March 8, 2010

Off line and counting

While I try and teach my students to be interested in other cultures and faiths, and strive for balance - to question, probe deeply and maintain a skepticism crucial to independent journalism, I sit here frustrated because my umbilical cord has been cut. The computer in Perigueux has been off-line for 12 days. I have no access from Australia. I'm waiting for France to finish a one week holiday period before either Clive or Pascal can address the problem. Something to be aware of once we're streaming - off-air for almost two weeks - unthinkable...

Eric has produced a great bilingual, upbeat program, exactly what I'm after. Once I pay the obligatory yearly music rights fees it will be on the site. Hetty has done an excellent Dutch translation of the home page, (looks like RA will be expanding to trilingual broadcasting sooner than I thought). Nick (who runs a professional voice-over business) has offered to make station IDs. Clive and Hetty have also approached several local traders about advertising. Thank you all. The long drawn out technical issue of getting the computer to auto-program and stream remain.

My book to stay sane this month - "Mission Al Jazeera" by Josh Rushing, now compulsory reading for all my students. According to the former military media adviser based at CentCom, Qatar during the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration "used men and women in uniform to deliver their message and the media were on board, never questioning the ethics of this approach". Where was the Arab perspective during this time? Certainly the focus of Australian media was always supporting America. The media shaped perception, truth and reality; it's a strong beast and best used to promote understanding and respect between cultures.

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