A new video from Public Diplomacy Ministry “could endanger reporters in Israel,” the Foreign Press Association said in a letter to the ministry on Thursday.
The video released by the Public Diplomacy Ministry, in coordination with the Government’s Press Office (GPO), accused some of the largest and most respect media in the world, such as CNN, New York Times and BBC, of spreading “fake” news about Israel.
In the video, Lital Shemesh, an anchor on the pro-Netanyahu Channel 14, is asking people of “being critical when consuming information from international media outlets.”
In the “guide” on how to “read the news”, Shemesh highlights a CNN headline from a terror attack in 2014, which says: “Four Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem,” and goes on to explain why this isn’t trustworthy
“You’d think a bunch of innocent people died for some mysterious reason. The network later apologised for the incorrect reporting but the damage was done.”
Shemesh also singles out CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour after she referred to the terror attack that killed three members of the Dee family in the West Bank as a “shootout.”
Again, despite Amanpour later apologising for the incorrect description of the attack, Shemesh says: “The damage is done…. This is not journalism. This problem must be exposed.’
Shemesh is accusing international media of concealing the identity of Palestinian terrorists, saying: “Sometimes you can’t even guess the identity of the terrorists, because it seems like inanimate objects do the killing for them. Guns, cars, and flying rockets out of nowhere. There is no identity for the actual murderer.”
“If you want to know what’s really going on, follow the online accounts of the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy. Share the truth, let’s fight the fake,” Shemesh concludes in the video.
The Foreign Press Association sent a strongly worded letter to Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distal Atbaryan, saying: “The term ‘fake’ to describe the press is often used by less-than-democratic governments around the world,” adding that this kind of language “undermines the values of democracy and a free press.”
The association also said it was “deeply concerned about the GPO, which facilitates our work in Israel, playing a role in this video,” while calling on the ministry to remove the video from social media.
Atbaryan responded to the letter, saying: “The video won’t be taken down, and my war for the truth has only just begun. Israel is a democratic nation that maintains freedom of expression and opinion, but as public diplomacy minister I won’t allow biased coverage in our backyard without a response.”
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