Journalist accuses western media of being ‘compromised’ over Syria

Published December 21st, 2016 - 09:02 GMT
Bartlett makes her controversial comments on December 9 (screenshot)
Bartlett makes her controversial comments on December 9 (screenshot)

In a clip that has been viewed over three million times, a Canadian journalist has accused the “corporate media” of being “compromised” in its coverage of events in Syria.

Speaking on the 9 December, at a press conference arranged by the Syrian mission to the UN, Eva Bartlett claimed that western news outlets are reporting information that is the “opposite” of reality.

Bartlett suggested that her six visits to Syria, and her conversations in Arabic with Syrian people, qualify her to provide a better picture of the conflict in the country. While blasting international media sources in the country as “not credible”, she provides no references for her claims other than personal experience.

Describing herself as an “independent writer and rights activist”, Bartlett openly admits her bias towards the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad on her website. She has said of her association with Russian-government-funded RT news channel, for whom she writes a blog, that “if I write in line with Russian media, it’s because we both tell the truth’.

During the UN press conference, Bartlett claimed to “dispel myths” spread by media channels such as the BBC, The Guardian and The New York Times.

Among these “myths”, she alleged, is the very idea of a moderate opposition. Throughout the press conference, Bartlett referred to anti-government rebels in Syria as “terrorist factions”, suggesting that the Free Syrian Army is no different from Daesh.

The Canadian journalist accused what she calls the “terrorist factions” of targeting hospitals, and preventing civilians from fleeing the opposition-held enclaves of Aleppo. Bartlett insisted that accounts of the Syrian regime bombarding and destroying medical facilities, widely reported in the mainstream media, are in fact fabricated.

Painting a picture of a Syrian people hoping for “liberation” from the rebels, she suggested that claims of sectarianism in the country are false, and that Syrians see themselves first of all in terms of their national identity.

Unsurprisingly, Bartlett’s words have sparked an angry comeback from those she has accused of reporting false news.

On their FactCheck page, Britain’s Channel Four News has responsed to the journalist’s claims that Aleppo’s White Helmets organization fabricates images. Bartlett had alleged that pictures of a girl called “Aya” had been “recycled” in three different reports circulated by the group. Channel Four suggested that these claims were false, and that the pictures Bartlett was referring in fact showed three different girls.

The American “Snopes” website also produced a fact checking feature in response, providing Medecins Sans Frontieres sources to attempt to disprove Bartlett’s allegations that reports of the bombing of the Al Quds hospital in Aleppo were faked.

Elsewhere, in a feature for RT, Bartlett clashed with a British journalist, Dilly Hussain, who accused her of signing up to “state propaganda”. He argued instead that the Syrian regime and their Russian backers had targeted civilians.

Many on social media have also criticized Bartlett’s words. Some compared her claims to denying the Holocaust:

Others suggested that she was a mouthpiece for Russia, which has provided considerable military and political backing for Assad’s regime:

Unfazed, Bartlett has responded to criticism by saying: “Some people have taken issue with the things I said because I was basically criticizing much of the corporate media reporting on Syria, and instead of actually digesting what I said and criticizing the details of what I said, people have gone to the usual tactic of trying to smear who I am and imply that I am an agent of either or both Syria and Russia.”

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