ABC headline still ‘misleading’

The ABC studios in Ultimo, Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

THE Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has upheld an Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) complaint relating to a misleading headline, “Israel attacks targets in Gaza following signing of Golan Heights proclamation.”

However, ABC’s new headline remains problematic, according to the communal roof body.

ECAJ said the original headline “falsely implies that there was some kind of connection between the US ‘presidential proclamation recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights’ and the Israeli Air Force strikes in Gaza.”

“There is no evidence to support that proposition. Secondly, the headline fails to reveal that the Israeli air strikes were a response to renewed rocket fire at Israel by armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, which caused injuries and destruction of property in central Israel the previous day,” ECAJ stated.

“At least six people in Israel, including two babies, suffered burns and shrapnel injuries, and that one Israeli home was totally destroyed in the attack. In a tragic and oft-overlooked aspect of such acts of war, four pet dogs also died from the impact of the rocket.”

ABC said in its reply to ECAJ, “ABC News agrees that the headline erroneously linked two separate events, and it was corrected shortly after receiving your complaint to ‘Israel targets Gaza following rocket attack, Golan Heights proclamation signed’.”

However, ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said even the corrected headline “could readily give the false impression that the Gaza disturbances and the Golan announcement were somehow linked”. “The corrected headline is also misleading in a more subtle way,” he added. 

“Instead of ‘Israel targets Gaza following rocket attack’, a more accurate headline would have been ‘Hamas targets rockets at civilians in Israel, Israel responds with air strikes at Hamas’.”

ECAJ said the rocket attacks appeared to be timed to distract international attention from the growing popular uprising by Palestinians against Hamas’s tyrannical rule in Gaza, “which is being brutally repressed by Palestinian security forces using methods including live fire and torture”. 

“This too has for the most part escaped the focus of international media and activists who claim to champion Palestinian human rights,” ECAJ said.