The Birth of Fauxtography

Back in 2003, we noted an article by James Fallows on the iconic case of Mohammed al-Dura, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy whose shooting, while caught in a crossfire between Israeli troops and Palestinian demonstrators, was filmed by French television. Al-Dura’s death has been a cause celebre throughout the Arab world; several countries have issued postage stamps commemorating his alleged murder.
The case is controversial, however, because there is good reason to think that al-Dura was shot by the Palestinian rioters, not Israeli soldiers. Seven years after al-Dura’s death, the original, uncut footage shot by France’s Channel 2 has not been made public.
Pajamas Media is now promoting this online petition:

France2: Release the Secret Muhammad al Durah Tapes!
People around the world who depend on the media for reliability, accuracy, and transparency in reporting, demand that France2 release the unedited video tapes (“rushes”) that its Palestinian cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah, sent them on September 30 and October 1, 2000 from Gaza.
On September 30, 2000, your Middle East correspondent Charles Enderlin, broadcast a story about Muhammad al-Durah, a 12-year old Palestinian boy. Using the footage and the testimony from his cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah, Enderlin reported that Israeli soldiers had targeted and killed the boy. That allegation of deliberate murder spread instantaneously around the world.
Extensive doubts have emerged about almost every claim of this explosive report, and they raise serious questions about both the journalistic integrity of the cameraman and the professional judgment of his employer, your correspondent Charles Enderlin.
As a result, the raw footage France2 received from Talal abu Rahmah represent key evidence in this crucial case.
But instead of releasing the tapes, your institution has responded to criticism of your correspondent’s broadcast by suing French citizens for defamation and keeping the tapes secret for nearly seven years now.
If France2 reports the news responsibly and uses reliable cameramen, you have nothing to hide. Show the tapes and let the public judge.
Whatever political or religious beliefs we hold, whatever we now think about what happened on September 30, 2000, we, the undersigned, believe that all the victims and all of their loved ones


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