Listening Post
Palestine: Starved of attention
Is a protest behind bars beyond the reach of news cameras or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind for the media?
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2012 10:11

The Israeli-Palestinian issue has long been a staple of the international news agenda, but the recent media concentration on the Arab Spring, together with the Palestinian trend towards non-violent forms of protest, has meant the conflict has largely fallen from the news agenda.

So much so, in fact, that when around 2,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails went on hunger strike a few months back, coverage was conspicuous by its absence.

The story swerved away from the usual news arc - there was no violence, no youths throwing stones, no suicide bombs, no dramatic confrontation with Israelis.

Al Jazeera's Flo Phillips spoke to Nour Odeh, a freelance journalist, who explained: "I think one of the misconceptions of covering the Arab Spring has been that the Palestinian story is no longer relevant to the Arab street and I think this is a big mistake because I don't think it's true. Palestinians have been peacefully resisting occupation for decades, and yet their plight didn't receive the same kind of coverage that other Arab revolts did."

Palestinians have been lectured on the merits of non-violent protest for years. But it seems reporters are not nearly as interested in covering that story. It took a long time of going without food for the prisoners' peaceful protest to make headlines.

In this feature, Listening Post looks at the complexities of the Palestinian cause and asks: Are the non-violent forms of protest that Palestinians have been urged to use, just not visual enough for the picture-hungry media?

"To conceive of a hunger strike that lasts that long ... and not to report it as major news does seem strange to me .... One would have thought both TV and the print media would seize the occasion to talk about a new phase in the conflict. But this just hasn't happened."

- Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories



Al Jazeera
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