News and Views Sources

This is primarily a perspective from the Americas, though in general, the idea applies globally. Outernet has great potential as a source of information free from government censorship, derived,from several different nations, peoples and viewpoints. I’d love to have Outernet Team consider additional news source feeds, many of which are already multilingual:

RT.com

Sputnik News

All India Radio

The Times of India

Along with this, there are interesting articles, newsletters and more from the following:

RSF.org Reporters without Borders, regarding press freedom world wide and the increasing lack thereof.

EFF.org Electronic Freedom Foundation deals with all things electronic freedom and privacy related, which is after all one of the facets which Outernet ; allowing anonymous delivery of news, views and information which may or may not be local government approved.

Schneier.com Schneier on Security: Internet freedom, Cryptography for privacy and secure financial transactions, lots of news of changes of various governnment policies world wide effecting the rights of citizens to use strong security and privacy tools.

Most of these are text, wth often unnecessary graphics which can almost always be stripped-off to save bandwidth. Naturally, this would be in addition to the health and various educational aspects of Outernet in the various regions.,

How does this happen? Does Outernet Team contact these sources, do we ?

Syed and the forum team, what are your thoughts?

RadioRay …_ ._

We’re such a small team and so slammed with production and operations, it would be great if members of the community could contact these publishers. One of the things that we’re missing right now is much non-English content.

Let me try for some initial contacts with multilingual news organizations and see if any would like to pursue this option for filecasting news and commentary into areas without the widespread internet to increase their global influence. Who knows, but there might be some interest if Outernet is seen as a growing trend in A portion of the world’s population with no reliable internet.

I can not personally help in foreign language services. I only edit news in English and Morse code :wink: Looks like there is good interest already on this forum building for Spanish language filecasting into South America and they also specifically mentioned Central America. Aprovecho here in the US has some excellent information on homeaking very efficient wood/bio-mass stoves, heaters and food dehydrators. I’ll drop them a line as well for permission for filecasting their VERY HELPFUL designs. They already publish some works in Spanish.

I’ll keep the team posted.

RadioRay
( Junior cub reporter (3rd class) for the Outernet News Service :-)))

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I can help with Spanish editing

I would like to see something “not so serious” in the news section.XKCD publishes a short comic of about 40Kb size three times a week. As far as I understand it is free to be published by third parties.
Wolfgang
obereip.selfhost.de

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@Abhishek Several of the News Sources we now use in English offer foreign language RSS feeds. Why not use them right now? Just plug them into the mix. Ken

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Could you link me to the specific ones?

My basic bottleneck in non-english feeds is this: Vast majority of the feeds being suggested are either low quality or state media (which is also pretty much always low quality). I can judge quality of English feeds, and of feeds in a few other languages that I know, but for example, I can’t judge if the arabic or chinese feed is any good. Good meaning - something that contains reporting of mostly balanced nature, with enough spread in terms of topics to appeal to a decent chunk of potential readers. Too narrow focus, news of very very local nature, etc, seems hardly the best use of the bandwidth.

Now - Voice of America also obviously doesn’t qualify on those criteria either, but its still better than most state media, and I will probably remove it as soon as I have good replacements.

I have not even been able to find a single good feed from India - and believe me, I have looked. If I myself couldn’t care about any of the articles in the All India Radio feed (mostly reformatted government circulars) or the Times of India feed (hyper local focus, bordering on tabloid-ism). - then who else will?

Good! The discussion has begun. Yes, good points, all.

I’ll focus on news, but others - especially from different areas of the world , know their regional needs better. I do understand that Outernet can be much , MUCH more than a mere news platform. Everything from

home making rocket stoves
and ovens to save fuel and greatly reduce life killing smoke from homes,
water treatment information ,
health information and warnings,
schools and literacy assistance -

it’s all quite possible to get this information into remote areas using ONE or more Outernet stations. If combined with the village radio and lighting projects from Ears to Our World (ETOW link) , the downlinked Outernet information can easily be downloaded and read using low power FM to those who have been given solar/crank radios which ETOW deliver free of charge. In short - the possibilities are tremendous. These two projects (Outernet/ETOW) would be a natural combination.

I focus on news and information because I see the increasing trend to shut down news which governments - including the U.S. government - find displeasing to them personally. This is common across the globe. Most wars are begun using controlled news stories to make some other nation look like a threat - real or imagined. Better and more variety in news, makes people much more difficult to lie to and control in large numbers. (" weapons of mass destruction able to launch in 45 minutes…" was the grand lie of the U.S. led Gulf War II. )

Wolfgang - XKCD is GREAT! The language barrier can perhaps be dealt with but they are a thinking person’s simple comics :-))

k5ted - Language skills for 2/3rds of the Americas would be great. Thank you for offering.

Abihshek - Yes, totally understood about State run media; the VOA is a prime example. Even as a U.S. citizen I see them not as the voice of America, but strictly as a voice of the powers who run Washington D.C. Believe me when I tell you that here in the rural West of this country, people are tired of controlled media drumming the same federal controlled pabulum day after day. Internet has changed much of that, which brings us back to Outernet for the world which has no internet at this time.

I’m a child of the propaganda wars of the Cold War and I lived on both sides of The Wall during that time. One thing I know is that no single source of news is going to be free of agenda; whether national, regional or personal. The cure for that is to listen to the news (with agenda bias) from many places because each news cast and discussion contains items or slants different from the others, making it easier to compare, add together the EXCERPTED items in some but added in others to form a picture of what is really happening. That is what I am suggesting - finding sources to add some semblance of balance of agendas to let the reader decide.

The first phase with DW, VOA &etc. is a fine beginning. Now, to enter phase II of the news portion, by adding a greater variety of at least national views and likely a phase III going further with independent, internet ONLY news sources and analysis and provide the best of this (who decides?) to remove the ‘single source’ advantage from national propaganda agencies.

Examples:

The U.S. gov hates RT and Sputnik News ? GREAT! Let’s source both and let the global reader decide.

Pakistani -v- Indian news ? Great, let’s read both and let the GLOBAL reader decide.

Even to people outside of these -and other- nations, events on the other side of the world can and DO cause local changes - usually for the worst. Best to at least have read the basics of these conflicts and problems.

Sorry for running long, I’ll see what we are ABLE to get permission for in English, Spanish speakers like k5ted and others on this forum can likely accelerate the inclusion of 2/3rds on the Americas with Spanish language content ( Brazilian Portuguese too, eventually ). Continuous improvement .

RadioRay …_ ._

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I am myself a firm believer in this strategy. but over the years, I have also realized that its not that simple. The reason partisan, hugely biased (and increasingly fake) news exists and is commercially sucessfull is cause it triggers strong emotions, where a more balanced report might have not. We humans are flawed that way - no matter how smart we might be as techs/engineers/business leaders/etc.

So reading and dispersing news thats very heavily biased is not going to lead to a balanced picture, even if you use multiple sources with differing biases. All its going to do is, at best, confuse and paralyze, or at worst, entrap and enrage.

So while “use opposite biased sources” is valid strategy, the sources used must not be outright partisan. You will not find truth if you read VOA and its Russian counterpart. But a less biased source, like BBC might help. Pair it with another less biased source, with Russian leanings, and you might get somewhere.

Especially in the context of Outernet today with very limited bandwidth, careful selection thus becomes important.

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Abhishek - Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It is true, that synthesis of varying ( and often contradictory ) news is difficult. The human tendency is to pick that news which agrees with our views and prejudices; this affirms ‘how smart we are’;

This news presenter is very smart, because he agrees with my opinion!:wink:

A basic question then is: should Outernet avoid posting news, in favor of more and better -largely- apolitical content, such as the health, human needs, scholastic content (often seen as political, for educating those seen as ‘under class’ /oppressed religious groups and women in some areas) . If I had to sacrifice the latest news for warnings and steps to avoid epidemics, or contaminated water, information of science , math &etc obviously, I would sacrifice the news and concentrate on the latter.

Your Thoughts?

Ray

As I said yesterday, I have requested approval from RT News, Radio Australia, The New York Times, and Chinese CCTV for Outernet to transmit their RSS feeds - - still waiting to hear back. We could also consider asking Iran’s Press TV for approval too.

But again these are “government controlled sources” which may be suspect. Again my feeling is to put everything we can get up so the world of listeners can pick and choose what to believe as they do with Short Wave Radio. Just looking at US media sources like Fox News, CNN, United Press, Associated Press, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, etc. who do you believe there?

But going back to what we now have, BBC does have foreign language news feeds. As an example is their Arabic RSS feed at http://www.bbc.com/arabic/institutional/2009/06/090628_rss.shtml
and Chinese at http://bbcchina.com/ neither of which I can read to be sure it is the legitimate news.

Likewise Deutsche Welle has a Spanish RSS feed at http://www.dw.com/es/actualidad/s-30684 and a Russian RSS feed at http://www.dw.com/ru/темы-дня/s-9119 and more here:

With those sources having already approved what we are doing, we can add their other languages as desired once we get a reader to vet them. Ken

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Ken, I agree fully: a mosaic put together out of wide-spread sources would perhaps show a balanced view of the news.
Wolfgang

KenBarbi -

Very Good on your making contact with them! I agree - make it available and let the reader decide, or step away from news entirely, but I’m not personally sold on that idea.

A suggested third phase of this is internet only news sources added to the list. Much good reporting is no longer part of the ‘establishment news’ as was necessary two decades ago. Small , dedicated ‘newsies’ with no need for high budget are much more difficult to influence with advertising money &etc. However, being internet only, they will never be heard in off-net regions without a different delivery method like Outernet.

RadioRay …_ ._

Ps. Ears to Our World is already contacted and was already quite keen on Outernet and it’s possibilities to help our neighbors on this planet.

Pps, U.S. commercial media is dismal. The last TV I owned was decades ago. I used it’s parts to build radios :wink:

thanks Ken.

I will add these, as soon as I can get to it.

Before that: if anyone here can read Arabic/Chinese/Spanish/Russina/etc - any of the languages for which RSS feeds are available on BBC and DW, could you please chime in with your opinion on the quality - diversity of content and relevance of content - in these feeds?

If any of you have friends/colleagues/acquaintances who can read these languages and would be willing to help out by reviewing, it might be worth asking for help (and hopefully introduce a few more people to Outernet as well ;-))

Thanks.

Interesting point about Internet-Only News sources. To fit them in easily, @Abhishek would want them to have RSS feeds since that how his software is setup on an automated basis

That has been the criteria I have been using to search out news sources for Outernet. Many good sources are out in the print/TV business but lack RSS feeds - - so I pass over them. Ken

yes. the RSS feed req is for multiple reasons:

  1. its just vastly simpler to use compared to writing a general crawler for content from pages that change constantly and will keep breaking the crawler.
  2. Such general crawling tends to usually be against site rules
  3. presence of RSS feeds on a site is generally a good indicator that the site likes its content shared.

Though in some cases, the RSS feeds exist, they are just not very easily found. So if you have a good source, it might be a good idea to google for the source domain name and “rss” to see if theres any luck.

In anycase, for really good sources, i’d appreciate it if you could atleast share the link anyway, even if there is no RSS. Who knows, some of those sources might be good enough to make the generic-crawler effort worthwhile.

Also, its worth asking the sources about feeds. that way they may be able to suggest altrnatives if they are at all interested in sharing their content.

@kenbarbi
Use the operator
site:abc.net.au inurl:"rss"
On google ( substituting abc.net.au for whatever site !)
and reap in the goodness of the RSS feeds :slight_smile:
(edit) some sites it may be best to use
site:abc.net.au inurl:“rss.xml”

My cousin in law is from Saudi arabia and may be willing to help out with the Arabic content. I will ask when he gets home, unless it is taken care of by then.

BBC Hindi News Feed

My complements to Outernet getting BBC’s Hindi News Feeds up!!

Ken

Ears To Our World is precisely the type of content that should be hand in hand with Outernet.

Scenario:

High power shortwave station broadcasts 1 hour programming segment targeting a specific region. This program is recorded on an inexpensive tablet based SDR receiver. In the background, Outernet is downloading visual content that will be saved and later referenced during playback of the recorded audio content to the wider audience (school, community center, etc.) the next day.

The technology is there.

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