Hundreds of Journalists Slam Media Coverage of Gaza for Enabling Israeli Massacre

by | Nov 9, 2023

Hundreds of Journalists Slam Media Coverage of Gaza for Enabling Israeli Massacre

by | Nov 9, 2023

gaza jouranlist

An open letter signed by over 750 journalists, including those from mainstream Western outlets, slammed the Israeli government for killing civilians and journalists in Gaza. The signatories condemned newsrooms for failing to give the Palestinians a fair voice and justifying the Israeli onslaught. 

The letter, signed by journalists at Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, Jewish Currents, MSNBC, Bloomberg, the Boston Globe, and The Washington Post, blasts Israel for its “devastating bombing campaign and media blockade in Gaza [which] threatens newsgathering in an unprecedented fashion.” 

“As reporters, editors, photographers, producers, and other workers in newsrooms around the world, we are appalled at the slaughter of our colleagues and their families by the Israeli military and government,” the letter reads. “We are writing to urge an end to violence against journalists in Gaza.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that since the start of military operations in Gaza, 34 Palestinian journalists have been killed. The group says the Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza is the deadliest war for journalists since CPJ began collecting data in 1992. 

The military operations in Gaza have killed over 10,000 civilians, including 4,000 children, according to the local health ministry. A State Department official has acknowledged the true death toll could be higher. UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday said the high rate of civilian casualties showed something wrong is happening in Israel. “When one looks at the number of civilians that were killed with the military operations, there is something that is clearly wrong,” he said. 

The authors of the letter placed some of the culpability on newsrooms for portraying the conflict from an Israeli point of view. “We also hold Western newsrooms accountable for dehumanizing rhetoric that has served to justify ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Double standards, inaccuracies, and fallacies abound in American publications and have been well-documented,” it says.

“Newsrooms have instead undermined Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim perspectives. They have printed misinformation spread by Israeli officials and failed to scrutinize indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza – committed with the support of the US government,” the letter continued. “News coverage has positioned the [October 7 Hamas] attack as the starting point of the conflict without offering necessary historical context – that Gaza is a de facto prison of refugees from historic Palestine, that Israel’s occupation is illegal under international law, and that Palestinians are bombarded and massacred regularly by the Israeli government.”

The letter said the outlets should call Israel an “apartheid” state to accurately portray the situation the Palestinians face. “We are renewing the call for journalists to tell the full truth without fear or favor. To use precise terms that are well-defined by international human rights organizations, including apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide,” it added. 

Several international humanitarian rights organizations have determined that Tel Aviv’s oppression of the Palestinians amounts to a system of apartheid. Abdallah Fayyad, a 2022 Pulitzer Prize finalist and former editorial board member at the Boston Globe, who signed the letter, said he hopes the message will prompt editors to think twice about language. “My hope for this letter is to push back on the culture of fear around this issue and to make decision-makers and reporters and editors think twice about the language that they use,” Fayyad explained. 

The letter additionally touted the importance of the work journalists are doing in Gaza. “We stand with our colleagues in Gaza and herald their brave efforts at reporting in the midst of carnage and destruction,” it said, “Without them, many of the horrors on the ground would remain invisible.”

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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