Monday, 4 February 2008

The Daniel Pearl Standard - a responsible journalism

Daniel Pearl was murdered by Islamic terrorists in Pakistan six years ago. His father pays homage to his memory in the WSJ and points to the role played by the media in "fermenting hate and inhumanity". Judea Pearl pleads for a responsible journalism and proposes the Daniel Pearl standard.

"One of the things that saddens me most is that the press and media have had an active, perhaps even major role in fermenting hate and inhumanity. It was not religious fanaticism alone.

This was first brought to my attention by the Pakistani Consul General who came to offer condolences at our home in California. When we spoke about the anti-Semitic element in Danny's murder she said: "What can you expect of these people who never saw a Jew in their lives and who have been exposed, day and night, to televised images of Israeli soldiers targeting and killing Palestinian children."

At the time, it was not clear whether she was trying to exonerate Pakistan from responsibility for Danny's murder, or to pass on the responsibility to European and Arab media for their persistent de-humanization of Jews, Americans and Israelis. The answer was unveiled in 2004, when a friend told me that photos of Muhammad Al Dura were used as background in the video tape of Danny's murder.

Al Dura, readers may recall, is the 12-year-old Palestinian boy who allegedly died from Israeli bullets in Gaza in September of 2001. As we now know, the whole scene is very likely to have been a fraud, choreographed by stringers and cameramen of France 2, the official news channel of France. France 2 aired the tape repeatedly and distributed it all over the world to anyone who needed an excuse to ratchet up anger or violence, among them Danny's killers.

The Pakistani Consul was right. The media cannot be totally exonerated from responsibility for Daniel's murder, as well as for the "tsunami of hate" that has swept the world and continues to rise."

Mr. Pearl is a professor at UCLA and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation (, which is committed to the promotion of East-West understanding, tolerance and humanity.

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