ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Western media

In The Age of The Internet: More Racism At The Guardian.

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The Internet should aid research, it should enable people to be better informed, particularly those in the West, where it is more widespread.

Yet it is still possible to find educated journalists, with access to the Internet, who don’t know the basics.

Instead of Googling Carlos Latuff and realising that he has a propensity for publishing racist cartoons against Jews and Israelis, instead of doing that the Guardian decides to push his work.

Rather than familiarising themselves with Carlos Latuff’s racism, the Guardian becomes complicit.

Readers will remember that Carlos Latuff is notorious for his participation in the Iranian regime’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.

Gilad Shalit In The Media.

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I have meant to write more on this topic, but couldn’t.

Still, Just Journalism has a good piece on the hypocrisy that is so evident in the British media:

“There were noticeable differences between The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC News website on the reported resumption of talks between Israel and Hamas over the release of Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit.

The biggest issue relates to the fact that Shalit has been denied visits during the period of his capture – a clear violation of the Geneva Convention and International Human Rights Law. The BBC article on the renewed talks did not even mention that he has been denied all visits.

The Associated Press and Independent articles, on the other hand, did both mention that Shalit has not been allowed visits; however, they failed to cite this as a violation of international law. The Independent noted that:

‘Sgt Shalit’s family has repeatedly complained that Hamas has not allowed visits to him by the International Red Cross.’

The Independent stated that:

‘Since his capture four years ago, Shalit has received no outside visitors.’

The failure to cite international law contrasts with coverage of Israeli actions, such as construction in the West Bank, where the issue of legality is frequently raised. “

What a contrast to how the British journalist Alan Johnston’s captivity was covered in the media.

Written by modernityblog

18/10/2010 at 22:29

Imagine If….

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This piece, unintentionally, highlights the dual standards which exist in the West, when it comes to the welfare of Israelis:

“Imagine if the UN announced tomorrow that it was suspending all UNWRA activities and funding in the Gaza Strip until Gilad Shalit was released. Imagine if the EU refused to allow imports of strawberries and flowers from Gaza until the Red Cross was granted regular access to Gilad in accordance with his rights under international law. Imagine if Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or B’Tselem did more than release the occasional tepid statement. Imagine if the BBC and the Guardian actually reported this story with the same zeal and intensity as they invested in the kidnapping of Alan Johnston.”

Gilad Shalit.

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Despite a lot of arm waving concerning human rights in bits of the Middle East there isn’t much real concern in the West for the fate of Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit was, you will remember, kidnapped four years ago.

Gilad Shalit is now held by Hamas.

Gilad Shalit is not allowed access to any visitors or even the Red Cross, contrary to all accepted norms of human rights and the Geneva conventions.

Gilad Shalit is locked up in some hole by Hamas and has been for years, not that you will hear much of that in the Western media.

Gilad Shalit banner

Here’s some of my previous posts on this topic:

Ingrid Betancourt and Gilad Shalit

1,195 Days – Compare and Contrast

Gilad Shalit – One Forgotten Israeli

That’s Alright, Keep Your Guns

Update 1: HRW apparently has commented on Gilad Shalit, but will the issues surrounding he is kidnapped, imprisonment and being held incommunicado be dealt with in the Western media? I somehow doubt it, but HRW’s contribution is welcome:

“JERUSALEM — Human Rights Watch on Friday demanded that Hamas end its “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Gilad Shalit as Israel marked the fourth anniversary of the soldier’s captivity at the hands of the Islamist movement.

“Hamas authorities are violating the laws of war by refusing to allow Shalit to correspond with his family,” the New York-based group HRW said, adding that the young soldier’s prolonged incommunicado detention “may amount to torture.”

Thousands of yellow balloons were to be released across Israel for the anniversary, a candle-lighting ceremony was planned in Tel Aviv and a major newspaper distributed yellow ribbons to its readers.

Amid growing public backing in Israel for a prisoner exchange deal with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, demonstrations of support for Shalit also have been held in several capitals this week, including Rome and Paris.

On Sunday, the Shalit family accompanied by thousands of supporters will set off on a march from their home in northern Israel to Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, a distance of about 200 kilometres (120 miles.)

Shalit, then a 19-year-old corporal, was captured by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in a deadly cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip on June 25, 2006.

He is believed to be held in Hamas-ruled Gaza, where he has had no contact with his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Regardless of Hamas?s grievances against Israel, there are no grounds to cut Shalit off completely from his family,” HRW said.

“Hamas authorities in Gaza should immediately end the cruel and inhuman treatment of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit,” it said.

The Islamist movement has said allowing outside access to Shalit could reveal his location to Israel.

HRW pointed out that Israel has prevented detainees from the Gaza Strip from having family visits since Hamas seized power in the Palestinian territory in 2007.

They are however allowed periodic Red Cross visits.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip four years ago a bid to force Hamas to release Shalit, but eased the sanctions this week amid international pressure fuelled by a deadly commando raid on an Gaza-bound activist aid flotilla.

Negotiations for a prisoner swap, mediated by Egypt and Turkey, have hit a brick wall.

Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of prisoners, including several top militants responsible for killing scores of Israelis, in exchange for Shalit — a price the Jewish state has been reluctant to pay.

A majority of Israelis are in favour of such a swap, according to a poll published by the Yediot Aharonot daily on Friday.

Seventy-two percent said yes when asked if they would support “a prisoner exchange deal in which hundreds of terrorists, including murderers, are released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.” “

Written by modernityblog

25/06/2010 at 01:05

World Conflicts.

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I remember last year watching a small video which discussed some of the 300+ conflicts in the world, now Bob scours the Web with greater skill than me and points us to Open Democracy’s discussion of forgotten conflicts.

I think, for anyone with an internationalist prospective, it is an interesting question to ask why the West is so focused on certain conflicts but not others.

Here’s Noah Bernstein:

“The Western media’s fascination with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long overshadowed death and oppression in other parts of the world. Gilad Shalit and the Qassam rocket are known to many; the death of 5.9 million in the eight-nation Second Congo War is not. Recent Israeli and Palestinian elections were covered worldwide in real-time, while images of genocide in Rwanda and Sudan did not surface until it was too late. Countless articles argue media bias in favour of Israel or the Palestinians, yet few address the media bias towards the conflict itself.

The disproportionate media coverage raises several uncomfortable questions: why were the deaths of Congolese civilians at the hands of the LRA deemed less newsworthy than, in the first instance, crumbling cease-fire talks and, later, the deaths of Palestinian civilians? More generally, why is the west so consumed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what are the consequences of underreporting other conflicts? Finally, can anything be done to redress the media balance so that the rights of all humans – regardless of colour, ethnicity, and geography – are given equal weight?”

[My emphasis].

Written by modernityblog

23/03/2010 at 03:11

Never Really Mentioned.

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We have reached the first year anniversary of the killing spree that took place in Mumbai, India in 2008.

I remember following it avidly as I suspect many people did. The smoke billowing out of the plush hotel, the pictures of scattered belongings and bloodstains in the railway station, and the siege at Chabad House.

Like most people at the time I was mystified as to how this could happen and who would carry it out, but one thing struck me about the news coverage, how they never asked why Chabad House was attacked, in the first place.

Why was it attacked?

I am not sure if there was some set of unwritten assumptions at play, or it just didn’t occur to the collective journalists that this was more than a curiosity.

By that I mean, Mumbai is a massive city, comprising some 13 million inhabitants, twice the size of London, five times the size of Paris, in terms of population.

The extended city of Mumbai has about 19 million inhabitants, enormous by any standards.

Therefore, finding that very small community of Jews in that city would be a serious endeavour. It would not be a trivial task. Locating a dozen or so people of a certain ethnicity amongst 13 million people is exceedingly difficult.

Yet that point wasn’t covered in any detail, as far as I remember, by the Western media.

I suppose that if a particular group of murderers decided to hunt out any natives of Tuvalu, living in London and kill them then surely that would be odd and the reasons behind it worthy of attention?

That is the parallel, searching for a minute community in a massive city, torturing them and finally murdering them in the most brutal way.

But it was not really mentioned by the Western media. As far as I can work out the killings at Chabad House doesn’t seem to have been seen as worthy of consideration, with no significant coverage or questions being asked by the media. Curious and, in many ways, a bit disturbing as to what it tells us about certain Western attitudes.

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[Tuvalu (and all that comprises it) is one of the smallest nation in world]

Written by modernityblog

26/11/2009 at 20:29

1,195 Days – Compare and Contrast.

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Recent events set me thinking, Alan Johnston, the journalist, was held in Gaza for some 114 days.

The Western media were full of stories about him, delegates of worthy citizens pleaded for his safe return, so many column inches were expended on his plight.

Compare that with Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped from Israel’s territory during an attack in June 2006, pulled down a tunnel back into Gaza.

Held as a POW by Hamas, but afforded none of the rights, no visits, no Red Cross, etc.

Gilad Shalit’s family, until now, had no confirmation if he was alive or dead. No information was forth coming from Hamas, nothing, nada, zip.

After a brokered agreement by the Egyptians and Germans a video of Gilad Shalit and some letters were exchanged for 20 female prisoners in Israel’s jails.

Gilad’s captors, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, even made him state how wonderful their treatment of him was, here’s a cached copy of their web site.

If you followed the Western media you’d hardly see anything about the Israeli solider, kidnapped, deny the basics under the Geneva convention, held in incommunicado for three and a half years.

Hardly a sausage in the media about Gilad Shalit’s treatment, yet plenty about Gitmo or even Abu Ghraib.

Compare and contrast that with Alan Johnston’s fate. The BBC even have a whole web page devoted to him, masses of information.

Oh, how the Western media agonized about poor Alan Johnston, but Gilad Shalit’s predicament barely registers.

Oh, Western sensibilities, how fickle you are. Why don’t you question Hamas about their treatment of Shalit? Or perhaps he isn’t British so doesn’t count?