Thursday, July 22, 2010

How To Get Your Middle East Article Ignored By The Mainstream Media

The short answer of course is to not mention Israel.
But there is also a list of things that the media does not think is worthwhile reporting.

Let's face it, the mistreatment--if not persecution--of Arabs by Arabs just doesn't interest the mainstream media. As Khaled Abu Toameh notes:
The demolition of an Arab-owned illegal building in Jerusalem is, for most of these correspondents, much more important than the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon continue to suffer from a series of humiliating restrictions.

Not only are Palestinians living in Lebanon denied the right to own property, but they also do not qualify for health care, and are banned by law from working in a large number of jobs.

Can someone imagine what would be the reaction in the international community if Israel tomorrow passed a law that prohibits its Arab citizens from working as taxi drivers, journalists, physicians, cooks, waiters, engineers and lawyers? Or if the Israeli Ministry of Education issued a directive prohibiting Arab children from enrolling in universities and schools?

But who said that the Lebanese authorities have not done anything to "improve" the situation? In fact, the Palestinians living in that country should be grateful to the Lebanese government.

Until 2005, the law prohibited Palestinians from working in 72 professions. Now the list of jobs has been reduced to 50.

Still, Palestinians are not allowed to work as physicians, journalists, pharmacists or lawyers in Lebanon.

Ironically, it is much easier for a Palestinian to acquire American and Canadian citizenship than a passport of an Arab country. In the past, Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were even entitled to Israeli citizenship if they married an Israeli citizen, or were reunited with their families inside the country.

Lebanese politicians are now debating new legislation that would grant "civil rights" to Palestinians for the first time in 62 years. The new bill includes the right to own property, social security payments and medical care.

Many Lebanese are said to be opposed to the legislation out of fear that it would pave the way for the integration of Palestinians into their society and would constitute a burden to the economy.

The heated debate has prompted parliament to postpone a vote on the bill until next month.

Nadim Khoury, director of Human Rights Watch in Beirut, said, "Lebanon has marginalized Palestinian refugees for too long and the parliament should seize this opportunity to turn the page and end discrimination against Palestinians."

Rami Khouri, a prominent Lebanese journalist, wrote in The Daily Star that "all Arab countries mistreat millions of Arab, Asian and African foreign guest workers, who often are treated little better than chattel or indentured laborers…The mistreatment, abysmal living conditions and limited work, social security and property rights of the Palestinians [in Lebanon] are a lingering moral black mark."
Some might argue that it is a black mark shared by the mainstream media.

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