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Wag the dog: How to cook-up Syrian drama

Published time: March 14, 2012 16:52
Edited time: March 15, 2012 13:15

A still shot from a video from a hospital in Homs. Al Jazeera crew appears to be falsifying a video broadcast, instructing wounded girl to say that “god will punish” Bashar Al-Assad.

Download video (35.81 MB)

Some mainstream news channels have been recently caught carrying dubious footage from Syria. It fuels the debate over media's role in legitimizing possible military intervention in the country.

­‘Danny’ is a Syrian opposition activist who reports from Homs for CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. He is attached to the opposition movement and regularly calls for military invasion of Syria. He's identified as Danny Abdul Dayem, a 22-year-old British citizen of Syrian origin.

In a video leaked online, Danny appears to be falsifying a video broadcast for CNN. Prior to going on air, he requests colleagues to fire weapons to dramatize his Live report with Anderson Cooper. Though he denied any wrongdoings in an interview to CNN after the video went viral, his reliability as a verified news source was called into question.

Danny is far from being a lone soldier in an increasingly dirty information war. Investigative journalist Rafik Lotf has spent months looking at the background to footage that has helped shaped global opinion on the conflict. He told RT that Al Jazeera is involved in video fabrication to discredit the Syrian regime and cites a video described by Al Jazeera as proof Syrian Govt forces had bombed an oil pipeline.

“I know this video is on the Al Jazeera server. It is clear it is not an explosion but they ignore that and keep on reporting on the way they need to see it,” he said.

It is even thought that the clip may have been staged by rebels who blew up the pipeline themselves, as alleged on Infowars.com.

­Dark turns in Syria’s blame game

­All Journalists admit that verifying footage on the ground in Syria is difficult, nigh on impossible. 

Most recently shocking footage emerged of some 47 bodies, including women and children found with their throats slit, bearing stab wounds and signs of rape. The opposition called for a UNSC emergency meeting on 'the massacre’.

Assad’s government, in turn, announced that ‘terrorist gangs’ killed those in the video and claimed Homs’ residents recognized relatives among the dead, who had been previously kidnapped by the Syrian rebels.

As the mutual blame game spirals downwards and civilian suffering continues, the recent resignations of key Al Jazeera journalists may serve as a clear indicator – that some mainstream Syria conflict coverage is far from objective.

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