Watchdog slams Ma’an News Agency’s Western funders

(Jpost) — “The Netherlands and Denmark provide funding to a Palestinian news agency that glorifies terrorists, uses biased language and promotes hatred for Israel, Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of Palestinian Media Watch allege in a report obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post ahead of its official release on Friday…” Click for full article

and click here for Ma’an’s response

My experience with Ma’an News Agency has been a mixed bag. On the one hand they’re quite useful for their coverage of stories sometimes missed in the mainstream Israel news outlets such as Jpost, Haaretz, Ynet and etc. On the other hand their journalism is shrouded in the language of Palestinian violent resistance and anti-Zionism etc. Thus, I (and likely many other Western readers) usually read Ma’an for its news content using the auto-language filter that goes as follows: ‘Martyr’ = terrorist, ‘Activist’ = terrorist or violent member of Islamic Jihad, Hamas’ militant wing among others, ‘Occupied Palestine’ (in the pre-1967 borders) = Israel, and so on and so forth.

Although more the exception than the rule, sometimes Ma’an will produce content totally unworthy of serious journalism — one from last summer sticks out in my mind. As it was reported in other outlets nearly universally, on August 10, 2007 a young Palestinian man took a pistol from an Israeli security guard near the Jaffe gate in the old city of Jerusalem and attempted to flee. The Palestinian was killed in the ensuing gunfight, and 10 other bystanders were wounded. But this is how it was reported in Ma’an:

Palestinian shot dead by Israeli guard in Old City of Jerusalem

“Jerusalem – Ma’an, Date: 10 / 08 / 2007 Time: 16:29 – Israeli sources have confirmed that an Israeli guard shot dead a Palestinian in the Old City of Jerusalem just before Friday prayers.

According to Israeli sources the Palestinian had taken a gun from an Israeli guard and shot and wounded him. Another Israeli guard then gave chase and shots were exchanged, killing the man and wounding eleven others.”

From the headline and opening lead you’d think an Israeli guard decided out of the blue to shoot a young, innocent Palestinian just before his Friday prayer. And only in the second paragraph we learn that additional detail — that this came after he stole a gun off of an Israel security guard, shot him, attempted to flee and was killed in the ensuing gun battle. Details, details. I’m assuming most people do not rely on Ma’an as their principle source of Israel or Middle news regardless, and those who take such language at face value are the already convinced. Nonetheless Ma’an’s Dutch and Danish donors should use their power of the purse to induce a change in behavior so they don’t end up funding a mouthpiece for Palestinian propaganda.


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