Media Watch 10 February 2012
Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan has entered his 55th day of hunger strike. He has long passed the critical stage and is in danger of organ failure any moment now. In other words, Khader Adnan is dying.
The silence from international media is deafening. Much of the publicity highlighting Adnan’s case came from social media via Twitter and blogs.
Does a young father of two arrested in the dead of night from his home, held under illegal administrative detention i.e. no charges have been brought against him, beaten and tortured during his interrogation, hunger striking since December 18th—a day after his arrest—not warrant headlines?
Does his identity as spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad cloud the editors’ judgments? Does his long beard — most of which has now fallen out due to the effects of starvation — not make for sexy media attention?
Yesterday a group of Palestinians called up Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem Bureau, demanding to know the reason for the bureau’s nonexistent coverage regarding Khader Adnan. Why Al Jazeera English? Why not the myopic BBC—who’ve recently proclaimed their censorship of the word “Palestine” from their music programmes—or The Guardian or CNN? (The last one was a joke.)
As an Arab news source with a bureau based in Jerusalem, Al Jazeera English holds the responsibility to report what is happening to Palestinians. Not only are they not covering the bombings in Gaza, but they are ignoring the ethnic cleansing happening under their noses in Jerusalem. They have also completely ignored the weekly, daily popular protests in Palestine, while at the same time attempting to present themselves as the voice of the people who are revolting against oppression in the Middle East.
The litany of crimes that Israel commits on a daily basis against Palestinians is long and ranges from land theft, ethnic cleansing, violence against men, women, and children, bi or tri-weekly bombing campaigns on the besieged people of Gaza, political arrests of dozens of Palestinians on a weekly basis including children as young as 13 years of age and institutionalized racism and discrimination that Palestinians face every day which prohibits them from living anything resembling a normal life. As a result many of us turn to blogs and twitter to find out what is happening which begs the question, what exactly is AJE correspondent Cal Perry being paid to report on in Palestine?
Furthermore, while all political prisoners are a shame to the countries imprisoning them, what was the criteria that Al Jazeera used to determine that a self professed Egyptian Zionist, Maikel Nabil, was more worthy of coverage than a Palestinian anti-Zionist?
Coverage of Maikel Nabil from Al Jazeera English:
- Egptian blogger’s arrest stirs doubts
- Maikel Nabil Live Blog
- Egyptian blogger’s arrest stirs doubts
- Ministrial declared in case of Egyptian blogger
- Egyptian anti-military activist Maikel Nabil rejects pardon
Al Jazeera simply cannot state that Khader Adnan’s hunger strike is not news worthy as international human rights organizations have expressed alarm and condemnation over his detention and concern for his deteriorating health.
The following conversation took place between one caller and a woman from Al Jazeera English Jerusalem office, in response to that caller’s question about why Khader Adnan has been receiving so little exposure from Al Jazeera English.
“But there are other important stories we’re covering.”
“But Khader Adnan has been on hunger strike for 54 days in administrative detention and he’s dying.”
“But there are people dying everywhere.”
The caller was then directed to the editor, who said:
“With all due respect, it’s not up to you to tell us what to cover. I’m only accountable to my superiors in Doha.”
The editor continued to say that there will be a story on the website today so perhaps “you should wait before passing judgments.”
Did that mean that the caller should wait until Khader Adnan dies before he can get decent coverage?
The caller then asked why there had been no TV reports, features, etc. The editor replied that there were more important stories around.
Another caller had this conversation:
“Hello, I’m wondering why Al Jazeera English hasn’t given the Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who’s been hunger striking for 54 days any coverage?”
“Who is this?”
“It doesn’t matter. I want to know-“
“WHO ARE YOU? I’ve been getting calls every five minutes from people asking about the same subject.”
“Why does that matter? I-“
“I need to know if I should make a list of people calling. I need to know if something is wrong.”
“Of course there’s something wrong. Your coverage of Khader Adnan has largely been nonexistent.”
[Speaking to someone in the room] “It’s another one of them, asking about Adnan.” [Addressing the caller] “You need to tell me who you are.”
“Consider me a viewer of your network.”
“Listen, you can’t do this. Who are you?”
“Why are you getting defensive? I’m only asking why Khader Adnan hasn’t been getting any attention-“
“Who are you? Tell me your name.”
“So you’re interested in my name but not in Khader Adnan’s? The man has been on hunger strike for 54 days and-“
A man took over the phone. “Hello, who is this?”
“I’d rather remain anonymous. I want to know-“
“Look, why should we bother to answer you if you won’t even give us your name? Ok, thank you.” [The line went dead.]
The disrespect and arrogance that Al Jazeera English has shown to Palestinians with the lack of coverage has been nothing short of shocking. If Al Jazeera cannot commit itself to doing actual reporting about the cruelty of the Israeli occupation on a daily basis against Palestinians then it would be best for them to move their office to Tel Aviv or head back home to Qatar.
AJ English coverage of Palestinians&Khader Adnan
Permalink Raymond replied on
I am disheartened to learn about Al Jazerra English coverage, or lack thereof, of Khader Adnan's hunger strike. Someone willing to starve themselves to death to show the injustice of Israel should be front page news in my book, but the AJE and the world sits back and allows it, and they also allow the continued repression and suppression and oppression of people in the largest open air prison in the world, GAZA. I had begun to use AJE as a news source, as I thought they had turned into one of the best in the world, but not any longer will I pay them any attention except to make the assumption they are leaving important news out of their coverage. Items like this are why I join with CSFR to advocate for activists for Palestinians. AJE will hear from me.
Permalink Johnny Barber replied on
Contact al jazeera english online--- on the "Suggest Topics" page demand coverage of this story!
AJ now has much more
Permalink lidia replied on
AJ now has much more important task : to serve as a whitewasher and enabler of NATO war crimes. Given NATO romance with Zionism, it is sure naive to ask from AJ to say a word against Zionist buddies of their real masters (not so much in Doha, but in Washington and nearby)
"The Stream" discussed Khader Adnan on Thursday.
Permalink Benjamin Doherty replied on
Al Jazeera English’s show “The Stream” covered Khader Adnan’s hunger strike on Thursday, February 9. I don’t think this is adequate because The Stream covers a story from the angle of social media, but it’s important to recognize instances where shows and journalists have informed their audience about this vital story.
Yes, thanks for pointing the
Permalink Linah Alsaafin replied on
Yes, thanks for pointing the AJ Stream coverage out.
In fact, CNN has covered the
Permalink Syksy replied on
In fact, CNN has covered the story: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02...
54 days later? Great, kudos
Permalink Linah Alsaafin replied on
54 days later? Great, kudos to them.
Al Jazeera English has covered it actually...
Permalink Muhammad Karim replied on
Al Jazeera has covered it...
On Al Jazeera Stream as above as well as on the Stream with the topic "#Dying2Live for Palestine" (Google it, the comment policy doesn't allow links and thinks its spam otherwise)
Secondly its posted as "Support Grows for Palestinian Hunger Striker" on AlJazeera English Online
Permalink Eugene Egan replied on
Thanks for bring to attention the lack of coveraqe by Al Jazeera of the hunger striker Khader Adnan. I thought it was just me thinking that Al Jazeera was getting more like the BBC and CNN!
Permalink George Ronald Adkisson replied on
The State Department is chaired by Clinton...she has returned to hiding, I expect...but not far away from one of the air force one jets.Write them...they won't listen to us either...even when it concerns a National problem...or emergency.
There is a God...no matter what happens...the uS does not recognize that God in their government....or they would not have a government.
Permalink Maha Jarad replied on
Thank you for your story. I didn't realize Al Jazeerah was shying away from Khader's story. Why? I want to know if there is an email address for Al Jazeerah's Palestine bureu? We should all flood them with emails and calls.
Permalink Caitlin Ni Chonaill replied on
Publicity for Khader Adnan is on website dedicated to the ten Irish men who undertook a hunger strike in 1981 for political status. We support the struggle of Khader Adnan and that of his fellow prisoners for an end to Administrative Detention. Justice for the Palestinians!
Permalink yara replied on
Al jazeera arabic doesnt care about Khader Adnan either.... AL-JAZEERA and media can actually SAVE his life...they can pressure israel to release him, they have the power to....
Al jazeera english and arabic
Permalink DAMEERAK replied on
Al jazeera english and arabic should both have a special topic page for Palestine on their websites at least (like they have for other arabic countries egypt + syria) and they should follow all the protests on fridays, and all the arrests israel under takes, and all the injuries and violations, all the houses demolished, all thats happening in jerusalem, they should be a better news source for palestine if they had any intention to help palestine... but they don't... they havent covered palestine in the right way, they never have... jazeera is a zionist channel...