Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Political Operatives Pose as Journalists, Human Rights Groups

Political Operatives Pose as Journalists, Human Rights Groups

by Bassam Tawil  •  March 1, 2017 at 5:30 am
  • The same activists and organizations were silent when the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces arrested al-Qiq and harassed his family. Amnesty International neglected to mention that al-Qiq has also been targeted by PA security forces and that, in addition to his work as a newsman, he is also affiliated with Hamas. This detail, according to Amnesty, is evidently not significant.
  • When arrested, such political operatives posing as journalists -- and so-called human rights groups, and the mainstream media in the West -- get to scream about Israel assaulting freedom of the media. This dirty little game has been played by Palestinian and Western journalists and highly politicized, biased human rights groups for years.
  • The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), which is headed by Nasser Abu Baker, did not come out in support of journalist, Sami al-Sai when he was arrested (and tortured) for 20 days in the PA's notorious Jericho Central Prison. Nor did Amnesty or most human rights organizations come out in defense of al-Sai.
  • Instead of calling on the PA leadership to release their detained colleague, Abu Baker and the PJS heads issued a statement in which they justified his arrest and defended the PA against charges of torturing him.
  • Nasser Abu Baker himself is affiliated with the PA's ruling Fatah faction. Recently, the AFP correspondent even ran (and lost) in the election for Fatah's Revolutionary Council.
  • While AFP has been reporting about the detention by Israel of al-Qiq, it has conspicuously failed to report about the plight of al-Sai and his serious charges of torture in PA prison. So a journalist arrested by the PA is not worth a story in an international media outlet, while anyone arrested by Israel gets wide coverage.
  • Now it is official: double standards, racism, and political activism are an integral part of the modern media.
Nasser Abu Baker is a correspondent for Agence France-Presse and heads the Ramallah-based Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS). He is also a political operative who recently ran in (and lost) an election for Fatah's Revolutionary Council. When fellow journalist Sami al-Sai was thrown in jail for criticizing the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Facebook, Abu Baker and the PJS justified his arrest and defended the PA against charges of torturing him.
Two Palestinian journalists are arrested -- one by Israel and the other by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The name of the one arrested by Israel is Muhammad al-Qiq. The name of the one arrested by the PA security forces is Sami al-Sai.
Although he is registered as a journalist, al-Qiq was arrested for security-related offenses completely unrelated to his profession. Israel did not arrest him because of his reporting or his writing, but because of his activities on behalf of Hamas. As a student at Bir Zeit University in 2006, al-Qiq was already known to be affiliated with Hamas. He was a member of the Islamic Bloc -- a student list belonging to Hamas.


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