Media Talk: Gaza – Missiles and Messages

Talk Thursday 5th February, 2009

With the war in Gaza drawing to a close as Operation Cast Lead comes to an end and Israeli troops withdraw, we reflect on the role that the world media played as a legitimate weapon in both Hamas and Israel’s arsenal. While both sides have been intent on trying to win the media war, restricted access to international and independent journalists at the Gazan border has become a highly contentious issue, with many journalists arguing that this is a tactic used by the IDF to win the war.

In one of the most complicated and polarised conflicts in the world, we examine the media coverage of the recent war and ask it it’s ever possible to achieve balance. While each side covers its own perspective in the media and talks to its own people in the Middle East, America, Britain and beyond, who are we to believe?

Alan Fisher is Al-Jazeera’s correspondent on the Israeli-Gaza border. With more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, Alan has reported from more than forty countries around the globe, including the recent war in Georgia, the on-going fighting in Afghanistan, the battles around the Nahr El Bared refugee camp in Lebanon as well as many stories across Europe.

Jonathan Miller is Foreign Affairs Correspondent for Channel 4 News and was reporting for them from inside Gaza during the latest conflict. He has also reported for them from conflicts in Iraq, Darfur, eastern Chad, Gaza and Lebanon, as well as covering several natural disasters – the Asian Tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake and Huricane Katrina.

Harriet Sherwood is Head of international news at Guardian News and Media.

Ruthie Blum Leibowitz is features editor and columnist at the Jerusalem Post. She has a weekly column called Media Matters in which she analyses and discusses media coverage.

Lior Ben Dor is an Israeli affairs specialist.

Professor Roy Greenslade is a leading commentator and columnist on the media, and currently blogs for The Guardian. As a journalist he rose to the highest levels of management in a career taking in The Sun, the Sunday Times, and culminating in the editorship of the Daily Mirror.