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March 01, 2007

Ma'an Flounders Explaining Sanitized Reports

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency put up a spirited but hopeless effort to respond to Palestinian Media Watch's analysis documenting that the agency's English reports are a sanitized version of the incitement-filled Arabic reports.

Ma'an writes:

Ma'an's editor-in-chief, Nasser Al-Lahham responded to the Israeli accusations by saying that several Israeli journalists object to Ma'an, especially the English version which has begun to spread across the world. [CAMERA asks: What does this explain?] He ascribed the reason for the difference between the Arabic and the English versions to being merely professional rather than political. [How so?] There is a difference between editing English and Arabic news [like what?], he said, and there is no connection to any wish to conceal any secrets from the Danish and Dutch donors. He also added that the assumption that the donors monitor the English version and neglect the Arabic site is "stupid", since the Danish and Dutch embassies possess the ability to read Arabic-language media. . . .

When Ma'an was established at the beginning of 2005, Ma'an News Agency hosted media experts from all over the world, including Israel, in order to discuss the terminology. Among the guests were the Israeli journalists, Miron Ropot and Zvika Yehezkely, along with dozens of media professors from Britain, Iran, Europe and the United States. All agreed that each language has its own terminology and special meanings, and that Ma'an will not stop using terms such as "martyr", "resistance" and equivalent terms, in Arabic.

Apparently, Ma'an can't get its story straight. It then makes the contradictory statement:

Philippa N., chief English editor, said: "We have never tried to hide the fact that we cater to a different audience and therefore need to employ a different language. The most important thing for us is to deliver the facts and to portray the full extent of the harsh reality of life for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, without causing incitement. The coverage is more important than the language. In regards to our choice of terminology, we aim to stick as close as possible to UN-accepted terms, while maintaining our Palestinian perspective."

The U.N. doesn't exactly have a friendly track record when it comes to Israel, but at last check the international body does not yet emply the term "martyr" when referring to Palestinian suicide bombers who blow themselves up among Israeli civilians.

And, of course, in Ma'an's "Palestinian perspective," the southern Israeli town of Eilat, which is fully recognized by the international community as part of Israel, and which has nothing to do with the West Bank or Gaza, is "located in the south of occupied Palestine."

And that, folks, is delivering the facts without causing incitement according to the "Palestinian perspective."

Posted by TS at March 1, 2007 06:56 AM


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