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Conflict Zones

The millstone around Russia
bunch of rats


Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan – all on Russia’s edge – are pushing media repression to new lows. With all broadcasting and most print media firmly under State control, the Web is the current target. Dictators on Russia’s borders perplex even Russian media.




BBC news chief addresses international radio festival
IRIB microphone

Iran’s state broadcasting institution hosted again its International Radio Festival. The Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union joined the event this year co-hosting the International Radio Forum. The BBC’s Director of Global News Richard Sambrook gave the keynote. Only one Iranian official walked out.





Media War 2.0
al Manar The Hezbollah faction fought its way across Lebanon’s capital Beirut with more death and destruction in its wake. One target was the pro-government media center Future TV, now in ruins. The militias now control through force of arms much of what moves. And its own media empire is spreading the news.



Tycoons and television: a dangerous combination
Imedi TV

A day earlier this would have been a story about a television station, controversial in itself, changing owners. A Russian billionaire or two thrown in and the story gets a bit more interesting. But when the stations’ principal owner ‘suspiciously’ drops dead, this story took yet a different turn. Oh, add Rupert Murdoch to the mix.



Newspaper sale highlights transparency, international tension
Turning government owned enterprises into private companies is considered a positive step, even more so when governments divest interest in State owned media. A lack of transparency in privatization, brought to light by NGOs, has a way of diminishing any positive result. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Balkans.

In Conflict Zones

Raise high the license fee, Burma, and see less - January 2, 2008
Burma’s military rulers engaged a new front in their war on media “liars attempting to destroy the nation.” Today’s target is the dreaded satellite dish. Without warning, and no official announcement, satellite dish owners are now expected to pay about three times the average annual wage for a license to watch news, sports and soap operas from the outside.

Georgian TV channel suspends broadcasts…owner in coup plot allegations - December 26, 2008
Imedi TV suspended broadcasting ‘temporarily’ (Wednesday, December 26) according to a spokesperson, reported by website Civil Georgia. The station has been a political football in the contest between the government of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and billionaire opposition leader Badri Patarkatsishvili. In early November the channel was forcibly closed by authorities and direct management assumed by News Corporation (News Corp), its minority shareholder.

Pimp your satellite dish - December 15, 2007
colorful dishes


Yes, the basic garden variety – or rooftop – satellite dish is one ugly sight. In a recent beautification movement Turkmenistan’s president ordered them removed. Media watchers question whether he finds the dishes so ugly or the programs they receive.
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Human Rights Day launch for Belarus TV channel - December 12, 2007
The multi-national project to beam independent television into Belarus is planned to hit the airwaves on International Human Rights Day. Belsat will be for Belarusians by Belarusians, say the producers. And they’ll throw in Ally McBeal, too.

Mog mayor wants no bad news on the radio - November 28, 2007
Politicians moan continually about their press coverage. Bad news reflects badly. Mogadishu mayor Mohamed Dheere told broadcasters and publishers to stop the bad news or else.

Opposition leader cedes TV control to News Corp, takes to protest podium - November 5, 2007
Badri Patarkatsishvili Two days before Georgians by the tens of thousands took to the streets protesting their government, News Corp executive vice president Marty Pompadur told a press conference in the Georgia capital Tbilisi that the company has taken over management of Imedi TV and radio.
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Post-conflict media training expensive and ‘naïve’ - October 19, 2007
training Immediately after the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords ending military and para-military action in Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe and the US rushed in the media specialists. ‘Hate radio’ may not have been invented in Bosnia but through years of conflict it flourished and, against all best efforts, pieces remain today. The international community’s intention was to use media for the good of that devastated civil society. With that end in mind, but hardly in sight, money poured in for equipment, from transmitters to printing presses, and for training.

Russian broadcaster steps to the West - October 10, 2007
Media advertising in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Romania will experience triple digit growth over the next three years. That may not exactly be the reason a Russian broadcaster wants to acquire the aging Soviet-era transmission facility in Transdniestra.

Croatia’s media: arrested development - October 1, 2007
Feral Tribune

A decade ago European institutions saw Croatia’s media sector as hopeless, with little or no possibility developing to recognized standards. The new century brought considerable donor involvement in media but only modest attention from major broadcasters and publishers. The European Union declared Croatia last November a functioning market economy, another step toward EU accession and signal that the ‘post-donor’ era had begun.


ESC Serbian winnerSerbian media changes little, faces long transition - September 24, 2007
The media situation in Serbia hasn’t changed much. “We are seven years in this (transition) period in Serbia and we can say that we are half way through,” said OSCE Head of Mission in Serbia Hans Ola Urstad in a recent interview. “A lot more has to be done and it will be done,”


mullahsIran tourism: very expensive and hard to leave - September 20, 2007
Radio Farda reporter Parnaz Azima left Iran after an extended and unplanned eight month stay. Iran’s official media said she was planning a ‘velvet revolution.’ Give me a break! She was visiting her mother.


Private broadcast licenses ‘formalized’ in Cameroon - September 11, 2007
Cameroon’s Communications Ministry recently issued the nation’s first broadcast licenses. The law allowing privately owned radio and television stations was enacted 27 years ago. There seems to be no hurry.

Talk show host murdered, station director killed, broadcasters warned - August 10, 2007
At sunrise Saturday morning Radio HornAfrik talk show host Mahad Ahed Elmi took four bullets to the head as he reached his office door. Hours later station director Ali Iman Sharmarke, returning from Elmi’s funeral, died when his automobile struck a landmine. Friday government troops raided Radio Shabelle, arresting staff members. Both stations – broadcasters known for independent reporting – have continued to operate despite warnings and threats from disparate bands of warring factions.

International broadcasters on high alert: Key channel, support group threatened - July 2, 2007
RL Armenia Foreign-originated broadcasts and foreign media support groups are losing their welcome. Is somebody afraid of being bitten? Writing new laws to hamper, discourage and foil foreign-originated broadcasts from entering their ether-space is necessary, they say, for technical reasons


Honor Killings Stalk Women in Journalism - June 11, 2007
Three times in two weeks women working in journalism in the Middle East were reported murdered. The killings are a gruesome reminder that for the many and significant steps forward for journalism in the region; it remains in the grip of cultural antiquities and fear.

WAN Criticizes Lack of Press Freedom in Africa, But South African President Thabo Mbeki Chides Publishers and Editors For Cutting Back On Their African Coverage - June 5, 2007
The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) told South African President Thabo Mbeki, officials of the African Union, foreign ambassadors and nearly 400 African newspaper professionals from 43 countries that if Africa had more press freedom that in itself would help stamp out the rampant 'corruption, famine, poverty, violent conflict, disease and lack of education -- afflictions of which African people's have much more than their fair share.' Mbeki basically agreed but also chided the world’s media for their lack of commitment in covering Africa for the rest of the world.

Press Freedom in Africa? - June 4, 2007

“Media freedom in Africa is held captive both by the state and by the market," according to Zambian media analyst Fackson Banda, speaking at a press freedom in Africa roundtable at the WAN convention in Cape Town Sunday.


Alan Johnston Not Free Yet - June 3, 2007
Generally welcomed Friday was the video of BBC reporter Alan Johnston in captivity. Most sources and experts agree that negotiations for his freedom remain difficult.

Senegal Private Radio Launch Halted by Gendarmes - June 1, 2007
It was supposed to be something of a celebration: the launch of Dakar radio station Premiere FM. Gendarmes appeared and authorities asked owner Madiambal Diagne to shut down signal tests already in progress.

Palestinian Security Chief Rules Out Force to Free BBC Reporter - May 2, 2007
Saying that negotiations to free kidnapped BBC Gaza reporter Alan Johnston have reached a “sensitive” stage, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wants the world to know that he’s got the message.

RTL Loses Serb License Appeal - April 4, 2007
Serbia’s Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by RTL against the media regulator Republic Broadcasting Agency (RBA), according to B92.

Middle East Warlords Use Journalists as Poker Chips - April 9, 2007
Every moment is a high-stakes poker game in the Middle East. News reporting is no longer about observation. Reporters are now bargaining chips.

Terror Group Claims It Has Killed Alan Johnston – No Independent Verification - April 16, 2007

Broadcasters Rally to BBC Journalist Kidnapped in Gaza - April 11, 2007
"Journalists must never become victims of their own profession,"

Radio Rides In To Rescue Middle East Peace - February 22, 2007
Radio broadcasting’s long, distinguished tradition as a creative force in conflict zones turns a new chapter as an English language FM station based in Ramallah, Palestine takes to the air.

At This Holiday Time : Remember The Little Ones - December 21, 2006
Antena C logo

A country’s “best” radio station is taken off the air. The West protests. The government shrugs. The story repeats.


No More Free Radio/TV In Azerbaijan - November 27, 2006
ANS logo After smoldering for weeks, the Azeri government finally acted on its displeasure with television and radio broadcaster ANS. News accounts show a revolting picture of police surrounding the stations’ as authorities moved in to shut them down.


Ogulsapar Muradova Died Violently Last Week. She Was a Journalist - September 18, 2006
Ogulspar Muradova Just less than 90 days after being arrested by Turkmen authorities, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) free-lance reporter died in prison. She had been convicted at a trial lasting 10 minutes and sentenced to serve six years, effectively a life-time. She was 58 years old.


Satellite TV Channel “With You Lebanon” Launched by Dubai Media Group - August 17, 2006
Al Aqariya Group – a publisher and television operator for the Arab real estate market – took to the satellite airwaves with a new channel aimed at raising awareness – and funds – for Lebanon’s reconstruction.



Armenian Broadcaster Wins Record Number of License Denials - May 28, 2006
The “Never Give Up” award goes to Armenian broadcaster A1+. Four years after being tossed off the air, they keep trying. And the government keeps denying.

Media Development Loan Fund Bonds With Swiss Bank - May 12, 2006
When times are tough, the clever get creative. Times are certainly tough for independent media in transitional economies. Marking World Press Freedom Day, the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF) and Swiss partners launched a clever investment instrument designed to support independent press in developing countries.

Wasting No Time, Serb Authorities Send a Message…With the Police. - April 28, 2006
Less than a week after the Serbian Broadcasting Authority announced the winners of national TV and radio licenses, BK TV – one of the losers – was shut down by police

Fox Television Joins Serb Channels in License Award - April 24, 2006
The Serbian Republic Broadcasting Agency (PPA) reshuffled national television and radio allocations, awarding most to existing broadcasters but adding everybody’s favorite media mogul to the scene. Five national TV licenses were granted to six broadcast companies. News Corporation, through its Netherlands subsidiary, will operate Fox Televizija with local Serb partners.

Awards For Developing Media’s Best - February 17, 2006


The entry deadline for the prestigious One World Media Awards is upon us. Nominations are sought for the Special Award for Developing Media.


Sustain – Not Stop – The Press! - December 28, 2005
In its first decade Media Development Loan Fund moved the balance for independent news media in emerging democracies from subsidy and charity to continuity and sustainability. The success stories are moving, too. But, hold on, its new investment offer will bond.

Piramida TV’s Strange Weekend - December 12, 2005
Reports differ slightly, but it appears Kyrgyzstan is about to lose its only marginally independent television station. And it appears fueled by hostilities between those in and out of power.

Macedonia Public Broadcaster in Turmoil - November 1, 2005
Macedonia Radio Television (MRT) General Director Gordana Stosic resigned (August 7) casting doubts on the broadcasters’ future.

BBC Albanian Service Launches Morning Radio Program - November 1, 2005 News and current affairs program BBC Sot, meaning BBC Today, airs 0700-0900 CET, Monday through Friday on the BBC’s Tirana station 103.9 FM and several affiliates across the country. The program format contains regional and international news bulletins each 15 minutes and features on business, sports and culture. Listeners can participate in live in-studio debates via SMS messaging, telephone and email

Afghan Journalists Review Afghan Media Scene - October 30, 2005
Outsiders looking at Afghanistan’s post-Taliban media scene report gains, strides, progress, improvement. Afghan journalists do not suffer the grammatical. It’s grim.

Guardian Reporter Kidnapped in Iraq - October 20, 2005
Several sources tie the kidnapping to yesterday’s other main event in Iraq, the start of Saddam Hussein’s trial. Armed men seized the 33 year old Irishman, along with his driver.

Hard Times in Conflict Zones - October 1, 2005
The typical is never the case in conflict zones where visiting a local warlord or facing a militia can be the first order of the days’ business.

Belarus: Hot New Broadcast Market - September 12, 2005
Nothing attracts broadcasters attention like a hot new market. Even though Belarus is home to Europe’s last major dictator, broadcasters are lined up to get their share of the audience.

Ukraine TV Owner Dies Mysteriously - June 30, 2005
Months after the Orange Revolution set in motion a change in guard in Ukraine the old guard is losing its grip on media. But tactics don’t seem to change.

Uzbekistan: What Color is Your Revolution? - May 14, 2005
Media lock-down preceeded the civil unrest in Uzbekistan. And it continues. This dictator wants nothing to do with those “colorful revolutions.”

Robert Mugabe’s Never Ending Battle With the Media - April 7, 2005
British journalists are arrested, Swedish correspondent deported and exiles short-wave radio station jammed as Mugabe’s reign over Zimbabwe continues

Radio Relief Arrives in Aceh. Really! - March 28, 2005
Media support agencies and international broadcasters are moving personnel and equipment to Indonesia’s Aceh province, re-building destroyed radio stations.

Togo’s New Rulers Clamp Down on Media - February 15, 2005
After the military installed a new president, son of the last one, Togolese media was put on notice: Don’t make waves!

Big and Small, Broadcasters Determined in DR Congo - December 1, 2004
Just four years ago Richard Pituwa built a transmitter from left behind electronics. This year One World Broadcasting Trust honored him and his station, Radio Canal Révélation.

Ukraine: Return Us Now to Tomorrow - November 29, 2004
High-powered media campaigns in the Ukraine – before and after the elections – shine a klieglight on – that’s right – high-powered media.

Gbagbo Supporters Mute Media in Ivory Coast - November 9, 2004
With French and United Nations troops attempting to prevent Ivory Coast from slipping back into civil war several media outlets critical of President Laurent Gbagbo were silenced.

Confidence Crumbles in Serb Broadcast Council - November 8, 2004
Created more than two years ago the agency meant to overhaul Serbia’s broadcast media remains mired in politics left over from the Milosevic era.

Radio SAWA report: Big Audience, Low Impact - October 16, 2004
A US State Department Inspector General‘s report is critical of the Arabic-language channel as failing to meet its mandate although it attracts a large audience in key Middle Eastern countries.

Public Broadcasters and Balkan Ghosts - October 1, 2004
If counting stations best measured a regions broadcasting health, radio in the western Balkans would be called strong and thriving. It is not.
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Teaching Radio Best Practices - March 1, 2004
Radio trainers roam the developing world, facing major challenges in difficult environments and, not infrequently, dangerous situations.

Also in Knowledge Conflict Zones - Civil Media

Professionals call them complex disasters. Wars, civil and otherwise, have complex roots and complex consequences. Where conflict is the order of the day, civil order disappears and with it the essential thread communication.

ftm Knowledge

Europe’s Radio – a new ftm Knowledge file for September 2008

Europe’s media landscape is dotted by 15,000 radio stations and channels. Public, private, digital and even a few MW stations reach upwards of 90% of Europe’s listeners each day. Ftm reports on growing brands, changing rules and new technologies. Country reports. 135 pages PDF (September 2008)

Free to ftm members, others from €39

Media Brands - Much More Than A Name

From Apple and the BBC to Google, KISS, Prince and NRJ... media brands inspire and engage. What makes a strong media brand? This ftm Knowledge file looks at brand basics and brand strategies for broadcasters, publishers and new media. 25 articles, 65 pages. PDF file (July 2008)

Free to ftm members, others from €39

Russian Media - The Wild East

Media in Russia is big business and big politics. Advertising growth is high, radio and TV channels springing up. At the sametime independence is questioned, journalists in danger and foreign media excluded. It's all changing. ftm looks at media in Russia, 30 articles, 55 pages. PDF file (July 2008)

Free to ftm members, others from €39

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