Seattle 1999 and the Independent Media Centre gets the pictures out of police shooting rubber bullets at demonstrators. The rubber bullets that the police had denied shooting. Difficult, however, when the Internet shows video recordings, courtesy of the Independent Media Centre, of the police shooting rubber bullets. Wikleaks April 2010 and it is a bit difficult for the Pentagon to continue denying that a U.S. Army Apache helicopter repeatedly opened fire on a group that included a Reuters photographer and his driver and then on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men. After all the film of the killings is there for all to see.
This is not the type of journalism the murderers in Washington, London, Jerusalem and elsewhere want and, of course, and should it become too intrusive, there is the Israeli solution. Keep them out, the real journalists, keep all of them out and that, at least, would save them the embarrassment and questions of the type Putin was confronted with when his killers assassinated Anna Politkovskaya.
Yes, keep the journalists away from the real news and let them talk to the spokesmen and women; “a spokesman for the White House, said ……”, “a spokesman for the IDF said….”, “a British government spokesman told reporters”, “Mr Putin explained ……..”
Of course, we also need the real journalists and, yes, “journalists” have to earn the right to be called “journalist” and my own mind drifted back to the Lebanon in 2006 and the hurry and flurry but still managing to get a good breakfast down, before being picked up by our car and taken to the docks at Beruit, the wait, but no shortage of snacks and coffee while waiting, and then the journalists in the short sleeved shirts, standing in front of the ships, microphone in one hand, Starbucks coffee in the other, and there they were interviewing us for Joe Soap back home. Oh and how ego suffered; had to get up very early that morning, was a trifle tired and that Starbucks coffee did look tempting and down the road and just around the corner, there was the real news, the news from Qana, from Bint Jbeil, from Dahiyeh .
Of course, there are the Robert Fisks, the John Pilgers and the Anna Politkovskayas and the powers that be realise that it is sometimes best just not to let them near the scene of the crime and back to Gaza today and the IDF have killed a Palestinian in clashes near the Gaza border. And the band? Well, the band played believe it if you like and the band will continue to play that tune until most of our journalists earn the right to call themselves journalists.
The picture shows British journalists during the 2006 war in the Lebanon.