From: The Listening Post

The Palestine Papers fallout

We look at how the media’s role in the release became just as newsworthy as the content they published.

The Palestine Papers: the massive leak of documents from the Middle East peace process and the media fallout from that story. Then, the David and Goliath tale of corporate America versus documentary filmmakers.

The Palestine Papers was the biggest leak in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Published by Al Jazeera and the Guardian simultaneously, it was the first time that Palestinians and Israelis knew what their leaders were fighting for behind closed doors. The media fallout from the release has been huge, with commentators from Israel, the US and Palestine questioning Al Jazeera’s motives and timing for the release. In our News Divide this week, we look at the story behind the story – how the media’s role in the release became just as newsworthy as the content they published.

In our Newsbytes this week: The regime in Myanmar uses its media to issue a veiled threat to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi; a journalist at a Saudi-owned satellite channel is reportedly sacked for taking aim at the kingdom’s media; a Mexican radio journalist is taken off air for calling on the president, Felipe Calderon, to respond to alcohol abuse allegations; a security firm draws up plans to attack Wikileaks; and a new book sheds some light on the media coverage of the Chilean miners story.

The media love a David and Goliath story. The battle between the underdog and the stronger opponent makes a gripping story and it is one that is regularly captured by documentary filmmakers. Two recent documentaries, Crude and Bananas!*, followed court cases against multinational corporations and in a strange twist, the filmmakers have found themselves in a battle with Dole and Chevron, the companies featured in their films. In our feature this week, we take a closer look at how the filmmakers have taken on these companies and the threat these cases pose for freedom of speech and investigative journalism.

Our video of the week was inspired by the Egyptian revolution. The song is called Sout al Horeya and is filmed in Tahrir Square during the uprising. It is a rousing song that captures the spirit of the revolution and features the demonstrators singing along with the song’s creator Amir Eid.

This episode of Listening Post aired from Saturday, February 19, 2011.