Islamic Human Rights Commission
11th November 2003
Media Monitoring UK: Channel 4, ‘Witness: Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber’, 9 p.m., 10th November 2003
Please complain to Channel 4 and the Broadcasting Standards Commission regarding the standard of this programme. This programme singularly failed to address the context within which so-called suicide bombers operate, namely the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the lack of civil society within Israel and the growing militarisation of that society.
The programme gave a clichéd and one-sided view of so-called Palestinian ‘suicide-bombers’. The programme was allowed to interview 5 alleged failed suicide bombers by the Israeli Defence Force. This in itself shows the level of co-operation and connivance between the Israeli Defence Force and the production team. The members of this team included Israel Goldvicht (the producer) who runs an Israeli production company. In the past his \”documentary\” on the siege of the Church of the Nativity has been heavily criticised as ‘pure propaganda’ for the Israelis. The BBC governors recently held an investigation into how this documentary could have been aired on the BBC when it was so clearly filmed from the Israeli Defence Force’s point of view. Please see the following articles:
Israel and the Media, by John Pilger, News Statesman, 1 July 2002
BBC rapped over \’one-sided\’ film of Bethlehem tragedy
the programme was also written and directed by Tom Roberts (October Films) who was also the executive producer of ‘The Siege of Bethlehem’
Please complain to Channel 4 and the BSC. The following are some talking points:
1. This documentary was made by a team that has already been discredited for their biased programme making in support of Israel an din particular the actions of the Israeli Defence Force. The programme was similar in tone and lack of journalistic credibility, and should not have been broadcast.
2. The programme made no reference to the context in which Palestinians undertook such actions i.e. military occupation, apartheid style conditions and legislation, systematic denial of basic civil, political, economic and social rights etc. Instead the programme blames Palestinian TV for promoting violence.
3. The programme makers relied on clichés and stereotypes to justify their contentions that young men were being brainwashed by religious extremists e.g. martyrs will be greeted on their arrival in heaven by 70 virgins and wine. It is interesting to note that women both secular and religious have been suicide bombers. What, if any, reasoning / brainwashing was used on them? Why are so many different types of Palestinian willing to undertake such operations? These and many other key questions were simply not addressed.
4. An apology should be issued by Channel 4 who should have learnt from the experience of the BBC over the issue of the ‘The Siege of Bethlehem’.
You can write with your comments on this programme by contacting:
Channel 4 Television
124 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 2TX
Tel: 020 7306 8333
Fax: 020 7306 8347
They are open 24 hours a day, staffed from 9am – 9pm weekdays. 10am – 9pm Saturdays and 10am – 6pm on Sundays. Outside these hours, you can leave your message on Channel 4\’s answerphone.
You can also ‘Have Your Say’ on the Channel 4 website which is currently discussing this programme:
Broadcasting Standards Commission
Fill out the form on their webpage (all complaints must be made in writing)
http://www.bsc.org.uk/index1024.htm or download a form and fax / post back to them from the same page.
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