“The journalist shall be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by the media, and shall do the utmost to avoid facilitating such discrimination based on, among other things, race, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinions, and national or social origins,” declares the Declaration of Principles of the International Federation of Journalists, the world’s largest organization of journalists that represents 600,000 journalists in 140 countries.
One might imagine, then, that this organization that defends press freedom, truth and equality, would vigorously counter a boycott by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate of Israeli journalists, especially in a discriminatory campaign that endangers Israelis covering the West Bank by sending the message to Palestinian officials and journalists that the Israeli reporters are not welcome there.
That presumably should be the position of an organization which says it “promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice,” but it is not. Far from condemning the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate’s boycott targeting Israelis, the International Federation of Journalists has come to the defense of Nasser Abu Baker, chairman of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the key prosecutor of the discriminatory campaign against Israelis. In fact, Abu Baker, who has threatened Palestinian officials who dare to speak with Israeli journalists, sits on the International Federation of Journalists’ executive committee.
Nasser Abu Baker (also spelled Abu Bakr) has also worked for years in the West Bank as a reporter for Agence France-Presse, an influential wire service which publishes in six languages. Following an exclusive exposé by CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) in early December about the inherent conflict of interest posed by Abu Baker’s participation in the Seventh Fatah Congress and his failed election bid to join the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the influential Agence France-Press last month slapped him with a week’s suspension and withheld his salary. Participation by journalists in political events, especially those they are covering, is a serious violation of Agence France-Presse’s commitment to “rigorous neutrality” and its pledge that it “is independent of the French government and all other economic or political interests.”
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2016 was a tough year for the Palestinians. It was tough not only for those Palestinians living in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority (PA) regime, or the Gaza Strip under Hamas. When Westerners hear about the “plight” and “suffering” of Palestinians, they instantly assume that the talk is about those living in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Rarely does the international community hear about what is happening to Palestinians in the Arab countries. This lapse doubtless exists because the misery of Palestinians in the Arab countries is difficult to pin on Israel.
The international community and mainstream journalists only know of those Palestinians living in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Of course, life under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is no box of dates, although this inconvenient fact might be rather unpleasant to the ears of Western journalists and human rights organizations.
In any event, mainstream media outlets seem to prefer turning a blind eye to the plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries. This evasion harms first and foremost the Palestinians themselves and allows Arab governments to continue their policies of persecution and repression.
The past few years have seen horror stories about the conditions of Palestinians in Syria. Where is the media attention for the Palestinians in this war-stricken country? Palestinians in Syria are being murdered, tortured, imprisoned and displaced. The West yawns.
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The mainstream media have not hesitated to tar supporters of President-elect Donald Trump as racist, Islamophobic, misogynist bigots whenever they get a chance. They have been so eager to make their point that they have leaped at publishing stories that have turned out to be fake news. A prime example was the lie told by a Muslim woman, who claimed she had been attacked last month by three men screaming “Donald Trump” on a Manhattan subway train. However, when it comes to reporting any real hate crimes committed by black racists against whites they assume voted for Trump, major media outlets remain notably silent. Case in point has been the liberal press’s handling of the kidnapping, gagging and torture this past week of a young mentally disabled white man in Chicago by a gang of black racists, whose video of the incident was being streamed live on Facebook. The thugs reveled in their self-glorification on social media as they kicked and punched the victim, cut his scalp with a knife and forced him to drink out of a toilet. They taunted the bloodied victim with screams of “F***Trump” and “F***white people.” The suspects have now been charged with a hate crime and aggravated kidnapping, among other charges.
The local Fox News station in Chicago reported on the incident Wednesday afternoon, providing sufficient time for the nightly network news programs to cover this obvious hate crime. Nevertheless, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News failed to broadcast anything about the incident Wednesday evening. Those networks waited until Thursday to cover it. CBS Evening News devoted 27 seconds to the story on Tuesday, leaving out any details about the four suspects in custody or their racist invective. Substitute anchor Josh Elliott treated the incident as merely “another horrifying attack” in a city that “just had one of its most violent years ever.”
CNN host Don Lemon treated the whole thing as misbehavior by teens who were not properly supervised by their parents. “I don’t think it’s evil,” Lemon declared. “I think these are young people and I think they have bad home training. I say, who is raising these young people? I have no idea who’s raising these young people.”
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