Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fostering International Understanding with Reading International Festival

Cross-cultural dialogue has been to the fore during this year's Reading International Festival - and there's been remarkable evidence that to be successful learning must be a two-way exercise!

Organiser Dave Richards explained the festival is designed to present "an amazing programme of events that will help you explore the world outside your comfort zone."

Iranian news agency Ahlul Bayt (ABNA) even picks up on one event - an exhibition at RISC showing the influence of Islam through British history, reporting links that go back to the invitation and reception of ambassadors from the Caliph of Baghdad by the Mercian King Offa in AD754 - in the century before Reading was founded.

Indeed, such events will be welcomed in all sections of the community following the less flattering incident earlier this summer when a lairy group disrupted an Islamic lecture held at the Rivermead centre - an event which saw all sides criticised after the drunken protesters claimed to represent the proto-racist English Defence League and the speaker Sheikh Khalid Yasin was denounced as a bigot and 'hate-preacher' promoted by the Berkshire Islamic Information Group without adequate reference to council guidelines.

Sadly however, confusion reigns among colonial counterparts in New Zealand, who appear happy to continue to labour under the delusion that London Street is in London!

Friday, 7 October 2011

A View To Local TV

#rdgnews - While parts of Berkshire completed the switch-over from analogue to fully-digital television on 28th September the government is moving forward with plans to liberalise broadcast media coverage across the country with a strategy for decentralising production and opening up ownership to new companies - and Reading has been identified by the DCMS as one of the 65 potential locations to be licensed.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP said, "I want people to be able to watch television that's truly relevant to them, about what’s happening where they live and featuring the people they know."

He spoke of a 'huge appetite' for local news and information which could be "a fundamental change in how people get information about their own communities, and how they hold their representatives to account."

According to media sources, the development will be supported by the £40m annual 'digital innovation fund' created from cuts announced yesterday as part of a wider strategy to reshape the BBC and open up the media sector to wider competition, although this remains subject to two separate BBC reviews as well as the official consultation process.

However media consultant Lin Glover noted this amounted to a 'volte-face' from Mr Hunt under pressure from industry experts and coalition partners, who was widely known to personally favour a new national network over a national broadcasting 'spine' of local operators. Although the financial dividend to the Treasury from the sale of more smaller license packages is expected to increase substantially questions remain over the scope for mergers between license-holders intent on creating a quasi-network.

Ofcom is also inviting tenders from technical companies to form MuxCo to oversee the allocation and maintenance of geographic interleaved (GI) spectrum freed up as part of the digital switch-over, with the first tranche of triple-stream multiplex stations due to go live in their areas during the second-half of 2012.

Meanwhile in separate news View TV Group has announced that it has selected Reading as one of it's first locations among an ambitious 660 town roll-out for channels dedicated to their locality, and "will join Nottingham, Luton and various [s]easide towns across the country."

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