Euronews adds Greek, it 12th language, and first to be "locally adapted."

Posted: 31 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 18 Dec 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly "International news channel Euronews has announced the launch of its 12th edition in Greek. The channel will be available on major Greek and Cypriot platforms such as Nova, ON Telecom, OTE, CyBC DTT network and PrimeTel, on Euronews Express and Live mobile apps as well as online. It will also soon be available on Euronews Radio. Targeted to Greece, Cyprus and the Greek-speaking population worldwide, Euronews' 24/7 Greek service will be the first to be locally adapted and will be broadcast from Lyon. The Euronews Greece structure is a 100% subsidiary of Euronews Group, employing more than 40 professionals. The new bureau in Athens will be officially inaugurated in early 2013. Euronews Greece is currently available across Europe on Eutelsat Hotbird 13A satellite, and will soon be carried through numerous cable, satellite and IPTV partners."

CNN International will be available in HD by the summer of 2013.

Posted: 31 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
imediamonkey, 22 Dec 2012, Jordan Howell: "imediamonkey® understands that CNN is currently in the 'closing stages' of completing a 'huge multi-million dollar undertaking' to begin offer CNN International in high definition, in a number of countries. The rolling news channel will be in a position to offer television providers a full HD feed of CNN International 'by summer of next year'. In a recent interview, CNN’s Senior Vice President of Broadcast Engineering and Systems Technology, Bob Hesskamp, spoke of how CNN International are currently upgrading their technology, and that it will be completed by May 2013. ... 'All CNN Domestic shows are produced in HD. CNN International is being upgraded to HD now and shows originated on CNNI will be available in HD in May. CNN domestic shows that air on CNNI are now available in HD. All domestic and most worldwide newsgathering is HD.'"

Salon, 19 Dec 2012, Alex Pareene: CNN "deserves to be criticized because so many of the things it does wrong could be so easily corrected. (Say, by firing Piers Morgan and cutting back on Wolf Blitzer’s hours.) And not only that, but CNN the institution is clearly capable of doing better, as it shows every day on CNN International, the sober (and profitable) overseas arm."

The Atlantic, 11 Dec 2012, Peter Osnos: "CNN International deserves the respect it has achieved over the decades. But on the home front, the highly visible evening line-up, which has been subject to constant tinkering, has limited impact, except when there is very big news that takes advantage of CNN's on-the-ground expertise."

CNN Press Room, 11 Dec 2012: "Winter sports fans will be able to enjoy coverage of some of the world’s most exciting events in CNN International’s first skiing segment, ‘Alpine Edge’ which [began 13 December]."

Top 3 TV channel websites in the Middle East: Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and Russia Today. Russia Today?

Posted: 30 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Forbes Middle East press release, 27 Dec 2012, via AMEinfo: "Through an awards ceremony held on 26th December, Forbes Middle East acknowledged the achievements of editors-in-chief and other key figures from daily newspapers that earned the top spots on Forbes Middle East's latest ranking of Top Media Online in the Arab World. ... While there is a small presence of online news channels on the ranking, quantity is trumped by quality. Three entries feature with the UAE, Qatar and Russia each represented. With just three entries featured on this ranking of the Top News Channels Online, quantity is trumped by quality. Reigning supreme is the UAE's Al Arabiya which recorded the highest number of online visitors with an impressive figure of 306.63 million, as well as 69.05 million unique visitors between 31st August 2011 and 31st August 2012. Al Arabiya also achieved new visits of 21.48%. Following in close second is Al Jazeera recording 277.89 million visits to its webpage, as well as 55.71 million unique visitors. Qatar's premier news service also achieved the highest average time spent on their website—10 minutes and four seconds—as well as the highest average number of pages per visits with a figure of 3.49. Lastly Russia-based Rusiya Al-Yaum, which is headquartered in Moscow and broadcast in Arabic, makes an appearance on this list. The news channel surprises, albeit with a small following of 50.11 million visitors to the website, and 26.40 million unique visitors. The website is gaining momentum; according to Google Analytics data, Rusiya Al-Yaum recorded a new visit rate of 51.37%, the highest amongst the three online tv channels."

Al Arabiya, 27 Dec 2012: "Al Arabiya news channel proved yet another time that its a cut above the rest when its online presence topped the Forbes Middle East’s Top News Channels Online list."

RT (Russia Today) press release, 27 Dec 2012: "Rusiya Al-Yaum, RT’s Arabic-language news channel, made the list of the Top TV Channels Online in Forbes Middle East’s latest ranking of Top Media Online in the Arab World. ... 'I think this is a wonderful result for our channel. In just five years we have made a huge leap and are now successfully competing with the leading Arabic television channels, and in some metrics are actually surpassing them,' said RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan. 'I congratulate all of the employees of RT’s Arabic channel with this victory.'"

No BBC Arabic? No Alhurra? No France 24 Arabic? No CNN Arabic? I did some digging into the Forbes Middle East website. The awards were based on Google Analytics data that each of the media outlets had to be willing to share with Forbes Middle East. According to this page (which can be Google-translated), in the TV channel website category, only three organizations handed over their data: Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and Rusia Al-Yaum.

Its recently resigned Berlin correspondent says "professionalism is now lacking at Al Jazeera."

Posted: 30 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 24 Dec 2012, Anne Allmeling: "The long-time Berlin correspondent for Al Jazeera, Aktham Suliman, recently resigned from his post. The journalist tells DW that the Qatari government is exercising undue influence on Al Jazeera's reporting. DW: You've criticized Al Jazeera as lacking in professionalism, and you've quit your post as the broadcaster's Berlin correspondent. Is Al Jazeera following a specific agenda? Aktham Suliman: I have to say that professionalism is now lacking at Al Jazeera. When I started in 2002, I didn't have that impression - quite the contrary. Of course there were fundamental, long-term problems, but in the last two years Al Jazeera has really let itself go in terms of professionalism. ... The problem is that the organization lacks internal structures that would immunize it against what was presumably an attempt by the owner or by the editors to interfere politically in things that should have been handled in a journalistic manner. ... DW: What's your take on German reporting on the Gulf states? Aktham Suliman: Catastrophic, scandalous, unforgivable. Of course, German and Western politicians are required to defend the interests of their countries. But why do journalists do that? It's extremely rare that German media report critically about Saudi Arabia or Qatar."

Boston Globe, 13 Dec 2012, Juliette Kayyem: "[A]s the Arab Spring continues past a single season, Al Jazeera’s very success is revealing some of its vulnerabilities. Its power has others wanting in on the action. As the movement towards democratic reform becomes more pervasive, the network’s ownership by a conservative monarchy has become its Achilles’ heel. The emir of Qatar recently placed a member of the royal family as director-general of news on Al Jazeera, a reminder to its staff of who pays the bills. In a region where conspiracy theories are rampant, the network’s ownership makes it a target for reformers who feel it’s mainly catering to the existing power structure. Meanwhile, its willingness to take iPhone video has also made it a magnet for the most savvy street-side storytellers. The recent protests against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s edicts against the judiciary were often debated through user-generated content. Usually, those voices were from people rich enough to be carrying iPhones, leading to complaints that Al Jazeera was giving disproportionate voice to one side of a complicated dynamic."

RT (Russia Today), 26 Dec 2012: Syrian Shiite refugees in Lebanon "believe Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya have become a kind of control centers with great influence over what people do. But besides those two, there are two other TV channels, which spread blatant libel and outright instigate viewers against the Shia 24 hours a day: Al Wisal and Al Safa."

The Peninsula, 26 Dec 2012: "An Al Jazeera correspondent has alleged that he was prevented by Bahraini authorities from covering the 33rd GCC Supreme Council summit which concluded in Bahrain yesterday.

San Diego Union Tribune, 18 Dec 2012, California Watch: "Anaheim is the home to one of the most well-known and popular amusement parks in the world: Disneyland. It's also the home to a community whose anger at local police has boiled over recently, spilling onto the streets of Anaheim. Watch Al-Jazeera English's video 'Fault Lines,' which, in its words, 'examines the underlying causes of the recent unrest in Anaheim.'", 19 Dec 2012, Nigel Adie: "Virgin Media [UK] has added to its linear channel line-up with the introduction of Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, the cable platform's first Arabic service. ... In addition, Al Jazeera has agreed to allow its content to be added to Virgin Media's multiscreen service TV Anywhere, which lets subscribers watch via mobile, online and tablet."

With VOA Korean and RFA Korean busy competing with each other, "US officials" want BBC to start a Korean service.

Posted: 29 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The Independent, 28 Dec 2012, Ian Burrell: "The BBC World Service could broadcast programmes aimed at residents of North Korea for the first time, under proposals being discussed by MPs, corporation bosses and US officials. Barack Obama’s administration is encouraging the Foreign Office to back plans to establish a BBC Korean service to help open up the most secret country on earth. They believe the BBC’s reputation for impartiality could help build up trust with communist state's 24 million population. ... The US government-run networks Voice of America and Radio Free Asia already broadcast into North Korea. ... It is understood that the US officials also visited the Foreign Office during their trip to London to express their enthusiasm for a BBC Korean network."

So now the scarce resources and talent available for getting news out of North Korea and back into North Korea will be divided among three stations rather than two. And people think North Korea is strange.

If the "US officials" really want to help "open up" North Korea, they should call for the consolidation of VOA and RFA. Yes, on paper, the two US stations have separate "missions." In truth -- if the truth is of any importance in the discussion of US international broadcasting -- North Koreans want to hear about what is happening in North Korea, so both VOA and RFA broadcast news about North Korea. The result is duplication, a significant form of waste in federal spending.

And because US international broadcasting insists on straddling the fence, by attempting to be both a news organization and one that "presents US policies" (see previous post), it's no wonder that "US officials" want the "BBC’s reputation for impartiality" to come to the rescue.

This story illustrates why the Broadcasting Board of Governors must reform the present ridiculous structure of US international broadcasting. Instead, the BBG perpetuates its "many brands" strategy. Such a strategy serves only to maximize job opportunities for senior-level bureaucrats. It will take more than a boondoggle with an ambiguous "mission" to "open up" North Korea.

With new jingle package, DW's “Es sucht der Bruder seine Brüder” ist kaputt.

Posted: 29 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Radioszene, 12 Dec 2012: "The German Welle (DW) has been the last six decades the media voice of Germany in the world. In 30 languages, the international broadcaster transmits its program on television, radio and Internet. To meet this tri-media strategy, the German wave since early 2012 has modernized its corporate design - in corporate audios with a new jingle package, which was developed in a challenging tender. In October 2012, during the Munich Media Days 2012, it won the 'International Eyes & Ears Award 2012' for 'Best sender based music composition and / or production.' ... Dr. Gero Schließ, DW head of promotion: 'It's now almost 60 years since the DW signature tune is from Beethoven's Fidelio “Es sucht der Bruder seine Brüder.” It is the audio business card of a reliable partner in changing times. ... Asked a common link between all of our multimedia products, a single audio design that identifies the DW according to the motto was: "One brand, all media".'" -- In contrast to US international broadcasting, whose motto might be "Many, many, many brands, all media." Hear audio of the new DW theme at Radioszene, 30 Oct 2012. DW audio and video packages are on display at the Audiowerk Berlin website. The DW Fielio interval signal can be heard here.

As shortwave declines as a broadcast medium, it's still used for emergency communications and yacht races.

Posted: 29 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Intradio press release, 19 Dec 2012: "Intrado Inc., a subsidiary of West Corporation and a leading provider of 9-1-1 technology solutions, has secured an exclusive agreement with ShipCom, LLC, the only High Frequency (HF) [shortwave] civilian maritime radio network operator in America authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide emergency communications on land when existing communications infrastructure is inoperable. Intrado plans to offer a new backup emergency HF radio solution to support public safety, hospitals, nuclear power plants, utilities, transportation and other critical infrastructure providers. For the first time these organizations will have access to highly reliable HF radio spectrum, previously reserved for maritime operations. ... Stephen Meer, cofounder and chief technology officer of Intrado, has been instrumental in advancing the nation’s 9-1-1 network. Mr. Meer said, 'This is one of the most exciting developments I’ve seen in public safety emergency communications, and I’m proud that Intrado will play a major part.' Meer also noted that, 'Hospitals in America rely on the hard work, patriotism and volunteerism of HAM Radio operators to be their emergency communications system. This new network will greatly expand the capabilities available to HAMs during these times of crisis, and will back up their efforts with an immediately available, sophisticated HF radio network interoperable with the E9-1-1 infrastructure. Hospitals and other critical agencies will have seamless, reliable, encrypted and redundant HF radio capability, giving them immediate connectivity to the outside world in the event of a disaster that renders their other communications systems unuseable.'" -- It's not "HAM." "Ham" is not an acronym, but a colloquial term for radio amateur., 25 Dec 2012: "HF [shortwave] Radio is the long range marine communications method used in all major ocean races, including the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. To ensure that on water communications are as clear as possible the Sydney to Hobart fleet is accompanied by a Radio Relay vessel, John Winning’s JBW 20 metre twin screw displacement cruiser, with CYCA former Commodore David Kellett once again heading up the CYCA radio relay team. Daily position reports ‘skeds’ will be conducted at 1905 hours today 26 December on 4483 kHz and at 0735 and 1705 hours on each subsequent day on 6516 kHz."

Meanwhile, this is the shortwave signal of the Voice of Croatia as heard in northern Virginia 28 December on 7375 kHz (via Wertachtal, Germany). As reported in a previous post, Voice of Croatia will end shortwave broadcasting on 31 December. True, VOC is easier to access via the internet. And its signal via satellite is perfect rather than merely excellent. But this ability to broadcast transoceanically via shortwave will be needed "when existing communications infrastructure is inoperable." When, not if.

South Korean trainer jets attract thousands of young fans in Latin America. Or maybe I should read that again...

Posted: 29 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 14 Dec 2012, Oh Seok-min: "As the phenomenon known as the Korean Wave, or 'Hallyu' in the native tongue, grows in popularity throughout the world, South Korea is hoping to use its pop culture's recent fame to promote public diplomacy, especially in Latin America where the Asian culture is truly beginning to be embraced. Despite the language barrier, and the physical distance of a 20-hour flight between Seoul and any Latin American country, thousands of fans there have posted videos of themselves performing K-pop dance moves on the Internet as well as a slew of appeals to the Korean stars to visit the continent. ... Along with music, Korean dramas are also making waves in Peru. Since 2008, 13 soap operas have been aired, and one is currently being shown during prime time by a Peruvian public broadcasting channel. 'Hundreds of fans even camped out on the streets to buy a ticket for boy band JYJ's concert in March, some of whom even flew from Ecuador and Bolivia. More than 5,000 tickets were sold in three days,' Seoul's Ambassador to Peru Park Hee-kwon told reporters from his embassy in the capital city of Lima. ... 'We won a deal to export 20 KT-1 trainer jets to Peru, which is a landmark achievement for Seoul. Despite a flood of negative campaigns against us by the Brazilian side, we tried to reach out to the people here by pursuing a win-win strategy of sharing technology,' Park said, adding that it will pave the way for South Korea into other Latin American markets. ... 'The Chilean pop culture was dominated by American and European ones, with a few of Japanese assets, but we've received a growing number of requests from our audiences for airing more Korean programs,' said Paz Egana Baraona, program director at Chile's broadcaster TVN. 'It is amazing considering the conservative social atmosphere in Chile. The Korean culture, full of novelty and power, gets traction in Chile,' she added."

"Feels like the right time" for BBC Worldwide to begin its ride to the future.

Posted: 29 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 18 Dec 2012: "Today, BBC Worldwide announced changes to its proposed executive structure as part of a major reorganisation of the company. •Helen Jackson confirmed as Chief Content Officer. •President and Managing Director Sales & Distribution Steve Macallister to leave company. •Director of Operations and Chief Brands Officer roles to be recruited. ... The three global divisions of Consumer Products, Channels, and Sales & Distribution will cease to exist in their current formats, and the P&L for these divisions will move to Regions. At the same time, core global business functions will be established, such as Content and Brands, to set the strategic framework and parameters for the sales activities within the Regions."

BBC Worldwide press release, 18 Dec 2012: "Steve Macallister said: 'It has been an absolute privilege to lead what is in my view the finest distribution team in the industry, as well as to represent what is undoubtedly the world’s greatest television catalogue. Whilst it is never easy to leave, this feels like the right time and it fills me with enormous pride to have grown the business to its current industry leading position.'"

BBC Worldwide press release, 27 Dec 2012: "BBC Worldwide today announced that Amanda Hill has been appointed Chief Brands Officer. This new position has been created as part of BBC Worldwide’s restructure from divisional to geographic lines of management and will play a key role in building and developing BBC Worldwide’s global brands, such as Top Gear, BBC Earth and Doctor Who. Amanda will join the senior executive team and be responsible for developing an overall strategy for BBC Worldwide’s global brands across all businesses and formats. This will include developing, segmenting and managing the current brand portfolio of 14 BBC Global brands - including Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, Doctor Who, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and Global iPlayer – while also developing and building new BBC Brands to protect and develop future brand revenue growth."

China takes new steps to "make the internet clean again."

Posted: 29 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
New York Times, IHT Rendezvous, 23 Dec 2012, Mark McDonald: "China appears to have reinforced its Internet firewall in recent days, blocking some of the leading services that allow people on the mainland to access forbidden sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. International business transactions also are being affected, Internet analysts said. The New York Times Web site remains 100 percent blocked on the mainland, along with the Chinese-language edition of The Times and Rendezvous. ... The daily newspaper Global Times, affiliated with the Communist Party, acknowledged the firewall had been 'upgraded,' but it also warned that foreign providers of VPN services were operating illegally."

Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec 2012, David Pierson: "For years, China’s net nannies turned the other cheek to a loophole in their vast online censorship apparatus. Anyone who wanted access to blocked overseas websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, the New York Times, need only download foreign software called a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the Great Firewall. But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access Internet sites as innocuous as and The tightening appears to be part of a broader and continuing campaign to rein in the Internet in China, which boasts nearly 600 million users and challenges the government’s monopoly on information every day."

AP, 27 Dec 2012, Joe McDonald: "In June, Bloomberg News reported that [Chinese leader Xi Jinping's] extended family has amassed assets totaling $376 million, though it said none was traced to Xi. The government has blocked access to Bloomberg’s website since then. In October, The New York Times reported that Premier Wen Jiabao’s relatives had amassed $2.7 billion since he rose to national office in 2002. Access to the Times’ Chinese-language site has been blocked since then."

China Media Project, 27 Dec 2012: David Bandurski: "On December 24, an editorial on the official web platform of the People’s Daily ... said 'lines of conduct' should be stipulated and supervision enhanced online in order to 'restrain irresponsible rumors, restrain the leakage of personal information, and make the internet clean again.'"

Tech in Asia, 28 Dec 2012, Steven Millward: "And so the new law will criminalize companies who do not censor the web with the kind of speed and efficiency that the law now dictates. ... It’s surely only a matter of time before one Chinese web company is held criminally responsible for content posted on its service. And what will happen then? A fine? The jailing of the relevant member of staff?"

The end of shortwave as the "largest element" of the BBC World Service audience.

Posted: 28 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Parliament TV, 18 Dec 2012: BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks, answering questions from the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, says next year shortwave will no longer be the largest element of the World Service audience. Questions dealt with many aspects of new and old media. He also says BBC world services are "within sight" of 250m audience target.

A service of Thanksgiving to mark the 80th anniversary of BBC World Service was held 12 December at St-Martin-of-the_Field church in London. See also The Archbishop of Canterbury website. And ibid for sermon.

Zimbabwe's ruling party would like to jam international radio stations beamed to Zimbabwe.

Posted: 28 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
New Zimbabwe, 12 Dec 2012: "Free media campaigners have slammed plans by [ruling party] Zanu PF to jam external radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe ahead of elections next year. Zanu PF accuses foreign-based stations such as the Voice of America’s Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and Radio VOP of being used by hostile governments to push a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe. The party says it wants to 'jam hostile foreign media in areas where state-run radio and television services are not available.' ... 'The fortunate part of it is that this is simply a party declaration, it’s not the policy of government, and the government must resist such nonsense. It’s an attempt by Zanu PF to suffocate alternative sources of information,' [Andrew Moyse, director of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe] told VOA. ... The three stations broadcasting news into Zimbabwe from elsewhere are popular with many locals who view ZBC as rabidly biased against the MDC and gravitating towards Zanu PF. While it views them with suspicion, Zanu PF politicians are very popular on these outlets especially the Washington-based Studio 7, where they are frequently featured alongside MDC officials to balance the content."

BBC World News (the 24/7 TV channel) gets US distribution boost with Time Warner deal.

Posted: 28 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Multichannel News, 28 Dec 2012, Topod Spangler: "Under a distribution deal announced earlier this month, Time Warner Cable has added BBC World News for 10 million households across its footprint, expanding the reach of the 24-hour global news channel to 25 million U.S. homes. Time Warner Cable has added BBC World News to the digital basic package in most systems, including in New York City and Los Angeles. ... In the U.S., BBC World News also is available through distributors including Comcast, Cablevision Systems and Verizon FiOS. ... The BBC said it is investing in new programs and facilities, and plans to launch new studios for BBC World News in January 2013 at the company’s new building in central London."

BBC The Editors blog, 14 Dec 2012, Richard Porter, controller of English at BBC Global News: "Until now ... viewers in the world's biggest TV market, the US, have found it hard to access BBC reporting ... . The market is saturated with TV channels, but for the past couple of years we've been very focused on securing widespread carriage on the distribution systems which bring TV into most homes. ... The BBC is already well-known in America through its partnerships with public radio, through the success of our website, and because of our nightly broadcast on public television fronted by Katty Kay. We believe our brand of high-quality, intelligent and non-partisan journalism has something to offer US audiences, and we're determined to make access to our services as simple as possible. The timing could not be better. We're just a few weeks away from the first broadcasts of BBC World News from our brand new headquarters in central London. Three new studios, a big investment in production and journalism, and working more closely with BBC journalists working in English and 27 other languages - it's more than just a new home, it's a new start." See also BBC World News press release, 14 Dec 2012.

New York Times, Media Decoder, 27 Dec 2012, Brian Stelter: "The deals with Comcast and Time Warner Cable are crucial because they are the two biggest cable providers in the country, and where they lead, others tend to follow. But it’s an uphill climb, nonetheless, since providers are generally reluctant to add new channels to their lineups. One of the BBC’s competitors, Al Jazeera English, has been on a similar campaign for cable carriage in the United States, with less to show for it. In the United States, BBC World News seems to be positioning itself as an alternative to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN." -- The headline to this NYT item mistakenly identified the channel as "BBC World Service." BBC World Service is on radio, BBC World News is the 24/7 English international news channel.

Media Bistro, 27 Dec 2012, Alex Weprin: "A year ago we asked you, our dear readers, to predict what would happen in the world of TV news in 2012. ... Which of the following international news channels will gain the most distribution in the U.S. in 2012? BBC World News 41.43%. Al Jazeera English 39.14%. CNN International 19.43%. You were right about this one, with its big deal with Time Warner Cable this month, BBC World News gained far more distribution than either AJE or CNNI."

BBC World News press release, 11 Dec 2012: "BBC World News today announced Changing Fortunes, a new six-part series that will challenge assumptions about patterns of wealth in the early 21st century. ... Changing Fortunes takes a contemporary look at the new generation of wealthy men and women that have emerged in the last two decades. The fall of the Soviet Union, the liberalization of India and the opening of China have brought vast new markets into the global economy. The resulting commodities boom has created an explosion of wealth from Brazil to Africa. And the internet and technology continue to generate new fortunes."

Music Time in Africa Time in America: public radio report on VOA's Leo Sarkisian.

Posted: 28 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
PRI The World, 27 Dec 2012, Richard Harris: "[I]n 1965, [recently retired VOA broadcaster Leo] Sarkisian launched 'Music Time in Africa,' a weekly program on the Voice of America, first from Liberia and then Washington, DC, using many of the recordings Sarkisian made during his travels throughout Africa. For 47 years, 'Music Time in Africa' has been a bridge between America and Africa. From the beginning, the idea was to interest people in receiving VOA news by getting them used to the station playing music from different regions of the African continent, music they had no other means to receive. They began getting letters from English-speaking African countries saying they had never heard the music of other African countries. Sarkisian made a point of answering every letter." With audio report. See previous post about same subject.

Hispasat removes Iranian international channels Press TV and Hispan TV.

Posted: 28 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 24 Dec 2012: "Spanish satellite operator Hispasat has dropped broadcasts by two of Iranian state broadcaster IRIB’s channels because of EU sanctions against its chief, the Mehr news agency reported on Saturday. The English- and Spanish-language channels Press TV and Hispan TV were no longer available via Hispasat from Friday because of the sanctions against IRIB head Ezzatollah Zarghami, Mehr said. No immediate comment was available from Hispasat. ... Press TV and Hispan TV issued a joint news release denouncing what they called a 'flagrant violation of freedom of speech' and 'attempt to silence the truth-telling media.' ... They said it was worth recalling that 'Hispasat is partly owned by Paris-based Eutelsat SA satellite provider that removed Iranian channels off the air in October.'"

Press TV, 25 Dec 2012: "Bijan Nobaveh-Vatan, deputy head of Iran Majlis Cultural Committee said on Tuesday that the move by the Spanish satellite provider, Hispasat, is completely at odds with the Western countries' claim to advocating freedom of speech."

Fars News Agency, 26 Dec 2012: "'The ban on the Spanish-language Iranian channels that were covering South America, was an illegal act by Spain, and their real problem is the Islamic Republic of Iran's political influence in that region, not the sanctions against Iran,' Deputy Head of the Iranian Parliament's Cultural Commission Bijan Nobaveh Vatan said on Tuesday."

American Jewish Committee press release, 20 Dec 2012: "AJC applauded Hispasat, the Spanish communication satellites group, for deciding to terminate the broadcasting of two Iranian television channels, Hispan TV and Press TV. Transmission of the Iranian channels is expected to end on December 21. 'This is an important development in the worldwide effort to contain the defiant regime in Tehran, one we have been watching carefully for months and discussing with our friends in Spain,' said AJC Executive Director David Harris. ... 'No satellite company in the Western world should enable the dissemination of propaganda from an Iranian government that denies human rights, supports terror organizations and is determined to achieve nuclear weapons capability. That Hispasat’s action triggered such an angry response in Tehran tells us all we need to know about its significance.'"

United Against Nuclear Iran press release, 24 Dec 2012: "United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) applauded Spain’s Hispasat for ending its broadcasting of Iranian regime programming. Specifically, Hispasat has ordered the removal of Iranian channels Press TV and Hispan TV. ... Hispasat’s decision follows UANI’s November 20 public call for Hispasat and its CEO, Carlos Espinós Gómez, to stop making 'unreasonable justifications for its business in Iran and immediately stop broadcasting Iranian regime programming.'"

IRNA, 26 Dec 2012: "Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, on Wednesday sought satellite services from Turkey for Iranian TV broadcasts. He criticized the western satellite service providers for refusing service for Iranian TV broadcasts. He said that the move is a clear violation of freedom of expression, and that the Turkish satellite service providers are expected to help Iranian TV broadcasts with satellite services."

With the end of 2012 comes the end of shortwave from Voice of Croatia, and CVC to Africa.

Posted: 27 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
North American ShortWave Association Yahoo! group, 27 Dec 2012, Steve (shortwavereport): "I received a letter in the post yesterday from CVC Media 1 Africa. They explained about their new Platforms forr reaching their audience including 100 FM radio stations across Africa. They also said 'It is against this background that we felt the need to intensify our efforts on these new platforms that we sadly have to cease our SW broadcasts as from the 31st of December 2012'." -- Parent organization is UK-based Christian Vision, which previously closed its shortwave facilities in Australia (the former Radio Australia near Darwin) and Chile.

Voice of Croatia website, 26 Dec 2012: "The Voice of Croatia would like to inform you that as of the 1st of January 2013, this program will no longer be broadcast on short wave. You will still be able to hear us on medium wave in Europe, via satellite and on the internet worldwide." "[T]he transmitting costs are not corresponding to number of listeners who are using shortwave as reception method," per email to Richard D'Angelo from János Römer, assistant program director.

North American ShortWave Association Yahoo! group, 27 Dec 2012, Steve (shortwavereport): "I received Volume 47 Number 4 (Fall 2012 issue) of the Family Radio News magazine. A letter on Page 17 is entitled 'An Urgent Prayer Request!'. It states in part "The expenses for operating our international services are very great, and our income is not able to keep up with these expenses. We are faced with the possibility of shutting down our shortwave broadcasts: which of course, we do not want to do.' ... In recent years Family Radio International has utilized not only WYFR but many relay sites around the world to reach their audience. I never counted how much time they leased on other transmitters but I would guess that it was at least a half dozen sites throughout Asia and the Pacific. In a recent check of the HFCC Public files I could only find them using WYFR in Florida and sites in Taiwan. I assume the Taiwan sites may be connected with Radio Taiwan International using WYFR's Florida site. Perhaps they exchange transmitter time. But in any case it appears that Family Radio's International Broadcasts may be at risk." -- WYFR's license dates back, through various owners, to pioneering US shortwave broadcaster WRUL, later WNYW, known in the 1960s for its Radio New York Worldwide.

RadioActivity blog, 27 Dec 2012, Adrian M. Peterson: "During the entire coming year, 2013, programming in the AWR [Adventist World Radio] DX program, 'Wavescan', will be concentrated upon the radio broadcasting scene on the continent of Africa, including nearby islands and the Middle East. Tentative planning for the scheduling of radio features includes a historic rundown of an African radio station, large or small, as the the main opening topic every 3rd week. ... All of the African information that will be presented on air in 'Wavescan' throughout the year 2013 will be under the title, 'Focus on Africa', and the purpose for this year long emphasis is to encourage the development of international radio broadcasting and shortwave listening throughout the African arena."

Digital text goes full circle: to Miami via email, to Brazil via shortwave, back to Virginia via YouTube.

Posted: 27 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
During the past few weekends, shortwave broadcast station WRMI in Miami, 9955 kHz, has been transmitting IDs that I created for them in digital text modes. I typed the IDs at my house in northern Virginia, then emailed them to Jeff White at WRMI, who has been transmitting them on shortwave.

On UTC Sunday, 23 December, at 0000, WRMI transmitted an ID in the MFSK8 mode. This was received by Flávio, PY2ZX, in Brazil, who made a YouTube video with the audio of his reception of that ID on WRMI, and video showing the reception on a spectrum scope. Using the Fldigi software, I decoded the digital text from Flávio's YouTube video. The results can be seen here.

And, apropos, there will be more digital text via analog shortwave broadcast this weekend on The Mighty KBC's broadcast to North America, UTC Sunday at 0000-0200 (Saturday 7 to 9 pm Eastern Time in North America), via Bulgaria on 9450 kHz. At around 0130 UTC, Olivia 8-1000 will be centered on 1500 Hz, and MFSK31 on 2500 Hz. At just before 0200 UTC, an Flmsg-formatted holiday greeting in MT63-2000 (long interleave) centered on 1500 Hz, and PSKR250 on 2800 Hz.

See previous posts on 15 Dec and 7 Dec 2012.

Award to RFE/RL Turkmen correspondent for reporting "in defiance of an official information blackout"

Posted: 27 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 24 Dec 2012: "Dovletmyrat Yazkuliyev, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Turkmen language service, received a 2012 Hellman/Hammett grant for his fearless reporting in Turkmenistan, one of the world's most closed societies. Yazkuliyev was recognized for his reporting, in defiance of an official information blackout, on an explosion in Abadan, near the capital of Ashgabat in July 2011 and its aftermath, including the government's failure to provide assistance to victims. In retaliation, security officials threatened him with criminal charges for 'disseminating defamatory information' and 'causing domestic unrest.' ... RFE/RL president Steven Korn commended Yazkuliyev, calling the prize 'a tribute to Dovlet's courage and his contribution to the public interest in Turkmenistan.' He added, 'It is also a summons to rights advocates everywhere to redouble our efforts to promote and protect media freedom.'"

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 27 Dec 2012: "Journalists all around the world who work under the direction of the Broadcasting Board of Governors were recognized for their skill, talent and courage with dozens of awards from groups involved with media and the public interest in 2012."

BBG Watch, 27 Dec 2012: "In a new sign of disputing actions by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) president Steven Korn, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which has authority over the U.S.-funded media freedom broadcaster, has issued a press release honoring achievements of several former Radio Liberty Russian journalists whom Korn had fired or forced to resign last September."

RFE/RL Off Mic blog, 20 Dec 2012, "Recent parliamentary elections in Ukraine shone a spotlight not just on country that has squandered much of the promise of the 2004 Orange Revolution, but also on RFE/RL’s intrepid Ukraine Service, Radio Svoboda, which provides independent, innovative and necessary news in a media environment that Freedom House characterizes as only 'partly free.' ... With the October 28 election, Radio Svoboda’s coverage set a new standard for comprehensive, multi-platform news reporting, allowing audiences direct access to events on a national scale. Audiences responded, increasing website traffic three-fold throughout the extended election process."

Report: Embattled RFE/RL president Steven Korn will depart.

Posted: 27 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
World Affairs, 24 Dec 2012, Judy Bachrach: "As it turned out, you really and truly needed a ticket to get into the December meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors to try to figure out what’s going on with the complete disintegration of the taxpayer-funded Radio Liberty. Or to find out the fate of its highly problematic president, Steven Korn, a former CNN executive who has both led and fueled its meltdown. And as it also turned out, the board representatives were in no hurry to give that ticket to the press or, once the meeting was over, to encourage the press (i.e., me) to linger in order to discover what was bubbling beneath the blather. Korn especially wasn’t open to chat, his ruddy face as grim and rigid as Stonehenge, and his response to my interview request—a terse 'I’m going on vacation' —as true a thing as he’s ever said. Korn, as I soon discovered from two informed sources, will be going on permanent vacation. Come February, he was privately informed right before we met, he must leave the helm of Radio Liberty and its sister outfit, Radio Free Europe. Last week, his closest aides denied all talk of resignation to the RFE/RL staff, but then no one knows how long that inner circle will last either once they lose their champion. Just as urgent, I hear from those same sources: Korn is also not allowed to fire anyone at all during the weeks he has left. This was an essential part of the secret deal. Under his brief aegis and that of his most trusted aide, Julia Ragona, who is vice president for content, Radio Liberty, a onetime free speech and hard news beacon, has turned into a bloodbath, full of fear, fury—and almost no sound at all. ... Next week: a bit more on the subject. By the way: Sources welcome."

Voice of Russia, 25 Dec 2012, citing TASS: "President and CEO of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe Steven Korn has been relieved of his duties. According to Washington-based 'World Affairs', a decision to this effect was approved by the Broadcasting Council, which controls the civilian branch of the US foreign propaganda machine."

Blogger News Network, 24 Dec 2012, citing BBG Watch: "U.S. officials and American NGO heads are refuting statements from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) executives who claimed in media interviews and in reports to staff that their leadership of the U.S. publicly-funded international broadcaster is no longer being seriously questioned in Washington. Freedom House President David Kramer said Sunday that nothing short of a complete housecleaning of the RFE/RL top leadership is required. 'The damage they have done is immeasurable,' Kramer concluded." -- To whom did Mr. Kramer make this statement? Where?

Blogger News Network, 24 Dec 2012, Ted Lipien: "Media in Russia are reporting that leaders of Helsinki human rights groups in Russia and the Czech Republic have appealed to former Solidarity labor union leader and Poland’s former president Lech Walesa to help them defend the rights of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists who had been fired in Moscow on orders of RFE/RL president Steven Korn and the rights of foreign-born employees in Prague whom the RFE/RL management has denied labor law protections for many years." With links.

See previous post about same subject.

Best Places to Work survey shows VOA among worst places to work.

Posted: 26 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The SWLing Post, 13 Dec 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "[T]he Broadcasting Board of Governers has been ranked in the bottom five places to work in the 2012 edition of The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government by The Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte. ... Indeed, the BBG ranked in the bottom five of the 290 mid-sized federal agencies in the survey in all of the effective leadership sub-categories of the survery. Here a breakdown: Empowerment (rank: 290 of 290). Fairness (289 of 290). Senior Leaders (288 of 290). Supervisors (290 of 290). Another area where the agency received a low score was in the category of Strategic Management: BBG employees rankings came in at 289 of 290." With links to the reports. -- According to this page, the survey included only the Voice of America and International Broadcasting Bureau, i.e. the components of the BBG that are federal agencies (Radio and TV Martí are not mentioned). Employees of the excepted corporations: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Mddle East Broadcasting Networks Inc were not included.

Canadian senator looks into putting the Radio Canada International toothpaste back in the tube.

Posted: 26 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The SWLing Post, 13 Dec 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "An excellent development in Canada: Senator Hugh Segal’s motion for a special committee enquiry into the CBC decision to slash the Radio Canada International budget by 80 per cent has received a unanimous vote in the Senate. Committee hearings will begin as early as February. [From a] press release I received from Senator Segal: ... 'I am delighted that, in a non partisan way, the Senate voted to have the RCI matter go to a full review of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. My motion was amended by Senator Champagne to go to a full committee hearing rather than a one day appearance before bar of the Senate. That a ten percent cut to the CBC budget produced an 80 percent slash and burn of Radio Canada International reflects an internal CBC management decision which needs to be better understood. CBC management may well believe that if they let people go and dismantle transmitters, the problem will go away. The importance of Canada’s voice to the rest of the world is not a detail of no consequence. The chance to call witnesses, pursue how other enlightened countries have expanded their short wave capacity, among other facts, will be a constructive step ahead in strengthening Canada’s international voice.'" -- If reports that the transmissions lines have been removed at the CBC shortwave station near Sackville, New Brunswick, are correct, it may be difficult to get RCI back onto shortwave. Also, it might be difficult to find other countries that have "expanded their short wave capacity," other than China and Cuba, which have done so largely for jamming purposes. See also PCJ, with link to 3 Nov 2012 interview with Senator Segal.

New morning programs on the Voice of America Persian Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty Radio Farda satellite TV channel.

Posted: 21 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 19 Dec 2012: "Iranians can begin their day with a new, two hour block of live television programming from RFE/RL's Radio Farda and VOA Persian Television, through a groundbreaking collaboration between the two international broadcasters. Radio Farda's Breakfast with News and VOA’s Radio Tamasha are now being aired weekday mornings on VOA’s Persian Television channel, which broadcasts into Iran on the Hotbird satellite and on Livestation, a 24/7 Internet streaming platform. This represents the first time a Radio Farda production has appeared on television. ... Radio fans and morning commuters can still listen to both programs via their current platforms -- AM mediumwave, shortwave, and Internet for Breakfast with News, and shortwave and Internet for Radio Tamasha." Same as VOA press release, 19 Dec 2012. -- And has VOA quietly dropped the "Persian News Network" brand?

Heritage Foundation aims its bullet points at the Radio Liberty Russian controversy.

Posted: 21 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Heritage Foundation, 13 Dec 2012, Ariel Cohen and Helle C. Dale: "During the first Obama term, RL/RFE management changed hands and is now under the presidency of former CNN broadcaster Steven Korn. Vice President for Content Julia Ragona, in charge of RL reorganization, previously ran a lucrative business in Russia in partnership with the Russian government, which some believe may have created a conflict of interest. In Moscow, an office of some 100 broadcasters who have brought the uncensored news to Russians is now decimated. On September 20 and 21, without warning, over 40 of RL’s staff were summarily fired. The way this was done is what one would expect from the Soviet or Russian government. The staffers were blocked from entering their offices and escorted out by armed guards. The decision was allegedly the result of a new media law that took effect in Moscow on November 10, ending Radio Liberty’s license to broadcast on AM radio. This change in the media law came soon after Moscow ordered the closing in October of the offices of USAID, which it accused of political interference. However, RL management did not attempt to negotiate an exception, collaborate with a Russian media organization, or intervene in Washington in order to apply equivalent treatment to Russia Today TV and Voice of Russia radio."

The Heritage Foundation fellows could not resist this opportunity to take a swipe at President Obama. It is actually the Broadcasting Board of Governors (now, granted, with a Democratic majority) that hires the heads of USIB entities. And can fire them.

Advice from Heritage tends to be of the easier-said-than-done variety. It is difficult to get access to Russian domestic broadcasting outlets. VOA does lease a half hour on a Moscow medium wave (AM) frequency, but leases of longer duration could be expensive and not worth it given the small remaining audience on the medium wave band.

On the other hand, depending on internet delivery means Radio Liberty Russian, or, will be in the company of tens of thousands of websites, includes hundreds that are news oriented. On the medium wave band, at least, the number of competitors is reduced to a couple of dozen stations. Furthermore, a radio frequency, or at least a radio program, provides an anchor of legitimacy that can drive more traffic to the, whether via PC or mobile device.

With the Russian government capable of tightening internet controls, it might be a good time for Russians to become reacquainted with shortwave radio. Shortwave will never return to popularity in Russia, but serious news consumers should keep a shortwave radio on hand. US international broadcasting would need to market a new generation of shortwave radios that provide easy tuning, and perhaps also allow the reception of text as well as audio. USIB still has the facilities to deliver a good signal into Russia. Russia could attempt to jam these broadcasts, but this would require an expensive and complicated investment in equipment.

Finally, international commercial channels such as Discovery and CNN International have access to the Russian viewers through Russian cable and direct-to-home satellite services. USIB should explore this avenue, if not a by a 24/7 channel, then by time on existing international channels, even if it is by way of purchasing 60-second spots.

Radio World, 19 Dec 2012, Randy J. Stine: "A new Russian law that prohibits foreign-owned radio companies from broadcasting from that country has forced Radio Liberty’s Russian service, Radio Svoboda, from the AM band. The broadcast service remains available on shortwave and via satellite. The broadcaster has said it plans to expand its digital platforms. ... International broadcasting analysts said the development will challenge the Broadcasting Board of Governors to find ways to cope with the loss of the terrestrial AM signal in Russia and increase listenership at a time when it’s increasingly splintered among media platforms. It will be increasingly difficult to reach older demographics, they said. ... The loss of the AM signal in Moscow will be minimized by moving quickly toward new digital strategy and platforms, said Martins Zvaners, RFE/RL deputy director of communications. 'Reception of Radio Svoboda programming in central Moscow was difficult because of electricity generated from overhead cables used to power the city’s network of trams, which makes it very difficult to listen to any AM broadcast signal in the city. The footprint of the AM signal covered Moscow and the suburbs,' Zvaners said."

Voice of Russia, 15 Dec 2012, citing BBC: "The Freedom House President, David Kramer, said Thursday he disapproved of the recent reform of the Radio Liberty Russian Service that resulted in mass dismissals. He feels the President and CEO of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe Steven Korn did great damage to the radio station. The BBG commission voiced concern about a 50% drop in Radio Liberty website traffic in the past two months.", 13 Dec 2012, Lev Roitman, letter to BBG members: "You never understood that international reputation of American broadcasting entities aimed at overseas audiences (RFE/RL, MBN, etc.) is reflected not by your self-aggrandizing statements at BBG meetings, but by foreign public opinion formed by mass media."

Blogger News Network, 20 Dec 2012, Ted Lipien, citing BBG Watch: "Radio Liberty Internet team fired last September by American executives of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) received last Saturday in Moscow a prestigious Sakharov human rights journalism prize along with its star young reporter and web editor Elena Vlasenko who had resigned from RFE/RL in protest against the dismissal of her colleagues."

See previous post about same subject.

Broadcasting Board of Governors launches review of US international broadcasting in Russia, and moves towards CEO.

Posted: 21 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 14 Dec 2012: "During its final meeting of 2012, the Broadcasting Board of Governors launched an extensive review of its efforts in Russia, recognized BBG journalists and senior managers for extraordinary service and adopted new travel guidelines. After a day-long meeting of its Strategy & Budget Committee that examined agency strategy in Russia and Iran and included the views of outside experts on human rights, the Board discussed next steps. It commissioned a six-month review of the situation in Russia to be led by IBB Deputy Director Jeffrey Trimble. Board members also made plans to travel to Russia in early 2013 to meet with officials and civil society and to explore distribution options for programming by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. ... The Board also honored two departing senior managers, Chief Financial Officer Maryjean Buhler, who had moved to another federal government position, and John Lennon, Associate Director of Strategy and Planning at Voice of America, who is retiring after 44 years with the agency. The Board also ... [r]eaffirmed its commitment to a plan to create the position of a Chief Executive Officer under existing legislation." See also Radio World, 10 Dec 2012, about VOA manager John Lennon.

Western international broadcasters "cast a wary eye on ... efforts to control the Internet."

Posted: 21 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 19 Dec 2012: "We, the representatives of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), have met in Berlin to discuss common concerns.

"We find international journalism is facing unprecedented challenges from countries that seek to deny their own citizens access to information from outside their borders...

"[W]e note with dismay that certain governments continue to control the flow of information. For example, China routinely blocks the Web and social media sites of our broadcasters and jams our shortwave signals, or Iran and Syria interfere with the satellite signals that carry our programs. Governments in Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America also seek to control what their own citizens can see, hear and read.

"Many of these actions, including intentional jamming of satellites, violate international regulations. We condemn them without reservation.

"We also call attention to troubling new challenges to free expression. Some governments are seeking to enact far-reaching telecommunications regulations to stymie free speech.

"At the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WICT) in Dubai, representatives of the world’s nations have considered telecommunications rules that might explicitly apply to the Internet for the first time.

"We cast a wary eye on such efforts to control the Internet, and we denounce efforts to identify and track Internet users in order to stifle free expression, inquiry and political activity.

"We have agreed to increase, whenever possible, our support for efforts to circumvent Web censorship through the use of new and innovative hardware and software tools. We also agreed to increase our advocacy for Internet freedom."

CNET, 13 Dec 2012, Declan McCullagh: "In a stunning repudiation of a United Nations summit, an alliance of Western democracies including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada today rejected a proposed treaty over concerns it hands repressive governments too much authority over the Internet. ... 'We all agreed that content was not intended to be part of the [treaty], but content issues keep coming up,' the U.K.'s delegate said, adding that the ITU, a U.N. agency, is not the 'proper place' to address Internet-related issues. Canada said it was forced to reject the proposed treaty because of its commitment to an Internet 'in which people are free to participate, communicate, organize and exchange information.'"

Reporters sans frontières, 13 Dec 2012: "The Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT), an American NGO, said the way the resolution was adopted was unprecedented. Government representatives who would probably have opposed it were caught on the hop and were unable to take a position before the session’s hasty closure."

The White House, 11 Dec 2012, Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator; R. David Edelman is Senior Advisor for Internet Policy andTom Power is U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Telecommunications: "[W]e should not confuse telecommunications infrastructure with the information that traverses it. The global consensus for a free and open Internet is overwhelming. Millions in the United States and around the world have already added their voices to this conversation, and their position is clear: they do not want the [World Conference on International Telecommunications] to govern the Internet or legitimize more state control over online content."

A review of the 2013 World Radio TV Handbook, directory of shortwave and other broadcasting.

Posted: 20 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The SWLing Post, 11 Dec 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: I just received my copy of the 2013 WRTH directly from the publisher. As many SWLing readers know, I look forward to receiving this staple radio reference guide, and this year it even arrived early. While other reference guides have pulled out of the scene, WRTH has remained strong, resistant to the economy’s negative influence upon radio, and their quality, too, has been consistent. Not only does WRTH have a loyal readership among hobbyists, but also among commercial broadcasters. ... All in all, this is another great edition of the World Radio TV Handbook. As I’ve said before, though I use online frequency databases fairly regularly, there is no replacement for a good printed frequency guide. Not only does WRTH contain more in-depth information on broadcasters and schedules, but it makes for quick reference, and doesn’t require a computer or Internet connection…much like your shortwave radio." Also available from Universal Radio and Grove Enterprises. -- The largest section of the book is a country-by-country listing of domestic radio stations, with frequencies, addresses, etc. Farther back in the book, easy to miss, is the International Radio section, providing information about what remains of international shortwave broadcasting. (Quite a lot remains, actually.) There are also sections devoted to clandestine and targeted broadcasting and (much smaller than the radio section) domestic television in all countries. I use the WRTH almost every day, at work and at home.

Content from the VOA newsroom is blocked in China, but Chinese can watch the US TV series "The Newsroom."

Posted: 20 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 19 Dec 2012: "As American TV drama Gossip Girl saw a happy ending on Tuesday night, young Chinese are reluctant to part from it. Meanwhile, they are ready to embrace more foreign TV series. 'I joined my friends to see every episode of Gossip Girl since I was in university, for the gorgeous clothes and nicely pronounced English,' says 25-year-old Qin Jie, a member of staff at a Beijing law firm. 'I was moved to see its ending but feel a little lost without updates on the drama any more,' says Qin. 'It's lucky that I still follow other American dramas, such as The Newsroom.'... With the development of the Internet, more Chinese people have easier access to episodes, not only for language learning but for their own general interest. ... Li Shengli, a professor with the Communication University of China, says that foreign TV series have attracted young Chinese audiences for a long time, and are now putting great challenges toward domestically made ones, as the foreign competition is more delicately produced and maintains good interaction with the audience. American series are broadcasted as each episode is made week by week, Li explains, while China's TV dramas are filmed in blocks for examination by state organs and then shown on TV, with two or more episodes appearing each day."

"Do as we say, not as we do." Xinhua uses Twitter, blocked in China, to transmit its content abroad.

Posted: 20 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Morning Whistle, 11 Dec 2012, Xu Weiwei: "China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency is getting teased on China’s largest microblogging platform for its Twitter account being discovered by users. Xinhua’s official Twitter account was apparently discovered by Sina Weibo users around Dec. 5 and soon attracted a lot of attention. ... Many Weibo users teased it by asking 'why don’t they allow us to open the website of Twitter' or 'I am wondering how Xinhua "climbs over" the "Great Fire Wall".' ... @XHNews has once followed over 400 accounts, however, Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily reported, it has gradually unfollowed them since October. Now it follows no accounts. During the party congress last month, Xinhua’s English news site promoted @XHNews with an article 'Xinhua tweets changes in China.' The article argued that 'China's attitudes and moves attract global eyes.'"

VOA News, 12 Dec 2012, Kate Woodsome: "Do as we say, not as we do. That could be the latest headline from China’s Xinhua News Agency, the state-run media giant that’s sharing its stories via Twitter, a social media site officially blocked in China. ... China has a kind of 'block and clone' approach to the Internet, as described in a TED Talk by the prominent Chinese blogger Michael Anti, known as Jing Zhao. Like Twitter, the government blocks Facebook and other social networks, but offers Chinese netizens domestic versions, including Sina Weibo and renren. The blogger has described Weibo as 'the media,' saying if something’s not on Weibo, it’s not known to the public. But Earp says despite Weibo's hundreds of millions of users, Chinese netizens often still turn to Twitter because it’s a connection to the world." See also China Digital Times, 11 Dec 2012, Scott Greene, with links to other reports.

MTV Russia will close as Viacom license is not renewed.

Posted: 19 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 11 Dec 2012: "MTV Russia is closing 14 years after the channel launched in the country. Owner Profmedia has decided not to renew the licence it has held from Viacom Media Networks since 2007 for the MTV brand and associated content. A new general entertainment channel, Pyanitsa, will replace the channel in June 2013. According to local reports, the number of viewers in the channel’s target group has decreased from 2.2% in 2010 to 1.6% last year. MTV Russia launched in 1998, with Profmedia acquiring the licence in 2007. An MTV spokesperson said that it is currently exploring a number of opportunities for MTV in Russia and will continue to air four music channels (MTV Hits, MTV Dance, MTV Rocks and MTV HD) in the market."

Bloomberg Television Indonesia will launch in early 2013.

Posted: 18 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Jakarta Globe, 10 Dec 2012: "Bloomberg Television on Monday announced the formation of a partnership in Indonesia with the Idea Group, a Jakarta-based media and strategic communication holding company, to launch Bloomberg Television Indonesia in early 2013. Presented in Bahasa Indonesia, Bloomberg Television Indonesia will bring Bloomberg news, alongside locally-produced content, to southeast Asia's largest economy. Bloomberg TV Indonesia will partner with existing broadcast entities and air on Free to Air, Pay TV, internet and mobile platforms."

British Council's Learn English MENA claims "likes" lead among English-learning Facebook pages.

Posted: 18 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 11 Dec 2012, Max de Lotbinière: "A Facebook page aimed at English language learners in the Middle East and North Africa is attracting more than 10,000 new fans every week. The Learn English MENA page, which is maintained by the British Council has over 1 million 'likes', an increase of more than 200% in less than 18 months, the Council says. Those figures put Learn English MENA far ahead of other English learning pages on Facebook. The Learn Real English page, which offers lessons based on authentic conversations between native speakers, has over 300,000 likes, while Voice of America's Special English page attracts over 200,000 endorsements for its video based learning content. The Council says that demand for English is growing rapidly in the region as is the popularity of Facebook which has 45 million monthly users. ... Leading ELT digital technology trainer Nik Peachey says that the content that the Council produces on its Learn English websites is impressive, but there is less evidence that its Facebook page is contributing to learning in the region. ... 'I think before making bold claims about the effectiveness of Facebook as a learning tool we have to be realistic about just how much engagement that amounts to.'"

"Global netizens" select ten most innovative Chinese cities for China Radio International.

Posted: 18 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
"The awards ceremony for the 2012 Chinese City Rankings event organized by China Radio International was held Wednesday in Beijing. Ten Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Pu'er, Yinchuan and Jiujiang, were selected as the most innovative cities in this year's ranking. ... Selecting different creative elements in different cities, the 2012 Chinese City Rankings event sought to introduce brand-new city images of China to global audiences. ... Supported by CRI's multilingual platform, the project asked global netizens to select the most innovative Chinese cities via text message and online voting and was designated to promote the most creative resources in China to the global society."

On Belarus pay TV, China's CCTV English is Basic, but CCTV Russian is Entertainment.

Posted: 18 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 11 Dec 2012: "Belarusian pay TV operator Cosmos TV has added news channels from France and China to its line-up. Viewers can now watch French and English-language versions of France 24 in the Basic and Cognitive packages. The channel is joined by Chinese news channel CCTV News, which airs in English and is available in the Basic package, and local language version CCTV Russian, which now forms part of the Entertainment package."

Digital text via shortwave broadcast this weekend.

Posted: 15 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Shortwave broadcaster The Mighty KBC, based in the Netherlands but transmitting via Bulgaria, is now transmitting to North America on 9450 kHz and will continue to do so until 0200 UTC (9 pm EST). At about 0130 UTC (8:30 pm EST) MT63-1000 (long interleave) will be centered on 1000 Hz, PSKR125 centered on 2200 Hz. Decode one from your radio, decode the other from your recording. At just before 0200 UTC (9 pm EST), MT63-2000 (long interleave) will be centered on 1500 Hz. This second transmission will be an html-formatted Flmsg message.

Download Fldigi and Flmsg from In Fldigi, go to Configure > Modems > MT-63 > check 64-bit (long) interleave, 8-bit extended characters, and Allow manual tuning. Also, go to Configure > Misc > NBEMS > check Open with flmsg and Open in browser and, below that, indicate where your flmsg.exe file is located. If everything works, a shortwave transmitter in Bulgaria will open a new window of your web browser.

Also, private shortwave station WRMI, Miami, 9955 kHz, will transmit IDs in digital text modes this weekend. Saturday 0000 to 2400 EST (0500 to Sun 0500 UTC), the mode is BPSK63F (also known as PSK63F). Sunday 0000 to 2400 EST (0500 to Mon 0500 UTC), the mode will be Olivia 64-1000 (a non-standard mode that will require a custom setting in Fldigi; unlike most digital modes, this one sounds pleasant). The WRMI IDs are, of course, mostly on the hour and half hour. In Olivia 64-1000, the ID will appear a few seconds after you hear the tones and see the waterfall.

We are experimenting with digital text modes via analog shortwave as a possible method to provide information via text when the internet is blocked by disasters or dictators.

See previous post about the same subject.

Lease agreement for the museum at the former VOA Bethany (Ohio) transmitting site.

Posted: 14 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Middletown (OH) Journal, 10 Dec 2012, Hannah Poturalski: "A board of directors at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting is a step closer to more autonomous operations at the historical structure. West Chester Twp. trustees approved Dec. 4 a lease agreement with the museum’s executive board. Pending final approval by Secretary of the Interior of the United States, the museum board of directors will be responsible for its development, management, programming, use, operations and maintenance of the facility and grounds. ... The township will continue ownership of the building, while the museum board will cover the costs of utilities and maintenance, according to Barb Wilson, township spokeswoman. The township has been in control of the facility since the 1990s when the federal government decommissioned and donated the facility. On the National Register of Historic Places, the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting features the collections of the Grey History of Wireless Museum and Media Heritage Inc., as well as the West Chester Amateur Radio Association."

National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting, 7 Dec 2012: "About $12 million is needed to build the former VOA Bethany Station building into a first-class museum." -- This is the former VOA Bethany (Ohio) shortwave transmitting station.

A small war of words between Voice of Russia and Deutsche Welle about Romanian politics (updated).

Posted: 14 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 21 Nov 2012, Valentin Mândrasescu: "The web site of the German radio station Deutsche Welle in Romanian published an article, which would be very funny if it did not raise doubts about the level of professionalism of the German journalists. Despite the fact that the article was entitled 'Is Romania a colony?' it authors did not bother to dwell on the subject, but went directly to attacking the Voice of Russia. The Russian radio station is blamed for almost uprooting the government authority as well as the law and order. Some of the passages from the text published by Deutsche Welle create a surrealistic impression. ... Despite the accusations directed at the Voice of Russia, it is the Deutsche Welle journalists who can be suspected of attempting to directly influence the policy of the Romanian government. In that respect very demonstrative is the recent editorial published by the web site of Deutsche Welle, in which the German journalists harshly criticized Prime Minister Victor Ponta for the mere thought to veto the German draft of the EU budget. ... The Voice of Russia attracts the Romanian readers by exactly the fact that it tries to look at the world from their point of view and their problems. This is the difference with the Western propaganda, which faces an unpleasant task of convincing the whole nation that to give up the right of determining its own destiny is good and right and to close eyes on all the drawbacks of the Western world. It is easy to notice that in this context the Voice of Russia hinders the efforts of the Western propaganda."

Voice of Russia, 23 Nov 2012: "The Voice of Russia radio, one of the largest and oldest foreign-language broadcasters in the world, has once again experienced attacks coming from Europe. This time it was Germany’s state-run Deutsche Welle radio that accused the Voice of Russia of making Romania a 'banana republic' and disintegrating the basics of a legal state in the country, as well as attempting to distance Romania from Berlin and Brussels. ... The Voice of Russia has forwarded a letter to DW offering a thorough discussion on the matter to exchange opinions and information. Earlier, Romanian President was given an opportunity to speak out on the VoR air and website."

Deutsche Welle, 20 Nov 2012, Petre M. Iancu (translated from Romanian): "Coupled with the enormous interest in the development of Bucharest, one of unprecedented intensity, manifested in recent months both in Moscow and Voice of Russia, on the one hand, and in Brussels or Berlin, on the other, the harshness shows real stakes in the Romanian election."

Update: Voice of Russia, 10 Dec 2012, Valentin Mândrasescu: "After an unfortunate experience with the Voice of Russia last summer, [President Traian Basescu]limited himself to gentle hints. For example, he called upon his voters to cast their votes for those 'who would preserve the strategic alliance with the USA' and would not reorient Romania's external policies towards Moscow and Beijing, not forgetting to mention the need to... 'be friends with Russia and China'. Basescu's right wing supporters have not their minced words; Monica Macoway, former Justice minister, member of the European parliament and titular leader of the alliance supporting the Romanian president, was strident in identifying and disclaiming those she holds responsible for the president's problems... 'This summer, for example, in the context of the impeachment of the president, the Voice of Russia was very active and then it gave instructions to the leaders of the Social Liberal Union about how to create chaos in the country and how to force the president to resign. ... The same Voice of Russia has put together a list of Romanians that the West trusts and that need to be destroyed and discredited by the Social Liberal Union.'"

Burmese government criticizes Al Jazeera English documentary on Rohingya minority.

Posted: 14 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, WorldViews, 10 Dec 2012, Max Fisher: "An al-Jazeera English documentary on violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma’s western province of Rakhine has earned a formal, public rebuke from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 'The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar strongly opposes and rejects the attempt made by Al Jazeera to broadcast the documentary by exaggerating and fabricating the incidents in Rakhine State,' a seven-point statement concludes. The 50-minute program documents the persecution of Burma’s ethnic Rohingya minority, who are Muslim. ... The al-Jazeera program seems to have so upset the Burmese government in part for its suggestion that the violence could be part of 'a deliberate attempt to end the Rohingya as a people,' an enormous assertion that the program never quite proves. Still, it’s a useful and dramatic telling of the crisis and what it means for the country and its people." With video of the documentary.

The Myanmar Times, 10 Dec 2012, Nan Tin Htwe: "The government has accused Qatar-based news organisation Al Jazeera of 'exaggerating and fabricating the incidents in Rakhine State' ahead of the broadcast of a documentary on the Rohingya this week. ... The statement said ... [g]overnment security forces and local authorities were 'never involved in the communal violence or racial and religious discrimination in Rakhine State as accused by some media and organisations'."

Democratic Voice of Burma, 7 Dec 2012, David Stout: "In the statement, [Burma's Ministry of Foreign Affairs] used the heavily stigmatised term 'Bangalis' to refer to the Rohingya, which implies the ethnic group are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh."

India's Voice of Russia (formerly Radio Moscow) listener clubs meet in New Delhi.

Posted: 14 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 8 Dec 2012, Natalya Benyukh: "The Russian Centre of Science and Culture in New Delhi is hosting the 7th all-Indian conference of listeners of The Voice of Russia. Delegates from over 150 local listener clubs are taking part, representing most of India’s states. ... Mr Krishna Muriri Singh Kisan heads one of the many VOR listener clubs created in Bihar State: 'My club was founded in 1995. It now has 60 members. We are all friends and sympathizers of Russia and take great interest in developments in your country. With the help of your radio station, we track your reforms in every field and study the Russian culture. We also have another source of information about Russia, FEVER 104 FM. This radio station is an Indian partner of The Voice of Russia.' ... VOR listener clubs (our station was known at the time as Radio Moscow International) sprang up in India in the 1960s, as Soviet-Indian cooperation was picking up. Moscow Radio [sic] was beaming programmes in as many as 12 Indian languages."

Embassy of Russia to India: "Appreciating good response shown by the Indian audience, Ms. Natalia Benyukh, Special Correspondent, Voice of Russia, said that the Radio Station is going to start a new multi-media web-site in the English language aimed at its listeners in South Asia. The web-site will comprise photo, video and audio materials as well as a forum for open interaction between the Voice of Russia and its listeners."

BBC Worldwide in the news includes possible purchase of China's "Dream Show" format.

Posted: 14 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Caixin Online, 11 Dec 2012, Qin Min: "China's television production sector appears to be entering a more creative and potentially market-ready phase now that BBC Worldwide Ltd. has shown interest in buying a copyrighted reality-talent show format pioneered by Zhejiang Satellite Television (ZJST). BBC Worldwide plans to pay an undetermined amount for the latest version of Chinese Dream Show if the popular program continues to win high audience ratings, said Du Fang, deputy director at ZJST. A statement emailed to Caixin from BBC Worldwide said the company has had early discussions with Zhejiang Satellite Television and Shixi Media about the Chinese Dream Show format, however no partnership or formal offer has been agreed or put forward at this stage. An agreement would be significant because foreign entertainment companies have traditionally sold TV rights to the Chinese, not the other way around. Industry insiders say China's television producers have preferred buying or copying creative works made abroad rather than paying their own staff to generate creative material.", 8 Dec 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels has launched three of its channels, BBC Entertainment, BBC World News and BBC Lifestyle, on newly launched Indonesian pay TV platform, max3. ... With the debut of BBC Entertainment in Indonesia, the full suite of BBC’s channels will now be available in the country. ... 2012 has been a year of tremendous growth for BBC World News. 'The channel surpassed the 300 million household figure in May, and several international news events of the year allowed BBC World News to do what it does best. ... We look forward to working with them to build the BBC World News brand in Indonesia, especially as we are about to move into new state-of-the art studios in London,' said BBC Global New Director Distribution Colin Lawrence." -- max3 appears to be a fiber optic delivered service. Its channel list shows several international channels, including the major English-language news channels.

Broadband TV News, 12 Dec 2012, Chris Dziadul: "The BBC may consider taking part in the contest for the remaining slots on Poland’s first DTT multiplex, according to Jacek Koskowski, GM and VP CEE at BBC Worldwide. ... BBC Worldwide currently distributes the channels BBC Knowledge, Lifestyle, CBeebies and Entertainment in Poland and recently they secured distribution on Cyfrowy Polsat, the country’s leading DTH platform."

Realscreen, 6 Dec 2012, Kelly Anderson: "BBC Worldwide Channels has ordered two series, Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill and Stargazing, as part of its ongoing plan to make more original content. Furneaux and Edgar Productions will produce Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill for BBC Lifestyle, while Stargazing has been commissioned from BBC Science for BBC Knowledge. ... [Bill's Kitchen] will air from June 2013 on BBC Lifestyle in Poland, South Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Nordic Region; on BBC HD in EMEA and Latin America; and on BBC Entertainment in Latin America. ... Stargazing will air in early 2013 as a synchronized broadcast on BBC Knowledge in Africa, Asia, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and the Nordic Region; and BBC HD in Latin America, Turkey, Poland and the Nordic Region. 'These two new projects are prime examples of our strategy to produce programming with global appeal which complements our current slate,' said BBC Worldwide Channel’s VP of commissioning Tracy Forsyth."

Targeted News Service, 6 Dec 2012: "BBC Worldwide America Sales & Distribution and PBS announced today they have signed a deal that brings a second season of the critically-acclaimed British drama Call The Midwife to PBS, with new episodes to start airing on March 31, 2013, at 8:00 p.m. ET."

Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting webcast today at 1800 UTC.

Posted: 14 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 14 Dec 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors will hold a full board meeting on Dec. 14, 2012, at 1 p.m. [1800 UTC] at BBG Headquarters in Washington, D.C." With links to live and on-demand video of the meeting.

Broadcasting Board of Governors, 13 Dec 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors Strategy and Budget Committee hosted two panel discussions on broadcasting strategies for Russia and Iran with internal and external experts at its Dec. 13 meeting at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. Governors Michael Meehan, Victor Ashe and Dennis Mulhaupt participated in the wide-ranging discussion moderated by International Broadcasting Bureau Deputy Director Jeffrey Trimble. Topics included the evolving broadcasting environments, Internet freedom, and analysis of audience research for each country. Governor Meehan, the committee’s chairman, was to provide a summary of the meeting to the full Board."

New RFE/RL Russian director says news focus "was a mistake," and that the station will move to "analytical materials."

Posted: 13 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Report from Sergei in Moscow: "1. RIA Novosti reported that Radio Liberty's new Russian director Masha Gessen wants to move away from news to 'analytical materials.' Ms.Gessen is quoted by RIA as saying 'I believe it was a mistake for RL to focus its efforts on the news programming in recent years.'

"RL has no news programing in the local mornings anymore except for the short bulletins on the hour. This is probably due to the fact that morning news shows were prepared mostly in Moscow. The first original one-hour news broadcast goes on the air at local noon on weekdays, then at 4 pm and 8 pm. (The last one seems to be more of a news discussion show.) RL seems to have stopped any call-in guest programs that were so prominent in recent years. I heard at least one guy from VoA Russian participating in RL's program about the US developments.

"RL gave up on its site and returned to its old address For now the new site looks less appealing than before - it's very limited in its offerings and provides no news updates. I'm sure it lost most of its audience in recent months.

"The good news is that RL's short-wave broadcasts targeting European Russia are heard loud and clear in Moscow. I guess it's much easier to find a clear frequency these days. And I don't think the SW service will last for too long.

"2. Curiously, VoA, WRN and FEBC continue broadcasting on AM dial in Moscow. Which leads me to conclude that RL's quitting AM in Moscow had little to do with Russian authorities. RL just needed a good excuse to abandon it. (BBC and DW quit their AM channels in Moscow earlier with a more honest explanation - the lack of AM audience in the city.) VoA still carries its clandestine 30-min. Russian broadcast on weekdays at 5 pm Moscow time.

"3. Starting December 11,, and began carrying ads that are displayed for non-UK visitors. (See BBC Russian blog, 10 Dec 2012, Артем Лисс.) This is presented as an experiment - in addition to that has displayed ads for quite a while now. BBC Russian has a Siemens ad on top of its main page that is identical to the one carried by the state-run I guess not so good for branding.", undated, Andrew Sharogo, Google translated: "For Radio Liberty has changed, we are now - not only and not so much radio as website with diverse content. The final issue of 'Time of Freedom' will inevitably alter the shape of the material, but the main thing I try to maintain: accurate selection of important topics and the right priorities, depth of expertise, impartiality lead, comparison of different points of view, speed and timeliness. The essence of journalism is not changed. The results of each weekday summing exactly twenty-five zero - on shortwave and the internet. The debate can continue in Facebook and Twitter. Read, listen, write!", 8 Dec 2012, Mikhail Sokolov and Marina Timasheff responding to statements about the changes at Radio Svoboda by its new director Masha Gessen, as Google translated: "'There remained only the medium wave in Moscow, where the audience, according to the audit, was 104,000 people.' And what's wrong with that? Note that the audience of Radio Liberty to NE was greater than that of FM-radio 'Komsomolskaya Pravda.'", 1 Dec 2012, Igor V. Sutyagin, translated to English by BBG Watch: "I look with sadness not at our generation, but at the new Radio Liberty website. Sadness from a professional point-of-view. It is not that the new staff are working poorly. These judgments are reserved for professionals in the field. I am a specialist in a different field, but for nearly two years the 'Radio Liberty' button was second in my browser’s most-visited list – after my work e-mail, but ahead of my search engine. I don’t have a lot of free time. I read much faster than the overwhelming majority of people speak, so when I needed news about Russia and, more importantly, when I needed a competent analysis of the news, I would not turn on the radio, but would instead open the Radio Liberty website. This happened regularly, about twice a day. ... The former layout of the RL website allowed me to 1) quickly and reliably find fresh news, 2) quickly skim the headlines with my eyes, without wasting time listening to entire programs which may or may not contain useful information, 3) quickly find relevant commentary (which, due to RL web guidelines, were very terse and to the point – a quality that distinguished RL from other websites), 4) skim the titles of fresh blog posts and access the ones most relevant to me by subject or authorship. Additionally, the 'Liberty Bloggers' section archived posts by authors of interest to me, and I could easily access them from a list of names. (Now, I’m forced to sift through an endless stream of posts without knowing whether there will be anything of interest to me there). Radio Liberty was second-most popular on my browser because its website structure was the most convenient for professional work with a news website – much more convenient than the layout of Grani, Ekho Moskvy, Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, TheNewTimes, Kommersant and Novaya gazeta. All these factors combined made Radio Liberty my go-to source of information – and all of this destroyed when the website was remodeled."

BBG Watch, 13 Dec 2012, has a link to a list of media coverage of the Radio Svoboda transitions and resulting protest.

BBG Watch, 10 Dec 2012: "Kristina Gorelik (Кристина Горелик), fired last September by American taxpayer-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) along with dozens of her colleagues, has received ... the Moscow Helsinki Group prize for 'journalistic activity aimed at promoting human rights values.'" Committee for US International Broadcasting, 11 Dec 2012, congratulates Ms. Gorelik.

International Herald Tribune, 10 Dec 2012, Masha Gessen, director of Radio Svoboda. "Should the prime minister have referred to Russian detectives as 'goats'? It can be a derogatory term in Russian, just like that word in English that can mean either donkey or derriere. The insult was uttered during an informal chat following Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s semi-regular, roughly annual formal interview given to representatives of several television channels at once. ... 'Everything is going to be fine, don’t worry,' [said] Medvedev. 'They are goats for coming at 8 in the morning. It’s just a bad habit.' As it happened, this bit of post-interview interviewing was caught on tape — and promptly broadcast by Russia Today, an English-language television channel designed, among other things, to convince foreign audiences that Russia is a democratic country. ... Russia Today meant to show the recording to foreigners only: the conflict was not meant for domestic consumption."

Arizona Jewish Post, 10 Dec 2012, Cheryl Halpern (former member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors): "In 1991, as the USSR began its dissolution, I flew, as a member of the Radio Liberty board, to Moscow and met with Elana Bonner, the widow of noted refusenik Andrei Sakharov and an outspoken human rights activist. She told me how important it was for her and others like her to know that Americans were marching for the dignity and freedom of the Russian dissidents. The news that she and others received on the short wave Radio Liberty broadcasts regarding the protest movement [to draw attention to the plight of Soviet Jews] in America gave her and the other Russian activists the much-needed support to carry on."

Baltimore Sun TV critic: "Tell me MSNBC or Fox News, God forbid, is even on the same planet as CNN International."

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Baltimore Sun, 7 Dec 2012, David Zurawik: "When a small boy in Bangladesh refuses the demands of a gang that wants to use him as a beggar, he is beaten and mutilated ... . ... Sara Sidner, a correspondent for CNN International, tells the story of this boy and his family in an 'Operation Hope' report that premieres this weekend. The story, which brings the boy and his family to Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital, is what separates CNN from every other cable TV news operation on the dial. Fox News and MSNBC have virtually no international correspondents to speak of. They certainly have no correspondents doing work like this: bearing witness to the horrors of this world, and the efforts of a few good people who try to redeem the suffering. I dare you to watch any part of this sensitive, intelligent and powerful report, and then come back and tell me MSNBC or Fox News, God forbid, is even on the same planet as CNN International." See also CNN Freedom Project, 7 Dec 2012.

VOA gets a channel on the Sky Net satellite TV package for Burma.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 6 Dec 2012: "Audiences in Burma will soon have a new way to watch Voice of America television programs following a breakthrough agreement between the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the U.S. government agency responsible for VOA, and Sky Net, a regional direct-to-home satellite provider. The deal was signed Thursday in Rangoon by Voice of America Director David Ensor and Daw Myint Myint Win, managing director of Shwe Than Lwin Media Co. Ltd., which operates Sky Net. ... Under the terms of the agreement, Sky Net will carry BBG content, starting with a new VOA Asia TV channel that will provide Burmese-language news, as well as English-language education, information and entertainment programs." -- The Sky Net package is on Thaicom 5 at 78.5°E. Presumably the VOA channel will not be encrypted.

Mizzima, 7 Dec 2012: "Sky Net General Manager Thet Win said that an English language learning program, which he described as 'super,' will be included in the VOA package. VOA’s Ensor said in his speech that he hopes to build up a relationship between Sky Net and VOA, and this is just the first step. The programs will begin airing on January 1, 2013."

Broadcasting Board of Governors, 7 Dec 2012: "Gov. Victor Ashe, RFA President Libby Liu, VOA President David Ensor, and an RFA reporter had a courtesy meeting with President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw." -- But RFA's Libby Liu does not seem to come home with a satellite carriage deal similar to that of archrival VOA.

Democratic Voice of Burma, 7 Dec 2012, David Stout: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought to discredit an Al Jazeera documentary that will air this weekend in a report published in both editions of the New Light of Myanmar today. 'The documentary will include accusation of genocide against the so-called "Rohingyas",' read the statement. 'The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar [Burma] strongly opposes and rejects the attempt made by Al Jazeera to broadcast the documentary by exaggerating and fabricating the incidents in Rakhine [Arakan] State.'"

New managing director of TV5Monde comes from Belgian public broadcaster RTBF.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 6 Dec 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Yves Bigot, the current head of schedules and programming of Belgium pubcaster RTBF has been appointed managing director of TV5Monde, succeeding Marie-Christine Saragosse, who has taken up AEF's presidency. The choice of MD was agreed by TV5's board of administrators which comprises all TV5Monde's shareholders including Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France, France Télévisions, Arte France, RTBF, RTS, Radio-Canada and Télé Québec."

CNN International affiliate deal with Bulgaria's News7 is "a first for CNN in Eastern Europe."

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Novinite Sofia News Agency, 7 Dec 2012: "Turner Broadcasting System Europe Limited, parent company of CNN International, has inked a broadcast affiliate agreement with soon-to-launch Bulgarian channel News7. The deal was announced Thursday by TBS International president Gerhard Zeiler, and Nikolai Barekov, CEO for BBT, who previously worked as an anchor for bTV and TV7 channels and has gained a controversial reputation. The deal provides News7 with exclusive access to a range of video and newsgathering resources from CNN International including live breaking news feeds, news stories and programming. As part of the CNN affiliate group, News7 will give CNN access to its own reporting from Bulgaria gathered by teams based in the country's capital Sofia and in regional hubs. ... The deal is a first for CNN in Eastern Europe."

BBC World News hires Afghanistan-born Australian TV journalist.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World News, 4 Dec 2012: "The BBC has announced that one of Australia’s brightest young journalists, Yalda Hakim, is joining BBC World News as a presenter and correspondent for a new current affairs programme. Yalda is currently the presenter of SBS Dateline in Australia. From a headline-making investigation in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province to her reporting from Libya during the Arab Spring, Yalda has already built up a wealth of journalistic experience around the world. Yalda will launch a new international current affairs programme for BBC World News in 2013, as well as presenting news programmes. The BBC is investing heavily in new programmes and facilities for its international news channel, as it seeks to build on recent successes building audiences and reputation around the world. ... Hakim was born in Afghanistan and moved to Australia in the late 1980s after her father fled Kabul with his family when Russia invaded."

Lack of media attention to Sky News Arabia might be a top news story of 2012.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Sky News Arabia, 5 Dec 2012, via Zawya: "Sky News Arabia - 24-hour, Arabic-language rolling news channel broadcasting from Abu Dhabi - is inviting viewers to select the top news stories of 2012. Viewers will have to choice to pick what they feel is the most important news story across three categories: current affairs, business and sports. Voting will take place online from 7 to 31 December at The results of the viewer poll will be aired as part of Sky News Arabia's year-end programming on 31 December. Participants who select the story that receives the most votes in each category will be entered into a draw for an iPad. ... Five stories in each news category have been shortlisted by Sky News Arabia's editors based on their importance to and impact on the Arab region and the level of interest they generated through viewer interaction on the channel's website and social media platforms. ... Sky News Arabia is a 24-hour, Arabic-language rolling news channel broadcasting in HD quality from Abu Dhabi."

Euronews and Brazil's Grupo Bandeirantes will exchange news content.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 4 Dec 2012, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "News channel Euronews and Brazil's media counterpart Grupo Bandeirantes de Comunicação have signed a cooperation agreement to mutually enrich their editorial news coverage. This partnership will begin with an exchange of content between Euronews and Band News, Grupo Bandeirantes' 24-hour news channel. The two teams will exchange editorial content, production and services. The cooperation goes beyond TV and embraces all platforms of both media. Band News will provide videos on current news in Brazil and this content will be broadcast on all Euronews platforms (TV, Internet, mobile, etc). In return, Euronews VOD programmes will also be available in Brazil. This cooperation is also extending to radio as Euronews Radio will be broadcast on Band News FM." -- But Portuguese is not one of the six Euronews Radio languages.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, no longer on shortwave, produces Gangnam Style parody.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 5 Dec 2012: "Dissident Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei has given a thumbs up to the video Holland Style produced by RNW’s Chinese department. The dissident is amongst more than a quarter of a million people who have seen the film since it was published two weeks ago. The number of shares and likes is still rising as the video continues to go viral on a host of Chinese social media platforms. The film is an adaptation of the world famous Gangnam Style dance craze – but then with a Dutch twist, hence the name Holland Style. Using dance and humour, the film shows iconic Dutch images – cows, tulips, windmills and polders – but gives them a modern flavour."

SES-5 satellite will bring the TRT Türk TV channel to all the Türks in sub-Saharan Africa.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 5 Dec 2012, Robert Briel: Turkish public broadcaster, Türkiye Radyo ve Televizyon Kurumu (TRT), has selected SES to reach audiences in sub-Saharan Africa. TRT will use capacity on SES-5 located at 5 degrees East to broadcast its FTA digital channel TRT Turk and its radio channel Turkiyenin Sesi Radyosu (TRS) to the region ... . Ibrahim Sahin, general manager of TRT, said: 'We rely on SES’ expertise and global satellite fleet to reach important audiences and markets outside of Turkey. We already rely on SES’ prime orbital position 19.2 degrees East to reach our audiences in Western Europe. The use of SES-5 will give us immediate access to sub-Saharan Africa and provide our target audience with premium news, culture and entertainment programs made in Turkey.'" -- Presumably the target audience is Turks living abroad, because I don't think TRT Türk is versioned into other languages.

Renesys lists 61 countries most at risk of internet shutdown due to few outside connections.

Posted: 10 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Forbes, 3 Dec 2012, Andy Greenberg: "In the wake of Syria’s digital blackout last week, the networking firm Renesys performed an analysis of which countries are most susceptible to an Internet shutdown, based simply on how many distinct entities control the connections between the country’s networks and those of the outside world. It found that for 61 countries and territories, just one or two Internet service providers maintain all external connections–a situation that could make possible a quick cutoff from the world with a well-placed government order or physical attack. On Monday Renesys published its full list of countries and territories at various levels of Internet shutdown risk. And here are the places it put in the 'severe risk' category. Andorra, Anguilla, Netherland Antilles, Aruba, Åland Islands, Barbados, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Cook Islands, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Grenada, French Guiana, Greenland, Gambia, Guinea, Guadeloupe, Guyana, British Indian Ocean Territory, Jersey, Comoros, Saint Kitts And Nevis, North Korea, Lesotho, Libya, Monaco, Saint Martin (French and Dutch parts), Marshall Islands, Mali, Myanmar, Mauritania, Norfolk Island, Nauru, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Palau, Réunion, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Syria, Swaziland, Turks and Caicos, Chad, Tokelau, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Wallis and Futuna, and Yemen." See also Renesys, 30 Nov 2012, James Cowie.

Wired, 3 Dec 2012, Robert McMillan: "Afghanistan once had a countrywide network. It wasn’t great, but when it was destroyed in the war a new network formed like a kind of scar tissue over the country, connecting different regions to Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. 'Afghanistan, in the middle of them, buys internet connectivity from all of them,' says [Renesys's James] Cowie. 'So the government in Kabul is not any more capable of turning the internet off than they were of building an internet in the first place.'"

SWLing Post, 3 Dec 2012, Thomas Witherspoon: "This past Saturday, I found the irony a bit much to take: on one hand, there was Syria, a highly volatile country struggling for stability, while on the other hand, there was … Canada? Both, on the same fateful day, effecting media shut downs. No doubt, most every Syrian with Internet access knew their Internet had been shut down this past weekend, while very few Canadians knew that their international [shortwave] radio voice had been quelled. In both cases, the government was mostly to blame, though in Canada the CBC was left holding the knife."

More digital text via analog shortwave broadcast this weekend. And there is a reason for it. (Updated: success.)

Posted: 07 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Kim Andrew Elliott: Radio amateurs use several modes to transmit text via shortwave. It occurred to me that text via shortwave might be a workaround where the internet is not available because of disasters, dictators, or other causes.

I have not yet convinced any major international broadcasters to let me test this hypothesis on their (remaining) shortwave transmitters. However, the Netherlands-based Mighty KBC has kindly been allowing me two one-minute segments during their broadcast to North America at 0000 to 0200 UTC on 9450 kHz. This is via leased time on a transmitter in Bulgaria.

Reception of text via shortwave is possible on an inexpensive shortwave radio, even one without single sideband (SSB) capability. The audio is patched into a PC that does not have to be especially powerful. This involves a patch cord from the earphone jack of the radio to the microphone input of the PC. If there is no patch cord, placing the radio's speaker near the built-in microphone of a laptop might work.

Software for decoding the text should be installed in the PC. There are several available to radio amateurs, including DM780, MixW, and MultiPSK. Especially popular these days is Fldigi. This is available from While you are there, please also download Flmsg, because it will be needed for this weekend's test on KBC.

This weekend's test on KBC will feature the MT63 modes with long interleave. After Fldigi is installed, go to Configure > Modems > MT-63 > check 64-bit (long) interleave, 8-bit extended characters, and Allow manual tuning. Also, go to Configure > Misc > NBEMS > check Open with flmsg and Open in browser and, below that, indicate where your flmsg.exe file is located.

The first KBC text transmission will be around 0130 UTC Sunday (Saturday evening 8:30 pm EST). The MT63-1000 mode with long interleave will be centered at 1000 Hz on the waterfall visible on the software display. PSKR125 will be cenetered at 2200 Hz. Decode one while listening, and decode the other from your recording of the transmission.

The second text transmission will be just before 0200 UTC Sunday (9 pm Saturday EST). This will be MT63-2000 centered at 1500 Hz. This message will be formatted for Flmsg. If all goes well, the shortwave transmitter in Bulgaria will open a new window of Flmsg and then open a new window of your web browser with formatted content, in color no less.

One week after my first text transmissions (11 November) on KBC, Arnie Coro at Radio Havana Cuba began transmitting digital text modes on his Dxers Unlimited program (in English). He might do so again this weekend. The schedule for DXers Unlimited can be found at the World of Radio website (where all times and days are UTC, so those UT Monday transmissions are actually Sunday evening in North America).

More discussion of the concept of digital text via analog shortwave broadcast is in Kim's December 2012 column (pdf) for the North American Shortwave Association.

Update from Kim: My own reception The Mighty KBC in northern Virginia was lousy, and my decoding efforts were mostly unsuccessful. I was feeling despondent and was ready to declare failure.

Then the emails started coming in...

First, my friend in Oregon, nearly 10,000 km from the Bulgaria transmitter, was able to get 100% copy of the MT63-2000 transmission just before 0200 UTC. And, with the help of the Flmsg software, this popped up in his web browser just after the transmission:

The link, by the way, works. Then, another friend in Springfield, Virginia, not far from where I live, also had perfect copy, with this opening up in his browser...

Another perfect Flmsg image came from Manassas, Virginia. Others, in various locations, reported successful reception of the text.

So we may be on to something. In internet emergencies, shortwave might be able to come to the rescue.

DRM digital shortwave today 1400-1700 UTC, and later in December.

Posted: 07 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
@drmdigitalradio, 7 Dec 2012: "Today the BBC will run a #DRM Short Wave transmission from the Ascension Island on 21750 kHz. Between 1400 and 1700 GMT."

The Mighty KBC, 2 Dec 2012: "Another Mighty KBC surprise! The Mighty KBC goes DRM again on 22, 23, 25 & 26 of December 1600 - 17.00 UTC. We repeat the KBC Going Globally Show also in DRM as well. 100 kW from Kostinbrod (Sofia) Bulgaria and a curtain antenna, on 9755 kHz DRM Mix 16.00 - 18.00 UTC." -- So KBC programming at 1600-1700 UTC, Wavescan at 1700-1730 (see below), and some other program at 1730-1800. See also

RadioActivity blog, 7 Dec 2012, Alokesh Gupta, citing the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters Facebook page: "The 'Wavescan' DX program which is a joint production of NASB members Adventist World Radio and Radio Miami International, will be included in a new series of four DRM (digital) shortwave transmissions called 'DRM Mix' sponsored by Spaceline in Bulgaria which will take place on 22, 23, 25 and 26 December, 2012. Wavescan will air from 17.00 - 17.30 UTC on those days. The frequency will be 9755 kHz from Bulgaria, covering Europe with 100 kW. Wavescan QSL cards are available for reception reports on these broadcasts. The program content will include information on the history of broadcasting in Bulgaria."

Pentagon drops "strategic communication," but Washington will never let go of such a dubious concept.

Posted: 06 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
USA Today, 3 Dec 2012, Tom Vanden Brook: "The Pentagon is banishing the term 'strategic communication,' putting an end to an initiative that had promised to streamline the military's messaging but instead led to bureaucratic bloat and confusion, according to a memo obtained by USA TODAY. Strategic communication had aimed to synchronize the military's messages with its actions. Instead, it led to creation of offices and staffs that duplicated efforts of traditional public affairs offices, according to the memo. In the memo, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little wrote that over the past six years, strategic communication 'actually added a layer of staffing and planning that blurred roles and functions of traditional staff elements and resulted in confusion and inefficiencies.'"

The term "strategic communication" will not disappear. There are others in Washington who see opportunity in the "creation of offices and staffs that duplicate efforts." "Strategic communication" will probably move to another agency, or to a new agency that attempts to "coordinate" the international communication activities of the various agencies. If the US international broadcasting entities are serious about being news outlets, they must insist that practice of journalism is not consistent with "strategic communication."

Foreign Policy, 6 Dec 2012, Rosa Brooks: "[R]eports of strategic communication's demise are greatly exaggerated. The memo obtained by USA Today -- also obtained by yours truly, and available here -- isn't really about the demise of strategic communication at 'the Pentagon,' which is, after all, an awfully big building. On the contrary: this latest memo is just another shot fired in the ongoing skirmish between those who believe that strategic communication is merely an unnecessary euphemism for 'communications' -- meaning, basically, press statements and talking points -- and thus should be controlled by public affairs offices, and those who believe strategic communication is a confusing term, but one that has nonetheless come to stand for something complex and important, something that has more to do with 'strategy' than with 'communications.' I'm in the latter camp."

The HCJB shortwave transmitters formerly at Pifo, Ecuador: Where are they now?

Posted: 06 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
HCJB Global, 30 Nov 2012, Ralph Kurtenbach: "Around the world, a few technophiles might feel almost personally acquainted with the shortwave transmitters formerly at the HCJB Global site in Pifo, Ecuador. With walk-in access to facilitate monitoring and maintenance, five mission-built transmitters sported 'HC' as their brand. Four HC100 units sent out programming at 100,000 watts whereas the transmitting capacity of the lone HC500 on the transmitter floor in Pifo was five times as much. ... From the Pifo site in late 2009, the last languages heard were German, Low German and Kulina, an indigenous language spoken in Brazil. Today HC100s are 'belting their voices out into Southeast and South Central Asia from Kununurra [Australia],' according to Shelley Weeks, a technician scheduled to arrive with her engineer husband, Brent, at the HCJB Global-Australia World Office in Melbourne on Dec. 9. Staff members there have received mail from nearly 60 countries in response to the broadcasts from Kununurra in 20 languages."

Dem Rep Congo authorities "jam" UN's Radio Okapi and warn Radio France International.

Posted: 06 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link

Reporters sans frontières, 3 Dec 2012: "Reporters Without Borders and its Congolese partner Journalist in Danger (JED) are deeply concerned about an order issued on 1 December by the High Council for Broadcasting and Communication (CSAC) to jam Radio Okapi. The station, run by the United Nations for the past 10 years, broadcasts throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was ordered off the air for four days and could suffer more severe penalties unless it complies with the demands of the CSAC. Contacted by JED on Monday, the council’s chairman, Jean Bosco Baala, said Radio Okapi was under fire for failing to submit its programme schedule to the media watchdog. ... The station signal is jammed, preventing it from broadcasting on the FM waveband, but it can be accessed online. The UN special representative, aware of the importance of access to news and information in areas of conflict, decided to use 'alternative methods to allow Radio Okapi programmes to be received, even intermittently, in Nord-Kivu', an initiative applauded by the two organizations. The Congolese media regulator also sent a warning notice to Radio France Internationale (RFI) on 28 November for broadcasting 'interviews containing disparaging comments about the authorities and institutions of the DRC'. The CSAC accused RFI of repeatedly broadcasting interviews, between 22 and 27 November, with 'a negative force […] occupying part of the DRC'." -- RFI has FM transmitters in the DRC. Do the "alternative methods" for Radio Okapi include shortwave in addition to the one hour daily already leased by Radio Okapi? See also See previous post about the DRC.

Does BBC Indonesia have "the world's first responsive website in an Asian language"?

Posted: 06 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Internet Blog, 5 Dec 2012, Phil Buckley, Executive Product Manager for Future Media News, BBC World Service: "I'm very proud that today we have released a new mobile site for BBC Indonesia in Responsive Design. As far as I can find this is the world's first responsive website in an Asian language and one of the very first non-English responsive sites. The Head of the News Product Chris Russell has blogged in detail about Responsive Design, a technology which tests your screen size and connection speed and then gives you the best possible experience. This has already been adopted on our English language mobile News site and the new BBC Indonesia site is on the same codebase. This technology is particularly well suited to the World Service sites. More than half the visitors to BBC Indonesia come on a mobile phone and they come using an explosion of different handsets: last week alone there were more than 1,200 different phones using the site. ... [O]ne of the things which struck me during this project is what a fantastic site BBC Indonesia is. I have been testing this site several times a day for the last month and it has amazed me how often there is something new and how interesting the stories look."

@philbuckley5, 5 Dec 2012: "@kaedotcom I _think_ so, I did a fair amount of research before making the claim - happy to be corrected if wrong! Best wishes - Phil"

"Al Jazeera has patently abandoned the basic standards of journalism."

Posted: 05 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link, 15 Nov 2012, Amira Mohsen Galal: "Media coverage of the Arab Spring and its aftermath, as a whole, has been very poor. A few common flaws stand out. Despite a clear code of ethics, Al Jazeera has patently abandoned the basic standards of journalism, failing to run even the most basic of fact checks, Amira Mohsen Galal writes Despite a clear code of ethics, prominently displayed on the Al-Jazeera website, the channel has patently abandoned the basic standards of journalism, failing to run even the most basic of fact checks. Both the Arabic and English channels have overwhelmingly relied on reports from anonymous callers and unverified video footage. These, in turn, have been run on high profile channels across the world, including the BBC, which also claims a strong ethical mandate. Syria has not been unique in this respect. In fact the trend of relying on activist videos and anonymous calls was first used by CNN's iReport when covering Iran's 2009 'Green' Revolution. In an interview with, Dr Thomas Pierret, a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, points to the fact that 'the most violent aspects of the (Egyptian) revolution were not reported … in particular, the torching of police stations and killing of many policemen in Alexandria on January 29.'" About "The Internet portal represents the concerted effort of the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Center for Political Education), Deutsche Welle, the Goethe Institut and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) to promote dialogue with the Islamic world. The project is funded by the German Foreign Office."

OpEdNews, 25 Nov 2012, Tim Anderson: "Al Jazeera's attacks on Syria: some background."

Allvoices, 4 Dec 2012, Robert Weller: "It’s been almost a year since the Arab Spring blossomed, but most Americans still know much less than they could about the Middle East. The information is available, but in most cases only in abridged form on their local television stations or network and cable operations. Al Jazeera, a pan-Arab station that many US and European correspondents rely on daily, is not available in its original form, and labeled as to its origin, on American television. Just as Al Jazeera has been censored by Middle East dictatorships, it is considered a terrorist mouthpiece by outspoken organizations like Accuracy in Media. The right-wing group has leaned on Comcast and others not to carry Al Jazeera. Meanwhile, Comcast carries Israeli, Chinese and Russian channels." -- Note that CNN International and BBC World News are also scarce on US cable systems., 28 Nov 2012, Joanna Padovano: "Tutu's Children, a four-part documentary series being developed by South African social rights activist and former archbishop Desmond Tutu, is set to premiere on Al Jazeera English in early 2013."

BBC Worldwide unveils "Best in Town," adds channels in Romania and Hungary, announces new season of programs for Australia.

Posted: 04 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 29 Nov 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels today unveiled a new addition to the slate of original productions for its BBC-branded portfolio around the world, Best In Town (10x50mins). The new series is the business’s first fully-funded production with an independent production company since the announcement in September to treble the number of original programme hours ordered for its international audience. ... Best in Town sets three local business owners from the same area against each other in a battle to see who is 'the best' operator in town."

BBC Worldwide press release, 4 Dec 2012: "BBC Worldwide Channels, RCS & RDS and DIGI today announced a new distribution partnership that will see the launch of BBC Knowledge into Romania and Hungary for the first time from 1 January 2013. The deal marks the first step of an ambitious roll-out plan for the channel across the CEE region during 2013. The agreement with RCS & RDS and DIGI, one of the leading Pay TV operators in the CEE includes the launch of BBC Entertainment on the platform in both markets from 01 December 2012. The channels will be available via the RCS & RDS in Romania and DIGI in Hungary ‘basic package’, reaching over 1 million subscribers in Romania, and over 500,000 subscribers in Hungary from launch."

BBC Worldwide press release, 30 Nov 2012: "BBC Channels UKTV, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC World News will bring the best British programmes and international journalism to Australian audiences in 2013, on Foxtel. ... BBC World News delivers the latest global news and information to Foxtel viewers, with regular series including Impact, GMT, Click and HARDtalk. Early next year, BBC World News will move into a state-of-the-art new home in London’s Broadcasting House, bringing together journalists across the entire spectrum of the BBC’s multiplatform, domestic and international news services and dramatically enhancing the look and feel of the channel."

RFE/RL website blocked in Tajikistan (updated: unblocked). Everything blocked in Syria (updated: unblocked).

Posted: 04 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 30 Nov 2012, Tajik Service: "The website of RFE/RL's Tajik Service appears to be blocked on the Internet in Tajikistan. Asomuddin Atoev, the chairman of Tajikistan's Association of Internet Service Providers, told RFE/RL on November 30 that several leading service providers received SMS messages from Tajikistan's state-run Communications Service requesting the blockage. Communications Service's chief Beg Zuhurov declined to comment on the matter to RFE/RL, saying he was not aware of the situation. On November 26, Tajikistan's Internet service providers blocked the access to Facebook after a similar request by the Communications Service."

RFE/RL press release, 30 Nov 2012: "'This is censorship, clear and simple,' said RFE/RL president Steven Korn. 'The government wants to shut down free expression, and so they're attacking Facebook, they're attacking us, and they'll attack other sources of independent information as well. This is a violation of the fundamental right to free speech, and governments, the media, the private sector, the human rights community and Tajik citizens should condemn it.'"

Update: RFE/RL, 3 Dec 2012, Tajik Service: "The Facebook social network is available again on the Internet in Tajikistan, along with the website of RFE/RL's Tajik Service. Internet service providers (ISPs) in Tajikistan blocked Facebook last week after a request by the state-run Communications Service. Asomuddin Atoev, the chairman of Tajikistan's Association of Internet Service Providers, told RFE/RL that Tajikistan's leading ISPs received orders from the Communications Service requesting that Facebook be unblocked. Earlier on December 3, Atoev told RFE/RL that the website of RFE/RL's Tajik Service also became available again on the Internet in Tajikistan. Radio Ozodi's website had been blocked since late on November 29. On December 1, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe expressed concern about the blockage of both Facebook and Radio Ozodi's website. Tajikistan's Communications Service said on November 30 that the action over Radio Ozodi's website was taken because of complaints from a group of 'concerned citizens.'"

CloudFlare, 29 Nov 2012, Matthew Prince: On "29 November 2012, between 1026 and 1029 (UTC), all traffic from Syria to the rest of the Internet stopped. At CloudFlare, we witnessed the drop off. ... The Syrian Minister of Information is being reported as saying that the government did not disable the Internet, but instead the outage was caused by a cable being cut. ... Syria has 4 physical cables that connect it to the rest of the Internet. Three are undersea cables that land in the city of Tartous, Syria. The fourth is an over-land cable through Turkey. In order for a whole-country outage, all four of these cables would have had to been cut simultaneously. That is unlikely to have happened. ... The systematic way in which routes were withdrawn suggests that this was done through updates in router configurations, not through a physical failure or cable cut."

Update: Mashable, 3 Dec 2012: "After two days of no Internet connectivity to the outside world, Syrians were once again able to get online beginning Saturday afternoon local time. The two-day Internet outage appeared to be the result of reconfiguration and removal of Border Gateway Protocol routers, where the country's Internet infrastructure met the outside world's, according to independent firms that monitor the world's web traffic."

British media have impact in the world because "government's role is passive: we let them flourish."

Posted: 04 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The Interpreter (Lowy Institute for International Policy), 30 Nov 2012, Paul Madden, British High Commissioner to Australia: "One of the biggest cultural impacts Britain has around the world today is through its media. The BBC, the FT and The Economist have a significant impact on how people get their understanding of the world. But the government's role in that is essentially passive: we let them flourish. Even with the BBC, which receives public funding, we have no influence on its editorial lines. People in countries with media censorship suspect this independence can't be true, but in their hearts they know it is, and that's why they tune in. Open, transparent societies put much of the soft power in the hands of the people."

Netflix brings past seasons' US hit TV shows to the UK and Ireland.

Posted: 04 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
IP&TV News, 29 Nov 2012, Jamie Beach: "Subscription-based online video service Netflix has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution to exclusively bring past seasons of hit US shows such as ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Fringe’ to the UK and Ireland. The first three seasons of hit teen supernatural drama ‘The Vampire Diaries’ come to Netflix on December 1st, while seasons one through five of ‘Gossip Girl’ begin on March 1st of next year. ... Netflix revealed in its Q3 earnings release that it has now passed 1mn subscribers to its streaming video services in the UK and Ireland, and continues to see strong growth, although the local market remains expensive for content due to competition with Sky and Amazon’s LoveFilm. The Californian video services provider also expects the UK/Ireland market to take 'materially longer' than Canada to reach profitability, given the high level of competition and the continued expansion of its content ambitions."

Radio Free Asia says tune in tomorrow, same time, different frequency.

Posted: 03 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Shortwave Central, 28 Nov 2012, citing DX Re Mix 757 via Alokesh Gupta: Radio Free Asia broadcasts in Mandarin at 0300-0600 UTC (1100 to 1400 in China) use a different frequency in the 21 MHz band each day. -- Apparently to make life more difficult for China's jamming personnel.

NPR, 28 Nov 2012: "One of the most well-known American women in China is someone many Americans have never heard of. Jessica Beinecke is host of Voice of America's OMG! Meiyu, an English-language learning Web show that teaches American slang expressions to Chinese students. Beinecke's fun, offbeat videos have racked up more than 15 million views over the past year — on YouTube and other Chinese social media sites."

China Radio International opens a 24-hour FM transmitter in Nuku’alofa.

Posted: 03 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio New Zealand International, 3 Dec 2012: "China’s state-owned radio, China Radio International, has launched a 24 hours FM service in Nuku’alofa in Tonga, offering programmes in English and Chinese. The Chinese operator is to work in partnership with the Tonga Broadcasting Commission. Matangi Tonga [newspaper] reports the Chinese Ambassador, Wang Donghua, saying the launch is a natural evolution of the friendly relations and cooperation between Tonga and China." -- Radio Australia also has a 24-hour FM outlet in Nuku’alofa, on 103.0 MHz.

Do those new flagpoles in Iran double as on-the-ground jamming antennas?

Posted: 03 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link, 30 Nov 2012, Lisa Daftari: "Sources and blog postings from inside Iran say that what seem to be simple flagpoles popping up all over Tehran and other large Iranian cities are actually clandestine electronic antennas, which use high-frequency waves to jam communications and block ordinary citizens from Internet, TV and radio signals. Some Iranians think the electronic emissions also may be hazardous to humans’ health. Tehran residents and communication experts report an increase in jamming has coincided with the strategic placement of the towering metal flagpoles, as the government continues its ongoing campaign to block some 500 TV channels and 200 radio stations from outside Iran deemed too Western-oriented. ... The Iranian government has relied on two jamming techniques, according to Heap. One is the more widely used 'satellite-to-satellite' method, in which waves are sent directly from one satellite to the other in an attempt to overwhelm the broadcast signal. ... The flagpole jammers represent a second method, referred to as on-the-ground or local jamming. That process involves sending high-frequency microwaves over a larger area, saturating signals that jam incoming signals." -- Shortwave radio, which travels well over long distances, but not so well over short distances, would have more immunity from flagpole jammers that would satellite or microwave signals.

South African government plans internet radio station to "communicate its foreign policy priorities " to "just about anyone" (updated).

Posted: 03 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The Star (Johannesburg), 25 Oct 2012, Louise Flanagan: South Africa's government "is going ahead with plans for a state-owned and controlled internet radio station which will be available around the world, and is looking for radio experts to set it up and run it – on government instruction. The station is a Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) project. ... Effectively, this makes it government propaganda." Department spokesman Nelson Kgwete said, "'Editorially, the station will provide a platform from which the South African government can communicate its foreign policy priorities and programme, including achievements and challenges, to a wide international audience.' ... Broadcasts will be in English, and the target audience is just about anyone."

Critical Distance Weblog, 25 Oct 2012, Jonathan Marks: "[W]hy is this disappointing? Because all the independent evidence from the recent past shows that governments, especially public diplomacy departments, make really lousy broadcasters. They are shouting into the Internet, when the world has moved on to conversations and debate. I'm sure someone will make money training these government officials to present. But it's doomed to fail because they have forgotten one thing - how will they be credible when they haven't defined the audience? One look at the government website gives you some idea of the exciting stuff we can expect."

Indeed, prospects for the success of this project are dim. First, it's radio, which lately is not competing well with television and the internet for global audiences. Further, it's internet radio, which is still far from the most popular way to receive radio. And then there is the content. Reliable news about South Africa? No. Music of South Africa? No. It will instead communicate South Africa's foreign policy priorities. In other words, an infomercial. I don't think families around the world will be huddling around their internet radios for such stuff. The South African government would be better off buying ads on television stations and newspapers that reach the countries they are interested in.

Presumably, Channel Africa, South Africa's international radio station, will continue. Where does it fit in? Will it be positioned as a more independent source of news about South Africa. Maybe, although the station's mandate seems a mixed bag.

Update: Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), 23 Nov 2012, Phillip de Wet: "After a few false starts, the department of international relations and co-operation is convinced that Radio Dirco will be on the air (or at least on the web) early in 2013. It is also convinced that it will manage to steer clear of propaganda and questions about another R40-million a year government radio station. ... The precedent Radio Dirco will have to disprove is Radio RSA, a shortwave station launched in 1965 by a government besieged by what it considered a hostile local and international media. By just about every metric (other than the eventual fall of apartheid), Radio RSA was a knockout success. Its shortwave transmissions regularly blanketed the continent and reached as far afield as the United States, where older ham radio operators still reminisce about its 'informative and entertaining' news shows. Letters from listeners from around the world praised it and expressed astonishment at how positive the situation in South Africa was, especially compared with the other news reports they were subjected to. After 1994, Radio RSA morphed into Channel Africa, although not without drama, including a Cabinet decision, later rescinded, to close it down. Funded from the foreign affairs budget, it currently subsists on a grant of about R40-million a year from the department of communications. Although run by the SABC, it is considered an 'administered project' falling outside the control of the state broadcaster. Channel Africa carries little to no stigma as a propaganda tool, although its official mandate includes supporting foreign policy. The international relations department said it had no contact with Channel Africa and no influence over its output. Asked whether Radio Dirco risked highlighting the cost of Channel Africa, the channel did not respond. The department of communications was unconcerned about any overlap between the two. 'Channel Africa is an important asset for South Africa, in the same way that the BBC World Service radio is to the United Kingdom and other similar services are to their countries,' the communications department said in a written answer."

Politicsweb, 26 Nov 2012, Ian Davidson MP, Democratic Alliance party Shadow Minister of International Relations and Co-operation: "The Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) is reportedly ready to launch its own online radio station early in 2013 to promote South Africa's foreign policy. The DA questions the need for this station when Channel Africa already exists and asks that the Department provide justification from a cost perspective of the need for an additional online radio station. This station will be a waste of public money and is likely to distract the department from its core mandate of promoting South Africa's national interests and fostering its international relations. The rationale behind the Radio DIRCO project is especially murky given the fact that another state-funded broadcaster, Channel Africa, already exists to 'support South Africa's Foreign Policy enshrined in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation's - Vision and Mission'. Radio DIRCO is the brainchild of DIRCO spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, a former SABC journalist and radio show host himself. ... The need for this station is questionable when Channel Africa already exists. Channel Africa, which is run by the SABC, clearly has a virtually identical mandate and is available both online and as a normal radio transmission. The DIRCO station appears to be nothing more than a vanity project for Mr Monyela. He already has a radio station at his disposal should he wish to promote South Africa's foreign policy. Did Mr Monyela find Channel Africa an unwilling mouthpiece for government propaganda? If Mr Monyela would like to return to radio, why does he not simply ask Channel Africa for his own show? ... The Department should focus on improving South Africa's foreign policy rather than spending money on a mouthpiece to promote it. In a time when all government departments are being asked to tighten their belts, this project is a waste of money."

Partnerships: Dailymotion with RT (Russia Today) and Al Jazeera, Streamworks with RT unit RUPTLY.

Posted: 02 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 29 Nov 2012: "Al Jazeera, Russia Today the Telegraph Media Group and VICE are amongst the global media companies to have recently launched dedicated channels on Dailymotion, the world’s second largest video portal. Al Jazeera’s English and Arabic live news channels have now launched on Dailymotion. Under the deal, Dailymotion will live stream the two news channels. ... The partnership with Al Jazeera adds to the stable of news content available on Dailymotion including CNN International, Bloomberg and France24. ... Thousands of videos and news bulletins from Russia Today, the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel that brings the Russian view on global news ... will also be uploaded to Dailymotion over the coming months."

Streamworks International press release, 20 Nov 2012: "Streamworks International (, a global specialist in live video, has partnered to become its strategic content delivery service for RUPTLY, a new video news agency. ... As part of the agreement, Streamworks will supply software applications, proprietary hardware and platforms to RUPTLY to enable customers to access this new content. The information for this service is accessible on the agency’s website. ... RUPTLY GmbH is a fully-owned subsidiary of RT television. Launched in the summer of 2012, it is headquartered in Berlin and will operate worldwide a video news agency of a new type, conceived, launched and run by seasoned industry professionals who want to make a better product much needed in the news market."

Experts rediscover voice as the "killer app" for news.

Posted: 02 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
BBG Innovation Series, 28 Nov 2012, Rob Bole: "In October I spent some time with a group of exemplary journalists and technology experts discussing the use of voice technology in the aid of reporting the news. The gathering was organized by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and included representatives from over ten countries, including individuals from Al Jazeera, Freedom Fone, Frontline SMS, the Knight Foundation, among others. Mobile usage is booming around the world with a little over 5.1 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. However, for many audience members the cost of mobile broadband is well out-of-reach and the utility of the content on the Internet is low, if it is even translated in their language. SMS/MMS is used extensively with a target of 8.7 trillion messages to be sent globally by 2015. Increasingly a diverse group of digital media folks – from journalists to SoundCloud to even mobile providers – are re-discovering the role of voice as the 'killer app' for growing audiences in places such as Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Asia/India. The benefits of voice are numerous: local calling rates are low, the technology is well known and easy to use, literacy is not a factor and you can provide audio content in longer forms than other mobile channels." -- Many mobile phones have FM radios, providing voice news on an appointment basis. Voice news through the mobile network adds the benefit of on-demand listening, but increases bandwidth. Neither of these voice news media can easily get into a country where news from abroad is blocked or otherwise denied.

PCWorld, 30 Nov 2012, Martyn Williams: "In the fast-moving world of technology, few things have proved as resistant to change as the simple SMS text message. While a dizzying number of options exist today to interconnect people, the text message remains a 160-character deliverer of news, gossip, laughs, alerts, and all manner of other information. It connects more people than Facebook and Twitter, has brought down governments, and in so much of the world still holds the ability to change lives. December 3 is the 20th anniversary of the sending of the first SMS text message."

Discovery acquisition adds to its "female-skewed lifestyle pay TV brands" in the Middle East.

Posted: 02 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 28 Nov 2012: "Discovery Communications is to acquire Dubai-based media company Takhayal Entertainment and its affiliated companies in Dubai and Egypt, including flagship food channel Fatafea. ... Fatafeat broadcasts to approximately 55 million TV households in the Middle East and north Africa and its in-house studio includes a library of 700 hours of programmes, including family cooking show Teslam El Ayadi and Arabian cuisine series Matbakhna El Arabi. Discovery said the transaction would enable it to extend its presence in the Middle East and north Africa TV market, and to strengthen its existing portfolio of female-skewed lifestyle pay TV brands, which include TLC and Real Time. The acquisition will also offer access to a library of cooking recipes and shows and Takhayal’s production facility."

Calls to "ban Hamas from Twitter" raise questions about the right to tweet across national boundaries.

Posted: 02 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 24 Nov 2012, citing agencies: "An evangelical Christian group in the United States has filed a petition calling for Twitter and the US government to 'ban Hamas from Twitter'. The group argues that Hamas, the hardline Palestinian group currently ruling the Gaza Strip, is listed as a 'Foreign Terrorist Organisation' by the US government, and federal law prohibits providing 'material support' to such groups. The group, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), says that 'when it comes to Israel's military campaign, there is little that we here in America can do to help. But when it comes to this second conflict - the so-called "twitter war" - there is something important we can do.' This follows a letter sent by seven Republican congressmen in September, calling on the FBI to order Twitter disable accounts affiliated with Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Shabaab, which operates in Somalia. The recent conflict in Gaza led Congressman Ted Poe, who represents a district in eastern Texas, to claim the congressman's request had been vindicated, according to The Hill, a political newspaper focusing on the US Congress. ... Both Hamas and the Israeli military were highly active on Twitter during the recent conflict in Gaza."

BBC Monitoring, 1 Dec 2012: "Damascus Syrian Satellite Channel Television at 1320 gmt on 1 December carries the following 'breaking news' as a screen caption: 'In a new violation against the Syrian media, a US company has suspended the web hosting services for SANA [official Syrian news agency] website under the pretext of implementing the sanctions against Syria.'"

New House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman wants a Radio Free Europe for Iran, staffed by "young Iranians."

Posted: 01 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
KPCC (Pasadena), 28 Nov 2012, Kitty Felde: "It’s official: Republicans have chosen an Orange County Congressman to lead the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. ... Royce says his top priority is Iran — both pressuring Tehran with sanctions to stop what he calls its 'march to nuclear weapons,' but also using soft diplomacy to affect change. He says he'd like to see the Arab Spring 'move north into the Persian communities in Iran.' Royce says Radio Free Europe was able to communicate a different vision for the future to those behind the Iron Curtain — one that became a reality: 'What I’d really like to see is young Iranians able to communicate with their brethren in a way that really told them the story everyday of what is going on inside Iran and going on in the outside world.' There is such a broadcast service already. Voice of America, which predates Radio Free Europe, broadcasts into Iran 5 hours a day. And RFE, as it is now known, broadcasts into Iraq and Afghanistan. Voice of America says Gallup data shows one in five adult Iranians watches its Persian satellite TV channel at least once a week. Correction: VOA was described in the original story as an offshoot of Radio Free Europe; it actually predates it." -- This new Radio Free Europe for Iran would probably have to be located somewhere overseas where age discrimination laws do not apply. But, wait, there's more: There is also Radio Farda, for young Iranians, staffed mainly by young Iranians, and operated by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Or does Rep Royce want a Radio Free Iran to compete with Radio Farda, perhaps from the same building in Prague? The idea would be such an outlandish waste of taxpayer money that it would be safe to bet on it happening. Furthermore, RFE broadcasts to Iraq (Radio Free Iraq), but so does Radio Sawa. RFE/RL's Radio Azadi broadcasts to Afghanistan, but so does VOA's Ashna. In US international broadcasting, even the duplication is duplicated.

Rep Ed Royce website: "I have ... authored legislation that would rid the government of useless and duplicative programs... "

"The Voice of America: Have We Been Silenced," has nothing to do with the Voice of America. (Yet.)

Posted: 01 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
The Brown Daily Herald, 29 Nov 2012, Alexander Blum: "During the lecture, titled 'The Voice of America: Have We Been Silenced?' Robert Kagan, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, predicted that America will hold an influential role in the 21st century, while Charles Kupchan, a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University, described a rearranged global order in which the United States may not exclusively predominate. Kagan spoke first, asserting that in today’s world, 'America has the loudest voice around' — though it may not always be a welcome source of input."

"You can't have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet."

Posted: 01 Dec 2012   Print   Send a link
Al Jazeera English, 1 Dec 2012, citing agencies: "A Qatari poet, who has been sentenced to life for comments said to be critical of the Qatari leadership, will take his case to an appeal court, his lawyer Nagib al-Naimi has said. Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, 36, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for what is said to be attempts to destabilise the country. ... Al-Ajami, who has been largely held in solitary confinement, spoke to the Reuters news agency in the presence of prison guards and others. ... 'This is wrong,' al-Ajami said. 'You can't have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet.' ... The poet was arrested in November 2011."