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

As the global Covid-19 pandemic continues and many countries enter a state of lockdown, the need for community solidarity and mutual support has never been greater. But this support requires quality, fact-checked and evidence based news and information.

With this in mind, the Public Media Alliance has compiled an extensive and growing resources featuring recommended tools, advice and sources for journalists and the public alike. The resources can be found via the link below or in the ‘Tools’ section of our website.

The resource will be frequently updated to reflect the changing needs and evolving situation. If you have any recommendations, please let us know.

We also want to hear about your local public media coverage! Email us!

As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, public media are rapidly adapting to best cover the crisis on a local level while also providing for educational needs and vulnerable groups as isolation policies are introduced.

We want to hear from our members about what you are doing to best cover the crisis on a local level. Email us using the link below.

Coronavirus: Resources & best practices

Essential resources for sourcing and reporting news about the coronavirus pandemic

What we're listening to...

Catherine Tait talks to Monocle 24’s The Globalist about the new Global Task Force for public media

CBC/Radio-Canada: In this interview, Catherine Tait, our President and CEO, speaks with The Globalist, Monocle 24’s daily news program, about the new Global Task Force for public media she chairs.

The forgotten media crisis

RNZ Media Watch: One of the most telling bits of information from the day the Epidemic Response Committee turned its invite list.

What we're watching...

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Free journalism is a crucial asset of democracy and a threat to authoritarian leaders’

DW: Press freedom in times of COVID-19: DW’s Lavinia Pitu speaks with Dunja Mijatovic, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights

Global Headlines

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

ETHIOPIA: Hate speech and disinformation concerns escalate in Ethiopia

Devex: Ethiopian lawmakers approved a controversial law earlier this year that aims to curb and control hate speech and false information, especially online. But analysts fear it will be used to attack dissenting voices.

GHANA: We’ve been delivering without sustainable funds – GBC boss to concerned citizen

Ghana Web: The Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Professor Amin Alhassan, has commended a concerned citizen for raising issues with some operations of the state Broadcaster.

LIBERIA: Liberian authorities threaten media with seizure of equipment and closure

Via IFEX: Reacting to the infodemic of mis- and disinformation, the Liberian government is threatening to confiscate equipment and close media outlets in the country.

MALAWI: Malawi public broadcaster MBC apologises for insults over Chimila

Nyasa Times: The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has “unconditionally apologized” to all Malawians for a picture containing vulgar language against former Vice President Saulos Chilima. 

NAMIBIA: Media want enactment of access to information law

The Namibian: Three leading media entities in Namibia have appealed to the government to finally enact the long-awaited access to information law, saying without it, press freedom is meaningless.

NIGERIA: COVID-19 Coverage: Survey Reveals Poor Attention to Journalists’ Safety

MFWA: Journalists covering the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria have said they lack sufficient protection and are not adequately catered for.

NIGERIA: FG grants 2-month licence fee waiver to broadcast stations

Vanguard: The federal government has announced the granting of a two-month licence-fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in the country by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, as part of efforts to ease the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the broadcast industry.

SOMALIA: Press freedom deteriorating at rapid pace

IPI: The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, has urged Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to take immediate steps to end the harassment of journalists and media outlets.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC refutes reports of plans to ask government for more money

SABC News: The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)  has denied claims by the Sunday Times newspaper that the broadcaster is requesting an additional bailout from the government. “SABC has noted with concern the incorrect and misleading article titled “SABC again pleads poverty, cites virus”, published by the Sunday Times newspaper on Sunday,” the public broadcaster said in a statement.

SOUTH AFRICA: SABC says salary increase given to employees will not be reversed (Watch)

SABC News: The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it will not reverse the 6% salary increase it has given to employees for the current financial year. The public broadcaster says the hike was part of a three-year wage agreement that was signed in 2018. That wage deal expires this year.

ZAMBIA: Prime TV Urged To Make New Application For Its Broadcasting License

Zambia Reports: Government says privately owned television station Prime TV should make a new application for its broadcasting license. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga says this is because the closure of the TV station was purely done on the expiration of its broadcasting license.

ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwean journalists get the story straight on Covid-19

UN News: “The COVID-19 is a serious health crisis,” says Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO Representative in Zimbabwe “And in a crisis, people get scared, they seek out information to stay safe. At the same time, a lot of rumours and half-truths get spread around…”

REGIONAL: COVID-19 in West Africa – Credible Information As A Vaccine Against Misinformation?

All Africa: During the social media age information spreads faster than any virus and there seems to be no vaccine against misinformation.

REGIONAL: In Africa, government attempts to fight misinformation are also limiting freedom of expression

Nieman Lab: “Even before COVID-19, many African countries used libel laws, defamation laws, and internet shutdowns to limit the freedom of expression of citizens and the media…The pandemic is now being used as an excuse to further limit freedom of expression.”

GENERAL: GIJN Webinar — Investigating the Pandemic: The Threat to Africa (Event)


AFGHANISTAN: In Afghanistan, Economic Conditions are Hampering Efforts by Media to Provide Information on COVID-19

Internews: Communities in hard-hit Herat Province need information about how to prevent the virus

AFGHANISTAN: Journalist shot dead in police crossfire

IFJ: Ahmad Khan Nawid, host of Voice of Ghor Radio, was shot and killed in Firozkoh, Ghor province in police crossfire on May 9. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) are deeply concerned over Nawid’s death and urge the government investigate the excessive use of force by police.

BANGLADESH: Five Journalists arrested within five days

IFJ: The first five days of May has seen the arrest of five journalists under the draconian Digital Security Act (DSA) over their news articles and Facebook posts. 

BANGLADESH: Uphold freedom of expression

The Daily Star (Bangladesh): Nine foreign diplomats in Bangladesh have taken to social media, calling for upholding the freedom of expression and saying facts are more important than ever during any crisis to save lives. 

CHINA: Chinese journalist gets 15 years in jail for denouncing Party corruption

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately release Chen Jieren, a journalist who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for accusing Communist Party officials of corruption in his social media posts. 

CHINA: In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, China forces out foreign reporters

ABC News: After 24 years reporting in China, Chris Buckley — a highly regarded and experienced foreign journalist — has been forced to leave the country he has devoted his career to amid a worsening crackdown on foreign media. He is the 19th foreign journalist expelled or forced to leave China in the past 12 months, and the second Australian.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong press freedom index hits record low police obstruct news activities using violence viewed as the major reason in decline

HKJA: Hong Kong press freedom has dropped to a record low, according to the newly released Hong Kong Journalists Association Press Freedom Index 2019. The decline is the sharpest since the survey was launched in 2013.

INDIA: Pressure on media is mounting in Modi’s India; violence against journalists is increasing

National Herald: The beauty of a democracy is embedded in the co-existence of contrasting opinions. Instances of violence against journalists cause cracks in the fourth pillar of democracy.

JAPAN: Editorial: NHK reform talk in Japan must ask, ‘What’s the purpose of public broadcasting?’

The Mainichi: A communications ministry expert committee in Japan has convened to consider the future of public broadcaster NHK. At present, about 20% of Japan’s households are not paying the NHK reception fee. Gaining public understanding for whatever form the fee takes will be essential to keeping the system running. The first step needs to be to question the duties and purpose of NHK itself, and rebuild its corporate governance.

JAPAN: NHK: exemption of late payment (Japanese)

Asahi Shimbun: Due to the spread of infection, until March next year, even if payment of NHK license fees is delayed, late payment will not be charged. NHK applied to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to change the reception agreement, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications approved and enforced it on the 8th.

KYRGYZSTAN: Government of Kyrgyzstan curbs freedom of expression and access to information amid COVID-19

IFEX: While misinformation and disinformation are particularly harmful during this pandemic, the policy of censoring the opinions of social media users should instead be replaced by measures to ensure that media has access to information to provide comprehensive news to the public.

MALAYSIA: Court denies access to journalists

IFJ: The magistrate’s court in Putrajaya banned journalists from covering an open court proceeding against the eldest daughter of UMNO party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid and her husband Saiful Nizam Mohd Yusoff on May 5. 

MALAYSIA: Journalists barred from covering first sitting since change in government

IFJ: Malaysia’s lower house of parliament scheduled to sit for the first time since the change in government will only be accessible to journalists from government media organisations on May 18.

MYANMAR: Restriction on expression in communicable diseases bill would undermine COVID-19 response

Article 19: If passed, a provision in the proposed Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Bill would undermine the rights to freedom of expression and access to information, which are essential to a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ARTICLE 19 said today. The draft Bill provides for criminal penalties for those who spread information about communicable diseases that could cause ‘public panic’. Section 20 of the draft Bill should be removed in its entirety.

NEPAL: Deuba seeks stimulus package for media

The Kathmandu Post: Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba today urged the government to announce special relief package for media houses and journalists.

NEPAL: Government seeks clarification from Radio Nepal executive director over Baburam Bhattarai interview

The Kathmandu Post: Move comes a day after the state-owned broadcaster removed the programme’s audio from its website.

PAKISTAN: Media Mogul’s Detention in Pakistan Raises Press Freedom Concerns

VOA: One of Pakistan’s biggest media tycoons has been in custody for two months in a case involving alleged corruption in a 34-year-old land deal. A day after his arrest in early March, his television news channel, Geo News, was moved from its usual place among the first 10 channels in the cable line-up to higher numbers, a common tactic in Pakistan to make a channel hard to find. It was restored after a court order.

PAKISTAN: SC strikes down high court order suspending license of private television channel

Geo News: The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Monday suspended an order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to stop the transmission of a private television channel on cable television and ordered that the channel be returned to the airwaves across the country.

PHILIPPINES: 30 media freedom groups, academics, journalists protest over TV shutdown

Asia Pacific Report: More than 30 media freedom groups, journalists and academics have combined in an international statement today condemning the closure of the largest Philippine television network and calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to “urgently reinstate” the broadcaster.

PHILIPPINES: ABS-CBN closure: An attack on citizen rights (Analysis)

Rappler: ABS-CBN will be back, and soon, because it has the support of the people

PHILIPPINES: Philippines orders ABS-CBN news network off the air

CPJ: The National Telecommunications Commission, the country’s broadcast regulator, ordered ABS-CBN to stop broadcasting and “cease and desist” operations on May 5, after its 25-year franchise agreement with Congress expired last night, according to news reports.

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Fake News and Contempt Laws a Threat to Media, Journalists Say

VOA: A pair of Singaporean laws designed to block false news and criticism of the courts are being used to silence and harass independent news outlets, rights groups and journalists say.

SOUTH KOREA: KBS Discusses Joint COVID-19 Initiatives with Global Public Broadcasters

KBS: KBS, which is participating in a task force of public media around the world to jointly counter the novel coronavirus pandemic, discussed various ways of cooperation between the public broadcasters. Established after a proposal by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in March, the Global Task Force for Public Media (GTF) has eight members, including the BBC, Germany’s ZDF and Australia’s ABC.

THAILAND: Regional journos struggle as govts take driving seat

The Bangkok Post: The media is facing a tough job delivering trustworthy frontline news as journalists in the region are being placed under lockdown by a lack of transparent data amid the coronavirus outbreak, a recent forum was told.

REGIONAL: States of Control: IFJ launches 18th South Asia Press Freedom Report (Report)

IFJ: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) and its affiliates launch the 18th edition of the South Asia Press Freedom Report – States of Control: Covid, Cuts and Impunity. The report was launched in a webinar hosted by the IFJ and UNESCO New Delhi on May 1, 2020.

AUSTRALIA: How live streaming of Tasmania’s coronavirus briefings changed the way reporters ask questions

ABC News: As the coronavirus crisis unfolds, Backstory is publishing accounts from ABC journalists, broadcasters and behind-the-scenes staff on covering the story. Manika Champ and Laura Beavis reflect on reporting on a major outbreak in Tasmania and the impact of live streaming of Government briefings on social media.

AUSTRALIA: Lottery could give ABC funding, future better odds (Opinion)

The Canberra Times: This week’s report on ABC funding should alarm Australians. The death by a thousand cuts of the ABC and the slow strangulation of Medicare have become woven into in Liberal Party’s DNA since John Howard turned Robert Menzies’ broad church of a liberal-conservative Liberal Party into a purely conservative one by shutting out almost everyone left of the nave.

AUSTRALIA: Murray Bridge journalist launches online service after ACM suspends newspaper of 86 years

ABC News: A journalist left out of work after Australian Community Media shut down his regional printing press has started his own online newspaper in a stoic effort to keep the community informed. 

AUSTRALIA: ‘Terribly unfair’: Silence on regional publishers and broadcaster fund

Sydney Morning Herald: Regional media owners on the verge of shutting down news bulletins and newspapers can’t access $50 million worth of emergency funding because the federal government has waited three weeks to release eligibility guidelines. 

NEW ZEALAND: ‘Fake news’ and Covid-19: Why does it spread?

RNZ: An open letter to the prime minister full of misinformation about the coronavirus was doing the rounds on social media late last month, at the same time headlines were appearing about how trust in news in New Zealand is high by international standards.

NEW ZEALAND: Media health claims fuel push to ease the lockdown (Listen) 

RNZ Media Watch: With Monday’s decision on Alert Level 2 looming, some in the media are pushing hard to loosen the lockdown, claiming it is killing jobs now and could kill more New Zealanders in future.

NEW ZEALAND: NZME forces media merger issue

RNZ Media Watch: NZME’s plea for permission to buy its rival Stuff for $1 by the end of this month kickstarted confusing counterclaims today which show a deal is far from done. It’s also a symptom of upheaval in an industry fighting for survival – and pressure on the government to back up commitments to help journalism survive the Covid-19 crisis.  

NEW ZEALAND: The forgotten media crisis

RNZ Media Watch: One of the most telling bits of information from the day the Epidemic Response Committee turned its focus to the media was the invite list. The committee led by opposition leader Simon Bridges initially asked representatives from print media, radio, TV, and online news to appear. After protests, time slots were added for representatives from Māori media and community newspapers. Still one media sector was left out. No representative for magazines appeared. 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Scott Waide: Look at the big picture, not just a breaking news lust (Opinion) 

Asia Pacific Report: Scott Waide, deputy regional head of news of EMTV News explains coverage of the death of Senior Inspector Andrew Tovere.

REGIONAL: Press freedom in the Pacific: Coronavirus spurs media crackdown

SBS News: As the world looks to control misinformation, Fiji and other Pacific countries move to crack down on media and news organisations during the coronavirus pandemic.

ALBANIA: Caught Between Two Fires: Albanian Media in Time of Coronavirus

Exit News: During the COVID19 pandemic, the media in Albania finds itself between two fires: on one side, there is a lot of expectations for the media to inform the public and provide unbiased and ample coverage of the pandemic and related matters. On the other hand, the media is being undermined by the Government led by Prime Minister Rama.

BELARUS: Belarus cancels 2 journalists’ accreditations after covering COVID-19 deaths

CPJ: On May 6, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry cancelled the accreditations for  journalists Aleksey Kruchinin and Sergey Panasyuk, which Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anatoliy Glaz said was because their employer, Russian public broadcaster Channel One, “disseminated information that did not correspond with the reality,” according to news reports. Glaz did not name any specific examples of such information, according to those reports. 

BELGIUM: The CGSP files a strike notice with the RTBF concerning the distribution of masks (French)

RTBF News: The CGSP decided on Wednesday to file a strike notice with the RTBF, taking effect on May 11, to cover any work stoppage. The union deplores “a refusal of the RTBF to distribute a mask until the previous used mask has not been brought back”, specifies Brigitte Bollekens, secretary CGSP.

CYPRUS: Free press in north under scrutiny after TV station axed

Cyprus Mail: The decision by Turkey’s radio and television broadcasting authority (RTUK) to cut a Turkish Cypriot station’s satellite broadcasts last week has stirred debate in the north over freedom of the press but also the need to redefine relations with Ankara.

ESTONIA: Samost and Sildam: State nominations committee could appoint ERR board

ERR News: Nominations to public broadcaster ERR’s supervisory board could take place via the state firms’ nomination committee, senior ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam say.

FINLAND: Yle Areena has grown into Yle’s most interesting service (Finnish)

Yle: The reach and interest of Yle’s services has clearly increased from a year ago. Yle.fi and yle.fi/uutiset have increased their reach the most.

FRANCE: Coronavirus: public service at the bedside of the performing arts (French – Paywall)

Le Monde: France Télévisions and Radio France are trying to invent all kinds of programming to help the theater.

FRANCE: French government takes down coronavirus ‘fake news’ web page 

The Guardian: The French government has taken down a Covid-19 “fake news” page after accusations that it had overstepped its constitutional role and infringed press freedoms. A page called Desinfox – a play on the word desintox (detox) – appeared on the government’s website last week. It claimed to be busting disinformation about coronavirus in the French media.

FRANCE: “The State is not the arbiter of information” (French – Paywall)

Le Monde: “By distinguishing this or that article on its website, the government gives the impression, in a mixture of deleterious genres, of labeling the production of certain media”, regret, in a forum in “Le Monde”, societies of editors.

GERMANY: Coronavirus anger foments violence against journalists

DW: Protesters from across Germany’s political spectrum are demonstrating against coronavirus restrictions. But their ire is also directed at established media outlets, making life increasingly dangerous for journalists.

GERMANY: Germany’s Maas condemns anti-lockdown protesters’ attack on journalists

DW: For the second time in a week, journalists in Berlin were attacked by members of the public. Illegal anti-lockdown protesters turned on a camera team, in a move decried by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

GERMANY: Resistance from Saxony-Anhalt (German)

Deutschlandfunk: After long negotiations, the prime ministers agreed on an increase in the broadcasting fee for ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio. But resistance is now coming from Saxony-Anhalt – together with the AfD, the CDU there could overturn the change in the State Broadcasting Treaty.

GERMANY: This is how producers and broadcasters want to ramp up TV production again (German)

Horizont: Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, Germans have been spending significantly more time in front of the television. However, in view of massively burst or postponed productions – the Corona spacing rules greet you – there could soon be a supply problem. 

HUNGARY: ‘The last days of independent media in Hungary?’ (Analysis)

Balkan Insight: Will COVID-19 accomplish what Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban has so far failed to do — snuff out independent journalism completely?

ITALY: Unidentified attackers open fire on Italian journalist Mario De Michele’s home

CPJ: At about 2 a.m. on May 4, unidentified attackers fired at least three shots at the first floor of De Michele’s house in Caserta, southern Italy, while the journalist, his wife, son, and parents were in the building, according to a report by the Campania Notizie news website, where De Michele works as editor.

MALTA: Public broadcasting should reflect different opinions – Adrian Delia

Times of Malta: The public expected the highest level of news that were correct, factual and impartial from the state broadcaster, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said during a visit to Public Broadcasting Services.

POLAND: Poland’s independent media harassed in run-up to presidential election

RSF: Two journalists have been accused of violating sanitary rules while covering anti-government gatherings. In another case, the private television channel TVN has been a target of repeated attacks. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) asks the Polish authorities not to abuse the sanitary crisis to sabotage the work of independent media as they report on the electoral campaign.

RUSSIA: New ‘fake news’ law stifles independent reporting in Russia on COVID-19

IPI: Tough legislation already being used against critical journalists

SWEDEN: “No, we can’t tag down” (Swedish – opinion)

SVT:  Can’t you cut down a bit now that the nation is in crisis? Do you have to hold on and hack at authorities, experts and political authorities who work hard and do the best they can? This type of audience reaction I sometimes get when we see the actions of the authorities and politicians during the corona crisis. My answer is: No.

SWEDEN: Strategic investment in development benefits the audience when conditions change (Swedish – blog)

Sveriges Radio: For a long time, Swedish Radio has developed new products and services to portray the whole of Sweden and the world to our audience. We should be able to ship from anywhere and anytime. The development is many times world-leading and especially benefits us a lot now that the challenges are new.

SWITZERLAND: Coronavirus contact tracing app: friend or foe?

SWI: Contact tracing apps, which alert users when they have been in contact with infected people, are being touted as crucial aids to control the spread of Covid-19. But critics warn of data privacy concerns, and Switzerland’s parliament has demanded a legal basis for such an app. 

UK: ITV reveals scale of Covid-19 impact due to advertising losses

The Guardian: Ads slumped 42% in April forcing broadcaster to furlough 800 staff. 

UK: Man charged after BBC reporter suffers racist abuse

BBC News: A man has been charged after a BBC reporter was subjected to racist abuse as she prepared for a live broadcast.

UK: Thousands cancel TV licences

ITV News: Hundreds of people opted to cancel their TV licence each day over the past five months, figures suggest. The Times reported the number of licences held across the UK fell by 82,000 in the five months to March this year, citing data obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. This works out at around 550 per day, on average.

UKRAINE: Ukraine Media Leaders Sound Alarm on Oligarchical Control at Virtual VOA Town Hall

VOA: For the first time since achieving independence in 1991, Ukraine has ranked among the top 100 countries in the world for press freedom, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. But observers and journalists on the ground in Kyiv paint a more nuanced picture of the former Soviet state’s media landscape.

REGIONAL: Large European public televisions, facing the challenge of the coronavirus (Spanish)

RTVE: Rosa María Mateo, sole provisional administrator of RTVE, has participated in the annual meeting of the DG7 of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) together with the heads of the public television stations BBC, ZDF, ARD, FT, RAI and the EBU itself. 

REGIONAL: Media freedom made in Scandinavia – six examples of best practices (Report)

EFJ: While many European governments use the Covid19 crisis to massively restrict media freedom, the report of a fact-finding mission to Scandinavia shows policies and approaches that can inspire change for the better.

REGIONAL: Media freedom shrinks in Southeast Europe due to COVID-19 crisis

European Western Balkans: Excessive government control, democratic backsliding built on the pre-existing trend of media capture and shrinking of space for media freedoms are the striking similar consequences when it comes to the imposed COVID-19 measures across Southeast Europe (SEE).

REGIONAL: The NV companies are pushing for drama collaboration (Danish)

Nordvision: The competition with major international players causes the Nordic public service providers to coordinate program procurement. At the same time, several manufacturers are invited to invite ideas for new series.

ARGENTINA: Public media also educates (Spanish)

Pagina 12: After the suspension of classes in mid-March, the Ministry of Education of the Nation, together with the state audiovisual media (Channel 7, Encuentro, PakaPaka and Radio Nacional) deepened their educational profile. Within this framework, Seguimos Educando was created, an ambitious state program that, under different modalities, distributes new or existing content, for all levels and in different disciplines.

BRAZIL: In Brazil, Rio’s community journalists face daily challenges informing favela residents about COVID-19

IFEX: Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Gizele Martins and Raull Santiago – community journalists from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas – worked to bring accurate news and information to the local population and to give visibility to their struggles. Their organizations are among dozens of media groups founded by residents of Rio’s favelas and other marginalized areas aiming to challenge stereotypes, reduce stigma, empower residents, and build a diverse narrative about their communities.

BRAZIL: Union of Santa Catarina and FENAJ condemn statement of the governor of SC encouraging the restriction of press freedom (Portuguese)  

FENAJ: The Union of Journalists of Santa Catarina (SJSC) and the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), in defense of Journalism and journalists, express their total disapproval of the attitude of the governor of Santa Catarina, Carlos Moisés da Silva, who, on Friday Feira (08/04), in an event broadcast by social network, suggested businessmen to pressure the media to practice “decent journalism”. The demonstration promotes and encourages the restriction of press freedom.

BRAZIL: Wage cuts, layoffs and COVID-19 infections hit journalism

IFJ: The pandemic caused by the new coronavirus has exacerbated the crisis already existing in the economic model of traditional journalism.

COLOMBIA: Colombian military monitored local, international journalists, “Semana” reports

IFEX: The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed alarm at a new report alleging that Colombian military intelligence officials carried out an extensive monitoring operation targeting more than 130 individuals, including more than 30 journalists.

CUBA: The Cuban Government’s Latest Law to Squash Freedom of Expression

Havana Times: Dozens of Cuban human rights organizations, media outlets and other groups signed a statement this week that draws attention to the latest effort by the Castro-Diaz Canel government to further suppress freedom of expression on the island. Referred to as Decree-Law 370, it further tightens the grip against any decent in the country.

CUBA: Pandemic exacerbates repression of independent journalism in Cuba

IPI: After six decades of Fidel Castro’s authoritarian rule, Cuban authorities are still persecuting independent journalists, maintaining a media monopoly and controlling information.

EL SALVADOR: Executive Decree No. 22 establishes the media as an essential service and allows free movement (Spanish)

APES: The media has been included in the list of essential products and services allowed to be carried out while the Regulation Law is in force for Isolation, Quarantine, Observation and Surveillance by COVID-19. 

GUATEMALA: Guatemala. Don’t put the Guatemalan press in quarantine!

RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the open hostility that Guatemala’s new president is showing towards the media and calls for more governmental transparency so that journalists can cover the coronavirus pandemic. 

HAITI: Coronavirus complicates press work in Haiti (French)

RFI: As in other newsrooms around the world, Haitian journalists had to adapt to the health constraints linked to Covid-19. Constraints which add to an already difficult situation for the press. According to the NGO Reporters Without Borders, the environment for journalists is ”  precarious and dangerous  ” in Haiti. The organization ranks the country 83rd for press freedom worldwide, a drop of 21 places from 2019.

NICARAGUA: YouTube censors independent Nicaraguan news outlets after copyright complaints from Ortega-owned media

CPJ: Miguel Mora, director of the independent Nicaraguan news outlet 100% Noticias, oversaw its move online after its television broadcast license was revoked by the government in April 2018. He and his colleagues transferred their archives onto two YouTube accounts and used them to continue documenting the government’s repressive response to escalating protests in the months that followed. On March 5, 2020, YouTube notified him that the accounts would be shut down following copyright complaints.

PARAGUAY: Hackers steal information from 2 journalists covering COVID-19 and corruption in Paraguay

CPJ: Last month, hackers accessed the phone data of Juan Clari Arias and Jorge Torres, reporters for the journalism conglomerate Grupo Nación, according to Arias, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview, and several tweets by Torres.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: The capture of hearts and minds (Opinion)

Trinidad Guardian: World Press Freedom Day (May 3) usually comes and goes in T&T with the customary “statements” by our media associations and moderate mention by politicians—many of whom are not sure whether they hate or they love the journalists who follow them around. Then, that’s it, until the following year. This time around, in the midst of one of the more challenging periods in the history of Caribbean media, there was the added context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a UNESCO-led global agenda for the occasion that focused on the practice of (real) journalism “without fear or favour.”

URUGUAY: The practices in the “public media were absolutely opaque” and the new media law should ideally guarantee its “transparency” (Spanish)

Busqueda: Gerardo Sotelo’s landing in the public media was one of those that come with noise. Far from assuming with a low profile, the journalist who in 2019 politically crossed the counter to serve in the Independent Party, had barely crossed the doors of the National Television of Uruguay (TNU) and was already involved in a controversy that first burned in the social networks and then continued in political and union circles.

VENEZUELA: Venezuelan journalist Ana Belén Tovar released after five-month detention

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: After five months of imprisonment, Ana Belén Tovar, editor of the media outlet Entorno Inteligente and operations manager of Venmedios, was released after being detained since last November during a raid on the facilities of Entorno Inteligente, according to various media reports. Human rights and freedom of expression organizations have demanded Tovar’s freedom since the detention.

IRAN: Facebook dismantles ‘disinformation network’ tied to Iranian state media

Middle East Eye: Report documents hundreds of fake accounts with links to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation

LEBANON: Lebanese journalists face increased risks covering protests during pandemic

UN News: With the novel coronavirus exacerbating already dire socio-economic conditions in Lebanon, journalists there find themselves facing double the work. Even as Lebanon’s government grapples with a deteriorating economy and financial crisis on one hand, and the COVID-19 pandemic on the other, popular demonstrations have resumed. Many of those protesting are ignoring measures aimed at guarding against the spread of the coronavirus. Reporters are caught in the middle.

PALESTINE: Palestine- The Epidemic of Rumors and Fake News about Covid-19 on Social Media Sites’

MENAFN: A report was issued by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” under the title ‘The Epidemic of Rumors and Fake News about Covid-19 on Social Media Sites’ stressed the urgent need to pass the Access to Information Law, which will help to combat rumors and misleading news. Also, ‘MADA’ demanded the government to pass the law after the end of the emergency period, which must be compatible with international standards.

TURKEY: New finance regulation threatens economic reporting in Turkey

CPJ: On May 7, Turkish authorities ratified a new banking regulation that imposes fines for disseminating information that “would damage the financial system and lead to systemic risks due to the loss of trust in the financial system” or which “keeps the price … [of a] financial instrument at an abnormal or artificial level or that [gives a] false and misleading impression regarding the supply, demand, or price of the same instrument,” according to the text of the regulation, posted in Turkey’s Official Gazette.

TURKEY: Turkey bans Halk TV after interview with opposition politician

IPI: The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the temporary broadcast ban on Halk TV imposed by the Turkish Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) over the station’s critical coverage and called for an end to the harassment of media in Turkey.

TURKEY: Turkey, world’s largest jailer of journalists, will host OIC media institution

Nordic Monitor: Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have agreed to establish the OIC Media Forum (OMF) as a specialized umbrella institution in Turkey, where scores of journalists are jailed and dozens of media outlets were shut down. 

YEMEN: Over 150 NGOs appeal for death sentences of four journalists to be overturned

Article 19: Organisations which support human rights, press freedom and journalists are calling on United Nations mechanisms and member states  to help save the lives of four Yemeni journalists who were sentenced to death in April 2020 in the capital Sana’a on charges of “spying” and “spreading false news.”

REGIONAL: Palestinians, Arabs demand Israel should allow free work for Palestine TV in Jerusalem

WAFA: Palestinians and Arabs condemned Israel’s continued ban on the work of Palestine TV in occupied East Jerusalem after extending for six more months the closure of its office in the city and demanded Israel should allow its free operation.

GENERAL: Report: MENA states using COVID-19 to spread false news for political gain

Middle East Monitor: Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been using the COVID-19 pandemic to further their political goals, in particular by spreading disinformation, a report published on Monday by the Francophone Association for Human Rights (AFDH) has said.

CANADA: Catherine Tait talks to Monocle 24’s The Globalist about the new Global Task Force for public media (Listen)

CBC/Radio-Canada: In this interview, Catherine Tait, our President and CEO, speaks with The Globalist, Monocle 24’s daily news program, about the new Global Task Force for public media she chairs.

CANADA: Canada Media Fund & Telefilm Canada Welcome Emergency Funding

Worldscreen: Following Prime Minister Trudeau’s previous announcement of C$500 million ($356.8 million) to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations, the Government of Canada will contribute C$88.8 million ($63.4 million) to the CMF and C$27 million ($19.3 million) to Telefilm to administer funds that mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Canada’s production sector.

CANADA: In Canada, a government program to support local news tries to determine who’s most deserving (Opinion)

Nieman Lab: The country’s $50 million Local Journalism Initiative is funding more than 160 reporting positions across the country. But critics say that it’s subsidizing old media at the expense of new models.

CANADA: Will Canada’s media survive the pandemic? Fifty papers have closed in just the last six weeks

Toronto Star: It’s a well-known fact that for years, the newspaper industry has struggled to remain financially viable and to adapt to a quickly changing digital world. Papers have imposed mass layoffs, cut back on the number of editions they produce, or shut down entirely. Advertising revenue has plummeted. The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up that decline, as numerous sectors have been forced to shut down and therefore scale back their advertising.

US: Coronavirus testing is a freedom of information issue

CJR: Yesterday – toward the end of a press conference in the Rose Garden focused on coronavirus testing—President Trump had a tense exchange with Weijia Jiang, of CBS News. 

US: CPB requests additional $175M in emergency funds from Congress

Current: A co-chair of Congress’ Public Broadcasting Caucus said in a statement Thursday that there’s bipartisan support in the House and Senate to give CPB an additional $175 million in emergency relief funds. While Congress debates what can and should be included in the next stimulus package, CPB has sought funds to help stations survive losses in state and university funding and downturns in underwriting caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

US: Gerald Slater, public television pioneer, dies at 86 of coronavirus

The Boston Globe: Before the Senate’s Watergate hearings, public television was still mostly known as a venue for educational programing. Big Bird, not big news. But Gerald Slater, an executive at the fledgling Public Broadcasting Service and one of its four founding employees, took responsibility for offering up the 1974 hearings in prime time, shifting the system’s image.

US: Here are the newsroom layoffs, furloughs and closures caused by the coronavirus

Poynter Institute: It’s getting hard to keep track of the bad news about the news right now. But we have to. Here’s our attempt to collect the layoffs, furloughs, and closures caused by the coronavirus’ critical blow to the economy and journalism in the United States. Please send tips. We’ll try to keep up.

US: PBS Programs Honored With More Peabody Nominations Than Any Other Organization

PBS: On May 6, 2020, finalists for the 79th Annual Peabody Awards, honoring the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media during 2019, were announced. Of the 60 finalists selected by the Peabody Awards board of jurors, PBS programs received 12 nominations, more than any other organization. 

US: Public Media Group buys WGBH share in Public Media Management venture

Current: Five years after joining forces with Sony to launch a centralized media management and content distribution service for public TV stations, Boston’s WGBH is selling its share of Public Media Management to Boulder, Colo.–based Public Media Group.

US: Trump’s VOA Criticism Shows US-Funded News Doesn’t Mean US-Approved

VOA: VOA, the government funded, global multi-media broadcaster, provides service in more than 40 languages to as many as 280 million people a week….But tensions between the White House and VOA have been the norm for decades…

Covering The Coronavirus Amid Infection, Misinformation And Scared Sources

ICIJ: Journalists covering the coronavirus are not only faced with the risk of contagion. They are battling secretive governments, restricted movement, misinformation and sources who are too scared to speak.

How coronavirus is putting solutions journalism in the spotlight

Journalism.co.uk: By analysing evidence of success, solutions journalism can play a vital role in helping us pinpoint what is working to combat covid-19 and in keeping us well-informed, engaged and hopeful about our future

Journalists, politicians and judges to sit on Facebook’s free speech panel

The Guardian: New independent board, which includes ex-Guardian editor, will rule on freedom of expression issues. 

Platforms urged to prevent harassment of journalists covering Covid-19

RSF: At a time when the media are playing a crucial role in publishing reliable information about the Covid-19 epidemic, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by the increase in online harassment of journalists in all parts of the world, often at the behest of politicians and political parties, and calls on digital platforms to step up their efforts to protect journalists.

Women journalists are suffering greater stress due to COVID-19 , IFJ study says

IFJ: Women journalists are suffering greater stress and anxiety than their male counterparts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) global survey.

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Header image: Media interview stock photo. Credit: microgen/iStock