SBS star Jan Fran has lashed out at mainstream media and shared an old email from a news director directing staff on how to report on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Fran, whose full name is Jeanette Francis, used an Instagram post on Sunday to leak an email from SBS instructing reporters to use neutral terms about the fighting.
Fran said reporters have been told not to call Palestinian territories ‘occupied’ or ‘disputed’, but to instead just use geographical terms.
Fran, who also presents for the ABC, took aim at the journalism industry labelling it a ‘malevolent, biased, agenda-driven institution controlled by lobby groups’.
SBS and ABC reporter and journalist Jan Fran has hit out at media attempts to stay ‘balanced’ over the war between Israel and Hamas
Fran said she has seen different newsrooms conscientiously make sure every interview from one side is balanced by broadcasting an equal length interview from the other with roughly the same emotional tone.
This is what ‘the noble pursuit of impartiality and balance look like in my profession,’ Fran writes.
‘Good journalism, we are told, is impartial. It takes no sides,’ she said.
It shows ‘that both sides are complicit in the horror’.
She said the staff email makes it clear that some of this is to avoid backlash, which Fran labels a ‘headache’ for ‘understaffed’ organisations.
‘We are under close scrutiny from both sides and errors or perceived lack of balance will bring the inevitable slew of complaints,’ the email says.
However, Fran said balance is largely sought for its own sake.
‘It is righteous, convinced it is acting ethically in pursuit of fair and balanced reporting,’ she writes.
‘It is doing a good thing, the only thing it knows how to do.’
However, Fran accused some unnamed media outlets of being compromised.
‘I don’t blame those who look at the reporting on Israel/Palestine and think the mainstream media is a malevolent, biased agenda-driven institution controlled by lobby groups. It can be,’ she said.
She argued attempts to be ‘unbiased’ could even have the opposite effect of aiding one side over the other.
In a lengthy Instagram post Fran leaked some of the guidelines SBS reporters are given to cover the conflict
‘What if, in pursuit of these righteous ends, we obscure the truth and do the bidding on the powerful? she asked.
She stated painstaking reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a special UN Rapporteur had labelled Israel’s action toward the Palestinians ‘apartheid’.
‘States that choose to make allowances for Israel will find themselves on the wrong side of history,’ Fran quotes from the 2022 Amnesty report.
Even though Fran admits ‘apartheid’, the system of racial segregation practiced in South Africa, is a ‘charged’ word she says the conclusion was ‘drawn from decades of research and evidence collated by aid organisations on the ground’.
With this in mind she argues that ‘balanced’ reporting skews the truth.
‘If the world can look upon Israel/Palestine as a ‘conflict’ between two sides, despite mounting, readily available evidence showing a gross asymmetry of power and authority, who does that serve?’ she writes.
‘In whose interests is it that journalists not use the use the word ‘occupied’ to describe the Palestinian territories?’
Smoke rises from the Gaza city of Beit Hanoun as Israel continues its military action against Hamas
She said that although some outlets might continued to pursue balance to avoid complaints ‘some will do it in blissful ignorance, unaware that in their dogged pursuit of balance, the first casualty is the truth’.
‘The great irony in pursuing this balance is they may have done the one thing they tried so hard not to do and taken a side,’ she writes.
The post has attracted over 3000 likes and mainly positive comments.
‘Jan is saying the media need to report with more truth – rather than trying to present both sides as though they are both valid standpoints,’ one comment read.
‘When good people are silent, they join the side of the oppressor.’
Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip in response to the bloody October 7 incursion by Hamas has claimed more than 9,000 Palestinian lives according to estimates.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk