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November 24, 2003
Help out PMWATCH

By Ahmed Amr.
Editor

 
 

Help out PMWATCH
By Ahmed Amr
Editor
NileMedia.com

Dear NileMedia Reader: If you don't know PMWATCH, you should. This website is geared to providing peace and justice activists with resources to handle the mass media bias against the Palestinian people. We urge you to visit them, learn more about them and pitch in to help on their many media projects. And we also encourage you to consider making a donation to their web site.

So please read this following email from PMWATCH and do what you can to help.

Dear PMWATCH supporter:

It is that time of the year again when we must turn to you for help!

As we start our fourth year of grass-roots organizing, we at Palestine Media Watch -- www.pmwatch.org (PMWATCH) -- can only look back at the last three years of our work with a great deal of pride and satisfaction. There used to be a time, not long ago, when only one side's complaints against the US media's coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were ever heard. There was a time when only the voice of anti-Palestinian groups spoke loudly as they relentlessly mobilized against any coverage of Israeli actions that was less than flattering.

Well -- NO MORE!

Now, it is routine to hear editors and reporters answer Zionist critics of the media by saying, "if we were so pro-Palestinian, how come we are being accused on going soft on Israel?"

As modest as this small gain from a landscape where only one side got to complain, to a situation where now the media has both sides pressuring it, may seem, it took a lot of hard, relentless, work to get us from the bad-old-days to the current slightly better days. It took a lot of people writing letters and making phone calls, putting together reports and meeting with editors, talking and organizing -- it took a lot of hard work.

But a lot more hard work lies ahead!

God knows that we are not only struggling against a cowardly media establishment that keeps on failing the American people in their coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but are also in a constant tug-of-war against a detemined, well-financed and well-organized effort to keep coverage of the conflict from presenting the full truth about what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people.

And the truth of the matter is that, in spite of the millions of dollars that outfits such as CAMERA, HonestReporting, and AIPAC have poured into their bully-tactic driven, misinformation/disinformation campaigns, people on our side, with far less resources, who are fighting for truth and justice, and a media that does its job, are winning the day -- slowly, but most certainly surely.

That is why your help is now more needed than ever before. Now that we are making progress, we must keep on pushing.

As you may know, PMWATCH makes it a point to avoid contributions from any source other than individuals. The strength of PMWATCH is precisely its total reliance for its success on the participation of its members: first and foremost in the time and energy they put in, but also in terms of enabling PMWATCH to pay its bills.

As we face an opposition lavishly awash in cash, we need to turn to our dedicated supporters to help us foot our bills so that we can focus on the task at hand and fulfill our mission. We don't have millionaire donors or large trust funds -- but we do have you and the energy we draw from our conviction that we are on the right side of an important moral struggle.

To donate, please go to:
www.pmwatch.org/pmw/donations/

You can also send a check to:
Palestine Media Watch
P.O.Box 628
Southeastern, PA 19399

WHAT WE DO

For a summary of how PMWATCH was established and what we do, please take a look at a story written about us in the July issue of the Arab-American Business Magazine: www.arabamericanbusiness.com/July%202003/newsfocus.htm

But here is a short list of what we have done and continue to do as a group:

  1. We've built a web site that makes responding to action calls easy:
    1. We've built an interface for enabling supporters to send letters on the same page as the action calls
    2. We've built an interface that enables people to suggest action calls
    3. We've provided all kinds of easily accessible information that enables people to engage in actions
    4. We've built a service that allows people to quickly send op-eds to dozens of op-ed editors and to manage their op-eds all in one place
  2. We regularly feed news desks with stories from alternative news sources (e.g., British and even Israeli newspapers), reports from human rights groups that highlight Israeli human rights abuses, and constantly ask for such stories to be printed;
  3. We regularly write and publish media analysis reports: for a list of such reports, please see: www.pmwatch.org/pmw/reports/
  4. We regularly meet with editorial boards of newspapers and are in frequent contact with editors and reports;
  5. We keep a close eye on the competition and follow what they are doing;
  6. We regularly share our media findings with other media watch groups, newspaper ombudsmen, media writers and critics, media periodicals, and we aggressively spread our findings: our work has ben mentioned in the New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, the Voice of America, The LA Times, the Boston Globe, to name just a few -- for a list of media mentions of PMWATCH and its work, please see: www.pmwatch.org/pmw/chronicle/mediamentions.html
  7. We constantly push editors to include pro-Palestinian rights writers and make their names easily available to them for interview and op-ed writing by distributing a laminated foldout of a long list of such articulate spokespersons;
  8. We help and coordinate with other similarly minded activist groups: we have coordinated our actions with AAI, AAPER, ADC, AL-AWDA, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), MPAC, Partners for Peace, "The end the occupation campaign", and other independent groups;
  9. We help individuals and new media watch groups focusing on the conflict start up and get going by providing advice, training, literature, contact information, and any other kind of help we can give;
  10. We speak at conferences and give talks. In 2003, for instance, we spoke at a conference in Harvard University, on April 12-13, titled, "Promoting Understanding Between the Arab World and the U.S"; we participated and spoke in a public hearing in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 21, 2003, titled, "Media & Democracy: Where are we and what's next?" concerning the newly proposed FCC rules regarding media onwership; we organized a workshop at the End The Occupation Campaign's 2nd US Campaign Organizers Conference in Washington, DC, on July 19-20, 2003; we presented at the "UN Conference of Civil Society in Support of Palestinian People" in New York City on September 4-5; we participated in The Arab American Institute's National Leadership Conference in Dearborn, Michigan, on October 17-19, 2003; we presented at the "National Conference on Media Reform", in Madison, Wisconsin, on November 79;
  11. We have started an effort called "The Op-ed tracker", to alert PMWATCH members on a daily basis to relevant op-eds are published on the conflict;
  12. We have Published two booklets that will help people become better spokespersons for the cause and better media critics and organizers:
    1. Countering the spin: helping people be better spokespersons on the issues, with a whole section on strategy that takes into account how the other side is pushing their spin
    2. The media playbook: helping people be more effective media activists, building media watch groups, etc.

We have come a long way since the early days of the Intifada, back in late 2000, when crass propaganda roamed free and virtually unchallenged. Thanks to the tireless efforts of many selfless promoters of truth, coverage of the conflict is improving. A tide is turning, but we need to keep our eyes on the ball. With your help, we will prevail!

To donate, please go to:
www.pmwatch.org/pmw/donations/

For more about PMWATCH, see:
www.pmwatch.org/pmw/cast/aboutpmwatch.asp

For more on what we do, visit our main site at:
www.pmwatch.org/

Thank your for your continued support.

Ahmed Bouzid
Palestine Media Watch
www.pmwatch.org
(610) 993 - 0608

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT PMWATCH?

"Monitoring of media, and attempts to correct for error or imbalance, are difficult and demanding tasks, essential ones for a democratic society. That is particularly true for sensitive issues about which there are, rightly, strong and often conflicting judgments. I have been impressed with the care and sophistication of the work of PMWatch, and its constructive achievements. Extension of its valuable work would be a substantial contribution to public understanding and policy formation in areas of immense significance." -- Prof. Noam Chomsky MIT, Linguistics

"Palestine Media Watch is something I've been longing for for years. It provides a counter-weight to an aggressive pressure group that has helped make the media seriously biased on Middle East issues. That bias has contributed to U.S. support for cruel and illegal policies that make for interminable repression and warfare and preclude reconciliation. Palestine Media Watch is doing an excellent job and deserves unstinting support." -- Prof. Edward S. Herman, Emeritus, Finance, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"To keep the media honest on the Middle East, several of Palestine's brightest young minds created PMWATCH. This worthy project deserves the support of everyone seeking a just and durable peace." -- Prof. Norman G. Finkelstein, Princeton University

"The Palestine Media Watch (www.pmwatch.org) is one of the best media monitoring sites I've encountered, period.... Many pro-Israel media monitoring sites could learn a lot from Palestine Media Watch." -- Ahron Shapiro, The Jerusalem Post


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