If you thought I was kidding about Hamas intimidation of journalists in Gaza, here’s an unusually blunt statement from the Foreign Press Association, representing correspondents–both local and foreign–who work for overseas news outlets in Israel and the Palestinian areas:
The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.
The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.
In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.
We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA.
Yes, FPA, media can and are prevented from reporting by threats and intimidation. I understand why you need to sound defiant (I was on the FPA board for more than 10 years), but this is a main reason why you aren’t seeing the whole story in Gaza. Excusing their coverage, news outlets are saying, gee, we didn’t see anything, they just disappear…understandable, but how is it that in every other conflict, we see the combatants every day? This FPA statement comes along after many of the foreign correspondents have left Gaza, also understandable, but their stringers are still there and still subject to Hamas intimidation.
We see pictures of women, but not Hamas