Western media likes to portray itself as the ultimate
protector of freedom and democracy, the epitome of truth and integrity, and the
standard-bearer of neutrality and justice, but these characterizations are
nothing but false reports from a self-serving, ideologically driven institution
bent on distorting reality for its own purposes.
Media organizations in the West, particularly The Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times, claim they support the freedom of expression, but they only extend that freedom to those they choose, in support of a narrative that bears no relation to the facts.
While they attack various governments around the world
fighting terrorism, including the Saudi monarchy, Egypt’s President Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi and the Trump administration in the US, as well as news outlets
supporting them, Western media has backed the very sources of terrorism and
oppression in the world, such as Iran, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Turkey, Qatar, Muslim Brotherhood
Western media has been overly supportive of the alliance between Qatar, its mouthpiece Al-Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood providing them free airtime to spread their lies and propaganda.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini, editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya News
Channel’s digital platforms, wrote in a recent column, “Takfirists’ speeches
were once limited to suspicious forums and pursued gatherings but now we see
them on Al-Jazeera channel during prime time. Al-Jazeera promotes their
rhetoric to the public in such an unprecedented manner and grants their violent
ideology wide intellectual and theoretical legitimacy.”
“This Qatari-Brotherhood media turned Bin Laden into a TV star and broadcast all his speeches without editing them or commenting on them to respond to his dangerous propaganda and codes in every message and letter. It supported him via anchors and commentators who sympathized with him and called him Sheikh Osama at a time when al-Qaeda members were executing explosions in Riyadh, Baghdad and other cities,” he continued.
“It’s via its channel that we heard the most violent and bloodiest fatwas such as the fatwa permitting suicide operations and which was issued by its permanent guest Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and this became the favorite strategy of terror groups,” AlMuhaini added.
Meanwhile, following the death of Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Western media organizations, especially CNN, were quick to condemn Saudi Arabia before even uncovering the facts related to the case. They claimed Khashoggi as one of their own, a true journalist seeking to spread democracy and freedom of the press. But with just a little research, the truth regarding Khashoggi reveals a very different man, a man who supported political Islamists and extremist groups.
Much of the West’s reporting on the Khashoggi case came
directly from Turkish media sources close to the regime of President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, who has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling
family in Qatar, which has been a main political and financial supporter of the
MB and other terrorist Islamist groups seeking to spread chaos and destruction
in the region.
While Western media was quick to transmit anti-Saudi reports from pro-Erdogan Turkish media without any supporting evidence, it failed to report anything about the state of journalism in Turkey, which was reported to have detained a third of the world’s imprisoned journalists in 2017. Almost 200 media outlets have been shut down and at least 319 journalists arrested in the country.
On the other hand, Turkish media outlets and newspapers are closely controlled, either by the government or by pro-government business executives. “Censors are often present in newsrooms, and reporters and editors take close instructions from officials in the presidency,” a report said.
Yeni Safak and Daily Sabah, two of the Turkish newspapers cited as sources in the West regarding the Khashoggi case, are considered major pro-Erdogan newspapers. They employ a roster of prominent columnists robustly backing the government, firing all remaining skeptical voices. They also both feature a steady diet of conspiracy theories about alleged global campaigns against Turkey and Erdogan.
However, while Western media quickly spread the propaganda coming out of Turkey, it was hesitant to mention anything about Khashoggi’s own extremist ties and views. Following the attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, Khashoggi provided a list of reasons for the attack, which were simply an echo of Osama bin Laden’s declaration of a “holy war” against the United States. This should not come as a shock though, considering Khashoggi had known Bin Laden since the 1980s while living in Jeddah.
In 2014, Khashoggi posted more extremist views on his Twitter account, writing, “House Speaker John Boehner said ‘Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies’, therefore, according to this, the United State became an enemy to all of us!”
In the same year, he went even further in with his support of extremist acts and ideology, posting on Twitter, “Beheading regime’s soldiers by ISIS, recording, and broadcasting to the media is savage, but it is an effective physiological military tactic, the group knows what they are doing.”
Iran's vast regional media network, highly financed and led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), directly projects Iran's regional politics. It reflects the trajectory of Iran's interactions with major players such as Russia, Syria and Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, as well as the regional Sunni and Shia groups.
The chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Broadcasting
(IRIB) is one of the few official posts directly appointed by Ali Khamenei,
reflecting its crucial importance. The network is directly tasked by Khamenei
with carrying the combined military and Islamic messages of the hardline
Iranian mullah establishment.
IRIB's annual budget was reported in 2009 to be $900 million, and their personnel is estimated at 46,000. It is highly likely that the budget and staffing for the external services has been drastically increased over the past five years to deal with the wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
There are five external TV channels: Sahar, Al-Kawthar, Al-Alam, Qods TV, and Press TV. These form the soft power toolbox of the mullah regime, making it one of the largest media organizations in the Middle East.
The most effective of these is Al-Alam TV and its websites.
Backing these are the hardline Iranian websites such as Fars and Tasnim, which
are close to Iran's powerful IRGC and are published in Persian, Arabic, English
and Turkish, giving them the ability to reach a large number of people worldwide
and to occupy a central position in reflecting the propaganda style of Iranian
media in the region.
There are also the Al-Manar and Al-Nahar TV and websites that are funded by Iran but owned by the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
It was in fact the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war that triggered the
vast media operations we observe today. The first foreign radio broadcast in
Arabic from Iran was propaganda to topple Iraq’s then-President Saddam Hussein.
Al-Alam TV was set up originally in response to the US-UK invasion of Iraq.
At the same time, Iran is among the worst countries for journalists. Last Tuesday, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye criticized Iran's repressive crackdown on the media in his report on repression and curtailing freedom of expression, especially with its harassment, imprisonment, torture and killing of journalists.
"Iran continues to crack down on journalists and the media, including harassment, arbitrary detention, travel bans, and surveillance of intelligence agents of individuals and their families," he said in his report to the UN.
Just on Tuesday, Iranian activists said that Iran's Ministry of Intelligence arrested Saba Azarpeik, a journalist in Iran's reformist Etemad newspaper, one day after revealing a document proving the corruption of former Iranian Minister of Industry Mohammad Shariatmadari, who currently serves as Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare.
Human rights organization’s reported last year that about 200 correspondents and journalists were summoned and interrogated by the security services and 32 were sentenced to long prison sentences of up to 16 years during the first term of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
The annual report of Reporters Without Borders on freedom of the press and protection of journalists' rights around the world stated that Iran is one of the top five countries with the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.
Western media has given free airtime and support to these various extremist organizations for years, while at the same time condemning and mocking the governments and media of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain for fighting terrorism and its sources. Their “reporting” has become, at the very least, a clear double standard, if not a full-out orchestrated attempt to support the agenda of Iran and the radical Islamists, both of which seek to spread chaos and sectarianism in the Middle East in order to put an end to the current powers in the region.
These extremists seek to take control and fulfill their dreams of establishing an age of oppression lacking any pluralism or diversity. In this sense, Western media is not just holding a double standard regarding what it reports, but also with its own purported ideals, bringing to question whether these “integrity-filled truth-tellers” can actually be trusted.