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New Evidence that British Journalism is Biased

Opinion Piece: To: The Times To the Op-ed Editor 2 May 2007 

Sir,

New Evidence that British Journalism is Biased

 

During my week-long stay in London I treated myself with reading The Times. I did not always agree with what I read but I always appreciated your sincere strive for balance. Unfortunately it is not the case with much of the mainstream British press today.

I am responding here to all your writings about the NUJ decision to boycott Israel, including your commendable disapproval of this decision. Regarding this I raise if I may a crucial ethical issue of British journalism as a whole.

We, Take-A-Pen, are a politically independent, fully volunteer international grass-roots media-watch network, our volunteers around the world follow global media in 18 languages.  We sadly found and said it for years that a large part of the British mainstream media covers the Arab-Israeli conflict and the life in Israel with a strong anti-Israel bias, frequently on the border of propaganda and hate-speech. I am sorry to say that by international comparison the British media is probably the worst in this respect in the world of free press. And please don't tell me that this is only one half of it, or even less than half; the sad fact is that a large part of the apple is, how to put it nicely... rotten.     

Our critical remarks sent to the British press about bias, even in thoroughly documented cases, were rarely considered and honestly corrected, like in one case by the Guardian, but were typically simply shrugged off, like by The Independent, or were targeted with legal threats aiming at intimidating us, by The BBC, the self-appointed champion of free speech.. (Seven threatening BBC mails can be shown to the Editor upon request.) 

It would be tempting to elaborate on, what many analysts say and demonstrate with hundreds of examples for years, that the BBC News has been strongly biased.  Recently both Arab sources and the BBC itself declared, for the defence of the kidnapped Alan Johnston, that his and the BBC's activity in Gaza were fully devoted to Palestinian interests. Johnston had been the only Western reporter allowed to work there, you can guess why.

 

So today there is no more need for such circumstantial evidences. Finally, the debate 'whether there is a bias in British journalism?' is concluded, the evidence issued by the most authentic forum on the subject, the British journalists themselves.

The National Union of Journalists' decision to boycott Israel, and Israel alone of all the countries and nations on earth, is full-proof evidence that the representative body of British journalism discriminates Israel and is actively hostile to Israel, what is much worse than bias and totally incompatible with journalistic ethics.

Not much consolation is that parts of the British journalism hate the US probably even more, only do not dare to attack it so openly. Neither is a consolation that the vote was a narrow 64 to 56. If not fifty three but only five percent of British journalists would believe in mediaeval blood libels like that Israel is an apartheid state like ex-South Africa, it would be too much to tolerate.

Apartheid!? In fact Israel is probably the first and only country and nation in human history, which, while involved in a long and bloody war with a dreadful enemy, did never do any harm to the ethnic minority akin with that enemy, living within the country.  1.2 million Arabs are living in Israel in relative wealth and with human rights far above those of their brothers' in any of the 23 Arab countries.

Also, we see the UK doing great efforts to proceed further towards racial equality there, but I think Israel does not less, and although lives in a more sensitive situation, has achieved probably more in this respect.

Back to our main issue; the British media's bias: I believe that the honest silent majority of the British journalism has to work very hard and with exceptional perseverance in order to cure this severe professional and ethical illness within; both in order to regain its good name and: for pure honesty.

Respectfully,

 

Endre MOZES

Haifa, Israel

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