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Listening Post
The Far East's changing media landscape
A new age for Myanmar's media, deciphering North Korea's official message and investigative reporting in China.
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2012 09:09

This week on Listening Post: A Far East Special - a new age for the media in Myanmar, deciphering North Korea's official message and investigative reporting in China.

We are focusing on south-east Asia, going to three countries: Myanmar, North Korea and China. All have seen big developments in the media over the past year - some of those changes have been implemented by governments, some have emerged despite their power.

Myanmar is our first port of call. Times are changing - when parliamentary elections were held there on April 1 this year, not only were local and foreign journalists allowed to cover the story but opposition symbol Aung San Suu Kyi's by-election victory was actually announced on state-owned television. Since then, local media are no longer pre-censored and exiled news outlets are going back home. But there is still some way to go before Myanmar can claim that its media have been completely unshackled.

For the North Korean media, it has been a busy year. First, news of the death of the country's dear leader, Kim Jong-Il. Then, news of the newly appointed supreme leader, Kim Jong Un. And when Kim Jong-un appeared in public with his wife, the mysterious Ri Sol-ju, state-run media did all it could to project the new power couple as young and modern. But North Korea is still a diplomatic pariah and media access for outsiders is all but non-existent. The country's sublimely named Propaganda and Agitation Department focuses on spreading the cult of the Kims, using the state media network and an army of propaganda artists. Listening Post's Flo Phillips reports on the lengths the propagandists will go to to laud the young, unelected leader of the country that calls itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Usually when the world pays attention to journalism in China, it is for the wrong reasons. Chinese reporters and the outlets they work for are routinely written off as mere government mouthpieces. But media production in China has exploded over the past three decades, and with that has come new competition for readers, viewers and revenues. That has given rise to a new kind of investigative reporting. News outlets have found that, like anywhere else, exposing wrongdoing and unearthing the odd scandal can be good for business. Investigative reporting in China is not without its limits or risks. But China is no longer the journalistic black hole it once was. Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi reports on how reporters are finding ways to produce some high quality, muckraking journalism - in the world's largest one-party state.

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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