BBG Media Highlights - April 8, 2013
About Our Broadcasters
Jorge Mas Santos: Uniting what Castro has divided- The Miami Herald, April 6, 2013
Our challenge is: How do we break the monopoly of information the regime has on its people? Although technological advances and increased assistance has helped, it is not enough. We must continue to support the growth of independent journalists in Cuba. Support the mission of Radio Marti that through new media initiatives is reaching an unprecedented number of the Cuban people. We must seek innovative solutions so the Cuban people can seek the truth and share without fear their aspirations for a better future. We must challenge ourselves to communicate more frequently with our compatriots on island and support policies and initiatives that open Cuba to the world even with the virulent opposition of the Castro regime. We must break the status quo for the benefit of the Cuban people.
Citations of BBG Broadcasters
AP Interview: American general thinks Taliban may be long-term threat in parts of Afghanistan- Associated Press, April 7, 2013
The Afghan government's concern, Dempsey said, is that influential warlords could embrace these local movements and eventually leverage them to threaten the armed forces of the central government. In a separate interview Sunday with al-Hurra, the Arabic-language satellite TV channel funded by the U.S. government, Dempsey was asked whether he worries that Syria, in the midst of a civil war, could become another Afghanistan. "I do. I have grave concerns that Syria could become an extended conflict" that drags on for many years, he said.

 

Eyebrows raise over govt decision to sell news- Mizzima News, April 8, 2013
He said that this practice seemed highly unusual as it is the ministry's duty to share information but that, "We will definitely buy from them if they are going to sell." Kyaw Min Swe also questioned the reasons for the decision and wondered if it is to raise funds for the government. Kyaw Kyaw Aung, the head of the Myanmar branch of US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, "The news that people need to know should be announced in a timely and transparent manner. If RFA do not have any other choice, we will buy the news information and news photos that people need to know."   

 

South Korea backtracks on claim North Korea is prepping missile test- Salon, April 8, 2013
A South Korean official admitted April 8th that he misspoke when he indicated that a new North Korean nuclear test was imminent, now insisting that all appears to be normal. Earlier April 8th, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said to a parliamentary committee that there were signs of nuclear test preparation at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, according to Voice of America, although he wouldn't elaborate further. "We found there had been no unusual movements that indicated it wanted to carry out a nuclear test," a Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said later that day via Radio Free Europe, backtracking from the earlier comments. He reiterated that all activity at the site appeared to be "routine," and did not appear to be preparations for a fourth unpopular nuclear test on the part of the Northern regime.  

 

Russia cracks down on nonprofits- Deseret News, April 5, 2013
The raids on NGOs come after bouts of 2012 legislation that cracked down on everything from Internet usage to defamation. The same bill that bans U.S. adoptions that Putin signed in December of last year also allowed suspension of nonprofit organizations with "political" motivations or ties to the U.S. Another bill, passed last July, required NGOs with international ties to register as "foreign agents." In the New York Times, director of Radio Liberty's Russian Service and Putin biographer Masha Gessen wrote that the action on increasingly stricter policy should not come as a surprise. "As in Soviet times, the search for hidden meaning or complicated signals is misguided. The Putin administration's rhetoric, practice and law have been remarkably consistent - and the agenda for the months ahead is laid out in plain sight," Gessen wrote.
 
Business as usual at N.K. embassies- The Korea Herald, April 7, 2013
Internally, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might want to take advantage of the rising tension to strengthen national unity, particularly among his troops, and strengthen the legitimacy of the fledgling leadership, analysts said. Displaying contradicting signs, unlike the North's belligerent words that threaten to strike South Korea and the U.S., there appeared to be little sense of a security crisis with foreign tourists still visiting attractions in the reclusive state. According to the Radio Free Asia, a Chinese agency running North Korean tour programs was not notified of any change in their programs. It said its tour programs proceeded as normal and will continue in the coming week. The Seoul government has informed foreign missions here the situation was being stably managed.

Turkey first stop on 9-day Kerry trip- UPI, April 6, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday began a nine-day trip to the Middle East, Europe and Asia, beginning in Turkey, the State Department said. At his first stop, in Istanbul, he will meet with Turkish officials about efforts to end the civil war in Syria, Voice of America reported. Kerry is also expected to meet with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan was reported to have given Kerry the cold shoulder in March, keeping the secretary waiting after he had an extended meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Today's Zaman reported.

Home demolitions cause 115th Tibet self-immolation- Tibetan Review, April 6, 2013
A Tibetan woman has staged a self-immolation protest against China's demolition of her home, along with around 1,000 other Tibetan homes, rebuilt after the devastating Apr 14, 2010 earthquake which hit the Kyegudo area of Yulshul Prefecture, Qinghai Province, in 2010, reported Radio Free Asia Apr 4. The fire was quickly put out by people who happened to be nearby and her condition was reported to be not life-threatening. The unnamed woman is identified as the daughter-in-law of a man named Ngodrub, a resident of Sengdze suburb of Kyegudo, with the incident having occurred the week before. She was reported to have taken the extreme step when a wrecking crew arrived to destroy her house.

Powerful Quake Hits Indonesia- Fars News Agency, April 6, 2013
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck Papua province on Saturday at 4:42 am (13:42 UTC). The agency put the depth of the 7.2 magnitude quake at 68 kilometers. It was centered 239 kilometers East of the city of Enarotali. Officials said hundreds of people in the area ran into the streets, fearing building collapses and aftershocks, Voice of America reported. Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Myanmar govt targets 'neo-Nazi' Buddhist group- The Straits Times, April 8, 2013
A member of the Rakhine Youth Association, Ye Min Oo, was one of dozens detained in the wake of the anti-Muslim violence that left more than 40 dead in three days last month in the town of Meikhtila. Arrested on March 25, he was charged at a Yangon court last Thursday with inciting violence. On March 27 in Bago - another area hit by anti-Muslim violence - Mr Aung Myat Thu, a member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), was also arrested, Radio Free Asia (RFA) has reported.

Afghans involvement in Syria war to be investigated: Mosazai- Khaama Press, April 8, 2013
He said, "There are two issues including media reports which we have received. We are in contact with our embassy in Jordan to contact with the Syrian officials and other middle eastern countries to clarify the situation. We do not have embassy in Syria and therefore the probe will be done through Jordan embassy." Mosazai also added that a number of Afghans had traveled to Syria around 100 years back or during the past three decades. In the meantime Radio Free Europe (RFE) says that they have achieved a video which shows the dead bodies of Syria soldiers including an Afghan citizen in Syrian military uniform. Syria armed opposition forces are claiming that the dead bodies belong to Iran however an Afghan identity card can be seen with one of the victim.

North Korea now urging foreign embassies to leave (Photos)- examiner, April 5, 2013
North Korea is urging foreign embassies to consider evacuating Pyongyang due to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, reports the Voice of America. This latest threat adds a new layer of concerns felt around the world.  Russia was encouraged to evacuate their people from North Korea due to "the increasing threat from the United States," according to RT, Russia's international news outlet. BBC is reporting that British diplomats were encouraged to leave as well. Kim Jong-un - leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - is a young, untested, new ruler, having assumed his position when his father passed.

Assad: Turkey lying about war in Syria- UPI, April 6, 2013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is lying about the Syrian uprising, contributing directly to the deaths of Syrians, President Bashar Assad said. The Syrian president said Turkey and Jordan, who have provided refuge to Syrian refugees, are "playing with fire," Voice of America reported Saturday. In comments to Turkish journalists, Assad accused Erdogan of conspiring with Israel to destroy Syria, contributing directly to the deaths of Syrians. He accused Turkey and Jordan of allowing insurgents to train on their soil. The countries have allowed hundreds of thousands fleeing the conflict in Syria to live in camps just across the Syrian border.

Students Face Threat for 14 March Commemoration- Phayul, April 8, 2013
Chinese authorities in Gansu have interrogated and threatened the Tibetan students with "serious consequences" for commemorating the fifth anniversary of 14 March 2008 crackdown in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Citing sources with contacts in the region, the US-based Radio Free Asia said the students of the Northwest University of the Nationalities in the provincial capital of Lanzhou expressed their solidarity with the Tibetans who died in the crackdown by "mourning". Pictures available online show butter lamps in front of a board with 'March 14 Anniversary' written on it.

Cambodia - Cambodian community leader threatened by forestry officials for speaking to media- The Cambodia News, April 5, 2013
Srekor commune chief Siek Mekong, of the Sam Rainsy Party, was recently threatened by government officials after he spoke to media regarding the extensive deforestation occurring in his local community. On 31 March 2013, Siek Mekong was interviewed by Radio Free Asia and mentioned that loggers had been clearing valuable trees for over a week without notifying local residents or local authorities. Two days later, officials visited him from the Stung Treng provincial forestry administration.

Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital- UPI, April 6, 2013
Former South African President Nelson Mandela was sent to his home in Johannesburg Saturday after a hospital stay for a bout of pneumonia, the government said. Mandela, 94, was admitted March 27 for a recurrence of the lung problems that were a result of his long imprisonment during the days of apartheid. While the South African president's office did not say where Mandela was treated, Voice of America and Euronews reported he was in Pretoria hospital.

U.S., Philippine military exercises begin- UPI, April 5, 2013
The Philippines and United States began an annual joint military exercise in the South China Sea Friday, training 8,000 troops for disaster relief operations. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, in ceremonies beginning the 12-day exercise, spoke of the Philippines' need to "build our own capacity to defend ourselves, and defend ourselves, we will."  The military maneuvers come at a time the Philippines and China are involved in a diplomatic fight over claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have claims to the sea. The Philippines has taken the matter to international arbitration, without China's participation, the Voice of America reported.

European Voice: When taking the office Ilham Aliev was still dilettante who preferred gambling in casinos to shaping policy- Panorama, April 5, 2013
Today, Aliyev is facing perhaps the most serious challenge to his ten-year rule as protests flare across the country in the build-up to a presidential election in October. "In January, thousands demonstrated in Ismailia demanding the resignation of the local governor. The same month saw shopkeepers on the streets of the capital, Baku, campaigning against rent rises. In March, police used water cannons to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered in the capital to protest against unexplained deaths in the military," the European Voice writes. Kenan Aliyev, head of the Azerbaijani service at Radio Free Europe, says two factors are driving the discontent exploding on social media - the high cost of living, and corruption. "Very little of the oil money is touching the daily lives of people...there is huge dissatisfaction with the government," he says.

From the foreign-language press

Odd combination mixture of NK's war threats and preparation for Kim Il Sung's birthday - News Zoom (South Korean internet news)- April 4, 2013
Even though North Korean authorities have heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula with continuing threats, residents inside North Korea are busy preparing for Kim Il Sung's 101st birthday celebration, according to sources, as Radio Free Asia reported. 
Of Interest

Why Dictators Don't Like Jokes - Foreign Policy, April 5, 2013

Fifteen years ago, when Serbia's non-violent pro-democracy movement, Otpor, was just a tiny group of 20 students with $50, we decided to play a prank. We took an oil barrel, taped a picture of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic to it, and set it up in the middle of Belgrade's largest shopping district. Next to it we placed a baseball bat. Then we went for coffee, sat down, and watched the fun unfold. Before long, dozens of shoppers lined the street, each waiting for a chance to take a swing at "Milosevic" -- the man so many despised, but whom most were too afraid to criticize. About 30 minutes in, the police arrived. That's when we held our breath, waiting for what would happen next. What would the Milosevic's police do? They couldn't arrest shoppers -- on what grounds? And they couldn't arrest the culprits -- since we were nowhere to be seen. So what did Milosevic's police do? The only thing they could: They arrested the barrel. The image of the two policemen dragging the barrel to their police car was the best photo shoot in Serbia for months. Milosevic and his cronies became the laughing stock of the nation, and Otpor became a household name.

 

How news can compete with cat videos: 6 lessons for multimedia journalists - Poynter, April 5, 2013

Necessity is the mother of invention. That's certainly been the case with the multimedia work I do. As senior multimedia producer at the Center for Investigative Reporting, I led digital storytelling projects for six years. We were often working with very dense, complex subjects and translating them for a younger, Web-savvy audience with a notoriously short attention span. That wasn't easy. But the larger challenge was pushing new ideas forward in a traditional news environment.

About Us
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 175 million in 100 countries. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).