On The Listening Post this week: Turkish and Russian media put their own spin on the battle in Idlib. Plus, travel vloggers with special access in Pakistan.

Idlib: Battle on the Ground, Battle on the Airwaves

It was a bilateral meeting that came at a tense time. But it resulted in a ceasefire in Syria - specifically in Idlib in the northwest. Neither of the two leaders in front of the cameras, however, were Syrian.

There was the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the media battle to shape global perceptions, Russia has Sputnik - a state-owned news outlet operating in Turkish amongst other languages.

Turkey has TRT World, the state-owned broadcaster with its own story to tell. This conflict - given its various proxy players and objectives - has never been easy for outsiders to understand.

And the news now coming out of Turkey and Russia - and the competing narratives - are not helping.


Ragip Soylu - Turkey correspondent, Middle East Eye

Mahir Boztepe - Editor-in-chief, Sputnik Turkiye

Yusuf Erim - Editor-at-large, TRT World

Ilya Yablokov - Lecturer, Leeds University

On our radar:

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Nic Muirhead about the "infodemic" of misinformation regarding coronavirus that is going viral on social media.

Pakistan's New Look: The foreign vloggers rebranding the country online

Travel vlogging; a sub-genre of social media that generates millions of dollars through billions of clicks, and for some of the countries visited, provides a golden PR opportunity.

For instance, take Pakistan, a country desperate to shed its image as too dangerous for tourists. Enter the influencers; if you subscribe to vloggers like Rosie Gabrielle, Jordan Taylor and Eva zu Beck, you will have seen a very different side of Pakistan.

A lot of this content comes with the approval of a government out to capitalise on the PR potential - photogenic white visitors with huge online audiences.

The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi tells the story behind Pakistan's social media makeover.


Ahmer Naqvi - Karachi-based cultural critic

Aneeqa Ali - Lahore-based travel agent

Eva zu Beck - Travel vlogger

Syed Zulfikar Bukhari - Chairman, National Tourism Coordination Board

Source: Al Jazeera News