Media Bias Exposed: Navalny vs. Assange Coverage and Western Hypocrisy

Travaglio's incisive critique highlights media bias in Navalny & Assange coverage, exposing Western hypocrisy in human rights and press freedom.
Julian Assange

In his February 21, 2024, editorial for “Il Fatto Quotidiano,” Marco Travaglio delivers a scathing critique of the media landscape in both Italy and Russia regarding the coverage of Alexei Navalny and Julian Assange. While Russian outlets downplay Navalny’s news to highlight the return of consumer goods despite sanctions, most Italian media, with few exceptions, lavish pages on Navalny while utterly ignoring the High Court of London’s hearing on Assange’s extradition to the U.S. Travaglio points out the glaring disparity in how the two cases are treated, emphasizing that Assange faces a lifetime in prison for exposing war crimes, unlike the extensive coverage Navalny receives. He then criticizes the censorship claims made by some Italian journalists who justify their editorial choices as not to diminish Navalny’s figure. Travaglio concludes that true journalism should equally denounce victims of any regime, be it Navalny, Assange, or others persecuted worldwide, calling out the West’s hypocrisy on human rights and press freedom.

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by Marco Travaglio

While in Russia, state-controlled media (all of them) give minimal space to Navalny and focus instead on the return of bananas and shrimp to the dinner table, scarce due to sanctions, in Italy, regime media (all but two or three) dedicate pages to Navalny and not a single line to the London High Court’s hearing on Assange’s extradition to the USA. La Repubblica, as ever, leads the charge: seven pages on Navalny and not a whisper about Assange, who has been imprisoned in London for 12 years, first in the Ecuadorian embassy and then in jail, now facing the grim prospect of rotting in an American prison for revealing NATO’s war crimes. Rather than feeling ashamed, Stefano Cappellini boasts about the censorship: “Those who stubbornly shift the conversation to Assange do so with a clear and disgusting purpose: to belittle Navalny’s death and suggest that the West is as bad as, or worse than, Putin.” It’s understandable: those who engage in embedded pseudo-journalism cannot grasp real journalism that challenges power. The poor soul pretends not to know that Assange’s hearing is newsworthy regardless of one’s opinion (he could have covered it and then called for harsh measures). Or maybe he thinks that Il Fatto had conspired months ago with the High Court to schedule the hearing on February 20, after learning from Putin (who else?) that Navalny would die on the 16th.

To flip his ludicrous argument on its head would be easy: those who shift the conversation to Navalny do so with the vile intention of minimizing Assange’s persecution. But that would mean stooping to his level, which is sub-zero. We, oddly enough for him, feel the same outrage for victims of all regimes: Navalny (despite his racist views), Assange, Khashoggi (dismembered by Bin Salman’s operatives), Gonzalo Lira (the Chilean blogger and U.S. citizen arrested for criticizing Zelensky and died in a Ukrainian prison), Andrea Rocchelli (the Italian reporter killed by Ukrainian troops in 2014 while documenting the civil war in Donbass, still awaiting justice). We cry the same tears for civilians killed in all wars: Ukrainians killed by Russians, Donbass Ukrainians killed by Kiev’s Ukrainians, Israelis slaughtered by Hamas, Palestinians exterminated by Israel. And we are anti-fascists against all fascists: those in Italy and Europe (including the Finnish and Baltic pro-NATO fascists), the Russian Wagner and Navalny nationalists, the Ukrainian Azov and certain pro-Zelensky parties. And we eagerly await someone to compile a hit parade of war crimes to find out if “the West is as bad as, or worse than, Putin.” In the meantime, the West has already won a championship hands down: that of hypocrisy.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, February 9, 2024


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