An Arab journalist was killed yesterday, overtaking the the Media Guardian lead this morning which started: “Truth, the adage goes, is the first casualty of war. But in the current conflict between Israel and Lebanon, the first casualty might be the Arab reporter.”
The Guardian’s own blogger Roy Greenslade yesterday afternoon picked up the death of Leyal Najib, a photographer for the magazine Al-Jaras, when an Israeli missile exploded next to her taxi near the Israeli-Lebanon border.
The Media section story focuses on claims that Al Jazeera reporters were being obstructed and targeted by the Israeli authorities.
Last week the Israeli Association of Journalists pulled out of the International Federation of Journalists after it condemned attacks on the Hizbullah-controlled Al_Manar TV station. They accused IFJ general secretary Aidan White of “cowardice” for not retracting the statement. (I got to know White nearly 40 years ago through the British National Union of Journalists and “cowardice” is pretty well the last work I would apply to him.)
In his statement White said:
Once media are attacked with impunity, journalists on all sides are at risk. We insist that journalists and unarmed media must be regarded at all times as non-combatants and must not be attacked by military forces.
Reporters Sans Frontiers which monitors media deaths around the word has made similarly strongly worded comments.
On the claims of bias against Al Jazerra, the Guardian quotes a Foreign Press Association statement saying: “Al-Jazeera does not appear to have broadcast information significantly different from that carried by Israeli media.”
Al-Manar is partisan but so is much of the media of any country in times of conflict. That is no reason for attacking journalists with anything stronger than words.