News / Middle East

Parallel Universe of Syria's Pro-Assad Media

Pro-Assad Media Gives Government View of Syrian Conflicti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Elizabeth Arrott
October 03, 2012 6:15 PM
The conflict in Syria affects virtually everyone in the country - the army, rebels, civilians and those who report on the fighting. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott was recently in Damascus and reports on how the war is seen by those supporting the government.
Pro-Assad Media Gives Government View of Syrian Conflict
Elizabeth Arrott/Japhet Weeks
For much of the world, the war in Syria is seen through videos and voices of activists and citizens who tell of government attacks on residential areas and the crushing of a defiant opposition trying to oust an autocratic leader.

But listen to pro-government media and it is an alternate universe, in which the army is friend, not foe.

In the opening to an al-Ekhbaria TV report, heroic music plays as a soldier guides a little girl across a busy road, earning a kiss for his efforts.  It's the kind of bombast that brings into question the credibility of those who work for it.  
 
But al-Ekhbaria reporter Yara Saleh said she deals in facts, not propaganda.

“I ask one question," she said. "Is this story true 100 percent? 50 percent? 10 percent?  I ask, because as a reporter I have to ask.”

Media targeted

But Saleh doesn't just report the news.

In August, she became news herself. Saleh and her crew were captured by foreign-led fighters of the rebel Free Syrian Army. Her cameraman's assistant was killed in the incident, she said.

“I told them to take me and let him go," Saleh said. "But they did not.  I said your problem is with me. I'm the journalist. I'm the one who's talking, who's speaking against you.”
 
It is not the first time al-Ekhbaria was targeted.  Earlier this year, a bomb ripped through its headquarters in Damascus.  Before that, four other employees were killed in an ambush.
 
Saleh's account meshes with the government's narrative of the conflict - that legitimate protest has been co-opted by foreign terrorists, backed by the West and their Sunni Arab allies.
 
“We don't have to speak about the Syrians inside," she said. "We have to speak more about the people who are not Syrian.”

Since the conflict began, President Bashar al-Assad has allowed certain internal opposition, as long as it acts within government strictures. These “legitimate” voices hold news conferences in Damascus and run the reconciliation ministry.

Resolution seems distant

But so many people have died - on both sides - that a peaceful resolution seems further away than ever.

Still, by arguing this is more proxy war than insurrection, some see an opening, however slight.

Al-Ekhbaria Director Imad Sara describes himself as an opponent of corruption - be it the head of government, or anyone else - and a defender of Syria.
 
Sara said Western media portrays his media as defending a regime.

“This is completely wrong,” he said, arguing that he defends the nation, Christians, Muslims and all groups.
 
This is a view increasingly voiced by once unwavering supporters of the system. By stressing the external, some hope they can overcome their internal differences.
 
It is a message reporter Saleh said she tried to tell one of her captors, mortally wounded in the military operation that freed her.

She said: “I could not protect him, but I told him something before he died. I said, “We are Syrians. We are not monsters, as you think.”

Whether all parties can believe that becomes less clear the longer the war rages on.

Video produced by Japhet Weeks for VOA.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid