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19 December 2018 – 8 January 2019

The PMA team would like to wish all our members and readers the very best for 2019.

As the world’s geopolitics continue to shift and change, the year ahead promises to be an eventful and challenging one for many of us. There seem to be few certainties as we begin the year.  But one thing that we can be sure of,  is the central role that public media will continue to play in democratic societies.

Last year we witnessed the continued erosion of many of the key values that public media stand for, especially strong, independent journalism. Worldwide, that erosion further weakened public trust in the media. ‎But this is one problem that public media organisations do have the power to address. A key task for the PMA team and our membership in 2019 is to build together and consolidate around those values. This will enable us all to promote public media as a cornerstone of trust in the global media space.

Like our members, PMA needs to evolve to reflect the world’s changing media landscape and in early 2019 we are due to launch our new strategy as a response to those changes. PMA’s work will continue to focus on enabling public media organisations worldwide to build and share a stronger common voice, a voice that will advocate for the independence, values and legitimacy of public media. We look forward to working with all of you throughout the  year.

Click on the drop-down menus below to reveal the latest public media related headlines from around the world.

DRC: DR Congo election: Internet shut down after presidential vote

BBC: The internet has been shut down in key cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo a day after the much-delayed presidential election.

DRC: DRC: Opposition media still closed just days ahead of presidential election

RSF: The continuing closure of five opposition media outlets in the Democratic Republic of Congo violates media pluralism and violates the 2016 political accord for holding a presidential election now due to take place at the end of this month.

GABON: Gabon soldiers seize national radio station in coup attempt

Aljazeera: Gunfire heard in the capital after troops denounce president and announce a new ‘restoration council’.

GABON:  Information restricted in Gabon after coup attempt

RSF: The authorities quickly announced the arrest of the mutineers’ leader and said the situation was “under control.” But the Internet, which was disconnected early yesterday [7 Jan], had not been restored by the end of the day. RTG eventually resumed its regular programming yesterday evening.

KENYA: Media Council condemns attack on journalists

Daily Nation: The Media Council of Kenya has raised concern over increasing attacks on journalists.

LIBERIA: Liberian ruling party officials’ verbal attacks on media on the rise


NIGERIA: Fact-checking around the world: Inside Nigeria’s CrossCheck

IJNet: Today, around 50 journalists from print, broadcast and online media are involved with CrossCheck. Many of them attended a two-day boot camp in Lagos — led by a trainer from Brazil’s Comprova — to learn advanced skills in discovering and debunking misinformation.

SENEGAL: The Media and Senegal’s 2019 Elections – The Critical Issues

MFWA: On February 24, 2019, Senegal, one of Africa’s “poster child” of stable democracy, will head to the polls to elect its president out of a possible 80 aspirants, including the incumbent President Macky Sall.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC not having fully functioning board could affect elections

SABC News: Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has warned of the risk of the SABC not having a fully functional board – saying it will impact negatively on election coverage.

SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa’s MPs Return To Work Early To Fill SABC Positions

Broadcast Media Africa: In Johannesburg, South Africa, members of Parliament are expected to return to their duties early this year in a race to lessen the load on the SABC which currently has the crisis of operating without a solid board.

SUDAN: RSF decries alarming new crackdown on Sudan’s media

RSF: The crackdown has been prompted by a nine-day-old wave of anti-government protests that were triggered by food and fuel price hikes.

ZIMBABWE: Parliament Takes ZBC Managers to Task Over ‘Sacking’ of Senior Staff

Via All Africa: Parliament’s Information and Broadcasting committee has demanded to know why ZBC was allegedly sacking some qualified of its senior staffers and replacing them with unqualified ones.

REGIONAL: Africa set for 46 million pay-TV subs

Broadband TV News: Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to add more than 16 million pay-TV subscribers between 2018 and 2024 to bring its total to 45.63 million, according to the Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report.

AZERBAIJAN: No holiday respite for Azerbaijani journalists

RSF: While the world has been preparing to celebrate the New Year, the Azerbaijani authorities have launched a new offensive against the country’s few remaining critical journalists.

BANGLADESH: ‘I no longer write the way I used to’: Journalists fear the Bangladeshi government

CJR: CJR interviewed nine journalists to understand the risks they face reporting in Bangladesh. All of them agreed that self-censorship is on the rise and many requested anonymity due to fears of retaliation. This year, conditions have grown worse.

BANGLADESH: Internet throttled, journalists attacked during parliamentary elections

IFJ: All 3G and 4G internet services were shut down and journalists were attacked during parliamentary elections in Bangladesh on December 30.

BANGLADESH: Serious press freedom violations mar Bangladesh’s election

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the serious press freedom violations that have accompanied Bangladesh’s 30 December general elections, in which journalists have been attacked or jailed and a TV news channel was taken off the air.

INDIA: AIR to shut down national channel, regional training academies in 5 cities to cut costs

Financial Express: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has decided to close down All India Radio’s national channel and its regional training academies in five cities as part of “cost-cutting measures” and to “rationalise” services.

INDIA: Centre wants fake news traced

The Hindu: The government has sought public comments on the proposed amendments to the Information Technology (IT) Act that seek to make it mandatory for platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter to trace “originator” of “unlawful” information, while also removing such content within 24 hours after being notified.

INDIA: Doordarshan Is Not Taking Action Against Sexual Harassers, Allege Women

The Wire: In 2012, Doordarshan replied to a parliament question saying that it has had seven cases of sexual harassment against its male employees. The number has since risen.  

INDONESIA: To improve LGBT coverage in Indonesia, editors cannot stay ‘neutral’

IJNet: Most media outlets in Indonesia classify LGBT people as a sexual deviants. This is despite the fact that Indonesian culture has historically embraced transgender people in traditional Javanese puppet theatre and in the local Bugis community, in Sulawesi.

JAPAN: Japan’s NHK Launches World’s First 8K TV Channel

The Hollywood Reporter: The world’s first 8K channel was launched in December by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. The ultra-HD format features four times the resolution of 4K, weighing in with a hefty 33 million pixels, as well as 22.2 multi-channel sound.

JAPAN: NHK World to launch new Chinese service in January

NHK World: NHK WORLD-JAPAN is launching on January 15th of next year a new online Chinese-language service. NHK Huayu Shijie will broadcast some of the most popular programs that focus on news, culture and current events

NEPAL: 2018, a challenging year for freedom of press: Federation of Nepali Journalists

The Himalayan Times: The Federation of Nepali Journalists stated that the year 2018 was not an easy year for media houses and journalists as the government frequently targeted them in an attempt to control press freedom.

PAKISTAN: Over two thousand journalists jobless after newspapers shut in Pakistan

IFJ: Pakistan’s largest publication house, the Jang Group of Newspapers, shut down five newspapers in various cities rendering hundreds of journalists and media workers jobless on December 16, 2018

PAKISTAN: The Pakistan government’s financial squeeze on journalism

CJR: The financial paralysis of news outlets has not been entirely a function of the market. It has been a direct result of the government’s recent austerity measures.

PHILIPPINES: Better or worse? The state of Philippine media according to watchdogs

ABS-CBN News: In 2018, Filipino journalists continued to face online harassment, violence and various threats, according to local media monitoring groups.

SOUTH KOREA: Liberty Korea Party wages war on KBS, citing threat to democracy and the Constitution

The Korea Herald: South Korea’s main conservative party strikes country’s biggest broadcaster citing “bias toward” the ruling party’s administration.

TAIWAN: Taiwan to establish public TV channel promoting Taiwanese Hokkien

Taiwan News: The National Languages Development Act passed the third reading at the Legislative Yuan, paving the way for the establishment of a public television channel promoting Taiwanese Hokkien.

THAILAND: Thai media faced “interference and slowdown” in 2018

Via IFEX: The media situation in 2018 was marked by “interference and slowdown” and the sector has a number of challenges to overcome.

VIETNAM: Vietnam: How Facebook is being abused to silence critics in Germany

RSF: Facebook is being systematically abused to censor Vietnamese bloggers living in exile.

AUSTRALIA: February decision expected on a new ABC chair

The Sydney Morning Herald: A new chair for the ABC could be announced in February, with senior sources at the public broadcaster expecting Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move to choose a permanent replacement for Justin Milne.

NEW ZEALAND:  Expert female voices still not being heard in sports coverage

RNZ: Research lead, Senior Lecturer in Sport Kylie Thompson, found coverage of women’s sport had increased by only 17 percent in the five years.

NEW ZEALAND: Minister faces media minefield in 2019

RNZ: 2018 was a turbulent year for the government’s media policy. Mediawatch asks the new minister Kris Faafoi about growing demand for public money in 2019 and calls for help from private news media telling him – privately – they may not be able to stay in the news business for much longer.

ALBANIA: Four NGOs urge Albania to drop proposed online media legislation

RSF: The proposed legislation, unveiled by the prime minister’s office last week, consists of amendments to the law on electronic communications and the law on audiovisual media, and its declared aim is to rein in online “defamation.”

BELGIUM: Being a woman and a journalist: career difficulties (French)

IFJ: In Belgium, women and journalism do not necessarily go hand in hand. The Association of Professional Journalists (AJP) presented the challenging results of an unprecedented survey, “Being a woman and a journalist in French-speaking Belgium”. The study, highlights the obstacles that women journalists face in the profession and the reasons that motivate them to leave.

BELGIUM: In the middle of its digital transformation, the RTBF comes out of a new historical year (French)

L’Echo: For the first time, the public service broadcaster joins RTL at the top of TV audiences in 2018. Thanks to whom? Thanks to football.

BELGIUM: RTBF Terminates AM Broadcasts

RadioWorld: The broadcaster began reducing its medium-wave service in May

CROATIA: HRT Public Broadcaster Files Lawsuits against Its Own Journalists

Total Croatia News: HND president Hrvoje Zovko, an HRT journalist and editor, said at a press conference that HND journalists and its HRT branch recently received suits in which the HRT claimed damages for “gross violations of reputation, honour and name.”

FRANCE: France Télévisions reportedly in talks with Molotov

Digital TV Europe: French linear OTT TV service Molotov has ended talks about a possible sale to Orange and has opened negotiations with public broadcaster France Télévisions, which could look to use the OTT provider’s platform to accelerate its digital transformation…

FRANCE: France Televisions tops 2018 audiences (French)

Challenges: The audience of the historic channels is rising again in 2018, with the TF1 leading and taking advantage of the World Cup, France 2 showing the strongest growth across all channels while France 3 climbs to third place at the expense of M6.

FRANCE: More anti-media hostility and violence at France’s “Gilets Jaunes” protests

RSF: Several reporters and photographers were the targets of verbal and physical violence while covering the protests in various parts of the country on 29 December. Others had their equipment seized.

FRANCE: The Board of Directors of Radio France approves the 2019 budget to break even and increases investments for the transformation of the group (French)

OffreMedia: Radio France says it is pursuing an active investment policy with a 2019 investment budget of € 77.6m, up € 23.3m from the 2018 budget.

GERMANY: German public broadcaster ZDF increases market lead to 13.9 percent share in 2018

telecompaper: The most watched TV station in Germany in 2018 is the public broadcaster ZDF with a market share of 13.9 percent, up from 13.1 percent in 2017, according to a survey of data provider Media Control. The other public broadcaster ARD is in second place with 11.5 percent, an increase from 11.3 percent in 2017.

ITALY: IPI condemns Italy’s decision to cut public funds for media organizations

IPI: Move by populist government challenges media pluralism

KOSOVO: Kosovo Media Report Notes 16 Attacks on Reporters

Balkan Insight: A report on freedom of media and safety of journalists in Kosovo published on Wednesday noted 16 cases of attacks against journalists in 2018, two of which were physical.

LATVIA: Temporary board member appointed at LTV

LSM.LV: Latvia’s media watchdog, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) on January 3 made Vikija Valdmane-Rozenberga a temporary board member at Latvian Television.

LITHUANIA: Lithuania: EFJ urges Parliament to guarantee LRT independence

EFJ: Following the report of an ad hoc Parliamentary Commission set up to investigate LRT’s financial and economic activities, the Lithuanian Parliament is considering legal amendments in order to regulate the governance and supervision of LRT.

ROMANIA: Romania’s press freedom in free fall as its takes over EU presidency

RSF: The problems with Romania’s media include excessive politicization, corrupt funding mechanisms, the subjection of editorial decision-making to media owner interests and deliberate disinformation.

SERBIA: Protesters have demands for public broadcaster

B92: The civil protest “1 of 5 million” continues on December 22 outside the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.

SPAIN: Committee of experts of RTVE: more lights than shadows for the public service (Spanish – Opinion)

Teledetodos: “Despite all the clumsiness, the Committee of Experts of RTVE has created a transcendental antecedent for the future of RTVE and the entire public service media.”

SWEDEN: Sweden replaces radio and TV licence fee

IHS Markit: With effect from 1 January, the old system of a payment due from any household with a radio or TV set has been replaced by a fee levied on individuals liable for income tax aged over 18.

UK: BBC braced for another year of turbulence

The Financial Times: Lord Hall leads fight against fake news as corporation faces funding woes.

UK: BBC opens public consultation around improvements to programme availability so that iPlayer catches up with wider VOD market

BBC: The BBC is launching a public consultation on its plans to reinvent BBC iPlayer – making it a destination in its own right, with box sets, live programming and archive titles that champion quality UK content and offer great programmes for longer.

UK: The future of TV journalism and fighting fake news


UKRAINE: 44 violations of freedom of speech registered during the 4th quarter of 2018

IMI: 44 cases of violations of freedom of speech have been registered since October till the 27th of December 2018 in 13 regions of Ukraine by IMI experts. Among them there are 33 cases of physical assaults against the journalists.

GENERAL: Netflix’s European Push Upends Local TV Broadcasters: “It’s a Gold Rush”

The Hollywood Reporter: The streamer kick-starts a frenzy in high-end drama on the continent even as it faces unique hurdles and competitors rush to bankroll more ambitious foreign series.

REGIONAL: Doing their masters’ bidding: Media smear campaigns in central and eastern Europe

Index: Unpatriotic behaviour. Sedition. Being in the pay of shadowy external forces. Faking a neo-Nazi event. These are just a few of the charges that have recently been levelled against independent journalists by pro-government media outlets in several central and eastern European countries.

REGIONAL: Polarisation and Clientelism Limit Media Freedom in Central and South East Europe

SEENPM: Challenged media pluralism, amid polarization and clientelism in Central and South East Europe, was the focus of a public debate in Budapest featuring prominent media experts.

ARGENTINA: Argentina: IFJ condemns repression of press workers (Spanish)

IFJ: Communicators, journalists and public media staff were repressed by the police on December 20, while they were protesting for wage improvements in front of the Kirchner Cultural Center (CCK).

ARGENTINA: Argentinian women journalists report challenges with career advancement, professional development and discrimination

Knight Center: In Argentina, 72 percent of women journalists recently surveyed believe that women have less opportunities for growth than men in media companies. Seventy-seven percent believe that, in journalism, women do not earn the same amount as men for doing the same job.

ARGENTINA: Dismissals and crisis in public media (Spanish)

Tiempo: “No to zero wage negotiations” was the slogan of the demonstration of press workers who complained about the lack of salary increase in TV Pública, Télam and Radio Nacional. They are the three most important means of communication that the State has. The government response was a surprise repression at the hands of the Police of the City of Buenos Aires.

ARGENTINA: Fernando Subirats, new director of Radio Nacional (Spanish)

La Nacion: After the resignation of Ana Gerschenson as a director of Radio Nacional AM870, the vice Fernando Subirats became the head of the radio station a few hours ago. This week he will begin to fulfill his new position and, before that, he talked with La Nacion about his brand new professional challenge.

ARGENTINA: Radio La Colifata: Argentina’s ‘loony radio’

Aljazeera: More than 20 years ago, a psychology student doing his training at one of Argentina’s oldest psychiatric wards kept being asked by his family and friends what it was like to work in there. So, he came up with an idea: to let the patients explain in their own words.

ARGENTINA: Uncertainty and concerns reign at Radio Nacional (Spanish)

Primerafuente: The employees of the state’s radio station began 2019 in a state of alert and mobilisation in rejection of the government’s decision to deplete public media.

BRAZIL: Backing up Brazil’s internet so Bolsonaro can’t censor it

CJR: The Archive is working on backing up as many Brazilian websites as it can, after a number of requests from those worried about the impact the new government of Jair Bolsonaro could have on certain kinds of information.

BRAZIL: On the eve of a new government in Brazil, Bolsonaro criticizes the press and journalists are targeted on social networks

Knight Center: In just the last ten days on Twitter, Bolsonaro has published or re-Tweeted ten posts with criticisms or detrimental statements about the traditional press. His son, Carlos Bolsonaro, a councilor in Rio de Janeiro and one of the main names among the allies of the president-elect, published or re-Tweeted 26 posts with similar content in the same period.

COLOMBIA: Government seeks to strengthen public media and content quality (Spanish)

La República: During the Rtvc board of directors meeting convened by Sylvia Constain, ICT minister, the strategic plan of the company was reviewed for the upcoming year. In seven points it highlights the decision to “promote best practices in freedom of expression as a fundamental part of the debate, discussion and exchange of ideas within our democracy.”

COLOMBIA: Is there censorship in Colombia’s public media? (Spanish) Journalists from RTVC denounced a case of journalistic veto by the president of the organisation.

ECUADOR: Ecuador’s National Assembly eliminates controversial sanctioning body with reforms to Communications Law

Knight Center: After a second and final debate, on Dec. 18, Ecuador’s National Assembly approved reforms to the country’s Communication Law (LOC, for its acronym in Spanish), indicated by experts as the most repressive on the continent.

MEXICO: Public media organisations can manage the cuts of López Obrador (Spanish)

El Economista: Public media organisations meet today [23 December] together with analysts and experts in the sector because the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has proposed budget cuts of up to double digits of its operations. These, af a first glance, would compromise the immediate future of the broadcasters.

NICARAGUA: CPJ, international journalists express deep concern over deteriorating press freedom climate in Nicaragua, call for release of detained reporters


NICARAGUA: Nicaraguan journalists jailed incommunicado as Ortega government continues targeting of independent media

Knight Center: It has been thirteen days since two independent Nicaraguan journalists were arrested as police entered the TV station where they work and forced it off air.

GENERAL: ‘We are not doing enough’: 27 Latin American media outlets pen editorial regarding climate change

Knight Center: Faced with the various alerts and reports from international organizations that defend the care of the environment and the obvious changes in the global climate, the objective of this group of media is to call on journalists at the regional level to take an active part in the dissemination of information that contributes to mitigating this climate crisis.

JORDAN: Women in media face obstacles to obtaining leading positions — study

The Jordan Times:  More opportunities need to be given to women to open the door for them to assume leading positions in the media sector, as a study showed that 90 per cent of the field’s women face obstacles, media experts said.

SAUDI ARABIA: Why is Netflix enabling the Saudi crackdown on press freedom? (Opinion)

Aljazeera: Netflix’s decision to take down an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act show sets a bad precedent.

TURKEY: Turkey’s last two critical TV channels hounded

RSF: Imposed with unusual speed, RTÜK’s sanctions capped a campaign of attacks that was orchestrated at the highest level, with President Erdoğan repeatedly lashing out at those responsible for the critical comments, warning that they would “pay the price”

GENERAL: Gulf, Egypt jail activists amid social media crackdown

France24: Courts in the Gulf and Egypt have upheld jail terms against leading activists in a crackdown on protesting through social media, marking a somber end to 2018 for rights campaigners.

CANADA: CBC boss Catherine Tait on advertising, streaming, the four-headed news show, and more (Interview)

The Star: Catherine Tait has been at the helm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation only since July, but she has already received an earful from viewers, listeners and employees about what they want to see in the country’s largest cultural institution.

US: Fighting to Keep Public Notices in Newspapers

Nieman Reports: The public loses out when government makes it harder to find out what it’s doing.

US: FM Signals Continue to Proliferate in U.S

Radio World: But AM station count again declined.

US: NPR Report: Smart Speakers See 78% Increase YOY

NPR:  The latest survey from NPR and Edison Research, conducted after the December 2018 holidays, confirms continued increases in the U.S. voice-activated smart speaker market: 53M people A18+ in the U.S. (21% of the population) now own at least one smart speaker.

US: ‘Stupid Questions,’ Rarer Briefings, No Holiday Party: Trump’s Year With the Press

NYT: Mr. Trump is reinventing relations between the president and the press.

US: The year in press freedom: Attacks, arrests, and more

CJR: The journalistic landscape in the United States is volatile, and 2018 has been a harrowing year for press freedom. The Tracker has documented more than 100 press freedom incidents since January, from murders and physical attacks to stops at the border and legal orders.

2018 reporting highlights from around the world

IJNet: From in-depth investigations to interactive multimedia stories, our team of editors compiled a list that provides insight on the events that happened around the world in 2018, and shows the innovative ways that journalists address them.

2018 Reverses Downward Trend in Killings of Journalists and Media Staff with 94 Victims of Violence


Another Good Year For Strongman Politics, Another Terrible Year For Freedom Of Expression (Opinion)

Huffington Post: Freedom of expression is a right from which other human rights flow, and its decline is a wake-up call: I argue that defending this right is a challenge to us all.

Drawing the lines: The growing debate over how to separate the good from the bad online

CIMA: Over the past two years, governments, news outlets, platforms, and audiences across the world have come to recognize the overwhelming scale of disinformation. From October 2017 to March 2018, Facebook reportedly deleted an astounding 1.3 billion fake accounts.

Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Nieman Lab: “Indigenous journalists and media counter this systematic bias often by reporting on what isn’t covered (or covered well, or covered consistently) by other media. But also — and this is a crucial difference — they do so by turning to Indigenous people as experts on their lives and their histories.”

The top 10 tools for journalism in 2018 (and 10 other things to bookmark)


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

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Header image: TV cameras lined up, covering large public event. Credit: Microgen/istock