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A livable future

Robust public discourse can have a far-reaching and positive impact

Press roundup from Australia – November 6, 2023

By Adam Braverman

What’s being said

Australian news sources often prioritize highlighting the humanitarian impact of conflicts, including the 2023 Israel-Hamas war. They cover stories about civilian casualties, the displacement of populations, and the destruction of infrastructure. This focus underscores the toll of the conflict on people's personal lives, fostering empathy and raising awareness among readers and viewers.

News coverage in Australia also examines international reactions to the Israel-Hamas war. This includes discussions on diplomatic efforts, statements from foreign governments, and the roles of regional and international organizations in mediation and intervention. These analyses provide a broader context and understanding of the global response to the conflict.

The highlight of the week was former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who arrived in Israel for a solidarity visit, becoming the first Australian politician to visit the country since the October 7 attacks carried out by Hamas. Mr. Morrison, accompanied by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, landed at Ben Gurion airport and met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, families of those held hostage in Gaza, and soldiers from the Israel Defence Force on Sunday, November 5. The visit also included a tour of an IDF situation room and a visit to villages in the southern part of the country where Hamas perpetrated violence against civilians.

Australian news also delves into the security concerns faced by Israel and threats posed by Hamas rockets and other types of attacks. Australian news explores the impact of these security challenges on Israeli society, including the psychological and physical toll on civilians.

What’s not being said

It's essential to recognize that news coverage can vary in terms of depth and focus. Like many international news outlets, Australian media typically refers to Hamas as a "militant group" rather than a "terrorist organization." This choice can vary and is often influenced by editorial policies, political perspectives, and legal considerations. Hamas is a Palestinian political and military organization that has both supporters and critics around the world. While some countries and international bodies, including the United States and the European Union, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization, others do not use this designation. Australia, like several other nations, has not officially classified Hamas as a terrorist organization.

In addition, it's common in many conflicts for certain aspects of the situation to receive less attention in mainstream media, including in Australia. This includes news often focusing on immediate events and developments, which leaves the long-term social, psychological, and economic impacts of the conflict on people in the region underreported. And while conflicts like the Israel-Hamas war have deep-rooted historical and political causes, these underlying issues do not receive as much attention as immediate events.

The experiences and perspectives of civilians living in conflict zones can sometimes be underrepresented. Their stories, struggles, and hopes are vital to understanding the full impact of the conflict. Efforts and initiatives aimed at peace and conflict resolution are not receiving as much coverage as the conflict itself. Understanding these initiatives is essential for finding potential pathways to peace.

The broader regional context, including the involvement of neighboring countries and international actors, is often complex and is not receiving sufficient attention in Australian news reports. While some outlets cover humanitarian and aid efforts, the full extent of the humanitarian crisis and international relief work is not always conveyed comprehensively.

What we think

Australian news outlets typically strive to present balanced perspectives when reporting on conflicts. They aim to provide a fair representation of different viewpoints, including those of Israelis, Palestinians, and other stakeholders involved in the conflict. This can encompass reporting on the actions and policies of both Israel and Hamas during the war.

Such robust public discourse on international issues can have a far-reaching and positive impact when directed towards diplomatic efforts, international organizations, civil society, education, interfaith dialogues, peacebuilding, responsible journalism, research, community engagement, and humanitarian aid. By engaging these channels, individuals can contribute to efforts aimed at resolving conflicts and fostering a more peaceful region.

The specific perspective of individual Australian news outlets may vary, as different media organizations can have their own biases or areas of focus, but overall Australian news on the current war is characterized by a commitment to peace and justice, a deep connection to Israel, and active local engagement. It acknowledges the complexity of the issues and its impact on the Jewish community, while advocating for a two-state solution. As we navigate this multifaceted and enduring conflict, we must remember that our shared humanity transcends borders and ideologies, offering hope for a livable future in the Middle East.

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