BOOK REVIEW: Media’s role in shaping attitudes towards Gaza

17th Jul 2015

Israel and Gaza: Behind the Media Veil. Edited by Ibrahim Hewitt. London: MEMO Publishers. Pp.124. PB. 2015.

We live in very challenging, unpredictable and confusing times. Remarkable advances in modern technology, internet, digital and mobile communication, coupled with improved means of transportation and interaction between people of different race, colour, faith and background, has clearly improved our knowledge and understanding of the world and its huge diversities but, at the same time, this has substantially increased our ability to misrepresent and distort the image of our fellow human beings like never before.

The politicians, diplomats, academics, religious scholars, journalists, businessmen, women in general, students around the world, and of course the ordinary people therefore need to play a more proactive and positive role as peace-makers in an increasingly volatile world where anger, hate, distrust and bloodshed is becoming the order of the day.

This being the month of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims around the world fast, give generously in charity and remember the poor and the dispossessed, in the book under review, Ibrahim Hewitt highlights the plight of the oppressed people of Gaza. The editor of this collection of essays is an educationalist and Chairman of the well-known British charity, Interpal, a Palestinian relief and development fund. He has been actively engaged in charitable activities especially supporting and highlighting the plight of the long suffering people of Palestine.

Consisting of 10 short chapters which, in turn, have been divided into 4 parts including a Foreword written by Victoria Brittain, Introduction by Ben White and an Afterword by the editor himself, this book provides a detailed exploration and assessment of the Western and Middle Eastern media’s role in shaping attitudes when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and especially that towards the people of Gaza.

According to Ben White, an academic and journalist, our media “…is concentrated in the hands of few; in both Britain and USA, mainstream news channels are ultimately owned by a few companies. With some notable exceptions, newspapers and broadcasters are dependent on advertising revenue and corporate sponsorship, with associated vested interests…the corporate media is [also] susceptible to pressure from organised, well-resourced lobbyists, a problem that those working on Palestine know only too well.” (pp xi-xii)

Other contributors to this book including journalists, academics and political activists like Sarah Marusek, Daud Abdullah, Jessica Purkiss and Walaa Ramadan. This an informative and useful collection of essays that provides a very different perspective on the plight of the people of Palestine in general and Gaza in particular compared to the one we get from our mainstream media, and for that reason alone it is worth reading.

Muhammad Khan

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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