Opinions: Should Alhurra or Al Jazeera be the voice of moderates in the Arab world?

Posted: 30 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
lohud.com (Westchester, NY), 27 Sept 2012, Thomas F. Baba: "The violence that has spread throughout the Muslim world as a result of the crude YouTube video 'The Innocence of Muslims' leads to a question: Why are the moderates, especially the moderate U.S. Muslim leaders (or Ulema) not publicly condemning the extremists and the attacks on U.S. embassies? The sound of their silence is deafening. They need to take the lead in explaining and reasoning with the 'Arab street.' They should be all over Arab-based news outlets such as Al Jazeera and the Egyptian press. With the United Nations General Assembly now convened in New York, there is no shortage of international news outlets to make their views heard. It should not be left to official U.S. outlets, such as the Voice of America and Al Hurra (The Free One), the U.S-funded Middle East TV station. Al Hurra has cost hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars to promote U.S. views and policies in order to win the hearts and minds in the region. It appears to only reinforce the view that the U.S. government has control over what is seen and heard in the media. The message must come from those the 'street' trusts, such as Al Jazeera, et al."

Fayette Advocate (Washington Court House, OH), 28 Sept 2012, Eric LaMont Gregory: "There has been much said about who should have done what, and who should have known what, after the storming of the American Consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans citizens died, especially by the two contenders for the top job in Washington. There has been no mention, however, of the wisdom of the Transformational Diplomacy strategy of former Secretary Rice, or the fact that this Congress saw fit to shut down the Voice of America radio broadcasting service which could have given a voice to citizens like those who stormed the militias headquarters in Benghazi in the name of democracy." -- Apparently referring to the closing of the VOA Arabic Service in 2002, replaced by Radio Sawa and, later, Alhurra TV. Radio Sawa has medium wave from Cyprus, FM in target countries, and Alhurra has satellite access into the Arab world, resources that VOA Arabic never had.

Recalling when VOA broadcast, briefly, in Esperanto.

Posted: 30 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 26 Sept 2012, reprinting an article from 26 Sept 1970: "The Esperanto movement is going through a period of 'konflikto' (a fight or dust-up) at the moment. It is over a body calling itself the Mondpaca Esperanto Movemento – the Esperanto Movement for World Peace. Esperantists are a peace-loving sort of people, and many have been attracted to the body, which in reality devotes most of its time to spreading Communist propaganda from behind the Iron Curtain. Esperanto speakers are fairly used to a flow of blatant, self-confessed propaganda: for example the Chinese publish a superb, 50-page glossy magazine in the language every month, and even the United States used the 'Voice of America' for Esperanto broadcasts just after the war. But this more subtle form of infiltration has only emerged in the past few years." -- My 1966 World Radio TV Handbook has a section showing Esperanto-language radio broadcasts from twelve countries, including the the international radio stations of Bulgarian, Czechoslovakia, Italy, China, and Poland. China Radio International and Radio Havana still have international Esperanto broadcasts on shortwave.

In Nigeria, mobile phone users listen to VOA's 20-minute medical advice program. "No one in America would do this."

Posted: 30 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
techPresident, 24 Sept 2012, Lisa Goldman: "In Nigeria, Voice of America (VOA) has piloted a program that offers free medical advice in response to symptoms described by users via voice or text. Audiences that used to consume audio programs on radio or television are now accessing them via their mobile phones, says Steve Ferri, web director of VOA Africa. 'Africans are listening to their phones for 20-minute programs,' said Ferri. 'No one in America would do this. You really have to walk away from your American media experience.' ... More hard evidence that mobile phones are now essential in Africa: In 2010 VOA noted larger demand for its content via mobile phones than via computers." Refers to Bigger Cities, Smaller Screens: Urbanization, Mobile Phones, and Digital Media Trends in Africa, by Adam Clayton Powell III, published by the Center for International Media Assistance. See also VOA Africa Health Network.

The Al Jazeera Children's Channel Holy Quran Recitation Contest is now open for entries.

Posted: 30 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera press release, 25 Sept 2012, via MENAFN: "Young reciters of the Holy Quran all around the world can now submit their entries to the 2013 edition of 'Tijan Al Noor', the widely-acclaimed yearly Holy Quran Recitation Contest organized by Al Jazeera Children's channel (JCC). Held in Ramadan, 'Tijan Al Noor' hosts children aged 9-13 years from around the world, and honors outstanding performers. The Pan-Arab children's channel of choice for many Arab children and families said young reciters can upload their recitations on its website (www.jcc-quran-competition.tv). ... The contest aims to communicate and instill supreme values in children, while promoting the correct use of classical Arabic and encouraging children to study, and recite the Holy Quran. ... 'Tijan Al Noor' has achieved remarkable success in the past years and attracted participants from various countries around the world, thus becoming one of the most important Quran recitations competitions in the world."

Al Jazeera press release, 23 Sept 2012: "Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC), the leading Pan-Arab provider of edutainment TV content for children, has recently launched its new exciting grid of shows starting this September. The airing of the shows coincides with the start of new school semesters across the Arab world. JCC's new offering of shows and episodes will entertain children, and compliment the skills and knowledge they acquire at school. ... JCC's latest signature shows animations acquired from high end content producers on the international map will add a new twist to the channel's new grid. Slash: //, the high tech innovative animation series will help children gain a greater appreciation and deeper understanding of different cosmopolitan places in the world, people and species that inhabit them. Garfield comes fresh this season onscreen; the show is a fun filled family companion in laughter time. The Rekkit Rabbit helps instill virtuous values in children, while Contraptus will provide opportunities to spark their learning, contribute to their vocabulary development and scientific curiosity at school. The daily live show 'Allo Marhaba' comes in a fresh season to connect children on the line with their most loved puppet 'Anbar' and JCC's enthusiast presenters, let alone the rerun of Addarb specials, JCC iconic game show that sheered [sic, cheered?] children from all over the Arab world for many seasons. In addition will re-introduce the comedy filled chronicles of Shams and Rami and the capturing puppetry show Uncle Mosleh's Tales. Baraem TV is no far from the fresh seasonal offering. The Mooh Brothers will tell youngsters the story of the two cow brothers Barton and Milton Mooh. The Mooh Brothers brings important and fun lessons on green environment and inspires young children on important family values."

The dangerous profession of international broadcasting: Press TV reporter killed in Damascus.

Posted: 29 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 26 Sept 2012: "Insurgents in the Syrian capital Damascus have attacked Press TV staff, killing the Iranian English-language news network’s correspondent Maya Naser, and injuring its Damascus Bureau Chief Hosein Mortada. Naser came under attack while reporting on air just hours ago. He was shot and killed by a sniper. Press TV and Al-Alam Damascus Bureau Chief Hosein Mortada also came under attack and was injured. ... 'We hold Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who provide militants weapons to kill civilians, military personnel and journalists, responsible for killing Maya,' Press TV’s News Room Director Hamid Reza Emadi said."

Al Jazeera English, 26 Sept 2012: "Many in the international media took note of Nasser's reporting after rebels began their major assault on Aleppo, the country's largest city, in July. He was one of a small number of English-speaking journalists to report those events from the government's side of the battle. Nasser's writings on Twitter and Facebook were sympathetic to the government and did not take the positive view of rebels held by those who back the uprising. He referred to anti-government fighters as 'militias' and emphasised how foreigners with radical religious motives had taken root in the rebellion."

Press TV, 28 Sept 2012, Finian Cunningham: "Even reporting his death this week, the Western media could not find the integrity to tell the truth. The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Reuters and Irish Times, for example, all reported that Maya was killed by 'a sniper'. Invariably, they attributed the source 'according to Press TV'. Using innuendo, these media went on to remind the reader that Press TV is an Iranian channel, and that Iran is a supporter of the Assad government in Syria. None of these media would prominently report that Maya had received death threats, that these death threats were issued by Western-backed mercenaries, nor that his death was finally caused by foreign militants that have been infiltrated into Syria to commit acts of terrorism."

London Evening Standar, 25 Sept 2012, Kiran Randhawa: "Frank Gardner joined BBC World as a producer and reporter in 1995 after a nine-year career as an investment banker. Three years later, the former Marlborough schoolboy became the corporation’s first full-time Gulf correspondent. In 2000 he was appointed BBC Middle East correspondent in charge of the bureau in Cairo, but travelled throughout the region. After 9/11 he specialised solely in covering stories relating to the war on terror. The security correspondent was left seriously injured after being shot by al Qaeda sympathisers while working in Saudi Arabia in 2004. He was shot six times in the attack which left his colleague, Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers, dead. One of the bullets hit his spinal nerves and he was left partly paralysed in the legs and is now dependent on a wheelchair or walking frame. After 14 operations, seven months in hospital and months of rehabilitation, the 51-year-old returned to reporting for the BBC in 2005 when he was awarded an OBE for his services to journalism."

Freedom House report: "threats to internet freedom are becoming more diverse."

Posted: 29 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
National Journal, Josh Smith, 24 Sept 2012: "Governments around the world are turning to more diverse and subtle ways of controlling and manipulating the Internet, including hiring armies of bloggers to push propaganda, according to a new report by a human-rights watchdog. For years, governments have been blocking, censoring, or otherwise seeking to control the flow of information on the Internet, but Freedom House’s 'Freedom on the Net 2012' report finds that government methods are diversifying as technology evolves. 'This year’s findings indicate that restrictions on Internet freedom in many countries have continued to grow, though the methods of control are slowly evolving and becoming less visible,' the report’s authors write. Among those 'less visible' means of control identified among the 47 countries surveyed in the report is a trend toward manipulating online content to make it more difficult to discern credible information." Access the report on this Freedom House web page.

RFE/RL, 24 Sept 2012, Richard Solash, via The Atlantic: "Overall, Iran, Cuba, China, and Syria were judged to have the least online freedom, while countries including Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Pakistan were also classed 'not free.' Estonia, the United States, and Germany are rated freest. Azerbaijan, Libya, Pakistan, and Russia were among the nations considered 'particularly vulnerable to deterioration in the coming months.'"

CNN, 28 Sept 2012, Paul Armstrong: "Although online activism is increasing, the report said authoritarian regimes were employing a wider and increasingly sophisticated arsenal of countermeasures."

Tech in Asia, 26 Sept 2012, Steven Millward: "China is now the third-worst in the world in terms of freedom of usage and expression on the net, behind only Iran and Cuba in first and second respectively. Note that North Korea is not listed. In Asia, Vietnam’s web tightened, while Indonesia’s improved slightly."

Global Voices, 27 Sept 2012: "After years of planning Iran appears to have laid the foundations for a national Internet network, separate from the global Internet, according to the U.S.-based researcher Collin Anderson who is preparing to release a report on his findings in the near future. Anderson has previously unearthed evidence of Iranian government plans to build what some officials have previously described as a 'halal' or 'clean' Internet. Based on news reports about Anderson's research, groups such as the U.S.-based Human Rights First warned last week that Iran may have taken 'one more step towards fragmented access to information.' According to Anderson, the national service relies on components sold by China-based telecommunications company Huawei."

VOA TV programs in Chinese, Tibetan and English now available in China on Telstar 18.

Posted: 29 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 26 Sept 2012: "VOA TV programs in Chinese, Tibetan and English can now be watched on two direct-to-home satellites. The VOA programs were added this month to the lineup on Telstar 18, also known as ApStar5, which broadcasts on the powerful Ku band, and is rated as one of the most popular direct-to-home satellites in China, according to Dishpointer.com. The programs are also available on the AsiaSat 3 C-band. ... In addition to Mandarin TV, VOA’s twice-weekly, Tibetan news show, and shorter news updates, will be broadcast, along with VOA English features aimed at the Chinese audience. The Mandarin program, VOA Weishi, (VOA Satellite TV), goes beyond the latest headlines, with live reports from VOA correspondents, and information viewers can’t get on state owned stations. The segment, Error 404, focuses on Chinese censorship, and shows what is actually being blocked by China’s Internet filters. Other segments, including 'Democracy in America' and 'American Legal Issues' delve into American society and culture. ... Although satellite dishes are restricted in China, more than 10 percent of the adult population has access to a dish, according to independent surveys. VOA Chinese, Tibetan and English broadcasts are also distributed on VOA websites, mobile apps and social media platforms, where millions of viewers often turn for news and information. -- Also, albeit unmentioned, via shortwave. Telstar 18 hosts two subscription program packages, the Taiwan based D-Sky and the Hong Kong based Combos TV, that have some customers in China. VOA is not part of either of these bouquets, but owners of their proprietary receivers can pick up the VOA channel after some menu adjustments. See also the Lyngsat Telstar 18 page and the VOA Mandarin reception parameters for Telstar 18.

In Burma, popularity of FM radio increases, medium wave declines, shortwave remains steady.

Posted: 29 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 21 Sept 2012: "The popularity of FM radio rose rapidly in Burma and radio continues to be the dominant source for news and information, according to new data issued by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup. The BBG, in partnership with Gallup, presented the findings today about Burmese media consumption habits from a nationally representative, face-to-face survey done in the country between May 5 and June 20 of this year. The new data shows that FM listenership continues to rise with 62.8% of Burmese saying they listened to radio in the past week. The results suggest that AM listeners have migrated heavily toward new options on the FM spectrum with just 18.3% of Burmese saying they used AM radio in the past week. However, shortwave radio use remained steady in 2012, continuing to garner a strong weekly audience at 34% of all Burmese." -- Not mentioned here, although it might be in the accompanying video presentation, is that shortwave still accounts for about 95% of the VOA and RFA audiences in Burma. International broadcasters will have to make adjustments as the Burmese media environment evolves, but it's too early to shut off the shortwave transmitters.

Online News Association award for VOA's Middle East Voices.

Posted: 29 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 24 Sept 2012: "Middle East Voices, a collaborative Voice of America social journalism project that combines traditional reporting, commentary, and the stories of people living through the Arab Spring, has been honored with a 2012 Online Journalism Award for 'Topical Reporting.' The awards, which were announced [22 Sept] at the 2012 Online News Association Conference in San Francisco, recognize excellence in digital journalism. ... Middle East Voices emphasizes audience input and engagement. The site features essays from leading thinkers and average citizens. During the final phase of the Egyptian presidential runoff election in June, radio and TV reports from Egypt were supplemented by live-tweeting from events and daily streams of stories and photos using Storify and Facebook to showcase events in real time." See also Online News Asssociation, 24 Sept 2012, which also awarded CNN for its web page on slavery in Mauritania.

Federal Computer Week, 24 Sept 2012: "Twitter has quickly evolved from social media novelty to critical communications channel. This list shows which federal agencies have built the biggest audiences, and where the growth has been fastest over the past year. This list shows which federal agencies have built the biggest audiences, and where the growth has been fastest over the past year. The data below was compiled by OhMyGov, a media and technology firm that specializes in providing advanced media intelligence for government agencies, congressional offices, lobbyists, and businesses working with government." @voa_news is 39th with 57,137 followers, a 171% increase over last year. -- VOA might be higher in the list if OhMyGov had combined the several VOA Twitter accounts, same as it did for other agencies. Even so, VOA has some catching up to do with the likes of @BBCWorld (2,612,598 followers), @AlArabiya (1,352,053), @AJEnglish (1,281,805), @RT_com (402,182).

Radio Free Europe history in the news, including a 1951 US nationwide TV fundraiser.

Posted: 28 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Cold War Radios, 26 Sept 2012, Richard H. Cummings: "The 1967 Radio Free Europe Fund campaign, with emphasis on the 'younger generation' in Eastern Europe, had the slogan 'Shouldn't they hear both sides?' ... One advertisement included the text: 'Within ten years, the young people of Communist-ruled countries in Eastern Europe will help change our world, for better or worse. Shouldn't they hear both sides? Support Radio Free Europe.' The ads were published in newspapers and magazines 'as a public service.'"

Cold War Radios, 23 Sept 2012, Richard H. Cummings: "Over ten million homes were with television sets in the United States in September 1951—about 24 percent of all American households. A 12-hour TV 'Marathon for Freedom' program sponsored by the television network CBS and pooled with the other television networks, took place on Sunday September 23, 1951. Viewers called in contributions on behalf of the second Crusade for Freedom campaign in support of Radio Free Europe. CBS President Frank Stanton also happened to be a director of the National Committee for Free Europe (NCFE), the parent organization of Radio Free Europe. ... This was the first 'live' television program as well as a fund raiser on a nation-wide basis... ."

Cold War Radios, 24 Sept 2012, Richard H. Cummings: "On October 22, 1955, Vice President Nixon sent out an invitation to selected persons to attend a dinner at the Anderson House in Washington, D.C., on November 29, 1955. He explained that President Eisenhower [recovering from a heart attack] could not hold his annual dinner with corporate leaders, who were supporters of Radio Free Europe and delegated the responsibility to Nixon. ... Prior to the dinner, President Eisenhower sent a letter to Nixon, which Nixon then read at the dinner. Eisenhower’s letter included his personal view of the Crusade for Freedom: 'As you know, the Crusade for Freedom is the only fund raising cause, which I felt it appropriate and desirable to support personally through an occasion such as this.'"

WND, 23 Sept 2012, Ion Mihai Pacepa: "President Truman’s NSC 68/1950 ... focused on creating a 'new world order' centered on American liberal-capitalist values, and it contained a two-pronged political strategy: superior military power and a 'Campaign of Truth,' defined as 'a struggle, above all else, for the minds of men.' Truman argued that the propaganda used by the “forces of imperialistic communism” could be overcome only by the 'plain, simple, unvarnished truth.' The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation (soon to become Radio Liberty) became part of Truman’s 'Campaign of Truth.' If you still wonder how the United States was able to win the Cold War without firing a shot, here is one explanation from Romania’s second post-communist president, Emil Constantinescu: 'Radio Free Europe has been a lot more important than the armies and the most sophisticated missiles. The “missiles” that destroyed Communism were launched from Radio Free Europe, and this was Washington’s most important investment during the Cold War. I don’t know whether the Americans themselves realize this now, seven years after the fall of Communism, but we understand it perfectly well.' ... According to Romania’s post-communist media, in 1988 and 1989, when Radio Free Europe was serializing my book Red Horizons, the streets of Bucharest were empty."

Israeli DTH satellite service YES will drop CNN International, citing costs (updated: professor warns of "distorted picture").

Posted: 28 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Arutz Sheva, 20 Sept 2012, David Lev: "A staple of Israeli television since the inception of digital multi-channel broadcasts more than 20 years ago, CNN will soon no longer be seen in Israel. Satellite broadcaster YES announced Wednesday that it is dropping the station, due to high costs. No replacement station has yet been named. CNN broadcasts on YES will end on December 31. CNN, once considered the standard in international cable news, has been losing ground in recent years to competitors, like Fox News (which is available in Israel). Like in the U.S., Fox News has higher ratings among YES customers than CNN does, even though Fox News is a 'premium' channel that customers must pay for above the cost of their subscription. Industry insiders said that the satellite broadcaster felt it was paying too much to feed CNN to local customers, a situation that came about because of the original contract Israeli broadcasters signed with CNN some two decades ago; the price started out high and remained so, they said. In a statement, YES said that it was examining replacement services, but that in the meantime customers who wanted to watch an international news service in English could choose from a wide variety of stations, including Fox News, Sky News, BBC World, Bloomberg, and English language news services from France, China, and Japan. Last year, HOT, the cable television provider, dropped CNN over a similar contract dispute. HOT replaced CNN with the much more reasonably priced MSNBC. In a statement, CNN said that 'it is exploring the way we deliver our news in Israel. It’s worth noting, however, that with an important US election coming up, the continued dynamics of this region, and major global events that impact us all, the need for independent and objective journalism has never been greater. ... For CNN, the consumer comes first and they will drive any discussions we have with operators before any other considerations,' the CNN statement added."

Advanced Television, 20 Sept 2012, Chris Forrester: "Satellite-equipped viewers in the region can still watch CNN but only by tuning in to the Nilesat or Arabsat satellites."

As a global English-language broadcast news service, CNN International has become the "voice of America," with a much larger audience than the Voice of America's English-language internet and (remaining) radio services. CNN International derives its funding from advertising and, more importantly, carriage fees on cable and DTH satellite systems. If CNN International is taken off cable and DTH services because of the fees it charges, it will lose that source of revenue, and there will be no US-based broadcast news service in key markets. Fox and MSNBC are devoted less to news and more to opinionated talk, and they do not have the world focus of CNN International.

Update: Ha'aretz, 28 Sept 2012, Mordechai I. Twersky: "Following the announcement by Israeli cable operator YES that it plans to drop CNN International from its programming by year's end, one leading communications professor is warning that the move signals a massive shift in Israel's broadcast media landscape. 'This is typical of the way 'media economics' works today,' explains Sam Lehman-Wilzig, deputy director of Bar-Ilan University's School of Communication in Ramat Gan, and a former resident of New York City who immigrated to Israel in 1977. 'Content is no longer measured by its intrinsic journalistic or quality value, but rather by whether it maximizes profits.' ... 'So the question becomes: What takes its place?" asked Lehman-Wilzig. "If [it is] either MSNBC or Fox - but not both - then the public will get an ideologically distorted picture of the world, left-wing and right-wing, respectively. ... Israelis will be left with a picture of either "The world supports us" - Fox - or "The world is against us" - MSNBC. That's the real damage here, a distorted picture of the way we are viewed by the world.' ... In a related programming development, YES confirmed to Haaretz yesterday that it also plans to drop the the BBC Entertainment Channel by year's end and replace it 'with one of the world's largest content channels,' though YES would not say which one."

The Economist, 22 Sept 2012: "CNN is good at reporting hard news, because it has lots of good reporters. It has 45 bureaus around the world—more than Fox News and MSNBC combined—and about 4,000 employees. Its ratings soar whenever there is a terrorist attack, flood or war. When American embassies were recently stormed in Libya, Yemen and Egypt, for example, CNN got a lift. When the news is about words rather than action, however, CNN struggles. Conservative viewers like to hear Fox’s Bill O’Reilly fume about “far-left loons”. Liberals like to hear MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow condescend to conservatives. Gasbags in a studio are cheaper than camera crews in the Middle East, which may be why CNN’s profit margins (around 37%) are less than MSNBC’s (46%) and Fox’s (55%)."

The Economist, 22 Sept 2012: "The Guardian is now the third most popular newspaper website in the world, after the Daily Mail and the New York Times. Yet digital advertising is not bringing in nearly enough money to offset print losses. ... A growing group, both outside the Guardian and within it, now believes the paper should start charging online. It is increasingly alone in not doing so: the paper’s main liberal rival, the New York Times, introduced a metered pay wall in March 2011."

USA to Pakistan TV ads provoke criticism from Pakistan to the USA.

Posted: 28 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
MuslimVillage, 26 Sept 2012, Sharon Behn: "A Pakistani lawyer is calling for the country’s Supreme Court to look into a U.S.-funded ad campaign broadcast on Pakistan television that attempted to defuse the anger at the United States regarding an anti-Islam video. Lawyer Hashmat Habib, who has defended jihadist clients, claims the ad campaign is tantamount to U.S. propaganda regarding an amateur video mocking the Prophet Muhammad. ... 'These Pakistani media are also committing a crime, and they also may be put to task by the Muslims in the world,' said Habib. ... According to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, the ad campaign was to run for four days on radio networks and five days on TV prior to the mass protests that rocked the country. The ads ran on prime time in the local Urdu language, or with subtitles. An interpreter for a medical NGO in northwest Pakistan, Haroon Kahn, did not think much of the effort. ... U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Rian Harris said Monday that the objective was to reach out and explain the U.S. position to as many Pakistanis as possible. Harris said the U.S. believed it had reached that goal."

Human Events, 24 Sept 2012, Gary Bauer: "In this season of endless political ads, be glad you’re not in Pakistan. That’s where the U.S. State Department is reportedly airing a TV commercial in which President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton repudiate the film they claim provoked deadly protests in Benghazi, Libya, and elsewhere. In the ads, which reportedly cost $70,000 of taxpayer money to air in Pakistan, where anti-American protests have spread, Obama says that the U.S. rejects 'all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.'"

Fox News, 23 Sept 2012: "A leading House Republican criticized the Obama administration Sunday for running ads in Pakistan denouncing the anti-Islamic film that allegedly sparked violent and deadly protests across the Middle East and North Africa, calling the roughly $70,000 project a 'horrible idea.' 'I think it was a horrible idea,' said Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. 'It gave credibility and it gave a permission slip to Al Qaeda, to Pakistani officials.' 'I don’t know who gave them the advice,' Rogers said on CNN’s 'State of the Union.' 'It was horrible advice. It has exacerbated the situation.'"

Euronews, 22 Sept 2012: "Euronews correspondent Stefan Grobe, in Washington, said: 'The Obama administration is now airing TV ads in Pakistan condemning the anti-Islamic film produced in California. Whether this can help to smooth the tension remains to be seen.'"

For public diplomacy purposes, there is probably no better way to reach a large number of people in the target country than TV ads.

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New BBC Worldwide commissioning strategy will bring more original programming, "irreverent wit ... with a tangible takeaway."

Posted: 28 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 27 Sept 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels today laid out its strategy for creating more high quality original programmes for its international portfolio of channels. ... In 2012, the business is aiming for a threefold increase in the number of original hours ordered for BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and UKTV (BBC Worldwide’s general entertainment channel in Australia and New Zealand). The roadmap developed by Tracy Forsyth, Vice President of Commissioning, will see the business commissioning 100 hours a year by 2014 as the international portfolio diversifies from a largely acquisitions-based content pipeline. Tracy Forsyth will have a twin track strategy for original programming; firstly to create Global productions which will run in all markets (EMEA, Asia, India, Latin America and Australia & New Zealand), and secondly, Local commissions targeting individual markets. ... Tracy Forsyth’s brief to producers includes factual entertainment formats with strong British connectivity, which might be through talent, subject matter, or irreverent wit and humour, but still with a tangible takeaway for the audience."

World Screen, 27 Sept 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Among the factual offerings being presented by BBC Worldwide at MIPCOM is Brazil with Michael Palin, which has already landed a raft of pre-sales ahead of the market. The travel doc has been licensed to ABC in Australia, RTL Pay in Germany, VRT in Belgium, Czech TV, Media Entertainment's pan-European feed, VPRO in the Netherlands, YLE in Finland, RUV in Iceland, NRK in Norway and RTV in Slovenia." See also BBC Worldwide press release, 27 Sept 2012.

TBI Vision, 20 Sept 2012, Peter White: "Canadian broadcaster Space and Norwegian public broadcaster NRK have become the latest international channels to come on board BBC Worldwide’s crime drama Ripper Street. ... It is set in Whitechapel in the East End of London in 1889 following the Jack the Ripper murders and centres around the notorious police group H Division."

TBI Vision, 20 Sept 2012, Peter White. "US cable network Ovation has acquired British drama Blackout after striking a deal with BBC Worldwide. ... The series stars Christopher Eccleston as a corrupt councilman who wakes up covered in blood after a blackout, where he may have beaten a man to death in a booze fueled rage." -- Oh, so it's a family show, then.

The Guardian, 25 Sept 2012, Mark Sweney: "BBC director general George Entwistle's senior management reorganisation looks set to lead to the departure of John Smith, the long-serving BBC Worldwide chief executive, who could leave with a £1m-plus payoff and pension of almost £4m. Entwistle laid out a plan to bring BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, closer to the public service broadcasting side of the licence fee-funded corporation as part of his pitch to replace Mark Thompson as director general earlier this year. The plan included replacing Smith with the BBC's director of audio and music, Tim Davie, although sources suggest he is not keen on the role."

International children's television news includes the WotWots, who came to earth in a steam-powered spaceship.

Posted: 28 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
WotWots (et al) press release, 20 Sept 2012: "The WotWots continues its growth through the appointment of agents in Latin America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand following recent deals brokered by American Greetings Properties (AGP), the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, which serves as a global licensing agent for the brand. ... The WotWots is an enchanting pre-school series that follows the adventures of two adorable siblings from outer space, SpottyWot and DottyWot. ... Season one sees SpottyWot and DottyWot come to explore planet earth in their steam-powered spaceship and arrive in the middle of a zoo."

C21 Media, 20 Sept 2012, Nico Franks: "Discovery Kids in Asia has picked up Gaumont Alphanim’s eco-adventure title The Green Squad, alongside four other new broadcasters. TVO in Canada, ATV in Turkey, Paka Paka in Argentina and international French language channel TV5 Monde have also bought the 52x11' series. The toon, a copro between Paris-based Alphanim, Europool and France Télévisions, follows a group of friends on a mission to save endangered species around the world."

C21 Media, 27 Sept 2012, Nico Franks: "Zodiak Kids’ latest preschool series Tickety Toc ... which launched on pay-TV in the UK on Nick Jr earlier this year, has gone to PTS in Taiwan and ATV in Turkey. Tickety Toc (52x11') follows a pair of energetic twins and their friends as they race to keep a clock chiming in time, exploring concepts of teamwork, social responsibility and problem solving. It is a coproduction between Korea’s FunnyFlux Entertainment and Zodiak-owned UK prodco The Foundation. In June, France 5, Disney Junior (Canada), TG4 (Ireland) and UK free-to-air net Channel 5 also bought the series ... ."

William Valkenburg will be new editor-in-chief of Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Posted: 27 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 24 Sept 2012: "The Board of Supervisors of Radio Netherlands Worldwide has appointed William Valkenburg as editor-in-chief, effective Jan. 1, 2013. According to the announcement, Valkenburg will set out the new course for the organization with the recently appointed director general Robert Zaal. The broadcaster will focus on free speech in countries where press freedom is limited and Valkenburg will take responsibility for journalism within the organization. 'The organization is now ready for a new future,' said Chairman of the Supervisory Board Bernard Bot. 'William’s extensive experience in journalism, journalistic innovation and new media makes him the right man at the right time.' As of 2013, Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s main focus will be on Africa, and the Arab World, as well as countries such as China, Cuba and Venezuela."

"A new and more dynamic Svoboda" (RFERL Russian) thanks 40 employees, and lets them go.

Posted: 27 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 24 Sept 2012, Steve Korn, RFE/RL president: "Though we have said good-bye to some of our journalists and other colleagues, we are thankful to have had the benefit of their creativity and dedication over the years and hope they will continue to contribute their voices and ideas to the public forum. As you may have heard or read, Radio Svoboda will cease broadcasting on MW 1044 as of November 10, 2012 to be in compliance with Russian law. Although we will still be available on short waves and via satellite, our attention will now be focused on providing you with content across all digital platforms. In fact, we’re investing in the digital future so that we can better reach you on the web, on mobile devices and on apps with multimedia and interactive content. That means video, audio and text – on demand, via podcasts and, of course, live. This change in our delivery and focus makes it imperative that we take certain steps to change how we will work. We are, however, committed to three things: acting with fairness toward those of our staff who are leaving; giving those journalists who stay and those who join us new opportunities and tools to deliver the news; and providing those who are part of our audience now – and those whom we hope will join us soon – with a new and more dynamic Svoboda that keeps the tradition of excellence and brings it to a new level. We have made every effort to ensure that this is so. On October 1, Radio Svoboda’s new Director, Masha Gessen, will officially join us. Throughout the next several months, she will be working with the Svoboda team to bring a new energy and focus to our content while staying true to the Svoboda tradition of providing a media alternative where it is most needed. We will be introducing new programs and new ways of delivering content to you – and we will be looking for your feedback."

Bloomberg, 26 Sept 2012, Leonid Bershidsky: "Officially, [Radio Liberty] is getting the boot from Russia, but its Russian audience will not lose access to its content. Liberty broadcast in the AM frequency range in Russia for a little over 20 years after being allowed to do so by Russia's first president. It will cease to do so on Nov. 10, thanks to a law that forbids foreigners to own more than 48 percent of a broadcaster. Rather than try to set up an eligible Russian entity, Liberty has chosen to give up the broadcasting license and concentrate on improving its website and Internet radio service. Liberty has brought in a new Moscow bureau chief, Masha Gessen, a fiercely anti-Putin journalist who wrote a book about the Russian president titled 'The Man Without a Face.' She is expected to oversee Liberty's transformation into a modern multimedia service."

The Moscow Times, 25 Sept 2012: "About 40-50 journalists and editors were let go last week amid speculation that the broadcaster was clearing house ahead of the arrival of new director Masha Gessen. 'We knew there would be some changes, but we didn't know they would take such a harsh form. … The form was strange, unusual, harsh and unexpected,' Mumin Shakirov, who said he was abruptly laid off after 14 years at Radio Liberty. He said about 40 employees were summoned to the company's legal department on Thursday and asked not to come back to work. They were each given a severance of between four and six months' pay, he said. 'There aren't any legal demands at this point. But from an ethical point of view, it wasn't exactly pretty,' he said. ... Gessen, an outspoken Kremlin critic who has been involved in organizing opposition protests, said she wanted to make the news content at Radio Liberty unbiased. 'I want to do a kind of journalism that no one is doing at the moment. I would describe it as normal journalism. … Something that's not polemical, like opposition media, and something that's not controlled by the Kremlin,' she said." -- "Organizing opposition protests" seems strange experience for someone who wants to do "normal journalism." Nevertheless, people can and do change their hats.

openDemocracy Ltd, 26 Sept 2012, Mumin Shakirov: "The DLA Piper lawyer quietly extinguishes all our emotions and protests. His arguments are convincing: legal action against the company will be fruitless; he is making us an offer we can’t refuse; mutual agreement, severance packages, everyone to hand in their ID passes and equipment. Full stop. Nearly twenty journalists lost their jobs that day, and the same number the next. In two days, Radio Liberty’s Moscow office was shut down. Not a thank you, not a goodbye. End of the story. Curtains. Nearly twenty years of working for the station finished."

World Affairs, 27 Sept 2012, Vladimir Kara-Murza: "[T]he new restrictions only force Radio Liberty to end its medium-wave broadcasts, and do not in any way affect its short-wave or Web-based operations—which raises the question about the true motive for the breakup of one of Russia’s last independent media teams. 'The entire KGB and FSB, all the ideological departments of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union … all the [Putin propagandists] Pushkovs, Leontievs, Mamontovs, and Shevchenkos could not cause such damage to the prestige of the United States in Russia as the unknown American bureaucrats who have, in a flash, put the entire Moscow office of Radio Liberty under the knife,' asserted writer and journalist Viktor Shenderovich, bewildered at 'the very idea that you can simply replace the personnel at Radio Liberty … as if it were McDonald’s.' 'It is very difficult to look at what is happening at Radio Liberty: a wonderful, courageous, and professional team is being destroyed,' echoed opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov. 'It is a celebration for the enemies of freedom in Russia, a blow to the already strangled freedom of speech. Such is this ludicrous "reset."'"

It's interesting to note that BBC World News, an English-language television news channel, has 2.5 times the audience of the BBC's or RFE/RL's internet offerings in Russian. An internet strategy thrusts an international broadcaster into a vast oversupply of content, with thousands of competing websites, and millions of competing social media users.

Almost half of Russians have access to cable or DTH satellite television. The number of channels on each of these providers is generous, usually more than a hundred, but finite. A television channel on a cable or satellite system has a better chance of finding eyeballs than a website or other internet offering.

USIB could have a television channel, similar to Euronews, with one video stream and audio streams in several languages. This would require mustering all the resources of USIB. Politico-bureaucratic pressures will, however, probably maintain USIB as a feudal confederation of competing entities, duplicating effort and dividing scarce resources. Both RFE/RL and VOA will likely maintain Russian services, competing between themselves for the honor of having the less small audience.

And, finally, this... FrontPage Magazine, 24 Sept 2012, Daniel Greenfield, in article with headline "Obama Shuts Down Radio Liberty": "Sure the US could have defied the new Russian law, but it’s not exactly like we’ve got Reagan in the house here. It seems symbolically appropriate that Radio Liberty is going off the air around the time that liberty is vanishing here. These days we need a Radio Liberty to start broadcasting to us back home."

See previous post about same subject.

"A different tone": Al Jazeera Washington bureau chief compares his channel to BBC.

Posted: 27 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept 2012, Patt Morrison interviewing Abderrahim Foukara, Al Jazeera Washington bureau chief: "You got your start at the BBC. Is Al Jazeera's journalism any different? Foukara: The fundamental principles are the same: You try to get the news from at least two different sources; you tell the story but stay out of it; you should not allow yourself to editorialize within your news story. [But] the BBC World Service reflects a certain British character: Your tone is restrained; you speak and deliver the news with a neutral voice that has nothing personal about it. Al Jazeera is a different tone. This is a channel from the Middle East. This is a turbulent part of the world; there's a lot of angst, and in part, that's why Al Jazeera has garnered the following it has [the Al Jazeera Network, including Al Jazeera English, claims an audience of 220 million households in 100 countries]. All the anger, the anxiety, the hope of the region find themselves expressed on Al Jazeera." -- I think that's 220 million households that can receive one of the Al Jazeera, whether or not they actually view it.

Wives of missing Alhurra journalists lead weekly demonstrations at Syrian consulate in Istanbul.

Posted: 27 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 26 Sept 2012: "In ... Alhurra Television footage, the wives of missing Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal [demonstrate] at the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul. Arzu Kadumi and Nuran Ünal have been leading weekly demonstrations seeking the release of the two journalists who went missing in Syria on August 20. The Broadcasting Board of Governors has called on the Syrian government to release all information it possesses about the two. Fahmi and Ünal were in Aleppo reporting for Alhurra Television on August 20 when a firefight erupted and they were caught in the crossfire. ... The journalists’ wives recently told Alhurra that the ordeal has had a devastating psychological impact on themselves and their families." With link to video.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 20 Sept 2012: "[T]he BBG is seeking third-party access to detained cameraman Cüneyt Ünal to determine his well-being, and has asked the Syrian government to release any information it has regarding Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi."

Hürriyet Daily News, 21 Sept 2012: "Seventeen Turkish TV channels made simultaneous broadcasts at 8:03 a.m. this morning, calling on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to free two journalists held captive by the Syrian army. Turkish reporter Cüneyt Ünal and journalist Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, have been in captivity for 33 days. Turkish TV channels displayed pictures of the two journalists with the sentence 'They are only journalists' superimposed on the image, calling on al-Assad to set them free."

See previous post about same subject.

This weekend on shortwave: Australian Football League Grand Final and All-Ireland Hurling repeat final.

Posted: 27 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Direct from Radio Australia Transmission Management: "Radio Australia will broadcast coverage of the AFL [Australian Football League] Grand Final on Saturday 29 September 2012 from 0430-0745 UT. It will be part of our regular Grandstand sports coverage. The coverage will be available on our HF (shortwave) and local FM relays, but it will not be available on RAs web stream due to content rights limitations. Our HF coverage will be as follows: South Pacific - 11945 kHz and 15160 kHz. South-west Pacific - 12080 kHz and 15240 kHz. Papua New Guinea & West Pacific - 9660 kHz and 15415 kHz. South-east Asia - 17750 kHz. Reception may also be possible on 4835 kHz from the ABC domestic HF service at Alice Springs. 4835 kHz would be a good choice for land-mobile operators within 1,500 km of Alice Springs. Reception of 4835 kHz may be possible beyond 1,500 km. Note: Reception of particular HF channels may be possible beyond the nominal target areas. Please try all frequencies to ascertain if reception is possible in your area." See also AFL International Broadcast Partners.

RadioActivity, 23 Sept 2012, Alokesh Gupta: "RTÉ Radio will broadcast the GAA All-Ireland Hurling repeat final on Sunday 30th September 2012 as the Galway - Kilkenny final match on 9th Sept ended in a tie. Shortwave Frequencies: Southern Africa - 17685 kHz 1300-1700 UTC. East Africa - 17540 kHz 1300-1600 UTC. East Africa - 11915 kHz 1600-1700 UTC. West Africa - 7505 kHz 1300-1700 UTC."

Chinese DTT partnership in Nigeria nears a million subscribers, expands coverage.

Posted: 26 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 26 Sept 2012, Chris Forrester: "While most Africa pay-TV attention is usually focussed on MultiChoice and its DStv satellite operations, Chinese-backed NTA StarTimes is building a solid pay-TV business in Nigeria using digital terrestrial TV. StarTimes is a joint-venture between Nigerian TV Authority and China’s StarTimes media group. Back in July, StarTimes Nigeria claimed 750,000 subscribers from 8 cities in the country. That number has grown to 900,000 mainly sourced from an additional two cities. Now StarTimes says it will extend its broadcasting coverage to an additional 26 cities by the end of this year. NTA-StarTimes TV CEO Joshua Wang says the company plans to increase the number of channels to 80 by the end of this month. StarTimes has similar activity underway in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Guinea, Tanzania and Central Africa." -- The StarTimes Nigeria channel list includes CCTV News and CCTV4, no surprise, but does not include Xinhua's CNC World. The "basic bouquet" also has BBC World News, Al Jazeera English, France 24 English, MSNBC, but no CNN International.

People's Daily Online, 25 Sept 2012, Pang Li: Star Media (Tanzania) Limited "was founded three years ago and officially launched its services last September, is now providing digital TV content to more than 220,000 people in Tanzania, or 21 percent of the country's population. [Its] services cover seven regions and include 54 high-quality channels in multiple languages such as English, Chinese and Kiswahili. The channels, including China Central Television-9, BBC World and MTV Base, among others, cover news, music, film and TV shows, sports and children's shows. ... Chinese culture plays an important part in those programs. The newly introduced kung fu channel, which plays martial art TV series, movies and documentaries, among others, is one of the most popular channels ... ."

Oxford University China Africa Network will hold the conference New Trends in African Media: The Growing Role of China. St Antony's College, Nissan Lecture Theatre. Friday 9 November 2012. Speakers include Song Jianing, Bureau Chief, CCTV Africa; Mohamed Adow, Director, Al-Jazeera Kiswahili; Mary Harper, Africa Editor, BBC; Wang Chaowen, General Director, Xinhua Africa Bureau.

KBIA (Columbia, MO), 20 Sept 2012, Rehman Tungekar: "In the capital Nairobi, they can read local newspapers with articles provided for free by the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, Or they can get a mix of international and African news on China Central Television, or CCTV. Earlier this year, CCTV built its first international broadcast hub in Nairobi. China’s state-run news media are growing at a fast pace around the world — particularly in Africa — at a time when broadcasting and newspaper companies based in America and Europe are scaling back their international operations. ... To hear more about China's media expansion into Africa, Global Journalist was joined by two experts ... ." With audio interview.

Zimbabwe Independent, 21 Sept 2012, "Muckraker": "Developing countries have been urged to unite and speak with one voice in order to be heard in a world dominated by the West which invests heavily in its propaganda machinery, ZBC reports. This was said by China's Director of the Information Office of the State Council, Hu we Ping at the closing ceremony of a seminar for media officers from Zimbabwe in Beijing. Only last year, the United States poured in excess of US$10 billion [sic] in its mouthpiece, Voice of America, to 'drown' voices of the majority poor in the world, Hu said. Does he not mean it the other way round considering listeners run away from such archaic and partisan broadcasters as ZBC to tune in to the so-called 'pirate' radio stations which offer an alternative to Zanu PF propaganda? Ironically Chinese radio jamming equipment is used to drown out the "pirate" radio stations' signal."

China Daily commentary recalls VOA's 2005 plan (since canceled) to move a newsroom shift to Hong Kong.

Posted: 26 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
China Daily, 21 Sept 2012, Bi Yantao: "For Americans, patriotism has a real meaning. During the war in Iraq, an American journalist was fired for challenging the US army. At the beginning of 2005, Voice of America planned to shift its newsroom to Hong Kong, which required hiring eight editors from Hong Kong. But the plan was shot down because patriotic Americans insisted that the editors have to be US citizens who have undergone security checks and proved that they can protect the country's interests." See also Washington Post, 15 Apr 2005, Al Kamen. -- The move would have affected only what is the midnight shift at VOA's Washington newsroom. In 2005, there were several news stories and commentaries about the planned move, but the cancellation of the move was largely unnoticed.

BBC's CBeebies will teach children how to "play in a consistently safe environment" 30,000 feet above ground.

Posted: 26 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 19 Sept 2012: "BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has secured a deal with Emirates to launch CBeebies as the airline’s first-ever branded channel targeting children aged six and under. Loved by children and their carers the world over, CBeebies offers a range of high quality programmes which encourage the BBC’s youngest audiences to learn through play in a consistently safe environment. From the 1st November 2012, Emirates will feature a bespoke CBeebies branded channel showing a selection of long-time kids’ favourites like the award-winning Charlie and Lola and Nina and the Neurons."

BBC Worldwide press release, 20 Sept 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels has launched BBC Entertainment in Malaysia on Telekom Malaysia’s IPTV platform, Hypp TV. The channel joins BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies, which have been on the platform since the introduction of Hypp TV in 2009. ... BBC Entertainment showcases the very best of comedy, drama and light entertainment from the BBC and other UK production houses. ... In Asia, besides Malaysia, BBC Entertainment is also available in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and India."

International broadcasters on TV help Rwanda adopt English as "medium of education and administration."

Posted: 25 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Worldcrunch, 19 Sept 2012, Fanny Kaneza: "For most Rwandans, English is a foreign language although its usage in banks, shops, the media and administration has significantly increased. As many Rwandans do not understand it, they struggle with paperwork and end up avoiding English-only stores and businesses altogether. In the streets of Kigali, French and Kinyarwanda (Rwandan) shop signs have been overtaken by English. The same phenomenon is also taking place in the media. Rwanda's only free-to-air TV station TVR, which is state-owned, broadcasts English-language programs from the BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Chronicles and news bulletins make up the only truly national programs. English also prevails on private radio. 'It’s as if banks and radio stations don’t want to reach the majority of Rwandans,' says a villager from Bugesera, in the Eastern Province. Kinyarwanda, French and English are Rwanda's three official languages. The last national census, carried out in 2002, showed that 99.7% of Rwandans living in the country spoke Kinyarwanda, 3.9% spoke French, 1.9% spoke English and 3% Kiswahili (Swahili is used as a lingua franca in East Africa). ... In 2008, the Rwandan government decided to change the medium of education and administration from French to English. The government wanted 'to give precedence to the language that would make Rwandans more competent.' They justified their decision by saying English was the language of business and would facilitate Rwanda’s integration into the East African Community (EAC) – whose members are all Anglophones."

New mini-book examines China's "Firedrake" shortwave jamming (updated).

Posted: 24 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
eHam.net, 28 May 2012, Steven Handler: "Several years ago a jammer dubbed 'Firedrake' became the scourge of the ham bands. Broadcasting it's high pitched loud music on the amateur radio bands worldwide, hams sought to locate the source and silence the broadcasts. Although Firedrake seems to be gone from the ham band, perhaps temporarily, it still plagues the shortwave bands. My new 23 page mini-book 'Firedrake Exposed! China's Secret Shortwave Jamming Project' published in May of 2012 exposes the source of the Firedrake jamming. The book reviews shortwave jamming by China, including Firedrake and other HF jammers. It includes precise direction finding results, obtained from ITU registered monitoring sites, identifying transmitter sites. It also includes charts of Firedrake HF frequencies and times heard broadcasting in 2012 as well as historical charts of frequencies and times during the 2011. This book provides background information on Chinese shortwave jamming as well as the US response." See also shortwavereport.com.

YouTube, 21 Mar 2012, spunker88 provides an example of actual Firedrake jamming of a Radio Free Asia frequency, as heard on a Chinese-manufactured Tecsun shortwave radio.

Update: Steven Handler press release, 19 Sept 2012: "Released at the end of August, the eBook it is available for $3.99 ... for the Kindle."

Reaction to anti-Islamic video includes "geo-located censorship" and danger of "internet balkanization."

Posted: 24 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 20 Sept 2012: "Disturbing online censorship and self-censorship measures have been taken in an attempt to prevent the circulation of 'Innocence of Muslims,' a US-produced video that denigrates Islam, and to defuse the resulting violence. Access to the video and/or platform hosting it has been blocked on the initiative of the authorities in some countries. In other countries, it is Google, the company that owns YouTube, that has suspended access to the video’s online links (see below for details of the blocking methods). The blocking of YouTube or Google in its entirety by some governments, whether temporary or not, is clearly an inappropriate and excessive response, regardless of the offensive nature of the video they are trying to suppress. The reaction to the wave of violence triggered by this film must not pave the way or be pretext for more online censorship or more Internet 'Balkanization.' YouTube has held its ground and has refused to withdraw the video from the Internet. But the specific 'geo-located' censorship used by Google in this particular case, making it inaccessible in certain countries although it complies with its terms of service worldwide, could set a dangerous precedent. It has been done in response to particularly severe violence but it could create a vicious circle and open the way to local pressure by interests groups seeking the suppression of content they regard as offensive. At the same time, eliminating online content in cases such as this is rendered almost impossible because videos spread even more by what is known as the 'Streisand Effect' and through the use of censorship circumvention tools." With a summary of blocking activities in various countries, either conducted by the countries' authorities or by Google.

Freedom House press release, 24 Sept 2012: "Brutal attacks against bloggers, politically motivated surveillance, proactive manipulation of web content, and restrictive laws regulating speech online are among the diverse threats to internet freedom emerging over the past two years, according to a new study [pdf] released today by Freedom House. Despite these threats, Freedom on the Net 2012: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media found that increased pushback by civil society, technology companies, and independent courts resulted in several notable victories. ... The battle over internet freedom comes at a time when nearly one third of the world’s population has used the internet. Governments are responding to the increased influence of the new medium by seeking to control online activity, restricting the free flow of information, and otherwise infringing on the rights of users. The methods of control are becoming more sophisticated, and tactics previously evident in only the most repressive environments—such as governments instigating deliberate connection disruptions or hiring armies of paid commentators to manipulate online discussions—are appearing in a wider set of countries. Freedom on the Net 2012, which identifies key trends in internet freedom in 47 countries, evaluates each country based on barriers to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights."

Author: Arab media "one-sided, partial and skewed ... even ... Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia."

Posted: 24 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Arab News, 20 Sept 2012: Arwa Al-Rikabi: Leon Barkho's book, "'News from the BBC, CNN, and Al-Jazeera: How the three broadcasters cover the Middle East' offers valuable insight into how the more powerful in society shape our views of the world through discourse and media. He reveals how BBC, CNN, and Al-Jazeera use cultural and religious signs to identify the benign and malignant in the Palestinian-Israeli struggle and the Iraq invasion. ... [Barkho:] 'The major problem facing Arab media is independence. If you are not independent you cannot produce impartial discourse. The coverage of the so-called Arab Spring has demonstrated this. It is so one-sided, partial and skewed that sometimes one is ashamed to be associated with it. It has become more sectarian than the simple and ordinary audiences on the street. It is disappointing to see major media that had established a name on the international scene, toeing the line of their financial sponsors. Some of the major media have dropped basic standards of vetting and verification to the extent one can no longer distinguish between amateur and professional content. The Arab Spring seems to have destroyed even big names like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia.'" See also blurb at Hampton Press website and review by Prof. Anita McDaniel (pdf).

Nieman Journalism Lab, 18 Sept 2012, Nikki Usher and Seth C. Lewis: on interactive journalism at Al Jazeera English.

Deutsche Welle expands cooperation with United Nations, with mention of "promotion" but not journalism.

Posted: 23 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 18 Sept 2012: "Deutsche Welle has signed an agreement with the United Nations expanding their cooperation. It is the latest development in a partnership set up five years ago. DW Director General Erik Bettermann and UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal signed a broadcast agreement on Monday at the UN headquarters in New York, aimed at boosting cooperation in the field of media. ... Speaking for Deutsche Welle, Bettermann stressed that 'the promotion of human rights, participation and democratization is a central aspect of our multimedia programming in 30 languages, just as it is for the UN. Cooperation between DW and the UN is particularly important for us because of this shared sense of purpose. We will be glad to continue working together in the future as well.' ... DW's globalization magazine Global 3000, broadcast in German, English, Spanish and Arabic, is a prime example of this cooperation: Deutsche Welle has been able to include selected UN materials in the program, and, in turn, the UN's television station, UNTV, has broadcast Global 3000 since the partnership was set up in 2007." -- Is DW in the business of "promotion" or journalism?

Streamworks press release, 11 Sept 2012: "Streamworks, the global specialist in live breaking news, has announced that it has partnered with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The deal sees Streamworks handling the streaming of United Nations Television (UNTV) coverage of the proceedings taking place at the UN headquarters in New York. Content will include live coverage of the Security Council, the General Assembly, press conferences, special events and short-form documentaries produced by the in-house teams at the United Nations. UNTV content is currently available on the United Nations webcast portal. With Streamworks’ proprietary technology, distribution will be wider with better quality, and platform agnostic to allow contents to be viewed on any internet-enabled devices. ... UNTV can be viewed at www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast."

Global pay TV (cable, DTH) market grows, although with slight decline in North America.

Posted: 23 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
ABI Research press release, 21 Sept 2012: "The global pay-TV market continues to grow despite a decline in the North America pay-TV market in 2012. ABI Research forecast that global pay TV subscribers will reach 858.1 million at the end of 2012, a 5% year-on-year increment from 2011. The key growth will be driven by the Asian-Pacific market which is expected to add more than 27 million subscribers in 2012. Cable TV operators in United States have been facing a continuous decline in pay-TV subscribers. In the first two quarters of 2012, Cable TV operators lost nearly 0.8 million subscribers, although their broadband subscriber base has continued to grow. IPTV, which has less penetration than cable or satellite in the US market, gained around 0.6 million subscribers during the same period. 'As broadband adoption grows, it is likely that pay-TV subscribers are switching to Internet TV services. Internet TV services are cheaper than traditional pay-TV services or even free of charge. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. are cheaper alternatives for pay-TV subscribers especially in these uncertain economic times,' said Sam Rosen, practice director of TV & video. ABI Research expects that the overall pay-TV subscriber base in North America at the end of 2012 will decline 0.2% from 2011. The Asian-Pacific region is expected to see the strongest growth in digital TV subscriptions in 2012. ... 'Overall Asia-Pacific digital cable TV subscriber base is expected to reach 213 million by the end of 2012, a 27% increase from 2011,' notes Khin Sandi Lynn, research analyst."

Pay TV (cable, satellite, and IPTV requiring subscription payment for reception) is an important medium for international broadcasting. CNN International and BBC World New derive much of their reach and income through pay TV systems. Access to Pay TV systems requires a 24/7 channel deemed sufficiently attractive by the pay TV provider to add to its finite bouquet of channels. The internet-delivered television services, sometimes known at OTT (over the top, as in over the top of the internet) could change the equation in international broadcasting allowing more players to participate.

France 24 adds Amos 5 for delivery to Africa, and expands HbbTV to the Middle East.

Posted: 23 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 20 Sept 2012: "Satellite operator Spacecom is delivering news channel France 24 to Africa via its Amos-5 satellite. France 24 is using teleport company SatLink’s content distribution capabilities and Amos-5’s Ku-band platform to enable the broadcaster to distribute its English-language channel to DTH homes in east and central Africa and its French-language channels to homes in central Africa. 'Our Amos-5 broadcast neighbourhood is growing and the addition of France 24 is an excellent step forward,' said Amir Carmeli, Spacecom vice-president for sales, west Europe. 'As a premier multi-regional satellite operator, we are looking forward to bringing more channels to our extremely powerful TV platform in Africa.'" See also amos.spacecom.com and the Lyngsat Amos 5 page.

Digital Production Middle East, 20 Sept 2012, Ruchi Shroff: "GlobeCast and FRANCE 24 will expand their exploratory Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television (HbbTV) service to the Middle East in fall 2012 with the support of Orange and Arabsat. The service, to be offered to satellite viewers of FRANCE 24 in the Middle East, follows a European deployment started earlier this year with SES. The project will allow FRANCE 24's viewers with smart TVs to interact with linear and non-linear content. The service will provide valuable insight towards building broadcast offers that combine the power and reliability of traditional broadcast delivery with the new possibilities offered by the latest content delivery networks (CDNs). GlobeCast will provide ground services and uplink from its Paris technical operations center. The satellite feed will be delivered via the BADR-4 satellite, Arabsat's leading orbital position in the Middle East. Orange will use the CDN expertise of its Smart Networks Program to drive the broadband delivery of this service. HbbTV is an industry standard providing an open and business-neutral technology platform that seamlessly combines TV services delivered via broadcast with services delivered via broadband and also enables access to Internet-only services for consumers using connected TVs and set-top boxes."

Rapid TV News, 20 Sept 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "France 24 has concluded a new distribution agreement in Cambodia and is to launch on the One TV DTT service. The French version of the international news channel is now available 24/7 on channel 19 of One TV’s basic offer for €2.293 per month, potentially available to the 1.2 million households subscribing to the Cambodian DTT service. Across Asia, France 24’s French version is available à-la-carte in New-Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong-Kong, while its English version is received in more than 10.5 million households, notably in India, Thailand, or Hong-Kong." See also MediaMughals, 10 Sept 2012.

New BBC DG: "proud ... that we will soon be funding the BBC World Service from the licence fee," but ...

Posted: 23 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 18 Sept 2012, Kohn Plunkett: "New BBC director general George Entwistle ... signalled a radical shakeup of the BBC structure put in place by his predecessor Mark Thompson, including the creation of BBC Vision, just six years ago. ... He said the BBC needed another Strictly Come Dancing, which has gone on to be a global hit. 'BBC Worldwide needs to carry on growing but on the basis of successful public service content,' he added." -- Stictly Come Dancing is "public service content"? Perhaps I will never completely understand the BBC.

BBC, 18 Sept 2012, text of speech tp staff by new BBC Director General George Entwistle: "Please don’t think I’m asking you to find this new focus on creative excellence oblivious of our financial circumstances. We still have a flat licence fee settlement; we still have important and expensive new commitments. Sadly for me, changing DG doesn’t make all the tricky stuff go away. But I want to take a moment to say how proud I am that we will soon be funding the BBC World Service from the licence fee. It is in many ways a perfect distillation of BBC values – an ambassador of fairness, accuracy and impartiality to the whole world. I believe no longer being directly state-funded will be to the benefit of its reputation for independence. ...

"[The] vision of a unified BBC extends to BBC Worldwide too. In my judgement it will be increasingly difficult – in the years ahead – to remain successful in the UK without scale and success overseas too. We have everything we need to be one of the major international media brands: a peerless reputation for the quality of our News, amplified every day by the endeavours of the World News teams; and a vibrant presence in many markets built around major pieces of BBC content such as Top Gear, Doctor Who and Dancing With The Stars. What we cannot endure is the possibility of there being a perceived gap between the values and purposes of the public service here in the UK and our international presence as delivered with burgeoning success by BBC Worldwide. In the BBC I run, we will seek and achieve a close connection between the two arms. I believe the qualities that make the BBC so distinctive and so well loved here in the UK also make our output a powerful commercial proposition internationally. There need be no conflict between them. Though if ever it does arise, it will always be resolved decisively in favour of the UK licence fee payer."

What does that least sentence mean? Does it mean that World Service will take the sacrifice if funding issues cut into BBC domestic content? Does it mean that popular rather than "public service" fare will be given priority in BBC Worldwide international activities in order to take the financial pressure off the UK license fee payer? Perhaps I will never completely understand the BBC.

The Guardian, 19 Sept 2012, John Plunkett: "The World Tonight presenter Robin Lustig is to step down from the BBC Radio 4 late-night news programme after 23 years. His departure creates the first high-profile vacancy on a BBC news programme since the arrival of new director general George Entwistle, who has pledged to put more female news presenters on air. Lustig, who also presents Newshour on the BBC World Service, will leave at the end of the year to pursue new projects. He said: 'It has been a fantastic time doing foreign news and it's going to be very hard to leave. I just think the time is right.'" See also The Telegraph, 23 Sept 2012, Robin Lustig.

The international broadcasting of NCIS.

Posted: 22 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
CBS press release, 18 Sept 2012: "CBS Studios International will celebrate ten outstanding years of one of the world’s most-watched television franchises, NCIS, at MIPCOM with show star Michael Weatherly and Executive Producer Gary Glasberg. NCIS is the number one scripted series in the U.S. and was recently named Europe’s top imported drama show in 2011 by Digital TV Research, Madigan Cluff and Essential Television Statistics. The show ranks among the top ten U.S. series on its channel in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK in 2012 through August, and the show is frequently a tent-pole series on schedules in many markets. NCIS is also the number one series telecast on M6 in France, the home of the MIPCOM annual market. ... CBS Studios International is the leading supplier of programming to the international television marketplace, licensing to more than 200 markets in over 30 languages across multiple media platforms."

The future president of Audiovisuel extérieur de la France and her plans for French international broadcasting.

Posted: 22 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 18 Sept 2012: "Marie-Christine Saragosse, who has been confirmed as the new president of France’s external media arm the AEF, has presented her plans for the organisation to media regulator the CSA. Saragosse, currently director of French international channel TV5Monde, told the CSA she wanted to extend the reach of radio service RFI and noted that the service had a stronger presence in French-speaking Africa than the BBC did in English-speaking Africa. She said that TV channel France 24 did not yet have the reach that it should and that Arab-language radio service Monte Carlo Douhalya had no presence in the Maghreb, which had to be addressed. As expected, the editorial leadership of RFI and France 24 will remain separate under Saragosse’s leadership, a reversal of previous president Alain de Pouzilhac’s plan to merge the two." Rapid TV News, 20 Sept 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: Saragosse "made the claim France 24 garners significant audiences in Maghreb and Africa even though it has not expanded worldwide yet while RFI’s Arab speaking affiliate Monte Carlo Doualiya is not active in Maghreb. Besides distribution, and the necessity for both networks to be carried on classical media devices and on new platforms and social networks, Marie-Christine Saragosse insisted that editorial content was king. 'We need to offer the good content in the good language, on the good platform and with the good publicity and marketing strategy to promote it,' she added. About AEF’s funding, the Saragosse revealed her intention to renegotiate with the French State regarding the holding’s Objectives and Means contract, all the more as she forecasts the evaluation of commercial revenues is 'not realistic'."

Le Pointe, 18 Sept 2012, Emmanuel Berretta: "[D]ans la configuration actuelle, il n'y a aucune économie à attendre du couplage AEF-TV5 Monde... Pire, les deux sociétés se sont livrées à une concurrence pour l'accès aux réseaux de câblodistributeurs et aux hôtels. Cette compétition a nui grandement, car, note Jean-Paul Cluzel dans son rapport sur l'AEF, elle 's'est traduite souvent par la perte de la gratuité que TV5 Monde avait généralement en tant que seule chaîne de langue française'. Quand l'État se tire une balle dans le pied... "

Télé 2 semaines, 20 Sept 2012, Marie-Christine Saragoose as interviewed by Michaël Zoltobroda: "TV5 [Monde] est résolument la chaîne de l’altérité."

Libération, 17 Sept 2012, Raphaël Garrigos and Isabelle Roberts: "D’emblée, elle acquiesce au souhait exprimé par le président du CSA, Michel Boyon, de voir modifié «ce nom bizarroïde» d’AEF, qui, il faut croire, est désormais bien trop attaché à celui de son ancien président Alain de Pouzilhac."

It appears, then, that French international broadcasting will adhere to the US model of multiple entities, with duplication, division of resources, and several managements. Contrast to UK international broadcasting, with its unified newsroom, and Australian international broadcasting, with the planned convergence of Radio Australia and Australia Network. We will see which approach provides the best value for money.

Troubles at Azad Kashmir Radio Muzaffarabad.

Posted: 22 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Greater Kashmir, 14 Sept 2012, Tariq Naqasah: "Functioning in pitiable conditions after the October 2005 earthquake, Azad Kashmir Radio Muzaffarabad (AKRM) has gone off air for the past three days, but the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) bosses in Islamabad seem to be least bothered about it. The AKRM was inaugurated in PaK on October 15, 1960 by the then President K H Khurshid to stimulate the Kashmiris on both sides of Line of Control (LoC). Notwithstanding meager resources, the station however drew huge listenership on both sides, putting across programmes in Kashmiri‚ Gojri, Pahari and Urdu languages during 18 hours transmissions, thanks to the highly committed professional broadcasters of yesteryears. Initially, the transmissions were aired through a one-kilowatt shortwave (SW) transmitter. Later, the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto upgraded it by sanctioning a 10-kilowatt medium wave (MW) transmitter. In 1983, a 150-KW High Power Transmitter (HPT) replaced 10-KW MW transmitter to expand its reception in as far area as possible. However, the October 2005 earthquake played havoc with the buildings and equipment of AKRM in its broadcasting house in the main old city and the HPT Centre on the outskirts, brin[g]ing its transmissions to halt. The AKRM resumed its transmissions provisionally in the last week of October 2005 when an FM transmitter was installed. ... Being an FM radio, the transmissions were heard in a very limited area. ... However, on Wednesday afternoon, the FM transmitter also went out of order, thus suspending even the FM transmissions of AKRM, which in PBC documents is referred to as Rawalpindi-II. ... Pertinently, Radio Kashmir Srinagar [on the Indian side of the LOC] has a 300-KW MW and 100-KW SW transmitters, apart from four powerful relaying stations along the LoC." -- Thanks to Ken English news tip.

From our (now rather thin) file on new shortwave stations: Somaliland's Radio Hargeisa.

Posted: 22 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Somaliland Sun, 31 Aug 2012, Yusuf M Hasan: "The installation of the new Radio Hargeisa transmitter is a success. This was revealed by Mr. Don Jensen who added that Listeners in Japan, India and Europe are beginning To hear Radio Hargeisa on a frequency of 7,120 kHz, with generally good signals For tests noted at various times between 1500 UTC (universal time) and 1900 UTC hours (6 to 10 pm Somaliland time). ... The transmissions are possible by a recently installed 100Kw Radio Transmitter, which is currently on test, and accessible at the 7,120 kHz frequency, said Don, 'Through this frequency the signal is fairly strong in Japan and the Netherlands.' The American ham radio operator further informed that there is also a considerable interference from ham transmissions since the 7,120 kHz frequency used by Radio Hargeisa is in the middle of the amateur radio (ham radio) band." -- See also the comments. Radio Hargeisa really should not be using 7120 kHz, as 7000-7200 kHz is now reserved worldwide for amateur radio. The 41 meter shortwave broadcast band is presently 7200 to 7450 kHz (overlapping with Western Hemisphere radio amateurs, who are allowed to use 7200-7300 kHz).

Somaliland Sun, 25 Aug 2012: "According to the [Somaliland Information] Ministry's Technical Director Mr. Ahmed Suleiman, the much-anticipated nationwide radio transmission will be on service as soon as ongoing tests and linkage with studios is completed. The technical director further informed that all ongoing works are under local engineers following the departure of the 14 Chinese experts whose mission pertained to installation of the Transmitter and erection of antennae's. Somalilanders are anxiously awaiting the full commissioning of the 100Kw Radio Transmitter that will avail nationwide transmissions of Radio Hargeisa broadcasts since the current Radio Hargeisa transmitter has a capacity to cover only a distance of 40sq Km radius thus only Hargeisa residents and those in its peri-urban areas receive programs from the national radio station."

See also RadioActivity, 31 Aug 2012, Alokesh Gupta, with several links. Image from.

Somaliland Sun, 22 Sept 2012, Yusuf Mohamed Hasan: "Radio Hargeisa continues to be heard in the USA, Europe and Far East. According to Don Jensen of Kenosha (Wisconsin) USA which is 100 km north of Chicago RH broadcast are continuously audible on shortwave frequency 7120 KHz again in the United States as noted here in the north central part of America."

Somaliland Sun, 22 Sept 2012, Yusuf M Hasan: "A British engineer from a London firm called Transmitters 'R' us, has been hired to go to Hargeisa soon, to repair the old 25 kilowatt shortwave transmitter (Brand name: ELCOR) which was installed at Radio Hargeisa about 5 years ago. The transmitter, which never worked well because of a mismatching of transmitter to antenna, and has been off the air mostly, not working, for most of that period, is a lower powered transmitter, only one-fourth of the power of the new 100-kilowatt Chinese shortwave transmitter. The old ELCOR transmitter, if working, should also cover all of East Africa nicely, and perhaps Europe and India, and possibly, though not too well, the US. Information is yet to be availed on whether Radio Hargeisa engineers are considering using it as a 'back up' in case of future temporary problems with the new Chinese transmitter, or if the intent is to broadcast simultaneously with two SW transmitters on difference frequency bands."

Reports: RFE/RL will quit its medium wave frequency in Moscow, moving to "multimedia internet broadcasting."

Posted: 22 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
RIA Novosti, 21 Sept 2012: "Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will on November 10 stop medium-wave broadcasting in Moscow and will switch over to the multimedia internet broadcasting, Yelena Glushkova, the head of the radio station’s Russian office, said on Friday. Earlier some media said Radio Liberty will stop medium-wave broadcasting in Russia. 'We only had the license for broadcasting in Moscow, so we will stop broadcasting in Moscow,' Glushkova told RIA Novosti. She said the decision was due to the Russian law on mass media banning radio broadcasting in Russia by companies more than 50 percent owned by foreign individuals or legal entities. The law comes into force on November 10. ... 'We are working on a multimedia strategy, which means we will use the internet as the key radio broadcasting site,' she said. Glushkova said the radio station reduced staff due to the switchover to multimedia broadcasting."

Interfax Ukraine, 21 Sept 2012: "A source from Radio Liberty had told Interfax earlier on Friday that employees of its Moscow office were being sacked in droves. 'Virtually everybody is getting sacked - they are calling them in alphabetical order and giving them a sack. True, they offer compensations depending on who is sacked,' the source said. Radio Liberty management says in explaining its moves that the Russian law is being amended and the radio station will have no frequency on medium waves, and therefore its broadcasts will be available only online, he said."

What will happen to RFE/RL's shortwave broadcasts in Russian? Spokesman Martins Zvaners at RFE/RL Inc. informs me that "RFE/RL plans to maintain shortwave broadcasts to Russia for the foreseeable future."

And how does this new Russian law affect the various Western television channels, e.g. CNN International, BBC World News, Russian-language versions of Discovery and National Geographic, that can be seen in Russian via cable and DTH satellite systems? Currently, the biggest Russian audiences for international broadcasting are via cable and satellite television -- much more so than via radio or internet. See also VOA News, 22 Sept 2012. See previous post about RFE/RL Russian.

Deutsche Welle launches Futurando science show for Brazil.

Posted: 22 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 17 Sept 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Deutsche Welle (DW) is producing a new science and technology show in Portuguese for viewers in Brazil, Futurando. Futurando made its debut on Rede Minas on September 15 and will be shown weekly. The show features DW reporters who investigate the latest ideas and experiments in science, technology and the environment. Topics include space research, medial innovations and climate change. In addition to airing on Rede Minas, episodes will be available on-demand at dw.de/futurando."

Rapid TV News, 22 Sept 2012, Iñaki Ferreras: "German international public channel Deutsche Welle (DW) is growing throughout Latin America, as it adds to its Spanish language programming. 'As an international broadcaster, we currently broadcast content in 30 languages. Latin America as a region is important for us, so we decided to create a Spanish channel,' the company stated. Its languages include English, German, Arabic and Spanish. The broadcaster is also preparing to start HDTV transmissions in Latin America. 'We already produce content in HD, but most of the markets that receive our signals are not quite ready to receive it, so we are waiting for the market to develop more,' said the channel’s executives."

Public diplomacy via TV ad: Obama, Clinton condemn anti-Islam film on Pakistan television.

Posted: 21 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 20 Sept 2012, Munir Ahmed: "U.S. Embassy advertisements condemning an anti-Islam video appeared on Pakistani television on Thursday in an attempt to undercut anger against the United States, where the film was produced. ... The television ads in Pakistan feature clips of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during press appearances in Washington in which they condemned the video. Their words were subtitled in Urdu. '0we absolutely reject its content and message,' said Clinton in the advertisement. The advertisements end with the seal of the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the ad was produced by the embassy, which spent $70,000 to air the 30-second spot on seven Pakistani television stations. Pakistan is the only country where the ads are running. The embassy wanted to run the ads because it determined that the messages of Obama and Clinton were not reaching enough of the Pakistani public through regular news reporting, Nuland said."

Ad Age, 20 Sept 2012, Shareen Pathak and Ken Wheaton: "The U.S. Embassy of Pakistan posted the video on its Facebook page, where the apology is getting mixed reviews. While over 3,000 people like the video on Facebook, the 1,600 or so comments have a decidedly different tone, with many demanding that U.S. turn over the film's creators." With link to video.

State Department Briefing, 20 Sept 2012, Victoria Nuland: "My understanding is we have done in this in a select group of other countries at other times when you’re working in a media environment where this kind of purchase of public service announcements is the norm for getting your message out. But in Pakistan, we do it quite regularly, as I understand it ... "

Middle East Broadcasting Networks press release, 21 Sept 2012: "Alhurra’s Inside Washington host, Robert Satloff spoke with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine about the riots in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film, the purpose of public diplomacy, and the importance of religious tolerance. On the violent protests in the Muslim world over a film mocking the Prophet Mohammed, Under Secretary Sonenshine said, 'The United States government had nothing to do with that hateful and disgusting video. Nothing. Full stop. And that is worth repeating because I think not everyone in the world understands that.' ... On the purpose of public diplomacy, Under Secretary Sonenshine stated, 'Public diplomacy is the range of engagement, if you will, citizen to citizen, people to people. That means that we’re moving beyond just government to government and moving into the sphere of the range of human endeavor– education, business, media– all of the ways that citizens relate to other citizens. So, communicating our values, our ideals, our story overseas through engagement.'"

Seeking a speech recognition search for sixty years of BBC World Service audio archives.

Posted: 21 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 17 Sept 2012, Jamillah Knowles: "George Wright, Head of Prototyping, BBC Research and Development and his team are working with sixty years worth of World Service archives, that’s around 500 terrabytes of audio. The aim of the work is to help users find what they need more easily. The historical importance of the collection is considerable and it will become far more useful once it has been properly tagged with data that is searchable. The archives have almost no metadata, so the team has created a speech recognition system which goes through the archive and adds tags so that users can navigate. Along with the machine recognition, listeners are volunteering to correct and add tags to ensure that it is all correct. The R&D team at the BBC built its speech recognition system on top of existing open source software. The audio from BBC World Service has its own idiosyncrasies that make speech recognition a tricky prospect for accuracy. If you have heard past broadcasts from the global radio network, you’ll spot that people spoke English in a quite different way in the 50s in comparison with the language used today."

Domestic dissemination: CNN International comes to Kansas City via Google Fiber TV.

Posted: 21 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
VentureBeat, 16 Sept 2012, Tom Cheredar: "Google is making some pretty big additions to its Google Fiber TV channel lineup, the company announced over the last week. The fledgling cable TV service is getting most major channels from Time Warner’s Turner Broadcast company, including Boomerang, Cartoon Network (Adult Swim), CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International, HLN, hTV, infinito, TBS, TCM: Turner Classic Movies, TNT, and truTV." -- Google Fiber TV is, so far, available only in Kansas City. Other channels of international broadcasting interest are BBC World News, CNBC World, and various Spanish-language networks. But no Al Jazeera English, France 24, DW-TV, NHK World, RT, CCTV News, etc.

NE Asian islands public diplomacy wars: booklets, propaganda trucks, video screens, puppies, kittens.

Posted: 21 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 21 Sept 2012: "South Korea has started distributing 350,000 copies of a booklet worldwide defending its sovereignty over its easternmost islets of Dokdo, stepping up a public relations drive against mounting Japanese territorial claim to the islets, an official said Friday. Titled 'Dokdo, Korea's Beautiful Island,' the 33-page English-language booklet is part of South Korea's efforts to better inform the international community of its territorial rights to Dokdo, the foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity. The ministry began providing the booklet to some 160 diplomatic missions around the world last week, the official said. ... Among other evidence, the English-language booklet says, 'In the Cairo Declaration regarding Japan's unconditional surrender and Korea's independence, announced in December 1943, it is stated that "Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed."'"

Yonhap, 17 Sept 2012: "Last week, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan told reporters that his government was preparing to run counter ads in Japanese media shortly after the Tokyo government ran ads in Japanese newspapers defending its sovereignty claims to Dokdo. 'We are considering running ads in Japanese media but that would be difficult. So we will start a public relations blitz on social networking sites,' the official said on condition of anonymity [sic]. To appeal to international audiences, the official said it is important to make an entertaining PR video clip for Dokdo 'as Psy did,' referring to the global smash music video by Korean rapper Psy for his song, 'Gangam Style.' The quirky music video, which features a horse-riding dance that has caught on around the world, is now on course to hit 200 million views on YouTube."

Yonhap, 18 Sept 2012: "In an unprecedented provocation, all of Japan's overseas missions are uniformly conducting public relations campaigns to claim South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, officials here said Tuesday, indicating that a countermove by Seoul is under way. 'All of Japan's overseas diplomatic missions are in the midst of an extensive public relations drive over Dokdo. Such a move is unprecedented and it seems to be a very serious provocation,' said a diplomatic source familiar with the matter. The simultaneous launch of the campaigns by different missions worldwide is considered impossible without the orchestration of the foreign ministry in Tokyo, the source speculated."

BusinessDay (South Africa), 20 Sept 2012, William Pesek: "The Japanese call them the Senkaku Islands, the Chinese refer to them as Diaoyu. ... Politicians in Tokyo often play the anti-China card when their approval ratings slide. Yet these demonstrations feel different. Past protests attracted the usual suspects: middle-aged right-wingers and their big, black propaganda trucks outfitted with giant loudspeakers and xenophobic epithets. Some recent ones seem almost like family affairs, such as those in the trendy Shibuya district, with young mothers and children handing out pamphlets. Japanese seem more invested this time."

Policymic, 21 Sept 2012, Ryan Gorman: "'Reminding the Chinese population about (Manchuria) every so often creates an external enemy,' [an] expert said. 'A billion angry peasants being [unhappy with] the Japanese is better than them being [unhappy with] the central government.' The source also noted that CCTV is airing propaganda about the issue and not reporting real facts in order to rile up the population, possibly to distract them from the upcoming change of leadership within the Communist Party. 'Meanwhile, the Japanese population [doesn’t] take it seriously,' added the expert."

Globe and Mail, 18 Sept 2012, Mark McKinnon:"Beijing may want to start cooling off the street anger, even as it seeks to maintain diplomatic pressure on Tokyo. For the past five days, an outdoor video screen in the Sanlitun commercial district has played endless anti-Japanese propaganda, pictures of the disputed islands mixed with photographs of angry demonstrators and set to martial tunes. Late Tuesday, as the protests in front of the Japanese Embassy were petering off for the evening, the screen abruptly switched to different a montage: puppies and kittens, playing happily and carefree."

Dana Perino will leave the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Posted: 20 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 19 Sept 2012: "BBG Board member Dana Perino today told her colleagues that she would be leaving the Broadcasting Board of Governors at the end of the year. 'As you know, ever since I moved to New York, I have not been able to participate as much as I would have liked, nor could I fulfill the expectations I have for my own public service. I do not see that changing in the foreseeable future; therefore, I felt the best thing to do was clear the way for someone else,' Perino wrote in a note to her fellow Board members. ... 'The city of Washington, DC could use many more of you working to steer structural and content improvements at the BBG to support its role in spreading freedom of expression and self-determination around the world.'"

BBG Watch, 19 Sept 2012, BBGWatcher: Perino "has not attended in person the last 10 open BBG meetings and only participated in some BBG discussions by phone."

Aung San Suu Kyi visits RFA. Aung San Suu Kyi visits VOA. Aung San Suu Kyi visits BBG.

Posted: 20 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia press release, 18 Sept 2012 (pdf): "Radio Free Asia (RFA) today hosted Aung San Suu Kyi at its Washington headquarters as part of her tour of the United States. The Nobel Peace Prize winner praised RFA for serving as a critical information lifeline for her and the Burmese people during the military junta’s authoritarian rule and the country’s current era of transition and reform. 'This is, in many ways, as I have been saying, the last mile,' Aung San Suu Kyi said. 'This is the time we need all the help possible to make sure that our country keeps on the right path. This is another way of saying RFA is needed more than ever for us in Burma and for other people in other places, which are not yet free.'" See also RFA, 18 Sept 2012 video interview.

Voice of America press release, 20 Sept 2012: "Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told Voice of America Tuesday that communal tensions involving the country’s minority Muslim population will be 'difficult to dissipate in a short period of time.' 'Human rights must be protected by the rule of law and there can never be occasions where human rights can be neglected or ignored,' the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. The pro-democracy leader made the comments during an exclusive interview at VOA’s headquarters in Washington, where she also met with top U.S. international broadcasting officials and journalists from the Burmese language service. ... The Burmese opposition leader said, 'I always listen to VOA in the morning at 5:30. VOA world news is very useful for me especially, and I like the media roundup, Burma in the News.'" Linked interview includes video. See also VOA, 18 Sept 2012, for transcripts of interviews in English and Burmese.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 18 Sept 2012: "Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today, participating in interviews with Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) and meeting with top agency officials. The Nobel Peace Prize winner praised BBG broadcasters for providing news and information to the Burmese people despite strict government control over the media. And she called for a continued strong U.S. international media presence in Burma. ... During her visits to RFA and VOA, Suu Kyi met with BBG Governors Michael Meehan, Victor Ashe, and Susan McCue, International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard Lobo, VOA Director David Ensor, RFA President Libby Liu and others." See also Knoxville News Sentinel, 18 Sept 2012, Michael Collins.

Commercial entities BBC World News and BBC.com combine to form BBC Global News Ltd.

Posted: 20 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 13 Sept 2012, Jake Kanter: "As reported by Broadcast in July, the BBC has hived off Global News’ two money-making services, BBC World News and the international version of the BBC News website, into a new company called BBC Global News Ltd. This will create a clearer internal distinction between these commercial operations 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. Jim Egan, the unit’s director of strategy and distribution, has been appointed chief operating officer of the newly created BBC Global News Ltd entity, while Richard Porter will oversee the company’s editorial strategy. Egan told Broadcast that the changes were designed to ensure that World News and bbc.com/news would be 'more profoundly integrated' and to ensure more of the BBC’s video content is exploited online. The corporation also believes that its capability for online video could give it the edge over other respected international news websites, including the FT and CNN. ... He would not confirm the business’ total income. However, the BBC’s annual report revealed that World News’ revenue stood at £70m in 2011/12, while BBC Worldwide’s digital turnover - including international version of the BBC News website - was £139m."

The Media Online, 14 Sept 2012: "Egan, who will report to the BBC’s director of global news, Peter Horrocks, also made a number of other announcements strengthening the digital focus of the BBC’s international news services: 1. BBC World News will broadcast live from new state of the art studios in Broadcasting House from the autumn. The studios will include enhanced technology including virtual reality capability, significantly improving the look and feel of BBC World News. 2. HD transmission of BBC World News to Asia-Pacific launched 14th August, with the channel being produced fully in HD from the Autumn. 3. BBC’s news website will continue roll out of ‘responsive design’ technology which can detect and adapt to different types of mobile devices. From this autumn, the new site will automatically deliver all users of smartphones and feature phones an optimised page to provide the maximum number of features for the individual device. What audiences will see will be tailored to the device they have in their hand, for example the way a device moves around the news sections and the number of images seen. The technology will roll out to tablets and desktop in future with the aim of having one site which is optimised for any device in future."

BBC Ariel, 13 Sept 2012: "Richard Porter, controller of English for Global News, will continue to take editorial responsibility for the services which 'broadly share domestic news' public service goals'. 'This isn't simply about running our tv channel and website together,' stresses Egan. 'We are entering an age where old definitions of channels and websites are breaking down - this is about the BBC's commitment to delivering the world's best quality international journalism, in text and in video, in an integrated way to all the screens our audiences use for their news.'"

afaqs!, 20 Sept 2012: "Jim Egan said: 'This isn't simply about running our TV channel and website together. We are entering an age where old definitions of channels and websites are breaking down – this is about the BBC's commitment to delivering the world's best quality international journalism, in text and in video, in an integrated way to all the screens our audiences use for their news.'"

Salafist channel from Egypt showed "Innocence of Muslims" clips, became "flash point" behind unrest.

Posted: 18 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 16 Sept 2012, Guy Taylor: "The shows aired on Egypt’s Al Nas network, a hard-line Salafist Muslim outfit that for years has flown largely under the radar of international observers. The network was thrust into the spotlight last week when it broadcast Arabic-dubbed movie clips from what it described as an English-language film insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Riots and protests erupted throughout the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world. Protesters breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, destroyed the American flag and raised a black banner used by Islamic extremists. ... U.S. officials last week cited Al Nas‘ attention to 'Innocence of Muslims' — a crudely made independent film produced in the United States — as a flash point behind the wave of anti-American unrest. Like Al Jazeera, CNN Arabic and other international satellite stations, Al Nas broadcasts live on YouTube and is piped into millions of homes across the Middle East." -- Alnas is on Eutelsat 7 West A at 7.0°W, same orbital position as Nilesat, so many Arab (especially Egyptian) homes can receive it.

Report: Masha Gessen, recently fired from Вокруг света, will be new head of RFE/RL Russian.

Posted: 18 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Moscow Times, 17 Sept 2012: "Masha Gessen, who was fired as editor of the Vokrug Sveta [Вокруг света] magazine for refusing to cover President Vladimir Putin's hang-gliding stunt with cranes earlier this month, has been appointed head of the Russian service of U.S.-government-funded RFE/Radio Liberty. 'I was offered the candidacy for the director's post of the Russian service of Radio Liberty back in January,' Gessen said on her Facebook page Friday. 'I refused because I had just started my job with Vokrug Sveta and planned to stay there a long time.' This month, she told executives at Radio Liberty, where she had been working as a consultant, that she had left Vokrug Sveta, and they offered her the director's position late Thursday." -- OK, as long as her decisions at Radio Svoboda to cover or not to cover stories are based on sound news judgments and not on anti-Putin sentiments. See also International Herald Tribune, 10 Sept 2012, Masha Gessen.

CNN International's (male-dominated) Facebook poll: Arab nations should be US foreign policy priority.

Posted: 18 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Wire, 15 Sept 2012: "What's the first foreign policy issue the next U.S. president should tackle after the election? More than 1,000 aspiring foreign secretaries in 114 countries and territories around the world weighed in on CNN International's latest Facebook survey to give us their answer. The verdict: 45% of voters said America's post-Arab Spring policies should be the top foreign policy priority for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. ... Our Facebook survey also reflects lingering worries about the European debt crisis: 21% of respondents said America's top task should be to address the crisis that threatens to undermine the euro. Nearly one in five (18.5%) believe sorting out relations with China should be the next president's first order of business. But just one in 10 people see Iranian and North Korean nuclear proliferation as the top priority. And last but not least, just one in 20 people (4.7%) chose fighting al Qaeda as the number one foreign policy for the U.S. president -- despite the fact al Qaeda militants and associates are now fighting for influence from Mali to Pakistan. Last week's Facebook survey was dominated by men (75%), and this week even more so: four out of five (80%) who cast votes in our foreign policy survey were male."

DirecTV drops GolTV after La Liga moves to Al Jazeera's beIN Sport.

Posted: 18 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 12 Sept 2012: "DirecTV is dropping GolTV on Thursday following the network’s loss of rights to Spain’s La Liga. GolTV had held La Liga rights since the 2004-5 season, when it took over from Fox. ... DirecTV last month started broadcasting beIN Sport, the Al Jazeera-owned network that has bought U.S. rights to La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1. ... 'As a result of DirecTV’s new relationship with the Emir of the State of Qatar and founder of Al Jazeera, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, DirecTV intends to remove GolTV from its Sports Pack effective Sept. 13,' GolTV said in a statement." See previous post about same subject.

KTWR staff impressed by DRM digital shortwave and the DR111 DRM receiver (updated).

Posted: 18 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondial Consortium, 12 Sept 2012: "George Ross, Frequency Manager at KTWR Guam, Trans World Radio writes about his recent experiences of using the NewStar DR-111. 'Along with some other colleagues I purchased one of the Chengdu DR-111 receivers as they first became available. We were very interested at KTWR Guam to see how this receiver performed, and the potential for being a receiver for the listener’s here in the Asia region as the DRM broadcasts start to increase. Our first test was to listen to RNZI DRM broadcasts. The distance of the transmitting station to us is over 6500 kilometers. The reception proved to be very impressive. We compared both RNZI’s analog transmissions and DRM transmissions aired at the same time. The receiver picked up both and of course the DRM broadcasts were excellent FM quality. We had some test broadcasts we needed to do to establish our own broadcast footprint, first to India, as we are determining our best meter band option for coverage. We wanted to do a broadcast focused on inner city as well, so our second test was to Hong Kong. Test 1: When we switched to DRM mode we decided for our test coverage to NE India that we would use full stereo mode 64QAM and see what type of reception we would get. We did a master in the studio with high quality music score for this determination. The results were astounding. We found our broadcast footprint monitored with very good reception from Kathmandu in the north through Bangalore in the south. The audio files sent to us that were recorded with the DR-111 proved to notably pick up the high studio quality. Test 2: We did a ‘grey line’ broadcast to Hong Kong. For this we did a mono broadcast in 16 QAM. Instead of a sketchy analog reception, when we switched over to DRM the broadcast received by the DR-111 was good FM reception with no drop outs. Of course the telescopic antenna had to be put out a window. But the listening location was surrounded by high rise buildings.'" See also drmna.info, 11 Aug 2012, about a firmware upgrade for the DR111.

Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium, 12 Sept 2012: "The DRM Consortium chose to focus on the efficiency aspects of DRM at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam this September. Three key Consortium members hosted events highlighting a new system for enhancing SW (Thomson), how to save energy using DRM transmitter systems (Transradio) and the efficient use of DRM + and DRM30 with a live LW transmission to prove it (Nautel). The transmission infrastructure provider Teracom A/S worked together with the transmitter provider, Nautel, and so during the event on Sunday and throughout the whole of IBC a BBC programme broadcast on 243 kHz (LW) from Kalundborg – Denmark, could be heard throughout much of Northern Europe." See also the DRM Consortium Sept 2012 Newsletter, including news about reception in Japan of the special IBC longwave DRM transmission from Denmark. See previous posts about DRM on 12 Sept and 3 Sept 2012.

drmna.info, 10 Sept 2012: "In terms of our chief aim (we want DRM for North America) I think it is time to start an email campaign. ... Please help the cause by contacting these few heavy-weights already known to have DRM capabilities and/or broadcasting for decent amounts of time to North America."

Update: Critical Distance Weblog, 16 Sept 2012, Jonathan Marks: "AM broadcast facilities are being closed all over the planet, Not just mothballed - but demolished as it becomes uneconomic to use 500 kWs to blast just an audio signal across a border when satellite television has a much bigger audience impact. We live in a visual world. And for the 8 or so countries where shortwave remains the only way to reach rural areas (Somalia comes to mind), these places will never go to digital SW. Remember these international networks were designed when oil was 40 dollars a barrel. Now the cost per listener is bonkers. The user interfaces of most DRM receivers are poor (on the level of physics experiment)- and there are huge challenges to build the antenna into mobiles. The technology works. But is there still a need? Not in my recent experience. The window for Digitale Radio Mondiale has closed as a stand-alone technology."

I could see DRM working on longwave, medium wave, and short-hop (generally 6 MHz and below) shortwave. It would be good for reaching remote areas out of reach of FM transmitters (and cell towers). Also good for reaching thinly-spread specialized audiences, such as expats in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere, or for news, business, sports, religion, and other talk formats. The chronic lack of DRM receivers and their short battery life are still big problems, not yet solved. The business case for both broadcasters and receiver manufacturers is, admittedly, tenuous.

Wavecatcher.us: "Shortwave station WWCR [Nashville] plans to purchase a DRM modulator to begin testing digital broadcasting. Operations Manager, Brady Murray and Frequency Manager, Dr. Jerry Plummer made the announcement on the station's regular feature 'Ask WWCR.' ... Dr. Plummer indicated the modulator may cost as much as $40,000. Both men also incorrectly stated that 'there are no receivers' for DRM. Of course the NewStar DR-111 is available (I own one!)."

DXactuell.de, 18 Sept 2012: News of the German armed forces Radio Andernach test DRM shortwave transmissions, via France, to German naval ships.

Latest advice: VOA should dispense "our side," and is "too newsy." Need "funny media" to "ridicule al Qaeda."

Posted: 18 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Philly.com, 14 Sept 2012, Stu Bykofsky: "The 'Arab street' is driven by a toxic brew of rumor, lies and disinformation. ... It's hard to overcome generations of ignorance, but there are some things we can do. First, ramp up operations of the Voice of America, which can be harnessed to dispense 'our side' across a broad range of media - radio, TV and, importantly, the Internet. It will take a long time, but we can use our ingenuity to crack open those closed minds a bit. It's a smart use of soft power." -- A few problems here: 1) VOA no longer has an Arabic service, 2) if it's only "our side," it will have no audience, and 3) in the Arab nations, it's not "importantly, the Internet," because radio and especially television still have larger audiences. For now.

US News & World Report, 15 Sept 2012, Mark W. Davis: "[T]he terrorists have been successful in focusing social media as a weapon. What has been the American response? Articulate statements from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Indignant statements put out by our embassies. In-depth news reports on Voice of America. All of these are executed with great professionalism. None of them, however, has a prayer of countering the power of something like the 'Innocence of Muslims.' What we need, instead, is a U.S. effort to develop effective social media responses in Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu. This effort will only work if personally blessed by the president and secretary of state. But it cannot—it must not—be a government program. ... Government processes are simply too brittle, labyrinthine, and slow-moving to achieve the quick and agile response we need to a social media crisis. Either the product will too newsy (Voice of America's approach, which is fine for educated elites) or it will be too tapioca (the State Department's favorite dessert). What is needed is vivid, powerful, compelling, and funny media that only a private organization can produce, funded by U.S. corporations affected by international tension and a few patriotic big donors. It must be overseen by a board of governors drawn from the highest ranks of media, CEOs, diplomats and U.S. senators, and staffed by a mix of top-notch reputation and messaging experts who work hand-in-glove with area experts to get the nuances of these messages just right. It must work in a quick, rapid-fire tempo that no government agency can match. It must be allowed to make a few mistakes before getting it right. And it must do something that no government agency could ever do — deploy humor as a weapon to ridicule al Qaeda."

So, if I have this right, this effort would "ridicule Al Qaeda," from (or at the behest of) the United States of America, not a government program, but supervised by a board that includes US senators and diplomats.

Would this effort also ridicule the Obama or Romney administrations when they make mistakes in the Middle East? It is not that the United States and Al Qaeda are in the same category, but if the object of the humor is not spread out a bit, it's not so much "funny" as it is propaganda.

And, of course, this project must employ the "social media." Keep in mind, however, that the US-funded Alhurra is one of less than a dozen serious Arabic-language news channels. The proposed effort would be one of a few million social media accounts in the Middle East.

Foreign Policy, 17 Sept 2012, James K. Glassman: "[T]weets aren't the same as news releases. The medium really is the message, and, to be effective, a tweet needs to have a spontaneous, personal, and witty cast to it. In fact, it's hard to think of two forms of expression more different than a diplomatic communiqué edited to within an inch of its life and a breezy tweet. On the other hand, tweeting is precisely what diplomats should be doing. Tweets put American ideas smack into the center of a neutral, unmediated conversation -- the best environment for persuasion in an age in which audiences are skeptical of official pronouncements and hard to fool. Less substantive tweets and other social media messaging ... can humanize diplomats and lay the groundwork for more substantive efforts at influence."

"Rwanda seeks to use CNBC to reach out to influential people in the business community."

Posted: 17 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The New Times (Kigali), 12 Sept 2012, Gertrude Majyambere: "The imminent entry of CNBC Africa into the Rwandan market could boost investment inflows in the country after the television network promised to promote investment initiatives through interviews with business, government and economic leaders. CNBC Africa struck a deal with public broadcaster Rwanda Television (RTV) which allows the former to conduct economic and business news interviews via satellite in the latter's studios. The partnership allows the two institutions to share content and revenue. Through the deal, Rwanda seeks to use CNBC to reach out to influential people in the business community and sell its initiatives to public and private sector players." -- There seems to be some confusion about CNBC Africa's role as a news channel, and I hope it's not on the part of CNBC Africa itself. CNBC Africa is not owned by NBCUniversal, but uses the CNBC name by license agreement, along with some CNBC and NBC programs. See previous post about same subject.

So you download this new Al Jazeera English magazine to your iPad, then you put your iPad on your coffee table (updated).

Posted: 17 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera Press Office, 16 Sept 2012: "The Al Jazeera English digital monthly magazine showcases the very best of Al Jazeera’s journalism from across the globe. ... The magazine will introduce the reader to the full depth and breadth of Al Jazeera’s coverage – enabling them to discover, explore and consume it in the way that best suits them. ... Visit iTunes to download - it is completely free. Magazines for Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera Documentary were launched earlier this year."

Al Jazeera English, 15 Sept 2012: "[T]he launch of the English magazine will provide iPad users with a free and full-featured facility for Al Jazeera English. Each edition will include comprehensive analysis, interactive graphics and video footage."

Update: journalism.co.uk, 17 Sept 2012, Rachel McAthy: "Acting head of online for Al Jazeera English Will Thorne said ... [iPad is] 'such a good platform for digital magazines, it works so well in that format, it just seemed like an obvious thing to do, to dive into that market and see what we could produce.' ... Now Al Jazeera English is watching with interest to see if the new iPad magazine will prompt an increase in Al Jazeera English's audience numbers, and bring new audiences to its content."

BBC Media Action will train Burmese broadcasters, including "the full range of BBC editorial and values" (updated).

Posted: 17 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Media Action blog, 13 Sept 2012, Peter Horrocks, director, BBC Global News: "A small joint team from the BBC World Service Burmese language section and BBC Media Action recently carried out a fact-finding visit to Burma, known by its own government as Myanmar. My colleagues Tin Htar Swe, Kathryn Tomlinson and myself discovered a media scene scarcely able to believe the change that is in prospect, mindful of the repression journalism has suffered for decades and fearful that the government's promises may not be realised. ... [A]mong print and broadcast journalists there is a sense of bewilderment that after years of rules and threats they may now be required to make more editorial judgements for themselves. And they are looking to the BBC for advice. People in Burma have throughout the 50 years of repression listened to the BBC in vast numbers as the most trusted source of news. Now the media community expects the BBC to assist them in this next stage. Fortunately, BBC Media Action is well placed to respond. Supported by funds from the UK’s Department for International Development and other donors, we have put together a package of training and development for the broadcast sector. And the Ministry of Information has given Media Action unprecedented permission to open a project office to deliver all of the training package we proposed. If all goes to plan, we will be offering long term support to state and commercial broadcasters to help their journalists and managers improve standards. This will not just be technical training, but the full range of BBC editorial and values training - an absolute precondition for us working in any country. ... Although there are encouraging signs, the BBC will watch developments here vigilantly. We will be determined to ensure that our training is taken seriously and really alters practice on the ground. And, of course, our BBC News and BBC World Service programmes will continue to test all sides of opinion in Burma, including the government’s. We are forever committed to the independent and impartial journalism that has given the BBC such trust among audiences in Burma."

Update: The Nation (Bangkok), 16 Sept 2012: "The British Broadcasting Corporation has begun talks with Myanmar to set up a permanent office for reporting and training, reports said Sunday. ... BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks told The Myanmar Times ... the BBC wished to provide all its English-language radio and television services, its Burmese-language radio service and journalism training inside the country."

The Myanmar Times, 17 Sept 2012, Thomas Kean and Nan Tin Htwe: "'We would like all of our services in English, both television and radio, but also our Burmese language radio service to be on air [Horrocks said] and we’ll be talking to people about the possibility of that, not least because it would be good for the people inside the country to see and hear the journalism and be able to judge it for themselves.' ... The BBC’s Burmese-language service was routinely pilloried by the military regime for its perceived bias but more recently has come under fire from Myanmar who accuse its journalists of misreporting the recent conflict in Rakhine State. Specifically, BBC journalists were accused of skewing their coverage in favour of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority referred to as Bengalis inside Myanmar. Mr Horrocks said the BBC was open to criticism and was 'always asking itself questions about its reporting'."

Euronews will open a permanent desk in Washington, at the ABC News premises.

Posted: 16 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 14 Sept 2012, Robert Briel: "Following the recent opening of news bureaux in Brussels, London, Doha, Cairo, Paris, Moscow and Kiev, Euronews will now open a permanent desk in Washington. In partnership with ABC News, the US desk will produce exclusive content for Euronews, keeping abreast of events on the continent in the lead-up to elections of global importance. The new desk is part of the channel’s strategy to expand and boost its reach around the world. ABC News correspondents, experts and anchors, including ABC News Global Affairs Anchor Christiane Amanpour, will provide regular analysis of US politics and others news events exclusively for Euronews in a series of interviews and two-ways. In return, Euronews will provide ABC News exclusive current and breaking news on European affairs and coverage of upcoming European elections. Euronews will also make available to ABC News exclusive news footage from news events it is covering internationally. Stefan Grobe, a top journalist and expert on US affairs has been appointed as permanent correspondent. He is based in Washington, at the ABC News premises, the leading American news channel."

No prisoner of its name, China Radio International brings "urban romantic comedy" TV series to Burma.

Posted: 16 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 15 Sept 2012: "Wang Gengnian, director-general of China Radio International has met with U Ye Htut, the vice minister of the Publicity Department of Myanmar at Naypyitaw. They signed a broadcast protocol about China's TV series 'Jin Tailang's Happy Life' dubbed in the local language. ... Wang Gengnian pointed out that the artistic recreation of China's TV series will benefit the cultural communication and the friendship between the people from China and Myanmar. 'Jin Tailang's Happy life' is a urban roma[n]tic comedy with 40 episodes and will be broadcast in the first half of next year."

Why would China Radio International be involved in providing this television program to Burma? I suspect it is because CRI Burmese staff will do the dubbing. The versioning of television programs into the languages of target countries will probably become a more important aspect of international broadcasting.

BBG still wants a CEO for USIB (updated).

Posted: 16 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 13 Sept 2012: "During its meeting [on 13 September], the [Broadcasting Board of Governors] reaffirmed its intention to create a position of Chief Executive Officer for United States International Broadcasting, as set out in its January 2012 meeting, and voted unanimously on a series of steps leading to the position’s creation under current law. ... The Board also unanimously approved resolutions honoring a pair recent retirees: BBG Legislative Coordinator Susan Andross and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty General Counsel John A. Lindburg. Documents associated with this meeting will be posted in the coming days."

USIB badly needs a CEO. But the CEO needs to have real authority over the directors and presidents of the entities. He or she must be able to require the entity heads to cooperate and to achieve synergies. The CEO should also be able to instruct them to eliminate duplication, wherever possible.

Even with these authorities, the CEO faces two main choices, both of them unsatisfactory. He or she could leave the entities as they are, thus continuing the duplication and division of resources that vex USIB today. Or the CEO could eliminate duplication by instructing VOA to report only US and general world news, leaving target-country news to RFE/RL and RFA. This would impose upon the audience the unacceptable inconvenience of having to tune to two US stations to get a complete news service.

There might be a third choice, probably requiring Congressional action. This would be to divide the world among the entities. VOA would probably revolt, reduced to about 20 languages. Furthermore, RFE/RL and RFA would have to provide more world news coverage, perhaps using VOA as their primary news agency.

The only real solution would be to eliminate all the present entities and create one new entity, with a new brand. This would spread the unhappiness evenly.

Finally, with the members of the BBG not in the building most days, the CEO will have to be a one-person firewall. He or she must recognize the importance of credibility in successful international broadcasting, and this is accomplished by guarding the independence of the news organization. Furthermore, the CEO must be able to explain and sell the concept of a government-funded news service over which the government does not have day-to-day control. Such a news service supports the international policies of the United States, but in ways that must artfully be explained.

Update: Radio World, 14 Sept 2012, Alexis Hauk: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors has taken further steps toward realizing the goal of creating a Chief Executive Officer position for U.S. International Broadcasting. 'The board should proceed [with the appointment] as a matter of urgency,' according to the governance committee, said Alternative BBG Presiding Gov. Dennis Mulhaupt at the Sept. 13 BBG meeting. 'Since 2010, the board has been discussing the need for a CEO,' Mulhaupt said. While several efforts had already been made through the legislative process, he said that this latest effort would take place 'under existing statutory framework provided by the International Broadcasting Act.' ... Gov. Victor Ashe, by far the meeting’s most vocal participant, expressed concern at the suggestion that the BBG would start 'preliminary work' before Congress has approved the new position. ... 'Let’s say we come across Mr. or Mrs. Ideal and we hire them, but then the notification comes back and one of them [the Congressional committee members] says no,' Ashe said. 'Does that person lose their job?' ... The vote was unanimous approving a series of steps leading to the position’s creation under current law. Actual appointment of a CEO will be subject of another board meeting."

If Congressional committee members object to "Mr. or Mrs. Ideal," then what is point of the BBG and its firewall? It is assumed this CEO's responsibilities will include content as well and engineering and administration. The idea of the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 was to shift the hiring of top management from the administration (with Senate approval) to the bipartisan BBG, whose members have fixed and staggered terms. This does not entirely depoliticize the hiring process, but it provides much more independence than the pre-1994 system. No longer does a new administration bring about a change of leadership of the USIB entities, resulting in an audible and credibility-defeating change of tone every four or eight years.

BBGWatch, 16 Sept 2012, BBGWatcher: "[T]here are questions how the Congressionally-mandated independence of the grantee broadcasters can be preserved and Congressional oversight maintained if the CEO is not subject to Senate confirmation." -- Oxymoronic. Independence of the grantee broadcasters is forfeited if the CEO is subject to "Congressional oversight" and "Senate confirmation." The CEO must be hired, fired, and supervised by the BBG. And the sentence implies VOA is not entitled to independence, which is to say it is also not entitled to credibility or to an audience.

From the Union College student newspaper, a primer on Cuba-USA international radio.

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Concordiensis, 13 Sept 2012, Thomas Scott: "On the American side there is Radio Martí, funded by the U.S. government and named after Cuban writer Jose Martí, which began airing in 1985 at the behest of Cuban expatriates who had been displaced by the regime of Fidel Castro. Radio Martí provides political commentary to contrast that of Cuba’s state run media as well as Spanish translations of President Obama’s weekly addresses. The station’s signals are blocked in Cuba through the use of electronic jamming. ... On the Cuban side there is Radio Havana Cuba, which first began airing in 1961. It is a radio station located in the Cuban capital of Havana, which can be heard in English and Spanish and broadcasts at 6000 kilohertz. It is government-run and often features opinions which are highly critical of the United States and the Organization of American States. Yet aside from the political content, the station also features aspects of Cuba’s rich culture, such as music and snippets of historical trivia about the island nation."

Radio Sawa interviews "alleged director" of "The Innocence of Muslims."

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 14 Sept 2012: "A man who says he was behind the private film sparking demonstrations in the Muslim world is criticizing the protesters. In an interview with U.S.-government-funded Radio Sawa, the alleged director of the film says his fellow Arabs 'have to learn demonstrate peacefully against the issues on which we disagree.' He says any allegation the United States government was involved in the making of the movie is 'funny and ridiculous' and that 'America has nothing to do with the film.' Radio Sawa says the man refused to confirm his identity but that a source who provided the contact information identified him as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula." With translation of the interview. Original at Radio Sawa, 14 Sept 2012.

Forbes, 14 Sept 2012, Dorothy Pomerantz: "As with so many facts around this 'film,' these could turn out to be untrue. But the broadcasters believed they were talking to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a California Coptic Egyptian who is believed to be the filmmaker behind the propaganda video."

Sky News Australia, 15 Sept 2012: "Reporters and police are camped out outside Nakoula's house outside Los Angeles, but he has not been seen, although he did give an interview to Radio Sawa, a US-government station that broadcasts in Arabic."

Digital Journal, 14 Sept 2012, Ted Lipien: "Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe criticizes the executive staff of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) for using a weak language in describing the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. Public relations officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) -- the U.S. government agency responsible for broadcasts to the Middle East and other parts of the world -- referred to the 'passing' of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens in a statement expressing condemnation of the attacks that claimed his life and three others. Ambassador Victor H. Ashe, one of the current seven members of the bipartisan board in charge of U.S. international broadcasting, said the killings should be described as murder." -- It was not "weak language," but correct use of English. The BBG mourns the passing, but condemned the attack (see the BBG statement on 12 Sept). It would seem a bit off to mourn a murder. In any case, a news organization is behooved to be restrained in its language. See previous post.

Washington Post, 15 Sept 2012, Craig Timberg: "Google lists eight reasons on its 'YouTube Community Guidelines' page for why it might take down a video. Inciting riots is not among them. But after the White House warned Tuesday that a crude anti-Muslim movie trailer had sparked lethal violence in the Middle East, Google acted. Days later, controversy over the 14-minute clip from 'The Innocence of Muslims' was still roiling the Islamic world, with access blocked in Egypt, Libya, India, Indonesia and Afghanistan — keeping it from easy viewing in countries where more than a quarter of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims live. Legal experts and civil libertarians, meanwhile, said the controversy highlighted how Internet companies, most based in the United States, have become global arbiters of free speech, weighing complex issues that traditionally are the province of courts, judges, and occasionally, international treaty. 'Notice that Google has more power over this than either the Egyptian or the U.S. government,' said Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor. 'Most free speech today has nothing to do with governments and everything to do with companies.'"

@InkSptsGulliver, 15 Sept 2012: "Plenty of people saying 'it's not about the movie' ... except all the shouting protestors. Great analysis by @evanchill."

Second Zee TV Arabic-language channel will offer dubbed Indian series.

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 13 Sept 2012, Nick Snow: "The importance of Arab viewers, and the massive audiences possible from the Middle East, has prompted India’s Zee TV owners to commit to spending $100 million on a second Arabic-language channel. Its first effort, Zee Aflam, is already operationally profitable showing movies. The second channel, Zee Alwan, is the first of a planned quartet of new channels promised by Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd (ZEEL). Zee Alwan is promising more than 180 hours of original content each month, including a trio of Arabic drama series as well as popular Indian series dubbed into Arabic."

Al Jazeera English now available 24/7 on UK DTT platform Freeview.

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Spy, 13 Sept 2012, Andrew Laughlin: "Al Jazeera English, the English-language news channel with headquarters in the Middle East, is to start broadcasting 24 hours a day on Freeview from later this month. From September 19, millions of Freeview viewers will get round-the-clock access to the RTS News Channel of the Year when it expands from the current five hours per evening on the digital terrestrial platform. Around 20 million homes with Freeview (including an estimated 11m on the main set) will be able to watch the full range of Al Jazeera's international live news, analysis, investigations and documentary programming throughout the day and night. Al Jazeera English already broadcasts a 24/7 schedule to more than 12m UK homes on satellite." -- Freeview is a digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform in the UK offering, as its name implies, free-to-air channels. In addition to AJE, RT (Russia Today) is also available, but the other global English news channels, including CNN International, are not.

100+ channel IPTV platform would serve expats in the Middle East.

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 13 Sept 2012, Chris Forrester: "A new platform could soon be transmitting more than 100 HDTV and SD channels into the Middle East, using IPTV protocols. The idea is to serve Middle East ex-pats. Talia IPTV, hosted via their Talia teleport in Germany, and in an agreement signed at IBC, will see Talia provide a complete end-to-end solution for a 100+ channel IPTV OTT network targeting the worldwide Middle Eastern ex-pat community. Talia IPTV says it already offers providers of ethnic, specialty, and regional content the ability to extend their reach to audiences spread throughout the world. From Arabic channels in America, to Nigerian Church broadcasts in Australia, Talia IPTV connects broadcasters with customers anywhere, live, with video on demand, and employing the newest technologies and apps to deliver interactive content." -- Just to clarify: "Middle East ex-pats" refers to people living or working in the Middle East who are from other parts of the world. See also www.talia.net.

BBC estimates internet distribution of content takes three times the power of broadcast transmitters.

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
go-eurovision.com, 9 Sept 2012, Roger Miles: "Here at the EBU's stand at IBC 2012, one of the presentations is more than a little disquieting. Simon Tuff, chairman of the EBU's Green Broadcasting group (pictured, mid-presentation, on the EBU booth), provides some chilling evidence that our industry is anything but 'cool' and it is in grave danger of becoming even less ecologically sustainable if we abandon traditional terrestrial broadcasting ('sticks on hills') in favour of distributing all our content over the internet. The BBC estimates that using the internet for the distribution of content to large audiences is three times more power hungry than serving the same audience with the same content using terrestrial broadcast transmitters. There was corroborating evidence for this from the Netherlands, mentioned by my colleague Bram Tullemans in his presentation on Media over Broadband, too. ... So, how do we green our seemingly inevitable adoption of IP technologies for broadcasting? One answer might be to use each technology for what it does best. Well engineered and maintained transmitters using state-of-the-art modulation techniques are the most sustainable way of delivering high quality content to our audiences. Internet Protocol technologies are ideally suited to conveying associated programme information (actors' biographies, sporting statistics, track and CD titles and artwork etc.) to individuals for their greater enjoyment, understanding and immersion in the broadcast programmes."

"To large audiences" is the important qualification of these findings. Most international broadcasters have small audiences, and therefore are better off using the internet -- where it is not blocked, and where people have access to it. Furthermore, the use of the internet by international broadcasters requires decisions as to what sort of content should conveyed: audio, video, web pages, or social media? Most international broadcasters can't afford "all of the above," and, in any case, most of their audiences do not, via the internet, consume "all of the above." Here, good research can prevent the waste of money, resources, and effort.

Media UK, 15 Sept 2012, James Cridland: "[U]nlike any streaming radio apps, broadcast radio doesn't use bandwidth. With RadioDNS hybrid radio apps on your phone, that use IP and FM/DAB together to provide an app-like user experience for broadcast radio, radio's future is particularly bright. And should Apple, or Pandora, ever launch their 'radio' service in the UK, they'll have to cope with the ever increasing problems of 'unlimited data' that is increasingly showing itself to be impossible to offer while maintaining a viable service."

International television sales include Russian content ("lots of it!") and Doozers to EMEA.

Posted: 15 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 12 Sept 2012, Joanna Padovano: "AFL Productions has secured the global distribution rights to the complete libraries of Russia's Home Channel and Peretz TV. The library for Home Channel consists of factual programming—including cooking and travel shows—aimed at women between the ages of 25 and 59. Peretz TV's catalogue contains content such as home video clips shows and is geared toward 25- to 49-year-old men. ... 'Both of these channels have grown rapidly for a reason and we feel that their programming will find a very receptive international audience, allowing local broadcasters as well as cable and satellite channels to acquire affordable and successful programming. Lots of it!'"

World Screen, 12 Sept 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Last year, the sales of French TV programs around the globe grew 4.8 percent, reaching 110.6 million euros ($142.6 million). ... The growth is spread across all genres. Animation continues to lead, with 35.3 million euros, an increase of 1.6 percent on the prior year. Doc sales were up 2.6 percent from 2010, to 27.1 million euros. Fiction sales grew 4.5 percent to 20 million euros and formats gained 15.4 percent to 17.2 million euros. Western Europe is still the largest buyer of French fare, contributing 61.3 million. The Asia Pacific has shown an increased interest, up 40.6 percent, overtaking Central and Eastern Europe for the first time since 2006 (though this region is also growing, up 12.6 percent). Latin America was up 12.2 percent and the Middle East grew 2.2 percent. North America's French imports were relatively flat. Africa's buying decreased 15.8 percent."

C21Media, 11 Sept 2012, Jesse Whittock: "Global children’s channels KidsCo and Nickelodeon have placed their faith in a pair of cartoons created in Asia. The deals represent a growing interest in IP created in the region, which is moving toward owning content rather than only acting as a service industry for toons created in the West. KidsCo has acquired Shelldon (26x22'), a marine-themed toon that comes from Thailand’s Shellhut Entertainment, and will dub it for all local territories. It will debut in November. ... Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Inspidea, another Asian toon house that’s driving the trend for locally created intellectual property, is working on a 12x2' shortform series for Nick. Akis will tell the stories of an imaginative a young girl that loves to play-pretend, in both English and Bahasa Malaysian."

C21Media, 13 Sept 2012: "Turner-owned preschool channel Cartoointo has picked up Doozers, and will air the coproduction from The Jim Henson Company and DHX Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in fall 2013. The series centers on small creatures often seen in the 1980's Henson series Fraggle Rock and went into production at DHX’s studio in Canada earlier this year following years of development."

C21Media, 12 Sept 2012, Ed Waller: "Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises will launch three animated properties in Cannes next month, including a Japanese series reworked for the Western market. Paboo & Molies (52x11') is about a magical land where 'letters and learning combine to create laughter for all,' and features a fun-loving panda and his larger-than-life friends."

Second lot of equipment from Bush House, old BBCWS HQ, now being auctioned.

Posted: 14 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Wired.co.uk, 12 Sept 2012, Olivia Solon: "Fancy recreating an entire BBC World Service canteen in your home? Thanks to an enormous online auction of equipment, including studio and culinary equipment, you now can. The auction is the second phase of a clearout at Bush House; having broadcast from there since the 1940s, the World Service has now relocated to Broadcast House, leaving the studios silent but filled with equipment. The first lot was sold in July and included a Steinway baby grand piano and a picture of Paul McCartney. In a new lot of more than 1,500 items, Peaker Pattinson Auctions is selling off further pieces of equipment from the vacant World Service offices. The lot includes dozens of 'on air' lights, mixing desks, microphones, headphones, turntables and speakers. ... You can see the full list of items on offer here."

Doctor Who News, 12 Sept 2012, Chuck Foster: "A new composition has been unveiled today to commemorate the BBC's historic Bush House, which ceased broadcasting in July. It was composed by Matthew Herbert, who has been appointed the creative director of the New Radiophonic Workshop, the successor to the original BBC Radiophonic Workshop that itself closed some fourteen years ago. The piece was commissioned as the former World Service headquarters sees much of its old equipment being sold off in auction over the coming week... . The piece can be listened to on THE SPACE website."

BBG meets with Hillary Clinton, "the only Secretary of State to have met with the Board."

Posted: 14 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 13 Sept 2012: "In a meeting today with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged the Board in their strategic efforts to restructure and increase the impact of U.S. international broadcasting. BBG Presiding Governor Michael Lynton led the Board’s delegation to the State Department, which included Governors Victor Ashe, Dennis Mulhaupt, Susan McCue, and Michael Meehan, as well as Richard M. Lobo, Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine, the Secretary’s representative to the BBG, took a leading role in framing the discussion. Lynton noted that during a discussion in June 2011, the Board shared with the Secretary its intention to undertake a wholesale transformation of U.S. international broadcasting, and had since adopted a five-year strategic plan. 'Change will not happen overnight,' Lynton said. 'But the reforms we are enacting will strengthen the agency’s ability to deliver on its mission in support of U.S. national interests: to inform, engage and connect with people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.' ... Secretary Clinton serves on the BBG ex-officio. She’s the only Secretary of State to have met with the Board."

To "increase the impact of U.S. international broadcasting" requires a recommitment to the most important commodity of international broadcasting: credibility. Phrases such as "strategic efforts," "mission in support of U.S. interests," and "in support of freedom and democracy" may be worthy notions, but they are not indicative of an independent news organization and thus do not enhance credibility.

BBG renews call on Syrian government to reveal information about missing Alhurra journalists.

Posted: 14 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 13 Sept 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today renewed its call on the Syrian government to reveal what it knows about the whereabouts of two missing Alhurra journalists and underscored its condemnation of the attacks that claimed the lives of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three others. ... Alternative BBG Presiding Governor Dennis Mulhaupt highlighted the case of Alhurra journalist Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal who reportedly were seized by Syrian forces shortly after they entered Syria August 20. A video about the two was prepared by the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. ... Mulhaupt noted that, since the Board’s last meeting, there have been other serious incidents involving the harassment, interrogation, beating, home invasion and threats to BBG journalists in Tibet, Mali, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Angola, and Tajikistan."

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, 9 Sept 2012: "ANHRI denounces [the detention of] Turkish photo-journalist [Cuneyt] Unal and the fabrication of charges against him. He was charged of belonging to an international terrorist organization. ANHRI calls the Syrian authorities to [reveal] the place of the Jordanian journalist Bashar Fahmi, the reporter for Al-Hurra, who disappeared since entering the Syrian territory accompanied with Unal. [They] had entered the Syrian territory, legally through a crossing road on the Turkish-Syrian border, then they disappeared since last August 20." See also cjchivers.com, 10 Sept 2012, for translation of statement by Cuneyt Unal on Syrian television.

See previous post about same subject.

Reports I wish I could afford describe global expansion of OTT TV, and international distribution of US cable channels.

Posted: 13 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Generator Research, describing its new "Over the Top (OTT) Internet Television" report (£395.00): "A total of 45.3 million individuals will pay to access OTT internet television programming in 2012 - about 2x as many as the number that subscribe to the world's largest cable TV network, Comcast (U.S.A), which claimed 22.8 million subscribers at the end of 2010. By 2016, the number of individuals who pay to access OTT internet TV programming will have increased to 352.4 million, a figure which is nearly 50% of the worldwide total of Pay-TV subscriptions (cable, satellite and IPTV combined)."

The OTT phenomenon is important for international broadcasting. Access to cable and DTH satellite systems around the world requires a competitive 24/7 channel. In most languages, in including English, USIB lacks such 24/7 channels. In OTT television, audiences will access programs rather than channels. USIB does have programs, and thus will have new opportunities to participate in the global media environment. Many other players, however, will also have the same access for their programs, so market share could be diluted.

The Wrap, 12 Sept 2012, Lucas Shaw: "Dana Brunetti, a prominent Hollywood producer with a first-look deal at HBO, said Tuesday that web video will 'destroy networks and conglomerates as we know it.'"

World Screen, 12 Sept 2012: "The second edition of World Screen’s Top 100 U.S. Cable & Satellite Channels downloadable report is your must-have guide to doing business in the biggest television market in the world. This comprehensive directory is available for a short period at an introductory price of US$295, or $250 for WorldScreen.com premium subscribers. ... This new and expanded edition of World Screen’s Top 100 U.S. Cable & Satellite Channels guide includes: ... International Distribution: The availability of the channel—and its original shows—on the international market."

"CNN will place the muscle of its global resources behind 'Our Mobile Society.'"

Posted: 13 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 11 Sept 2012: "Beginning this week through October 7, 2012, CNN will place the muscle of its global resources behind 'Our Mobile Society,' an initiative to explore the new world where mobile technology has shifted from nicety to necessity. Appearing across all of CNN platforms, the month-long coverage will examine the impact of mobile devices on topics including personal relationships, work habits, cultural quirks, heath, finance, and etiquette. ... Beginning September 24th, a full week of 'Our Mobile Society' coverage will air during CNN Newsroom. CNN International will air segments in News Stream at 8a ET [1200 UTC] and Quest Means Business at 2p ET [1800 UTC] Monday through Friday and across the Asia-Pacific region Sunday at 6p ET [2200 UTC]. HLN, CNN en Espanol and Airport Network will also feature reporting on the topic, and Zite will be adding a section entitled 'Our Mobile Society' to its apps as well. Visit www.cnn.com/ourmobilesociety throughout the month and join in the conversation by following @CNNMobile on Twitter and using the hashtag #cnnmobilesociety."

"Do China's bloggers threaten or bolster Communist rule?"

Posted: 13 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Globe and Mail, 8 Sept 2012, Mark MacKinnon: "Welcome to Sina Weibo, a giant speakers corner frequented by about 300 million Chinese, making it the largest national public square in history. It’s fast, it’s rude and, even though it just turned three years old, it’s a 24-hour-a-day nightmare for government officials across China, who for decades have kept tight control on information. Many have never before been questioned, let alone ridiculed, in public. ... So is Weibo a threat to Communist Party rule, or does it fact entrench it? The latter might be true in the short term. Replacing Facebook and Twitter with a medium they can control means that China’s rulers are unlikely to face the rapidly spreading unrest that has marked the Arab Spring. ... But in the longer term? Despite the filtering, Weibo is changing China. The conversation is often angry, and is increasingly leading people to take action at the local level. That must eventually lead people to question the broader system that allows corruption and injustice to thrive."

Heritage Foundation, 11 Sept 2012, Helle Dale: "The creation of Sina Weibo is clearly having unintended consequences for the Chinese government. At the same time, Chinese citizens continue to need the link to the outside world—through Internet circumvention of the Great Firewall and through international broadcasting (such as Radio Free Asia and Voice of America) in order to breach walls of censorship."

@markmckinnon, 13 Sept 2012: "BBC World just went dark in Beijing as the reporter wondered about the whereabouts of a man reputed to be the Vice-President of China."

Another conservative who wants to increase the size of the international broadcasting bureaucracy.

Posted: 13 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Russia Beyond the Headlines, 12 Sept 2012, Maria Prosviryakova of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) interviewing Ariel Cohen, a Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at The Heritage Foundation: "RIAC: How can we build trust between the two countries? A.C.: One thing that I believe we can do is have reciprocity. If the United States opens its media environment to RT (Russia Today) – and I have it in my house, right next to Al Jazeera and BBC TV and Deutsche Welle ? and we now have radio Voice of Russia broadcasting in English in the United States, then I think an equal amount of time can be given to the Russian public for U.S.-funded stations, like The Voice of America and Radio Liberty. Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t even have a product; it doesn’t have a global TV channel that is funded or sponsored by the U.S. government, the way that RT is sponsored by the Russian government or CCTV is sponsored by the government of China, or Al Jazeera – I hate to say it – is an excellent English-language news channel sponsored by the Emir of Qatar. So, in that respect, there is some lack of equality."

But the United States has something even better than "a global TV channel that is funded or sponsored by the U.S. government." It has a global TV channel that costs the taxpayers nothing. It's CNN International, the most successful global English-language news channel. Or would Dr. Cohen prefer something more like RT, government-controlled as well as government funded, and therefore possessing a tiny audience?

What is wrong with you conservatives? I'm no conservative, at least not most days, but do I have to show you how to be conservative? International broadcasting should be market based, not centrally planned. US international broadcasting should be accomplished by the private sector as much as possible. This keeps the size of bureaucracy small and reduces the burden on the taxpayer. US government-funded international broadcasting should step in and provide the news in languages that have insufficient commercial potential to be self-sustaining.

Instead of competing with CNN International, cutting in to its audience, and maybe putting it out of business, the BBG should emulate Euronews. This would allow a central video stream to combined with audio in the several USIB languages. This would be affordable if the duplication throughout USIB were eliminated in favor of a single consolidated new entity.

NBCUniversal exec Jeffrey Shell tapped as next chairman of the BBG, which meets today at 2045 UTC.

Posted: 13 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Wrap, 12 Sept 2012: "Jeffrey Shell, president of NBCUniversal International, will be nominated by President Obama to the post of chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. NBCUniversal confirmed Wednesday that Shell would be named to head the independent federal agency that oversees U.S. government non-military international broadcasting. Shell currently serves on the board of the National Constitution Center. He was named president of NBCUniversal International last year, after serving 6 years as president of the Comcast Programming Group. He was CEO of Gemstar TV Guide International and President of FOX Cable Networks Group." See also Broadcasting & Cable, 12 Sept 2012.

From the White House statement: "Jeffrey Shell is President of NBCUniversal International, a position he has held since 2011. He previously served as President of Comcast Programming Group from 2005 to 2011, overseeing Comcast's group of networks. Prior to joining Comcast, Mr. Shell held a number of positions, including CEO of Gemstar TV Guide International and President of the FOX Cable Networks Group. As President of the FOX Cable Networks, he oversaw the operations of FOX’s entertainment and sports cable programming businesses. He currently serves on the board of the National Constitution Center. Mr. Shell received a B.S. in Economics and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Harvard University."

Note that Mr. Shell is chairman of the international division of NBCUniversal. See his bio at the NBCUniversal website.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 13 Sept 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Thursday, September 13 at BBG headquarters in Washington, D.C. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. [2045 UTC]" With link to live and on-demand video. Board members are scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today, 12 September, per BBG press release, 11 Sept 2012.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 12 Sept 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today mourned the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, and reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that news and information reach the people of Libya with the support of the United States." See also World News on NBCNews.com, 12 Sept 2012, M. Alex Johnson and Daniel Strieff, who cite VOA coverage of the events in Libya.

VOA in the news includes reporter on a "must follow" Twitter list.

Posted: 12 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Daily Dot, 10 Sept 2012, Lorraine Murphy: "Steve Herman // 20,032 followers. Herman is the Voice of America chief for the Korean peninsula and Japan. He was also the voice of the Japanese earthquake and Fukushima disaster, often tweeting stories and leads a full 24 hours before other news organizations. In a multilingual zone, it’s all the more challenging to understand what’s being discussed. Add to that the challenge of distilling it into 140 characters at a time and you have a serious test for any journalist at the best of times, let alone during an earthquake, evacuation, tidal wave, and nuclear meltdown." See also @W7VOA.

AP, 11 Sept 2012, Didi Tang: "Chen Xitong, deposed in 1995, went on a hunger strike [in China's Qincheng prison] to protest the poor food, according to a recent book by Yao Jianfu, a retired scholar who interviewed Chen. Yao said Chen was given a radio to listen to Voice of America and keep up with the outside world."

BBG Strategy, 10 Sept 2002: "Colombia’s NTN24 and Venezuela’s Cablevisión continue to make extensive use of VOA Latin America Service television coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign and election, including the national party nominating conventions in Tampa, FL and Charlotte, NC. ... VOA affiliate PRTV in Jos, Nigeria has increased its VOA lineup, adding the Hausa Service’s new, 30-minute program Tattauna (Dialogue) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. ... Russian newswire service Interfax has agreed to terms with Voice of America to distribute several VOA RSS feeds. ... Malawi Broadcasting Corp has agreed in principle and is preparing to rebroadcast several VOA TV programs, including Straight Talk Africa and On Assignment. MBC is also considering VOA radio programs."

New DRM-capable one-megawatt All India Radio medium wave unit will transmit to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.

Posted: 12 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
All India Radio, 10 Sept 2012, via Alokesh Gupta, DX India YG, via DXers Guide: "India's first 1000 Kilo Watt Digital Radio Mondiale-DRM Super Power Transmitter-of All India Radio has been dedicated to the Nation at Liyare village in Jamnagar district in Gujarat today. Speaking on this occasion, Mr.Jawahar Sircar, Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati has said that ... this Super Power Transmitter of DRM Technology at Jamnagar will also help to spread the India's rich culture to our neighboring countries. ... Our Correspondent reports the Super Power Transmitter with DRM technology is capable of broadcasting in DRM, AM and simulcast modes which is the first of its kind in the country. ... Our Correspondent adds that it is a Relay Station used by Urdu, Sindhi and Baluchi programs of AIR External Services beamed to nearby Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and some other Gulf countries in North West direction. The frequency is 1071 kHz for AM mode and 1080 kHz for DRM mode. During tests, Urdu Service and Vividh Bharati programs are being broadcast." -- Probably very few DRM receivers currently available in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran...

China Radio International English, its "flagship service," marks 65th anniversary.

Posted: 12 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 9 Sept 2012: "Born in 1947, during the revolutionary years leading up the founding of the People's Republic of China, China Radio International's English Service celebrates its 65th anniversary today. Using the world's most widely-spoken language and dedicated to helping the world better understand China and vice versa, CRI's English Service was built from scratch and has undergone gradual transformations over the years to keep abreast with the times. During its fledgling years prior to 1949, CRI's English Service was tasked with informing the international community about the policy of the Communist Party of China as it worked to end the civil war and achieve national unity. After the founding of the People's Republic, the English Service sought to expand its global reach and set out on a historic mission to get China's message out to the world and to bridge the gap between the East and the West. Today, the English Service has become a flagship service of China Radio International, presenting global audience members with news, information and entertainment through various multimedia formats, including radio, Internet, video and print. Looking ahead, the English Service aims to become an influential global media outlet that plays an essential part in promoting China's soft power." Audio interview with Xia Jixuan, Deputy Director-General of CRI. -- Phrases such as "get China's message out to the world" and "promoting China's soft power" suggest that CRI is not even trying to position itself as a news organization.

Japan-South Korea "propaganda war" employs newspaper ads, domestic dissemination.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 11 Sept 2012: "Just days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged South Korea and Japan to cool tensions over a territorial island dispute, both countries geared up Tuesday for a propaganda war over the issue. Their respective foreign ministries both unveiled requests for hefty budget increases to support efforts to publicize their respective claims, at home and abroad, to islands known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese. ... The Japanese ministry said it was asking the central government to set aside 560 million yen ($7 million) to promote its side of the argument over the islands, along with other territorial disputes. The conservative Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reported Tuesday that the government would 'place ads in 70 national and regional newspapers from September 11 for a week' to highlight its case for sovereignty over the Takeshima islets. It marks the first time the government has used newspaper adverts to buttress its argument, the newspaper said. Later Tuesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said Seoul was prepared to buy its own ad space in Japanese newspapers. 'We will secure the budget to run ads saying 'Dokdo is our territory' in Japanese media,' Kim, on a visit to Oslo with President Lee Myung-bak, was quoted as saying by Yonhap."

The Korea Herald, 11 Sept 2012: “'Korea insists that it has been effectively controlling Takeshima before Japan but its description in references is ambiguous and lacks clear evidence to back it up,' [a Japanese] ad reads. Takeshima is Dokdo’s Japanese name. Seoul’s Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said in Oslo the Seoul government is readying to put an ad in Japanese media outlets that illustrate the islets are Korean territory 'historically, geographically and under international law.'"

China Daily, 2 Sept 2012, Chen Jia: "Eminent Chinese philanthropist Chen Guangbiao has publicly called for an amicable solution to 'prevent Japan's claim on China's Diaoyu Islands' in a half-page advertisement in Friday's New York Times. The advertisement appeared in the main section of the paper, on page 19, and included an overview on the islands. 'Japan's right wing is now violating China's Diaoyu Islands. The Diaoyu Islands have been part of China since antiquity. I call on the United States government and people everywhere to condemn Japan's provocative behavior,' the advertisement said in both English and Chinese."

BBC plans "unprecedented global simulcast" on 14 November to mark 90 years of BBC radio.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC press release, 10 Sept 2012: "The BBC today announced plans for an unprecedented global simulcast across its radio networks – including every UK station (local, network and national) and many World Service outlets – curated by Damon Albarn to mark 90 years of radio. The simultaneous broadcast, called Radio Reunited, will take place on November 14 at 17:33 GMT – 90 years since the first broadcast from the British Broadcasting Company in 1922 - to a potential global audience of 120 million people across every inhabited continent. The three-minute transmission will be based on recorded messages from listeners around the world on the theme of the future. Each of an estimated 60 BBC radio stations will choose one message and many of them will then be mixed together and set to a musical score specially composed by the Blur frontman." See also BBC Radio Blog, 10 Sept 2012, Tim Davie.

Radio Azadi crimestopper report leads to arrest of two Pakistani police officers.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Off Mic, 7 Sept 2012: "A recent Radio Azadi report accusing two Pakistani police officers of robbing an Afghan man seeking medical attention for his daughter caught the attention of the General Consul of Afghanistan in Peshawar and has led to the officers’ arrest and dismissal. At the end of August, Radio Azadi reporter Mujeeb Angaar became aware that Pakistani police had used the pretext of a roadside document check to rob Abdul Wahed, an Afghan national who was traveling with a friend to a Peshawar hospital to obtain medical treatment for his daughter. ... Officials at the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar heard the incident reported on Radio Azadi and contacted Pakistani officials. ... Peshawar’s Chief of Police, Suhaib Ashraff, is following up on the consulate’s investigation. 'We thank Radio Azadi for informing us,' said Ashraff in recognition of Radio Azadi’s role in the incident. The stolen money has since been returned to Wahed and, after hearing the report, Afghans living in Peshawar have collected additional funds to enable his daughter to be treated at a local clinic."

Radio Pakistan international service to shut down shortwave "with immediate effect," in favor of internet and satellite.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The News (Karachi), 7 Sept 2012, Ahmad Noorani: "Radio Pakistan management has decided to shut down 5 shortwave (SW) transmitters installed at HTP Rawat with immediate effect. These transmitters installed over a vast area of about 370 acres of land to transmit Radio Pakistan signals to the outside world including South East Asia, Gulf, Middle East, Europe and some other parts. The Radio Pakistan – Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) — management is doing so to shift external services on internet and subsequently on satellite. The staff members of PBC are of the view that short wave receivers are common across the world while everybody especially the rural and some of the urban population do not have internet or satellite receivers in their radio sets. They view that Radio Pakistan’s SW installations are a strategic asset, which send Pakistan’s message to the whole world and complete elimination of this infrastructure will be a great loss for Pakistan. ... However, on the other side, DG PBC, Murtaza Solangi is of the view that SW analogue technology is becoming redundant now and installed SW equipment has almost become outdated. He said this system consumed very big amount of electricity and yielded almost no results in return and thus remained unfeasible in a country which is already facing power shortages." -- Thanks to Ken English news tip.

UK regulator Ofcom says RT (Russia Today) breached impartiality rules in its reporting on NATO in Libya.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
@RobertAndrews, 10 Sept 2012: "Ofcom says Russia Today breached its rules by being biased against Nato in Libya."

Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, 10 Sept 2012 (pdf): "A complainant alerted Ofcom to two separate news items, featuring the reporter Lizzie Phelan, which the complainant considered were not duly accurate or duly impartial. In summary, the complainant said that Lizzie Phelan made 'claims that...the [Libyan] rebels obviously lack any popular support' and her report was not 'a factual news report.' ... In this case, we considered that Lizzie Phelan was criticising the Western media’s coverage of the Libyan conflict and also criticising NATO’s strategy and policy with regards to Libya. Given the strength and one-sided nature of these criticisms of NATO policy in her contribution to this news programme, in our view, it was incumbent on the broadcaster to ensure that alternative viewpoints were reflected in the news reports to counter the criticisms being made by Lizzie Phelan. This was not done by Russia Today in this news programme, and TV Novosti did not and could not point to any other linked news programming where this happened."

Meet the Adebanjos: first Nigerian sitcom property on South Africa's SABC.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Screen Africa, 10 Sept 2012: "As from 11 September Meet the Adebanjos will become the first Nigerian sitcom property to air on South African public broadcaster SABC. It will be broadcast every Tuesday on SABC2 in the 21h34 timeslot. Meet the Adebanjos follows the adventures of a family living in Peckham, South London, consisting of Nigerian parents, British children and unwanted extended family members. The sitcom is described as a clash of African traditional values versus British culture. ... Meet The Adebanjos was first broadcast in the UK in December 2011 and broke records for being the most popular black British TV show in the UK."

Latest hack against Al Jazeera involves fake SMS news.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
CNET, 9 Sept 2012, Steve Musil: "Al-Jazeera ... revealed in a tweet this morning that its short messaging service had been compromised and used to send false news reports, including a report that Qatar's prime minister had been assassinated: 'We'd like to inform our subscribers that Aljazeera SMS service is being compromised by pirates and they've sent fake news with no basis,' the news organization said, according to a translation by The Hacker News."

Advanced Television, 10 Sept 2012: "It is the fourth such incident since the conflict in Syria intensified. Last week, al-Jazeera Arabic’s website was defaced, with a Syrian flag posted on the front page. In February, the SEA said it had been behind an attack on al-Jazeera English’s website, and in July the same group gained access to the organisation’s Twitter account and began posting stories denouncing the Syrian opposition fighters." See previous post about same subject.

Editors Weblog, 11 Sept 2012, Emma Heald: "In the future, we will see more and more information online, said [Riyaad Minty, Head of Social Media for Al Jazeera], and with this comes more noise, and more disinformation. Context becomes more and more crucial, and that is where news organisations thrive: Twitter can say what’s happening now, but not why."

RFE/RL, Tangled Web blog, 7 Sept 2012, Luke Allnut: "The rise of fake news is inextricably linked with the popularity, spread, and click dynamics of social media. In an earlier Internet ecosystem of homepages and bookmarks, we would enter websites through the front door. You go to "The Onion" and you know that you're getting satire. But with much of today’s content consumption done through the side door of social media, or search engines sending us directly to article pages, more and more fake news is evading our satire radars. With the proliferation of news sites and blogs and the diversification and globalization of our consumption habits (most people in the United States weren’t reading Indian news sites 10 years ago), clicking on websites that are unfamiliar to us is a daily occurrence."

GM of Sky News Arabia says that with social media, "you feel the love or the hate very quickly."

Posted: 10 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Arab Media & Society, Fall 2012, Nart Bouran, GM of Sky News Arabia, as interviewed by Stephanie Thomas: "Before we launched it was very difficult to explain the channel to people without showing them exactly what we were about and what we were trying to achieve and what exactly the look and feel of the channel was going to be. After we launched, a lot of the reaction that I got was 'Oh, OK, now we understand what you were talking about.' And that’s basically more to do with the way we’ve set the whole channel up. We are extremely capable from a technological point of view, we have the ability to go live from pretty much anywhere in HD—we’re fully HD—and our use of apps and our archive app is something to be very proud of. There’s only one certain way of measuring success, but at least we’ve delivered what we promised we were going to deliver. We didn’t say it was going to be this type of channel and it turns out to be a completely different thing. Time will tell how people react to it. But certainly what we have been successful at, I believe, is the fact that we delivered exactly what we said we were going to deliver. The other great comment that we’ve been getting is that we look like we’ve been on the air for a long time, which is a fantastic comment. Also the fact that we went live straight to 24 hours right from the first minute—we didn’t do the usual six hours, twelve hours and then 24 hours—this also shows that we were very confident in what we were doing. I’m not going to go into the success of particular stories, but I believe that there are some stories that we’re very good at and we’re very competitive. And the beauty about social media is you feel the love or the hate very, very quickly because people comment on things immediately and you know what people like and what they don’t like more or less instantaneously. So in a sense that’s been a positive reaction, and everything we’ve been getting back has been positive." See also MediaMughals, 10 Sept 2012 for information about Sky News Arabia's workflow equipment.

Arab Media & Society, Fall 2012, Mohammed el-Nawawy and Catherine Strong: "Although Al-Arabiya has the luxury of not being state owned, and therefore of being able to exercise more editorial freedom than most state-owned Arab television news stations, it does have limitations because of its Saudi Arabian ownership. [Our] study found that journalists accepted these news gathering limitations as a trade-off for a secure job and for being able to work at what they consider the best Arabic television station in the region."

RT (Russia Today) to USA, Lat Am, Asia via fiber, then satellite, then cable.

Posted: 09 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
RRsat press release, 7 Sept 2012: "RRsat Global Communications Network Ltd., a leading provider of comprehensive content management and global distribution services to the television and radio broadcasting industries, announced today that it has signed a contract with RT for the distribution of Russia Today English HD, Russia Today Spanish and Russia Today Documentary HD channels to the USA, Latin America and Asia. The service started on August 1st, 2012, and will expand the global distribution of the channels. Using the extensive RRsat Global Network, the channels will be delivered by fiber to the RRsat Teleports, and from there uplinked to 3 major satellites, bringing the channels to millions of households through Cable Headends."

RT (Russia Today), 6 Sept 2012: "In an RT global exclusive premiere, President Putin gives his first post-inauguration interview, speaking in depth with RT’s Kevin Owen ahead of the APEC summit in Vladivostok. ... Putin: 'When we talk about the missile defense system, our American partners keep telling us, “This is not directed against you.” But what happens if Mr. Romney, who believes us to be America’s number one foe, is elected as president of the United States? In that case, the missile defence system will definitely be directed against Russia as it is technologically configured exactly for this purpose.'"

Social TV, on-demand TV, OTT, and the future of international broadcasting.

Posted: 09 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 31 Aug 2012: "People in markets such as China, Brazil and India use the opportunities offered by web-connected television more than those in the UK, US and Germany. This is according to research carried out across thirteen countries by GfK, the consumer research experts. A study by consumer research experts GfK found that western consumers are stuck in an ‘analogue’ mindset, whereas viewers in emerging markets are more likely to exploit the digital capabilities of Connected TV. GfK’s findings show that, in broad terms, ‘Social TV’ has yet to fully take-off. Globally, just 28 per cent of viewers said that they found programmes that they can interact with to be more interesting to watch. And only a quarter (25 per cent) thought that tweeting and commenting on programmes ‘enhances the viewing experience’."

Screen Africa, 6 Sept 2012: "Mark Hollinger, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International indicated that they were watching with interest the ever growing plethora of platforms. ... With some two billion subscribers, broadcasting in 45 languages in 209 countries/territories, Discovery is a dual revenue business that relies on advertising for 40% of its income, the balance from providing channels to subscription TV platforms. 'On Demand TV does not fit into our business model…yet,' said Hollinger. ... Content, content, content. That it seems is the real future of television. Without good content there will be no viewers and while it is important to follow technology, it seems, for now at least, that traditional broadcasters will remain king."

@Via_Satellite, 7 Sept 2012: "Discovery's Mark Hollinger says company will be careful about doing international OTT deals in order not to harm pay-TV market."

Vietnam will expand global radio and television broadcasting, with "information on the guidelines and policies of the Party," etc.

Posted: 09 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
VietnamPlus, 7 Sept 2012: "The Prime Minister has approved a national foreign news broadcasting plan by 2020, to expand coverage throughout the globe. Under the plan, a national foreign news radio service will be formed with a total 20 hours per day and a national foreign news TV channel, VTV-World, will be gradually introduced broadcasting for a minimum of 8 hours a day. By 2015, the country hopes to provide satellite coverage to North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Oceania. By 2020, the country will ensure global satellite coverage of all foreign news broadcasting programmes. The national foreign news radio and television channels are scheduled to be on air 24 hours a day. ... The new services will broadcast programmes on numerous topics in many different languages including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The contents of these programmes will provide information on the guidelines and policies of the Party, State, Vietnam ’s potential for development and cooperation, the land, its people, history, culture and the nation’s cultural values."

"The Disney multiplex has taken South Africa by storm."

Posted: 09 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Screen Africa, 6 Sept 2012: "Disney South Africa has announced that its family of television channels for kids and families was the number one kids’ multiplex in South Africa for all key demographics during the past 12 months. The multiplex takes over 50% of the kids channel audience, following its launch in winter 2011. ... Featuring a mix of live-action and animated programming, including worldwide hit show Phineas and Ferb, Disney XD has consistently ranked as the most popular kids channel in the country with all key demographics, while Disney Junior, home of hit shows such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates, has rated as the most popular dedicated preschool channel. ... Maciej Bral, Vice President Disney Channels CEE and Emerging Markets commented: 'The Disney multiplex has taken South Africa by storm.'"

Recalling the animosity of the late Ethiopian prime minister towards VOA.

Posted: 08 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Awramba Times, 6 Sept 2012, Ephrem Madebo: "[H]ere is what PM Zenawi said about the Voice of America: 'We have been convinced for many years that in many respects, the VOA Amharic Service has copied the worst practices of radio stations such as Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda in its wanton disregard of minimum ethics of journalism and engaging in destabilizing propaganda.' ... [A]s long as the late Zenawi is concerned, everyone that opposes him is an idiot to him. The only reason he compared the VOA to Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda is that the VOA was exposing his dictatorial regime."

Columbia Journalism Review, 25 Aug 2012, Mohammed Ademo: "The US State Department documented human rights violations and restrictions on free press in annual reports, and Zenawi blocked the US government-funded Voice of America broadcasts. But he was a reliable ally who was willing to fight Islamic militants in neighboring Somalia on America’s behalf, and he allowed the US to set up a drone launch center inside Ethiopia. ... Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who sits on the Broadcasting Board of Governors that oversees VOA’s operations, admired and remembered Zenawi as 'an important and influential voice in Africa.'"

Oakland North, 30 Aug 2012, Mark Anderson: "Biniam Girma, a volunteer at the Ethiopian Community and Cultural Center, said he first heard of Meles’ death online. 'I was following the announcements on the Voice of America Amharic website and also on ETV,’ he said, referring to Ethiopian Television, Ethiopia’s state broadcaster."

Hudson Institute paper would have USIB tilt away from journalism, under a new Counter Terrorism Ideology Committee.

Posted: 08 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Hudson Institute, 2012, "Organizing for a Strategic Ideas Campaign to Counter Ideological Challenges to U.S. National Security," by Douglas J. Feith, William A. Galston, and Abram N. Shulsky (large pdf): "The 1994 International Broadcasting Act that established the BBG includes language pointing both to the 'highest professional standards of broadcast journalism,' such as objectivity, reliability, and balance, and to the 'broad foreign policy objectives of the United States.' These objectives include not only supporting the presentation of the U.S. government's views (and responsible discussion of them, including dissenting opinions) but also providing 'a surge capacity to support United States foreign policy objectives during crises abroad.' In the absence of strong central leadership, however, the broadcasting services' day-to-day operation tilts toward one of these objectives at the expense of the other—that is, toward journalism conducted without reference to U.S. foreign policy goals. We recognize that without credibility as a source of reliable information, U.S. broadcasting can achieve none of its stated objectives. At the same time, the BBG board should make it clear to the various broadcasting services that they are in the public sector and are part of the U.S. foreign policy team. A full-time CEO should be able to translate this principle into practice—and the CEO should be selected with this objective in mind."

The reason why USIB "tilts toward one of these objectives at the expense of the other" is that the objectives are incompatible. Either USIB is in the news business, and perceived as such, or it is in the US foreign policy promotion business, and perceived as such. The reason why the tilt has been towards journalism is because that is what the audience wants.

It is amusing that the plans for US international broadcasting of the conservative think tanks involve central planning rather than market-based strategies. The fellows assume that there will be an audience for US international broadcasting, and it is simply a matter of crafting the message to change world opinion accordingly. In reality, and especially in the modern competitive media environment. it is very difficult to attract and maintain an audience. USIB must provide the content the audience wants, through the media they use.

Fortunately, there are still large audiences out there that want objective, reliable news to counteract the "news" on their state-controlled domestic media. This also works well for the United States, because well-informed publics are bolstered against the disinformation that comes from dictators, terrorists, and their ilk. When the United States government is afraid to fund an independent news operation, then it's probably time for the United States to become isolationist.

The paper recommends that the United States "create within the Executive Office of the President a new entity empowered to lead, not just 'coordinate,' activities in this area." One of those activities would be the BBG. This new leading entity would go by the credibility-pulverizing name of Counter Terrorism Ideology Committee.

At the Hudson Institute event (see video) which presented this paper, James K. Glassman was a commentator. Mr. Glassman was, during the George W. Bush administration, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and, before that, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In his remarks, Glassman referred to the "conflict of mission" of US international broadcasting. He added, "It's just foolish, in my opinion, for [US international broadcasting] to be outside the strategic control and coordination of national security policy makers." So the former first guard of the USIB firewall would like to dismantle that firewall.

This Hudson paper, with Glassman's endorsement, is just one of several recent recommendations that US international broadcasting be more closely coordinated with US foreign policy. It seems more and more likely that the "firewall" concept will go up in smoke in a future administration. Because credibility is vital to success in international broadcasting, a reasonable goal for US international broadcasting might not be to become, as recently proposed, the world's leading news agency. Instead, it may be more a matter of holding off its inevitable failure for as long as possible.

Examiner.com, 5 Sept 2012: "The BBG is in the forefront of the U.S. struggle to win over the hearts and minds of people in belligerent regions, but still does not have service in key languages such as Balochi."

VOA journalists demur after request to onpass VOA PR through their Twitter accounts.

Posted: 08 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, In the Loop, 6 Sept 2012, Emily Heil: "Journalists are known malcontents, but there’s more grousing than usual among Voice of America employees. They’re being asked to use their Twitter accounts to disseminate news releases and the like generated by the Voice of America public relations shop — and that has them worried that they could wind up as mouthpieces for their employer’s messages. ... The project, outlined in an e-mail, aims to boost 'VOA’s communication with the outside media, generate pickups on good story elements, and to promote our projects and programs.' It’s that last bit — 'promoting' VOA’s initiatives — that seems to be most concerning to reporters, who understandably don’t care to use their own Twitter accounts to parrot their employer’s spin. Some are worried about spamming their Twitter followers with useless information. And they fear that being told what to tweet might compromise their journalistic impartiality. The request came from an intern in the PR office, and it wasn’t framed as a demand." -- For VOA PR, follow @VOABuzz. VOA press releases are archived here.

Nigerian sect Boko Haram threatens VOA employees, claims responsibility for cell tower fires.

Posted: 08 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Daily Trust (Nigeria), 7 Sept 2012, Hamza Idris: "The Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, yesterday claimed responsibility for the massive attacks on telecommunication facilities in Borno, Yobe, Kano and Bauchi. ... A statement written in Hausa and signed by Abul-Qaqa equally threatened attacks on the facilities of the Voice of America (VOA) as well as its correspondents and staff. ... 'We have also established that through its various programmes, the VOA has launched a campaign of calumny against Islam. We have resolved to fight back by tracking and killing its employees. Any employee of the VOA that wants to remain alive must quit.'"

AFP, 7 Sept 2012: "Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram on Thursday claimed a set of fires at telecom masts across the north, while threatening journalists with the Voice of America radio network. Roughly two dozen blazes were set at mobile phone towers in cities across the restive region Tuesday and Wednesday, marking a new type of attack from a group that has become notorious for deadly gun and bomb assaults. ... Last month, [VOA] quoted a source it claimed was a deputy to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who in June was designated a global terrorist by the United States. Citing the deputy, VoA reported that Boko Haram had entered secret peace talks with Nigeria's government, something the radical sect has categorically ruled out. 'As a result of the harm we understand Voice of America is inflicting on Islam, we hereby inform all reporters and staff of this radio station that whoever wants to live in peace among them should quit working with this media organisation,' the statement said. 'We will not spare any reporter or staff wherever we find him, by the grace of God,' the Qaqa statement said. Boko Haram has previously threatened VoA as well as Radio France International."

VOA News, 6 Sept 2012: "A radical Nigerian sect is again threatening reporters working with Voice of America. The warning issued Thursday by Boko Haram came in the same statement in which it claimed responsibility for attacking and destroying mobile phone towers in the northern part of the country. Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa said in the statement the group was going to target VOA, charging VOA 'has undertaken the task of harming our religion.' He said the Boko Haram 'will not leave any correspondent or staff of VOA alone.'" See also VOA News, 7 Sept 2012.

VOA at the political conventions: 41 reporters, 22 techs, 21 languages.

Posted: 08 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 5 Sept 2012, Paul McLane interviewing VOA technician Gary Jaffe: "RW: How many people overall does VOA have at the conventions? How many are involved for the technical operations/engineering? Jaffe: VOA has approximately 70 people covering the two conventions. This includes 41 reporters who are originating programming in 21 languages. There are 22 technicians supporting our combined radio, TV and Web coverage."

Latina Lista, 4 Sept 2012, Marisa Treviño: "[T]he Voice of America published a good summary of side-by-side comparisons of party platform stands. There’s no mistaken that a line in the sand has been drawn on many issues."

RFE/RL, 5 Sept 2012: "In an interview with Voice of America's Carolyn Presutti, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks about President Barack Obama's foreign policy as well as the situation in Afghanistan, from whom she says the international community must not walk away after the withdrawal of foreign troops. Albright spoke to VOA on the sidelines of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina." With video interview. See also VOA, 5 Sept 2012, Carolyn Presutti.

Charlotte Observer, 2 Sept 2012, Joe DePriest: "Hotel accommodations in and around Charlotte are getting high marks from convention visitors. ... Alexis Waksmunski, 19, a volunteer with Voice of America, is staying at the Blake Hotel and described it as “one of the best I’ve ever been in.”

Voice of America, Digital Frontiers blog, 6 Sept 2012, Doug Bernard: "But just how many stories can there be at a convention? How much money is being spent to report essentially the same news? How many politicians and delegates can reporters talk to before realizing that there’s not that much there there? Perhaps not that many, and yet editors continue to send armies to conventions cycle after cycle."

See previous post about same subject.

Marie-Christine Saragosse will be Madame le Président of Radio France International and France 24 parent entity.

Posted: 07 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 7 Sept 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "TV5Monde boss, Marie-Christine Saragosse has been selected by French TV regulator CSA to succeed to Alain de Pouzilhac as next president of AEF [Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France], the holding that runs France 24, RFI and part of TV5. The announcement still must be given the green light by French President François Hollande and once confirmed Saragosse will have to handle the new reorganisation of France 24 and RFI, now merged but shaken by years of in-house conflicts. The CSA’s choice has been decided just after ten candidates were heard. If Marie-Christine Saragosse is approved by Elysée, a new public hearing will take place at CSA, ahead of the validation by the Cultural Affairs commissions of both Assemblies. Leaving for AEF, Marie-Christine Saragosse will have to be replaced at TV5Monde, and such a nomination depends from France and its partners into the French-speaking international channel, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. According to TV5Monde’s statute, AEF President is the non-executive chairman of TV5 with no effective power."

Le Monde/AFP, 6 Sept 2012: "Mme Saragosse arrivera au sein de l'AEF dans un contexte très tendu, puisque M. Pouzilhac a engagé en début d'année une fusion juridique de RFI (Radio France international), de sa filiale arabophone MCD (Monte Carlo Doualiya) et de la chaîne France 24 qui passe mal auprès des rédactions et des syndicats. La fusion, entérinée en février, prévoit le déménagement de RFI à Issy-Les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine), dans les locaux de l'AEF, ainsi que le rapprochement des rédactions."

See previous post about same subject.

Telecompaper, 7 Sept 2012: "Radio France [domestic] and RFI will not participate in audiovisual regulator CSA's tender for digital terrestrial radio in France due to the significant costs it would involve, the French government has decided."

CNBC Africa opens Rwanda bureau, its ninth on the way to 20 planned bureaus.

Posted: 07 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 4 Sept 2012: "CNBC Africa is expected to open its ninth African bureau in Rwanda as it continues to widen its African reporting footprint. The bureau in partnership with Rwanda TV and the Rwanda Development Board, will be based in the Rwandan capital, Kigali and opens for business in September 2012. 'The company's presence in Rwanda marks yet another milestone in CNBC Africa's brief history. By 2014 we hope to be in 20 African countries, making us the only media company in Africa providing comprehensive business and economic news from across the continent', says Roberta Naidoo, managing director of the ABN Group. It is the channel's third bureau this year following Zambia and Mozambique. The other bureaus are in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Gabon, Namibia and Mozambique. The channel plans to be in Uganda, Tanzania and Botswana by the end of 2012." -- Which does not belong with the others? The "Rwanda Development Board" would not seem to be in the news business. If the idea is to encourage reporting about business in Rwanda, while allowing CNBC Africa to maintain objectivity and balance in its reporting (e.g., if there is a business scandal in Rwanda, it's reported), this arrangement might work.

Bizcommunity.com, 5 Sept 2012: "Due to popular demand, CNBC Africa will broadcast season one of the South African reality-competition television series entitled The Big Break Legacy, which tests 12 entrepreneur contestants for character strength, creativity, aptitude and commercial savvy in addressing business challenges under time and resource constraints, with the aim of winning a R5-million investment in their company. ... Conceptualised by businessman and entrepreneur Ezra Ndwandwe, the show is aimed at both existing ventures that need re-capitalisation for growth as well as high impact business ideas requiring start-up capital."

Bizcommunity, 6 Sept 2012: "CNBC Africa will on Tuesday, 11 September 2012, introduces its first reality-competition television series, Top Trader. The reality-competition will see eight contestants competing for a cash prize of R250 000. ... Contestants will trade with virtual money on the Iress trading platform supplied by Peresys."

"Why didn't CNN's international arm air its own documentary on Bahrain's Arab Spring repression?" (updated)

Posted: 07 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 4 Sept 2012, Glenn Greenwald: "CNN's total cost for the documentary, ultimately titled 'iRevolution: Online Warriors of the Arab Spring', was in excess of $100,000, an unusually high amount for a one-hour program of this type. The portion [correspondent Amber] Lyon and her team produced on Bahrain ended up as a 13-minute segment in the documentary. That segment, which as of now is available on YouTube, is a hard-hitting and unflinching piece of reporting that depicts the regime in a very negative light. ... On 19 June 2011 at 8pm, CNN's domestic outlet in the US aired 'iRevolution' for the first and only time. ... despite the dangers their own journalists and their sources endured to produce it, CNN International (CNNi) never broadcast the documentary. Even in the face of numerous inquiries and complaints from their own employees inside CNN, it continued to refuse to broadcast the program or even provide any explanation for the decision. To date, this documentary has never aired on CNNi. It is CNN International that is, by far, the most-watched English-speaking news outlet in the Middle East. By refusing to broadcast 'iRevolution', the network's executives ensured it was never seen on television by Bahrainis or anyone else in the region. "

The Guardian, 4 Sept 2012, Glenn Greenwald: CNN's "relationships with governments must bear closer examination. CNNi has aggressively pursued a business strategy of extensive, multifaceted financial arrangements between the network and several of the most repressive regimes around the world which the network purports to cover. Its financial dealings with Bahrain are deep and longstanding. CNNi's pursuit of and reliance on revenue from Middle East regimes increased significantly after the 2008 financial crisis, which caused the network to suffer significant losses in corporate sponsorships. It thus pursued all-new, journalistically dubious ways to earn revenue from governments around the world. Bahrain has been one of the most aggressive government exploiters of the opportunities presented by CNNi. ... CNNi produces ... programs in an arrangement it describes as 'in association with' the government of a country, and offers regimes the ability to pay for specific programs about their country. These programs are then featured as part of CNNi's so-called 'Eye on' series ('Eye on Georgia', 'Eye on the [Philippines]', 'Eye on Poland'), or 'Marketplace Middle East', all of which is designed to tout the positive economic, social and political features of that country. The disclosure for such arrangements is often barely visible."

The two articles by Glenn Greenwald raise important questions about the credibility and viability of private international news broadcasting. Advertisements and informercials for nation-states, as part of their public diplomacy outreach, are an important part of the income for CNN International and even for BBC World News. Without this type of advertising, a government subsidy (such as Al Jazeera's funding from Qatar) may be the only way to sustain an international television news channel.

CNN Press Room, 5 Sept 2012: "1. False: CNN International did not air 'its own documentary'. The Truth: It was never intended to air on CNN International. It was an hour-long program about the impact of social media on the Arab Spring that was commissioned for CNN US, where it ran in June of 2011. The portion of it that concerned Bahrain lasted about 13 minutes. Despite Greenwald’s speculation about the editorial choices that are made when operating multiple networks with different audience profiles, there is nothing unusual about this programming decision. 2. False: CNN International ensured Amber's reporting 'was never seen on television by Bahrainis or anyone else in the region.' The Truth: Amber’s reporting from Bahrain was actually featured and promoted on CNN International. This happened months before the full documentary aired on CNN US. ... 6. False: There was something scandalous about a requirement that the documentary include a response from the Bahraini government. The Truth: Seeking and publishing a response from the subject of a story is Journalism 101."

Update: The Telegraph, 6 Sept 2012, Willard Foxton: Glenn Greenwald's "latest article, on the alleged failure by CNN to broadcast a documentary, has raised my ire as a TV producer, as it's utter tosh, again full of these absolutely basic errors that even a five-minute conversation with someone other than his primary source, or 'people who agree with me on Twitter', would have revealed. On the face of it, it sounds like a good story – a high-budget documentary pulled by CNN for fear of offending the Bahrani regime. Except that isn't even remotely what happened. ... Greenwald's blog shares the space and the masthead of the Guardian – to the untrained eye, it is indistinguishable from real, hard, fact-based journalism. Greenwald is entitled to his view that CNNi (but not CNN) is censoring the news to appease Middle Eastern regimes, but it doesn't stack up at all – and by giving Glenn the authority of the masthead, the branded blog, I feel the Guardian is undermining the excellent hard journalism it produces."

The Atlantic Wire, Alexander Abad-Santos, 5 Sept 2012: "If CNN bent to the pressure from a regime (CNN's responses to Greenwald were curt), then that's a miscarriage of journalism. If you recall in July, The Atlantic's Max Fisher pointed out that CNN curiously gave 'effusive' coverage to one of its sponsors--the country of Kazahkstan."

Gulf Daily News (Manama), 5 Sept 2012: "Bahrain has hit back at claims made in a CNN interview that an 11-year-old alleged tyre burner was detained in prison, branding the allegations as baseless. The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) yesterday issued a statement in which it said the boy, Ali Hassan, had actually been held at the Bahrain Juvenile Care Centre from May 14 to June 11. It was responding to comments by opposition activist Lamees Dhaif in an article that appeared on CNN's website on August 15."

CNN, 19 Aug 2012: "A Bahraini teenager died after clashes with authorities who used excess force, human rights activists said Saturday. The death Friday night comes a day after a prominent activist was sentenced to three years in prison for participating in anti-government protests. Officials said the boy was killed after he attacked police Friday in the city of Muharraq, state-run Bahrain News Agency said."

CNN, 24 Aug 2012, Nicole Dow: "For more than a year, Bahrain has been the site of anti-government protests. What does the government say about the demonstrations and rights groups' accusations of a crackdown? Spokesman Fahad AlBinali offers this take." With interview.

Panorama.am, 5 Sept 2012: "A Bahrain appeals court has upheld all verdicts against 13 defendants accused of plotting to overthrow the regime and breaching the constitution, authorities said Tuesday, according to CNN."

News on News, 28 Aug 2012: "CNN has expanded [its] operations in Beirut, Lebanon with the addition of Mohammed Jamjoom joining Arwa Damon. The news was announced by senior vice president of international newsgathering Parisa Khosravi. ... 'Given the daily demands of the news from the region, CNN will be even better poised to cover the stories that need to be told.'"

Euronews will be available in 80 countries via Google TV set-top boxes.

Posted: 07 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 3 Sept 2012: "Euronews, the leading international news channel in Europe, has announced its new partnership with Google TV. The Euronews application for Smart TVs is now available on 11 platforms. Thanks to its success on Google TV in the United States since March 2012, Euronews is a partner in the global launch in 80 countries of two new Sony boxes specially designed for the smart TV platform of the internet giant. The international news channel will be available in the section reserved for applications recommended by the Sony Entertainment Network. Google TV gives access on demand, at any time, to the content of the English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish services of Euronews." -- See www.goolgle.com/tv/ for information why you probably don't have the necessary hardware to access Google TV.

Deutsche Welle's "Learning by Ear" now in Urdu and Pashto on 63 Pakistani FM stations.

Posted: 07 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Express Tribune (Karachi), 5 Sept 2012, Waqas Naeem: "Plans are underway to integrate education with entertainment on Pakistani FM radio stations. In a ceremony held in the federal capital on Tuesday, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) launched a distance education radio programme for Pakistan. The ‘Learning by Ear’ programme consists of two series of five 10-minute long episodes in a radio soap format. It will be aired in Urdu and Pashto on 63 Pakistani FM radio stations and will highlight issues such as the importance of education and role of women in a country’s development. The programme is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and was brought to Pakistan after successful runs in African countries and Afghanistan. ... The first five-episode series uses the story of a female schoolteacher and a village leader who denounces schools for girls to highlight the importance of women’s education in a community." See also Deutsche Welle press release, 4 Sept 2012.

Again this year, Ireland's RTÉ will "throw in" shortwave transmissions of hurling and football finals to Irish living in Africa.

Posted: 06 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
RTÉ.ie, 4 Sept 2012: "RTÉ Radio will broadcast the GAA All-Ireland Hurling Final on Sunday 9 September and the All-Ireland Football Final on Sunday 23 September on all wavelengths and via the internet to Irish people and communities around the world. RTÉ is asking on those with relatives or friends abroad to let them know that this coverage is available and to invite them to the biggest party in Ireland’s sporting calendar. In Africa, where many Irish people live and work, often in relative isolation with poor communications, RTÉ is providing special transmissions on shortwave radio. For those living in Ireland, who wish to get details of the shortwave frequencies to friends or family living abroad, RTÉ is providing a special phone text service. Listeners text the word “shortwave” to 51101 and they will receive a short text message with the shortwave frequencies. ... Both Finals throw in at 3.30pm Irish Time. Southern Africa - 17685 kHz (2pm to 6pm). East Africa - 17540 kHz (2pm to 5pm). East Africa -11915 kHz (5pm to 6pm). West Africa - 7505 kHz (2pm to 6pm). These services are part of RTÉ’s continued commitment to Irish people overseas and, over the years, has proven especially popular with those in geographically or technically isolated areas." -- Subtract one hour for UTC. Ireland not having its own shortwave broadcast transmitters, RTÉ is leasing time on shortwave transmitters in other countries.

UK Foreign Office rejects allegations in BBC Arabic report about recovery of Egyptian assets.

Posted: 06 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Bikya Masr (Cairo), 4 Sept 2012, Joseph Mayton: "The British government on Tuesday issued a statement that lashed out at the recent report by BBC Arabic that claimed the UK was not doing enough to return stolen assets to the Egyptian government. Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt said, 'we understand the strength of feeling in Egypt on this issue and we are working closely with their authorities to identify and restrain assets their courts have identified as stolen.' In a BBC Arabic investigative documentary shown on Monday evening, it revealed that the British government had potentially violated the sanctions agreement it signed in March 2011 to freeze the property and business assets of 19 key members of Egypt’s toppled dictatorship. Assets amounting to many millions of pounds including properties in Knightsbridge and Chelsea, and companies registered in the UK have been discovered by the BBC Arabic team, 'all of which have direct connections to the names on the official sanctions list – and yet have not been frozen,' BBC Arabic said in a press statement."

Ahram Online, 4 Sept 2012: "The British government has responded to BBC claims that it failed to freeze major assets of key members of Egyptian ex-president Hosni Mubarak's regime, saying criminal convictions were necessary and that restraint orders could not be made based on suspicion alone."

Foreign & Commonwealth Office press release, 3 Sept 2012: "In response to specific allegations aired by the BBC, Minister [for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair] Burt said: 'We reject any allegation that the UK could have acted more quickly to freeze assets. HMG cannot obtain a restraint order on the basis of suspicion alone. Substantial evidence is required. That’s why we led efforts to secure an EU wide freeze, giving Egypt time to complete criminal proceedings. It took time to be agreed with all 27 EU countries, as was necessary. The Foreign Office has passed all the information received from the BBC to relevant authorities. However, as we are unable to talk about individual cases, we cannot comment further on this'."

Ahram Online, 3 Sept 2012: "A six-month-long BBC Arabic investigation, released in conjunction with the UK's Guardian newspaper and pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, however, claim that assets worth millions of pounds sterling – including property in Knightsbridge and Chelsea, along with UK-registered companies belonging to the 19 individuals in question – had been found to have been unfrozen by the UK government."

These occasional differences between the UK government and World Service enhance the credibility of World Service by demonstrating its journalistic in dependence.

BBG calls on Syrian government to release any information about missing Alhurra journalists.

Posted: 05 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 5 Sept 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors calls on the Syrian government to release any information they have on the capture and whereabouts of Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal. Fahmi and Ünal have been missing since August 20, when they entered Syria to report on events there. On Sept. 4th, the Syrian Information Ministry released a statement saying that Fahmi is not with the Syrian authorities. This follows an August 26th video on a Syrian government channel of Ünal giving a brief statement in which he describes himself as part of an international militant force. The Turkish Foreign Minister has said that Ünal was forced to make the statement."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 31 Aug 2012: "The wives of missing Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and his cameraman, Cuneyt Unal, say they are consumed by fear and worry since the pair were captured on August 20. In interviews with Alhurra TV and Alhurra.com, Arzu Fahmi said that she was hoping for Bashar’s safe return and cited his extensive experience as a 'talented and courageous reporter.' During an interview with Alhurra TV, Nuran Unal admitted the uncertainty has been difficult to endure." With excerpts.

See previous post about same subject.

New Alhurra reality show follows the lives of five young Egyptians.

Posted: 05 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors pres release, 31 Aug 2012: "Alhurra Television brings to life the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution by developing a television series that follows the lives of five young Egyptians. Starting in September 8th, Alhurra will launch Rayheen ala Feen?, Arabic for ‘Where Are They Going,’ which will provide a personal perspective on how young Egyptians have been affected by the tumultuous changes following the revolution. ... The program follows the lives of Islam, Mario, Sondos, Zoghby and Hanan. They each represent different political and socio-economic perspectives. The program highlights their individuality; as well as their interactions with one another as they face issues such as the role of women in society, freedom of expression and the difficulty finding jobs in the new Egypt."

The Egyptian Gazette, 4 Sept 2012, Maryam Raafat: "Sondos, never at a loss for words, is an outspoken advocate for the rights of women. She lives in the upper-middle class district of Moqattam, eastern Cairo, with her mother. After participating in the protests in Tahrir Square, the 26-year-old left her job as a journalist to become a human rights activist and theatre director. Veiled by choice, Sondos, who has an eclectic group of friends from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, feels strongly that there is no place for religion in politics. Then there is Islam, 29, an exuberant and outspoken taxi driver, who prefers the company of women. He lives in Ain Shams with his wife and daughter. Since the Egyptian revolution, Islam has witnessed several violent attacks in his neighbourhood and his taxi was stolen. As a result, he has become fearful for his safety. He is extremely focused on paying off his debts, so he can move his family to a safer community."

CairoScene, undated: "We caught up with Mohamed Hefzy who was responsible for the production of the show and explained the show’s concept. 'We wanted to show a realistic view of Egypt today through a broad cross-section of society,' he says. 'We took the decision from day one to make sure there’s nothing scripted, forced or implied throughout the series, so it’s truly a real look at the lives of the characters that hopefully resound with a large audience.'"

Al Jazeera websites hacked by apparent pro-Assad group.

Posted: 05 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 4 Sept 2012, Alexander Hotz: "The websites of the Arabic news network, Al-Jazeera, were hacked on Tuesday, apparently by a group sympathetic to the Syrian regime. Al-Jazeera's English and Arabic websites were affected by the hack, made by a group calling itself al-Rashedon, or 'the guided ones'."

IDG-News-Service, 4 Sept 2012, Jeremy Kirk: "Babar Mustafa, a senior software engineer with Al Jazeera, wrote on Twitter that 'DNS [Domain Name System] poisoning issues are being resolved by our provider.' ISPs often provide DNS services to their customers. Tampering with DNS settings can be particularly harmful, since users can be redirected to a fake website even though a correct domain name has been typed into a web browser. The type of attack is know as DNS 'poisoning.'"

Policy Mic, 3 Sept 2012, Michael Youhana: "The heyday of the Bush administration was a peculiar period throughout which journalists working for Al Jazeera were subject to an onslaught of zealous vilification from actors in the American political scene (in addition to imprisonment and occasional shelling by U.S. forces). Yet, the courageous and adept journalists behind the Qatari media organization managed to weather the bulk of the ferocious attacks. In something of an inversion of roles, today actors and events in the American political scene are frequently the subjects of Al Jazeera’s astute scrutiny. Such was the case in the most recent, and certainly worth watching, episode of Al Jazeera’s roundtable program, The Cafe. ... Last Saturday's show, which features a lively and extended discussion on the state of modern American politics, is a testament to the sort of high quality programming and political pluralism that has allowed Al Jazeera persevere through venomous attacks from Middle Eastern dictators and some American politicians alike in the past decade."

TV5Monde renews with Ericsson. Euronews renews with SatLink.

Posted: 05 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Ericsson press release, 3 Sept 2012: "Since 2006, the French-language international TV network TV5MONDE has entrusted Ericsson with operation of its existing broadcast platform for production, playout and post production. By renewing the contract until the end of 2018 and expanding it to include the integration and operation of its new platform, TV5MONDE is modernizing and adapting to the latest digital standards to ensure increased broadcast quality. TV5MONDE's media is available globally, distributed as both linear traditional TV (broadcast), and non-linear TV (fixed and mobile internet websites, web TV, video on demand, mobile apps, connected TV). Ericsson's new installations will optimize the management of TV5MONDE's various broadcast modes."

Advanced Television 3 Sept 2012: "SatLink Communications, a teleport delivering content to every corner of the world, has announced that international news channel, Euronews, has renewed a long term agreement to transmit its 24-hour news channel on SatLink’s AsiaSat 5 C-band Multiple Channels Per Carrier (MCPC) digital platform. Euronews, one of the most eminent names in news broadcasting, will continue using the AsiaSat 5 as a gateway to extend its channel coverage in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East regions. Euronews will continue to broadcast in ten languages alongside SatLink and AsiaSat 5’s growing list of leading international news broadcasters such as France 24, NTV-MIR and Al Jazeera delivering content to more than 680 million households around the Asia-Pacific on the AsiaSat fleet."

Cuba allows radio stations to play songs by Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, and other previously banned artists.

Posted: 05 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 3 Sept 2012, Julian Benson: "Repealing 50 years of censorship, the Cuban government has quietly informed the country's radio stations that they are no longer banned from playing specific artists. The blacklist, which was never published - as that would be an admission by the Cuban government that they censored their media - included exiled artists like Gloria Estefan and Celia Cruz. The BBC broke the news earlier this month, saying they had received reports from Havana radio staff that there had been a government meeting and they'd decided the list 'served its purpose, but was now out of date.' This may be a sign of Cuba easing its cultural separation from the world but its loosening censorship has not yet been tested by the radio stations. In the wake of the 1959 revolution, the new government gripped the broadcast community quickly, nationalising all of Cuba's radio stations in 1960."

Global Voices, 4 Sept 2012, Ellery Roberts Biddle: "Broadcasts on the Miami-based, US government-funded radio station known as Radio Martí typically aim to highlight the virtues of liberal democracy and free market economics. But the recent airing of an interview with Cuban adult film star Angelina Castro proved that the station has become more than just a vehicle for providing 'unbiased' news to Cubans."

Iran begins implementation of its own internet, the National Information Network.

Posted: 04 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Fars News Agency, 3 Sept 2012: "Iran announced that it has already started implementing the first phase of a national internet network. 'So far, the first phase of the National Information Network that is partitioning the network has been put into action in 28 provinces,' Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Reza Taqipour said, adding the very phase will be implemented in two remaining provinces by mid September. 'After the implementation of the first phase of the National Information Network, we will be linked to an independent internet network and the national information network,' the minister stated, adding that an independent network doesn't mean a lack of access to the worldwide web. ... Addressing a gathering of Iranian university lectures and industrial managers at the time, Taqipour said the worldwide web is not a 'reliable' network specially in times of crisis. 'Internet should not be in the hands of one or two specific countries,' the minister noted, adding that internet is now considered to be a powerful media in economic as well as security and social fields. The minister pointed to Iran's plan to launch a national internet network, stating that the network will turn threats into opportunities."

Trend News Agency, 3 Sept 2012: "According to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) standard, which says, the minimum high-speed internet connection is measured at 1,5 Mbit/s, very few of Iranians have that kind of speed, IRNA reported. ... According to Professor of Iranian University of Science and Technology Ali Akbar Jalili, if considering the ITU standard, less than 1 percent of Iranians have 1,5 Mbit/s or more of internet speed."

Listening Post on Al Jazeera English reports on coverage of Syrian uprising by Al Jazeera, et al.

Posted: 04 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, Listening Post, 1 Sept 2012: "None of the Arab uprisings have lasted as long as the one in Syria, and as the battle for the country rages on, the story gets harder to follow. Outside the country, news organisations no longer talk about a united opposition force but a factionalised one with different ideologies, agendas, foreign fighters and radical elements. But pan-Arab stations like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya have come under scrutiny, with many of those tuning in saying that that kind of nuance is missing from their coverage. That has led critics to say these outlets are merely reflecting their own countries’ foreign policies. In this week’s News Divide, we look at coverage of Syria and criticisms nearer to home." With video.

In Africa, China overcomes "colonizers" media monopoly with "A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era," etc.

Posted: 03 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 24 Aug 2012, Li Jing: "China and Africa have intensified cooperation in press and media in recent years, in an attempt to break the perceived monopoly of the Western media in the global news market. Deputy Editor-in-chief of China Radio International Ma Weigong says the two sides have established direct channels to acquire information about each other after years of media cooperation. '... We need to pay attention to the effect of the programs we broadcast, which should make Africans closer to the reality in China.' According to Happison Muchechetere, the CEO of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Chinese media presence in Africa makes the voice more balanced on the continent. 'We showed what the colonizers wanted us to see, think, sleep, eat and behave like them. The Chinese don't do that. They come with a win-win situation. Before, we only heard about the BBC and what they think about Africa, their own interest. But now there is the other voice, there is another side of the story.' ... Last year, more than 100 million people across Africa had the opportunity to learn about contemporary China through the popular Chinese soap opera A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era, which was dubbed in Swahili. The TV series has received great reviews on the continent, and will likely inspire more Chinese TV dramas to go global. Adam Imoro of the African Union of Broadcasting says his organization is working to establish a sharing platform to exchange programs with China. 'Because if African programs are open to the Chinese audience, you can imagine that huge viewership, because China is a very populous country. If content can be shared so that Chinese will also become familiar with African experience. So the cooperation will be two-way, not one way.'"

Reporters for Deutsche Welle, France 24 among targets of anti-journalist campaign in Romania.

Posted: 03 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Economist, Eastern approaches blog, 1 Sept 2012: "Times are tough for some journalists in Romania working for the international media. They are victims of a fierce campaign initiated by government officials and Cotidianul, a news website. The allegations of ethical and other violations are widely reported in other media too. Der Spiegel, El País, Deutsche Welle, CNN, The Economist, Le Monde, USA Today and France 24 are some of the media outlets involved. Their journalists have been accused of being 'anti-Romanian agents', paid by Traian Basescu, the president, to misinform international audiences. ... Cotidianul also accused Keno Verseck, a freelance who reports for Der Spiegel, a German weekly, and Deutsche Welle, the German public-funded external broadcasting service, of lying and misinforming his audience about Romania’s political crisis. In a report for Deutsche Welle he had criticised the government for 'violating laws and rulings by the Constitutional Court' in an attempt to remove Mr Basescu from office. The site also accused Liliana Ciobanu, a freelancer who reports for The Economist, CNN and France 24 English, of being an 'undercover agent' paid by Mr Basescu to write articles against the government."

Telesur interview with Julian Assange, inside Ecuadorian embassy, widely cited by news media.

Posted: 03 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 31 Aug 2012: "Julian Assange has predicted that he will remain inside an embassy in London for 'six to 12 months'. ... During the Telesur television interview, recorded earlier this week inside the embassy, Mr Assange said that he believes the situation 'will be solved through diplomacy'." -- The Telesur interview, presumably via BBC, was widely reported by other news organizations.

Digital Spy, 31 Aug 2012, Anne Sewell: "Please note further that Assange spoke English during the interview, which was translated to Spanish, and is now translated back to English... ."

VOA Spanish, 31 Aug 2012: "El fundador de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, dijo en una entrevista hecha por el canal Telesur, que Suecia 'ha cambiado de una manera muy triste', ya que la neutralidad que pretende transmitir ya no existe."

Telesur, 31 Aug 2012: "El periodista australiano Julian Assange aseguró este jueves que el Gobierno de Estados Unidos no solamente desea su captura y su condena, sino también detener todas las labores informativas que desarrolla Wikileaks ... . Así lo manifestó Assange en declaraciones exclusivas para el programa de Jorge Gestoso transmitido por teleSUR, en la noche de este jueves." See also YouTube, 31 Aug 2012, Telesur.

BBC calling Europe, via Denmark, for a few days, showcasing DRM at IBC.

Posted: 03 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale press release, 3 Sept 2012: "The DRM Consortium and Nautel are pleased to announce a special digital DRM broadcast schedule during the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam. Courtesy of transmission infrastructure provider Teracom A/S, DRM transmissions will be heard during IBC on 243 kHz throughout much of Northern Europe carrying BBC programming. Teracom installed a DRM capable Nautel NX50 transmitter at the Kalundborg Denmark) site in 2011, with this being the first DRM broadcast of this transmitter type on longwave. ... Transmitting just 10 kW of DRM provides equal or more coverage than the normal 50 kW of analogue transmission from Kalundborg. The BBC content will be a variety of music and speech, allowing DRM listeners to hear the full breadth of FM-like sound quality, available over the very wide coverage area of longwave transmissions, free of static and fading, as well." -- No mention of any special shortwave DRM transmissions, however.

KeyStone Semiconductor press release, 29 Aug 2012: "KeyStone Semiconductor Corp. ... announces that a joined project between Fraunhofer IIS ... to enable popular Journaline service with live news information shown on Android phones based on Keystones patent-awarded Bluetooth Radio Wizard technology (BRW). ... Journaline content can now be browsed conveniently on Bluetooth enabled smart phones and tablets, even if the digital radio receiver itself only provides a minimalistic text screen or no screen at all. BRW supports multiple radio standards such as AM, FM, DAB/DAB+, DRM (DRM30/DRM+), HD Radio, etc. Thanks to the BRW App, it allows users to interact with Bluetooth radio speakers and to receive live DAB slide show (SLS), radio channel list, emergency data, and now Journaline services on a smart phone or tablet screen."

dailybreeze.com, 30 Aug 2012, Richard Wagoner: A committee of the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States "proposes to test all-digital broadcasts on the AM band. And the Beasley Broadcast Group - ironically, a company that tried HD on AM and turned it off - has offered one of its stations for use in the experiment. ... And it opens up the idea of testing another digital system from Europe, called Digital Radio Mondiale, or DRM. I don't know the technical differences, but there are some supporters of DRM who feel that the all-digital DRM system would work better for AM than even the all-digital mode of HD. I have heard recordings of long-distance DRM broadcasts and I must admit they sound amazing."

BBC Kiswahili TV launches via partner stations in Kenya and Uganda.

Posted: 03 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 24 Aug 2012: "As part of the major expansion of its offer for African audiences, the BBC has announced the launch of its first ever TV news and current-affairs programme in Kiswahili, Dira ya Dunia (World Compass). From Monday, 27 August, BBC World Service’s partner TV stations - Star TV in Tanzania and QTV in Kenya – will broadcast BBC Swahili’s Dira ya Dunia, bringing the viewers 30 minutes of latest global news and analysis from the world’s leading international broadcaster. ... BBC Swahili Editor, Ali Saleh, says: 'With the launch of Dira ya Dunia on TV, we are responding to the huge switch in news consumption across Africa we have been witnessing lately, and to the needs of our audience.' ... The BBC made its first broadcast to Africa more than 80 years ago. The combined audience on radio and television makes the BBC the largest international broadcaster in Africa."

CEO named at the Freedom2Duplicate, sorry, Freedom2Connect Foundation at Radio Free Asia.

Posted: 02 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Freedom2Connect press release, 28 Aug 2012, via Sacramento Bee: "The Freedom2Connect Foundation (F2CF) announced today the appointment of Craig A. Newman to the position of Chief Executive Officer. F2CF, a private non-profit corporation, supports and facilitates global internet freedom by leveraging private and public funds with governmental funding for the freedom2connect (f2c) program at Radio Free Asia. Mr. Newman is a partner and member of the Executive Committee at Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP, the New York-based law firm. Established in 2011, F2CF's mission is to raise awareness of global Internet censorship and support the tools to circumvent it. The Foundation supports the development and implementation of state-of-the-art technology which allows access to the Internet in countries where their governments routinely censor information. ... Radio Free Asia's f2c program began in January 2012 with an initial grant of approximately $7 million from Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The program fosters global Internet freedom by supporting and funding research, due diligence, testing, analytics, development and implementation of globally accessible secure communications and innovative technologies. ... Board members of F2CF include Danforth Austin, President and former director of the Voice of America and Diane Zeleny, Vice President of Strategy and Communications at the Legatum Institute. For more information about F2CF, go to www.f2cf.org."

"Go to www.f2fc.org" at your own risk. I tried, using Firefox, and received a "script" warning, before Firefox crashed altogether, something it does not often do. A strange outcome for the website of an entity dedicated to connectivity.

The International Broadcasting Bureau, the sort-of parent entity of the Voice of America, also has a team devoted to the circumvention of net censorship. US international broadcasting, however, cannot do anything without doing it twice, with two layers of management. Hence the hiring of a new CEO for this new F2FC. Replete with duplication and division of resources, US international broadcasting may never be an effective and efficient global media organization, but it certainly is an excellent boondoggle.

The F2CF board member Diane Zelany is listed as a VP at the Legatum Institute, whose CEO is former RFE/RL president Jeffery Gedmin. The previous post points to an essay by Gedmin in which he recommends that the Voice of America be de-federalized, a transition that, he writes, "will mean an end to VOA’s union, a step that will almost certainly have to wait for a Republican Administration." Does this mean that Freedom2Connect would not support the Freedom2Organize? If so, it would be Just2Ironic.

SMS "to extend global participation in news," even as OTT threatens SMS.

Posted: 02 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
PBS Media Shift Idea Lab, 31 Aug 2012, Trevor Knoblich: "I accepted my role at FrontlineSMS with a specific purpose: to extend global participation in news to people who otherwise would be left out of this shift, meaning those with no or infrequent access to the Internet. Lack of Internet access should not exclude people from receiving, discussing, and shaping the news that affects their lives. And while many people still lack Internet access, nearly everyone has access to a mobile phone, and by extension SMS. SMS is the most pervasive digital communications platform in existence. As such, news outlets can use SMS to invite more people to participate in news in a variety of ways." -- The FrontlineSMS home page proclaims that it is "using mobile technology to promote positive social change." Commendable, but real news does not promote agency. News informs. Also, keep in mind that with SMS, each mobile provider is a gatekeeper.

GoMo News, 9 Aug 2012, Tony Dennis: "Mobile operators are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to facing the challenge represented by OTT (Over The Top) services over the coming years. A significant number of mobile operators realise that OTT services carried over the mobile internet from service providers such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp will eat into their voice and SMS/text revenues. This is one of the findings from research sponsored by mobile interaction service provider, tyntec and carried out by MobileSquared. It concluded, however, if operators made a move now to co-operate with OTT suppliers there are revenues to be earned from a truly integrated service. MobileSquared’s research does paint a rather bleak picture. Voice and messaging revenues should fall by $182 billion in 2012-2016 period. By comparison, there’s only a $30 billion potential revenue opportunity for operators from OTT services. The research, which looked at data from mobile operators in 68 territories, found that 79 per cent of those surveyed stated that OTT poses a threat to traditional voice and SMS revenues. ... Mobile operators can tap into OTT revenues by providing mobile numbers, traditional voice and SMS into OTT services."

VOA and Radio Farda correspondents with alleged "sympathy toward the Islamic Republic," and more IB to Iran.

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Commentary, 29 Aug 2012, Michael Rubin: "While there isn’t any support for Iraq-style regime change in Washington–nor would such a strategy ever be wise with regard to Iran–there are any number of strategies which the United States might pursue to encourage regime collapse in Iran: Support for independent trade unions; policies to encourage factionalism within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; better use of Voice of America-Persian and Radio Farda, some of whose correspondents are unabashed in their sympathy toward the Islamic Republic; empowering Iranians to bypass firewalls and increase the cost to the regime of establishing them; sanctions targeting any member of the security services or regime; and democracy promotion." -- This charge about USIB Persian broadcasters surfaces every few months, but never with any serious evidence.

Mountainrunner.us, 28 Aug 2013, Bruce Gregory: "David E. Sanger, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, (Crown Publishers, 2012). ... Seven pages contrasting the Voice of America’s shortcomings with its successful Parazit Persian language and Iran targeted comedy program modeled on The Daily Show. Sanger’s assessment: 'It would be wonderful to imagine that this stroke of brilliance arose from some ingenious thinking in the White House Situation Room or a conference over at the State Department. No such luck. It was entirely the brainchild of Hosseini and Arbabi (the show’s Iranian born stars) who do not exactly fit the VOA mold.'" See previous post about Parazit.

Payvand Iran News, 29 Aug 2012, Kam Zarrabi; "People of means, whether in Tehran or in other towns, even in some villages such as my old Niassar, get most of their global information via their satellite dishes on their big-screen TVs, mostly through channels such as the BBC and VOA, even though most are aware that they are watching British and American propaganda rather than objective news and commentaries. For entertainment, an Iranian channel beamed via satellite and apparently owned by the Iranian diva, Googoosh, called MANOTO, meaning 'you and I', offers a wide selection of high quality entertainment and educational programs, such as the National Geographic, Science, History and even Martha Stewart, etc., obviously purchased for re-broadcast. In addition, this channel does offer its own version of news and commentary, clearly in line with the Voice of America (VOA) model for obvious reasons. Most ordinary or less sophisticated households do own satellite dishes (still officially illegal!), and tune in Arab and Turkish entertainment channels that feature the kind of programs one cannot find on Iran's own media channels."

RFE/RL, 26 Aug 2012: "During a visit to RFE/RL's headquarters in Prague on August 26, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut) said there is 'clear' evidence that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapons capacity and that if Tehran achieves this goal it would represent a threat to the entire world. ... Lieberman, in an interview with Niusha Boghrati of RFE/RL's Radio Farda, pointed out it is not only the United States and Israel -- or the West in general -- that is threatened by Iran's pursuit of a nuclear capacity. ... 'I think we have the capability either to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program or to disable it in a way that it will be delayed for enough years that we may hope and pray that there will be a regime change and that there will be a more democratic and friendly regime,' he said." With video.

Via internet audio stream, Zimbabwe's new private radio station has global audience of "about 120" (updated).

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Techzim, 24 Aug 2012, L.S.M Kabweza: "Some months ago, when this beloved country of ours essentially had only one radio broadcaster, we posted an article complaining that we couldn’t conveniently access this broadcaster’s content conveniently. See, they don’t stream the radio live on the internet and because of it it’s easy to just resort to other 'foreign' radio stations that do steam online. We were therefore quite delighted to find that this is no longer the case. While this national broadcaster’s waves are still nowhere available on the internet, a new local radio called ZiFM Stereo (that’s just a temporary site according to the company) has made it priority to be available on new media platforms. Not only do they stream live on the internet, the radio station is very active on Twitter and Facebook too. The company says so far they are getting about 120 people listening live on the internet. The listeners, according to the company, include people tuning in from South Africa, England, America to as far China, Iraq, New Zealand, Cuba and many more countries. ... ZiFM is Zimbabwe’s first privately-owned commercial radio station broadcasting from inside Zimbabwe. AB Communications was awarded one of the two commercial radio licenses issued last year ending a 31 year monopoly by state owned media company Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)." See also www.zifmstereo.co.zw

Update: Mail & Guardian (Cape Town), 31 Aug 2012, Jason Moyo: Media freedom advocacy group Misa-Zimbabwe Zimbabwe's new private stations "had not yet offered the critical voices Zimbabweans were waiting for. StarFM 'simply regurgitates news from the [state-owned] Herald' ... and the new stations were 'simply ZBC in a different suit'. ... As a sign of the thirst for alternative voices, the survey showed that VoA Studio 7, a Zimbabwe-dedicated service of the Voice of America, was one of the most popular sources of news. Zanu-PF views such stations as foreign-government interference in Zimbabwe's internal affairs. The party has often cited the existence of these stations, manned mostly by exiled Zimbabwean journalists, as a reason not to open up the airwaves in Zimbabwe. Information Minister Webster Shamu described the service as a 'war against Zimbabweans'. 'We advise all those employed by them, wherever they are, to come back home [to work for] a proper channel instead of continuing to peddle ­foreign policies, which will never succeed,' Shamu said."

BBG member Victor Ashe calls for BBG to "disengage" from Gallup research contract after DOJ joins lawsuit (updated).

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Watch, 22 Aug 2012: "Ambassador Victor Ashe, a Republican member of the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), has called for the U.S. international broadcasting agency to disengage from the 50 million dollar audience research contract with The Gallup Organization. Ashe made the statement in response to the Justice Department’s decision to join a lawsuit against The Gallup Organization which accuses the polling company of filing false claims on contracts with the U.S. Mint, the State Department and other government agencies. ... 'In light of the Department of Justice joining the lawsuit against Gallup, I think prudence suggests BBG disengage from our current up to $50 million contract for polling. I have always had misgivings about this huge contract. And have urged its reduction. Now it is time to call it off and look elsewhere for our research,' Victor Ashe said. 'Some are claiming Gallup is innocent until proven guilty. But the issue is now out in the open. We could get badly burned if not royally embarrassed over this. DOJ actions provide ample reason to re-assess,' Ashe added." -- These remarks by Mr. Ashe are not reported elsewhere. It's interesting that the only outlet for statements by this BBG member is the anti-BBG BBG Watch. Would it be possible for each BBG member to be granted space in the BBG website for such statements, remarks, and thoughts?

AP, 23 Aug 2012, Pete Yost: "The Justice Department said Wednesday that it has joined a lawsuit against The Gallup Organization alleging the polling company filed false claims on contracts with the U.S. Mint, the State Department and other government agencies. A fired Gallup employee who became a whistle-blower, Michael Lindley, alleges in the lawsuit that he discovered shortly after going to work for the polling company that it had engaged in widespread fraud against the government. ... His lawsuit, filed nearly three years ago and unsealed Wednesday in federal court, says Gallup routinely submitted inflated cost estimates which enabled the company to reap huge profits from its government business. ... The Justice Department said it was stepping into the case with respect to Gallup's contracts with the Mint and the State Department. In response, Gallup general counsel Steve O'Brien said, 'We believe that the allegations and the legal theory that the Justice Department is using are entirely meritless.'" See also Department of Justice press release, 22 Aug 2012. -- Gallup's dealings with the BBG are apparently not part of the DOJ suit.

Update: Heritage Foundation, 29 Aug 2012, Helle Dale: "An example of government waste and bad planning—the exorbitantly expensive Gallup Organization contract with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)—is finally coming under a long-overdue review. At a time when language service after language service of Voice of America, this country’s primary public diplomacy tool, is under threat of being shut down for lack of funding, the BBG incomprehensibly in December awarded Gallup a contract worth $50 million over five years for audience research. ... The mandate of U.S. international broadcasting is to bring reliable news and information about the U.S. to audiences in countries where a free media does not exist. Do we really need $50 million worth of Gallup audience research to tell our veteran broadcasters how to do their jobs? Was there no cheaper way of gathering the relevant information? Sole-source contracting should always raise red flags, and Ashe is to be greatly commended for demanding light on the murky decision-making process at the BBG."

The $50 million contract is for five years, so $10 million per year. By the standards of the modern media industry, ten million is not an especially large research outlay for a broadcasting conglomerate with an annual $750 million budget. However, there are people who would like to eliminate research altogether. Their view: who cares how many people are listening/viewing/reading? As long as USIB is sending the messages that the US government wants them to listen to/view/read. The result of that scenario would be that the "vereran broadcasters" would be unemburdened by an audience. And the "government waste and bad planning" that Heritage supposedly eschews would be guaranteed. (Disclosure: I work in audince research for the IBB, the entity above VOA but below the BBG.) If Heritage really wants to combat "government waste and bad planning," its next bullet point should recommend that all the USIB entities be merged into one entity.

The words they use to describe VOA. Everything except "news."

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
The Atlantic, 31 Aug 2012, Max Fisher: "U.S. government-sponsored soft power outlet Voice of America is a favorite of English-learners, she said, because the reporters tend to speak slowly."

The Nation (Lahore), 26 Aug 2012: "The official Voice of America radio reported that more than half of the 2000 deaths [of US forces in Afghanistan] occurred in the past 27 months."

The Island Packet (Bluffton SC), 1 Sept 2012, Cathy Carter Harley: "Because of her anti-Communist stance as a Voice of America broadcaster, [Ted Kohner's] mother was apprehensive when she was invited back to Russia in honor of her father's 100th birthday."

Rediff Indian Punchline blog, 31 Aug 2012, M K Bhadrakumar: "Even a commentary in the Voice of America admits that the symbolism of Morsi’s visit to Iran 'has concerned countries trying to isolate Iran - in particular, Egypt’s longtime ally the United States.' The best spin VOA could give is that Morsi’s trip does not mean Egypt’s 'full-fledged approval of Iran' and that the 'apparent closeness could be a bargaining chip' in Egypt’s negotiations with the US." Refers to VOA News, 29 Aug 2012, Elizabeth Arrott, which is a news story, not a commentary.

Pravda.ru, 27 Aug 2012, Stephen Lendman: "The New York Times represents imperial interests. It's more voice of America than legitimate news and information service."

RT (Russia Today), 27 Aug 2012: "Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has ordered three systems worth about US$1 million that will automatically spread information on the Internet. ... The head of the Russian association Center for Safe Internet, Urvan Parfentyev, said that the news was a natural development of conventional propaganda means, like the Voice of America and RFE RL radio stations, only on the internet."

Heritage Foundation, 29 Aug 2012, Helle Dale: "At a time when language service after language service of Voice of America, this country’s primary public diplomacy tool, is under threat of being shut down for lack of funding, the BBG incomprehensibly in December awarded Gallup a contract worth $50 million over five years for audience research."

All underlines above added.

VOA's "intern of sorts" at the Republican National Convention.

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post blog, 29 Aug 2012, Paige Nazinitsky: "As an intern for Voice of America this week and attending The Washington Center's convention program last week, I have been plunged into foreign waters. But as far as I can tell, I am floating along just fine. ... VOA's main setup was inside the Tampa Convention Center. The convention center houses all the media, from radio to television, even Google and Facebook. The twenty-four hour news cycle was all around me while press conferences, interviews and talk shows streamed live every detail." -- WBNG-TV (Binghampton NY), 31 Aug 2012, Dave Greber and Matt Hicks: "The political science and graphic design double major, and member of the university's newspaper, Pipe Dream, she was paired with Voice of America to participate as an intern of sorts." With video report.

WSB Radio (Atlanta), 29 Aug 2012, Jamie Dupree: "[Y]ou only seem to run into [some reporters] in an election year, and Tuesday that happened with my old pal Jim Malone of Voice of America. The last time I saw him was on a brutally cold day in Iowa earlier this year at an event for Rick Santorum. I would guess the temperature difference from Des Moines to Tampa was about 90 degrees." See also VOA's USA Votes 2012.

Tampa Bay Online, 27 Aug 2012, Rick Mayer: "Alan Fisher, a correspondent for Al Jazeera, tweets: 'Dear American TV reporters - downtown Tampa does not look like a warzone - pick a better comparison.'"

Al Jazeera English coverage of US abortion debate is "journalism as it was meant to be," he writes.

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 28 Aug 2012, Frank Schaeffer: "[H]ow ironic is it that the best new piece of journalism and documentary film making I've seen about this issue is 'The Abortion War.' It's part of Al Jazeera English 'Fault Lines' series. I say ironic because it turns out that Al Jazeera (no kidding) understands the dynamics of this very American story better than any American news organization that's reported on the story, at least that I'm aware of. ... 'The Abortion Wars' is journalism as it was meant to be. And what a shame that because of the anti-Arab prejudices in North America that one of the world's finest news outlets is confined to online viewers here in the USA while the rest of the world watches Al Jazeera on TV and cable."

Huffington Post, 29 Aug 2012, Laila Al-Arian: "Any journalist covering the U.S. understands how important this issue is to an influential segment of the Republican Party's base. We wanted to understand why this has come to be the case and to hear from the people at the center of this debate." With link to video.

FrontPageMagazine, 29 Aug 2012, Daniel Greenfield: "Al Jazeera, the Muslim propaganda channel operated by Qatar, for some reason decided to attack Paul Ryan over abortion, running an op-ed which accused him of extremism and victimizing raped women." Refers to Al Jazeera English, 27 Aug 2012, Autumn Smith.

Al Jazeera's acquisition of rights reduces distribution of Spanish, Italian, English soccer on US television (updated again).

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Power Line, 17 Aug 2012, Paul Mirengoff: "The Al-Jazeera Sport Media Network, through something called beIN Sport USA network, has obtained the U.S. television rights to Spain’s La Liga — the top-tier Spanish soccer league that is home to Barcelona and Real Madrid, arguably the two best soccer clubs in the world. Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, and England’s second-tier division have also moved to the Al-Jazeera outfit. According to Soccernet, beIn Sport USA is available in only about 8 million homes to viewers of DirecTV and DISH Network. Thus, in the short-term at least, La Liga and and its Italian counterpart Serie A will lose virtually all of their growing American audience, a fact about which AC Milan’s director says he was unaware when the deal was made."

AP, 17 Aug 2012, Ronald Blum: "Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's league matches will disappear from the television sets of many American soccer fans, starting this weekend. That's because the U.S. television rights to Spain's La Liga have switched from GolTV to the new beIN Sport USA network, launched this week by the Al-Jazeera Sport Media Network and available in only about 8 million homes to viewers of DirecTV and DISH Network."

New York Post, 20 Aug 2012, Phil Mushnick: "Don’t look now ... because it’s probably too late. But there’s something very creepy — and extremely oily — going on in international and now American sports television. The network that’s making all the biggest moves apparently is less than eager to let Americans know who owns it. A new network, beIN SPORT, lately has been spending vats of dough for rights to international sports, especially the top soccer leagues in Italy, France, Spain and South America. Last week, two news releases arrived carrying word that beIN has been cleared in the U.S. on DirecTV. It was previously cleared here on the Dish Network. Both satellite providers will devote two channels — one in English, the other in Spanish — to beIN. However, conspicuously absent from both releases was standard info found in such releases: the name of the network’s owner or owners."

Update: New York Times, 30 Aug 2012, Ken Belson: "Al Jazeera, once known in the United States mostly for televising videos of Americans and others taken hostage in foreign countries, but now a serious presence as a worldwide network, is betting heavily on sports to win American viewers. ... It is unclear whether the network’s buying spree is designed to make money, to raise its global brand or to perhaps provide leverage to get United States exposure for its news network. To date, Al Jazeera’s English-language news service has gained only a tiny foothold in the American market, but it could use its growing prominence in sports broadcasting to compel cable providers to carry its news programming. "

Grantland, 27 Aug 2012, Noah Davis: "Last week, watching soccer in the United States changed forever. While ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel still have the biggest matches — American World Cup qualifiers in the U.S., the English Premier League, and the Champions League — a network that didn't exist as recently as June owns the English-language television rights to virtually everything else. ... 'They could potentially throw sports media in the U.S. completely out of whack.'"

MP George Galloway paid £80,000 a year to host program on "the anti-Al Jazeera."

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Daily Mail, 27 Aug 2012, Daily Mail Reporter and Vanessa Allen: "George Galloway is being paid almost £80,000 a year by a television station linked to Syria and Iran, it emerged yesterday. The Respect Party MP presents a fortnightly programme on the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen – a rival to Al Jazeera. He earns £3,000 per episode. The recently launched station has refused to reveal the identity of its financial backers. One industry figure said it was supported by Iran and a cousin of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, but the channel denied this, claiming it is ‘completely independent’ and funded by Arab businessmen. ... The anti-war politician has used his programme, A Free Word, to rail against the West’s support for the uprising in Syria. He has previously described Assad as ‘the last bastion of Arab dignity’." -- Presumably his program is translated into Arabic. See previous post about Al Mayadeen, "the anti-Al Jazeera." Belfast Telegraph, 31 Aug 2012, Robert Fisk: New Syrian information minister Omran Zoubi "has a good deal of contempt for Al Jazeera, suggesting at one point that America's fury with the station's failure to tell the truth might be one emotion he shared in common with the US."

Labor grievance at RFE/RL back in the news, with reference to "the real experts in human rights - Cuba, Russia, Congo, China, Iran."

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Croatian Times, 31 Aug 2012: "The Czech Helsinki Committee (CHC) have released in Czech a fact-containing Supplement to its Statement, 'Employment of Foreigners in Radio Free Europe,' issued earlier. The CHC Statement published June 4, 2012, branded the treatment of Croatian Snjezana Pelivan and other foreign employees working for American Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague, as 'immoral.' Snjezana Pelivan, a Croat who has resided in Prague since 1995, claims the Czech Republic failed to safeguard her rights to non-discrimination and a fair trial and now the Czech Republic is charged with human-rights violations at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. ... Employment relations with [Croatian citizen Snjezana Pelivan and Armenian national Anna Karapetian] were terminated by RFE/RL without providing any reason. Both were not warned, had enviable performance reviews, and were never disciplined. Both refused to accept without appeal the unmotivated terminations and, in response, were stripped of their contractual compensations for the years of service. ... Snjezana Pelivan ... was also quoted as saying: 'Our next complaint, mine and Anna’s, will be to Geneva, to UN Human Rights Council. There, Prague and Washington together, will get a hearing and a lecture from the real experts in human rights – Cuba, Russia, Congo, China, Iran…'" See also Czech Helsinki Commission, 5 June 2012. See previous post about same subject.

Cold War Radios, 31 Aug 2012, Richard H. Cummings: "'Labor Day' in the United States is an annual national holiday that celebrates, on the first Monday of September, 'the economic and social contribution of workers.' This year it falls on Monday, September 3rd. In the next two blog postings, we will look at Labor Day in 1950 and 1951 and the Crusade for Freedom in support of Radio Free Europe (RFE). On September 4, 1950, World War II hero Dwight David Eisenhower ('Ike') passionately called for a Crusade for Freedom in a nation-wide radio broadcast heard over the four major radio networks in the United States. Millions of Americans sat before their radios in the evening, when Eisenhower delivered a prepared speech at the Denver City Auditorium, Denver, Colorado. Famed opera singer Laurence Melchior provided that evening’s entertainment leading up to the speech. The next day, Eisenhower’s speech was printed in full, or in excerpts, in newspapers throughout the Untied States. This speech not only kicked off the Crusade for Freedom campaign in 1950, but also set its tone and provided the base for the decade’s political slogans used in advertising campaigns up to the speech."

See also previous post, in which past RFE/RL president Jeffrey Gedmin writes about "an end to VOA's union."

Vietnam restricts availability of Chinese TV and radio. China restricts international film coproductions.

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Indian Express, 20 Aug 2012: "Vietnam has restricted availability of the Chinese television and radio programmes following its spat with Beijing over the disputed islands in the South China Sea. Hoang Huu Luong, head of the Press Department of Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications, has directed the local radio and television stations to limit the broadcast of foreign TV series, especially those from the Chinese mainland and South Korea, the official media here said Monday. Hoang also asked the officials to reinforce Vietnam's sovereignty over the disputed islands in their coverage, the 'Global Times' reported. The Chinese state TV channels have not been made available there since the beginning of August, the report said. Hanoi also removed link to China Radio International's (CRI) Vietnamese-language channel from the website of Voice of Vietnam (VOV). Wu Zhao-ying, the director at Vietnamese department of CRI said, said she did not know why the link was removed and wants to discuss the issue with her counterparts at VOV."

China Daily, 25 Aug 2012, Liu Wei: "The Chinese film industry's top regulator will strictly implement the regulations for international co-productions, a senior official has said. Zhang Pimin, deputy head of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said the administration has noticed a tendency in international co-productions that may harm the local film industry. 'A complete American story with a small Chinese element and a Chinese actor, and they call it a co-production.'"

Eight candidates vie to be new president of France 24 and RFI parent entity.

Posted: 01 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 30 Aug 2012: "French media regulator the CSA is considering eight candidates to head the country’s external media organisation the AEF, following the recent forced departure of president Alain de Pouzilhac. The candidates reportedly include former France Télévisions president Marc Tessier, current AEF strategy director Franck Melloul, former France 24 editorial director Jean Lesieur and former deputy CEO of the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA) Jean-Marc Bordes. French president François Hollande asked the CSA to handle the recruitment of a new president of the organisation, which groups together news channel France 24 and radio service RFI as part of a policy of transferring responsibility for recruiting public broadcasting executives away from the executive branch." -- AEF is Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France and RFI is Radio France International. If you have the French, see also Le Figaro, 31 Aug 2012, Rachid Ahrab: "Présidence de RFI France 24: un vrai feuilleton!"