Where’s the BBC coverage? Journalists beaten up in Beitunia

On April 7th 2014 the BBC Media Centre published a “Joint statement issued at the BBC’s Safety of Journalists Symposium” which, inter alia, included the following:BBC Media Centre

“In too many countries journalists are facing serious intimidation and violence, which in turns leads to disturbing patterns of censorship and self-censorship. We stand against these abuses and today we call on the governments concerned to investigate each one of those crimes promptly and effectively so as to bring those responsible to justice.”

As regular readers of the BBC News website’s Middle East page will know, the subject of abuses against journalists is sadly not an infrequent topic there, with current articles on that page addressing the topic of two Times journalists attacked in Syria and the ongoing trial of the Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, which has received a lot of BBC coverage. The same issue is also often addressed in other sections of the BBC News website, with some of the more recent reports having come from Hong Kong, Ukraine and Crimea.  

But what happens when the instigators of violence against journalists are members of the same profession? On May 16th two journalists working for the Israeli outlet Walla News were attacked in Beitunia. Avi Issacharoff writes:

“I found myself seconds away from being beaten to death by a mob of Palestinian masked men during clashes in the West Bank town of Beitunia, north of Jerusalem, on Friday

I’m not prone to exaggeration. It was a case of life and death, and I was within moments of falling victim to the kind of lynch that saw two Israeli soldiers who strayed into Ramallah in 2000 beaten to death by a baying mob. […]

I was there to report on the Nakba Day protests with a cameraman colleague from Walla News. He was some distance from me when he was approached by several Palestinian journalists who told him to “Get out.”

I walked toward them, and told them that if they had a problem, they should be talking to me. One of the Palestinian journalists, a young woman, then called over to a group of masked men, who swiftly surrounded me and began attacking me.”

It is worth revisiting an article written by Khaled Abu Toameh just over a year ago on a subject which, despite its clear stance on abuses of journalists elsewhere, the BBC did not see fit to cover at the time.

“In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters.

On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.

Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journalists.

It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.

An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.

The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories “without permission.” “

And there have been additional similar incidents since. 

To date, the attack on Avi Issacharoff and his colleague (which is further detailed in this article) has not been reported by the BBC.  

6 comments on “Where’s the BBC coverage? Journalists beaten up in Beitunia

  1. Since western governments do not govern any longer,the mobs do it for them! I know netanyahou is not able to govern but either someone else should for example Bennett or better wait for the chaos to take over totally and then STRIKE with utmost strength and expel arabs? netanyahou after all is OK to bring up chaos but he would not be able to take advantage of it,Israel will need someone else for PM at that moment.. Chaos after chaos is of no avail,Machiavel would confirm this. It takes exceptional action after chaos!

  2. They may have been mistaken for Shabak (secret service) spies. Israel is known to have spies and informers in the Palestinian territory, which may have resulted in endangering these two journalists.

  3. Where’s the BBC coverage indeed.

    The BBC reports Balkans floods: Appeal for aid as rescue continues (19 May 2014 Last updated at 06:15 GMT) but omits to report Israel extends hand to flood-ravaged Serbia and Bosnia (05/18/2014 17:13).

    Israel is sending aid to help rescue efforts in Serbia and Bosnia, where record floods have submerged cities and left more than two dozen dead and thousands homeless.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday with his Serbian counterpart Alexander Vučić to offer Israeli assistance to the region to help cope with the aftermath of the disaster.

    The premier said that Israel has already sent 1.5 million tons of medical and humanitarian aid to Serbia.

    Local media reported that Israel sent a first shipment of emergency aid this weekend including medicine, food, blankets and rain gear, and will soon send pumps. The aid was delivered by helicopter because cities were cut off by the flooding.

    The BBC never reports the good that Israel does in the world.

    Bias by omission is what they do!

  4. Pingback: BBC amplifies the unproven claims of anti-Israel political NGO | BBC Watch

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