Listening Post
Egypt's media squeeze
Before the elections the government clamped down on the media, but was this just a dry run for next year's vote?
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2010 07:29 GMT

This week on the Listening Post: The media squeeze in Egypt - a dry run in ahead of the presidential elections next year? Also: Bush, Blair, the memoirs and the spin.

When the results of Egypt's first round of parliamentary elections came in, there was shock - from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood whose seats in parliament fell from 88 to zero, from election watchers inside and outside Egypt who had not expected the apparent rigging to be so brazen and from the many Egyptian voters who had cast ballots in favour of the opposition.

If anyone was not shocked, it was Ibrahim Issa, the ousted editor of the Al Dustour newspaper. In an online editorial, Issa wrote that the results were not only to have been expected, but were not worth the "astonishment, wonder and condemnation". Newsmen like Issa speak from bitter experience. In the run up to the parliamentary elections, the government came down hard on the media - both mainstream and alternative.

In our News Divide this week we take a look at Egypt, the parliamentary elections there and what the media clampdown now tells us about what to expect next year, when the presidential elections take place.

We are focusing on just one News Byte this week: it is a story that is all over the media. WikiLeaks' latest release of 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables between Washington and US diplomats around the world sparked a frenzy of activity to track down the website's founder Julian Assange. Before the release the whistleblowing website said via its twitter account that it was under a cyber attack but despite a continued effort to plug the leak, the story was out. We pick out some of the bits and pieces of the early coverage from around the world, but watch this space - there will be more on this story next week.

When George Bush, the former US president, and Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, released their memoirs - in very close succession to one another - it was big news. There was not a network on either side of the Atlantic that did not want to speak to them. But because there were so many journalists vying for interviews, the former world leaders could pick the news outlet, the time and the place. What followed was a strategic media blitz that any PR consultant would be proud of. But, as the Listening Post's Jason Mojica found out, in between the mollycoddling interviews and the reputational rehab, there was a lot more to these memoirs than just getting a point of view across.

Our internet video of the week is an incredible short film from Germany. It is a collaboration between a record label - Desolat - and a pair of animators who together, have created a pretty funky love letter to their hometown. It charts a piece of music, from production, through a record shop and onto the dance floor - all done with a Dusseldorf backdrop. As always we hope you enjoy the show!

This episode of the Listening Post can be seen from Friday, December 3, 2010, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1230; Saturday: 0630; Sunday: 2030; Monday: 0300; Tuesday: 1400, 2330; Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0030, 0730.

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