Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Romania strengthens military cooperation with the US

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users celebrate release of French hostages

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Justine Dupont, surfer

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Freed French Hostages: Celebration and speculation on how it all happened

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Todd Shepard, Author of 'The Algerian War and the Remaking of France'

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Guillaume Poitrinal, Chief executive of Woodeum

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria

Read more

  • Russia accuses Kiev of 'grossly' violating Geneva deal

    Read more

  • ‘I suffered mock executions,’ says freed French journalist

    Read more

  • S.Korea president says captain’s action akin to ‘murder’

    Read more

  • Boston readies for first marathon since bombings

    Read more

  • France marks 70 years of women’s voting rights

    Read more

  • Abdullah widens lead in Afghan presidential vote

    Read more

  • Leftist Sabahi to challenge Sisi for Egypt presidency

    Read more

  • Syria to hold presidential election on June 3

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

Middle east

Ex-Syrian news anchor slams state ‘propaganda’

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-02-21

Once the face of Bashar al-Assad’s evening news bulletin, Hani al-Malathi publicly resigned from Syrian state TV last week over what he calls “state-orchestrated misinformation”. He tells FRANCE 24 why he could no longer work for the Assad regime.

Former state TV anchor Hani al-Malathi officially resigned from his post last week. But he had not been seen on air since August last year after having fled to Dubai, where he remains today.

“I will not go back”, he told FRANCE 24 on Monday. “I had the feeling I was taking part in a propaganda campaign orchestrated by the regime”.

Despite his polished media presence, Al-Malathi fails to hide a troubled demeanour. He was one of the journalists who spoke of “armed insurgents” and “terrorist gangs” when protesters took to the streets last March.

Relying almost entirely on the Information Ministry, state journalists not only criminalised anti-regime protesters, but also downplayed army efforts to suppress the uprising. “The regime was desperate to convey the message that nothing was going on in the country,” al-Malathi explains.

“Both state and private media were transmitting false information, and anything that didn’t match up was portrayed as foreign meddling or a conspiracy.”

Al-Malathi says that he was not allowed to interview anybody on air who might contradict the official line.

“Regime mouthpiece”

Al-Malathi says that as a mouthpiece to the regime, state media only worsened the situation during the start of the unrest. “Our attempts to sell them a different story only added fuel to the fire,” he explains. “Instead of calming people down, we actually provoked the protesters to go further, fuelled their anger and reinforced a sense of shared hostility among the public.”

Al-Malathi speaks glumly of a decision by his own channel to devote an entire news bulletin to slamming “so-said foreign propaganda” during a particularly bloody stage of the conflict. “There would be no mention of the crackdown,” he says.

“It was as irresponsible as it was provocative to broadcast footage of cheering pro-regime rallies when on the other side of town, families of victims of the repression were burying their dead.”

Al-Malathi believes that Syrian media has lost all its credibility during the conflict. “There’s not one person left in the country who believes the state media’s version of events,” he says. “Not even the journalists themselves. The few who say they do are too scared to admit the truth.”

Al-Malathi has not returned to Syria since he fled in August and has “no plans” to do so in the near future. Until now, the regime has failed to mention his departure, but he believes his declaration last week is unlikely to go without comment.

“I am expecting some form of backlash concerning my resignation,” he shrugs. For Syrian protesters however, Malathi’s decision will make him a hero.

Date created : 2012-02-20

  • SYRIA

    Syria frees iconic Arab Spring blogger Ghazzawi

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Egypt recalls ambassador to Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian security forces clamp down on Damascus

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)