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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Western media brought to you by state-sponsored terrorism

Finian Cunningham
Sputnik


Multi-million-dollar advertising money has long been suspected as an unspoken filter for Western news media coverage. If the news conflicts with advertising interests then it is simply dropped. Western complicity in Yemen's conflict is a case study. Add to that the celebrity sheen of Hollywood stars Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman. What we then have is an illustration of how ugly realities of killing and war crimes are cosmetically air brushed from public awareness.

Let's take three major Western media outlets — BBC, CNN, France 24. All are notable for their dearth of news coverage on the bloody conflict in Yemen. On any given day over the past nine months, these channels have rarely given any reports on the daily violence in the Arabian Peninsula country. Yemen is heading into peace talks in Geneva this week, so there might follow some desultory reports on the said channels. But over the past nine months when the country was being pummelled in an appalling onslaught by foreign powers, the same channels gave negligible reportage.

It also turns out — not coincidentally — that major advertisers on these same news channels include Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines and Etihad. The latter two advertisers feature screen celebrities Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman, posing as satisfied customers of these Gulf state-owned companies. Other prominent advertisers on BBC, CNN and France 24 are Turkish Airlines and Business Friendly Bahrain. This advertising complex has, undoubtedly, a direct bearing on why the three mentioned Western news channels do not give any meaningful coverage of the disturbing events in Yemen. Notwithstanding there is much that deserves telling about Yemen — if your purpose was journalism and public information. The poorest country in the Arab region is being bombed by a coalition of states that include the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia, as well as a handful of other Persian Gulf oil-rich kingdoms. The latter include Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Thousands of Yemeni civilians — women and children — have been killed in air strikes by warplanes from this foreign military coalition, which claims to have intervened in Yemen to reinstall a regime headed up by a discredited president who was forced into exile in March this year by a popular uprising. The uprising was led by the Yemeni national army allied with guerrilla known as the Houthis.

Out of Yemen's 24 million population, nearly half are in dire humanitarian conditions from lack of food, water and medicine, according to the United Nations. The suffering is aggravated by a sea and air blockade of Yemen by the Western-Arab military coalition. Due to Western involvement in a humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen, one might think that Western media would be at least giving some coverage. Well, not if you watch BBC, CNN or France 24.

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