Is the press biased in reporting about the conflict Between M23 and the DRC Government?

Michel Sitbon

Michel Sitbon

Yes, according to Michel Sitbon who has created a Press agency, (AI), intended to fight against misinformation circulating about the war in Kivu Provinces.

With regard to the conflict in the Kivu Provinces, “the press is not discharging its responsibilities.” This is the opinion of Michael Sitbon, editor and author of “Rwanda, 6 April 1994, a French attack?”. “The problems of the region are often complex and sometimes poorly explained,” he says. Together with the journalist Luigi Elongui, Michael Sitbon decided to create a news agency to fight against what he sees as misinformation.

What prompted this initiative was the creation by the United Nations of a Brigade SWAT with an offensive mandate to fight against armed groups in the DRC. It is a “historic” resolution, according to Michael Sitbon, of which the international media have clearly not considered the consequences. “The 2098 resolution created a unique precedent in history.The UN introduced a kind of world government that can intervene militarily anywhere in the world,” he complains. Another anomaly Michael Sitbonsites is that “only M23 is specifically named in the resolution, while there are forty armed groups in Eastern Congo.”

Is the M23 abused by Western media? That is a hollow question according to Michel Sitbon which he also replied in the affirmative. According to him, there is a “technique of mirror accusations.” “Every accusation of rape attributed to the regular Congolese army (FARDC),” he says, “is immediately attributed to the M23 too… adding a little more in exaggeration”. Another example is the bombing of theMugunga refugee camp on the 21st of May.  German journalist Simone Schlindsweinworking for The Tageszeitung, relayed reports originating from a peacekeeper who explained that the shots came from the positions of M23. The information circulated around the world. For Michael Sitbon, it is pure misinformation.”Firstly M23 had no reason to bomb the camp and secondly rebel positions were 50 km from the camp … out of range of the guns of the M23 “. “The worst part,” explains Michael Sitbon, “is that this misinformation was taken and upheld by MONUSCO.”

Michael Sitbon explains that the mission of the Press Agency, (AI), will be to verify information from the eastern DRC by the fact checking.  AI will also produce news briefsfor professional journalists. Another function of the Agency will be to counteract the false information published through many international reports written by NGOs in Eastern DRC. The Agency will be based in Paris, with one correspondent in the Great Lakes region from mid-July (date of entry into operations by the Brigade) and another in New York with the United Nations.

As is understood, the news agency clearly shows its stand against the intervention of the UN Brigade and against the maligning of the M23 and Rwanda as being responsible for the war in the Kivu Provinces. Luigi Elongui reaffirms the commitment of the Agency; “We are committed to carrying out   serious and professional journalistic work,” he says. ‘’We will closely follow the developments of reporting by this agency to ensure that this structure does not fall into the habitual and biased reporting which dominates the Internet with regard to the conflict in the Kivu Provinces and does not add more misinformation to that already in circulation.

Original Article in french at Afrikarabia

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