Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"Free" Press and Death Threats

Ali posted a small tale on Free Iraqi that brings up an important truth.

Truth: "Freedom" of press is relative, especially when subject to terrorists.

Gilo, a neighborhood in Jerusalem preferred by snipers for it's convenience to the Bethlehem hillside, I learned that news photographers in Israel are always Palestinians. There are no Jewish news photographers in Israel, I was told.

The Gilo neighborhood is behind a wall, on the inside of which is a mural apparently painted by residents, of what life would look like without the war. Beyond the wall are apartments with sandbags on their balconies, and, I was told, residents who squat down to pass under a window each time they pass, say, from the dining room to the bedroom, in order not to be a "target." In this neighborhood, even the schools are behind walls and the "playground" is a thick-walled indoor community center.

The snipers are known to be paid outsiders using Palestinian Christian churches in Bethlehem to shoot across to Gilo. Of course this is supposed to cause strife between the Palestinian Christians and Jews but it doesn't work very well because all are onto the the Palestinian hired sniper thing.

So why are there no Jewish news cameramen in Israel?

Because anyone presenting news photography from other than a Palestinian point of view is threatened with death. Period.

This is well known, has been going on a long time, and works very effectively.

Google just turned up 121,000 hits for:
news photography Palestinian death threats
So when Free Iraqi Ali didn't like it at all that "he seeked the protection of a terrorist group just to make his film" he is recognizing that a terrorist sanctioned press defeats the point of trying to tell the story.

I'm sure the Palestinian rule-of-thumb for acceptable news photographers applies just as well in terrorist-riddled Iraq. (Is the photographer one of us?)

Now we can have some sympathy (or I can) for an Iraqi who wants to do a documentary and live long enough to finish it, but what does all this say about the rest of the free press in the world?

Next time you're watching BBC, CNN or even Fox News, thank a terrorist for your perspective on the Mideast.

But thank God for bloggers, who tend to get the word out under the radar sometimes even with pictures, and who are challenging the hold of terrorist-driven main-stream news images.

If you want to see some Iraqis sans censors, try
Voices of Iraq. Be sure to check out the free online film clip.

And we don't even need to talk about why the French press can safely run free, do we? No, I didn't think so.


Blogger Drae said...

Celebrating three weeks in the blogosphere!

January 11, 2005 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger American On Line said...

"I learned that news photographers in Israel are always Palestinians."

Do you mean to say tha tthis is literally true? That there are no Israelis functioning as news photographers in Israel? If true, that would be simply amazing!!

January 11, 2005 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Drae said...

AOL, yep - I felt the same way but every Israeli I beseeched in disbelief confirmed that it is not only true but well known and accepted all over the world.

And not talked about much. Sigh.

January 11, 2005 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Drae said...

Check it out:


I would love to know how many of these were *not* killed by Islamic terrorists.

January 11, 2005 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Sean H. Banks said...

Not that I expect someone like you to care, seeing as you exhibit no interest in real news-gathering,

but you may want to read the comment I made in


At least try looking beyond your own reality tunnel.

January 12, 2005 at 8:12 AM  

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