Right-wing media backtrack after report celebrates death of ‘terrorist’ MP
On Wednesday, the 20 right-wing channel apologized after an online report hailed the death of Ra’am Said al-Harumi’s deputy and called him a “supporter of terrorism.”
In a front page article on the network’s website, an underline said: “Congressman Said al-Harumi, the terrorist supporter of the Ra’am faction, died of a heart attack at Soroka hospital.
The article opened with a Bible verse from the Book of Proverbs, which loosely translates to: “When the wicked perish, rejoice.” He said al-Harumi “was known for his extremist remarks and his support for terrorists.”
Following a major backlash online, the network deleted the article and issued an apology.
“Channel 20 wishes to clarify that the article regarding the tragic death of MP Said al-Harumi was the author’s opinion, and his alone, and the network strongly disapproves of the wording,” he said.
The outlet added that it was sending its condolences to the family.
An Israeli organization representing Arabs and Palestinians in the media said the network crossed a red line with its article and filed a complaint with the commercial television and radio authority.
“Channel 20 this morning crossed all ethical and professional red lines in the field of journalism,” said the Arab Center for Development and Research on Freedom of the Media, Islam.
“It is time to examine the pursuit of Channel 20 broadcasts, in light of repeated violations of journalistic ethics.
In May, a network journalist on air lamented the lack of casualties in a rocket attack from Lebanon that struck an Arab town in northern Israel. He later claimed he spoke badly, but was fired.
The Front for the Protection of Democracy, a left-wing group, also lodged a complaint with the Commercial Media Authority.
“Calling the chairman of the Knesset’s Home Affairs Committee a ‘supporter of terror’ and using the verse ‘When the wicked perish, rejoice’ is savage racist incitement, desecration of the dead and harms his family and his community, “said the Front.
The openly right-wing Channel 20 began broadcasting in August 2014, focusing on Jewish tradition with a conservative lean, but gradually turned to right-wing and conservative news and commentary programs.
Sometimes referred to as Israel’s Fox News for its center-right programming and purporting to provide a counterweight to “mainstream left-wing media,” the channel was granted permission to broadcast its own news programs in December 2016.