Channel 9 Australia has demonstrated that editorial standards are still important, altering a story about a foiled terrorist stabbing after AIJAC pointed out several issues.
The original piece appeared on the broadcaster’s website on September 19, under the headline “Palestinian ‘executed’ after Israeli checkpoint knife attack”.
AIJAC outlined a number of problems with the story. They included:
- The headline, which inverted the attacker and the victim, as well as using the subjective claim “executed”.
- The story quoting the vehemently anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement as a source, without any explanation as to who the group is and what it stands for.
- Factual inaccuracies in reference to a car-ramming attack near Hebron, with the story claiming that two Palestinian assailants were killed (only one was), implying that no Israelis were hurt (three teenage boys were) and calling the victims “illegal settlers”, thus dehumanising them.
Following our complaint, Channel 9 quickly made amends, with a senior network representative contacting AIJAC to provide assurances corrections would be made.
The network made good on its promise:
- The headline now reflects that “executed” is merely an allegation from an interested party, the attacker’s family.
- The International Solidarity Movement is now identified as pro-Palestinian, and while Channel 9 refers to it as a website and not a group, it is a vast improvement.
- The factual errors surrounding the car-ramming have also been corrected, and in addition, rather than referring to “illegal settlers”, the story now says the assailants “rammed a car into a bus stop used by Israelis in the occupied West Bank.” While the legal status of the West Bank remains disputed, this is an improvement.
As can be seen, there remains some matters for concern, but the new version, which can be seen here, is far closer to the facts on the ground than the original was. Channel 9 are to be commended for taking their obligations as journalists seriously, and we sincerely hope other media outlets will follow their example.