From: The Listening Post

What is all the buzz about Japan?

Accurate reporting on Japan becomes more difficult as buzzwords inundate the news and set the narrative.

On Listening Post this week: Global media struggle to decifer fact from fear mongering in the Japan nuclear reactor leak story, while in Pakistan, debating the anti-blasphemy law is being deemed blasphemous itself.

The buzz about Japan


First came the earthquake, then the “ten metre high” tidal wave, then the threat of a nuclear meltdown. The string of disasters in Japan has grabbed headlines across the globe but when you are dealing with a story of this magnitude, it is always difficult to accurately convey the reality in a single headline, by-line or bulletin.

The dominant narrative in this case has been the threat of Japan”s damaged nuclear reactors leaking radiation. No matter how hard the experts try to pull the Chernobyl/Three Mile Island/nuclear buzzwords out of the headlines, they keep finding their way back in.

Our News Divide this week is the fault line that runs through the Land of the Rising Sun – and the chasm that lies between fact and what some call fiction in the reporting of the earthquake story.



Media snippets from around the world: In Libya an Al Jazeera cameraman becomes the first international journalist to die in the unrest while BBC and CNN news crews get harassed and a group of local reporters is still unaccounted for.

The Bahraini government cracks down on protests and the media.

Cote d”Ivoire”s media continues to suffer under the political divide in the country.

The US state department spokesman loses his job after commenting on the treatment of Private Bradley Manning.

And the screening of a controversial new movie at the UN general assembly in New York angers Israeli officials.

Blasphemy in Pakistan


Pakistan is being torn apart by people who want to take it in different directions. This struggle is reflected in the country”s media and nowhere is it more apparent than in the debate over Pakistan”s anti-blasphemy laws.

They are so strict that while the media can report on blasphemy cases, it can not disclose the details of the alleged offences.

The laws – and the void in reporting they have created – are polarising the country even further.

Listening Post”s Meenakshi Ravi reports on the Pakistani anti-blasphemy laws and the media rhetoric surrounding them.

Video of the week


Two eccentric characters have been dominating the airwaves lately. One, a Hollywood star whose recent behaviour not only cost him his job but also put in motion one of the most bizarre media spectacles we have ever seen. The other, a dictator whose refusal to leave his job has also led to a series of wacky TV interviews.

It was an opportunity that the guys at did not let slip by. They have mashed up the ensuing interviews to make it look like one was interviewing the other.

We will let you decide who is the saner, Charlie Sheen or Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. We hope you enjoy the show.




This episode of Listening Post can be seen from Saturday, March 9, at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.