‘A life is a life’: Corbyn accuses MSM of ignoring Beirut, Ankara attacks, focusing more on Paris

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in central London, November 8, 2015. © Toby Melville
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticized the mainstream media’s coverage of recent terrorist atrocities in Lebanon and Turkey, arguing they “got hardly any publicity” compared with the Paris attacks.

Corbyn made clear he found the Paris attacks “appalling,” but urged the press to report as faithfully on similar events outside Europe.

He accused British media of under-playing the deadly attacks by Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) on the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Some 43 people were killed and hundreds wounded in two suicide bomb attacks in a residential area of Beirut last Thursday, while explosions in Ankara last month killed 102 people and injured over 400.

While ISIS claimed responsibility for the Beirut bombing, no one has yet claimed responsibility for the Ankara attack, although one of the bombers is believed to have had links to ISIS.

I think first of all what happened in Paris was appalling, this is a vibrant, multicultural city, young people of all faiths, and older people as well, all there together, and cultures, and this terrible thing happened,” Corbyn told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly on Monday morning.

Likewise, which didn’t unfortunately get hardly any publicity, was the bombing in Beirut last week or the killing in Turkey. I think our media needs be able to report things that happen outside of Europe as well as inside. A life is a life.

Corbyn’s comments echoed that of Lebanese doctor Elie Fares, who wrote on his blog that the deaths in Beirut had been treated as “irrelevant” compared with Paris.

When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares wrote.

When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Since the Paris attacks, several internet users have drawn on this theme to criticize mainstream media coverage of terrorism around the world.

However some reporters have disputed the claim, arguing that the atrocities in Beirut and Ankara were covered fully at the time.

Search Google News and you will find pages and pages of reports of the attacks in Beirut,” wrote journalist Martin Belam.

Pages and pages and pages. Over 1,286 articles in fact: lots of which pre-date the attacks in Paris.”

Facebook has also come under scrutiny for implementing the Safety Check option for users based in Paris following the attacks on Friday, while no such option was given to residents of Beirut just a few days earlier.

Facebook’s vice president for growth, Alex Shultz, said the company’s Safety Check policy was evolving.

There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris,” he said.

Shultz said the function was less useful in areas experiencing ongoing wars and epidemics because, without a clear end point, “it’s impossible to know when someone is truly ‘safe.’”