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Fixer Blues

The Prince Who Only Charms Journalists

Though they are one of the world’s most authoritarian and dangerous regimes, the family that rules the self-titled Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gets a remarkably free pass from the international media. In this close look at the scheming of the kingdom’s deputy crown prince, who is angling to jump the line of succession and succeed his aging father, Al-Akhbar’s Sabah Ayyoub shows how the millions of dollars the kingdom’s rulers spend on American public relations firms every year bend the western press to serve their interests.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman regularly invites western journalists to visit him in his Riyadh office

The Gulenists Are Everywhere!

A month after the Turkish army failed to overthrow the country’s democratically elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an enormous and unprecedented witch-hunt against all potential dissenters is overrunning the country. A general atmosphere of hysteria has seized the Turkish press where most recently accounts of shady secret witnesses -called “confessionists”- are flourishing.

In the past month since the coup attempt of July 15 against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, followed by a massive crackdown

Tulum: Expelled From Eden at the Point of a Baton

The New York Times dropped by the Mexican resort town of Tulum recently, to report on the pitiable story of a group of Western expatriates who were in June thrown out of the beach villas and private hotels they thought they owned by armed men. Tulum, baptized a kind of antediluvian Eden of healing centers and beachfront palapas in a recent Times feature, is on Mexico’s Yucatan coast.

Although the shell-shocked foreigners in the Times story, still stumbling around in their pajama bottoms months after their eviction tell him they are stunned at what has happened to them

Bilingual, Bipolar, and Deeply Schizophrenic: Diagnosing Pakistan’s Press

The language Pakistani newspapers are published in dictates the very way reporters and columnists look at facts, writes C.M. Naim in Tanqeed. It’s a cynical calculation: even when two newspapers are published by the same tycoon, or, absurdly, two columns by the same writer, the “posture of moderation” in the English papers is matched by the unabashedly extremist opinions of the Urdu papers.

An editorial—‘Into the Open’—in the Express-Tribune of December 16, 2014, begins:

Who Dares to Stand Up to the Kingdom of Cruelty?

Unable to decisively win their open war in Yemen, or their proxy war in Syria, Saudi Arabia is opening a new front in Lebanon. They have withdrawn their investments, ordered their citizens to avoid its tourist-dependent economy, and coerced most members of the Arab League into voting to classify Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. And now their local proxies have tried to shut down one of the country’s most prominent newspapers, Al-Akhbar. Here, Al-Akhbar’s editor pens a furious response:

The Saud family is facing the tangible possibility of complete military, political and economic collapse

Fishing for Refugees East of the Rhine

A fabricated media spectacle of compassion: Daniel Schneidermann on the mixed French reaction to the refugee crisis of last week(previously on IB), and on the mixed refugee reaction to France as well. The refugees are not particularly eager to come to France, and unlike Germany and England, there have been no spontaneous French welcoming parties either. Finally, even the nice rooms being prepared for the refugees on camera this month are pure show, as should be clear from the grim refugee shantytown the French state has ordained for long-term asylum seekers at Calais.

Well, this takes the cake.

On Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, A Tropical Despot, A Murdered Journalist

When photojournalist Ruben Espinosa was tortured to death in a Mexico City apartment last week, along with four women who happened to be in the home where he was staying, he became the seventh Mexican journalist killed this year. From Sin Embargo, the last interview with Espinosa, recorded after he fled the coastal city of Veracuz for the false protection of anonymity in the capitol.

For almost a month, photojournalist Ruben Espinosa Becerril has been living in Mexico City, the victim of threats that obligated him into self-exile.

Atlas of Obedience

The way each country’s media draws its maps of the civil war in Syria dictates how readers imagine the conflict should be ‘solved.’ And these maps, as  French political scientist Lucile Housseau shows here, largely follow the political and diplomatic positions of each country’s leaders.

Maps are not impartial documents, and even less so when they depict armed conflicts. In the following discussion, we look at a number of maps depicting the conflict in Syria.

‘Russians Are Volcanoes With Snow-Covered Slopes’

For more than a decade one of the finest foreign correspondents in Russia, El Mundo’s Daniel Utrilla last year quit his job and went native. Here, excerpts from a much longer interview he gave to Spain’s Jot Down magazine: observations by a Russophile in an increasingly Russophobic world:

I was having dinner the other day with a friend, and she said this sentence that struck me; for me it perfectly defines the Russian soul. She said, “We’ll go back to eating potatoes if we have to, but we’ll still be with Putin.”

Bedtime Stories for Little Cosmopolitans

From the virtual border between Buenos Aires and Barcelona, Orsai magazine shone very brightly for 16 dazzling issues. Until this year, when its editor Hernan Casciari suddenly extinguished it to open -of all things-a children’s magazine. There is a real flowering of narrative journalism in Latin America at the moment: dozens of new publications with a flair for literary, beautifully written reporting have sprung up from Mexico City to Santiago; here, one of the form’s most brilliant exponents tells Buensalvaje’s Luis Pacora about his unusual effort to extend the medium to children:

It is 3 am in the peaceful village of Barcelona.

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