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HonestReporting (also Honest Reporting or honestreporting.com) is a pro-Israel, non-governmental organization that monitors the media for what it perceives as bias against Israel. The organization has affiliates in the United States, UK, Canada, Italy, and Brazil.
HonestReporting (HR), was founded by British university students in 2000, during Yom Kippur, at the onset of the Second Intifada, which led to the death of hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians. HonestReporting's self-declared mission is to expose what its members consider bias against Israel in the western media.
In February 2006, HonestReporting was granted "independent Charitable Organization status in Israel to complement its US and Canadian status."
In March 2006, HonestReporting UK was launched by two expatriate Britons, Managing Director Joe Hyams, and Senior Editor Simon Plosker. HonestReporting UK is seeking to achieve UK Registered Charity Status.
HR's self-declared mission statement claims that,
Israel is in the midst of a battle for public opinion – waged primarily via the media. To ensure Israel is represented fairly and accurately "'HonestReporting'" monitors the media, exposes cases of bias, promotes balance, and effects change through education and action
HR claims that since 2000, it has "prompted hundreds of apologies, retractions, and revisions from news outlets" and their efforts are "changing the face of the media and reporting of Israel throughout the world." HR defines itself "as an organization dedicated to defending Israel against prejudice in the Media" they "aim to provide educational tools and resources to anyone wishing to advocate for Israel".
Honest Reporting, in addition to media watch activities, produced a documentary discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict in association with The Clarion Fund (which is headed by Ephraim Shore's twin brother Raphael Shore). This film was entitled Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East. The same team produced a film titled Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West. Honest Reporting's subsequent videos include What Really Happened?, which deals with the al-Durrah affair.
Following a 2004 article published in the British Medical Journal which criticised Israel for a high level of Palestinian civilian casualties and claimed that the pattern of injuries suggested routine targeting of children in situations of minimal or no threat, the journal received over 500 responses to its website and nearly 1,000 sent directly to its editor. In an analysis of the responses published in the journal, Karl Sabbagh concluded that the correspondence was orchestrated by Honest Reporting and aimed at silencing legitimate criticism of Israel. In his analysis Sabbagh pointed to evidence that that the correspondents had not read the article. Sabbagh also documented a significant proportion of offensive, abusive and racist insults among the correspondence. An editorial by the BMJ referred to the campaign as bullying and said that the best way to counter such behaviour was to expose it to public scrutiny. Daniel Finkelstein, associate editor of The Times, responded that Sabbagh's piece was "anti-Israel propaganda" that did not meet even "basic academic standards" of scientific analysis.
HonestReporting Canada (HRC) is the Canadian branch of the organization. It monitors Canadian media coverage of Israel and the Middle East to promote what it calls "balanced, accurate, and unbiased reporting" about Israel.
HonestReporting Canada (HRC) was established in 2003 as an independent, non-profit group headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Since then, HRC has opened an office in Montreal in April 2008, giving them official national and bilingual status. HRC plans to further expand across the country to other large Canadian cities and extend their operations to include regular monitoring of college and university campus papers.
The executive director of HonestReporting Canada is Mike Fegelman and Assistant Director is Paul Agoston. Prominent Canadian Conservative Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister Peter Kent has served on the board of Honest Reporting Canada.
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