Local Websites Publish Fabricated Story Based on Acting Scene on Murder of Iraqi Presenter

AKEED, Anwar Ziadat

Last week, many local news websites carried an "incorrect" story on the murder of Iraqi TV presenter Liqaa Saad, known as "Lolita," under the following headlines "Iraqi Media Person Found Dead in Her Home," "Shock to Iraqis After Assassination of Beautiful Iraqi Announcer Lolita," and "Famous Iraqi Media Person Stabbed to Death."

The news stated that "a security source confirmed that an Iraqi media person was found dead in her apartment in the capital, Baghdad. The source, who requested anonymity, said that marks of knife stabbing were found on different parts of her body." He added that "the victim had received previous threats for unknown reasons."

Activists confirmed that the dead media person used to work as an assistant presenter of a program on Al Sumaria TV. The Iraq Observatory for Press Freedoms demanded that the Iraqi authorities reveal the details of the appalling murder.

Other news websites have followed the story. Some reported it under the headline "What Is the Truth of Assassination of Iraqi Presenter Liqaa Saad "Lolita"?" The report noted that news about the murder of presenter Liqaa was still unconfirmed. One of her colleagues, who is Iraqi media person Yaser, announced that the story was "incorrect."

Presenter Liqaa Saad published a video clip, in which she categorically denied her murder. She explained that the published photo was indeed hers, but that it was from an old acting scene. She thanked all those who tried to inquire about her wellbeing. Also, an Iraqi TV station ran a report that refuted the murder of the presenter and criticized spreading rumors.

The identity of a given source is a key factor that helps the public to judge the information that is attributed to it and to decide whether to believe or doubt it. The identity of a source also helps readers to know how well informed the source is.

Most of the websites that published the incorrect news have not removed or corrected it. This suggests that local media outlets, and some international websites, seek to avoid making an apology for publishing inaccurate news. AKEED thinks that attributing news to foreign sources and media outlets does not give it full credibility. Credibility is linked to hard facts, and not to names of sources.