Channel 4 reinstate impartiality

with 3 comments

Magda Ali On behalf of the whole country, I’d like to thank Jon Snow


Silently, the world watches. Two worlds watch. One, a world for the first time exposed to an unseen coverage of a brutal war. The other, a world disturbed, a world that sees this coverage every day, and wonders why this coverage is only ever exposed in their world.

Channel 4, supposedly the savoir of ethical war corresponding aired the dispatches, Unseen Gaza programme last week after a disappointing three week coverage of the conflict in Gaza. Frontier Channel 4 news broadcaster Jon Snow’s attempt to uncover the realities of reporting in Gaza, attracted viewers across the nation, though probably unseen by many due to its late screening, it revealed the compromised second-rate Western coverage of the Gaza strip.

Snow compared the coverage of the conflict in the UK, with the rest of the world. It seems that the western coverage bore one similarity – it was all being covered from one hill, that hill being the hill of shame, or as some like to call it, the hill of same. As the programme unfolded, Snow argued the Muslim and Western worlds have seen two very different accounts of the invasion.

So two worlds saw two very different conflicts, think for a moment about these two worlds. It’s an epic accolade, is it not? Disregard for a moment the thousand of thoughts going through your mind. Now picture a 6 month, tainted lifeless infant, scorched to the bones. It may not be what you want to see whilst watching the news, but it is what is rampant in Gaza right this moment. A third of the death tolls in Gaza are children, though due to Western coverage of Gaza much of the British populace will not know it, many Muslims will.

In any case, before we can ever get deciding on how many dead babies on television is too many, we need to know how many there actually are. Except nobody seems to know, a number is just a number, a picture speaks a thousand words, but most news agencies are not even giving a thousand words of the story, most of the times.

First we see Al Jazeera widely watched by Muslims in the UK, the unedited bona fide horrific images coming out of Gaza have been above all upsetting for Muslims around the world.

This leads us to the real point of Snow’s critique. These are certainly difficult times for those that are exposed to the truth. Those that have access to the most scorching images, and see a vastly different account of this war from that which the average person only exposed to the filtered party lines. As Snow argued in his critique: it presents a dangerous dynamic for the future, to what extent does the choice of news outlet effect opinion of the conflict?

Well to a great extent. What’s more, this failure is due, in large part, to the fact that the Western coverage has been far too deficient, as Snow argues. In fact, the coverage, or should one say the lack of coverage of the Gaza Strip is spurring anger and frustration from many.

But it isn’t just Channel 4 getting complaints about their lack of coverage. Everyone, it appears, is petrified of the very “impartiality” penetrated within this inner circle. Because journalists are of course impartial observers, deliver the truth without any spin. Yet we see Western mediums reduced to Israeli mouthpieces, as Snow argued the Israeli PR machine is slick, their side of the conflict was constantly fed to journalists but balancing an account with Hamas’s version of events, that was impossible. At this point says Snow, the isolation of the war machine from the correspondent is almost without precedence and the first casualty has inevitably been the truth.

Snow poses an important question in the documentary that still remains: “if the world had known more sooner, would efforts to stop the conflict much earlier have succeeded?”

Snow illustrates in the documentary the absence of real reportage and exposure at the top level, which connects directly to the failure of journalism as a whole. The sheer magnitude of what exactly has been compromised and lost as a result can really only be guessed at.

The coverage of Gaza on channel 4, has been frustrating. But on this showing, Unseen Gaza has shown to be oddly impartial of a war that has been purely partial, one-sided and disproportionate. Jon Snow’s report was indeed an astonishing piece of television. Snow is good at quarrel, he doesn’t lose his cool, and he is a man who knows he’s right. In his pursuit of fulfilling his role as a journalist, he restores hope for many, that perhaps one day journalists will fulfil their roles as journalists.


Written by Magda M Ali

January 25, 2009 at 11:14 am

3 Responses

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  1. Excellent piece of analysis. I hope that Snow sticks to his guns and remains as detached as he evidently is.



    February 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm

  2. Great piece of work Mags..


    February 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm

  3. Peace and love Noor & Nadi, thank you for commenting.


    Magda M Ali

    February 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm

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