Ada'af Al Imaan (Putting The Arab Media On Trial)
Dawood Al Shirian, Dar Al-Hayat, 2003/04/19
CNN came under fire when its CEO admitted that the network had withheld information about crimes committed by the Saddam Hussein's regime, so as to protect its sources.
All the television networks that were present in Iraq during the time of Saddam practiced a blackout, and they deserve to be treated just like CNN. While CNN and other companies can defend their positions by arguing that they feared for the lives of their staff in Iraq, which is a legitimate defense, the censorship imposed in Middle Eastern countries is only part of the problem. Moreover, journalism, just like politics, is the art of the possible. Thus accepting half the truth or a quarter of it is not a sin in journalism, if the price of the entire truth is death or torture. But the most important side of the issue is not just concealing the truth, but promoting lies and forging the facts, as well as defending oppression in a most frightful way, which is what the Arab media does.
It is the Arab media that deserves the campaign waged against CNN. The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime should be an opportunity to review the case of the Arab media, official and private, which not only ignored the atrocities of the Iraqi regime, but also created an unrealistic image, practiced more oppression and killed all the people by propagating political promotion. Regrettably, it pursues such practices with other regimes in the region and the world. Thus, it is important to expand the perception of war crimes to include all those who have played a role in such a serious matter. The Arab media bears part of the responsibility for seeing Iraq reach such a situation today, because it conspired with Saddam and made a national hero out of him. Consequently, it must fall with him, before it implicates us with one country after another.