Monday, 22 June 2009

AIB searching for the best

It's that time of year again when the AIB headquarters is inundated with courier deliveries from all over the world - all entries for the annual AIBs, our international media excellence awards.

The AIB launched the AIBs five years ago at the request of its members and the competition has grown significantly to be an important highlight in the international media industry's calendar.

The reason for the acceptance and success of the AIBs is, I believe, down to the fact that they are a real, independently-judged, truly international competition that celebrates the best talent, programme-making, news coverage, and documentary-making in the world. We're not restricted to entries in English - after all, 90% of the world's population doesn't have English as a first language. We're non-commercial: although we have sponsors who support the competition, they have no influence over the results. We look at both cross-border and domestic productions, enabling practitioners in the industry to see why it's important to have the ability to contrast and compare programmes made in different parts of the world for different audiences.

As I travel the world, I've met a whole range of inspiring people in broadcasting and the wider media industry and I know that there's much work out there that cries out for recognition but is often not highlighted to the rest of the industry. That's what the 2009 AIBs will be trying to correct.

So, look out your best work and submit it to the 2009 AIBs - more at And see you in London on 4 November for our gala celebration evening!

Friday, 19 June 2009

International broadcasting essential in Iran

The events of the past few days in Iran have demonstrated the essential need for international broadcasting. The newly-launched BBC Persian TV service, and longer-established VoA TV in Persian, have been key to ensuring the flow of information about events in Iran to people living there while domestic media - IRIB - has been reporting very little about developments.

What's interesting is that Press TV - the English-language TV news channel operated by Iran - has been somewhat more free in its coverage of events, reporting things that IRIB's domestic broadcaster has simply ignored. Press TV is located in a different building several kilometers from IRIB's compound in Tehran (where I was prohibited from taking a photo of a flagpole on my last visit there!) and has some level of autonomy.

Radio remains important, with Radio Farda (part of RFE/RL), DW Persian and others all broadcasting to Iran and maintaining the flow of news and information.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have all come into their own during the week, and are likely to remain crucial as events develop in Iran.