Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Study of Oregonian Newspaper shows persistent bias

Study of Oregonian Newspapers shows persistent bias against Palestinians

Contact: Rani El-Hajjar, Ph.D.Tel: (971) 226-0362E-mail: rani@auphr.org for Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights and Palestine Media Watch Human Rights Groups Publish Findings of One-Year Study Documenting The Oregonian Editors' Exclusion of Palestinian Perspectives from Op-Ed Pages of the Newspaper Portland, Oregon, March 21, 2006.

The Oregon-based human rights group, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR) in conjunction with the organization Palestine Media Watch (PM Watch) have published today the findings of a year-long study entitled "Excluded Voices – A Study of Palestine/Israel in the Opinion Pages of The Oregonian Newspaper".

The study's findings confirm the view expressed by Don Wycliff, departing Public Editor of the Chicago Tribune that "on probably the most enduring and insistent foreign policy issue of our time, we routinely do not hear from one side."

AUPHR's study provides both qualitative and quantitative data showing just how pervasive the exclusion of Palestinian perspectives is on theop-ed pages of The Oregonian.

According to the report, most of The Oregonian's editorials and selected commentaries dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "rarely debate the illegal and immoral nature of Israel's actions" and fail to "respond or react to news items indicating Israel's gross violation of Palestinian human rights and its noncompliance with international law."

In addition, the report asserts that the newspaper's editors have unfairly and systematically "narrowly defined the arguments that were allowed to participate" and printed little that "deviated from the official Israeli government positions."

"For years now and especially after the start of the second Palestinian intifada, members of the Palestinian, Muslim and human rights community have been trying to engage editors of The Oregonian in a dialogue regarding The Oregonian's failure to include voices from their perspectives in the discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Editorial Section of the newspaper," says Zaha Hassan, founding member of AUPHR.

"Our concerns have never seriously been dealt with butnow we have evidence that clearly shows that The Oregonian is notmeeting its obligation to its readers to provide a marketplace of ideas on the Israel-Palestine conflict."

"People may be shocked to hear former President Jimmy Carter call Israel's actions the 'colonization of Palestine' and declare that this colonization is 'the preeminent obstacle to peace,' says Peter Miller, AUPHR President.

"If they are shocked, it is because we rarely hearabout that colonization debated openly in The Oregonian's op-ed pages."

The Oregonian study covered a one-year period from June 2004 to May 2005 and included analysis of editorials, commentaries, cartoons and letters contained in The Oregonian during that period. AUPHR's report is available at www.auphr.org.

A similar study of thetop five national newspapers in circulation in the U.S. was recently released by PMWATCH with similar findings. PM Watch's report is available at www.pmwatch.org.

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