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

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BENIN: Benin repeals social media tax after protests

Mail & Guardian: After 10 days of mobilisation with more than 500 000 people being affected by the social media tax, the government in Benin have decided to cancel the tax.

CAMEROON: Cameroon’s women journalists launch #StopSexualHarassment237 campaign

IJNET: Prize-winning reporter Comfort Mussa used her Facebook page to sound the alarm: “Female journalists in Cameroon have to team up to fight sexual harassment in the media. It is widespread & this has to change. Who’s in?” she posted on August 8.

MALI: In key election year, Mali press in danger

IPI: Media environment has not recovered from 2012 coup turmoil as attacks on journalists continue

NAMIBIA: Editors rap Katjavivi over the knuckles for threat on media

New Era: The Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) has expressed shock and dismay at Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi’s threat last week to bar parliamentary journalists from attending sessions.

RWANDA: Cartoons that ‘humiliate’ officials in Rwanda now a crime

ABC News (US): Drawing cartoons or producing writing that “humiliates” a government official is now a criminal offense in Rwanda, a new law says.

RWANDA: Rwandan media denounces law on cartoons

Africanews: The Rwandan media has denounced a new law criminalizing the publication of satire and political cartoons of politicians.

SOMALIA: UN must take action to defend journalists’ human rights

IFJ: The IFJ and its affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), have formally called on the UN Human Rights Council to take action to stop attacks against the country’s journalists.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC will not accept ‘interference’ that ‘threatens’ its independence – official

The Citizen: The DA had asked the public broadcaster to flight the Zondo Commission on its terrestrial platforms, including television and radio.

SOUTH AFRICA: This is how much the SABC suffers when you don’t pay your TV Licence

Business Tech: The SABC is presenting its turnaround strategy to parliament today, highlighting the major issues facing the public broadcaster, including how the lack of TV Licence fees is a massive stumbling block.

SUDAN: SPLM’s Yassir Arman: ‘The media is under siege in Sudan’

DW: A recent episode of a DW Arabic talk show stirred controversy in Sudan after a woman spoke of sexual harassment there. One of Sudan’s leading opposition figures told DW that human rights have deteriorated in the country.

ZAMBIA: Zambia’s social media tax isn’t really about social media or freedom of speech

Quartz: Following the examples of Uganda and Tanzania, Zambia announced in August that it plans to implement an internet tax. President Edgar Lungu’s government aims to tax over-the-top services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

ZIMBABWE: ZACRAS urges govt to open up media

DailyNews: The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) continues to push for the opening of community airwaves across the country.

GENERAL: ‘Covering the full breadth of the continent was really important to me’: Reuters’ Africa Journal is reporting diverse and vibrant African stories

Journalism.co.uk: Mobile-friendly video service Africa Journal is catering for both local and global audiences, says editor Serena Chaudhry

BANGLADESH: Journalists slam pending Bangladesh digital security law

AP via WTOP: Journalists and human rights groups are demanding major amendments to a bill recently passed in Bangladesh’s Parliament, saying it will further choke constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

INDIA: All India Radio launches streaming services on Amazon’s Alexa

Asia Radio Today: India’s public broadcaster, All India Radio (AIR), has launched its streaming services on Amazon’s Alexa Smart Speakers.

INDIA: FM radio stations and their audiences bloom in restive Kashmir

Asia Times: Amid ongoing unrest, music is in the air in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir as more private FM radio stations commence operations

INDIA: Press Trust of India sacks 297 staff in one day

IFJ: The Press Trust of India (PTI), the largest news agency in India, laid off 297 staff across the country on September 29.

INDONESIA: Indonesia: Radio in the time of digital

Asia Radio Today: Based on a survey conducted by Nielsen Indonesia in 2016, that year, radio penetration in Indonesia reached 38 per cent or around 20 million people.

INDONESIA: Indonesian government to hold weekly ‘fake news’ briefings

The Guardian: Initiative aims to stop the spread of disinformation in the social media-obsessed country

MYANMAR: Myanmar: Three years of dashed hopes

IPI: IPI members and other leading journalists on the perils of doing journalism under Aung San Suu Kyi

PAKISTAN: Govt launches ‘Fake News Buster’ account to expose false reports

DAWN: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has launched a Twitter account to “tackle and expose” fake news that is spread through social media, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced on Monday.

SRI LANKA: Norway says Sri Lanka has taken noteworthy measures in media freedom

Colombo Gazette

AUSTRALIA: ABC crisis: dual inquiries to investigate alleged political interference

The Guardian: Labor to push ahead with a separate investigation into claims Justin Milne tried to pressure Michelle Guthrie into sacking Emma Alberici

AUSTRALIA: ABC scores International Emmy Award nomination for documentary on Australian film

ABC: The three-part series, broadcast on the ABC in 2017, has been nominated for the 2018 International Emmy for Arts Programming, which recognises the world’s best programs dedicated to an art form or artist.

AUSTRALIA: Calls to secure independence of national broadcaster

IFJ: Following the removal of the managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and allegations of attempts by the chairman of the ABC to fire a journalist in response to political pressure, ABC staffers are now calling for an independent inquiry to investigate the allegations of editorial interference.

AUSTRALIA: Gaven Morris: ABC’s independence is our most precious asset

ABC News: Today, the Australian public has asked to be reassured that the ABC’s independence is protected.

AUSTRALIA: Justin Milne resigns and denies government interference in ABC

The Guardian: Former ABC chairman says he never sent email asking for Emma Alberici or Andrew Probyn to be sacked

AUSTRALIA: ‘We need to save the ABC’: Secret email shows public broadcaster’s chairman wanted to fire Emma Alberici

News.co.au: Chaos at the national broadcaster has deepened with ABC staff around the country calling for chairman Justin Milne to resign and the Communications Minister demanding an inquiry, but Mr Milne says he’s not going anywhere.

NEW ZEALAND: MediaRoom: RNZ claims radio’s crown

Newsroom: RNZ National has surged past its commercial rivals to be the number one radio station in New Zealand for the first time under the current ratings.

NEW ZEALAND: State attempted stifling of NZ media (Audio)

RNZ: Media commentator Gavin Ellis says NZ news media are quite rightly rebelling against attempts by Police and other state agencies to control news coverage with onerous access ‘contracts’.

NEW ZEALAND: Stuff-NZME merger would lead to ‘substantial reduction’ of journalists, court says

RNZ: A merger of media companies Stuff and NZME could have led to fewer journalists, reduced quality and fewer voices in the news, says the Court of Appeal.

AUSTRIA: Austria’s far-right minister tests coalition amid press-curb fears

Financial Times: Email urging police to restrict information to media causes outcry.

BULGARIA: Bulgaria must ensure safety of journalists (Letter)

Index On Censorship: The undersigned press freedom organisations are writing to you today to express our concern over the treatment of a team of journalists investigating corruption in Bulgaria, and to urge you to ensure their safety.

CROATIA: HRT Programming Council worried about situation at public broadcaster

Total Croatia News: The programming council of the Croatian national broadcaster on Monday convened an emergency session to discuss the situation on Croatian Radio and Television (HRT).

FRANCE: Public media: There is a lot of work to be done” says Catherine Morin-Desailly (French)

Public Sénat: Catherine Morin-Desailly, chair of the Committee on Culture and Jean-Pierre Leleux, rapporteur for the opinion on audio-visual credits, made a progress report on their work on the future of public broadcasting.

GERMANY: Free-press conflict overshadows Merkel meeting Turkey’s Erdogan

DW: Angela Merkel says she raised human rights issues with Recep Tayyip Erdogan — an issue where they can only agree to disagree. The Turkish president’s visit to Berlin was met with protests from public and press alike.

GERMANY: Peter Limbourg re-elected as DW director general

DW: Peter Limbourg has been reaffirmed as director general of Deutsche Welle (DW), giving him another six years at the helm of Germany’s international broadcaster. He was praised for his innovations up to now.

IRELAND: RTÉ needs ‘immediate’ €30m funding rise, says broadcasting regulator
The Irish Times: TG4 should be given €6m more, the BAI says as it calls for ‘urgent’ Government action

ITALY: ‘Fake news’ journalist made chair of Italy’s state broadcaster

The Guardian: Appointment of Marcello Foa as president of Rai raises fears over press freedom

ITALY: Italy, France and Germany: an allied European pole for TV series (Italian)

Corriere della Sera: Rai, France Télévisions and Germany’s ZDF make an agreement. The aim: the co-production of TV series able to compete on the market with the best of international series.

ITALY: Prix Italia: Rai returns among the winners, Gedi also awarded. Praise to Japanese NHK for a TV and Web project on youth suicide (Italian)

Prima Online: At the 70th Prix Italia, Italy is back among the best with Rai and Gedi. Japan, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom also received prizes.

LITHUANIA: Lithuania hits back at Russian disinformation

DW: A Lithuanian campaign uniting civil society and all major news outlets to counter Russian propaganda sets a precedent, but the dangers of being labelled “fake” are a cause for concern. Benas Gerdziunas reports.

MACEDONIA: Political developments put media reform on the backburner

IFEX: Recent political developments have affected the implementation of the reforms in the area of freedom of expression in Macedonia. The focus of government institutions on overcoming political obstacles to joining NATO and the EU had put most other reforms on the backburner.

POLAND: Politics, gender key triggers for online abuse in Poland

IPI: New IPI report examines newsroom measures for protecting journalists from digital harassment

ROMANIA: Romanian Government Funds Sputnik-Affiliated Website

Media Power Monitor: Last year, the Ministry for the Romanians from Everywhere allocated €20,000 to fund the website Usd24.ro, a website that re-publishes all the articles from the Romanian version of the Russian publication Sputnik, Recorder.ro reported.

RUSSIA: Too dangerous to stay: Russia’s journalists are leaving the country

Index on Censorship: A country with the largest territory in the world and a turbulent modern history, Russia is home to one of the most difficult media landscapes and censorship has been tightening its grip with new-found strength.

SPAIN: Journalists and political parties reject the Government’s intention to “muzzle” the media (Spanish)

El Mundo: The government’s announcement to try to limit the freedom of expression of the media, coinciding in time with news reports that put in check different members of the Executive, has caused surprise, anger and outrage among the associations of journalists and political parties of the opposition.

SPAIN: Managing and directing RTVE, a matter of the State (Spanish – Opinion)

El Diario: If the public tender to elect the new president of RTVE ends and ends well, the politicians will have done their job and, as mentioned before, will have been up to the standards that Spanish society demands of them.

SPAIN: Televisión Española, the “engine” of Spanish cinema (Spanish)

Panorama Audiovisual: In the last year, public television participated in 75 film projects (41 films and 30 documentaries) and programmed 547 films.

UK: BBC Two to get first full rebrand since early 90s

The Guardian: Channel also working with Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker to develop new shows

UK: How to get started with open-source investigations; lessons from the BBC team behind Cameroon: Anatomy of a Killing

Journalism.co.uk: Staff at the BBC’s new investigative unit, Africa Eye, reveal useful tools and the most influential people to follow online

UK: ‘If Europe’s ports are underwater, Brexit may seem less important’: we’re expanding climate change coverage

BBC: From 3 October The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 and Newshour on BBC World Service will be covering climate change every week.

UKRAINE: Ukraine’s Eurovision broadcaster, UA:PBC, forced to end analogue broadcasting

ESCXTRA: Due to lack of funding, the Ukrainian government have forced the only Ukrainian EBU member, UA:PBC, to terminate broadcasts.

UKRAINE: Ukraine’s public broadcaster struggling for state support

DW: Ukraine’s public broadcaster is being modernized with Western help. But with just half a year until the country’s presidential election, the outlet is not finding much political backing domestically.

GENERAL: New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

European Parliament: MEPs voted on updated rules on audiovisual media services, protecting children better, with stricter rules on advertising, and 30% European content in video-on-demand.

REGIONAL: Three Nordic countries expand their focus on media literacy

Nordicom: Finland, Norway and Sweden are now expanding their media literacy initiatives – from focusing on children and young people’s media skills to include adults and different special groups.

CARIBBEAN: Journalist of the month: Alison Kentish

IJNet: Alison Kentish, a journalist from the Caribbean, has carved out a niche for herself in environmental journalism and encourages others to cover the beat.

COLOMBIA: Colombia stepping on press freedoms, especially among foreign journalists

Poynter: In December, the South American country implemented what it called “simplified” migratory rules. In actuality, it made it nearly impossible for foreign journalists to renew or receive visas that allow them to work in the country.

COLOMBIA: Colombian prosecutor files legal action against journalist; press organizations reject ‘judicial harassment’

Knight Center: After learning that a Colombian prosecutor had lodged a tutela – the country’s judicial recourse to restore fundamental rights – against journalist María Jimena Duzán due to an opinion column, scandal broke out in the country as colleagues and press freedom organizations expressed their rejection of the use of this mechanism.

MEXICO: Mexico’s Election And The Fight Against Disinformation

EJO: False stories – most of them apparently created in Mexico – continuously surfaced before and during the election

PUERTO RICO: As ‘the media’ neglected Puerto Rico, some reporters made it their mission

CJR: David Begnaud cannot forget the man at the San Juan airport. After Hurricane Maria made landfall, on September 20, 2017, Begnaud, a CBS News correspondent, spent weeks reporting from Puerto Rico.

PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rican journalists struggle to find work on the island, a year after Maria

CJR: A year later, many outlets in Puerto Rico have resumed their operations, but had to make cuts on their content. At least two TV stations remain off air. While the media outlets have somewhat recovered, the individuals who lost their jobs in the process still struggle to regain their footing.

VENEZUELA: Venezuelan journalists suffer arbitrary detentions and problems with passports

Knight Center: Arbitrary detentions and the cancellation and withholding of passports belonging to two high-profile Venezuelan journalists helped to mark September as another month in a long period of aggressions against the press in the country.

REGIONAL: Media from Brazil and Venezuela collaborate for innovative report about mining conflict in the Amazon

Knight Center: The intense mining activity that takes place in a vast area of the Venezuelan Amazon inspired a group of journalists interested in social and environmental issues to work collaboratively across borders.

JORDAN: IFJ-ILO joint project to improve media coverage on forced labour issues kicks off in Jordan

IFJ: The first phase of this long-term project took place in Jordan in the first week of September, when more than 20 journalists and experts on forced labour issues gathered to share their experiences and discuss developing new tools to help media workers report on such sensitive and complicated issues.

SAUDI ARABIA: ‘New’ Saudi Arabia ushers in even more repressive climate for journalists

CPJ: Marwan al-Mureisi knew the rules: even in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “new” Saudi Arabia, issues touching on politics, religion, or the royal family were out of bounds.

TURKEY: Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of September 20, 2018


CANADA: Behind the scenes of the Annual Public Meeting

CBC/Radio-Canada: On September 25, CBC/Radio-Canada was in Edmonton for the 10th edition of its Annual Public Meeting. We set up in the Art Gallery of Alberta to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in all spheres, in communities across Canada.

CANADA: CBC/Radio-Canada reaffirms commitment to diversity and inclusion with new 2018-21 plan

CBC/Radio-Canada: CBC/Radio-Canada today unveiled its 2018-21 Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The new three-year plan sets out our strategy to better serve all Canadians by reflecting the full range of Canadian perspectives through our content, workplace culture and workforce.

CANADA: In Canadian cities, the number of newspaper stories published each day has been cut in half in the last decade

NiemanLab: “What we are seeing now is that revenues are plunging, acceleration of this downward spiral is getting faster and faster and news coverage more and more sparse. And that’s a recipe for catastrophe.”

US: How a trio of revived local websites is expanding public radio’s audience (Paywall)

Current: In the months since public radio resuscitated three popular local news websites, the stations that took on the Gothamist outlets are figuring out how to capitalise on their new digital presences.

US: NPR urges FCC to provide ‘full reimbursement’ for radio stations affected by repack (Paywall)

Current: Public radio stations should be fully reimbursed for the costs of moving their antennas to avoid service disruptions as TV stations shift to new channel assignments following the FCC’s spectrum auction, NPR said in comments filed at the agency this week.

US: PBS Wins 7 News & Documentary Emmys®

PBS: PBS programs were honored with seven News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, more than any other organization, at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards presentation at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City on Monday, October 1, 2018.

US: The media bullying of Christine Blasey Ford

CJR: In her opening statement this morning (27 Sep), she had an important message for reporters: the media had intimidated her into coming forward.

8 Ways Journalists Visualized California’s Out-of-Control Wildfires

GIJN: Despite dramatic scenes playing out on the news, it’s not clear that enough people are paying attention to the root causes and consequences of these unprecedented wildfires.  Storybench rounded up eight ways US journalists are chronicling this year’s fires.

Do less, have more impact and create quality journalism (Opinion)

Hackastory: Being a journalist in the digital era isn’t easy. We know. For years we have been working with newsrooms and we see the same things happening everywhere.

‘I never want to be this dependent on one platform’: Can your publication survive without Facebook?

Journalism.co.uk: When the social network announced its change in algorithm, Danish publisher TV Midtvest decided to experiment with a two-week Facebook detox to see what impact it may have. They lost a quarter of their users but learnt how to innovate

Nope, there isn’t a podcast bubble

NiemanLab: Plus: Serial’s audience grows, Gannett builds a local audio franchise, and what a Pandora–SiriusXM marriage could mean for podcasting.

Personalising the public: Personalising linear radio at a public service broadcaster

IBC: With competition from online streaming platforms, many broadcasters have viewed the idea of providing some form of personalisation of their services as a necessity to remain competitive.

What place does Snapchat have in the newsroom as a tool for breaking news?

Journalism.co.uk: A recent fire outbreak in Los Angeles surfaced on Snapchat quicker than Twitter. So how can newsrooms make the most of the ‘camera-first’ platform as a newsgathering tool?

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