(Note: A slightly different version of this letter appeared in the Washington Times on Aug. 17, 2022)
Clifford May has done a tremendous service by highlighting how Hamas manipulates the press. But it is worth noting that the Gaza-based terrorist group isn’t alone in its efforts to shape media coverage (“Reporters in Gaza have never been free,” Web, Aug. 17)
Fatah, Hamas’s rival that rules the West Bank, has also sought to spread disinformation. The Palestine Liberation Organization, which is dominated by Fatah, has set out guidelines for reporters. The PLO guidance document is entitled “Key Points to Remember When Reporting on Occupied Palestine.” Among other things, it justifies anti-Jewish violence—referred to as “uprisings”—as a response to “colonization” and “occupation.”
The PLO, like Hamas, also uses intimidation and threats to prevent covering stories that would portray them in a negative light. For many foreign reporters, this means threatening to curb or outright end access to both officials and areas—effectively limiting their ability to do their jobs. For those brave local journalists, the threats can take on a darker form.
Mere days before Mr. May’s article appeared, a Palestinian journalist named Mujahid Tabanja alleged that he was beaten and interrogated by PLO apparatchiks. It is, unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence—and one that doesn’t get enough coverage—or outrage.
The writer is a Senior Research Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA)