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Western media’s coverage of Palestinian journalist’s killing during Israeli raid draws outrage

By Maria Weldali - May 14,2022 - Last updated at May 14,2022

AMMAN — Western media outlets’ reluctance to name Israel as the perpetrator of Al Jazeera’s Palestinian reporter Shireen Abu Akleh’s assassination has provoked global outrage as social media users, activists and journalists criticised “misleading” headlines.

Speaking with The Jordan Times on Saturday, founder of the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) Nidal Mansour, said that “there has always been imbalance in news media’s reporting on Palestine, but Abu Akleh being also an American citizen imposes further obligations on Western countries”.

Pointing to the double standards in international response and media coverage, Mansour said that media outlets were much more upfront about the Russain-Ukrainian war, on the other hand, those same outlets obfuscate Israeli violence on Palestinians.

Calling for a transparent, impartial and immediate investigation, Mansour said that Israel, who he described “the perpetrator”, cannot be part of the investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh.

On Friday, Israeli forces suppressed Abu Akleh’s funeral procession in occupied East Jerusalem, attacking and beating mourners with batons, almost causing her casket to fall to the ground, throwing tear-gas shells and firing rubber bullets, and removing Palestinian flags and any national symbols.

In response to the scenes of violence that broke out at Abu Akleh’s funeral, Irish Richard Boyd Barrett said in a tweet that Israeli forces’ attack on Palestinians is “a new level of barbarism” which was done with impunity in front of the entire world, due to having Western countries’ support.

Criticising Twitter’s “What’s Happening” inaccurate language to describe Israeli violence, media critic Sana Saeed, wrote on Twitter that it is a “weird way to characterise a full on assault on procession and mourners”.

At first, “What’s Happening”, which shows different news and events on Twitter, used the word “confront” to describe Israeli forces’ use of violence during the funeral procession of the slain journalist. Later on, a correction was released and the word “attack” was used instead.

“The sheer obscenity of Israeli forces storming a hospital, beating up the mourners, and preventing them from carrying Shireen’s coffin to her final resting place is horrendous,” Palestinian politician and activist Hanan Ashrawi tweeted on Friday.

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