11 May '15..
In the Associated Press picture, the limbless child sits by a colorful mural in Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital.
It is his home.
He was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His hands and feet had to be amputated to save his life. He required extensive medical care. Care not available in Gaza. So he was rushed to a hospital in Israel.
He is not the only Palestinian from Gaza being treated in an Israeli hospital. It’s just another one of those humanitarian acts undertaken by Israel that gets little press.
But his story should receive media attention.
After being treated, his Gazan parents refused to take him back. And neither the Hamas government in Gaza or the Palestinian Authority would pay for more medical care.
So his Israeli doctors raised the funds themselves to allow him to stay at Tel Hashomer.
The Associated Press should be commended for writing an article drawing attention to his situation. And the photograph is the best part, showing little Mohammed as a child, not a matter of politics.
But now the picture and the story of Mohammed has been turned upside down.
Mohammed Omer, a Palestinian journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications, is a recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. Here is the criteria for winning the award:
The award will be for the kind of reporting that distinguished Martha (Gellhorn): in her own words “the view from the ground”. This is essentially a human story that penetrates the established version of events and illuminates an urgent issue buried by prevailing fashions of what makes news. We would expect the winner to tell an unpalatable truth, validated by powerful facts, that exposes establishment conduct and its propaganda.
Despite such a great honor, he has now been exposed for circulating on Twitter a nasty, cynical, “unpalatable” lie.
He took the picture of Mohammed and tweeted:
Fortunately, Omer’s disgusting attempt to exploit this child has been exposed, and the tweet has been removed. But not after the picture and Omer’s tweet were shared around the internet and seen countless times. And even though Omer was caught, how many other pictures falsely claiming to be of Israeli atrocities continue to circulate on the internet?
Social Media like Twitter can be useful to get the facts that aren’t being covered by the media. But it can also be misused. It can become a news service with no editors and no accountability.
Always get the facts before believing what you see.
(photo credit: AP/Dan Balilty)
Honest Reporting - Defending Israel From Media Bias