For the truth to get out, journalists have to get in

January 7, 2009

Journalists still can’t get into Gaza. The Israeli government have banned media access to the war torn strip. The result for foreign reporters, on the 11th day of this war, is that hundreds of them sit at border points waiting to be granted access by Israeli authorities. The ban flies in the face of a Supreme Court ruling to grant access to the media. In addition, the Foreign Press Association is worried this is putting undue pressure on Palestinian reporters in Gaza,

Unlike any war in Israel’s history, in this one the government is seeking to entirely control the message and narrative for reasons both of politics and military strategy.
“This is the result of what happened in the 2006 Lebanon war against Hezbollah,” said Nachman Shai, a former army spokesman who is writing a doctoral dissertation on Israel’s public diplomacy. “Then, the media were everywhere. Their cameras and tapes picked up discussions between commanders. People talked on live television. It helped the enemy and confused and destabilized the home front. Today, Israel is trying to control the information much more closely.” link

In related news, an Iranian TV journalist was arrested in Israel on Monday for “[violating] military censorship laws which forbade the news media from releasing information during the initial stages of the ground incursion.” The ‘propaganda war’ is one reason why some people are turning to alternative sources of information, as summed up by Frontline blogger Daniel Bennett.