Monday, May 24, 2021

  • Monday, May 24, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

The  Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) is a network for journalists of Arab and Middle Eastern descent. They have members who work at AP, Reuters, ABC, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, among others.

They have issued guidelines for how reporters of Middle Eastern descent should slant their stories. For example:

All reporting should take into consideration that Israel occupies Palestinian territory, and that Palestinians — whether they live in the West Bank, Gaza or inside Israel — are subject to an unjust and unequal system...

Avoid “both sides” framing. Recognize the power imbalance between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Do not call Gaza “Hamas-controlled.” It is sufficient to say “Gaza,” or “Gaza’s Health Ministry,” for example.

Replace “eviction” and “real-estate dispute” with “forced removal.” The terms “eviction” and “real-estate dispute” suggest a disagreement between a landlord and tenant,  obscuring the Israeli government’s efforts to forcibly displace Jerusalem’s Palestinian population.

Be cognizant of how you’re identifying Palestinians. Do not use the identifiers “Arab-Israeli” or “Israeli-Arab,” unless requested by the individuals described. Instead use “Palestinian citizen of Israel” if that applies, or “Palestinian.” Also recognize Palestinians represent multiple faith backgrounds, including Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Samaritan, Baha’i and others. Ignoring this diversity perpetuates the misleading notion that the conflict is a religious one between Jews and Muslims rather than political in nature.
All of these, and others, are biased against Israel. This association is telling its members to ignore accuracy and objectivity and instead publish anti-Israel propaganda as news.

Now, imagine the uproar that would come from all sides - Jews and journalists alike - if a Jewish journalist association would issue guidelines on how Jewish reporters should write: 
"Use Judea and Samaria instead of the Jordanian-created term West Bank." 
"Ensure that every mention of Hamas includes the fact that is it an internationally recognized terrorist group." 
"Never say 'occupied territories,' they are disputed."
"The term 'settlers' has become derogatory, instead refer to them as Israeli citizens resident in Judea and Samaria."
If a Jewish journalist association asked Jewish reporters to do this, it would be front page news, with people screaming about how Jews are trying to manipulate the news with language choices. Journalists would be up in arms. Many Jews would be up in arms, too!

This is exactly what AMEJA is demanding. 

I would love to see these changes I listed above in news media coverage. But it is highly inappropriate to ask Jewish reporters to do this on their own, without having a larger conversation with the editors and publishers, to be transparent about what language is appropriate and why. 

This is an open attempt to impose a slanted political viewpoint on what should be objective news.  No one would accept this from Jews, and it is equally unacceptable from reporters of MENA descent.

(h/t Jill)


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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