‘If I write in line with Russian media, it’s because we both tell the truth’ – Eva Bartlett to RT
Eva Bartlett, a freelance journalist and human rights activist who has her own blog on RT.com recently sparked debate by giving an emotional speech at the UN. During a press conference arranged by the Syrian mission to the UN, she blasted the Western mainstream media’s coverage of the Syrian war as “compromised,” saying that their local sources are “not credible” and, in the case of Aleppo, not even real. The journalist, who has been covering events in Syria during the years since the civil war first broke out there, noted that while there are “certainly honest journalists among the very compromised establishment media,” many respected media agencies simply seem to avoid fact checking. The harsh response she has drawn for her unforgiving criticism of fellow members of the media is quite baseless, however, Bartlett told RT.
“Some people have taken issue with the things I said because I was basically criticizing much of the corporate media reporting on Syria, and instead of actually digesting what I said and criticizing the details of what I said, people have gone to the usual tactic of trying to smear who I am and imply that I am an agent of either or both Syria and Russia,” Bartlett said, adding that it’s been openly implied she is on the payroll of the Syrian and Russian governments. The fact that she is an active contributor to RT’s op-edge section has also been jumped all over.
“The fact that I do contribute to the RT op-edge section apparently, in some people’s eyes, makes me compromised. I began contributing to the RT op-edge section when I lived in Gaza, and this was not an issue for people who then appreciated my writing,” she stated. Bartlett also denied the notion that the Syrian government paid her to speak at the UN.
“It was not the Syrian government which arranged for me to speak at the UN. It was my request, and I requested this because… I thought this was actually a good opportunity to share with a wider audience what I’ve seen on my independent visits to Syria.
“The only thing it had to do with the Syrian government was the Syrian ambassador… to the UN agreeing to facilitate this [opportunity],” she said.
According to Bartlett’s UN speech, the corporate media is effectively reporting information that is the “opposite” of what is actually happening on the ground, whereas her reporting comes from personal interaction with the Syrian people during her now six trips to the war-torn state.
“What I am writing, and what I’m reporting, and who I am citing are Syrian civilians whom I’ve encountered in Syria.
“If people do not wish to hear the voices of Syrian civilians and if they want to maintain their narrative which is in line with the NATO narrative – which is in line with destabilizing Syria and vilifying the government of Syria and ignoring the overwhelming wishes of the people of Syria – then they do this by accusing me of spreading propaganda,” the journalist stressed.
As the West sees RT as a propaganda media outlet for the Russian government, Bartlett’s connection to RT has been used as a basis for accusing her of fake reporting because it differs from the picture of the Syrian crisis being presented by the Western mainstream media, the journalist claimed.
“The fact that I’m writing about what I see in Syria when I am on the ground in Syria, when I talk with Syrian civilians – and I sometimes contribute to Russia Today – suddenly this is an issue.
“I am a freelance journalist, I write for whomever I want. I submit an article to Russia Today’s op-edge section and they decide whether or not they are going to run it – that’s how it works,” she explains, noting that the reason that her reports are in line with those in the Russian media might be because both are accurate.
“The fact that my writing is in line with the Syrian people… in some respect aligns with Russian media reports, does not mean that I’m reporting Russian propaganda, and it does not mean that what Russian media is reporting is propaganda. It happened to be that I report the truth as I see it on the ground, and some Russian media happen to report the truth as they see it on the ground.
“Why do we not see these accusations when a BBC journalist goes to Syria and reports what I often believe to be not the full story? Why are they not accused of working for the State of England? Why are Al Jazeera journalists not accused of working for Qatar?” Bartlett asked, adding that all of these “loaded accusations” are slung at her in order to discredit what she has to tell.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.