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

Some great news to start 2018!

We have been informed by our partner, The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), that Radio Anguilla, Radio Turks and Caicos and the Dominica Broadcasting Service have received essential support to repair and replace damaged transmitters, antenna and other crucial equipment following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The much needed assistance came from the BBC and CBC who responded to a callout from the CBU via the World Broadcasting Union and Public Media Alliance.

Our sincere thanks to all those involved in responding to the call and supporting the ongoing recovery across the region.

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

CAMEROON: Deaths and detentions as Cameroon cracks down on anglophone activists

The Guardian: Dozens die and hundreds jailed in unrest after calls for English to be used in regions’ schools and courtrooms.

CAMEROON: RFI Hausa correspondent released from jail in Cameroon

RFI: RFI’s Hausa correspondent in Carmeroon Ahmed Abba, has been eleased from jail after 29 months in detention, his lawyer said.

EGYPT: Journalist Marks a Year in Detention

HRW:  Egyptian journalist Mahmoud Hussein marks one year in pretrial detention without proper due process on December 22, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today.

ETHIOPIA: Ethiopia’s New Addiction – And What It Says About Media Freedom


GHANA: Journalists attacked while covering demonstration in Accra

MFWA via Ifex

GHANA: License fees paid for content, not for TV sets – GBC boss

Citifmonline: The Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Dr. Akuffo Annor-Ntow, is at odds with the laws governing the collection of TV License fees.

GHANA: TV Licence, we want understanding, not just prosecutions

GBC: The Director of Legal Services of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (G.B.C) John Kwame Waja says the objective of the corporation is not to rush to prosecute television licence defaulters but to ensure that there is a greater understanding of the need to support the public broadcaster to discharge their obligations as required.

ZIMBABWE: Police and media agree on actions to secure safe media environment in Zimbabwe

Misa Zimbabwe via Africafex: The Zimbabwe Republic Police and representatives of media organisations led by MISA Zimbabwe Trustee Cris Chinaka on 20 December 2017 met in Harare and agreed on a raft of actions to secure a safe and conducive working environment for journalists.

RWANDA: Rwandan Journalists Welcome Move to Decriminalise Defamation

All Africa: Under the proposed Penal Code that was approved for debate in parliament in October 2017, media practitioners would face up to seven years in prison sentence or a fine of over U.S.$8,000 (Rwf7 million) if found guilty.

SOMALIA: 2017 Turned Out to be Another Grim Year for Journalists and Journalism in Somalia, says NUSOJ

NUSOJ via allAfrica: 2017 has turned out to be another anus horribilis for journalists throughout Somalia. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) recorded during the year four journalists killed, 12 wounded, while 22 journalists were arrested and 8 beaten up, or threatened with death or imprisonment.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC quietly readvertising its CEO and CFO positions

Channel 24

TANZANIA: TCRA slaps hefty fines on ‘unethical’ media houses

Daily News: Five television stations have been ordered to pay a fine of over 60m/- in total for violating regulations governing broadcasting service.

TUNISIA: Tunisia’s first LGBTQ radio station keeps playing despite threats

Reuters: Bombarded with death threats, the head of Tunisia’s first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) online radio station on Wednesday refused to stop his efforts to promote “tolerance” in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

UGANDA: Uganda media ordered to air Museveni’s New Year speech

The East African: All radio and television stations in Uganda have been forced to adjust their Sunday programming, following a directive from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to broadcast President Museveni’s New Year message live.

CHINA: China closes more than 13,000 websites in past three years

Channel NewsAsia: China has closed more than 13,000 websites since the beginning of 2015 for breaking the law or other rules and the vast majority of people support government efforts to clean up cyberspace, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.

CHINA: Why are there no climate sceptics in the Chinese media?

Eco-Business: Sun Yat-sen University’s Jia Hepeng explains why climate science goes unquestioned, unlike in the West.

INDIA: Indian Cabinet approves e-auction of 683 FM radio channels

Asia Radio Today: India’s Union Cabinet has approved the process for e-auctioning 683 FM radio channels in 236 cities in the third batch of Phase III of private FM radio expansion, according to a government statement.

INDIA: Indian I&B ministry evaluates content sharing between AIR and DD News

ABU: The move comes as part of an overall revamp of Prasar Bharati, which runs AIR and Doordarshan, to revive the finances and audience of the broadcaster.

INDIA: MPs call for tighter broadcast regulations in India

Rapid TV News: Current powers held by India’s communications regulator TRAI are inadequate when it comes to enforcing the broadcast sector, according to the parliamentary standing committee on Information Technology and Communications (SCIT).

INDIA: Prasar Bharati has spent Rs 114.4 cr on setting up DTTs till Nov 2017: Rathore

Television Post: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has incurred an expenditure of Rs 114.4 crore till November 2017 for setting up digital terrestrial transmitters (DTT) in 29 states, minister of state in the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has informed the Lok Sabha.

INDONESIA: Indonesian TV censorship: cartoons cut, athletes blurred as conservative Islam asserts itself and broadcasters fear sanctions

South China Morning Post: Kissing scenes in Shaun the Sheep, swimsuits in Doraemon, even a female athlete on CNN – Indonesian TV censors are in overdrive, and internet streaming could be next. Some parents, though, welcome the oversight.

JAPAN: NHK-Japan to discuss possible subscription fee cut for needy families

ABU: NHK Chairman Susumu Ishihara said the broadcaster will consider reducing the viewing fee for needy families.

KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh journalism badly hit by media law amendments

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the press law amendments that President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed into law yesterday because they deal a new series of blows to media freedom in Kazakhstan, especially to investigative journalism and access to state-held information.

KYRGYZSTAN: Court Decisions Limit Press Freedom

Freedom House: In response to the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan upholding a lower-level court decision to fine the founders of the independent outlet Zanoza.kg the equivalent of about $387,000 because of alleged libel against the country’s former president, Freedom House issued the following statement.

MALDIVES: UK ambassador ‘worried’ about Maldives

Maldives Independent: Britain’s ambassador to the Maldives has said he is worried about the erosion of freedoms in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

MYANMAR: Myanmar Court Extends Detention of Reuters Journalists

NY Times: A court in Myanmar extended the detention of two Reuters journalists for another 14 days, despite international condemnation of their arrests as an attack on press freedom.

PHILIPPINES: Yearender 2107 | Press freedom in constant peril

Bulatlat: The year 2017 was characterized by continued media killings, heightened online threats and harassment against journalists, censorship, and systematic campaign to deceive the public.

SOUTH KOREA: MBC struggling to get back to normal in wake of strike

The Korea Herald: Public broadcaster MBC won’t be able to air weekday night-time dramas during February in the aftermath of a months-long strike that crippled production. 

THAILAND: NBTC-Thailand reviews TV licences of some operators

ABU: In another bid to achieve media reform, media professionals in Thailand called for a legal change to allow television broadcasters to return some of their owned frequencies to regulators.

THAILAND: Stop press intimidation

Bangkok Post: The Thai Journalists Association wound up the year by issuing a depressing statement. It rated 2017 as yet another year where the free press was regulated and intimidated by the military government.

VIETNAM: Vietnamese, Cambodian radios boost cooperation

Asia Radio Today: Cambodian Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith held a working session with leaders of  national radio broadcaster The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) in Hanoi on December 21 and signed a bilateral cooperation agreement for 2017-2020.

REGIONAL: From Internet Blackouts to Violent Attacks, South Asia Saw New Threats to Free Expression Online in 2017

Global Voices: In 2017, South Asian countries faced growing challenges in the field of internet freedom, censorship, and freedom of expression. The Global Voices South Asia team highlighted many of these issues throughout the year. Here is a summary of our coverage.

AUSTRALIA: ABC Radio Australia launches new extended Morning show to PNG and the Pacific

ABC: ABC Radio Australia listeners in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific will get an additional two hours of dedicated live morning weekday programming in 2018 with the launch of a new morning news, talk and entertainment show from January 22.

SAMOA: Parliament votes to bring back criminal libel law over social media

Pacific Media Centre: Samoa’s Parliament has unanimously voted to restore a criminal libel law that had been repealed four years ago.

BELARUS: Preventing protest coverage: How Belarus controls what the public knows

Index on Censorship: “Europe’s last dictatorship” doesn’t tolerate dissent. The country’s constitution claims to protect freedom of the press, but many laws seem to contradict this.

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA: Whistleblowing and distrust of institutions

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso: Bosnia and Herzegovina has two laws for the protection of whistleblowers, one at the national level and one for the entity of Republika Sprska – but their protection mechanisms are completely diverging.

CROATIA: Critics Sound Alarm Over State of Croatian Broadcaster

Balkan Insight: A growing chorus of voices say Croatia’s public broadcaster HRT is succumbing to political pressure and becoming an echo chamber for the government – just as it was in the 1990s.

CROATIA: Journalists in Croatia facing death threats

Deutsche Welle: Reporters Without Borders warns that press freedom is in jeopardy in Croatia. Many journalists are being threatened. Two of them spoke to DW about their experiences in the country.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Journalists and Schools Work Together to Teach Media Literacy

EJO: Media education is already part of the country’s school curriculum and many journalists work with schools to develop students’ understanding of the news process: including demonstrating how content is created and how it can be vulnerable to manipulation.

DENMARK: ‘Danflix’ could be Denmark’s public service answer to Netflix

The Local: Denmark’s governing Liberal (Venstre) party wants media users in the country to be able to access Danish-produced content via an app and 24-hour television channel called Danflix.

FRANCE: Naming dispute hits French overseas broadcaster

Radio New Zealand: The French overseas public broadcaster has been forced to make a change to its name after a challenge by a Paris television station.

GEORGIA: Parliament Adopts Controversial Amendments to Broadcasting Law

Civil.ge: On December 22, the Parliament of Georgia approved with its third and final reading amendments to the Law on Broadcasting, increasing the powers of the state-funded Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).

GERMANY: Germany starts enforcing hate speech law

BBC: Germany is set to start enforcing a law that demands social media sites move quickly to remove hate speech, fake news and illegal material.

GREECE: Journalists’ union ESIEMTH and two municipal media attacked in Thessaloniki

IFJ: The ESIEMTH headquarters were attacked by around ten hooded assailants. The staff were threatened and asked not to move as the intruders said that “an intervention (was) about to take place”.

ITALY: English, documentaries and more European films: Rai towards the new contract

Wired: A channel in English. More investments in documentaries. And the obligation to broadcast more films and Italian and European audiovisual products, up to 60% of the program schedule from 2021. These are some of the cornerstones of the new service contract that Rai will sign with the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) for the years 2018-2022.

ITALY: Nearly 200 Italian journalists received police protection in 2017 (Italian)

RSF: No fewer than 196 Italian journalists received police protection this year. This alarmingly high figure was revealed by the interior minister in early December at the inauguration of a coordination centre for combatting acts of intimidation against journalists, a promise made after the attack on the RAI reporter.

ITALY: The Balkans barely exist for Italian TV news

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso: A new study shows that South-East Europe is completely out of sight for the main TV newsrooms in Italy, except for Greece and Turkey.

MACEDONIA: Macedonia Broadcaster Blew Millions on VMRO DPMNE’s History Movies

Balkan Insight: BIRN research shows how the country’s public broadcaster was used to bring the former ruling party’s historical obsessions to the country’s TV screens.

MALTA: Malta media murder trial reopens after false starts

DW: After being delayed twice, the pretrial hearing into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has begun. Evidence from the chief investigator described a bomb that was triggered from a boat off the coast.

MOLDOVA: US Urges Moldova to Tackle Russian Propaganda

Balkan Insight: The US ambassador to Chisinau, James Pettit, said that Moldova should adopt new legislation to counter Russian disinformation and boost the independence of broadcast media.

MONTENEGRO: Montenegrin NGOs to Rally in Defence of Broadcaster

Balkan Insight: NGOs have called for a protest in defence of the state-funded broadcaster RTCG, which has come under fire from the ruling party for working recently in a less partisan fashion.

MONTENEGRO: Montenegro’s ruling party takes control of public TV broadcaster

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the way Montenegro’s ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) is seizing control of the supervisory council of the state-owned TV broadcaster, RTCG, threatening its independence

SPAIN: RTVE: the reform that is waiting (Opinion – Spanish)                                                                   

InfoLibre: While it is true that throughout the year some groups have shown their unequivocal desire for RTVE to regain its independence and pluralism in the parliamentary election of their bodies, the irrefutable fact is that either the parliamentary arithmetic, the different proposals […] the pacts made not to give up on the control exercised for decades, or a sum of all this, has led the reform to a standstill.”

SPAIN: The last attempt of the parties to elect the new RTVE president by public contest fails (Spanish)

Vertele – El Diario: The tables of the Congress and the Senate will now be those that have to decide if the president is renewed on the basis of the old law, which leaves the designation to a simple majority, or to apply the reform approved in September, which requires an absolute majority formed by at least four groups in the second round.

SPAIN: The parties hope to agree in January on the RTVE reform (Spanish)

El Confidencial: The Mesa del Congreso will open the deadline for the proposals presentation so that negotiations between the four main parties can begin.

SWITZERLAND: Majority back scrapping TV licence fee at referendum

The Local: A majority of Swiss want to see the TV licence fee scrapped when the proposal comes to a referendum next March.

UK: £60m fund to make more British kids’ TV

BBC: The government is giving broadcasters including Channel 4 and ITV an extra £60m to help them make more home-grown children’s programmes.

UK: BBC reports surge in calls to helpline after year of traumatic storylines

The Guardian: Action Line had 431,000 calls and online visits, including 127,000 in response to programmes dealing with sexual abuse.

ARGENTINA: Argentina reduces public TV staff

Rapid Tv News: Argentina’s Sistema Federal de Medios y Contenidos Públicos has announced major redundancies in its public content production unit.

ARGENTINA: The crisis in the public media spreads with dismissals in Radio Nacional (Spanish)

La Política Online: The adjustment in the public media reached Radio Nacional, where this morning dozens of workers found out that they were dismissed, which caused the unions to organize a vigil at the door of the station.

BRAZIL: EBC cuts spending and changes its grid to try to raise audience (Portuguese)

Folha de S. Paulo: Amid financial tightening and low ratings, the EBC (Empresa Brasil de Comunicação) will bet on reducing expenses to balance the bills and changing the programming grid to attract the public in 2018.

ECUADOR: Assaults on freedom of expression decrease by 40% (Spanish)

Fundamedios: 2017 closes with a figure of 297 attacks on freedom of expression, out of a total of 2348, since 2008. It is the first year in which there is a reduction in attacks with 40% less, compared to the cases reported in 2016, that closed with 491.

MEXICO: Despite global decreases in journalists’ murders, press advocates report record numbers of journalists killed in Mexico

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Though the number of journalists killed for their work decreased globally in 2017, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) noted one exception: Mexico.

MEXICO: Latest Murder Highlights Blurred Lines in Journalism

VOA: In a country where at least 10 journalists have been killed this year in what observers are calling a crisis for freedom of expression, the risk is especially high for those who operate without editors, company directors or colleagues who could go to bat for them or steer them to institutions that would protect them.

MEXICO: Using Billions in Government Cash, Mexico Controls News Media

The New York Times: The result is a media landscape across Mexico in which federal and state officials routinely dictate the news, telling outlets what they should — and should not — report, according to dozens of interviews with executives, editors and reporters.

IRAQ: Journalists arrested to prevent coverage of Iraqi Kurdistan protests

RSF: Members of the security forces have subjected dozens of journalists to violence and intimidation with the aim of preventing them from covering the demonstrations, which in some cases have been accompanied by bloodshed.

PALESTINE: Rights groups call on Palestine to reform restrictive cybercrimes law

HRW via Ifex: The Justice Ministry has proposed striking some repressive provisions in the 2017 law in response to concerns from civil society groups, but left in place others that would allow disproportionate and arbitrary restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, privacy, and protection of data.

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia to launch English-language news channel

Rapid TV News: Plans are afoot in Saudi Arabia for an English-language news channel to be jointly run by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and Radio and Television Corporation.

TURKEY: Cumhuriyet journalists’ trial in Turkey a ‘judicial charade’

IPI: Defendant silenced, expelled from court, remains in prison.

TURKEY: Jailed Turkish journalists soon to be stigmatized by obligatory uniform

RSF: In addition to being jailed on extremely grave charges, these journalists will now be stigmatized by the colour-coded attire they must wear when being tried.

TURKEY: Unfair trials illustrate continuing onslaught on free speech in Turkey

RSF: Yesterday and today, the Aachen Peace Award organisation, PEN Belgium/Flanders, PEN International, PEN Turkey and Reporters without Borders (RSF) observed several hearings in the cases of Cumhuriyet daily, the Academics for Peace and the Özgür Gündem solidarity campaign, which took place in Çağlayan court house in Istanbul.

YEMEN: In Houthi-controlled Yemen, silence, exile, or detention; at least 13 journalists held

CPJ: Torture. Denial of medical care. Repeated interrogations and accusations of collaborating with enemies: Yemeni journalist Youssef Ajlan’s story of his detention, which lasted over a year, hews closely to those of many journalists imprisoned for their work.

GENERAL: Life after sentencing for MENA’s political detainees: A December roundup

Ifex: With freedom of expression in the Middle East and North Africa remaining a prominent target of dictatorial regimes this December, rights advocates, both free and imprisoned, as well as press freedom and human rights groups focused on the plight of the many political detainees serving lengthy and unjust sentences in obscurity.

CANADA: The CBC Must Go Completely Ad-Free (Opinion)

Huffington Post: Public broadcasters exist to provide a space for information and entertainment that’s free of influence from vested interests.

CANADA: CBC president Hubert Lacroix to stay in job as search for successor continues

CBC: Hubert Lacroix, the outgoing president of CBC/Radio-Canada, is sticking with the public broadcaster as the selection of his successor drags past its deadline.

US: As FCC Destroys Localism, Public Media Could Save Local News (Opinion)

MediaShift: “With local programming disappearing in commercial broadcasting, public media is more essential than ever.”

US: Why pubmedia should double down on content for kids (Listen)

Current: Whether they’re talking to your kids or to Congress, the hosts and characters of public media children’s programming are powerful. They promote understanding, inclusion and education. Plus, they’re really entertaining.

Cross-examining the network: The year in digital and social media research

Nieman Lab: Journalist’s Resource sifts through the academic journals so you don’t have to. Here are what they consider 10 of the most important pieces of new research into digital and social media published in 2017.

‘Dear, dear, dear, dear…’ The best Paradise Papers TV moments


‘Fake News’: Wide Reach but Little Impact, Study Suggests

The New York Times: The reach of fake news was wide indeed, the study found, yet also shallow.

How can local and national work together better when big news breaks?


IFCN 10: The most noteworthy fact-checking highlights of 2017

Poynter: From surfacing viral hoaxes on WhatsApp to debating the use of the term “fake news,” strategies to counter online misinformation have blossomed over the past year. The number of fact-checking projects grew globally, from 114 at the start of the year to 137 as of publication.

Worldwide round-up of journalists killed, detained, held hostage, or missing in 2017

RSF: The 2017 round-up figures compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) include professional journalists, media workers and citizen-journalists, who are playing an increasing role in the production of news and information, especially in countries with oppressive regimes and countries at war, where it is hard for professional journalists to operate.

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

All headlines are sourced from their original story.

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

Header image: TV-Studio. Credits: freie-kreation/istock.