The Guardian • Issue #2081

Journalists gagged

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2081
Freedom of the press

Journalists at Nine newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and Age, have been banned from covering the Israel-Palestine conflict if they signed an open letter criticising the Australian media’s coverage of the war (see page 7, this issue). The letter has been signed by more than 150 media workers including the author of this article and the Guardian’s Editor.

“It is our duty as journalists to hold the powerful to account, to deliver truth and full context to our audiences, and to do so courageously without fear of political intimidation,” it reads. “[…] We risk losing the trust of our audiences if we fail to apply the most stringent journalistic principles and cover this conflict in full.”

“We also call for an end to violence against civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel and Lebanon; the perpetrators of crimes against journalists and civilians be held to account and Australian newsroom leaders to be as clear-eyed in their coverage of atrocities committed by Israel as they are of those committed by Hamas. We stand by our Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, Jewish, and Israeli colleagues during a time that is personally and professionally confronting for them. The rise in both Islamophobia and antisemitism has ripple effects for those communities worldwide.”

“[Editors should] Provide historical context when referencing the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. The conflict did not start on October 7 and it is the media’s responsibility to ensure audiences are fully informed.”

Crikey raises concerns over the “hypocrisy” of Nine media’s decision, when staff who have taken sponsored trips to the area from pro-Israel groups are still allowed to work on coverage, and calls on newsrooms to disclose when journalists have been on sponsored trips to Israel and to reject them in the future.

Israel is silencing media reportage from Gaza. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 46 Palestinian, 3 Lebanese and 4 Israeli journalists have been killed by Israeli forces.

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