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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Journalism ethics, PalArab style

From Ma'an:
Extremists desecrated a Quran in West Jerusalem on Monday, a Palestinian from Bethlehem said Tuesday.

Bethlehem University student Muhammad Munir claims a group of Israeli Jews tore pages out of the Muslim holy book on Jaffa street.

Munir said he saw the incident while walking from work to his home in Wadi Al-Joz.

"I found papers on the ground. At the beginning I thought they were ordinary papers, but when I looked at them I saw that they included text from the holy Quran and pedestrians were stepping on them," he said.

Munir said he spent 10 minutes collecting the papers while bystanders insulted him and one kicked him.
Once again, Ma'an publishes a story based on a single "witness" without the slightest shred of proof. Do we have photos of the torn pages, or of Munir's injuries?

Of course not. This story fits in with Ma'an's tradition of publishing even the most absurd claims (like Jews raising wild boars and setting them loose to antagonize Arab farmers) as fact.

In this case, the story is already picked up by Hamas' AlQassam website and it will spread from there into, possibly, violent riots. People might even get killed because of this irresponsible "journalism."

But when the point of your journalism has little to do with the truth, it all makes sense.