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Because news websites’ comments have become an important space of spreading hate speech, this article tries to contribute to uncovering the characteristics of Internet hate speech by combining discourse analyses of comments on Slovenian news websites with online in-depth interviews with producers of hate speech comments, researching their values, beliefs, and motives for production. Producers of hate speech use different strategies, mostly rearticulating the meaning of news items. The producers either are organized or act on their own initiative. The main motive of soldiers and believers is the mission; they share characteristics of an authoritarian personality. The key motives of the players are thrill and fun. The watchdogs are motivated by drawing attention to social injustice. The last two groups share the characteristics of a libertarian personality.

Public service broadcasters (PSBs) are a central part of national news media landscapes. In many countries, PSBs are the first choice of citizens when it comes to news providers. And in perhaps more countries still, PSBs are thought of as specialists in provision of hard news. We test this proposition here using survey data from a large crossnational survey involving indicators of current affairs knowledge and media consumption. Specifically, we examine whether exposure to public versus commercial news influences the knowledge citizens possess about current affairs, both domestically and internationally. We also test, using propensity score analysis, whether there is variation across PSBs in this regard. Results indicate that compared to commercial news, watching PSB has a net positive influence on knowledge of hard news, though not all PSBs are equally effective in contributing to knowledge acquisition. This knowledge gap between PSB and commercial news media consumption appears to be mitigated by factors such as de jure independence, proportion of public financing, and audience share.

And news organizations around the world are using iPhone to transform the way they capture and deliver news. reporters for BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Mexican newspaper, Milenio and Canada’s CTV News are using their iPhone cameras to capture HD video on location and send it directly back to headquarters for broadcast on TV or streaming on the web.

Apple’s Earnings Call Transcript - CEO Tim Cook talks about how news organisations are using iPhones as part of their newsgathering and broadcast operations.

Austerity measures and corresponding cuts in public expenditure have brought to the fore the issue of press freedom in Spain. The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and other left wing parties have alleged that changes made by the conservative Partido Popular (PP) have reintroduced overt political patronage in public appointments at Corporación RTVE, the body that manages public service broadcasting.

As part of its UK Public Opinion Monitor research, which aims to track the UK public’s attitudes towards development, the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex recently released this 10-minute film pleading for better coverage by UK television of the developing world, and of issues related to poverty:

The film revisits arguments advanced over many years by the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT), One World Media (formerly the One World Broadcasting Trust), POLIS, and other civil society groups. [Five years ago, I wrote and researched IBT’s report, Reflecting the Real World 2, on how new media were impacting on UK TV’s coverage of the developing world.] These groups have consistently put forward the arguments – based on research they conduct and commission, and on interviews they conduct with senior decision-makers in the UK media – that coverage of the developing world by UK broadcast television is weak, and tends to focus on crisis, corruption, and conflict, in both news and other TV genres. They argue that this has serious implications both on how genuinely informed the UK public can be about large swathes of the wider world, and therefore on how constructive domestic public debate and opinion can be about why we give aid, to whom, and on what basis.

It’s encouraging that a serious institution like IDS is interested in addressing these issues. So why does the film itself leave me so disappointed – and what might they have done differently?

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Following on from the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference last week, discussions looking at various aspects of the web and society are coming thick and fast. Here are two three four just this week:

Today/tomorrow in London it’s the UK Foreign Office’s London Conference on Cyberspace (programme) – which seems heavy on cybersecurity, anti-hacking, and cybercrime, but opened this morning with a long panel on internet freedom featuring, among others, one of my wife’s Article19 colleagues, Barbora Bukovska. I’ll be there on Wednesday, with a particular interest in the session on Safe and Reliable Access.

In Mexico City on Wednesday and Thursday, the Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners are meeting to discuss Privacy: the Global Age (programme PDF). I’m intrigued to see where this goes after following its previous iterations in Madrid and Jerusalem. Visual privacy still seems a little off the agenda, in particular – and with the rise in consumer-driven face-recognition, this seems like a massive missed opportunity. And interested to see also how Stephen Deadman of Vodafone approaches moderating his panel on Mobile Privacy in the light of widespread criticism of Vodafone earlier this year during the Egyptian revolution. Sadly I won’t be in Mexico City alongside another of my wife’s Article 19 colleagues, Dave Banisar (see his global RTI law map) sampling the chapulines… The Public Voice held a related civil society meeting yesterday, and the OECD is holding one on privacy frameworks today.

And then, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it’s London’s turn again for the Mozilla Festival. This promises a totally different tone and approach to the previous two – focused more on the possibilities of openness, collaboration, innovation – and should be fascinating. (No time to go to this either, however…) Lots of very interesting people there (more here), and here’s what they’re talking about.

[ADDED] Also NewsXchange is happening in Portugal right now. Always worth following along to get a sense of what is happening across news industries around the world.

(I’ll post up relevant summaries, video etc if and when these appear.)

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