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News Corp, The Daily Mail and Trinity Mirror Control More Than 70% of British Newspapers

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.

Clarin and Telefonica Beat the Law and Hold Sway in Argentina’s Media

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. 

Who Remembers WSIS: New Technologies, Old Problems

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. 

New Press Code in Morocco to Still Send Journalists Behind Bars

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.

Digital Amnesiacs or What Smart Gadgets Are Doing to Us

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.”

Pakistan's BOL TV Shutters Before Launching, but They Are Not Disappearing

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.

Right-wing Extremists in Hungary Build Their Own Media. And Businesses. And Popularity

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.

Russia Today. What About Tomorrow?

Regulator rebukes RT channel. But does that really hurt them?

Images of people covered in blood, with gashes and burns on their bodies, standing or lying down on the floor. A voiceover commentary follows: “The British Broadcasting Corporation is accused of staging a chemical weapons attack.” This was part of the Truthseeker program that RT, formerly Russia Today, aired several times on 23 and 24 March 2014 in the U.K.

The Key Media Owners in Romania Have All Fell Foul of Law

They started television stations two decades ago and acted as the “merchants of hope” as they were selling glittering realities Romanians were craving for. More than 20 years later, television in Romania is an affair blemished by scandals, pressures and unlawfulness.

Organizations such as Freedom House or Reporters Without Borders continue to rate Romania high on the scale of media freedom. This is not necessarily inaccurate if one looks for example at access to information and freedom of speech. And yes, in theory, any honest journalist can enjoy full professional freedom if they write on their blog or on a few alternative platforms. They might also enjoy freedom in mainstream media, but only until they intersect with the interests of media owners. That is the true limit of Romanian media freedom.

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