PLO Uses Violence to Suppress News

Suppressing news by threatening reporters with violence or death is one of the dirty little secrets of Middle East journalism.” so wrote Jeff Jacoby last year in The Boston (MA) Globe. And unfortunately, nothing has changed.

Several months ago CNN producer Riad Ali Ghanem was abducted by a member of the Palestine liberation Organization’s (PLO) Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. He was returned about 24 hours later. But while in captivity, he was videotaped making a statement completely uncharacteristic of his Druze Arab background. As reported by CNN, Ghanem called for the Druze not to serve in the Israeli military (his father and other family members did so) and said the Druze cause is the same as that of the Palestinians.

Most Druze, however, are extremely loyal to Israel, reject identification with the Palestinians, and willingly serve in the Israeli military.

What happened to Ghanem in captivity? He has not said. But according to journalists who dare speak up, the PLO routinely suppresses the truth and manipulates the news by threatening reporters with violence or death.

Last summer masked men in Ramallah severely beat a photographer with Agence France-Presse and broke both his arms. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility.

Wrote Jacoby, “On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans were shocked by footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets to celebrate the terrorist attacks on the United states. But those scenes disappeared from the air-waves soon after—not because they weren’t news-worthy, but because the Palestinian Authority [PA] gave orders to suppress them. “An Associated Press cameraman was summoned to a PA security office and warned not to release the material he had filmed. A top aide to Arafat told the AP’s Jerusalem bureau that if the footage were aired, ‘we cannot guarantee the life of the cameraman. Other news outlets were likewise order -ed not to use any images of the 9/11 revelry. Most of them caved, and the images dried up.”

In an article published in the Middle East Forum, Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli-Arab correspondent for The Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report, wrote, “When Arafat returned to the West Bank and Gaza from his exile, his security forces ignored pursuing terrorists and instead arrested independent journalists not loyal enough to the PLO. Over 38 journalists were forced out of their jobs or the country….The first thing Arafat did when PLO returned to the territories was to restrict freedom of speech.

He said the late Yasser Arafat had complete control over the Palestinian media. “Almost all Palestinian newspapers are financed by the PLO and serve as a mouthpiece for the organization, which is basically Arafat’s office….The lack of freedom at these papers is a big disappointment for Palestinian journalists; they were freer to write what they wanted under Israeli occupation before the PLO returned from exile.”

Toameh also said the journalists must be members of Arafat’s terror organizations in order to get work. Worse still is the fact that foreign journalists often depend on these Arafat lackeys as sources and translators. Consequently, Westerners receive decidedly slanted news, wrote Toameh.

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