You are here

SBS war-propaganda continues on World News

SBS continues to misrepresent conflicts in Syria. Here is the latest account of how it makes a pro-government rally look as if it is a protest against the government and of how Russia's role so far in bringing conflict towards an end is utterly unacknowledged. When does misreporting become a war-crime?

March 15, 2016 SBS’s 6.30pm news report, which began with the surprise announcement of Russia’s withdrawal, contained a ‘brief history’ of the Syrian conflict.

After saying that the ‘Arab Spring’ had brought upheavals around the region, the presenter put it like this:

"[protests in Syria began in March 2011] with a day of rage by activists, with hundreds protesting in Damascus and Aleppo.”

The attached shot ‘SBS world news’, showing a small protest rally about to pull down a poster of Hafez and Bashar al Assad could have been in Dara’a, or more likely a suburb of Damascus, so fits with the first part of the description. But as the presenter said ‘and Aleppo’, the screen changed to the second photo, which shows one of the big rallies in support of the government in Damascus, that took place perhaps in May or June?
Photo of small protest rally about to pull down poster of Hafez and al-Assad.

I would contend that almost no-one would see that other than as a photo of a massive anti-government protest, remembering that the SBS audience is not familiar with that picture from watching their news, because those rallies were never shown at the time – to my knowledge.

Continuing the propaganda theme, SBS's presentation of the ‘history’ then suggested that the fighting began between defecting soldiers and the army, – and not much before October.

As I remember there had already been some major atrocities and attacks committed in Homs, which was visited by the UN observers around then.

The SBS 'report' continued, describing Kofi Annan’s efforts, ‘which failed following the Houla massacre.’ Needless to say, although this was simply described as 100 people ‘killed’ and 49 children, the failure to attribute blame, or identify the people, framed it as a government atrocity.

Then we see photos of ruined apartment blocks from the air, and hear that ‘the UN declared it a civil war, and the country split along sectarian lines’ – ‘June 2012’.

And that was it.

So why did SBS steer clear of reminding us about the Ghouta CW ‘attack’? Is that because we might begin to think, and remember that Russia also got us out of that war, just as it is doing now?

It’s hard to know where to go with this, because there is no-one in the government saying or thinking remotely the right thing. Tanya Plibersek was interviewed this morning by Fran Kelly, talking all about Iran’s HR abuses and ‘how you get killed for being gay’, and then talking about Assad having to go and so on.