vonRonda Hauben 30.05.2013

Netizen Journalism and the New News

Exploring the impact of the net and the netizen on journalism and toward a more participatory form of citizenship.

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The Spring 2013 issue (vol 23, No 1) of the Amateur Computerist includes a number of articles covering how the UN Security Council has responded to the conflict in Syria over the period beginning on October 4, 2011 through September 28, 2012. The url is(1):

The significance of the set of articles covering this time period is to provide some perspective on the actions of the Security Council in connection with Syria.

The mainstream western media narrative claims that two permanent members of the Security Council have impeded international cooperative activity to stop the killings and violence in Syria.

The set of articles in this issue, presents a very different picture of the actions of the Security Council with respect to Syria. A more accurate narrative emerges from considering the actual activities of the Security Council during this period.

By October 4, 2011, two draft resolutions had been introduced into the Security Council. One resolution encouraged the Syrian government to implement reforms and it condemned extremist violence against the Syrian government and people.

The second resolution condemned the actions of the Syrian government without also seeking to stop the foreign intervention by other nations sending weapons and mercenaries into Syria and thereby encouraging attacks against the government, civilians and infrastructure of Syria. This second resolution portrayed the government of Syria as the whole problem and gave support to extremist violence.

Only the second resolution was brought to a vote by members of the Security Council, leading to a veto of this resolution by two permanent members of the Security Council. Had this second resolution been passed it would have served to fan the violent attacks on the Syrian government, people and infrastructure. Such actions are contrary to the role of the Security Council as provided for in the UN Charter.

A problem of the Security Council is demonstrated by the way that the second resolution supporting violent attacks against the sovereignty and people of a member nation of the UN was put to a vote. It was clear there was disagreement with the resolution and that it would be vetoed. But it was put to a vote for political purposes rather than the Charter purpose of peace and security.

Support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria which is in accord with the UN charter requires condemnation of foreign intervention into the internal affairs of a member state. The problem, however, is not merely those nations fueling the armed insurgency and that are trying to overthrow the government of Syria. The problem is also that there is a mainstream media that broadcasts the false narrative of an alleged evil Syrian government. This false narrative is presented by the NATO members of the UN Security Council and aids their quest to carry out regime change in Syria despite what the majority of the Syrian people desire, or what the principles of the UN Charter require.

The mainstream media which broadcasts this false framing is essentially a media supporting a NATO dominated restructuring of the Middle East. A nation like Syria which provided a challenge to the Israeli and NATO domination of the region is henceforth a target, both as a warning to other nations not to object to the geopolitical designs of the NATO powers, and as an encouragement to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations for their goal of replacing a secular Syria.

The western media claims of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the period leading up to the March 2003 U.S. and British invasion of Iraq paved the way for the invasion. The false claims of alleged weapons also demonstrated that along with a military invasion of a country, there will be the false media claims demonizing the government of the nation to be invaded. To have a more peaceful world, there is a need to be able to effectively and conscientiously counter not only the military acts of aggression but also the false media misrepresentations of the aggression.

The articles in this issue of the Amateur Computerist are an effort to propose examples of netizen journalism to help to not only expose the false narratives being presented, but also to establish what is the accurate narrative that is being hidden by the military maneuvers and the manipulative media coverage.

In the article in this issue, “The United Nations and Journalism in the Era of the Netizen” there is a reference to a talk by the current Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, describing the media campaign against the government of Syria. Medvedev sees that the “mass media manipulation of public opinion” has become a “tool in international relations.” This is a problem that he explains poses a serious security dimension and it must be recognized and provisions made to counter this danger.

While Medvedev discusses the problem, we recognize the importance of creating a netizen media that will provide a means to help solve this problem.

The goal of the Amateur Computerist is not only to expose the problem of the false narratives and media manipulation, but to help demonstrate the kind of netizen media needed as a counter narrative.

The Spring 2013 issue is the 50th issue of the Amateur Computerist, which is a publication started 25 years ago in 1988. The current issue, like several previous issues, is dedicated to exploring the nature of netizen journalism and its potential to provide for a more accurate consideration of situations in the news.(2)

The Issue Includes the Following Articles (shortened form of titles):


Security Council Vote Challenges Hidden Agenda on Syria
Lessons from Security Council RES 1973
Arab League Observer Report Corrects Media Narratives
Defending UN Charter by Use of Veto
Using UN General Assembly to Endorse Regime Change
UN Charter and Kofi Annan’s Role in Syria
The Struggle against a Parallel Track to Annan Plan
SC Approves 90 day Observer Mission
“We Need Eyes and Ears on the Ground”
UN and Houla: The Information Battlefield
Journalism in the Era of the Netizen
Why is the UNSMIS Houla Report Missing?


(1) See also http://www.ais.org/~jrh/acn/

(2) See for example “Netizen Journalism, Libya and the UN”, http://www.ais.org/~jrh/ACn21-1.pdf

Also there have been many other netizen media articles, videos etc. documenting that there is a very different view of the conflict in Syria than that of the mainstream western media. See for example: the video on the missing UNSMIS report on Houla is a useful reference that is in Spanish.
“La ONU ‘pierde’ el informe sobre la masacre de Houla.”
The url is:

And a collection of several articles on the Houla Massacre has been gathered and edited by Adam Larson,
“Syria : One Year After the Houla Massacre. New Report on Official vs. Real Truth” which is available at the url:

Some other sample articles providing information or perspectives not in general covered by the mainstream western media’s reporting on the Syrian conflict include:
The Angry Arabs Will No Longer Fight Against Syria

Syria: The Feckless Left (by Malooga)


Rapid acceleration of events in the US/NATO war on Syria: comparing threats


Flash. Explosive. Sen. McCain poses with terrorists in Syria



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