tv Listening Post Al Jazeera November 17, 2013 11:30am-12:01pm EST
winter olympics this week we're going to take a look at the international side of this issue. the global presence in china has nearly doubled. the value that news organizations place on the story unfolding there. and there is concern over what gets covered. on november 7th it was reported that the new york based bloomberg news agency had self censored reports on senior ties of government officials because it could have jeopardized bloomberg's working relationship with the chinese. that bloomberg denies. china does have the second largest economy, an and bloombeg has already taken a hit in china. it's website is down and has been ever since another exposé that it did last year on the private wealth of relatives of china's leader.
and in our last story out of china, we spoke with chinese academics. this time four chinese voices that international news organizations that to make to report the news in china. >> there has been increased scrutiny of media in china. >> despite china's ken sores apparatus, news comes back in. >> they try to make sure that people are apprehensive, and you're always looking over your shoulder. >> bloomberg news has had reason to look over its shoulder in china ever since last year when it ran an explosive piece on journalism on the man about to take charge of the communist party.
he held acces held assets world $2 billion. the message was clear. the damage was done and bloomberg threw in a quote for good measure about the ruling party, corruption and family. rein in your spouses, children, relatives and staff, he said, and vow not to use power for personal gain. all aroun around the world our r leaders in politics have family members who benefit from their connections in the country. china is no different. but what is different is that the chinese government and the communist party are trying to set themselves up as this model where everyone is equal. people are in position of power don't get favors, and they're trying to crackdown on corruption. and what the bloomberg report did was expose in numbers the extent of family members and
senior politicians and the incoming president of children, xi jingping. >> the implication is how did their families become so wealthy, and their families have benefited from their connection with senior officials, and so the government was quite upset. >> the china reacted directly. the ambassador to the u.s. urged them not to run the story, although they did in the end. and afterwards there was retaliation in terms of the sale of they are terminal. the website was blocked. they don't have a lot of readership in china, but if they do want readership in china they're not going to have access if they are going to run stories
like this. >> reporter: the power of the family's controlling assets worth $2.7 billion. and it's website was locked as well. the times also played a role in that. in a story first reported in taiwan and then extensively in "the new york times" it was alleged that bloomberg spiked the story it had been working on for a year to the ties china's richest man. the times reported the story was ready for publication but that bloomberg's editor in chief killed it and told colleagues on a conference call that to run the story would jeopardize a bloomberg's position in china. bloomberg denies the story. and the financial times
hong kong correspondent reported the same story quoting sources inside bloomberg. >> i spent a lot of time going back and forth with bloomberg and mr. winkler and put the question to him, why do you think you'll be kicked out of china if you run these stories. and for a man who encourages his reporters to be very aggressive when talking to business leaders he was reluctant to give more than a short and simple answer. >> the stories we've seen out of china means that there are more chinese people who can read english and other foreign languages, and therefore it becomes more important for the chinese government from its perspective. first the change we're seeing that the chinese government is aware of the fact that a lot is being written and contradicts the image of itself that it wants to promote. that is why it's being
restrictive and more aggressive in terms of attacking western media . >> reporter: the other touch card beijing occasionally plays against the journalists is the visa. in the past two years it has denied or significantly delayed issuing visas to bloomberg, "new york times," al jazeera, and reuters among others. and in the reuters case the reporter is known in the business as an old china hand. >> i was there for 18 years. i was never called in, reprimanded. they never said anything to me. i was a bit surprised that my application for a visa was turned down. they gave no reason. they issued a statement saying that it was in accordance with chinese laws. they didn't say what laws i had broken. >> every now and then they do something like this as a warning signal to others, and the victim they choose to do it to, it's almost random. it's just to keep everyone on
their toes and to remind everybody, hang on, there is still a bottom line you can't cross, and if we get angry with you we can do this to you, and there is nothing you can do against it. >> we're seeing situation where is it's not individual journalists because of their reporting that is being denied, delayed, having their visa delayed. but someone will be told we're not processing your visa because of something that your predecessor wrote, o so you stat to see these kinds of responses and reactions that really have a collective impact on th on the media organization as a whole. >> reporter: there are no interviews in chinese officials in this report. it wasn't for lack of trying. we contacted the press center, which did not respond. neither did one other department. beijing's ministry of propaganda. but with a name like that is an
official comment really even necessary? our global village voices now on international news outlets and the coverage of china. >> news reports about china can be considered relatively lazy. in general reporting falls into one of two categories, either of china as a huge, you know, powerful economic economic leviathon. and in reality it's much more nuanced. >> you have to take into account from all over the world. it's only partially due to the social civility. the there is a system in which nowadays the
the stream is uniquely interactive television. in fact, we depend on you, your ideas, your concerns. >> all these folks are making a whole lot of money. >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> i think you've offended everyone with that kathy. >> hold on, there's some room to offend people, i'm here. >> we have a right to know what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream. >> and join the conversation online @ajamstream.
accused of being among the leaders of the marxist, leninist parties. jailed for seven and a half years all the reporters were arrested seven years ago and have been imprisoned ever since. reporters without borders is calling for the release of the four and said these extremely harsh sentences have ended a trial marked by violations of defense rights and long pretrial detention for the main defendants. what happened to the presumption of innocence? the mlkp has been charged with alleged links to pkk. according to the latest figures at least 49 are behind bars. in thailand a web master has lost an appeal against a conviction of the country's controversial internet law in a
legal case that triggered the debate of freedom of expression online. they upheld an eight month jail sentence. first arrested and found guilty of not removing comments from her website that were deemed insulting to the royal family. that sentence was reduced to eight months last year but the appeal court agreed that she had violated articles 14 and 125 of the computer crimes act which punishes anyone who publishes false data that, quote, damage a third party, cause public panic. the time morchoy is a haul that prevents anyone to criticize the royal family. it simply extended that law to the britain. greek riot police have been
criticized for convicted employees who had been held up in a station for five months ever since the greek government announced they were closing down the broadcaster for wasteful spending. riot police stormed the building and used tear gas to disperse the crowd and made a series of arrests. the government spokesmen said that the government wanted to apply the law and restore legality, and the building had been under illegal occupation. erts ex-workers continue to broadcast online on this website after their eviction. greece now has another broadcast who are has been on the air since august. we spend a lot of time
news reporter. columbian s produce a lot of soap at are as. they're changing. away from fairy tales and family drama, klum columbia is now producing grittier fair. stories about narco trafficking, which has been a huge hit. but one story about a crime family upset a lot of people. they dramatized the castaño brothers. they made heroes out of murderers and drug traffickers, and ignored the voices of their victims. but the ratings are too good to die out any time soon. narcoo... novellass and the historical baggage that is weighing them down. >> for years it has been a
staple for tv viewers around latin america. cinderella storylines, melodramatic close ups, and episodic build ups to the happily ever after. but that narrative rehashed, and rerun got old, and audiences got tired. then came the narco novella. glamorous thrillers on the drug world. a genre revamped, raising the ratings. >> people got board with the lack of innovation, and around seven years ago we started producing narco novel l as. tv really became a window of our world and it has been popular ever since.
>> in columbia has always been the dramas stand out from latin america. it's amazing how a narco trafficker captivates audiences. they're human and that's why people fall in love with them. >> television has the power to build social imagine nears and construct the way people see the world. the problems is the vision for success is to get it at all costs. for narcos and politicians. and that has had a very damaging impact on colombian society. me they will always have their critics, but this year it sparked a new kind of controversy because the story went to the heart of columbia's painful political history.
it tells the story of the castaño brothers, of the para paramilitary groups. they killed thousands and were knee deep with the political elite. but it didn't sit well with the journalist who is tried to tell the real story. >> the problem is that the castaño brothers are presented as heroes. their evil sides are shown, into, that's true, but those of us who make films know that public feels more empathetic with those who are on screen the most. when a story is complicated, the stories get
distorted. >> when there is criticism we have to listen to t and some people told me that they felt under represented, and i should you. but there is no way that they would have bought it because they want the famous figures etched on the colombian psyche. if there was a story about someone who was displaced, it doesn't have the same effective. >> on the one hand the series apologizes by giving them the status of sex symbols. on the other victims come across as wide-eyed innocents who didn't understand what they were doing. all those clichés are offensive because the political opposition comes across as totally idiot ic. >> a latin politician was murdered in 1989 by paramilitary forces. when it hit tv screens, there
were campaigns to get sponsors to pull their advertisings. the five major brands including nivea withdrew their adds on primetime slots. >> these kinds of campaigns undermine figure of expression. the ratings proved that a lot of people want to see these shows. so people who don't need to use the remote control and change the channel. they shouldn't stop other people watching a true story of our country. >> in the context of such a violent history the two main private channels have a massive social responsibility. they can't say if you don't like it, turn over it. recently there have been afte an avalanche of these shows. enough is enough.
>> withdrawing advertising is not censorship. the goal is to sale. in defense they're just giving people what they want. like fast food sellers who say their food must be good because they buy it despite proof that junk food has no nutrients. >> they take dramatic license. they exaggerate if necessary and edit things out. it's up to the news media to tell the true story. the problem is news outlets in columbia have shied away covering all signs of what columbian have been defining conflicts. some journalists who have tried have found themselves in trouble. homer morris is one of them. he has been covering columbia for decades. he has faced death threats and smear campaigns who falsely accused morris of having ties with a guerrilla.
he's now director of a public broadcaster. >> i think that private tv have a social responsibility, and in a country like colombia which has the second worst humanitarian record in the world, with 50,000 people disappear to a large extent due to the actions of the castaño brothers, that social responsibility needs to take the form of another type of drama, one about our history, our victim, i which has never been taken into consideration in this country. quite the opposite, they were ignored. >> you have to distinguish how different genres have covered this conflict. one is the news media. there have been reports that have given victims' accounts. but the problem with these commercial channels they have blurred the fact to produce fiction. >> these channels are taking
advantage of a political story to produce narco dramas, and they're forgetting to respect the dignity of the victims. when it comes to historical memory in this country we demand a socially responsible media. because what is at stake are the rights of the victim and justice to pave the way of peace. >> with a knew narco novellas in production, that seems unlikely. for the time being this is the expert that may not be all that good for. >> you more global voices on columbia and the narco novellas all over latin america.
>> it is not normal that people have to tell televisions that they're doing something wrong. censorship is the worse thing. i think it's good that the responsibility comes from normal people. our children cannot grow up seeing that being a criminal is good. >> every weeknight on al jazeera america change the way you look at news at 9 pm with an encore at midnight, go deeper on the nations top stories with america tonight >> a fresh take on the stories that connect to you... >> investigative journalism that's engaging,
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>> finally for the second straight week we have a web video of the week that was shot in a subway system. last time it was new york. this time it's moscow. the winter olympics are coming up in sochi, and they came up with an idea of marketing with a fitness program. this station spotted a new machine that offered free subway tickets in exchange for a little exercise. passengers could save 30 rubles by doing 30 leg squats, and it's our viral video of the week. we'll see you next time at the "listening post. ".
welcome to "al jazeera america." i'm richelle carey. here are the stories we're following for you. the leaders of france and israel talk tough on iran's nuclear program. pakistan's government to put ex-president musharraf on trial for treason. the philippine president accuses some local officials for not being ready for haiyan. and president obama struggles to safe his health care plan. let's begin with the breaking news out of russia. a