Sunday, August 30, 2009

On Aug. 13, The Washington Times featured a full-page “sponsored report,” ostensibly prepared by The Washington Times (a product of the advertising department) and yet paid for in its entirety “by the Government of Sudan” (“We welcome constructive U.S. engagement with Sudan,” World ).

The report, designed to fit in with the flow and format of other news pieces featured in the paper, offers a misleading and deceptive portrait of the true face of the conflict in Sudan and undercuts the integrity of the mission of journalists at The Times and other outlets covering the issue with an unbiased perspective. The report includes an interview with Ghazi Salah Eddin Al Atabani, an adviser to International Criminal Court-indicted Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir as well as an article comprised of selected quotations, many included without context, from U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration’s testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July.

Mr. Atabani contends in his interview that sanctions must be removed in order to demonstrate “mutual trust between the United States and Sudan” and that sanctions “undermine peace.” However, U.S. sanctions are specifically targeted at a regime in Khartoum that fueled civil war in southern Sudan and perpetrated the genocide in Darfur. They are designed to force Sudan to change its policies and protect ordinary Sudanese civilians.

Mr. Atabani proclaims a new era in U.S.-Sudanese relations — a privilege from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that the Sudanese government gave up when it committed new crimes in Darfur. After years of broken promises and lost lives, the Sudanese government’s new promises must be tested before they can be trusted. Put simply, we have to get more before we give more.

The Washington Times should be ashamed at the blatant disingenuousness of propaganda dressed up to look like news articles.



Save Darfur Coalition


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