Kashmir gets partial internet but no social media – BBC News
Mobile internet and social media remain largely blocked in Indian-administered Kashmir, despite the government saying it partially lifted its internet blockade in the region.
Some districts in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region saw 2G and limited broadband services restored, but not in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.
Internet services have been suspended in the region since 4 August.
India said the move was necessary to maintain law and order.
The blockade came as India revoked the region’s semi-autonomous status and split it into two federally-administered territories.
The government said that the internet could be used to spread disinformation and allow militant groups to plan attacks.
But critics called the shutdown – the longest ever in any democracy – undemocratic and draconian.
The chief US diplomat for South Asia affairs, Alice Wells, is among those who have expressed concern.
“We remain concerned by detention of political leaders and residents, and internet restrictions. We look forward to a return to normalcy,” she tweeted, days after India arranged a tour of the region for some diplomats.
The Kashmir valley is the site of a long-running insurgency against Indian rule.
The communications blackout, which also initially included phone services, has severely hurt the region’s economy. Many businesses are struggling to operate.
Instead, a handful of broadband connections to “institutions dealing with essential services” such as banks, hospitals and government offices will be restored in four districts and these will be heavily monitored.
A government notice explicitly stated that access to social media sites or “peer-to-peer” messaging services like WhatsApp would not be restored.
Furthermore, internet service providers will be expected to install firewalls to prevent access to sites other than specific “white-listed” ones such as government websites.
India’s Supreme Court last week ordered a review of all the restrictive orders that are still in place in Kashmir.
This, the court said, should be done within a week. “Suspension of free movement, internet and basic freedoms cannot be an arbitrary exercise of power,” it said in its order.
Some mobile phone and landline services were restored in October, but the indefinite internet suspension has crippled daily life, the media and businesses.
The move in August by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to revoke the region’s autonomy was controversial as the “special status” Kashmir enjoyed underpinned its fraught relationship with Delhi.
Canada should look to its past and Europe for guidance on media policy — but not south
Seventy years ago, Canadian leaders turned away from the British model of media policy that rejected advertising-supported private broadcasting.
While it’s gone well for a few private corporations, it hasn’t benefited the Canadian public. And the future heralds an even more dangerous American-style media landscape here in Canada.
Canadian leaders once understood the importance and even the potential danger of media to the public. Those lessons need to be remembered. The honourable early history of media policy in Canada needs to be embraced anew.
Aird Commission findings
In 1928, the Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting, also known as the Aird Commission, was created to consider alternative models for the future of Canadian broadcasting.
It was led by Sir John Aird, the president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. As media scholar Marc Raboy writes in his comprehensive history of Canadian broadcasting, Missed Opportunities, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was established because of public pressure that came from a broad coalition of civic organizations that made up the Canadian Radio League.
The Aird Commission found much to be alarmed about regarding radio. As Aird stated in 1932:
“I have watched — naturally I felt it my duty to watch — the program and the material that was coming over the air, and much of it is of the most objectionable character … what I object to most strongly is the character of the ribald songs and vulgar dialogues regarding robberies, burglaries, hold-ups of banks and things like that.”
The commissioners listened to radio around the world and heard the concerns of various communities with access to the medium. They consistently heard complaints about content, but also about advertising.
As a result of its research, the Aird Commission proposed a publicly owned corporation not unlike the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC). It argued the new medium of radio should be regarded as a national public service rather than a profit-making industry, and its ownership and operating structure should be organized to recognize this principle.
Creation of the CBC/Radio-Canada
In 1936, the Canadian Broadcasting Act created the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio-Canada as a Crown corporation funded through fees known as receiver set licences (initially $2.50 per licence) with limited financing from advertising.
Richard Bedford Bennett, the Conservative prime minister of Canada who had the unfortunate task of attempting to unite a divided and economically struggling country through the Great Depression of the 1930s, pushed the CBC through its parliamentary hurdles.
“This country must be assured of complete Canadian control of broadcasting from Canadian sources. Without such control, broadcasting can never be the agency by which national consciousness may be fostered and sustained and national unity still further strengthened.”
In addition to telling the Canadian story to the booming cities of Vancouver, Montréal and Toronto, the CBC was tasked with reaching remote and isolated rural and maritime communities, providing both national and local voices reflecting Canada and in two languages: English and French. Canada’s vast territory and multilingual character made the CBC one of the world’s most far-reaching and complex public broadcasters.
Yet the Aird Commission recommendation that private broadcasting should be fully replaced by public broadcasting never happened.
The British model of public service media funded through receiver licence fees was eventually abandoned in 1953, and CBC funding would be tied to the shifting sands of parliamentary funding.
Cuts to the CBC
In 1984, the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney made significant cuts to the CBC, and those cuts increased under the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien.
Make no mistake — the BBC has more than its share of problems. While it’s thrived without advertising, it has lost some of its audience to the private commercial broadcasting that began in the U.K. in 1955 and from political pressure exerted by both Labour and Tory administrations.
Nonetheless, the BBC continues to dominate broadcast and online news in the U.K. The CBC has not fared as well.
Budget cuts to the CBC, often fuelled by partisan politics, have wrought havoc. The Windsor CBC station I watched as a child growing up in Detroit was once a profitable Canadian production powerhouse, but it cancelled popular local programming and slashed the news operation.
In 1990, because of further budget cuts, CBC closed down the station’s news department, spurring street protests from thousands of Windsor citizens.
A “Save Our Station” committee was formed to pressure both CBC and the Canadian government to preserve the Windsor operation. Some limited news service was established because of these protests, but other communities once served by the CBC had no such luck.
Private broadcaster CTV has eclipsed the CBC as Canada’s most-watched television network. And according to the independent media database IMDb, CTV’s top programs are all American productions; mainly police and medical dramas.
The European way
Europe suggests a better path. A recent study by the European Broadcasting Union shows a strong correlation between a country’s democratic well-being and robust public service media, including online media.
Social media policy in the United States has generated echo chambers of misinformation and conspiracy and has certainly not curtailed the erosion of civic knowledge. A 2022 study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center reveals that while many Americans are angry about politics, less than half of those surveyed understood the basics of U.S. government.
And in Canada? According to Statista, Canada is one of the world’s most connected online populations, with a social media penetration rate of 89 per cent of the Canadian population.
The most popular media sites in Canada are also U.S.-based — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
U.S.-based, advertising-driven social media sites designed to stoke outrage are not creating more informed Canadians. The actions of the so-called Freedom Convoy illustrates this phenomenon.
And, unfortunately, similar to American civic illiteracy, a recent Forum Research Poll suggests only one in 10 Canadians would pass the Canadian citizenship exam.
The future of advertising-driven media does not bode well for democracy. Even Silicon Valley leaders are warning against a laissez-faire U.S. policy approach in terms of generative artificial intelligence/large language models like ChatGPT.
The American threat to Canada continues not because of U.S. power, but because Canadian leaders have not put in place policies to foster and protect Canadian democracy.
Civic organizations of all stripes need to come together to demand a new approach to media that’s informed by lessons from Canada’s past and by the obvious mistakes evident south of the border.
This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. The Conversation is trustworthy news from experts, from an independent nonprofit. Try our free newsletters.
It was written by: Mark Lloyd, McGill University.
Mark Lloyd does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The social media apps we use, from best to worst – Mashable
For a bunch of people who supposedly hate social media, we sure do spend a lot of time on it.
Just 33 percent of U.S. adults have “some or a lot” of trust in social media, according to a late 2022 report from the Pew Research Center(opens in a new tab), and people who spend time on social media are more likely to experience mental health problems(opens in a new tab), including depression. According to BroadbandSearch, an independent research site that compares internet providers, the average American spends a little more than two hours a day on (opens in a new tab)the very same hurtful platforms they purport not to trust. And it seems like new social media platforms — any sort of online space in which people are publicly chatting with each other, including Facebook and Twitter and TikTok and, yes, LinkedIn — are popping up every day.
There aren’t loads of social media platforms that are brand new in 2023, but there are dozens that we spend our time on every day that have had some pretty radically nightmarish moments in 2023. Unfortunately, as it is the middle of the year, it’s time to rank these nightmares.
While evaluating these social media platforms, I’ve considered five questions:
How widely-used is the app?
How grumpy does the app make me because of the content?
How grumpy does the app make me because of the interface?
How likely is the app to disrupt democracy?
How annoying are the influencers on that app?
There are many apps that launched recently that didn’t make the list — Geneva, Diem, Melon, Pineapple, Somewhere Good — because they just aren’t widely-used enough to asses just how awful they are. I’m omitting far-right social media apps like Parler and Gab — they are all worse than the apps I’m writing about here, and their content is too vile for me to make fun of in a listicle.
Here are the social media platforms that have stolen our brains so far in 2023, from least bad to worst. This list is just my opinion, but it is also correct.
A very nice escape from Twitter for the 20 minutes it was relevant.
Fine, but no one uses it anymore so it is now therefore boring. Boring, to be clear, is not necessarily an insult when it comes to social media (see: Facebook further down the list, which I wish was more boring).
Boring but alright.
This app seems fine but I don’t have access to it. Send me an invite and I will do my best to accurately review it.
A new app that is annoying to me, but others find it lovely.
There are LinkedInfluencers(opens in a new tab), which is annoying but not actively harmful.
Stay with me, but the newsletter platform is kind of killing it this year. It launched chats and a Notes feature to rival Twitter and some of the more popular Substack writers make a pretty good living from their newsletters. It’s this far down, though, because Substack isn’t without its problems: The platform allows some pretty hateful speech, like the transphobic newsletter from Graham Linehan.
This would be higher if it didn’t force Snapchat AI onto every single user.
Can be vile, but can also feed you a pretty consistent number of frog videos. It’s lower down because entire nations are banning it for — you guessed it — potential threats to democracy.
I swear to God if I get fed one more video about dieting I’m going to scream.
Unfortunately for Facebook, most of us simply refuse to forget 2016(opens in a new tab) and the Facebook Papers. There’s an old saying in Tennessee(opens in a new tab) — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, ruin democracy once, shame on — shame on you. Ruin democracy twice — you can’t get democracy ruined again.
Elon Musk 🥴
OPEC denies media access to Reuters, Bloomberg, WSJ for weekend policy meets
VIENNA, June 2 (Reuters) – OPEC has denied media access to reporters from Reuters, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to report on oil policy meetings in Vienna this weekend, reporters, Bloomberg and people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The three media organizations are among the world’s leading suppliers of financial news and information. They report on the outcome of policy meetings between OPEC and its allies, where ministers make decisions that impact the price of the world’s most traded commodity.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies is a group known as OPEC+ and includes top oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia. Ministers from the group, which pumps more than 40% of the world’s oil supply, are scheduled to gather on Saturday and Sunday for regular biannual meetings.
OPEC staff declined on Friday to give media accreditation to Reuters journalists to cover the event. The staff handling media accreditation at one of Vienna’s luxury hotels said they could not issue accreditation without an invite. They did not comment when asked why Reuters reporters received no invites.
OPEC has not responded to requests for comment from Reuters this week on why it has not invited or accredited Reuters reporters for the meet.
“We believe that transparency and a free press serve both readers and markets, and we object to this restriction on coverage,” a spokesperson for Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO), said on Friday.
“Reuters will continue to cover OPEC in an independent, impartial and reliable way in keeping with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.”
A reporter from Bloomberg was also denied accreditation on Friday, a person familiar with the matter said.
A Bloomberg spokesperson confirmed on Friday the company has not been given accreditation to cover the OPEC meeting.
The Wall Street Journal did not respond to a request for comment.
Reporters from the three outlets, many of whom have been covering OPEC meetings for years, did not receive invitations from OPEC ahead of the meeting.
Without accreditation, journalists cannot enter the OPEC Secretariat where the ministers meet, or attend press conferences during the event.
Reporters at other media outlets including trade publications Argus and Platts received accreditation on Friday. Argus confirmed its reporters have been accredited and will attend. Platts did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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