The Walkley Judges are clearly untroubled by the need for accuracy, context and balanced reporting given their decision to bestow awards on Fairfax’s Ruth Pollard and News Corps’ John Lyons and the team at Four Corners.
The “reporters” had a narrative to sell and any facts that got in the way of that narrative were conveniently ignored.
Pollard’s award was for her piece from the morgue of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza. She and the judges have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the bunker underneath the hospital utilised by Hamas as its headquarters (a clear war crime). The very same hospital whose carpark was being used as a launching pad for Hamas rockets being fired into Israel and whose corridors were full of armed Hamas terrorists. Terrorists who dictated the photos that could be taken and the stories told so as to hide the fact that many of the wounded and killed were in fact terrorists who were engaged in heavy combat with Israeli troops.
Pollard monumentally failed to report other facts such as the blatant use of UN facilities to store weapons and the deliberate diversion of Israeli humanitarian aid in the form of concrete and building supplies destined for schools and hospitals to building tunnels whose sole purpose was to facilitate attacks against Israeli civilians. Her colleagues from Finland managed to film and report on the use of Shifa Hospital as a military base and others from India and Italy had the courage to report on Hamas interference in the news gathering and reporting of the conflict from Gaza but not Pollard. She has failed to set the record straight even when she has had numerous opportunities to do so since she returned to her home in Jerusalem.
Lyons and Four Corners award for the reporting on “children” in the West Bank was similarly flawed as Lyons continues his one eyed campaign against Israel. The fundamental premise of the report is the use of differential systems of justice for Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank. That is a fact however it is a fact that is NOT dictated by Israeli policy but by international Law that prevents Israel from applying its civilian authority to the disputed territories. Lyons also chooses to ignore the fact that many of these so called “children” are in fact youths in their mid to late teens who voluntarily participate in hostile action against Israelis including stone throwing and petrol bombing which has injured, maimed and killed many.
Pollard, Lyons and their fellow travelers have ceased to be reliable observers reporting the news and instead have wittingly became a tool for propaganda. They deserve the opprobrium of those of their colleagues who adhere to the ethics of journalism not the congratulations of what used to be regarded as a prestigious body such as the Walkley panel.
The war in Gaza was tragic for both Israelis and Palestinians. All the more so when journalists were complicit in reporting distorted story. Shame on Pollard, Lyons, The ABC, Fairfax and the Walkley judges.
For more information contact:
Jane Rapke – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544