Two Syrian Bishop’s Kidnapping News Coverage

aljazeera

two kidnapped bishops

As reported by AngryArab.com, Aljazeera has recently secretly changes its headline following its news release regarding the kidnapping of bishops Syria. In this report, it is stated that Aljazeera initially headlined the post as “Syrian bishops Reported kidnapped by rebels”. However, later in the day, Aljazeera is said to have secretly and “sneakily” changed the headline to “Two kidnapped Syrian Bishops Freed”. (http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2013/04/aljazeera-sneakingly-changes-its.html) (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134235221315190.html)This change comes as a result that Aljazeera’s reporting on the issue was solely based off information supplied by Syrian State Media stating that the bishops had been kidnapped by individuals from the rebel group. In further looking at the story following the change as well as other news media outlets, it is still in question who is officially responsible for abducting the individuals. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134235221315190.html) This begs to question on whether simply the headline of the article was changed in an effort to stay neutral and clarify the issue or whether the headline as well as the article was changed once finding out that they had publicized possible misinformation. In other reports publicized and specifically one by CNN, the opposition and the government have both blamed the other group claiming that the opposite side is responsible / behind the kidnapping. (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/24/world/meast/syria-civil-war/) In my personal opinion, I feel that Aljazeera in an effort to publish the issue quickly and be the first to report on the issue, based their information off misguided and biased government news sourced information and later found that they correct their mistake. While I believe that this is wrong in the way that they handled the cover-up, I feel that in their opinion by making the change in a covert manner they felt that they could correct their article in the hopes that it would both be done without anyone noticing and before others saw the story.

However, this secret cover up of the article and news story as a whole is not the only issue that has proved some inconstancy and misguided information. When changing the article and headline, Aljazeera stated that the two bishops were released by the kidnappers and had arrived safely in the city of Aleppo. This article which was posted on April 23rd at 23:25 again significantly contradicts other reports which state that the bishops are still missing or being held hostage. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134235221315190.html) In today’s (April 25) reports by CNN, ForeignPolicy.com, the Jerusalem Post at 8:30, all had stated that they were still missing and possibly still in custody of the kidnappers. (http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Kidnapped-Syrian-bishops-still-missing-310905) (http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/24/syrian_bishops_remain_missing_despite_contradicting_reports) (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/24/world/meast/syria-civil-war/) It wasn’t until this point that Aljazeera became the last source to report on the issue to ensure that they had their information correct before publicizing it. At 12:08 pm today, Aljazeera finally reported that the two bishops were still captured and in custody despite claims that they were released. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/201342581317622664.html)

In looking at this story and how the media specifically Aljazeera has developed / reported the story over the past few days, readers are being provided inaccurate and false information prior to sources being confirmed as well as being provided with contradictory stories when comparing them to other outlets of the media. The way that this issue is being covered in the media seems to be very similar to the recent coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing which was filled with numerous amounts of inconsistent coverage and falsely publicized information. As a result that we as a society largely depend on the news and media as our source of information, we should expect that these reports by media outlets are both accurate where confirmation and investigations into developments are being down prior to the publication of the story. It amazes me that other outside news sources can have the correct information / developments on the issue, while a single source is covering something completely contradictory. In looking at this, I question what is really important for these news outlets, being the first to report an event or taking the time to confirm and publicize the correct information.

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