The Wafa ‘News’ Agency: The Palestinian Propaganda Factory
While the recent Human Rights Watch report about torture and human rights violations under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas touches on the topic of intimidation of journalists, as far as I can tell, no one has really reported on the depth of the problem — and what it means for any desired “State of Palestine.”
As in many autocratic nations, there is an official Palestinian news agency — called Wafa. The writers are anonymous, but are certainly on the PA payroll (and therefore paid by the governments around the world).
Wafa authors regularly write what they are paid to, which is often anti-Israel screeds. They talk about “the occupation” and “Jewish extremists,” and “Jewish fanatics” who want to visit holy sites; their articles also fawn over the wonderful leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies.
There are no bylines. There is no way to write a letter to the editor. There are no means to correct errors. No one would consider this to be journalism; it is pure naked propaganda — to the tune of dozens of articles every day.
What’s more, Palestinian newspapers and news sites regularly reprint Wafa articles verbatim. They treat this propaganda factory the way that American newspapers treat Reuters.
When real journalism is forbidden, something has to fill the vacuum — and that is the propaganda of the PA, paid for by American and foreign tax dollars. The PA doesn’t only decide what stories to cover up by intimidating and jailing journalists, but they also decide what lies to propagate through the use of the “press.”