Statement from ZFA President Dr Danny Lamm on Walkley Award Winners
5 December 2015 For Immediate Release
The Zionist Federation of Australia is deeply disappointed that two of the most prestigious prizes in Australian journalism, for feature writing and investigative journalism, have been awarded to Fairfax’s Middle East Correspondent Ruth Pollard and The Australian’s John Lyons respectively.
Pollard was praised for courageous journalism, but there is nothing courageous about a report that was penned in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital but ignored the simple fact that the same hospital has, for a number of years already, been home to Hamas’ de facto headquarters deep in its underground bunkers.
Another journalist spent a night in the Shifa Hospital just a few days before Pollard’s article went to print. This journalist reported that Hamas was firing rockets from the car park of the hospital – just one of many aspects about this hospital which Pollard omitted to report.
A more courageous story would have been one which exposed the way in which Hamas intimidated journalists into telling their narrative.
John Lyons and ABC’s 4 Corners were commended for their “balanced insight into how justice is practiced with children of the West Bank. Sadly the basis of Lyons report came from unsubstantiated claims made to the journalist and have now been rehashed by the newspaper a number of times. When a 17-year old walks into a house and murders a family of five, the youngest being a three-month old baby, and then proudly confesses showing no remorse, should he really be considered a minor? The report was neither “balanced” or “insightful”.
There is no doubt that both the war in Gaza and the situation in the West Bank make the region a difficult one to file stories from. It is just a shame that the Walkley judges chose in both instances to reward propaganda instead of true courageous and balanced journalism.
For more information contact:
Ginette Searle, Executive Director – 9272 5517
Emily Gian, Media and Advocacy Director – 9272 5618