Thursday, June 30, 2011

Western media reporting on Syria

The troubles in Libya and Syria, amongst other countries currently experiencing uprisings, have been extensively and supposedly well documented. The BBC and Al Jazeera have been at the forefront of providing up to date coverage of every twist and turn that these countries experience. However, particularly in the case of Syria, where foreign journalists have been banned, how can we be assured that we are getting the accurate version of events? Every day new reports are issued detailing larger and large protests, more violence and increasingly the demise of the Assad regime. Contradictory to this, on the 21st of June we saw pro- Assad protests lining the streets of Damascus waving an enormous Syrian flag demonstrating their support for the regime. Anti-government protests have not yet reached Damascus and Aleppo, the two largest cities in Syria, which is perhaps an indication that the protests have not reached a critical point where the regime is in actual danger of being overthrown.

Furthermore, video postings have been heavily broadcasted. In particular the young boy, Hamza al-Khateeb the 13 year old boy who was reportedly tortured by Assad’s security forces, has become a martyr for Syria. From an outside perspective we are horrified by these images and hearing similar atrocities committed by the regime accept such claims as truth. However, the governments insist these videos have been falsified. How far can we trust what we are hearing when there are no independent reporters to verify these reports? Facebook and other such media sites have also been used extensively. For instance, the blogger ‘A girl in Damascus’ reached the headlines for blogging the day to day life in Damascus. Following her anti- government blogging some reports claimed that she had been captured and bundled into a van by security forces. When the story broke that this Syrian girl was actually a young man from Edinburgh University, the credibility of what we are hearing could be called into question. The Western media in this case are quick to report on anything that blackens the regime reputation without fully verifying the facts.


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