On October 6, 2023, The Welland Tribune, Niagara Falls Review and St. Catharines Standard of Ontario all published a letter from CJPME’s Jason Toney in response to an article written by Issam Adwan of the Associated Press, “Israel reopens the main Gaza crossing for Palestinian laborers after days of rising tensions.” Amidst Gaza’s protests, Adwan writes:
Palestinian demonstrators have thrown explosives and rocks and launched incendiary balloons that have sparked fires in Israeli farmland.
In response to this one-sided description, Toney writes:
It’s unfair that Canadian media’s coverage of Palestine-Israel tends to portray Palestinians as responsible, almost like a reflex.
The violence between the two sides is profoundly asymmetrical.
Israel is one of the world’s most powerful militaries — according to the United Nations, 65 per cent of Gazans live below the poverty line. Israel has repeatedly closed the borders to Gaza in response to protests, preventing Palestinian workers from getting to their jobs and worsening the economic situation.
Despite these facts, Israeli military forces are still portrayed as defending themselves.
Canadian readers deserve more balance and fairness in the coverage of these events. It’s not the fault of any particular outlet or the result of a conspiracy; it is a problem that requires constant assessment and improvement. What is happening in Gaza today, and the coverage therein, represents a long-standing problem that will take some honesty and courage to fix.
Letters to the editor remain a valuable tool in CJPME’s continuous effort to challenge the negative trends in Canada’s media coverage of Palestine.