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The Wire, International Press Institute and IMS: How Indian leftist website received prize from group that funds western regime change propaganda

IPI counts as its donors the European Commission, the Government of Sweden, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and George Soros's Open Society Foundations.

US forces, a couple of days before completing their withdrawal from Afghanistan, killed at least six Afghan children in a drone strike that claimed the lives of 10 civilians in total. The US claimed that it was a ‘defensive’ airstrike to eliminate terrorists affiliated to the Islamic State of Khorasan Province.

But no information has been provided as to how many terrorists were killed, or indeed, if any were killed at all. While the western media has covered the incident, the outrage that such a monumental scandal is expected to generate was missing altogether.

After all, killing children is not a matter that is to be ignored. And indeed, it is not farfetched to assert that it constitutes a war crime. But the matter has been all but forgotten and has been summarily sidelined. One wonders why that is the case but, perhaps, the reasons are not difficult to fathom.

In this context, an interesting development caught the attention of this journalist on Thursday. It came to our attention that propaganda website The Wire received a prize from the International Press Institute for some obscure reason. The prize was awarded by the IPI in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS).

The Wire received a prize from the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS)
Source: IPI

The IPI said in its announcement, “Amid India’s press freedom downslide, The Wire’s commitment to public-interest news has also made it a growing target of government harassment. This year alone, three cases have been filed against the outlet and its reporters, including for their coverage of India’s farmers’ protests. In 2020, The Wire and Varadarajan were charged with “spreading panic” for reporting on violations of COVID-19 rules by religious leaders. The site previously faced 14 defamation cases by figures close to the ruling party requesting $1.3 billion in damages.”

It added, “The pressure on The Wire and its journalists took an even darker turn this summer with the Pegasus Project revelations. The phones of Varadarajan and Venu were shown to have been infected with the Israeli-made spyware, presumably at the behest of the Indian government, while The Wire’s diplomatic editor was also on the leaked list of probable targets. The Wire was part of the collaborative global investigation, coordinated by Forbidden Stories, that uncovered the extent of government surveillance of journalists and human rights defenders using Pegasus.”

The Wire received a prize from the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS)
Source: IPI

Jesper Højberg, executive director of IMS, “Media in Asia experience rising pressure. We have observed how Asia’s independent media and citizens must navigate a tightening operational space while dealing with the economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis and the risk of being punished for speaking out. The Wire relentlessly finds ways to uphold the right to freedom of expression, in inspiration for others, globally and in the region”.

Under such circumstances, this journalist decided to investigate the background of these organisations.

International Press Institute awarded The Wire

This journalist discovered that the IPI counts as its donors the European Commission, the Government of Sweden, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

The Wire received a prize from the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS)
Source: IPI

We discovered that N Ravi of The Hindu is a member of this western government funded group.

The Wire received a prize from the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS)
Source: IPI

This western government funded effort has also launched a ‘global independent journalism’ initiative. It is perplexing that a government funded initiative claims to support ‘independent journalism’. A government funded ‘independent journalism’ effort is clearly an oxymoron but such individuals appear to resolutely believe their own lies.

The Wire received a prize from the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS)
Source: IPI

The IPI, we discovered, is involved in politics as well. The group wanted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to raise the issue of ‘press freedom’ in India during his visit here.

Source: IPI

The IPI also initiated a propaganda initiative against Russia over its decision to label certain ‘journalists’ as ‘foreign agents’. The group deliberates obscures the fact that the USA has the same laws, which it does not appear to have any problem with.

Furthermore, Russia has been at the receiving end of a western propaganda campaign ever since Donald Trump was elected the president of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton and the Democrat party have decided to scapegoat Russia for her inability to defeat Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections.

Source: IPI

In a World Congress event organised by the IPI, there were several Indian ‘journalists’ who attended it and some even were speakers.

Siddharth Varadarajan of The Wire was himself a speaker at the event and spoke on “Journalism is still the answer to populist governments that mark media as the enemy”. It is pertinent to note that Varadarajan is himself an American citizen.

Thus, the problematic aspects of the IPI is quite clear. It is a western government effort to encourage propaganda that serves western interests in the name of ‘independent journalism’.

The award to The Wire was in collaboration with International Media Support

The International Media Support (IMS) is another western government funded group that has funded regime change propaganda in the past. It received as much 92% of its funds from governments of European countries in 2019.

31% of its funds in 2019 came from the Denmark government apparatus, 44% from Sweden and 17% from Norway. The total contributions received amounts to almost 20 million Euros.

Source: IMS

The IMS was one of the prominent funders of Radio Rozana. “The priority is to hear the voice of Syrians inside Syria. They are suffering and being killed every day. We want to support them,” its founder Chawaf had claimed.

Radio Rozana also hosted the Syriaza. Syriaza is “a Syrian-to-Syrian storytelling, archiving, and dissemination project for peace-building, created by the Rome-based international organization Ara Pacis Initiative and led by Syrian poets, defenders of human dignity and human rights, community leaders, and citizen journalists.”

The Ara Pacis Iniative stated on its website, “From the 18th of July to the 4th of August, 2015, with funds from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an intergenerational, interethnic, and interreligious group of 30 Syrians convened in Viterbo, Italy, for phase one of the Syriaza project: capacity building.”

The Syriaza apparently “gained the interest of Syrian satellite radio, Radio Rozana, which agreed to host a weekly Syriaza corner, reverberating the peaceful voices of Syrians from different backgrounds.”

In this context, it is important to remember that Syria is currently fending off a civil war incited by the USA. The Syriaza and Radio Rozana, both funded by western governments, clearly appear to be part of a propaganda to justify regime change wars.

It is also pertinent to mention that Harsh Mander is a member of the Ara Pacis Initiative as well.

Western propaganda in the name of ‘independent journalism’

It is not difficult to see what is happening here. Western governments with their huge money bags have established significant influence over international media that serves to create propaganda to further interests.

Indeed, it is due to the significant influence that western governments wield over their media that Joe Biden got a free pass for murdering six Afghan children recently. Worse, Joe Biden is not even the first US President to have murdered Afghan children

All the four US Presidents who have presided over the 20 year Afghanistan war have been involved in the murder of Afghan civilians, including women and children. And yet, it is the alleged ‘human rights abuses’ in other countries that western media is concerned about, far more than the war crimes committed by their own government.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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