It’s no news that I’m a big fan of Al-Jazeera. Even if one argues that it is ‘one-sided’ (on the Mid East conflict perhaps?) I still feel adamantly that it offers different and more analytical perspectives on issues that are important to me that I would rarely find on BBC and CNN.
So for a quick overview on important topics that I’m currently following, I found the perfect news feature from Al-Jazeera’s Listening Post programme featuring stories on:
1) The recent murder of Pakistani journalist, Saleem Shahzad and the impact of this case on the media in this country. He was allegedly tortured and killed by Pakistan’s intelligence services because of his investigative journalism linking military agencies to Al Qaeda. I think it’s important for Westerners to understand the difficulties Pakistan and its people are experiencing. Yes, Osama is dead and gone, but Pakistanis and the Land of the Pure (the meaning of ‘Pakistan’ in Urdu) continue to suffer. Of course this story just touches the tip of the iceberg. One eye-opening fact from the piece – since the early nineties 94 journalists have been murdered in Pakistan, yet none of the cases have been brought to justice, except in one case: that of American journalist Daniel Pearl… reminding us that it is the local journalists who really run the greatest risks in getting their stories out there …
2) At 10:25 minutes into the video, we have the case of Amina Araf, the gay activist blogger from Damascus, Syria, now allegedly kidnapped and missing. I was following her outspoken blog where she discussed issues around being gay and the unfolding revolution in Syria… Now apparently, it is unclear whether she actually exists at all! The piece is just another fascinating reminder to take the info we get from the web with a grain of salt or two!
3) The issue of sexism on Italian TV (starting at 14:25 minutes) is just one of many reasons why Berlusconi needs to go … but of course the needed attitude changes around gender relations in Italy will take time even after his time. I do feel shame most of the time when I turn on Italian television.
Here is also a great piece in Newsweek magazine about sexism in the Italian media and society at large. A telling quote from the article: “According to the 2010 Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum, Italy ranks 74th in terms of women’s rights, behind Colombia, Peru, and Romania. Indicators include wage parity, labor-force participation, and domestic violence.”
So, what news are you following these days?
PS. In regards to my last post about suggestions on what to write about next, I chose to write a post on Pakistan… coming up soon… it’s more a personal reflection on my time spent there, sharing good memories etc… Meanwhile of course I got distracted by the news, duh!