Sweden's shortwave transmitters purchased by Radio Netherlands for use at the Madagascar relay station.

Posted: 30 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 29 Apr 2011, Andy Sennitt: "RNW management has confirmed the purchase of the three 500-kW shortwave transmitters from the recently-closed shortwave site at Hörby in Sweden. The transmitters are currently being dismantled for shipment to RNW’s station in Madagascar. Recently, RNW management announced that it intended to speed up the process of replacing shortwave with other distribution platforms, including the closure of its relay stations in Bonaire and Madagascar. The Bonaire facility is scheduled for closure at the end of October 2012, but no closure date has yet been decided for Madagascar. However, late last year RNW decided it was time to replace the nearly 40-year-old Philips transmitters at Madagascar. Rather than invest in new transmitters, the opportunity was taken to purchase the three ABB transmitters from the Swedish station at Hörby which was closed at the end of last year. These were installed in 1993. There are two reasons for buying these transmitters: Firstly, in order to guarantee the reliability of existing services from Madagascar it is necessary to replace the current 40-year-old transmitters as soon as possible, and secondly the 'new' ABB transmitters are much more energy efficient, so that the relatively small investment will be recouped in a short time." See also comment, with link. -- Radio Sweden ended its shortwave broadcasts on 30 October 2010. See previous post.

Satellite photos of a North Korean shortwave transmission site.

Posted: 30 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
North Korea Tech, 29 Apr 2011, Martyn Williams: "If you’ve ever listened to The Voice of Korea on shortwave, you’ve probably heard broadcasts from this transmitter site. Kujang is one of the largest transmitter locations in the DPRK with, according to official records, 5 shortwave transmitters each capable of delivering a 200kW signal. That’s powerful enough to reach most corners of the world, given a clear frequency and good conditions. ... Shortwave remains an important means of radio transmission for the DPRK. It’s used both domestically to relay state-run Korea Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) and for international services of The Voice of Korea." With Google Earth photos.

One of the Americans killed at Kabul airport was a radio amateur and friend of VOA's Steve Herman, W7VOA.

Posted: 30 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
eHam.net, 28 Apr 2011, Bill Pasternak: "James McLaughlin, WA2EWE who also held the call T6AF, was one of the nine Americans that lost their lives in a shooting at Kabul airport on Wednesday, April 27th. According to Voice of America reporter and fellow amateur Steve Herman, W7VOA/T6AD, all were killed when an Afghan military pilot opened fire in an operations room of the Afghan Air Corps. Reporting from Seoul, Korea, where he is chief of the Voice of America bureau, Herman said McLaughlin, who was also his friend as well as being a career U.S. military officer working as a contractor training Afghan pilots. According to Steve Herman, he first met Jim McLaughlin in August, 2009, when they were the only two radio amateurs operating from Kabul. Herman said that McLaughlin had put together a fine radio shack in his quarters. He said that it was obvious from spending time with McLaughlin that ham radio was an important morale booster and pastime. As such, T6AF usually spent a couple of hours a day on the air." See also Twitter, 26 Apr 2011, Steve Herman.

Gabon's Africa No. 1 loses its satellite relays, possibly due to interrupted Libyan funding (updated).

Posted: 30 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Pana, 29 Apr 2011: "The Pan African Radio, Africa No. 1, has lost its signal and is no longer being received in Gabon and elsewhere in Africa since Wednesday, PANA learnt from the radio's management in Libreville. According to the daily 'L'Union', the satellite operator Eutelsat might have stopped its services to the station over an estimated 200 million CFA francs in arrears of payment. The station has been experiencing serious financial problems since 2001, especially after Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Japanese Radio NHK stop shortwave broadcasting. The arrival of Libyan partners had restored hope among the workers, who are now threatened by the ongoing political crisis in Libya. The crisis, marked by the freezing of Libyan assets and the Western military intervention in the north African country, has impacted negatively on the station, which has a total debt of 1.2 billion CFA francs, according to the Management. ... Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting became the majority shareholder in Africa No. 1 with 52 per cent of the capital, the Gabonese government owns 35 per cent and the Gabonese private sector 13 per cent. The station started broadcasting in 1981."

Update:: Africa No. 1 began in 1981 as a French-language pan-African commercial shortwave station featuring popular music. Eventually it developed a network of FM stations in francophone African countries (and in Paris), and those attracted most of its audience. The shortwave operation came to be used more to lease time to Western stations seeking to reach African audiences. In recent years, the shortwave operation has become marginal, transmitting only on 9580 kHz, according to occasional listener reports. It is uncertain whether the satellite interruption affects the FM network, or the shortwave operation, or both. There are still tentative reports of Africa No. 1 on 9580. See Radio Netherlands Media Network, 29 Apr 2011, including comment by Glenn Hauser.

Congressional delegation, en route to Afghanistan, visits RFE/RL in Prague, gets tour.

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 28 Apr 2011: "A bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation en route to Afghanistan visited RFE's Prague headquarters today to meet with the journalists of Radio Azadi -- the most popular radio station in Afghanistan. Led by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Reps. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) also toured RFE's broadcast facilities and discussed RFE's mission and goals with RFE leadership. In an exclusive interview with RFE, Shuster and Murphy discussed U.S. goals and strategy in Afghanistan, as well as a broad range of foreign policy issues to include Pakistan and Azerbaijan. ... On Azerbaijan: Shuster: 'We see what is happening in the Middle East now and the American people want to have friends and allies that have democratic institutions, whose government is transparent. They believe in humanitarian rights. So those are issues that we will bring up with the president but also just to let him know that America appreciates staunch allies like the Azeris.'"

RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service Fast Facts: "In an environment of total government control over national television and radio channels, Radio Azadliq has a firm reputation as the only source of unbiased information and the most professional media outlet in Azerbaijan. ... In 2007, Radio Azadliq began broadcasting on FM 101.7 to Baku. As of December 2008, Radio Azadliq, along with the BBC and Voice of America, has been banned from broadcasting on local FM and MW frequencies."

The brief life of America.gov, overtaken by the State Department's "social media projects."

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Hill, 24 Apr 2011, Alicia M. Cohn: "With little fanfare, the State Department has abandoned America.gov — an ambitious digital project launched three years ago to promote Democracy abroad — and shifted its resources to social media projects. ... The manpower once devoted to the site, provided through the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), is being redirected toward the department’s 'social media assets,' which use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. IIP Deputy Assistant Secretary Duncan MacInnes called it a shift to a 'more proactive' Web engagement strategy. Although MacInnes said the department’s official site of record, State.gov, would still serve as a resource, a 'static website' like America.gov is no longer the best way to promote understanding of policy."

Public Diplomacy Council, 27 Apr 2011, Brian Carlson: "One has to wonder how all those embassy websites around the globe will get translations of official documents, Presidential statements and the annual human rights report if America.gov is no longer grinding them out in (at least) the principal world languages? Moreover, the America.gov website was constantly updated and encyclopedic. ... Whatever the subject, America.gov did a pretty decent job of keeping up with and offering the relevant policy documents and explanations. But, websites are so twentieth century! ... Somewhere, I think, there is room for a discussion of what websites are good for in the age of social media. How should a public diplomacy officer think about a website? ... Good websites require a daily investment of time, creativity and thought that is beyond the capabilities of even many large organizations. But is there a place for a repository of information, a source of documents, a library-like service to the public diplomacy audience? ... [I]f no one noticed the disappearance of America.gov for almost a month, maybe it was not worth keeping?" See previous post about same subject.

Social Times, 26 Apr 2011, Katie Kindelan: "What should America’s agency of diplomacy do to maximize its use of social media? How do you interact with the government online?"

TG Daily, 26 Apr 2011, Lydia Leavett: "As more and more companies adopt social media strategies, it's becoming clear that social media can be used to reach and engage with people never before possible. It’s like taking the power of the Internet and combining it with the intimacy of word of mouth suggestion of a particular thing."

State Department, 27 Apr 2011, remarks by Daniel Benjamin, coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, to the New America Foundation Conference: "To counter AQ [al-Qa’ida] propaganda, we have helped stand up within the State Department, an interagency body called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication (CSCC), under the Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, to push back against AQ’s online and media activities. One emphasis of the CSCC’s work has been re-orienting the Digital Outreach Team to place greater emphasis on challenging the purveyors of extremist messages online, in Arabic and Urdu. This has included producing some original video content that some of you may be familiar with."

For royal wedding coverage, BBC has less "fairytale narrative" and "cheesy-looking" graphics than US networks.

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Time, Tuned In blog, 29 Apr 2011, James Poniewozik: "It's possible to appreciate the romance, beauty and simple emotion of the day and still keep the troubled history of the monarchy in mind, but it felt as if the Americans didn't want to overstep their bounds as guests. This was especially true on the broadcast morning shows, which were stuck on a 'smile and keep saying "fairy tale"' loop. ... On the other hand, the BBC coverage—which caught the pageantry but still treated the wedding as a news event—was not as carried away by the 'fairytale' narrative. (It also included many more enjoyable man-in-the-street interviews with jolly onlookers in Union Jack afros.) It was also much lighter on the over-the-top, garish graphics; American TV, apparently, uniformly decided that what signifies "royal" in screen graphics is using more cheesy-looking gold than a strip-mall jewelry store. ... There was one news network here that was not carrying virtually nonstop wedding coverage, that you could turn to for reports on the devastation in America: al-Jazeera English (which most Americans, like me, would have to go online to see)."

The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Apr 2011, Mimi Turner: "The BBC feed alone was broadcast to 180 countries, in what is thought to be the biggest television event in broadcast history."

"It is [leaflet] flying season now" along the inter-Korean border.

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 26 Apr 2011, Mark McDonald: "Imjingak, the site of a ferocious battle during the Korean War, has become a favored launching site for some of the South Korean activists who send propaganda balloons northward. The balloon campaign has so angered North Korea that its military has threatened — as recently as last Friday — to 'mercilessly' shell Imjingak and other border towns if the launchings continue. North Korean artillery units are dug in a few kilometers away, just across the world’s most heavily militarized border. It is flying season now, with robust winds blowing through the Korean Peninsula, and the activists are eager to get their balloons and leaflets in the air. Some of the balloonists are political agitators, others are Christian proselytizers, most are North Korean defectors. If the wind is at their backs, they say, millions of leaflets will be sent aloft in the coming weeks. ... [The] balloonists do have their domestic political opponents, principally the organizations that seek a return to South Korea’s so-called sunshine policy, which favors a conciliatory approach to the North."

Yonhap, 22 Apr 2011: "On [22 April], the [North Korea's] military warned in a message to its South Korean counterpart that leafleting 'is a form of psychological warfare and just a clear-cut war provocation to a warring side.' 'Direct fire at the area where leaflets are let fly will be a legitimate punishment' against the violator of an armistice agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, the North's military said in the message carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency. ... But as the orth's news agency issued the warning, South Korean activists floated some 300,000 leaflets near the eastern land border with North Korea."

See also Wired Danger Room, 29 Apr 2011, Adam Rawnsley. And CNN, 29 Apr 2011.

BBC Worldwide will become a "more internationally facing business."

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 28 Apr 2011, John Plunkett: "The BBC Trust has approved a new strategy for BBC Worldwide that will see it focus its attention more firmly overseas. ... BBC Worldwide will become a 'more internationally facing business' and has declared an end to mergers and acquisitions – such as its controversial Lonely Planet deal – outside of exceptional circumstances. It will also divest stakes in non-BBC-branded international channels 'where it makes commercial sense' and exit any activity that is not in keeping with the BBC brand. ... A BBC Worldwide spokesperson said: 'Our strategy for continued growth will bring an even stronger focus on international markets and taking high-quality British content to the world.'" See also BBC Trust, 28 Apr 2011.

"Groundbreaking" in that it is the largest landlocked country in which CNN International is distributed.

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting, April 2011: "Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific has launched a suite of its top channels in Mongolia, after a groundbreaking agreement with the country’s first IPTV operator, Univision. The multi-year deal will see a mixed genre package of Turner’s premium channels, CNN International, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and truTV, offered as part of Univision’s triple-play service to its network covering Ulaanbaatar and other major cities, using high-speed fibre-optic technology."

BBC America won't broadcast US version of "Come Dine on British Food With Me."

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Television Business International, 27 Apr 2011: "BBC America has scrapped plans for a US version of Come Dine with Me, TBIvision has learned. ... BBC America, which has already aired the original UK version of Come Dine with Me, issued a statement to TBIvision confirming the US version will not now be made."

Multichannel News, 26 Apr 2011, Lindsay Rubino: "BBC America will co-produce the supernatural drama series The Fades."

BBC1, ITV, Channel 4: "Why We're Not Buying U.S. TV Series Anymore."

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr 2011, Mimi Turner: "BBC1 is calling time on U.S. series acquisitions. Incoming channel head Danny Cohen said Wednesday that high prices and new scope for transatlantic co-productions meant that buying big Hollywood series was off his agenda. ... Cohen, who said he would not be going to the L.A. screenings, said that bidding against pay-tv giant BSkyB's financial muscle often meant that rivals could not compete. ... His comments come as a reduced commitment to U.S. fare from other U.K. broadcasters like ITV and Channel 4 means that terrestrial primetime is virtually a no-go area for glossy American shows like House and Lost -- which built their following on network TV before being snapped up by digital channels."

"Wavescan" is still having fun with shortwave, while AWR plans new shortwave antennas on Guam.

Posted: 28 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 25 Apr 2011: "In today’s rapidly changing media environment, Adrian Peterson and his Wavescan program stand out. Airing on the Adventist World Radio operation, hosted by Jeff White and produced by WRMI in Miami, the show is a throwback to a much earlier time when teasing a voice out of the ether was a cause for celebration. The program focuses on radio things shortwave, international station comings and goings, along with bits of information on countries around the world and their local radio stations. Where else can you hear the national anthem of Yemen or learn of its shortwave past when it was called Aden? To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Adventist World Radio, Peterson and company are holding a 'Choose a Channel DX Contest.' Basically, the idea is for Wavescan listeners to collect QSL cards and other reception reports. The limitation is that participants are required to choose a specific shortwave frequency to monitor and seek the cards or reports from whatever programs air on that particular frequency." Audio on this page.

Adventist World Radio press release, 12 Apr 2011: "The Board of Directors of Adventist World Radio has approved, in concept, the expansion of AWR’s shortwave broadcasting facility on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. This project will result in much better coverage of China, a critical mission area for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. ... 'Over the years, our Mandarin broadcasts have generated incredible response from listeners in China,' says AWR president Dowell Chow. 'But these listeners are primarily located in the south part of the country, where our signal is much more consistent and clear. So our goal is to provide the same quality of broadcasts to the millions of people in the northern areas. At the same time, we are continuing to develop programs in additional languages. We are excited to have recently found producers in Tibet and Bhutan. But once their programs are ready for broadcast, we will need to be ready to add them to our airtime schedule.' ... 'In spite of the growth in Internet usage,' he explains, 'shortwave is still the primary method of receiving information for literally hundreds of millions of people.' ... AWR hopes that the installation of the new tower and antenna can be completed by the end of 2012, which is the Guam station’s 25th anniversary year."

Al Jazeera reports its cameraman was held at Guantánamo "partly in order to be interrogated about the news network."

Posted: 28 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 25 Apr 2011: "Sami al-Hajj was working as an Al Jazeera cameraman when he was arrested in late 2001 and sent to Guantanamo Bay. One file in the newly released trove of leaked US military documents shows that al-Hajj, held at Guantanamo for six years, was detained partly in order to be interrogated about the news network. He spoke to Al Jazeera's Nick Clark about the documents." With video.

GOPUSA, 26 Apr 2011, Cliff Kincaid: "The New York Times did not spin the documents in the same way as Al-Jazeera. It reported, “The documents show that a major reason a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera, Sami al-Hajj, was held at Guantánamo for six years was for questioning about the television network’s ‘training program, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Afghanistan,’ including contacts with terrorist groups.

Report: Guantánamo detainees had phone number at BBC, "possible propaganda media network."

Posted: 28 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 25 Apr 2011, Christopher Hope: "The BBC is accused of being part of a 'possible propaganda media network' for Al Qaeda, according to the leaked US files on the Guantanamo detainees. The files, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph, disclose that a phone number of someone at the BBC was found in the phone books and phones of a number of extremists seized by US forces. ... The possible link between extremism and staff at the BBC will anger the national broadcaster, which prides itself on its impartiality. ... A BBC spokesperson said: 'Independence and impartiality are at the heart of all BBC World Service output. The service has interviewed representatives of organisations from all sides involved in the Afghan conflict so it would not be surprising that a number believed to relate to the BBC Pashto service was in circulation.'"

BBC, The Editors blog, 26 Apr 2011, Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News: "Because of the BBC's prominent and trusted role in Afghanistan, due to the reliability and impartiality of our journalism, all sides in the conflict regularly contact the BBC to pass on information and give their side of the story. Of course we test all such information rigorously, especially that from extreme organisations."

Pay TV platform in Kenya offers international channels.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 27 Apr 2011: "Kenya’s Wananchi Group has intensified its planned venture into pay TV under its brand Zuku TV. ... Zuku TV is delivered through two major platforms namely Wananchi Cable, which provides Zuku’s cutting edge Triple Play (cable TV, broadband and voice) offering and Wananchi Satellite which will provide Zuku’s pay TV offering. ... The programming group has also put together an impressive lineup of channels that cater to both the Hindi and English speaking communities, and includes well-known brands like Al Jazeera, BBC World, Fox Entertainment, Star, MTV Base, Colors, NDTV, Nickolodeon and many others."

Ethiopian and Kurdish opposition TV channels complain about satellite jamming.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 27 Apr 2011, Andy Sennitt: "Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), which calls itself the 'voice of the voiceless Ethiopian', has published the text of an open letter to the US State Department in which it urges the US government 'to use its leverages to stop [Ethiopian president] Meles Zenawi from illegally jamming radio and TV broadcasts that have been independently and objectively reporting the truth and amplifying the reality in Ethiopia.' The letter says that 'ESAT is not the only media outlet that has been affected by the jamming efforts of the Meles regime. The Voice of America, which the regime has accused of instigating genocide in Ethiopia, Deutsche Welle Amharic services and other radio and TV transmissions are being jammed with technical and other forms of assistance provided by the Chinese government.'" With link to text of the letter.

Radio Netherlands Media Ntwork, 27 Apr 2011, citing Awene website, Sulaymaniyah, via BBC Monitoring: "An official of Iraqi Kurdish opposition Change Movement’s Kurdish News Network (KNN) satellite TV has said that their channel continues to be jammed, website of privately-owned Awene weekly reported on 26 April. The managing director of KNN, Hoshyar Abdallah, told Awene: 'Jamming of our channel continues today [26 April]. Investigations show that the KNN channel is being jammed from inside the Kurdistan Region.'"

Internet television channel for Sierra Leoneans includes VOA news on the hour.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Patriotic Vanguard, 27 Apr 2011: "SaloneNetwork.com, a worldwide community network for Sierra Leoneans and friends, is pleased to announce the launch of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) to commemorate Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence. IPTV is a dedicated television channel showcasing Sierra Leone music and Artists 24 hours per day, 7 days per week with hourly news updates from Voice of America (VOA)." -- Probably not true IPTV, which requires a dedicated network, but web-delivered television.

The role of international radio in Nigeria.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Charleston (WV) Gazette, 26 Apr 2011, Paul J. Nyden: "A former newspaper publisher in Nigeria said Tuesday in Charleston that many of the country's residents get their news from foreign sources and radio broadcasts. ... Government censorship is a major problem, he said. Radio stations, primarily those based in other countries, have become the major source of news for most Nigerians -- especially those without much money. Radio news is routinely broadcast in Hausa, a dominant language in Nigeria and other parts of western Africa. People routinely listen to news broadcasts from the BBC, the Voice of America, Radio France and other stations headquartered in Egypt, Libya, Russia, Germany and China, Isa said. Such foreign stations are free from Nigerian government censorship, he said." -- Satellite television is now also providing outside news to Nigeria.

More Asians now have access to France 24's "new tone in international news."

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
WorldScreen.com, 26 Apr 2011, Kristin Brzoznowski: "A series of new broadcasting agreements have been inked that expand FRANCE 24's distribution in Asia, for both the English- and French-language services. ... Now, the FRANCE 24 English channel is available in the [Indian] State of Orissa and throughout the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) on more than 30 cable networks. ... The French service is now available à la carte on [Hong Kong's] new HKBN package BB TV ... [and in Japan] on the IPTV platform KONA TV. ... Brice Bertrand, the director of distribution in Asia Pacific, said of the expanded carriage: 'These markets are eager to discover a new tone in international news and we make every effort to ensure that all countries of the continent can get FRANCE 24 as quickly and as simply as possible, in English, but also in French.'"

Chinese international broadcasters sign cooperation deals in Turkey, Armenia, Uzbekistan.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 18 Apr 2011: "China Radio International (CRI), China's only radio station running a world service, signed an agreement with Turkey's national broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) in Ankara Monday to step up cooperation in broadcasting. The two sides will exchange programs, increase staff communication and offer training sessions for each other's employees, according to the agreement."

Aysor.am, 12 Apr 2011: "Radio Impuls of Armenia (FM 106.5) and China Radio International (CRI) announced the start of cooperation. Directors of Radio Impuls and China Radio International Koryun Khumaryan and Wang Gengnian signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. ... 'We plan to make joint radio programs on China and Asia. This radio station will be the "Voice of Asia" in Armenia,' Program Director of Radio Impuls Garegin Khumaryan told Aysor.am."

Xinhua, 20 Apr 2011: "China Xinhua News Network Corporation(CNC) signed cooperative agreements with Uzbekistan's national broadcasting company Tuesday. According to the agreements, the two sides will strengthen cooperation in co-producing and broadcasting programs, exchanging programs, satellite broadcasting as well as expertise exchanges among others. CNC is affiliated to China Xinhua News Agency. It began broadcasting in Mandarin Chinese in January 2010 and its English channel, CNC World, began satellite and cable broadcasts in July."

CNN partnership deal with Television Jamaica Limited.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Gleaner (Kingston), 21 Apr 2011: "Jamaica's No. 1 television station, Television Jamaica Limited (TVJ), signed a historic agreement yesterday with CNN to be its exclusive broadcast partner in Jamaica. The agreement covers radio and television. This partnership will give TVJ and RJR direct access to CNN's comprehensive and authoritative news reports and footage. TVJ and RJR will be able to join CNN for daily news and breaking stories, features programming and investigative reporting. TVJ will also supply news material and assist the network when major stories break on the island."

Report: CNN plans "an Urdu service in Pakistan."

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Arab News, 26 Apr 2011, Azhar Masood: "The Cable News Network (CNN) plans to launch its Urdu transmission from Pakistan. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has received an application from global TV giant for a license. Chairman of PEMRA Abdul Jabbar told Arab News, 'The CNN has plans to launch its Urdu service in Pakistan but so far nothing has been finalized. The Voice of America (VOA) is already beaming its transmissions in Urdu through GEO TV.'" -- No further details. Many CNN international ventures involve a local partner, e.g. CNN-IBN in India.

New DTH satellite platform will bring international channels to North America.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Hispasat press release, 22 Apr 2011: "Hispasat Group, the leading DTH satellite provider in Spanish and Portuguese speaking markets, and Pittsburgh International Telecommunications, Inc. (PIT), one of the world's largest privately-owned and operated teleports and global distributors of audio and video signals, announced today a partnership to launch a new DTH (direct-to-home) platform on Amazonas-2 satellite titled New Winds. New Winds, an alternative for the North American DTH market, provides an MCPC [multiple channel per carrier] platform focusing on content providers from around the world. The platform, uplinked from the Pittsburgh International Telecommunications teleport, has launched with nine channels from Europe and the Middle East, with additional channels forthcoming from the Americas." Per Lyngsat, the stations so far on the satellite are Christian channels directed primarily at Middle Eastern audiences.

"A new generation of managers" at Radio/TV Martí.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 23 Apr 2011, Laura Wides-Muñoz: "A new generation of managers is taking the reins at the U.S. government's radio and TV broadcasts into Cuba, promising to overhaul the stations' programming in an effort to make them more relevant and reach a younger audience. The overhaul coincides with broader policy changes, as President Barack Obama has shifted from the Bush-era tactic of advocating the overthrow of Fidel Castro's communist government to encourage more cultural and economic exchanges. Carlos Garcia-Perez, a 43-year-old Cuban-American attorney, took over the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in October. Unlike the Marti founders and most directors since, he is from Puerto Rico, not the anti-Castro exile enclave of Miami. ... The changes at the Martis are part of a broader push among U.S. foreign broadcasts to remain relevant and do more with less. ... Toward that end, the Martis and VOA are working more closely to pool resources, boosting the Martis' credibility." -- The changes at Radio/TV Martí might "coincide" with an administration policy shift, but if they are caused by that shift, and if programming is geared to support administration policy, Radio/TV Martí will continue to have credibility problems.

Fox News Latino, 25 Apr 2011, its lead to the AP story: "The U.S. government is planning to overhaul its radio and TV broadcasts to Cuba in hopes of attracting a younger audience and offering programming that is less critical of the Communist regime."

Item about a VOA jazz host who is not Willis Conover.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Indianapolis Business Journal, 23 Apr 2011, Lou Harry: At the jazz finals of the American Pianists Association, "Russ Davis, host of Voice of America’s Jazz America program, provided commentary (and a promise that 13.4 million jazz fans around the world will be hearing about this great Indianapolis event)." -- As host VOA's Jazz America, Russ Davis is successor to Willis Conover. The 13.4 million is probably a bit of a stretch.

Examiner.com, 26 Apr 2011, Carol Banks Weber: "[P]arts of both the semi-finals and finals will be on NPR's 'JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater' and Voice of America's 'Jazz Hour.'"

-- Not "Jazz Hour," which was the informal name of Willis Conover's program (the official name was Music USA (Jazz) -- only the bureaucratic VOA could come with program names including parentheses), but Russ Davis's "Jazz America."

Belsat provides Belarus with independent news and Uszatek the Bear.

Posted: 27 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 23 Apr 2011, Judy Dempsey: "It is called Belsat TV, and it is the first and only independent satellite television channel for Belarus, broadcasting news and current affairs as well as cultural and children’s programs like 'The Adventures of Uszatek the Bear.' But if you want to see Belsat’s nerve center, you have to head to neighboring Poland, to a cramped office in downtown Warsaw. There, for 17 hours a day, a team of nearly three dozen Poles and Belarussians broadcast into a country whose media are tightly controlled by the government of President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. ... Poland’s Foreign Ministry provides an annual stipend to Belsat TV of nearly $6 million, the bulk of its annual budget of about $9 million. The Swedish government is providing a grant of about $3 million over a three-year period that ends in 2013. ... [Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, founder and director of Belsat,] said that the role played by Western radio stations like Radio Free Europe, France International and the BBC in providing independent news to Poles during the Communist era gave Poles an alternative view of the news. Now, she says, Belarussians should have that opportunity, too."

The Chernobyl disaster, 25 years ago, and international broadcasting.

Posted: 26 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Sofia Echo, 22 Apr 2011, Clive Laviev-Sawyer: "Those Bulgarians who had the habit of listening on short-wave radios (the volume discreetly low) to the BBC Bulgarian-language service and to the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe had heard something about Chernobyl. A Radio Free Europe internal memo written in 1987 says that there had been a 'steady stream of telephone calls to Radio Free Europe’s Bulgarian service requesting detailed information and inquiring about the need to persist with precautions and prophylactic measures'."

The Sofia Echo, 24 Apr 2011, Tatiana Vorozhko: "Alla Shapiro lived in Kyiv in 1986, and worked at the Kyiv Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion. She learned about the nuclear plant accident from her father. 'He called me to tell that he was listening to the Voice of America in the middle of the night, which was his usual thing to do to get the information, and the broadcast was that the nuclear plant in Pripyat - that there was a nuclear explosion,' Shapiro recalled."

The Independent, 24 Apr 2011, Catriona Munro: "Getting news was a straightforward "Getting news was a straightforward choice between the BBC World Service and the Soviet news service, Vremya. ... Vremya duly reported that there had been a minor accident in Chernobyl with two sad fatalities. The BBC was reporting a very different, wildly more alarming, account of many casualties and mass evacuations. ... Meanwhile, ears glued to the World Service, someone heard that in response to the incident, Denmark had exhausted its national supplies of iodine.

National Review Online, 26 Apr 2011, Robert McConnell: "As a result of Moscow’s irresponsible silence, people in Ukraine who wanted to know anything had to find a way to receive Voice of America, Radio Liberty, and/or Radio Free Europe broadcasts despite the extensive Soviet radio-wave-jamming facilities established in Western Ukraine. At 8 p.m. on April 28, VOA broadcast into Ukraine its first reports on the radiation that had been detected in Sweden and the suspicion that it came from nuclear leakage at a power plant in the Soviet Union."

BBC World Service The World Today, 26 Apr 2011, 0605 UTC, includes audio of Radio Moscow, in English, reporting damage to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 30:29 into the program.

Bedlam calling the USA. And Doctor Who travels forward in time -- 2 weeks.

Posted: 25 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 21 Apr 2011, Kristin Brzoznowski: "BBC America has signed up to co-produce the new season of Being Human, along with the previously announced co-pros Outcasts and Bedlam, for its Supernatural Saturday lineup. ... Bedlam ... is set in an apartment building converted from a pre-Victorian lunatic asylum, unfolding as the former asylum spirits come back to claim what they believe is theirs and seek revenge on those who have wronged them."

New York Times, 23 Apr 2011, Brian Stelter: "When new episodes of that long-running BBC science-fiction drama [Doctor Who] were broadcast in Britain last year, executives at the BBC America cable channel observed a major spike in illegal file sharing of the show in the United States. Some stateside fans, it seemed, were unwilling to wait the two weeks between the British and American premieres. Many other 'Who' fans who did wait were frustrated by online spoilers on blogs and Twitter. The BBC's solution is to compress time and space. Taking a page from the same-day worldwide premieres of blockbuster films, the new season of 'Doctor Who' will start on Saturday not just in Britain, but in the United States and Canada too."

Huffington Post, 25 Apr 2011: "The premiere of the sixth season of the rebooted, legendary British sci-fi franchise drew BBC America's highest-ever ratings for a telecast when it aired on Saturday."

The Observer, 17 Apr 2011, Peter Preston: "[T]he Guardian has dispatched a high-powered editorial and finance team to New York to build digital awareness, news coverage and cash flow on an 10.75m comScore estimate of monthly American visitors to guardian.co.uk."

BBC.com, outside the UK, and BBC iPlayer, outside the UK.

Posted: 25 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Next Web, 23 Apr 2011, Martin Bryant: "2011 is set to be a big year for the BBC’s online operations outside the UK, as the international version of the corporation’s iPlayer on-demand video service prepares to launch. Meanwhile, last week a pretty major change was made to the bbc.com homepage seen by visitors to the website from outside the UK. As we noted at the time, gone were the widget-based customisation options, replaced by a plainer, more functional version of the site. ... While similar in some ways, the BBC’s UK and international websites are similar – they’re actually operated completely separately, with different goals. While in the UK, the site is designed to meet the corporation’s public service goals, BBC.com is operated by its commercial arm BBC Worldwide and carries banner advertising."

How social media messages to the State Department are "educating the U.S. government."

Posted: 25 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 21 Apr 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari and Richard Solash: "It's no coincidence that the State Department's social-media initiative has burst onto the scene as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are being credited with helping organize and galvanize pro-democracy movements across not just the Arab world, but everywhere repressive regimes are in control. ... As of today, the department's Arabic Twitter account has some 6,000 followers -- a modest figure considering how many millions of Arab Internet users there are worldwide. Its Persian-language Twitter feed is the second-most popular. ... Anyone who does decide to engage with the State Department online will be heard, even if they don't hear back, according to the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights. Michael Posner tells RFE/RL that people should think of the State Department's social-media initiative as similar to a tip line. ... 'I would just say to those activists, "Keep sending us stuff." Don't expect every time you're going to get a response, but it is part of a process of educating the U.S. government.'"

President Sarkozy's right to nominate director of France 24 puts France on OSCE media freedom "radar."

Posted: 25 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 19 Apr 2011, Chernitsa Polina: "The OSCE media freedom representative has warned EU countries and the European Commission against tightening squeeze on journalists, specifically pointing the finger at Hungary, Italy and France. ... Yuri Rubinsky, [a] Moscow-based expert ... pointed to the authority of media empires-turned government bodies, which help the state take a better control of mass media. ... He added that France has remained bright on the OSCE’s radar for a long time now, not least because of Sarkozy’s personal right to nominate the director of the French national news network France 24."

Rapid TV News, 18 Apr 2011, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Three months after the jasmine revolution, Tunisian radio and TV broadcasters have signed up a convention deal with French Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France. This holding will see the team up of French radio station RFI and channels TV5Monde and France 24 that broadcast outside France."

Report: United States asks Saudi Arabia to take Libyan TV off of Arabsat.

Posted: 25 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Asharq Al-Awsat, 21 Apr 2011, Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief: "America has requested Saudi Arabia to stop broadcasting the official Libyan television channel on 'Arabsat', while the Saudis say they are not the sole owners of the satellite network, and therefore do not have the necessary authority to cease the broadcast of Libyan channels."

BBC News, 24 Apr 2011: "A Nato air strike on the Libyan capital Tripoli has badly damaged buildings in Col Muammar Gaddafi's compound. ... Reports said Libyan Television and the Jamahiriya and Shababiya TV stations were off air for about half-an-hour following the blasts."

Victor Ashe is the Broadcasting Board of Governors' Mr. Sunshine (Act).

Posted: 25 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Cryptome, 21 Apr 2011, excerpting the Federal Register, 20 Apr 2011: "Sunshine Act Meeting. DATE AND TIME: Thursday, April 14, 2011; 3:45 p.m.-4 p.m. PLACE: Radio Free Asia Headquarters, 2025 M St., NW., Washington, DC 20036. SUBJECT: Notice of Closed Meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. SUMMARY: At the time and location listed above,the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) determined to conduct a meeting closed to the public pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(6). The meeting was closed to protect privacy concerns during the consideration of potential appointees to serve as the Director of the Voice of America. Although discussion of the matter in an open setting was considered, the potential consequences of disclosing the identities and circumstances of individuals considered for appointment compelled the Board to close the meeting to public observation. The Board also determined that shorter than usual notice for a meeting was required by official agency business and the delayed availability of required information. Members Vote To Close the Meeting: Walter Isaacson--Yes. Victor Ashe--No. Susan McCue--Yes. Michael Meehan--Yes. Dennis Mulhaupt--Yes. Dana Perino--Yes. S. Enders Wimbush--Yes."

VOA obtains and displays video of Tibetan monk who set himself on fire.

Posted: 24 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
AFP, 21 Apr 2011: "A video of unrest at a Tibetan monastery in China where a monk burnt himself to death has surfaced, with overseas activists saying it refutes Chinese government claims that the situation there is normal. The video obtained by the Voice of America's Tibetan service and posted on its website appears to show heavy security patrolling around the Kirti monastery in a Tibetan region of southwestern China's Sichuan province. It also shows what the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) called the first footage of the young monk whose self-immolation last month touched off demonstrations that rights groups say provoked a heavy security crackdown. ... AFP was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the footage."

VOA press release, 21 Apr 2011: "Voice of America has obtained rare video smuggled out of a Tibetan area of southwest China, where a young Tibetan monk died recently after setting himself on fire to protest Chinese policies. VOA’s Tibetan Service posted the video on its website (click here) along with an interview with the person who secretly shot the tape, which shows the badly burned Tibetan monk sitting in the back of a car shortly before he died. ... Chinese officials did not immediately comment on the video tape, which was shot at great personal risk by the person who made it available to the Voice of America. VOA has not disclosed how it obtained the videotape or who recorded the images." See also VOA News, 22 Apr 2011, with link to the video.

Radio Free Asia, 21 Apr 2011 includes link to the video and photos, captioned as "Citizen journalist/Obtained by VOA."

China's international media expansion: a model for what the United States should *not* do.

Posted: 24 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
PBS MediaShift, 19 Apr 2011, Andy Yee: "The growth of China's media presence overseas has been remarkable. In Southeast Asia, state-run China Radio International, which supplies light fare and upbeat news and features, now broadcasts in English 24 hours a day, while the Voice of America broadcasts 19 hours and will soon be cut back to 14 hours, said Paul Blackburn, a former public affairs officer of the United States Information Service who served at four American embassies in Asia in the 1980s and '90s. Blackburn also pointed out that while America may have the private CNN International to rival CCTV-9, it has 'nothing comparable' in the realm of public policy.

"In February 2006, CRI launched its first overseas FM radio station in Kenya, providing 2 million Kenyans with 19 hours of daily programmes in English, Swahili and Chinese about major Chinese and global news. The move was followed by CRI's second FM overseas station in Laos in November of 2006, offering 12.5 hours of daily programming in English, Laotian and Chinese. In November of 2010, CRI opened a station in Tijuana, Mexico, marking its first Spanish-speaking station in Latin America and its 50th overseas station. CRI is now only second to BBC in terms of its number of overseas bases. ...

"As China continues its huge spending on communications channels abroad, its limits will become clear. Dazzling public relations is no substitute for credibility, which is key to winning influence in a critical global audience. The fallacy is that the government's tight grip on communication channels is detrimental to editorial integrity and objectivity. ... As China is spending billions of dollars to make its media go global, it also needs to rethink its heavy-handed approach on media control and suppression of free speech. The world welcomes a diversity of voices, including that of China, but not one which is distorted, censored and sanitized."

It is vey much to the credit of the United States that it has "'nothing comparable' in the realm of public policy." Public policy might fascinate bureaucrats in Washington, but it bores the living daylights out of most global audiences. CNN International, at no cost to the US taxpayers, trounces (in terms of audience size) CCTV-9 (now CCTV News), which costs the Chinese taxpayers plenty.

CRI has an FM transmitter in Kenya, but so does VOA. Neither VOA nor Radio Fraa Asia has an FM transmitter inside Laos, but they are both on FM stations in Thailand, just across the border from Vientiane. VOA does not have a local relay in Tijuana, but CNN en Español is available there, again, at no cost to the US taxpayers. CRI might be second in "number of overseas bases," if "bases" means FM transmitters that it owns or to which it otherwise has full-time access. VOA has many more FM affiliates, which is probably better, because the affiliates' locally produced programming brings in audience.

And as for the world welcoming "a diversity of voices ... but not one which is distorted, censored and sanitized," members of Congress and think tank fellows should heed this wisdom as the battle for the soul of US international broadcasting intensifies. See previous post about same subject.

Global Voices claims that websites are blocked at the RFE/RL offices.

Posted: 24 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Global Voices, 20 Apr 2011, Jillian York: "Recently, the Global Voices team learned that this site, http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org, is blocked at the headquarters of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, D.C. ... We at Global Voices would like to learn what other US government offices have implemented pervasive filtering, and what software is being used. We know that the offices of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty use Websense to block websites, but what else can you tell us?"

Bloomberg, 20 Apr 2011, Nicole Gaouette and Brendan Greeley: "The U.S. State Department is set to announce $28 million in grants to help Internet activists, particularly in countries where the governments restrict e-mail and social networks such as those offered by Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. ... Republicans have pushed for more money for Internet circumvention to go to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees government media including Voice of America. ... [Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael] Posner described the work of the BBG and the State Department as 'different, but complementary.' The BBG has a legitimate interest in tools that allow traffic to reach the Voice of America site and other Western news sources, he said."

"How to save the BBC World Service." (And how to destroy US international broadcasting.)

Posted: 24 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, Comment is Free, 17 Apr 2011, Peter Preston: Some MPs "wonder why the ring-fenced, Cameron-sanctified Department for International Development isn’t taking some of the strain. The World Service costs £236m a year at current levels. By 2014, DfID’s budget is scheduled to swell to £12.6bn. Some small scope for a trade-off here, surely? ... Some shortwave efforts are out of time and out of audiences. But other spots on the dial – take the Middle East this Arab spring – are more vital, and more promising, than ever before. ... Why mimic the Voice of America’s blinkered funders on Capitol Hill, anxious to stop broadcasting in Mandarin (of all crucial languages)?"

CNN, Global Public Square blog, 19 Apr 2011, Fareed Zakaria: "Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called it perhaps Britain's greatest gift to the world but Britain is now taking part of that gift away thanks to budget cuts. I'm talking about the BBC's Foreign Language radio service. At one time it broadcast news of the world in an astounding 69 different languages. As a kid in Mumbai I grew up listening to the BBC World Service getting my first sense of the world around me. Around the globe, millions of others listened too. But the BBC has now decided to stop broadcast services in Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, Turkish, Albanian, Vietnamese and many other languages. The BBC says for many of the languages their radio broadcasts will become internet webcasts. But to take two examples: China has only 20 percent Internet penetration and India, just 5 percent. Maybe there is a billionaire out there who could fill this budgetary gap."

The Independent, 23 Apr 2011, letter from William Robert Haines: "I write in support of Stephen Glover (Media Studies, 18 April) [see previous post]. The BBC World Service, with its 180 million listeners, is the envy of other services such as the Voice of America, with its much larger budget. ... Rather than cutting back, the service should be expanded. For years, millions of the people listened to 'English by Radio', learning to speak better English than that spoken by local nationals. For years, this programme has been stopped, yet I still meet older men and women overseas regretting its demise. People who listened to that programme also listened to news and current affairs, an example of 'soft imperialism'."

Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 22 Apr 2011, Helle Dale: "The Cameron government is defending its proposal, but it may find itself overruled by Parliament. A vote on the BBC cuts is expected this summer and is likely to result in a reversal of the cuts. Similarly, recent U.S. congressional hearings held by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R–CA) suggest that Congress might finally step up to the task of oversight of U.S. international broadcasting. It is not a moment too soon." -- So US international broadcasting would have to endure both a budget cut and Congressional "oversight," especially concerning its news output. I could not imagine a worse scenario. Well, OK, the failure to consolidate US international broadcasting would make it worse.

New York Times, 23 Apr 2011, Sarah Lyall and Eric Pfanner: A "license-fee freeze was announced last fall after a series of tough meetings between the BBC and the government, which had threatened much deeper cuts. As well as the freeze, which comes after years of increases, the BBC will take on hundreds of millions of pounds in new responsibilities, including paying for the first time for the World Service, whose £237 million annual budget comes from the British Foreign Office. Because of Foreign Office cuts to current World Service funding, the BBC announced last year that it would reduce the Service’s work force by about a quarter, losing 650 employees."

See previous posts on 21 Apr and 19 Apr 2011 about BBC World Service reductions.

NPR news blog describes VOA as "official broadcasting service," but BBC as just BBC.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
NPR The Two-Way blog, 18 Apr 2011, Eyder Peralta: "Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government, reports that 45 have been hurt in demonstrations in the capital city of Sanaa. ... [T]he BBC reported that hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Yemen to call for the ouster of Saleh, who's been in power for 32 years." -- VOA is funded by the US government, but is under the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors. BBC, and soon BBC World Service as well, are funded by a UK-government sanctioned, non-voluntary license fee on television sets. Its board is the BBC Trust. So why is VOA an "official broadcasting service," and BBC is not? (This is not a rhetorical question.) See previous post about same subject.

A visit to VOA's last shortwave transmitting station in the United States.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 20 Apr 2011, James E. O'Neal: "At one time the [US] government’s domestic HF [shortwave] broadcasting activities involved several large shortwave transmitting plants located in Ohio, California and North Carolina. Today, only one remains; it’s located here amid Carolina farm land and forests just a few miles from downtown Greenville. It’s officially known as the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station and actively beams out programming in the international broadcasting spectrum on a daily basis. At one time the government’s domestic HF broadcasting activities involved several large shortwave transmitting plants located in Ohio, California and North Carolina. Today, only one remains; it’s located here amid Carolina farm land and forests just a few miles from downtown Greenville. It’s officially known as the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station and actively beams out programming in the international broadcasting spectrum on a daily basis." With several photos. -- By "domestic," the author means located within the United States, not for broadcasting to US audiences. Greenville is used for VOA broadcasts to the Americas and to Africa, and for Radio Martí.

Discovery Communications looks to international growth markets.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 18 Apr 2011, Mark Sweney: "As its main US market reaches maturity, deep-pocketed Discovery Communications is embarking on a global growth drive with ambitions in the UK, its second most important territory, undiminished. ... The US accounts for about two thirds of Discovery's global revenues and profits, and provides on average 60% of programming to its channels around the world. Yet there is recognition among Discovery executives and City analysts alike that the next chapter in the growth of the company lies with the development of its international operation. ... Mark Hollinger, chief executive of Discovery Networks International ... has identified a number of regions including Latin America as priority growth markets. He says that the three biggest overseas markets in revenue terms are the UK, Brazil and Poland. Typical major markets for international expansion, such as France and Germany, are notably missing."

Syrian opposition channel Barada TV in the spotlight after reports of US funding.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 17 Apr 2011, Craig Whitlock: "The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables. The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on 'armed gangs.' Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles."

State Department, 18 Apr 2011, daily press briefing with Mark C. Toner, Acting Deputy Department Spokesman: "Q: Can you talk about U.S. support for Barada TV? Toner: Well, again, I don’t want to get into the details of what was in the – in today’s story in The Washington Post, beyond the fact that we are working with a variety of institutions and organizations to support their efforts. Freedom of the press, freedom of expression, is an important element of these kinds of programs. And obviously, again, it speaks to the broader context of what we’re trying to do, which is support institutions that promote democracy and democratic ideals. Yeah. Q: Right, but actually, I don’t think the article did – I mean, the article talked about Barada TV, but it didn’t really have any information about U.S. support for TV. But isn’t it true that the U.S. Government is providing bandwidth and satellite capability for the TV station to keep it broadcasting in the face of blocking by Iranian Government? Toner: I’d have to get details of what exactly technical assistance we’re providing them."

The Guardian, 18 Apr 2011, Katherine Marsh: "Few people in Syria watch Barada TV, preferring the Dubai-based Orient TV or al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya... ."

Bellum (Stanford Review), 19 Apr 2011, Amina Arraf: "[W]hen I heard that Barada-TV was US funded, my first thought and that of many here was 'What-TV?' as it is watched even less than the other US propaganda station (Al Hurra)."

Voice of Russia, 18 Apr 2011, Andrey Sushentsov: "The audience of the US funded TV Arab language channels Al Hurra and Barada TV is incomparable to Al Jazeera’ or BBC Arabic."

AFP, 21 Apr 2011: "The once obscure Syrian cable channel Barada TV has tripled its output since the start of anti-regime protests in Syria, but its newfound fame has sparked accusations it is secretly funded by Washington. ... 'I hadn't seen anyone since the channel was formed two years ago and now suddenly all the world is interested in us,' chief editor Malik al-Abdeh said. ... Abdeh acknowledged that Barada TV was half-financed by the Democracy Council, a California-based NGO, with the rest coming from Syrian businessmen. ... 'When people make out as if we were some kind of CIA-sponsored thing, it's ridiculous.'"

Another Russian entrepreneur with another proposal for a "Jewish Al Jazeera" (updated).

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
JTA, 7 Apr 2011: "A Russian-Jewish billionaire said he plans to create an international news network that will present 'real information' about Israel. Alexander Mashkevich on Wednesday announced his intention to found a 'Jewish Al Jazeera' during an address at the Keren Hayasod-United Israel Appeal conference in Washington, D.C. Mashkevich told The Associated Press Wednesday that he had not yet decided what the for-profit venture would be called or where it would be based, but he ruled out Kazakhstan, the country where he made his billions. 'Every day and every hour people get negative information about Israel,' Mashkevich told the conference. 'Therefore, the most important thing is to represent Israel on an international level, with real information.'"

Jerusalem Post, 7 Apr 2011: "Mashkevich plans to found an international, professional news station as a response to unreliable reports on Israel. He says the station will not be a source of propaganda, but will tell the truth."

Ynetnews.com, 9 Apr 2011, Liron Nagler-Cohen: "The channel is in the thinking stages, without a target date for the launching or even a revelation of the other names behind it. All Mashkevich agreed to say was that it would be a private, independent channel. 'We are preparing a work program, and in about three-four months we'll hold a presentation in Israel. We'll purchase talents from all other channels,' he promised. 'From BBC, CNN – everyone.'"

Israel National Nwews, 11 Apr 2011, Fern Sidman: "One of the first to comment on Dr. Mashkevich's announcement of the formation of a pro-Israel news channel is Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the City University of New York and op-ed contributor for Arutz Sheva. ... 'I hope [he] and his advisors understand that this new channel must be far better than Al-Jazeera, not only in terms of truth-telling but in other ways as well'. Adding that 'Al-Jazeera broadcasts only in Arabic and English, and is only now preparing to broadcast in Turkish and Urdu,' she said, 'The "Jewish Al-Jazeera" must appear in many more languages simultaneously: Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Kurdish, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali, Pashto, the Indonesian and Malaysian languages, as well as in all the European, East European, and former Soviet languages.'"

If this channel is to be competitive, it must cover world news on a par with the "big three": CNN International, BBC World News, and Al Jazeera English. If it is mainly about Israel, its appeal will be limited. A better strategy would be to purchase ads on international and domestic television channels, which would lead viewers to corresponding websites and social media pages. See previous post for similar proposals.

Update: The Algemeiner (Brooklyn), 17 Apr 2011, Dovid Efune: "Whilst Al Jazeera is ahead of the game in the Arab world, by establishing the same extensive access in breaking Israel related stories, the new network could become a go-to source in the same way. A general focus on real news as opposed to talking heads, and thoughtless shows, would also go a long way."

Jerusalem Post, 4 Apr 2011, Ben Hartman: At a Jerusalem conference on Israel's global image, "Prof. Philip Seib, director of the university’s Center on Public Diplomacy [said] that Israel’s public diplomacy did leave a bit to be desired, especially when it came to international broadcasting. 'International broadcasting is a very competitive world; and in spite of the rise of social media, the fact is that to reach a significant audience you still need TV,' he said. Seib mentioned the examples of Russia Today and Al- Jazeera, and said 'Israel isn’t playing on this field. I’ve never seen IBA [Israel Broadcasting Authority] anywhere. I went to look at it online, and it’s a good product, but you have to reach an audience.' He said Israel had to find the budget and the message it wanted to get across, and focus on places where its public image is not positive, instead of just 'preaching to the choir,' where approval for Israel is high, like in the US."

Alhurra program host calls for Gulf support to Libyan rebels.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 18 Apr 2011, Sulaiman Al Hattlan, host of Gulf Talks on Alhurra: "It is no secret that the key reason behind the US reluctance to help the rebels is its fear that rebels who belong to extremist groups, like Al Qaida, may take advantage of this support. Yet, it is more likely that the slowdown in military operations to end the battle in favour of the rebels may have encouraged some Al Qaida fighters to join the rebels secretly. The delay in ending the battle in favour of the rebels may have complicated the situation on the ground, and terming the Libyan opposition as fundamentalist is a big strategic mistake."

If Australia Network must be a duckbill platypus, perhaps extinction is best.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Age (Melbourne), 19 Apr 2011, Daniel Flitton, diplomatic editor: "[U]nlike other international broadcasters, the [Australia] government does not fund a permanent international [television] service. Australia Network is a brand, open to media companies to bid for the rights to broadcast it. The present five-year contract held by the ABC expires in August. [Rupert] Murdoch wants to take away the prize, but the competition is fierce. The ABC hierarchy has told staff there is 'no greater priority' than retaining the Australia Network rights and with it the concomitant benefits of extra staff and revenue. ... Like most media stories, the characters involved add to the intrigue. Bruce Dover - once Murdoch's man in China, who introduced the magnate to future wife Wendi Deng and later wrote a revealing book on Murdoch's exploits in the Middle Kingdom - is currently chief executive of Australia Network. ... The network is funded by the Foreign Affairs Department, with the goal to promote Australia 'as a dynamic and culturally diverse nation of the Asia-Pacific region'. One of the government's objectives for the station is 'raising international awareness of Australia's strengths and achievements across a range of fields'. ... The contract's requirement for a 'credible, impartial and independent voice' can be judged in a variety of ways."

Recommended a reading: a thorough discussion of the future of Australia's international television channel.

Perhaps ABC, if its values its credibility, would be better off without the Australia Network contract. The contract seems call for both a promotion of the min"strengths and achievements" of Australia, but also a "credible, impartial and independent voice." This makes Australia Network a duckbill platypus of international broadcasting: unsure of its species. In the matter of news versus advocacy in international broadcasting, there can be no sitting on the fence. The audience will quickly detect if a station is not entirely a purveyor of straight news.

ABC could make a version of its ABC News 24 available as an internationally accessible stream, with advertising. Content of the channel that cannot be disseminated abroad due to rights issues could be replaced by replays, or Radio Australia audio with an explanatory video card. This would not be ideal, but it would be an international television presence.

The brief life of Zimbabwe's Pachindau People's Radio, voice of hoe-sharpening ceremonies, etc.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), 18 Apr 2011, Kanyi Pamukwendengwe: In Zimbabwe: "Pachindau People's Radio, with a measly frequency range of 7km, went on air from 6pm to midnight, powered by a diesel generator for seven solid days. Funerals, village weddings, hoe-sharpening ceremonies, folklore beats and, yes, Boni Jovi, as well as cattle-slaughtering notices, were relayed from the mountain broadcast. It brought relief, joy, craziness and fear. Then disaster struck. Tipped off by the patriotic and ex-combatant supporters of the government in Harare, fiercely breathing blokes claiming to come from the information ministry in the capital turned up at the mountain base in the middle of the night. ... Pachindau People's Radio was dangerously illegal, argued the night raiders. Its mere 7km transmission was cutting into the state radio signals, they explained (even though no state radio signals have ever reached our village). ... [T]he most believable rumour says it all: the night raiders were common thieves posing as government operatives to lay their hands on potentially lucrative transmission equipment."

Zimbabwe Independent, 20 Apr 2011, Paidamoyo Muzulu: "Zanu PF and the government dominated the print and electronic media for the greater part of the last decade. They determined what news was and what the people should hear. This unfair advantage was buttressed by ownership and control of Zimbabwe’s largest media house –– publicly listed Zimpapers and ZBC’s radio and television channels. The other voices could be heard only once a week in privately owned weekly papers such as the Financial Gazette, the Sunday Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent. For the electronic media citizens had to install free to air digital television decoders or tune in to independent Zimbabwean radio stations hosted abroad like [the Voice oif America's] Studio 7, Short Wave Radio Africa and VOP."

SW Radio Africa, 20 Apr 2011, Alex Bell: "Hwedza villagers have ... come under threat from the police, who have been raiding homes and confiscating shortwave radios. Police allegedly summonsed an MDC information official in the area, who was found in possession of a radio. Local councilor Anderson Mugodhi’s home was also raided and three radios were seized."

Let's hope the big news happens Tuesdays and Thursdays. And more Al Jazeera English in the USA.

Posted: 23 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Santa Barbara Independent, 18 Apr 2011: "Starting last week, KCSB 91.9 FM [Santa Barbara] is broadcasting Al Jazeera English every Tuesday and Thursday evening, from 5:30-6 p.m."

Politico, 17 Apr 2011, Keach Hagey and Byron Tau: "'The emir of Qatar come by the Oval Office today, and he owns Al-Jazeera basically,' Obama said in remarks recorded by CBS News’s Mark Knoller. 'Pretty influential guy. He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform. You’re seeing it on Al-Jazeera.' ... Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 'has misgivings about an increased presence of Al Jazeera English in the United States,' his spokeswoman, Meredith Griffanti, told POLITICO. 'If Al Jazeera English hopes to establish itself more so on American soil, it must prove to the United States that their intentions are primarily improving our relations with the Middle East — rather than promoting anti-American rhetoric.'"

Right Side News, 16 Apr 2011, Cliff Kincaid: "The Emir gave an interview to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the same day he met with Obama, and made the rather absurd comment that although he, and the government of Qatar , finances Al-Jazeera, 'it is impossible for me to have influence to tell Al Jazeera what to do. Because they are journalists, and they will understand if the emir of Qatar is interfering in their—in their job. They will not respect the job they are doing. Even internationally, Al Jazeera will not be respected.' This is laughable, of course. In addition to the WikiLeaks cable about the regime using Al-Jazeera as a foreign policy instrument, the U.S. State Department’s own human rights report on Qatar notes, 'Al- Jazeera and the government claimed that the channel was independent and free of government influence, but the government exercised editorial and programmatic control of the channel through funding and selection of the station’s management.'"

FITSNews, 18 Apr 2011: "Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is facing fresh criticism for his former business dealings with an Arabic news service that some conservatives view as a leading anti-American voice in the world and an enabler of propagandizing terrorists. According to The Politico – both this story and an important follow-up revelation from reporter Ben Smith – Barbour’s old lobbying firm once represented Arab news network Al Jazeera, which gained infamy in America when it broadcast video messages from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Specifically, Barbour’s lobbying firm was paid $300,000 in by Al Jazeera and the government of Qatar in 2005 to 'improve relations with the Bush administration' which destroyed the network’s office in Kabul during the early days of the War in Afghanistan and killed one of its journalists during a 2003 attack on its Baghdad, Iraq office."

World Tribune, 14 Apr 2011, Cliff Kincaid: "He used to be a correspondent for Al-Jazeera English in Communist Cuba, reporting 'objectively' on what is happening in Castro’s island paradise. Now, Juan Jacomino is the Second Secretary of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., where he is coordinating 'solidarity' activities for the regime. ... His transition from Al-Jazeera to official Castro mouthpiece and 'diplomat' demonstrates that the news channel has extremely low standards for deciding who is fit to be a 'journalist.'"

Penn Current, 7 Apr 2011, Greg Johnson: "The question of why most American cable networks will not carry Al Jazeera English has recently received enough attention to have entered the realm of late-night television comedy. Ayman Mohyeldin, a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, was a guest on Comedy Central’s faux newscast 'The Cobert Report' on March 22. 'We’ve got like 17 Showtimes and a channel for pets, how come, if you guys aren’t dangerous, you’re not on any of our channels here?' asked comedian and host Stephen Colbert."

Huffington Post, 20 Apr 2011, Michael Calderone: "While AJE's still pitching cable providers like Time Warner and Comcast, the network's simultaneously ramping up its online and social media presence to help promote its international news brand to an audience of digital natives--some who may be too young to remember when Al Jazeera was the media bogeyman of the Bush years. ... Al Jazeera English doesn't just want to partner with journalism schools, where a new generation of reporters are honing their craft. It also hopes to become increasingly a part of conversations stateside about the future of the media -- whether online, on cable, or on social media platforms. Next month, Al Jazeera English is holding its first U.S. forum, a two-day event at the Newseum. Its topic: 'The new age of journalism.'"

The Atlantic, 19 Apr 2011, John Hudson interviewing NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell: "I think Al-Jazeera has become indispensable. There's a big difference between Al-Jazeera overseas and Al-Jazeera English but they are clearly part of the story and I rely on them very heavily, as does the State Department. I think the channel ought to be available more widely in the U.S. given the work they've been doing in Tunisia, Libya and certainly Egypt."

The Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Cuba Broadcasting Act (2011) (updated).

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 7 Apr 2011, Zoë Amerigian: "In light of the federal government’s current money woes, renewed attention has been given to Radio and TV Martí in recent weeks. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) introduced the Broadcast Savings Act (2011) in early March, and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Cuba Broadcasting Act (2011) on April 1, both aimed at shutting down Radio and TV Martí. This legislation could offer Republican ideologues a unique opportunity to cut the budget at minimum cost to the welfare of U.S. taxpayers, but there is no certainty that the political will required to pass these bills currently exists. ... After two decades, the Radio and TV Martí broadcasts have become a forgotten issue, and their cessation may not occur until a larger change in U.S.-Cuba policy is made."

Rep. Betty McCollum press release, 1 Apr 2011: "'I am working to identify smart cuts that reduce the federal deficit by eliminating ineffective, outdated, and unnecessary programs,' said Congresswoman McCollum. 'This legislation would save U.S. taxpayers $300 million over the coming decade by ending wasteful broadcasting programs to Cuba known as Radio and TV Martí.'"

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen statement, 4 Apr 2011: "Programs supporting democracy in Cuba empower those standing up to the Cuban regime by serving as a critical source of support and hope. The programs represent a lifeline for an island whose dictatorship attempts to choke off all access to the outside world." --Ros-Lehtinen is chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The people of Cuba who wish to be well informed about events in Cuba and the rest of the world deserve a better news service than they are getting from their state-controlled domestic media. US international broadcasting to Cuba should continue, but it (along with all US international broadcasting) can be done more efficiently than it is now. Furthermore, more state control of US international broadcasting will certainly not provide the antidote to state-controlled Cuban broadcasting.

Update: Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 15 Apr 2011, J. Preston Whitt: Josefina Vidal, head of Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs North America division, said the United States must "cease all 'democracy promotion programs' in Cuba, which seek to undermine the Castro régime. These programs include any propaganda initiatives such as Radio and TV Martí. ... Vidal criticized several of the more problematic U.S.-Cuban policies, such as— what she called—the 'lie' of Cuba’s alleged lack of religious freedom, and the U.S. propaganda channel TV Martí, or, as she put it, 'la TV que nadie ve' (the TV that no one watches)."

Red State AZ, 18 Apr 2011: "Prior to announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Jeff Flake had attempted to eliminate Radio and TV Marti which the Communist regime tries to jam and censor. Marti sends unfiltered news to the Cuban people, where media are controlled and highly censored by the authorities. Four days later, as a newly announced candidate, the duplicitous Flake withdrew his opposition."

Al Jazeera correspondent in Beijing voices frustration with Chinese media coverage of Arab uprisings.

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
China Media Project, 18 Apr 2011, David Bandurski: "In a post made to his Chinese-language weblog on April 15, Ezzat Shahrour, chief correspondent for al-Jazeera Arabic in Beijing, voiced his frustration with Chinese state media reporting on the upheaval in the Arab world this year. Shahrour, an accomplished writer of Chinese who studied at China Medical University in Shenyang, has commented frequently on both Chinese and Western media during the past several years ... Al-Jazeera has often been cited as the network whose success China must emulate as it seeks to expand its 'cultural soft power.' On the crucial issue of media credibility, and on the world’s biggest story this year, Shahrour’s perspective comes not from the so-called 'Western media' that Party leaders and the official press so frequently set up in opposition to an ostensibly 'Chinese voice' — one controlled and mediated by the CCP. It comes from a journalist with al-Jazeera, the very network China has so often cited as the best example of how credible non-Western voices can compete for global public opinion."

De Borchgrave's "dumbest move of all in the Obama administration" actually happened during the Bush administration.

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
UPI, 19 Apr 2011, Arnaud de Borchgrave (commentary): "America (Voice of America) and Great Britain (BBC) are losing their global voices, victims of drastic budget cuts, while China's voice is gaining strength daily. Among the recent outreach of the world's most populous nation: a new broadcasting center now going up on Times Square in New York, part of a $7 billion investment in 'global propaganda,' reports The Wall Street Journal's Gordon Crovitz. VOA and BBC, meanwhile, are slashing Chinese language programs and dozens of other foreign language newscasts. The dumbest move of all in the Obama administration is to put the VOA's Arabic programs on the chopping block as the Arab world belches revolution from Algeria to Libya to Egypt to Syria to Bahrain." -- VOA Arabic was shut down in 2002, well before the Obama Administration, replaced by Radio Sawa. I am not aware of any "chopping block" for Radio Sawa or its television counterpart Alhurra.

The Guardian, 17 Apr 2011, Polly Toynbee: Aung San Suu Kyi "has just learned of mutinies in [Burmese] army bases from the BBC World Service, a lifeline when information is so hard to come by. She is relieved the BBC’s Burma service has been saved from British government cuts, 'puzzled' at the decision to cut the Chinese service. After 70 years, the BBC’s last Mandarin [radio] programs for China have just been broadcast."

"I find that shortwave radio ... is loaded with metaphors of instability and the unknown."

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Survivor, 12 Apr 2011, Jennifer Waits: "Jim [Haynes] said that in terms of his own art, he’s particularly drawn to exploring the concept of decay and radio has been a useful tool for his work. He explained this, as well as his interest in shortwave radio and numbers stations, saying, 'My own visual and sound constructions work with systems of decay, and radio had proven to be a rich tool within composition to speak of corrosion. While there is the very concrete actualization of decay by means of radio by tuning into weak and/or interfered transmissions which breakdown in static and grey noise, I find that shortwave radio, in particular, is loaded with metaphors of instability and the unknown. An obvious example of shortwave’s mystery would be numbers stations, whose mechanical recitations of coded messages are downright spooky in their delivery, doubled by the likelihood that these transmissions originate from intelligence organizations around the world (i.e. CIA, M16, MOSSAD, etc.). While I have used numbers stations in very early works, I typically use sine waves from the upper & lower side bands of the spectrum, shepard tones of noise, and streams from utility signals.'"

BBC World Service journalist endures 14 hours on flight after heart attack; crew would not divert.

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Daily Mail, 17 Apr 2011: "A BBC radio presenter who suffered a heart attack while flying home from covering the Japanese tsunami may take legal action against the airline after it refused to divert the jet to the nearest hospital. Max Pearson had to endure the 14-hour Singapore Airlines flight in cardiac arrest... . The award-winning BBC World Service journalist had been reporting on the earthquake for a week. He later flew from Tokyo to Singapore, then boarded a connecting flight bound for London which landed on March 18. Soon after the plane took off from Singapore, Mr Pearson, 51, suffered a heart attack. It is claimed cabin crew refused requests to reroute the plane so he could receive urgent medical attention."

AsiaOne, 19 Apr 2011: "[A] Singapore Airlines spokesman, Nicholas Ionides, responded to queries from The Straits Times. He said that Singapore Airlines has diverted its aircraft nine times because of in-flight medical emergencies since January last year. While he did not give details of the nine incidents, he said that the safety and well-being of customers is top priority."

Singapore Airlines and Channel News Asia press release, 30 Mar 2011: "Regional news channel, Channel NewsAsia, has embarked on a partnership with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to provide text news headlines for customers on board SIA flights. Flights equipped with the latest Panasonic eX2™ system on KrisWorld, SIA’s award-winning inflight entertainment system, will feature the latest news updates in the form of scrolling headlines, provided by Channel NewsAsia."

CNBC.com launches Asia Pacific edition, which is not the same as the CNBC.com Asia news page. Yep.

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
CNBC press release, 18 Apr 2011: "CNBC ... today launched the new Asia Pacific edition of CNBC.com, the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative digital destination for global business news and expert analysis. Starting today, CNBC users can make the Asia Pacific edition their preferred news and information destination within CNBC.com. ... Features of the new Asia Pacific edition of CNBC.com include: ... More Asia Pacific content including features, market analysis and investor insights from global and local experts. News and analysis from regional content partners including Caixin Media from China and Moneycontrol.com from India. ... 'The new Asia Pacific edition strengthens CNBC’s presence and brand in the region and reinforces our continued commitment to delivering the most relevant content to our global audience.'"

CNBC.com, 15 Apr 2011, Allen Wastler, managing editor of CNBC.com: "Today we are rolling out the first of our new regional editions. These editions let readers choose their own geographic news mix. We're starting with the Asia Pacific. So the ex-pat in Singapore or the multi-lingual gold trader in Tokyo can now opt to come to a CNBC home page that emphasizes Asia news and investment features. This regional edition will let Asia Pacific readers track local trends and developments, while still keeping tabs on the important global stories affecting business and markets. ... We're keeping our Asia and Europe news pages as well. The offerings there are less for people living in the region and more for readers who just want a rundown of news out of those areas. The feature on how to deal with the Taiwanese luxury tax? You won't find it there. But a wrap up of China's latest inflation numbers? Yep."

Is Russia Today (RT) "returning the favor" of US Cold War broadcasts to the USSR?

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Media Monitors Network, 14 Apr 2011, Ernest Partridge: "So where do we find authentic news? Try National Public Radio (while it lasts) and, of course, the internet (until it is privatized and sold to the media conglomerates) where one can find a multitude of independent progressive websites. .... In addition, some of the best sources of news are foreign – and all available on the internet. They include the BBC (England) and the CBC (Canada), The Real News (broadcast from Toronto, Canada), Al Jazeera English, and, amazingly, Russia Today. The Russians, it seems, are returning the favor that we bestowed upon them during the Soviet Era, when the U.S. and Western Europe sent accurate news across 'the iron curtain' via The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Yes, it has come to that! ... The experience of the Russians is instructive. My Russian friends tell me that after decades of unabashed lying by Pravda, Izvestia and Gostelradio, fewer and fewer Soviet citizens believed the state media. The facts bear them out, as history discloses that Russians instead sought out foreign sources of news such as The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. (See my 'What if America Loses its Voice?')." -- Russia Today (RT) is often interesting and covers some subjects about the United States that don't receive much attention in the US media. Its freewheeling style still saddles the channel with credibility issues.

The future of BBC World Service, via US public radio stations, to Red State America.

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 14 Apr 2011, Timothy Egan: "Late at night, the crisp, authoritative tones of the BBC can be heard in the Idaho Rockies. It seems illogical that when the Republican Congress took aim at public radio, they were going after an audio lifeline much loved by their own constituents in Red State America." -- If the public radio stations in rural America are no longer allowed to purchase NPR programming, their contributions from listeners may dry up, because they will have lost their most popular programs. They will have to sell their licenses to other non-commercial entities, which would result in religious stations occupying those frequencies. These religious stations would support the same social agenda as the Republicans, resulting in a perfect outcome for the Republicans. As for BBC, these are areas of the United States with the least broadband penetration, making audio streams unavailable, and BBC is no longer on shortwave to North America, resulting in the BBC's absence from large swaths of the red states.

San Jose Mercury News, 18 Apr 2011, Carl Heintze: "I've been listening to National Public Radio for a long time, and I don't detect a liberal bias in the way it reports the news. In fact, some programs, like 'BBC World News,' can be downright nasty when interviewing liberals, conservatives or most anyone. The BBC doesn't apologize for this attitude, which sometimes borders on the barely polite."

Christian Science Monitor, 15 Apr 2011, John Hughes: "In the field of US radio, NPR remains credible in foreign coverage, and its listenership rose 3 percent last year. Despite unfortunate front-office gaffes and congres­sional moves to cut its federal funding, NPR has been the beneficiary of substantial private bequests and will survive. From Britain, despite savage government cuts, the BBC World Service also continues prestigious international coverage. Although amateur bloggers and citizen informers can be useful, much of their material reflects unknown reliability and motivation, and subpar skills."

NPR on shortwave in Cracow? "Alas, it was not to be."

Posted: 22 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Binghampton Press & Sun-Bulletin, 8 Apr 2011, Carol and Philip Cali: "We also purchased a short-wave radio for when we were abroad, thinking optimistically that we could get NPR even in Cracow (alas, it was not to be). Withdrawal symptoms in foreign locales can be frightening when one's cognitive brain cells are not getting their daily NPR fix." -- American expats in Europe who have access to broadband can listen to the audio stream of just about any NPR station in the United States. Shortwave would work in areas not covered by broadband, but who would pay for such a service, and would the expense be justified? Some NPR programming is on the US Armed Forces Network, which is transmitted on shortwave in some parts of the world.

BBC claims 23 million US and Canadian website users during March.

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC.com press release, 14 Apr 2011: "The global news events of the last two months have had a marked impact on traffic to the BBC in the U.S. According to the latest comScore data for March, BBC sites delivered record-breaking U.S. audiences, demonstrating American users are increasingly making the BBC part of their everyday news habit. comScore notes that the BBC delivered its largest ever U.S. audience with unique users topping 19.3 million. The data also shows that the BBC’s sites grew over 35% in unique users from February, exceeding the growth rate of HuffingtonPost.com, CNN.com, NYTimes.com and MSNBC.com. Page views to these sites also increased in March to a record breaking 273 million, up 30%, with reader loyalty also increasing over the past year. Average visits to BBC.com registered 29% increases and user engagement levels rose 18% year on year." -- The BBC sites accessible in the United States include bbc.com, bbcnews.com, bbcamerica.com, bbcworldservice.com, bbc.co.uk, etc.

BBC Worldwide in Canada press release, 20 Apr 2011: "comScore notes that the BBC delivered 3.9 million unique Canadian users in March, its highest audience ever. The data also demonstrates that BBC’s sites jumped 35% in unique users from February, growing faster than cbc.ca, globeandmail.com, thestar.com, nationalpost.com and msnbc.com. Additionally, March page views increased to a record breaking 86 million, up 29%."

France 24 launches Android app.

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 14 Apr 2011, Robert Briel: "International French news channel France 24 has launched a new Android app for access to both live and VOD content. The app is free and available in English and French. The new application gives full access to all France 24 programmes live or in VoD and allows the viewers to request all of the broadcasts over the last two months. In addition, an innovative mapping tool allows users to find news according to their location thanks to France 24’s automatic and geographical referencing of news articles." See previous post about Deutsche Welle's Android app.

At BRICS summit hotel in China, banned channels included Deutsche Welle and ... the Golf Channel.

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
GlobalPost, 15 Apr 2011, Kathleen E. McLaughlin: "Much has already been said about tight controls on information from the China-hosted BRICS summit this week in Hainan. ... In a circular at one hotel, management apologized to guests that four foreign satellite channels would be blocked by the State Administration of National Security Bureau in hotels from April 11-18. The banned channels were not what you might expect; CNN was available. Those on the list: German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Hong Kong entertainment channels NOW and Star World, and the Golf Channel. No further explanation was given, but the last is a particularly interesting choice given Hainan's reputation as a golf resort destination."

Livestation notes 1,047% increase in traffic, with BBC World News and Al Jazeera English among most viewed.

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 12 Apr 2011, Julian Clover: "Livestation is attributing a staggering 1,047% increase in traffic over the last six months to recent news events in the Middle East. The broadband TV platform says it is now enjoying audiences in the region of 10 million viewers per month. Key drivers have been BBC World News and Al Jazeera English, which are generally unavailable in the United States, and are two of the most-viewed channels on Livestation. The company claims that its mobile apps are delivering more mobile video traffic than many major newspapers combined. It has also just closed its first profitable quarter." See previous post about same subject.

Why subjecting US international broadcasting to an "overarching strategy" would be Not Very Smart Power.

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, 13 Apr 2011, Joseph S. Nye: "It sounds like common sense, but smart power is not so easy to carry out in practice. Diplomacy and foreign assistance are often underfunded and neglected, in part because of the difficulty of demonstrating their short-term impact on critical challenges. The payoffs for exchange and assistance programs is often measured in decades, not weeks or months. American foreign-policy institutions and personnel, moreover, are fractured and compartmentalized, and there is not an adequate interagency process for developing and funding a smart-power strategy. Many official instruments of soft or attractive power — public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, military-to-military contacts — are scattered around the government, and there is no overarching strategy or budget that even tries to integrate them."

A similar notion, which goes further by mocking the idea of "good journalism," was discussed in recent Congressional testimony by John Lenczowski, president of the Institute of World Politics...

IWP, 6 Apr 2011: "U.S. national interests are also ill-served by a well-known school of thought that holds that U.S. international broadcasting must simply amount to 'good journalism' that should not be subject to censorship by the State or Defense Departments or the White House. The problem here is that there are many commercial media in the world that are involved in 'good journalism' and, given this fact, why should the U.S. government pay for another equivalent of a commercial radio or television station? Our government pays for this precisely to serve U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. ... My recommendation is that Congress create a U.S. Public Diplomacy Agency (USPDA) within the Department of State which would consist of: all existing public diplomacy functions within the Department including the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; USAID; the Peace Corps; and the BBG."

Also on board with the idea of a central public diplomacy entity is Helle Dale at the Heritage Foundation....

Heritage Foundation, 8 Apr 2011, Helle Dale: "The rift between State and BBG [about internet circumvention] has resulted in inaction. ... It is increasingly evident that if the U.S. government is to be effective in advancing freedom in the new media sphere, there has to be a single center or agency within the government that sets policy, controls funding, and coordinates assets — a center or agency for strategic communication. As currently configured, the U.S. government agencies that have a slice of the communications pie too often work at cross purposes in an atmosphere of mutual distrust." See also Heritage Foundation, 20 Nov 2008.

The reason why the government funds a news service over which is has no editorial control is that, in most world language, such a news service has no commercial potential. Audiences in need of reliable news would not get that news if it were not for subsidies from the United States, the UK and other Western governments. Furthermore ....

Foreign Service Journal, Oct 2010, Kim Andrew Elliott: "The concept of an international broadcasting service funded by the United States government, over which the government has no direct control, is difficult for some to accept. Nevertheless, maintaining and enhancing the present autonomy of USIB is essential for the following reasons:

"• It will bring a larger audience, because it is a market- based approach, providing the type of news listeners are seeking.

"• Well-informed audiences can resist the misinformation and disinformation of dictators, terrorists and other international miscreants, and make up their own minds on current affairs.

"• In the long term, the United States can expect that well-informed audiences, even if they don’t come to agree with our policies, will at least understand why they were implemented.

"• The audience observes independent journalism, a necessary ingredient in any democracy, in action.

"• Providing this service to the world speaks well of the United States.

"The consolidation of U.S. international broadcasting would be an opportunity for a rebranding exercise to signal unambiguously that the new entity is an independent and reliable provider of news. The organization should be a government-funded corporation rather than a government agency."

BBC WS spokesperson has "no information" (yet) about restoration of full BBC Hindi shortwave schedule.

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 20 Apr 2011, Andy Sennitt: "From 1 May 2011, the BBC World Service is reinstating the shortwave broadcasts in Hindi that were discontinued on 27 March. The frequencies were registered for use commencing 18 April 2011, but Asian monitors soon reported that the additional transmissions were not yet on the air. In today’s updated BBC schedule, the new start date is given as 1 May. The revised schedule from 1 May is as follows: 0100-0130 UTC on 6065, 9425, 11995, 13745, 15510 kHz; 0230-0300 UTC on 11995, 15660, 17510, 17655 kHz; 1400-1500 UTC on 1413, 7565, 9685, 11795, 15470 kHz; 1700-1730 UTC on 1413, 5910, 7460, 9605, 11740 kHz. (Source: BBC frequency schedule via HFCC)" See previous post about BBC Hindi maintaining part of its shortwave schedule.

Thursday morning here in DC, a colleague called the BBC World Service press office, where a spokesperson said the situation remains unchanged since the last official notification regarding the reduction of the Hindi broadcasts from daily two hours to one hour a day. The spokesperson also said that as of now they've no information about any restoration, and if BBC management took a decision to that effect, the press office will issue a notification accordingly.

PTI, 13 Apr 2011, Prasun Sonwalkar: "In view of India's rise as a 'major economic power', the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of British parliament today called for a reversal of the recent decision to close the BBC Hindi service as part of the David Cameron government''s plans to cut budget deficit. Under plans announced on 26 January, the BBC Hindi shortwave service was scheduled to close by March 2011, along with the closure of five other radio services of the BBC World Service. However, following public criticism, the BBC announced a one-year reprieve for the Hindi service." See previous post about same subject.

In Kenya, Xinhua soft-launches "first-ever mobile newspaper in sub-Saharan Africa."

Posted: 21 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Xinhua, 20 Apr 2011, via Coastweek (Mombasa): "The soft-launch ceremony of the first-ever mobile newspaper in sub-Saharan Africa, Xinhua Mobile Newspaper, is held on Tuesday in Nairobi, Kenya, which enables about 17 million Kenyan mobile subscribers to receive news from China’s Xinhua News Agency via Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s Political Bureau, attended the ceremony together with Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. ... The mobile newspaper service is jointly operated by Xinhua News Agency as contents provider, China’s leading telecommunications company Huawei as technology supporter, and Safaricom, one of the most influential provider of converged communication solutions in Kenya, as mobile service provider. Li praised this tripartite cooperation, saying this is a new fruit of Chinese media’s efforts to improve the capacity of international broadcasting. ... During its trial period since March this year, the mobile newspaper offered comprehensive coverage on major global issues including Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, conflicts in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire, and gained applauds from African mobile subscribers. 'Better termed in the industry as ‘the fifth media’, the mobile newspaper service combines mobile phones and newspapers, traditional and new media,' Peter Arina, Safaricom’s general manager of consumer business, noted at the ceremony."

Some people think that "international broadcasting" must refer to radio or television, or audio or video on the internet. Text, however, is now available to international broadcasters, and may be a more effective and satisfactory way to send information. The introduction of this interesting new medium does not guarantee success for Xinhua. The news must be of sufficient quality to maintain the attention of mobile users. And will the small screens of mobile devices be satisfactory for "newspaper" type reading?

The international broadcasting of Bundesliga and the Australian Football League.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
DPA, 13 Apr 2011: Germany's Bundesliga has posted record earnings from foreign television rights this season and will break the 50-million-euro (72.3 million dollars) mark next season. Bundesliga matches were watched by 2.25 billion television viewers in 208 countries last season, the German Football League (DFL) said Wednesday. We are currently the strongest growing league,' DFL chairman Christian Seifert said. However, the German league still lags behind England's Premier League and the Spanish and Italian leagues on earnings from international broadcasting rights."

Crikey, 13 Apr 2011, Bill Williams: "For an insight into the impact of AFL internationally have a look here. Australia Network television will broadcast seven AFL matches this weekend to 44 countries across Asia, the Pacific and Indian subcontinent this weekend."

Chinese editorial discusses freedom of speech, mentioning VOA and Deutsche Welle.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Global Times (Beijing), 9 Apr 2011, editorial: "Despite China's eye-catching progress in human rights advances, a huge chasm still exists between China and the West in regard to their understanding of those rights. On the one hand, the connotation of China's human rights has been confined as freedom of speech. Some "pro-democracy activists" in China even advocate that speaking freely is a No. 1 human right. On the other, some Western media outlets, such as VOA, depict China as a notorious country without any freedom of speech. It is safe to say that freedom of speech is a relative concept, rather than an absolute one. The Western community has achieved a dynamic balance in the freedom of speech. That is to say, any radical argument would be counterbalanced by the opposite theory. Countries such as the US, Germany and Britain have all resorted to legislation or other media restrictions to counter freedom of speech. For example, to maintain its mainstream outlook, the Deutsche Welle sacked several editors who had said some good words about China."

Tony Harris, ex-CNN, to Al Jazeera English.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post, 13 Apr 2011: "Former CNN anchor Tony Harris—who left the network in December—has found a new home: Al Jazeera English. Harris has moved from Atlanta, where he was based for CNN, to Doha, Qatar, the main headquarters of Al Jazeera. He began anchoring for the network on Tuesday, reporting on the health issues of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. In a statement, Harris said, 'I’m really pleased to have joined. Having an interest in news from around the world, I was attracted by AJE’s global focus and look forward to being involved in stories from all points of the globe. It’s a very exciting time to be coming on board.'"

Discovery Channel Korea set for launch, while Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific claims ratings success.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 11 Apr 2011, onpassing press release: "Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, a unit of the world’s number one nonfiction media company Discovery Communications, and Korea’s Central Multi Broadcasting (CMB) announced on Friday, April 8, a partnership to launch Discovery Channel Korea, a 24-hour locally licensed channel in the market. Discovery Channel is one of the world’s most widely distributed television brands and the flagship channel in Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific’s (DNAP) portfolio. At launch, Discovery Channel Korea will be distributed to over eight million subscribers. ... The launch of Discovery Channel Korea further enhances brand loyalty while meeting the evolving needs of consumers and affiliates alike, capitalising on the strength of the Discovery Channel brand and vast library of content along with CMB’s broadcast experience and reputation as a leading provider of quality cable services in Korea. The channel is expected to reach ten million subscribers by 2012."

Discovery Communications press release, 5 Apr 2011: "Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific (DNAP), a division of the number-one nonfiction media company Discovery Communications, today announced that its flagship brand Discovery Channel (DSC), with a weekly reach of more than 58 million, beat all other competitor international factual and news channels combined in January and February 2011 ... . Discovery Channel is the number one international channel in Asia Pacific, with programmes watched by more than 129 million viewers per month (Peoplemeter, 9 markets). Source: Peoplemeter (7 markets: Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan). Competitive international factual channels: National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, BBC Knowledge, History, Crime & Investigation. International news channels: BBC, CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox News, Sky News."

Russian commentator compares DoS attacks to Soviet-era shortwave jamming.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Moscow Times, 11 Apr 2011, Victor Davidoff: "Among the Soviet Union’s many oddities was radio transmission. As people turned the dial of a shortwave radio, they passed through noise that sounded like a circular saw. Almost 100 powerful transmitters run by the KGB jammed the Voice of America, BBC, Radio Liberty and other stations. Their operations were halted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when the Iron Curtain began to crumble and when there wasn’t enough money to continue this expensive endeavor. The Soviet Union is now history, and radio has long been supplanted by the Internet. But history repeats itself from time to time. Since March, the Russian Internet has been plagued by a series of denial-of-service attacks — the modern version of Soviet radio jamming. First, on March 24, the popular anti-corruption blog of whistleblower Alexei Navalny was attacked. On April 4, a powerful attack paralyzed the entire Russian-language LiveJournal. And on [8 April], a similar attack knocked out the opposition Novaya Gazeta, which, by strange twist of irony, is partially owned by Gorbachev."

Ethiopia denies that it is jamming Deutsche Welle Amharic shortwave braodcasts.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 11 Apr 2011: "Ethiopia denied on Sunday it was jamming Deutsche Welle's (DW) local Amharic language radio shows, after the state-funded German broadcaster appealed for its signal to be restored. ... Government spokesman Bereket Simon told Reuters there was no jamming of services to the Horn of Africa nation. 'Deutsche Welle is heard by only 1 percent of Ethiopians. An independent study (by Electoral Reform International Services) confirmed it,' Bereket told Reuters. 'We know Deutsche Welle is not ethical but I can assure you, with only 1 to 1.5 percent listenership, why should the Ethiopian government care to jam it?'"

CPJ, 11 Apr 2011: "The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling on authorities in Ethiopia to ensure that broadcasts of the German state-funded station Deutsche Welle, which had been jammed, be allowed to air freely. Local journalists confirmed a report by the Bonn-based international broadcaster that its programs were inaudible in Ethiopia last week until Friday. The management of Deutsche Welle told CPJ that the International Broadcasting Bureau, which provides non-military broadcasters with transmission and technical support, confirmed interference on the station's shortwave signal to Ethiopia on April 3, 6 and 7." See previous post about same subject.

The New Age (Midrand, South Africa), 14 Apr 2011, Shannon Field: "The [Ethiopian] regime has also resumed its jamming of the US-financed Voice of America (VOA) language service broadcasts to Ethiopia. The VOA is the only international radio service broadcasting in the three main Ethiopian languages – Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrayan. Any political broadcasts by the VOA are now disrupted, as they provide the opposition with a voice."

Human Rights Watch, 6 Apr 2011: "The Government of Ethiopia should immediately release members of the ethnic Oromo political opposition detained without charge after mass arrests, Human Rights Watch said today. In March 2011, Ethiopian authorities carried out several waves of apparently politically motivated mass arrests of more than 200 ethnic Oromo Ethiopians. ... Reports of the arrests broadcast on Voice of America's Amharic service have been jammed by the government the radio service said in a statement on its website, further raising concerns that the roundups are politically motivated."

Inter-Korean media news includes two views of Radio Free Asia Korean broadcasts.

Posted: 19 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
38 North, 7 Apr 2011, John Delury and Chung-in Moon: "Policymakers in Seoul and Washington rely heavily (whether they know it or not) on testimony or information provided by North Korean defectors. Defectors and networks of informants who move across the China-North Korea border, are key sources for a new constellation of media organizations like Daily NK, Open North Korea Radio, Free North Korea Radio, Good Neighbors, Radio Free Asia (U.S.), Asia Press (Japan), and other internet media. To be sure, people coming out of the DPRK can be important sources of information—for example, these networks brought out information about the 2009 currency reform. However, the new 'media' organizations are not staffed by independent, professional journalists. To the contrary, they are propaganda organs and advocacy organizations designed to undermine regime stability in the North. Their reports frequently lack verification, yet regularly appear in Yonhap News, the leading South Korean government news agency, without any filtering."

Asia Times Online, 19 Apr 2011, Aidan Foster-Carter: "RFA ... is funded by the US government and has an avowed agenda: 'bringing free press to closed societies', as its masthead proclaims. Is that a bad thing? It can of course be done well or badly. On my reading RFA does a good, solid, professional, journalistic job. ... Rarely do I find them merely propagandistic - unlike the official DPRK press, which remains as stodgy and uninformative today as when I first encountered the Pyongyang Times back in the 1960s."

AFP, 19 Apr 2011: "A South Korean man received a suspended jail term Tuesday for retweeting messages from North Korea's official website in the first such case since the communist state launched a cyber propaganda campaign. ... Seoul strictly prohibits the distribution of publications praising Pyongyang. The two Koreas are still technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict. Pyongyang meanwhile tightly limits its own people's access to outside information."

Yonhap, 18 Apr 2011: "Loudspeakers set up along the tense border with North Korea to blare anti-Pyongyang broadcasts were seen as the most effective psychological warfare used by South Korea's military in the late 1990s, a professor who was involved in the operations said Monday. ... Shim Jin-seop, professor of psychology at Chungju National University who took part in the South's military propaganda operations, told a monthly military magazine that most North Korean troops and people trusted messages from the border speakers, rather than AM radio broadcasts or leaflets sent via large balloons. ... Citing a North Korean who defected to the South in 2003, Shim said the broadcasts over the loudspeakers had played a 'decisive role' in letting North Koreans understand the superiority of South Korea, Shim said. Pop songs extolling the freedom and wealth of South Korea and news about the outside world from the loudspeakers had been apparently popular among North Korean troops and people along the border, Shim said." -- Citing one North Korean defector? The messages of the loudspeakers carry only a limited distance over the border. Leaflets can travel farther into North Korea, and medium wave can cover all of North Korea.

AP, 15 Apr 2011: "North Korean defectors in South Korea flew propaganda leaflets across the border on Friday to denounce the North’s third-generation political succession, drawing the ire of locals wary of possible retaliation. A group of about 10 defectors and activists used large helium-filled balloons to send what they said were about 200,000 leaflets and 1,000 US dollar bills from near the heavily fortified border. Another group of South Korean activists sent more balloons with leaflets."

Windsor Star, 4 Apr 2011, Laura Ling: "Despite having a near-total lockdown on information that gets transmitted to its population, Kim's totalitarian regime has to be finding it harder and harder to keep the world at bay. North Korea shares borders with two of the most wired countries in the world, and information is seeping in from both sides."

Director of BBC Global News praises CNN and Al Jazeera, but says they do not have the BBC's "fully global agenda."

Posted: 19 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
journalism.co.uk, 15 Apr 2011, Joel Gunter: "The director of the BBC World Service outlined a new international strategy yesterday as the broadcaster seeks to cope with the prospect of severe funding cuts. Speaking at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Peter Horrocks said the 'Becoming More Global' strategy will involve integrating domestic and foreign news operations and approaching its journalism in a more 'multilingual' and 'multimedia' way. ... He praised the international news efforts of other broadcasters, including CNN, which he complimented for its news partnerships in India and Turkey and for allowing content to flow back from outside of the US, and Al Jazeera, which he said had shaken off 'the burden of the initial reputation that Al Jazeera Arabic attracted' with the launch of its English-language service and recent coverage of uprisings across the Arab world. He also acknowledged the fledgling 'globalism' of some UK print outfits, including the Daily Mail, which he said had set out to appeal to a global English audience, and the Guardian, which launched a significant new US venture earlier this month. But, he added, 'none of these organisations has set out to produce a fully global agenda, in the way I am defining'."

The Beaver (London School of Economics), 14 Apr 2011, Elizabeth Lowell: "According to Horrocks, it is the preoccupation with being truly global which makes BBC Global News unique. He maintained that international journalism is not inherently global. In his opinion, there is a clear difference between applying a national perspective to international events and producing content that embodies a combination of truly international outlooks. It is the latter which Horrocks and his colleagues strive to achieve. He highlighted the collaborative efforts of English BBC correspondents with members of the BBC Arabic teams in covering the recent events in North Africa as examples of the BBC’s innovative work. In an era of globalization, Horrocks articulated the BBC’s objective to provide a diverse public with truly global news 'from the world, and to the world'."

BBC Press Office, 14 Apr 2011, text of Peter Horrocks' speech: "The traditional international public service broadcasters make noble efforts to retain global newsgathering and broadcasting. But of them only Voice Of America and its sister US broadcasting organisations have truly global scope. VOA has 44 languages, 17 more than the BBC, although its audience reach is lower than the BBC's. It is disadvantaged in comparison to the BBC as it has no alliance with a US-based news partner of scale. National Public Radio in the US has made impressive investments in international journalism in recent years and PBS makes a commitment as best it can afford. But they are entirely separate organisations from VOA. This lack of coherence across US public broadcasting hampers the US from bringing the strengths of its global language services together with a properly funded domestic news organisation, the unique advantage that is available to the BBC." -- Recommended reading. In the United States, unlike the UK, the main domestic broadcast news organizations are private, not public. US international broadcasting, after achieving its own "coherence," should form alliances with those private news organizations. I discussed this in Foreign Service Journal, October 2010.

Re BBC World Service cuts, UK Foreign Affairs Committee wants to close gate after the horse has escaped.

Posted: 19 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Committee, 13 Apr 2011: "The BBC World Service is of such value to the nation that its income should be ring-fenced against spending cuts, says the Foreign Affairs Committee in its report into the future of the BBC World Service. The report says that the decision to transfer funding responsibility for the BBC World Service from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to the BBC will have major long-term ramifications for the future of the World Service. The World Service promotes British values across the globe and has a reputation exceeded by none. Despite this, the Service has suffered a disproportionate reduction in its future Grant-in-Aid under the spending review settlement, by comparison with that of the 'core FCO': allowing for inflation, 16% as against 10% across the four years 2010–11 to 2014–15. High-level discussions between the Government and the BBC about a transfer took place for the first time only nine days before the formal announcement of the change, and the approval of the Foreign Secretary was secured only 48 hours before. The decision was essentially financial, taken at very short notice, albeit with the full agreement of BBC top management." With links to reports. Reports in pdf format available on this page, under Report header.

The Guardian, 13 Apr 2011, John Plunkett: "An influential cross-party committee of MPs has called for the cuts to the BBC's World Service to be reversed to protect its global reputation. The Commons foreign affairs select committee said the 16% budget cut imposed on the service as part of the government's comprehensive spending review had 'long-term ramifications' for the 79-year-old broadcaster and called for its future funding to be ringfenced. MPs on the committee called for the World Service budget to be protected to 'prevent any risk of long-term erosion of the World Service's funding and of parliament's right to oversee its work'. They also questioned whether the government's decision to shift responsibility for funding the World Service from the Foreign Office to the BBC licence fee by 2014 would make its budget more secure."

Press Association, 13 Apr 2011: "The BBC said that it welcomed the committee's "strong support" for the World Service. 'The cuts being made to the World Service are a consequence of last autumn's spending review and the BBC regrets the scale and pace of cuts that have been necessary,' it said in a statement."

The Herald (Glasgow), 17 Apr 2011, Trevor Royle: "Leaving aside any qualms about propaganda it’s impossible to think of any geo-strategic areas which are more important at the present moment than the Middle East, China and the Indian sub-continent. We’re not talking megabucks here either. The committee argued that the cuts were a mere 0.35% of the budget spent by the Department of International Development and that in any case the cost represented huge value for money. Let’s not forget that the World Service broadcasts across the globe in 27 languages using a variety of means including television, FM and AM radio, and the internet in all its many forms. For many people the BBC is not just regarded as a reasonably impartial medium but it’s also the face of UK policy and therefore hugely influential. While it’s true that the internet and mobile phone networks have played a key role in disseminating the message during the events of the Arab Spring uprisings wireless broadcasting still has an influential role to play."

Reuters, 13 Apr 2011: "The committee called for 'damage limitation' if the funding is reduced despite its recommendation, in particular to protect BBC Hindi and BBC China Mandarin services but also to boost support for BBC Arabic."

Digital Spy, 13 Apr 2011, Andrew Laughlin: "The National Union of Journalists welcomed the committee's report and called on the cuts at World Service to be reversed before more damage is done. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: 'The committee report is acidly polite in pointing out that there is a "discrepancy between the relatively small amounts of money needed to avoid the most damaging cuts to the World Service and the scale of the Department for International Development Spending Review settlement". ... He added: 'Let's not mince words. The report shows that the cutters have got it badly wrong in attacking the BBC World Service. This report is an opportunity to reverse that disastrous policy.'"

BECTU Media and Entertainment Union, 13 Apr 2011: "Some of what the World Service does contributes to the goals of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the report makes a strong case for transferring funds to the World Service. 'A transfer of just 0.35% of DFID’s budget ... would compensate for the proposed 16% reduction in World Service funding.' The report goes on to note that the only obstacle is the lack of political will."

The Guardian, 13 Apr 2011, editorial: "The foreign affairs committee is often lazily described as influential. The coalition response to this crucial report will help show whether the description is deserved or not."

The Independent, 18 Apr 2011, Stephen Glover: "Thank God the foreign affairs committee is standing up for the World Service. But governments are pig-headedly stubborn. They don't like admitting they have got things wrong. It will need the muscle of powerful newspapers, as well as the constant attention of concerned MPs, if there is to be any chance of putting this right. Those who care about Britain's influence in the world, and want this country to be a force for good, must join the campaign."

Voice of Russia, 14 Apr 2011, Sergey Sayenko: "It seems that the report did not aim to cancel funding or staff cuts at the BBC World Service. The MPs are fully aware that the government will not agree to this. The aim is to complain once more that by cutting down broadcasting to foreign countries, the UK loses an effective lever for influencing the world."

See also BBC News, 12 Apr 2011. BBC News, 13 Apr 2011, Torin Douglas. The Independent, 13 Apr 2011, Ian Burrell. Press Gazette, 13 Apr 2011, Andrew Pugh.

Out: BBC Hindi. In: "major marketing drive in India for BBC Entertainment" (updated).

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Mint (Delhi), 4 Mar 2011, Supriya Nair: Deepak Shourie, director for BBC Worldwide Channels, South Asia, and their television channel BBC Entertainment "took charge last year, coming to his new project at a moment of transition in the subcontinent’s history with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). In January, the BBC announced that it would shut down BBC Hindi, a radio news service that has run for over seven decades in India, on 1 April. In February, BBC Worldwide began its first major marketing drive in India for BBC Entertainment, its non-news-based television channel that airs the channel’s entertainment, lifestyle and factual programming. Adverse reactions over the announcement about BBC Hindi indicated the standard of credibility associated with it. 'It’s an amazing brand,' Shourie says. 'I remember a time before instant news took over, when it was the only radio news channel that you relied on to get your world news and reporting. But things have changed — the media has changed.' ... There may be no BBC Entertainment Hindi for a while yet, but India-specific content may come not too far into the future. 'It’s always a good idea,' he says. 'Particularly in lifestyle programming—you’d rather see an Indian home, not a British one.' More immediately exciting, however, is the thought of the storehouse of India-specific programming sitting buried in the BBC’s massive libraries, stretching back decades. 'A new BBC look has to rely on the best it has to offer,' he says."

Sify, 11 Apr 2011, Priyanka Joshi: "Two years ago, it was on air for just 12 hours every day, that too on a single DTH platform. But BBC Entertainment is now a 24-hour channel making serious efforts to grab space in the TV viewing space in India. Primetime family viewing on the BBC Entertainment channel today includes programmes such as Sherlock, the critically acclaimed contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories, and Food Super Highway that have helped it reach 17 million households. ... The channel hopes to be in 20 million homes in the next few months. ... BBC Entertainment, which claims to have a higher female skew than other channels and caters to viewers of English genres (age between 15 years and 34 years), is busy fortifying its distribution in India."

Coverage of Arab Spring uprisings as "Al Jazeera moment," and more Al Jazeera in the news.

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 9 Apr 2011, Toby Harnden: "[T]he 'Arab Spring' uprisings of 2011 are being hailed in Washington as the 'Al-Jazeera moment', just as coverage of the 1991 Gulf war by an upstart cable channel is said to have been the 'CNN moment' that transformed American news. Many believe that the current significance of Al-Jazeera is even more profound, arguing that the network has not just reflected, in its trademark gritty, real-time fashion, what has been happening from Sanaa to Tunis but has actually helped create revolution. Critics and supporters alike view Al-Jazeera more as a committed instigator of change than a dispassionate impartial chronicler of events. Most of its viewers in the Arab world resent the existence of Israel and many are sympathetic to the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Few would dispute that Al-Jazeera reflects this."

Brisbane Times, 9 Apr 2011, Jason Koutsoukis: "While al-Jazeera has been zealous in coverage of change across most of the Arab world, some critics have charged that it has treated important allies closer to home slightly differently. When protests erupted in Bahrain just as Mubarak was forced from office in Egypt, al-Jazeera appeared to play down the story. Qatar later sent troops to help Saudi Arabia put down the protests there."

Reuters, 14 Apr 2011, Andrew Hammond: "'Bahrain does not exist as far as Al Jazeera is concerned, and they have avoided inviting Bahraini or Omani or Saudi critics of those regimes,' said As'ad AbuKhalil, politics professor at California State University. 'Most glaringly, Al Jazeera does not allow one view that is critical of Bahraini repression to appear on the air. The GCC has closed ranks and Qatar may be rewarded with the coveted post of secretary-general of the Arab League.' Despite a wealth of material, there were no stirring montages featuring comments by protesters or scenes of violence against activists in Bahrain. Al Jazeera has produced such segments to accompany Egyptian and Tunisian coverage. ... The channel and its leading competitor, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, operate in a crowded news market that includes Hezbollah's Al Manar, BBC Arabic, France 24, Iran's Al Alam and Egyptian channels, catering to some 300 million Arabic speakers."

Xinhua, 11 Apr 2011: "Yemeni security authorities closed the office of Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite TV Channel in Sanaa and revoked its permit, the state-run Saba news agency reported on [9 April]."

AFP, 10 Apr 2011: "The editor of Syrian government daily Tishrin said on Saturday she had been sacked over remarks to Al Jazeera television criticising security forces for firing on anti-regime protesters."

journalism.co.uk, 13 Apr 2011, Rachel McAthy: At its peak Al Jazeera's citizen media platform Sharek was receiving up to 1,600 videos per day, prompting the broadcaster to work on building its resources to dealing with, and verifying, this material."

Mediaite, 7 Apr 2011, Mark Joyella: "Was Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney sending a subtle signal in his choice of ties when he went on Hannity? In a strange exchange that led Varney-who was on the show to talk about the possibility of a government shutdown-to ask, 'is this a new show called ambush?' The 'ambush' was over Varney's yellow silk tie, which seemed-to Fox contributor Dana Perino-to be vaguely reminiscent of the logo of the Al-Jazeera network." -- Perino is a member of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Radio Moscow broadcasters reminisce about its North American Service in the 1980s.

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 17 Apr 2011: "Vasily (Strelnikov) and Nataly (Stefanova) are joined in the studio by World Service broadcasters Svetlana Ekimenko and Nataly Zemtsova for a look back at Radio Moscow in the 80’s and some of the famous voices heard round the globe on shortwave." With 25-minute audio. -- Vasily Strenikov, well known personality on Radio Moscow's North American Service during the 1980s, has returned to successor Voice of Russia to co-host "From Moscow with Love" with Nataly Stefanova.

Yuri Gagarin's space flight: "Our 'Internet' at that time was short-wave radio."

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Providence Journal, 11 Apr 2011, Thomas J. Morgan: James W. Head III, a professor of planetary geosciences at Brown University "was a geology student in college when along came the announcement of Gagarin’s triumph. It was enough to steer him toward planetary geology, but he was first inspired by Sputnik. 'I was a high school student, a budding geologist, looking down on the ground,' he said. 'Sputnik made me look up. Our "Internet" at that time was short-wave radio. I was able to listen to Radio Moscow at home and find out the times to tune in when Sputnik was over my house. I thought, "Maybe I could go into space." Those two things — Sputnik and Gagarin — made me change my thinking.' Head got a job with NASA, training astronauts for the Apollo program. When the cost of the Vietnam War brought the moon-landing program to an end, he signed on with Brown University, where he has resided for 35 years. Head ran into only one hitch in his youth, when he was corresponding with Radio Moscow about Sputnik and receiving return letters with 'beautiful Russian space stamps.' Admiring the stamps one day, he looked up. 'My aunt was standing there with a dire look in her eye. I learned later that she worked for the CIA. She was sure I would never get a job with the government.'"

Voice of Russia coverage of Gagarin's space flight includes a multi-part documentary about the aircraft accident in 1968 that killed him.

Sports via shortwave: four accounts from years past.

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
GroundReport, 11 Apr 2011, Proloy Bagchi: "Not only would I play cricket in school and college, I would also, apart from reading books on cricket, avidly listen to the running commentary of matches over the radio. We would tune in to Radio Australia early in the morning to catch the Australia-England 'Ashes' series or listen to the BBC till late into the night for the matches played in England with the edifying comments in ‘poetic’ prose by the legendary John Arlott. I still recall the embarrassing Test of 1952 at Headingley, Leeds where India were four wickets down for no-score."

Vital Footbal, 9 Apr 2011, Tokyo Villan: "I was a Villa Park regular, including reserve and youth team matches, right through to 1985 when I decided to live and work in Japan. ... In the days before satellite TV and the internet, it was tough following Villa from so far away. A short wave radio for the BBC World Service, a subscription to the Sports Argus and weekly trips to the British Council to read the newspapers, were my main points of contact."

GhanaWeb, 10 Apr 2011, T Morris: The 1960s "was the time when Africa has only a single slot at the world cup. It was the era of short-wave radio broadcast as live TV broadcast of soccer encounters were non-existent."

Las Vegas Review-Journal, 17 Apr 2011, Steve Carp: "Lowell Rice recalls when the family lived in Kenya while he and Linda were teaching high school in the late 1970s as part of a missionary program for their church and he constructed a court so his boys could play basketball. ... When they were inside, they would listen to basketball. Lowell would dial his shortwave radio to the Armed Forces Network at 2 a.m. and wake up Dave to listen together to Chick Hearn's play-by-play of Los Angeles Lakers games."

WSJ op-ed: Web is important, but radio remains essential for VOA Mandarin.

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 18 Apr 2011, L. Gordon Crovitz: "Dan Austin, the director of VOA, told me last week that more than one million Chinese a month are using VOA's link to circumvention software in order to jump over China's firewall. Almost two million Iranians use these VOA circumvention tools. By some estimates, with modest new funding, VOA could help 50 million more people get access to the open Web. U.S. broadcasters recently sought bids from technology companies to push text messages into closed countries. ... A focus on the Web for VOA, especially reinforced with circumvention tools, makes some sense, but it's wrong to think that new media completely replace what came before. The Web is important, but radio remains an essential medium in China, where most people still don't have access even to the censored Web. Firing the journalists who create the content in languages like Mandarin undermines both Web and radio efforts."

Radio is not an especially popular medium in China. Only about 13% of households have radios, compared to about 100% with television sets. Nevertheless, a combination of internet and shortwave radio is still the best way to get information into China. The fundamental flaw of US international broadcasting is that its resources are divided among competing, overlapping entities. VOA will be deprived of shortwave. Radio Free Asia will have both shortwave and internet, but does not cover world and US news. The structure of US international broadcasting does not allow for a single station that has all the ingredients necessary for success.

Heritage Foundation, 15 Apr 2011, Helle Dale: "The decision to cut Voice of America (VOA) Broadcasting to China has attracted a good deal of congressional attention, as well it should. ... There is a model for the proposed strategy: VOA’s Russian service, whose broadcasting was ended 10 days before Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and never returned to the air. The Russian service Web site today is only a shadow of the former proud VOA presence, according to internal reports produced for the BBG itself. The Russian service is still in search of a niche, and it is often failing to cover the tough issues of Russia’s human rights violations, among them lack of press freedom. ... Other parts of U.S. international broadcasting have also had to endure budget shortfalls. At Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a different set of savings were made that aim to protect reporters and broadcasters, who perform the core mission of broadcasting, combining their work with a well-designed Web site featuring their stories. On the site of RFE/RL’s research and analysis Newsline site, the following statement can be found. 'Dear Newsline Subscriber: The weakening U.S. dollar is placing our company, which broadcasts in 28 languages to 21 countries, under enormous budgetary pressure. I was faced with the difficult choice of scaling back RFE/RL’s broadcasting efforts or making cuts to our research and analysis capabilities. Because our core mandate is to broadcast uncensored information to parts of the world where free and independent media are fragile or nonexistent, I chose the latter.' Signed Jeffrey Gedmin, President, RFE/RL, Inc."

The answer to the dilemma of US international broadcasting involves a reading of this commentary that is more careful than its writing. If VOA and Radio Free stations were not both broadcasting in some 20 of the same languages, the savings would allow for both broadcasting and reseaerch, and for both shortwave and internet.

See previous post about same subject.

BBG announces David Ensor will be the next director of the Voice of America.

Posted: 18 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
BBG press release, 18 Apr 2011: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has selected award-winning broadcaster and communications executive David Ensor to serve as the next director of the Voice of America (VOA). VOA reaches an audience of 123 million people with unbiased news and information in 44 languages across multiple media platforms. 'The democracy uprisings of the past two months have shown the critical importance of the free flow of credible information in empowering people around the world. The Voice of America has been pursuing this mission for seventy years by providing great journalism and a clear presentation of America and its policies,' said Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the BBG which oversees all U.S. international broadcasting including the VOA. 'David Ensor is uniquely suited to lead VOA in fulfilling this dual mission. We are deeply honored that he would continue to be of service to journalism and to his country by following in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow and John Chancellor.' ... In welcoming David Ensor, the BBG thanked retiring VOA Director Danforth Austin for his outstanding leadership. The Board recognized Austin’s role in improving VOA's ability to engage with and grow audiences across multiple media platforms, integrating broadcast, online and social media while remaining steadfast to the principles of sound journalism enshrined in the VOA charter. Appointed to the post in October 2006, Austin has been one of the longest serving VOA directors."

China Radio International uses Intelsat to reach Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa.

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Intelsat press release, 11 Apr 2011: "In January, China Radio International renewed its contract with Intelsat for three additional years. China Radio has 43 audio channels for global distribution on Intelsat 8 serving the Asia Pacific region and Australia; Intelsat 9 serving North and South America; Intelsat 10 serving Europe and Africa; and one channel on Intelsat 14, which serves West Africa. Intelsat’s Napa, Calif., and Ellenwood, Ga., teleports provide the turnaround services." -- Imagine VOA having access to turnaround services inside China.

Iran's Press TV is a free-to-air satellite channel in Zimbabwe (updated: and elsewhere in Africa).

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Standard (Harare), 3 Apr 2011, Stanlake Patsikemhandu: "[S]ince Zanu PF is unwilling to open up the airwaves, there is scope for enterprising entrepreneurs to establish television and radio stations in neighbouring states and throughout the world. These would broadcast specifically to the Zimbabwean market through free-to-air channels since almost 50% of viewers use this mode. What would then be needed are offices and journalists in the country. Such stations can be at border towns such as Messina in South Africa, Manica in Mozambique, Francistown in Botswana or Livingstone in Zambia, or even in Johannesburg or London. Most of us now view [South Africa's] Sabc 1 to 3, BTV, France 24, Iran’s Press TV, Ezekiel TV etc. Imagine if Ezekiel Guti of Zaoga-F would turn Ezekiel TV from being a wholly gospel channel into a national television station with news, sports, finance, business, music, entertainment etc and advertise it in the local media."

Update: Intelsat press release, 11 Apr 2011: "In January, leading African DTH provider MultiChoice signed a multi-year, multi-transponder contract to renew a capacity commitment on the Intelsat 10 satellite (IS-10) through the transition to the Intelsat 20 satellite (IS-20). The company also expanded its capacity commitment supporting digital terrestrial television (DTT) on the Intelsat 904 satellite (IS-904). MultiChoice is using the capacity on both satellites to transmit programming to more than six million subscribers across Africa. Also in Africa, Viewsat expanded its commitment for capacity at 68.5º E., adding to its presence on the popular African distribution neighborhood. Viewsat distributes free-to-air programming that reaches all Sub-Saharan countries. It carries religious and general entertainment programming that currently includes Press TV, KICC TV, and Supreme Master TV. Intelsat’s IS-20 not only offers access to Viewsat’s industry-leading African video neighborhoods, but also provides Viewsat with access to the right audiences beyond Africa as it expands its offerings, regions served and subscribers."

The Zimbabwe Telegraph, 6 Apr 2011, onpassing BBC Monitoring report on Zimbabwe: "While Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF government and its supporters have strengthened President Robert Mugabe’s grip on power by cracking down on the independent media, taking measures such as pulling down satellite dishes and confiscating radios, digital media (on the internet and mobile phones) have proved to be largely beyond their reach."

"NHK World 'J-Music Live Special' with Alice Nine, SID, girugamesh and many, many more!"

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
musicJAPANplus.jp, 11 Apr 2011: "NHK WORLD 'J-Music Live Special' with Alice Nine, SID, girugamesh and many, many more! It has just been announced that NHK WORLD will be airing a special on Japanese music, which will present a great line-up of various artists, whereas Visual-kei is of course greatly featured. To make the program viewable for many people around the world, the airing time of the 4-part program is scheduled with a number of re-runs."

For pan-Arab news channels, audiences are up, but advertising revenues are down.

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 7 Apr 2011, Ben Flanagan: Despite rising audience "figures at Arab channels such as Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, advertising spending has dipped. TV advertising is big business in Saudi Arabia, where the average adult watches almost six hours of television a day, according to Parc figures. In February, the average resident of Saudi Arabia watched Al Arabiya news station for 47 minutes a day - compared with just 14 minutes a year ago, Parc reports. But this has not helped advertising revenue at Al Arabiya. During the Arab protests, ad revenue has dropped by at least 15 per cent. ... Covering breaking news may be expensive, but the brand value of stations such as Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera has been heightened during the uprisings, and that is likely to have a long-term commercial benefit."

Discovery-owned Military Channel will air Russian-produced documentaries.

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Television Business Intermnational, 8 Apr 2011: "A raft of documentaries from Russian state-backed broadcaster VGRTK will be seen in the US for the first time after Discovery took international rights to the content and it was picked up by its US cable net the Military Channel, TBIvision has learned. Discovery inked a seven-year representation deal for a 130-hour catalogue of VGRTK Russian history programming at the end of last month and launched it internationally at MIP TV this week. Programming includes World War II, Cold War and biography docs, none of which have been seen outside Russia before. The distribution deal allowed Discovery networks to air content from the catalogue and the Discovery-owned Military Channel has taken 40 hours of the content."

Visit to the gates of Fukushima-1 by VOA's Steve Herman noted by news media.

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 1 Apr 2011: "VOA correspondent Steve Herman is back in the forefront of reporting the Japanese nuclear disaster story after he and another American journalist became the first to reach the grounds of the crippled Fukushima-1 power plant. Herman, traveling with a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, was stopped at the main gate to the badly damaged nuclear plant on Wednesday after traversing a series of roadblocks in the 20 kilometer radiation exclusion zone declared March 13. Guards turned the vehicle away after it reached the site of the disaster, which has been equated with the Chernobyl nuclear explosion. ... Herman says he was compelled to visit the reactor site this week to get a 'first-hand look at the subject he has been reporting on.' He says, the visit was 'carefully calculated to avoid unnecessary risk' and undertaken while there was still no legal reason preventing entry into the zone."

CNN, 14 Apr 2011, Dash Harris: "Voice of America correspondent Steve Herman, was the first of two American reporters to drive to the grounds of the crippled Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant." With video. -- Also interviewed on ABC World News, 16 Apr 2011.

NPR The Two-Way blog, 14 Apr 2011, Mark Memmott: "As for what they saw, Herman says that 'for most of the 20-kilometer journey we spotted only police, military and other official vehicles. Even those we could count on one hand.'"

Australian Broadcastiong Corporation Correspondents Report, 17 Apr 2011, Brendan Trembath interviewing Steve Herman: "[W]hen we got to the gate, the main gate of the nuclear one Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant we were greeted, and perhaps greeted is the wrong word, by a couple of security guards who were dressed in the full hazmat outfits wearing yellow helmets and also wearing dual intake respirators. We tried to communicate with them; they really didn't say anything to us at all and kept giving us the signal to make a U-turn."

Steve Herman continues to report from Japan via twitter.com/w7voa.

If David Ensor does become the new VOA director, this is the sort of press coverage he will have to overcome.

Posted: 17 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
TreeHugger.com, 15 Apr 2011, Matthew McDermott: "Interesting in [a] VOA write up: '...that some scientists say are the primary cause of global warming...'. Remember that Voice of America is essentially if not explicitly the propaganda service of the US government. No doubt 'some scientists' is included because the current US position on global warming and action to stop it is utterly lacking." -- TreeHugger.com is a website owned by Discovery Communications.

AlterNet, 14 Apr 2011, Rory O'Connor interviewing Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire: "Q: [Y]ou reference the rather infamous US Information Agency effort to train Afghans in journalism at Boston University. How did this program come about? How was it flawed? Were there other, similar ones? A: The main program was run out of the School of Public Communication at BU and spearheaded by Dean Joachim Maitre, who was a defector from the East German Air Force. This was done under the leadership of John Silber, who had come to BU from Texas and turned the left-liberal orientation of the university into a flagship for a pro-business right wing ideology. ... The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan represented a field day for this group and BU acted as a kind of incubator. ... It wasn't really academic at all. It was a flat out bogus propaganda operation intended to win support from foreign audiences through the Voice of America. Of course some of it eventually fed back into the American media and was aired as legitimate news stories."

Asian Tribune, 15 Apr 2011, Daya Gamage: "Solely funded by the U.S. Government, controlled by government appointed board of governors, the American government’s foreign affairs arm the State Department’s publicity unit Voice of America (VOA) offered its broadcasting facility to air war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka clearly making a mockery out of internationally accepted Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. ... The VOA has given wide propaganda to the endeavors of Bruce Fein and the Southern California-based Tamils Against Genocide, enhanced publicity, obviously under the patronage of the State Department, to the claim that the Sri Lanka Government committed war crimes." Refers to VOA News, 13 Apr 2011, Laurel Bowman.

Politico reports that former CNN correspondent David Ensor will be the new VOA director.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Politico Playbook, 16 Apr 2011, Mike Allen: "EXCLUSIVE -- TO BE ANNOUNCED MONDAY – 'David Ensor to serve as Director of Voice of America: The Broadcasting Board of Governors has selected … David Ensor … as the next director of the Voice of America. … Ensor has been Director for Communications and Public Diplomacy of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan since January 2010 and will join VOA in June. … He was CNN’s National Security Correspondent and prior to that, an ABC News correspondent, with assignments in Washington, Moscow, Rome, and Warsaw.”

$10 million in internet circumvention funds rerouted from State Department to Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Examiner, 12 Apr 2011, Rob Bluey: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors will receive $10 million under the compromise spending deal reached last week. President Obama effectively sided with the BBG over his own State Department in a funding dispute involving Internet circumvention work. Obama and lawmakers agreed to language in the fiscal 2011 spending bill cutting the State Department’s share and giving the BBG a portion to 'expand unrestricted access to information on the Internet.' The BBG operates five government-sponsored international broadcasting networks. At stake was $30 million to advance Internet freedom. The BBG, which previously received $1.4 million from the State Department, was unlikely to get any funding this year without congressional intervention. As a result of the deal, which still must be approved by Congress, the BBG is guaranteed $10 million for its anti-censorship work in China and other repressive regimes."

Washington Post, 13 Apr 2011, Mary Beth Sheridan: "A Senate staff member working on the issue said that using the broadcasting board to provide access to the Internet was a 'double bonus,' because the technology would take users first to a particular Web site, perhaps the Voice of America’s. If the State Department provides the technology, 'it’s just going to take them straight to Google. That’s kind of stupid, given all the money we put into international broadcasting,' said the staff member, who was not authorized to comment on the record."

Commentary, 13 Apr 2011, Ted R. Bromund "[I]t is particularly pleasing that the budget deal makes provision to transfer $10 million in funding for internet freedom promotion from the State Department (which so far has done nothing but sit on the money) to the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The agency that supervises Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty along with six other independent broadcasting organizations, the BBG appears to have done something remarkable with the nominal amounts it has received to date: it has used technology that actually works. The budget deal has problems, but this is one distinctly good part of it. To date, the Obama administration’s strategy on internet freedom has been to talk a lot, but to do absolutely nothing that would alienate China. Thanks to Senator Richard Lugar, who led the charge on this issue, the administration has been forced to back away, if ever so slightly, from its strategy. The Chinese have told us very clearly what they are afraid of, and where they think they are vulnerable. We would be foolish not to take advantage."

Los Angeles Times, 9 Apr 2011, Brian Bennett: "Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said the State Department should pay for known technology to protect Internet users rather than provide seed money to develop new systems. 'Rather than peddling around with mini-grants and a phony so-called venture capital strategy, we could really make history,' he said. Clinton has argued that a one-size-fits-all approach is too narrow, however. 'We support multiple tools, so if repressive governments figure out how to target one, others are available,' she told students at George Washington University in February."

Washington Post, 7 Apr 2011, letter from Michael H. Posner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor: "Regarding Anne Applebaum’s April 5 op-ed column, 'Freedom firewalls': Over the past 18 months, the State Department has distributed nearly $22 million in grants to support Internet freedom. This is a matter of public record. We have funded a dozen circumvention technologies, including the two Ms. Applebaum mentioned, Freegate and Ultrasurf. The Broadcasting Board of Governors uses some of the same technologies to drive traffic to its sites. This is complementary but distinctly different from the objective of our Internet freedom program." See also previous post about same subject.

AP, 8 Apr 2011: "The State Department’s annual human rights report paints a worrying picture of countries 'spending more time, money and attention in efforts to curtail access to these new communications outlets.' More than 40 governments are now blocking their citizens’ access to the Internet, and the firewalls, regulatory restrictions and technologies are all 'designed to repress speech and infringe on the personal privacy of those who use these rapidly evolving technologies.' Presenting the mammoth, 7,000-page report, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said curtailing Internet freedom meant violating the fundamental rights of expression, assembly and association."

State Department's new Persian-speaking spokesman could appear on Iranian media.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 9 Apr 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari: "The State Department has appointed a Persian-language spokesperson for the first time, and he could appear on Iran’s state-owned media. The move seems to be part of an increased effort by the Obama administration to reach out to Iranians directly. Alan Eyre, the recently appointed Persian-language spokesperson who headed the Iran office at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai, is a fluent Farsi speaker who peppers his Farsi with Iranian proverbs and expressions. In the past week, Eyre has been interviewed in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda and also by VOA’s Persian television and the Persian Service of the BBC. ... Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philo Dibble ... said the United States recognizes the importance of communicating directly with Iranians and in order to do that -- to make clear that the United States supports the kind of changes it believes Iranians want to see in their government -- the State Department has decided to communicate policy messages via interviews by spokespersons who are fluent in Persian. 'Those interviews clearly must include Iranian state-owned media,' Dibble said. 'For years, private sector studies have shown that the majority of Iranians -- upwards of 80 percent -- get their news from government-owned media. We are offering those media appearances by U.S. official spokespersons on live Iranian TV and radio in Farsi. We hope that by engaging with all aspects of Persian-language media -- private, Western, Iranian state-owned and, of course, Radio Farda and VOA Persian -- we will expand what Iranians hear about U.S. foreign policy and enable them to hear messages directly from U.S. sources.'"

Financial Times advertising its "channel-neutral" global news via international channels.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
afaqs!, 11 Apr 2011, FT press release: "Today, the Financial Times launches an international advertising campaign that underscores the FT's position as the go-to source for global news and analysis and its channel-neutral strategy in delivering the FT's award-winning content whenever and wherever readers wish to consume it. ... The television component will air on networks that include CNN (Asia), CNBC (Europe) and BBC World. The campaign will run throughout 2011."

History Channel will launch in India with "substantial" local production.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 7 Apr 2011, Robert Briel: "The launch of History in India within the next two months makes it the second largest History channel in the world – after the US version, said Sean Cohan, SVP, International, AETN. ... The launch of History India was originally announced last August, and is a joint venture with India’s Network 18, which holds 51% with AETN holding 49%. The JV, called AETN-18 India, will first launch History India, with other AETN channels to follow. Ratings wise, the various AETN channels are doing well in a lot of territories. 'In South-East Asia, for example, where we have a large age gap with Discovery and National Geographic, who have been there for a long time. We have been there just three or four years and are doing very well.' One of the reasons for the ratings’ success is local production, 'We don’t just make a local language version, local production on our channels is really substantial.' From the outset, AETN has a ‘double digit’ percentage of local production and it shows in the ratings, said Cohan."

Radio Free Sarawak, on shortwave, says it is jammed by gospel music.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Free Malaysia Today, 15 Apr 2011, Tashny Sukumaran: "Radio Free Sarawak (RFS), one of the few voices critical of the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sarawak, is being subjected to jamming. 'The first jamming happened yesterday… all on the 15425kHz (frequency) which is next to our station’s 15420kHz,' said Clare Rewcastle Brown, who operates the radio station and blog Sarawak Report from Covent Garden in London. 'Our experts have now traced the attack to a known agent in Belgium, who is an established broker of transmission times. He has admitted that he has been hired to broadcast at the same time and in the same frequency as our station.' Brown, a journalist, said the agent admitted that the contract was worth 'a considerable amount of money'. He has been enlisted until December, although it is clear that his 'jamming” services were only important during the election period. Brown said the broker has been paid to broadcast his gospel music across the RFS signal range at double the normal broadcast strength (a full 200 kilowatts)."

Free Malaysia Today, 15 Apr 2011, letter from Francis Loh: "[T]he ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) ... has resorted to cyber attacks on the websites of Sarawak Report, Radio Free Sarawak, Malaysiakini.com to prevent Sarawakians accessing alternative information and news."

Borneo Post, 12 Apr 2011, Conny Banji: "The government is investigating Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) to determine whether the broadcasters had flouted sedition laws or waylaying the public with innuendos which border on security issues. Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Dato Sri Utama Dr Rais Yatim said they could simply terminate the signal from any Internet or shortwave source as it would contravene the Geneva Convention on human rights."

Australia Broadcasting Corporation, 7.30, 14 Apr 2011, Mikle Sexton: "Every day in a flat in the heart of London an unlikely duo broadcasts to an audience on the other side of the world. Behind the microphone is Peter John Jaban, the grandson of a head-hunter from the jungles of Borneo and behind the scenes is British investigative reporter Clare Rewcastle-Brown, sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. ... Together they run Radio Free Sarawak, a tiny operation campaigning against one of Asia's most successful politicians, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Taib Mahmud, whose business empire reportedly stretches across the globe, including Australia."

See previous post about same subject.

Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act calls for continued support for broadcasting to Belarus.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Naviny.by, 7 Apr 2011: "'Over a hundred days have passed since Alexander Lukashenko staged a fraudulent election, arrested candidates who dared to stand against him, and suppressed Belarusians’ access to free press and information,' Mr. Kerry, chairman of the Senate`s Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement on April 6. ... The Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2011 would amend the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004 to authorize assistance for the purpose of promoting democracy and civil society in Belarus. The bill expresses the sense of Congress that the president should continue to support radio, television and Internet broadcasting by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, as well as Polish-based European Radio for Belarus and Belsat TV. ... The Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2006 authorized ... $15 million for radio and television broadcasting to the country." -- RFE/RL has a Belarusian-language service, but VOA does not.

VOA director Dan Austin: "We show the world what it means to be responsible."

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Voice of America website, Inside VOA (undated): "On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, VOA Director Dan Austin spoke on the changing face of public diplomacy at an event sponsored by George Washington University's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. ... Broadcast pioneer Walter Roberts, who helped build VOA in 1942, funds an endowment at the Institute and was an honored guest and featured speaker at the evening event." With videos.

From text (pdf) of Dan Austin's speech: "The Voice of America and its sister networks do not do propaganda. And neither do other international broadcasters who recognize that credibility with an audience is the most powerful tool they have, that reporting news accurately and fairly and completely in order to help people reach their own decisions is an end, not a means. If we draw the line between honest, fair reporting and analysis and 'influence operations' that are disguised as journalism, we show the world what it means to be responsible. We also give the people of the world, who know propaganda when they see it, a clear choice of whom to believe, and whom to ignore or reject."

Rep. Rohrabacher holds his "do you still beat your wife?" hearing on US international broadcasting.

Posted: 16 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL News, 7 Apr 2011, Richard Solash: "Is U.S. government funded international broadcasting living up to expectations? Or, as Representative Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California) has put it, 'Is America's Overseas Broadcasting Undermining our National Interest and the Fight Against Tyrannical Regimes?' That was the title of an April 6 hearing he convened in his role as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Rohrabacher told a standing-room-only hearing that he was concerned that U.S.-funded international broadcasters, which are overseen by the presidentially appointed Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), might be putting too great an emphasis on objective news reporting and not enough on the promotion of American values and interests. ... Others argue that if U.S. broadcasting is only aimed at promoting the current White House administration's policy, it will lose credibility with its audience -- an outcome that authoritarian leaders would welcome. ... Rohrabacher countered by saying that Radio Farda and the VOA's PNN have sometimes 'used official Iranian government sources for their reporting.' He said, 'Giving air time to the Iranian government is a misguided effort to have a journalistic balance. The American tax payers should not be furthering the Mullah's repressive views.' ... Also testifying at the hearing was Robert Reilly, a former director of Voice of America. He said that the goal of U.S. broadcasting was once to provide listeners with hope, something that cannot be achieved by reporting the news. 'Reliable news was always a part of U.S. broadcasting, but the mission was never reduced to just that,' Reilly said. ... 'Hope is a theological virtue -- it is not engendered by the news.'"

If listeners are looking for theological virtue, there are plenty of religious stations on the shortwave dial. There are also plenty of stations that provide only one side of the story, or that try to mix news and advocacy in some sort of "strategic communications" gambit. None of these stations have much audience. BBC World Service has the most audience of any international broadcaster, and that is mainly because its protects its independence and credibility above all else. US decision makers are now deciding whether US international broadcasting will have an audience, or not.

The Institute of World Politics, 6 Apr 2011, press release: "On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, IWP President John Lenczowski and Research Fellow Amir Fakhravar testified before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee ... . Dr. Lenczowski emphasized the importance of international broadcasting as an instrument of U.S. foreign and national security policy, particularly in an age in which certain countries have the capability and the will to censor the internet and social media. He described that such broadcasts, whether received over the radio or the internet, can create enormous hope in oppressed populations. He also explained the ways in which this sort of public diplomacy would be strategically helpful in current situations abroad, and outlined specific recommendations for U.S. public diplomacy and broadcasting strategy, including a reorganization of U.S. international broadcasting. Mr. Fakhravar, who was testifying on behalf of the Confederation of Iranian Students, described his arrest in Iran for speaking out against the Iranian regime, the relief he felt when he heard news from Voice of America that was not manufactured by the regime, and his surprise at hearing anti-American sentiments broadcasted [sic] on VOA."

Public Diplomacy Council, 9 Apr 2011, Alan Heil: "From 1948 until 1987, VOA was far and away the leading international broadcaster to Russia, despite intermittent jamming. Today, of the 165 million weekly listeners to and viewers of U.S. government-funded overseas broadcasts, 123 million listen to VOA. That’s because it has strived mightily to live by its Charter (Public Law 103-415) mandating it to be an accurate, objective and comprehensive source of news and 'straight arrow' reflector of significant American thought, institutions, policies and policy debates. Just the facts, not propaganda. 'The cutting edge of honest facts,' to quote the late legendary VOA news director Bernie Kamenske, 'reflects our values.' Spin doesn’t work." See previous post about same subject.

Links to testimony of all witnesses on this page of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and link to the webcast on this page.

Some international stations might have given a broadcaster an award for helping "foment a revolution."

Posted: 15 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
London Evening Standard, 7 Apr 2011, Tom Harper: "A BBC newsreader has resigned after extraordinary claims that he helped foment a revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Standard can reveal. Arslan Koichiev, 45, who presented and produced a daily show for the country's six million people, allegedly acted as mentor for a rebel leader. The BBC World Service presenter was even pursued by secret police who tried to kill him with acid, according to the new children's minister of Kyrgyzstan, Aliasbek Alymkulov.

"Mr Alymkulov claimed that Koichiev arranged secret meetings 'through the BBC' and marched on the presidential palace during the April 7 uprising last year. In a further bizarre twist, Koichiev, 45, is accused of appearing on a Kyrgyz radio station under a pseudonym and disguising his voice. He denies the claims. The revolution toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who had ruled the central Asian country since 2005. ...

"When the extraordinary claims about Koichiev filtered back to London the BBC launched an internal investigation and the presenter resigned. ... The BBC has strict rules governing the impartiality of its journalists. It is also potentially damaging for the World Service. ... It is understood Koichev denies any suggestion he took part in the revolution. However, BBC bosses did believe the claim about the radio station. The Standard was unable to reach Koichiev. A relative said he was in Kyrgyzstan."

Evaluator thinks VOA Russian website is insufficiently ambiguous.

Posted: 15 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Free Media Online, 5 Apr 2011, Ted Lipien: "An independent outside expert evaluation of the Voice of America (VOA) Russian news website content, ordered by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) which manages VOA and other U.S. government-funded radios, suggests that VOA is confused about its mission and fails to counter the Kremlin’s propaganda. The evaluator, a highly respected independent journalist who fights media censorship in Russia, believes there is a deliberate downplaying of human rights news coverage on the VOA Russian website. He also concluded that the VOA Russian Service has a 'pro-Russia bias,' or more accurately, a 'pro-Putin' bias, and relies too much on Russian sources. A separate internal VOA program review evaluation of the Russian website confirmed a strong desire on the part of the management to offer more coverage of non-political stories. ... Asked whether there is an appropriate selection of topics on the [VOA Russian web] site, or too much political or non-political coverage, the independent journalist-evaluator questioned whether managers and editors understand the mission of U.S. international broadcasting to countries like Russia. 'The answer to this question depends on how one understands VOA’s mission. As I see it, the purpose of the VOA Russian website is to provide objective information and free comment, especially where these are limited for political reasons, and to promote American (or, for that matter, universal) values, such as democracy, human rights etc.'"

If he/she is a truly "a highly respected independent journalist who fights media censorship," then his/her alarm bells should have been set off by a "mission" that implausibly tries to reconcile the provision pf "objective information" with the promotion of American values, commendable though they may be. I don't think most respected news organizations would describe what they do in terms of a "mission."

Report: Finnish authorities question pastor after Russia Today interview.

Posted: 15 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Interfax, 7 Apr 2011: "Helsinki police bring a case against pastor Juha Molari in relation to his interview with Russia Today TV channel. 'Molari was summoned after he said in an interview that the Finnish authorities hold a favorable attitude to Kavkaz-Center website and Chechen terrorists in general,' chairman of the Finnish Antifascist Committee Johan Backman told Interfax. 'The summons was prompted by a press release of our ombudsman for minority affairs Eva Biaudet who on the basis of the interview with Russia Today accused the pastor of fanning ethnic hatred for Chechens and insisted that criminal charges be brought against him,' Backman said."

Interfax, 15 Apr 2011: "The Lutheran Church of Finland has dismissed the Finnish pastor, Doctor of Theology Juha Molari, for his criticism of the Kavkaz-Center website as related to Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov."

BBC.com commissions survey in Canada showing increased internet access via mobile devices.

Posted: 15 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Ipsos Reid press release, 6 Apr 2011: "Unlocking Canadian Connectivity, a newly-released study commissioned by BBC.com and OMD and conducted by Ipsos Reid on mobile device usage ... surveyed over 2,400 Canadians in a comprehensive two-phase process, revealing a significant jump in the number of Canadians that connect to the internet on their mobile devices - rising from 20% in December 2010, to 26% just two months later. Over the same two-month period, the proportion of tablets, such as the iPad, had doubled, illustrating the warp speed in which the mobile landscape is growing. ... The survey revealed that of those who visit the BBC.com website on their mobile device at least once a week, 49% are Creative Connectors and 32% are Technivores. This research identifies BBC.com visitors among the most advanced and highly engaged mobile users. The Unlocking Canadian Connectivity study further disclosed that among those accessing the internet on their mobile device, 28% do so on their Blackberry, 20% are iPhone users, 17% own an iPod touch, 4% are tablet owners (mainly iPad), and 31% have some 'other' type of smartphone (LG, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, etc.)"

BBC's "new world radio and TV page," and how to get there.

Posted: 14 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC website, 6 Apr 2011: "Welcome to the new world radio and TV page. This page brings together the best of our international news programmes. Our A-Z programme finder takes you straight to the content that matters - the programmes themselves. Here, you can listen again and find out more about all our programmes - both your favourites, and new things you've yet to discover. If you are looking for BBC World News TV programmes, you can browse using the finder. Schedule details can be found on individual programme pages. Meanwhile, if you are a regular visitor to bbcworldservice.com you may have noticed that we have had something of a makeover." -- To get there, at least from the version of the BBC website we see in the Unuted States, first go to the home page: www.bbc.co.uk. Then click on News. Then, in one of the horizontal menu rows near the top, click on World Radio and TV. To find the content quoted above, click on the box near the upper left side of the page. See also About BBC World News TV web page. See previous post.

Library of Congress National Recording Registry now includes interviews with jazz musicians by VOA's Willis Conover.

Posted: 14 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Library of Congress press release, 6 Apr 2011: "Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named 25 new additions to the ninth annual National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, ensuring that these cultural, artistic and historical recordings always will be available to the American public." Included: "Interviews with Jazz Musicians for the Voice of America, Willis Conover (1956). From 1954 until his death in 1996, Willis Conover (1920-1996) hosted thousands of jazz programs for the Voice of America radio service, broadcasting to countries where jazz was rarely heard or even allowed. Ironically, although Conover was barely known in his own country, American jazz musicians knew and appreciated his efforts on their behalf, and were frequent guests on his programs. In 1956, Conover presented a series of interviews with some of the greatest jazz artists of the era, including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman and Art Tatum. The Tatum interview is the only known in-depth recorded interview with the pianist; he died later that year. For many, these interviews were a first chance to hear the thoughts of great jazz artists who had come of age with the music itself, as they shared their reflections, opinions and predictions with Conover."

Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr 2011: "'Kicking the Notes the Toradze Way' 1 a.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday, KVCR: As a boy in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Alexander Toradze secretly listens to 'The Jazz Hour' on Voice of America." -- This documentary produced by my hometown public television station, WNIT (South Bend), begins with a segment about Toradze's listening to VOA jazz in Georgia, but most of it is about Toradze's piano performance style and his piano studio at Indiana University South Bend.

Perhaps too much sleep is lost over the "seduction, prestige, and omnipresence" of China's international media campaign.

Posted: 14 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Le Monde diplomatique, April 2011, Pierre Luther: "If soft power is the ability to influence ideas and behaviour, news and its global diffusion are among soft power’s strategic components. The People’s Republic of China has launched a campaign of seduction, prestige and omnipresence in countries where, for lack of money or interest, former big media players are disappearing. There are cooperation agreements, plus free news bulletins, text articles and radio programmes, and the creation of media. CNCWorld, a rolling news channel in English, was launched by the Xinhua (New China) Press Agency on 1 July 2010 in Beijing, and broadcasts on satellite, internet and mobile phone. Its goal is to 'present an international vision with a Chinese perspective', according to its director Li Congjun; it wants to compete with the US’s CNN and the UK’s BBC. CNCWorld’s ambition is to be present on all continents and to add news bulletins in Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic and French." Also discusses CCTV, Xinhua news agency, "Radio China International" (is actually, in English, China Radio International). -- For all the money China is spending, its international broadcasting efforts won't have much impact unless it provides a useful news service. The cost-free availability of Chinese news agency and broadcast products in Africa does merit further study.

European Media Centre, 10 Apr 2011, Andy Yee: "The growth of China’s media presence overseas has been remarkable. In Southeast Asia, state-run China Radio International (CRI), which supplies light fare and upbeat news and features, now broadcasts in English 24 hours a day, while the Voice of America broadcasts 19 hours and will soon be cut back to 14 hours, said Paul Blackburn, a former public affairs officer of the United States Information Service who served at four American embassies in Asia in the 1980’s and 90’s. Blackburn also pointed out that while America may have the private CNN International to rival CCTV-9, it has ‘nothing comparable’ in the realm of public policy. In February 2006, CRI launched its first overseas FM radio station in Kenya providing two million Kenyans with 19 hours of daily programmes in English, Swahili and Chinese about major Chinese and global news. The move was followed by CRI’s second FM overseas station in Laos in November of 2006, offering 12.5 hours of daily programming in English, Laotian and Chinese. In November of 2010, CRI opened a station in Tijuana, Mexico, marking its first Spanish speaking station in Latin America and its 50th overseas station. CRI is now only second to BBC in terms of its number of overseas bases." -- 1) Keep in mind while CRI has the USA, Canada Britain, Australia, and New Zealand as target countries, VOA does not. Thus one station has more incentive to broadcast in English than the other. 2) The "realm of public policy" has nothing to do with why people seek international broadcasting, so lose no sleep over this. 3) CRI might have more 24-hour "bases," i.e. full-time FM transmitters and leases, than VOA, but VOA certainly has more affiliates, carrying VOA programming on a part-time basis.

Russia Today (RT) launches new program hosted by former US Marine.

Posted: 14 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RT (Russia Today) press release, 11 Apr 2011: "RT America, is set to launch a new program, 'Adam vs The Man,' April 11 at 7PM EDT. The next generation political program will be hosted by activist, former Republican congressional candidate, and United States Marine veteran Adam Kokesh." -- Schedule information is a bit sketchy at the RT website, but "RT America" appears to be RT programming between 2000 and 0400 UTC (2100-0500 UTC during US standard time), with much content originating from the RT studio in Washington.

Family Security Matters, 6 Apr 2011, Cliff Kincaid: "The international Moscow-funded propaganda network known as Russia Today (RT) is set to air a program hosted by a U.S. Marine Veteran opposed to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

St. Petersburg Times, 6 Apr 2011, Alexei Pankin: Radio station "Ekho Moskvy anchor Ksenia Larina made the unsubstantiated accusation that Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Russia Today television network, complained to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about Ekho Moskvy’s supposedly 'incorrect politics,' which, according to Larina, resulted in Putin giving a dressing-down to Alexei Venediktov, Ekho Moskvy’s editor-in-chief. Rather than resolve the matter in court, Simonyan responded with a post on LiveJournal that seemed to imply that Ekho Moskvy pays many of its employees under the table to avoid taxes. With passions escalating, the other side then accused Simonyan of being a stool pigeon."

New season of BBC's Doctor Who portrays President Nixon, in 1969, "trying to do good faced with an alien occupation."

Posted: 13 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Beehive City, 4 Apr 2011, Adam Sherwin: The new season of BBC's Doctor Who, "filmed in Utah and set in the US, [has] a cinematic sweep and scale beyond most UK drama. It could be a glorious coincidence that the series launches on BBC America on April 23 but the influence of BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial wing which owns BBC America, is clearly visible. Without alerting the spoiler police, the season opener pits the Doctor against an alien foe, the Silence, whose unique selling point is that the second you look away from their Ood-like appearance, you forget ever encountering them. ... The first episode of the two-parter locates the story in 1969, on the eve of the Moon landing and introduces the Doctor to President Richard Nixon, who is mightily surprised to find a Time Lord in the Oval Office. ... Whether for BBC America sensitivities or not, President Nixon is presented as a troubled President, yet trying to do good faced with an alien occupation. It’s a rehabilitation of sorts for America’s most reviled President. Would BBC America ever countenance a wholly negative US Presidential portrayal?"

Variety, 6 Apr 2011, Steve Clarke: "The BBC is prepping a U.S. version of legal thriller 'Criminal Justice.' Scripts are being developed by BBC Worldwide Prods. in Los Angeles, overseen by executive producer Julie Gardner, the drama topper behind the 2005 revival of 'Doctor Who.'"

Deadline Hollywoord, 4 Apr 2011: "Beloved British series Torchwood is getting an American makeover in its upcoming fourth season, which will premiere on Starz on July 8. The season, titled Miracle Day, is being largely shot in the US on a much bigger budget. How much bigger? BBC Worldwide Prods. SVP Julie Gardner says the budgets for the new 10-part season is triple what it was when the series was shot in the UK."

Digital Emmy for Lebanese web drama backed by BBC World Service Trust.

Posted: 13 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
C21Media.net, 5 Apr 2011, Jonathan Webdale: "The first ever Lebanese entry in the International Digital Emmy Awards was among the winners at the prize-giving ceremony in Cannes last night. Shankaboot, a web series from Batoota Films supported by the BBC World Service Trust, picked up the gong in the fiction category. The series explores social problems often overlooked by mainstream media in the Arab world."

The National (Abu Dhabi), Apr 6 2011, Zoi Constantine: "The Shankaboot story traces the exploits of Suleiman, a Lebanese teenager who struggles to overcome the difficulties of going through life without a family. The show follows the industrious character as he weaves across the bustling city on his moped - nicknamed Shankaboot - working as one of Beirut's ubiquitous delivery guys." See also BBC World Service Trust, 6 Apr 2011.

Report: UK regulator won't restrict Power Line Telecommunications devices despite evidence of shortwave interference.

Posted: 13 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Register, 5 Apr 2011, Bill Ray: "Powerline Telecommunications kit fails EU standards, but [UK regulator] Ofcom tells us there's no proof of interference - and even if there was it couldn't do anything. And even if it could, it wouldn't. Despite being forced to publish its own study of PLT kit, which showed that devices in popular use generate levels of interference higher than permitted by EU standards, Ofcom tells us it is powerless to prevent them being sold or used. Even if it could it would be beyond the regulator's remit, it says, to bring a criminal prosecution just because 'one man cannot pursue their hobby'. PLT involves sending radio signals over mains electrical wiring for home networking, but given the lack of shielding on electrical wiring those signals tend to leak out and can interfere with anyone else trying to use the same frequency. Currently that only hits radio amateurs and those listening to shortwave radio, but faster PLT kit goes higher up the dial and has attracted concern from the Civil Aviation Authority as well as taking out DAB broadcasts and MW transmissions too, though Ofcom claims not to have received a single complaint along those lines."

Ban Power Line Technology website: "Power Line Telecommunications ... is a form of Power Line Communication and it takes the shape of devices which you can plug into a standard mains outlet socket for the purposes of running an Ethernet computer network around your property."

"Shortwave is still best" for Radio Veritas Asia to reach Filipino migrant workers.

Posted: 13 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Union of Catholic Asian News, 4 Apr 2011, Abe Cerojano: "Aminah Khan, an overseas Filipino worker in Dubai ... is listening to 'Banal na Misa' (Holy Mass) on 9.615 Mhz. shortwave, broadcast every Sunday night to the Middle East from Manila by the Radio Veritas Asia Filipino Service, a Church-run project launched in 1990 to meet the spiritual needs of migrant workers. 'I’m very lonely and the radio is my only means of enjoyment, getting news from home and hearing Holy Mass every Sunday,' Khan said in a letter thanking Veritas for its daily programs which she said sustain and deepen her Christian life. Despite the growth of the Internet and social media, thousands of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East still use radio as a link to their homeland and a way of coping with loneliness, religious restrictions and cultural isolation. ... While shortwave giants BBC World Service, Voice of America and Radio Netherlands are shutting down most of their shortwave transmitters after embracing Web streaming technology, Radio Veritas, despite having invested in digital media, is sticking to shortwave to reach out to more migrant workers. 'Our listeners are domestic helpers, construction workers, drivers and seafarers, and most of them don’t have access to the Internet.'" -- VOA also used to have many Filipino shortwave listeners in the Gulf States -- less so now that it has cut back on transmitters, hours, and has regionalized its English transmissions.

With poor domestic radio reception, rural Sarawak residents listen to Indonesia, Vietnam, and China on shortwave.

Posted: 13 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Borneo Post (Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia) , 5 Apr 2011, Peter Sibon: "Rural communities in [Sarawak] are still faced with the problem of poor radio reception 48 years after the birth of our nation. In fact the radio transmission has deteriorated in the last four years. People in the interior complained that transmission was still clear in 2007 but now it is so bad that they have to resort to short-wave radio to listen to music and news from radio stations in Indonesia, Vietnam and China. Radio broadcast is a very important media for remote rural communities as it is often the only source of news and entertainment from the outside world. ... [T]he former assemblyman of Telang Usan, Lihan Jok, said ... the first hour for both Kayan and Kenyah radio transmission scheduled from 4pm to 6pm was okay, but after that, radio stations of other languages such as Vietnamese and Chinese (from China) would take over." -- This discussion might have something to do with the recent popularity of Radio Free Sarawak (see previous post). So what has caused the deterioration in reception? Has Malaysia scaled back on its domestic shortwave broadcasting? Are new electrical appliances causing interference? The best solution would be an expanded network of FM transmitters, but if that is too ambitious, renewed investment in domestic shortwave would help. Satellite radio is a possibility, but the expense may be more than the potential audience numbers would justify.

Bernama, 12 Apr 2011: "The Information Communication and Culture Ministry is negotiating with pay TV station Astro to forge a collaboration to enable Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) to use Astro's satellite network for clearer and wider broadcasts to remote areas in Sabah and Sarawak, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim. 'Now we are slotting in television broadcasts and later will follow up with RTM's major radio stations,' he told reporters after launching the Bintulu FM radio station at Studio RTM here Tuesday. ... RTM's broadcasts at present are terrestrial."

The international broadcasting of Major League Baseball includes deals with China, Vietnam, Australia, and Radio Martí.

Posted: 12 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Biz of Baseball, 4 Apr 2011, Maury Brown: "Major League Baseball International today announced it has ... reached new deals with VTC3 in Vietnam and Tianjin TV and Xiamen Satellite TV in China to carry MLB programming and games. MLB has also extended agreements with rightsholders, including OBS and OBS W (Korea); ONE HD (Australia); Mejia Group and IASN (Colombia); and TV Marti (Cuba). MLB International has agreements with 102 television and radio partners to broadcast Championship Season games, the 2011 MLB All-Star Game and the 2011 postseason in 20 languages to fans in 220 countries and territories around the world. ... Deals with Tianjin TV and Xiamen Satellite TV will bring MLB games and special programming to an additional 30 million people across China, complementing coverage on MLB’s seven existing broadcast partners. MLB’s new partnership with VTC3 marks the first time that 'This Week in Baseball' will be aired in Vietnam."

Two Vietnamese Falungong practitioners will face trial, accused of unauthorized shortwave broadcasts into China.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
AFP, 6 Apr 2011: "Two Vietnamese Falungong practitioners are to face trial for allegedly beaming spiritual broadcasts into China, where the movement is banned and labelled an 'evil cult', their lawyer said Wednesday. ... They are charged in connection with 'Sound of Hope' programmes transmitted into China via shortwave radio, said the Falungong's press office, the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York. 'Sound of Hope's programmes typically report on human rights abuses, corruption, and repression of Falungong practitioners and other minorities,' a Falun Dafa statement said." See also Radio Free Asia, 6 Apr 2011, Thao Dao:

Reporters sans frontières, 5 Apr 2011: "Beijing’s reach does not stop at China’s borders. Reporters Without Borders has learned that the Chinese government successfully pressured the Vietnamese authorities to arrest two people, Vu Duc Trung and Le Van Thanh, for operating an unauthorized short-wave radio station that was broadcasting in Chinese from a farm outside Hanoi. ... It is alleged that they began on 26 April 2009 to broadcast on the short-wave to China, 800 km away, from a farm in the town of Thach Loi, east of Hanoi. The programmes they broadcast were those of the Sound of Hope Radio Network, an overseas Chinese radio station linked to the Falun Gong."

Epoch Times, 5 Apr 2011, Stephen Gregory: "In early 2011, the People’s Police magazine published an article claiming that Trung’s short wave broadcasts had interfered with air traffic control and damaged Vietnam’s diplomatic relations."

Epoch Times, 8 Apr 2011, Stephen Gregory: "In a surprising move that has international implications, the trial of two Vietnamese arrested for broadcasting by shortwave into China has been postponed. ... [M]edia around the world have begun to cover the case, with stories by Associated Press, AFP, and Radio Australia."

Vietnam sentences lawyer to prison, accused of "propaganda" via interviews with VOA and RFA.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 3 Apr 2011: "A dissident lawyer and son of a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader was sentenced to seven years in prison and another three years house arrest Monday for calling for an end to Vietnam's government and its one-party system. ... The court convicted him of conducting propaganda against the state for calling for a multiparty government system, demanding the abolishment of the Communist Party's leadership, defaming the state and distorting Vietnam's struggle for independence by calling the country's war against the United States a civil war. ... Vu's lawyers walked out of the courthouse after the judge refused to read or distribute 10 news interviews Vu was accused of conducting with foreign media, including Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. The interviews were used as key evidence against him." Also reported by Radio Free Asia, 4 Apr 2011 (without mention of VOA). See also Reporters sans frontières, 5 Apr 2011.

BBC World Service: from polyphony to multiplatformism.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Newsweek, 3 Apr 2011, Peter Pomerantsev: "The lights in the Bush House canteen and Members’ Bar never went out. Never. Those were my favorite places in the building: that conspiratorial excitement, the word 'revolution' exclaimed over shepherd’s pie and gin-and-tonics. Britain had lost its political empire, but it still had its intellectual one. The BBC spoke to its audiences in their own languages, yet it was as if those languages had been infected with something very British. It wasn’t simply a case of delivering accurate information. It was the polyphony of views, the (essentially British) sharp debate that contrasted so clearly with the dull monotone and state-dictated voice-overs typical of broadcasting behind the Iron Curtain."

Financial Times, 8 Apr 2011, Tyler Brûlé: "For the past few weeks it’s been rather difficult listening to the World Service. Aside from announcements about the closure of services that I don’t listen to, there have also been cool but nevertheless emotional farewells from some friendly, trusted and simply soothing voices. ... In [their] place have come some programming innovations that involve the dreaded concept of 'multi-platformism' where BBC programmes are produced for both TV and radio. The annoying Hardtalk sounds fine on TV (if you can get over the badgering) but on radio sounds as if it’s been patched through an antiquated phone exchange in Shepherd’s Bush. The now daily From Our Own Correspondent suddenly seems too hungry a programme to offer the best from the field and some recent voices don’t sound very familiar or part of the BBC News family. And you know things aren’t great when the promos needs to remind you how well-resourced the BBC is globally. This might be true but the World Service should be expanding its reach and depth rather than looking for petty efficiencies and losing influence."

China Digital Times, 4 Apr 2011, Samuel Wade: "BBC producer Dawn Trump has posted a short video feature (in Chinese) on the World Service’s last Mandarin transmission on March 25. The video includes the last few moments of the final broadcast."

Republica (Kathmandu), 7 Apr 2011, Binod Bhattarai: "Now that the ‘movement’ to save the shortwave transmission is over, and the decision has taken the originally intended course – unlike what happens in this land of the Jhalanaths and Bharat Mohans where even fiscal policy can change at whim – it is perhaps time to reflect on life after the BBC on the shortwave. And this is reality: Life with Radio Nepal and Nepal Television (NTV)."

Will Radio Caroline be heard on the recently vacated BBC World Service 648 kHz MW frequency?

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 3 Apr 2011, Jennifer Mascia: "Since first taking to the air from a makeshift studio on an offshore ship in 1964, Radio Caroline has endured government raids, shipwrecks and a decade of radio silence before finding a land-based studio in the southeastern county of Kent. From there, a cast of volunteer disc jockeys has transmitted album-oriented rock to a global audience over satellite radio and the Internet since 1999. But to station management, that global reach isn’t enough. In an age when many prefer to listen to music over the Web or by satellite, Radio Caroline would like to be rewarded for its contribution to British popular culture in the most modest of ways: an AM radio designation in the southeast of England, where it was conceived. ... In an e-mail message, Rhys Hurd, a spokesman for [UK regulator] Ofcom, said that 648 kilohertz, which was recently given up by the BBC World Service, was available, but that 'even if we did advertise the frequency for use within the U.K., either at a local or national level, there can be no guarantee that Radio Caroline would win the license. We would judge applications on their merits and their merits alone,' he wrote." See previous post about 648 kHz.

Press TV: BBC Persian TV "falsified" report about Bahrain.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Press TV, 3 Apr 2011: "The BBC has twisted comments by Bahraini Shiite leader Sheikh Ali Salman claiming he said Iran is meddling in the Persian Gulf country's internal affairs. The falsified report by BBC Persian TV channel earlier this week came as the leader of Bahraini protestors has been under intense pressure from the security forces of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as he is attempting to prevent the divisive campaigns by Wahhabis to split the opposition. According to Jawad Fairooz, a member of the opposition al-Wefaq party, the BBC Persian report is simply not true. Fairooz told BBC Persian reporter 'Sheikh Ali Salman has never said in his news conference that a country like Iran which has been meddling in Bahrain's affairs should stop doing so from now on'."

"China is a long walk for a short drink," but TV exports including Top Gear and The Cube will launch there.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
IOL Motoring, 11 Apr 2011, Adam Sherwin: "It is a road-tested mix of zany car stunts presented by three overgrown schoolboys. But the politically incorrect humour has been toned down. China is to get its own Top Gear after the BBC sold its hit format to a superpower which has gone 'car crazy'. The show, starring Jeremy Clarkson, is the BBC's most lucrative export, with a global audience of 350 million. It is also the most illegally-downloaded programme on the planet. ... Titled Zui Gao Dang, or Highest Gear, it has three male presenters, filling the roles of Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. The lead host is Cao Yunjin, a Beijing comedian." See also YouTube video of the pilot.

The Guardian, 11 April 2011, Mark Sweney: "The global appetite for British television shows has continued to grow – according to UK producers' trade body Pact's annual report, export sales were up 9% globally year on year to more than £1bn in 2009. However, sales to China are so small that the territory is not even split out of the "rest of Asia" category, which amounts to just £93m. ... 'China is a long walk for a short drink,' says Wayne Garvie, the managing director of UK independent producer All3Media's international operation, who has experience of the Chinese market from his previous job at BBC Worldwide. 'I haven't seen anyone make the revenues to justify the amount of time and effort it takes.'"

The Guardian, 11 Apr 2011, Mark Sweney: "Hi-tech gameshow The Cube is to head to China in one of a clutch of deals that will see shows including Dating in The Dark and Shear Genius, Shine's first format deal for the Asian market."

Top Gear showing "signs of audience and schedule fatigue" in Australia.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Brisbane Times, 4 Apr 2011, Michael Idato: "Last week, [Australia's] Channel Nine's broadcasts of the motoring show Top Gear began to show all the signs of audience and schedule fatigue. The British format, which once commanded million-plus audiences, has bottomed out around the 600,000-viewer mark. The result is disappointing not just because of the giddy highs it commanded on Nine but also because it falls some 300,000 short of the audience it had on the significantly smaller network SBS, before Nine poached it."

mUmBRELLA, 4 Apr 2011: "Former MCN pay TV interactive specialist Rob Leach is to join BBC Worldwide in the newly created role of business development and strategy director for Australia and NZ. Leach, who headed MCN Connect until February and was with Sky in the UK before that, will start on April 18 with a brief to find the company new business opportunities."

Co-productions with CNN International bring "more substance" to CNN.

Posted: 11 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting & Cable, 4 Apr 2011, Jon Lafayette: "Ken Jautz, who became executive VP responsible for CNN US last September, says he's made strategic changes to CNN's programming that has allowed the network to report the recent wave of big international stories and engage with audiences around them. ... [One] change was enabling co-productions between CNN International and CNN US. 'We took anchors, international people, and the domestic people and reported on appropriate stories together, which enabled us to introduce people on the domestic program who have regional knowledge more, and so you'd have more substance to your programming,' he said."

journalism.co.uk, 4 Apr 2011, Rachel McAthy: "International programming director for MSN Peter Bale is to join CNN in a newly created position to grow the reach of its digital offerings outside the US. In his new role as vice president and general manager of CNN International Digital, Bale will report directly to KC Estenson, senior vice president and general manager of CNN Digital, and will lead the editorial and commercial functions of CNN Digital outside the US." See previous post about CNN International.

Atlanta Journal Constitution, 5 Apr 2011, Henry Unger: "Over the past few years, as many media outlets cut international staffs and closed bureaus, CNN has beefed up overseas."

Should VOA Mandarin leave shortwave and become internet-only? The debate continues.

Posted: 10 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
AFP, 7 Apr 2011: "Under a budget proposal for next year, Voice of America would close its longtime radio and television broadcasts in Mandarin and eliminate its Cantonese service entirely, cutting 45 jobs and saving $8 million. ... Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch critic of China, called a congressional hearing to voice alarm at the cuts and questioned if President Barack Obama's administration was trying to curry favor with Beijing. 'The $8 million "saved" will do far more to weaken our efforts in a dictatorial and belligerent China than it will to balance the budget," said Rohrabacher, a Republican from California. He questioned the shift to an Internet platform, noting that China has worked tirelessly to build a firewall that blocks out online searches for politically sensitive topics. In response, S. Enders Wimbush, a board member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said the autonomous US government agency 'did not plan to make it easier on Chinese authorities. In fact, we plan to make it more difficult for them.' 'We are going heavily into digital because that is where the audience is and, particularly, that's where the demographic is that we seek to reach,' he testified."

Washington Times, 8 Apr 2011, letter from S. Enders Wimbush, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors: "Ted Lipien’s April 1 piece on the Broadcasting Board of Governors‘ (BBG) efforts to realign U.S. international broadcasting in China neglects the available facts ('Don’t silence Voice of America radio to China,' Commentary). Independent research demonstrates a dramatic drop-off in shortwave listening in China, not just to American broadcasters but to all international broadcasters, including the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio France International. To date, no one, including Mr. Lipien, has produced research that contradicts these findings. ... The correct approach to China is not an either-or strategy, but one that concentrates VOA’s resources to reach a larger audience on the Internet and mobile devices while hedging our bets with strengthened shortwave broadcasts by America’s other broadcaster to China, Radio Free Asia (RFA)."

China Daily (Shanghai), 3 Apr 2011: "'The fact is, the US is unnerved by China's moves on promoting public diplomacy. Once China puts it on the agenda, it will offset the effects of endeavors by the US to spread its democratic values,' Tang said. Another driving force behind such appeals is the push for 'electronic governance', [Tang Xiaosong, a specialist on public diplomacy at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies] added, citing the closure of Voice of America's Mandarin service as an apparent move to shift strategic focus from traditional channels to up-to-date means."

See previous post about same subject.

Pyrrhic victory? BBC World Service Trust withdraws its bid for State Dept circumvention funds.

Posted: 10 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Washington Examiner, 8 Apr 2011, Rob Bluey, director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation: "Three weeks ago the BBC World Service Trust, a charity for the British network, was angling for a share of State Department funding to promote Internet freedom. But after Americans revolted at the idea, the organization has pulled out entirely, failing to even submit a grant proposal. The BBC charity has developed a lucrative relationship with the U.S. government during the Obama administration. U.S. tax dollars are supporting at least two BBC World Service Trust projects: The State Department gave the organization $300,000 for work in Burma and USAID gave it $4.5 million for a project in Nigeria. But outrage from American taxpayers, members of Congress and the Broadcasting Board of Governors was apparently enough to dissuade the British organization from making a formal proposal this time. At stake was up to $28 million in funding for work on Internet freedom issues. Even with the BBC World Service Trust out of the running, there’s still hard feelings over a British organization seeking U.S. funding for work that the federal government’s own taxpayer-funded broadcaster does as well." -- In a previous post, I suggested why it makes sense for the State Department to provide some of its available circumvention funds to BBC World Service Trust. BBC has the experience and expertise to tackle the difficult problems of web blocking and satellite jamming, but they don't, at present, have sufficient money to do so. As the BBC proceeds in its investigations, it can meet with BBG experts to compare notes. Now that the BBC will have to go elsewhere for this funding, it is less obliged to share its knowledge with the United States. This was a poorly chosen battle by the supposed supporters of US international broadcasting.

Heritage Foundation, The Foundry, 8 Aprl 2011, Helle Dale: "The rift between State and BBG has resulted in inaction. At fault is the U.S. State Department’s Office of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which is just now moving forward with grants for Internet freedom projects after pressure from Congress. Lawmakers have given the agency nearly $20 million in the past few years for Internet freedom. Another $30 million is at stake in the continuing resolution currently before Congress. It is increasingly evident that if the U.S. government is to be effective in advancing freedom in the new media sphere, there has to be a single center or agency within the government that sets policy, controls funding, and coordinates assets — a center or agency for strategic communication. As currently configured, the U.S. government agencies that have a slice of the communications pie too often work at cross purposes in an atmosphere of mutual distrust." -- Unfortunately, strategically coordinated news is not really news, and the audience, above all, will know it. That audience might gain access to circumvention tools, but they may conclude that the circumvented content is not worth the circumvention effort.

The Daily Bell, 26 Mar 2011, Anthony Wile: "Clinton was making the argument that government news sources if funded properly could provide the kind of persuasive information that would combat the 'alternative' news and information that people the world over find increasingly credible and persuasive. What she did not choose to mention is that there is already a plethora of such government-funded channels available via the US government including PBS, Voice of America, etc. It is actually rather doubtful that additional government-based news and information channels, no matter how well funded, can address the fundamental issue, which is that the Western news media is simply not perceived as credible by an increasing audience of news and information consumers the world over."

Downfall of Hörby: Sweden dismantles its shortwave transmitting site.

Posted: 10 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Youtube, 5 Apr 2011, apholmstedt: "Demolition of shortwave antennas at Hörby Radio Station." -- Formerly used to transmit Radio Sweden. I heard Radio Sweden from this site many times since the 1960s. See other videos by apholmstedt. See previous post about same subject and the Radio Sweden (English) website.

Bclnews, 13 Mar 2011, Christian Stödberg: "Last weekend me and some other HAM's visited the shortwave station in Hörby in sothern Sweden and the mediumwave station in Sölvesborg (ex. 1179KHz) in southeast Sweden for maybe the very last time. It was a very interessting visit but a bit sad. These stations were closed down 30:th October 2010 due to a [decision] at Sveriges Radio (Radio Sweden) to cease with AM-transmissions and concentrate the transmissions to internet. Hörby is being slowly picked down piece by piece. The transmitters stands silent and the control board with frequency changer, antenna switch etc. has been removed." With link to photos. -- Thanks to Benn Kobb's news tip.

With popularity of Radio Free Sarawak, shortwave radios are sold out.

Posted: 08 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Free Malaysia Today, 8 Apr 2011, Stephanie Sta Maria: "The 10th Sarawak state election has sparked the usual scarcity of accommodation, transportation and halls. But in Sarikei town an additional item has unexpectedly sold out – shortwave radios. A young native, who only wanted to be known as Jefferson, told FMT that a group of Ibans youths had pooled together their money to buy up all the radios in Sarikei to cart back to their longhouses. There the radios are tuned to Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) so that the elders can understand the events that are unfolding outside their villages. 'In just three weeks that group had bought up all the shortwave radios in Sarikei town,' Jefferson said. ... According to him, Sibu town is also facing a similar shortage although the radios can still be purchased in smaller stores there. Jefferson estimated that about 30 longhouses in both districts are now listening to the London-based radio station. ... RFS was launched last November on the promise of bringing alternative news to the people of Sarawak." Via RNMN. See previous post about same subject.

Deutsche Welle notes "latest case of jamming of its Amharic service for Ethiopia."

Posted: 08 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 8 Apr 2011: "Deutsche Welle (DW) has condemned the latest case of jamming of its Amharic service for Ethiopia. Germany’s international broadcast has appealed to the Ethiopian administration to ensure that an undisturbed shortwave signal remain available for listeners in the region. The latest infringement has made it difficult for Deutsche Welle to deliver fair and balanced news about the political, economical and social developments in the target area. DW’s shortwave signal for Ethiopia has been jammed since April 6. Programming from Voice of America has also been affected. ... The latest case of jamming is occurring at a point in time in which more than 200 from the alleged opposition of the Oromo Group have been arrested and journalists who have voiced criticism of the administration have been silenced. The Ethiopian administration is apparently concerned that the so-called Jasmine Revolution in North Africa will spread into their country. ... German development organizations will be meeting on Monday, April 11 in Bonn ahead of the bilateral negotiations between Germany and Ethiopia – under the direction of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). For the first time, DW will use this opportunity to report on the current media landscape in Ethiopia and expand on jamming and the restrictions put on its correspondents in the country. DW has been broadcasting its Amharic service in Ethiopia since 1965 and is along with Voice of America the most popular international source of information."

By way of a remote receiver in Addis Ababa, listen to this monitoring of DW Amharic, 8 April 2011, at 1604 UTC. The first sound is 11630 kHz, apparently jammed, and the second, just up the dial is 11835, either unjammed or unaffected by jamming. Most of the DW frequencies were either unjammed or unaffected by jamming.

Radio Netherlands will drop Dutch-language broadcasts and will scale back shortwave.

Posted: 08 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 8 Apr 2011, Andy Sennitt: "The Dutch government has committed itself to public spending cutbacks in a range of sectors, including public broadcasting. Radio Netherlands Worldwide has been making headlines in recent weeks amid speculation on where these cuts will fall. The broadcaster has now issued a statement that, if faced with a choice between its core activities, it will dispense with its services informing Dutch-speakers abroad. In a statement, the director and editors-in-chief informed the staff about this decision on Tuesday."

Radio Netherlands, 8 Apr 2011: "RNW’s current ambitions were recently set out in its Policy Plan for 2010–2015. ... The key objectives set out in the Policy Plan for 2010–2015 and the Performance Agreement are: •to reinforce the distinctive profile of Radio Netherlands Worldwide; •to bring about a shift in the distribution mix (scaling back shortwave broadcasts); •to limit the activities for Dutch-speakers abroad to information targeting specific groups; and •to encourage national public broadcasting media to use RNW’s international expertise. In addition to these points, our answers to the questions asked by the ministries contained the following passage: ‘Should a prioritisation of core activities prove necessary, we would therefore give prevalence to the task of providing information to countries with an information deficit (core activity II) – in combination with core activity III. Informing Dutch-speakers outside of the Netherlands (core activity I) could if necessary be limited to the role of 'emergency broadcaster' and the provision of information for expats and/or be taken over by the NOS. We also see opportunities to accelerate the scaling back of shortwave broadcasts as a distribution platform, including the closure of broadcasting stations on Bonaire and Madagascar.’" -- The closing of those shortwave facilities could make it more difficult for RNW to be "emergency broadcaster" for Dutch speakers outside of the Netherlands. See previous post about same subject.

On the air from the air: Radio Sawa beamed to Libya on FM via Commando Solo.

Posted: 08 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 6 Apr 2011, BBG member Enders Wimbush, testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: "In Libya, a Radio Sawa correspondent accompanied the rebels as they advanced towards Tripoli and their eventual retreat under heavy fighting. In an attempt to deprive Libyans of an accurate portrayal of events happening in their country, Libyan authorities jammed the Alhurra signal on the popular Nilesat satellite system for almost a month. When the signal was initially jammed, Alhurra’s newsroom received hundreds of phone calls an hour from Libyans saying they could not receive the channel’s signal. In the meantime, state-controlled channels insisted that everything was normal and there was no insurrection. In March 27th, in a cooperative transmission effort with the Department of Defense, direct broadcasts of Radio Sawa were beamed to Libya on an FM frequency from the 'Commando Solo' airborne transmission platform. Commando Solo will provide approximately six hours per day of radio transmission from the aircraft. Prior to this breakthrough, Radio Sawa was only available in Libya via Internet streaming or satellite broadcast."

Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr 2011, David Zucchino: "Seven weeks into the rebellion, Voice of Free Libya is a centerpiece of the emerging rebel media, public relations and propaganda effort in eastern Libya. The station airs revolutionary music, pop songs, rebel-themed poetry — and calls from cranky citizens irritated by the chaos stirred up by the rebellion. ... It's not exactly fair and balanced media."

AP, 7 Apr 2011, Diaa Hadid and Hadeel Al-Shalchi: "Hala Misrati [is] the ferocious face of Libya's regime, a star talk-show host on state TV lashing out daily against Moammar Gadhafi's enemies. ... Misrati appears daily on her hour-long call-in show, 'Libya on This Day' on the state-run satellite channel, Al-Jamahiriya 2. In her 30s, with long dark hair, heavy makeup and often decked out in gaudy outfits, she often gives long monologues crusading against Libya's rebels, the NATO-led alliance bombing Gadhafi troops from the air and anyone perceived of sympathizing with them or fueling the campaign against Gadhafi. That includes Western media and, particularly, the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera, which she refers to as 'the pig channel' in a rhyming play on words — the Arabic word for pig is 'khanzeera.'"

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 6 Apr 2011, citing Al-Jamahiriyah TV, Tripoli, in Arabic 1443 gmt 6 Apr 11 via BBC Monitoring: "'The Libyan Jamahiriyah Broadcasting Corporation announces the launch of Al-Jamahiriyah TV in the English language in a trial broadcast at 1900 [1700 gmt] this evening on the following frequency 12360, horizontal polarity, 3/4, 27500', said Al-Jamahiriyah state-run TV in an urgent screen caption at 1443 gmt on 6 April. Currently, all programming on Al-Jamahiriyah TV has been in Arabic apart from daily English and French news bulletins."

VOA's Steve Herman reports on the role of amateur radio in the Japan disaster.

Posted: 08 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Amateur Radio Newsline, 1 Apr 2011, Bill Pasternak, via eHam.net: "According to Steve Herman, W7VOA, the Japan Amateur Radio League or JARL has been involved in emergency communications support from the beginning of the triple pronged tragedy. Steve, who spent a week in Japan reporting for the Voice of America says that the initial traffic involved finding routes for those first and second responders trying reach the disaster areas. ... In his note to us, W7VOA did include a ray of hope for some. He says that he spotted a number of High Frequency [shortwave] yagi antennas in Sendai at some houses close to where the tsunami struck. The good news is that those were intact." Steve is still tweeting about the Japan situation at www.twitter.com/w7voa.

Recent obituaries include two former chairmen of the Voice of America Advisory Committee.

Posted: 08 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting & Cable, 1 Apr 2011, John Eggerton: "Sherril Wightman Taylor, 87, the former CBS and National Association of Broadcasters executive, died March 30 at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. ... His other career credits include president and chairman of the International Radio and Television Foundation, chairman of the International Radio and Television Society, chairman of the Community Action Network, and chairman of the Voice of America (VOA) Advisory Committee and created America's Global College Forum at VOA."

Variety, 22 Mar 2011, Ilyse Kaplan: "Stephen Labunski, who held many top positions in broadcasting, died March 21 of natural causes in New York. He was 86. ... He was a member of the Friars Club for more than 40 years, sat on the boards of organizations including the National Assn. of Broadcasters and the Radio and Advertising Bureau and was chairman of the advisory committee for Voice of America."

The two obituaries above mention a VOA advisory committee. This might be the Voice of America Advisory Committee created in 1946 by William Benton, then assistant secretary of state for public affairs, as mentioned in Alan Heil's Voice of America, A History, p. 46. NB: Alan tells me Sherril Taylor was chairman of a later VOA Advisory Committee, in the 1980s.

Washington Post, 5 Apr 2011, Emma Brown: "Michael Weyl, who served as an official with the U.S. Information Agency for 35 years, died March 19 of congestive heart failure at the Grand Oaks assisted living residence in Washington. He was 93. ... He ... worked as chief policy officer for Voice of America and as head of the U.S. Information Agency’s book-translation program."

Documentary by VOA editor shows that cricket in the USA is not such a silly notion.

Posted: 07 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Indian Express, 2 Apr 2011, Kabir Mandrekar: "Making those who think cricket is a game alien to the US think twice with ‘documentary’ evidence, is Pune-born filmmaker and executive editor of the Voice of America, South East Division, Rohit Kulkarni. His documentary Pitch of Dreams: Cricket in America sets the US cricket score right. World Cup showdowns have been gaining in popularity in the US and the excitement has peaked for the current World Cup matches, Kulkarni, here to watch the ICC World Cup final in Mumbai, says. ... In 2007, he bought his camera equipment and used his weekends, his time away from his job at Voice of America, to travel around the country on his own expense to research and shoot his documentary. ... 'There are 700 cricket clubs in 45 leagues around the country and more than 45 lakh cricket fans and close to 200,000 active cricketers playing in the country,' he says."

Al Jazeera news director: "We are promoting peaceful protest and the cause of human rights and democracy."

Posted: 07 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Sunday Times Magazine, 2 Apr 2011, John Arlidge, via Real Clear Politics: "Mostefa Souag, director of news at Al-Jazeera Arabic, does not deny that the channel plays an active role in the events it covers. He is proud of it. 'We are promoting peaceful protest and the cause of human rights and democracy,' he says. The word 'promoting' will be all the proof Al-Jazeera's detractors need to conclude that it is unprofessional and irresponsible. After all, where will such 'promoting' lead? What if Egypt or Libya, instead of becoming democracies, are transformed into repressive theocracies like Iran? Will Al-Jazeera then be so proud of its role?"

Belfast Telegraph, 5 Apr 2011, Robert Fisk: "Al Jazeera English - as opposed to the Arabic version - manages to get it about right. Yes, I occasionally make an appearance on Al Jazeera and its reporters are good friends of mine. But it does say who the bad guys are, it does speak out and it puts the usually pusillanimous BBC to shame. What I am most struck by, however, is the quality of the reporting. Not the actual words. But the pictures."

Aljazeera.net, 27 Mar 2011, Hayrettin Yucesoy (commentary): "The role of social media in Tunisian and, especially, Egyptian uprisings was important, but as the Libyan uprising shows clearly, the role of Al Jazeera has been central and critical. As a news outlet, Al Jazeera had already become the voice of the disaffected even before they protested. During the revolutions, it sympathised with the people, reported events from their perspectives, inspired them to seek better lives, encouraged them to push forward, and made them feel they had agency and power. So hiding behind the sudden rise and novelty of social media to explain the failure to see this tectonic change is not convincing. One needs to recognise where media and academia had preferred to focus their attention as a contributor to this failure."

The Daily Evergreen (Washington State University), 4 Apr 2011, Justin Runquist: Al Jazeera English correspondent Ayman "Mohyeldin said Al Jazeera played an integral part in the revolution, although many misunderstand that role. 'Some have gone so far as to say that Al Jazeera was the voice of the revolution, and to some extent describing it as a catalyst behind these revolutions,' he said. 'And here, I would say that Al Jazeera was not the voice of the revolution, but perhaps more accurately, a microphone to the voice of the protesters.' Al Jazeera English spread the news across the Atlantic to the U.S., he said. Through the revolutions, a new cohesive relationship emerged between traditional media and social media. People have sent Mohyeldin a torrent of contact information via social media, hoping he can help them get their stories out."

The Daily Aztec (San Diego State University), 6 Apr 2011, John Anderson: "Censorship is as un-American as it gets. By blocking Al Jazeera, we are undermining the values from which we draw our national pride. ... The next time you call Cox to complain about how slow the Internet is, mention you’d like to see Al Jazeera English in its channel lineup. Gain a new perspective, broaden your horizons, challenge the status-quo of watered down American journalism. Demand the freedom to make up your own mind about Al Jazeera."

NewsReal Blog, 5 Apr 2011, Moshe Phillips: "On Friday, April 1, 2011 [Cliff] Kincaid organized a press briefing about Al Jazeera at the National Press Club. The program was called 'Al-Jazeera, Global Jihad, and the Suicide of the West' and video coverage of the event is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR1XzY88ugo. It did not garner the attention it should have." See also America's Survival website for videos of the event.

Mediaite, 5 Apr 2011, Alex Alvarez: "Al Jazeera English is currently casting its eye on the U.S. for further distribution, which sometimes means catering to a particular audience… An audience of people who, say, 1) enjoy the various antics of animated rodents and 2) adore cramming our collective gullet full of nitrate-rich pork products. So, without further ado, here is The Humble History of the Hot Dog, brought to you by Al Jazeera Frames."

AP, 4 Apr 2011: "The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera says one of the network's four reporters who were captured in Libya last month by pro-Gadhafi forces has been released. Three others remain held."

Aljazeera.net, 4 Apr 2011: "One of four Al Jazeera journalists detained by Libyan forces has been released after a bizarre turn of events that saw the team being arrested, freed and then rearrested."

Aljazeera.net, 6 Apr 2011: "Al Jazeera released a statement on March 30 calling for the immediate release of its journalists. The call was signed by a foray of international organisations."

Human Rights Watch, 5 Apr 2011: "Morocco should stop revoking the accreditation of journalists for foreign media whose reporting displeases them, Human Rights Watch said today. In the past year, the government has closed down the Morocco operations of Al Jazeera television after revoking the accreditation of seven of its journalists... ."

AP, 6 Apr 2011: "Al-Jazeera's bureau chief in the Jordanian capital Amman said Wednesday he and his staff have received death threats and have asked for police protection."

With Facebook, online, and SMS "compromised," Sudanese youth group takes to shortwave.

Posted: 07 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Sudan Tribune, 31 Mar 2011: "A Sudanese anti-government youth group announced on Thursday that it has launched a radio on short wave frequencies across the country in order to drum up support for regime change, a bold bid to challenge state control over broadcast media outlets in the country. ... Breaking the news via a statement on its Facebook-based page, Shararah said its radio broadcasts would start on short waves frequencies across the country as of Thursday, March 31. According to the group's statements, the radio programming would be broadcasted every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for 30 minutes starting at 6:30 pm [local time] and can be heard on 15540 kHz. 'We urge our listeners in all parts of Sudan to follow our broadcasts and provide us with information on whether our broadcasts have reached all [target] areas' the group's statement said." -- Via some leased shortwave transmitter somewhere.

Reuters, 3 Apr 2011, via Radio Netherlands Media Network: "'Youth of Sudan, you have to focus and take to the streets all over the country,' the anonymous broadcaster said. 'President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said himself … he took power through force and he will only leave by force.' Youth activists say their groups on social networking sites have been infiltrated by government agents, hindering their usefulness even in the capital Khartoum - one of the few cities where the Internet is widely accessible."

McClatchy Newspapers, 6 Apr 2011, Alan Boswell: "The young people here have learned that technology can be a dangerous, double-edged sword. Facebook and text messages? Compromised. Promoting a protest online? A good way to get everyone arrested. Cellphones are treated warily now, as are regular email and Internet forums. If activists chat online, they do it in camouflaged forums designed to fly under the radar. Facebook sites are still used to share pictures and video, but with much greater caution. ... 'Do not use SMS, and do not use the 'Submit a Report' link as these are currently not safe,' the site now cautions. ... On March 31, [the "movement"] announced a new, but old, tactic: the launch of an anti-government shortwave radio program, now on the airwaves, to try to build support for the movement in the rural areas."

How to use your smartphone to put France 24 on your friends' television sets.

Posted: 07 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Bianor press release, 5 Apr 2011: "Bianor has added the first news on demand channel to its content streaming and TV playback platform iMediaShare for the US and Canada. France 24 is a 24/7 international news channel, covering international current events from a French perspective through diversity of opinions, debate & confrontation of viewpoints. The channel offers a European perspective on world events, and provides a key to understanding ever more complex events through in-depth analysis. Bianor’s iMediaShare transforms the smartphone into a remote control, allowing seamless playback of online content on connected TV’s. Users can play online videos on any connected TV at any time, whether at home, or visiting friends. iMediaShare turns the smartphone into a personal media device combining TV guide, TV remote control and set-top box functionality in one unit. Metodi Filipov, Bianor’s Managing Director, shares his view of the future: 'The new generation of users do not rely only on broadcast TV anymore. There is a natural shift to on demand news consumption. Users want to be in full control of what, when and where to watch. iMediaShare unlike traditional broadcasting solutions is specially designed to address these on demand needs.'"

With impending budget cuts, Dutch politicians question the need for Radio Netherlands.

Posted: 06 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands Media Network, 2 Apr 2011: "Radio Netherlands Worldwide has been in the news a number of times in recent weeks because of our extra coverage of the uprisings in Egypt and Libya and the dual earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. But impending major budget cuts are also putting our station into the spotlight. A Dutch current affairs TV programme, EenVandaag, followed Editor-in-Chief Rik Rensen for one week. We have subtitled the 11-minute feature in English, and you can view the video on our website."

De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), 1 Apr 2011: quoting (as Google translated) a Dutch MP: "Radio Netherlands is an employment project, and I wonder why the club still exists in modern times. Let's just all to stop, pull the plug. The money could be better spent."

Turkmen authorities confine RFE/RL contributor to a psychiatric hospital.

Posted: 06 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 1 Apr 2011: "Turkmen authorities have confined an RFE contributor to a psychiatric hospital after he criticized a local government official for corruption in an interview with RFE's Turkmen Service, Radio Azatlyk. Amangelen Shapudakov, 80, was summoned to local police headquarters in his home district of Magtymguly in southwestern Turkmenistan on March 7 and has not been seen since. ... Shapudakov's confinement marks the second time in three years that Turkmen officials have committed an RFE contributor to a psychiatric facility. In 2008, Radio Azatlyk commentator Sazak Durdymuradov was forcibly institutionalized for two weeks in a case that aroused international outrage." See also RFE/RL News, 31 Mar 2011.

Hong-Kong based, mainland-targeted Phoenix TV adds a Cantonese channel.

Posted: 06 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Standard (Hong Kong), 7 Apr 2011: "Phoenix TV recently launched a 24-hour Cantonese channel in Hong Kong, and among its new recruits are many local media veterans. ... Phoenix TV's unusual success in the budding mainland media market is due partly to its strategy of focusing on public affairs programs and talk shows, which are much less costly than drama productions. Its new Cantonese channel carries a lower risk of incurring losses as it follows the same strategy. Part of Phoenix's advertising revenue is from the mainland, and the background of catering to demand there has contributed to its profit growth."

AsiaSat press release, 28 Mar 2011 (pdf): "Asia’s leading satellite operator Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) today announced that Phoenix Satellite Television Company Limited (Phoenix TV) has signed a contract to distribute a new free to air Cantonese language channel ‘Phoenix Hong Kong’ through its MCPC (Multiple Channels per Carrier) platform on AsiaSat 3S. Utilising C-band capacity on AsiaSat 3S, located at 105.5ºE, and the MCPC and uplinking facilities from AsiaSat’s Tai Po Earth Station in Hong Kong, the Phoenix Hong Kong channel commenced broadcasting today, offering viewers in Hong Kong and across the Asia Pacific a wide variety of Cantonese programming including news, financial and business content."

See previous post about Phoenix TV.

Deputy director of Audiovisuel extérieur de la France files complaint against "Monsieur X."

Posted: 06 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
followthemedia.com, 4 Apr 2011, Michael Hedges: "In a 25 page complaint filed last Monday (March 28) French international broadcasting (Audiovisuel extérieur de la France - AEF) Deputy Director General Christine Ockrent charged 'Monsieur X' with 'mental harassment' including 'constantly orchestrating a genuine policy of ostracism.' Though not named directly 'Monsieur X' is, without question, AEF Director General Alain de Pouzilhac. The two heavy-weights of French media politics have been at war for months. Mme Ockrent took the offensive public this past week, charging a 'climate of violence, humiliation and unbearable suffering,' in an interview with Le Monde. 'He got rid of with brutality a director of information who he judged too close to me and imposed, against my will, a news director who made no secret he wanted my beheading.'" Refers to Le Monde, 26 Mar 2011.

AFP, 6 Apr 2011: Arab section of France 24 is on strike over "plusieurs points." -- About planned merger of AEF entities Radio France International and France 24 [probably grounds for another strike], see Le Point, 6 Apr 2011.

Is Iran's "Face of '89" blogging competition a response to Deutsche Welle's the BOBs?

Posted: 06 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle, 1 Apr 2011, Cyrus Farivar: "Perhaps in response to Deutsche Welle's blog awards, known as the BOBs, Iran has organized its own blogging competition, called "The Face of '89," in reference to the Persian calendar year 1389, which just ended on March 20. However, the rules of the competition stated that blogs that are blocked within the country - typically those that criticize the Iranian government - are not eligible to participate. 'We are living in Iran and all Iranians are required to the internal laws of this country,' the site said." See previous post about DW's the BOBs.

Washington Post, blogPost, 1 Apr 2011, Elizabeth Flock: "Meanwhile, the first phase of the 'Face of ‘89' competition has already completed, with 8,700 participants, according to the organizers. After the first phase, the blog that is in first place is one that leads with a post that says protesters in Bahrain should be suppressed, the second place blog is decorated with photos of former supreme leaders, and the blog in third place has a post that describe how the recent demonstrations in Wisconsin show America is 'closer to collapse.'" -- I would think the pro-Iranian position would be in favor of the protesters in Bahrain.

For those of you who know what QSL cards are: new Radio Free Asia QSL cards commemorate 15th anniversary.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RadioActivity, 1 Apr 2011, Alokesh Gupta: "Radio Free Asia (RFA) announces the release of 36th QSL card. This is the first to commemorate 2011 as RFA’s 15th anniversary with more cards expected throughout the year. RFA’s first broadcast was in Mandarin Chinese on September 29, 1996 at 2100 UTC. Acting as a substitute for indigenous free media, RFA concentrates its coverage on events occurring in and/or affecting the countries to which we broadcast. Those countries are: Burma, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Peoples Republic of China, and Vietnam. This QSL card will be used to confirm all valid reception reports from April 1 – June 30, 2011. The artwork depicts the Great Wall of China and is used by permission of the artist, Sarah L. Handler. ... RFA encourages listeners to submit reception reports. Reception reports are valuable to RFA as they help us evaluate the signal strength and quality of our transmissions. RFA confirms all accurate reception reports by mailing a QSL card to the listener." -- Hobbyist shortwave listeners, or DXers, enjoy collecting QSL cards from as many countries and stations as possible.

Deutsche Welle's new Android application includes live audio in German, English, Russian, and Asian languages.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Android Market, 21 Mar 2011: "Deutsche Welle's new Android application enables you to access the latest news, audio and video content by Deutsche Welle. The Android app holds a lot in store: radio livestreams in German, English, Russian and several Asian languages as well as background information and current news in politics, business, science, German Bundesliga, culture and lifestyle. ... The download and usage of the DW Android application is free of a charge. Usual data transfer charges of your mobile provider apply." See also DW News Portal App web page.

Action in Afghanistan's Kunar Province that killed six US soldiers "destroyed a Taliban radio headquarters."

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
ABC News, 1 Apr 2011, Bradley Blackburn and Kristina Wong: "Six U.S. soldiers were killed in action and at least 15 others wounded in Afghanistan earlier this week when they came under fire while on patrol in a remote and dangerous region close to the Pakistan border. ... ABC News' Mike Boettcher was accompanying the soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division when the attack occurred in Kunar Province on March 29. ... According to Boettcher, the Americans and Afghans killed some 50 Taliban fighters and destroyed a Taliban radio headquarters."

Pahkwok Afghan News, 5 Apr 2011, Abdul Moeed Hashmi: "A joint Afghan-international security force arrested 18 Taliban with weapons and destroyed a radio station used by the militants to broadcast propaganda in eastern Kunar province, officials said on Tuesday. The radio station had been set up in a mountainous area near the Pakistani border by militants to broadcast their propaganda programmes, he said."

"Why has the State Department run into a firewall on Internet freedom?"

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 4 Apr 2011, Anne Applebaum: "[I]n October 2009, the State Department had received $30 million from Congress specifically to combat Internet censorship. Yet in the subsequent year and half, none of that money was spent — not in Libya, not in China, not anywhere. Unfortunately, I am not able to explain why. When asked, an official told me that the department had lacked technical expertise and had been forced to reorganize itself to 'unify the policy' before issuing a call for proposals (one finally went out in January; results should be available within a month).

"As it also happens, another U.S. government agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, has deployed ... two companies’ programs with notable success. The BBG runs Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe (which now broadcasts to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia) and produces plenty of pointless bureaucracy, too. But because its radio stations all run Web sites, they care whether people can read and hear them. When they received a grant to fight Internet censorship — $1.5 million obtained from an earlier State Department grant in August 2010 — they spent it immediately on support for Freegate and Ultrareach. ...

"In fact, as of Jan. 30, more than 11 million people were accessing the Internet via Ultrareach’s technology — and the numbers have doubled since the BBG’s original investment. But expansion might not continue. At the moment, Freegate and Ultrareach lack servers and must therefore limit access so that the system doesn’t overload. With even a small slice of that $30 million the State Department hasn’t spent, however, BBG engineers reckon they could get free Internet access for 50 million people, every day.

"And yet — despite explicit requests from Congress, the State Department appears determined not to give it to them. Again, I can’t explain it. Officials now say they can’t give money to another government agency, that they have a broader mandate, that they want to invest in online training for dissidents. The basic fact remains: One part of the U.S. government has anti-censorship technology but no money to expand its use. Another part of the U.S. government has money for anti-censorship technology but hasn’t spent it."

The State Department needs to have a good briefing about this -- before it is called before a Congressional committee. See previous posts on 23 Mar and 9 Mar 2011.

Freedom House event: "Internet Circumvention Tools and Methods: Evaluation and Review" on 12 April.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Freedom House website: "Internet Circumvention Tools and Methods: Evaluation and Review, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 12:00pm- 2:00pm. ... Freedom House has used its expertise and relationships with leading academic experts on information technology security, censorship, and software development to conduct a systematic assessment of how censorship circumvention tools perform in practice inside the countries they are designed to serve. Freedom House’s Internet Freedom Project Director, Robert Guerra, will join major report contributors Cormac Callanan, director of Ireland-based Aconite Internet Solutions with experience in international computer networks and cybercrime, and Hein Dries-Ziekenheimer, the CEO of VIGILO consult, a Netherlands based consultancy specializing in Internet enforcement, cybercrime, and IT law, to discuss the findings of the report and its implications in the world of Internet privacy and censorship circumvention." At Freedom House, 1301 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC. With link for RSVP, and available as webcast.

In near-shortwave quality, Voice of Russia on the AM dial 24/7 in New York City and Washington.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
I just discovered while tuning around the AM dial here in the Washington area: Voice of Russia website, 1 Oct 2010: Voice of Russia in New York City on 1430 and in Washington DC on 1390 24/7. The Voice of Russia World Service has launched a 24/7 AM feed for our listeners in New York City and Washington DC. 24 hours a day we'll fill you in on the latest developments here in Russia and the world." -- The feed sounds like a rather compressed mp3 stream, resulting in less than comfortable listening. Fading and interference aside, the audio fidelity was better when Radio Moscow transmitted via shortwave across the Atlantic.

DCRTV.com, 2 Mar 2011: "Arlington's WZHF (1390 AM) has flipped to the English language Voice Of Russia's programming. The brokered Spanish music and talk has disappeared from the station, which is owned by Multicultural Broadcasting, which is airing VOR programming on some other stations it owns in other markets."

NHK World graduates from standard definition to HD on the UK's Freesat.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Digital Spy, 1 Apr 2011, Andrew Laughlin: UK free-to-air digital satellite service "Freesat has today announced that news channel NHK World will launch in high definition on the subscription-free satellite platform in May. When it launches, NHK World HD will become the first news channel available in HD on Freesat, offering an international perspective on world news and affairs from the Japanese broadcaster. NHK World, which is already available in standard definition on Freesat, has built a growing reputation as a trusted news source, particularly during the tragic tsunami and earthquake disasters in Japan."

Bénin example: FM offers better reception than shortwave except when local politics is discussed.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 31 Mar 2011: "Local retransmission of Radio France Internationale (RFI) was disrupted in Cotonou on the morning of 29 March just as it was broadcasting a phone-in programme focussing, on this occasion, on Bénin’s 13 March presidential election, the result of which is disputed by the opposition. Called 'Appels sur l’actualité' and hosted by Juan Gomez, the programme is extremely popular in Africa. ... It is the second time in less than a year that the French international radio station’s broadcasts have been disrupted in Bénin."

Mnet ("where Asian pop lives") will be carried by Comcast cable systems in US cities.

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Multichannel News, 30 Mar 2011, R. Thomas Umstead: "Asian-themed entertainment network Mnet has reached a carriage deal with Comcast that will give the upstart channel digital basic carriage in several major Comcast systems. The move is the first for Comcast as part of its mandate to launch several minority-targeted networks related to its merger deal with NBC Universal. The distribution deal expands the network's existing relationship with the MSO to include distribution in Comcast's Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., systems by Sept. 2011, according to network officials. The deal comes on the heels of a recent rebranding of the English language-based Mnet, which targets Asian Americans and fans of Asian pop culture. ... David Jensen, vice president of content acquisition for Comcast [said the] 'addition of Mnet will further enhance the already robust lineup of multicultural programming we offer and deliver even more choice to our customers.'" See also www.mnetamerica.com.

Inter-agency news: VOA journalists "accuse FBI employee of hit-and-run."

Posted: 05 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Washington Examiner, 4 Apr 2011, Scott McCabe: "Two Voice of America journalists have accused an FBI employee of striking one of them and then driving down a busy downtown D.C. street with the other clinging to the hood of her car. D.C. police ticketed Joy Ellen Mullinax for changing lanes without caution, but the journalists say she should be facing greater charges: striking a pedestrian; leaving the scene of an accident; and reckless driving and endangerment. They are also seeking $1 million each in compensatory and punitive damages, in a lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court on Monday. ... According to the lawsuit, Thomas Bagnall and William Greenback claim they were unloading a television camera and other equipment from a sport utility vehicle outside the National Press Club on the morning of March 23 when Mullinax pulled up behind them in her Hyundai Accent. ... According to the lawsuit: Mullinax blew the horn and yelled, and Bagnall told her to go around. Mullinax accelerated and struck Bagnall, who spun around and screamed in pain. Greenback got out of the SUV and yelled at Mullinax to stop because she had struck his colleague." See also Washington Times, 4 Apr 2011.

VOA director Dan Austin will speak Wednesday at GWU.

Posted: 04 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The George Washington University, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication: "Join the IPDGC and the Walter Roberts Endowment Board as Dan Austin, the director of Voice of America (VOA) relates his perspective on the changing face of public diplomacy. Dan Austin became the 27th director of the VOA on October 30, 2006." Lindner Family Commons, Suite 602, 1957 E Street NW, Washington DC, Wednesday, April 6th, 6:30-8:00 pm, reception to follow. With link for RSVP.

Egyptian-American detained in Syria after VOA interview, accused of "trying to export Egypt's revolution to Syria."

Posted: 04 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
CNN, 31 Mar 2011, Ivan Watson and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy: "The last time Maha Radwan saw her son Muhammad was when he unexpectedly appeared on Syrian state television last Saturday, labeled a member of a 'foreign group paid to destabilize Syria.' The 32-year old Egyptian-American sat stiffly on a couch, answering questions in what appeared to be a televised interrogation. The Syrian anchorwoman introducing the report described it as a 'confession.' ... Last April, Radwan went back to work, this time working for an oil company in Syria. But in January 2011, Radwan rushed to Cairo to join the protests in Tahrir Square against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. ... After the overthrow of Mubarak, Radwan gave an interview to the Voice of America along with several Egyptian revolutionaries. He described how protesters had organized themselves, in anticipation of a government crackdown. ... Syrian state television has used parts of the VOA report, to accuse Radwan of trying to export Egypt's revolution to Syria."

CNN, 1 Apr 2011: "Muhammad Radwan was released to the Egyptian Embassy in Damascus on Friday, family members said."

VOA News, 28 Mar 2011, Lauren Frayer: "Last month, [Radwan] took VOA on a walking tour of Cairo's famous Tahrir Square, describing his motivation to visit Cairo in revolutionary times."-- No link to that story. Was it television, radio, slide show?

VOA Persian broadcaster wins a Golden Lioness.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Javan blog, 30 Mar 2011, PoRiYa: "The World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media - WAALM is a non-profit organization that supports, develops, and promotes the dramatic and fine arts, creative writing and poetry, and professional journalism and media productions. It regularly confers the mystic Persian Golden Lioness Award statuettes to extraordinary individuals from all over the world, as a mark of their efforts, and a celebration of their successes. WAALM announced its 4th annual awardees a while ago in London. Behnood Mokri, VOA's TV journalist was one of the 2010 winner in media and news section. He is the youngest journalist who has received this award in this category so far. As a young and ambitious producer and reporter, Behnood Mokri joined Voice of America Persian News Network in 2006 from Los Angeles where he had his radio & TV shows. He was soon invited to contribute to 'Roundtable with You', VOA 's most popular talk show as a producer and commentator. Soon after, VOA launched 'Shabahang / The Late Edition', a youth magazine cultural program and Behnood was asked to host the show on weekends."

Bangladeshi "amazed" to meet VOA Bangla broadcaster after 35 years of listening.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Blitz (Dhaka), 30 Mar 2011, Maswood Alam Khan: "On Monday, March 28, Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC organized a reception on Bangladesh Independence Day. I was invited to attend the function that would start at 6 in the evening. ... The evening in our embassy was exciting to me. I met many people after many years. I was happy to meet my old friend Swapan Kumar Saha, now Minister (Press) in the Embassy. I got introduced with a number of dignitaries. What amazed me most was my opportunity to meet face to face with Masuma Khatun, broadcaster and editor of Voice of America, for the first time in my life. Masuma Khatun has become a bit mellower under the weight of her age. Masuma Khatun's avuncular voice from the Voice of America has enamored me for more than 35 years."

Now available online: VOA transmission schedule and BBC World Service "how to listen" information.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Back (by popular demand) at the VOA website is VOA Broadcast Frequency Schedules. To navigate to it from the voanews.com home page, click on Programs at the top, then cursor down the left column to Frequencies. The schedule shows transmissions by IBB owned or leased shortwave and medium wave transmitters, but not those through local affiliates. I hope it is frequently updated.

Information about how to listen to BBC World Service in various parts of the world has just been posted to the BBC News "World Radio and TV" web pages. I found these by a Google news search. I can't determine how one would navigate to these pages from the BBC or BBC News or BBC World Service home pages. They were probably posted at the beginning of the A-11 shortwave frequency season, which began 27 March.

How to listen to BBC World Service in Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia

How to listen to BBC World Service in South Asia

How to listen to BBC World Service in East Asia

How to listen to BBC World Service in North and South America

How to listen to BBC World Service in Europe and Western Russia

How to listen to BBC World Service in the UK and Ireland

How to find a listening schedule where you are

What is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)?

How BBC World Service is run and funded

Bangladesh installing shortwave transmitter and antenna "to increase its coverage to the diaspora of Bangladeshi workers abroad."

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Thomson Broadcast press release, 31 Mar 2011: "Thomson Broadcast today announced that Bangladesh Betar, the Bangladeshi national radio network, is to install a new shortwave transmitter and rotatable antenna from Thomson Broadcast, to extend the reach of its service to the Middle East, Central Asia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Indian subcontinent. The new transmitter and antenna installation will be located at the Kabirpur Shortwave Station, about 40 km north of the capital Dhaka, and is scheduled to be operational by September 2011 while the antenna is planned to be on air by spring 2012. Thomson Broadcast is supplying a 250 kW TSW 2300D shortwave transmitter, together with the rotatable HP-RCA 2/2/0.5 shortwave antenna system. This configuration will allow Bangladesh Betar to increase its coverage to the diaspora of Bangladeshi workers abroad who rely on Bangladesh Betar for home news and other entertainment programs in their own language. ... Bangladesh Betar already operates a range of Thomson Broadcast shortwave and medium-wave transmitters, including the S7HP 1000-kW MW transmitter supplied in 2009 for domestic national coverage. The new shortwave installation at Kabirpur will allow broadcasts to reach target areas between 1000 and 4000 km in any direction, and includes Thomson’s latest generation of technology for greater energy efficiency and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) capability."

Complaints from commentators and listeners about plans to take VOA Mandarin off shortwave (updated with BBG response).

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Times, 31 Mar 2011, Ted Lipien: The Broadcasting Board of Governors' plan to eliminate VOA Mandarin radio broadcasts and convert it to an internet-only service "is a misguided proposal that would harm both the United States and pro-democracy forces abroad. It sends a strong signal to authoritarian regimes that Americans either don’t care about human rights or don’t know how to defend them. ... In justifying their decision, BBG officials claim that the audience for shortwave radio in China is small and declining. They base their claim on market research, which even their own analysts describe as unreliable. Those listening to VOA radio in China or Tibet are not likely to reveal such potentially harmful information about themselves to strangers. Unlike radio, the Internet in China is being censored, and its use is monitored by 50,000 cyberpolice. Uncensored radio and the Internet are not competing against each other in countries without free media. Each has its own advantages." -- Radio to China is also "censored" by incessant jamming of international broadcasts from VOA, RFA, etc.

Update: BBG member S. Enders Wimbush responds to Ted Lipien's op-ed.

Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 25 Mar 2011, Helle Dale: "On VOA’s Chinese service, which devoted an evening show to the broadcasting cuts last week, callers from China expressed their disappointment and dismay with the radio silence from the West that is about to befall them. Contrary to arguments that radio and satellite TV are completely jammed by the Chinese government, callers from a number of provinces, from Beijing to rural China to Inner Mongolia, spoke of their reliance on VOA as an honest and credible source of source of news. They spoke of not knowing where to turn if the broadcasts go off the air. One expressed deep mystification and sadness: 'Why are you abandoning us?'" -- Apparently, Helle Dale was the guest on that VOA Mandarin call-in program.

See also China Digital Times, 25 Mar 2011 and the Save Voice of America Radio to China Facebook page. See previous post about same subject.

I have a 2,000-word essay, "America Calling China: A Strategy for International Broadcasting," awaiting acceptance or rejection by a major journal.

Radio broadcasting intrigue in Guatemala, 1954, as described by new book.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio Survivor, 30 Mar 2011, Matthew Lasar: "I am reading Tim Weiner’s disturbing history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes. ... This was the story of the outfit’s 1954 overthrow of the democratically elected regime of President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala. ... Alas, radio played a role as well. Weiner writes: 'For four weeks, starting on May Day 1954, the CIA had been waging psychological warfare in Guatemala through a pirate radio station called the Voice of Liberation, run by a CIA contract officer, an amateur actor and skilled dramatist named David Atlee Phillips. In a tremendous stroke of luck, the Guatemalan state radio station went off the air in mid-May for a scheduled replacement of its antenna. Phillips snuggled up to its frequency, where listeners looking for the state broadcasts found Radio CIA. Unrest turned to hysteria among the populace as the rebel station sent out shortwave reports of imaginary uprisings and defections and plots to poison wells and conscript children.'"

Claims that Iran's Press TV and iFilm satellite channels are jammed by Bahrain.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Digital Production Middle East, 31 Mar 2011, Sean Williams: "Bahrain has moved to block Press TV's signal on Nilesat, according to the Iranian broadcaster. The move comes following extensive coverage of civil unrest in Bahrain by Press TV. The network has now made channels available on other Nilesat frequencies."

Press TV, 30 Mar 2011: "Press TV's technical experts have reported that the interfering signal is being transmitted from Bahrain."

Press TV, 20 Mar 2011: "Bahrain has interrupted the broadcast of Iran's Arabic-language entertainment channel iFilm, following the violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the country. Press TV reported that an interfering signal is being transmitted from Bahrain. Noorsat Satellite Commutation Company informed the channel on Saturday that its Bahrain-based network operation center is working to detect the source of the interfering signal. When contacted Noorsat officials failed to provide a satisfactory explanation about the incident and made contradictory statements with regards to the jamming."

CNBC Asia and India's TV 18 form joint venture to be known as CNBC TV 18.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Business Standard (New Delhi), 23 Mar 2011: "Television Eighteen (TV 18) India and CNBC Asia will form a joint venture in India to undertake the broadcasting of its business news channel, to meet the requirements under the recent uplinking policy for news channels. The regulations, announced on March 26 this year, stipulate that the foreign holding in a news channel company uplinking from India should not exceed 26 per cent. TV 18 is the first to come out with a formal announcement on the restructuring of company to meet the new regulation. As per the understanding between the two companies, CNBC Asia would either pick up an equity stake in TV 18 or one of its subsidiaries or the two companies would form a joint venture company for the purpose. ... Subsequent to the restructuring, the business channel CNBC India, will be re-branded as CNBC TV 18."

NIST considered mothballed VOA transmitter site at Greenville, NC, for its 60 kHz "atomic clock" transmission.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 30 Mar 2011, John Lowe, manager of National Institute of Standards and Technology radio stations WWV/WWVH/WWVB: "Despite the overall quality and reliability of ["atomic clocks" and similar products], there are times and locations at which the WWVB [60 kHz, Boulder, Colorado] signal is not well received or decoded properly. This is due to distance from the transmitter and also interference (added noise) to the signal caused by nearby radiating sources such as computer monitors or power transformers. ... The most obvious solution was to build another time signal station on the East Coast that operated at a different frequency. Several sites have been investigated including Greenbury Point in Annapolis; the Voice of America site in Greenville, N.C.; and some of the retired Loran-C sites. Funding for this opportunity was made possible with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. ... Unfortunately, after all of these negotiations, time had run out for spending the ARRA money, so the funds had to be returned; now we are back to looking for other ways to improve our service." -- Sometimes the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, and sometimes they don't turn at all. The VOA/IBB/BBG transmission facility really consists of two sites, of of which is in "caretaker" status and destined to be closed. This would have been an excellent location for the East Coast WWVB station, and it would have provided a valuable public service. See also NIST Time and Frequency Division web page.

VOA Portuguese to Africa: new FM outlet in Maputo, new call-in program for Angola.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
VOA press release, 29 Mar 2011: "Voice of America’s comprehensive coverage of global, regional and African news is now available on Top Rádio 104.2 FM in Maputo, Mozambique. ... Under the rebroadcasting agreement, Top Rádio 104.2 FM will air VOA’s Portuguese news and current affairs program from 1930 to 2000 hours (7:30 pm to 8 pm) local time on Monday through Friday. A one hour VOA English lesson will air at 1800 hours (6 pm) Monday through Friday, and the VOA health show 'Vida Sem Medo' will air from 1400 to 1600 (2 pm to 4 pm) Saturday afternoons. The agreement also gives Top Rádio full access to VOA’s popular music programs."

VOA press release, 31 Mar 2011: "Social issues, health, politics, unemployment, just about any subject will be debated in a new weekly Voice of America call-in program called Angola, Fala Só. The half-hour Portuguese language show, which roughly translates to 'just say it' in English, was inspired by a popular expression often used in the Angolan capital, Luanda. ... VOA Director Danforth W. Austin said, 'The program highlights our ability to create a truly national conversation in Angola by combining the use of SMS, mobile and Internet platforms to gather questions from around the country for a call-in format radio show that will be broadcast to the nation via shortwave and the Internet.' ... Angola, Fala Só is partly funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department."

Latest BBC World Service poll shows more negative views, in most countries, about China's economic power.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 28 Mar 2011: "Public concern is growing about China's increasing economic power, according to a new global poll conducted for BBC World Service. The poll conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA among 28,619 people in 27 countries reveals that the numbers who say that China becoming more powerful economically is a bad thing have increased substantially across a number of China's key trading partners—and especially in G7 countries. Compared to BBC World Service polling in 2005, negative views of China's growing economic power rose – and are now in the majority – in France (up from 31% to 53%), in Canada (up from 37% to 55%), in Germany (up from 44% to 53%), in Italy (up from 47% to 57%) and in the USA (up from 45% to 54%). ... The two nations with the most positive views of China’s economic growth were in Africa – Nigeria (82%) and Kenya (77%)." -- Hmmm. China Radio International is on FM in Kenya, and CCTV programs are on Kenya's KBS TV.

CPJ: Alhurra correspondent assaulted in Gaza.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 31 Mar 2011: "Hamas security forces assaulted and obstructed journalists trying to cover protests in Gaza on Wednesday, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. ... Among those physically assaulted were Wissam Mohamed Yasin, a correspondent for U.S. government-funded station Al-Hurra; Radio Watan reporters Ayyad Talal Taha and Mohamad al-Hassoun; and Al-Arabiya cameraman Mamdouh al-Sayyid, CPJ research shows."

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 3 Apr 2011: "Wisam Mohammed Yasin, 34, reporter for al-Hurra TV, said while covering the march, she was talking on her mobile. A person in civilian clothes came and grabbed her mobile and threw it to the ground destroying the mobile. Yasin said that she tried to run behind this perpetrator to tell the police who were on the scene. However, she was surprised as she saw him getting into a police vehicle. Yasin said that although she told the police about her work as a journalist, they ordered her to leave the scene and threatened her with arrest."

Listen to BBC and other UK radio on the new Radioplayer, which works outside the UK.

Posted: 03 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 31 Mar 2011, Emma Barnett: "Radioplayer, a new BBC-backed online player which will offer listeners more than 300 UK radio stations in one place, has gone live today. The online service brings together for the first time all BBC radio content and majority of the UK’s commercial station’s material in one place. ... Within the next 12 months the radio industry hopes to launch Radioplayer on to mobiles – both as an app and on mobile browsers and then roll it out across internet-connected games consoles and TV set top boxes."

Radioplayer.co.uk, FAQ: "Can I listen to non-UK stations via Radioplayer? Radioplayer allows access to hundreds of UK radio streams, but there are currently no non-UK stations available. Can I listen to Radioplayer from outside the UK? This depends entirely on the station you’ve chosen, and is outside Radioplayer’s control. Some stations will allow it, and some will not." -- I'm still getting used to it. For me, Radioplayer works better with Opera than with Firefox.

NAB Show will discuss how internet-connected radios are replacing shortwave "to listen to international broadcasts."

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 29 Mar 2011, Paul J. McLane: At the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, 9-14 April, "Brian Markwalter ... vice president of research and standards for [Consumer Electronics Association] ... will talk about how radio receivers are evolving and the trend toward 'connected' radios, devices that can offer streaming audio content from around the world. [John Marino, NAB VP of science and technology] told me, 'Shortwave was once the only way to listen to international broadcasts; but today’s Internet-connected radios are providing an alternative, and it seems most broadcasters are embracing this new opportunity to expand their reach.' Markwalter promises to talk about what the exponential growth in available channels mean for traditional AM, FM and TV receivers."

Internet radios are still not easy to find. C. Crane is now selling only three models. See also models offered by Universal Radio.

The internet radios must be within reach of a Wi-Fi network. The one advantage shortwave has over internet radio is its extreme portability. Shortwave is useful even on yachts in the middle of an ocean. The range of radio via internet is expanded via mobile "broadband" systems, if the bandwidth can keep up. (In surveys, many people who report that they listen to radio via their mobile phone are really listening to the FM radio built in to many such devices.)

Radio Australia story reprinted by Samoa newspaper sparks Chinese protest reported by Radio New Zealand International.

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Radio New Zealand International, 29 Mar 2011: "The Chinese embassy in Samoa has expressed concern to a local newspaper about criticisms directed at the increase of Chinese-owned businesses in the country. The Samoa Observer says the embassy’s concerns were prompted by a Radio Australia article reprinted by the newspaper, in which the president of the Chamber of Commerce Lemalu Sina Slade said Chinese retail businesses were being set up in defiance of Foreign Investment Act provisions."

Abu Dhabi seeks to attracts tourists through ads on major international channels.

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority press release, 30 Mar 2011: "More than 1.8billion regional and international consumers will be targeted when Phase 2 of Abu Dhabi's global advertising campaign rolls out across key established and emerging source markets this month. ... Satellite channels being utilised including National Geographic; Discovery, Sky News, CNN, BBC World News, CNBC, MBC, TV5 Monde, Deutsche Welle and the Travel Channel UK."

Al Arabiya correspondent killed in Tikrit.

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Al Arabiya, 29 Mar 2011: "Al Arabiya correspondent, Sabah al-Bazi and at least 19 other people were killed on Tuesday as gunmen attacked the provincial council headquarters in Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. ... In a press release, Al Arabiya condemned the attack that left its correspondent dead but also said it condemns attacks on media and jorunalist anywhere in the world."

Libyan opposition stations Ahrar TV (aka Libya TV), Libya Al Hurra, Ahfad al-Mukhtar all reported on satellite.

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Foreign Policy, 28 Mar 2011, Blake Hounshell: "A group of Libyans from abroad and inside the country is setting up the new station to broadcast news and commentary about Libya for a Libyan audience, with the aim of countering Libyan state propaganda and promoting dialogue about the country's future after Muammar al-Qaddafi, the brutal leader whose four-plus decades in power appear to be drawing to a rapid close. The channel, to be called simply Libya TV, launches this week in Doha after less than two weeks of hurried preparation. Its founder is the avuncular Mahmud Shammam, a well-known Libyan expatriate journalist who edits Foreign Policy's Arabic edition. ... While editorially independent, the channel could prove an important outlet for the revolutionaries, especially if the drama of the uprising fades and the conversation shifts to less visually gripping topics like constitutional reform, political development, and education. International coverage of Tunisia and Egypt has dropped precipitously in the wake of the respective departures of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. ... Libya TV is being funded primarily by donations from Libyan businessmen abroad, including one $250,000 contribution from a wealthy Libyan donor in Britain. The state of Qatar, in addition to agreeing to host the network on its soil, has turned over the facilities and technical staff of Al-Rayyan, a local channel focused on cultural programming."

RIA Novosti, 30 Mar 2011: "The Libyan opposition is launching a satellite television channel, Ahrar TV, on Wednesday with the help of the Qatari government in counterbalance to state-controlled media. ... The new TV channel will go on the air at 7:30 p.m. local time (17:30 GMT) using the French Atlantic Bird satellite."

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 31 Mar 2011, Andy Sennitt: "According to an on-screen ticker, the online TV station Libya Al Hurra, founded by the late Mohammed Nabbous, is now available on Arabsat. Various tweets say it’s on 11585 V 27500 3/4. It’s also reported on Eurobird 2 at 25.5° East on 11013 H. I’m still trying to clarify whether the new station Libya Ahrar TV from Doha actually launched on schedule last night. I was informed that there is a delay, but I have not managed to confirm that. Additional observations on either station are welcome. Update: Chris Greenway confirms that the new station from Doha did launch on schedule, and there’s now a third opposition station. See comments."

Financial Times, 30 Mar 2011, Tobias Buck: "The Free Libya (Libya al-Hurra) radio station, which broadcasts daily from 10am to midnight, is part of a flowering of media voices in Benghazi, Libya’s second city and the main stronghold of the opposition. Their appearance suggests that, amid the bloodshed and violence, the contours of a new society are tentatively starting to emerge. ... Apart from Free Libya, at least one other opposition radio station is broadcasting. A television channel is also being planned, and prospective reporters are being sent out to interview foreign correspondents."

change.org, 29 Mar 2011, Carol Hillson: "Despite these measures by the international community Nilesat and other corporations continue to provide a platform for the Gaddafi's regime to spread its terror propaganda to the Libyans citizens and people around the world."

Who will win the war of ideas in Afghanistan? US State Department or US Defense Department?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 28 March 2011, Walter Pincus: "After years of spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get its message out to Afghans, the United States is still experimenting. The State Department, for example, is trying a new communications approach in Kandahar by turning to old media — radio and television. It’s planning to lease free space to Afghan service providers on a radio-TV transmission tower recently built within the area of Kandahar Airfield, which is controlled by the U.S. military. ... The State Department’s mixed approach to fighting the propaganda war in Afghanistan comes at a time when the U.S. military is stepping up its use of new media because of gains it sees being made by the Taliban. Gen. James Mattis, the Central Command commander, recently told Congress that CENTCOM’s communications program, 'Operation Earnest Voice,' will 'reach regional audiences through traditional media, as well as via Web sites and regional public-affairs blogging.' 'In each of these efforts, we follow the admonition we practiced in Iraq, that of being first with the truth,' he added. ... '[These activities are] no longer something that can only be handled by Voice of America or someone like that'."

How "offshore station" VOA helped inspire the creation of Radio Caroline in 1964.

Posted: 02 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Gibson Guitars, 28 Mar 2011, Michael Wright: "Radio Caroline was the brainchild of Ronan O’Rahilly, a young Irish businessman from a family of means. By early 1964, the 23-year-old O’Rahilly had become a bit of a player in the London music scene. He ran the Scene club in Soho, specializing in his beloved R&B music. He then moved into band management, even co-managing The Rolling Stones for a spell before they moved on to Andrew Loog Oldham. But he did continue on with blues singer Alexis Korner and pop hopeful Georgie Fame. When he couldn’t get Fame a recording contract, O’Rahilly decided to record the young Northerner himself. When he went to the BBC to get those recordings played, he was met with a flat refusal, as the Beeb only played 'established artists.' So O’Rahilly took his recordings to Radio Luxembourg, where surely, he thought, his 20-year-old rock sensation would get airplay. It was there that he learned the business of Radio Luxembourg, which only played music from the major labels, who bought out blocks of time for their own releases. In other words, there was no room for small labels or DIYs. O’Rahilly declared, 'Well, if after managing my own artists I have to create my own record label because nobody will record them and if I then find that no radio station will play their music, it seems that the only thing now is to have my own radio station.' He was laughed out of the building. But O’Rahilly wasn’t laughing – he was planning. He began investigating offshore stations, such as the U.S. Government’s Voice of America, Swedish offshore station Radio Nord and the Dutch Radio Veronica. The premise was simple: park a boat just outside U.K. waters and transmit your own radio station... a pirate radio station." -- The VOA offshore station was the USCGC Courier, from which, during the 1950s and early 1960s, VOA broadcasts were transmitted from the Mediterranean.

Television programs and concepts coming to the USA from several countries.

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Express (Washington DC), 1 Apr 2011, Holly J. Morris: "Hollywood is remaking British TV shows faster than our royalty-ruled friends can create new ones. In true American fashion, when one region's resources are thoroughly depleted, we simply find a new spot to suck dry. Concepts from Israel, Denmark and Australia are already on major networks in the States. Smaller cable outlets are nabbing Canadian and Aussie hits as they are, offering nice little windows into other (pop) cultures. Here's a look at what else could be coming our way." Also mentions programs from New Zealand, Argentina, France, South Africa, Germany, Mexico Spain, Portugal, and for each asks "Should America remake it?".

MTV International sells program formats to broadcasters in Norway, Italy, Australia, Nigeria.

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Variety, 28 Mar 2011, Ed Meza: "MTV Networks Intl. has broken into new markets with deals in Europe, Asia and Africa for local versions of formats from BET, VH1 and Spike. Spike's 'Pros v Joes,' in which average Joes compete against their sporting heroes, has been picked up by Norwegian broadcaster TV2 and will be produced by local shingle Mediacircus. The format has also been optioned by Freehand Prods. in Australia. Italy's leading broadcaster Mediaset has signed for the VH1 reality re- vamp show 'Bridal Bootcamp,' in which brides-to-be enroll in a hardcore weight-loss boot camp. BET show 'Pay It Off,' in which contestants reveal how they fell into debt and then have the chance to wipe the slate clean by answering a series of pop culture-themed quiz questions, has been picked up by Nigerian brand management company Linam Concept, which will partner with a local sponsor to package the format."

National Geographic takes note of the BBC World Service Trust Janala English teaching project in Bangladesh.

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
National Geographic Daily News, 29 Mar 2011, David Braun: BBC World Service Trust "Janala is part of the English in Action campaign, which launched in November 2009. The initiative based in Bangladesh incorporates on-screen English tutoring through a television drama and a game show combined with English lessons via the mobile phone that build on the content in the programs. Janala’s three-minute mobile English lessons are equivalent to the cost of a cup of tea and accessible to those living on less than two dollars a day. ... 'We are now a third of the way through the program, and we’ve started doing surveys of 8000 people in 4 out of 7 districts in Bangladesh. We are running a mobile specific panel giving participants oral tests every six weeks. We’ve been really pleased by their ability to reproduce the language and have conversations. They are scoring at 70% so there’s no doubt that the mobile service is teaching English.'"

Bald eagle will soar over Washington State site where VOA never got off the ground.

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Sequim (WA) Gazette, 31 Mar 2011: "A rescued bald eagle at the Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center is set for release at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Dungeness County Park, 554 Voice of America Road in Sequim. 'The juvenile bald eagle came into the center last July with a fractured coracoid bone in its shoulder, banged up and very thin,' said Jaye Moore, director of the center. 'A lot of patient work has happened since then, and now this young eagle is healed up and can’t wait to get back to the wild.'" -- "Voice of America Road" is named for the adjacent site in Washington State where, in the early 1950s, a VOA shortwave transmitting stations was planned. The plans were canceled after accusations against VOA were made during 1953 Senate committee hearings chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy. See previous posts on 22 Dec 2007 and 21 Oct 2009.

Reuters, in widely circulated story, cites VOA on "possible secret operations" in Libya (updated).

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 31 Mar 2011, Mark Hosenball: "President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday. ... An article in early March on the website of the Voice of America, the U.S. government's broadcasting service, speculated on possible secret operations in Libya and defined a covert action as 'any U.S. government effort to change the economic, military, or political situation overseas in a hidden way.' The article, by VOA intelligence correspondent Gary Thomas, said covert action 'can encompass many things, including propaganda, covert funding, electoral manipulation, arming and training insurgents, and even encouraging a coup.'" Refers to VOA News, 4 Mar 2011.

Update: Note that the Reuters story describes VOA as "the U.S. government's broadcasting service." This might imply that the US government was, via VOA, sending a message about the possibility of covert actions in Libya (even though that wouldn't make sense). VOA is more accurately described as "US government funded but autonomous," but we probably will have to settle for "US government funded."

As an example, the Committee to Protect Journalists, 31 Mar 2011 refers to the "U.S. government-funded station Al-Hurra." And New American Media, 1 Apr 2011, in a review of "ethnic media coverage" of US involvement in Libya, included an item from "the Radio Free Asia website, an Asian language radio station," with no mention that RFA is US-government funded.

Financial Times, Westminster blog, 31 Mar 2011, Jim Pickard: "Koussa’s son gave an interview to the BBC’s Arabic channel last night, although this wasn’t immediately shared with the rest of the corporation – I’m told – which is why we’re only now learning about it."

State Department, 30 Mar 2011, transcript of Roger Hearing, BBC World Service, interviewing Philip H. Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, on whether "the U.S. legally arm the rebels without breaking a UN mandate."

Conference today, noon, at National Press Club will "protest the expansion of Al-Jazeera in the United States."

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
SIOA press release, 1 Apr 2011: "Human rights activists and advocates for journalistic accuracy are holding a conference this week in Washington to protest the expansion of Al-Jazeera in the United States. 'Al-Jazeera, Global Jihad, and the Suicide of the West' will convene at noon on Friday, April 1 at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. Northwest. ... The event will feature Pamela Geller, Executive Director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. ... [S]peakers include ... Jerry Kenney ... an independent television producer who uncovered the illegal relationship of MHz Networks, a division of Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, with 30 public TV stations around the country, whereby they air Al-Jazeera and Russian Today television. Kenney subsequently hired a lawyer to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, arguing that the contracts between the public TV stations and Commonwealth violate federal rules. ... Geller explained: 'The issue of the expansion of Al-Jazeera into the United States can only be likened to an expansion of Goebbels' media network into the U.S. at the height of World War II. No organization has done as much damage to spread hate, lies and incitement to violence as Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera is the leading terrorist propaganda organization in the world.'"

Free Speech TV press release, 30 Mar 2011: "To provide timely reporting on the ongoing military intervention in Libya and the increasingly violent unrest throughout the region, Free Speech TV is pre-empting much of its regular programming to air live coverage from Al Jazeera English. ... Until further notice, Free Speech TV is pre-empting its regular programming for 13 1/2 hours each day to air Al Jazeera English's live news feeds. ... Free Speech TV reaches 35 million U.S. homes, broadcasting fulltime on DISH Network channel 9415, DIRECTV channel 348, part-time on 175 U.S. community cable affiliate stations, and online at www.freespeech.org.

Project Syndicate, 31 Mar 2011, Naomi Wolf: "Americans have a hunger for international news; it is a myth that we can’t be bothered with the outside world. Maybe Americans will rise up and threaten to boycott their cable and satellite providers unless we get our Al Jazeera – and other carriers of international news. We would then come one step closer to being part of the larger world – a world that, otherwise, will eventually simply leave us behind."

Media Bistro, 30 Mar 2011, Betsy Rothstein: Guest list of the Al Jazeera table at the Radio and TV Congressional Dinner on 30 March.

Western software facilitates "government-level filtering in the Middle East and North Africa."

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Tangled Web blog, 29 Mar 2011, Luke Allnut: "A new Open Net Initiative (ONI) report, authored by Helmi Noman and Jillian C. York, looks at the 'use of American- and Canadian-made software for the purpose of government-level filtering in the Middle East and North Africa.' The authors find that 'nine countries in the region [Bahrain, U.A.E., Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Sudan, and Tunisia] utilize Western-made tools for the purpose of blocking social and political content, effectively blocking a total of over 20 million Internet users from accessing such websites.' ... With U.S. policy emphasizing an open global Internet, and dollars being spent, through the State Department and the BBG (the oversight body responsible for international broadcasting entities like RFE/RL), it does seem a little odd that U.S. companies are, in effect, working against that policy. Indirectly, the United States is paying for proxies and anonymizing tools to help global citizens get around firewalls that its companies have had a hand in constructing." See also the comment.

Police investigating torching of car belonging to Radio New Zealand International's correspondent in the Solomon Islands.

Posted: 01 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
Pacific Freedom Forum press release, 28 Mar 2011: "Solomon Islands police are treating the early morning torching last Thursday of a private vehicle owned by senior journalist Dorothy Wickham as suspicious; and are still ascertaining whether the vandals had personal or professional grievances with the ONE News Television manager. ... Wickham has spent some two decades in journalism and has provided extensive coverage to the regional and international community, breaking stories around the internal armed conflict of the late 90's and the post-conflict recovery and governance issues. She is the Radio New Zealand International correspondent for the Solomon Islands as well as General Manager and a founding owner of the ONE News TV service which is a leading news provider there. ... Wickham was also the target of vehicle-tampering some ten years ago, when the brake lines in her car were cut."