It was an Israel-committed group of several dozen who came to Chabad of Melbourne’s CBD’s luncheon with Arnold Roth. The topic was “Israel: How true to it’s principles can the news reporting industry be in a war of rockets and tunnels?” Arnold’s eloquent and informative presentation was accompanied by a tasty and beautifully presented lunch.
Arnold, who has addressed the UN and the European Parliament and has shared an Israeli perspective on leading T.V. & radio stations and newspapers around the globe, is the founder of the Malki Foundation. Established in memory of his daughter Malki, after her tragic murder in a Hamas massacre perpetrated in the heart of Jerusalem.
Arnold shared some insight into problems with your average international journalist reporting on Israel.
When Arnold and his colleagues ask university students studying journalism, “So, what have you learnt about ‘Ethics and Journalism?’ many are stumped. Others respond proudly, “We covered Plagiarism extensively.”
“That’s great, journalistic ethics to protect journalists,” Arnold observes wryly. The ethics of honest and contextually accurate reporting appears to be a glaring gap in their curriculum.
And this is not just a minor oversight; inaccurate, inflammatory reporting can be lethal. Take the example of Muhammad al-Durrah, a Gazan boy. France 2- a government financed TV station- showed one minute of footage and said that the boy was killed by IDF fire. Many terrorists over the past 12 years have justified their killings in Israel, Iraq and France as revenge for al-Durrah’s death. Problem: the raw footage records the ‘dead boy’ itching his forehead after his ‘death’.
Journalists are expected by the public to report the truth. When they don’t, their words can be deadly.
Arnold finished with a call to action. Don’t wait till you see skewed articles and then write letters to the editor. Rather, explain Israel’s narrative and defend it’s actions to neighbours, acquaintances and most importantly to editors, producers, politicians and people of influence. Let them report ethically in the first instance.
Attendees left inspired and with thanks to Rabbi Chaim Herzog, Director of Chabad of Melbourne CBD, for arranging this special event.