Indian Muslim Leading Newspaper, New from India, Islam, World
32 pages, Twice a month. Subscribe Now.  (RNI DELENG/2000/930; ISSN 0972-3366)

Since Jan 2000

Cartoons .  Special Reports . National  . Issues . Community News Letters to the Editor  . Matrimonials . Latest Indian Muslim Statements . Book Store ++

Subscribe Online

About Us

Online Book Store  

Jobs @ MG

Advertise on MG
Our Team
Contact Us

Muslim Matrimonials
Our Advertisers

Add to your RSS reader - Indian Muslim Islamic News online media web site

»  Lastest Indian Muslim 
Statements & 
Press Release
Web (WWW) OR  
only MG

» Tell me when the next issue comes online:






If you haven't seen the print edition,

missed it ALL

send me the print edition


Hiding Behind Inverted Commas
By M. Zeyaul Haque

Inverted commas are frequently used, misused and abused to condemn Palestinians and protect Israelis from the consequences of their deeds

M. Zeyaul HaqueSeveral English dailies carried on June 14 the news of CIA chief George Tenet's visits to the holy land (Israel-Palestine) to monitor the implementation of the suggestions of George Mitchell on the restoration of peace. The Statesman's Jerusalem correspondent Eric Silver, who is less of a journalist than an Israeli defence ministry spokesman, shows his true colours in the Jerusalem datelined report headlined "US Plan puts Sharon, Arafat to test".

Eric Silver says that Sharon has described Arafat as an unrepentant terrorist and chronic liar. However, when he says that Palestinians complain of collective punishment by Israelis for individual Palestinian offences, he makes it a point to put "collective punishment" within commas. The point here is quite clear: Silver does not distance himself from Sharon's description of Arafat as an unrepentant terrorist and chronic liar and seems to suggest that as a journalist he agrees with that description of Arafat, while he puts the Palestinian charge of collective punishment within commas, suggesting that it is an ill-founded impression from which he would like to distance himself.

This trick is being frequently employed by the media to put one of the parties at a disadvantage and create a negative image of that party. This is done both at the level of writing and editing. Interestingly, the same story the same day reported by AP did not have this mischievous slant. But trust Eric Silver to do that in each story he writes.

Quite a few journalists are under the illusion that they can befool readers with their small tricks like crafty use of inverted commas. There are still others who are under the impression that they can protect themselves from libel by calling somebody a thief or an embezzler if they take care to put the word "thief" and "embezzler" within commas. The law does not afford such sanctity to quotes. There are still others who are of the opinion that if they are saying something which they think is funny or smart, it should be put within commas. Read any good style book and you will find that this is a wrong notion.

Now, coming to reporting with anti-Palestinian slant, some may do it because they are dishonest, but most do it because of a mortal fear of being labelled as "anti-Semitic". It is a common practice with Israelis that if a journalist is frank enough to call a spade a spade, he or she would be immediately branded as anti-Semitic. However, now we have quite a few persons who would not be deterred from telling the truth, like the former BBC correspondent in Jerusalem, Paul Adams, whose write-up we discussed in the last issue of The Milli Gazette.

Last fortnight the BBC was charged with anti-Semitism once again for asking Prime Minister Ariel Sharon about his role in the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps while he was the defence minister. Sharon is now saying that he was not told by the BBC that his interview would feature in a BBC documentary on the ghastly massacres conducted by Maronite militia of Lebanon under Sharon's protection in Northern Lebanon. The BBC would show the documentary sometime in the third week of June.

Famous journalist Robert Fisk says (the Guardian) that journalists refuse to tell the truth about Israel because they fear being slandered as anti-Semites, which means they "are abetting terrible deeds in the Middle East". Now see what he has to say about Western media reporting done under the fear of "anti-Semite" label ready to be slapped on to anyone who tries to tell the truth:

"What if we had supported the aparthied regime of South Africa against the majority black population? What if we had lauded the South African white leadership as ‘hardline warriors' rather than racists? What if we had explained the shooting of 56 black protesters at Sharpeville as an understandable `security crackdown' by the South African police? And described black children shot by the police as an act of `child sacrifice' by their parents? What if we had called the `terrorist' ANC leadership to `control' their own people?"

Fisk goes on to assert, "Almost everyday that is exactly the way we are playing the Israeli-Palestinian War." The "we" here refers to the Western media personnel covering the Al Aqsa Intifadah. Fisk writes in a rueful vein: "No matter how many youths are shot dead by the Israelis, no matter how many murders -- by either side -- and no matter how bloody the reputation of the Israeli prime minister, we are reporting this conflict as if we supported the South African whites against the blacks." Even worse.

Fisk says that rarely since the Second World War has a people been so vilified as the Palestinians. "And rarely has a people been so frequently excused and placated as the Israelis. Israeli embassies are buttonholing editors around the world saying that it is not fair to call Israeli prime minister `hardline'. And the reports are falling into line."

No wonder media credibility has taken a good beating.

Subscribe Now

Get Books from India at cheap attractive ratesArabic English High Quality translation

Help Relief, Welfare, development work in India - Zakat

Read books on Indian Muslim Islamic topics only on MG bookstore !

Subscribe 2 MG print edition | Muslim Educational Loan AidContact Us | Muslim Baby Names | OutreachIndia | Suggestions | Muslim  Islamic greeting cards

Bookmark The Milli Gazette

Privacy PolicyDisclaimer  © Copyright 2000-Present  Publishers: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, India