Listening Post
Venezuela's troubled media
Looking at the state of media in Venezuela and the troubles facing journalists in exile.
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2009 13:28 GMT

Watch part two

On the Listening Post this week, the state of Venezuela's media, and the troubles facing journalists in exile. 

We start our show with a look at Venezuela. Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, is like catnip for the international media.

He has kept the South American country on the global news radar ever since coming to power in 1999. Now in his third term, Chavez took aim at his own country's media recently - particularly privately owned outlets – through a new media crimes law.

The wording of the proposed law was tough – so tough that the legislature controlled by Chavez's own party threw it out. However, president Chavez, who controls the state-run media, has some legitimate beefs with privately owned media outlets. Some of them openly backed a coup attempt against him in 2002; others routinely broadcast and publish diatribes against the president that would not be allowed in many countries.

Media in exile

In part two, The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi explores media in exile. It is a common practice for news organisations to parachute correspondents around the world to report from global hotspots. We see them on our screens, we read their by-lines. But what we do not often hear about is the number of local journalists who are forced to escape from those very places.

The media freedom group - Reporters Without Borders - reports that journalists are fleeing countries like Mexico, Sri Lanka and Myanmar at an average rate of six per month. Increasing intolerance of their work either puts these journalists out of work or puts their lives in danger. It is just a handful of these journalists in exile that manage to get back to the profession from outside their home country.

In this week's Newsbytes: an Internet company with ties to Israel is shut down in Lebanon; the hack job that crashed Twitter and Facebook may have been targeted at just one Georgian blogger; the Dutch journalist taking the Kremlin to the European Court of Human Rights; six journalists jailed in the Gambia and the world's first online film festival.

And, finally, China - with its huge reserves of foreign currency - is in a position that few economists would have forecasted just a few years ago. The country has become an important source of money for economies like the US, which have had to bail out banks, insurance companies and car makers with trillions of Chinese owned dollars.

China is not doing this out of the goodness of its heart – it needs to keep western economies healthy so that western consumers can continue to buy Chinese exports. It is a serious and complicated business, but the people behind the online American Comedy Network saw the lighter side of the story: you can watch it here.

This episode of The Listening Post can be seen from Friday, August 14, 2009, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1230; Saturday: 1030, 2230; Sunday: 0300, 1930; Monday: 0030; Tuesday: 0630, 1630; Wednesday: 0130, 1430; Thursday: 0330, 2330.

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