Dear SBS executives and journalists
For the last 4 years, we were watching your news coverage about Syrian crisis and related issues with deep disappointment. I wrote to you on several occasions trying to point out some misleading facts that you were trying to twist. At different occasions I received unconvincing replies. But I think that the time has arrived for you to start admitting your mistakes (mainly deliberate mistakes). I also think that the time has arrived for you to change your attitude and coverage.
Few days ago, you tried to convince us that Keysar Trad is a peace-dove when it comes to Syrian crisis and the terrorism resulted from the so-called Syrian revolution. He was given enough time to air his lies and deceptions and talk about the threats he received by ISIS member.
Today, we were enforced to watch your news piece about threats against another extremist, Dr Jamal Rifi. Similar to Trad, Jamal Rifi was allowed to air his deceptive claims that he is “moderate” and this is why he was threatened by the same Australian terrorist, Mohamed El Omer. Not only this. You have also allowed the so-called Mufti to appear on your TV to tell us that without his “efforts”, thousands of Australian terrorists would have travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq.
I am writing here to express to you that enough is enough.
I firstly want to express to you that I was deeply offended by your coverage for the last 4 years, especially the coverage of events in the last month.
When ISIS members threaten people like Rifi and Keysar, this does not necessarily mean they are opposing the extreme inhumane destructive ideology of ISIS. Let us remember here that ISIS and other terrorist organisations (Like Jabhat Al Nusra and other offshoots of AL Qaeda in Syria) were killing each other for the last few months. Such fight is not a result of disagreement on extremist ideological basis, but rather on the basis of who should lead and make rules.
I remember when your TV station and radio programs were active from the first days of the crisis in Syria to spread deception and lies. At some stage, your fabricated news items were criticised by Media Watch. But this did not stop your organisation from departing from its policy of supporting terrorism in that country.
But we believe that results should be the clear guide for you to reassess your policy on this issue. And the result is very clear.
From the beginning of the Syrian crisis, your organisation insisted that what was happening there was a “peaceful revolution against dictatorship”. After 4 years, we discovered now and beyond any doubt the true nature of the Syrian “revolution”.
I will not try to convince you about the true nature of this “revolution”. But let me mention some facts in regard to your coverage of this issue and other issues resulted from Syrian “revolution”:
1- Your organisation adopted from the first day of the crisis the story of one side, and never showed the opinion of the other side. This is clear violation to your own guidelines about reporting on issues.
2- Your organisation in its biased and unprofessional coverage ignored large section of Australian society of Middle Eastern background. This includes myself, who was never contacted for comment, despite my deep understanding of the issue which has landed me in dangerous waters for the last 3 years. So much that I have received death threats and have been physically assaulted on camera while featuring in channel 7 Today Tonight program back in May 2013. Following this public attack, many major media outlets sought my comments about what happened. The majority of media outlets are on regular contact with me, even before this attack.
3- Your organisation’s refusal to send any journalist to Syria to report first hand on the issue, despite the fact that you sent or contracted different journalists to contact rebels (mainly terrorists) and gain access to rebel-controlled areas and reported from there. Such reports were very biased and unprofessional.
4- I find it deeply worrying for you to allow people like Keysar Trad and Jamal Rifi to vend deceptions live on your TV and radio programs. Your journalists could have researched these 2 people to discover that they were some of the main voices to radicalise and brainwash our youth and encourage them to fight in Syria. Both were very active to collect millions of $s to finance “rebel” activities.
5- Your organisation failed to report on the serious attacks on community members, who were subjected to physical and verbal attacks. Some of these people were shot, physically attacked, their businesses torched and their homes bombed with Molotov cocktails. You choose not to report on these serious attacks because the people attacked were opponents of Syrian “revolution”. While you were quick to report widely on one threat by a person who will never return to Australia (which makes his threat no more than a joke) against these 2 persons, who at some stage just as extreme if not more, than the actual terrorist.
6- Your organisation was quick to attack me, for example, for my visit to Damascus last December when I met with Syrian elected President, without allowing me the right to defend myself. Your organisation, on the other hand, reported and supported the visits of extremists to Syria. Such extremists were pictured with rifles in their hands, some of them visited Jabhat Al Nusra’s weapon factories and some of them accompanied Jabhat AL Nusra with their military actions against Syrian army. You allowed these extremists to not only defend themselves, but you portrayed them as heroes who were helping Syrians. While my visit to Syria was portrayed in your TV as the biggest crime any Australian could commit.
In this letter, I would like to mention to you that you have lost all credibility on all major issues. Your biased unprofessional reporting on Syria (and lately on Palestine) made your organisation less professional and even more biased than Murdoch’s press.
Lastly, I would like to mention too, that your biased unprofessional reporting in Syria helped a lot in radicalising the 150 Australians and encouraged them to travel to fight in Syria. Your shameful reporting on Syria made you partner in crime with the terrorist, by sending the wrong message on what is really happening in Syria. You should feel ashamed for this.
We hope that you will take some of these facts into account to reconsider the way you report on this issue. And we hope that you will end your partnership with terrorists.