BBG Watch Commentary
A protest from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America had some impact on the mismanaged, U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) because it prompted VOA to change its wrong and misleading headline on the U.S. “no” vote on the Palestinian statehood resolution at the UN Security Council, which VOA erroneously referred to as a veto. But days later, VOA still failed to correct some of the inaccurate text inside some of its reports, both in English and in other languages. These reports have remained partly uncorrected for days. Voice of America also had decided not to re-voice its English-language news backgrounder report for radio which included erroneous information on the U.S. vote.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America noted the Voice of America headline and text corrections and said that these corrections were commendable, but the media watch organization also pointed out that VOA still left ambiguous text even in some of its corrections:
“It is unclear what editors mean when they state that “the U.S. vote against the Palestinian statehood measure had the effect of a veto” (it didn’t, and only would have the effect of a veto of nine countries had voted in favor), but their steps to correct the headline and text are commendable.”
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America was not aware that some of the wrong text was only corrected in one report and only in English, but not in other VOA English and foreign language reports.
One former VOA reporter observed:
“Guess they don’t give enough of a s….t to revoice the audio…if it had been a TV piece, given the embarrassment, I think they would had to have re-done the voice track.”
At least one VOA element, VOA Learning English, posted its own factually correct report rather than use the misleading VOA Central News report.
READ: Voice of America and RT wrongly call US UN ‘no’ vote on Palestinian state a veto, BBG Watch, January 3, 2015.
READ: One Voice of America service got U.S. UN Palestine vote right as VOA Central News issued misleading report, BBG Watch, January 3, 2014.
— Tamar Sternthal (@TamarSternthal) December 31, 2014
— Tamar Sternthal (@TamarSternthal) January 4, 2015
While U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America has indeed corrected its erroneous headline on the VOA English main news website, which said that the U.S. had vetoed the Palestinian statehood resolution at the U.S. Security Council on December 30, 2014, as of 2:45 PM ET January 6, 2015, the lead sentence of the VOA report still says: “The United States has vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Palestinian statehood that demanded Israel withdraw from the occupied territories.”
Some VOA foreign language services, including the VOA Russian Service, also have not corrected their reports on the U.S. vote in the UN Security Council. These VOA foreign language reports appear to be translations of the VOA Central News report.
(( TITLE: UN Palestinian Statehood correction
HEAD: Palestinians Vow To Pursue Israel at ICC After UN Statehood Bid Fails
BYLINE: Henry Ridgwell
UPDATE: removes all references to a US veto. NOTE: changes not revoiced. Emphasis added.))
((INTRO)) [[Palestinian officials are seeking to join the International Criminal Court, now that a draft resolution setting a deadline for Israel to withdraw from occupied land failed in the U.N. Security Council. The Palestinians have been trying to build international pressure against Israel since the breakdown of bilateral talks in April. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.]]
The draft resolution called for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories by the end of 2017.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said peace can only come from what she called “hard choices and compromises.”
“We know that those hardships will not cease and those threats will not subside until the parties reach a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations.”
The U.S. objections were understandable, says Professor Rosemary Hollis, of City University London, speaking via Skype.
((HOLLIS ACT, in English))
“In terms of what it would take to implement a resolution that is not agreed to by the parties to the conflict. If Israel is not agreed to withdrawing from the territories the Israelis occupied in 1967 including East Jerusalem, which clearly they are not at the moment, then who exactly would oblige them to make that withdrawal?”
Israel called the Security Council decision a victory for common sense. Emanuel Nachshon is a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
((NACHSHON ACT – in English))
“We hope that the Palestinians understand that the only way to move forward with the peace process is by negotiating with Israel and not by continuing this unilateral strategy.”
Palestinian officials say they may now seek to join the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Ahmed Assaf is spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.
((ASSAF ACT – in Arabic, fade under))
He said the Security Council failed in protecting the goals on which it was founded, and the principles which it usually defends.
Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority can draw some positives from the vote, says Yossi Mekelberg of the London-based policy group, Chatham House, via Skype.
“The numbers say that 8 members of the Security Council said yes, 5 abstained and 2 were against. So there is a majority, even within the Security Council, let alone in the General Assembly, there is support in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.”
More than half a million Israelis live in settlements on occupied land – which most of the international community sees as illegal. Israel approved a further 250 homes in East Jerusalem last week, and claims the settlements are consistent with international law.
((ACT OF FUNERAL))
Tensions in the region remain high. Thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of a 16-year-old boy Tuesday, killed by Israeli troops after hurling rocks at settler vehicles in the West Bank. An 11-year-old Israeli girl was badly wounded in a firebomb attack on her family’s car in the West Bank last week.
((Henry Ridgwell, for VOA News, London.))