In early 2011, the BBC announced massive cuts in its foreign language services. We devoted an entire pod episode to that decision and its implications.
At the time, London-based journalism professor George Brock warned of an imminent deluge of government-run foreign language broadcast channels. That’s certainly playing out. The Chinese and Russian government-run TV companies have fast-growing foreign language services. China’s CCTV now broadcasts in English, French, Russian and Arabic. And the Kremlin’s mutilingual network RT, recently made a splash when it announced that it would broadcast a 10-part series interview show hosted by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Now, Iran has got in on the act. In late January, it launched Hispan TV, a Spanish language service aimed at Latin America. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed up at the launch, making it clear that there would be no arm’s length policy between the politicians and the journalists on this project. He even uttered a few Spanish words: “Viva España , viva America Latina.” He also said, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting that Hispan TV “is expected to convey a message of peace, friendship and freedom for all human beings, and at the same time to block or squeeze ways through which the global arrogance tried to dominate others.”
Also in the pod this week:
- The origins of an oft-used Hebrew expression to describe the segregation of women favored by some ultra-Orthodox Jews.
- Scientists at UC Berkeley unveil technology that seeks to put words to our thoughts.
- Why songs get stuck in our heads.
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