Monday, October 10, 2011

Ofcom's ruling on the Palestine papers offers hope to the Middle East

In vindicating al-Jazeera's publication of diplomatic documents, Ofcom is supporting truth-telling in a turbulent region

Clayton Swisher, Monday 10 October 2011

"Nine months ago, when al-Jazeera and the Guardian jointly published the Palestine papers, revealing the scale of concessions secretly made by Palestinian negotiators in a decade of talks with Israeli leaders, we were accused of biased, agenda-driven coverage. As head of the investigative team that produced the papers, I was accused on live television by the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, of being a CIA agent on a mission to destroy the chances of Palestinian statehood. Today Ofcom, which was asked by the PLO to investigate whether our coverage had been unfair to both it and to Erekat, published a 19-page ruling that unequivocally vindicates our coverage.

The Palestine papers represented the largest leak of diplomatic documents in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They included more than 1,600 files, including high-level meeting minutes, maps, security documents and assorted proposals. The PLO, which initially labelled them as "forgeries", quickly acknowledged their authenticity....

The Middle East desperately needs more truth-telling. To that end, the Ofcom ruling on the Palestine papers could be perhaps the UK's best contribution to the region in some time."

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