Was France 2s al-Dura Broadcast a Fraud? The Controversy, the Lawsuit, the Lessons to be Learned
UCLA Israel Studies Program Lecture Series on Israels 60th, UCLA School of Law Entertainment and Media Law and Policy Program
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
UCLA School of Law
France 2’s broadcast of twelve-year old Muhammad al-Dura crouching behind his father moments before he was reportedly shot by Israeli gunfire helped to fuel the Second Intifada in September 2000 and became an incendiary icon throughout the Near East and beyond. Subsequent investigations have raised serious questions about the source of the gunfire and, indeed, whether Palestinian activists on the scene staged the entire incident in collaboration with the France 2 camera crew. Writing in Atlantic Monthly in 2003, James Fallows concluded that whatever else happened to al-Dura, he was not shot by Israeli soldiers and that the rest remains a mystery. We pick up where Fallows left off, looking at the controversy over what happened and the nature of media coverage of such events.
Philippe Karsenty is a French journalist and media critic, and was recently elected Deputy Mayor of Neuilly. Through his web site, Media-Ratings, Mr. Karsenty has accused the France 2, the largest French public television network, and its Jerusalem Bureau Chief, of having knowingly broadcast staged footage of the Muhammad al-Dura shooting. France 2 has sued Mr. Karsenty for liable. The case is pending in French court.
David Kohler, former senior vice president and general counsel at CNN, is a veteran of more than 25 years in the field of media law where he worked with a variety of broadcast, cable and print media companies. He played a major role in some of the most significant media cases of the past two decades, including several resulting in key Supreme Court decisions. Professor Kohler is currently on the faculty at Southwestern Law School, where he serves as Director of the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute.
Murray Fromson is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the USC School of Journalism. During a 35 year career in journalism, Professor Fromson was an Associated Press and CBS News Correspondent and Producer who covered both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the former Soviet Union, two U.S. presidential campaigns, the civil rights movement in the southern United States as well as major stories in the midwest. He and his CBS colleagues were awarded two Overseas Press Club awards for their reporting on the fall of Saigon in 1975.
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