Following an initiative by the I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, dozens of Arab journalists demonstrated on, Monday, 7 August 2006, at 18:30, addressing the Israeli, Arab and international broadcasting stations regarding their coverage of the war on Lebanon.
The demand made was for the Israeli mass media to maintain their ethical compass and refrain from blindly follow the war drums. It was felt that there has been a blatant disregard by the Israeli media of their ethical responsibility as journalistic professionals to provide the necessary information to encourage enlightened public opinion.
All parties participating in the war on Lebanon must be held accountable, and all voices must be heard, particularly those voices opposing the general consensus and reporting in a free, open and daring manner.
The following slogans and banners were carried by demonstrators, in Hebrew, Arabic and English:
The demonstration was covered by several media stations and news agencies, consisting of BBC Radio Arabic, Nile TV, Monte Carlo Radio, Associated Press, Reuters, al Jazeera, the Israeli Channel 10, and the Israeli website of Ma’ariv newspaper, and NRG.
Haneen Zoubi, Director of I’lam Center, said in an interview:
“The Israeli press have abandoned their journalistic role, without announcement or apology, with no explanation to the society that these journalists are obliged to be serving, as to why this has happened. It seems that they are no longer capable of performing their professional duty as they have all become subservient to “patriotism”. The Israeli press has its eyes closed to the events in Lebanon and instead can only see the danger from the “enemy” and losses suffered by the Israeli side. The Israeli press - chief editors and not only reporters - have lost all perspective, reporting only through a military perspective and actively pushing for the continuation of this war. What the Israeli press does not seem to realize is that their “patriotism” is in fact a betrayal: It is betrayal of the rights of the citizen to information, the right to hold the government officials accountable and the citizen’s right to develop a rational, logical and ethical discussion. In a time of war, this betrayal of the media is a serious danger”