Why Publicize What Arabs Say in Arabic? (FrontPageMagazine.com) by David Bedein 07/02/12)
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At the annual American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) Conference,
held last week in Philadelphia, a newsworthy session was held with
Chemi Shalev, the newly appointed US correspondent for the English
language edition of HaAretz.
Working with foreign journalists in Jerusalem for the past 25 years,
the significance of HaAretz reaches beyond its scope as a daily
newspaper in Israel.
The HaAretz English edition, sold in Israel together with the
International Herald Tribune, is the paper of record for reporters
who cover complexities of middle east issues.
Therefore, the opportunity for AJPA to hear Shalev’s s insights into
the middle east reporting policies was significant.
After hearing Shalev’s insightful analysis of current Israeli
politics and the current state of Israeli-Arab negotiations, our news
agency posed a question to Shalev:
Why does HaAretz not report what the Palestinian Authority
communicates to their people in their language, on the PBC TV, the
PBC radio, Palestinian Authority newspapers and the Palestinian
After all, over the past few weeks, PBC TV has conducted daily
features which promote the armed struggle to liberate all of
Palestine, praise for those who martyr themselves while murdering
Jews, transforming Israeli cities into Arab cities, and worse.
And then there are the new school books of the PA, which indoctrinate
the next generation to liberate all of Palestine by the force of
arms, while the theme of PA education remains the “right of return”
to Arab villages from 1948 within the green line which no longer
15 years ago, access to PBC TV and to PA school books was difficult.
Our agency would dispatch messengers to the heart of Ramallah or Gaza
to buy DVDs of PBC telecasts or purchase new PA school books and then
commission translations of both.
Today, all a journalist has to do is to view PBC TV is to peruse the
PMW or MEMRI web sites, or to do what our agency does: we paid a
technician 125 shekels to adjust our TV to gain access to PBC TV.
Today, all a reporter has to do to see the new PA school books is to
buy the PA school books which are sold on Salach A Din Street in
Jerusalem. And the PA school books can now be seen on line.
Shalev’s candid response: “We do not have room to cover all of that.”
The follow up question was simpler: In the context of any article
that HaAretz runs on the peace process, why not mention what the
spokespeople of the PA say that day in their media and in their own
Shalev: “As an editor, I would recommend not covering that.”
In other words, a senior editor of HaAretz admitted to a gathering of
journalists that his newspaper engages in a journalistic indiscretion.
As a matter of policy, Shalev admitted, Haaretz will not report the
consistent message that the Palestinian Authority conveys in the
This poses a challenge to agencies that rely on HaAretz as a source.
At the AJPA conference, our agency also asked the representatives of
the JTA, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, if it would change its policy
of not reporting what the Palestinian Authority conveys in Arabic.
JTA has not responded to this question, which our agency has been
posing to JTA for more than a decade, without an answer.
Perhaps JTA’s new correspondent in Jerusalem will respond to the
Over the past ten years, our agency has also asked AJPA to allow time
for an audiovisual briefing on what the Palestinian Authority conveys
in the Arabic language AJPA has consistently turned down the request.
However, the tenacity of our agency will persist with the question:
Does the media not deserve to know what the Palestinian Authority
conveys in the Arabic language, at a time when hopes for a renewed
peace process continue to dominate the news? (Copyright © 2012
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