Front pages reviewed at midnight: Monday 21 February 2011

Libya is the story of the moment but what is interesting is that none of the nationals have anyone in Benghazi or even Tripoli. This is because all Visa requests are being turned down so anyone trying to get there is struggling. To make things worse the Libyans are interfering with internet and television signal, so Al Jazeera is also down. So tonight’s papers all, bar the Telegraph, splash with a story about Libya written largely in London.

The Guardian – “Libya defiant as hundreds feared dead”

The Guardian does it somewhat as a round-up piece, talking about other parts of the Middle East before going on to explain the situation in Libya in more detail. By half way through the second column it has run out of concrete news and resorts back to general phrases like: “Libya, once treated as a pariah, has been
embraced by western countries hungry for oil since Gaddafi abandoned his support for terrorism but there has been very little easing of domestic repression.”

The Daily Mail – “Bloodbath that shames Britain”

Possibly the most interesting angle is taken by the Mail, who focus on the “cozy links” between the UK and Libya. Another interesting issue, not mentioned by The Mail, is that many of the mercenaries used by Libya are believed to be Africans who were refused asylum in Europe and sent to Libya.

The Independent – “Benghazi defies Gaddafi” The Indy tries to do a proper news story of the latest events in Libya with phrases like “desribed by scores of eyewitnesses as a massacre”. It is hard, however, as there are no direct quotes from people in the square to bring the story to life.

The Times – “Libya rises up in fresh challenge to Gaddafi” The Times tries to get the colour I said the Indy piece was lacking by adding in quotes from people interviewed on Al Jazeera. Works well, actually, though the article does admit it is struggling for stories – “The regime’s almost total communications blackout meant that it was impossible to verify the reports.”

The Telegraph – “Cameron’s public sector revolution”

Since the revolution began in Tunisia two months ago I am pretty sure I could count the number of times the Middle East has been the Telegraph’s top story on one hand. The paper leads with David Cameron’s latest ‘announcement’ that “private companies, voluntary groups and charities will be given the right to run schools, hospitals and vast swathes of council services under ambitious plans to end the “state’s monopoly” over public sector work”. We already knew this, no? There is no news here. They are just avoiding Libya to make a point…

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