Arab Media Intimidation Continues

August 30, 2006

At a convention of international journalists in Jerusalem that largely blamed Israel for its negative coverage during the Lebanon conflict, London Times correspondent Stephen Farrell described how media intimidation works:

"I spent a day [kidnapped] with Sunni insurgents. It’s a very nasty, horrible experience and you think you’re going to die every minute. It’s a good idea for them, though, because if you want the media out of a place, intimidating the people works. It ensures journalists won’t go to places and human suffering won’t be reported."

FoxMeanwhile, after being kidnapped for 15 days, Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig are finally free. Centanni, who was held face down in a dark garage, tied up in painful positions and forced to convert to Islam, described his enduring fondness for Palestinians:

"I want to thank everybody. I am happy to be here. I hope that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind hearted. The world needs to know more about them. Don’t be discouraged." (Watch CBC video report here.)

Palestinian journalists, though, are apparently fed up with media intimidation in Gaza :

"Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip complained on Tuesday that they were being subjected to a campaign of intimidation and terror by various armed groups and urged the Palestinian Authority to punish those responsible.

Several Palestinian journalists and editors have been killed or beaten over the past few years by unidentified gunmen, especially in the Gaza Strip. Until today, none of the assailants have been caught.

At a demonstration outside the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City, dozens of journalists said that they were suffering from growing attempts to restrict their work. ‘We condemn all methods of terror and threats practiced by some irresponsible parties in Palestinian society against Palestinian newsmen,’ said one of the journalists. ‘We are facing attacks from internal and external forces.’


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