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OPINION: Media Bias and Hypocrisy in Russia – Ukraine Escalation

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Media wars and mud-slinging are part of the games of conflict and offer only temporary victories; because the truth is, the only victor in a nuclear war will be death.

It’s all very well to enumerate the various excesses of the Russian state and its Orwellian stance on free speech, but when double standards exist across the board on home territory,  it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate the choices of those who control the current narrative blaring across our television sets. Human nature is a homogenous phenomena; therefore no one nation can claim to be better and more civilised than the other -although often every one of them does-especially when engaged in warfare and most certainly when both  sides are guilty of aggression, censorship and mass propaganda at international levels.

How terrible it must be to live under the Russian Fascist Vladimir Putin whose government decided to ban Instagram from the country-a US owned social media platform particularly popular with its youth –a fate which tech giant Facebook had previously succumbed to. “Moscow influencers WEEP in final posts before Putin banned the site for ‘incitement to violence against Russians” laments one particular headline from the nation’s favourite tabloid the Daily Mail. The raison d’etre for Russia’s censorship is expressed in either incredulous punctuation by the latter, or stated in monotone sentences such as in the classier Washington Post, neither condemning nor justifying hate speech. In fact justification is hinted at in a subtle fashion by the award winning US based broadsheet through the statement that Meta, the American parent company of Instagram and Facebook, “…made an exception to its policy against inciting violence, so long as the posts represented political expression against Russian forces invading Ukraine. Meta said calls for violence against ordinary Russian citizens would remain prohibited…”.

Interesting.

Suddenly the apparently tiny clause that differentiates ones right to freedom of expression from hate speech ceases to exist. All is fair in love and war, they say.

Censorship arrives on European airwaves

Or is it? Yesterday, the Russian News Channel RT was banned by British Media regulator Ofcom – a move closely following Youtube’s ban of all Russian state funded media worldwide, which included RT, a few days prior, and Canada’s RT ban just two days before.

The justification cited for these undemocratic moves? Canada cited content coming from the channel as ‘abusive’ to Ukraine  – no justifications of hate speech there – Ofcom, however, offered a vague explanation for it suppression of the Russian channel, saying that it  “…did not consider Rt’s licensee, ANO TV Novosti, fit and proper to hold a UK broadcast licence..”

Flip through the news channels or scroll through Twitter and other social media, and it is obvious; double standards abound in such abundance that it is difficult for those too young to remember the last major conflicts with huge civilian displacement, many of which are ongoing, (with far greater loss of life) to escape such a narrow world view.

 Suddenly, the Daily Mail, infamous for its anti-immigrant stance throughout the various refugee making conflicts in the Middle East – most of which have been perpetrated and include aerial bombardment by Western or Western backed forces- raised £7.2 million to help Ukrainian refugees. Then, 100,000 Britons who opened their homes to Ukrainian refugees were lauded by the tabloid as big-hearted, and in general Western news bulletins are replete with the footage of the death and destruction raining down upon the civilians of Ukraine as well as the hundreds taking shelter in the underground.

Today, Europe has welcomed with open arms around three million refugees from Ukraine within three weeks since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The bloody conflict in Syria created almost 7 million refugees 2015, the biggest movement of displaced persons since the second Word War, most of them taken in by Turkey –  and in total Europe took in just one million of them over a period of a few years after much dehumanising language framing  victims of conflict seeking safe havens as ‘migrants’.

In stark contrast, British TV Star Martin Roberts  broke down weeping after being denied access to more than two Calpol bottles which he was buying for Ukrainian children caught up in the conflict.

Where were the tears of TV stars when Iraqi babies were buried under twenty feet of rubble by British bombs? Does it state on the label that Calpol is only for Caucasians?

And where was the sudden surge of generousity on part of the British press for the refugees of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine?

In fact, they were framed as a ‘looming crisis’…thousands of Iraqis who sought refuge in the UK and Europe lost the right  to remain and many were forcefully deported back to war torn Baghdad, Denmark imposed the ‘Jewellery Tax’ on refugees from the 2011 Syrian war which made it legal for the Danish government to seize assets that valued above 10,000 Kroner, forcing helpless civilians to pay for their refuge.

In the first week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Denmark announced it would not be imposing the jewellery tax on Ukrainian refugees. That law was enacted when the colour of a refugee’s skin was darker than the Danish people, and clearly, times have changed.

The True Cost, and Victor, of War

The truth is, it is easy to reprimand Russia. It is easy for the pot to call the kettle black, for who is there to hold up a mirror before it? But glaring hypocrisy is always plain to see for those who care to pay attention. Both Russia and pro – Ukrainian and Western media are engaging in dangerous and undemocratic games of censorship and suppression while carrying out their own forms of aggression in the battlefield – “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech” said Benjamin Franklin – while in the background, it is the Ukrainian population who are facing the consequences of this growing conflict. As of now, around 550 Ukrainian civilians have been killed (Although the Israeli government manages more than that number within the same time frame during its frequent escapades in Gaza & the Occupied Territories ) according to the United Nations. Russia justifies bombing hospitals, schools and residential areas because they claim Ukrainian soldiers use civilians as ‘Human Shields’, the same claims made by the Israeli government to justify its almost regular bombardment of Palestinian hospitals, schools and residential areas in Gaza – but of course because Palestinians belong to an Eastern race and religion, those carrying out the act of human shielding are named terrorists.

Millions of Ukrainians are now refugees – it is purely luck that they are Caucasian and have Europeans welcoming them with open arms. Otherwise the influx of such a large number of people in such a short amount of time is hard to contemplate – in the case of Middle Easterners, almost impossible to accept.

Therefore, mud-slinging and media victories aside, everyone must know that there are no winners in such a drawn out and bloody conflict and it is only because this war is closer to home that its vibrations and the emotional toll, and loss of civilian life, is felt and appreciated by the British people and the West in general. And it is also true that it cannot be that Russian civilians will not experience loss in one form or another the way Ukrainian civilians have already done so.

What are they all fighting for? What did the troops that invaded and bombed more than a million Iraqi civilians claim to fight for? In the end, more than a million lives, which included children, whole families, budding young men and women dreaming of bright futures, were bartered for a few laughs as George W.Bush – the US President who led the 2003 coalition backed invasion,  joked a year later at a black tie dinner for journalists that the weapons of mass destruction – the pretext cited for invading Iraq – were nowhere to be found.

As far as the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine is concerned, it’s all for the expansionist aims of a military alliance that seeks to counter another expansionist nation’s attempts in a never ending vicious cycle of tit for tat that has led to such brutal escalation.

 Our media, and those who fail to call it out on its excruciatingly blatant bias, are fanning the flames of a conflict that is only spiralling further and further out of control. These PR victories only help further disinformation and a biased narrative that offer temporary wins.

You see, the only victor in a nuclear war will be death.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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  1. Sultana Bhatti

    23 March 2022 at 11:28 pm

    The media have begun to influence the narrative rather than report objectively on what’s happening. They seem to want to nudge towards use of nuclear weapons purely for ratings. Ironic that extreme consumerism is happy to sacrifice, well, consumers

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Politics

Anthony Albanese: Australia’s Newly elected Prime Minster

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International Transport for Aus via flickr.com

Anthony Albanese is officially Australia’s 31st Prime Minister after a swearing in ceremony in Canberra ahead of a crucial international dialogue with the US, India and Japan.

Australia’s prime minister-elect, Anthony Albanese, looks increasingly likely to form a majority government, with the party inching ahead in 78 seats across the country, as the Liberal party (Ex-Prime Minister Scott Morrison political Party) descends into turmoil following Saturday’s election (Election was conducted on 21stmay 2022) rout.

As counting continued on Sunday, Labor (Winning Political party)  leader Albanese took part in briefings with senior public sector officials to prepare him for Tuesday’s meeting of the quadrilateral security dialogue in Tokyo, which he will attend with the incoming foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong.

Albanese is expected to have one-on-one meetings with the US president, Joe Biden, Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the official Quad summit before returning to Australia on Wednesday.

Inside the lavish Government House the five ministers awaited Governor-General David Hurley and Linda Hurley before they and gathered guests sang the national anthem.

The Prime Minister was joined by his partner Jodi Haydon and son Nathan Albanese as he became only the fourth Labor leader to win government from opposition since World War Two.

The entire ministry has been divided among the five senior members, with the remaining frontbench to be sworn in once Mr Albanese returns from Tokyo.

Visiting a cafe in his home suburb of Marrickville on Sunday, Albanese said the result was a “really big moment” in his life, and he wanted it to be a seminal moment for the country.

He has flagged that on his return he will convene his first meeting of the national cabinet with all the state and territory leaders, which is now overwhelmingly comprised of Labor leaders.

With a national two-party swing towards the party of almost 4%, counting on Sunday showed that Labor was on track to increase its gains across metropolitan Australia, ahead in Bennelong in New South Wales and Deakin in Melbourne, and within striking distance of picking up the formerly safe Adelaide seat of Sturt, the seat of Moore in Perth’s north, and Menzies in Melbourne’s north-east.

If Labor is successful in winning these seats, the Liberal party will hold no ground in Adelaide or Perth, and only Alan Tudge’s seat of Aston across greater Melbourne after it lost the seats of Higgins and Chisholm to Labor, and Kooyong and Goldstein to teal independents.

Labor has also clawed back ground in the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore which has seen a swing towards former NSW transport minister Andrew Constance, and was ahead in the Tasmanian seat of Lyons.

As shellshocked Liberals were coming to terms with the electoral loss, which has seen them lose more than 15 seats to Labor, the Greens and teal independents, MPs were preparing for a change in leadership to the former defence minister Peter Dutton.

The final result has been projected as 77 for Labor, 59 for the coalition and 15 on the crossbench.

Outgoing deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said his future as Nationals leader was in the hands of his party room colleagues.

Independent candidates elected on Saturday will be pushing the government to deliver on three issues: a more ambitious climate policy, a national integrity commission and women’s equality.

Monique Ryan, who is on track to seize the seat of Kooyong from outgoing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, said voters had responded to a coalition government shifting “too far to the right”.

Moderate Liberal and outgoing minister Simon Birmingham said the party needed to step up its 2030 emissions target and do more to preselect women in safe seats.

The Greens, having secured a record primary vote, are on track to hold 12 Senate seats in the new parliament and up to five lower house seats.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Biden signs $40B support package for Ukraine while overseas

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Four months into the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Biden has signed a support package of $40B to help in Ukraine. 

The breakdown of the package would be $20B in military assistance, $8B in general economic support, $5B to address global food shortages and more than $1 billion to help refugees. 

The bill was passed in the Congress by support of both parties and as the president of the United States of America is visiting Asia right now, a copy of the bill was flown to him by a U.S. official traveling on a commercial flight to Seoul for his signature. 

These unusual circumstances display the urgency of the matter and while helping Ukraine is a noble thing to do but, as the author Kenneth Eade has pointed out “War is the most profitable business on earth.” 

We wonder about the prioritization of the breakdown. Half of the support package is intended for lethal weapons. Which also means more damage, more innocent lives that will be lost a longer uncertainty for our future.

As noble as this gesture of supporting the Ukraine is, who is benefitting from this deal? Or is it just a means to prolong the war? Where do their priorities lie with the fight against Russia or the support of Ukraine? 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Hungary Announces State of Emergency Due to War in Ukraine

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  • Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has officially declared a new state of emergency for Hungary in a Facebook video that was posted on Tuesday. Orban stated that the war in Ukraine poses “a constant threat to Hungary” and that the state of emergency would allow the Hungarian government to respond more efficiently to difficulties that arise due to the war.
  • The state of emergency will allow the Hungarian government to pass laws without the involvement of the Parliament and will offer them the opportunity to temporarily digress from existing laws. This is the third state of emergency that Orban has passed while in office. Previously, Hungary dealt with a state of emergency due to the European refugee crisis as well as one declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Emese Pasztor of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union criticizes Orban and his government stating that another introduction of a special legal order “will become the new normal, which will threaten the fundamental rights of all us, and rule by decree will further diminish the importance of the Parliament.”
  • A few have criticized the introduction of another special legal order stating that it makes Orban’s government too powerful considering that his party, the Fidesz party, already holds a two-thirds majority in the Parliament. Orban has stated in the Facebook video that the first measures will be announced on Wednesday. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Samar Idlibi
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Samar is a UC San Diego graduate with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. In addition to her passion for research and writing in relation to current events, she also utilizes her skills in areas such as digital marketing. Furthermore, she is deeply interested in positions that involve oral communication skills such as leadership roles and public speaking.

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Russia-Ukraine

Russian Soldier Gets Life in Prison

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21 year old Vadim Shishimarin was the first guilty verdict in the first war crime trial within Ukraine following Russia’s invasion earlier this year. Shishimarin was convicted of killing a 62 year old unarmed Ukrainian civilian on February 28th of this year. The court officially stated that Shishimarin “saw a civilian on the pavement, Oleksandr Shelipov…knowing that Shelipov is a civilian and is unarmed and does not pose any threat to him — fired several shots at Shelipov from his AK-gun.”  

Shishimarin pleaded guilty to the three-panel court for firing at Shelipov, but claimed he did not do so with intention to kill him, a point his lawyer argues should invalidate Shishimarin for being accused of murder. He apologized for killing the civilian, stating he was “nervous the moment it happened,” and claiming, “I didn’t want to kill. But it happened and I do not deny it.” The court has sentenced Shisimarin to the maximum sentence of life in prison, which Shisimarin and his attorney plan to appeal. Judge Serhiy Agafonof stated that regardless of intent, his actions violated international laws of war  “provided by the Geneva convention.” 

Dmirtry Peskov, Spokesperson to the Russian President stated his concerns regarding the verdict, calling it “unacceptable,” “staged,” and “outrageous.” He stated the Kremlin’s hope to intervene within this case to assist Shishimarin. 

The Ukrainian report states that over 10,000 other war crimes involving 600 suspects are to be investigated. Shishimarin’s case paves the way for future trials, while also giving insights into how Ukrainian judges will be conducting these trials. The case also sends a message to Russian soldiers still occupying Ukraine, giving them reason to reconsider their position and actions. 

It remains to be seen if Russia would enact a similar law to America that bypasses accountability for war crimes. In 2002, former US President George Bush passed the Hague Invasion act, limiting Americans from being held accountable for war crimes. Wars in the past, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria have totaled over half a million civilian deaths as a result of ongoing conflict by a foreign invasion. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Russian Diplomat Resigns Due to “Witless” War, Condemns Russia

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After 20 years of service, Russian Diplomat Boris Bondarev has resigned over the war incurred by Russia in Ukraine through a letter posted on social media. Bondarev has called Russia “witless” for its invasion within the Eastern European country. He stated that “Those who conceived of this war want only one thing – to stay in power forever…To achieve that, they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for this.”

“Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy,” he went on to write. “It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves interests of few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy…When you see that your country is doing the worst things and being a civil servant you’re somehow related to that, it’s your decision just to terminate your connection with the government. We all must be responsible. And I don’t want to have any responsibility for what I don’t approve of.”

Bondarev stated his decision to quit was made in February, but took him two months to find the resolve to publicly announce his resignation. Bondarev is the first to make his resignation public, praised by the UN watch. Moscow has yet to respond to his departure. However, Russian news agency Kommersant did report on this, stating they also knew the names of other diplomats who have resigned following the invasion but have not announced it. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Starbucks Leaves Russia After 15 Years

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  • Starbucks is leaving Russia and closing its 130 locations after fifteen years of operating there. McDonalds, Exxon Mobil and other companies made similar moves in recent weeks.
  • Starbucks will pay its estimated 2,000 employees for the next six months, while also helping them find new jobs. The company has not disclosed the financial impact of these actions.
  • The decision to leave Russia was made in March, with the CEO at the time, Kevin Johnson, stating that the company condems “the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia and our hearts go out to all those affected.”
  • The US placed many economic sanctions on Russia after they invaded Ukraine, some of which make it more difficult for western companies to operate there.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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