Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Review Of Journalism In Gaza That The Goldstone Commission Forgot

The Goldstone Commission Report seems to get carried away on the issue of the treatment of the press by Israel, when it quotes approvingly a complaint by the Foreign Press Association
1771. In an open letter, dated 29 December 2008, the Foreign Press Association stated that the denial of media access to Gaza was
an unprecedented restriction of press freedom. As a result, the world’s media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time… Despite our protests, the Israeli authorities have refused to let journalists in… Never before have journalists been prevented from doing their work in this way. We believe it is vital that journalists be allowed to find out for themselves what is going on in Gaza. Israel controls access to Gaza. Israel must allow professional journalists access to this important story. [emphasis added]
On the one hand, the report does acknowledge that Hamas curtailed the press in Gaza:
98. Allegations were also received in relation to the use of excessive force and suppression of demonstrations by Palestinian security services – particularly those in support of the population of Gaza during the Israeli military operations. On these occasions Palestinian Authority security services have allegedly arrested many individuals and prevented the media from covering the events. The Mission also received allegations of harassment by Palestinian security services of journalists who expressed critical views.
On the other hand, the Goldstone Commission again equates Israel with the Hamas terrorists. Left unsaid is the degree that Hamas has gone to suppress journalists over the years:





In the absence of the kind of detail the report gives about Israel, it would be instructive to review what has happened to journalism in Gaza over the years.

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