Media watchdog calls out AFP over employment of aspiring Palestinian politician



The building of the AFP news agency in Paris. Credit: Tangopaso via Wikimedia Commons. 

( A media watchdog organization renewed its criticism of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency over the “conflict of interest” of employing the chairman of the anti-Israel Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) as a reporter on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), which initially called out AFP in May over PJS leader Nasser Abu Baker’s statement that Palestinian journalists should “boycott any Palestinian official…who conducts an interview with Israeli journalists and Israeli media,” revisited the issue this week in the aftermath of Abu Baker’s recent campaign for a seat on a governing body of the Palestinian Fatah political party.

“My decision to run in the election for the [Fatah] Revolutionary Council stems from my and my colleagues' desire to awaken the Fatah media, which needs to be awakened so that it would be devoted primarily in favor of the national interest and redirect the compass toward our cause toward Jerusalem and the [Palestinian right of] return," Abu Baker recently told Palestinian media, according to CAMERA.

The media watchdog said in a Dec. 7 press release that AFP’s employment of Abu Baker, “a man who is not only an aggressive anti-Israel boycott advocate but also an aspiring Palestinian politician,” raises “serious concerns.”

"The conflict of interest is clear and blatant," Tamar Sternthal, CAMERA's Israel director, said in a statement. "By employing a man who aggressively silences Israeli journalists and perspectives, AFP news about Israel is compromised at best, deceptive at worst."

Posted on December 9, 2016 .