Apr. 22, 2018
The Hamas “Press Office” handed down directives to journalists covering the Gaza fence clashes. Palestinian journalists will have to toe the Hamas line or face the consequences. I haven’t seen any Western papers disclose the intimidation their Palestinian stringers face or how it effects the final product. Bassam Tawil noted the Hamas directives posted online.
In a nutshell, Hamas does not want journalists to use the words “clashes” and “confrontations” when reporting about the demonstrations, or that any demonstrators killed were its own operatives. Photographers are not to take photos of Palestinians throwing rocks or firebombs, and to solely focus on the Israeli response. Journalists are not to quote or rely on Israeli media or inform Palestinians what Israelis are saying about clashes. Journalists are to instead expected to “humanize” the dead and injured Palestinians.
Since the Palestinian journalists covering the “March of Return” are unlikely to ignore Hamas’s new instructions, this will affect the reporting of the international media. Most international media outlets and correspondents employ Palestinian producers and translators and “fixers” to assist in covering Palestinian issues.
A Palestinian journalist who is afraid to defy the Hamas instructions will not tell his employers everything he sees and hears. Some of the Palestinian journalists will also be doing that of their own volition and not necessarily out of fear of Hamas or any other Palestinian group. These journalists see themselves as foot soldiers of the “revolution” and are convinced that their loyalty should be, first and foremost, to their people and cause. And the truth? Well, the truth finishes last.