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Distant Voices No More? Giving Rise to a New Generation of Palestinian Journalists

On November 15, 2021, Palestine Deep Dive held its first in-person event in collaboration with the Foreign Press Association of the United States in New York City.

PC: Society & Diplomatic Review

The event entitled, “Distant Voices No More? Giving Rise to a New Generation of Palestinian Journalists” marks the launch of their campaign, #ShowBothSides, encouraging all major publications to hire Palestinian correspondents on the ground in Palestine, in an attempt to restructure the mainstream media to finally respect the centrality of Palestinian voices.

Drawing an audience of journalists, activists and policymakers, the evening featured contributions from an array of special guests, centred on three generations of esteemed Palestinian writers.

Hosted by Senior Correspondent for Al Jazeera English, Mike Hanna, we heard from Mohammed El-Kurd, Prof. Rashid Khalidi, Dr. Ramzy Baroud, Zarefah Baroud as well as rock icon, Roger Waters, Foreign Press Association President, Ian Williams and co-founder of We Are Not Numbers, Pam Bailey.

When speaking of the atrocities that are occuring, Mohammed El-Kurd, a notable Palestinian journalist for The Nation debated the importance of jargons used in the discussion- "ethnic cleansing vs eviction", "ethnic forced displacement vs eviction", "settler colonialism", and "real estate dispute". He emphasized how important it is for journalists to use these terms as they can change the whole tone and narrative of the story. He gave the example of labeling the Israeli forces "militarized armies" and how much more powerful and impactful the use of that lable could be in the context of describing the eviction of Palestinians.

Mohammed urged journalists- especially those of Palestinian descent- to reclaim the narrative and penetrate the news cycle of social media as there are suspected manipulation of the algorithm of social media to fulfill agendas. He also talked about the conflict between the older generation of the Palestinians with the younger generation as there are differing thoughts on how actions should be taken. According to Mohammed, the younger generation want to be more proactive in organizing grassroots campaigns.

In regards to the manipulation of the news media, Mohammed and Mike Hanna agreed on how much of the US media is based on outrage with the involvement of corporations and incentives to make money. In addition, much of the media often extract conclusions and are not considered a reliable narrator as few of them are the voices of Palestinians therefore the narrative may often be littered with islamophobia when discussing the apartheid.

The panelists asked American media to give more representation of Palestinian voices rather than tokenizing the Palestinians- but instead giving them agency in telling their stories. "They shouldn't have to be the defendants in this conversation."

Video contributions were also delivered by former President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa, Mark Seddonas well as Enas Ghannam, Project Manager of We Are Not Numbers.

Palestine Deep Dive is a bold new media platform challenging the mainstream, committed to empowering and maximising the impact of Palestinian voices.



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