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Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian Issues
The following Code of Fair Practices was developed during a conference called "Megaphones and Muffled Voices" on what constitutes full and fair media coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues. The conference, held in New York City, April 17-18, 2002, was sponsored by the World Association for Christian Communication, its North American Regional Association, and the Communication Commission of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A.
Conference participants included public and religious communicators and professors from several noted journalism schools. The participants included media professionals from Israel, Palestine and Jordan as well as from Europe, the U.S. and Canada. They developed the Code of Fair Practices under the leadership of John Zakarian, editor of the editorial page of The Hartford Courant. In the statement that follows, the term journalist refers to any non-government person engaged in the gathering and dissemination of information and opinion through electronic or print media. This includes reporters, opinion writers, editors, publishers, general managers and producers.
The primary mission of journalists is to offer readers, viewers and listeners a rough first draft of history as it is being made. By definition, this draft is not always complete, often presenting facts without adequate context, filing reports in a hurry and sending pictures that emphasize immediate action and consequences. Still, there is more to informing the public than merely relaying raw data quickly.
To prepare coherent accounts of events, reporters
and editors routinely filter and condense the vast amount of available information into a
coherent package. They attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff. Information gatherers
and gatekeepers fulfill their responsibilities best when they observe the following
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