Media guidebook on MidEast conflict sparks criticism

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A guidebook for journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict published by an international press freedom organisation has attracted widespread criticism for being too politically correct.

The guide by Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), Use With Care: A Reporter’s Glossary of Loaded Language in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, contains words and phrases it suggests should not be used in coverage of the conflict, providing alternatives.

For example, the guide says “Apartheid wall” and “security wall/fence” are respectively offensive to Israelis and Palestinians, and journalists should use “separation barrier” instead, according to The Daily Beast, which has obtained a copy of the book, which will be distributed in Israeli and Palestinian newsrooms.

“Words are a touchy subject in the day-to-day reporting by Palestinian and Israeli media,” the IPI website says.

“Expressions that are regarded as incitement in Israel may be considered patriotic on the Palestinian side, and vice-versa.

“The one-of-its-kind reporter’s handbook, consisting of more than 75 words and phrases, is intended to serve as a guide to journalists covering the region as well as the Mideast peace process.”

However, it appears unlikely to gain much traction among journalists, particularly those based in the relevant areas. Newspapers on both sides of the fence have criticised the guide.

Israeli paper Haaretz called it "the useless reporter's glossary" and questioned whether anyone would use it.

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