I often write about the failings of the corporate media in fairly reporting conflict zones and far too keenly adopting the “official” position.
The latest example is Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil people (allegedly at its end today). An article in the Green Left Weekly highlights the dangers of corporate journalists taking government-arranged trips to war zones:
Fairfax’s South Asia correspondent, Matt Wade, appears to be the latest in a long line of corporate media journalists to allow himself to be used by a brutal military force — in this case, the Sri Lankan Army.
Judging from his Sri Lanka reports, Wade appears to be de facto embedded with the SLA. He took part in an SLA-organised tour of the barbed wire-enclosed SLA-run internment camps for Tamil civilians.
The tour was coordinated by the Sri Lankan Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), which acts as a propaganda office for the SLA. The MCNS specifically selected the journalists that were involved.
The MCNS has been responsible for controlling the movement of journalists and providing pro-Sri Lankan government propaganda to the world’s media.
The SLA tightly controls access to the internment camps, in which allegations have been raised about serious human rights abuses. It is extremely unlikely the SLA would grant Wade a guided tour if not confident of controlling the information he was able to gather and that the story he would present.
This did not stop Wade submitting a story that appeared on the front page of the Fairfax-owned Sydney Morning Herald and the Age that presented as legitimate evidence the testimony of a 14-year-old young Tamil woman captured by the SLA and held in one of the camps.