FML Blog

Hungary's opposition newspaper's demise, Böhmermann not to be prosecuted and better ads for the future

Friday, October 14, 2016      Future Media Lab.       0

Karin Fleming

(Left) George Sims, Communications Intern at EMMA/the Future Media Lab..


Continuing with our bi-weekly news roundup, George Sims shares the news that caught his eye over the last two weeks. The news round-up is a way for the Future Media Lab. team and members of the Future Media Lab. network to share articles about innovations and developments in the media sector, including references to relevant media policy debates.

Here are George's choices for this week:



Only a few weeks after the fiasco over the deletion of Nick Ut’s Pulizer Prize winning photograph of a Vietnamese girl fleeing US-dropped napalm in 1972, Facebook has come under fire once again for censuring nudity, this time for removing a post about mammogram screening by the French Newspaper Le Monde. The social media giant released a statement of apology following complaints by the Paris publisher, but the question about the ethics of algorithmic editing and platform editorial responsibility was raised once again. Publishers criticised Mark Zuckerberg for framing Facebook as a tech company and ignoring his responsibilities as the world’s most powerful editor.


Hungary’s largest opposition newspaper, Nepszabadsag, was shut down last Saturday . The journalists and editors were not let into the building as they arrived at work that morning, in what they called a “coup”, and a political shutdown. Government spokespersons and pro-government news outlets have claimed the closure to be purely due to the paper’s ongoing deficit, but the journalists and members of the opposition believe it was political, leading to a number of protests by left-wing activists, freedom of speech advocates and journalists. A former AFP journalist in Hungary tweeted a picture of what could possibly be Nepszabadsag’s last front page, which included two corruption stories on major Hungarian government officials, while the Guardian’s Owen Jones warned that Hungary’s drift towards anti-democratic right-wing populism should be considered as a warning by the rest of the EU.


German comedian Jan Böhmermann was told last Tuesday that he would not be prosecuted for reading an extremely offensive poem about Turkish president Erdogan on live TV, closing an extremely controversial case for Merkel’s government. Upon hearing the poem, the Turkish president immediately called for Berlin to act upon this insult of a foreign head of state and astonishingly, Merkel’s government gave in and brought up an outdated and obscure defamation law that made it illegal if the insults were considered slanderous, opening up the freedom of speech and defamation law debates in Germany.

Now, as the comedian has just been let off from government prosecution, Erdogan has formally filed a request to overturn this decision, as well as calling for Merkel’s government to ban all broadcasts of the “defamatory” poem.


Snapchat is ramping up its position as a major ad platform in the UK. As the first half of 2016 reveals it to be the first year where mobile ad spend has overtaken desktop ad spend, causing leading companies such as Snapchat to improve and innovate in terms of what mobile advertising looks like. While it still trails behind big blue market leader Facebook, the launch of its API (Application Programming Interface) program as well as a growing local sales team have enabled Snapchat to boost its ad revenue while making its ad products more cost effective. Snapchat is also innovating in interactive advertising through the use of filters: the users basically do the advertising for the company by sending selfies and pictures with filters to all their contacts.


Virtual Reality technology development is speeding up, and media outlets need to get on board early in order to enter the market with experience and a valid monetization plan, according to digital entrepreneur Jean Yves Chainon. Figures released by Juniper Research show that VR hardware sales will rise tenfold over the next five years: from $5 billion in 2016 to 50 billion in 2021, showing clearly that the VR market is going to boom over the next few years.


The Interactive Advertising Bureau, who are part of the Coalition for better ads has implemented new standards and formats for online advertisement that should greatly improve user experience, which should in turn have a relieving effect on the wave of ad blocking that is affecting online publisher revenue. The reviewed standards include a push towards LEAN ads (“lightweight, non-intrusive ads with full consumer control”), as well as a ban on pop-up and countdown ads (where the user has to wait a certain amount of time before proceeding to the video).


Google News has introduced a „Fact check“ tag, where claims made in news articles and on the internet in general be cross-checked with websites that apply a “Claimreview” label to their code. Appearing in the last month of a US presidential election where the media as well as the politicians have been heavily criticized of lying or misinterpreting facts, this new Google feature has been hailed by a number of online personalities as a great improvement for avoiding false claims and media manipulation.




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