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Pacific Media Watch

Pacific media commentator and Asia Pacific Report editor David Robie has criticised New Zealand media coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza, describing it as “lopsided” in favour of Tel Aviv.

He said New Zealand media was too dependent on American and British news services, which were based in two of the countries most committed to Israel and in denial of the genocide that was happening.

New Zealand media were tending to treat the conflict as “just another war” instead of the reality of a “horrendous” series of massacres with a long-lasting impact on Western credibility and commitment to a global rules-based order.

Dr Robie was interviewed on Plains FM 96.9 community radio by Earthwise hosts Lois and Martin Griffiths.

Lois asked: “What is happening to Gaza now is a nightmare, very disturbing, or should be, and yet are we, the public, in New Zealand and other countries, are we getting the true picture from journalists?”

Dr Robie replied, “No, we are getting a very sanitised version through our media, particularly in New Zealand, less so in Australia, but it’s pretty bad there . . .”

He explained the reasons for his criticism.

Praise for AJ and TRT coverage
During the half-hour interview, Dr Robie praised television coverage of the “real war” by independent news services such as the Qatar-based Al Jazeera and Turkey-based TRT World News, which have had Arabic-speaking Palestinian journalists on the ground in Gaza throughout the six-month-old war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened Al Jazeera this week with closure of the network’s operations in Israel — under the powers of a new law — because of its graphic and uncensored coverage from the besieged enclave.

Al Jazeera called Netanyahu’s attack “slanderous” and managing editor Mohamed Moawad said: “What we are doing is trying to give voice to the voiceless and try and make sure that the suffering of civilians on the ground is heard by the entire world.”

Almost 33,000 Palestinians and more than 75,000 others have been wounded as outrage grows globally following Israel’s strike and killing of aid workers in Gaza this week.

Dr Robie is the founding director of the Pacific Media Centre and is pioneering editor of Pacific Journalism Review.

Plains FM’s Earthwise talks to journalist David Robie.   Video/Audio: Plains FM

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