By Judy Tanner
Censorship of news is never a good thing. It might suit media corporations worried about their business model, falling circulation and losing advertising dollars, or maybe they worry about government directives and what they can and cannot say, but censorship is never a good thing. The new labels ‘fake news’, ‘post truth era’ which Facebook has taken up as its cause must be balanced against the fact that Facebook is a tech company, not run by journalists, not governed by journalistic ethics. So who is minding them?
The Chilcot inquiry looked into a number of questions arising from the inaccurate reporting of the Iraq war, the ‘failure of intelligence’ or as some might say, the lies Western governments told about WMDs that didn’t exist and the role of the media in uncritically defending the pretext for war on Iraq. The Chilcot inquiry found many errors and damning evidence of the wrongdoings of the UK and the US governments and their allies. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people died as a result of the US attack on Baghdad and war on Iraq.
The removal of Saddam Hussein, another ‘dictator’ in Western terms, did not improve the living standards of Iraqi civilians. Instead it led to the rise of a variety of terrorist groups, destruction of infrastructure and the ruin of civil society. It increased, not decreased the suffering of the Iraqi people. That suffering continues today. Accountability, accuracy, thorough research, being on the ground, checking sources for accuracy and reliability – all of these things are again missing in corporate media reports on Syria today. Another Middle Eastern country is subjected to foreign invasion, terrorism and all the media can do is blame and demonise the leadership of the country – victim blaming on a global level and report from sources that turn out to be terrorists with no interest in building a stronger more cohesive Syria.
Their agenda is to turn the country into a caliphate or to have a lot of fun shooting up the place, murdering civilians and calling the Syrian leader all sorts of names before deposing him. Assad is blamed for the very acts the terrorists commit but still the media reports from their side, when the majority of them aren’t Syrian either. If the media is going to continue to hero worship terrorists and to rely on the word of murderers and agents of chaos to bring us the ‘news’, then all one can really say in this ‘post truth era’ of ‘fake news’, that the Western media isn’t interested in the rights and welfare of people of the Middle East. Its news for regime change, news for infotainment, news to fill up a spare column inch, without even the pretence of ethical and accurate reporting in the public interest.
Recent reports about alleged chemical weapons attacks on ‘civilians’ in East Ghouta, were stories provided by the very terrorists who are besieging the genuine civilian population there. Added to that for at least two weeks prior to the alleged attacks, those same terrorists have used chemical weapons on advancing Syrian Army troops. So who has the chemical weapons? Is it the terrorists of East Ghouta who have already used them on the SAA and who followed up two days ago with mortar attacks on school children and civilians killing at least 9 and injuring at least 20? Or is it the government, also besieged in the court of public opinion, driven by the lies they read in the press or watch on TV?
Stories of starvation of civilians by the government are supplied by the same terrorist groups. Yet 23 million people live in government-controlled areas and 23 million people say that Assad is their lion, their keeper and their salvation. So Western media, what gives? What are you trying to do?
Judy Tanner is a full time primary school teacher of over 30 years experience. A( published) author, her areas of special interest include a Major in Children’s Literature from Melbourne University and a background in journalism and Visual Arts.