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Listening Post
Media vacuum in Swat Valley
Taliban forces threaten press freedoms in northwestern Pakistan.
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2009 12:48 GMT



Watch part two

On The Listening Post this week; media freedom is under threat in the Swat Valley. Plus, the Obama administration lifts the media "coffin ban".

This week in the News Divide: Pakistan is back in the headlines with the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. It is the latest incident in a wave of bloodshed that has put the country under the international media spotlight.

We have looked at Pakistan's media scene before – the liberalisations carried out under Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani president, and his clampdown on the media in late 2007.

Now there is a new clampdown underway - not as a result of a government decree -but because of Taliban forces in the Swat Valley, in northwestern Pakistan.

Journalists have been killed, cable TV systems shut down, even music outlets selling CDs have been put out of business. We look at the growing media vacuum in Swat and what it means for journalists and media consumers alike.

In part two, The Listening Post's Salah Khadr looks at Barack Obama's decision to lift the ban on the US media broadcasting images of fallen American soldiers. We have seen images of funerals, coffins and grieving relatives from the Iraq conflict - but usually just from the Iraqi side.

The Bush administration had a policy that banned the filming of American soldiers' coffins. The Pentagon justified the ban as a means of protecting the families of the fallen, but critics argued the policy was meant to hide the real cost of war - the human cost - from Americans.

Now the Obama administration is lifting the ban - giving families the right to decide if they want to let the cameras in. Our feature looks at whether the policy shift has an impact on how Americans see the Iraq war.

In this week's Newsbytes: The critical International Federation of Journalists report on media violations during the recent conflict in Gaza; Libya opens its newsstands to foreign newspapers for the first time in 25 years; Five Egyptian journalists are fined for reporting on a celebrity murder trial; The BBC receives 240 complaints over an episode of Eastenders with an all black cast; and Alexander Lebedev launches a new English language radio station in Moscow.

Finally, our internet video of the week is a compilation of funny feline behavior videos found online. After all, animals are among the star attractions on YouTube.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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