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Listening Post
Media battle heats up in Sri Lanka, again
The civil war may be over but the media battle rages on, plus, an alternative news source for Egyptians, by Egyptians.
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2012 17:30

On March 22, the UN Human Rights Commission voted to investigate alleged war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war. The war itself ended back in 2009, but the battle against independent journalists is far from over. In the past two months, state-run media have been targetting journalists critical of the government, labelling them as 'traitors'. Mervyn Silva, the public relations minister to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, took to the airwaves announcing that he would 'break the limbs' of any journalist who attempted to challenge the government's narrative on the war.

Opposition voices on this island have been continuously threatened, silenced and forced into exile, so journalists and press freedom groups alike are not taking the threat lightly. In this week's News Divide, we look at the media battle that is intensifying in an already fragile media environment.

In News Bytes this week: Brazil's appalling track record in 2012 as the second worst place in the world to be a journalist gets even worse; The under-reporting on the death of an unarmed black student in Florida highlights the need for racially-diverse newsrooms in the US; A Turkish court temporarily shuts down a pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem accusing it of publishing 'terrorist propaganda'; and US Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum picks a fight, not with his opposite number, but with a New York Times reporter.

 News by Egyptians, for Egyptians

Since the ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak last year, Egypt has undergone huge changes but the special relationship between the country's military rulers and the sprawling state media apparatus is as strong as it has ever been, and Egypt's revolutionaries have found themselves caught in an information war.

But over the last year, a group called Mosireen has been collecting and archiving citizen videos filmed on the streets which tell a different story. Now, a nationwide campaign has emerged known as Askar Kazeboon, meaning 'The military are liars', which uses footage from Mosireen's arsenal and has found a simple, novel way of showing the public the truths that state-run media chooses to ignore. In this week's feature, the Listening Post's Ana De Sousa looks at the roving video campaign, offering Egyptians a different perspective.

Our Internet Video of the Week takes us back to last summer, and the London riots. At the time, the unrest made headlines around the world and much of the media described the rioters as thugs out to make trouble. But that picture may now be changing; last week the UK government produced a report on the causes of the riots and conceded that Britain's underclass needs to be given a bigger stake in society.

Award-winning rapper 'Plan B' is taking that message to the streets. His new single ill Manors is a mouthpiece for the underclass, a mash-up of news footage and freshly-shot material questioning media stereotypes of Britain's urban youth – and people love it. We hope you do too.

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

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