The Listening Post

Sino-Indian clash: Disputed border, divided media

Chinese and Indian media take opposite approaches to reporting the deadly clash between troops along the border.

On The Listening Post this week: Chinese and Indian media take opposite tacks to reporting the deadly clash between troops along the border. Plus, Turkish TV dramas and “neo-Ottoman cool”.

Sino-Indian clash: Disputed border, divided media

The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, are dealing with the fallout of their first deadly border clash in almost half a century. Twenty Indian soldiers were reportedly killed, some clubbed to death, by Chinese forces.

We know practically nothing else about the story – that is because the confrontation took place in the middle of nowhere at an altitude of 14,000 feet (about 4,300 metres), on a Himalayan mountain that journalists cannot get to, and because the two governments are saying very little. Indian media are speculating, calling for boycotts, and urging their politicians to wage an economic war against China. On the other side, the coverage is almost non-existent.

This is a story about narratives – two governments that, in their own ways, are out to keep a lid on this conflict before it gets out of hand.


Natasha Badhwar – Author, filmmaker and contributing writer, Tribune India

Aadil Brar – Journalist

Kapil Komireddi – Journalist and author, Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India

Steve Tsang – Director, SOAS China Institute

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about Stop Hate for Profit – a new campaign encouraging big-name brands to pull their ads from Facebook over the company’s failure to remove hate speech from its platform.

Ertugrul: Turkish TV’s Ottoman phenomenon goes global

Dirilis: Ertugrul (or Resurrection: Ertugrul) is one of Turkey’s biggest television exports yet, and has helped cement Turkey among the top exporters of TV content in the world.

It is an historical epic set in the 13th century during the founding of the Ottoman empire; with five seasons, more than 400 episodes, and hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, Dirilis: Ertugrul cashes in on a wave of nostalgia and fascination for an era that has become known as “Neo-Ottoman Cool”.

But given the topic, the time period and current geo-political events, there is a propagandistic feel to the show and others like it – one that plays right into the hands of Turkey’s governing party, the AK Party, and President Erdogan’s own brand of Turkish nationalism. 

The Listening Post‘s Meenakshi Ravi reports on how history, politics and entertainment collide in Turkey’s Ottoman TV epics.


Burak Ozcetin – Associate Professor, Istanbul Bilgi University

Senem Cevik – Lecturer in International Studies, UC Irvine

Omar Al-Ghazzi – Assistant Professor, London School of Economics and Co-author, Neo-Ottoman Cool: Turkish Popular Culture in the Arab Public Sphere