ALI KAZAK. Hong Kong and Gaza: media dance to different tune

Compare the ABC’s and SBS’s coverage of the pro-democracy marches in Hong Kong and the “Marches of Return” in Gaza.

Gazans have been marching every Friday for the last 80 weeks since 30 March 2018, for the lifting of  a 13-year Israeli siege which has turned Gaza into a concentration camp, and for the right of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian refugees to return back to their towns and properties stolen from them in 1948.In Hong Kong, pro-democracy citizens have been marching for the last 21 weeks against the introduction of the “Fugitive Offenders amendment bill” and democracy.

In Gaza, Israeli troops have killed during this period 214 demonstrators including 46 children, 2 woman, 9 disabled, 2 journalists and 4 paramedics, and wounded 18,764 according to Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights.

While in Hong Kong, about 2000 have reportedly been injured and not one death recorded, even though the protests have been much more violent than the ones in Gaza in terms of the disruption to public life and commerce, setting fires, hurling petrol bombs, attacking and  injuring a large number of police, attacking banks, shops and public facilities, blocking roads, shutting down and destroying the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system and the international airport.

The ABC and SBS in particular, and the media in general, are defending and supporting the demands of Hong Kong protesters and we are bombarded by radio and television news bulletins and current affairs programs’ with extensive coverage of the marches, interviews with demonstrators, pro-demonstrators commentators and politicians who were questioned on their stand and asked what action they are going to take against China.

When a demonstrator was wounded in the chest and another in the eye an uproar broke out. We were given the names of the wounded, their age and every personal detail.

On the other hand, and in spite of enormous Israeli crimes which amount to war crimes, the ABC and SBS have hardly covered the Palestinian marchers’ just demands for freedom and the right of return, let alone interviewed politicians on their stand and asked what actions they are going to take against Israel violations and crime.

Occasionally when they do, the report is covered from behind Israeli troops, careful terminology measured to free Israel from any responsibility of its crimes, Israel’s allegations are always reported as facts, Israelis or pro-Israelis are interviewed and hardly Palestinians.

The contrasting coverage of the marches in Palestine and Hong Kong reveal the pro-Israeli and anti-Chinese coverage of the ABC and SBS, the unwritten guidelines they have to adhere to and the politicisation of public media in the service of conservative right-wing politics, while claiming to be independent, for all Australians, impartial “according to the recognised standards of objective journalism” and fair.

Democracy, human rights and respect of international conventions are nothing but instruments the media, Australian politicians, and the West claim to support when they serve right-wing Western interests.

Anyone who follows the ABC and SBS will realise the conservatives and right-wingers have succeeded in their attack tactics against publicly funded media to toe an even more conservative line.

Media hypocrisy, double-standard and bias are also evident in the coverage of the so-called “Chinese lobby”.

There is nothing ASIO and the media suggest any Chinese lobby of doing that the Israeli lobby has not done for over 30 years on behalf of the Israeli government. Any Chinese lobby is child’s play in contrast to the well-established Israeli lobby.

No country has more interfered, spied and forged Australian passports, recruited Australians into its army and spy agencies and endangered Australia’s security, sovereignty and the integrity of its national institutions than Israel.

By their own admission, the Israeli lobby receives funds from Israeli institutions, coordinates and cooperates with the Israeli government and embassy, and has ‘established a long tradition of strong public advocacy on behalf of Israel‘ to shape the opinion of members of the Australian public, media organisations and government officials in order to advance Israel’s own political objectives.

Consecutive Liberal and Labor governments have been selling Australia’s foreign policy to Israel for decades, with huge campaign donations and all-expenses-paid trips for MPs, officials, staffers, union officials and media personnel.

Yet, while the media has been bombarding us with scare campaigns against China, we hardly see any reference to the danger of the Israeli lobby.

Imagine how Australia would react if China forged Australian passports and used them to spy on other countries and carry out assassinations in friendly countries.

Imagine the media hysteria that would follow if China assassinated leaders of the Hong Kong protest with drones and sniper troops killed 214 demonstrators including 46 children, disabled, journalists and paramedics?

So why do Australian media and politicians let Israel get away with murder while scrutinising China?

Ali Kazak is a former Palestinian ambassador and head of delegation to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.

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Ali Kazak is a former Palestinian ambassador and head of delegation to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.

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