Thursday, April 26, 2007

  • Thursday, April 26, 2007
  • Elder of Ziyon
Around 100 journalists demonstrated to release Alan Johnston. But guess where they held the demonstration?

On the Israeli side of the Gaza border.

One UK newspaper said that the kidnappers faced the wrath of the world's media. Yes, I'm sure they were quaking at the thought of a few dozen reporters too scared to even enter Gaza to begin with.

The BBC reiterated how news coverage of Gaza suffers when no foreign journalists work there:
In terms of news, they also fear that Gaza could be neglected by the wider world.

"It only serves to limit the coverage in the Gaza Strip, if foreign journalists stop going," said Walid Batrawi, a Palestinian correspondent for the Arabic satellite TV station, Al-Jazeera.

"The human stories of the people of Gaza will not be told."
There is a recurring theme that when foreign journalists stay away from Gaza, the Palestinian Arabs suffer - because their story is not getting out. For example, this article in Asharq Alawsat:
By kidnapping the BBC reporter, this "victimized" executioner has lost one of the world's leading and most reliable media outlets. Without further engaging in unacceptable arguments on Western bias, let us recall our numerous rightful issues that were revealed by the Western rather than the Arab press – Abu Ghraib is just one example. Can we imagine what it would mean to hide the stories of Palestinian suffering from the global press?
Or look at what rabid anti-Zionist London mayor Ken Livingstone said:
"All the Palestinians needed was the truth to be reported, which is what Mr Johnston did. His abduction was a catastrophe. If you wanted to find a person whose abduction could damage the Palestinian cause, you couldn't find anyone better to do the job."

The mayor then appealed directly to Johnston's kidnappers. He said: "Look what you have done. Instead of the foreign media continuing to report on the situation in Palestine, the media focus has been shifted to the story of the kidnapping.

"Unless the journalist is liberated it's likely that coverage of the situation will continue to be about Mr Johnston."
Is a journalist's job to act as a PR representative of the area he or she is covering, or to report the news - whether it is good or bad?

No Zionist is saying "Israel needs more foreign journalists, in order to show the human face of Israel." Because we all know that the vast majority of journalists in Israel have little interest in making Israel look good. In most areas of the world, having more journalists would not be considered a great PR move - their job, after all, is to uncover news, and news is usually negative. But the unspoken backstory here is that journalists in Gaza do have an agenda, that they will gloss over bad news from Gaza and that their absence hurts the Palestinian Arab people.

Let's look at how life in Gaza is today. In the past six months there have been dozens of kidnappings, hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. The very reason that journalists refuse to go there is because it is too dangerous for them. Now, why exactly would foreign reporters in Gaza be expected to help make PalArabs look good? If they are truly meant to be fair and unbiased, wouldn't they be reporting and publicizing the chaos far more than they are now? Aren't daily murders considered newsworthy anymore? Wouldn't their presence be a bad thing for most Palestinian Arabs?

And it is not like there are no journalists in Gaza now. As the BBC says:
[I]nternational organisations have been relying almost entirely on their local staff to gather information for reports.
So there are reporters there - all of them Palestinian Arabs. They still gather the news and sometimes write for the major media outlets. Why would foreign journalists in Gaza be expected to be more favorable towards PalArabs in their stories than PalArabs themselves are?

The only possible reason that foreign coverage is widely assumed to help Gazans is because foreign reporters are heavily biased towards Arabs against Israel.

And everyone knows it.

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