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the listening post
The Gaza flotilla video wars
How video footage presents a very different picture of what happened on the high seas.
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2010 16:43 GMT



On this week's episode of The Listening Post, we take a look at the on air video wars following the Gaza flotilla attack and dip into our archive to give you an excerpt from one of our favourite interviews: Wael Abbas on the Egyptian blogosphere.

When news editors woke up on the first day of June, the story that an aid ship on course for Gaza had been raided by Israeli forces would have already come down the wire. The ship was called the Mavi Marmara and had a Turkish crew, nine of which were killed in the raid.

The vessel was also carrying a host of camera laden journalists but strangely global news agencies only had two minutes of edited footage to broadcast. Why? Well that is because all the journalists on board the Flotilla were incarcerated and their equipment confiscated, so the two minutes of footage that the world actually saw was carefully screened by the Israeli military.

Considering the whole incident took place over a number of hours yet the footage released represented just a fraction of that time, there appears a very deliberate effort to conceal details of what actually occurred. And many media outlets around the world were guilty of uncritically buying the limited narrative fed to them - Israeli soldiers kill hostile crew members in self-defence. But as the captive journalists were steadily released, so was their side of the story, the other angle for the broadcasters to consider - one of an aggressive military raid that claimed nine lives.

Our News Divide this week looks at both sides of this story to try and piece together what really happened out on the high seas.

In this week's Newsbytes: The Pentagon is reportedly searching for the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange after claims that he is in possession of classified government information; Iranians battle to tune into a documentary on Neda Agha-Soltan, the woman who was killed during the protests in Iran last year; an arrest warrant has been issued in Venezuela for the owner of Globovision, Guillermo Zuloaga after comments he made about President Hugo Chavez; and a journalist in France is facing five years in prison for posting a video online that did not show President Nicolas Sarkozy in a favourable light.

Wael Abbas is one of Egypt's best-known bloggers. His site Misr Digital or Egyptian Awareness has broken some big stories, produced some daring analysis and continues to be a thorn in the side of the Mubarak government. Abbas is doing something that is rarely done in the Middle East: openly expressing his opinion and he has gotten away with it so far because he is doing it online, out of reach of traditional government censorship.

But what is it like being a political blogger in a country where it could land you in jail? What is it like being an ambassador for free speech in a region that notoriously restricts it? And has social networking aided or hindered his cause? That and more from Wael Abbas.  

Finally, it has not been a good few weeks for BP. Their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has got the attention of just about every media outlet in every country of the world. So it is only right that the satirists have their turn. They have substituted the oil with coffee, the ocean with an office desk but they have kept the result pretty much the same. And it is our internet video of the week.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, June 18, 2010.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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