THUMBS UP to Stephanie Gutmann for her in-depth freelance piece in the Jan. 1-Jan. 8 Weekly Standard which examined intimidation of the press in the Israeli-Palestinian media war.
Noting that photographers have been harassed by both Israelis and Palestinians, she points out that in Israel, at least, “there are channels of accountability.” She cites, for example, the IDF shooting of American journalist Yola Monakhov. The soldier and his commanding officer are being court-martialed, and Israel is covering her medical expenses; in contrast, there has been no comparable action against Palestinians who assaulted Belgian producer Jean Pierre Martin, British freelancer Chris Dearden, and British photographer Mark Seager.
These attacks were prompted by the journalists’ attempts to capture images not favorable to the Palestinian cause. For his filming of a Fatah man providing children with Molotov cocktails, Martin was choked, brought to the PA chief of police, who had the film erased, and was subsequently followed, prevented from filming, and fired upon.
“[R]ather than jeopardize their already tenuous access to the Palestinian territories or endanger their employees by appearing to collaborate with the enemy, many of the media covering the Intifada adjust by simply ‘not seeing’ things or by finding elaborate justifications for ignoring [unfavorable] stories,” Gutmann observes with rare candor.