Israelis, Palestinians Discuss "Media and Human Rights"

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ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS DISCUSS "MEDIA AND HUMAN RIGHTS"

As part of the Basic Trust Film Festival a panel came together in Ramallah on Feb. 8 to discuss "Media and Human Rights." Daoud Kuttab, director of the institute, television producer and columnist, opened the talk with his remarks that "people expect too much from the media, thinking they have the magic solution for all problems," and that while the media do wield a considerable degree of power in world events, undemocratic leaders will "go ahead and do whatever they do, anyway."

He then introduced the panelists: Amira Hass, West Bank correspondent for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz; Bill Orme, Jr., New York Times special correspondent in the Middle East and former director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; and Dr. Said Zeedani, professor of philosophy and dean of students at Al Quds University. Dr. Zeedani also holds the UNESCO Chair for Freedom of Expression.

Hass, the only Israeli journalist living in the West Bank, agreed with Kuttab. After citing several examples in which media coverage of an event or issue did result in positive action, she pointed out that her main "obsession, the tragedy of closure, was largely ignored, in spite of her writing about it.

She said that the Israeli policy of "dissecting the Palestinian society into enclaves" was clever. While 2.5 million people suffer from this tight restriction of movement, the policy has a way of isolating people so that they feel alone in their plight. …