Comrade Alain sent me this (it is a BBC dispatch):
© Copyright British Broadcasting Corporation 2012".
|Media Analysis: Al-Arabiya TV blunders
Media analysis by BBC Monitoring on 24 July
The occasional erroneous reporting by Dubai-based, Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya TV channel on the developments in Syria appears to have alienated Syrian activists on the ground and strengthened the Syrian regime's narrative. During the fighting in Damascus and Aleppo this and the previous week, Al-Arabiya attributed gains made by the anti-regime forces in the two cities to activists and Free Syria Army (FSA) sources, which has proved to be incorrect.
Reactions by Syrian online activists indicate that the station's erroneous reporting may have been harmful, allegedly prompting regime forces to launch attacks on the locations reportedly taken by rebels.
Media activities in Aleppo itself appear not to have been interrupted, as seen on the screen of the Aleppo-based private, pro-regime "Halab TV" satellite channel.
But the local coordination committees in those areas denied these reports. The Barzah-al-Balad coordination committee page on Facebook confirmed that fighting was ongoing, but said the FSA did not control the area. 
Al-Arabiya did not seem to change its story after these corrections but instead moved from one story to another as the events in Syria escalated.
She said: "Al-Arabiya reported that FSA controlled Rukn al-Din and Barzah al-Balad, which wasn't true, and it's dangerous to report such news." 
"Al-Arabiya has lost credibility among the revolutionaries in Syria," she declared. 
On the Aleppo "Ahfad al-Kawakibi" Facebook page (14,000 followers), one post derided Al-Arabiya's reports as hyperbole.
"Why do we have all this exaggeration of the FSA and its moves? If a dozen fighters entered a neighbourhood and erected checkpoints and a flag, it doesn't mean it was liberated." 
Under these circumstances, and when access to information in Syria remains at its lowest and most difficult, Al-Arabiya's newsgathering seems to have created a perfect habitat for rumours.
"We call upon you not to declare the liberation of any area so as not to spark air bombardment and massacres," said a 20 July statement on the Facebook page of the "Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union", which organizes and documents protests. 
However, Syrian Twitter activist Shakib al-Jabari (@LeShaque) said the report of the warning was in fact based on a joke made on a Syrian activists' Facebook page.
"@AlArabiya_Eng takes activist joke, publishes it as news," he said. 
The most recent errors by Al-Arabiya appear to have strengthened this claim since the denials come from anti-regime activists.
This could be seen on Facebook pages supportive of the Syrian leader, such as the F.S.N.N (67,000 followers), where denials of TV news by local sources are always celebrated.  
In one example, one post scoffed at Al-Arabiya's recent errors.
"Those who don't get bored of lying have got bored of Al-Arabiya's lies." 
Source: BBC Monitoring analysis 24 Jul 12
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