Media Bias Revealed: Martin Jay’s Libya Coverage

Media Bias Revealed: Martin Jay’s Libya Coverage

Reuters may well have broken a world record in partisan journalism with its latest efforts to implicate Russia in the Libyan immigrants crisis


The duplicitous role of western media in assisting NATO in its dark endeavours is nothing new. But Reuters may well have broken a world record in partisan journalism with its latest efforts to implicate Russia in the Libyan immigrants crisis.

Reuters is not the news legend it used to be. Gone are the days when it had armies of clever young people fact checking polemic statements made by world leaders to be even faintly accurate. Case in point the recent incendiary claim by Italy’s defence minister that the “rising number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean is part of ‘hybrid warfare’ waged by Russia using mercenaries as proxies on countries supporting Ukraine”.

“I think it is now safe to say that the exponential increase in the migratory phenomenon departing from African shores is also, to a not insignificant extent, part of a clear strategy of hybrid warfare that the Wagner division is implementing, using its considerable weight in some African countries,” Crosetto said in a statement, dutifully republished verbatim by the great news legend itself.

Reuters itself then appears to cover itself by doing a frenzied back-peddle by not even substantiating that Wagner even has a presence in Africa.

“Wagner is believed to be operating in several African countries, including Libya, Mali, and the Central African Republic. The group has been heavily involved in Russian efforts to capture the city of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine” the global news outlet adds. “Believed”? Hilarious.

The article, copy-pasted by third rate European news outlets like Deutsche Welle, goes on to quote the Italian minister with his rant.

“Just as the EU, NATO and the West have realised that cyber attacks were part of the global confrontation that the war in Ukraine opened up, they should now understand that the southern European front is also becoming more dangerous every day,” Crosetto said.

Reuters claims that some 20,000 people have reached Italy so far this year, compared to 6,100 in the same period of 2022, Italian interior ministry figures show. In the past weekend alone 1,200 people reached Italian shores which is a “problem for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government, which was elected on a staunchly anti-immigration platform” it explains.

READ: UN initiative to kickstart elections in Libya faces resistance

But what it fails to explain is whether there is any truth whatsoever in the allegation.

In basic terms, the allegations made by the Italian minister are a gross misrepresentation of facts, based on one simple minutia of the overall story. While it is true that the migrants themselves are coming from some of the African countries which are now protected by Russian mercenaries it fails to mention or explain that this is not subsequent to those countries becoming controlled by the Russian group.

If anyone, or any entity which Reuters might have chosen to interview were asked simply “has there been a significant increase in migrants coming to Libya since these countries were taken over by Wagner?” the simple response would be “no”. Or even “impossible to say, probably not” at best.

But Reuters didn’t want to ask this question as facts standing in the way of a good story seems to be its mantra.

The entirely unpalatable truth about the migrants is that they come from African countries which for decades have regimes which were propped up by the EU in exchange for these despots flying the EU flag and playing the “fake hegemony” game when EU officials jet in and check themselves into the capital’s Hilton for the annual visit. To suggest, as Reuters has done in its piece, that the surge in migrants is as a direct result of some of these countries biting the hand that feeds them and abandoning the EU as big brother, is both disingenuous and quite wrong. Put bluntly it’s fake news. For at least a decade, Libya has been one of the locations for African migrants to travel to, with a view to getting to Europe. And Italy was always the preferred choice. For years, the EU pumped money into the bank accounts of these despots — in the case of Central African Republic an incredible 2 billion dollars in 2016 to “help” its government recover after the effects of a civil war — and in doing so signalled to them that the EU was happy to turn a blind eye on human rights. The result is that all of these countries today are now ruled by the most backward, brutal regimes who carry out atrocities on their own people on a genocidal scale just to retain power — with the immediate knock-on effect being the brain drain of the middle classes who leave by whatever means is at their disposal.

What the Reuters article also fails to mention, along with this EU hand, is that all of these migrants are middle class and have paid many thousands of dollars just to get to Libya. It also fails to mention that the estimated 400-700,000 or so who are stuck in camps in Libya arrived long before the Wagner group were even heard of in Mali, Burkina Faso or Chad. The truth is simply that it is the EU which produced these migrant roots in the first place and a wholesale failure of  its policies to resolve the problem with Libya, before, during or after the Gaddafi regime. Interesting how the Meloni government refuses to point the finger at the EU in any way, preferring to appeal to NATO to intervene. What is behind this is simple. Meloni is looking to improve relations with the EU and to extract more money from its coffers and doesn’t want to ruin that possibility so she chooses another multiconfessional international body to do the tough job. But NATO cannot intervene so easily. And what is more, this idea that a multinational (western) taskforce could use force to stop these boats leaving in the first place was floated in 2015 by yet another Italian lightweight called Federica Mogherini who was the EU’s top diplomat at the time. The lawyers in Brussels blew this idea out of the water as the litigation potential from families or even the Libyan government were too huge, not to mention that it would require the agreement of both governments in Libya.

But this is not the first time that the new controversial Italian far-right leader has peddled complete bullshit just to stir up domestic support or international media coverage. After days of being in office an impassioned video clip of her running down the French and their hold over West African countries through repressive monetary control – even Paris keeping 50% of all gold they mine – turned out to be a tad controversial. It was all lies. The entire clips’ claims were proved to be all untrue as France had long ago stopped insisting on keeping the gold and no longer even holds the West African countries with stringent controls over their own currency which the French created for them. Facts are important. And it seems that the Meloni government isn’t too fond of them or, typically, the fourth estate which are supposed to check them before serving them to a gullible public.

Libyan immigrants crisis

The simple truth about the Italian story is that Meloni wants the EU itself to solve the African migrant problem and it is using the call to NATO to intervene to stir some measured hostility in the Belgian capital just to show that it too can play the fake news game to its advantage. It is not shocking that Italy’s far-right government have resorted to the “blame all on Putin” tactics as western journalists prefer not to fact check anything which holds Russia to account for the failings of western elites.

It is not shocking that, even if we are to humour the Italians for one moment and go along with their baloney about Russia being behind the migrant surge on the Italian shores, that no Italian nor international journalists have not risen to the claim and made the link to Rome supporting Ukraine in the war with Russia.

What is shocking is that Reuters would help Meloni with this fake news.

The author is an award winning journalist based in Morocco, working for a number of international titles while also the editor in chief of He can be followed on twitter at @MartinRJay This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of but we do nonetheless encourage freedom of expression and even the ‘right to reply’. If you want to contribute to the Opinion section, feel free to send your article to


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

[mc4wp_form id="206"]