CNN Assures ADC that it will Continue to Broadcast Rula Amin’s Stories
WASHINGTON, DC — In a telephone conversation with ADC Communications Director Hussein Ibish, Richard Davis, Executive Vice-President of Standards and Practices for CNN, strongly denied reports in the Israeli press that CNN had agreed to change its coverage of events in the Occupied Territories to please Israel.
Ma’ariv and the Jerusalem Post reported that a meeting between senior officials of CNN and the Israeli government, including Prime Minister Barak, took place and resulted in commitments from CNN to refer to the Israel settlement of Gilo as a “Jewish neighborhood,” and to broadcast no further reports from Rula Amin, a Palestinian journalist who reports for CNN from Gaza. Mr. Davis assured ADC that no such commitments were made. ADC notes that CNN had been referring to Gilo as both a settlement and a “neighborhood” before the CNN executives made their visit to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. ADC intends to continue the dialogue with CNN on the proper characterization of settlements in occupied territories. As for Rula Amin, Mr. Davis assured ADC that she will continue as a reporter for CNN. ADC notes that yesterday, the day after the supposed commitment to drop her reports was made, Amin had another report on CNN.
ADC pointed out that Rula Amin’s work for CNN has been one of the few sources for reporting on events inside the occupied territories, especially Gaza, that has taken seriously and tried to report the Palestinian experience. Such reporting may cause discomfort to Israeli government officials who are used to the western media only reporting on Israeli experiences and concerns, but raised the breadth of coverage available on CNN well above that provided by many other American news organizations. As CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna wrote in a letter published on December 4th in the Jerusalem Post, criticisms of Amin’s reporting is often based on false characterizations of her work and thinly veiled objections to the fact that she is a Palestinian.
Hanna wrote “I would simply like to say that CNN takes no notice of its reporter’s race or nationality; the sole criterion is whether the reporters meet CNN’s editorial and journalistic standards.” ADC is glad to report that CNN is committed to standing by those policies.
Richard Davis added that he is completely unaware of any basis to reports about pressure from stockholders regarding CNN coverage. He insisted that the trip involved extensive meetings with numerous Palestinian officials and activists, including President Arafat, as well as with many Israelis, and that the Israeli press reports were wholly inaccurate.
ADC plans to continue its dialogue with CNN regarding coverage of Israel and the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation.