The Listening Post

Iraq protests: Taking on the establishment, fighting to be heard

Iraqi protesters fight to express their dissent. Plus, two brothers, two media outlets, one family feud in Poland.

On The Listening Post this week: Even as they face gunfire on the streets, Iraqis have been fighting to put their story out. Plus, two brothers, two media outlets, one family feud in Poland.

Iraqi protesters take on the establishment, fight to be heard

Iraq‘s protests started small, but escalated quickly. Social media can have that effect. Then came the security crackdown across the country, including the use of live ammunition.

More than 100 protesters have been killed, as many as 6,000 wounded and a number of news organisations attacked.

Iraqi protesters are demanding an overhaul of the political system and, given the scale of the protests, it is little wonder that politicians, the security forces they control and the media outlets they own are closing ranks to protect the status quo.


Aida al-Kaisy – senior teaching fellow, SOAS

Bilal Wahab – fellow, The Washington Institute

Renad Mansour – research fellow, MENA Programme, Chatham House

Azhar Rubaie – journalist

On our radar:

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about the American comedian who tried to justify her friendship with former US president George W Bush, only to see it backfire online.

 A Tale of Two Brothers: Poland, Politics and The Press

The populist Law and Justice party of Poland is hoping for re-election, and among the tools at its disposal to secure victory is the public broadcaster, Telewizja Polska (TVP).

The head of TVP, Jacek Kurski, is more than just loyal to the ruling party – he has made sweeping changes, turning the network into a propaganda machine that his political masters now rely on.

But Jacek is not the only Kurski in the media business in Poland – his older brother, Jaroslaw, effectively runs the country’s biggest opposition newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza. Think ‘Family Feud’, only one with political and media angles.

The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips reports on how the story of these two brothers and the media outlets they run reflects a deeply divided country.


Jarosław Kurski – first deputy editor-in-chief, Gazeta Wyborcza

Agata Szczesniak – journalist,

Krzysztof Skowronski – host, TVP and president, Polish Journalists Association

Rafal Kalukin – journalist, Polityka