Media watchdog calls out biased UK reporting over Israel’s war on Gaza

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Media bias over Israel's war on Gaza
Media bias over Israel's war on Gaza . . . pro-Palestinian voices and activists have been routinely denounced, misrepresented and targeted by many national media outlets, says new report. Image: Centre for Media Monitoring

Pacific Media Watch

A report by a media watchdog has revealed the United Kingdom’s media bias in covering the Hamas attack on October 7 and Israel’s five-month genocidal bombardment and ground assault in response.

“Much of the news coverage of 7 October refers to Hamas’s attacks on Southern Israel as ground zero, with guests or commentators who try and explain the 75-year-old occupation of Palestine being accused by some presenters and columnists as justifying the attacks,” the report by the Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) said.

By ignoring the context and history of the occupation of Palestine and Gaza in particular, the report said the media landscape had been “favourable to an Israeli narrative which has constantly promoted the attacks on Gaza and in the West Bank as a war between light and darkness”, reports Al Jazeera.

Titled “Media Bias Gaza 2023-24”, the report also called out treating the Israeli military as a “credible source” without subjecting it to further verification as “one of the glaring failures of journalists and media outlets”.

Cover of the Media Bias Gaza 2023-24 report
Cover of the Media Bias Gaza 2023-24 report . . . latest publication on Israel’s “favourable narrative” in the media.

Difference in the use of language has also been a regular feature of coverage, the report says, with Palestinian deaths often underplayed compared with those of Israelis.

Pro-Palestinian voices and activists have been routinely denounced, misrepresented and targeted by many national media outlets, it says.

The report adds that the right-wing media have been particularly hostile towards pro-Palestinian voices, framing them as supporters of terrorism and anti-Semites as well as being hostile to British values.

Key findings include:

  • Language use: Emotive language describes Israelis as victims of attacks 11 times more than Palestinians.
  • Framing of events: Most TV channels overwhelmingly promote “Israel’s right” to defend itself, overshadowing Palestinian rights to defend itself and other rights by a ratio of 5 to 1.
  • In broadcast TV, Israeli perspectives were referenced almost three times more than Palestinian ones.
  • In online news, it was almost twice as much.
  • Contextual framing: 76 percent of online articles frame the conflict as an “Israel-Hamas war,” while only 24 percent mention “Palestine/Palestinian,” indicating a lack of context.
  • Misrepresentation and undermining: Pro-Palestinian voices face misrepresentation and vilification by media outlets, perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
    Right-wing news channels and right-wing British publications were at the forefront of misrepresenting pro-Palestinian protesters as antisemitic, violent or pro-Hamas.

At least 30,717 people have been killed and 72,156 wounded by Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, the Palestinian Health Ministry anounced.

The death toll from malnutrition and dehydration in Gaza has risen to 18.

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