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Why MEMO matters

Audience member at MEMO's ‘Crisis in Saudi Arabia: War, Succession and the Future’ conference on 18 November 2017 [Middle East Monitor]
An audience member at MEMO's ‘Crisis in Saudi Arabia: War, Succession and the Future’ conference on 18 November 2017 [Middle East Monitor]

After another successful MEMO-hosted Palestine Book Awards ceremony, in which literature on subjects related to Palestine was honoured. I wanted to shed light on MEMO’s willingness to be a platform for opposing opinions on the wider regional discourse, covering issues which have divided communities – who are often of the same nationality, ethnicity or faith.

Generally speaking, when one comes across an online news article, one subconsciously concludes that it will be biased in favour of a political ideology or particular government and with good reason. For while there should be a difference between the media bias seen in news coverage and the bias revealed in opinion and editorial content, increasingly there is not.

After all it was British statesman Ernest Bevin who served as foreign secretary towards the end of the Mandate of Palestine, and who opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, who said: “A newspaper has three things to do. One is to amuse, another is to entertain and the rest is to mislead.”

READ: MEMO hosts Remembering Jamal one year on 

In terms of coverage of the Middle East region, the content is especially polarised, mainly due to the contending narratives of regional powers and their government mouthpieces. So it becomes increasingly difficult to find an overall objective perspective or even multiple perspectives from the same outlet.

This is what makes MEMO different and importantly why its opinion pieces matter. Taking a look at some of the comments made by social media users on our platforms, is quite evident many choose to judge the article based on the headline and voice their opinion before reading the full article.

MEMO conference: ‘The Nation-State Law entrenched discrimination against Arab-Israelis’ 

As a news site, MEMO has been accused of alignment with, or of being mouthpieces of, a plethora of states and ideologies ranging – which often work against one another – from the West, to Turkey, the Gulf Arab states, Salafism, Iran and even Zionism. This is perhaps indicative of the fact that as MEMO our views are not monolithic as some may assume. Granted we are all on the same page when it comes to the issue of Palestinian national liberation, but when it comes to the rich tapestry of the wider region, we respectfully disagree over certain issues.

As a result, it becomes especially difficult for critics of our work to accuse us of blatant media bias. Sure they may nit-pick on the coverage of Palestine, but this has been explained in our About Us page. Then again, according to this commentator, we are apparently pushing an Israeli agenda.

MEMO is creating new perspectives and encouraging debate in the process, even if it includes conversations about which global political power we are backing through each article.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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