Director of CAMERA’s Israel office on reporting during Hamas war


Earlier this week, a Telegraph report exposed how BBC’s Arabic speaking outlet was forced to correct its reporting roughly 80 times in the first five months following the October 7 massacre.

Many of these instances include referring to Jewish citizens of Israel as “settlers,” regarding UK-designated terror organizations as “resistance” groups, erroneously describing Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, and deeming Israeli hostages as “prisoners.”

The Jerusalem Post reached out to the group responsible for demanding accountability from this and other mainstream public-funded media outlets, CAMERA, to hear more about their efforts and endeavors. 

First steps

Founded in 1982 during the First Lebanon War, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) presents itself as “the world’s oldest and largest international media monitoring, research and educational organization,” focusing on Middle East reporting. CAMERA claims to boast 300,000 members and supporters worldwide, aiming to “educate the public on the multifaceted issues surrounding Jewish history and the State of Israel,” as they phrase it.

The committee describes itself as aspiring to promote “accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East” in the face of what they deem “deteriorating journalistic standards and deeply ingrained anti-Israel biases which are becoming increasingly mainstreamed.”

(credit: shahar berdichevsky)

The multilanguage effort led by CAMERA includes several departments operating in English Arabic, Spanish and Hebrew, with its primary department focusing on media monitoring, where members scrutinize and counter any accounts of false news coverage across mainstream media platforms worldwide. 

On the current events, CAMERA has reported that, since Oct. 7, there has been an uptick in antisemitism, which in turn made them intensify their efforts, aiming to effect institutional change within influential media outlets and schools to ensure “accurate portrayal of Israel and the Jewish people,” as portrayed by the committee.

“Our record of 303 media corrections in 2023, for example, serves as a benchmark for our ongoing efforts. We also solicit feedback from external partners and conduct formal surveys to evaluate our work and campaigns. For instance, after we hold workshops to assist college students, we conduct surveys to help us analyze what tactics are working on college campuses,” added Tamar Sternthal, director of Camera’s Israel office.

When asked about salient examples of success stories, Sternthal pointed at the unprecedented scrutiny which BBC Arabic is currently undergoing due to a series of CAMERA exposés revealing biased coverage of the war, including the aforementioned Telegraph expose.

“CAMERA Arabic’s research has elicited a wave of mainstream British media coverage since the beginning of the war with 14 articles examining the poor quality of BBC’s Arabic servicecoverage. Several UK MPs have publicly addressed the issue, including in parliamentary debates slamming the conduct of BBC Arabic, which is funded by the British public’s license fees,” explained Sternthal.

“A series of BBC interviews with Khan Younis doctors gained particular prominence after we showed – together with antisemitism researcher David Collier – that many interviewees, as well as the BBC journalists themselves, supported the murderof Israel’s Jewish civilians and expressed antisemitic views on social media,” added Sternthal.

Another separate example happened on France24 channel, in which Beirut correspondent in Arabic was fired for praising Hitler in March 2023, after CAMERA’s Arabic team revealed her pro-Nazi sympathies.

The Arabic Department: Filling A Unique Need

As of the last decade or so, Arabic-language services at Western media outlets have begun to surface more and more recurringly. Outlets such as BBC, CNN, Deutsche Welle, France24, Sky News, Independent, Reuters, Agence France Presse and more all attempt to influence public opinion among a growing Arabic-speaking population in the Arab world, Europe, the Americas and beyond, launching their own Arabic speaking platforms. 

From their part, this also led to CAMERA’s increasing their professional fact checking capacity in Arabic.

“Journalists reporting in Arabic for Western media outlets are often deeply influenced by how news works in the Arab world’s non-democracies,” explained Sternthal. “Under these regimes, news practitioners are quickly schooled in what Arabic media deems ‘journalism in the service of the revolution,’ meaning fully biased partisan coverage, favorable to the ‘Palestinian cause’ and willfully blind to other perspectives.

“As a result, Arabic coverage even in Western media outlets often diverges from content in English-language news,” Sternthal added. “This disparity is at times apparent even within a single Western news outlet which publishes in both Arabic and English. Moreover, Arabic news coverage in Western media outlets frequently falls far below professional news standards, thereby misinforming millions of Arabic-speaking news consumers about Jews and Israel.”

Biased reporting is especially pronounced at allegedly“Western” outlets owned and operated from the Gulf in whole or in part, as is the case with Sky News Arabia and Independent Arabia. Hampered by a language barrier, the leadership atWestern media outlets is often unaware of the misinformation disseminated by their own Arabic-language departments.

For these reasons, CAMERA’s Arabic team dedicates its work especially to such Western channels with Arabic-speaking outlets, which must adhere by law to fact-based unbiased reporting, instead of focusing their activities on Arabic speaking channels from the Arab world who owe no such accountability.

 Are there any more interesting anecdotes in this regard?

“On Oct. 11, after BBC English’s Jeremy Bowen had already visited the site of the Kfar Aza massacre, a BBC Arabic video item was uploaded questioning whether it had even happened – presenting the entire story as a matter of ‘competing narratives.’Though the video has been taken down since, the BBC never apologized for having produced it in the first place.

“Several BBC Arabic employees have liked and shared social media posts celebrating the Oct. 7 atrocities, and after a brief suspension were back covering the war. For instance, BBC Arabic repeatedly interviewed “military expert” Wasef Eriqat, who denied time and again that any civilians were targeted on Oct. 7. At no point did BBC disclose that Wasef Eriqat is the father of BBC Arabic Ramallah correspondent Eman Eriqat.

“Another example from France24 features the Arabic channel’s Jerusalem correspondent Laila Odeh, herself a supporter of terrorists who targeted civilians, who spread a rumor that the killer of a Palestinian child in Chicago in mid-October was Jewish and Israeli, of which he was neither.

“Finally, in late January, Independent Arabia ran a story about “Jewish pressure groups and their influence on global decision making,” citing a Jewish plan for world takeover. This led to an extremely rare intervention of the English Independent’s management for the Arabic website to review and amend the content,” Sternthal concluded.

Is there a way for the average Joe to take part in demanding accountability from these networks? 

“The public can play a critical role in helping ensure more accurate news media coverage of Israel and the Middle East by becoming critical news consumers armed with the facts and a solid understanding of the principles of ethical journalism.

Not only should news consumers read a variety of sources and learn to identify discrepancies between them, but they can also familiarize themselves with essential journalistic practices such as those outlined in the Code of Ethics of Society for Professional Journalists,” elaborated Sternthal.

“Concerned news consumers can join CAMERA’s letter-writing group (write to and receive regular updates about misinformation in media reports, along with relevant contact information to publish letters and to communicate with relevant officials at the various media outlets.

CAMERA also holds webinars regularly for the public, featuring practical techniques for becoming activists within the organization’s media response team. Those active on social media can follow the various CAMERA-affiliated accounts and can reach out to journalists directly on these platforms,” she added.

What would your message be to those reading us now, some of which have given up on expecting unbiased reporting about Israel?

“Despite the degraded standards of journalism in recent years and even the wholesale rejection of traditional journalistic values on the part of some media practitioners, CAMERA’s record proves that advocating for the facts and pushing for enforcement of ethical journalism guidelines has deep, meaningful impact. Ultimately, the truth is bound to prevail. As Winston Churchill noted, ‘Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is,’” concluded Sternthal.

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