Media News

A handpicked selection of today’s media-related news. With 24.000 entries, our archives chronicle 15 years of press industry developments. A goldmine for scholars and researchers.

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  • 6 January 2012 | Reuters

    RTL exits Greek broadcasting as crisis crushes ads

    Europe's biggest commercial broadcaster RTL Group is giving up on the Greek broadcasting market as the country's debt-induced economic crisis crushes advertising revenue. RTL said in a statement it would sell its 70 percent stake in Alpha Media Group to minority stakeholder and Greek entrepreneur Dimitris Contominas, making him once again sole owner of the group. RTL declined to disclose financial terms. The Greek advertising market has fallen by more than 50 percent over the last three years, the company said. RTL, majority owned by media group Bertelsmann, said it would remain active in Greece with its content production and sales arm, FreemantelMedia. RTL paid about EUR 126m for a nearly 67 percent stake in Alpha in 2008.
  • 6 January 2012 | The Guardian

    US pressured Spain to implement online piracy law, leaked files shows

    The US ambassador in Madrid threatened Spain with "retaliation actions" if the country did not pass tough new internet piracy laws, according to leaked documents. The latest revelation comes amid a fierce debate over America's own plans to pass online piracy legislation that critics claim will damage the infrastructure of the internet and restrict free speech. In a letter dated 12 December and obtained by Spanish newspaper El Pais, US ambassador Alan Solomont wrote to the outgoing Spanish president expressing his concern about the lack of movement on a online piracy bill, known as the Sinde law. Spain would go on to pass Sinde at the start of this year. In his letter, Solomont issued veiled threats, reminding its recipients that Spain is on the Special 301, the US trade representatives' list of countries that do not provide "adequate and effective" protection of intellectual property rights. Spain risks having its position on the list "degraded", and could join the real blacklist of "the worst violators of global intellectual property rights." Spain was among 28 countries put on 2011's Special 301 list, including Belarus, Greece, Italy and Ukraine. Countries deemed the worst offenders are put on a "priority watchlist" and can be subject to "retaliation actions" including the elimination of tariff agreements and a referral to the World Trade Organisation. Last year's priority list included China, India, Israel and Russia. The Spanish legislation is similar to Protect IP and Sopa, the stop online piracy act, two pieces of anti-piracy legislation now being discussed in the US Congress.
  • 6 January 2012 | Washington Post via The Guardian

    US publishers create company to monitor use of news output

    The Associated Press and 28 US news organisations are launching a company to measure the unpaid online use of their original reporting. It will also seek to convert unauthorised websites, blogs and other news-gathering services into paying customers. NewsRight is modelled on, and supersedes, the AP's news registry. Its members include the New York Times company and the Washington Post company. It will encode original stories with hidden data that includes the writer's name and when it was published. The encoded stories will send back reports to the registry that describe where a story is being used and who is reading it. The technology can even locate stories that have been cut and pasted, whether in whole or in part. Initially, the company will seek customers among media monitoring services that compile stories online for governments and companies. At present, these companies charge fees for aggregating the news, but do not compensate news organisations for the use of their content.
  • 6 January 2012 | Ria Novosti

    RIA Novosti joins the World Wide Web Consortium

    RIA Novosti has become a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), thereby gaining the right to participate in shaping international web technology standards and to exchange experience in this area. By entering into this consortium, RIA Novosti will be able to join W3C working groups that are engaged in developing Internet standards. Moreover, it will gain access to the unique technological expertise of other members and will be able to share the results of its own development. The W3C was founded in 1994 by Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently, the Consortium includes 322 organizations from more than 20 countries which are engaged in different spheres of activity: financial institutions, commercial companies, software and hardware developers, programmers, IT and media companies, Internet companies and more. Its mission is to develop web protocols and guidelines for long-term web development. W3C is interested in recruiting innovative high-tech companies for the purpose of sharing experience and for the joint development of new web standards and technologies. Its members include Facebook, the BBC, the Associated Press, IPTC, Comcast Cable Communications and others.
  • 6 January 2012 | Reuters

    ICANN to expand top level Internet domains despite critics

    ICANN, an independent body responsible for organizing the Internet, plans to press ahead with plans to expand the number of possible website addresses despite criticism from industry and concerns from some law enforcement groups. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which decides who gets to manage .com, .net and other domains to the right of the period in a URL, plans to begin accepting applications next week for a hugely expanded number of Web domain options. This has infuriated and worried corporations, which already troll the web looking for trademark violations and sometimes buy web addresses they don't plan to use to prevent them from falling into the hands of cybersquatters. In a letter Tuesday, Lawrence Strickling, administrator of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, urged ICANN to take steps to minimize the need for these defensive registrations. Strickling also urged ICANN to do a better job of identifying who controls particular websites, with the goal of being able to aid law enforcement if the sites are used for criminal activity. ICANN said on Wednesday that it would review Strickling's recommendations.
  • 6 January 2012 | Deutsche Welle

    Contrary to reports, Belarus plans no Internet censorship

    A report published late last month in the Global Legal Mirror, the online publication of the United States Library of Congress, has led to plenty of confusion - willingly or unwillingly - about amendments to Belarus' existing Internet regulations. The author, Peter Roudik, director of the Global Research Center at Library of Congress, wrote that the new law "imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents." Several media organizations worldwide have picked up on Roudik's report, claiming that Belarus was planning to curb Internet use and establish a new Digital Iron Curtain. "The talk of censorship is complete fiction," said Keir Giles, director of Conflict Studies Research Centre, an Oxford-based non-profit research institute that provides analysis on Russia and the region. Aleksey Ponomarev, a Belarusian IT lawyer, wrote in English on his blog on Wednesday that the new law, which takes effect on Friday, "has not brought any radical changes to the Belarussian online market or heavy limitations of human rights and freedoms. Neither visiting foreign websites is considered a violation nor has any of the foreign websites been blocked." Many experts haved questioned the author's motives for publishing a story that alludes to censorship when, in fact, the new law makes no mention of banning access to national or international websites for Belarusian citizens and residents alike. Ponomarev offered up one theory. "The occurred confusion can be explained by the lack of objective and qualified information on Belarusian Internet regulation, on the one hand, and the ambiguity of the provisions of law regulating the Internet, on the other hand," he wrote in his blog.