Omar Suleiman’s announcement that Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, was to step down was watched across the globe. It was a response to protests that reached their peak last week. As the protests intensified, so did the attacks on journalists covering them. Reporters have been detained or arrested and equipment has been seized as the Egyptian regime stepped up its efforts to suppress the information seeping out of the country. But journalists and the online community battled on, providing up-to-date coverage as events unfolded. Even the track that we use was born out of this revolution. Created by artists Omar Offendum and Sami Matar, it brought together a number of musicians in homage to the Egyptian people.
Meanwhile, the US media were not quite sure what to do with the story, struggling to report on a country and a leader seen as a key US ally while their own reporters were amongst those attacked by those loyal to Mubarak. In our News Divide this week we go back to Egypt where we look at the media’s role in a revolution that sent shock waves across the Middle East and beyond.
In our News Bytes this week: Former Israeli soldier, Anat Kamm, pleads guilty to leaking classified military documents to a Ha’aretz reporter; the Guardian newspaper’s Moscow correspondent is refused entry into Russia in the wake of his coverage of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister; former MSNBC anchor, Keith Olbermann takes his act to Current TV; new media website Huffington Post merges with media giant AOL; and News Corp releases its much anticipated iPad-only newspaper.
The media loves an anniversary story. It gives journalists the chance to revisit a big news event and see how it has developed. That just happened in Haiti – on January 12 last year the impoverished island nation was devastated by an earthquake. Droves of reporters, producers and film crews parachuted in to cover that story, and they have done so again to mark its anniversary. But the ensuing coverage has left many Haitians frustrated with the attention span of the international media. The Listening Post’s Jason Mojica’s report looks at the international media preoccupation with one side of the story and the local media’s inability to cover the other.
Super Bowl Sunday is a big day in a lot people’s calendars, but as eagerly as they anticipate the result, we wait for half-time ads to go viral. We feature our three favourite in our Web Video of the Week. From Darth Vader junior’s “supernatural” powers, to an allergic cat to an emailing faux pas – they are all very entertaining, but we will let you decide whether they live up to the multi-million dollar airtime slot.
This episode of Listening Post aired from Saturday, February 12, 2010.