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Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh my... Foreign Press Association slams Hamas

The Foreign Press Association, the group representing journalists working in Israel and the 'Palestinian territories,' has slammed Hamas for its treatment of journalists during Operation Protective Edge.
The association for journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian territories said Hamas authorities and their representatives employed "blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods" against visiting international journalists covering the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.
The FPA, in a statement, protested "in the strongest terms".
"The international media are not advocacy organizations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground," it said.
"In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media."
Hundreds of foreign journalists travelled to Gaza during more than a month of fighting between Israel and the Hamas, with perhaps 10 percent reporting difficulties from the authorities, FPA said.
Those who experienced threats were reluctant to speak publicly for fear of repercussions.
It said one photographer spoke of being beaten up and having a camera smashed; a news photographer had a camera confiscated for three days and Hamas also asked people to remove tweets and YouTube videos.
A European company was also threatened in the middle of the street when filming an anti-Hamas demonstration.
The FPA said Hamas was also trying to put in place a "vetting" procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists.
"Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA," it said.
Several news organizations reported receiving a request Monday from Hamas for the name of journalists, their company, where they are based, their contact details and the name of their translator to "facilitate and organize" their work.
I would bet that in addition to the 10% who reported harassment, there were many more who were harassed but didn't report it, and many more than that who were not harassed because they only reported what Hamas wanted them to report. But to whom are they protesting? To Hamas? That's an exercise in futility. To Israel? What do they expect us to do?

The only leverage the media has over Hamas is the fact that Hamas needs the media. If the media were not to show up - or to show up and not report - Hamas would be missing out. The problem with that is that there will always be some media who will show up and will give fawning reports (you all know who they are). So what do you do?

I would hope that as many reporters as possible will at least speak out now about what happened. It would be nice if some of them would testify before the inevitable 'commissions of inquiry' and the 'human rights council,' but that's probably expecting too much.

By the way, where is Reporters Without Borders on this? Don't they have something to say?

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