Guardian

Just Journalism Highlights More Double Standards at “Comment is Free”


Just Journalism released another one of their insightful media analyses yesterday comparing coverage of Iran’s acceptance into the UN Commission on the Status of Women with that of Israel’s acceptance into the OECD.

Last week, The UN Commission on the Status of Women accepted the membership of Iran, despite the Islamic regime’s poor record on women’s rights. Then, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) accepted Israel, a country with both a free-market economy and a stable, well-regulated financial services sector, into its ranks.

Importantly, Just Journalism observed that in the UK media, only Israel’s accession to the OECD was reported “including negative opinion pieces on the Guardian’s Comment is free website”. Commenting on the double standards at play, Just Journalism stated:

No other country’s political behaviour has been subject to such scrutiny, or been viewed as an impediment to joining an organisation that is primarily concerned with the development of economic policies. Indeed, when the OECD was formed in September 1961, one of the initial members was Turkey, which at that time was being ruled by a military junta following a coup earlier that year. While Turkey’s human and civil rights record remains a stumbling block to it joining the European Union, which is as much a political body as an economic one, it has never been raised in relation to its continued membership of the OECD.

I guess this is another fine example of the “fair and balanced” nature of “Comment is Free”.

Read the entire analysis here.

6 replies »

  1. I pointed out on the CiF piece that as Turkey was admitted to the OECD, human rights records can hardly feature prominently in accession stipulations. Israel and Slovenia have similar high-tech ecomonies, and both were admitted.

    The other major flaw of the article was that the authors wanted to give the impression that Israel’s admission could be stopped because of their protest. Laughable.

  2. Oh how shaming to the press etc that final paragraph is. Are there no able researchers and no enquiring minds – or lovers of truth and fairness – among them?

    While there is an appetite for opinion pieces that denounce the integration and normalisation of Israel in the international community, the juxtaposition of the aims of the UN Commission on the Status of Women with the behaviour of Iran has not been seen as noteworthy.

  3. @Pretzelberg: “as Turkey was admitted to the OECD, human rights records can hardly feature prominently in accession stipulations. Israel and Slovenia have similar high-tech ecomonies, and both were admitted”.

    Neither Turkey nor Slovenia are in breach of international law; but you’re quite correct – countries such as Turkey have a record of breaching human rights no less deplorable than Israel’s. Given the stated principles of the OECD, neither should be admitted. The OECD has nothing to do with the UN, however; which makes the analogy a non sequiter.

    “The other major flaw of the article was that the authors wanted to give the impression that Israel’s admission could be stopped because of their protest. Laughable”.

    Not really, of course; and it has no bearing on matters even if the two authors had held delusions of grandeur. I thought you had more going for you than that, Pretzel.

    @Ariadne: “Are there no able researchers and no enquiring minds – or lovers of truth and fairness – among them?”

    Not amongst ‘Just journalism’, no.

    “the juxtaposition of the aims of the UN Commission on the Status of Women with the behaviour of Iran has not been seen as noteworthy.”

    That would be a fair point, provided it was accurate. The UN has voted to censure Iran for the maltreatment of women on previous occasions:

    “In December the UN General Assembly voted to censure Iran for human rights violations, including discrimination against women and girls”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4295111.stm

    see also ‘Iran: Ban concerned by treatment of women, juvenile executions’
    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=28639&Cr=iran&Cr1

    This is ultimately beside the point, however. Joseph Abrams writing for Fox News blustered that:

    “Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.””
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/04/29/elects-iran-commission-womens-rights/

    the person elected was Paimaneh Hasteh – which Abrams chooses not to mention – a woman from Iran; not an ambassador for its government. Surely those who genuinely cared about the status of women in Iran would be glad that an Iranian woman was holding a position of clout in an international body? The commission was centred on improving the status of women: how else, precisely, is that to be improved for women in Iran, or the Congo without women from those societies holding positions of influence on international bodies?

    The relevant document is:
    http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/ecosoc6419.doc.htm

    See also http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/e200027.pdf

    and note the United States’ opposition to assistance being provided to Palestinian women on page 12; it is of course notable that when commentators bemoan the position of Iranian women, they tend to overlook that of women in Gaza.

  4. richard- i agree that the status of palestinian women deserves some recognition….and i bet it’s them rotten ‘zionists’ who are the worst culprits for breaching their rights innit? i’m sure that those nice islamists in hamas are all about gender equality, freedom and justice for all…

  5. richardhutton

    the person elected was Paimaneh Hasteh – which Abrams chooses not to mention – a woman from Iran; not an ambassador for its government. Surely those who genuinely cared about the status of women in Iran would be glad that an Iranian woman was holding a position of clout in an international body? The commission was centred on improving the status of women: how else, precisely, is that to be improved for women in Iran, or the Congo without women from those societies holding positions of influence on international bodies?

    The question is Richard, whether she will act on her personal views or those of the ‘Thug Regime’. I don’t know her or of her but I am not impressed with the Iranian nationals representing Iran on various ‘international bodies’. They mouth the words of their government’s policy which may or may not be theirs.

    Do you feel that she could take a position diametrically opposite to that of her government?? Could she mouth the words, ‘Israel is the only Western Liberal Democracy in the Middle East’ and survive Richard?

    Go on.

    Tell us.

  6. @ richardhutton

    Given the stated principles of the OECD, neither should be admitted

    That’s obviously open to debate – but why weren’t the authors urging the expulsion of Turkey?

    Why weren’t the posters bringing up Turkey?

    I thought you had more going for you than that, Pretzel.

    I was merely wondering whether the authors (and above all the BTLiners) imagined their protests would actually change anything at such short notice.