Montreal Radio Host Suspended for anti-Israel Libel



By: REBECCA BITTON  
Published: April 22nd 2010
in News » Local

CKUT from McGill
Pic: CKUT

McGill University's campus radio station CKUT has suspended radio show host Tariq Jeeroburkhan for refusing to retract anti-Israel claims made on the “Under the Olive Tree” program, issuing an official letter on April 9 explaining its decision. Jeeroburkhan is suspended from hosting teaching or preparing programming for any of CKUT radio programs from April 12 until the end of the week of June 7, 2010.

 

On April 16, Shalom Life published a story detailing a libel against Israel that was broadcast on CKUT. Thanks to Honest Reporting and its many subscribers and supporters, the radio station was forced to reevaluate the credibility of the sources used in insinuating Israeli culpability in the interrogation and abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prison. These false allegations were made by the Palestinian radio show “Under the Olive Tree” on January 21 2010. “Under the Olive Tree” is a self-identified Canadian-wide Palestinian community broadcast.

 

Following an en masse complaint by Honest Reporting, CKUT prepared a scripted text to serve as a publicly broadcast clarification of the libel which was based on a report by Press TV. Press TV is a notorious anti-Semitic Iranian broadcaster.

 

 CKUT’s clarification, intended to be broadcast on air by Jeeroburkhan, made the following clarifications: “First, the report was originally published on the website of Press TV, an Iranian broadcaster. This source was not cited during the January 21st broadcast as it should have been.” As well the scripted text states that the statement allegedly quoted by former American military Chief of the prison, Janis Karpinski, that reads “Israeli involvement in Abu Ghraib was one of the reasons why the torture and sexual abuse by US soldiers and interrogators has run as rampant” cannot be verified by CKUT and therefore the station wished to retract it.

 

However, despite these crucial clarifications reaffirmed in CKUT’s clarification script, host Tariq Jeeroburkhan refused to follow the script and instead said the following on-air on Thursday March 25 2010:

 

 "I just want to briefly respond to the overwhelming amount of interest and communications that we had for an article that we presented on the program on the 21 of January concerning the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prison atrocities. We thank everybody for their interest in this article and we thank everybody for the hundreds, literally hundreds of e-mails that were sent in regarding the subject. We would like to clarify that the source of the article that was read on-air was Press TV and you can access all of their information, the article about Abu Ghraib as well as other articles about the situation in Palestine and the Middle-East at www.presstv.com. And the other clarification that we would like to make is that we did quote Colonel Janis Karpinski although she did not state explicitly that Israeli involvement in the Abu Ghraib prison is what resulted directly in the increased sexual and physical violence. If you would like to find out for yourself, please check out the Press TV website www.presstv.com and we thank everybody who sent in e-mails about the subject."

 

This broadcast was very problematic as it does not explicitly retract any of the statements made during the original broadcast. As well, the clarification functioned as an opportunity to advertise Press TV and the “interest” about the subject implied positive interest and not complaints regarding unverified slanderous statements which failed to be retracted and recognized as such.




Related articles: (CKUT, Press TV, anti-Israel, Abu Ghraib, under the olive tree)

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