The Week Kick-off: Afghanistan and the media
It can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that the global news cycles have – rightly – been dominated by the events in Afghanistan this last week. We’ll take a look here at some of the media implications, but of course there are an infinite number of people better placed than me to report on the wider situation, so after that we’ll look beyond the headlines to some of the other stories that have made the media news this last week…
Afghanistan: Media events and implications
- The Taliban held its first official press conference on Tuesday, and said that going forward it would respect press freedom, as well as the rights of women.
- That same day, a Taliban spokesperson was interviewed on Afghan network, TOLOnews, by a female presenter.
- That is contrary to other reports, such as this from Mehr Mursal Amiri, that female presenters are already being forced into hiding in the country.
- At this stage, we do not know if the Taliban is telling the truth, or simply saying the right things to appease the international community – General Sir Nick Carter, Head of the British Army, told Sky News, “We’ll have to wait and see.”
- Meanwhile, many have pointed out that the images of US’s withdrawal from the country mirror those of the fall of Saigon in 1975.
- We also know from NetBlocks that there was internet interruption during the week, as we reported in our Media Tech Tracker.
- As also reported in the Tracker, Facebook has said that it will continue to ban the Taliban from its platforms, whereas Twitter for the time being also appears to be operating a ‘wait and see’ policy.
- Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister and Head of his own Institute for Global Change, who we sometimes speak to about online regulation matters at FIPP, called the withdrawal from the country ‘tragic, dangerous, [and] unnecessary’ and said ‘We did it in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending “the forever wars”.’
- Politico runs and article with the headline, ‘Taliban 2.0: Older, media-savvy and still duplicitous’, which begins: ‘The Taliban want you to know there’s nothing to worry about. And this time they’re trying to win over their opponents with Twitter, not just Kalashnikovs.’
The Atlantic: Subscriber success
Returning to more familiar waters and we reported success last week for The Atlantic, which added 280,000 subscribers in a year. Covering the first half of 2021, the company’s latest statement filed with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) reports a total circulation of 833,410, representing the highest in the publication’s 164 year history.
In a note to staff, Editor-in-Chief, Jeffrey Goldberg and CEO, Nicholas Thompson, wrote: ‘The Atlantic is one of AAM’s oldest clients—we first filed with them in 1916, when we reported having roughly 70,000 subscribers. A more immediately relevant statistic: Two years ago, we reported 474,274 in total circulation. In the first half of 2020, we grew to a total of 552,242.’
Future buys Dennis
Staying in the world of magazine media, and there was more big news last week as Future acquired Dennis for £300m. The deal moves leading wealth, knowledge, and B2B brands across to the Future portfolio. Tweeting about the move, Future said: ‘We’re excited to announce the acquisition of Dennis, bolstering our Wealth, Knowledge and B2B Technology verticals and further enhancing our audience in North America. We look forward to welcoming the new brands on board.’ Full story here.
Apple not returning to offices
Apple has delayed its return to corporate offices until 2022 as Covid cases rise, reports the Guardian. This applies not only in the US but to international workforces as well, with workers being told that they will not return to corporate offices until January at the earliest. It’s the latest in a series of high-profile company announcements relating to delaying office return, with Microsoft, Amazon, and Uber all recently saying similar things. Stores will remain open.
As for FIPP…
We’ve got more new training coming up, this time in the form of our ‘How to implement and build a successful e-commerce model around content’ course, beginning on September 9th. Led by Tipser, the sessions will wbe presented live, allowing ample opportunity for peer-to-peer engagement and expert Q&A. Find out more.