Thursday, May 22, 2008

More On The Al-Dura Verdict (Updated)

The written verdict has not yet been handed down, but HonestReporting--has some of the observations of someone who was in the courtroom and spoke to some of the lawyers who saw a copy of the judgement:

At the time of writing, the full judgment had not been released to the media. However, Take A Pen's Endre Mozes was in the courtroom delivering firsthand accounts of proceedings to HonestReporting [see his report here]. Mozes spoke with some of the lawyers involved who had seen a copy of the judgment prior to its forthcoming release.

Amongst his observations and the comments from these lawyers was the court's acceptance of the argument that protagonists operating in non-democratic regimes such as the Palestinian areas are inherently less reliable and should be carefully scrutinized as should have been the case with Talal Abu Rahma.

Essentially, the court decided the level of doubt associated with the al-Dura footage warrants deep analysis. It is perfectly legitimate to question it, not libelous.

Philippe Karsenty's efforts have opened up France 2 to scrutiny and serves as an example of how the media should be held accountable for their material and the consequences of their reporting. France 2's al-Dura footage has been shown in court to be unreliable and possibly fake. Along with a number of investigations concluding that Israel was not responsible for the bullets that allegedly killed the boy, the icon that is al-Dura - the edifice upon which so much hostility has been directed at Israel, aided and abetted by a willing media - comes toppling down.
It sounds like the court is ruling about Karsenty's right to question the film--not ruling on the film itself.

The Augean Stables
writes that Charles Enderlin, who says he is going to take the case to the highest court, is emphasizing in his blog that the court did not rule the film itself a fake. Richard Landes, who writes The Augean Stables, translates:
M. Karsenty was condemned by the tribunal in Paris for having said that France2 and i, myself, produced a fake news report.

The Appeals court ruled:

1 That these accusations were, in fact, defamatory.

2 That M. Karsenty did not bring proof of this supposed “staging” and the lying character of the report.

3 But on the other hand, the Appeals court, contrary to the initial tribunal considered that Karsenty had the right to virulently criticize this report, the subject having created a notable emotion, and recognized that he had carried out his investigation that permitted the Court of Appeals to grant him the benefit of doubt in the matter of his good faith.

Obviously we do not share this last analysis and we are planning to appeal this to the highest court (Cassation).

We'll have to wait to see exactly how the court phrases it in the written verdict, expected to come out today.

UPDATE: On Pajamas Media, Phyllis Chesler reacts to the coverage by The New York Times--which has a response in a blog, but does not cover the story in the paper itself. In response to the 'evenhanded' analysis, Chesler writes:
The piece quotes Karsenty and his “supporters” in the media who claim a victory–but it also quotes France 2’s lawyers and Charles Enderlin himself who claim that the decision merely allows Karsenty to hold his “strident” point of view without considering it “libelous.” According to them, the court decision has nothing to do with the actual facts of the case, which includes footage which shows that the child is still alive on camera even after he has been pronounced dead.

You see: Both sides make good points, both sides are equally worthy, moral. According to Nizza, the “court has not released its decision, increasing the likelihood that this round in a continuing debate is far from over.”

According to the Times, nothing has been proven. To them, this all-too-academic debate continues.
You see, one man's hoax is another man's icon.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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