Al Modon & Al Shark Al Aawsat: Does political stands beat journalistic standards?


Code of Ethics

“Hizbullah defends Daftardar” is the title of the article published on Al Modon on the 7th of March 2014, before it went viral being copied to different media websites and outlets. Who is Daftardar? Daftardar is one of the accused people in Beirut southern-suburb’s bombings that targeted Lebanese civilians. These bombings have been adopted by Al-Nusra Front in Syria (and Lebanon) and they claim they are a direct response for Hizbullah intervention in the Syrian war aiding the Syrian regime. So why would Hizbullah defend a person who is fighting against them? Well we need Al Modon to answer this question. The article is based on undocumented contact from Al Modon with a legal source that confirms the link between the lawyer defending Daftardar and Hizbullah. We do know that Al Modon has a political stand against Hizbullah, but does this give them legitimacy to make such an accusation based on no real/concrete evidence. We tried to call Al Modon three days after publishing the article asking for the name of the lawyer but we got forwarded from one staff writer to another with no answer. Our question about the lawyer name is certainly not an intervention or a violation of code of ethics of a journalist mentioning his/her source of information because Daftardar’s tribunal is public and his lawyer would be known eventually. This is exactly what happened a week or so after when lawyer Alia Shalha (Dafatrdar’s lawyer) made an interview denying all the above accusations. So why didn’t Al Modon bother to call the lawyer and check facts with her in the first place?

You might say that this is one incident, but to have another article today in Al Sahrk Al Aawsat by the Saudi writer Hussein Chabakchi accusing Hizbullah of establishing underground investigation and torturing rooms beneath Beirut International Airport buildings, means that the pattern of misguided one-sided no-fact-checking articles continue. Lebanon Debate (copy-paste news’ website – now this is not professional from our side) gives the same piece this title: “Torturing rooms beneath Beirut International Airport?!” The story is of a Saudi doctor’s wife who was interrogated while leaving Beirut by Hizbullah security members and held against her will for 72 hours with no one knowing anything about her. So how can a journalist base an article with such a huge accusation on one story? Who guarantees the woman is saying the truth? Does she have any evidence?! Why not reveal her name or at least her names’ initials? Why not reveal her boarding bass?! her passport being stamped by the Lebanese customs or general security at date “x” and then another stamp by the Saudi security “x+3” days later making it legit that she disappeared for 3 days?! Why not go in an undercover operation and reveal the true nature of these Hizbullah “torturing and investigation rooms”? The worst are the Lebanese portals that copy paste such accusations with no fact checking and have no shame calling themselves media outlets.

Note: for those who think we are writing this post in defiance of Hizbullah, maybe they should check other posts in which we bash the other media outlets that support Hizbullah for news’ fabrication and journalistic-kissing!


Update: The Ministry of Interior published a statement denying all that is mentioned about the interrogation rooms in Beirut International Airport. Note that minister Nohad Machnouk is a 14 March member; the political rival of Hizbullah.





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