Media Control and Intimidation of Journalists
0 comments | by E Davidson
The Israeli war in Gaza and the West Bank embarking on indiscriminate killing of over 4000 civilians including a large number of children and women now enters the phase of ground attack while the aerial bombing of thickly populated areas continue unrelentingly. The violence on the ground has now reached new heights in recent weeks. An equally virulent battle is on going in the media and the public information systems in the United States and Europe where Israel and its supporters have stepped up attempts to silence journalists and media houses who put across pro-Palestine or balanced and historically verified views.
They have not stopped at that but have adopted a sinister new tactic that tries to silence journalists not because of their reporting, but over social media opinions they posted, sometimes years ago. Rami G Khouri reports that since the start of the latest Israeli war on Gaza, a number of media professionals have been fired or suspended in such circumstances. Jackson Frank, a sports reporter in Philadelphia, was fired by PhillyVoice.com because of his tweets supporting the Palestinian cause. He continues to name Zahraa Al-Akhrass , Kasem Raad who fired from their jobs by Canada’s Global News and Welt TV ( a subsidiary of German media company Axel Springer) , respectively. And of course, Issam Adwan, an Associated Press Gaza reporter was suspended because of recent as well as past social media posts that criticised Israel as an apartheid regime.
There are credible reports that many media companies are instructing staff not to provide context for the Israeli war on Gaza or even to downplay Palestinian casualties.
Professor Nader Hashemisays, “For the West, both the media and politicians, this is primarily a story about Israel. The Palestinians are merely an appendage to this story. This is connected to the long history of Western anti-Semitism and the Nazi Holocaust. Within this framework, the humanity of Palestinians is at best a secondary consideration. Everything we have seen on CNN and from the White House, since October 7 confirms this truism”.
Accusation of anti-Semitism and of supporting terrorism is now very popular and frequent to scare people not to express their views freely. It is intimidating and puts you on the defensive. This, however, may not work effectively as it did in the past because of indiscriminate and arbitrary usage of such accusations. And, of course there still exist balanced and analytical media houses and journalists who have defiantly withstood the pressure and intimidation campaigns targeting pro-Palestine voices.