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Covering the Qana ‘Massacre’ 1996: A Case of Contextual Objectivity

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This article is part of a larger qualitative study that investigates the Lebanese journalism culture and performance in relation to the Israeli forces' operations against Lebanon and their encounters with the Lebanese resistance between 1996 and 2000. News values and objectivity are key aspects of the culture that this paper explores. It is a story about journalism told by a journalist, yet one who uses academic tools to narrate her story and the story of her fellow journalists. The article presents part of the author's own story - an ethnographic account of Tele Liban's coverage during the 1996 ‘Grapes of Wrath’ operation, as Israel then called it. The performance of Tele Liban journalists during this period will be presented and examined in relation to journalistic norms of objectivity, neutrality, balance and truth. This paper examines what might be identified as alternative ways of understanding reporting wars and conflicts and argues that in this particular situation, reporting was a case of contextual objectivity.


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