The Listening Post

US versus Iran: Tension over the airwaves

Media in the US and Iran are vastly different but when it comes to war they both stumble. Plus, Rio’s media collectives.

On this episode of The Listening Post: Media in the US and Iran are vastly different but when it comes to war, they stumble in similar ways. Plus, the media collectives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.

US versus Iran: Covering Soleimani’s assassination

A little more than a week ago, most Americans had never even heard of the name Qassem Soleimani. Now, Iran’s top military leader, assassinated in a US drone strike, has been cast as the “world’s number one bad guy”.

And that is not Donald Trump talking; those are the words of US news network CNBC.

This story – and some of the coverage coming out of Washington – harkens back to 2003, the Iraq war. Too much airtime given to the hawks prowling news studios. Not enough scrutiny of their motives, or the legality of a possible war.

In Iran meanwhile, Soleimani’s killing has given the country’s leaders an historic messaging opportunity that is now reverberating across news outlets the government there controls, as well as in the streets.


Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi – Lecturer, Goldsmiths

Holly Dagres – Non-resident fellow, Atlantic Council

Pouya Alimagham – Historian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Document, mobilise, amplify: Media activists in Rio’s favelas

Perhaps you see favelas as the Brazilian media; and many international outlets have depicted them as lawless communities, virtual no-go zones for police, where the only realistic solution is a security show of force.

That portrayal plays well for two politicians in particular, President Jair Bolsonaro and Rio’s Governor, Wilson Witzel, both of whom have given police more authority to use lethal force in the favelas.

There is, however, an alternative media narrative coming from the favelas, which has emerged from community-based journalistic collectives. They use video footage, posted on social media, to document police violence and security abuses to counter the dominant mainstream narrative on one of Brazil’s most important stories.

The Listening Post‘s Tariq Nafi reports on two of those collectives – Papo Reto and Maré Veevee – and the work they do.


Thaina de Medeiros – Papo Reto Media Collective

Naldinho Lourenco – Mare Vive Media Collective

Vinicius Donola – Journalist, former special correspondent, Record TV

Renata Souza – Deputy, Rio State Legislature