Foreign Press Association protests Hamas intimidation

The dirty little secret of world media coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas is the intimidation used to prevent coverage of Hamas’s war crimes. The narrative put forward by the media has been one of Israeli villains victimizing Gazan innocents, but slowly the full story is peeking through, even in media hostile to Israel.

William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection calls our attention to an important step forward, by the Foreign Press Association, a group of foreign journalists in Israel with a long history and strong claim to represent the media covering the Middle East.

The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

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.

We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA.

The FPA was founded in 1957, and carries some clout:

[T]he Foreign Press Association in Israel -- known as the FPA -- essentially  attempts to fulfill the same task today as it did at its inception some 50 years ago -- working to assist our members in covering the Middle East conflict by easing the bureaucratic hassles that inevitably come up.  

In 1957, the first FPA members represented the following media: The Times (Roy Elston), The Financial Times (Lore Daniel-Gross), New York Times (Seth King and Moshe Brilliant), Herald Tribuneand Time (Monica Elston, stringer to be followed the next year by Marlin Levin, see "Former Chairmen"), Le Monde (Ben Phillips and Andre Scemama), CBS (Michael Elkins), the BBC (Peter John Flynn), Reuters (Amos Gordon and Arye Wallenstein - see "Former Chairmen"), The Associated Press (Eric Gottgetreau), Agence France Presse (Nathan Gurdus, Benn Felier and Fabien Lacombe), Deutsche Presse Agentur (Rudolf Kuestermeier), International News Service, New York (Jack Lavie), Christian Science Monitor and The Observer (Francis Ofner - see "Former Chairmen"),  Danish Radio (Herbert Pundik), National Broadcasting Co (Alvin Rosenfeld), Jewish Telegraphic Agency (Eliahu Salpeter and Itzak Shargil), France Soir (Erel Ginay), The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon (Felix Grab) and others.

To date the FPA numbers some 480 members representing TV, radio, stills photographers and print from thirty two countries reaching across from Australia to Qatar, Africa to Europe, China to the USA. 
 

Nobody really expects the bias against Israel to evaporate. Much of that is embedded in the editors in London, Paris, Stockholm, Madrid, and elsewhere. But it is important that a body of correspondents on the goround has gone on record. It is a start.

The dirty little secret of world media coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas is the intimidation used to prevent coverage of Hamas’s war crimes. The narrative put forward by the media has been one of Israeli villains victimizing Gazan innocents, but slowly the full story is peeking through, even in media hostile to Israel.

William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection calls our attention to an important step forward, by the Foreign Press Association, a group of foreign journalists in Israel with a long history and strong claim to represent the media covering the Middle East.

The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

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.

We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA.

The FPA was founded in 1957, and carries some clout:

[T]he Foreign Press Association in Israel -- known as the FPA -- essentially  attempts to fulfill the same task today as it did at its inception some 50 years ago -- working to assist our members in covering the Middle East conflict by easing the bureaucratic hassles that inevitably come up.  

In 1957, the first FPA members represented the following media: The Times (Roy Elston), The Financial Times (Lore Daniel-Gross), New York Times (Seth King and Moshe Brilliant), Herald Tribuneand Time (Monica Elston, stringer to be followed the next year by Marlin Levin, see "Former Chairmen"), Le Monde (Ben Phillips and Andre Scemama), CBS (Michael Elkins), the BBC (Peter John Flynn), Reuters (Amos Gordon and Arye Wallenstein - see "Former Chairmen"), The Associated Press (Eric Gottgetreau), Agence France Presse (Nathan Gurdus, Benn Felier and Fabien Lacombe), Deutsche Presse Agentur (Rudolf Kuestermeier), International News Service, New York (Jack Lavie), Christian Science Monitor and The Observer (Francis Ofner - see "Former Chairmen"),  Danish Radio (Herbert Pundik), National Broadcasting Co (Alvin Rosenfeld), Jewish Telegraphic Agency (Eliahu Salpeter and Itzak Shargil), France Soir (Erel Ginay), The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon (Felix Grab) and others.

To date the FPA numbers some 480 members representing TV, radio, stills photographers and print from thirty two countries reaching across from Australia to Qatar, Africa to Europe, China to the USA. 
 

Nobody really expects the bias against Israel to evaporate. Much of that is embedded in the editors in London, Paris, Stockholm, Madrid, and elsewhere. But it is important that a body of correspondents on the goround has gone on record. It is a start.