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Sunday, October 31 2010

Why No MSM Protest Against PA Media Restrictions?

Hand2The PA is trying to restrict the flow of information by barring journalists from visiting the West Bank on press tours facilitated by Israelis. One press tour of Jericho was already cancelled.

Now, Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wonders: why isn't the MSM protesting this strike against press freedom?

The Western-funded Palestinian government is actually telling foreign journalists that from now on they should report only on matters that shed a positive light on the Palestinian Authority and its leaders.

By insisting that foreign journalists arrange their visits to the Palestinian territories only through Palestinians, the Palestinian government is proving that its attitude toward freedom of the media is not much different that that of Hamas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Bashar Assad.

Foreign journalists covering the conflict in the Middle East should not allow a situation where anyone would threaten them or tell them what to write. Foreign journalists should be allowed to work freely both inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories; they should also have the right to consult with whomever they wish and visit any place through anyone they feel comfortable working with.

Toameh sheds more on the PA's pique with this LA Times dispatch by correspondent Ed Sanders:

The decision, according to informed Palestinian sources, came in the aftermath of a news story that appeared in the Los Angeles Times and which obviously embarrassed the Palestinian government.

The story, which was related to a ceremony marking 10,000 years for Jericho's birthday, said that many Palestinians and foreign dignitaries who were invited to the party did not show up.

Obviously, the Los Angeles Times correspondent had failed to "coordinate" his visit to Jericho with the Palestinian government spokesman's office.

MediaCentral is a project of HonestReporting, providing support services for journalists in the region. It did not facilitate Sanders' report from Jericho.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time the mainstream media was cowed into silence by the Palestinians. Earlier this year, British journalist Paul Martin was detained by Hamas for a month, with nary a peep from the Western news services.



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