On The Listening Post this week: Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko faked his death to escape his killers but his stunt could cause problems for the media. Plus, nostalgia producers in Iranian diaspora media.
Playing dead: Arkady Babchenko and post-truth conflict
Last week, news spread of the murder of a Russian dissident journalist Arkahdy Babchenko, shot and killed outside his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine. Except as we all now know, it never happened. Babchenko said he faked his own death as part of an operation alongside Ukrainian security services to thwart a plot to kill him. He said it was about survival, but media freedom advocates have been critical saying the stunt undermined Ukraine’s credibility and could have serious consequences for other journalists down the road.
Ayder Muzhdabaev, deputy director general, ATR Television Network
Nina Ognianova, Committee to Protect Journalists
Alexei Kuznetsov, deputy news editor, RT
Mark Galeotti, Institute of International Relations, Prague
On our radar
Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Will Yong about the British government’s decision to allow Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to buy the rest of the European satellite broadcaster Sky, but there are strings attached; and in Uganda, new legislation could soon see a special tax imposed on social media users.
Producing nostalgia: Iranian Diaspora TV’s rebranding of the Shah
All broadcasters in the Islamic Republic of Iran are state owned and operated, which means much of the programming can be a bit dull. Despite a ban on satellite receivers tuned into broadcasts from overseas, foreign channels, many of them run by members of Iran’s widespread diaspora are watched illegally, within the country.
Some of these satellite channels, like UK-based Manoto TV, have pioneered a genre of television you could call ‘nostalgia TV’ – documentaries and entertainment programmes that harken back more than three decades to when Iran was ruled by the Pahlavi monarchy.
The Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at the Iranian diaspora media and the rose-tinting of Iran’s pre-revolutionary history.
Niki Akhavan, assistant professor of media, Catholic University of America
Ali Ansari, history professor, University of St Andrews
Nazenin Ansari, managing editor, Kayhan London
Mostafa Azizi, TV producer
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