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Public service broadcasting: It’s political

16/03/20 | (0) Comments |

Attacks on the independence of the BBC are multiplying.

The principle of public service broadcasting – or, in these days of digital convergence, public service media – ought to be sacrosanct. The question then becomes one of the need for unbiased oversight and financial autonomy.

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Pushing the limits of media freedom in the interest of democratic protest

09/03/20 | (0) Comments |

A report from Lebanon’s Maharat Foundation examines the role of freedom of expression and media during the 2019 uprising.

Maharat’s aim is to create societal and political conditions that enhance freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline. It equips a progressive community in Lebanon and the region with the skills and knowledge necessary to bring about change.

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International digital taxation: It’s long overdue

02/03/20 | (0) Comments |

“Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.”

Pulitzer Prize winning American author Herman Wouk may have written that, but it certainly seems to be true of some of the major tech companies whose profits include those from dubious digital surveillance techniques.

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Civil society has a chance to regain the high ground

24/02/20 | (0) Comments |

Surveillance and loss of privacy are watchwords in the digital transformation of societies worldwide.

Who is watching us and for what purposes? Who is infringing private spaces and closing down public spaces? When it comes to communication infrastructures and technologies, accessibility and affordability are no longer enough, simply because neither governments nor corporate entities can be trusted to play fair.

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Giving migrants a voice – and others a history lesson

17/02/20 | (0) Comments |

National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States is demonstrating the importance both of giving a voice to migrants in media, and of ensuring the independence of the public broadcasting platform.

As reported by another public broadcaster, BBC (“The immigrants telling stories history missed” 10 February 2020, two young radio producers, one with Iranian and the other with Palestinian backgrounds, are leading a new podcast series that highlight stories that most people have missed in their history lessons.

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Making journalism as good and as diverse as it can be

10/02/20 | (0) Comments |

The BBC, once a bastion of public service broadcasting, is cutting 450 jobs from its news operation.

In future, and in an effort to save £80 million, journalists will be covering fewer stories as the corporation faces an uncertain future. BBC journalists will increasingly be organised in centralised teams rather than working individually for specific programmes, with an increased emphasis on online output rather than television and radio stations.

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The double-edged sword of digital technology

03/02/20 | (0) Comments |

Front Line, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, has published its Front Line Defenders Global Analysis 2019. It details the physical assaults, defamation campaigns, digital security threats, judicial harassment, and gender-based attacks faced by human rights defenders around the world.

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Nepal faces new threat to freedom of expression

27/01/20 | (0) Comments |

One of the main sites of struggle for global civil society in 2020 will be digital platforms and social media. The authorities in several countries are finding ways to restrict and suppress democratic debate with legislation that casts a wide net around what is considered offensive or derogatory.

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Media coverage should give peace a chance

20/01/20 | (0) Comments |

Growing tensions between the United States and Iran marked the first two weeks of 2020. News cycles have been dominated by coverage of the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, the killing of a high-profile Iranian general, Iranian attacks on US military bases, and the horrific downing of a passenger airplane in Tehran, sparking fears that the conflict could ignite  another full-out war in the Middle East. The situation has also affected Iranian Americans,  many of whom have reported being questioned about their political views when entering or leaving the United States.

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Demanding accountability from democratic structures

13/01/20 | (0) Comments |

It would be wonderful to begin 2020 with an upbeat account of communication rights being strengthened and protected around the world.

There are undoubtedly many instances of positive and exciting changes taking place. Unfortunately, the overall picture is dispiriting. Studies show that organisations like WACC, which advocate for and defend people’s right to communicate, still have much to do.

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