Norwegian Telegram Bureau – with an obsession for Israel

Lifted from miff.no

NTB ‘s extreme over focus on Israel II

No one knows for sure how many were killed in the climax of the Sri Lankan civil war, but it is estimated to be from 10 to 20 times more than the total number of people killed in the conflict between Palestinians and Israel over the past four years. In the same period, the NTB mentioned Israel six times more often than Sri Lanka.

Over the last four years, news agency NTB just mentioned Sri Lanka more than Israel in one of 48 months. Israel is mentioned in a total of 6,851 articles, Sri Lanka in 1152 articles, a search in the media database Atekst shows.
MIFF has previously documented NTB extreme cover of Israel in relation to Egypt.
The civil war in Sri Lanka has cost up to hundreds of thousands of lives since 1983, among them several thousands civilians. The largest loss of civilian life took place in the last five months of the war, from January 2009 to May 2009. Estimates vary from 3000 to 5000 civilians (Sri Lankan authorities) to 40,000 (Gordon Weiss, a former official in the UN). In addition, large losses of the contending parties, the Sri Lankan army forces and the Tamil-Tigers. Read more at Wikipedia.
In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians are little more than two thousand people were killed in the period 2008-2011, the bulk of the Gaza War in year 2008-2009. See statistics on Wikipedia.
In the final months of Sri Lanka’s 26 years long civil war, the NTB mentioned Sri Lanka in 110 articles (May 2009). In that same month, Israel was mentioned 119 times. The month before, when intense battles were ongoing in Sri Lanka and cost thousands of lives, Sri Lanka was mentioned in 97 articles. This was the only month of the analysis period that Israel was mentioned fewer times than Sri Lanka. Israel was only mentioned in 90 articles in April 2009.
Sri Lanka has in fact never been referred to more than 110 articles over a month. By comparison, Israel is referred to more than 110 times in 33 of 48 months. The average reporting on Israel is 142 articles per month.
From 2008 to 2011, the only time Israel is  mentioned less often by NTB was April 2010, when the country was mentioned in 53 articles. Sri Lanka is mentioned more often than 53 times in 4 of 48 months (February, April, May 2009 and March 2011).

Extreme during Gaza war
In January 2009, Israel was mentioned 566 times, a natural peak for Israel in the period because of increased attention during the Gaza war. That same month, Sri Lanka was mentioned 52 times. Although the war in Sri Lanka this month was costing many times more lives, the NTB focus on Israel was ten times stronger.
Norway’s role in the peace process is often used as an explanation or apology for the extreme over focus of Israel in the Norwegian media. Well, Norway has also been involved in Sri Lanka, even until recently. There are approximately 13,000 people in Norway with a background from Sri Lanka, most of them Tamils. This is many times the total number of Norwegian Jews and Israeli citizens living in Norway.

Dangerous results
For many years, MIFF has pointed out how Israel is systematically covered differently in the Norwegian media compared to other countries. All the wrongs Israel would be accused of, are covered many times than much worse actions by neighbors and other countries’ side.
New searches the media database Atekst will prove that this is the case.
– The extremes of the focus on Israel “whip up hatred against Israel, against Jews and against Israel’s friends,”  Odd Myrland at MIFF wrote in an oped article in December 2009.