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

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What is...

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

Week 13: What does PUBLIC TRUST look like?

Trust is a key component of the relationship between public service media (PSM) and the public who pay for it. PSM can build and maintain public trust in many ways, such as by providing factual information, demonstrating editorial independence, and accurately representing a diversity of people and voices. While public trust in the media has deteriorated in recent years, PSMs remain the most trusted sources of news in many countries – this is the case in 61% of European countries according to the EBU. Public trust in PSM can look like increased audience engagement, and continued and increased usage of PSM services, such as in the UK where more than 90% of adults used BBC services each week over the past year. Public trust can also look like audiences’ appreciation of PSMs’ contribution to communities, such as in the United States where public broadcaster PBS is highly rated by Americans in terms of value for tax dollars.

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Coronavirus: Resources & best practices

Essential resources for sourcing and reporting news about the coronavirus pandemic

What we're watching...

PBS chief Paula Kerger’s top advice for leading through the pandemic

NBC News: Know Your Value’s Mika Brzezinski recently chatted with Paula Kerger, the longest-serving president and CEO of PBS, to learn more about how the media organization helped close the education gap for children during the Covid-19 pandemic. Kerger also shared insight about how she kept morale up during this challenging time.

What we're listening to...

Public media plan moves forward behind closed doors

RNZ: The government appointed experts this week to oversee a business case which could be a blueprint for a new public media entity to replace TVNZ and RNZ – but the public won’t see it before the government decides the issue later this year. Why are RNZ’s top brass backing an idea about which so little is clear? 

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Global Headlines

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CAMEROON: Urgent release sought for 71-year-old Cameroonian journalist Amadou Vamoulké

IFEX: Arbitrarily jailed for 5 years and struggling with chronic ailments, 71-year-old Cameroonian journalist Amadou Vamoulké writes an open letter to influential justice minister Laurent Esso seeking his release.

CAMEROON & GHANA: BBC World Service Partners With Africaweb to Offer Digital Content to Audiences in Ghana and Cameroon

Via All Africa: The BBC World Service and AfricaWeb have formed a new digital partnership to offer BBC News text, podcasts, audio and video content in English, Pidgin, Hausa and French to audiences in Ghana and Cameroon…

MOROCCO: Open judicial season on Moroccan journalists

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns what it regards as a dangerous manipulation of the judicial system in Morocco, where three distinct criminal cases are to be heard against four prominent journalists in the space of less than ten days.

MOZAMBIQUE: Mozambique government making it difficult for media to investigate insurgency: Journalist

SABC News: Mozambican journalist Matias Guente says his government is making it difficult for the media to investigate the root cause of the insurgency in the country.

RWANDA: Arrests, Prosecutions over YouTube Posts

HRW: Urgent Reforms Needed as Commonwealth Summit Approaches

SOMALIA: Getting the story in Somalia can be a deadly affair for journalists

Mail & Guardian

SOUTH AFRICA: Bemawu threatens legal action following SABC retrenchments (Watch)

SABC News: Yet another court battle between the SABC and workers’ unions is possibly looming. This follows the completion of the section 189 retrenchment process. The public broadcaster says the workforce has been reduced by 621 staffers, far more than initially anticipated.

SOUTH AFRICA: Emotions run high at SABC offices as employees affected by Section 189 bid their farewells

SABC News: Over 600 South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) employees are saying their final goodbyes and are reliving some of their most vivid moments at the public broadcaster.

SOUTH AFRICA: Ikwekwezi FM to relocate to SABC’s headquarters

SABC News: The SABC says it will not close its isiNdebele radio station, Ikwekwezi, but rather relocate it to the public broadcaster’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, later this year.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC rejects claims that it’s on the brink of collapse

SABC News: The SABC has denied, what it calls, alarmist allegations by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that the public broadcaster is on the brink of collapse.

TANZANIA: Post-Magufuli, will Tanzania review its repressive online content regulations? 

Global Voices: EPOCA 2020 content regulations are used to undermine digital rights. 

UGANDA: Govt to amend law for new media offences

The Daily Monitor: Government is planning to amend the Press and Journalists Act to include clauses that provide for new emerging electronic media and offences.  

REGIONAL: Lack of resources stifles reporting of natural disasters in Sadc region

The Herald: News organisations within the SADC region still suffer from lack of resources, skills and training when it comes to reporting natural disasters that have afflicted southern Africa in recent years.

REGIONAL: African journalists in exile: ‘Stepping on the toes of politicians and businessmen’ 

Deutsche Welle: ​​​​​​​‘Hounded: African journalists in exile,’ a new book published by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), features sixteen personal accounts of journalists from sixteen African countries who were forced into exile. 

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban Target Journalists, Women in Media

HRW: Attacks Highlight Need to Uphold Press Freedom in Peace Settlement

BANGLADESH: Bangladeshi cartoonist tops ‘10 Most Urgent’ list of press freedom cases focused on retaliation in relation to posts online (Paywall)

The Boston Globe

CAMBODIA: Cambodian Journalists Face Violence, Threat of Legal Action: Media Watchdog

Radio Free Asia: Journalists in Cambodia are regularly subjected to physical violence and legal action on the job, undermining their role in a democratic society and their ability to cover stories involving powerful officials, according to a new report by Cambodian media watchdog CamboJA.

CHINA: BBC China correspondent John Sudworth moves to Taiwan after threats

BBC News: The BBC’s Beijing correspondent John Sudworth has left China and moved to Taiwan following pressure and threats from the Chinese authorities.

CHINA: Why are foreign journalists fleeing China?

Deutsche Welle: The Committee to Protect Journalists has said the increasing departures of journalists shows China “has a lot to hide.” Beijing’s toughening crackdown might force international audiences to consume Chinese state-media.

CHINA, PHILIPPINES & CAMBODIA: As PH, Cambodia struggle for press freedom, China amps up influence (Analysis)

Rappler: China continues to exert influence on media and journalists in Southeast Asia, in a bid to reform its international image and catch up with its rival United States’ soft power in the region.

HONG KONG: Freedom House Condemns Convictions of Prodemocracy Figures, Worsening Crackdown (Statement)

Freedom House: “The convictions of seven of Hong Kong’s most ardent protectors of rights and democracy is another crushing blow to the people of Hong Kong, and shows how Beijing’s pressure has weaponized the judiciary to target democrats and dismantle the rule of law,”

HONG KONG: Hong Kong government has made public broadcaster RTHK a place of fear, uncertainty and self-censorship, insider claims

South China Morning Post: With an editorial overhaul raging at Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, many staff members have been left baffled by red lines being drawn by the new management amid a wave of resignations and last-minute cancellation of programmes, according to sources.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s RTHK pulls radio show for ‘review of contentious content’

South China Morning Post: Hong Kong’s beleaguered public broadcaster has put on hold radio programmes featuring an opposition district councillor and a senior representative of city journalists, amid allegations the station is exercising increasing levels of self-censorship under its new boss.

HONG KONG: RTHK’s new head doing what I expect of him: CE

RTHK: Chief Executive Carrie Lam has defended the new head of RTHK over his controversial decisions to pull several programmes at the last minute, saying he has been doing what she expects of the station’s chief editor.

HONG KONG: Sources: another team produced RTHK’s top show

RTHK: RTHK has aired an episode of its award-winning programme, Hong Kong Connection, that isn’t produced by the team normally tasked to do so.

INDIA: Curbs on Indian media continue: U.S. rights report

The Hindu: Notes several instances of govt pressure on media outlets.

INDIA: Indian journalist Sandhya Ravishankar describes ‘conflict zone for female journalists’ ahead of Tamil Nadu elections

CPJ: Political campaigning in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu has hit a fever pitch as the state prepares for elections on April 6.

INDIA: Why Is the Indian Government Afraid of Digital News? (Opinion)

The Wire: India needs an independent media that can report what is happening in our country. And the government is attempting everything it can to make sure that this does not happen.

JAPAN: Government to ask broadcasters to check foreign ownership compliance

The Japan Times: The government is set to instruct all broadcasters to investigate whether they are complying with a foreign ownership rule after major broadcaster Fuji Media Holdings Inc. said it may have violated it in the past, the communications minister said Tuesday.

MYANMAR: Myanmar journalists brave crackdown to continue reporting

IPI: International pressure must be applied to stop targeting of the press.

MYANMAR: No-Safety Zone: 5 things to know about journalism in post-coup Myanmar


PAKISTAN: Pakistan lifts TikTok ban for a second time

Aljazeera: Pakistan’s media regulatory agency reinstates access to the Chinese video service after a court last month banned it for ‘vulgar’ content.

SINGAPORE: Singapore blogger crowdfunds $99,000 to pay PM damages in defamation case

Reuters: A Singaporean blogger said on Monday he had raised S$133,000 ($98,840) via crowdfunding on social media to cover damages he was ordered to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a defamation case filed by the city-state’s leader.

SOUTH KOREA: KBS Rolls Out the Anticipated Organizational Reform to Create a Brand New Public Service Media for Sustainable Future of KBS (Press Release)

KBS: KBS has launched the planned organizational reform, which aims to enhance its core public service missions, and build an efficient organization.

TAIWAN: Beijing pressures Taiwan media deemed anti-China: US State Department

Taiwan News: Report alleges China pressures parent companies of Taiwanese news agencies to influence coverage.

TAIWAN: EDITORIAL: Media freedom in danger (Opinion)

Taipei Times: There is a fine line between supervising and controlling the media, and with the National Communications Commission (NCC) losing credibility, the government needs to be careful about where it stands.

THAILAND: Respect the role of journalists (Opinion)

Bangkok Post: The government has been raising eyebrows recently with its approach to journalists. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s supposedly comical spraying of sanitiser on reporters in an apparent attempt to avoid some tough questions last month was a memorable spectacle…

AUSTRALIA: ‘Corolla-casting’ during Brisbane’s COVID lockdown. ABC RN broadcaster Antony Funnell has a makeshift studio in his car

ABC News: How to continue broadcasting during coronavirus? It’s a challenge that’s been faced by many an ABC broadcaster over the past 12 months.

AUSTRALIA: Foxtel can halve Australian drama production under new broadcasting bill

The Guardian: The Morrison government’s new laws appear to backtrack on a pledge to force Netflix and Amazon to make local shows.

AUSTRALIA: The vital role female journalists have played in shaping the public’s response to sexual harassment and assault (Opinion)

Women’s Agenda: Female journalists have played a vital role in Australia’s media and political landscape over the past two months, breaking stories and consistently reporting on issues of sexual harassment and violence against women.

NEW ZEALAND: Public media plan moves forward behind closed doors (Listen)

RNZ: The government appointed experts this week to oversee a business case which could be a blueprint for a new public media entity to replace TVNZ and RNZ – but the public won’t see it before the government decides the issue later this year. Why are RNZ’s top brass backing an idea about which so little is clear? 

NEW ZEALAND: RNZ, TVNZ Merger Moves a Step Closer with Governance Group Appointed

Newsroom: A new public media entity to replace TVNZ and RNZ will be funded by a mix of advertising revenue and government money.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: PM: Let my local media in

Post Courier: Local media was barred from covering the vaccination rollout yesterday afternoon in Port Moresby by the organisers.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Facebook Working with Government to Monitor Fake Accounts

The Solomon Times: The Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) has confirmed that the government is currently working with Social Media tech giant Facebook to explore ways to better monitor fake accounts.

REGIONAL: Gavin Ellis: The Pacific Media Centre must break free to survive (Opinion)

Asia Pacific Report

BELARUS: Harsh new crackdown on journalists in Belarus

RSF: As new protest demonstrations sweep Belarus, preventive detention and lawsuits against journalists have escalated. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on international organisations to take action.

BELGIUM: Meet the experts who televise The Tour of Flanders (Blog)

VRT: On Sunday, April 4th, The Tour of Flanders (Dutch: de Ronde van Vlaanderen) will take place again. Coverage of this cycling race, shot from beginning to end by the VRT, will be viewed in over 20 countries.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Concerns over increasing meddling in independence of Czech public broadcaster

IPI: Politicised oversight body accused of seeking to ouster director general ahead of election.

CZECH REPUBLIC: The seventh program of Czech Television, the station ČT3, celebrates the first year of broadcasting (Czech – Press release)

Czech Television: Czech Television launched its seventh program, ČT3, last March to help the most endangered group of people who were forced to spend time at home, often alone, due to coronavirus. 

HUNGARY: Hungarian journalists accuse gov’t of censoring COVID reporting

Aljazeera: Hungarian journalists have accused the government of putting lives at risk by barring the media from covering the full extent of what is now the world’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.

FRANCE: Radio France and the INA partner with France Télévisions (French – Press Release)

France Télévisions: France Télévisions, Radio France and Ina are partnering, in support of artists and the culture sector, to offer new programs for Culturebox, the ephemeral channel 100% dedicated to culture and performing arts, in April.

GERMANY: Centre of progress: How ZDF reinvented itself (German)

DWDL: Thomas Bellut is in his last year as ZDF director. Time for an initial assessment: On air it could hardly go better for the station. The quotas are right and important personnel have recently been set.

ITALY: Data journalism as tested by the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons from Italy

Open Democracy: The pandemic is without doubt the most data-driven event that has ever occurred. 

ITALY: Protests grow in Italy over the wiretapping of journalists

The Independent: Italian journalists and lawmakers are protesting the wiretapping of reporters’ phone calls during Italian investigations into Libya-based migrant traffickers. 

MALTA: International experts ‘deeply concerned’ about journalists facing ‘serious pressure’ in Malta

The Shift: A coalition of nine freedom of expression and media freedom organisations submit their recommendations to the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

MONTENEGRO: Montenegro Mulls Tougher Penalties to Deter Attacks on Journalists

Balkan Insight: Authorities say they are open to the idea of stopping attacks on journalists by giving them the same status as officials – as the penalties for attacking officials are tougher, and may make perpetrators think twice.

NETHERLANDS: NPO extends free culture channel to June (Paywall)

Telecompaper: Dutch pay-TV providers are extending free access to the channel NPO 2 Extra. The public broadcaster was expected to end the free period from 01 April, but has decided to continue the offer as a support measure for the music and culture sector.

POLAND: ‘Trench warfare’ in Polish press as government eyes next election cycle

CPJ: “Media without choice.” On February 10, this sentence ran on the otherwise empty front page of Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest critical newspaper in Poland. On the same day, Radio ZET, a commercial radio station, ran this message on repeat, evoking the country’s communist past: “You will not hear any of our normal broadcasts today…We are protesting so that you can see what Poland will look like without independent media.”

SERBIA: ‘Dangerous’ Smear Campaigns Against Serbian Media Aim to Silence Critics

VOA News: Serbia has been criticized for not doing enough to condemn or put an end to smear campaigns against media and civil society organizations.

SERBIA: New reports highlight old problem of media freedom in Serbia

Emerging Europe: A recent resolution from the European Parliament and a report by the US State Department have condemned the state of media freedom in Serbia, as well as raising the issues of corruption and the rule of law.

SLOVENIA: Slovenian news agency STA is threatened with bankruptcy (German)

Der Standard: The Slovenian news agency STA is threatened with bankruptcy due to the discontinued state funding. Chairman of the supervisory board Mladen Tercelj warned yesterday, Wednesday, that the news agency could become insolvent a few weeks before its 30th anniversary, as reported by the Slovenian media. The STA celebrates its 30th anniversary in June.

SPAIN: Why did educational television disappear? (Spanish – Opinion)

The Conversation

SWEDEN: Continued high confidence in Swedish Radio (Swedish – Blog)

Sveriges Radio: Sveriges Radio, together with Sveriges Television, is at the top when it comes to public confidence. It is a proof of the trust that the absolute majority of those who live in Sweden feel for our business, states Swedish Radio’s CEO Cilla Benkö.

SWITZERLAND: SRF renews the journalistic guidelines (German – Press release)

SRF: SRF will start on April 1 with a new operating model as part of the “SRF 2024” transformation strategy. For a new start, SRF’s journalistic guidelines were also adapted to the current media world and completely revised. Lis Borner, Editor-in-Chief Audio, shows the most important innovations in a video.

UK: BBC announces new commissions and roles to strengthen BBC drama’s commitment across the whole of the UK (Press Release)

BBC Media Centre: Following the BBC’s ambitious plans to increase portrayal of all audiences across the UK, BBC drama – home to award-winning original distinctive content – has announced eight new commissions from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. 

REGIONAL: A European press abused (French – Listen)

RFI: As we know well on a global scale, press freedom is particularly abused. But in Europe, reporters were thought to be rather immune to violence directed against the profession. This is no longer the case. The surge of populist movements, the violence generated by the coronavirus, means that journalists in countries once spared now experience violence, whether it comes from citizens, or is institutional.

BRAZIL: Pulled by Bolsonaro and supporters, attacks on journalists grow 168% in 2020, points out report (Portuguese)

Folha de S.Paulo: There were 150 registered cases, involving at least 189 professionals and media outlets, in addition to a murder.

COLOMBIA: ‘Let’s explore’, the first educational channel on DTT is already on the air (Spanish – Press release)

RTVC: ‘Let’s explore, a space to learn’, is RTVC’s new educational channel in a free DTT signal , which complements the educational cycle of children and young people in all territories of the country, and which serves as support for parents, guardians and teachers in the daily pedagogical exercise.

JAMAICA: Government increases ownership limit in RJR broadcast licences

Jamaica Observer: The Government has formally approved an increase in the ownership limit of the broadcasting licences issued to Radio Jamaica Limited (RJR), thus paving the way for the company’s additional public offer (APO) slated for later this year.

MEXICO: Mexican press freedom dispute erupts as Amlo attacks US and domestic critics

The Guardian: President hits back over critical US human rights report but also singles out Mexican press freedom group Article 19 for censure.

VENEZUELA: Press freedom in danger of extinction in Venezuela (Spanish)

VOA: The president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), Carlos Jornet, expressed his “utmost concern about what is happening” in Venezuela.

BAHRAIN: Bahrain abolishes jailing journalists in major amendments to press law

Arab News: Bahrain’s Cabinet amended its Press, Printing and Publishing Law on Monday that included the abolition of jailing journalists, and the addition of a major section regarding digital media, Bahraini daily Al-Ayyam reported.

JORDAN: Jordan Bans Media Coverage of King Abdullah’s Half-Brother

VOA: Jordan has banned media from publishing any content about the half-brother of King Abdullah after the military placed him under house arrest for allegedly planning to destabilize the country.  

PALESTINE: 20 violations of media freedoms in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during March


SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Jailings Damage Media and Women’s Rights, Activists Say


TURKEY: Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit

RSF: Rights groups call on European leaders to send a strong message to Ankara, in favour of judiciary independence and media freedom, before their official visit on 6 April.

TURKEY: Turkish Court Rules Government Restricted Media Freedom

Balkan Insight: Turkey’s top administrative court ruled that the authorities breached media freedom with new regulations on the accreditation of journalists, allowing officials to cancel the press cards of reporters deemed unfriendly to the government.

CANADA: After loss of shows like Schitt’s Creek, experts say CBC ‘needs more great Canadian storytelling’

Toronto Star

CANADA: CBC Kamloops vehicle vandalized, with ‘Fake News’ painted on side

KTW: A Canadian Broadcasting Company vehicle was vandalized in Kamloops over the weekend, with the words “Fake News” painted along its driver’s-side door.

CANADA: CBC/Radio-Canada celebrates 309 Canadian Screen Award nominations (Press release)

CBC/Radio-Canada: CBC/Radio-Canada and its production partners have received 309 nominations from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television for the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards, reflecting the public broadcaster’s commitment to Canadian content, creators and communities. 

CANADA: CBC/Radio-Canada part of media group that will host leaders’ debates in next federal election

CBC News: English and French debates to be broadcast nationally for free during election campaign.

US: 5 Imperatives for Expanding Independent Local News (Opinion)

Nieman Reports: Collaborative statewide newsrooms could be a crucial part of the effort to bolster local journalism at scale.

US: Film-makers condemn PBS over lack of diversity and dependence on Ken Burns

The Guardian: Nearly 140 non-fiction film-makers have signed a letter criticizing PBS for a lack of diversity and asking for transparency about the public broadcaster’s programming, spending and staffing practices.

US: Supreme Court upholds FCC’s easing of local media ownership limits

PBS NewsHour: The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld federal regulators’ decision to ease ownership limits on local media, rejecting a claim that the change would hurt minority and female ownership.

US: US Commercial FM Station Count Is Down

Radio World: The number of licensed FM commercial stations in the United States hit a historical peak 15 months ago and has been declining slightly since.

US: What we lost and what we found after a year working from home

Poynter: As we think about returning to newsrooms, what should we keep from the pandemic? What should we lose from before?

30 years of Press Freedom: assessment and prospects in West Africa for the contribution to the Windhoek Declaration 2021 (French)

UNESCO: The UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) organized an online Regional Consultation on 29, 30 and 31 March 2021, to assess the career of West African countries in terms of press freedom and make a regional contribution to the future Windhoek + 30 Declaration scheduled for May 3, in Namibia.

BBC News correspondent Rianna Croxford: “Stories are about people, come from people and start with people” (Interview)

RTS: BBC News correspondent Rianna Croxford talks about breaking into the journalism industry, finding original news stories and being nominated for a Young Talent of the Year Award at the RTS Television Journalism Awards. 

Curbs on press freedom come with a cost, new research reveals

The Conversation: The importance of a free press to a thriving democracy is well-known. But what is its importance to a thriving economy? 

Grants in Memory of Fearless Reporter Support Female Journalists Worldwide (Opportunity)

VOA: Kim Wall was fearless. The 30-year-old freelancer reported from some of the world’s toughest places — from Haiti to Uganda to North Korea — and focused her keen eye on identity, gender and social justice.  

First Jobs Fund (Opportunity – UK)

Journalists’ Charity: Starting a new job in journalism can be expensive and challenging, especially if you’re burdened with debt from your studies. The Journalists’ Charity’s First Jobs Fund is designed to offer support as you start your career, helping you focus on what matters – being a great journalist during these challenging times.

Five years later, Panama Papers still having a big impact

ICIJ: ICIJ’s massive cross-border investigation remains an influence — and a catchphrase — in politics, business, academia and pop culture, half a decade on.

The journalism crisis across the world

CJR: Early in the pandemic, media closures, layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts spread across the globe, encompassing the US, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Brazil, Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, The Philippines, and many others. While the media business in each country operates within its own unique norms and economic systems—and the ramifications of the pandemic are felt differently in each place—the world-wide media crisis lingers on. 

Unlocking the potential of ai for data journalism

EBU: At the start of 2020, France Télévisions decided to create a new department. Called DaIA – Data et Intelligence Artificielle – it consists of a team of about fifteen specialists: data scientists, data engineers, data analysts…

What campus journalists can do to strengthen their role as community watchdogs

Rappler: In an online seminar-workshop, student journalists learn how they can become megaphones of their respective communities.

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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 cameras lined up, covering large public event. Credit: Microgen/iStock