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Thursday, August 21, 2014

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The media’s resonsibilities

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Some weeks ago, the Globe and Mail published an extensive feature story by Patrick Martin about Hamas.

 Provocatively titled Inside Hamas, it now appears on the paper’s website as part of a multimedia series of interviews and additional feature pieces. The scope and breadth of the Globe’s web series is indeed impressive. It brings a wide swath of points of view to bear on the question that underlines the series, namely, who and what is Hamas?

In advertising the series in the pages of its print edition, the paper offers its readers a chance to talk to Hamas. The Globe “asked readers to pose question for Hamas.”  

“The best [questions] were selected,” the paper points out, “and posed to senior Hamas official Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ prime minister for the Gaza Strip”.

Some of the questions of course, are cries of the heart from people troubled by Hamas. Some are sycophantic by people supportive of them. Not surprisingly however, all of Yousef’s answers are self-serving, false, crude and base propaganda.

When asked why Hamas does not allow the Red Cross to visit Gilad Schalit, Yousef answered that “Hamas cannot allow the Red Cross to have access to Gilad Schalit due to the compromising position this would put the Red Cross in. Knowledge of his whereabouts could compromise the position of a valued international organization in the Gaza Strip.”

His answer is patent, nonsensical rubbish. The truth is that Hamas has not the slightest interest whatsoever in allowing the Red Cross to fulfill its humanitarian mission – which includes visiting prisoners or captive soldiers – regarding the Israeli soldier whom they kidnapped nearly five years ago.

When asked about the Hamas charter, Yousef answers “The covenant does not advocate the murder of Jews, but for the Palestinians to defend themselves against the continuing occupation.”

His answer is brazenly untrue. This is what appears on the subject in Article 7 of Hamas’ charter, from the organization’s website. “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

The foundational documents of Hamas and its resulting behaviour place beyond doubt that it is a terrorist organization – and officially considered as such by the Canadian government – that advocates genocide of the Jews and politicide of the Jewish state.

It is clear that through its series on Hamas, the Globe and Mail has tried to advance the vexing discussion on Middle East peace. But we must ask ourselves are there not also any overriding responsibilities on the news media? In the interests of free speech, full and honest exchange of information, and truth, at what point does a newspaper stop serving democracy, humanity and the pursuit of peace and instead simply slide into being a mouthpiece for propagators of hatred, intolerance and genocide?

 

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