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Will Media Wars Continue in 2018?

According to BBC media editor Amol Rajan, “… the backlash against big tech companies will intensify in the coming year. Many of those who have led the charge against, for example, Google and Facebook, are publishers with a strong commercial incentive to do so, because those two companies are taking their advertising dollars. That is not to invalidate the stories, of course,” he wrote on December 30, 2017, BBC blog. See “Media: What to look out for in 2018.”

“But if they continue then so, too, will the entrapment of this whole debate in a language and intellectual prism which is out of date,” Rajan added. “All the calls for regulation and social control of these companies are happening within a framework for media - whether legal, social, or moral - which is simply not suitable for these companies.”

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Is a Geopolitical Power Shift Taking Place?

Lauren Drablier, "a graduate student in International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris" who "currently works for the World Association of Newspapers," notes in an October 14, 2008, post at Nieman Watchdog that:

News concerning the financial crisis has taken over newspapers and Internet pages around the world and the international media have been quick to say a geopolitical power shift is taking place.
It's a worth reading observation. To read more, see "The U.S. is widely criticized in the financial crisis."

Note: This post can also be found at The Curious Spectator and The Blogging Journalist.

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Anchors Jockeying for Interviews With Obama on Foreign Trip

American national news anchors Brian Douglas Williams of NBC, Katherine Anne "Katie" Couric of CBS and Charles deWolfe Gibson of ABC will join presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on his foreign trip this summer to Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan. See "Media stars will accompany Obama overseas." According to the International Herald Tribune's Jim Rutenberg:

... when Obama heads for Iraq and other locations overseas this summer, Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Obama on successive nights.

Rutenberg added: "And while the anchors are jockeying for interviews with Obama at stops along his route, the regulars on the Obama campaign plane will have new seat mates: star political reporters from the major newspapers and magazines who are flocking to catch Obama's first overseas trip since becoming the presumptive nominee of his party.

I guess this means the trip is important. What do you think?

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Kenyan Bloggers Show How Technology Can Shape Politics'

Kenyan Journalist Charles Onyango-Obbo,  writing in the January 28, 2008, edition of The East African of Kenya, made the following observation:

One of the things that brought a lethal edge to the Kenyan election is that, unlike Ugandans, Kenyans are among Africa’s most avid bloggers. There were over 600 blogs that were hot on the elections, some spewing shocking tribal vitriol.

That, and the hate speech on some FM stations and SMSs gave insights into how new technologies can shape politics in poor countries and fragile democracies.

Onyango-Obbo said, "If Kenya teaches us anything, it is that in African countries where ethnic rivalries are still strong, these messages find very many people waiting for their worst prejudices to be reinforced."

To read his entire post, see "Low-tech political class losing control to savvy hate merchants."

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Xinhua: Beirut Street Demonstrations Spark Battle Among The Press

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, says "Mass street demonstration in Beirut sparks "battle" among press." Surely, that's no surprise. The press is as diverse as the citizenry.

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Can Al-Jazeera Break The CNN, BBC Global News Monopoly?

When Al Jazeera launched its English language television news network on November 15, 2006, it was billed as an effort "to reverse the information flow from South to North and to provide a voice to under-reported regions around the world.”

“[It] is a new force in the global English-speaking media with the ability to seek out and cover different perspectives of news,” the Doha, Qatar-based network said in a statement, which was excerpted in the English-language Egyptian magazine Monday Morning .

Linda S. Heard, described as "a specialist writer on Middle East affairs" notes that Al Jazeera is "the first English-language news channel head-quartered in the Middle East or Gulf. She asked:

What can Al Jazeera in English offer in terms of programming to compete with CNN, the BBC or Sky News? Does it deliver a Pan-Arab perspective like its long-established sister network? Or will it be watered down to suit a broader Western audience? [For her answer, see "A Qatari child is born"].

As Monday Morning reported, Al-Jazeera will carryout its mission from "four regional broadcasting centers in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington, in addition to 20 other bureaus. It will also benefit from access to the facilities of its Arabic mother-channel." Monday Morning quoted "network general director Wadah Khanfar" as saying:

Launching the English channel offers the chance to reach out to a new audience that is used to hearing the name of Al-Jazeera without being able to watch it or to understand its language.
Khanfar pledged “impartial and balanced” news coverage, according to Monday Morning.

The magazine quotes an Arab media analyst, who allegedly requested anonymity, as telling reporters:

The worldwide broadcasting landscape is at a turning point with the launch of Al-Jazeera International, because this is the first time a media organization in the third world seeks a universal dimension. This channel should however mark its territory and distinguish itself from other known news channels, like CNN and BBC World, without going into controversy like its mother-channel,” which broadcasts in Arabic.
To read more of Monday Morning's report on Al Jazeera, see "Al-Jazeera Launches in English."

Will Europeans and Americans be able to get Al-Jazeera International? "Insofar as Europeans understand English, they will have the opportunity to access Al Jazeera’s unique perspective on world news," wrote columnist Frank Hennick of The Badger Herald, a University of Wisconsin publication that bills itself as "the  largest fully independent daily campus newspaper in the nation." He added in a November 20, 2006, commentary headlined "Al Jazeera offers political context:

We Americans, however, will remain left out of the intrigue, as no American cable or satellite service providers will offer these broadcasts," he noted. "In the United States, anyone curious about Al Jazeera English will need a broadband connection and a bit of Internet savvy, confining the audience to political “techies.”
This snub, while not momentous in itself, is emblematic of a much broader problem facing America.
The New York Sun's Brendan Bernhard also explained why Americans may not get to see the channel for a while."
 ... it took only a couple of days to discern that although one reason for its absence from American TV screens is political, another may be that the global range and scope of its reportage, were it to find an audience here, could prove an embarrassment to the relative parochialism of CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, et al. [For more, see Bernhard's November 21, 2006, report headlined "Is It Al-Jazeera Or CNN International?"].

And it could help break the U.S. monopoly on the distribution information, especially negative news, to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. According to  Der Spiegel Online's Bernhard Zand,  "The project could boost the self-esteem of a depressed cultural nation." For more, see "War of Cultures Hits the Airwaves."

Full-time "writer, journalist and commentator" Dilip Hiro put Al-Jazeera International into historical perspective. In a November 20, 2006, post at Comment is Free headlined "Why the world needs al-Jazeera English," he wrote:

It is not just Arabs and Asians who have felt irked by the biases of the Anglo-American media giants. The French have been equally troubled by the dominance of the English-speaking roll-on television news. Their frustration reached a peak during the run-up to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Hiro said, "It led French president Jacques Chirac to back a plan to set up a French satellite television channel to compete with the CNN and BBC."

"As for Asia, Africa and Latin America, in the late 1970s the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) noted the existence of "information imperialism"," he added. "This led to the establishment of NAM news agency. But because it was cobbled together from state-run national news agencies, it failed to take off." 

Note: This article can also be found at The Blogging Journalist and The Editorial Observer.

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