Friday, October 2, 2009

Credit where credit is due

The mission of Reuters-Middle East Watch (R-MEW) is, as stated under our banner, to expose errors, bias, and propaganda in Reuters Middle East reporting. In just over a month that we have been on-line, we have examined more than 40 Reuters or Reuters partner articles published on its various websites. We have been critical when Reuters' writers and editors err on the basic facts, cherry pick or omit essential information, incorporate inaccurate or inflammatory material, slant their stories to portray one side in a favorable light while demonizing the other, and employ crude propaganda techniques to influence their audience.

We also want to acknowledge Reuters' writers and editors when they publish what we consider a reasonably balanced story. " Israel, Palestinians buoyed by video-prisoner swap" by Douglas Hamilton is one such example. The reporting is still flawed; Hamilton indicates for example, that the swap consisted of Israel receiving a video of Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of Palestinian women "serving jail terms under two years". In fact, the jail terms reflect the time remaining of the original sentences and Hamilton does not mention that most of the twenty women were imprisoned for attempted murder. This missing information would certainly provide readers with a fuller picture of the severity of the crimes and the lopsided nature of the exchange. On the whole however, Hamilton's story is, as we say, reasonably balanced and certainly an improvement over many previous efforts.

We look forward to further quality gains.

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