Good reads about journalism, tech and media

How to Hold Platforms Accountable Without Heavy Regulation

By Nancy Watzman

19 September 2018

Daily life is an exercise in trust. I trust that when my doctor tells me I need surgery it’s her best judgment that I do, based on the evidence available to her. I trust that the investment advisor who oversees my retirement funds is acting in my interests. I trust that the real estate agent who sold me my house did not hide any information from me. It’s not that my trust is blind–I seek second opinions and read financial disclosure documents. But I also expect a certain level of professionalism because these people have a fiduciary duty to act in my interests. More

New Rules Mooted for Radio, TV and Online Media

By SwissInfo

26 June 2018

The Swiss government has presented proposals aimed at promoting public service online media as part of a larger reform of the broadcasting law. Online media play an increasingly important role in a digitalised world, beside traditional radio and television or print sources, Communications Minister Doris Leuthard told a news conference on Thursday.

Burundi Media Regulator Suspends BBC and VOA, Warns Other Broadcasters


7 May 2018

Authorities in Burundi should immediately lift a six-month licensing suspension imposed on radio broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA), the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Burundi’s National Communication Council (CNC), the media industry regulator, on May 4 accused the two stations of breaching the country’s media laws and professional ethics and ordered the stations’ licensing suspended, according to a statement from the regulator. A government agency that regulates telecommunication subsequently turned off their signals, according to media reports.

RT Under The Microscope


20 April 2018

On April 18, the British communications regulator, Ofcom, announced that it had launched investigations into seven programs broadcast by Kremlin outlet RT since the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on March 4.

Ofcom’s duties include ensuring that all broadcasters licensed in Britain observe standards of accuracy and impartiality. RT has repeatedly been featured in Ofcom investigations in recent years, with a number of findings both for and against the channel. @DFRLab assessed the background here.

Uganda Plans to Tax Social Media to Stop Gossip on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter

By Abdi Latif Dahir

17 April 2018

Uganda is proposing a tax on social media use in a bid to curb gossip online and to raise billions of shillings in government revenue.

Starting July, president Yoweri Museveni’s government wants to charge a daily price of UGX 200 (US$ 0.05) to mobile phone subscribers using services including WhatsApp, Viber, Twitter, and Skype. The new measures come after Museveni reportedly wrote a letter to the treasury in March stating how idle talk on social media was costing the country much-needed time and income.


By Alexandre Botao

10 April 2019

EU Copyright Directive will require search engines and aggregators to pay publishers for the right to display news results. Google is threatening to ghost Europe while at the same time local media companies say it needs them. Does it? More

Turkey Gives TV Censor Control Over the Web

By Firat Kozok

22 March 2018

Turkey’s parliament approved a new law on Wednesday that allows its radio and TV watchdog to vet Internet broadcasts, granting the government the ability to intervene against content by producers including Netflix Inc.

The regulation will require online video streaming companies and pay-TV services to apply for a license from the watchdog, known by its Turkish initials RTUK. Courts can block access for Turkish users if the necessary permits aren’t secured. RTUK has become notorious for aggressively handing out penalties or banning broadcasts that it judges to be immoral, inconsistent with Turkish family values, or that stray from the government line on politics.

China to Launch New Media Regulator

By Rebecca Hawkes

21 March 2018

China’s ruling party is seeking to abolish the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and replace it with a media regulator under the direct control of cabinet.

The proposals were unveiled on Tuesday (13 March). “The proposed administration directly under the State Council will be responsible for drafting policies and measures for radio and television management and their implementation, coordinating development of broadcasting undertakings and industries, promoting institutional reform in the sectors, importing radio and television programmes, and facilitating the sectors to go global,” reported China’s state news agency Xinhua.

Freelance Journalists Deserve to Be Better Protected

By Elisabet Cantenys

14 March 2018

Azmat Khan and her colleague Anand Gopal did what no one had done before: they spent 18 months systematically researching unrecorded civilian deaths by anti-ISIS airstrikes by going door to door in some Iraqi towns in search of the truth. Their groundbreaking investigation culminated in “The Uncounted,” a fearless in-depth report for the New York Times Magazine which not only sparked widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, but also forced the Pentagon to answer some of the tough questions they’d long avoided.

Germany Edges Toward Chinese-Style Rating of Citizens

By Heike Jahberg

23 February 2018

What are you worth? Today your answer might be based on what you earn, the price of your belongings or how much your family loves you. But in the near future, you may well be valued in a different way altogether – and your online behavior most certainly will be.

“We live in a world where judgment is being replaced by numbers – by scores that calculate the value of a human being, with the help of algorithms,” says Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Mr. Gigerenzer also heads a council of experts on consumer affairs that advises the German Ministry of Justice. The panel is currently working on a report on this topic.