Citizen journalists are beating the censors to get
news out of Myanmar  [EPA]
In this week's episode of The Listening Post, Richard Gizbert looks at how citizen journalists are beating the censors to get news out of Myanmar. Plus how a ban on junk food advertising is hitting funding of children's television.
We start in Myanmar this week, where amateur footage of mass demonstrations was leaked out of the country and broadcast around the world. Journalists are virtually banned from the country, which is rated the second worst for press freedom after North Korea by Reporters Without Borders.
In the absence of a strong media presence, ordinary citizens armed themselves with cell phones and domestic cameras to record the peaceful protests lead by Buddhist monks. Then they posted them on blogs and emailed and texted them to contacts outside the country.
With the outside world watching, the military junta delayed its response. But by the tenth day of protests, the Myanmar authorities had shut down mobile phone networks and the internet. Then the crackdown began in earnest. Soldiers attacked the crowds with tear gas and gunfire and rounded up the demonstrators. Despite the attempted news blackout, news of the violence still made its way out of the country.
Journalists who defied the ban to report from Myanmar were caught up in the clashes. A Japanese video-reporter was shot apparently at point blank range. At least four foreign correspondents were arrested and journalists from Reuters and Agence Presse France reported that they were attacked.
The children's television industry faces a
dilemma over whether to ban advertising
Our other big story this week is the dilemma facing the children's television industry; whether or not to ban advertising targeted at children. After television regulators in the UK made a move to reduce junk food commercials, they saw a sharp drop in funding for home-grown programmes.
Meenakshi Ravi spoke to television executives, advertising insiders and even children and mums about what they think of ads on children's television.
In Newsbytes, we report on the other big media stories of the week. Fatah intelligence officials tried and failed to pass off video footage of the murder of a young woman in northern Iraq as an honour killing in Gaza to discredit its Hamas rivals.
In Pakistan, journalists took part in a Black Day of protest to condemn police violence against media workers. And in Japan, rival newspapers the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Asahi Shimbun and the Nikkei business daily plan to join forces to launch a news website which they hope will attract younger readers.
Last but not least, our internet video of the week, a love song inspired by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad courtesy of Saturday Night Live.
Watch this episode of The Listening Post here:
Part 1:
Part 2:
This episode of The Listening Post aired from 05th October 2007
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