Referring to the many other times when Israel has been falsely accused by the media, the report concludes:
In a number of cases, staged scenes or entirely baseless claims were reported as authentic, either in an intentionally-misleading manner or without the most elemental fact-checking. While in some cases these reports were later corrected, they nevertheless fueled hatred, encouraged terror and contributed to the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
Many of the misleading reports had their source in local stringers working for international networks. The Al-Durrah affair underscores the need for news networks to exercise extra caution in evaluating reports by such stringers who are not necessarily objective and who often operate within undemocratic societies.
Beyond the Israeli context, the Al-Durrah affairs serves as an example of the challenges faced by Western media in covering asymmetric conflicts, in which journalists are a central target in the battle for public opinion, and non-democratic states and non-state actors often posses an advantage over democracies due to their willingness to rapidly release statements without verifying or being held accountable for their accuracy.
There are, however, some unanswered questions:
- If Al-Dura was alive at the end of France 2’s footage, then what exactly happened to the boy following the incident?
- Why has it taken so long for the Israeli government to investigate and release this report?
- Will the mainstream media, which gave the original story so much attention, bother to cover this latest development?
HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams said:
The publication of this report is a welcome development.
While it is too late to turn back the clock on the immense harm that this journalistic libel has caused to Israel, it is never too late to expose the truth. We must now ensure that another generation of children does not grow up believing the false and inciteful narrative of the Al-Dura incident.
This affair has demonstrated the power of the media and how it can be abused – the failure to verify information before broadcasting poisoned the minds of an entire generation and must never be repeated. We call on the media to learn the lessons and to take responsibility for their errors.
You can read the full report below:
Have your media reported the latest developments? If not, write to your newspapers and local media asking them to cover this story.
Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, PetterLundkvist.