Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Jpost's Bret Stephens describes a symposium of foreign correspondents that happened here two weeks back.

I was there myself and took a lot of notes that I should try to write up later. Eric Silver of the Independent was a subdued and reasonable moderator, though the questions that he tossed to Nabil Khatib of Saudi MBC television were softballs, and Silver kept making annoying transitions that seemed to equate Israeli settlers with the Hamas, Yigal Amir with Osama Bin Laden etc. Stephens and Khatib were mostly cautious and defensive, so it was France 2's Charles Enderlin and Amira Hass of Haaretz who did most of the talking.

I was quite fascinated by what Hass had to say: she is very sincere and sees her role as giving a voice to the oppressed rather than the pursuit of an ideal of objectivity. Enderlin, in contrast, was pompous and is certain that "the real story" these days is the Palestinian humanitarian crisis, and that if the Israeli media's evaluation is different it's "censorship". Enderlin let it slip that he considers Palestinian threats to murder Israeli journalists a mere tactical error. Enderlin also mentioned that he advised Italian photographer Raffaele Ciriello that it was dangerous to enter the square in Ramallah where he was shot by the IDF a short time later.

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