Their News [Archives:2009/1228/Local News]

January 26 2009

Growing Optimism That Obama Will Improve US Relations: Global Poll

BBC- As Barack Obama prepares to be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, a new 17-nation poll conducted for BBC World Service finds widespread and growing optimism that his presidency will lead to improved relations between the United States and the rest of the world.

The poll also shows people around the world are looking to President Obama to put highest priority on dealing with the current global financial crisis.

In 15 of the 17 countries polled, majorities think that the election of Barack Obama will lead to improved relations with the rest of the world. On average 67% express this upbeat view, while 19% think relations will stay the same and just 5% that relations will worsen.

This is up sharply – by 21 points among tracking countries – from polling done for BBC World Service six months ago, before Obama was elected. At that time just 47% expressed optimism that an Obama presidency would lead to improved relations with the rest of the world. The number of people giving no answer to the question is also down sharply.

This optimism does not necessarily mean, however, that views of the United States itself have changed. BBC World Service is currently completing its annual poll assessing views of major countries' influence in the world, which will be released within the next few weeks and will show whether views of US influence are improving.

Asked to rate six possible priorities for the Obama administration, the top priority in all countries polled was the global financial crisis. On average 72% said that it should be a top priority.

This was followed by withdrawing US troops from Iraq – with 50% saying this should be a top priority – then addressing climate change (46%), improving America's relationship with the respondent's country (46%), brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians (43%), and supporting the government of Afghanistan against the Taliban (29%).

Polling was completed prior to the current Gaza conflict in all countries except Egypt and India. In Egypt, 75% said brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be a top priority.

The results are drawn from a survey of 17,356 adult citizens across 17 countries conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between 24 November 2008 and 5 January 2009.

“Familiarity with Obama seems to be breeding hope,” commented Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes. “But then again,” he added, “he is starting from a low baseline, following eight years of an unpopular US president. Maintaining this enthusiasm will be a challenge given the complexities he now faces.”

Global Seminar on Journalism and Democracy Open for Applications

Journalists from 22 countries worldwide are welcome to apply for an annual seminar on Journalism and Democracy organised by the Institute for Further Education of Journalists (Fojo) in Sweden. One seminar takes place in May/June and another one in September. Both will take place in Kalmar and Stockholm, Sweden.

This year Fojo Media Institute offers two seminars on Journalism and Democracy for journalists from selected countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The seminars are free of charge, all costs covered, and will take place in Kalmar and Stockholm, Sweden.

Seminar one: 25 May to 12 June, 2009

Seminar two: 7 to 25 September, 2009

Closing date for application: 5 March, 2009

Invited countries are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The main objective of the programme is to scrutinize the role of the media in democratic processes and strengthen the position of free and independent journalism. The seminar will provide opportunities for the participants to reflect deeply on their current tasks and working conditions and to explore new perspectives, ideas and strategies for changing and developing their work at home.

The seminar will focus on:

– obstacles and opportunities for professional and independent journalism,

– news evaluation, working methods and ethics,

– newsroom organization and leadership,

– power and gender structures in the media.

The aim of the programme is to:

– open new perspectives on the media situation at home and in the world,

– create networks and partnerships for future co-operation and support among journalists from different social and political systems,

– find strategies for changing and developing journalistic methods.

BBC Arabic extends its multimedia operation with the launch of 24/7 TV

On Monday 19 January, the BBC will enhance its multimedia service in Arabic by extending the BBC Arabic television broadcasts to 24 hours a day and introducing five new television presenters from across the Arab world.

The launch of round-the-clock TV broadcasting means BBC Arabic becomes a truly 24/7 multimedia service bringing Arabic-speaking audiences, from across the world, news and analysis via radio, online, television and mobile.

Head of BBC Arabic, Hosam El Sokkari, says: “Our TV operation has gone from strength to strength since its launch as a 12-hours-a-day operation in March 2008, and our 24/7 television service will offer a non-stop news service for Arabic-speakers whenever, and wherever, they want it. We have reinforced our presenter team with five new talents who will, no doubt, enrich our programming with new dynamics and style.”

The launch of the 24/7 TV operation builds on the success of the BBC Arabic multimedia news service. The website