Socialist Worker

When is a murder a bloody atrocity?

Issue No. 1797

'WE discovered there were differences in the language used to describe Israeli and Palestinian actions. We found that words like 'murder', 'savage', 'cold blooded killing' and 'atrocities' were only being used by journalists to describe Israeli deaths, not deaths of Palestinians. So there was a clear difference.

The coverage of Jenin was extremely muted on BBC1 and ITN. This was less so on Channel 4 and, actually, Channel 5, whose accounts were much more critical of the Israelis.

But BBC1 and ITN held back - very noticeably on the Friday and Saturday when the story from Jenin was emerging. On the same Friday there was a suicide bombing. The BBC news and BBC News 24 had a piece referring to the bomber, a young woman, as 'a mass murderer who killed innocent civilians'.

They had not said anything as strong as that about Jenin. That was the day of the demonstration in London, and I think a lot of people complained. Between 6pm and 9pm they re-recorded the piece and took out the words 'mass' and 'innocent' from the description.'

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Sat 27 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1797
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