Watch part two

On The Listening Post this week, the media coverage of the Fritzl trial in Austria, and a look at the Arab Oprah phenomenon.

This week in the News Divide: the trial of Josef Fritzl. It is rare that a crime story - the kind that usually makes the front pages of tabloid newspapers - takes centre stage across the world's media. But that is what happened when hundreds of journalists and camera crews descended on a small town in Austria to witness the trial of Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned and raped his daughter in a dungeon for 24 years.

Fritzl admitted his guilt on all charges, but it was the reporting of what was happening outside the court that has caused controversy, because the world's media used the case to take a close - some would say unfair - look at Austria itself.

In part two, The Listening Post's Heba Ayoub on the Arab Oprah phenomenon.

It is one of the biggest shows on American TV - a ratings giant - and when Oprah Winfrey's 'tell-all' format transferred to Arab television - it became an immediate ratings hit across the Middle East.

Arab TV programmers sat up and took notice of the Oprah effect - and they soon came up with their own brand of home-grown imitations. Many talk shows have adopted Oprah's format, but in doing so they have given birth to some of the most ground-breaking programming the region has ever watched, turning formerly taboo topics into fodder for public discussion.

In this week's Newsbytes: the death of Iranian blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi while in a Tehran prison; the detention of two American journalists in North Korea; more repressive media laws on the agenda in Romania; The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper prints its last copy and moves completely online; and the British Broadcasting Corporation has also doubled its online budget.
Finally for our Internet video of the week: David Holmes, a flight attendant for US airline Southwest, raps and rhymes his way through an in-flight safety announcement - and he has become a web celebrity since his passengers began posting the videos over the internet.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, March 27, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera