CAMERA Media Analysis
23 February '10
The Jerusalem Post has published a series of articles relaying accusations by the former head of the Palestinian Authority’s anti-corruption department, Fahmi Shabaneh, that close associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas engaged in embezzlement, land theft and fraud. According to Post correspondent Khalid Abu Toameh, Shabaneh possesses numerous documents exposing the theft of government money, much of which comes from foreign donations.
These revelations are only part of the story. An equally troubling aspect of this scandal is the accusation by Shabaneh that he offered his information to foreign journalists and they refused it for fear of offending the Palestinian government. According to the Jerusalem Post story on Feb. 11, 2010, Shabaneh claims he
decided to talk to the Post after Palestinian, Arab and foreign media organizations refused to interview him out of fear of being "punished" by the PA. Shabaneh explained further, "Al-Jazeera and other Arab media outlets told me that they are afraid to publish anything that angers the Palestinian Authority."
Unfortunately, the Arab media is not free to publish what they would like, but the same excuse does not apply to Western journalists. The Jerusalem Post report continues,
Shabaneh said that even some foreign journalists based in the country had refused to publish his statements, citing various pretexts, including fear of retribution by the PA.
"Some of the foreign journalists don’t want to hear negative things about Fatah and Abbas," he said. "That’s why they didn’t want to cooperate with me and why I decided to go to the Post."
Even after the story broke on Jan. 29, 2010, there was nearly total silence about Shabaneh’s accusations. A search of major publications indicates the National Post of Canada was the only western print media to cover the story for nearly two weeks after the Jerusalem Post published the revelations.
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