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

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CAMEROON: Cameroon’s private media defy ban on political debate

DW: Cameroon has ordered the suspension of radio and TV broadcasts of political debates ahead of elections on March 25. Private media are ignoring the ban saying it’s an attack on press freedom.

EGYPT: Ahead of contentious vote, Egypt sets sights on ‘fake news’

Reuters: Mostafa al-Asar’s lawyer said he had barely started work on a documentary critical of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when police arrested him and charged him with publishing “fake news”.

EGYPT: Egypt creates hotlines for citizens to report fake news

RSF: The department of prosecutions announced on 12 March that hotlines have been created in every region for members of the public to call or leave text messages reporting fake news in either traditional or social media that endangers state security.

KENYA: Kenyan Press Facing Biggest Challenge Since Independence

All Africa: The 2017 election was filled with uncertainty and saw the unleashing of propaganda and a characteristic media clampdown.

LIBERIA: “No Journalist Will Be Arrested” – Information Minister Assures

Front Page Africa: The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) led government has announced that no journalist will be sued or arrested during the course of its stewardship of Liberia, over the next six years.

NIGERIA: Conference focuses on women’s visibility in the media (Event)

IJNet: The African Women in the Media 2018 Conference, organized by Stringers Africa, will take place June 21 and 22 in Ibadan. This year’s topic is visibility.

SOUTH AFRICA: How investigative journalists helped turn the tide against corruption in South Africa

The Conversation: Every year South African investigative journalists are recognised for their hard work when the winners of the Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism are announced. This year has provided a chance to assess the highs and the lows of our investigative reporting after an extraordinary year.

SOUTH AFRICA: Less than a third of people pay their SABC TV licences

Channel 24: The South African public broadcaster remains mired in financial trouble and is owed a whopping R25,588,801,443 by people who have SABC TV licences but who refuse to pay their annual fees.

SWAZILAND: MPs Block Swazi State-Radio Funds

Via All Africa: Members of parliament have blocked funding to state-controlled radio in Swaziland because they say they are not being allowed on air.

ZAMBIA: MISA condemns attacks on public media Reporters by NDC cadres

Via Lusaka Times: The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia has condemned in the strongest terms the harassment of journalists from public media houses at [a recent] National Democratic Congress (NDC) press briefing.

ZIMBABWE: No hope for media reforms before polls

Daily News Live: Five years after the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) made recommendations on improving the state of the media in Zimbabwe, journalists and media practitioners are concerned that government is still to implement the envisaged media reforms.

GENERAL: Fact-checking around the world: inside Africa Check

IJNet: The organization aims to provide accurate information about important public issues — such as politics and health — and to train journalists fact-check in other organizations.

CHINA: As China abolishes two-term limit, a siege on digital free speech


CHINA: China plans tighter media scrutiny with new regulator

Rapid TV News: China’s ruling party is seeking to abolish the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and replace it with a media regulator under the direct control of cabinet.

INDIA: Smriti Irani Reveals Modi Government Plan to Monitor, Regulate Online News

The Wire: Union minister for information and broadcasting has announced the possibility of such a framework arguing that the present regulations on online content are “not clear” with regard to news and broadcast content material.

INDIA: Tabloid India (Opinion)

Project Syndicate: Indian media today report news recklessly, and, in the interest of ratings, focus on ephemera that have no impact on the public welfare. But trivializing public discourse and abdicating their responsibility as facilitators and protectors of democracy has cost Indian journalists dearly in terms of public trust.

JAPAN: Japan’s government may abolish political fairness clause in broadcasting law as part of industry shake-up

Japan Times: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is considering abolishing a legal clause demanding broadcasters ensure political fairness, claiming it would spur competition and diversify programs, an internal document obtained by Kyodo News showed Thursday.

KYRGYZSTAN: Journalism in Kyrgyzstan: Shoot the Messenger?

The Diplomat: Pressure on the press has increased in Central Asia’s so-called island of democracy.

MALAYSIA: Crippling laws must be repealed immediately

IFJ: Malaysian Government needs to take immediate steps to repeal legislation that is crippling the media. The IFJ and the National Union of Journalists, Peninsular Malaysia (NUJM) also want to the government to ensure the Media Council that is being established is independent of the government.  

SINGAPORE: Singapore starts landmark public hearing on fake news

Reuters: Singapore on Wednesday began a public hearing on how to tackle the threat of fake news, with speakers suggesting measures ranging from blocking websites to balancing the interests of national security and free speech.

SRI LANKA: Laws to curb social media hate speech soon

The Daily Mirror: Sri Lanka would have new laws enacted to control social media and hate speech, in a few weeks’ time, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka accuses Facebook over hate speech after deadly riots

The Guardian: Social network blamed for contributing to anti-Muslim riots that left three people dead

THAILAND: Thailand lags ‘because of junta role’ in social media

The Nation: Forum on fake news in SE Asia hears about challenges to freedom of expression.

REGIONAL: In East and Southeast Asia, misinformation is a visible and growing concern

Poynter: While the phenomenon itself is not unfamiliar, its impact has become increasingly visible as many Asian countries have embraced transformative digital technologies, especially smartphones, that altered people’s lifestyles and media consumption behavior.

AUSTRALIA: ABC and SBS launch DAB+ services in Hobart

Radio Info

AUSTRALIA: Espionage bill still threatens many despite defences for media, Law Council says

The Guardian: Dealing with or publishing protected information could lead to 20-year prison sentence.

AUSTRALIA: New espionage laws must exempt public interest journalism, says MEAA

Pacific Media Centre: The union for Australian journalists will today (16 March) deliver to a hearing of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security a petition of almost 9000 signatures opposing proposed new national security legislation.

AUSTRALIA: Questions raised as ABC fails to alert residents about bushfires

Brinkwire: As a small coastal town burns, questions are being asked about the apparent lack of warning given to residents before it was too late to evacuate.

NEW ZEALAND: Digital media pioneer urges radical rethink of copyright

RNZ: Our creaking pre-internet copyright law is up for review, with the rights of digital-age creators and consumers in conflict. Canadian author and online pioneer Cory Doctorow tells Mediawatch propping up old business models would be like rewarding the winners of last year’s lottery all over again. But if we’re more free to share online, how will anyone make a living?​

NEW ZEALAND: The Science of Fake News (Listen)


ALBANIA: Media Ownership Monitor (Report)

RSF: In-depth and extensive report on the state of media ownership in Albania.

AUSTRIA: Undermining Austria’s Press, One Post At A Time

EJO: Austria’s far-right Freedom Party FPÖ has long had a fraught relationship with the press. Following the party’s rise to power as part of a right-wing conservative coalition after the Austrian election, this conflict has only intensified. Is the party waging a war against the press and independent journalism?

BELARUS: Analysis: Downward trend for Belarus media freedom worsens

IPI: 2017 worst year for independent media in Belarus since 2011

BELGIUM: Belgian-French broadcaster RTBF opens regional ‘visual radio’ studios

PSN Europe: With new headquarters planned in 2022, the Belgian French language public broadcaster RTBF has stopped its investments in its current studio landscape in Brussels and concentrated on studios in its regional centres in Wallony

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA: Attacks and hate speech on social networks in Bosnia and Herzegovina

SEENPM: Numerous journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still facing attacks and harassment on the Internet and particularly on social networks. These are mainly directed against journalists who write about ethnonationalism, political elites, and corruption.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Thousands rally against Czech president’s attack on media

Aljazeera: Protesters hit the streets of Prague denouncing President Milos Zeman’s attack on an independent public broadcaster.

DENMARK: Denmark scraps public TV licence fee

Broadband TV News: The Danish government has agreed on a new media agreement that is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2019. The new measures means a cut in DR’s budget of 20% and will do away with the TV/media licence.

DENMARK: Government Plans to Strongly Reduce Funding for Public Service Media

CoE: The Danish government has agreed on a new media agreement that is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2019.

FRANCE: Public media: proposals for the bill, a timeline difficult to follow (French – Subscription)

Le Monde: The first tracks for the reform desired by the Head of State will be unveiled in April. The bill should be introduced “before the end of the year”.

IRELAND:  CTO Series: In conversation with RTÉ’s Richard Waghorn

IBC: In the first of a regular series of interviews with the technology leaders of leading broadcasters and platforms, John Maxwell Hobbs speaks with RTÉ’s Richard Waghorn about technology transformation and the challenges faced by public service broadcasters.

ITALY: Rai, union and company sign the new employment contract. Usigrai and Fnsi: «Rights and values at the core» (Italian)

FNSI: In addition to focusing attention on journalists occupying less senior positions, and with a view to solidarity between the different generations, the new company agreement also updates the charter of rights and duties and regulates active labor policies.

POLAND: ‘Memory law’ dominates Poland media issues to start 2018

IPI: Media issues have taken a backseat in Poland so far this year, eclipsed by political reshuffling and international disputes, centring on a controversial new memory law that has been criticized by Israel and the U.S. Nevertheless, new developments – particularly in relation to the regional press – could be expected as the year unfolds, in the run-up to local government elections in November.

RUSSIA: Monitoring Russian media: Putin is all over the news

IMS: To map the level of state-driven information and potential disinformation in the Russian media, an IMS-supported monitoring team is following Russian media’s presidential campaign coverage more closely than most. The preliminary findings show that President Putin is given the bulk of media attention and that he is almost exclusively portrayed in a positive manner

RUSSIA: Vladimir Putin’s damning record on press freedom

RSF: On the eve of the 18 March presidential election in Russia, in which Vladimir Putin is running for another term, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has written an open letter to him summarizing the disastrous effects of his 18 years in power on the freedom to inform and urging him to lift all the curbs he has placed on this freedom.

SPAIN: RTVE slammed for unauthorised advertising

Rapid TV News: Spain’s Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) has opened proceedings against the country’s public broadcaster RTVE for having allegedly aired certain ads with no permission.

SPAIN: The National Court forces RTVE to publish the salaries of its directors (Spanish)

El País: A ruling holds that the data is not protected by the right to privacy

UK: BBC appeals to UN over ‘persecution and harassment’ of Persian service journalists by Iran

Independent: ‘We are not the only media organisation to have been harassed or forced to compromise when dealing with Iran’.

UK: BBC appoints Virgin Media exec as first chief customer officer

Digital TV Europe: The BBC has appointed Virgin Media’s chief marketing officer, Kerris Bright, to the new role of chief customer officer.

UK: Future of radio not DAB only, says Shennan

Radio Today: BBC Director of Radio Bob Shennan says the future of radio in the UK needs to be a mixture of DAB, FM and internet, rather than just DAB.

GENERAL: Investigative Journalism for the EU (Fund)

IJ4EU: New initiative to fund and support Cross-border Investigative Reporting In Europe.

BRAZIL: Research: Brazilian press resists the use of artificial intelligence and other technologies for journalism

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

CARIBBEAN: CBU to Host DRM Webinar

Radio Mag Online: A new webinar series focuses on digital radio.

CUBA: El Estornundo’s editorial director discusses journalism, censorship in Cuba

IJNet: The Cuban constitution recognizes freedom of the press but expressly prohibits private ownership of the media. This makes all independent outlets illegal, even though none have declared themselves as privately owned and have emerged from associations of journalists with equal levels of decision.

ECUADOR: Ecuador pledges to reform repressive media law

CPJ: The government of Ecuador pledged in a meeting Wednesday with the Committee to Protect Journalists to reform an oppressive communications law this year and to invite international experts to visit the country and analyze Ecuador’s compliance with international legal standards.

MEXICO: Mario Vargas Llosa: murder of Mexican journalists is due to press freedom

The Guardian: Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa has provoked outrage in Mexico by saying that the murder of more than 100 journalists in Mexico over the past decade was due to an expansion of press freedom.

PUERTO RICO: Recovery in post-Maria Puerto Rico

Internews: More than a million people access vital information via start-up news site

VENEZUELA: Venezuela’s Journalists Can’t be Silenced

Human Rights Watch: While some brave journalists continue to report independently from Venezuela, fear of reprisals has made self-censorship common.

GENERAL: Being female and a journalist in Latin America

Open Democracy: Eight female journalists, eight countries, eight stories, eight circumstances with both different challenges and issues to be faced. This is the daily life of female journalists in Latin America.

IRAN: Iran’s global campaign to silence journalists crosses a line, and borders (Opinion)

The Washington Post: For years, staffers of the BBC’s Iranian-language services — and their family members back in Iran — have endured threats to their safety and liberty. Last week the BBC took extraordinary and unprecedented action.

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia coverage confronts its own ‘heartland’ problem

CJR: As hard as western reporters find covering the kingdom, domestic outlets have it much tougher. Many of them are either tightly leashed by the regime, or cowed into self-censorship by threats of reprisal. Saudis who venture criticism often face harsh consequences.

TURKEY: Erdoğan’s clutch on free media tightens with proposed internet regulations

CIMA: Even as free speech advocates continue to wage battle in many such cases, the Turkish government now also threatens to clamp down on independent broadcasters in what limited space has remained to them: the internet.

CANADA: Elections Canada prepares to fight fake news, foreign influence in 2019 vote

CBC News: Chief electoral officer says Canadians have heightened awareness after robocalls scandal, U.S. election.

CANADA: Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable

CBC News: Journalists are standing behind an Ottawa reporter arrested after a criminal harassment complaint from the subject of a story he had been writing.

CANADA: As a public broadcaster, Radio-Canada is more relevant than ever (Opinion)

CBC/Radio-Canada: In the age of Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV, Facebook, Google et al., where Canadians enjoy access to exponentially more content and platforms to be informed and entertained, the question inevitably arises: Is a public broadcaster like Radio-Canada still relevant to our society?

US: Fifth of US broadband homes use digital antenna to access TV

Digital TV Europe: The number of US broadband homes that use digital antennas to access live TV has increased from 16% in early 2015 to 20% near the end of 2017.

US: Journalists covering US white supremacists must weigh risks to selves and families

CPJ: A reporter covering the far-right beat can receive dozens–often hundreds– of emails, messages, and at times phone calls after publishing a story that rankles activists online. This can be especially brutal for women and minority writers.

US: NPR merges digital news and visuals teams

Current: NPR is reorganizing its digital news and visuals teams into a single unit, according to an email to staff Friday from NPR Managing Editor Sara Goo.

5 iOS apps for creative mobile storytelling

Journalism.co.uk: Marc Settle, smartphone trainer, BBC Academy, lists some of his go-to apps, as well as some of his new finds

How digital leaders from the BBC and Al Jazeera are planning for the ethics of AI

Nieman Lab: “We have to remember, as media, we are gatekeepers to people’s understanding of the modern world.”

Seven digital security habits that journalists should adopt

RSF: RSF’s tips for journalists to protect online communications.

Soft power — not government censorship — is the key to fighting disinformation and “fake news”

NiemanLab: “For a soft power approach to disinformation to work, it is critical that all stakeholders do in fact work together…If it fails, cruder responses may be the only ones left. But let’s hope not.”

The benefits of using voice-controlled devices for news distribution

Journalism.co.uk: Smart speakers have had a fast adoption rate, but are they a good vehicle for news delivery and storytelling?

The YouTube Kids app has been suggesting a load of conspiracy videos to children

Business Insider: YouTube’s app specifically for children is meant to filter out adult content and provide a “world of learning and fun,” but Business Insider found that YouTube Kids featured many conspiracy theory videos which make claims that the world is flat, that the moon landing was faked, and that the planet is ruled by reptile-human hybrids.

YouTube labels on public broadcasters draw ire in US, Russia

CPJ: The notation ostensibly appears only for U.S.-based users of YouTube.com and labels a channel as funded in whole or in part by a government, or as publicly funded, and provides links to their respective Wikipedia pages.

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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.

All headlines are sourced from their original story.

If you have any suggestions for our weekly round-ups, please email PMA at editor@publicmediaalliance.org.

Header image: Radio tower in San Francisco. Credits: Orin Zebest/Creative Commons