Sarawak: Distributing shortwave radios to longhouses is better than longwave radios to shorthouses (updated).

Posted: 30 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Borneo Post, 13 Oct 2012: "The Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sri Aman will distribute portable short wave radios during campaigning to longhouses in the parliamentary area. Branch chief and probable DAP candidate for Sri Aman Leon Jimat Donald said they had taken delivery of 150 radio sets. He said this would enable longhouse dwellers to listen to Radio Free Sarawak. 'Campaigning via radio has started and it is the cheapest and arguably the most effective weapon. According to reports from the ground, Radio Free Sarawak is so popular that folk in the longhouses would crowd around the radio to listen to the negative news which affects their lives but never gets reported in the mainstream media.' 'Many of them said they would prefer to postpone their dinners than miss the daily live broadcast,' he claimed. Leon said DAP Sri Aman has already distributed 160 radio sets to various longhouses. He added that the branch is also conducting voter registration at their Jalan Sabu office." -- A Borneo longhouse is a type of apartment building typical in rural areas.

Bernama, 23 Oct 2012, via Free Malaysia Today: "Most evening before 6pm housewife Indai Limau makes sure that dinner is cooked and laid on the table for her husband and their two children. The less urgent chores will have to wait. Precisely at 6pm and after her bath, she retires to her favourite settee in the family living room, reaches out for her China-made transistor radio and tunes in to 15420 KHz channel on the short wave band. She is not tuning in to any entertainment programme from her very interior longhouse. Like many other rural folks, she wants to keep up with the latest that the no-holds-barred Free Sarawak Radio (FSR) has to offer each evening. The FSR is a clandestine radio station. Nobody is certain where it is broadcasted from."

Borneo Post, 29 Oct 2012: "The stealth modus operandi of Radio Free Sarawak has grown to become a ‘grave concern’ as it is sowing deceit among the rural populace. It (Radio) has gone ‘wild’ by hurling all kinds of allegations and accusations against the government, cautioned PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing after the party’s Supreme Council Meeting here on Saturday. 'We view this matter with grave concern, given that the main form of communication in the rural areas is radio,' he said, adding that this issue was deliberated during the meeting. ... 'All listeners must put on their thinking cap, and become more discerning when listening to their news.'"

BBC World Service poll explores voting preferences of those who can't vote in the US election.

Posted: 30 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 22 Oct 2012: "A BBC World Service opinion poll has found sharply higher overseas approval ratings for US President Barack Obama than Republican challenger Mitt Romney. An average of 50% favoured Mr Obama, with 9% for Mr Romney, in the survey of 21,797 people in 21 countries. Only Pakistan's respondents said they would prefer to see Mr Romney win November's election. France was the most strongly pro-Obama (72%)"

BBC Worldwide distributes Science Club, Food and Drink, and Hele Norge baker internationally.

Posted: 30 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Indiantelevision.com, 23 Oct 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels has unveiled two new additions to the slate of original productions for its BBC-branded portfolio around the world. The new programmes are the first co-productions with the BBC’s in-house team since the business announced plans last month to treble the number of original programme hours ordered for its international audience. In factual channel BBC Knowledge comes ‘Dara O Briain's Science Club’, a new science magazine format, hosted by the Irish comedian. Also ordered for BBC Lifestyle is an international version of the newly revived Food And Drink series, fronted by the Michelin-starred chef Michael Roux Jr. Food and Drink is BBC Worldwide’s first production for BBC Lifestyle." See also BBC Worldwide press release, 18 Oct 2012.

TBI Vision, 26 Oct 2012, Stewart Clarke: "BBC Worldwide has sold its hit cooking format The Great British Bake Off into Norway. Viasat’s flagship channel TV3 has bought the format and it will be known locally as Hele Norge baker."

Al Jazeera English will launch African-focused talk show, follows CNN and BBC in "ramping up African focus."

Posted: 30 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BusinessDay, 24 Oct 2012, Nick Hedley: "International news network Al Jazeera is due to introduce an Africa-focused talk-show series to be hosted by South African television and radio presenter Redi Tlhabi, according to sources within the industry. ... Sources have said the talk show will be produced from Johannesburg and will have an African focus as well as an African perspective on current international events — while reaching a global audience through Qatar-based Al Jazeera. ... Both within South Africa and abroad, broadcasters have been working to bolster their Africa focus. In July, the BBC launched its first dedicated weekday TV news programme focusing exclusively on Africa, and CNBC Africa recently added its 10th African bureau in Maputo. ... Chris Moerdyk, a media analyst and CEO of Bizcommunity, said on Tuesday that competition among broadcasters for African coverage was heating up, with networks such as CNN and the BBC ramping up their African focus. He said that Al Jazeera could very possibly cover Africa even better than the rest. The broadcaster was highly innovative, and in some ways 'way ahead' of its competition."

Middle East Events, 28 Oct 2012: "Redi Thlabi said: ... 'I want this show to build understanding between people across the world, and there’s no better platform for this than Al Jazeera.'"

In other news about AlJazeera English:

journalism.co.uk, 26 Oct 2012, Sarah Marshall: "The four US presidential debates maybe over but Al Jazeera English now offers a way for readers to view, explore and share sections of each debate through interactive video transcripts. Each word in the videos of the debates is linked to that word in the transcript, enabling the audience to search by keywords and find the exact point in the video where that word is spoken. Users can then choose to share that point in the footage via social media."

The Plian Dealer, 20 Oct 2012, Michael O'Malley: "Al Jazeera English online reporter Dorothy Parvaz will lecture at Case Western Reserve University next month on the Arab Spring and the current situation in the Middle East. ... Parvaz, a citizen of the United States, Canada and Iran, entered Syria in April 2011 with an outdated Iranian passport. She was detained, prompting a campaign by human-rights groups and journalists worldwide for her release, which came after 19 days in jail."

Jerusalem Post, 23 Oct 2012, Seth J. Frantzman: "On October 17, Al Jazeera posted a shocking video of an interview with what was described as a downed Syrian pilot on its website. It showed the pilot sitting against a dirty, graffiti-filled wall, on a mattress, being questioned by a reporter named Anita McNaught. ... This interview is important because while the pilot, named 'Captain Ibrahim' in the video, does not immediately strike us as a sympathetic character, his treatment by Al Jazeera is indicative of the moral and ethical blinders that the media has, for too long, tolerated. According to the Geneva Convention, Section II, Article 13, 'prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence and intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.'"

New York Times: "We're at least considering all the major languages as potential markets."

Posted: 30 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Capital (New York City), 15 Oct 2012, Joe Pompeo: "With two foreign-language sites already in development, The New York Times is assessing what other parts of the world could be viable markets for the Times brand. 'It's not gonna surprise anyone to think we're at least considering all the major languages as being potential markets,' foreign editor Joe Kahn told Capital, declining to name any countries in particular. 'But there has to be a nice sort of synergy of editorial value that we can bring and also an identifiable advertising or subscription-based market that we can tap into.' That was the sweet spot that led the Times to its initial two foreign-language products—a Mandarin site launched in China back in June and a Portuguese-language site that will launch in Brazil next year. ... Kahn said the early results of the China site were promising. He wouldn't provide traffic numbers, but said that unique monthly visitors and pageviews have already surpassed the marker the Times hoped to reach by next June, one-year out from launch. The business plan for the first-year was based on sponsorships, but Kahn said advertising prospects were looking good for year two. ... Kahn said any additional foreign language sites most likely wouldn't get off the ground until 2014."

New York Times, Media Decoder, 15 Oct 2012, Tanzina Vega: "The New York Times Company, continuing its drive to expand its international presence, is adding a Portuguese language edition next year. The Web site, intended to bring Times journalism to readers in Brazil, will begin in the second half of 2013. The site will offer content on subjects including business, culture and global affairs, the company said in a statement Sunday evening. The site will publish 30-40 articles a day from local writers, New York Times staff members and International Herald Tribune staff members, whose articles will be translated from English to Portuguese." See previous post about the Financial Times Latin American edition, in English, printed in Brazil.

Nieman Journalism Lab, 18 Oct 2012, Ken Doctor: "It is the early success of [its] Chinese edition that is serving as a model for the [New York] Times’ new global push, says [publisher Arthur] Sulzberger. 'In just the first 90 days, we reached the traffic goal that we hoped to achieve by spring 2013,' Sulzberger said. The Brazil edition will follow a similar path, including: ▪Content: About two-thirds of the content will be translated New York Times stories, about 20-30 a day. The other third will come from local reporting staff, as the Times has done in China. ▪Local staff: The Times hired 30 to 35 people to staff the Chinese edition, a mix of journalists and technologists. It plans a similar investment in Brazil. ▪Sponsorship/ad model: Neither the Brazilian or Chinese sites will embrace the Times’ 10-article-a-month limit [on web readers]. They are free — for now at least — with early sponsorship (Omega, Bloomingdale’s, Salvatore Ferragamo) paying the bills. Importantly, readers in those countries who want full access to the English-language Times must pay for it. ... The Times is already partially global, even before it makes its moves into China and Brazil: ▪One-third of its readers live outside of the U.S. ▪Of the Times’ 2 million paying (print and digital) subscribers, about 10 percent live outside of the United States. ▪The Times supports 70 full-time reporters and correspondents 'working in cities and countries outside of the United States. We have more foreign correspondents now than any point in our history,' Sulzberger said in Sao Paulo."

What would be the difference between The New York Times in various languages and "web first" US international broadcasting in those same languages? Other than the fact that the latter is paid for by the US taxpayers, while the former is not? See previous post about the CNN Pakistan partnership.

Bloomberg Businessweek, 26 Oct 2012, Dexter Roberts: "This time it’s the New York Times that has Chinese Internet censors raising the digital gates. Shortly after the publication of a lengthy article on Oct. 26 asserting that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family members 'have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion,' the media company’s English and Chinese websites were blocked within China. ... This follows an earlier online clampdown on Bloomberg LP, which owns this website and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Both its website and that of Bloomberg Businessweek have been blocked since Bloomberg News published a report on June 29 detailing how the extended family of Vice President Xi Jinping came to control assets worth $376 million."

Activists, eluding South Korean police and defying North Korean threats, float their balloons.

Posted: 29 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 22 Oct 2012: "South Korean activists floated balloons carrying tens of thousands of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea, eluding police who had disrupted an earlier launch attempt due to threats from North Korea. North Korea’s military warned last week that it would strike if the South Korean activists carried through with their plan, and South Korea pledged to retaliate if it was attacked."

AP, 24 Oct 2012: "The U.S. defense chief expressed relief Wednesday that North Korea has not followed through on a threat to launch a military strike in response to South Korean activists floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border. Leon Panetta said the U.S. and its ally South Korea would continue to watch for provocations from the North, and would be prepared to respond if they take place." See also Radio Australia, 24 Oct 2012, with audio report.

VOA News, 19 Oct 2012, Steve Herman: "In a Friday afternoon radio broadcast, a North Korean announcer, reading the military statement, says if even the smallest movement is detected to scatter propaganda leaflets, the Western Front will launch a merciless military strike without warning. The dispatch also requests those living around the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju City -- just south of the DMZ and about 30 kilometers north of Seoul - to evacuate the area 'in anticipation of possible damage.'"

Foreign Policy, 23 Oct 2012, James K. Glassman and Amanda Schnetzer: "As Melanie Kirkpatrick confirms in her new book, Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, North Korean schoolbooks teach that the war began in 1950 'with an invasion of the North by American and South Korean forces.' We know this through the first-hand accounts of individuals like Kim Seong-min, a former propaganda officer in the North Korean People's Army who jumped off a moving train and defected to South Korea in 1999. As Kirkpatrick writes, '[Kim's] decision to leave North Korea was heavily influenced by what he had learned from illegally listening to Voice of America and the Korean Broadcasting System. He came to realize that much of what his government was telling him was a lie.' The experience of hearing other defectors tell their stories in these broadcasts 'gave Kim Seong-min the courage to dream about going to South Korea. It also taught him about the power of information to change minds.' Today, Kim Seong-min heads Free North Korea Radio, a Seoul-based station that is 'dedicated to the democratization of North Korea.' Just this week, he gained international attention for launching border-crossing balloons containing money and messages against the regime in Pyongyang."

Vision.org, 29 Oct 2012: "South Korean activists float huge balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets and cash over the border to North Korea on Monday. A group of about 20 activists managed to release seven balloons holding 50,000 leaflets denouncing leader Kim Jong-un, despite efforts by local residents to block the launch. The local residents fear reprisals from their northern neighbour after Pyongyang threatened a 'merciless military attack' if the leaflets continued." With Reuters video.

Netflix is hiring language specialists. Will it launch local language versions?

Posted: 28 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 22 Oct 2012: "Netflix is looking for a range of language specialists, leading market watchers to speculate it will roll out in new territories or launch new local language versions of its existing service. A job advertisement for specialists that can help Netflix localise its service in Turkish, Dutch, Hindi, German, Italian, Norwegian, Korean, and Japanese has been posted on its website. It is not clear whether there are plans afoot to launch streaming services in some or all of these markets or whether Netflix plans to offer its service localised into these languages for ex-pat audiences in territories where it already has a presence. ... The company was keen to temper speculation about the next steps in its international expansion. A spokesman said that while Netflix wants to operate a global service, there were many other reasons for it to hire language specialists including quality control on translations of movies and TV shows, relationships with content creators and with manufacturers of consumer electronics around the world. 'While we do have global aspirations, drawing any short term conclusions from a job ad is wrong,' said Joris Evers, director of global communications at Netflix. 'We have not made further expansion announcements.' At last count Netflix had 22.7 million paying subs in the US and 3.02 million in international markets."

International players are participating in a "more exciting" Middle Eastern TV market.

Posted: 28 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 23 Oct 2012, Stuart Thomson: "For international players, opportunities for entry into the [Middle East's] markets have been relatively limited, but a number of high-profile joint ventures have made news in recent years. These have included Fox International Channels’ partnerships with Alwaleed bin Talal bin Albdulaziz bin Saud’s Rotana, launching channels including Fox Movies, Fox and FX, and a separate joint venture with Abu Dhabi Media for a local free-to-air version of the National Geographic Channel. Other joint ventures include Sky News Arabia, an Arabic news channel created by BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, which joins a line-up of local news channels that includes Al Jazeera, MBC’s Al Arabiya and US-government-backed Al Hurra. The latest is Alarab, an Alwaleed-backed news channel that will include a five-hour block from Bloomberg, set to launch in September next year. ... With continued growth in interest from international investors in a range of new ventures, the explosion in channels coming out of Egypt, the development of local variations of international formats and investment in new dramas with high production values, it seems that the Middle East is emerging as a much more exciting TV market than has been the case hitherto."

After their final week, 250 Radio Netherlands employees say goodbye with a "borrel."

Posted: 28 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Critical Distance Weblog, 27 Oct 2012, Jonathan Marks: "This week was the final week for more than 250 employees at Radio Netherlands. They held a final 'borrel' (drinks reception) in the entrance hall of the building in the Witte Kruislaan 55, in Hilversum. A simple gathering without speeches, pomp and circumstance. Now after years of being open 24 hrs a day, the door closes on Holland's external broadcasting service, at least in the form that most of us knew it. I still maintain that Radio Nederland Wereldomroep was actually one of the world's first social networks, even though the back channel was via letter (and phone from about 1981 onwards)." With video.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 27 Oct 2012, last show of "The State We're In." With audio.

Critical Distance Weblog, 25 Oct 2012, Jonathan Marks: "Now, there were a lot of things wrong with Radio Netherlands towards the end, but credibility and editorial independence was never an issue. A glance at the Dutch government website reveals that the English language website runs office hours, usually a day behind what the Dutch language site is saying. Does anyone read this? Maybe we should put in a freedom of information request to find out the official figures and the cost per reader? The Netherlands used to have influence in foreign media well beyond the size of the country. But that's rapidly disappeared because now 'we have the Internet'."

Raha TV, from London studios, now "promoting democracy and freedom" in Iran.

Posted: 28 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 25 Oct 2012: "A businessman opposed to the Iranian regime launched a new television channel in London on Thursday aimed at 'promoting democracy and freedom' in the Middle Eastern state. At a press conference in the British capital, the channel’s director and editor-in-chief Ali Asghar Ramezanpoor said 'Raha' would be the 'first independent channel that belongs to Iranian people.' 'There are channels in Persian -- like BBC or Voice of America -- but they are from others countries, not Iranian people,' added Ramezanpoor, a former deputy minister in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The channel is funded by Amir Hossein Jahanchahi, founder of opposition movement Green Wave. He outlined how the channel would challenge the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ... Raha, which means 'to free' in Persian, will employ 40 people in London and will also rely on a network of around 20 freelancers in Iran, according to its founders. Jahanchahi said Raha 'would be open to all opposition, reformist and non-reformist, to all people who want a different future' for Iran."

Sky News, 25 Oct 2012, Tim Marshall: "If you believe what [Jahanchahi] says, he will play a major role in bringing down a regime he likens to Nazi Germany. If you believe his critics, Raha TV is a rich man's plaything which will have minimal effect."

Vestnik Kavkaza, 25 Oct 2012: "The editor-in-chief of Raha TV will be former deputy culture minister Ali Asghar Ramezanpur, who fled abroad in 2003."

RT, 25 Oct 2012: "Ironically, Raha TV is broadcast through European satellite provider Eutelsat, the agency that blacked out the 19 state-run Iranian TV and radio stations."

Press TV, 26 Oct 2012: "Persian media outlets in the West, such as BBC Persia and Voice of America have led an anti-Iran agenda. And now, it’s the turn of Raha TV, a new Anti-Iran channel which began broadcasting from London on Thursday. ... How much funding Raha TV gets from American, British and Israeli governments remains to be seen. But In the eyes of many political analysts, the channel is perceived as serving the interests of Western imperial hegemony in the Middle East and not the Iranian people."

Lyngsat lists Raha TV on Eutelsat 7A, 7.0°E. See also www.rahatv.com.

USIB usually requisitions the word "free" to use as names for its international broadcasting entities (Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Alhurra - "The Free One"). Now that Mr. Jahanchahi is using "to free" to brand his channel, it appears that USIB will have to make do with "VOA Persian News Network."

With many commentators calling for US broadcasts to Iran to be more supportive of the opposition and to call for the overthrow of the regime, and claiming that VOA PNN is pro-regime, I have thought that eventually the United States would develop two television channels to Iran. One would be the advocated opposition station, the other the existing VOA PNN. The people of Iran could then decide, in the spirit of free-market competition, if they prefer anti-regime propaganda or a straightforward treatment of the news.

Now Raha TV removes the need for such an opposition channel, and does so at no apparent cost to the US taxpayers. Nevertheless, the one thing that US international broadcasting does more consistently than anything else is to duplicate already-existing broadcasting efforts. So we might indeed, eventually, see a US government funded channel to compete both with Raha TV and VOA PNN.

Intelsat joins Eutelsat in removing Iranian TV channels.

Posted: 28 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 26 Oct 2012: "International satellite services provider Intelsat has blocked Iran's official broadcast channels in Europe, a company spokesman said Thursday. But it would not confirm or deny an Iranian report that it did so at the order of the US government. ... The channels that were shut down included Sahar, Jam-e-Jam, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network and al-Kowsar, said Press TV, a unit of IRIB. Press TV said it was not among the channels removed."

European Broadcasting Union press release, 22 Oct 2012: "The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has described recent interruptions to news delivered by satellite into parts of the Middle East as 'an attack on media independence.' The targeted jamming cut off radio and television content by broadcasters including the BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America. European satellite operator Eutelsat reports that the 'deliberate and intermittent interference,' originated from Syria and Iran. ... The most recent episode may link to a Eutelsat decision to stop carrying 19 Iranian channels operated by Iran's state media organization, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Eutelsat said it had taken Iranian state television and radio channels off air to comply with tougher EU sanctions on the Islamic state."

International Telecommunications Union, 26 Oct 2012: "ITU is extremely concerned and alarmed to witness a continuing situation in which satellites operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations and duly recorded in the ITU Master International Frequency Register (MIFR) are the targets of harmful interference. The attention of the Radio Regulations Board (RRB) and of recent World Radio Conferences has been called to such issues, and WRC-12 confirmed that any transmission which has the intent to cause harmful interference to stations of other administrations is an infringement of the ITU Constitution, Convention or Radio Regulations, and, that any station operating in the territory of an administration is under the authority of that administration, even if the station is not authorized."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 19 Oct 2012: "Major US and European broadcasters are charging that deliberate electronic interference, known as jamming, that has intermittently disrupted satellite signals across Europe and the Middle East since the start of this week is emanating from Syria. The jamming has hit satellites operated by Eutelsat, a European satellite operator, affecting TV and radio programs reaching millions of households. The Paris-based Eutelsat confirmed that the disruptive signals originate from Syria. ... The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and other U.S.-funded international broadcasters, said signals to a number of countries, ranging from Iran to Iraq to Ukraine, lost audio and video. Other members of the DG5 – Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France – France 24, British Broadcasting Corporation, Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW), Radio Netherlands Worldwide – also suffered from interference, and joined in protesting."

Strategy Page, 25 Oct 2012: "Then there is the increasing number of incidents of space satellites being 'hacked'. It turned out that this was actually just an increase in the number of satellites up there and the number of ground stations broadcasting information up into the sky. Most of these 'hacks' are just satellite signals interfering with one another. ... All this usually has a large element of human error mixed in. But the recent problems with signals directed at Iran and Syria appear to be jamming. But all this accidental jamming only demonstrates how easy it is to do it on purpose, and there have been several examples of that."

See previous posts on 19 Oct, 18 Oct, and another on 18 Oct 2012.

The Soviet violinist who listened to VOA jazz in China in 1957.

Posted: 26 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
South China Morning Post Magazine, 21 Oct 2012, Oliver Chou: "David Oistrakh was a hugely sought-after classical music legend during his lifetime, and even after his untimely death in 1974, recordings of the Soviet violinist, along with memorabilia devoted to him, have been collected eagerly. ... [H]is visit to China in 1957 has been all but forgotten, as had the live recordings the nascent China Records made of his performances in Beijing and Shanghai. ... 'His arrival was like a thunderbolt to us,' says Mao Yukuan, Oistrakh's interpreter, who now lives in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. 'There had been Oistrakh fever since his recordings on vinyl arrived at the Central Conservatory of Music in 1950. We teenage students used to revere other great violinists, such as Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz. But Oistrakh opened us to a new sound.' ... I was then with the Central Conservatory's translation section, and was assigned to be Oistrakh's interpreter throughout the entire tour [of 19 days], plus write his profile in all the house programmes. ... 'On [one] occasion, I found him listening to jazz music on Voice of America, and that shocked me to the guts, as my Soviet big brother was enjoying what we referred to as "decadent and poisonous bourgeois music" on an enemy station. So I asked him why he listened to jazz, and he answered, with a smile, "It's no big deal." That reply from my role model hit me like a rod,' Mao says."

So how did David Oistrakh listen to VOA jazz in China? If he took along a Soviet-made radio on his trip to China, a circa-1957 model was probably not very portable. It's possible that his hotel room had a radio with at least one shortwave band, given that China extensively used shortwave for domestic broadcasting in the 1950s (and still does to some extent).

It's possible that the Willis Conover jazz program was included in the transmissions of VOA English to Asia. More likely, the VOA jazz that was nominally beamed to Europe and the USSR was making it all the way to China on at least some frequencies.

Yahoo! "realigning" itself out of South Korea in bid to "create a stronger global business."

Posted: 25 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 19 Oct 2012, Youkyung Lee: "Yahoo Inc. said it will close its South Korean web portal and an Internet advertising business, cutting its losses in a market where it has struggled for over a decade. Yahoo's South Korea unit said Friday its Seoul office with over 200 employees will be shut by the end of this year. ... The closure of the Korean arm is part of efforts to 'create a stronger global business by realigning resources,' Yahoo Korea said in a statement. Since entering South Korea in 1997, Yahoo has operated a namesake portal in Korean and an Internet advertising company, Overture Korea. Yahoo's South Korean market share has become negligible in recent years as users flocked to Naver, Daum and other portals operated by South Korean Internet firms. Yahoo Korea was also hurt by the rapid adoption of smartphones and the mobile Internet, which made it more difficult to attract advertisers to web portals designed for desktop computers."

Nous attendons alors. Appointment of a new TV5Monde director postponed until mid-November.

Posted: 25 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 18 Oct 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "A lack of agreement between international French-speaking channel TV5Monde’s shareholders has led to the broadcaster postponing the appointment of a new managing director. The successor of Marie-Christine Saragosse, who becomes AEF’s new CEO, should have been announced on 16 October. The governments of the five shareholding states that include France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Québec, asked for a delay before making their choice. Marie-Christine Saragosse will ensure the continuity of the management until the appointment of a new MD, around November 14th, it’s announced."

BFM Business, 23 Oct 2012, Jamal Henni explains (in French) that the candidate favored by the French foreign ministry, Richard Boidin, was not approved by the other TV5Monde member states (Belgium, Switzerland, Canada), because he has no experience directing a television station. Names of other possible contenders are offered.

See previous post about TV5Monde.

Tim Davie, new BBC Worldwide CEO, looks forward to "championing great British content around the world."

Posted: 25 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 19 Oct 2012: "John Smith today announced that he has decided to step down after eight years as Chief Executive Officer of BBC Worldwide. Under Smith’s leadership, the BBC’s commercial arm has grown into a major global media company, doubling its revenue, growing profits four-fold, almost tripling margins and returning more than £1.3 billion to the BBC. ... Smith’s tenure has produced remarkable results. BBC Worldwide has become the world’s largest owner of TV channels and the largest TV distributor outside of US companies. The channels operation now attracts over 360 million subscribers around the world to its BBC-branded portfolio of channels. ... Tim Davie [Smith's successor] said: 'BBC Worldwide is an outstanding business that plays a unique role in building the BBC’s global reputation and it is an honour to be asked to lead it. John’s legacy is a company with a strong performance record, leadership in digital and rising international creative exports. I look forward to leading BBC Worldwide through its next phase of growth, delivering further dividends to the BBC and championing great British content around the world.'"

The Telegraph, 19 Oct 2012, Katherine Rushton: "The company, which makes money from BBC programmes by selling the rights to other broadcasters overseas, has grown into one of britain’s biggest media businesses under his leadership, delivering £155m of profits on £1.1bn of revenues last year. However, it has also come under fire for its aggressively commercial behaviour, amid concerns that it is stifling competition or straying into areas it has no business to be in, for example through the acquisition of travel publisher Lonely Planet. Mr Smith is understood to have wanted Worldwide to be privatised so that he could run it in a shamelessly commercial manner. However, Lord Patten, chairman on the BBC Trust, and Gerorge Entwistle, the BBC’s director general, are pulling in the opposite direction and bringing Worldwide closer."

All 950 of Alistair Cooke's Letter From America programs will be available at the BBC Radio 4 website.

Posted: 25 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Radio 4 Publicity: "Alvin Hall reassesses Alistair Cooke’s Letter From America, Cooke's weekly radio broadcast that ran continually for 58 years on the BBC, from 1946 to 2004. Cooke had set himself a challenge that seemed deceptively simple: to explain the United States to Britain and the world. His Letters achieved that and more. He was an acute observer, a marvellous storyteller, a man who loved America but saw it in intensely clear terms - a country that was both great and sometimes terribly flawed in its greatness. But eight years after his death are the Letters still relevant? For Alvin Hall, the answer is emphatically yes. Criss-crossing America Alvin tests the insights and observations of Cooke on subjects as diverse as desegregation and jazz, the American Dream and immigration. The BBC will be making available Cooke’s archive - over 950 programmes - on the Radio 4 website, from 1 November." Broadcast 6 November at 0930-0945 GMT on BBC Radio 4.

BBC World Service Cyprus shortwave relay will close. Arabic shortwave transmissions will end.

Posted: 25 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
In this email to staff, BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks outlined the reductions to shortwave and medium wave distribution. These will provide "£4.8m of the required £12m savings that need to be achieved in the final year of Grant-in-Aid funding," i.e. before the transition to BBC License fee funding.

The BBC shortwave relay on Cyprus will close, and shortwave transmissions in Arabic (except for some to Sudan) will end. Medium wave in Arabic and English continues from Cyprus, but hours are reduced.

Voice of God and five other Nigerian TV channels are now pan-African via the Amos 5 satellite.

Posted: 25 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 18 Oct 2012, Robert Briel: "SatLink Communications has announced that it has been selected by six Nigerian TV channels for a new DTH service. SatLink will provide end-to-end broadcast services and content distribution to Central and Pan-Africa on the Amos 5 satellite Ku-band and C-Band platforms. ... Utilising the Amos 5 satellite, on 17 degrees East, Central-Africa Ku-band reach, SatLink will enable two international Christian Religious Channels, Voice of God (VOG) and Champions of Fire TV (CFTV) and Hola TV, a Nigerian entertainment channel, to effectively distribute content easily to Direct to Home viewers in the Western Africa, Eastern Africa and Central Africa regions." See also www.amos-spacecom.com.

Afghanistan's war of the tweets.

Posted: 24 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 17 Oct 2012, Ali M Latifi: "On October 5 the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) invited the Taliban to discuss the coalition's commitment to free speech in Afghanistan. There was, however, just one problem: no one could say with certainty the man summoned via Twitter was in fact a member of the group. The overture was made to Abdulqahar Balkhi, who describes himself as a 'servant to the Islamic Emirate' ... on the micro-blogging service. Since last year, the @ISAFMedia account has engaged in a series of back-and-forth online spats with Balkhi's account. ... [U]nlike the others said to belong to the group ... Balkhi's stands out for its conversational tone that he has successfully utilised to provoke a series of responses from other actors in the Afghan conflict."

KCET Los Angeles and Link TV will merge to distribute "provocative global programming targeted to a national audience."

Posted: 24 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
KCET press release, 17 Oct 2012, Angelica Alumia: "KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station, and Link Media, an independent non-profit media company that operates the Link TV national satellite network and online international news portal, LinkNews (news.linktv.org), today announced a merger to create KCETLink, a powerful new independent public transmedia company that acquires, produces and distributes provocative global programming targeted to a national audience across multiple media platforms. The newly-formed company will be available in 33 million households via DIRECTV and DISH Network and 5.6 million households on KCET in Southern California, the nation's 2nd largest television market. On TV, web and mobile platforms, KCETLink will offer viewers more direct access than ever before to high-quality culturally diverse content. ... Link TV will continue to serve audiences via DIRECTV and DISH Network, providing a wide array of rich, culturally focused programs that inspire, inform and engage audiences with the world around them. Hits include the internationally award-winning drama series Borgen, which airs in the U.S. exclusively on Link TV."

Food Network and Travel Channel become more international with new carriage agreements.

Posted: 24 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
On Screen Asia, 15 Oct 2012, Stephen Las Marias: "Scripps Networks International has announced a bevy of new carriage agreements for its global lifestyle brands Food Network, Fine Living Network, Food Network Asia and Travel Channel International. The multiple deals include channel launches with leading distributors, and expansions through new cable and broadband system partnerships in seven new territories. Breaking new ground, Food Network has debuted in Latvia, Georgia, Romania and Serbia. ... As previously reported, Food Network Asia celebrated its sixth launch in the Asian market with a premiere in Mongolia on the country's first IPTV operator, Univision. Mongolia joins the lifestyle channel's growing roster of Asian territories that includes Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan. The channel's growing popularity in Malaysia and Taiwan has led to increased carriage in both countries. ... Travel Channel International has launched its HD service in Turkey and Turkish-speaking Northern Cyprus on D-Smart. The channel will be available as a fully localised feed in Turkey in early 2013. Travel Channel International transmits 24 hours a day in 21 languages to 130 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific."

VOA director David Ensor will speak at Harvard: "Taking American Public Diplomacy Viral."

Posted: 24 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University: "David Ensor, Director of Voice of America and former CNN National Security correspondent will analyze how public diplomacy is changing and must adapt to altering media consumption patterns. Ensor was sworn in as the 28th Director of the Voice of America on June 16, 2011. He joined VOA after an extensive career in journalism and communications. Most recently he served as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. As Director of VOA, Ensor oversees a worldwide multimedia operation broadcasting in 43 languages, reaching an estimated 141 million people each week via radio, television, mobile, and the Internet. ... Location: Bell Hall, Belfer Building. Date: Thursday, October 25, 2012. Time: 4:15 PM."

VOA and other entities of the Broadcasting Board of Governors are often considered part of US public diplomacy. Some of us prefer to categorize public diplomacy and international broadcasting and separate, complementary, and occasionally adversarial activities. PD officially represents and advocates for US policies. IB is government-funded journalism which, to be credible, must be independent. (The difference between PD and IB is explained on page 3 of the 2002 Broadcasting Board of Governors annual report. See also comments by former BBG member Ted Kaufman in the USC PD Magazine, Summer 2011.)

Explaining why the US government should pay for a news organization whose content it does not control, and how that is done, is slightly difficult to explain, but the Harvard audience might get it. (I attempted my own explanations in New York Times op-eds in 2007 and 2002.)

Indeed, US international broadcasting would better be accomplished -- if possible -- by the private sector. In the absence of government funding, questions about government control over content would no longer directly apply. This is why CNN's recently announced partnership in a Pakistani Urdu-language channel, and the New York Times' interest in adding language versions (Chinese and Portuguese already) are so interesting. If this pattern continues, government-funded USIB can step aside and concentrate on languages with less commercial potential.

Another topic that might come up during the event is why both VOA and a Radio Free station broadcast in Russian, Persian, Mandarin, Tibetan, Burmese, Korean, etc. There is no good way to explain this, and any attempt to do so could befuddle even this group. (There might be the temptation to state that the Radio Free station transmits only news about the target country, while VOA limits itself to US and general world news, but such a description would be complicated by the fact that it is false. Besides, why force the audience to tune in two US stations to get complete news coverage?)

Discussing the "altering media consumption patterns" will also pose a challenge. In the shortwave era, VOA was one of about five stations with global transmission capability. In the internet age, VOA finds itself with hundreds or even thousands of competitors. In the social media, the 141 million mentioned above are now competitors. VOA has developed a mobile internet capability, which means its transmission capability now matches that of a typical 16-year-old. Comprehensive, reliable, credible news remains VOA's distinguishing feature. It is really the only thing that will allow VOA to rise above the noise and to go "viral."

Dismantling of the Radio Canada International shortwave site at Sackville NB has begun.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RCI Action Committee, 16 and 23 Oct 2012: "In the next few days the transmission lines that allow Canada to broadcast to the world will be taken down one by one. For more than 67 years Radio Canada International’s shortwave transmitters have guaranteed that Canada’s voice would be heard despite the Cold War, despite natural disasters, and Internet blocking. Now this efficient, cost effective communications tool will be dismantled by Canada’s public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada. Those of us who understand how important this lifeline to the world is to world communication are sick to our stomachs at the rapidity with which the broadcaster wants to make the transmitters disappear. Shortwave broadcasts of Radio Canada International ended on June 24, 2012. Other countries’ use of our transmitters will end on October 31. But CBC/Radio-Canada has already started the process of dismantling unused transmitters, and will start taking down still functioning transmission lines very shortly. Why are they in such a hurry? ... UPDATE: October 23, 2012 – Five transmission lines have already been taken down! Two are in the process of being dismantled. By next week almost all of the 28 lines will be dismantled. Only two will remain temporarily for the Quebec Northern Service."

The SWLing Post, 23 Oct 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "[O]ver the past few days, I’ve been working hard in the background to stop the Radio Canada International Sackville, New Brunswick transmission site from being dismantled. Now, I need a favor. Could you please take a few moments out of your day to sign this Change.org petition I started? Your voice will be added to the petition and it will automatically email the appropriate Canadian politicians who could, at the very least, put a halt to the destruction of the RCI Sackville site. Canada–indeed, the world–needs this vital shortwave resource."

Why the hurry? It might be the considerable scrap value of the copper in those transmission lines. They could be a target for theft when the Sackville site is unattended.

My hope for the Sackville site was that the University of New Brunswick would take it over as a multi-use facility, one of which would be experimentation with shortwave transmissions as a means to provide a substitute means of information and communication when the usual internet circuits are down due to dictators or disasters. This capability will be required in the future but, alas, it seems that Sackville will not be part of the solution.

BBC World Service director's advice for Egyptian broadcasting: "independence is essential" and "need to be smaller."

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Ahram Online, 13 Oct 2012, Nada Hussein Rashwan interviewing BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks, who had advice for Egyptian broadcasting: "From my perspective, the organisation's independence structure should be set first so that the ministers are no longer directing the broadcasters. Then, the organisation, which would still be receiving funds from the government, should work out what it wants to do – editorially and financially. Probably the organisation will need to be smaller for cost-allocation purposes. I went to the state-owned ERTU [Egyptian Radio and Television Union] to do an interview and I had never been in an organisation where there were so many people waiting for the lift! Also, whether certain facilities should be sold off or rented. This issue will be for the independent board to decide on. Independence is essential to a public service broadcasting entity. If Egyptian society decides it wants a public service broadcaster, then it would be very risky to institute this service before independence is established."

The Independent, 20 Oct 2012, Ian Burrell on the role of Peter Horrocks in the inquiry about the BBC's handling of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal: "Mr Horrocks' decision to hold talks yesterday with ... two Newsnight journalists was regarded within the BBC news division as a signal of his intention to take a leading role in the crisis, which has raised doubts about Mr [George] Entwistle's future as Director-General. Mr Horrocks's role on the Savile story is the result of Director of News Helen Boaden having to stand back from coverage of the issue as she was head of the chain of command when the piece was dropped."

DRM digital shortwave "has a hazy future" writes one engineer, "making good progress" writes another.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 18 Oct 2012, Ernie Franke: "Once touted as the 'Savior of Shortwave,' Digital Radio Mondiale has not lived up to its hype. Proposed in 1988, with early field-testing in 2000, inaugural broadcasting in 2001 and its official rollout in 2003, DRM has had a lackluster career over the last decade. With the allure of FM-quality audio and fade-free operation, it had appeared that DRM might revive the shortwave community. Unfortunately, it has been overcome by other events, some technical and some social. The main weakness has been alternate sources of information and entertainment, fueled by the very technology that gave DRM hope. ... With the advent of the Internet and SmartPhones and social media networks, all bets are off. We have recently seen the value of social media networks in social uprisings in the Middle East and Africa. People can get the same shortwave information over social media with the uncensored spontaneity of amateurs. Without a viable (cost and battery-conscious) receiver, DRM has a hazy future."

DRM Consortium, 16 Oct 2012, T.V.B. Subrahmanyam: "Digital radios may be classified into two categories: a) Technologies using proprietary standards and b) Technologies based on open standards. Proprietary standards 'may be' short lived and expensive for the user. There might be some exceptions to this rule. Satellite radio network WorldSpace is often cited as a classic example in the digital radio domain for an early demise of a good technology. In the case of Digital radios based on open standards, the process is quite democratic and takes longer for all three legs of this tripod to become strong and mature. It is also well known that democratic systems are more stable in spite of slow progress and probably have better longevity. Digital Radio Mondial (DRM) is one such open standard that is making good progress in the digital radio domain. The technology has reached a stage where multiple transmitters are being installed, stimulating the radio receiver manufacturers to invest in creating the right products and then in parallel making the broadcasters think of attractive content to be created and aired. It is only a matter of time before the price of digital radios receivers will come close to the present analog radio receivers."

DRM Consortium, 16 Oct 2012: "Translation of ‘Das Radioprogramm der Bundeswehr setzt auf Digitalradio’: 'The radio station of the Bundeswehr which uses digital radio, "Radio Andernach," is currently putting out test broadcasts on the shortwave frequency 6015 kHz. These are likely be transmitted from the TDF Issoudun site in central France. It is broadcast in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) mode, which because of the small decline in beneficiary selection and variety of programs could inspire only a few listeners so far. ... In the future, "every ship in the Navy" should be equipped with DRM receivers.'"

@drmdigitalradio, 22 Oct 2012: "Coming soon to a PC near you - the new DRM website" www.drm.org

HCJB Global, 12 Oct 2012, Ralph Kurtenbach: "Authorities at Supertel (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Ecuador’s telecommunications department) were provided with a digital radio to monitor the programming aired by the digital medium wave (AM) station that [HCJB engineer Tim] Zook and a colleague, Milton Pumisacho, set up. They had been working with Supertel and the Unión Nacional de Periodistas (National Journalists Union) at a temporary site in the south Quito’s Chillogallo sector. ... 'What they’re trying to do is to decide on the best system of digital radio for the country,' Zook explained."

Mission Network News, 22 Oct 2012: "Engineer Charlie Jacobson says HCJB Global is helping leaders in Ecuador ride the wave of the future. 'We see digital as the way that radio's eventually going to go, just like television,' Jacobson explained. 'Much of the world is already going that way, and we want to assist the Ecuadorean government. God has blessed us with some of the resources to do that.'"

Does VOA still have a role? Public diplomacy under secretary says yes.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, 18 Oct 2012, Dave Tobin: "Tara D. Sonenshine became the US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs in April. Thursday she spoke at Syracuse University's Newhouse School about how traditional foreign policy tools are achieving deeper reach and dimension through digital and social media. ... She sat for a brief interview with The Post-Standard before her talk. ... 'Q: Does Voice of America (VoA) still have a role? Sonenshine: Yes. A lot of the world is still dependent on radio. VoA has migrated online and to television without losing the old radio format. In many parts of world it is the only independent source of news. In parts of Africa, VoA is still a staple of the news diet. VoA also teaches English. It promotes freedom of the press, advances independent media and it serves as a (news) surrogate in many places.'"

Founder of for-profit B-corp says "I'm going to partner with" BBG and VOA.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
PBS MediaShift, 18 Oct 2012, Andrew Haeg: "At the end of September, I left American Public Media after 13 years as a reporter and co-founder of the Public Insight Network. ... I'm building GroundTruth: a mobile engagement and research platform. I'm just entering the prototype phase, and at first GroundTruth will be designed to engage people at the 'bottom of the pyramid' who are far less likely to be sharing information online -- but own one of the 5 billion mobile phones that can be used for SMS, MMS and voice. ... With GroundTruth, I'm going to partner with an array of international groups focused on public service, social entrepreneurship. and tackling 'wicked' problems like poverty, crisis response, or access to clean water or quality education. These include Ushahidi, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Voice of America, IDEO.org, and Ashoka. ... I'll be structuring the company not as a non-profit, but as a for-profit B-Corporation, because I heartily agree with what Tim O'Reilly wrote in 2009 in his article 'Make Things That Matter': 'We need to build an economy in which the important things are paid for in self-sustaining ways rather than as charities to be funded out of the goodness of our hearts.'" -- Will credible news, which is the reason USIB has audiences, be part of these plans?

Alhurra joins with McNeil/Lehrer Productions on US elections documentary series.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc. press release, 11 Oct 2012: "Alhurra Television and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions are joining efforts to co-produce a new documentary series for Arab audiences on the 2012 U.S. elections. The Making of Democracy will provide viewers from Morocco to Oman with a behind the scenes look at the 2012 elections through stories of candidates, U.S. citizens, Arab Americans, and others involved in local and national races. ... Alhurra [began] broadcasting the eight-part weekly series during prime-time (17:00 GMT) on 13 October."

MediaMughals, 22 Oct 2012: "The FRANCE 24-Mobile will begin its journey in New York, winding all the way to Chicago. For two weeks, 5 reporters will travel across the States, meeting with Americans from all walks of life in the run-up to the vote. ... Exclusive reports, interviews and insights in a daily show offering unprecedented coverage of the presidential campaign, in three languages (French, English, Arabic)! The road trip will end in Chicago, Barack Obama's home city, as FRANCE 24 broadcasts live election coverage and analysis."

Comparing CNN International and Sky News Arabia, both of which have Abu Dhabi hubs.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Oct 2012, Georg Szalai: "[T]he English-language CNN ... brings the Gulf region news from all over the globe. 'The network does do quite well in this part of the world,' [CNN Abu Dhabi bureau chief Phil] O'Sullivan said. 'We are a U.S. network, and people are quite interested in getting the U.S. perspective.' This summer, CNN presented the latest Essential Media Services Middle East survey, which is often used here and showed that it is the most watched international channel in the region. With a monthly audience reach of 33.4 percent, it was well ahead of nearest English-language competitor, Al Jazeera English, which drew 15.5 percent. ... Sky News Arabia's editorial focus: Arab news from the Arab world to the Arab world. And that increasingly includes Arabs in Europe and the U.S. With that focus on stories that matter to Arabs, discussions about racism laws in Europe and what the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections could mean for U.S. foreign policy are topics for the network. But with a household reach of only over 50 million, Sky News Arabia has more growth upside ahead."

AMEinfo, 7 Oct 2012: "Sky News Arabia - 24-hour, Arabic-language rolling news channel broadcasting from Abu Dhabi - has rolled out livestreaming of its news broadcast for Apple iPhone and Android smartphone devices as it continues to develop its multi-media offering."

Gulf News, 11 Oct 2012, Shehab Al Makahleh: "Social media provides entities and individuals with greater voice particularly in the UAE, Nart Bouran, CEO of Sky News Arabia, told the Gulf News. 'We as a broadcasting media, refer to social media as a source of news after verifying these sources to cover major events where correspondents are not available for any reason,' Bouran said. Bouran explained that at present, there are no boundaries and no barriers to news as ordinary people can work as co[r]respondents by sending news and photos to any media channel."

NBCUniversal International, of which BBG chairman nominee is president, inks China distribution deal.

Posted: 23 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 15 Oct 2012, Paul Sawers: "You On Demand Holdings, the company behind one of China’s top pay-per-view (PPV) and video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, has inked a licensing deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution for the VOD rights to a range of NBCUniversal feature films. NBCUniversal International Television Distribution is a division of NBCUniversal, responsible for distributing NBCUniversal content outside of the US and Canada. This includes more than 4,000 feature films and 75,000 TV episodes. With this latest deal in place, its movies will be made available to subscribers on both You On Demand’s transactional and subscription video on demand platforms. Among the titles now available are 'Despicable Me,' 'It’s Complicated,' 'Wanted,' 'Public Enemies,' and many more."

Broadband TV News, 17 Oct 2012, Robert Briel: "One year after its launch on DStv in Africa, Studio Universal and Universal Channel have launched in HD on the platform. According to the broadcaster, the HD launches were sparked by 'the remarkable growth of Universal Networks International channels across Africa.' ... Studio Universal and Universal Channel reach 51 countries across Africa on MultiChoice’s digital pay-TV satellite platform DStv. Internationally, Studio Universal is available in 24 countries in three languages. Universal Channel is available in 114 countries and 19 languages." -- These are units of NBCUniversal International.

All Gov, 7 Oct 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a controversy and scandal plagued independent federal agency responsible for all non-military broadcasting sponsored by the U.S. government, is set to get a new chairman. President Obama on September 12 announced his intent to nominate broadcasting executive Jeffrey Shell, currently President of NBCUniversal International, to succeed Walter Isaacson, who has been chair since June 2010. ... Since 2011, Jeff Shell has been president, but not CEO, of NBCUniversal, based in London, U.K., and responsible for overseeing International TV Distribution, Global Television Networks, and International Television Production." See previous post about Jeffrey Shell.

"Internet anti-censorship tools are being overwhelmed by demand" and, apparently, by "large organizations or agencies."

Posted: 22 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 21 Oct 2012, James Ball: "Michael Horowitz ... co-founder of the Twenty First Century Initiative, a group aiming to increase funding for Internet freedom ... wants the BBG — an independent agency that, along with the State Department, funds online circumvention tools — to increase its spending on Internet freedom from its current level of about $10 million of its $750 million annual budget, to between $50 million and $100 million. Executives at the BBG said they are sympathetic to such appeals but suggest they are politically infeasible. The 'argument is if you gave $100 million, you could really be David and Goliath, could blow a big hole and knock the whole whack-a-mole of the Chinese censors down, and all the rest of the bad guys,' said Michael P. Meehan, a member of the BBG. 'I wouldn’t disagree.' But, he said, the agency is already under pressure from Congress to find $50 million in budget cuts. ... Internet freedom activists say part of the challenge in developing online circumvention tools is determining how much to spend now on helping users evade detection vs. how much to spend on more sophisticated projects for the future that could keep pace with censorship technology. Much of the latter is done under the auspices of Radio Free Asia, in a program led by Dan Meredith, a 30-year-old former journalist and programmer. But his program has only $3.7 million to spend in the year ahead — down from $6.7 million last year. Meredith said that the firewall in China is 'actually thin as cheese paper' — at least until censors find new ways to block information. What Meredith wants to do is keep the Internet free for new users — by building 'mesh' networks, retooling major sites to automatically dodge crude censorship efforts and more." -- The mentioned RFA program is freedom2connect, whose "small size allows for efficient and effective operation – without traditional hindrance of the red tape or bureaucracies of large organizations or agencies."

Al Jazeera English will broadcast debate of US third-party presidential candidates (updated: RT, too).

Posted: 22 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Examiner.com, 11 Oct 2012, Mark Wachtler: "In what some are calling an obvious sign that America’s election system is broken, Qatar-based broadcasting company Al Jazeera announced it will be airing the US opposition Presidential debate. In contrast, the alliance of US media outlets continues to enlist a strict media black-out of independent and opposition party candidates and will not air the otherwise widely-viewed event. While America tunes in to watch the Republican and Democratic Parties debate each other over America’s corporate-owned airwaves, the 42% of voters who identify themselves as ‘independents’ will instead be tuning in to Al Jazeera. The upcoming first, and possibly only, opposition Presidential debate is being blacked-out by US media outlets nationwide. ... Participating candidates will include: Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution party), Rocky Anderson (Justice Party). When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 8:00pm CST."

Update: Huffington Post, 19 Oct 2012, Michael Calderone: "Link TV will also carry Al Jazeera English's broadcast in areas where the network still isn't available on the cable dial. In addition, Russia Today announced plans Friday to air the debate on the RT America television network and on RT.com."

France 24 reporter Sonia Dridi attacked by a "crowd of men" in Cairo (updated).

Posted: 22 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
France 24, 20 Oct 2012: "FRANCE 24 journalist Sonia Dridi filed a police complaint with Egyptian police on Saturday, a day after she was assaulted while reporting on a protest in the capital Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Dridi had just finished giving a live news report at around 10:30pm on Friday for FRANCE 24’s French language television when a crowd of men teemed around her, shoving and grabbing at her body. ... After a tense few moments, Ashraf Khalil, a correspondent for FRANCE 24’s English language television, was eventually able to rescue Dridi from the crowd. On Saturday, FRANCE 24 announced that both journalists were safe and in good health. In a statement, the company also said that it 'firmly condemns repeated acts of violence against journalists, who should be able to do their job freely anywhere in the world'." See also France 24, 20 Oct 2012, video report in French.

AP, 20 Oct 2012, Jamey Keaten: "A correspondent for France 24 TV was 'savagely attacked' near Cairo’s Tahrir Square after being seized by a crowd, the network said Saturday. It was the latest case of violence against women at the epicenter of Egypt’s restive protests. The news channel said in a statement that Sonia Dridi was attacked around 10:30 p.m. Friday after a live broadcast on a protest at the square and was later rescued by a colleague and other witnesses. France 24 did not give further details about the attack, but it said its employees were safe and sound, though 'extremely shocked,' and that it will file suit against unspecified assailants."

Update: France Diplomatie, 22 Oct 2012: "France utterly condemns the attack against a France 24 journalist on Friday in Tahrir Square in Cairo. We call on the Egyptian authorities to do everything possible to speed up the investigation, identify those responsible and bring them to justice. We reaffirm our solidarity with our compatriot; as soon as they had been informed of the situation, our ambassador in Cairo and his team provided her with the necessary support and assistance in these especially painful circumstances. Respect for women and the freedom of the press are inseparable from the democratic values upheld by the Egyptian revolution."

Reporters sans frontières, 22 Oct 2012: "On 22 October, a court in Manama cleared a policewoman of torture and ill-treatment in the course of her duties when a female Bahraini journalist, Nazeeha Saeed, was assaulted and beaten in custody during anti-government protests last year. Saeed, a correspondent for France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, had been summoned to a police station for questioning in the city of Rifa’a on 22 May last year. ... Reporters Without Borders is outraged at the officer’s acquittal, a verdict that illustrates the Bahrain’s judicial system’s lack of independence. ... The journalist has announced she intends to appeal against the verdict. Saeed, it should be noted, also made a complaint against another policewoman and a male officer, Fahad Ali Abdulla Khalifa, alleging torture and ill-treatment, but so far no action has been taken against them."

Station attacked in Benghazi is the domestic Libya Al Hurra, not the USIB Alhurra as reported by VOR.

Posted: 22 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
In the first story cited below, Voice of Russia identifies the office attacked in Benghazi as that of the Alhurra that is part of Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc., an entity of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. As AFP reports in the second item below, the station attacked is actually Libya Al Hurra, a Libyan domestic channel created by an opposition group during the uprising against Moammar Gaddafi. MBN spokesperson Deirdre Kline confirmed this to me today. BBC Monitoring also cites a report by Libya (Al-Ahrar) TV, based in Doha, that identifies the attacked station as Libya Al Hurra.

Voice of Russia, 22 Oct 2012, citing TASS: "Several dozen protesters have burst into the office of the Alhurra US TV channel, broadcasting in Arabic, in Benghazi, in the east of Libya, destroyed it and set it on fire. Several staff members were injured, and broadcasting was suspended. According to the local media, all demonstrators protested against the way Alhurra has been covering the clashes that are continuing in the city of Bani-Walid between government troops and the opposition, including the supporters of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, overthrown last year."

AFP, 11 Oct 2012: "Demonstrators stormed the offices of a private Libyan television station in Benghazi Sunday, protesting coverage of the clashes in Bani Walid, one of the last bastions of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The demonstrators broke into the offices of Libya Al-Hurra station, wrecking the site and setting fire to an office, an AFP journalist witnessed. They were shouting 'Warfalla', the name of a tribe based in Bani Walid. They attacked members of staff, including at least one journalist, while others employees fled, the AFP correspondent said. The channel stopped broadcasting shortly afterwards. The demonstrators were protesting against the station for having announced the capture of Khamis, one of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, in Bani Walid." RT, 22 Oct 2012, reports on the attack (with photos), correctly identifying the station.

As I wrote on 27 Sept 2011, "Libya Al Hurra is not to be confused with, but will be confused with, the USIB Alhurra." See also previous posts on 2 Apr and 3 Oct 2011.

In RFE/RL interview, UK foreign secretary William Hague says agenda against Iran "is not about regime change."

Posted: 21 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 15 Oct 2012, Rikard Jozwiak: "British Foreign Secretary William Hague has dismissed the notion that Britain is trying to force regime change in Iran with the sanctions that the European Union has imposed over Tehran's nuclear activities. The European Union on October 15 agreed to a fresh round of sanctions against Iran in a bid to dissuade Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, as a number of governments have alleged. But the British foreign minister stressed to RFE/RL that any question of regime change 'is up to the people of Iran,' adding, 'Our agenda is not about regime change. ... This is exclusively about the nuclear program.'" With video, Radio Farda's Niusha Boghrati interviewing Mr. Hague.

Conservative commentators blame the Obama administration for developments at RFE/RL Russian.

Posted: 21 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Washington Free Beacon, 15 Oct 2012, Adam Kredo: "America’s broadcast voice in Russia will soon be silenced following Moscow’s ratification of a new law that will force a legendary broadcasting company to abandon the Russian airwaves. Radio Liberty (RL), a division of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE), recently fired a large portion of its staff after the passage of a Russian law prohibiting foreign-owned media outlets from broadcasting on AM frequencies. The unexpected mass layoffs came as a shock to RL journalists and Russian human rights activists alike, and spurred accusations that the Obama administration is kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin as he seeks to silence the democratic voice that helped topple communism. 'The timing of it, the way it was done, and the lack of explanation' sends an unfortunate message, said David Kramer, president of the human rights organization Freedom House. 'It creates the impression, whether intended or not, that the U.S. is pulling out [of Russia], and that’s not the impression we want to leave.' ... 'I think they have already destroyed the radio so much loved and followed by those Russian listeners who stand for freedom and democracy,' Mario Corti, a former director of Radio Liberty’s Russian Service, told the Free Beacon. 'They are lying to the media by playing down the scale of the firings.' Corti and other insiders who spoke to the Free Beacon both on and off the record believe that RFE’s Washington-based leadership used the new law as an excuse to abandon the radio businesses, which had become costly and difficult for D.C. bureaucrats to control."

Newsmax.com, 15 Oct 2012, Henry J. Reske: "Critics ... see the move as part of a larger plan by Radio Free Europe to move away from the costly radio business and to avoid angering Putin."

Heritage Foundation, 15 Oct 2012, Helle Dale: "The treatment inflicted on 41 Russian journalists in Moscow’s Radio Liberty office is nothing less than scandalous, and it threatens to silence American broadcasting into Russia for good. But what is even more scandalous is that it was not the Russian government that, without warning, shut those journalists out of their offices on September 20 and 21 with armed guards, marched them to a lawyer’s office, and demanded they sign away their jobs of many years. It was the government of the United States. ... There is time yet to reverse the wrong done to the Russian journalists who trusted the U.S. as a beacon of freedom. This decision to fire them should not stand."

Heritage Foundation, 17 Oct 2012, Helle Dale: "The disgraceful firing of Radio Liberty’s loyal Moscow staff on September 20 and 21 is the latest chapter in the Obama’s Administration’s Russia policy retreat, also known as the 'reset.' ... U.S.national interests abroad, including our security interests, continue to be compromised by the Obama Administration, and Russia is but one example. The worst part is that it is being done intentionally."

ConservativeHQ.com, 16 Oct 2012, George Rasley: "Reagan understood that to defeat the communist enemies of freedom, we had to engage them on every battlefield of national power: cultural, economic and military. That is why he pumped up Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, supported the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, deployed America's technological and industrial prowess in merciless military competition with the Soviets and made liberating the captive people of the Soviet empire the foundation of his foreign policy. ... Radio Liberty and the Voice of America were important parts of Reagan’s strategy to let the world know that America was 'freedom’s staunchest friend,' in spite of the fact they would 'piss off the Russians.' Radio Liberty and Voice of America were, and are, important to something that Ronald Reagan did so well, but that Barack Obama seems utterly incapable of understanding, let alone doing – selling freedom around the world."

Investor's Business Daily, 16 Oct 2012, editorial: "U.S. radio broadcasts to Russians are to end. With President Obama's friend Vladimir Putin getting a dubious 64% in a five-way presidential race in March, this is no time to pretend Russia is free. ... [T]here can be no hiding this as another component of President Obama's naive 'Russian reset' — which has included Obama appeasing Putin less than eight months after taking office by going back on our commitment to include Poland and the Czech Republic in our anti-ballistic missile defense system. Obama also has allowed Moscow to dwarf the U.S. in its number of tactical nuclear weapons. ... There is no doubt that Radio Liberty helped topple the USSR. Boris Yeltsin could not have survived climbing on that Red Army tank in Moscow in the summer of 1991 had the Russian people, including members of the military, not been told about freedom for so many years in their native tongue over the airwaves."

Wizbang, 19 Oct 2012, Warner Todd Huston: "It won’t be long before America’s voice for democracy will be silenced in Russia after the Obama administration fired most of the staff at the offices of Radio Liberty. In an effort to silence that U.S. voice for democracy, Putin’s Russia passed a new law on November 10 that makes it illegal to have radio stations that are more than 48 percent foreign-owned. The law ended Radio Liberty’s license to broadcast on the AM band in Russia. The original license was issued by Boris Yelstin in the days when Russia was promising to become a new beacon of democracy and freedom after generations of communist oppression in the former Soviet bloc. ... The knee-jerk reaction of the Obama administration to the new Russian law is thought to send all the wrong messages in a Russia with a resurgent police state."

The Moscow Times, 19 Oct 2012, Nikolaus von Twickel: "Statistics show that Radio Svoboda's listener numbers in Moscow have strongly declined over past years. The station's daily reach sank from 140,000, or 1.5 percent market share, between July and September 2007 to 104,100, or 1 percent market share, in the same period this year, according to data from market research firm TNS Global. By contrast, the commercially run Ekho Moskvy, a critical radio station owned by Gazprom Media, had just over 1 million listeners in Moscow between July and September this year. ... Danila Galperovich, who was among the Radio Svoboda reporters laid off last month, said competition in the media market for urban intellectuals is extremely tough. He named online television channel Dozhd, websites Snob.ru and Slon.ru, Kommersant FM and Bolshoi Gorod as strong competitors. 'There are already a lot of them. The market is full,' he said."

NPR, 16 Oct 2012, Corey Flintoff, via KMUW Wichita: New RFE/RL Russian director Masha Gessen "says the real challenge is to reach beyond the radio audience and even the audience for most websites. 'We are going to try to get away from the home-page model for websites,' Gessen says. 'We're going to look into something else that's very much in the [Radio Liberty] mandate, which is cooperating with Russian media to produce content for them.' Gessen says Radio Liberty will work with independent Russian television and online media. The idea will be to push content to consumers, rather than waiting for them to come to the home page. Gessen says that means hiring what she calls 'multidimensional journalists.'" With audio.

The Moscow Times, 16 Oct 2012, Steven Korn, president of RFE/RL: "Change is difficult and often requires a leap of faith that things can be as good or better in the future as they are today. Due to circumstances, Radio Svoboda must change, and many of our loyal listeners are understandably upset by that. Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of inaccurate information circulating in Russia and in the U.S. about the future of Radio Svoboda. This needs to be cleared up. ... Some of our critics incorrectly claim that Radio Svoboda is withdrawing or retrenching in Russia. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are not decreasing the amount of money we are spending on Radio Svoboda. On the contrary, with our new approach we will be able to spend more of our budget directly on programming and cutting-edge equipment and technology." -- This op-ed is largely the same as Mr. Korn's remarks at the Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting on 11 October. See previous post.

The Moscow Times, 19 Oct 2012, Nikolaus von Twickel: "Radio Liberty is hiring dozens of staff to rebuild its operations in a modern multimedia format, a senior executive of the station's parent company Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said Friday. After moving to a new bureau in Moscow, Radio Liberty's staff is to number 40 to 50 people in both Moscow and Prague, Julia Ragona, Radio Free Europe's vice president of content, distribution and marketing, told The Moscow Times. That number is about half of the 'close to 90 people' that the station employed in both cities until September, when more than 40 journalists were laid off in Moscow, reducing the local bureau to a staff of just 10. Ragona said that the layoffs were necessary to build a 'single team' with different skills that would focus on turning Radio Liberty into a digital multimedia outlet under its new director, Masha Gessen. Hitherto the station consisted of two separate teams for radio and online content, she said. ... Ragona admitted that a small and 'dedicated' audience did use AM, but added that, especially in Moscow, the signal was so bad that it was 'very painful to listen to.' ... Radio Liberty ... explored taking on a Russian partner to circumvent the law, but a planned deal with Alexander Lebedev, who owns Novaya Gazeta and a number of Moscow radio stations, fell through because his licenses did not allow the content necessary for Radio Liberty, Ragona said."

I'm sure the conservative commentators cited above will join me in calling for any broadcasting entity to have a strong labor union, and collective bargaining rights for its employees. (Sound of crickets chirping.) BBC World Service is also eliminating positions, 73 in number, but for reasons that are much more obvious than the RFE/RL dismissals in Moscow. To be sure, the UK media unions NUJ and BECTU will be involved in the process, ameliorating the effects as much as possible. As BBCWS director Peter Horrocks stated in his memo to staff: "We have notified the NUJ and BECTU of these proposals and will consult both them and staff affected so that we can look for ways to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies where possible."

It is possible that the RFE/RL Russian developments will be mentioned in the presidential debate, focusing on foreign affairs, on 22 October.

See previous post about same subject.

China Radio International English and Urdu are now available on FM in Islamabad and Karachi "36 hours daily."

Posted: 20 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 17 Oct 2012: "China Radio International has recently launched a new channel, Dosti Channel FM-98 in Pakistan, broadcast in Urdu and English, along with Radio Pakistan. The new channel, launched in Islamabad and Karachi, is aimed at forging stronger cultural bonds between the two peoples. Senior Chinese leader Li Changchun, who just arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday afternoon, inaugurated the new channel."

Associated Press of Pakistan, 20 Oct 2012: "Director General China Radio International, Wang Gengnian said that CRI FM 98 Dosti channel’s inauguration is another evidence of strong bonding between the peoples of Pakistan and China. Talking to Radio Pakistan in an exclusive interview, Wang said that Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and CRI cooperation has strong foundation as Pak-China friendship history is very old. He said that they are encouraged by huge feedback from CRI Urdu listeners in Pakistan which proved that their efforts to enhance Pak-China friendship are very fruitful. He said that Dosti channel will further enhance Pak-China cooperation in all sectors and will play vital role in this regard."

Radio Pakistan, 17 Oct 2012: "The new Dosti channel will help increase people-to-people contact and forge cultural bonds at a popular level. This will add a new dimension to the existing cultural relations between Pakistan and China. Under an agreement with Radio Pakistan‚ CRI will broadcast Urdu and English programmes from this channel in Islamabad and Karachi for 36 hours daily. English programmes will be broadcast for 12 hours each from Karachi and Islamabad and Urdu programmes for six hours from both the stations." -- So, 18 hours a day, multiplied by two for Islamabad and Karachi, equals "36 hours daily."

Radio Pakistan, 18 Oct 2012: "Radio Pakistan and China Radio International have agreed to further consolidate their partnership for the mutual benefit of the two peoples. The agreement came during a meeting between a ten member Chinese delegation headed by Director General China Radio International Wang Gengnian and Director General Radio Pakistan Murtaza Solangi in Islamabad on Thursday. Director General CRI Wang Gengnian said there are great opportunities of cooperation between the two organizations particularly in content production and training programmes. He said launch of Dosti channel is an excellent example of cooperation between CRI and PBC. He said currently the contents of the channel are being produced in Beijing and in future we want to shift the production base in Pakistan to meet the information and entertainment requirements of the Pakistani people. Mr. Wang said since FM station is a city particular and we want to set up studios in Radio Pakistan to provide suitable contents to the Pakistani people. He said his organization will provide the latest equipment as well as the necessary funding for the establishment of these studios. He said local people will also be hired to work for CRI in preparation of programs keeping in view the interests of Pakistani people."

Euronews in the news includes live stream on Android and iOS devices in Belgium.

Posted: 20 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 19 Oct 2012: "Euronews has joined Belgacom’s TV Partout multiscreen service. Belgian viewers can watch the French version of the service live on Android and iOS tablets and smartphones. The English-language version will join the platform soon. Euronews has been part of Belgacom’s IPTV service since 2005. 'I am delighted that Euronews is pursuing its partnership with Belgacom on the new service, which corresponds to Euronews’ strategy: offering its content to as many people as possible, on adapted platforms so that viewers can reach Euronews where they want, when they want, and how they want,' said Arnaud Verhlac, deputy director, World distribution at Euronews." -- I just now realize that Euronews does not have a Dutch-language service. Is this because virtually everyone who speaks Dutch can also speak English?

Interfax, 14 Oct 2012: "Moscow Regional Election Commission Chairman Irek Vildanov has criticized the Euronews television channel's videos in support of Yevgenia Chirikova who runs for mayor in Khimki, but said the broadcast videos were formally legal. 'It was outrageous, in my opinion, although the videos cannot be challenged formally. Euronews' broadcasts are intended for the whole of Europe, not for Khimki. But if you advocate respect for law, why shouldn't you respect the laws of the country you are broadcasting to?' he told the media on Sunday."

See previous post about Euronews.

Newly-created position at AP: social media and user-generated content editor - international.

Posted: 20 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Associate Press press release, 15 Oct 2012: "The Associated Press has expanded its commitment to social media and user-generated content as global newsgathering resources, promoting Fergus Bell to the newly created position of social media and UGC editor -- international. ... 'Fergus established a network of sources in Syria we could depend on for material and helped set in place a multilayered verification process involving AP Television, the Middle East desk’s regional and linguistic experts and the Nerve Center.' With his international focus, Bell will remain based in London and report both to Fakahany and AP Television Head of Output Beth Colson while also working closely with overall Social Media Editor Eric Carvin in New York. 'I’m really excited to take on this new role and continue working to find new ways of telling stories through user-generated content, whether it be from difficult places we can’t get to or allowing us to always find that one person who was in the right place at just the right time,' Bell said. 'The AP is in a perfect position to really be able to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to user-generated content. I am excited to continue extending that reach internationally through social media and forming relationships with those who hold the keys to new technologies.'"

RFA and VOA accused of favoritism in "friendly meet" with Cambodian officials (updated).

Posted: 20 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 11 Oct 2012, Prak Chan Thul: "Cambodia has threatened legal action against two U.S.-funded radio stations, accusing them of favoring opposition parties and promoting U.S. foreign policy, sources said on Thursday. Representatives of Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) were called to a closed-door meeting on Wednesday. The government complained about their coverage of border demarcation issues with Vietnam and the October 1 jailing of a broadcaster and land rights campaigner for 'secessionism', two sources who attended the meeting told Reuters. The dressing-down comes amid criticism by rights groups of the government for leaning on the judiciary to silence the small number of critics in the country who dare to speak out. RFA and VOA broadcast locally in the Khmer language and are among the few radio stations in Cambodia considered free of government influence. One source said an official present at the meeting labeled the two broadcasters 'rebel and opposition radios'."

AFP, 11 Oct 2012: "Radio Free Asia has accused the Cambodian government of intimidation after officials summoned the station and fellow US-funded broadcaster Voice of America to discuss their 'professionalism'. 'The meeting was nothing more than a blatant attempt to discourage objective reporting on the government,' RFA said in a statement sent to AFP late on Wednesday following the meeting. 'The Cambodian government clearly does not understand the principles of a free press or the important role of independent media if it thinks it can intimidate RFA and dictate what we can or cannot report on.' ... VOA Khmer service chief Chris Decherd, who is based in the US, said its reporters would continue to provide news "in the same objective and professional manner" to the people of Cambodia. 'It is those citizens who are our audience. They deserve quality news that they can trust,' he said in a statement."

UPI, 11 Oct 2012: "Government officials insisted the meeting was friendly and that professionalism was discussed only in general terms. 'We didn't make any judgment, we just reminded them to look back at their own mission statement,' said Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan."

Radio Australia, 11 Oct 2012: "RFA is one of the few sources of independent news in Cambodia's mostly politically-aligned media. It broadcasts Khmer-language programs on Beehive Radio, along with Voice of America, while Radio Australia broadcasts in English and Khmer on 101.5FM in the major urban centres of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Earlier this month, Mam Sonando, the owner of Beehive Radio was sentenced to 20 years prison for inciting rebellion." With audio. See also Radio Australia, 12 Oct 2012, with audio.

The Phnom Penh Post, 11 Oct 2012, Abby Seiff and Chhay Channyda: "Spokesman for the Council of Ministers Phay Siphan said he was unable to address specifics of the meeting, but stressed that it was 'just a friendly meet'. ... Similar meetings will be held in the near future with other foreign government-funded radio stations, he said, over concerns that they 'don’t pay enough attention to our culture and law'. ... Sean McIntosh, a spokesman for the US Embassy who attended the meeting ... said: 'The embassy supports and promotes freedom of expression in Cambodia. With regards to funding VOA and RFA in Asia, that is our primary objective.'"

VOA News, 12 Oct 2012: "US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh disputed the accusations Friday, telling VOA Khmer that Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America are not in place to be 'anti-Cambodian.' 'U.S. funding of Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America is not anti-Cambodian and this is not to support the opposition,' said McIntosh. 'It is to support the provision of objective and newsworthy material to the Cambodian public.'"

Update: Reporters sans frontières, 17 Oct 2012: "Reporters Without Borders and Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) accuse the Cambodian government of trying to intimidate independent reporters when it invited journalists from US-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) to a closed-door meeting with cabinet officials about their 'professionalism.' The purpose of the meeting on 10 October was 'to strengthen the quality of professionalism' of their reporting, government spokesman Phay Siphan said, but- among many discussed points- it focussed on two issues on which the government has been widely criticized, the death of environmental activist and fixer Chut Wutty and the long jail term passed on radio journalist Mam Sonando. 'The professionalism of these journalists was criticized only because they covered the almost unanimous criticism of Mam Sonando’s sentence and the outrage voiced by many civil society representatives about the decision to abandon the investigation into Chut Wutty’s death,' Reporters Without Borders and CCIM said. 'We condemn all the threats against RFA and VOA and attempts to meddle in their activities since the start of the year. We also reiterate our outrage about Mam Sonando’s conviction and the decisions taken in the investigation into Chut Wutty’s death, two cases that are likely to have a major impact on media freedom.' Reporters Without Borders and CCIM added: 'We urge the government to radically change its attitude to the media, which has already impaired freedom of information in Cambodia.'"

Memories of shortwave radio listening, and the "bragging rights" of DXing, in the news.

Posted: 20 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, 15 Oct 2012, Vicky Broadus: "When Terry Layman was given his first radio more than 50 years ago, it opened the door to a world of tinkering with vacuum tubes and filter capacitors, and late-night tuning in to faraway places. 'We lived in Florida back in the ’50s and a relative gave me a Hallicrafters S-38B — shortwave. I must have been about 11. It was the first inspiration. I took it apart, trying to get an understanding of what made it tick, and I listened to foreign broadcasts.' ... On his Hallicrafters, Layman traveled as a boy to pre-revolutionary Havana, Moscow, London, wherever he could find on shortwave, 'and, of course, regular broadcasts in America on broadcast band. It was fun to listen to see how far you could pick up something.' ... 'It was fun to do what we call DXing, trying to find that little station in the middle of nowhere on the dial, late in the evening. DXing was "the art of radio listening."' And DXing could also give you bragging rights: 'Bet you can’t guess what station I found last night.'"

Yuma Sun, 13 Oct 2012, Darin Fenger: "It's funny when a gadget becomes so obsolete that it almost takes on a curious charm. While going through some boxes recently, I came across my old shortwave radio. I've had it since my high school days on the farm. What may seem outdated now seemed back then like a miracle, connecting with radio signals from all over the world. Sitting on my bed, I would listen to classical music out of London or weather reports beamed out of Hong Kong. Then there were the wonderfully odd-number stations, points on the dial where a woman's voice would repeat a long series of numbers. (People say they're used by spies in the field to receive coded messages.) But today, with the wonderful Internet, that old radio seems pretty frumpy. Or does it? Maybe I need to fire it up and hear what the spies have been up to lately." -- Weather reports from Hong Kong? Maybe a "VOLMET" station providing weather information to pilots.

Radio France International, The Sound Kitchen, 13 Oct 2012, Susan Owensby: "I asked you to write in and tell me where you were on the 21 July in 1969 at 2:56 universal time. What did it mean to you when Neil Armstrong left Apollo 11 and walked on the moon? ... Mr PV Ramana Rao – he’s the president of the DW Listeners Club in Hyderabad, India. He wrote: 'I was 28 years old on 21 July 1969 and was working as an office clerk for the Indian Railways here in Hyderabad. Even then I was a short wave listener and DX-er. I was really looking forward to listening to the live broadcast! There was heavy rain in Hyderabad the night before and on the 21st there was no electricity. But I am lucky - I had a National Panasonic Transistor Radio power supply, so all my neighbours came to my house, and we listened to the Voice of America, who broadcast the whole thing live. We were all very happy that Armstrong landed on the moon safely. My wife served hot tea and snacks and my neighbours distributed sweets to celebrate.'" With audio.

Southgate Amateur Radio News, 5 Oct 2012: "Amateur Radio operator Steve Handler, N9ABC has another radio related eBook that has been published and is available on Amazon.com. Entitled 'Clandestine and Opposition Shortwave Broadcast Guide' is available from Amazon.com (Kindle eBook). Published in late September 2012, it contains a detailed list of clandestine and opposition shortwave broadcasters listed by time (GMT). Included are frequencies, and for most of the listings, the target of the broadcaster, transmitter sites and other information. There are also several chapters with information about the operations of several of these broadcasters."

Reporter for RT (Russia Today) "may have been kidnapped" in Syria.

Posted: 20 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 13 Oct 2012: "A 40-year-old Ukrainian journalist collaborating with several Russian news outlets went missing in Syria. Colleagues and relatives believe she may have been kidnapped. ... Anhar Kochneva is a Ukrainian citizen, and lives in Moscow. Since the ongoing conflict in Syria began in 2011, she has collaborated with several Russian news outlets, including RT. She was an outspoken supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s government, and frequently criticized opposition forces, which may have been the reason for her possible kidnapping, Kochneva's employer, the Utro news outlet claimed."

Voice of Russia, 15 Oct 2012, Mamonov Roman: "On October 14, [Kochneva] sent a text message to her former husband. She wrote 'Hope everything will be OK soon. Don’t write me.' ... Anhar Kochneva is familiar to the Voice of Russia’s listeners. In February during her short visit to Moscow she was a guest in our studio. Then she harshly criticized the position of Western media accusing them of distorting the situation in Damascus and of conducting a media war."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 20 Oct 2012: "It has been two months since Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and his cameraman Cuneyt Unal were taken into custody in Syria. The Broadcasting Board of Governors calls for the immediate release of these two men, who were in Syria in a purely journalistic capacity. Since their August 20 abduction, Unal has appeared on Syrian television once and there has been no information regarding Fahmi."

Al Jazeera English, Listening Post, 13 Oct 2012: "The fighting in Syria is now mirrored on the airwaves, with the principles fighting to control the narrative. This is no longer a struggle between Syrian state TV and the pan-Arab news channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya that the Assad government has called hostile. The unrest has spawned an array of new news outlets that have waded into the fray, including nine satellite channels on the opposition side alone. There are also new pro-Assad channels being readied in Syria and then there are recently launched outlets like the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen which says it wants to counter the coverage on channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya."

Enex, news exchange of commercial broadcasters, expands to Latin America.

Posted: 19 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 12 Oct 2012, Robert Briel: "Enex, a provider of TV news in Europe, is expanding its activities to Latin America. At the annual general assembly on Thursday, the members agreed to the inclusion of new TV stations from Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala and Puerto Rico. 'We will continue on this path of globalisation and gain more member stations in Asia and Africa in the future,' announced MD, Henning Tewes. Enex stands for European News Exchange and organises the exchange of moving images with accompanying editorial information and transmission services for its members. The organisation currently has 30 full members, including the RTL Group, Sky News in Great Britain, CBS in the US and TBS in Japan. The newly incorporated TV stations are TV Caracol, Ecuavisa, TV Azteca Mexico, TV Azteca Guatemala, TVN Panama and WAPA. The company was founded in 1994. Enex’s members are commercial TV providers." See also enex.lu.

New yet-to-be-named ABC/Univision English-language news channel for US Hispanics will broadcast from Miami.

Posted: 19 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 10 Oct 2012, Zachary Fagenson: "A new TV network joint venture between ABC News and Univision News, targeting the young and fast-growing Hispanic market in the United States, will begin broadcasting out of Miami in late summer of 2013, company officials announced on Wednesday. The two companies are investing $275 million in the new English-language news and lifestyle network, which will create about 350 jobs, Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks, told a luncheon of Miami business leaders also attended by Florida Governor Rick Scott. ... In the lead-up to the launch, the two companies explored locations in New York, Houston and Los Angeles, before opting to put the new network's production facilities in Miami, where Univision already has its headquarters. The companies each own 50 percent of the venture and will share operating costs. ... The new yet-to-be-named joint venture network will target a wealthier audience of 'acculturated' Hispanics who are comfortable with the English language, while remaining deeply rooted in their own culture. Editorial coverage will focus on a broad range of topics including the economy, entertainment, music, food, immigration, education, politics, and health, the company said." See previous post about same subject.

BBC reports satellite interference to its world services. Update: Originates in Syria, VOA and DW also affected.

Posted: 19 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 18 Oct 2012: "The BBC, together with a number of other broadcasters, is experiencing deliberate, intermittent interference to its transmissions to audiences in Europe and the Middle East. Impacted services include the BBC World News and BBC Arabic television channels and BBC World Service radio services in English and Arabic. Deliberate interference such as the jamming of transmissions is a blatant violation of international regulations concerning the use of satellites and we strongly condemn any practice designed to disrupt audiences’ free access to news and information."

Reuters, 18 Oct 2012, Guy Faulconbridge: "The BBC said on Thursday that broadcasts had been disrupted in the Middle East and Europe, just weeks after its satellite transmission provider accused Iran of trying to jam U.S. and European programmes. Britain's public broadcaster did not say who was interfering with the signal, but the company which transmits some of its programmes, Paris-based Eutelsat (ETL.PA), said on October 4 that Iran had been deliberately jamming satellite signals. ... A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to say who could be responsible for the disruption. A spokeswoman for Eutelsat could not be reached for comment."

Update: VOA News, 19 Oct 2012: "A satellite provider for Voice of America and the BBC says broadcasts in the Middle East and Europe were deliberately jammed this week by interfering signals coming from Syria. Many programs have been impacted, including some of VOA's foreign-language services and BBC television and radio services in English and Arabic. The French-based satellite provider Eutelsat told VOA the disruptive interference emanated from Syria. Vanessa O’Connor, a spokeswoman for Eutelsat, said 'deliberate ... intermittent' satellite jamming of several international broadcasters has been detected since the beginning of this week. She said Eutelsat used 'localization technology' to confirm that the source of the signal jamming was in Syria."

Deutsche Welle, 19 Oct 2012, Juliane Olbricht: "Western radio and television broadcasts to parts of the Middle East have apparently been cut off because of a targeted jamming attack. In addition to programming by Deutsche Welle, the BBC and Voice of America have also been affected. European satellite operator Eutelsat said earlier this week that the 'deliberate and intermittent interference' originated in Syria. Deutsche Welle programming was last interrupted on Thursday morning (18.10.2012). DW Director General Erik Bettermann protested against the renewed attack on freedom of expression. In cooperation with other foreign broadcasters, the Deutsche Welle was preparing a resolution against the jamming, Bettermann said. Experts suspected that Iran was behind the current interruptions. According to media reports, the country has jammed reception of a variety of broadcasters in recent years. The most recent episode, experts said, could be connected to a Eutelsat decision to stop carrying 19 Iranian channels. The satellite operator on Monday stopped broadcasting television and radio stations operated by Iran's state media organization, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)."

Deutsche Welle, 19 Oct 2012: "DW is blaming Iran for the disruption. Following another jamming incident on Thursday morning, DW director-general Erik Bettermann accused Iran of repeated efforts to jam satellite broadcasts from reaching an Iranian audience and said DW was joining forces with the other broadcasters to issue a protest resolution."

See previous posts about jamming on 18 Oct and 5 Oct 2012.

BBC World Service will lose 73 posts in final phase of savings plan. "World Briefing" and "The Strand" will end.

Posted: 18 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Ariel, 18 Oct 2012: "World Service languages is to lose a further 44 posts and World Service English 25 in the third and final phase of the World Service savings plan. In English, weekday news output will be cut by four hours, weekly documentary strands cut from four to three and arts show The Strand will close. BBC Afghan, Burmese, Bengali and French for Africa will have fewer staff, while BBC Swahili and BBC Somali will have some production moved abroad. Peter Horrocks, director of Global News, revealed the plans to staff on Thursday as he targets £12m savings in 2013/14. ... Key changes to come at WS English include a reduction in weekday news output from 18 to 14 hours and a new programme The Newsroom to replace World Briefing. ... Changes to the distribution of shortwave and medium wave will be announced soon."

In an e-mail to staff, Liliane Landor, BBCWS controller for languages wrote: "The choices we are making are strategic, and dictated by the budget we have. We will reinvest some resources into output as we continue to adapt to changes in news consumption. The process is painful and impacts on each and every one of us. But if we don’t continue to change to meet the evolving needs of our audiences we will not stand a chance of keeping the World Service alive."

BBC News, 18 Oct 2012: "The BBC World Service is to lose a further 73 jobs as part of the latest round of cutbacks to save £42m by 2013. ... The BBC said audiences would continue to 'receive the best programming' with 'fewer regional variations'. ... The number of specialist announcers on the World Service English language service will shrink and a new management team will work across distribution, channel management and commissioning. The BBC said a 'significant saving' in changes to arts scheduling will ensure that arts coverage 'maintains prominence and relevance on the World Service'. An extended Outlook will now cover arts and music, with daily 10 minute section looking at the people behind the world of music, entertainment, film and the performance arts."

The Guardian, 18 Oct 2012, John Plunkett and Josh Halliday: "The number of documentaries will also shrink, from four weekly strands to three, with Your World axed, and Evan Davis's The Bottom Line no longer aired on the World Service. None of the 27 foreign-language services will be dropped in the latest round of cutbacks, saving about £12m, which will come into effect by April next year. Some £30m of cost savings have already been made."

National Union of Journalists, 18 Oct 2012: "Following the announcement on Thursday 18 October that the BBC plan to cut another 73 jobs from the World Service, the NUJ has urged George Entwistle not to make the same mistakes as his predecessor. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: 'These job cuts fly in the face of the new director general's commitment to sustaining quality programming at the BBC. The World Service is prized around the world – slashing journalistic jobs and cutting programmes is a terrible assault on a much-loved institution that provides a lifeline to listeners around the world. Instead of pressing on with these cuts, George Entwistle should be taking the opportunity to rethink the approach of his predecessor, and seize the chance to push for a renegotiation of the licence fee settlement.'"

New Statesman produces one week's magazine in Mandarin, in pdf format, widely uploaded to file-sharing sites.

Posted: 18 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
New Statesman, 18 Oct 2012, "China has tried to obliterate the existence of Ai Weiwei from the internet: search for his name there, and you'll find nothing. His blog has been shut down, his passport was confiscated, and his communication with the outside world from his studio near Beijing is monitored. ... So the New Statesman decided to do what it could to help. This week, we have produced the magazine in Mandarin, in PDF format, which we are uploading to file-sharing sites [links]. Internet-savvy people in China have learned how to get round the censors using private networks and encryption, and they will be able to access the digital version of the NS - and give it to their friends. What will they find inside? A story very different to the one they are told by the state-controlled press."

Deutsche Welle discusses collaborations with Asian broadcasters, and reports on "outdated" SMS.

Posted: 18 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 18 Oct 2012: "DW Director General Erik Bettermann presented DW's new program structure and agreed to strengthening partnerships with Asian broadcasters at the 49th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. ... ABU and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a non-profit German political foundation, co-organized the event. ... Radical technological changes brought about by the Internet, mobile devices and media convergence make it essential for the media to continuously adapt itself, Bettermann added in his speech titled 'Beyond broadcasting: Public service broadcasters and the digital tomorrow.' ... At the sidelines of the general assembly, Bettermann held numerous meetings with directors of broadcasters from Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh regarding future collaborations. Representatives of South Korea's KBS and DW's director general reached a content sharing agreement and made plans to jointly host an event relating to the media's role in the political landscape."

Deutsche Welle, 12 Oct 2012, Chiponda Chimbelu: "The telecommunications industry is losing billions to competition from social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber, a report says. The industry knows it's time to fight back. On a recent trip abroad, I had barely spent an hour in the country before purchasing a SIM card with mobile broadband. When the carrier's salesman asked whether I wanted more voice time or text messages, I quickly told him that all I wanted was broadband Internet - paying more for those services sounded like a rip-off if I could use social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype for free messaging and calling while also being able to surf the Net. It turns out that a growing number of smartphone users are choosing to use social media and social messaging apps over traditional communication lines like SMS. As a result, the telecoms consultancy firm Ovum estimates that mobile operators will have lost $23 billion (17.7 billion euros) in revenue by the end of this year. 'SMS as a technology is clearly outdated because you can only send one message to one person and that's it,' Ovum analyst Neha Dharia told DW."

Bizcommunity.com, 10 Oct 2012, Masahudu Kunateh: "Subscribers of MTN Ghana can now learn while on the go with international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle's 'Learning by Ear'. The innovative program is now on the MTN Radio (mRadio) platform and available for just 1 Pesewa per minute by dialing 1303. The mobile operator teamed up with Deutsche Welle (DW) to provide subscribers with an easy way to learn about important topics shaping Africa. DW's series 'Learning by Ear' is available on-demand for MTN subscribers through the mRadio platform - giving customers a new means of accessing news, analysis and education."

Associated Press of Pakistan, 8 Oct 2012: "The Deutsche Welle Akademie has officially opened its doors to welcome their fourth consecutive batch of 29 promising media professionals from 23 countries, including two from Pakistan, selected to pursue their two-year master’s degree programme in International Media Studies (IMS).This programme is offered by the Deutsche Welle Akademie in collaboration with the University of Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences."

Eutelsat takes 19 Iranian channels off satellite after ruling by French media regulator.

Posted: 18 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Space News, 15 Oct 2012, Peter B. de Selding: "Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on Oct. 15 said it has stopped carrying channels from Iran’s state broadcaster following sanctions on Iran imposed by the European Union and a judgment from the French government broadcast regulator. In a statement, Paris-based Eutelsat said it and Arqiva, a satellite services provider, agreed to stop transmissions from Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellites of channels from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Eutelsat said it ceased the transmissions Oct. 15 from the Hot Bird transponder being used for the programming after informing IRIB that its contract had been terminated. Eutelsat said the French broadcast authority, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, had confirmed that the Sahar 1 channel 'should be permanently switched off' from Eutelsat satellites. 'As a French company, Eutelsat is bound to comply with instructions from the French broadcasting authority,' Eutelsat said. The 27-nation European Union earlier this year placed IRIB’s chief executive on the list of 'sanctioned persons' after finding that IRIB violated human rights in its broadcasts." See also Eutelsat press release, 15 Oct 2012.

Advanced Television, 16 Oct 2012, Chris Forrester: "19 TV and radio channels are affected, mostly transmitting from Eutelsat’s popular ‘Hotbird’ satellites. French media regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) started the ball rolling and confirmed that the Iranian channels violated human rights in its transmissions."

The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Oct 2012, Scott Roxborough: "The move by Eutelsat comes a little over a week after Iran reportedly escalated its electronic jamming of Eutelsat satellites aimed at blocking the broadcast of popular local-language Western news channels, such as BBC Persian and Voice of America's Persian service. Eutelsat has been calling for regulatory action to stop what it claims is government-backed jamming of its signals by Tehran since 2009."

Wall Street Journal, 15 Oct 2012, Farnaz Fassihi and Paul Sonne: "In a 14-page confidential report viewed by the Journal, IRIB's research and policy center issued orders to news and talk shows to show President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government in a favorable light and to make Iran appear to have the upper hand in nuclear talks with the West. The Islamic Republic openly uses its state media, particularly television and radio, to spread its message and propaganda both domestically and internationally, say human-rights groups."

Commentary, 15 Oct 2012, Ben Cohen: "As welcome as this development is, it begs the question of why the European Union took so long to reach its decision. Reuters hazards a guess: 'The EU has lagged the United States in imposing blanket industry bans because it is concerned not to punish ordinary Iranian citizens while inflicting pain on the Tehran government.' ... But even if we concede that the EU’s concern about sanctions punishing ordinary Iranians is legitimate, how is that possibly a factor in determining whether the official broadcaster of an enemy state should be allowed to reach European citizens?"

Jerusalem Post, 16 Oct 2012, Benjamin Weinthal: "Critics have long argued that Iran’s state-run Press TV and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (Irib) are plagued by hatred of the West and contain anti-Semitic broadcasts denigrating Israel, Jews and Zionism. After the Eutelsat severs service with the Iranian media outlets, viewers can still see the English-language news service, Press TV, and Arabic-language Al-Alam on the Internet."

AFP, 17 Oct 2012: "Iran on Tuesday slammed a decision by France's Eutelsat and Arqiva of Britain to stop broadcasting Iranian state television channels as 'without legal justification.' 'The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has contracts going back 20 years with Eutelsat, which were renewed for five- or 10-year periods,' IRIB vice president Mohammed Sarafraz was cited by state television as saying. 'The contract was still valid, and the decision to stop broadcasting 19 Iranian channels is political.'

Press TV, 18 Oct 2012: "The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has criticized the ban on Iranian TV and radio stations as 'cultural terrorism.' Ezzatollah Zarghami made the remarks at the 49th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in the South Korean capital Seoul on Wednesday, Mehr news agency reported."

Jerusalem Post, 16 Oct 2012: "Iranian news channel Press TV hit back at Europe’s top satellite service Eutelsat on Tuesday for barring 19 Iranian state-controlled television and radio channels from broadcasting in Europe, blaming Zionist conspiracy and a 'Mossad thug' for the move."

RT (Russia Today), 17 Oct 2012, interview with Chris Bamberry: "I think you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to think that by banning Iranian media, 19 TV and radio stations from access to Europe, it does look like you further step to the military intervention against Iran, given it happens on the same day that the EU imposes further sanctions on Iran, and against a background of a continuing military buildup by America with its British and French allies in the Persian Gulf."

Press TV, 17 Oct 2012, interview with Griffin Tarpley: "Well, I think that that is a pretext and I think that the alarming thing about what the European commission has done is that this may be a pre-war move."

Press TV, 17 Oct 2012, interview with Eugene Dabbous: "Interestingly enough, I think this is actually going to be a positive development for Press TV and Iranian television because the discussion about it will make people aware. Once you ban something, interest increases. I would hope that you will see a significant increase in your viewership online through the internet. People are going to say, Oh! Press TV! I have not heard of that or I have not paid attention; there must be a reason why the Europeans are blocking it."

Press TV, 18 Oct 2012: "Following the European satellite provider Eutelsat SA’s illegal move to stop the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels, Press TV launches an online petition to save Iran’s English-language broadcaster across Europe. In a flagrant violation of freedom of speech, the company on Monday stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels, including Press TV, al-Alam, Jam-e-Jam 1 and 2, Sahar 1 and 2, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Quran TV, and the Arabic-language al-Kawthar following an order by the European Commission."

New York Times, 17 Oct 2012, Thomas Erdbrink: "A spokesman for Eutelsat said that following orders by French authorities in the past, certain individual channels had faced similar measures, but it is the first time that all state television and radio channels of a country had been stopped."

Palestine Chronicle, 18 Oct 2012, Ismail Salami: "Needless to say, this is an egregious instance of the violation of human rights which the West moralizes about so vehemently."

The Daily Star (Beirut), 18 Oct 2012, citing AFP: "Hezbollah’s media office voiced total solidarity with the targeted channels and urged Eutelsat to rescind its 'arbitrary' decision."

Advanced Television, 18 Oct 2012, Chris Forrester: "Luxembourg-headquartered Intelsat continues to carry Iran’s TV channels, seemingly in direct violation of EU rules. Eutelsat took 19 Iranian TV and radio channels down earlier this week. Intelsat’s director of corporate communications, Alex Horwitz, told BBC Monitoring that Intelsat’s situation vis a vis Iranian broadcasts was different to that of Eutelsat. 'Intelsat adheres strictly to the US sanctions requirements with respect to the services it provides in Iran,' Horwitz said in a statement. 'Intelsat Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary) holds an OFAC license to provide satellite capacity and managed services to certain named customers in Iran. Our historical obligations to serve Iran are related to our former status as an intergovernmental organisation,' Horwitz said."

Is jamming of international broadcasts illegal? Is it a health hazard? Do "hi-tech anti-jamming" systems work?

Posted: 18 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Albawaba, 7 Oct 2012: Bahrain's "Information Affairs Authority President Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa reported on September 20 more than 67 cases of [Iranian] jamming targeting the Information Affairs Authority bouquet channels over ten days. The IAA announced that it had successfully tested a new hi-tech anti-jamming system to ensure its bouquet of TV channels broadcast without interruption. The new system has been tested over two days and proved efficient, ensuring programmes are broadcast uninterrupted, especially during 'peak jamming time,' said Shaikh Fawaz said." See previous post about the resumption of Iranian satellite jamming of BBC Persian, VOA Persian, and Radio Farda.

Nextgov, 5 Oct 2012, Bob Brewin: "No word if Big Bird has been hit by the jamming."

Radio Zamaneh, 9 Oct 2012: "The Iranian Health Ministry has announced it is setting up a committee to monitor the effects of satellite waves on human health. Hamid Hosseiny, the head of the ministry, told ISNA on Tuesday that Health Minister Marzieh Dastjerdi had issued an order to establish a committee to research and examine the impact of satellite waves on human health, and it was already being acted upon. Earlier, Health Minister Dastjerdi had said that available research shows no evidence that waves used for jamming satellite signals have any effect on human health. However, the head of Sarem Cell Research announced last month that a rise in miscarriages and pregnancies outside the womb may be connected to the rise in satellite jamming and electromagnetic waves. The health ministry has so far rejected the statements, saying they are not backed by adequate research findings."

TVTechnology, 5 Oct 2012: "The practice of deliberate interference with broadcast signals, or 'jamming,' is prohibited under the rules of the International Telecommunications Union. [The] recent interference by Iran began on Oct. 3, and affected both video and audio signals of the Voice of America’s Persian Service and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda, according to the BBG."

Foreign Policy, The Multilateralist blog, 5 Oct 2012, David Bosco: "The state of international law on when states may jam radio broadcasts is, as always, open to some debate. As Jamie Metzl demonstrated in [a] 1997 article, the United States and the Soviet Union clashed regularly on the issue of whether states possess a sovereign right to jam radio broadcasts they deem dangerous. For the most part, the United States maintained an absolutist position against jamming. In the mid-1990s, the question arose often in the context of anti-genocide efforts. Extremist elements in Rwanda used radio to devastating effect in 1994, and a number of activists and scholars called for adjustments to the rules so that broadcasts inciting atrocities could be blocked. ... 'New and revised interpretations of these documents might then recognize a legal basis for new standards regarding the right to employ offensive radio jamming in extreme cases, particularly those of incitement to mass human rights abuses and genocide.' The problem, of course, is that every state has its own definition of 'extreme circumstances.'"

Amnesty International statement on Iranian arrested after giving interviews to BBC and VOA Persian.

Posted: 18 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Amnesty International, 11 Oct 2012: "Iran must release Majid Sedeghi, who was arrested this morning shortly before his brother Saeed Sedeghi had been expected to be executed in Tehran’s Evin Prison, unless he is to be charged with an internationally recognizable offence, Amnesty International said. Majid Sedeghi was arrested at his home by two plain-clothed security officers in the early hours of Thursday, a day after giving interviews to BBC Persian – the BBC's Persian language news service - and Voice of America about his brother Saeed Sedeghi, a shop worker who was sentenced to death for drug-trafficking in June after an unfair trial. He has so far not been able to contact his family, who were not told the reasons for his arrest, nor where he was taken. 'If Majid Sedeghi is being held solely for peacefully advocating on behalf of his brother – as he is entitled to do under international law - by giving interviews about Saeed Sedeghi's case, then he should be released immediately and unconditionally,' said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International." See also Amnesty International UK, 15 Oct 2012.

Australia Network: Award for correspondent, partnership deal with Shanghai Media Group.

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Pacific.Scoop, 12 Oct 2012, onpassing ABC press release: "The ABC congratulates Australia Network’s Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney, who received the Australian Council for International Development’s inaugural ACFID Media Award last night for his lifetime commitment to reporting on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. Sean Dorney is one of the ABC’s most respected and experienced correspondents and the award recognises his journalistic contribution to coverage of the Pacific region. For the past 38 years, Sean’s work has involved covering news and events in the Pacific. He spent 20 years living in Papua New Guinea, 17 of those as the ABC’s PNG Correspondent. Dorney returned to Australia in 1999 to become the ABC’s Pacific Correspondent based in Brisbane, reporting for ABC News, Australia Network and Radio Australia. ... Sean has covered seven PNG elections, the most recent one this year. As he said at the time, 'No matter how much time you spend in Papua New Guinea you can still be baffled by the next development'." See also ACFID press release, 11 Oct 2012.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation press release, 27 Sept 2012: "Australia Network, Australia’s international television channel which broadcasts into 46 countries across Asia, the Pacific and Indian subcontinent, will showcase China during the first week of October with a slate of programmes produced by the Network’s China partner, the Shanghai Media Group. The Shanghai Media Group (SMG) is China’s second largest media company and broadcasts 13 television channels, owns several radio stations and newspaper and magazine publications, and owns and manages cultural centres in Shanghai. The showcase of China programmes on Australia Network will be broadcast under the banner of Window on China and will include documentaries, lifestyle programmes, and profiles of Australians successfully living and working in China. Bruce Dover, Chief Executive of Australia Network said, 'Australia Network and the Shanghai Media Group signed an international television co-operation agreement several years ago and since then the two broadcasters have enjoyed an active and mutually beneficial partnership. Through television programme broadcast exchanges such as Window on China and Australia TV Week which was broadcast in China earlier this year, we hope to promote improved understanding of each other’s culture and values while promoting opportunities to trade, travel, invest or study in our respective nations. This relationship is key to promoting Australia as a dynamic and culturally diverse nation and raising international awareness of Australia’s strength and achievements with our most important trading partner – China.' Dover said." -- "Promoting Australia" is a worthy endeavor, but not for a broadcast news organization. Australian international broadcasting, in the form of a converged Radio Australia and Australia Network, must decide if it intends to be journalism or infomercial. There is no sitting on the fence regarding this question.

"France 24 must perform everywhere in the world on every network and on every device."

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 11 Oct 2012: "Despite launching less than six years ago it has already expanded its reach to 255 million households worldwide, with an audience reach of 45 million viewers per week. The broadcaster, which offers three language channels, in French, English and Arabic, recorded a 52% year-on-year audience growth last year, and according to Eric Cremer, vice-president of distribution at France 24, it is aiming to maintain this momentum. 'I could mention specific countries where France 24’s penetration rate remains average, or specific objectives like developing pay TV revenues in some territories but as a global news platform broadcasting in three languages, France 24 must perform everywhere in the world on every network and on every device.' The decision to extend the France 24 service to two additional languages alongside its native French channel means the channel can remain relevant to a wide number of people globally. While the three language feeds are actually three distinct news channels made by native-speaking journalists, Cremer points out they share many common elements including reports and editorial policy, which to keeps them within the France 24 brand. The channels focus on international news rather than domestic stories, with journalists coming from over 40 countries. 'This contributes to the creation of a very open state of mind within the channel’s team,' Cremer adds. The number of international news providers is growing, and Cremer says it can be difficult to stand out. 'It’s not easy to convince people how France 24 is unique and different from other news channels with words. We can only encourage operators and consumers to watch it, test it and compare it.'" Also discussion of Fox International Channels and Discovery Networks International.

Rapid TV News, 8 Oct 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Former TV5Monde MD, Marie-Christine Saragosse has been officially appointed president of AEF, which controls France 24, RFI and its Arabic subsidiary MCD as well as part of TV5Monde."

Prime Minister Harper announces "further support" from Canada for TV5Monde.

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Prime Minister of Canada press release, 13 Oct 2012: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced further support for 2013 for TV5MONDE, the world’s leading francophone television network. He made the announcement on the margins of the 14th Summit of la Francophonie in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 'As Canada’s founding language, French is an integral part of our history, our identity and our daily lives,' said the Prime Minister. 'Our continued support to TV5MONDE is further proof of our commitment to promoting the French language and the rich and diverse culture of the Francophonie both at home and abroad.' Canada’s support for 2013 will assist TV5MONDE in expanding its distribution network and implementing its transition to High Definition, which will help the network to remain competitive and enable Francophone artists and the audio-visual industry of Canada to continue sharing their talent and creativity with the world. TV5, which encompasses TV5MONDE and TV5 Québec Canada, is a global television network that broadcasts several signals of French language programming, reaching more than 220 million homes – including almost 7 million in Canada – in nearly 200 countries and territories globally. Established more than 25 years ago, TV5 constitutes a partnership among five governments of the Francophonie: Canada, the Province of Quebec, France, Switzerland, and the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. TV5 Québec Canada, based in Montreal, manages the TV5 signal for Canada, while TV5MONDE, based in Paris, manages the signals covering Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the United States, Latin America, and the Middle East. In addition to funding announced today, the Government of Canada has invested approximately $70 million in TV5 Québec Canada and TV5MONDE since 2006."

Monsters & Critics, 8 Oct 2012, April MacIntyre: "TV5MONDE USA will be broadcasting the third debate of the 2012 Presidential Election in French on October 22, 2012 at 9:30PM ET/6:30PM PT. ... Additionally, TV5MONDE's news partner American Night (Nuit Américaine) will be covering the USA Elections (Elections Am?ricaines) on November 6, 2012 from 5PM ET/2PM PT to 9PM ET/6PM PT."

Winners of Radio Australia and Radio France International song contests are from Cook Islands and Namibia, respectively.

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Australia, 11 Oct 2012: "Cook Islander Jaik Berg is this year’s winner of Radio Australia’s Pacific Break competition with his standout song ‘My Oh My’. Competition was fierce with over 100 diverse and exciting entries from all across the Pacific. However, it was ultimately Jaik Berg’s soulful voice, catchy tune and laidback vibe won the judge’s unified agreement as the year’s best song. Other highly-rated entries included Vanuatu’s Benny & the Gang with their island reggae song 'Political System', the socially aware hip hop track 'Never Give Up' by Bwenaman from Kiribati and Fiji’s Jordeena Punja with her soulful ballad 'Insecurities'." With audio of the winning entries. See also Radio Australia Pacific Break web page.

Informanté (Winhhoek), 3 Oct 2012, Rinelda Mouton: "Elemotho Gaalelekwe has won the RFI France 24 Discoveries Awards 2012. The Namibian came out tops from 500 entries. ... The finalists from Africa were Elemotho (Namibia), Maryse Ngalula (DRC), Spyrow (Cote d’Ivoire), Denis Larose (Mauritius), GT the Guitarman (Nigeria), Tafeifa (Senegal), Nasser (Mauritania) and Trio Teriba (Benin). In partnership with the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), Société Française des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM), and Institut Français, Radio France Internationale (RFI) hosted the 2012 edition of the international RFI Discoveries Award competition for musically talented youths. Started in 1981, the competition aims to promote the career development of artists and professional bands in Africa and on Indian and Caribbean islands. The winner gets prize money of €10 000, extensive publicity, a concert in Paris and a tour in Africa." See also Prix Découvertes RFI page, with links to audio.

BBC Worldwide's expanded partnership with YouTube "will distribute the best British content around the world."

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 8 Oct 2012: "BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC today announced an exciting new phase of its partnership with YouTube spearheaded by the upcoming launch of two brand new original content channels. Coming soon to YouTube will be a new nature channel, showcasing a feast of new films created by the commercially funded BBC Earth Productions, based in Bristol, the home of the BBC's Natural History Unit. Another topical science channel, produced in partnership with 360 Productions, will launch in early 2013 with James May and his crack team of scientists. Both channels reacting to what’s being watched, shared and talked about on YouTube. Daniel Heaf, EVP & Managing Director Digital at BBC Worldwide says: 'BBC Worldwide is very excited about expanding our successful relationship with YouTube. Not only is it a place to distribute the best British content around the world it will, through our original content, be a place where we can experiment with new forms of creativity. ...' In addition, BBC Worldwide will be launching a selection of long-form programming in the UK and Canada for the first time, including the first ever episodes of EastEnders, classic comedy The Likely Lads, a selection from the BBC’s Shakespeare Collection and The Trials of Life and other dramas such as Campion and The Onedin Line."

Cross-cultural understanding would not be the strong suit of proposed "Voice and Video of America."

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Arutz Sheva, 9 Oct 2012, Paul Eidelberg: "[I]f America relegates Obama to the political wilderness, the U.S. should go on the ideological offensive against Islam as it did when it inaugurated the Voice of America (VOA) and beamed its radio programs into Russia and the communist-dominated states of Eastern Europe. ... With the ascendancy of Internet, the United States should broadcast, on land and on sea, a Voice of America and its video counterpart to the Islamic world. The 'Voice and Video of America' should expose the backwardness and cruelties conspicuous throughout the Islamic world. ... The 'Voice and Video of America' should point out that the despotic character of every Islamic state violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Al Jazeera English: "Most active new platform space we are engaged with at the moment is connected/Smart TV."

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
IP&TV News, 9 Oct 2012, Jamie Beach: "Taahir Hoorzook, Head of New Platform Development at Al Jazeera English, on the impact of Smart TV in the MENA region, the role that social media has on news reporting, and how broadcasters and TV operators can capitalise on these trends. Q: What new platform initiatives have you have been involved in recently? Hoorzook: The most active new platform space we are engaged with at the moment is connected/Smart TV. This platform brings video content back to its traditional home of the television. Other spaces that we have been playing with are the companion screen to the big screen."

journalism.co.uk, 4 Oct 2012, Sarah Marshall: "Al Jazeera English ... hosted a Reddit discussion around the first of the presidential debates."

Gulf Times, 15 Oct 2012: "Al Jazeera English has unveiled a new format for Sir David Frost’s high-profile interviews on the channel. The veteran interviewer has been with the channel since its launch in 2006, interviewing a host of politicians and celebrities in a weekly magazine format, Frost Over The World. The new format, ‘The Frost Interview’, takes Sir David back to his roots as an interviewer of extraordinary depth and intimacy. Each one-hour episode will be devoted to a single world-leading personality in the arts, science, politics or business, opening up his or her life to Sir David."

University of Rhode Island News Bureau, 8 Oct 2012: "Mark Scialla [is] an aspiring foreign correspondent, thanks to an internship last summer in Washington with Al Jazeera, the international news network that covers the Middle East and the world. ... Scialla says his experience working for the English version changed his life. Not only did he learn how to whip up a television news story, he got experience that should make him a standout in a job search.... The wave of protests and demonstrations throughout the Arab world in 2010 fascinated him, and he scoured news sites for information. Al Jazeera English, he says, was clearly the best. ... He set his mind on getting an internship in the network’s Washington bureau."

LJWorld.com, 8 Oct 2012, Matt Erickson: "Al Jazeera English published quite the lengthy feature on [Kansas Univerity] and Lawrence on Saturday, apparently as part of a reporter's 'Red State Road Trip.' The story winds through a number of topics, including efforts by KU's Muslim Student Association to increase awareness of Islam on campus following the notoriety gained by the anti-Islam film associated with last month's U.S. Consulate attack in Libya; a section featuring KU professor Donald Haider-Markel, chairman of the political science department, and another featuring a 'goateed activist' at a vegetarian potluck; and some analysis of the religious and political climate in Lawrence that won't be particularly earth-shattering to folks who live here."

Wall Street Journal, 9 Oct 2012, Lauren Thompson: "[W]hen the White House pushed YouTube to censor a movie 'offensive' to Muslims, YouTube made it unavailable for viewing in Islamic countries. ... Meanwhile YouTube does little to police jihadist videos, which often are given a veneer of journalistic respectability by having been broadcast by the anti-American and anti-Israel Al Jazeera network. Al-Jazeera serves as more or less a propaganda outlet for jihad, broadcasting footage of killed and captured American soldiers, ignoring Palestinian terrorism and coloring reports to enflame Muslim opinion against the West. The network has regularly failed to assist the U.S. government in tracing video sources provided to the channel by al-Qaeda operatives. (None of that, by the way, matters to liberal American journalists, who've advocated wider U.S. cable distribution for Al Jazeera English.)"

New life for feature phones: BBCWS apps for Nokia Series 40 devices ensure access to emerging markets.

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 17 Oct 2012, Matt Brian: "Concentrating on expanding its World Service news content to more people across the globe, the BBC has launched a series of new apps tailored for Nokia’s Series 40 devices, allowing mobile owners to receive news updates in 11 different languages. The new apps extend the BBC’s existing websites, delivering content on Nokia’s older devices but also its new Asha range, devices that make up part of its 'next billion' strategy. The BBC World Service apps will feature content from the following BBC websites: BBC Arabic, BBC Brasil (in Portuguese), BBC Chinese, BBC Hindi, BBC Indonesia, BBC Mundo (in Spanish), BBC Russian, BBC Turkce, BBC Ukrainian, BBC Urdu and BBC Vietnamese. Users of the Chinese, Indonesian and Arabic apps will receive news content but will also be able to listen to radio bulletins. It’s a big move for the BBC, particularly as Nokia has sold more than 675 million Series 40 handsets to date. While the company’s smartphone sales dwindle, its feature phone business has continued to prop up its balance sheet. The focus on Series 40 devices ensures that the BBC can deliver content to people in emerging markets, keeping them aware of what is happening in the world around them."

Design firm unveils "the future of news" at VOA, with "a widget for everything."

Posted: 17 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Innovation Series, 11 Oct 2012, April Deibert and Steve Fuchs: "New York media design firm Theo and Sebastian has unveiled a detailed design draft of a responsive/adaptive VOA Pangea site. The new look is a culmination of efforts to design the future of news and represents a 16-month effort spearheaded by ODDI [BBG Office of Digital & Design Innovation] Creative Services–in collaboration with VOA and RFE/RL. ... - as a range of scalable modules for all VOA Services’ content needs (there is a widget for everything) and pays special attention to 'TV-First' and 'Radio-First' language services."

UAE-based satellite platform Yahlive adds RT English and Arabic and Cartoon Network Arabic.

Posted: 16 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Yahlive press release, 3 Oct 2012: "Two renowned international news channels, RT's Rusiya Al-Yaum and Russia Today have joined the exclusive High Definition (HD) television bouquet offered by YahLive, the UAE-based direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television service provider. The addition of Rusiya Al-Yaum and Russia Today channels, broadcasting in Arabic and English respectively, means that YahLive with over 40 HD channels is continuing to build the HD Hotspot for the Middle East and North Africa at 52.5 degrees East. ... Rusiya Al-Yaum, Russia's first Arabic news channel, has a rolling 24-hour schedule of political, economic, cultural and sports stories supplemented with movies, documentaries and feature broadcasts. Mohamed Youssif, YahLive's CEO, said, 'The addition of these two acclaimed channels further strengthens the position of YahLive as the hotspot for High Definition television in the region. We're selecting channel partners based on the quality of their programming and the multi-cultural mix of our audience across the region. For example, Russia Today is the second most-watched foreign news channel in the United States.' ... YahLive is a joint venture company with Yahsat, the United Arab Emirates-based satellite communications company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, and the global satellite operator SES."

Advanced Television, 16 Oct 2012: "YahLive, the Abu Dhabi-based satellite broadcast platform, has announced that the Cartoon Network Arabic channel is now available in HD) via its satellite service which broadcasts at 52.5° East. Fans of Cartoon Network Arabic across the Middle East and North Africa region can now enjoy all of the popular network’s content in HD."

CNBC Africa will host Davos debate, and puts radio on television.

Posted: 16 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com, 4 Oct 2012: "The upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) summit taking place from 30 January to 2 February 2013 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland will feature CNBC Africa as a host of a debate. The topic is currently being finalised with WEF organisers and the station's editorial team. Its attendance as a debate broadcaster at next year's summit is the first for an African television station. The debate will be alongside others hosted by other media players including CNBC Europe, Bloomberg, the BBC, CNN and the Financial Times. 'This is an important milestone in the history of our channel, as it indicates a recognition of the role the channel is playing in disseminating information about Africa's investment and trading opportunities,' said Godfrey Mutizwa, CNBC Africa's chief editor. 'With our reach to 48 African countries, our broadcast alongside global media brands is testament to the strides that we have made and the strength of the African story to global audiences.'"

Bizcommunity.com, 8 Oct 2012: "CNBC Africa, the business and financial news television channel has added a new offering to its bouquet of market and business news shows with Business FM, a Friday evening wrap of the news and events moving the markets. The show premiered on Friday, 5 October 2012. 'Business FM with Lindsay Williams will provide the best of both radio and television, giving viewers an incisive summary of the biggest market moving news,' said Godfrey Mutizwa, chief editor of CNBC Africa. ... The programme will be filmed on location at the Fine Business Radio studios in Cape Town's Artscape Theatre, South Africa. Each episode will see Williams discussing the biggest corporate, economic and market events of the week with two in-studio guests. Business FM will offer viewers a behind the scenes look into the functioning of a radio studio and the insightful analysis they have come to expect from CNBC Africa."

News24.com, 10 Oct 2012: "South African Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday. ... Oscar's The Tonight Show debut [was] aired in South Africa on 11 October at 23:00 on DStv's CNBC Africa (channel 410).

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RFE/RL Russian: Same budget, fewer employees, "new equipment."

Posted: 15 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Kim's summary: The Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting on 11 October included a nearly 20-minute discussion (hear audio mp3) on the future of RFE/RL Russian Service (Radio Svoboda). RFE/RL has been involved in a "firestorm" of controversy since it fired 41 of its Russian Service employees and announced that it would end its medium wave broadcasts in Moscow (see previous post).

The BBG Acting presiding officer Michael Lynton said that "RFE/RL last month consulted with this board on some proposed changes," indicating that the board had advance notice of the employee terminations. He also stated, referring to RFE/RL president Steven Korn, "we support the seasoned executive we have appointed in Russia and elsewhere to keep RFE/RL's audiences apprised of the news in spite of their government's efforts to quash it."

RFE/RL president Steven Korn then spoke: "There has been a lot of inaccurate information circulating here in the US and in Russia about the future of our Russian service Radio Svoboda." He said that the future of the service would be in the "Digital media: internet, mobile, and social." The closing of the medium wave transmitter was actually "an opportunity to accelerate our plans to move to digital platforms. Truth be told, in the world in which we live today, AM radio is a bygone era."

Mr. Korn addressed the reason for the terminations: "Sadly, the cessation of our AM signal and the switch to digital services requires news ways of working with fewer people and some people with different skill sets."

"Fewer people" however, does not mean a reduced budget: "We are not decreasing the amount of money we are spending on Radio Svoboda, not by one penny. ... Indeed with our new approach, we'll be able to spend more of our budget directly on programming and new equipment."

BBG member Michael Meehan noted that the last meeting of the BBG Budget and Strategy Committee dealing with Russia was in April 2011, and that a "more robust and detailed" discussion of Us international broadcasting will be included in a future meeting of the committee.

BBG member Victor Ashe said that he does "not have the same enthusiasm for the direction in which we're headed in Moscow as Mr. Korn does at this time." He added, in reference to the new digital and video production facility in Moscow that RFE/RL and VOA will share, "I think it's just a matter of time before we are effectively barred from being in Moscow in any way, and that we will have to regroup and reestablish ourselves outside the territorial limits of the Russian federation."

He said he hoped there would be no more dismissals of RFE/RL Russian-service staff. "When people say we acted according to Russian law in terms of termination, my initial thought is, what a low bar that is."

During the session, it was revealed that 41 RFE/RL Russian employees were let go, ten new employees hired in Moscow, with another four or five yet to be brought aboard. Mr. Korn also said that there will be terminations of RFE/RL Russian staff in Prague, but could not give a specific number, other than "more than five, less than twenty."

Pan-Arab news channel Alarab plans for summer 2013 launch from Bahrain, 173rd in World Press Freedom Index.

Posted: 15 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 10 Oct 2012, Ben Flanagan: "Alarab, the TV-news station backed by Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, has launched a recruitment drive for 300 staff, one third of which it wants to be local Bahrainis. The Saudi Arabian billionaire chose Bahrain as the base for the new station, which will compete for viewers with the likes of Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera and Sky News Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi, the manager of Alarab, said he hopes the station will be fully staffed by April or May next year. ... Mr Khashoggi said Alarab had signed a special agreement with the Bahraini authorities, spelling out its right to broadcast freely. This agreement can also be used as a framework for other broadcasters looking to launch a channel in Bahrain, he added. ... [Bahrain] is currently placed 173rd in the World Press Freedom Index produced by Reporters Without Borders. That is just one place ahead of China, and three ahead of Syria, which was ranked 176th. Alarab is likely to go on air in late summer next year, slightly later than expected, Mr Khashoggi said."

AMEinfo, 10 Oct 2012: "HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) attended the inauguration of the 3rd Abu Dhabi Media Summit on Tuesday October 9th 2012. ... Prince Alwaleed was accompanied by a delegation that included Mr. Jamal Khashoggi, General Manager of Alarab news channel that is personally owned by HRH ... . The news channel will cover the latest developments around the world and will also highlight political, social and economic issues in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world Alarab's also has a an agreement with Bloomberg LP in which Bloomberg will support the creation of five-hours of financial and economic news programing throughout the day on the channel. Bloomberg-branded business reports will air within Alarab's daily coverage with reports from the MENA markets as well as a weekly roundup of global financial news. A team of Bloomberg media specialists and producers will be provided to the Alarab channel and will assist in the production of the channel's economic and business coverage. The Alarab news channel is an independent venture from Kingdom Holding Company and the Rotana group (that is an independent entity from KHC)."

AMEinfo.com, 13 Oct 2012: "Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Founder and Chairman of Microsoft and CEO, Cascade Investment, L.L.C and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation during His Highness visit to Abu Dhabi. Part of the meeting was attended by Mr. Jamal Khashoggi, General Manager of Alarab news channel that is personally owned by HRH ... ."

Africa prediction: "Mobile devices will surpass broadcast receivers as the continent's primary medium."

Posted: 15 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
International Journalists' Network, 20 Sept 2012: In Africa: "Cell phones and other mobile devices, already widespread, are becoming a nearly universal platform. Cell phone penetration in some African cities already exceeds 100 percent. ... Guy Berger, UNESCO's director in the Freedom of Expression and Media Development Division and leader of the South African National Editors Forum, predicted that mobile devices will surpass broadcast receivers as the continent's primary medium. The shift from radio and television to mobile phones and other wireless devices is creating new challenges and opportunities for media outlets. Traditional international broadcasters -- such as Voice of America, BBC, Al Jazeera, China's CCTV and South Africa's SABC -- are launching new services with entirely different programming. VOA launched a new journalism program in Africa, with 100 trained citizen journalists filing reports from the Congo and creating new centers of conversation on social media sites. 'We are approaching people in an entirely different way,' said Gwendolyn F. Dillard, director of VOA's Africa Division. The old way in Africa was communal. 'People defined themselves in groups so you broadcast to groups.' Now, she said, Africans increasingly define themselves as individuals. So you broadcast to an individual 'with a mobile device in a pocket or handbag.'" With link to report.

BBC World Service website was portal to 27 language services. Is now iPlayer app.

Posted: 15 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
bbcworldservice.com, which transfers you to www.bbc.co.uk/ worldserviceradio: The new BBC World Service website is obviously designed for mobile devices and tablet PCs. In my implementation of Firefox on a regular PC, the home page does not seem to be displaying correctly, and is difficult to navigate. It behaves better in Internet Explorer. Those who do not speak English and are looking for a certain BBCWS language site will be out of luck. Those who do speak English might guess to click on the Help page, where a page with links to the 27 language services can be found. For BBC World Service corporate information, click on About World Service. For those who want to listen to BBC World Service radio on a radio, you must find your way to this page. (While navigating, one of those pop-up surveys about the website popped up, so, brimming with opinions, I clicked. "Thanks for agreeing to take part in this survey. We are currently only looking for responses from residents of the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man," I was informed.)

There is a See All Headlines link for those who want to read news in text format. This took me to a mobile-formatted page with no advertisements. I think we outside the UK are really supposed to visit bbc.com, have a look at the advertisements, then read the news in text.

International broadcasting and the Malala Yousafzai story.

Posted: 15 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
New York Times, The Lede, 9 Oct 2012, Robert Mackey: "The attack on Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head on her way home from school in Mingora, the region’s main city, outraged many Pakistanis, but a Taliban spokesman told a newspaper that the group would target the girl again if she survived. ... Malala’s uncle said that her condition remained critical, in a telephone interview with Nazrana Yousufzai, a journalist from Swat who now works for Voice of America’s Pashto-language service in Washington. '@NazranaYusufzai: I have just spoken to Ahmed shah a closed family member of #Malalai Yousfzai, Says According to Doctors Her condition is critical. Godbless'" ... Aleem Maqbool, a BBC correspondent in Pakistan, reported on Twitter that he had asked the Taliban militants to clarify their position on killing women, given that they had previously described it as haram, or sinful, for Muslims. A spokesman for the group replied that Malala 'had harmed the mujahideen by her words. We held a shura and declared killing her was allowed in Islam.' Malala became well known in Pakistan as the author of a blog for the BBC’s Urdu-language Web site, Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl, in which she chronicled life under Taliban rule, after the Swat Valley was overrun by the Islamist militants in 2009."

BBC Ariel, 11 Oct 2012: "BBC Urdu editor Aamer Ahmed Khan has said the service is 'absolutely shocked' by the shooting of 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai in northwest Pakistan. The teenager rose to prominence after blogging for the BBC Urdu website in 2009 under the pen name Gul Makai, and has since been a high-profile campaigner for girls' rights to education. ... Khan said Malala came to the attention of the BBC Urdu service when they wanted to highlight a student's perspective of the Taliban's takeover in northwest Pakistan back in 2009. ... Khan said the decision to reveal her identity was made after she stopped blogging for BBC Urdu; the service was not involved. He and his colleagues only found out her real name when she appeared in the local media."

NPR, The Two-Way, 12 Oct 2012, Eyder Peralta: "Voice of America, the official United States news agency abroad, has some good news on Malala's condition. They report she is in 'satisfactory' condition. 'Yousafzai was airlifted from a hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, the country's top military hospital in Rawalpindi,' VoA reports."

CNN, 15 Oct 2012, Gordon Brown, "Special to CNN": "News that a 14-year-old Pakistani girl was gunned down by the Taliban simply because she wanted to go to school has sparked a wave of protests and condemnation across the world. As she fights for her life in hospital, Malala Yousafzai is being adopted as every child's sister and every parent's daughter. ... The protests reveal a generation no longer willing to tolerate the gap between the promise of opportunity for all and the reality for millions of boys and girls shut out from even the most basic of primary schooling. Indeed, they are doing more to assert their right to education than the leaders who promised to deliver it."

Broadcasting Board of Governors express "outrage over ... satellite jamming, intimidation and the detention of journalists."

Posted: 15 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 11 Oct 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors today expressed its enduring outrage over persistent attempts to stifle the free flow of news and information through satellite jamming, intimidation and the detention of journalists in Iran, Syria, Cambodia, Ethiopia and elsewhere. During the BBG’s Oct. 11 meeting, Presiding Governor Michael Lynton condemned the jamming of BBG satellite signals in Iran and said BBG journalists are encountering new impediments to free reporting almost daily." On-demand video of the meeting available here. Also see previous post.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 11 Oct 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) presented the 2012 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Awards for exceptional integrity, bravery, and originality in reporting during its regular monthly meeting. This year’s winners are: Mukarram Khan Aatif of the Voice of America’s (VOA) Deewa Radio; Karen Caballero of Radio and TV Martí; Sailab Mahsud of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Radio Mashaal; Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Korean Service; and Mohamed Moawad and Lamia Rezgui Bourogaa of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks’ (MBN) Radio Sawa."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 11 Oct 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) awarded a Certificate of Recognition to the Voice of America’s Korean Service in honor of their 70 years of broadcasting to Korea."

Former BBG member writes that the BBG "has gone too far" in the firing of 41 RFE/RL Russian journalists.

Posted: 13 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 10 Oct 2012, Blanquita Cullum, member of the BBG 2002-2010: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has gone too far, and once again in the wrong direction. .... Last month, staff members at Radio Liberty’s Moscow bureau were sacked unceremoniously. The move was a crucial blow to the integrity of a free press, and those fired were some of the most respected reporters on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty staff. Silencing them via the actions of senior agency officials was a tremendous victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin's government and its restriction of free speech. Not surprisingly, a number of widely respected Radio Liberty journalists resigned in protest. ... The IBB has developed a culture of arrogance, defiance and insubordination. Threats, coercion and intimidation have been used against employees who dare to challenge its actions and conduct. Those Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty-IBB officials don’t have a leg to stand on. ... Instead of firing veteran journalists and broadcasters and ending critical broadcasts to just about every strategic region in the world, the IBB staff behind this action should be sent packing for having failed the American people and our national interests. The BBG must wake up and remember its mission and its oath. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee must hold hearings to restore the integrity of America’s international broadcasts before it is too late — if it isn’t already." See also the comments.

The fact that a former member of the BBG has weighed in is significant. But even this former BBG member seems confused by the mysterious sacking of 41 Radio Liberty journalists. Even if equipped with an organizational chart of US international broadcasting, no reader could make sense of the op-ed? According to the International Broadcasting Act of 1994, the International Broadcasting Bureau is the agency responsible for Voice of America, Radio/TV Marti, and Worldnet TV (since merged into VOA). IBB really has no statutory authority over RFE/RL and the other excepted corporations, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV). Above the the IBB is the BBG. The IBB and BBG staffs have recently been combined, reporting to IBB director Richard Lobo, so maybe this is what Cullum was aiming at. Was the BBG involved in the decision to sack the 41 RL journalists, as Cullum asserts, or was the BBG presented with a fait accompli?

Committee on US International Broadcasting press release, 12 Oct 2012: "The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is honored to learn that former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Blanquita Cullum has joined efforts to save Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) in Russia. Blanquita Cullum’s statement of October 12, 2012 describes the decisions of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) executives as 'dangerous, short-sighted and shameful.' Referring to officials in charge of U.S. international broadcasting, Ms. Cullum asked: 'Whose side are they on? Whose interests are they serving? Not the interests of Democracy or America, but instead are catering to Russian President Vladimir Putin who comes out as the winner in this fight.' The management of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty orchestrated a two-day purge of about 40 Radio Liberty journalists, broadcasters, web editors, video editors and technical staffers. Specially hired guards were used to provide the necessary degree of coercion. After being deceived into believing that employees would finally be getting medical insurance, moving to a new facility, and receive new training, Radio Liberty journalists saw RFE/RL’s American officials use their security guards to block the entrance to the building and instead announce the employees’ terminations. The management of the U.S. taxpayer-funded broadcasting station then prevented longtime Radio Liberty radio hosts and website editors from airing and posting their human rights programs and did not even allow them to say good bye to their radio listeners and website visitors. Some Radio Liberty journalists who were not fired resigned in protest."

Washington Times, 12 Oct 2012, Kirill Filimonov: "The American management of RFE-RL explained the strange and unexpected action, citing a need to restructure the Russian Service. Medium-wave (AM) broadcasting in Moscow was to end because of a new Russian law. Radio broadcasts would continue on shortwave, but mainly online. Video content on the website was going to be increased dramatically, RFE-RL executives announced. This does not explain why both radio and online journalists were fired and human rights reporters dismissed. Some former staffers and young reporters with whom I had worked as an intern were already highly experienced in streaming online video from protest actions and political trials. Surely, there would be need for such human rights and political coverage by the 'new' Radio Liberty. Perhaps audience research has shown that programs must appeal only to the large segment of pro-Putin Russians. Such programs already are abundant on state TV. How wise is it to offer people more of the same instead of trying to expose them to alternative ideas?"

The Moscow Times, 8 Oct 2012, Tatiana Yankelevich: "It would not be an overstatement to say that Radio Liberty has been a source of free speech and free thought over the years, allowing a unique, albeit dangerous, chance to those behind the Iron Curtain to exercise the right to a free flow of information and ideas. Today, when the regime of President Vladimir Putin has initiated a new attack on freedom of speech and the democracy movement in Russia, human rights organizations have been declared 'foreign agents,' and USAID has been ousted from Russia, the U.S. management team of Radio Liberty has ended its medium-wave broadcasts and dismissed its top journalists, whose broadcasts attracted hundreds of thousands of listeners. These actions go against the spirit and the mission of Radio Liberty. These actions dig an early grave for Radio Liberty as free and independent radio broadcasting. They put an end to the collaboration of people of high public repute, essential for a democratic public discourse, and they completely compromise the station's moral authority. This is why I am raising my voice against these policies. They are foolhardy at best and cynical at worst. They will quickly lead to a sad day when, to paraphrase writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, Radio Liberty will have only one future: its past."

Czech Helsinki Committee, 8 Oct 2012, letter from chairwoman Anna Sabatova to Rep. Christopher H. Smith and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, co-chairmen of the US Helsinki Commission: "Czech Helsinki Committee is ... informed that on September 27, 2012, just a few days prior to this letter, a group of prominent Russian public figures including Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Head of Moscow Helsinki Group, has appealed personally to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and you, Senator Cardin, with request to set up a Congressional commission in order “to investigate the activities of the Radio Liberty’s management, which inflicted damage to the image of the United States in Russia.” Public scandal in Russia is caused by unfounded mass firings in Moscow bureau of RFE/RL."

Euronews, 9 Oct 2012: "A small protest has taken place outside the US Embassy in Moscow over mass lay-offs at Radio Liberty. The Russian service is being shrunk after American funding was cut to comply with a new law on foreign financing of local NGOs. The radio station was founded in 1953 to provide western news coverage during the Soviet era." With video. -- I don't think the ban on foreign funding of NGOs has anything to do with the layoffs at Radio Liberty.

Committee for US International Broadcasting, 10 Oct 2012: "The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) stands in solidarity with Radio Liberty supporters and listeners who demonstrated at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow Tuesday against the mass firing of Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) journalists, web editors, and other staffers. Russian and international media covered the protest. CUSIB remains aggrieved that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is doing nothing to remedy this outrage against U.S. public diplomacy interests and human decency. ... CUSIB Director and co-founder Ted Lipien stated: 'The decision to fire journalists and silence human rights programs was not related to funding. The decision was made by the American management. A new director for the Russian Service was hired and the staff, which made Radio Liberty a human rights station, had to go. The excuse was the loss of an AM transmitter in Moscow due to a change in Russian law, but RFE/RL management did not try hard to find alternative rebroadcasting arrangements. They also claim the need for a digital transformation, but they fired the entire Internet team that made Radio Liberty website and social outreach in Russia one of the best in that market.'"

Committee for US International Broadcasting press release, 8 Oct 2012: "The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) has been asked by a committee of former Radio Liberty Moscow journalists and other staffers who were dismissed last month in a secretly-planned two-day action by the management of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to forward their open letter to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine, and members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors who manage Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty."

Blogger News Network, 11 Oct 2012, Ted Lipien: "Mikhail Kasyanov, one of the signatories of the protest letter to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) over the mass firing of Radio Liberty journalists and cancellation of their political and human rights programs, was Prime Minister of Russia, 2000-2004."

Cold War Radios, 5 Oct 2012, Richard H. Cummings: "On March 20, 1993, Mikhail S. Gorbachev was an invited guest at RFR/RL’s 40th anniversary celebration in Moscow of the first Radio Liberty broadcast, Gorbachev told the assembled audience of diplomats and journalists, 'In the dark years of Communist rule before my own perestroika (reconstruction) reform program began, Radio Liberty told the truth.'"

See previous post about same subject.

CNN creates CNN Films to acquire non-fiction docs for CNN, CNN International, and "theatrical distribution."

Posted: 12 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 8 Oct 2012: "CNN ... today announced the creation of CNN Films to secure feature-length documentaries for air on CNN and CNN International, alongside theatrical distribution. The move is part of a wider strategy to acquire original non-fiction content to complement CNN’s award-winning news programs; it was announced by CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker. 'Girl Rising,' the first documentary acquired by CNN Films, will air in spring 2013. The film, which inspired a global action campaign to promote girls’ education called 10×10, tells the extraordinary stories of several girls from around the globe, fighting to overcome impossible odds to realize their dreams. ... 'CNN Films will bring distinguished, thought-provoking documentary programming to our global audiences on all our television, online and mobile platforms,' said Whitaker. 'We want these documentaries to tell compelling stories and stimulate important discussions across CNN’s other programs and websites.' The original feature-length documentaries will examine an array of political, social, and economic subject matters. The films will premiere in primetime and will re-air in order to increase exposure."

New York Times, Media Decoder, 8 Oct 2012, Brooks Barnes: "CNN, laboring to make itself more relevant, has decided that part of the answer involves movies — at least the nonfiction kind — and on Monday plans to announce the creation of CNN Films. ... CNN plans to broadcast premieres of documentaries in prime time — about one every three months ... and to surround them with special editions of CNN programs that will discuss topics of the films. ... CNN International will also show the films, which is important to documentarians, who struggle to be seen overseas."

Euronews will adopt "glocal" editorial model as it seeks to become "the world's leading news brand."

Posted: 12 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 2 Oct 2012, Colin Mann: "Euronews is ... expanding its global footprint with the creation of Euronews network, which aims to become the world’s largest network of international partners. Euronews is in talks with its 21 broadcaster shareholders to add them to this network. As Euronews Network members, media groups will gain access to à la carte content for their TV, mobile and online platforms. [Euronews CEO Michael] Peters confirmed that 95 per cent of the world’s TV manufacturers had included a Euronews app in their Smart TV products, and that the broadcaster would soon be announcing new global agreements and unveiling Smart TV pilot projects. A connected, built-in, on-board multimedia system ‘R-Link’ – previewed at the recent Paris Car Show by French car-maker Renault – will allow access to Euronews’ latest news in various language versions. Euronews is also launching a universal application for iPad and iPhone, freely downloadable immediately at App Store, as well as its own radio station, available via the apps as well as online."

Rapid TV News, 4 Oct 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "European international news channel euronews is transforming into a worldwide news hub and aims at rethinking its editorial model to turn 'glocal.' The station is now betting on providing global news but tailored with specific grids and content owing to different geographical areas."

MediaMughals, 3 Oct 2012: "'As a global news hub, Euronews is today the world's only media experience that is multinational, multicultural, multilingual and multi-shareholder. Euronews has never been so strong. It enjoys ever-expanding reach, a fast-growing audience across all platforms; and, most importantly, an extremely efficient news production model. All geared to our sector's only real need: the user experience. Never before in its history has Euronews had so many advantages to meet the challenge of establishing itself as the world's leading news brand.' declared its CEO."

journalism.co.uk, 9 Oct 2012, Paul Lacey: "ITN Productions in the UK and Euronews in France are to launch new YouTube channels as part of the platform's original channels initiative. ITN Productions confirmed this week that it would launch a new citizen journalism channel, called Truthloader, later this year, as part of the initiative, while Euronews will launch a Knowledge channel. ... International news channel Euronews's Knowledge channel will feature a mixture of exclusive and extended material from its current network of media platforms. The channel will feature "dedicated reports covering all the globe" on topics including 'arts, education, business and what's happening around the globe', director of external relations at Euronews Grégoire de Rubiana told Journalism.co.uk."

Balkans.com, Otilia Haraga, 4 Oct 2012: "The Romanian television (TVR) will conclude a partnership with pan-European news channel Euronews for the premiere broadcasting of Euronews in Romanian language, according to an official announcement on the TVR website. Thus, Euronews will be broadcast in Romanian on TVR Info. Romanian Television is a shareholder of Euronews since October 18, 2004. According to the contract signed with Euronews, TVR receives the international version of the news segment and the permission to translate and broadcast this segment into Romanian language on its channels."

Romania-Insider.com, 3 Oct 2012: "The media partnership with Euronews would mean splitting TVR Info between Euronews and the production of informative shows by the News Department of TVR, which would not require increasing the number of journalists."

Trend News Agency, 3 Oct 2012, M. Aliyev: "Euronews TV channel intends to offer more coverage about Azerbaijan in the near future, Euronews Director General Michael Peters said on Tuesday during a teleconference in Baku whilst answering journalists' questions. 'I hope we can disseminate more information about Azerbaijan as a result of our cooperation with the public television network,' Peters said. He agreed with Azerbaijani journalists' remarks regarding dissemination of insufficient information about the Caucasus region, and stressed that there is no extensive information about the Caucasus and Central Asia."

News.Az, 2 Oct 2012: "According to Peters, Azerbaijan, which is already an actively developing country of the region, will get more attention from Euronews than other major international TV channels."

See previous post about Euronews.

Russian and Iranian international broadcasters scrutinize CNN International on Bahrain coverage, "infomercials for dictators."

Posted: 12 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today), 3 Oct 2012, interviewing former CNN journalist Amber Lyon: "AL: Amber Lyon Bahrain is paying CNN to create content that shows Bahrain in a favorable light. Even though CNN says its content is editorially independent Bahrain can affect that – what we’ve seen with that documentary not airing and also with the constant struggle I had at CNN to get Bahrain coverage, accurate coverage of the human rights abuses on-air while I was there. RT: CNN prides itself as a bastion of excellent journalism and impartiality, but in this case have they let themselves down? AL: What CNN is doing is they are essentially creating what some people have termed 'infomercials for dictators.' And that’s the sponsored content that they are airing on CNN International that is actually being paid for by regimes and governments." See also Voice of Russia, 3 Oct 2012.

Voice of Russia, 5 Oct 2012, Rob Sachs interviewing Amber Lyon: "VOR: CNN’s response was that alongside many other news’ organizations, they have a very small amount of advertising from the Bahrain Economic Development Board. What you’re saying here is much heavier charges. Do you think that foreign governments are effectively influencing CNN’s coverage and American news outlets have effectively been convinced to air positive stories about countries because of monetary issues? AL: Of course! It’s blank and white. You watch this content! In some cases they have government officials disguised as experts in these reports. Watch the report on Georgia! Watch the report on Bahrain! It’s not editorially independent or it’s a lot rosier than news typically is. We, as journalists, re supposed to be watchdogs on government. And how can you be a watchdog on a paying customer?"

Press TV, 8 Oct 2012, interviewing Amber Lyon: "Press TV: The Bahraini regime has gone through great lengths at covering up the uprising like hiring major PR firms, etcetera, so paying a media outlet like CNN doesn’t seem too much of a stone throw away, now does it? Lyon: With the situation too, we can never prove, black and white, that Bahrain intimidated CNN into not airing this documentary. But if you look at the situation, the same time that this documentary - one of the most stark reports on the reality of the Bahrain regime that it didn’t air on CNN International. At the same time, Bahrain was a paying customer at CNN, actually paying for content, what I say is disguised as news because it was very difficult for viewers to see that this content was sponsored by the Bahrain regime."

Voice of Russia, 8 Oct 2012: "CNN denied a request for an interview and deferred Voice of Russia to a CNN International response on its press website, regarding former CNN journalist Amber Lyon's reporting in Bahrain and the subsequent censorship battle she experienced with the network."

See previous post about same subject. Related ...

CNN, 2 Oct 2012, KJ Kwon: "The phrase 'Taiwan miracle' was coined to refer to the island's remarkable economic growth over the last past five decades. Having become a developed economy in just half a century, Taiwan is now facing the challenge of maintaining its position in an increasingly tough global economic climate. ... From next week CNN debuts a week of programming that looks at Taiwan in depth. Can the 'Asian tiger' still roar in the global economy? ...

"CNN’s Outlook series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries we feature. However CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reporting." CNN sponsorships policy: "Parts of CNN's coverage beyond the daily news are produced as Special Reports, which attract sponsors who pay to associate their products or services with the editorial content. When this happens, you will see 'In Association With' next to their logos in banners at the top of pages on our website and hear it referenced during commercial breaks on television. At no stage do the sponsors have a say in which stories CNN covers, which people CNN interviews or how we present our editorial content on television or our digital services, nor do sponsors review or approve any content before it airs or is published. The editorial content is commissioned and produced solely by CNN editorial staff or external contractors approved by CNN editorial. It is produced to CNN editorial guidelines."

CNN partners with Pakistani conglomerate to create Urdu-language news channel.

Posted: 12 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Pakistan Today, 8 Oct 2012, onpassing Turner Broadcasting press release: "Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc’s CNN International and Pakistan’s Associated Group (AG) have signed a broadcast affiliate agreement for a new Pakistani news channel, Dais. The agreement will provide Dais, which will be broadcast in the Urdu language, access to a range of CNN video and newsgathering resources. The agreement also grants CNN reciprocal access to Dais’s news coverage of Pakistan to complement its own English-language reporting from its Islamabad bureau and regional resources. CNN will also provide professional training to Dais’s newsgathering team. 'This broadcast agreement will enable us to augment our high-quality coverage of news and events both in Pakistan and abroad by utilizing newsgathering support from CNN,' said Dais Chief Executive Fasih Ahmed. 'Dais will provide fully contextualized information and analyses. We will present news that matters to our viewers in an in-depth, engaging, and energetic format, helping them form well honed opinions. Our objective is to create premium news with style, dignity and grace,' Ahmed said. 'Dais now joins the select ranks of CNN broadcast affiliates who form an extensive and unparalleled global network and with which CNN International enjoys mutually-beneficial, reciprocal broadcasting relationships,' said Ringo Chan, who is Senior Vice President of CNN Broadcast Services and Affiliate Relations, Asia Pacific. 'We look forward to working with Dais to provide CNN programmes, training and video as they develop their network.'"

Associated Group press release, undated 2012: "The channel will be based in Lahore and will have bureaus in Islamabad and Karachi. This is AG’s second media venture, their first being Newsweek Pakistan, which is published under license from The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company, LLC since 2010."

It would seem, therefore, that this new channel will be doing the same work as VOA Urdu: providing uncensored, unbiased news as the antidote to the disinformation of terrorists and other anti-American elements in Pakistan. The difference is that Dais will be doing it at no cost to the US taxpayers. So can VOA justify continued broadcasts in Urdu, especially as the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 prohibits BBG competition with private-sector international broadcasting efforts? Does this development point to a complementary scenario in which the CNN/AG partnership provides the news, while an Urdu-language service in the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs (part of the State Department Public Diplomacy section) advocates on behalf of the US government?

Chinese journalists in the US "observe democracy in action."

Posted: 12 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg Businessweek, 4 Oct 2012, Elizabeth Dwoskin: "Since Wang Guan arrived in the U.S. from Beijing in February, the correspondent for state-owned China Central Television embedded with the U.S. Navy and broadcast live from the Republican and Democratic conventions. 'It’s exciting … to observe democracy in action,' he says. Guan is one of 100 journalists who CCTV has put to work in Washington, D.C., this year. He and a few dozen colleagues send dispatches in Mandarin to 42 channels back home, while 60 others produce business and news-magazine shows for a new English-language channel. Dubbed CCTV America, it airs on cable and satellite and is meant to burnish China’s image in the U.S. ... California Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who was a journalist in the 1970s and chairs the House’s oversight subcommittee, introduced a bill last year that would mandate parity between U.S. visas issued to Chinese journalists and visas that China grants U.S. reporters working for the government-funded Voice of America—who currently number two. The bill would effectively expel 99 percent of the Chinese media from the U.S., which the Committee to Protect Journalists says would only goad Beijing to retaliate by cracking down harder on the foreign press corps. Rohrabacher’s response: 'Do you not stand up to a gangster who is murdering guys in the neighborhood because you’re afraid that might get them angry—while he goes on murdering more people?' Having benefited from so much access in the U.S., CCTV’s Guan says it’s 'upsetting' to think that his American counterparts struggle to cover his country. 'The only way to address misperception,' he says, 'is to allow people to come to the scene, to report, to find out for themselves.'"

BBC Trust chairman wants "additional funding" for the theoretically self-funded BBC World News.

Posted: 11 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 11 Oct 2012, Julian Clover: "The chairman of the BBC Trust has said additional funding will be made available to BBC World News as the 24-hour news channel is brought closer to BBC World Service radio. Lord Patten told the Broadcasting Press Guild that one of his obsessions was an improvement in the quality of BBC World News. 'Through no fault of the present or recent management, or the performers, we’ve under-resourced even though it is the service that is watched more than any other and I hope that before long we’re going to see some improvement there.' Under the 2010 licence fee settlement the BBC is taking on the funding of BBC World Service radio from the Foreign Office. Lord Patten said that from 2014 when the [commercially funded] BBC World News goes directly onto the BBC’s books it will be seen as part of the corporation’s offering to the world. ... One area for improvement will be the back half hours that currently broadcast a range of feature programmes when rival broadcasters are continuing with rolling news." -- Well, now, I'm confused. As a commercial operation, isn't BBC World News supposed to be making money for the BBC, rather than needing "additional funding" from the BBC? Furthermore, we read here that BBC World News will be "brought closer to BBC World Service radio," even though the previous post points to a report about BBC World News and the international BBC.com separating from BBC World Service to form BBC Global News Ltd. And, finally, if CNN International is the profit leader for CNN, why can't BBC World News be the same for the BBC?

BBC World News press release, 9 Oct 2012: "BBC World News is the top English news channel in India among affluent viewers, according to the latest Ipsos PAX survey (Q2 2012). The channel has reached this position by beating out competition including CNN, CNBC TV18, NDTV 24x7, NDTV Profit, CNN-IBN and Bloomberg UTV. The PAX results also show that, when compared against both international and domestic news channels in India, BBC World News is the #1 news channel among India’s top executives, BDMs, investors, travellers, also among tech-savvy young Indians."

BBC World News press release, 9 Oct 2012: "BBC World News is going from strength to strength across Asia, today being named as Asia’s fastest growing international news channel, according to the latest Ipsos PAX survey (Q2 2012). ... The BBC’s digital platform, BBC.com, also continues to impress – coming in again as the #1 media website measured by PAX, not only among Asia’s top earners, but also Frequent Travellers and Corporate Executives. BBC.com is also ranked #1 in PAX among top-earning and high-net-worth individuals in Asia who consume media content on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones." -- CNN International also claimed success from the same survey. See previous post.

VOA condemns harassment of its reporter in Addis Ababa, and urges Ethiopia to stop jamming VOA broadcasts.

Posted: 11 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 5 Oct 2012: "Voice of America is condemning the harassment of a VOA reporter who was forced to erase recordings she made during a protest rally Friday at the main mosque in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Local VOA reporter Marthe van der Wolf was briefly detained by police as she gathered information about a demonstration against alleged government interference in Sunday’s planned election of an Islamic Council. While she was under detention, Van der Wolf says she was forced to erase the recordings she made of the rally. ... Voice of America is also concerned about the detention of a group of people who took part in a separate demonstration against alleged government efforts to confiscate their property for a housing development in two small villages on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Two of those rounded up at their homes by authorities early Friday had given interviews with a local VOA reporter the day before. ... VOA officials urge Ethiopian authorities to stop jamming shortwave broadcasts to the region. The latest reports from the country indicate there has been renewed interference with VOA broadcasts in Amharic and Tigrigna. The intermittent jamming of the VOA signals has been a longstanding issue. Voice of America’s Horn of Africa Service broadcasts news and information to Ethiopia in Amharic, Tigrigna and Afan Oromo." See also Committee to Protect Journalists, 5 Oct 2012.

Greenslade: Rise of PR with decline of journalism "is an assault on democracy."

Posted: 11 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 4 Oct 2012, Roy Greenslade blog: "[T]he ratio of American PR professionals to journalists grew from 1.2-1 in 1980 to 4-1 in 2010. ... PR Newswire ' ... has started to rethink press releases as multimedia content that – partly because many news businesses are struggling – can feed hungry blogs, news outlets and social media sites... Guided by editors, clients are now using text, video, audio, infographics and dedicated web pages ... to reach consumers more directly, without a media filter… ' A media filter? That's us journalists, of course, people with the requisite scepticism about PR blurbs and supposed knowledge of the topic to provide readers/consumers with an analysis that will allow them to make an informed decision/choice. ... [M]uch [PR] emanates from governments. [Nick] Davies's book records that the UK government had 1,500 press officers, issued 20,000 press releases a year, and spent millions on PR firms. The foreign office alone spends £600m a year on 'public diplomacy'. In the States, in 1978, the CIA spent $265m (£165m) on 'information operations'. What we're talking about here, as we chart the rise of PR and the simultaneous decline of journalism, is an assault on democracy." -- If US international broadcasting is considered just another form of US public diplomacy, then the perception will be that USIB is USPR.

Broadcasting Board of Governors meets today 1345-1530 UTC (new time), with webcast.

Posted: 11 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 10 Oct 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will hold a full board meeting from 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, 2012, at BBG Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The BBG will recognize the David Burke Distinguished Journalism Awards winners. The Board also will receive and consider proposed BBG meeting dates in 2013 and consider a resolution honoring Leo Sarkisian of the Voice of America for his service." With links to live or on-demand webcasts. -- Will the mass firing of the RFE/RL Russian Service journalists (see previous post) be discussed during the public meeting?

AllGov, 7 Oct 2012, Matt Bewig: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a controversy and scandal plagued independent federal agency responsible for all non-military broadcasting sponsored by the U.S. government, is set to get a new chairman. President Obama on September 12 announced his intent to nominate broadcasting executive Jeffrey Shell, currently President of NBCUniversal International, to succeed Walter Isaacson, who has been chair since June 2010. Born circa 1965, Shell earned B.S. degrees in Economics and Applied Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1987. After working two years at Wall Street investment banking firm Salomon Brothers, Shell later told an interviewer 'I wanted to work for a real business,' and returned to school to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991. ... Since 2011, Jeff Shell has been president, but not CEO, of NBCUniversal, based in London, U.K., and responsible for overseeing International TV Distribution, Global Television Networks, and International Television Production." See previous post about Jeffrey Shell.

BBG and Freedom House report is "Exposing the Myth of Mobile Communication Security" in 12 countries.

Posted: 11 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Innovation Series, 4 Oct 2012, April Deibert: "The report 'Safety on the Line: Exposing the Myth of Mobile Communication Security' is a 2012 mobile technology study jointly produced by the BBG [Broadcasting Board of Governors] and Freedom House. The study looked at mobile use and mobile security risks in 12 countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. BBG and Freedom House hope to inform users and developers about the current variety of operating systems, applications and mobile protocols on the market in order to explore each item’s capacity 'to protect security and privacy and to combat censorship and surveillance'." Interview with Andre Mendes, Director of the BBG's Office of the Office of Technology, Services and Innovation.

In Saudi Arabia, BBG and BBC officials make the case for international broadcasting.

Posted: 11 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 29 Sept 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors promotes Internet freedom because the unhampered flow of information is a prerequisite for democratic and economic development, BBG Board member Michael Meehan said at a conference in Saudi Arabia today. 'Global citizens are using media not only to tell their stories on a digital world stage, but also to connect with one another, to chart the future of their communities, and build new forms of civil society and civil discourse,' Meehan said. 'Widespread access to information also contributes to economic growth by empowering users and encouraging them to create communities around issues and enterprises. We at the Broadcasting Board of Governors are committed to broadening access to information, and to connect like-minded people with one another in support of that goal,' he added." Updated press release: Broadcasting Board of Governors, 11 Oct 2012.

From Meehan's remarks (pdf): "I serve as the Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Network. Here in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, you know us as Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa. Alhurra and Sawa are about supporting free flows of factual, credible news and information. They’re not in business to advocate; they’re in business to investigate and report. They’re journalistic organizations."

@michaelpmeehan, 1 Oct 2012: "100 stories over Riyadh SA in Kingdom Tower with BBG and MBN colleages." With Twitter pic.

BBC Media Centre, 30 Sept 2012, text speech to Saudi Broadcasting Forum in Riyadh by Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News: "Earlier this month, BBC Arabic investigated allegations that Britain had allowed key members of former President Mubarak’s government to retain millions of pounds of suspected property and business assets in the UK, potentially violating a globally agreed set of sanctions. Soon after this report came out, the UK Foreign Secretary met Egyptian President Morsi and offered the assistance of an investigator to track and retrieve the assets in question. ... This story also illustrates the vital independence that the BBC demonstrates from the UK government that, currently, provides the funding for the BBC World Service. Our investigation was undoubtedly awkward for the UK Foreign Office, but in Britain there is an unshakeable belief in the importance of an independent BBC and the commitment to values of impartiality and fairness that the BBC represents around the world. Even when it might be uncomfortable for the UK, we believe that in this way the BBC shows the Best of Britain. ... The consequence of the BBC successfully blending traditional journalistic values with modern means of gathering and delivering news has been a noticeable increase in respect from our audiences in this region. Among BBC Arabic TV audiences, trust in us is up from 67 per cent in 2008 to 90 per cent in 2011. This value of trust is fundamental to our relationship with our audiences and we work hard to remain the most trusted broadcaster in the world. This is important as more countries are launching international broadcasting operations, such as China and Russia. The BBC welcomes this competition, which will benefit audiences and give more options to viewers. But I believe these rivals will only succeed if they can learn how to be trusted – through genuinely independent and accurate information, not driven by the agendas of proprietors or governments. There is little point in spending millions, or indeed billions, of dollars on a service if few believe in it."

Director of VOA China Branch interviews Jerry Falwell Jr. and "may include" Liberty University in future plans.

Posted: 10 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Liberty University News Service, 4 Oct 2012: "Special guest Dr. Sasha Gong, an expert on Chinese and United States relations, answered the question, 'Will America win in the (economic) competition against China?' for students at Liberty University Convocation on Sept. 28. ... In Convocation, Gong offered insight into American exceptionalism and said the U.S. must not lose the values like freedom, the private sector, and creative individuals who make the country great. ... She said she believes America 'will only lose when we lose our values — our values of freedom, liberty, entrepreneurship, our dream,' Gong said. Gong’s visit to Liberty last week was not her first. As chief of the China branch for Voice of America, the broadcasting network of the United States government, she and her filming crew conducted an interview with Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. on religion and politics in America shortly after Commencement in May. Voice of America is the biggest broadcasting network in the world, now in 44 languages. It is currently planning more projects that may include Liberty, to be broadcast in Chinese in the coming year. Gong has also stayed connected with Liberty through her fiancé, who graduated with a degree from Liberty University Online and is pursuing a master’s degree."

RFE/RL Azeri uses Facebook Radio to work around Azerbaijan's ban on USIB rebroadcasting.

Posted: 10 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
120Innovation Series (BBG Office of Digital & Design Innovation), 28 Sept 2012, April Deibert: "Azerbaijan’s media environment suffered a significant blow in 2009 when the BBC, Voice Of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) were banned from using the country’s airwaves. RFERL’s Azeri Service has had some great successes in the past few years since implementing a proactive online, digital media strategy to replace the use of traditional broadcast radio and television. For example, since the launch of Radi Azadliq’s Facebook Radio (2011), the audience is able to participate in a live, late-night and audience driven program streamed through Facebook. This can be done because access to the Internet is still relatively free in [Azerbaijan]. ... Radio Azadliq switched to a social plugin that allows for three-dimensional radio (allowing users to watch radio talent live on air, in studio) through Facebook. This is technically what Radio Azadliq calls Facebook Radio. ... By providing alternative digital ways to access information, the Facebook Radio model is helping to fill a gap (lack of traditional radio and TV broadcasts) previously encountered by USIM." -- Is the Azadliq Radiosu audio stream available only at its Facebook fan page? Or can it also be accessed from the main www.azadliq.org website?

The Office of Digital & Design Innovation uses USIM (United States International Media), and the hashtag #usim, rather than USIB (United States International Broadcasting). I understand the thinking here: the entities under the BBG have moved beyond the "broadcast" media of radio and television into the new, digital, internet-delivered media which are the specialty of ODDI.

But "USIB" has just about become an established, understood acronym for the various activities under the BBG. They comprise the multimedia output of the entities that began as radio and/or television stations. General Electric has moved beyond the manufacture of electric appliances, but it has not changed its name to "General Industries."

"International broadcasting" is known as a specific profession. "International media," and thus "USIM," are so generic that they forfeit meaning. Furthermore, even internet-delivered content is "broadcast."

While the BBC (which will never become "BMC") and CNN maintain their unified, global brands, the BBG is a popcorn machine of new brands. Audiences, trying to keep track of the exploding number of BBG brands, are befuddled.

@ljmaximus, 1 Oct 2012: "Ah! A popular TV show taken down and closed after a rights activist criticized State Oil Company of #Azerbaijan on live air!"

Apparently humor translates: Comedy Central is becoming a "global brand."

Posted: 10 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Oct 2012, Georg Szalai: "Viacom continues to push ahead with its plans to make Comedy Central its third major global network brand after MTV and Nickelodeon with a launch in Southeast Asia set for next month. ... Over the past six months, Comedy Central has launched in Latin America, India and Africa. It has also added Comedy Central Extra in such countries as the Netherlands and a network branded as Paramount Comedy in Russia. Next up, Comedy Central Asia is set to launch, debuting in such key Southeast Asian markets as Singapore, the Philippines and Cambodia on November 1. Among the programming on Comedy Central Asia will be The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, South Park, The Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff, such sitcoms as Happily Divorced, Workaholics and Mind Your Language, sketch comedy show Key & Peele and Asian comedy highlights, such as The Noose, a top-rated Singapore-produced comedy series spoofing news shows. ... 'We continue to expand the regional success of our adult-focused business internationally as ratings for Comedy Central improved 27 percent across the board, with double-digit increases in markets, including the U.K, Germany, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary,' Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said on his company's quarterly earnings conference call in August. 'Comedy Central is fast becoming our third global brand.'"

Telenovela set near Fresno exported to about a dozen countries, now including Indonesia.

Posted: 09 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Venevision International press release, 3 Oct 2012: "Venevision International, the worldwide distributor of entertainment content of the Cisneros Group of Companies, announces the debut of the acclaimed telenovela 'El Talismán' [The Talisman] on Dori Media Group’s novela channel TeleVivain Indonesia. ... [T]his unforgettable story filled with passion, romance, and intrigue has achieved international success, captivating television audiences in Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Estonia, Guatemala, Israel, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Panama and Puerto Rico. What’s more, the telenovela was also acquired in Colombia, Georgia, Honduras and Paraguay. ... Set in the breathtaking countryside surrounding Fresno, California, an impressive ranch named 'El Talisman' is the centerpiece of this enthralling telenovela featuring superstar Blanca Soto and internationally famous heartthrob Rafael Novoa, along with a world-class cast."

New York Times cites Radio Free Asia re Tibetan self-immolations.

Posted: 09 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 3 Oct 2012, Andrew Jacobs: "Four Tibetans, including two teenage Buddhist monks, have been given lengthy prison terms for supporting the resistance movement to Chinese rule that has involved the self-immolation of more than 50 people since 2009, according to Radio Free Asia, a news organization financed by the United States government. ... All of the men were incommunicado for several months; the news that they had been tried and convicted was relayed to Radio Free Asia through two exiled Tibetan monks with contacts in the region. 'Two days before their trial, their family members were sent a notice by the court that the trial was about to begin, but they were not allowed to hire a lawyer for their defense,' Radio Free Asia quoted the two monks as saying. ... Another monk from the same monastery, Lobsang Tsultrim, 19, was given 11 years for his role in Gepe’s self-immolation, Radio Free Asia said. ... News of the self-immolations and the ensuing crackdown have gone largely unreported in the Chinese news media." AFP, 7 Oct 2012, also cites RFA on same subject.

Internet-delivered MyGlobeTV now available in two languages with addition of Brazil's Globo.

Posted: 09 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Multicultural Marketing Resources Inc, 1 Oct 2012, onpassing MyGlobeTV press release: "Brazil's leading broadcaster joins MyGlobeTV's lineup of international and thematic content TV Globo International has signed an agreement with GlobeCast, a leading provider of media management and global content delivery services, to join its MyGlobeTV platform. MyGlobeTV is a television bouquet that brings international and thematic audiovisual content directly to subscribers in the United States. In contrast to WorldTV, GlobeCast's direct-to-home satellite offering, with MyGlobeTV all viewers need is a broadband Internet connection and a MyGlobeTV set-top box; no satellite dish is required. Launched in July, MyGlobeTV is currently composed of 16 Romanian channels and there are plans to rapidly expand the lineup to include further communities, attracting a large variety of niche audience groups." See also www.myglobetv.com. See previous post about same subject.

As Radio Netherlands Worldwide transitions to post-radio state, "The State We're In" radio program will end.

Posted: 09 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands The State We're In Facebook page, 3 Oct 2012, via The SWLing Post: "The State We’re In is being terminated. As many of you may know, Radio Netherlands Worldwide was hit with a drastic 70% cutback last year by the Dutch government. We were assured at that time by Radio Netherlands’ outgoing management that the show was still going to be an integral part of Radio Netherlands, but those assurances didn’t hold. Subsequent changes in the organization’s mandate towards a tighter focus on nations in the developing world, and a much slower-than-expected transition to new management have made it impossible for us to continue. The State We’re In exits with its head held high: it was the most broadcasted, downloaded and decorated program in the long history of Radio Netherlands, and won praise from radio industry leaders from around the world. It was heard in top public radio markets the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and in select markets in India and Africa. Our overall audience reach was 12 million people. We will miss you and all the engaged, thoughtful responses you had to what we put on the air. It was a privilege bringing these stories — which sometimes included stories you told us — to light. FYI: Our last original program will be produced at the end of October. There will be some repeat shows after that." See also The State We're In web page.

ibid, Thomas Witherspoon: "[W]e’re pained by the loss of yet another stellar international radio program. In my opinion, The State We’re In represents some of the best radio documentary out there: TSWI has won international honors, including three New York World Medals in 2010, as well as a Gabriel. Ira Glass, the talented host of Chicago Public Media’s This American Life, has praised TSWI for its 'amazing editorial judgment,' and Glass rightly called TSWI host Jonathan Groubert 'one of the best news interviewers on public radio today.'"

E! changing logo, look, tagline in Asia. Fox taking its Chinese-language channels to USA, Europe, MidEast, Oz.

Posted: 07 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Campaign Asia-Pacific, 5 Oct 2012: "E! Entertainment Television, part of NBCUniversal, is changing its logo, on-air look and tagline in Asia, following the 9 July unveiling of its new look in North America. ... Commenting on the channel's new tagline, 'Pop of culture', Christine Fellowes, managing director for Asia Pacific, said 'E! is an iconic brand at the epicentre of pop culture and is the destination of choice for entertainment in Asia.' Also, starting this week, News Corp-owned Fox International Channels renamed Star Chinese Movies 2 to SCM Legend. ... All this is a part of News-Corp's well-known plans to take its Chinese language channels to other markets including Australia, the US, some European countries and the Middle East."

Advanced Television, 1 Oct 2012: "Fox International Channels has confirmed that it will launch the Fox pay-TV channel in Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Bulgaria on October 15th. The channel will add to the existing portfolio of channels distributed by Fox International Channels in the Balkans region that includes Fox Movies, Fox Life and Fox Crime." See also www.foxinternationalchannels.com.

Coming to euronews: Greek, Hungarian, new logo, maybe even an upper-case E.

Posted: 07 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 2 Oct 2012: "Euronews this morning unveiled plans to launch a 24-hour rolling news service in Athens, to be followed by a second local newsroom in Budapest next year. The Greek service will be Euronews’ 12th local language service, and will be the first to be based around a local newsroom. Vasilis Bitsis has been apponted channel director in charge of a staff of about 40. Euronews is currently recruiting 24 journalists and 10 technical and adminsistrative staff in Greece. The Hungarian service will launch next year, with recruitment to begin this week. At a news conference in Paris, Euronews CEO Michael Peters also announced plans to open new bureaux in Washington DC, Istanbul and Dubai. The company also plans to move to a new 10,000 square metres global HQ in the Confluence district of Lyon in 2014. ... Euronews also plans a redesign of its brand and logo next year." -- Will the new brand mean that "euronews" can begin, finally, thankfully, with an upper-case E? See previous post about Euronews.

Financial Times launches print edition in Brazil, online edition for Latin America, in English.

Posted: 07 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Financial Times press release, 2 Oct 2012: "The Financial Times announces a significant expansion into the Latin American market today, with the launch of a digital newspaper print site in São Paulo and a new mobile app for the region. These investments reflect an increasing demand for the FT’s incisive global news and analysis in the region, as well as Latin America’s growing influence in the global economy. The digitally printed newspaper will be available for subscribers and retail vendors in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia starting 3 October 2012. Copies are printed with HP high-speed inkjet web press technology at BMK in São Paulo and will be sponsored by BNY Mellon at launch. The FT Latin America web app will offer the same features as other global editions, while content most relevant to the FT’s growing digital audience in the region will receive more prominent placement. The app will be available to all global iPhone users through the settings menu on app.ft.com. John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times, commented: 'This next step in our global expansion reinforces the FT’s commitment to offering our award-winning journalism on any platform our international audience chooses. The launch of the new print site underscores our belief in a healthy future for print and the Latin America mobile app reflects growing demand from both readers and advertisers on all channels. The FT’s growing audience and product offerings in the region also affirm Latin America’s emergence as a major centre for global business and finance.'" -- These FT products are in English, as illustrated by the picture of page one at the bottom of this press release. FT does have a Chinese-language version at www.ftchinese.com.

The Next Web, 2 Oct 2012, Anna Heim: "While it makes sense for the FT to increasingly pay attention to Latin America, it is interesting to see that its strategy still involves print, rather than digital only."

In China, using Kindle to read (steal?) news from abroad.

Posted: 06 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Tech in Asia, 1 Oct 2012, C. Custer: "Amazon’s Kindle is a huge hit overseas, but it still hasn’t even been officially released in China. Of course, there are plenty of gray-market Kindles available in China’s electronics malls, but since there is no official Chinese Kindle Store, it can be difficult for users to subscribe to Chinese-language content for their devices. What’s a Chinese Kindle user to do? One option is to turn to a startup like iKindle, a subscription service that lets users set up automatically-syncing (via wifi or 3G) subscriptions to a number of publications. The options range from traditional publications like The Financial Times (Chinese) and Southern Weekend to online news sources like TechWeb and TechCrunch to specially-curated reading lists, like Douban’s weekly classic literature snippets or Yeeyan’s collection of translated articles from the foreign press. ... For 3 RMB a month ($0.47), users can subscribe to 4 news sources. For 4 RMB ($0.63) per month they can subscribe to 6 sources. Or users can select an unlimited subscriptions plan for 6 RMB ($0.95) per month. ... So what can we conclude about iKindle? On the one hand, it is providing a useful service and solving a real problem: Chinese-speaking Kindle owners don’t have a good official way to subscribe to news content for their devices. On the other hand, it is almost certainly stealing its content to do so."

Shortwave Music is not an oxymoron.

Posted: 06 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
@mykedotme, 3 Oct 2012: "20 years of adventurous audio from all over the world for your listening pleasure bit.ly/9seVUn" -- See especially www.myke.me/shortwavemusic: "ShortWaveMusic is a global sound project and documentary series which aims to preserve the sound of regional and international broadcasting around the world. Recordings may include low-power and community stations, pirate and clandestine transmissions, or traditional international broadcasters. The long-term goal of the project is to tell the story of shortwave broadcasting in the early 21st century by exploring the extraordinary and varied ways in which people continue to communicate via radio, despite the advent of newer and more glamorous technologies."

Update on Iran's increasingly internal internet includes the efforts of the "little-known" BBG.

Posted: 06 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, 28 Sept 2012, Art Keller: "In the days of the Cold War, the free flow of information into the Warsaw Pact countries was blocked by a literal "iron curtain" of steel fences and mines. Now, the control of electrons -- not border crossings -- has become crucial to keeping your populace in the dark, a lesson the repressive regime of Iran, long fearful of the potential of the Internet, appears to have learned well. Still, all is not yet lost; as the Iranian regime's control over electronic media grows ever tighter, the United States is doing everything it can to ensure Iranians retain access to an open web. Unfortunately for the citizens of Iran, September 23 marked yet another day on which the country's Internet freedom suffered a major blow. An Iranian government minister announced that Google's search engine and email service have now been blocked, a move that suggests Tehran's plans to completely control external Internet access for Iranian citizens are gaining momentum. ... The little-known U.S. federal agency that funds the Voice of America, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), is on the frontlines of the battle for electronic freedom. The BBG has deployed advanced shielding technology that allows Internet users to go nearly anywhere on the Internet. One free piece of BBG-sponsored software is TOR, which routes Internet browsing through several countries in an effort to hide who is looking at what. Another is Ultrasurf, which sends an Internet user to a different Internet address when government monitors try to shut down the site that he or she is viewing. A third is Psiphon, which moves the BBG's country-specific web pages (e.g., Radio Farda) to temporary Internet addresses, where they can stay live for a few more days, until found and blocked by repressive regimes."

Nextgov, 3 Oct 2012, Dawn Lim: "There are 'initial indicators that telecommunications entities in Iran allowed private addresses to route domestically…creating a hidden network only reachable within the country,' according to a newly-released report penned by Collin Anderson, a D.C.-based researcher funded by the University of Pennsylvania. Anderson studied traffic flowing through hosts -- networked machines -- located within the country and attempted to make connections to 16.7 million possible private addresses, which identify networks not connected to the World Wide Web. He confirmed to Nextgov he detected 46,000 possible networks. Some of them were owned by ministries or linked to ministry websites and public services such as the Iranian national webmail service. Some Web traffic redirected to a private IP address affiliated with the Telecommunication Company of Iran, so that censoring and blocking could take place. ... Anderson ... added his research should not indicate immediate plans to disconnect from the global Internet. He highlighted evidence of a ‘dual stack’ approach, in which servers are assigned domestic internet protocol addresses, in addition to a global one."

Reuters, 3 Oct 2012, Yeganeh Torbati: "Cyber attackers have targeted Iranian infrastructure and communications companies, disrupting the Internet across the country, a state official was quoted as saying on Wednesday."

TechNewsDaily, 3 Oct 2012, Ben Weitzenkorn: "In response to an alleged attack on Iran's digital infrastructure today (Oct. 3), a government official said the country would be 'forced' to 'limit the Internet' in order to mitigate unwanted 'slowness.' Last week, the Islamic republic cut citizens' access to Gmail and the secure version of Google Search. Gmail has since been restored, but the country is notorious for routinely, if intermittently, blocking social networking and information-sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. (YouTube is currently blocked.)"

FLRA rules against BBG on Radio/TV Martí RIFs (layoffs).

Posted: 06 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
AFGE Local 1812, 1 Oct 2012: "In 66 FLRA No. 182, the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) 'dismissed in part and denied in part' all the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ exceptions to Arbitrator Suzanne R. Butler’s arbitration decision regarding the 2009 reduction-in-force (RIF) of employees at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) in Miami. Arbitrator Butler ruled that the BBG violated the parties’ Negotiated Labor-Management Agreement (NLMA) by not providing the Union with the opportunity to bargain the RIF and failed to abide by other provisions of the NLMA. She ordered the BBG to rescind the RIF. 'It is time to bring these employees back to work,' said AFGE Local 1812 President Tim Shamble. 'They have been illegally deprived of work and a paycheck since late 2009. The money owed to them is increasing daily and the really sad part is that it won’t be the Agency officials responsible for this fiasco who will have to foot the bill but the American taxpayers. It is time to bring these people back to work which is all they wanted to do to begin with.' Arbitrator Butler’s decision was a resounding victory for the Union. The Agency filed 30 different bases for exceptions to Arbitrator Butler’s decision with the FLRA. Every one of them was rejected." Via BBG Watch, 1 Oct 2012.

American Federation of Government Employees press release, 3 Oct 2012: "'This decision should put every agency on notice that they cannot use budget shortfalls or funding cuts as an excuse to go after specific federal workers who the agency doesn’t like,' said AFGE Associate General Counsel Leisha Self, who represented the AFGE Local 1812 members in their grievance."

Radio Free Iraq receives awards from officials in Basra and at Iraqi Embassy Amman.

Posted: 06 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 1 Oct 2012, Rob Peace: "Radio Free Iraq, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Arabic language service for Iraqi audiences, has recently been lauded on two occasions for excellence in reporting. On August 21, provincial authorities in the southern port city of Basra awarded RFI and Basra-based reporter Abdelkarim Al-Amiri with the 'Beit Al-Hikma Award for Innovation and Excellence' for their coverage of cultural and social affairs in the province. 'In the past, people were rewarded for singing the praises of the regime and the leader,' said Al-Amiri. 'Now it comes in recognition of achievements by creative intellectuals and industrious journalists. RFI shares the sentiment of ordinary Iraqis and responds to their concerns.' ... RFI correspondent Faiqa Rasul Srhan was recognized on September 9 by the cultural attaché for the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan for her extensive coverage of activities within the Iraqi emigrant community there. ... Dr. Shimran Al-ljli of Beit Al-Hikma, a local government body that supervises cultural activities in Iraq, presented RFI with their certificate of recognition and said that RFI’s independent outlook raises the cultural climate for all Iraqis. 'We respect RFI for its adoption of the issues that create dignity and freedom within Iraq,' Al-ljli said."

Former VOA broadcaster "Uncle" Ted Roberts is "one of Sierra Leone’s top 100 humanitarians in the USA."

Posted: 06 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Patriotic Vanguard, 30 Sept 2012: "As Professor Ted Roberts, popularly known as 'Uncle' Ted, rose to his feet, the normally dignified audience present at our Humanitarian award event erupted into wild applause, an applause that got louder and louder as the learned gentleman walked across the aisle towards the announcer to receive his award as one of Sierra Leone’s top 100 humanitarians in the USA. The audience was in no doubt applauding the efforts of a great achiever, a voice of hope heard over the airwaves by many of them. They were applauding the legacy of the retired Managing Editor/Executive Producer/Presenter of the Voice of America, who for over 36 years shed light on conditions in Africa and the Diaspora, through the more than three-thousand documentaries, he wrote and produced; several of which earned him annual international awards for excellence in Broadcasting. Yet and perhaps subconsciously the audience was also applauding something much more profound, exemplified by this remarkable Sierra Leonean; the significance of what can be accomplished when one finds his or her own major purpose in life and courageously goes about executing that purpose exceptionally well. We believe this persistent pursuit of a worthy ideal is what Professor Roberts symbolizes to all Sierra Leoneans. Underlying his numerous broadcasts to Africa and the world was a consistent theme of hope, hope in humanity and hope in the future. -- Ted was host of "Nightline Africa," the weekend magazine program of VOA English-to-Africa. See also Cocorioko, 4 Sept 2012, Awoko, 27 Feb 2009 [the man in the photo is not Ted Roberts] and sasanga.wordpress.com, 25 Mar 2012.

New board member of VOA museum was a visitor when it was still a VOA shortwave site.

Posted: 05 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Cincinnati.com, 28 Sept 2012, Melinda Zemper: "Jay C. Adrick, co-founder of Cincinnati’s WVXU public radio station and a leader in the design and integration of digital broadcasting systems worldwide, has joined the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting board of directors. A 48-year veteran in the broadcast industry and vice president of broadcast technology at Harris Corp., Adrick ... represents Harris on other broadcast standards organizations and with regulatory issues in the U.S. ... Adrick’s broadcast career in radio engineering was inspired in 1961 by a friendship he had with a neighbor, Keith Nyfler, who was a Voice of America engineer. Nyfler took then 13-year-old Adrick on a VOA tour and allowed him to stay for his regular eight-hour shift while Nyfler operated the transmitters and ran the VOA station. The trip sparked young Adrick’s lifelong passion for broadcasting, the VOA and broadcasting technology." See also www.voamuseum.org. -- This is the old VOA Bethany, Ohio, shortwave transmitting site.

The Australian POWs who built a shortwave radio and spread the war news.

Posted: 05 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Brisbane Times, 29 Sept 2012, Paul Ham, writing about Captain Lionel Matthews and Lieutenant Rod Wells, Australian prisoners of the Japanese during World War II: "Night after night, in various darkened huts, the signalmen gather to build the radio receiver. By November 1942, the radio party has everything required to switch it on, except a power supply. They solve the problem by tapping into the camp's electricity supply... On the night of November 4, 1942, the chimes of Big Ben and an English accent announcing 'This is the BBC' are heard over the receiver - the first news from the world the men have received in almost a year. The first program they hear is about hop growing in Kent. In the following days, the Australian prisoners tune into the BBC Overseas Service, Radio Australia and Voice of America. ... The Australians are [betrayed and] accused of breaching regulations, spreading Allied radio news of the progress of the war that is unfavourable to Japan, and harbouring hostile feelings towards Japan."

"Growing feeling in the corridors" that BBC World Service should start a Korean service (updated).

Posted: 05 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 10 Sept 2012, Ian Burrell: North Korea's "Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un presides over a state with the least free media in the world and where accessing the output of foreign news organisations remains a criminal offence. At the BBC World Service, recently relocated to new offices in the refurbished Broadcasting House, there is a growing feeling in the corridors that something needs to be done about this. The world's largest international broadcaster transmits to 188 million people in 27 languages – but Korean isn't one of them. ... Among the broadcasters based in South Korea is the US government-run Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia, which is funded by grants from Washington and transmits to North Korea for five hours a day from a studio in Seoul. ... For obvious historical reasons, the United States is still viewed with distrust in North Korea and the BBC, with its unrivalled international reputation for impartiality, has a great opportunity here. ... The BBC told me it had "no plans at present" to open a Korean service and claimed "it is not clear that we would be able to reach anything more than a tiny proportion of the population". But it did say that it was 'open to the possibility of broadcasting World Service to new audiences'."

Although VOA and RFA have correspondents in South Korea, their Korean services are "based" in Washington. VOA and RFA are US-government-funded, but VOA is not "government-run," as long as the Broadcasting Board of Governors' firewall remains in place (and is taken seriously).

The BBC's "unrivaled international reputation for impartiality" is probably an unknown commodity in North Korea, except perhaps among the ruling elite. While shortwave radios are available to members of that ruling elite, as well as to those who are able to buy shortwave radios smuggled from China, BBCWS would really need access to medium wave relays to reach sizeable audiences in North Korea. Such medium wave lease opportunities exist in Russia and South Korea, but are scarce.

Update: Daily NK, 1 Oct 2012, Chris Green: "Lord David Alton of Liverpool recently received a letter from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London, rejecting a proposal from a small group of people, of which he is a member, calling for the BBC World Service to be extended to the Korean Peninsula. ... The British government, the official reply he received in September notes, is concerned that broadcasting the BBC World Service into North Korea might hinder London’s policy of critical engagement with the North Korean authorities, but would like to point out that the British Embassy in Pyongyang negotiated the broadcasting of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ on state television in recognition of the importance of free access to information. Yet the BBC never shied away from broadcasting into the former USSR or China for fear of putting diplomatic relations at risk in those places. Suspecting that financial calculations may have won the day, Lord Alton is not ready to quit just yet."

Ugandan broadcaster Alan Kasuja joins BBC World Service Newsday team.

Posted: 05 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Uganda Online, 28 Sept 2012: "Alan Kasuja broke the news of his leaving Capital FM a week back and today (Friday) he played Adele as his last song. The latest coming in regarding his next move is that he has joined the radio section of BBC World Service and will be joining Paul Bakibinga and others in London and Lerato Mbele in Johannesburg. Alan's first assignment will be in Kampala as he will be covering Uganda's 50th Anniversary on Oct 9, 2012 with Paul Bakibinga. Alan will start broadcasting in November. In his words Alan says: 'I'm excited to be joining the BBC World Service and the superb new team on the Newsday programme. I'm looking forward to working for one of the world's most trusted news providers and connecting with audiences in Africa and around the world.'"

CNN International announces ratings success among "global affluents."

Posted: 05 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 2 Oct 2012: "CNN reaches more upscale consumers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, on TV and online than any other international media brand, according to results from the first Media Survey of Global Affluents (GEMS), launched today. The findings are an endorsement of the unwavering global strength of the CNN International brand amongst 69 million affluent individuals across 47 markets. GEMS represents an alignment of four separate surveys; EMS Europe (21 countries), Middle East (8 countries) and Africa (7 countries) and PAX Asia (11 countries), and allows harmonised reach and frequency analysis of advertising campaigns running across international media. ... At 40.8%, CNN’s monthly reach across TV and online combined is decisively ahead of all other global media brands including Discovery (38.2%), National Geographic TV (36.2%) and streaks ahead of rival networks BBC (32%), CNBC (14.2%) and Al Jazeera (10.9%). ... CNN’s television reach alone eclipses competitors in monthly (35.5%), weekly (19.2%) and daily (5.9%) reach by some distance. In fact, CNN enjoys a notable advantage over its nearest competitor, BBC World News, in all three measures (monthly reach +44%, weekly reach +43% and daily reach +44%). Online, CNN is the #1 international media brand across all genres, with 12.6% reach per month ahead of the BBC (11.2%) and National Geographic TV (8.1%). ... CNN’s cross-platform footprint connects with 44.7% of the EMS universe each month, followed by Eurosport (44.6%), Discovery (39.8%), National Geographic TV (38.1%) and, at a distance, international news channels BBC World News (35.8%), Sky News (30.4%), Euronews (27.6%), CNBC (16.4%) and AlJazeera (13.3%)." -- So, success for US non-taxpayer-funded international broadcasting.

Iran resumes satellite jamming of VOA, BBC, Radio Farda (updated).

Posted: 05 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 4 Oct 2012, citing agencies: "U.S. international broadcasting into Iran is being jammed again. A U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) statement says the jamming may be connected with demonstrations and mass arrests on October 3 as Iranians protested the plummeting value of Iran's rial currency. The BBG says recent interference began on October 3, affecting signals from RFE/RL's Radio Farda and Voice of America's Persian service. It says the interference also affected other U.S. international programs carried by Eutelsat satellites, including Georgian, Armenian and Balkan-language broadcasts."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 3 Oct 2012: "'The jamming of news delivered by satellite into Iran is an outrage, a deplorable violation of well-established international agreements,' said International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard M. Lobo. 'Freedom of information is a universal human right as well as an essential component for the health of any nation.' The practice of deliberate interference with broadcast signals, known as 'jamming,' is prohibited under rules of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). ... The jamming affected three satellite transponders operated by Eutelsat and those most popular among Iranian viewers: HotBird 13B, Eutelsat 25A and Eutelsat 7A. Viewers said the signals reappear intermittently, and that less-popular satellites are not impacted. ... VOA and RFE/RL programs continue to be broadcast on diverse media platforms, including digital audio and video streams on other satellite paths and on the Internet. -- And -- although we wouldn't want to give credit to an old and unfashionable medium -- via shortwave radio.

BBC News, 3 Oct 2012: "Viewers of BBC Persian television in Iran reported that authorities began jamming the channel's signals on two satellites after the London-based Persian-language channel reported the Tehran protests."

Update: Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 4 Oct 2012: "Iranian jamming of U.S. government-sponsored news and information programs disrupted broadcasts from Morocco to Eastern Europe to Indonesia, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has found. Satellite operator Eutelsat confirmed that the intermittent jamming was coming from inside Iran. ... One of the BBG’s Internet anti-censorship vendors is reporting that traffic from Iran using its software and servers has increased substantially since the jamming began. This suggests that Iranian listeners and viewers are shifting to the Internet to receive news and information."

Eutelsat press release, 4 Oct 2012: "Eutelsat Communications today made a new appeal to international regulatory authorities to urgently intervene in order to put an end to repeated jamming of satellite signals from Iran. This new appeal follows significant deliberate interference from Iran since October 3 of international networks, including BBC Persian, the Voice of America’s Persian service and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda, that broadcast via Eutelsat satellites. The practice of deliberate interference with broadcast signals is a violation of rules of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Today’s complaint by Eutelsat officially asks the ANFR, France’s national frequency agency, to renew its objection to jamming to the ITU so that it can be addressed as a priority. This new condemnation and call for action to regulatory authorities follows appeals made by Eutelsat since May 2009 to put an end to unacceptable deliberate jamming of broadcast signals from Iran."

RFE/RL "calls on" authorities in five target countries to reverse restrictions on its journalists.

Posted: 04 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Journalists in Trouble, 3 Oct 2012, from RFE/RL statement at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, 24-25 Sept 2012, Warsaw: "The following are violations of international commitments to promote and protect media freedom and independence that restrict RFE/RL operations and imperil RFE/RL journalists. Journalists for Radio Azadliq, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani language service, are repeatedly subject to violence and harassment as a result of their reporting, with no adequate government response. ... RFE/RL calls on Azeri authorities to fulfill their international commitments by lifting the broadcast ban and responding to violations of journalists’ rights with credible investigations and applicable criminal procedures. -- Journalists working for Radio Svaboda, RFE/RL’s Belarusian language service, have been subject to intimidation, detentions and violence as part of the continuing crackdown on civil society unleashed by Belarusian authorities after the December 2010 presidential elections. ... RFE/RL calls on authorities in Belarus to fulfill their international commitments to protect, promote and facilitate the professional rights and activities of independent journalists. -- The ability of Radio Svoboda, RFE/RL’s Russian language service, to continue providing uncensored news and open debate to audiences in Russia is threatened by new legislation, including a law re-criminalizing libel. ... RFE/RL calls on authorities in the Russian Federation to reverse measures that restrict free speech and fulfill their international commitments to protect and promote the rights and security of independent journalists. ... Gulnora Rovshan and Abduqayum Qayumov, two veteran journalists for Radio Ozodlik and Radio Ozodi respectively, RFE/RL’s Uzbek and Tajik language services, were denied routine accreditation without cause this spring in cases that may indicate official discrimination against minority journalists and suppression of independent media. ... RFE/RL calls on authorities in Tajikistan to accredit its journalists and restore access to its website. ... Requests by Azadlyk Radiosy, RFE/RL’s Turkmen language service, to open a bureau in the country and accredit its journalists have been repeatedly ignored by Turkmen authorities. ... RFE/RL calls on authorities in Turkmenistan to take steps to dismantle the country’s information blockade by permitting RFE/RL to open a bureau in Ashgabat and accrediting its journalists."

Whither RFE/RL Russian? Withering barrage of criticism for mass firing of journalists.

Posted: 04 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Moscow Times, 2 Oct 2012, Vladimir Ryzhkov: "Radio Liberty has shut down its radio operations and will shift to an Internet format. Radio Liberty president Steven Korn explained the move as a way to make its broadcasting format more modern. But regardless of how Korn tries to spin it, the shutdown will be a blow to freedom of the media in Russia. The 'modernization' amounted to firing dozens of outstanding journalists, including Mikhail Sokolov, Anna Kachakayeva and Lyudmila Telen. Once a powerful radio station that millions of Russians tuned in to for alternative views and discussions will be diluted by key staff reductions and lost in the huge expanse of the Internet."

Interfax-Ukraine, 27 Sept 2012: "Leading Russian human rights activists have asked the U.S. to reconsider their decision to stop broadcasting Radio Liberty on the mid-range waves [medium wave/AM] and not to fire employees of the Moscow office of the radio station. The address, which was signed by veterans of the Russian human rights movement, including Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Valery Borshchev, Svetlana Gannushkina, Lev Ponomaryov, and Sergei Kovalyov, has been sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ponomaryov, who leads the Russian movement For Human Rights, told Interfax on Thursday. ... 'The Americans are apparently busy with their internal affairs and they have stopped carrying about Russia. The fact that it's being done by the Americans makes me disappointed and angry. I have been listening to Radio Liberty since my childhood and it helped me become a human rights activist,' [Ponomaryov] said."

BBG Watch, 4 Oct 2012, statement (translated) by Mikhail Gorbachev: "Glasnost is threatened in Russia and other countries. Journalists and press are being increasingly attacked. ... Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty’s management decision to dismiss almost all of the Russian service staff looks especially strange in this context. In times of severe censorship Radio Svoboda (RFE/RL Russian Service) made calls for democratization and glasnost a tenor of its programmes. It is hard to get rid of an impression that RFE/RL’s American management is prepared to make an about-turn."

BBG Watch, 3 Oct 2012, former Radio Liberty Russian Service director Mario Corti: "[B]y firing almost all of the Moscow bureau team, including the best journalists, RFE-RL President Steve Korn and his acolytes inflicted a mortal blow to this great institution. To mention but three journalists who were fired or left on their own: Mikhail Sokolov, Anna Kachkaeva and Marina Timasheva are not only among the best professionals in their field, they are also celebrities in Russia. ... Just days before the RFE-RL management announced that it was being forced to abandon AM rebroadcasts in Moscow, they were again offered an AM transmitter in the Baltic states. They refused the offer. Not that this one transmitter could on its own attract a vast audience, but it would be a step in the right direction while other options are being considered. It would be a response to Putin rather than the current capitulation."

Uncut, 28 sept 2012, Elena Vlasenko: "RFE/RL broadcasts on medium wave will end on 10 November, due to amendments to the law on mass media which state a radio cannot broadcast in a primary service area if more than 5 per cent of it is owned by foreign individual or legal entity. RFE/RL’s broadcasts in Russia will only be available online through its website, which makes the decision to fire web staff especially strange."

BBG Watch, 1 Oct 2012, Lev Roitman: "To the disappearing present and eventually any new (hopefully but doubtfully) Russian Service audience, Radio Svoboda will be tightly associated with unflattering notion of untrustworthiness – even after Masha Gessen, who alas has a brilliant style as a journalist and is an interesting writer, will take her hat and leave the Radio. ... The tip is that she rarely kept her jobs longer than a year or two and left usually in a public scandal."

And, finally, this... American Thinker, 2 Oct 2012, Kim Zigfeld: "Putin recently announced that he was booting USAID, the primary instrument of American influence in Russia, out of the country. Obama's response? He went Putin one better and shut down Radio Liberty, the literal voice of America in Russia, depriving tens of thousands of listeners in Moscow alone of access to some vague hint of truth. Russia's democracy advocates were utterly shocked, and they decried Obama's policy of appeasement as a betrayal of fundamental American values, to say nothing of their trust."

During this bizarre chapter of US international broadcasting, questions abound and conspiracy theories flourish. Will RFE/RL provide an explanation? (Or do we have to accept the conclusion of the "American Thinker," unfortunately named Kim, that Barack Obama took time from his campaign to order the closing of the "literal voice of America in Russia," the actual Voice of America in Russia notwithstanding?) A press conference would be helpful at this point.

With local TV, FM, and now even medium wave rebroadcasting not allowed, RFE/RL might want to sell its own brand of portable shortwave radios in Russia, with its frequencies pre-programmed into the memories. Reception of the RFE/RL shortwave signal is good in Russia, and it can be facilitated by an easy-to-use receiver. Such receivers are already manufactured; it's just a matter of the factory slapping on an RFE/RL or Radio Svoboda logo on the front panel. Bonus: the radio can also be used to receive text transmitted by shortwave, a handy capability if Russia blocks svobodanews.ru.

See previous post about same subject.

China takes ads in major US newspapers to argue claim to disputed East China Sea islands.

Posted: 03 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Irish Times, 1 Oct 2012, Clifford Coonan: "The China Daily, the Chinese government’s official English language organ, took out large advertisements in the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times insisting on China’s right to a chain of islands disputed with Japan. Under the headline 'Diaoyu Islands belong to China', the advertorial was a centre-page display in the New York Times – probably one of the most expensive newspaper advertisements in the world. The eye-catching advertisement was published just as world leaders gathered in New York for the UN General Assembly. Sino-Japanese ties are at their lowest in decades as the two countries face off over a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The islands 'have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times, and China has indisputable sovereignty' over them, ran the text of the advertisement." See also VOA News, 29 Sept 2012.

@Michael_Lipin, 29 Sept 2012: "How have the owners & uses of the #Senkaku/#Diaoyu islands changed over the years? My #VOA interactive map shows you! bit.ly/SVTLX9"

See previous post about same subject.

Digital Radio Mondiale marketing position: "independence from Internet or electricity."

Posted: 03 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Consumer Lifestyle News, 18 Sept 2012, Peter Weber: "Ruxana Obreja, Chairman of the DRM consortium, ... sees a bright future: 'The transition to digital radio is opening a huge market as there are an estimated 2,5 billion AM receivers and innumerable FM receivers existing in the world which have to be replaced. More and more DRM receivers are coming to the market which as a whole will expand further. This is a strategic opportunity. DRM’s adoption in countries with a huge population stretching over large territories like Russia and India will open enormous markets'. ... 'DRM is an open, non-proprietary standard without hidden trade secrets and free for everybody to implement' explains Obreja, ... 'there are no fees for broadcasters or listeners'. A clear win-win situation: for broadcasters reduced costs and easy market access, for manufacturers a huge market potential, and for radio listeners DRM offers more choice, excellent sound quality up to CD quality and surround sound and independence from Internet or electricity. Digital radio is here, finally." -- Independence from electricity? The only DRM receiver now on the market (but difficult to find) is the Newstar DR111, which operates from the mains rather than batteries.

Flickr, 3 Oct 2012, Digital Radio Mondiale: Photos from the DRM exhibit at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam.

Radio World, 1 Oct 2012: "The Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium and Brazilian specialists celebrated the launch of the Brazilian DRM Multi-Sector Platform Oct. 1 in Sao Paulo. The event and workshop were designed to allow those attending to understand how DRM functions in Brazil. DRM is a standardized digital broadcasting system for all frequencies below and above 30 MHz. The choice of this broadcasting standard is still under scrutiny in Brazil, but, according to the consortium, the new platform aims to promote DRM as the 'only all-band, open, global standard' and the best available Brazilian broadcasting standard." see also RadioandMusic.com, 3 Oct 2012.

Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), 27 Sept 2012, Richard Wagoner: "Testing of an all-digital AM transmission is scheduled to begin within four to six weeks, according to radio engineering newspaper Radio World. ... As I have an HD Radio tuner, I'd like to hear how it sounds in full-digital mode myself. There are some who feel that a competing system - not authorized for AM broadcasts in the United States - called Digital Radio Mondiale is a better bet for a digital AM future. Benefits? Proponents say DRM is an open-source system that can be improved by more than one company, and the system supposedly uses a more modern and efficient digital transmission codec (an encoder/ decoder program)."

Electronic Design, 1 Oct 2012, Lou Frenzel: "DRM is a terrestrial service designed to replace standard AM and FM analog systems anywhere in the world. It is an open standard that can be used in any broadcast frequency range from a few hundred kilohertz to the VHF region. DRM can provide FM quality sound in narrow bandwidths of 4.5 to 5 kHz, but other modes can use 18 to 20 kHz. The audio is compressed with MPEG4 AAC v2, and the modulation is coded orthogonal digital frequency modulation (CODFM) with 64QAM. DRM is most widely used in Europe, and it transmits mainly in the popular shortwave (SW) bands from about 5 MHz to 19 MHz. A special receiver is required, of course." -- "Popular" and "shortwave" are unexpectedly juxtaposed.

Leo Sarkisian, creator of VOA's Music Time in Africa, retires at 91.

Posted: 03 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 28 Sept 2012, Tara Bahrampour: "Long before there was ping-pong diplomacy or pere­stroika, a short, balding, Armenian American was lugging an enormous reel-to-reel from village to village, sweet-talking people into singing and playing for him. Leo Sarkisian had the kind of career that today lives only in legend: Hired by famed broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, he was paid by the U.S. government to travel throughout Africa, visiting every country over half a century and returning with thousands of rare recordings of music that most of the world had never heard. On Friday, Sarkisian, 91, officially retired from the Voice of America, where the weekly radio show he started 47 years ago, 'Music Time in Africa,' is VOA’s longest-running English-language program. In Africa, he socialized with presidents, military dictators, accomplished musicians and tribal villagers. He outwardly steered away from politics, but under the surface he wove a subtle diplomatic tapestry based around grooving on tunes. ... 'I step out of the airplane, and there are all the fans and the military escort into the capital,' Sarkisian recalled of an early trip to Ghana. 'VOA, we were so damn important! This was unbelievable. I hate to get political, but that’s gone.' ... Sarkisian’s recordings ... reside in the basement of VOA, in the Leo Sarkisian Library of African Music, and the collection is gradually being digitized by the University of Michigan’s African studies department." See also photos.

Voice of America press release, 3 Oct 2012: "Sarkisian and his wife, Mary, who often accompanied him on his adventures and helped answer the stacks of letters sent by adoring fans, told The Washington Post that he plans to do more painting now that he is retired. Heather Maxwell, who is now the host and producer of VOA’s Music Time in Africa, spent part of Sarkisian’s last day in the music library with him, looking back on a lifetime of memories and a pile of listener mail. 'I just never thought I would be taking up the reins for him,' she said. 'It’s really an honor.'" See also VOA Music Time in Africa web page.

Balloons carry "messages of hope and hate" across the Korean DMZ.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 29 Sept 2012, Jennifer Chang: "One could say propaganda is ballooning on the Korean Peninsula. At the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - the world's most heavily fortified border - North Korean defector Lee Ju-seong organises the launch of six large, helium-filled balloons loaded with 'good-will' messages that will float back into the country he escaped from. Millions of messages are delivered on thousands of balloons this way each year across the DMZ. The balloons soar from the South deep into the impoverished North, where they crash to the ground, dispersing what some call messages of hope, and others deem propaganda. While living in North Korea, Lee was inspired by a similar balloon drop with a message that urged him to flee the communist state in 2006. ... After a 12-year hiatus, North Korea hit back in the balloon-propaganda war in July, sending 16,000 leaflets into the South. One warned of war on the Korean Peninsula if Seoul overlooked the 'big terror' - a possible reference to its sworn enemy the United States. ... Radio waves are also employed in the game of psychological warfare. Two independent stations in South Korea - Open Radio North Korea and Radio Free North Korea - target North Korean listeners. The stations say paid informants inside the communist country communicate 'news' using Chinese-made mobile phones that is later broadcast. 'Run on shoestring budgets by North Korean defectors and South Korean and Japanese activists, these groups walk a line between journalism and advocacy,' writes Robert Boynton in The Atlantic magazine."

See also Al Jazeera English, 24 Sept 2012, Harry Fawcett, about the biennial North Korean film festival.

Stars and Stripes, 3 Oct 2012, Jon Rabiroff and Yoo Kyong Chang: "For the second time this year, North Korea has floated balloons south across the Demilitarized Zone carrying leaflets critical of South Korea. On Saturday, officials found an estimated 16,000 fliers in the Paju and Gimpo areas which apparently had been delivered into South Korea via large balloons. The leaflets blasted the anti-North sentiment purportedly promoted by the South’s education system, and included photos of several South Korean dissidents who have died, allegedly under mysterious circumstances, over the years."

Iranian health official denies that satellite jamming transmitters are causing illness.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Trend News Agency (Baku), 1 Oct 2012, S.Isayev and T. Jafarov: "Iranian officials have denied claims that the satellite jamming devices cause various illnesses, including cancer and miscariages, IRNA reported. Radiation Heath Department of Iran's Health Ministry Ali Corani said that there is no scientific basis for such claims on human health. Previously, Melat-e Ma newspaper cited Dr. Abutaleb Saremi, who heads the Sarem Cell Research Center (SCRC) at Sarem Women's Hospital that the increase in miscarriages in Tehran is directly being affected by the jamming signals. 'These claims are baseless, they're being done on purpose, and they're exaggerated,' Corani said. He noted that while the jamming is not entirely without effects, to prove that it actually affects human health, reguires specific scientific experiments to be held, for proof. 'Had it been that dangerous, people would have been suffering from the same symptoms while watching television via satellite at home,' Corani noted." -- Actually, watching satellite television at home is much different. The satellite signal is from such a long distance that it could not cause health effects. The groundwave satellite jamming transmitters are much closer to the residents of Tehran, so they present the possibility of causing health effects.

Report: Al Jazeera English cuts newsroom staff in Washington and Kuala Lumpur, drops plans for Swahili channel.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg Businessweek, 27 Sept 2012, Chris V. Nicholson, Matthew Campbell, Tariq Panja, and Caroline Richenberg: "Remember Al Jazeera, the network that was supposed to be an Arab CNN, offering a counterweight to Western cable news? That plan appears to have been scaled back as the Qatari government-controlled network makes deep cuts in its English-language news-gathering operations and shifts its focus to sports. The gas-rich emirate’s English news channel has cut or relocated at least 200 staffers as it tightens its budget and centralizes editorial control in Qatar’s capital of Doha, current and former employees say. Plans for a Swahili-language news channel to serve East Africa have also been dropped, according to two current employees who are not authorized to discuss company operations. ... The news retrenchment hit as much as 80 percent of Al Jazeera staff in Kuala Lumpur, its former broadcast center for Asia, and about half in Washington, D.C., say four former employees who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss personnel matters. About 25 employees left the Washington bureau in a wave around April, two former employees say."

The Guardian, 30 Sept 2012, Dan Sabbagh: "Al-Jazeera's editorial independence has been called into question after its director of news stepped in to ensure a speech made by Qatar's emir to the UN led its English channel's coverage of the debate on Syrian intervention. Journalists had produced a package of the UN debate, topped with excerpts of President Obama's speech, last Tuesday when a last-minute instruction came from Salah Negm, the Qatar-based news director, who ordered the video to be re-edited to lead with the comments from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Despite protests from staff that the emir's comments – a repetition of previous calls for Arab intervention in Syria – were not the most important aspect of the UN debate, the two-minute video was re-edited and Obama's speech was relegated to the end of the package."

Quartz seeks a global digital news audience, in English only for now.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 1 Oct 2012, Frédéric Filloux: "Quartz is a fairly light operation based in New York and headed by Kevin Delaney, a former managing editor at WSJ.com. Its staff of 25 was pulled together from great brands in business journalism: Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist and the New York Times. According to the site's official introduction, this is a team with a record of reporting in 119 countries and speaking 19 languages – not exactly your regular gang of digital serfs or unpaid contributors that most digital pure players are built on. This professional maturity, along with the backing of the Atlantic Media Company, a 155 years-old organisation, might explain the set of rather radical options that makes Quartz so interesting. ... Quartz bets on foreign audiences (already 60% of the total). Fine. But doing so is extremely challenging. Take the Guardian: 60 million unique visitors a month – one third in the UK, another in the US, and the rest abroad – a formidable journalistic firepower, and a mere £40m in revenue (versus $160m in advertising alone for NYTimes.com)."

Nieman Journalism Lab, 28 Sept 2012, Justin Ellis interviewing Quartz editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney: "Delaney: The way we become an essential read is through smart analysis of the key macro questions affecting the global business professional, using a digital platform that is available to them, whether they’re on their mobile phone, their iPad, their desktop. Ellis: What if this global business professional speaks Chinese or Japanese? Are you guys going to be looking into translation? Delaney: Our goal was to get out in English first, but we would love to expand to other languages. I would be surprised if we didn’t do that sometime in the future. We’re looking to reach a real international readership, and at the beginning it will be readers who are international but speak English. But our ambitions extend beyond that."

Difficult to browse using Firefox and my 24-inch display.

Reuters, 1 Oct 2012: "Microsoft Corp is launching its own news operation as part of its new-look MSN website when Windows 8 launches later this month. The world's largest software company is making a 'big, multi-million dollar investment' to create a 'decent-sized media operation,' said Bob Visse, general manager, MSN Product Management Group. Microsoft sold its 50 percent stake in news website MSNBC.com in July to longtime partner NBCUniversal, now majority-owned by Comcast Corp. MSNBC's newsroom at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington is being wound down, while MSN builds up a news team at its nearby Bellevue offices. MSN will chiefly aggregate news from sources such as Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp, the Associated Press and NBC, but it will also produce its own content, Visse said. He did not say how many journalists the news site would employ."

RFA covers Tibet exile meeting in India. VOA covers Tibetan exile meeting in India.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Times of India, 27 Sept 2012, Alkesh Sharma: "[T]he voice of the Tibetans gathered here [Mcleod Ganj, India] for a special convention on self-immolations in Tibet to protest Chinese occupation is reaching out to those living in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet with the help of web TV and various radio stations that have Tibetan language sections. Radio stations like Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and Voice of Tibet, based in Norway, have dedicated Tibetan language sections and are playing a vital role in disseminating information worldwide, about this meeting. These radio stations are helping broadcast proceedings of the meeting, from the speech of the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile to reactions of delegates. Tibetans, who are living in exile in different parts of the world, are accessing these programmes by tuning into these radio stations. Even Tibet residents, who do not have any connection with their exiled government that is headquartered in Dharamshala, are accessing these broadcasts by tuning to these radio stations clandestinely as the Tibetan sections of these radio stations are banned there."

Raytheon system performs "tedious" work of monitoring foreign broadcasts.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Fox News, 20 Sept 2012, Allison Barrie: "From an ordinary computer, a Raytheon system can monitor television broadcasts from all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -- and instantly translate and analyze them. ... Raytheon’s BBN Broadcast Monitoring System automatically captures foreign media and deploys state of the art technology to translate, transcribe and analyze those video and audio streams in real time. It can spare a human some of the tedious and time consuming work by automatically sifting through the vast volume of foreign language news. ... Currently, ten languages are available. In addition to Spanish and French, these include some of the most difficult to master such as Modern Standard Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi, Bahasa Indonesia, Hindi and Urdu." See also Raytheon factsheet (pdf).

Asian cable/DTH operators worried about "illegal, unauthorized offshore" internet video services.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
CASBAA press release, 27 Sept 2012: "With markets, providers and consumers racing to deliver multichannel video anywhere, anytime and on any device - regulatory frameworks are not keeping up. However, a new CASBAA [originally Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia] study, A Tilted Playing Field: Asia-Pacific Pay-TV and OTT, provides a comprehensive review of the gulf between pay-TV guidelines and current over-the-top (OTT) television regulations. The findings show governments imposing heavy burdens on traditional multichannel TV content delivery systems (cable TV, DTH, 'walled garden' IPTV, etc.) which must compete with largely unregulated internet-based TV services including 'catch-up' TV, live streaming, 'TV Everywhere' offerings, video-on-demand streaming and user-generated uploads. Arguably, however, the most dangerous challenge comes from providers of illegal, unauthorized offshore OTT services. 'The pirate video transmission business is the most international, least law-abiding, and lowest taxpaying of any segment of the global media business,' said John Medeiros, Chief Policy Officer, CASBAA. ... Across the 14 markets covered by the CASBAA study, most Asian jurisdictions' OTT services remain subject only to relatively loose regulations applied to internet services."

Mam Sonando, operator of RFA/VOA affiliate Beehive Radio in Cambodia, sentenced to 20 years on insurrection charges.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 1 Oct 2012, Tep Nimol, Ses Vansak, Morm Moniroth, and Mom Sophon: "Dissident Cambodian radio station chief Mam Sonando was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for allegedly masterminding a secessionist plot, in a conviction condemned as politically motivated by rights groups. Human Rights Watch said the ruling was the worst decision by a Cambodian court in two decades and that the charges against the 71-year-old Mam Sonando were intended as political retaliation by Prime Minister Hun Sen for allowing critical views of the government on his independent radio station. ... The activist, who operates the 105 FM Beehive radio station, was found guilty of insurrection and inciting villagers to take up arms against the state."

VOA News, 1 Oct 2012, Irwin Loy: "Sonando operated Beehive Radio, a rare independent outlet in a country where the airwaves are dominated by media sympathetic to the government. He also headed a non-governmental organization that promoted human rights and democracy."

Radio Australia, 2 Oct 2012, Kanaha Sabapathy: "Mam Sonando's radio station, Beehive Radio has for many years rented its airwaves to international news programs such as Radio Free Asia and Voice of America and has had many run-ins with the government in the past." With audio report.

Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct 2012, Emily Alpert: "Media freedom groups pointed out that Prime Minister Hun Sen began calling for Sonando's arrest the day after Beehive Radio broadcast a report about Cambodian activists accusing Hun Sen of human rights abuses in a complaint filed before the International Criminal Court. Sonando had been arrested in 2003 and 2005 for allegedly defaming the prime minister."

Beehive Radio, still on the air, is an important rebroadcasting outlet for VOA and RFA Khmer-language programming. Because of this access to the popular FM station, VOA and RFA listening rates in Cambodia are among the highest in any of their target countries.

TV5Monde increases distribution on various platforms in Cambodia and Mongolia.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 26 Sept 2012: "French-language network TV5MONDE announced today that it renewed its carriage agreement with Mongolian power player Sansar Cable LLC. ... Back in 1995 Sansar Cable LLC was the first company to provide multi-channel cable television services in Mongolia. Today Sansar carries more than 90 digital cable TV channels ... to more than 62,000 subscribers in the greater Ulaanbaatar area. Besides 'TV5MONDE Asie' is widely available on Mongolian pay-tv platforms ... for an estimated total of 200,000 subscribing homes ... . In Cambodia TV5MONDE will be available at launch in all of pay-tv newcomer OneTV’s packages to an estimated 70% of Cambodia’s population, or 8.3 million individuals. ... OneTV will launch a pay DVB-T service of 60 Khmer and international channels in Oct 2012 and cover Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and 6 more provinces around the country. 'TV5MONDE Asie' has also been available on analog terrestrial in the greater Phnom Penh area since 1996, serving an estimated 2 million individuals, and is widely available on cable platforms throughout the country." -- The 8.3 million is Cambodia apparently refers to the number of people who can receive the OneTV DTT (digital terrestrial) signal. They will need a set-top box and will have to pay a subscription to watch the channels. TV5Monde's French-language content is not subtitled into Khmer as it is into Vietnamese.

Sky News Arabia goes over-the-top (OTT) with an Envivio-encoded video stream.

Posted: 02 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Envivio press release, 12 Sept 2012: Envivio, a leading provider of live and on-demand multi-screen IP video processing and delivery solutions, today announced that Sky News Arabia has deployed Envivio Muse™ software-based encoders for its real-time web streaming service. The broadcaster, based in Abu Dhabi, uses the Envivio video processing solution to compress and stream its live video content to its website for over-the-top (OTT) viewing on PCs and mobile devices by people around the world. ... Sky News Arabia is a 24-hour, Arabic-language rolling news channel broadcasting in HD quality from Abu Dhabi. A joint venture between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC) and the UK'sBSkyB, the channel offers fresh, fast and independent news across multiple media platforms to audiences across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In addition to satellite and cable TV broadcasts, millions of viewers across the region can enjoy live streaming on the Internet or on the go via their smartphones, tablets and PCs. 'Viewing patterns continue to shift, with people choosing to watch their favorite content on a variety of screens beyond the TV,' said Julien Signès, president and CEO of Envivio. 'Sky News Arabia is an innovative broadcaster, offering its content on Internet-connected platforms to broaden its distribution reach and offer a better service for its subscribers.'" -- "Subscribers" may not be the right word, as Sky News Arabia is on free satellite platforms such as Arabsat, and its live video stream is free online. It is very crisp for an online stream, portraying the misfortunes of Middle Eastern conflict in perhaps too much detail.

CNN en Español presenter notes the anti- anti- anti- of Iran's Spanish-language Hispantv.

Posted: 01 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
Miami Herald, 26 Sept 2012, Andres Oppenheimer: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad downplayed his previous statements that Israel should be 'wiped off' the map during his visit to New York this week, but a quick look at Iran’s government media — including the Hispantv network geared to Latin American audiences — leaves little doubt about the true nature of the Iranian regime. Ahmadinejad told Piers Morgan of CNN on Monday that the term 'to be wiped' ... had been metaphors for the end of the Israeli presence in disputed territories. ... On my own CNN en Español show that aired Sunday, I got a similar response from the U.S. correspondent of Iran’s Hispantv when I asked him about previous statements by Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders calling for the annihilation of Israel. Marcelo Sánchez dismissed such statements as 'fabricated perceptions' by the 'international capitalist media' designed to cast the Iranian government in a negative light. But a quick search of Hispantv’s own website and other Iranian government-controlled media, as well as mainstream newspapers from across the world, show that Iran’s theocratic regime is spilling anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Western venom on a daily basis."

CBS is an international broadcaster through its CBS Studios International.

Posted: 01 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 27 Sept 2012, Anna Carugati: "Armando Nuñez, the president of CBS Studios International (CBSSI), talks to World Screen about the new shows the company has to offer. ... With the changing television landscape, linear broadcast, cable and satellite channels are no longer the only acquirers of CBS product. Over-the-top (OTT) and subscription video on demand (SVOD) services have provided new venues for CBS product. 'They have absolutely opened up new opportunities for the distribution of our content,' says Nuñez. 'Our mantra at CBS is obviously not only to take advantage of the licensing opportunities that are out there, but to do it in a smart and strategic way. Not just grabbing the few bucks that might be here or there, but doing it in a way that is complementary—licensing and windowing our content so that we are not hurting the subsequent value of that content. It’s not just about selling that first window; it’s about windowing the content. When we have successful content, what do we do? We sell it again and again and again. Our library is a perfect example; we have content in our library that is 50 years old that we are still selling over and over and over again.' Besides distributing programming from CBS Television Studios, CBS Television Distribution, Showtime, CBS News and CBS Films to some 200 countries around the world, CBSSI also participates in a number of international channel ventures. Chellomedia, a subsidiary of Liberty Global, and CBSSI operate CBS-branded channels—CBS Reality, CBS Drama and CBS Action—in the U.K and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CBSSI is also a partner in Elevenco in Australia, a joint venture with Ten Network, and the TV1 Channels partnership with NBCUniversal and Sony; and in India, where it is part of BIG CBS, a joint venture with Reliance Broadcast Networks."

Radio Netherlands Worldwide website "could be blocked" in China.

Posted: 01 Oct 2012   Print   Send a link
PCJ, undated, Keith Perron: "My source inside China Radio International call [informed] me that The State Administration of Film, Radio and Television send an email to the president of CRI and to main editorial staff that as of October 8, 2012 Radio Netherlands Worldwide is to be banned as a news source. The email in a form of a memo stated that RNW's new focus will be against the 'Great work of the communist party to improve the lives of Chinese people'. RNW was listed on the same list as VOA Chinese, BBC Chinese, CNN International, Radio Free Asia and other stations. The email/memo went on to say that as of January Radio Netherlands website could be blocked in China." From a previous post: "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."

French international broadcasting can be received in, donc, France via Google TV.

Posted: 30 Sep 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 28 Sept 2012: "France 24 has launched a multilingual TV service for the French Google TV platform. Google’s connected TV platform has now launched in France on a Sony set-top box and the French news broadcaster is offering its content in French, English and Arabic. Users can watch all three France 24 channels on the platform as well as accessing content from the France24.com website. The new France 24 interface can also be used to access streams of the Arabic-language radio station Monte Carlo Doualiya (MCD) and international radio station RFI, both of which are owned by France 24’s parent company Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF)." -- See www.goolgle.com/tv/ for information why you probably don't have the necessary hardware to access Google TV.