Media Law Roundup: June 28th

Controversy continues surrounding Greek Public Broadcasting services

The government’s closure of state broadcasting service ERT continues to cause controversy in Greece.  A court order on June 17th commanded the government to restore broadcasts; however, radio and state television have not resumed service.  In protest of the closure, hundreds of workers occupied the ERT’s headquarters and the smallest coalition party member Democratic Left quit the coalition government. Fired employees occupying ERT’s headquarters have maintained online and satellite pirate broadcasts, despite the shut down.  Plans by Greece to reinstate public broadcast services remain unclear, although announcements have indicated plans to reinstate a more streamlined service with fewer employees.

New French and Danish- backed independent radio broadcast launched in Syria

Canal France International and Danish International Media Support announced plans to fund a Paris-based radio station, Radio Rozana, to broadcast coverage of the Syrian civil war into Syria.  Five Paris based journalists, including three former Syrian state journalists who fled the country, will coordinate broadcasts with 30 correspondents through Syria, mostly young activists.  Radio Rozana aims to be an independent voice amid the propaganda war.

Myanmar awards cellphone licenses

Telnor Mobile Communications of Norway and Ooredoo of Qatar won 15 year concessions for mobile phone networks in a telecommunications auction.  Initially 90 companies expressed interest in the two available licenses, while ultimately a dozen finalists were chosen to participate in the auction.  In 2011, only 3% of the population had a mobile phone; therefore, the region is appealing to telecommunications companies interested in growth.

Despite confusion in the hours prior to the auction, when the lower Parliament attempted to delay the decision making process, the auction went on as planned. Challenges remain for the companies, who are tasked with reaching a quarter of the population within a year according to the license agreement, in a  country where only 13% of the population has access to electricity.

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