On The Listening Post this week, Saudi Arabia's Middle East power play as seen across the region's media. Plus, the lock-down facing journalists trying to cover refugees on Manus Island.

Lebanon's PM and Saudi Arabia's power play

In just two weeks, the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman has upended both the domestic and the regional balance of power with a series of moves that have left observers struggling to keep up.

Regional media have reported the resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the arrest of dozens of princes and businessmen and the threat of regional conflict through the political positions that they bring to the mix.

International media have also shown their colours by selectively seeing what they want to see in the new prince.

"I do not have the patience to listen to the overt propaganda of the Saudi channels. So I'm not a follower of Al Arabiya or of Al Jazeera which is the Qatari-based channel. But what struck me more and what upset me more was the propaganda coming from western media. That I found to be quite surprising and truly yellow journalism," Rania Masri, an academic and writer, told The Listening Post.

Rania Masri, academic and writer
Habib Battah, editor, BeirutReport.com and journalism lecturer at the American University of Beirut
As'ad Abukhalil, professor, California State University, Stanislaus
David Hearst, editor, Middle East Eye

On our radar

  • Zimbabwe's army seizes the state broadcaster as it moves to take control of the country's succession.
  • Julian Assange trolls Trump Jr while defending WikiLeaks' journalism.
  • Venezuela's new media law raises heckles from press freedom activists.

Covering Manus Island

Last year, Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court ruled that Australia's imprisonment of asylum seekers on the island of Manus was illegal and ordered the closure of the camp.

Unfortunately, the story attracted little attention since Australia's offshore "processing centres" for asylum seekers have operated largely under a shroud of secrecy.

Journalists trying to report on conditions at the prisons have been blocked at every turn by the governments involved.

Eighteen months since that court ruling, the Manus Island camp has closed but the refugees are refusing to leave fearing attacks by local people.

The Listening Post's Johanna Hoes returns to the story of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.

Elaine Pearson, director, HRW Australia
Paul Farrell, senior reporter, Buzzfeed Australia
Matthew Abbott, documentary photographer
Amir Taghinia, former Manus refugee
Behrouz Boochani, refugee

Source: Al Jazeera