Watch part two


This week on The Listening Post: the referendum in Venezuela and the ongoing media war over Chavez's term in office. Plus, press freedom in Thailand, and how much it will really change under the country's new prime minister.

This week on the News Divide: The Listening Post heads to Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez, the country's president, recently won a constitutional referendum that abolished term limits - meaning he can now run for re-election as many times as he likes.

Many democracies have no term limits, but because Chavez is at the heart of this story, it generated intense media scrutiny both inside and outside the country.

We take a look at how Chavez used the state media to get his agenda across, and how the international media reacted to this latest political development.

In part two, The Listening Post focuses on Thailand, which is often seen as southeast Asia's most open society. However, under the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister, the media struggled to retain its independent line.

Abhisit Vejjajiva, the new prime minister, has promised to respect media freedom, but even his tolerance only goes so far. Recently there has been a spate of cases involving laws that protect the monarchy from criticism, as well as undue pressure on the media from the Thai security services.

With a liberal prime minister at the helm, we take a look at just how committed this new government is to freedom of expression.

In this week's newsbytes: Zimbabwe's new information minister's perhaps empty promise to restore media freedom to the country; Iran's election campaign is being marred by some dirty tactics on the blogosphere; a Pakistani journalist has been shot and killed in Swat Valley; Rupert Murdoch has apologised for a controversial cartoon of Barack Obama, the US president, published in his New York Post; and the public and political reaction to Rick Santelli's outburst on CNBC.

Finally, our internet video of the week gives a warning to all those women who go on the internet in search of the perfect partner - a cautionary tale of a lonely woman who gets more Pyongyang for her buck than she had bargained for.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, February 27, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera