Covering Libya's first post-Gaddafi elections

As Libyans head to the polls, what are the challenges facing the country's fledgling independent media?

(Jamal Dajani, Internews Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, was interviewed for this Al Jazeera story on Libyan media.)

When Libyans vote in the country's first free elections in almost five decades, will they have had the benefit of a free and independent media to help them make an informed decision?

Since Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall, the country has seen a proliferation of news outlets, from print, broadcast and online. But after decades under Gaddafi’s state-run media machine, the transition to a free and open press has not been easy and for these relatively inexperienced journalists, the election will be their biggest challenge to date.

There are 142 registered political parties, more than 3,000 candidates on the ballot, and more than 100 media outlets that did not exist under Gaddafi, doing the reporting in a country with no modern tradition of critical journalism, to an electorate that has not cast a vote in a meaningful election in generations. So what could possibly go wrong?

In this week’s News Divide, we look at the difficulties facing the country’s burgeoning media scene as the country takes part in a landmark election.

This week’s Newsbytes: Syria’s media war claims its first high-profile defector; in Venezuela, a TV network critical of Hugo Chavez’s government bows down to pressure and pays a huge fine to stay on air; Sri Lankan authorities raid the premises of two major opposition news outlets - and one Twitter court case that could have implications for civil liberties in the age of new media.

The rise of Kashmir's media

The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has been a flashpoint on the sub-continent for more than six decades. It is a heavily militarised zone, with more than half a million troops stationed there. Despite the ongoing conflict, it receives little or no media attention.

The climate for local journalists is poor: they work under strict curfews, internet access is sporadic and text messaging services are regularly cut off. But anti-Indian protests in 2010 sparked a change in the media landscape. For the first time, a host of new voices were heard and since then Kashmiri bloggers, filmmakers and authors have taken their stories to India, Pakistan and beyond. In this week’s feature, the Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at the rise of Kashmir's alternative media voices.

Up until a few years ago, who even knew what that hashtag symbol on the computer keyboard actually was? Times have changed. When micro-blogging site Twitter exploded online, the symbol underwent its own revolution. Whether they were joining Iran’s Green Movement, or spreading the word about protests on Tahrier Square, or fanning the flames of anti-capitalist dissent in the Occupy movement – people connected through that one symbol. Now producer/songwriter Paul Nowell has penned a song that charts the once lowly key’s rise to stardom. His song is our web video of the week. We hope you enjoy the show.