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Listening Post

The information war over Gaza

What is the role of social media in the Israeli-Palestinian battle for hearts, minds and political support?

Last updated: 16 Aug 2014 11:07
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The war in Gaza is not limited to ground operations. There is a battle in the media too, where myths and propaganda are distorting the already conflicting and highly contentious narratives. Since Israel's bombardment began on July 8, its government's PR machine has worked hard to paint the picture of a country under existential threat, defending itself from a terrorist organisation.

And while Gaza's civilian death toll grew and international audiences became increasingly outraged, the pro-Israel camp accused the international media of directing too much attention to Palestinian suffering and underreporting the missiles fired by Hamas.

But if social media is anything to go by, the efforts of Israel and its supporters to manage the message have been far from successful. More than ever before, mainstream media outlets have been responsive to the instant reporting from the ground in Gaza that has provided a new, more nuanced narrative for one of the oldest conflicts in the world today.

Talking us through the information war over Gaza are: Rula Jebreal, a journalist and author; Yousef Munayyer, the director of the Palestine Center in Washington, DC; Philip Weiss, tjhe co-editor of Mondoweiss; and Lahav Harkov, the Knesset reporter for The Jerusalem Post.

In this week's feature report, Listening Post's Will Yong asks what it means for Gazan journalists to cover the war that is being fought outside their own front doors, focusing on the only Gazan reporting for an Israeli audience, and interviewing the editor of an Israeli newspaper who sees his job as telling Israel's side of the story.

In other media news this week: Britain's Guardian newspaper comes under fire for publishing an advertisement accusing Hamas of using children as human shields; Bangladesh passes a media law that has already seen two opposition channels taken off air; and the New York Times consents to use the word 'torture' to describe some of the harsh US interrogation techniques following the 9/11 attacks.

Finally, our Web Video of the Week is an invitation to "Enter Pyongyang". The video, which was produced by branding expert JT Singh and videographer Rob Whitworth, introduces the international public to a brighter, digitally-enhanced vision of the city behind the "bamboo curtain".

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Click here for more Listening Post.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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