During Foreign Office questions in the Commons last October, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson made it very clear that he took a dim view of Labour MPs - like Jeremy Corbyn - appearing on the broadcasts of Russia Today: “If we study the output of Russia Today and consider the state of the press in Russia at present, we see that it is an absolute … scandal that Labour Members should be continuing to validate and legitimate that kind of propaganda by going on those programmes” he blustered. I mean, Ofcom agreed with him!
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
Indeed, the HuffPost conceded “Russia Today, which has seen increasing prominence in recent years, has been the subject of sanctions from broadcast watchdog Ofcom for its slanted coverage of conflicts in Syria and Ukraine”.
Sadly for Bozza, this was a campaign destined to progress not necessarily to his advantage, as he had, not for the first time, failed to do his homework: “But his attempt to criticise the Labour leader backfired spectacularly when it emerged that his dad Stanley had himself appeared on Russia Today only last month to promote his latest book”. Several Tory MPs had also appeared on RT’s airwaves.
And Johnson has now shown himself to be yet another steaming Tory hypocrite after volunteering an interview to al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based pan-Arab TV channel owned by Saudi broadcaster Middle East Broadcasting Center. Yes, Bozza has been happily validating Saudi interests. But the worst part was yet to come.
Remember the bit about Ofcom? Well, Ofcom has been busy recently with a complaint made against, er, al-Arabiya. A very serious complaint. Here’s the relevant part of the Ofcom judgment.
“Mr Husain Abdulla complained to Ofcom on behalf of Mr Hassan Mashaima about unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy in connection with the obtaining of material included in the programme and the programme as broadcast on Al Arabiya News on 27 February 2016 … The programme … included an interview with Mr Mashaima, filmed while he was in prison awaiting a retrial, as he explained the circumstances which had led to his arrest and conviction”. There was more.
“The interview included Mr Mashaima making confessions as to his participation in certain activities. Only approximately three months prior to the date on which Al Arabiya News said the footage was filmed, an official Bahraini Commission of Inquiry had found that similar such confessions had been obtained from individuals, including Mr Mashaima, under torture”. They broadcast material known to have been obtained through torture.
So it was no surprise that “Ofcom’s Executive found that the programme had breached Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code … Ofcom’s Decision is that the appropriate sanction should be a financial penalty of £120,000 and that the Licensee should be directed to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings, on a date to be determined by Ofcom, and that it should be directed to refrain from broadcasting the material found in breach again”.
That information was available five days before Bozza sat down for his interview. He’s not only a clown and a hypocrite, he’s not fit for office. But you knew that already.
Russia Today has indeed slanted its coverage of Syria and Ukraine.
But so has "the West", especially in Britain and the USA and particularly the appalling C4 propagandist trio of Hilsum, Rugman and Miller.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in what amounts to virtually non-reporting of the destruction and massacres by Western military in Mosul and Raqqa and other places while concentrating on similar actions by Assad/Russia elsewhere. Most of all by a complete black out on the actions of the West in instigating the Syrian civil war in the first place - as it did in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and in the Maidan coup, plus hijacking the Egyptian element of the Arab Spring in favour of a totalitarian military junta.
The idea that Western mainstream media or a bunch of rigged apparatchiks at OFCOM have anything to teach anybody about anything is a cause for outright raucous laughter. Or it would be if the world wasn't strewn with the corpses of many hundreds of thousands of innocents and millions of refugees.
But you can't expect a dangerous buffoon like Bozo to understand that,let alone acknowledge it. By tolerating that charlatan in public life we deserve all the contempt we get from the rest of the world when we are labelled a declining, corrupt client state of the USA - a yapping poodle that long ago lost all sense of collective and individual pride.
It could all have been so different. Now it is almost, but not quite, too late.
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