Wednesday 16 February 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 16/2/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Study in ink

When I heard the news last week that Entertainment Weekly and five other titles owned by its parent company would cease their printed editions and go digital-only, my heart sank. It felt like a break-up. I’ve been a reader since the late 1990s and am still a subscriber. The first issue I bought featured a dapper Jeff Goldblum on its cover promoting the sequel to Jurassic Park. And yet, while it would be easy for me to write a pessimistic column about the current struggles of magazines, I’m not sure it would be accurate.

One of the pleasures of producing and hosting our weekly radio show about magazines, The Stack, is the sheer number of new launches I see. From a magazine about miniature design to an issue on the reinvigorated world of travel, there’s a host of new talent out there. On our latest episode, on which I reminisced about Entertainment Weekly, I also spoke to publishers and editors from Uruguay, Australia and the Netherlands – all with exciting stories to tell from the world of print. And our forthcoming episode this Saturday will be a celebration of 15 years of Monocle. It was a joyous affair to record in the studio with our editorial director Tyler Brûlé, editor in chief Andrew Tuck and creative director Richard Spencer Powell looking back over all things Monocle (as well as some looking ahead). And – no spoilers here – but they each reveal their favourite Monocle cover ever.

In short, publishers shouldn’t give up so easily on their print titles. A digital presence (such as, say, a morning newsletter) is important and necessary but, as well as the pleasant feel of holding a magazine, the fact is that printed matter still commands respect and attention. Jeff Goldblum wouldn’t look nearly as appealing on my smartphone screen.

Image: Getty Images

Conflict / Ukraine

Day of reckoning

Today is the day that Ukraine is supposed to be invaded by Russia – at least according to intelligence that was publicly revealed by the US last Friday, sparking a wave of departures of foreign citizens from Ukraine. Despite the declared date, Vladimir Putin stressed yesterday that Russia doesn’t want war and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has declared today a national Day of Unity. While Russia’s aggressive actions and building military presence on Ukraine’s border must be roundly condemned, the jury remains out on how history will view the role played by Western leaders – as well as that of Zelensky. Was the West rightly concerned or did alarmism play into Putin’s hands? Did Ukraine’s leader show resolve in rejecting Putin’s “psychological warfare” or complacency in the face of a true threat? One thing is clear: the people of Ukraine have been caught in the middle. Nobody deserves to live with the constant threat of war hanging over their heads.

Tune in to Monocle 24’s news shows throughout the day for coverage of Ukraine, Russia and the Western response.

Image: Alamy

Society / Cambodia

Access denied

Cambodia is taking a leaf out of China’s book on internet censorship with the launch of its own version of Beijing’s “great firewall”. The National Internet Gateway, which is due to go live today, will route all internet traffic through a state-controlled portal and allow the government in Phnom Penh to block websites and content that it deems to violate certain areas of national interest, from security to morality.

The repressive move acts more as a gatekeeper than a gateway and has caused alarm in a country where criticism of the government is already closely monitored and dissenting voices are routinely jailed. It also comes ahead of a general election next year when a projected win for long-standing prime minister Hun Sen is expected to pave the way for his eldest son to succeed him. As diplomatic ties with China draw ever closer, Cambodia looks intent on joining Beijing at the bottom of the rankings for internet freedom.

Image: Shutterstock

Politics / Hungary

Hard done by

Last weekend, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán (pictured) kicked off what could be his toughest re-election campaign to date by accusing the EU of waging “a holy war, a jihad” against him. He even insinuated that Hungary might leave the bloc, which he later denied. The European Court of Justice is expected to deliver its ruling today on Hungary and Poland’s opposition to the bloc’s Rule of Law Mechanism, which links EU funding to a country’s respect for legal norms.

“Orbán has portrayed the mechanism as a means for Brussels to punish Hungary for its more contentious policies,” Justin Spike, AP’s correspondent in Budapest, tells The Monocle Minute. “But critics say that his opposition stems from a desire to protect the flow of EU money into Hungary, which has been instrumental in enriching businesspeople with close ties to the ruling party.” In other words, despite the colourful rhetoric ahead of April’s election, Orbán has an interest in keeping the money flowing too.

Hear more from Spike, AP’s correspondent in Budapest, on today’s edition of The Globalist on Monocle 24.

Image: Bonza

Aviation / Australia

Going up down under

Australia is nearing the launch of its first new domestic airline since 2008: low-cost carrier Bonza has announced initial routes for the expected start of its operations later this year. The newcomer will be the first to operate Boeing’s 737 Max in Australia and will launch with 25 domestic routes and 16 destinations, mostly focusing on the east coast. Is Bonza for real? Australia’s flag carrier Qantas has questioned whether there are any viable routes not already served by existing airlines. But Bonza appears convinced that there are still opportunities: many of the routes announced are new or not served by a low-cost alternative. Considering that Australia will soon open its borders to international travellers, there will undoubtedly be more demand for flights. It remains to be seen whether passengers are willing to opt for a low-cost entrant rather than more established airlines.

Image: Apple TV

M24 / Monocle On Culture

This year’s Oscars nominations

Robert Bound is joined by film critic Anna Smith and Monocle 24’s Fernando Augusto Pacheco to discuss this year’s list of Oscar nominations. The panel debate the surprises and the snubs, the almost-guaranteed and the underdogs. Our guests highlight their top picks from the list, from the gentle joy of Coda (pictured) to the acclaimed The Power of the Dog, and predict who they think will get their hands on a golden statuette in March.

Monocle Films / Lebanon

Rebuilding Beirut

After the devastating port explosion of 4 August 2020, Beirut’s creative community is battling to rebuild amid power-cuts and petrol shortages. A year on from the blast, Monocle joins its designers and architects on the streets of the city to see how they hope to make the city anew.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00