Tag Archives: BBC

China blocks BBC

No surprise here. Once again the Chinese authorities show their utter disregard for press freedom and an absolute fear of information they don’t control getting out to the public.

China blocks BBC website as Hong Kong tensions rise

The best part in this story is when the a Chinese official first accuses the West of interfering in the internal affairs of China by supporting the student demonstrations for more democracy in Hong Kong. And then, after making unsubstantiated charges, demands that the international media report events “objectively”.

Generally, what that means to Beijing, is don’t report anything they object to.

Besides the BBC, the New York Times and Bloomberg are blocked by Chinese censors.

The ability of Chinese to get information from the Internet is driving Beijing crazy.

The rubber-stamp courts have been ruling lately that “netizens” in China are severely limited in what they can say and read on the Internet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Censorship, China, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

NHK credibility on the line

Government-owned news organizations usually cause some people to pause and think about the impartiality of the editorial policy. And yet some of the most respectable news organizations in the world depend on government largesse.

No one will question the quality and independent nature of the BBC.

Likewise, the Voice of America has an international reputation of fairness and impartiality. (A handful of misinformed Americans and anti-US propagandists outside America think otherwise, but the facts are against them.) And has a charter protecting journalists from interference from political control.

In Asia RTHK in Hong Kong fights daily to keep mainland China and the Hong Kong government out of its editorial policy. So far, it has been successful.

Also in Asia the NHK is seen as a global example of a government-financed news organization that digs deep, tells its stories without bias and stays with the facts.

Now, the reputation of the NHK is on the line.

In recent months, some members of the board of governors at NHK have expressed extreme positions, such as the Rape of Nanjing never happened and defended the practice of “sex slaves” during World War II.

Board member Naoki Hyakuta said Japan was lured into the war by America because of the economic embargo imposed after Japan invaded China. He also said Japan was liberating Asia from white colonialism.

According to the Independent in London, NHK’s new chairman, Katsuto Momii, stunned journalists by saying it was “only natural” that NHK should follow the government line on Japan’s territorial disputes with its neighbors. “When the government says ‘left’ we can’t say ‘right’,” he said.

It is that very statement that has people – including other news organizations in Japan – nervous.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe named Momii and Hyakuta to the 12-member board. He also named two other members who have also expressed hardline nationalist views.

Abe has a history of interfering with the NHK prodcuts.

According to The Diplomat:

[Abe] was the central player in the notorious muzzling of a NHK documentary about the comfort women that took place a few years ago. The documentary in question concerned efforts by women’s rights groups in Japan to highlight the government’s failure adequately to compensate surviving comfort women. Abe, already a very senior government official, paid a personal visit to NHK shortly before airtime to insist that the documentary be “fair and neutral.” NHK management immediately called the producers to demand drastic editorial changes to the already completed program. Last-minute revisions included the removal of all criticism of LDP policy and Emperor Hirohito. Also cut were dramatic confessions by two Japanese veterans admitting rape. Criticisms of the women’s movement were hurriedly inserted, including an interview with a discredited revisionist historian. Even the program title was whitewashed, from “Japanese Military’s Wartime Sexual Violence” to “Questioning Wartime Sexual Violence.” Far from being “fair and neutral” the final program was a lop-sided swipe at the redress movement and a complete exoneration of the LDP.

The Japanese High Court cleared Abe of charges of interference and berated the documentary producers for over reacting to Abe’s visit.

If the views of the board find their way into the NHK reporting, Japan and the world will lose what has been an excellent news organization.

A bit more reading on this issue:

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Harassment, International News Coverage

Use of slang or cliches in interviews

A listener of the BBC wondered if the non-native English-speaking interviewees really understand what is being asked of them.

The most recent incident I heard, which has prompted me to write, was on when one of your female interviewers asked an Italian news journalist about Berlusconi’s impending court appearance. She asked the Italian if he thought that Berlusconi would plead innocent and, if so, ‘would he be able to pull it off’.

The poor Italian hadn’t a clue about what she meant and I shudder to think what literal translation may have been flashing through his mind.

This got me wondering: How about all the immigrants in the United States who have English as a second language. How do they react to slang or clichés? Is there a better way for reporters to do their jobs in these types of situations?

Obviously one way around this for the reporter is to have a large vocabulary. If a person being interviewed does not appear to know what the reporter has said, it does no good to repeat the same words.

Another way is for the reporter to learn another language.

Leave a comment

Filed under Connections

Journalism in Zimbabwe — BBC Over to You 4/18

The Beeb has a great program — Over to You — that is about the state of media around the world.

This weekend they had a story about the changes in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe there is only state-run broadcasting. This year the government created the Zimbabwe Media Commission with the declared intention to promote and protect the media.

The guest this week was Gerry Jackson, a Zimbabwe exile who runs a radio station aimed at Zimbabwe from England, says the only difference between the policies of the Mugabe government before and after the unity government came to power and the new media commission is that the overt violence against free media has subsided.

Private news outlets are still banned. It is still against the law to call the 86-year-old Mugabe “an old man.”

Other discussions included the use of labels such as “left wing” and “right wing” to groups.

This is a good radio program that is available live and on podcasts from the BBC web site.

Leave a comment

Filed under Africa, International News Coverage

BBC series on the Internet and what it means

The Beeb as a great series on its web site called Superpower: Exploring the extraordinary power of the Internet.

Lots of interesting stories about how the Internet can and does affect society.

For example, Jiyar Gol looked at how Iraqis are using the Internet to rebuild their country and heal ethnic and religious wounds. (And by the way, I have not yet seen a similar story from any of the US media outlets.)

Another is on Afghan bloggers.

But the stuff with a really great “geek factor” are the interactive sites.

And for those who need a tutorial on how the Internet works, there is this. The cool part about this link are the counters of how many people are using the Internet that day, how many e-mails have been sent, how many Google searches and how many blog postings occurred.

Looking at the use of the Internet to get news is also interesting.

The chart represents the number and percentage of users accessing those sites based on the Nielson company monitoring system.

For example, 92.9 million people were using Fox Interactive (different from Fox News) at the time I lifted this chart, represent 1.96% of the Internet users. (Fox News drew 18 million or 0.38%.)

CNN drew 44.4 million for 0.94%, BBC had 35 million for 0.74% of online users, and the New York Times and Globo of Brazil each drew 0.49% of Internet users.

BTW, ESPN drew 26.6 million people for 0.56% of those using the Internet.

Anyway, the BBC series shows the influence and power of the Internet. It is an interesting section to visit at the BBC site. And it is too bad that only places like WIRED tend to do these kinds of stories in an ongoing basis in the American media landscape.

Leave a comment

Filed under International News Coverage, Story Ideas