News / Middle East

Hezbollah Supportive of Egyptian, Tunisian Uprisings But Not Syria's

A female demonstrator holds a flag of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah during a sit-in protest against the Saudi, Bahraini and Yemeni leaders' crackdown on their opposition in Tehran, Iran, April 22, 2011 (file photo).
A female demonstrator holds a flag of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah during a sit-in protest against the Saudi, Bahraini and Yemeni leaders' crackdown on their opposition in Tehran, Iran, April 22, 2011 (file photo).
Margaret Besheer

Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based militia group and political movement, used its al-Manar television channel to broadcast images supportive of anti-government protesters in Egypt and Tunisia. But analysts say the Shi'ite group's attitude toward the popular uprising in neighboring Syria has been very different, reflecting its close ties to the Syrian government.

As protesters demanded the ouster of authoritarian leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, Hezbollah's TV station, al-Manar, broadcast images and reports supportive of the demonstrators. But as one of the few media outlets allowed inside Syria to cover its uprising during the last two months, al-Manar has portrayed protesters there in a very different light.

Yasmine Dabbous, assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the Lebanese American University (LAU) says this apparent double standard has to do with the organization's relationship with the governments in these countries.

"In Egypt, it is very well known that Hezbollah had problems with the Egyptian government, so they supported the uprising against it - against Mubarak," noted Dabbous.  "In Syria, on the other hand, they are supportive of the Assad regime, and so the coverage of the events is framed differently."

Professor Dabbous says there are several ways to portray an event and biases can show through, for example, through who reporters interview, how they edit video and by leaving out some facts and emphasizing others.

Imad Salamey, a political science professor at LAU, described some of al-Manar's recent coverage in Syria.

"They were going around in Syria and interviewing people and having people speak in favor of the regime and saying, it is normal life; there is nothing wrong; there is nothing going on; there are a few troublemakers - Israel and U.S. agents trying to stir trouble here and there, but now thank God, Assad has brought stability to the country," said Salamey.

Salamey said the Hezbollah channel also focused on stories that supported the Syrian government's claim that protesters are receiving support from outside the country, broadcasting pictures of what it described as confiscated weapons that had been smuggled from Lebanon, through Jordan and even the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

Al-Manar's coverage also emphasized pictures of dead Syrian soldiers and their funerals, while depicting the protesters as destructive and without legitimate grievances.

Professor Salamey notes that while the opposition movement in Syria is essentially secular, the government has tried to portray it as having extremist Islamic roots. He points out that if that were really the case, it would be an incentive for Hezbollah and its mouthpiece to support the demonstrators.

"You would assume that Hezbollah will be, if it was really true to its Islamic principles, to be supporting Islamists against the seculars. But no, strangely enough, you - and this is what exposed the claims of these organizations - we see them standing with the secular regime against supposedly some Islamists coming out of Syria," Salamey noted.

Repeated requests to al-Manar to discuss the channel’s coverage of the uprising in Syria were unsuccessful.

Hezbollah, whose name means "Party of God," styles itself as a resistance movement against Israel, Lebanon's southern neighbor. The group's two patrons are Iran and Syria.

Mohammad Chattah is a senior adviser to Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He says Hezbollah's close links with the Syrian government have taken shaped the content of news coverage by al-Manar.

"Syria was a close ally, in this case, because it was supportive of Iran and Hezbollah. And that is paramount," Chattah explained.

Chattah says that al-Manar’s stance is clear - it is backing its benefactor, the Syrian government.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid