The Washington Post

Reuters no-comments alleged Iranian suit

More on Iranian martial-arts-related media stuff!

Earlier this year, the state-run Press TV in Iran posted a video news story on a group of female martial artists. Their tumbling and kicking and flipping were impressive enough to draw the interest of Western news outlets, including Reuters.

Reuters spokesperson Barb Burg says the news agency did its own video on the program. That piece of work, however, reportedly didn’t please its subjects, who according to Press TV are suing Reuters.

Their beef? That the Reuters story called them something they’re not.

Khatereh Jalilzadeh gave this quote to Press TV:

“The lady from Reuters asked me only one question which had a very obvious answer. I believe that anyone anywhere in the world would defend his country if it were attacked . . . but she twisted our words to make us look bad and described us as assassins in the headline of her story.”

Press TV showed support for nimble athletes: “The Iranian girls, accused by Reuters of being assassins, say the damage has already been done and they are now taking legal action against the agency for defamation of character.”

Fact-checking those claims against the Reuters video is a bit tricky at this point. The piece is no longer on the Web, in keeping with Reuters’ practice of taking down such items 30 days after posting, says Burg. A photo essay, nonetheless, remains on the site.

Burg declined to comment on Press TV’s report that the ninja group is suing Reuters. She did acknowledge, however, a problem with the piece:

Reuters always strives for the highest standards in journalism and our policy is to acknowledge errors honestly and correct them promptly when they occur. We acknowledge this error occurred and regard it as a very serious matter. It was promptly corrected the same day it came to our attention. In addition, we have conducted an internal review and have taken appropriate steps to prevent a recurrence.

Press TV’s version of events jibes with Reuters’s, then veers: “Following the strong reaction of Iranian media to the report, Reuters made changes to parts of the report but refused to apologize for slander.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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