Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/12/07

Broadcasting Peace – Radio a Tool for Recovery
by Mary Kimani
Africa Renewal (United Nations)

Radio can be a powerful medium for spreading misinformation and insecurity – and for building peace.

Mega FM’s broadcasts may not reach far outside northern Uganda. But in an area that has been brutalized by decades of insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), it is having an impact. Oryema, a former LRA child soldier who later returned home, explains why. “I did not feel anything bad about killing,” he says. “Not until I started listening to Radio Mega…. I actually heard over the radio how…we burnt homes…. And I started to think, ‘Are we really fighting a normal war?’ That is when I started realizing that maybe there is something better than being here in the bush.”

According to Mr. Boniface Ojok of the non-profit project Justice and Reconciliation, located in Gulu, northern Uganda, Mega FM’s programme “Dwog cen paco” (come back home) “succeeded in encouraging rebels to come out of the bush.” The programme brought former soldiers like Oryema on the air to talk about their experiences. —>

Through Our Eyes
ARC’s Participatory Video Communications Project to prevent gender-based violence
American Refugee Committee International

[ Watch video of the first Through Our Eyes training workshop ]

During times of war and armed conflict, traditional community support systems fall away. People become extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, especially women and children. ARC has partnered with Communication for Change to create the Through Our Eyes Participatory Communications Project. The goal of Through Our Eyes is to break through the secrecy that surrounds gender-based violence in post-conflict settings and empower local communities to raise awareness and promote change.

Participants are working together to create videos and audio tapes that will be used as teaching tools in their own communities, and as advocacy tools in the world community to raise awareness about gender-based violence. —>

Martin: Untying, Unbundling Cable Programming Would Help Minorities
FCC Chairman Discusses Initiatives to Help Minorities
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable


photo by Rob McCausland

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin was both applauded and prodded at a media conference devoted to empowering minorities to wrest at least some of the media agenda from the major players.

Rainbow/PUSH founder The Rev. Jesse Jackson led his lunch audience in a little call and response Friday. “Better that we lease than rent,” he said. “Better that we own than lease,” he added, as the primarily African-American crowd echoed him in his call to the “mountaintop.”

That followed a luncheon speech at a Rainbow/PUSH media conference in Washington, D.C., Friday by Martin in which he proposed a number of FCC moves to help minorities, including lowering leased-access rates and leasing excess digital-TV spectrum to designated entries, including minorities, to increase digital voices.

Jackson called for, and got, a standing ovation for Martin for being willing to come and discuss minority issues. Also in attendance were Democratic commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, who were described at one point in an earlier press conference as the “eyes and ears” of minority issues at the FCC, and Republican commissioner Robert McDowell. —>

AT&T to try again for statewide video permits
by Jake Jost (TN)

AT&T will again ask Tennessee lawmakers for authority to add video services without having to get city and county franchises. AT&T is hoping for a fresh start in 2008 after a failed attempt this year to get approval for a change that would allow itself and others to operate with a single franchise agreement.

AT&T wants Tennessee lawmakers to allow it to provide video services in Tennessee without having to obtain franchises in each city or county where it wants to operate. Franchise agreements specify how cable and video businesses may operate and what local taxes and fees they must pay. Existing cable companies traditionally have negotiated individually with local governments. —>

Town at odds with AT&T over U-verse
New Haven Register (CT)

Wallingford — Democratic Councilman Michael Brodinsky told his colleagues on the Town Council Tuesday night that he is concerned the town’s three local cable access channels are getting short-changed by AT&T’s new television service offering.

Brodinsky said AT&T’s U-verse television service — which provides programming via the Internet — does not carry the local access channels and that many residents subscribing to the offering aren’t aware of that. Brodinsky said AT&T officials have told him that the channels won’t be on the U-verse system for at least five months, and then only if the town spends $5,000 for special equipment and other fees.

“They are making money in this town, and I don’t think we should have to pay this,” Brodinsky said of the one-time expenditure of $5,000 to buy an encoding device and between $2,100 and $3,000 a year for the town to have dedicated high-speed Internet lines that he said AT&T is requiring from local access providers…

Resident Susan Huizenga, who is chairwoman for the Cable Advisory Council for the seven towns, including Wallingford, that are part of Comcast Cable’s Branford system, said she is concerned that the picture quality of local access programming will not be viewable because of the encryption technology.

That position was echoed by Scott Hanley, who manages the town’s government access television, which telecasts the council meeting on Comcast. “The video is going to come up on a Windows Media screen, similar to what you get when you play videos on your computer,” Hanley said. “It’s not going to be full screen.” Hanley said local access officials statewide are set to meet with AT&T officials Oct. 29 to address their concerns. —>

Battle over AT&T’s U-verse TV service rages on
by David Krechevsky
Republican-American (CT)

The legal battle over AT&T’s U-verse television service continued this week on two fronts, with each side now looking to have competing rulings tossed out. Meanwhile, AT&T’s subscriber base for U-verse continues to grow despite the legal twists and turns.

Wednesday, AT&T asked federal Judge Janet Bond Arterton in U.S. District Court in New Haven to declare that her ruling this past summer that U-verse is a cable television service was made moot by a new state law that took effect Oct. 1. The law, “An Act Concerning Certified Competitive Video Service,” allows AT&T to apply for certification for its service instead of having to seek a cable TV franchise.

Arterton ruled in July that U-verse is a cable TV service as a result of lawsuits filed against state regulators by the Office of the Consumer Counsel, the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association and cable television companies. The lawsuits sought to overturn the state Department of Public Utility Control’s 3-2 decision in June 2006, which declared that U-verse is not the same as cable TV and allowed AT&T to offer it without seeking a cable franchise. After the judge ruled, AT&T asked her to reconsider, but that motion was denied last week.

In the wake of that denial, the state consumer counsel and attorney general filed motions with the DPUC on Wednesday asking it to vacate its June 2006 decision. The motion states that Arterton’s ruling means AT&T should have been required to seek a cable franchise before offering its service, and, because it did not, has been operating U-verse in violation of state and federal law. —>

Citizen-produced TV programs coming of age
by Naohiko Takahashi
Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)

Citizen-produced cable TV programs offering local information have been attracting attention as a way of revitalizing community ties, while also giving talented individuals a breakthrough they might otherwise never have had.

One day earlier this month, about 10 members of a broadcasting station in Chofu, Tokyo, sat around a large screen and busily checked programming schedules for the month. “Let’s cut some of the narration,” one member of the civic broadcasting station Community Access Television Chofu (CATC) said, while another suggested, “How about changing the order of the scenes?”

Being screened was a five minute program about a local university that was teaching children how to assemble a radio. The program will be broadcast on a regional information cable channel. “We pick up minor topics that terrestrial TV stations and newspapers don’t cover, but which are important to local areas. In fact, there’s usually a good response from citizens because they’re featured in the programs,” station representative Mikiko Ono said.

CATC programs are planned and produced by Chofu residents who offer their services voluntarily. “We want to show off the good things about Chofu ourselves,” one member said.

The scheme was launched in April 2006, and the team now broadcasts Chofu-related programs several times a month. Among the topics covered have been the traditional bamboo work undertaken by local craftsman and the history of Chofu Airport. “We’re sticking closely to local issues,” CATC’s director Mariko Nagatomo said.

In other parts of the country, cable TV companies are actively encouraging locals to help produce TV programs. Chukai Cable Television System Operator in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, is one such company. The company is providing one of its channels to citizens and broadcasting their videos for free, as long as the videos do not violate copyright or public decency standards. —>

Building an Online Community
by Sarah Dawud
The Daily Californian

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, along with Oh Yeon Ho, the founder of OhmyNews, spoke about the role of online media and community to a small group last night at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Students listened to Wales talk about the importance of community, which he said must be maintained by continuously communicating norms and common values. “Most people like an environment where they are free to have a discussion and be respected,” he said. He added that the Wikimedia Foundation—the parent company of the popular online user-created encyclopedia—is planning to move from Florida to San Francisco.

Ho introduced his creation, OhmyNews, which serves the Korean community through about 50,000 citizen reporters. His site includes a live newscast with simultaneous reader comments. He said the main goal for the site, which was launched in 2000, is to encourage an “active community.” He added that education is important and that the OhmyNews is good way to imform citizens.

The talk was organized by the Center for Citizen Media, which is affiliated with the journalism school and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University Law School. Dan Gillmor, who teachers at the journalism school, said Wales and Ho were invited to campus for their contributions to the media world. “These guys are genuinely pioneers in online media and what they have done is extraordinary,” he said.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community newspapers, community radio, FCC, human rights, media diversity, media ownership, media research, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/12/07”

  1. […] Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/12/07 Broadcasting Peace – Radio a Tool for Recovery by Mary Kimani Africa Renewal (United Nations) 10/11/07 Radio can be a powerful medium for spreading misinformation and insecurity – and for building peace. Mega FM s broadcasts may not reach far outside northern Uganda. But in an area that has been brutalized by decades of insurgency by the Lord s Resistance Army (LRA), it is having… in Gulu, northern Uganda, Mega FM s programme Dwog cen paco (come back home) succeeded in encouraging […]

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