Thursday, September 06, 2007

Concerns over Islamist Website coverage

We have a constant problem with Memri, Israel's independant mid east media monitoring group. They often use unsourced pieces with regard to Islamist websites. This means that (a) the websites can't be closed down and (b) there is sometimes a concern that the websites highlighted may actually be security service managed for dissinformation purposes.

In the following instance (which was genuine) there was no creditable reason Memri couldn't have put the source link for this website. The site did exist but has since been closed by "site genie". Memri should be more careful to source all items where possible. Article Two of the International Media Council's Media Ethics Code (which we are always highlighting to the Arab Press) reads: "2. A story without a source is a source of trouble". Are Memri exempt from the standards we all expect from the Arabs? The story follows:

On August 26, Islamist websites posted an item titled "How to Join Al-Qaeda." It is not clear when the item was written; it was produced by the website Al-Thabitoun 'Ala Al-'Ahd, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda in Egypt and is currently inactive. The item calls on every Muslim to regard jihad as a personal duty and to take initiative to establish a jihad cell without waiting for recognition from Al-Qaeda. It goes on to elaborate on how to form and run the cell, how to raise funds, and how to select a target, "for example, assassinating the American ambassador," which, it states, "takes no more than a gun and a bullet."


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