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Ed Webb

Egypt's media bill may bring demise of small, online outlets - The Washington Post - 0 views

    Egyptian journalists said Wednesday that a new draft bill regulating the media would likely bring the demise of dozens of low-budget, online media outlets serving as a refuge for young writers and liberal activists escaping government restrictions on freedom of expression.
    Egyptian journalists said Wednesday that a new draft bill regulating the media would likely bring the demise of dozens of low-budget, online media outlets serving as a refuge for young writers and liberal activists escaping government restrictions on freedom of expression.
Ed Webb

They Made Him a Moron | The Baffler - 0 views

    Great fun. Morozov takes down Alec Ross's book on technology, globalization etc.
Ed Webb

Turkish TV station aims to switch western views - - 1 views

  • The fledgling TV news channel, under the wing of the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, is at the forefront of an ambitious effort by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, to shape how the country is viewed around the world.

    With sleek graphics, English-speaking foreign journalists and funded from the deep pockets of the taxpayer, it follows the blueprint of Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Russia’s RT, formerly Russia Today.

  • “There has [for many years] been a need for a broadcast channel delivering the events to the world from a different perspective, which presents Turkey’s own viewpoint,” says Ibrahim Eren, head of broadcasting for TRT. Ankara’s growing influence, not least in Syria and the migrant crisis, had created the need for a station showing non-Turkish viewers “how we see the world”
  • foreign journalists whom he views as an extension of western influence over Turkish internal affairs
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  • public insults to reporters from CNN, the Economist and the BBC, notably when the 2013 Gezi Park protests provided media outlets with gripping images of tear-gassed protesters
  • While TRT World has hired expensive expatriate talent and technical staff, other Turkish journalists have been jailed, their newspapers closed and their careers ended over material the government deems offensive. In 2015 Reporters without Borders ranked Turkey 149th in the world for press freedom, behind South Sudan and Palestine
  • most of the foreign employees contacted by the FT privately expressed concern they had signed up to a project that would become halfway between state propaganda and an expression of Turkish soft power. “If we’re not careful, we end up a joke,” says a senior news staffer who is already considering quitting
  • Mr van Meek, a veteran of Fox News and Al Jazeera, rejects such criticism and says the channel’s coverage will be a measure of its independence: “Watch the content. I think we are fair and objective and credible.”
  • live broadcasts that are available online and as part of Turkish cable bundles. Yet almost nobody outside the country can yet watch it on television.
  • The benefits of being under the public broadcaster’s umbrella are apparent. During two recent high-profile terrorism incidents, TRT World was able to break a nationwide ban and broadcast live from the scene, while others had to rely on studio interviews.
  • its headcount has swelled to at least 220 in Istanbul, with additional centers in London, Singapore and Washington
  • Industry analysts estimate annual running costs at £50m-£100m, rising further if the channel develops a large network of correspondents. RT’s annual budget is about £125m.
  • “If you had $100m to improve the state of Turkish media, would you spend it on a glasshouse in the middle of Istanbul?” says Andrew Finkel, founder of P24, an organisation that aims to strengthen independent reporting in Turkey. “Why are public funds being used this way?”
    WIll it be as credible as Al Jazeera is (in some quarters, at least), or dismissed as propaganda, as RT mostly is, and Iran's Press TV generally is?
Ed Webb

Morocco banned Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It didn't go down well | ... - 0 views

  • Maroc Telecom, Meditel and Inwi, the three telecommunication service providers in Morocco, welcomed the New Year of 2016 with the ban of free mobile internet calls made through mobile phone connections.

    Skype, Viber, Tango, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are among the applications whose VoIP calls have been blocked by telecom operators on 3G, and 4G connections in January and ADSL connections in February.

  • Morocco’s Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency (ANRT), which was behind the ban, justified its decision by stating that none of the services providing voice over IP (VoIP) or other "free internet calls" had the required licenses.
  • a move to boost operators’ revenues from international calls
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  • campaign on social networks to protest against it while online petitions call for the restoration of VoIP services
  • Many children of expatriates living in Morocco and Moroccans living abroad made emotional appeals to King Mohammed VI to restore VoIP calls so that they can communicate with their relatives abroad and in the North African kingdom respectively. Their letters are still being uploaded on “Stop the VOIP ban in Morocco” on Facebook.

    Petitions have also been launched on the internet, including a letter of protest to the ANRT president, which has already gathered almost 10,000 signatures.

    While petitions, appeals and boycotts are the only weapons to fight the VoIP ban, Moroccans’ patience might run out sooner or later in the face of a profit-driven oligopoly backed by ANRT.

Ed Webb

This Intifada Will Be Digital - The Black Iris - 0 views

  • In these 15 years, we went from an era where mainstream media dominated the narrative, to an era where social media dominates it. This isn’t a time when the mainstream sees the online as a playful mechanism of democratized media (or an opportunity to present their brands as participatory), but a time when the mainstream is chasing down leads from what circulates online. And the region’s people now have the power to shape the narrative (whether we’ve fully realized it or not).
  • Internet user growth in the region has gone up by 6,091.9% between 2000 and 2015
  • Arabic is now the fourth biggest language on the Web after English, Chinese and Spanish
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  • as a Jordanian, I was part of what I personally believe to be the final generation that actually gave a damn what the government did or did not do. Our relationship with the state was like our relationship with a television – a one-way communication channel, where we are on the receiving end no matter how much we yell at the screen. And that was that
  • Like everyone else, I have no idea how this conflict will end. But I know that the Web will undeniably play a leading role – and that’s not something anyone could’ve imagined back in 1948. As yet another cycle of violence is upon us, that role is worth studying, and it’s that role that I find myself paying attention to the most.
Ed Webb

Arab autocrats use anti-IS Web war to stifle dissent: Report | Middle East Eye - 0 views

  • the region’s authoritarian leaders are using the threat of IS propaganda as a pretext to clamp down on online critics
  • “A spate of new anti-terrorism laws around the region have overly broad definitions of terrorism that fail to distinguish between speech that incites violence or promotes extremism and the type of free speech posted by online journalists and human rights activists.”
  • According to the Brookings Institution, a US-based think tank, IS and its supporters ran some 46,000 Twitter accounts last year
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  • “In the UAE, publicly declaring one’s animosity or lack of allegiance to the regime falls under the country’s broad definition of terrorism. Whereas in Saudi Arabia, the same applies to calling for atheist thought.”
  • Globally, internet freedom declined around the world for the fifth year running in 2015, with some governments changing tactics as Web users got better at by-passing state-run controls
  • More than 61 percent of Web users live in countries where criticising the government, military or ruling family is censored online, the report said. Another 58 per cent live in countries where people can be jailed for sharing political, social or religious content online
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