With the news stories in the Middle East alternating between Egypt and Syria, it took many by surprise when the compass swung to Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL has been a growing part of the story but few anticipated the dramatic turn – taking control of half of Iraq and a decent portion of Syria. And they are not only taking land and resources, ISIL have been spinning the PR and establishing their organisation.
The Iraqi media is normally polarised according to sectarian lines, but the external threat is uniting them. For the global media, the situation has posed a problem: they found themselves churning out the same neo-con analysts they used back in the Iraq invasion in 2003 – despite the fact that everything they said has proved to be wrong.
In newsbytes: One of the four Al Jazeera journalists behind bars in Cairo was finally released. Abdullah Elshamy was freed on health grounds after 307 days in jail with no charge. In Zimbabwe, a ruling by the constitution court means that journalists cannot be prosecuted for criminal defamation, a law journalist say was muzzling the press. Al Yemen Al Youm newspaper and TV station were shut down in Yemen – both were owned by former President Saleh and accused of being a threat to security. And CNN comes under fire for what they are calling a documentary and what others are calling an infomercial on George Bush Senior.
A few weeks back we went to Spain after 3 top editors lost their jobs. The situation looked dire: big job losses, circulation drops. But from crisis comes possibilities. Hundreds of new start-ups. We look at three that are making a mark – and competing with the mainstream.
Our web video of the week ‘The Human Walking Program‘ is a pet project in Australia – a dog shelter that spins its campaign round to get its abandoned dogs a home. It is a feel good one that comes from that the good news site Upworthy and it has been getting a lot of clicks. We hope you enjoy it.