Turkey, Middle East

Better language needed for Palestinian cause: Experts

Turks feel Israeli shells fired on Palestinians in Gaza hit our homes, says Anadolu Agency's Metin Mutanoglu

18.11.2018
Better language needed for Palestinian cause: Experts

By Ali Abo Rezeg

ISTANBUL

The language used by international media outlets on Palestine should be reworked and revamped to better help the Palestinian cause, said experts at a conference on Palestine on Saturday.

The consensus came in a panel called “Developing the Global Media Discourse on Palestine” during the two-day Palestine Addressing the World Conference held in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Professor Azzam al-Tamimi, a Palestinian writer and researcher, said: “The genuine truth should be highlighted while addressing the Palestinian cause by attributing the reasons for the conflict to its origins, which is the Zionist movement and its atrocities committed on Palestinian Land.”

He added that pro-Palestine discourse “should not highlight the importance of creating a mere Palestinian political entity or even a Palestinian state but the origin of the problem resulting in the ethnic Zionist regime.”

He said this rhetoric should be used to found “an international movement against the Zionist movement the same as the movement against the Apartheid regime originated in South Africa.”

For his part, Metin Mutanoglu, editor-in-chief and deputy director general of Anadolu Agency, said that the Palestinian cause has a large presence in Turkish media outlets and newspapers.

“As Turkish people, we felt that the Israeli shells were hitting our homes when they were fired against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” he said.

He added: “Everything that happens in Palestine has immediate effects here in Turkey, since people see the Palestinian cause as their own.”


'Successful people with rich culture'

But as for the international community’s reaction to Palestinian suffering, he said: “The Palestinian people have been suffering for more than six decades, but the international community doesn’t care, as they prefer to look after their own interests at the expense of giving a helping hand to the Palestinian people.”

To improve the international rhetoric on the Palestinian cause, he urged: “We should not only write stories on the Palestinians as oppressed and victimized people, but we have to reflect the Palestinian cause with a people who have a rich culture and rooted history,”

Farid Abu Dheir, professor of media at the West Bank’s Al-Najah University, argued that the biggest problem Palestinians face is that “our enemy is investing in media projects with a view to creating an international media network that backs their narrative.”

“We have been suffering from their hegemony over the media for decades, but nowadays we are living in the age of social media, and still we have yet to defeat the Israeli narrative,” he lamented.

He agreed with Mutanoglu that covering the Palestinian cause “should not only focus on the Palestinians as an oppressed people but also as a successful and hopeful people.”

Indonesian journalist Nour Hassan, deputy chief editor of the Republika daily, said every Israeli attack on Palestine makes headlines in the Indonesian media.

“Due to the pro-Palestine news stories Indonesian media outlets have, we see thousands of people taking part in pro-Palestine protests and demonstrations in Jakarta,” he added.

He said hundreds of languages are spoken in Indonesia, with people having at least 130 million accounts on Facebook which “should make us put more priority on digital media and the news circulated on social media platforms.”

A major conference opened in Istanbul on Saturday with a view to raising global awareness of the Palestinian cause.

Organized by the Beirut-based Palestine International Forum for Media and Communication, the conference brings together hundreds of journalists, academics, and writers from some 60 countries around the world.


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