On The Listening Post this week: Following weeks of mass protests in Algeria, cracks in the official media narrative start to show. Plus, profiting from purpose in the world of advertising.

The media battle of Algiers

State-controlled media often fill their airtime with images of their leader to remind citizens who is in power. But in Algeria, those images are few and far between.

This past week, when the country's President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, withdrew his bid for a fifth term in office after three weeks of mass protests, the announcement did not come from Bouteflika himself because the 82-year old has been all but absent in national news since a stroke six years ago left him paralysed.

For news about the political uprising in the country's capital, Algiers, and beyond, Algerians have gone to social media where protesters have provided their own coverage.

Citizens have learned not to count on media aligned with the government, especially broadcasters, which have long been controlled by the state, and where criticism of the ailing ruler had been scarce.

But things are changing. Reporters at state-backed outlets have been criticising the journalism of their own channels. Marginalised voices, many of them banned from the airwaves, are being heard once again.


Nasser Weddady - Author, Arab Spring Dreams
Dalia Ghanem - Resident scholar, Carnegie Middle East Center
James McDougall - Author, A History of Algeria
Mourad Dhina - Member of Secretariat, Rachad Movement
Merouane Lounnas - Former host, Radio Algerie Internationale

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Marcela Pizarro about the livestreamed mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand; and how a doctored video out of Venezuela tricked much of the US media.

Purpose advertising: The best an ad can be?

In January 2019, a Gillette ad landed the company in some hot water. Jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon, and subsequent movement to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace, Gillette tweaked its sales slogan "the best a man can get" to "the best men can be", leading to an online backlash - accusing Gillette of appropriating a social movement for the sake of profit.

The ad formed part of a trend known in the industry as "purpose marketing". With product-focused campaigns no longer attracting the clicks, the likes and shares that advertisers crave, more and more of them are latching onto causes. Gillette is not the only brand to have such an ad backfire.

The Listening Post's Johanna Hoes looks at the challenge of striking a balance between purpose and profit.


Seth Godin - Author, This is Marketing
Lauren Coulman - CEO, Noisy Cricket Ltd and contributing writer, Forbes
Daniel Brindis - Forest campaign director, Greenpeace
Kit Yarrow - Consumer psychologist, Golden Gate University and author, Decoding the Consumer Mind

Source: Al Jazeera News