UK law firm files complaint against Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia

 20 Jun 2017 - 9:46

UK law firm files complaint against  Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia


London: British law firm "Carter-Ruck" has filed a formal complaint with the British broadcasting regulator (Ofcom) against Al Arabiya News Channel and Sky News Arabia for broadcasting baseless statements  attributed to  the Emir of Qatar H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, following the hack of Qatar News Agency (QNA) on May 24th.

Since Al Arabiya Channel and Sky News Arabia (which is part of the UK Sky plc) are Ofcom-regulated, QNA has assigned Carter-Ruck to file a complaint with Ofcom to draw the attention to the two channels' breach of its Broadcasting Code, including those sections requiring due impartiality and due accuracy in the news, which were violated by the two channels when broadcasting the false statements attributed to HH the Emir of Qatar.

The hack of QNA caused the publication of a number of fabricated statements attributed to the Emir that were falsely reported by the two channels. They did not comply with the Broadcasting Code of Ofcom, including those items that require impartiality and accuracy in the news, especially that QNA did not broadcast these statements on the FTP system adopted in the exchange of news between Arab and international news agencies. 

The Qatar Government Communication Office (GCO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs swiftly issued press statements addressing the hack of QNA and clarifying the true position towards the fabricated statements. The GCO also took the precaution of contacting broadcasters directly so as to ensure that matters were entirely clear. The majority of the world's media responded accordingly, such as Reuters and AFP, informing the public of the hack and correcting any misleading impression that had been conveyed by earlier reports. However, notwithstanding the general response, Al-Arabiya and Sky News Arabia continued to report the falsely attributed statement with great prominence, while failing to respond to the GCO's attempts to contact them.

The (FTP) system is the system approved by news exchange agreements between Arab and international news agencies as the sole source for receiving and transmitting news, not the websites of these agencies.

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