Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 13 Media Critique: "Palestinian Terrorists: Abusing Freedom of the Press"

Most interestingly this is a ‘Media Critique’ entirely devoid of critiques of media coverage and wholly without allegations of media bias, so surely it’s all a bit pointless?

It is only if you think Honest Reporting has any real interest in fairness and accuracy in media reporting. And as we’ve demonstrated repeatedly, it doesn’t. HR is a pro-Israel advocacy group targeting media with its' Israel-is-never-wrong message. The witch-hunt for bias is just the particular vehicle chosen to achieve this. The basic feature of HR is that any criticism of Israeli actions, no matter how factually accurate, cannot be tolerated. HR give yet another example today. Summarising the press reaction to the issue of Palestinian militants using a fake press vehicle to attack an IDF post, HR are not happy with the Palestinian Journalists Union for also suggesting that the IDF has targeted journalists,

we take issue with the false implications that Israel would ever intentionally target journalists
Reflexive defence of Israel by a group feigning concern over accuracy in the media. Amusing isn’t it?

HR quote the Israeli Foreign Press Association’s condemnation of the incident. Pity they didn’t check the FPA a little more closely before making the “false implication” charge. Here’s the FPA on Israels conduct towards journalists,

“The FPA wishes to express its profound dismay and shock over two recent incidents in which Palestinian Journalists have been injured and detained during the pursuit of their legitimate duties.Both cases, at Hawara Checkpoint and in the village of Bili'in, raise serious concerns about the treatment of journalists by members of the Israeli armed services. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests both journalists were physically assaulted by uniformed Israeli forces during routine news assignments." – 2006

"The FPA protests the outrageous targeting of a vehicle belonging to the Reuters News Agency in Gaza yesterday. The FPA rejects the excuses offered so far by the IDF. The assertion that the vehicle was acting suspiciously near Israeli forces is wholly unacceptable and we demand further details to support this allegation.The IDF also claims the vehicle was not identified as a vehicle belonging to the press. This is simply not true. The Reuters armoured vehicle is clearly marked." – 27/9/06

"The FPA wishes to protest against the obstruction and ill treatment of journalists trying to cover recent IDF activity in Nablus." – 28/2/07

"The FPA condemns the harassment of journalists trying to cover last Friday’s demonstration in the Palestinian village of Bilin. Israeli security forces were observed firing tear gas canisters in the direction of journalists and several cameramen were detained at the scene while they tried to cover the demonstration. Journalists have every right to cover these events without fear of harassment and assault by Israeli security forces." – 23/4/07

"The FPA is very concerned about an incident near the West Bank village of Artas where priovate security guards, hired by the Israeli authorities to protect a bulding project on disputed land, fired automatic weapons in a haphazard and unprofessional manner near a group of journalists covering a peaceful protest staged by a small number of Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists" – 17/5/07

"The lack of consequences for the shooting of journalists - not to mention more frequent cases of simple harassment - delivers the message that abuses against journalists are somehow acceptable. This is a deplorable and utterly unacceptable situation. Therefore we call on the Israeli authorities to go beyond general promises and set a binding deadline for a serious accounting regarding the cases the FPA has forwarded to their attention." – 26/7/2001

"The Foreign Press Association calls for an immediate investigation into the killing of British video journalist James Miller last night near Rafah. The military has a duty to avoid harming non-combatants. Yet in recent weeks we have seen the killings of two journalists working for foreign outlets. We are still waiting to hear results of the investigation of the April 19 killing in Nablus of APTN's Nazeh Darwazeh, shot in the head, apparently by an Israeli soldier, while wearing bright clothing that clearly identified him as a journalist." – 3/5/2003.

James Miller was shot by an IDF sniper.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) documented the 45 cases of journalists hit by IDF fire in the first 12 months of the Second Intifada.

This is what RSF had to say on the event of the IDF killing of Italian journalist, Raffaele Ciriello,
For months, we have been denouncing the impunity enjoyed by Israeli troops firing on journalists. We have frequently been concerned by the almost complete lack of investigation by the Israeli authorities into such shootings. It was bound to lead to this kind of tragedy. Today, what we always feared has happened: a journalist has been killed, the first since the start of the second Intifada. We are appalled.

And another case where the journalist, luckily, survived,
When Bertrand Aguirre was wounded by a real bullet in Ramallah (West Bank), three different television crews filmed the scene. Their films clearly show an Israeli border guard getting out of his vehicle, calmly taking aim and, with his cigarette between his lips, opening fire on the man, at a distance of 100 meters. The journalist, who had just finished an interview and still had his microphone in his hand, was hit in the chest. Fortunately the bullet-proof jacket he was wearing saved him. - RSF (14/10/2001)

How’s that for “false implications”? Bias in the Palestinian Journalists Union!

Given HR’s deep concern for press freedom, perhaps it’s reflected in the number of 'Media Critiques' addressing this specific issue? If you want to know how many times this has happened, think of a number, any long as it’s less than one.