JE Tabler

Human Rights Watch and the Media’s Willful Incompetence

Posted on January 25 2010 9:30 am
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For over a week the city of Jos, Nigeria, and its surrounding areas have been gripped with violence. Hundreds have been killed. Thousands have been displaced. A church was set on fire while congregants worshipped inside. It is a true human tragedy and it does not seem to be over. Shouldn’t reputable news agencies have their own correspondents to report on stories like these? Because they all seem to be relying on Saudi-funded, anti-Christian, anti-Israel Human Rights Watch, who don’t seem to be too concerned with the loss of Christian life.

Human Rights Watch has issued two reports on the recent violence, both of which are very one-sided. This is par for the course when it comes to coverage of violence in the area, but HRW’s reports are particularly slanted in favor of the Muslim perspective, filled with hearsay and condemnations of security forces for subduing the riots and “roving gangs.”  To read their 2009 report on Nigeria one might easily assume that Boko Haram were a group of radical Christian missionaries.

HRW’s press release from January 23 begins thusly:

(Dakar) – Nigeria’s vice president should order an immediate criminal investigation into credible reports of a massacre of at least 150 Muslim residents of a town in central Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said today.

Their January 19th press release was rather different:

According to credible reports from civil society leaders, and national and international media, the violence was carried out by sectarian mobs armed with guns, bows and arrows, and machetes. Roving gangs are reported to have burned and looted houses, cars, and shops, as well as several churches and mosques. There are also several credible reports that the military and police used excessive force in responding to the violence.

Muslim leaders reported that 80 of the dead were taken to the central mosque in Jos on Tuesday for burial, in addition to 71 buried during the first two days of clashes. One Christian official reported that by Monday, 50 Christians had died in the violence and another 15 were killed on Tuesday. The three days of clashes have forced at least 5,000 people from their homes. On Monday the state government deployed additional military and anti-riot police units to the streets of Jos and on Tuesday morning imposed a 24-hour curfew in the city. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that gunshots could still be heard around the city in the late afternoon, and smoke was seen billowing from the worst-affected neighborhoods.

When violence is committed against Muslims, HRW immediately calls upon the vice president to investigate, but when Christians are the victims of “sectarian mobs” the police and the military are asked to use restraint, as if to discourage holding the perpetrators accountable.

Furthermore, nobody else besides the Muslim Brotherhood has reported on the alleged burnings of mosques, which is the heart of the problem. Every reputable news agency has chosen Human Rights Watch as its only source for this story:

Pretty much everyone but VOA and CBN.

Human Rights Watch is at best incredibly biased, at worst utterly corrupt. They have a long, disgraceful history of ignoring violence committed by Muslims while condemning Christians and Jews for merely defending themselves. And every news agency but VOA accepts their perspective to the exclusion of all others, despite its admitted basis in hearsay from partisan sources?

You can do better, big media. If you can stalk Sarah Palin at a book signing you can send a correspondent to Jos, Nigeria and report fairly and accurately on the events taking place there.

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