Investigative reporting, press freedom journal launches in London

Spearheaded by journalist Mohamed Fahmy and broadcaster Yousri Ishaq, The Investigative Journal (TIJ) aims to promote objective reporting through reports and video content with contributions from journalists across the world. (Screenshot/TIJ)
Updated 08 July 2019
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Investigative reporting, press freedom journal launches in London

  • Project is spearheaded by journalist Mohamed Fahmy and broadcaster Yousri Ishaq
  • One of the major issues TIJ focuses on is press freedom

LONDON: An investigative news portal that promises to fight back against “fake news” and provide content “marginalized by mainstream media” launches in London on Tuesday.
Spearheaded by journalist Mohamed Fahmy and broadcaster Yousri Ishaq, The Investigative Journal (TIJ) aims to promote objective reporting through reports and video content with contributions from journalists across the world.
Video content and investigations by the journal contain open-source research, first-hand investigations and analysis by journalists, and experts and scholars from a range of countries and backgrounds.
The website is funded by Ishaq, who has worked at the Middle East Broadcasting Network in the US, and launched TIJ on a not-for-profit model.
TIJ will begin filming a weekly studio-based interview show in New York, Vancouver and London starting in July.
Founded in 2018 and officially launching at an event at Southwark Cathedral in London, TIJ has reported on a range of political, socioeconomic and environmental issues, including last year’s Qatari cyberattack, illegal migration in Libya and deaths associated with air pollution.
In 2018, Qatar and its proxies cyberattacked more than 1,400 people — including high-profile individuals such as US government officials, ambassadors and UN diplomats — in North America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
TIJ’s motto is “Truth in Journalism,” and its editorial ethos focuses on “ethical news gathering and objective reporting to shine a spotlight on human rights and helping safeguard the fundamentals of democracy.”
One of the major issues TIJ focuses on is press freedom, something close to the hearts of Fahmy and Ishaq.
Fahmy himself was arrested in Egypt in 2013 while working for Al Jazeera English on charges of “conspiring with a terrorist group and fabricating news,” before being released in 2015.
Citing a report by Reporters Without Borders that recorded 2018 as the deadliest year for journalists — with 80 murdered, 348 imprisoned and a further 60 taken hostage — he said: “Five journalists on our advisory board have been prosecuted, jailed, or abducted while doing their jobs.
“It is their determination to continue reporting from exile in the face of real threats that inspired me to join TIJ. I hope their work will inspire our readers the same way.”
One of TIJ’s contributors is Lindsey Snell, who was kidnapped and held hostage by Al-Qaeda militants while working in Syria in July 2016.
Tuesday’s event will open with an address by Tamara Pearl, the vice president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation and sister of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002.
Two panels at the London launch event will also focus on press freedom. Award-winning Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui and the exiled former editor-in-chief of the Turkish Review, Kerim Balci, will talk about the Reporters Without Borders findings, while Fahmy will discuss how civil society can protect journalists with Sarah Clarke, head of Europe and Central Asia for Article 19, an international organization defending freedom of expression and information.


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
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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.