British media coverage of attack on Gaza biased and a disservice to the British public

20140709-132735-48455437.jpg Alkaware family mourn victims of Israeli terror via @alrayps The coverage by the British media of the current situation in Palestine / Israel has been extremely biased. I characterise it as either a lack of a Palestinian perspective or where this is presented it is ‘controlled’. I have responded to a number of requests over the past three weeks and reproduce below a couple of examples of this bias. I was asked to appear on Sky News. I asked if there would be an Israeli speaker and was told no, because they ‘had lots of Israeli speakers’ and ‘for balance’ I would appear alone. The Israeli voices were either live in the studio or appeared via a high quality video link from Israel. You would have thought they would offer a similar arrangement but they went for interviewing me via Skype. This does not provide the same quality and in my view appears less authoritative. The start of the interview was interesting as the interviewer asked me what the kidnappers (assumed Palestinian and from Hamas) were thinking. My response was ‘ how do you expect me to know what they were thinking?’. This exchange alone illustrates either a lack of professionalism or bias. The other incident occurred when I was asked to appear on the British breakfast programme on ITV, GMTV. They wanted to record a clip from a Palestinian perspective and to play it the following morning. I asked if there would be an Israeli speaker speaking live in the morning and the answer was yes. I said that I would want to appear live too. The contact said she would check with the producer and come back to me. She did and said the time allocated to the item was short so that was not possible and that they had an Israeli in the studio because ‘they responded first’. I said I would only appear live or would decline. The contact said that it was not possible for me to appear live but that if ‘I changed my mind’ the to contact her’. Much as I wanted to take the opportunity to present a Palestinian perspective, I decided not to do this. My reason was that GMTV could produce a clip that perhaps changed the context of my views. That the Israeli spokesman would respond without challenge and would be given more time. My fears were confirmed when I watched an item on Gaza on the BBC the following morning. After a report which heavily presented an Israeli perspective -focussing only on the security concerns of Israelis- but included a very short interview with Raji Sourani from Gaza, the Israeli Ambassador to London was interviewed in the studio. He had free reign to present the Israeli view and was allowed to place the blame for the current situation on the Palestinian side. I was also asked to appear on the Jeremy Vine Show and was told that the Chair of the Zionist Federation would represent the other view point and listeners would be able to phone in. As I was about to join Jeremy I was told that I would speak at the end and that the Guardian and Jewish Chronicle journalist Jonathan Freedland would be interviewed. To their credit the show played some moving interviews with the families of the cousins Mohammed and Tariq Abu Khdair. But the time left for me to contribute was cut short. What I want is an opportunity for the British people to be presented with facts and then views from both sides. They can then make their own minds up about the situation. I am troubled that the media is failing them with poor biased journalism. I do not believe that this is just an accident but institutional bias as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has documented. Updated 9/7/2014 Owen Jones in Comment is Free <a href=” Israel under renewed Hamas attack’, says the BBC. More balance is needed Updated late on9/7/2014 Please sign this open letter from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the BBC about its biased coverage of Israeli aggression on Palestine. Here

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