Friday, September 17, 2004

When editing goes too far?

Reuters is pissed off at the CanWest Global newspaper chain in Canada. It says the chain is inserting too much opinion into its stories on the Iraq and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

For example, a Reuters sentence:
... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.
CanWest's National Post printed:
... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.
The editor of the Ottawa Citizen, another CanWest paper, says the chain does have a policy to relabel some groups, primarily Arab, as terrorists.
"We're editing for style," he said. "We're editing so that we have clear consistent language to describe what's going on in the world. And if we've made a mistake we should correct that. And we will."
Mistakes? Why, yes.

The Citizen inserted "terrorist" into an AP story about Fallujah last week seven times. The problem? The fighters weren't terrorists. The paper ran a correction:
The changes to the Associated Press story do not reflect Citizen policy, which is to use the term 'terrorist' to describe someone who deliberately targets civilians. As such, the changes to the Associated Press story were made in error."

>Reuters upset by CanWest's use of 'terrorist' [CBC Ottawa]
>"Terrorist" as Euphemism [Testy Copy Editors]


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