How much more proof will be necessary to convince those who disbelieve Israel about everything? We have now heard from both the foreign media association and from Hamas itself: during the recent conflict in Gaza, journalists were intimidated and harassed into ignoring terrorist behavior by Hamas.
The Foreign Press Association – an entity comprised largely of journalists who are not supportive of Israel – condemned Hamas in the harshest possible language of attempting to force reporters to violate journalistic standards and of intimidating journalists into refraining from reporting on illegal Hamas activity.
And now the Middle East Media Research Institute has conclusive proof that Hamas was intimidating and deporting foreign journalists who dared to look too closely at what Hamas was doing in Gaza during the recent fighting.
The proof is the statement made by the head of foreign relations in the Hamas Information Ministry, Isra Al-Mudallal, on Mayadeen television, translated by MEMRI. She said that Hamas security personnel would confront journalists suspected of filing its terrorist operations.
It was the view of Hamas that any journalists who were trying to film their fighters while engaged in military efforts were, by definition, collaborating with Israel and immoral.
“So when they were conducting interviewers, or when they went on location to report, they would focus on filming the places from where missiles were launched. Thus, they were collaborating with the occupation,” al-Mudallal said. “These journalists were deported from the Gaza Strip. The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people. They would give them some time to change their message, one way or another.”
“Some of the journalists who entered the Gaza Strip were under security surveillance. Even under these difficult circumstances, we managed to reach them, and tell them that what they were doing was anything but professional journalism and that it was immoral,” added Al-Mudallal.
Watch her Skype interview, with MEMRI’s translation, here:
The Foreign Press Association, an organization of journalists covering Israel, Gaza and the territories for foreign news sources, harshly condemned Hamas for its behavior towards journalists during the recent violent conflict.
“The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods” employed by Hamas against journalists in Gaza.
The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.
In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.
The FPA also came out strongly against the efforts by Hamas to institute a “vetting” procedure, which would be used to “blacklist” specific journalists.
But despite the clearest evidence, there will still be many – the New York Times‘ Jodi Rudoren, for one – who refuse to believe what even Hamas admits.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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