tv Listening Post Al Jazeera December 20, 2015 6:30am-7:01am EST
and you're at "the listening post". here are some of the stories we are tackling, climate change, the coverage of an issue where politics, science and journalism meets. the reporter behind a big news story drives a cab. how did he break a storey that the maybe stream news media could not is the sale of this newspaper a sign that beijing is squeezing the life out of the freedom of the press in hong kong. and cruising youtube for raw political material. there are few news stories that have global implications. climate change has implications that are planetary. by nature it's a slow-moving story, a slow burn so to speak, requiring a big development, an event to attract the attention that it deserves, to top the news agenda. the united nations climate change conference, cop21 was such an event. political leaders, delegates, advocates and journalists flocked to paris.
anyone trying to assess the agreement reached could have concluded through the happy headlines, the self-congratulatory leaders, that it was job done. many scientists say that this deal is well short of what is needed to tackle the problem. why would the story be framed that way. starting with the obvious it reflected the will of the leaders. some of whom had a lot riding on it. it's reported geographically, bigging the question about how representative mainstream news narratives are when it comes to the places most affected by climate change. our starting point this week is paris journalists know all about deadlines, many of them deal with them every day, and the headlines they would publish are
probably prepared, the one they used if the political leaders in paris reached an agreement, and the one they had in case the conference failed. >> planners at media organizations find it easy to send journalists to big event where outcomes are expected. that's why you get a lot of coverage of summits, and mo not so much coverage of the underlying causes and the slowly changing circumstances. the atmosphere in that big hall was electric. i wouldn't blame journalist getting caught up in it. >> politicians are important in the agenda. when they talk about a leap for mankind. >> it's not an act for measure. that would make the news headlines. that's the kind of thing that the contemporary media love. >> it would be interesting to see the mirror between what
politicians were sailing, the media were saying. they echo a narrative. >> the "new york times" talking about it being a landmark. the bbc talking about it being the best chance to save the planet, and i think the headlines reflect more than in fact what was achieved at cop 21. >> journalists from the global south and the countries feeling the punishing effect of climate change saw the story differently. they wanted binding agreement in three areas. a hard coyne emissions re -- carbon emissions reduction target warming the trend. they didn't get it. the pledges agreed to are voluntary, not binding. they wanted firm legal recognition of the principle that the most polluting countries, that did 20%, must comment the countries paying the price. they didn't get it. they wanted a hard number, a
compensation fund flowing mostly north-south to help the people worst affected. the number was lower thab they wanted -- lower than they wanted. 100 billion a year, and the money has strings attacked. it's not a firm commitment. as internationalists put it, the agreement came down to what the wealthier countries were prepared to deliver. not what science and equity commands, a line that headlined writers in the developed more polluting world could have used, but didn't. >> the climate negotiations representatives every country in the world. that doesn't mean they have equal power. many of the poor and vulnerable countries have delegations of one, two, three people. and media, one or two people. the richer countries come with delegations of three, four, 500, and similar very powerful media
operations as well. people that vol the 24 hour cycle. to amplify the record. it makes a bit of difference. >> so in our part of the world, the climate change story from the human perspective. the fact that the condition african, and in zanzibar and nairobi are affected by the historical pollutant actions in the west. at left, it is not a thing of compensation. >> the narrative from media in the south, a demand for what is just is at odds with the idea contained in reporting from the north or west where the question is what is climate change. the western world, producing the bulk of the science concluding that carbon emissions are the
culprit, produces most of the journalism questioning the same scientific conclusions. do the news outlets take issue with the science, or is it the journalistic pursuit of objectivity. a flaw where the quest for balance results in violence. >> one of the factors is that we have largely a liberal press in the west. with climate change, it is difficult. the joins - there's a large con sensis. you need to create debate to bring in political commentators. >> they can talk via the internet sceptic. >> creating conflict that producers like. >> where you find skeptisism most in the media is the united states, the u.k. and australia.
what you think about it is politics. in u.k., like the male tore the sunday telegraph or the express group, they gave points. left wing newspapers will not. the same thing happens in the u.s.a. in australia mus papers reflect the departure. >> companies and multi national companies, people have an issue, there's differences between countries, and that states the kind of narrative. many are to protect the bottom line. >> if this is a journalistic exercise. that is not limited to the global north.
journalists from africa. >> on this story. >> the fund is agreed to in paris. it was not as big or demonstrated. the companies demanded and did not want to see them jeopardised by their own journalist telling this story like it is. >> the report quotes the representatives of african force. stating that they were not in paris. a few hours later, journalist from africa, because american documents wanted bilateral. and multilateral. we saw that as an affront on the african interest which we came to paris to defend. >> the bottom line being on the
reporting of the climate change story. all kinds of countries have their own bottom line on the climate change story, there are a number of websites filling the gaps left by the mainstream news media, providing different perspectives. carbon brief covers news relating to climate science and policy, as well as fact-checking stories in the news media, offering analysis and interviews including data and graphics. the nigeria based outlet covers the issue from an african point of view. covering issues from journalists, focussing on the affects of climate change on the lives of africans. an online news site is developed to climate change and sustainable development. it's based in uruguay. a country that produces 95% of its energy, and the stories
hong kong journalistic institution has a new owner. questions are asked about the independence of the newspaper, at a time when beijing is trying to tighten its control over hong kong. jack marr, controlling alibaba, they said the purchase is aimed at improving the global image, offering an alternative to the western news media. alibaba executive said that the morning post will be act stiff, accurate and fair. and that the editorial decisions will be generated by editors in the news rooms. we did a piece on the paper, in which concerns were being raised about the independence given that the south china post was owned by robert quac. egyptian authorities extended the incarceration of investigative journalists. and the in of workers behind
bars is at a high. alexander was arrested last month at the airport. he was living in turkey, and returned to egypt for family reasons. he is accused at releasing falls news, and joining a banned group, the muslim brotherhood. in his reporting, appearing in lebanese newspapers, he criticized the egyptian army's efforts to counter islamist groups in the sinai peninsula. in the past week photo journalist also known as shalkon appeared in court for the first time after 2.5 years in gaol, to hear that his trial was adjourned until february. he was arrested while covering clashes between egyptian government forces and supporters. according to the new york based press freedom organization, the committee to protect journalists, the numbers of gaoled media workers doubled since last year with 23 behind
bars. >> spain's gag law which journalists say amounts to state censorship is put to the legal tist at the european court of human rights. known as the sparnish citizen security law, it went into effect six months ago. it regulates the right to protest. where they occur and threaten the media with fines of up to 30,000 euros, for publishing police officers. three parallel lawsuits were filed with the court in strasburg by journalists affiliated with the group. to defend those who defend. it is no coincidence that the case was taken to straws burg. all pledge said to repeal the law. the decision on whether to hear the case is not expected for months. >> we are going to look at a big
news story. and the journalism that went into breaking the story. when ley can mcdonald was shot dead. police said the officer was aging in defense. and many went along with that account. >> the killing had been filmed on a dashboard camera, that the department did not want release. showing a white officer shooting mcdonald 16 times, emptying his gun as the young man walked away, after being tipped off by officials, a group of independent lawyers, journalists and activists, low on funding, high on determination, filed a lawsuit to get the video released. when it came out, it provoked an outcry. "the listening post" correspondent on the makeshift journalistic coalition that managed to succeed where the main stream media fail.
getting the truth out. getting the story a journalist who makes a living by doing a bit of cab driving on the side and broke a story that put the chicago police and mayor, and post racial america on the dock. because it was smith working alongside activists and lawyers who filed a successful lawsuit to get a video released under the freedom of information act. video that the police wanted varied. evidence that the teenager was shot not once, but 16 times, the contents of an automatic. and proof that police lied about his death.
sniff it was denied. a friend of mine that was a lawyer got in touch and said this person wants to know if you can help get the video out. >> i told reporters and journalists that brandon was the one that took the initiative to look into more. members of the national american community come with information like this, they will respect it to look more into it. smith was not the on one. 15 other media outlets did the same. main stream outlets chose to push no further. >> the city, state, local entity, they get away with these things saying it's under investigation. we can request the video it
comes down to are you willing to sue to give it. >> there is something in the order of 40-50 police shootings, and routinely they are reported the same way. it's like a recipe. neighbourhood. african american victim. it evaporates. in illinois, the provision is that attorneys can maintain employment from the government. independence like me don't have to save up our money to pay a lawyer. in this case, they decided this is a good case. i think we can win it. let's bring it against the city. ultimately we did win it. smith's lawsuit was the last chapter in an effort to break the story.
there was also jamie calvin, director of the invisible institute that tracks violence, working with lawyers. it would have first, with the autopsy reports shown 16 shots to mcdonald's body. on november 23rd, the judge ordered the release. before they made it public... >> a veteran chicago police officer has been charged with first degree murder. >> officer van dyk was charged 13 months after the shooting. when the video came out. people saw why. everyone from the mayor to the police chief that the mayor fired, had questions to answer. brandon smith was not allowed into the press conference. apparently he had no accreditation. he tweeted to reporters inside. to a face under investigation, by the u.s. federal department of justice. >> it's been a narrative
phenomena, chipping away at the city's account of what happened. the video becomes public, and the degree to which that has rocked the city, and opened up penalties that we could hardly imagine - we are all absorbing the moment. >> the video - a lot of these things were kept out of reporters hands. the main reason is it makes them have to answer uncomfortable questions. >> if we come with the questions, sometimes their best course of action is to stall until something else pops up in the 24 hour cycle and it's forgotten. >> forgotten or glossed over. if you are a reporter working in the chicago tribune, the sun times, c.b.s. chicago, there may be sources at the city hall that you may want to preserve, access that you may want to compromise,
which is why stories by the police are better told by journalists working outside the main stream institution. >> it's a good question to ask of mainstream news organizations. are you too close to your source. the idea being that reporters don't want to rock the boat. they rely on the people to give them the information they need to make content. takes a tremendous amount of energy to move against that gravitational field, and i think the press generally has, without a lot of reflection, found it easier just to public the police blotter, and couple that with a kind of submerged racism, i think these are the most important stories in the city. judging by the allocation of resources and manpower by the major media, until it becomes a big story like mcdonald has.
that's not the case, it's not the institutional commitment to cover the issues. >> commitment and resources. in the past year the chicago said it would cut as much as 22" of its staff. the tribune 7%. the latest cut barks, as revenue continues to drop and circulation to decline. then there's local tv affiliates in chicago, media powerhouses with no lack of diversity, and slave to the laws of the news markets. perhaps a slow-moving story like the edmonton case was not seen as -- mcdonald's case was not seen as a ratings winner. >> producers and owners of the networks are more caught up with current events, as a requirement. it happened over a year ago. the main stream media gets too much out of what is happening
right now. >> we will go back to the question. what are the values, what is the fundamental sense of location. we have a moment. there was a recognition in this post ferguson era. that the issues of economics inequality, radical structural equality is enforced by patterns of police policies and abuses. these are the central issues in life. >> i think the question for journalism is are we equal to that moment brandon smith took up that challenge, and he may end up with a job and his own byline at a big paper in chicago as a result. at which time the question would become will he be able to, will he be allowed to do the kind of journalism that got him there when he gets there?
under u.s. election wars. they cannot talks with super pacts directly. the official campaigns post raw footage of candidates and families for super pacts to download and use in their ads. journalists had a field day as it's sprinkled with awkward outtakes, staged hugs, smalt si scenes. >> i'm thinking. >> are we rolling. >> we are still rolling... >> i'm ted cruz, we have approved this message. >> a little faster. >> see you next time here at the "the listening post".