Complaints that an editorial published in The Globe and Mail on Feb. 15, 2006, incorrectly declared that a video showing Palestinian youths preparing for a suicide mission was displayed on "the Hamas website" have been dismissed with reservations by the Ontario Press Council.
The reservations dealt with the fact that, in saying the video was on the Hamas website "this week" and "Hamas is airing it now," there was no independent verification that it was, in fact, newly posted on the site.
Text of the adjudication:
Campbell Robertson of Ottawa, a member of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and Bahija Reghai of Ottawa, president of the Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and Community Associations, complained about a Globe and Mail editorial published Feb. 15, 2006, which identified as the Hamas website the source of a video showing two Palestinian youths delivering statements before beginning a suicide mission.
Mr. Robertson said that when the writer was asked to identify the source of information about the site showing the video, he identified it as an Israeli organization, Palestinian Media Watch.
Ms. Reghai wrote that none of the websites cited by the newspaper are "the Hamas website."
The Globe responded that, since the official Hamas site was deactivated in 2004, Hamas has been disseminating its information through the Palestine Information Center and it's fair and reasonable to call it the Hamas site.
The Ontario Press Council is of the view that when the editorial was published, The Globe and Mail did not have the information which it subsequently acquired to identify the site as the Hamas site.
It does believe that in saying the video was "presented on the Hamas website this week" and that "Hamas is airing it now," the editorial left the impression that it had just been posted when, in fact, there was no indication how long it had been on the site.
But with this reservation, it dismisses the complaint.