Australian Media’s Moment of Truth

HonestReporting has long campaigned for the word “terror” to be used consistently and accurately when reporting on the Mideast. Progress has recently been made with the conclusions of an independent report on the BBC calling on the organization to label acts of terror as “terrorism”.

It took some grilling by Senator Michael Ronaldson, but the Australian Broadcasting Corporation‘s News Director John Cameron has also finally admitted that Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah are indeed all terror organizations.

Senator Ronaldson’s efforts to address this important issue are greatly appreciated and the results are extremely encouraging as yet another publicly funded media organization reassesses its treatment of terror. We also encourage HonestReporting’s Australian readers to take note of this development and to hold ABC to its word — that terrorists should be called terrorists.

See this excerpt from the give and take between Ronaldson and Cameron. Here is the full transcript (pdf. format).

Now that the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation are addressing this issue, we hope more media outlets follow suit and correctly label acts of terror as “terrorism.”


Several U.S. newspapers have reacted to Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s U.S. visit by criticizing his plan to take unilateral steps to draw Israel’s borders if Hamas does not reject terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist. While the New York Times is entitled to its editorial opinion of this plan, we take issue with the newspaper’s belief that all three parties are equal participants in a situation which is leading to unilateral Israeli moves rather than a negotiated peace agreement.

In a shocking display of moral equivalence, the New York Times (“A Viable Palestinian State”) labels the Hamas terrorist organization, the Israeli government, and United States President George Bush “two culprits and an enabler.” Yet, Olmert has clearly indicated that negotiations are by far the preferred solution. In his address to the U.S. Congress, he said:

“I extend my hand in peace to Mahmoud Abbas, elected President of the Palestinian Authority. On behalf of the State of Israel, we are willing to negotiate with a Palestinian Authority. This authority must renounce terrorism, dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, accept previous agreements and commitments, and recognize the right of Israel to exist…
Our deepest wish is to build a better future for our region, hand in hand with a Palestinian partner.”

On the other hand, Hamas completely rejects the notion of talks with Israel. In its charter, Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state, not just in the West Bank and Gaza, but covering the entire area of British-Mandate Palestine, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. “The land of Palestine is an Islamic endowment for Muslim generations until the Day of Judgment,” says the Hamas charter. “It is prohibited to abandon it, or to concede any part of it. … No Arab state, or all Arab states, or all the kings and presidents combined have that right.”

Comments to the New York Times:


Twenty-six HonestReporting subscribers participated in the latest HonestReporting Mission to Israel. Natan Sharansky, Ra’anan Gissin, Mark Regev, Nitsana Leitner and Shaul Goldstein were just a few of the renowned speakers to address the group. Based in the luxurious David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, Mission participants had the opportunity to meet with top experts from the media, politics and the military to learn about the challenges facing Israel today.  Highlights of the trip included an aerial tour of strategic areas in light aircraft.


3114617284_67d2d0d6bf_m“This Mission far surpassed anything I could have dreamed of.”

“The extreme kindness of the staff; the excellence of the organization; the high professionalism of the speakers, and their accurate knowledge of their fields – all this made it for me an unforgettable trip!”

The next HonestReporting mission will be November 14 – 20, 2006. We will shortly be sending out details to our subscribers. For advance information, please contact


(Image of Natan Sharansky via Flickr/Andrew Ratto, Image of camels via Flickr/Don Short)