Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Safe -- but where's the bunting?


by  Melanie Phillips


Good news: it appears that the BBC journalist Paul Martin, who was kidnapped by Hamas four weeks ago, has been released.


What's that – you didn't even know a BBC journalist had been kidnapped by Hamas? This isn't surprising. Virtually nothing has been written about this. And even now that Martin has been released, I can't see any domestic coverage of this at time of writing -- not even on the BBC website home page, although it does appear on the BBC World Service page. Compare and contrast with the tsunami of coverage over the previous BBC journalist who was kidnapped in Gaza, Alan Johnston, and the enormous razmatazz over his release. At NRO, Tom Gross makes this key point:


One of Hamas' aims in detaining Martin was, of course, to further deter any brave foreign journalist on assignment in Gaza who might dare report the truth about the Hamas regime.


Indeed according to the Palestinian Maan news agency (but not reported by most Western media) Hamas detained Martin because he 'sought to distort the image of Palestinians by going to tunnels, trying to prove that Hamas smuggles weapons, that we used children as human shields during the war.' In other words Martin wanted to tell the truth.


Can this really be true: a British journalist of moral and intellectual integrity who wanted to do his job properly by telling the truth about the Middle East conflict?! Golly. No wonder the British media is underwhelmingly interested in Paul Martin's fate.



Melanie Phillips

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