Board of Deputies letter to Channel 10

Paul Anderson, Chief Executive Officer
Beverley McGarvey, Chief Content Officer

Network Ten

Dear Paul and Beverley

If one harboured any doubt about the inflammatory tone of Todd Sampson’s Body Hack program on Gaza on June 25, 2019, I invite you to read the brief selection of Facebook comments on the show’s Facebook page Todd Sampson’s Body Hack post 10:06pm June 25; (please see below).

The egregious lack of balance – despite Mr Sampson declaring during the program that he was “not taking sides” – has predictably led to an outpouring of hate mail against Israel, and by extension against the Jewish community, to the extent of members of the public drawing analogies between Israel and Nazi Germany. We understand the importance of ratings for a commercial network, but the lack of context or balance – or indeed, of  journalistic or ethical responsibility – for what the network put to air on this occasion was appalling.

Mr Sampson lamented the lack of medical supplies and electricity experienced by Gaza’s major hospital; yet did not deem it relevant to mention that Hamas – which controls Gaza – has diverted untold millions of dollars of international aid building sophisticated tunnels to be used to abduct and murder Israelis. He depicted heartbreaking scenes of Palestinian children who had sustained injuries in the so-called peaceful protests at the Gaza-Israel fence; yet did not deem it relevant to ask any Palestinian parent why they would take children to what was – according to Mr Sampson’s own apt description – a war zone. The litany of such examples of his “taking sides” – to borrow his own expression – and of a consequent lack of context or balance is damning, flying in the face of his repeated expressions of grief and sorrow at Palestinian suffering, as against his fleeting and heavily qualified reference to Israeli civilian suffering.

The film has been screened, the damage has been done. The purpose of this letter is to respectfully urge you to be mindful on future such occasions of the imperative to ensure balance and context when depicting such fraught and complex situations. In fact, I wrote to Network Ten a fortnight before the program was screened to urge that the voice-over accompanying the footage be measured and balanced. Very unfortunately, the opposite occurred.

Kind regards

Vic Alhadeff
CEO, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies