Western media’s loss of credibility opens space for Arab alternative

A highly detailed, hyper-realistic 4K wide-angle photograph style illustration depicting the 'decline of Western media while Arab media is on the rise
(Photo: AI-Generated)
AMMAN – In a time when a war is raging on the ground, there is another equally significant war taking place in the media, with the occupiers and their supporters facing off against the resistance and sympathizers from around the world. اضافة اعلان

Western media has breached the principles and ethics of journalistic work during its coverage of the war on Gaza, depicting the Israeli side as a victim of Al-Aqsa Flood operation, without acknowledging the fierce Israeli response. As the Israeli occupation forces continued to demolish homes, hospitals, and schools, killing thousands of children and women, the official Western media narrated a single narrative, portraying the perpetrator as the victim—a narrative that is gradually fading away.

Despite the official Western political and media bias in favor of Israel, the Palestinian narrative has begun to prevail, making the voice of resistance heard. Tel Aviv and its allies can no longer conceal the reality of the violations occurring in Palestinian territory. This has forced the occupation to isolate Gaza, cutting off its communications and internet access.

The Western media proves to be less independent and more restricted than it claimsOraib Al Rantawi, the founder and director of the Al Quds Center for Political Studies told Jordan News, “that this media is a supporter and follower of Western colonial policy. It has kept pace with Western hysteria, which supports and partners with Israel in the war on Gaza and the Palestinian people.”

“When adopting the Israeli narrative, it loses its professionalism and audience. It contradicts itself in false claims and has called for professional and objective journalism that conveys the truth, presents both sides of the story, and ignores the Palestinian narrative entirely.”

“It failed to provide the Arab perspective despite Israel committing ethnic cleansing, genocide, collective punishment, and extensive destruction in Gaza. However, a slight change in the performance of these media outlets is being felt due to leaked reports to journalistic institutions like CNN, BBC, and The Guardian, revealing contradictions in the Israeli narrative. It is evident that this media, claiming independence, is subservient to these governments and subject to pressure groups, making it unreliable.”

“that this media is a supporter and follower of Western colonial policy. It has kept pace with Western hysteria, which supports and partners with Israel in the war on Gaza and the Palestinian people.”

On the other hand, Rantawi mentioned the "media of the poor and oppressed," represented by social media platforms, succeeded in conveying the Palestinian image and narrative despite restrictions and the dominance of social media institutions. There has been a complete turnaround in public opinion, as supporters of Palestinian content on social media exceed 95%, while supporters of Israeli content make up only 5%.

Rantawi affirmed that bias for the Palestinian cause in media coverage is the standard of professionalism in this war. The false neutrality that equates between fascists and neo-Nazis and between victims is considered complicit with the Israeli narrative. The Arab media is required to be biased towards the oppressed, the victims, and the women and children of Gaza, conveying the true image. While Western media refrained from doing so, Arab media is expected to be partial in favor of the victims in the face of the Israeli narrative.

The Gaza war highlighted the need for more global Arab media
The president of the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists Nidal Mansour told Jordan News that, “Western media built its reputation on principles of independence, credibility, and professionalism. There have been accusations against Arab media, claiming it is not independent, controlled by governments, and lacks professional standards and codes of conduct. However, during the aggression on Gaza, new alarming data has surfaced, revealing the blatant negligence of renowned Western media institutions in verifying misleading and false narratives.”

“Instead, they embraced and promoted these narratives as facts. In the initial days of the aggression, Western media propagated stories about decapitating children, adopting these narratives without fact-checking, despite the availability of verification methods such as image analysis, presenting diverse perspectives, and scrutinizing or commenting on the sources from other parties.”

Furthermore, Mansour noted that Western media endorsed Israeli propaganda through individuals with vested interests in disseminating these lies. Days later, it became evident that these were fabrications. This situation indicates that media outlets did not lack expertise in fact-checking but chose to align themselves with the Israeli narrative. Mansour added that the war on Gaza exposed the core of media independence globally, making it impossible to discuss media independence after what transpired.

“Media is directed by security apparatuses, intelligence, and governments,” he said.

Mansour emphasized that “reconsidering ethical codes of conduct requires an extended period, and the crucial lesson from the aggression on Gaza is the need for Arab media capable of being present on the global stage, addressing the world in multiple languages.”

“The war highlighted the importance of having an Arab media that engages with the international community and leverages social media platforms. Investigating the role of social media platforms and pressuring them, at the people, government, and systemic levels, is essential to compel them to adhere to clear guidelines that respect freedom of opinion, expression, and achieve balance.”

Referring to Al-Jazeera as a model, Mansour highlighted the need for studying how to create an international balance for Arab issues related to Arab justice. Supporting the Palestinian cause does not imply bias in coverage but is a defense of a right supported by international treaties and agreements, starting with the right of resistance as stipulated in the International Humanitarian Law and the international treaties. When discussing war crimes in international humanitarian law and child displacement, statements from the enemy's leaders affirm what the Arab and Palestinian media assert.

Journalist Khaled Al-Qudah told Jordan News, "As Arab journalists, we present the true and accurate narrative. For example, we use 'occupation' instead of 'conflict,' 'prisoners' instead of 'captives,' and emphasize that Gaza is part of Palestine. Western media has its agendas and biases for its interests, committed to its editorial policy, funding sources, general principles, and red lines."

Qudah highlighted that Western journalism lost credibility when it adopted the Israeli narrative. These institutions, when tested in cases that intersect with their interests, abandon credibility and professionalism. This was most evident in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The problem in the Arab world he says is that it has failed to create confrontational and competitive media against the Western media. Previously, Arab media admired Western journalism schools, but the war on Gaza exposed many failures.

"As Arab journalists, we present the true and accurate narrative. For example, we use 'occupation' instead of 'conflict,' 'prisoners' instead of 'captives,' and emphasize that Gaza is part of Palestine. Western media has its agendas and biases for its interests, committed to its editorial policy, funding sources, general principles, and red lines."

"It's a complicated story, so we can't blame these institutions for lying and bias because we gave them the opportunity to control the media space. We cannot find an entirely neutral press; there is justified, polite bias and another malicious bias, visible only when there is an issue that affects the funder of that institution,” he said.

The Al-Jazeera case studyHassan Al-Shobaki, the director of Al-Jazeera office in Amman, told Jordan News, "In the absence of ethical standards in journalistic coverage, bias, injustice, and bigotry emerge. Facts are manipulated, and politics and interests take precedence. Western newspapers did not criticize Israel, and October 7 exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of these institutions."

Shobaki added, "The stance of Arab journalism was positive in exposing the false narrative, though with variations. For instance, Al-Jazeera, since its inception 27 years ago, considers the Palestinian cause a central and just issue. The meanings of injustice, justice, settlement, displacement, and killing are clear in it. He emphasized that the conflict with the Israeli enemy is a battle over narratives. Just yesterday they excluded two Al-Jazeera journalists to prevent them from conducting interviews and receiving prisoners. They don't want witnesses, and they don't want to see Palestinians in a state of victory or joy."

he stated that Al-Jazeera always seeks to expose this occupation through television reports, documentaries, or specialized programs on the Palestinian issue. In its coverage of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, Al-Jazeera takes an advanced position that helps alleviate injustice against the Palestinian people, emphasizing the role of the media.

He pointed out “the role of activists who speak English, influencing Western public opinion and presenting the Palestinian narrative. The double standards followed by Western media will leave an impact on people, potentially losing its audience, as it is implicated in the killing of innocent people. Therefore, October 7 is a decisive moment, revealing many aspects of media and politics. The public opinion worldwide is not entirely negative, as in the United States, where a significant portion stood with the Palestinians.”

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