I am using my editorial note this week to offer a statement of solidarity with The Manitoban, the student newspaper of the University of Manitoba (U of M).
In its Oct. 17 issue, The Manitoban published a series of articles about the war in Gaza and its impacts on students at the U of M. News editor Kyra Campbell and writer Jessie Krahn shared commentary on Israel’s brutal campaign in Gaza, which has killed thousands of Palestinians, while writer Colton McKillop reported on a memorial held on Oct. 13 for civilians killed in the conflict.
On Oct. 22, Honest Reporting Canada published a press release attacking The Manitoban and its writers. Honest Reporting Canada is “an independent grass-roots organization promoting fairness and accuracy in Canadian media coverage of Israel and the Middle East.” While the group claims to aim to counter bias in media, they primarily work to combat any news coverage that presents Israel or the Israeli government in a critical light and to smear Palestinian activists as antisemitic.
Honest Reporting Canada claimed that, by covering these issues, The Manitoban is “spoonfeed(ing readers) hateful disinformation” and called their reporting “groundless propaganda.”
Honest Reporting Canada’s attack against The Manitoban isn’t just inaccurate – it’s dangerous. As journalists, we must be able to report independently on topics impacting the communities we serve. This includes the disturbing increase in antisemitism in Canada and abroad since Oct. 7.
But this also includes the violence inflicted on innocent Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli government – not just in the weeks since Hamas’ horrific attack on Israel, but in its decades-long brutal occupation of Gaza and the system of apartheid that the far-right authoritarian government of Benjamin Netanyahu continues to subject Palestinians to.
The intimidation and smearing of student journalists as “sympath(izers) for Islamic terrorism” is inexcusable. I stand in solidarity with The Manitoban in the face of this intimidation.
Read next week’s issue of The Uniter for our coverage of how the conflict is impacting Palestinian and Jewish students at the University of Winnipeg.
Published in Volume 78, Number 07 of The Uniter (October 26, 2023)