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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Foreign Press Association wants to keep their pants on

The Foreign Press Association is furious because an al-Jazeera camera man was required to remove his pants for inspection before being allowed in to film an interview with Israel's President, Shimon Peres.
"The Foreign Press Association demands that Israeli Authorities immediately cease undressing foreign and Arab journalists at official events," the statement said.

"This outrageous policy is an affront to common sense, an assault on human dignity and a blight upon the state of Israel. It simply must stop," the statement continued.

"The latest outrage occurred earlier today when an Al Jazeera cameraman was asked to remove his pants upon arrival for an interview with President Shimon Peres - an interview that came at the invitation of the president himself to criticize anti-Muslim violence! The explanations we have received - that such inspections are necessary for Arab journalists - are deeply troubling in a country that bills itself as the Middle East's only democracy."

The statement went on to say: "It is not the first time this has happened. This pattern has existed for years and has become more entrenched and aggressive over the past year."

"We respect Israel's need to maintain tight security. But when there is so much technology available to scan both people and their belongings, such practices cannot be justified and have nothing to do with security. The truth is darker and sadder: This lamentable policy combines blatant racism with systematic and ham-handed media harassment," the statement said.

The statement also attacked the Shin Bet and PMO. "Sadly, by now we expect nothing better from the Shin Bet. Frankly, we have ceased hoping that the Prime Minister's Office - scene of some of the most persistent abuses - will intervene," it said.

"But it is deeply disappointing that this policy is also accepted and enabled by the office of Shimon Peres - a Nobel Peace Laureate and outspoken advocate of human rights and progressive thinking. We respectfully call on the President to use the influence of his office to end this abomination," the statement continued.
But the article goes on to point out that Peres has no authority over the security authorities, and that while most of the complaints have come from Arabs, Jews and non-Arabs have also been subject to invasive searches. While the media would like to be exempted from the rules, given that suicide bombers elsewhere have hidden their wares in body cavities and clothing, I don't see how it's possible for Israel to avoid these types of searches. The article - by JPost's Greer Fay Cashman - mentions the possibility of using technology, but the technology is nowhere near as thorough as the good, old fashioned body search.

Given al-Jazeera's recent record in this country, they have no cause for complaint.

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At 8:36 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

Amazing what they have forgotten about the underpants bomber, who has just issued a deranged statement in a US courtroom, screaming al Awlaki is still alive! Utter morons who don't deserve to live!!

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Exactly. Unless al Jazeera does some kind of regular due diligence that ensures most of their staff isn't actual on-the-payroll bomb tossing terrorists then someone else will have to do that job for them. Sorry.


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