Israel’s Freedom of the Press; New York Times “Nonsense”

On May 1, 2014, Freedom House, a leading advocacy group on democracy and political freedom, released its annual report on freedom of the press around the world. “Global press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade” according to their report, led by declines in: Egypt; Libya; Jordan; Syria and Turkey. A notable exception was Israel, which became the only country in the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) to be ranked as having a free press.

Select 2013 country rankings (bold are MENA countries):

  • Israel (62)
  • Italy (64)
  • Chile (64)
  • South Korea (68)
  • South Africa (69)
  • India (78)
  • Philippines (87)
  • Brazil (90)
  • Argentina (106)
  • Lebanon (112)
  • Tunisia (112)
  • Kuwait (127)
  • Turkey (134)
  • Libya (134)
  • Morocco (147)
  • Qatar (152)
  • Jordan (155)
  • Egypt (155)
  • Iraq (157)
  • Oman (161)
  • Yemen (167)
  • UAE (167)
  • Ethiopia (176)
  • West Bank, Gaza (179)
  • Somalia (179)
  • Saudi Arabia (181)
  • Syria (189)
  • Iran (190)

The New York Times declined to cover the story in May. However, on September 26, 2014 it ran an op-ed called “How Israel Silences Dissent”. The editorial said that the Israeli government punishes journalists that show sympathy for the Palestinians. There was no mention of the Freedom House ranking at that time either.

20140930_122042

There was also no discussion of the Palestinians’ intimidation of the press.  While the NYT was printing its anti-Israel editorial, the Foreign Press Association was reporting on the intense discrimination they endured in covering Operation Protective Edge: “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.” Even the extreme Israeli left-wing paper Haaretz reported that “some reporters received death threats. Sometimes, cameras were smashed. Reporters were prevented from filming anti-Hamas demonstrations where more than 20 Palestinians were shot dead by Hamas gunmen.”

gaza journalist

Hamas discussing changing journalist coverage, summer 2014

The New York Times did not report on any of this.  The only time the NYT opted to quote the FPA during the 2014 Palestinian war against Israel was early in the conflict on July 23 when the FPA complained about Israeli intimidation.

While ignoring the Hamas harassment, the Times was not completely silent.  Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times Middle East Bureau chief decided to make her position clear – on Twitter.  Roduren proclaimed: “Every reporter I’ve met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense.

Is the FPA only worth quoting when they complain about Israel?  Is an opinion piece about possible Israeli intimidation the only op-ed that is worth printing while remaining silent about Hamas death threats?  Is the uniqueness of Israel’s record of freedom of the press too hard for the New York Times to believe and therefore to report?

“Nonsense” seems to be the New York Times sense of balanced and accurate coverage.

 


 

Sources:

Freedom House May 2014 press release: http://freedomhouse.org/article/freedom-press-2014-media-freedom-hits-decade-low#.VDnLh_8tCUl

Freedom House 2013 country ranking: http://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press-2014/press-freedom-rankings#.VDnNCv8tCUl

Foreign Press on Hamas intimidation: http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-admits-intimidating-foreign-press-who-reported-wrong-message/

New York Times on FPA discussing Israeli intimidation July 23: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/world/middleeast/foreign-correspondents-in-israel-are-targets-of-intimidation.html?_r=0

Rudoren nonsense: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=35&x_article=2814

FirstOneThrough music video for journalists in the Middle East: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/journalists-in-the-middle-east/

FirstOneThrough on Rudoren reporting nothing of Palestinian violence and Jewish history: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/reading-roduren-unrest-by-Palestinians/

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10 thoughts on “Israel’s Freedom of the Press; New York Times “Nonsense”

  1. 1 comment ”i stand for Israel” and i would do what Israel does if i had enemies around me and to hell with the journalists!!! Why should people hate Jews??? It’s not normal to hate like that!!!

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