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Monday, June 14 2010

Neda Soltan and the Gaza Flotilla Converge -- Or Don't

Neda_soltan David Burchell compares Big Media's interest in the Gaza flotilla with its interest in Iran's human rights record:

Fearless Western journalists, we are told, boarded the Gaza flotilla at hazard to their lives, the better to pen florid descriptions of the predations of the Israeli "hyenas"; sentences that could presumably have been written with equal vigour and no less accuracy from the comfort of their computer terminals.

Yet presently there is not one solitary Western journalist, willing to risk the wrath of the Iranian security forces to file a report from Tehran in the open air. And so the job is left to the Iranians themselves: to the anxious young students whose wavering phone cameras record those fleeting snippets of history, floating like sea-wrack across the YouTube ocean in 15 or 20-second fragments.

Indeed, flotilla journalist/activists like Paul McGeough -- author of the aforementioned hyena analogy -- know that antagonizing Israel carries little risk. Even arrest, the worst case scenario, comes with due process and consular access.

Antagonizing Hamas or Iran is a heavier concern. The press corps was shockingly unmoved by the plight of UK journo Paul Martin, who was detained by Hamas for a month. The message: don't ask dangerous questions. It's just as well McGeough didn't reach Gaza. He wouldn't have had the guts to ask anything embarrassing.

Meanwhile, denunciations of Israel distract the world from Iran's woeful human rights record. David Harris and Trudy Rubin weigh in on that.



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