Listening Post
The gun and the press in Pakistan
When teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban, Pakistan's media was warned to curb its coverage of the story.
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2012 06:43

This week: The chilling impact of the gun on journalism in Pakistan and a look at the history of presidential debates.

When news broke from Pakistan that a 14-year-old girl had been shot by members of the Taliban just for promoting female education on her blog, news organisations around the world jumped on the story. In Pakistan, however, they had to treat the subject with care. The Taliban warned local media to curb their reporting, or deal with the consequences. This is not just a story about one attack - it is a tale of how the journalistic environment in Pakistan has grown so dangerous. According to media watchdog groups, at least 20 journalists have been murdered since 2010 and not one of those cases has resulted in a conviction.

In this week's News Bytes: The speaker of the Tunisian parliament has announced that the country's new constitution, which is still a work in progress, will not contain any clause that criminalises blasphemy. Spain's best-known and bestselling newspaper El Pais has announced it is cutting its workforce by a third. Rupert Murdoch created a Twitter storm when he labelled three British celebrities who met with Prime Minister David Cameron 'scumbags'. The three, including actor Hugh Grant, were discussing the UK government's response to the phone hacking scandal. And in India, good news for cartoonist Aseem Trivedi as charges of sedition brought against him by the state of Maharashtra have been dropped.

A little over 50 years ago John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon made television history when they stepped in front of the cameras for the first televised debate between two candidates trying to get to the White House. On that night, television changed the rules of the political game forever. Kennedy won the debate, not so much because of what he said, but because of the way he looked when he said it. Since then, many a campaign has come unglued in an instant; one single, crystallising moment during a debate. This is a format that values style over substance and voters have punished politicians who have failed to understand that.

Finally, the figures are in for the online media event that made Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner a household name. In four minutes Baumgartner's plummet from the edge of space racked up millions of hits on the YouTube live stream alone. You have probably already seen video of the stunt, so we have come up with a bit of a mash up that mixes in Baumgartner's alter ego from the Land of Lego. We found him in an advert for a toy fair coming up in Austria and the mash up is our video of the week.

Click here to watch Felix does Lego.

Click here to watch the event in real life.

Click here to watch our mash up.

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

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