Listening Post
A Russian winter: Putin, protests, propaganda
A look at Russia's unrest and the media; plus, why a reality show about Muslims in the US has sparked major debate.
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2011 11:50

The wave of discontent that began in the Arab world and spread worldwide reached Russia this week. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Moscow to accuse the ruling United Russia party of rigging parliamentary elections it claims to have won.

Initially, state-owned media chose to ignore the story. But as the crowds grew, media outlets faced a dilemma about how they were going to cover a story in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - their boss - stands accused of stealing an election. Coverage on the internet is harder to control, so it was left to bloggers and news websites to fill in the gaps. But they have faced their own challenges, with one blogger jailed and a number of websites facing cyber attacks.

On this week's News Divide, we look at the biggest political demonstrations the country has seen since the fall of the Soviet Union - and the coverage of that story on Russian TV screens, newspapers and online.

In this week's Newsbytes: Syrian cyber-activist Razan Ghazzawi faces up to 15 years in jail; prominent Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat receives a prestigious press freedom award; an American blogger is jailed in Thailand for insulting the monarchy; and Chelsea Clinton's debut as a news correspondent fails to impress the critics. 

Boycotting reality: All American Muslim under attack

A new reality TV show aiming to counter negative stereotypes of Muslim Americans in the US has sparked major debate after at least two companies pulled their advertisements from the series following pressure from a conservative evangelical group for a boycott.

All American Muslim focuses on the everyday lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, a city with the largest Arab population in the US. The show's creators, cable TV network TLC, say the show aims to foster better relations with a community that many feel is misrepresented by mainstream US media. But voices from the right say it is a ploy to carry out a stealth holy war.

In this week's feature, Listening Post's Marcela Pizarro looks at what an American Muslim reality TV show has revealed about US media in a post-9/11 era.

Finally, this month has seen unprecedented anti-government protests in Russia, but just 12 months ago things seemed oh so different; our Internet video of the week is last year's festive poke at Russia's ruling duo from the most unlikely of sources - Russian state-controlled Channel One. 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.

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