Responsible journalists don't discriminate between men and women

Journalists adopt double standards when it comes to reporting child murders perpetrated by the mother or by the father.

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Gil Ronen,

Four girls murdered in Jerusalem by their mother
Four girls murdered in Jerusalem by their mother
Flash 90

At a Knesset hearing yesterday in the Committee for Child Welfare which discussed the murder of five children by their mothers during the course of 2017, the government representative requested that such media reports on parental murders should be downplayed.

"Children lose their trust in parents and parents lose their trust in their parental capabilities due to imprudent media coverage," said Yochi Simantov, the director of the Education Ministry's psychology services at the committee meeting.

"There are a number of rules to note in these cases of murder and suicide reported by the media," she added. "It is forbidden to show empathy for the perpetrator, it is forbidden to publicize the method in which it was performed and it is forbidden to publish it in prominent parts of the newspaper. Irresponsible coverage of this topic and of suicides places sectors of the population in danger and influences them."

Simantov's words met with approval. "It was clear that responsibility for the phenomenon is in our hands as well. We must remember the responsibility in our hands and present responsible and not provocative journalism. We should not kill all of our values for one more headline or scoop" wrote Sarit Avitan on the nrg site.

In two cases which occurred in the last few days in Jerusalem and Akko, the media not only downplayed the item, but went so far as to completely avoid publishing the names of the murderous mothers and their victims or their pictures. There is no journalistic precedent for this. Cases in which a parent murders a child are always prominently publicized.

If the murderer is a male, he is described as a monster and the feminist journalists excoriate him. If the murderer is female, she is described compassionately and the story quickly leaves the headlines. However the identity of the murderess and her victims is always publicized, especially when more than one child is involved.

That is the way it should be: Every person has a name, even a murdered child. There is no justification for concealing pictures and identities of the tender victims, and the public has the right to know what the murderer looks like.

Moreover, when a man murders a woman the matter is inordinately publicized. The ultra left-wing newspaper Haaretz even devotes a special section to women murdered by their husbands.

Women's groups count the cases zealously and inflate the numbers as part of their annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women every November on which they also raise funds for their activities. The feminist journalists pump news about violent men and articles with statistics lacking any basis which supposedly demonstrate the aggressive nature of males and the misery of women under male terror.

It is a sham to ask for journalistic responsibility if in the next case of murder by a male the pictures of the murderer and the children fill the front pages and serve as the opening item for Yael Dan and Yonit Levi [IDF Radio and Channel 2 anchors]. Domestic murders do not need to be main headlines and can be concealed in the inner pages of the newspaper, but this must apply to all cases and not only those in which the murderer is a female.