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

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, 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 list of 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.

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What is...

Our weekly explainers for key public media terms, phrases and values.

Week 11: What does COLLABORATION look like?

Public media have a long history of collaborating on initiatives that are not only beneficial to the organisations involved but to the publics they serve. Collaboration can lead to expanded coverage for underserved and underrepresented communities, enriched programming, and strengthened impact and reach. Collaborations also allow for the exchange of best practices and provide opportunities for networking and skills development. Ultimately, collaborations allow public media to better meet key values such as access, innovation and diversity. Collaboration can come in the form of co-public media projects such as the 77 TV series produced by Nordic broadcasters in 2020, despite the pandemic, and the recent collaboration between Belgium’s RTBF and French public media, which highlighted the struggles and realities of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration can also look like public media working with non-public media organisations, such as PBS’ collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution to provide free content to educators via an online platform and CBC/Radio-Canada’s two initiatives with private media organisations to support diversity and local journalism.

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 watching...

Chinese officials stifle, expel foreign journalists for doing their job

PBS NewsHour: In the last year, Chinese officials have singled out foreign journalists and denied them access to carry out their work – in some cases even pressured them to leave the country, according to a new report.

What we're listening to...

Racism, Atlanta, and the race for a narrative

CJR: In the wake of the shootings in Atlanta this week, the media has focused on the killer’s story and struggled to explain why the attacks were racist. The process has dehumanized the victims.

The truth about investigations

The Media Show, BBC Radio 4: Amol Rajan on the mechanics of investigative journalism: the nuts, bolts, fear, loathing and legal letters of being a proper investigative hack. But how easy is it to cultivate sources in a pandemic? And is the government changing the way it handles freedom of information requests?

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Global Headlines

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

ALGERIA: Algerians demonstrate in their thousands to demand free press, judiciary

France 24: Thousands protested in Algiers Friday to demand press freedom and judicial independence, as the Hirak pro-democracy movement keeps up its weekly demonstrations, despite a ban on gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

GHANA: MFWA Sues Media Regulator Over Right to Information Request on Shutdown of Radio Stations

MFWA: In what may be the first Court case since the coming into force of Ghana’s Right to Information (RTI) Law, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has filed a suit at an Accra High Court against Ghana’s media frequency regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA).

LIBERIA: The Liberian media need institutional capacity building, not just training

The New Dawn: Just training alone has not really helped in strengthening the media because professionally trained personnel are leaving media houses to seek greener pasture.

MOROCCO: Morocco’s new tactic to punish journalists: charge them with sex crimes

CPJ: Moroccan journalists Taoufik Bouachrine, Soulaiman Raissouni, and Omar Radi have a lot in common. All three have a nose for corruption, penning op-eds or investigations alleging government abuse. And all three have been charged with or sentenced to prison for sex crimes. 

NIGERIA: DTT: Nigeria’s City Of Lagos To Switch Off Analogue TV By 29 April 2021 – According To Reports

Broadcast Media Africa: The Acting Director of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, has commended ITS LTD and their associates, StarTimes, to ensure that the required transmitters for porting from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Lagos are ready for 29 April 2021.

RWANDA: Journalists Seek Review of Access to Information Law

Via All Africa: Media practitioners are pushing for a review of the law on access to information.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC Producers Accuse Station Of Decimating Indigenous Languages

Broadcast Media Africa: The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Senior Editors have accused the broadcaster of discrimination against several indigenous languages, which violate the public broadcaster’s mandate, this is according to reports.

SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa: Digital Migration To “Definitely Take Off” This Month – March 2021!

Broadcast Media Africa: The South African Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies has confirmed that the Digital TV migration is definitely starting this month, with commencement in the South Africa Free State starting promptly. 

ZAMBIA: Senior Zambian Government Official Marches Against Attacks On Journalists

MISA: In an unprecedented development, a senior Zambian government official marched to the police headquarters in Lusaka demanding that law enforcement agents do more to protect journalists who are facing increased attacks and harassment.

ZIMBABWE: In Zimbabwe, one year of COVID-19 saw surge in harassment of free press

IPI: Country leads in number of pandemic-related press freedom violations in Africa.

REGIONAL: Empower, Support and Defend: MFWA’s Approach for Boosting Accountability Journalism in West Africa


CHINA: Chinese officials stifle, expel foreign journalists for doing their job (Watch)

PBS Newshour: In the last year, Chinese officials have singled out foreign journalists and denied them access to carry out their work — in some cases even pressured them to leave the country, according to a new report.

CHINA & HONG KONG: Jack Ma’s SCMP latest Hong Kong outlet to face Chinese threat to press freedom (Paywall)

The Japan Times: As news broke that China was pressuring Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to sell the South China Morning Post, surprised employees pondered the future of Hong Kong’s main English-language daily.

HONG KONG & MACAU: Hong Kong and Macau public broadcaster independence threatened by management censorship

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the editorial interference of Hong Kong and Macau’s public broadcaster management and urges the governments of the two special administrative regions to cease their attacks against press freedom.

INDIA: AIR Has Downgraded National Languages to Regional Ones, Yet Chief Ministers Remain Silent (Opinion)

The Wire: The decision to shut down the central news units of All India Radio in several Indian languages in Delhi, and shift them to their respective state capitals, is in line with the hegemony of Hindi.

INDIA: India’s digital rules trigger fears of curbs on free speech, media freedom

Deutsche Welle: Media outlets and activists fear that new regulations give unchecked powers to the government to censor digital content and curb press freedom.

INDIA: Put digital media new rules on hold: Editors Guild to PM 

The Times of India

JAPAN: Communications ministry scandal puts focus on Japan’s Broadcast Act (Paywall)

The Japan Times

MALAYSIA: New Malaysian ordinance threatens very concept of truth

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Malaysian government to immediately rescind a so-called “anti-fake news” emergency ordinance that effectively bans any information about the coronavirus pandemic or current state of emergency that is not to its liking. This ordinance constitutes a gross violation of press freedom and another step in the flouting of the democratic process, RSF says.

MYANMAR: High-risk news coverage: Reporting the crackdown in Myanmar (Watch)

Aljazeera: Myanmar’s military leaders are deploying forces, both armed and digital, to stifle news coverage. Plus, partisan punditry on Britain’s airwaves.

MYANMAR: Myanmar coup: Detained BBC journalist Aung Thura released

BBC News: Detained BBC journalist Aung Thur has been released in Myanmar, days after he was detained.

PAKISTAN: Akbar Malik Assumes Charge As Acting Director Programmes PTV

Urdu Point: Akbar Malik, a senior officer of Pakistan Television Corporation, has been posted as Acting Director Programmes.

PAKISTAN: Journalist Absar Alam challenges FIA summon

Dawn: Senior journalist and former chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Absar Alam has challenged a summon issued to him by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over his recent tweets and social media posts.

SINGAPORE: DBS Bank and Mediacorp join hands on CNA Insider special to fight food waste (Press Release)

Mediacorp: An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste globally every year1 – an amount sufficient to feed three billion people. This is a sobering statistic that DBS Bank (DBS) and Mediacorp are bringing to wider public attention in a collaborative special with CNA Insider. 

SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka: Free Media Movement calls for the abolition of the Press Council Law

Via IFEX: The Free Media Movement said the 1973 law that created the Sri Lanka Press Council has to be repealed for containing provisions that are detrimental to media freedom.

THAILAND: “Thai PBS Foundation” invites you to donate Contribution to the purchase of television and set-top boxes for education (Thai – Press Release)

Thai PBS: Thai PBS is continuing the mission of helping students in rural areas across the country to study online effectively. 

THAILAND: Thailand’s media organisations issue joint statement in wake of political violence

The Thaiger: The 6 organisations that represent Thailand’s media have issued a joint statement, calling on all sides in the current political conflict to show restraint.

REGIONAL: Why governments in Asia want to control a media they can no longer command

IPI: From India to Singapore, authorities are using new tactics to pressure digital media, writes IPI’s Jacqui Park.

AUSTRALIA: ABC managing director says reporting on Christian Porter allegation was of the ‘highest quality’ (Watch)

The Guardian: David Anderson tells Senate estimates defamation action will be defended vigorously and Louise Milligan’s reporting was in the public interest.

AUSTRALIA: ABC terminates New Daily contract, focuses on Google and Facebook

The Sydney Morning Herald: The ABC will terminate its commercial agreements with several news websites, including industry superannuation fund-backed website, The New Daily, in a strategic shift that will focus on agreements with aggregation platforms like Facebook and Google.

AUSTRALIA: ABC: The heart of the nation (Speech)

ABC Australia: The following speech was virtually delivered by the ABC Chair Ita Buttrose to the Regions Rising National Summit, Canberra, on Wednesday 17 March 2021.

AUSTRALIA: MEAA rethinks press council role and backs need for Facebook media code (Watch)

Asia Pacific Report: The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) union is reconsidering its involvement in the Australian Press Council and has appealed to members to give feedback on this issue.

AUSTRALIA: SBS serves up its biggest commission ever: The Cook Up with Adam Liaw

SBS: SBS Food has been busy cooking up a fresh new food show, The Cook Up with Adam Liaw, and with 200 episodes it’s the biggest commission in the network’s history.

AUSTRALIA: Statement by ABC MD David Anderson (Statement)

ABC Australia: Opening statement by ABC Managing Director David Anderson to Senate Estimates.

FIJI: FBC among 18 state-owned entities commended

FBC News: The Fijian Broadcasting Corporation is among State-Owned Entities commended for continuing to make progress and turning losses into profits. 

NEW ZEALAND: Tech giant co-opts media for fight against vaccine misinformation

RNZ: Google has announced it will pay Stuff to launch a project to counter vaccine misinformation. The tech giant is increasing the amount of funding it gives to news as it grapples with an Australian law forcing it to pay media companies for their content.

NEW ZEALAND: The absent audience – NZ on Air’s blind spot (Paywall)

Newsroom: Report shows broadcast funding agency NZ On Air is belatedly taking tentative steps to measure the audiences that will consume the public interest journalism it will be funding to the tune of $55 million.

NIUE: Niuean journalist ‘grateful’ to be on the first flight to New Zealand following a health scare

Pacific Media Network: Niue’s biggest news service is losing its only journalist due to a health scare, which has her on the first quarantine-free flight to New Zealand.

REGIONAL: Media organisations team up to fight Covid-19 vaccine misinformation

Pacific Media Network: Pacific Media Network has joined forces with Maori TV and media organisation Stuff to fight misinformation on the Covid-19 vaccine.

AUSTRIA: Federal government urgently needs to propose new funding model for Wiener Zeitung

EFJ: The world’s oldest daily newspaper still in publication, Austria’s Wiener Zeitung, is facing possible closure of its print edition as the government’s plans to remove mandatory public advertisements of companies have become clearer.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech public broadcaster’s independence threatened ahead of elections

Euractiv: Popular public service broadcaster Czech Television has been under threat since the broadcaster’s supervisory commission – which controls the TV’s activities, appoints the director-general and approves the budget – was suddenly removed in November, and last week’s vote in parliament hints at the broadcaster’s current director-general Petr Dvořák being replaced soon.

FRANCE: Is public broadcasting really public? (French – Comment)

The Conversation

FRANCE: Watchdog sues Facebook over attacks on media and virus posts

Reuters: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Tuesday it had filed a lawsuit against Facebook in France, citing a proliferation of hate speech against media and falsehoods about COVID-19.

GERMANY: Disagreed Union (German)

Deutschlandfunk: A merger of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio, more information and less entertainment – the influential CDU/CSU SME and Economic Union (MIT) has submitted proposals for the reform of public service broadcasting. But the paper is also controversial in one’s own parties.

GERMANY: Feindbild Journalist 5: Allies in press hatred (German – Report)

ECPMF: 69 assaults occurred in 2020. Never before in the six years since the start of the survey has the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) recorded more attacks.

GERMANY: RT DE wants to expand online channel into a television channel (German)

Deutschlandfunk: Since its foundation seven years ago, the Russian foreign channel RT Deutsch, now RT DE, has been repeatedly criticized as a propaganda weapon of the Kremlin.

GERMANY: Skill plays a role – but also a lack of trust (German – Study)

Deutschlandfunk: According to a study by the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, many Germans cannot assess sources on the net well. With age, digital news literacy decreases, said project manager Anna-Katharina Messmer in the Dlf. It calls for better educational offers and transparent journalistic offers.

IRELAND: ‘Back around the table’ if pay cut vote fails – Forbes

RTE: The Director General of RTÉ has said if a ballot is not passed by staff on proposed pay cuts at the public service broadcaster, she believes the issue will be “back around the table again and probably at the industrial relations tribunal”.

NETHERLANDS: Naked in new children’s program: unnecessary and step too far, or instructive? (Dutch)

NOS: “Disgusting and vulgar”, but also “taboo breaking and educational”. These are some reactions that appeared on social media to the new children’s program Just Bloot, in which primary school children ask naked people questions. The announcement stirs up a lot on social media.

POLAND: Council of Europe voices concern on Polish media laws

Euractiv: Europe’s top human rights body on Tuesday (16 March) voiced concern over two draft media laws in Poland and warned about the possible “suffocation of independent media outlets”. 

POLAND: Democracy digest: Polish government takes heart from Hungary’s win at CJEU

Balkan Insight: The European court’s ruling that a tax on ad revenues imposed by Hungary in 2014 was legal has been keenly watched by Poland, where the government is also planning its own ad tax, also expected to hit independent media hardest.

POLAND: Polish writer Jakub Zulczyk charged for calling President Duda a ‘moron’

BBC News: A popular Polish writer and journalist could face up to three years in prison for calling President Andrzej Duda a “moron” in a Facebook post in November.

RUSSIA: Russian authorities’ harassment of Radio Svoboda threatens media pluralism

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the exorbitant fines imposed on Radio Svoboda, the Russian branch of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, for refusing to label itself as a “foreign agent” in the content it broadcasts. 

SLOVENIA: Media Watchdogs Warn of ‘Hostile Climate’ for Slovenia’s Press

Balkan Insight: Five media freedom organisations sent a letter to the president of the European Commission to voice concern about the growing problems facing journalists in Slovenia and the alleged “Trumpian tactics” of its leader.

UK: BBC not trying to ‘beat’ Netflix says new director-general

The Independent: Paid subscription model not the way, says Tim Davie.

UK: BBC publishes blueprint for the biggest transformation in decades (Press Release)

BBC: The BBC has revealed ambitious plans for its biggest transformation in decades, which will move power and decision-making across the UK. 

UK: BBC to move key jobs and programmes out of London

BBC News: The BBC is to move some of its key departments and staff outside London to make the corporation more reflective of the UK as a whole.

REGIONAL: MFRR: State Capture in Media is Undermining Press and Media Freedom Across Europe

Exit News: Between 17th and 20th March, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which monitors and tracks media freedom violations, will bring together leading journalists from over 13 countries and representatives of press freedom organizations, unions, and journalist bodies to discuss key threats and trends that underpin threats to media freedom across Europe. 

REGIONAL: New Rules For Online Platforms: Delphine Ernotte And Members Of The European Parliament Came Together To Discuss

EBU:  How the EU regulates online platform behaviour is one of the most scrutinized topics of the moment. The proposed EU Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) aim to shape the next chapter of the Internet. As media organizations, our members are rapidly innovating online and the Acts will have a significant impact on how online audiences engage with them.

GENERAL: Pressure on press freedom from protestors and police

ECPMF: One of the most high-risk assignments for a journalist or camera crew in Europe is to cover a protest. In 2020, more than 1 in every 4 press freedom violations (25.9%) recorded on Mapping Media Freedom happened during demonstrations.

ARGENTINA: Investigation into irregular withdrawal of money within Argentine public TV

Swissinfo.ch: The authorities that administer the public media in Argentina announced on Tuesday that they initiated an audit, removed those responsible and filed a complaint with the Justice for an irregular withdrawal of money from public television accounts supposedly to pay for the production of a historical fiction.

ARGENTINA: Public TV: 42% of salaries are between $ 200,000 and $ 600,000 (Spanish)

La Nacion: The state media company spent more than $ 200 million in salaries, in January 2021; fixed salaries are increased by overtime and additional hours that depend on outdated agreements.

BRAZIL: Brazilian journalists balance emotional toll of reporting Covid-19 with ethical need

EJN: It’s been a year since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic. At the time of writing, Brazil is the second worst affected country in the world, in terms of cases and deaths, after the United States. For our journalist colleagues there, the pandemic has brought significant pressures, but also a growing realisation that – even under attack for the work they do – the pursuit of ethical journalism is absolutely crucial in fighting the crisis.

BRAZIL: Letter to society: why EBC should not be privatised (Portuguese – Statement)

FENAJ: The Ministry of Communications announced this week the sending of the Brazil Communication Company to the National Denationalization Program (PND).

COLOMBIA: Colombia to counter independent press with state news

Colombia Reports: Colombia’s government reportedly wants to spend more than $80 million on state news in its latest attempt to dictate public opinion.

COLOMBIA: RTVC will have its own newscast (Spanish)

Infobae: The newscast will begin broadcasting on March 25 and from the entity they assure that they will give voice to all regions of the country.

GUYANA: Press assn condemns attacks on Guyana’s media workers

The Gleaner: The Guyana Press Association (GPA) has again condemned reports of attacks – physical, virtual and otherwise – on members of the media and media houses.

HONDURAS: HRC46: Honduras must implement UPR recommendations on free expression

Article 19: ARTICLE 19 recorded a total of 32 recommendations focused explicitly on the right to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists and human rights defenders during the UPR of Honduras. 

REGIONAL: Covid-19 kills more than one journalist a day in Latin America; region is where the pandemic is most fatal to the press (Portuguese)

FENAJ: More than one journalist’s death a day. As if Latin America was no longer enough to be one of the most dangerous and violent regions for the exercise of journalism, it is now the one that records the most cases of deaths of press professionals by COVID-19, according to data from the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC).

IRAN: Media watchdog: Iran must end convictions over ‘false news’

Arab News: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Iran to stop secretly prosecuting journalists over accusations of spreading fake news.

TURKEY: Turkish social media law consolidates news censorship under ‘right to be forgotten’


TURKEY & EGYPT: Turkey asks Egyptian media to limit criticism: TV channel owner

Al Jazeera: A leading Egyptian opposition figure based in Istanbul has said Turkey has asked Egypt’s Istanbul-based opposition media to “tone down” their criticism against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as Ankara tries to mend ties with Cairo.

SYRIA: Syria’s Civil War Marks Rise and Fall of Country’s Journalism

VOA: When the uprising against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad started in 2011, Eyad Aljarod picked up his camera and took to the streets.

REGIONAL: New Partnership Announcement to Help Strengthen Independent Media in the Arab World

Via Cision: Journalists for Human Rights will work with the United Nations Democracy Fund and four local partners on a new initiative that will mobilize media to change lives in four Arab Countries over four years.

CANADA: Canadian news outlets close physical offices, codifying remote work (Paywall)

The Globe and Mail: Some of Canada’s newsrooms will now permanently exist only in cyberspace, as publishers look to save money on physical offices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CANADA: Closure of HuffPost Canada another hit to already battered Canadian media landscape (Paywall)

The Hill Times: The closure of HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Québec earlier this month is just another gut-punch to an already battered news industry in this country following the economic wreckage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CANADA: Former Canadian diplomats call for a halt to changes at RCI

RCI: Forty-five former ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls general have called on the Canadian government to block the changes to Radio Canada International (RCI) set for April 1, 2021.

CANADA: How Canadians can use social media to help debunk COVID-19 misinformation

The Conversation: You do not need statistics to know that health-related misinformation is rampant on social media, including with respect to COVID-19. 

US: Covering the Atlanta massacre from inside the Korean community


US: Delays in fundraising mail ease for public media after holiday disruption (Paywall)

Current: Public media fundraisers say that delivery issues with their direct mail are clearing up after U.S. Postal Service delays backed up donation asks over the holidays and into the new year. 

US: Joint statement against anti-AAPI racism (Statement)

PBS NOVA: This week’s tragic killings in Atlanta are a continuation of the anti-Asian racism the country has seen for the past year. The attached letter is a joint statement reflecting our collective stand against this racism and for a commitment to fostering inclusivity in our country.

US: Stations are cautiously optimistic that underwriting will rebound next year (Paywall)


US: Why lawsuits against the media may not hurt freedom of the press

The Conversation: Free speech advocates have long believed that suing a news organization threatens free speech. Democracy needs a press to be free to report, without fear or favor, the facts as it sees them.

Build for a crisis: Ideas for the future of local news

Nieman Lab: “We believe for local news to have a future, it has to be built for people when they truly need information before it is built for people when they are just curious.”

Facing the information apocalypse

BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada & TNI: In the first of a series of blogs from Trusted News Initiative partners we hear from Radio-Canada’s Jeff Yates who works for the French language misinformation busting team.

Nominations open for the 2021 EBU T&I awards (Opportunity)

EBU: Presented annually since 2016, the EBU Technology & Innovation Award recognizes the people and organizations behind groundbreaking technology solutions for and from public service media (PSM).

Pandemic Media Restrictions Limited Access to News

VOA: Emergency measures introduced during the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a rise in arrests for “fake news,” journalists being denied access to briefings or health officials, and news websites being blocked, media rights experts say.

The Great Unbundling of Radio

Radio World: How social audio apps are changing the audio landscape.

The struggles exacerbated by COVID-19 won’t disappear soon. This year should be a wake-up call to the news industry (Commentary)

Poynter: Unless our industry gets better at supporting journalists’ mental health, individuals who bring unique and much-needed perspectives will leave.

PSM Weekly is available via email. You can subscribe by signing up to our mailing list at the bottom of the page or email editor@publicmediaalliance.org.

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: Media interview stock photo. Credit: microgen/iStock