Saturday, January 03, 2009

Gaza - The propaganda war intensifies

Eight days of violence has left 455 dead in Gaza. Four Israelis have so far died.

As the Israeli assault on Gaza enters a second week a propaganda war has also increased as both sides attempt to air their respective points of view. On Saturday tens of thousands took to the streets in protest of Israel’s action. Singer Annie Lennox joined up to ten thousand demonstrators in London demanding and end to hostilities. Speaking at an earlier press conference she said she was “shocked to the core“ by the violence and questioned the logic of the attacks. “How is this going to be a solution to peace” she added. Some of the protesters gathered in Whitehall and threw shoes towards Downing Street, while politicians gave speeches in Trafalgar Square. Tony Ben an outspoken critic of Israel’s action in the Middle East appeared on both the BBC and Iran’s Press TV calling the bombardment disproportionate [BBC / Sky News / CNN] .

While the story remains at the top of the news agenda for all news broadcasters, Press TV is providing saturation coverage which at times verges on blatant anti-Israeli propaganda. Many of the pictures coming out of the Gaza strip are extremely disturbing. But while many broadcasters are shielding viewers from the worst of the images, Press TV has shown graphic images of mutilated and wounded civilians caught up in the violence. As dozens of injured arrived at a hospital following an Israeli air strike on a mosque, cameras captured the horrific sight of people with missing limbs. Pictures were also aired showing children lying dead on hospital floors. According to reports at least 16 were killed as they attended prayers and dozens more were injured [Sky News / CNN / Press TV].

The images of dead has angered many people around the world, but demonstrations are mostly confined to Arab countries and Europe. While the demonstrations have been covered by Sky, the BBC and CNN, the events have been given greater prominence on al-Jazeera and Press TV.

Israel has also launched its own propaganda machine by way of a dedicated You Tube channel [CNN]. On the site videos attempt to dispel the “lies and rhetoric” of its enemies. But the site has already served to increase criticism of Israel [BBC].

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