The King's College Provost, a former top journalist, said the public did not trust media reporting on the conflict in the Middle EastDaphne Borowski for FT@Flickr

A panel of war-reporting journalists has stressed the level of ‘distrust’ and ‘Western bias’ in media coverage of the Israel-Palestine war at an event at King’s College.

In the first “Conversations at King’s” of 2024, (28/01), chaired by King’s provost, Gillian Tett, a panel of journalists ‘from Washington DC to Tel Aviv’ were invited to speak on ‘Truth in a time of war: can we believe the media reporting on the Middle East?’

Tett, who witnessed the Tajikistani Civil War before embarking on her career in journalism, opened the event by conducting an audience-poll, asking attendees who trusts the media a lot. Asking for a show of hands, none were raised.

Director of the Shomrim Centre of Media and Democracy, Alona Vinograd, stated how “obvious” its has recently become that the “media is the enemy of the people”, referring to populist attitudes towards war-reporting.

Fellow panellist Daniella Peled, managing director of ‘Institute for War & Peace Reporting’, told listeners: “In the context of conflict...the line between journalism and activism by necessity blurs”.

Asked specifically on the media coverage of the scenes in Gaza, Peled added she had “never seen a conflict with a greater level of disinformation”.

Senior fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School and journalist of 50-years covering the Middle East, Rami Khouri, stated the media is either “directly or indirectly controlled by the government” in most of the “Arab world”, adding to the distrust of the media.


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Khouri, a Jordanian-Palestinian national, pointed to Western media having a “structural bias” which “keeps showing up in reporting”. “The point of engaging with people understand the conflict from both sides”, he continued.

Questioned on possible solutions, the Al-Jazeera reporter added the best way to “improve the reporting” is to “expose the journalists on the issues...on a more regular basis”.

Peled noted “being impartial” is not “such a thing” and that “balance [in reporting] is the highest ideal we can strive for”.

The ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) reported that as of January 31, 2024, investigations showed at least 85 journalists and media workers were among the more than 27,000 killed since the war began on October 7.