For weeks now we’ve seen the headlines and read the stories:
Media protest Israel's Gaza press ban (McClatchy, Nov. 19)On Dec. 29 the Foreign Press Association in Israel released a public letter which follows in full:
Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza (NY Times, Jan. 6)
In an unprecedented restriction of press freedom The Gaza Strip has been closed to the foreign press.
As a result the world’s media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time.
Despite our protests the Israelis authorities have refused to let journalists in.
Our organization has over 400 members representing the world’s leading newspapers, tv and radio stations. It has been defending the interests of press freedom in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for over 50 years.
Never before have journalists been prevented from doing their work in this way. We believe it is vital that journalists be allowed to find out for themselves what is going on in Gaza.
Israel controls access to Gaza.
Israel must allow professional journalists access to this important story.
The Foreign Press Association in Israel
December 29th, 2008.
Top executives of many of the world's largest news organizations including the BBC, Reuters, and the NY Times have sent a protest letter(scroll down)to Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Major news organizations are saying it loud and long: The Jews are denying the press access to Gaza so we can't cover this vital story.
But wait a minute. Gaza has a border with Egypt.
And this Jan. 11 report by IRIN, a self-described “UN humanitarian news and information service,” says the Egyptian controlled border crossing at Rafah is open 3 hours every day.
So why isn’t the foreign press entering Gaza via Egypt?
The lengthy Jan. 6 NYT story I linked to above complains about Israel closing the border. But it says nothing about crossing access from Egypt.
That silence is typical of almost all MSM stories I’ve read reporting on news organizations' difficulties gaining access to Gaza.
However, in the fifth paragraph of a Dec. 30 Guardian story reporting on Israel’s actions I did find one sentence concerning Egypt and press access to Gaza:
Egypt has largely kept its one crossing into Gaza, at Rafah, closed except for in rare medical emergencies, and it too does not allow journalists to cross.Questions:
Why do major news organizations like the BBC, Reuters and the NYT say so little about the Egyptians denying them access to Gaza?
Why, in almost all their stories, do they blame only the Jews for restricting foreign press access to Gaza?