journalism

Within two minutes of crossing from Turkey into Syria, I’m on the back of a motorbike being given a lift to a Free Syrian Army press office. It turns out to be a forty second ride but I might have missed it otherwise. It’s just a little prefab house across the road from a refugee camp, but it’s here that I’ve been told I can get some basic information and hire a translator.

In late May, protesters descended on Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. At first, there was a small sit-in over re-development plans that would have it, one of the few parks in European Istanbul. After months of unsuccessful petitioning to save the park, activists took to camping out there to prevent the demolition. Police removed them by force, setting their encampment on fire in the process.

September 25, 2013

This week on the Listening Post: Presidents, propaganda and channelling the media to get the message out: a look at the similarities and differences between Syria in 2013 and Iraq 10 years ago. As the crisis in Syria deepens, the diplomatic battle outside the country – being fought out in the global media – intensifies.

In many ways, the Middle East makes a strange -- and at times perilous -- hotbed for caricature. Many of the region's leaders have a poor reputation for humor, and often, the list of banned topics makes for a long read. For those that dare to satirize a taboo, the punishments can be harsh: arrest, torture, exile, even death.

Fars News Agency, the state-run Iranian news outlet famous for picking up an Onion story and presenting it as news, has apparently decided that plagiarizing satirical articles isn't brazen enough. On Thursday, the news agency's editors reprinted a Foreign Policy article on the debate over chemical weapons in Syria.

When one of South Africa’s biggest newspaper chains was sold last month, an odd name was buried in the list of new owners: China International Television Corp. A major stake in a South African newspaper group might seem an unusual acquisition for Chinese state television, but it was no mystery to anyone who has watched the rapid expansion of China’s media empire across Africa.

My heart is in my throat. I haven't taken a full breath for 24 hours. On the horizon is the sight I'd been hoping to avoid: black flags and men in smocks with AK-47s slung casually over their shoulders—which means a checkpoint manned by jihadist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a.k.a. ISIS, a.k.a. the latest and most feared incarnation of al-Qaeda in Syria.

Six years of unremitting headlines on extreme violence and rampant crime has sullied Mexico’s reputation abroad. Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and his confrontational “War on Drugs” grew increasingly unpopular over the years, resulting in the 2012 election of opposition party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, who espoused a new security strategy and vision for Mexico.

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