Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Palestinians celebrate the release of mass murderers & their accomplices
Every now and again, I feel moved to send an email to Esther Enkins, editor in chief of the CBC, pointing out the CBC's bias or an error in their coverage of the Middle East. If you want to try it yourself, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's an example...
Dear Ms. Enkins:
Re “Israel set to release final batch of prisoners in swap”
and “Who gains from Israel's prisoner swap with Hamas?”
I found that the text of both these articles met CBC’s usual high standards, but with this exception: The term "prisoner swap" is grossly misleading.
Gilad Schalit was a kidnapping victim held for ransom.
The Palestinians being released are convicted criminals. Indeed many of them were convicted of multiple murders.
An ill-informed person might say, but surely it's not “kidnapping” when it's an armed conflict situation and the person held for ransom is a soldier? But it is. The Geneva Convention expressly forbids hostage taking and gives soldiers the same protection as civilians. Such kidnappings are also forbidden by the UN’s 1979 International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, which correctly refers to such acts by non-state actors as terrorism.
Of course no one expects Hamas to obey any laws, but Canadians should expect more of the CBC than to create a false equivalence between convicted criminals and a kidnapping victim.
This point is particularly important in regard to “Israel set to release final batch of prisoners in swap” which is illustrated by a work of Palestinian propaganda larger than the article itself. The image illustrates the released Palestinians as breaking free of their chains. Surely if the CBC gives such prominence to this image, you should also remind readers that these Palestinians aren't being justly liberated (as suggested by the image), but really are criminals being sprung from jail by the actions of other criminals.
Since I complained, the CBC has updated the story and improved it, removing the Palestinian propaganda photo and adding a line that reads: "The prisoners freed in the first round included dozens of militants serving life sentences for involvement in bus bombings and other deadly attacks on Israeli civilians that killed hundreds."
However, the article still inaccurately refers to a "prisoner swap," rather than accurately identifying the Palestinians as convicted criminals freed in exchange for a kidnapping victim held hostage.
And the new photo for the article shows a released Palestinian prisoner joyously reaching out to embrace well-wishers. The photo conveys the message that this is a joyous occasion. For balance, the story should include an equally large and emotional image conveying the reality of the situation; such as a photo of the terrrorists' burned and mutilated victims.
Alternatively, the photo used could just be given a more accurate caption: "Palestinians celebrate the release of mass murderers and their accomplices."