Tuesday, January 13, 2015

HaMevaser Fails At Journalistic Ethics

Once again, the Chareidi news is in the news.

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the past about the deletion of women from pictures in some Chareidi publications.  The issue has come up yet again as HaMevaser, a paper published by MK Meir Porush, deleted the females from the picture of world leaders who assembled in Paris to protest the recent violence there.

Many people have decried the policy, asserting that it is tantamount to erasing women from history. They resort to calling the editors of the paper names such as "Taliban" or the like.  Personally, I think it's irresponsible overkill to compare the editing of pictures to the killing of people, but I do understand their feelings.

For me, however, there is a much more fundamental problem here.  While I disagree with the paper's policy, I also respect their right to have such a policy.  If they don't want to publish pictures of women, then that is their right.  It's also the right of the consumer to vote with their dollars (or shekels, as the case may be) and not purchase the paper and boycott its advertisers.

What really troubles me is these publications seem to have no sense of journalistic ethics.  We rely on the press to tell us what happened in a given place at a given time.  Implicit in that is a responsibility on the part of the press to tell the truth and to not fabricate the news, nor to alter it.  No self-respecting newspaper would edit a photograph in that manner.  The fact that they do so, and do so openly, tells me that the editors of the paper have no compunctions about altering the news to fit their theological worldview.  As such, I find it hard to understand how anyone can trust what they say.

Of course, there was a way for the paper to follow its policy vis-a-vis pictures of women AND maintain journalistic ethical standards.  That would have been to publish a different picture or simply not publish a picture at all.  It's a shame that they chose to take the very worst of the options available to them.

The Wolf

(Both pictures can be viewed here.)