From: The Listening Post

The media battle for Egypt

We follow the coverage of one of the biggest political protests in Arab history.

The battle for Egypt: The coverage, the censorship and the government that refuses to step down. Then, ‘Breaking the Silence’: Israeli soldiers shatter the media narrative.

Despite the best efforts of Hosni Mubarak’s government, images of millions of Egyptians protesting on the streets of Cairo, Alexandra and Suez have been beamed around the world. But while the clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak protestors dominated the airwaves, the journalists covering the fighting became targets themselves. Many were harassed, arrested and beaten, while others had their equipment confiscated. But they continued to cover the story.

The government pulled the plug on the country’s internet connection, cut the phone lines for a time, poured propaganda out on state-controlled media but the momentum of the demonstrators was unstoppable.

Our News Divide this week trails the coverage of one of the biggest political protests in Arab history, one that came together online, dominated the headlines and sent tremors all the way from Sana’a in Yemen to Washington, DC in the US.

Quick hits from the world of newsbytes: A leaked letter reveals the European Union’s views on Hungary’s new media law; the relationship between Wikileaks and two newspapers takes a blow; and China’s state TV channel recycles footage from a 1980s Hollywood action film.

Israel’s media is one of the most vibrant in the region but when it comes to issues of national security and its army they tread carefully. However one organisation is working hard to lay bare some of the military’s secrets.

The team behind ‘Breaking the Silence’ gathers testimonials from former Israeli soldiers, some of which contain allegations of abuse. The initiative is attracting international media attention but it is the Israeli public that have been most shocked by the revelations. Rarely do such damning allegations emerge from among the country’s own soldiers.

In this week’s feature we travel to Israel to see how – by revealing some of the military’s dirty secrets – the group is deconstructing a well-crafted media image.

When President Mubarak spoke to the Egyptian public last week, his words failed to placate the nation. In case you have not seen it yet, a group of Jordanian animators have produced their own version of the speech, one which demonstrated what audiences were hearing while Mubarak was talking. It is our internet video of the week.

This episode of Listening Post aired from Saturday, February 5, 2011.