Aotearoa: NZ news media under fire for ‘bias, propaganda’ in Gaza coverage

March 8, 2024
Protester holding a sign
Photo: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report

Aotearoa/New Zealand news media came under fire at a Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland on March 2, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war in Gaza, with speakers condemning what they said was pro-Israeli “bias” and “propaganda”.

About 500 protesters waved Palestinian flags and many placards declaring “If you’re not heartbroken and furious, you’re not paying attention – stop the genocide”, “Killing kids is not self-defence” and “Western ‘civility, democracy, humanity, morality’ – bitch, where?”.

They gave Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s government a grilling for the “weak” response to Israel atrocities.

Many speakers were angry over the massacre of starving Palestinians when Israeli military forces opened fire on a crowd seeking aid in the central Gaza City area on Thursday with latest Gaza Health Ministry reports indicating that at least 115 Gazans had been killed with 760 wounded.

The overall death toll is now 30,228 Palestinians killed and 71,377 wounded in Gaza since the war began on October 7.

The UN Human Rights office called for a swift and independent probe into the food aid shootings, saying “at least 14 “similar attacks had occurred since mid-January.

The Biden administration has announced a plan with Jordan to airdrop aid into Gaza but former USAID director Dave Harden has criticised the move as “ineffectual” for the huge humanitarian need of Gaza.

Airdrops ‘symbol of failure’

“Airdrops are a symbol of massive failure,” he told Al Jazeera.

The bodies of three more Palestinians killed in the food aid slaughter were recovered.

The New Zealand media were condemned for relying on “flawed” Western coverage and journalists embedded with the Israeli military.

“The New Zealand media ‘scalps’ information to create public perceptions rather than informing the public of the facts so that we can come to the conclusion that what Israel is doing in Gaza is genocide,” Neil Scott, secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Network  (PSNA), told the crowd.

“What Israel is doing in Palestine is apartheid, what Israel is doing in Palestine is occupation – each of those three, plus way more, are crimes against humanity.

“And what is the New Zealand media doing and saying about this?”

“Nothing,” shouted many in the crowd.

“Nada,” continued Scott.

Scott led a deputation of protesters to the headquarters of Television New Zealand yesterday, citing many examples of misinformation of lack of fair and “truthful” coverage.

But management declined to speak to the protesters and the 1News team failed to cover the protest over TVNZ’s coverage of the war on Gaza.

Criticisms have been mounting worldwide against Western news media coverage, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, the staunchest supporters of Israel and the source of most of NZ’s global news services, including the Middle East.

CNN ‘climate of hostility’

Yesterday, the investigative website Intercept reported how CNN media staff, including the celebrated international news anchor Christiane Amanpour, had confronted network executives over what they claimed as stories about the war on Gaza being changed and a “climate of hostility” towards Arab journalists.

According to a leaked internal recording, Amanpour told management that the CNN policy was causing “real distress” over “changing copy” and ”double standards”.

Meanwhile, one of some 50 protests across New Zealand today – in Christchurch – was disrupted by a group of counter-demonstrators supporting Israel who performed a haka at the Bridge of Remembrance.

The group from the Freedoms and Rights Coalition – linked to the Destiny Church – waved Israeli flags and chanted “go back to Israel”.  The pro-Palestinian supporters yelled “shame on them” and carried on with their regular weekly march to Cathedral Square.

[Reprinted from]

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