by Jake Wallis Simons
Monday, 15
August 2022
Behind the news
15:20

Hamas caught trying to control reporting in Gaza

The news agenda shouldn't be set by armed thugs
by Jake Wallis Simons
The Hamas misinformation programme. (Photo by Yousef Masoud/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As hostilities flared in Gaza last week between Israeli forces and terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hamas issued a draconian set of rules to local fixers working for foreign reporters. These guidelines sought to formally control the way in which the conflict was reported in the West.

Here are the key highlights:

It is totally forbidden to do stories mentioning that the reasons for martyrdom are friendly fire. It’s totally forbidden to produce a story showing that resistance factions caused the wave of escalation or holding them responsible for what happened. Instead, put the responsibility on the Occupation… It is totally forbidden to work on stories revealing the resistance capabilities. If the journalist or foreign media writes about this topic, local permissions will be halted… The local fixer is fully responsible for the reporting produced by the foreigner during their stay in Gaza or after leaving it. The local fixer has to demonstrate national spirit, defend the Palestinian narrative and reject the foreigner’s bias to the Israeli narrative… If the local fixer notices any suspicious activity or illogical questions asked by the foreigner, away from the framework of the journalistic work, he must inform us immediately to deal with the issue.
- Hamas

After a backlash, Hamas realised that it had allowed its mask to slip. To contain a burgeoning public relations disaster, it withdrew the guidelines. But fixers were left in no doubt about Hamas’s position, and the consequences that lay in store for those not following the rules. After all, the terror group was simply expanding and codifying restrictions that had, by and large, been in place for years.

Think back to all the reporting you have seen of fighting between Israel and terror groups in Gaza. Do you recall any footage or pictures of dead Palestinian militants? Of terror infrastructure destroyed? Of rockets being fired from civilian areas, using them as human shields?

Almost never. In fact, the vast majority of material coming out of Gaza — the dead children, the weeping mothers, the bombed-out schools — gives the impression that only civilians have been killed, lending credence to the false notion that Israel is bent on some kind of “genocide” rather than targeting those who wish to murder its own civilians. This is because Western reporters are kept on a tight leash via their fixers, only allowed to report on scenes that support Hamas’ narrative.

In 2014, Indian journalists happened to film a rocket being launched by Hamas militants next to their hotel. It was a densely-populated civilian area, when other locations were available. When it emerged, the footage caused a sensation; but the journalists had delayed its release due to “fear of reprisals from Hamas against us and those who worked with us”. That was eight years ago.

It boils down to this. Hamas has been controlling the journalism that comes out of Gaza for years. Instead of taking a stand, too many Western media outlets have shamefully been content with their roles as mouthpieces of the terror group. Do they stand by their past reporting? And will they continue to allow their news agenda to be dictated by armed thugs? Surely audiences deserve better than this.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago

Thank you for exposing this.
I thought it was just journalists expressing their bias (which all sides have, I guess) But it seems also that they are afraid to speak truth to power.

Heather Hardnett
Heather Hardnett
1 month ago

GOOD

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago

I guess people are biased in favor of their own safety. Fear does make cowards of us all.

Jitwar Singh
Jitwar Singh
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Whilst I agree with that, aren’t journalist’s there to report exactly what is going on, without ‘fear, nor favour’?

Last edited 1 month ago by Jitwar Singh
jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  Jitwar Singh

Not know. Those days are gone. Those journalists are gone.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago

Antifa did the same in Portland in 2020 during the George Floyd riots. Nancy Rommelman wrote several great stories on their military tactics. This is another reason to distrust the mainstream media.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago

I expect they’ve noticed how our MSM now carefully edit the world for us and they’ve decided to join in.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 month ago

Audiences (I dislike the term, it may be a pantomime, but it is serious and should be treated as such) do deserve better, but, they will not get it.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 month ago

“The news agenda shouldn’t be set by armed thugs”

It should only be set by Silicon Valley thugs!

B Stern
B Stern
1 month ago

It’s not just Hamas. Every man woman and child in Gaza and in all the states ruled by terrorists knows the rules. No piece of paper with rules on it is required.
1) It’s Israel’s fault.
2) Any questions see rule 1.
They’re at war with IL. They want to destroy IL. Lying to journalists is a minor sin compared to their firing rockets into civilian areas.
There’s an old story, probably apocryphal. Arafat was asked by a journalist if he would lie for his cause. He responded “I would kill for my cause. Of course I would lie for it.”
Nothing has changed.

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
1 month ago

Hamas may be thugs, but so are the Israelis. I would like to see more Unherd contributors acknowledge this.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 month ago

So, you only want your ‘truth’ to be diseminated? Most people of this parish would like to see arguments from all sides so we can make up our own minds.

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
1 month ago

And it goes without saying that the MSM in the West are. COMPLETELY controlled by Israel. For pro-Israel folks to complain about Hamas controlling information in the “largest open air prison in the world” (i.e. Gaza, for the uninitiated), made a prison by ISRAEL, is ludicrous, a cruel joke. Israel wouldn’t get the billions of American dollars it extorts from the uninformed US taxpayer if the truth about Israel’s brutal domination were published. So, all the whining and complaining about Hamas, an organization that ISRAEL founded, are just that, more complaining by experts at complaining. It’s like a man being bitten by a malarial mosquito complaining that his food’s too cold.

Tiffany Chaffman
Tiffany Chaffman
1 month ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

Hi Romi, I encourage you to go have a look at Prager U’s video titled “Israelis or Palestinains: Who’s More Tolerant?” Please.

Lewis Lorton
Lewis Lorton
1 month ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

Actually, this is the typical trope, that the MSM is controlled by Israel. Bothe the NYT and the WashPost are routinely super critical of Israel while essentially ignoring similar/worse situations elsewhere in the world.
Israel DID NOT found Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Moslem Brotherhood. In a fit of bad judgement, Israel ignored the growth and proliferation. of Hamas in the hopes it would be less unpleasant than the PLO. That was a very bad decision for which Israel has been paying since. -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Hamas#1987_%E2%80%93_The_founding_of_Hamas
And the 3 or 4 billion that Israel gets (which is must spend with American business) is the same as that Egypt and Jordan get. While Israel is the US’s best and most important ally in the ME, Egypt and Jordan are merely passive ‘allies.’
Israel shares intelligence with the US, information that would cost the US infinitely more to get on its own. Israel develops important strategic weapons that keeps the US competitive.
https://www.google.com/search?q=why+does+israel+get+money+from+us&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS836US836&oq=why+does+israel+get+money+from+us&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160j33i22i29i30.8500j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Last edited 1 month ago by llorton
Lewis Lorton
Lewis Lorton
1 month ago

Either you are totally ignorant of the history of the ME conflict, as many are, or you choose to ignore the facts as they exist.
If you want to debate, I suggest you start reading here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_conflict) and its attached links. Also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip
Then consider that, for the last 60 or 70 years) your neighbor has pledged to kill you, tried to kill you and refused any attempts to establish a lasting peace, how would you act?