CNN censors Russian Ambassador to UN assessment of Syrian rebel activities

Voice of Russia — Nov 28, 2013

The US CNN TV channel has dropped from its interview with the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations his appeal for the need to take into account the will of the Syrian people, who mostly support the incumbent President Bashar al-Assad, and also Churkin’s statement that the Syrian opposition is stonewalling humanitarian activities, the ITAR-TASS news agency reports.

The interview is accessible on the CNN website. The final edition of the programme by a prominent host Christiane Amanpour lacks Churkin’s answers to some key questions, one of which was about Assad’s role after the start of the transition period. “This is for Syrians to decide”, Churkin said in the full version of the interview, which has been posted on the website of the Russian Embassy to the United Nations. According to Churkin, “the reality is that many Syrians, in fact the better part of the Syrian population, back up President Assad, and this should also be taken into account”. “So, let’s launch a dialogue and make it possible for Syrians to make their own choice of the path towards ending the conflict”, the diplomat said.

CNN has likewise dropped Vitaly Churkin’s remarks that any preconditions by the Syrian opposition for the Geneva-2 conference are inadmissible. Geneva-2 is due to kick off on January 22nd . The opposition earlier made certain demands even when the date of the expected conference was only being agreed.

Vitaly Churkin deplored the fact in a conversation with the ITAR-TASS news agency that CNN had broadcast a downsized version of his interview. He claims that CNN has dropped “the more acute issues” of a Syrian settlement.

CNN has, besides, cut out the Russian Ambassador’s assessment of the rebels’ activities, as well as moves by the countries that support rebels as regards the provision of assistance for the population of Syria. The Russian diplomat said specifically that a high level working party is currently holding consultations in Geneva to react to the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Churkin also said that there is leverage over Damascus concerning humanitarian issues, but “nobody knows who actually influences the hundreds or at least dozens of armed groups” preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the Syrian population. “We must find out what these countries are, and they should assume responsibility for settling problems with the groups in question so the latter will not hinder the evacuation of the population from besieged areas. The opposition has prevented the evacuation of people from such areas on several occasions in recent months, whereas the government in Damascus was prepared to move people out”, the Russian Ambassador to the UN said.

He also pointed out a curious fact that had also been dropped from the broadcast version of the interview. According to Churkin, “each time that the population leaves a besieged area, they move to territories under Syrian government control”. “I think this speaks volumes about who the population pin their hopes on as regards the provision of humanitarian assistance”, the diplomat said.

Alexei Mukhin, General Director of the Centre for Political Information in interview to the Voice of Russia said:

“The US media, probably, guided by patriotic considerations, are trying to support the country’s leadership, which, to put it mildly, has lost face during its efforts aimed at settling the Syrian crisis. And now it has got involved in the information confrontation with Russia, aiming to help Washington to save face. I believe that such moves – once the public, including the world public becomes aware of them – are compromising the US media, which are considered to be exemplary from the point of democracy and freedom of speech. I believe that such moves are doing damage to the US, undermining its reputation, which has already been tarnished.”

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