The world according to Dounia TV: Barca spies, Syria in Hollywood and Assad the hero

Published September 8th, 2012 - 12:23 GMT

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Shabiha in sunglasses
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Image 1 of 7: The Shabiha in the mirror: This woman interviewed by Dounia TV told them there were no problems for her country but her sunglasses told a different story - the infamous pro-Assad 'Shabiha' thugs were seen in the background.

Rami Makhlouf owner of Dounia TV
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Image 1 of 7: Editor in Chief in Dubai: owner Rami Makhlouf could be mistaken for a Syrian patriot, if you listened to enough Dounia TV but strangely he prefers to run his Syrian TV station from a house far away from the civil war: in sunny Dubai.

Arabiya weather broadcast
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Image 1 of 7: Sunshine to the East, FSA to the West: One of Dounia's more infamous conspiracies was that rival network AlArabiya was passing messages via their weather reports. So '36' for 'rebels hiding behind that building'. Eh?

Fake Syrian cities in Hollywood
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Image 1 of 7: Syria is in Hollywood: Not wanting to show the discrepancies between the actual Syrian cities and their own news broadcasts, Dounia decided that the 'Syria' on regular TV (ie. bombed and blown apart) was actually a Qatari invention in Hollywood.

Micheline Azar interviews the dying in Darya
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Image 1 of 7: Dying to be interviewed: Dounia presenter, Micheline Azar, visited the massacre at Darya to thrust microphones in the faces of the traumatized and the dying. She later interviewed an orphan surrounded by children's corpses.

Lionel Messi messages the FSA
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Image 1 of 7: Messi's passing notes: The Barcelona striker was not in Dounia TV's good books after he 'dribbled messages to the rebels'. Although most of us struggled to stop the laughter, Dounia's presenters were very serious about this heinous crime by the football star.

Al Mayadeen tweet FSA locations
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Image 1 of 7: The real FSA messages: Away from the conspiracy theories, friendly pro-Assad TV station Al Mayadeen were busy tweeting the actual locations of opposition rebels. 'We were hacked' they said but promptly fixed the problem minutes later. Netizens pointed out that Harvard took 6 hours to fix their hacking problem.

They have been the laughing stock of most Syrian netizens with conspiracy theories by the bucket-load but for a few, Dounia TV is a very real representation of the Syrian revolution

Dounia, although not technically a Syrian state-owned TV station, is about as close to the Assad regime as it gets. The Syrian president’s cousin owns the network and makes his loyalties clear in his news coverage.

While bombs explode and gunfire spatters across screen, Dounia journalists are reporting ‘all clear.’ These news broadcasts, alongside conspiracy theories of Barcelona football players using their passes to send messages to the Syrian opposition, has made Dounia an object of ridicule.

However, the mood turned more seriously against Dounia after they sent news anchor, Micheline Azar, to the scene of one of the worst massacres in Syria. She was shown interviewing dying old ladies and interrogating children surrounded by dead bodies.

With mic in-hand, Azar was determined to get traumatized, recently orphaned, kids to tell her that opposition forces were responsible for their personal tragedies.

It made for harrowing viewing and the Syrian online community were clear: this was a step too far. But despite the backlash, owner Rami Makhlouf shows no signs of disrupting the pro-Assad viewing as he enjoys the profits from his home in Dubai.

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