination prohibition is not observed. Mrs. Dale is correct that one of the key arguments for the elimination (or not requiring the enforcement of) the domestic dissemination ban is that Americans, who want to know, should know what international broadcasting and public diplomacy content the United States is sending to the world. See previous post about same subject.

Heritage Foundation, 27 June 2012, Helle Dale: "What in the world is going on at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the Voice of America (VOA)? The BBG has started to exhibit a level of secrecy worthy of the CIA, clamping down heavy-handedly on internal communications. VOA, meanwhile, has joined other news organizations at the United Nations in endorsing the expulsion of an American investigative journalist. ... [O]n June 7 at a board meeting in Prague, the BBG voted to clamp down on disclosure of 'deliberative information' between two or more BBG members or between agency staff and board members. The meeting agenda called this a 'Protocol to Prevent Unauthorized Disclosure of Confidential and Pre-Decisional Information.' 'Pre-decisional' is the kind of word the KGB would have loved, potentially meaning just about anything the BBG leadership deems inconvenient for the public to know."

Report: VOA "pirate radio station" Studio 7, to Zimbabwe, faces large budget cut.

Posted: 25 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Sunday News (Harare), 14 July 2012, Lawson Mabhena: "Voice of America (VOA)’s pirate radio station project in Zimbabwe, Studio 7, is facing financial difficulties after a major donor cut its funding, a situation that is set to deal a major blow to the campaign of mass deception and propaganda directed at the country and its leadership. Studio 7 started broadcasting illegally in Zimbabwe in 2003 after the US launched an anti-Zimbabwe campaign as a response to the land reform programme which began in the year 2000. It has been running stories that seek to portray Zimbabwe as a failed State. According to a communiqué written to all the pirate station’s correspondents, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — a US government agency that provides relief aid to developing countries in order to promote that country’s version of democracy — 'drastically' cut funding to Studio 7, forcing the station to reduce assignments and payments to all correspondents. Last year the US passed a bill cutting the US$1,35 billion USAID operations budget to around US$900 million. ... Studio 7 correspondents, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, said panic had gripped the pirate radio station as there was fear that even the workforce would be cut. ... There are three pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe. The Voice of America operates Studio 7 that broadcasts from Washington DC daily. The other two stations are Voice of the People and Short Wave Radio Africa."

Nehanda Radio, 15 July 2012: "The news if true will be a source of worry for information-starved Zimbabweans who rely on foreign based stations like VOA Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and Radio VOP because of repressive media legislation."

Commentator on the "fundamental difference" between BBC and US 24/7 news networks.

Posted: 24 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic, 17 July 2012, Peter Osnos: "The scandals at News Corporation have dominated coverage of the British media for months -- understandably, given the acts themselves and the unfolding consequences for Rupert Murdoch's empire. So, with ignominy tarnishing British journalism, this seems like an especially good time to examine the role that several of News Corporation's more prestigious competitors have come to play, particularly on the American scene. ... [The BBC's] scale is vast and its organizational structure exceeds the space necessary for a summary here. But to take one example of its output, on a recent steamy evening, I caught the 6:00 p.m. half-hour news on the BBC World News channel and got a rundown that included reports from Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, and Mexico, as well as a feature on capital punishment in California. The availability of BBC news programming has expanded greatly as it has succeeded in securing partnerships with public radio and television as well as extending the reach of its proprietary channels in the United States (which are supported by advertising). The story choices for BBC news, compared to the 24/7 American-based news networks, highlights a fundamental difference that is also true for the FT and the Economist. The news is meant to appeal to an audience with a serious interest in what is happening in every aspect of our immensely complicated world, from business and technology to wars and tyranny." -- A look at CNN International, not available to most Americans, might improve Mr. Osnos's assessment of 24/7 American based news networks.

BBC's Global iPlayer reaches 1m downloads a month; trial extended.

Posted: 24 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 17 July 2012: BBC Worldwide "successfully launched a pilot of the Global BBC iPlayer in 16 markets across Western Europe, Canada and Australia during the year. The service has now reached the 1m download mark, just 12 months after the trial started. It has also met its targets set for its pilot and we have extended the trial, with the full support of the BBC Trust, until autumn this year."

C21Media, 6 July 2012, Jesse Whittock: "BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) is adding preschool and family sections to its Global iPlayer on-demand service. The BBC’s commercial arm launched the Global iPlayer app last year as a paid-for international on-demand service in a bid to better monetise its content, and it has since been launched in territories including Western Europe, Canada and Australia. At Sheffield’s Children’s Media Conference today, Derren Lawford, Global iPlayer’s head of programming and scheduling, told delegates BBCWW was adding CBeebies-branded preschool and older-skewing Family sections to the service. They are due to launch this summer across Western Europe. The Global iPlayer already runs programmes such as Something Special, Zingzillas and In the Night Garden. Lawford added that children’s programming was the third most-watched section on the service, and that 17% of surveyed subscribers said their children used the app too." - But the Global iPlayer's introduction to the USA could be delayed, or prevented, as discussed in the previous post.

Pew study shows RT (Russia Today) videos dominate on YouTube.

Posted: 24 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism, 16 July 2012: "Founded in 2005 and backed by the Russian government, Russia Today is a global multilingual television news network that has built a large international following. The channel broadcasts to 430 million people in more than 100 countries and is available to 50 million people in the U.S. through various cable and satellite systems. Russia Today has developed a large online following through a combination of factors. The network has actively promoted its online content. The RT YouTube channel has more than 280,000 followers and the videos in its official channel have been viewed more than 740 million times, a number far greater than many other well-known sources such as Al Jazeera English (380 million views), Sky News (52 million) and Fox News (23 million). Other prominent news organizations have far fewer followers, such as ABC News (111,000), the New York Times (78,000) and ITN News (54,000). On a number of occasions, Russia Today has, as the New York Times described it in 2010, taken a "dip into conspiracy theories." The channel has regularly reported on rumors, for instance, that the attacks on New York on September 11, 2001, were committed with cooperation of the United States government. Most of Russia Today's popular videos (68%) were not edited news packages in any traditional sense. Nor were they about Russia. Instead, they consisted of first-person video accounts of dramatic worldwide events such as the Japanese earthquake or the June 2011 riots in Vancouver following the Stanley Cup Final. The people who shot these videos may not be Russia Today reporters, but the organization acquired the footage and broadcast it, using its own dissemination tools and graphics. In that sense, Russia Today is functioning as a kind of video-sharing service itself, on television, which it then turns around and shares again on YouTube."

Strictly Come Dancing coming to Lebanon, "unique cultural sensitivities" notwithstanding.

Posted: 24 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Spy, 16 July 2012, Andrew Laughlin: "Strictly Come Dancing has conquered Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Asia, but now the BBC has agreed a deal to bring the show's sequins and salsa steps to the Arab world. In October 2012, Lebanon will gets its own version of Dancing with the Stars - the international format of Strictly Come Dancing. ... 'The local versions are licensed to international broadcasters by BBC Worldwide's Format Licensing team. ... Dancing with the Stars is a format that needs no introduction; in the Arab world, however, there are unique cultural sensitivities that made it difficult to persuade broadcasters to produce a local version with local stars.'"

More "loving appreciations" for Bush House, recently vacated by BBC World Service, with the auction about to begin.

Posted: 23 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 17 July 2012, Pete Naughton: "[O]n Thursday ... the transmitters on top [sic] of Bush House were switched off, ending a 70-year stream of World Service broadcasts from the building. This wasn’t the end of the Service itself, of course: its London staff have now transferred to a newer, shinier, distinctly less labyrinthine home in the BBC’s revamped Broadcasting House. But, reflecting on the one-of-a-kind nature of Bush House, and the fact that the World Service is soon to lose its government grant (and will instead have to compete for a slice of the licence fee), it was hard to avoid feeling a little sad." -- The BBC World Service studios were in Bush House. The transmitters are elsewhere, mostly outside the UK.

Business Day, 17 July 2012, Kaye Whiteman: "All the loving appreciations of Bush House have tended to go for the ghosts of the bar and the canteen (reputed to have featured in George Orwell’s 1984); or its East European role – all have mentioned Georgi Markov and the poison umbrella; or its valiant achievements in World War II did in the war (I recall taking my boss in the Commission in Brussels in the 1970s, Pierre Cros – a former fighter in the French resistance – to see the studio in which General de Gaulle had made his famous broadcast of June 1940). None have mentioned the Africa Service, which seemed to me to be experiencing a heyday when run by the tandem of George Bennett and Israel Wamala, presiding over the twin beacons of Network Africa and Focus on Africa, compulsory listening for so many. It seemed then sustained by those incredible Ghanaian divas Elizabeth Ohene and Ofeibia Quist Arcton. I must put in a word for the language services – in Africa this included notably Somali and above all Hausa. This is still essential listening over all of Hausaphonie, which includes not just much of Northern Nigeria but also a substantial part of the Niger Republic. At times when both Nigeria and Niger were under dictatorships, the Hausa service was an essential voice of free expression."

The Guardian, 16 July 2012, letter from Alex Brodie, ex-BBC foreign news journalist: "Jonathan Freedland is right to fear for the survival of the Bush House ethos. It is, simply put, to try to report the world with no national bias, as if from an orbiting satellite, thus getting Britain in context. On this is based the BBC's international reputation. This ethos will not survive unless it is carefully protected and understood, within the wider BBC, which it often has not been." Refers to The Guardian, 13 July 2012, Jonathan Freedland.

Ibid, letter from John Green: "It is a pity that British listeners of the BBC are provided with a much more bland and tendentious news service than the better-informed World Service listeners."

Ibid, letter from John Kernaghan: "A few years ago I was asked to take a Vietnamese visitor on his first trip round London. I had planned a whirlwind tour of the sights, but Bush House was where he wanted to go. When we arrived at Aldwych he stood in silence and looked at the building. Then he moved forward and touched it for a moment. He turned, full of emotion, and asked if we could go. I found out later that, as a boy in Vietnam, he had been a World Service listener."

Ottawa Citizen, 15 July 2012, David Warren: "Bush House is left full of ghosts, that will not follow the journalists to their new quarters. The grandeur of that Portland stone building, with its wings and busy courtyard and statuary; its “catacombs” of studios and canteens; its babel of languages and customs — cannot be reproduced."

BBC World Service, The Documentary, 13 July 2012: "Join BBC historian Jean Seaton and architect Mark Hines as they enter Bush House under the impressive portico dedicated 'To the Friendship of English Speaking Peoples' and take an audio journey through the corridors and stairwells, eavesdropping on some of the sounds and memories from key moments in the history of both the BBC World Service and of this very special building." With audio.

Daily Express, 16 July 2012, Jimmy Young: "In the early Seventies, following a series of live broadcasts from Europe about the Common Market, I suggested we should aim at presenting the first live radio programmes from Moscow. Negotiations with the Soviet Embassy went on for years. The sticking point was that when we explained that all our broadcasts were live the Russians tried to head us off. They replied: 'So you record the interviews and then transmit them live the following day.' I patiently explained: 'No, I sit in my studio with my guests and the interviews are broadcast as we are doing them. That is what we mean by live radio.' ... From our point of view the first of the two broadcasts, on Monday, May 16, 1977, went very well. Interviewees talked frankly. The Guardian newspaper reported: 'A jolly Russian called Vladimir Pozner chatted to Jimmy Young as though the KGB was asleep. Asked by Jim about Russian social problems he agreed that Soviet teenagers engaged in truancy, alcoholism, vandalism and living together.' ... However, the next day the atmosphere was icy. Vladimir arrived looking ghastly. He said he had been disciplined about 'that broadcast last night'. Without telling us, the BBC World Service had recorded my Monday morning transmissions from Moscow and transmitted them back into the Soviet Union on Monday night. No wonder the head of the Russian Foreign Relations Department State Committee for Broadcasting prodded me in the chest as he said through gritted teeth: 'Any more broadcasts like last night and we shall all end up in Siberia.'"

Classic Driver, 19 July 2012, Laura Leivo: "The World Service was recently consolidated into Broadcast House, but the vacated halls and studios once part of British broadcasting history are still full of technical equipment, microphones and tape recorders, which over the years were used to interview the great and good from around the world."

Financial Times, 20 July 2012, Hannah Kuchler: "Next week’s auction should put a little cash in the BBC coffers. Peakier Pattinson, the auctioneer which is more used to selling off forklift trucks and production lines from shuttered factories, will not say how much it expects to raise. But it said individual items could fetch up to £1,000 and studios about £10,000. Listeners and former staff might just be seeking out small mementoes, but a large broadcaster in Egypt is interested in kitting out several studios and the auctioneers have had calls from as far afield as Pakistan."

See previous post about same subject.

Analyst concludes that BBC was "reasonably impartial" in its coverage of the Arab Spring.

Posted: 23 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Free Speech Debate, 12 July 2012, Edward Mortimer: "My broad conclusion was that, in general, the BBC was reasonably impartial in its approach to the events that it covered, but that in some cases the focus of its coverage was too exclusively the main dramatic story of the moment – Egypt from 25 January to 11 February 2011, Libya from February to October, and Syria for most of the time since. The intense focus on Libya was understandable and to some extent justifiable in view of British involvement in the conflict there, but it did also contribute to skimped or very patchy coverage of other Middle Eastern countries including Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt after Mubarak’s fall, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and – perhaps most seriously – Saudi Arabia, a difficult country to cover but one of enormous regional influence and strategic importance. ... On the whole the BBC was well equipped to ... draw on the local knowledge of people from various Arab countries working in its Arabic service and in the unit which monitors foreign broadcasts. Well before the 'Arab Spring', a UGC [user generated content] hub had been established in the BBC newsroom, which sifted all content as it came in and passed it on to the broadcasting departments with comments on the degree of authentication that had been possible and the appropriate level of doubt or confidence with which it could be treated."

On RT, VOA reporter offers advice on improving Russia's global image.

Posted: 23 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 11 July 2012: "Moscow's pursuit of international status is making waves - but how are its efforts perceived around the world and indeed closer to home? Journalists from The Guardian, The Atlantic and Voice of America came together to answer that very question. ... So what should Russia do to change the world’s perception? ... Voice of America’s James Brooke’s remedy is the simple idea called 'physical presence'. He says that lifting barriers for travellers, like visas or expensive tickets will do the trick." With RT's Lindsey France's video report.

TV5Monde increases distribution in Spain, and plans Spanish subtitles.

Posted: 23 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 9 July 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "French-speaking international channel TV5Monde has strengthened its distribution in Spain following a new agreement found with operator TeleCable and the integration into the Más TV basic bouquet. The channel is now available to 140,000 homes across the Asturias region adding 100,000 new households. In Spain, TV5Monde Europe is carried to more than 5 million homes via cable, IPTV and satellite TV. The channel says that will soon add Spanish subtitles to its programming."

Rapid TV News, 18 July 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "French-speaking international news channel TV5Monde has strengthened its distribution in Kenya following an agreement with cable operator Wananchi. The channel will now form part of the basic offer of Zuku in Nairobi that reaches 13,000 homes. In Kenya and across English-speaking Africa, TV5Monde offers 40 hours of English subtitled programs each week and 15 % of its schedules comprises French-speaking African productions."

Rapid TV News, 30 June 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "In ... Dakar, TV5Monde is watched by 31.9% of the population aged over 15 on a weekly basis, with 93.6% of them aware of the channel."

New chief editor for Channel News Asia.

Posted: 22 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
OnScreen Asia, 10 July 2012, Adam Lim: "Channel NewsAsia has appointed former news anchor Lian Pek to be its new Chief Editor. Pek began her journalism career in the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (presently MediaCorp) and has since held news anchor positions in Bloomberg Television, Al Jazeera English, as well as CNN - the first Singaporean anchor to be hired by the international news network. ... Pek assumed the role of Chief Editor on 1 July 2012." See also channelnewsasia.com.

BBC World News interviews Asian personalities before live audience at NYU Tisch School in Singapore.

Posted: 22 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World News press release, 16 July 2012: "BBC World News today announced Mishal Husain Meets, a new series that profiles six well-known Asian personalities. Filmed at the NYU Tisch School of The Arts in Singapore, the six-part series is fronted by BBC presenter Mishal Husain as she goes in depth with scientists, actors, sports personalities and artists to find out what it takes to launch a successful business and career. From the astrophysicist who put the first Malaysian astronaut into space, to Singapore’s 'zoo man', this series follows a groups of pioneers who recount their extraordinary journeys in front of a live studio audience. In the series premiere on 28 July, Mishal Husain is joined by Li Cunxin, a former elite ballet dancer whose life story was depicted in the Australian feature film Mao’s Last Dancer. ... Mishal Husain Meets [is] broadcast in association with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts... ."

Philstar.com, 5 July 2012: "BBC World News anchor Rico Hizon (left) received from the Rotary Club of Manila the 2012 Broadcast Journalist of the Year. Rico is the first overseas-based Filipino journalist to achieve this recognition. ... In his acceptance speech, Rico thanked the BBC for the trust and confidence and said, ‘As a journalist, BBC News has taught me so much in terms of editorial values, which has allowed me to act independently of all interests, and to aspire to the highest ethical standards. We uphold the key principles of impartiality, accuracy and fairness.’ Rico is the only Filipino male broadcast journalist to anchor for two of the world’s biggest news networks CNBC Business News and BBC World News."

BBC Worldwide reports increased revenues, but is cryptic about the profitability of the international BBC.com.

Posted: 22 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
paidContent, 16 July 2012, Robert Andrews: "BBC Worldwide applied the 'blur' filter to some of its online flagships’ finances when it reported latest annual disclosures on Monday. 'BBC.com delivered another year of excellent revenue growth, and significant profit uplift on the back of the previous year’s move towards profitability,' the company’s 2011/12 annual report reported, cryptically. Actual BBC.com profitability or otherwise is unclear, though BBCWW claimed it was in the black a year ago. Changes are nevertheless coming – on Monday, BBC Worldwide’s annual report also announced: 'In the year ahead, as directed by the BBC Executive Board in January 2012, we will pass ownership of the news areas of the site over to Global News, enabling it to reinvest profits from the news areas of BBC.com into its core news journalism functions. We expect to continue to own and operate the other areas of BBC.com and we will work closely with Global News to help to continue to drive BBC.com’s performance forward as an important part of the BBC Worldwide digital portfolio.' The effect is to ringfence relevant online news profits for the news division, the BBC having identified journalism as its key priority."

BBC Worldwide press release, 16 July 2012: "BBC Worldwide will today publish its Annual Review for 2011/12 showing a 8% rise in headline profit to £155m (2010/11: £144m). Profit before tax of £104m (2010/11: £92m excluding gains on disposals) is up 13% on a like for like basis. The company grew headline sales by 5% to £1,085m in the 12 months to 31 March 2012 (2010/11: £1,030m). These figures exclude the BBC Magazine titles sold and licensed in the year. ... The results mark another successful year in taking great British content to the world, benefitting the UK’s creative exports. International sales as a percentage of the total increased by 9 percentage points to 64% (2010/11: 56%) as the business continues to sharpen its focus on international markets. ... 'International sales increased from 56% to 64% of total headline sales. We have focused in particular on the English-speaking markets of the USA and Australia, which were our biggest growth markets in 2011/12, delivering growth of 15% and 9% respectively. In June 2012, BBC Worldwide announced a reorganisation that will further increase its focus on international markets, enabling it to capture future growth opportunities around the world.'"

The Guardian, 22 July 2012, Mark Sweney: "The BBC's director general-designate, George Entwistle ... is understood to be keen to bring the corporation's commercial arm closer to the public service side of the licence fee-funded BBC. The plan to investigate trimming the scope of BBC Worldwide – which makes more than £1bn in annual revenues selling content including Top Gear, Doctor Who and Planet Earth – is understood to have been raised by Entwistle as part his interview for the role of director general."

The Observer, 21 July 2012, 21 May 2012: "Top Gear, Dr Who, Torchwood, Spooks, Sherlock and a familiar batch of nature programmes. Nothing with great future promise there. Even Jeremy Clarkson seems bored getting his face into gear these days. Dr Who is clearly on the down slope. Spooks has been killed off. Sherlock promises a lot, but provides only a very few episodes."

Rapid TV News, 18 July 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels announced today the appointment of Gareth Williams as Latin America & U.S. Hispanic vice president of programming. Based in Miami, Williams will be assuming his new role by the end of July, reporting directly to Angel Peche in the general manager's office. He will oversee the programming team in Miami, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, tasked with identifying new opportunities to grow the network's portfolio. The news comes on the heels of the BBC announcing its fiscal results, which saw international sales rise significantly."

C21Media, 20 July 2012, Clive Whittingham: "BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) is pressing ahead with plans to expand its Lonely Planet brand with new commissions for its branded blocks and is in discussions about a digital channel. Lonely Planet-branded programming blocks launched on BBC Knowledge channels around the world last year ... [but] there are no firm plans for a Lonely Planet linear TV channel. ... 'With the growth of digital channels, entertainment systems and smart TVs, we’re seeing a great burst of energy in that digital channel space, especially in the US.'"

World Screen, 10 July 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Following its attendance at the recent NATPE Budapest, BBC Worldwide has sold a number of its formats into Central and Eastern Europe, including scoring its first deal on Epic Win, which is being adapted for 1+1 in Ukraine."

The Guardian, 2 July 2012, Maggie Brown: "Oscar-winning British film director Sam Mendes has criticised the BBC's commercial arm for refusing to invest in BBC2's current adaptations of four Shakespeare history plays. BBC Worldwide declined to part-fund the lavish 'Hollow Crown' productions, which began with Richard II starring Ben Whishaw on Saturday, handing Hollywood studio NBC Universal the chance to step in and provide funding."

CNN cites multimedia survey success among upmarket Africans. So does BBC.

Posted: 20 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 19 July 2012: "CNN has significantly beaten its rivals in the latest EMS Africa survey, confirming its position as the single most watched international broadcaster on the continent, winning seven out of ten of the continent's key audiences across all platforms every month, according to results released today by Ipsos Synovate. ... At 70.3%, CNN's cross-platform monthly reach across TV, online and mobile combined streaks ahead of rival networks BBC World News (55.4%), Al Jazeera (46.7%), Sky News (43.4%) and Euronews (31.1%). Through television alone, CNN reaches almost two-thirds of the EMS Africa population with a monthly reach of 64.7%; 29% higher than it's closest rival, BBC World News (50.2%). At 51.6%, CNN's weekly TV reach outstrips BBC World News (37.7%), Al Jazeera English (30.5%), Sky News (28.0%) and CNBC Africa (9.1%). ... CNN websites are the #1 international online brand in Africa with a monthly reach of (17.4%); more than double that of the network's nearest competitors Al Jazeera English (7.1%) and BBC.com (6.9%). On mobile, CNN also outranks the competition, reaching 15.8% of respondents monthly against the BBC (10.8%), Al Jazeera English (6.2%) and Sky News (5.2%). ... Conducted between December 2011 and February 2012, the study covers 7 markets in the continent (up from 5 in the first edition): South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda. It represents a universe of 3.3 million working adults in the top 13% of populations by income."

Baltimore Sun, 19 July 2012, David Zurawik: "Now I know it's hard to get past how badly, say, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly beats CNN's Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m. weeknights in the U.S. But with this kind of international performance and the revenue it generates, the bad news for CNN/U.S. is not nearly as bad for the company as it would be for an operation like Fox that has nothing but its U.S. shows. Africa is a pretty big place, and BBC World News, Sky News and Al Jazeera, the channels CNN beat in Africa, are pretty big operations. I'm impressed."

BBC World News press release, 19 July 2012: "Following the launch of Focus on Africa earlier this summer, the latest EMS Africa survey has shown BBC World News reaches more than half (50.2%) of affluent Africans every month. The survey revealed that BBC World News has a monthly reach of 79.8% in Uganda, 67.5% in Nigeria, 66.2% in Ghana, 60.4% in Kenya and 46.8% in South Africa. EMS Africa also showed that 66% of BBC World News viewers in Africa are based in South Africa and Nigeria and the channel reaches influential audiences such as Business Decision Makers, Opinion Leaders and top executives across the continent. Additionally, the BBC continues to demonstrate great strengths across digital platforms in Africa, with comScore saying BBC.com has the top reach of any international news site for the Middle East and Africa with 4.6m unique users per month, 64% more than CNN."

Analysts urge against further Netflix international expansion.

Posted: 20 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
FierceOnlineVideo, 10 July 2012, Chris Rizo: "Netflix Inc., the world's largest online-video subscription service, ought to jettison its risky, speculative global-expansion strategy and instead broaden its domestic online-video streaming business, financial analysts say. Following success of its launch in the United Kingdom, Netflix plans to open 'an additional attractive European market' in the fourth quarter of this year. Urging a delay, investment bank B. Riley & Co. senior analyst Eric Wold said Netflix should forgo expansion into another international market until its bottom line improves. ... Wold is not alone in cautioning Netflix. Morningstar Inc. equity analyst Michael Corty, in a July 2 article titled 'Netflix Still Not Getting It Right,' warned its international business will likely suffer years of operating losses and tepid profits. ... Analysts widely agree Netflix faces increasing competition particularly from over-the-top (OTT) subscription service Hulu, HBO Go, and Microsoft's Xbox."

Home Media, 18 July 2012, Chris Tribbey: "Hulu has partnered with BBC Worldwide to co-produce the fourth season of the British political comedy 'The Thick of It,' and Hulu and Hulu Plus will be the exclusive home to the first three seasons in the United States starting July 29. ... The BBC in-house production takes a satirical look inside the British government."

Analyst: BBC, VOA, RFA Burmese reporters are "against the Rohingyas," but "cannot support Rohingya campaigns," thus criticized by "anti-Rohingya campaigners."

Posted: 20 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Asia Sentinel, 10 July 2012, unnamed "Burmese freelance reporter in Myanmar": "The emergence of free media in Myanmar after six decades of oppression is not going the way anybody expected just weeks ago, and the trend is ominous. The new publications are openly partisan, nationalist and aiding a deadly war against the already disenfranchised Rohingya minority in the troubled Arakan state alongside the government, nationalist ethnic Rakhines and Buddhist Burmese. ... Ironically the newly freed media, especially domestic and Burmese language journals, are saving the domestic image of the infamous military by framing the Arakan conflict as the nation versus foreign invaders – Rohingyas, although they have existed in the area for hundreds of years. ... The conflict in Arakan state puts more internationalized media such as the Burmese services of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA), and Radio Free Asia (RFA), as well as the Irrawaddy and Democratic Voice of Burma in a difficult position. Many of their reporters are against the Rohingyas. Yet, bounded by international standards, they cannot support anti-Rohingya campaigns openly, which leads anti-Rohingya campaigners to accuse these organizations as corrupt and selling the country to foreigners."

Abu Dhabi moves to restrict number of satellite dishes on apartment roofs and balconies.

Posted: 20 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 9 July 2012, Chris Forrester: : "It isn’t yet an official decree, but Abu Dhabi’s city council is calling on landlords and occupiers to limit, and tidy up, satellite dishes on the capital city’s rooftops, balconies and terraces. In a statement, Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) said that satellite dishes and their related cable connexions have been ‘mushrooming in a haphazard manner’ on both private and commercial building exteriors, creating a dishevelled look and threatening the community’s health and safety. ... As a preventive measure, ADM is instructing property owners to install no more than four satellite dishes on a single flat rooftop and none at all on the balconies of residential apartments and villas." -- Interesting because the new Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia will depend on unrestricted access to satellite dishes to achieve audience growth. Movements to limit satellite dishes will also favor OTT ("over the top") and other internet-based methods to receive television.

The future of BBC World Service? Interactive modules.

Posted: 20 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 4 July 2012, Rachel McAthy: "In the lead up to the Olympics in London this year in particular, the BBC World Service was keen to do something that would help it stand out from the crowd. ... And the answer came in the form of a collaborative effort between editorial staff, designers and developers, who have been working together to produce 'interactive modules' for its 27 language sites. ... And the result? Take a look at 'Athletes Like You' (seen here on the BBC Mundo service), the latest interactive module launched as part of this new group of Olympic applications by the World Service specials team, and which epitomises the 'user story' formula, inviting the user to compare themselves to Beijing medal winners. The interactive has been re-versioned 15 times for different languages."

Iran state TV charges BBC with hacking its poll on nuclear program. "Ludicrous," says BBC.

Posted: 19 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 5 July 2012: "Iran’s state TV charged [4 July] that the BBC hacked its website to change the results of a poll about Iran’s nuclear program. The BBC denied the allegation. ... The British broadcaster’s Farsi language service reported that the poll showed 63 per cent of those who took part favored halting uranium enrichment in exchange for an end to Western economic sanctions. The TV report Wednesday said the actual figure was 24 percent, and the rest favored retaliation against the West with measures like closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key to exporting oil from the Gulf. In a statement, the BBC said the claims were 'both ludicrous and completely false, and the BBC Persian Service stands by its reporting.'"

BBC News, 5 July 2012, Hossein Bastani: "In Iran, television is a particularly sensitive media and it hosts few discussions on state policy. As such it is difficult to imagine that the poll was published without senior management at the network knowing about it. It is possible that the poll's publication was a deliberate act by some officials in Iran who believe that the time has now come for a review of the media policy of the regime on the nuclear issue."

RFE/RL uses VOA interview with wife of Egypt's President Morsi, "rare interview granted to a Western news agency."

Posted: 19 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 2 July 2012: "Naglaa Ali Mahmoud is married to Egypt’s newly inaugurated President Muhammad Morsi, but she avoids the title of first lady, preferring instead to refer to herself as a servant to the nation. In a rare interview granted to a Western news agency, Mahmoud spoke with Voice of America early in the campaign about her marriage to Morsi, which began when she was a teenager; his decision to join the Muslim Brotherhood; and relations between Egyptian Muslims and Christians." -- The interview is in Arabic -- interesting because VOA has no Arabic service. Did Alhurra use this interview?

VOA lured Macedonian musician from classical to jazz. And more history of Western broadcasts in the news.

Posted: 18 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Napa Valley Register, 4 July 2012, Paul Franson: "Larry Vuckovich is celebrating his 75th year with birthday concerts including one in Napa at Silo’s jazz club on Sunday, July 15. ... While in Montenegro, the young Vucovich studied classical piano, but when he heard jazz on the Voice of America and U.S. Armed Forces Radio, he was hooked."

Washington City Paper, 12 July 2012, Michael J. West: "Born in the Soviet Union in 1960, Igor Butman grew up alongside a resurgence of jazz in his country. ... Butman began his musical explorations hearing the music on Voice of America, but then was able to learn his saxophone at the feet of Russian masters, developing a full, round tone with a tight grip on the blues and a feel that can shift from wistful melancholy to ebullient swing."

Miami New Times, 9 July 2012, Jacob Katel interviewing TenDJiz, a Russian-born producer and engineer: "Do you remember communism? TenDJiz: One of my most vivid memories is my grandfather, who used to turn on his shortwave radio and said to me with a sly wink: 'Let's listen to the Enemy's voice.' Then he tuned into the Voice of America or Radio Liberty and got the news that couldn't be heard from the government TV and radio. Later I discovered the 'Rock Posev' ('Rock crops') program on the BBC Russian Service. Those jammed shows were like a gap in the Iron Curtain for many Soviet people."

Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7 July 2012, Cristian Lupsa: In Carmen Bugan's memoir, "Burying the Typewriter," ... "her father, a dissident from a small village in southern Romania, types anti-Communist pamphlets at night on an unregistered typewriter he keeps buried in the yard. ... As she turns 11, she begins connecting the dots between her parents' habit of listening to Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, their gloom when they return from their store where they sell allotments of bread and meat to people who savagely trample one another in line because there will never be enough for everyone, and the nighttime click-clacking of keys in her father's study."

The Guardian (Nigeria), 14 July 2012, Segun Odegbami: "In the city of Jos where I grew up in the 1960s there was no television, so we never watched the games. We only followed them on the BBC or Voice of America. The radio commentaries were musical fairy tales to our ears, and when names of successful athletes were mentioned we never envisioned them as flesh and blood."

Radio Canada International continues as online "new version." Employees say "we will not rest in peace."

Posted: 18 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
rabble.ca, 6 July 2012, Garth Mullins: "[A]n ocean of low static is all that emanates from the Sackville, New Brunswick transmitter. Canada's once robust international radio voice has fallen silent, victim of the latest round of budget cuts. ... I am not a cyber-luddite. Podcasting has given birth to a radio renaissance and an explosion of voices. Just listen to Memory Palace, 99% invisible or Transom to see how the format is being innovated. Yet, I would never want to see Vancouver's Co-op Radio or CBC Radio One reduced to an on-line only presence. I want to live in a broad community, not a pod of one. ... Radio silence is a ham-fisted decision. End of transmission."

Allvoices, 8 July 2012, northsunm32: "As with vinyl records no doubt many think shortwave radio a thing of the past. Yet there are still many strong stations. It is not expensive to provide. Many church groups use it. Unlike the Internet which can often be disrupted short wave signals cannot easily be jammed. Many in the world just have no access to phones or electricity let alone the Internet. However battery and hand-cranked short wave radios are ubiquitous." Shortwave -- this is coming from a shortwave enthusiast -- is expensive, more expensive than using internet to reach audiences around the world. It's debatable (and this should be investigated) whether the internet or shortwave is more immune to interdiction. And shortwave radios are not "ubiquitous." In fact, they are becoming harder to find, even in countries where shortwave was traditionally a dominant medium for receiving domestic and international broadcasts.

Warren Kinsella, 30 June 2012, Sun News: "Our allies - the U.S., Britain, Germany, France and Australia - have all expanded their national shortwave service. ... Perhaps you didn't notice the death of RCI because you have access to lots of media here in Canada, or because you don't ever need to tune in to shortwave radio. But to people around the world - to our men and women in uniform - the death of RCI won't go unnoticed." -- Actually, all the of the countries mentioned have cut back on their shortwave broadcasts.

RCI Action Committee, 8 July 2012: "On the last day of radio programming at RCI on June 24, 2012, some of the newsreaders and host/producers ended their last broadcasts and then shared their reflections on Radio Canada International in this series of five videos."

RCI Action Committee, 8 July 2012: Audio of first RCI broadcast on 25 February 2012.

RCI Action Committee, 16 July 2012: "Please join us in this new project: “RCI – WE WILL NOT ‘REST IN PEACE’ PHOTO PROJECT – RCI, RIP ? NON ! You have been so generous with your time, in reading, and commenting and supporting us. We are now into our fourth (!) week without radio broadcasting. We’re not happy about this. We don’t think you are. Please take a few minutes to read the details here about our project, and then send us your photo."

RCI's website, rcinet.ca, carries on. It still has audio, or "Webradio." The RCI program "The Link" has become "The Link Online." The program of 14 July 2012 has reports from "the entire RCI English team": Wojtek Gwiazda, Lynn Desjardins, and Marc Montgomery. A new feature, reflecting RCI's reduced (by 80%) budget, is "reporter for a day," from the audience and presumably unpaid, in this edition from Ghana.

See previous post about same subject.

MyGlobeTV offers any language you want, as long (for now) as it's Romanian.

Posted: 18 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
GlobeCast press release, 1 July 2012: "GlobeCast’s new IPTV platform, MyGlobeTV, made its commercial debut with the launch of 16 premium Romanian-language channels to US viewers. MyGlobeTV is a television bouquet that brings international and thematic audiovisual content directly to subscribers in the Americas. This full end-to-end solution provides broadcasters with not only the technical solution for reaching homes in the Americas, but also the necessary marketing and demographics research and support, as well other services including customer support and billing. In the coming weeks and months, GlobeCast will expand the service beyond the initial Romanian offering, adding communities of channels targeted to different audience segments. GlobeCast is in discussions with broadcasters from around the world that wish to be a part of this exciting new platform. Today, www.myglobetv.com opens its doors to allow interested viewers to sign up for the service. Currently, the solution uses a set-top box connected to the viewer’s existing broadband connection. By the end of 2012, however, GlobeCast expects to launch the application version of this product, allowing viewers to access the service from any Internet-enabled device, such as a smartphone, tablets, or PC, with or without the use of equipment." Emma Brackett, Vice President of Consumer Video Products and Services at GlobeCast: “Broadcasters from around the world now have an additional means of distribution in the world’s largest media market. With MyGlobeTV, they can develop new revenue streams and expand their viewer base by reaching markets not easily accessed via DTH satellite. We will continue to develop the service by adding more channels from around the world that include content from many different genres, such as science, music, history, drama, faith, and culture.” See also MyGlobeTV web page.

@MyGlobeTV, 18 July 2012: "@kaedotcom Thanks for the write-up! We're proud of our premium Romanian content and adding new offers soon!"

Because audio, apparently, is insufficient, CNN Radio adds text, photo, video, and "conversation" to create Soundwaves.

Posted: 18 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN, 9 July 2012: "Building upon its foundation of innovative storytelling, CNN Digital is launching Soundwaves, the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience. Produced by CNN Radio, this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video. Users can share and embed audio clips from Soundwaves across their social networks, allowing more exposure to and conversation about audio news stories. 'Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio,' said Tyler Moody, vice president of CNN Radio. 'Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option. Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.' Covering a wide range of topics, Soundwaves packages a combination of the day’s top stories as well as original content written by CNN Radio’s award-winning editorial staff and various contributing writers."

Even though Soundwaves appears to be targeted to the US market, there is nothing to stop it from having global reach -- minus those countries where it may be blocked. The comments do not include the writers' locations, but some seem to originate from abroad. There is no evidence that CNN journalists are using this facility "to engage in two-way communication" with the audience, and, judging from the quality of most of the comments, why would they want to?

CNN, 18 July 2012, video: CNN now streaming live to iPod and iPhone, but only to cable and DTH satellite subscribers.

"There isn't much to do in Mauritius at night," so they watch TV from, in order of preference, India, Brazil, China.

Posted: 18 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
China Daily, 9 July 2012, Wen Yi and Chen Xiaorong: "Chinese Ambassador to Mauritius Bian Yanhua says: 'There isn't much to do in Mauritius at night. So, most families stay home and watch TV. The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation is very willing to screen Chinese TV programs. So the center is cooperating by providing popular Chinese TV series.' Director General of MBC [Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation] Dan Callikan says Chinese TV series with English and French subtitles are the third most popular after Indian and Brazilian programs."

Survey shows that Western music is not very popular on All India Radio. Jazz enthusiast fumes.

Posted: 17 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Hindustan Times, 9 July 2012, Sanjib Kr Baruah: "There may be a drastic cut in FM western music programmes aired by All India Radio (AIR) in the national capital territory region. AIR’s expected move comes on the back of findings of a radio listenership survey conducted from January 17-23 in NCR by the broadcaster’s audience research unit and a private agency. Survey findings reveal that only two of the twelve western music programmes had listenership of more than 1.1%. All the ten other programmes had not more than 1.1% with four programmes recording zero listenership. ... Leeladhar Mandloi, AIR director general [said] 'The dip in listening of western music programmes has been constant since the last few years. Western music programmes were primed at the young generation but the survey findings unfortunately indicate they are not coming on board. In any case, they have alternative platforms in ipads and Youtube.' ... Western music programmes as compared to Hindi music programmes also face certain constraints as they cannot broadcast the latest in western music because of intellectual property rights issues as the rights lie with international parties. 'This is a very wrong and retrograde move. Western music is western only in name but is universal in appeal. It is very much liked and enjoyed by the people,' fumed Soli Sorabjee, legal luminary and jazz enthusiast."

Yitz, Nick and Alex will help Discovery Networks with "ambitious growth plans" in Western Europe.

Posted: 17 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 9 July 2012, Robert Briel: "Discovery Networks Western Europe has promoted Yitz Shmulewitz to the new role of COO and CFO Discovery Networks Western Europe. In addition, Nicolas Bonard has been appointed to the new position of general manager France and Discovery Enterprises International with immediate effect. Both Shmulewitz and Bonard will report into Dee Forbes, president and MD, Discovery Networks Western Europe. ... Alexander Nielsen, research director for the Nordic region has also been promoted to the new role of country manager Norway and research director Nordic. ... Dee Forbes, president and managing director, Discovery Networks Western Europe, said: 'These promotions reflect the ambitious growth plans that the Western Europe business is embarking on. Over the last two years Discovery’s Western Europe business has seen considerable growth with the launch of three free to air channels in Italy and Spain and the roll-out of DNI’s flagship female lifestyle brand TLC in a number of markets including Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. ... Yitz, Nick and Alex are very talented individuals and I am delighted that we have been able to recognise their ability and success with these much deserved promotions.'"

Presenter on China's CCTV presents two-part BBC World Service documentary on China's economy.

Posted: 16 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News Magazine, 4 July 2012, Neal Razzell: "Rui Chenggang has eight million followers on social media sites and his latest book sold just under 200,000 copies in its first month on the shelves. What has made this Chinese journalist such a huge celebrity? ... Rui Chenggang is a man who, in China at least, needs no introduction. On a good night, he says, his news programme on state television is watched by as many as 300 million people. He has eight million followers spread over various microblogging sites, including Weibo. ... He has asked on his microblog when Chinese leaders will start being chauffeured in Chinese luxury cars, rather than the ubiquitous foreign ones of today. (He drives a Jaguar, built by India's Tata Motors, 'because it is built by a company from a developing country'.) Another criticism, breathed mainly by those who only know him through the media, is that he is cocky. On a panel with the US Ambassador to Beijing, Gary Locke, Rui asked if he flies economy class instead of business 'because you owe us so much money?' At a press conference with President Obama in 2009, he said he could represent 'all of Asia' with his question - a comment that still sends eyes rolling among journalists in Beijing. ... Rui Chenggang's two part documentary China - The Insider's View was broadcast on BBC World Service." -- This BBC story mentions that Rui Chenggang works for "state television," but does not specify CCTV. In the BBC Documentary, Rui states that China is trying to learn the lessons of the problems caused by the "quick money culture" of the United States. Episode 2 of Rui's BBCWS documentary is here. More about Rui Chenggang here.

Voice of Russia broadcaster begins global voyage on barque Sedov.

Posted: 15 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 4 July 2012: "The Voice of Russia is finally to travel around the world: Russia's STS Sedov research barque which is sailing around the globe took the VoR correspondent Karina Ivashko on board in Germany's Cuxhaven. And here she is with more details. ... 'My bunkmates were trainees: there is no special word to explain this notion in Russian. They are neither tourists, nor passengers, but people who paid to practice on board with cadets. On my first day on board we saw the real "all hands on deck" work – after breakfast at 7.30 a.m. and flag raisings at 8.00. the deck was in chaos: unwinding and pulling ropes under orders by boatswains; cadets climbing the masts resembling ropewalkers, – and the height is scary, 56 meters above the waterline – a 16-storeyed house! In less than an hour, chaos became grandeur – Sedov raised the sails.'"

Euronews will add Greek version and expands distribution in Africa and Caribbean.

Posted: 15 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Greek Reporter, 26 June 2012, Marianna Tsatsou: "Euronews channel is about to broadcast 24/7 from Athens and as a result, Greek is going to be the 12th simultaneously broadcast language of the international news channel whose slant is to cover news from a European perspective, avoiding a national viewpoint. More specifically, an Athens-based channel will be created in order to present Greek news directly to a Greek-speaking audience. ... Both Greek and Cypriot journalists will be hired to work for Euronews, while Greeks abroad will have the chance to watch the Greek news on cable and satellite TV. Euronews will be the first Athens-based channel to provide around-the-clock news from Greece."

Broadband TV News, 4 July 2012, Robert Briel: "Euronews has joined the CanalSat Evasion package of the satellite platform available in more than 20 countries of the African continent. Euronews was already part of the Prestige package of the CANALSAT bouquet since 2003, but is now included in the 'Evasion' package, thereby tripling the number of potential viewers. ... Arnaud Verlhac, deputy director worldwide distribution at Euronews, said: 'Sub-Saharan Africa is the second largest market for Euronews, after Europe. In a geographic zone which attracts all the big news media, Euronews enjoys a strong position because of its unique perspective on world news and thanks to its French, English and Portuguese services which speak to audiences in the three main European languages of Africa. We are especially delighted by the show of confidence on the part of Canal+ Africa, enabling Euronews to triple its distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa.' ... With this new agreement between Euronews and Canal+ Africa, the channel will reach more than 20 million homes in the Sub-Saharan region."

Haiti Libre, 3 July 2012: "The international news channel Euronews, has signed a distribution agreement with the new Haitian platform of digital television (NUTV). Since July 1, on channel 736, EuroNews in French is available on Port-au-Prince then it will be gradually available throughout the territory in the coming months, through the Premium bouquet of NUTV."

Bizcommunity.com, 3 July 2012: "On 1 July, Euronews was also launched on the cable network of St Maarten, initially on the Dutch part of the island, then on the French side in the coming months. St. Maarten Cable TV offers the English edition of Euronews to the subscribers of the Digital TV Total bundle."

China's CCTV9 buys documentary, and is developing series, from Taiwan distributor.

Posted: 15 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media, 27 June 2012, Clive Whittingham: "Taiwan-based distributor The Classic Vision has sold a feature-length documentary about love and marriage to CCTV9 in China and is seeking broadcast partners for a spin-off series. Let’s Fall in Love is a 90-minute film from director Wuna Wu and producer Ging Lee. It follows the work of matchmaker and relationship counsellor Hellen Chen and the couples who seek her help. ... CCTV9, the fledgling documentary channel from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV ... is also seeking broadcasters around the world to take on a spin-off series from the film featuring Chen and directed by Wu."

CNN's "non-partisan identity" helps it get international cable/satellite deals, and profits (updated).

Posted: 14 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic Wire, 13 June 2012, John Hudson: "Vanilla cable news channel CNN is ceaselessly derided for its rock-bottom primetime ratings and gimmicky presentation but the middle-of-the-road network is actually a profit-generating behemoth. ... [A]s a business, CNN is on track to net nearly $600 million in operating profit this year, a record high, which means that in the statistic that matters most, the network is anything but 'ailing.' So how does CNN make so much money with such lousy ratings? Oddly enough, the secret is its oft-derided non-partisan perspective and its international presence. In May, Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of Time Warner, CNN's parent company, told shareholders the $600 million figure was linked to its international success. Though often under-appreciated in the States, CNN International, has its tentacles everywhere, as the Financial Times' Emily Steel and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson reported last month. 'Its global network CNN International, available in more than 265 million households across more than 200 countries, has reported record growth in audience and ad revenues this year,' they reported. And if you're looking for where it compensates for its meager primetime ratings, look no further than this stat: 'CNN International accounts for 20 percent of CNN’s global revenue, a spokeswoman says, or twice the contribution from US primetime ads,' they reported. 'About half of CNN Worldwide’s revenues come from fees from cable and satellite distributors, which research firm SNL Kagan estimates will hit $17 billion in the US alone this year, up 9.3 percent from 2011.' Part of securing those lucrative cable and satellite deals relies on CNN's non-partisan identity (if a provider is going to offer only one 24-hour news channel, it will go with the middle-of-the-road option instead of liberal MSNBC or conservative Fox News)."

News on News, 18 June 2012, Kevin Coy: "CNN International, with its many projects, and the segments in the new 'Amanpour' show, coupled with it's current scheduling, seems to be more interested in saving the world. To be honest, and as I've written several times over the past few years, CNN International has seriously lost its news edge. In the late 90's, CNN was the place to go for news on the Bosnia, Kosovo and even the Afghanistan conflicts, but not any more. The whole fact that over the last weekend, CNN broadcast more recorded programming than any other news channel just cemented its place as a failed place to go for news."

Update: The Wrap, 6 July 2012, Tim Molloy: CNN "stresses that for all its domestic ratings woes, it is only part of a global news empire that far exceeds that of Fox News or MSNBC. That empire includes CNN International and CNN Espanol, and reaches 259 million households abroad. It boasts that it is the top news provider in Europe and is the top English-language news outlet in the Middle East. The network also points to CNN.com's 100 million video starts per year globally, one sign of the strength of CNN Digital, which has a whopping 73 million monthly unique visitors. CNN's strong reputation for international reporting extends back to its coverage of the outbreak of the first Gulf War, which made household names of Wolf Blitzer, now the host of 'The Situation Room,' and Christiane Amanpour, who reports for both CNN and ABC. ... [CNN Worldwide managing editor Mark Whitaker] drew on an anecdote from CNN's international coverage to explain how the network's influence can't be measured merely in domestic TV ratings. When rebels took over the Libyan city of Benghazi last year during the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, at one point a crowd of celebrating townspeople looked up to see a CNN camera crew. 'And in unison, thousands of people started chanting "CNN, CNN, CNN,"' he said. 'People around the world really appreciate what we stand for, and what we do.'"

CNN Press Room, 14 June 2012: "CNN International today announced that ‘Winning Post’, the network’s flat racing strand is expanding beyond its existing coverage of major meetings, to a dedicated monthly programme. ... Few sports can match the elegance and history of horse racing. Where ancient tradition meets cutting-edge technology, CNN takes viewers inside the track; getting the stories from the top trainers, jockeys and owners in the business, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the fashions and the fortunes that go hand-in-hand with the most glamorous sport on the planet."

CNN Press Room, 13 June 2012: "This month, ‘Inside the Middle East’ explores the stories of women throughout the region, highlighting Jordan in particular as a country whose constitution doesn't codify equal gender rights." See also.

CNN Press Room, 19 June 2012: "CNN International is taking the award-winning CNN ECOSPHERE – www.cnn-ecosphere.com – live in the run-up to Rio20+, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (June 20th to 22nd). Tweets with the Hashtag #Rio20 will become visible in a digitally rendered ‘living sphere’ on approximately 30 ‘Topic-Trees’. This unique computer-generated sphere made its debut at the Durban Climate Change Conference 2011, where it collated and displayed users’ ideas on key aspects of the conference. The ECOSPHERE allows CNN International to gather opinions, ideas and thoughts of the worldwide twitter community on sustainability and climate change policy and makes them visible."

Emirates 24/7, 20 June 2012, onpassing Turner Broadcasting job announcement: "CNN International is the world’s leading news channel - providing award-winning content across multiple platforms to upscale global citizens. Bring your experience of adsales traffic to us and you’ll not only be able to develop your career in this thriving global company - you’ll actively contribute to its ongoing success. Joining our Digital Adsales team in a brand new role, you’ll play a key operational part in making sure our multi-million dollar advertising campaigns are a success."

American Public Media takes over US distribution of BBC World Service, "against a news landscape of increased noise and opinion."

Posted: 14 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
American Public Media press release, 12 July 2012: "BBC World Service and American Public Media have announced today that American Public Media will distribute BBC World Service English radio programs to public radio stations in the United States for the next five years. American Public Media began distribution of BBC World Service on July 1, 2012. This new partnership will ensure that Americans have increased access to the highest quality global news that affects their lives. It also provides an opportunity to build on and expand the relationship already established with American Public Media through editorial collaborations between its daily national business program, Marketplace and BBC World Service journalists. ... In the U.S. more than 500 local public radio stations broadcast BBC content - mainly news and current affairs programming, including its flagship global newscast Newshour. 'With global events often resonating at national and local levels, BBC World Service is a distinct voice offering U.S. audiences access to independent and impartial news,' said Richard Porter, Controller English, Global News. 'Against a news landscape of increased noise and opinion, BBC World Service gets to the heart of news stories with objective reporting from around the world and allows U.S. audiences a unique perspective on their own country. I'm delighted that we are working with American Public Media in the U.S., and hope that together we can best serve the needs of our audiences here.' ... Jon McTaggart, president and CEO, American Public Media [said] 'Now more than ever, U.S. audiences are wrestling with important questions, and the BBC World Service provides an uncompromised free press that informs, illuminates and explains the 'what' and 'why it matters' from around the globe.'" -- APM replaces Public Radio International as US distributor of BBC World Service. See previous post.

BBC News Magazaine, 7 July 2012, Daniel Nasaw: "US television networks and media outlets in recent years have been increasingly willing to help rehabilitate disgraced politicians and public figures by offering them air time. Political crooks, a stock market hype-man, an insider-trading cheat who lied to federal investigators and others have all turned their fortunes around in part because the American television networks long ago relinquished their role as a moral arbiters, analysts say. The journalistic mission became secondary to using notorious names to attract audiences."

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 29 June 2012: "Fort Wayne public radio station WBOI (89.1 FM) will expand its news coverage by carrying the BBC World Service overnight beginning July 1st. During the weekdays WBOI will feature the World Service from midnight to 5 a.m. WBOI will carry the BBC from midnight to 7 a.m. Saturday, and midnight to 4 a.m. Sunday. The station will discontinue its overnight syndicated music service, Jazzworks. 'In part, the move is prompted by recent significant news events, such as the uprisings in the Middle East, that required us to interrupt music service overnight,' said Northeast Indiana Public Radio (NIPR)General Manager Will Murphy."

Report: BBC plans to place its for-profit international news operations under new BBC Global Ltd.

Posted: 14 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 12 July 2012, Jake Kanter: "The BBC is planning a major restructure of its Global News division in a move that will split its commercial and non commercial activities. Broadcast understands that the corporation is preparing to hive off two money-making services, BBC World News and the international version of the BBC News website, into a new company, creating a clearer distinction between them and the soon-to-be licence fee funded World Service. The changes are effectively a reversal of a restructure that was undertaken in 2007/08 when the World Service, World News, the international news website, BBC Monitoring and the BBC World Service Trust were rolled into the Global News division. The new company housing World News and bbc.com/news will be called BBC Global Ltd and the broadcaster is understood to be in the process of appointing a chief executive. It will be distinct from BBC Worldwide, which it is believed will continue to manage advertising sales and international distribution for Global Ltd services in the same way it currently does for World News and bbc.com/news. ... One source said the move would allow Global Ltd to focus on building audiences and international revenues. ... The source added it would make sense for the BBC to hive off other potentially profitable parts of the World Service into the new limited company, such as its Arabic and Persian news operations. But BBC insiders made it clear that was not under consideration. A spokesman for the BBC confirmed it would merge the news section of bbc.com and BBC World News into one business and management structure, but said the details of the decision were 'still being worked through'."

If US international could consolidate into a single corporation -- an increasingly remote prospect given the parochial attitudes of its entities -- the unified non-profit corporation could create a for-profit subsidiary to accomplish the same sorts of financial gains that BBC will enjoy. The arrangement would also require a partnership with one or more US domestic broadcasting organizations, thus matching the advantage of BBC Global News with its connection (now, indeed, in the same building) to BBC domestic.

"Global satellite operators are looking east, where they seek fresh impetus for growth in Asia's middle-class consumers."

Posted: 13 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 8 July 2012, Chun Han Wong: "For European satellite company SES, the Asian sky's the limit. Faced with well-developed and largely saturated markets in Europe and North America, global satellite operators are looking east, where they seek fresh impetus for growth in Asia's middle-class consumers and burgeoning enterprises." ... Depak Mathur, SES senior VP EAP: "Asia isn't a single monolith—the markets are at various stages of evolution. We have developed markets like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, with different demand structures compared to markets like India, Indonesia and Thailand, which are in their growth phase. Others like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Pacific islands are still in the early stages. ... At the moment, the regulatory environment in China doesn't permit us to provide services directly to Chinese customers, and the direct-to-home platform there is owned and run by the government. Regulations will evolve for different subsets of the telecommunications industry—voice, data, video—at different paces. My sense is that China will first potentially allow enterprise-type applications of satellite services, rather than, say, for media."

Radio Australia back on the FM band in Fiji.

Posted: 13 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Australia, 12 July 2012: "Radio Australia – the international radio and multiplatform service of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – is now available 24 hours a day in Fiji on local FM frequencies. Through Radio Australia, the ABC can now be heard via locally based transmitters in Suva, Nadi and Labasa on 106.6FM, and in the coming weeks on 106.4FM in Ba. ... The availability of these frequencies in Fiji complements existing ABC Radio Australia FM services located in 12 other Pacific and 5 South-East Asia locations. Radio Australia’s FM transmitters in Suva and Nadi were switched off on April 2009 and since that time Radio Australia has been accessible to audiences in Fiji via Shortwave radio broadcasts and online. Through dialogue with the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and the Fijian Ministry of Information Radio Australia’s FM services have resumed." See previous post about same subject.

In other Australian international broadcasting news...

The Australian, 28 June 2012, David Crowe: "Julia Gillard's department has exposed a rift with other agencies by rejecting damning criticism of the $223 million Australia Network tender, as the government prepares to fold the diplomatic TV channel into the ABC. The Prime Minister's department yesterday rebuffed the Auditor-General's key finding on the failed process, insisting there was 'no uncertainty' about how the tender was to be decided. But the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee, stood by his conclusions as parliamentarians sought assurances from senior officials that the bungle would not be repeated. ... The rare dispute in a public hearing revealed the continuing wounds over the process, which is yet to be resolved as Ms Gillard's department takes the lead in deciding how to make the diplomatic network a permanent part of the ABC. The government is now several months behind its own timetable to finalise the deal with the ABC, with departments consulting on how to do it. Officials indicated that while the channel would allow the ABC to provide a form of public diplomacy for the government, there were no amendments expected to the broadcaster's legislation to provide for this." -- If the ABC is to remain credible as a news provider, it must distance itself from "public diplomacy."

Philippines listener sees tablets and smartphones as successors to shortwave radios.

Posted: 13 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 June 2012, Michael L. Tan: "There was a time when the only way you could listen to radio stations abroad was to use shortwave. There were special multiband radios for this, and you had to go through the dials ever so slowly, or you’d miss the station you were looking for. Even if you did get the station, you could easily lose it, depending on factors like the quality of the shortwave radio, the strength of the broadcasting station’s signal, and even the weather. ... But the days of these shortwave radios are numbered now that there’s Internet radio. Thousands of radio stations have been streaming through the Internet for several years now, so you could get the stations through a computer. The quality now depends on the speed of Internet connections, which has improved tremendously through the years. But listening to Internet radio with a computer, even a laptop, still isn’t very convenient. So it took the emergence of tablets (for example Apple’s iPad) and smartphones (cell phones that allow you to surf on the Internet) to get more people on to, and, in my case, hooked on Internet radio. The tablets and the smartphones are so portable with a reliable 3G connection, or a stable Wi-Fi connection, you can pretty much listen to the world wherever you are in the house, in the office, or at the beach. ... My favorite stations are BBC (World Service, and BBC3, which is classical music) and NPR (American National Public Radio) and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) with a wide assortment of programs, from news on the hour, to discussions around science, the arts, even religion and ethics."

BBC World Service, post-Bush House, "enduring beacon of truth and objectivity" or "whacky 1930s fad"?

Posted: 13 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 12 July 2012: "BBC World Service radio has broadcast its final news bulletin from its longstanding home at Bush House in central London. The global service is leaving Bush House after more than seven decades for new quarters. The final Bush House broadcast was read by BBC director-general Mark Thompson. He praised Bush House as an 'enduring beacon of truth and objectivity' and said it had been the scene of many great moments in BBC history."

BBC News, 12 July 2012: Video of the final BBC World Service newscast from Bush House, read by Iain Purdon. BBC News, 12 July 2012: Video interview with BBC director general Mark Thompson about Bush House.

The Guardian, 12 July 2012, Dan Sabbagh: "Built at the behest of the American industrialist Irving T Bush, the neoclassical building opened in 1925 and the £2m cost of construction reputedly made it the most expensive building in the world. Its famous portico features two statues symbolising Britain and America, with an inscription 'dedicated to the friendship of English-speaking peoples'."

Daily Mail, 12 July 2012, Lindsay Johns: "Call me sentimental or excessively melancholy, but there was something comforting and reassuring knowing that the World Service broadcast to far flung corners of the globe from the very heart of London and from this building in particular, with its wealth of historical associations."

The Telegraph, 12 July 2012, Ed West: "The final BBC broadcast from Bush House has taken place, after 80 years. Like many British conservatives, I have a love-hate relationship with the BBC. On the one hand, it's a bastion of our civilisation and a first-class broadcaster, on the other, a stubbornly biased and over-mighty media operator. ... Inside the building, one really gets a sense of the power of the spoken world. Across the planet, speakers of Dutch, Danish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Pashto and Persian, and of course, English, are linked to the outside world through a (reasonably) impartial broadcaster. That’s something, I think, that all Britons can be proud of." -- BBC broadcast internationally from Bush House for 70 years. Dutch, Danish, and Bulgarian are no longer World Service languages.

Radio Times, 12 July 2012, Chloe Oliver and Tom Cole: "1925...was when the building first opened. Complete with a swimming pool, if you please. 1940...the year the BBC World Service (European Service) moved to Bush House after being bombed out of Broadcasting House during the war."

The Telegraph, 12 July 2012, Rob Crilly: "Of course, the sad truth is that a once great institution has been ripped apart by years of BBC bean counters followed by a Government which has imposed millions of pounds in cuts. I still listen to the World Service but often with gritted teeth. Programmes are repeated so frequently that I can sometimes turn off the same show three times in a day. The entertainment shows have largely gone, replaced by a never-ending stream of identikit news programmes. Listening through the day is now only possible for goldfish, such is the repetitive nature of the programming. And worst of all, I now have to endure a phone-in show – surely the most obvious sign of a cash-strapped broadcaster (imagine Talk Sport discussing worthy topics such as circumcision or the future of nomadic herders while presenters, who would clearly rather be making proper radio programmes, have to fill air time as yet another call from Kinshasa goes down, and you'll get the idea) – as I try to fall asleep."

The Guardian, 13 July 2012, Rupert Sawyer: "Yesterday, a large group of overpaid leftwing grumblers and xenophiles packed their sandals, beard-trimmers and phrasebooks and moaned every step of the 31-minute walk (1.5 miles according to my sources) from the Strand to Portland Place – to be honest, if the BBC were paying, they probably went by limousine. But the great injustice was not that these dinosaurs of shortwave radio (and similar) were dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century to the new Broadcasting House, it's that the taxpayer is forced to continue funding this whacky 1930s fad at all."

The Guardian, 12 July 2012, editorial: "Some African listeners addressed letters to The Queen, c/o Bush House. It penetrated Stalin's gulag. It informed millions about what was going on in their own backyard, often in their own language. The World Service soldiers on, shedding jobs, languages and listeners. The fate of Bush House is unclear."

See previous post about same subject.

"Last pips" from Bush House were at 1100 GMT on 12 July.

Posted: 12 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
@bbclysedoucet, 12 July 2012: "Bye Bye dear Bush House, home @BBCWorldservice for 70 yrs. Last pips today as last bulletin broadcast to world 11G. New BH awaits." -- BH = Broadcasting House.

@LucyNews, 12 July 2012, "The news goes on, just not from here" @iainpurdon wrapping up the final news bulletin from Bush House. #perfect"

@WilliamsJon, 12 July 2012: "The studios & corridors fall silent. Goodbye #Bush. This was London!" With photo.

@PeterHorrocks1, 12 July 2012: "On the roof of Bush House. 20 minutes before the final BBC World Service bulletin." With photo.

BBC News, 12 July 2012: "The BBC World Service has broadcast from Bush House in central London for the last time later. The final news bulletin was read at 1200 BST from the building that has been the broadcaster's home for more than 70 years. It included a special dispatch recorded by the BBC's director general, Mark Thompson." With video.

See previous post about same subject.

Last BBC World Service newscast from Bush House was 12 July at 1100 GMT (updated).

Posted: 12 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 11 July 2012, Maria Golovnina: "At noon London time on July 12, 2012, Britain will slip silently into a new era of radio history. At the top of the hour, the BBC World Service - once the voice of the British empire - will transmit its last radio news bulletin from its imposing home, Bush House in central London. For more than 70 years the art-deco building was the beating heart of the British Broadcasting Corporation's overseas service and a bastion of press freedom around the world. From here King George V addressed the Empire in 1932, Charles de Gaulle defied the Nazis, and legions of emigres sent news in dozens of languages to the unmistakeable introductory strains of Lilliburlero, its signature tune."

Update: BBC News Magazine, 11 July 2012, Anna Horsbrugh-Porter: "Since March, Bush House has been emptying gradually. Region by region and floor by floor, the language services have been leaving. Now the move is almost complete, the building is silent and the lifts come unnervingly fast. The central newsroom is the last to leave, waiting until midday on Thursday 12 July, when the final five-minute bulletin will be read, and then the switch will be complete." With slide show. See more BBC World Service farewell to Bush House coverage, with links to audio. More pictures in The Guardian, 11 July 2012.

The Guardian, 9 July 2012, Hugh Muir: "The sombre mood has not been improved by the announcement that the final two minutes of that bulletin will be occupied by a dispatch from the dear leader now departing, Mark Thompson. Come wars or plague, the last item will be him. For the avoidance of confusion, and indeed spontaneity, the farewell address was recorded two weeks ago. After musing about BBC history and the emptying building – as if reporting live from the beach at Dunkirk – he signs off: 'Mark Thompson, BBC News, Bush House' – regardless of the fact that he was hardly seen there. Many feel that a valedictory dispatch from a long-serving correspondent would have been more appropriate, but a plan is a plan and the boss is the boss."

openDemocracy, 9 July 2012, Claire Bolderson: "If this were just a physical move, I’d give it more than a fighting chance. But the emptying of Bush House coincides with the slashing of World Service budgets – and more. The Foreign Office, once its funder and protector, is casting the corporation’s international arm adrift, leaving it to sink or swim inside an embattled BBC that’s in no position to be generous. ... The World Service has lost resources and its much loved home; by 2014 it will have lost a quarter of its staff and its traditional source of funding. Yes there will be benefits from working more closely with colleagues from other departments day to day. But there are also threats. You can’t blame the incredibly dedicated World Service staff for worrying that they are about to be swallowed up by the domestic-facing BBC."

London Evening Standard, 11 July 2012, Jonathan Prynn: "Thousands of fragments of BBC history, ranging from 'on air' lights to a picture of Sir Paul McCartney broadcasting live to fans in Russia, are going under the hammer in a huge auction. The lots are all from Bush House, the Aldwych home of the BBC World Service for the past 71 years, which the Corporation vacates tomorrow. Entire studios are among the items for sale and are expected to attract bids of up to £10,000." The Telegraph, 10 July 2012, Christopher Middleton: "Bidding opens on July 13; online only. To register, and to view an online catalogue, visit Peaker Pattinson Auctions, at ppauctions.com." Gizmag, 12 July 2012, Paul Ridden has more on the auction.

BBC News, 2 July 2012, Martin Webber: "World Service radio's World Business Report broadcast its final programme from Bush House in the early hours of 2 July 2012. Programmes are now coming from the state-of-the-art studios in New Broadcasting House - a stone's throw from Oxford Circus in central London. Daily Business programmes first started being broadcast from Bush House in 1995. Prior to that, the financial news came from the central BBC business unit at the old Broadcasting House."

The Sunday Indian, 6 July 2012, Vijay Rana: "This was an unimaginable shock. The ‘Sharabkhana’ or the Bush House Club was empty on a Friday evening. Though I was always teased as a ‘juicewalla’ by my lager-guzzling friends, I grew up admiring the spirit of the place. This was a unique assembly point where BBC’s famous broadcasters from Europe, Asia, Africa and Americas met most evenings and gossiped about everything from global politics to departmental promotions with the help of subsidised alcohol."

robinthefog, 28 June 2012: "Entirely produced on site at Bush House, using field recordings made within the hallowed hallways, two elderly reel-to-reel machines and not that much else, I’m happy to say that ["Ghosts of Bush" is] now ready for your perusal... ." With audio.

You're from iRan? iSorry. iCan't sell you an iPad. (iUpdated this iTem.)

Posted: 12 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 22 June 2012, Sam Farzaneh: "Sahar Sabet, 19, was at an Apple store in Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, with her uncle. He had come from Iran to visit her family, who live in the state. 'I was telling him how much the product was, in Farsi,' she told the BBC, referring to the language spoken in Iran and often by Iranian-American exiles. The unfamiliar sounds caught the salesman's ear; he asked what language they were speaking. She answered, then told him she was Iranian. At that, the salesman told her he could not sell her the iPad, 'because Iran and the US don't have good relations with each other', she said."

Update: New York Times, 11 July 2012, Jamal Abdi, policy director at the National Iranian American Council: "Apple has not been taken over by xenophobes. The discrimination is one result of trying to enforce flawed and haphazard United States export controls against countries, like Iran, that are under sanctions. Retail employees are left to interpret and implement federal policy, and racial profiling results. ... Meanwhile, goals like Internet freedom, so central to pro-democracy and human rights movements, are being undermined in Iran because companies, including Google, Yahoo and certain Web hosts, deny services to computers with Iranian I.P. addresses. Notwithstanding such restrictions, Apple products and Internet services are widely used in Iran, as evidenced by the role of technology during the 2009 democracy demonstrations."

Satellite platform Multichoice/DStv "losing a fortune" to Zimbabwean decoders.

Posted: 11 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 6 July 2012, Chris Forrester: "According to a BBC Monitoring report South African pan-regional broadcaster MultiChoice/DStv is losing 'hundreds of thousands of dollars a year' because of signal piracy by Zimbabwean users of a pirate set-top box. The device, sold locally as the ‘Magic Box’ manages to decrypt DStv’s channels. Satellite decoder dealers say the Magic Box has been around since early last year, selling for an average of 120, and one can access the full bouquet without any interruption. The DStv full bouquet costs $73 a month. 'We buy the decoders from Dubai and China, but there are some cheaper ones coming from Botswana,' said a local satellite installer, to technology newsletter Balancing Act News, which covers African matters. Those that are coming from Botswana are a result of a massive campaign by Botswana’s MultiChoice to block Magic Box from pirating the signal early this year. Zimbabwe is already one of world’s worst offenders for TV signal piracy, with an estimated 92 percent of homes using local decoders to view South African signals, in particular those of SABC."

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 19 June 1012: "To tap into international broadcasts, some Zimbabweans are making use of new technology. Particularly popular these days are free-to-air-decoders. Costing between 45 and 55 euros, they can be found at almost any electronic shop, even in small towns and remote business centres. They require no licence. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has requested all the exiled radio stations to register and regularize their operations. And yet, a disturbing trend where only President Mugabe’s loyalists have been awarded the operating licenses has been noted."

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation will rebroadcast news from China's CCTV.

Posted: 11 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
SW Radio Africa, 4 Africa 2012, Lance Guma: "Viewers will have more reason to switch off from an already stale Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation after the station entered into a deal that will see them broadcast Chinese news programmes for the next three years. On Monday ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere, and Luo Ming from China Central Television (CCTV), signed a Memorandum of Understanding spelling out the terms of the deal. It was reported that CCTV will, among other things, provide ZBC with the necessary equipment to receive the programmes. The deal however is not expected to help ZBC arrest a shocking decline in audience figures."

The Herald (Harare), 3 July 2012: Communist Party of China "vice minister of the publicity department Mr Cai Fuchao said Sino-Zimbabwe relations would continue to blossom despite several efforts by Western countries to distract them. 'We are here to champion the benefits of both countries. Zimbabwe has the resources and we can also weigh in with technical assistance so that both countries benefit. Our parties went through the same road to emancipate ourselves and it is this that binds us together as we fight external forces,' he said."

Xinhua, 3 July 2012: Zimbabwe's Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu "said Zimbabwe and China share strong relations and that the two countries will continue to work together to counter imperialism. Earlier on, the visiting Chinese delegation paid a courtesy call on Zanu PF National Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, who said the two countries should work together to restore Zimbabwe's good image which was tarnished by Western propaganda."

China Daily, 4 July 2012: "Beatrice Marshall is a big name African TV presenter who has been headhunted by CCTV. A former news anchor for KTN (Kenya Television Network), she is now a regular screen presence for the Chinese television station from its new Nairobi studios. ... Marshall says CCTV is prepared to invest in talent but did not want to discuss details of her particular package. 'The pay rate here is very competitive,' she says. She says it is CCTV's global scope that means it can compete directly with rivals like CNN and Al Jazeera, which impresses her."

CNBC launches global fortnightly "Access: Middle East."

Posted: 11 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
CNBC press release, 27 June 2012: "CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, today announced that it is launching a new series covering business and finance in the Middle East, significantly increasing its news coverage of the region. Each fortnight, starting on 4 July, CNBC’s Yousef Gamal El-Din will present a new half-hour series, Access: Middle East which will air in primetime programming. Gamal El-Din will travel around the region taking an in-depth look at the key business centres, interviewing top business leaders and policy makers. The programme will examine the economy and highlight those industries leading the growth. Access: Middle East will air across CNBC’s regional networks in EMEA, Asia-Pacific and on CNBC World in the United States, with a combined reach of more than 190 million homes. The series will be produced from CNBC’s bureau in Dubai."

CNBC press release, 25 June 2012: "CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, has expanded its partnership in Japan with a new deal starting 1 July 2012. The arrangement will see Nikkei-CNBC representing CNBC for advertising out of Japan onto CNBC’s global broadcast network in the U.S, Asia, EMEA and on CNBC’s digital properties including CNBC.com and mobile apps. Nikkei-CNBC will develop advertising opportunities in Japan for clients who would like to connect with business decision makers across a range of industry sectors via CNBC’s global platform."

Did Julian Assange watch his final RT program in the Ecuadorian embassy?

Posted: 11 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 3 July 2012, citing RIA: "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is winding up a series of programs he has been hosting on Russia Today Television. Assange’s 12th and final program, starring Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, [went on the air 3 July]. The premiere of Assange-hosted show in which he interviews famous or ingenious people took place on Russia Today in April. As his final program goes on the air, Julian Assange is at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London pending a decision on his request for political asylum."

The Daily beast, 3 July 2012, Tracy Quan: "Fugitivism aside, a living-room atmosphere prevails on the show, whether guests are hanging with the host 'under house arrest' or, like Khan and Correa, chatting via webcam. Good thing it's so cozy in here. Out there? Not as much. ... While it's fun to watch an aggressive interviewer like the late Mike Wallace (or even Bill O'Reilly), it's more permanently edifying to watch an empath like Assange. That's right—Assange turns out to be an empathic and talented listener, at least when he's hosting a TV show."

Bloomberg View, 8 July 2012, Jeffrey Goldberg: "The other morning, after I read of an especially gruesome massacre of civilians by Syrian government forces, I plugged 'Syria' and 'massacre' into Google. I wanted to read as much as possible, as quickly as possible, from a variety of legitimate news sources. The No. 1 return was from the website of Russia Today, a government-controlled propaganda organization. ... Russia Today, in a natural reflection of its government’s policies, has been weighting its coverage of the Syrian intifada in favor of a regime that has killed more than 10,000 of its citizens. Undoubtedly, [its] 'sources' are Syrian government sources, and it is fair to surmise that they often lie about the actions of Bashar Assad’s dictatorship. I believe I’m a fairly sophisticated consumer of Mideast news. Or, at least, I’m sophisticated enough to distinguish obvious propaganda from depictions of observable facts. But I believe that other Internet surfers, when coming upon Russia Today, might not understand its politics and motivations. Which raises the question: Why can’t Google do better in presenting information?"

MediaWeek, 26 June 2012, Daniel Farey-Jones: "A new sales house called Axiom Media, representing a number of UK and international media owners including UTV, STV, Hellomagazine.com and Russia Today, is launching this week. Axiom is backed by Spanish media company Hola, the owner of Hello magazine, is and led by former ITV commercial director Jeremy Lawrence as chief executive. ... It also has exclusive agreements with Russia Today and its RT.com website, which it will represent globally... . Russia Today's TV channel is available on Freesat, Freeview and Sky."

Sky News Arabia set "appears sleek on air and shoots great."

Posted: 09 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
NewscastStudio, 25 June 2012: "Based in Abu Dhabi and serving as a competitor to Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia launched last month with all the glitz and fanfare you’d expect of a News Corp. owned network. Operating 24 hours a day, the station is located in twofour54, the media hub of Abu Dhabi. The main studio features multiple presentation areas, 12 Sony cameras and one of the largest monitor walls ever built. Nearly 10 meters long, the monitor wall is comprised of over 400 tiles. The network uses Vizrt to power its graphics with music composed by Box of Toys Audio. Overall, the set appears sleek on air and shoots great. The whole facility uses the latest workflows and technology, making it a top notch operation from the start."

Israel brands itself as "green country" with CNN International ads.

Posted: 09 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 24 June 2012, Sharon Udasin: "With the aim of branding itself as a 'green country,' the government has bought hundreds of 10-second broadcasting spots on CNN International to advertise its expertise in environmental innovation. The commercials, which will be shown in conjunction with CNN weather updates, feature a background slide show of photovoltaic panels, buds sprouting out of thick mud, a drop of water spreading ripples through a pool and sprawling wheat fields. In line with the images, a man’s voice narrates: 'Live Weather Updates, in association with Israel, pioneering green technology for a better world.'"

Planned French channel "will cover news of the Middle East from an Israeli perspective"; English version later.

Posted: 09 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Haaretz, 26 June 2012, Nati Toker and Amir Teig: "The controlling shareholder of [Israel's] HOT cable TV company is to invest in a new television channel to be broadcast in France that will cover news of the Middle East from an Israeli perspective. The Israeli-French businessman Patrick Drahi, who entered the Israeli communications market with his purchase in 2009 of a controlling interest in HOT, is expected to establish the station as an Israeli version of the Arabic channel Al Jazeera. It will operate from Israel and broadcast in France in French. ... Later, an English version of the channel is to be launched, directed mainly at the North American market. Sources close to Drahi said the Israeli government's public relations agencies will not be involved in the channel, and that the station's purpose will be to expose Israel's modern and vibrant lifestyle." -- Would compete with Jewish News One, although JN1, headquartered in Brussels, is pan-Jewish rather than specifically of, from, and about Israel.

Social media account of Al Jazeera English social media program hacked.

Posted: 08 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 5 July 2012: "The Twitter account of Al-Jazeera's English-language social media show has been hacked by supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hackers hijacked the Twitter account of 'The Stream,' a program aimed at tapping into online audiences. The account featured links to pro-Assad material Thursday."

The Daily Beast, 5 July 2012: "Well, that’s one way to conduct a social-media campaign. ... Al Jazeera producer James Wright has confirmed that the account was hacked, and warned followers to disregard all tweets from the handle until further notice."

RFE/RL in the News, 6 July 2012: "Reporting on corruption on Azerbaijan can cost journalists their privacy, their reputation, and even their lives. Award-winning investigative journalist and RFE/RL contributor Khadija Ismayilova discussed these threats on July 2 on Al Jazeera's popular daily show The Stream... ."

"Ultimately it's Al Jazeera that's going to make or break" story of unrest in Sudan.

Posted: 08 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, Democracy Lab, 27 June 2012, Christian Caryl: "What's happening in Sudan is nothing short of amazing. This is the country that has been ruled since 1989 by President Omar al-Bashir -- the man who faces a global arrest warrant after being charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court for his country's exterminationist policies in Darfur. ... Now, thousands of Sudanese are taking to the streets to defy him and his regime. ... Media coverage has been thin. CNN aired just a few grainy videos -- which is actually pretty commendable, considering that even the New York Times can't bring itself to do more than printing a few terse Reuters dispatches. (Unless you count their excellent blog The Lede, which finally brought out a good piece on the protests late yesterday.) But there are a few news organizations that have been doing their best to report on the developing situation: the BBC, Bloomberg, and Agence France-Presse. It's surely no coincidence that some of their correspondents have run into trouble with the authorities. ... Most Sudanese rely on outside sources for their news. By far the most popular outlet is the Qatari-financed satellite TV broadcaster Al Jazeera. But there's a problem: The Qataris are friendly with the Bashir regime, and so Al Jazeera's Arabic programming has been notably coy in its reporting. For the first few days Al Jazeera barely deigned to mention the demonstrations. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya has been notably more forthcoming, but not as many Sudanese watch it. [Opposition activist Yousif] Elmahdi credits Al Arabiya -- as well as Arabic radio broadcasts from the BBC, Radio Monte Carlo, and U.S.-financed Radio Sawa -- with pressuring the Qataris to provide more balanced coverage of the events. But there's still a ways to go. 'Ultimately it's Al Jazeera that's going to make or break this,' says Elmahdi. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit." -- Or perhaps this will be the story that defines the new Sky News Arabia.

Haaretz, 3 July 2012: "Eight years after the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Al-Jazeera network published on Tuesday findings of an investigation which attempts to shed light on the circumstances of his death. According to the report, Swiss experts found high levels of polonium, a highly radioactive element, in his personal belongings."

Al Jazeera English, The Stream, 5 July 2012: "We discuss the findings from Al Jazeera’s investigative report into Arafat’s cause of death with the man behind the report, Al Jazeera's Clayton Swisher."

Commentary, 8 July 2012, Omri Ceren: "I was really looking forward to following Newsweek’s suggestion that I 'get smarter in 2012' by watching Al Jazeera. Now it turns out the network would rather indulge in feverish conspiracy mongering than carry out junior high school arithmetic before running stories. One begins to really worry that Hillary Clinton was wrong about Al Jazeera’s vaunted news ethics."

Eurasia Review, 24 June 2012, Regina Wang: "Speaking at a pace that mirrored the speed of a Twitter feed, Riyaad Minty, head of social media for Al Jazeera [said the] Arab Spring has taught all mainstream media a lesson, he said, as citizens have risen to do exactly what journalists do, namely live tweeting and live blogging. 'What journalists need to do is to put the information in context and broadcast back to their audience. They then need to pay attention to and engage their audience by posting and responding to their feedback.' Journalists, he said, need to increasingly view themselves as content producers and curators instead of TV broadcasters."

Deutsche Welle looks back at 50 years of broadcasts to Central/SE Europe. And more DW in the news.

Posted: 08 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
DW press release, 5 July 2012: "Deutsche Welle's first radio broadcasts in Polish, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish went on air in 1962. Today, its programming for the region is a full multimedia spectrum that includes the Internet, television and radio. ... Half a century later, a number of these language departments are continuing to provide a well-received journalistic service. In 2012, the Polish, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish editorial teams are celebrating their 50th anniversary. DW's Polish Department has seen Poland undergo great transformations over the last few decades, and throughout this time, it has continued to inform the people in a way that challenges the stereotypical Polish perception of Germany. Today, it offers its audience an Internet news site and a German-Polish television magazine, 'Euro sasiedzi' (Euroneighbors), a co-production with Polish channel TVP Info, which reaches up to 500,000 viewers on a regular basis."

Deutsche Welle press release, 27 June 2012: Deutsche Welle director general Erik Bettermann, at the closing ceremony of the DW's Global Media Forum, "invited broadcasters everywhere to join Deutsche Welle in championing the global topic of education through project partnerships and co-productions. The director general announced the theme of next year's Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum: 'The Future of Growth - New Economies and the Media.' In the course of the conference from June 17 to 19, Deutsche Welle will also be celebrating its 60th anniversary."

DW press release, 6 July 2012: "Director General Erik Bettermann and Darrel D. Colson, President of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, USA, have reached an agreement in Bonn for closer cooperation between the two institutions. ... [E]ach year a Wartburg College graduate will be able to take part in the master's program titled International Media Studies at the DW Akademie. Further plans include instituting a teacher exchange and a spring course for American students at the DW Akademie."

DW press release, 21 June 2012: "Despite being blocked by the Iranian authorities since 2009, Deutsche Welle's news website in Farsi has a growing user base. It is ranked among DW’s most successful language sites. Within a few years, DW's Persian Department has managed to transform its website into one of Deutsche Welle's most visited pages. It offers its readers uncensored news and information on significant international issues as well as on political developments in Iran, among others the Iranian nuclear program. Providing independent and reliable information, DW’s news site in Farsi targets Persian speaking audiences around the world, particularly those in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. ... 'I want to thank you for your work, because due to the censorship here we receive a lot of false information,' wrote one Iran-based user recently. 'Although loading your page is made more difficult for us by a filter, we try to find ways to get around this.'"

Deutsche Welle, 27 June 2012, Silke Wünsch: "This year's Deutsche Welle Blog Awards - 'the BOBs' - were presented on Tuesday at the Global Media Forum 2012. The first prize went to an Iranian blogger repeatedly arrested for his critical articles." See also DW, 26 June 2012.

DW press release, 4 July 2012: "On July 5, Deutsche Welle (DW) begins the season two of its telenovela for German learners: 'Jojo sucht das Glück' (Jojo's Search for Happiness). It will premiere at the International German Olympics (IDO) in Frankfurt. Love, intrigue and German - that's the formula with which 'Jojo sucht das Glück' has won over its viewers. From the start of the first season in July 2010, a growing community of fans has followed the story about a Brazilian student named Jojo."

Radio World, 21 June 2012: "German broadcaster Deutsche Welle began production of the fourth series of its educational radio program 'Learning by Ear,' this time for Afghanistan. Launched in 2009, the interactive distance-learning program is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and available via radio and on the Internet. With a team of more than 50 actors, reporters and technicians, the broadcaster is preparing more than 200 episodes aimed at young listeners between age 12 and 20. The program, which is recorded in Dari and Pashto, the official languages of Afghanistan, now includes more than 6,000 minutes of content." See also Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 8 July 2012. And another on 8 July 2012.

Deutsche Welle Sines relay, "in very good condition" and "maintained daily," will be dismantled.

Posted: 08 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Recyclingportal.eu, 22 June 2012: "Following the considerable decrease of shortwave broadcasts, Deutsche Welle is planning on shutting down the relay station in Sines, Portugal, completely and liquidating its assets there. The relay station has been in service since 1970. The winning proposal should outline a plan for dismantling the station while reusing or recycling the antennae, transmitters and associated materials. The list of materials also includes the motor pool, stock and commercial inventory. The contractor will receive a commission of 25-35% of net revenues for services provided. Several appraisers have reported that the relay station is in very good condition. The transmitters will be maintained daily until the realization of the project begins." See also Deutsche Welle, 22 June 2012, with attached pdf. -- This site will be needed, but unavailable, during future communications emergencies.

French international broadcasting news includes AEF's associate membership in Arab States Broadcasting Union.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 24 June 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (France 24, radio station RFI and Monte-Carlo Doualiya) has inked a co-operation agreement with Morocco’s audiovisual group Soread 2M. This agreeement aims at sharing mutual TV, radio and multimedia expertise as well as enhancing technical and editorial counselling. Both groups will set up in Casablanca specific technical formation sessions for Moroccan and foreign audiovisual operators."

Digital TV Europe, 2 July 2012: "Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), France’s external media arm, which operates channels and France 24 and Monte Carlo Doualiya and international radio service RFI, has joined the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) as an associate member.

Rapid TV News, 30 June 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "TV5Monde has reported increased audience figures in Senegal where it now hits the 30% mark of weekly cumulative audience, according to the TNS Africascope Dakar 2012 survey. Also competing with four new local channels that have been added to eight already existing, TV5Monde has improved its position among international news broadcasters. In the capital city Dakar, TV5Monde is watched by 31.9% of the population aged over 15 on a weekly basis, with 93.6% of them aware of the channel. Across Senegal, TV5Monde is carried by satellite through Canal+ Afrique and unencrypted on Astra 4A, on Excaf and Delta’s MMDS networks, as well as on IPTV in Orange’s Sonatel offering."

British Journal of Photography, 26 June 2012, Oliver Laurent: "Now in its fourth year, the France 24-RFI Web Documentary Award is organised in partnership with with the Visa Pour l'Image photojournalism festival in Perpignan. 'This award honours the web documentary that sets itself apart from the other entries in terms of choice of subject, originality and innovative use of new multimedia tools,' say the organisers."

Colombia Reports, 21 June 2012, Sarah Kinosian: "French news network France 24 aired the documentary 'Caught in the Crossfire' shot by journalist Romeo Langlois who was captured by the FARC in April. The 48-minute film begins with combat, minutes before Langlois is captured. The footage then moves to where captain Gomez, in charge of the military unit with which Langlois was embedded, warns there might be fighting."

Radio France International reporter in Burundi sentenced to life in prison.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 21 June 2012, Josh Kron: "A journalist from Burundi has been sentenced to life in prison as a terrorist for what the government has called his involvement in a deadly gun attack there last year. Hassan Ruvakuki, a correspondent for Radio France Internationale in Burundi, in East Africa, was convicted on Wednesday along with 13 others for his involvement in what the Burundian government called a terrorist attack at a bar in September in the country’s east near the border with Tanzania."

Radio France International, 27 June 2012: "Human rights groups in Burundi declared the verdict 'unjust' and 'wicked'. 'I don’t know why they were in such a hurry to jail a journalist who was only doing his job,' declared Pacifique Nininahazwe, of the Forsc coalition of rights groups, on Saturday. ... Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières has also condemned the verdict, as have the journalists’s association at RFI and the French journalists’ union, SNJ."

Reporters sans frontières, 21 June 2012: "Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Reporters Without Borders are very angry about the sentence of life imprisonment that a court in the eastern city of Cankuzo passed yesterday on Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter for Bonesha FM and RFI’s Swahili service, on a charge of 'participating in acts of terrorism.' His lawyer plans to appeal. Representatives of RFI, France’s international public radio broadcaster, and Reporters Without Borders learned of the sentence yesterday in the capital, Bujumbura, as they were winding up a four-day visit dedicated to the case."

Reporters sans frontières, 29 June 2012: "Two days before the start of celebrations on 1 July marking the 50th anniversary of Burundi’s independence, Reporters Without Borders renews its unequivocal support for jailed radio journalist Hassan Ruvakuki. ... 'We call on Burundi’s partners attending the 50th anniversary in Bujumbura to raise Hassan’s case with the highest state authorities. To remain silent would be a crime.'"

Same survey shows news from foreign sources is "tiny fraction" of Iranian news diet, but VOA reaches 22.5% of Iranians.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic, 25 June 2012, Joshua Kucera: "A US government-funded survey on mass media trends in Iran found that state television remains by far the most common source of news for Iranians, though roughly half its viewers admit that they don't consider it to be entirely trustworthy. At the same time, Iranians are skeptical of the content in foreign news broadcasts too. Eighty-six percent of Iranians consider the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) television network to be among their top three sources of news. That far outpaces any other source: the highest such figure for any other source of news was 11 percent. News from foreign sources made up only a tiny fraction of the average Iranian's news diet, according to the survey, which was conducted by Gallup on behalf of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US federal agency that oversees international broadcasters, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The survey's results were announced at a mid-June event held at Gallup's Washington, DC, headquarters."

Voice of America press release, 12 June 2012: "Voice of America’s audience in Iran grew sharply in 2012, according to new research data released [12 June]. The Gallup poll, conducted in March, shows VOA’s TV weekly audience grew to 21.4%, up from 6.5% in 2011. With the addition of radio and the Internet, VOA’s total audience reach in Iran is now estimated at 22.1%."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 12 June 2012: "The findings reveal a technologically connected society with 100% of respondents having a working television in their household and 90% having a working mobile phone in their household." See also video.

BBC News, The Editors blog, 27 June 2012, Peter Horrocks: "BBC Persian TV has doubled its reach in Iran, with an audience of 6 million people, despite facing a campaign of censorship and intimidation by the Iranian authorities."

Voice of America press release, 3 July 2012: "Iranians can now watch all of their favorite Voice of America TV shows online with Livestation, a 24 hour a day streaming platform that brings together news programs from around the world."

The Commentator, 11 June 2012, Wahied Wahdat-Hagh: "Fanatics can now practice the execution of 'apostates' in an online game. Iranian state news agency, Fars News, reported the appearance online of 'A Shot at the Apostates' and even encouraged Muslims to download and play it, with the aim of the game being to kill rapper Shahin Najafi who has been condemed to death for insulting a Shia Imam. ... In the game, Najafi, microphone in hand, is a moving puppet of the BBC, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Voice of America (VOA) and 'Zionism', with the aim of the game being to shoot him. According to Fars News, similar games will soon be developed by the same institution."

Phys.Org, 10 June 2012, Marc Burleigh: "Iran's cyber police force is poised to launch a new crackdown on software that lets many Iranians circumvent the regime's Internet censorship, media reported on Sunday. The operation will target VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, which use a secure protocol to encrypt users' data, foiling online blocks put in place by Iran's authorities, according to the head of the specialised police unit, Kamal Hadianfar. ... 'About 20 to 30 percent of (Iranian internet) users use VPN,' or more than seven million people out of the country's 36 million web users, he added."

BBC Mundo interview with president of Chile ends abruptly with question about Pinochet tribute.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 22 June 2012, Claudio Rojas: "The President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has been interviewed by BBC Mundo reporter Gerardo Lissardy in Rio de Janeiro. After asking questions about student demonstrations calling for free education in the country, the reporter asked a final question about a tribute to Augusto Pinochet that took place in Chile two weeks ago. A press officer abruptly stopped the interview, saying the BBC's time was up, and the president walked away." With video translated into English.

BBC Worldwide increases focus on international market, shifting from "divisional to geographic lines of management."

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Realscreen, 22 June 2012, Adam Benzine: "Jana Bennett, BBC Worldwide’s president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer, is leaving the company this autumn, after it today unveiled a major reorganization. Bennett’s exit comes as BBC Worldwide (BBCWW), a wholly owned commercial subsidiary of UK public broadcaster the BBC, restructures in a bid to increase its focus on international market. The shake-up, which will take effect on October 1, will see the business reconfigured from divisional to geographic lines of management. Its existing structure, primarily based around five global divisions, will cease to exist, and P&L ownership and primary commercial accountability will instead move across seven geographic regions: North America; UK; Australia/New Zealand; Western Europe; Asia; Latin America; and CEEMEA (Central and Eastern Europe; the Middle East and Africa). At the same time, BBCWW is creating new global roles 'to establish strong direction and consistency around content, editorial, brands, sales and digital,' the company said." See also BBC Worldwide press release, 22 June 2012, and another, same date.

BBC News examines Chinese media expansion in the USA.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 18 June 2012, Tom Brook: "Nowadays, Americans can find copies of China Daily appearing as advertising supplements within established papers like the New York Times and Washington Post. There is a strengthened Chinese news presence online - and this year, China launched a cable network for Americans called CCTV America. ... Many analysts share the view that Chinese media outlets trying to reach American audiences would not gain respect, or commercial viability until they have editorial autonomy - and that would require a loosening of control by Chinese officialdom - which is not likely."

NHK Radio Japan testing relays via All India Radio's FM Rainbow network.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
RadioActivity, 23 June 2012, Alokesh Gupta, citing Jose Jacob: "As per a response for my report to Radio Japan NHK on their relays via All India Radio they are planning to commence daily FM relays in India in coming October, 2012. The relay transmissions will be carried by All India Radio's 'FM Rainbow' network stations. Sunday, October 28 will be the first day of this FM relays. Prior to this, All India Radio FM Rainbow Hyderabad will commence TEST transmissions on the daily basis starting from Sunday, July 1. Listeners in Hyderabad and its suburbs can hear Radio Japan every night at 2130 Indian Standard Time, or 1600 UTC on 101.9 MHz, duration of this transmission is for 30 minutes of daily programs. ... Note: Radio Japan is already heard daily via All India Radio FM Rainbow on 101,9 MHz at 1600-1630 UTC although they saay that it will start in July." -- Will any news be included? Only AIR is allowed to broadcast news on the FM band in India.

Debate on the domestic dissemination ban results in more domestic dissemination of confusion.

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Reason.com, 21 June 2012, Greg Beato: "Technology has made it easy for U.S. citizens to circumvent Smith-Mundt’s ban on the domestic distribution of the federal government’s international media efforts. Voice of America and other BBG outlets all have websites, as do many of the Pentagon’s efforts too. ... If the ban were lifted, State Department materials would no doubt be deployed toward propagandistic ends domestically. But lifting the ban would also increase the transparency of the government’s public diplomacy efforts. While Smith-Mundt has limited the BBG’s domestic footprint in ways it would like to eliminate, it has also created a veil of secrecy around federal public diplomacy efforts that has benefited it, the State Department in general, and the Pentagon too. In part because American citizens rarely see the materials these agencies produce, the agencies have been able to operate with very little government oversight and accountability. In the case of BBG, specifically, it itself reports that this has led to a 'system that traps resources in inefficiency and duplication. ... Opening up the homefront to the BBG and the government’s other public diplomacy operations might expose us to some propaganda, but it would also expose these operations to the intense scrutiny of millions of American eyeballs. In this age of creeping democracy, when institutions of all manners are struggling to make themselves more transparent, more accountable, more accessible to the constituencies that power them, such scrutiny is long overdue."

Technology might make it "easy for U.S. citizens to circumvent Smith-Mundt’s ban on the domestic distribution of the federal government’s international media efforts." But the same technology makes it even easier for the State and BBG to observe that ban, should those agencies choose to do so. The BBC routinely blocks some of its websites from UK access, and some from access outside the UK. US international broadcasting has been exposed to the "scrutiny of millions of American eyeballs" since the advent of the internet. Also, it's curious that the BBG complains of "inefficiency and duplication," when, in accordance with the BBG's "many brands" strategy, duplication is, by design, the central defining feature of US international broadcasting.

Fierce Government, 12 June 2012, David Perera: "[A] big reason why the amendment should be opposed--we don't need it. American popular culture is ascendant throughout the world. American movies, American music, American television dominate pretty thoroughly. Proponents say that the United States is at a disadvantage compared to other countries that run well-disseminated state-media outlets, such as China and Iran. Ironically, these also tend to be the same people who decry government intervention elsewhere--but here, the argument that the private sector has done a far better job of disseminating American values than the government could ever possibly do seems pretty on point."

Government Executive, 11 June 2012, Charles S. Clark: "Smith-Mundt was originally enacted in part because private U.S. broadcasters did not wish to compete with the government. The law also offered some assurance that U.S. audiences would not be targeted with propaganda. Many liberal advocacy groups have expressed fear that the House amendment would give the government a chance to influence domestic thinking without checks and balances."

Public Diplomacy Council, 14 June 2012, quoting Jeremy Berkowitz: "A simple repeal of the domestic dissemination ban, while necessary, is insufficient, as protections will be needed to ensure that State Department personnel do not encounter interference with their work. However, more importantly, Smith and Thornberry are denying Congress the opportunity to have an important discussion about the role of public diplomacy in 2012. When Smith-Mundt was passed in 1948, it culminated a three year debate over the type of international information strategy the U.S. government wanted to establish after World War II. The stakes of public diplomacy currently demand a similar debate." -- The debate on the domestic dissemination of public diplomacy is separate from the debate on public diplomacy itself, which is targeted to audiences outside the United States.

Consortiumnews.com, 11 June 2012, Lawrence Davidson: "It should be kept in mind that government bureaucracies, be they civilian or military, are not places of free discourse. They are “get with the mission and follow orders” environments. While their representatives, drawn as they are from the American public, might give lip service to democracy, honesty and meaningful discussion, they really do not practice these tenets and probably do not believe in them either."

See previous post about same subject.

"The short-wave voice may be old and hoarse. But it still dependably carries a message."

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
The Economist, 7 July 2012: Re shortwave broadcasting: "Even aficionados accept that the glory days are gone: political freedom and new technology means listeners have more choice now, while local rebroadcasts and internet streaming give foreign stations more hum for the hertz. But short-wave remains a good way of reaching remote areas and poor people (a basic receiver costs as little as $10). Graham Mytton, who used to run the [BBC World Service] audience research, says it is cheap, easy to use and the only medium that gets through everywhere. A natural disaster, he notes, can take local transmitters off air and bring down the internet, but a battery-powered radio will still work. ... Digital short-wave broadcasts would be clearer and could carry bits of text too. The technology (known as DRM) has existed for years. But listeners will not buy pricey new radios without content, and broadcasters will not go digital without listeners. Other stations are filling the newly empty spectrum. World Christian Broadcasting of Tennessee has built a new site in Madagascar which will beam multilingual music, news and religious programming to South America, Africa and the Middle East at an annual cost of over $3m. Others see commercial possibilities. Globe Wireless, an American firm, has long used short-wave for maritime e-mail service to thousands of ships. Although the data speeds (at only 2,400 bps) are not as zippy as a satellite link, the service is cheaper—and keeps going if solar flares or space debris hit satellites, says the firm’s boss, David Kagan. The short-wave voice may be old and hoarse. But it still dependably carries a message." Summarized by UPI, 7 July 2012.

New York Review of Books, 26 June 2012, Ian Johnson interviewing Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng: "Twitter is blocked; to access it you have to get past the Great Firewall of China. And a lot of activists are blocked from posting on Sina Weibo [the most popular Chinese Twitter-like service]. Chen: I think they can jump over that wall more easily than I jumped over my wall! Right now that isn’t the problem. The problem is that many ordinary Chinese can’t get online. Right now, the percentage of Chinese with cell phones is high but in the countryside Internet access is relatively low. So I think a lot of these foreign broadcasters are wrong to stop broadcasting in shortwave to China. In the past, we listened regularly to Deutsche Welle, Radio Canada International, and of course Voice of America. But countries are planning to scale back or even cut these services. This shows that these people don’t understand the situation in the countryside in China." Via.

Director of BBC Global News: "Why politicians should be addressing a media summit surprises me."

Posted: 07 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Media Centre, 6 July 2012, text of speech by Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News, to the World Media Summit in Moscow: "I have hugely enjoyed the hospitality and generosity of our hosts at this summit. And I have greatly enjoyed discussions with colleagues of all nations. But, with full respect to our hosts, this summit has also shocked me. It has shocked me because of the fear that I have heard expressed. I have heard fear of social media. I have heard fear of the Internet and I have heard fear about our audiences and what they might do to us. I have heard this fear yesterday from politicians, although why politicians should be addressing a media summit surprises me. And I have heard this fear from people who announce themselves as journalists, but who actually think like politicians. But I have also heard hope from the real journalists here. For them the revolution in journalism being brought about by the Internet is the greatest cause for hope in the history of journalism. A few of those journalists have spoken of their hopes in public sessions, but many more have spoken to me privately of their fears. These are the young journalists from countries where the media is controlled by fear, but who hope that the Internet will free them. They come to speak quietly to someone from the BBC, an organisation they look up to, and ask, will we, one day, be able to be proper journalists? And my message today is that Yes, the Internet should ultimately free all journalists to do their job properly. That may take time in some countries, but I am confident that will happen. ...

"Our ethos revolves around a view that our journalism must reveal and explain; represent all sides of an argument; and be rooted in impartiality and a variety of global perspectives, rather than any national or commercial interest. And the Internet is enabling us to carry out that role even more effectively. ...

"For the first time in the BBC's history all of the BBC's news operations for the UK and the world will be based on one site. The largest in the world outside China. We believe that this new newsroom can truly be 'the world's newsroom'. ...

"[A]ll countries should open their airwaves to allow citizens to hear the views from other countries. In the UK channels such as RT (Russia Today) and CCTV from China are freely available. That freedom should be reciprocated. ...

"In the past, Western countries offered the most dominant voice in the provision of international news, now we see many more countries joining in. China, Russia and Iran are investing in international news services. The BBC welcomes the competition because audiences around the world are able to make a free choice about who they rely on to provide impartial trusted news. So far in our audience surveys we have seen little evidence that these new entrants in the market are gaining the same level of trust as the BBC. Indeed it is hard to imagine that a country like China which is spending (and possibly wasting) billions pumping news to audiences around the world will ever have significant trust when its culture is such that it routinely censors senstive stories from international broadcasters like BBC World News and persists in blocking most international news web sites. The BBC, in contrast, is happy to be judged by the audience response. ...

"[W]e hardly need to argue any more about whose view of news is right. Let's just wait and see. And may the best news win. So to those politicians here and those journalists who sound like politicians, I say Stop fearing the audience, stop fearing change, stop fearing technology. Produce news that your audience believes in and you can do little wrong. That means some very traditional requirements: accuracy, fairness, respect for others, all delivered with the right modern technology. But if the media sticks with the old view of controlling the news and not thinking about the audience, it will eventually be overtaken."

TPM, 6 July 2012, David Taintor: "BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks delivered a sobering speech in Moscow on Friday, warning journalists of the 'unprecedented threat' facing independent news." See also journalism.co.uk, 6 July 2012, Sarah Marshall.

Islamic Republic News Agency, 7 July 2012: "The Islamic Republic News Agency chief said Saturday that BBC is paving the way for implementing the UK colonial policies. Ali Akbar Javanfekr, also presidential advisor for media affairs, made the remarks in a meeting with director of British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) World Service Peter Horrocks. ... BBC is trying to broadcast news about Iran in a directed manner, said Javanfekr adding it wants to show the Islamic Republic of Iran as an unstable and shaky country."

"One Week In, New York Times’ Chinese Social Media Accounts Shut Down."

Posted: 05 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
TechCruch, 3 July 2012, Ingrid Ludngren: "So much for that experiment in freedom of speech. Last week, the New York Times launched an online Chinese edition of its newspaper — and with it a social media presence in the country. As of today, the NYT Chinese site is still working, but the social media presence is not: a visit to the New York Times’ Sina Weibo page — confirmed to us last week by the New York Times as officially theirs — brings up a 'user does not exist' page. ... Did the New York Times’ social media sites publish something untoward? The stance adopted by the paper has been firm on keeping to its own journalistic principles, so that may have been the case here."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 2 July 2012, , Madeline Earp: "The timing is discouraging. With the Chinese edition barely off the ground, there has been no contentious content for censors to block (such as Bloomberg's revelations last week about Vice President Xi Jinping and his extended family's massive assets, which were widely censored). Instead, the shutdown is apparently a reaction to the Times' intentions."

The cn.nytimes.com website still exists, but is it blocked in China? NB: A reader in Beijing notes that cn.nytimes.com is available there, for now. See previous post about same subject.

It seems I'm on the wrong continent, and *much* too old, for Radio Netherlands Worldwide 3.0.

Posted: 02 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 1 July 2012, Marco Hochgemuth: "Unfortunately, the era of globally available RNW has passed. Luckily, there’s reasonable freedom of speech in many countries and people living there will no longer have access to RNW. The company will target four areas of the world where free speech is doing less well: sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, China and Central America. RNW will concentrate on three central themes: democracy, human rights and sexual rights. RNW will also home in on a new target audience: people from 15 to 30 - students and young professionals."

Radio Netherlands' Bonaire relay station continues with some Spanish and Dutch until October, then will be dismantled.

Posted: 02 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 30 June 2012, Eric Beauchemin: "The Radio Netherlands' relay station on the Caribbean island of Bonaire lies a few hundred metres off a narrow road. A white patch on a rock is a reminder of the dynamite that was used to make enough room to get the transmitters to the site. The last regular shortwave transmission from Bonaire was on 30 June. Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) started building the station in 1968 to improve reception for Dutch people living in North, Central and South America as well as New Zealand and Australia. The relay station, with two of the world's most powerful transmitters (300 kW) at the time, was officially inaugurated a year later. From July 1, Bonaire will broadcast a one-hour Spanish language programme, La Matinal, to Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico and the rest of the Caribbean. Dutch-language transmissions to Surinam will also continue for the time being. From October 28, RNW will hire airtime from another - as yet unknown - broadcaster. The Bonaire relay station will then be dismantled. All that will remain is a field." With video. See also comments.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 30 June 2012, Jonathan Groubert: Script and audio of RNW's final English goodbye.

BBC's Network Africa becomes Network Largely Africa. Will the US audience largely remain?

Posted: 02 Jul 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 27 June 2012: "The BBC has announced today that it is to launch a new flagship radio programme Newsday on the BBC World Service aimed largely at the breakfast audience in Africa. Lerato Mbele, previously a star of CNBC Africa, has been unveiled as a presenter for the BBC World Service’s new radio programme. She will co-present the show daily from Johannesburg alongside Lawrence Pollard in London. ... Newsday will launch on BBC World Service Radio on 23rd July in the week that London prepares to open the Olympic Games. It will be an ambitious and innovative five-and-a-half hour show every weekday, bringing together the audiences of The World Today and Network Africa. With a global agenda, Newsday's tone and content will set out to appeal to the very large audience for the BBC World Service in Africa at breakfast time – while also involving those listening in other parts of the world."

Actually, what’s happening here is that BBC World Service is dropping its morning news programs exclusively about Africa for 'Newsday,' which is 'largely' for Africa. This allow BBCWS to save money by not having more than one English stream during those hours. The second largest audience at that time would be in North America, where many public radio stations carry BBC World Service during the overnight hours. This will be a good way for American audiences to learn more about Africa -- if they can tolerate that much news about Africa.

Sunday World (South Africa), 2 July 2012, Mzwandile Kabizokwakhe: "'There's a huge discrepancy in the numbers for radio (81,4-million listeners in Africa alone) and TV with a more modest audience,' [Mbele] says. 'This is a chance to be on the cutting edge of the African agenda. It a breakfast show on the continent, late morning in Asia and evening to late-night in the US and Australia - so we have to keep it global to interest all these regions and different geographical times.' ... 'BBC is on a big drive to give Africa greater prominence using its extensive network of bureaus and journalists in Africa and abroad,' she says. 'The aim is to bring Africa to the world.'"