Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Interesting outsider take on the London Riots on the Guardian live blog:
Nour Ali, a pseudonym for a journalist based in Damascus, reports:
Syrian media is largely focused on the domestic crisis, where a heavy crackdown against five months of protests is ongoing amid rising international pressure, but most outlets have covered the riots in London.
Most newspapers have run fairly straight news stories, often using material from the wires. Some reports describe the unrest as 'protests', others as 'riots'. Al-Watan, an independent daily newspaper close to the Syria regime, ran a front page story on Tuesday entitled '215 people detained and government threatens the "naughty" protesters'.
Official state media agency Sana reported the story under the headline 'Riots extend to a third British city'.
Syrian TV is putting greater emphasis on the idea that the military may be called in to restore order, Syrian analysts say, spinning what may happen in the UK to match events in Syria where the army have been heavily deployed around the country.
Presenters have reported that the mayor's office in London is asking for the military to intervene and that the police are asking families to prevent their sons from protesting."
Several things of interest beyond this, especially in the language used in government/police press releases, conferences and interviews.
  1. Cat-and-mouse rhetoric of violence from the police. "We may use baton rounds."
  2. Politicians shifting responsibility shifting from communities to parents to individuals and back again, as and when they deem appropriate.
  3. Home Office constantly topping official statements with references to the police's good work - morale presumably low.
  4. 'Reclaiming' of technologies with firstly #riotcleanup and then 'looter' tumblogs (Lootr?). (Be wary of this - what's the providence, does the photo show criminal activity?)
  5. This leaflet not sign of mass organisation - clearly adopted from a fairly standard demo leaflet seen at any protest. Have only seen one photograph of one leaflet, but thousands of tweets about it.
Watched three concurrent streams of international coverage last night - could have been three cities, such was the difference in presentation.

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