September 14, 2006
Starting September 14, three Frenchmen go on trial in Paris for questioning the veracity of the 2000 videotape of the putative murder of Palestinian child Mohammed Al-Dura by Israeli soldiers. This tape - promulgated by the French state-run channel France 2 - is often credited with helping instigate the so-called “Al-Aqsa Intifada”. Now, six years later, in the shadow of revelations about media manipulation and “fauxtography” by Reuters and others, these trials take on extraordinary unexpected resonance. Not since the days of Alfred Dreyfus and Emile Zola has the French legal system been put to such a test on basic issues of racism and freedom of expression.
Heaven forbid anyone question whether or not the French news media is telling the truth.
Richard Landes who blogs at Augean Stables has been doggedly pursuing this case. He has the raw footage video and commentary at his companion site The Second Draft. He is currently in France to testify at the trial on behalf of the men accused of "criticizing the French media". Yes folks that is why these men are being tried in court! Ah the enlightened French.
Keep your eye on this case. There are 3 scheduled trials of which the first starts today. (this via Richard who was at the blog meet last Sunday in Cambridge).
It's a scary thing when a supposedly democratic society puts people on trial for daring to question whether or not the press are telling the truth. The fact that this can happen makes me conclude that France is a democracy in name only. After all it looks good in front of the world and in the UN. And in France as in the UN - looks are everything.
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