AKEED, Husam Assal
Several local websites have been repeatedly lured into the bickering and media campaigns taking place against the background of the Gulf crisis between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the other. These websites posted a video clip, stating that it shows a brawl between Qatari and other Gulf delegations. It transpired that the video was of a brawl that occurred in Kuwait on 20 March 2017 during the elections of the Oil Union as part of the 17th congress of the Kuwait Trade Union Federation.
Local websites published the news and the video without verifying it. One website published the news under the headline "Video…Moza Causes Brawl Between Qataris, Saudis." Another website published it under the headline "Fistfight Between Qatari, Saudi Delegations During Meeting of Cooperation Council (Video)."
Two news sites removed the material without explaining the truth of the news, having published it under the following two headlines: "Watch...Qatari Delegation Hits Saudi Counterpart at Oil Union Headquarters…Why?" and "Video..Hitting and Insults in Kuwait Between Qatari, Saudi Delegations."
One site modified the news after initially publishing it under the headline "Fistfight Between Qatari, Saudi Delegations at Oil Union headquarters-Video." The new headline read "Truth of Circulated Video of Brawl Between Saudi, Qatari Delegations-Watch." It clarified that the video clip was of a brawl at a meeting of the Kuwait Trade Union Federation and that it was almost two months old.
The Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (AKEED) believes that this violation is unjustified and that the video clip should have been verified before publishing it in view of the sensitivity of what is published in the media due to the ongoing Gulf dispute. AKEED also believes that removing and modifying the news by some websites is commendable; it is also necessary in such cases.
The publication of the video and depicting it as a Qatari-Saudi brawl violates the Press Code of Honor in Article 9, which states that "the mission of journalism requires accuracy and objectivity and its practice requires confirming the accuracy of information and news before publishing it." It is also a violation of the standard of accuracy in the "Standards of Verification of the Credibility of Press Coverage," which urges avoiding incorrect content and errors of information.
AKEED had previously handled a similar violation when local media outlets became involved in the Gulf dispute and committed some violations.