British media ‘barbarians’ need lessons

‘Barbarians’ in UK media should learn manners from 5,000 years of Chinese history


While the rest of the world is discussing unguarded comments made by Queen Elizabeth II saying that Chinese officials were “very rude” during Xi Jinping’s state visit last year, Chinese state media has only seen fit to author a single editorial on the subject.

Chinese-language editorial (see below) published earlier today,  the Global Times said that “barbarians” in the British media had blown the incident out of proportion and they could stand to learn some manners from 5,000 years of Chinese culture, via SCMP:

“The West in modern times has risen to the top and created a brilliant civilization, but their media is full of reckless ‘gossip fiends’ who bare their fangs and brandish their claws and are very narcissistic, retaining the bad manners of ‘barbarians’,” it said in an editorial.

“As they experience constant exposure to the 5,000 years of continuous Eastern civilisation, we believe they will make progress” when it comes to manners, it added in the Chinese-language piece, which was not published in English.

For its part, the Global Times simply shrugged off the Queen’s comments: “It is not surprising that there are off the record complaints. Chinese diplomats must have mocked British officials privately.”

The Queen mocked Chinese officials in private comments that were made public during a garden party in Buckingham Palace. The 90-year-old monarch spoke candidly with the officer in charge of security during last year’s state visit — which was said to have kicked off the “Golden Era in UK-China relations” — while a camera rolled nearby, picking up their conversation.

The video and the Queen’s remarks have made headlines across the world. However, the official reaction in China has been very muted. When asked by reporters at a regular Q&A session yesterday if that “Golden Era” still continues today, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang opted to neither confirm nor deny.

Felicia Sonmez from The Wall Street Journal also asked if China thinks that the video was released on purpose. “I think you should refer your question to those who put the footage on the website,” Lu replied, though that question was later deleted from the official transcript of the briefing.

Meanwhile, a report on the Queen’s comments carried by BBC World News was blanked out in China.

Last October, both sides declared that the state visit was “very successful.” The Queen herself said that it was “a milestone in the unprecedented year of co-operation and friendship between the United Kingdom and China.” Prime Minister David Cameron said that the trip had managed to drum up $58 billion in Chinese investment.

With those economic ties in mind, the Global Times sees the Queen’s comments as very minor. “The Sino-UK relationship will not be influenced by this. The Golden Era is based on profound interests,” the editorial said.

Of course, the Queen wasn’t the only one to make an epic political gaffe this week. While talking to Her Royal Majesty and the Archbishop of Canterbury at Buckingham Palace, David Cameron boasted about the quality of attendees he has arriving at an anti-corruption summit in London later in the week, seemingly unaware of the cameras that recorded him saying:

“We have got the Nigerians – actually we have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain.”

He went on: “Nigeria and Afghanistan – possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world.”

The Global Times editorial took a jab at these twin blunders, writing: “But among the Western countries, Britain is one of those that gets caught with its pants down and exposes itself most often.” It’s hard to argue with that assessment, following Cameron’s remarks, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari urged the UK to return assets stolen by corrupt officials. “I am not going to demand any apology from anybody. What I am demanding is the return of the assets,” Buhari said at the anti-graft event.

Many have argued that while Cameron’s comments may have just been foolish, the Queen’s comments were publicized in order to cause chaos in improving UK-China relations, as an indirect attack against Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne. The Global Times was quick to reject this claim, saying that “if they had deliberately done so, that would have been truly crude and rude.”

Meanwhile, others have pointed to Queen Elizabeth’s umbrella as the true mastermind behind this whole fiasco, The Daily Telegraph reports:

Sources told The Daily Telegraph that the reason the Queen’s comments were audible on the TV footage was because her clear plastic umbrella, which she uses to allow people to see her while sheltering from the rain, had acted like the cone in a loudspeaker, amplifying her voice towards the microphone.

“If she had been holding an umbrella made of fabric, it wouldn’t have happened,” an insider said.

“But because it’s plastic, it reflects the sound like a satellite dish.” – SCMP


















Information is power, overloaded, who and where can we trust?

A global survey gauging trust in society finds that people of a feather really do flock together.


THE person you see in the mirror is the most trusted.”

No, that is not a self-help mantra or nostalgia for Michael Jackson’s old hit Man in the Mirror.

Rather, as the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals, that is a common belief in the world when it comes to trust.

People now are increasingly reliant on a “person like yourself” (rising 6% in trust) more than the “leaders” of society like CEOs, government officials, technical experts or even academic experts, according to global communications firm Edelman’s annual survey that measures trust levels in the world.

Says Edelman Malaysia managing director Robert Kay, it reflects the way people in Malaysia are increasingly sharing and weighing information and opinions online.

“When it comes to information on social networking sites, content sharing sites and online-only information, Malaysians trust friends and families more at 74% compared to a company CEO at 57% or elected officials at 53%,” shares Kay at the launch of the Barometer in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday.

For its fifth survey in Malaysia, Edelman polled 1,350 Malaysians online from October to November last year.

What some might find surprising is that in today’s celebrity-obsessed world, online personalities rake in only 45% “believers”, while celebrities rank last in their trustworthiness at 30%.

Interestingly, Malaysians’ overall trust in online content, specifically that shared on social media has dipped seven points to 42%.

Kay points to the rampant sharing of misinformation online in the past year as the main reason.

Consequently, search engines hold their lead as the most trusted source for information at 66%, he adds, as people feel they have more control over what they read and see.

The rise in peer-to-peer trust inevitably coincides with the decline in public faith in public institutions and the business world.

Faith in the press among the “informed public”, however, has jumped 13% – from 46% last year to 59% this year.

Asked how much they trust the media – on a scale of zero to nine – to do the right thing, Malaysian citizens say they have a lot more faith in the press than before.

This, says Edelman, puts Malaysia’s more informed citizens’ trust in media at the same level as the elite of the United States.

“Malaysia has one of the biggest rises in media trust among the informed public globally, possibly due to the constant coverage of alleged corruption at 1MDB,” Kay notes, stressing that it is crucial for the media to continue pursuing rigorous, balanced and transparent reporting to maintain credibility.

While the survey did not distinguish between trust in local and international media, the trust in the media in Asia highlights the perceived role of the media in this region, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa CEO David Brain reportedly said in Mumbrella Asia, a discussion site on the region’s media.

“The media – through Western eyes – is expected to keep politicians to account, but in Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, there is ‘a social contract that the role of the media is about nation building’, and less about revealing the truth,” Brain had explained.

In a panel discussion on the Barometer results, The Malaysian Insider CEO Jahabar Sadiq points out that even as trust in business captains and political leaders fell, those who are perceived to be critical and caring of society and are vocal on social media, such as CIMB group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, are deemed as “trustworthy”.

Comparing Malaysia to Britain and the United States, Umno Youth exco member Shahril Hamdan suggests the dip in public trust towards the government is a natural development as the nation matures.

“As democracy matures, the cynicism level of people toward the government increases.

“Regardless of how the government communicates or performs, people will put less trust in the government and its leaders.”

Maxis Malaysia Head of Consumer Business Dushyanthan Vathiyanathan believes that it is time for public institutions and the business sector to transform and engage more with people.

“People now are interested in knowing what is happening and not in what you tell them.

By Hariati Azizan The Star/Asia News Network

“You have to be transparent with them and inform them of anything and everything. That’s because now they have information and do their checks.”


Panel Discussion of the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer for Malaysia

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China Daily Asia Weekly joins ePaper

The China Daily Asia Weekly is the latest newspaper to be part of the CIMB-Asean ePaper collaboration just as Malaysia and China celebrate 40 years of bilateral relations.

China Daily Asia Weekly_logoThe weekly newspaper will now be made free in digital for all The Star’s 80,000 ePaper subscribers, providing more accurate updates of the latest news in China and Asia Pacific.

The latest addition was launched by CIMB group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Nazir Tun Razak yesterday and witnessed by China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang. Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said the partnership was the first in the country’s history as well as coming at a historic moment.

“Malaysia and China are celebrating a special relationship of 40 years and today, we celebrate the friendship of two media groups. The combined readership from both China Daily Asia Weekly and The Star will make up a larger audience for the ePaper,” he said.

Wong said on Wednesday, Malaysians had welcomed the arrival of pandas, Feng Yi and Fu Wa.

“And today, we welcome the arrival of China Daily into the CIMB-Asean ePaper collaboration,” he added.

China Daily Asia Weekly_ePaper

Combined forces: (from left) Star chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow, Nazir, Huang, Wong and Zhang during the official partnership ceremony as China Daily Asia Weekly joins the CIMB-Asean ePaper fold at Menara Star.

Zhang Haizhou, China Daily Asia Weekly assistant to publisher, said the missing plane MH370 had seen netizens from both countries attacking each other and forgetting that both Malaysia and China were partners.

“We need a strong and reliable platform to bridge this gap of understanding among people and this is why we are having this bundle with The Star. We are now messengers between the two nations, telling better stories and enhancing mutual understanding,” he said.

Last month, Nazir had launched the CIMB-Asean ePaper collaboration comprising newspapers from four South-East Asian countries – The Star, Thailand’s The Nation, Indonesia’s The Jakarta Post and the Philippines’ Daily Inquirer – the first of its kind in the Asean region.

Nazir said the initiative was fabulous and had exceeded his expectations with 80,000 subscribers.

“Malaysia is the first South-East Asian nation to connect with China and we are very happy to support this initiative, helping people to see the world in all perspectives,” he said.

Agreeing, Huang said the media was the bridge for a better understanding between two nations.

“The Internet is an important channel for exchanging information and the collaboration of The Star and China Daily Asia Weekly is like a combination of giants,” he said.

Also present were China Daily Asia Weekly editor K.S Chan, Malaysia-China Friendship Association president Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia deputy secretary-general Datuk Dr Chin Yew Sin, Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce president Datuk Bong Hon Liong and Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Indust­ries Youth chief Datuk Ng Yih Pyng.

Top businessmen who joined in the celebration included Eco World Development Group director Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, i-Berhad executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong and Mah Sing Group group managing director and chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum.

Contributed by  by Christine Cheah The Star/Asia News Network

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Top-selling news app: Summly, launched by teenager

  Nick D’Aloisio took time off school to develop the Summly smartphone app

A smartphone app which provides summaries of news stories soared to number nine in Apple’s app store just two hours after its release in the US.

The app, called Summly, was designed by 17-year-old Londoner Nick D’Aloisio, and has received more than $1m in funding from investors.

High-profile supporters include Stephen Fry, Tech City CEO Joanna Shields and Newscorp owner Rupert Murdoch.

However some early reviewers have described the app as “confusing”.

“Navigation unclear,” wrote Oliver Devereux on the app store’s review page, while another described it as “quite unintuitive”.

But the app is still rating an average score of four out of five possible stars from users overall.

Mr D’Aloisio took time off school to develop his idea for a smartphone application that offers summaries of existing news stories published on the net.

The free-to-download app uses algorithms to process news stories into summaries which users can then swipe to see in full if they wish.

“We worked hard on an interface that looks like nothing else on iPhone,” he told the BBC.

“We merged algorithm with beautiful design. It’s summarising thousands of articles every minute.”

‘Big visions’

Nick D’Aloisio talks to Jane Wakefield about the app in December 2011

Mr D’Aloisio, who celebrated his 17th birthday on Thursday, has appointed Bart Swanson, who oversaw the roll-out of retailer Amazon in Europe, to chair the company behind Summly.

“I see big visions for the company longer term,” the teenager said.

“We can really become the de-facto format for news on mobile. People are not scrolling through 1,000-word articles – they want snack-sized information.”

In the longer term Mr D’Aloisio would like to see users make micro-payments to read some stories in full should they choose to view the entire article.

“Traditionally publishers have been confined to a paywall system,” he said. “You can either give away the headline or the full article. But we can really sell the summary level.”

Mr D’Aloisio now intends to finish his education and go to university – but he also wants to remain involved in the company.

“I’m going to do my best to stay, I’m the founder and it’s my vision and I want to see that through,” he said.

Source: BBC
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Which player can steal more eyeballs in pay-TV market?

Friday Reflections – By B.K. Sidhu

PAY TV there has been some failures in the past.

Mega TV, FineTV and MiTV never made it big. In fact, some just closed shop after a few months of ambitious screening.

Running a pay-TV business requires deep pockets, content that appeals, low pricing and wide reach. However, repetitive programming irks and the station must be very mindful that consumer behaviour is constantly changing, so they need to adapt to change.

The Internet has finally cracked the door to our living rooms and that by itself has brought a change in consumer behaviour.

That has posed a new challenge for traditional broadcasters, pay-TV operators and the likes.

But by the second quarter of 2012, digital cable TV will come knocking on our living room doors with entertainment and education programming. Internet and interactive functions will be a feature and the promoters are looking at “reasonable pricing” and “wide reach” as their strategy.

Nilamas Corp Bhd, a company owned by some high ranking ex-army personnel, has the licence to bring digital cable TV here.

I have no clue what the “reasonable pricing” would be, but it should be a lot less than the current offerings and it should come with a lot more varied content, or else it cannot be termed “reasonable”.

Going by Wikipedia, digital cable is a generic term for any type of cable TV using digital video compression or distribution. Nilamas wants to use fibre optic to link the last mile to homes for picture perfect.

Currently, we have satellite pay-TV operated by Astro, IPTV (Internet protocol TV) offered by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and RedTone International Bhd‘s DeTV. There are several free-to-air channels now and these analogue networks will migrate to digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB) by 2015.

Astro has also entered the IPTV space to protect its turf. It has over three million subscribers and offers 150 channels.

TM rides on its high-speed broadband to offer Hypp TV. It has 184,000 UniFi users of which 80% are viewers of the IPTV.

Maxis Bhd is also in the entertainment game and had some months ago launched its Maxis Home services. Though a disappointing launch then, its recent teaser ads are generating interest as it seems to have something for everyone in the family. It intends to launch IPTV pretty soon.

Celcom Axiata is silently working on a strategy to be part of the big-screen offering while DiGi.Com Bhd is still focused on small-screen entertainment.

YTL Communications Sdn Bhd is the other player hoping to ride it big in the entertainment scene. It will offer hybrid TV services over a wireless platform by the end of this year with partner, US-based Sezmi Corp.

Incidentally, YTL Communications is also one of the two potential contenders for the DTTB contract. The other is Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd which teamed up with New Zealand’s Kordia for expertise as well as to train people on the digital migration.

In a nutshell, the entertainment scene via our idiot box should get competitive by mid next year, provided, of course, if Nilamas keeps to its launch date.

At the moment, the players decide on the rates and content and there is virtually no competition. Some consumers are constantly looking for cheaper options, flexible packages and attractive programming and those that can offer them what they want will get their eyeballs.

But let’s not forget that the Net is a huge source of content and a lot of people prefer free downloads. The likes of Google TV is also a potential threat that can steal the eyeballs away.

So while the fight for eyeballs should get intense and the incumbents will not give up without a fight, the threats are aplenty out there.

The biggest threat would be the inability to reach out to the next generation of consumers who want everything in their living rooms as well as while they are on the go, and a lot of them are using personal computers as their home entertainment hub.

Deputy news editor B.K. Sidhu believes switching between web and TV should be seamless.

Online news sites are not all about journalism – think of the money

Image representing Knight Foundation as depict...

As we all know, the problem of running not-for-profit news outlets is that they have to be funded. If journalists want to eat, then their journalism – no matter how good it might be – is not enough.

Two writers with the US-based Knight Foundation, Mayur Patel and Michele McLellan, argue that non-profit sites “have to act like digital businesses”. In other words, they must introduce a measure of entrepreneurship in order to survive.

They have carried out a study, Getting Local, into some of America’s leading online local non-profit news ventures to see how they obtain their funding.

Conceding that none has yet to develop “a clear business model”, they believe that “some of the key ingredients needed for success are becoming increasingly apparent.”

Here’s a three-point rundown of those so-called key ingredients:

1. A business development strategy and the capacity to execute it

A news organisation may start with foundation (philanthropic/charitable) support. But, from the outset, it must experiment to discover other sources of revenue.

Foundation funding should be treated as equity rather than as an ongoing revenue stream. Philanthropic support is likely to diminish over time and needs be supplemented with new sources, such as memberships, advertising, sponsorships or events.

Example: MinnPost, a news outlet serving Minnesota, which was launched in 2007 with foundation and donor support.

By last year, it drew more than a third of its $1.28m (£820,000) revenue from non-charitable sources, including corporate sponsorships, advertising and its MinnRoast annual fundraising event.

2. A high level of audience focus and innovative approaches to build community engagement

A team of journalists creating a web newspaper is not a sustainable proposition. In addition to business expertise, such outlets need to understand who they want to reach.

They also need to experiment with ways to engage those communities in order to have an impact on civic life.

Example: The Voice San Diego regularly analyses data on the more than 6,500 subscribers to its morning report – a daily email with article excerpts and links to full content – to gain a deeper understanding of its audience.

Earlier this year, the site launched a major community event – Politifest 2011, which included a mayoral debate and an “idea tournament”, much like American Idol, to discover the best ideas among residents for making their region better.

3. Technological capacity to support and track engagement

A higher expectation of interactivity and a goal of strong engagement require technological capacity that sits outside the experience of many journalists.

Example: The Texas Tribune, has devoted significant resources to technology – developing innovative interactive features and highly searchable public databases, which have become a significant draw to the site and helped drive deeper audience engagement.

The average time people spent on the site in early 2011 was nearly four minutes.

Patel and McLellan conclude: “There are many unknowns in the emerging field of non-profit news organisations. But it is clear that successful ventures will aspire well beyond producing high-quality journalistic content.

“Entrepreneurial revenue development, audience focus and a mission of engagement, and technology to support that mission, are essential components of a sustainable not-for-profit news venture.”

Source: Knight Foundation blog The Guardian homeNewscribe : get free news in real time

The Millenium generation and the challenge for social stability

AS we enter into autumn, 2011 is turning out to be quite a year. Who would have thought that the immolation of a jobless Tunisian graduate in December 2010 would have sparked off the Arab Spring, with uprisings in North Africa and Middle East and now a variant has appeared in Britain?

Other than the social unrest fermented by unemployed youth upset with government corruption and inability to create jobs, the common element was the use of the social media. Even the Chinese high speed train crash in Wenzhou sparked off microblogging that spread the news faster than before. Twitter, Facebook, Google and mobile phone texting have changed the nature of news transmission and the whole governance structure globally.
A printed circuit board inside a mobile phoneImage via Wikipedia

Human behaviour reacts to new information, hence our obsession with breaking news. We need information to plan, respond and act.

Traditionally, the control of news and information was confined to a relatively small number of powerful newspaper groups around the world or government media. Radio and television changed the game, but the information was essentially one way. News feed meant news was fed to the consumer. Advertising was about promoting products and services and conveying information to the user.

Society became concerned about the use and misuse of information, hence the intense debate about control of media and freedom of information.

With the arrival of the Internet and social media technology, information became two-way. Two simultaneous events happened with the arrival of social media, both of which are totally new and not fully understood.

First, information became available, faster and more comprehensive to more people than ever thought possible. Papers like the News of the World were considered successful if they sold more than one million copies daily. A successful book would sell 100,000.

However, today, there are five billion mobile phones in use, compared with just over six billion people. More and more people everywhere are connected to the Internet. Every month more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook. Twitter can reach millions instantaneously.

Second, because millions of people can receive news simultaneously, they can react synchronously. This is the rise of flash news and flash mobs. The news feedback mechanism has moved from months to nano-seconds.

Governments which had time to react to news, now have no time at all to understand and respond to instant public opinion or even sudden appearance of thousands on social protest.

When someone rich and famous like Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested, there was almost instant decision on the Web whether he was guilty or not.

In the past, legal justice could have the pretense that the jury should not be biased by newspaper comment. Today, there are no “clean” decisions everyone is affected by the public opinion.

There are several serious implications for the media industry and social governance.

In economic terms, the traditional print media is suffering in the advanced countries. The good news is that print media is still growing in the emerging markets, as less access to Internet and a rising young population look voraciously for news.

More and more people are turning to instant news on their mobile phone and the Web. The bad news is that with instant news are instant judgements Like or Do Not Like. The fates of major social events are no longer judged by Royal Commissions of Inquiry, but by 140 character limit of news transfer by Twitter or other micro-blogs.

The events and responses of daily life are now black and white, demanding instant solution, not complex matters of grey requiring careful analysis and cautious response.

Thus, in many ways, the world has moved into a multi-dimensional complex transformation, facing simultaneously forces of demographics (more and more younger people and at the same time ageing people), urbanisation, industrial transformation, dramatic technology advances and the visible effects of climate warming and natural disasters.

Hence, mankind is facing changes in the natural environment even as we are confronting massive social change. But the most profound change is the great divide in the inter-generational understanding of each other.

The baby boomers of my generation marched in the streets in 1968 to demand greater social equality, including gender and racial equality. We were less than 5% of our age group who went to university. We were an elite.

Today, the baby boomers (those born after World War II) are beginning to retire. They have become the establishment.

University or tertiary education has become much more broad-based. More than half the population of the world is under the age of 21. The protesters in the Arab Spring or the rioters in Britain represent a generation different from their political leaders.

The new generation has largely grown up not in an age of war, but in an age of global peace. But the biggest challenge for social stability is the challenge of jobs for Gen Y or the Millenium generation, people born around the turn of the century.

In China, there is general acceptance of the fact the post 1980 generation (after the implementation of the one-child policy) has social behaviour different from those when families were multi-children.

In the next 15 years, more than 700 million young people will enter the labour force, of whom 300 million will come from Asia.

Already, the International Labour Organisation estimates that there are roughly 100 million unemployed people in Asia, before the global financial crisis.

If we cannot create enough jobs despite massive fiscal deficits and industrial restructuring, expect more social disruption from the new generation.

Andrew Sheng is president of the Fung Global Institute.

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