Al Jazeera report ‘an example of bad journalism’: Editors Guild
Editors Guild Bangladesh, "the biggest organisation of editors in the country", today said Qatar-based channel Al Jazeera has aired the report "All the Prime Minister's Men" to serve "special political purposes", without following ethics and regulations of journalism.
In a statement signed by its president Mozammel Haque Babu, the Editors Guild said that it has recently observed a documentary on Bangladesh, aired by Al Jazeera.
The report is about members of a particular family but its title is "All the Prime Minister's Men", the Editors Guild stated. Use of the term "Prime Minister's Men" to describe certain allegations aired by various media outlets is unsubstantiated and is an example of bad journalism, it claimed.
The Editors Guild believes that a politically motivated and biased documentary can in no way be an example of investigative journalism, the statement read.
The Editors Guild also said, the entire documentary was based on a person's unofficial interactions and discussions which could not be considered as acceptable proof. It was mentioned that millions of euros were invested in Hungary and France. Without showing sources, through only word of mouth it was mentioned that government contracts were given in exchange of huge sums of money, the editors' body said, adding that Al Jazeera also did not present any comments from the administrative authorities of the European Union or concerned country.
There was also no verified page of the e-mail from which Sami's "life was threatened", which raises question regarding the authenticity of the allegation, the press release also read. Also, there was no comment from the governments of Hungary, France, and Malaysia regarding the allegations of passport and other document forgery and money laundering against the persons depicted in the documentary, who are residing in these countries, which made the Editors Guild question the authenticity of these allegations.
The entire documentary was also made based on footage captured using hidden camera, which a reputed media outlet cannot do, the release said, adding that the documentary has violated journalistic norms since there was no comment from those who were depicted in the documentary. Even after two years of investigation, the claim that "the persons could not be communicated with and hence their comments could not be presented" is unacceptable, according to the Editors Guild.
Purchasing spyware is a decision based on a government's own policy, and also whether the purchase was made from an Israeli company could not be proved by the documentary, the release also read, adding that the two Israeli officials' faces were blurred. According to the Editors Guild, this has been nothing but a tactful act. Also, one of the interviewed persons in the one-hour long documentary is a convicted person by a Bangladeshi court.
The Editors Guild also said it welcomes any report or programme which has been developed with logical evidence and through maintaining journalistic ethics. However, anything aired with an ulterior motive eventually becomes damaging to both democracy and journalism, the release added.