ABC News (2014) explains that the Gaza Conflict is one of the many conflicts within the Israeli-Palestinian warfare. The Gaza strip has been under attack for decades. Bennett (2013) explains that the conflict in the region can be attributed to the lack of clear boundaries and political affiliations in the region. It also suffices to mention that the citizens of the region support different political ideologies, both in the Palestinian government and the Israeli government (ABC News 2014).
The conflict has been very intense since 2005 after the forceful election of the Hamas government. In mid-2014, the region was filled with violence that led to hundreds of deaths. The international media picked up the story after the region was rocked by the killings, the ousting of Fatah government, and the blockade of Gaza, among other events that took place about two months ago. Initially, Palestine and the Hamas governments went into war over the governance of the region. Israel joined the war later in an attempt to save the lives of many Israelis in the region (Reuters 2014).
The Israelis deciphered a disengagement plan that ensured the securing of the Gaza airspace by the Israeli forces. The Israeli government was also able to secure the region’s territorial waters and the land perimeter. Egypt also had a role to play in the Gaza conflict (BBC 2014). The Egyptian government controls the southern border of the region. Nevertheless, Israel has the biggest share of control of the region, as it dominates the main infrastructure in the region. The international law also allows Israel to have occupying power, whereas the rest of the region does not have such power (BBC 2014).
The warfare in Gaza has several dimensions, based on the players in the conflict. The players include the Palestinian government, the Hamas government, and the Israeli government (Telawi 2014). It suffices to mention that media policy changes also shaped the media coverage of the conflict. Over the years, the media has become freer to announce political and social events (Chakravartty & Sarikakis 2006; Zhang & Meadows 2012).
However, as evidence will prove, the killing of the children in 2014 was not well covered due to media policy changes. The changes now revolve around political affiliations and ethics. Freedman (2008) explains that much of the change that has been felt in media policymaking is due to political forces. As the evidence will show, the murder of the children was hidden by the Israeli government in an attempt to exempt itself from blame. On the other hand, the US media highlighted the issue to find out the relationship between Egypt and Russia. All this indicates the political forces influencing how the media operates.
Iosifidis (2011) adds that governments usually change policies, including media policies, to preserve a certain culture. In this case, it can be argued that the Israeli government wanted to preserve the culture of trust in the government. That is why the government did not want people to know its involvement in the murders.
This essay will discuss an issue that pertains to the Gaza conflict. In July 2014, media outlets, through a human rights group in Israel, announced the names of some of the children who had been killed during the conflict (Al-Jazeera 2014). The announcement was covered by many international and local media. The essay will analyse how media in the US reported the case, as compared to media in Israel.
The killing of the children in Gaza was highlighted after an airstrike was ordered in Gaza. The murders started after the killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas (Arens 2014). An airstrike was ordered after the murder of the three children, where the airstrike killed seven people. Hamas fired 40 missiles on Israel after the airstrike as retaliation, which prompted Israel to invade Gaza. During this time, approximately 513 children were killed by both the Israeli forces and the Hamas missiles (D’Agata, 2014).
Announcement of names of children killed in Gaza by the Haaretz in Israel
As mentioned, two media outlets will be used in this essay. One of the media outlets is Haaretz, a well-known media company in Israel. The selected article is by Gili Izikovich. Izikovich reports that the Israeli government had banned the advertisement that showed the names of all the children who had been killed during the Gaza conflict (Izikovich 2014). The names of the children were announced to help families identify children who had been kidnapped or reported as missing. The initiative to announce the names of the children was started by the B’Tselem Human Rights Group in Israel. Izikovich (2014) has focused on two aspects that were discussed in class. These are the CNN effect and public opinion and interest.
Bennett (2013) explains that the CNN effect is the level of importance placed on the media in relaying true facts as compared to the government. Grunig (2008) adds that many people will believe what the media says as opposed to what the government will say on the same issue. The media has been given a lot of significance in today’s world, such that it acts as a confirmation source for many governmental activities.
On the same note, the media has used its powers to keep tabs on the government. For instance, Izikovich (2014) was questioning the Israeli government’s involvement in the killing of the 513 children. The government had stated that the children had been killed by the Hamas forces. However, upon the release of the names and an analysis of the hospital reports, it was realised that some of the children had been killed by the Israeli forces. Izikovich (2014) quotes the hospital report of one Palestinian teenager who was killed by Israeli shelling.
Izikovich (2014) has used the CNN effect, as it questions the government’s authority to ban the announcement of the names of the children who were killed during the conflict. The questioning of the killings led the masses to investigate their government’s involvement in the killing of their children, thus the media acted as a watchdog of the government. Similarly, Izikovich (2014) has used public opinion and interest concept.
Bennett (2013) explains that the public weighs a lot on the items that will come on television and radio. In fact, the audience (the public) determines whether a clip can be played on the media or not. Due to the impact, the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) decided to play the clip, but censor some parts. The names of the children were left out, but the truth about what had happened and the involvement of the Israeli government in the murder of the children was emphasized.
The public opinion and interest in the issue were beneficial to the IBA. The interest raised the rankings of Israeli media, as international media needed coverage of the clip and had to buy it from IBA. Loury (1994) explains that censorship is tied closely to political goals. The author argues that putting a moral compass on a public message is very difficult. The political angle allows the governments to justify the censorship because the moral compass of politics can be manipulated.
It is worth mentioning that there were several letters and announcements of appeals to release the clip. The clip was a good way for the families of the lost children to rule out the death of their children or accept the deaths. However, the announcement also caused a lot of chaos in Israel. There was a lot of tension between Palestine and Israel over the killings because some of the children who lost their lives were Palestinian and Gaza children.
As mentioned, the IBS had to censor the clip after appeals from the public and the media in general. Thus, Izikovich (2014) also focuses on the issue of censorship. Grunig (2008) and Loury (1994) define censorship as the concept of deleting or suppressing part of a film or audio clip, which can be considered mean, immoral, or wrong. The IBS had to censor part of the radio clip as the naming of the children was described as immoral. It was a bad way for the families of the lost children to find out that their children had been killed. Some of the children who had been killed were as young as seven years old.
Another concept that is in the Haaretz article is harmonisation. Hegemonisation is defined as the manipulation of culture by the ruling class in order to dominate society (Holub 2005). The ruling class imposes ideas and concepts into the people who are being ruled in an attempt to control their reactions and behaviour. The government of Israel had hidden the murder of the children to hide their involvement. In fact, they blamed the Palestinians for the death of the children. Additionally, the Israeli government claimed that the children were not killed by the Israeli forces in an attempt to justify their involvement. All these show a ruling class trying to manipulate its people in order to control society.
Additionally, the government also stated that the announcement of the names might not be accurate. The government spokesperson claimed that there were children who were named in the clip, but had not died as a result of the conflict. In addition, the government said that the announcement of the names affected international relations. For instance, as mentioned, many Palestinian children were mentioned in the clip.
It would appear that many of the Palestinian children were killed compared to the Israeli children. Israel and Palestine have been at war since time immemorial. Announcing that many of the children who had been killed were Palestinian would not help in the war between the two countries. In fact, as Izikovich explains, the tension between the two countries would have resulted in more war if international bodies and the US had not stepped in. It suffices to mention that the clip was banned completely after the two countries started blaming each other about the killings.
Announcement of names of children killed in Gaza by CNN
As mentioned earlier, two media outlets will be analysed. The second media outlet is CNN, a well-known media company in the United States of America. CNN also reported the issue of the naming of children killed in the Gaza conflict. However, it used other factors to express the story. The differences that will be noted between the two versions can be attributed to the social and political differences between Israel and the US.
Unlike the first article by Izikovich, the CNN video that was broadcasted in August 2014 focuses on the B’Tselem Human Rights Group and the political individuals who had a hand in the murders (Almasy 2014). One difference that can be noted between the two articles is that they have focused on different things. For instance, CNN used social justice as a theme, while the Haaretz focuses on human emotions. CNN gave a lot of importance to the work that the B’Tselem Human Rights Group does. Additionally, the media house also focused on the reaction of Putin, the President of Russia.
Putin was given significance in the story because he had initially tried to keep out of the conflict, until the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, reached out to him. It can be argued that CNN focused on the political aspects of the crisis in order to uncover a secret deal between Egypt and Russia. The main story about the naming of the children was not given much importance. The relevance of the story was not emphasized. It can be argued that CNN gave the naming of the children little significance because it was already covered by the Israeli media. However, there are other media outlets in different countries that used the CNN story as the main story.
It is also important to mention that CNN also tapped into the concept of public interest and opinion concept. The chosen clip from CNN tried to focus on something that would stir interest among the masses. The naming of the children had already been covered widely by numerous media outlets. Thus, focusing on the political forces and their participation in the war appeared more interesting at that time.
It suffices to mention that CNN also used the concept of censorship. The clip censored the names of the children who were killed. However, there was a link to the B’Tselem Human Rights Group web page on CNN’s web page that had the list of the names of the children. The media did not list the names of the children because of the social values in the US. It would have been immoral, and human rights groups would also be against the naming of the children.
Additionally, the political scene would also disallow CNN to display the names of the children. The international law forbids the media and governments to appear to favour or not to favour another country’s issues. For instance, the listing of the names would mean that CNN supported the appeal of the B’Tselem Human Rights Group. In turn, this would mean that the media company did not support IBA, which was in collaboration with the Israeli government. All these would lead to a strained relationship between the US and the Israeli government.
It is also important to mention that both media outlets tapped on the social level of acceptance of events. For instance, in America, more people would have demanded that the names of the children be mentioned to allow the families to know what happened to their children. However, in Israel, the mentioning of names is shameful and unfathomable. In turn, the media in Israel focused on the unfathomable, while that of the US questioned political integrity and decisions that led to the war. It is interesting to note that the Internet availed both stories to different types of audience, who interpreted them differently.
In conclusion, the Gaza conflict was covered extensively by the international media. However, different media houses focused on different aspects of the conflict. At times, the media houses focused on the same issue but highlighted different aspects of the conflict. For instance, the release and announcement of the names of children who died during the conflict were covered by many international and local media.
Two media outlets that covered that particular story were the CNN of the US and the Haaretz of Israel. However, these two media outlets focused on different aspects of the same story. CNN has focused on political involvement. Haaretz, on the other hand, focused on the impact of the announcement and why the government had banned the announcement. It is also interesting to note that CNN provided a link to the human rights group that had the names of the children who were killed in a section of their web page.
It is ironic that CNN provided a link to the names, yet the story did not give a lot of importance to the list and the impact it had. Haaretz, on the other hand, did not provide a link to the names, but it focused on the impact of the announcement and the reasons the government gave for banning the radio clip. The two stories employed some of the communication concepts to reach out to their audiences. Some of the concepts that have been applied include public opinion and interest, the CNN effect, censorship, and harmonisation. It suffices to mention that censorship took a central role in the two media stories, despite both media houses using different strategies to achieve the concept.
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