International media

By RFI

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A weekly look at the problems and pleasures facing journalists around the world and the power and responsibilities of news media.

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International media - Community radio serves Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar
00:10:09
A Bangladeshi community radio station is servicing the needs of Rohingya refugees in the coastal city of Cox's Bazaar. Radio Naf employs both Rohingyas and local Bangladeshis to produce content that helps refugees live in the camps. And in those where there is no radio reception, listener clubs play the broadcasts. Radio Naf is a Bangladeshi community radio that started focusing on the needs of Rohingya refugees in August 2017, following the massive influx of people that poured into south-eastern Bangladesh, fleeing genocide in Myanmar. There are now over a million Rohingya refugees in some 27 camps in Cox’s Bazaar. There was a dire need to channel reliable information about life in refugee camps to the Rohingya in a language they could understand read by people they could relate to. They needed to know how to access food distribution, medicine, shelter, and other such basic information.   “Community radio is a concept to develop programmes by the community, for the community and with the community,” says Mohammad Rashidul Hasan, Programme Coordinator of Radio Naf, who is also known as Mr Rashed. Radio Naf, which has been around since 2011, uses Chittagonian dialect, understood by both the local Bangladeshi community and the Rohingyas to broadcast news and programmes to help the refugees. The radio also employs both Rohingya and Bangladeshi journalists; it works with 35 volunteers with an additional 12 based in six Rohingya refugee camps. Bringing the radio to the listeners The various camps sprawled out in Cox’s Bazaar do not all catch radio reception, so Radio Naf set up 22 listener clubs where the programmes are broadcast to a mixed group of 20 men, women, youth and elderly people, who are then instructed to share the information with people in their household and neighbourhood. There are also five information hubs in five different camps, which not only provide information about what is made available to the refugees but also take down their problems and complaints before channelling them to the appropriate organisation. “If they have any complaints, like gender-based violence or something like that, we at once refer this to the camp management committee and sometimes to the relevant NGOs,” says Mr Rashed. Aid for the Rohingya refugees come from all quarters: an array of NGOs, various United Nations organisations, the government of Bangladesh and so on but the refugees are not always aware of the kind of support made available for them. And this where Radio Naf fills in the gap. “We [recently] relayed information from [UN children's fund] Unicef about cholera vaccination,” Mr Rashed reports. Radio Naf produces programmes on an array of issues such as health, shelter, water and sanitation, food distribution, child protection. Environmental education Some of them aim to educate the refugees. The massive arrival of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazaar led to deforestation of the region. Programmes on the environment are designed to help the refugees understand the importance of preserving the environment and how to cook food without destroying the forest. “There are a lot of children and the camps have no boundaries,” says Mr Rashed to outline some of the contents of programmes on child protection. "Children they go here and there. This is how they might get lost. Or they can be trafficked also. This is why every mother should keep [an] eye on the children and the children also should know where they can move in the camp." Radio Naf uses various formats to broadcast its reports addressing the Rohingyas' concerns. Radio drama is one of them and it is quite popular among listeners. In one play, the actors explain what to do in the eventuality of a cyclone – the region is prone to such disasters – as the shelters in the camps are often made of bamboos and tarpaulin. From a small radio for the fishing community of Teknaf, Radio Naf has developed into a broadcaster/information vector for a population deeply affected by humanitarian disaster. Follow Radio Naf 99.2 FM on Facebook Follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter @zxnt Sound editor: Alain Bleu
Oct 14, 2018
International media - Press freedom opens up in Malaysia, racial diversity stalls in US media
00:10:00
Journalists who exposed Malaysian corruption and paid the price have begun reporting freely since the 9 May election that toppled prime minister Najib Razak. While press freedom may be improving in Kuala Lumpur, racial diversity has some way to go in US newsrooms, a report says. Before this month's general election, stories of state graft in Malaysia wre difficult to publish in the Malaysian media. Razak's government went to great lengths to stifle scrutiny of the embezzlement of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund founded by Najib. Not anymore. “The whole thing is that now we can report without fear or favour," Kamles Kumar, a journalist with the publication Malaysian Insights, told RFI. The shock defeat of Najib's National Front coalition, putting an end to the 60 year-rule of his party, Umno, and its allies, stunned the nation. The result brought the opposition Hope Alliance to power and Najib's former boss, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohammed badk to the prime minister's office. For Kumar, Rajib's loss could be a gain for press freedom. "I work for a news portal. We were the ones pushing for issues like 1MDB, donations into the ex-prime minister’s account to be covered, and now the whole media fraternity is reporting everything that we were reporting before and it’s very much a welcome change,” he said. The scandal was a key reason why voters dumped Rajib on 9 May. Mahathir promises press freedom "I remember doing the whole week of campaigning during the elections," Trinna Leong, Malaysia correspondent for the Singapour outlet Straits Times, told RFI. "I was in this one state called Johor, and I was very shocked. People who are traditionally supporters of the National Front decided at the last moment to switch and support the Hope Alliance, because they’re just so fed up with corruption and the cost of living, and these two things are linked.” Najib is accused by the US Department of Justice of personally pocketing 681 million dollars (581 million euros) looted from a Malaysian government agency. Not only has the Pakatan Harapan government of Mahathir Mohamad pledged a full independent investigation into the billions of embezzled funds but Mahathir has also promised to ease restrictions on the press. Previously, the Malaysian government had pushed through restrictions on free speech, including punishing individuals for spreading fake news. "The fact that that bill was drafted in two months, drafted and passed in two months was madness," comments Leong, who welcomes plans by Malaysia's new Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo to repeal the law. "Of course it's good news," she said. "There is a desire to get rid of it because the new government has to show that they are going to fulfil their promises and this is one of the things that they promised to do." Meanwhile, for journalists like Kamles Kumar the new measures are a step in the right direction. His publication, Malaysian Insights, previously known as the Malaysian Insider, was suspended under the former government. “We were under pressure from the previous administration, to kind of sort of ease off on our reporting and lay back, but then my bosses are equally as rebels so they’re like ‘You know what, you can shut us down online but we will come out with an app and we will try to find a loophole in your system'." They did that by devising an app called Malaysia Decides to avoid government clampdown. Media diversity stalls in America While the media landscape in Malaysia may be opening up, elsewhere in America, newsrooms remain shut to journalists of colour and women, according to a new study released in the Harvard Kennedy School. "Race and gender in the newsroom are extremely problematic and it shapes the coverage we get and makes it worse," lead author Farai Chideya told RFI. Since 1978 diversity numbers have only increased from 12 to 17 per cent. As part of her research, Chideya interviewed an African-American reporter whose parents had lost their home in the mortgage crisis of 2008. Chideya explains that because of the lack of journalists of colour, many newsrooms missed the mark in their coverage of the mortgage crisis. It affected black and Latino homeowners particularly, "but because they're not covered in the press consistently, the unethical practices of banks to generate profit" went unreported, she explains. "I argue that if there was media equity in coverage, we might not have got into the full blown mortgage crisis." Chideya reached out to 15 news organisations asking for race and gender breakdowns, specifically of newsrooms’ 2016 political reporting teams. She heard back from four of them, in a sign of their unease in discussing diversity. "Journalism sees itself as a protector of freedom in the United States but, when it comes to the business workings of American media corporations, you often find that the dialogue is very constrained and it's constrained by race, gender and wealth," she comments. To improve some of these barriers, Chideya calls for a better share of power. "There hasn't been a lot of will in the American newsroom to share power among people who essentially are decision-makers and by that I mean that journalists make the decision everyday about what is considered news. That's power and because it's power people fight over it." Even if publishers and editors may not care about diversity, Chideya says they should at least be concerned about money and the likelihood of losing their audience share. "If the news media continues to isolate itself from the growing numbers of Americans of colour, Americans will probably cease to be mainstream news consumers if they don't find value in what is being reported," she said.
May 24, 2018
International media - Anti-Semitism and censorship make headlines in Europe, Pakistan, Tanzania
00:10:00
British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced to defend his stance on anti-Semitism, a question that also attracted headlines in France and Germany this week. While in Pakistan and Tanzania, there were concerns about censorship and Internet freedom. A Facebook comment posted a few years ago by Corbyn in which he backed an artist that graffitied a wall with Jewish bankers counting their money, is what has reignited the debate on anti-Semitism within the British Labour party. The Labour leader who had initially supported the mural in the name of free speech, conceded he was wrong to support an "offensive" work. Labour MP Luciana Berger said last month she was unsatisfied with his response and told lawmakers that under Corbyn anti-Semitism had become "more common place (...) and more corrosive.” The media was fast to react. Too fast perhaps according to Eline Jeanne, who works with the Media Diversity Institute in the UK. “I think an issue like this can be sensationalized quite easily, which I think was definitely for some publications what they did," she told RFI. "One of the things that was kind of forgotten was the broader issue of anti-Semitism in the UK, which I think was kind of a letdown,” she added. Anti-Semitism as a political weapon Some of Corbyn's critics, who consider him too left-wing, also accuse him of complacency towards anti-Semitism, in some cases linking the charge to his support for the Palestinian cause. A charge he strongly denies. His supporters however argue that anti-Semitism is being used as a weapon to discredit him ahead of next month's local elections. The fact that few outlets mentioned the political context was another oversight, comments Jeanne. “Definitely the comment Corbyn made should have been brought to light," she says, but questions why the issue is being raised now, when the Facebook comment was posted in 2012. For her, more investigative pieces were needed to identify "the intentions of the person [Luciana Berger] besides wanting to highlight the potential anti-Semitism in the Labour party.” Wrong language on anti-Semitism Elsewhere, an anti-Semitic incident grabbed headlines in Germany. An Israeli wearing a kippa was recently attacked by a Syrian refugee in a trendy neighbourhood of Berlin, with the attacker yelling ‘Jew’ in Arabic. The video went viral. The attack prompted a strong show of solidarity, but did little to dampen fears among Germany’s Jewish community, who connect hatred of Jews today to that of Europe's past. Yet covering anti-Semitism isn’t always easy, particularly when it comes to language, explains Eline Jeanne from the Media Diversity Institute. “Often we see people using anti-Semitic language either in their headlines or in the way they explain things without even realizing it," she said, in reference to a recent article on Hungarian businessman George Soros. "The headline used, alluded to him as being a puppeteer, which definitely has anti-Semitic backgrounds, but I think the journalist didn’t intentionally do that," she said. To report the issue well, Jeanne says journalists need "more time" and education about what anti-Semitism is and isn't. "We also need to give Jewish community members a voice as well," she added. Narrowing the debate "We never hear from those who are concerned," Jean-Yves Camus, Director of the Observatory of Radical Politics in Paris, said. "I mean the average Jew living in a small town or in a suburb of Paris, the media don’t go there,” he told RFI. The French capital, which has seen a string of killings of Jews, was recently hit by another anti-Semitic attack, this time against an elderly Jewish woman, prompting thousands to march in her memory, together with a manifesto signed by 300 intellectuals denouncing what they call a new anti-Semtism, inspired by radicalized Islamic minorities. “I’m very scared that the situation is only in the hands of a few intellectuals who sign manifestos and go on TV shows to tell their appreciation of what’s going on," reckons Camus, who warns against a media bias. The other danger is narrowing the conversation to reflect just one opinion, in this case that new anti-Semitism is the fault of Muslims. Camus says, that’s not the full story. “It’s very difficult to find dissident voices. Those who are in the minority--I belong to them--have a very hard time finding ways to have the mainstream media listen to what they have to say.” Dubious deal in Pakistan In Pakistan, news outlets like Geo TV have also been finding it hard to have their say. The station, which is critical of the military, was recently shut down in most parts of the country. The government denied any responsibility. However, in a surprise move, Geo TV was put back on, on Thursday 19th April after concluding a deal with the military. “It’s a very worrying precedent," Daniel Bastard, head of the Asia Pacific desk at Reporters Without Borders told RFI. "Because if Geo TV wants to be broadcasted, it has to self-censor itself, that’s the message the military wants to send." Civil society groups in Pakistan say the freedom of the press is increasingly under attack, with the military accused of disappearing activists and journalists. Last December for instance, 40-year-old Raza Khan, a Pakistani political activist, disappeared from his home. Four months on he’s still missing. The consequence is that entire regions are going silent, as news fails to get reported. Tanzanian bloggers under scrutiny But should everyone be allowed to report? In Tanzania, bloggers could soon have to pay a license of up to 1,000 dollars just to be able to post content online. The government says it wants to protect the East African nation from “lies” being spread online. “I can see where the government is coming from," Linet Kwamboka, a Mozilla Tech policy fellow in Nairobi told RFI. "We had the same case in Kenya where the journalists were calling for more responsibility among the bloggers, because the journalist said well, they have to go through school, they’re taught all their ethics, whereas bloggers tend to be more free thinkers, with no regulation or accountability for the stories they put out.” Critics though are concerned that the government is using the excuse of regulation as a veil for repression. Last week authorities arrested the country’s top musician – Diamond Platnumz after he posted a video clip of himself playfully kissing a woman on Instagram, which authorities said was indecent. Internet freedom under threat Freedom of speech was one of the requirements for a healthy internet, as revealed in a report earlier this month by Mozilla Fox. "For me, for a healthy Internet, there needs to be decentralization to be able to understand who owns the speech and who’s responsible for what," said Mozilla Tech policy fellow Kwamboka. "Then the most important thing there needs to be is a lot of privacy and security," she said. "You need to know that you’re in a safe place and not in a battleground every time you go online to express yourself or to be creative." Tanzania's online regulations follow the arrests of several people charged with "abusing" the president John Magufuli, a euphemism for criticizing him on Facebook and on WhatsApp. It’s part of a growing trend of African governments trying to control what’s said online. Kwamboka says they’re fighting a losing battle. “I feel like there needs to be a better approach to this, because this is a battle that neither the government nor the bloggers are going to win,” she said. Most people agree there needs to be more responsibility on the internet. The question is who should regulate it and how.
Apr 29, 2018
International media - What is behind French website Mediapart's success?
00:10:58
Ten years ago, when a group of disillusioned French journalists decided to quit their jobs and start their own independent website, industry watchers were skeptical, as Matthew Kay reports. They said the public would never pay for news in the age of free information - and their project would fail. But a decade later Mediapart has become an industry leader - consistently setting the news agenda in France. Their investigations have unearthed corruption at the heart of French industry, led to the fraud conviction of a former socialist minister and seen ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy place under criminal investigation. And if that wasn't enough, the website is turns a profit - unique in age of free online news. Mediapart's publishing editor, Edwy Plenel, explains the site's recipe for success.
Apr 21, 2018
International media - Facebook data misuse scandal sparks calls for greater privacy
00:10:00
Trust in social media has hit a new low, following revelations that data of fifty million Facebook users, ended up in the hands of a UK data analysis company, and may have been used to influence Donald Trump's 2016 election and Brexit. Facebook this week announced new measures to protect users' privacy. The scandal has highlighted the challenge facing tech firms in ensuring personal information is not used for profit. Cambridge Analyica, the company at the heart of the privacy scandal engulfing Facebook, is accused of fraudulently obtaining data from the social media giant and then using it to run election ads on behalf of US president Donald Trump and the Vote Leave campaign in the UK. "These tech giants are actually using the users' data without their knowing, and what exactly they're using the data for," Arunima Tiwari, a Global Policy Analyst with the Indian research firm R Strategic, told RFI. "And they are losing the users' trust because of these scams," she said. A Cambridge academic called Aleksandr Kogan made a 'Test Your Personality' app, and paid users a small fee to get them to download it. Two hundred and seventy thousand people did, sharing details about themselves, and unknowingly, their friends as well. Fifty million Facebook users in total were targetted. The information was then sold to Cambridge Analytica. The UK data analysis company vigorously denies the charges levelled against it, but declined RFI's request for an interview. "It is categorically untrue that Cambrige Analytica has never used Facebook data," Christopher Wylie, the company's former research director, who revealed the scandal, told British MPs on Tuesday 27 March. "The acquisition using Alexander Kogan's app was the foundational data set of the company," Wylie said. The scandal has raised disturbing questions about the use of social media in political campaigns. Facebook insists it had no idea the data taken from its site was being used, but it took months to act and the episode has exposed yet again, its laxity towards privacy, after coming under fire in 2015 for not doing enough to tackle fake news. No hacking "Facebook is in the wrong because they were too lackadaisical about how they treated their users' privacy," reckons Chris Kavanagh, a Cognitive Anthropologist at Oxford, living in Japan. However, he dismisses reports that the data breach was a hack, saying users granted Facebook permission for a third party app to access their data. "They made use of a feature that was freely available to any developer on the Facebook platform that applied for it, prior to 2015. Describing it as a breach, suggests that they somehow exploited the system, but in reality they were making use of a feature that tens of thousands of developers use to harvest profile information and that kind of thing," he told RFI. Emma Suleiman, founder and CEO of a digital PR agency in Paris, agrees. “To be clear, it's not just Facebook," she told RFI. "Everything you do online is tracked, seen and registered. There are databases all over the world filled with your online life. This data is used for research, analysis, targeted advertising and probably for companies and governments spying on you. Is this a bad thing? It’s there any way but what you make of it is the real question.” Tiwari for her part, wants better regulation. She says crypted language has enabled tech firms like Facebook to manipulate users. "What they do is prepare a privacy policy that is vague and ambiguous, and users do not necessarily understand the language and what they're trying to portray." Need for public awareness Kavanagh hopes that the scandal will encourage users to be more cautious and to read the small print. Right now, the terms and conditions are "buried so deep in the settings" that no one knows they can opt out of a third party app and prevent their data being shared by their friends, he said. A new European law, called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, set to be unveiled on May 25, wants to change that. "GDPR will grant users greater control of their data," explains Tiwari. "If any user wants to know what data a company has on them, they can, and have their data deleted," she said. The outcry has stirred calls for users to disconnect through the hashtag #deletefacebook. Trust is particularly low in Nigeria, after claims by Wylie that a Canadian-based affiliate of Cambridge Analytica spread violent images in to discredit opponents in the 2007 and 2015 elections. "The general discussion that we've been having is that people will have to limit the amount of information that they give out online," Nnamdi Anekwe-Chive, director of the research firm Chive-GPS, told RFI. Despite efforts by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to enhance the privacy of users, Anekwe-Chive says that "people are thinking of ways to limit the amount of data they drop online and curtail the amount of data that is available online."
Apr 01, 2018
International media - French journalism schools question their written entrance exams
00:09:51
Spring is recruitment season for journalism schools in France, and each of the country's 14 accredited journalism schools receives hundreds of applicants each year for only a handful of spots. Some schools are rethinking their entrance exams to attract a more diverse group of students, and to diversify the media. (Click on the photo to listen to the report) In this piece:  - Julie Joly, director of the CFJ (Centre de Formation des Journalistes), which has changed its 2018 entrance exam, from a competitive test to an essay-style application - Remy Le Champion, deputy director of the journalism school at the Pantheon-Assas university in Paris, which has a seven-step entrance exam - Rayya Roumanos, Journalism institute at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne, which has questions about its entrance exam, but has no plans to change it
Mar 30, 2018
International media - Is Samuel Sam-Sumana looking for political revenge in Sierra Leone?
00:10:00
Voters are getting ready for the upcoming elections in Sierra Leone on 7 March, as 16 presidential hopefuls for the country’s top job. Musa Tarawally of the Citizens Democratic party wants to bring back values through education and investment. One of the frontrunners is Samuel Sam-Sumana of the Coalition for Change party. The two-time former vice president under President Ernest Bai Koroma was unceremoniously fired from his post in 2015. RFI’s Laura Angela Bagnetto is in Freetown. She spoke to presidential hopeful Samuel Sam-Sumana at his residence in the hills of the capital to find out if he is looking for political revenge.
Mar 04, 2018
International media - Using local radio to tackle illegal migration in Africa
00:14:55
African radio journalists are being trained to report on illegal immigration – or irregular migration – in the hope that they can deter the local population from taking the dangerous migration routes towards Europe. Aware Migrants is a campaign by IOM (the International Organisation for Migration) to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal immigration. One aspect of the campaign consists in training journalists from community radios in Africa. A training programme took place at the end of last year in Niger and Senegal comprising a few radio stations selected by AMARC, the World Association of Community Radios, based in Brussels. "If you are going to migrate, migrating irregularly is not the best way. We think it is particularly important to get the message to the public in these countries of origin. And what better way to do that than through radio, especially community radios", Leonard Doyle, a spokesperson for IOM says. He adds that IOM is trying "peer to peer communication" instead of using the usual channels like government agencies or international organisations telling people that they shouldn’t migrate irregularly. IOM prefers to leave it to the returnees, the migrants that returned to their countries of origin, to tell stories about their ordeals. "People for whatever reason feel that they don’t have a lot of hope at home and [even though] the numbers are declinining, people are taking greater and more dangerous risks. "Anybody who thinks that going through Libya is a clever idea needs to have their head examined because people are being taken off the bus, they are being exploited by criminal gangs, migrants have become the economy of that sad and benighted country due to a lack of governance," adds Doyle. Using local languages Jean-Luc Mootoosamy is the director of Media Expertise and the journalist who conducted the short training programmes in Niger and Senegal. He felt it was particularly important to use local languages and ensure that the reports remain factual, not carrying any value judgement towards either potential migrants or returnees. "It was quite difficult to find the right angle.They [the journalists] know that lots of people are leaving and that there are lots of smugglers also in town who do not want them to report on these stories. They don’t really know how to address this question. We worked on not telling [the listeners] what to do but rather open the mic to testimonies of people who came back so that they can tell their stories," says Mootoosamy. Codou Loume is a journalist with Radio Oxyjeunes, based in the town of Pikine in Senegal. She was among the journalists selected to attend the four-day training session in Dakar. Loume feels the training helped changed the way she now reports on irregular migration. She has been reporting on this issue for the past five years and, prior to the training, relied heavily on information gathered on the internet, from international media organisations or other institutions like the United Nations or IOM. "All that we gave was negative. We used exactly the [same] words that the occidental [western] media used. We did not used our own words," Codou Loume says. She said that she now understands the importance of giving the opportunity to the migrants to use their own words to explain what happened to them when they left the country illegally. "The training teached me... to do a spot, before I never did that. I never did the portrait of a migrant. And it made a big difference because it is after that training that people came to me and told me I decided to go but now I [will] stay in Senegal and work here", adds Loume. Baba Sy is one of the listeners of Radio Oxyjeunes who changed his mind about paying smugglers a large sum of money to smuggle him to Europe. After listening to one of the radio programmes he opted to stay and invest the money he saved in Pikine. "I was shocked by the testimonies I heard from migrants who came back. The hardship they faced, the abuse, those who were killed… And the huge amount of money they lost. But I would like to ask IOM to help the migrants before they leave and not wait until they are sent back home.You should help people when they most need it. And if IOM cannot do any of that, can it refund some of the money spent by the migrants ? I cried a lot when listening to the programme and I thought I was lucky not to have left." Baba Sy’s interview was aired on Radio Oxyjeunes in woloff, one of the main languages spoken in Senegal. Using local languages instead of "western" languages such as French or English – incidentally the language of former colonial powers – is important for the listeners to relate to the message broadcast. "We tried to have as many local languages as possible [during the training]. It [touches] people’s heart in a way French or English won’t. When some stories come from abroad, they say that it is some kind of manipulation from countries which don’t want to see migrants coming. Talking to them in the language [they use] to express their emotions, also helps them to build their opinion," says Jean-Luc Mootoosamy. He admits that the most difficult aspect of the training was to  "deconstruct"  what the journalists were doing before. They tend to do very long interviews, out of which they would take only one minute for the broadcasts. Mootoosamy said that there was a wealth of untapped information at their disposal. So, they worked on interviews the journalists did, isolating various extracts that may be used for various purposes : a spot, a portrait, gathering information for a debate… Niger and Senegal were the first two countries where Aware Migrants’ initiative of training local radio journalists took place. It may be extended to other countries but, according to IOM, only if it gathers the funds to do so. Tweet to Leonard Doyle Tweet to Media Expertise Tweet to Zeenat Hansrod
Feb 05, 2018
International media - Journalists in France should be wary of legislation against fake news, warn analysts
00:10:00
There were many reactions to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to make a law against fake news, including that it would infringe on free speech and would be difficult to implement. International Media looks into the legalities of such a legislation, and what it would mean for journalists in France. (Click on the photo to listen) Featured in this piece: - Divina Frau-Meigs, Professor at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, with a focus on media literacy - Florence G'Sell, a professor of private law, who has written about the proposed fake news legislation
Feb 02, 2018
International media - What now for journalists in Zimbabwe?
00:10:00
In this week's International Media, Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel takes a look at what is next for journalists in Zimbabwe just a few weeks after President Robert Mugabe resigned.
Dec 10, 2017
International media - Website showcases women experts in French media
00:10:00
International media is casting an eye on France this week, and the status of female experts. Worldwide, only about 20 per cent of experts who appear in the media are women. France is right in the average. RFI’s Sarah Elzas looks at a website expertes.eu that is trying to change that number.
Dec 05, 2017
International media - No Weinstein for Bollywood
00:19:25
The Weinstein effect where men in power are held accountable for their sexual misconduct has had a ripple effect across the world. But has it reached Bollywood, the worlds’s most prolific film industry? Three Indian journalists have examined how India's cinema capital and its media deal with sexual predators in B-Town. With at least 2,000 movies released each year, India’s Hindi film industry is the most prolific in the world. And Bollywood’s casting-couch policy is an open secret. It is such a common practice that it shocks no one and is almost accepted as being part of the way to become an actress. In a patriarchal structure such as Bollywood, journalist Veena Venugopal explains, actresses rely on a sort of godfather figure who helps them navigate the industry, in exchange for some form of compensation. “For someone who is well-established in the film industry, they’ve got there because they’ve played by the rules,” says Venugopal, who writes on gender issues for the Hindu daily. "And one of the rules is that you accept the existence of the casting couch and you keep quiet about it. “Talent is important but the ability to navigate a very difficult landscape, especially for women, is even more important." Culture of silence Women in the Indian film industry feel no incentive to complain about any form of sexual misconduct because, up until now, perpetrators have hardly faced any serious repercussions. Rajeev Masand, film critic for CNN–News 18, recalls the recent cases of two film makers who faced charges related to sexual misconduct: “Vikhas Bahl was accused of sexual harassment by assistant directors, nothing came of it; Madhur Bhandarkar was accused of rape, the court ultimately let him go for lack of evidence. There has not really been a landmark judgement… that would encourage other actresses to come out and name names," he points out. "This is a culture that thrives on silence.” After the US's Harvey Weinstein scandal hit the headlines, some top Indian actresses confided, off the record, to Masand that they had faced similar  behaviour on the part of filmmakers. While they told Masand they wished they could have reported the situation, they admitted they didn't do so and, instead, opted not to work with these film makers. “They all seemed to think that was the best route to take and it doesn’t cross most people’s mind that perhaps it is more important to name and shame," concludes Masand. Victim-shaming and financial insecurity In India victim-shaming in sexual violence cases is very common. Venugopal says that victims are shunned by their friends and family. Because there is such a low number of women in the workforce, the ones who are assaulted are blamed and meant to think that they have asked for it, she observes. “This is a culture where victims are shamed and blamed," Masand agrees. "The first question that would be asked of a woman who’d complained she was harassed would be 'What was she wearing? Was she drinking? Was she smoking? Did she ask for it?' You can see why women would be very apprehensive about naming names." Financial insecurity is another reason why some actresses prefer to keep silent. RFI Delhi correpondent Vickram Roy has interviewed a number of budding actresses who chose not to report incidents of sexual harassment to the police. “They will not name their molestors because there is no support system in India,” he says. Women and actresses who enjoy financial privileges and do not have bills to pay at the end of the month can afford to refuse to work with the most dubious characters of the industry. Others do not have that choice. More recently, the Bollywood “whisper network” indicates that casting-couches have now been extended to male actors as well. Veena Venugopal heard stories about “producers and directors seeking sexual favours from men as well". “It is all in the realm of gossip right now," she says. "There are no formal complaints lodged. If there is, I don’t how that will play out legally because homosexuality is a criminal offence in India." Film critic Rajeev Masand corroborates: “There is an unspoken condition that if you were 'flexible' … if an aspiring actor was willing to be intimate with a gay filmmaker, there would be chances to further his or her career but this is in the realm of gossip.” Flawed justice system Among the evidence released against Weinstein is the audio secretly recorded by an Italian model meeting him in a hotel room in 2015. Audio and video recordings are only admissible as evidence in Indian courts if their authenticity is established, Roy points out. “There lies the problem, as courts are reluctant to rely on them as clinching evidence. Electronic documents produced through media sting operation are seen as unreliable by courts,” he says. Seventy percent of Indian women who have experienced workplace sexual harassment do not report it and, according to Vikram Roy, the convictions in rape cases is negligeable. “It is a scandal. Why should anybody come out before the firing line and … complain about sexual harassment when the offender will get out acquitted or come out on bail and hound them?" he asks. "Unless we give the women stronger laws, things will not change as fast as perhaps it changed in the United States." "What has happened to Harvey Weinstein is unimaginable in India for many, many years to come," says Veena Venugopal. "I highly doubt I will see it in my lifetime." Bollywood power The allegations against Weinstein run over the last 30 years but the reports only came out now when the Hollywood moghul was no longer as powerful as he used to be. One of the American reporters said that he faced pressure not to release reports about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. Does Bollywood wield such power over the media and can it exert pressure for damaging reports not be released? Vikram Roy believes this is the case and that some entertainment journalists have to “toe the line” or run the risk of being boycotted. “Public relations firms are now the interface between the media and Bollywood. They protect their celebrity clan with much enthusiasm. Some of these companies dictate what one can ask at a red carpet. Often production houses write up the fine print on what media can report and what media cannot,” he declares. Masand disagrees. A lot of journalists enjoy considerable freedom and are not afraid of “going after sacred cows/film directors”, he believes. But he also says that entertainment journalism has become “PR driven”. “Film journalism is just dull! They are not doing responsible, investigative journalism. If you had your facts and the people on the record, I do think a story like that would be explosive and would be completely embraced by news organisation. I don’t think that Bollywood has that much clout that it could kill a story like that.” Venugopal believes that it is not so much a case of Bollywood producers exerting pressure on media houses but rather the kind of pressure they can apply on the victims. “If a potential Bollywood actress was to talk about this in public – [she would need] to come on the record before you carry a story like this – that is virtually the end of her career! That is where the Bollywood power really is. It is not in clamping down on the media, it is clamping down on potential victims.” At the end of the day, it is the very nature of Bollywood that drives its moral compass. As Rajeev Masand puts it, “Bollywood is a boy’s club.” “It is a very insular business. Anybody who complains in Bollywood is quickly labelled difficult. That person quickly becomes unhirable, unlike Hollywood where the support is for the victim. In the Weinstein case, when the lid was blown, so many people in power came out and condemned it. I don’t see that happening here. It embarasses me a great deal to admit that unfortunately here, the support will rally around the film makers and the perpetrators. It is just easier to hush the victims” Follow Veena Venugopal on Twitter @veenavenugopal Follow Rajeev Masand on Twitter @RajeevMasand Follow Vikram Roy on Twitter @PrataoChakravar Follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter @zxnt
Nov 26, 2017
International media - What will Bulgaria’s EU presidency do for press freedom?
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Bulgaria, with the worst press freedom record in EU, is to take over presidency in January. According to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders [RSF], Bulgaria is the worst country in the EU country in terms of press freedom. In the last rankings it stands at a dismal 109th position out of 179 in the 2017 Press Freedom Index. This puts it on a par with Bolivia, Gabon and Paraguay. On January 1, Sofia will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union, but will it clean up its act? On August 24, 2017, journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva was fired by her newspaper. As a reporter for the mass-circulation Trud [“Labor”] daily, she had published a story outlining allegations that massive amounts of US, Saudi and Bulgarian weapons were shipped by the Azerbaijani Silk Way airline to Syria. Weapons to Syria Ultimately, the arms ended up in the hands of jihadists related to Al Qaeda and the Al Nusra Front. Gaytandzhieva was the first to use leaked documents in Russian, English and Bulgarian, published by Anonymous Bulgaria, and obtained after a cyber breach at the Azerbaijani embassy in Sofia. The documents explained how the US, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria and other countries chartered the Azerbaijani Silk Way airline to transport massive amounts of weapons to Syria. The documents also corroborated Gaytandzhieva’s own findings from a trip, in December 2016, to Aleppo after troops of the Syrian government army had retaken the city. There, she said, locals had pointed her to an underground warehouse, left behind by alleged Jihadists, filled with mortar grenades and assault weapons made in Bulgaria. National security questions However, one-and-a-half months after the story was published, Gaytandzhieva says she received a call from by the State Agency for National Security [DANS ] telling her to visit them. “I didn’t get a subpoena, or further notice that I would have been interrogated, I just got a phone call by a special agent from the Bulgarian National Security Agency the previous day,” she told RFI. DANS only questioned her about the leaked documents, not about the weapons supplies [story] in general. “I felt anger because nobody interrogated me after I found Bulgarian weapons in Aleppo in December of 2016,” she says. Media interference Two hours after her run-in with the Agency, the editorial manager of her newspaper urged her to come to the office, where, to her shock, she was told she had to immediately leave her job, even though she was preparing a follow-up trip to Syria. Petio Blaskov, the owner and editor of Trud, did not reply by emailed queries by RFI as to the reasons why Gaytanzhieva was fired. “There are many cases like this,” says Lada Trifonova Price, a Lecturer in Journalism with Sheffield Hallam University, “it is a pattern. “Journalists are being either physically attacked with violence, intimidated or harassed, or fired from their jobs or demoted,” she says. Corruption prevails The reason, RSF explained, is an “environment dominated by corruption and collusion between media, politicians, and oligarchs including Deylan Peevski, a former head of Bulgaria’s main intelligence agency and owner of the New Bulgarian Media Group. A 2014 study by the European Association of Journalists – Bulgaria chapter - found that “more than half (52%) of the journalists in Bulgaria admit that political pressure is continuously exercised upon their media. More than 30% say that politicians pressured them themselves. This can take many forms. Rossen Bossev, a journalist with Capital Weekly, an economic publication, relates that his newspaper was fined heavily after a series of publications on fraudulent actions by corporate commercial banks. “But instead of looking at the alleged fraud, “the prosecutors’ office in Sofia opened a preliminary investigation into the officials who leaked [the information],” says Bossev. The journalists who investigated the leaks ended up being questioned. They were charged for writing about misconduct at corporate commercial banks, or what is said to be “attacking bank stability in Bulgaria.” The punishment, handed down by the Bulgarian Financial Supervision Committee is €75,000 and an additional €5,000 for the journalists’ refusal to disclose sources. Journalists assaulted There are more severe examples. Sheffield lecturer Price cites the case of Stoyan Tonchev, owner of the local news website Zad Kulisite (Behind the Scenes) who was known for his investigations into alleged corruption and abuse of power in his city, the Bulgarian Black Sea resort town of Pomorie. On January 14, 2015, Tonchev was brutally beaten by what he described as a “man dressed in black.” The Committee to Protect Journalists, which highlighted the case, reported that Tonchev reports that the attacker “repeatedly hit him on the head with a blunt object while asking, ‘How long will you keep writing?’" Tonchev survived with a skull fracture, a concussion, a broken nose, and multiple hematomas that disfigured his face and after he was hospitalized for two weeks. According to Price, an arrest was made, but the person who allegedly assaulted Tonchev was released on bail. “So far there’s been no result into this investigation,” she told RFI. Bulgaria running the EU On January 1, Bulgaria will head the rotating presidency of the European Union for a period of six months. After meeting on 8th of November with Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, the former karate coach and Interior Minister Boyko Borisov, European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that Bulgaria’s upcoming presidency is “a unique chance for this marvelous country [ … ] to show, to prove, to demonstrate that the Bulgarians know what is what when it comes to Europe. Europe is part of the DNA of Bulgaria. Indeed, part of Europe’s DNA flows into Bulgaria in the form of financial support, but not always to the places it was intended to go. This years’ report on the state of the Bulgarian media commissioned by the International Research & Exchanges Board [IREX], an international, non-profit organization that specializes in global education, says that some of the media with links to the media empire of Delyan Peevski, “are among the biggest beneficiaries of EU funds distributed by the government.” “It is really disgusting,” says Bossev. “The government is contracting mediators who subcontract those sites." In this way, “yellow press” tabloids that, according to Bossev, “spread fake news” receive EU money via the government meant, “to promote the Bulgarian presidency of the EU.” This is done through a process that RSF says “is conducted with a complete lack of transparency, in effect bribing editors to go easy on the government in their political reporting or refrain from covering certain problematic stories altogether." Meanwhile, the EU does take notice and on several occasions has issued stern warnings and reports that highlight abuses to Bulgaria’s media freedom. “Unfortunately, journalists in Bulgaria are not happy about that,” says Price, the Sheffield Hallam University media lecturer “The EU seems to be taking the hands-off, soft approach, despite its spoken commitment to media freedom and the importance of journalism for democracy," he said. “They are constantly calling for the government to respect media freedom, to society to debate, to see how it can be changed, but there are no specific actions to achieve this." The fact that the Bulgarian government is sensible to criticism was evinced when it withdrew the fines against Capital Weekly and other media outlets after pressure from the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe [OSCE], the Council of Europe and NGOs. However, no apologies were offered. RSF’s Pauline Adès-Mével expressed hope that Bulgaria will become “more efficient in its fight against mafias and rampant corruption before taking on the EU presidency” in January. As for Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, she is now working as a freelancer, again working on an investigation related to the weapons trade. “I definitely feel better as I am not obliged to follow editorial policy,” she wrote to RFI. However, her task will not be easy. According to Nikolay Staykov, of the Sofia-based Anti-Corruption Fund, the Bulgarian military industry is going through a “golden time; all big and the smaller manufacturers work on double shifts,” and there is a “kind of national consensus to remain silent on what’s going on with these weapon exports,” he says. Gaytandzhieva knows this. She explained that the director of DANS [the agency that called her in for interrogation], the ministers of Defence, of Economy and of Interior, are all members of the Commission for Export Control which gives permits and export licenses to arms dealers. This means that the director of DANS is well aware of all those weapons deals as well as Bulgarian ministers. “How are they going to investigate themselves? In Bulgaria, there is no such thing as freedom of speech, in Bulgaria the media organisations serve politicians, not the Bulgarian people,” she said.
Nov 12, 2017
International media - Spanish, Catalan media reflect polarisation of politics
00:10:00
The crisis in Spain around the declaration of independence of Catalonia continues. Madrid has jailed the former members of the regional government, accusing them of sedition. The crisis is political, and is playing out in the media, which has become even more polarised. In this week’s International Media, Sarah Elzas takes a look at the state of Spanish – and Catalan – media.
Nov 07, 2017
International media - Native American journalists break free of mainstream media
00:20:45
Is a new era for Native American media in the United States opening up? Three Native American journalists talk about challenging stereotypes and bringing a nuanced voice to indigenous issues. They belong to a generation that believes in making things happen, despite all the odds, and not waiting for mainstream media to catch on. Native Americans once owned the land in the United States, it was theirs before the white settlers arrived. They are the First People, whom archaeologists believe have been on the North American continent for some 50,000 years. Today they represent less than one percent of the United States’ total population. An estimated 2.7 million tribal citizens associated with 567 federally recognised tribes. Tribal issues hardly make it into the US mainstream media. When people outside the US read, listen or watch news about the country, it is as if America’s First Nation have become a ghost nation. Levi Rickert, the Michigan-based founder, editor and publisher of multimedia news platform Native News Online, says that is primarily due to the size of the Native American population. Kevin Abourezk, who is based in Nebraska where he is the managing editor of Indianz.com, a Native American online news site run by the Winnebago Tribe, believes it is because there are so few Native Americans in mainstream media. Jenni Monet (www.jennimonet.com) is an award winning Native American independent journalist from the Laguna Pueblo tribe. She has been working as a journalist for 19 years, most of it spent covering indigenous issues across the world. Under-reported narrative “There is a serious need for the indigenous narrative. [It] is the most chronically under-reported narrative in mainstream today, not only in the US but around the world,” she says. She points out that out of the hundreds of tribes living in the United States, only a tiny fraction of them attracts the attention of the media: the Lakotas, the Navaho Nation or the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. “It is not a mistake that these tribes are among the most popular in the mainstream because the mainstream goes towards the familiar. They like the poverty out of the Lakotas because it is so blatant. The cyclical nature of it is so raw. They like the Navaho Nation because it is so mystical with medicine-man and the south-west desert… They like the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma because who doesn’t firmly believe they have some ounce of Cherokee ancestry in their family lineage? These sorts of narratives as told by outsiders themselves have just been perpetuated for decades.” For Kevin Abourezk, who is from the Rosebud Lakota tribe, it is often difficult for Native journalists to get editors of non-native media to accept their story ideas. “Editors are acutely aware of who their readers are and [what] they want to read,” he explains. According to Abourezk, in areas where there are a significant number of Native Americans like Gallup, New Mexico or Rapid City, South Dakota, tribal issues will get more coverage. He says it is reflected in publications like the New York Times or smaller ones like the Sioux City Journal. Standing Rock, a reckoning One story that made it to mainstream media around the world was the long protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands of Native Americans, joined by non-Natives, gathered in North Dakota to support the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes in their fight against the pipeline, a 3.8-billion-dollar investment. They say it desecrates sacred grounds and threatens the water quality of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The pipeline carries crude oil beneath their only source of drinking water. Across the globe, videos circulated, showing the violent repression of the protesters by private security guards, riot police and national guards. In their arsenal to deal with demonstrations, they used, among other things, sound cannons, rubber bullets and dog attacks. Jenni Monet covered the story for six consecutive months and was embedded at the Standing Rock reservation for four months, until the end of March 2017. She was arrested and, along with seven other journalists, is still facing charges for criminal trespass and rioting brought by the local Morton County. Why did it take such a violent crackdown for news about Standing Rock to make the headlines? “People were maimed,” remembers Jenni Monet. “People were sent into hypothermic shock after being doused with water on a sub-freezing night in November to the point where legacy media could not simply ignore it anymore. They reported on that story 48 hours later. It takes for brown people to die before it becomes unfortunately headline news.” Monnet says that when the Dakota Access Pipeline protests were happening the story was competing with “one thing and one thing only, Donald Trump”. Based on her own experience, Monet describes the newsrooms obsession with “clickbait”, stories need to pull “the most shares, the most tweets, drive comments from viewers”. “If Standing Rock proved anything, it’s that [tribal] issues aren’t complicated at all. You just need a lot of people to talk about them. Standing Rock is going to continue to be a case study for us when we look at the power of indigenous media. And, for me and my fellow native journalists, we cannot forget those strides and those gains that were made from Standing Rock.” Native American journalism Journalism for Native Americans by Native Americans goes back to the 19th century with the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper founded in 1828. It was written in both English and the Cherokee alphabet created by Sequoyah. “That newspaper was democracy at work … sovereignty at work. It was the tribe itself having a voice and shaping a narrative that otherwise was completely removed from any sort of publication back then,” declares Jenni Monet. The newspaper emerged at a time when the Cherokee Nation was debating what action to take while facing forced relocation from their ancestral land in south-eastern United States. Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Cherokee people were rounded up and forced to relocate to an area west of the Mississippi River designated as Indian Territory. The journey became known as the “trail of tears”. Tribal newspapers are still very popular, according to Kevin Abourezk, and probably the most popular among the various native news platforms. Most tribes of a certain size have a newspaper that they publish and distribute to their members on the reservations. But such media do not cover national issues pertaining to the Indian Country. “Just a handful of websites” will cover, for example, a hearing in Washington related to some law dealing with Indian Trust Land. And that’s a problem for Kevin Abourezk. For Jenni Monet, indigenous media shouldn’t only be for the tribal communities, nor should it only look at “outsiders” as an audience. It should be “somewhere in between”. “What we saw at Standing Rock was this widespread embrace of concepts that editors themselves have often couched as topics too weighty for their listenership to endure. It was amazing to see on CNN, Sara Sidner quote Lakota prophecy. And a segment about treaty rights. These topics are not too complicated. What they are is sorely underreported.” Making their voice heard “It’s our time to tell our stories,” declares Levi Rickert, who is from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. He deplores the way in which Native Americans are portrayed in the US media. And that’s one of the reasons he decided to set up Native News Online in 2011. “We are perceived as being conquested people, losers… [associated with] alcoholism, poverty... I try to identify stories that really show the progress and achievements of American Indians and Alaska Natives.” For Rickert, this is a more a calling than a job. “It is almost like a trusteeship given to me by the Creator to really do my part,” he say, “We serve many tribal nations from around the United States. I try to purposefully find writers from around the country that can write about their region, their tribal nation. The non-native media will not always write about our stories, we can certainly do it.” As for Jenni Monet, she opted for the precarious position of being an independent journalist rather than being attached to a particular news organisation in order to have a greater chance of getting her stories about indigenous peoples and their rights movements published. “I’ve worked for some of the biggest brands in the industry and I understand how newsrooms operate. [Being] independent, I can choose many of these decision makers and pitch and pitch and pitch,” declares Jenni Monet, host of the podcast, Still here: Modern stories of resilience, indigenously told. “People are starting to wake up a little and realise that there is a whole vast Indian country out there,” adds Monet. A generation of journalists, whom she describes as front-runners, took the lead in creating a nuanced narrative and paved the way for her generation. “I’m so grateful for writers like Tim Giago, Mark Trahant, Suzan Shown Harjo, Bunty Anquoe and the list can go on.” Kevin Abourezk recently decided to start working full time for the Native news website, Indianz.com. Most of his 18 years as a journalist were spent working for the Lincoln Journal Star, a non-Native daily. “I’ve always wanted to work for native media but I’ve also for a long time felt it was important to reach out to non-Native Americans and trying to educate them about issues facing Native Americans.” Abourezk says that his former editors were great and welcomed his stories. However, they had a preference for a certain type of stories. One of them is White Clay, a small town of 14 people in Nebraska with four liquor stores selling four million cans of beer a year to the Pine Ridge reservation, which has a population of 40,000 people. In September this year Indian Country Today, a prominent newspaper and website, put a stop to its activities after 25 years in business, citing financial constraints. This brought some big changes in the world of Native journalism in America, explained Abourezk, and it was one of the reasons why he decided to move to Indianz.com. “When Indian Country Today decided to shut down … that left a huge vacuum in the world of Native journalism. I felt it was important for Native journalists to step up and fill the vacuum the best we can.” It took two years of incubation before Levi Rickert’s launched Native News Online. A sustainable business model providing independent reporting appears to be a difficult goal to achieve. Rickert says that he is constantly trying to figure out how to make it work on the small Native media scene “It is a struggle. We have to fight for advertising, sponsorships, many times we are marginalized. You just have to get pass the ‘Nos’ and get people to say ‘Yes’. You have to have the tenacity to keep going even when it looks dismal out there.” The words that really encapsulate what the Native American journalists we spoke to are trying to achieve probably come from one Native News Online viewer: “You write how we Indians want to be written about.” Follow Jenni Monet on Twitter @jennimonet Follow Kevin Abourezk on Twitter @Kevin_Abourezk Follow Levi Rickert on Twitter @Native_NewsNet Follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter @zxnt Sound editor: Alain Bleu Music by Raye Zaragoza (In the river) and Camp Pueblo Singers (Water is life)
Oct 30, 2017
International media - Jordan muzzles media, Myanmar media targets Rohingya
00:09:58
In our weekly media program, we travel to Jordan where the media watchdog is being muzzled. We also go to Myanmar, where cartoonists and journalists appear to have lost their objectivity and take aim at Rohingya muslims, adding insult to injury to people who the UN and human rights groups say are being persecuted and forcibly evicted from their home lands.
Oct 08, 2017
International media - When anti-terrorism laws are used to sacrifice free speech
00:11:43
Anti-terrorism laws are sometimes used to muzzle the media. Journalists Denis Nkwebo in Cameroon and Mohanad El Sangary in Egypt detail the challenges they and their colleagues face in trying to navigate deliberately opaque laws and not land in prison. Anti-terrorism laws were enacted in 2013 in Egypt and in 2014 in Cameroon. And one of the things that Denis Nkwebo and Mohanad El Sangary said to each other was how surprisingly similar their situations were. In both countries the laws' provisions are criticised for being too broadly worded, for carrying the death sentence as the maximum penalty, and for allowing those accused of terrorism to be detained indefinitely. Cameroon's law says citizens can be tried in military court; in Egypt, citizens can be tried either before a military or a special court. A climate of fear In Cameroon, journalists have been arrested under terrorism charges because they either reported on Boko Haram, or on the unrest in the Anglophone regions where some residents feel they are treated as second class citizens and do not enjoy the same rights as Cameroonians in the French-speaking regions. Denis Nkwebo is based in Douala where he is the deputy editor-in-chief of the French daily, Le Jour. He is also the President of the Cameroon Journalists Trade Union and a member of the Steering Committee of the Federation of African Journalists. “Under section seven of the [anti-terrorism] law… if you fail to denounce to the authorities those planning a public demonstration, you could face charges,” says Nkwebo. Eleven journalists working in the north-western and south-western Anglophone regions have been arrested and only one, Awah Thomas, still remains in custody. This climate of fear has made journalists including those living in Francophone areas less willing to cover what is going on in the English-speaking regions. In both Cameroon and Egypt, it is an offence to report anything that contradicts the government’s statements, or that of the military. “Journalists are harassed. Many media owners have been stopped from airing programmes on what is happening in that part [of Cameroon],” Nkwebo comments. Mohanad El Sangary is a freelance journalist based in Cairo. He is one of the few journalists willing to come and speak on our show and give his name. In addition to the anti-terrorism law that has installed an atmosphere of fear in Egypt, there is a nationwide state of emergency in place which also allows the government to censor the media before publication. “The government has blocked more than 420 news website in Egypt,” explains El Sangary. “They have stopped some newspapers from circulating, [like] Daily News Egypt, the only newspaper printed in English, under the pretence that the owner is [a member of the] Muslim Brotherhood.” A game of cat and mouse to escape jail To circumvent such stringent rules, Egyptians use VPN websites. But El Sangary says it is “a game of cat and mouse” because the government keeps blocking the VPN. More often than not, he says, people follow journalists on social media to keep abreast of the news. Twitter and Facebook are the preferred platforms. “News outlets like Mada Masr find creative ways to fight the blockade. So they publish their articles on their Facebook page. But unless there is a political change on the ground, there isn’t going to be a real solution,” El Sangany explains. In Cameroon as well as in Egypt, journalists do not trust the judiciary to uphold the rule of law. “In Cameroon, [there is] the case of Ahmed Abba. He was brought in front of a military court. At no point in time was the judiciary able to bring evidence against him. But he [got] ten years. “We are very afraid of the trend the judiciary is taking in this country. It is not the place of the journalists to face a military court!” Nkwebo exclaims. In Egypt, El Sangary describes a more complex situation where part of the judiciary is controlled by the government and part is not, and where others are governed by what the journalist describes as their ideologies. Solidarity is the answer to oppression Answering a question posed by Nkwebo, El Sangary says that working together on a continental scale could be a solution to put a stop to such oppression. “We need to organise ourselves in groups and unions [that can] lobby freedom of speech in Africa. Of course, it is going to be dangerous because of our governments. But we can, at least, try to find publishing venues to support each other. And if a journalist in Cameroon goes missing, then everyone in Africa, in the world, knows he or she went missing.” El Sangary wanted to know whether the anti-terror laws are really effective in fighting back terrorism in Cameroon. Nkwebo does not believe this is the case. “These laws have never stopped Boko Haram. It has simply stopped journalists from going to the field. I, personally, have stopped travelling to the far North [to cover Boko Haram] because you don’t know what happens to you if you go there,” says Nkwebo. "In my case, I was assault on orders from the ministry of defence," he adds. Not giving up When journalists work under such a climate of repression, when their lives are in danger, when self-censorship becomes a method of survival, how do they find the inspiration to continue doing the work and not give up? For Nwebo: “We are permanently negotiating with some authorities to be allowed to do our work. It is an obligation for each and every journalist to defend the truth… to go wherever there is need for information, whatever the risks may be.” For El Sangary: “The reason I write is to make a difference. We write out of hope and hope trumps fear.” Follow Denis Nkewbo on Twitter @DENISNKWEBO Follow Mohanad El Sangary on Facebook Follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter @zxnt
Oct 03, 2017
International media - Journalists fear crackdown in India
00:10:00
Three weeks after the murder of outspoken Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, the press in India fears their industry may be under threat. The high profile editor was shot dead outside her home in the southern city of Bangalore on Tuesday 6 September. Her death has sparked calls for greater protection of female journalists. Rarely has the death of a journalist sparked so much outcry in India. Soon after news of Gauri Lankesh's murder emerged, demonstrations and artwork sprung up in Bangalore and other Indian cities to call for justice. A fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right wing government, Lankesh was shot in broad daylight as she entered her home in Bangalore on Tuesday 6 September. "This particular case has hit the headlines," explains Sabina Inderjit, Vice President of the Indian Journalists Union and an Executive Committee member of the International Federation of Journalists. "It is clearly seen as an attack on the freedom of expression." Concerns about press freedom have intensified since the BJP government of Narendra Modi took office in 2014. Lankesh herself had voiced concern about the threat posed to journalists who didn’t toe the Hindu-nationalist line. Under threat While no motive has yet been established for her death, the Press Club of India said in a statement it believed it was connected to Lankesh’s work. "We have a situation where journalists are definitely, definitely feeling stifled," continues Inderjit. "Now I'm not saying it’s just the right wing government, but in today’s time there is a fear among us that if you speak out against the powers that be, you could be under threat.” Her words are chilling, particularly in the light of the death of a second Indian journalist in less than a month. Shantanu Bhowmick, a reporter covering political unrest, was beaten to death during violent clashes on Thursday 21 September. No arrests have yet been made in connection with his death. Nor has there been significant breakthrough in the investigation into Lankesh's murder either. "Out of 28 states, only one has passed a law to protect journalists," says Inderjit, commenting on India's poor record on journalists' safety. "There should be a law to protect journalists," she says, hoping that Lankesh's murder will serve as a catalyst for change. Calls for journalist protection Lankesh's death and its ramifications for journalists' safety, particularly women, featured prominently at this year’s UN General Assembly in New York. The Human Rights Council in fact adopted a mini resolution calling for the safety of women journalists. "There is a better understanding from the international community of the question of the safety of journalists," explains Blaise Lempen, Secretary General of the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), who was at the UN General Assembly. According to Lempen, 3% of journalists killed last year were women, and this number has increased among the the death toll of casualties already registered this year, which includes the Swedish journalist Kim Wall, murdered in Denmark on August 10. "We’ve seen all this year that governments are more sensitive to the issue and are more active in this field," he says. With more women working in dangerous environments, critics will want to hope that this growing awareness will actually transform into concrete protection on the ground.
Sep 26, 2017
International media - How media and ethnic politics intertwine in Africa
00:20:02
Journalists Kelvin Lewis in Sierra Leone and Linus Kaikai in Kenya discuss how best to navigate the murky waters of ethnic politics, especially when reporting on elections. They found out that even though their countries were on opposite sides of the continent, they shared the same concerns over how political blocs play on ethnicity to win votes. Both Kenya and Sierra Leone are multi-ethnic countries where some politicians do not hesitate to manipulate voters along ethnic lines and fuel rancor using tribalism as a political tool. Kenya has an unfortunate history of post-electoral violence and Sierra Leone is gearing up for presidential elections in March 2018. Kelvin Lewis and Linus Kaikai discussed how the media in Kenya managed to navigate through such thorny issues and how Sierra Leone’s media is attempting not to fall into the trap of ethnic politics. Kelvin Lewis says that signs of tensions are surfacing and that the political contenders are alreday facing attack. “If the situation is not managed well, it might lead into serious conflict. Ethnicity and regionalism… are the bane of the our politics in Sierra Leone,”  he told RFI Conflict is not merely a word, or an abstract notion for Kelvin Lewis. As a journalist with 30 years experience, he has lived and reported through Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war (1991 – 2002) and will not accept his country spiralling into further chaos. This is one of the reason why, as the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), he has set up a training programme for journalists on balanced political reporting and conflict sensitive reporting. The programme is opened to all journalists (six to eight hundred of them) and not only SLAJ’s 600 members. There are at least four training sessions planned. One in each of the country’s four regions, to be held in their headquarter towns. Accountability pays Linus Kaikai, general manager of NTV, Nation Television, who in a 20 year career has covered a number of Kenyan elections, says that the level of post-electoral violence in Kenya has dramatically dropped since 2007/2008 when over one thousand people died. “One of the steps that made this last election relatively peaceful was that the threat for consequences was real. For politicians, the International Criminal Court can come in. For you citizen, the local courts can come in and there will be consequences for that violence”, explains Linus Kaikai The media in Kenya also played a key role in that respect. In 2013, it successfully managed to organise debates involving all eight presidential candidates to outline their agenda. “This changed the narrative from focus on tribes and ethnic communities to focusing on issues,” says Kaikai. "It was a success in 2013 but not quite so this year in 2017 because the debates were boycotted by the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and the controversies surrounding other candidates." Kelvin Lewis asked Linus Kaikai how the Kenyan media helped tame down the ethnic bias that was prevalent during the 2013 general elections. “The use of ethnicity as a mobilization tool is still very much strong and alive in Kenyan politics”, Kaikai replied. "First of all, the main players rally their tribe behind [them] and then build a coalition of tribes to meet the other coalition of tribes.” Avoid associating ethnic groups with parties Linus Kaikai admits that it has been very difficult for the media in Kenya to break this pattern. “[We] tried to avoid references to [naming] the communities and stick to the party names. For example, media deliberately avoid making references to those communities or tribes rallied around the Jubilee party [of President Uhuru Kenyatta], [same for] the National Super Alliance, NASA, associated with Raila Odinga and the coalition of tribes associated with that bloc.” The other step undertaken by Kenyan media to stay clear of ethnic tensions was to also avoid reproducing speeches in local languages addressed towards a particular community. “When, for example, the President is speaking in his native language to his community, that will not find its way to television, newspapers or radio because this is considered sometimes offending to other communities.” An efficient media regulatory body The Communications Authority of Kenya is another contributing factor explains Linus Kaikai. “Oversight has improved greatly and that has improved responsibility [from] presenters and producers. Our regulatory body is keeping an eye on broadcasts and print media to ensure that some of this hate speech in 2007 that ended up in the International Criminal Court do not arise again," he said. But Kaikai warns that the danger still remains when politicians use their native languages on community radio stations as they then tend to drop their guards. In Sierra Leone, however, Kelvin Lewis deplores that the country’s Independent Media Commission is not as impartial as it should be and he says it is one of the main reason why he has set up this training programme for journalists ahead of the 2018 elections. “The media outlets associated with the ruling party get away with a lot of things. Those on the other side, if they do same, will be held responsible very quickly”, Lewis said. Legal actions may be an option but then again Kelvin Lewis remains skeptical: “You wonder how the courts will rule against the ruling part. It is almost not likely.” Radio is the preferred media among Sierra Leoneans with 70 different stations scattered across the country even though there are some 120 newspapers circulating, mostly in the capital Freetown. In  Kenya TV is the most popular media. There are only 3 local television stations in Sierra Leone with two of them being privately owned. Kryo is the language most used by the radio stations in Sierra Leone with Mende being more dominant in the East and Temne in the North. The challenge resides in ensuring that the community radios broadcasting in the local languages focus on issues affecting the country and not on ethnicity or ethnic concerns. “We have a programme now called National Dialogue and we are urging the press to go along with it,” says Kelvin Lewis. The two journalists also discussed transfer of power in their respective countries and how the political divide is linked to geography and ethnic groups. One of Kelvin’s burning question for his East African collegue, Linus, was the latter’s last name, Kaikai, a typically Sierra Leonean surname. Listen to the last part of the programme where Linus reveals the connection between East and West Africa. Follow Linus Kaikai on Twitter @LinusKaikai Follow Kelvin Lewis on Twitter @kelvinxlewis Follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter @zxnt
Sep 16, 2017
International media - Murder in India, closure in Cambodia
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In this week’s International Media, we go to India, where activists, politicians and journalists demanded a full investigation into the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a newspaper editor and outspoken critic of the ruling Hindu nationalist party whose death has sparked an outpouring of anger. Meanwhile in Cambodia one of the country’s last independent newspapers was closed with the disappearance of the Cambodia Daily. The newspaper announced on Sunday it was closing after 24 years after being slapped with a $6.3 million tax bill which its publishers said was politically motivated.
Sep 10, 2017
International media - China cracks down on internet access by banning VPNs
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China has said it is going to put a total ban on private computer networks known as VPNs, which allow people to get onto the internet when it's blocked in part by authorities. RFI's Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel has more, in this week's look at media around the world.
Jul 16, 2017
International media - Is Arte guilty of censorship?
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A documentary about anti-Semitism was broadcast this week, after initially being cancelled. The film was scrapped by the French-German television station Arte, which said the final version didn't correspond to the original remit. Eventually the film was broadcast in Germany and in France. Was Arte guilty of censorship? Or did the film-makers get it wrong? In this week's International Media, RFI's Christina Okello looks at the row.
Jun 25, 2017
International media - Funding journalism through donations
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What role can philanthropy have in journalism? Are donors ready to fund something that has no concrete “result”? Can journalists trust that donors will not ask for anything in return for their support? In this week’s international media, RFI’s Sarah Elzas looks at the world of philanthropic journalism funding, which has been successful in the United States and is starting to take hold in Europe. (Click on the photo to listen)
Jun 23, 2017
International media - Politician's assault on reporter marks new low for US media
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In this week's International Media, we'll see how one reporter got kicked to the ground by a high level politician, and how this incident played into a discussion about American media. We'll also take a look at the boundaries of freedom of expression, and how one comedian saw her career coming to an end, at least for the time being, as a result of one of her statements.
Jun 05, 2017
International media - Cyril Hanouna's prank distressing LGBT community
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International Media looks at the "Attack on the Press 2017", the yearly report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists. But first, here in France, TV presenter Cyril Hanouna's name has been on everyone's lips after an on-air prank in which he humiliated gay men on live television. Hanouna is not new to scandals - bullying disabled people, humiliating routines,inappropraite - are common on Hanouna's Touche pas à mon poste program. His show has been the subject of complaints about sexism and homophobia before. We speak to Ingrid Therwath, a journalist for the weekly Courrier International, and a member of the LGBT journalists association about this. In the second part of our magazine, we go to the CPJ's Attack on the Press report this year revisits journalism's new challenges. We speak to Courtney Radsch, the CPJ's Advocacy Director who explains how new technologies and new information tools that were supposed to open up and free the Press, are actually being used in a sophisticated way, against the journalists.
May 28, 2017
International media - Is media treament of LGBT issues equal and fair?
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In this week's International Media, RFI's Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel takes a look at how journalists cover stories about gay and bisexual people.
May 21, 2017
International media - How the international press is reporting the French election
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With one week to go to the second round of the French presidential election, Christina Okello reports on how the race is being reported by foreign media. After Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the world is watching closely to see whether the populist wave will also sweep through France. This year's poll, by far the most unpredictable, has split France down the middle to create two different visions of society: protectionism versus internationalism, inclusive versus rejectionist. Across the globe, the media has often fallen into the trap of endorsement of choosing one candidate over the other. And the British press is no exception. "The Daily Mail’s coverage of the second round results was more centred on Marine Le Pen," says veteran correspondent John Lichfield. "They talked of her almost as if she’d won the election rather than Macron who came first after all in the first round poll. But they were talking of her as the new Jeanne d’Arc, a new Joan of Arc and somehow suggesting that she was in the line of succession to Donald Trump, to the Brexit vote against the elites. And therefore someone who fitted into their own world view." Meanwhile in Brussels, the European press has hailed Macron's victory as a foregone conclusion. "Take the La Repubblica in Italy, they've called the outcome great news for the future of the EU," says France 24 correspondent Meabh McMahon. "They say that thanks to Macron, the EU can still be saved, they feel he will be the man to accelerate a two-speed Europe, fully endorsed by Angela Merkel." The overwhelming favourite to win the French presidential election on 7 May came out the strongest in Wednesday's final debate against Marine Le Pen. But the bitter exchanges between the two contenders are likely to intensify right up until the final whistle is called, and the press will have to be careful not to fall in between the fault lines.
Apr 30, 2017
International media - "The Crack" - the field journal of two reporters across Europe
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When two Spanish journalists set out to cover migration into Europe a few years ago, they travelled huge distances around the edges of the European Union. But the story they brought back was a little different to what they were expecting. Clea Broadhurst has more in this week’s international media. In 2013, two Spanish reporters - photographer Carlos Spottorno and reporter Guillermo Abril - began reporting on migration into Europe. They travelled from Africa to the Arctic. What they thought would be a story about the migration crisis, turned out to be much more about the causes and consequences of Europe’s identity crisis. They have told their story in a book called 'The Crack', their field journal. It depicts an encounter with Sub-Saharan migrants in Gurugu Mountain, the rescue of a raft off the coast of Libya, the exodus through the Balkans, NATO tanks on the Byelorussian border, and Arctic forests, where conscripts try to discover their own limits. The result is halfway between a photobook and a graphic novel - it's not a story based on actual events: these are actual events. Understanding Europe, that is the message slipping through "The Crack". After three years working on the story, several covers, dozens of pages in magazines, and a World Press Photo award, the authors have used their 25,000 photographs and 15 notebooks, to give us their account of what is happening on the European Union’s borders today.
Apr 09, 2017
International media - Is the Macron phenomenon created by the media?
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In this week's International media, RFI goes to Belarus, where dozens of journalists, activists and civilians have been arrested in a crackdown on freedom of expression by authorities. Then, we’ll travel back to France for a look at the media coverage of the upcoming presidential election. Spoiler alert: the general press might be biased in favour of Emmanuel Macron.
Apr 06, 2017
International media - How bloggers in Vietnam slip under the radar
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In this week's look at the media around the world, we go to Vietnam, to see how bloggers try and escape state survaillance, and how the internet is bridging the divide between north and south.
Mar 26, 2017
International media - Rwanda radio tackles relationship counselling and sex education
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Late every Friday night listeners in Kigali call Vestine Dusabe on Flash FM hoping that she will find a solution for their sexual concerns. Calls and text messages come from the rest of Rwanda, too. Between midnight and 2.00am they all tune in to listen to the award-winning Zirara Zubakwa programme.     Zirara Zubakwa has received the Rwanda Broadcasters Excellence Award every year now since it was launched in 2010. It is a live programme that airs on week days and runs for two hours. Zirara Zubakwa is in the Kinyarwanda language - it means "happy couples", Dusabe says. The idea for such a programme came to her in 2009 when, upon returning to Rwanda, she found a high number of divorces and couples sleeping in separate rooms. The root cause of it all she says is the absence of communication and partners who do not click sexually. “There are so many unhappy couples, some getting married because of money, of family, some because they just want to wear a white dress for the wedding,” she tells RFI, adding that some women are so desperate to get married that they will accept the first man who proposes without reflecting on whether it is a good life partner. Traditional sexual practice helps women Dusabe is known throughout the land of a thousand hills and beyond for her work to promote gukuna, an ancient sexual practice in Rwanda. “We talk about gukuna because we do not want our culture to disappear…. My two daughters I did it for them when they were 10 years old,” she explains. She talks about gukuna on the radio, not every day, she says, but once or three times a month. She also travels across Rwanda to raise awareness of the lost sexual tradition. Gukuna is an ancient custom where the lips of a girl’s inner labia are gently pulled or stretched so that they become elongated. It helps to heighten a woman’s sexual sensitivity. “Every day, twice a day and within two months, you will see that the lips will become longer. The reason why girls in Rwanda like to do that is for their happiness when they are making love,” explains Dusabe. Gukuna helps a woman to kunyara, that is female ejaculation or squirting. Couples' problems The programme Zirara Zubakwa is not only about sexual education but also about issues related to married life and the problems couples are facing. "We talk about how a woman is supposed to treat her husband, we talk about hygiene between couples”, says Dusabe. Even though she and her listeners enjoy open and frank discussions, they still have to careful about the language used. “We are not supposed to use some words if children are likely to hear them, like penis, penetration or vagina”, she explains. There were objections to the show when it started in 2010 with some calling its presenter a prostitute for daring to talk about sex on air. The situation has much improved nowadays. The show's late-night slot means listeners and host can openly discuss sexual issues. “We found that there is a lack of knowledge about sex among Rwandese people," Dusabe recalls. "They don’t know how to do sex at all. Men come from a bar or work and just want to make sex without talking or romancing his wife. "We tell the men that you’re not supposed to just open the door and go inside, you have first to knock, when they say come in, then you can go in. On Friday night, we teach the men where and how to touch a woman. They are like students, they do it while we are on air.” Listeners often call her afterwards to thank her, on the air, for her advice. “I romanced my wife, I touched her… for so many years we were married, we never enjoyed sex the way we did today,” are some of the comments In the seven years she has been hosting Zirara Zubakwa, Dusabe says infidelity is the one theme that listeners have kept bringing up. Listeners turn to her for advice with messages like “I saw an SMS about love from someone else on her phone", "I caught him cheating on me, now I want to divorce him, what can I do?” Youth problems Wednesday nights are devoted to the problems young boys and girls are facing in Rwanda today. “Nowadays most of the young boys and girls just want to have sex without love,” Dusabe observes. The show provides an opportunity for them to discuss about HIV-Aids, sexually transmitted diseases, unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancies. Dusabe travels across Rwanda and usually goes to villages to talk about sex education. She says there are sometimes up to 5,000 people waiting for her and, on one occasion, there were as many as 10,000. Diaspora audience The diaspora and neighbouring countries also listen to Zirara Zubakwa via the internet or mobile applications like TuneIn radio. So Dusabe also travels outside Rwanda to pursue her work on sexual education and gukuna. She is invited to Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, too, as she speaks Portuguese. Travelling West, Vestine has been to Belgium and is planning a trip to Canada to meet the Rwandan diaspora. Last year, she featured in Olivier Jourdain’s movie Sacred water. Follow Radio Flash FM on Twitter: @flashfmrwFollow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter: @zxnt
Mar 19, 2017
International media - DRC media operating outside traditional structures
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A handful of highly successful media outlets reporting on the Democratic Republic of Congo operate outside traditional structures. They are closely followed by both the diaspora and the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   RFI’s Zeenat Hansrod spoke to two of them based in Brussels: Fabien Kusuanika for Tele Tshangu and Cheik Fita for Cheik Fita News. Tshangu TV’s flagship programme, «Actualité expliquée», which airs on average four times per week, attracts around twenty-five thousand viewers and sometimes reaches a peak of 50 thousand. Approximately two to five thousand viewers visit Cheik Fita News’ website on a daily basis. Both are a one-man affair, Fita and Kusuanika doing almost everything themselves while handling a day job. They do work with a small team of journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cheik Fita says that he has to hide the identity of the journalists who work for him for fear of harsh reprisals from the authorities. Fita left the DRC for Belgium in 2003 because his political views did not agree with President Joseph Kabila. Cheik Fita News was set up first as a blog in 2006 and became a news website later in 2009. Fabien Kusuanika hosts “Actualitée expliquée” in what he calls “Frangala”, a mix of Lingala – one of the languages widely spoken in DRC – and French. A language Congolese can understand better than French which, he says, belongs to the elite. Fita and Kusuanika are firmly convinced that working from Belgium means enjoying a freedom of expression which might not have been possible in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cheik Fita thinks that his success is largely due to verified and reliable information. For Fabien Kusuanika, it is because he broadcasts regularly and uses a language his viewers can actually understand. Follow Cheik Fita on Twitter: @cheikfitanewsFollow Fabien Kusuanika on Twitter: @teletshanguFollow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter: @zxnt
Mar 13, 2017
International media - How public figures react to media stories about health and well-being
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French presidential candidate François Fillon sparked an outcry this week when he accused the media of politically assassinating him. The conservative candidate once the presidential favourite is now in bad shape. He's not the only one. Across the globe, several African leaders have all gone off sick. Reporting on bad health though can prove a test for the media. Rumours that something is wrong with François Fillon's campaign, first emerged when the satirical paper Canard Enchainé published damning allegations that he'd used tax payer's money to pay his family for jobs they didn't do. Try as he may to soldier on, Fillon's campaign has taken a nosedive, leading him to lash out at the media, responsible in his eyes for 'destroying' him. "The first refuge of the beleaguered politician is to blame the messenger, i.e. shoot the messenger rather than dealing with the message," reckons political analyst Jim Shields. "But with an important public interest at stake, the media are going to keep digging of course they are, that's their job." Digging up dirt is tricky for any media professional, but when it comes to finding out the truth about a political leader's health --physical or otherwise-- it's a whole other ball game. Take the case of Algerian leader Abdelazziz Bouteflika. Last month, the president cancelled a high profile visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel due to ill health, fuelling further speculation about his condition. The Algerian press however can't discuss it says Amar, an Algerian doctor here in Paris. "The biggest sponsorship deals come from the government, and if a newspaper wants to survive it's obliged to write what the government wants, and avoid certain topics." Health and sickness is one of them. For journalists bold enough to scour politicians medical records, or in the case of Fillon their tax returns, they risk getting bogged down in red tape, or being attacked on their credibility. How good in shape is your leader? It's a question perhaps some journalists would prefer not to know.
Mar 05, 2017
International media - Are chatbots now talking for the French media?
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Is your computer talking to you? If so, fear not. Its likely you are talking to a chatbot. Chatbots are computer programs that talk, but which sound like humans. Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel has been...well talking to one that has been been created by French newspaper Libération.
Feb 05, 2017
International media - Le Monde newspaper launches anti-fake news platform
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How can the media fight the rise of fake news? French newspaper Le Monde might have part of the answer. At the beginning of February Le Monde will launch Decodex, a web platform that will allow readers to check wether a website is reliable or not. The team has also created a Chrome and Firefox extension that will alert readers when they come across false or unverified stories, powered by a database of 600 websites that are considered unreliable. RFI spoke to Samuel Laurent, the head of Les Décodeurs, the fact-checking section of Le Monde. Plus, we'll go to the US, where activists say the government is censoring scientists.
Jan 30, 2017
International media - What can journalists do to counter fake news?
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As Donald Trump's aides promise to provide "alternative facts" to media coverage they do not like, International Media looks at new technology that helps journalists detect fake news online. We'll speak to Joe Galvin, Director of News at Storyful, about the Verify add-on. The show will also look at a European campaign against discrimination in journalism.
Jan 23, 2017
International media - Watching Pakistan's female journalists
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In this week's International Media, RFI's Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel takes a look at a new study on the surveillance of female journalists in Pakistan.
Jan 06, 2018
International media - What role did the media play in the conservative primary elections
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This week's International Media takes a look at the role of the media in the French primary elections and the second half of the magazine, how video games have become part of the mass media. There's been a lot of talk - and criticism - about how the media covered the American elections. But are the media in France any better? This year in France, for the first time, the main right-wing party Les Républicains is holding a primary, to decide who would be its candidate in next year's presidential election. And there's been a lot of media coverage of it - several TV debates and of course, lots of noise on social media. "Today we're facing rapid mass circulation of information, an acceleration that can provoke a kind of hysteria in the political sphere. We now need to take into account -- the need to report every single piece of information, and the internet's reach," Arnaud Benedetti, a specialist in communications who works at the Sorbonne University in Paris, told RFI. "This demands a much quicker response on absolutely everything from politicians. Politicians realise that visibility in the media is essential, and it's reason for their very existence, even their political survival. More than anything, this system favours speed over argument. And we're seeing that immediacy is becoming a priority for the media, which is also following this logic -- it's a logic that in turn, needs to be followed by politicians." Benedetti says the issue today is not so much the media, but how they work. "That's why we remember the little catch phrases, symbols, poses, way better than the political programmes themselves. However, you can ask, are the voters really fooled? Because when we take a look at the primaries... it's the man who resisted this system the most who won over the most voters." Benedetti explains that social networks increase the public space, because they allow for a broader range of political expression. "But that doesn't necessarily mean that they help to bring people to one political side or the other. Social networks will certainly be used, and most of the time when it comes to political activism, they will reach those people who have already been convinced. However, social networks are formidable tools when used to discredit an opponent. And undeniably, we've seen this happen during the primaries’ campaign in France, the use of social networks by people opposed to Alain Juppé, to discredit some of his positions -- to even ridicule them sometimes. So that helped Nicolas Sarkozy get more votes, but mostly François Fillon." Another problem Benedetti points at is the fact that media rules in France need to change, so they can adapt to this new media environment. Politicians have always needed the media. But for Benedetti, politicians and their programmes are increasingly driven by how the media will present them. Speaking of how powerful the media is in our society today, let's now turn to our other topic for this week's magazine. A lot of people rely quite a lot on their mobile phone, computers, TVs... to sum it up, we rely on screens. Investigative journalist Jérôme Fritel has just released a documentary on how video games have now become mainstream media. It's called "Video Games: new masters of the World." "Today, there's constant competition to win over people's free time, especially the time they spend in front of their screens. We see that video games have ousted cinema: the video games industry now has revenue over 100 billion dollars a year, and today, it's in direct competition with television. How much time do people spend in front of their screens? Well today, when you look at it, video games take up more of people's screen time than anything else," Fritel says. "For example, games that anyone can put on their phone constitute more than half of all revenue for platforms like Apple or Google. So this has clearly become a mass phenomenon, and we should ask ourselves what kind of content, and what kind of messages, are being conveyed through this new type of media, this 21st century media. I think it's time we took it seriously. We shouldn't disregard it -- we need to be a little bit more demanding when it comes to their content." Video games have come in for criticism, with some people arguing that some games encourage violent behaviour. But Fritel says we shouldn't be afraid of them. "Video games don't encourage violence any more than movies for example. One thing for sure though, is that some governments have understood it is a major communication tool, especially when addressing young people. They've understood than rather than making a movie, maybe using a video game has more greater impact. I'm thinking of what the American army did. Right after 9/11, in order to reach out to a younger audience, and recruit new soldiers, they developed a game called "American Army"." Fritel says the game did extremely well. The player could join the army, could chase terrorists. He explains that this game was developed on army bases where they'd usually build weapons, or defense programmes, but with this, they basically made recruitment software, a strong propaganda tool. "Video games are no longer just about being fun, they can be used for propaganda, or education as well. Sitdowns between the White House and developers took place, during which they decided it was time to go beyond the "boom boom" aspect and make it a bit more educational, bring on more possibilities." Younger population may be more receptive to a message if it comes through a video game, he says. "If you want to get young people's attention, it's in your interest to use video games. These are young people who, at 21 say, have spent on average about 10 000 hours playing video games: the same amount of time spent at school. And it works, they are extremely responsive to this. Then again, you need to develop games that are interesting, fun, and that allow for the discovery of other worlds. So yes, we have to work on the message, the content, and there's room for everyone. But it's a fact that you can reach a wider public, one that might turn its back on more traditional media." Fritel says we're facing a media overload today, and some people, young or not young, can be a bit more suspicious of traditional media. When Fritel started to investigate this world, for his film, he said he found a universe that's definitely worth getting to know. Whether we like it or not, we are going to be more and more reliant on our screens. Because what used to be something for kids, geeks or teenagers is now mainstream media for all of us. Video games now surround us all. You can watch the replay of the documentary here.
Nov 27, 2016
International media - Why did US media fail to see Trump's victory coming?
00:10:00
This week's International Media looks at how the media coverage of the US campaign failed to foresee Donald Trump's victory and asks if this should be a wake-up call to change the way journalists report, inform and deliver the news. During the campaign, Trump was not, to say the least,popular with America's mainstream media. More than 200 newspapers supported Hillary Clinton, while Trump received the backing of fewer than 20. Today journalists are asking themselves what went wrong. Some argue that the very nature of journalism has changed so much, with the growth of online media, which brings an unprecedented need to attract clicks and shares. So it's difficult to match the demand with the reality. The media failed in their primary mission to inform the public, according to Jeff Jarvis of the Tow-Knight Centre for entrepreneurial journalism, City University New York. "The quality of civic discourse in this country was bad, was ill-informed, was built with misinformation," he says. "The second thing is we in liberal media, we abandonned half the country, the conservative half of the country. They've long said they didn't trust mainstream media, thus they weren't reading us, thus we have no mechanism and means to inform them." Jarvis says that there's a need to invest in the creation of responsible fact-based journalism for conservative voters. "We left them, when we created this void, we left them to go to irresponsible sources. And we've got to work really hard to regain their trust. And the way to do that is by listening to them, understanding their world view." The media was unprepared to cover this campaign, Adam Johnson, a journalist working for several US media outlets, believes. Furthermore, Johnson argues, what is daunting right now is the fact that the media is starting to normalise Donald Trump. "There are two reasons why people want to 'normalise' Trump," he told RFI. "The first is access, he is going to be in the White House and reporters are going to be accessing the administration, so it's not like reporters can just tell him to go to Hell, they have to report. "The second thing is cognitive dissonance. People generally don't want to think that our president is this protofacist, who has all these vile ideas, so we kind of start rationalising in our head 'Oh he's not that extreme, he's not really going to do this or that and maybe we can work with him on X or work with him on Y' and I think those two factors are slowly seeping in as inauguration day gets closer." Johnson says that it's important to draw the line rather than try to "do everything" to work alongside Trump. "Now that he's been elected, which I think everyone's still in shock over, there's a tendency to say, 'Well, we have to live with him.' While politicians, because of the nature of continuity of power, have to kind of accept Trump, I don't think there's any law of nature that the press does. If he was bad in many ways before 8 November, he didn't become good now that he is the president. "So that energy should be used to support and have solidarity with the protests, and efforts to undermine his agenda as opposed to the sort of liberal platitude about working with him and coming together." Jeff Jarvis says that, now more than ever, it is important to keep tabs on Trump. He also says that the media is unprepared for the coming years - a good reason to rethink what the job is about and how to do it.
Nov 20, 2016
International media - French media examine ethics in week of shocks
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The standing of the French media which suffered several shocks this week. International Media takes a look at uproar caused by a kiss on a breast, a strike over ethics and a website monitoring sexual harrassment in parliament.   It started with a French commentator that went a step too far when he kissed a woman's breast on live TV because she had said no to his requests for a peck on the cheek after a reenactment of the Kim Kardashian robbery in Paris. More than 250 outraged viewers - including France’s women's rights minister Laurence Rossignol - complained to the French media regulator, the CSA, and others called for the TV show host to be prosecuted. This is only one in a series of scandals in France. Journalists at French 24-hour news channel iTélé went on strike, starting Monday 17 October, over growing concerns about journalistic ethics and editorial independence after the hiring of presenter Jean-Marc Morandini, who is investigated for "corruption of minors". Antoine Genton is the president of the channel’s Society of Journalists. In the first half of this week's edition, Genton explains why he and his coworkers decided to speak up and take to the streets. Many at iTélé see Morandini’s hiring as emblematic of a greater struggle within the newsroom to maintain editorial independence. Since mogul Vincent Bolloré gained control of the channel last year, it has undergone numerous changes, including plans to rebrand it as CNews (short for Canal+ News) on 24 October. The strike drew a number of supporters, including future candidates in the country’s upcoming Socialist Party primaries, as well as journalists and employees from competing news stations and publications. Meanwhile a new website was kick started on Monday 17. It's called Chair Collaboratrice, which sounds like "Dear coworker" but can be also be translated to "Flesh of my coworker". Its aim is to encourage women working in French politics to report any kind of sexual harrassment they might be facing while doing their job. It was launched after a deputy speaker of parliament, Denis Baupin, had to resign over allegations including sexual assault last May. In the second half of our broadcast, Charlotte Soulary, one of the website's creators says that when the allegations came out, many treated them lightly, and that's why they have decided to launch the website.
Oct 23, 2016
International media - Closure of Hungary opposition paper a 'black day' for journalism
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A week after the suspension of Hungary's biggest opposition newspaper, Nepszabadsag, staff are still in limbo. Over 90 colleagues were locked out of the offices of the 60-year-old title on Saturday 8 October, after it was closed without warning. "On Saturday, I received a phone call from a fellow colleague who's working for Nepszabadsag and he told me that dispatchers are on the way," Andras Desi, a reporter at the 60-year-old title, told RFI, still in shock. "They were delivering letters to employees of Nepszabadsag saying that the publisher decided to suspend the print and online edition." The news came without warning to Desi and his 90 colleagues, who saw their email accounts blocked and the site’s website promptly shut down. The closure comes after the Opposition daily published a series of articles investigating alleged government corruption. While the newspaper’s owners argue the closure made business sense-- Nepszabadsag has lost three quarters of its readership in the past ten years--activists see it as more media censorship. "Two years ago, we had an issue with an online outlet called Origo, a big daily on the internet, which was also reporting on alleged government corruption," explains Lydia Gall, a researcher on Eastern Europe at Human Rights Watch. "The Editor in Chief went public saying there was direct editorial interference. He was told you can't report on this because we will have issues with the government. He was of the opinion, I'm going to do it anyway, and the owners basically fired him." Did Nepszabadsag go too far also? Desi thinks so. "We disturbed too much Victor Orban's rule and this is a sort of revenge I think so from the part of the ruling party. They just want to limit the critical voices and Nepszabadsag was the main critical voice here in Hungary." In an interview, Orban said the true violation of press freedom would be if the government interfered with the decision of a media owner.
Oct 17, 2016
International media - Why the Anna Politkovskaya prize inspires women
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In this week's look at the International Media Jan van der Made looks at the yearly Anna Politkovskaya prize that is meant to inspire women in warzones around the world. He asks who was Anna anyway, and who are this years prize winners?
Oct 09, 2016
International media - Online data means real-time fact-checking for today's journalists
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Journalists are increasingly using data to improve their coverage of events and get to the truth. Key examples include the recent US presidential debate which was fact-checked in real time and the growing use of satellite imagery to tell Syria's conflict. The practise of using data to improve reportage is not new. The Guardian set the stage for data journalism in 1821, when it leaked a table of schools in Manchester listing the number of students who attended it and the costs per school. The aim was to show the real number of students receiving free education. A century later the setting is a TV debate between US presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, where for the first time their every word was fact-checked in real time. "Our goal was that when a candidate said something, we could provide the context for that, explain what they had said in the past, was it different to what they had said previously?" David Eads, the Supervising Editor of NPR's Visuals Team told RFI. NPR, together with the New York Times, streamed the transcript of the debate almost in real time, mobilising a team of reporters and editors to provide annotations and analysis. "We had expected a strong response but we were completely overwhelmed with how hungry the audience was for this type of content," Eads added. Big data and numbers often make journalists – the more artsy ones at least - squirm. Not Eads, who details how he initially studied physics before falling in love with the industry through "chasing around police officers in Chicago". The most hard-hitting investigations in recent years have all been accomplished thanks to journalists ploughing through piles of data online. Leaks, eyewitness reports, mobile phone video The Panama Papers, and before them the Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks and Wikileaks are but a few examples of projects that had a worldwide impact, both with the public and with institutions. While NPR are checking the politicians, other media organisations such as Verifeye Media are verifying the material sent in by eyewitnesses. "More and more news reports use eyewitness media or footage taken by the people who are living or caught up in the event and these images are incredibly useful to journalists; if they can be verified. But it's a great struggle for many of us," explains founder John McHugh. The challenge of Syria The Syria conflict in particular poses enormous challenges to agencies like Verifeye media. "We had someone send some photos to us from Syria," MachHugh recalls. "They weren't taken with our app, these photos purported to show the first images of British special forces operating in Syria. We couldn't verify these photos, if we could have verified them it would have been a big scoop for our start-up; but we couldn't." What does he make of satellite imagery being used in cities like Aleppo to tell the civilians' story? “It's always the case that some information is better than no information and journalists are forced to do whatever it takes to tell the story. I think the satellite imagery being used to tell the story in Syria right now is important but I don't think it will ever replace journalists on the ground." Reality check If combing through material from Syria, or distinguishing between the half-truths of presidential candidates, may seem like a cumbersome exercise for David and John, both were left flabbergasted by the tale of a David Beckham wannabe in the UK who's spent a fortune to look like his idol. "The story to me, I would have to verify it and investigate because it sounds like some embellished tabloid tale,” reckons John. Nineteen-year-old Jack Johnson was recently given a reality check by ITV's flagship programme This Morning for spending more than 20,000 euros to try to look like his sporting idol, despite being on state benefits. "I don"t think I'd spend any money to try to look like any of my idols," says David, "my idols are dead journalists and scientists, so kind of homely people as it is."
Oct 03, 2016
International media - Hillary Clinton pneumonia coverage misses big picture
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Hillary Clinton's bout with pneumonia triggered a media and social media frenzy this week, that has led to accusations of sexism and bias. In this report, RFI's Christina Okello looks at why all this talk of Hillary's health is deflecting attention away from the real campaign issues of the US elections. It took one stumble, captured on camera at the 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York on Sunday, to trigger an avalanche of reactions over the state of Hillary Clinton's health. "When Clinton coughs, we get a cold", Scott Lucas, a professor at Birmingham Universiy, told RFI. Media across the political and geographical spectrum, seized on the episode to question whether or not Clinton will survive. The Democratic presidential nominee was filmed losing her footing and being assisted into a waiting van after leaving early from a memorial for 9/11 victims. She'd been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier. "Can you think of a single in-depth story about the issue of health care in the 2016 campaign?" asks Lucas. "We're only one or two years removed from perhaps one of the most comprehensive reforms of the American health care system in history - Obama care," instead the media are talking about Clinton's health problems, he complains. Kinda Kanbar, a Washington correspondent for Arab newspaper Alarab shares similar concerns: "As journalists, we feel like we're in a trap, that we're following the nonsense that is appearing on social media." Nonsense for some, but for others the health of US presidents and future leaders is paramount. "The question is always asked," says France 24 correspondent Philip Crowther, "and it is an awkard one: is the person running for president, fit enough to be president and to stay in office without any health trouble for the next four and potentially 8 years?" "It is very very hard for the Washington correspondents or the reporters on the election trail to be able to define a story now," reckons Lucas. "There just simply isn't the time and space because before you know it your readers have already gone elsewhere."
Sep 16, 2016
International media - Behind the scenes of a Syria-UN scoop
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International media headlines this week have again been dominated by the Syrian conflict, with notably a damning report by the Guardian about the role of UN aid in Damascus. In this magazine, RFI's Christina Okello goes behind the scenes to see how the report was put together, its reception, and impact. According to the British daily paper, contracts worth tens of millions of dollars have been awarded to people closely associated with President Bashar al-Assad under the UN's Syria aid programme. "It was really complicated with a story like this because obviously you don't want to criticize anybody who is putting their life at risk to do the work that they do," Emma Beales, one of the authors of the Guardian investigation told RFI. "You ask yourself an ethical question: whether you're going to hurt anyone by telling the truth." The dilemma Beales and her colleagues faced in mounting the hard-hitting report, was perhaps matched by the uncomfortable position the United Nations was put in. A UN spokesperson said operating in Syria with the conflict now in its sixth year, forces humanitarians to make difficult choices, including cooperating with the Assad regime to gain access to civilians. However for Nadim Choury of Human Rights Watch, it’s too high a price to pay. "Alarm bells should have rung when by funding aid, you also end up funding the wartime effort. It just becomes vicious,” he said.
Sep 05, 2016
International media - Brexit, Chilcot, Ramadan ... what do the experts know?
00:10:31
The tremors set off by Britain’s vote to leave the EU continue to dominate the headlines. The pound’s historic slide and pressure on the commercial real estate sector received a lot of media attention, sparking calls by outlets like The Guardian for a second referendum. The other big talking points of the week were the findings of the long-awaited Chilcot report into the Iraq war and attacks that marred the end of Ramadan. It’s become almost a dirty word, synonymous with confusion and decline, after yet another week of turbulence in financial markets. Brexit sent the pound plunging to a 31-year low and forced three property funds to close, amid fresh uncertainty about the economic impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. But is it as bad as papers are making it out to be? "Journalists are notorious for exaggerating," Keith Boyfield of the Euro Gulf Information Centre (EGIC) told RFI. Even those who supported an EU exit are guilty, he says. Indeed. Papers like the Sun and the Times, owned by multinational magnate Rupert Murdoch, were quick to align themselves on the Johnson-Gove-Farage band wagon, only to then change course. Today they’re telling their readers how Brexit is hitting the value of the pound, the cost of holidays, flights and phone calls. Boyfield argues that there is a clear cleavage in the papers that supported Brexit and those that were vehemently against like the Guardian, which urged readers to vote for a second referendum. "Referendums don’t work," argues EGIC director Mitchell Belfer, pointing to the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Britain needs to reassure its allies that there will not be a security vacuum in the wake of Brexit, he says, particularly in the face of an emboldened Russia, which has left Nato leaders scrambling for a deterrence. Calls by Czech Republic President Milos Zeman for a referendum on Prague’s membership of Nato have been received with alarm. "If the Czech Republic falls out of Nato it will leave a hole in Europe’s defense system," reckons Belfer. Could these predictions of impending Armageddon foster more favorable coverage of the European Union that has long been demonised? "It’s an opportunity to rethink the European model," considers Boyfield. Chilcot skewers Blair For Belfer, Brexit was a catastrophe - and even more so the coverage, which he claims painted an over-simplistic portrayal of a difficult set of issues that largely ignore security. Security was the overarching theme in the long-awaited Chilcot inquiry, that found that former Labour prime minister Tony Blair had led Britain to war in Iraq based on flawed intelligence. "This report tells us nothing new. It was an utter waste of resources and to my mind only the lawyers benefitted, being paid a ridiculous hourly rate for seven years," Boyfield argues. Here, Belfer agrees. "Tony Blair was overly optimistic about his ability to influence US foreign policy," he believes. "What was absent from their whole plan was the impact on Iraq after they left." No contingency plan and again no questions by journalists about what was to come, which in the case of Brexit, could have been worth asking Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, before they took Britain over the edge and then vanished. Ramadan attacks in Iraq, Saudi, Bangladesh What doesn’t seem to disappear, like a bad stain on a white shirt, is the media’s obsession with the Islamic State (IS) armed group. Thousands of Muslims around the world celebrated the end of the holy month of Ramadan but were constantly reminded of IS’s spreading influence, after a string of deadly attacks in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Iraq again, where leaders like Labour frontman Jeremy Corbyn, consider that Baghdad “has not had a day of real peace since the invasion in 2003”. The media is perhaps too trigger-happy, pulling out IS every time they talk about Islam, says Belfer. But figures like London Mayor Sadiq Khan could act as a buffer to undo this conflation between Islam and terrorism, suggests Boyfield. So too could more coverage about the meaning of Ramadan and how it’s celebrated, even if suicide attacks are not to be ignored.
Jul 11, 2016
International media - Welcome to Refugeestan
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The film 'Welcome to Refugeestan' is available online in France and it tells the story of the 17 million refugees in the world. It was made by director Anne Poiret, she talked to Clea Broadhurst about the film.
Jun 21, 2016
International media - Climate change website helps scientists correct media errors
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In this week's edition of International Media, RFI takes a look at a website that reviews articles about Climate change. We’ll speak to a French scientist based in California who created a website, Climate Feedback, where members of the scientific community review the accuracy of stories written by journalists on Climate Change. Plus, we'll go to London, the press is arguing over the upcoming referendum of a possible British exit from European Union.
Jun 02, 2016
International media - EU-US data agreement under criticism over privacy concerns
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From Australia to Japan and Europe, there is a lot to cover in today’s program. For our main topic of the day, we will focus on an agreement between the United States and the European Union on data protection.Tomaso Falchetta of Privacy International will explain why the deal is under heavy criticism. Finally, a word on worries over freedom of expression in Japan and journalists on trial in Lebanon.
May 02, 2016
International media - Unicef tells the story of migrant children
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This week, International media takes a look at a Unicef project called Unfairy Tales - a series of animated films that tell the stories of migrant children arriving in Europe. And we go to China where the government's increasing crackdown has made headlines recently.
Apr 04, 2016
International media - Les Jours - a fresh way of reporting news
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This week, we'll be talking about a brand new French news outlet called Les Jours, the coverage of the Donald Trump primary campaign in the United States and we'll go to India where press freedom is suffering blows.
Mar 23, 2016
International media - Reporting Europe's migrant crisis
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The migrant crisis in Europe has continued to dominate headlines, and Greece says there are still thousands of people struck on its border with Macedonia. In this week’s International Media Christina Okello looks at how the story is being reported.
Mar 10, 2016
International media - State of journalism in Turkey
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In this week's magazine, we take a closer look at press freedom in Turkey. Some say it has been really hard lately to do their job properly in the country, while others argue that Turkey's record on press freedom is overly-criticised.
Feb 14, 2016
International media - At least 2297 media staff have been killed since 1990 - IFJ reports
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This week, we take a look at press freedom in Belarus, the International Federation of Journalists' latest report saying that since 1990, 2 297 journalists and media staff were killed while doing their work and finally, how the media cover the issue of climate change.
Feb 10, 2016
International media - The difficulties of covering the conflict in Syria
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RFI’s Clea Broadhurst looks at the Syrian conflict and why it’s so difficult for journalists to report it, how RSF's Media Ownership Monitor project reveals how a few outlets in Colombia are dominating the market and why there's a lack of regulation and Laos' decree to restrict foreign journalists' reporting.
Jan 24, 2016
International media - New media law already affects journalism in Poland
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In this week's international media, Rfi's Clea Broadhurst will take a closer look at the new Media law in Poland and how it has affected journalism there already. We'll take you to Asia as well, with the correspondent of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur who was recently denied a renewal of her visa, prompting her departure from Beijing and to Indonesia where there's still a long way to go for openness for the media.
Jan 21, 2016
International media - Charlie Hebdo stays provocative with anniversary edition
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This week's show looks at the anniversary edition of France's satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo - one year after its Paris office was attacked. Plus the death of the first female journalist in Syria at the hands of the Islamic State. And we speak to the European Broadcasting Union over Poland's contoversial new media law, which critics say compromises the state broadcaster's editorial independence.
Jan 11, 2016
International media - Media snubs Muslim anti-IS march through London
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When thousands of Muslims hit the streets of central London last Sunday to protest Islamic extremism, the mainstream media barely took notice. This week's show speaks to the organisers of the annual Arbaeen Procession, which was this year used to deliver a political message. Plus a look at the Iranian newspaper editor who was indicted for defying a ban on publishing the name or image of Iran's reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami.
Dec 15, 2015
International media - Brussels raids, Muslim poll met with hashtags and humour
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As life in Brussels returns to normal following a four-day security lockdown, this week's show looks at how residents responded to the terror alert by flooding Twitter with funny pictures of cats. Plus we speak to the team behind a campaign that's taking Britain's The Sun tabloid to task over irresponsible journalism. This, following the furore over a front page splash claiming that 1 in 5 British Muslims is sympathetic to jihadists.
Nov 30, 2015
International media - International media coverage of the Paris attacks
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As we watched events unfold in Paris on Friday, November 13, international media paid tribute, asked questions and tried to offer answers. From the horror of the attacks, to the reactions on social media, we take a look at how the world turned to Paris for an entire week.
Nov 24, 2015
International media - Human side of Calais' 'Jungle' shared on social media
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This week's show looks at how social media is helping to unveil the human side of the refugee camp in Calais, northern France, known as "The Jungle". Plus the EU criticises Turkey over ongoing restrictions to press freedom and, in a bid to protect data from US surveillance, Microsoft sets up data centres in Germany.
Nov 30, 2015
International media - Fortune favours the online celebrity
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This week's edition looks at the rise of social media stars, and how their online fame is paying huge dividends - turning what may have started out as a hobby into big business.
Nov 09, 2015
International media - Crackdown on Turkish media ahead of vote
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This week's show looks at police raids on opposition media outlets in Turkey in the days leading up to parliamentary elections; plus how American cable channel CNBC was slammed over its handling of Wednesday's Republican presidential debate; and we speak to the publishers of a British study linking social media use to mental health issues in children.
Nov 02, 2015
International media - Digital footprints offer clues to one's health
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This week's show looks at how our posts on social media offer a potential goldmine of information on the state of our health. Plus YouTube taps its vast commercial potential, with the internet giant unveiling a paid version of its video-sharing service.
Oct 27, 2015
International media - How social media is inflaming the Mideast war
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The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has been taken to the "social media front", with each side accusing the other of propaganda and disinformation.
Oct 19, 2015
International media - Impunity for crimes against journalists tackled at UN conference
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In this edition of International Media, RFI focuses on the spreading issue of impunity for crimes against journalists worldwide. On 9 and 10 October in Costa Rica, UNESCO organised an international conference of that name, and on the eve of that conference the Committee to Protect Journalists published its annual impunity index. RFI talked to the author of the report, looking at what can be done about the increasing numbers of journalists who are killed in the line of work.
Oct 11, 2015
International media - French digital rights bill the talk of the republic
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This week's programme explores the concept of "open democracy", as France becomes the first European country to open up a proposed law to public debate. Plus, a look at targeted attacks on journalists in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.
Oct 06, 2015
International media - How can publishers deal with the rise of ad-blocking apps?
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at the rise of ad-blocking applications. Daniel Knapp from IHS Jane talks about how they impact online advertisement, and ultimately how they could change the way we access news stories online.
Oct 09, 2015
International media - Fighting hate speech on social media
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This week's programme delves into the murky world of social media, which is being used to sway public opinion on divisive subjects such as Europe's migrant crisis.
Sep 21, 2015
International media - Threats to press freedom in Pakistan, Turkey
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This week's International Media looks at violence against journalists in Pakistan, and how the eviction of foreign media is threatening the freedom of the press in Turkey's restive south-east.
Sep 21, 2015
International media - Press freedom getting worse in Azerbaijan despite media attention: activist
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In this week's International Media, RFI focuses on Azerbaijan, where an investigative journalist was sentenced to 7.5 years in jail. The programme will also take a look at Turkey, where two British journalists for Vice News were arrested, and follows activists trying to find a solution to counter online harassment against female journalists.
Sep 11, 2015
International media - Press freedom in Greece
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at the impact the greek crisis has had on journalists there.
Jul 20, 2015
International media - Being a journalist in Myamar
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at Myanmar.
Jul 14, 2015
International media - Press freedom in Papua
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In Indonesia, the eastern province of Papua has been off-limits to journalists since 1968. It has been the scene of violence between local authorities and separatist movements and both the local and national governments have been trying to hide it from the media, therefore, the international community.
Jul 07, 2015
International media - Indian journalists worry over press freedom
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at India, where two journalists were attacked and killed in the past two weeks.
Jun 29, 2015
International media - Can journalists protect sources in the digital age?
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How can reportets protect their sources in the digital age? The internet and smartphones have made it easier for reporters to reach people – listeners and sources alike – but it has also made it easier for intelligence agencies to listen to them. In that context, the early findings of a study, Protecting journalism sources in the digital age, were published last week by the World Editors Forum for Unesco.
Jun 24, 2015
International media - Bleak outlook for press freedom in Saudia Arabia as blogger sentence upheld
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at Saudi Arabia, where a blogger sentence to 1000 lashes and 10 years in jail was upheld...
Jun 17, 2015
International media - Press freedom under threat in Turkey amid parliamentary elections
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at freedom of the press in Turkey  where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against the editor in chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper Can Dundar over a story saying Turkey had sent arms to rebels in Syria. We aso make a stop in Ireland where two of the biggest media outlets were barred from reporting on a story.
Jun 08, 2015
International media - The state of press freedom in Palestine
00:09:25
In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at press freedom in Israel. The territory had the world's highest number of journalists - 17 - killed last year. Foreign correspondents and local reporters working in the West Bank or in Gaza face threats and abuse on a daily basis.
May 23, 2015
International media - Mapping media freedom in Europe
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at the Mapping Media Freedom project that received backing for the European Commission last week. The initiative allow journalists across Europe to report any abuse to freedom of speech. Since the project was launched a year ago, over 760 cases of abuse - including 89 physical attacks - were reported.
May 18, 2015
International media - "Get your paws off me" say French female journalists against sexism
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at sexism French female journalists face on a daily basis. Last Tuesday, some 40 female French journalists from several major media houses signed a petition denouncing sexism from politicians. In the pages of the daily, the reporters detail sexist behavior in the hallways of power, for example insistent text messages or phone calls seeking late night meetings.
May 11, 2015
International media - Norway to switch off its FM radio
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at Norway where the government is planning to change its radio services by 2017.
May 04, 2015
International media - Despite upcoming European Games, press freedom worsening in Azerbaijan
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at press freedom in Azerbaijan, which is, according to a list from the Committee to Protect Journalists published this week, the sixth most censored place in the world. Its capital, Baku, will host the first-ever European Games in June. With the Games fast approaching, rights group are becoming more virulent when it comes to denouncing the lack of press freedom in the country.
Apr 26, 2015
International media - Iraqi press freedom as bleak as ever, expert
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In this week's International Media, RFI's takes a look at freedom of the press in Iraq. Last week, we learned that the Baghdad bureau chief for news agency Reuters had left the country after he was threatened by militias. For local journalists, the situation is dire too. Since 2013, at least 15 reporters have been killed in the country.
Apr 20, 2015
International media - Press freedom worsening in Turkey
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In this week's International Media, RFI takes a look at media freedom in Turkey as a Dutch journalist tried on charges of spreading "terrorist propaganda" for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was acquitted.
Apr 13, 2015
International media - Radio France strike is longest in public radio station's history
If you have tuned-in to France Inter or France Info radio stations over the past two weeks, you might have heard music. It has been playing on loop on a few of France's most listened Radio station. That's because journalists and technical staff at Radio France - the country's public broadcaster - have been on strike for more than 19 days now.
Apr 06, 2015
International media - Turkish press freedom threatened
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In this week's International Media, RFI speaks to Dogan Tilic, reporter, lecturer of journalism at the Technical University in Ankara and spokesman for Turkey's Freedom to Journalists Platform, about the woeful lack of press freedom in Turkey.
Feb 22, 2015
International media - Drones, smart TVs, is privacy a thing of the past?
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In this week's International Media, RFI speaks to Dan Nesbitt, Research Director at Big Brother Watch in London, about the new and sometimes surprising ways our lives are being invaded.
Feb 15, 2015
International media - Media in the muslim world and the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon
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This week, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo again ran a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover. In this week's International Media, RFI speaks to Egyptian cartoonist Sherif Arafa about reactions in the Muslim world to this, and the vexed question of freedom of expression.
Jan 18, 2015
International media - Has French polemist Eric Zemmour gone too far?
00:04:59
Bruno Jeambard, Director General of the French polling Institute OpinionWay discusses the explosive works of controversial French journalist Eric Zemmour accused of faning xenophobia in France.
Dec 21, 2014
International media - Ferguson and the question of race in the US media
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This week once again saw violent scenes on the streets of Ferguson, Mississippi in the United States following the decision not to press charges against a white police officer who shot a young black man dead. Many of the television networks chose to air President Barack Obama's speech calling for calm on a split screen with footage of the violence on the other side - putting in sharp juxtaposition two faces of black America. Chris Campbell of the University of Southern Mississippi explains how the question of race has been dealt with in the US media since this story broke.
Nov 30, 2014
International media - Wikileaks Assange's demand for a revocation of extradition order rejected
00:05:59
Wikileaks representative Kristinn Hrafnsson discusses London's reaction to the rejection by a swedish court of appeal of Julian Assange's petition to have his extradition order revoked.
Nov 23, 2014
International media - UK police slammed for controversially identifying journalists' sources
00:04:59
Duncan Campell, former correspondent of the Guardian in the United States discusses a row that had broken out in the UK after the police used a controversial law to identify the sources of two journalists.
Nov 02, 2014
International media - Israel-based hacker wanted in France
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Pierre Haski, co-founder of the French online newspaper Rue89, denounces an Israel-based hacker wanted in France for harrassing a journalist's father to death.
Oct 05, 2014
International media - Hervé Gourdel's murder raises tough questions for media
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Serge Seritsky, Managing Editor of the French audiovisual publication Ecran Total, discusses the beheading of French tourist Hervé Gourdel by an Algerian group affiliated with the armed Islamic State waging a propaganda war against France.
Sep 28, 2014
International media - War journalists doted with new security guide
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Frank Smyth, Senior Adviser for Journalists' Security discusses a new security guide published by the watchdog to shed more light on new dangers facing journalists in conflict zones.
Sep 07, 2014
International media - The future of the Turkish press
00:04:39
Barçin Yinanç, opinion editor of the Turkish daily Huriyet, discusses the future of the press now that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been sworn in as president.
Aug 31, 2014
International media - Journalists killed in Gaza
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Cherif Mansour, the head of the Committee to Protect Journalist's Middle East program, discusses the rising number of media workers killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Aug 03, 2014
International media - Failures of Ecuador's media law
00:04:52
Carlos Lauria, America's Program Coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalist's, discusses the failures of Ecuador's land mark media law passed recently after the leading Hoy newspaper shut down its print edition.
Jul 06, 2014
International media - The media's role in World Cup
00:04:59
Douglas Yates, professor of political science and law at the American graduate school in Paris discusses the role of the media in the World Cup frenzy gripping millions of people around the world.
Jun 15, 2014