Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
List of ten worst countries for press freedom is released. Is the British Council supporting the boycott campaign against Israel? New York Times reporter accused of conflict of interest.
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Israel and the Palestinians
• Media outlets are picking up on comments from Special Rapporteur Robert Falk condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinian hunger strikers. BBC coverage is representative.
Iran and Nuclear Urgency
• Analysts say early elections may thwart any chance for attack on Iran in near future.
Netanyahu is unlikely to risk the comfortable lead most polls give him over his rivals by launching a risky, complicated operation against Iran. A bungled or failed strike is one of the few things that could stand in the way of his reelection, analysts say.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• HR’s Yarden Frankl has a short video commenting on the Guardian’s designation of Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital.
• May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, and the Committee to Protect Journalists marked the occasion by compiling a list of the ten worst countries for censorship. Eritrea tops the list, followed by North Korea, Syria, and Iran.
• The Palestinian Authority failed to make the list, but its own transgressions against the press in recent times has been is getting noticed.
Critics fear that some senior figures in the PA are urging greater censorship and interference in online activities that are perceived as unsupportive. According to human rights groups, at least seven journalists and bloggers have been detained and interrogated by PA security forces in the past few weeks over opinions expressed on websites or Facebook.
• Guardian article on Palfest, a moving festival of Palestinian culture, reveals it’s radical agenda and support from charities such as the British Council.
PalFest, a festival of public events, student workshops and meetings with civil society leaders, is set to run from 5 to 9 May in Gaza, with an initial event in Ramallah on the 5 May and a finale in Cairo on the 11 May. Supported by organisations including Arts Council England and the British Council, with patrons including Chinua Achebe, Seamus Heaney and Philip Pullman, it endorses the Palestinian call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, and states as its mission the reinvigoration of “cultural ties between Arab countries, ties that have been eroded for too long.”
• Hamas tells the AP that it’s hold secret talks with five EU countries. The goal is apparently to convince the countries to accept the results of the next Palestinian election if Hamas wins. A stumbling block, the Hamas official said, was the European insistence that Hamas recognize Israel.
• Haaretz reports that Hamas held internal elections, with the Gaza-based leadership making major gains.
• Left wing media watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has flagged the New York Times’ Isabel Kershner for conflict of interest for being married to Hirsh Goodman, an analyst at the National Security Studies (INSS). The report claims Kershner used the INSS as a source repeatedly.
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