Listening Post
Al Jazeera's change of guard
A look at the real reason why the channel's director-general resigned.
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2011 10:42

This week on Listening Post: A change of guard at Al Jazeera. What does Wadah Khanfar's resignation mean for the network? Also, Peru and the ideological battle on the airwaves.

When the former director-general of Al Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, announced on Twitter that he was leaving the network, the news media immediately began speculating why. The New York Times, amongst others, linked his departure to leaked US diplomatic cables that appeared to show Khanfar had altered Al Jazeera's coverage at the request of the US government.

The focus then turned to his successor, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, and whether the network was losing its independence with his appointment.

We turn the spotlight on ourselves this week and look at the circumstances around the resignation of a man who held the top spot at Al Jazeera for eight years and the implications for the global news network. 

In our Newsbytes: Mexican drug cartels offer a chilling warning to citizen journalists; Iranian authorities detain independent filmmakers after accusing them of collaborating with BBC Persian; an Ethiopian journalist flees his country after being named in a Wikileaks cable; and a Russian newspaper owner punches his way into the news.

It has been dubbed the "Pink Tide". It is the social revolution that has not made global media headlines. Over the past decade, Latin America has been living out its own "spring".

Countries from Venezuela to Argentina have all elected left leaning leaders – despite privately owned and highly influential right wing media conglomerates who have launched offensives to prevent them gaining power. The newest chapter in this old antagonism is Peru, where former army chief turned politician Ollanta Humala was recently elected during a campaign in which the country's most powerful media group, El Comercio, played its part in trying to prevent his victory by supporting his rival, Keiko Fujimori – the daughter of former president, Alberto Fujimori, who is currently serving life for human rights violations.

On the Listening Post this week, Marcela Pizarro maps the tension between the right wing media establishment and the new left wing government and how the new president will navigate this hostile terrain.

Finally, if you are an REM fan then it probably was not a very good week for you with the band announcing that it was breaking up. Formed in 1981, this blockbusting group recorded 15 albums, selling around 70 million units over the next three decades.

One of their lesser known songs came about after the lead singer, Michael Stipe had a bad encounter with a cameraman. He wrote a song called Bad Day and shot a music video where the members of the band pose as news anchors having a ... bad day. As a homage to a great band, we have made the music video our Internet Video of the Week


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

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