Israel-Palestine conflict turns newsroom into battleground

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News Team

The world recently saw two contrasting images that highlighted the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza. On one hand, there was a Palestinian TV journalist, Salman al-Bashir, visibly upset after learning about the death of his colleague, Mohammad Abu Hatab, who was killed in an Israeli air strike. Al-Bashir expressed his frustration and exhaustion, feeling like victims and martyrs with no international protection. On the other hand, CNN was embedded with the Israeli military during their ground operation in Gaza, raising concerns about media censorship and manipulation.

The battle over how the war is reported from Gaza has made journalists the primary victims. Several Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed in Israeli air strikes, including Shima El-Gazzar, Muhammad Moin Ayyash, Bilal Jadallah, Mohammad Abu Hasira, Mohamed al-Jaja, Nazmi al-Nadim, Wael Dahdouh, and Issam Abdallah. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 63 journalists and media workers, mostly Palestinians, have been killed in and around the Gaza Strip in the two-month period between October 7 and December 6.

The way the war is reported and the language used in news stories matter. The framing of Palestinian deaths as passive and Israeli deaths as active contributes to the minimization of the Palestinian death toll. President Biden’s questioning of the accuracy of Palestinian death toll numbers further perpetuates doubt about the severity of Palestinian suffering. Media outlets’ framing of the “why”, “how”, and “what’s next” of the war also shapes public opinion and can lead to demonization of Palestinians.

The portrayal of the war in the media has also raised ethical questions, such as the presence of Gaza-based photojournalists in breached border areas and their coordination with Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused journalists of being accomplices in crimes against humanity and acting contrary to professional ethics.

In response to the attacks on journalists and the portrayal of the war in the media, 750 journalists signed an open letter calling for the protection of journalists and encouraging the use of precise terms defined by international human rights organizations in reporting. The urgency of the moment cannot be overstated, and it is imperative that journalists change course and tell the full truth without fear or favor.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza highlights the importance of protecting journalists and journalism in a time of extreme crisis. It remains to be seen if this will result in a recognition of the importance of protecting journalists and journalism in a time of extreme crisis.

World, Politics, Military

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