Censorship and Sensationalism: Public enemies

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The western media coverage of the situation in Ukraine has become, in a word, as shocking as it is shallow, puerile and dangerous

The lack of poise, the absence of manners, of diplomacy and of balance has turned the western media into some kind of a freak show. It is shocking to read and to watch. What we see is politicians with their chests puffed out mouthing off about “Putin”, calling all news coming out of Russia “propaganda”, after they had censored out Russia Today and Sputnik, so now there are two fewer sources for us to find balance.

Absurd claims which have not even happened

What we hear is ridiculous claims that “Putin might use chemical weapons”. Might, notice. He might not also. Is this news? Is this reporting? Or is this hype, hysteria and sensationalism caused by censorship of the other side? What happened to freedom of expression? And today, an interview with someone connected to the laboratories in Ukraine saying that “Putin” “might” use anthrax. Where did he pull that from? He might not and he probably would not.

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Finding some smiles among the tears

There are stories out there which bring some balance. Stories of Russian citizens sending humanitarian aid to Ukrainian citizens. This happened two days ago, from Tula to Kharkov (Kharkiv in Ukrainian). Today, more consignments (20 tons of food, including tinned meat and fish, confectionery and bread, cakes, candies and sweets) were delivered to the residents of the Ivonkovsky region around Kiev by the Russian Armed Forces. The residents of the Izyumskiy region near Kharkov also received food and essential items.

Sure, nobody enjoys being invaded but the bottom line is this is not about Russians and Ukrainians, it is about Russia and NATO with Ukraine caught in the middle. The situation is delicate. People are dying. Things could escalate. So rather than stifle information, we want to hear, we want to see and we want to know what is going on.

Germ labs

So what is this story about germ laboratories run by the CIA on Ukrainian territory? What is this story about the manipulation of viruses to target Russian DNA? What is this story about the study of migrations of birds eastwards to spread the infection? What is this story about drones intended to spray Russia with targeted particles and spores? What is this contract about using a drone to fly over Russia?

Western politicians say it is a load of nonsense. But Russia is presenting this at the United Nations Security Council and the Russian Ministry of Defense has released documents about it. Would Russia lie at the UNSC like the United States did before invading Iraq and massacring civilians with shock and awe tactics? Russia is not using these tactics in Ukrainian cities. Now how do we know where the truth lies since Russian outlets are being censored and Facebook pages are being deleted?

What is this story about a hospital being attacked and “children buried” under it? What story is this? The other side says the hospital has been closed for months and that it was being used by military forces. So in that case where does this story about babies come from? Where is the other side? Censored. What is this story about NATO troops already in Ukraine before this started? What is this story about Ukrainian military forces moving en masse to Donbass? How will we know? The sources have been censored.

So who do we believe? Do we believe those who said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and posed an immediate threat to the USA and its allies? Do we believe those who said that President Assad used chemical weapons in areas crawling with his own troops? Do we believe those who showed pictures of Syrians lying in hospitals foaming at the mouth, then seconds later wiping the shaving foam off and grinning at the camera? Do we believe those who show a Ukrainian lady with her face covered in blood, then hours later the same lady without any blood at all going about her business?

Everyone today has a mobile telephone and so everyone today is a photo journalist. These things circulate on the Net and everyone is aware of them. Some are fake, others not, others we do not know, because of censorship.

We need balance, we need information, we do not need conjecture and biased opinions. We do not need to know what “Putin” “might” do. Or might not do. As I have said before people are able to form their own opinions. They join social media groups and speak to the other side. People know there is a context for this, they know the residents of Donbass were being shelled for eight years, they know the west hid the story and now draws the time line in 2022 and not when this started in 2014.

Without a free flow of information from all sides, how can we form our opinions? The more we know, the sooner we can start fostering a peace and reconciliation process, even before this starts at the political and national level. Politicians these days do what exactly? They let this happen by refusing to listen to Russia. The entire Diplomatic corps could have sorted this out if they had listened. They did not, they refused to hear, they blocked and everything appeared to Russia that it was going to be invaded.

Russia does not like being invaded any more than anyone else, including Ukraine. Why was this not stopped before it started? Ask those who today are censoring the news and making ridiculous claims. Censorship and sensationalism, public enemies number one and two.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at [email protected]
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