October 28, 2013 16:15
by Simon Plosker
[This article has been updated – see below.]
No wonder an uninformed observer could get the impression that Israeli settlements are multiplying at a rapid pace. Take this paragraph from an article in The Independent about the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails:
To appease Israelis who oppose the move, which will see detainees involved in killing Israelis freed, the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the construction of a new settlement on the West Bank.
In fact, there is no plan to build a “new settlement on the West Bank.” As has been the case for a number of years, approved building has taken place within existing Jewish communities located in the West Bank.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Israeli settlement policies, the least The Independent’s or any news outlet’s readers should expect is factually accurate information.
We emailed The Independent asking that the error be corrected. In the meantime the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Mark Regev stated to us on the record that the PM had not approved a plan for a new settlement.
Only when a second email was sent the next day threatening to lodge a complaint with the UK’s Press Complaints Commission was the following response received from the paper’s Deputy Managing Editor:
Thank you for your email. I have already made an appropriate amendment to the story on-line.
Indeed, the offending paragraph has been removed from the body of the article.
While this is welcome, it is still disappointing that The Independent appears to react only to threats instead of issuing corrections because it is the professional thing to do.
We were astonished to see a follow up article published only hours after the above correction had been made. This latest piece, “Israel-Palestine talks boosted by release of 26 prisoners – then immediately set back by new Jerusalem settlement plans” opens with the following (emphasis added):
Israel has taken a firm step towards peace talks with Palestine by releasing a group of 26 prisoners – then almost immediately undid the progress by announcing plans to build a set of new settlements in east Jerusalem.
The Independent has now progressed from a “new settlement” to a “set of new settlements” despite neither being accurate!
A further complaint has been sent to The Independent.
The Independent responded in a more timely manner, making another amendment:
Source material can be found at this site.