Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Media critic suing French news outlets, by Paul Lungen

Source: The Canadian Jewish News (via UPJF)
"After successfully defending a defamation case brought by one of France’s premier television networks, Philippe Karsenty is going on the offensive.
Karsenty, who runs an online media watchdog organization, has launched two suits against some of France's most prominent news outlets, alleging they have libelled him by comparing him to a "nut case."

The first suit names Canal+, a pay TV company owned by Vivendi SA, and alleges the network aired a documentary "depicting me as a manipulative liar. They said I was the same as those who say 9/11 was an inside job."

The second suit charges L’Express, a weekly magazine, with running an article that described him as a "obsessive nut case and manipulative," Karsenty said.

"We defended against the al-Dura lie. Now it’s time to go on the offensive and get the French media to pay the price for supporting an anti-Semitic lie," Karsenty said in a telephone interview from Paris.

Karsenty, a financial consultant who operates Media Ratings (, won a historic legal victory in May when a French court dismissed a charge of defamation against him. Karsenty had repeatedly asserted that France 2, which has been dubbed "a flagship and establishment channel," aired a news report in September 2000 that was a hoax and an anti-Semitic lie. The TV report claimed Israeli soldiers shot 12-year-old Mohammad al-Dura while he and his father crouched behind a concrete barrel at the Netzarim junction in Gaza. Karsenty questioned whether al-Dura was shot at all and said the false report had vilified Israel and led to attacks against Jews. Al-Dura, moreover, became an international symbol of Israeli ruthlessness and the boy’s poster was visible behind Daniel Pearl when the American Jewish journalist was murdered by al-Qaeda.

Karsenty was sued by Charles Enderlin, France 2’s Jerusalem correspondent, who broadcast the report based on footage and information supplied by a Palestinian stringer, Talal Abu Rahma. Karsenty lost at trial but was vindicated on appeal when a French court ruled his claims were a legitimate criticism of the network and its reporter. Most revealing was that footage shown in court showed Palestinians at Netzarim faking injuries. U.S. Prof. Richard Landes, who had monitored the case, dubbed the news manipulation, "Pallywood."

Karsenty said the French media have lined up behind Enderlin, who they want to protect as a fellow member of France’s intellectual establishment. A petition has been launched in Le Nouvel Observateur that supports Enderlin and paints him as some sort of victim, Karsenty said. The petition supports Enderlin’s integrity and states, "Seven years. For seven years a despicable campaign of hate has been trying to stain the professional honour of Charles Enderlin. For seven years, there have been those who have tried to present as 'fabricated' and as a 'staged scene' his report that shows how a 12-year-old boy was killed by shots fired from an Israeli position."

Karsenty said supporters of the petition are "personalities who are worried by the fact I was not found guilty. They say there is no right to defame and the justice system is allowing me to defame him. That’s not true. The judge found there was no defamation.""
The Daniel Pearl Standard - a responsible journalism

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