Thursday, February 12, 2009

Media on Gaza: Not enough, not enough, not enough

Not long ago, I went to an event here in London at the Frontline Club on the media's experience 'covering' the conflict in Gaza. The event, aptly titled 'Media Talk: Gaza - Missiles and Messages', brought in a number of media experts to discuss not so much the politics of the event, but the media's experience in attempting to get 'in' the thick of things. Representatives from the Guardian, Jerusalem Post, Channel 4, and Al-Jazeera were more or less allied with or pitted against an Israeli affairs specialist.

I won't go into detail about most of the conversation as it will soon be uploaded on the Frontline website, but one thing I did notice (and, subsequently asked a question relating to), was that despite the complaints from the media about restricted access to Gaza, there seemed to be little done in terms of outreach to the respective Israeli or Palestinian communities, to the potential (or already) citizen journalists. 

Not to risk careless comparison to the respective political situations or the oversimplification of the specific nature of the conflicts themselves, but when the monks began protesting and the Junta effectively shut off all electronic or tele-communication with the rest of the world, there was what almost felt like a mass movement from major newspapers and media outlets requesting that those inside Myanmar should do whatever possible to upload photos via cell phone (as an example) so that the outside world would have some idea of what's going on. Where was this in Gaza? If the media (at least from the side attempting to enter through Israel) keeps saying: not enough access, not enough support, not enough access, not enough support--then why was there virtually no outreach to the inhabitants of Gaza? I wonder if any of our readers can speak to this.

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