'Western media not objective in Israeli-Palestinian conflict' British journalist says weapons cannot establish peace -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Western media not objective in Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ British journalist says weapons cannot establish peace

Ghulam Dastageer

PESHAWAR: Veteran British journalist and writer of international repute, Robert Fisk Saturday said that most of the Western media have failed to maintain objectivity while reporting Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Many Western papers don’t write the truth about the conflicts in the Middle East,” the 63-year old Beirut-based correspondent for daily The Independent observed during a discussion with local journalists at the Peshawar Press Club here.

“Palestine is an occupied territory, but the Western media refers to it as disputed territory. The wall that Israel built to keep the Palestinians out is mentioned as a ‘fence’ while the ‘colonies’ that the Israelis have been building in Palestinian territory are played down as ‘settlements’; this isn’t objective journalism,” he opined.

Responding to a query, he said objective journalists do exist in the Western media, adding that all of them shouldn’t be lumped together as biased. He felt the media in Islamic countries also had its shortcomings due to self-censorship and pressure from the powers that be.

Recalling an interactive session where he spoke in Dublin, he said that one of the participants dubbed Muslims as a threat to the West. He remembered answering him that Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian soldiers weren’t deployed or occupying any Western country, but the armies from the West were in occupation of Muslim countries.

He said that the US-led West wanted to establish democracy in the Muslim world through the use of their tanks, Apache helicopters and other lethal weapons.

“I said the Muslim world needs qualified doctors and engineers from Western nation to assist it in achieving development and prosperity,” he said.

Recalling his conversation with a baker in Iraq, he said this common man asked him as to why the Western armies were in every Islamic country ranging from Iraq to Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to Kyrgyzstan to Bosnia. “I had no answer to his question,” he said.

He said at times common Muslims turned hostile towards Western journalists, adding that once in Qilla Abdullah in Balochistan, he was thrashed by Afghan refugees. “In fact, they had recently lost their dear ones in bombing by US B-52 bombers in Afghanistan and their reaction to a white man wasn’t surprising,” Robert Fisk explained. “I was beaten up by Muslims but then an Afghan cleric saved me at Qilla Abdullah. You cannot stop people from turning to violence if they are harmed,” he argued.

Mr Fisk, presently on a reporting assignment to Pakistan, conceded that he was biased in support of people who have been wronged and suppressed.

Earlier, Khyber Union of Journalists President Syed Bukhar Shah welcomed the well-known journalist at the Peshawar Press Club. Resident editor of The News, Rahimullah Yusufzai, introduced Robert Fisk to the sizeable gathering of local journalists.
Source: The News
Date:3/21/2010