Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hypocritical journalists

Media Backspin quotes Soccer Dad about reporters who are upset that Israel has not allowed them into Gaza for the last two weeks:

This week, after filing a letter of protest, the Foreign Press Association (of which McClatchy Newspapers is a part) took the matter to Israel's Supreme Court and asked the judges to overturn the ban.

"This blackout of the Gaza Strip is hurting Israel's image in the eyes of the world and undermines its standing as the only democracy in the Middle East," the FPA argues in the petition.

Soccer Dad's reaction hits the nail on the head:

I understand that there are reasons for Israel to open Gaza to reporters, but this false concern for Israel's image from a press association strikes me as utter hypocrisy.

This isn't the only hypocrisy that reporters are showing.

Here are a series of stories reported in the Palestinian Arab press about press freedom in the West Bank and Gaza since August:

Hamas to sue media outlets for "biased coverage"

Union of Public Service workers demand a ban on Al Jazeera in Gaza

PA arrests journalist, held in military prison

Call for PA to release four journalists from jail for Eid

Hamas detains three journalists, confiscates their materials

Group calls on PA and Hamas to release 10 journalists

Journalist arrested in West Bank

Gaza journalist threatened, detained and beaten by Hamas

The Foreign Press Association and Reporters Without Frontiers have been utterly silent concerning all of these issues.

Only when Israel - rightly or wrongly - stops them from entering Gaza (from Israel - they have gone into Gaza by boat) do they suddenly pipe up about "press freedom." (And they do not say a word about whether they are allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt.)

Even though these stories have been essentially ignored not only by these journalist associations but by journalists themselves, it is a bit ironic when they claim in their letter to Olmert:
“In fact, a foreign media presence is all the more indispensible as its reporters represent an independent source of information. The mounting threats to Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized power in June 2007 force them to censor themselves. But that is not the case with foreign journalists, who can talk about the Hamas government without fear.”
Ever hear of Alan Johnston? They censor themselves more than the Gaza reporters who live there! After all, who reported on the stories I listed above? Certainly not the foreign media!