John Minto: Cruel irony in claims RNZ reports are biased in favour of Palestine


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There is cruel irony in reports that Radio New Zealand has edited foreign news reports in favour of Palestinians.

It is ironic because Radio New Zealand reporting is consistently and systematically biased against Palestinians — in large part because RNZ relies significantly on BBC reporting which is methodically dreadful.

PSNA has raised this time and again with RNZ head of news Richard Sutherland, but to no obvious effect.

Whatever tweaks may have been made to some news reports, it cannot erase the ongoing RNZ misreporting from the Middle East that comes courtesy of the BBC.

Systemic anti-Palestinian bias
RNZ wire stories typically talk about the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem when they should be reported as the occupied West Bank, occupied Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem.

“Occupied” is the status these territories have under international law and United Nations resolutions and NZ government policy and should be consistently reported as such.

BBC stories, and by default RNZ, consistently refer to Palestinians resisting occupation as Palestinian “militants” or “terrorists” or similar derogatory and dismissive descriptions.

We would not call Ukrainian teenagers throwing stones at occupying Russian soldiers as “militants” so why does RNZ think it is okay to use this term to describe Palestinian teenagers throwing stones at Israeli occupation troops?

Under international law, Palestinians have the right to resist Israel’s military occupation and should not be abused for doing so by RNZ. Palestinian resistance groups should be described as “resistance fighters” while Israeli soldiers should be described as “Israeli occupation soldiers”.

The BBC, and by default RNZ, will often give wide sympathetic coverage to Israelis killed by Palestinians but do not give similar sympathetic coverage to Palestinians killed, on a near daily basis, by the Israeli occupation.

For example, when two British Israelis were killed earlier this year they received wide sympathetic coverage on RNZ and TVNZ while the hundreds of Palestinians, including dozens of children, killed this year are simply reported as statistics.

Wide coverage is given to Israeli spokespeople in most stories with rudimentary reporting, if any, from Palestinian viewpoints.

RNZ’s consistent Eurocentric reporting from the Middle East, particularly in its uncritical use of BBC reports, is insulting to New Zealanders.

John Minto is a political activist and commentator, and spokesperson for Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa. This article is republished from The Daily Blog with the author’s permission.

Cafe Pacific Publisher
Cafe Pacific Publisher
Café Pacific's duty editor.
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