Listening Post
Caught in Syria's propaganda war
Are Middle Eastern news channels covering the Syrian crisis merely reflecting their own countries' foreign policies?
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2012 10:05

This week on Listening Post: Mideast news channels under the spotlight. Plus, bringing the star power of Bollywood to some of the least glamorous stories on the sub-continent.

None of the Arab uprisings have lasted as long as the one in Syria, and as the battle for the country rages on, the story gets harder to follow. Outside the country, news organisations no longer talk about a united opposition force but a factionalised one with different ideologies, agendas, foreign fighters and radical elements.

But pan-Arab stations like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya have come under scrutiny, with many of those tuning in saying that that kind of nuance is missing from their coverage. That has led critics to say these outlets are merely reflecting their own countries’ foreign policies.

In this week’s News Divide, we look at coverage of Syria and criticisms nearer to home.

This week’s News Bytes: Showdown – a court case with big implications for privacy on social networks and authorities’ right to information; in Tunisia, the relationship between the media and the conservative government takes another hit; those photos – the British press faces its first test post the phone-hacking scandal; and you could not make it up: a suspected drug gang are caught trying to enter Nicaragua while posing as journalists.

India - Truth Alone Prevails

India is home to one of the world’s largest film industry’s, Bollywood. Earlier this year, a TV show called Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails) combined the glitz of the cinema world with some of India’s most pressing development issues.

The show was a huge success, and many say it was down to its host, an award-winning actor named Aamir Khan. Indians are used to seeing film stars on their TV screens, but Khan was not hosting a quiz show or judging a talent contest. The show tackled one major development issue in each episode, mixed with studio discussions and music.

With a second series is on its way, the Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at an Indian TV show that cut through the clutter in a multi-channel minefield.

Rap began in the hood - it was gritty, it was political, it was sexy, it was bling. Now - it just got suburban. And very domesticated. Our Video of the Week is the Parent's Rap - a video that just went viral trading in the convertible beemer for the minivan, the moet for formula milk and the dollar bills for the family coupons. It has been produced by US-based BlueFish TV as part of a series of parenting videos - it may not be very street - but it is one a lot of us might identify with.  We hope you enjoy the show!

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