Syrian-born journalist Harout Ekmanian has slammed the New York Daily News and the UK's Independent newspaper for showing bias in attacking forces of the Assad government of shelling rebel held areas, but not menioning that Barack Obama's beloved 'moderate rebels' have been shelling residential areas controlled by government forces. Ekmanian, who supports Assad because he knows the alternative is worse, laments that the MSM is not covering all sides of the war.
The journalist was speaking to RT about his disgust at the deliberate misreporting of the death of a Syrian swimmer and her 12-year-old brother. Mireille Hindoyan and her younger sibling were killed in the Villi district of West Aleppo on Friday.
“I think the first victim of the war is the truth, especially in the Syrian war where journalism and journalists suffered a lot. Preserving impartiality has become a very difficult task for journalists,” he said.
Ekmanian, who now lives in New York, wrote an editorial in the New York Daily News explaining what had happened, only for the publication to remove a section in which he said the rebels were responsible for the deaths of the brother and sister. Thus by giving the impression that Assad loyalists were the only ones shelling targets in the city, the report appears to exonerate the 'moderate rebels' war crime.
“The New York Daily News published my contribution, but a paragraph was removed. I don’t think personally that was a very serious editorial decision and I am still waiting for an explanation,” the Syrian writer told RT.
Ekmanian, who was born into Aleppo's Armenian community, says he has spoken to eyewitnesses who “specifically confirmed” the shelling that killed the young siblings was carried out by rebel forces. He complains that his reporting of the Syrian conflict for major US publications have also run up against a determined policy in mainstream media of not reporting any negative stories about the fabled 'moderate rebels'. It is disheartening to see how the conflict in Syria is being reported, he says.
“The issue of this media censorship or media bias about some facts about the Syrian war [shows] there is a general atmosphere of media bias or restricting the narrative to certain news trends. I think this is the general issue that I see to the experience that I went through.”
He also slammed the UK online news site The Independent (formely a newspaper, until the print edition was can celled earlier this year) which he accused of “trying to shift the blame onto the government side.”
“The Independent article didn’t actually say it was a result of the rebel shelling. They tried to blame it on the government shelling or its allies,” he told RT.
“We know that the government’s allies are no angels and there are also violations committed by that side, by the Russian airstrikes also. But this particular case was rarely documented and happened in a neighborhood that I come from, and I talked with eyewitnesses and they specifically confirmed this was carried out by rebel shelling.”
While the MSM has given blanket coverage to its reporting of western Aleppo, which is largely controlled by forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Ekmanian says that the same media is ignoring the plight of towns being bombarded by the rebels because it does not fit the Obama administration's narrative which aims to justify all out war in Syria.
“You rarely see any information about Kefreya or Al-Fuah that are besieged towns in Syria and are besieged by the rebels. They [the rebels] are not shying away from using the same tactics that they are criticizing,” he said.
“When we talk about double standards, it can work both ways. I rarely see pieces in the international media and even on social media by different activists or different public figures that talk about violations or tactics that are against international humanitarian law that are being committed by the anti-government sides.”
@NYDailyNews oped on #Syria. Reference to #Aleppo swimmer death & media bias about it was removed w/o my consent
Fortunately for posterity, the article appears to have been restored and you can Read It Here