Unseen face of the Libyan conflict

There are lies, more lies and then there is the media. Take the BBC, for instance. As Britain’s national state broadcaster, it is duty bound to provide impartial news coverage — after all, it is the ordinary person who funds it. However, the question to be asked is why folk should pay for a ‘service’ that consistently misleads in order to secure compliance for state-corporate policies?

The reporting on events in Libya has been disgracefully one-sided by most of the mainstream media in Britain. This comes as no surprise, though, given the pious narrative the media puts forward at the best of times, which implies the British government and Nato are essentially civilising forces in a barbaric world.

Picture a different world for a moment, one in which the African Union (AU) had intervened in British affairs on the back of the recent riots, in order to 'protect' rioters and then ‘liberate’ them from an oppressive regime. With a bit of arm twisting, it managed to get a UN resolution to implement a no fly zone over Britain.

The AU media then embed themselves with the British 'rebels', who had been illegally armed with weapons from AU countries, or its allies elsewhere, in order to overthrow the corrupt Cameron regime. The media report the conflict from the rioters-cum-rebels’ point of view, fail to seriously question the legitimacy of the conflict — indeed, tacitly support it — and jump on every utterance from British PM David Cameron with sneering contempt to portray him as an irrational maniac.

As Cameron and his cronies flee for their lives, AU countries’ TV channels show images from inside his home and those of his millionaire government associates to highlight the opulent lifestyles they indulged in. The message is implied that all such riches were robbed from the ordinary people of Britain by Cameron and his ilk through the system they presided over. Finally, as a no-fly zone policy morphs into a killing campaign from the air, the deaths caused are largely underreported or downplayed.

Hypocritical media

Substitute Nato for the AU, Gadhafi for Cameron and Libya for Britain, and you get the picture concerning the hypocrisy the mainstream media in Britain has indulged in. It is a media that portrayed those involved in the recent riots in a wholly negative light, and a media which glorifies the unjust opulence and the corporate tyranny that has wrecked the economy. Yet,  when it suits, members of the mainstream media all too readily trip over themselves to praise violent uprisings and rant against perceived injustice, tyranny and leaders who live in opulence. Peel back the veneer of ‘objectivity’, and the media’s record on the Libyan conflict is laid bare.

How many times have broadcasters failed to focus on where Libyan rebels were getting their arms from in the face of a UN sanctioned arms embargo on Libya? How many times have broadcasters questioned Nato’s ‘moral right’ to attack Libya, especially given the West’s role in Afghanistan and Iraq and its long history of interventions and support for unscrupulous regimes over the decades? And how many times did broadcasters question mission drift, whereby a path for Libyan rebels into the heart of Tripoli was blasted from the air, courtesy of a massive Nato bombing campaign?

A compliant, toothless media too often rolled over, peddled the notion of a widespread popular uprising and tended to focus merely on the processes of intervention. After the Nato backed rebels took Tripoli, concerns arose over the fate of reporters Mahdi Nazemroaya and Thierry Meyssan and also British independent journalist Lizzie Phelan, whose blog and Twitter account were suddenly deleted. Her reports for Press TV were stridently anti-Nato. Anxiety over her whereabouts was expressed amid reports of her and the other journalists mentioned having received death threats and attempts by Nato to silence dissent.

The mainstream media could do a lot worse by focussing on a news item that has largely (if not completely) gone unnoticed, that of the 200 prominent African figures who have accused western nations and the International Criminal Court of “subverting international law” in Libya. The UN has been misused to militarise policy, legalise military action and effect regime change, according to University of Johannesburg professor Chris Landsberg. He says it is unprecedented for the UN to have outsourced military action to Nato in this way and challenges the International Criminal Court to investigate Nato for “violating international law.”

In the absence of dissenting voices, or just plain decent journalism, many ordinary people rely on sources for their ‘news’, which, apart from a brief allusion to oil now and then, have forwarded the notion that Nato’s involvement in Libya has been perfectly legitimate because it’s all been about removing a crazy man from power who was oppressing his own people.

The portrayal of the Libyan conflict has been a damning indictment of a self congratulatory media that continually backs slaps itself on for being ‘impartial’ and ‘free’. It’s been damning indictment of  British ‘democracy’ too.

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