Unsifted Archives

Five Lessons in Trust and the Media
20 August 2017
Over the past six months, some of the brightest minds in media have visited the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication to discuss issues ranging from flaws in mobile design, the challenges of data journalism, as well as the role of small town newspapers, and how citizens of the Arabian Gulf are embracing social media. Despite these varied subject areas, all five talks had a core thread running through them: trust.
The News Business Close to Rock Bottom
10 July 2017
A consortium of newspaper publishers are preparing to take the unusual step of begging the nation’s legislature for the right to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google, the Atlantic reported. (Generally, antitrust laws forbid this kind of collective bargaining because it reduces economic competition, except in specifically legislated cases such as labor unions.)
Fake News: A Price List
20 June 2017
“新闻软文,” or “News-style soft article.” Want to discredit a journalist? That’ll be $55,000. 100,000 real people’s signatures on a Change.org petition? $6,000. And those Chinese “soft articles” can be gotten for as little as USD $15. The folks at security software company Trend Micro studied Chinese, Russian, Arabic/Middle Eastern, and English marketplaces and found that “everything from social media promotions, creation of fake comments, and even online vote manipulation [is] sold at very reasonable prices. See more at NiemenLab.
Good News About the News Business
7 June 2017 By Ellen Hume
At first glance it does not look like a promising time to be a professional journalist. Not only have the internet and DIY communication tools weakened their financial structures, but authoritarian political actors in many once-promising democratic regions are compromising media independence and security.
What the BBC Has to Say About the Papers
5 June 2017 By Media Reform Coalition
New evidence of BBC bias in its reporting of election newspaper coverage A new report suggests that the BBC is in violation of its Charter, Election Guidelines and the Broadcasting Code in its regular reporting of newspaper coverage on major bulletins and news programmes.
The study, produced by a leading statistician in association with the Media Reform Coalition, focused on daily broadcast segments on ‘The Papers’ as well as the BBC’s online ‘Papers Blog’ between 18th April (the day on which the current general election was announced) and the 21st May. Across both outlets, the BBC gave between 69 and 95 percent more attention to the Conservative Party compared to what would be considered a balanced proportion, using 2015 election voting as a reference.
Hungarian Gov't Becomes Largest Advertiser
10 May 2017
According to data compiled on Hungary’s advertising market in 2016, the Hungarian government spent 80% more on advertising than in 2015, becoming the single biggest advertiser in the country.
According to napi.hu, a total of HUF 216.09bn (US$755.4m) was spent on advertising in Hungary in 2016, up 2% from 2015 and showing a growth in every medium. Some 26% of that sum was spent on television advertising, making it the second-largest advertising medium after the internet.
Israel’s Gov’t Shuts Down Public Broadcaster
9 May 2017
With an emotional signoff, Israel's longest-running TV news program has run its last episode after a sudden cancellation following a political battle with the prime minister.
The state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority was notified hours before Tuesday's broadcast that "Mabat LaHadashot" (A glance at the news), which has been on air for 49 years, was to be shut down.
Challenges of Reporting on Romania's Corruption
1 April 2017
Are Romania's media outlets caught in a conflict of interest when reporting the country's top news story? As 2016 drew to a close, Romanians elected a new government. A month later, that government came under serious pressure after issuing an emergency decree about corruption. See more from Al Jazeera.
Sean Spicer Downplaying ProPublica's Credentials
2 April 2017
In his briefing Monday, the Press Secretary dismissed ProPublica as just a "left-wing blog." The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism site took notice and brought the facts.
Facebook, Mozilla, Craig Newmark to Fund News Integrity
2 April 2017
Facebook, Mozilla, the City University of New York, and other tech industry leaders and nonprofits have joined together to launch a $14 million fund dedicated to advancing news literacy. The money will be invested in the News Integrity Initiative with the goal of increasing trust in journalism worldwide and “better informing the public conversation.”
One Woman’s Brilliant “Fuck You” to Wikipedia Trolls
9 February 2017
The “fuck you” project crystallized one Friday night last year. As Emily Temple-Wood video-chatted with friends, an email pinged in her inbox: “There are alternate realities where I raped you and got away with it,” it read. “In those realities it’s legal for me to rape you as long as I want and as hard as I want. I am dead serious.” See more
Digital Bonapartism
12 December 2016
In light of recent events I've decided to publish a few excerpts of my book's “Control 2.0” section online. Here's the conclusion from the section headed “Digital Bonapartism”:
"It remains to be seen whether a more genuine form of democracy, in which dissenters’ rights are protected from extrajudicial threats and vigilante violence, will emerge from Russia’s digital bonapartism. In the meantime, a new model has emerged that can be replicated elsewhere: government leaders use the Internet to carry out a much more direct and populist discourse with citizens in ways that were not possible before the Internet, thus bridging an emotional and psychological gap between rulers and ruled, and building greater public sympathy for the leaders as people.”


Networks of Influence
10 December 2016
Since the mandatory digitisation of cable distribution began in 2012, it has spurred a series of mergers and acquisitions to the benefit of large, cash-rich cable companies. See the story in Caravan Magazine
Slovak Prime Minister: Journalists Are Dirty, Anti-Slovak Prostitutes
25 November 2016
Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, has hit out at journalists questioning him about allegations that public procurement rules had been broken during the country’s EU presidency, describing them as “dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes”.
Fico has long had poor relations with media critical of him or his government, refusing questions from certain journalists and in some cases filing lawsuits.
LinkedIn Banned in Russia
17 November 2016
Roskomnadzor (Russia’s telecom and IT watchdog) blocked the social network LinkedIn in Russia claiming that it violates the rights of personal data owners. The decision is based on a ruling made by Moscow City Court that rejected LinkedIn appeal last week. Under Russia’s Federal Law On Personal Data, Russians’ personal data can be processed and stored only in Russia.
Government Daily in Hungary Peddles Russian Propaganda
21 November 2016
Hungarian pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők published an article this week on an alleged plot by George Soros and the Clinton family to start a “Purple Revolution” against the US government, listing Strategic Culture, a Kremlin-backed propaganda news site, as one of the authors. For information about this article in English, check Budapest Beacon.
An Interview With Agnes Callamard: The Way Forward
11 November 2016
Agnès Callamard is the former Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 and former IFEX Council member. She is currently the Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University and the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions. Sara Whyatt spoke with her about the changing human rights landscape, the role of civil society, gendered online threats, what she terms "legal deterioration by imitation", and more. An interview with her here
Freedom for All Imprisoned Journalists in Turkey
14 November 2016
Today we delivered some special newspaper packages for #pressfreedom to the embassy of #Turkey in Berlin: Freedom for all imprisoned journalists in Turkey! Journalism is not a crime
Eight Steps Reporters Should Take Before Trump Assumes Office
14 November 2016
While we are dutifully reporting on the presidential transition, we should also dig out our helmets and flack jackets, harden our legal defenses, and get ready for the coming war on transparency. Here are eight steps to take immediately.
Knight Awards for Investigative Journalists
14 November 2016
So proud of our Knight International Award Winners Miranda Patrucic and Carmen Aristegui - intrepid investigative journalists. Follow our ceremony tonight on Facebook Live and on Twitter #icfjdonner
Barlett & Steele Prize for Panama Papers
7 October 2016
Hearty congratulations to the entire #PanamaPapers team of 370+ journalists and 100+ media organizations - the investigation has been awarded with two major prizes this week!
Digital Help for Latin America
Twitter: Digitization could help Latin American public media out of current crisis (third and final article of series)
Kitchen Appliances Become Content Distributors
6 October 2016
The day I've been predicting for a while has now arrived. Kitchen appliance makers are now content intermediaries in addition to being personal data intermediaries.
Censorship and Journalism in Hungary
23 September 2016 
Me on TV talking about the situation of journalists in Hungary. It's in Hungarian with my voice underneath. The point is that the government subtly intimidates journalists as a means of censorship. They shouldn't have used auto-correct on my last name, but the newscaster pronounces it correctly.
BBC Becoming a Mouthpiece for the Rightwing Press?
29 July 2016
Justin Schlosberg: BBC parrots Daily Mail speak accusing us of 'vested interests' without offering any evidence or basis. The Media Reform Coalition was founded by world-renowned professors including James Curran and research carried out by academics at Birkbeck and Goldsmiths, University of London. Rather than engage constructively with that research, which is what we appealed for in the report, they chose to slander us. This is exactly the problem: the BBC has become a mouthpiece for the right wing press.
The New Censorship: Google
22 June 2016
How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?
By Robert Epstein | Contributor
Google, Inc., isn't just the world's biggest purveyor of information; it is also the world's biggest censor. 
The company maintains at least nine different blacklists that impact our lives, generally without input or authority from any outside advisory group, industry association or government agency.
Roy Greenslade: Does the Government want the BBC to Be a State Broadcaster?
8 June 2016
No? Then it should think again about packing the corporation’s board with its own appointees, or face accusations of adopting the practices of eastern Europe British politicians attempting to undermine the independence of the BBC should be careful what they wish for.
Dunja Mijatovic: Why Quality Public Media Has Not Caught on in Transition Societies
6 June 2016
Since the 1920s, generations of western Europeans got used to the monopoly of public radio and later public television. These broadcasters developed strategies to better serve audiences and distance themselves from governments. The arrival of private broadcasters, in many cases taking place only in the 1970’s, was generally viewed as a complimentary service aimed at entertaining the public. Although public service broadcasting lost market share, it remained a respected institution in society; necessary to bring up youth, to get an objective picture of the world and cater to the interests of minorities.


Press Freedom Fighters
4 May 2016·
Honored to be included in this RightsInfo list of "seven tireless press freedom fighters"
Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day 2016. This day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom and pays tribute to the power an independent and free media brings to bear on individuals. … Continued RIGHTSINFO.OR
Journalists Concerned About Use of Online Company Register in Hong Kong
3 May 2016
An outrageous move to close off public information access in the name of privacy
Need to declare reason for search means reporters and members of the public could be exposed to legal risks
Emily Bell: Who Controls Media?
1 April 2016
UK culture secretary John Whittingdale announced that he would be setting up a round table on ad blocking, offering government support to news websites hit by the use of ad blocking technology. Previously, the UK mobile carrier Three had statedthat it planned to implement network-level ad blocking, which could well clash with EU’s net neutrality laws. But the discussion following Whittingdale’s comments is likely to have a wider bearing on online publishing and its regulatory environment: here Emily Bell argues that a view on ad blocking requires first a broader examination of the dynamics of mobile web and the roles its biggest players – Apple, Google, Facebook – might have.
Social Media Swallowed Eveything
20 March 2016
"Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything. It has swallowed political campaigns, banking systems, personal histories, the leisure industry, retail, even government and security." (Columbia Journalism Review)
Htin Kyaw Myanmar’s President
11 March 2016
Htin Kyaw will become Burma’s first civilian president in a half-century. The good news for Burmese people is this: Like his preferred white jacket, Htin Kyaw is known to be clean, with no trace of corruption tainting his respected if little-known résumé, Irrawaddy reported.
Few outside the country would have known the name before Thursday, when he was put forward by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy as the party’s presumptive presidential pick. Asked to bet on a class of foreigners most likely to know the man, the money would be on diplomats, who would have known Htin Kyaw as a close confidante of Suu Kyi who kept lines of communication between her and the outside world open during her years under house arrest.
Burma Likely Headed for Htin Kyaw Presidency
10 March 2016
NAYPYIDAW / RANGOON — The National League for Democracy (NLD) has selected Htin Kyaw and Henry Van Thio as its nominees for the presidency, significantly narrowing the scope for speculation over whom the party will choose as its proxy for popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
While their nominations do not yet officially reveal who will ultimately assume the post, Thursday’s announcement would appear to make a Htin Kyaw presidency all but assured.
Membership: A Third of the Guardian's Revenue Within Three Years
9 March 2016
The Guardian has not been agile enough to respond to the challenges faced by the publishing industry over the past few years, according to Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel.
Speaking at Digital Media Strategies 2016, Pemsel said that an overly narrow focus on the "big number" of its global audience masked some of the strategic issues that the Guardian was facing: "I think all those big numbers are a proof point about how fast and innovative we've been in getting to digital [but] monetising anonymous reach is essentially over. “To be able to parade around and say ‘we’re big’ is not good enough. We want to convert our anonymous reach into a known audience.”
Malaysia: SRC’s RM170m Returned, Says Najib
9 March 2016
The RM170 million transferred by SRC International to Putra Perdana Construction in 2014 was for "turnkey" construction projects that were later cancelled, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said. In a written reply in Parliament, Najib, also the finance minister, said the money was later returned to SRC International upon cancellation of the project.
Asia Pacific: A Win for Net Neutrality, a Devastating Setback for Press Freedom
1 March 2016
An arrest of a university student for sedition and subsequent attacks against journalists covering the story in India sparked international attention in February, drawing criticism from scholars and observers worldwide in defence of freedom of expression. Jawaharlal Nehru University student union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on charges of sedition and 'anti-national' activities on 12 February, igniting widespread protests and debates on free speech. Media personnel covering courts in Delhi were threatened, manhandled and beaten by lawyers on 15 February as they were trying to cover Kanhaiya Kumar's hearing.
Mystery of Hong Kong Book Publishers Solved
29 February 2016
New York Times reported: "Four of the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing in October appeared on Chinese television confirming for the first time they'd been detained for "illegal book trading" in mainland China. The five booksellers - including a British and Swedish national - had been linked to the same Hong Kong publisher and bookstore that specialized in scandalous books on the private lives and power struggles of China's Communist Party leaders."
A First on Cyberspace: Sentenced for Republishing News
16 February 2016
Romanian Andrei Ciobanu was sentenced yesterday to two years in jail for stealing and republishing news online. The sentence can’t be appealed. A young graduate of the Journalism School in Iasi, Mr Ciobanu has on top of the jail sentence to work for 60 days for the community either on a stadium or in an elderly care home.
Mr Ciobanu was sued when representatives of the public TVR local studio in Iasi realized that Mr Ciobanu published news and information generated by TVR on a website where he was working. The case was handled by the Directorate for Investigations of Organized Crime and Terrorism.
Atresmedia and Mediaset Duopoly Under Fire in Spain
15 February 2016
In Spain, the regulatory body of competition objects to the duopoly Atresmedia television and Mediaset. The two groups control more than 80% of the TV advertising pie. "All duopolies are disturbing,” said on Monday the president of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), José María Marín Quemada. The CNMS is the Spanish competition watchdog.
Macedonian TV Sitel Slammed
11 February 2016
CIVIL expresses its abhorrence of the extremely presumptuous, unprofessional and unethical performance of the pro-government TV Sitel.
CIVIL expresses its abhorrence of extremely presumptuous, unprofessional and unethical performance of the Editor-in-Chief of TV SitelDragan Pavlovic-Latas, on February 10, 2016, as the host of the opposition leader Zoran Zaev.
Activists With No Ad Budgets Affected on Facebook
11 February 2016
...activists with no ad budgets are being hugely affected by Facebook's focus on paid impressions:
So far coverage of Facebook's plan to squeeze the organic reach of Pages has focused on its impact on "brands" that spam us with ads and promotions. But nonprofits, activists, and advocacy groups with much fewer resources (and no ad budgets) are also being hugely affected. It's starting to look like Facebook is willing to strangle public discourse on the platform in an attempt to wring out a few extra dollars for its new shareholders.
Hate Speech Online Rare in Romania
11 February 2016
A study that analyzed over 2.6 million comments in Romanian language on Facebook, public officials sites, blogs and online newspapers found that: hate speech comments appear only in less than 1% of the comments.
New York: Art Installation and Internet Freedom
9 February 2016
Friends in NYC check this out!
A month-long Pop-Up Internet Cafe, FIREWALL is a socially engaged research and interactive art installation designed to foster public dialogue about Internet freedom. The goal of this art project is to investigate online censorship by comparing the disparities of Google searches in the U.S.A. versus…
An FT Reply to Advertiser’s Threat
8 February 2016
Brilliant Lucy K - too bad there is no FT in the Czech Republic to approach the writer vs advertiser dilemma with the same gusto
Meg Whitman’s lieutenant was ‘disappointed’ with what I’d written. Here is my considered response NEXT.FT.COM
Ten Proposals to Regulate Government Advertising
8 February 2016
Debe crearse el tipo penal y el supuesto administrativo para sancionar a los servidores públicos que proporcionen pautas publicitarias por vías distintas a las que la ley prevea
Canada’s Journalism in a Near-Soviet-Style Mess
5 February 2016
Journalism professor Marc Edge got it partly right when he said that it’s the regulators — not the media — that should be blamed for the ugly, near-Soviet-style mess Canada’s journalism trade is in now — a climate of vanishing media diversity and dwindling independence.
Journalists also need to direct more of their ire where it belongs — on the owners and politicians. That, unfortunately, has not been in anyone’s interest so far, unless you count the public’s interest.
Journalist Sent Behind Bars in Turkey
5 February 2016
Serious questions about the future of democracy in Turkey. Media freedom and independence of the judiciary are basic conditions. In a complicated regional context and with growing interest for EU and NATO cooperation, Turkey needs to heed the advice of its partners. Even if these complicated scoops related to Syria may be linked to something less benign than covering a story, the onus is entirely on governments to handle such things in a way compatible with both freedom standards and national security.
The Washington Post's Editorial: "Mr. Erdogan must free the two Cumhuriyet journalists and dozens of others held in prison in Turkey for nothing more than committing journalism and exercising free speech. These are not crimes."
New Times in Russia Fined and Hacked
2 February 2016
Russia’s New Times magazine has been hit with a state fine and a hacker attack on the day it published an investigation of president Vladimir Putin’s daughter. The state communications oversight agency on Monday issued a warning and a fine to the magazine, which was founded in 1943 and has been critical of the Kremlin in recent years, for an article in the January issue that mentioned the Ukrainian ultranationalist group Right Sector without noting that it is banned in Russia, RBC newspaper reported. A publication can be shut down if it receives two warnings in 12 months.
Social Media to Blame for Poor Elections Debates
1 February 2016
Bob Shieffer, veteran CBS journalist, blames social media for the state of today's campaigns in the US presidential elections. I enjoy his remarks, but have doubts. What do you think?
Jeff Patrick I blame the Internet in general. So much misinformation put out by everyone with access to computer, it's hard to tell what the facts really are.
CBS News' Bob Schieffer has covered every presidential election since 1968. But this one, he says, isn't like the rest.
Egyptian Cartoonist Arrested for Being on Facebook
31 January 2016
Egyptian security forces arrested on Sunday afternoon cartoonist Islam Gawish for reportedly operating a "Facebook page and news website without permission.”
Mr Gawish was arrested Sunday afternoon for operating a website without permission, authorities said. However, his official Facebook page and lawyer claim he was arrested for an anti-regime cartoon, AhramOnline reported.
Argentina’s New Media Policy to Choke Competition
28 January 2016
Mauricio Macri, the president of Argentina elected last fall does not have a pro-market policy. What he implements is an anti-competition policy, which does not encourage competition but prevents it, Martin Becerra said in an interview in LaPoliticaOnline. He warns that the Clarin Group will again try to enter the telecom market, which was the reason for the war that the group had with the Kirchner administration that rules Argentina until 2015.
Twitter Exodus Begins
25 January 2016
Twitter exodus begins as five top executives depart overnight. Shakeup comes as new CEO Jack Dorsey tries to make Twitter exciting again.
Late on Sunday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that four of the company's top executives will be departing. Additionally, the head of Vine—Twitter's short-form video sharing service--is also leaving the company, to rejoin Google. The exodus, it would seem, has begun.
Politicians and Journalists Least Trusted in UK
22 January 2016
Isabel Taylor Retweeted Tim Montgomerie
MPs always rank badly in these - most people have voted for someone else & are predisposed not to trust opponent.
Politicians at bottom of truth telling league table - from today's @timesredbox
New Romanian Portal Pays US$ 5 Cent per Article
19 January 2016
Job offer at Radio Stil Romania: “we pay RON 0.2 (US$ 0.5) per article”. No, it’s not a bad joke, it’s Romania. Radio Stil Romania. Remember. (translated from Romanian)
Digital Killed Half of the Fortune 500 Companies
17 January 2016
 has only just begun - 's Pierre Nanterme, via   

Digital disruption is at the heart of all the conversations I have with CEOs today. And this is not surprising, as it presents the most significant threats and opportunities any of us have faced in business.
When assessing the implications, consider the fact that that new digital business models are the principal reason why just over half of the names of companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000. And yet, we are only at the beginning of what the World Economic Forum calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” characterized not only by mass adoption of digital technologies but by innovations in everything from energy to biosciences.
Argentina: New Media Policy
14 January 2016
Restoration. Analysis of the new policy of media and telecommunications of M. Macri in Argentina.
I'm surprised, negatively to myself, that to so many readers you sound so clear, and I, on the other hand, find it very difficult to understand. Unlike countries with totalitarian states and hubs, media in democracies have a classic first and main objective: the profit. Without profit they can't exist. And the profit comes from advertising, the public and private (sources). And the advertising is paid if the means of communication are selling it. And the means of communication sells if people buy it (in the broad sense). And people buy it if they are interested in their content. I agree on the harmfulness of the monopolies. But I can't explain how to legislate on the preferences of the citizen. (translated from Spanish
Local Radios Fire Staff in Mexico
13 January 2016
What was the point of the reform in telecommunications? Now the government wants to eliminate the indigenous forms of communication such as radio. “So far we have received direct information of redundancies in the radios of Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Chiapas and one of Oaxaca, and according to some media dismissals include 50 % of the workers of these radios at the national level. After this remain virtually dismantled broadcasters with small personnel.” (translated from Spanish)
Sri Lanka’s RTI Act: The Strongest in the World
16 December 2015
The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a draft Right to Information (RTI) Act which, if passed into law, would be among the strongest in the world. Although Sri Lanka is a relative latecomer in this area – being the only country in South Asia apart from Bhutan that has yet to adopt an RTI law – an assessment of the draft Act by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) gives it a score of 120 out of a possible 150 points on the RTI Rating, which would make it the seventh strongest law in the world. At the same time, CLD’s Analysis points to a number of areas where further improvements are recommended.