A group of Syrians inside Syria and abroad have put together a statement questioning Jeremy Bowen’s so-called coverage of Syria in his latest visit there. The statement goes as the following:
We are appalled by BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen’s coverage from Damascus the last few weeks especially his coverage from Maloula, the historical Aramaic village. As the Middle East editor, Mr Bowen is scene as the expert who can provide fair coverage and in depth analysis of the situation wherever he travels. But in this very last trip, right after the chemical attack by government forces on Eastern Ghouta took place, we find Mr Bowen’s coverage showing the regime’s line without pausing the right questions for the audience.
For example, why Mr. Bowen didn’t visit the areas where the chemical attack took place? Why in his coverage of Damascus and the “normality” he didn’t tell the audience of how the situation for civilians was going only across the street from some areas he visited like Abassyeen square? And most importantly, he didn’t explain to us what really happened in Maloula? How was he allowed access there and not to other areas in Damascus where continuous government bombardment is taking place.?
Mr Bowen showed the story as the government wanted it to be portrayed, Islamist Jihadist and Al Qaeda linked attacking Christians in Maloula? Why the expert knowledgeable editor didn’t pause the question of the timing of the attack coinciding with President Obama’s attempt to have a strike against the regime?
There are tens of Christian villages around Homs and Hama and in Northern Syria that never been attacked over the last two years, and only now Maloula, the famous and historic place that the whole world can relate to is attacked?
Do we really know that Jabhat Al Nusra was behind the attack? On what basis Mr Bowen took it as a fact that Alnusra is behind the attack on the village? How can Mr Bowen say “The Americans are supporting the wrong side”?
As independent Syrian intellectuals and citizens, we always had faith and trust in the BBC World’s coverage of Syria, and here we make the distinction by the coverage of World and Arabic service where the latter has lost the credibility line in their coverage of Syria and were more bias to the regime.
The credibility and impartiality that the BBC editorial guidelines have held high in journalism have been absent in BBC Arabic coverage of Syria.
We respect highly the journalistic standards and ethics of the BBC as the leading organization in journalism and we hope the organization would clarify the points raised ahead and that the ME Editor Jeremy Bowen revisit his coverage and show a balanced explanation of the lines he used in his coverage.
The situation in Syria is not Al Qaeda versus Secular Assad regime; it is brutal dictatorship against people who took to the streets calling for dignity and freedom.
Group of Syrians inside Syria and abroad