Joke by Son of Political Analyst Employed in Conflict Between Parties to Gulf Crisis

AKEED, Wasfi Khushman

Arab media outlets employed a joke filmed by the son of political analyst Majid Asfour in the conflict between media and political parties to the Gulf crisis. A newscast broadcast by the Qatari Al Jazeera TV hosted, via Skype, journalist and political analyst Majid Asfour to comment on Jordan's demand that Israel investigate the incident at the Israeli Embassy in Amman.

The said media outlets were actively involved in taking the video (joke) out of context. They took advantage of the fact that Asfour appeared as wearing formal attire on the upper part of his body only to discredit him or to question the professionalism of the Qatari channel.

Media outlets published sensational headlines, while some of them leaned toward sarcasm and exaggeration. Some media reports accused the team at the channel of filming the clip and leaking it to social media platforms to embarrass Asfour.

The video went viral on social media platforms. Some people considered it a joke, while others interpreted it away from its reality.

Al Jazeera TV quickly hosted the political analyst and his son, Manaf, who filmed the clip and sent it as a joke to some European friends in Spain where he is studying before being leaked to social media platforms.

While some media outlets refrained from explaining the video, local and foreign media outlets published the truth of what happened and focused on the fact that Asfour accepted what his son did and showed sportsmanship. Asfour also spoke about the impact of social media on making him famous in a manner that exceeded the fame he has achieved over 40 years of work in the press and politics.  

The Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (AKEED) found that there was no violation in Manaf's filming of his father, the political analyst, especially since the latter had hinted that he approved of it after its circulation. However, the violation lies in employing the video in the conflict against the backdrop of the Gulf crisis and using sensational headlines and stereotyping, which harmed the parties to the story.

AKEED also found in the way some media outlets handled the video a violation of Article 9 of the Press Code of Honor on not publishing unconfirmed, misleading, distorted, or propagandistic information, including pictures, articles, and comments. Likewise, some media outlets' refraining from publishing an explanation of the video and the interview that brought together Majid Asfour and his son is a violation of the same article, which stresses the need for correcting previously published material in the case of reporting erroneous information. 

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