Journalists urge unified media strategy for Palestine
Hundreds of journalists, academics and writers gathered in Istanbul to raise world awareness of Palestinian cause
By Ali Abo Rezeg
Journalists from several world countries have called for concerted efforts to clear misconceptions about the Palestinian cause and defend Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation.
“As a journalist, one of my duties is to serve and defend the Palestinian cause,” Martin Lejeune, a German journalist, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
He said Israeli occupation authorities are seeking to distort the real causes of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Defending the Palestinian cause by an ordinary journalist can be achieved by doing accurate journalism and by telling the truth,” he said.
“There is no time to lose for doing an accurate coverage regarding Palestine; people are dying every day and suffer because of the Israeli occupation,” Lejeune lamented.
Giving an example about the distorted facts while covering the Palestinian issue, Lejeune cited the use of the term “border” while covering Palestinian protests in Gaza against the decades-long Israeli occupation.
“The world media used the term border while covering the weekly protests in Gaza, but in fact, there is no border; there are only security fences and checkpoints established by the [Israeli] occupation forces,” he said.
Since late March, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire during anti-occupation protests near Gaza's security fence with Israel.
“The Nakba is ongoing and there is ongoing popular struggle to resist the Nakba,” Lejeune said, using the term used by the Palestinians to describe the creation of Israel on the rubble of Palestine in 1948.
The German journalist was among hundreds of journalists, academics and writers from some 60 countries around the world, who gathered in Istanbul on Saturday for a major conference on the Palestinian cause.
Organized by the Beirut-based Palestine International Forum for Media and Communication, the two-day meeting aimed to raise global awareness of the Palestinian cause.
Lejeune said his participation in the conference aimed “to improve my journalistic skills regarding the pro-Palestine news coverage”.
Farrah Adeeba Asyraf, a Malaysian journalist, called for collective efforts to raise awareness of the Palestinian issue in various media outlets.
“We need a unified effort to strategize a plan, identify the weaknesses…and work in a way that is relevant, especially on social media,” she said.
Asyraf said people don’t watch mainstream media much now.
“People are always focused with their headphones,” she said. “There is a big opportunity to defend the Palestinian cause via digital media platforms,” the Malaysian journalist said.
“We are always on our smartphones. I believe it is the most fundamental method of disseminating information now.”
Sudanese producer and researcher Mohmmed Sheik Idrees underlined the significance of the digital media in disseminating the true information about the root causes of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Digital media platforms have become the greatest method in creating the people’s awareness,” he told Anadolu Agency. “We have to utilize this method with a view to defending the Palestinian cause and its people.”
He cited that the Istanbul conference on Palestine and similar events help “convey the voice of truth stemmed from the justice of the Palestinian cause and prove its nature as a main concern for humanity as a whole”.
-Database for Palestine
Brazilian journalist Fabio Jose Bosco said he participated in the Istanbul conference “to build a strategy to defend the Palestinian cause through a developed media discourse”.
“We know that media plays a great role and we gathered here from different countries to share knowledge and experiences,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Bosco said he will return to Brazil “with a better knowledge on the Palestinian cause”.
“I told organizers of the Istanbul conference that such meetings should be held in different parts of the world,” he said.
“Definitely, Palestine is not the cause of the Palestinians or Arabs only, it is a humanitarian cause,” he stressed.
Italian filmmaker Monica Maurer said she took part in the pro-Palestine conference to share her experience with other young filmmakers from Palestine and other countries.
“I have an experience in showing and recuperating the Palestinian films and to give a helping hand in creating a Palestinian national archive,” she said.
Maurer made eight films about the Palestinian cause, six of them were produced for the Palestinian Cinema Institute.
“There are many scattered initiatives regarding Palestine. All these should come together as a first big database for Palestine,” the Italian filmmaker said.
“There was a strategy to cut off the Palestinians from their roots and this is why it is very important to recuperate the Palestinian collective memory,” she said.
“The big claim is to unify our efforts towards Palestine.”