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bron 2 miniblog

bron 2 miniblog

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Published by: xxanne_vervoortxx on Oct 12, 2011
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10/12/2011

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One Libyan Battle Is Fought in Social andNews Media
By EMAD MEKAYPublished: February 23, 2011
CAIRO — While Al-Jamahiriya, the Libyan state-owned television channel, was broadcastingnonstop patriotic songs, poetry recitations and rowdy rallies supporting the Libyan leader, Col.Muammar el-Qaddafi, on Tuesday,Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite channel based in Doha, was showing images of angry Libyan demonstrators throwing shoes at a giant street screen carryinglive pictures of Colonel Qaddafi’s speech.The contrast highlighted a fierce battle between Colonel Qaddafi’s supporters, who were usingthe state-run news media, and Libyan protesters, who were turning to social media and theforeign news media, to win over hearts and minds, inside and outsideLibya.This tug-of-war has been going on since a public uprising started on Feb. 17 calling forColonel Qaddafi’s ouster. His rivals have clearly made a global impression through multipleamateur video Web posts, visceral pictures, twitter posts and dozens of heartfelt interviews onArab television stations telling stories of a ruthless repression unleashed by troops loyal toColonel Qaddafi.But the Libyan leader, who has ruled this tribal society unopposed since 1969, hasdemonstrated that he will not easily be outmaneuvered. His television channels appealed onTuesday for amateur images showing support from his base and beseeched viewers to placethem online, too.Government channels have run a written appeal: “For the dear brothers whose hobby isphotography and video taping, please put up videos online that show the massive support forour beloved leader.”In Colonel Qaddafi’s all-out media counteroffensive, a sports channel and a music channel thatare popular among the young have instead been showing 24-hour programs of poetry reciterseulogizing his achievements and films of pro-government rallies waving his pictures.Al-Jamahiriya2, another government channel, hasbeen broadcasting patriotic songs describing Colonel Qaddafi as “father of the nation” and interviews with Libyans thanking him for all hehas done for the country over the four decades of his rule.Colonel Qaddafi has taken his media critics head-on. Minutes after Al Jazeera broadcast theshoe-throwing scenes, state-run Libyan television showed images of chanting crowds insultingAl Jazeera.“Oh you dirty lying Jazeera, we want none other than our leader,” shouted crowds of severalhundreds in what Al-Jamahiriya said was the central Green Square in Tripoli.
 
In a bold-font subtitle that filled half the screen, and referring to another Arabic-languagetelevision station, Al-Jamahiriya asked, “Why doesn’t Al Jazeera andAl Arabiyashow thethunderous voice of the Libyan people who support the leader of the revolution?”Pro-Qaddafi officials and analysts have been appearing on state television shows calling forcalm and “opening a dialogue.” They have reminded viewers that the Qaddafi government isspending “hundreds of millions” of dollars on making life better through investments ininfrastructure, roads, schools and universities. At the same time, taking their cue from ColonelQaddafi’s speech, in which he called the protesters “rats” and “mice,” they dismissed his criticsas “dogs and “criminals.”But some people associated with the Libyan news media say that after 41-years of ColonelQaddafi’s rule, the public has grown so used to official propaganda that no matter the scale of the new campaign, Libyans are unlikely to be much impressed.“Years of marketing Colonel Qaddafi using similar tactics made most of the official mediacarry little credibility,” said Khaled Mahmoud, who was previously bureau chief in Cairo forJana, the official Libyan news agency, and a correspondent for Libyan state television.“Those are heavily controlled media outlets,” Mr. Mahmoud said. “That’s why you see themtaking pictures only in limited areas. You’ll never see the Libyan TV cameras stepping outsideaffluent areas or touring the real side streets of Tripoli.”Official Libyan news media reactions to seven days of protests echoed those of Tunisia andEgypt in their first few days of demonstrations, when state-run channels attacked the foreignnews media and belittled pro-democracy protesters as “kids,” “saboteurs” and “foreign-fundedagents.”At one point during the Egyptian protests, state-run television and private channels owned bybackers of PresidentHosni Mubarakbroadcast reports that pro-democracy leaders had beenhandpicked by Israel and trained in the United States and Qatar to destabilize Egypt. The reportwas later found to have been planted by Mr. Mubarak’s state security police.The Qaddafi government has similarly painted the revolt as a foreign plot to destabilize thecountry.Jana reported this week that the Libyan government was fighting an “Israeli inspired” schemeto create anarchy. The report asserted that Israel was financing “separation forces” in the Arabregion and that there were no genuine popular grievances behind the protests.Al Shams, a newspaper controlled by an arm of the Libyan Information Ministry, reported onits Web site that the government had exposed “foreign network elements” in several Libyancities.Mr. Mahmoud, now an analyst on Libyan affairs, said opposition news media outlets werebased mainly in Europe and a few other Arab countries, with no presence in Libya. The mainways for the protesters to communicate with the outside world, he said, remain the online socialmedia and pan-Arab channels like Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, theBBCArabic service and AlHurra, which is financed by the United States.One of the most popular sites for the protesters has becomelibyaFeb17.com, whichcongregates twitter posts and helps to galvanize Colonel Qaddafi’s scattered opponents abroad

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