GUEST BLOG: Mick Hall – Media Dare Not Call It Genocide


New Zealand’s national broadcaster has justified removing references to “genocide” in Gaza made by a Palestinian guest on its podcast because it would have otherwise “stolen valuable time.”

It is part of a trend among national broadcasters in English-speaking countries to shy away from what U.N. experts have begun naming Israel’s conduct in Gaza.

Radio New Zealand’s In Detail podcast “Fear and trauma from a world away featured interviews with Palestinian-New Zealander Tameem Shaltoni, who has relatives in Gaza, and Ben Kepes, a New Zealand tech businessman and son of holocaust survivors from eastern Europe.

The podcast, published Nov. 7, explored how the “Israel-Hamas war” had impacted them both, as well as their respective views on catastrophic events in occupied Palestine and in Israel since Hamas broke out of Gaza’s confines and attacked settlements and military installations on Oct. 7.

Hamas’ Operation Al-Aqsa Flood left 1200 people dead, according to Israel, while Israel’s response in laying total siege to Gaza, indiscriminately bombing its residents and displacing approximately 1.5 million Gazans has so far left over 14,000 dead, including approximately 6000 children.

- Sponsor Promotion -

A ‘humanitarian’ pause was agreed to begin on Thursday,  to last an initial four days, to facilitate a hostage exchange and deliver aid to Gazans, who now face the threat of starvation and disease.

After the RNZ podcast and accompanying website story were published on Nov. 9, Shaltoni took to X (Twitter) to voice his concern that his repeated references to “genocide” being committed in Gaza had been removed.

He said he had been told by the podcast journalist his interview would be subject to RNZ media policy guidelines and that this would be reflected in the editing process.

He deleted his tweet but repeated his concerns on the weekly political podcast 1 of 200, stating his view Western media didn’t want to countenance the idea of genocide because it contradicted the narrative that there was a war between Israel and non-state actor Hamas.

Genocide ‘Outside the Ambit’ of Podcast

The activist platform, the Aotearoa Liberation League, contacted RNZ to ask what broadcasting guideline had been used to remove references to the term. In a reply seen by Consortium News, RNZ head of content, Megan Whelan, said its guidelines were publicly available to read and that claims of genocide were simply “outside the ambit” of the podcast in question. She said:

“For this podcast, the purpose, which was shared in advance with all participants, was to provide a New Zealand audience with an insight into what is like living in New Zealand while there is a war in your homeland.

This podcast’s focus was therefore on personal, firsthand experiences. It was also made clear to all participants that podcasts are edited and curated pieces.”

Whelan said no participant had the right to veto decisions of the podcast’s producer and suggested airing references to genocide would have been editorially troublesome.

“To have included the claims of genocide would have stolen valuable time away from the guests as it would have meant defining genocide, providing context for the listener and offering a right of reply,” she said.

Zionist Allowed to Make Contested Statements

In contrast, Zionist guest Kepes, who described himself as an ethnic, non-religious Jew, was allowed to introduce highly-contested Israeli talking points and make accusations about those who attended Palestinian solidarity rallies in New Zealand, without evidence or context added.

Kepes claimed protestors had chanted “gas the Jews” as they marched down Auckland’s Queen Street on an unspecified date.

He said people he knew were “almost housebound with fear” in New Zealand because they didn’t want to be identified as a Jew and that police had heightened security measures for others. He added he felt safer in a bomb shelter when he lived in Israel than living in New Zealand, where the threat was “much more insidious.” He said:

“I’m not denying Palestinian angst. I absolutely accept that the Palestinians have been hard done by their own co-religionists and Israel and I’m more than happy to have that conversation, but that is a distinctly different thing from someone saying that because I’m Jewish I deserve to die.”

Kepes also claimed Iran was the regional “puppet master” who had “engineered this war” using Hamas, implying that it bore responsibility for the current crisis.

Iranian leaders have signalled a reluctance to play any role that could potentially to lead to regional conflagration and a possible world war. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told CBS News Hamas made its own decisions and carried out its Oct. 7 operation without its knowledge, but his government supported Hamas’ right under international law to violently resist Israeli occupation.

No right of reply was offered by RNZ to Kepes’ comments.

Whelan said RNZ took “no editorial stand in its news or factual output” and pointed to three Reuters stories she said dealt with genocide “claims.” She added that views were reported according to their news worthiness and significance.

Alarm Raised Over Genocidal Intent

Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. (Naaman Omar apaimages/Wikimedia Commons)

There have been warnings of an unfolding genocide against Palestinians for several weeks now. Key experts have said the threshold for using the term when talking about Gaza had been met.

In the latest of four statements on the subject, U.N. special rapporteurs said this week there was evidence of an intent to “destroy the Palestinian people” and that the West was failing to stop it.

“Many of us already raised the alarm about the risk of genocide in Gaza,” experts said on Nov. 18. “We are also profoundly concerned about the support of certain governments for Israel’s strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilise to prevent genocide.”

Israeli ministers have signposted their genocidal intent with multiple statements dehumanising Palestinians and attributing collective guilt to all Gazans for the Oct. 7 attack.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Oct. 9 said, for instance, that Israel was dealing with “human animals” who would be treated as such, as a total siege of the 25-mile by 5-mile strip was announced six weeks ago.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said “an entire nation” was responsible for the Hamas attack. Israel’s senior army officials framed Hamas as Nazis and its attack a holocaust, a position reinforced by U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders, signalling that all means to defeat Hamas were permissible. Israeli officials also emphasised the military goal in Gaza was destruction not accuracy.

Since then, over 20,000 tonnes of explosives have landed on Gaza, leaving half of all buildings damaged or destroyed, agricultural land, bakeries and hospitals bombed. An estimated 1.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from the north to the south of Gaza, while it too is being bombed.

Arguably most sinister were comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After earlier promising to turn Gaza to rubble, he compared the strip to Amalek at the beginning of the ground invasion on Oct. 29, a biblical reference where Yahweh commands King Saul to put to death every man, woman, child and infant in an act of total destruction.

A leaked Israel ‘concept’ document revealed a plan to displace Gazans and force them into tent cities in Egypt’s Sinai desert.  Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has also backed calls by Israeli MPs for Western countries to accept Gazan families who expressed a desire to relocate.

Genocide Clearly Identifiable in Gaza – Albanese

U.N. Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese addresses public meeting in Auckland on Nov. 20. (Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa)

U.N. special rapporteur Francesca Albanese, who made a flying visit to Auckland and New Zealand’s capital Wellington this week, told Consortium News genocide occurred when there was an intent to destroy a group of people, identified as a religious, ethnic, national or racial group, in full or in part.

“There are a number of acts [that] constitute genocide,” she said.

“For example, the act of killing of the members of the group, the severe physical and psychological harm inflicted to the members of the group or the creation of circumstances that might lead to the destruction of the group, in full or in part. These are the three cases that are clearly identifiable in the case of Gaza and there has been a clear and declared intent.”

She said there was an obligation on Western states, including New Zealand, to speak out against genocide and believed the word should be used repeatedly in the media.

“I think that the word should be used because the 1948 Genocide Convention poses an obligation to prevent it, when there is a risk of genocide being committed and member states have to intervene and have to stop atrocities and crimes that may amount to genocide.”

New Zealand ratified the Convention in 1978. Albanese said:

“The media have notoriously played a role in certain contexts in not being accurate and probably either underestimating the risk or even amplifying, in certain contexts, genocidal calls and incitement to genocide.”

Her position is reflected widely among those in legal and academic circles specialising in international humanitarian law.

Israeli associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Stockton University in the U.S., Raz Segal, said both the intent of Israel and the dynamics of violence make Israel’s onslaught in Gaza “a textbook case of genocide”.

He told U.K. media commentator Owen Jones on Nov. 22:

“If you take all the elements of intent, dehumanising language, portraying Palestinians as a whole as enemies, human animals – think about the discourse of human shields, which is incredibly important to note here Palestinians are humanised only as they appear as human shields, which is of course incredibly dehumanising – when you take all of this together, with the dynamics of violence, what we see on the ground is very clear… the killing is genocidal.”

Segal said with the siege, bombing and displacement of residents, Israel had created the conditions calculated to bring about the destruction of Palestinians in Gaza.

State Broadcasters Refuse to Call Out Genocide

The main entrance to Broadcasting House in London in 2019. (Igbofur, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Other state-funded broadcasters in the Anglosphere have come under criticism over coverage of Israel’s onslaught.

On Nov. 8, The Sydney Morning Herald reported a mass meeting of over 200 Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalists that saw staff raise complaints about managers mis-framing what was happening in Gaza and about the news outlet refusing to use accurate terms like ‘apartheid’, ‘war crimes’ and ‘genocide’. ABC established an advisory panel to look into the complaints.

ABC boss David Anderson subsequently accused staff of wanting to inappropriately engage in political activism. Some of Anderson’s critics have countered that he expects staff to remain stenographers of Western power, framing events in Gaza uncritically and without proper context, while maintaining a passive editorial stance that runs contrary to the notion of public-interest journalism challenging and holding power to account.

There have been similar reports of unrest within the BBC. On Oct. 25, The Times reported staffers at the broadcaster had been crying in toilets and had taken time off work, upset at the BBC’s double standards, being too “lenient” on Israel while “dehumanising” Palestinians. BBC North Africa correspondent, Bassam Bounenni, resigned after posting on X he had done so for the sake of his “professional conscience.”

RNZ’s has news-sharing agreements with both ABC and BBC and republishes the outlets’ stories on its own website.

[In the United States neither The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, nor ABC nor have called what is happening in Gaza “genocide.” CNN and NBC at least quoted people who called it that.]


Mick Hall is the the RNZ sub sacked for editing propaganda out of MSM wire copy. He now writes for Consortium news. Reprinted with his permission. 


  1. RNZ had an interview with an IDF soldier (my impression only, if anyone has better information please correct me) who was sickening with his pro-Israel BS.
    The author of this article obviously gets the important details correct which explains why certain vested interests got so upset at his unbiased reporting on current events.
    I heard Ben Kepes on the radio & while I was only at a Christchurch rally I did not see or hear any threatening anti-Israel things spoken. If Jewish people want to feel safe all they need to do is condemn any war crimes/genocide committed by Israel. They are sanctimonious if they think they can support the conflict without expecting any blowback from those with opposing views.

  2. As award winning journalist Jonathan Cook writes: “given the West’s dulled sensitivities to Palestinian suffering, militant factions are likely to deduce that headline-grabbing atrocities — mirroring Israel’s own historic approach to the Palestinians — are the only way to gain attention,” and, understanding that, Cook writes, “Israel is taking advantage of this moment to “finish the job”, before its “decades of dispossessing and brutalising Palestinians (becomes an) “ever more a defining moral cause among Western publics, as the fight against apartheid South Africa once was.”
    “So The final destination is clearly in view, as, in truth, it has been for more than seven decades. The crime is unfolding step by step, the pace quickening. And yet senior politicians and journalists in the West, like their predecessors, continue to be blind to it all.”

  3. An online search of ‘RNZ China genocide’ produces mulitple articles where genocide is referenced without qualification or justification. I haven’t seen any evidence of one Uyghur child being murdered in China let alone the 5000 of Gaza.

    Another search of ‘RNZ Ukraine 14,000’, a reference to the 14,000 Ukranian citizens of the Donbass region killed by the Ukranian coup government (a ‘self genocide’?), returns more articles such as this courtesy of BBC

    which describes a ‘Russian backed armed rebellion in the Donbass since 2014’. RNZ should have applied it’s strict journalistic standards here and reported the Ukranians were killing their own people in the region who just happened to be the Russian speaking majority, an ethnic cleansing which was confirmed later by an unhinged Ukranian government banning not just anything Russian but also oppostion political parties and media companies. This is the type of context that RNZ needs to present in their flagship reporting.

    A couple weeks ago RNZ released another BBC article on their website titled ‘Gaza hospitals caught on front line of Israel-Hamas war’

    Gaza hospitals were neither ‘caught up’ or in a ‘war’: hospitals were intentionally bombed by an occupying force killing an unarmed occupied people, a people with no army, navy or air force. Targeting hospitals is a crime against humanity without doubt; the targeting of kids, women, elderly, the sick and those seeking shelter is currently being investigated by human rights lawyers around the world to determine if ethnic cleansing and genocide can be proved. The task was made easier by the Israeli command broadcasting it’s intent on TV, and their actions in denying the people of Palestine with the essentials of life such as food, water, medicine, electricity and safety builds the case for prosecution. The article goes on to say Palestinians are being deprived of these essentials of life ‘due to fighting’ as if this is somehow a symmetric battle by two equal armies instead of a systematic slaughter, a narrative so distorted that it to could be seen to be aiding and abetting the Israeli mass murder. Maybe if the fanatic Israelis stopped their relentless murdering then essentials could get through (a permanent ceasefire rather than a teabreak). The Israeli command has unmasked now to reveal it’s true racist homocidal self, the BBC is there to justify Israeli actions and polish the turd of empire, and RNZ is left to do as they are told.

    And wow, kiwi resident Ben Kepes is actually the victim of the Gaza massacre. As he puts it, the Gazans were ‘hard done by’.

  4. What can we say. The mainstream media is rotten, the world over, ditto the political world it supports.

    What this horrific turn of events has exposed should be heeded by us all.

  5. The media – at least the mainstream media – has grasped both sidesism with both hands. In an effort to be evenhanded, they are afraid to use strong language.
    As usual, comedians have much more insight into stupidity than newspaper reporters.

    However, the MSM isn’t the only one that’s gone this way – Chris Trotter seems to have gone full Zionist, refusing to mention anything about Israeli war crimes. Apparently eventually you have to just “pick a side”. He certainly picked his.
    I might be being a bit mean here, but he as good as accused me of being a Hamas supporter and an anti-Semite because I support the Palestinian people, and a couple of days later he’s letting obvious anti-Semitic statements through without even a peep. I don’t know – maybe he’s losing it.

    • Chris Trotter is an accomplished and erudite journalist. On that basis The Daily Blog was able to rank him as “New Zealand’s foremost left-wing commentator”. The question has always been about just what made him “left-wing”. Certainly, he has associated with left-wing groups and organisations throughout his career as a journalist, right down to his trade mark rendition of the “Red Flag” at funerals or celebrations.
      In the nineteen nineties Trotter linked himself with fellow journalist Bruce Jesson who led the Republican Movement. Bruce had a great intellect, and more than that, he was a person of principle. If the left had kept to Bruce Jesson’s legacy following his untimely death, it would be a force to be reckoned with today. Trotter, however, who took up Jesson’s mantle as the “foremost left wing commentator”, was a very different kettle of fish, and some of us have been wondering for the past thirty years when the real Chris Trotter would reveal himself to the nation. That has slowly happened over the past few years, most notably when he exposed himself as an ardent monarchist, the very antithesis of the supposed republican socialist who ingratiated himself with Bruce Jesson in the last decades of the twentieth century. There have been many other pointers which for various reasons have gone right over the heads of the left. For example he joined disgraced Labour MP Michael Wood in denigrating the “river of filth”, the “great unwashed” sector of New Zealand society which felt betrayed and abandoned by Labour’s authoritarian brand of neo-liberalism. Trotter advanced on this very web-site the fascist slogan “The safety of the people is the highest law” in calling for the violent suppression of the dissidents.
      More recently we have seen him lauding the genocidal ideology of Arthur “Bomber” Harris who is on record as saying that “the only thing the Arab understands is the heavy hand” and that “one 250 lb. or 500 lb. bomb in each village that speaks out of turn” would solve the problem of Arab resistance to British rule in Palestine.
      If this was just about Chris Trotter, it would hardly be worth a mention, but the real question is “How could the left be so wrong about this man, and why did it take so long for them to see that they were clasping a viper to their bosom?”.
      In answer I would suggest that Chris Trotter is quite correct to say that the left has lost its way. However he is quite wrong to assert that the left should be pursuing the interests of monarchism, colonialism and imperialism in this country and never-ending genocidal wars against non-British peoples around the globe.
      But that is what the “mainstream” left of the Labour Party has done, and the “radical” left has supported them based on the “lesser of evils” theory. The Gaza genocide has been a turning point of sorts for the radical left, while Trotter and the mainstream left want to keep right on supporting colonialism and imperialism in all its forms.
      It is understandable that Trotter feels miffed and angry. The “radical” left has parted company with him and rejected his self-invented “litmus test” of what it takes to be a leftist.
      However the radical left has not even come close to forming a coherent position on global or national politics. It is still basically in Chris Trotter’s territory, and a very long way from the intellectually rigorous and morally consistent approach of Bruce Jesson.
      Until the left changes its ways it will continue be shunned by the people that it has itself for so long shunned – the working class of Aotearoa.

      • The working class left demographically are fiscally and socially conservative with all that entails.
        They do however support constrained progressiveness.
        What the left have become is unconstrained progressives at any cost.
        The difference is as example; constrained progressive would recognise the rights of trans people to exist without discrimination but unconstrained progressives will allow trans people to impinge on the rights of a protected class namely women to get to their progressive goal.

  6. GS being a good old NZer by not saying the truth about Trotter direct.

    Chomsky suggests genocide is now a useless word in the Palestine context. ‘Just the facts, mam’ prob’ly does it best. The labels prob’ly don’t help. The Israelis as ever just want the people of the land to go. Which makes them scumbags for a 100 odd years.


  7. Funny, interesting, pointed, GS, Trotter ‘going this way’. ‘Maiz ben Zur’, I said my direct truth undiplomatically in my farewell to him — said he was going rightward and wondering if he had got the wrong sort of religion. The free speech man blocked my last 3 comments but gave me an official goodbye! As a gardener, my most favourable interpretation is he is a long unpruned hydrangea who has gone blousey.

  8. The fear is real

    MSNBC canceling Mehdi Hasan is having a chilling effect right across the media spectrum, even here.

    You cannot bribe or twist,
    Thank God the Kiwi journalist,
    But when you see what unbribed they do,
    There’s really no occasion to.

    In this time of heightened political tension our dumbed down media platforms and hosts instinctively know that they have to be on the lookout for ‘literal yellow submarines’.

    If our journalists ever wondered what they would have done in 1930s Germany, now they know.

  9. “….Kepes claimed protestors had chanted “gas the Jews” as they marched down Auckland’s Queen Street on an unspecified date.” Mick Hall

    This is the type of slander that the Zionists have subjected the Palestinians to for decades.

    That Ben Kepes is using this false accusation to slander the New Zealand protest movement, and our media lets him get away with it unchallenged is a disgrace.

    Many of these protesters slandered by Kepes are veterans of the protest movement against war and injustice going back decades and have been proven to have been on the right side of history again, and again. Nuclear weapons, anti-apartheid, Maori land rights, Iraq war, Vietnam war.
    Where were these Zionist lickspittle journalists during these times?

    Probably the same place they are now – Giving softball interviews to the warmongers and oppressors.

    We need courageous journalists like Mehdi Hasan, not afraid to speak truth to power. Not these cowardly poor excuses for journalists.

Comments are closed.