Listening Post
Navigating Syria's slippery narratives
Listening Post puts social media in Syria under the spotlight and asks who and how much to trust.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2012 09:42

Slippery narratives - negotiating partial truths in Syria. And an interview with Syrian cartoonist, Ali Ferzat.
"The authenticity of this footage cannot be independently verified." This has become the familiar caveat used to frame news reports on Syria. Until recently, those shaky images filmed by activists on the ground have provided the foreign media, themselves unable to get into the country, with the raw material they need to build their story.

But as the violence intensifies, so too does the Western media's scepticism about who and how much to trust, with activists accused of tailoring material to suit their own political agendas. In this week's News Divide: social media in Syria under the spotlight.

Quick hits from media world: the phone hacking scandal that has hit Rupert Murdoch's British print arm spreads to another part of his empire; the battle between al-Shabaab and the Somali government claims the life of yet another journalist: the fourth this year; a Greek journalist is hospitalised after a policeman attacks him while he covers protests against government cuts; and US network NBC gets into trouble for its coverage of the Trayvon Martin story.
Ali Ferzat is one of the best-known cartoonists in the Arab world. Born and raised in Syria, he built his career caricaturing the political elite. In 2000, during a period of relative freedom of the press, Ferzat launched the satirical magazine al-Domari (The Lampalighter), the first independent publication in Syria since 1963. But Ferzat's references to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, always remained within the realms of the allegorical.

Until last year that is, when he broke the law that prohibits caricatures of the country's leader. But in August 2011, Ferzat was kidnapped by Syrian security forces. He was later found on the roadside, head bleeding, hands broken: images which spread online, gaining global attention and artists' solidarity. In the second half of the show, we sit down with Ali Ferzat.
Internet Video of the Week: In July, Mexicans will be voting for their new president and already some slick political advertising is circulating online. 'Mexico del Futuro' is an online movement that aims to produce what it calls a new decree for the future of the country - a collection of voters' demands that will be handed to the candidates as polling day approaches. The group's latest video shows children living in a country in a state of chaos, demanding that their government do something about it. It is a provocative video that has been getting millions of hits online. 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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