The US is to allocate $35 million for the “independent” Syrian media, in order to combat the “propaganda” allegedly spread by Russia and the official government of the Arab Republic.
This was contained in a US State Department document reviewed by RT.
According to the US, Moscow and Damascus are preventing the US-led coalition from stabilizing the situation in the northeast of Syria and are holding the authorities responsible for the “crimes” committed there.
The $35 million that are reportedly being given to “independent” Syrian media are primarily to counteract the misinformation that Russia and the Syrian government allegedly spread.
“Strengthening the capacity of the Syrian media in countering disinformation efforts by Russia, the Syrian regime and other states, as well as increasing the ability of Syrians to recognize disinformation,” the document says.
The State Department believes that the information environment in Syria is polarized and divided between supporters of the government and the opposition, as well as Kurdish and Arab media.
In addition, according to State Department, the real picture of the conflict in the republic is distorted by the “misinformation” of Moscow, Damascus and Tehran along with the propaganda of extremists.
“The propaganda efforts of extremist groups and the systematic misinformation from the Syrian regime, Russia and Iran distort the perception of the conflict, prevent the international coalition against ISIS from stabilizing the situation and hindering the peaceful political transition process envisaged by UN Security Council resolution 2254,” the state accompanying the financing states.
According to the document, “misinformation”, as defined by State Department, means depicting “Syrian Civil Defense” (the official name of the White Helmets) and the “moderate opposition” as terrorists and also information that claims that the alleged “chemical attacks” were staged, whereas they were organized by Damascus, according to the US and Co.
According to State Department officials, these “propaganda” efforts “sow doubts, undermine the coalition’s stabilization efforts in the north-east of the country and prevent the Syrian regime from being held accountable for the crimes committed.”
The United States has more than once been caught in deception about events in the Middle East, political analyst Oleg Matveychev noted in a conversation with RT.
“Ever since the Iraq campaign, the American media has spread lies. Enough evidence has been gathered about White Helmets and staged attacks. We see how the organization is now hiding its tail. They want to remove it from the information field,” said the expert.
According to Matveychev, the recipients of the US grant will distribute messages that are extremely beneficial to their sponsors. This will lead to a new wave of fake news.
“A typical story. When the United States in any country allocates money to support supposedly “independent” media, it means that fake news will soon start. This media is completely dependent on the will of the States. In fact, this is an interference in the internal affairs of Syria,” he added.
As part of the financing, the US State Department plans to support the release of news and materials on current events and on certain topics, including “countering Russian and Iranian misinformation,” conducting journalistic investigations, and creating programs about religious and ethnic minorities.
Syrians need access to balanced sources of information in order to effectively contribute to stability and peace in the country, the document emphasizes.
According to the document, “although in some parts of the region the repressive influence of the Syrian regime and the Islamic State has changed to a more media-friendly environment, independent journalism is just beginning to appear, and restrictions on the media remain.”
“In other areas in northeast Syria, forces supported by the regime, Russia and Turkey have already established their presence, which makes us worry about the ability of independent media to work openly and in safe conditions,” the Department of State experts continue.
The documents further claim that Moscow and Damascus are conducting military operations in Idlib against the opposition, although this area has been identified as a demilitarization zone.
The US State Department has been providing financial and technical support to the “independent” Syrian media since 2012.
These organizations should be able to reach the vast majority of the audience in the republic, as described in the documents. According to a survey conducted in January this year, 84% of respondents from opposition areas receive information from at least one source supported by the United States authorities.
“Syrian media partners jointly produce and broadcast approximately 100 hours of content daily; The US Department of State continuously and actively promotes independent media and fights disinformation,” the document emphasizes.
Washington sponsors other programs in the SAR. So, this year, $40 million was allocated to reform the Syrian judicial system. There were plans to spend another $75 million to support local authorities and civil society.
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