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Listening Post
Nakba, rebels and reporters
A look at the media divide over the Nakba narrative and the symbiotic relationship between journalists and rebels.
Last Modified: 21 May 2011 10:13

For Palestinians May 15 was the day of Nakba – that is Arabic for catastrophe. It is a word used to characterise the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and land when the state of Israel was created.

Israel on the other hand celebrated its 63rd anniversary. The same event was marked in two very different ways and that dichotomy gets reflected in each country's media. This year – spurred by the revolutions across the Arab world - Palestinians brought their grievances to Israeli borders.

Demonstrations in Syria, Lebanon, Jordon and the Gaza strip turned violent but even then the story played differently inside Israel compared with what was seen and read on the outside. 

In the News Bytes this week: Libya's state-run broadcaster, Al Jamahiriya, is dropped from two key satellite operators in the Arab world. Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz is freed after being arrested in Syria and then deported to Iran, but Al Jazeera's Kamel al-Tallou is still being held in Libya as is South African born, UK-based photojournalist Anton Hammerl's family announce that after six weeks of no contact, they have learnt that Hammerl was critically shot by Gaddafi militias and has probably died. And Rwanda's president and a journalist from UK's Guardian newspaper go at it on the micro-blogging website Twitter.

Despite the fact that only a handful of journalists have ever gained access to Osama bin Laden, before his death the al-Qaeda leader was one of the most enigmatic and sought after interviewees on the planet.  That is because he – like many well-known political outlaws before him - had mastered the art of the media message.

These media savvy rebels know that in order to convey their message they have to engage, even court the media. But it is not just one-way traffic. Journalists know that if they want to cater for their audiences – and perhaps make a name for themselves – then interviews with these leaders are paramount. The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi's report looks at the carefully crafted, symbiotic relationship between rebel and reporter.

We selected a tongue-in-cheek skit from a popular Israeli comedy show called 'Eretz Nehederet' as our Internet Video of the Week. Often satire works best when you throw in a couple of young and impressionable minds. This video shows a class of pre-schoolers being schooled on Israeli PR and propaganda techniques. Some of the children's responses are quite telling and with nearly 85,000 hits on Youtube, it looks like the message is resonating with a lot of Israelis. We hope you enjoy the show.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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