The Listening Post

Politics and polemics: Europe’s immigration story

We analyse the media coverage of the immigration debate; plus, Cuban bloggers and their quest for freedom of expression.

The front pages of British newspapers have been dominated by one story these last few weeks – migrants trying to get into the country through the Channel Tunnel that connects the UK with France.

The tone of some of that coverage has characterised these individuals – many fleeing cash-strapped or war-torn countries – as posing a threat to both British resources and security. When you break down the relatively low number of migrants entering the UK, the amount of attention this story gets in the mainstream media may seem disproportionate. And the way that it is covered says more about the political agendas of the news outlets doing the reporting than about the story that needs to be told.

Given the current political climate in Europe with the rise of right-wing, anti-immigrant parties across the continent this is a story that needs to be contextualised and its terminology analysed.

Talking us through the story is writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour; Arun Kundani, the author of The End of Tolerance; Jonathan Portes, an Economist journalist; and Fatima Manji, a reporter with Channel 4 News in the UK.

Other media stories that we have been tracking this week: a photojournalist has been murdered in Mexico bringing the death toll of media workers in the country this year to seven; in Malaysia, an arrest warrant has been issued for a website editor and two publications have been suspended for their coverage of a corruption scandal; and the BBC has been allowed back into Iran after being locked out for six years.

Cuban bloggers and their quest for freedom of expression

With the diplomatic thaw taking place between Havana and Washington, The Listening Post examined what it means for the Cuban media landscape.

In our third and final segment on this story we take a look at the growing community of dissident bloggers and journalists in the country.

In 2011, the country’s president, Raul Castro called on Cubans to be more critical of the government. However, some saw that as a cosmetic statement. Internet connectivity on the island is an issue and although there is growing number of critical voices online, they are only accessible to those who can afford to log on.

In this week’s feature, Marcela Pizarro speaks to three independent journalists about their work and the impact they are having in the Cuban blogosphere.

If you were following the coverage in the Huffington Post‘s UK website or Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper then you would have been lead to believe that Adbou Diouf was a Senegalese migrant making his way to Spain and documenting his journey on Instagram.

But the images posted and the entire online persona were fake.

They were put together by Tomas Pena, a Spanish filmmaker who said that he wanted to highlight what he called “western frivolity”, selfie culture and the notion that a life “hasn’t been lived, if it hasn’t been shared.” The Instagram account attracted almost 10,000 followers and when the truth was revealed Pena produced a 60-second short film from the feed. We made it our Endnote video and hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.