ABC News exposes the lies of Reuters (Video + Text) (ENG)

Beware the ‘trusted’ source

رويترز تكذب كلّ يوم و اضطرّت للاعتذار أمام القناة الفرنسية و الألمانية و الأسترالية …. متى ستعتذر الجزيرة و العربية على ما اقترفت أيديهم …. سنحاكمهم مهما طال الزمن و سيأخذون عقابهم

Остерегайтесь “проверенного” источника

But it just goes to show that in the digital age, fakery is very hard to pull off. Someone, somewhere, will catch you out.

It’s a lesson ABC News learned this week, after it fell for a much more serious deception.

On Sunday May the 8th, some disturbing video about the protest in Syria was aired on ABC News 24

Kathryn Stolarchuk: Video uploaded to a social media website purports to show Syrian security beating detained protesters and holding guns to their heads. In the video, which can’t be independently verified, around eight men can be seen lying face down on the floor, while armed guards lift them up by their belts, pile them on top of each other,…

— ABC News 24, 8th May, 2011

The same footage turned up that evening on SBS World News…

(But) this is what anyone captured by the security forces can expect…

Once again, this footage can’t be verified, but it’s said to show Syrian troops beating detained protesters.

— SBS World News, 8th May, 2011

The ABC also posted the footage online, with this caption:

Amateur video, which cannot be independently verified, shows heavily-armed Syrian security beating anti-government protesters.

— ABC News Online, 8th May, 2011

Two days later, we got an email from a person who requested anonymity. He doubted the video’s authenticity, because…

-They are not Syrian army uniforms
-The accents of the men talking are Lebanese particularly from Tripoli north Lebanon
-The car has a Lebanese licence plate
Please do your own research to verify this.

— Email from Media Watch Tipster, May, 2011

We set out to do just that. Word of our interest reached a producer at ABC radio current affairs, Jess Hill, who has specialised in recent months in cultivating contacts throughout the Middle East, largely through Twitter. On Thursday, on her own initiative, she sent out this tweet:

Can any Syrian tweeps identify where this video came from?

— Twitter, 12th May, 2011

With a link to the ABC online video. Within five minutes, she got a reply:

TrellaLB Imad Bazzi:
this video is not in Syria, this was shot in Beirut, years ago on 7 May attacks, the video shows members of Hizballa & Amal

— Twitter, 12th May, 2011

Hezbollah and Amal, of course, are both Shi-ite Lebanese organisations with their own militias. A second tweet from Trella LB read:

and here is the original video bragging about what they did

— Twitter, 12th May, 2011

The link he provided leads to this YouTube video – it’s undoubtedly the footage screened by the ABC and SBS. But sure enough, it’s captioned

Lebanon: Prisoners… caught by Hezbollah and Amal

Uploaded by aylender on 20 Aug, 2008

— YouTube, 20th August, 2008

The pity is that nobody at ABC News 24 or ABC Online thought to make use of Jess Hill’s contacts when Reuters – one of the most trusted news sources in the world – sent the video to its clients on the morning of Sunday May the 8th with this disclaimer:

Video uploaded to a social media website purports to show Syrian security beating detained protesters and holding guns to their heads.


— Reuters, 8th May, 2011

Despite those warnings, ABC News 24 screened the video. And, as Gaven Morris, head of ABC Continuous News, frankly admitted to Media Watch, it shouldn’t have.

We were wrong to run the video. Though Reuters is a very trusted source, there were enough doubts in their own sourcing for us to have chosen to leave it alone.

— Gaven Morris, Head, ABC Continuous News, 12th May, 2011

Read Gaven Morris’s responses to Media Watch’s questions

On the face of it SBS was even more wrong. Because 20 minutes before its world news went to air, it received this warning from Reuters:


— Reuters, 8th May, 2011

Read Reuters response to Media Watch’s questions

However says SBS news, the warning carried:

No indication in the slug line that there was any retraction or correction contained in the copy. The sentence about the retraction was buried some distance down the copy

— Mark Boyd, Executive Producer,SBS World News Australia, 16th May, 2011

Read Mark Boyd’s response to Media Watch’s questions

So SBS didn’t notice the retraction, and nor it seems did anyone at ABC news Online. The video wasn’t taken down from its website until Media Watch came calling four days later.

The moral: the new social media, used cautiously, are a boon to journalists. But used without due care, they can be a portal for fakery and propaganda.

مع تحيات كتيبة سيريان ليكس

شعارنا : الشعب الوطن القائد

best Regards

SyrianLeaks Battalion


About The Syrian Revolution 2011 - Lies and the Truth

The Syrian Revolution 2011 – Lies and the Truth مع تحيات كتيبة سيريان ليكس شعارنا : الشعب الوطن القائد best Regards SyrianLeaks Battalion (Tribute to our martyrs of the civilian and military )
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