Recent turbulence at the Polish public broadcaster was seen by some observers as another political football game. Public broadcasting will survive any market or policy changes, however tumultuous they are, they say. But Minna Aslama argues that public TV has fallen out of political favor in many countries now. Even well-established broadcasters in western countries are likely to be dramatically downsized.
Poland has been featured in global news in the past weeks. A controversial law was passed that allowed the replacement of the directors of Polish public TV and radio with political appointees.
“You were talking about introducing BBC standards in Polish public media, but in reality you made Russia Today of them.” It was one of many critical remarks opposition MPs made on the night of 29 December 2015 in the Polish Parliament as the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party expeditiously pushed through the bill allowing the Minister of Treasury to change all executives at public television and radio immediately. The remark was related to Russia Today (RT), Russia’s international broadcaster, known as the mouthpiece of the Russian government.
Despite the emergence of a new wave of journalistic initiatives, ownership of media industry in Chile and Colombia is highly concentrated and often lacks transparency, according to Media Map, a new report from Poderopedia slated to be launched in mid-December 2015. Poderopedia is a Chile-registered NGO set up in 2012 that specializes in exposing structures of power and influence in Latin American countries.
Growing media concentration continues to be a troubling global trend. Worldwide, the top 10 global media players, dominated by U.S. companies, control ever-larger swaths of the media landscape. This situation causes media scholars and activists to raise concerns about the impact on democracy when an ever-growing share of the global communications environment is controlled by fewer people.
Though it seems like one, the ultimate goal is to actually improve companies. Rebecca MacKinnon, the director of the Corporate Accountability Index, an initiative supported by a dozen of funders and several research centers, says that the main goal of this initiative and the kind of impact the index is craving is to force companies to improve their policies, because that will ultimately have positive repercussions on consumers.
The procedure for exercising the right of reply in the approved law was shaped by the dominant television groups that have consistently lobbied for retaining the power to decide whether or not to rectify facts disseminated in their shows, newscasts or other programs. They won this game and retained their power. This is why many experts and journalists say that the right of reply law favors the interests of mighty media groups (many of them close to political groups) instead of those of the citizens.
We witnessed bombings in Ankara that killed 109 people and injured more than 400. The refugee crisis became a major issue as Turkey currently hosts more than 2.5 million Syrians fleeing the four-and-a-half year conflict in their country.
“Two bloggers cost €1,200, VAT included. Some of those big bloggers.” This is what an online media advisor in Romania replied when asked whether she could place a piece written by Elena Udrea, a former tourism and regional development minister in Romania, on a popular blog.
With a new owner and now a new editor, the English-language paper The Moscow Times is being reformed from the ground up. A leaner, more economically resilient publication is likely to emerge - but, what rises from the ashes is an entirely different kind of paper which will probably not be very critical of the Russian government.
The appointment yesterday of the liberal journalist Mikhail Fishman at the helm of The Moscow Times has been lauded by many journalists as Mr Fishman is well known for his integrity and courage. He was the editor-in-chief of Russian Newsweek when it closed down in 2010, reportedly because of financial problems. He then moved on to work as an anchor on a political show aired by the liberal TV station Dozhd, which is known as virtually the sole television station in Russia that offers a non-governmental perspective on the political life. The station’s critical standpoint has often attracted the ire of the regime.
Many laud the internet for opening up the space for everybody to communicate. But how linguistically diverse is this space? A new report shows it’s not at all: only a sprinkling of languages are present online.
The internet looks to many to be the answer to everything. You instantly find all you need by just browsing through sites and networks online. But is this space equally friendly to anybody?
The answer is not at all.
The victory of national conservatives in the Polish elections last week is a harbinger of grim times for the country’s journalists. Are their plans similar to those of premier Viktor Orban in Hungary? They resemble them, but bringing the media into line will not be a cakewalk in Poland.
In 2016 public media will become national media in Poland. This is what politicians of Law and Justice (PiS), the national conservative party, declared after winning the 25 October parliamentary elections and, earlier in May 2015, the presidential ones. It means a revolution for Polish Television (TVP) and Polish Radio (PR), strong public broadcasters that have 31% and 28% share of the market, respectively.
But what does it mean in reality for them to become national media?
A new study from Columbia University Business School unveils worrying trends. Some say the answer to growing media concentration is protecting quality journalism.
A landmark study by researchers covering 30 countries has found that concentration of media ownership is growing around the world and that the internet seems to be part of the problem. The results were made public at the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information at Columbia University Business School on 20 October 2015. The project was led by Professor Eli M. Noam, who is head of the institute.
Following four years of research, the institute has produced the most detailed analysis to date of global media ownership. The results are gathered in a book to be published by Oxford University Press, Who Owns the World’s Media?
Many countries look at the U.K. for models when it comes to media. But is the U.K. market really a model? A new report shows the British media is in the hands of a few behemoths.
A new report published by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC) shows that right across the board - from news websites to the press, TV channels to radio stations, search engines to mobile apps - the UK media is controlled by a handful of giant corporations. The MRC argues that the UK suffers from endemic levels of concentration in news and information markets, which threaten to choke democratic debate through unaccountable political influence and sheer lack of diversity.
Six years ago, the Kirchner government, at loggerheads with the powerful Clarin media group, adopted legislation to hurt dominant players in the country’s media. But not much has changed since then. An analysis from Martin Becerra.
October 2015 was the sixth anniversary of the audiovisual law that replaced a broadcasting act in Argentina, which was inherited from the country’s last military dictatorship (1976-1983). Before 2009, that law had undergone amendments during a period of 20 years. For the past 12 years, the Argentinian presidency was shared by the Kirchners, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. The Kirchner era is ending today as Argentines go to polls to elect a new president. They can’t vote Mrs Kirchner again as she is barred by law from seeking a third term.
A decade ago, the UN set up a slew of goals for better usage of information and communication technologies. Now, they have started to assess what has been achieved. One thing is abundantly clear: we are still grappling with problems from the past. Here is a dispatch from inside the talks.
A decade ago, the United Nations (UN) organized the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a series of meetings to discuss the global role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Their hopes were high for the beginning of true collaborations for development and democracy. WSIS created principles and set up action plans and goals, ranging from access to technologies to online ethics. Now, ten years later, the UN wants to review what has been accomplished. This week, non-governmental organizations (NGO)s had their second round of the WSIS (known now as WSIS+10) informal consultations in New York to agree on the biggest challenges in the ICT field and call for global action.
A revised press code in Morocco was hoped to give journalists more room to report freely. But a closer look shows that nothing has really changed.
The gravest legal threat to media freedom in Morocco are the laws that restrict the type of content that can be publicly communicated. The 2002 Press Code and the 2003 antiterrorism law put forward criminal penalties for any criticism of “sacred” issues such as the monarchy, Islam and territorial integrity. These laws continue to be applied to online activity, resulting in the prosecution of several online journalists and activists. The minister of communication, Mustapha El Khalfi, in an attempt to modernize the Press Code, released an updated version for review and consultation by civil society in October 2014. The law has not yet been submitted to Parliament for final approval and adoption.
But does this updated law solve all the journalists’ problems? Far from it.
Many people are aware that they depend heavily on gadgets and the internet. But a new survey shows that an increasing number of people blindly rely on machines to remember for them. And they like it.
In almost in every discussion we have with friends, relatives or colleagues someone pulls out a mobile phone or a tablet every minute (or second) to check a name or somebody’s date of birth or to see how a weasel (or rabbit or whatever) looks like. “I just saw Nicole Kidman in this play in London. She looks like 45, but I think she’s older,” somebody said the other day during a chat with friends. Somebody else immediately pulled out an iPhone and in less than five seconds blurted out: “She is 48.”
BOL TV boasted that it would be better than anyone and change Pakistani media. They shut down before starting broadcasting, but the operation is not likely to be scrapped. When security services needs it, BOL will rise again.
“Were [there] such salaries before?”, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, chairman and CEO of Axact group, the company that planned to launch a raft of television stations and newspapers in Pakistan, boasted in September last year in front of a gathering of journalists. “We will lead and others will follow in Pakistan,” he said.
A year later, Mr Shaikh is in prison and the media empire he wanted to create is in ruin. Swank studios in Karachi are empty and they’re likely to remain so. Three weeks after touting on its Facebook page that it was going to “change the face of Pakistani media”, on the very same page BOL announced its closure on 6 October 2015.
The video of a Hungarian reporter filmed tripping refugees made headlines all over the world. The station she worked for is close to Jobbik, an extreme right-wing political party. But that is not all Jobbik sympathizers build in Hungary.
A female cameraman tripped an escaping refugee holding a child, and also kicked another child while she was shooting a refugee crowd escaping from the police at the Serbian-Hungarian border in early September 2015. The footage quickly spread globally. Petra Laszlo, the cameraman in question, became world famous, and was made redundant from television N1TV (“n” standing for national in Hungarian). A police proceeding was launched against her for disturbing the peace. She became a hero of the extreme-right wing Hungarian community with people demanding N1TV to take her back.