Our weekly round-up of public service media related stories and headlines from around the world.

Click on the drop-down menus below to reveal the latest regional stories.

GAMBIA: ECOWAS court rules Gambia violated rights of journalists

CPJ: The Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Gambian government to act on a judgment passed today by the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to immediately repeal its laws on criminal libel, sedition, and false news.

GHANA: Bolga residents want GTV to replay Amidu vetting

Paemuka: Bolgatanga residents have appealed to management of the nation’s broadcaster, GTV to re-broadcast the footage of Martin Amidu’s vetting.

KENYA: Furious Joe Mucheru puts KBC managers on notice

Business Today: One of the key questions that the CS raised and did not get adequate response was failure to expand coverage of the Signet signal across the country.

KENYA: Kenyan news organization adds science desk to focus on underreported stories

IJNet: The stories were coordinated and produced by Nation Media Group’s newly created science desk, which is transforming how science journalism is practiced in Eastern and Central Africa.

LIBYA: Seven years after its revolution, Libya is losing its journalists

RSF: The crisis for press freedom in Libya has reached an unprecedented level seven years after the country’s revolution.

MALAWI: North Malawi Media Body Condemns Karonga’s Attacks On BBC Journalists

Nyasa Times (via All Africa): Nyika Media Club, a grouping of media professionals in the Northern Region, has criticised the attack of three British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalists and three other members of their crew in Karonga on Friday on suspicion that they were bloodsuckers.

NIGERIA: NBC Penalises 88 Broadcast Stations for Breaching Code

The Guardian (Nigeria): The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned no fewer than 88 broadcast stations for breaching various provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2017.

SOUTH AFRICA: South African Community Media Stations Soft Targets for Crime?

All Africa: The Media Development and Diversity Agency has said there has been an increase in robberies at community radio and television stations in Cape Town and Durban, where staff were assaulted and very expensive cameras and other equipment stolen.

SWAZILAND: PM Admits Forcing Newspaper Closure

All Africa: Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has said a newspaper in the kingdom was closed down because it published reports critical of his government.

WESTERN SAHARA: ‘We Want the World to Know’: Activists Reporting on Occupation Face Legal Threats in Western Sahara

Global Voices: Morocco is often described as having a relatively favourable landscape for media freedom, in contrast to other oppressive regimes and dictatorships in the neighbourhood, such as Egypt and Mauritania. These assessments, do not extend to the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

ZAMBIA: Multichoice switched on in Zambia

Lusaka Times: MultiChoice’s GOtv unit in Zambia has restored free-to-air channels on its platform, after Zambia’s state broadcaster illegally cut the signals of these TV stations 15 months ago.

ZIMBABWE: Zim govt urged to license community radio stations

Music in Africa: As the world celebrates World Radio Day, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) has said the new Zimbabwean government has made no efforts to license community radio stations in the country.

GENERAL: WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in Africa

Quartz: African countries notched a 12%-growth in active social media users to 191 million last year, according to a report by global digital agencies, We Are Social and Hootsuite.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban impose taxes on independent Afghan media

RSF: As well as often threatening Afghanistan’s news media, the Taliban have in recent months been forcing media outlets in several provinces to pay arbitrary taxes that are tantamount to a ransom to be allowed to continue operating.

CAMBODIA: RSF publishes report on media freedom under attack in Cambodia

RSF: Three months to the day after the arbitrary arrest of two journalists in Phnom Penh, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is publishing a report about the tragic decline in the freedom to inform in Cambodia, where the independent media are now in ruins as a result of constant depredation by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s regime.

CHINA: From Snake to Dog, five dark years for journalism in China

RSF: Once again, dozens of journalists and bloggers will spend the Lunar New Year festivities in prison while Xi – China’s president since late 2012 and recently confirmed for another five years – continues to impose his vision of a society based on censorship and surveillance, a society from which journalistic ethics and the citizen’s right to information are barred.

CHINA: How China’s multi-pronged crackdown on dissent took aim at citizen journalists and rights defence websites

HKFP: One by one, the government tightened its grip on the pillars which held up the ecosystem. Now, the networks no longer function together as they once did.

INDIA: I&B ministry in turf war with Prasar Bharati

Deccan Herald: The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry under Smriti Irani and its arm Prasar Bharati are engaged in a turf war over their powers and jurisdiction to appoint an editor-in-chief for the public broadcaster and engage consultants at DD news.

INDIA: Indian authorities clamp down on foreign journalists

IFJ: The IFJ urges the Indian government to respect the right of journalists of all nationalities to report on issues of public interest and facilitate their travel for this purpose.

INDIA: In Modi’s India, journalists face bullying, criminal cases and worse

The Washington Post: Times are tough for journalists in India, where many reporters and editors say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do their jobs.

INDIA: Prasar Bharati meet on vacant Board post

The Hindu: The Prasar Bharati Board on Thursday will deliberate on a proposal moved by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to appoint a serving IAS officer as member to the board giving it a larger say in the working of the autonomous public service broadcaster.

INDIA: ‘We are autonomous,’ Prasar Bharati rejects Ministry’s directives

The Hindu: Chairman A. Surya Prakash and members of the Prasar Bharati Board, took “strong exception” to the “wording of a direction” to terminate the services of all contractual employees of Prasar Bharati.

INDONESIA: Indonesia told to respect media freedom in Papua after expelling BBC reporter Rebecca Henschke

PFF via IFEX: Jakarta must regain authority over Papua, demands PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum, after the latest action by “rogue” security forces.

INDONESIA: New Indonesia web system blocks more than 70,000 ‘negative’ sites

Channel News Asia: Indonesia has blocked more than 70,000 websites displaying “negative” content such as pornography or extremist ideology in the first month of using a new system to help purge the internet of harmful material, the communications minister told Reuters.

JAPAN: Japan lags in fact-checking initiatives, media watchers say

The Japan Times: Japan lags behind other countries in fact-checking initiatives and still has low awareness of their importance, according to FactCheck Initiative Japan (FIJ), a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization that encourages fact-verifying activities.

KAZAKHSTAN: What “Meaningful Progress” in Kazakhstan?

Human Rights Watch: Shuttering media outlets. Allowing attacks on journalists. Severely limiting peaceful assembly. When it comes to ensuring an “enabling environment” for civil society, Kazakhstan is far from the ideal.

MALDIVES: Maldives government urged to respect journalists’ rights

RSF: The media in the Maldives are enduring unprecedented restrictions, making it impossible to bring out necessary independent or critical reporting in the public interest.

MYANMAR: Media crackdown continues under Suu Kyi

The Japan News: When five Myanmar journalists were sentenced to decadelong prison terms for reporting the alleged existence of a military-run chemical weapons factory in Myanmar a few years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi — then an opposition lawmaker — condemned the harsh punishments as “very excessive.”

NORTH KOREA: The dilemmas facing reporters who write about North Korea (Opinion)

CJR: The only sure thing about covering North Korea is this: The lead is always clear, the second sentence isn’t.

PHILIPPINES: “Duterte has said that a free press is a privilege, not a right. That’s something very worrying. A free press is a right guaranteed by our own constitution.” (Opinion)

NiemanLab: Filipino journalist John Nery on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s propagandistic use of social media and his attacks on Rappler and other news outlets

PHILIPPINES: Double trouble for Philippine media

The Straits Times: Combative Duterte, challenges from online giants threaten to mute normally boisterous media

PHILIPPINES: “Unite and Resist Every and All Attempts to Silence Us”

NiemanLab: Filipino journalists fight back against President Rodrigo Duterte’s attempts to shut down Rappler and other news outlets.

THAILAND: Coolism: Radio is not dead

Bangkok Post: The radio industry is not dead despite declining ad spending — listeners have just shifted to online channels, says Prinn Muensuksaeng, managing director of Coolism Co, the operator of Cool Fahrenheit.

REGIONAL: In Southeast Asia, Internet Freedom Is Rapidly Declining

The Wire: Apart from censorship being an issue in the region, fake news is also being used to eliminate opponents or to manipulate public opinion.

AUSTRALIA: ABC removes article criticising Turnbull’s tax cuts, citing ‘editorial standards’

The New Daily: The ABC has removed an article by one of its most high-profile journalists criticising the Turnbull government’s proposed company tax cuts, on the grounds that it “did not meet ABC editorial standards”.

AUSTRALIA: Taxing times at the ABC

ABC Media Watch: Emma Alberici’s tax reports. Our verdict on the latest ABC stuff-up.

AUSTRALIA: Vice Media’s scandals, SBS blushes, and the millennial exodus from TV

The Sydney Morning Herald: When multicultural public broadcaster SBS struck a landmark deal with US ‘new media’ player Vice in mid-2016, it raised more than a few eyebrows across the Australian media industry. Now, more than 18 months into the agreement, Vice is reeling from a string of unseemly scandals in the US, and the partnership looks increasingly awkward.

NEW ZEALAND: NZ media changing tack, and women are steering

Newsroom: Political reporting, like the country’s political management, is undergoing significant change.

NEW ZEALAND: NZ’s news coverage shrinks as agency shuts down

RNZ: The closure of Australian-owned news agency New Zealand Newswire means there will no longer be an independent agency gathering national news in this country. Mediawatch asks editor-in-chief Tony Gillies why it’s closing and what will be lost.

NEW ZEALAND: RNZ and Scoop Publishing Announce Content Partnership

Scoop.nz: RNZ and Scoop Publishing have announced a content-sharing agreement which will see RNZ content available on www.scoop.co.nz, an independent news website reaching more than 500,000 readers a month.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Media Council blames ‘primitive thinking’ for bullying of journalists

Pacific Media Centre: The Media Council of Papua New Guinea has blamed “primitive, close-minded thinking”, and a general lack of understanding of the role of the media over the latest attack on the media.

SAMOA: Concerns in the Samoas over state of emergency communications

RNZ: Concerns are being raised in the two Samoas about the state of emergency communications and the lack of updates during Cyclone Gita.

GENERAL: Calls for Pacific unity to protect freedom of expression and the media

RNZ: Vanuatu-based media representatives have called for a more unified front to repel attacks on freedom of expression and the media in the Pacific.

AUSTRIA: Austrian far-right leader pledges to take on public broadcaster

Reuters: Austria’s vice chancellor and leader of the far-right Freedom Party pledged on Wednesday to force a shift in reporting standards at national broadcaster ORF, which he accuses of leftist bias, and to scrap the license fee that funds it.

BULGARIA: Mogul Puts Pressure on Bulgaria’s Independent Media

Balkan Insight: Bulgaria’s few remaining independent media organizations are facing fresh pressure as a controversial media baron pushes for a new law, exposing their external funding.

CROATIA: Head of University Boras banned journalists to be present at the Zagreb University Senate’s session with agenda of electing new Head of the University

Saje journalists: As reported to Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), in spite of appealing not to do it, doormen did not allow reporters to enter the Senate House and be present at the Senate’s session at 12:00.

ESTONIA: Estonian Broadcaster ERR Selects Avid to Modernize its News Workflows

GlobeNewswire: Estonia’s largest TV broadcaster chooses Avid MediaCentral for comprehensive news and studio production tools to captivate audiences with state-of-the-art graphics

FRANCE: France Télévisions should drop SVOD plan, says ex-programing chief

TBI Vision: France Télévisions should abandon its plan for a new subscription video-on-demand platform and transform existing linear channels into digital offerings, according to a confidential report prepared by the public broadcaster’s former programming chief, Xavier Couture.

FRANCE: Françoise Nyssen in favor of a joint presidency of the public broadcasters (French)

L’Express: According to Le Monde, the option of a joint presidency of France Télévisions, Radio France and France Médias Monde would be favored by the Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen.

GEORGIA: Parliament Renews Discussions on Controversial Amendments to Broadcasting Law

Civil.Ge: On February 14, a month after President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s veto, Georgian lawmakers renewed discussions on the controversial amendments to the Law on Broadcasting, which grants the state-funded Georgian Public Broadcaster more freedom in earmarking budgetary funds, and enables it to receive additional revenues from commercial advertising.

IRELAND: RTÉ to become digital-first broadcaster as part of five-year strategy

The Irish Times: More public funding will be required to respond to Netflix with Irish-made content.

ITALY: Rai 2018 fee exemption, Gentiloni: «Those over 75 years old will not pay» (Italian)

Corriere Della Sera: The premier said during the intervention at the Agenzia del Demanio. The decree was signed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, which increases the income bracket for 350 households. The broadcaster: «In line with public service mission»

PORTUGAL: Portuguese parliament votes to give journalists better legal protection

RSF: The new legislation adds journalists to the categories of “protected” persons – joining judges, lawyers, witnesses, security personnel and sports referees – against whom such offences as threats, constraint, defamation and insult are treated as serious crimes in the same way as murder, physical violence and abduction.

RUSSIA: Oligarch uses “right to privacy” to censor Russian media

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a Russian court decision ordering websites to immediately remove photos and videos of a meeting between leading Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko on the grounds that they constitute a “violation of privacy.” RSF regards the order as blatant act of censorship.

SERBIA: The safety of journalists outside the state’s sphere of competence

OBC: Since the beginning of this year, fifteen journalists have suffered threats and attacks. Representatives of the authorities say that they condemn such attacks, but reject any responsibility for the pressures to which journalists in Serbia are exposed on a daily basis

SLOVENIA: Slovene media owned by oligarchs, corrupt politicians

RSF: A European Union member since 2004, Slovenia successfully transitioned to democracy but has not been as successful in defending press freedom. Media ownership is nowadays overly concentrated in the hands of oligarchs and corrupt politicians, endangering editorial independence.

SPAIN: The pivotal hours for RTVE and the re-election of its leaders (Spanish)

PR Noticias: Both today and during tomorrow there will be several meetings with the aim of finding a viable way to renew the RTVE leadership that José Antonio Sánchez presides over now and which is valid until June 30.

SWITZERLAND: Diverse, Local, Community Media Under Threat in Switzerland

EJO: Radio and TV studios across Switzerland recently opened their doors to the public to explain how they work, and why they believe it is important to reject the upcoming NoBillag initiative.

UK: BBC Studios launches Australian production arm

TBI Vision: BBC Studios is set to launch an Australian production arm, following its decision to form a single commercial organisation late last year.

UK: Worldwide ambitions open the Showcase

TBI Vision: BBC Worldwide’s annual four-day programming sales event in Liverpool, England, is a regular trip for 700-plus buyers. TBI looks what the commercial arm of the BBC is planning in 2018.

GENERAL: Free European Media: Let’s join forces for freedom of the press!

EFJ: Over 120 journalists, representatives of journalists’ organisations, national media regulators and press councils, as well as academics, politicians, and civil society activists gathered on 15-16 February at the Solidarność Centre in Gdansk, Poland, for a conference on “Free European Media”. The event has concluded with a number of proposed steps, including the need to strengthen partnerships between all stakeholders.

BRAZIL: Brazil’s Agência Pública spreads its investigative journalism around the world with creative financing & distribution solutions

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Since its creation five years ago, Agência Pública has promoted a revolution not only in its country of origin, but around Latin America. It is one of the main drivers and representatives of a regional scene that brings together digital native media founded and led by journalists that is becoming stronger and more relevant in the region.

GUATEMALA: Chamber of Journalists of Guatemala rejects proposal of “gag law” (Spanish)

El Diario: The Guatemalan Chamber of Journalism communicated today its rejection of a law proposal against terrorist acts that contains provisions that seek to limit the freedom of thought and expression becoming an authentic “gag law”.

GUATEMALA: Why is community radio in Guatemala important?

Aljazeera: Despite the legal challenges, Indigenous communities use radio to ‘keep their language and culture alive’.

PUERTO RICO: Media entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico tell stories of struggle, resilience in wake of Hurricane Maria

IJNet: The island does not have an exact figure of how many of these media startups exist, or how many were affected by the catastrophe, but the lack of internet services due to the power outage and damage in the communication towers naturally affected these projects. However, despite the darkness encompassing the country, some digital outlets were the light that people needed in the midst of the disaster.

MEXICO: Advisory Council implemented in order to guarantee efficiency of Mexico City’s protection mechanism for journalists

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Before strong criticism of its inefficiency, and the escalating number of attacks and murders of journalists and human rights defenders that Mexico has experienced in the last almost two decades, the Advisory Council for the Mechanism for the Integral Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico City was finally implemented. The council will seek to make this system in the country’s capital more efficient.

MEXICO: The Risks to Mexican Journalists Start Before You Even Step Out of Your Car

NiemanLab: In Mexico, a decision to take one road or another could become a matter life and death

VENEZUELA: IACHR urges the Venezuelan government to guarantee free exercise of journalism and publicly condemn violence against the press

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Severe restrictions on freedom of expression that include censorship and closure of media outlets, assaults and attacks against journalists and criminalization of opinion contrary to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, were documented by an annual report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

BAHRAIN: Seven Bahraini journalists rendered stateless since 2011

RSF: Statelessness has become a common penalty in Bahrain, in some cases with the aim of putting pressure on media outlets that might otherwise be tempted not to toe the government line.

TURKEY: Deniz Yücel released after one year of detention in Turkish prison

EFJ: The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the release of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, correspondent for the German daily newspaper Die Welt, who spent 366 days in pre-trial detention without indictment.

TURKEY: Life sentences in landmark case on journalists at the heart of the constitutional crisis in Turkey


TURKEY: Turkey sentences journalists, media workers to life in prison

IPI: Ruling ignores release order from constitutional court

CANADA: Don’t Stop The Presses: Canadians Believe Journalism is Critical to Democracy

News Media Canada: An overwhelming majority of Canadians believes that journalism plays a critical democratic role in Canada and supports government measures to help strengthen Canada’s news media industry, a new survey from Maru/Matchbox’s Angus Reid Forum finds.

CANADA: Ottawa weighs financial help for Canadian media

The Toronto Star: Upcoming federal budget could contain measures to help Canada’s ailing media organizations but how much help and how it might be delivered remain a question mark.

CANADA: ‘Slippery slope’: Opposition mounts to Canadian media’s plan to block piracy websites

CBC News: Critics fear the plan could lead to rampant internet censorship.

US: As the audio landscape evolves, broadcast radio remains the king

Nielsen: Each year, there are more and more ways to listen to information and entertainment in America. Radio, on-demand streaming, podcasts, digital radio services, satellite radio…the list continues to grow. Yet, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2017 Comparable Metrics Report, radio remains the top way to reach consumers across all media platforms.

US: Community Broadcaster: New System, Big Impact (Opinion)

Radio World: One story grabbed radio headlines this week, but an equally important one should be on the minds of community media right now. Pres. Trump’s proposed budget garnered many headlines. However, the race to the launch of the new electronic public file is the issue community radio should not ignore.

US: How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2017

Media Matters for America: Broadcast TV news neglected many critical climate change stories in 2017 while devoting most of its climate coverage to President Donald Trump. But the networks undercovered or ignored the ways that climate change had real-life impacts on people, the economy, national security, and the year’s extreme weather events — a major oversight in a year when weather disasters killed hundreds of Americans, displaced hundreds of thousands more, and cost the economy in excess of $300 billion.

US: How Oregon Public Broadcasting is managing a 13-year-long reporting project

The Lenfest Institute: What’s the longest you’ve ever worked on a single project? A few weeks? Maybe several months? For reporters at Oregon Public Broadcasting the answer would be six years — and counting.

US: New York Times’ ‘The Daily’ podcast headed to public radio

Current: The New York Times will bring its popular podcast The Daily to public radio this spring through a distribution deal announced Tuesday with American Public Media.

US: NPR Stations Say CPB Funding Cuts Would Hurt

Radio World: It’s far from final, but if Pres. Donald Trump gets his wish to drastically cut the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public radio stations in this country will need to address likely budget shortfalls.

US: PBS Chief Warns of ‘Existential Crisis’ for Stations if Federal Funding Is Eliminated

Variety: PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger warns that a number of public television stations will have to shut down and that the network will have to make some “hard decisions” about programming should Congress follow through on the Trump administration’s budget and zero out federal funding for public broadcasting.

Connecting reporters with experts, Sciline wants to improve the quality of today’s science reporting

NiemanLab: “There’s so much pressure right now that it’s very tempting, more than ever, to just go with something…Often, it’s only your conscience and sense of journalistic responsibility that prevents you from hitting publish.”

Facebook and Google will not save us from fake news. We must save ourselves.

CIMA: Every day, our world produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, the equivalent of 250,000 Libraries of Congress, much of it information generated and disseminated via social media by people like you and me. It is increasingly clear that the news media no longer have a monopoly on the generation and dissemination of the information we consume.

#IndexAwards2018: Champions of free expression shortlist announced

Index on Censorship

Hate speech vs free speech in the media

RNZ: Claims of hate speech and the right to free speech made the news this week in response to racially-charged commentary in the media. One case played out in the court of public opinion, the other in a court of law. What does the outcome tell us about what’s fit to print – and what’s not?

Media coverage of Islam may affect radicalization

Journalism Research News: The way news cover Islam and Muslims has the potential to increase or decrease the likelihood of Islamist radicalization, an experiment conducted at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich suggests.

Public Engagement with Climate Change Imagery in a Changing Digital Landscape

Advanced Science News:  Considering the complex and global nature of the issue, a very limited set of images has come to represent climate change in the public discourse.

The cost of reporting while female

CJR: The work of a journalist is to be accessible, discerning, and persistent. For a woman, this also makes her a target.

Tool for journalists: Flourish, for creating data visualisations without coding

Journalism.co.uk: Haven’t yet learned to code? Use this free tool to increase the quality and quantity of your visual and interactive output

What strategies work best for increasing trust in local newsrooms? Trusting News has some ideas

NiemanLab: “It’s not so much about gaming Facebook’s algorithm or working with the Facebook changes as much as it is taking advantage of Facebook as a truly social platform.”

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All PSM Weekly stories are provided for interest and their relevance to public service media issues, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Public Media Alliance.

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