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Complaint to UK Channel 4 of reuse and relabeling of old film for anti-Syrian propaganda purposes - by Robert Stuart

This is a letter of complaint to UK television Channel 4 [1] about what looks like recent blatant re-use and relabeling as new film of old film shot in 2012. This film has been used as propaganda against the Syrian Arab Army for the purposes of justifying support of 'rebel' groups, in an article entitled, "Syria: Living under the horrors of barrel bombs in Aleppo." We are republishing it for information and for the record.

Syria: living under the horrors of barrel bombs in Aleppo, Channel 4 News, 10 June 2015.

Dear Sir or Madam

I wish to raise concerns regarding the above Channel 4 News report.

The first video on the Channel 4 News webpage above is captioned “amateur footage of recent barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo and Deraa”. At 34 seconds there is a shot of two men aboard a helicopter, one of whom appears to take a cigarette from the mouth of the other which he uses to light the fuse on a munition which they then both push overboard.


The same scene appears at 23 seconds in the second, longer report on your webpage, at the conclusion of the following narration:


“Sweets for the Syrian rebels yesterday after they drove out Bashar Al Assad’s troops from the Brigade 52 base in Deraa. It’s another setback for the government which has been rapidly losing territory. Syrian air force video online shows the response: they drop four barrel bombs, which hit not only rebel positions but civilians.”  

This clearly indicates that the scenes of the two men pushing the munition out of the helicopter took place shortly after the “rebel” victory in Deraa, which you inform viewers occurred on Tuesday 9 June 2015, and to which the images you show were "the response".


A portion of the same footage of the same two men is included at 27 seconds in video “obtained by Al Jazeera” embedded in a Daily Telegraph article of 20 May


However, another portion of the Al Jazeera/Telegraph footage – the section at 1:54 where a crew member uses a cigarette to light the fuse on a long, slender munition which is then ejected overboard – appears at 4:32 in this You Tube video which was published on 27 October 2012.


It would seem very likely that the Al Jazeera footage presented by the Telegraph is all of the same vintage, i.e. around two and half years prior to the Telegraph’s and to your report - and quite possibly even older.


Are you able to provide an assurance that the footage of the two airmen featured in your 10 June report is, as you claim, “recent” and specifically that it represents, as you claim, “the response” to the capture of the Syrian army's Brigade 52 base on Tuesday 9 June 2015?


Yours sincerely


Robert Stuart


"Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began transmission on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the station is now owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation, a public body established in 1990, coming into operation in 1993. With the conversion of the Wenvoe transmitter group in Wales to digital on 31 March 2010, Channel 4 became an entirely UK-wide TV channel for the first time.

The channel was established to provide a fourth television service to the United Kingdom in addition to the television licence-funded BBC's two services and the single commercial broadcasting network, ITV." (Source:

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Comment sent by Robert Stuart, the author of the letter featured in the above article.

Please find at this link my second complaint to the BBC regarding apparent breaches of the Geneva Convention by BBC One presenter Dr Saleyha Ahsan.  

The original complaint is here.

As a preface to an online publication of the recent BBC decision to uphold my complaint that the editing of a 2014 BBC News Channel report about Syria breached BBC editorial standards on accuracy, I have hastily drafted this summary of the status of the wider "playground napalm bomb" case.