The Listening Post

Headlines and hyperbole: Covering the Sergei Skripal story

The Skripal affair and the battle of narratives between Russia and UK; plus, Google and Facebook’s censorship tactics.

On The Listening Post this week: In the battle of narratives between the UK and Russia, facts are few and speculation is rife. And we look into charges of censorship by the online giants.

Covering the Sergei Skripal story

For the past two weeks, the story of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a retired Russian double agent, and his daughter in the UK has led news bulletins in Britain and around the world.

Much of the coverage has been low on facts, high on conjecture and speculation.

British headline writers have had a field day. Moscow meanwhile has denied any involvement and has claimed the British press is churning out “hysterical propaganda” to whip up anti-Russian sentiment.

The Listening Post‘s Marcela Pizarro reports on the diplomatic standoff being played out across the airwaves.

Natalia Antelava, editor-in-chief, Coda Story
John Wight, contributor, Sputnik International
Will Gore, deputy managing editor, The Independent
Polly Boiko, reporter, RT

On our radar

Barbara Serra speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about two countries grappling with the spread of online hate speech – Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Deleted, suspended, demoted: Censorship, Silicon Valley-style

When Google launched almost 20 years ago, its corporate motto was “Don’t be Evil”. Until last year, Facebook‘s official mission was to “make the world more open and connected.”

Things have changed since the two tech giants first came online. Both companies have been accused of working behind the scenes to silence or de-emphasise certain kinds of voices.

The Listening Post‘s Meenakshi Ravi reports on how the tech giants are policing their platforms and whether what they are doing amounts to a new kind of censorship.

Chris Hedges, journalist and author
Robert Epstein, research psychologist
Jillian York, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Mathew Ingram, chief digital writer, Columbia Journalism Review