(This is an English version of a post originally published at CAMERA Arabic.)
On June 3rd, Sky News Arabia (a joint venture between the UK-based Sky News and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation) published a report on its website under the headline “110 attacks on Al-Aqsa and the Ibrahimi mosque during May”.
The report was based on statistics from the official Palestinian news agency (WAFA), which quoted the Palestinian Waqf and Religious Affairs minister, Youssef Ideiss.
Whilst it’s true that reports will inevitably be affected by the terminology used by the chosen source, journalistic ethics demands that editors attempt to mitigate its impact. However, the Sky News Arabia report was blatantly biased towards the Palestinian position. The clearest evidence of this bias is the wording of the headline, and specifically the word ‘attacks’ (in Arabic, ‘ I’tida’aat ‘, a word with a clear negative connotation). Sky News Arabia did not even bother to clarify the nature of those ‘attacks’.
We should note that this term and others, such as ‘storm’ (e.g., “settlers stormed the mosque”) and ‘breach’, are usually dishonestly used by the Palestinian media to depict peaceful visits to the Temple Mount Plaza by Jews – visits restricted to certain hours and under the strict supervision of the Israeli police and the Islamic Waqf. This wasn’t the first time that Sky News Arabia has used this terminology. For instance, it claimed Jews ‘breached’ Al-Aqsa Mosque in a report on May 23rd [that’s what the image at the bottom of this post is meant to depict].
Moreover, shouldn’t Sky News Arabia have attempted to get an Israeli response to these allegations? Furthermore, the report also included the claim that “occupation squads” managed “to seize parts of the al-Rahma cemetery and turn it into a religious park, and for more than two weeks teams of the nature authority caused damage to it”. This claim is not based on any evidence.
Finally, it’s astounding that Sky News Arabia has parroted language in the original Palestinian report regarding “organizations of the false temple“, while it’s of course clear to any objective observer that the historical existence of the Temple is undeniable.
To summarize: it’s regrettable that Sky News Arabia made significant errors, whether by mistake or deliberately, while literally quoting verbatim from a Palestinian report about alleged incidents on the Temple Mount. In doing so, the network has deviated from the principles of fair journalistic coverage. The team at CAMERA Arabic contacted the network, but have not received a response.