Saturday, October 24, 2009

How It's Done - Shafting Israel

From The Seventh Eye's Oren Persico's interview with Reporters sans Frontiers' Soazig Dollet, head of the Middle East & North Africa department:

[Dollet] says Israel's ranking fell over the last year due to the behavior of the Israeli government and media, and not due to any political agenda on behalf of RSF. "Three journalists have been jailed in Israel due to their work, even if they've been accused of espionage. We take these cases into account", Dollet remarks, referring to Atta Najeeb Farhat, an Israeli journalist writing for Syrian outlets, and reporter Khader Shaheen and producer Mohammed Sirhan, convicted of negligently relaying information to the enemy and sentenced to two months in prison, after reporting the progression of Israeli ground troops towards the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.

"Two foreign journalists have been deported from Israel", Dollet adds, referring to two Al-Jazeera journalists who were on board a ship sailing to Gaza...

Dollet sums up saying that all the circumstances add up to a drop in Israel's ranking. "One can tell this isn't a subjective approach, but basic fact", she argues.

Q: Still, when Israel is outranked by Kuwait or the UAE, it seems odd to many Israelis.

...Dollet says that the ranking of Israeli-controlled territories has dropped as well, to the 150th place, among other reasons due to repeated attacks by soldiers on journalists in the West Bank, the army shutting down a radio station in Bethlehem and confiscating equipment, killing at least two journalists during the course of their work in the Gaza war and attacking a media building as well as Hamas media outlets. "Even if Israelis regarded them military targets, they were still media outlets attacked", Dollet emphasizes.

Israel's ranking, Dollet clarifies, was determined by averaging answers to RSF questionnaries distributed to four media professionals and experts on life in Israel. Among respondents were journalist Gideon Levy and three more who asked to remain anonymous: a foreign corespondent living in Israel and two representatives of media watchdog NGOs. Dollet filled out another questionnaire herself using information collected by the organization year-round.


Q: Are four respondents enough?

A: "These are four people who know the topic up close. In other countries I recieved ten answers, and in some, just three. [Dollet repeats that further data was collected year-round and cross-checked with RSF reps]."

Q: Does the motivation behind hurting the freedom of the press matter? Does it matter that the media tower attacked contained weapons?

A: "No."

Q: "Does the charge of espionage change the ranking?"

A: "The charge matters less. What matters is that the journalist was doing his job...

There you have it.


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yoni said...

reporters sans frontiers may be sans fronteirs but they aren't sans red lines beyond which they will not step, one of these being giving israel a fair shake. screw you, dollet.