The Listening Post

Air strikes and media misses

Battling media narratives in Russian and US bombing campaigns; plus, the conundrum of covering India-Pakistan relations.

When Russia’s military intervention in Syria began, the global media had plenty of questions to ask about the air strikes. What were the targets? Where did the bombs fall? Were civilians among those killed?

However, in Russia the media tended to be far more lenient and toed the Kremlin line. One reporter assessed the weather conditions in Syria for Russian fighter jets.

Critical coverage of the Russian air strikes has predominantly come from Western news outlets which had another big story to cover last week: The bombing of a Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, by an American gunship which claimed more than 20 lives.

However, the tone and terminology used in much of that coverage – particularly in the US – displayed a far more cautious approach to the story. The reporting has said a lot about how US news outlets cover American military intervention compared to other countries.

We talk to Jamal Dajani, journalist and founder of Arab Talk; Alexei Khlebnikov, Middle East and Russia analyst; Ben Norton, politics staff writer at Salon; and Chris Woods, project leader at

Other media stories on our radar this week: A prominent Turkish journalist has been attacked outside his home in Istanbul; Somali forces shut down a TV station and arrested two journalists there; and a reporter working for a Lebanese news channel has been seriously injured while reporting in East Jerusalem. 

India and Pakistan’s cross-border media clash

When the British pulled out of India nearly 70 years ago, the country was split in two and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was born.

Since then, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, accused each other of terrorist attacks, and continue to dispute the northern region of Kashmir.

The political tension is often reflected and amplified in the media of both countries, and it has affected their ability to report on one another.

Since 2014, there have been no Indian reporters based in Pakistan, and it has been even longer since a Pakistani reporter has been based in India.

The Listening Post‘s Meenakshi Ravi looks at the cross-border coverage of the Indian subcontinent.

Time lapse photography is said to have got its start in the 1870s and was an important development in the invention of motion pictures. Today, time lapse photography has evolved into a form that can bring landscapes and cityscapes to life.

In Austria, photographers Thomas Pocksteiner and Peter Jablonowski say that they spent two years, photographed 600 sequences and used five terabytes of images to create the time lapse they called A Taste of Austria.