Websites Use Pictures of Israeli Dates in France and Morocco; Claim They Are in Jordan

AKEED, Husam Assal

Local websites have used pictures of dates of Israeli origin sold in France and Morocco to warn of selling Israeli dates at Jordanian markets, in a news item that circulated on websites and social media platforms.

The pictures of the dates that were published on websites are genuine, but they show dates of Israeli origin that are sold at a famous store in the French capital, Paris. A report was published about the dates on 28 May, citing a protest by some Muslims in Paris against the display of those dates next to Algerian and Tunisian dates at the store.

Moreover, one of the published photos is of an Israeli-origin package of dates that was circulated at Moroccan markets. The picture of the package appeared in several reports published last year in Moroccan media, such as "Israeli Dates Enter Morocco and Human Rights Activists Appeal for Boycotting Them," and "Moroccan Jew Leads Campaign To Boycott Israeli Dates."

The report, published on several local electronic sites, had mostly the same content. It read as follows: "Activists on social media networks on Saturday circulated pictures of dates, which they said are Israeli and being sold at Jordanian markets." The report added that "social media sites witnessed a state of outrage in the wake of the import of Israeli dates and selling them instead of Arab products at Jordanian markets. This will contribute to supporting the economy of the occupation in a clear and unambiguous manner."

One website covered the news differently. It published an item headlined "Dates of the Occupation at Tables of Fasting People in Jordan." The item included a call with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Jordanian Agricultural Engineers Association, and the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables about the existence of these dates at Jordanian markets.

Although the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Agriculture denied knowledge of the existence of these dates at Jordanian markets and in spite of the fact that the published photos were erroneously associated with Jordanian markets, the website insisted that these dates existed at Jordanian markets without relying on a source to confirm the accuracy of this information.

The Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (AKEED) thinks that the websites relied on user-generated content on social media platforms without verifying the accuracy of the news and pictures and directly going back to sources (sources versus platforms). It was also observed that most of the websites took the news from other sites without verifying the accuracy of the published content.

The above practice violates the Press Code of Honor since Article 9 stresses that "the mission of journalism requires accuracy and objectivity and its practice requires confirming the accuracy of information and news before publishing it." The violation extends to the standard of accuracy in "Standards for Verification of the Credibility of Press Coverage," which urges avoiding incorrect content and errors of information.