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Sunday, March 11, 2012

BBC, Sky News silent over Hamas beating their reporters

From the International Press Institute, in a story I noted Thursday:
The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate has reported that three journalists reporting on a mass wedding of 500 couples in Gaza City were attacked. The mass wedding was organised by local charities in conjunction with Hamas, according to Ramallah-based Maan News.

According to the Palestine Press Agency and the Wafa news agency, the journalists who were attacked were: Mohammed Mashharawi, who works for Sky News, Adnan al-Dorosh, who works for the BBC Arabic Service, and Amer Abu Omar. Sources said that Mashharawi was briefly detained by Hamas.

Earlier IPI spoke to Sami Sahmoud, a correspondent for Sky News Arabia and colleague of Mohammed Mashharawi, who said that the incidents were due to tension between the journalists and the Hamas security forces. IPI research indicates that Hamas had laid out strict guidelines on where the journalists were allowed to be in the stadium as they covered the mass wedding. Sahmoud told IPI that one security official allegedly began to violently push the journalists; Mashharawi tried to resolve the situation by talking to the security forces. According to Sahmoud, the issue appeared to have been resolved by the media co-ordinator but a few minutes later the guard came back with more security guards, and tried to arrest Mohammed, who asked to see his security information. A scuffle reportedly broke out and the other journalists tried to help Mashharawi. Sources said that Mashharawi, al-Dorosh, and Abu Omar were allegedly taken out of the stadium and beaten.

According to Sahmoud, Mashharawi was taken to prison, where he was reportedly told to remove his shoes, belt and shirt and he was allegedly detained for an hour in a dark cell. During the journey to the detention centre, Mashharawi was allegedly punched in the face and the chest, and one official even threatened to shoot him, IPI research revealed. No formal charges were made against any of the journalists. The Government Information Bureau contacted the journalists following the case, Sahmoud revealed. The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip condemned the “unacceptable” attack and said a full investigation would be launched, according to Maan News.
Sky News and the BBC have been completely silent on the assault on their own reporters, as has all of the mainstream media.

Which is pretty much all you need to know if you are expecting even Western news agencies to report fairly and in an unbiased manner from Gaza. The fear for the safety of their reporters, while understandable, is far more important to the media than reporting the truth about Hamas.

This is why so many college students and casual media consumers have such a skewed view of the Middle East. Palestinian Arab crimes are minimized, but perceived Israeli violations of human rights are amplified, because the environment in Israel is so much more tolerant towards reporting anti-Israel news and Israel is filled with international reporters and NGOs eagerly filling their quotas of anti-Israel "research."