Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every week, we bring you important news stories from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.
The situation in Afghanistan – the fall of the country’s government in the wake of the US troops withdrawal and the country’s capture by the Taliban – has been among the biggest world stories over the past week.
Despite the claims that the Taliban is now not the same as when the organisation brutally ruled Afghanistan twenty years ago, press freedom in the country will take a considerable hit. That’s why journalists across different European countries have been calling on their governments to help rescue Afghan reporters, as well as translators and stringers.
In Germany, major journalistic outlets urged the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister “to create an emergency visa program to help local journalists flee Afghanistan,” Politico writes, similar to the program for interpreters who’ve helped the German military. In the meanwhile, British media organisations have issued a call on their own government to evacuate journalists who helped UK outlets.
The governments don’t seem likely to fulfill all the pleas. The resettlement of refugees might prove complicated because of the fear of political backlash. As New York Times notes, the fall of Afhganistan “has… panicked European politicians who are terrified of another mass movement of Muslim asylum seekers,” particularly in the wake of elections in Germany and France. Still, some help for the journalists who’ve helped their counterparts in Western countries has been provided, particularly by the United States.
Leaders of Press Club Belarus were released on Thursday after eight months of detention. Amid the government’s crackdown on free press, they had been accused of tax law violations and detained late last year; another member of Press Club leadership, Sergei Yakupov, had been deported to Russia at the time. According to Press Club Belarus’ post published last Thursday, the four journalists released were pardoned and freed.
As recent estimates show, however, a year after 2020 mass protests started, 29 media representatives remain behind bars, and over 50 media workers are under criminal prosecution.
This March, as the UK media sector was grappling with racism allegations after the famous Meghan and Harry interview, industry group Society of Editors published a statement claiming the UK media “is not bigoted.” The claim caused significant backlash at the time, leading to SoE’s executive director’s resignation.
Now, under a new leader, the Society of Editors retracted the claim and promised to do more work on improving diversity. As The Guardian notes, the shift came “after six months of pressure from journalists of colour who said it did not reflect their experience of the industry.” According to the latest data, the UK media sector is less diverse than the country’s population, particularly than the population of London where many influential media outlets are covered.
Apple’s introduction of paid podcast subscriptions has been widely covered as an important step in the podcasting industry’s development. However, recent reports show that the launch has been messy, haunted by flaws in design and execution.
According to The Verge’s report, “in the months since Apple Podcasts’ announcement, podcasters say the platform has failed them in various ways,” particularly as “the updated app’s been buggy since launch,” leading in some cases to delays in podcast publishing.
Although Apple Podcasts is far from the only player among podcasting platforms, it has historically had “outsized influence” in podcasting, The Verge notes, which makes the glitches more than just a nuisance for many podcasters.
More from The Fix: Paid podcasts are here, this is what you need to know