Petitioning Journalists to Take a Pledge

By Step Back (

Faced with a dangerous escalation of the Syrian conflict, and the alarming role yet again of many Western media in facilitating it, we are asking you to sign this petition, not to our governments but to media organisations and journalists to take a pledge to do their job responsibly and accountably.

We are asking for your support by signing this petition, which we will forward to all journalists reporting on Syria, everywhere we can, asking them to take a personal PLEDGE

i) Not to pass on information passively that could be used as a basis for military action without investigating it, verifying it, and making clear all doubts, as well as airing opposing arguments and voices.

ii) To represent accurately as far as possible where the majority of actual Syrian citizens’ support lies, and not to shy away from sharply criticising Western and Western-aligned Arab governments if shown to be complicit in supporting the involvement, arming or funding of non-Syrian jihadis/mercenaries in the Syrian military opposition.

iii) To refuse to passively pass on and rather to challenge the too easily spoken calls for war escalation made by politicians far away from the conflict zone, more concerned by geopolitical outcomes and their poll ratings than the lives of Syrians, with horrific immediate and long term consequences, as we have seen in Iraq and continue to see 10 years after the invasion on false grounds.

Please add your support to the Petition asking for journalists to take that Pledge.

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We believe journalists’ role should be more in pursuit of peace and diplomacy rather than allowing or advocating the escalation of a conflict that will threaten us all if the vast majority of reporting continues in the default setting of parroting the pro-war spin of those in power in the USA, UK and France and their closely allied gulf state dictatorships Qatar and Saudi Arabia, from where arms are mostly being supplied, along with Turkey.

The media’s failure to effectively challenge the false pretexts for the 2003 Iraq war – the WMDs that could be launched in 45 minutes – facilitated the horrific death and destruction in Iraq, that still continues ten years later with dozens killed daily in ongoing sectarian bombings.

The pretext now being used to justify armed aggression against Syria’s elected government – the alleged ‘small scale’ use of Chemical Weapons – is even more fraudulent that in Iraq. That there is so little public opposition to this rush to war is testament to the media’s role in supporting their governments’ agendas, wittingly or otherwise.

The failure of these Western media organisations and journalists to question the ‘honourable’ motivation and agenda of their own governments despite glaring double standards, contrasts with their willingness to ascribe false motivations to Syria and her allies and to ignore the opinions of her people:

• Most Syrians want to keep their flawed president, and the unified, secular, religiously tolerant society he has led (read more)

• Most Syrians reject and fear the terrorism of West-supported mostly foreign jihadi militias, violently trying to ethnically cleanse their way to impose a sharia state (read more)

• There are even more holes in the Sarin ‘evidence’ than the ‘dodgy dossier’ used in the UK to bolster the Iraq war (read more)

• The Geneva II conference offers a rapidly narrowing chance for peaceful settlement and democratic advances, but risks being wrecked by a Western preference for a proxy toppling of Assad by jihadi militias, however bloody and regardless of the long term consequences for the country and the region (read more)

The further supply of arms to the largely foreign mercenaries and jihadis fighting the Assad government, on the basis that this will help resolve the conflict is transparently false. In the spirit of Orwell’s 1984, the latest international news splashes tell us that “only more arms can bring peace ” and that these will be duly supplied by ‘the friends’ of Syria; ‘friends’, that is, who ignore the will of the people of Syria. Even countries amongst these ‘friends’ are expressing doubts about this pouring of fuel on the fire, and the stoking of sectarian hatred that accompanies it.

We have no allegiance to any group or side in the Syrian conflict, whether political or religious, of any sort. We wish only that the views of the Syrian people be properly represented in Western media, and that the Syrian people be allowed and supported to follow the path of peaceful negotiation, without military intervention, without the continued influx of foreign combatants and without a continued or increased supply of weapons.

Please have a read of the articles in the Analysis section, and also see the suggestions we’ve received for examples of bad reporting in the Spin Bin and more worthwhile material in Recommended Reading.

We will be contacting journalists with requests to sign the Pledge backed up by the petition continually while the conflict remains unresolved. So PLEASE SHARE AS WIDELY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN with friends, family, work colleagues, campaign groups and so on.

SHARE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES of both poor and good reporting – for Spin Bin and Recommended Reading – by using the CONTACT FORM; include a link and your commentary on the piece (up to 250 words max).

Finally, if you have ideas on how we could improve the site, or are a public figure willing to bolster the campaign, please get in touch. Your support is needed.

Hope to see you back here soon to check out the latest posts.

Thank you,

The step-back team

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