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Media war against Syria: 3 journalists killed by the FSA

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During an attack on a local television station on 27 June 2012, an armed opposition group gunned down three Syrian journalists and four guards.

Our colleagues Sami Abu Amin, Mohammad Zeid and Chammah Kohl worked for the Al-Ikhbariya satellite TV channel.

Voltaire Network wholeheartedly shares the grief of the victims’ families.

On 12 June, two journalists from the same channel had already been wounded in Al-Haffah in the governorate of Lattakia, when their car came under fire.

According to the SANA news agency, the assailants booby-trapped the buildings, the studios and newsrooms, and walked off with the technical equipment. The force of the explosion ripped apart an entire building but did not stop the channel from transmitting.

Omran al-Zou’bi, the information minister of the new Syrian government, strongly condemned the attack, which he regards as an extension of the decision taken by the European Union on the previous day to impose sanctions on the Syrian radio and television organization.

In March, the U.S. had entered the Syrian public broadcasting system on their blacklist of individuals and companies targeted by financial sanctions.

For its part, the Arab League has called for the broadcast of Syrian satellite channels to be suspended on Arabsat and Nilesat bouquets.

To preserve the image of the Free "Syrian" Army, the Western media reports have branded the public channel as "pro-regime" as well as an "official" or "pro-government" outlet.

The public French international news channel France 24 has no qualms about claiming that no "independent" media has access to Syria, when - despite the difficulties arising from the military situation - journalists from over 200 international media have been allowed to reenter the country legally since the outbreak of the crisis.

On its website, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has, at the time of this writing, still not condemned the attack. While recalling that "the media should not be targeted by the warring parties," RSF has nevertheless stated with reference to the Al-Ikhbariya TV channel: "We condemn in the strongest terms the media broadcasting of messages that incite hatred and violence against civilians." RSF has thus appropriated the speech elements aimed to justify the suspension of Syrian TV channels’ signals, while failing to provide evidence to corroborate such accusations.

According to RWB, an NGO funded by the U.S. State Department [1], "The media should not serve as propaganda outlets of any kind", while describing the combat of the FSA as a "pro-democracy uprising."

On its page on Syria, RSF is totally silent on the arbitrary shut down of Syrian channels. It also glosses over the trap laid by the FSA against our colleague from British Channel 4 News so as to discredit the government and the Syrian army [2]. Reporters Without Borders obscures the fact that the FSA militia are briefed to refuse any contact with reporters who have returned legally on Syrian territory.

The pro-war media Blitzkrieg becoming less effective with each passing day, the Western and Gulf governments are reduced to killing and censoring to hide the extent of their responsibility for the crimes currently affecting Syria.

[1] "Reporters Without Borders and Washington’s Coups”, by Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprague, Voltaire Network, 9 August 2006.

[2] "Channel 4 journalist Alex Thomson says Syria rebels led me into death trap", The Telegraph, 9 June 2012.

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