ABC News has belatedly admitted that “human error” caused Israel to be wiped from the following map:
This admission came during the investigation of a complaint lodged by me concerning a segment aired on Media Watch featuring the above map titled “Misplaced map outrage”
Audience and Consumer Affairs (“AACA”) - a unit separate to and independent of the content making areas of the ABC – dealt with my complaint alleging that Media Watch had breached the ABC's editorial standards of accuracy.
Media Watch had focused on a Daily Mail story dated 19 August which accused the ABC of wiping Israel off the map.
Media Watch sought to provide the context missing from the Daily Mail article – namely, that the ABC report was about repealing a law which allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims, that Israel had never had that law whereas such laws had been applied in Palestinian territories.
The ABC had responded to the Daily Mail on 21 August:
[t]he graphic did not represent a map of the Middle East but a visual representation of the countries relevant to the story.
Media Watch presenter Paul Barry justified Israel’s omission from the map:
But two days is obviously an age in the Mail’s hectic newsroom. And clearly no one bothered to watch the ABC report.
Because if they had they would have known that the nations in blue are where this law has been abolished. And the nations in yellow are those that still have it on their books.
And Israel was not on the map because it never had the offending statute.
AACA’s investigation found otherwise:
With regards to the original image used on The World, we have sought additional information from ABC News who have advised that unfortunately due to human error the yellow shading covered a larger area than where the laws are applicable. But as marry-your-rapist laws have never been enacted in Israel, Israel was not labelled on the map so as not to mislead viewers that Israel had or has any such laws. However, this was not an implicit political comment or any attempt to delegitimise Israel.
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