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Friday, March 9, 2007

Palestinian Journalist speaks about Middle East Media Bias

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/03/palestinian-journalist-speaks-about.html

An illuminating insider view from a remarkable man and top journalist:
Toameh commented on aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He explained that the apparent bias in the international media's coverage of the situation in the Middle East stems from several factors. Many foreign journalists are afraid of of uncovering flaws in the Palestinian position, Toameh said.This applies especially to Palestinian writers working for the PLO, who are censored to ensure that they are loyal to the government. For this reason, Toameh preferred to work for an Israeli newspaper. Indeed, he felt that only there could he "express [him]self freely."

Remember - you see all Middle East News through a distorting filter.


Journalist speaks about media bias in the Middle East

Event vets Israel-Palestinian conflict from journalist's point of view

Dorin Rosenshine

Posted: 3/5/07

Last Thursday, Baruch Hillel hosted an event with renowned Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Toameh worked for the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israeli newspapers, as well as British and German media corporations.

Toameh commented on aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He explained that the apparent bias in the international media's coverage of the situation in the Middle East stems from several factors. Many foreign journalists are afraid of of uncovering flaws in the Palestinian position, Toameh said.This applies especially to Palestinian writers working for the PLO, who are censored to ensure that they are loyal to the government. For this reason, Toameh preferred to work for an Israeli newspaper. Indeed, he felt that only there could he "express [him]self freely."

Using the former chairman of the PLO Yassir Arafat as an example, Toameh noted that giving attention to corruption under the late leader's government might have affected public opinion and even policymakers in the West.

A second factor was media agenda. Often, reporters dissect a scene into "good and bad" in their writing. Applied to the conflict, many foreign journalists view the situation as: "Palestinians are good, Israelis are bad."

Not only does this question credibility, but clearly, the real-life situation is far from being so clear-cut. The use of Arab translators also tend to distort words out of context. For example, a Palestinian complaining about corruption in the government would be translated as protest against Israeli occupation.

Another topic was the reason behind Hamas' election. Toameh maintained that about 30 percent of Palestinians who elected Hamas did so mainly to revenge Arafat. Unlike Arafat, Hamas is honest and open about its beliefs - even those that are considered to be unacceptable in the Western world. Following Arafat's corrupted government, many Palestinians wanted a change. Out of a lack in alternatives, they chose Hamas.

Toameh attributed Arafat's successful corruption to the lack of outside scrutiny. For example, the international community, who donated billions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority, never requested to see accounts of where the money was being channeled.

Despite the new government, Toameh believes that Palestinians are "not ready for their own state." Recently, for instance, more Palestinian deaths resulted from internal conflict than from battles with Israel. He believes that internal struggles need to be resolved and anarchy must end before the Palestinian people can govern themselves successfully.

To close, Toameh spoke about the problem of radical Islam. He estimated that approximately 70 percent of Hamas' followers - about 30 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza - believe in the organization's political goals, including the destruction of Israel. These radicals are supported by Iran and Syria who perceive moderate Muslims as an obstacle on their way to conquer the West.

"Islam has been hijacked by a dominant minority," he said, and asserted that our third world war will be with these fundamentalist Muslims.


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