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War on Gaza: British media giving 'cover' for Israel to kill Palestinian journalists

Palestinian journalists accuse British media of failing to properly report on the mass deaths of their colleages in Gaza
Palestinian journalists use their phones in an attempt to connect to the internet in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip, 27 December 2023 (AFP/Said Khatib)

Palestinian journalists and activists have accused British media outlets of giving "cover" to Israel to kill unprecedented numbers of their colleagues in Gaza.

Media monitoring organisations say that the number of journalists killed in Gaza - estimated by the Committee to Protect Journalists to be 83 but possibly considerably higher - is unlike any previous conflict, with the death rate dwarfing the likes of wars in Vietnam, Yugoslavia and Ukraine.

Ahmed Alnaouq, a Gazan journalist and co-founder of the We Are Not Numbers campaign organisation, told an audience in the British House of Commons on Monday that many British journalists were guilty of failing to properly report on the scale of the deaths.

"The BBC knows that they are biased, nonetheless they continue to do their biased coverage… why is the western media biased against the Palestinian people?" he asked.

"Our problem is not only with the Israeli army, our problem is with the western media that always gives the Israeli army cover to kill Palestinians."

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He hit out at a number of common practices in British media, including the use of the passive voice when reporting on the deaths of Palestinians.

Alnaouq pointed to one of his own appearances on British TV, being interviewed on ITV's Good Morning Britain, where he said he was subjected to questions aimed at "embarrassing" him.

His appearence sparked off an outcry after host Richard Madeley asked Alnaouq if he was "close" to his family members, shortly after he'd explained how dozens of them were killed an Israeli bombardment.

"I thought ‘finally the British media cares about the Palestinians’," he told the meeting on Monday, about initially being originally invited.

"But I was mistaken."

'One journalist every day killed'

In December, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) filed a second complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes against journalists in Gaza since 7 October.

The complaint specifically addressed the deaths of seven Palestinian journalists over the eight weeks leading up to 15 December.

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According to the RSF, there is substantial evidence suggesting that the journalists mentioned in their complaint were subject to attacks that could be classified as war crimes and that there is a possibility that these journalists were specifically targeted due to their professional roles.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, another Gaza journalist Mohammed Almadhoun - now a correspondent for Al Jazeera - said that the scale of deaths of journalists in the enclave made it hard for him to believe they were anything other than targeted killings.

"It's worse now in Gaza than it has ever been before… we are talking about almost one journalist every day killed in Gaza," he said.

"Rarely have journalists paid such a heavy price just for doing their jobs - impunity is a green light for Israel to keep on targeting journalists."

Almadhoun, who left Gaza in 2014, said they had lost colleagues in "each and every war since 2009".

"Not holding Israel accountable over the last decade enabled Israel to do what it’s doing now," he said.

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