The Listening Post

The fog of Syria’s media war

Examining the multifaceted propaganda battle over the future of Syria.

This week on Listening Post: Syria and the media narratives at war. Plus, working the graveyard shift – an insight into the art of obituary writing.

The fighting in Syria is now mirrored on the airwaves, with the principles fighting to control the narrative. This is no longer a struggle between Syrian state TV and the pan-Arab news channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya that the Assad government has called hostile. The unrest has spawned an array of new news outlets that have waded into the fray, including nine satellite channels on the opposition side alone. There are also new pro-Assad channels being readied in Syria and then there are recently launched outlets like the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen which says it wants to counter the coverage on channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

In our New Divide we look at the competing narratives in Syria’s propaganda battle.

In this week’s News Bytes: the Filipino Supreme Court delays the implementation of a controversial cybercrime law; troubling times for Israel’s newspaper industry as one of its oldest publications faces closure and another faces cutbacks; an Iranian conservative magazine is shut down after running a provocative cartoon that some people deemed offensive; and a high profile Argentinian journalist covering Venezuela’s election says he was detained and accused of spying while trying to leave the country.

The art of obituary writing

They call it working in the morgue. It is the newspaper obituary desk that has editors checking in whenever someone famous checks out. Those extended obits do not always get written after someone dies, many are on file, ready at a moment’s notice. And it is not as though the only obits ready to go are about elderly newsmakers. It does not matter how old you are, a good obit editor is supposed to be prepared for anything.

In this week’s feature, Listening Post’s Nicholas Muirhead takes a look at the art of obituary writing, the dos and do nots of the craft.

Our web video of the week: Finally, fathers out there may recognise the kind of character in this next video. He is the guy who makes other dads feel completely inadequate. Back in August, Ron Fugelseth took his son Jayden out into the California desert. His plan was to launch Jayden’s toy train into the stratosphere using just a helium balloon, a mini HD camera to record the flight, and a GPS equipped phone on board for tracking purposes. The result is a charming story involving three characters, father, son and toy train that has raked up more than 3.3 million views online. 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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