Skip to main content

Media 'inciting sectarian wars,' al-Assad adviser says

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:53 PM EDT, Wed June 20, 2012
U.N. observers photograph a bus bombed outside a Shiite holy shrine in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on June 14.
U.N. observers photograph a bus bombed outside a Shiite holy shrine in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on June 14.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An adviser to the Syrian president says reporters are "fabricating facts" about events
  • "There are many people who believe what has been put on the news," she says
  • Tens of satellite channels "made themselves part of the war on Syria"

(CNN) -- Syria's government has not only had to contend with terrorists, but also with journalists bent on misrepresenting the news, according to a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Inciting sectarian wars, fabricating facts about what's happening in our country," Bouthaina Shaaban told Russia Today, a government-supported television news channel, in an interview on Tuesday. "There are many people who believe what has been put on the news and it affects them very negatively. Unfortunately the media war, throughout history, could be very damaging and very effective."

Shaaban alluded to reports from international news organizations that the Syrian government has sharply limited access to the country by foreign journalists, citing those claims as examples of misinformation. "It is not true that we don't give access to foreign journalists," she said. "Hundreds of Russian journalists came, hundreds of foreign journalists from all over the world: from India, China, Europe, from the U.S., from all over the world -- so, it's not true that journalists are not given access to Syria. But, also there are tens, at least, of satellite channels who made themselves part of the war on Syria."

Fighting rages in Syria; 52 more said killed

With rare exceptions, CNN's repeated and continuing requests to travel and report freely inside Syria have been declined.

Jimmy Carter on Egypt and Syria
Former U.S. soldier aids Syria's wounded
Should the U.S. intervene in Syria?

Syrian government officials have routinely said that terrorist groups and not government military forces are to blame for much of the violence that has wracked the country since March 2011. Asked to identify the countries that have been arming these terrorist groups, Shaaban refused to answer the question. "The Syrian government is not the issue, the issue is Syria, that is the issue, because when you have people from our army, people from our police, civilian people, women and children, killed by tens every day, when you have our factories burned and attacked, when you have our schools targeted, when you have our roads being obstructed by terrorists, then you are having a problem for the country and for the Syrian people.

"The issue is not the Syrian government, the issue is the unity and safety and sovereignty and prosperity of Syria."

Pressed to identify the groups, she said, "We do not know who these people are, we do not know to whom they belong. There is not a single leadership. I mean you can ask the U.N. forces and they would say to you this is the most difficult problem in Syria, that you don't know who your adversary is."

Shaaban reiterated a comment made by other Syrian officials, that Damascus still holds hope that the peace plan put forth by Arab League-U.N. Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan will succeed. Observers have accused government forces of flouting it.

"It is in our national interest to cooperate with the Kofi Annan plan because the first item in the Kofi Annan plan is to put an end to violence from all sides and in all its forms," she said.

Monitors to stay in Syria, U.N. says

Syria exposes cool spots in U.S.-Russia ties

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Aqsa Mahmood,19, would listen to Coldplay and read Harry Potter books. Then this Glasgow girl became an ISIS bride.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
updated 12:22 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
updated 4:54 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 6:16 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT