Anti-Israel Media Bias Moving to Canadian Campuses

Published: February 16th 2010

HRC Executive Director Mike Fegelman
Pic: Mike Fegelman

According to Fegelman, we rarely hear stories about the tyranny, gender apartheid, and repression of fundamental human rights that take place in the broader Middle East simply because the media aren’t based there. “Take journalistic freedom of expression for example, it’s almost non-existent. Case in point, Canadian-Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek reporter who was detained by the Iranian regime for reporting on the crackdown of Iranian dissenters. Go to Gaza, BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped by Hamas-linked thugs for simply doing his job, and go to Saudi Arabia as a reporter and the secret police will likely follow you, censor you, and perhaps detain you. Contrast this with Israel which boasts a vibrant free press where journalists can report in a safe and unfettered environment. This disparity is often not disclosed by the media, nor understood by the news consumer.”


What You Can Do To Make A Difference

HonestReporting encourages its members to be media literate and to engage in a professional dialogue with reporters, ombudsmen, and news executives. “We seek to sensitize the media to Israel’s concerns in a moderate way, while avoiding being strident and knee-jerk reactionary. We teach our members how to write effective letters to the editor and how identify and combat media bias against Israel.” Fegelman said.


The organization was founded in 2003 as an independent, non-profit organization headquartered in Toronto. In 2008, HRC expanded its efforts to Montreal with the launch of an office there and the creation of a French monitoring unit. HRC is affiliated with other HonestReporting initiatives around the world. The first such initiative,, came about in response to the "media war" paralleling the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians since October 2000. The Canadian branch was founded by prominent businessmen, academics, and former Canadian media executives. HRC is chaired by Ken Rotman, Co-CEO of Clairvest Group, a Toronto-based private equity investment firm. Other board members include author and historian Professor Irving Abella, Former Senior VP of News at CTV and CBC Tim Kotcheff, etc.


Future Campus Plans

In the future, HonestReporting Canada hopes to replicate its successful media monitoring model and establish a permanent presence on Canadian campuses from coast to coast. HRC hopes to create a “media ambassadors program” where it would train competent pro-Israel student advocates on campus to ensure fair and accurate campus media coverage of Israel. Campus co-coordinators would partner with existing pro-Israel campus organizations and would pro-actively write op-ed’s, monitor campus media outlets, and organize media-related campus events. Students would be compensated with a stipend at the completion of the program.


HonestReporting Canada is a non-profit organization supported by personal donations, large and small, from individual Canadians. Fegelman called on all who are interested in getting involved with HonestReporting by going to its website ( and sign up to receive their free media action alerts.


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