[Boycott - Media Bias]
NUJ Motions regarding reporting in Israel & Palestine
26 March 2006
Reporters for the Guardian, the Washington Post and the Toronto Star transferred from Israel to new postings had been moved at the behest of the Israeli Government
Danny Seaman, Director of the Israeli Government’s Press Office
Motions the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) passed during the Annual Delegate Meeting 2006 regarding reporting in Israel and Palestine:
ADM notes that the BBC ordered last October a review of its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following criticism from both sides and a report by the Glasgow University Media Group last year which concluded that the BBC’s Middle East reporting was “institutionally-biased” in favour of Israel.
ADM equally notes the claims made by Danny Seaman, Director of the Israeli Government’s Press Office that the international media was “anti-Semitic” and that reporters for the Guardian, the Washington Post and the Toronto Star transferred from Israel to new postings had been moved at the behest of the Israeli Government. Mr Seaman refuses to acknowledge the IFJ press cards for Palestinian journalists despite repeated representations made by the IFJ.
ADM believes that authorities on both sides have sought to limit the damage of bad publicity or to manipulate media coverage.
ADM condemns the decision of the Israeli defence ministry taken at the end of October 2005 to bar foreign journalists from entering Gaza Palestine, in an apparent attempt to limit reporting on the killing of Palestinian civilians, the firing of artillery shells and the use of ‘sonic bombs’ to terrify the local population.
ADM reiterates the view that all governments must remove obstacles to press freedom and the exercise of free journalism and that all journalists must be able to work in safe and secure conditions and instructs the NEC to continue to work with the IFJ to achieve these objectives and the NEC to make representations to the British and Irish Governments when the right to report in Palestine and Israel is frustrated by the authorities.
This ADM applauds the strength and courage of the Israeli whistleblower and honorary NUJ member Mordechai Vanunu against his continual harassment by the Israeli state. It notes that in the summer of 2005 Israel’s supreme court turned down an appeal by Vanunu for the return of his correspondence, diaries and notes that were confiscated in 2004 following his release after 18 years in prison for revealing Israel’s nuclear arms programme.
ADM further notes that Vanunu faces further court appearances for alleged breaches of his conditions of release, including talking to journalists.
ADM instructs the NEC to continue to campaign vigorously for the lifting of all restrictions on Vanunu’s movements and activities and for his right to leave Israel without delay. In the event of Vanunu being found guilty of alleged breaches of his conditions of release and sent back to jail,
ADM instructs the NEC to launch an immediate campaign for his release both within the union, the TUC, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the International and European Federations of Journalists and ask Amnesty International to declare him ‘a prisoner of conscience’.
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