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Attacking the messengers in Lebanon and Israel

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.

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  1. Daniel says

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Attacking the messengers in Lebanon and Israel, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  2. Newswatch says

    This is an unfortunate development. The Israeli Association of Journalists ought to have thrown a fit over military censorship in their country. Walking out of IFJ is not the best way of sorting out matters.

  3. journalpissed says

    I support the Israeli journalists decision to quit the IFJ because they got it right! The al Manar TV station is a Hezbollah tool for incitement against Israel, and recruitment of terrorists. Just because they don’t have guns in their hands, doesn’t mean they are harmless. The camera is mightier than the sword. The TV station receives all its budget from Hezbollah-thus it is answerable solely to Sheikh Hasan Nassrallah, Hezbollah’s leader. The journalists are ‘not’ free to report whatever they want. On the other hand, official Israeli media is supported by government funds which make it answerable to all Israeli taxpayers and voters. The journalists are free to report and do report all sorts of differing opinions and biases including those of the Arab-Israeli community. This is a crucial difference between the two sides which you attempt to equate.
    In addition, the al Manar media among other Arab media outlets in the region have continually broadcast vast amounts of antisemitic content, which would not be allowed to air on Western media. Western media has certain censorship issues, which the IFJ, if it wants to be fair, should also condemn. But instead, the IFJ chooses a double standard — allowing al Manar to broadcast hatred freely, while accepting Western sensibilities to limit the broadcast of the hate content as legitimate.
    For these reasons, I choose not to be a journalist. I’m journalpissed alongside the Israeli journapissed’s.

  4. Why Israeli journalists are wrong to quit the IFJ from Greenslade says

    […] I’m grateful to blogger Andrew Grant-Adamson for pointing out a story I had missed, that the Israeli Association of Journalists last week suspended its membership of the International Federation of Journalists. It did so because the IFJ issued a statement on July 14 condemning the Israeli attack on the Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar, which was described as being “linked to Hezbollah.”The IFJ’s general secretary, Aidan White, said that day: “The bombing of Al-Manar is a clear demonstration that Israel has a policy of using violence to silence media it does not agree with. This action means media can become routine targets in every conflict. It is a strategy that spells catastrophe for press freedom and should never be endorsed by a government that calls itself democratic.” […]