Al-Masdar News

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Al-Masdar News
Type of site
News and opinion
Available in English, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, German, Serbo-Croatian
Area served the Arab world
Editor Leith Abou Fadel
Website www.almasdarnews.com
Alexa rank Decrease 14,615 (September 2017)[1]
Advertising Yes
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched August 2014; 4 years ago (2014-08)
Current status Active

Al-Masdar News (sometimes abbreviated AMN) (Arabic: المصدر نيوز‎) is an online newspaper founded by Leith Abou Fadel.[2] Al-Masdar means "the source" in Arabic.[3] Al-Masdar's coverage focuses largely on conflict zones in the Middle East: Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Al-Masdar has been described as being pro-president Bashar al-Assad.

Background[edit]

Al-Masdar News (AMN) was launched in August 2014 as a media service that provides frontline news and analysis from the Middle East.[4]

Criticism[edit]

Following the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in the Idlib Governorate, al-Masdar News published an opinion article entitled "Jumping to conclusions; something is not adding up in Idlib chemical weapons attack".[5] A report by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) published three days later described a "digital forensics" trail which showed how this al-Masdar opinion article was later linked by conspiracy, pro-Russian and far-right websites. It described al-Masdar News as "an unofficial government outlet" and said that it had "repeatedly attacked regime critics and witnesses to regime atrocities, notably the White Helmets."[6] Business Insider showed the conclusions in the AMN article differing markedly from those of other analysts.[7] After deputy editor Paul Antonopoulos (author of the controversial opinion article Jumping to conclusions) was shown to be active on the neo-Nazi site Stormfront, he was forced to resign from al-Masdar on 28 April 2017.[8] Al-Masdar issued a statement on behalf of its board of directors,[9] saying they found his behaviour "wholly unacceptable" and strongly condemned it, while also apologizing to its readers and all those offended by his actions.[10]

The website was described by the BBC and Newsweek as having a pro-Syrian government viewpoint,[11][12] while The Independent describes it as "sympathetic to the Syrian regime".[13] The New York Times has described it as a "pro-government website".[14] Leonid Bershidsky writing in Bloomberg News, also calls al-Masdar "somewhat pro-Assad."[15]

Business Insider reporter Natasha Bertrand has described Leith Abou Fadel, the editor of al-Masdar, as someone who had pushed a conspiracy theory in the past, and described him as an "Assad loyalist".[7]

The New York Times also accused Fadel of spreading unfounded misinformation about a victim of the Petra László incident.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Almasdarnews.com Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Contributors & Staff: Editorial Team". Al Masdar News. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Al-Masdar: The Source for Arabic Teaching and Learning". ISKME.org. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Al-Masdar News - About
  5. ^ Antonopoulos, Paul. Jumping to conclusions; something is not adding up in Idlib chemical weapons attack. Al-Masdar News. 2017-04-04.
  6. ^ Nimmo, Ben; Barojan, Donara (7 April 2017). "How the alt-right brought #SyriaHoax to America". Medium.com. Atlantic Council. 
  7. ^ a b Bertrand, Natasha (8 April 2017). "From Al-Masdar to InfoWars: How a pro-Assad conspiracy theory got picked up by the far-right". Business Insider UK. 
  8. ^ Jennine Khalik (2 May 2017). "Journalist Paul Antonopoulos outed for racist slurs". The Australian. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "Board of Directors". Al-Masdar News. 3 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Board of Directors Statement – April 28th, 2017". Al-Masdar News. 28 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Syria conflict: 'Israeli jets' strike outside Damascus". Bbc.co.uk. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  12. ^ O'Connor, Tom (17 March 2017). "Syria at War: As U.S. Bombs Rebels, Russia Strikes ISIS and Israel Targets Assad". Newsweek. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  13. ^ McKernan, Bethan (2 February 2017). "Syrian army creates unit just for women after so many sign up to fight Isis". The Independent. 
  14. ^ a b Mackey, Robert; Saad, Hwaida (23 September 2015). "Syrian Refugee Tripped in Hungary Fights Unfounded Accusations of Extremist Ties". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  15. ^ Bertshidsky, Leonid. "Trump Squeezes Putin in Syria. Don't Assume That's Good".