Welcome to my redesigned website. The new look is designed to work better with mobile devices. Please e-mail comments or suggestions. Thanks to Benn Kobb for his continued technical development of this site. Thanks also to the Textpattern team for our content management system.

Netflix, over-the-top (OTT) international broadcaster.

Posted: 26 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 22 Oct 2013, Stuart Dredge: "Netflix has added more than 10m subscribers in the last year, taking it to 40m members overall, according to the company's latest quarterly financial results. Netflix reported revenues of $1.1bn and a net profit of $32m for the third quarter of 2013, its third consecutive $1bn quarter. Just over 31m of its members are in the US, while 9.2m are elsewhere in the world. ... Netflix reported 1.3m net additions to its membership in the third quarter for the US, and 1.4m elsewhere in the world, fuelled by launches in the Netherlands and Scandinavia."

FierceOnlineVideo, 23 Oct 2013, Josh Wein: "Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ... seemed interested in tempering expectations around the company's international growth prospects. When BTIG Research's Rich Greenfield asked if Netflix could become bigger globally than HBO--Greenfield said HBO has roughly 114 million subscribers today--Hastings said it would probably take longer than five years to achieve that. 'I don't know when we'll catch them,' he said. But Netflix's management clearly sees a massive international opportunity. Later during the same conversation, Hastings pointed out that most Internet companies see about 80 percent of their revenue come from outside the United States. Long term, that's where Netflix should be too, he said. On this point, he still hedged a bit, saying Netflix's revenue makeup may settle in closer to 30 percent domestic, 70 percent international, given the fact that the company started so focused on renting DVDs to Americans. ... Expanding overseas is expensive. Netflix has lost an average of $64 million a quarter pushing into new territories since the end of 2010, according to its financial statements. Though the actual figure has swung quarter-to-quarter, in that time Netflix's international streaming business has never turned a profit. Content costs will increase as well as the global rights Netflix needs to enter new territories surely do not come cheap."

Award to Radio Australia reporter for documentary on Papua New Guinea land rights.

Posted: 26 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Australia Network News, 22 Oct 2013: "Radio Australia's business and economics reporter Jemima Garrett has won an award for best radio documentary at the 2013 United Nations Association of Australia Media Awards. Ms Garrett, along with Chris Bullock and Linda McGinness were commended for their story on a major Papua New Guinea land scandal. The documentary, which was broadcast on ABC's Background Briefing program, investigates environmental degradation and indigenous land rights in PNG."

Al Jazeera may launch an Australian sports channel.

Posted: 26 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 22 Oct 2013, Darren Davidson: "Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera is believed to be preparing to launch an Australian sports channel early next year, after local industry executives said it had secured the broadcast rights for Italian football league Serie A. Insiders said they believed Al Jazeera was considering a local sports service via BeIN Sport, its global sports network. The mooted launch comes after a broadcast deal enabling Fox Sports Australia to show Serie A collapsed."

Obituary: Agustin Alles Soberón, former news director of Radio Martí, interviewer of guerrilla Fidel Castro.

Posted: 26 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Miami Herald, 22 Oct 2013, Juan O. Tamayo: "Agustin Alles Soberón, the first Cuban journalist to interview Fidel Castro and his guerrillas in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra Mountains in 1958 and later a senior editor with Radio/TV Marti for 20 years, died Sunday [20 Oct] in Miami at the age of 87. Alles retired from the U.S. government’s Marti stations in late 2011 and was just two chapters short of completing a book about his life when he died from heart failure, said his son-in-law, Javier Yanes. He was best known for his trek up Cuba’s highest mountains, with photographer Eduardo Hernández, to interview Castro and other guerrillas including Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, in March of 1958. ... Alles caught up with Castro in 1991, when the Cuban leader was visiting Mexico. Castro immediately recognized him in a hotel lobby, called him by the nickname 'Agustincito' and asked him how he was doing. Very well, Alles replied, working. When Castro asked where, Alles stuck out his microphone, said Radio Marti and asked him a question, according to published reports from that time. 'In the interview that I did with you in Sierra Maestra, you said that your government program was democracy, freedom and respect for human rights. Why did you not give that to the Cuban people?' ... Alles served as news director of Radio Marti, the U.S. government broadcaster to Cuba, from 1991 to 1995 and collaborated closely with Jorge Mas Canosa, one of the station’s main supporters and a founder of the Cuban American National Foundation. He remained at Radio Marti after 1995 as a senior supervisor and assignment editor until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2011." See also martinoticias.com, 21 Oct 2013.

RT (Russia Today) "coverage of domestic issues often features unique angles."

Posted: 25 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
40The Hill, 23 Oct 2013, Caroline Helmund: "From the outset, critics expected RT to be nothing more than a revamped mouthpiece for Kremlin propaganda, but the station has ingeniously garnered a faithful following in the West with its 'Question More' campaign, which sells it as a sort of counter-hegemonic outlet rejecting the truisms propagated by mainstream Western media. For others, however, RT is a crudely-disguised weapon in Putin’s diplomatic arsenal. ... An aggressive online presence has also made the name increasingly ubiquitous. RT boasts that it is the first TV news channel in history to reach 1 billion views on YouTube and has amassed over 1 million followers on Facebook. Despite claims of systematic bias, RT maintains that its editorial line is independent of the Kremlin and that the outfit covers hard-hitting domestic issues. Indeed, coverage of domestic issues often features unique angles."

@BBCMonitoring, 18 Oct 2013: "Chief of Russia's international channel RT denies claims of mass lay-offs at RT Arabic TV, blames disgruntled ex-staff for 'untrue' claims"

Via Satellite, 16 Oct 2013, Mark Holmes: RT (Russia Today) "migrated all of its channels to HD broadcast in December 2012. Today, RT’s new production facility has HD broadcasting capability for 8 simultaneous HD feeds – enough to accommodate all of the network’s current channels and potential future expansion, including new channels. The company is also looking to take advantage of OTT projects around the world. 'We believe it is a promising distribution channel and we are actively working with OTT platforms. RT applications are available in the app stores of the world’s largest OTT-platforms such as Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Google TV, LG, etc. We also have plans to collaborate with the largest OTT satellite platform projects.'" -- I'm not exactly sure what an "OTT satellite platform project" is, given that OTT is usually used to distribute individual programs "over the top" of the Internet.

Al Arabiya, 20 Oct 2013, Bakir Oweida: "I tuned in to the English-speaking Russia Today television channel, waiting for what I thought was a commercial— accompanied by soft and dreamy music which seemed somewhat romantic to my ears—to end, only to discover that I was the one who was dreaming. Rather than a commercial, it became apparent that this was a disclaimer that Russia Today was undergoing 'scheduled maintenance' between 8.00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day. I recovered from the surprise, only to awake to another one. This was strange as I have never heard of any TV channel suspending broadcast in order to carry out so-called 'scheduled maintenance.' It appears that the festive mood of Eid prevailed that day, and I thought to myself: 'Perhaps the channel’s staff in Moscow are taking the day off to celebrate Eid!'"

South Korean military to develop "equipment to broadcast radio, TV across the whole of North Korea."

Posted: 22 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Daily NK, 18 Oct 2013, Lee Sang-yong: "The South Korean military has vowed to do more of the kind of psychological warfare that can both undermine the morale of the North Korean military and induce changes in civilian consciousness. According to documents submitted by the military authorities to the National Assembly’s committee on defense on the 16th as part of the latter’s regular audit of the incumbent administration, from next year the military will develop next-generation equipment to broadcast both radio and television across the whole of North Korea, as well as self-propelled artillery to launch leaflets accurately across the inter-Korea border. The move is a departure from current situation, whereby the military can only broadcast on FM, not AM and also not TV. ... Commenting on the plans, the head of Radio Free Chosun, Lee Gwang Baek told Daily NK, 'We welcome any measure that can send many and varied information into the North. North Korea is sensitive to this kind of thing; it could be one of the largest dangers to the North Korean regime.' However, Lee continued, 'From the position of the North Korean people, they may reject psychological warfare broadcasts coming from the South Korean government. Given that civil society radio broadcasting into the North could be friendlier to the people, the government should actively investigate ways to supports it.'" -- Meaning: the new technology would be good, but let civilians rather than the military manage the content.

NK News, 18 Oct 2013, Ji-min Kang: "I still vividly remember listening to South Korean radio in secret with my friends, something that enabled us to learn about new emotions and feelings. What a little joy of freedom that gave me! Imagine taking out that small radio and listening to it while everyone is sleeping. I will never be able to forget the nights of longing for the world that seemed to have no pain and no sorrow."

Radio Free Asia, 22 Oct 2013, Andrei Lankov: "In North Korea, radio and TV are boring and finding fun books to read is difficult. Given the lack of other options, it is not surprising that North Koreans find watching South Korean dramas on the sly much more fun. However, it is true that North Koreans wonder if what they see on dramas authentically depicts the lives of South Koreans. As North Koreans well know, the quality of life and living conditions shown in North Korean movies are ridiculously glamorized. Consequently, many North Koreans believe that South Korean dramas show a more glamorized version of life than the reality."

UN General Assembly, 17 Oct 2013, statements to the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization): "KIM JU SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) stated that public information challenges were characterized by control of communications technology by a few countries. Certain countries were in pursuit of their hidden political interests, taking advantage of monopolized modern mass media. By imposing their 'values' on developing countries, they were causing social disorder and chaos, even going as far as to create regime change. The United States and its followers were 'adhering' to psychological warfare, using mass media, including Radio Free Asia, slandering 'invidious' countries and aiming to bring those down through 'internal disintegration'. He said that priority should be given to establishing a new international communication and information order, based on impartiality and objectivity, and respect for the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. The high-handedness of specific countries that clamoured for free dissemination of public information while imposing their will on others should be brought to an end."

Google developing peer-to-peer tool "to ensure Internet access in places like Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba, and Syria."

Posted: 22 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link

CNET, 21 Oct 2013, Seth Rosenblatt: "Google wants to ensure that people who live in conflict-ridden regions and under governments that routinely restrict Internet access can still get online, and to further that goal it has built three new tools to provide protection. The tools were announced Monday at the Google Ideas Summit in New York, with the hope that they could become key weapons in the struggle to ensure Internet access in places like Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba, and Syria, said Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas. 'This is a company of activists and white-hat hackers,' Cohen told Time."

Mashable, 21 Oct 2013, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai: "Called uProxy, it is meant to be an easy-to-use, peer-to-peer gateway to the open Internet. With uProxy installed, somebody in Iran could use a friend's Internet to connect with him or her. ... uProxy, which was seeded by Google Ideas, but mainly developed by researchers at the University of Washington, isn't the first tool of its kind. There are numerous projects and kinds of software that promise to circumvent firewalls and censorship, like the open-source project Lantern, whose developers contributed to uProxy through Brave New Software."

Shanghaist, 22 Oct 2013, Eric Crouch: "Due to the peer-to-peer nature of the uProxy project, the service would be extremely hard to block; the utility exists outside of a centralized HTTP server that could be blocked, or a specific network protocol like TOR that can be individually targeted. UProxy is currently in an invite-only beta and—at the rate that China's censors have been cracking down lately—will hopefully be released into the wild very soon."

See also Google Ideas, 21 Oct 2013, with video.

Broadcasting Board of Governors will likely establish special committees on shortwave, CEO at 23 Oct meeting.

Posted: 22 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors notice: A BBG public meeting will be held 23 Oct 2013 at 1315 UTC. "The Board’s agenda includes reform of the Board’s committee structure, including establishment of special committees on a Chief Executive Officer and on shortwave. The Board will also consider the organization of the Boards of Directors of BBG-funded grantee networks, a Board travel policy, and proposed meeting dates for 2014." Live and on-demand video are available.

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 18 Oct 2013: "Kenneth Weinstein was sworn in today as the newest member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent federal agency that oversees all U S government-supported civilian media. On September 23, the Senate unanimously approved the President’s nomination of Weinstein to the board. ... Weinstein has served as President and CEO of the Hudson Institute since 2011 and has held several other positions in the organization since 1999, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Fellow, and Director of the Washington office. He also served as the Director of the Government Reform Project at the Heritage Foundation from 1996 to 1998. ... Weinstein succeeds former Governor Dennis Mulhaupt. He joins Shell and fellow board members Ryan Crocker, Matt Armstrong, Susan McCue, and Michael Meehan."

Report: CNN won't submit to editing requirement in Vietnam, may be taken off cable and DTH systems.

Posted: 21 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
VietNamNet, 19 Oct 2013, K. Chi: "The news TV channel CNN still has been broadcasted on some Vietnamese pay-TV companies. However, the broadcasting would be stopped if the content of the TV channel cannot be edited as required by the Vietnamese laws. Le Huong Giang, Deputy Head of the Department of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, said on October 14, that CNN remains the only TV channel which has not got the license for the content editing from the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC). However, some Vietnamese pay-TV companies still have been broadcasting the TV channel on their systems to satisfy the high demand of domestic audience. According to Giang, the Prime Minister has decided that the Vietnam National Television (VTV) will edit the content of the TV channel before it is broadcasted in Vietnam. However, VTV has reported to the department that it has not reached any consensus with CNN about the editing of the TV channel in Vietnam. While discussing with VTV, the representative of CNN said the television has been pursuing a specific policy which does not allow anyone and any organization to edit the content. Therefore, Giang said, the department has fallen into dilemma. If it continues allowing broadcasting CNN in Vietnam, it will violate the current regulations on broadcasting foreign TV channels in Vietnam. If not, it may face the opposition from the public. MIC Minister Nguyen Bac Son has decided that all the 75 foreign TV channels must have their content edited before they are broadcasted in Vietnam as stipulated by the current regulations, and that all the televisions must obey the Vietnamese laws to be able to be broadcasted in Vietnam. ... [T]he representatives of some foreign channels said they were considering leaving Vietnam. The representatives said the new regulation would force them to spend $1-2 million every year on the editing and translation, which is a reason for them to consider whether to stay in Vietnam. The TV channels said the Vietnamese pay-TV market has great potentials, but it still does not bring high turnover, because only 10 percent of Vietnamese families use pay-TV services." -- "Pay TV" refers to cable and DTH-satellite systems in Vietnam, plus an increasing number of IPTV services.

China will limit foreign program formats on TV channels and require more "morality-building" content.

Posted: 21 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
CNN, 21 Oct 2013, Paul Armstrong and Feng Ke: Chinese authorities have banned satellite broadcasters from buying the rights to more than one foreign-made program per year in a bid to tackle 'vulgar' and 'excessive' entertainment in Chinese television. A statement from the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television and published in Chinese state media on Sunday said the ruling would come into effect in 2014. It also stated that these foreign shows would not be allowed to air in prime time between 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. during the year the rights were purchased. ... Instead these key times in the day will be filled with what it described as "morality-building programs" with an educational value. The authorities in China have become increasingly concerned by the rising reliance on shows such as 'Chinese Idol,' a talent show that replicates the formula of the hugely popular 'American idol.' Broadcasters have found these types of programs easy to license and hugely popular with viewers and sponsors alike. ... [N]ews of the tightened regulations sparked an angry response on China's popular micro-blogging service, Weibo, with many criticizing the move as arbitrary and ignorant. ... 'What a ridiculous regulation, it's clear CCTV is afraid of losing its status or fearful to competition, so they can only use despicable measures to suppress other satellite televisions,' posted another known as xiaojiewu."

Reuters, 21 Oct 2013: "Despite the government's controls, popular foreign television shows are widely available as illegal downloads or on pirated DVDs. In response to consumers' shift toward watching downloaded content on mobile devices, many domestic television broadcasters have moved to make shows available online or have signed distribution partnerships with domestic video websites like Youku Tudou Inc's Youku.com. China committed to opening its domestic media sector to foreign competition during negotiations to join the World Trade Organization. Even so, it has maintained heavy restrictions on imported movies and television shows in order to provide room for state-controlled domestic producers."

Shanghai Daily, 21 Oct 2013, Li Qian: "'It is really a headache on how we can make up for the seven and a half hours of time. Many TV stations are used to airing TV dramas, shows and films,' a TV station staff, preferring to remain anonymous, told [Southern Metropolis Daily] ... Wu Chaoyang, publicity director of Shanghai’s Dragon TV, told the newspaper the television station has always tried to localize overseas programs and now has four and a half hours of news programs daily."

What is the role of "satellite broadcasters" in a country where satellite receivers are not officially allowed? Chinese provincial and local television stations achieve national coverage by way of satellite, and they compete nationally for audiences. The channels are viewed mostly via cable systems, and sometimes via black-market satellite dishes. IPTV multichannel systems are also becoming more common.

CCTV wants more abroad what other international channels are not allowed in China: access to audiences.

Posted: 21 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 17 Oct 2013: "China's state broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), is pushing to gain an international audience and extend its global influence, a senior official with the broadcaster said on Wednesday. More efforts are needed to promote CCTV's international channels, which help the world better understand China, said vice president of the broadcaster Wei Dichun at a seminar held on Wednesday. About 200 people from world media organizations, including the Walt Disney Company, were invited to the seminar hosted by CCTV in Beijing to exchange views on global expansion. ... The broadcaster's global expansion plan has been carried out well, said Yan Chengsheng with the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. CCTV has been pursuing an international audience by providing global and multilingual news services featuring Chinese history, culture, and daily life. The broadcaster has also increased overseas staff."

CCTV, 16 Oct 2013, Wang Xinye: "China’s largest Television network China Central Television has hosted a forum with its international partners to discuss further promoting its international brand. The two-day forum started on Wednesday in Beijing when CCTV’s international partners gathered to express opinions on the development of CCTV’s brand promotion in overseas market. China Central Television is becoming more and more recognizable globally. CCTV has 37 channels that are watched by 700 million viewers. It is the only television station in the world that broadcasts in six UN working languages with 314 million viewers overseas. CCTV is now carried by cable companies in 171 countries."

-- The forum was, presumably, the World Media Summit in Hangzhou. Did the forum discuss the lack of reciprocity, i.e. that international channels do not enjoy the same access to Chinese viewers that CCTV enjoys in "171 countries." See items about the World Media Summit in this previous post.

"Future vision" for BBC Worldwide includes consolidated TV channel brands, more video on BBC.com, phaseout of global iPlayer.

Posted: 20 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 18 Oct 2013: "BBC Worldwide CEO, Tim Davie, today unveiled a new vision to build the BBC’s brands, audiences and commercial returns across the world. ... As home to the best British content in premium factual, factual entertainment and drama, the new brands will build on the BBC’s world-class reputation in these genres, spanning channels and digital platforms alike, and creating new opportunities for consumer connections. BBC Worldwide will keep a number of its existing channel brands in some markets, including BBC AMERICA. Davie confirmed that BBC Earth is to become the company’s brand for premium factual content, from natural history and the human world to outer space and science. The organisation will also launch BBC First, which will provide a home for premium drama and feature high quality first-run British programming. ... Additionally, BBC.com, the international version of the BBC’s online site, will be transformed over the next three years, supporting the BBC’s recently stated goal of doubling global reach from 250m to 500m per week by 2022. This transformation will see a greater focus on video content, bringing together all BBC commercial online offerings in one destination. The new BBC.com will include a long-form video player and will represent a single digital route to market for BBC.com’s partners and advertisers. As part of this move, the existing trial of the global iPlayer app, currently testing in 16 countries, will not be extended to any new markets, and it is proposed that the service will be integrated into BBC.com over time. ... ... As part of this BBC.com initiative, and as announced by BBC Director-General Tony Hall, BBC Store, a new commercial service, giving UK consumers the chance to buy, watch and keep a selection of BBC programmes, consistent with a focus on extending consumers’ enjoyment of BBC content in the BBC’s home market. Today Davie shared a further ambition to launch an international version of a BBC store. "

Does the BBC's goal of a global weekly audience of 500 million by 2022 include only news output or all BBC content globally distributed? The "long-form video player" on BBC.com mentioned above seems to indicate feature and entertainment in addition to news programming.

The television iPlayer is being phased out internationally even as the "iPlayer Radio app will go global in 2014," per the previous post.

The Guardian, 18 Oct 2013, Mark Sweney: "Davie said that BBC Worldwide has too many different websites and digital propositions, and there needed to be more focus to compete against rivals such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. ... 'It is purely a branding question: if you want content you go to BBC.com,' he said. 'It has been too fragmented and [globally] it is a ferocious market dominated by US and Asian players – like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon – and we have to have scale and a real competitive edge.'"

informitv, 18 Oct 2013: "The global iPlayer was launched as a pilot in 11 Western European countries in July 2011, initially on the Apple iPad and subsequently the iPhone and iPod Touch, and viewable on an Apple TV using AirPlay. It provided access to a catalogue of premium programmes from the BBC library for a monthly subscription of €6.99, of which 30% presumably goes to Apple. The trial service was extended to Australia and Canada but not the United States, where it faced opposition from pay-television operators carrying the BBC America channel."

Polish Radio will eliminate the last of its shortwave output.

Posted: 20 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
SWLing Post, 20 Oct 2013, Thomas Witherspoon: "Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Dominik, who writes: 'Polish Radio has recently announced closure of their remaining shortwave services. Currently they are on air two times a day with programmes in Polish, Belarussian and Russian. They are going to abandon those transmissions at the beginning of B13 season [last weekend of October]. [Tranlated into English:] "We have an announcement for you – from 27th October 2013 we will no longer broadcast our programs on shortwave." There is a similar announcement on the Belarusian service’s webpage. Lithuanian mediumwave relay of Polish Radio isn’t mentioned anywhere, so it may remain on air. ...' [Thomas:] This reminds me that it was only in March 2012 when the Polish Radio External Service stopped their English language broadcasts over shortwave."

Public diplomacy mixed with broadcasting: South Africa's Ubuntu Radio.

Posted: 19 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
PANA, 19 Oct 2013: "South Africa launches online radio to promote foreign policy - South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation has launched a 24-hour online radio station aimed at enhancing communication on the country’s foreign policy. PANA reported that Ubuntu Radio, which was launched Thursday, is accessible on the internet (www.ubunturadio.com), and is the first of its kind on the African continent. Department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the station is the first to operate under the auspices of a government institution, for non-commercial purposes. Its operating format is that of a 'Talk Radio'. ... The objective of Ubuntu Radio is to create a platform for exchange of views and opinions by various stakeholders, including opinion makers, think tanks, academics, scholars, students, diplomats and other key players in the field of diplomacy, and international relations. By design, the targeted listenership is not limited to South African citizens, but includes the international community."

humanipo, 18 Oct 2013, Brandon Gregory: "New internet-based South African radio station Ubuntu Radio officially went live last night, aimed at enhancing communication on South Africa’s foreign policy and broadcasting African stories from an African perspective. 'South Africa has a good story to tell and we have done extremely well over the past 20 years. Our foreign policy has evolved, but that story is not being told,' said Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). Monyela said the radio station will serve as a source of reliable, recent and trusted news and conversations on the topic of foreign policy."

SouthAfrica.info, 18 Oct 2013: "The station will also extend its reach by exchanging content for broadcast with identified media partners, including SABC's Channel Africa."

Pretoria News, 18 Oct 2013, Tebogo Monama: "Monyela said although the station would be focused on foreign policy and government updates, it would not be propaganda. 'The media do a decent job in telling stories. This will be an additional platform that gives us the opportunity as government to highlight stories that are not getting attention. Other countries have done this successfully, albeit differently. We don’t believe we have competition, but hope other stations will listen to us to find out what South Africa is thinking.' ... Monyela said Ubuntu Radio would be working closely with SABC international radio station Channel Africa. 'We have signed a memorandum of understanding to exchange programmes with them. We are hoping that digital migration will clear the airwaves and we can be available on FM. We are finalising an application that you can download and listen to on your phone or tablet.' The station is mostly talk-based and Monyela said the department would avoid featuring only diplomats and government employees. Some of the presenters are brand specialist Thebe Ikalafeng; Metro FM presenter Kgopedi oa Namane; actress Florence Masebe; and SAfm presenter Richard Nwamba."

ITWeb, 18 Oct 2013, Mariné Jacobs: "'We will have news bulletins. We will be playing music, especially on weekends, and we will be playing African music unapologetically. ... Manyolo notes. He emphasises that while the format of the station is talk, listeners will not be 'lectured' or be exposed to government propaganda. 'People can call in and ask questions, voice their opinions, agree or disagree with us. But for the first time we will be able to dictate the time and pace of these discussions and articulate the thinking of SA on foreign policy.'"

South Africa is thus emulating US international broadcasting. Ubuntu Radio is now duplicating some of the work of Channel Africa, and scarce broadcasting and talent resources will be divided between the two. Furthermore, Ubuntu Radio is an attempt to mix public diplomacy with other content, including something that they claim will be "news." A political faction in Washington wants USIB to more like Ubuntu Radio. Instructively, Ubuntu Radio will show us how many listeners will be attracted to a radio station that is essentially an infomercial for the government and its foreign policy.

At 2355 UTC on 19 Oct 2013, I'm listening to African music on Ubuntu Radio, which, despite frequent breaks in the audio stream, is excellent.

Al Jazeera's possession-based approach to football broadcast rights in North Africa.

Posted: 19 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Ahram Online, 16 Oct 2013: "Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera Sports TV network said it will take legal action against Egyptian state television for broadcasting Tuesday’s Egypt-Ghana match in the first leg of the World Cup playoff, a right exclusive to Al-Jazeera. Egypt’s state TV broadcast the match on two local channels without prior announcement or approval from Al-Jazeera as tensions continue to rise between the Qatari-owned network and Egypt’s government. Al-Jazeera announced through its channels that it will prosecute Egyptian television for infringing on its rights. During the match, Al-Jazeera repeatedly broadcast a message declaring that Egyptian TV does not have the right to broadcast the game. ... [Egyptian] authorities recently closed down Al-Jazeera offices and arrested several of its Cairo-based staffers, charging them with license violations. In addition, a Cairo court in September ordered Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, the channel's sector in Egypt, be taken off air. However, the channel continues to broadcast its programmes."

Digital TV Europe, 17 Oct 2013: "Al Jazeera Sport this week threatened to take legal action against Algerian public broadcaster ENTV for having retransmitted coverage of a World Cup qualifier football match between Algeria and Burkina Faso to which it did not hold the rights. Al Jazeera secured the support of the African Football Confederation (CAF), which lodged a protest over Algeria’s 'audiovisual piracy'. The CAF said it reserved the right to pursue those responsible in the courts. ... The Algerian press has focused on the refusal of the Algerian government to allow the Qatari broadcaster to open an office in Algiers as a possible factor in Al Jazeera’s decision not to make the broadcast available."

Details of Al Jazeera-AT&T legal dispute to remain secret during appeal.

Posted: 19 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 18 Oct 2013: "A legal fight over AT&T Inc's refusal to carry the U.S. news channel of Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera can remain under wraps for now, despite a ruling by a Delaware state judge earlier this week lifting the secrecy in the case. Judge Sam Glasscock approved on Wednesday a stipulation allowing the case to remain under seal while Al Jazeera appeals his previous ruling in favor of news organizations that wanted the case in the open. The lawsuit stems from AT&T's refusal to carry a news channel launched by Al Jazeera in the United States in August. Al Jazeera sued AT&T in Delaware's Court of Chancery, saying AT&T had broken and wrongfully terminated their contract. Both sides said the case should be kept secret, arguing that making such information public would hurt their negotiations with other channels and cable companies. The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and others protested the extensive use of confidential filings in the lawsuit, and Glasscock ordered the case unsealed on Monday."

France 24 expands DTH satellite distribution in India.

Posted: 19 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
France 24 press release, 14 Oct 2013: "FRANCE 24 has concluded a new distribution agreement in India and will be available on free-to-air Direct-To-Home service (DTH) DD DIRECT +. Owned by public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, the platform will begin broadcasting FRANCE 24 English version on November 1st. Thanks to this agreement, FRANCE 24 will also be available on DISH TV basic offer, the n°1 private satellite operator in the country. Thanks to this new agreement, which represents the most important deployment for the channel on the Asian market, FRANCE 24 will now be available 24/7 to 31 million additional households across the country. These will be in addition to the 7 million households that already receive the channel via cable. One in every four Indian televised households can now access FRANCE 24 and a special operation will take place in New Delhi in November to mark this major agreement."

House of Commons committee calls for investment to counter China/Iran jamming/blocking of BBC World Service content.

Posted: 17 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 17 Oct 2013, David Blair: "The BBC should invest in protecting its global news service from being jammed by countries like Iran and China, the Foreign Affairs select committee will say on Thursday. The MPs’ report will stress how Iran and China make immense efforts to jam the BBC. The former obstructs the BBC Persian news channel; the latter blocks BBC World Service broadcasts in Mandarin. Since February, China has also 'intensively jammed' the BBC World Service in English. Iran and China also try to block access to BBC news websites. 'The BBC needs to think sooner rather than later about what scale of investment will be needed in order to preserve open access to its internet-based services for international audiences,' say the MPs. New technology can protect satellite and radio services from being jammed."

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, 17 Oct 2013, excerpt from "The FCO's human rights work in 2012": "The right of access to information, across borders, is fundamental. As we have pointed out on numerous occasions, the BBC World Service makes a huge contribution to the projection of the UK, its values and strengths, across the world. It would be astonishing if that work were to be diminished purely because the BBC lacked the resources to protect its broadcasts from interference by states where tolerance and freedom of expression are not entrenched. We urge the BBC, as the future funder of the BBC World Service, to recognise in future funding plans the need to provide the resources necessary to afford that protection."

VOA faulted for insufficiently duplicating RFE/RL on the Malala story.

Posted: 16 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Digital Journal, 14 Oct 2013, Ted Lipien: "Voice of America (VOA) and U.S. public diplomacy failed to take full advantage of President Obama's meeting Friday with teenage Pakistani campaigner for girls' education Malala Yousafzai. But Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) did a good job. If web users around the world went to the Voice of America (VOA) English website Friday, Saturday and until 9 p.m. ET Sunday (when this op-ed was being written), they would not find a photo of President Obama meeting with young Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai. Even worse, they would not have learned from a very short VOA English-language news report that during the Friday's meeting at the White House, Malala confronted President Obama on the issue of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan. ... Under its recently-appointed new president and CEO Kevin Klose, RFE/RL provided very good and balanced coverage of Malala’s interview with Jon Stewart and her White House meeting with President Obama. RFE/RL also had conducted earlier an exclusive video interview with Malala."

If all the output of USIB were available in one website, then the "very good" RFE/RL coverage of Malala Yousafzai's visit to the White House would have been available to the website's visitors. But the BBG Watch/CUSIB/Lipien multiplex has always resisted consolidation of US international broadcasting, or even the establishment of the Global News Network combined website for USIB. With the drain on resources caused by duplication in USIB, fewer stories can be reported, and each less thoroughly so.

But, wait, CUSIB "does not accept the myth that these different missions duplicate each other," according to an op-ed by its executive director Ann Noonan. Meanwhile, Ted, co-founder of CUSIB, documents, above, an instance of duplication: both RFE/RL and VOA covering the Malala visit. In fact, Ted criticizes VOA for not doing a more thorough job of duplicating RFE/RL's coverage of the same story.

While we ponder that, consider that Ted writes about even more duplication, in the form of USIB entities and private US media outlets ("AP, CNN, MSN, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post") all providing English-language of Malala's visit.

And so Ted's essay raises an interesting question. Should USIB compete with private US media in providing English-language news to the world? Won't this cut into the audience share of these private media companies, thus reducing their chances for profitability? Keep in mind that the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 states that US government funded international broadcasting shall "not duplicate the activities of private United States broadcasters."

As recently as three decades ago, thanks to its global network of shortwave transmitters, VOA was the only US media outlet capable of providing timely English-language news to the entire world. With the advent of the Internet, all US news organizations with a website have global reach. Some have more newsgathering resources, at least in English, than any of the the individual USIB entities, and a few have more than all of USIB combined.

USIB should be pleased that the US private sector media have the English-language world covered, and at no cost to the US taxpayers. This frees up USIB funds for non-English languages, most of which could never support a commercially viable US-based news service.

English web content from USIB would continue, consisting of 1) the centrally produced material distributed to USIB language services, 2) reports from correspondents, 3) reporting from and about Africa, which is by far VOA's largest English-language target, and 4) some stories from USIB language services translated into English. Even with all this, USIB may not have a comprehensive "go-to" English-language website on a par with CNN, the New York Times, and a few other major players.

Nevertheless, USIB can still have a large presence in English-language media. When USIB is finally consolidated into a single nonprofit corporation, it should have a for-profit subsidiary corporation. The for-profit would engage in various media projects that make money, while avoiding competition with US private-sector efforts. The profits would be channeled into the non-profit activities of USIB.

One such profit-making activity would be to translate the unique reportage of the many USIB non-English services into English, then selling that content, as text and/or as videos, to English-language media in the USA and elsewhere. US media and their audiences would benefit from greater international news coverage. USIB would derive additional income. This could be the making of a win-win.

Radio Exterior de España will close its Costa Rica shortwave relay, but expand shortwave from Spain.

Posted: 15 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The SWLing Post, 15 Oct 2013, Marty Delfin, translating notice on the Radio Exterior de España website: "From October 28, Radio Exterior de España will permanently conclude its shortwave transmissions from its relay station in Cariari, Costa Rica. At the same time, from that date, broadcasts from its transmitters in Noblejas, Spain will be considerably expanded. These changes will affect those listeners in Central America, North America and the northern part of South America’s Southern Cone who tune us. In the coming days, we will post and announce our new frequencies and times in which you can hear Radio Exterior de España on our webpage and programs."

Yet another Western Hemisphere shortwave transmitting facility closes, following Radio Netherlands on Bonaire, TDF in French Guiana, Radio Canada International in New Brunswick, WYFR in Florida, International Broadcasting Bureau in Delano, California, and Bethany, Ohio, CVC in Chile, BBC on Antigua, and others.

A review of four books about Cold War (mostly RFE/RL) broadcasting.

Posted: 15 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
H-Net (Michigan State University), October 2013, Friederike Kind-Kovács: "A review of four books about international broadcasting during the Cold War, mostly about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: Alexander Badenoch, Andreas Fickers, Christian Henrich-Franke, Airy Curtains in the European Ether: Broadcasting and the Cold War. Richard H. Cummings, Radio Free Europe's "Crusade for Freedom": Rallying Americans Behind Cold War Broadcasting, 1950–1960. A. Ross Johnson, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond. A. Ross Johnson, R. Eugene Parta, Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, A Collection of Studies and Documents."

On Guam, a shortwave transmitting site rededicated rather than dismantled.

Posted: 14 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
AWR Wavescan via Shortwave Central, 14 Oct 2013: "On Tuesday September 3, Adventist World Radio welcomed a group of international and local guests to a rededication ceremony at our Guam shortwave station to mark the completion of a major expansion for the station. The modification of existing antenna systems and the installation of a large new curtain antenna has increased the transmission capability of station KSDA by approximately 25% and this is comparable to adding a whole new station to the AWR operation. This upgrade enables AWR to improve its broadcasts to numerous countries in Asia... Currently, Adventist World Radio is on the air worldwide in nearly 100 languages, with programming produced in 75 different production studios. The shortwave station on Guam KSDA, is itself on the air with nearly 300 hours of programming each week in 34 languages, from its technical system of 5 shortwave transmitters and 5 curtain antennas."

South Africans win top prize in CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

Posted: 14 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
CNN, 14 Oct 2013: "An investigation into appalling conditions in school hostels has won two South African journalists the top prize at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards. Msindisi Fengu and Yandisa Monakali shared the top honor of CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year for their series 'School hostels of shame,' which appeared in South African newspaper Daily Dispatch. ... Their winning entry was chosen from 1,387 submissions from 42 nations across the continent. ... The award carried a substantial cash prize, plus a visit to CNN Center in Atlanta to attend the three-week CNN Journalism Fellowship. All finalists received a cash prize, with category winners receiving a laptop and printer as well." See also all the 2013 category winners.

Al Jazeera America: "foreign gaze for domestic consumption," "focusing on the failures of the United States."

Posted: 14 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 5 Oct 2013, Anand Giridharadas: "Al Jazeera may represent something quite new in the business (though not unprecedented): the foreign gaze for domestic consumption. The novelty here has at least two dimensions. The first is that, for the longest time, reporters from foreign news organizations sent reports back to the countries that dispatched them, and those reports were seldom seen locally. The Internet has changed that. And so when this newspaper or any other writes about Italy or Ghana, Italians and Ghanaians can now read it. Many Western media companies have seized upon this reality to create sites devoted to the domestic consumption of their foreign reporting — including The New York Times’s India Ink blog, to cite an example."

Washington Times, 9 Oct 2013, Christopher Harper: "An engaging ad on AJAM television told me to check out the website. A graphic titled 'Government Shutdown' led with a video package of President Obama complaining: 'Congress needs to stop "governing by crisis."' ... Much of the website included stories more than a week old and not one focused on the Republican point of view. Al-Jazeera’s television coverage wasn’t much better. ... Almost as an afterthought, [host Sheila MacVicar] at one point laid a little of the blame at the feet of the Democrats — but only after attacking the Republicans throughout the show. ... Everyone should know where AJAM stands — right under the thumb of the Qatari princes. The agenda is to get a seat at the political table through the network, which aims at focusing mainly on the failures of the United States rather than its successes, with a bias now made plain for all to see."

Christopher Johnson press release, 11 Oct 2013, via BroadwayWorld.com: "Even if Al Jazeera America musters a sizable audience, it could have a harder time attracting advertisers than its competition. ... At this point in time, funding is not a problem because Al Jazeera America has a strong financial base. It is better equipped than other news outlets to circumvent a shortage of ads the lifeblood of any media business due to the fact that the station derives patronage from the very rich government of Qatar."

Nashville Scene, 10 Oct 2013, Steven Hale: "For news junkies, Nashville reached peak Itness when Al Jazeera America, the new American wing of the Arab news organization Al Jazeera, announced it would be placing a bureau in Nashville."

BBC's iPlayer Radio app "will go global in 2014."

Posted: 14 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
TechRadar, 8 Oct 2013, Patrick Goss: "The BBC has announced that its iPlayer Radio app will go global in 2014, with the famous old British broadcaster keen to bring its special brand of talk to the world. The BBC is perhaps most familiar to US and Australian audiences for its TV output - including hits like Dr Who and Sherlock - but its World Service is one of the world's most familiar radio stations. ... 'Last year we launched the iPlayer radio app for UK users and now we're going to take the next big step making it globally available next year,' said [BBC director general Tony] Hall. 'We're going to unlock all the fantastic speech programming on Radio Three, Radio Four and the BBC World service.'" -- BBC radio content has always been available internationally via bbc.co.uk, with something called iPlayer popping up on the screen. But I suppose it has to be an "app" to be significant. See previous post.

Open source but no longer available to the public: World News Connection disconnected.

Posted: 13 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Secrecy News, 8 Oct 2013, Steven Aftergood: "For more than half a century, the public has been able to access a wealth of information collected by U.S. intelligence from unclassified, open sources around the world. At the end of this year, the Central Intelligence Agency will terminate that access. The U.S. intelligence community’s Open Source Center (OSC), which is managed by the CIA, will cease to provide its information feed to the publicly accessible World News Connection as of December 31, 2013, according to an announcement from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which operates the World News Connection (WNC). ... The reasons for the decision to terminate the World News Connection are a bit obscure. Producing it is not a drain on U.S. intelligence– the marginal costs of providing the additional feed to NTIS are close to zero. ... However, the program is a headache for NTIS to manage, particularly since NTIS officials had to negotiate numerous contracts with media source providers to offer their products to the public. But the large majority of that work has already been accomplished, and now it will be rendered useless." -- Open Source Center is the former Foreign Broadcast Information Service, also part of the CIA.

Advocacy group for US international broadcasting advocates keeping things much the same.

Posted: 13 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 11 Oct 2013, op-ed by Ann Noonan, executive director for the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting: "CUSIB appreciates the importance of both Voice of America and surrogate broadcasting and hopes that under [new BBG chairman Jeff] Shell’s tenure, their roles will be supported. CUSIB does not accept the myth that these different missions duplicate each other. VOA Cantonese, Mandarin and Tibetan services provide news and opinions from the United States as mandated by the U.S. Congress in the Voice of America Charter. Radio Free Asia has a separate congressional mandate and does tremendous work with local journalists. Voice of America’s identity and success abroad are tied to being identified with the United States. VOA cannot be a successful surrogate broadcaster, just as RFA cannot be a successful representative for all of America. ... It is highly unlikely that U.S. international broadcasting would ever emerge as another global, 'BBC-like' public media outlet serving both the U.S. and audiences abroad, with American taxpayers gladly paying for it with their tax money."

Ann Noonan has written a thorough and well-thought-out essay. However...

To CUSIB and others who insist there is no duplication in US international broadcasting, the facts are overwhelmingly against you. The truth (and isn't US international broadcasting all about transmitting the truth?) is that duplication is so prevalent in US international broadcasting that one cannot help tripping over it...

The story about Cambodia's statue to former King Sihanouk was reported by RFA, 11 Oct 2013 and by VOA, 11 Oct 2013. About a Spanish court hearing charges of genocide in Tibet against former Chinese president Hu Jintao, see RFA, 11 Oct 2013, and VOA, 11 Oct 2013. About additional charges for Greenpeace activists in Russia, see RFE/RL, 9 Oct 2013 and VOA, 9 Oct 2013. Malala Yousafzai meets President Obama at the White House: VOA, 11 Oct 2013 and RFE/RL, 12 Oct 2013. It took about five minutes to find these.

Peruse the websites of the USIB entities during a week to see dozens more instances of duplication, during a year to see hundreds. Duplication is a form of waste in federal spending. The new realities of the federal budget leave very little room for waste.

But, for the sake of conversation, let's be taken in by CUSIB's claim that surrogate stations report only about the target country, and VOA reports only about the rest of the world. Does this mean that there is one audience interested only in the former, and another only in the latter? Audience research amply demonstrates what should be obvious: no. Audiences want to know both what is happening in their own countries and in the rest of the world. And this means that, if there is no duplication, audiences would have to put up with the inconvenience of tuning to two US international stations, different times, different frequency, to get all the news. But, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at it, there is duplication, so audiences in many countries can tune to VOA to get all the news from one station. The USIB news service would be better, however, if the surrogates' and VOA's reporting were smushed together into one handy media outlet.

In the internecine conflict among the USIB entities, CUSIB seems to be pro-surrogate and anti-VOA. It damns VOA with incomplete descriptions. "VOA Cantonese, Mandarin and Tibetan services provide news and opinions from the United States as mandated by the U.S. Congress in the Voice of America Charter." This conveniently omits the 800-pound gorilla, which is that VOA Mandarin and Tibetan have broadcast a great deal of news about their target countries, and were doing so even before RFA was a gleam in the eye of those who precipitated the false premise that VOA was not providing such news.

"VOA cannot be a successful surrogate broadcaster." VOA is a surrogate broadcaster, and has been for decades. It provides news about its target countries that is not being provided by its target countries' media. This includes to Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Venezuela, and other countries where there is no nominally surrogate USIB entity (yet).

"Voice of America’s identity and success abroad are tied to being identified with the United States." Actually, VOA's success abroad comes from providing credible news. "Being identified with the United States" can sometimes be a strain on that credibility. So, gee, thanks, CUSIB, for pointing this out.

Given the USIB has the largest budget of any many-language international broadcasting service, then it can be "BBC like" by having the largest audience. CUSIB, BBG Watch, and fellow travelers want to Keep Everything The Same As Before, and that includes keeping USIB in the second tier, allowing BBC to bask alone at the top, even though the BBC has a smaller budget for international broadcasting. I will never be satisfied with this state of affairs.

USIB should aspire to compete with the BBC. It can do so only by consolidating its resources into one corporation, with a single, powerful, memorable, global brand. It must have an unambiguous commitment to independent, credible journalism, leaving public diplomacy to the public diplomacy branches and bureaus in Foggy Bottom. And just as the BBC world services derive advantages from working with the domestic BBC (and vice versa), so, too, should USIB partner with US domestic media.

For one example of the benefits of consolidation, consider the recent Alhurra video of the car chase near the US Capitol. It was widely used by media in the US and throughout the world. This generated great publicity for Alhurra, but people were wondering: who is Alhurra? If USIB had one strong brand, Americans would probably be more familiar with that brand and the work it does. And all of USIB, all around the world, would have benefited from that publicity.

CNN International claims ratings success among upscale Asians.

Posted: 12 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
afaqs!, 10 Oct 2013, onpassing CNN press release: "CNN International continues as the leading news and business brand in Asia Pacific, with an unrivalled connection with the region’s affluent and senior executives, according to the latest findings from Ipsos. The Pan-Asia Pacific Cross-Media (PAX) and Business Elite Asia (BE:Asia) surveys both confirm the network’s undisputed regional reach and leadership in news and business on TV, web and mobile platforms. The latest PAX results for the period Q3 2012 to Q2 2013* show that CNN is the clear frontrunner among other international news and business brands across all metrics: As a TV brand, CNN’s daily audience is 59% greater than BBC World News and 2.6 times the size of CNBC’s audience. CNN is far more effective than any other news/business channel in connecting international business travelers (42% monthly reach vs. 29% for next placed channel). In the digital sphere, more of the PAX population visit CNN via web or mobile than any other media brand. Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President of CNN International, said: 'It’s most gratifying to see that our increased editorial output from Asia Pacific continues to resonate with viewers.'"

BBC World Service renews rebroadcasting agreement with Geneva's English-language WRS.

Posted: 12 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
GenevaLunch.com, 11 Oct 2013, Ellen Wallace: "The shifting sands of how and where and what you get as 'news in English' in the Lake Geneva region have just moved again, with the BBC confirming to GenevaLunch.com that it will continue to work with WRS, the Geneva English-language radio station, to provide BBC World Service programming (schedule for the BBC)." -- WRS can be received locally on DAB+ or online via worldadio.ch.

Voice of Russia will launch web portal to mark 100th anniversay of World War I.

Posted: 12 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
inSerbia, 9 Oct 2013: "A 100th anniversary since the beginning of the First World War will be marked in 2014. The Voice of Russia is launching a Web portal devoted to WWI, in four languages – Russian, English, French and German. ... It is expected that the first part of the project will be launched already in December 2013, and the total project – by August 2014, which will mark 100 years since the beginning of the war. ... The materials presented on the site will include maps of the most important battles of WWI, documents from the headquarters of the armies that took part in the war, reminiscences of eyewitnesses, photos, film recordings, pictures, posters, songs of the time of WWI and biographies of the war heroes, some of whom have already been forgotten in Russia and are little known abroad. Many of these materials will be withdrawn from secret archives and made public for the first time."

Deutsche Welle's new DG appeals to President Rouhani to "end the blockade against dw.de/persian."

Posted: 11 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 9 Oct 2013: "Director General of Deutsche Welle (DW) Peter Limbourg has issued an appeal to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani 'to take serious action on internet freedom.' ... Deutsche Welle's website in Persian has been blocked in Iran since 2009. Thanks to the anti-censorship tool Psiphon provided by DW, Iranian users have a chance to bypass the internet blockades. DW Director General Limbourg noted that website hits in September rose significantly once again. 'Over two million users from Iran used the Psiphon software last month to access DW content in Persian, thus getting informed about what's going on in their own country,' Limbourg said. If President Rouhani were to end the blockade against dw.de/persian, Limbourg believes it would 'send a clear political signal.' Putting an end to the disruption of DW's TV and radio satellite signals should also be part of the measures to be taken, said Limbourg."

New NY Times Chinese website is devoid of hard news, and so far unblocked in China.

Posted: 11 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Hindu, 11 Oct 2013, Ananth Krishnan: "The New York Times Company on Thursday announced the launch of a Chinese language-website and said it would, next year, host in New York the third edition of the World Media Summit — a forum co-launched by China’s official Xinhua news agency and eight other news organisations in Beijing in 2009. NYT’s new outreach comes even as it engages Chinese authorities to lift restrictions on its websites, which were blocked last year after it published an investigation into the alleged $-2.7 billion wealth amassed by former Premier Wen Jiabao’s family. ... The newspaper’s newly launched Chinese-language website, cn.tmagazine.com, is, however, accessible in China. It will carry articles on fashion, real estate and travel and has been launched under the umbrella of the weekend T Magazine."

Wall Street Journal, 10 Oct 2013, Colum Murphy and Andrew Browne: "'Speaking of the new site, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of New York Times Co. and the newspaper's publisher, said: "It's not focused on politics, or foreign policy or business news … It's lifestyle.' Mr. Sulzberger said the Chinese government had told the Times it should offer broader content to Chinese audiences. "We agreed with that," he said. The Times is hoping the website could pave the way for the unblocking of the publication's English and Chinese news websites. ... Mr. Sulzberger said he has been working in both Beijing and Washington to get its news sites unblocked."

Quartz, 10 Oct 2013, Gwynn Guilford: "It’s the kind of stuff ... that attracts big-spending luxury brands targeting China’s well-heeled. This is, after all, a country that consumes one-third of the world’s luxury goods, as Want China Times reports. ... By forcing the Times to focus on a more consumer-oriented way of reaching Chinese readers, the country’s censors may have done the company an unintentional good deed."

Xinhua, 11 Oct 2013: "Media professionals around the globe spoke highly of the 2nd Presidium Meeting of the World Media Summit (WMS), held in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou Thursday, saying it would help boost the development of journalism and strengthen media cooperation. David S. C. Liu, a senior advisor to The New York Times, voiced his hope that the WMS would reach out further still and win global influence. He said more efforts were needed to publicize and promote the WMS Global Prizes for Journalism, adding that the prizes would eventually be among the most influential awards in the world."

China Media Project, 11 Oct 2013, David Bandurski: "[T]he World Media Summit, this ostensible back-slapping affair offering an opportunity for media leaders to talk media strategy, is fundamentally about China projecting its influence over global media agendas. ... I want all of you participants at the World Media Summit right now to pick up your complimentary Xinhua News Agency fountain pens and write this on the back of your hand: 'I am not here because China really wants to talk about the future of global media. I am here because China wants to channel the future of global media.'"

PC Advisor, 9 Oct 2013, Stefan Hammond: "The Chinese authorities can't have it both ways. They can't provide a truncated Internet and expect every type of multinational to sign up for office space in the Shanghai FTZ [free trade zone]. By restricting Net access, they are de facto restricting the types of businesses that will set up shop in the new zone. Technology is changing business at an unprecedented pace. Many businesses will examine their Net shackles and decide to locate elsewhere."

Sweden's first-ever English-language sitcom coming to NBC.

Posted: 10 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 8 Oct 2013, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Entertainment One (eOne) has sold the U.S. broadcast rights for the half-hour comedy Welcome to Sweden, executive produced by siblings Amy and Greg Poehler, to NBC. The comedy was originally commissioned by Sweden's TV4 as its first-ever English-language series. The fish-out-of-water series was filmed in Sweden, New York and Los Angeles. ... 'it's the first time NBC has been involved with a comedy shot in Stockholm with a large Swedish cast!!! The reason this comedy has attracted all these people is because its theme is universal—love conquers all…even if it means moving to Sweden.'"

Report: "Civil war" within BBC Arabic (updated).

Posted: 10 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadcast, 1 Oct 2013, Jake Kanter: "A Broadcast investigation has exposed 'civil war' among staff, managers and presenters at BBC Arabic, the oldest and largest of the corporation’s non-English language services. Senior broadcast journalists, producers and make-up artists have come forward to criticise the BBC global news division’s working culture and reveal complaints of mistreatment of staff by presenters, bullying investigations, and at least two on-going employment tribunals. ... A BBC spokeswoman said: 'BBC Arabic is now under new management, following significant structural changes to the service this June. This was the result of a major change project designed to improve working practices and ensure staff were working in the most supportive environment possible.'"

Broadcast, 3 Oct 2013, Jake Kanter: "National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet ... said the problems with BBC Arabic were 'the tip of the iceberg' across the global news division. She claimed the BBC is trying to introduce a similar programme of change at the Afghan service, where there is at least one 'very serious' bullying and harassment case being investigated."

Update: The Telegraph, 9 Oct 2013, Sam Marsden: "Said Shehata, 43, claims that he suffered 'discrimination, victimisation and unfair treatment' from his managers and editors as a result of his religion. He brought his case after missing out on a permanent job as a senior broadcast journalist at BBC Arabic, the oldest and largest of the Corporation’s non-English language services, while nine Muslim colleagues were chosen. The successful candidates included an employee who was responsible for a television news bulletin that wrongly announced the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez two months before he actually died, the hearing in central London was told."

BBC Worldwide invests in factual content, with "series that connect audiences from London to Tokyo."

Posted: 10 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 10 Oct 2013, Kristin Brzoznowski: "BBC Worldwide is pledging a major new investment in BBC factual content, across natural history, science and history as the principal co-production partner with the BBC Natural History Unit. The pact allows the two to explore new opportunities to work with a wider range of co-production partners. The deal will see the BBC produce more hours of factual content than ever before. The first of the titles will include the new landmarks One Planet, The Hunt, Wild Alaska and 24 Hours on Earth. The addition seven titles confirmed as part of BBC Worldwide’s investment are Oceans, Kangaroo Dundee, The Rains, Sleepover at the Zoo, Wild Japan, Wild Patagonia and Wild New Zealand. All 11 titles will be distributed globally by BBC Worldwide. Danny Cohen, the director of BBC Television, said, 'We have a shared vision with Worldwide to create world class factual content that will delight audiences at home—and also appeal to those across the globe. Commercial investment through BBC Worldwide and our network of production partners around the world will ensure that we continue to make ambitious genre-defining series that connect audiences from London to Tokyo with science, history and the wonders of the natural world.'" See also BBC Worldwide press release, 9 Oct 2013.

Seenit.co.uk, 9 Oct 2013: "The BBC has announced that its longstanding co-production deal with the Discovery Channel is to end 'by mutual agreement.' The £150m partnership has produced a number of widely acclaimed shows, including such as Life, Frozen Planet, Blue Planet and Wonders Of The Solar System. However, in June industry magazine Broadcast reported that Discovery wanted to end the deal because it believed the BBC was deriving the larger share of benefit from the deal."

"Connected TV is becoming more international." With obvious implications for international broadcasting.

Posted: 09 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Advanced Television, 9 Oct 2013: "The number of TV sets connected to the Internet will reach 759 million by 2018 for 40 countries covered in the Connected TV Forecasts report from Digital TV Research, up from 115 million at end-2010 and the 307 million expected at end-2013. This translates to 26.8 per cent of global TV sets by 2018, up from only 5.1 per cent at end-2010 and 12.4 per cent by end-2013. Connected TV is becoming more international. The US will still command a third of connected TV sets by end-2013, but this proportion will fall to 23.5 per cent by 2018. China will climb from 6.6 per cent of the 2013 total to 16.4 per cent by 2018. ... Chromecast and similar products are likely to have a considerable impact. The global total of connected TV sets via streaming/retail set-top boxes will reach 126 million in 2018, up from only 4 million in 2010. The 34 million expected by end-2013 is double the 2012 total." See also Digital TV Research press release, 9 Oct 2013.

This has implications for international broadcasting. In the past couple of decades, an attractive 24/7 television service has been necessary to gain access to the finite number of channels on cable and direct-to-home satellite systems around then world. The connected TV phenomenon, also known as OTT for "over the top" of the Internet, means that audiences watch individual programs on demand rather than by appointment on channels.

Many international broadcasting organizations, including almost all of the entities of US international broadcasting, do not have 24/7 channels. It is more within their wherewithal to develop individual programs, which can be distributed through connected TVs. On the other hand, this will introduce more competition in the international broadcasting realm. And connected TV distribution mechanisms have gatekeepers of their own. In fact, because it is distributed via the Internet, programming via connected TVs can be blocked. International broadcasting via satellite is not usually (except by Iran) jammed.

The international broadcasting of food.

Posted: 09 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
World Screen, 9 Oct 2013, Kristin Brzoznowski: "CCTV2 in China has acquired the rights for a local version of the cooking competition The Taste from Red Arrow International [based in Germany]. Casting calls will be held in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guang Zhou. It will air under the local title Wel Jue Da Zhan (The Big Battle of the Taste). A premiere is set for November. Siemens Home Appliance has signed on as the exclusive sponsor."

World Screen, 9 Oct 2013, Kristin Brzoznowski: "The Asian Food Channel, part of the Scripps Networks Interactive bouquet, has scheduled a new cooking program, Tea Twist, which features the Malaysian chef Nik Michael Imran. The original six-part series will air on the channel in 12 territories. The show was produced in collaboration with Unilever Malaysia. It features the chef creating thirst-quenching recipes using Lipton Tea."

Al Jazeera Plus will launch early 2014. I have no idea what its purpose is but, hey, its "main office will be in San Francisco."

Posted: 09 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Repoprter, 9 Oct 2013, Elizabeth Guider: "Qatar-based news operation Al Jazeera will go live online with a 24-hour news, current affairs and human interest channel in early 2014 called Al Jazeera Plus. Al Jazeera network's manager of new media Moeed Ahmad told The Hollywood Reporter said the aim of the new service is to provide its global audience with 'clarity through context'. To help achieve that aim the company will set up its own dedicated offices in Johannesburg, Beijing, New Delhi and elsewhere to manage its operations. 'Video online is different,' Ahmad said, indicating that he thought "news verticals" on portals such as YouTube were still limited, not as developed as say those for entertainment. 'We want to make content native to the audiences and cultures we serve,' he explained. To begin, the online news service will be in English and the main office will be in San Francisco; an Arabic-language service will start up shortly thereafter."

C21Media.net, 9 Oct 2013, Julian Blake: "Ahmad said AJ+ is part of Al Jazeera’s mission to 'give voice to voiceless and tell stories that matter – but in a form that the online consumers are used to.'"

It is time to jettison, perhaps to permanent orbit around one of the moons of Saturn, the phrase "voice to the voiceless."

Huge Al Jazeera America billboard is compensating for something: very low ratings.

Posted: 09 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Mediaite, 8 Oct 2013, Andrew Kirell: "If last week’s ratings are any indication, Al Jazeera America has a long way to go in the cable news ratings game. With distribution in less than half the households its competitors enjoy, some of AJAM’s daytime news programming fell to a 0 (that’s zero) in the key demographic of ages 25-54; and the network’s primetime shows often fell into the single-digits in that same demo. ... The network’s flagship program, 9 p.m.’s America Tonight never hit rock-bottom with the 0 demo rating, but things didn’t look so pretty regardless. The newsmagazine-style show pulled in an average of 18.6k total viewers, with 7.4k in the demo."

The Blaze, 8 Oct 2013, Eddie Scarry: "The advertisement appears to scale an entire building near Alta Loma Rd. in West Hollywood. This photo was sent to us by a source and billboards of similar size were posted around New York City."

Focusing on the "core brand," International Herald Tribune nears name change to The International New York Times.

Posted: 09 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Poynter, 8 Oct 2013, Andrew Beaujon: "Mira Kamdar and Masaru Tamamoto have joined The New York Times’ editorial board part-time, a memo from Andy Rosenthal, Terry Tang, Trish Hall and Sewell Chan told staffers Tuesday morning. They join the Times as it prepares to rename the International Herald Tribune as The International New York Times. The renamed paper will launch Tuesday, Oct. 15."

AFP, 24 Sept 2013: Publisher Stephen Dunbar-Johnson "said in a letter to readers that the daily 'will be marking the occasion with special content in the newspaper and online'. 'On October 14, we will publish a 24-page special report looking back at important news stories from our illustrious 125-year history, featuring reprinted archive pages and a multimedia timeline,' he said."

New York Times, 25 Feb 2013, Christine Haughney and Eric Pfanner: "The New York Times Company said on Monday that it was planning to rename The International Herald Tribune, its 125-year-old newspaper based in Paris, and would also unveil a redesigned Web site for international audiences. Starting this fall, under the plan, the paper will be rechristened The International New York Times, reflecting the company’s intention to focus on its core New York Times newspaper and to build its international presence. ... Mark Thompson, president and chief executive of The New York Times Company, said in a statement that the company recently explored its prospects with international audiences, and noted there was 'significant potential to grow the number of New York Times subscribers outside of the United States.' He added: 'The digital revolution has turned The New York Times from being a great American newspaper to becoming one of the world’s best-known news providers. We want to exploit that opportunity.' ... The renamed paper will remain based in Paris, where it was founded 125 years ago as the European edition of The New York Herald ... . It will also keep its sizable office in Hong Kong where the Asian edition is edited. ... [T]here also would be investments in other locations. ... The announcement is part of the company’s larger plan to focus on its core brand and build its international presence, [a] Times spokeswoman said."

Financial Times plans single global print edition which "will derive from the web offering – not vice versa."

Posted: 09 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 9 Oct 2013, Roy Greenslade blog: "The Financial Times is to institute path-breaking changes to the production of its printed newspaper that appear to be the penultimate step towards becoming a digital-only publication. A lengthy memo sent yesterday afternoon to staff by the editor, Lionel Barber, stated that the pink paper plans 'to launch a single edition, global print product in the first half of 2014.' ... According to the latest ABC figures (August 2013), the print editions of the FT sold a daily average of 236,281 world-wide, 15% fewer than in the same month the year before. Of those, 73,000 were sold in the UK but only 41,000 were bought at the full cover price of £2.50. More than 81,000 were sold in Europe, over 46,000 were sold in the United States and there were a further 33,000 sales in Asia.

Financial Times, 9 Oct 2013, Lionel Barber memo to staff: "Our plan is to launch a single edition, global print product in the first half of 2014. The new FT will be redesigned and updated to reflect modern tastes and reading habits. ... In future, our print product will derive from the web offering – not vice versa. The new FT will be produced by a small print-focused team working alongside a larger integrated web/day production team. ... Last year, our online subscriptions surpassed our print circulation for the first time. Today, we have more than 100,000 more digital subscriptions than print sales."

Presumably the digital Chinese-language edition of FT will continue.

BBC director general Tony Hall sets a global audience goal of 500 million by 2022.

Posted: 08 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC press release, 8 Oct 2013: "Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, today set out his ambition for the BBC to double its audiences to reach 500 million people around the world by the BBC’s centenary in 2022. In a speech given at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in New Broadcasting House, Mr Hall hailed the BBC’s news services as a 'global news powerhouse'. Tony Hall said: 'I want us to make the most of BBC News around the world. We have a global news powerhouse in this building. In the past month, we all saw it at work in the BBC’s unparalleled reporting from Kenya and also inside Syria. What we don’t always see so clearly is that over the past 80 years, we’ve built a global news service that is trusted, respected and relied upon by a quarter of a billion people around the world. Our ambition is to double our global audience by 2022 to half a billion.' Reaching this target will include: Driving digital growth through mobile and social products, in English and Languages Transforming bbc.com into a video-led news site Developing new products for commercial exploitation and broadening sponsorship opportunities outside the UK Further improving the quality of World News and strengthening regional coverage for Asia, US and Africa."

BBC Media Center, from transcript of speech given by Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, at the BBC Radio Theatre in London on Tuesday 8 October 2013: "The iPlayer would be the best online TV service in the world – and the front door to many people to the whole BBC. Globally we’d reach more people: half a billion would be coming to our news, culture and information service. We would be recognised the world over for what we do in music, the arts and the world of ideas. We would be Britain’s catalyst for creativity, helping the UK’s amazing array of arts and science institutions to reach new audiences across the globe."

Reuters, 8 Oct 2013, Belinda Goldsmith: "In his first major speech since becoming director general six months ago, Tony Hall said the BBC had to cut costs by 20 percent by 2017 but also needed to find an additional 100 million pounds a year in savings to invest in the future. He did not give details on where the savings would come from but said he aimed to simplify the management structure by, among other things, cutting back on the number of boards. The BBC has been accused of being overly bureaucratic and top-heavy, wasting the license fees it receives from all British households with a television."

Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News, email to staff, 8 Oct 2013: Tony Hall's "speech ... recognises the major role the BBC plays in enhancing Britain’s standing and reputation overseas. For eighty years we have led the world as a trusted news provider; and now we will redouble our efforts to maintain this position, rather than ceding it to the new competitors like China and Russia. ... This new figure of 500 million is a stretching target but I am confident we can achieve this goal and firmly help the BBC meet its global ambitions for both this Charter and the next one."

Will the 500 million include the audiences for the international commercial channels and programs distributed by BBC Worldwide? This would make the goal easier to achieve.

Tony Hall makes the obligatory mention of social media, but how "social" can a broadcaster be with an audience of 500 million? Check the number of followers versus those followed by the most popular Twitter account, and it becomes apparent that the mass media use the social media as a mass medium.

US international broadcasting has a budget larger than that of BBC World Service, so in theory, it should set its sights even higher than the half billion projected by the BBC. The BBC, nevertheless, will probably continue to have the larger audience, for these reasons: 1) an unambiguous commitment to independent news, with no attempt to fold in public diplomacy, 2) much less overlap, duplication, division of resources, and internecine conflict among competing entities, and 3) partnership and cooperation between domestic and international units.

Euronews will soon be available on X-Ray Specs. Oh, sorry, on Google Glass.

Posted: 08 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 8 Oct 2013, Robert Briel: "Euronews, along with CNN, The New York Times, Reuters and ABC News, are joining Google Glass. Euronews CEO Michael Peters announced the news at a press briefing in Cannes. He said that the channel is the first and only European media on Google Glass. Peters also announced a modified on-air look for the channel, which includes a move from the traditional 16:9 widescreen to 14:8. Also part of the refresh is the return of the clock, colour codes for the various news themes and Twitter integration. The Lyons based news channel is also launching a new B2B service called Euronews Network, which offers broadcasters and other media companies a bouquet of products including live feed, white label copies of its magazine programmes, access to news production and on-air talent."

Prime Minister Netanyahu as international broadcaster fell short as public diplomacy.

Posted: 08 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 7 Oct 2013, Robert Coalson: "In his first interview with a Persian-language media outlet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a lot of harsh things to say about Iran and its government. But the comment that really struck a nerve touched on fashion. 'I think if the Iranian people had freedom they would wear jeans, listen to Western music, and have free elections,' Netanyahu told the BBC's Persian Service in an interview published on October 5. The faux pas set off a wave of ridicule from Iranians who rushed to post photos of themselves wearing jeans on social media, often with snide comments about the quality of the work done by the Israeli spies that are assumed to be blanketing Iran. The #jeans and #jeansiniran hashtags took off on Twitter, with many posts being aggregated on other sites. 'My countrymen wear blue jeans and they listen to Western music and they are amazing and don't you dare patronize us. EVER!' wrote one Twitter user." See previous post about same subject.

Brookings, 8 Oct 2013, Suzanne Maloney: "I might be tempted to join in the merriment at Netanyahu's expense, but I think there is a serious lesson to be learned in this ruckus about the difficulties of conducting public diplomacy in the context of an adversarial relationship — difficulties that are compounded by the absence of direct contact between states such as Iran, Israel and the United States. Crafting effective messages and communicating them to a country with which we have only the most superficial understanding is an inherently risky business."

Latest in the bring-back-USIA-and-put-USIB-back-under-it occasional series.

Posted: 08 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
US News & World Report, 1 Oct 2013, Robert Schadler: "On that date in 1999, President Bill Clinton formally abolished the U.S. Information Agency, spinning off its broadcasting element into an independent agency and merging most of the rest into the Department of State. The effort was the product of a curious bipartisan alliance between conservative Sen. Jesse Helms and liberal Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and its effects were far reaching – shooting U.S. public diplomacy in the back with some six bullets. The first bullet was the dismantling of an organization with talented people knowledgeable and devoted to public diplomacy – i.e., informing key foreign 'publics' about the United States. Personal exchanges, fellowships, magazines, film, radio, TV and later the Internet were all among the means and media used. The second bullet was the placement of some of these functions in the Department of State. State's role is diplomacy – working with officials in foreign governments and multilateral organizations. That is rather different from engaging artists, journalists, religious leaders, politicians, students and professors about either the basics or subtleties of the U.S. and its people. The head of USIA was responsible for personnel, policy and budget matters. All of these key elements are jumbled and diminished in State's aptly-named corner of D.C., which is called Foggy Bottom. Bullet three was placing radio and television broadcasting under a part-time board that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (herself a member of the board at the time) called 'dysfunctional,' with board members fixated on 'audience size' and some even denying that public diplomacy was part of their mission." [Some bullets omitted.]

The subhead of this article is "Public Diplomacy Is Still Being Undermined by Bill Clinton's Budget Cuts." But make no mistake: Senator Jesse Helms was the prime mover of the elimination of USIA.

USIA worked so closely with, and was so subordinate to, the State Department and its embassies that it was a de facto branch of the State Department. Restoring USIA is not the panacea that will restore popularity to the United States. It would merely restore a bureaucracy and several suites full of senior level plum jobs, many of which would just so happen to be populated by the senior fellows of the think tanks who call for the revival of USIA.

As for US international broadcasting, I've written before that, as a VOA broadcaster, I miss USIA about as much as a Lithuanian misses the Soviet Union. Under USIA, VOA was sometimes pushed toward one editorial line, then pushed towards another editorial line. It was sometimes loosely controlled, and sometimes tightly controlled. Many VOA managers were rotated USIA foreign service officers, some who embraced the journalistic mission of VOA, and some who did the opposite.

Under USIA, VOA was not consistently independent. Without independence, an international broadcasting effort cannot achieve credibility. Without credibility, there will be no audience. The audience for international broadcasting is seeking real news, not public diplomacy.

The lack of an audience does not concern Mr. Schadler. He derides the BBG for being "fixated on 'audience size'." Implied here is that the BBG should be fixated on sending a certain message to the world, regardless of how many people are listening. We see many real-life examples of this communication strategy. They are the people walking the streets, some with shopping carts, engaged in animated conversations, but talking only to themselves.

Obituary: Jack Payton, executive editor of voanews.com.

Posted: 07 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 7 Oct 2013: "Jack Payton, executive editor of VOA’s principal English-language web site, www.voanews.com, has died at the age of 69. ... He had served with the web site since 2012 after a 45-year career in print and broadcasting that took him around the world and included many of the biggest stories of his time. He had held a number of senior positions since joining VOA’s news division in 1999. ... Veteran VOA correspondent André DeNesnera became news director of the U.S.-funded broadcast network soon after Payton arrived, and the two became close friends. DeNesnera noted that Payton keenly understood the need for objectivity and balance in all news reports, and was the strongest advocate of the VOA Charter, which requires its staff to sustain those values. DeNesnera said Payton defended VOA journalists and their stories, 'whether or not [they] ruffled feathers anywhere up or down the line.'" See also Tampa Bay Times, 7 Oct 2013.

New documentary on October 1993 crisis helps Voice of Russia "become more multimedia oriented."

Posted: 05 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Digital Journal, 3 Oct 2013, onpassing press release: "Voice of Russia, one of the world's leading broadcast services, today debuted a new documentary, 'October 1993 Crisis,' to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitutional crisis. The 30-minute documentary on the event can be viewed at the Voice of Russia website. The documentary is part of a larger effort of the Voice of Russia to become more multimedia oriented. ... The film focuses on the events after the fall of the Soviet Union when Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin instilled a number of neoliberal reforms that eventually led to hyperinflation and mass privatization. In 1993, Yeltsin attempted to dissolve an uncooperative Supreme Soviet, the Russian parliament, and ordered a referendum on a new constitution. The parliament deemed Yeltsin's presidency 'unconstitutional' and appointed its own acting president. Violence erupted in Moscow on September 28, which escalated through October 4, claiming hundreds of lives." -- There are reports, as yet unconfirmed, that Voice of Russia will drop shortwave on 1 January. Is "more multimedia oriented" code for eliminating shortwave as one of the media of Voice of Russia?

Radio France International Hausa revamps and opens new office in Lagos.

Posted: 05 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Leadership (Abuja), 4 October 2013, Kazeem Akintunde: "In a bid to give a fillip to its services and rival the Hausa Service of the British Broadcast Corporation, BBC, Radio France International (RFI) has repackaged its Hausa Service programming, as well as commissioned a new office in Lagos. The new programming is expected to come on stream on October 7. Executive vice president of RFI, Cecile Megie, told journalists in Lagos on Thursday that two hours has now been set aside for the Hausa programming on the radio station in order to offer better services to its over five million listeners. Megie said that Hausa programming launched in May 2007, has rapidly gained listeners in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun, Ghana, Mali and Benin Republic. ... Megie said that a team of 10 dedicated journalists and three local technicians, as well as 15 Hausa correspondents in Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Sudan and Mali staff had been recruited to drive the new programming contents of the station. She said Lagos was chosen as base for the Hausa Service of the radio station due to the fact that Lagos remains the commercial nerve centre of the nation's economy." -- Presumably the content produced in Lagos will have to reach Nigeria via shortwave or Internet. Nigeria does not allow live relays of foreign stations on its domestic FM radio stations.

DW-TV expands from 20 to 24 hours a day in Spanish.

Posted: 05 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
"Deutsche Welle (DW) has improved its lineups in Latin America and Asia: Starting September 30, DW (Latinoamérica) will broadcast 24 hours of Spanish and DW (Asien) 24 hours of German programming. The changes to these lineups will ensure that audiences in Asia and Latin America will be able to enjoy more DW programming in Spanish and German. Up until now, DW (Latinoamérica) broadcasted 20 hours in Spanish, and DW (Asien) 20 hours of German. 'We are further streamlining our lineups to reflect the growing importance of our target audiences in Asia and Latin America,' said DW’s Director of Global Content Christoph Lanz. The new 24-hour German service in Asia is part of a dual channel strategy for the region. The flagship channel DW is currently available around the clock in English as well. In addition, DW’s English channel is available in North America, Africa and Australia. Viewers in Europe can still tune in to DW (Europe), which broadcasts 18 hours in English and six hours in German. DW (Arabia) offers viewers in the Middle East ten hours in Arabic and 14 hours in English. DW (Amerika) is broadcast throughout the entire content with 20 hours in German and four hours in English."

NHK World now available in Africa on Canal+ Afrique satellite package.

Posted: 05 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 27 Sept 2013: Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Globecast is providing services to NHK WORLD, delivering the channel via satellite to new audiences in Central and Western Africa. NHK WORLD, the international broadcast channel of Japanese national public broadcaster NHK, launched the new service on 30 July as part of Canalsat, a package of more than 130 channels, radio stations, and services operated by Canal+ Afrique on the SES-4 satellite." See the other channels on Canal+ Afrique.

CNN International is among Turner Broadcasting channels on Verizon FiOS TV in the USA.

Posted: 05 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Atlanta Business Chrinicle, 2 Oct 2013, Jacques Couert: "Turner Broadcasting System Inc. inked a distribution deal with Verizon to bring Turner network content to FiOS TV customers through television, PC, tablet and handheld devices. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. More than 5 million Verizon FiOS TV subscribers get on-demand programming, as well as live streaming of all major Atlanta-based Turner networks: CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, truTV, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), CNN International, CNN en Español and Boomerang." -- Actually, CNN International was already on the channel list of the fiber-delivered FiOS TV, at least here in northern Virginia, but only in the more expensive packages. Will CNN International now be available on the more basic packages? This channel could help Americans overcome their international news deficit.

BestMediaInfo, 4 Oct 2013: "CNN International yesterday announced the appointment of Sumnima Udas as the network’s Delhi-based correspondent. Working from the country’s capital, Udas will be responsible for covering key political, economic, social, environmental and general interest stories from India. ' ... With her new appointment as Delhi correspondent we look forward to strengthening our presence in this diverse and dynamic region,' said Ellana Lee, Vice-President and Managing Editor, CNN International Asia Pacific. Udas joined CNN New York in 2001 as a news assistant and moved with the network to Hong Kong in 2006 as a show producer. She has been CNN’s producer in Delhi since 2010. ... She is fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu, Nepali and French and grew up in ten countries including Pakistan, Italy, Switzerland, Jordan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Myanmar."

Emmys for BBC World News and CNN International coverage of Syria.

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 2 Oct 2013: "BBC World News has won a prize for its coverage of the Syria conflict at the news and documentary Emmy awards in New York. The series of reports, entitled Inside Syria's Uprising, saw journalists Ian Pannell and Paul Wood reporting from rebel-held parts of Syria. ... BBC World News beat stiff competition from major US broadcasters to take the accolade for news coverage of the Syria conflict, including CNN, NBC and CBS."

BayouBuzz.com, 2 Oct 2013: "Nick Paton Walsh, a Beirut-based correspondent for CNN International, topped five contenders to take home the award for outstanding writing for his reports out of Syria and Afghanistan."

See also all winners of news and documentary Emmys.

Bibi speaks some Persian in BBC Persian interview.

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Arutz Sheva, 3 Oct 2013, Gil Ronen: "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mixed in a couple of expressions in Farsi, in an interview on BBC Persian Thursday aimed at the Iranian people. Speaking with conviction, Netanyahu said: 'I would welcome a genuine rapprochement, a genuine effort to stop the nuclear program, not a fake one, not harf-e pootch ["nonsense" in Farsi]." 'We are not sadeh-lowe ["suckers" in Farsi],' said the prime minister." See also The Times of Israel, 3 Oct 2013, Raphael Ahren and Ricky Ben-David. And BBC News, 4 Oct 2013.

Fox News, "On the Record," 3 Oct 2013, Greta van Susteren interviewing Israeli prime minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu: "VAN SUSTEREN: So you just spoke to the Iranian BBC, is that correct? NETANYAHU: The Persian language broadcast of the BBC, yes. VAN SUSTEREN: That's unusual. NETANYAHU: First time. VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you do it? NETANYAHU: Because I wanted to say things to the people of Iran. And I said, Look, you were once a great civilization. We once had a great friendship. You know, Cyrus the Great was a great Persian king who enabled the Jewish exiles on the rivers of Babylon to come back to the Holy Land. That's 25 years ago. He said, Go back to the land of Israel, rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. That's a bond. We had a great bond through history until the ayatollahs took over. ... That Persian -- that BBC Persian language interview that I just had, they jam it in Iran! So there's no freedom in Iran. There's no democracy."

Reporters sans frontières condemns harassment of Iranian relatives of VOA Reporter.

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 3 Oct 2013: "Reporters Without Borders condemns Iran’s threats and defamatory attacks on Iranian journalists living in exile, including UK-based freelancer Masih Alinejad and US-based Arash Sigarchi of Voice of America. The intelligence ministry and Revolutionary Guards are using the government-controlled national radio and TV broadcaster to orchestrate these harassement campaigns from Tehran. ... In particular, the intelligence ministry continues to put pressure on the relatives in Iran of exile journalists. Since June, the families of several journalists working for media based abroad – such as Prague-based Radio Farda (a branch of Radio Free Europe) and Washington-based Voice of America – have been summoned and interrogated at length by intelligence ministry officials. Sigarchi’s and his wife’s parents were summoned by intelligence ministry officials in the northern province of Gilan on 10 September and were interrogated for several hours. The officials insisted that they tell Sigarchi to 'stop working for VOA' and threatened to 'summon other members of the family and even arrest them.'"

RFE/RL, 4 Oct 2013: "Journalists with Radio Farda, RFE/RL's Prague-based Persian Language Service, experienced over a dozen incidents of online harassment earlier this year. In addition they, like Sigarchi, were subject to pressure to stop reporting for Radio Farda as a result of intimidation tactics targeting their family members in Iran."

Online anonymity tool Tor is torn among the different goals of different federal agencies, including the BBG.

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 4 Oct 2013, James Ball, Bruce Schneier and Glenn Greenwald: "The National Security Agency has made repeated attempts to develop attacks against people using Tor, a popular tool designed to protect online anonymity, despite the fact the software is primarily funded and promoted by the US government itself. ... Material published online for a discussion event held by the State Department, for example, described the importance of tools such as Tor. '[T]he technologies of internet repression, monitoring and control continue to advance and spread as the tools that oppressive governments use to restrict internet access and to track citizen online activities grow more sophisticated. Sophisticated, secure, and scalable technologies are needed to continue to advance internet freedom.' The Broadcasting Board of Governors, a federal agency whose mission is to 'inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy' through networks such as Voice of America, also supports Tor's development, and uses it to ensure its broadcasts reach people in countries such as Iran and China." -- Readers of the Guardian, thus exposed to the BBG's mission statement, would probably never guess that its entities are involved in the news business.

Freedom House report: "worldwide decline in internet freedom in the past year."

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Freedom House, 3 Oct 2013: "Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove a worldwide decline in internet freedom in the past year, according to a new study released today by Freedom House. Nonetheless, Freedom on the Net 2013 also found that activists are becoming more effective at raising awareness of emerging threats and, in several cases, have helped forestall new repressive measures. ... Overall, 34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report experienced a decline in internet freedom. Notably, Vietnam and Ethiopia continued on a worsening cycle of repression; Venezuela stepped up censorship during presidential elections; and three democracies—India, the United States, and Brazil—saw troubling declines. Iceland and Estonia topped the list of countries with the greatest degree of internet freedom. While the overall score for the United States declined by 5 points on a 100-point scale, in large part due to the recently revealed surveillance activities, it still earned a spot among the top five countries examined. China, Cuba, and Iran were found to be the most repressive countries in terms of internet freedom for the second consecutive year." With link to the full report.

In Iran, a softer line on web censorship?

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 2 Oct 2013, Saeed Kamali Dehghan: "Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, has reassured Twitter's co-founder, Jack Dorsey, that he will work to make sure Iranians have access to information globally in what appears to be a reference to reducing online censorship. ... Rouhani, who has maintained an active social presence since campaigning for office, has taken a softer line on web censorship, describing social networking sites such as Facebook as a welcome phenomenon. ... Rouhani does not have full authority to rescind filtering alone as such decisions rests in the hands of the country's internet big brother, the supreme council on cyberspace, which was set up last year at the request of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to police the activities of Iranians online. Rouhani chairs the council but does not have the final say as it also includes members of other institutions including parliament and the elite Revolutionary Guards. However, since Rouhani was sworn in to office in August, Iranians have reported an improvement in the speed of internet and a relative relaxation of restrictions."

BBC News, 1 Oct 2013: "The Iranian authorities have not yet reconciled themselves with the concept of an unfiltered internet. They use the technology to counter and contain whatever they do not like about it: filtering, painfully slow connections and an ambitious but so far incomplete intranet project. The latter, designed to cut Iran off from the World Wide Web and replace it with a 'national information network', represents the worst nightmare of Iranian web users. ... For now, anti-filters, known as VPNs, are the best friend of Iranian web users. Even though social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not legally banned, VPNs are. The only problem with VPNs, as far as Iran's web users are concerned, is that there are not enough of them."

Chinese crackdown on mobile news apps that allow access to foreign news outlets, eg NY Times.

Posted: 04 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 30 Sept 2013: "China on Monday launched a crackdown on several mobile news applications that provide news information services without approval from government regulators, threatening to shut down those who refuse to 'rectify'. The ruling follows a government campaign to curb 'online rumours', as the government tries to rein in social media. ... Some mobile news applications also provide a channel for subscribers in China to read articles published by foreign media outlets whose articles have been blocked in China, such as the New York Times. Mobile news applications identified include Zaker, which said it had more than 17.5 million users at the end of April, and Chouti whose slogan is: 'Publish all that should not be published.'"

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 1 Oct 2013: "Trying to jump the Great Firewall of China? There’s an app for that. At least there was, until Apple took it down. Apple removed OpenDoor, a censorship circumvention tool, from its app store last month with no explanation or notification. To one Chinese Internet expert, it signals that Apple has taken their willingness to self-censor to a 'whole new level'. ... OpenDoor is a browser app that reroutes its user’s traffic through its own servers to circumvent any blocks imposed by the user’s Internet Service Provider or the Great Firewall (GFW). Judging by its Facebook page, the tool is popular wherever the Internet is restricted: users from Iran to Pakistan sing its praises. A large chunk of its users are Chinese. OpenDoor’s lead developer, who wishes to remain anonymous, states that the tool has been downloaded about 800,000 times, and that approximately a third of the downloads stem from China." See also BBC News, 3 Oct 2013.

The Atlantic, 2 Oct 2013, Kentaro Toyama: "China’s censorship infrastructure is incredibly efficient: Objectionable posts are removed with a near-perfect elimination rate and typically within 24 hours of their posting."

Alhurra's big scoop: Exclusive video of car chase near US Capitol.

Posted: 03 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Epoch Times, 3 Oct 2013, Zachary Stieber: "Alhurra TV got the first footage of the car chase and gunshots fired in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, in an area with numerous media outlets. The station is funded by the U.S. government through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency, according to its website. Its mission is 'to provide objective, accurate, and relevant news and information to the people of the Middle East about the region, the world, and the United States.' Although photos of the situation in Washington D.C.–where a woman was chased by officers, who later shot her–were published quickly online both through wire agencies and people on the scene, no videos popped up until Alhurra captured both a part of the chase and the end of the chase."

USA Today, 3 Oct 2013, Roger Yu: "Alhurra TV, an obscure U.S. government-funded news organization that broadcasts to the people of the Middle East, took an unexpected turn on the domestic stage Thursday when it captured on video a dramatic car chase near the White House. Few in the U.S. have heard of the news outlet, since its Arabic-language programming is available here only on its website, Alhurra.com."

ABC News, 3 Oct 2013, Alana Abramson: "All the major U.S. networks were in the nation’s capital when it went on lockdown today after a suspect attempt to ram barriers at the White House with a car, but only one little-known station managed to get video of the suspect’s car chase just moments before it was all over — Alhurra TV, a U.S. government-funded Middle Eastern news station."

See the video at YouTube, 3 Oct 2013, Alhurra channel.

"Domestic news, foreign owners." CCTV and Al Jazeera in the USA.

Posted: 03 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Tampa Bay Times, 27 Sept 2013, Alex Leary: "CCTV, short for China Central Television, began airing English-language programs in February 2012 and has about 100 staff members occupying three floors of a glassy building in downtown Washington. It has an operation in Nairobi, Kenya, and next year will open a studio in London. Al Jazeera America launched last month after spending a breathtaking amount to get off the ground. It has hired 800 people, 50 based in Washington, and has 12 bureaus across the country, including Nashville, Detroit and Miami. The goal of the Chinese and Qataris is to build prestige and grow the influence and viewpoints of two parts of the world that are increasingly intertwined with U.S. interests. ... CCTV and Al Jazeera are trying to win over viewers by emphasizing objective, in-depth reporting and eschewing the partisan shoutfests that have come to define cable news. ... The enterprises are pursuing different paths — CCTV reflecting an international outlook, a la the BBC, and Al Jazeera focusing on domestic issues with a goal of competing with CNN — but share obstacles in expanding viewership."

Mid-2014 start date for Bahrain-based pan-Arab news channel Al-Arab.

Posted: 03 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Bahrain News Agency, 1 Oct 2013: "The Bahrain-based Al-Arab Satellite News Channel will be launched in mid-2014, it was announced. 'We have delayed the launch date more than once out of keenness on making a strong start from day one', Al-Arab Satellite News Channel editor-in-chief and director-general Jamal Khashoggi said. He commended the Government of Bahrain, the Minister of State for Information Affairs and other ministry officials for their understanding. In a statement to Bahrain News Agency (BNA) on the sidelines of the 1st GCC Media Forum, he denied the existence of obstacles hampering the project. He pointed out that the priority in employment would be given to Saudis and Bahrainis [f]or reasons relating to geographical proximity. He said that that 281 positions are still vacant, adding that the door of recruitment in the channel are open. Bahrain will host the main headquarters while the second office will be located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Al-Arab Satellite News Channel will also launch around twenty media offices all over the world. The Al-Arab Satellite News Channel was initially scheduled to be launched on December 12, 2012, then mid - 2013." -- Al-Arab would compete with Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and the more recent Sky News Arabia.

RT (Russia Today) joins other international channels on "Slovakia’s leading cable network."

Posted: 03 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 2 Oct 2013, Chris Dziadul: "Russia Today has secured carriage on Slovakia’s leading cable network. It is now being offered to subscribers in a new UPC Digital package simply called News that also includes CNN, BBC, CNBC, Euronews, Deutsche Welle, France 24, TV5 and TV8 and is being made available for a discounted price of €1.90 a month."

BBC world services to launch "Unreliable Source." Oh, sorry, "Outside Source."

Posted: 03 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC press release, 1 Oct 2013: "The BBC has today announced development of a brand new news programme, Outside Source, hosted by Ros Atkins, to be broadcast across its international platforms - BBC World Service Radio, BBC World News TV and BBC.com. This innovative new show will link the BBC’s global network of journalists with a worldwide audience using the latest in broadcast technology. Broadcasting live from the BBC’s new state-of-the-art newsroom in the redeveloped Broadcasting House, London, the programme is launching initially on World Service Radio. It is then planned to develop the format to provide audiences with a fully integrated web, radio and TV experience. Outside Source aims to open up the news process, enabling people to discover the latest on the stories that matter to them. An hour-long World Service Radio show is the first element of the pan-Global News format to be brought to air. Outside Source will be broadcast weekdays between 11am and 12pm GMT. The programme will then be developed to include an online element, encouraging audiences to share their knowledge and experience of that day’s stories, no matter where they are in the world, via social media. The online roll-out will be followed by the TV offering, due early in 2014 – a half-hour programme on BBC World News, the BBC’s international 24-hour television news channel – broadcast in the early evening GMT. Using the latest technology means, Ros won’t be tied to a studio for the live broadcasts. He’ll be moving around Broadcasting House so listeners are getting the latest information on stories from our reporters, whether they are in one of the 27 language services or part of the BBC’s team of correspondents. Plus there will be ample opportunity for the audience to comment and add insight about stories happening where they are. Sharing the ethos behind Outside Source, Editor Mark Sandell comments: 'Outside Source is an exercise in open journalism. It aims to open up the news process and involve the audience in understanding the news. It will be technologically advanced and ambitious but also transparent and accessible. We want it to be "in the moment" as we and the audience are discovering the news.'"

In the past few years, BBC World Service has introduced guests in the studio during news programs, and happy talk among the presenters, sometimes in incomprehensible accents. All when I know there is news going on around the world that, for some reason, is not being reported. Now there will be "ample opportunity for the audience to comment." This has the potential to be truly dreadful.

I would like BBC World Service to do what it used to do: report the news from around the world. In the 1970s, BBC World Service had half-hour news programs, perhaps a bit stodgy, but always packed full of the important news from around the world. These news programs did not waste my time. Packing broadcast journalism with audience comments and the latest widgets does waste my time.

By the way, "11am" GMT is either 6 or 7 am in the eastern USA, depending on whether it's daylight or regular time. Public radio stations in the United States are not likely to cede time to BBC during those prime morning hours. Americans would have to listen online, although shortwave might be easier.

Top job in French international broadcasting depoliticized, un peu.

Posted: 03 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 2 Oct 2013: "The French Senate has adopted legislation to secure the independence of the country’s public broadcast organisations, giving media regulator the CSA the right to nominate the chiefs of public TV and radio. The law had already been approved by the National Assembly, the lower house, in July. The change means that the presidents of France Télévisions, Radio France and France Médias Monde will be appointed by a slimmed down CSA of seven rather than nine members. Under the previous law, the posts were decided by the council of ministers in consultation with the CSA and the culture committees of both houses." -- The components of France Médias Monde, the former Audiovisuel extérieur de la France (AEF), are France 24 and Radio France International, including the Arabic-language Monte Carlo Doualiya.

MTV Russia will relaunch as a Viacom-owned channel.

Posted: 02 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 2 Oct 2013: "Viacom International Media Networks announced it would be launching fully-owned MTV Russia earlier this year and it has now rolled out in the territory in the basic tier packages of Rostelecom, NTV Plus and Megafon reaching 2.3 million homes at launch. It is programmed with MTV’s global programming hits dubbed into Russian including Catfish, Awkward, Jersey Shore and Pimp My Ride. MTV said live music and music videos will make up a third of the schedule. MTV was previously run under license in the country but VIMN ended its relationship with ProfMedia late last year and the deal expired this May meaning MTV Russia was off air. The Russian company had held the local license since 2007. VIMN now operates 11 channels in Russia with Nickelodeon a notably strong performer and the number one pay TV channel in the country."

Should be easy for Doctor Who: 50th anniversary simulcast to at least 75 countries.

Posted: 02 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC Worldwide press release, 1 Oct 2013: "BBC Worldwide today announces that the special 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who, the world’s longest running and most successful sci-fi series will, for the first time ever, be broadcast simultaneously to millions of viewers worldwide in a global simulcast on 23rd November 2013. From Canada to Colombia, Brazil to Botswana and Myanmar to Mexico, fans in at least 75 countries spanning six continents will be able to enjoy the episode in 2D and 3D at the same time as the UK broadcast, with more countries expected to be confirmed within the next month. The US, Australia and Canada have also signed up for the simulcast which will be shown in numerous countries across Europe, Latin America and Africa. In addition to Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, the one-off special, entitled The Day of the Doctor stars former Time Lord David Tennant as well as Billie Piper, and John Hurt. On top of the worldwide TV broadcast, hundreds of cinemas in the UK and across the world also plan to screen the hotly anticipated special episode simultaneously in full 3D, giving fans the opportunity to make an event of the occasion and be part of a truly global celebration for the iconic British drama series."

Peter Limbourg is the new director general of Deutsche Welle

Posted: 02 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 1 Oct 2013: "On October 1, Peter Limbourg (53) will take office as director general of Deutsche Welle (DW). He was elected as Erik Bettermann's successor in this function by the Broadcasting Board in March 2013. ... On Wednesday, October 2, Limbourg will officially take on his new position at two staff meetings - at DW's headquarters in Bonn he will be introduced by the Chairman of the Administrative Board Peter Clever, and in Berlin by the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board Valentin Schmidt. Peter Limbourg said: 'It is a great challenge and a fascinating task to be at the helm of Germany’s international broadcaster. Deutsche Welle is a media organization that enjoys an excellent reputation with its audiences worldwide. In a world, where a large number of international broadcasters are now promoting a variety of views, it is all the more important for us to persistently stand for our shared values. We will continue to ensure the credibility that DW’s staff, with great commitment, has established over the last 60 years by providing quality journalism. We will also consistently enhance DW's multimedia profile.' Limbourg announced that by spring 2014 - after conducting extensive talks with DW's staff, the Broadcasting Board, the Administrative Board as well as political and social groups - he will set out a new strategic plan for Deutsche Welle for the period from 2014 to 2017."

Deutsche Welle press release, 29 Sept 2013: "Starting on October 1, Rainer Sollich will be the new head of Deutsche Welle’s Arabic online and television programming. Already responsible for the Arabic online content produced in Bonn, Sollich will now also direct DW's Arabic television production in Berlin. Mustafa Isaid, former head of DW’s Arabic TV programming, is moving on to take up the position of editor in chief at Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi. Sollich, 46 years old, led the merger of the radio and online sections of the Arabic service after 2007. His journalistic expertise covers the Middle East and North Africa, as well as issues concerning Muslims in Germany and Europe and the Euro-Islamic dialogue. He has worked as a journalist in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Israel and the autonomous Palestinian territories."

VOA Radiogram transmits images of $60m diamond and of Willis Conover, then shuts down during the shutdown.

Posted: 02 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
On the weekend of 5-6 October 2013, VOA Radiogram transmitted an image of a $60 million diamond in the MFSK64 mode, and a gray-scale image of the late VOA jazz broadcaster Willis Conover in MFSK128. These higher-symbol-rate modes allow greater resolution, but may also be more susceptible to the degradations of shortwave reception. The pictured diamond photo was received in Germany on 17860 kHz, and the Conover picture was received in Italy on 15670 kHz. All VOA Radiogram programs are transmitted via the Edward R. Murrow shortwave transmitting station in North Carolina. For more screenshots of images decoded by listeners in various parts of the world, see voaradiogram.net. Production of new VOA Radiogram programs is suspended during the US government shutdown.

USIB entities continue to broadcast news during shutdown.

Posted: 02 Oct 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 1 Oct 2013: "Many parts of the Broadcasting Board of Governors have had to shut down due to a lapse in appropriations for the U.S. federal government, but BBG-supported media are still bringing news and information programs to audiences around the world. U.S. international media activities under the BBG that are deemed 'foreign relations essential to national security,' such as news programming and distribution, are excepted from the shutdown and will continue. Information follows on ongoing operations as well as cancellations. The networks under the BBG will continue to produce and distribute news and information in 61 languages to audiences in more than 100 countries. This programming from both the federal and non-federal networks will carry on with support from a reduced staff of the International Broadcasting Bureau. Voice of America (VOA) and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí), along with the grantee broadcasting networks — Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa) — will continue programming during the appropriations lapse. The BBG networks will cover breaking news and high-priority live programming. The current broadcasting distribution schedule will remain in place, while the numbers of support personnel are reduced. Internet and new media operations will continue as necessary for overseas audiences."

Politico, 2 Oct 2013, Hadas Gold: "In a statement to Foreign Policy, BBG spokesperson Lynne Weil pushed back on critics who say the media activities are not more essential than other offices experiencing furloughs. 'The fact that the Office of Management and Budget signed off on this indicates how high a priority our broadcasting activities are,' Weil said. 'They're deemed foreign relations essential to national security according to a legal determination. The mission of the agency is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.'"

Poynter, 1 Oct 2013, Andrew Beaujon: "Reached by phone, Voice of America Director of Public Relations Kyle King said, 'VOA has enough staff on hand to continue with all our programming.' (King said he had been furloughed and planned to be in for only four hours Tuesday.) ... The BBG’s operations plan for the shutdown estimates that essential personnel 'represent approximately 59.8% of the BBG workforce or an estimated 964 staff.'"

VOA News, 1 Oct 2013: "The shutdown will not affect Voice of America broadcasts, but it has closed national parks and other services such as federal tax offices, help for veterans, and food aid for the poor."

@VOAStevenson, 1 Oct 2013: "VOA is still open for business, thank you. Tune into Daybreak Asia at 22, 23 and 01 hours UTC!" ow.ly/poMRn #notshutdown

Inside VOA: "The Voice of America Public Relations office is closed due to the partial government shutdown."

Miami New Times, 1 Oct 2013, Kyle Munzenrieder: "[C]ontroversial and ineffective government-sponsored broadcasts to Cuba through Radio and TV Martí will continue with little change. In fact, the stations are ironically producing stories about the government shutdown. Meaning, the federal government is paying to report on the fact that it can't pay for things right now."