The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Pro-Style Journalism at Now Lebanon: Ana Maria Luca, Barada TV and Wikileaks

Now Lebanon wants to be taken seriously as both an earnest effort at reporting on and defending human rights and freedom AS WELL AS being an objective news outlet. Ana Maria Luca’s reporting below is yet another reason why it is largely seen, instead, as a polemical effort which routinely contradicts its stated, lofty goals.

Reporting on and trying to exaggerate the supposed downplaying of syrian protests by arab and western media (I mean come on, has she not heard about what is going on at Jazeera? And does she really think “western academics” who argue for a non-Bush/Neocon approach to Syria – or who say that Bashar’s Resistance Axis policies are actually popular – are really the influential ones… REALLY?), she writes:

“….Malik al Abdeh, a British journalist of Syrian origin and editor-in-chief of Barada TV, says that the lack of access to information and self-censorship by reporters who have been threatened by the regime are important obstacles to the coverage of the protests, but not the only ones.

The main reason is that the events in towns across the country were not framed as a revolution, as was the Egyptian Spring, but as a reform movement, he said.

Even the demonstrators themselves had a role in the media framing their protests in that light, he said. “When it began, protesters avoided saying they wanted the downfall of Bashar al-Assad, but they were asking for reforms. Even the BBC and Al Jazeera were calling them ‘pro-reform’ demonstrators as opposed to ‘anti-regime demonstrators’,” he added.

Another reason Abdeh said the Syrian protests were less present in media was that most opinion leaders were skeptical that a revolution was possible under Bashar al-Assad’s rule. “The Syria watchers were not prepared for the Syrian uprising at all. Academics in the West who wrote about Syria always held the belief that change in Syria would be difficult, that Bashar al-Assad is popular in the country. That was the general perception within foreign policy circles,” he told NOW Lebanon.  He believes that the influential Western and Arab analysts thought that the Syrian regime’s anti-US foreign policy and the regime’s history of brutal reprisal against dissent made it less vulnerable…”

— Now, some of what Abdeh says indeed holds true…. but that is not the point.

Ana does NOT tell the reader that:

“…Barada TV, a pro-democracy Syrian news channel based next to Vauxhall Park in south London, started broadcasting in April 2009. It is reportedly one of a number of Syrian anti-government organisations that have received as much as $6m (£3.7m) from the US government.

Documents published by WikiLeaks suggest that the State Department has been funding opposition groups including the 24-hour free satellite channel for the past five years. The channel covers what it calls “oppositional” politics in Syria in a bid to overthrow the country’s long running autocratic regime, led by Bashar al-Assad…”

— Without knowing this background debate and information on this guy, the reader is left to assume he is unbiased…. which of course he is not.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

May 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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