Editorial
2 minute read
25 May 2021
10:12 pm

Israel-Palestine conflict: We won’t pick sides in our reporting

Editorial

We will not apologise for reporting news in a neutral and unbiased manner – that is our profession.

Supporters protest in solidarity with Israel during a demonstration organised by the South Africa Zionist Federation at the Israel Centre in Johannesburg, with Palestinian supporters protesting outside the venue. Pictures: Michel Bega

The Israel-Palestine conflict and the recent violence and attacks in Jerusalem and Gaza has sent shock waves across the entire globe.

As in any conflict, people have deep, personal and emotional reasons to support one side over another.

And, because of the way one world view is constructed as opposed to another, this often makes it difficult for one side to see the position of the other.

When it comes to reporting on these conflicts, or events stemming from them, one cannot pick a side.

You have to remain neutral and balanced if you are to remain a respected mainstream news publication.

In an era of fringe news outlets and dubious, slanted – and, often, outright wrong – reporting, mainstream media is under more scrutiny than ever.

And the media’s responsibility to report on facts and truths is greater than ever.

It is the responsibility of a journalist and an editor to make sure that the facts which inform truths are reported.

At The Citizen, we take this responsibility very seriously – both in print and online.

We present the facts and this informs our readers perceptions. However, perceptions are also influenced by a wide range of factors, including race, religion, gender, education and political affiliation, among others.

We have received numerous letters, complaints, threats, and appeals regarding our reporting on the conflict and local developments stemming from it.

The vast majority have been without substance: Israeli supporters accusing us of defending Palestine. Palestinian supporters accusing us of defending Israel. Etcetera.

In our opinion pages in the printed edition we offer a platform for readers and analysts to air their opinions and points of view. The same goes for our opinion and column section on the website.

When it comes to news reporting, we will report the facts. If Palestinians launch rockets on Israelis, we will report the facts. If an Israeli airstrike topples a building in a residential area in the Palestinian territory, we will report on it. The same goes for events on local soil.

In covering the news around the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, especially events taking place on local soil, we will inevitably offend someone along the line.

This is not our intention but it is inevitable.

This is because in such a conflict there are very real sides, with very real emotions, in a very complex situation.

When it comes to news reporting, we do not take sides.

We will continue to report on the facts and where we get it wrong, we will apologise.

However, we will not apologise for reporting news in a neutral and unbiased manner – that is our profession.