(JNS.org) NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg says he is “not surprised” by the revelation that the Associated Press (AP) banned its reporters from contacting the watchdog organization.
In an article published in The Atlantic on Sunday exploring media bias in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, former AP journalist Matti Friedman claims that he had explicit orders from the AP bureau chiefs to never quote NGO Monitor or its leader, Steinberg, because of their pro-Israel leanings.
“In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor,” Friedman wrote in reference to his desire to interview Steinberg to provide a counterpoint on allegations by other NGOs that Israel had committed “war crimes” in Gaza in 2009.
Responding to the claim, Steinberg says that he is not surprised by the revelation.
"Matti Friedman's revelations regarding the efforts to censor NGO Monitor and me as its president are not entirely surprising," Steinberg said.
"Based on our experience in publishing detailed research on over 150 NGOs claiming to promote human rights and humanitarian objectives, we are aware of the intense efforts to maintain the NGO 'halo effect' and prevent critical debate. While the AP censorship was explicit, we have experienced similar silencing from other media platforms," Steinberg added.