The BBC World Service radio archive is beta testing, and you can participate in the next phase.

Posted: 30 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Research & Development Blog, 29 Nov 2012, Yves Raimond: "Over this past summer we built a prototype that puts the BBC World Service radio archive on the web. The prototype lets you explore and listen to around 70,000 radio programmes covering 60 years of the World Service. Because it is such a large and diverse archive with sparse descriptive data, we have had to categorise and tag all these programmes with machines running speech-to-text, topic extraction and speaker identification algorithms. And now we want people to help us validate and correct this automatically generated data and improve the archive for everyone. ... The prototype is currently in a closed beta and is being tested by the World Service listener's panel, Global Minds. If you would like an invitation to the next phase of the beta then please contact us at worldservice-archive-prototype@bbc.co.uk."

Today BBC World Service "handed back the keys of Bush House to the landlord."

Posted: 30 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Email from BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks to staff, 30 Nov 2012: "I am writing to let you know that today, we have handed back the keys of Bush House to the landlord - marking the final chapter in our historic connection with this iconic building, home to the BBC World Service for over 70 years. Richard Thomas, Chief Operating Officer Global News, was present to officially hand over the building to Andrew Williams, Director Project and Development Services, Jones Lang Lasalle. Since we left Bush House earlier this year, our decommissioning team has been busy preparing the building for this moment, which included helping to manage the auctions in which I know many of you took part. ... As the World Service approaches its 80th anniversary in December this year, I am sure there are many of us who will reflect on the part that Bush House played in our own lives as well as that of the BBC as a whole."

See previous posts on 13 July and 14 September 2012.

Radio Exterior de España reduces shortwave transmissions.

Posted: 30 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link

Shortwave Central, 28 Nov 2012, citing Balkan DX, shows canceled REE shortwave broadcasts to western Europe.

Shortwave Central, 29 Nov 2012, citing DX Re Mix 758/Balkan DX and Alokesh Gupta, shows the new REE winter schedule. -- The only English on shortwave is to northwest Africa. Some transmissions in Spanish are DRM digital.

Radio y Televisión Española, 22 Nov 2012: "De este modo, se mantienen las emisiones analógicas en onda corta, si bien reduciendo potencia allá donde se observan coberturas duplicadas, y prescindiendo de algunas transmisiones allá donde no se constata digital alguna y Radio Exterior alcanza y se consume con toda naturalidad por internet, satélite o cable."

North Korean website says Echo of Unification broadcasts will begin 1 Dec on SW, MW, FM.

Posted: 30 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 29 Nov 2012: "North Korea's anti-Seoul propaganda Website said Thursday [29 November] it will start a broadcast channel this week, hinting Pyongyang may resume its propaganda broadcasts, deemed a major tool of psychological warfare with the South. Pyongyang's Website Uriminzokkiri said in a post uploaded on Thursday, 'Starting on Dec. 1, 2012, broadcast "The Echo of Unification" will begin.' The broadcasts will run from 7 a.m. through 9 a.m., 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., the Website said. The site indicated the broadcast is not related to the government, but Seoul officials regard it as a resumption of a previous anti-South propaganda channel which was suspended since 2003 when late liberal-minded president No Mu-hyo'n [Roh Moo-hyun] was in power in Seoul. The previous broadcast started in 1970 to air propaganda news against the South. ... The resumption is widely believed to mark the North's response to frozen ties with Seoul as well as South Korean activists' repetitive launches of balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets over to the North." See also North Korea Tech, 1 Dec 2012, Martyn Williams.

YouTube, 30 Nov 2012, Hiroshi Inoue, shows a video promoting the Echo of Reunification, including its frequencies: shortwave 3970 and 6250 kHz, medium wave 684 and 1080 kHz, and FM 97.8 MHz.

VOA News, 29 Nov 2012, Jason Strother: "The human rights group Amnesty International says a South Korean law that is meant to stop the spread of pro North Korean propaganda, limits freedom of speech. Thursday, the rights group released a report condemning the long-standing National Security Law and urging Korean politicians to abolish it. But, South Korea’s next president will be unlikely to do so." See also Amnesty International, 28 Nov 2012.

Saudi academic characterizes US broadcasts to Arab nations as "painkillers."

Posted: 29 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Saudi Gazette, 27 Nov 2012, Khalid Al-Seghayer: "After the invasion of Iraq, the US launched a vast public relations campaign in the hope of changing the negative attitude of the Arab and Muslim worlds toward it. Since the youth are the target in this well-funded campaign, the US issued in July 2003 a magazine called Hi. Then, in 2004 the US launched a TV satellite channel called Al-Hurra. Additionally, the US replaced its Voice of America Radio broadcasts to the Arab world with Radio Sawa. ... Further cultural or intellectual public diplomacy which is an essential component of diplomacy has already taken effect by starting new radio stations, launching more satellite channels, encouraging American TV channels to ease the restriction on allowing Arab satellite channels to rebroadcast prominent American talk shows and movies, and translating well-known American books into Arabic. ... The protests that swept across more than 20 countries in reaction to a controversial anti-Islam film confirm such an assertion and show a significant failure of US efforts. ... Life tells us that in order to kill pain, we have to root out its causes, not to cure it with painkillers."

If you think "Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France" is a mouthful, try "Syndicat des Médias de Service Public."

Posted: 29 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 27 Nov 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "France Télévisions, Arte France, Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), INA, Radio France and TV5Monde have transformed former trade association SEPP into an association called Syndicat des Médias de Service Public (SMSP). The new structure aims to better deal with the technological and industrial changes taking place in the sector and better represent the collective interests of PSB radio and TV groups, mostly from a social point of view. SMSP will thus directly address national and European powers as well as French and European TV professional associations." -- Of international broadcasting interest: Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France is the parent entity of Radio France International, France 24, and Monte Carlo Doualiya; TV5Monde is a global channel with the participation of France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada; and Arte France is part of the Franco-German Arte cultural channels.

Rapid TV News, 29 Nov 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "France Télévisions French [public service broadcasting] group will replace AEF as the main shareholder of TV5Monde in 2013, the French Ministry of Communication has announced. The group, which currently owns 12.58% of TV5Monde, is going to hold a 49% stake in the French language international channel. In return, AEF, owner of France 24 and RFI, will own 12.6% of France Télévisions. The stakes of the other French language partners Radio Canada and Tele Quebec, and the public broadcasters SSR in Switzerland and RTBF in Belgium, will remain unchanged. AEF became TV5Monde's main shareholder in 2009. Its 49% shares were previously held by TF1 and France Télévisions."

Rapid TV News, 27 Nov 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "French-language international channel TV5Monde Africa is now available on FTA channel 45 in Congo's second biggest city Lubumbashi. ... The channel has been airing terrestrially in Kinshasa since 1996, and has 64.8% of the weekly cumulated audience."

Reuters, 28 Nov 2012: "Injured France 24 correspondent David Thomson receives treatment at a hospital in Siliana November 28, 2012. At least 200 people were injured when Tunisians demanding jobs clashed with police on Tuesday and Wednesday in the city of Siliana in a region on the edge of the Sahara desert that has long complained of economic deprivation."

Jeff Zucker takes job as president of CNN Worldwide, noting network's "global reach ... unparalleled in all of news."

Posted: 29 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 29 Nov 2012: "Jeff Zucker will join CNN Worldwide as president of the multi-platform global news enterprise, it was announced today by Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In January 2013, Zucker will assume executive oversight of a portfolio of 23 branded news and information businesses that includes CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com and HLN and reaches more than 2 billion people in some 200 countries around the world. Zucker will report to Kent and will be based at CNN in New York. Zucker started his 25-year career with NBC as a researcher for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and rose to president and chief executive officer of NBC Universal ... 'I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN,' said Zucker. 'The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news.' ... The CNN brand on television extends to 100 million households in the U.S. and 265 million households abroad, with significant online and mobile reach and a global newsgathering network with 45 locations."

Multichannel News, 29 Nov 2012, R. Thomas Umstead: "While Zucker admitted on a Thursday morning conference call with reporters that he wants to top both Fox News and MSNBC in the cable news ratings wars, he said his most important goal is to maintain CNN’s news credibility. 'CNN is the global news brand and was there first and does an incredible job in breaking news and stands for journalism, unlike almost anyone else,' he said. 'The challenge is how to make that relevant, vibrant and exciting in a world where viewers are getting their info in real time, and adapting and moving the CNN brand both on TV and digital.' ... [He said] he would not follow the lead of Fox or MSNBC and turn the network into a partisan news service."

BBG welcomes Syrian release of Alhurra cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, but reporter Bashar Fahmi still missing (updated).

Posted: 29 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 17 Nov 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors welcomed the news that the Syrian government released cameraman Cüneyt Ünal today. He and Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi were captured while reporting from Aleppo, Syria 90 days ago. Ünal joined a delegation of Turkish parliamentarians and media organization representatives who had traveled to Damascus to secure the two journalists’ release. 'We are relieved that Cüneyt will be reunited safely with his family,' said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG Board and Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. 'The lack of information on Bashar Fahmi is profoundly troubling.'"

AP, 17 Nov 2012, Susan Fraser: "Unal said he had been held locked up alone in a prison cell in Aleppo for the past three months, living on “bread and potatoes,” but was not ill-treated. His captors even took him to hospital for treatment when he became ill, he told NTV television."

Hürriyet Daily News, 19 Nov 2012: "Turkish journalist Cüneyt Ünal’s handover to Turkey after three months in a Syrian prison opens a rift between ruling party officials and main opposition party lawmakers. Ünal entered Turkey from Hatay’s Yayladagi border gate, which is close to the Syrian city of Latakia, with Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers, and went to Ankara to meet his family. ... In laying out his position, AKP spokesman Hüseyin Çelik described the development as 'meaningful.' 'It’s meaningful that Ünal was handed over to a CHP delegation instead of Turkish authorities or an NGO. Everybody knows that the CHP lends it support to al-Assad and CHP members carry al-Assad posters in demonstrations while they are shouting no to war.' CHP leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, in response, slammed Çelik, saying that he would send his lawmakers anywhere in the world to rescue 'his people.'"

Xinhua, 18 Nov 2012: "The Syrian authorities released at early hours Saturday a Turkish journalist, who had entered Syria illegally through Turkey and was later captured in the northern province of Aleppo. Guneyt Unal, who works for al-Hurra Palestine TV, was captured three months ago in Aleppo, after entering Syria illegally to cover the conflict there. Unal, a cameraman, was in the company of Bashar Qaddoumy, a reporter for al-Hurra TV. He was captured by locals in Aleppo and handed over to the Syrian army. ... Turkey has been playing an important role in the 20-months-old crisis in Syria, offering safe havens to rebels and using its territory as a route for all those who aim to sneak into Syria to fight against the Syrian administration of President Bashar al-Assad."

Update: Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 27 Nov 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors renewed its call for the release of Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi, last seen in Syria 100 days ago. Fahmi disappeared in Aleppo along with cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, who was released after 90 days in captivity. ... 'While the safe release of Cüneyt this month is very encouraging, we remain deeply troubled by the absolute silence about Bashar,' said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG Board and Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. There has been no official acknowledgement of Fahmi’s status."

Cuban-based producer of TV Martí program remains in detention (updated: released).

Posted: 29 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 14 Nov 2012: "Antonio Rodiles, the Cuba-based independent producer of the Emmy-nominated TV Martí program Estado de SATS, remains in custody a week after he was arrested while seeking information about two other jailed Cuban dissidents. Rodiles was one of 27 dissidents who were arrested by Cuban authorities last week. ... Rodiles was arrested on Nov. 7 when he and six others went to the Ministry of the Interior in Havana to ask about the status of two independent attorneys, Yaremis Flores and Veizant Boloy, who had been arrested earlier in the day. ... Estado de SATS is a weekly program made in Cuba, with wrap-around segments produced in Miami, that tackles the realities and challenges faced by Cubans." See also BBG press release, 8 Nov 2012.

Update: Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 27 Nov 2012: "After 19 days in a Cuban jail, Antonio Rodiles, the Cuba-based independent producer of the Emmy-nominated TV Martí program Estado de SATS, is a free man. Charges of 'resisting authority' were dropped after the prominent opposition leader paid a nominal fine on Nov. 26. ... 'We are happy about the release of Mr. Rodiles and we look forward to the day when he and others like him can express themselves freely without fear of persecution,' said Carlos García-Pérez, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting."

Havana Times, 27 Nov 2012, Dmitri Prieto: "I don’t think that Radio Marti — basically a service of the US government — is the ideal way to promote any positive 'change' in Cuba. We’re in another era. Still, I ask those at Radio Marti not to spend the money of US taxpayers on trying to establish contact with me. The Cuban left has its own media for expressing itself and doesn’t need their 'services.' I should add that I don’t think the name of that station fits. Jose Marti was against imperialism and in favor of a system of democratic self-government rather than the system that helped to install a US-backed military administration in Cuba during the 1898-1902 occupation."

Former RFE/RL Russian journalists launch Radio Liberty in Exile website.

Posted: 29 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 19 Nov 2012, citing Interfax: "Journalists, fired from the Moscow office of Radio Svoboda, have launched their own news site 'Radio Svoboda in Exile'. ... In the news section of the site, journalists place both exclusive materials, and news articles reprinted from other mass media. There are also such sections as 'Video', 'Blogs' and 'Opinions', where journalists and public figures express their attitude to the changes at Radio Svoboda. September 20-21, 34 employees were fired from Radio Svoboda, and another eight employees resigned their jobs as a sign of protest. They were journalists, editors, video engineers, videotape operators and representatives of other professions. The new management of the Moscow office of Radio Svoboda has announced that there would be a change of the concept and format of broadcasting." The URL is www.svobodanew.com.

BBG Watch, 19 Nov 2012, "BBG Watcher": "SvobodaNew.com ... is now blocked on computers at RFE/RL news offices, making it inaccessible at work for the station’s journalists unless they request permission by sending an email to the management."

BBG Watch, 28 Nov 2012, "BBG Watcher": "Sources told BBG Watch that in an unprecedented move, the Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Board of Directors plans to ask representatives of the fired Radio Liberty journalists to raise their concerns directly with board members in a teleconference scheduled for next month between Washington and Moscow. According to sources, the invitation for the fired Radio Liberty journalists, which can only be viewed as a sign of major doubts about RFE/RL President and CEO Steven Korn’s leadership, was agreed to by key board members."

Broadcasting Board of Governors Budget and Strategy Committee meeting, 15 Nov 2012, BBG member Victor Ashe: "And then the very callous manner in which [RFE/RL president Steven] Korn has dealt with the 41 people who were terminated, and the audio of his comments back in Prague, where really no compassion was shown, no sympathy, it's my way of the highway, that's not the way of a good manager."

New Liberty Russia, 24 Nov 2012, "Supporter": "Ludmila Telen, an award-winning Russian journalist who was fired in September from Radio Liberty, said in an interview for OnlineTV.ru that Radio Liberty’s daily Russian website audience has declined from 100,000 to 40,000 and continues to fall."

The Voice of America is a different kind of animal.

Posted: 28 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 13 Nov 2012, Voice of America director David Ensor as interviewed by Tom Fox: "Our staff hails from countries all around the world. It’s a bit like the United Nations. Generally, people tend to share two passions. One is about this country, which so many of them have adopted as their new home. The other is the desire to provide people in the lands of their birth with accurate and balanced information, something that’s quite often in short supply. What they seek from VOA management is a sense that we understand and support what they’re doing, and some strategic guidance from time to time on how to reach audiences better."

Broadcasting Board of Governors Budget and Strategy Committee meeting, 15 Nov 2012, Bruce Sherman, BBG director of strategy and development, discussing VOA broadcasts to Latin America: "I would just add that the mission of the Voice of America, as we talked about during the closed session before, is representing America and presenting and discussing US policy is, in addition to the news, a good part of what The Washington Bureau program effort accomplishes for VOA in places like Peru, and Colombia, and Mexico, all across the region. And the fact that in these even advanced media markets in places like Mexico, we're able to secure affiliations, suggests that we're adding value. That even with the competition VOA today is able to find a very productive niche that generates not only mission fulfillment but actual audiences that we can count."

So, from no less than BBG senior staff, this public reminder (goodness knows what they said during the closed session) that VOA is the duckbill platypus of international broadcasting. VOA is a news-providing mammal and a US-policy-presenting bird. Do Latin American stations rebroadcast The Washington Bureau because of the mammal or because of the bird? How is the audience for this program supposed to know when it is getting the mammal and when it is getting the bird? Compare, regarding content and audience numbers, with CNN en Español and BBC Mundo, two examples of a less ambiguous class of international broadcasting animal.

At BBC: Arthur fills in for Dempsey who fills in for Davie (replacing Smith) who fills in until Hall arrives to replace Entwistle.

Posted: 28 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Hollywood Reporter, 26 Nov 2012, Georg Szalai: "The BBC said Monday that it has named Paul Dempsey interim CEO of BBC Worldwide. He will start in December and fill the role until designated CEO Tim Davie, who is currently interim director general of the BBC, steps into the role early next year. Davie will fill the top BBC post until March when Tony Hall takes it over. Dempsey, picked by Davie, is currently managing director for consumer products at BBC Worldwide. BBC Worldwide’s current CEO John Smith previously announced his decision to step down after eight years in charge of the commercial arm of BBC. ... Said Davie: 'Paul has a great track record at BBC Worldwide and a sound understanding of the commercial imperatives that have made it an international success. I have every faith that he is the right person to lead BBC Worldwide over the coming months and make sure it carries on supporting the BBC brand around the world.'"

BBC Worldwide press release, 26 Nov 2012: "As a result of the move, Marcus Arthur, Managing Director for Global Brands, will take over Paul’s current responsibilities as Acting Managing Director for Consumer Products, in addition to his current role."

Rep Rohrabacher believes "abrupt dismissal" of Radio Free Asia Tibetan director was "for political reasons" (updated).

Posted: 28 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Tibet Sun, 20 Nov 2012, Lobsang Wangyal: "Radio Free Asia (RFA) has dismissed Nagpo Jigme, its director of Tibetan Language Service, without revealing the reasons for his sacking. Npo has been director of the Radio Free Asia Tibetan Service since its inception 16 years ago. Jamyang Norbu, author, intellectual, and prominent supporter of Tibetan independence, also had his contract terminated by RFA, a few months ago. It is speculated that pressure from the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala is responsible for the recent removal of the long-time Director. On being asked by Tibet Sun about the reasons for Ngapo’s dismissal, RFA’s Media Relations Manager Rohit Mahajan replied in an email: '... Speculation that Mr Ngapo’s employment was terminated for political reasons is categorically untrue,' and that reports of Ngapo was escorted from the building by security personnel are false. ... In a letter to Radio Free Asia President Libby Liu on 15 November inquiring about Ngapo’s dismissal, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher expressed concerns about censorship in the radio service. Rohrabacher wrote, 'I have reason to believe that he was terminated for political reasons.'"

VOA News, 21 Nov 2012: "In a statement released to VOA, RFA said all of its management decisions are based on how it can best produce high quality, objective programming."

Representative Dana Rohrabacker press release, 19 Nov 2012: "Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46) sent a letter to Lobsang Sangay, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-In-Exile to express outrage that he and other Tibetan leaders are attempting to manipulate the news that is being reported by the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia. Representative Rohrabacher wrote to Sangay, 'actions taken by you and other Tibetan leaders … are eroding support within the US Congress for the Tibetan cause. You and your cohorts must immediately cease making disparaging remarks and taking harmful actions aimed at the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia and its loyal, hard working Tibetan-American staff.' It appears that pressure from the Tibetan Government-In-Exile is responsible for the recent firing of the long time Director of the Tibetan Service within Radio Free Asia, Jigme Ngapo. Ngapo is well respected within the Tibetan community and known for encouraging open discussion about Tibet’s future, including independence, a position not advocated by Sangay and some other individuals in the Tibetan Government-In-Exile." With link to pdf of Rep. Rohrabacher's letter.

Phayul, 21 Nov 2012: "Rohrabacher, who is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Foreign Affairs, had earlier written to Libby Liu, president of RFA, inquiring about Ngapo’s 'abrupt dismissal.' In October, a vast majority of the staff at RFA’s Tibetan Service had signed a letter addressed to Liu expressing their shock at Ngapo’s 'sudden resignation,' while vouching their 'full support and loyalty' in his 'exemplary' leadership."

Tibetan Review, 23 Nov 2012: "The head of the exile Tibetan administration, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, has expressed regret that his and the Central Tibetan Administration’s names have been dragged into matters that are internal between Radio Free Asia (RFA), a congressionally funded independent broadcasting service, and its long time Tibetan Service director Mr Jigme Ngapo. Through a Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) press statement Nov 21, he issued a categorical denial of having ever contacted either the RFA President, Ms Libby Liu, or any member of its oversight body, the Broadcasting Board of Governor, on matters related to RFA personnel."

High Peaks Pure Earth, 13 Nov 2012, Woeser (translated from her blog): "Radio Free Asia should clearly explain their reasons for dismissing Mr. Ngapo. This is not a personal issue for Mr. Ngapo alone, in reality, this has caused people from all circles to worry about the future of the Tibetan service of RFA. One will also be concerned with the negative impact it has for campaigns for Tibet abroad and the perplexity it has caused for people in Tibetan areas in China, in particular, at the juncture when the current situation in Tibet has never been so severe." See also HPPE, 27 Nov 2012.

Update: Phayul, 28 Nov 2012, Jamyang Norbu: "[C]omplaints began circulating from Dharamshala about the political correctness of those speaking on RFA programs. About eight years ago two important CTA [Central Tibetan Adminsitration] officials paid a formal visit to the RFA office and gave a talk to Jigme and the Tibetan staff. The two VIP’s deplored RFA’s policy of allowing people on its programs who were opposed to the Dalai Lama and the exile administration and whose criticisms were demoralizing Tibetans inside Tibet. RFA’s editorial independence continued to annoy the exile government, and during his entire tenure prime-minister Samdong Rinpoche refused to grant RFA any interviews or meetings, and instructed cabinet ministers and secretaries to do the same. He also conducted a low-profile but relentless crusade against RFA for allowing those 'opposed' to the Tibetan government opportunities to express their views on its program. Then last year the President of RFA, Libby Liu and her right-hand man, Tibetan staff member, Kalden Lodoe made a number of official trips to Dharamshala and elsewhere to meet with exile officials and the prime-minister Lobsang Sangye. One informant told me that in these discussions direct references were made to TYC [Tibet Youth Congress] leaders and rangzen activists like myself who disagreed with the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way policy."

BBG Watch, 28 Nov 2012, anonymous "BBG Watcher": "The Radio Free Asia (RFA) Tibetan Service leads all international broadcasters in quick, extensive and objective reporting on the current unrest in Tibet despite the recent firing of its longtime director — a decision which raised some concerns among lawmakers on Capitol Hill. ... Radio Free Asia, headed by its president Libby Liu, has a reputation as being the most transparent and the best managed among U.S. government-funded international broadcasters which report to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Unlike, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the Voice of America (VOA), RFA has had good labor-management relations and no major scandals involving programming or personnel in recent years. ... Sources told BBG Watch that Radio Free Asia has the strongest and the best pro-human rights radio programming among BBG broadcasters while at the same time it is a leader in overcoming censorship using advanced digital media technologies. That is not true of some of the other BBG-managed broadcasters. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has become an enemy of anti-Kremlin human rights and political leaders in Russia after it fired most of its experienced Russian journalists and de-emphasized political and human rights news reporting." -- I was hoping that BBG Watch might show some balance by criticizing all the managements of all the BBG entities with equal fervor. Instead, in the internecine conflict of the entities, it seems BBG Watch is an RFA cheerleader.

Catholic TV station in Malawi will rebroadcast China's CCTV, Japan's NHK, and Germany's DW.

Posted: 28 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Nyasa Times (Lilongwe), 25 Nov 2012: "Luntha TV, a Catholic television station based in the Malawi southern town of Balaka, has signed an agreement with DW-TV, the official German TV broadcast of Deutsche Welle, to beam some of its programmes. Luntha TV director-general, the Rev. Fr. Andrew Kaufa, said the station was also set to sign a similar agreement with the Chinese Central Television (CCTV) and the Japanese public broadcaster, NHK. 'The target is to balance spiritual content with educational and global news content,' he said. According to Kaufa, Luntha TV currently has a re-broadcasting agreement with the [Alabama based] global Catholic television network, EWTN."

Deutsche Welle Akademie's first online course is for Arab citizen journalists and bloggers.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 13 Nov 2012: "The Open Media Summit is DW Akademie's first open online course. Live video discussions, online resources and social media create a shared learning environment for citizen journalists and bloggers from the Arab world. From now until December 16, participants in the Open Media Summit can take part in interactive online training sessions on topics such as the responsible use of online information sources, the potential of data-driven journalism and Internet censorship. The main language of the course is Arabic and there is also an English website. Participation in the Open Media Summit (#OMS 2012) is free and it is open to anyone interested from North Africa and other Arab countries. ... It is the first project of its kind in media development activities for the Arab world and ties into Deutsche Welle's longstanding commitment to online activists and citizen journalists."

AIB appoints regional head in South Asia, where "growing number" of channels "are developing international services."

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
AIB, 22 Nov 2012: "The Association for International Broadcasting has today announced that it has appointed Amitabh Srivastava as its regional head in South Asia. This appointment is the first of a series of expansions of AIB’s work in a number of regions of the world. As regional head, Srivastava (pictured right) will oversee the growth of AIB’s membership in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, countries where there is significant expansion in the number of TV channels and radio stations. Significantly, a growing number of these broadcasters are developing international services."

Belsat TV, Polish based channel for Belarus, reduces hours due to shortage of funds.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Belsat, 23 Nov 2012: "On November 26, 2012 Belsat, the first independent TV channel in Belarus, is to shorten its airtime to 6.5 hours a day and make alterations to information programs transmission. The main reason for such drastic changes is the lack of the channel’s budget in 2012. It is the first time for five years that Belsat should shorten its airtime and suspend live programs. 'The best part of our budget is grants from the government of Poland, the governments of Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, smaller ones being provided by governments of other countries. It is a pity this year we have not managed to find the amount [of money] required,' Belsat Director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy said. Earlier Belsat TV broadcast 17 hours a day."

Belsat, 22 Nov 2012: "The Belsat Director puts the money problem down to the crisis in Europe: as everyone is cutting down expenses it is hard to gain financial backing."

Shortwave in the news includes 2012 holiday shortwave radio gift guide.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The SWLing Post, 22 Nov 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "One of the most popular posts on the SWLing Post each year is the annual Holiday Radio Gift Guide. I started this annual post in 2010 when I realized that it would be easier than answering an in-box full of individual emails from people seeking the perfect shortwave radio for their friend or loved one. ... I’ve included a few promising new radios that have recently been introduced to the market, along with models that have proven their reliability and are on their way to becoming classics."

@drmdigitalradio, 22 Nov 2012: "DRM Workshop event in New Delhi today, where a KTWR Guam DRM could be heard youtu.be/WM70P1o3PyM" -- Actually beamed to India but heard in Romania. Note that Romania is well beyond KTWR's usual coverage area.

Shortwave Central, 27 Nov 2012, Manuel Méndez: "The German station Südwestrundfunk SWR now on 7265 kHz, that I picked it up November 25, has been inactive since 2004 on 7265 kHz, I sent an e-mail in English to the station to see if they confirm they have returned to shortwave, and here is the reply in German, with an english translation included. ... 'Dear Mr. Méndez, SWR operates since 2004 no more with the short-wave transmitter. In addition, we have this former SWR frequency without license. Currently, however, our SWR3 program is broadcast illegally on the 7265 kHz frequency without our permission. The German Federal Network Agency has been informed of this fact and we check if we can take legal action against the unknown people who are transmitting our program.'"

Lifehacker, 17 Nov 2012, Alan Henry: "Encrypted messages, fancy technology, spies use them all to communicate, but sometimes the best way to hide is in plain sight. Right now, broadcasting across the airwaves around the world, are automated, anonymous shortwave AM radio stations that most governments won’t acknowledge even exist, much less explain. Best of all, you can hear recordings from them right now and if you have the right gear, tune in and listen yourself."

Seattle Times, 5 Nov 2012, Erik Lacitis: American diplomats in Iran, 1979-80, hiding among Canadians "listened to the BBC or Voice of America on a shortwave radio."

The downfall of shortwave at the Radio Netherlands Bonaire relay.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Critical Distance Weblog, 26 Nov 2012, Jonathan Marks: The recently closed Radio Netherlands relay station on Boanire "is being dismantled and in the middle of November 2012 the antenna masts were taken down. So ends a famous shortwave radio station, which was always ahead of its time in the use of technology. It has a special memory for me as one of the broadcasters over those masts on the Northern side of the island. I was fortunate to visit the island in 1989, 20 years after it was built, to make a radio profile of the work there. You can listen here. I don't deny I had a lot of fun making that particular programme. It is March 1989 and I realise there is nothing in the RNW archive about the great work that goes on at the relay stations and the story of how the satellite changed an entire industry." See also Ron Gijzen photos via Facebook. And MediaMagazine.nl, 18 Nov 2012. And Antilliaans Dagblad, 15 Nov 2012 (pdf).

DR Congo M23 rebels disconnect Goma TV stations, but not international media, including VOA affiliate.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
IFEX, 21 Nov 2012: "Reporters Without Borders (RWB) and Journalist in Danger (JED) are deeply worried by measures taken by the M23 rebel movement with the news media after seizing Goma, the capital of the eastern province of Nord Kivu, yesterday. ... The signals of the three stations – state-owned Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) and two privately-owned pro-government stations, Digital Congo and Radio Télévision du Groupe l'Avenir (RTG@) – were disconnected at around 2 p.m. yesterday on verbal instructions from M23 spokesman Vianney Kazarama. ... The signals of the international broadcast media and Raga, a privately-owned TV station based in Kinshasa that relays Voice of America, were not however disconnected."

Cuban diplomat says "we do not censor" the (heavily jammed) TV and Radio Martí.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Countercurrents.org, 18 Nov 2012, Cuban ambassador to India Abelardo Rafael Cueto Sosa as interviewed by Siddharthya Swapan Roy: "There is a 24×7 TV channel and a radio station run by the US government. As an insult to our nationhood they’ve named it after our national hero and call it TV Martí and Radio Martí. It has a declared purpose of inciting the people against Fidel Castro and his government. Declared mind you not implied. We do not censor it. Any young Cuban is free to listen or watch to what is said on the anti-Cuban broadcasts. Despite being a democratically elected government and despite our right to sovereignty, we allow the insidious channels to run freely. Why? Because we believe in the power of truth and the weakness of lies. Because we believe in the Revolution and what it has and can do for the people." -- Both TV and Radio Martí are vigorously jammed by Cuba. The jamming of Radio Martí's shortwave signals can be heard throughout the world.

Radio & Television Business Report, 15 Nov 2012, Carl Marcucci: "Noticias MundoFox, the national network news program for U.S. Hispanic audiences, announced the opening of its NYC-based news bureau to serve the East Coast. Leading the bureau is Peggy Carranza, who will serve as a Spanish-language contributor to MundoFox’s national news division, providing daily news segments from the East Coast geared toward viewers nationally. ... Carranza is a nationally-recognized journalist and correspondent with a long career in Hispanic broadcast TV. Prior to joining MundoFox, she was a correspondent for TV Martí and Univision in New York."

China's global media companies and their reporters' softball questions.

Posted: 25 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Crikey, 21 Nov 2012, William Mackenzie, "China’s 18th party congress concluded last week. Other than a slightly delayed news conference to announce the new leadership, which spawned the hashtag #whyXiJinpingIsLate, there were few surprises. One of the more interesting turns in coverage of the Congress was the Andrea Yu affair. Yu has been lambasted by the ABC, the International Herald Tribute, and the Wall Street Journal for softballing questions to officials and party members after it was revealed that her purportedly Australian media company, Global CAMG Media, was actually majority-owned by Chinese state media broadcaster China Radio International (CRI). Yu has been at the centre of the furore, with some jumping to her defence, but the real issue here is of undisclosed, international subsidiaries of Chinese state media masquerading as independent foreign media. ... Essentially the Chinese Communist Party is working to expand an echo chamber filled with its own sycophantic, state-approved spin. It’s the ventriloquising of global media. International radio stations, print media, and websites from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, to Asia, Oceania, and South America produce content on China that appears independent, but is actually carefully managed to avoid unwanted subjects like an independent Tibet or the pro-democracy movement, while focusing on economic growth and social cohesion. Like the Chinese state media that owns them, these companies are essentially PR firms for the CPC."

Radio Australia, 19 Nov 2012: "And what of Ms Yu? She was certainly the media star of the congress. Ms Yu appeared on state-run China Central Television’s Monday night news bulletin. She also featured on the official website of the Communist Party's newspaper, The People's Daily, in a slideshow labelled 'beautiful scenery at 18th CPC National Congress'."

Reporters sans frontières, 8 Nov 2012: Aware of the foreign media’s steadily-growing influence, the authorities have reinforced the blocking of the Voice of America, BBC, Radio Free Asia and Deutsche Welle websites. A few weeks ago it was possible to circumvent the censorship by using proxies and VPNs, but some sources are reporting that such tools are now much less effective.

This weekend, from Bulgaria, via shortwave, I will control your web browser (updated: well, not this week).

Posted: 24 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Mighty KBC, 21 Nov 2012: "This UTC Sunday, 25 November, more digital text during the broadcast of The Mighty KBC at 0000 to 0200 on 9450 kHz. At about 0130 UTC, PSK125 will be centered at 1300 Hz on the waterfall, MFSK32 at 2200 Hz. Decode one from the radio, and the other from your recording. Just before 0200, only one mode, MFSK32, will be transmitted, centered at 1500 Hz. For this message, please have Fldigi and Flmsg (both available from www.w1hkj.com), as well as your web browser, all running on your PC. If all goes well, at the end of this transmission, the message should pop up in new windows of Flmsg and your browser. (In Flmsg, click Configure, then Misc, then NBEMS, then check Open with flmsg and check Open in browser.)"

UTC Sunday 25 November at 0000 to 0200 UTC is the same as Saturday evening, 24 November, 7 to 9 pm Eastern Time in North America. This transmission on 9450 kHz is via a leased transmitter in Bulgaria.

To decode the two text transmissions, download Fldigi and Flmsg from w1hkj.com. Configure Fldigi to work with your PC's sound card.

Also, in Fldigi, click Configure, Misc, NBEMS. Under NBEMS data file interface, click Enable. Under reception of flmsg file, click Open with flmsg and Open in browser.

During reception, patch audio from the earphone or line out jack of your radio to the microphone input of your PC. You may have to experiment a bit with audio settings. You should see a "waterfall" on your Fldigi display.

If all goes according to plan, when the text message just before 0200 UTC (9 pm Eastern) is completely received, it should pop up in a new window of your default web browser.

drmna.info, 22 Nov 2012: "Let Dr. Elliott take control of your PC!"

Good signal from KBC tonight. So tune in and decode! NB: Bulgaria is playing out last week's KBC show, so no Flmsg later. There will be an html file in MFSK64 and PSKR250 just before 0200 UTC, though.

Commentator: BBC World Service is not perfect, but "it was never as crass as Radio Moscow or the Voice of America."

Posted: 24 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Dawn (Karachi), 21 Nov 2012, Mahir Ali: "BBC employees generally bristle, with some justification, at any description of the corporation as a state broadcaster. Its reputation for independence, after all, is crucial to its image. Yet it’s easy to exaggerate. The World Service that served as a window to the world to (Aung San) Suu Kyi — and millions of others — was, after all, once known as the Empire Service, and funded by the Foreign Office. Its merits should not be discounted, but nor should its role as an instrument of propaganda in the Cold War go unacknowledged — although it was never as crass as Radio Moscow or the Voice of America."

BBG Strategy, 19 Nov 2012: "Getting traction in Pakistan has proven elusive for Voice of America. Many potential affiliates are either wary of governmental crackdowns or concerned about strong anti-Americanism within their current audiences, causing them to avoid the VOA brand. Still others, who may be open to working with VOA, view it incorrectly as a deep-pocketed entity willing to pay-for-play. Even when affiliates are secured, the programming is often preempted or banished to fringe time slots. Looking to start fresh, VOA is using a new tactic to get its foot in the door with Pakistani audiences. Three news affiliates, Lahore-based Dunya News and Express News, and Karachi’s AAJ TV are now all airing News Minute. The short is airing in prime time on all three stations, so what it lacks in depth it should more than make up for in eyeballs."

"Masters of Money" series on BBC World News explores ideas of Keynes, Marx, Hayek.

Posted: 24 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World News press release, 20 Nov 2012: "As the West tackles the greatest economic downturn in 80 years, this three-part series, presented by BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders, explores how the theories of three extraordinary thinkers - John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek - have helped shape the modern world. In Masters Of Money, produced in partnership with the Open University, Stephanie explains these men were not mere theorists and shows how their ideas were adopted and adapted by prime ministers, presidents and dictators - shaping world events and the societies we live in. She argues that these explosive ideas helped create our troubled modern world. Can they now help us fix it?" See also the BBC2 Masters of Money web page except, at this page, we outside the UK may not be able to watch even the brief clips from the series.

Lord Hall, as new BBC DG, wants to "build a world-class team for this world-class organisation" so that it can be a "world-beater."

Posted: 24 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 22 Nov 2012: "Tony Hall, the new director general of the BBC, has said he is confident the corporation can get through a 'really tough few weeks'. Lord Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House and the BBC's former director of news, said he cared passionately about the organisation. 'I am absolutely committed to our news operation as a world-beater,' he said. His appointment follows the resignation of George Entwistle in the wake of the Newsnight Lord McAlpine row. Speaking at a news conference at the BBC's headquarters in central London, Lord Hall said ... he wanted 'to build a world-class team for this world-class organisation'." -- Interesting that Lord Hall would use the term "world-bater." BBC is already the leading international broadcasting organization, so it has, really, already beaten the world. It is now up to other international broadcasting organizations to try to beat the BBC.

BBC News, 22 Nov 2012, Torin Douglas: When the call came, Lord Hall found it hard to refuse. At a news conference he explained: "I care passionately about the BBC, about what it can do, its programme makers and the impact we have in all sorts of different ways. It's one of those extraordinary organisations which is an absolutely essential part of the UK, of Britain, of who we are, but also has this incredible impact around the world too."

Digital Spy, 22 Nov 2012, Andrew Laughlin: "Lord Tony Hall ... is expected to start in the role in early March 2013 and incoming BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie will remain as acting director general in the interim."

BBC Worldwide launches Earth Unplugged, its "first original-content channel for YouTube." Sponsored by Nike.

Posted: 24 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 16 Nov 2012: "BBC Worldwide today announced the launch of Earth Unplugged a new YouTube channel from BBC Earth, BBC Worldwide’s global natural history brand. The channel will feature a feast of new films created for a digital audience by BBC Earth Productions and is set to become a destination site for wildlife and nature. Earth Unplugged is BBC Worldwide’s first original-content channel for YouTube and forms part of the company’s plans to build a true consumer facing multi-channel network on the platform." See also www.youtube.com/user/EarthUnpluggedTV. -- If it's BBC Worldwide, there must be advertising. The sole sponsor, that I can see here in the USA, is Nike.

Televisual, 21 Nov 2012: "The Giggle Group is where BBC Earth Productions film and create the graphics for Earth Files and the material is being edited using a mixture of BBC Earth Productions own kit and at the Bristol based Films@59."

In other news about BBC Worldwide:

Worldscreen.com, 20 Nov 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "BBC Worldwide and Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (JCC) have firmed up their largest ever deal together, totaling more than 180 hours of programming, with all series to be dubbed into Arabic for broadcast in early 2013. JCC has licensed seasons one through three of Deadly 60 as well as Deadly 360. Also in the natural-history category, Andy's Wild Adventures is part of the pact. The channel scooped up live-action pre-teen content as well for the first time, including seasons one and two of Leonardo, seasons one through five of MI High and Me & My Monsters."

Rapid TV News, 21 Nov 2012, Iñaki Ferreras: "BBC Worldwide Channels has signed an agreement with América Móvil to bring the BBC's HD channels to the digital cable platform operator Claro in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the Dominican Republic, thus strengthening the presence of the BBC in Latin America. The BBC says the agreement reaffirms its commitment to bring Latin American audiences the best factual and entertainment content, which has the support and quality assurance of the BBC."

BBC Worldwide will close BBC Entertainment and CBeebies in India, but BBC World News will stay (updated).

Posted: 24 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Entertainment India, 1 Nov 2012: "BBC Worldwide today (Thursday 1st November) confirms the closure of two of its branded channels in India. BBC Entertainment and CBeebies are to be withdrawn and will no longer be available beyond the end of November 2012. BBC World News, the BBC’s international news and current affairs channel, will remain available to our Indian viewers. The decision to withdraw these BBC channels has not been an easy one to take. India is a dynamic and fast growing media market but remains uniquely challenging for pay-TV channels. Specifically, delays in digitisation and the need for channel operators to pay cable platforms for carriage makes the economics of running channels very challenging at this time. Quality BBC content will continue to be seen in India – many of our programmes are available on other channels, both terrestrial and cable, as well as digitally and on our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/BBCWorldwide. We would like to thank our dedicated and loyal staff in India, Singapore and the UK, who have worked on BBC Entertainment and CBeebies, and our many viewers for their support and loyalty. We believe India is an exciting market and in the event of changes in the options available to us we would certainly consider re-launching our non-News channels in the market."

The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Nov 2012, Nyay Bhushan: "BBC Entertainment aired such popular series as car show Top Gear, modern crime drama Sherlock and comedy shows like Come Fly With Me and Ricky Gervais' Extras. ... India's estimated 150 million TV homes are currently going through a major digitization shift, with the first phase of the switch-over process underway in four major cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The deadline for the first phase was Oct. 31 as set by a government directive after which analog signals by cable operators are to be switched off. According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, over 91 percent of cable homes in the four major cities have been converted to digital. The nationwide digitization process is slated to be completed by 2015. Despite discontinuing the two networks, [BBC Worldwide Channels Asia senior VP and general manager Mark Whitehead] added that BBC Worldwide remains committed to India. 'BBC World News – the BBC’s international news and current affairs television channel – continues to be available across the market, along with the bbc.com and bbchindi.com web sites, BBC Hindi radio and Global India, a new primetime program produced by BBC Hindi TV, which will launch on five ETV (domestic Indian) channels later this week,' he said."

Indiantelevision.com, 1 Nov 2012: "The news has come as a surprise to some given that in 2010 the channel had appointed Deepak Shourie as its director for South Asia and refreshed BBC Entertainment in 2011 with a focus on entertainment, infotainment and factual content. ... A rival broadcaster on condition of anonymity says that the numbers must not have added up. 'It might make sense for them to return in 2015 if the digitisation process is complete. Right now placement costs are not going down. These costs will go down only by the end of next year when the second phase of digitisation is over. Also remember that Cbeebies does not carry ads. So to pay carriage fees on that is a losing proposition.' He adds that British content is more niche than American content. 'A few shows had gotten traction like "Sherlock", "Top Gear". But when they did their annual review and looked at the markets that they operate in, the decision must have been that India for now does not make sense.'"

The Hindu, 3 Nov 2012: "This is the second instance of an international broadcasting company shutting down its channel in India this year after Turner Broadcasting System shut down its Hindi general entertainment channel Imagine TV in April."

Update: Indiantelevision.com, 17 Nov 2012, Ashwin Pinto interviewing BBC Worldwide Channels Asia senior VP and GM Mark Whitehead: "Q: Could you talk about the carriage costs that had to be incurred versus revenues that were earned? WhiteheadIndia is the only market where we pay carriage fees for our channels. We can’t go into commercially sensitive detail on our revenues. ... Q: Is BBC Worldwide Channels looking more carefully at the cost structure across Asia and are you exiting other markets to an extent? Whitehead: India is a uniquely challenging market and our commercial decision to withdraw the CBeebies and Entertainment was not part of an Asia-wide review. We have no plans to close channels in any other markets at this time. ... Q: Is there the chance that BBC might re-enter India in 2015 when digitisation is complete? Whitehead: We believe India is an exciting market and in the event of changes in the options available to us, we would certainly consider re-launching our non-News channels in the market. BBC Worldwide remains committed to India, where BBC World News – the BBC’s international news and current affairs television channel – continues to be available across the market, along with the bbc.com and bbchindi.com websites, BBC Hindi radio and Global India, a new primetime programme produced by BBC Hindi TV which launched on five ETV channels this month. In addition, BBC Worldwide operates a TV production business, a content syndication business and Lonely Planet in India. BBC Worldwide is also evaluating the potential for a number of digital initiatives which have been successfully developed in other markets. BBC Entertainment programmes will also continue to be available on other channels in India – both terrestrial and cable, as well as digitally on our YouTube channel."

C21Media.com, 6 Nov 2012, Andrew McDonald: "BBC Worldwide is set to launch its portfolio of channels on Poland’s biggest satellite platform, Cyfrowy Polsat, this month. BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Knowledge and CBeebies will be made available in standard definition on Cyfrowy Polsat this month. BBC HD joined the DTH service on February 1. The BBC’s commercial arm said its channels will now be available on all the major satellite, cable and IPTV platforms in Poland. The networks are already on DTH services like Cyfra+ and N and on cable platforms including Vectra."

Report: Red Cross encounters "imposter" when attempting to visit jailed Uzbek journalist for VOA, RFE/RL.

Posted: 23 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Transmission blog, 20 Nov 2012: "The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been trying to arrange a visit with jailed Uzbek journalist Salijon Abdurahmanov for months, to no avail. A former correspondent for RFE/RL's Uzbek Service and a contributor to Voice of America and Uznews.net, Abdurahmanov was sentenced in October 2008 to 10 years in prison for possession of marijuana and opium, charges that he denies. ... [O]n the latest attempt, prison officials took subterfuge to a new level and presented an 'impostor' to the ICRC, according to the journalist's son, Davron, Uznews.net reports."

More BBG Twitter accounts than some of them have followers.

Posted: 23 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Innovation Series, 13 Nov 2012, Will Sullivan: "Have you ever wanted to know what everyone else in the BBG is working on, thinking about and writing on Twitter? Subscribe to this massive Twitter list and you can easily find out: https://twitter.com/journerdism/lists/bbg (Warning, it’s 200+ accounts, so it’s a lot to read.)" -- I am an employee of the BBG's IBB, but my Twitter account @kaedotcom did not make this list. Well, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, I would never join a Twitter list that would have me as a member.

CNN International launches new Asia-focused news programs.

Posted: 23 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN press release, 21 Nov 2012: "CNN is expanding its live programming in the Asia Pacific region with the launch of a new primetime morning news show, a new primetime evening news show, and the appointment of two new full-time anchors, it was announced today. ... The new primetime morning show, ‘CNN Newsroom, Live from Hong Kong’, will air from 3.30am to 5.30am [Indian Standard Time] each weekday beginning Monday November 19. Co-hosts Andrew Stevens and Patricia Wu will cover the top stories from Asia Pacific and across the world, along with headlines across business, sport, weather, technology, entertainment and more. ... Anchor/correspondent Monita Rajpal is also a new addition to the Hong Kong team, relocating from CNN London to host a new Asia primetime evening news show, ‘CNN NewsCenter’. The soon-to-be launched Hong Kong-anchored ‘CNN NewsCenter’ will air from 5.00pm – 5.30pm IST each weekday and will follow the format of the Atlanta-anchored show of the same name, taking viewers through the day’s big stories of global importance."

Activists promise no balloon launches "publicly" to North Korea until after South Korean election.

Posted: 23 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Bangkok Post, 15 Nov 2012: "North Korean defectors said on Thursday they had agreed to suspend public launches of anti-Pyongyang propaganda over the border until after the South's presidential election on December 19. Park Sang-Hak of the Fighters for Free North Korea said officials from South Korea's ruling New Frontier Party had asked the group to halt its activities in the run up to the poll, for fear of provoking Pyongyang. 'We won't do it publicly in the lead up to election day,' Park told AFP, while not ruling out unannounced launches away from the glare off the media. Park's group had been prevented from launching balloons carrying anti-North leaflets last month, after the North Korean military promised to respond with a 'merciless' artillery barrage."

Arirang News, 23 Nov 2012, Yoo Lian: "Anti-North Korea activists have floated balloons containing leaflets criticizing the North Korean regime on the second anniversary of the Yeonpyeong Island shelling. Friday marks the second year since North Korea attacked the border island, killing two South Korean soldiers and two civilians. Ten members of various conservative groups came together on Thursday night, and at midnight they released eighteen balloons into the air. The leaflets lay out the activists' feelings about the attack. The balloons are expected to fall around Mount Geumgang in North Korea."

New York Times, 21 Nov 2012, Choe Sand-Hun: "A South Korean man received a suspended 10-month prison term on Wednesday for resending North Korean propaganda posts from his Twitter account. The man, Park Jung-geun, 24, a photographer and social media and freedom of speech activist, was arrested in January on charges of violating South Korea’s National Security Law, which bans 'praising, encouraging or propagandizing' for North Korea but does not clearly define what constitutes such acts."

Artinfo, 14 Nov 2012, David D'Arcy: "Propaganda is the title of [a] feature-length cry of alarm from North Korea, which samples everything seductively evil about this global conspiracy in a style that blends marathon screeds by television preachers with the encyclopedic BBC doc panoramas of Adam Curtis. ... That said, Propaganda is worth watching – once, at least."

RT (Russia Today) claims larger UK audience than Al Jazeera English and Fox News.

Posted: 23 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today) press release, 20 Nov 2012: "During the 3rd quarter of 2012 RT's audience among all news channels in the UK was third largest after BBC News and Sky News according to BARB. It was also greater than the audience of all other English-language foreign news channels tracked by BARB, including Al Jazeera English, Fox News and Euronews. Nearly 2.5 million of UK viewers tuned in to watch RT during 3Q2012 according to the publically available BARB report. The report also shows that in average weekly ratings RT is ahead of Al Jazeera English, has double the viewership of Euronews and surpasses the audience of US' Fox News by more than three times over the same period. ... BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) began measuring RT in its weekly rankings in the summer of 2012. BARB provides official TV audience measurement in the UK. The organization collects overnight data on TV viewership of more than 250 channels that broadcast in the UK through the top-box technology which tracks the watching of specific programs in participating households. Its findings are publically accessible and are among the most credible statistics of this kind available in Britain." With link to table of BARB ratings. -- CNN is not mentioned in the BARB ratings, indicating that is not on any cable or satellite system that is measured by BARB. Also, no France 24, Euronews, or CCTV News.

Middle East Online, 16 Nov 2012, Anna Malpas: "Russia's state English language channel Russia Today (RT) scored one of its biggest scoops by interviewing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but its coverage of the crisis has come under increasing scrutiny over alleged pro-regime bias. Assad dramatically used the exclusive interview with the Kremlin-funded channel to pledge 'to live and die' in Syria, days after RT was criticised by British television watchdog Ofcom for lack of balance in one of its news broadcasts on Syria. But RT -- which has the slogan 'Question more' and was launched in 2005 in a bid to promote Russia's viewpoint globally -- accuses Western media of a bias towards the rebels. 'We definitely see a lot of bias in the mainstream media coverage of events in Syria,' the channel's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said by email in answer to written questions." See previous post about RT and Ofcom.

CNN International reporters win coveted crooked bowtie awards.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
CNN Press Room, 21 Nov 2012: "Last night, the combined efforts of CNN Digital and CNN International saw the network triumph at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards, winning three categories. CNN won the Print & Web Feature, Arts & Culture, and Story of the Year by a Full Member of the FPA awards. ... Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President of CNN International, said: 'It is a significant honour for us at CNN to have our journalism recognised so comprehensively by the FPA.'" Foreign Press Association, 23 Nov 2012: Also winners from BBC World Sercice and Al Jazeera English.

CNN Press Room, 14 Oct 2012: "CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson has won the Prix Bayeux Television Award for his powerful story 'Syria: Frontline Town – Zabadani’ filmed in January this year. Robertson received the prestigious award at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening. The judges praised the piece for the rare perspective it gave, telling the conflict from both sides of the front line following Arab League monitors on their hazardous duty."

Al Jazeera "interested in the far north of Western Australia" and in an Australian TV news anchor.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 17 Nov 2012, Paige Taylor: "For the environmentalists who oppose Woodside's proposed gas hub north of Broome, Al Jazeera's interest in their fight against a resources giant was an extraordinary opportunity. The broadcaster, owned by the state of Qatar, reaches 220 million households in more than 100 countries, and Environs. Kimberley wanted to ensure the 'no gas' message came through loud and clear. ... Residents said they believed Al Jazeera's trip to Broome this week was a sign the media company was increasingly interested in the far north of Western Australia. The indigenous people of Mowanjum reportedly felt that a recent report that Al Jazeera broadcast about a series of suicides in their community was both sensitive and respectful."

Media Spy, 18 Nov 2012, Dom Hennequin: "Former Ten News at Five Melbourne co-anchor Helen Kapalos will be gauging the interest of a number of international broadcasters this week following an unflattering departure from the struggling Australian network. According to Fairfax, Kapalos who is currently in New York on a pre-planned trip is reported to be meeting with CBS News executive Bill Mondora this week, with discussions with Al Jazeera and at least two other Australian networks also on the cards. The newsreader, who was dismissed by Ten minutes after anchoring the 9 November bulletin solo, has received an outpouring of support from fans and colleagues alike."

Al Jazeera taken off Jammu and Kashmir cable systems after Gaza protests.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Hundustan Times, 19 Nov 2012, Peerzada Ashiq: "With protests spreading in the Kashmir valley over developments in West Asia's Gaza area, the state cable operators on Monday stopped beaming Al-Jazeera. The events in Gaza are attracting sharp reactions from both mainstream and separatist leaders. ... The cable operators have stopped beaming popular channel Al-Jazeera. 'Since morning, we are not receiving the signal for the Qatar-based channel of Al-Jazeera,' said Mehraj Din, a resident of Rambagh. However, officials refused to comment on any ban being imposed on the channel." -- Presumably Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera studio in Cairo attacked and set on fire.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 21 Nov 2012, Tom Perry: "A studio used by the Al Jazeera TV network was set on fire on Wednesday in central Cairo as security forces and protesters fought in the streets of the Egyptian capital for a third day. Police said they had arrested three men on suspicion of being involved in the attack and gave no details on their identity or any affiliations. ... The studio operated by Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, a station set up to cover domestic affairs after the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, was badly damaged by the blaze. Overlooking Tahrir Square, its windows were smashed and two empty bottles, apparently used for petrol bombs, were found inside the office, Reuters TV footage showed."

Al Arabiya, 20 Nov 2012, Ahmed I. Abdallah, senior presenter and current affairs producer at Al Arabiya TV, with "message" to Egypt's minister of information: "There is a difference between the opinion page in a newspaper, and which is known to offer personal views, and a satellite channel which claims to be professional while it instigates millions of viewers. This is much more dangerous than the actual use of tanks and missiles like Marxists and Nazis used to say."

The Pentagon has paid The Rendon Group $100m to get its message to foreign audiences.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
USA Today, 20 Nov 2012, Tom Vanden Brook: "Senior officers at the Pentagon are being advised on countering Taliban propaganda by a marketing expert whose company once weeded out reporters who wrote negative stories in Afghanistan and helped the military deceive the enemy in Iraq, according to military documents and interviews. Since 2000, the military has paid the Rendon Group more than $100 million to help shape its communications strategy, analyze media coverage, run its propaganda programs and develop counter-narcotics efforts around the world, Pentagon documents show. One aspect of the company's work is aimed at changing attitudes of U.S. adversaries through messaging and advertising. Some Pentagon officials, including retired admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reject that, preferring instead to provide information and context about military operations. John Rendon insists his company simply helps the military avoid mistakes in getting its message across to foreign audiences."

Reporters Without Borders files complaint about satellite jamming of Eritrean exile station Radio Erena.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 8 Nov 2012: "Reporters Without Borders filed a complaint with the public prosecutor in Paris on 6 November accusing persons unknown of acts of piracy against Radio Erena, an Eritrean exile radio station based in Paris which broadcasts by satellite to the Horn of Africa and which is backed by Reporters Without Borders. A pirate transmission jammed the station’s signal on 14 August. Arabsat, the satellite operator that carried Radio Erena on its BADR-6 satellite, reacted by suspending the station because the jamming was disrupting other signals. ... For the time being Radio Erena is only broadcasting on the Internet, but only the Eritrean diaspora can access the web broadcasts because the Internet is not sufficiently developed in Eritrea. As a Paris-based radio station, Radio Erena operates under a convention ratified by France's Higher Council for Broadcasting (CSA)." -- Why not shortwave? As events in the past few months have demonstrated, shortwave radio is more difficult to jam than satellie broadcasting.

Sudan Tribune, 9 Nov 2012: "The first jamming against ERINA radio followed the station broadcasting an interview last August with an Ethiopian communication minister, Bereket Simon that covered a number of sensitive political and economic issues including development of the Ethiopian economy and on relations between rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea who fought a border war between 1998-2000 and who since remain at loggerheads over their unresolved border dispute. After the interview went on air, the Eritrean government in Asmara immediately accused the Paris-based radio station of 'inciting its liste

ners to acts of violence hostile to Eritrean government representatives'."

US News & World Report reporter examines VOA and USIB (updated: responses from BBG).

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
US News & World Report, 19 Oct 2012, Elizabeth Flock: "A mantra at VOA is: 'hiring is hard, but firing is impossible,' according to several employees. Some former and current VOA staffers recount instances in which middle managers were "removed" from their positions for poor performance, but were not fired. Instead, employees say, they were put into a space in the VOA building known as the 'Hall of No Jobs,' where they waited for someone to find them another job or counted down the days until retirement. And then there's the powerful board, which oversees all of the government's civilian broadcasting. The Broadcasting Board of Governors was established in 1999, to serve as a firewall between U.S. government policy makers and the media outlets' broadcasters, establishing credibility and objectivity. VOA spokesman King says that some members of Congress 'think we're their microphone.' The board is supposed to help mitigate that. But one VOA employee, who asked not to be named, said that most journalists in the building 'feel they need more protection from the firewall than they need the firewall itself,' because of the board's internal problems. ... There is talk about getting a CEO. That person would oversee the entire enterprise, including the board, VOA, and all the smaller broadcasters. A CEO might not be a silver bullet, [VOA director David] Ensor and [executive editor Steve] Redisch say, but it would be a good start. Despite all its problems, Ensor sees a necessity and has a vision for VOA. He says he wants VOA to both have impact—such as the vital health reporting provided by a sister broadcaster on polio and maternal mortality in Nigeria, as well as to have wide reach—such as the VOA service in Indonesia, where 25 percent of people in the country watch a TV program from the broadcaster each week."

"Sister broadcaster"? Only VOA broadcasts to Nigeria. But such is the complexity of the multiplicity of the USIB entities that this US News journalist (she wrote about VOA previously), despite focusing on the subject, comes away confused.

And for all of her inquiries to key players of US international broadcasting, the article says nothing about the key function of US international broadcasting: it provides the balanced, accurate, credible news that is not available from the state-controlled domestic media of the target countries. Was this important aspect not conveyed to her in her interviews with USIB officials?

Contrary to Ms. Flock's reporting, the Broadcasting Board of Governors dates back to the International Broadcasting Act of 1994. BBG operated administratively under the US Information Agency until 1999, when it became an independent, autonomous entity, and the remainder of the USIA functions were folded into the State Department.

This response from Eliabeth Flock:

"I saw your blog post, and just wanted to let you know that we clarified that the Nigeria reporting was from VOA.

"Also, I don’t think I ignored the key function of US international broadcasting, which as you said is in part to provide credible media to state-controlled countries. I mentioned in the story that VOA began with broadcasts to communist countries, that it has been a method of communication with populations abroad since 1942, and that it is an important tool of public diplomacy. I also noted that VOA’s reporting often has to circumvent government efforts to block it in places like Iran and China.

"Finally, we chose to cite the beginning of the BBG as 1999 because before that it was a department within the United States Information Agency."

Update: US News & World Report, 30 Oct 2012, letter from Michael Lynton, presiding governor of the Broadcasting Board of Governors: "Your October 19 article about VOA stated–unattributed–that we are 'disinterested.' But the six current appointed board members have been energetically engaged for more than two years in helping bring much-needed change to a venerable institution trying to adapt to today's complex media environment. We take our charge seriously. ... It is a shame that the reporter omitted the views of people within and outside this agency who support what we are trying to achieve, as well as the impressive efforts by professionals in U.S. international broadcasting who are innovating every day to bring news and information to those without access to unfettered media."

US News & World Report, 12 Nov 2012, letter from Victor Ashe, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors: "It pains me to disagree publicly with my colleague, Michael Lynton, ... but the record should state that it reflects his views and not those of a unanimous board. I offer the following information: The unfortunate truth is that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees VOA, has not had a full board meeting with all members present in the same room in over 16 months. While some participate by phone, it is still not a substitute for face to face meetings. Our BBG July meeting was canceled due to no shows and we skipped August. The September meeting failed to consider 85 percent of the agenda in a day meeting. The October meeting was reduced to a short morning meeting with numerous topics deferred due to a luncheon one member wished to attend instead of staying at BBG. ... Meanwhile, the Radio Free Europe audit committee has not met since May, despite an ongoing audit delving into questionable Moscow personnel firings, travel and compensation packages issues, and repeated calls for a meeting which have been ignored."

Euronews Radio, in six languages, already claims 300,000 listeners.

Posted: 22 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 13 Nov 2012, Robert Briel: "Officially launched on October 2, Euronews Radio is now available on 11 digital platforms as well as on the App Store (free app for iPad and iPhone) and Google Play. Euronews Radio claims it has 300,000 listeners. The radio stations broadcasts a news bulletin every 15 during the morning rush hour (6.00 to 10.00 CET), after which a 30 minute interval is used. The bulletins cover world news, economy, sports, culture, science and music topics. In between the bulletins, Euronews Radio broadcasts music. ... Euronews Radio is available in six language versions, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian The station has been selected for the terrestrial digital radio project in France. ... Euronews Radio is available at on several platforms, including internet, mobile, digital radio, smart TV, automotive, PC and tablets."

ACTMedia (Bucharest), 15 Nov 2012: "The Romanian television launches on 15 November the news channel TVR News in partnership with Euronews – one of the most important TV stations in Europe. ... TVR News will broadcast journalistic contents made by Euronews mainly and informative programmes made by the news department of TVR. The TVR News will contain news bulletins and magazine shows taken from Euronews and broadcast all day long, as well as a personal news bulletin, presented between 16:00 – 16:10 under the Euronews format without a presenter. The Euronews journals will be sent in English and the magazine shows will be subtitled in Romanian."

Al Jazeera English commentator criticizes Caracas-based international channel Telesur.

Posted: 21 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 9 Nov 2012, Nikolas Kozloff: "TeleSur, which receives funding from Venezuela as well as other leftist Latin American countries, has lost a lot of credibility through its misplaced coverage of Arab revolutions. According to a scholarly article in Global Media Journal, TeleSur adopted an ideological approach when covering unrest in Libya which implicitly embraced official government positions. Later, in Syria, a TeleSur correspondent frequently quoted state-controlled Sana while TV anchors based in Caracas relied mainly on Al-Ba'ath, a newspaper which is close with the Assad regime. ... Global Media Journal writes that TeleSur blew its credibility during the Arab Spring and missed a historic opportunity to become an important media player throughout the region. Indeed, TeleSur's abysmal coverage may have wound up wrecking Chavez's "honeymoon" with the Arab world. Al Giordano, who runs 'Narco News' ... claims to have had 'first hand dealings with various TeleSur employees and freelancers', and says the latter 'live in constant, abject fear of getting "the call from Caracas" (their words) or angering their superiors'. Giordano adds that TeleSur 'is a viper's nest for anyone employed there, filled with bullying middle managers and cut throat colleagues who covet each other's jobs'."

Ciudad CCS (Caracas), 20 Nov 2012, Clodovaldo Hernández interviewing Venezueland television program host Mario Silva (translated by Venezuelanalysis.com): "Ciudad CCS: In 2015 the public broadcast concession of [opposition TV] Globovision expires… Mario Silva: (Without waiting for the end of the question)…They should take it from them. I think that Globovision is harmful and should go off the air, although Venevision [another private Venezuelan TV channel] is much more pernicious. There are two ways to stick it in: with sand or with vaseline. Globovision sticks it into you with sand and Venevision with vaseline."

NBC Universal closing some international channels. (BTW, president of NBCU International is slated to be next BBG chairman.)

Posted: 21 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Television Business International, 20 Nov 2012, Stewart Clarke: "NBC Universal is closing several of its international channels and has placed a group of its staff at risk of redundancy, TBI has learned. Industry sources confirmed that NBC will close several of its networks. The channels are part of NBC Universal’s international television group, which is run by Kevin MacLellan. Specifically, its channel division Universal Networks International, will close general entertainment service Universal Channel in Japan, Greece and Turkey. In Japan, NBC Universal wants to focus on the other channels it runs in the country: Golf and its news network CNBC. The Syfy channel in Russia will also close. Universal and Diva will still operate in Russia. Between 20-and-25 positions are at risk of redundancy following the news of the closures." See previous post about NBC Universal and about NBC Universal International president Jeffrey Shell, who has been nominated by President Obama to be the next chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Where did CNNGo.com go? It went to cnn.com/travel.

Posted: 21 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
"Today marks an exciting step in the evolution of Travel and CNN. We’ve merged the Asia-Pacific-focused travel website CNNGo.com with CNN.com International to create a new, bigger and better global digital travel channel -- CNN Travel. ... The familiar CNNGo focus, voice and concept are the same, but our coverage will now be carried out at a global level. The same team that produced CNNGo.com will helm CNN Travel. ... The vibrant monthly CNN International feature television program CNNGo continues as 'CNNGo' -- you can find the latest episodes and schedules here."

Radio France International will add video to broaden its "listener base."

Posted: 20 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Orad Hi-Tec Systems press release, 12 Nov 2012: "Radio France International (RFI) has chosen RadioTV, Orad's solution for the automatic production of radio shows, to publish two of its flagship shows on its website and social media channels. A French public radio station destined for foreign audiences, RFI's long term plans are to rely on Orad's solution to offer a sizeable portion of its programs on different media such as smartphones, tablets, etc. More often than ever, radio stations give their online audience the opportunity to watch talk shows live, especially political shows. 'Video can give radio the chance to reach a younger, more web-savvy audience, thus broadening its listener base, more so than podcasts,' explains Thierry Fanchon, who is in charge of information systems and technical management at the AEF (Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France). 'However, we have no intention of getting into video without full mastery of our production costs. In addition, we immediately dismissed single-camera systems, which offer little added value.' ... 'We aren't quite there yet, but we intend on moving towards online television as well as tablets or mobile devices.' RFI will soon move to a new location in Issy-les-Moulineaux (southwest of Paris), with larger studios. 'We will have 14 studios, in which we should be installing RadioTV systems on a more ambitious scale. The four-camera system was a first step, but we are now looking at every possibility.'"

Departing chief executive of Australia Network says ABC/Sky News partnership should have been explored.

Posted: 20 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 13 Nov 2012, Nick Leys: "Australia lost an opportunity to showcase itself to the region with the Australia Network because of a politicised tender process, its outgoing chief executive has said. Bruce Dover, who has announced he will not renew his contract with Australia Network when it expires on December 31, said the government should have been open to the idea of a combined service run by the ABC and commercial rival Sky News. Mr Dover said that, while it was not the reason he had decided to leave the role, the stress of running Australia Network during the tender process had not been insignificant. ... Mr Dover, who has been chief executive for five years, said the resources of both networks should have been pooled to deliver a better product. 'It is not about Sky or the ABC, but how to best present Australia to the world and region,' Mr Dover said. 'The process was politicised. I think it was a lost opportunity to provide the best of what we both do, combined in the interests of Australia. Instead it came back to a perceived battle between the ABC and News Limited.'" See also australianetwork.com.

BBC News video describes satellite jamming.

Posted: 20 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 16 Nov 2012, video produced by Thomas Hannen, with Mike Linstead from BBC Monitoring: "There has been an increase in the number of complaints about the jamming of satellite TV signals around the world. Broadcasters such as the BBC, Voice of America, France 24, Deutsche Welle and Al-Jazeera have all seen transmissions of their international programmes jammed recently. The European Broadcasting Union has accused Iran and Syria of being behind the disruption and of attacking media freedom. But authorities in Tehran and Damascus say that their broadcasts are also being interfered with. But how does satellite jamming work? And what can be done about it?"

BBC World Service press release, 20 Nov 2012: "At a conference hosted by the BBC today, broadcasters and satellite operators condemned the sharp increase in jamming of broadcasts, and considered what steps can be taken to address the growing threat of intentional blocking of international broadcasts and internet services. ... Peter Horrocks, Director of Global News at the BBC, says: 'Satellite jamming is a growing scourge and a threat to the vital flow of free information. Throughout its history the BBC World Service has countered the efforts of jammers, whether on old shortwave or new satellites. We always called on the guile of the best editorial and technical minds to overcome jamming. Today we do that again to help tackle the menace of jamming.' On the internet, BBC Chinese has been blocked in China since its launch in 1999. BBC Persian has been blocked intermittently from 2006 onwards, and routinely since 2009. The BBC has run pilot services with Psiphon (a Canadian corporation that develops advanced censorship circumvention systems and technologies specifically designed to support users in countries where access to the internet is restricted) to deliver content into China, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan so that people who want to read BBC news are still able to do so. Over one million pages are viewed weekly through the BBC's Psiphon web proxies."

@peterhorrocks1, 20 Nov 2012: "Eutelsat identifies cases of satellite jamming: 2010: 54; 2011: 109; 2012 so far: 340. Huge increase in menace of jamming. #bbcEndJamming"

Press TV, 15 Nov 2012: "The Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) has taken all Iranian channels off air in East Asia. The satellite provider says the decision to stop providing services to all Iranian channels is in line with a US law recently signed by President Barack Obama. On Friday, Obama renewed America's 33-year-old state of emergency against Iran, which gives the president the power to impose sanctions and take other measures in case of an 'unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy' of the United States. According to the new sanction regime, American companies are banned from doing business with Iran. Nearly 37 percent of AsiaSat’s shares are owned by the General Electric which itself is owned by an American company."

United Against Nuclear Iran press release, 15 Nov 2012: "On Thursday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) applauded Hong Kong's Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat), for ending its broadcasting of Iranian regime programming. In a November 9, 2012 letter to AsiaSat, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, called on AsiaSat to 'end all business activities in Iran and specifically cease the broadcast of all Iranian regime transmissions via the AsiaSat 3S and AsiaSat 5 satellites, including that of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN) and their affiliates such as Press TV.' Based on confidential discussions, UANI can reveal that beginning today, November 15, AsiaSat has terminated its satellite services to IRIB and will no longer maintain business in Iran."

AFP, 14 Nov 2012: "The European Union on [14 November] denounced Iran's 'deliberate jamming' of television and radio satellite broadcasts that deprive its citizens of access to free information, and called on Tehran to abide by global telecommunications laws. 'Since 2009, repeated waves of jamming have affected the signals of European satellites in the Middle East,' EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement. 'Such jamming, whose origin has been traced to Iran in particular, are hammering the broadcast of international media on Iranian territory.' Among the affected broadcasters were Britain's BBC, France 24, US-funded Voice of America and Germany's Deutsche Welle, Ashton said."

Press TV, 14 Nov 2012: "Iran has dismissed claims made by the French Foreign Ministry that Tehran is jamming the signals of European satellite TV channels. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast rejected the claims as 'unfounded' on Wednesday, saying that some Western governments are exemplary in this regard with their behavior and double standards. The Iranian diplomat said the French remarks come at a time when certain European satellites have dropped Iranian channels with the purpose of depriving public opinion of access to realties."

See previous post about same subject.

Digital text via analog shortwave radio broadcast this weekend on KBC Radio.

Posted: 17 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Mighty KBC, 14 Nov 2012: "At The Mighty KBC, we have been experimenting with digital text modes during our Sunday 0000-0200 UTC broadcast on 9450 kHz. Text via shortwave can be a useful substitute if the Internet is disrupted or blocked. To decode the digital text transmissions, we suggest that you download FLDIGI from www.w1hkj.com. Please also download FLMSG, because we will use it on our 25 November broadcast. On 18 November, the first text transmission at about 0130 UTC will be in three modes simultaneously. On the 'waterfall,' PSKR125 will be centered at 1000 Hz, DominoEX 16 at 1500 Hz, and MFSK32 at 2000 Hz. Decode one of the modes from your radio, then decode the others from your recording. Just before 0200 UTC, The Mighty KBC program schedule will be sent as a web page. Two modes will be available: PSKR250 on the left, and MFSK64 on the right. Decode one from the radio, and the other from your recording." -- The Mighty KBC is a private shortwave broadcasting company based in the Netherlands and leasing time on a transmitter in Bulgaria. Its schedule includes an English broadcast to North America UTC Sunday at 0000-0200 UTC (Saturday evening 7 to 9 pm Eastern Time) on 9450 kHz. The digital text transmissions will be part of this broadcast. The person introducing each text transmission might be familiar to you.

YouTube, 11 Nov 2012, OfficialSWLchannel shows what the decoding of the KBC digital text looked like as received in Montreal. At about eight minutes into the video, the digital tone begins, and the camera tilts down to the PC display. Copy is not perfect, but neither was the signal, and the experimental process has only just begun.

Report: Winner of 1986 BBC essay contest has been in Ugandan prison for 26 years.

Posted: 17 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
New Vision (Kampala), 29 Oct 2012: "The yearning to see his 82-year-old mother is the greatest urge Ronald Gabula has in his heart. Formerly on death row and now serving a commuted sentence of twenty years, Gabula, 43, has been in Luzira Upper Prison for 20 years. He is suffering from peptic ulcers with on and off bleeding. Gabula will have been behind bars for 26 years by the time his sentence ends in November 2013. ... Tears fill his eyes and his voice trembles as he narrates how he ended up in jail. In 1986, as a senior six student, Gabula participated in a BBC essay writing competition. He wrote an essay entitled: ‘Under development in Africa: A Case of False Economics’. A year later, while in first year at Makerere University pursuing a degree in commerce, he was invited to BBC headquarters in London to collect his prize and present the essay. ... [Later he was] tortured until he signed a confession that he was part of the rebel Ninth October movement."

US international broadcasting entities reach 175 million weekly, down 12 million from previous year's estimate.

Posted: 15 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 14 Nov 2012: "U.S. government-funded, civilian international broadcasters reached an estimated 175 million people per week on a variety of media platforms in 2012, including large audiences in countries that are key priorities for U.S. foreign policy, the Broadcasting Board of Governors announced today. The figure, which reflects the combined viewership and listenership of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Martí, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), is a net decrease of 12 million from last year’s record total as detailed in the BBG’s annual Performance Accountability Report. While this drop likely reflects actual loss in overall audience, some of it may also be attributable to a change in research providers and resulting changes in the survey questionnaire, both of which occurred during FY 2012. ... Audiences grew substantially in Iran, where more than 10 million people watch or hear BBG programs, and in other key countries including Libya, and Ethiopia. The largest change was in Indonesia, where audience numbers dropped by 17.4 million, from 38 million to 21 million people, in part due to a potential overestimate in 2011. Among other countries that saw audience declines were Egypt, Nigeria, and Burma, as these markets became more competitive and open; in Haiti, where surge broadcasts instituted after the 2010 earthquake diminished; and in Russia, where government media regulations have curtailed distribution." With links to pdf documents with more details. -- The survey in Iran took place in March 2012, when Iran was not jamming VOA satellite broadcasts. That absence of jamming probably contributed to the increase in VOA's audience in Iran over that measured in the 2010 survey, when Iran was jamming. Iran's jamming of VOA and BBC Persian television broadcasts has resumed, with likely downward effect on the Iranian audience size and the BBG global audience estimate.

Broadcasting Board of Governors November meeting canceled, but Strategy and Budget Committee is webcast today 1900 UTC.

Posted: 15 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 15 Nov 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors Strategy & Budget Committee will hold a closed meeting Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the headquarters of Radio Free Asia in Washington, D.C. The agenda includes discussion of strategies for Voice of America and Radio Free Asia in Burma and China, and for VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Russia and Iran. Also on the agenda are updates on the agency’s Internet anti-censorship program and content management systems used by the BBG and its grantees, as well as the outlook for the budget in the rest of Fiscal Year 13 and preparations for FY14. The Strategy & Budget Committee meeting will then hold an open meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. [1900 to 2000 UTC]. The agenda includes the 2012 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) and Alhurra TV programming initiatives." With links to live and on-demand video of the meeting.

Broadcasting Board of Governors, 15 Nov 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) full board meeting, scheduled for Nov. 15, 2012, at BBG Headquarters in Washington, D.C., has been canceled."

RFE/RL Russian ends medium wave broadcasts in Moscow, but controversy continues.

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Euronews, 10 Nov 2012: "Complying with new legislation in Russia, Radio Liberty [stopped] broadcasting in the country after nearly 60 years. As of November 10, licences held by companies who are at least 48 percent foreign-owned is forbidden. Liberty, known locally as Radio Svoboda, receives funding from US Congress and was set up to cater for countries where there are restrictions on information. ... Radio Liberty will now concentrate on digital platforms, causing job losses for more than 40 people and, according to some, muffling criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin." With video. -- Radio Liberty did not broadcast in Russia until 1992. It is still broadcasting into Russia via shortwave, just as it did before 1992.

oD Russia, 5 Nov 2012, Anastasia Kirilenko: "I am a 28-year-old Russian web editor and investigative radio reporter who studied digital media journalism in Russia and in France. I have submitted my resignation to the new management of the American-funded Radio Liberty in Moscow after working there for almost four years. I could not in all conscience stay at the ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ Radio Liberty, as the station is now being described by its American management. It is no longer a news organization I and most independent journalists and democratic opposition leaders in Russia want to identify with."

Human Rights in Russia, 13 Nov 2012, Masha Karp: "It was Mikhail Sokolov, one of the best political journalists at the old Liberty who reproached [RFE/RL president Steven] Korn for betraying American values and the radio station’s mission . This accusation went unanswered, as did practically all the other arguments put forward by Korn’s opponents. Marina Timasheva, another former Radio Liberty journalist who had been in charge of cultural programming, spoke about the changes that had taken place at the station and about the variety of skills – including digital – that its staff had acquired in recent years. Aleksander Cherkasov tried to explain that even the best state-of-the-art equipment would be nothing without experienced journalists devoted to what they are doing. Pavel Litvinov wondered why, with the Russian propaganda TV channel Russia Today freely broadcasting in America, the USA could not have tried to insist on at least some reciprocal arrangement for Radio Liberty. And the sociologist Lev Gudkov touched on perhaps the most sensitive issue for the American management – the issue of the target audience. According to Lev Gudkov’s data, Radio Liberty shared an audience with the newspapers Vedomosti, Kommersant, Novaya gazeta, and partially with radio Echo Moskvy, reaching about 3-4m people in Russia. The change from radio to internet, warned Gudkov, would not only decrease the number of listeners, but also dramatically change the character of the audience. Targeting the internet–savvy younger audience would bring no benefit since these people already have a wide variety of channels at their disposal, and competing with those would undoubtedly prove a much riskier business than keeping the loyal, devoted audience that Radio Liberty has been able to boast of until now." Via BBG Watch, 13 Nov 2012. See also YouTube, 5 Nov 2012, FreeMediaOnline.

RadioLibertyInExile, 11 Nov 2012, quoting RFE/RL president Steven Korn: "I think the words and attitude of those people, one in particular, speaks for itself, for themselves, and my theme, like the President's, is forward, we're done debating this, we're done gnashing our teeth about it, we're done wringing our hands, we're done with the second guessing, we are going forward." See also RadioLibertyInExile, 11 Nov 2012.

See previous post about same subject.

VOA's Jessica Beinecke is winner of 2012 AIB Founders' Award.

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 8 Nov 2012: "Jessica Beinecke, host and creator of VOA’s online English-Chinese teaching program, OMG! Meiyu, is the winner of the Association for International Broadcasting's 2012 Founders’ Award. The award was presented in London Wednesday night at the AIB Global Media Excellence Awards gala, which attracted broadcast journalists from around the world. 'I am so excited that OMG! Meiyu eceived such an amazing honor,' Jessica said. 'Each episode has originated from a user-suggested topic, so I can't wait to get back to China to share this award with the fans who make OMG! happen.'" -- Congratulations to Jessica. And, come to think of it, I'm one of the three founders of the AIB. We worked out the idea in a London restaurant an unspecified number of years ago. I have not been involved with the organization since then, and had no part in choosing the winner of the Founders' Award. Good choice, though.

See also AIB website, with link (pdf) to all winners, incuding France 24, Deutsche Welle, BBC World Service, BBC Arabic, and Radio Taiwan International, or their programs or broadcasters.

Report: Committee of Turkish opposition party "set to head to Syria to receive" captured Alhurra cameraman.

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Hürriyet Daily News, 14 Nov 2012: "A committee from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is set to head to Syria to receive Turkish journalist Cüneyt Ünal from custody, CHP Hatay deputy Refik Eryilmaz has said, daily Hürriyet has reported. Eryilmaz reportedly met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last month and discussed the situation of two Turkish journalists who were captured in the summer by Syrian soldiers. 'Bashar al-Assad has welcomed the idea of releasing [the journalists],' Eryilmaz said. Eryilmaz’s recent meetings reportedly signaled that journalist Ünal would soon be freed, but the situation of the other journalist, Basar Kadumi, remains unclear. Ünal went missing with Jordanian colleague Bashar Fahmi shortly after crossing into Syria from Turkey on Aug. 20. He appeared in an interview with a Syrian pro-government television channel several days later, in which he described his capture by Syrian soldiers in Aleppo."

Reporters sans frontières, 6 Nov 2012: "Reporters Without Borders has learned from reliable sources that Bashar Fahmi Al-Kadumi, a Jordanian journalist of the Al-Hurra network is alive and in good health. His fate had been unknown following his 20 August disappearance in Aleppo. Al-Kadumi had disappeared along with a Turkish colleague, Cüneyt Ünal, an Al-Hurra camerman. According to information gathered by the press freedom organization, Al-Kadumi had ben wounded in the shoulder and was hospitalized in Damascus. This information contradicts a government communiqué of 4 September in which the Syrian information minister said that Syrian authorities were not holding the journalist." See also RSF, 30 Oct 2012.

Reporter Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal were working for Alhurra TV at the time of their capture in Syria. See previous post about same subject.

BBC Arabic TV show "puts the spotlight on innovative filmmakers from the Arab region."

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Middle East Online, 6 Nov 2012, Mona Deely, BBC Arabic’s Alternative Cinema producer: "There is now a way to catch up on films from the Gulf, Iraq and Yemen; to discover old and contemporary films from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia; and to find out about developments in filmmaking in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and more. All you have to do is tune into BBC Arabic TV to watch its weekly show ‘Alternative Cinema’ (Cinema Badila). With movie theatres showing a limited range of films in many parts of the Arab region, and sometimes relying on formulaic commercial blockbusters, BBC Arabic TV has created a new cinema programme that puts the spotlight on innovative filmmakers from the Arab region, allowing them to reach an unprecedented audience estimated at 25.3 million weekly viewers for the channel. Short films shown on BBC Arabic TV explore a wide spectrum of views, opinions and concerns across the Arab region and its emigrant communities from around the world."

"Globo has a special affection for Portugal."

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Globo TV International press release, 8 Nov 2012: "In partnership with cable TV operator ZON, Globo is slated to debut a new channel in Portugal this weekend. The channel, named Globo, will broadcast telenovelas such as Aquele Beijo and Seize the Day. Programming will also include talk shows, series, comedies, and a weekly special devoted to Brazilian cinema. The channel, which will kick off on Sunday, November 11 at 8 p.m., is expected to reach 5 million Portuguese viewers who have a subscription to ZON's basic cable package. Ricardo Scalamandré, the head of Globo's international business, commented: 'Globo has a special affection for Portugal.'"

US TV stations seek payment from Canadian cable systems.

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media, 9 Nov 2012, Sean Davidson: "A small group of TV stations in the US has banded together in a bid to petition cash from Canada – arguing they are owed money for signals picked up by [Canadian] distributors. The US Television Coalition, a group of five free-to-air stations located near the border, want Canadian cable, satellite and internet distributors to pay for the right to carry their signals. The coalition includes WIVB and WNLO – both CBS affiliates in Buffalo, New York – WHEC, an NBC affiliate in nearby Rochester, ABC’s KSTP in Minneapolis and NBC’s WDIV in Detroit. Signals from those and other stations have long been picked up and carried by [Canadian] distributors without compensation." See also Hollywood Reporter, 8 Nov 2012 and Globe and Mail, 8 Nov 2012.

In Canada, "Internet killed the shortwave star."

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Canada.com, 7 Nov 2012, Michael MacDonald: "The high-powered shortwave transmitters used to broadcast CBC’s international radio service (RCI) to the world have been permanently shut down due to a 'world wide decline in shortwave use.' ... In April, the CBC reduced RCI’s budget from $12.3 million annually to $2.3 million following a $115M reduction in its parliamentary allocation announced in the 2012 federal budget. These cuts resulted in job losses and ushered in the death of shortwave radio in Canada. 'We are looking to sell the building site intact.. [It sits on] 228 acres of land… in the Tantramar Marsh,' [Martin Marcotte, director of CBC Transmission] said. 'But we’ll dismantle it if no one buys it.' ... [N]ot all shortwave broadcasts from that facility were aimed overseas. For many communities in Northern Quebec, the shortwave broadcasts were among their only connection with the outside world, especially in the isolating winter months." -- The shortwave transmissions to northern Quebec continue, but presumably no longer than 1 December, when the license for CBC's shortwave at Sackville NB expires. See previous post about same subject.

At the BBG, cloud computing is "the central paradigm" of IT.

Posted: 12 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Microsoft Case Studies, 6 Nov 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) supervises US government-supported global broadcasting networks. ... That vital work requires elaborate systems for generating, aggregating, and disseminating news content. Maintaining so many networks requires advanced technology, and the BBG concluded years ago that moving to cloud technologies as part of a series of strategic IT initiatives would offer a cost-effective way to augment its IT infrastructure. 'By virtue of the different markets that we serve, the BBG has to operate a huge and diverse portfolio of technologies,' explains André Mendes, Director, Office of Technology, Services, and Innovation at the Broadcasting Board of Governors. 'To do that, we are undergoing a substantial technology migration that has cloud computing as the central paradigm of what we are going to do from an information technology standpoint.'"

Former VOA director David Jackson is new executive editor of the Washington Times.

Posted: 12 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 7 Nov 2012, Christopher Dolan: "Veteran journalist David S. Jackson has been named executive editor of The Washington Times, company president and CEO Larry Beasley announced Wednesday. Mr. Jackson, a former correspondent for Time magazine and director of the Voice of America, started his career in newspapers and later served in senior news-management positions overseeing online, broadcasting and print operations. ... After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Jackson created and edited a public website for the Defense Department devoted to news and information about the war against terrorism. In September 2002, he was appointed by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors as the 26th director of the Voice of America, the nation’s leading international broadcasting service that provides news and information in 44 languages to audiences around the world. Under his leadership, VOA’s global audience grew by one-third, to nearly 120 million people, and VOA’s website was named one of Google’s top 10 Internet destinations for international news." See also the Wikipedia article about the Washington Times.

BBC Arabic, now 75 years old, maintains objectivity by "a deft performance on a tightrope."

Posted: 12 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 12 Nov 2012, Jonathan Gornall: "At precisely 5.33pm GMT on Wednesday, the BBC will celebrate its 90th birthday with a simultaneous three-minute broadcast of Radio United, a programme comprising messages from listeners to 60 BBC stations - chiefly domestic, but including the Arabic service, its oldest foreign-language station. The BBC began its Arabic-language service - its first excursion into non-English broadcasting - just 15 years after the corporation itself was founded. The twin birthdays - 90 years and 75 years - will be celebrated by many in the Arabic-speaking world, including the millions of new listeners and viewers who have flocked to the now multi-platform BBC Arabic service since the start of the Arab Spring. The BBC's radio penetration alone is actually in decline, partly as a result of a policy to reduce expensive and poor-quality short-wave and medium-wave transmissions in favour of FM, which requires the permission of host countries to install the necessary equipment on their soil, but also as a product of the changing media landscape. This year the BBC's Arabic radio service has had 7.6 million listeners, down from 10.1m last year and 11.5m in 2010. But TV, increasingly, is king, and this is where the BBC has been putting on the numbers. Latest figures show that the audience for BBC Arabic as a whole - an online service was added in 1998, and television in 2008 - have risen by more than 17 per cent to a record high of 25.3 million adults since the start of the Arab Spring. ... Objectivity has always been the touchstone of the BBC's Arabic service - and achieving it has required a deft performance on a tightrope."

George Entwistle resigns, and Tim Davie, on his way to becoming CEO of BBC Worldwide, becomes acting DG of BBC.

Posted: 12 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Independent (Dublin), 12 Nov 2012: "The BBC's director of news and her deputy have stepped aside as a result of a botched Newsnight report which contributed to the resignation of director-general George Entwistle. The moves by Helen Boaden and her deputy Stephen Mitchell came as a report was produced into the Newsnight programme that mistakenly implicated Lord McAlpine in a sex abuse scandal. The BBC's head of newsgathering, Fran Unsworth, and Ceri Thomas, the editor of the Radio 4 Today programme, are to fill in for Ms Boaden and Mr Mitchell temporarily. The changes - which also include a change in the 'chain of command' dealing with all BBC output - were announced in response to the report into Newsnight by Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland."

@untappedberw, 10 Nov 2012: "BBC director general resigns after 6 weeks in the job. I have cheese that's been in the fridge longer than that."

The Observer, 10 Nov 2012, Vanessa Thorpe: "The appointment of Tim Davie, a man with no career history in journalism, as acting editor in chief [and acting directior general] of the BBC was greeted with surprise following the resignation of George Entwistle. ... Robin Lustig, the respected veteran presenter of World Tonight, tweeted: 'Tim Davie has no background in journalism. He's a good man, but just saying …' ... Earlier this year Davie, who has a wife and three sons, was named as the chief executive officer of BBC Worldwide, a role he was due to take up on 1 December 2012." See also BBC Trust, 10 Nov 2012. See previous post about Tim Davie.

@sambrook, 11 Nov 2012, Richard Sambrook, former director of BBC World Service: "Calls for further management cull at BBC risks losing even more experience at top. Loss of seasoned execs contributed much to current crisis."

POLIS, 12 Nov 2012, Charlie Beckett: "I hope whoever comes in will learn lessons from places like Sky or the hugely improved ITV news. I also hope they look abroad and not just to the English-speaking world. The BBC has rested on its reputational laurels for too long. Go see the elements of excellence in places like Al Jazeera, Swedish Radio, and even NPR. For too long BBC top brass has lectured everyone else about its virtues instead of looking to learn lessons."

US sanctions against Iranian officials for satellite jamming and "electronic curtain."

Posted: 12 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 9 Nov 2012, Bradley Klapper: "The Obama administration has imposed financial sanctions against officials and government bodies in Iran that the U.S. blames for jamming satellite broadcasts and blocking Internet access for ordinary Iranians. Thursday's action is the first foreign policy announcement since President Barack Obama won re-election. ... Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says those targeted include Reza Taghipour, Iran's minister of communication and information technology, and Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Nuland blamed Taghipour for ordering satellite broadcasts jammed and restricting Internet connectivity."

State Department, 8 Nov 2012, statement by spokesperson Victoria Nuland: "These actions underscore the Administration’s ongoing commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the abuses carried out against their own citizens. Those designated today include Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Reza Taghipour, who has been found responsible for ordering the jamming of satellite television broadcasts and restricting internet connectivity. ... Such abuses demonstrate the Iranian Government’s ongoing campaign to censor its own citizens, curtail their freedoms, and to prevent the free flow of information both in to and out of Iran. ... We will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an 'electronic curtain' to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world."

PC Advisor, 9 November 2012, John Ribeiro: "Earlier this year, the Iranian Students' News Agency quoted Taghipour as saying that the Internet is an 'unsafe network,' and that Iran would use local software to create a national grid."

IT ProPortal, 9 November 2012, Monira Matin: "[I]n September, the Iranian government blocked YouTube indefinitely. Companies colluding with the government include AmnAfzar Gostar-e Sharif and PeykAsa, which are being sanctioned for monitoring Iranian web traffic and blocking access to Facebook, eBay and YouTube."

Mashable, 9 Nov 2012, Curt Hopkins: Iran's "censorship regime is second only to China’s in its ubiquity and complexity, marshalling economic pressure, social pressure and legal measures."

CNET, 8 Nov 2012, Dara Kerr: "Iran is notorious for being a foe of the Internet, and the U.S. government has decided to do something about it."

Mediacaster, 9 Nov 2012: "Canadian global satellite operator Telesat says it will no longer carry broadcast content or programming of the Iranian regime. Telesat has also said it will stop 'any direct business relationships with the Government of Iran or entities owned or controlled by that government.' The global satellite service provider had been in communication with a U.S. based not for profit group called United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which had sought the cessation of transmission and has now congratulated Telesat for its decision 'to end all business activities in Iran and specifically cease the broadcast of all Iranian regime transmissions via the Telstar 12 satellite, including that of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), and their affiliates.' ... Added Telesat: 'The IRIB, we learned, was transmitting to Telstar 12 in order to make its broadcast signal available to a teleport facility located in Pennsylvania, where the signal was then retransmitted to an Intelsat satellite for broadcast distribution across the United States.'" See previous post about Eutelsat and Intelast dropping Iranain channels.

Press TV, 6 Nov 2012: "Last week Russian satellite Express-aM22 began broadcasting a package of Iranian TV and radio channels in the territory of Russian Federation and CIS. The Satellite, owned by Federal State Unitary Enterprise 'Russian Satellite Communications' is now carrying 8 Iranian TV channels and 11 radio stations." With video. See also Radio Zamaneh, 4 Nov 2012. And Lyngsat Express AM22 page.

Al Manar, 7 Nov 2012: "[An] Iranian documentary produced in reaction to the blasphemous US movie [was] broadcast through 50 satellite networks and hundreds of internet websites on November 8. The documentary named 'The Prophet' is the first media response of the Islamic world to the defamatory American movie and will come out in Persian, English and Arabic."

Egyptian court orders state to renew broadcast license of Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr.

Posted: 09 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Ahram Online, 3 Nov 2012: "Egypt's Administrative Court issued a verdict Saturday ordering the state to renew the broadcasting license of Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr. A lawsuit demanding reinstatement was filed by Al-Jazeera news network, claiming that administrative entities refused to renew the channel's license with no reason given despite all conditions having been met. In September 2011, Al-Jazeera Misr office was raided by security forces during an inspection operation of the legal accreditation of 16 TV news channels that started functioning in Egypt following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr broadcast live most of the major protests that Egypt witnessed since the ouster of Mubarak." -- I'm not sure what the license authorizes. Does Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr have a terrestrial channel in Egypt? Or is the license to uplink satellite feeds?

Al Jazeera weighs advertising versus subscriptions as revenue model.

Posted: 09 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Gulf News, 4 Nov 2012, Naushad K. Cherrayil: "Al Jazeera is weighing options to either go in for subscription revenues or stick with its existing advertising model. 'We will not do this at the expense of our customers. If we know that we will lose our customers then we will not start charging,' Taahir Hoorzook, head of new platform development, distribution and licensing department at Al Jazeera, told Gulf News. Al Jazeera’s main priority is 'customers' and 'we are studying options to make revenues. We are also looking at advertisement and this may be a better option,' he said. ... According to Hoorzook, the future of content is over-the-top (OTT) TV service. There is a quality of service in IPTV, but in OTT the quality of service is not guaranteed. The telco operators 'have an opportunity to negotiate deals with OTT providers in bid to reach bigger audiences. People are watching more content on OTT and watching pay TV. The challenge for content providers is to decide what content should go for IPTV and what content for OTT,' he said. People will be ready to pay a fee only 'if they can watch on any device. They will not pay to watch only on the television,' Hoorzook said."

There does not seem to be complete consensus about what "IPTV" means. As for revenue, international channels can make money (1) by selling advertising, (2) by getting carriage fees from cable and DTH services to be included in basic packages, or (3) by receiving fees as a "premium" channel. I believe CNN International and BBC World News derive most of their revenues from (2), with advertising providing supplemental income. I invite pay TV experts to correct or amplify this analysis. (The article seems to be referring to Al Jazeera Arabic, but never specifies this.)

Al Jazeera channel for preschoolers now has stream with "suitable viewing hours" for Europe.

Posted: 09 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
menafn.com, 4 Nov 2012: "Starting November 1, Baraem TV, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) will now, through Baraem Europe reach and touch more audiences in Central Europe suitable viewing times. Baraem TV is the first dedicated free to air pre-school channel for Arab children providing preschoolers with dedicated and quality content to assist them in their discovery and developing process in their formative years. Baraem TV's programming grids are built after careful research into audience viewing habits and are scheduled to coincide with their social, physiological and psychological needs. As all shows are presently telecasted at Mecca time, young audiences in central Europe have not reaped benefits from the shows owing to time differences. Baraem Europe will essentially mean that the same Baraem shows will now be broadcasted hours after Mecca time to appear at the 'right' time for the audiences in Europe, through the same official satellite frequency."

On BBCWS, former BBCWS director convenes international editors to discuss US election, Chinese leadership transition.

Posted: 09 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service website: "In a special extended edition of Over to You – the Editors, Richard Sambrook finds out how international media editors have been tackling the challenge of covering the US presidential election and Chinese leadership changes within a single week. Richard's editors meeting includes guests from Time Magazine, Huffington Post, The Economist, China Times and Ohio's Plain Dealer Newspaper, plus the BBC's Raymond Li in Hong Kong." Saturday at 0932, repeated Sunday 2232, presumably UTC unless the new World Service website automatically shows the user's local time.

Deutsche Welle in the news includes new satellite for Africa, another season of New Arab Debates, and Schumann.

Posted: 09 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 29 Oct 2012, Robert Briel: "Deutsche Welle (DW) is changing satellites for improved reception in Africa, the broadcaster said today. DW is now broadcast on Ku-band on the SES-5 satellite at 5 degrees West for reception in Africa. The change will make it easier for viewers to tune in with their own DTH dish. ... The change to SES-5 on Ku-band has been effective since September and makes it possible for viewers in Africa to tune in to DW at home with a small satellite dish (80cm to 180cm)." See also Deutsche Welle, 10 Sept 2012. And the Lyngsat SES-5 page.

Deutsche Welle press release, 4 Nov 2012: "Starting in November, Deutsche Welle will broadcast six new episodes of television talk show The New Arab Debates - in English and for the first time in Arabic. The show is produced in Cairo and Tunis. The talk show, whose episodes run for approximately one hour each, features ex-BBC presenter Tim Sebastian and involves audience participation. Starting in November, it will air every six weeks on Wednesday and Thursday. Tim Sebastian, founder of BBC program Hardtalk, developed the concept for the program himself and will host the English version as well as supervise the production of the Arabic edition, which will be moderated by Egyptian TV journalist Mai El Sherbiny. Each episode will focus on one current affairs topic from the Arab world. The show will invite two guests to comment on their different positions before they answer the host’s questions. The audience will then have the opportunity to join the discussion and ask the guests questions. ... The New Arab Debates will be produced by Tim Sebastian's company, International Talk Network Limited. Deutsche Welle will provide both technical and editorial support. 'Deutsche Welle enjoys high credibility in the Arab world and its programs reach viewers around the globe,' commented Sebastian."

Deutsche Welle press release, 26 Oct 2012: "Produced by Deutsche Welle and partners, Schumann at Pier2 offers a fresh take on Robert Schumann’s symphonies. Experience Robert Schumann as you have never heard or seen him before! This was precisely what conductor Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen had in mind. In cooperation with Deutsche Welle, Unitel Classica and Radio Bremen, they set out to do just that: 'We wanted to show how music comes to life,' says Järvi. The interpretation by the conductor and the orchestra along with the visual design of the four concert recordings and the 98-minute concert film present a fresh, contemporary take on Schumann’s symphonies. ... Starting November 4, Schumann at Pier2 [has been] accessible online as video on demand at Deutsche Welle’s website www.dw.de/in-focus."

South Asian News Agency, 5 Nov 2012: "A two week training course on ‘Video Production for Web’ for Radio Pakistan’s staffers began at PBC Headquarters in Islamabad here on Monday. This is the second in series of training courses organized jointly by Radio Pakistan and Deutsche Welle."

Coastal Leader (Kingston, South Australia), 31 Oct 2012: "Former Kingston local Jessie Wingard is taking advantage of the 'wonderful world of journalism' with opportunities that have her travelling around the globe. Jessie has been situated in Bonn, Germany, for the past 15 months. Working at the Deutsche Welle, she has been juggling various roles including producer, editor, news reader and writer, radio presenter and host at Deutsche Welle Radio. ... 'I came to DW in August last year and was asked to stay on after my six month internship was over.' ... Missing her family - and Australian salt and vinegar chips - Jessie said she hoped to stay in Germany, 'but a stint at the BBC would be incredible'."

Head of as-yet-unnamed Israeli news channel is former France 24 and AEF exec.

Posted: 08 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 5 Nov 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Former director of strategy at Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF) and head of international development of France 24, Franck Melloul, has been tapped to run the forthcoming international Israeli news channel. Unnamed as yet, this channel will start broadcasting in French, English and Arabic as of Q1 2013. The new channel is financed by French business man Patrick Drahi, who is also Numericable’s main shareholder and the boss of Isreali TV and phone group Hot. The new channel will be headquartered in Tel-Aviv." See previous post about same subject.

French international broadcasting news includes Windows 8 app (already) for France 24, RFI, MCD.

Posted: 07 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 30 Oct 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "France 24, Monte-Carlo Doualiya and RFI, which are part of AEF’s media offerings, are launching a TV app exploiting all the features of Microsoft’s new Windows environment for tablets, PCs and eventually smartphones. At present Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France’s media firms claim to be the only companies providing an international news offer in three languages (French, English, Arabic) right from the launch of this new environment. The new multilingual service will feature the live broadcast of all three media (television and radio), on-demand programmes, live blogs as well as news articles and alerts on Internet, tablets and mobile phones. The app already exists in French, English and Arabic and will be available very shortly in nine other languages: Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Persian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hausa and Swahili."

Rapid TV News, 5 Nov 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "French international news channel France 24 has concluded a new distribution agreement in Laos and has launched on Laos Digital TV (DTMB). The French version is now available 24/7 on channel 7 of the Laos Digital TV basic offering. This agreement fosters France 24’s development in Asia where the French version is available in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Cambodia. Its English version is received in more than 12 million households across the continent, notably in India, Thailand, and Hong Kong."

Rapid TV News, 29 Oct 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "As of 2 November, French-speaking international news channel TV5Monde will add Spanish subtitles to its programming in Spain thus offering the eighth subtitle language in Europe after English, French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian and Russian. Adding subtitles in Spanish is part of TV5Monde’s three-year old strategy to strengthen the number and the volume of subtitle languages so as to expand linear distribution and reach new audiences. Around 30% of Spanish viewers recognise TV5Monde which can be received by 96% of pay-TV subscribers in the country."

South Korea's switch to digital TV deprives some North Koreans of a cross-border signal (updated).

Posted: 07 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Daily NK, 29 Oct 2012, Lee Sang Yong: "There was sadness in North Korean Gangwon Province this weekend, after the South Korean authorities stopped broadcasting analogue television signals on the South Korean side of the border at 2PM on the 25th. The move had been planned, and is in accordance with both South Korean government policy and the broader global shift to digital TV, but was still a source of dismay in the information-starved border region. A source from the province currently in a city bordering China told Daily NK on Sunday, 'Those people who used to watch South Korean TV in secret are very disappointed that it has suddenly been shut off. People want to know whether there is another way to get the signal. But even if there is, it’s not easy to buy the right equipment.' 'First this strange writing came on the screen, and then the broadcast cut out,' the source recalled. 'The advice is that we are going to have to buy an LCD (digital) TV or install some new receiver, but for ordinary people without much money it will be hard to do that.' ... Nevertheless, it is clear that the TVs have a ready market in the middle and upper classes. According to Daily NK sources in Dandong, and as persons traveling through Beijing to Pyongyang by air will be able to attest, one of the items most commonly taken into the country are flat-screen digital TVs."

Update: North Korea Tech, 6 Nov 2012, Martyn Williams: "Because digital signals are incompatible with analog television sets, South Koreans must purchase a new TV or a set-top box converter that will allow continued viewing on older TV sets. While buying one of these doesn’t present a problem for South Koreans, they’re unavailable to North Koreans. As a result, the South Korean government is about to achieve something the North Korean government has so far been unable to do: prevent all homes north of the border from tuning into South Korean TV networks. The precise number of North Koreans who tune into broadcasts from the south is difficult to know, but a survey carried out in 2010 found a quarter of 250 defectors and travelers surveyed outside of North Korea admitted to tuning into foreign TV broadcasts. Of those, 15 percent reported watching Korean-language broadcasts from China at least once a week. Only four percent said they tuned to South Korea’s KBS on a weekly basis. Caution needs to be taken with both numbers because of the small sample size and focus on North Koreans that had made it overseas. Many of these come from northern provinces that border China, so a true picture of foreign TV viewership in southern provinces is even more difficult to come by."

Moldova International TV channel, serving (mostly illegal) expats, will shut down in cost-saving move.

Posted: 07 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 6 Nov 2012: "Moldovan state broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova has decided to shut down its international channel Moldova International in a move that could save the cash-strapped organisation about MDL2.5 million (€160,000) a year, according to press reports. The channel, which began broadcasting in 2007 and was aimed at the Moldovan diaspora audience, will cease transmissions at the beginning of next year. Between 600,000 and one million Moldovans – about a quarter of the country’s population – are believed to be living and working abroad, the majority illegally, with Russia and Italy among the more popular destinations for migrants."

BBC World Service is encouraging voluntary redundancies to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Posted: 07 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 1 Nov 2012, Josh Halliday: The BBC World Service has urged all its network news journalists to consider voluntary redundancy as it aims to avoid compulsory layoffs as part of £42m budget cuts. The BBC's global arm is closing 73 editorial posts following its cut in funding by the government in 2010. Post closures include 16 in network news, which includes domestic journalists based around the UK, 14 in World Service news, and two in newsgathering for world and business. Stephen Mitchell, the BBC's deputy director of news, urged staff to consider voluntary redundancy in an email on Thursday morning. He said: 'We are committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies where possible, and have previously been very successful in achieving this.'"

DX Listening Digest Yahoo! group, 6 Nov 2012, John Figliozzi: "Nothing epitomizes the impact of drastic budget cuts on the World Service than its reconfigured web site. Skeletal, amateurish, replete with dead links and missing information ... it is truly an embarrassment. More importantly, the cuts are taking a noticeable toll on its on-air and online programming as longtime news and broadcast professionals start to leave what they obviously perceive to be a proverbial sinking ship. It's hard to see how management pulls this organization out of what certainly seems to be starting to resemble a death spiral." See previous post about same subject.

Telecompaper, 7 Nov 2012: "Afghanistan mobile operator Roshan is offering its mobile phone users access to BBC World Service news headlines and breaking news alerts with the launch of a new subscription text service. Subscribers will receive national and international headlines and breaking news twice a day in Dari and Pashto."

Télérama.fr, 26 Oct 2012, Etienne Noiseau: "Connaissez-vous Robin the Fog? Cet artiste sonore travaille à la BBC, dont il traque les sons, la nuit. Il a publié un album, The Ghosts of Bush. Un document." See previous post about same subject.

"Big Bang Theory" etc now seen in Pakistan on Turner Broadcasting's WB channel.

Posted: 07 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media, 6 Nov 2012, Nico Franks: "Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has launched a 24-hour English-language entertainment channel in Pakistan, featuring Hollywood movies and TV series. WB hosts a range of Warner Bros content, including franchises such as Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, as well as Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Fringe and Nikita. The channel debuted in India three years ago and is now available in Pakistan through Homecast Entertainment. Steve Marcopoto, president and MD, Turner International Asia Pacific, said he hoped to appeal to Pakistan’s 'Hollywood movies buffs.' Yesterday, C21 revealed that TBS had brought forward the launch date of two of its children’s channels elsewhere in Asia, to December 1."

The Nation (Lahore), 1 Nov 2012, onpassing apparent press release: "WB is Pakistan’s gateway to Hollywood! This premiere destination is meant for all Hollywood aficionados, offering the biggest movies, hottest action, best dramas, funniest series and the brightest stars from the world’s most prolific studio. Showcasing programming licensed from Warner Bros., WB is aimed at a Pakistan audience with a colossal appetite for Hollywood’s best content, around the clock. WB is a 24-hour, English-language entertainment channel from Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc."

BBC World Service launches 30-minute weekly Global India, "first step in the world of Hindi television."

Posted: 07 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 31 Oct 2012: "BBC World Service and ETV Network have announced the launch of the BBC Hindi TV programme, Global India, on five channels of ETV, India’s leading regional network across the country’s Hindi-speaking states. ... With BBC Hindi’s Rupa Jha as its lead presenter, Global India is a weekly 30-minute magazine-style show which brings alive the best of the BBC journalism from across the world, focusing on news and developments that resonate with the Indian audience. Ranging from hard news to human-interest stories, culture and technology, the show aims to connect with millions of Hindi-speaking audiences through the expansive reach of ETV channels. ... BBC Hindi has been a household name in India, known and respected for its objective and comprehensive reporting – on radio, online and via mobile phones." -- The first program was 2 November. The schedule is Fridays at 8:00 pm IST. A BBC Urdu TV program is also in development. See also BBC News, 2 Nov 2012.

The Hindu, 1 Nov 2012, Madhur Tankha: "Acknowledging the popularity of the regional language in the Hindi heartland, BBC World Service Head of Journalism (Africa, Americas, Europe, South and East Asia) Nikki Clarke said since 1940 Hindi had been important to the international multimedia broadcaster. 'Since that period the Indian television industry has seen a drastic change. There is greater access to different forms of media. TV has become a popular medium of expression and we have to meet the new expectations. We are not seeking to be a channel. The title of our show makes it amply clear that the show will focus on India and the world. We will inform the viewers about the Indian Peace Keeping Force, the global strategies and Indian specific stories weaved in an interesting way.' But the BBC show will also present its usual stories like the Arab Spring, the engaging U.S. Presidential elections and the European financial crisis. ... On whether announcement of a Hindi-speaking channel was in the offing, Nikki was non-committal. 'This is a first step in the world of Hindi television. We have quite a long journey.'" -- International broadcasters can often attract larger audiences by placing programs on popular channels in the target country than by trying to compete with a separate full-time channel. VOA Indonesian is an example.

UK regulator dings RT (Russia Today) for lack of "due impartiality" in Syria reporting.

Posted: 06 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 5 Nov 2012, Chris Forrester: "News broadcaster Russia Today [RT] has been criticised by UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom for comments made in a July 12 broadcast about the Syrian popular uprising. Specifically, Ofcom found Russia Today 'in breach' of its impartiality rules, and comments made during a newscast for a lack of balance and absence of perspective and impartiality. TV Novosti, which holds the formal Russia Today licence to operate from the UK, said in its submissions to Ofcom that its on-air comments were based on basic ‘Freedom of expression’ rights, and that these rights would be impinged if Ofcom found against the broadcaster. Ofcom, in its findings said: '.... all news must be presented with due impartiality: that is with impartiality adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. Presenting news stories with due impartiality in news programmes very much depends on editorial discretion being exercised appropriately in all the circumstances.' ... The full report, and ruling, can be viewed HERE [pdf]."

Al Jazeera's BeIN Sport in France secures rights to NBA games.

Posted: 06 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 5 Nov 2012: "Al Jazeera’s French BeIN Sport service has secured rights to US NBA basketball for four years. Under its deal, BeIN Sport will hold exclusive rights to NBA games and will air a minimum of six games live during the season as well as six other games either live, time-shifted or in highlights. The rights were previously held by Canal Plus. BeIN Sport also holds rights to US NFL football."

Final sign-off for the Radio Canada International shortwave transmitting station at Sackville NB now set for 1 December.

Posted: 06 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Your CBC/Radio-Canada blog, 31 Oct 2012, Hubert T. Lacroix, president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada: "Today marks the end of an important era for CBC/Radio-Canada. Radio Canada International’s (RCI) shortwave transmission site in Sackville, New Brunswick is officially closing down after 67 years of operation.

"Although we stopped broadcasting our own RCI programming via shortwave on June 24, our transmitters were still operating in order to meet our international broadcasting agreements. The employees that were responsible for running the site are therefore leaving their jobs today.

"The Sackville site helped people around the world learn more about Canada, long before mobile devices and the Internet were introduced. RCI first went on air in 1945 during the Second World War. Back then, it was known as the CBC International Service. The goal of the new service was to promote Canada and broadcast a Canadian point of view on world events.

"The way that people worldwide now consume our content has changed greatly, thanks mainly to new technologies. RCI has, as a result, changed and adapted, now broadcasting content in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin online instead of via shortwave. "I’d like to applaud our Sackville employees for the extraordinary work they carried over the years and for the great professionalism they displayed after the difficult announcement that was made in April about changes to RCI." See also Radio Canada International, 31 Oct 2012.

Canadian Press, 30 Oct 2012: "The collection of large towers that surround the station is a well-known landmark along a section of the Trans-Canada Highway that links New Brunswick with Nova Scotia. The shortwave service was discontinued on June 24, but some employees at the station remained at the site to wrap up some international broadcast contracts. The service has been largely replaced by the rapid growth of the Internet and other wireless technologies."

The SWLing Post, 30 Oct 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "According to the CBC’s plan, Sackville’s shortwave broadcasting license for the CBC North Quebec service has been revoked by the CRTC [Canada's broadcasting regulator]. This was announced today on the CRTC website; it is an eventuality in the wake of the 80% cut Radio Canada International received in April of this year. What’s most sad about this revocation is that communities in North Quebec and Northern Canada who rely on this service, many representing First Nations (American Indians), probably do not even realize that they’re about to lose that service–the only service capable of bringing news to their vast Northern region. The 'replacement' for the service will be low-powered FM, which will just not have the same reach as shortwave." See also Thomas Witherspoon's petition at change.org.

Parliament of Canada Hansard, 25 Oct 2012, Sen. Hugh Segal: "When a shortwave service, which has been serving the Canadian ideal, Canada and the world, is closed after 67 years, this is not a trivial administrative decision. When a service that could reach around the world is cut to an Internet-based service that will be accessed by only a fraction of the world and only the wealthier fraction at that, this is not a trivial decision. When the separate programming base that produced a global Canadian program mix for RCI, which was shaped for an international audience, becomes a derivative, Internet-based, repeater station, that is also not a trivial decision. Did anyone afford listeners or Canadians generally a policy paper or plan of action before the announcement was made? No. Were different options for RCI discussed internally? No. Was there a plan to see if different Canadian broadcasters might wish to collaborate on a reconfigured international service? No." Update: Sen. Segal is interviewed on the 3 Nov edition of Media Network Plus on PCJ Radio.

Drahtlos/Wireless blog, 25 Oct 2012, Friedrich Lehmkühler: "I remember to have heard RCI (CBC then) Sackville for the first time in 1963. In 1965, I joined the Radio Canada Shortwave Club then listening to the CBC transmissions on a regular basis. When my family and I spent our holidays in August 1999 in Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia we visited the Sackville transmitter site where we were friendly welcomed by a young RCI employee who was an excellent guide. Now, all these things have gone. The afterglow of decades of radio listening is the only thing to remain ..."

See previous post about same subject. -- I listened to the CBC Northern Quebec Service via Sackville yesterday, but couldn't stay awake for the last Sackville sign-off around midnight Eastern time. However, Eike Bierwirth in Leipzig, Germany (well outside the North Quebec target region), recorded the final minutes of Sackville on 9625 kHz. The last sounds were "O Canada" and a test tone. (Via DXLD Yahoo! group.)

NASWA Yahoo! group, 1 Nov 2012, Mark Coady: "It's November 1st, Hallowe'en is over, and the CBC Northern Quebec service is STILL ON on 9625 KHz in the Cree language at 1230 UTC. So, what gives with this? It would be nice if, after closing Sackville, the CBC were to relocate a transmitter for the service but I doubt it. Perhaps the Sackville employees are doing this in spite of CBC management." -- I'm hearing it, too, now at 1240 UTC. NASWA Yahoo! group, 1 Nov 2012, Mark Coady updates: "Thomas Witherspoon, on Facebook, has let me know that the manager at Sackville says they are keeping it on the air hopefully until the replacement FM transmitters are in place but that the plug could be pulled on it at any time."

The SWLing Post, 1 Nov 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "I just received confirmation that the Sackville, NB transmission site of Radio Canada International will continue broadcasting the CBC North Quebec service on 9,625 kHz until all of the FM relays in North Quebec have been tested and placed into service. To be clear, contrary to the implication of the recent CRTC ruling, the Sackville site may continue broadcasting for a few more days or weeks, depending on progress with the FM relays’ implementation. The remaining staff at Sackville have converted the site to run two transmitters and two antennas (for redundancy) for the North Quebec Service on 9,625 kHz via remote operation. Nothing else is being broadcast our of the Sackville site."

Update: All Access Music Group, 5 Nov 2012: "The official revocation of the license of the CBC's shortwave CKCX-SW/SACKVILLE, NB has been amended to DECEMBER 1st. In an initial ruling on the requested revocation, the CRTC mistakenly listed the end date as NOVEMBER 1st. The station is being shut down because of the grant of low-power repeaters for CBC RADIO ONE station CFFB/IQUALUIT, NUNAVUT at PURVIRNITUQ, KUUJJUARAPIK, INUKJUAK, SALLUIT, and KUUJJUAQ, NUNAVIT, all on 103.5 FM with 50 watts each." -- These are the FM transmitters that will ostensibly offset the need for shortwave broadcasts of the CBC North Quebec Service.

Turkish humanitarian group gets "access to" and photo of Alhurra cameraman detained in Syria.

Posted: 06 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 28 Oct 2012: "With the surfacing of a recent photo of cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, who disappeared in Syria two months ago while working for Alhurra TV, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) ... renewed its call for the immediate release of Ünal and Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi. The Turkish humanitarian organization IHH obtained the photo, dated Oct. 24, and posted it online on [27 Oct]."

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, 27 Oct 2012: "IHH delegation visited a group of jailed civilians in Damascus who included women and children. In addition, the IHH delegation also had access to journalist Ünal and had his photo taken. There are ongoing efforts to ensure his release."

See previous post about same subject.

"Courage in Journalism" prize for RFE/RL Azerbaijani reporter.

Posted: 06 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 25 Oct 2012: "Women from Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Palestine have been awarded 'Courage in Journalism' prizes at a ceremony in New York. The four were honored on October 24 by the International Women’s Media Foundation, which describes itself as 'dedicated to strengthening the role of women in the news media worldwide.' RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service correspondent Khadija Ismayilova was honored for her continued reporting on corruption and malfeasance in Azerbaijan’s government, despite becoming the target of a smear campaign this year that sought to humiliate and silence her."

VOA ramps up for election coverage, including additional shortwave transmissions.

Posted: 05 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 5 Nov 2012: "Voice of America is teaming up with radio and TV affiliate stations around the world to provide enhanced coverage of this year’s U.S. Presidential Election. VOA’s Urdu Service produced a live pre-election TV special Monday for the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. The program was streamed on the Internet and simulcast by a network of 70 radio stations. PBC Director General Murtaza Solangi, who co-hosted the program with VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem, said the broadcast was available to 'every inch of Pakistan.' ... The Mandarin service has a two-hour TV special with correspondents in several cities, and the Thai, Indonesian, Burmese and Cambodian services will offer live feeds to affiliate stations. The Albanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Macedonian, Turkish, Dari, and Pashto services also have live TV specials. VOA Kurdish is expanding its broadcasts, and the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Georgian services are planning additional live feeds to their affiliates. VOA’s English language TV special will follow the election as the polls close with analysis and results, and VOA English language radio will broadcast live coverage on all worldwide frequencies." See special added VOA English shortwave frequencies for election coverage, bottom of the right column on this page. These times and frequencies are in addition to the regular VOA English transmissions.

South China Morning Post, 4 Nov 2012, Niall Fraser: "The headquarters of CCTV America in Washington sits just 10 blocks from the White House. By the time the identity of the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is known later this week, China will have opened a new front in what it sees as a war to wrest control of the global news agenda from Western-dominated media giants such as CNN and the BBC. From 8pm US time on Tuesday, 50 million people around the world - just a tiny fraction of them in mainland China - will be able to watch uninterrupted English-language coverage of a US presidential election in real time through a Chinese - albeit state-controlled - prism for the first time. In one of China Central Television's biggest journalistic undertakings outside its home market, the station will air up to six hours of live coverage of the election results as ordinary Americans find out whether Barack Hussein Obama, 51, or Willard Mitt Romney, 65, is to be the next president of the United States. More than 100 journalists, producers and technicians will staff the output, which will consist of live debate and discussion from CCTV's studios in the American capital, plus reaction from correspondents based in 10 cities around the world." See also CCTV press release, 25 Oct 2012, via Yahoo! Finance.

China Digital Times, 5 Nov 2012, Anne Henochowicz, quoting China Propaganda Department instructions to Chinese media: "Use only Xinhua coverage of the U.S. presidential election. This must be strictly enforced; even China News Service copy must not be used. Do not produce in-house reports or commentary."

Channel Guide Magazine, 5 Nov 2012, Jeff Pfeiffer: "CNN en Español’s coverage begins at 7pm ET and will be moderated by senior political anchor Juan Carlos López along with anchors Patricia Janiot, Fernando del Rincón, Carmen Aristegui, Xavier Serbiá, Guillermo Arduino and Alejandra Oraa. The network will have correspondents reporting from all over the world talking with people about how the U.S. election and their candidates are viewed abroad, including Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Spain and Israel. ... CNN International begins its election coverage at 6am ET, lead by CNN’s Richard Quest, Hala Gorani, Isha Sesay and Jonathan Mann. Coverage will feature correspondents across the U.S. and around the world. At 9am ET, CNN International will broadcast a special business-centered program featuring Quest and CNN’s chief business correspondent Ali Velshi, who will look at early reaction to the election from the world’s leading financial markets. And at 3pm ET, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour will anchor a live U.S. election-edition of Amanpour. Following this broadcast, CNN International will join CNN/U.S. and continue simulcasting until 6am ET Nov. 7."

Former VOA director writes: "Barack Obama has humiliated us with friends and enemies abroad."

Posted: 05 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Pittsburgh Tribune, 3 Nov 2012, Richard W. Carlson, former director of Voice of America: "The country is teetering on the edge of financial disaster. We are in a cultural free fall. Barack Obama has humiliated us with friends and enemies abroad. He has been a disaster for this country. Why would anyone even consider re-electing him? ... America has changed so much in my lifetime. The country’s demographics so heavily favor the Democrats (in just the way the Democrats and liberals planned it over those many years that Republicans and conservatives were frozen out of congressional power, sitting on their thumbs, daydreaming while they rotated.) But because of the three debates, tens of millions of Americans saw the real Mitt Romney as the attractive, reasonable, articulate, kindly, smart, deeply sincere man that he actually is — in a word, presidential. Just think, two days and this is over. Getting rid of Barack Obama would be excellent. But there is an added benefit: Crazy Joe Biden will no longer be a heartbeat away from our nuclear codes."

Is a career move from BBC News to BBC World News a step up or a step down?

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World News, 30 Oct 2012: "Today, the BBC announced that BBC News presenter and reporter Jon Sopel will join BBC World News as one of the channel’s lead anchors. Sopel will present an afternoon show that will launch early next year from the channel’s new home at New Broadcasting House in central London. Jon brings a wealth of international and UK experience to his new role. He is currently one of the lead anchors at the BBC News channel in the UK, where in the past few years he has anchored coverage from the Middle East during the Israel Lebanon war; Sri Lanka after the tsunami; New Orleans after Katrina; Beijing for the Olympics; and South Africa for the World Cup. ... Jon will continue to present on the BBC News Channel and BBC One, in addition to his BBC World News role, as well as being deployed on domestic and international live coverage reporting across BBC TV channels and on the web." -- BBC News is a domestic (via cable, satellite, and DTT) 24-hour news channel in the UK. BBC World News is for the rest of the world.

Eighty-three years ago, "Moscow launched international radio broadcasting."

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 28 Oct 2012, Lada Korotun: "One of the world’s largest radio broadcasting companies, The Voice of Russia, celebrates its 83rd birthday. On October 29, 1929, Moscow launched international radio broadcasting. Today the VoR is ranked among the world’s most popular radio companies. Eighty-three years ago the Soviet Union launched ‘Radio Moscow’ to inform audiences abroad on current domestic affairs. Later the company was renamed to ‘The Voice of Russia’. The first programs were broadcast in German, to be followed in French and English a bit later. The world’s second largest radio broadcasting company, the BBC, started its World Service radio broadcasts in 1932. The Voice of America launched its services in 1936. As of today, the VoR bets on modern technology and is in search for new formats of broadcasting. The company is a pioneer of Russian digital radio broadcasting and is widening its presence online. The VoR's programs are now available on mobile phones." -- I thought that "Voice of the Comintern" was the original name of the USSR's international radio service. Also, VoR again dates VOA back to 1936, but VOA actually launched in 1942. Perhaps they are referring to the first regular broadcasts of private US shortwave station W1XAL, later WRUL.

"AMC/Sundance Channel Global ... is continuing a push into Asia."

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Oct 2012, Georg Szalai: "AMC Networks said Monday that its AMC/Sundance Channel Global international arm is continuing a push into Asia. It said it has set up an Asian headquarters and is taking 'substantial steps' toward building out its staff and operations in the region. As part of the cable network group's push into Asia, it also unveiled a range of content acquisitions, including series and independent films, for the Sundance Channel in the region for 2013-2014. ... AMC/Sundance Channel Global said it has also acquired the basic cable rights in Malaysia to multiple seasons of Downton Abbey and Monk from NBCUniversal International Television Distribution. ... The company’s scheduling and on-air creative services will be based in Singapore, with affiliate operations overseen out of Hong Kong."

Time Warner Cable will provide Lakers games in Korean on the SAP.

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
MediaDailyNews, 29 Oct 2012, David Goetzl: "As the new Time Warner Cable regional sports network (RSN) gets ready to begin carrying Los Angeles Lakers games, the channel will offer viewers the chance to view them via secondary audio programming (SAP) in Korean. The network believes this marks the first time the option has been available in the U.S. for an RSN. ... Data shows the Southern California area has the largest population of Koreans in the country, with some 330,000 people. New York is second. Jae Min Chang, chairman of the Korea Times/Radio Seoul, stated the Lakers are popular among Koreans outside the U.S. and the SAP option marks 'a symbolic moment for the Korean American community.'"

NBC Sports Network will broadcast English Premiere League matches.

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 29 Oct 2012: "NBC Networks has paid $250 million to televise the English Premier League in a three-year deal that begins next season. They will show every match from the world’s most popular football league, taking coverage away from Fox and ESPN. 'The Barclays Premier League is the pre-eminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the US,' NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said Sunday. The company has shown Major League Soccer since last year and had success with its soccer broadcasts during the London Olympics. Unlike its criticised tape delay with the Olympics, NBC will show Premier League games live. Lazarus said. English-language broadcasts will primarily be on cable channel NBC Sports Network, with Telemundo and mun2 used for Spanish coverage."

Five years since murder of Alisher Saipov, who reported for VOA, RFE/RL, and BBC.

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 24 Oct 2012: "Five years ago today, press freedom in Kyrgyzstan received a deadly blow from which it has never recovered. Alisher Saipov, one of most promising and prominent regional reporters of his time, was murdered in his native city of Osh. Since that October night, authorities have promised to solve his killing, but impunity reigns to this day, Shohruh Saipov, his brother and also a journalist, told CPJ. At the time of his murder, Saipov edited his own independent newspaper, Siyosat (Politics), but his resume was impressive for a 26-year-old reporter. In his short career, Saipov contributed to the BBC World Service, the U.S. government-funded outlets Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Moscow-based regional news website Ferghana News."

RFE/RL Russian and "the vital role that radio still plays."

Posted: 04 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
National Review Online, 23 Oct 2012, Mario Corti & Ted Lipien: "At the October 11 meeting of the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty president Steve Korn said that 'there has been a lot of inaccurate information circulating here in the U.S. and in Russia about the future of our Russian service, Radio Svoboda [Liberty].' ... This is what happened: Out of the blue, on September 20 and 21, Radio Liberty journalists were prevented from entering their offices in Moscow and redirected by specially hired guards to a law firm’s office, where they were told that they could either sign immediate termination agreements and receive severance pay or else try to sue RFE/RL in Russian courts and lose. They would, in any case, be prevented from even saying goodbye to their audience of many years. ... If the budget is not being cut, as Korn himself admits, there is no model that requires cutting loose the journalists who have won Radio Liberty a distinguished reputation and loyal audience for radio and the Internet. If the future is digital, why did RL’s entire Moscow Internet team and its video reporters also have to go?"

World Politics Review, 2 Nov 2012, Tom Woods: "Radio Liberty’s emphasis on new media is just one example of a broader shift being implemented by Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the entity responsible for all U.S.-sponsored international broadcasting. The board, appointed by the U.S. president, is seeking to greatly reduce broadcast radio in favor of the Internet and social media. However, the move overlooks the vital role that radio still plays in many parts of the world, including the United States, as Hurricane Sandy has illustrated. In particular, highly reliable and modern radio broadcasts may still be the best bet to reach behind the electronic curtain imposed by dictators."

AFGE Local 1812, 23 Oct 2012: "In the past years, Agency management has engineered the end of VOA's broadcasts in Russian, just as Russia invaded Georgia. The switch to an Internet only strategy in the VOA Russian Service was followed by a massive loss of audience."

The "massive loss of audience" was actually caused by Russian authorities forcing VOA content off of Russian television stations. When VOA Russian was taken off radio (because shortwave listening rates in Russia have plummeted), no one was saying "but, wait, Russia is about to invade Georgia!" Hindsight is most convenient. As for Mr. Woods's argument in favor of radio, shortwave may be more robust than the internet in overcoming interdiction. But there are very few places left in the world where access to and use of shortwave radio exceeds that of the internet. See previous post about same subject.

See also Радио Свобода, 26 Oct 2012, video of Moscow meeting including RFE/RL president Steven Korn, his deputy Julia Ragona, and new RFE/RL director Masha Gessen, with Russiand opposed to the chnages at RFE/RL Russian. (Mostly in Russian, but the video includes some passages in English.)

Al Jazeera In the news includes praise from an Alarabiya commentator.

Posted: 03 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Alarabiya, 25 Oct 2012, Daoud Kuttab: "When it comes to media, Qatar has done more to advance free media in the Arab world than anyone. Al Jazeera broke so many taboos in the Arab world and introduced a level of professionalism that forced many in the region to follow suit. I remember that before Al Jazeera came on air, one would never see a live interview on any Arab TV. Arab rulers would not allow their state-run TV to take a chance of what a guest might say (they were confident that their anchors would toe the line). Al Jazeera shattered this attempt at restricting free voices. Sure, Al Jazeera has become sensational and has lost some of its professionalism, but its impact as a front runner cannot be denied. The same can be said about the contribution of Al Jazeera International, which helps reflect Arab voices and positions to the rest of the world in English. It has become an indispensable source for the whole world now."

openDemocracy, 23 Oct 2012, Sooud Al Qassemi: "It won’t come as a surprise to many to learn that the US presidential elections are a secondary and perhaps even a tertiary matter in the post uprising Arab world. For starters there’s a bloody civil war in Syria backed by Russia and Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the other. The latter two states control and fund Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera respectively which dominate the Arab news airwaves and are busy actively marketing the agendas of the governments that fund them. Theref

ore even less time is allocated to the US elections than four years ago."

The Telegraph, 23 Oct 2012, Alan Johnson: "The extremist Islamist Sheik Raed Saleh has been at it again [in] this hate-filled rant from the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, broadcast on Al-Jazeera on September 21."

Zawya, 18 Oct 2012: "SNR Denton has advised Al Jazeera on the extension of its multiplex carriage agreement with Arqiva, enabling its international English-language news channel, Al Jazeera English, to begin broadcasting 24-hours daily on [UK DTT] Freeview."

Wall Street Journal, China Realtime Report, 17 Oct 2012, Josh Chin: "China Central Television host Yang Rui said this week that he was sorry for using the term pofu (泼妇) ... in a thinly veiled reference to a female American journalist as part of an online rant about undesirable foreigners earlier this year. Writing on Sina Corp.’s Weibo microblogging service, Mr.Yang said he had expressed 'sincere apologies' on numerous occasions to al-Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan, though Ms. Chan said in an email to China Real Time that the TV host had not contacted her personally. 'I’ve never received an email directly from him or a phone call,' she wrote."

NHK World LIVE streaming via Android now domestically disseminated.

Posted: 03 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
OnScreenAsia, 23 Oct 2012, Kelvin Ong: "NHK has launched a LIVE-streaming application of NHK WORLD TV, NHK's international English TV channel, for Android smartphones used in Japan. In February, the channel started providing apps for Android OS overseas. The new service for domestic smartphones will allow a wider number of people living in Japan to enjoy NHK WORLD TV shows LIVE. NHK WORLD TV's LIVE-streaming has been available on its website or via iPhone and iPad in Japan and overseas to make it easier for people to access and enjoy its programmes." -- Why do we have to capitalize "LIVE"? It's ironic that NHK World is proclaiming, in the press release that apparently fed this news story, an initiative that, in the United States, because of the Smith-Mundt Act's prohibition of domestic dissemination, would be illegal for any government-funded (as is NHK) international broadcasting entity.

Discovery Networks International launches "first ever global Facebook page": How We Invented a Noun. Well, not exactly...

Posted: 03 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Discovery Communications press release, 25 Oct 2012: "Discovery Networks International announced the launch of its first ever global Facebook page as well as a dedicated YouTube channel for its new landmark series: HOW WE INVENTED THE WORLD. The live Facebook page is an initiative that will serve as a vertical on Facebook for inventions, inventors, and the ‘game changer’ in all users. From small, everyday developments that make modern living easier to grand creations, this page will explore those innovations featured both in and beyond the show as well as those from around the world—and how they have changed our lives. Posts are featured in numerous languages to fully embrace the global platform, and images carry each region’s flag to emphasize the intentional multicultural twist. Additionally, seamless video integration with the branded YouTube channel provides easy access to the dynamic and exclusive content for all fans. Participating countries include: the U.S., Brazil, parts of Latin America, the U.K., Romania, France, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Australia, Benelux, Norway, Italy, Germany, South Africa, and Turkey as well as for promotion in Asia and Sweden. Similarly, 'Inventing the World' the YouTube Channel, launched on Thursday, October 18, is a key promotional driver for the series. It acts as a video hub that can be linked to by all regions, and discovered by the YouTube community."

Discovery Communications press release, 25 Oct 2012: "Discovery Networks International (DNI) announced today that it has set a new record with its fan base on online social platform Facebook, with over 5,627,339 total users across over 77 individual pages. August and September 2012 demonstrated exceptional growth for DNI on social media, attracting more than 400,000 new fans per month; an over 30% increase from a monthly average of 300,000 between January and July of this year. In October 2012 alone, followers of the DNI page exploded with over 700,000 new enthusiasts—a record monthly growth reaching all of the network’s Facebook presences. Currently, the most popular DNI fan pages are DMAX GERMANY with 849,718 fans, followed closely by Latin America’s Tudiscovery’s 606,797 and Real Time Italy at 597,561. These achievements highlight Discovery’s international presence and dedication to its worldwide supporters. This record growth is also a milestone for DNI social media and fosters the company’s reputation as a global digital and social media pioneer."

I assume that by "first ever global Facebook page," DNI means their first Facebook page that serves more than one region. Really? Only just now? And perhaps a reader with a better grasp of modern corporate terminology can fill me in on "vertical" as a noun. (Another example of vertical as a noun is RFE/RL's The Power Vertical blog.)

North Korea is replacing its shortwave broadcast transmitters, providing better signal in South Korea.

Posted: 03 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
DailyNK, 31 Oct 2012, Mok Yong Jae: "The North Korean authorities are in the process of replacing their existing shortwave radio transmitters, Daily NK has learned. The measure appears designed to both allow better broadcasts targeting South Korea and stop outside shortwave broadcasts entering. According to the Northeast Asian Broadcasting Institute (NABI), the authorities made their first move in March this year, replacing the shortwave transmission equipment at Kanggye Transmission Station in Jagang Province with modern equipment made by Beijing BBEF Electronics Group Co. Kanggye Transmission Station is one of three high output shortwave transmission facilities in North Korea, with the other two being at Pyongyang and in Gujang County, North Pyongan Province. ... North Korea has two shortwave broadcasters; Chosun Central 1st Broadcast and Pyongyang Broadcast. The first is for the domestic and international audience while the latter serves the international audience only, leading to the assumption that North Korea is replacing its existing transmitters in order to improve its broadcasts targeting South Korea. With the sort of modern equipment arriving from BBEF, North Korean broadcasts will be receivable anywhere in South Korea, no matter where in the North they are broadcast from. According to NABI, North Korea’s shortwave broadcasting capacity was previously very weak due to worn out and broken equipment. ... However, the quality has recently improved dramatically, as Park Sung Moon of NABI explained to Daily NK ... ." -- Also on shortwave is Voice of Korea, North Korea's international radio service in several languages. In South Korea, there is probably very little listening to or ownership of shortwave radios. However, those with sympathies towards Pyongyang who do not want their internet use to be tracked can listen to North Korean shortwave broadcasts undetected.

North Korea Tech, 31 Oct 2012, Martyn Williams: "Many international radio stations, including the Voice of Korea, just made their semi-annual schedule change to accomodate seasonal broadcasting conditions. The radio station broadcasts two programs a day, each around 57 minutes long. Program one is carried on broadcasts aimed at South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, South Africa and Central and South America. Program two is carried on broadcasts for Europe, North America and North East Asia. Each of these programs includes the same core features: the news, editorials and the reminiscences of Kim Il Sung. Music and other features sometimes differ between the two broadcasts." With transmission schedule for all languages.

VOA and other USIB entities remained staffed and on the air during Hurricane Sandy.

Posted: 01 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 30 Oct 2012: "Pounding rain and 80 mile an hour winds from Hurricane Sandy shut down U.S. government offices and Washington, D.C. public transportation Monday and Tuesday, but it didn’t stop VOA journalists, technicians and support personnel from delivering news around the world in 43 languages. 'We had people sleep on couches around the building, and one used a cot, but the cots are not very comfortable,' English Branch Chief Terry Wing says. 'Some folks came in early on Monday, some stayed late, a couple are still here, I think some are going on 30 hours or more.' ... While VOA journalists were hunkered down in Washington, videographer Daniela Schrier managed to capture something that nobody else had, footage of flood waters rushing through streets of Lower Manhattan Monday night. Schrier, who was trapped in her apartment in New York’s East Village, managed to upload the video to Washington just before she lost power."

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 30 Oct 2012: "At the Springfield, VA headquarters of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, home to Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV, most employees came for both days, some for back-to-back shifts. For each shift the person on duty stayed until his or her replacement arrived, ensuring operations were covered at all times. ... Staff for Radio Free Asia in downtown DC arrived on Sunday and stayed overnight to ensure that RFA broadcasts continued uninterrupted. This skeleton crew had to perform numerous tasks to ensure timely delivery of the news. Others went to great lengths to get to work; for example the husband of a Cantonese Service staffer used a chainsaw to cut through a fallen tree that was blocking a street so she could drive in to the office on Tuesday morning. Washington-based newsroom correspondents for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty worked through the storm, as well."

Ex-employee of VOA Bethany, Ohio, shortwave transmitting station shares WWII era memories.

Posted: 01 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
WXIX-TV (Cincinnati), 25 Oct 2012: "The greatest compliment Clyde Haehnle may have ever gotten was when Adolph Hitler called him a liar. Haehnle was among those working in West Chester at the Voice of America's Bethany Relay Station during World War II, a time when democracy itself was in danger of being defeated across the world by Hitler's tanks and air force. Even though Haehnle and his colleagues were 4,425 miles away from Berlin, they still had a major impact on the Allies' war effort. Hitler may have had his Luftwaffe bombing London into oblivion. But when it came to air superiority of the broadcasting kind, nothing could match the power of the VOA and its six 200-kilowatt transmitters. ... It wasn't an easy job, broadcasting to the world. Hitler may have been evil but he was certainly no fool. He and his Nazi government tried to jam the VOA's signals. 'He jammed it and we fought the jammers for years during the war,' said Haehnle. 'There were all kinds of tricks to jump the jammers. One of them was jump frequencies.' In other words, quickly change the channel your broadcasting on before the jammers could find your signal and shut you down again. Sometimes VOA engineers might only get 15-minutes or so before they were jammed again. But that gave them enough time to 'get in and sell the freight,' as Haehnle puts it." With video.

Now, at the same site...

WXIX-TV, 17 Oct 2012: "A formal groundbreaking was held Wednesday at Voice of America park in West Chester for a new athletic complex. MetroParks announced a collaboration earlier this month with The Butler County Visitors Bureau to build an athletic complex at Voice of America Park projected to be open for use by the fall of 2014. Preliminary construction for the 22 multipurpose natural grass fields began in August."