Israeli media reports that Hamas took over the first floor of the building that the BBC offices in Gaza last night and fired rockets from there, trapping the journalists above. Despite the fact that their reporters have now escaped the building, the BBC has so far not said anything about this.
When I was interviewed on the BBC last week, I commented on the pervasive intimidation of the MSM in Gaza, which is one of the reasons that there were none there when the hostilities broke out. I pointed out that the last journalist resident in Gaza, Alan Johnston, now the editor in chief, only survived because he was so openly pro-Palestinian, and even he got kidnapped and brutalized.
“I’ll cut that out to spare you a law suit, my interviewer said. You’re impugning the integrity of a journalist, and without his credibility he can’t practice his profession.” I was at once struck by the combination of concern for reputation and shamelessness involved in such a “favor” to me.
But here’s the BBC, used as human shields by Hamas, and they won’t let the public know.
Now on the other hand, the Foreign Press has decided to boycott the visual material released by the Army Spokesperson’s Unit (Dover Tzahal) because they object to not being allowed to go into Gaza and — get this — to the Israelis shelling buildings that hold press offices in Gaza. (I kid you not.)
From: The Foreign Press Association
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 2:27 PM
Subject: Urgent notice to members
The FPA rejects and condemns the IDF policy of controlling the news coverage of the events in Gaza. by preventing the entry of foreign journalists into Gaza and bombing buildings housing offices of international media - contrary to IDF assurances that these media buildings would be safe – the IDF is severely violating basic principles of respect for press freedom.
As a result of these unconscionable breaches, the FPA calls on all its members not to broadcast or print stills and videos the IDF provides as a substitute to independent reporting – until such time the IDF issues a formal apology for the attacks on the media buildings and offers assurances that no such event will occur in the future.
The Foreign Press Association
It’s hard to find a finer illustration of the sad truth that the media will behave in craven fashion towards those who will hurt them if the journalists displease them, and in arrogant fashion towards those who won’t retaliate. Despite the many and vociferous denunciations of the Israelis in their statements during the current conflict, not one discusses misbehavior by Hamas.
And the righteous indignation of the letter further illustrates my belief that, unable to admit to either their public or themselves that they are intimidated, they hid behind a pseudo-ideology that permits them to wax morally eloquent. Alas for the state of journalism. Alas for the MSM’s Western public! Alas that Israel won’t denounce these hypocrites.