AIB media industry briefing | State-sponsored hackers target journalists | Australia government says yes to media freedom recommendations | AIB's pandemic recovery work and more
AIB Media Industry Briefing | End of Year 2020
Welcome to the latest media industry briefing from the Association for International Broadcasting, covering news from our Members and the wider industry.

This briefing reaches a constantly growing number of people in media, regulation, government and journalism in over 150 territories.

Talk to us about using the briefing to tell your stories or to deliver brand exposure to our influential international community.
Dozens of Al Jazeera journalists targeted in phone hacking
report published by the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto on 20 December details how the mobile phones of 36 journalists, producers, presenters and executives at the Qatar-based broadcaster were infected by the Pegasus software developed by Israel’s NSO Group.
“This attack on journalists and others working for Al Jazeera and Al Araby is insidious and worrying,” says AIB chief executive Simon Spanswick. “It appears that hacking software is becoming constantly more sophisticated through the development of so-called ‘zero-click’ attacks. It’s vital that all those using mobile devices for investigative research have the most up-to-date operating system installed. In many cases, it is preferable to have a separate phone and SIM card used exclusively for researching a story to mitigate the risks of infection of their everyday phone.”

Media freedom briefs
Australian government accepts media freedom recommendations, more work needed
Australia’s government has accepted recommendations from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security following the Committee’s Inquiry into issues around freedom of the press.
The Inquiry – and one in the Australian Senate – took on added significance with the raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC News Room in Sydney. The unprecedented raids were criticised widely within and outside Australia with some civil society organisations saying that media freedom within the country had been seriously eroded.
The Government Response means that search warrants involving journalists and whistleblowers will need to be signed off by senior judges, offering some degree of protection for journalists and news organisations covering stories regarded as sensitive by government.
The Association for International Broadcasting has been closely involved in the issue of media freedom in Australia - full story here
China authorities detain Bloomberg News staffer
Chinese authorities have detained Haze Fan, who works for the Bloomberg News bureau in Beijing, on suspicion of endangering national security.
Fan was last in contact with one of her editors around 1130 local time on Monday 7 December. Shortly after, she was seen being escorted from her apartment building by plain clothes security officials.
Throughout the four days since her disappearance, Bloomberg has sought information on Fan’s whereabouts from the Chinese government and the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC. Her family was informed within 24 hours. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, on Thursday 10 December received confirmation that Fan is being held on suspicion of participating in activities endangering national security.
“We are very concerned for her, and have been actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation. We are continuing to do everything we can to support her while we seek more information,” said a Bloomberg spokesperson.

AIB Media Freedom Symposium and survey
The AIB Media Freedom Symposium will be held on 28 January 2021. The purpose of this international meeting is:
  • To act as the annual touch-point of the AIB Media Freedom workplan and to review the state of global media freedom as it affects AIB Members
  • To review global media freedom activities, achievements and failures in 2020
  • To establish ways in which the AIB can work to ensure media freedom remains high up the international agenda
  • To establish ways in which the moral obligation to protect journalists and media companies can be underpinned
  • To highlight cases that merit referral to the Media Freedom Coalition
  • To plan the AIB media freedom calendar of 2021
Full information will be published at, and you can also contact us to register interest or to seek more information.

The AIB is also undertaking a survey among news organisations on the media freedom work internationally. We invite news editors, journalists, producers and executives to complete the survey that will help to inform the Symposium and the AIB's work on media freedom and its participation in the Advisory Network to the Media Freedom Coalition.
You can access they survey at and it can be completed anonymously if you wish. A print edition for return by email is available here.
The survey should be completed by 5 January 2021.
France 24 stronger in Italy
French international news channel France 24 has strengthened its presence in Italy with a new distribution agreement with Tivù, an Italian television operator.
France 24’s OTT App, which enable users to access the four channels’ live broadcast (in English, French, Arabic and Spanish), as well as a large offer of on-demand programmes, is now available in Tivù’s service programme guide named tivùlink. 

RT marks 15th anniversary
On December 10, 2005, RT went on air for the first time from its Moscow studio; today, RT broadcasts from multiple continents in six languages across TV and online platforms. Over the last 15 years RT has become one of the most-watched international TV news networks in the world, a nine-time Emmy/International Emmy finalist for news, and one of the most discussed and influential news media organisations worldwide.
RT airs award-winning programming helmed by television legend Larry King, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, ex-Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa, former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and ex-UK MP George Galloway, the “most dangerous financial journalist” Max Keiser, former head of French External Intelligence Alain Juillet and many other internationally acclaimed personalities. The network counts ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria Karin Kneissl and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek among its regular online contributors.

Ukraine digital TV operator fined
The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) has fined the country's digital TV provider, Zeonbud, for abusing its monopoly position. It provides broadcasting distribution services to national TV channels.
According to the AMCU, Zeonbud set its fees without calculation or economic justification. The company was initially licensed in 2010 with a ten-year extension granted in October 2020.
In 2014, AMCU declared Zeonbud as a monopoly as there were no alternative digital TV providers in Ukraine.
Did you see the AIBs 2020?
In a reassuringly unchanged ceremony - although virtual and with our audience tuning in via PCs, phones, tablets and smart TVs - the winners of the AIBs 2020 were announced in November

Winners and highly commended entries were announced by our host, Al Jazeera English presenter Kim Vinnell. We linked with our winners around the world - although none of them knew they'd won in advance.

Reaction from our global audience suggest that we got this important celebration about right, ensuring the work of our finalists was treated with respect and care. Read more about how we went about staging the AIBs 2020 here.

You can watch the shows at and read the winners and finalists book at

The AIBs 2021 will launch in April.
Watch programme one above; programme two below
The AIB recommends
ReNEWS, a new home for the news community, sets the stage for vital conversations about socio-cultural challenges: how they affect our newsrooms, and how we report on them. At least once per quarter, ReNEWS will hold a 60- to 90-minute conversation with experts - people with skin in the game - and senior news editors from around the world, looking at different viewpoints and exploring practical considerations for newsrooms and editorial choices.
The first ReNEWS conversation will take place at 1500 GMT on January 14, 2021. It will explore: "Culture Wars: Are they co-opting the mainstream narrative?"
Are we watching freedom of speech slip away in service of political correctness, collective guilt and a fear of being bullied and canceled for expressing an opposing view?
Great news! AIB is partnering with ReNEWS to bring you discounted tickets. All AIB members are entitled to a special discounted price of EUR 12 (excluding VAT), using this code:

ReNEWS will livestream the conversation.
Laurie Davison has been named head of TV and Film Operations at YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. His role includes overseeing relationship with studios, production companies, pay-TV groups and PSBs in the EMEA region.
Davison joined YouTube in May 2020 as manager of strategic partnerships TV and Film. Before that, he worked as analyst covering media and internet at Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
The EBU has elected its new Executive Board, formed of representatives of PSBs across Europe (pictured above).
The new Board, that will serve for a two-year period from January 2021 to December 2022 is:
President: Delphine Ernotte Cunci, CEO, France Télévisions (France)
Vice-President: Petr Dvořák, Director General, Czech TV (Czech Republic)
Thomas Bellut, Director General, ZDF (Germany)
Cilla Benkö, Director General, SR (Sweden)
Marcello Foa, President, Rai (Italy)
Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė, Director General, LRT (Lithuania)
Giacomo Ghisani, Acting Director General, RV (Vatican State)
Sebastian Sergei Parker, Deputy Director General, Channel One (Russia)
Gonçalo Reis, President and CEO, RTP (Portugal)
Fran Unsworth, Director of News and Current Affairs, BBC (UK)
Alexander Wrabetz, Director General, ORF (Austria)
AIB coronavirus pandemic recovery work supports media companies globally
The AIB is continuing to develop its coronavirus pandemic recovery work plan. This is designed to assist Member companies as they maintain and improve pandemic-affected operations over the coming challenging months.

We have published our recovery planning document which will continue to be developed as we receive input from our specialist working group that has representatives from AIB Member companies across the world. This work has increased in significance given the emergence of new, possibly more transmissible, strains of the virus in the past few months leading to more stringent restrictions on businesses and the population at large.

Contact the AIB Secretariat to discuss membership of the Association and our pandemic recovery planning work.
dotRadio domains - have you got yours yet?
Well over 2,600 dotRadio top level domains have been registered by broadcasters, radio presenters, producers, community stations, DJs, radio amateurs and others, harnessing the power and appeal of the dotRadio domain.

This specialist domain is available to all broadcasters and to others involved in radio, both professionally and personally. Alongside the domain comes a special tool - - for broadcasters to use short URLs, such as, with tracking of visits to help gauge effectiveness. There is also a redirection service included as part of the domain service and an email service is to be introduced in the coming months.

The AIB’s mission is to support, sustain, promote and protect its Members, wherever they are in the world, via a range of specialist services.

The Association was formed to support organisations that face unique challenges by virtue of their remit to broadcast to and publish in multiple global jurisdictions and cultures. Today, thanks to the rapid developments in distribution and accessibility to content, this includes almost every domestic broadcaster since their services have become available to international audiences.

Our Members operate television, radio and online services in multiple languages that, every week, reach well in excess of one billion people in almost every country on the planet.
We help our Members to collaborate, and to innovate.
We help our Members to solve problems.
We help our Members to tell their stories.

We draw on 26 years of knowledge gathering, intelligence sharing and understanding in the international media market to deliver outstanding support to our Members.

To find out more about the benefits that Membership of the Association for International Broadcasting delivers, see our Guide to Membership booklet and talk to Tom Wragg at AIB headquarters in the UK.
Association for International Broadcasting
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T +44 20 7993 2557