Slain Afghan journalists remembered on World Press Freedom Day

An Indian photojournalist lights a candle during a vigil in Kolkata for ten Afghan journalists who were killed in a targeted suicide bombing. (AFP)
Updated 03 May 2018
0

Slain Afghan journalists remembered on World Press Freedom Day

KABUL: Afghanistan’s slain journalists were remembered on World Press Freedom Day Thursday, days after the deadliest attack on the country’s media since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
Ten journalists, including Agence France-Presse chief photographer Shah Marai, were killed in assaults on Monday, underscoring the dangers faced by the media as the war-torn country slips deeper into violence.
“Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s deputy director for South Asia.
“Working in some of the most difficult conditions, they have faced threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs.”
A double suicide blast in Kabul on Monday left 25 people dead including Marai and eight other journalists, while a BBC reporter was killed in a separate attack in eastern Khost province.
Media workers from Tolo News, 1TV, Radio Free Europe and Mashal TV were also among the dead.
The deadly assaults have shaken Afghanistan’s tight-knit journalist community. Many of them are close friends as well as colleagues who look out for one another as they work in an increasingly hostile environment.
But many remain defiant, determined to continue their work despite the risks.
“World Press Freedom Day reminds me and my colleagues of the importance of reporting — reporting for a vibrant democracy and serving people with the information they need and they want,” Parwiz Kawa, editor-in-chief of the Hasht-e-Subh Daily newspaper, said.
“This day is to renew our commitments and to remember our sacrifices.”
Afghanistan was last year ranked the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The media watchdog said since 2016, it has recorded the killings of 34 journalists in Afghanistan.
Afghan media outlets have condemned the government’s failure to protect them, particularly at the scene of suicide attacks where secondary blasts are a constant concern.
RSF figures show 50 professional journalists were killed worldwide in 2017, the lowest toll in 14 years.


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
0

Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

  • India is among the last big growth markets for the company
  • Netflix faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar
Netflix said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.
India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.
Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.
“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the Internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.
The creator of “Stranger Things” and “The Crown” said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.
The country figures prominently in Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.
Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).
It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows like the thriller “Sacred Games” and dystopian tale “Leila,” which feature popular Bollywood actors.
The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.
In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.
“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.