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The Listening Post
Egypt's media squeeze
We look at Egyptian journalists in the government's crosshairs, plus media-savvy rebels and their PR game.
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2010 10:38 GMT

On the Listening Post this week we look at the media squeeze in the lead up to Egypt's parliamentary elections. We also have a report on media-savvy rebel leaders and how they play the PR game.

It is election time in Egypt – next month parliamentary, next year presidential – and the country's media are starting to feel the political pinch. It is widely speculated that current president Hosni Mubarak will not seek re-election bringing to an end his three decade rule.

So it is likely that for just the second time in the country's history, there will be a contested presidential election. But judging by the lead up to next month's parliamentary elections, it does not look like all the sides are going to play fair.

In the last few weeks there have been signs that Mubarak's government is unhappy with some media outlets. Journalists have lost their jobs, critical voices have been taken off the air and column inches have been suspended, all in an effort to curb negative reporting.

Our News Divide this week looks at some of the journalists, broadcasters and publications that have fallen into those political, and in some cases, corporate crosshairs and also raises the question of whether the media have brought some of this on themselves, by sacrificing journalism for activism.

Even the most backward rebel forces know that it is essential to communicate their message to a wide audience and do so in a way that will win the hearts and minds of their target audience. That makes journalists important allies for them.

Over the years, rebel groups have been particularly adept at harnessing the media's power. Our report goes from hijacked planes in the Middle East to the remote mountain caves in Afghanistan to a disenfranchised region of Mexico. Each venue has one thing in common: Media-savvy rebels courting the media. The Listening Post's Jason Mojica looks at relationship between journalists and the rebel leaders they love to cover.

Quick hits from the media world: Chinese state-run media ignores and then lambasts the decision to award Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize. A last minute agreement between the UAE and the makers of Blackberry mean that the mobile phone will still be able to operate there.

Bolivian journalists protest a new law that bans racism in the media because they say it could be used to curtail media freedom there and a New Zealand TV host resigns after making racist comments on air about one of the organizers of the Commonwealth Games in India.

There are some really good videos on the net these days that fuse physical expression with new media. Parkour videos for example – that is the urban art form born in France where you use a combination of speed, acrobatics and nerves of steel to get from one point to another as fast as you can. We love how they turn inanimate city settings into personal playgrounds.

This week's video of the weekis something similar. Across the Atlantic in Oakland, California, a group called Turf Feinz has taken a boring street corner on a rainy day and made it their stage. They shot one of their "dance battles" and put it on the net. It got more than a million hits so far. We hope that you enjoy the show.

This episode of the Listening Post aired from Friday, October 15, 2010.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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