Israel is finally figuring out that the media is part of the problem

Israel, which is that oddity, a free society in the Middle East, is finally figuring out that a free press is one thing, a corrupt, dishonest press another:

The Government Press Office held a meeting with heads of foreign news agencies earlier this month to protest the doctoring of photographs of the recent Lebanon war and the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and warned them that action could be taken against them if this practice continued, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The director of the Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, told the Post Israel reserved the right to act against any media outlets working out of Israel if they “fail to conduct themselves in a professional manner.”

The foreign journalists’ coverage of the Lebanon war was discussed, with the meeting focused on doctored photographs used by news agencies, Seaman said.

“This was something new to the world, but we’ve seen it before,” he said. “We expect them to take precautions in the future. If they are not taking the necessary measures to maintain professional standards then we reserve the right to take action against their offices in Israel.”

The GPO cannot act directly against foreign press services, but it can make recommendations to the Communications, Foreign and Defense ministries, Seaman said.

The only action taken by the government against the news agencies during the recent war was to send complaints to their main offices.

Although the news agencies, so free with other’s leaks, shut down their representatives entirely from talking about the meeting, an AP spokesman nevertheless freely patted his organization on the back:

Speaking on behalf of AP, international editor John Daniszewski said if one of their photographers was caught doctoring photographs, he would be fired immediately.

“I heard about it in regard to the Reuters stringer,” he said in a phone interview from New York. I think they’re trying to tar everyone with the same brush.

He said both Israelis and Palestinians often criticized the way they were covered, but that the agency had its own “gold standards” of accuracy and fairness to meet.

“It’s such a contentious part of the world and other organizations and parties are going to want to pull coverage into one area or another,” said Daniszewski. “We try to go straight down the middle. If anyone wants to raise issues, we are always willing to talk about it.”

This would be the same AP, of course, that recently saw one of its reporters arrested for terrorist activity, a story it sat on for months.

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  • jg

    You are dealing with a vitally important topic. Many of us will be glad to see at least one representative government try to reign in the corrupt MSM.

    How is the American Street reacting to even more evidence of ‘doctored’ media?
    Pajamas Media has 2 stories about the decline of TV news channel audiences this year.
    Here are 2 interesting quotes from one link.

    I wonder if rabid MSM partisan attacks, or ‘overkill,’ snd widespread charges of corruption, may dilute Old Line Media influence in the upcoming 2006/2008 elections?
    (excerpt) (comments)
    Katie Hobson – 9/28/2006 10:55:58 AM
    Shortly after 9/11 I woke up and realized that I was living a nightmare through the media. Right then and there, I cancelled my subscription to the paper and cable, and stopped watching any news programs. It was like detrox and I’m much happier without the gloom and doom hanging over my head. Today I get my news from a handful of reputable sources that simply report the news. No spin. No filler. No biases. Just news. I also subscribe to many varied and different RSS feeds that I enjoy, just like Sheridan. Now that I consider myself an informed/educated consumer, I can spot bias and spin from a mile away, and I’m better for it.”
    Paul – 9/28/2006 11:48:39 AM
    By and large journalism is a monoculture. That plus most papers just the same poor quality wire feeds, why bother.
    Then there is the model of passive consumer reading and watching what the media feeds. No thanks anymore, I like the search. I want my news, when I want it as I want it from who I want. You know, like, choice. The internet is the difference between the Moscow GUM department store vs. today’s downtown Tokyo.

    Tell the old media to get in the box. They’re dead. The only money left for most newspapers is too reduce cost faster than income decrease, the sell the remaining assests, if any. That is what Hudson Motor Car did.”

  • Lulu

    During the intifada, a photo was widely published in international papers. In it a dazed young man,head streaming with blood, sat on the ground, an angry screaming Israeli policeman standing behind him. The caption labelled them a Palestinian youth and an Israeli cop, the implication clear. The young Palestinian was in the process of a brutal beating by the brutal Israeli. Problem was, the youth was a vacationing American Jew who had just been beaten by a Palestinian mob. The screaming cop had just rescued him, saved his life, and was guarding him. The family of the victim actually sued french media for initially printing and disseminating an intentional lie.

  • Ymarsakar

    Israel is going to go bye bye, if they keep wanting to keep their hands clean. This is a war for your survival, why play around as if it is a game on who is more of a free democracy? This ain’t about who is more of a free and just democracy, this is about who can kill the other guy first.

    This ain’t Hollywood, the villains don’t give 10 minute speeches, giving you the time to plot their downfall with some inane trick. Sure, they do give 10 minute speeches, but that’s because they have you tied up and are about to film the beheading. Few escape without their heads.

    Americans have the excuse of not getting tough on the media and Al-Qaeda, because we have not suffered immense casualties followered by the leer of the media. The Israelis do not have that excuse. Yet they refuse to deal with journalists as enemy spies and saboteurs. If you want to win, then you must decimate your enemy’s forces, you must decrease their forces so that the correlation of forces favors your side. It matters not how you do, so long as you do it. Even imprisonment would work, so long as you don’t relase hundreds of prisoners at once for a hostage….

    Yes, straight down the middle. The excuse of all saboteurs and assassins. “I was just going straight down the middle, I favor no side, I’m just here for the money”.