A popular YouTuber from Cork has been criticised for helping the Syrian regime spread disinformation after filming a tourism video inside the destroyed city of Homs.
Janet Newenham was the subject of a Washington Post article after she used her platform to spread disinformation on the Syrian Civil War.
Ms Newenham has more than 170,000 followers on her YouTube channel, where she publishes videos of her worldwide travels.
The Washington Post stated that for many influencers, Syria is useful for career building and expanding their audience, ”People who are just starting out and might have just 2,000 followers go to Syria and suddenly they go viral and wind up with 30,000 followers.”
In order to travel to Syria, regime visas are strictly vetted and brokered by travel agents who appoint ‘guides’ approved by the Syrian government to carefully select what information and sites are available to the visitor.
Ms Newenham insisted she was not influenced by the Syrian government while there, yet her videos showed her government minder presenting his credentials to soldiers.
She told the 44,000 people who viewed the video that a mosque in the city had been bombed by foreign attackers following propaganda from a campaign by the Assad regime which is attempting to misinform people about Russia and the regime played in the destruction of Syrian cities and towns.
A handful of Irish activists, bloggers, trade unionists, and political figures have visited the regime in recent years.
Politicians Mick Wallace and Claire Daly have previously been criticised for their travels to Syria.