The Listening Post

Syria’s media tug of war

As fighting continues in Syria, competing media narratives are making it difficult to find a middle ground.

On Listening Post this week: Tug of War – competing media narratives in the Syrian uprising. Plus, the struggle over internet freedom in India, the world’s largest democracy.
As fighting in Syria continues, so does the media’s battle to tell the story. This month, four journalists were killed while reporting from the besieged city of Homs. In their absence, making sense of the story means making sense of shaky sources of information: the al-Assad government spinning the story its way, through outlets the state controls; the often nameless, faceless activists getting information out via the web and, increasingly, the Free Syrian Army, a loosely affiliated group of disparate voices which some say is a media construct itself. Our News Divide this week looks at Syria and the polarised media narratives making it hard to find the middle ground.

In our News Bytes this week: President Rafael Correa has pardoned three newspaper executives and a columnist who were found guilty of libelling the Ecuadorian leader. A report on the assassination attempt on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin airs on state TV in the week before the presidential election, however the timing leaves sceptics questioning its veracity. James Murdoch steps down as Chairman of News International as his father, Rupert, launches The Sun on Sunday. And Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sheds light on his latest leak about the goings on at US intelligence firm Startfor at London’s Frontline Club.

India’s ‘information black holes’

Our feature this week: Five months ago news broke in India that the head of the country’s communications and technology ministry planned to pre-screen India’s online content to prevent any “offensive material” from making it onto the web. Since then, the minister has backtracked on the screening suggestion, however online censorship has remained a key talking point in the country’s media.

Internet companies Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are among the 22 firms that are facing litigation there over so-called “offensive content” posted on their sites. And as those companies fight their legal battles, Indians are being denied some of the virtues of the World Wide Web. Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at the online ‘information black holes’ that are emerging in the world’s largest democracy.

In our humble attempt to address the imbalance between cat and dog viral videos on the web we bring you the latest venture from South African filmmaker Dave Meinert. He strapped a GoPro camera to his friend’s dog and let it loose on the streets and beaches of Cape Town. The music video that followed – our Internet Video of the Week – gives you a great dog’s eye view of the city, and the world. 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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