The Listening Post

Raed Fares: Murdered on the front line of Syrian journalism

Syrian activist, journalist and founder of Radio Fresh, Raed Fares, is assassinated in Idlib. Plus, border security TV.

On The Listening Post this week: Activist, journalist and founder of Radio Fresh, Raed Fares, is assassinated in rebel-held Idlib province. Plus, the dangers of border security TV.

Raed Fares: Murdered on the front line of Syrian journalism

Seven years into the war in Syria, it’s easy to forget how it all began: with an uprising, a people’s rebellion against an authoritarian government, a fight for democracy and a free media. Raed Fares was one of the figureheads of that movement until he was shot dead last week alongside his cameraman, probably by fighters linked to al-Qaeda.

Fares used various forms of media, especially radio, to push a revolutionary agenda from the rebel-held province of Idlib. With President Bashar al-Assad and his backers still largely in control, some see the killing of Fares as symbolic, the extinguishing of any remaining hope that the values of the Arab Spring can live on in Syria.


Marwan Kraidy – media scholar, Annenberg School

Rami Fares – Radio Fresh

Joseph Daher – blogger, Syria Freedom Forever and associate professor, University of Lausanne

Rania Abouzeid – Author of No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about a Guardian story linking Julian Assange to US President Donald Trump during the US presidential campaign – no smoking gun though – and a Polish TV channel accused of spreading Nazi propaganda.

Border Security TV: Crossing the Line?

They are images seen on screen more and more often – border control officials searching for illegal goods, interrogating unwanted newcomers, deporting those deemed undesirable – all in the name of protecting the homeland. And those pictures don’t just end up on newscasts. Border security shows have become a sub-genre of reality TV.

Producers say the programmes provide an insight into the essential work of customs and immigration agencies. But in the post 9/11 climate, and in the context of a global refugee surge, the format smacks of tabloid TV at its worst – often exaggerating and sensationalising the threats posed by those crossing the border.


Harsha Walia – founder, No One Is Illegal, and author of Undoing Border Imperialism

Nevin Thompson – Japan editor, Global Voices

Benjamin Doherty – Immigration correspondent, Guardian Australia

Stewart Morris – Executive producer, Border Force: America’s Gatekeepers