“[T]he turmoil in the Middle East this past year has morphed into a battleground for much larger interests – economic, political, financial – and the players see this as an existential fight; the final showdown, so to speak. The battle for narratives is the frontline of this war, and it is a dirty one.” – Sharmine Narwani
via Media Lens
Cross-posted @ The Cylinder
“It’s a reminder that the Internet is not the universal democratizing engine some expect as long as governments still control where the plug goes into the wall, or where the ISPs talk to the world.” – Michael C. Dunn
From Jonathan Cook:
In order to justify continuing military assaults on the Palestinians in the occupied territories and its studious avoidance of real negotiations, Israel has had to invest an ever larger share of its energies in managing and controlling the narrators of the conflict—chiefly the Western news organizations and, especially, those in the United States.
Israel needs to maintain its credibility in the U.S. because that is the source of its strength. It depends on billions of dollars in aid and military hardware, almost blanket political support from Congress, the White House’s veto of critical resolutions at the United Nations, and Washington’s role as a dishonest broker in sponsoring intermittent talks propping up a peace process that in reality offers no hope of a just resolution. The occupation would end in short order without U.S. financial, diplomatic and military support. For that reason Israel makes significant efforts, as we shall see, to put pressure on the journalists themselves. It also targets their news editors “back home” because they make appointments to the region, set the tone of the coverage, approve or veto story ideas, and edit and package the reports coming in from the field.
In the more open media environment of the past decade, however, Israel has also needed to act more aggressively against other types of narrators to ensure the dominance of its own narrative. It has sought to control and limit the scope of local information sources on which Western reporters rely, and delegitimize rival news platforms that could increase the pressure on the Western media to provide better-quality coverage.
Those most immediately in Israel’s sights—and in the greatest danger—are Palestinian journalists because they live and work in the areas Israel wants to remain unreported. They are best positioned to supply the Western media with the raw material needed to show Israel’s aggression towards the Palestinians, including its war crimes, and expose the subsequent cover-ups. Next come dissident Israeli journalists and human rights groups who investigate these same incidents and pose the added threat that they have greater credibility with the international community. And finally there are new problems posed by the growing number of freelance journalists like myself covering the conflict and a new breed of citizen journalists and bloggers created by the rise of the electronic media.
Each element of this web of threats to Israel’s narrative has required its own organized response and, as will become clear, Israel has lost no time in developing a mixture of sophisticated and blunt weapons to use against the media. – MORE.
via Media Lens
From Jonathan Cook:
An Israeli journalist who went into hiding after writing a series of reports showing lawbreaking approved by Israeli army commanders faces a lengthy jail term for espionage if caught, as Israeli security services warned at the weekend they would “remove the gloves” to track him down.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, said it was treating Uri Blau, a reporter with the liberal Haaretz daily newspaper who has gone underground in London, as a “fugitive felon” and that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.
Options being considered are an extradition request to the British authorities or, if that fails, a secret operation by Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, to smuggle him back, according to Maariv, a right-wing newspaper.
It was revealed yesterday that Mr Blau’s informant, Anat Kamm, 23, a former conscript soldier who copied hundreds of classified documents during her military service, had confessed shortly after her arrest in December to doing so to expose “war crimes”. – LINK