Progressive politics, ideas & culture

May-June 2003

HOW-TO: Beat the press

Julie Crysler

It’s often said that the first casualty of war is the truth.

As the mainstream media treats the Iraq war as little more than the latest reality TV hit (Survivor Baghdad?), and embedded “journalists” enthuse about their military protectors, it’s easy to get the sense you’re being duped. Even in the less flashy Canadian media, you can read lots of commentary from armchair generals like Marcus Gee, but most outlets have sacrificed access in favour of a modicum of integrity. In the heat of the battle, it may not be possible to get the whole story, but here are a few sites that offer a view of the conflict you won’t see on CNN.
With five reporters based in Baghdad, Iraqjournal provides uncensored, independent reports of events in Iraq. The website includes print, video, photographic and audio material, which it allows non-profit groups to reprint, free of charge.
Eyewitness accounts of the bombing of Baghdad and its effects by an Iraqi calling himself “Salam Pax.” There’s a raging debate about the site’s authenticity, but if Pax is the genuine article, he’s providing a unique window on the conflict.
Anti-war site collects and distributes documents, photos and video footage related to war crimes, terrorism and genocide. Includes a wide range of footage from the Iraq war÷much of which is too intense even for Fox.
Not to be confused with the “human shields,” this group of nonviolent activists has been on the ground in Iraq since September 2002. It’d be a stretch to call their work journalism, but this regularly updated site does include diary entries by various members of the team.
Provides continually updated information about civilian casualties as a result of military actions by the U.S. and its allies. Casualty figures are derived from a comprehensive survey of online media reports, from Western and Middle Eastern news sources, as well as from Human Rights Watch and other ngos.
This temporary, English-language web version of the Qatar satellite channel is the only uncensored source of Iraq coverage from an Arab perspective. When it launched in March, it was swamped with traffic÷and hit with repeated hack attacks.

Julie Crysler is a recovering editor of This Magazine. Her current gig is at CBC Radio.

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