The new Android app from BBC Worldwide is not yet available worldwide.

Posted: 31 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Internet Blog, 26 Jan 2012, Kate Milner: "I’m delighted to announce that BBC News app for Android is now available for large tablet devices. The app is available to download from the Android Market in the UK. BBC Worldwide will soon be launching an international version of the app for audiences around the world. This follows the success of the BBC News app for Android smartphones, which has been downloaded more than three million times globally since launching last year. This latest version, developed by our in-house team, gives an optimised experience for larger tablets – on devices running Android’s Honeycomb 3.0 operating system and above. ... Growing numbers of people are accessing BBC News on mobiles and tablets. In an average week, the BBC News sites and apps are visited by around 9.7m users worldwide on mobile and tablet devices. That represents about 26% of the total." -- Ironically, a photo of Steve Jobs is included in the shot of the tablet.

Why he thinks the next BBC director general should be a Tory.

Posted: 31 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 27 Jan 2012, Toby Young: "[T]the Conservative Party is broadly hostile to the BBC, believing, no doubt rightly, that the majority of its employees, particularly senior executives, are centre-Left. The general view is that this dominance leads to a progressive bias in the BBC's coverage of issues such as immigration, Britain's membership of the EU and public service reform. ... I don't want to get into whether the BBC is, in fact, biased when it comes to these issues. My view, for what it's worth, is that whatever Left-wing bias there is is largely unconscious and that the BBC's senior employees are scrupulously conscientious about trying to remain even-handed and above the political fray. But that is neither here nor there because the key point is that there's a perception of bias among Conservatives, up to and including the leaders of the party. If the next director-general is a member of the progressive Left, this skepticism will be confirmed and the BBC's negotiating position in the run-up to charter renewal will be severely weakened. ... The BBC doesn't have to persuade the Labour Party to be nice to it – that's a given. The work to be done is in buttering up the Tories. The reason I'm offering this advice is because – I must confess – I love the BBC and want it to thrive. ... I think it's still one of the best advertisements for Britain around the world, along with the Queen and the Armed Forces. I feel an emotional bond with Auntie that dates back to being marooned in Israel in 1981, cowering in a bomb shelter aged 17, and depending on the BBC World Service as the only source of reliable information about what was happening above my head. To this day, the words 'This is London', followed by that stirring music [Lillibullero], still brings a tear to my eye. It makes me feel more patriotic than the National Anthem."

What has shortwave come to? One former VOA antenna site is now a rendering plant.

Posted: 31 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 26 Jan 2012, John Schneider: A 1942 photo shows "staff members of KSFO in San Francisco, standing in front of the station’s brand-new transmitter plant, located on Islais Creek in the southeast part of the city. ... The four sets of transmission lines moving off to the left are for KWID, the 100 kW shortwave station that KSFO owner Wesley I. Dumm built in 1942 at the request of the government. Its curtain antennas were supported by wooden poles off to the left of the photo. Its signals were heard throughout the Pacific during World War II, making the station a critical link for war news and government information. The station eventually became part of the Voice of America after the war. ... The KSFO transmitter building is still in use, as seen in the recent photo. There is now a rendering plant where the shortwave antennas were located."

San Francisco Chronicle, The Big Event, 25 Jan 2012, Peter Hartlaub: "My favorite [San Francisco local television newscaster] was Wanda Ramey, one of the first female news anchors in the U.S., whose career started in the early 1950s at KGO-TV. She co-hosted the 'The Noon News' on KPIX with John Weston from 1959-67, and went on to work as a correspondent for organizations including Voice of America."

Former VOA director takes his Pentagon Papers play to China (updated again).

Posted: 31 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadway World (Los Angeles), 16 Nov 2011: "L.A. Theatre Works has been invited to bring Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aarons' riveting historical drama, Top Secret: The Battle for The Pentagon Papers, to China for two weeks of performances, November 22 through December 4. ... In conjunction with scheduled performances in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing, L.A. Theatre Works, accompanied by author and former Voice of America Director Geoffrey Cowan, will offer workshops, and lead panel discussions with participation from China's leading law and journalism schools, as well as with the general public. Top Secret: The Battle for The Pentagon Papers is an inside look at The Washington Post's decision to publish a study labeled "top secret" that documented the history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The subsequent trial tested the parameters of American democracy, pitting the public's right to know against the government's need for secrecy. The epic legal battle between the government and the press went to the nation's highest court - arguably the most important Supreme Court case ever on freedom of the press." -- This is interesting for its VOA connection, but even more so for its public diplomacy potential. Will this history of a media freedom dispute cause the audiences to make comparisons?

Los Angeles Times, World Now, 3 Dec 2011, Barbara Demick: "Midway through a performance Friday night at the prestigious Peking University, producer Alison Friedman received a text message informing her that a talk after the performance would be canceled for fear of 'unforeseen consequences.' ... Actually, the biggest surprise was that the Chinese government, not what you would call a notable supporter of free speech, had actually agreed to stage a play about the U.S. government's deception concerning the Vietnam War and the U.S. media's courtroom battles in 1971 to publish a top-secret Pentagon study of the war. 'It speaks very well of China that they have embraced this tour. That is the real story,' said 'Top Secret' playwright Geoffrey Cowan, former dean of USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism and president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands."

Update: USC US-China Institute: "Please join us on Thursday, February 2 when Cowan, executive producer Susan Loewenberg, and actor Joshua Stamberg will discuss how they managed to take Top Secret to China, how it was presented to Chinese audiences, and how the play was received."

Study: BBC World News among "emerging networks" US cable operators most want to carry.

Posted: 31 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting & Cable, 24 Jan 2012, John Eggerton: "According to the latest Beta Research Corp. study, Hallmark Movie Channel is the emerging network cable operators most want to carry (88%), while the emerging net large systems are most interested in adding BBC World News (33%). ... The top five in each category are: Emerging networks, all operators: Hallmark Movie Channel, Smithsonian Channel, MTV Hits, BBC World News, Crime & Investigation, Cloo. ... Emerging nets, large operators: BBC World News, Sony Movie Channel, Crime & Investigation, RLTV, Chiller."

Will Twitter's new country-specific censorship include a ban on VOA tweets to US tweeps?

Posted: 30 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Marketing Land, 26 Jan 2012, Danny Sullivan: "Until now, Twitter’s not had the ability to censor certain tweets or accounts, to prevent them from being seen — if legally required — by users in particular countries. That’s now changed, though Twitter stresses that it hasn’t yet used this new ability and that should it have to, anything withheld will be disclosed. Twitter has shared the news on its blog, saying: 'As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.' ... Twitter is preparing for potential demands in the way that Google already does, by alerting its users to when content has been withheld and providing information about why, through the Chilling Effects site."

At present, a US idea "about the contours of freedom of expression" is the Smith-Mundt Act ban on the domestic dissemination of US public diplomacy and international broadcasting. Twitter's new capability allows this law to be observed. Even if all USIB content is blocked to US IP addresses, many of remaining USIB shortwave broadcasts will be audible in the United States. That is, until those transmissions end. When that happens, enforcement of the domestic dissemination ban will be complete.

VOA news transmitted via shortwave radioteletype to the ships at sea.

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
I have just discovered that maritime shortwave communications station WLO in Mobile, Alabama, has started a 24-hour transmission of news in radioteletype (RTTY) and another digital text mode, SITOR-B. The frequency is 8473 kHz. Much of the transmitted news comes of VOA (presumably taking advantage of the public-domain status of VOA content). The audience is, apparently, vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean service area of WLO.

The WLO RTTY News signal is audible at my house in northern Virginia throughout the day and night. On this page is a sample of my reception on 25 January at 2230 UTC. Copy was, at that time, near 100% (though it isn't always). Any breaks are caused by fading or noise on the frequency, or by the inability of these basic digital modes to handle certain punctuation marks. Reception is usually more successful in SITOR-B, which has error correction, than RTTY, which does not.

The service began in August, per this item...

RadioReference.com, 18 Aug 2011, George Hutchison, originating from UDXF Yahoo list and GreenKeyers: "Through the gracious accomodation of Rene Steigler, K4EDX, owner of WLO in Mobile AL, KLB north of Seattle, and KNN in Marina Del Rey, California, and his tecnical staff in Mobile, ---> WLO RTTY News is now on the air!! <--- ... Frequency is 8473.000 KHz. Power is 1000 watts. On-Air time is 24/7. ... Speaking for myself, this is a dream that after perhaps 14 years is finally coming true. I believe it to be a bit of history, because other than the WA9XHN/WC2XPF experimental RTTY transmissions between 1999 and 2001, to my knowledge there has NEVER been any RTTY News transmissions aimed at a general audience/listenership."

Technical paramters for the RTTY are 45 baud, 170 Hz shift, using upper sideband of commercial RTTY than the lower sideband typical in amateur radio. There are several programs that can receive both RTTY and SITOR-B (same as AMTOR-FEC, including TrueTTY and MixW. (These programs are used by radio amateurs to enable the transmission of digital modes, but they can also be used for receive-only.

More information about WLO at www.shipcom.com.

Mundo Fox and Colombia's RCN will partner on a new Spanish-language channel for the US.

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/culture/21720-newscorp-and-rcn-join-to-form-us-spanisk-speaking-tv-channel.htmlColombia Reports, 24 Jan 2012, Tom Peters: "Television networks Mundo Fox and RCN are joining forces to form a Spanish-speaking channel for the United States. 'It is going to consititute a joint venture, a contract of shared risk. Fox will have 50% and RCN will have 50%,' said Gabriel Reyes, the president of Colombian network RCN Television. 'We hope to be launching in September and October of this year,' Reyes added. Mundo Fox is operated by Fox International Channels, part of the NewsCorp conglomerate which is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch. ... Spanish-speaking television in the United States is currently dominated by rival operators Univision and Telemundo. ... Reyes said that RCN will be in charge of generating all fiction and news content on the new channel with the support of Latin American news network NTN24. RCN produced the telenovela 'Yo Soy Betty La Fea' which went on to become global televisual phenomenon, and more recently, 'A Corazon Abierto,' a successful medical telenovela."

Los Angeles Times, 24 jan 2012, Joe Flint: "Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon has struck a deal for 80 episodes of a prime-time soap opera for its Nick-at-Nite programming block that will debut later this year. Based on the Mexican telenovela 'Alcanzar una Estrella,' 'Reach for a Star' is part of Nickelodeon's ongoing strategy to bring young parents and kids to its Nick-at-Nite prime-time lineup. ... The single-camera 'Reach for a Star' follows the life of a teenage girl who becomes a star overnight and has her life turned upside down."

Stratos TV, New Zealand relayer of international broadcasts (including VOA), quits (updated).

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
National Business Review (Auckland), 23 Dec 2011: "Free-to-air broadcaster Stratos Television is closing down after four years of public service broadcasting. The channel, which provided a 'different window on the world' through the likes of Al Jazeera news in English, is no longer financially viable. 'We simply have not had the support we were seeking – despite a growing audience of more than one million and reaching the stage where AC Nielsen were able to include us in the TARPS audience ratings,' co-founder and CEO Jim Blackman says. ... The broadcaster had international partnerships with the likes of DW-TV, France 24, Euro News in Europe, Voice of America, Bloomberg, Australia Network and CCTV, CQTV, NHK and YTN in Asia."

Auckland.Scoop, 25 Dec 2011: "Labour yesterday issued a shamelessly self-serving statement blaming the government. But Labour had plenty of time when it could have ensured the survival of Stratos. Both political parties share the blame for its demise." See also www.stratostv.co.nz.

Update: New Zealand Herald, 23 Jan 2012, Peter A. Thompson: "The Government's broadcasting policy assumes that the proliferation of digital media platforms will increase competition and ensure a cornucopia of consumer choice. Which sounds fine, except that's not how media markets work in practice. ... A genuine diversity of content therefore requires a diversity of institutions, including those which cater to non-commercial audiences. Stratos TV and TVNZ7 have been able to offer prime-time schedules distinct from the commercial mainstream precisely because they were not driven by ratings. Contrary to the Government's wishful thinking, there are no broadcasters queuing up to renegotiate the deals Stratos had developed with Al Jazeera, DW-TV, Voice of America, Bloomberg, CCTV, and NHK, and no channels offering to schedule Media 7, Back Benches or an hour of prime-time local news after TVNZ7 closes. The fact that the audiences for these programmes are small does not alter the fact that they extended the range of choice for the viewing audience. It is simply untrue that nobody was watching them."

Musician Chucho Valdés, who still lives in Cuba, credits past shortwave listening to VOA Jazz Hours.

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Hartford Courant, 24 Jan 2012, Owen McNally: "Still very much an irrepressible life-force at 70, Chucho Valdés, the renowned Cuban pianist, composer and bandleader, is on a winter tour of the United States that sets down for high-energy maneuvers ... at the cabaret series at the University of Connecticut's Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. ... The title track [of his new CD], 'Chucho's Steps,' ... is a 50-bar adventure in challenging harmony in which he pays tribute to John Coltrane's intimidating masterpiece, 'Giant Steps.' Valdés notes that as a young man in Cuba he would listen on short-wave radio to a program called 'The Jazz Hour' on The Voice of America, an experience that opened his ears to Coltrane's innovations and the creative fervor of the new, iconoclastic music that was fermenting in the States."

Death of VOA reporter in Pakistan shows "fatal attraction ... of American-sponsored journalism," he writes.

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Nation (Lahore), 23 Jan 2012, Momin Iftikhar: "The recent and deplorable assassination of Mukarram Khan Atif in a Shabqadar Mosque by Taliban militants is indicative of the perils faced by the local journalists, who are lured in by attractions of the American financed media services. It was the first death of a journalist in Pakistan, which was claimed by a militant group. According to the New York Times, Atif worked for Deewa Radio, a voice of America service that was set up in 2006 for making Pashto broadcast into the FATA region. The radio has an annual budget of $1 million with about 25 local employees for whom the salaries are lucrative, considering the meagreness of local standards. Apart from Deewa, there is Radio Mashaal, also financed by the US and the BBC Pashto Service that keep spreading the message of their respective governments into a sensitive area where drone attacks are a routine and xenophobia rampant. Atif’s tragic killing has underscored the perils caused to the media men by their fatal attraction to the lure of American-sponsored journalism, which according to the US doctrine is closely perceived to be linked to its military objectives in the region. His death calls for a serious introspection on part of the American planners of the battle for hearts and mind, who are putting scores of Pakistani journalists in the harm’s way by recruiting them to inadvertently play a role in the US-led battle for a positive perception management in FATA and elsewhere."

Sacramento Bee, 23 Jan 2012, John MacLeod: "The murder of Mukarram Khan Atif deprives northwestern Pakistan of a courageous journalist who stood for truthful, fair reporting in the face of death threats from Taliban militants. ... For the past two years, he had been closely involved with Open Minds, which trains young people in schools and madrassas in the basics of journalism. 'He seemed to me a very humble, calm and softly-spoken person,' said project director Babar Baig."

See previous post about same subject.

International broadcasters call for end to Iranian satellite jamming. But Iran claims its TV is jammed by UK.

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 24 Jan 2012: "Five of the largest international broadcasters have called upon delegates now convening in Geneva for an international treaty-making conference to address the problem of intentional interference with satellite transmissions. The practice, known as 'satellite uplink jamming,' seeks to disrupt international broadcast coverage. And it is spreading, according to the Directors General of five international broadcast organizations: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Deutsche Welle (DW), Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) and the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). They also noted that satellite uplink jamming is contrary Article 15 of the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union, and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads: 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.' The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the largest association of national broadcasters in the world, conveyed the views of the five broadcasters in a note to the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12), which convenes in Geneva from January 23 through February 17."

Voice of America, From the Director blog, undated, David Ensor: "We’ve come to depend on satellites to experience the great events of our time. Whether it’s the opening ceremony of the international Olympic Games or live video of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last year, satellites bring us together. Unfortunately, some governments have decided they want to try to block this flow of information. Since September, the Iranian government has radically increased its deliberate interference with satellites, a practice we all know as jamming. It works like this. Iran sends a bogus signal to a satellite, which overwhelms the legitimate signal and renders it useless to TV and radio audiences on the ground." -- This the the first post to Mr. Ensor's new blog.

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, 23 Jan 2012: "Today, Iranian protestors gathered in Geneva, demanding the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, to take action on the Iranian government’s illegal internet and communications censorship. Coinciding with the start of the regulatory meeting of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in Geneva, and organized by ITU. Iranians gathered to protest against their government’s illegal telecommunications practices."

Press TV, 25 Jan 2012: "British technicians in Bahrain continue jamming the signal of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) channels on the Hotbird satellite provider. The transmission of jamming signals on frequency: 12437 MHz, horizontal position, symbol rate: 27500, FEC ¾ began on January 17, 2012. The blocked channels include provincial channels and a number of international channels such as Press TV, Al-Alam, Al-Kowsar, Jame-Jam and Sahar. The Eutelsat telecommunication giant declined to comment on the problem after IRIB contacted them for clarification."

In Florida primary, Newt Gingrich touts his support for Radio Martí. And Sean Hannity wants to be his VOA director.

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Storyful, 27 Jan 2011: "A controversial ad from Gingrich, labelling Romney as 'anti immigrant', opened with a soundbite from Castro, and went on to claim that Romney used such a phrase himself. Translated, the ad says: 'Unlike Romney, who uses Castro-type prhases, Newt Gingrich has fought against the regime with Ileana [Ros-Lehtinen] and Lincoln [Diaz-Balart] to approve Helms-Burton; he supported the formation of Radio and TV Marti; and is in favor of holding the Castro brothers accountable for the shooting down of the Brothers to the Rescue airplanes.'"

FactCheck.org, 26 Jan 2012, Lori Robertson: A Gingrich radio ad "makes several accurate statements about Gingrich’s positions. It ... says Gingrich 'supported the formation of Radio and TV Marti,' which are Voice of America Spanish-language broadcasts to Cuba from the U.S. The legislation funding Radio Marti was enacted in 1983, passing the House by a 302 to 109 vote, and funding for the television broadcasts was enacted in 1990. It passed the House with a voice vote."

Newsmax.com, 14 Jan 2012, Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter: "Asked how crucial the Hispanic and in particular the Cuban-American vote will be in the Florida primary, Gingrich says: 'The Hispanic vote in general is vital to our election bid, and certainly in the Florida primary the Cuban-American vote is enormous. ... I helped pass the Helms-Burton Act [strengthening the embargo against Cuba] to fight for freedom. I helped sustain Radio Marti. I really have worked very hard to make sure that we have an all-out effort to free the people of Cuba, and I think that gives me a real advantage going into the campaign here in Florida.'"

Miami Herald blog, 13 Jan 2012, reprinting letter from Gingrich to Frank Alonso, president, Unidad Cubana/Cuban Unity" "My presidency will be fully committed to both supporting the heroic internal opposition activists inside Cuba who are bravely risking their lives for a free and democratic Cuba, as well as delivering the message of freedom through Radio and TV Marti."

Fox News, 11 Mar 2011, transcript of Sean Hannity radio program: "Gingrich: You know, Callista and I did a movie on Ronald Reagan and a movie on Pope John Paul II going back to Poland. In both movies we showed how diplomatic, political, intellectual pressure brought to bear against the Soviet Empire. Ultimately broke it. Broke it very -- at a speed no liberal thought was possible. Iran is not that powerful a dictatorship. We should be aggressively every morning, we should have a very powerful Voice of America program. We should have subsidies going in covertly, to help people organize. Hannity: Can I run that one day? Gingrich: I think -- it would be, I think you would have so much fun it would be dangerous. Hannity: I think you are right." -- Implying that naming the VOA director would once again be a presidential prerogative, dispensing with the pesky Broadcasting Board of Governors.

See previous posts on 14 June and 17 Oct 2011 about Gingrich on US international broadcasting.

Will the new BBG chairman be a hack or a flack?

Posted: 29 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 27 Jan 2012, Emily Heil: "Walter Isaacson, who penned a best-selling book about the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, resigned Friday as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors to work on another book. 'I'm taking on another big writing project, so I won't be able to give the BBG the time it needs and deserves,' he said in a resignation letter sent Friday to the agency, which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. ... The White House must now nominate Isaacson’s replacement to the eight-member bipartisan BBG board."

Mountain Runner, 27 Jan 2012, Matt Armstrong: "In his letter announcing his resignation, Walter wrote ... 'Our terms have all either expired or are about to, and I think the board can be proud of its work. We developed over two years a strategic plan to streamline and consolidate the agency, and we adopted unanimously at our last meeting the two resolutions that would implement it. We’ve also hired great new entity heads — David Ensor at Voice of America, Steve Korn at Radio Free Europe, and Carlos Garcia-Perez at Radio and TV Marti — to join the strong leaders at the other entities.' Knowing how hard the Board has worked since they took their jobs in June 2010, Walter’s resignation should not reflect a personal failure but a reflection of the strain of the 'part-time' board. The strain is made worse when this board is not regularly infused with fresh bodies and minds, which was its design. Governors are appointed to staggered terms, but we are again in a situation of neglect by the White House in nominating new blood. ... The relatively thin upper management has arguably relied too much – by necessity – on the Governors to manage the organization when the Governors should have been in the role of providing expert and senior advice. The BBG’s new strategic plan, the details of which are still being finalized and have yet to be shared beyond a narrative, includes changes to remedy this over-reliance on the appointed part-timers."

I would not call the USIB upper management "thin." There's is an abundance of upper management, given that each entity has an upper management. If the planned consolidation preserves the multiple brands of USIB, there will continue to be multiple front offices.

The new chairman of the BBG must be committed to true consolidation. Only when USIB ceases to be a dysfunctional confederacy of feudal entities can it begin to rise to its goal of becoming "the world's leading international news agency."

The new chairman should also be distinguished by journalistic hackery rather than political flackery. If not a distinguished journalist, he or she should be a distinguished broadcasting professional -- preferably with some experience witnessing the role of international broadcasting in countries where the domestic media are government controlled or otherwise deficient. Background in diplomacy (public or otherwise), public relations, or political consultancy, would be less helpful. USIB will succeed if it provides the objective information that allows people in the audience to make up their own minds. It will fail if it manipulates content in an attempt to manipulate global public opinion, even if such manipulation is "in support of freedom and democracy."

In my Foreign Service Journal paper, October 2010, I proposed that US international broadcasting be franchised to a consortium of US private broadcast news companies. The resulting new "board" would perpetuate itself, not having to wait for presidential and Congressional action. Government oversight would be limited to renewing, or not renewing, the contract, every N years. If news is the product, the less government oversight the better.

Alhurra in the Iraqi-Turkish war of words. And more Alhurra in the news.

Posted: 27 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Today's Zaman, 15 Jan 2012: "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's harsh criticism of Turkey for what he considered interference in the domestic realm of Iraq is sure to draw the ire of Turkey, as observers have already labeled Maliki's reaction 'a regrettable move' that will undermine his capacity to cooperate with neighbors that are hoping for stability in Iraq. In a televised interview with Alhurra TV on Friday, Maliki slammed Turkey for its 'surprise interference' in his country's internal affairs, claiming that Turkey's role could bring disaster and civil war to the region -- something he claimed will make Turkey suffer just the same. 'We ... did not expect the way they [Turkey] interfere in Iraq,' Maliki said in an interview with the Alhurra TV station on Friday, AFP news agency reported on Friday."

Wall Street Journal, 17 Jan 2012, Joe Parkinson and Sam Dagher: "Iraq summoned Turkey's ambassador on Monday to protest what it called Ankara's meddling in Iraqi politics, the latest sign of a rising rift between Sunni Turkey and its Shiite neighbors. Iraq's government was angered by recent warnings from Turkish leaders that Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq could engulf the entire Islamic world, as well as by Turkey's support for a Sunni rival to Iraq's Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. 'Turkey interferes by backing certain political figures and blocs' in Iraq, Mr. Maliki told The Wall Street Journal last month. 'I believe Turkey is unqualified to intervene in the region's flash points.' In a weekend interview with Arabic language Al-Hurra TV station, Mr. Maliki went further. 'Unfortunately, Turkey is playing a role that could lead to a catastrophe or civil war in the region,' he said."

Hürriyet Daily News, 19 Jan 2012, Gökhan Kurtaran: "Turkey supports the unity and stability of Iraq, according to Turkey’s Economy Minister Zafer Çaglayan, who expressed disappointment with Iraq’s prime minister’s recent comments on Turkey’s role in the region during a visit to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cities yesterday. ... However, he also said Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s strongly worded statement Jan. 13 in an interview with private broadcaster al-Hurra was 'upsetting.'"

Reuters, 24 Jan 2012, Jonathon Burch: "In an interview with al-Hurra television this month, Maliki said: 'Turkey is unfortunately playing a role which may lead to disaster and civil war in the region.' Tuesday, Erdogan described Maliki's comments about Turkey meddling in Iraq's affairs as 'unfortunate' and 'ugly.'"

Washington Post, 24 Jan 2012, Liz Sly: "Syria’s foreign minister on Tuesday shrugged off warnings by the United States that it may close its embassy in Damascus because of inadequate security. 'That’s their business,' Walid al-Moualem said at a rare press conference in Damascus when asked about the threatened closure by a reporter from the U.S.-funded al-Hurra TV station."

Bloomberg Businessweek, 19 Jan 2012, Sarah A. Topol writing about the new Egyptian TV channel Misr25: "Almost no one in the newsroom, except the news director, is a member of the [Muslim] Brotherhood. Aasem Aboul Ghar, chief of reporters and a news presenter, came to Misr25 from Alhurra, a U.S. government-funded channel. He calls himself a liberal, but considers himself a professional first and foremost. Ghar shrugs off any possible criticism that might accompany working for the Brotherhood: 'You have a stigma here, just as before; when I was working for Alhurra, there was a stigma working for America.'"

Will this new Bravo series about "fabulous" young Iranian-Americans find its way into Iran?

Posted: 26 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan 2012, Jethro Nededog: "Just as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is ending its Season 2 run, Bravo and Ryan Seacrest deliver a whole different take on Beverly Hills. Meet the cast of Shahs of Sunset, Bravo’s new reality series premiering Sunday, March 11 at 10 p.m. Shahs of Sunset follows these fabulous twenty and thirty-something Persian-Americans as they balance their social, romantic, and career lives with the values of their families and community. Clearly, the cast members come from high expectations. Their parents landed on U.S. soil with nothing according to the sneak peek, and it just so happened to be in Beverly Hills… Obviously, we’re missing some steps."

China's CCTV builds hub in Washington, but answers questions about it only via e-mail, anonymously (updated).

Posted: 26 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 16 Jan 2012, Paul Farhi: "In a downtown [Washington] D.C. office building hard by a Starbucks and a busy construction site, China’s most ambitious effort to become a global power in English-language TV news is literally taking shape. For months, Chinese and American workers have been constructing a multi-floor TV studio complex on New York Avenue NW. Within a few weeks, China Central Television (CCTV) — the nation’s state-run international broadcaster — intends to originate news broadcasts produced by a staff of more than 60 journalists hired in recent weeks from NBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox News and other Western news organizations. The new Washington operation, its managers say, will be a hub of CCTV’s global news-gathering operations as the network launches a major expansion outside China to compete with international broadcasters such as CNN, the BBC and al-Jazeera. ... China experts say the country’s lofty media goals may collide with the communist government’s long history of official censorship and propaganda. China’s desire for international respect and stature raises a question for its journalists: Can they report without fear or favor, free from government manipulation and second-guessing? ... CCTV’s top adviser for its American news operation is Jim Laurie, a former NBC and ABC reporter who has been a consultant to several international broadcasters in Asia. Laurie referred questions to CCTV’s management."

Washington Post, 18 Jan 2012, Erik Wemple (blog) quoting Farhi on his story about CCTV: "I had a number of preliminary (off the record conversations) with people there. It was clear that they weren’t going to speak for the record unless I submitted my questions to them. Once I sent them, I got a reply pretty quickly--within 24 hours, I think. And, yeah, this was really a first for me. I don’t know how most reporters feel, but I don’t like to interview anyone this way."

Wall Street Journal, 17 Jan 2012, Laura Kusisto: "Chinese media operations obviously are starting out far behind Western media companies and have many more government-imposed constraints. But experts say the organizations like Xinhua are packaging content for sale to media outlets in developing countries, similar to the Associated Press or Reuters, but much cheaper. 'These state media entities don't operate under market principles. They're able to create, package and distribute at bargain-basement rates,' said Phelim Kine, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. The first U.S. show China Central TV plans to produce will focus on business and include dispatches from New York, according to a person familiar with the matter. 'Their intention-and it's a gradual step-by-step approach-is to be competitive with CNN International, BBC World News and Al Jazeera English,' the person said."

New York Times, 17 Jan 2012, Joseph S. Nye Jr.: "[F]or all the efforts to turn Xinhua and China Central Television into competitors for CNN and the BBC, there is little international audience for brittle propaganda. Now, in the aftermath of the Middle East revolutions, China is clamping down on the Internet and jailing human rights lawyers, once again torpedoing its soft power campaign."

Update: Weekly Standard, The Scrapbook, 30 Jan 2012 issue: "[If] it works for the BBC and Al Jazeera and Voice of America, why shouldn’t it work for the world’s largest Communist dictatorship? This sort of news is, of course, catnip to The Scrapbook. The Chinese seem to believe one of the enduring myths of modern democracy: namely, that the only thing a Great Power needs to succeed in the world is (a) power and (b) good public relations. It also proves that countless journalists can be bought, if the price is right."

Boston Globe, 20 Jan 2012, Alex Beam: "[R]ecently I spent a couple of weeks listening to China Radio International, Beijing’s answer to the BBC and the Voice of America. Sample idiocy: 'Thirty-five percent of the binding targets’ of the country’s National Human Rights Action Plan 'had been met ahead of time or exceeded.' Bravo."

Broadcasting to Burma: VOA sees RFA's TV bid, and raises.

Posted: 25 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 23 Jan 2012: "VOA is adding more news to its Burmese language TV news magazine. Starting Tuesday morning at 7:00 am local time, the half-hour show begins with a new fast-paced daily summary of the latest developments from the region and around the world. The program, which had been produced once a week, will now have an updated summary of the headlines six days a week. Reports on U.S. culture and politics and the latest from the world of science and technology will round out the program, which will be rebroadcast in the evening." -- The real story here is this story in combination with this story. Perhaps archrivals RFA and VOA are building up their inventory of competing broadcasts before any restructuring of USIB kicks in. (RFA TV is on Apstar 2R at 76.5°E, same satellite as used by Democratic Voice of Burma TV, but not the same satellite as used by VOA Burmese TV, Asiasat 3 at 105.5°E. Viewers in Burma therefore must turn their dishes -- daily -- if they want to see both the RFA and VOA Burmese television programs.)

UK regulator Ofcom revokes license of Iran's Press TV, until recently based in London.

Posted: 24 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 20 Jan 2012, Julian Clover: "Ofcom has revoked the licence of Press TV after the regulator failed to be satisfied the channel’s licensee had sufficient control over the programmes broadcast. Press TV, a division of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting has, has lost its TLCS licence under Condition 29(2)(a) of that licence. Under section 13(1) of the 1990 Act it is a criminal offence to provide a television service without a licence. The licence itself was revoked under Condition 29(2)(a) of the Licence and section 238(4) of the Communications Act 2003. It follows a series of meetings and correspondence between regulator and broadcaster in connection with an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, that was claimed to have been conducted under duress, and was held to be a serious breach of the broadcasting code. It later emerged that Press TV was unable to pay the fine."

BBC News, 20 Jan 2012: "Ofcom said Press TV had 'indicated it is unwilling and unable to pay'. It was during the investigation into the Bahari interview that the media regulator formed the impression that editorial decisions on the channel were being controlled by the offices in Tehran, instead of the UK. Press TV was given the opportunity to respond and make the relevant amendments needed to comply with the broadcasting code, but 'failed to make the necessary application', Ofcom said. In a statement issued to the BBC, Press TV's newsroom director Mr Hamid Emadi said: '... Ofcom contradictions are nothing new for Press TV. The British government's tool to control the media has, on several occasions, changed its decisions regarding Press TV in its two-year campaign against the alternative news channel.'"

The Register, 20 Jan 2012, Bill Ray: "Ofcom tells us it offered to help Press TV get a licence for its Tehran-based editorial operation, and reminds us that several channels have their editorial operations abroad and that's fine as long as those operations are the ones holding the licence. But Press TV refused such offers, and only the UK office holds a broadcast licence."

The Spectator, Coffee House blog, 20 Jan 2012, Douglas Murray: "Doubtless there will be much new bluster from Press TV and, indeed, from the dictatorship in Iran over this matter. Reminding us of the nature of the conspiracy-theory mindset, when Ofcom came to its October decision, the channel claimed the regulatory body was succumbing to ‘demands’ made by ‘the British royal family.’ Who knew? The fact that the Iranian government is no longer able to run a propaganda station from London is a cause for celebration. Only the fact it was able to do so in the first place can sour the savouring of this moment."

The Daily Mail, 20 Jan 2012: "Its English-language service was removed from Sky TV's satellite platform today as a result of the latest decision, but will still be available online."

The Independent, 21 Jan 2012, Jerome Taylor: "Insiders told The Independent that the TV network could have easily complied with regulations by either moving editorial control to Britain or applying for a new licence as a foreign broadcaster. But Ofcom received no replies and decided yesterday to switch the channel off. Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist who presents two shows with Press TV, said it was a 'sad day for British journalism'. 'People have to remember that while Press TV was state funded it was not state controlled,' she said. 'It has been a thorn in the side of Western nations, particularly Britain and America.'." Listen also to BBC Radio 4, "Today," 21 Jan 2012.

Jerusalem Post, 21 Jan 2012, Jonny Paul: "Referring to Ofcom as 'the media arm of the royal family,' Press TV responded by saying that there is every indication that Ofcom is 'subservient to the British government and the monarchy' and launched an attack on Britain’s domestic and foreign policies. The Iranian mouthpiece suggested that revealing these issues in its news coverage had an impact on Ofcom’s decision."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 22 Jan 2012, Michael Theodoulou: "Press TV argued it had incurred Britain's wrath with its critical coverage of the riots in British cities and its exposure of the 'extravagant costs of Britain's royal wedding at a time of great financial difficulty for ordinary Britons'. ... Betraying a curious fixation with Britain's royals, Press TV vowed the loss of its licence would not stop it from broadcasting the truth 'about the British royal regime', which it said controls Ofcom. Ofcom and the Foreign Office on Friday denied any government involvement in the station losing its licence."

Huffington Post UK, 24 Jan 2012, Jody Sabral: "Clearly the lesson here to Press TV should be, if you want to broadcast your message on British airways you should learn to play by the rules. This is a failure in understanding the way in which ethical practise works, a shame for the employees of Press TV, who have been let down time and time again by the decisions taken at the top."

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 24 Jan 2012, Geoffrey Alderman: "I entirely agree that there have been occasions on which Press TV has shown very poor judgment: for example its decision in 2009 to broadcast an interview with Maziar Bahari which Bahari (a Newsweek journalist) claimed had been obtained under duress, while he was held in a Tehran jail. But I challenge you to name any UK-based TV channel that has not made a bad error of broadcasting judgment. The Ofcom ban – which Press TV will surely circumvent via its web-based presence – will only serve to increase anti-western sentiment in Iran, and can only bolster Islamist feelings of victimhood."

TV Land buys Israeli sitcom format, but will it be short-lived?

Posted: 24 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Deadline, 20 Jan 2012, Nellie Andreeva: "TV Land has reached to a foreign land for its latest comedy project. In a competitive situation, the cable network has picked up for development an U.S. version of the Israeli format Zanzuri from Ben Silverman’s Electus. Frasier alum Jon Sherman will write the adaptation, which centers on a family man who suffers a heart attack on his 40th birthday and discovers that every man in his family has died of a heart failure at that age."

PBS viewers will learn about the US Space Shuttle program from a BBC program.

Posted: 24 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 17 Jan 2012, Jon Weisman, via Chicago Tribune: "BBC Worldwide has completed the sale of more than 260 hours of programming to PBS stations in the U.S., highlighted by the docu series 'History of Science.' The deals were initiated at the annual BBC Showcase Syndication event October in New Orleans. In addition to 'History of Science,' PBS affiliates will also air such programs as 'Pleasure and Pain,' 'The Queen's Palaces,' 'New Tricks,' and 'Space Shuttle: A Horizon Guide.' Other BBC Worldwide titles licensed for first and second windows by PBS affiliates include 'Himalaya with Michael Palin,' 'Wild Indonesia' and 'Hannibal and Krakatoa: The Last Days.'" See also BBC Worldwide Americas press release, 17 Jan 2012.

BBC and India's Viacom18 eye channel expansion in Middle East.

Posted: 23 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The National (Abu Dhabi), 20 Jan 2012, Ben Flanagan: "Two global broadcasters are in talks with Middle Eastern media companies about launching channels in the region's already crowded television market. The company behind MTV India this month opened an office in Dubai, and is pursuing agreements to beam the music station to more Middle East countries. Separately, the BBC says it is in discussions to launch more of its English-language stations in the region. ... The Indian entertainment company Viacom18 - a joint venture between the US media giant Viacom and Indian's Network18 Group - said this week it had opened an office in Dubai. ... MTV India is currently available in Qatar, as well as global markets such as the US, Singapore, Australia and India. ... Viacom18's new office in Dubai Media City would ... help to push Colors, its flagship entertainment channel, across the Mena region... . The BBC ... has a deal to broadcast the English-language stations BBC Lifestyle, BBC Entertainment and BBC World News in the region but is looking to bring other brands to the Arab world... ."

RFE/RL remembers Iraj Gorgin, former Radio Farda editor-in-chief.

Posted: 23 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, Off Mic blog, 19 Jan 2012, Charles Recknagel: "Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty mourns the passing of Iraj Gorgin, former editor-in-chief of Radio Farda, RFE/RL's Persian-language broadcast service. Iraj passed away on January 13 after battling illness in Washington, D.C. He will be greatly missed by his former colleagues and many friends in Prague, where he worked from 1998 to 2009. During his time at RFE/RL, Iraj was instrumental both in the management of Radio Farda and in the launch and operation of its predecessor service, Radio Azadi, where he served as deputy director and acting director. He shaped the style and content of both services, helping them to win strong audience confidence as trusted sources of news and cultural programming."

Alhurra purchases "N2K," UK-produced program about social media, technology, internet.

Posted: 23 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Worldscreen.com, 19 Jan 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "Alhurra TV, which is operated by the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN), has called on Mercury Media and ITN (Independent Television News) to produce a weekly half-hour magazine show that will focus on social media, global technology and the Internet. N2K (Need to Know) will feature stories from the web and across the Twittersphere to explore the digital news and trends. Each episode will discuss the most-watched videos on YouTube, the most-Tweeted subjects and the most-searched words or phrases on Google. The show will debut on January 20. 'Social media is an essential vehicle for sharing information throughout the world, and especially in the Middle East,' said MBN's president, Brian Conniff. 'Through our partnership with Mercury Media and ITN, N2K will engage our viewers with a deeper understanding of how new media technology impacts their lives.'"

Mercury Media's N2K page: "In each episode: Most Wanted: The 3 most watched videos on YouTube – it could be Charlie Sheen’s manic rant against his producers, Lady Gaga’s latest crazy performance, or a Chinese teenager doing an Elvis impression. Most Searched: The 3 most searched words or phrases on Google. What do they tell us about what people are talking about that week? Big Twitters: The week’s most significant tweeters, the biggest trends and most tweeted subjects. We’ll also profile the big Twitter names. Most Popular: The biggest selling game or latest gadget, the hippest Facebook group, or the most expensive item on eBay. We’ll be at the biggest launch events anticipating the big talking-points before they happen."

Mercury Media and ITN are UK based companies.

I produced USIB's first program dealing with the social media: VOA's Communications World, 1995-2002. Twitter and Facebook did not exist then, but my audience and I used the internet in very interactive ways to provide content for each show.

RFE/RL video shows how they "vote early and vote often" in Kazakhstan.

Posted: 23 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Eurasia.net, 16 Jan 2012, Joanna Lillis: "Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party has won its expected landslide in a January 15 parliamentary election – a month after at least 17 protestors were shot dead by security forces – and will be joined in parliament by two other parties, preliminary results show. ... Party leaders said they possessed evidence of ballot stuffing and multiple voting. A video posted by Radio Free Europe appeared to show electoral officials jamming ballots into boxes in Almaty."

BBC World News content will be seen on Sweden's new TV4 News channel.

Posted: 22 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World News press release, 12 Jan 2012: "Today, BBC World News and TV4 announce agreeing a deal that will allow the new TV4 News channel to broadcast a small selection of BBC World News programming every week when the channel launches on 24 January in Sweden. The deal will give TV4 News audiences the opportunity to watch some of the BBC’s best international news programming, including some editions of the channel’s flagship current affairs programme HARDtalk, presented by Stephen Sackur and ongoing coverage of key global issues such as the U.S. elections, the Arab Uprising and the challenges facing the global economy."

Babcock, successor to Merlin and VT, will continue shortwave transmission services for BBC World Service.

Posted: 22 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Engineer, 12 Jan 2012: "Babcock has won a contract to continue providing services relating to the transmission and distribution of radio and television for the BBC World Service. The contract, which is active from 1 April 2012, is worth approximately £200m over 10 years. Under the terms of the contract, Babcock will provide essential support to ensure that the BBC provides a reliable and resilient service to its global audience. This will include operating and maintaining the BBC’s six high-power sites and a power station to ensure global coverage. This includes the BBC’s key target areas of Africa and the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia. Babcock will also manage satellite network contracts and support satellite distribution systems, including 1,300 receivers worldwide in more than 650 locations in 128 countries."

Babcock International press release, 12 Jan 2012: "Nigel Fry, Head of Distribution BBC Global News, said: 'The new contract with Babcock ... will provide us with clarity of costs over the coming years, and significant savings that are critical in the current economic climate. Importantly, these savings will not affect the quality of service that our global audience expects.'"

Some history: In 1997, BBC World Service privatized its shortwave transmission operation, selling it to a group consisting laregly of its own engineers. The resulting company was called Merlin Communications. It owned the BBCWS shortwave sites in the UK, operated its relay sites abroad, and leased back transmitter time to BBCWS -- and to other stations. In 2001, Merlin was acquired by VT Group, reportedly yielding a nice profit for the ex-BBCWS engineers. In 2010, Babcock International acquired VT. An interesting aspect to this deal is that BBCWS has made clear that, because of its reduced budget and shifting media patters, it intends to reduce and eventually eliminate shortwave. The "six high-power sites" are, I think, at Ascension Island, Oman, Cyprus, Thailand, Singapore, and Seychelles.

Catalog of international broadcasters to Belarus includes a criticism of RFE/RL.

Posted: 22 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Belarus Digest, 11 Jan 2012, Siarhei Bohdan: "Currently one TV channel (Belsat) and three radio stations (Euroradio, RFE/RL and Racyja) broadcast on a daily basis to Belarus from the West. However, their coverage and financing is incomparable to that of Belarusian state media propaganda. Starting this January, even the harmless Russian edition of the Euronews channel has been excluded from the standard cable TV package in Minsk. Entertainment programs produced by Russian TV channels almost completely dominate the Belarusian media landscape. ... The oldest broadcaster [in Belarusian] is Radio Liberty/Radio of Free Europe, financed by the United States. Its Belarusian program started in 1954 and became legendary in Soviet times. Headquartered in Prague, Radio Liberty broadcasts eight hours a day and is well known in Belarus. Today Its website is probably better known than its airwave programs. Radio Liberty is conservative in its work and format. It has certainly lost some of its audience by excessively focusing on negative, anti-regime content."

VOA tour includes "something about goats frolicking to be beamed to Iran."

Posted: 21 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
expressnightout.com, 11 Jan 2012, Kristen Page-Kirby: "After going through tight security, you enter a main hallway filled with murals about Social Security. (The VOA building used to belong to the Social Security Administration.) After learning about VOA’s history and current efforts (Fun fact: The broadcasts to China are jammed by its government, so VOA engineers work to un-jam the jammers), you head to the control room to see a television broadcast. During our recent tour, they were filming something about goats frolicking to be beamed to Iran. Then, after a quick stare at the radio broadcasters, you take in a film about VOA journalists around the world."

USAID supports community radio stations in South Sudan.

Posted: 21 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
USAID Frontlines, January/February 2012, Angela Stephens: "[U]ntil eight years ago, most people in South Sudan did not have access to radio or any type of independent media. In 2003, when Sudan was still embroiled in civil war, Sudan Radio Service, the country’s first independent broadcaster of news and information, was launched with USAID assistance. In the early days, broadcasts took place on shortwave from Nairobi for just one hour per day. Since then, the Agency's support for the platform has helped educate and inform millions of people. In addition to Sudan Radio Service, USAID also supported the establishment of six community radio stations between 2005 and 2011 in southern Sudan and in northern Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. ... In Juba, Sudan Radio Service—managed by the Boston-based Education Development Center with USAID funding—launched 98.6 SRS FM in December 2010, and currently broadcasts 12 hours per day on FM and 6 hours on shortwave, reaching 1.1 million people. The station has begun generating advertising revenue, which will help make the service sustainable over time." -- These stations will soon be joined by (compete with?) VOA FM relays in South Sudan.

Pakistan Taliban: "All reporters of Voice of America are our targets and should resign."

Posted: 21 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 20 Jan 2012: "Friends and colleagues of slain VOA reporter Mukarram Khan Aatif paid tribute Friday to a 'courageous man' who refused to be intimidated by the Pakistani militants who took responsibility for his murder. VOA Director David Ensor noted that Mr. Aatif, 'had been threatened many times, but he refused to stop doing what he believed in.' Mr. Aatif, who also worked for local Pakistani television, was buried on Wednesday amid an outpouring of grief and frustration by other journalists in Pakistan, who urged the government to fully investigate his murder. ... Ensor said, 'Deewa remains committed to bringing fair and unbiased news to the people of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.'"

New York Times, 18 Jan 2012, Declan Walsh: "The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the killing of a reporter for the Voice of America, a radio service financed by the United States government, and warned that others would be targets in the future. ... Mukurram Khurasani, an aide to the Taliban commander in Mohmand, the tribal area near the attack, said his group was responsible for the killing. 'All reporters of Voice of America are our targets and should resign; otherwise we will kill them,' he told a local reporter in a telephone interview. The killing underscored Pakistan’s reputation as the world’s most dangerous beat for reporters, and it raised fresh questions about the future of American-financed journalism in the region."

The Daily Beast, 18 Jan 2012, Ron Moreau, Newsweek’s Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent: "[A] journalist in his late 20s who reports for an American media outlet in the tribal agency of North Waziristan and who chooses to remain anonymous for security reasons ... says half of the death threats he has received have come from the militants and half from the military’s intelligence agencies. 'I’m going out to report another story today, but I’m more discouraged now after Atif’s death,' he says. 'We are reading and weighing each word many times before we publish because we don’t want to get killed.' The journalist who wishes to remain anonymous says he is still haunted by a video made by the Pakistani Taliban’s nominal leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, in February 2010. In it the 30-something Mehsud directly threatened journalists working for the VOA and [RFE/RL]. He remembers Mehsud saying: 'You are doing propaganda against us. We will not spare your lives.' According to wire-service reports, Pakistani intelligence officers in the tribal area, citing militants’ radio chatter, say there is a strong likelihood that Mehsud may have been killed in an American drone attack this past Jan. 12. The Pakistani Taliban denies the reports."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 19 Jan 2012, Shumaila Jaffery, Dunya TV assignment editor: Mukarram Khan Aatif "had been 'watched' for some time. After receiving threats last year, he moved out of his ancestral village in Mohmand and shifted to Shabqadar, a town near Peshawar. The decision was very difficult for him, but he chose to speak the truth and he was ready to pay the price. The worst was yet to come. Mukarram also worked for Radio Deewa, the Pashto service of the Voice of America. He had been getting warnings: He was blamed for doing 'one-sided' stories, faulted for disclosing 'wrong' information. But like many other brave journalists from KPK and FATA, he was not ready to give up his right of freedom of expression."

Express Tribine, 20 Jan 2012, Manzoor Ali: "A protest was staged by journalists in Peshawar on Thursday to condemn the killing of a colleague from Mohmand Agency. The protestors also demanded the Taliban to explain their position over the killing of Mukkaram Khan and other journalists. The Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) observed the protest on the call of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) at the Peshawar Press Club (PPC). A large number of tribal reporters also attended the demonstration. They vowed to defeat attempts to gag the media from telling the truth. PPC President Saiful Islami Saifi said that Mukkaram was not a controversial reporter; rather, he tried to present a balanced view of the situation. 'Mukkaram was balanced and objective in his reporting; however, because he was working for the Voice of America (VOA) Pashto Radio, he was murdered and the Taliban took responsibility for it,' he told the protest gathering."

Express Tribune, 19 Jan 2012, editorial: "It is hard to understand how the militant mind operates, but easy to see the tragedy that has befallen another family because extremists in our country remain able to act without any check on their activities, engaging in games of murder as and when they please."

Dawn, 19 Jan 2012, editorial: "The active targeting of newsmen by the Taliban will not only have repercussions for the safety of journalists reporting on militancy. It will also mean that large parts of the northwest could well become a news blackout zone, with serious consequences particularly in the context of abuses that may never come to light."

News Pakistan, 20 Jan 2012, Faisal Farooq: "The dynamic targeting of journalists by the Taliban will not only have repercussions for the safety of media professionals working in war zones. With serious results particularly in terms of abuses that may never come to light, the northwest region could become new black out zone in coming days.

Global Chaos blog, 20 Jan 2012, Yelena Osipova: "This brings up a whole range of issues that should be discussed pertaining to this situation. I don't even know where to begin: America's misguided public diplomacy in one of the most critical parts of the world, complete disregard for the sensitivities of those affected, the totally oblivious American public which doesn't even get the opportunity to hear about these brave men (yes, mostly) who risk and lose their lives for what are essentially American interests... . I would suggest looking at it from the local perspective, to do which I reached out to a former reporter from Pakistan I happen to know. You can read the full interview here."

CathNews India, 19 Jan 2012: "The Catholic communication desk in Rawalpindi diocese has reworked its editorial police in the wake of the killing of Aatif and others throughout the country. 'We have stopped publishing political articles or analysis on the prevalent situation and are being more cautious,' said Banaras Khan, editor of the monthly diocese publication Shaloom. 'Our focus is more on spreading gospel values and promoting harmony.' ... Capuchin Father Morris Jalal, executive director of Pakistan’s only Catholic television service, said authorities have also 'indirectly' stopped the transmission of Christian persecution news on several occasions. 'Our service remained suspended for three days for coverage of assassinated minority affairs minister last year. Cable operators refused to broadcast such programs for fear of closure,' he said."

See previous post about same subject.

MHZ Networks, "nation’s most complete aggregation of live international news," signs national "over-the-top" distribution deal.

Posted: 20 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
MHz Networks, 11 Jan 2012: "Internet TV company, Syncbak, announced today a national distribution deal with MHz Networks. MHz Networks will distribute live content OTT and to mobile phones across the country on Syncbak’s platform. MHz is expanding its affiliate relationships in every market for ten of its channels including MHz Worldview, the nation’s most complete aggregation of live international news. ... Fifty stations in 35 markets have installed Syncbak’s technology and are ready to go over-the-top on mobile phones and tablets. MHz channels will be available in all Syncbak-enabled markets, including the technology’s limited release in Spokane, Washington later this month. National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association are both investors in Syncbak. The company’s internet broadcast platform eliminates the barriers to distributing live TV directly to viewers via the internet by protecting TV rights at the local, regional and national levels. The Syncbak platform supports both iOS and Android mobile devices and will be included on a number of connected television and gaming devices." See also www.syncbak.com.

Report: Former Pakistani ambassador to the US tried "without much success" to influence VOA Urdu.

Posted: 20 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Dawn (Karachi), 16 Jan 2012, Malik Siraj Akbar: "On January 7, a group of sixteen leading US scholars, whose work focuses on South Asia, collectively signed a letter which was addressed to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to 'express our deep concern over the safety and well-being of former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.' The signatories urged the US government to 'continue to weigh-in with key Pakistani leaders, make appropriate public statements to ensure that Husain Haqqani is not physically harmed, and that due process of law is followed.' ... As the ambassador, some journalists complain, Haqqani tried, without much success, to influence the editorial policy of certain media outlets, including the Urdu service of the Voice of America."

"Invasion" of BBC and CNN offices in Lagos by security agents.

Posted: 20 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Leadership, 17 Jan 2012, Paul Dada: "The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Cable News Network (CNN), yesterday sought explanations from the Federal Government over the invasion of their Lagos offices by State Security Service, SSS, agents. SSS agents reportedly forced their way into the offices of the BBC and CNN located at Ikoyi, Lagos at noon to stop them from further reporting on the street protests over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government. ... A reporter with the Voice of America, VOA, in Lagos confirmed the invasion to LEADERSHIP and said that the the SSS officials asked few questions before leaving the offices."

Radio Free Asia's new television program to Burma is latest entry in the USIB duplication derby.

Posted: 20 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia press release, 19 Jan 2012 (pdf): "Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service today broadcast the first televised episode of its nightly news program in Burma. Hosted by two co-anchors, the half-hour program aired via television satellite at 8:30 p.m. local time, and featured news about Nobel Peace Prize laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s registration to participate in the country’s upcoming elections and interviews with recently released Burmese political prisoners, among other major Burma stories. In a recorded statement that aired on the inaugural program, Suu Kyi praised Radio Free Asia (RFA) for its continued excellence in delivering accurate news and information to the Burmese people. 'It’s a great honor to greet the viewers of Radio Free Asia’s first ever television program in Burma. While I was under house arrest, not only did Radio Free Asia keep me informed about the latest news happening in Burma, it gave me knowledge,' Suu Kyi said." -- VOA Burmese already has a weekly television program, also providing news about Burma and delivered via satellite. The problem is not that RFA has a television product. The problem is that Burma is a difficult country to get news out of, and to get news back into, and having two stations broadcasting to Burma, duplicating efforts and dividing scarce resources, is ridiculous. It's on a par with VOA Deewa Radio and RFE/RL Radio Mashaal both trying to serve the same hard-to-reach corner of Pakistan.

North Korean newspaper Rodong Simun now has an English-language website.

Posted: 19 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
AFP, 12 Jan 2012: "North Korea's main newspaper has opened an English-language website, the country's latest move to strengthen its online presence after forays into Facebook and Twitter. The website of Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, carries news and photos about its young new leader Kim Jong-Un and domestic political events along with fierce criticism of South Korea's government. A section called 'the Supreme Leader's Activities' details events involving Kim Jong-Un since the death on December 17 of his father and longtime ruler Kim Jong-Il. ... The reclusive impoverished state has strengthened propaganda efforts on the Internet since 2010 when Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing its warship with the loss of 46 lives."

The Telegraph, 16 Jan 2012, Robert Colvile: "Alongside the ever-reliable reports from the Korean Central News Agency ... is a new English-language website for Rodong Sinmun, the official workers’ newspaper. ... [Its] headlines are ... a useful way of keeping tabs on who the regime’s allies are. 'Kim Jong Un Presented with Special Honorary Membership of Nepal Journalist Association'? The two countries are probably friends. 'New Year Card and Gift to Kim Jong Un from Algerian President'? The two are definitely friends. 'Export Deceased in UK'? Harsh, but fair… ."

The Dong-a Ilbo, 9 Jan 2012, Bhang Hyeong-nam: "North Korea will be eager to manipulate elections in South Korea to allow those with a cooperative attitude toward the communist country to take power. The North Korean regime is operating a secret task force under the united front department of the Workers` Party to intervene in South Korean elections. The North`s Internet propaganda website 'Uriminjokkiri' is attempting to manipulate the elections via social networking services. Pro-North Korea forces in Japan have also begun campaigns to mobilize those supporting North Korea to the voting booths. The South Korean government must take practical measures to prevent North Korea`s intervention in elections."

South Korea's English-language Arirang Radio on XM Sirius (but not on the XM Sirius satellites).

Posted: 19 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Yonhap, 10 Jan 2012: "Korea’s English-language radio station Arirang Radio will this week begin airing its programs in all U.S. areas, the company said Tuesday. The English-language radio service will begin at midnight Thursday (U.S. eastern time) for listeners in all 50 U.S. states through SiriusXM Radio, America’s satellite radio company, said the Korea International Broadcasting Foundation, the operator of the Arirang radio station, in a statement. The radio’s seven regular programs on Korean culture and tourism will become available for 11 hours a day on 'Korea Today,' the 144th channel of SiriusXM, the company said. SiriusXM broadcasts some 200 satellite radio channels to its 22.5 million paid subscribers. 'Korea Today will be the first channel whose programs comprise content from a specific Asian country,' the company said in the statement." -- A look at the XM Sirius channel lineup indicates that Korea Today, which appears to be all-English, is online only. That would markedly reduce opportunities to hear the channel while driving, and makes distribution via XM Sirius not much more advantageous than via a standalone website. In fact, the audience is limited to XM or Sirius subscribers. Arirang Radio and Korea Today compete with the English service of KBS World Radio, which also seeks audiences in the United States.

"Tyler’s determined attempts to woo Whitney" woo viewers in Australia, 17000 km away.

Posted: 19 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Unreality TV, 10 Jan 2012, Sarah: "BBC Worldwide announcing that they are to air a new episode of EastEnders twice a day, so that Aussies can 'catch up' with the plotlines. EastEnders has been airing [on the BBC's Australian channel] UKTV since the channel’s launch in 1996, but in order to close the gap between the Australian episode and those aired here in the UK, installments will now air twice a day, Monday to Thursday, from January 23 at 6.30pm. BBC Worldwide Australia’s Deirdre Brennan said of the new schedule, 'EastEnders is our number one show. I’m delighted to be able to give our soap savvy fans a double-helping from the Square as we close the gap on the UK. With Mandy’s unlikely romance with Ian, Tyler’s determined attempts to woo Whitney and mayhem at the Moons’, there’s plenty for them to enjoy…' Aussies are also going to be treated to a new dedicated website for the soap, will is being launched to coincide with the double episodes."

Radio Bulgaria -- the old Organola station -- will quit shortwave on 1 February.

Posted: 19 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Bulgaria, 16 Jan 2012: "As of February 1 our media stops broadcasting on short waves, 76 years after the first emission in this frequency range. The reasons are both financial and related to our wish to keep pace with new trends. Programmes in Balkan languages will keep coming in medium waves. As of February 1 you will be able to find and listen to us in the Internet at http://bnr.bg/sites/en/FullEmissions/Pages/default.aspx. This gives the start to a new stage of Radio Bulgaria’s development. We hope that the relations of trust and friendship kept up for many years would persist. We would be with you again – our long-time listeners and those who would join the large family of Radio Bulgaria from now on."

I remember, in the 1960s, Radio Sofia was one of the reliable signals on shortwave. Its interval signal at the time was ten notes from "Youth March played on organola." An organola is actually an accordion type instrument. I can't find any recording of that old interval signal, since replaced by the first notes of "Bulgarian Suite" by Pancho Vladiguerov. Really.

Now Radio Bulgaria must face a new type of competition, that is, between its own media. Now that its audience must access the station via the internet, will they continue to listening to the audio? Or will they prefer to read the content off the website? And if text is preferred, Radio Bulgaria will also have to compete with novinite.com, the Sofia News Agency -- at least in English. Or will they bother to visit the website at all -- preferring to let the content come to their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts? And will Radio Bulgaria pick up additional audience through Google and other web searches?

India's Radio One, partly BBC owned, will switch from Hindi to "English/International."

Posted: 18 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radioandusic.com, 10 Jan 2012: "New Year has brought a baggage full of surprises for the radio and music industry. 94.3 Radio One, a joint venture between Next Mediaworks Ltd and BBC worldwide has taken a giant leap to go international in the two metros; Delhi and Mumbai. Radio One MD Vineet Singh Hukmani in conversation with Radioandmusic.com, reveals the business strategy behind the huge change in the two metros, stresses on the fact that there is a huge market for an English radio station and claims that the station will offer better ROI to advertisers. Excerpts: Q: Radio One is going English in Delhi and Mumbai… VSH: We researched clients and listeners about what they thought were the problems in radio and we got a clear answer; all radio stations sound the same. We had begun to correct this problem across our markets but now the change we make will be highly audible in Mumbai and Delhi. We want Radio One to be different, intelligent, international and involving to ‘English speaking’ Indians who have a global outlook. Q: Do you think there is a market for an English FM station in the highly dominated Bollywood music culture? VSH: There is a huge misconception about English per say in radio circles. Famous speeches like ‘freedom at midnight’ or ‘tryst with destiny’ by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru were made in English on radio. Indians today ‘thrive’ globally because of their comfort with English as against the Chinese or many other ‘non English adopting’ countries. So if English or an international feel can do well in infotainment in Print, TV, Internet, Cinema, Outdoor then WHY NOT IN RADIO?. The audience is ready. The radio medium is lagging behind on this front and we aim to correct it. English / International beckons with open arms! The listener and advertiser have already embraced it in other media and they will do so in Radio too."

VOA Deewa Radio reporter shot and killed near Peshawar (updated).

Posted: 18 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
VOA News, 17 Jan 2012: "Mukarram Khan Aatif, who filed reports for VOA's Deewa Radio, was attacked Tuesday at a mosque near his home in Shabqadar. The town is located roughly 35 kilometers from Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Local police say two assailants on motorcycles arrived at the mosque during evening prayers. One of the men entered the mosque and shot Aatif in the head before fleeing. Aatif was hospitalized in critical condition, before succumbing to his injuries. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told reporters the militant group was responsible for the killing. Friends of Aatif, who was in his 40's, tell VOA that the journalist had received threats from militants in the past. He and his family had been forced to move to Shabqadar from their home in Mohmand agency due to the threats."

RFE/RL, 17 Jan 2012: "Mukarram Khan was pronounced dead upon reaching hospital, a close colleague told Mashaal Radio. Mukarram Khan was working for Voice of America's Pashto language radio and Pakistan’s Urdu language private television channel Dunya. No group has claimed responsibility for his killing." See also AP, 17 Jan 2012, Rasool Dawar.

Update: Voice of America press release, 17 Jan 2012: "Voice of America condemns the killing of one of its reporters in Northwest Pakistan’s lawless tribal region today and urges local authorities to do more to protect journalists. ... VOA Director David Ensor paid tribute to Mr. Aatif, who was in his 40s and had been working for Deewa Radio since 2006. 'Mr. Aatif risked his life on a daily basis to provide his audience with fair and balanced news from this critical region and we mourn the loss of our colleague. We call on authorities in Pakistan to do more to protect all journalists working there and bring his killers to justice,' Ensor said. Walter Isaacson, the Chairman of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, said, 'On behalf of the entire Board of Governors, we condemn the murder of this courageous reporter in the strongest possible terms. The targeted assassination of Mr. Aatif is a tragic reminder of the dangers facing our journalists on a daily basis.'"

VOA News, 17 Jan 2012, Ayaz Gul: "Pakistani information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government will conduct a 'thorough and transparent' investigation into the incident and promised financial assistance to the victim’s family. 'It is really a very sad incident and I condemn it from the core of my heart.' Awan said. 'I assure his family and all the media that we have to really interrogate and go for a transparent inquiry, and I am sure that we will be able to find some facts related to this incident.'"

BBC News, 18 Jan 2012: "Mr Atif was buried on Wednesday in his home town of Shabqadar. A spokesman for the militants told the BBC that he was shot dead for not conveying the Taliban's point of view. The spokesman said that he had been warned many times before for not telling their side of the story. The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says that the Taliban had warned of dire consequences in recent propaganda statements and videos. The militants said that they would attack facilities and employees of media organisations if they did not refrain from what they called 'malicious propaganda'. Our correspondent says that it is the first time that the militants have accepted responsibility for such a killing."

RFE/RL, Gandhara blog, 18 Jan 2012, Daud Khattak: "His brother Muslim Khan told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that Aatif had moved his family from Mohmand to the Shabqadar subdivision of the Charsadda district because of increasing militant activity. Talking to Radio Mashaal, the bureau chief of Dunya TV, Safiullah, said Aatif was a pleasant, hard-working journalist. Safiullah also noted that Aatif had moved to Charsadda because he was not feeling safe in the Mohmand tribal agency."

Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), 18 Jan 2012: "The French government on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing Tuesday of a Pakistani journalist during prayer in provincial Mosque in that country. 'France firmly condemns the assassination of Pakistani journalist Mukram Khan Aatif in the Mosque in Shabqadar,' in the Kyber Pakthunkhwa region, a statement said."

Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 Jan 2012: "We mourn the death of our colleague Mukarram Khan Aatif, who despite fleeing his hometown could find no safe sanctuary in Pakistan's lawless landscape for journalists," said CPJ Asia coordinator Bob Dietz. "Until Pakistani authorities take effective steps to investigate the murders of journalists and bring those responsible to justice, journalists must band together and plan for their common defense." See also International Federation of Journalists, 18 Jan 2012.

Columnist warns of new Spanish-language Islamic channels, with "no broadcasting counterweights" from the US.

Posted: 18 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Washington Examiner, 9 Jan 2012, Cal Thomas: "[I]n Spain, two new satellite TV stations recently signed on. They won't be airing 'Judge Judy,' but instead are broadcasting Islamic theology and political propaganda. ... One channel is called Hispan TV and its program content is produced in Iran. ... The second channel is Cordoba Television, which ... is owned by the Foundation for the Message of Islam and backed by the Saudi royal family. Its aim ... is to propagate '... the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam.' ... During the Cold War, the United States made effective use of the Voice of America and Radio Liberty to tell the truth to 'captive nations.' There are no broadcasting counterweights to what radical Islamists are doing in Spain and Latin America. While America retreats, announcing cuts in defense spending, Islamists advance."

Actually, the United States has a sucessful international Spanish-language channel: CNN en Español. It provides the news and information that provides the anecdote to propaganda. And this for-profit, and profitable, channel does this at no cost to the US taxpaters. I think, however, Mr. Thomas is another "small government" conservative who wants to expand the size of government by adding another broadcasting bureaucracy -- one that will take sides on matters of theology.

CNN, 12 Jan 2012: "The Ecuadorian president -- who has clashed repeatedly with journalists and media in his country -- praised a reporter from Iran's new government-run Spanish-language network, HispanTV. 'Congratulations to HispanTV. I hope it helps the level of journalism in Latin America and the entire world,' he said."

CNN, 7 Jan 2012, Catherine E. Shoichet: "Last month, a film portraying the life of Mary and the birth of Jesus from an Islamic point of view beamed out over international airwaves -- in Spanish. The movie was the first program aired on HispanTV, according to a report in the Tehran Times. And the target audience was thousands of miles away from the government-sponsored broadcasting hub in Iran's capital. At a ceremony marking the station's official launch last month, HispanTV's managers said the new Spanish network aims to paint a true picture of Iran and link the Islamic republic with Latin America. Other Spanish-language channels are 'not independent and only serve the interest of the United States and certain allies,' said Mohammed Sarafraz, director of Iranian broadcasting's world service, according to Press TV. ... Stephen Johnson, who directs the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, compared Iran's efforts to use the media to improve its image abroad to the U.S.-government-funded Voice of America radio network. 'They're taking a page out of our playbook,' he said." -- Rather insulting to VOA and USIB to describe HispanTV as "out of our playbook."

Miami Herald, 6 Jan 2012, Jim Wyss: "As [Iran's President Mahmud] Ahmadinejad kicks off [his Latin America] trip, the region will have a new venue to follow him on: HispanTV — a Spanish-language television network launched by Iran last month. HispanTV, which began broadcasting on five satellites, carries news and travel shows produced in Teheran, and an eclectic list of movies. On Friday, the station broadcast a show dedicated to exposing the 'Zionist plot' to frame Hezbollah and Iran for the [1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires]. Whether HispanTV helps build support for Iran and deepen ties with Latin America remains to be seen."

Radio Voice of People appeals the rejection of its broadcast license in Zimbabwe.

Posted: 18 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
VOA Studio 7, 6 Jan 2012, Tatenda Gumbo: "A second aspiring Zimbabwean broadcaster denied a commercial radio license last year has taken its fight to the courts, challenging the broadcasting authority's decision. The suit by Radio Voice of the People, operated by VOX Media comes on the heels of another legal action by KISS FM against the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe or BAZ. The two were unsuccessful in their bids for licenses after the broadcasting authority invited applications for two commercial permits. ... Unlike the other applicants, Radio VOP already broadcasts to Zimbabwe from a Madagascar transmission station under Radio Netherlands sponsorship, a fact many critics say hindered its chances." See also Radio VOP, 5 Jan 2012.

Radio VOP, 6 Jan 2012: "The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) will not be issuing out private television licenses any time soon. Obert Muganyura, the chief executive officer of BAZ, on Thursday ruled out any licensing of independent television stations, saying it was not a priority for the body in the next two years."

Tonight Show debut of South African comedian is broadcast back to South Africa on CNBC Africa.

Posted: 18 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
iafrica.com, 13 Jan 2012: "Comedian Trevor Noah is receiving rave reviews for his set on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He made history as the first South African comedian to make an appearance on the iconic US talk show, and appeared on the same episode as award-winning actress Glenn Close on Friday night. ... The episode of The Tonight Show featuring Trevor Noah [is broadcast today, 18 Jan] on CNBC Africa, on DStv channel 410 at 9pm."

Japan's NHK seeks to expand documentary exports.

Posted: 18 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
C21Media, 5 Jan 2012, Clive Whittingham: "Ken-ichi Imamura is ... the executive producer of the World Documentary strand on Japanese public broadcaster NHK, it is his job to select the best factual programmes from around the world to air at midnight four nights a week. ... [He also wants] 'to encourage Asian documentary makers to sell their projects abroad,' he says. ... 'There are so many good filmmakers in Japan, but the style of documentaries is so different. We need to learn to make documentaries in the European or American way. The content is very good in Japan, and there are so many experienced filmmakers, but they lack international experience.' Imamura fears that Japan could be overtaken by China, with the main public broadcaster there, CCTV, launching a new documentary channel this month, along with a dedicated 3D network."

China Radio International VP complains that, in Western media, "good news is no news."

Posted: 17 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
InDepthNews, 5 Jan 2012, Kalinga Seneviratne: "At the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union's general assembly in New Delhi in November, Vice President of [China Radio International] Xia Jixuan noted that today we have the hardware to cover any event in the world but that hasn't helped us to prevent conflicts. He blamed the monopoly of western media organizations to set the agenda for this state of affairs. 'Good news is no news and news is about the abnormal,' he noted arguing that we need a new set of news values to report on cross-border and cross-cultural issues. He also added that fierce commercial competition generates superficial stories about other countries, which creates stereo-types and reinforces prejudices. At regional level, argued Jixuan, 'the media should cooperate to report on win-win situation for common prosperity and learn to appreciate and respect differences'. With the Chinese government networks like China Radio International and Central China Television (CCTV) expanding rapidly across the world with English language programming, perhaps the Chinese may be able to offer a better model of international communications so that words like democracy and R2P will not be misused to manipulate peoples' aspirations."

Commentator criticizes the All India Radio external service.

Posted: 16 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hindu, 6 Jan 2012, Krishna Kumar: "Finding something worth listening to on medium wave in the broadcasts of an All India Radio (AIR) station in any part of the country is like looking for life in a drought-hit landscape. Tuning in to AIR's overseas service is worse. ... I wonder if anyone serving in AIR listens to BBC or even to China Radio International (CRI). If someone did, he or she would find that the difference is not merely that of resources or equipment. The urge to excel and innovate is missing too. AIR's overseas service is a disgrace to a nation claiming to have become a global economic power. Even if the policy is to use it for propaganda, its quality is so poor that the propaganda makes one laugh. Now when India's democracy has matured sufficiently to allow state-published textbooks to eschew propaganda, one expects radio to arouse interest and ideas rather than regurgitate platitudes. In its domestic broadcasts too, the quotient and quality of propaganda remain alarming."

Eritrea claims its state-run satellite television is jammed by Ethiopia.

Posted: 16 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Sudan Tribune, 13 Jan 2012, Tesfa-Alem Tekle: "Ethiopia is blocking satellite transmissions from Eritrea, the government in Asmara accuses its larger neighbor, this week. The Eritrean Ministry of information in a statement Thursday warned to take legal action. It further said Addis Ababa has been warned by the Arab Satellite Communications Organization over the illegal acts. Following the alleged interferences the state-run Eritrean satellite television today announced to viewers a change to old frequency. ... The horn of Africa country is facing increasing accusations of jamming to dozens of news websites and other Television broadcasters. Last year, Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), Voice of America and Deutsche Welle Amharic Services accused the Ethiopian government of blocking their transmission. An allegation Addis Ababa denies. Following the accusations, The Ethiopian Free Press Journalists’ Association (EFJA) has accused china of being behind providing the technology, training and technical assistance to Ethiopia’s jamming activity. The group called on China to immediately put an end to what the group said the republic’s illegal support."

Shabait.com (Asmara), 10 Jan 2012: "The source of the jamming being conducted against Eritrean satellite broadcast has been confirmed to be Ethiopia. Disclosing this fact, the Riyadh-based Arab Satellite Communications said that it has told the regime in Addis Ababa that the practice is illegal. In connection with this, Mr. Asmelash Abraha, Director General of Eritrean Television, told ERINA that in continuation of its hostile policy of blocking information disseminated from Eritrea, the TPLF regime, with the complicity of external forces, is engaged in jamming and interfering activities."

Iran is jamming Al Jazeera via Arabsat. VOA Persian News Network jammed via Syria.

Posted: 16 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 10 Jan 2012: "Iran is jamming broadcasts by Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera, according to a document from satellite operator Arabsat obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, with the broadcaster saying it believed it was because of its coverage of Syria. Interference is coming from two locations in Iran, one west of Tehran and the other near the northwestern city of Maraghen, the document showed. ... On Saturday Al Jazeera announced a new frequency for Arabsat viewers due to 'continued interference'. 'Over the past few months, Al Jazeera has faced sustained interference to our satellite transmissions,' the channel said in a statement."

TradeArabia, 8 Jan 2012: "'These occurrences will only strengthen our commitment to continue providing our award-winning coverage across the region 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our transmission is now available at 11334V for Arabsat viewers.'"

Meanwhile, at the Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting on 13 January, it was announced that jamming of VOA Persian News Network originates in Syria. This locationing of the jamming source probably should be verified, but if it is Syria, perhaps the reason is that it is easier for the jamming transmitter to reach the satellite from Syria rather than Iran itself.

Reporters sans frontières notes continued intimidation of journalists in Bahrain -- site of future news channel Alarab.

Posted: 15 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Reporters sans frontières, 7 Jan 2012: "Reporters Without Borders deplores the way the Bahraini security forces continue to intimidate and attack journalists despite the undertakings that the government gave after an independent commission of enquiry released its report on the crackdown on anti-government protests during the first half of 2011. The international community must not be taken in by the duplicity with which the government expresses a desire to punish those responsible for the abuses while continuing to crack down on dissent. ... France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Daouliya correspondent Nazeeha Saeed was told by her lawyer last week that the judicial authorities have not investigated her complaint that she was tortured while detained in May. Reporters Without Borders call on the authorities to investigate the case." See previous post about Alarab. And previous post about USIB and BBC activities in Bahrain.

Now available: historical audio from Radio Moscow and Radio Canada International.

Posted: 15 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Southgate Amateur Radio Club, 5 Jan 2012, citing Mike Barraclough tip: "A 50 year old LP of Cold War shortwave radio broadcasts from the former Soviet Union is now available on the web. The YouTube description reads: 'Radio Moscow and the Western Hemisphere,' 1961 Cook Labs. This LP compiles several different shortwave radio broadcasts from the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. Seems silly now, but in 1961 this was serious business." With links to videos of audio.

Radio Netherlands Media Network, 31 Dec 2011, Andy Sennitt: "Ian McFarland, formerly of Radio Canada International, writes: 'I just wanted to let you know that ... [w]e’re now working on producing MP3 files for the SW antenna course that was featured on the [Radio Canada International] RCSWC and SWL Digest programmes many years ago [This is now available online]. Eventually, we’ll be creating MP3 files of a number of other much-loved features from the McFarland radio archives and these will also be downloadable. As with the CD series, the beneficiary will be my local food bank. The CD sales have generated around $2050 for the food bank and soup kitchen in Duncan, British Columbia. All the details on this are on the DXer.ca website ... '" -- Ian was the very popular host of SWL Digest on Radio Canada International.

In India, listening to cricket commentary on Radio Australia. And more shortwave history in the news.

Posted: 15 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
ESPN cricinfo, 14 Jan 2012, Krishna Kumar: "Everything used to be big. When I grew up, in the '70s and the early '80s in India, short-wave radios were relatively large. Newspapers were, sports magazines were. As a kid you spent a considerable amount of time just looking at the large photographs. ... Radio commentary made the pictures come alive, and added a touch of drama. ... In those radio years, we had a Philips set. It had a small, roughly triangular break in the glass that enclosed the dial. That was where the knob that changed the bands met the glass. ... Fine-tuning into Radio Australia wasn't too difficult on our radio, since the 13m band was at the extreme left on the dial. You simply turned the dial so far left that the needle actually stood up a bit - the twine that tied the dial to the needle could stretch only so much. There's nothing that quite matches the feeling a kid gets when the first thing he does on waking up is fiddle in the dark with a radio dial. Ears straining expectantly for McGilvray and Maxwell, he is, as philosophers would say, one with the radio."

The Weekend Telegram (St. John's, NL), 7 Jan 2012, Lillian Simmons: "Burton K. Janes began work on his first book, 'A Russian Adventure,' after winning a trip to the Soviet Union back in 1978. Then 21, he had heard about the contest via shortwave radio, one of his hobbies during his high school and university days. 'I entered the contest, sponsored by Radio Moscow, by writing an essay on a topic they assigned,' he recalls. The topic was: What do you know about the 1917 Socialist Revolution and what has it given the Soviet Union? 'Lo and betide, I won the prize - an all-expenses-paid trip to the Soviet Union!' When Janes arrived in Moscow, he was appalled to discover that the people who had awarded the prize seemed to have never heard of him. Despite the confusion and further complications, he did get to tour the Soviet Union."

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9 Jan 2012, Benito Legarda Jr.: "Chair Maria Serena Diokno of the [Philippines] National Historical Commission received last Jan. 6 the descendants of a man who, although of neutral nationality, freely chose to take part in the Philippine fight for freedom against the occupying Japanese. He was Norbert Schmelkes, a Czech national in stock and commodity trading in prewar Manila. ... Schmelkes was one of 14 Czechoslovaks who, after the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific, volunteered as civilian employees in the motor transport division of the US Army. A marker at Capas Memorial Shrine honors half of that number who died in captivity. The other half survived, and Schmelkes escaped during the Death March. ... He spent much of 1942 recuperating while a countryman gathered papers to attest to his neutral citizenship. But he felt the need to do something, in this case, to boost public morale by publishing and reproducing (possibly by hectograph) accurate news reports drawn from shortwave international broadcasts."

Obituary: Bob Holness, interactive international broadcaster before interactive was cool.

Posted: 15 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC News, 6 Jan 2012: "Bob Holness, former host of daytime quiz show Blockbusters, has died at 83. ... he remains best known for hosting ITV gameshow Blockbusters, from 1983 to 1993, complete with its hexagonal board, gold runs and the classic double entendre contestant request: 'Can I have a P please, Bob?' ... He also presented the BBC World Service request show Anything Goes - a show purported to be a favourite of Aung San Suu Kyi while under house arrest - bringing him a new legion of international fans."

The Telegraph, 6 Jan 2012: "He enjoyed the intimacy of [Anything Goes] show, with requests 'ranging from a recording of a cuckoo for a Surrey gentleman in Swaziland to Fats Domino for a lady in Australia'."

Famagusta Gazette, 6 Jan 2012: "Holness ... was also well known in Cyprus for his request programme 'Anything Goes' on the BBC World Service, which ran until 1998. In an age when Cyprus boasted only CyBC Radio, BFBS and the BBC World Service, Holness' programme attracted huge audiences on the island, with correspondents writing in for comedy clips, music requests, poetry and oddities." -- Heard via the BBCWS medium wave relay on Cyprus.

"Anything Goes" was the quintessential international radio program, and a reminder of of the global reach of BBC World Service. Listeners, by hearing requests from other listeners throughout the world, were reminded that they were part of a global community. I don't know why "Anything Goes" was dropped from the World Service schedule, but perhaps it had something to do with World Service, along with the rest of Britain, trying to become more "cool." See previous posts on 21 Feb 2007 and 9 July 2011.

Top Gear, "filmed on a wet afternoon in an English backwater," broadcast in 198 territories.

Posted: 15 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Variety, 7 Jan 2012, Steve Clarke: "The coming year is revving up to be another smooth ride for 'Top Gear,' the BBC show for petrol heads. Now in its 35th year, the show is challenging 'Dancing With the Stars' for pole position in the international arena. Last year, China and Korea rolled out their own local versions of 'Top Gear,' a property thought to be worth about $66 million a year to BBC Worldwide, the net's commercial arm. Revenue comes from sales of the finished show, merchandising spinoffs, live events, exhibitions and a growing number of localized versions. The Asian adaptations of the show came in the wake of the second season of 'Top Gear USA,' which airs on History; a Russian model that bowed in February 2009; and four seasons of 'Top Gear Australia.' 'The way these local versions of 'Top Gear' are going, it won't be long before they begin to emulate the success of exports of the finished U.K. program,' predicts Philip Fleming, head of communications for global brands at BBC Worldwide. 'Who would have thought that a motoring program filmed on a wet afternoon in an English backwater would translate into a global hit?' Who indeed? At the last count the U.K. show was broadcast in 198 territories."

CNN International MD Tony Maddox discusses Africa and its transition from shortwave to "streaming video on mobile phones."

Posted: 13 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Bizcommunity.com (Cape Town), 9 Jan 2012, Herman Manson interviewing Tony Maddox, managing director of CNN International: "Tony Maddox, the executive vice president and MD of CNN International, is responsible for CNN's international news and information portfolio. Maddox, who is based at CNN's Atlanta headquarters, is responsible for five CNN services in English; CNN en Español; CNN-IBN, CNN Turk and CNN Chile. Maddox also oversees international newsgathering, editorial and programming oversight. Under Maddox's watch, CNN has expanded its editorial operations to Kabul, Afghanistan; Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India; and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). ... Q: You are positioned as a non-partisan news channel in terms of domestic politics in the States but you definitely have a pro-American image in the rest of the world. Would you agree? And does that offer any particular challenges? Maddox: I think our audiences know us as impartial and trust us to deliver a non-partisan viewpoint. I actually think any perception of bias comes from people who are unfamiliar with our output. Impartiality is at the core of what we do and always will be, and I challenge anyone to find bias in our content. We are an American company, and we're proud of that, but look around CNN International's offices all over the world and you'll find many nationalities, faiths and political persuasions represented; but what you'll find they have in common is a desire to find the truth, and that's the most important unifying principle at CNN. ... Q: In terms of the English-speaking African markets you compete primarily with BBC World News, Sky News, Al-Jazeera and eNews. Who of these guys are getting it mostly right in your mind, and why? Maddox: I think CNN has a really strong offering for audiences in Africa, with some great content across TV, online and mobile that's dedicated to African stories, alongside an international perspective they can't get from domestic broadcasters. But I don't think anyone can rest on their laurels in a continent like Africa. I respect all of our competitors, but I think what's more important than looking at other broadcasters is to look closely at the way audiences are changing in Africa. Not so long ago the dominant medium across Africa was shortwave radio; nowadays there's incredible progress in areas such as streaming video on mobile phones. The pace of change in Africa is exhilarating and means that we need to keep pace with what audiences want. The minute you sit back and say that you're satisfied, you're in trouble."

Reports: Iran may launch its internal "halal" internet "in coming weeks."

Posted: 13 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 6 Jan 2012, Farnaz Fassihi: "Iran is mounting new clampdowns on Internet expression, including rules that will impose layers of surveillance in the country's popular Internet cafes, as Tehran's political establishment comes under increasing strains from economic turmoil and threats of more international sanctions. ... Iranian users also have reported more blocked sites this week, as well as new barriers to accessing social-networking services. Internet connections, too, have bogged down. ... Iran announced in March 2011 that it was funding a multimillion-dollar project to build an Iranian intranet—a necessity, its telecommunications ministry said, to offer Iranians an alternative to the un-Islamic and corrupt content on the World Wide Web. An economic affairs official called it 'a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level.' An Iranian newspaper this week cited Payam Karbasi, the spokesman for Corporate Computer Systems of Iran, a professional union, as saying the network would be launched in coming weeks. The network would first run parallel to the global Internet, Iranian telecommunications officials have said, with banks, government ministries and big industries allowed to access the global Internet. But eventually, officials have said, the entire country—which the government estimates has some 23 million Internet users—would switch over. But many experts are skeptical that Iran could pull off such a project, saying the economy would suffer if its commercial entities are closed off."

RFE/RL, Persian Letters blog, 4 Jan 2012, Golnaz Esfandiari: "Some Internet users speculate that the launch of the national Internet will coincide with the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. But officials have so far not announced a roll-out date for the intranet, which they say will improve speed and security and be 'halal,' or pure." See also CNET, 6 Jan 2012, Elinor Mills.

Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting webcast today at 1900 UTC.

Posted: 13 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 9 Jan 2012: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Friday, January 13 at BBG headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Board will further consider implementation of the Agency’s strategic plan and discuss the issue of signal interference of BBG broadcasts. In addition, the Board will review operational matters including the Board Committees and the Board meeting schedule for calendar year 2012. A budget update for the Board will include a proposal concerning Internet censorship circumvention funds. The Board will honor the 70th anniversary of the Voice of America and recognize the anniversaries of particular BBG language services. The International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Director will update the Board on agency operations; other broadcast executives will provide programming and coverage updates. The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. [1900 UTC], will be webcast both live and on-demand, at www.bbg.gov."

Radio Free Europe is involved in these "tales of Cold War intrigue."

Posted: 13 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, WA), 8 Jan 2012, Jacques Von Lunen: "Billy Mays left the Tri-Cities in 1977 as a wide-eyed high school graduate. He returns next month with tales of Cold War intrigue. ... Mays spent two decades in Eastern Europe, officially as a businessman and consultant. But from 1983 to 2003, he also went on cloak-and-dagger missions for the American embassy in Warsaw, Poland, and by extension the CIA, he said. On The Job Training: Berlin to Vladivostok, the first of four books chronicling his adventures, was just released by Proudfoot Publishing. Mays was a graduate student in economics at the University of Washington in 1983 when he saw an ad for a seminar in Poland. The Eastern European country -- still behind the Iron Curtain and just emerging from martial law -- would become his home for the next 20 years. He continued his studies at the Central School of Planning and Statistics in Warsaw but found his master's thesis on market and political reforms in Eastern Europe rejected by a conservative professor at UW. Mays took his manuscript to Radio Free Europe, a broadcaster paid for by the U.S. government to beam news and music into countries where state-run media offers no critical view of society. The radio officials paid him for his paper and asked him to go back to Poland and glean more information for U.S. agencies. And that is what Mays did for almost 20 years, he said. He received telegrams or letters with instructions. He delivered packages -- some filled with money -- to informants. He kept an eye on movements of trucks around military bases."

New journal article "emphasizes potential opportunities" in the elimination of the Smith-Mundt domestic dissemination ban.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Communication Law & Policy, Volume 17, Issue 1, 2012, "Public Diplomacy, Smith-Mundt and the American Public," by Emily T. Metzgar (abstract): "The U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act, is a mostly unknown and widely misunderstood piece of legislation. Revised multiple times, the law bans domestic dissemination of Voice of America and other U.S. international broadcast content in the United States. Presenting government-supported international broadcasting as an example of public diplomacy, this article discusses the long-term misrepresentation of Smith-Mundt's original intent and highlights the consequences of the continuing ban. The article considers prospects for ending the ban and emphasizes potential opportunities presented by its elimination, concluding that ending the ban might eliminate incongruity between American foreign policy goals of democracy promotion and the reality of banned domestic content. Repeal of the ban may also result in unexpected remedies for challenges facing the American media industry and the American public's desire for international news. The United States government may be the largest broadcaster that few Americans know about. Although its networks reach 100 countries in 59 languages, they are banned from distribution in the United States by a 1948 law devised to prevent the government from turning its propaganda machine on its own citizens." With link to full text.

Australia Network will broadcast controversial documentary about Uighur leader that it has controversially delayed broadcasting.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 10 Jan 2012, Nick Leys: "The ABC has declared it will screen the controversial Australian-made documentary about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer on the Australia Network this year. The decision to screen the film, The 10 Conditions of Love, comes nearly two years after it was screened for domestic audiences in Australia and follows allegations that ABC managing director Mark Scott had ruled against screening the film because it would offend the Chinese government. Federal Labor MP Michael Danby issued a list of 10 questions last month, demanding Mr Scott either confirm or deny he had ordered Australia Network chief executive Bruce Dover to censor the film. ... The licensing of the film to the Australia Network was renewed by producer John Lewis only yesterday. Mr Lewis told The Australian the ABC had made the film a cause celebre by refusing to show it on the network. 'How can the Australia Network be a broadcaster that matters in the region if you have to pick and choose and censor what you show to the Chinese?' he said."

Asia Sentinel, 9 Jan 2012: "Australia is forever lecturing other countries, particularly small ones like Fiji, on rights and freedoms so it is particularly shocking to learn of the censorship practiced by the state-funded Australia Network to please China, largest buyer of its minerals. The domestic Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) may also be implicated. ... The Australia Network has since described its failure to broadcast the film as being inadvertent. However, its former network programmer, Rod Webb wrote: 'There was nothing inadvertent about Australia Network’s failure to show the film. I was instructed on a number of occasions not to show it until further notice.' ... Although never shown on the Australia Network, the film has achieved considerable circulation among Uighurs in Xinjiang. Radio Free Asia has reported that house to house searches for the DVD have been made and Uighurs have been arrested for possessing it. Their fate is unknown but is unlikely to be pleasant."

See previous post about same subject.

BBC, VOA, and "cheap Chinese-made radios" still keep Burmese informed.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 7 Jan 2012, Jason Burke: The Burmese village of Zigon has electricity, "– unlike 90% of Burmese villages – installed by the government late last year. This has meant a number of changes. One of the more significant is the arrival of television. A satellite dish has now been installed at the village tea shop, largely used to watch state TV networks and Premier League football. Though censorship has been eased in recent months, information is still tightly controlled. News of the Arab revolts last year was blocked for weeks – though millions use cheap Chinese-made radios to listen to the BBC, Voice of America or other networks broadcasting in local languages."

UEFA.com, 11 Jan 2012: "In Myanmar, Shwe Than Lwin Media (S Media) has been granted the exclusive media rights to UEFA EURO 2012 [European soccer]. All 31 matches will be screened live in Myanmar on S Media's pay-TV channels, Skynet Sports Channels 1 and 2."

Mizzima News, 11 Jan 2012: Burmese exile website copy-pastes a VOA editorial about Burmese prisoners of conscience.

BBC and RFI FM relays in Uganda taken off air because of "illegal" use of state broadcaster's electrical power.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Daily Monitor (Kampala), 9 Jan 2012, Richard Wanambwa & Emmanuel Gyezaho: "At least 10 radio stations, including BBC Radio and Radio France International (local relay channels), have been taken off the air by the police in an on-going crackdown over the alleged illegal use of equipment and facilities belonging to state broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). Detectives, who conducted the swoop on Friday and Saturday, are also understood to have switched off Kenya-based Citizen Television and three internet service providers for reported illegal connection to UBC power supplies, now estimated to have cost the national broadcaster millions of shillings. The police are now investigating possible complicity by some UBC officials in having some of the shutdown media access the broadcaster’s equipment without formal authorisation."

Congress zeroes funding for Palestinian Sesame Street in retaliation for UN bid.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 7 Jan 2012, Damien Pearse: "With its colourful band of Muppets preaching tolerance and neighbourly love, the Palestinian version of the children's television programme Sesame Street had become a beacon of hope for children in a region ravaged by decades of unrest. But the cast of peace-loving characters have now found themselves in the crossfire of a political dispute between Palestinian leaders and the US Congress, and episodes have been axed for 2012. Sesame Street – known as Shara'a Simsim in Arabic – is one of many US-funded Palestinian shows suffering after Congress froze the transfer of nearly £130m to the US Agency for International Development in October. The suspension aimed to punish the Palestinians for appealing to the United Nations for membership." First reported by AP, 8 Jan 2012, Daniella Cheslow.

CNN, 11 Jan 2012, Jill Dougherty: "State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed the cut-off Tuesday. 'Unfortunately, Kermit is not able to be supported at this moment,' she said. 'Unfortunately, with the cut in economic support funds we had to make some hard tradeoffs and that was one of the things that we’ve not been able to do.' ... Funding for Israeli television broadcasts to Arab and Jewish children will continue, Nuland said. That programming comes from a different U.S. government funding stream, the State Department spokeswoman said." See also State Department briefing, 10 Jan 2012.

Euronews to be available in Israel, in English and Russian.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 9 Jan 2012, Chris Dziadul: "Euronews has signed an agreement with the Israeli cable operator HOT for the channel’s distribution throughout the country. Although 800,000 digital subscribers have had access to Euronews since November 30 last year, this deal allows the channel to broadcast two of its 11 services – euronews English and Euronews Russian – around-the-clock. The deal reinforces euronews’ presence in the Middle East, where it is already available FTA in more than 16 million homes."

Voice of Russia, 5 Jan 2012, Pershkina Anastasiya: "France closes its labor market for foreign specialists. According to a decree by the French Interior Ministry, graduates of local higher educational establishments who are non-citizens of France are not allowed to be employed. Responding to criticism, the French authorities point to unemployment they say they are seeking to deal with. ... Even in its old form, these restrictions rode roughshod over interests of many organizations, such as the Euronews’ Russian service, says its former head Peter Fyodorov. 'Receiving a residence permit was a tricky task,' Fyodorov says, citing temporary documents which he laments made it impossible to get a loan or travel to other countries. 'Before inviting a journalist from Russia, we had to turn to the French authorities and prove that this journalist is the only suitable candidate for us. Assessing a journalist’s job is a subjective matter all the more so that the French authorities did not speak Russian and made conclusions on the basis of documents.'"

"Beginning of the end" for Middle East pan-regional channels?

Posted: 12 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The National, 5 Jan 2011, Ben Flanagan: "Despite the upcoming launch of two pan-regional news channels, some commentators point to a more pressing demand for country-specific news and entertainment stations. Saad Mohseni, the chairman of Moby Group, Afghanistan's largest media company, is convinced there will be more demand for localised news. 'I think [Alarab and Sky News Arabia] will still have an opportunity to make a dent,' he says. 'But longer term, I think they may well have to tailor their business plan and localise some of their news.' Mr Mohseni questions the dominance of pan-regional broadcasters such as MBC, which he predicts will come under pressure this year. 'It's the beginning of the end for these pan-regional [TV channels],' he says. 'People are opting to launch their own [local] channels, rather than the pan-regional channels. I think that trend will continue. Local always wins.'"

The Jewish Al Jazeera that would compete with the other Jewish Al Jazeera is still "in development."

Posted: 11 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Jerusalem Post, 5 Jan 2012, Gil Shefler: "Plans for a news television station dubbed by the media as the 'Jewish Al Jazeera' are still under wraps several months after officials said a general outline would be announce. Last April, Kazakhstani Jewish billionaire Alexander Mashkevitch told gatherers at a Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal conference in Washington that he intended to open a news television station that would provide 'balanced' coverage of the Middle East. Officials working for the mining mogul said more information on the project would be released by September. But on Wednesday, four months past that deadline, they said the project was still 'in development.' 'After we completed drafting a strategic plan with the top consultancy groups in the business last September, we’re trying to develop a competitive edge to draw more investors to the project,' said Zeev Feiner, a spokesman for Mashkevitch. He said the concept for the news channel has undergone changes. When it launches, it will have a broad appeal rather than focus on Jewish audiences, Feiner said. ... Meanwhile, a new Jewish news outlet has been on the air for several months. Jewish News 1, owned by Ukrainian businessmen Vadim Rabinovich and Igor Kolomoisky, launched last September. It consists of an hour-long news program broadcast in a loop 24 hours a day. It is available on satellite television and on the Internet. Feiner has said in the past that Jewish News 1 and Mashkevitch’s proposed news organization are unrelated." See previous post about Jewish News One (JN1).

Al Jazeera English, Qatar, and a not-so-odd Luxembourg analogy.

Posted: 11 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The National Interest, Jan-Feb 2012, Aram Bakshian Jr.: "For millions of people around the world, including actual participants on the ground and in the streets of the Middle East, the single most important news source for the events still unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain is the English-language channel of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television-news network. Like it or not, it is no exaggeration to say that Al Jazeera has been the eyes and ears of this crucial news story. More often than not, Al Jazeera correspondents are the first on the scene, and Al Jazeera anchors and interviewers provide the most detailed follow-up, discussion and analysis of breaking events in the Arab world. This, to put it mildly, is odd. To offer a European analogy, it would be as if an English-language television channel owned by Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and operated out of his tiny realm were the most influential news source for the entire European Union and for millions of people elsewhere following the current European politico-economic crisis. ... There are, of course, many things to criticize about Al Jazeera. Like all 24/7 broadcast-news operations, there are far too many recycled segments offered up as fresh news again and again over several days and, until recently, Al Jazeera’s coverage of popular protests against the Sunni monarchy in Shia-majority Bahrain—and their brutal suppression—was far less aggressive than its coverage of popular uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world. But, all in all, I came away from two months of Al Jazeera viewing with a respect for the general quality of its journalism, an admiration for the physical courage of its frontline reporters and the conviction that—particularly in the case of Al Jazeera’s female Muslim correspondents—the network offered viewers throughout the Islamic world strong, positive role models for a civilized, secular society." -- Actually, just a few decades ago, Radio Luxembourg was wildly popular in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. For its music and DJs, rather than news, though.

Michigan Radio, 4 Jan 2011, Mark Brush: "The financial crisis unfolding in Detroit is getting national and international attention. ... Here's how Al Jazeera covered the Detroit financial crisis in a two-and-half-minute television story last month." With video.

Worldscreen.com, 11 Jan 2012, Kristin Brzoznowski: "The documentary Four Days in Guantanamo, about a 15-year-old Canadian citizen imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay since 2002, is slated to make its world TV premiere on Al Jazeera English on January 18. The doc is based on CCTV [closed circuit television] footage of Canadian agents interrogating Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was locked up in 2002 at the age of 15."

Aysor.am, 11 Jan 2012: "Al Jazeera English is to air a Swedish production film 'Grandma’s Tattoos,' directed by Suzanne Khardalian from January 11 to 18. The film is dedicated to the Armenian Genocide."

Radio France International: FM frequencies shut down in DR Congo (updated: back on), Burundi reporter accused of "terrorism."

Posted: 11 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Committee to Protect Journalists, 4 Jan 2012: "Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo shut down broadcasts of the French government-funded Radio France Internationale over its coverage of the aftermath of the November 2011 presidential elections, news reports said. On Monday, Communications Minister Lambert Mende said the Council of Ministers had ordered the 'temporary' measure of switching off RFI's six FM broadcast frequencies until the Congolese Broadcasting and Communications Superior Council, the new state-run media regulatory agency, had issued a decision. ... RFI Deputy Director Geneviève Goëtzinger declined to comment when contacted by CPJ. 'This decision is part of a pattern of closures to punish Radio France Internationale whenever it reports independently on political news in the DRC,' said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. 'We call on the Congolese media regulatory agency to break with this pattern of political censorship and reverse the decision immediately.' RFI is the most popular news station in the DRC, according to CPJ research."

VOA News, 5 Jan 2011, Scott Stearns: "The United States says authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should restore broadcasts by Radio France International. ... U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the move breaches freedoms of speech and should be reversed immediately. 'We are concerned about these reports of Radio France International having been shut down. We urge the relevant Congolese authorities to reinstate RFI's frequencies immediately. ...' said Nuland." See also Committee to Protect Journalists, 4 Jan 2012.

Update: AFP, 10 Jan 2012: "France’s RFI international radio network Monday was allowed to resume operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo after broadcasts were cut at the start of the year over its election coverage. Communications Minister Lambert Mende defended the move telling AFP that the network 'had wanted to create a confused situation which could lead to clashes between the Congolese'."

Radio France International, 29 Dec 2011: "Radio France Internationale’s Swahili correspondent in Burundi goes on trial ..., accused of 'terrorism' because he reported on a rebel movement that attacked the country from neighbouring Tanzania. Twenty-two other people are in the dock in Burundi’s first terrorist trial. Hassan Ruvakuki, who is the Burundi correspondent for RFI's Kiswahili service, is among four people accused of giving the sign for rebels of the Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (FRD) to launch an attack on 20 November and of helping them by giving them publicity."

State Department briefing is now taking questions via Twitter. Just a few. On Fridays. During January.

Posted: 11 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 4 Jan 2012, Lauren Dugan: "As part of its initiative to harness more digital technology for diplomacy, the US State Department will be taking questions via Twitter in 10 different languages, and answering them during a press briefing every Friday for the month of January. The State Department traditionally has daily briefings that allow for some questions from the press, but now they’re opening up the floor to citizens of the world. They will be taking questions from the Department’s 10 official Twitter feeds, which include the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu."

Press Trust of India, 4 Jan 2012: "Questions ... can be submitted using the hash tag #AskState to any of the Twitter feeds: @StateDept (English), @USAbilAraby (Arabic), @USA_Zhongwen (Chinese), @USAdarFarsi (Farsi), @USAenFrancais (French), @USAHindiMein (Hindi), @USAemPortugues (Portuguese), @USApoRusski (Russian), @USAenEspanol (Spanish) and @USAUrdu (Urdu)."

Heritage Foundation, 9 Jan 2011, Helle Dale: "Never one to miss an opportunity to unravel the mysteries of the Obama foreign policy, The Heritage Foundation submitted two questions: 1. @StateDept: Given the failure of engagement policy w/ Iran, how can Obama hope that negotiations w/ the Taliban will be positive? #askstate 2. @StateDept: What do you think of Russia’s missile activity since signing the New START—do we need to reset the reset? #askstate Unfortunately, [State Department spokesperson Victoria] Nuland did not choose answer our questions. Five questions were featured: one on the U.S. refusal to intervene in Syria to stop the massacre of Syrians by their own government, one on the U.S. maintaining diplomatic relations with the Sudanese government despite its brutality, one on the moral or military nature of U.S. global leadership from China, one on Iran’s intentions to shut off the Internet and threatening the Strait of Hormuz, and one on the implications for NATO of the drastic Obama defense cuts. Pretty good questions, actually, all of which received standard bureaucratic answers. Getting the U.S. government plugged into social networks is not a bad idea. However, until the State Department learns to tweet as good as it gets, it will not be genuinely participating in this particular discourse. So, please, when the next Twitter Q & A comes up, post the answers on Twitter. The whole point, presumably, is to have a dialogue in a social media context. Also, it would be interesting to see U.S. foreign policy explained in 140 characters. Could bring some much-needed clarity."

VOA history in the news.

Posted: 10 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
World Music Central, 25 Dec 2011: "Cuban piano maestro Chucho Valdés and his band the Afro-Cuban Messengers are set to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Saturday, January 21, 2012. ... [His] CD, released on the Four Quarters label, features musical tributes to American and European jazz artists that Valdés cites as influences, including Cole Porter, Joe Zawinul, Art Tatum, John Coltrane, Branford Marsalis, even going back to the Voice of America radio broadcasts Valdés heard growing up as a child in Havana."

NPR Music, 9 Jan 2012, AfroPop Worldwide host and former VOA broadcaster George Collinet as interviewed by Michel Marti: "Ali Farka was a sound engineer in Bamako, Mali. one day I went to see him when I was doing one of these tours for the United States for the Voice of America and Ali was there and said, oh my god, Georges Collinet. Wow. Unbelievable. And we started talking and he said you want to listen to my record? I said well, yeah. ... And then the other thing is when I was a crazy young man during my Voice of America days in the '70s, I used to listen to: and they call the wind Mary. And that was Jimi Hendrix. Man, Hendrix, oh, unbelievable."

CBC News, 3 Jan 2012: "Josef Skvorecky, a Czech dissident writer who spent most of his life in exile in Canada, has died. He was 87. ... From 1973-1990, he hosted a monthly radio series on writing and literature on Voice of America."

Sequim (WA) Gazette, 4 Jan 2012, Mark St.J. Couhig: "In 2001, Al Piemme, then 70, had just wrapped up his third world championship in downhill bicycle racing. ... Piemme rides three days a week with Sequim’s Spoke Folk cycling club and every Sunday with another crew that gets together out on Voice of America Road, with each of the trips averaging 30 miles or so." -- The road is named Voice of America because it's near the site of a planned, but never built, VOA transmitter site in Washington state. See previous post.

Cold War Broadcasting book is an American Library Association pick for 2011.

Posted: 10 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio World, 3 Jan 2012: "Sometimes a book escapes our notice, but thanks to the American Library Association’s online review journal, Choice, 'Cold War Broadcasting – Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe' attracts new attention. The publication picked that book as one of 2011’s outstanding academic titles. Published by the Central European University Press, it was edited by A. Ross Johnson and R. Eugene Parta, both veterans of Radio Free Europe. With sections written by radio broadcasters and scholars, Johnson and Parta examine the broadcast part of the 'soft' conflict during the Cold War. According to the publisher, their contributors are able to take advantage of newly declassified material along with access to now-accessible populations that were the target audience of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty." See also the book blurb at the CEU Press website. And the book's Amazon sales page, with links to other books on the history of RFE, RL, and other Cold War era international broadcasters.

Inscrutible strategy: Chinese international broadcasting in apparent bid to outfragment US international broadcasting.

Posted: 10 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Fast Company, 6 Jan 2012, Neal Ungerleider: "The Chinese government has dreamed for years of launching an English-language news network that could successfully compete with CNN or Al Jazeera for global eyeballs. Yesterday, Chinese government officials announced the launch of a new network, TodayChina, to debut in February. This will be China's third attempt to start a BBC of its own. Will the third time be the charm? TodayChina will be initially available to viewers in New York, Beijing, and Hong Kong. As of this writing, it was unclear whether the network has obtained a channel slot from local providers Time Warner, Cablevision, or Verizon FiOS. Another Chinese state-operated news network, CCTV News, already airs in New York and much of the United States. However, CCTV News has been hampered by cultural translation issues and a microscopic advertising budget. A second China-based news network, CNC World, is operated by the state Xinhua news agency and appears on a modest amount of American cable and satellite systems. ... The biggest problem China has in dealing with in their 24-hour news network problems is the sprawling nature of the Chinese government. International broadcasting is handled through a number of governmental and quasi-government agencies; CCTV is a product of China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, while CNC World is operated by the state-affiliated Xinhua news agencies. Both networks frequently make errors in Chinese-English translation, broadcast material that appears odd in a Western context, and air programming with frequently shoddy production values."

Bloomberg, 5 Jan 2012, Mark Lee: "'It’s our role to propagate information about China overseas,' Yan Xinxia, a director at the State Council Information Office’s China Internet Information Center, told reporters in Hong Kong today. The center will partner with CMMB Vision Holdings Ltd. (471) for the TodayChina channel, which will be distributed free using digital TV technology in New York City."

South China Morning Post, 9 Jan 2012, Sophie Wu: "The channel will feature China-related news and entertainment content in both English and Chinese with English subtitles, according to CMMB Vision's chairman, Charles Wong. The China Internet Information Centre and CMMB Vision will also team up to provide video programmes for mobile-phone users in New York, as well as a 'Today China' website (www.today.china.com.cn) to be available worldwide. ... Wong said the new service could generate profits for the company this year. 'The TV service is free but there will be commercial slots. I am sure Chinese enterprises eyeing the overseas market will have an interest in advertising on our platform,' Wong said."

Mr. Ungerleider quoted me in his article, even though I was caught completely flatfooted unaware of TodayChina. This would be the fourth 24/7 English channel from China. Actually five, if you count both CCTV News and CCTV9 (the documentary channel), as well as Xinhua's CNC World, and the obscure Blue Ocean Network. The www.today.china.com.cn website is not working at the time of this writing.

Manager of BBC Worldwide Australia moves to multicultural SBS.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Jan 2012, Pip Bulbeck: "Longtime BBC Worldwide Australia executive Tony Iffland is shifting from the pay TV to the free to air sector here, taking up the position of director, television and online content for public broadcaster SBS in April, SBS said Thursday. ... SBS, with its charter to reach multicultural Australians, is the smallest free to air network, but has packed a punch in recent years with some risky programs including landmark factual series Go Back To Where You Came From, its highest rated program of the year in 2011."

BBC Radio 4's "In Our Time" not just placed on, but sold to, Australia's ABC.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Today, 5 Jan 2012: "Radio 4's In Our Time presented by Melvyn Bragg is to be broadcast by Australian state radio provider ABC though a deal with BBC Worldwide. 48 episodes will air through this year with the show’s summer break being filled by programmes from the archives. Producer Tom Morris told the BBC’s in-house magazine Ariel: 'We already have a listenership in Australia, our podcast is consistently in the top ten both there and in New Zealand, but this is very exciting.' The programme will be broadcast in Australia on Saturday lunchtimes. Salim Mukaddam, director of Music, Content and Programmes at BBC Worldwide, added: 'We’re delighted to be working with ABC to bring In Our Time to a new Australian audience. In Our Time is a superb programme which deserves to be heard by as wide an audience as possible.'" See also the In Our Time web page.

BBC World Service will try ads on Arabic, Russian, Spanish websites, and on Berlin FM relay.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 5 Jan 2012, Mark Sweney: "The BBC Trust has approved plans to run advertising on a number of BBC World Service websites as well as in radio broadcasts for the first time in the corporation's history. BBC World Service has been given the green light to run ads on the Arabic, Russian and Spanish websites, which the trust says will put it 'on a par with the BBC's international-facing website BBC.com'. The World Service, which has seen its budget slashed by £46m a year resulting in more than 600 job losses, has been asked by the government to generate £3m from commercial activities by 2013/2014. ... The BBC Trust also rubber stamped a plan to launch a year-long pilot to run ads in World Service English programmes on its Berlin FM station. If successful the pilot could pave the way for widespread advertising on BBC World Service radio services for the first time. 'We are adopting a careful and measured approach, with these proposals deliberately contained so we can assess how they work in practice,' said a spokesman for the BBC World Service. 'While it could make a difference, this would only contribute a small proportion towards our overall funding.'"

BBC News, 6 Jan 2012: "Plans to run adverts on the BBC World Service have been attacked by one of its former managing directors. The scheme to insert advertising into World Service English output on the Berlin FM frequency is 'the worst of all possible worlds', Sir John Tusa told Radio 4's The World At One. He said it would breach a 'crucial' principle and 'not raise much money'. ... 'You can't be a little bit commercial,' said Sir John, who was head of the World Service from 1986 to 1993." With link to audio.

International broadcasters whose content is sufficiently popular to attract advertisers should welcome the opportunity to shift the burden from taxpayers. BBC already has years of experience with international advertising through its BBC World News and international-facing BBC.com. The best model for international broadcast funding -- unfortunately not emulable in most languages -- is CNN International. Its revenue is entirely through advertising, with no government subsidy. I think credibility is better served if the funding is spread over several advertisers rather than supplied by one national government.

With new media restrictions in Hungary, unofficial move afoot to restore RFE Hungarian.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Hungary Around the Clock, 2 Jan 2012: "Former US ambassador Mark Palmer and others are working on restoring a Radio Free Europe for Hungary, he told Népszabadság in an interview. Palmer, who was ambassador to Hungary in 1986-90, said he respected and to this day respects Viktor Orbán, but power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, adding that big men are almost always bad men. This applies to all politicians, Palmer continued, adding that they will abuse their power if they can." See previous post about same subject.

Twitter, 9 Jan 2012, @rferl: "@kaedotcom At present, RFE/RL has no plans of restoring broadcasting to Hungary."

The Independent, 7 Jan 2012, Tony Paterson: "Budapest's Klubradio ... was one of the few broadcasters critical of the government and had about half a million listeners. The station suddenly lost its licence last year and was replaced by Autoradio, a pro-government broadcaster."

Legal complaint against RFE/RL by Croatian ex-employee resurfaces.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
News.Az, 5 Jan 2012, Alsou Taheri, "the pseudonym of a journalist working at RFE/RL in Prague": "These days, Soviet-style samizdat is doing the rounds at the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. It is a press release on the letter to Croatian government by Snjezana Pelivan, a Croatian journalist living in Prague. Her case against the Czech Republic as a country that tolerates the national discrimination practised on its territory by the American RFE/RL, is in the European Court of Human Rights. In her letter, she officially requests the government of Croatia to support her lawsuit in Strasbourg. ... The practical consequence of the BBG-designed personnel policies, writes Snjezana Pelivan in her letter, avidly read in RFE/RL corridors, is that all foreign journalists, producers and other specialists employed by RFE/RL in Prague, are provided with uniform work contracts based deceptively on American labour laws. American laws don’t cover foreigners outside the United States."

Croatian Times, 2 Jan 2012: "Residing in Prague Croatian citizen Snjezana Pelivan officially requests the government of Croatia to support her legal claim against the Czech Republic in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Snjezana Pelivan, daughter of Jure Pelivan, the first Prime Minister of independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, worked for American Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in Prague as marketing manager. ... Pelivan’s employment with RFE/EL was terminated without any preliminary warnings and any reason. Simultaneously, the RFE/RL management demanded that Snjezana Pelivan signed a letter stating that she accepted the termination and would not question it in courts. She refused. In retaliation, the American employer withheld her severance compensation for years of impeccable service."

See previous post about same subject.

New Orleans radio host/station owner sues to maintain control of thevoiceofamerica.com domain.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Law360, 4 Jan 2012: "A radio talk show host launched a suit in Louisiana federal court Wednesday against the Broadcasting Board of Governors, challenging an arbitration ruling that stripped his right to use 'Voice of America' as a domain name. Robert Namer, known as the 'Voice of America,' filed a declaratory suit asking the court to overturn a contested arbitration decision awarding the BBG the right to use thevoiceofamerica.com." -- The URL thevoiceofamerica.com still appears to be active and connected to Namer's radio program. See also RFC Express, 4 Jan 2012.

Rwanda's military takes issue with a VOA report.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The New Times (Kigali), 4 Jan 2012: "The Rwanda Defence Force has said that a news item on Voice of America, on the arrest of a certain Nsabiyaremye Gratien, was far from the truth and an attempt to distort facts. In a statement released yesterday, the RDF said Nsabiyaremye was arrested by the police for highway robbery. VOA Kinyarwanda service had quoted a person by the name of Habimana Boniface alleging that the suspect was abducted by the military. ... 'The allegations that Nsabiyaremye was abducted by the military are false and misleading. Nobody should hide behind political affiliations to defeat the course of justice,' the statement ends."

Belarus suspends Euronews and restricts internet access.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 3 Jan 2012: "A Belarusian state television channel has suspended broadcasts of the Euronews channel, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports. The Minsk-based television channel MTIS ended the Euronews broadcasts on January 1, replacing them with programming from the Russian movie channel NTV-Plus Kino+. MTIS told the Interfax news agency that the decision to drop Euronews was temporary and made due to an increase in the broadcasting fees being charged by Euronews's owners. ... The pan-European channel Euronews has been the only independent international news source available on state-controlled Belarusian TV. ... Independent Belarusian television expert Leonid Mindlin told RFE/RL that Euronews is 'a window into the world' for its audience, which he said was some 15 percent of the Belarusian viewers. Mindlin said it is not known if Euronews was dropped for political or financial reasons. He maintained that Belarusians can still access it and other independent TV stations via satellite or Internet."

Transitions Online, 5 Jan 2012, Jeremy Druker, Ioana Caloianu, and Joshua Boissevain: Euronews has "been accused over the years of toning done its Russian-language broadcasts, which are the ones aired in Belarus, to avoid much criticism of the authorities. Some say the station continues to dodge in-depth political stories and gives short shrift to the opposition but does report comprehensively on economic issues and remains much better than any state-run alternatives."

RFE/RL, 6 Jan 2012: "A law restricting the use of the Internet by Belarusian firms and state institutions has come into force. One aspect of the law seen as the most invasive requires Internet cafes and service providers to identify and keep track of all of their clients along with the web pages they visit. Thirty-five specific websites are banned for Internet users at state institutions. Most are deemed pornographic or of an extremist nature. But some opposition political websites -- including the pages of 'Charter'97.org' and 'Belarusian Partisan' -- are also on the banned list." See also BBC News, 4 Jan 2012.

China Radio International holds competition for Arabic-language students in China.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Egyptian Gazette, 30 Dec 2011, Ihab Shaarawy: "A recent Arabic-speaking competition for Arabic-language students in China highlighted China’s great interest in Arab culture and also charted the future for the relations between the two cultures. ... The competition, the first of its kind, was organised by China Radio International (CRI) and the Faculty of International Languages, Beijing University. It began in October, attracting students from 23 universities and institutions from around China. ... The CRI began its Arabic service nearly 55 years ago, while the first Arabic course was introduced in a Chinese university in 1946. ... [One of the winners Li Jing] seemed very interested in Arab culture, but said she is still not ready to work and live in the Arab world. 'I still think that there is a kind of discrimination against women in the Arab world, but I will be happy to work and live there, when the discrimination ends,' she said. ... The prize distribution ceremony attracted officials and diplomats from the Arab embassies in Beijing and, at the end of the ceremony, a pleasant surprise was in store from the Aljazeera correspondent, who offered free training courses for those who won prizes."

One of China's English-language CCTV channels gets 24/7 access in Guyana.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
National Communications Network (Guyana), 30 Dec 2011, Leana Bradshaw. "Chinese television station CCTV9 will be soon aired on a 24 hour basis here, to cater for Chinese nationals living in Guyana. Chief Executive Officer of the National Communications Network (NCN), Mohammed Sattaur said government has supported the move and NCN will manage the new station. 'The Chinese delegation has proposed that they provide the satellite uplink and downlink facilities as well as the transmitter for the broadcasting and a control room for managing the broadcast.' The state channel- NCN, has been broadcasting one hour of news from CCTV9 for approximately 6 years but it will now have its own designated channel. The Chinese counterparts expressed their gratitude for the collaboration, noting that it will help to forge closer ties between the two countries." -- Actually, this English-language channel will cater to Guyanese, though Chinese-Guyanese might be more intersted than most Guyanese in its content. The English news channel formerly known as CCTV9 is now CCTV News, and CCTV9 is now the brand of an English-language documentary channel. I suspect that CCTV News is the channel that will be seen 24/7 in Guyana.

Cameroonian who aspires to be European gets his image on Europe from France 24 and TV5Monde.

Posted: 08 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Netherlands, 29 Dec 2011, Thibaut Cavaillès: "When the weather allows it, Didier can see, from the Medina of Tangier, the Spanish city of Tarifa, the doorway to a dream that might never come true: getting to Europe. 'I am confident that once in Europe, I’ll make it!', he affirms. Didier is a Cameroonian citizen. ... Didier gets his image of Europe from watching television. 'I watch TV5 and France 24. There is a lot of money there. People eat 15-Euro sandwiches and drink 10-Euro coffees at the Champ Elysées, in Paris', he says."

International channels allowed to report in Syria -- except Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and France 24.

Posted: 08 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Gulf News (Dubai), 6 Jan 2012, Marwan Kabalan: "At his latest news conference on the mission of the Arab observers in Syria, the Arab League Secretary General, Nabeel Al Arabi, tried to present a balanced assessment of the Syrian regime's compliance with the Arab peace plan to resolve the crisis. ... The Syrian media ignored almost everything in Al Arabi's assessment except his statement to the media. The Syrian regime stated that it would allow foreign media into the country, provided that they report 'objectively' on the crisis. Arab League sources said that the Syrian government has informed Al Arabi that it would allow dozens of journalists and media channels to report from inside the country except for three. They are Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and France 24."

Day Press (Damascus), 8 Jan 2012: "[A] BBC Arabic service reporter was allowed to accompany three Arab monitors to a town on the outskirts of Damascus. It was the first time foreign media were known to have been able to cover the activities of the monitors directly, although media access was a condition stipulated by the Arab League. The BBC said it had been able to film, unhindered by the security forces." See also BBC News, 5 Jan 2012.

Al Arabiya, 28 Dec 2011: "A prominent Lebanese television personality has accused Al Arabiya News Channel of conspiring against Syria with Israel and declared his support for the Syrian regime and his disapproval of the protests demanding the ouster of Bashar al-Assad. George Kurdahi, best known as host of the game show 'Who Will Win the Million?,' the Arab version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,' said several satellite channels are plotting against Syria and that Al Arabiya is leading the way."

Al Jazeera English, 8 Jan 2012, Asad Hashim interviewing Bassam Abu Abdullah, Baath Party member: "Q: "Do you say that the Syrian government has been fully cooperating with [Arab] monitors? Abdallah: Yes, I think they are fully cooperating, and besides that, we opened for all media now we have more than 136 representatives from different media, except Al Jazeera. Q: Well, except Al Jazeera. I'm sitting here in the 'Inside Syria' studio. I'd like to be reporting from inside Syria, but we've not been granted a visa. Abdallah: Al Jazeera, generally, my friend, Al Jazeera was a party during the past 11 months, I think they are not objective. I don't know Al Jazeera English, but...I met with your correspondent who was from Beirut and from Doha and I had an interview with them."

DPA, 2 Jan 2012: "A French-Algerian journalist was found dead in his hotel room in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, police sources said Monday. He was strangled, allegedly by another journalist, the sources said. His body was found by a hotel worker, who informed police. The sources claimed the murder followed a financial dispute between the two journalists. They also claimed the victim worked as a freelancer for France 24. But France 24 said in a statement that the journalist was neither part of its correspondent network in Yemen nor on assignment in Yemen for the station. It didn't comment on whether he worked as a freelancer."

Commentator: "The problem with [Australia Network] is not merely that it is boring."

Posted: 07 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Sydney Morning herald, 3 Jan 2011, Gerard Henderson: Australian Broadcasting Corporation managing director Mark "Scott's view that the ABC should engage in 'soft power', and represent Australia's international interests through broadcasting, has been sanctioned by the Gillard government. It awarded the Australia Network contract to the ABC in perpetuity without competitive tendering. The problem with the existing service is not merely that it is boring. It also reflects the ABC house culture of criticising both Labor and the Coalition from the left."

Melbourne Football Club, 31 Dec 2011, Matt Burgan and Tom Parker: Matt Burgan and Tom Parker: "The biggest achievement the AFL [Australian Football League] has made through its recent China strategy was to reach an agreement with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Australia Network to broadcast the 2010 AFL finals matches live into Shanghai. This year SMG through their English language International Channel Shanghai has shown one game per week during the 2011 Toyota Premiership Season. The ability to have the game shown live in China, a first for an Australian sport, along with continued coverage throughout the season means that the game will create demand for further development in the future. Melbourne and the AFL are aware of the Yao Ming factor, but believe that bringing a new sport into a new market requires patience and a different approach."

Documents indicate that, in 1983, Radio Australia "reduced the level of irritation" of its reports on East Timor.

Posted: 07 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Australian, 2 Jan 2012, Brendan Nicholson: "For Australia to increase pressure on Indonesia over its annexation of East Timor would create a 'dreadful shambles' in international relations, Bill Hayden warned cabinet soon after Labor won government in 1983. ... There was concern, too, about Indonesia's reaction to criticism of its actions broadcast in the region on Radio Australia. However a later cabinet submission noted that: 'Improved liaison arrangements between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Radio Australia and greater sensitivity on the part of Radio Australia to the Indonesian problem have reduced the level of irritation of Radio Australia broadcasts.'"

Report: Iran's "clean" national internet network will launch next week.

Posted: 07 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Radio Zamaneh (Amsterdam), 3 Jan 2012: "A member of Iran’s Corporate Computer Systems reports that Iran will be cut off from the World Wide Web once the country launches its own national internet network. Iranian media report that Payam Karbasi, the spokesman for Corporate Computer Systems of Iran, said: 'With the launch of the national internet, the internet providers can increase the speed of access to their desired websites by two megabytes... however, it will be just like a corporate network, which cannot be accessed by outsiders, and some material cannot be accessed through that network.' Islamic Republic authorities have long been talking about separating Iranian internet users from the World Wide Web by launching a 'clean' national internet network. The government has said that the national internet will be launched by next month. ... Iranian authorities heavily censor the internet and block numerous news and opposition websites. Iranian users have used proxies to overcome these obstacles."

China Radio International DG's new year's message: "China Perspective, World Vision and Human Values."

Posted: 06 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
China Radio International, 1 Jan 2012, new year's message by Wang Gengnian, Director-General of China Radio International: "We've inscribed 'China Perspective, World Vision and Human Values' on a large board inside CRI's office building and will bear this slogan in mind as our broadcasting mission. ... To date, CRI presents more than 3,000 hours of programs in 61 languages on a daily basis. In addition to the 70 overseas full-frequency radio stations, CRI also has 24 overseas program production studios, 40 correspondent bureaus in other nations, 15 on-air Confucius Classrooms, as well as 4,112 listener's clubs. All our efforts have paid off. We received a total of 3.23 million letters and e-mails from listeners and netizens in 2011 alone."

China Daily, 31 Dec 2011, President Hu Jintao's new year's message: "At this beautiful moment of bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new, via China Radio International, China National Radio and China Central Television, I am delighted to extend the New Year greetings to Chinese of all ethnic groups, to compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and in Taiwan, to overseas Chinese and to friends all over the world!"

US Army uses hand-crank shortwave radios for literacy project in Afghanistan.

Posted: 06 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, 29 Dec 2011, Combat Team, of Fort Belvoir, Va., who oversaw the Radio Literacy program during his deployment to Zabul, said that 80% of the population of Zabul province is illiterate. 'Radio Literacy’s purpose is to instill in the local populace a desire for education; to push them to demand more education from their government and therefore lead to legitimacy in their government,' said Fix. ... Villagers that participate in the project receive one Radio Literacy handbook per family – sometimes two if theirs is a large family – which includes 15 weekly modules, and forty-some odd lessons, all of which are very rudimentary. ... In addition to the Radio Literacy handbook, participating villagers also receive 1 hand-crank radio per family which can receive AM and FM frequencies, as well as shortwave 1 and shortwave 2. Shortwave radio, more commonly known as ham radio in the United States, is able to reach areas where AM and FM frequencies cannot." See previous post about same subject.

This 1988 "soundscape" melds the sounds of "Cold War Shortwave."

Posted: 06 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
YouTube, 20 Dec 2011, aVideoLifeUSA, Paul Dougherty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNJTCfhDy9E "VOA's Communications World featuring 'Cold War Shortwave' [and] interview [by one Kim Andrew Elliott] with [its creator] Paul Dougherty. ... [T]hough recorded in the mid-80's this soundscape of the 'old broadcast order' sounds delightfully archaic. This pre-Web 'global village' contains a strong dose of anti-American propaganda, but seems more mysterious than strident." -- While Cold War Shortwave was recorded in 1988, I recorded the interview with Paul in the latter 1990s. If you prefer not to listen to me, here's the standalone version of Cold War Shortwave. Thanks to Mike Barraclough for letting us know these are now on YouTube.

BBC world services plan "ambitious" programs for 2012, year of London Olympics and Dickens bicentenary.

Posted: 05 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC Global News, 3 Jan 2012, via Modern Ghana: "The BBC's global news services are launching the most ambitious and wide-ranging international season of programmes ever on London and the UK in 2012, to be broadcast to more than 200 million people around the world. The BBC will begin an unprecedented year-long focus on London as the city prepares to host the world's biggest sporting event, the Olympics Games. In this landmark year for the UK capital, London Calling on the BBC's international TV, radio and online services, will celebrate a wealth of arts and culture - with the spotlight on Charles Dickens' bicentenary - plus focusing on sport, history, politics, economics and all aspects of life in the UK through a range of news programming, documentaries and online features."

Iran disbands Iranian House of Cinema, which defended filmmakers accused of collaborating with BBC Persian.

Posted: 05 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan 2011, Ramin Mostaghim and Alexandra Sandels: "Iran has pulled the plug on the independent Iranian House of Cinema, an organization bringing together thousands of people in Iran's film industry. The minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Mohammed Hosseini, said the institution was operating illegally, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Wednesday. ... The center was also criticized for issuing a statement condemning the arrest of six Iranian documentary filmmakers in September last year, who were accused of working for the BBC's Persian-language service service, which the Iranian government charges is trying to incite strife in the Islamic Republic."

Tehran Times, 4 Jan 2012: "Managing director of Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) regards the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance’s decision on disbanding the IHC as illegal. Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur made the statement in a press conference held in Tehran, only one day after the Culture Ministry ordered the Iranian House of Cinema to disband. ... [H]e continued, 'We are ready to appear in court and we are hopeful. As I said, we’re following several cases which are being called collaborating with BBC Persian service,' he added."

For this Tanzanian television viewer, international news channels are among the few worthy sources of content.

Posted: 05 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam), 3 Jan 2012, J.S. Kilassi: "It seems that all local television stations, particularly those seen in Dar es Salaam, have conspired to bore their viewers to death. With the possible exception of local news bulletins and news from international channels such as CNN, BBC World News, Sky News, Al Jazeera and DW TV, there is now nothing worth watching on TV.What we are fed daily is a monotonous diet of cheap South American dramas and extremely low-quality 'movies' from Nigeria. What is particularly maddening is the fact that almost all stations show these Mexican and Brazilian soaps and Nigerian 'films' at prime time, sometimes until well past midnight. I have feeling that our stations get this crap free of charge."

Plaintiffs' lawyers in trial of Hosni Mubarak will seek video by Alhurra, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya.

Posted: 05 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Egypt State Information Service, 3 Jan 2011: "Cairo criminal court under counselor Ahmed Rifaat Tuesday 3/1/2012 listens to pleas by the public prosecution in the trial of former President Mubarak and his interior minister Habib el Adli and six of his aides in the case of killing demonstrators during the January 25 revolution. ... Plaintiff lawyers ... asked for bringing the video footages shot by Al Jazeera, Alhurra, Al-Arabiya and ON TV channels showing policemen's heavy-handed treatment of peaceful protesters during the January revolution." See also Daily News Egypt, 2 Jan 2011, Safaa Abdoun.

"China's Parallel Online Universe."

Posted: 04 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
The Diplomat, 27 Dec 2011, Christopher Walker & Sarah Cook: "To the casual eye, China’s social media landscape might look diverse and lively. But the social media clones are careful to follow Communist Party censorship. ... This innovative approach embraces, rather than resists, technological advances. It satisfies the growing demand of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens for social media tools, reducing incentives for them to circumvent the 'Great Firewall,' while still enabling the Communist Party to control what they say to each other on matters of political consequence. Here’s how this critical piece of China’s modern censorship mosaic works. First, the big transnational social media players – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – are blocked in China. This clears the playing field for homegrown firms, such as Renren, which provides Facebook-type functions, Youku.com, a YouTube-like video sharing service, and Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service."

Sherlock Holmes, international broadcaster.

Posted: 04 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Huffington Post UK, 30 Dec 2011, Caroline Frost: "The second series of the contemporary Sherlock is a tent-pole in the BBC's schedule for New Year's Day, following its phenomenal success when the first series was broadcast in the summer of 2010. And it seems British viewers aren't the only ones keen to soak up writer Steven Moffat's thoroughly modern take on the Victorian detective's stories. Programme makers can also raise a festive glass to the millions of fans around the world - particularly in Germany, Russia and France - who have enjoyed every clue and thrilling denouement by the icy-eyed Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, with his floppy but robust sidekick Dr Watson, played by Martin Freeman. To celebrate the sale of the series to 180 overseas territories, BBC Worldwide, who sells the series internationally, has put together a new video clip of some of the best bits of the first series, which you can see together for the first time today." With video. See also The Telegraph, 30 Dec 2011, Olly Grant.

Another BBC Worldwide hire unleashes another flurry of corporatespeak.

Posted: 04 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Indiantelevision.com, 31 Dec 2011: "BBC Worldwide Australia GM Tony Iffland has announced that Amanda McGregor will be the new director of brands, consumers and new ventures, overseeing all commercial and marketing activity for BBC Worldwide in Australia and New Zealand. She is currently BBC Worldwide Australia director of marketing and her new role will continue to oversee marketing, brand and consumer strategy for BBC Worldwide's Australian group of businesses, but will take on additional responsibility for the commercial activity of its six global brands in territory (Top Gear, Dancing With The Stars, Doctor Who, Torchwood, BBC Earth and Lonely Planet) as well as developing other new areas of business. This new role has been created to reflect the growing emphasis on brands in the business and it will include overseeing live events and gaming, two new and rapidly evolving areas of growth for BBC Worldwide's global brands in territory."

Broadcast, 3 Jan 2012, Catherine Neilan: "The team behind BBC Worldwide’s Global iPlayer has received a boost with a trio of promotions and appointments. Riccardo Donato has been appointed to the newly created role of head of commercial and strategy for the VoD service. ... Current commissioning editor Derren Lawford is stepping up to become head of programming and scheduling. ... Paul Williamson has also been promoted to head of editorial operations, responsible for managing day to day operations of the service and content delivery in all territories."

Jailed Kyrgyz activist listens to international radio and is "very well equipped with information."

Posted: 04 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 29 Dec 2011: "Jailed Kyrgyz human rights activist Azimjan Askarov says he is reconsidering his plan to hold a hunger strike to protest his life sentence for organizing ethnic clashes and involvement in the killing of a policeman, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. ... Askarov said he walks about seven kilometers each day in the prison courtyard. 'While I walk, I read and memorize things," he said. "I don't have access to the Internet but, as you see, I have a television and radio. I listen to all [international] radio programs -- RFE/RL, the BBC, the Voice of America -- there's not a single day that I don't listen. I also get many newspapers...my friends buy them at the newsstand here [at the prison]. I am very well equipped with information.'"

Memories of a father in China who listened to VOA "obsessively."

Posted: 04 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Bloomberg, 29 Dec 2011, Junheng Li: "The Cultural Revolution seemed to traumatize my father in unique ways. His dreams and ambitions as an impressionable and hot-blooded young man were dashed by Mao’s policies. My guess is that the Cultural Revolution made him cynical about anything and everything around him. Distrustful of the state media, he bought a portable radio and listened to Voice of America obsessively. When I was a little girl, he instructed me not to believe out of hand anything printed in the People’s Daily. Many Chinese people know now what my father understood decades ago and yet we don’t talk about it much; some of us continue to kowtow in Tiananmen Square, keeping the fiction of Mao’s greatness alive. In this way, we’re not all that different from our North Korean brethren. Our collective 'forgetting' prevents us from accepting the cause of our past tragedies. However painful, this reckoning must happen if we are ever able finally to reject the censorship and propaganda that still enforce our 'isolation.'"

Iran's HispanTV and its international competition.

Posted: 04 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Reuters, 30 Dec 2011, Bernd Debusmann, commentary: "In another move to poke the 'great Satan', Iran’s label for the United States, in the eye in its own backyard, Iran launched a Spanish-language satellite TV channel, HispanTV, to break the dominance of international broadcasters that are 'muzzled by imperialism, hiding the truth and twisting the facts.' So said Iranian Radio and TV executive Mohamed Sarafraz when he launched the new channel on December 21. There is more than a little irony in that assertion, given that state-run Iranian media are no strangers to hiding the truth and twisting the facts, not to mention that the government imprisons journalists, jams foreign broadcasts, and engages in Internet censorship. The new Iranian channel aims beyond the countries run by anti-American leaders and is meant to convince Latin Americans of 'the ideological legitimacy of our (Iranian) system to the world,' in the words of Ezzatollah Zarghami, head of Iran’s state radio and TV. That’s easier said than done. Latin Americans dissatisfied with news and information from their own countries can turn to the Internet and to international networks already broadcasting to the region in Spanish — Britain’s BBC, TVE of Spain, Germany’s Deutsche Welle, Voice of America and CNN." See previous post about same subject.

Washington Post, 1 Jan 2012, Joby Warrick: "The importance of Ahmadinejad’s visit [to South and Central America] was underscored last week by Iran’s state-owned Press TV, which said promotion of 'all-out cooperation with Latin American countries is among the top priorities of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy.' Iran has dispatched a stream of lower-ranking officials to the region in recent months. Ahmadinejad granted a live interview Dec. 13 with Venezuela’s state-owned broadcaster TeleSUR in which he hailed the close ties between the two countries and boasted of Iran’s advances in military technology, including unmanned drones."

"Goodbye to Bush House" examines past 70 years as BBC World Service prepares to move its HQ (updated with part 2).

Posted: 03 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service, "Your World," 26 Dec 2011: "The BBC World Service has been housed in Bush House since 1941. For over 70 years it has broadcast from this home in The Strand; through a World War, Cold War, decolonisation throughout Africa, the Iranian Revolution, Perestroika, Tiananmen Square, two Gulf Wars and into the new Millennium. Now it's leaving Bush, to join the rest of BBC News in one building elsewhere in London. To mark the occasion, this documentary series - presented by the former managing director of the World Service, John Tusa - combine memories with archive. He talks to producers and presenters who've worked in Bush House over the years, and reporters who've filed to London from all over the globe. ... John Tusa examines the key World Service values of impartiality, adherence to the truth and public service - did the BBC always live up to its own standards when reporting the world? When did it fall down and why?" With audio. First of a two-part series.

Update: Part 2 of "Goodbye to Bush House" is now available: BBC World Service, "Your World, 31 Dec 2011.

WSJ: "In Skies Over Iran, a Battle for Control of Satellite TV."

Posted: 03 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Wall Street Journal, 27 Dec 2011, Paul Sonne and Farnaz Fassihi: "Some 45% to 60% of Iranians watch satellite TV, according to estimates from the state media company and an Iranian research center, exceeding the number believed to use the Internet. Iran so far seems to be winning a struggle to filter out unwanted TV content and broadcast its own propaganda: The country jams channels like the BBC on Western satellites even as Iran's state media company broadcasts pro-government news on some of the same satellites, and at times has aired forced confessions of political detainees. 'Iran is having it both ways,' said a U.S. State Department official. 'While they benefit from the international community's respect for "freedom of expression" and "freedom of the airwaves," they deny that same right to their own citizens, aggressively jamming Persian-language broadcasts from other countries.'" See previous post about same subject.

BBC News, 28 Dec 2011, Linda Pressly: "'I sympathise with people who say something must be done because the BBC is not allowed to operate in Iran and [Iran's] Press TV is operating in London,' [Sadeq Saba, head of BBC Persian] says. 'In Iran the BBC has no bureau, this is an anomaly. We could easily jam Iran, but we never do that because we believe in freedom of expression.'" For audio version of the report: BBC Radio 4 "The Report," 29 Dec 2011.

Radio Netherlands "will definitely close" Bonaire and Madagascar shortwave relay stations.

Posted: 02 Jan 2012   Print   Send a link
Shortwave Central, 23 Dec 2011, citing Mike Terry/Cumbre DX: "In response to a comment about the possible abandonment of shortwave, the station wrote [in Facebook]: 'The Dutch government has cut our budget by 70 percent from 1 January 2013. If we were to continue to use shortwave at the level we do now, due to the high cost we wouldn't have enough money left to produce any meaningful content :-( The exact situation after 1 Jan 2013 has still not been finalised. We will definitely close or sell our relay stations in Bonaire and Madagascar, as there will be no budget to pay staff to work there. We *may* retain a limited number of shortwave broadcasts, but this hasn't yet been decided. As soon as we know definitely, we will inform our listeners and Web users.'"