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Listening Post
Smoke and mirrors: The bin Laden death story
What do we really know about what happened in Abbottabad, and will the news media ever get the facts?
Last Modified: 07 May 2011 12:17

On this week's Listening Post: What do we really know about the Osama bin Laden death story, and how do we know it? Also, a before and after look at the media movement that brought down the Tunisian regime.

When word of Osama bin Laden's death broke on Sunday, May 1, it shot straight to the top of the global media's news agenda. But after the initial reporting of his death, journalists then had to provide an insatiable news audience with the facts.

But the facts were unverifiable because the only people who really knew them were either the US government, the US troops involved or members of bin Laden's entourage present at the compound the Abbottabad, Pakistan.

What ensued was an array of conflicting accounts and narratives that seeped into the global news coverage. The focus of our News Divide this week is establishing what we really know about what happened in Abbottabad, and how we know it.

In our News Bytes this week we start by clearing up last a report we did last week. We said that a Nigerian newspaper owner is accused of selling favourable reporting in his publication, but we did not say that he has refuted those allegations and they have not been proven.

Then we look at the conditions that led to the closure of a leading opposition newspaper in Bahrain. An update on two of our journalists held in Syria and Libya and we end with some of the best bits from the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington DC.

Just a few months ago one man's act of desperation triggered an uprising that spread across North Africa and the Middle East. Although Mohammed Bouazizi setting himself on fire is what sparked the revolution in Tunisia, what kept it going – and helped it spread to other countries – was an online informational infrastructure developed years before by Tunisian activists.

It was their way of circumventing the tight media controls put in place by former President Ben Ali's government. But it also served as crucial source of information for the international media and that is how it managed to stay in the headlines. The Listening Post's Nashwa Nasreldine's report not only looks at how a shackled Tunisian media started an a series of regional revolutions but also what the future holds for it, in a post-Ben Ali era.

Finally for Internet Video of the Week this week, we have done things a little differently. Instead of selecting one online video like we usually do, we compiled a few of the inevitable news bloopers that followed the death of Osama bin Laden. When you consider the fact that there is only a one-letter difference between the first name of the fallen al-Qaeda leader and the surname of the man who brought about his demise, a tongue-tripping media free for all was bound to follow. 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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