Tuesday, January 18, 2011

UK Writer: JMG/Towleroad Deleting
Gay Iran Posts = Ethical Breach

In response to my post about Joe Jervis and Andy Towle removing their posts about Paul Canning's story alleging Iran is about to stone to death two gay men, Canning and I have had the follow exchange at the Gays Without Borders listserv.

Granted, Jervis and Towle are being asked to provide more answers to my concerns and questions. But the bigger issue here is getting Canning to either give more info about his sources and also a simple reply to my query for a good English translation of a Kurdish news piece in the Rojhelat Times that Canning and a colleague at Gay Middle East say is the source for the sentencing handed down to the gay Iranians. GME story is here.

As much as Canning would like the focus to be on Jervis and Towle, they are not the heart of the problem. We need Canning to shed more light on his sources and show us if any non-governmental organization other than the International Committee Against Stoning is working on the gay Iranians' cases.

From Canning:

This information has also been deleted by Towleroad.

None of this deletion has been conducted by communication with the sources of the information, in my understanding in breach of basic journalistic ethics, with both Joe and Andy now breaching such basic ethics.

Neither I, nor any of my contacts have heard from either of them regarding whether or not this story is TRUE.

This is journalism 101, check sources.

I have asked Towleroad why they have deleted, thus far no response. I trust that American readers will ask questions of these gatekeepers as to why they have behaved as they have. Because, thus far, I have no idea why and they have no communicated to me why.

My reply:

 i am trying to check YOUR source, the kurdish language rohela times: http://rojhelattimes.org/read.php?id=1969 . unfortunately, i don't speakurdish, and cannot locate a free online kurdish-to-english translation service.
since many questions are being raised about what you say is in that kurdish
story, can you provide me and others with an english version, please? would be
very appreciated.

From Canning:

I do not know why either Joe or Andy discounted my report. It was based on several Iranian sources who both backed it up, and contextualized it.

GME has been elaborating on what we know. It really is happening and I have asked both for an explanation. You say this is 'pushed' by me. No, it is reported. Big difference.

Here's why. This I also published today http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-venuezela-two-young-gay-men-shot-and.html would this not also be reported by at least Joe, though maybe Andy (I alerted him) would be more likely  - and you?? I try to report a lot. What gets picked up is another matter.

I am really pleased that you are asking them, also, WTF is going on here. Because I think this episode speaks to their ethics.

Still more from Canning:
Michael, via this, as your email blocked.

The issue is that neither has asked me for confirmation from sources of the information.

The take-down is presumably on the basis of challenges to those sources which haven't been given to my sources. Journalism 101, IME. This is the what needs to be asked of them.

My final note of the night:

very odd that you've not addressed my query about a good english translation of
the kurdish news article, nor are your providing more info on your sources. it's
bed time here in SF and i will see if in the morning any of the NGOs, or gay or
straight iranian human rights groups back up what you are alleging.

1 comment:

ish said...

Interesting. I hadn't noticed the post on Iran gone and don't know the details. But I have to say when I read the post and linked article my first thought was that it didn't pass the smell test.

It's odd that Canning is accusing these blogs of not being good journalists or unethical when clearly they were just passing along Canning's info, which is where any actual journalistic problem would lie. What is that called, dissembling?

I have no doubt that Iran is a very difficult place to be gay but there's obviously a complicated propaganda war going on here. I'd love to know what exactly happened.