81. "Zionist propaganda is active, well organised and widespread at any rate in the democracies of the West, is largely amenable to it, it commands many of the channels for the dissemination of news, and more particular those in the English speaking world"
George Antonius (historian)
"Many of you are uninformed about the conflict in the Middle East not because you don't want to know, but because you have been misinformed by the "Israeli-occupied" media......Just how many would die and how much global environment would be polluted and destroyed by the fallout in the event of an apocalyptic endgame in and over Palestine are matters for speculation. But that it could happen is reason enough for every man, women and child on planet earth to be aware that they have a stake in what is happening in the Middle East."
Alan Hart (Former ITN and BBC 'Panorama' correspondent author of 'Zionism The real Enemy of the Jews; Vol. One: The false Messiah."
Question: Could the editing of letters on certain politically sensitive subjects such as the Middle East conflict be a form of disguised censorship ? Here is my story, so judge for yourself.
Those readers who have followed my blog from the beginning know that the blog was 'born' as a result of a controversy that developed over time with one of our national, also our local news paper The Christchurch Press, for short 'The Press'. Over the years I have been a prolific contributor, not only to The Press, but already during the sixties and seventies while still living in the Dunedin area. I wrote numerous letters on the Vietnam War to the Otago Daily Times (ODT). I never had any problems getting my very often lengthy letters (in small print) published (with references) and I am still grateful to the editors making the necessary corrections in spelling and style. Sometimes they were edited or abridged a little, but never were references to sources of information removed, which is as one can see from Post 60 my concern with the editing rules of The Press. After an absence from New Zealand for several years when we lived in The Netherlands and in the Irish Republic, I returned to this country as a retiree and settled in Christchurch. After the outbreak of the Iraq war in 2003 I took up the pen again and resumed writing letters to the editor, this time to the The Press.. Again from 2003 to 2009 I had numerous letters published, on an average one a month, with little or no problems. In January 2009 I was even awarded for the 'best letter of the week'. Sure, some letters were rejected and somewhat edited, as happened with other the letters of other contributors as well. I never had any problem with that whatever. I think I am a reasonable and tolerant person and fully appreciate the problems an editor has to cope with when making his selections from the deluge of letters submitted.
But apparently times had changed. Problems were beginning to surface after I had filed a complaint with the NZ Press Council (adjudication 2094 November 2009. Complaint not upheld) and letters dealing with the Israeli/ Palestine conflict specifically. Very often essential passages and references to sources of information were carefully excised from letters. Initially I did not think much of it, but as times passed by it became more or less sort of a regular pattern. I emphasize 'specifically', because previously there had never been real problems. Also letters on different subjects and more notable for instance on the subject of 'Climate Change', a subject probably deemed more 'neutral' , letter writers were frequently referring to sources of information, such as
websites and articles in scientific magazines.
When I discussed this with other contributors to the letter pages, it emerged that they often encountered similar problems when writing letters dealing with the ME conflict. From my blog one can see that I am very well versed on the subject of the ME conflict, at least much better than the average person and probably better than editors and politician as well. The editors of the The Press are well aware of my blog, because on several occasions attempts were made to have the blog mentioned in my letters. I have read numerous books on this immensely important protracted conflict, written by reputable and well known historians (Benny Morris, Martin Gilbert to mention only a few) as well as publications from several independent investigate journalists, correspondents and the like. I also - alas to no avail - had drawn attention to The Press books review editor on new book releases worth mentioning in the section of the weekly book reviews. Once I alerted one of The Press reporters to a talk that was to be given in Christchurch by Antony Loewenstein, the Australian Jewish author of the book entitled: 'My Israel Question'. Loewenstein is an outspoken critic of the Zionist lobbies also denoted as the 'Zionist Power Configuration', aggressively and actively
operating all over the 'western' world and their huge influence on the western corporate media. Although the reporter initially responded to my call and enquired about the venue, he never turned up. Did his boss prevented him from attending ? There was no response when I called him later. Once a contributor wrongly quoted one of the U.N. Resolutions. I responded by quoting the correct text, which could easily be verified by visiting Googles. My letter was promptly rejected. When I requested the editor to rectify the erroneously quoted text in the rubric 'Putting it right' the reply was that the rubric was 'not a forum for a squabble between two correspondents'. The Press maintains that it is devoted to accuracy and correctness.
From all this one cannot dismiss the impression that there is a tendency to suppress and misinform the general public, which becomes evident from editorials, as well as the very one sided, selective and scanty information the reading public is being offered. So my convictions are based not on just on a casually, fleeting, unfounded remark, but on a virtual consensus of views of many eminent historians, independent correspondents, journalists and further substantiated by personal observations and experiences when dealing with the corporate media and their self-appointed guardians, in this country such as the NZ Press Council. These convictions and experiences are shared by other letter writers to The Press, with whom I have regular contacts. The NZ Press Council established in 1972 according to its own information is funded by newspaper publishers. In the Council's Statement of Principles it maintains that (quote): "The Print media is jealous in guarding freedom of expression ('sic' my emphasize) not just for the publishers' sake, but, more importantly, in the public interest. In complaint resolutions by the Council freedom of expression and public interest will play dominant roles"
The decision of the Chief Editor of The Press to exclude me from contributing to the letter pages was a direct response to a letter to the Editor, in which I queried the Editor's editing rules. In my letter I simply expressed an opinion on those rules, which should never have been a reason to exclude a person from access to the letter pages. If I had been in breach of their editing rules, I would have accepted that as indeed I have done on several occasions before. However there is a huge difference between accepting editing rules, or criticising them, which should be everybody's civil right in a genuine democratic society. So when looking at the NZ Press Council's stated Principles it becomes abundantly clear that the Council is not adhering to its own guidelines. So the underlying reasons for excluding me from the letter pages may therefore well have been for very different reasons . The editors are well aware of my political views and convictions concerning the quite dubious role of the by now from various sources emerging well documented evidence that western corporate media are profoundly Zionist infested and 'editing' is often no more than a self imposed form of censorship. The editors are also aware of this webblog. In the absence of any credible explanation for denying me access to the letter pages this could well be the real underlying motives from barring me from their opinion pages. The editor once became very angry when I suggested to him that The Press, as part of the Australian Fairfax media group and subsequently part of the western mainstream corporate news media, is also likely to be Zionist infested. Of course this is merely an opinion, though a well founded opinion as elaborately explained in the foregoing. The question however is, should one be 'punished' for entertaining and expressing such an opinion by exclusion ? If the answer to that question is in the affirmative than we are dealing here with 'bully boy' tactics.
On 18 August 2010 I filed another complaint to the NZ Pres Council on the aforementioned grounds. The complaint was dismissed. SUMMARY:
From my personal experiences with the NZ media and in particular The Christchurch Press and the media funded NZ Press Council I have come to the conclusion that as far as my personal experiences with The Christchurch Press there exist a complete absence of any accountability, there is no transparency, no balance or fairness whatever. Selection and frequency of publication of letters is very personal and biased and judged on political opinions and views. There is complete contempt for the rights of inividuals wanting to participate in open debate. Editing in my experience has indeed become a form of disguised censorship. Editors are free to manipulate letters at will and weaken the message the author of the letter is trying to convey.
There are numerous ways in which he can do that while at the same time projecting a faked semblance of 'balance'. For a short while The Press published a list of rejected letters, which to some extent somewhat enhanced transparency, fairness and balance. This practice, unfortunately was very short lived and abandoned. I come to the final conclusion that the NZ Press Council, as we have seen before has a mere window dressing function.