Terwijl in de media aarzelend ook af en toe voorzichtig wordt gemeld dat Hamas journalisten niet alles liet zien en ze er bijvoorbeeld niet achter konden komen hoeveel strijders er vielen, geeft Hamas toe journalisten de Gazastrook uit te hebben gezet als ze niet doen wat Hamas wil.
Isra Al-Mudallal, head of foreign relations in the Hamas Information Ministry, admitted, in a phone interview with Mayadeen TV on August 14, that journalists who filmed the places from where missiles were launched were deported from the Gaza Strip. "The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people," she said.
Following are excerpts:
Interviewer: How did you manage to maintain contact with the foreign journalists, and how did you convey your point of view to them?
Isra Al-Mudallal: Since the beginning of the aggression against the Gaza Strip, a state of emergency was declared at the border crossings, especially at the Beit Hanoun Crossing, also known as the Erez Crossing, and journalists were allowed in without any bureaucratic procedures, except for registration to guarantee their safety.
Our problem was that [we didn't know] who was entering the Gaza Strip. Who were they? Most of them were freelancers, and the others were from news agencies.
Fewer journalists entered the Gaza Strip during this war than in the previous rounds, in 2008 and 2012. Therefore, the coverage by foreign journalists in the Gaza Strip was insignificant compared to their coverage within the Israeli occupation [i.e., Israel]. Moreover, the journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative.
So when they were conducting interviewers, or when they went on location to report, they would focus on filming the places from where missiles were launched. Thus, they were collaborating with the occupation.
These journalists were deported from the Gaza Strip. The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people. They would give them some time to change their message, one way or another.
The Israeli missiles do not distinguish between fighters, civilians, or children.
We suffered from this problem very much. Some of the journalists who entered the Gaza Strip were under security surveillance. Even under these difficult circumstances, we managed to reach them, and tell them that what they were doing was anything but professional journalism and that it was immoral.
Hamas merely had friendly "chats" with the reporters they felt were "collaborators." Nah, no threats there.
But some people seem to know better:
Nearly four weeks ago, I called the one-sided dispatches from Gaza that adhered to Hamas' published guidelines of how and what to report a scandal. Journalists tried to hide their being intimidated, and the consequences of how it affected their reporting from Gaza, for as long as they could.
Journalistic ethics has been trampled upon in Gaza, and now those lapses are being covered up. Too bad there seem to be no journalists who are willing to do an investigative report on fellow journalists.