Wednesday saw the launch of a i24news, Israel’s answer to Russia Today, France 24 and Al-Jazeera. i24′s CEO Frank Melloul writes:
The mission of i24news is to cover international news with a new perspective, as well as all facets of Israeli society. This new perspective is lacking in today’s fast-paced, channel-zapping culture.
In English, French and Arabic, i24news is dedicated to presenting another voice from the Middle East, based on the twin pillars of independence and openness. i24 seeks to connect Israel to the world and the world to Israel.
In a single newsroom, some 150 journalists of different nationalities and faiths together produce the same content (news, talk shows, news magazines) from the Jaffa port: a symbol of the social, cultural and religious diversity of Israeli society.
The first major global media channel born in the digital age, i24news will be launched on the web, then on satellite, ADSL and cable.
We wish i24news the very best of luck. You can tune in to live coverage online here.
Cairo, however, is constrained by the 1979 accord, which imposes curbs on Egypt’s military presence in Sinai, particularly the Israeli border zone. Any deployment must be approved by Tel Aviv.
The inference here is that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel and the seat of government. It is not.
I would draw your attention to a Press Complaints Commission adjudication from October 2012 against The Guardian, which specifically ruled that, irrespective of one’s view as to whether or not Jerusalem is the internationally recognized capital of Israel, it is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that Tel Aviv is the capital.
I hope that this error can be corrected as soon as possible.
The following day’s Times contains the following correction:
We reported (July 11) that any Egyptian military deployment in Sinai “must be approved by Tel Aviv”. This should have read “must be approved by Israel”.
This is yet another direct result of HonestReporting’s precedent-setting legal challenge to those British press who had unilaterally deemed Tel Aviv to be Israel’s capital.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been accused of gross distortions of the truth in its TV and social-media broadcasts, with some of its messages constituting what one commentator called “a big lie”.
Both mainstream media and social channels like Facebook and Twitter became battlegrounds between opposing sides in the unrest that led up to the ouster of Egypt’s Mohammad Mursi.
Critics point to the distortions of the truth made by Muslim Brotherhood-linked media, while accusations of bias have been leveled against Al Jazeera, just as others have attacked channels such as Al Arabiya and CNN for their coverage.
In one of the most brazen and alarming cases, the Facebook page of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) – the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood – displayed images of children killed in Syria claiming they were victims of the recent unrest in Egypt.
Sound familiar? It’s not the first time that images of dead Syrian children have been misused.
Early into the 2012 Operation of Pillar of Defense, Palestinian journalist/activist Hazem Balousha tweeted a moving a photo of a girl lying in a hospital gurney, purportedly injured in an Israeli air strike.
BBC reporter Jon Donnison was touched and retweeted it. However, activists discovered that the photo was actually taken in Syria a month before the war.
This was enough to land Donnison a Dishonest Reporter Award for 2012. How many others are going to fall for this particularly crude fauxtography?
As far back as August 2007, HonestReporting was calling for the removal of London-based Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, as a guest analyst on both the BBC and Sky News among others.
At that time, Bari Atwan had stated on Lebanese TV: “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight” and expressed his hope that Iran would attack Israel in the event of a confrontation between the US and Iran.
In 2008, he said that the terrorist attack on Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on March 6 of that year was “justified” and that the religious seminary was responsible for “hatching Israeli extremists and fundamentalists.” In a lead article, he chose not to condemn the shooting attack and said the celebrations in Gaza that followed symbolized the “courage of the Palestinian nation.” He added that violence in Gaza might “mark the countdown to Israel’s destruction.”
The Times of Israel now reports that Bari Atwan has quit his position at Al-Quds Al-Arabi only weeks after a television interview in which he referred to Osama bin Laden as only “half a terrorist,” a position that led him to believe that he is banned from entering the United States.
So it’s bye bye Bari Atwan. He certainly won’t be missed by us but unfortunately, we won’t be betting against his reappearing on the screens of mainstream news channels in his spare time.
Now that Bari Atwan has left his post, it’s time for the BBC and Sky to make sure that he never appears for them again.
From: …@verizon.com Subj: Re: IDNS: Car Bomb Rocks Hezbollah
How can we get that 12 year old kid, who was interviewed, to be nominated as the next interim president of Egypt? It seems too good to be true so perhaps some cynicism as to the accuracy of the translation is warranted.
I’d like to believe that the video is what it appears to be. But if it turns out the video was either a hoax or satire, my credibility goes down the drain.
When I started off in journalism, the best advice I ever got was from an editor who simply said, “Only write what you know.” That wisdom applies to what we share online too. Remember the Iranian news agency that ripped off an article from The Onion and got egg on its face?
From: …@optonline.net Subj: RE: IDNS: BREAKING: Egypt Military Coup Underway
I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO EXPRESS MY DISPLEASURE WITH PARAMOUNT, BUT AM NOT ON FACEBOOK, NOR DO I EVER WANT TO BE ON IT.
WAS THAT THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD HAVE GVEN US TO REPLY ?
We felt that lots of people posting comments on Paramount’s Facebook page would get their attention more than emails to some corporate office. We have a Facebook community of more than 12,000 people and growing. If everyone’s outraged enough to post comments and share with their friends, the numbers add up to something the studio can’t ignore.
3. Anti-semitism in the media, like last week’s nasty German cartoon, always touches a nerve in readers.
From: …@gmail.com Subj: Re: Anti-Semitism in German Daily: Israel as a Ravenous Monster
Instead of showing more horrors against us, Jews and Israelis, you need to attack back the rascals by inventing all kind of stories as they do for us, just get them back horrors invented or true. They need to get back instead of we, playing poor persecuted Jews, to do it just back! To be harsh , rude, as they all know to be. Attack back moslems christians etc…. as they do to us!!!!
I could have a lot of fun making up rumors and innuendo. But that’s no better than the the lies we’re always debunking. Many Arabs are willing to lend legitimacy to the most insane conspiracy theories (like Morsi’s in cahoots with Israel) because they’ve stretched and distorted the truth for so long.
There’s a proper place for satire, but I don’t want to go down the road of dishonesty and propaganda.
Yesterday, I blogged the uproar after an Israeli journalist smuggled a gun into the Knesset and pointed it at Prime Minister Netanyahu. Channel 10 sought to raise awareness for undetectable guns that can be made by 3-dimensional printers.
I pointed out that this would revive a conflict between the prime minister’s security detail and the foreign press corps. The prime minister’s bodyguards can’t be happy that a reporter managed to point a gun at The Big Guy.
So last night, when Prime Minister Netanyahu and other VIPs attended a 4th of July celebration at the home of US ambassador, it’s quite possible Bibi’s guards had already decided to make an example of some unlucky journo. Either that, or Samer Jallad, a cameraman for the US-funded Al-Hurra TV, somehow raised suspicion at a very bad time.
Whatever the reason, you can imagine what happened next. Haaretz/AP writes:
The Arab satellite channel had coordinated with the Israeli prime minister’s office to cover the event on behalf of the international media. But when cameraman Samer Jallad arrived, he said he was detained for questioning, ordered to remove his shoes and sit in the sun for more than half an hour, and then taken to a room where he was forced to remove his pants for a body inspection. He said he was held for more than 90 minutes before he was permitted to enter . . .
Jallad, who said he has covered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on many occasions, is a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who holds full Israeli residency rights and has a government-issued press card.
The rest of the story is a familiar dance: The Foreign Press Association slammed the security detail and the Prime Minister’s Office said it’s ”ascertaining what happened.”
But I wonder if Channel 10′s investigative journalism described by the Times of Israel might turn back the clock.
Reporters managed to smuggle a home-made plastic gun into the Knesset with little difficulty, and pulled it out only meters away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The correspondents from Channel 10′s nightly culture and technology program “Tzinor Layla” printed the gun using instructions downloaded from the Internet on a three-dimensional printer . . .
On another occasion, the program’s reporter, Uri Even, brought the gun into a Knesset ceremony featuring Netanyahu, where he sat less than 10 rows away from the prime minister. When Netanyahu rose to speak, Even took out the gun without the barrel attached, held it close to his lap, and even pointed it toward the prime minister.
I’ve seen plenty of media investigations testing security at different places.
None ever involved pointing a gun at the nation’s elected leader. This gives the term “news bullet” a whole new context. There’s no doubt Channel 10 crossed a line.
But which one?
Was this an incredibly gutsy way to draw attention to the legitimate security threat of undetectable, home-made guns?
Or was this an utterly overboard attempt to draw attention to Channel 10?
It started with an article in the Times of Israel about the new Zombie film World War Z. The article described how a major part of the film takes place in Israel (although it was actually filmed elsewhere.) Israel comes out quite positively in the movie. Yet within the article, one thing caught our eye. When the film was shown in Turkey, the word “Israel” had been taken out of the subtitles and replaced with the Turkish words for “Middle East.” According to the TOI story, the film came directly from Paramount Pictures with the subtitles.
In other words, Paramount made a horror movie, but was afraid that seeing the word “Israel” would be just too much for audiences in the predominantly Islamic audiences. They might be able to handle the notion of flesh-eating zombies taking over the world, but not the idea that there is a real country called “Israel.”
We put together the following video.
While we usually urge people to send e-mails to the offending news organization in response to a biased story, in this case we suggested that people go to the Paramount Pictures Facebook page and leave a comment objecting to the removal of the word “Israel.”
The response was amazing.
Paramount’s page filled with people drawing attention to and objecting to the removal of the word “Israel.” Reams and reams of comments appeared every time Paramount tried to post something, even when they were posting about other movies.
Paramount may have thought that no one would notice their weak attempt to avoid angering an audience by caving in to anti-Israel sentiment. Their reference to the substitution of “Middle East” for “Israel” as a “local translation” makes them appear unprofessional. But we can only imagine how Paramount feels about their entire Facebook page being taking over by people complaining about this issue.
This case shows how social media can allow a mobilized group to stand up and be heard. Anti-Israel bias is not just in the traditional news. It makes its way into all aspects of media, especially popular culture.
All the more reason why those who care about Israel must remain vigilant and be quick to respond to these cases. Acting in great numbers can make a powerful statement.
So for everyone who wrote comments, great job. Let’s hope that Paramount now understands that when they make changes to avoid offending one group, they will invariable offend another. Which is too bad, because by all accounts, the movie is supposed to reflect Israel in a very positive light.
A Paris court found French media analyst Philippe Karsenty guilty of defaming France 2 TV over its controversial footage of Mohammed Dura’s death.
Karsenty had accused France 2′s Charles Enderlin of fabricating the footage depicting what was presented as the 12 year-old boy’s death during a 2001 gunfight at Gaza’s Netzarim Junction. The video aired throughout the world, and the image of the boy crouching beside his father became an icon of the Second Intifada.
France 2′s lawyers told AP the ruling was a victory for journalism. Karsenty shared his thoughts on the decision with Algemeiner, including the possibility of appealing to the French supreme court.
“I think it is a dark day for French democracy and I think it is a dark day for the truth,” Karsenty declared of the verdict, adding optimistically, “and the truth will prevail in the end, I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know that it will prevail.”
For background on who Karsenty is and how he became a central figure fighting France 2′s footage, see my 2006 Q&A with Karsenty. And watch Tom Gross explain the host of questions against the al-Dura video’s credibility.
Israel is in the midst of a battle for public opinion – waged primarily via the media. To ensure Israel is represented fairly and accurately, HonestReporting monitors the media, exposes cases of bias, promotes balance, and effects change through education and action.