Why do the media hang on the rebels every word?

It’s often said that news reporting is supposed to be neutral and give both sides of a story, but with ongoing Libya conflict, they fail to do this.

There is no doubting that what has happened to the Libyan people by their own government has been terrible, but it seems that the media are quick to report every line put out by the rebels and the National Transitional Council without checking their claims. They are however quick to dismiss any claims from the regime.

Late on Sunday word spread that Saif al-Islam was in custody of the rebels and they were seeking for him to be extradited to the International Criminal Court. This was taken at face value and reported around the world without anyone checking. Journalists have been held up at the Rixos hotel in the Libyan capital Tripoli as rebels moved into the city. Held by armed guard the journalists have felt helpless as the battle rages on outside. In the early hours Saif al-Islam and his people strolled into the hotel and gave a press conference.

This instantly tarnishes the reputation that the rebels and the NTC may have held. Although the International Criminal Court confirmed their reports, we can only assume they went on what the rebels said. This raises the question as to why reputable organisations such as Reuters, BBC, Sky, CNN and so on could not have checked further. Many times in reports you will hear “We can confirm”. In this case, it was taken at face value, which has now spectacularly backfired.

There’s an old saying which can be applied here – the first casualty of war is the truth.