One former UK Ambassador, three international investigative journalists and two leading professors discuss misreporting, misinformation and deliberate propaganda disseminated by the mainstream media at times of international conflict, and military intervention.
The demonisation of one non-aligned leader after another, setting the stage for public consent for regime change has been part and parcel of establishment and corporate media's agenda this century. While sidelining independent research and refusing to independently verify its own reporting the mainstream has become obsessed with 'fake news'.
So who is spreading 'fake news'? What effect has fake news and propaganda had? Should we make the media accountable for its actions? These questions and more are discussed by our expert panel in an event organised by Frome Stop War and supported by Bristol Against Imperialism, entitled 'Media on Trial'.
Media on Trial's first event took place at the Cheese and Grain in Frome on 11 June 2017.
Professor Piers Robinson
Professor Piers Robinson is Chair of Politics, Society and Political Journalism at Sheffield University. He has written the Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security, discussed media manipulation in television appearances and written articles on the deployment of propaganda in the media.
Robert Stuart is an independent researcher whose presentation on the ‘irregularities’ in the BBC Panorama episode ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ encouraged film producer and writer Victor Lewis-Smith to tear up his BBC contract in disgust.
Professor Tim Hayward
Professor Tim Hayward is Professor of Environmental Political Theory and Director of the Just World Institute at the University of Edinburgh. Tim has written extensively on human rights and ecological concerns, and he is currently completing a book on Global Justice and Finance. He has published articles calling into question media reporting – particularly that of Channel 4 News, as well as the BBC Panorama episode ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.
Peter Ford was the UK's ambassador to Bahrain from 1999–2003 and to Syria from 2003–2006. Following his retirement from the Foreign Office, he became Representative of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the Arab world. In February 2017 Ford became a Director of the British Syrian Society.
American journalist and broadcaster Patrick Henningsen is the founder of 21st Century Wire, which consistently provides a platform to those reporting from on the ground in conflict zones and who often calls into question, or directly disproves, the narrative of the mainstream media pundits.
International investigative journalist and photographer Vanessa Beeley has reported from inside Syria, Egypt and Palestine including liberated East Aleppo and has exposed the true Al Qaeda pedigree of the mainstream media darling – the White Helmets – in exhaustive and highly lauded investigations.