Listening Post
The Murdoch empire vs. the BBC
The two media empires clash over online content regulations.
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2009 11:12 GMT



Watch part two

On The Listening Post this week, the Murdoch empire takes on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Muslim rapper who says he is "loosing his religion to tomorrows headlines".

We begin this week with a tale of two media empires - one private and one publicly owned. 

Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp is the world's biggest media company in private hands - it is valued at more than 50 billion dollars - and its influence spans many countries.

Britain's state-funded broadcaster - the BBC - is the world's largest news organisation. NewsCorp went after the BBC and another important British institution - the country's broadcast regulator - Ofcom.

James Murdoch, the heir apparent to his father's company, accused the BBC and Ofcom of strangling private media in what he called an unfair fight.

Essentially Murdoch asked how companies like NewsCorp can charge web users for news content when state-subsidised news sites like the BBC's offer news on the web for free.

That is our starting point this week: two different visions of the future of media - one private; one public - what news should cost on the web, and the potential repercussions that these competing visions might have for news consumers everywhere.

"Sour times"

In part two, The Listening Post's Salah Khadr tries something different on the show. Years ago, on one of our first broadcasts, we ran a web video of the week called Post-9/11 Blues.

It was the work of a young British actor and musician called Riz Ahmed who raps under the name Riz MC. The video went viral - it was about living in the West as a young Muslim, in the post-9/11 world, and some people considered it a touch insensitive. 

Since then, Ahmed has grown as an actor - through roles in the films Road to Guantanamo and, more recently, Shifty. Now he has released another music video - getting a political message out and using Youtube as his platform.

Ahmed wants the world to know that he is not just about the politics. But the video, called "Sour Times", has a line in it that caught our attention.

"I'm losing my religion," he says, "to tomorrow's headlines." We thought that his message and what it says about Islamophobia and the mainstream news media and his means of delivering that message - over the web - were all ideas worth exploring.

In this week's Newsbytes: Video in Sri Lanka suggests that government troops were involved in war crimes – but is the video authentic? Still in Sri Lanka with the editor who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his professional work during the war.

A tough new media law in Serbia and the implications it could have for the country's media. The photoshopped Microsoft ad in Poland and the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush last year could be out of jail this month.

Finally, in keeping with our musical theme this week, we found a music video from 1986 for a track about TV news. The song is called Is There Anybody In There and it is performed by an Australian band called Hunters and Collectors. They split up years ago but their music video still feels relevant today. Watch it here.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, September 4, 2009.

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