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

As the global Covid-19 pandemic continues and many countries enter a state of lockdown, the need for community solidarity and mutual support has never been greater. But this support requires quality, fact-checked and evidence based news and information.

With this in mind, the Public Media Alliance has compiled an extensive and growing resources featuring recommended tools, advice and sources for journalists and the public alike. The resources can be found via the link below or in the ‘Tools’ section of our website.

The resource will be frequently updated to reflect the changing needs and evolving situation. If you have any recommendations, please let us know.

We also want to hear about your local public media coverage! Email us!

As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, public media are rapidly adapting to best cover the crisis on a local level while also providing for educational needs and vulnerable groups as isolation policies are introduced.

We want to hear from our members about what you are doing to best cover the crisis on a local level. Email us using the link below. 

Coronavirus: Resources & best practices

Essential resources for sourcing and reporting news about the coronavirus pandemic

What we're listening to...

The ongoing fight to save public broadcasting

ABC Radio National: There’s arguably never been a more important time for public broadcasting. Amid the rise of disinformation, low public trust and diminishing newsrooms, independent journalism has a vital role to play in informing democracy and providing a check on power. But right across the world, public broadcasting is under attack as budgets are being stripped back. In this episode, we question why?

What we're watching...

Media Freedom in Times of COVID-19

CMDS @ CEU: Access to accurate information is essential to fighting a pandemic. However, many governments see it as an opportunity to further restrict media freedom. Our Senior Program Officer and Researcher, Eva Bognar, our Director, Marius Dragomir, and our Outreach Coordinator, Robert Nemeth discuss how the coronavirus exacerbated an already problematic area.

Global Headlines

Click on the tab menu below to reveal the latest regional stories.

BURUNDI: Media freedom at stake ahead of presidential elections

IFJ: A series of attacks against journalists in Burundi have raised concerns over increased threats to media freedom in the country. 

GHANA: In Ghana, soldiers enforcing COVID-19 restrictions attack 2 journalists

CPJ: On April 5, in the Aboaba Akurem community in south-central Kumasi city, a group of soldiers attacked and briefly detained Yussif Abdul Ganiyu, a reporter with the German government-funded Deutsche Welle news agency and the local privately owned Zuria FM radio station…

LIBERIA: Covid-19 lockdown forces Liberia’s newspapers to suspend printing

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the government of Liberia to provide financial assistance to the country’s print media, which have had to suspend production of print versions because of a nationwide lockdown that is part of the state of emergency declared by the government on 8 April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

MADAGASCAR: Sabotage silences TV channel that criticized coronavirus measures

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Madagascar’s authorities to shed all possible light on an act of sabotage that has silenced an opposition TV channel and to guarantee journalistic freedom, which is more essential than ever during the global health crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

MOZAMBIQUE: Journalist feared ‘disappeared’

Amnesty International: Mozambique authorities should urgently locate a journalist who has been missing since April 7, 2020 in the embattled northern province of Cabo Delgado. 

NAMIBIA: Covid-19: Acid test for media sustainability 

The Namibian: The media sector has not been spared the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. As the country enters the extended phase of the national lockdown, the media is also feeling the pinch of a stagnant economy.

NAMIBIA: NBC sport producer suspended

The Namibian: A sport producer at the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, Rodman Katjaimo has been suspended for three months after expressing critical views of the new Namibia Football Association president Ranga Haikali.

RWANDA: What are survival chances of Rwanda’s media sector?

The New Times: Owing to its role in disseminating information, the media industry is considered an essential service as Rwanda and the world make effort to curb the spread of the virus.

SOMALIA: Somali Journalists Arrested, Intimidated While Covering COVID-19

Voice of America: Somalia’s prime minister has classified media as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least four journalists have been briefly detained over their coverage. 

SOUTH AFRICA: Broadcasters unite against gender-based violence with “turn down your radio” (Press Release)

SABC: The SABC is pleased to be participating in the Turn down your Radio campaign where together with other broadcasters we highlight the plight of #GBV We as the SABC are committing to supporting the eradication of this scourge.

SOUTH AFRICA: Government partners with MMA to curb fake news information during Covid-19 (Press Release)

Media Monitoring Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC calls on listeners to take a stand against gender-based violence during lockdown

News 24: Women and girls are forced to be with their abusers all day, every day during this period. In response to this and trying to lend a helping hand, the SABC as a public broadcaster is participating in a campaign to help fight gender-based violence (GBV). SABC radio is calling on its listeners to take part in the GBV campaign, an initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), to turn down the volumes of their radios.

TANZANIA: Authorities must end crackdown on journalists reporting on COVID-19

Amnesty International: Tanzanian authorities on 20 April suspended Talib Ussi Hamad, a journalist with the Tanzania Daima daily newspaper, for six months simply for reporting on COVID-19, the latest in a string of attacks on the right to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom during the pandemic.

ZAMBIA: ZNBC Opens Education Channel On Top Star

ZNBC News: Government has challenged parents to encourage their children to watch the newly launched ZNBC Education Channel which is currently showing on TopStar Channel 9. Ministry of General Education Permanent Secretary Jobbicks Kalumba says parents should not relent but take a role of teachers in homes.

ZIMBABWE: ZBC sued for overlooking persons with disability during Covid-19 reportage

New Zimbabwe: Three local groups representing persons with visual and hearing impairments have taken the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to court seeking to have the national broadcaster compelled to air coronavirus information in formats they could access.

REGIONAL: Covid-19 Sparks Wave of Massive Media Repression in West Africa

MFWA: Beyond the frightening human toll the COVID-19 is exacting across the world, the pandemic has also led to attacks, detention and judicial penalties against journalists covering the outbreak and related issues in various countries in West Africa.

REGIONAL: Press freedom violations throughout Africa linked to Covid-19 coverage

RFI: African journalists are increasingly harassed or threatened by security services while reporting the news during the Covid-19 period, according to a number of media watchdogs and journalist associations that have been tracking abuse of reporters.

BANGLADESH: Sampadak Parishad expresses grave concern over cases against editors

The Daily Star (Bangladesh): The Editors’ Council (Sampadak Parishad) today expressed deep concern over cases filed under the Digital Security Act against two editors and demanded immediate withdrawal of the cases against them in a letter. 

CHINA: A free press in China could have prevented the coronavirus pandemic, media watchdog says (Watch)

CNN: Strongman leaders around the world are using the coronavirus crisis to stifle journalists, a leading press freedom watchdog has warned, as it bemoaned a missed opportunity to highlight the severity of the outbreak in its early days in Wuhan, China.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong broadcaster rejects WHO claim that interview with top doctor was ‘distorted

Hong Kong Free Press: Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK has rejected an allegation that it distorted a video interview with a World Health Organisation (WHO) doctor after he refused to answer questions about Taiwan’s membership status

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Police Arrest Martin Lee, 13 Other Pro-Democracy Figures

Radio Free Asia:Police in Hong Kong arrested 14 pro-democracy figures on Saturday, including Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, rights lawyer Albert Ho and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, for “illegal assembly” in connection with mass street protests last year.

INDIA: POGO collaborates with Doordarshan to simulcast ‘Chhota Bheem’

Financial Express: Kids entertainment channel POGO has partnered with public service broadcaster Doordarshan to simulcast its popular show Chhota Bheem on DD National. The kids animation show will be telecasted on the channel every afternoon till the end of the lockdown on May 3.

INDIA: Amid the pandemic, censorship in India can be dangerous

Al Jazeera:Censoring information about the coronavirus outbreak would prevent the media from holding those in power accountable. 

INDIA: In India, a Pandemic of Prejudice and Repression (Paywall – Opinion)

New York Times: The coronavirus outbreak has allowed authoritarianism and anti-Muslim sentiment to flourish.

INDIA: When Freedom of the Press is Stricken With the Coronavirus 

The Wire: When citizens are banished to the innards of their homes, it is all the more necessary to keep the government accountable by allowing journalists to go out there and ask inconvenient questions and flag uncomfortable issues.

INDONESIA: RSF condemns Indonesia over using Covid-19 to ‘silence’ state criticism

Asia Pacific Report: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed to learn that Indonesia’s police have been ordered to combat not only disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic but also criticism of the president and government. Linking the two is “very dangerous”, RSF says, calling on the police to allow journalists to work freely.

JAPAN: NHK reform subcommittee listed topics (Paywall – Japanese)

Asahi Shimbun: The first meeting of “Subcommittee on the ideal way of public broadcasting” by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications experts was held on the 17th to discuss NHK improvement issues. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has pointed out the issues regarding the reception fee system, operations and management, and asked the participants to explore the direction of reform.

KAZAKHSTAN: RFE/RL Chief Welcomes Kazakh Court Ruling Over Police Inaction in Attack on Its Reporters

Voice of America: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has welcomed a Kazakh court ruling that an investigation should continue into the failure of police to act against individuals who attacked the broadcaster’s reporters and hindered their professional activities.

KYRGYZSTAN: Media Restrictions a Blow to COVID-19 Coverage, Kyrgyz Journalists Say

Voice of America: The Kyrgyz government is tightening media regulations, as the country fights the coronavirus pandemic.   

MALAYSIA: RTM’s Orchestra has Released an Online Performance Dedicated To Frontliners

The Rakyat Post: Orkestra RTM has brought 15 musicians together to record an amazing performance, separately, from the comfort of each of their own homes. The orchestra team for RTM are the first ones in the country to take on the impressive feat, of which was dedicated to all the Malaysian men and women working tirelessly at the frontlines against the Covid-19 pandemic.

MYANMAR: ARTICLE 19 briefing calls for action to address freedom of expression concerns ahead of elections

Article 19: As Myanmar approaches its next general election, freedom of expression remains highly restricted, ARTICLE 19 said in a briefing paper published today. Myanmar should immediately cease the prosecution of those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and work to implement structural reforms to its legal framework, including its election laws.

MYANMAR: Two Myanmar Editors in Hiding Over Interview With Banned Arakan Army

Radio Free Asia: Two editors facing charges under Myanmar’s Counter-Terrorism Law for interviews with the Arakan Army after the ethnic force was declared a terrorist group have gone into hiding to avoid arrest amid domestic and international appeals to drop their cases, supporters said on Wednesday.

NEPAL: Media rights violations go unabated amid the COVID-19 lockdown

Via IFEX: Since 24 March, three journalists have received threats, two reprimanded, and six journalists barred from reporting according to the monitoring of the Federation of Nepali Journalists.

PAKISTAN: EU raises issue of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest with Pakistani authorities

Geo News: The European Union has raised the issue Editor-in-Chief Jang/Geo Media Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman with the Pakistani authorities in the context of broader discussions on democratic space, media freedom and the situation of civil society, a spokesperson for the EU said on Monday.

PHILIPPINES: TIMELINE: Attacks on free speech, press freedom during COVID-19 lockdown

Bulatlat: While Article 3 Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution assures that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of expression, the ‘fake news’ provision under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act can be used to threaten citizens who air out their grievances and criticism against the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SINGAPORE: Media Freedom and the Covid-19 Crisis

The Online Citizen: The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest public health threat in recent times and as such, information about its impact on our community is crucial to fight it effectively. Based on accounts we have received from those in the media, we are concerned that journalists in Singapore have been hindered from performing their roles to disseminate information, tell stories from the front lines and hold the government accountable for how it is handling the crisis.

REGIONAL: Asian Media Battles Officials to Report on Coronavirus

Voice of America: Media outlets covering the coronavirus pandemic in Asia are having to circumvent authorities to report about the disease—including the threat of being trolled online, or worse. News media around a continent with a population of about 3.4 billion people face major barriers in getting out the facts about a national health care crises and the accompanying economic stimulus measures, according to analysts who follow journalism.

AUSTRALIA: Australia Moves to Force Google and Facebook to Compensate Media Outlets (Paywall)

The New York Times: The Australian government said on Monday that Google and Facebook would have to pay media outlets for news content in the country, part of an emerging global effort to rescue local publishers by moving to compel tech giants to share their advertising revenue.

AUSTRALIA: Australian court says raid at heart of press freedom row unlawful

Al Jazeera: Australia’s High Court ruled on Wednesday that a warrant used by police to search a journalist’s home was unlawful but declined to order seized material destroyed, in a decision that received qualified praise from press freedom advocates. 

AUSTRALIA: Clooney calls on Australia to adopt new laws in the name of press freedom

The Sydney Morning Herald: High-profile human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is lobbying the Australian government to adopt new laws giving it the power to seize the assets of human rights offenders and ban them from entering the country.

AUSTRALIA: Judith Neilson Institute supports RMIT ABC Fact Check in fighting fake news

RMIT: The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas (JNI) has provided support to RMIT ABC Fact Check’s fight against misinformation on the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSTRALIA: MEAA welcomes making Facebook and Google pay for media content

Pacific Media Watch: Moves to make digital platforms begin to compensate media organisations for the content they have been using for free will go some way towards providing a sustainable future for public interest journalism in Australia, says the main journalists union.

AUSTRALIA: Pell – The final verdict (Watch)

ABC Media Watch: The ABC has been condemned for leading a witch hunt against George Pell. So, how does its coverage stack up against that charge?

AUSTRALIA: Press Freedom? (Watch)

ABC Media Watch: The AFP’s media raid warrant gets slapped down by the High Court. Plus, Trump and the media’s latest bout, Boris Johnson gets released from “prison”, the Daily Mail find a bogus Barnsey, and an angry shop keeper flips the bird.

AUSTRALIA: Regional media get COVID lifeline but ABC, SBS remain in peril (Opinion)

The Conversation: After weeks of devastating reports of local newspaper closures and regional broadcast stations turning off local news services, media supporters and observers were united in joy as the Australian government announced a coronavirus relief package for local journalism.

AUSTRALIA: Statement in response to High Court ruling (Press Release)

ABC Media Centre: ABC Managing Director David Anderson has made this statement in response to today’s High Court ruling.

FIJI: Fiji opposition figure arrested over Facebook post

RNZ: The president of a Fiji opposition party has been arrested, apparently in relation to posts he made on Facebook which raised concerns about police brutality. The party said the officers were upset about a video he posted to his public page, in which he set out allegations of police brutality he said were carried out in his village, Naqia.

NEW ZEALAND: Covid-19: Iwi radio stations hoping for rethink for Māori media

RNZ: Peter-Lucas Jones appeared before MPs on Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee for its session on the state of New Zealand media, along with other industry bosses and the Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi. Jones was the sole Māori media representative in his capacity as chair of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori, the iwi radio network.

NEW ZEALAND: Entrepreneurial expat journalist urges media to look beyond ads (Listen)

RNZ: The Kiwi co-founder of a successful digital publishing business in the US says the chaos of our media’s current crisis obscures an opportunity to break their dependence on dwindling volumes of ads. That’s easy to say – but wouldn’t that mean throwing out the journalism baby with the dirty economic bathwater?  

NEW ZEALAND: Fresh opportunities and stories in latest funding for local production sector

NZ On Air: NZ On Air is fast-tracking into production a diverse range of new content from fresh creative teams in the latest funding round, ensuring there’s a pipeline of work for the production sector post-lockdown (and during lockdown where safely possible.) The latest round called for applications meeting NZ On Air’s ‘Fresh opportunities’ objectives which encourages innovation and opportunities for different storytellers.

NEW ZEALAND: Media make the case for emergency help (Listen)

RNZ: News media representatives addressed Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee on Wednesday to set out the crisis their industry faces as the government finalises a package of measures to help them survive. Mediawatch looks at the talking points from an epic four-hour session.   

NEW ZEALAND: News bosses grapple with the collapse of their funding model

RNZ: Media executives used yesterday’s Epidemic Response Select Committee to criticise government for advertising with Facebook and Google instead of them. Lurking behind the anger and appeals for help was a stark admission: their revenue model can’t last.

NEW ZEALAND: Pacific coronavirus: NZ’s big decision, j-schools and media closures

Pacific Media Watch: Into the fourth week of  lockdown in New Zealand, and today’s weekly Pacific Media Centre Southern Cross radio programme covers what journalism schools are doing in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the media in crisis in New Zealand.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Papua New Guinea’s police minister says two journalists who reported on COVID-19 funding ‘can’t be trusted’ 

Advox Global Voices: Papua New Guinea’s Police Minister Bryan Kramer has accused two journalists of publishing an inaccurate report about the government’s COVID-19 funding program. On April 11, 2020, the minister wrote on his Kramer Report Facebook page that Loop PNG political and business editor Freddy Mou, and senior PNG Post-Courierjournalist Gorethy Kenneth, “can’t be trusted”, as the two allegedly have close ties with the previous prime minister and both have allegedly published “biased and misleading reports.”

REGIONAL: Fighting the COVID-19 ‘Infodemic’ in the Asia-Pacific 

Coconet: While governments and health workers worldwide are focused on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also busy fighting another related pandemic that cuts across all sectors of society: a massive “infodemic” equally as wide-reaching and harmful.

ALBANIA: Online Harassment and Abuse of Albanian Journalist Reported by Mapping Media Freedom

Exit: Albanian journalist Sonila Meco has been subjected to a torrent of online abuse and harassment after certain media portals accused her of disrespecting the country’s doctors in a social media post. The attack has been reported as a violation of media freedom by the Mapping Media Freedom platform.

BELGIUM: VRT cuts cost Belgium 3 places in RSF press freedom rankings (French)

RTBF News: Belgium is in 12th position in the annual world press freedom ranking produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and published on Tuesday. The flat country lost three places compared to last year due to the planned budget cuts within the Flemish public service VRT, which caused many protests.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech TV hits 17-year high

Broadband TV News: Average daily TV viewership was at its highest for 17 years in the Czech Republic in March. According to Nielsen Admosphere, it has also been higher in all socio-demographic groups since mid-March, with the highest year-on-year increase (of up to half) in the last five weeks (March 11 – April 14) being in young audiences, university graduates and group A of the A-E socio-economic classification.

ESTONIA: ETV takes visitors to homes all over Estonia via TV (Estonian)

ERR News: On two Fridays, ETV will bring to viewers a moody special program “What’s new in your home?”. Today at 8 pm, you can peek into homes on TV, discover the ingenuity of Estonians and send greetings live to your loved ones, because the special show will be completed with good TV viewers.

FINLAND: From the editor-in-chief: Korona clarifies Yle’s task (Finnish)

Yle: A lot of exceptional activities are practiced at the top. Now the results are visible, Jouko Jokinen ponders from his point of view.

FRANCE: French lawmakers to vote on controversial Covid-19 smartphone-tracing app 

France24: The French government has decided to allow lawmakers to vote on its plan to launch a contact tracing app to fight the coronavirus outbreak, lawmakers and the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday.

FRANCE: Radio France mobilizes to support the music industry (Press release – French)

Radio France: Radio France is a committed player in music and creation, both a prescriber for all genres on its channels, a partner of the entire industry and of all its players, whatever their size, and producer with its four musical groups. 

FRANCE: The appointment of the mediator. The specificity of a radio news continues in the treatment of this unprecedented crisis (Listen – French)

France Info: For a month, since the start of confinement, Emmanuelle Daviet, the mediator of the Radio France antennas, has received 45,000 messages from listeners and Internet users. How has franceinfo adapted to the urgency of this unprecedented health crisis? Vincent Giret, the director of franceinfo talks about it with her.

GERMANY: DW offerings reached one billion views in March

Deutsche Welle: In March, for the first time, content in DW’s 30 broadcasting languages reached more than one billion views worldwide across all distribution channels and platforms. The increase, which is expected to continue in April, is driven mainly by the coverage of Covid-19.

GERMANY: MDR TWEENS in Corona crisis with two new formats (Press release – German)

MDR: The children’s broadcaster MDR TWEENS keeps 8- to 13-year-olds up to date in the Corona crisis: Young people can find out about the latest developments every day at 4:10 p.m. in the “Corona Checkup” and 5:10 p.m. in the “Corona Update in 90 seconds”

GERMANY: Short-time work despite high demand (German)

Deutschlandfunk: Newspaper and magazine publishers in Germany complain of high loss of revenue. That is why several media companies are now working on short-time work. Workload and demand have increased significantly in times of Corona.

GREECE: TV viewing record for ERT channels (Greek)

ERT: The flow of information, educational television and the Sequences took off Public Television. ERT seems to be the big TV winner in the unprecedented conditions of the country. Public television, in fact, seems to be winning not only the betting of information, but also because of the broadcasts of educational television, Easter sequences and selected series, documentaries, movies, but also tributes to major sporting events, it is enhanced on all its channels. .

ITALY: Public media are essential business: Lessons from Italy in the era of COVID-19 (Paywall)

Current: In Italy, one of the significant lessons we are learning in this pandemic era is the importance of our crown jewels: our public services, which are crucial in all areas of our economy and society. Besides our excellent public health care system and public education (including higher education), we have our public service media, RAI Radio Televisione Italiana, which has provided information, entertainment and even some comfort in these tragic times.

MOLDOVA: Moldovan Public TV Station Favours President, Study Says

Balkan Insight: President Igor Dodon and his Socialist Party colleagues have received favourable treatment on the main national television station in Moldova, Moldova 1, according to a study by the Centre for Independent Journalism in Moldova. The study, conducted between March 9-15, monitored the main daily news bulletins as well as the most important political TV shows each day of the week.

NORTH MACEDONIA: North Macedonia Accused of Dodging Media Scrutiny in Crisis

Balkan Insight: The Information Society Ministry says it has dealt with complaints about the way it issued work permits for media during coronavirus curfews – but some media outlets say they still believe they are being discriminated against.

RUSSIA: Chechen leader threatens journalist Elena Milashina over COVID-19 reporting

CPJ: In an April 13 speech, Kadyrov accused Milashina, a correspondent for independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, of writing “nonsense” and blamed the Federal Security Service for not silencing her, according to a transcript of his remarks published by Novaya Gazeta.

SLOVENIA: Govt replaces three supervisors at public broadcaster (Paywall)

STA: The government on Thursday made early replacements of three members of the supervisory board of RTV Slovenija, the country’s public broadcaster.

SLOVENIA: Seven organisations call on the European Commission to guarantee the safety of Slovenian investigative journalist Zgaga 

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and six other press freedom organisations urge the European Commission to do everything in its power to guarantee the safety of the investigative journalist Blaž Zgaga and to ensure that death threats and attacks against him are treated with the utmost seriousness by the Slovenian authorities.

SPAIN: After almost two years being at an impasse, RTVE runs under Mateo without a renewal in sight, due to Covid-19  (Spanish) 

La Informacion: When life was still normal for the majority of the population, RTVE was already in an extraordinary situation. The public radio and television corporation has been running for almost two years with a management marked by provisionality and without a fixed direction, due to the paralysis of the public contest to choose its new direction since its sole administrator, Rosa María Mateo, continues in a a position she herself says should have already come out.

SPAIN: Celaá no longer hides the gag: “We cannot accept that there are negative or false messages” (Spanish)

OK Diario: Isabel Celaá , Minister of Education and Vocational Training, has defended the censorship that the Pedro Sánchez Government seeks to impose against those who criticize its disastrous management of the coronavirus. “We cannot accept that there are negative messages, false messages in short,” Celaá said in an interview on Tuesday with ‘Los Desayunos de TVE’.

SPAIN: Interview: Defend Galega: “Public media manipulated by whoever governs, which is not inevitable” (Spanish) 

El Diario: For a hundred weeks, every Friday, workers of the Public Radio Television Company of Galicia wear black. They do it to demand professional autonomy, protest against “manipulation” and demand compliance with the Media Law approved in 2011 by the Galician Parliament. 

SWITZERLAND: Public broadcaster to receive more government support

Swiss Info: The government has decided to boost its financial contribution to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), private radio and television as well as the main Swiss news agency. The SBC, swissinfo.ch’s parent company, is to receive an additional CHF50 million ($51.7 million) from revenue mainly taken in by the licence fee paid by every Swiss household as well as by companies with an annual turnover of less than CHF500,000.

SWITZERLAND: Swiss organizations fight coronavirus infox (French)

Swiss Info: Rumors and misinformation spread faster than the coronavirus in Africa and Latin America. To protect the population and fight against the spread of the virus, two Swiss organizations are focusing on media projects.

UK: Analyst: Licence fee alternatives would underfund BBC

Advanced Television: In light of the ongoing UK governmental review of the potential decriminalisation of the BBC licence fee, and ahead of the next Charter review, Ampere Analysis has explored four possible alternative funding models which all have been mooted as possible replacements for the licence fee. Ampere has found that each of these would present unique challenges for Britain’s public broadcaster.

UK: BBC’s Covid-19 reporters: ‘I wanted to show the reality but was deeply troubled by what I saw’

The Guardian: Fergus Walsh and Hugh Pym’s reports from the frontline of beleaguered British hospitals are drawing nightly audiences of around 12.8 million

UK: Fierce rebuttals mark change to UK Covid-19 media strategy

The Guardian: Key government advisers spent a portion of the weekend writing 2,000-plus-word, line-by-line rebuttals of two highly critical news newspaper stories, in what appears to be a marked shift in media management.

UK: Joint statement on safety of journalists and access to information during the COVID-19 crisis

GOV.UK: Statement by the four Groups of Friends on the Safety of Journalists at UNESCO, the United Nations in New York and Geneva and the OSCE, 15 April 2020.

UK: Ofcom names content director to board

Digital TV Europe: UK media and telecom regulator Ofcom has appointed Kevin Bakhurst, its content and media policy group director, to its board. Bakhurst joined Ofcom in 2016 and has overseen its work on content standards and policy, including taking on regulation of the BBC and preparations to become the regulator for video sharing platforms in the UK. He will join as an executive member of the board from this month.

UK: UK falls press freedom index due to Northern Ireland risks

The Guardian: The UK has again slipped down the World Press Freedom Index, in large part due to threats made to reporters in Northern Ireland. The journalist Lyra McKee was murdered last April while reporting on unrest in Derry, and police inappropriately obtained warrants to raid the homes of the investigative reporters Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey.

UK: We must act before coronavirus sinks the press as we know it (Opinion – Paywall) 

The Guardian: It doesn’t seem that long ago that emergency relief funds were used to help people crushed by natural disasters; now the world’s biggest search engine has launched one to save journalism. So dire has been the impact of Covid-19 on the news industry that Google announced plans to pay up to the “low tens of thousands” to newsrooms around the UK. Given the scale of the crisis, which comes after years in which Google itself has been the cause of so much disruption, this is like throwing a few planks of wood to those in the middle of a tsunami.

REGIONAL: EU looks to apps as way of easing virus lockdown

AFP: As the EU’s economy reels from virus lockdowns, Brussels has unveiled a proposed roadmap to ease restrictions on life and businesses, relying in large part on smartphone tracking apps.

REGIONAL: News on public service – week 16 (Swedish)

Nordvision: Svenska Yle humor kicks in times of emergency, the BBC shows the company’s important role through a newly produced video. We have noticed this and other things this week.

REGIONAL: Media freedom violations in the EU under COVID-19

IPI: The COVID-19 pandemic is having a rapid and significant effect on media freedom in the European Union, according to new research published today by IPI.The briefing paper, Media Freedom Violations in the EU under COVID-19, shows how in a short space of time, several states have implemented emergency laws and restrictions which challenge the ability of journalists to inform the public and hold those in power to account.

REGIONAL: Some Balkan States Waging ‘Crusade’ Against Media, Report Warns

Balkan Insight: Media freedom in the Balkans continues to decline, with some governments stepping up pressure on independent media while exerting control over public broadcasters, says Reporters Without Borders’ 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

ARGENTINA: Criminal cases opened for spreading disinformation about Covid-19

Buenos Aires Times: At least 12 criminal cases have been opened against a number of individuals accused of “public intimidation,” a crime which can result in up to six years in prison.

BRAZIL: Sindjors and FENAJ rejects aggression towards journalists by Bolsonaro supporters (Portuguese) 

FENAJ: The Union of Professional Journalists of Rio Grande do Sul (Sindjors) and the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) denounce and reject the aggression and the restriction on the work of press professionals, which took place this Sunday, the 19th, in Porto Alegre.

ECUADOR: Ecuador: closure of the public media company (Spanish)

Kasoenlared: President Lenín Moreno announced the closure of the public media company in line with a series of budget adjustment measures due to the economic impact of the spread of COVID-19 and the drop in the price of oil. Among them stand out, for example, the reduction of wages of public employees, as well as the increase in taxes on cars valued at more than 20 thousand dollars.

EL SALVADOR: President blocks journalists from his Twitter account  (Spanish) 

APES: The President of the Republic of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, blocked journalists from El Faro, FOCOS TV and other independents from his Twitter account, for being critical of his narrative or questioning the measures issued in the framework of the National Emergency. 

JAMAICA: Gov’t rolls back order curtailing press freedom

Jamaica Observer: Last week the Government walked back an order that prohibited members of the media from moving about during the period of lockdown in St Catherine. “The final gazette will reflect that journalists will remain exempted during the period of the lockdown in the parish of St Catherine,” a news release from the Government quoted Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

MEXICO: In Mexico, reporters covering COVID-19 face equipment shortages and government obstruction

CPJ: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck Mexico, the country was already one of the most dangerous in the world for journalists, according to CPJ research. Mexican reporters and editors told CPJ that they are deeply concerned about the pandemic. Recently, dozens of reporters in the northern state of Coahuila asked the state government for tests after they covered a protest of medical personnel where an outbreak of COVID-19 was detected, according to reports.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Trinidad and Tobago opposition leader defends freedom of the press and expression

MENAFN: The United National Congress (UNC), and opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar has signaled, with great concern, the ongoing blatant and very dangerous attempts by the government to stifle traditional media in Trinidad and Tobago. 

REGIONAL: Collaborative fact-checking project in Latin America builds platform on coronavirus to help journalists

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: The Latam Chequea Coronavirus project, which currently unites 28 fact-checking organizations from 16 Latin American countries and Spain, aims to help journalists and checkers to cover coronavirus so they can find reliable information more quickly and simply.  The current pandemic highlights the need for journalists to work together as the coronavirus, as well as disinformation surrounding it, crosses languages and borders.

REGIONAL: Coronavirus impacts finances of Latin American newspapers, which suspend print editions, reduce salaries and layoff journalists

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: The reduction or suspension of print editions, salary cuts and mass layoffs. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the financial health of Latin American media companies at a time when journalistic work is essential for society. In Brazil, a provisional measure from the government authorizes companies to reduce wages and working hours by up to 70 percent for up to 90 days. The objective is to ease corporate obligations and maintain jobs during the crisis.

GENERAL: How well do governments in Latin America report on the response to COVID-19?

The Voice of Guanacaste: In Costa Rica there is a conference every day in which the government (Ministry of Health and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS)) tells us how many cases of covid-19 has been confirmed, how many are recovered, hospitalized and in intensive care. This does not happen in all Latin American countries.

IRAQ: Iraq lifts Reuters ban imposed after report on coronavirus numbers

Middle East Eye: Iraqi authorities on Sunday lifted the suspension of Reuters’ licence to work in the country “to allow transparent and impartial work by the media… in adherence to operating according to the regulations of media broadcasting rules set out by the independent body”. Iraq had suspended Reuters’ licence in the country following a report on 2 April that suggested the government had been hiding the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak.

KUWAIT: Kuwait arrests TV presenter for ‘insulting army’

Middle East Monitor: Kuwait’s Attorney General, Dirar Al-Asousi, yesterday ordered the detention of local TV presenter pending an investigation after charging her with insulting the Gulf state and its armed forces. Al-Qabas quoted an official source as saying that Al-Asousi had charged TV anchor Dalia Badran after the Ministry of the Interior filed a complaint against her.

PALESTINE: Palestine TV correspondent called in for questioning in Jerusalem – report

The Jerusalem Post: Palestine TV’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Christine Rinawi, was called in for questioning at the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem on Thursday, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency.

PALESTINE: Radio Alhara: Five friends set up a community station to stay connected during self-isolation

The National: When in doubt, create. A group of five friends comprising an artist, architects and graphic designers have responded to the quarantine by producing an online radio station, Radio Alhara. They broadcast music and other programmes from their homes in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Amman.

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia launches intimidation campaign against Al Jazeera presenter

MEMO: Al Jazeera television presenter Ghada Oueiss revealed that pro-Saudi social media accounts dubbed “electronic flies” have launched an intimidation campaign against her reporting of the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated inside the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey in 2018.

TURKEY: Turkey reciprocates and blocks Saudi news sites as tensions mount

Middle East Eye: Turkish authorities blocked Saudi and United Arab Emirates news websites on Sunday, days after the sites of Turkey’s state broadcaster and news agency were blocked in Saudi Arabia. The apparently reciprocal moves come four weeks after Turkish prosecutors indicted 20 Saudis over the killing of journalist Jamal Kashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a slaying that soured relations between Ankara and Riyadh.

TURKEY: Turkey’s Erdogan clamps down further on media amid coronavirus crisis

 Deutsche Welle: The Turkish president seems to be using the coronavirus crisis as a pretext to get rid of the few critical media outlets left in his country. Opposition politicians and journalists fear a new spate of censorship.

TURKEY: Unidentified shooters attack office of Kocaeli Ses newspaper in Turkey

CPJ: On April 20, unidentified attackers opened fire at the offices of Kocaeli Ses, a local newspaper of the western city of Kocaeli, according to news reports and a report by the paper. The building was empty at the time and no one was injured, according to those reports, which stated that police have opened an investigation and are inspecting security footage.

TURKEY & SAUDI ARABIA: Independent caught in tit-for-tat Turkey-Saudi media battle

The Guardian: The Independent has found itself caught in a bizarre tit-for-tat press freedom war between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, after the British publication’s Turkish-language site was banned by authorities in Ankara over its links to Riyadh.

UAE: UAE announces $5,500 fine for spreading unauthorised coronavirus information

Middle East Monitor: The United Arab Emirates will fine people up to 20,000 dirhams ($5,500) if they share medical information about the coronavirus that contradicts official statements, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday. The move appears to be aimed at containing the spread of misinformation and rumours related to the COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed 37 lives in the Gulf Arab state, with 6,300 confirmed infections as of Friday.

REGIONAL: Coronavirus: Middle East states crack down on media freedom

Middle East Eye: After a report by Reuters suggesting that Iraq was hiding the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Iraqi authorities this month suspended the news agency’s licence and imposed a fine of 25 million Iraqi dinars ($21,000). The Iraqi government called the report “deliberate misinformation”.  In Iran, one of the countries hit hardest by the virus, authorities last month opted to suspend all newspaper printing and distribution, citing the need to stem the spread of Covid-19 – and drawing concern from media rights groups. Yemen, Oman, Jordan and Morocco have reportedly implemented similar bans.

GENERAL: Voices from the Arab press: Social media and credibility

The Jerusalem Post: As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold, so does the problem of rumors and fake news. Even the director-general of the World Health Organization claimed that what we are currently fighting is not just the coronavirus but also the misinformation epidemic. Indeed, threatening our world with misinformation, hatred and fear can be more dangerous than threatening it with a virus.

CANADA: Canada’s Major Broadcasters Unite to Support Frontline Workers with All-Canadian, Star-Studded Special STRONGER TOGETHER, TOUS ENSEMBLE, April 26

CBC/Radio-Canada: Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, Groupe V Média, and Rogers Sports & Media are coming together in a show of support for the frontline workers fighting the battle against COVID-19 across Canada. Featuring a star-studded lineup of homegrown artists, activists, actors, and athletes, the multi-platform, all-Canadian special STRONGER TOGETHER, TOUS ENSEMBLE airs on English and French services on Sunday, April 26 at 7 p.m. across all markets/7:30 p.m. NT. 

CANADA: Carleton’s Chris Waddell Argues a More Diverse Canada Needs a More Global CBC

Carleton Newsroom: Millions of Canadians have roots in Asia, but Canada’s public broadcaster has only one correspondent that covers the world’s most populous region. Chris Waddell of Carleton University argues that’s nowhere near enough. 

CANADA: CBC partners with Bell Media and Global Citizen to bring Canadians the historic One World: Together at Home concert this Saturday, April 18

CBC/Radio-Canada: CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, is partnering with foundational Canadian partner Bell Media to bring Canadians across the country the star-studded worldwide TV and streaming special ONE WORLD: TOGETHER AT HOME in support of the fight against COVID-19. Airing on Saturday, April 18 at 8 p.m. 

CANADA: CBC/Radio-Canada programming updates – April 17

CBC/Radio-Canada: To help Canadians through the current COVID-19 situation, CBC/Radio-Canada is delivering special access to content across all of its platforms, including trusted news and information to stay informed, educational resources for kids and parents, and a wide variety of programming to keep Canadians entertained when they need a break.

US: CPB unveils plan to split $75 million in coronavirus relief funds between public TV and radio (Paywall) 

Current: CPB’s board of directors unanimously approved a plan to divide the corporation’s $75 million in federal emergency relief funds between public television and radio stations. 

US: If online learning isn’t working for your kids try public television and radio stations (Paywall)

The Washington Post: There are many school districts across the country that have been struggling to set up distance learning programs for students. Online offerings are sometimes nonexistent or spotty at best, and getting paper work packets to students is a near impossibility with much of the country’s public life shut down because of the covid-19 crisis. So where to turn? One possibility: your local public television and radio stations.


PBS: Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books, and PBS KIDS today announced a special collaboration with former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, in support of the recently announced “Read Together, Be Together” Penguin Random House literacy initiative and PBS KIDS’ “Read-Along” effort on Facebook and YouTube.

US: Music Fans, Artists, 75+ Stations Celebrate Public Radio Music Day on April 16th

NPR: The noncomMUSIC Alliance announced that more than 75 public radio music stations from nearly 30 states will join together with music fans and performers on April 16th to celebrate the first-ever Public Radio Music Day with special on-air and online programming. The Alliance is hosting the nationwide event to showcase public radio’s essential public service mission and unique role in the music world locally and nationally.

US: NPR, APM leaders outline financial challenges caused by pandemic

Current: The leaders of NPR and American Public Media told staffers this week that pandemic-fueled budget shortfalls are forcing cuts in spending at the organizations.

US: NPR Chief Warns of Steep Cost Cuts Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (Paywall) 

The Wall Street Journal: National Public Radio is planning significant cost cuts as the coronavirus pandemic hits sponsorship and donation revenue, the public broadcaster’s chief executive, John Lansing, said in a memo to staff.

US: NPR extends dues relief to stations (Paywall)

Current: Despite facing a major budget shortfall, NPR told member stations Friday that it is suspending planned fee increases. Under a new fee model passed last year by NPR’s board of directors, some stations would have seen dues increases of as much as 10% beginning in fiscal year 2021. But in response to the pandemic, the board passed a resolution that no member stations will see increases in their core fees — which pay for newsmagazines, membership dues and digital services — in FY21, according to an email from CEO John Lansing and SVP for Member Partnership Gemma Hooley sent to station leaders and obtained by Current.

US: PBS to Provide Access to Ken Burns Films to Support Educators and Students with Distance Learning

PBS: PBS LearningMedia, an online destination for educators and students that offers free access to thousands of resources from PBS stations and partners, will now include many of the award-winning films of Ken Burns and Florentine Films in their entirety, PBS announced today. Available on PBS LearningMedia’s “Ken Burns in the Classroom” hub beginning April 20 through June 30, the films will support teachers and students with distance learning for the remainder of this academic year.

US: RSF complains to UN about coronavirus press freedom violations

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has written to two United Nations special rapporteurs asking them to formally condemn governments that have violated the right to information in connection with the coronavirus epidemic, thereby putting public health and lives in danger both in their own countries and the rest of the world.

US: The Trump Administration and the Media

CPJ Reports: The Trump administration has stepped up prosecutions of news sources, interfered in the business of media owners, harassed journalists crossing U.S. borders, and empowered foreign leaders to restrict their own media. But Trump’s most effective ploy has been to destroy the credibility of the press, dangerously undermining truth and consensus even as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to kill tens of thousands of Americans.

2020 World Press Freedom Index: “Entering a decisive decade for journalism, exacerbated by coronavirus”

RSF: The 2020 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), shows that the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely reported, independent, diverse and reliable information.

3 tips for better media freedom advocacy (Resource)

Deutsche Welle: Independent journalism and reliable media are crucial for an effective response towards the novel coronavirus pandemic, but they are also under threat. Here are three steps to advocate more effectively for free speech.

Access to the internet can be a matter of life and death during a pandemic

Article 19: In July 2016, the United Nations declared access to the Internet to be a human right. During the coronavirus pandemic, it has become even clearer that access to the Internet and digital technologies can be a lifesaver for many people around the world. 

Data collection, privacy, and COVID-19

OPENmedia: How can the government protect privacy if cell phone tracking is used to combat COVID-19?

DRM collaborates with ABU and ASBU for interactive webinar

Asia Radio Today: Under the theme of “DRM Benefits in Times of Crisis”, the DRM Consortium in collaboration with Asia-Pacific Broadcast Union (ABU) and Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) will jointly and for the first time host a two-part interactive webinar session. The webinar will focus on key DRM benefits and what makes the standard so useful in times of crisis and disasters.

Free course ‘Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age’ is now available online 

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: The four-week MOOC, sponsored by the Knight Foundation, was taught by four expert journalists with experience in cross-border and multimedia investigations. As a result of that continued engagement, Olsen said the instructors created more videos to explore issues and questions posed by active participants.The self-directed version of the MOOC (massive open online course) is now available online.

Hackers exploit coronavirus lockdown with fake Netflix and Disney+ pages

The Guardian: More than 700 fake websites mimicking Netflix and Disney+ signup pages have been created seeking to harvest personal information from consumers during the coronavirus lockdown streaming boom.

IACHR: freedom of expression conditioned by COVID-19 in American states (Spanish)

Periodistas ES: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE²) have issued a statement indicating that violations of freedom of expression and restrictions on the right to information are taking place within the framework of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journalists need to be protected during the pandemic

Al Jazeera: Even in regions where authorities are not actively suppressing news, many leaders whether through incompetence or indifference do not appear up to the public health challenge. That is where credible, independent media that focus on the truth of this disease come in.

More than 300 people have been arrested for “spreading COVID-19 falsehoods”

Poynter Institute: More than 300 people in nearly 40 countries have been arrested and accused of spreading false information about COVID-19 since the beginning of the year. Some countries justify the arrests as a crack-down on the spread of misinformation, but some human rights advocates are warning these aggressive measures are aimed at silencing criticism and controlling the virus narrative.

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Header Image: Behind the scene. Multiple camera setup. Female cameraman shooting the film scene with camera in film studio. Credit: guruXOOX/iStock