ByNidra Poller, AMERICAN THINKER
An apparent victory for state-owned France Télévisions network and Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin in the long legal battle they initiated against French citizen Philippe Karsenty may turn out to be the last stage in a cascade of strategic errors… by the broadcaster. On June 26th the 11th Chamber of the Appellate Court convicted citizen Karsenty of slander and ordered him to pay €7000 in damages for publicly declaring that the al Dura news report broadcast from Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000 was a hoax.
The video at the heart of the controversy was said to depict in real time the killing of a Palestinian youth, identified as Mohamed al Dura, and the wounding of his father Jamal, “targets of gunfire from the Israeli position.” None of this is visible in the video shot by cameraman Talal Abu Rahmah–less than one minute of an essentially static scene. The action and the accusation are superimposed by Enderlin’s voice-over commentary and elaborated in an enveloping narrative constantly repeated over the years. The incendiary effects of the broadcast were instant and long-lasting while, in other quarters, doubts were immediately raised about its authenticity.
In 2004, ignoring a substantial body of critical analysis published worldwide, France 2 and Charles Enderlin pressed charges against three seemingly defenseless bloggers, with the announced intention of silencing all doubters once and for all. The persistent line of attack pursued in the courtroom as in the media has been to portray those who question the reliability of the al Dura broadcast as far-right crackpot conspiracy theorists with axes to grind. Additional adjectives are added according to circumstances. By suing for libel, the plaintiffs avoided a serious probe of the controversial news report while playing on the ambiguity of libel law to claim, with each small legal victory, that its authenticity was validated. In fact, the Court was not called to judge the facts but, rather, to judge the competence and good faith of citizen Karsenty: did he, at the time he denounced the report as a hoax, perform due diligence, accumulate adequate proof, and express himself in measured terms without personal animosity against Charles Enderlin and France 2.
Utterly disregarding this distinction, al Jazeera’s [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu_Qw7rQq98] on the spot courthouse report opened with a banner: “French court rules intifada video was authentic.” Briefly interviewed, Philippe Karsenty said he is confident that the truth will not be silenced. “What happened here was outrageous…obnoxious.” Counsel for the plaintiffs, Maître Bénédicte Amblard, announced with a smile: “My client is satisfied with this condemnation that will bring an end to years and years of trials.” As if Charles Enderlin had been dragged through the courts for 7 years by grumpy crackpots!
A France Télévisions communiqué reiterates her client’s satisfaction that Philippe Karsenty was punished for “baseless accusations against the news report of the death of Mohamed Al Durah.” In sanctioning a “grave insult to the honor of a journalist” the court recognizes the merits of …read more